Things I Love

(in)Mercy: Helping to make Christmas special for Mercy House Kenya

Posted by on Sep 12, 2013 in ideas, Things I Love | 1 comment


Over the last couple of years, I have been tracking along with the (in)courage community, both because of the beautiful God-centered writing and the amazing projects that they have participated in. One of the connections they have developed is with the Mercy House in Kenya. Formed in 2010 by Kristen Welch, the blogger who writes at We Are THAT Family, and Maureen, a Compassion International graduate, the Mercy House facility helps support teen moms and their babies by giving them the education, nutrition, housing, prenatal care, Bible study, counseling and job skills they need for sustainable living.

So, the (in)courage community is banding together to give these girls five special gifts for Christmas this year, including a new van, generator, computer lab, additional classroom space, and another living space. I’m going to be specifically advocating for Phase 4, a computer lab for Mercy House, and will be back in November to talk more about it, but until then, you can visit the website for the (in)mercy project, and track the project’s funding progress in the sidebar!

I love the idea of equipping this ministry to do their work by giving them very tangible gifts. Don’t you?

Check out (in)mercy here!

Pre-Christmas Giveaway Hop {Ferris Coffee & Nut Gift Basket Giveaway}

Posted by on Nov 1, 2012 in ideas, Things I Love | 28 comments

When the crimson leaves start to flutter to the ground and the morning air turns from crisp to frosty, I know what is about to happen. Yes, Thanksgiving is closer than it appears and Christmas is in the not-too-distant future, but even before the craziness of the holidays, I have one more job to do…the annual Thanksgiving client gift extravaganza for my husband’s firm.

Some of last year’s baskets…ready to be delivered…

This is the fourth year that I have hit the crafting store circuit to buy up their remaining stock in fall ribbon, and scoured the Internet for the perfect memorable “logo” item. Last year, we gave out engraved hammers (with a surprisingly positive response). But after a couple of years of trial and error, I finally found “the” place to purchase most of the tasty goodies…the chocolate covered nuts, decadent trail mix, and thickly coated pretzels that I bag and ribbon to go inside the baskets.

It’s a West Michigan based company called Ferris Nut & Coffee, which I had previously thought only supplied restaurants and businesses with their coffee products and provided organizations with coffee and nuts for fundraisers. While they do these things, what I didn’t realize is that they also have a robust retail store with gourmet coffee, freshly roasted nuts, trail mixes, chocolates, and much more. For my basket project, I buy in bulk and package everything myself, but they have plenty in the store already bagged and tagged for people who have more reasonable purchasing needs than me. Anyone else need to buy 25 pounds worth of Cranberry Trail Mix? I didn’t think so.

So when I heard about the Pre-Christmas Giveaway Hop that a group of West Michigan based bloggers were participating in, and found out that they had to be locally based companies, I thought that I should see if Ferris would want to supply a gift basket for me to give away as part of the “hop”…and they did!

Here it is sitting on my counter…a bundle of goodies including coffee, cashews (my personal favorite), trail mix, a few chocolates, and yogurt covered pretzels!

How do you win? Just comment on this post and tell me what holiday treat you just can’t keep your hands off of, and I will pick a winner (randomly, of course) after the contest ends on November 10th.


But there’s more…this post is part of the Pre-Holiday Giveaway Hop…by Western Michigan bloggers for Western Michigan businesses, so follow the link below to enter a whole slew of other giveaways. On Mom Colored Glasses, for example, we are giving away a set of Uncle Goose Wooden Christmas Blocks as part of the “hop”, so there is plenty of great stuff to win!

And hey, if you are in the market for some great coffee and goodies for your next holiday party, or just a freshly brewed cup of coffee, stop by the Ferris Retail shop by the downtown Grand Rapids YMCA, and check them out. You won’t be disappointed!

Finding God…in the Mess and in the Glory…

Posted by on Oct 16, 2012 in faith, ideas, perspective, Things I Love | 2 comments

It is easy to see God in the midst of a sunset, shots of purple and pink tinging the clouds that hover above the horizon.

It is easy to hear God in the sounds of a worship filled church service, singing with one voice about the blessings of God.

It is easy to see God standing under a starry night sky, the expanse of the galaxy pressing down on my shoulders.

It is easy to watch God work through the hands of an artist, weaving together paint and brush to reflect the creativity of the Creator.

But then, I turn towards my water-spotted sink, surrounded by piles of dirty dishes, and God is not so easy to see there.

I look at my to-do list and e-mail box, filled with distractions that pull me away from my purpose, and God is not so easy to see there.

I step outside and the gloom of the clouds feels oppressive, the wind whipping my hair into unrecognizable strands, and God is not so easy to see there.

My eyes turn towards the earth, deep mud squishing up around my shoes and I can feel the same dark tendrils of gloom surrounding my soul. The dizzying speed of life, stuffed with responsibilities and seemingly meaningless tasks threaten to blind me, and I need an intravenous shot of God’s Truth to yank me out of my downward spiral.

The words come out of nowhere…when I least expect it.

It comes through the words of a sweet hymn warbling out of my Pandora radio station or through the pages of a picture-lined book with words that shoot straight to the heart.

It comes leaking through a conversation with a friend or through a simple daily message sitting next to my sink. Truth comes in all shapes and sizes, if we are willing to pay attention. 

And maybe, just maybe, that is what I am supposed to learn; that I don’t need to wait for God to show up in the sun or the stars, but that I can find Him in every moment of every day. In the mess and in the glory, He is there, waiting for me to pay attention.

See God today. In it all.

Disclosure: Dayspring provided me with the product for the review; all opinions are my own. 

squeaky clean teeth, here I come…{Oral-B Professional Precision 1000 Review}

Posted by on Sep 12, 2012 in ideas, Things I Love | 0 comments

Last time I went to the dentist for a cleaning, they told me about how I would really benefit from using a power toothbrush, especially since my gums became more sensitive and prone to gingivitis after having kids. And after they told me that, I mentally filed it under “things to do someday”, grabbed my new manual toothbrush, and headed home.

But a couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to take one for a two-week test drive, specifically the Oral-B® Professional Precision 1000, and the voice of my dental hygienist popped into my head to tell me, “Rachel…try the toothbrush…”

So, I did…and here’s what happened…

Want to try out your own Oral-B® power toothbrush? Oral-B® is offering a $20 mail-in rebate on select power toothbrushes through September 30th. Visit their website, Facebook and Twitter page to learn more!

My teeth are squeaky clean…and loving it!


Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Modern Mom on behalf of Oral-B and received a product sample to facilitate my review.


Moments with Madi: Usborne Sticker Dolly Dressing App Review

Posted by on Jul 26, 2012 in ideas, moments with madi, Things I Love | 0 comments


Usborne Sticker Dolly Dressing for iPad by Usborne Publishing

$4.99 for iPad



If you are a fan of Usborne sticker dolly dressing sticker books (like me), then you might like the Sticker Dolly Dressing app! (For the iPad  only)

After you press the app, a screen with the newest dolls you made, but in different clothes appear. If you just bought the app, random combinations of dolls appear. Next, you touch a girl.

Then, you get to choose a scene. There are 8 scenes. Once you chose one, you get to dress her. Touch the shirt bubble underneath her. Then you can choose what  they are going to wear. Just drag the things onto her. Touch the hair bubble and you can change her hair style, color of hair, and if you drag the bar you can change the color of her skin. You can also name her! If you touch the pencil, you can drag patterns onto her clothes.


When you finish her,press the arrow.You can move her around the scene. Now, there is another hair bubble. Click that and you can drag more people to the scene.Click the lamp bubble and you can add more background. Click the cat bubble and you can add animals. Last, click the apple button and add food.

You should get this app because it is fun. I like it because it makes noises!

Written by: Madi

Moments with Madi: Why Mary Poppins?

Posted by on Apr 9, 2012 in moments with madi, Things I Love | 4 comments

You might be thinking, why Mary Poppins and not other things? Well, I’m here to tell you about it.

There are 2 kids that make nannies(babysitters that live with them) leave. The Dad is kinda grumpy, while the mom is protesting so women can vote. The kids names are Jane and Michael. The Dad calls for a strict nanny, and there are lots of them! Suddenly, a strong wind blows them away and Mary Poppins comes out of the sky. They clean up the nursery just by snapping! They go to the park where they jump into a chalk drawing.

To know the ending, watch the movie!

Its good for kids because they would enjoy certain parts, like when they laugh and float up to the ceiling! It’s good for adults because they can enjoy certain parts, like when the chimney sweeps are dancing on the roof (my Mom’s favorite part) and learn how  to be a better parent.

hope you like the movie!

– madi

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