The Plea and the Christmas Giveaway

Yes, this is a giveaway. But first you have to read the beginning of the post. There will be a quiz at the end to make sure that you did. Just kidding. No quiz. 

Just read the post, okay?


The Plea

Allow me to be perfectly honest for a moment, although I feel a little bit bashful about what I am about to say. This has been brewing away inside me for some time now.

Blogging is such a weird thing to do.

I struggle with it.

I mean, how very presumptuous and arrogant of me to write out my thoughts and assume that someone else is interested in them.

And how very obnoxious of me to post the link on Facebook and Instagram! How much more “in your face” could I possibly be? Who do I even think I am?

I disgust myself.

I’m being dramatic. However, I do think the aforementioned thoughts and they weigh on me in varying degrees depending on things like my current life circumstances, hormones (of course), and the topic of what I wrote. Whether it is “spiritual” or “non-spiritual” makes a difference for me, as I don’t want to clutter your mind with things that aren’t beneficial.

I guess that what I’m saying is that blogging feels self-centered to me. It’s me writing about my life and thoughts, and there isn’t even anything extraordinary about my life and thoughts. It feels like I’m pointing a spotlight at myself and yelling, “Hey, everybody! Look at me!” If you know me in real life, you might have an idea of how uncomfortable I would feel with that scenario playing out for real.

I’ve been doing some thinking about whether it is possible for blogging to not be self-centered. I spent some time considering the bloggers whose work I enjoy reading, and it turns out that although they each have their unique voices and niches, they’re pretty much doing the same thing that I’m doing… writing about their lives and their thoughts. Go figure.

And yet something struck me as being different about their blogs. I think I might have finally put my finger on it.

To me, their blogs felt like a community and a conversation, and to me, mine often feels an awful lot like a lecture.

(Keep reading! Don’t give up. That give-away is still coming.)

Now, there are several things that need to be acknowledged at this point. I shall make a list.

  • I am not good at discussion. Particularly not initiating or leading it. I’ll just admit it. I want this blog to be a place of discussion, but I have no idea how to pilot this thing, you know? But don’t worry. I’m sure we’ll all survive.
  • I am not good at asking thought-provoking questions. I would love to be able to produce deeply theological posts, with many, many footnotes and evidences for my statements. But that just isn’t the way my mind works. I tend to share things like poetry or stories or inspirational (hopefully?) things. I recognize the possibility that sometimes conversation may not happen because my writing did not prompt it or inspire it. I understand that, and I’m okay with it.
  • There are a bunch of you who have faithfully read my writing and commented over the years, whether those comments were on the blog, through email, or in person. That has meant so much. There are those of you who have begun contributing in these ways more recently, and that’s been exciting and fun for me too. Thank you.
  • If you read my blog, but don’t comment… it’s okay. It really is. I get it. I tend to be the same way, although I am trying to grow in this area of participating online, rather than just consuming. My intent is not to guilt you into grudgingly commenting. I just want you to know that if you read a post, and happen to have a thought or a question, I would LOVE to hear it and other readers would too.
  • When I speak of comments, I’m not meaning that I expect compliments from everyone. That wouldn’t be exciting for anyone. (Except me, I guess. Hehe.)  I mean comments that start with things such as, “In my experience…” or “I’d like to challenge the idea that…” or “One thing I’m taking away from this is…” or “My opinion is that…” or “I have a story about…” or “God is teaching me…”

I guess that what I really want is to learn from you guys, and for us all to learn from each other.

That is all I shall say on this matter, except that I have a plan to coax you out of your cozy nooks and crannies. And that plan is…

The Christmas Giveaway

In honour of the approaching holiday season, I am going to be giving away this beautiful brand-new ESV Bible. (The one pictured in the photos below belongs to me. I have one that is still packaged that will go to the winner of this giveaway.) If you (or someone in your life) appreciates pretty lettering, space in the margins for notes, and beautiful, thoughtful artwork… this is definitely the Bible for you.

I think the pictures will pretty much speak for themselves.

I mean, just look at this Bible!

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It has a beautiful, soft burgundy cover.

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Each book of the Bible has its own beautiful opening page, with artwork that pertains to the theme of the book. At the back of the Bible, there is a section with explanations for why the artists chose the design that they did for each book.

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There are full-page illustrations, as well as lovely lettering in the margins scattered throughout this Bible.

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Pictured above is the back cover. I feel that this verse must have been inspiration for the artists who worked on this project, because I really feel that their goal was illustrate the beauty that is found in Scripture.

Here’s how you can enter, as well as a few notes and guidelines.

  • To enter the contest, you need to comment here on the blog. (NOT on Facebook, NOT on Instagram, on the BLOG). In your comment, please share one thing that you plan to do/hope to do to create meaningful moments in the upcoming busy-ness of the Christmas season. There are no wrong answers here, folks! I’m looking forward to hearing your ideas.
  • Each person who comments will have their name put into a bowl. I will pull out a name (with my eyes closed- obviously) to determine the winner. Each participant will have one entry in the draw. (You may comment even if you don’t want the Bible, bless your heart. Just make sure to specify that.)
  • The giveaway will be open all week. It officially closes November 25, at 11:59 p.m. I will post the winner on the evening of November 26.
  • If you do not live close to me, you may still enter. We’ll figure out a way to get it to you, whether that is shipping or super strong carrier pigeons.

Okay! Comment away! What can you do to create meaningful moments (with God, with your family, etc.) this Christmas season? 

 

43 thoughts on “The Plea and the Christmas Giveaway

  1. Some evening, I’d like to sing some Christmas carols an hymns with my wife. I picture there being hit chocolate as well, and maybe reading the Christmas story from a very pretty Bible. 🙂

  2. This sounds lovely, Ricky. Let’s do it! But you know that you can’t win the Bible, right? On account of you being my husband and us already owning one. We talked about this…

  3. Just recently , I was thinking about Christmas traditions for our family and was inspired to start a new one …but I haven’t looked into it yet ! This post was a gentle reminder for me to act on my earlier inspiration . I would really love if my children and myself could volunteer at a soup kitchen ..or spend some time with the homeless .. or with someone who is usually alone ..I guess just make Christmas better for someone else each year ! We watched a movie where one family did this and it was such an incredible experience for them ( I can’t remember the title of the movie ) and it just seems like such a good idea , considering Christmas can be the most painful time of year for some folks . That is one beautiful Bible ..would be a dream to win one !

    1. This is such a lovely idea, Sharon! It’s a good reminder to me to have an outward focus, rather than just getting caught up in (and sometimes stressed out about) the things that I want to do.

  4. I always read your blog from top to bottom. And I’m grateful for this platform where you feel comfortable ‘speaking’ because I really really like to hear what you have to say. So keep on! Oh, and I really like my ESV so I don’t need another one. But my wife would love it. And it could make a really nice Christmas gift. So yep, keep my name in the draw.

    1. yep 🙂 so, I really shouldn’t leave my own comment cause then I’m technically entering twice, right?
      I didn’t see a ‘rule’ not to… 🙂 We always try to do some kind of advent calendar and last year we did a ‘night before advent’ party that was a hit with the kids. So, I plan to do that again this year…all getting into pjs and making s’mores over candles and then casual talk time about advent and what we’re anticipating and why. We also hope to do a photo countdown to Christmas… in which each day we take a photo of us- (or one, or some of us) doing something normal or not so normal that day and holding a sign saying how many days it is until Christmas. It’ll get emailed out to the far away family to help build the anticipation for Christmas together in Guatemala this year. (As if we need more anticipation building…) keep writing Jas!

      1. Thanks for commenting, Rich and Cor! (On this post AND on others over the years. Your encouragement has meant so much to me.) Your names will both be entered in the draw. 🙂 Those pre-Christmas and Christmas plans sound like a whole lot of fun!

  5. One way to make the Christmas season more enjoyable and meaningful would be to simply unplug more and enjoy the things around me!

  6. I’m one of those silent readers who enjoys reading about your life. And you don’t come across as self centered to me. 😊 I want to take time for the little things this Christmas. Like baking cookies with the children and singing together. And the Bible would be lovely too!

    1. Nice to meet you, Louise! 🙂 Thanks so much for reading and commenting! I hope that this Christmas season is filled with many, many lovely little things for you and your family this year!

  7. I love your blog! It’s just so Jasmine! It’s not that it seems self-centred. I love your perspective on life and want to learn from it! 😊 I’ll try to comment more… no promises though! 😊 something I’m working on at Christmas is reading the Christmas story to the boys every day along with their little people nativity. Hopefully they can catch the real meaning of Christmas behind all the presents and fun. (And the book is all rhymy and fun and has pretty pictures from Our Daily Bread). Thanks for being vulnerable through your blog! ❤️

    1. I love your idea of reading the Christmas story to your boys each day! At school (with 1.5-3 year olds), I literally focus on teaching one Bible story for a whole month. It’s so much fun because at the beginning, the story is basically completely new to them, but by the end of the month, they can pretty much recite it along with me or fill in the “blanks”. It sounds like you’ve got the perfect book for it too!

  8. I also enjoy your blog and don’t comment much. I will work on that.
    I love Christmas and I love the busyness that comes with it. I think the reason I love Christmas busyness is because each of the things that make it busy have special meanings to me. Christmas cookies, tree decorating, shopping is all something me and my husband do together. That time together is super bonding and special. The time with family and friends and church all make it special. I love the atmosphere of malls, and markets and events centred around Christmas cause everyone is often happy and excited. This Christmas I want to take special notice when out and about to find the people who are not enjoying Christmas. Maybe I can give them a special smile or wish them a blessed Christmas or buy them a coffee. I want to look past my own love for Christmas and notice the people who don’t feel the same. Also this bible is beautiful and I have been wanting one I can journal in!

    1. I like this, Trish. I like it a lot. Thanks for the reminder that the busy-ness is beautiful when we appreciate the meaning behind what we’re doing.

  9. This bible looks beautiful.

    One thing we did last year was let each member of the family pick out a gift to give through GFAs Christmas catalog. That was a lot of fun. We want to do something locally this year but haven’t decided whom/what.

    Also, keep writing! You might be surprised how many are blessed by what they read here!

  10. I love your blogs Jasmine!
    As far as Christmas, after experiencing the death of a dearly loved one and having my dad be changed from a severe stroke, I hope I’ve learned to simply enjoy each and every moment with those I love. I may never have it again.

  11. I love hearing what your heart has to say, even if you’re too shy to share it aloud. That’s ok! Some of us share too much and wish we could suck it back in… so keep blogging please and I’ll keep reading;) Christmas can be so much like a tiring whirlwind for me, wishing for more things to do and yet tired from everything I’m already doing. Then it’s gone and I wonder why I didn’t enjoy the moments. So this year( and always) I want to enjoy the simple things, like listening to my hubby and son playing in the living room… hearing Kendall’s contagious chuckle first thing in the morning when I peak in his door… just being able to be together as a family of 3( or 62 if you include my folks and all the littles and bigs;) I know my list is so ordinary, but isn’t that what Christmas was?! A cute Babe wrapped up in ordinary swaddling garments with extra-ordinary parents….. Thanks for the Bible Jasmine( only if you draw my name)…

    1. Thanks for commenting, Rosella! I like your list of simple things. 🙂 I also like the thought that there were “ordinary” aspects to that first Christmas too!

  12. First of all, I empathize with you in wanting your blog to feel more like a community and wanting to learn from your readers. I certainly want that and have not attained that. Thank you for being brave and honest about this and so many other things. I personally enjoy staying in touch with you this way so keep on blogging. 🙂
    One thing that I look forward to this year is anticipating Christmas with Advent, candle-light services in the evenings here and going to hear the Messiah. Also, I’m on the fence right now with–Do I buy Christmas gifts that I can’t afford? If not, what can I give them, poor as I am? Any ideas all ye people? How do we offer ourselves?
    . . . and I really do like that beautiful Bible. :

    1. First of all, I must say that I always get very excited when I see a blog post from YOU in my feed. 🙂 I also am glad that we have this way of staying connected!

      I must admit that I am always rather jealous of people at FB with those Advent, candle-light services. I do my own personal candle-light services throughout December, but I think it would special with a group. Hmmm… now I feel like at some point in life, I want to organize something like that. But not this year. 🙂

      As far as Christmas gifts… one thought is that I bet you could write some meaningful, poetic “character sketches” to offer to the people in your lives. Words of encouragement or what words about what someone values about you can be so meaningful!

  13. I love reading your blog, Jasmine! And that Bible is beautiful! This year our family is doing a gift exchange for the first time. We usually make Christmas cookies and go look at Christmas lights in a park. And I’m looking forward to our church’s Christmas banquet!

    1. Keisha! It’s so nice to have you here! It sounds like your family has some lovely Christmas plans. I’m looking forward the church Christmas banquet too. It’s one of my favourite things. 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

  14. I love the raw honesty of your blogs and look forward to reading them every time. I might err on the side of commenting too frequently, but I will anyway!

    For many years now it’s been our tradition to read a children’s Christmas story aloud at our family gathering, passing it around to take turns reading it. It will be the story of Christ’s birth or a tale of someone helping someone else, and must be beautifully illustrated. The search for that perfect book every year sets my focus on the priorities of Christmas; family, Christ, helping others, and setting traditions that bind us closer. That is a beautiful Bible!

    1. I appreciate your comments here on the blog a lot, Rose. Thank you. It hasn’t felt like too many yet! 😉
      I love that family tradition! And the words “…the priorities of Christmas; family, Christ, helping others, and setting traditions that bind us closer.” Beautiful.

  15. We usually exchange gifts with our family members. I think to do cookie exchanges would be fun but that is rare in my family. I want to do something special WITH each of my children ( whatever they request within reason of course )during the week they have off from school for Christmas. We love to go Christmas caroling as a family in nearby town. I also enjoy being able to watch a Christmas play with the family. It would be neat to win that Bible it looks so beautiful.

  16. My husband hinted that I should read your last post. (See he reads it to!) I think I told you this in person, but I’ll say it here to, that I like how you use your literary talent online. Keep on cause I would miss it. One tradition I would like to start this year is to borrow a whole bunch of Christmas books from the library, wrap them, and use them as a Christmas countdown. Not original with me.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting and encouraging. 🙂 I really like the book countdown idea! It sounds like such a good way to create cozy and meaningful moments.

  17. Well, I may speak from experience when I say “there’s nothing like a giveaway to pull the non-commenters out of their corners”, but how disappointing it would be if no one participated! And what a lovely gift! Last year we tried Ann Voskamp’s The Wonder of the Greatest Gift for the month of December. Tbh, some nights were more about who’s turn it was to open the window and reveal the “wonder” than it was about being awed by the “wonder” but I want to try it again and hope it will start to resonate with our littles. And please keep writing, you are inspiring, indeed!

    1. Thanks for commenting, Colleen! And yes, I admit that I shared this giveaway with many fears that no one would participate. I’m thankful people have. Thanks for helping out the cause. 😛

      I wish many “wonder-full” moments to you and your family in the coming weeks!

  18. I’m not sure how closely related I have to be to you or Ricky to warrant being disqualified for participating in your giveaway, but just in case you’ll enter your MIL’s name, I’m going in. That Bible is beautiful! I love your blog, and I comment on every post – in my head. (Does that count?) Your writing appeals to me because you are so real in it. This Christmas, I want to keep up a tradition I began in 2015. Starting Dec 1 and ending Dec 25, I read through Ann Voskamp’s book for Advent, called The Greatest Gift. As I read the daily chapter, I underline and star things that impress me, and note which year it impressed me. I also keep an accompanying journal to answer Ann’s questions for every chapter. So it ends up being a sort of accumulative worship experience, if you know what I mean. I don’t manage to read and journal every day, but on the Dec days that I do, I love how it slows and grows me. Another thing I hope to do this Christmas season is spend time with my favorite people, which definitely includes you!

    1. I have appreciated your encouragement and support a lot! Thank you. 🙂

      And yes, MILs can definitely have their names entered!

      And GUESS WHAT? We have almost the same tradition. I also have read through parts of The Greatest Gift in December (for the past two years). I really like the idea of noting in the book what stood out to you, and in which year.

      And I’m so very excited about Christmas with y’all! 🙂

  19. I read your blog… more often than not, I read it twice! I read it Monday and I heartily wish I’d commented then because now all these beautiful and harmonious visions of Christmas are dancing through the comments, intimidating me. Because my wish for this Christmas (since candlelight and quiet never seems to work out for me) was more along the lines of enjoying the gory. I mean… a stable? No tub to clean up? No water supply to even properly bath that new little one… they probably wiped him down with a bit of straw, like you do a calf. And then my sensitive soul wants to come to Christmas Day without the whisper of a disagreement in our home, and the first spat traumatizes me and spoils my Christmas. So that’s my goal… to embrace the trauma of the imperfect, to laugh, to say, this is what it is to be a part of humanity. Fights, sharp comments, occasional screaming, alongside of smiles and new toys and thank yous.
    You see, this is why I don’t comment. You inspire me so much I’d usually do an add-on blog to your blog, and who needs that!
    And I love the Bible.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Val! I don’t mind an add-on blog one single bit. 😉 “To embrace the trauma of the imperfect, to laugh, to say, this is what it is to be a part of humanity.” Yes. This is a beautiful, freeing thought. I’ve been thinking about this a little bit too, recently. I love that for all the “goriness” of the Christmas story, God still chose to weave rejoicing and worshiping throughout it all. And we can too.

  20. You are still my favourite blogger of all time and I eagerly read each post. If I ever am able to write a little bit like you, I’ll be happy. Thank you for sharing yourself with us in this way. Thanks for being vulnerable. You have a beautiful soul. 💜 As for ways I’m going to try to make Christmas meaningful….I think this year it will be learning to say no to things. Doing less, being less busy, and taking time to enjoy Jesus and my family and perhaps a book or two. 😉

    1. I happen to know that you are an excellent writer, yourself, my dear Grace. I’d love to read more of your writing. I’d love to see you more often, too. I hope that your Christmas season has many beautiful moments, whether they be busy moments or peaceful ones!

  21. I enjoy reading your blog. It feels like I am learning to know you even tho we dont talk much in person. A tradition that has been fun for us is to sing with a group at Listowel hospital early on Christmas morning. Something we would like to do is go door to door caroling in our small town of Glen Allen! Maybe this year it will happen!

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