Blog Elevated Conference Ticket Giveaway


Congrats to random commenter #12, Geralyn!

I’m excited to be speaking at the Blog Elevated Conference in Galveston, Texas in a couple of weeks! Whether you’re a seasoned blogger or a brand new one, the Blog Elevated Conference has something for everyone. There are sessions on:

In my keynote, I will be sharing how to “Use Your Blog to Change the World.” I’m honored to share my blogging story and where it has taken me and I pray it inspires others to blog for good.


Check out the other speakers here and registration details here.

And the event will be at the lovely Moody Gardens Hotel.



Today, I’m happy to be giving away a full conference pass to one lucky reader! It’s a $249 value and includes:

  • Welcoming reception on Thursday, Sept. 25
  • All sessions and breakouts on Friday, Sept. 26
  • Friday night party
  • All sessions and breakouts on Saturday, Sept. 27
  • 18 sessions in all, with a blogging track, social media track, and visual/design track!

Leave a comment for your entry. This giveaway will end in 24 hours.

Unbelievable Deal: Healthy Living Bundle $1030 Value

I love sharing great deals with you. And I’m super excited about this one because it’s not only an amazing value, it could be life-changing for you and your family.

Our family has been on a journey to healthier living since my husband was diagnosed with Diabetes several years ago. It can be a confusing and challenging road to navigate. If it weren’t for resources, we’d be lost!

That’s why I love The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle. It includes an entire healthy living library–86 ebooks plus a lot more, valued at $1030 for only $29.97 (PDF version) or $39.97 (ebook version) and it’s available today.

This is the best deal on ebooks I’ve ever seen! There are ebooks and ecourses with countless recipes, meal planning, ideas for feeding children healthier meals, help for specialized diets and so much more. Not only do we have my husband’s special diet in our house, I’ve also been working hard for the last six months to eliminate as many processed foods for my kids.

Here’s a sampling of some I can’t wait to read in the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle:

And there’s still so much more! Not only do you get dozens and dozens of ebooks and courses, there’s also another $200 in freebies from healthy living companies that you’ll receive with your purchase.

This ultimate bundle is expected to sell out early, so get yours today. This deal ends Sept 15.


Here’s to healthier living for all of us!

Disclosure: Affiliate links have been included in this post.

WFMW: Why I’m Saying Yes To the Small


I’m happy to introduce you to this week’s guest poster Melanie for my Wednesday series Yes, Works For Me! Please welcome her and be encouraged by her yes to God and continue to link up what works for you.

Go big or go home. That’s seems to have been my life motto, somehow either born within me or bred throughout my years.

I’m a competitor. High-school valedictorian. Type-A-Organizer. Achiever. Hard worker. (I don’t say this proudly, for you see, these attributes have also been my weakness).

Rather than seeking God’s will, my heart is prone to wander into seeking to win. That somehow if I gain enough blog followers, or Bible study members, or friends, or a promotion… that I will somehow “prove” I am worthy to be used by God in His big picture plan.

When my heart pushes to compete, I lose sight of the fact that in Christ I am already complete.

Many times we think that God only has special plans for those who do “big things”. Bible teachers with huge audiences. Bloggers with millions of followers. Leaders who are cheered by the masses.

Where does that leave us? The ordinary ones? The ones that are not on a stage, or in print, or with a microphone. The ones who blend into the crowds. The ones who long to be used by God but doubt whether He could even want to use our “ordinariness”.

Sweet friends, that leaves us right where God has placed us…. where He can use us best.

God doesn’t call us to be famous. He calls us to be faithful.

Perhaps God uses us best when we spread His love in the small, private places of life. When no one sees, God sees us. When a friend needs a listening ear, God helps us whisper “cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you”. When a cashier just needs someone to ask how her day is going, God shows her that she is noticed. When a dirty little boy asks for a drink of water at soccer practice, God shows His love through our giving just a simple smile and a tiny cup of cool water.


Are we willing to say “yes” to the small or just to the super-size?

In the Gospel of John, the first words we hear from Jesus are “What are you seeking?“. I slowly trace over each letter with my finger and read them aloud to myself. “Melanie, what are you seeking?

Am I seeking blog followers? Am I seeking pats on the back? Am I seeking to be “famous”?

… or am I seeking Him?

I hope you will join me in saying “yes” to the small. How will you do it today? Is there a child who would enjoy listening to you read them a book, a friend who needs a listening ear, or maybe a total stranger that would enjoy a random note of encouragement?

I want to seek Him. I want to see Him – really see Him – in every minute detail of my ordinary life. Today, I’m shouting out a great big, joy-filled, willing-heart, God-seeking “YES!” to the small. Will you join me?


Melanie writes at her blog, Only a Breath, and shares her real-life faith journey. Her blog’s mission is a simple one — to make you smile and to point your heart to the Giver of true joy. Melanie works as a full-time software developer and cherishes every moment she can spend with her husband and two hilarious sons. Follow Melanie on twitter at @MelanieAnneTN

The Danger of Protecting Our Kids From Unhappiness

I put the Java Juice gift card a friend sent me on the kitchen counter, thinking it would be a fun after-school treat one day. And every time my daughter saw it sitting there, she asked if we could go. She’d never been to Java Juice, but she was convinced it would be her new favorite place.

We finally had a brief break in our busy lives and piled into the car after dinner for a quick trip. But from the moment we buckled seat belts, the arguing started. My kids love each other, but “liking” one another seems optional some days. The bickering quickly escalated and I threatened them from the front seat. Stop or we’re turning around.

They ignored my warning and continued picking and pestering each other. I warned again and they didn’t stop long enough to listen. A mile or so later, I sighed and gave my husband a questioning look. He shook his head no and I knew we were about to have some unhappy kids.

You know that feeling you get when you’re about to knowingly make your kids mad? I hate that. But I’m compelled to do it anyway. Like that time I told my daughter we were done with Disney Channel sitcoms and all their sassy backtalk and bad attitudes. It was like the apocolypse for 30 minutes. I encouraged her to “get it all out” because I wasn’t changing my mind.  She wailed and whined and then in true Disney fashion let it go. She never asked to watch them again.

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I actually love seeing my children happy and I don’t set out to make them unhappy. But my husband and I are the authority in their lives. It’s our job to place rules and guidelines in our home. It’s also our job to follow thru on consequences when they are broken. One is a lot easier than the other. And so it happens nearly every day in some way–unhappiness.”Disobedience leads to discipline. It’s not a suggestion; it’s a consequence. We discipline our children because we love them,” Jason Sheppherd.

Because their temporary unhappiness as kids–learning to submit to authority and obedience –is worth it if produces adults who love God and others. 


We live in a culture that is obsessed with not only making our kids happy by giving them everything they want, but also by trying to keep them happy. It’s an impossible, exhausting task. I’ve tried it. Maybe you have to. But instead of making kids happier, it just makes them want more. And more often leads to more emptiness.  Because deep down our kids long for authority and structure. They crave guidelines and rules because that’s one of the major ways they fill loved by us.

But that doesn’t make it easy. As a matter of fact, the tension of doing what’s best for our kids even when it means they are temporarily unhappy is just plain hard. I wrestle with it constantly and actually cried a bucket about it recently. The temptation to fix all their problems, ease all their anxiety and make life easier without difficulty or challenge is real. But when we do just that, we actually make life in the future a lot harder. Letting them experience small disappointments now helps them handle big ones later on. And it leaves me wondering if this question by author and therapist Lori Gottlieb could be true: “Could it be that by protecting our kids from unhappiness as children, we’re depriving them of happiness as adults?” 

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My husband turned his truck around and headed back to our house. It took a minute, but the arguing died down and it got very quiet in the backseat. Then there was a little begging, promises and a lot of regret.

But the beauty of parenting is the grace of second chances. That Java Juice gift card will get used and even better, it will be appreciated more the second time around.

And the temporary unhappiness will be worth it.

There is Nothing Quite as Sexy as a Man Who Loves His Wife.

His beard is sprinkled with gray. His hands are rough and calloused. His boots are caked with mud. Sweat dripped from his brow as he mowed his parents’ farm in his worn Wranglers. The muscles across his back rippled as he worked hard in the hot sun.

I called out his name and he turned around.

my man

I snapped a picture so I could remember how good he looked. He laughed and shook his head when I told him so.

But I didn’t laugh.

Because a wife can look into a moment and see more of her husband if she wants to. But she has to be looking.

When I pause and think about my life with this man, I know that it doesn’t matter what kind of day we’ve had. . . loving each other is  a way a life. And I may be a lot of things, but unloved it not one of them. Even when I am unlovable.

He loves me like this:

It’s his protective hand on the small of my back as we walk into an unfamiliar place.

It’s the extra stop on the way home to bring me my favorite drink.

It’s the meaningful eye contact over a crowd of people.

It’s reading the tension in my shoulders and walking across the room to rub it away.

It’s one hand in mine, the other uplifted to God on a Sunday.

It’s watching him empty the change from his pockets into the jar for an anniversary trip we are hoping to take some day.

It’s catching him refolding all the towels and sheets in the linen closet because he saw it needed to be done.

It’s forgiving my grumpy attitude before I have a chance to ask.

It’s making two eggs instead of one.

It’s not leaving.

It’s staying.

No matter what.

It’s so easy in this life to name all the things our husbands don’t do. And most days we could pick them apart if we wanted to. We can always find something when we look closely.

But when I begin to count all the things he does, day-in-and-day out, the list grows long. It’s the best thing to do when you don’t want to.

There is nothing quite as sexy as a man who loves his wife.


Flowers are nice. Jewelry is grand.  But I prefer how he tells me a thousand ways without buying a thing or saying a word.

Wives, listen. Maybe you can hear it too.