Archive | giveaway

JoeFresh Back-to-School $50 Giveaway! CLOSED

Our teachers are on strike here in B.C. (rightfully so, in my not-so-humble opinion). But as the strike drags on and all people concerned with ending the strike drag their feet, the tinies continue to wait in an unending summer. Thankfully all of the Facebook back-to-school photos of beaming school children have ceased which means I’m not being gripped by jealousy everytime I scroll through my newfeed. It’s not just that it’s disruptive to our life and schedule, it’s also that the tinies truly love and miss school. My eldest daughter is (hopefully at some point!) headed into Grade 3, then our son is off to Grade 1, and our youngest starts preschool this year.

But the strike hasn’t stopped me from some hopeful back-to-school shopping. Delusional and hopeful, that’s me.

We recently picked up these items for our tinies at Both of the girls love comfy dresses with leggings. And Joe just loves that these clothes come with his name already on the tag.

Joe Fresh Contest


We’ve always loved JoeFresh clothes from The Real Canadian Superstore and now they’re available online (which, for anyone who has ever tried to take three tinies back-to-school shopping, HALLELUJAH). The clothes are stylish while being age appropriate – and I can actually afford them, you know? (In fact, their kids and toddler denim is 2 for $14 right now.)


To celebrate (the rest of you lucky parents and) your back-to-school week,

I have a $50 giveaway to online! 

You can do quite a bit of damage with $50, you know.

To enter to win, simply leave a comment on this post telling me your favourite subject in elementary school – what did you love to study/do when you were a kid in school?

Canadian shoppers only. I’ll draw a winner randomly on Saturday 6 September 2014 and notify the winner by email (so make sure you include your email address when you leave your comment!)




Continue Reading · giveaway · 75

In which I write about motherhood – still :: a guest post by Lisa-Jo Baker + a giveaway!

Every day I wake up knowing by the time I crawl back into bed with my laptop, a book or a favorite movie I will have learned more than I bargained for.

I will be tired in every part of me. I will feel stretched out and squishy. I will often be frustrated that no one is staying in bed like they’re supposed to. But I will also know that the Lisa-Jo today has grown up. And the Lisa-Jo tomorrow will grow up further still.

Grown up, dragged up by her kids and the God that made them.

This unglamorous truth is my Gospel.




I write about motherhood not because I always grew up dreaming of being a mom. Not because I am a “parenting guru.” Not because I have it figured out, or have read all the books, or understand even remotely the best ways to educate, discipline or shape young lives.

I write about motherhood because it’s where I understand why Jesus would have died for me and why the Father would have sent Him. It’s the place of Cheerios stuck to the sides of bowls and self sacrifice on repeat with the loads of laundry. A parent will always lay down their life for their child. Jesus loves me this I know, for my children teach me so.

I am not a Bible scholar. I write stories. They’re not long ones and they last all of a couple days on this blog. But they are the gospel that speaks the loudest to me. Not buried in Greek or Hebrew, but lisped by baby boys who hate when I call them babies.

God’s love for me is so loud when I look at my children that even my worst days can’t drown it out.




Gospel climbs off the pages of Scripture on Mondays during the pre-school rush and reminds me that Christ lives in me. That this must make a difference in my day. It must slow me down when I want to rush and shout and gnash my teeth and wail at the child who’s lost his shoes again.

And some days I snap, “see, that’s what happens when you don’t put them away like I’ve told you a meeelllion times before!” And other days I remember the Gospel buried here in my mess and I swallow my shout and instead work hard at remembering that love is patient and kind.

Because it is hard work to remember to be kind and patient when you know mere minutes stand between the kid who can’t find his shoes and a “tardy” note from school.

In the living room, between the discarded pajama pants and the left over bagel I work out my salvation with fear and trembling. And then we buckle everyone into the car and Micah tells me school is stupid.


I talk a lot here about how small a mother’s routine can feel.

Perhaps, however, I don’t talk enough about how big the impact of that routine can be. Celebrating the small is directly related to recognizing the massive, Kingdom impact. Kids are forever. They are eternity with skin on. And we mold them like so much play-doh until one day they walk out the door and take every small moment of a family’s routine with them.

I guess what I’m saying is that celebrating the smallness of a mother’s day in and day out is more than just making it through – friends, it’s a wild dance of recognition, of celebration, of courage. It has to be more than finding meaning in the laundry. It has to be a wild Hallelujah that laundry is just the tipping point for all that you invest, that you pour, that you knead and knead and pull and knead into your kids. These are the front lines. These are the glory days. This is the stuff of heroes – not the laundry, but the conversations that take place in between the loads.

Piece by painful, sometimes mind-numbingly boring piece, you are building a mosaic of memory love – a testimony. Something that your children will see the day they open the door and turn head back over shoulder for a last look.

It will all be there, the beautiful wonder you’ve woven into them.

And the miracle they’ve stitched into you.

{To see the video reminder of why all mothers are braver than they know and deserve a medal, click here}.


This guest post comes with love from Lisa-Jo Baker to our community in celebration of Mother’s Day. If you haven’t already – treat yourself, your mom, your sister, your BFF or your grandma to a copy of her new book, Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected About Being a Mom.

No matter what stage you’re in when it comes to motherhood, we promise it will encourage. And remind you that you are braver than you think.

GIVEAWAY: And to celebrate each and every one of you who encourages, loves on and mothers others, whether you have children or not, we’re giving away 2 copies today. Just leave a comment sharing what has surprised you about motherhood or about your own mama to be entered. (unfortunately due to shipping, you have to be located in the USA or Canada to be entered).

Continue Reading · giveaway, parenting · 38

In which Bennah is a woman of valour (+ a giveaway with tukula)

Thanks for entering! Giveaway has ended.

meet bennah

bennahAs tukula‘s first artisan, Bennah has been the heartbeat of our group from the very beginning.

When we met Bennah she was living alone in a room the size of most people’s walk in closets. Every morning she would wake up, put her mattress against the wall and begin her day sewing. For months, we worked together on making a line of bags and accessories that we were proud of. During those months something rare happened – Bennah became a part of our family. We watched as she got married, we held her first child when he was just born, and we rejoiced as she moved into a 2 bedroom house. After working with tukula for a year and a half Bennah was able to provide for herself and save for her children.

But just when she thought she was moving forward, Bennah became ill and was physically unable to sit at her machine and sew.  Tragically, Bennah’s husband didn’t want to help her or their child (Jacob) and he started abusing her. Even when she began to feel better, her husband would not allow her to go back to work yet he continued refusing to help pay for her and Jacob’s needs.

Bennah worked up the courage to reach out for help from her fellow tukula co-workers. After a period of time, Bennah was able to move into her own home with her tukula savings and started sewing again, allowing her, a newly single mother of two, to care for her son and new daughter, Deborah.  She is bold and intelligent, and we can’t imagine tukula without her!

Abusive husbands, lack of money for medical needs, and caring for children alone are just some of the issues women in Uganda face on a daily basis. Tukula works to combat these issues by providing consistent income, quality health care, savings programs for their children, and encouraging work environment, and a loving community.


Tukula (meaning “we grow”) is an accessories line based in Jinja, Uganda. We hire young women who are trained as seamstresses but aren’t able to find consistent work. Along with a fair wage these women receive medical care, an encouraging work environment, and access to savings programs. In addition to our full time employees, we provide paid internships for women who are on the verge of dropping out of sewing school so that they can continue with their studies and receive a job immediatly after graduating. By relieving the pressure of school fees, medical fees, and daily expenses, these ladies are able to walk with confidence and joy.


We’re giving away one Firefly Tote bag – made by Bennah – from tukula!

Leave a comment on this post with your favourite item from the tukula shop and you’ll be entered to win.

The winner will be selected randomly on Monday 27 May 2013.

US or Canadian mailing addresses only, please.




Continue Reading · giveaway, social justice, women, work · 97

In which it is beautiful (a bit of poetry + a giveaway)


Out of Nothing | Sarah D. Park


Out of Nothing

The ruts in our gravel road
weren’t there from the start.
When first laid, the road
was long, flat, and straight,
a mixture of awkward
and often sharp river rock
at the base, with finer pebbles
on top, to even out the surface.

But little stones yield easily
to the tires of trucks and cars.
They spray onto the weedy edges
and thread their way between
stray spears of roadside grass —
leaving a furrowed wake
to mark the frequent passage
of our wheels.

As I drove down it again today,
my tires slipping into these tracks,
it struck me that my mind
operates in the same way —
my thoughts incline along
a certain route, and with time
and repetition, grind out grooves
that direct my mental course.

And what if, little by little,
I have wired my neural paths
to join the well-worn causeway
of a belief that is really a lie?
I see the self-delusions of others
all around me — common as the grit
of our road, seeping in the cracks
between the bulkier stones —

yet it’s much harder
to name them in my own psyche.
Sometimes it takes a collision
of my habitual patterns of thought
with the solid wall of what really is —
to curb my harebrained trailblazing
through the wasteland
of what isn’t.

I hit this wall recently,
and faced a lie my mind had made —
only it wasn’t like a grain of sand
to be dusted off my feet at the door.
It was a deep channel through which
all my mental circuitry flowed,
diverted from a former panoply
of paths.

What a variety of ways exist
to unravel yarn caught in a knot!
But I’d come to trust in the quick fix:
just buy a new skein.
An efficient form of problem-solving,
to purchase a solution —
ready to apply to my predicament,
ready to make me happy again.

I’d look at any hindrance
and imagine how money could step in
and collar it, bludgeon it into silence.
I’d survey all my wants and wounds,
and conclude that money, like a salve,
could remedy them all —
filling every hole —
down to the smallest pock.

It may be correct
that money greases hinges —
and who doesn’t want all doors
to open without protest?
But there are times when it seems
as if the doors ahead are stuck fast,
and there’s not a dime in sight
to help pry them wide.

That’s when, at last,
I see it for the lie that it is.
I still have to get from here to there —
but not through that door,
nor by those ruts in the road.
I feel my brain stretch and flex:
I will park the car
and walk into the woods,

let the path of my thoughts
splinter down unused trails
marked by sweat and ingenuity;
I’ll take up the sacrament of elbow grease,
and I’ll pray —
not to the god of mammon,
but to the one who likes to make
something out of nothing.


Sarah Dunning Park, 2013


Sarah Dunning Park is an artist and poet living in rural Virginia.

And her slim volume of poetry for mothers of small children was one of my favourite books of 2012. I like to read it when the tinies are in the bathtub, splashing, because she’s singing my life with her words. Each poem is makes me smile and cry, because sometimes it’s just so nice to have someone else say out loud the underwhelming and utterly normal and yet beautiful moments of this season of life. This book isn’t a wallow and it isn’t an ecstasy, it’s poetry about the beautiful realities and hard dreams of mothering.

Sarah wrote:

I love when a poem reaches in and grabs my life by the throat, and says, “Pay attention! There’s this thing in your world, and it’s called beauty. You’re not even noticing!”

But I also dislike the complicated world of Poetry-with-a-capital-P: the kind you need a degree to appreciate or that seems like it’s just out to appall you.

Maybe you’re with me on this—and maybe, like me, you still want to find what’s poetic about your life and your kitchen sink filled with dirty dishes and old bread crusts.

To be entered to win your own copy of What It Is Is Beautiful: Honest Poems for Mothers of Small Children by Sarah Dunning Park, just leave a comment on this post sharing your own favourite poet or poem (along with an email address in case you win).

What It Is Is Beautiful

image source

Continue Reading · book review, books, giveaway, poetry · 60