Mandisa Music {Giveaway}

Take off the mask, and get real!

I love Mandisa’s new album that I mentioned last week, What If We Were Real.

And my favorite song, hands down, “Stronger”


Today, one lucky winner will win all four of Mandisa’s CDs:

What If We Were Real


It’s Christmas

True Beauty

And four other winners will win her brand new CD, What If We Were Real!

Click and listen and tell me what song you like as your entry.

This giveaway ends on Thursday.

My Running List

I keep a list of things that make me laugh.

And because it’s Monday, I thought you might like to laugh as much as I do:

  • “Remember when Hitler killed Lincoln? That was really sad….Mom, why are you laughing? It’s not funny.”
  • (crying) “My bottom stepped on my fingers!”
  • The sitter arrives,”Mommy? Where are you and Daddy going on your playdate?”
  • “How long will it take us to get to Africa?” [Me: A very long time-like four trips to Nanny’s & Papa’s farm] “We’re going to the farm FOUR times!”
  • (to a neighbor) “My mom gets mad when my dad toots.”
  • Leaning in to look into my eyes “Mom, you really should do something about your clumpy eyelashes.”
  • “Mom, why do you keep putting these LITTLE PANTS on me?” said in the most exasperated tone. “Honey, they are called shorts.”
  • “Mommy, my friend at school has a “stepmudder”. [Me: Really, what does that word mean?] “It means she will have clean A LOT”
  • “Mom, it’s so funny that when you lay on the trampoline, it really sinks down. It doesn’t do that when I lay on it. Wonder why, huh, Mom?”

What’s on your list?

How an Introvert Has a Book Signing

Q: What do you call a stack of books hot-off-the press, a cup of new rainbow Sharpees and a new author?

A: An introvert at her book signing.

[insert nausea here]

Until the cookies arrived and suddenly I felt better.

My sweet friend, neighbor and baker-extraordinaire Bridget, arrived with these:

Suddenly, I wanted to write seven more books.

It ended up being a really fun day shared with great friends!

My super supportive family was there to celebrate eat cookies.

I sold out of books and a bunch of t-shirts and jewelry to benefit the Mercy House!

Still don’t have a copy of my book? It’s being featured at the Bloom Book Club at (in)courage this week and THREE copies are being given away today! Or you can buy it here.


P.S. I hope you’ll join me on Monday at Grace Cafe (Blog Talk Radio) for a one hour radio interview.

P.S. S. Yes, I’m nervous. Like you had to ask.

P.S. S. Photos courtesy of my amazing neighbor who conveniently deleted all the photos of herself!

How to Really Get Your Kids Talking

*Updated with Book Winners* Leslie, reader SandiW, and Cindy Roberts!

I never thought I’d write about getting my kids to talk.

Because they talk a lot. Or make noise. Is this the same?

Seriously though, they are v-e-r-b-a-l.

But as my daughter moves into her tween years with her brother at her heels, I’m realizing that while they are still talking, they aren’t telling me as much as they used to.

It’s part of growing up, internalizing, maturing, thinking through some of life’s rough spots.

But this is when I really want them to open up. I want them to know that sometimes I feel different in this world, alone. I want them to tell me when their heart aches and they feel afraid. I want to know the last time they cried.

I want to walk with them, not just beside them.

I’ve told y’all about our dinner routine. It has really opened the door to some amazing communication. Recently, we’ve add this little book (150 Quick Questions to Get Your Kids Talking by Mary DeMuth) to our routine. It has taken us down a road of deep thoughts, engaging conversations and just good family time.

(I’m just digging into some of Mary DeMuth’s parenting books and I’m learning a lot!)

So, how do you get your kids talking:

  • Ask them questions–and not just “how was school?” Dig deep. Don’t press for answers though. We offer a FREE PASS on all questions. But just because they don’t answer immediately, doesn’t mean they aren’t processing and may even open up later.
  • Answer the questions yourself–our kids need to hear about our own failures and struggles. They need to know that a VERY long time ago, you roller-skated out of the bathroom at a junior high party with toilet paper wrapped tightly around your skates, only to be mocked by party-goers. Not that it happened to me. *ahem*
  • Accept their answers-the other night a question came up and I was very surprised at my kid’s answers! I wanted to say “well, what you really mean is…” but I stopped myself and just listened. They were giving the answer they knew and I realized I needed to do a better job teaching them in that area.

How do you really get your kids talking? Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win one of three copies of Mary’s book, 150 Quick Questions to Get Your Kids Talking.

WFMW: Spring Cleaning Tip

I like to organize. Clean? Eh. Notsomuch.

But it is necessary. Since we are dirty people.

Every Spring, I love to get the backyard cleaned up. We usually rake and pick up pine cones and plant some flowers. There’s always a thick layer of pollen on everything and mildew on our concrete. Hello, humidity in Texas.

My tip: Clean your concrete (patio, driveway, porch) to remove ugly mildew or mold from winter’s moisture.

Here’s how:

  • You can pour bleach (with 3 parts water) and scrub with an old broom. It works well, but it’s a lot of work.
  • A couple of years we rented a pressure washer for 24 hours and basically washed everything in site (including our dogs, kids and vehicles. It’s called “getting your money’s worth.”
  • Two years ago we bought a basic pressure washer on clearance at Sam’s. It’s not as high tech as a professional one, but it does the job. Now we charge family to use it. So, basically, it’s a small business opportunity. heh. just kidding. Except, you owe me (you know who you are).

Clearly, we have moved up in the world.

One of my favorite pictures: our true love etched in mildew:

Spring cleaning works for me!

What If We Were Real?

The best thing to ever come from American Idol? One word: Mandisa.

Mandisa captured my heart years ago with her stand for Christ and her phenomenal voice.

Months ago…..

She asked a tough question on Twitter…..

Recalling a moment where she bared her soul on Twitter, Mandisa said, “I had gained weight and was so frustrated at that moment that I said so on Twitter. I said, ‘I’m fed-up and over it.’ I was feeling embarrassed and ashamed. I realised that I had only talked about how great things were. I never let people in when they were not. It was then that I decided to talk about the bad things too—that I’d be real.”

What      If       We      Were        Real?

She answered it.

By    Being    Real.

Today, April 5th, Mandisa is celebrating losing 100 pounds and the release of her third album: What If We Were Real

Listen to the title song here.

What If We Were Real aims for honesty and authenticity and the 11 songs of joy, struggle, worship and redemption encourage shining the light on who we really are, including both the good and the bad.

It’s in stores today!

P.S. This girl has scripture to fight the temptation of Krispy Kreme donuts. No kidding. My kind of Christian singer.

This is a sponsored post written 100% from my heart.

A Delicate Fortress {Giveaway}

Updated with Winners: Congrats to Simply Things Family and S. Downey!
When I stumble upon a mom making a difference in our world, something happens inside of me.

It’s called hope.

I love that we can all do something (small or big!) to impact those in pain.

Delicate Fortress is a shop with purpose, offering quality products, hand made by artisans who are enriching their livelihood and pushing their way out of exploitation and pain and into hope.

You can shop to stop:

You can can also shop by items

There are hundreds of items…just Click to SHOP! Buy something for Mother’s Day–and be a part of making a difference in our world.

Delicate Fortress is giving away TWO $25 gift certificates to readers today. Please tell me your favorite thing and what category is closest to your heart.

This giveaway ends on Thursday.

Name That Photo

Clearly, this photo needs to be named:



Photo Credit: [When our friends from Give Every Day visited, Tim was setting up his camera to get a photo of our two families together. They found this image of my dramatic princess striking a pose on their camera]

P.S. Why, yes, I am a hand-talker.