Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Christmas Music! (and a giveaway!)

Nothing gets me in the Christmas spirit more than Christmas music.  It's just happy!  You don't really hear of any Christmas songs lamenting about a boy and girl breaking up who are "never ever ever getting back together".

Here are some of my favorite Christmas CD's (new and old) to get you in the Christmas spirit!  (Read till the end because I'm giving away 3 of these CD's!!!)


1. "Christmas: God With Us" by Jeremy Camp

This is Jeremy Camp's first Christmas album.  He mixes some classic Christmas songs with some original songs all with a fresh approach to the arrangements.

2. "Noel" by Josh Wilson
You might not recognize the name Josh Wilson, but if you've listened to Christian radio you've certainly recognized his songs such as "Savior Please" and "Before the Morning".  This will definitely be one you'll want to add to your Christmas music rotation.

3. "We Have a Savior" by Hillsong
Hillsong is THE name in worship music and now they're making a name for themselves in Christmas music!  How funny to think that while we're decking the halls here in America, this Australian band is in the middle of summer!  Everything you love about Hillsong shines through in their first Christmas album in 7 years.  What a great way to keep our hearts and minds focused on the true meaning of Christmas.

4. "Christmas in Diverse City" by Tobymac
Ahhh Tobymac.  I have been a huge Toby fan since his DCTalk days.  (We won't mention how I used to hang around his tour bus after his concerts. Shh!!!)  Toby takes some Christmas classics and puts his Diverse City twist to it to make it.  If you're a Tobymac fan, you've definitely got to add this to your Christmas collection.

5. "Have a Fancy Yancy Christmas" by Yancy
Yancy is the real deal!  Growing up a children's pastor kid, she knows first-hand how to connect to kids and her music doesn't disappoint.  She takes biblical truths and sets them to fun, rockin' tunes that even YOU will be jamming out to!  This is one kid CD that you won't mind listening to over and over.

6. Merry Christmas by Mariah Carey

Judge me all you want but the girl can SANG!  And "sanging" Christmas music on top of that just doesn't get any better!  She rocks "Oh Holy Night" like no one's business!  This is a classic Christmas album!

7. Holiday by Crystal Lewis

I grew up loving Crystal Lewis.  Her voice is unmistakable.  I've seen her perform a few times and all she does is open her mouth and that voice comes out!  THAT'S when you know someone's a for real singer...when they make it look easy!  You've got to check out her spin on some favorite Christmas classics.

8. Glory in the Highest by Chris Tomlin

Last year at our church's Christmas Eve service, our worship leader and one of the singers sang this beautiful folksy song called Winter Snow that talked about how Jesus came to Earth as quiet and gentle as snow.  It was beautiful so I immediately went home and searched for it and it was, of course, Chris Tomlin.  By far, one of my favorite Christmas songs!

9. Christmas by Michael Buble
Smooth as velvet is Michael's voice.  He makes the old Christmas classics seem as though you're hearing them for the first time.  Such a great CD to have playing in the background of your family Christmas get togethers.

10. Joy by Steven Curtis Chapman
I still can't get it in my mind that Steven Curtis Chapman is a grandfather!  I mean, he was the IT Christian singer growing up.  If he's getting old, guess that means I am too!  But he hasn't lost a beat when it comes to music!  A few Christmas classics, some SCC originals, and even a Happy New Year song.

Now the good part!  I am giving away a copy of the first 3 CD's in my list: "Christmas: God With Us" by Jeremy Camp, "Noel" by Josh Wilson, and "We Have a Savior" by Hillsong.  All you gotta do is leave me a comment for which one you want to win.  So if you want to win all three, leave me three comments.  Just make sure you put the CD title or singer's name in your comment so I know which one you want.  Simple as that.  The catch is this is a very short giveaway.  I will draw the winners at 10:00 pm eastern time on Tuesday, November 20, 2012.  U.S. & Canada addresses only.

I was provided with a copy of "Christmas: God With Us", "Noel", and "We Have a Savior" to review and give away in exchange for my opinions.

This is linked to Top Ten Tuesday at The Broke & Bookish.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Great Christmas Gift!

Ok, so I know I'm a little late to the Cirque Du Soleil rage.  I've seen many advertisements for it, heard the glowing reports from friends who had seen it and every time I've passed by the big Cirque tent in my town, I've longed to ooh and ahh over it like everyone else.

The pricey tickets were one thing that kept me back.  I just couldn't justify paying that much to see adults swing from the rafters.

So when I was provided with tickets to Cirque's lastest show, Totem, I jumped at the chance! And let me tell you it did NOT disappoint!

For me to try and tell you how awesome it was will fall short.  I mean, I could tell you about the little chinese girls who rode unicycles and flipped bowls onto their head, the ladies who twirled blankets with their hands and feet or about the boy & girl who flirted with each other while twisting and turning on a trapeze.  But I doubt you are blown away by that.

Photos credit: Pouya Dianat/Cirque du Soleil
You just have to see it!

It's the perfect date night especially since the seats are so close together...you are practically sitting in his lap :)

It's good for a family outing too.  I had a friend ask about taking her older elementary daughter to see it.  My initial response is that it would be fine.  There were a couple scenes that were "romantic"...where a man and woman were performing together and they might carress each other or hold each other.  It didn't feel dirty or nasty to me mainly because the acrobatics was the primary focus.  Any romance was an afterthought.   There were some very funny parts that kids would love!
Photo credit: Pouya Dianat/Cirque du Soleil

It makes for a late night.  It was about 2 1/2 hours and that includes a 30 minute intermission (which by the say I have a funny story about...read to the end!)

If you're still looking for ideas for Christmas gifts, you can not go wrong with Totem tickets!

Ok, my funny story.  At the intermission, I get up to go to the restroom.  Unfortunately it's port-a-potties.  But they are slightly nicer than the typical port-a-potty (if that's possible).  Anyways, as I'm waiting in line with a few hundred of my closest friends, one of the potties open up and a man AND a woman walk out of ONE potty.  They are disheveled looking and smiling.  Those of us in line turn our heads thinking "Did we just see that?"  Why ANYONE would want to do THAT in a port-a-potty is beyond me!!

I was provided with 2 tickets from 43KIX Atlanta.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Photo Session

I was recently contacted by local photographer Ellie Kurz of Dearly Loved Photography to do a head shot session.  It was definitely awkward being photographed but Ellie made me feel so comfortable and at ease.  Guess I know how Beyonce feels!  Hahaha!!

Check out some of the shots from the session:

You've got to check her work at her website Dearly Loved Photography.

Dearly Loved Photography provided me with the photo session, but the opinions are mine.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Besides being a teacher, the other thing I really wanted to do with my life was be a singer.  Like a famous singer.  Touring.  Performing.

That didn't happen.

I think one reason I wanted to be a singer is because music really connects to my soul.  When a song speaks to an exact situation I'm going through, the tears well up.  Other times, it will bubble up energy and joy inside of me that I can't contain and end up dancing around my room.

Music is also one of the strongest ways I connect with God.  When I don't know what to pray, it is music I turn to to draw me closer to Him.

One of my favorites is Hillsong.  Their new album, Cornerstone, came out this summer.  It is their 21st live recording and it does not not disappoint!  Interestingly, the title track, Cornerstone, was written out of response to a horrendous tragedy that took place in Norway last summer.

In a day and age when earthquakes and fires are rampant and people can't even go to the movies for fear of their life, it's so reassuring that Christ is the ultimate cornerstone.  The title track, Cornerstone, reiterates this when it says:

Christ alone
Weak made strong
in the Savior's love
Through the storm
He is Lord
Lord of all.

The whole album is full of confirmation that our only hope is Christ.  The song titles alone would appeal to anyone who is struggling with feeling lost in this world: "Hope of the World", "Grace Abounds", and "Love Knows No End" are just a few.

Check out the trailer

Merge PR provided me with a copy of the album to review, but the heartfelt opinions are all mine.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer Mantle

I love decorating!  I'm not very good at it, but if I could I would decorate for every holiday...New Years, July 4th, Christmas and everything in between.

So I decided to copy one of the latest decorating crazes right now and that's decorating your mantle.  I decided to go with a beachy theme since THAT is the essence of summer for me.

Usually I have the black mirror, some candles, and the glass hurricanes (on the left).

I added the sea glass from Michael's...

put some sand and seashells in the hurricanes...

...the open wood frame is from Hobby Lobby.  I stapled twine to the back and got little clothespins to attach the shells.

The mason jars were my own.  The tall blue jar was from Kirklands and I can' remember where the little blue one was from.

Lastly, this coral picture holder is from Kohls' clearance section.

So what are some of your decorating tips?

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Travel Ideas With Kids

I recently took an 8 hour road trip with my sister and her kids, 3 year old and 6 year old.  Did you catch that?  EIGHT hours on the road with a THREE and SIX year old.  I'm affectionately known in my family as "Aunt FunTime" so I figured I'd better have some tricks up my sleeve!

I'm guest posting today over at Cumming Local, so head on over to find out what my "tricks" were!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Saturday Stumbles

Hello fellow stumblers!

I've got some exciting news that will really benefit Saturday Stumbles.  My good friend and writer extraordinnaire, Jessie Weaver from Vanderbilt Wife, will be the new host of Saturday Stumbles!  She's been a faithful linker every week!

While I've really enjoyed hosting this linky, I know that at times I've not given it the attention it needs.  Jessie will really be able to do that!

Please try to control your tears.  I'll still be an avid reader and linker when I can. 

Thank you to those of you who have been faithful stumblers!  I look forward to your links each weekend and will continue to look forward to them...just at a different home :)

So let's get to stumbling!

Interesting article about life at home during wartime.

My mouth is drooling at this!

Such a great list!  It's coming up, ya know!

So go ahead and link up below!

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