Winner for a Gaze Into Heaven

Saturday morning
I picked a winner
who was my
#10 commenter.
I find it interesting
that Norina is my winner.
She had a really hard
miscarriage years ago
and when she tried
to explain to me her
I didn’t get it.
At all.
Even though
I myself
had experienced
2 miscarriages
of my own
at that time
I just didn’t get
the longing that she felt
or the sadness
at what didn’t happen.
I get it now.
And even though
I still don’t believe
I will personally
be united
with any of my
four miscarriages
(even if this last
one was at 18 weeks)
I understand
others desire for that
and I will welcome
more children 
in the next life
if that is indeed
how it works.
I loved the part
in the book
that talks about
babies all
going straight to paradise
and being cared for by family.
There are no children
in hell.
And that is how it should be.
And that realization
has made my desire for
that much stronger.
I can’t imagine
a world
where there
are no children.
I can only imagine that
those reunions
are some of the
Congrats Norina.
I am so happy
to give you this book.
I think that,
like me,
you will love it.


Sometimes life just calls for some silliness.
We all get way too serious.
I hope that when I die
my kids will remember
that their mom liked to have a good time.

I love to remember that about my parents.
No one loves a good water fight better
than my mom and dad.
They are known for even breaking them
out in the middle of dinner.

One time they got so
that my mom ended up
in the emergency room.
She had slipped and fell
and hit her head
on some bricks.
They had a hard
time convincing
the doc
that my dad
wasn’t a wife-beater.

Just a week before
my nephew Braxton
a bunch of us
were at my parent’s house.
Mom did her thing
and bought all kinds of
balls, silly string, hula-hoops,
and fun things
for the kids and adults alike.
I am so glad I have those memories

This photo of LG is pretty awesome.

of Braxton giggling and having fun.

Go to your local dollar store
and buy some silly string.
Store it away where the kids
won’t find it.

Pull it out the next time
life gets tense.
You’ll see why silly
is so vital
in all of our lives.
Your problems will melt away.

These photos were taken on Christmas Day.
Uncle Logan and Aunt Jill
were here too
but they don’t like to be photographed.

Notice the covered bigscreen
and non-covered picture frames.
One minute of silly
is worth 5 minutes of clean-up.

Perhaps though my favorite
time of the day
was right before
the silly string fight commenced.
I found Abigail in her room
all dressed up in camoflauge
ready for the war.
It’s moments like these
that I feel validated

in the fact
that I am teaching
my kids a little good.

All I want for Christmas is books.

I just guest blogged my 2102 Bookbuyer’s guide
here for a great friend, Donna.
(What a great idea! I’ve never done one before.
I do believe Donna started a tradition)

I decided to add my own twist.
I’m adding in a contest here
to compliment the post.
Make sure you enter to win
by matching the books with their categories below.

First a bit about Donna.
You all remember her birthstory here, right?
How could you forget.
Donna has a great new blog called Donna’s Dish.
She is one of the most hilarious people that I know.
I love her dearly.
Serious. I want her for my neighbor in the next life.
We would just laugh through eternity.

Donna is a foodie.
She is pretty good at a lot of stuff.
Fashion, decorating, shoes,
pop-culture, handbags, food, parenting, yoga.
She lives in NEW YORK.
Someday I am going to see her.
Hopefully sooner rather than later.
She WILL take me to every place worth
mentioning to eat as many calories as possible.

She’s not a lame Mormon mommy blogger
who only shows picture of her uber gorgeous kids
or scrapbooking pages.
She’s real and interesting and FUNNY!
I want to be like her when I grow up.
She also will tell you really funny stuff about what
it’s like to be a Mormon and black
and she always references The Cosby’s.
Like I said, you will love her.

For some reason, Donna has come to me to be her book expert.
Head over for my expert opinion. (chuckle chuckle)

I based my list by who you gotta buy for
cause we all know that’s how we do our Christmas shopping.

Before you head over see if you can match the categories with their books.
Match at least three correctly below in the comments and I will enter you to win a free book.
That’s right I will mail it directly to you (if you are my winner) next month.
Contest ends on Christmas.

She Friend (two picks)
Little Girl
Big Girl
Teenage Boy
He Friend
Little Boy
Big Boy
Teenage Girl
The Whole Family

Merry Christmas y’all.
Happy Book giving.

Another Holiday Give Away

Remember my friend Lori who won the half-tee and I asked her to give me something free.

Well, she is trying her hardest to oblige.
You’re welcome everyone for putting the giveaway idea in her head.

This post is my 1 in 4 chance at winning one of her adorable and quite famous pillows.
I don’t usually do this much work so that tells you how much I want one for FREEE!

Go here for your chance to win.

December’s Writing Contest

As you all know, I like to have a contest every month. I want to engage you all, my wonderful readers.
Last month, the contest was easy, all you had to do was leave me a comment to win a half-tee.
This morning Lori Cruze was chosen as #5 on She is going to be sooo excited.
Congrats Lori. Thanks for being a reader and a friend. 
Now, when are you going to give me something free? Huh?
This month I am going to do something a little different. I guess your chances of winning will be pretty high because I don’t expect too many people to participate.

I’m hosting a writing contest.
I used to love Scribbit’s writing contests
before Michelle went a-wall.
I even got an honorable mention once.
It was one of my most proud moments.

Anyhow, I have always loved sappy Christmas stories.
I know that the stories are everywhere and everyone has their own that should be told.
So now it’s your chance.
Write down your story,
post it somewhere online, 
and leave me a comment on this post
with your name and story url.
The contest will end on December 20th
and I will announce the winner
shortly before or after Christmas.
It depends on my wrapping situation.
I will get a friend to help me choose the winner.
The amount of tears shed while reading your story
will determine the winner.
Trust me, this won’t be hard,
I cry at everything
and I will choose an equally emotional friend
to help me pick the winner.
If you win,
you will be sent our own copy of my favorite Christmas story
You will also have some mean bragging rights.
Like I will stick the word WINNER
on the above jpeg
and you can post it on your blog.
Let me take this moment to thank all those who made my own Christmas stories possible.
You forever live in our hearts.
I hope this year will be our year to start
paying it forward.
And I thank God for that.

Giveaway – Halftees

I have a special post for you
in honor of my 38th birthday.

Happy birthday to me.

I’m giving away a halftee.
It’s the layering piece for everyone.
Cute little tees for all purposes.
They have new styles up on their site today
so go and pick your favorite
and leave me a comment
with your name, e-mail, and desired style/color
(we’ll save your size for private)
and I will give a halftee
to one lucky reader
at the end of my favorite month:

Why halftee you ask?
Well let me tell you.
As you know
at our house
modest is always hottest.
That’s why we loved trying out Halftees.

The other day I walked outside
to find this message written on the sidewalk.

Be still my heart.

It looks like we are getting through to our girls.
Modesty is a principle of protection.
And our girls do it well.

One time my mother-in-law took them shopping.
She came home praising my name.
Our girls, on their own accord,
did all the tests before
deciding whether or not they should buy something.

Bend over.
Reach your arms up.
Slouch down.

No shoulder shots.
No butt shots.
No boob shots.
No belly shots.
No thigh shots.

O.k. grammy. Can we get this?
No hoochy mamas around here.

Halftees, a Utah based company,
are a great way to compensate

for the lack of covering in clothes on today’s store racks.

And guess what my wonderful readers? 

You can get 20% off of all of your orders
until November 9th by using the code IMSOFUNNY.
(I would use the discount now, you know,
before you forget and
just in case you don’t win the giveaway)
Halftees come in a bunch of colors and styles.
As you can see we prefer the white ones.
Go and check them out.
I’ll be picking up some more for Christmas.
Even winter dresses are all sleeveless nowadays.
I am thinking about buying some
for some of the girls at church
When they wear sleeveless,
my kids don’t understand.
I thought it was a church-wide standard
to cover our shoulders?

I will leave you with Sophia’s part
for the upcoming Primary program.
She wrote it by herself.
LG and I love the part about “the fronts”.
Notice the plural fronts.
Dressing modestly shows respect 
for Heavenly Father and myself.
We should never wear anything that is
tight or short shorts or miniskirts that reveal
our shoulders or your back and fronts.
When you dress modestly 
you show Heavenly Father that you love Him.
 Dressing modestly is important to you
and everyone around you.

Oh and one more:

More Than a Hero: Muhammad Ali’s Life Lessons Presented Through His Daughter’s Eyes by Hana Ali

When we finally arrived, the chauffeur escorted my younger sister, Laila, and me up to my father’s suite. As usual, he was hiding behind the door waiting to scare us. We exchanged many hugs and kisses as we could possibly give in one day.

My father took a good look at us. Then he sat me down on his lap and said something that I will never forget. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to. Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You’ve got to work hard to get to them.”

He looked at me with serious eyes. “Your body is sacred. You’re far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.”

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Giveaway = MyMemories

No, I’m not giving away my memories.
Or I guess I kind of am.

Read on down and you’ll get to take a look into my heavenly getaway with LG.
In My Memories style. You must keep reading for the giveaway. It’s my best one yet.

Guess what?
You can have this too!
For freeeeee.
We love free, don’t we?
(No, you can’t have my getaway or my man,
but the digital scrapbooking software silly)
Get your own man.

My Memories has generously offered their MyMemories Suite (a $40 value) to one of my loyal readers.
I told them that you guys were the best and thought you deserved something.
All you have to do is go to My and look around,
come back here, and tell me one thing you love.
It can be your favorite layout, paper, embellishment or anything.

Enter now because this giveaway will close at 11:59 p.m. on September 30, 2011.
You only have a week to win.

Don’t miss out on MyMemories.
I found digital scrapbooking way better than the old-school ways.
I never got into cutting up all that paper.
I hated spending a fortune and wasting all the scraps.

Really this software is sooo easy and fun to play with.
After three pages, I had to tear myself away.
The possibilities are endless:
Christmas cards, baby announcements, birthday invites…
your imagination is the only limitation here.

If you can’t wait to win, or if you lose this giveaway, have no fear, you’re all winners.
Go here to purchase

By using the code STMMMS1691 you can save $10 on your purchase.
That’s a whoppin 25%.
Pretty good savings if you ask me, and you all know that I’m the couponing queen.

Oh yeah, if you really want the chance to win,
go do one of the following three and let me know in your comment that you did
and I will enter you into the pool of contestants twice.

Follow the My Memories Blog
Like them on Facebook
Or link up on Twitter

Go ahead check out their intro video, it will make you really want to win.
Way more than anything I can put together.

September’s Give Away

A while back I won.
Here are the girls sporting the spoils.
Funny that you can barely see the brown headband
when it blends in with the hair on Bella’s head.
I was so happy to get some
of Heather’s signature pieces.
So very cute.
{keep reading for the give-away}

Like oh my gosh!
(Heather will appreciate the valley girl talk
she loved the 80’s)
I was even more delightfully surprised when 
she didn’t just send me one as promised
in the give-away,
but one for each of the girls.
Woo hoo. Bonus.
The giveaway was hosted
on a blog called scraps and scribbles.
Heather’s facebook page is called
Go and like her, just to be nice.
Her crocheted stuff is awesome.
Check out her little cell phone purses.
They would be a great Christmas gift for that pre-teen
that only wants clothes and wants to pick them out herself
leaving her with only some cash under the tree.
I know from experience.
Get a little purse for the gift cards and cash
so big sister won’t be bummed out on Christmas Day.

Now on to the giveaway.
I know that’s the part you really care about.

I made friends with Shannon in Nashville
a few years back
when visiting Kristy Faye.
KFaye is one of my besties from high school days.
Shannon is now KFaye’s new bestie.
And Shannon is uber creative.
She sells her stuff
on facebook.

She makes cute things from recycled materials.

She has single rose clips for $5 (headband $7), 

triple rose for $9 (headband $11), 
adjustable rings for $5, 
Hairbows for $5, 
and necklaces start at $12…..

But guess what?
Shannon has already made something
that she has graciously offered
to one of my readers for

The giveaway is a triple rose alligator clip that can be used in hair, on a headband or even on a shirt as an accessory as well as a matching adjustable ring.  Both items are made out of shirts.

All you have to do is like Shannon’s page on facebook.
and then leave a comment here.
3 clicks, I made it easy for you.
I hate those giveaways that tell you to do about 20 bazillion things.
That’s not a giveaway. That’s slave labor.
But really you have to go like Shannon
cause it’s her giveaway.
If you don’t have facebook, just leave a comment.
I am double dipping and this give away 
is counting as my game this month.
So in your comment give me a link
to a craft that you’ve made that you are the most proud of.
Or if you are like me, the least proud of. tee hee
If you have no online presence,
then just tell me about it.
Just try to make me laugh, will ya?
I thought it would be so cute to send Shannon 
some of Caroline’s outgrown clothes 
and pay her to make me some keepsake flowers.
She would probably be game for something like that.
You can e-mail her directly
shansharris at gmail

Anyhow, I will be leaving the give-away open all month
and then will randomly pick a winner from all the comments
first thing in October.
Me screaming: OCTOBER, how did you get here so fast?

If you really want to be nice,
you can tell your friends.
I never tell my friends because I
don’t like to lower my chances for the win.
Rude, I know,
but strategic, yes.
So, don’t tell your friends about the giveaway,
but do tell them about Shannon and Heather.
They deserve a shout-out or two.

July’s Contest Winner!

Valerie Shedley won for the funniest joke in July’s contest.

Sorry it has taken me so long to formerly announce it.
I’ve been enjoying our last few days of summer.

Valerie as soon as you tell me what kind of gift card you want
and you message me your address your $20 gift will be on its way.

Here is Valerie’s winning joke. She was right when she said that fart jokes are always funny. The girls, LG and I, and four of my grown-up in-laws were all cracking up. Even if we had heard it before.

Once there were 3 people in an airplane, one took a bite out of an apple. She thought it was too sweet so she threw it out of the plane. The second person took a bite out of a lemon and she
thought it was too sour so, she threw it out of the plane. Then
the last person took a bite out of a grenade and he thought it
was too crunchy so, he threw it out of the plane. Then they
landed and decided to go for a walk. They first passed a little
girl who was crying and they asked, “little girl, little girl,
why are you crying?” and the little girl said, “an apple came
down and killed my new kitty”. Next they passed a little boy
who was also crying. And they again asked, “little boy, little boy, why are you crying?” and the little boy said, “a lemon came
down and killed my new puppy.” Then they passed a blonde sitting on the side walk laughing her butt off. They asked, “why are you
laughing so hard?” and the blonde said, “I farted and the
building behind me blew up!!”

Deanna H and Nadelie were the runners up, but sorry, you two,
 you get nothing but kudos and thanks from my kids.
You’ll have to go back to the comments and read their entries along with all the others. They were all so funny.

I love you Val. I am thrilled that you were my winner
because you have made me laugh for all 37+ years of my life. Why stop now?

For those of you who want to win this month’s boggle contest, go here.
I might even write up nice stuff about you too.

Now a little more about Valerie Shedley (now Valerie Walker) who lived next door growing up. She was best friend’s with my little sister Renee. Therefore, she was like another annoying little sister to me. Valerie tolerated me, just as my birth sister did, but I think secretly Valerie really looked up to me. Ha!

Valerie and her brother Michael ate meals with us often. Valerie slept at our house often enough that she knew that she could always climb in a window if she needed a place to stay. Our windows were easy to climb. Our front door was also always unlocked, especially for Valerie. She was a Wills through and through. I am sure she even helped clean from time to time.

We played the shut up game. For some reason she and all the other neighbor kids thought it was fun. They had to “shut up” or I would hit them with a roll of newspaper. The next level was torture as a duntz in the corner, hat and all. The last and worst level, only ever attempted one time with my little brother David was a swirly in the toilet. I think they all wanted to play repeatedly because they were hoping to witness another swirly attempt. Wow. I had issues. But so did they! Seriously, they would beg for this game and no one would be satisfied until I forced their seating arrangements, sat in a chair in front of the fireplace, and stared them down daring them to make a peep. Crazy us. Good memories though. If only it was that fun when I wanted to get my kids to settle down.

Valerie has turned into a great lady. Against all odds, she has forged an awesome life with her hubby and three kids. Here is Val’s blip about herself from facebook. Don’t even try to tell me that she isn’t related.

I am awesome hahahaha I have 3 kids, yours mine and ours. Chloe is 13 (4 months older than Briana) Briana is 12 and Wyatt is 4 . I married my best friend and my soul mate. I am a simple girl, tom boy really, it doesn’t take much to make me happy it’s the little things really! I try REAL hard to see the good in everything but sometimes it’s harder than others. I like to have fun and laugh!
Food is one of my favorite things but I don’t like to cook, I just like to eat! Anything else you want to know just ask!

My favorite part of her info is her favorite quotation. “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” I am pretty sure she got that from my mom, who got it from Jesus.

Valerie recently shared a touching story with me. It was about how much she loves my mom and and. They became her adopted parents. One time, Valerie recalled, they had no power. Her dad had nto paid the electricity bill. My dad ran an extension chord to the Shedley’s refrigerator so that their food wouldn’t go bad. That’s my mom and dad’s example to their children. It was not only nice but necessary to look out for one another. I wish neighbors were still as close as back in the day.

I really wish that Valerie could move next door. Oh my goodness Val, wouldn’t that be awesome. What would be even more awesome is if you bought your dad’s house and we bought my mom and dad’s house. I would totally let you use an extension chord whenever you needed it. Or visa versa.