Giveaway winner

Confession: I’m back. I just couldn’t take it anymore, all that Scripture reading and local community.

Just kidding.

But I did get my bathrooms cleaned.

I’m popping in today to announce the winner of our coffee giveaway for R&R Roasters. Congratulations, Rosalie, who said “I can almost smell the delicious aroma already!” Your faith has saved you, go in peace. And I’ll email you instructions for claiming your beans.

Thanks to all who joined the fun! Remember you can purchase the goodness for yourself.

Happy summer!

Shari

*****

Winner was chosen by random.org. Apparently it places a high value on faith as well.

 

Changes coming down

Confession: I am missing something from my days. It’s called Margin.

What a funny thing margin is, always hanging around the edges, not out in the open where it’s easily calculated or measured. You don’t know what you got till it’s gone.

I’m starting a few changes to my blog for the next few months.

The first one is that I’m taking a break from advertising. Most of my ads were due to expire at the end of May, and instead of renewing or soliciting new ones, I decided to let them phase out. There are two reasons for this—one is that I’m tired and the other is that I partly hate myself when I advertise. I’d be interested in your feedback on this. Advertising is such a great idea, up front; and I truly think it’s been good for me, and you, and businesses. But it takes work to maintain, especially since I’m handpicking the businesses. And sometimes I feel like I’m selling something (myself maybe), when all I really want is just to write. I started running ads last August, so we’re going on a year now and I’m ready for a break.

The second change is that I’m taking a break from blogging.

(This is one reason I’m breaking from the ads—how else can I take a writing break?)

I’ve had a recess in mind for some time. The original reason was that I am interested in writing Other things, and I never have time to do both—but now I don’t have time to do either, so that’s kind of funny. After I’ve given heart to all the other things in my life I don’t have any left to put here. I’m being a wife and a mommy. Writing is an important way for me to process life, but having margin is even more important; I feel the need to cut something out until we settle into this new normal.

Also I have a few personal issues I need to work on, like reading more Scripture, coming close to my church community, and cleaning my bathrooms. I’m going to get right on those.

This is the first open-ended break I’ve taken. I’ll jot a line in a week to tell you about the coffee giveaway results.

I’m not sure when, but I’ll be back.

I’ll miss you,
Shari

Giveaway: R&R Roasters

Update: As of Sunday, June 7, 2015, this giveaway is closed.

Hello there!

The other day I got the darlingest package in the mail from Kansas.

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Inside was a bundle wrapped in stripey paper, tied up with string, and the smell that came out of it?

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Mmmmm, heaven—

Fresh coffee!

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My friends Ryan and Rebecca Shetler started a coffee roasting business, and offered me a sample. I love a good cup. And though I’m not a coffee gourmet, my mom is—[grin]—so I invited her over. She said “[delighted shriek] Yes!! I LOVE their coffee!”

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We ground and brewed and sipped together, and I’m a believer. Sooo delicious!

(You know I try not to rave over things I can’t share, so hang on. Your part is coming soon.)

Ryan and Rebecca, also known as R&R Roasters (how cute is that?) buy ethically sourced beans, and carefully roast them to perfection in small batches. All the beans at R&R Roasters are organic, fair-trade, and roasted after you place your order because the Shetlers think freshness is what makes home roasting so wonderful. They ship within a day or two of roasting, so you get that perfectly optimum flavor.

Don’t even get these guys started talking about coffee experiences and tasting notes. This is good coffee.

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Plus it comes in adorable brown paper bags with tabs to seal in the freshness.

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And then of course you can make a latte with it, if you want…

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Ryan and Becca would like to give away one pound for free, to one of you. Stay in your seats, please. There will be no stampedes to the comment section. No people will be trampled in the giving of this bean.

But we mean it. And feel free to hang around and check out their website here, with coffee beans for sale by the pound here. They also offer subscriptions, for twice-monthly fresh deliveries to your door.

You can also find R&R on Facebook, and on Instagram.*

On their website they have a blog where they talk about coffee and life. Becca works as a barista, and loves to educate people about coffee and help develop their palates.

Since R&R Roasters is a new business (with years of personal experience in coffees), we’d like to spread the word. Please share the giveaway with someone—in person, by email, or on social media—then leave a comment to enter the drawing.

Thanks!

Shari Zook

*****

Though I was given a free sample of coffee, I am not being paid to write this post and my opinions are my own.

*I’m not on Instagram so I can’t include their link. Search @randrroasters.

Giveaway ends in one week, Sunday, June 7, 2015. Open to any person with a US mailing address. Winner will be chosen by random.org.

Update: As of Sunday, June 7, 2015, this giveaway is closed.

A chipmunk, a hand, and a clover

Those of you who were talking last time about basements, and pantries with doors, made me think of this meme. I couldn’t find the original online, so I recreated it as well as I could remember. I’m sorry I don’t know who to give credit to.

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(picture source)

The longer you look at it the funnier it gets.

Thanks for your kind words, and your stories about mothering. I think of you, and pray God gives you strength for the days you face.

This week I did a little gratitude project. If I cheat and put the twins on one finger, all the members of my family fit on my hand. I sat and thought about what I enjoy about each person I live with. It didn’t take long to fill up every digit, and it did me good.

Then I hung it on my fridge, where my kids pored over it with great interest.

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You know what they say: “If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart.”

Yours too?

I found this tonight in the grass.

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In the thick of it

You might cry, at nine o’clock pm on a Saturday night when you’re cleaning the last bathroom and your man comes in and finds you. “Hey, hard workin lady,” he says gently, and holds you.

You might cry then, though you’ve been strong all day. They’re in bed now.

It’s not so much that you mind cleaning the house in the dark and quiet, it’s just that you’re so flat tired. You don’t know how it happened, but somehow the second week of the twins’ life with you coincided with the first week of summer vacation, and the birth of four goats, and the mail delivery of twenty-one newborn chicks. It didn’t help that you had sick babies all week, and three lengthy doctor’s appointments in there. It doesn’t help that you’re ten weeks pregnant.

There is no part of your life you would dispense with, not for worlds. It’s just that you’re so flat tired.

You say you forgot what it was like, being in the thick of mothering toddlers, but you’ve never quite been here before. There’ve never been so many small people dependent on you for life and happiness, so many piles of laundry, so many poopy diapers. There’s a perpetual explosion of toys all over your floor, but it’s not only toys, it’s also the whisk attachment from the Kitchen Aid, the expensive phone they know they’re not supposed to have, somebody’s socks, the latest issue of National Geographic for Kids, the foot pedal of your sewing machine, and fifteen Kleenexes pulled from the box. The mess from a single lunchtime looks like this, when you broom it up.

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You forgot the brain-numbing aloneness, and the blessed relief of a friend’s face at your door, with a box of donuts and enough warm jackets for the twins, in just the right sizes. It hasn’t really been that long since you interacted with other adults, but sometimes you’re afraid you’re forgetting how. Could you even have a normal conversation anymore? Do you remember the rules? Speech these days comes in short bursts, disjointed praises and commands.

Good job, baby!
Yay!
Honey, please don’t slam the door.
Thank you for helping me, son.
Oh no-no, don’t eat that!
Give Mommy a kiss…
Can you put away your own laundry?

Every part of your body—your dish-soapy hands, your sniffly-allergic nose, your strong feet, your growing belly—gives thanks to Jesus for His gifts.

Oh thank you thank you thank you thank you.

But you make a lot of mistakes, and you have to pray for grace and forgiveness. You lose your temper and you drop out of communication with people, and you nag your husband too much about a thing that really doesn’t matter.

You begin to take an absurd joy in the smallest achievements—getting one section of the kitchen floor swept clean, folding a shirt smooth and straight, killing that fly.

You’re going to make it. You can feel it in your body—you have enough for these kiddos, and for the one growing inside you. Enough food, enough love, enough body fat. After the crying is done, you sit on the stoop with your husband in the cool evening air, and refresh yourself with strawberries, and garden tea, and ten minutes of quiet talk under the stars. And then you go to bed and sleep in peace.

Tomorrow is new. You’re going to be okay.

*****

I wrote this in second person, because that is the voice in which I heard it in my head. “You” won’t identify with all of it, but which parts ring true?