Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Over the River and Through the Woods...

As the tagline of my blog describes, I'm a suburban girl who married a country boy, but since spending time with my husband and his family, I have come to enjoy the slower pace of country living.

Although Nashville is a growing city, it is surrounded by small towns and rolling hills, which makes for a lovely variation of scenery and attractions. Well, an experience we had a couple weeks ago, when a family that attends our weekly Bible study invited us out to their farm, took country living to a whole new level...

Most GPS systems cannot find their house, so they sent us detailed instructions explaining how to make it to their property from the highway.

We drove 3-1/2 miles along a winding, paved road and then turned onto a dirt road, just before the paved road went into a creek. And when I say "went into a creek," I mean that in order to continue on down that road, you would have to drive through water.

We drove another 600 feet down the dirt road and thought we had almost reached their house. That's when we came across another creek. This time, we had to cross it.

Mr. Handsome stopped the car, and we both stared at the creek in disbelief for a good 30 seconds. "Think we can make it?" I asked my husband. "I don't know, but we'll find out," he replied.

It was a warm day, so I removed my shoes and walked across to find the best path for the car to take. The "creek," which was more like a river, was about 60 feet wide and just over 1 foot deep. Thankfully, the bed was limestone instead of mud. The current was strong, but not quite strong enough to push me over.

After I reach the other side and got my camera ready, my husband plunged the car into the water.

I held my breath (and took pictures) as he drove across.

He made it! I breathed a sigh of relief when he was safely on shore. The car was wet but undamaged. Boy were we glad to have a vehicle with all-wheel-drive...

We drove a short distance up a hill and finally reached our friends' farm, which was beautiful! They live in a mountain-style cabin and raise goats, chickens, and bees.

We look forward to visiting them again soon, so long as the creek isn't too high. Have any of y'all ever driven through a creek?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

'God's Not Dead 2' Movie Review

My sister-in-law Mae and I pose with Kevin Sorbo
(Professor Radisson in God's Not Dead)

What would you do if your faith was placed on trial?

I recently had the opportunity to pre-screen the upcoming movie God's Not Dead 2, a mainstream film set to open in theaters across the United States and Canada on April 1st.

Featuring a number of well-known actors, including Melissa Joan Hart, Pat Boone, and Sadie Robertson, God's Not Dead 2 follows the trial that ensues when beloved history teacher Grace Wesley gives a factual answer to a student's legitimate question about Jesus. The film is inspired by 25 real-life court cases that have threatened to quench religious liberty in the classroom.

In a world where faith is being met with increasing hostility, God's Not Dead 2 urges Christians to fight to maintain religious freedom, no matter the cost. A must-see for both children and adults, this movie is a chilling reminder that those who dare to stand up for what they believe must be willing to lay down everything for the sake of their convictions.

Watch the trailer below:

Monday, March 28, 2016

Happy (Belated) Easter

He is not here, but is risen. 
~Luke 24:6a

Happy Easter! I took the weekend off blogging, so I apologize for the late post.

Mr. Handsome and I were thrilled to be able to spend the holiday at a two-day gathering with his immediate and extended family, as well as my immediate family. (My extended family lives very far away, so we rarely see them on holidays.)

My in-laws attend church in a building that is more than 120 years old, which made for a beautiful setting for our gathering. The vibrant red front door was the perfect backdrop for our Easter picture.

On Saturday, we had lunch and dinner at the church, with plenty of games and chitchat in between. Instead of a traditional Easter egg hunt, we competed in a Scripture-based scavenger hunt, with Bible verses from the Easter story as clues. The church has an antique pipe organ, so we enjoyed playing Easter-themed hymns.

After church on Sunday, we had another meal together before saying our goodbyes. How did you celebrate Easter?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Coconut Recipe #1: Success!

I'm so grateful to y'all for coming to my rescue and helping me find a use for my bottle of coconut water! I read all your suggestions and chose one to try: pineapple-coconut popsicles.

They turned out to be easy to make and absolutely delicious. I plan to try your other suggestions soon. Check out my popsicle tutorial video below:

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Deal at LOFT

Over the weekend, I stopped by the store LOFT. Have you ever shopped there? The clothing can be a little pricey, so I rarely go, but there was a sale going on, so I decided to check it out...And I'm sure glad I did!

Combining the sale with a 25% off coupon that I received by signing up for the email list, I scored four nice shirts for $30. The two on the right were on the clearance rack and only cost $3 each. The other two are much nicer and were just under $12 each.

All of them are made almost entirely out of cotton, which will be perfect for summer.

My favorite is the light blue one. Where do you like to shop?

Monday, March 21, 2016

Coconut Water?

While on my weekly grocery shopping adventure at Aldi, I stumbled across a display of 100% pure coconut water (with no sugar added). If you've ever been to Aldi, you know that they frequently bring in novelty products for a limited time. I had never seen coconut water at our Aldi, so I figured it would not be available for long.

I am a big fan of coconut and had sampled coconut milk a couple times in the past and enjoyed it. Why not try coconut water? I thought. I spent a few moments debating on whether to spend the $2.99, but I decided that buying it at any other store would most likely cost more. So I went for it.

Eager to find out how it tasted, I grabbed a clean cup as soon as I walked in the door of our apartment. I didn't even put the groceries away first. After one swig, I knew I had made a big mistake.

I understand that coconut water has a decent amount of health benefits, and I commend those who can stomach it, but I'm not one of those people.

I'm curious to know, have you ever tasted coconut water? What did you think of it? And what on Earth should I do with the leftovers? I'm quite certain that my husband won't touch it.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Interview with Former Broncos QB Scott Stankavage

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Scott Stankavage, a former Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, and University of North Carolina quarterback.

In his new book, The QB Mentor, Scott shares hard-won wisdom about fatherhood, life, and football. Scott is the proud dad of seven children and is in a "disease control phase" of his battle with Leukemia. "...I count every day a blessing," he says.

My interview with Scott is embedded below. You can learn more about him on Facebook and Twitter, as well as on his website. The QB Mentor is available wherever books are sold, but those who order from will receive an autographed copy from Scott's personal stock.

Be sure to check out my interviews with hit songwriter Keith Getty, political activist Star Parker, and Hollywood actress Shari Rigby.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

DIY Tissue Paper Decorations

Two days ago, I posted pictures of the tissue paper decorations that my sister-in-law Lena made for her 13th birthday party. This morning, she sent me the tutorials that she used. Let me know how they work out for you!

DIY Tassel Garland
Picture tutorial from Inspired By Charm (click here)

DIY Party Poms/Tissue Paper Flower Balls
Picture tutorial from The Tabouli Bowl (click here)

DIY Hanging Garland
Tissue paper (in various colors)
Glue gun
String or yarn
2-inch circle for tracing (such as the bottom of an aluminum can or vase)

-Trace circles on the tissue paper using your tracing guide. (Lena made approximately 180 circles.)
-Cut out the circles using scissors. Paper punches won't work well, as they are not sharp enough to cleanly cut tissue paper.
-Glue a thin line through the center of each circle, and attach the circles to the string or yarn, making sure to space them out evenly.
-After the glue dries, cut the string to desired lengths, and tape anywhere you would like.

Photos property of

Flexi Clip Offer Extended

Just wanted to let you all know that that the Buy-3-Get-1-Free Flexi Clip offer, courtesy of Sarah from Lilla Rose, has been extended until Saturday at 11:59pm ET. Click here for details.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Decorating For a Party

I have four very talented sisters-in-law (Anne, 24; Catherine, 19; Mae, 14; and Lena, almost 13). In addition to playing three or four musical instruments each, they have a host of other skills, including sewing, baking, cake decorating, party decorating, home decorating, needle pointing, and plenty of other things that I'm forgetting right now.

This weekend, Lena had several friends over to celebrate her 13th birthday party. I was blown away by the elaborate decorations she created out of paper. (That's right, paper!)

What do you think? If you like what you see, click here to find out how Lena made her decorations.

Photos property of

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Honoring Nancy Reagan

In honor of Nancy Reagan, I want to share this article with you, written by Mr. Handsome's maternal grandmother. She and her husband and three children--one of whom is my mother-in-law--attended Ronald Reagan's first inauguration as part of their 4-H program. My mother-in-law was 15 at the time.

Ronald Reagan's First Presidential Inauguration
Tuesday, January 20, 1981

We had VIP tickets to the inauguration, and myself and my two daughters where pleased to be escorted to our seats by a member of the military. The day was overcast, but the temperature was mild for January.

First Lady Nancy Reagan wore a beautiful red dress and coat, making her and the new president easy
to spot on the platform and in parades. Barbara Bush, wife of Vice President George H.W. Bush, wore a bright blue ensemble. Leading up to the inauguration, the military band performed wonderful music.

Chief Justice Warren Burger swore in President Reagan while Nancy held the Bible. This was the first inauguration to be held on the West Front of the Capitol, toward the National Mall, allowing for better visibility.

Following the ceremony was a lunch in Statuary Hall, during which it was announced that the
American hostages in Iran had been released after 444 days of captivity.

Later that day, my husband, an attorney, was sworn in to practice before the United States Supreme Court. It was largely ceremonial, as he did not expect to practice before that august body, but it was still a great honor. Chief Justice Burger presided, and all the
justices were present.

We were also invited to a reception in the office of Minority Leader of the House Bob Michel, where we met a number Reagan's personal friends from his hometown in Illinois.

We toured the Senate Chamber and heard each of the 100 senators respond to a roll call vote. Ted Kennedy was present, and we were shocked to see that the back of his hair was completely uncombed. We later learned that this was a normal occurrence for him, as the TV cameras only showed the front of his head.

We visited the House of Representatives, where Bob Michel introduced a resolution about the release of the American hostages and one of the representatives from Georgia quoted Scripture in connection with the situation.

The Christmas tree near the White House was lit up to honor the hostages who had been released.

Top photo: Official inaugural picture signed by President Reagan
Remaining photos property of
1: Mr. Handsome's grandma, mom, and aunt with their military escorts
2: My mother-in-law and her siblings with Cubs baseball star Ernie Banks, whom they met at the inauguration
3: My mother-in-law and her siblings with Uncle Sam
4: Nancy Reagan and Ronald Reagan on the platform (notice Nancy's red dress)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

'Miracles From Heaven' Review

While at NRB 2016, I had the privilege of pre-screening the upcoming movie Miracles From Heaven, set to release in theaters on March 16.

Miracles From Heaven, a mainstream film by Sony Pictures Entertainment, features a number of big-name actors, including Jennifer Garner and Queen Latifah.

Based on the incredible true story of the Beam family, as recorded by mother-of-three Christy Beam in her book by the same title, Miracles From Heaven will have you laughing and crying along with the actors.

When Christy (Jennifer Garner) and her husband are told that their daughter Annabel (Kylie Rogers) has been diagnosed with two rare and incurable digestive disorders, they refuse to give up hope. Through this difficult journey, the Beams see their faith challenged and strengthened as they fight to remain grounded through the storm.

When Anna suffers a freak accident and is miraculously cured, the country's top specialists are baffled and unable to find a medical explanation, but the Beam family knows the source of Anna's healing.

My 14-year-old sister-in-law and I give this movie five stars. The high quality acting, the rich portrayal of the Beams' story, and the enduring message of faith and family will appeal to all audiences. We encourage you to support this film in theaters, beginning next Wednesday.

At the premiere, we were thrilled to meet the real life Christy Beam and Rich Peluso, senior vice president of AFFIRM Films/Sony Pictures Entertainment.

 Mae and I with the real-life Christy Beam

Mae and I with AFFIRM Films/Sony Pictures Entertainment SVP Rich Peluso

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

3 Peaceful Landscapes and a Stormy Sea

A few readers have asked how Mr. Handsome's painting career is going, so I'll give y'all an update.

Remember back in December and January, when I posted pictures of his first three paintings? He has continued to create two or three paintings every month.

During the cold winter months when there hasn't been much to do outside on the weekends, painting has been a great hobby for my husband and a creative way for him to de-stress. Our living room and kitchen are attached, so I usually sit at the kitchen table and work on the computer while he paints.

Here are his four latest masterpieces. What do you think? (Click here to see his first painting.)

The next step is to find a way to hang these beautiful works of art in our home. We have friends who have a wood shop and have offered to let Mr. Handsome use their machines to create frames. (We always look forward to our weekly Bible study with them and a few other individuals and young couples.)

Monday, March 7, 2016

Interview with Hollywood Actress Shari Rigby

I am continuing to post the interviews that I conducted while at the 2016 NRB Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.

One of my interviewees was Shari Rigby, a former model whose lead role in the 2007 Dove Award winning music video "Slow Fade" by Casting Crowns jump-started her acting career. In addition to being a Hollywood actress, Shari is also a speaker, author, and film director. She is passionate about helping women find their true identity.

Hope you enjoy my video interview! You can learn more about Shari on her personal website and her book website, as well as on Facebook and Twitter (@ShariRigby).

Be sure to check out my interviews with hit songwriter Keith Getty and political activist Star Parker

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Flexi Clips

Are you familiar with the Flexi Clip from Lilla Rose? Flexi Clips are functional, durable, and beautiful, and they work with all hair types.

Sarah, an independent consultant for Lilla Rose, has extended a special offer to my blog readers:

For those ordering to the United States: Buy-3-Get-1-Free! When you order 3 Flexi Clips, email me at, and I will forward your email to Sarah so she can send you a voucher for a free Flexi Clip.

For those ordering to a country outside the United States: Lilla Rose does not permit Sarah to send vouchers to international customers, but she is willing to refund half the shipping cost of your order if you buy 2 or more items. Email me at after you place your order. (You must have a PayPal account to redeem this offer.)

*These special offers are only good until 11:59pm ET on Saturday, March 19th. To start shopping, visit the Lilla Rose page that Sarah set up just for my blog readers.

I have two Lilla Rose Flexi Clips, and I absolutely love them!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Thankful for Modern Conveniences

Our lovely landlady had a brand new dryer installed this morning, and she also sent someone over to fix our dishwasher. Needless to say, it has been quite an exciting day, and it's only lunchtime.

We were without a working dryer and dishwasher for five long days. Without these two appliances, laundry and dishes suddenly became a full-time job.

As I hung one week's worth of socks, undergarments, shirts, pants, towels, sheets, and pillowcases on my drying rack that is about five times too small, I thought about how different my life would be without the modern conveniences that I often take for granted.

I also considered how my definition of the word "exciting" has changed during my adult life. Eight years ago, a new dryer and a repaired dishwasher would definitely not have been cause for celebration, but these two events have somehow made my day.

I mean, let's be honest. This new dryer is so big that I could probably sit upright in it and still have plenty of headroom. Now isn't that just about the most exciting thing you have ever heard?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Interview with Prominent Political Activist Star Parker

Last week, I posted the interview with hit songwriter Keith Getty that I conducted while at the 2016 NRB Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. With my sister-in-law Mae as my videographer, I conducted 13 interviews during the five-day convention.

I was honored to be given 15 minutes to meet with Star Parker, a prominent political activist whose experiences as a welfare-dependent single mom led her to start CURE, an organization based in Washington D.C.

Check out my interview below, and visit for more information. Star is also on Twitter and Facebook.