Thursday, March 31, 2011


I thought I'd share some news updates as well as posting today's auction offering.

Here's just a random listing of things going on:

*The three teenagers are participating in a homeschool production of PETER PAN. I went to the first presentation on Monday and was very impressed with their acting and the costumes. Most of them were made or designed by a mom that we've known since David was a baby and she kept him in Mommy's Morning Out. That's a photo of us from after the play. I'll have to post more another day. They have two more performances and though the busyness of the schedule has been stressful at times, they are going to miss seeing their friends on a regular basis.

*Our two oldest sons' Boy Scout troop had their Camp-o-Ree this past weekend. The theme was R-U-Fit. They got blue ribbons for the Camp Site Inspection and for Snatch-the-Bacon.

*Betsie leaves for Thailand in 18 days. She is obviously very, very excited. And the more I read about Thailand and what God is doing there plus see photos from other missionaries, the more I'm looking forward to getting to go there her last week and doing a little bit of ministry and sight-seeing of my own.

*Anna and Betsie will be attending their first prom next week. It is a homeschool group prom combined with a banquet. The girls have found beautiful dresses to wear. Anna's is an ultra-sophisticated, to the knee, dress in a very, very, pale, icy-periwinkle. Betsie's is an authentic vintage dress of pale blue netting and egg-shell lace. It has a fitted bodice with a wonderfully poofy skirt that is tea length. The dresses fit the girls looks and personalities perfectly. Anna will be going with a friend whose parents minister in inner-city Jackson. Betsie will be going with two homeschool friends, a guy and a girl. Don't worry! We'll take lots of photos and post plenty.

*7 year old T went fishing for the first time this past weekend during the Camp-o-Ree that he tagged along for. He was so excited to catch not just his first fish, but four fish! He is already bugging his dad to take him fishing again.

*The three youngest are loving the spring-time weather and the caterpillars that have made an extravagant appearance on many of our bushes. What they do with them for hours on end, I'm not really sure. But whatever it is, it keeps them occupied and happy.

Now for today's auction item. Our pastor and his wife have three wonderful grown daughters. They are all truly a joy to know. The 2nd one, Debbie Leigh Brown Holt, is a busy mom of two little boys but she took the time to sew two lovely tote bags for us.

Both bags are fully lined. As you can see from the photos, they are roomy enough to act as a diaper bag, book bag, shopping bag, Bible and journal tote, or a nice-sized purse without being bulky. You can click on the photos to see a larger view of them.

We will start the bidding on each bag at $12. All proceeds will go directly to help fund our three teenagers' mission trips and we will ship the bags to the winner if you live in the States but not nearby.

To bid, leave a comment with your name, contact information, and the amount you are bidding. Also, please state whether you want the first purse, which is blue, green, and brown paisley or the second purse which is blue flowers. If you are unable to post a comment for some reason, send me a fb message (I'm on fb as "Elysa Mac"), or if you know me in real life, call me or email me. My cell phone is not working so don't text me. The auction ends on the evening of April 8.

Thank you and may God bless you and yours in crazy good ways.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


You won't find these earrings at your local chain store. These hand-crafted items are our last offering from our favorite Ecuadorian missionary, Jake Bickham.

Here's what Jake has to say about these:

"[The] earrings are made of the Ecuadorian Ivory Palm. The "C" shaped, goes over the bottom of the ear, and is held in place by a thorn from the same tree. Very cute, a lot of people wear this style down here. The nut that is harvested is 100% natural and it provides around 30,000 jobs for the locals who pick these seeds that fall from the trees. It also helps to prevent deforestation since the trees become a job, not just another stick in the forest."

The earrings are all about the size of my thumbnail or about 1/2 an inch in diameter.

To read more about the Ecuadorian Ivory Palm, you can visit this website:

As with all the previous items listed this month, all proceeds from the auction of these earrings will go towards funding my three teenagers' mission trips to Thailand and Peru. We will sell all four of them as one set so you can keep them all for yourself (especially helpful if you have multiple piercings) or share a pair with a friend.

The bidding on the set will begin at $5. To bid on these unique accessories, leave me a comment with your name, contact information, and the amount of your bid. The auction will end on the evening of April 8.

And listen, would you please pray about something? Jake Bickham has been sick and they've finally determined that he has Dengue Fever. Never heard of it? Yeah, it isn't something that we get here in America. It is a bit like malaria. It is usually spread by mosquitoes. The symptoms include fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, and a skin rash. There are also some severe complications that can result in rare cases. If you've read SUNFLOWER by Richard Paul Evans, the main female character suffered from Dengue Fever.

So please pray for Jake. He needs healing, strength, and encouragement. Also, pray for his family. It is hard on loved ones, especially the mama, to know that their family is hurting and can't be there to help.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Yesterday, we took a break from Jake Binkham's donated Ecuadorian items to feature a daisy sprinkled dress.

Now we'll head back down to Ecuador and another handmade item from that South American country. One of the handcrafts that Ecuador is most famous for is the hammock.

Hammocks have been commonly used there for centuries by the indigenous population.

Jake describes them this way:

"These hammocks are very colorful, if taken care of they should last a long time. Almost 1 in 3 of the locals has one or more of these in their house. Unlike most of the hammocks that you will see in The States, these do not have the wooden support bar that keeps it tight, so that you lay “in” these instead of “on” it. They will fit two adults snugly, one comfortably. Great place to take a nap in the heat of the day."

Here is a photo of several Adventures in Missions folks at the Gainesville, Georgia base gathered around a similar hammock that hangs on the training base front porch. Anna and Betsie say that this hammock is very popular at the base. It is so comfy that it is hard to ever find it unoccupied and to snag it for naptime, relaxing with a guitar, or for quiet time was a rare and highly prized achievement.

And here you can see some AIM Ambassadors sleeping in hammocks, similar to the ones we are auctioning off, during their mission trip to Peru this past summer.

The hammocks can be hung from trees, porch posts, or even on a hammock stand. And when you want to take it down, they fold up easily and neatly since they don't have the wooden slats in them that some hammocks have.

So whether you are looking for a great Father's Day gift, a birthday present for someone who needs an excuse to relax, or you have good memories of hammocks from your AIM days and would like to have one of your own, these hammocks can be yours if the price is right.

We have two hammocks available. The first one is primarily red with gold and orange accents .

The second hammock is primarily white with gold, red, and blue accents.

These hammocks sell for $45 to $90 online but we will start the bidding at $25. All proceeds from the sale go towards my teenagers' mission trips to Thailand and Peru. To bid, leave a comment with your name, contact information, whether you want the red or the white hammock, and the amount you are bidding. We will be glad to ship if you don't live in our area. The auction will end on the evening of April 8th.

Thanks for stopping by Graceland and if you'd like to share our auction posts on your blog, fb, or twitter, we'd definitely appreciate it!

Monday, March 28, 2011


Look at this adorable dress! Isn't it precious? Sallee Couch, creator of beautifully handcrafted Poppy Dip clothes, has donated one of her cute creations to our fund-raiser auction.

This colorful little dress would be perfect for this Spring and Summer's fun events. Whether it is an Easter Egg hunt, a Mother's Day picnic, or an outdoor wedding, the little princess in your life will look adorable and feel comfy in this 100% cotton, no-itch, no-bind, loose-fitting dress. The dress also layers well with leggings, cardigans, and long sleeve shell shirts. And when it gets a little too short to be worn just as a dress, it goes great as a tunic top. I know, because my little Miss M has owned quite a few of the Poppy Dip creations and her dresses "grew" into shirts.

Here are a couple of dresses being worn by Sallee's little sweetie. Different fabric, but you get the idea.

This particular dress is in size 2T which means it measures 21 inches in length. Because of the versatility of wearing it with leggings or over bike shorts, this dress should last your little girl for two or three seasons, first as a dress, then as a tunic top.

This dress will make a beautiful addition to your little girl's wardrobe or as a wonderful birthday, baby shower, or adoption gift.

As with all the other items we are auctioning, all the proceeds go towards my three kids' upcoming mission trips. These dresses normally sell for $35, but we will start the bidding at $25.

To participate in the auction, leave your name, the amount you are bidding, and your contact information. We will ship if you don't live locally...heck, I'll even ship it gift-wrapped straight to the recipient if it is a present. The auction will end the evening of April 8th. Whoever has bid the most at that time will be the winner. This will ensure that if you are wanting the dress before Easter, you'll have plenty of time to get it.

For more information on Sallee Couch's Poppy Dip creations, visit her website at:

Sallee sells her handcrafted items to help fund her family's African adoptions and to support other adoptive families in bringing their children home. What a beautiful purpose behind beautiful creations!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


I've been sick for a few days now. In fact, I've been sick three or four times already since this year started. It has been draining. Normally a bubbly, sing-a-song kinda gal, I've found myself struggling with apathy, negativity, and even depression. I've evaluated my spirit and found it lacking. I think about people who are suffering so much more...from cancer, from chronic pain, from truly debilitating diseases...and my stuffed up brain has wondered how they not don't just keep going, but often do it with such sweet spirits. How do they continue to give their to their families emotionally when all I feel like doing, after five days of sinus mess, aches, and weakness, is to lay around like an ill slug and think blue thoughts.

Obviously, I'm failing 90% of the time at letting HIS fruit of the, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control...rule in my life. I feel more like I'm letting the stench of rotten fruit rule.

I'm home from church this morning. The kids are playing. I got on the computer and went to one of my favorite African missions related blog, THE JOURNEY, written by Katie, a twenty-something mother of FOURTEEN adopted children living in Uganda.

I found a blog post that hit me hard...really convicted me. Now I need to go spend some time with the Lord seeking His help and repenting and just listening. I thought I'd share it with those who visit Graceland. This ie one of those times when I definitely don't have words of wisdom to give that are also words that I'm walking out.

“I am so old. My whole body hurts. I have suffered much,” her eyes shine with joy as she speaks, “oh, I am suffering. But whatever He wants. Whatever God wants!” And she laughs and she laughs.

We sit in our circle in the dust of a slum and we share our hearts and our prayers. Jja Ja Maria, who looks to be a hundred years old and reaches no higher than my shoulders, is the last to share.

Her life, it has been hard. She is in Jinja because she had to flee from the war in the North that tore apart her life and her family. Her son was shot last week by a soldier on the border of Uganda and Sudan and frail, little Jja Ja had made the 13 hour bus ride in the stifling heat and watched as they had lowered her last living child into the ground. The journey had taken almost a week and when she came back she found her grandchildren sick and even though her whole body ached from travel she still took them to the clinic and continued bending over her work so that she could make enough money to put food on the table. Now she is back and we are happy to embrace her and ask about her journey and ask how we can pray for her.

“What ever He wants," she chuckles.

I look at the joy that is spilling out of her wrinkled face and I repeat the words that she has spoken in my head and that doesn’t make sense. She is hurt and she is suffering and she is laughing about it and sparkling with beauty and radiating Joy.

That doesn’t make sense. Not to me. Not yet.

But she already knows what I am just learning. That even this, it is from Him. Even this, it is Holy ground. This thing that I label suffering, it is really Joy.

“Does disaster come to a city unless the Lord has planned it?” Amos 3:6

I live with these human eyes, and with these human eyes of mine I label. I label one thing as good and one thing as bad. I label moments as blessing or burden. And I forget that all this labeling, it is not my right, not my place, not mine to do. To declare what is a gift in my life and what is a curse is to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, to sit in the garden full of abundance and beauty and choose the forbidden. The knowledge of good and evil, that was never intended for me. Could I, like Jja Ja Maria just quit my labeling and say, "Whatever God wants. Whatever HE wants!"

Because God IS. “I AM.” He tells Moses and still today He IS. And if every good and perfect gift is from above, and a Good and Beautiful God can create only good and beauty then these moments that I choose to label as loss and suffering, they are really good and beautiful, perfect gifts?

“See now that I, I am He, and there is no god besides Me; it is I who put to death and I who give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal.” Deuteronomy 32:29

Suffering, pain, loss, shame – all these things I have blamed on a broken world, Satan even. But can’t a broken world and even Satan only give what God allows? Suffering, pain loss and shame are only these things because I label them as such. Because I, a sinner, choose to eat from the tree, choose to turn away from nail-scarred hands and ignore the grace and miss the gift. He is beautiful and everything He creates is beautiful and if I choose to label it suffering I am choosing to miss the beauty that is freely offered me.

On Friday I got a call from Jane’s birth mom that she had gotten her leg stuck in the chain of a bicycle. Five hours later I walked into a hospital room where she lay sedated, her heel bleeding and her tendon exposed, but untouched. The nurse saw my appalled, grief twisted face and shook her head. “God is good,” she whispered. “God's grace...She could have lost that foot.”

“God’s grace,” I thought, and I wondered what if she had? What if the tendon had been ripped clean through and she never were to walk again? What of when she was ripped from my life and left with a woman who doesn’t even care to supervise her and so she lays here hurt and bleeding and so far, far away from me?

What if God’s grace is not when He saves us, but that He saved us.

“Surely, just as I have intended, so it has happened and just as I have planned so it will stand.” Isaiah 14:24

Just as He intended. Even this, planned by God.

And if this is what He intended (and it is), then that means that every moment – the moment when my daughter’s tiny fingers were pried from around my neck, the moment in that hospital room, the moments when I hold babies and watch as they breathe their last and their mothers crumple to the floor and the moment when a dear grandmother hears that her son has been shot, and the moments when the laundry piles over my head and the children bicker and hurts from their past make them do the unspeakable and I don’t even know how to parent – every moment is His grace, a gift. Could I look and say, "whatever He wants, this is my gift for today."

God, who is Good and who is Beauty, and who saved us, even me undeserving, He can only give grace.

And I have a choice. I can let those wounded hands pull me close and I can choose to see the grace in this moment or I can again label, choosing to ignore the gift.

I see it deep in Jja Ja’s eyes, she knows. Even this suffering, He did this. He did this, not because He doesn’t know the ache – He does. He did this, a gift to me.

For the good of me. For the good of her. For the good of us, those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. For the good of all this world and the glory that is His.

And I know in that moment, I can choose to label the ripped open heel and the ripped open family or I can choose to count it as a gift, God’s grace. And the beauty is not in the circumstance or the label but the fact that in His graciousness He is here with me anyway, regardless of the circumstance or the way I choose to view it. The grace of being near to Him in trial, as long as I can chose to see it, is certainly the greatest grace of all.

This is what Jja Ja knows and this is what I am learning. God’s grace is not blessing, earthly reassure, our security or even the security of our children. God’s grace is not that all is “well” and right in my eyes. God’s grace is not when He saves us but that He saved us.

Here I am face to face with Jesus in the dirt and all I have to do is choose to see, accept the grace offered freely. His compassion and His mercy, this Grace, it never fails. Each moment each breath, is a gift simply and only because I get to spend it with Him.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

Whatever He wants. And I am thankful.

Lord, help me also to even want to be faithful and thankful and joyful whatever You want. Lord have mercy on this sinner.

To read more about Katie Rowland's life in Uganda, visit her blog:

Saturday, March 26, 2011


We've got another fabulous items from Ecuador sent by our missionary pal Jake Bikham to auction off. This time it is a bright and beautiful purse.

Jake has this to say about it:

"You will not find these where I am living in the jungle, however this is an article that you will see being worn in the mid to high mountain ranges, particularly Banos and Quito. It is made of wool of the sheep that has been dyed several different colors. It has a flap that buttons down to close it off. Very nice bag, it would be great as a journal bag or a small/medium sized purse."

The bidding on this unique purse will start at $12. As with the other items we've listed, all proceeds go towards Anna, Betsie, and David's mission trips. To bid on this item, leave a comment with the amount you are bidding, your name, and contact information.

We will ship if you don't live locally and the auction will end on the evening of Friday, April 8.

While I have your attention, will you please pray for Jake? He has been sick this week and surely would appreciate your prayers for his healing and strength as he ministers in Ecuador.


Friday, March 25, 2011


Today we have another offering straight from our Ecuadorian missionary pal Jake Bickham.

Actually, we have two!
Jake describes the bracelets this way:
The bracelets are made from the seed of the Ecuadorian Ivory Palm. The inside of the nut is very similar to the animal ivory, and if trimmed right is will look almost identical. A wide variety of styles are made from these nuts. The bracelets will fit several arm sizes, due to the fact that there is an elastic band that keeps it tight fitting and stretchy. The nut that is harvested is 100% natural and it provides around 30,000 jobs for the locals who pick these seeds that fall from the trees. It also helps to prevent deforestation since the trees become a part of a job, not just another stick in the forest.

So bid on these bracelets knowing that by purchasing them, Jake was supporting Ecuadorians working in a good-for-the-environment joy that is also a sustainable job and by your purchasing them, you are providing needed financial resources for young people who are working to take a whole lot of God's goodness into some hurting and needful places.

And that is always good for our planet! The bidding on each bracelet will begin at $7. When you bid, leave a comment with your name, contact information, and how much you are bidding. Also, state whether you are wanting the light bracelet or the dark bracelet.

While you're here, why don't you look over some of the past posts? We've got several items up for auction, all going to help pay for my kids' overseas ministry trips. Thanks!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


In 1956, 5 young missionaries were killed in the jungles of Ecuador as they worked to build a relationship with indigenous people who had long been known for their violent ways and isolated culture. Nate Saint and the other missionaries, including Jim Elliot, "had a burning desire to follow Jesus' command to take the gospel message into all the world. They had prayed for years for this primitive group that had never heard the redemption story of peace with God through the death of Christ."*

Because of their deaths, untold numbers of young people were motivated to give their lives to taking the message of Jesus to the unreached across the world. And today, a new generation is growing up and many of them are choosing to turn away from the its-all-about-me Western mentality and live their lives for the sake of the call...the call to take the pace and love of Jesus to dark and hurting places.

My son David is one of those. He'll actually be going to South America, Peru this time, to answer a call God put on his life last year. During a time of worship in our church, David had a vision of people in Peru calling for help. We had not been talking about Peru. We had not just had a missionary speak about Peru. We had just been having a normal, Sunday morning worship service. And God put this in my son's heart and mind. From there it grew to an oughtness that he was being led by God to go to those in need far away in Peru. And now he is going.

In three months, he will be leaving the safety and familiarity of home and traveling to a country and culture where he will be faced with many unknowns.
But one thing that he will know is that he is there because God called him for a purpose, to bring life where there is death, light where there is darkness, hope where there is futility, love where there is hatred.

Yesterday, we received a package in the mail from another young missionary, Jake Bikham. Jake is teaching in Ecuador and sent us items to sell to raise money for David, Anna, and Betsie's missionary trips. Among those items is a simple, wooden cross.

Turning the cross over, you see markings written into the wood. One set of markings resembles mountains. The other are the initials M.N. These initials belong to the man who made the cross, the initials of the grandson of one of the five men who killed Nate Saint and his companions 55 years ago.
The home of Nate Saint still stands. It is still used as a base for mission work in Ecuador. But over the decades, the house began to need work done on it and termite infestation meant that if major restoration was not undertaken, it would fall to bits. The restoration process took place last year and now pieces of the wood and nails are being used to make handcrafts that provide a financial living for area Ecuadorians. The cross we now have is fashioned from wood that was part of the house that Nate Saint and his family called home and that many of the other area missionaries would often gather in for meetings and fellowship.

Now this simple, wooden cross, a reminder of the lives that were freely given for the cause of Christ and THE LIFE of CHRIST given for all of us, is being used to help other young missionaries take the message of Jesus to those who need to be set free.

All proceeds from its sale will go straight to pay the expenses of David as he serves in Peru and Anna and Betsie as they serve in Thailand.

This item is one of a limited number of crosses made. There were just over 200 created and this one is numbered 71 on the bottom. The bidding on this simple yet powerful cross will start at $20. To bid on it, leave a comment with your name, contact information, and the amount you are bidding.

The auction will end on the evening of April 8. We will ship to anyplace in the U.S.A.

To read more about the life of Nate Saint, go to this website:

To read about the house restoration, go to:

*Quoted from:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


A package arrived today from one of Anna's friends, missionary to Ecuador Jake Bikham. To support Anna's efforts to go to Thailand this summer to minister to women and young girls trapped in or escaping the sex trade and human trafficking, he sent her a variety of Ecuadorian items to auction off. When we opened the package, the delicious, aromatic smell of coffee beans escaped.

This coffee is fair trade coffee produced by a cooperative of farmers living near the Cloud Forest of Ecuador. It is grown beneath the canopy of banana and other native trees with no pesticides or herbicides used. This particular bag of coffee is labeled "Expreso". Apparently, each of the farmers who is part of the cooperative also sets aside part of his land as protected forest.

SO all in all, this coffee rocks! It is grown in a way you can feel good about and if the smell is any indicator, you'll feel good about drinking it, too!

You can read more about Rio Intag coffee at these websites:

This coffee, which weighs 450g or approximately 1 pound, comes in a cute, agave-fiber, woven bag made by women who are part of the Rio Intag cooperative. We will start the bidding at $12. To bid on this fabulous, fair-trade coffee, leave a comment with your name, contact information, and the amount you are bidding for this item.

Thanks and we'd love for you to have a look at our other items for auction if you haven't yet. We've got some great items including jewelry from Thailand, painted eggs from Ukraine, hand-crocheted baby items, and purses from Asia and Swaziland.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Today is my mom's birthday. Due to distance and virus germs floating around our family, I couldn't be with her today.

The kids mailed her pictures, my beautiful and smart sister-in-law Stephanie helped me buy her flowers, and I called to wish her a happy birthday this morning complete with a trio sung by me, Merry, and Laura.

But none of that really seems enough for the woman who not only gave birth to me, but gave me freedom.

I don't ever remember my mom holding me back from making my dreams come true. Whether it was trying out for a part in a school play or going all the way to the other end of the state for college, she not only didn't try to stop me, she did what she could to help me. She was behind me all the way.

This is clearly illustrated by a photo I came across today as I was looking for some photos of me and my mom. The photo was a staged one taken by a newspaper photographer right before I left for Swaziland back in 1988 as a wide-eyed, fresh-from-college, twenty-two year old. You know it is staged because I would never have been able to have so easily carried a packed-for-Africa suitcase and overnight bag. But the idea behind the photo is still the same, staged or not. My mom knew that I was leaving for two years. She hoped to get to visit once during that time but there was no guarantee. She was letting me go to a foreign continent to live all by myself for the very first time in a brand new culture working with and for strangers.

As a mom myself, I can easily imagine the worries and fears that must have crossed her mind.

Heck! I couldn't even balance my own checkbook and Miss Messy Procrastinator could have been my pseudonym. Airhead was another apt descriptor. Yet despite these factors, my mom believed firmly that God had called me to leave my home and move thousands and thousands away to a country we had never even heard of just a few months before. She helped me buy the things I needed, she helped me keep the paperwork straight, she helped me pack the bags and trunk...the bags and trunk she had purchased for me! She did what she could to get me to Africa and then spent the next two years writing me copious amounts of letters, sending care packages, calling once a month despite the dollar-a-minute rate, and even invested the time and money to come visit me. She did all that she could to support me even from another nation.

I could list adjective after adjective that would describe my mom. Hardworking, faithful, and always-there-when-you-need-her are just a small fraction of the qualities I so appreciate in her. But today, what really hit me, was her willingness to let me go and her commitment to helping me go.

She let me go then, she is willing to let me go now.

As much as she'd love us living closer than 3 hours away, she knows that this is where God led us to live and work nearly two decades ago and she's never pressured us to change that.

And now we're facing moving much, much further away. We will be packing up and taking her grandbabies across the ocean to the country she first released me to 23 years ago. We've talked about it. It is hard to realize that we'll rarely see each other. It is hard to know that my younger children will grow up not knowing her the same way that my older children did. Even though we don't live in the same town as she does, we still live close enough to see each other every Christmas and get together every couple of months for birthdays or other special events. When we move to Africa, a simple car drive won't reunite us. It is hard to know that as she grows older, I won't be there to help her when she needs us.

But still.

Despite all that, she is letting me go without protest or guilt. She loves God. She loves me. And she knows that in order to fulfill God's plans for her life and for my life, she's got to let go...let go of what she might want for what she knows God wants.

That takes a strong, loving, amazing mama.

That woman is my mama.

Happy Birthday, Mom. I love and appreciate you so much! You have been and you continue to be an important part of God's provision for His precious little ones in Swaziland, Africa. Without you, there wouldn't be us going. You might not ever wear the title missionary, but you wear the title of beloved mother and grandmother to the ones He calls to go, and that's not just our family moving to Swaziland, but your grandchildren and all the different places around the world that God is taking them.

Mom, you will share in the eternal rewards because you have shared in our God dreams.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Yesterday, we featured a blue-and-white hat perfect for a baby boy. Today we have a hat in bright jewel hues perfect for the baby girl, or baby bear, in your life.

This hat was also hand-crocheted by my fellow Mississippi University for Women alum, Jayde Peterson. It measures 15 inches in circumference and is sized to fit a 6 - 13 month old baby.

The bidding on this hat will start at $8. All proceeds from this auction go towards my kids' mission trips to Thailand and Peru.

To bid on this bright hat, leave a comment with your name, contact information, and the amount of your bid. The auction will end on the evening of Friday, April 8.

Thanks, and if this is your first time to visit Graceland in a long time, please take time to look back over the last several posts for all the other items we are auctioning off and don't forget to check back. We've still got lots of great items coming up including handcrafted tote bags, items straight from a missionary in Latin America, a Poppy Dip creation, and a cute picture frame.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Yesterday, I posted a pretty blue and white headband offering crocheted by my fellow M.U.W. alum and Troubadour Sister, Jayde Peterson. Today I'm showing you a new blue and white offering, a baby boy's hat.

This hat is 15 inches in circumference and is sized to fit a baby boy approximately 6 to 12 months old.

It would make a wonderful baby shower gift or a cozy addition to the fall wardrobe of the baby boy in your life that's just been born. Heck, it could even be bought for a beloved teddy bear to sport.

The bidding on this hand-crocheted hat starts at $8. All proceeds go towards funding my 3 teenagers' mission trips. To bid on it, leave a comment with your name, contact information, and how much you are bidding. You do not have to live locally to participate in the auction. We will ship the hat to where you live or to the recipient if it is a gift. Also, if you are unable to leave a comment, call me, fb message me, or email me with your bid.


Saturday, March 19, 2011


Then check out this adorable headband hand-crocheted by my fellow Mississippi University alum and Troubadour sister, Jayde Peterson.

This headband would look great on any blue-and-white loving girl, big or little thanks to the adjustable headband. It would be especially appropriate if you're an MUW alum and want to show some school spirit at Homecoming or if you're a Troubadour with your "blue and white, flying high; pep and spirit you can't deny!"

All proceeds from the auction go towards my three teenagers' mission trips. Betsie is heading to Northern Thailand for two months to work primarily with orphans, street kids, English students, and people infected with HIV/AIDS. Anna is going for 1 month with Adventures in Missions. She'll be ministering to women and girls trapped in the sex trade and those who have left it and are starting a new life. And my son David is going to Peru for 1 month with Adventures in Missions to Peru. He'll be doing Vacation Bible Schools and soccer camps with kids living on the edge of and in the Amazon jungle.

The bidding starts at $8. To bid, leave a comment with your name, contact information, and amount you are bidding. The auction will end on the evening of Friday, April 8.

If for some reason you are unable to leave a comment, send me your bid via an email, fb message, or give me a call.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Sometimes God chooses surprising sources to bless us. I have a facebook friend that I've never met in real life. She is an "in real life" friend to a dear homeschool friend of mine that I've known for years. A couple of months ago, Stephanie heard that our church was helping a homeless family get moved into a home of their own and get back on their feet financially. My long-time friend told some of her friends about it and Melanie was one of the ones who stepped forward to help.

Since then, she's kept on ministering and showing the love of Jesus through her actions to this family because that is just who she is. She wants her world to know the Lord and His goodness.

This time she's showing that love for Jesus and her commitment to reaching the world for Him by participating in our online auction. She's using her ability to cook to raise money for my kids' to go across the world with the message of Jesus Christ.

Melanie's donation to this effort is a delicious, homecooked meal. The winning bidder chooses the entree from the choices of lasagna (homemade sauce) or poppy seed chicken casserole. The meal also includes green beans, rolls, and a homemade (from scratch), old fashioned, pound cake!

Melanie says that satisfaction is guaranteed. She cooks for the Wednesday night meals at church and receives lots of compliments and requests for her recipes. She can deliver the meal any day but Sunday. She will need 48-72 hours notice for the delivery date. The winning bidder should live in Brookhaven, Jackson, or immediate surrounding areas.

The bidding will start at $20. That's quite a deal for a full meal that you don't have to do any work to enjoy!

To participate, leave a comment with your name, the amount of your bid, and your contact information. If you are unable to post a comment for some reason, email me, call me, or message me via facebook. The auction will end the evening of Friday, April 8th.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


As I've said here before at Graceland, we really like St. Patrick's Day. Today we've ---

worn our green

eaten green food

colored St. Patrick's Day pictures

eaten corned beef and cabbage (made into sauerkraut and then transformed into Reubens)

listened to Irish music

and, of course, did pinching whenever anyone was caught not wearing the green.

But the most important thing we did was talk about the life of St. Patrick during our family's morning devotional time. Because you see, St. Patrick's Day is so much more than just green stuff and special food. It is definitely more than leprechauns and pots-of-gold. It is the celebration of a man who gave his life fully over to God. As a youth, Patrick was kidnapped, taken to Ireland, made a slave who watched over sheep in awful conditions, and then was led by God to escape. But he didn't stay away from the dark land of his enslavement forever. He heeded the call of God to return to Ireland, not to seek revenge, but to bring the light and love of Jesus to people who were in bondage to sin and darkness. Because of his obedience to God and the willingness to basically give his life for the people there, Christianity conquered the forces of evil and nearly the entire population turned to the true freedom of Jesus Christ.

So we are presented with a challenge on this day.

Just as St. Patrick was willing to take the love and light of Jesus to dark and dangerous Ireland because God told him to, may we also be willing to go into those dark and dangerous places that need the love and light that we have so benefited from.

What is your Ireland that God is calling you to?

Following God's call is not always easy, it might actually be the hardest, scariest thing that you've ever done. But maybe like Patrick, God will use you to change the very course of history for an entire nation. Why not? He's done it before and He can do it again...and again and again. All it takes is a willing and obedient heart.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Have you seen those bumper stickers? The one I love the most is the one that said "I brake for boiled peanuts". But back to St. Patrick's Day, we love this holiday around here. We love St. Patrick and admire immensely his willingness to follow the life God had planned for him once he radically entered into a relationship with the God who not only wanted to change Patrick's entire life, but the entire the nation of Ireland through Patrick. We admire Patrick so much that we named our 2nd son after him.

So yeah, St. Patrick's Day is a big deal around here. We usually start the day with green oatmeal, listen to lots of Irish music, have family devotion time that includes quotes/readings from St. Patrick, eat a big supper that HAS to include corned beef, and green clothes! Our family shows no mercy where pinching is concerned if you dare appear around them without displaying any green on your person.

In light of this, I thought I'd take a break from our auction posts and share a fun and easy St. Patrick's Day recipe given to me by one of my Five-in-a-Row mommy pals. My friend Mare lives in a big city up north where St. Patrick's Day is a big deal. One of their favorite family traditions is to make IRISH POTATOES, but believe me, these Irish potatoes are probably different from any potato you've ever had.


Mare says:

Here are two variations of the Irish Potato Candy. The recipes will make a few dozen pieces. I've cut the recipe in half to make a smaller amount.

The first one is the one that we made growing up. I think the box is equal to 4 cups of sugar and 14 oz. of coconut is equal to 3.5 cups. You may want to use less sugar and thus less milk.



1 lb. box of confectioners sugar (10X)
1 14 oz. bag of coconut
3 Tbsp. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
8 tsp. milk


Mix all ingredients except the cinnamon. Shape into 1 in. round balls. Roll in cinnamon. Shake off the excess cinnamon.

This next one is richer. It has the cream cheese but no coconut for those who don't like it. Again, you may want to adjust the sugar amount.



4 oz softened cream cheese
1/4 lb butter -- softened
4 cups of confectioners' sugar


Blend cream cheese and butter together well. Stir in confectioner's sugar. Roll into potato shape. Then roll thoroughly in cinnamon. May keep chilled until ready to serve.


Don't those sound easy and simply yummy? I think this is going to become one of those traditions that my kids are going to ask for every year.

If you are looking for other ideas of celebrating St. Patrick's Day, you might want to check out some of my blog posts from St. Patrick's Day past:

So what ways will you be especially Irish on March 17?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


My sweet friend and Troubadour Social Club sister, Katie Robinson, has donated this darling, hand-crocheted headband to help us raise money for the upcoming mission trips. This item would make a lovely baby shower gift or the perfect Easter accessory for the tiny, baby girl in your life.

This hand-stitched crochet headband is about 13.5-14" in circumfrence and about 1" wide. The attached flower is about 2.5"x3". It is made with plum-colored Caron Simply Soft Yarn (100% acrylic). The size and softness would make it perfect for a newborn to 1 month old.

To bid on this item, leave a comment with your name, contact information, and the amount you are bidding. The bid will start at $6. If you are unable to post a comment for some reason, send me a fb message, call me, or email me. The auction will end on the evening of April 8 so there is plenty of time to get to you before Easter.


And thanks to Katie for blessing us with your time and talent.

P.S. Katie says that if you would like this headband in another size or color, she'd be glad to make one to fit your specifics. You'd get a custom-designed headband and my kids would get money for their ministry trips. Now that's a sweet deal!

Monday, March 14, 2011


Behold this beautifully, handpainted cross. I just love it! It would actually look GREAT in my house but I've got to stop buying the donations and actually sell them!

This painting was done by Betty Hodge who attends church with us and is one of my daughter Betsie's best "grown-up" friends. Betty has a real heart for God and this is demonstrated by her lifestyle. She puts that love into action as she serves her family, her friends, her homeschool group, her Sunday School girls, and her church as a whole.

The bidding on this fabulous painting begins at $20. To bid on it, leave me a comment with your name, the amount you are bidding, and your contact information. The auction will end on the evening of Friday, April 8.

Thank you, Betty, for your donation and thanks to all of you for taking the time to visit Graceland and our online auction to raise money for my kids' mission trips. And if you would, we'd really appreciate you passing on the link to this auction to your contacts via facebook, twitter, and blogging.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Don't you just love it? Well, it can be yours! It is the latest item up for auction on behalf of my 3 oldest kids' mission trips. This colorful keychain is another item picked up during a ministry adventure by my friend Clinton White.

This keychain would make a great little gift for someone you know who loves Haiti or keep it for yourself as a reminder to pray for the people of Haiti as they continue to rebuild their nation.

The starting bid for this item is $5. If you want to bid on it, leave your name, the amount of your bid, and your contact information as a comment.


And to read about Clinton's time spent ministering in Haiti, visit his blog at:

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Today marks the second day of our online auction to raise money for my three teenagers' mission trips.

All of today's offerings come from my missionary friend Clinton White. He previously did a WORLD RACE mission trip with ADVENTURES IN MISSIONS that took him to 11 nations in 11 months. He has since spent time ministering in other places including Haiti and Ukraine. To read more about his missionary adventures, go to his blog:

In the meantime, let the bidding begin on these beautiful items from exotic lands.

These two bracelets were made by women and girls who have escaped the sex trade industry of Thailand or were at high risk of turning to prostitution. They were made at Narimon, the women's product division of Servantworks. When an item is bought from Narimon, the money is used to help a women stay financially independent of needing the sex industry for her livelihood. When Clinton bought this jewelry, he was helping women who are working to find and maintain their dignity. And when you buy this jewelry, the money will be used to help my girls who will be working this summer to help other women either leave the sex industry or never find themselves in a situation where they feel forced to enter it.

This first bracelet is made of various brown stones including "tiger's eye" and is a "coil" bracelet that can be made to fit any size arm, wrist, or even ankle.

This green one is also made of stone chips and is in a coil form.

The bidding on each bracelet starts at $8,

To place a bid, leave a comment with your name, contact information, if you want the green or brown bracelet, and the amount you are bidding. This auction will last end the evening of April 1 so that any jewelry ordered will have time to get to the winner before Easter. If for some reason you are unable to comment, send me an email, call me, or fb message with your bid amount.

To read more about Servantworks and Narimon, visit their website at: