Posts filed under Reviews

Falling Free - A Book Review & Giveaway

Preface :: Every now and then I get all crazy obsessive about a book or something and go ballistic on social media outlets. #Sorrynotsorry I just love sharing the things I love with you. But all that to say, I want to clarify again, this blog & my social media outlets are not for sale. I choose to NEVER get compensated for my reviews because I like to keep this space as authentic as possible. I want you to know and trust that when I say I love something, it’s because I REALLY LIKE IT, not because there’s an ulterior motive. This has been an intentional choice of mine… so carry on friends and know that I’m about to totally 186% recommend something, and regardless of whether you click on the link or not… I will still receive ZERO dollars at the end of the day. So you should probably just go ahead and click on the link and buy the book anyways. YOU’RE WELCOME.

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Y’all, I posted an article by Shannan Martin a few weeks ago YELLING at you to go pre-order her book and I wasn’t kidding. I have officially finished Falling Free, and I cannot tell you how much I love it. (But I can tell you that if you’re related to me, there’s a 100% chance you’ll be getting this book for Christmas. So SURPRISE! Get excited.).

if you know me well, you know I love to read. A lot. And I’ve noticed a trend in Christian literature as of late. There are a lot books about Jesus that are inspiring, self-help books that give tips on how to make our Christian lives better. This book isn’t that; in fact it’s opposite. Falling Free is a memoir about how letting go of the perfect Christian life freed Shannan to live the life Christ had always called her to. In Falling Free you’ll hear stories of infertility, adoption, loss, hard relationships, beauty, meals spent with people with addictions, jail records, and sending kids to that school with the bad reviews. You'll hear her successes and her failures, her dreams and her crushed plans, but mostly you get a front row seat to God wrecking her calling and giving her a new one. It’s funny, relatable, but mostly convicting. 

In an age where the American dream is mixed together with Christian moralism, this book strips away our tendency for more and pushes for less. Shannan does a fantastic job at not writing a “how-to” book, but rather a collection of life experiences, the good, the bad and the ugly. Her storytelling inspires readers to pursue Jesus and his love for the marginalized, all the while examining our own hearts. 

Here are a few quotes from the book that hit home for me:

“It’s hard to pine for heaven when you already believe you’re there.”

(Oh OKAY Shannan, don't pull any punches now.)

and...

“We so often say we believe that there is no safer place than the center of God’s will, but we refuse to believe he would ever lead us to places of brokenness or danger.”

(Welp, I had to sit on that one for a while & really evaluate my prayer for God's will in my life).

and...

Y'all, as you can see from just the quotes... this book kicked my tail in the best of ways. 

So much of my hard-wiring as a southerner who values hospitality was challenged. Shannan’s realistic perspective about home, life, and community really convicted me to care less about what was served around the table and to care more about who should have a seat at the table. And as our family embarks on a move to Texas, it really has changed the way we look at the housing market, schools, church, and the many other choices we’ll make during this upcoming transition.

I could go on and on, but the truth is… you need this book. I need this book. The church needs this book. My only regret is that I haven’t lived a life that would qualify me able to write it. 

So do yourself a favor and meet Shannan Martin and pre-order Falling Free. You won’t regret it. 

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And BECAUSE I LOVE YALL & IT SO STINKIN MUCH. I'm offering a give away over on Instagram. The rules are pretty simple:

1. Follow me on Instagram

2. Just comment on the post on Instagram and leave your email address in the comment below! If you don't want to post your email address publicly just DM it to me!

I'll post the winner on Friday by noon on Instagram. 

Much love y'all,

Posted on September 14, 2016 and filed under Things I love---, Reviews.

Baltimore or Bust.

baltimoreSo every couple needs a getaway weekend every now and then. Am I right? But for real... it. was. time. Don't get me wrong, the Mister and I are SUPER fortunate to have a group of family and friends who watch the girls for us when we need a quick date night... but there is something about leaving for a WHOLE night or two that is just so rejuvenating! So this mama and papa peaced out for a few days and did a lil exploring in the great city of Baltimore. I don't know what I was expecting... but Baltimore definitely surpassed my expectations. WOW - that Harbor is beautiful!!

So I brought my big fancy camera along and took a whopping 0.0 pictures. Disappointing. I know. But thanks to our fancy phones we captured our trip with Instagram and the Vine.

Side Note: I'm not sure if you're familiar with the Vine or not... but it's a video app a lot like instagram, but with videos instead of pics.  I'm becoming semi-obsessed with it... so you should probably just download the app and join in on the fun.  And evidently you can embed VINE videos now into your blog... but my blog won't let me. :( So if you want to see them... you'll just have to click the hyperlinks.  ;)

So back to the trip... I will say that we had one minor hiccup during our trip... and that was the hotel that I booked. I may or may not have booked the cheapest hotel I could find AND it may or may not have been a complete bust. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the MISTER!!! We've come to celebrate!!! In a hotel with holes in the sheets, no air conditioning, and rust on the towels!!! yikes. In my defense, their website happened to leave off those few minor details. In fact, the pics and description looked beautiful... Le sigh. Needless to say, we only stayed there 1 night and then found a different hotel the next night. :) Whoopsies. My B. But no worries... that didn't stop us from having fun.

 We had a BLAST just exploring the Inner Harbor & walking around. We got to visit with some sweet friends who just moved to Baltimore to start a church plant - they are awesome people and I adore them. It was so refreshing to get to walk around their neighborhood and see their new life and home. I love being able to picture where they live now!

Obrien

 And then after we said goodbye to our friends, we just explored the city the rest of the time. We took a speedboat tour of the Harbor, ate at fabulous restaurants (ok, but for real... Miss Shirley's... O.M.G. DELICIOUS)...

Foodie

Are you drooling yet? HELLO french toast cinnamon rolls...WHAT?!  GLORY. Hallelujah. and Amen.

 Then on our last day, it was a little rainy so we visited the Aquarium. WHICH I LOVED. Ok but for real... Put me in a room with Dolphins... and I'm going to have a sea cow. I was in heaven. I think I took a dozen pics/videos. I am SO fascinated by marine life. It's an incredibly intriguing world and every time I go to Sea World or an aquarium, I get the sudden desire to become a dolphin trainer (like everyone else there) and then I realize how much I did NOT enjoy science in school... and so going through four years of science classes just so I could hug a dolphin isn't the most rational idea. So I just opt to beg the Mister to take me to one of those "Swim with the dolphins" trips instead. It's going to happen people... it's going to happen.

But for real, Baltimore was a beautiful city, but this mama was READY to come back and see my girls. I thoroughly enjoyed a few days away alone with my best friend, but a few days was plenty... I think I was about to knock over the folks in front of me on the airplane while we were waiting to get off. Upon seeing PIL at the car, I said a quick hi and then TAKE ME TO MY BABIES. Please and Thank you. It was a happy reunion for sure.

Alright... babies are waking up from their naps... so this mama's gotta bust a move, but that's our Baltimore trip in a nutshell! Go there sometime. It's awesome.

Much love to you all,

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New Fav Cookie: Double Chocolate Chip

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This post has nothing to do with the babies... I KNOW?! Crazy right?!?! This might be a first since they've entered into our world.

Anywho, for those of you who know me, you know I love to cook/bake and there is nothing that brings me more joy than to find an awesome new fav. on Pinterest. This year, I found the jackpot for chocolate lovers. I've made these cookies a couple of times and they are a hit. So without further adieu I'm going to share the recipe with yall because it is TOO good not to share.

Again, this is NOT my personal recipe (I don't want to take credit where credit is NOT due). Although, I must confess I do tend to take a recipe and never follow it exactly (a little more vanilla here, a TON more chocolate chips there, etc). But if you're looking for the foundation for a great double chocolate chip cookie recipe, look no further. I found the recipe on Pinterest, but the original recipe can be found here at Kitchen Simplicity. Also, all photo creds also go to the original recipe blog.

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Here is the original recipe directly from Kitchen Simplicity (great foodie blog to follow... fyi). The only "official" alteration I usually make is I definitely do more chocolate than the original recipe requires. Sorry I don't quite measure, but I'm guessing that I usually use probably double the chocolate chips and I probably use 5-6 oz. of semi sweet choc. to mix with the butter. Hey, the more chocolate the merrier... right? Also, I must scoop out bigger cookies because this will usually get me 20-24 cookies... definitely not 30.

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Enjoy!

Much love,

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Posted on December 10, 2012 and filed under Food, Reviews, Things I love---, Recipes.