Even Gymnasts Have a Disney Side

One of the great privileges this blog has brought me has been the opportunity to work with great brands that I love. I have been very, very, VERY picky and selective over the years in who I work with, what kinds of posts I write for companies, and how often I write a promotional post. I’m glad that one of my final posts on this website will be for a brand that I know and love.

Disney Side1

Disney. Who doesn’t love Disney, right?!

Living in Florida has a lot of perks, one of them being our proximity to the Disney parks. The truth is, I can only take so much of a theme park in one day. After a few hours, I’m usually done feeling magical, which means living nearby is nice because we can pop in for a quick visit, hit up the attractions we enjoy the most, and leave before major melt downs occur.

That is what we call “Winning.”

Last year I had the honor of being invited to the Disney Social Media Moms event, where I learned so much more than I thought I would. I went to the event with a little bit of trepidation because I thought it would be all MAGIC and FAIRIES and LOOK AT DISNEY FROM EVERY ANGLE!

Even grown ups (especially grown ups?) enjoy showing off their Disney Side.

Even grown ups (especially grown ups?) enjoy showing off their Disney Side.

It was none of that. I left encouraged, inspired, and with the germ of an idea to start a new website. Fast forward ten months, and that germ of an idea is about to take root.

A few months ago, I was selected to take part in Disney’s new at home Disney Side Celebrations. I didn’t really know what this meant until a large box showed up at my door with a beautiful plum-colored American Tourister suitcase filled to the brim with Disney product.

Nobody does magic like Disney, eh?

A friend made Tia this super cute Frozen-inspired leotard with snowflakes all over it and "Let It Go" across the top. It is her new favorite.

A friend made Tia this super cute Frozen-inspired leotard with snowflakes all over it and “Let It Go” across the top. It is her new favorite.

The idea was to have a party in my home in which I, along with my kids and their friends, could show off my Disney Side. This posed a slight problem in that we had already hosted several home parties over the last few months, and I wasn’t really prepared for another one. I did, however, have Tia’s 8th birthday party planned at her gym, so I took my one stone and flung it at both birds.

(Do you love how I used that totally cliche’ figure of speech? Wasn’t that fun?)DisneySide4

I brought the Disney cups, and plates, the tattoos and games and spread them out on the table, and laughed when not only the kids, but also the adults started ooh’ing and aah’ing over the goodies. Disney brings magic in so many ways.

For the kids, the magic is in the now. The songs, the colors, the lights and characters that come to life.

For the adults, it’s in the nostalgia. Everything is new, and yet it is just as it was when we were young, and the early versions of ourselves get to fly again through the power of imagination.

As commercial as Disney may seem to some, for me it holds just the right amount of nostalgia and magic to bring out my own Disney Side. It must be all the fairy dust they sprinkle around the parks.


Disclaimer: I was asked to be a part of the Disney Side at home celebrations, and Disney provided me with all the product necessary to throw a party. I was not paid for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

These are a few of my favorite things

My sister-in-law, Becke’, frequently shares posts detailing some of her favorite things, so today I am going to follow her lead and share a few of my favorite things with you.

Because I know you’re dying to know about the things I love!

So without further ado:

1.) VIVO Per Lei facial products – Don’t they just sound fancy? A few months ago, I ran into the mall to pick up a couple of things, and as I walked by one of the center kiosks, a man pulled me aside. Now, normally I don’t stop when those people try to sell me things, but when someone with a romantic Italian accent says, “Excuse me? You are very beautiful. Can I show you a product that I think will further enhance your beauty?” IT’S HARD NOT TO STOP!


So I let him give me his pitch and show me his products and I tried to walk away because, as we all know, I have a mild major addiction to skin care products and being in close proximity to products made with Dead Sea Minerals was sending me into a dangerous downward spin of desire! Seeing that I was about to walk away empty handed, the handsome Italian, who also happens to be the owner of the company, handed me the soap and told me to try it for free.

“Tell me about yourself,” he said as he massaged lotion into my hand. I mentioned my book, and told him where it was set, and my friends do you know what happened?! That handsome Italian started speaking to me in Russian. I can’t make this stuff up. I hadn’t heard Russian in months and suddenly an Italian, raised in Germany and Israel, facial-ist to the stars, is speaking Russian to me in the middle of a mall in Tampa, Florida.

I took that as confirmation from the Lord that I was to invest in some product.


Y’all this stuff is amazing! It’s so amazing, I just wrote the word y’all! Do you hear the seriousness inside my voice?!

Thank you to my new Russian speaking Italian friend for introducing it to me. Visit the website to check out his products. They are some of the best I’ve ever tried, and I’ve tried a LOT. All the products are made with Dead Sea Minerals in Israel, which means they’re holy, right? I say right.

2.) My Macbook Air. Penny. I love her, and that is all.

3.) Wyler’s Chicken Noodle Soup starters.  Random? Yes. But for a girl who doesn’t love to cook, I adore a meal that I can throw together in less than an hour and that all five people in my house will eat without complaint. Glory!


4.)We bought a Papasan chair from Pier 1 Imports a few weeks ago and it has become the most coveted seat in the house. We fight over it daily. In fact, I think it might have some magical powers, because my children all want to sit in it and read. My children who do not like to read. Magic, indeed.

5.) I bit the bullet and bought the Insanity program a couple of weeks ago. Now, confession – I do not love the workouts. They make me think, and sometimes say out loud, bad words. Plus, Shaun T keeps telling me to find my core and I want to scream at the TV, “I can’t! It disappeared when the third baby was born!”

These workouts are hard in an I-want-to-punch-someone-in-the-face sort of way. But I do love that after only a week, I already feel stronger and like I’m getting results. So this one is less love and more love-hate, but it still counts.

6.) Rain. It’s been raining for three straight days now, and while I’m getting slightly annoyed by all the falling water, I must say the sound of it hitting the window is lovely. It makes me want to curl up in the magic Papasan and read a good book.

Okay that’s all! Now I’m off to clean the house read a book in the Papasan. If you have any favorite things you think I should know about, please share in the comments. Particularly if it pertains to skin care products. That’s right – I just asked you to fuel my addiction.


Happy Wednesday, y’all! 

Guest Post: Minivan Must Haves for Moms

One of the things I love most about this fascinating world of social media is the ability to make friends all over the country. Most of the women I interact with on a regular basis, I’ve never even met personally, and yet I feel a deep gratitude for their friendship.

I “met” Jenny Sulpizio when I joined the writing team at The MOB Society. After reading just a few of her posts online, I knew I liked her. If we lived closer, we’d be fast friends for sure. I love her heart and her wit. Jenny’s recently released book, Confessions of a Wonder Woman Wannabe: On a Mission to Save Sanity, One Mom at a Time, is a pleasure to read. It’s funny and motivating and encouraging and just so darn practical.

I’m pleased to have Jenny here today sharing a few of her tips for Minivan Must Haves. When you’re finished reading, consider hopping over to Amazon to buy her book. You won’t regret the purchase. So, without further ado I give you:

Minivan Must Haves for Moms


Minivan Must-haves

Okay, so not all of us drive minivans, but as mamas hauling precious cargo, we know one thing for sure: those cars of ours need to be stocked from front end to rear bumper in order to stave off any major (or minor) emergency while on the road, Amen?

In my recently released book, Confessions of a Wonder Woman Wannabe: On a Mission to Save Sanity, One Mom at a Time, I discuss (in depth) the numerous items our vehicles need to carry in order to prevent a kiddy catastrophe from taking place. From wet wipes to emergency snack supplies, our cars serve as much more than just a mode of transportation–they are our second home of sorts, and need to be stocked accordingly.

But what about those of us responsible for driving said minivans?

WonderWomanWannabe Cover jpeg_final front-1Aren’t moms in need of a few items ourselves in order to save our sanity, and ward off any major mommy emergency while cruising down those streets? Of course! We need a stash of Sanity-Saving Mommy Must Haves (SSMMH’s for short) on board at all times. So what goes into a kit like this, you ask? By polling my girlfriends and wracking my own brain (well, as much as possible that is), I came up with several objects we’ll need to conceal in those swanky vans of ours at all times. Yep – Our very own, personalized mommy emergency kit(s):

1. The Bible: Whether it’s the actual Bible, a devotional, or a piece of paper with your favorite verse written on it, you need some form of Scripture somewhere in your car at all times. Amen?


2. Feminine Hygiene Products: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve needed one of these items only to find them in tatters at the bottom of my purse, exposed and unable to be used (well, without risking a meeting with TSS or something). Store these items in a zippered pouch, within your trunk where they’ll remain in tact and ready for use when you need them.

3. Money: Whether it’s for the parking meter, a coffee run, or any other last-minute need that finds you scrambling for spare change, keep some extra moola in your car…preferably hidden where small hands (or big ones) can’t find it.

4. Travel-Size Everything: Ladies, load up on everything you could possibly ever need (you know-aloe vera, lotion, miniature deodorant, etc.), and pack it within a sealable crate in your trunk. When a mommy emergency rears its ugly head, you’ll be prepared, ready, and stress-free. Talk about a sanity-saver!

5. Chocolate: A stash of chocolate may just be what most of us mommies need after an adventure in the mommyhood. Sure, it may not be the best idea as far as storage purposes go (especially during the hot summer months) but when this mama’s in need of some calming down, there’s nothing like a king-sized bar and the chocolaty goodness it’s comprised of to help smooth a situation over. Yum!

Now these are just a few of the ideas I’ve got to keep stress away while on the road. And as we all already know, the more stress we can prevent and the more sanity we can save? Well, it’s a really good thing!

Wanna find out some more ideas? In need of more tips and practical advice? Click here to win a copy of my new book, or click this link and head on over to Amazon and get yourself a copy right now.


JennyAuthor Bio: Jenny Lee Sulpizio is a wife and mother of three who enjoys writing about anything and everything under the sun, but especially loves to instruct, motivate, and guide other moms with practical advice, tips, and a whole lot of comic relief in the process. Jenny is a contributing writer for The MOB Society and Moms Together, and is the author of the recently released guide for all mamas titled, “Confessions of a Wonder Woman Wannabe: On a Mission to Save Sanity, One Mom at a Time.” To find out more about Jenny or to follow her blog, visit www.jennyleesulpizio.com.





Teen Beach Movie: Sticky Sweet Innocent Fun

8ECF73CD-5E04-4C2E-A19B-2C9B942CDBF7Somewhere, Annette Funicello is smiling and nodding her head as Disney’s latest TV film makes waves with young ones across the nation. Teen Beach Movie hit the small screen last week and as much as I resisted watching, I have to say…

I kind of enjoyed it. 

At least I did the first time I saw it. By the 5th time, I was kind of over it, but since I’m not really in the demographic they were aiming to please, I’m not sure it matters if I’ve already tired of the sticky sweet tween flick. My kids certainly haven’t tired of it. Well done, Disney. Well done…

Teen Beach Movie is every bit as silly, campy and sugary sweet as you would expect a Disney teeny bopper movie to be, but there was something nostalgic about it that made me smile more than cringe. I almost didn’t let the kids watch it for fear I wouldn’t be able to handle the silliness of it all, but Tia was counting down the days until this movie came on with such fervor that I worried it would send her into a spiral of despair if I said she couldn’t watch it. So I caved, popped a little popcorn and we curled up on the couch for the big event.

While Teen Beach Movie was entirely focused on boy/girl dynamics, it was done in a very innocent, funny and underhanded way. As the littles got swept up in the silly lines and over the top characters, I couldn’t resist a few laughs at the obvious spoof Disney made on some of the old Frankie and Annette Classics.

It’s almost as though Disney took the movie Grease, put it in a blender with Beach Party, then dipped it in sprinkles, rolled it in Cotton Candy and served it up on a hot pink stick.

When “Tanner” (Garrett Clayton) first appeared onscreen I had to laugh out loud. That kid could not embody the 1960’s dreamboat any more than if he were computer generated. When Lee saw the movie with us, his first comment was, “He looks just like that guy from all the old Disney beach movies!” Paired with the adorable Grace Phipps who played “Lela,” it seemed as if Disney had found almost exact replicas of Frankie and Annette.

The music in the film is catchy in an I can’t really believe I’m singing along to this, sort of way, and it’s so authentic to the ’60’s that I briefly wondered if they had pulled actual songs out of the archives of the golden oldies. Just try to watch “Cruisin’ for a Bruisin‘” and not tap your toes.

In all, I was plenty pleased with Disney’s latest movie, and my kids have all given it two thumbs up (that’s six thumbs for anyone counting). They will continue to watch it over and over these next few weeks, and while I will likely bow out due to the fact that I’m not entirely sure it won’t give us all cavities, I certainly don’t have a problem with letting them continue to laugh and sing along to this summer gem.

To make this write up even sweeter, the kind folks at Disney have given me one copy of Teen Beach Movie to give to one lucky reader. To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment and let me know if you saw the film and if you know all the lyrics by heart now, too.

For additional entries:

– Share this giveaway on Facebook, then come back and leave me another comment.

– Share this giveaway on Twitter, then comment back and let me know for a third entry.

Comments will remain open until Tuesday, July 30 (the same day Teen Beach Movie releases on DVD) at 8:00 Central Time when I will pick a winner randomly. The winner will be notified via email and will receive the movie shortly thereafter.

So, come on. Fess up. I know you have ONE song from the movie

that’s stuck in your head. Spill it.


Disclaimer: I am working with Disney to promote the July 30th release of Teen Beach Movie on DVD. I received a copy of the DVD to review and a copy to giveaway. All opinions expressed are my own. I am grateful for the opportunity.

100 Pound Loser: A Book Review

I first met Jessica in September when we both attended the dotMom event. I found her charming and sweet. She’s the kind of person you wish you could tuck in your pocket and carry around for those dreary days when you just need a little encouragement, which sounds a tiny bit creepy and stalkerish, so don’t tell her I said that, m’kay?

When I agreed to read and review Jessica’s new e-book, 100 Pound Loser, my intentions were simply to do a favor for a friend. What I didn’t know, though, was that her book would be exactly what I need right this very minute.

I am officially in the worst shape of my life. While I have always made health and exercise a priority in life, in the year and a half since we moved to Florida, I’ve allowed that priority to slip down to the bottom of the pile and I feel sluggish, tired and quite frankly I’m tired of my pants cutting off circulation to my lower extremities every time I sit down.

So what started out as a favor for a friend grew into encouragement for my soul.

Jessica’s book is witty, refreshing and encouraging in more ways than one. The before and after pictures alone motivate you me to get up off the couch and move. Pair that with the knowledge that she had four babies in four years and she still managed to lose and keep the weight off and you will understand the motivational aspect of this e-book.

But there is much, much more to this book than that. This e-book is encouragement for the soul of every woman who has ever looked in the mirror and not liked the image who stared back. This book is a reminder that our bodies were made for a purpose, and that purpose is not just to look good in a rockin’ pair of skinny jeans. You (and I) are so much more than anumber on a scale or the size of our jeans.

This was my favorite quote from Jessica’s book:You probably can’t run four miles, strength train, do Pilates, eat appropriate portions every three hours, and perfectly balance your carbs, protein, and fats at each meal every day. Frankly, I probably couldn’t do all that in a week! Remember, juggling the myriad things God has given you takes skill and concentration. He will certainly equip you, but it’s up to you to add, subtract, and balance the balls wisely…

…Truth: It’s more important to live life and enjoy our families than to obsess over weight. I’m pretty sure no child has ever said, ‘Gosh, I wish my mom had lost that last ten pounds when I was five years old.’Jessica Heights, 100 Pound Loser


It’s a new year, friends. A time when the slate is cleaned and we can all start fresh. While there is some humor (at least for me) in the idea of beginning a new weight loss/fitness routine in the beginning of January, the fact of the matter is this: There’s no better time to start than today!

Jessica’s book will motivate you to take that step in the right direction. Her list of resources at the end of the book will give you tools to succeed. What if we all took our health (not our weight) by the horns this year and decided enough was enough? What if we all believed that now was as good a time as any to start living freely in the body God gave us?


I’m up for the challenge…who’s with me?


To grab a copy of Jessica’s book, click here. (It’s a very quick read. You can finish it while babies are napping…or, in my case, while children are busy arguing over the Wii remote…) You’ll also want to head to the 100 Pound Loser Facebook page and click that little ‘Like’ button to receive bursts of encouragement in your Facebook feed (and we could all use that, now, couldn’t we?)

Happy Losing, friends!

PS: I did not receive compensation for this review and all opinions expressed are my own. I received a free copy of the book to read and I am grateful to Jessica for the opportunity.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner



The winner of the American Girl six book Caroline Abbott book set (try saying that five times fast) is:

Number 17: Bethany says: “This is my official Facebook entry comment. Boom!”

Thanks for entering everyone! I wish I could have given every single one of you a copy. This is why I don’t do giveaways often – the inability to please everyone just about does me in.

Have a FANTASTIC Tuesday. Go outside and soak in a little vitamin D! Ride a pony! Eat some Nutella! Search for the end of the rainbow! Pet a puppy! Sit in the silence! Put your toes in the sand! Listen to the ocean (surely there’s an App for that)! Dance to some good music! Kiss a baby! Kiss your spouse!

There are so many possibilities!


Dear Motivation, Please Come Back…

Once upon a time, exercise was a singular focus for me. I rarely went a day without participating in some kind of exercise. It was as needed for me as oxygen and staying active kept the demons away.

Then I started having babies and my focus changed.

After Landon was born, logistically getting to the gym on a daily basis was just too difficult. Still, I made the effort to get in multiple times a week and work my muscles into submission. I needed this time to keep my sanity…and I needed to keep the demons away.

I had to keep my mind in submission and I couldn’t allow my body to soften because doing so left me anxious and frustrated.

Then we moved to Florida and everything changed. I began homeschooling the kids and though I had a gym membership, I couldn’t find the time to get in and use it. The kids are past the point of being excited about nursery care, so I didn’t use the gym much.

Now they’re in school, but between writing obligations, adoption paperwork and volunteer needs at their schools, I can’t seem to find the time to get to the gym. For the first time in my life, I have zero motivation to exercise. This does not bode well for the wisp of a girl and I’m working to readjust the priorities because, let’s face it – I’m not a youngun’ anymore. I can’t eat whatever I want and be sedentary and expect to stay in shape.

Stupid aging…

I recently received some products in the mail from Empower Fitness, a company dedicated to helping the busy indivdual (like me!) stay motivated and active to maintain a healthy lifestyle. From the Empower Fitness Website:

Designed exclusively for women by women, Empower offers fitness products; world-renowned trainers; nutritional expertise; and online communities to help you reach your goals.

Empower is here to inspire and motivate you to be active, healthy, and strong. It’s your moment of truth, now MAKE YOUR MOVE to Empower.

Using the bands from their Total Body Toning System, I’ve managed to squeeze in workouts right here in my office. Sometimes even sitting at my desk. The resistance bands allow me to push my muscles to work a little bit harder and leave me feeling like I actually made an effort to do something.

While motivation is still lacking significantly, having workout bands laying at my feet at least gives me less of an excuse to do nothing at all. So I’m picking them up and using them each morning and slowly but surely I can feel that familiar desire to take care of myself returning.

I’ve also got a DuraBall Pro  from FitterFirst, a “one stop shop for functional fitness products and accessories” to challenge me to further to improve muscle tone and overall health. There are so many different exercises that can be done with these tools and I’m excited to start using them more without having to sacrifice the precious alone time that I have that is in so high demand these days.

If you’re interested in products that inspire fitness without taking up a significant amount of time or space in your home, visit the Empower Fitness website where you can connect with fitness experts, order products and read inspiring tales of real women who fought to regain control of their fitness goals and have see real results.

You can also visit FitterFirst and shop their extensive line of products that will help take your fitness to the next level.

Happy Friday, everyone! May your weekend be active and full of laughter and fun!

disclaimer: I received the Empower Total Body Toning System and the Duraball for my promotion of this company. I was not compensated. I am grateful for the opportunity.

Softer, Younger Looking Skin? Yes, Please!

I don’t do a lot of reviews around here, but every once in awhile the product is either fun enough, or catches my eye enough to make me holler Yes! And then I share it with you.

This product is not a new one to me as I’ve been using Dove products since I was in high school. (Or since the “olden days” as my children like to say when referring to my youth. *eye roll*) But when the tag line of Dove’s new line of body wash is Visibly more beautiful skin from a body wash, well, I am all in.

Remember, I am the girl obsessed with all things skin related. If a product promises me younger looking skin, I buy it hook, line and sinker. And I like to think my obession is paying off. Just this week two different people told me I didn’t look old enough to have a nine year old. I shared this with my husband in an attempt to get him to quit trying to add up how much I’ve spent over the years on skin care goodies.

It’s best for everyone involved if we not focus on that aspect…

Me being dorky with my Dove Body Wash, which is very photogenic, I might add...

I’ve been using the new Dove® Visible Care Renewing Creme Body Wash for a week now and I love it. First and foremost, it smells delicious, both clean and pretty. But not so pretty that Lee couldn’t use it – cause my man likes to smell like a man.

Honestly, I can’t say that I’ve noticed a huge difference in my skin since I began using it, but I do love how I feel when I get out of the shower.

Yesterday we spent the day at the beach and I came home sandy and salty and dirty. The Dove® Visible Care Body Wash was especially reviving afterward and I could see it being extremely useful during those dry winter months when your skin threatens to grow scales.

Or at least mine does…

Here are a few of the benefits you will reap when using Dove® Visible Care Body Creme:

  • You will be using a revolutionary line of premium body wash.
  • It contains the highest concentration of Nutrium Moisture techology across the Dove portfolio.
  • It gives you visibly more beautiful skin in just one week.
  • It is available in three different variants – New Dove® VisibleCare Toning Crème Body Wash (helps to promote skin’s elasticity and strength), Renewing Body Wash( nourishes and replenishes skin), Softening Body Wash (softens skin and dry spots).

Now this blog post is not just another product pitch. Oh no. There is potential involved for your endurance in reading through my love of all things skin related.

First, visit Dove® VisibleCare® to get a coupon for $1 off so that you can try out their new line of skin renewing body wash for yourself!

And second, who wants to win a $500 Spafinder Gift Certificate? Anybody? Anybody?

Enter to win one of two $500 Spafinder gift certificates!



You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a) Follow this link, and provide your email address and your response to the Promotion prompt

b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and then visit this link to provide your email address and the URL to that Tweet.

c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and then visit this link to provide your email address and the URL to that post.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. Winners will have 72 hours to claim the prize, or an alternative winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 7/18/2012 – 8/22/2012

Be sure to visit the Dove® VisibleCare™ Crème Body Wash brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

May we all now raise our glasses to the promise of younger, healthier, more beautiful looking skin! Visit Dove’s site for more information on their products.

Disclaimer: This is a paid promotion on behalf of Blogher and Dove. I was provided a sample of the product to try out. All opinions expressed are my own.

And now I’m back

Oh hi there! How are you? Me? Oh, I’m fine, thanks. Now that I’ve finally finished all three books in The Hunger Games Trilogy. I read them on my iPad. I don’t know how many pages the books were, but on the iPad, all three books totaled 15, 215 pages. I swiped my iPad screen 15, 215 times in the last four days.

My eyes hurt.

Yep. I took the plunge. I started The Hunger Games Saturday night and I finished the third book, Mockingjay, last night around midnight. I have done absolutely nothing in between those times. Except turn thirty-four, which I largely ignored anyway, so no big deal.

So my take on the books: I was skeptical when I went in to the series. I didn’t want to like it but, alas, I did like it. I had to fight through the first five chapters of the first book, which I found to be painfully boring. I almost gave it all up, but once the story finally picked up, I was hooked.

From a story standpoint, the books were great. There was a love triangle, lots of action and fantastic descriptions that pulled me right into the world of Panem. I could see it and smell it and feel the terror of it all.

That is great storytelling.

My suspicions that it isn’t the most grammatically sound piece of literature were correct, but I see the freedom that the author took with creative license and I could appreciate it. There were a few paragraphs that were overly fragmented in my opinion and a couple of times I laughed out loud at the, perhaps, overly judicious use of creative license, but overall I understood why she wrote the book the way she did and why an editor didn’t change it.

About half-way through the book I started to feel a bit squicky about the idea of watching the movie. There was this nagging idea that the author was making a pretty braod social statement, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was. But all I could think was that The Hunger Games were meant to be a thing of entertainment. People from the Capitol watched children killing each other as a means to entertain themselves.

Doesn’t it seem odd that we would want to watch the movie in that context?

By the end of the series, though, I got it – I saw exactly where the author wanted to lead us, which made watching the movie version of the book less offensive to me (though I still don’t know if I’ll see it). The Hunger Games is supposed to be an allegory of war. It’s a loose allegory and I think it’s meant to be an extreme picture on purpose.

We send young people into battle and they have to fight to the death with the knowledge that really, there can only be one victor. But in the battle, the good guys and the bad guys get muddied and soon, everyone kind of looks alike, because the battle for survival makes us all act in desperation.

Just as in a war, the end results of The Hunger Games are devastating. The victor is never the same, having seen and done things that are unspeakable. The families of the victims are forever left without their child and every community is ultimately affected with the horror of it all.

But who is the Capitol supposed to represent? This is something I had a hard time figuring out. Maybe it’s not a representation of any one thing or group of people, but on occasion I got a vague sense that maybe the Capitol was supposed to represent America and it felt a bit underhanded.

Other times, however, that didn’t seem to be the case at all.

In the end, it was one more story that leads us to believe that the only answer is a sort of Utopian society, where a new race of peace loving people is the only hope for the world. A nice thought, I suppose.

But in the end it’s all just fiction, isn’t it?

So what do you think? I realize I’m roughly two years late to this conversation. I’m edgy like that.

*eye roll*

In all honestly, though, before I read the books I truly had no idea what they were about so I’ve read nothing on the subject. What message did you take from The Hunger Games?

People Who Sing Jesus

I will preface this book review by telling you that I am unashamedly biased toward the author. Sean is my cousin and I’ve always thought he was the Bee’s Knees. When we were younger, I was fairly certain that Sean hung the moon in the sky. He was quiet and kind and you should have seen him play Frogger on the Atari.

It was nothing short of awe inspiring.

So yes, I’m biased, but here’s the deal. If I didn’t genuinely find this book to be amazing and fascinating and thought provoking, I wouldn’t review it. So while I have an obvious bias to Sean himself, I certainly didn’t have any thoughts on the book until I read it.

And then I had to read it again and, honestly, I think I need to read it a third time.

This is coming from a girl who doesn’t like to read non-fiction.

People Who Sing Jesus has given me pause for thought these last few weeks. It’s no secret that this move has been a difficult one for our family. In nearly twelve years of marriage, Lee and I have rarely struggled, but this move has made us work harder in a lot of areas.

We’ve had to work harder as husband and wife.

We’ve had to work harder at parenting.

We’ve had to work harder at seeking Jesus.

I started praying the scary prayer not long after we came down here. “Lord, don’t let me know you for who I think you are. Help me know you for who you really are.” Each time I pray that prayer I try not to grimace and I force myself not to put several hundred caveat’s on the request.

Lord let me know you for who you truly are, but…

Don’t take away the people or things I love,

Don’t make the refining fire too hot,

Don’t let my vision shift be too painful.

I’ve had to learn again to sing Jesus and to understand WHY I sing His Name. And in the process I’ve been so deeply humbled that I’ve had a bit of vertigo.

This week, as the kids and I prepare for the sacred remembrance of Good Friday, we’ve been reading the story of Jesus’ walk to Calvary and it’s given me so much pause as I soak in His sacrifice wholly and fully. Why do I sing Jesus? Why do I stand in awe of Him?

Sean opens the first chapter with this paragraph: “You may find this hard to believe, but your life is significantly attached to the original score of music. The most ancient expression of creativity began not in notes and scales but in the formation of life. As the Creator set the cosmos in motion, the framework for melodies originated, and those early formations are linked to your story. God’s creative work binds together your life with your purpose to sing new songs that connect to the Creator’s original score. Your life continues adding notes to the original melody.”

The first time I read these words I went over them twice, tears pricking the corners of my eyes. To know that the Creator of the Universe, the One I so desire to know for who He truly is, created me with a purpose that links to His original score of Creation sets my heart trembling. And the resulting action toward which I feel compelled is to sing.

Creation already sings His praises. The thunder is His bass and the oceans provide the rhythm. The mountains are the strings that echo the harmonious chorus of the animals that grace their paths. The wind blows and whispers his name while the lightening provides the clanging symbol of His glory.

And inside that melodious track, we have been given the gift of words to put His Name to music, singing along with all of Creation. We, you and I, are all a part of the song and, as Sean explains, we have been since the very beginning of time when He set the melody in place. Knowing and understanding this not only gives cause for more praise, but also turns us more toward the One who released the first chord. The Conductor.

People Who Sing Jesus is theology wrapped in grace-filled prose. It’s a book that will cause you to stop and question – Who is God and who are we?

There is so much more I want to tell you, and so many more quotes I want to pull from the book and share. But it would be better if you read the book yourself. Because in 800 words or less, I simply cannot do justice to the power of this beautiful book. All I know is when I finished it, I wanted to sing.

“God’s truth is revealed in every aspect of life: science, technology, health, economics, creation, politics, and all human interactivity. What you see and know is only a fraction of the picture. The Creator has much more in store for you than you can possibly imagine.” Sean Cooper, People Who Sing Jesus

You can purchase People Who Sing Jesus here.