January Favorites

Until today, this week has been cold and gray here in Atlanta. We’ve been content to stay home as much as possible, warm and cozy and extra thankful that our homeschool dress code allows — encourages even — all-day pajama wear.

Weeks like this cause me to reflect on my current favorites in music and books, on Netflix, and from my Keurig. Probably because reading, listening to music, watching TV, and reading are “comforts” for me when it’s yucky out. So I thought I’d share a few of my favorites.


“If We’re Honest” by Francesca Battistelli


While I had heard songs by Francesca Battistelli on our local Christian radio station and knew she had an amazing voice, I’d never really stopped to listen to any of her CDs. That is, not until after I had the opportunity to meet her mom Kate Battistelli at Allume, a blogging conference I attended back in October. Like me, Kate is an author, blogger, wife, mom, and theater lover. She’s also “Mimi” to two grandkids, so she’s a bit farther along in her journey than me.

Kate and I ate breakfast together the last day and I gave this fellow Atlanta dweller a ride back to our area. Our time together left me encouraged as a mom, writer, and Jesus follower. She’s the real deal, friends.

After going home and reading her practical and inspiring book, Growing Great Kids, I bought her daughter Francesca’s CD “If We’re Honest” as a Christmas gift for my oldest daughter Olivia. Olivia was already a fan of Francesca’s music after singing one of her songs in voice lessons.

“If We’re Honest” has become our favorite CD to listen to in the car. Even my 3-year-old loves it, asking me often if we can listen to “Franstelli.” I always tear up when I hear my girls singing along — at the top of their lungs — to “Write Your Story” and “Unusual.” Why? Because these are both things I long to see in their lives. I want God to write His story for them and for them to live boldly for Him in a world of “gray.”

It’s been a long time since I’ve listened to a CCM album where I love every song. But on “If We’re Honest,” I do. I highly reccomend it.




Ted and I are Netflix-binge watchers. Not that this is any secret. I’ve mentioned it in several of my recent articles, including one titled, “Say Goodnight Together.”

The show we’re currently hooked on is the science-fiction drama, Fringe, which aired from 2008-2013. Honestly, it took us about one and a half seasons to really get into it, but we hung in there for two reasons. One, trusted friends who swore to us it was brilliant. Two, because it’s the brain child of J.J. Abrams and we loved both Lost (well, except the ending) and Alias.

And we’re glad we did. We’re currently almost finished with season 3. Three more episodes to go.

If you’ve never heard of Fringe, you can read a synopsis here. While it’s not a show I can eat anything while I watch (it’s not for the weak of stomach) or that I recommend using as a guide on how to handle premarital relationships, there is so much I love about it. My loves for it include:

  1. The storyline is unpredictable. It keeps me guessing. It’s so well-crafted.
  2. The actors, specifically Anna Torv who plays Olivia and John Noble who plays Walter, are amazing. I could tell you more, but then I’d be venturing into the land of spoilers. And I refuse to go there.

So for my strong-stomach friends who have time to watch multiple episodes in a sitting (which Ted and I have done more than once lately), Fringe is an addicting, edge-of-your-seat, brilliantly-written pick.


Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing At All by Karen Ehman


I struggle with my mouth. What I say. And how I say it. So my blogging friend Karen Ehman’s new book Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing At All is proving to be a helpful read for me.

Karen’s writing is engaging, biblical, and practical. I love the way she effortlessly weaves stories — from both her own life and from Scripture — together with tools I can apply to my life today. While I haven’t finished this book yet, I can already tell that it’s one I’ll be rereading, recommending, and praising often.


Cafe Escapes Cafe Caramel and Gevalia Caramel Macchiato


I homeschool four kids and work from home. Because of that, as I mentioned in my post on “3 Proven Ways to Balance Kids and Work,” there are things that will suffer.

One of those things has been the regular grinding of coffee beans. While I love freshly ground coffee brewed in a french press (such as the kind I’m giving away here), I just can’t manage it too often. Instead, I’m a regular Keurig user. It has made my life — especially those first 30 minutes after stumbling out of bed in the morning — so much easier. My favorite two K-cups right now are: Cafe Escapes Cafe Caramel and Gevalia Caramel Macchiato.

Yes, I obviously have a thing for caramel.

So there you have it. My January favorites. Some, like Karen’s book, new to shelves. Others, like Fringe, already watched by many. And, I have to say, It has been so much fun to share my favorites, that I think I’ll make it a monthly tradition. So watch next month for my February favorites.

What about you? What are some of your favorites this month?




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