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 giveaway...you 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 www.sendoutcards.com/MariaK 

 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. https://www.facebook.com/maria.kear  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 www.socgratitude.com/MariaK", 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 http://www.socgratitude.com/MariaK , 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 room...it 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"...it 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 no...no 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, (post-edit...it 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.