Burning Lights

Some days music is the only thing that keeps me going.

When there aren’t words or I’ve used too many, it’s worship I need.

I’m feasting on music this week, letting it seep into my soul.

I’ve been listening to Chris Tomlin long enough to make me old. His new album Burning Lights does not disappoint. It’s rich and beautiful and it’s like a vehicle that drives you right into God’s presence.

Listen to this song with guest Kari Jobe:

It might be exactly what you need too.


It’s Christmas {Mandisa Giveaway}

UPDATE: The winner is comment #61! Congratulations, Tara.

Our tree is trimmed with the oh-so-classy theme of kiddie ornaments from the last 4 decades. My hubby and I have favorites from our childhood and my kids have carefully placed their “special” ones at eye-level. I just can’t do anything fancy or grown up. And all these people who have multiple trees HOW? It was all I could do to get one together.

But my tree does spin.

So, there’s that.

I bought the tree stand spinner when it seemed crucial one year to true Christmas happiness. Every year when my hubby drags it out and we roll our eyes at my silliness for buying something so unnecessary, he says, “I’m so thankful you were rescued from wealth.” But we have it, so we use it.

I sort of have a thing for Nativities too. I just love them. But besides the festive colors and twinkly lights, it’s the music that makes it really feel like Christmas in our house. I love Christmas music in the background of our busy life.

My new favorite Christmas album is by Mandisa, called It’s Christmas. It has an great selection, including the song Somebody’s Angel. Have you heard it? The movie footage in the video below is from the Gospel Music Channels original movie Christmas Angel that premiered this month. It will be playing throughout the Christmas season. This song is a simple reminder in a hectic time, to be somebody’s angel this year.

I know there are so many needs right around us if we’ll just look. I’m so excited about our family adopting a local single mom to secretly deliver gifts and groceries too.

I want my kids to feel the magic of Christmas, get something from their list and enjoy the wonder of it all. But more than anything, I want them to remember the reason we celebrate.

It’s Christmas.

It’s about Him.

Today, I am giving away Mandisa’s new Christmas album PLUS the Christmas Angel DVD and her entire collection of albums to one lucky winner:

What If We Were Real

Freedom

True Beauty

Remixed: Get Movin’

Leave a comment as your entry.

This giveaway ends Thursday. Winners are announced on giveaway posts once they close.


A Marriage Recycled

I’ve never been a good recycler. I aim high with my recycle bins and fabric grocery totes, but since I’m usually multi-tasking and running behind, I generally remember to recycle after the fact.

It’s just not my ministry. Ya know?

But I love recycled things. Go figure. I’m glad someone is responding to the high calling. I love love love trash to treasure stories.  From Mercy House to my marriage, I’ve learned to view God as the ultimate recycler. He is the master of taking rubbish and redeeming it.

This month my husband and I are celebrating 18 years of marriage. I’ve written about our testimony and I’m so thankful He transformed the garbage of our lives into something for His glory. Our marriage isn’t perfect, but it’s evidence of God’s hand.

One of the things I love most about recycling? You get something new. There’s still a trace of the old, but when it goes through the fire, something different, often better is created. After God recycled our marriage, 7 years ago now, we took my engagement ring, wedding band and an anniversary band and had them melted down. The three pieces were beautiful and I loved them, but we both wanted a new ring to represent our new marriage. But my original set was very special and we wanted to keep it.

A local jeweler crafted one new gorgeous ring from the materials of my 3 separate rings. It was the same, but completely different, better, just like my marriage. And that’s exactly what God is able to do in your marriage too.

When my friends over at Union28 sent us their new new shirts, I smiled. I love knowing after all these years my marriage STILL rocks; It’s getting better with age because God is the ultimate recycler.

Want to see my new (old) ring, click here.

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Does your marriage still rock? Get the t-shirt or tote to prove it! Union28 is helping us celebrate 18 years with these awesome new Recycled shirts. Use Code: U28MMSR20 This code is an exclusive offer just for WeAreThatFamily readers!  It’s good for 20% OFF 2 or more Regular-Priced tees & will be valid Thursday & Friday (12/6 & 12/7).


The Laundry Mantle

Did I ever tell y’all I was in a long distance relationship with my husband-to-be? So, here’s how that happened: We went to college together and became best friends. He graduated and moved across the country to work on his Masters while I finished my degree. After I graduated I flew to see my awesome friend. We “accidentally” kissed (overcome with missing each other??) and started an unplanned relationship that weekend. I returned home to my first (and only year) as a teacher and we got engaged about a month later.

Seriously.

About a month before we got married, my husband-to-be moved in with my parents (I lived in an apartment about 30 minutes away). It was an awesome whirlwind, whiplash season! To this day, it still cracks me up when my husband talks about the time he lived with my parents. He always says the same thing: your mom was serious about the laundry. He said he would take a shower and before he was dressed, she would have his dirty clothes laundered, folded and ready to put away.

I grew up with this and it’s a lot of pressure.

Because clearly, if you soil your clothes in my house, you better not expect to see them back in your closet for a week.

Growing up, my mother set some high laundry standards. She washed every day (and still does!) Her laundry room looks like a washer and dryer advertisement. She’s passed on the Laundry Mantle to an unworthy recipient.

I’m not going to lie, my Maytag Bravos XL make me want to be a better launderer. The cool options (I didn’t even know existed since my last set were duct taped together) make me want to pursue laundry greatness. I love the capacity of my washer and how it uses small amounts of water, but still cleans so well. I love the allergen cold water cycle, especially since my kiddos wash their clothes in cold water in an attempt not to fade clothes.

My mom’s Maytag of old, was sturdy and a workhorse. She owned the same pair my entire childhood. But they had nothing on the Maytag duo purring in my laundry room right now. It’s been a blessing to receive the Maytag Bravos pair and I highly recommend them for your laundry needs.

Excuse me, the Mantle, it is calling.

Now, if I could just get my dog to fold the clothes, I’d be all set.

I’m wrapping up a series of post about the amazing washer and dryer Maytag gave me. Make sure you check out the Maytag PageMaytag Facebook, and Maytag Twitter

Disclaimer: I wrote this post as a #MayTagMoms Dependable Laundry Ambassador through mom Central Consulting on behalf of Maytag. I was provided with the Maytag washer and dryer set to facilitate my post.


The Kitchen iPad Rack {Heck of a Giveaway}

UPDATE: Comment #1035 was randomly selected as the lucky winner of this giveaway. Congratulations Hillary S. – an email has been sent your way.

[Hint: You'll want to read this post to the very end!]

Our kitchen is the busiest place in our home. And by busy I really mean dirty.

Eating. Homeworking. Snacking. Cooking. Drawing. Cleaning. And now Googling.

Googling?

I bought my hubby an iPad for his 40th birthday a couple of years ago. Now that’s a gift. He loves it and uses it daily. It’s really become a family iPad. He shares well with others. It’s such a portable resource and is handy in every room of the house. The kids use it for researching their science project, I use it for recipes and my hubby watches the Texans stomp all over other teams.

And now, a new little tool has taken the iPad limits to the max. It’s been called the missing link to making the most of your iPad in the kitchen. I give you:

When my new advertiser sent us The Kitchen iPad Rack, we quickly and easily mounted the plexi glass shelf to make cooking with the iPad easier.

Or watching football while you’re supposed to be setting the table. Ahem.

Product Description: Super-easy to use, it stores away in the cabinet when not in use and pops into place when you’re ready to cook.

The Original Kitchen iPad Rack is constructed of solid acrylic with a beauty to match any kitchen.

And get this, with every order this holiday season, $5 goes to Mercy House. Awesome, huh?

Some of you may be thinking, well, Kristen, this is fantastic, for people who own an iPad. Well, in celebration of such a handy kitchen tool (makes a great Christmas gift!), this generous company is giving away an iPad rack and an iPad2 to one very lucky reader today!!!! Yes, you read that correctly!

Please, hop over and check it out: (The specs on the shelf, extra mounts for easy iPad use all over the house, and some great Amazon reviews!)

Entry requirements: Visit the Original Kitchen iPad Rack store and then come back and leave a comment on this post.

For extra entries:

  • stumble, tweet, pin and/or facebook this post
  • leave a comment for each that you do

[details on iPad: ipad2 16GB (winner has option to upgrade)]

This giveaway ends on Friday. May the odds forever be in your favor.