I’m Having a Party for Mercy House Kenya! (pssttt…and a Giveaway!)

This giveaway is now closed!  Congratulations to Carol on winning the $25 gift certificate to the Mercy House shop!  I hope you’ll come back and tell me what you chose to buy! Please look for an email from me.

I am SO excited about this post!

Today, I am thrilled to be hosting a virtual party for Mercy House Kenya! Have you heard of this amazing organization yet?

It all started with Kristen, who went on a mission trip to Africa with Compassion. She came back broken. Broken for the suffering she saw and the poverty that surrounded her during her week-long trip. She came back and poured her heart out. I read every word and I cried.

But Kristen. She didn’t forget it. Instead, she got down on her knees and prayed. After meeting Maureen, a young woman previously sponsored through the Compassion program, Mercy House was born. With faith, love, determination, sleepless nights and a lot of sweat, an amazing organization was born. Kristen lives here in the United States raising awareness and garnering support for Mercy House Kenya while Maureen works on the ground in Africa. In 2010, the Rehema House was opened in Kenya as a refuge for pregnant women in need of a safe place, prenatal care and training to end the cycle of poverty that puts so many women and children in terrible situations.

A Safe Haven

Mercy House Kenya is a safe haven with six maternity beds (and is growing). Residents who enter into the Rehema house aren’t just having a baby and leaving. Instead, they enter into a two to four-year program where they are cared for during their pregnancy, receive proper nutrition, receive counseling and ministry. These women also learn skills through the Sustainable Skills Program such as jewelry, soap making and (soon!) sewing so they can provide an income for their family when they complete the Mercy House program.

At the end of the program, these women have a small account to start their own business. Mercy House strives to reach as many girls as they can but in a way that the organization can sustain and continue to operate. In their words, our goal is quality, not quantity and total discipleship.” You can read about the girls that are currently staying at the Rehema House here.

Supporting Mercy House Kenya

Mercy House Kenya is a Christian organization seeking to help those in need, offer assistance for those who cannot help themselves and to do so in a way that honors the Lord. I love the verse that is the framework of their organization: “He has shown you, O man, what is good: And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and love mercy, to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8. Sounds amazing doesn’t it? I am been amazed by this organization and the people behind it. There are several ways you support Mercy House Kenya.

First, they ask you to pray continually for their staff, for Maureen, for the girls they are helping and the girls yet to come. These girls have come from situations that are unimaginable to us. They’ve lived it. Survived it. Now is the time for healing, for showering them with God’s love, for sharing God’s word and for loving them when many think they aren’t lovable.

Second, you can also give financially to help Mercy House Kenya. It costs around $5,000 to operate for one month. (You can see their budget here. It’s all up front and posted for you to see…fiscally transparent. Love that). You can set up to make a monthly donation or you can make a one time donation. They also have the Power of Tree program: Give $3 on the 3rd of each month to remember that 3 girls are raped every 45 minutes. That’s a cup of coffee or a snack. It isn’t much is it?

Third, you can make donations specifically for items on their wish list. Sometimes, those things seem so small to us but would mean so much to them.

The last way you can help is to shop! That’s right! The girls living at the Rehema house are making goods to sell! Beautiful handcrafted jewelry and other household items. You can support Mercy House Kenya by shopping in their store.

I love, love, love this bowl. I love the bright colors.  I’m always amazed that these products are made from newspaper pages!

And the new crosses they are offering! I think this would look so good hanging from a wall or setting on a little easel in my office.

A Giveaway!

The ladies of Mercy House Kenya sent me two items to tell you more about today (through crossed messages I got two items. It was supposed to be one!) First is this beautiful necklace.

This is my necklace from Mercy House Kenya. I love the blue!

The beads are handcrafted from paper. I’m amazed that they are so uniform in size and that the necklace doesn’t weigh a ton like I expected. It’s actually quite lightweight. The blue is such a beautiful color. The length is perfect; it falls right in the center of my chest-just right on me. The smaller beads in between are on a rigid silver piece so the necklace holds its shape. I’ve gotten so many compliments on my necklace. There are longer versions of the necklace available that you can wrap twice. I have the longer necklace as well and love it.

I tried to take my own pictures but my 6 yr old photographer wasn't doing so great today!

I also received this t-shirt which I’ve fallen in love with! It’s so comfortable and soft! The graphic is really cute and speaks a message all on its on: Act Justly, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. I will say that if you order one of these shirts, you might consider ordering up one size. Mine’s just a bit snug on me.

The wonderful ladies at Mercy House Kenya have given me a chance to offer one of you a $25 gift card  to shop at Mercy House Kenya! Awesome, right?!?

There are several ways you can enter this giveaway. You can do all of them or just one, that’s up to you.

1. Comment! It’s that easy for one entry. Have you heard of Mercy House before?
2. Share on Facebook or twitter and come back and tell me. Something like this:
I’m having a Virtual Party for Mercy House Kenya! Enter to win a $25 gift card! http://bit.ly/HOo1B6 @mercyhousekenya @thatcarrie
3. Like Mercy House on Facebook.  Not because you want to win but because you should.
4. Follow Mercy House on Twitter
5. Watch the video (above) and leave a comment telling me you did.  It only takes a minute.
6. Subscribe! Stick around with me! (Just click that little Subscribe in a Reader Button over there on the right and choose your reader)
7. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

That’s SEVEN chances to win! If you choose to do just one or two things, please, watch the video and choose one way to keep up with Mercy House (Facebook or twitter). I am choosing to do this Virtual Party because I love the reason and philosophy behind Mercy House Kenya and I made a decision weeks ago to use my blog for good where I can. That means talking about opportunities where we can give. Mother’s Day is coming. Consider choosing something from the Mercy House Shop to support another mother, across the globe, in need.

This giveaway will close on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 12pm.  I’ll announce the winner here.

Good Luck!

I was provided with two products to review as part of this virtual party.  My opinions are solely my own and any reviews you read here are based on my personal experience.  All information on Mercy House Kenya is from their website or from materials from the organization.  Or from what I have read on Kristen’s blog.  But, again, my opinion is not for sale. I loved what I received and am happy to share my thoughts with you!

A YMX Shirt Review and Giveaway!

2012 Calendar 

This giveaway is closed!  Congratulations to Rose!  Please watch for an email so I can get your mailing address!

This year, I decided not to do resolutions or goals.  I think I need a break from it all.  We’ve had a lot go on the past few years and honestly, its kind of depressing to look back and see everything I didn’t get done.  I still have a few things in my head that I want to accomplish but I’m not calling them goals.  They’re just “things I want to get done.”  I’m not sure there’s a difference but psychologically, there is to me!

One of the things I’m working to fit in is exercise in the form of walking and yoga classes.  Yes, like the rest of the world, I need to lose weight.  But, I am not setting a “I want to lose X pounds this year” goal.  What I really need is to simply incorporate exercise into my life.  For my heath, for my family and for me.  I would like to walk 30-45 minutes, 3 times a week and then attend yoga class at least once a week.I can fit it in with some effort.  EFFORT.

I have a few obstacles but I have a plan of sorts to dump the excuses and get busy.That’s always the hard part.  I get off work most days at 3 so I believe I can walk 2-3 days a week.  I’d really like to set myself up a schedule of Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays because I work from home those weekdays and then we’re almost always home on Sunday afternoon.  It’s a start.Classes are another story.  It’s easy for me to not go because I don’t want to go alone but I’m getting over it.  I just have to fit it into my schedule each week and that’s the tricky part.

The Tools 
It had been at least 3 years since I bought shoes and the last time I bought them I bought cute, trendy, flat soled New Balances.  Umm yeah.  Not so good for exercise.  My parents gave me some money for Christmas so I found a good deal on a pair of shoes a few weeks ago and bought a pair. I took care of exercise and yoga pants during the summer…all on sale.  I need 1 long tank so I don’t show the rest of a yoga class my very….ahem…slightly not firm tummy! I also go really lucky with an offer I couldn’t refuse that one of you is going to benefit from too!

About YMX
YMX is an extension of YellowMan, a high-end tattoo clothing brand created on the premise that skin color should never be a barrier for anyone.  Peter Mui, the owner, spent years pursing the artwork of renowned tattoo artists for this clothing.  YMX offers a variety of athletic apparel that is based on Mui’s extensive collection of tattoo artwork. Their exercise clothing is nothing if not interesting to look at!    When YMX offered to send me the Winter Flower Tri-Pocket Jersey to review, I jumped at the chance. I was thinking about buying an Under Armour shirt to wear so YMX contacted me at the perfect time! I was quite surprised when it came in the mail and was very…vivid!

My Experience with the YMX Winter Flower Shirt
The Winter Flower artwork is absolutely amazing, very detailed and beautiful (go to their site for better images… my camera is being a tool right now. I’ll update pictures if I can later but I really wanted to get this giveaway up here). I’ll admit that, initially, the pattern was a little over the top for me (there are several offerings online of slightly calmer patterns), but the shirt’s fabric and design won me over.  The shirt is silky smooth and the length is right to keep the shirt from riding up all the time (don’t you hate that?) The bottom hem is slightly smaller so it grips your hips better to further reduce the ride-up issue.  The collar has a zipper so I could adjust it depending on the weather.  There are also a couple of pockets on the back to store items while you’re exercising like your MP3 player, your phone, keys, etc.  The fabric is also UPF 50+….an added bonus.I gave my shirt several tests.  I tried it exercising (both walking and using the evil Jillian Michaels DVD). It held up great! I tried it as an insulating layer and was really happy with it.  I didn’t feel as hot and sweaty as I normally do in my sweatshirts or tees.  I also wore it working the yard several times under a t-shirt.  The length is perfect for me and so far, I’ve had no snags, no problems with the zipper and it hasn’t faded or drawn up in the wash.

Cons
Well, the price is a big con.  I don’t think you’d spend $120 on a shirt if you’re just starting exercising again. But, if you’re hard core, you probably spend a lot on your workout or competition clothes.  Price is always a limiting factor for me.Second, I would love to see a few softer patterns.  I have grown to like my shirt a lot but I do wish the sleeves were solid like Winter Sun-Yellow shirt.  If I could have chosen a shirt to review, it would have been this one.Third, I do wish that the bottom hem perhaps had some more grip to it to hold it down better when you’re bending down a lot…maybe some kind of thin rubber band material around the bottom.Last, I felt like the arms (and wrist hems), were a little bit tight but it wasn’t so much of an issue that I wouldn’t wear it again and again (as I have).

Now…A Giveaway for You!
Overall, I really do like my YMX shirt and am so glad I was given the opportunity to review the product.  I know that I’ll be using mine all winter long! After a few delays, camera issues, computer issues and being sick, I’m finally getting around to the best part of this….a Giveaway! YMX has graciously offered to give one of you a YMX Winter Flower shirt of your very own!  If you’d like to be entered, simply leave a comment below and you’re entered! If you want to hang around, please click the Follow button). You can also get additional entries by following me on Twitter () and tweeting about the giveaway (I just entered a YMX giveaway at http://tinyurl.com/6mohaxt  #wearymx #giveaway). Also, be sure to follow YMX (@wearymx) on Twitter as well I’ll close this giveaway on Friday, February 3, 2012 and announce the winner shortly after!  Your shirt will be mailed directly from YMX once I contact you for your shipping information. I am not responsible for the shipping of your prize.

Carrie

Please note that this giveaway is sponsored by Yellowman YMX and that I was compensated for this review with a free shirt to try and one to give away  . However, my opinions and my reviews are my own and are never for sale.  These are my true thoughts on the Winter Flower shirt after several weeks of trying it out.

And the $40 CSN Giveaway Winner is…

#12:  Amber!

Congratulations to Amber!  Let us know what you purchase with your CSN gift code!

Carrie

(Dear powers that be, This gift card/promotional code was provided for me to give away on my blog from CSN.  I received no direct compensation for hosting this giveaway; I did however share some of my favorite things on their website, of which I am a huge fan, if you’re looking for gift ideas.  Legal mumbo jumbo OVER.)

A Welcome to Fall Giveaway!

I was contacted by CSN again recently with another opportunity to work with them for a product review or a giveaway. Of course, being as I love my blog and my readers, I jumped on the chance to do a giveaway this time! CSN is a massive website with over 200 stores for you to browse!



As much as I hate to admit it, we’ve stalled on our house remodel. But we’ve got an excellent reason! Hunter has been blessed with work straight through the summer! So, he’s been too busy to complete the structural parts of the remodel before we can get back in there to get busy. We’ve also faced a few unexpected expenses and surprises that’s caused us to re-evaluate the whole project and change some of our plans for the house. More on that later.


One of the things that will most likely have to wait is building a back porch all the way down the back of the house. I’m sad about it but we’ll get to it. In the meantime, we’ll probably build a postcard sized deck to house our grill and perhaps a small table and chairs since our other table is kinda big (and with no chairs…figures).

CSN has been a great place for me to scope out some potential bistro sets. Bistro sets are smaller than the average table and I think it will work perfectly on our temporary small deck. I’ve found a couple of potential sets that in my (low) price range. I’m going to do some local comparisons soon but if you’re looking for an easy way to identify the style you’re looking for, check out the bistro sets on the CSN website.

All the coordination with planning this house on a tiny budget is killing me. Yall have seen the pictures. Add in delays, decreasing our budget and other issues and it’ll probably be next year before we move and put our house on the market. Meanwhile, I plan (drives Hunter NUTS) and make lists. I’m the queen of list making!


If you’d like to enter this giveaway for a $40 gift card to be used at any of the CSN website stores, you have 3 chances to enter:
1. Say hello! That’s easy enough right? Just tell me you’re still reading the blog!


2. Join us! Become a follower or subscribe to Blue Ridge Mountain Mama and let me know in the comments. If you’re already doing this, let me know that in the comments and I’ll count it as an entry too!


3. Post about this giveaway on your blog and then post a link to that blog post in the comments section.
Fairly easy I think. This giveaway will close on Friday, September 8th at 5 p.m.


Good luck!

Carrie

ETA–I tried to fix the spacing issues but it doesn’t look like its working.  Sorry!

When Hunter starts harassing me…

…about the fact that I haven’t:

1. blogged
2. announced the giveaway winner,

then you know its bad.   It’s just gotten away from me here lately.  There is so much going on in our little world of wanting to live simplistically.  There have been major changes to our plans (all good) and we’ve made some changes in our boys daily routine that I’m learning to live with now.  Summer has officially ended, despite 100 degree days lingering, and we’re getting into the school routine.

I am hoping to find some time to blog this week.  Right now, my focus has been on my family which is where it should be.  I also haven’t been commenting much but know that I am reading!

I’ll be back and with some really awesome news!  But, for now, the winner of the giveaway (thanks to random.org) is…………………………..

Melissa (adventuroo)! 
Melissa, please contact me at blue ridge mtn mama at gmail dot com.  (remove all the spaces in the beginning) with your mailing address by Friday so I can provide it to BlogSpark to release your prize pack! 
 
Congratulations!
Hang tight my friends! 
Carrie
Thanks again to BlogSpark and Suddenly Salad for this opportunity to host another fun giveaway.  I like to give presents!