Why we sell stuff: Products with a message



Here’s the deal. We buy stuff all the time.

It’s a semi-well known fact that I am an Aldi aficionado, a TJ Maxx fananista, a regular at the local Goodwill, and I definitely get my Prime memberships worth in packages on my front doorstep, and this is with a modest income. My son tripped over an incoming package by the back door last week and my daughter kindly, yet snarkily, pointed out, “How can you trip over those? We get them, like, every day?”

It’s true. We all buy stuff daily. We buy stuff to eat. We buy stuff to live. We buy stuff to enjoy. We buy stuff because God has given us good gifts in this life and we were meant to steward them and certainly to enjoy them, especially with one another. We buy stuff to have guest in our home and to make it warm and inviting. We buy stuff for mission projects. We buy stuff for team sports and hobbies to share with others. We give gifts and love through gifts.

A while back, I had a post about a t-shirt my husband had with a very bold Christian statement across the front. This t-shirt not only attracted attention, it attracted conversation. This was my kind of shirt. It brought up the Gospel without me trying to hem and haw to get there. It removed awkward and let the Spirit do His thing.

I want more of this in my life and I want to help people find more of this in their life.

In talking with my friend, Melissa, I discovered I wasn’t alone. There had to be a way to deliver the message, gentle and bold at the same time, fresh and clear, reaching into the hungry souls around us.

Because the world is hungry.

They need to know. And honestly, on any given day I need to know. I need reminders, every where. Not just when I open my Bible, but when I sit at my table, and walk along the way, and walk down the road, and open my front door, while I sit on my couch, and lay my children down to sleep. I need to be surrounded by Jesus.

And so the Surround Me line was born.

All with the intent of getting the Word out there. We spend money on stuff we need and stuff we sort of need, and stuff we don’t even need.

What if we spent money on stuff with a message?

I invite you to check it out. Here are some samples…

I invite you to share it with friends. Let’s get the message out there, intentionally.

You can see the Surround Me line on the Products with a Message page. Here’s an easy link to it:

Products with a message

When you purchase our products you also help us do ministry- to take the time to create blogs and Bible studies, to speak up on things that matter, to visit and encourage others, to provide opportunities for counseling, and teach who Christ is and why He matters most.

Let’s share the message. Let’s start the conversation. Let’s surround our hearts, our minds, our families, our homes, and our lives with reminders of all He is for us and in us.

Products with a message…stuff with a purpose.
#surroundme #starttheconversation #productswithamessage


Why Make Ready at Advent?

I love advent, but every year reveals my mixed emotions about the whole thing. We have enough planning and preparation in life without creating more, right? Plus I’ve got the joy, joy, joy in my heart, but very little money, money, money in the bank. Then there’s the other side of Christmas prep…

I remember the year I wanted to throw advent out the door. You know “that” year. The year you can barely put up a tree. To say you were over it before it even began might be minimizing how you really feel about trying to celebrate the advent season “that” year. This was the year that stole your joy, you felt more than a little lost, left standing in front of your half-heartedly erected tree with only questions and doubts.

I also remember Christmas’s when the joy in my house was bursting like Grandma’s elastic waistband. It was overflowing from every corner and crevice of our family. These are the years you have actual glee. You nearly sprint up the basement stairs trying to get all the decorations in order, welcoming neighbors and friends over to join in the festivities as often as possible.

In all of these mixed emotions and experiences, it’s helpful to take a breath, sit back, and ask what is the point of making ready anyway?

We’re not just making ready, We’re making ready for Him.

And we’re not just making ready for Him.
We’re making ready with Him.

God doesn’t need us to prepare the way of the Lord, but He invites us in to it, because he delights to be with us.

He doesn’t need us to make cookies and have parties and show up for extra church services and work on pageants, but He gives us good gifts and good work for our hands. These things, which are out of the ordinary, out of the every day, focus us in on what matters most – a not so ordinary Savior.

Every day we live is in preparation for time with Him.

In some years, those rotten years, we might make more ready for His final coming, when things are made new and tears will forever cease. Other years, those filled with joy and gladness, we might make more ready for being fully present here, in the now, thankful for the days He has given us on this earth, with our family, with our friends, and with our neighbors who need us, just as much as we need them. We proclaim His presence in celebrating together. We open our Bibles and acknowledge the Center of the Season who invited us along for the journey.

We make ready because He is actually the King of the World and He is worth the time.

We make ready because He is actually coming back for us. He will draw us to Him in a way we can barely begin to understand.

We make ready because He came, not only to teach us, to die for us, and to rise for us, but He also came to be with us. 

We make ready our homes, our hearts, and our lives, through His Spirit. Making ready invites Him to come further up and further in.

Here’s my heart, Lord, in joy and sadness, in the messy middle and the mediocre, always, always, Make it Ready for You.

What kind of advent year are you having? Where is the space and time in your life for Him today and what plans do you have for time with Him in the coming season?

Lord, through Your Spirit, tend our hearts. Let us always, always Make Ready for You, and with You. Further up and further in, Lord. Make Ready.

Share away and invite your friends to Make Ready with you!


Who’s up for an Advent Photo Challenge?!


I Love My Shepherd and GraftedHeart are teaming up this Advent season to offer you a photo challenge! This is a fun way to express your faith, get into the Word, and be creative this holiday season.

There are several ways you can participate.

First, download the Advent 2016 Devotions, found at the end of this post, or receive them each day in your inbox by subscribing to the blog. (If you are already subscribed, you are good to go!)  The devotion for each day is about 3-5 sentences long. Short and sweet!

Next, post your Advent 2016 Photo Challenge pictures on social media using #Advent2016, #ilovemyshepherd, and #graftedheart. Here’s some examples of photos you might post on any given day.

a hot beverage or a mug #Advent2016 #ilovemyshepherd #graftedheart
someone you love spending the holidays with #Advent2016 #ilovemyshepherd #graftedheart
wrapping paper #Advent2016 #ilovemyshepherd #graftedheart

Participate as much or as little as you can. If you do decide to participate by posting photos for every day of the challenge and use the hashtags above, you will be entered to win our New Year’s Eve Prize Pack! Check it out…


Do the challenge by yourself, as a couple, as a family, or offer it through your church or group!

More than anything, we want this to be a stress-free activity to enrich your Advent.

We pray this Advent resource helps you to reflect on the heart of the season and the love of Jesus Christ in your lives and families, as you Make Ready for His coming!

Here’s the link! Looking forward to sharing together  –

Free and downloadable Advent Photo Challenge – Make Ready!