What Happened to the Gifts that Keep on Giving

ideas for gifts that keep on giving

Seems like these days, the surest way for me to NOT complete something is to declare to you all that I will. Ugh. I had high hopes of putting together a “Gifts that Keep on Giving” gift guide this year.

I wanted to share about the wonderful opportunities to give and bless others through Compassion and World Help and Gospel for Asia and many others.

so wanted to share with you some amazing organizations who are partnering with people here and around the world. Organizations like:

I wanted to highlight some of my favorite shops and boutiques run by Moms like you and me:

And I even wanted to share some of the fun new {to me} finds across the interwebs:

My intent was to share products and ideas that would help you invest in your spiritual growth, build your marriage, help you disciple your children, and encourage others through thoughtfulness and service.

But I ran out of time, and I ran out of energy.

I’m sorry for not coming through, but I hope you’ll enjoy clicking through the links above and exploring some of these great shops and their beautiful products.

If you are still looking for some great gift ideas, consider checking out my suggestions for:

You could also preorder my book or check out NCBP’s Christmas gift guide!

 

Question for You:

What are your favorite online shops and organizations? 

 

 

**This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links are a way that bloggers share with you the things that they enjoy and want you to know about. Each time you click on a link and make a purchase you are blessing that blogger who attempts to write great content for you. A very small percentage of the sale is paid back to the blogger (at not additional cost to you). These monies are used to help the blogger continue writing and paying for their blog fees. Thanks so much for your effort to bless this blog!

Advent Resources for Families 2014

a GREAT list of Advent Resources! Ideas for Moms, for kids, and for families.

Are you and your family doing anything for Advent this year?

If you’d like to celebrate Advent but still haven’t begun don’t worry that you haven’t yet started. Jump in now and begin preparing your heart to celebrate what God has done through Jesus’ birth and all He will do when Christ comes again!

I didn’t grow up celebrating Advent.

Sure, we lit candles at church, and I heard the word, but I never really knew what Advent was — or what you do to observe Advent — until I was an adult.

 

What is Advent?

The dictionary definition of the word advent is:

ad・vent (noun):

  • the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.
  • the first season of the Christian church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays.
  • the coming or second coming of Christ.

The definition is ripe with waiting. Full of expectation. It is a looking ahead and eager anticipation.

Though the focus of Advent has changed over the centuries, as Believers today, we remember the first coming of Jesus, as a baby born in Bethlehem, and eagerly look ahead to Christ’s second coming in the future.

 

How can we Celebrate Advent as a Family

The more aware I learn about Advent, the more I have sought out great resources to help my family and me remember, celebrate, and wait in hope together during these few weeks leading up to Christmas. What an incredible opportunity to take a new look at God’s big story from beginning to what is still to come!

If you are looking for books, activities, or resources to use during these Advent days to deepen your understanding of what God has done through Jesus and what He will do, I pray that this list will be helpful to you. Please share it with others! 

 

Two of My Favorites Resources for Families to use during Advent

Huge list of Advent Resources

Truth in the Tinsel

We used Truth in the Tinsel to guide us through Advent the past two years. The first year we did {some} of the crafts and the second year, we used the printable ornaments {because I don’t have the most patience for crafts}.

Each day consists of a Scripture reading, devotional, and craft activity to reinforce the key takeaway point. Amanda is a great communicator and very creative, and Truth in the Tinsel has been a huge hit with families and churches!

I’m looking forward to jumping in again in the next year or two as the littlest of my clan grow a bit bigger.

 

Unwrapping the Greatest Gift

Ann Voskamp’s newest book, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas, is an absolutely gorgeous book for leading your family through Advent.

This is our choice for Advent this year, and so far, I couldn’t love it more.  Ann’s lyrical and insightful writing tells such familiar stories in a refreshing and personal way. Reading it, I am actually reminded of The Jesus Storybook Bible and how moving the greatest Story really is.

For added depth and understanding, you might even consider reading The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas in your own personal devotional time.}

 

More Advent Resources for Kids & Families

I haven’t had a chance to read through all of these, but I like options. We all have different personalities and styles of teaching our kids — some of us like a craft with our teaching; whereas some of us cringe at the idea of a craft. Some of us like long, others short; some need visuals, others audio.

Some of us are looking for something to do with the kids and some of us need something for our personal devotions. Hopefully you will be able to find something here on this list. Feel free to add your suggestions and favorites in the comments below!

 

 

Huge list of Advent resources for kids and families

Thriving Family’s Journey to the Manger from Clubhouse Jr. {Focus on the Family}

 

Everyday Emmanuel Christmas Memory BookWhy do we call it ChristmasWhat’s in the Bible’s Christmas Memory BookEveryday Emmanuel or Why Do They Call it Christmas?

David C. Cook’s Tru Curriculum has a whole Homefront issue focused on Advent. Check out their magazine or their free app.

Awana’s Advent Devotional for families

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jotham’s Journey: A Storybook for Advent

One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham

This Christmas Night: Reflections from Our Hearts to Your Home by Billy and Ruth Graham

 

And though not Biblically based, how fun does this Lego Advent Calendar look?!

 

Advent Books and Devotionals for Moms {and some for Dads too!}

She Reads Truth Advent Devotional: I love the She Reads Truth Community and have done many of their online studies. Like their other devotionals, this Advent study is online and it is free. You can find it on the She Reads Truth website.

 

  

A Moment of Christmas: daily Christmas devotions for time-strapped moms by Anna Rendell

Then Came Jesus by Lara Williams

Surviving Christmas: Advent Devotions for the Hard and Holy Holidays by Anne Marie Miller

 

God Is In the Manger by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Behold the Lamb of God by Russ Ramsey — I saw Emily Freeman post a quote from this book on Instagram, and I already have it in my Amazon cart.

Good News of Great Joy: Daily Readings for Advent by John Piper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas

Celebrating Christmas with Jesus: An Advent Devotional by Max Lucado

Waiting Here For You: An Advent Journey Of Hope by Louie Giglio

 

 

Find more Advent Resources here or ideas for family devotions here.

 

 

So many wonderful resources are available to help us connect with God and engage with one another during this season of Advent.

What are your favorite Advent resources?

 

 

**This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links are a way that bloggers share with you the things that they enjoy and want you to know about. Each time you click on a link and make a purchase you are blessing that blogger who attempts to write great content for you. A very small percentage of the sale is paid back to the blogger (at not additional cost to you). These monies are used to help the blogger continue writing and paying for their blog fees. Thanks so much for your effort to bless this blog!

This is One of My Favorite Things {A Huge Giveaway!}

Our Favorite Things Giveaway
December 1. Can you believe it?

Today is December 1. {I might say this every year, but seriously, how did that happen?!}

I am so excited to join with eight of my online friends and welcome December with a fantastic giveaway! Check out their links at the end of this post to see what each of them are giving away — such great items!!

With the pre-release of my book and a release date set for January 6, I’ve been thinking a lot about healthy habits and prepping to have a great start to 2015. I’m not skipping out on December, but just like a successful morning begins the evening before, a great start to a new year begins before the new year. 

I want to help you have a great 2015, and I’m sharing two of my favorite tools to help us start well.

 

Grab a Planner

One of my favorite things about December is starting to plan for January. I know, I’m weird like that, but there’s just something about fresh starts, new goals, a brand new, blank planner just waiting to be filled in!

I have tried a different planner every year for the past 4 or 5 years, and I am super excited about trying out this one for 2015.

I was hesitant to try another new planner again, and out of sheer frustration, I even considered designing my own, but I had heard so many good recommendations about this one, I thought I’d give it a go, and I am so excited to begin using it. It really looks to have a lot of my favorite elements from each of the other planners all wrapped up into one. I *almost* wish it was January, just so I can begin! {Again, I know – I’m strange.}

I may write a review about it sometime next year once I have some use under my belt, but for now, if you’re looking for a new planner, this is the one  I’m recommending!

 

Set Some Goals

A year ago, I “discovered” Lara Casey and her amazing “Making Things Happen Powersheets.” You guys, I can’t even begin to tell you how these impacted me this year. God used these power sheets at a time when I felt overwhelmed, depressed, and reluctant to set goals for 2014 — and when you find me reluctant to set goals, something is clearly amiss.

The powersheets helped me to pray through and uncover what God was calling me to this year, set manageable, achievable goals, and to finish many of the things I started this year.

I’ve already pre-ordered my 2015 powersheets and highly recommend them to you all {and for the record — I’m not an affiliate for Lara’s shop, nor do I receive any commission or payment for recommending the powersheets. I just think they’re that terrific!}

Click over to Lara’s shop to find out more about the powersheets.

 

The Giveaway

Both of these tools are created by women who love God and who desire for each of us to live the life God has given us. Today I am super excited to be giving away a set of the “Making Things Happen Powersheets”!! 

Enter using the Rafflecopter entry form below and make sure you check out the giveaways on my friends’ blogs too! Also, if you haven’t yet pre-ordered my book, what are you waiting for? Order it today!

{Golly, that was so hard for me to say, but I so  want you to get this book and join me in praying for our husbands!!}
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

More Giveaways, Right this Way!

I am so excited to introduce you to eight of my online friends! I so admire and respect these ladies. They love Jesus and others well, and it is such a blessing and a privilege to call them friends.

Our Favorite Things Giveaway - The Beautiful Deep

Click on their names below to visit their sites, encourage them, and enter their giveaways!

 

Kristen // Crystal // Erin // Michelle // Leigh // Elisa // Eryn // Kristin

 

 

 For Bloggers:

If you’re a blogger and are interested in being a part of a mastermind group, I highly recommend it! Here are a few tips for you if you’re wondering how to get started:

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask some bloggers that you admire if they are interested in joining you in a mastermind group.
  2. Keep it small and encourage and learn from one another.
  3. Listen to this podcast with Kat Lee & Trina Holden: How to Start & Run a Mastermind Group
  4. Read this post by Amy Lynn Andrews: Why You Should be in a Mastermind Group

I had wanted to be a part of a mastermind group for a while now, but for a long time was a bit too nervous to ask. I have bee so blessed by these ladies can’t recommend enough getting a group going. It’s so much more than “masterminding,” it’s friendship and community in the making. Such a sweet gift!

Now, what are you waiting for? Enter those giveaways! :)

 

 

*Affiliate links are used in this post, at no extra cost to you of course. Thanks for helping to keep the lights on here at erikadawson.com

The Books Is Finally Here!!

Pray Truth: Praying God's Word for my Husband's Heart -- now available for pre-order!!!  //  A MUST-HAVE book!!
Friends, I am so. very. excited to let you know that my book Pray Truth: Praying God’s Word for my Husband’s Heart is available for preorder on Amazon!

I still have some work to do in getting the book page and my author page set up, but there it is — ready for you.

 

Why this Book:

I wrote this book a few years ago. I believe in the message of this book, and I believe that God will use this book in a powerful way in the lives and marriages of those who read it.  Many of you who have read early drafts of the manuscript, and I have been so blessed and encouraged to receive your notes sharing how deeply this book has affected you and how God has used it in your lives.

But though I believe God is going to use this book, getting it to this “finished” point has taken what felt like an eternity.

I jokingly blame the delay on having babies or my fear of not getting everything “just right,”  but the reality is that publishing a book like this leaves me feeling all vulnerable and afraid. 

What an awesome calling to share God’s Scripture and to lead others in prayer! {And by awesome, I don’t mean in a “Lego Movie” jingle everything is awesome kind of way. I mean more like the dictionary definition way: extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear.}

What a calling.

I simultaneously want to raise my hands in praise to the God who invites us to be a part of His work and hide out in fear that I might in some way mishandle Scripture or misrepresent my Savior. 

I pray that isn’t true and that God will receive all glory as He works in ways that we couldn’t have hoped, comprehended, or even imagined.

 

Why Need this Book, too:

The release of this book makes me feel vulnerable in other ways, too.

The thing is: my marriage isn’t perfect.  Like you, we have had our seasons of struggle and areas for growth — we still do!

This book, these prayers, came out of a place of yearning and hoping and a little bit of desperation. 

See, I come from a long line of leavers, and I carried into my marriage wounds and insecurities that threatened me every time my husband and I hit a little rough patch — and we all know that every marriage has a few rough patches. 

But each week, I’d pray with a group of 4 friends, and we found commonalities as we’d pray for our husbands. Similar frustrations, similar hopes, similar concerns and struggles.

Marriage is hard y’all.

It’s a wrestling – with highs and lows and ins and outs and wins and losses.  A marriage is a joining of two people with different personalities and temperaments and backgrounds and styles but both with flesh and a definite sin nature.

Even without the added pressure of job loss or caring for children or the emotional baggage we all carry, a marriage is made up of two distinct people both warring with their own pride, selfishness, and ideal plans.

I asked myself over and over again “Who am I to write this book when we ourselves have so much room to grow?”

But I’m learning over and over again that God takes our woundedness, our brokenness, and uses it for His glory.

 

This Book is for You, too:

So this book is a labor of love and a gift to you. My deep prayer is that God will use this little book of prayers in a profound way in your life and in your husband’s life.

I really believe that God is going to do something so much bigger than me through this book.

Through this journey we will be praying for more than just the outward behavior of our guys. We are surrendering ourselves to God and praying for the deeper issues of our husband’s hearts.

I have seen how God has changed (and is changing) my husband (and me!) when I pray consistently and specifically for him, and I believe that God is going to use this book to not only change our husbands, but to change us and our whole families and the legacies we live.

"Pray Truth: Praying God's Word for my Husband's Heart" -- Available NOW!

Will you help?

Will you help me get the word out by sharing about the book on social media? Pin this post, tweet about the book, or like and share this post on Facebook.

And if you’ve read the book, please leave a review on Amazon!!