I recently realized that this post would be my 400th. Which is hard to fathom, that you’ve put up with me this long…

So, in light of 400 posts through a couple of years, it’s time for a little giveaway. Well, a giveaway and an announcement.

Remember my last post? Where I poured my heart out, and put a list up– my rambling list of things I have wanted to do? The one where I said something about creating with my hands and resting? I’ve been doing that. A lot. And dreaming. And starting a little shop of sorts on etsy.com. I have found that making creative things with my hands relaxes me, and keeps my mind in a good place. So I’m sharing that shop with you now, and giving away 3 items from my etsy shop, ElizabethSt to 3 different readers. The item can be of your choice, one item per winner. I’m going to announce the 3 winners on Tuesday, Sept. 21st. To win, you need to leave a comment with your first name (no initials, sorry) and your email address. (Address will not be published.) BUT. The comment has two requirements:  1) A little survey of what you’d like to see on this blog going forward– what type of posts are your favorite? Do you like only photos and wish I’d zip my lip? Do you like to hear about the day to day? Are there any types of posts you miss seeing? And, most importantly, #2) I’d like the comment to include your favorite quote, or some little snippet of wisdom you’ve carried with you. Something meaningful and inspiring. (Please, nothing untoward.) Something to make us all smile. Because I don’t know about you, but I can stand to do a little more smiling lately.

So now you can get to commenting; tell your friends to comment, too, and come back Tuesday. Meanwhile, here’s a peek at my etsy shop, ‘ElizabethSt’.

(There’s also a new link in the menu bar up top. Check often; things are updated and changed frequently.)

September 17, 2010 - 12:57 pm

Jennifer - Betsy, Let me first start off saying that I am happy you are feeling better and getting back to what you love doing. I truly love your blog, its refreshing and inspiring. I love your talent of writing…and photography. I find that most of your posts ‘slow’ me down in the busy day to day routine.
I hope you bring back ‘Friday Favorites’ I really enjoyed learning about places / products / ideas. You always have fun and fresh ideas to brighten your readers day.

Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.
Mother Teresa

September 17, 2010 - 1:28 pm

Cheryl - I enjoy reading what is going on in your house, with the kids and seeing them even when not in person.

Chin up, chest out, feet forward.


September 17, 2010 - 6:10 pm

Julie - I love your “rambling” as you call it. It encourages me to keep going forward with the things in my life. It makes me want to be a better mom. In your last post it made me realize how many times I put my kids to bed and say “I can’t snuggle tonight.I have homework.” I’ve quit doing that ever since. Because in 10 years or even one year I won’t remember how tired I was, but I will either regret the time I didn’t spend with my kids or be thankful for the time that I did. Thanks for that eye opener.

My favorite quote is from myself. I tell it to my children…(and remind myself of it too…)

“Do it (a chore) with a smile on your face and a song in your heart”


September 17, 2010 - 6:31 pm

Sarah - Betsy,
I love your blog!! It makes me feel more connected to you. I love reading the words you write and looking at the pics you post. You have a gift of writing and photography. I do miss seeing the Friday favorites. I check your blog at least once a day, so when I would see your Friday favorite, it was always a reminder for me to find something to be thankful for and be my own “Friday Favorite!!” I actually want to share two quotes since I can’t decide on which one: “If you need someone to just listen, then just pray” and “Don’t allow the questions of your heart to overturn your faith…Allow your faith to overturn the questions of your heart.” Both of these quotes are hanging on plaques I bought on my wall in my room. I see them everyday, and they are very good reminders to me and help me get through each day!!
Keep up the good work,

September 17, 2010 - 7:01 pm

Betsy - Julie, your quote made me laugh– and I can’t wait to use it on my kids! (They are SO going to look at me like I’m nuts, since I’ve never said it like that before.) So thanks! (and I’m wondering– does it really work?)

September 17, 2010 - 7:31 pm

Sarah - Betsy,
Every time I read your “ramblings” or see your beautiful pictures it makes me smile and brightens my day a little. Your imagination and outlook on life and what it holds for a person has caused me to up my standards of what I expect out of an ordinary day. One specific thing that I really enjoy is seeing your own creativity in decorating and crafts. More than once I have been inspired to create something because of what I have seen on your blog.
As for words that have meant something to me, I have to use a quote from a favorite character:
“When I left Queen’s my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I’m going to believe that the best does. It has a fascination of its own, that bend, Marilla.”
“Things turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out”.

September 17, 2010 - 8:41 pm

erin - Betsy,

I’m beginning to realize you CAN get to know someone who is 1000 miles away through what they write on their blogs. By sharing emotions, struggles, joys, achievements, and failures you help us get our minds off of ourselves for a little bit and we all know we can use help with that. You help me want to take more pictures and care less about how dusty my house is, to stop and savor the sunshine instead of pay attention to the “to do” list. My husband has told me time and time again to play with Sierra instead of rushing to get the house clean…because we all know how fast kids grow up. I know you’ve mentioned this a few times yourself too.
As for what I like about your blog, I would have to say the day to day “posted in Our Life” posts get me most excited. Just getting a peek into your life and how you handle a certain situation inspires me. Like decorating for the 1st day of school. That’s something I want to do for my kids.

And the quote? Well, let’s just say as Christians, it’s a common one, but boy does it ever bring me peace and helps me to trust.

“God never gives you more than you can handle”. Betsy, as you’ve gone through sickness and surgery, surely you can testify that this quote is true and that He is always there, lightening our load, when we feel we will surely break.

Much Love,

September 17, 2010 - 8:59 pm

Julie - Betsy,
Does my quote work? Um…well…not always. But sometimes. Its one of those long term goal thingies we do as moms. Something that I hope my kids will do as adults and pass on to their children. So that their children can roll their eyes at them. Sometimes I even need to say it to myself. Quite frequently in fact.
Let me know well your kids take it. After the nutty look they give you ;o)

September 18, 2010 - 7:17 am

Shannon - Well, I love the blend of posts you leave. Because one of anything is just plain boring, IMHO! So that fact that you incorporate the day to day and the photos, makes for some good lurking :)

My quote of wisdom is this (I picked two because, well, I love them both:)

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; for they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – M.Proust

“Here’s to good women, may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.”

September 18, 2010 - 10:59 am

Darla - Betsy,
oh no,please don’t zip your lips! That is my favorite part…you have such a way with words that many of us lack. I do love your photography too, your creative ideas, interesting settings, unique style. I really enjoy seeing your children and hearing about what goes on in your household. You have encouraged me to cherish the little moments, forget about things that “should” get done, and just hold on to our children while they are little and while we have them.

“Enjoy the little things. One day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”

September 18, 2010 - 7:19 pm

Jess - #1) I love the daily photo, with the number of the day as the title. I really love honesty. It is a cleansing breath…and when you speak it out loud for others to hear, suddenly you feel not so alone any more.

#2) My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in (your) weakness. 2 Cor 12:9

September 19, 2010 - 6:17 am

Betsy - Thanks for all the feedback so far, everyone. I’m really enjoying reading your favorite quotes. Keep ‘em coming!

September 19, 2010 - 7:38 pm

Kayla - #1)ok, please don’t change anything about the blog. I’ve loved everything, from everyday blurbs to Friday favorites (which I always buy, whether I really need it or not :) I especially love your writing. Seriously, last year when I was away from home, stuck in a small dorm room, I would just look at your blog everyday and my spirits were immediately lifted. You gave me a piece of home, a look into real love, a glimpse of the simple, everyday family life that I was craving. It still does that to this day. Your pictures and especially your words inspire me to be a better person and really look and appreciate things that would otherwise be overlooked. To pick up the camera and document my grandparents holding hands. To catch the real laughs of my sisters. To see the way evening light can make a beautiful thing look that much more breathtaking. You’re blog has done this, for me and for all the other readers. And for that I thank you, and ask you to please not change anything. Because I tend to need many reminders to slow down, look around, and enjoy.
#2) I have so many quotes, its taking me forever to decide. But one of my all time favorites thats actually posted on my wall to remind me everyday: “The cure for anything is saltwater: sweat, tears, and the sea.” – Isak Dinesen

September 20, 2010 - 5:23 am

Mary - Betsy,

Your blog is an enjoyable part of my day….it’s wonderful the way it is! Interesting quotes such as you post are an inspiration for many!

One of my favorite ‘quotes’ is from Proverbs 16…Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.

Keep up the good work, & keep smiling. We appreciate you!


September 20, 2010 - 5:52 am

Bethany - Betz, the best part of your blog is you! Its the way you take your pictures. The way you describe the moments you take them, its like we are all with you. Its the quotes you pick and the songs you post and sometimes sing :) You share more than just a hobby with us, you share you and your most prized possesion, your family. The quiet moments in your house that only you and paul are there for. Connor and Nora snuggled together looking at a book. Joel helping you in the garden. I love to see the fun things you do with the kids like baking or making giant bubbles and special mile stones….like the first day of school or fun family traditons like washing your hair in the rain. You put so much of your heart into each and every post and it shows.
The quote that I think about everyday and that is now printed on my desk so I can see it everyday is one by Elizabeth Stone….Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. I have in the past, almost, 2 years really experienced that for myself!
Luv ya, Bethany

September 20, 2010 - 5:59 am

Ellen - Betsy – please don’t change the blog. Of course I love the pictures, but the stories you tell with them are the best part of ‘blog stalking.’ :~)

As for a quote – how about a song that I’m sure Girl Scout troops everywhere are still singing:

Make new friends, but keep the old/ One is silver and the other gold/ A circle’s round/it has no end/That’s how long I want to be your friend.

September 20, 2010 - 7:47 am

Gwen - I love your photography and love reading about your family life. Even though I have never met you before, I feel like I halfway know you!

Here is a favorite quote of mine….given to me from my grandpa!
“Love many, trust few. Always paddle your own canoe!”

September 20, 2010 - 8:19 am

Jayme - Betsy- As has been said so many times, my favorite part of these, besides, of course, the beautiful pictures, are the words you share with each one. Not only are they an insight to your life, they are inspiring and a little smile that comes into my day each time my feed says that Betsy has a new blog entry! You were blessed with the gift of words and we are blessed that you decided to share that gift with us.

I’m not sure where I heard this quote, but I just said it one day though I’m sure I could not have made this up on my own! I have it permanently written on my white board to remind myself each day: “Keep your chin up and your knees down.”

September 20, 2010 - 8:32 am

Lisa - I enjoy reading your blog so much. What I appreciate most is your ability to appreciate the beauty of ordinary things that are around each one of us. I wouldn’t change a thing.
I have many favorite quotes, but one that sticks out is this: One day at a time– this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering.”

-Ida Scott Taylor, English author

September 20, 2010 - 11:24 am

Donna - Betsy, I like ALL your posts — photos are beautiful and you
capture beauty in a way that I would never see it. Day-to-day is great with your creative ideas. And I admire the way you express yourself so openly as that is not always easy for me to do. Your posts most always make me smile.
One quote I remember my mother saying (and Owie said he got the same advice from his Uncle Johnny) was “don’t talk about someone else’s kids ’cause you don’t know what your own will do”!
Probably my favorite, though, is the “golden rule” — “Do unto others as you’d like them to do unto you.”

September 20, 2010 - 12:11 pm

Lisa - For some reason, I thought you wanted our favorite quote you’ve already put on the blog. Er, yes. I should read more closely.

How about this one?

When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.

September 20, 2010 - 12:31 pm

Betsy - @ Lisa: So funny! I didn’t even recognize the quote you wrote as being from this blog. I just thought, “Oh, what a nice quote!” It did sound familiar…

September 20, 2010 - 5:16 pm

Charlotte - I love the way you write your thots on paper. I love the way you tell us about your children and the love you have for them and your hubby.
My favorite comment is: Life is like a flat tire. If you don’t fix it, you won’t go anywhere.

September 20, 2010 - 5:45 pm

Pam - Betsy,
Please don’t change anything about your blog. The girls and I always love looking at it. We especially love seeing the pictures of your beautiful family. You certainly have a way with words.
One of my favorite quotes is “To succeed in life you need three things. A wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone”. Reba

September 20, 2010 - 7:26 pm

Lanae - Betsy-

Your pictures are always so beautiful. I really enjoy your writting too…so keep it all up. I like to take pictures some myself and like to get ideas from your posts. It is always good to hear about you and your family…especially the kids. I feel like I know them and you a little more! Take care Betsy…
“Blessed are the flexible…for they will not get bent outa shape”

September 20, 2010 - 8:00 pm

Jill - Betsy, I appreciate your blog so much….all the photos AND the writing. I seriously think you could take up a career as a writer. You have such talent with the written word. You have helped me see the world differently through the pictures you take. Especially those where you zero in on one detail and the rest of the picture is blurred into the background. It brings to life the everyday things that really matter. I love the family photos – posed and relaxed. As someone who is experimenting with my camera,I do appreciate it when you post your camera settings on occasion.

In high school English class this quote was on a sign in our room, “Be sure brain is in gear before engaging mouth”. I’ve thought of it often over the years. And I eat a lot less leather when I remember it :-)

Love across the miles….

September 21, 2010 - 6:51 am

Carole - Betsy,
I love the photo images you post ~ daily “ins & outs” of your family life, and the baby, wedding & family shots of your many clients. The added comments you post with each photo are my favorite. Your words always make me smile, and sometimes a so-so day becomes much brighter because of it. I love your latest of Connor and his eyelashes. I, too, have a little one with eyelashes that beg for a picture except he doesn’t stay in one place long enough for a decent shot! I have 2 favorite quotes. The first “Be still, and know that I am God:” -Psalm 46 has very special meaning to me. The second makes me smile “I know that God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that he didn’t trust me so much.”- Mother Theresa
May God bless you in your work.

September 21, 2010 - 1:59 pm

Dorothy - Betz: Don’t you dare zip your lip!! Love your blog and check it often. One of my favorite quotes (can’t remember who said it) is “Gratitude is the parent of all other virtues”. I also really loved Bill S.’s definition of HOPE a few weeks ago (and actually thought a lot about you when I heard it). It went something like this “Hope is the eager anticipation of the unknown events of the future.” Not sure if I got it quite right, but you get the meaning. Keep the blog coming.

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