The Best Book I’ve Ever Read. Period.

Imagine a 6 year old child ripped from his mother’s arms during an outdoor church service.

He along with other boys from his community were taken away at gunpoint to a military camp and forced to become child soldiers in Sudan.

I have a 6 year old and the very thought makes me tremble.

But this child with the help of some older boys (he calls angels) runs away from the camp.

He runs for days and weeks. He runs for his life.

And spends the next 10 years surviving in a refugee camp along with thousands of other lost boys without parents or siblings. But he has God and his love for running and he thrives…..

His life takes an unexpected turn when he is 16 years old. I’ll give you a clue…it’s leads to the USA Olympic team. Running for My Life: One Lost Boy’s Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games is a riveting true story of one Lost Boy of Sudan who beat unthinkable conditions of danger, hunger and poverty to become a present-day US Olympian. This book will make you laugh as he tells of coming to America, it will make you cry as you read about him returning to Sudan as an adult. It will take your family on a journey that just might change their life. It has my family asking some pretty amazing questions right now.

I’ve never felt so strongly about a book (which is why I’ve mentioned it a few times). I urge you to read it for yourself, to your family. It’s the perspective change we needed this summer. It’s a heartbreaking, inspiring true story of courage and of a mighty God.

This book is written in an engaging way and my kids begged for more at the end of the chapter.

This is a God story.

This review is not compensated and I was not asked to write it. I simply loved this book and can’t stop talking about it. Part of the proceeds from Lopez Lomong’s book go to his foundation to help the people of Sudan.


I’ve also updated my list of 80+ Books to Inspire and Encourage Your Family (affiliate links used)

What I’m Reading This Summer

We are heading out for a few glorious days at the beach. We are driving to the nearest coast and collapsing in some sand. I am realizing just how badly we need to get away –because Galveston, Texas ain’t exactly known for post cards. But there’s water and sand and relaxation and no complaints around here.


I am bringing a bag full of books. I’ve started all of these (multitask much?) and am anxious to read and relax.

Here’s what I’m reading this summer (click the cover to buy a copy):

Cleaning House: A Mom’s 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement:: This book intrigued me and I just pulled it out of the mail last week. I think the title says it all. Can’t wait to dig in.

A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet:: Boomama makes me laugh and just a few pages in, her book is full of sentimental stories and a lot of chuckles.

There You Will Find Me {Beach Reading}:: My niece gave this inspirational young adult book to my daughter while she was cooped up in bed from her oral surgery. She read it in 2 days and bought the next one on Kindle for $3. They talked me into reading it…perfect easy reading for the beach!

The $100 Startup:: I bought this book for my husband who gets the entrepreneur itch every once in awhile. Who doesn’t love the idea of starting something for a $100?

At the table

Dinner time is our family time to talk and read together. Here’s what’s on the our table this summer:

Running for My Life :: My husband read this book in two days and couldn’t put it down. He said it was amazing and an unimaginable story of survival and faith from one of the Lost Boys of Sudan.  I can’t wait to get started. It’s up next for our read around the table with our kids.

End of the Spear :: This isn’t a new book, but after recently hearing Steve Saints testimony after a life-changing injury, I was reminded of this great man’s unbelievable story. I’ve seen the movie and I can’t wait to read the book with my family. A friend sent it to me and said it reads like Robinson Crusoe.

My Life: A Guided Tour :: My dad read this autobiography (of the man who started Tyndale Publishers and wrote the Living Bible) during his recovery recently and couldn’t put it down. He said he cried like a baby. I can’t wait to dig into it!

What is your must-read of the summer?

[These affiliate links will take you to Amazon, my favorite place to buy books]

What’s Inspiring Me This Week

Do you ever wake up feeling like I was made for more than this?

This overwhelming pile of laundry.

This underpaid job I hate.

This sadness I can’t shake.

You feel that was because you were made for more.

“As long as you are alive, God wants you to go further, dig deeper, and draw closer to him. Every dream or desire you have that comes from God is an invitation for more intimacy with him.” -Holley Gerth.

This is the book–the guide– I needed 3 years ago, when I took the first step towards the dream that was so much bigger than my ability. I’ve had a lot of time to catch up on my ever-growing pile of nightstand books this week. You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream: Opening the Door to All God Has for You is inspiring me this week! I’m highlighting and nodding my head and learning. Because dreaming isn’t just for the crazy (me) or brave (not so much), it’s for everyone who breathes. God has more for you and when you dream, you are changed. And when you stare in the face of something so big is scares the soup out of you, He is there and nothing is bigger than God. Even the impossible.

I’m a firm believe in filling up on the Word, and books that inspire me to love God more.

Also on my nightstand this week:

Table Life – Savoring the Hospitality of Jesus in Your Home –Table Life is a call to transform the daily routine of eating meals into a celebration of loving connections and spiritual nourishment.

Redeeming Love –It’s been years since I’ve read this fictional retelling of Hosea and Gomer. I love this story of redemption. For every non-fiction book I read,  I always have an open fiction book, too.

What are you reading?

Introducing Colton Dixon {Giveaway}

Updated with random winner, comment #185 Ann McCarville

You might remember him from American Idol?

Colton Dixon is a new artist with an old message. He could have probably had any number of record deals, but he’s following his passion and his heart by singing the good news of Jesus. His debut album The Messenger is just that: a message.


And I don’t know about you, but I like these kind of young leaders for my son to look up to.

Colton Dixon is 21 years old, has a stunning voice and some wild hair.

I love this. Powerful.

Today, I’m giving away Colton’s new album, The Messenger, a cool messenger bag, journal and a $25 iTunes gift card to winner.




Leave a comment to win!

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


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.


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.


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.