IN THREE DAYS... granddaughter, Miss Aidyn Esther, will make her appearance!

...this is a picture of her, when she was but little bigger than a lima bean...

...and this Thursday, I will get to hold her in my arms.

Sarah and Jonathan will be checking into the hospital THIS Thursday, at precisely 3 PM.  If Miss Aidyn does not make her appearance before Thursday on her own, she's coming no matter what on Thursday afternoon.

Pictures are guaranteed.

Bliss, wonder, joy, and crazy-grandmotherly-love.  That is what I am feeling this week.  Heaven help me, I am good for nothing.  I seriously got nearly nothing done today.

I'll say it again:  whatever you got going on in your life...whatever you are "about"...I'm happy for you, I truly am.  But please understand me (and try not to misunderstand me) when I say - I am rich in most ways money can by (comparatively)...

...but I am rich in all ways money could never buy.

So yeah.  You can have your estate, you can enjoy being your high profile "bad self", you can have your thriving business or your Lexus or your sheep and oxen and various farm animals, your acreage and assets, you can enjoy your diamonds or furs or exotic vacations...

....give me this.  Just this.  Give me "sequel motherhood", give me grandchildren, give me the generations, give me little souls to care for, give me old souls to care about, give me newborn-in-Christ souls to rejoice over...give me the local church, give me friends, and give me my Preacher to have and to hold.  Give me one man who is completely crazy about me, and me about him.  You can't write a check big enough to buy that.

Those are the "things" I am about...and you are right...they aren't "things" at all.  You can't drive them or use them or flaunt them ( can flaunt your grandbabies) or wear them or display them or design them or deposit them in your account or show them at a 4-H competition or fence them in.

You can only love them.

The crazy thing is?  They love you back, sometimes.

God's favorite "things" aren't things...not even mountains or flowers or "nature" or Nubian goats or gardens are His favorite...

God loves people.  People are God's favorite.  Oh, may I be found valuing what He values!

Another Friday Giveaway (This One's Going to be a Favorite!)

I am so excited, this gorgeous (and sunny and hot) Friday to offer you the best darn Giveaway YET...(and I am always looking for ways to make my Giveaways bigger and bigger)...

My daughter Hannah has been sewing bags and totes for about a year now.  I've waited and watched as her skills have increased exponentially (under the able tutelage of Miss Mary, in our church)  and I think she is ready to take her business to the next level.

I am proud to be offering your choice of one of three of her designs.  I almost feel sorry for everyone, because you do have to choose...and I am not sure I could choose!  I am pretty sure I love the Leslie bag the best...but then, there's Albany, and I very much want a bag in her rich, mustard yellow color, since that is one of the "it" fall colors, this upcoming season!  But then...I so love the structure of the Ashley bag...

Nevermind.  You go on ahead, and choose for yourself.  Then, be sure to follow the steps at the bottom, to be entered to win one of these very well made bags!

Good Morning Lovely People, 

 It’s so nice to “meet” some of you and to “chat” with you others of whom I’m so proud to know. My name is Hannah McConnell (for those of you I don’t know). I am a new mother, teacher’s wife, aspiring philanthropist/homemaker/designer--- you name it I haven’t decided yet--- and last but not least, daughter to Sheila Atchley of none other than Sheila Atchley Designs/A Season of Harvest. 

Thus,… the give-away on her blog! I have been slowly churning out different purses and such over the past year or so, trying to get my feet under me dreaming of starting my own business… in the near/distant future. 

“One small step at a time.” If I’ve heard that saying once I’ve heard it a hundred times… but, it’s so true for me. I take what I do no less seriously than the next person; however, I am a new mother and time doesn’t come easily to me. That being said, I LOVE what I do… and I love ROCKING at it. I am proud of the product I create and sell… if I weren’t you wouldn’t see it here!

I am so thrilled that I was asked by my mother (someone who never skimps on quality) to participate in a giveaway on her blog because that says something about how she views my work. She wouldn’t ask just anyone to participate. She has very high standards… and I am HONORED!

So, after a great deal of thought (and maybe even prayer) I have decided to give all readers and followers of Sheila Atchley Designs THEIR CHOICE of one of three of my designs, as follows:

Please meet the "Leslie" tote...she's feminine and beautiful and Bohemian, and comes with a detachable fabric flower (not this exact one, but one like it.  This one belongs to one of my mom's Jeanne Oliver bags...). 

She is lined on the inside with a striped ticking fabric...beautiful!

And Leslie has three...count 'em...three inside pockets!

Next design is this mustard yellow bag (huge, going into fall 2012!) ~

Her name is "Albany".  She wears a beautiful mustard yellow ruffle, and is lined at the top, and on the inside, with a slate gray chevron pattern - chevron is the "it" pattern this year.  She also comes with a detachable fabric flower...

...she also has THREE inside pockets...

...and Albany has a zipper closure!

Last, but not least, perhaps you'll choose this beauty ~

Meet "Ashley".  She too is lined on the inside.  She is structured and preppy, unlike her Bohemian sisters (who she loves, by the way).  She has one pocket on the inside, and a pocket on each outside panel, for a total of three pockets...

...and comes with a detachable bow.  You can keep the bow, remove the bow, or substitute the bow with a bow of your own...Ashley is flexible.  

So there you have it.  This Giveaway is for YOUR CHOICE of one of my bags, either the Leslie, the Albany, or the Ashley bag.  
 Anyway, moving on towards how you’re going to win your choice of one of my lovely bags (if-I-may-say-so-myself). 

1.  First, comment below on this blog posting- this will give you 1-one entry 

2.  Second, go to my blog: and leave a brief comment on my blog re: this giveaway (if you really want to you can check out my shop while you’re at it) This will count as 2 (two) entries 

3.  Third, become a follower of Sheila Atchley Designs here (if you’re not one already). This will count as 3 (three) entries 

4.  Fourth, share this giveaway on your Facebook and/or Twitter account by including the information that there’s a giveaway and the web address. This will count as 4 (four!) entries.

 Anytime you do any of the above steps…and you can do one step, just leave us a comment...or, to increase your chances of winning, you can do all steps...but when you do,  please come back and let us know in the comments section of this posting so that we can be sure to count that for you. 

The end.  You can do one or all of the above steps, depending on how many times you want to enter for the drawing!  You’ll find out who the grand prize winner is next Friday!  I hope it is YOU!

 Thank you, Hannah McConnell


"And now abideth faith, hope, and love...these three...but the greatest of these is love."

I finished my Poppy Series this evening...well, I am not quite finished. I want to have them framed. I think I want graphic-yet-vintage, unusual frames for these. Maybe stark white. I haven't decided. They'll be in the shop soon.

 It has always struck me, that I can accomplish what can seem to be such great things. I can "speak with the tongues of men and of angels"...I can be a great communicator. Or I can operate in a very real spiritual gift. But I can do that without love.

 I can build and create incredible things. And have no love.

I can be so very, very giving...give my body to be burned, in fact. And, in fact, have no love.

But I can't be patient without love. I am not kind without love. I can't believe all things, hope all things and endure all things (all in context of relationships)...without love.

 And without people to try my patience, without people to be kind to, without people to endure all things with and is just an idea. We must be in faithful relationship to practice love.

 Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:13...I am considering designing a leather charm cuff...with a sterling silver chain, or set of three chains, twined together and anchored across the top of the cuff, and then those chains would have four that is stamped the numbers "13:13" that says "faith" that says "hope" and one charm that says "love"...

A Customer Review From My Beta Launch Giveaway...

What a great blessing it was to win the beta review. I could not wait for my special parcel to arrive. When it arrived in the mail I quickly opened the box to find the most unique and fun wrapped gift. First I must say that I love online shopping, mainly because I love receiving packages in the mail. However when I received this package it was better than any package I could of purchased online. The package was very personable. You could tell that time, talent, and creativity went it this package. It had great flair and warmth to it. It may sound crazy but it did. It was so nice I almost did not want to open the rest. After admiring the beautiful parcel I finely opened the rest up. 

One of the wrapping was the bracelet that read "loved" I really admired the bracelet in looks and that it had two settings for how tight it would be so that you could wear it accordingly to how it suited you or fitting if you have a petite or larger wrist. That was a winner for me. Looks may be there but if you can adjust it to what you need or comfortably then to me it is not worth it. This bracelet had both and I was very pleased. 

 The number one thing I loved about the purse is that it was reversible. What a great way to mix things up without having to buy another purse or rummage through a box for the changing of seasons. I carry a lot of items in my purse and heavy ones at that so it was nice that the straps were nice and strong as well. For my own personal taste I do prefer a purse deeper and more stiff. A few more pockets would have been nice but I know that can be more difficult to do when you are making reversible purses. I latch over piece would have been nice as well but again not sure how you can make it work for reversible. I am still using the purse right now and like it and it is great if I just out for an evening and need a few items in my purse. It does not fall over my shoulder easy at all which is great because I hate it when a purse won't stay on your shoulder. I was very pleased with the items and would love to see more of different type of purses. 

 Thanks, Rays of Sunshine.

Thank you so much, "Rays of Sunshine" for such a great review...honest and detailed!  I appreciate it so much.

Do You Have a Hidden Agenda?

‎2 Cor 4:2

We have renounced hidden agendas (employing a little bit of the law in an attempt to “balance” out grace); we have distanced ourselves from any obscure craftiness to manipulate God’s word to make it mean what it does not say! With truth on open display in us, we highly recommend our lives to every one’s conscience! Truth finds its most authentic and articulate expression in human life. This beats any doctrinal debate!

~Mirror Bible Translation (and no, this isn't a perfect translation...and no, I do not use it for study purposes...and no, Du Toit is not a universalist...and yes, repentance is necessary - mostly, repentance from dead works, whether they be "sinning" dead works or "sainting" dead works - and salvation from our sin condition is necessary, and has been accomplished through no other means but Christ.)

And The Winner Is.... prepared for the Big Moment:

We are so high tech around here.  No, seriously.  Don't believe that.  Actually, we kick it old school.

All the a cute little Anthropologie-esque bowl... (if you don't know Anthro, where have you been?)

This drawing is legally certified by my daughter Hannah McConnell.  She drew the name of the winner.  Everyone acquainted with me had deep concerns that I'd draw my own name.  (Brownies were involved in this giveaway...)

And the winner is....


Liz, Maria Kear will be emailing you privately, to get your mailing address.  Sistah, your brownies will be on their way.

I'm jealous.

And hey...stay tuned.  Call the neighbors.  There will be another giveaway here NEXT WEEK!  And you will want one.  And your odds are GREAT at winning, since I haven't gone all "Pioneer Woman" on y'all.

(Pioneer Woman does a lot of giveaways, but she has, like, 30,000 followers on her blog!)

Aren't you glad I'm not a household name?

I Was Inspired...Poppies, Friends, and Brownies

Yesterday morning, I kept a sort of mentoring appointment.  I say "sort of" because she lets me coach her via Skype, and she's a fun girlfriend, so it doesn't feel so much like an "appointment" officially.

We talked about souls and their restoration.  I was so inspired by our time together.  There were tears.  There was laughter.  I then thought about the things we talked over all day long...and late yesterday evening, this popped out of my heart:

available in my shop  

I'm "feeling it" so much...this truth about soul restoration (see yesterday's re-post from can see these are things I've long lingered over)...I'm almost sure that my next video weblog, in my series "True W.E.L.L. Being", will be full of some of the things my friend and I discussed.

Also, don't forget that tomorrow is the big day for the giveaway, in collaboration with Maria Kear and her new business, Send Out Cards!  (There are brownies involved.  You will want to leave your comment here....and then Facebook it, or tweet it, so that you can be MORE certain of obtaining said brownies...)

...a picture of  Send Out Card's brownies...not the exact ones you'll be getting, if you win.  Yours will be fresher.  Sorry if you haven't eaten yet.  Or you have, and now you want brownies, too.  So sorry. 

Well, my day has not been the cheeriest.  I won't bore you with drama or details, but suffice it to say, I need my soul restored.  Yet again.  Nothing terrible has, I was simply reminded that I am living in a state of bliss lately, and it does get interrupted now and then with some familiar sources of stress and frustration.

No matter.  Big things or small things, God is in the soul restoring business. still waters, friends...he leads your soul there.

He Maintains My Soul

(a re-post from the archives...enjoy...)

"He leads me beside still waters..." a photo taken on our anniversary getaway.

I have been soaking in some old, familiar passages lately. They come to life for me, repeatedly, and bring me great hope and consolation. One of these familiar mainstays is Psalm 23:

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

I have been smitten by the phrase, "He restoreth my soul". The concept of stillness has been overtaking my thoughts these days - this whole idea of being still before God, and being still before my circumstances.

You cannot be still without a fully restored soul. A less-than-restored soul is a soul that frets, fears, fumes and flails about for a solution, and panics when no solution is in sight. An unrestored soul is anything BUT still.

You cannot restore your own soul. Such a dilemma...

I bring you good tidings - good news! GOD is fully committed to the full time job of soul restoration. If you look up that precious Hebrew word "restore", you will find a connotation that of "over and over again and again". In fact, I counted up the number of times, (in the mere definition of the Hebrew word "restore"), that the word "again" is utilized:  that word "again" is utilized twenty times in the Hebrew, to define the word RESTORE.

Again and again and again and again and again get the idea. God restores my soul as often as necessary. This "restoring my soul" thing is a Self-designated focus of the Lord of the universe. He considers it His ongoing, daily avocation...the thing He delights to do for me. This Lord is my shepherd....oh, I shall not want!

Over and over, every day, again and again, twenty times a day and more, the Lord wants to refresh and revive you. He will, time and again, pick up your disheveled soul, dust it off, and set it to rights. He longs to breathe new life into you - right now. And then again. And then again.

Oh saint, do you hear me?

It is his avocation (not by constraint, but willingly He shepherds you, dear one!) to cheer you, enliven you, prod and quicken your spirit. He enjoys rejuvenating you, invigorating you, healing and rebuilding you, and He considers it His good pleasure to do it over and over and again and again and again.

Consider yourself rebuilt and reinstated, oh crumbled soul! Be strengthened, twenty times over, by the very hand of the Good Shepherd.

He restoreth my soul!

Don't Forget...

Don't forget Friday's about it here.  I will try to mention it each day between now and then, but you might want to go ahead and take a moment to give it a looksee.

These are included:

Oh.  my.  dear.  sweet.  salvation.

I repeat, this giveaway includes, but is not limited to, a box of delicious brownies.  Who doesn't want...nay, need, that?

A New Collaboration - a Giveaway in Collaboration with Maria Kear and Her New Business, Send Out Cards

I am so blessed to introduce you to a life-long friend of mine (we've been friends pretty much our entire adult lives) Maria Kear. She is coming up just behind me, in terms of the "empty nest"...she will graduate her youngest from their home school next year. In searching for what God would have her do in her next season, she has discovered a new business venture that she's excited about - and I am discovering that God is really giving me a heart to see women succeed in business and ministry and art. So I want to get started exactly where I am (is there anywhere else you can start?) and promote a woman-friend and her business.

 So I have invited my friend Maria to do a giveaway here on my blog! It is a generous will enjoy it, so much, if you win!  We will draw a winner in one week - Friday, July 20th.  If only one person enters, that person wins!  I know Maria - she just loves to have fun with things like this, and is fine with one person or one hundred people entering her giveaway for her new business.

Please note:  I am not a distributor for Send Out Cards.  I receive nothing in exchange for promoting Maria's business.  

Without further ado, may I please introduce to you a lovely lady friend of mine, who is as passionate about the health of the local church as I am - a trustworthy person, who will be a great business woman...Meet Maria Kear!

This is Maria Kear

Hello friends of Sheila Atchley Designs! I’m so blessed to have the opportunity to “meet” you. 

 My name is Maria Kear. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for almost 22 years, and have home schooled my 3 children all the way through. My last one will be a senior next year. It has been one of the greatest journeys and “works” of my life. I am honored to have had the opportunity to teach and train 3 people who will impact the world in their own unique way. I’m in a new season of life and have been praying about what to do with myself….

My good friend Sheila asked me to be her blog guest, because like Sheila, I am a new business owner who is excited about sharing what I do. I love my new business, because at the heart SendOutCards is about showing gratitude simply for the sake of being a blessing. Sure, I am here to build a business, but I understand that we all “reap what we sow”. My heart is to “sow” hospitality and gratitude; to encourage those I meet to be the best they can be in whatever they put their hands to. 

To get the word out about my new business, I will be holding a drawing right here on Sheila Atchley Designs. What I want to gift you with is two-fold. The Grand Prize will be a 30 day membership to use the SendOutCards system to bless 30 people with a real paper card, which SendOutCards prints, stuffs and mails FOR YOU.

I have done this myself, and my heart is forever changed. SendOutCards calls this the 30 Day Gratitude Challenge. 

Added to this (30 days worth of free card giving) I am adding a box of the most delicious brownies you have ever tasted (I’m not exaggerating!).  They are called Chocolate Indulgence Gourmet Fudge Brownie made by Cookietree Bakeries...

...AND a great book I’m almost finished reading called Appreciation Marketing by Tommy Wyatt and Curtis Lewsey

To view a video and get more information regarding the 30 Day Challenge, please visit this website: 

 In addition to the Grand Prize, and because I want you to experience that great feeling of showing someone gratitude, I’m going to gift everyone else with the ability to send 2 free cards to someone you appreciate! 

 You may visit that website by following this link 

 I hate to sound like an info-mercial… but there is no obligation. You may try the system, give me feedback, and if you love it, give it your own 30 day trial. But if you aren’t in love with the idea, I still believe your outlook will be changed in just thinking about others with a heart of gratitude. 

 To enter, I’m asking that you:

1.  Take one second's time to “like” (on my personal facebook page) a video that I’ll post about the 30 Day Gratitude Challenge.  Leave a comment here on this blog, letting me know you did so - that will be one entry.

2.   If you will also tweet “30 Day Gratitude Challenge", come back and leave ANOTHER comment here on this blog.  That will be a second entry.  Remember, come back RIGHT HERE, and leave another comment on this blog, and you will be entered again.

3.   AND if you’ll join my good friend Sheila’s blog as a new follower (click "follow this blog" or "join this site" over in the right-hand sidebar), you’ll get a third entry.

4.  If you mention the 30 Day Gratitude Challenge on YOUR blog, with my link , come back here and leave a comment with your blog URL.  That will get you a FOURTH entry...and you'll probably win.  :-)

Either Sheila or myself will draw a winner one week from today.   I’ll work the details out with the winner by e-mail, or by phone if you want me to contact you that way. One thing I will tell you is that if you sign up for a gift account, no one will pester you! I alone will have your information, and I will not share it with anyone.

 And I will likely send you a card ;)

A Granddaughter Any Day Now!

We are in Sarah's final days of maternity...and I do mean "WE".  Our whole family is in a state of high anticipation.  Our whole church is in high anticipation.  The picture you see, up there, was taken just today.

Isn't she the cutest, most beautiful little momma ever?

I plan on posting pictures of her nursery.  Her sister Hannah designed it, sewed the crib linens, and decorated the is so, so lovely and amazing.

She is due any day now, and I absolutely cannot wait.  My second monkey, Miss Aidyn Esther Howe, will make her appearance, and I have a feeling she is as eager to be held by her Mimi as her Mimi is to hold her.

I'm pretty sure I am the most blessed and highly favored woman on the planet.

Actual Church Life

...when I think of the welfare and health of "the church universal" - her struggles, her flaws, her beauty, her care and tending and preservation, her value and her worth...I have had this place before me.

This one small particular represents the universal whole far more tangibly and accurately, demanding more pressing love and sacrifice and talent and commitment than any idea of the universal.

When I have considered grace, kindness, patience, betrayal or carelessness, devotion and worship, when I consider weariness, ecstatic joy, fresh babies and precious children, I have had in my mind's eye the people of this place, their faces and their words and their smiles and their pain.

I can recall the look of a hundred different daylights on all those faces, the worship postures and body languages of the men and women who have labored here, and those who do labor here to this very day - I can see them, in my mind's eye, tending their little patch of ground, because all of us know that you have to stick and stay to reap your harvest.

Harvest Church.  You have given me the great privilege of living actual, versus imagined, church life.  Your very (seeming) smallness has made you great among churches - your size forces honest connection.

I love you for that.

Post edit:  this piece is a "riff" is my improvisational "take"...on a paragraph from a Wendell Barry book of, believe it or not, agrarian essays.  He was writing about the countryside of his native Kentucky.  I thought of the ecclesia.  My mind is at the mercy of its associations.  Likely, no one would ever recognize the similarities...because I took Barry's thoughts on agriculture and culture and definitely re-made them into my own thoughts on the church.  But still...the inspiration was a very direct one, and I meant to say so!   (And one called this to my attention.  I am self-editing, here.  I meant to give credit where credit was due, and simply forgot.)

New Design - Might Already Be Sold

...a leather cuff watch...upcycled watch face...hand stained and hand stamped with 1/8 inch metal stamp lettering...trimmed in a brown dotted "torn" fabric, for a great vintage look...

...a side perspective...

...the hand stamping, worn at the wrist.  All you have to do is turn your wrist ever so slightly, and you'll get the message...

...that you are LOVED.

This is the only one like it I've made, so far.  Each watch will be a little different, since each one is hand made and hand stained, and each watch face, and the fabric choices will be different.

This one may have already sold, ( in fact did sell...) before I can even get it in the shop.  I'll let you know!

Another Huge-To-Me Beta Launch {My First W.E.L.L. Being Video Weblog}

I'm so Beta, I stare at my own bad self.  And it ain't pretty, what I see.

All I can say to the Lord is, "Allright, already!  I did it!"

All I can say to you is, "Here!  Here you go!"

...and then picture me running out of the room.  It is hard to be brave.  Please be kind.