Friday’s Quote of the Week

“Consider owning a ‘Celebrate!’ or ‘You’re Special!’ plate for those meals when you want to honor a family member or guest.”

                                                                                                    ~Emily Hernandez

A Message From God

Here are some beautiful words from God’s word for you and me today:

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
                                                                                                  John 11:25, 26 The Message

Five Christmas Gifts You Can Give That Don’t Cost A Thing

If you’re committed to staying within a tight budget this Christmas, you may want to consider some gift options that don’t cost a dime, but could mean the world to your loved ones.

Here are five Christmas gifts that don’t cost anything:

Gift of Taste: Compile a Family Recipe Book–Does everyone always ask for Grandma’s cheesy potato recipe? Or Aunt Helen’s Caramel Apple Pie recipe? If so, gather all the recipes into one family recipe book. I did this several years ago with my Mammaw’s favorite recipes. I enhanced the book by including some copies of original recipes in my Mammaw’s own handwriting. It was a gift valued by each family member that received it!

Gift of Talent: Do you have a knack for organizing? Could you offer to teach someone a skill you have? What do you do that comes easy for you, but others struggle with? Make a gift certificate for a specific number of lessons or a specific amount of time you will give to help your friend or family member. Then follow up and get the gift scheduled so you can make good on your promise.

Gift of Time: How could you bless someone with an offering of time. A free night of babysitting? Four hours of housecleaning? Could you commit to shoveling the sidewalk for your neighbor throughout the entire winter season? Once you determine the gift of time, communicate it in a card, a homemade gift certificate, or a letter, and then follow up if you need to schedule a time to “deliver” your gift.

Gift of Tribute: Write a tribute to your mom, dad, sister, grandparent, or best friend. What do you love about them? What special memories do you have? Write it, print it out, and frame it. Too often we share our special memories about someone after they are gone–often at a funeral. A tribute communicates those fond memories and what they mean to you now, while they can be blessed by your powerful words.

Gift of Task Relief: My husband is a fabulous help around the house. He’ll do just about anything I ask him to do…but the man HATES to dust. Several years ago I committed to him that I would never, ever ask him to dust again…for the rest of my life. You would have thought that I gave the guy a kidney! Seriously.

What task could you relieve a loved one of? What comes easily to you but is challenging for someone you love? Could you offer to simply take that off their “to do” list for a certain period of time? It doesn’t have to be “for the rest of your life,” but it could be “for the next month,” or “for the next year.”

What about you? What “cost nothing” gifts have you given or received in the past that meant a lot?


A Message From God

Here are some beautiful words from God’s word for you and me today:

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
                                                                                                  John 11:25, 26 The Message

Fresh Look, Fresh Words, Fresh Vision GIVEAWAY

Last Friday, I told you about Hearts at Home’s new logo and tagline. Today I want to introduce you to our brand new website! We’ve completed Phase I of our new website with a completely new look and easier navigation to find what you’re looking for. We also wanted fresh content everyday and now you’ll find these blog posts right on the front page of the Hearts at Home website!

Not only do we have our new website ready for you to explore, but we also have registration for all three of our 2011 conference events open!

To celebrate our fresh look today and the beginning of the 2011 conference registration period, today is a giveaway day. And this is a BIG giveaway.

We’re giving away:

* 2 conference registrations for the National Conference, March 11-12, Normal, IL
* 2 conference registrations for the Colorado Conference, Oct 7-8, Colorado Springs, CO
* 2 conference registrations for the Minnesota Conference, November 4-5, Rochester, MN
* 2 Conference-On-The-Go (formerly Home Conference Packets) for any of the 2011 events! (This allows you to “attend” the conference via CD’s!)

Here’s how you enter:

Go to  Click on “Events” and then pick the conference you would like to attend.  Click on the “Workshops” tab and read through all the workshops at that conference.  Choose one that would be your number one workshop choice.

Come back to and comment on this post. (If you don’t know how to comment on a blog post, click HERE for directions.) 

And here’s how your comment needs to read to enter the giveaway:

1) Location of Conference you’d like to attend (or Conference-To-Go)
2) Name of Workshop you’d choose as your number one workshop choice
3) One thing you like about the new website
4) Your first name and email (i.e. jillannsavage (at)

Comments may be submitted until 7am CT Wednesday when we’ll draw names and post the winners by 9am Wednesday.

This is one of the biggest giveaways Hearts at Home has ever offered!  I’m so excited and I hope you are too!

Hearts at Home Holiday Shopping

Are you looking for a special gift for your sister, sister-in-law, neighbor, or best friend? Or maybe you want to give your hubby a Christmas list of books or mom gear you really want!

During the month of December, the Heart Shoppe is offering a 20% discount on all Hearts at Home merchandise! Simply put in the discount code HISGIFT when you check out. (Gift certificates are exempt from the discount.)

Not only that but the book Living With Less So Your Family Has More is being offered at a 30% discount during the month of December only!  Use the discount code LOVEMOMS when you check out to get this discount on the book.

These are great deals that I wanted to make sure you knew about!

All orders placed by December 16 will be delivered in time for Christmas!

Wednesday’s Words of Encouragement: The Value of Recalculating

“Recalculating,” states the voice on the GPS unit. “Recalculating,” she repeats once again as we find ourselves off course on a trip.

It’s a scene most of us are familiar with in some way. Even if we don’t have a GPS unit, we’ve likely been around this new technology at one time or another.

I recently was struck by the word “recalculating” and how that word can be used to describe what happens when we are considering or navigating change. In fact, the concept of “examining” the realities of life and how those measure up to our vision for our family is an important strategy for parents to be doing on a regular basis. If reality doesn’t match up to vision, then the option to “recalculate” may be important.

What does recalculating look like practically? Here are some ways families I personally know have chosen to recalculate:

o Jeff and Sienna chose to cut back on their volunteer commitments because they realized they were both away from home in the evenings too often.

o John chose to say no to overtime hours so he could spend more time with his family.

o Todd and Laura chose to move from two incomes to one income to simplify their lives.

o As a single mom, Jennifer decided to search for a new job that was less stressful than her current job.

o Savannah and her husband realized that they were drifting apart in their marriage. They recalculated and put monthly date nights on their calendar to invest in their marriage.

o After trying every consequence and motivational strategy for their son’s academic struggles, Tom and Sarah made the decision to seek professional help for their child who was eventually diagnosed with ADHD.

o Paul and Brenda wanted their family to have dinner together at least five nights a week. In order to regain that balance they realized that they needed to limit their children’s extra curricular sports and activities to no more than two per child.

The only way we can recalculate is to slow down enough to examine and evaluate the condition of our relationships, the habits of our family, and the daily stresses of our life. By asking, “Is this the life I want to live?” we can begin the process of evaluating. If the answer is “No,” then recalculate and get your family headed back in the right direction.

Simplifying Christmas: What Changes Are You Making?

A special welcome today to K-Love Listeners joining in on today’s Living With Less discussion!

Today on a K-Love interview I talked about five changes we can make to simplify Christmas.

I want to share those changes with you and then hear about some of the changes you are making or are thinking about making to simplify your Christmas season.

Change Your Expectations: Our own expectations often create our own stress.  If we lower our expectations, we can usually lower our stress.  For instance, I love baking cut-out Christmas cookies and decorating them as a family.  When my kids were little I would set aside one day for baking and decorating and I would ALWAYS find myself stressed.  One December I decided to bake the cookies in the evening after the kids were in bed.  The next day we gathered around the table with bowls of different colored icing, colored sprinkles, and candies and decorated the cookies together.  I lowered my expectations of doing the whole process together and exchanged it for a simpler process of decorating together.  It was much less stressful and just as much fun!

Change gift-giving: You don’t have to keep up with the Jones’ when it comes to gift giving. You don’t even have to keep up with your extended family. You need to do what works with your budget and the time you have. (For more ideas on simplified “giving with less” check out our “gifts from the heart” discussion two weeks ago.)

Change your answer from yes to no: You don’t have to attend every holiday party you’re invited to. You don’t have to participate in every cookie exchange. You don’t have to put up every decoration you own. Say no and free yourself from the stress of overcommitment and over-achievement.

Change your To-Do list: Make a list of everything that’s rolling around in your head that you need to do before Christmas. Now make a star by the things you absolutely have to do. Put an X by anything you could choose to let go of. Now make a new, simplified “to do” list. If it’s helpful, you can make a “I’m choosing not to do” list of all those items with an X on them. This will help you remember the choice you made to simplify and stay true to a less stressful holiday.

Change the song: Every time you hear the Christmas song, “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow,” change the words in your head to “Let it go, let it go, let it go…”  This is a great, practical way to keep your Christmas simple and focused on what’s most important: family, friends, and celebrating Jesus’ birthday!”

What about you?  What changes are you making this year to simplify your Christmas?