Sunday, February 1, 2015

you can't sit with us {giveaway}

you can't sit with us

I'm so excited that the second book from the Mean Girl Makeover series by Nancy Rue is now out! The author takes a serious look at bullying in the form of three fiction books from three different perspectives. The first book, So Not Okay, is told from the perspective of the bystander. The second book, You Can't Sit With Us, is told from the perspective of the victim.

Ginger is a new girl at Gold Country Middle School, so the "Pack" led by Kylie, picks on her for no obvious reason other than her new girl status. The "Code" put together by Ginger and her friends, known as the Tribelet, brought an awareness to the bullying that was happening at their school. Everyone signed the code as a pledge to stop bullying, everyone, that is, except Kylie. She takes bullying to a whole new level when she turns to social media to spew her taunts online.

This is a heartwarming and eye opening perspective told from the victim, Ginger. Whether your child is a victim of bullying or not, chances are they have at least witnessed it. Did you know 1 in 4 kids are bullied at school? That's a high percentage. This book helps to bring awareness around this very serious issue that our children face.


I have one copy of You Can't Sit With Us up for giveaway courtesy of Tommy Nelson. Giveaway is open to U.S. addresses only. Enter through Rafflecopter below!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

To see a sampling of this book, click here!

Disclosure: I received a free copy of You Can't Sit With Us from Tommy Nelson in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, January 30, 2015

search for the shadow key {giveaway}

search for the shadow key

Wayne Thomas Batson is at it again with the second in the Dreamtreaders series now out! Search For The Shadow Key continues to follow Archer Keaton, dreamtreader, who has his work cut out for him now that his fellow dreamtreaders are no longer around. Life in the Dream is not slowing down and Archer must protect the Dream and Waking World from colliding into one, thus creating a chaos that would be a nightmare. His only hope is to find the shadow key.

This novel for middle schoolers is a great way to weave an interesting story into some important truths that all children need. Resisting temptation and making choices even when it's difficult are both themes that are seen throughout this tale of adventure and fantasy.


I have one copy of Search For The Shadow Key to give away courtesy of Tommy Nelson! Giveaway is open to U.S. addresses only. Enter through Rafflecopter below!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a free copy of Search For The Shadow Key from Tommy Nelson in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

jesus is student edition {giveaway}

Jesus Is giveaway

I absolutely LOVE today's giveaway courtesy of Tommy Nelson. Non-fiction books for 10-14 year olds can sometimes come across as boring. NOT THIS ONE! Author Judah Smith does a fantastic job of weaving humor into this book that gives kids a glimpse of a loving God that they would want to follow. He tells Bible stories like they happened yesterday and shows diagrams that really help to reinforce who God is. As a parent, some of the things that I love about this book is that he writes like he talks, like he's sitting right across from you and engaging you in a heart-to-heart discussion about God. He tackles tough topics like sin and grace with such ease. I also love the thought provoking questions he asks at the end of each chapter. This book is a great jumpstart to pre-teens and teens discovering who God is!


Thanks to Tommy Nelson, I have one copy of Jesus Is ______________ Student Edition to give away. Giveaway is open to US addresses only. Enter through Rafflecopter below!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Click here to see a sampling of this book!

Disclosure: I received a free copy of Jesus Is _______ Student Edition from Tommy Nelson in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

a prayer from the heart

a prayer

All my kids have ever known is a life of traveling around the globe, learning to make "home" in a land where you're considered a foreigner. They go to school where their accent is visibly different. Sometimes they hand out plates of food to kids who love the touch of their cool skin and soft hair. Their lives have never been considered what the world would classify as "normal." I'm thankful for that. I've always thought how cool it would have been to grow up like they are, but that's because I know what "normal" is like. They don't, and they find there's a mystery in what that kind of life would look like. I didn't realize there was a place deep within that wondered until our family was in the Nairobi airport flying back to S. Africa after spending 2 1/2 weeks loving on the beautiful children of Kenya. I was chatting with Emma G about our trip and how amazing our life is that we get to do incredible things for Jesus. That's when I heard it...the mystery, the wonder of what "normal" looks and feels like. It wasn't a disappointment in our life. It was simply a wonder of the unknown. It was out of that conversation that  a prayer from my heart came forth, a prayer for my kids and a prayer for me as I've been entrusted with the raising of these precious lives. Please join me over at Tommy Nelson and then pause and utter your own prayer from the heart for those that have taken up the calling of world changers all over the world. Siyabonga!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

snowy's celebration

happy birthday!

Last week we celebrated our dog's first birthday. I know. It's totally ridiculous. I want to hide behind the fact that, amidst Summer days that can get hot and boring for a child, it was a perfect opportunity for my little girl to exercise her planning skills and plan a party celebration (her words). Yes, that was it. Otherwise, I fear we might look like THAT family. You know, the ones that dote on their pets. The truth is, though, that we love this dog, and ridiculous as it may, we celebrated her birthday in true party fashion.

party hats

I tasked Emma G with planning the details. She got our her notebook and carefully wrote everything down. She delegated. She baked. She researched on Pinterest. She's a natural.

party plates


The party hat and plate decorating was all her idea as well as the food bar. "Pupcakes," "pupcorn," tropical punch for the attendees, and water for the guest of honor were all on the menu. We even made some homemade dog treats which Snowy LOVED, because the main ingredient was peanut butter, her favorite!

peanut butter treats

Joshua thought we were totally ridiculous and acted like he wanted no part of the fuss. That was his pre-teen "this is not cool" talking. Once Emma G started the games, he cracked a smile even though HE was looking totally ridiculous. We played a dog tricks balloon game. It goes something like this. You write a dog trick on a piece of paper, stuff it inside a balloon, and blow it up. You keep the balloon in the air, and when the music stops, whoever last touched it, has to pop the balloon, and do the trick inside. So ridiculous and hilarious. See if you can guess their tricks!

wag your tongue

play dead

The last activity was a photo shoot with Snowy. I had to laugh. Just about every party I throw involves a photo shoot at some point. You have to document these things, you know.

being silly

a girl and her dog

so cool

Lazy Summer days filled with ridiculous pet celebrations come to an end tomorrow when the kids start back to school. Families that dote on their pets remain.

Happy Birthday, Snowy!

Thursday, January 8, 2015



"Celebrate good times. Come on!"

Those may be the lyrics to a catchy song, but they certainly ring true. We serve a God that is for us, who wants good things for us. That's how, even in the midst of difficulty, we can celebrate, because God is at work doing great things!

Celebrating is one of the things I'm holding onto this year. Worry leads to stress, but celebration. It leads to trust and joy. I loved reading the book of Job recently and how he made a decision to thank God through all of his trials. Join me over at Tommy Nelson as I share about celebrating God's work in our lives!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

hello, 2015


Happy 2015, friends! I've been silent in these parts for quite a while. Over 3 months to be exact! It's not because I haven't had anything to say. It's more about boring details of time and not having enough of it, so something had to give. I told you. Boring. Let's just all blink and pretend October 31st, the day I was last here, was yesterday (after all, that IS what it feels like), and start afresh. Isn't that what a new year is all about? Starting afresh?

2015. I am thankful for a new year. 2014 was good, but I'm sensing that 2015 is all about a year of change for me. There's a change coming in my day-to-day (so ready for that), but more importantly, there's a change that I need to be intentional about and make in my life.

{Insert real and raw honesty here.}

The biggest change coming for me is in the area of health. I've always prided myself on valuing health and eating healthy. This year, though, has challenged my stress limits to the max. When I searched for the word 'stress' in my blog feed, I realize I've written a lot about my struggle to handle stress. I even mentioned it in my last blog post. I've cried out to my Jesus several times to help me in this area, but I realize that putting a concerted effort toward making a change in this area, along with His help, is what is going to bring something that will last.

Managing stress the wrong way has led to some bad habits (including eating, sleeping, time management, etc.). My spiritual, emotional, and physical health has suffered.  Change is a must if I'm going to be able to function and enjoy life. I'm ready for the challenge.

In the coming weeks, I'm going to write about some of the change that I've already started making and some that I hope to incorporate as the year goes on (a little at a time, right?). It's amazing how just a few changes really can make a difference, like drinking beetroot juice every.single.morning.

I look forward to seeing you around again. Be on the lookout for posts about the family trip to Kenya we made last month. So good!

Happy 2015!

Friday, October 31, 2014

in the studio :: life's a beach

Welcome to In The Studio, a place to show off your studio and meet some great artists! Sooooo, it's been two weeks since I posted anything on this blog. I apologize for standing you all up last week. I have an excuse, whether good or not, I don't know.

I was at the beach.

That's pretty good, right? I mean life's a beach, isn't it? What does that even mean? Anyway, I spent last week down in Cape Town, and it was wonderful. How could it not be when this is the view?

I think I can handle this view.

About to watch the sunset over the ocean. #SoRomantic ��

Some of it was work, but some was vacation with my better half. It's always so good to get away, isn't it?

Off to a fancy date with this hottie! @jeremyclayprice

Sunset #selfie.

Don't you just love our matching sunglasses?

I want to sincerely thank all of you for your In The Studio link-ups the past several years from when Studio JRU hosted and then I started hosting. It's always been a joy to see the different things people are creating. I'm in an interesting season of life where stress levels are higher than they should be. I've realized that, in order to get to a healthy place, I must lay some things down. I don't know why, but this has always been hard for me. These weekly In The Studio link-ups are one of the things I feel is time to lay down. It's been a hard decision, but I know it's a right one. I do so look forward to seeing, one last time, all the good stuff you all have been up to!

Now it's your turn! Remember your "studio" can be anywhere. Let's celebrate each other's creativity by linking up and visiting as many as the other studios as you can. Check out the about post for more info and don't forget to grab the In The Studio button!

Friday, October 17, 2014

in the studio :: 10 year old photos

Welcome to In The Studio, a place to show off your studio and meet some great artists! Since we just celebrated a birthday around here, that meant some fresh ten year old photos were in order! This girl cracks me up. It's always a struggle for me and her to agree on wardrobe and hair. It usually involves compromise on both sides and a willingness for each to do some photos as they please. Thank goodness we had fun during the shoot, so we didn't both come home in tears!


my girl

It's Spring here in S. Africa which means the jacarandas are in full bloom. There's nothing like that beautiful purple that lines the streets of our town. It's a treat that we only get in October, so I try to enjoy it as much as I can.

she's beautiful


Last year I said I was going to do her photos in the midst of the jacarandas, but I waited too long. This year I vowed to make it happen, so we didn't miss the opportunity. A Sunday afternoon was the perfect time since not many people are out.




I can't believe my baby has entered double digits. She's growing up way too fast and not listening to her mama when I ask her to please slow down. Sigh.

Now it's your turn! Remember your "studio" can be anywhere. Let's celebrate each other's creativity by linking up and visiting as many as the other studios as you can. Check out the about post for more info and don't forget to grab the In The Studio button!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

anniversary getaways

Gananoque, Canada

This year, on our anniversary, we hosted a visiting team for good conversation, cookies, coffee, and tea. It wasn't a romantic getaway, but it was fine. That's not stopping us from celebrating 15 years of our wedded love. Later this month we are getting that romantic getaway. I don't care that it's 6 weeks after the fact. The point is that we are making it happen! My point is this...timing doesn't always line up, but I think that taking the time to have a special date or even a getaway with your spouse is a MUST. We need those fun, special moments in our lives. Five years ago, we celebrated our tenth anniversary at a conference (we have knack for perfect timing of these things). Again, not ideal but it was what it was. Nine months later we decided to celebrate our tenth (even though we were closer to our eleventh) by going to Canada. We had a lovely time in The Thousand Islands in Gananoque. If you're ever over that way, check out how lovely it is over at Petit Elefant! And don't forget to make special moments with your spouse happen!

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