A Very Merry Giveaway

What’s up, y’all! Greetings from West Virginia where I am happily blogging from my Momma’s kitchen table. Guys, home is where your Momma is, am I not right? I hadn’t been home in a year and I am l majorly.loving.it.. We have nothing on the agenda other than chilling in our pjs, connecting with supporters, and celebrating Christ-giving!!

We are rolling my side of the family’s celebrations into one fabulous day which my kids are especially pumped about because who else gets to open Christmas gifts on Thanksgiving?!? Since all my shopping had to be wrapped up by this week, I thought I’d give you some of my favorite gift-giving ideas this Holiday season!

For the Family:


Ann Voskamp’s Unwrapping the Greatest Gift  together with some mugs and cocoa will make the perfect family gift! I can hardly wait to give this a try for the Advent Season!

For the Foodie:

bread and wineGrab a basket (Goodwill has great ones! As does my mom’s attic! #score!) add in my favorite book, Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist and a few ingredients from her LUSCIOUS recipes or some new dish towels and boom. Winner Winner her fantastic Causoulette Dinner. :)

For the Blogger:


How They Blog is by far my favorite blogging resource. I love the podcasts, etc. and I know any blogger on your Christmas list would enjoy it as well!

For the Disciple:


This is my by far my favorite resource to use with students I’m discipling after we’ve gone through the 5 Basic Follow-Ups and the 10 Transferable Concepts. It’s designed for:

  • Pastors and leaders who want to spur Gospel renewal in their churches and ministries.
  • Church-planters who want to form Gospel DNA in the churches they start.
  • Students and campus ministers who are looking to live out the Gospel on campus.
  • Christians who want to be more deeply formed around the Gospel.
  • Small group leaders who are looking for content that “works” with diverse groups of people.
  • Missionaries who are looking for simple material to disciple new Christians.

For the Mom:

stitchfixbox-640x388Send a sweet mom the fun of  StitchFix! It’s a box shipped directly to your home filled with 5 hand selected items (based on your personalized profile) from your very own stylist. This weekend at a conference, I complimented my friend Kari on her outfit. The whole thing was from Stitchfix! I’m telling you, it’s by far my fave way to shop. You can send a gift card or help her fill out a profile and schedule a fix!

For the Man:

BelkI finally found a gift that my husband loves. Okay, actually one of our interns brought it to the a white elephant gift exchange for our work party last year, but he didn’t win it, so I went and bought him one. Totally counts if you ask me. So, if you have a man in your life whose love language happens to not be gifts, go for the Portable Wireless Speaker.

For the Curator:

_wood_block_prints_11Photo gifts have come so far. Artifact Uprising has some beautiful wood pieces and can take Instagram pics and turn them into high quality gifts. PinholePress can do the same then turn photos into children’s books, the game Memory and even  Walmart.com can make puzzles, gallery wrapped canvases and Christmas ornaments out of your beloved photos. I love these companies and the way they turn photos into family heirlooms.

Those are some of mine! What are your favorite gifts to give this season?

And…because I love you, I have teamed up with some blogging friends  to help one of you out with some cash to spend on Christmas gifts this year! Gretchen from Life Lived Beautifully is also giving away one of her new Romans studies!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Favorite Things: November

Thanks to my Table Talk series, (which is STILL causing me to lay awake at night with more ideas and more people to interview who are great at being intentional without being awkward…so look for an eBook sometime before my children graduate college!) I missed the chance to do a “Favorite Things” post in October, so I thought I’d give you an extra long November list to enjoy!


Favorite Things: November

$2.88 Earrings: I firmly believe that every girl needs a little Faded Glory in her life. That’s right. Sometimes you can find the best stuff at WALMART. (Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself since having moved to a town without a Target.) Have you seen the accessories selection lately? I follow the fabulous Instagram account @whoawaitwalmart and I went on a HUNT when I saw these beauties. Now lots of the jewelry looks like it cost $2.88, but these look priceless in my opinion!

photo (59)Milk Chocolate Covered Almonds: It’s embarrassing how fast the Hurdle family goes through these. They are the perfect carpool and homework snack. Boosting the blood sugar and providing a wee bit of protein to boot. Actually ANY snack of this brand is fabulous. I have an obsession with the yogurt covered pretzels. MMMmmmmm. photo (60)Pumpkin Spice Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls: Need I say more? 


Honeycrisp Apples: Duh. They are the absolute best…I can’t stop eating them. Smear peanut butter on top. Oh I can’t even. MMMmmm. What’s your fave apple of the season?

Melissa & Doug Paint With Water Pages: Remember these? I totally forgot they existed! (Sorta like I forgot small children lose their teeth. That was a crazy second-day-of-having-kids experience.) It’s all the fun of paining without the mess. They have been amazingly entertaining for my kids…and maybe me too! 

photo (61)Podcasts: This could be a “Favorite Things” list in and of itself. I’m fairly certain my daily life friends hate me for how many podcasts I recommend on a daily basis. But, y’all. It’s the key to my mental sanity amidst laundry, dishes, garage-cleaning-out and exercise these days. I feel like it’s feeding my mind and soul while I attempt to feed everyone else’s!

My favorite stations are as follows:

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, what are your faves?


The Public Library and thus The Family Resource Center: Minus the fact that I literally spent all my fun money for the month paying the late fines for a Pippi Longstockings DVD… I am in love with the Public Library. Where else can you go to hear an archaeologist explain his impressive rock collection, or attend a readers’ theater, get your Amazon cart for FREE, have hours of entertainment for your kids or fantastic free DVDs for family movie nights, even tickets to shows around town?

On our recent trip to the library, the librarian asked if we’d been to the Family Resource Center. I’m still not sure if this is a Mississippi thing or an everywhere thing. Here in Oxford it’s a division of the Extension Services. I had never heard about it, but it’s like the library…with TOYS. It’s AMAZING.

Blocks, trucks, musical instruments, science kits, books, a few DVDs, a Cricket machine, laminator, even the giant parachute we all used to play with in PE class!?! It’s basically a homeschooling mom’s dream. And it’s free. And high quality. And we dominated it this Friday afternoon. And my kids have been playing pleasantly since then. And we don’t have to find space to any of it. The lottery. I feel like I won it. For the next 3 weeks.photo (62)Big Hero 6 and Frozen 30 now showing in a living room near you…and I was just informed that on Sundays there are two shows…”the very scary show and the unmodest show.” Okay, great. Off to #disciplethat.


Pin It

Welcome to His Table

It had been a long day.

Disrespect, fussing, entitlement, delayed obedience. All the issues. And those were just mine.

Don’t even get me started on the two pieces of sand paper, also known as my darling children, who were doing a large part of the refining.

I had slaved in the kitchen, working hard to prepare a well-balanced and hopefully well-received meal. But of course, someone who had never even tasted the dish decided to dish out his strongly held beliefs about my provisions. Breadcrumbs. How dare I?

And then I said it.

With gusto.

“No one with an attitude THAT ugly is invited to MY table.”

The snarling words caught in my throat.

I meant them with every inch of my apron, yet I knew they stood in stark contrast to the words of a most Gracious Host.

A Gracious Host who created a perfect world complete with every stunning detail and delicacy one could imagine.

A Gracious Host who allowed the initial shedding of blood to cover the shame of His first guests, Adam & Eve.

A Gracious Host who gave daily bread to thankless wanderers.

A Gracious Host who relentlessly pursed unfaithful lovers who RSVP’ed but never showed.

A Gracious Host who left His kingly throne room to dwell among us.

A Gracious Host who laid down His life and became the new and perfect Adam to buy back those who are His.

A Gracious Host who, by His Spirit, resides, seals, authorizes, equips, and enables the souls of the church-His bride-to bear much fruit.

A Gracious Host who is coming again to once and for all welcome fornicators, haters, cheaters and liars from every tongue, tribe and nation, into His heavenly and holy home. Betrothing us to Himself forever.



And because HE welcomes MY ugly attitude(s) to His table again and again, I can, by His strength, echo His voice of love to the onion, barbecue sauce, and bread crumb haters sitting around my table.

We can love, because He first loved us. 

Pin It

How to Throw an Amazing Adoption Shower

Keeping in line with November being Adoption Awareness Month, I thought I’d share one of my favorite memories of being “in the process of adoption.” It’s a weird season honestly. It’s like having the big round belly, but with no due date in sight…thank the Lord for true friends who shower you and your future little one(s) with love even when there’s no guaranteed delivery.

Friends like our church family in Columbia. They wanted to honor Joel and our future posterity by throwing us a baby shower, but how does one throw a party when the quanitity, age, or gender of the to-be-celebrated child(ren) is unknown??

Well, you make sure your friends are geniuses. And then they host a “Happily Ever After Storybook Shower.”DSC01983It was seriously the most thoughtful shower ever. Friends came and brought their favorite children’s books, new or gently used, along with gift cards to their favorite places to shop for kids OR their favorite “the parents must escape” date night locations. It was oh. so. great.

DSC01938 DSC01926 DSC01907 DSC01912 DSC01960IMG_6817 IMG_6818DSC01957

I still remember how special this day made me feel. Opening a Jesus Storybook Bible made me burst into tears and having my friends around me gave me courage to feel hope.

I don’t know if any of your friends, neighbors or church members are close to completing the adoption process, but maybe a Storybook Shower would be the perfect fit for someone could bless. I am still grateful and I love getting to tell my kiddos which of our friends gave us their favorite books. The kids loving reading the notes people wrote to them even before we knew them! 

Plus, just as icing on the cake, our paperwork was finalized and another grueling a short 2 months later we got to meet two Pigtails and a Cowlick! Praise be to God who’s perfect timing is never a minute too late.

Pin It

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop Soup

Guys, November is for soups. The hearty kind that even my “I need a cheeseburger” husband can’t resist considering a full meal.

Have you tried Mexican Crack Soup? It’s one of my favorite recipes from Gigi. (Tell me you read her 31 Day series??) I’ve renamed it so as not to have to explain crack to kids…may I introduce you to “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop Soup” soup

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop Soup


  • Mexican Corn Chowder
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked chicken
  • 11oz can Mexi-Corn (drained)
  • 1 can condensed cream of potato soup
  • 4 oz can diced green chili peppers
  • 3 tbsp. fresh cilantro
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 8oz of sour cream
  • 8oz of Mexican cheese


  1. In crock-pot (Bonus tip: always use a crock-pot liner, people!) combine chicken, corn, soup, undrained chili peppers, cilantro, taco seasoning. Stir in chicken broth. Cover cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
  2. Stir about one cup of hot soup mixture into the sour cream. Stir sour cream mixture and cheese into the soup in the crock-pot, cover and let stand 5 minutes. Stir until combined.
  3. Serve with cornbread and enjoy!
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin


Pin It

Top 5 Freezer Meal Fails to Avoid

freezer meal pinI’ve been freezer cooking for a little while now and let’s just say that I totally think it’s the way to go. Bulk cooking days are a huge time and money saver, plus you can adjust menus to any diet or palate preference. I’m a firm believer.
I’m an even firmer believer in cooking in the context of community! It’s sooo fun to gather a group of friends, blare Boys II Men, chop, slice, dice and dump for a few hours, and leave with 20 meals for each family to enjoy. These are the things that an ESFJ’s dreams are made of. Productivity and friendship at it’s finest.
Well, I recently attempted to do just that and it’s safe to say I bit off a wee bit more than I could chew…literally and figuratively.


Welcome to the first ever (and hopefully last ever) installment of “Freezer Meal Fails” also known as “Freezer Cooking: What NOT To Do” and but not limited to “That one time I had wild dogs circling my house for days.”

5 Ways to Fail at Freezer Cooking

    1. Invite too many people and/or plan for too many recipes: I am high inclusion. I love to invite the masses to anything and everything. But when your home was built in the 1970′s your kitchen is only so large and you can only prepare food in so many rooms of the house. Stick to Less that 4 families if you’re a beginner. ALSO, don’t get overzealous on how many recipes you’re going to attempt. For one reason, your cost will increase the more ingredients you have to purchase. Better to double the same recipes than have lots of variety and lots of random leftover hoisin sauce. Prep space is the other issue as you’ll need to set up a station for each recipe. Plan the number of meals by considering the budget, time allotment and prep space available. 
    2. Forget to anticipate the amount of fridge and freezer space needed: Speaking of space. I don’t even want to tell you how much meat we bought for our most recent and most epic round of freezer meal cooking. Let’s just say it was more than any stand-up freezer was going to hold. We ended up spreading the ingredients across multiple homes (read counties) and it was a headache! It didn’t even occur to me that we would need this much refrigeration or I’d have purchased everything on the prep day!! Plan accordingly, people!086Bonus tip: SHOP AT THE PIG!! It is now my fave grocery store because you can call ahead to the meat department to place your order and they were so helpful in gathering some of the groceries too! 089
    3. Cut corners on labels: We all know I love to save money. Typically we just use a black permanent marker and write the name of the dish on the front of the Ziploc or pan, but with so many people and so many recipes, we thought it better to use labels. But labels are pricey, ya’ll. So, we thought it better to print the recipes with side dish pairing ideas out on printer paper an packaging tape them to the bags and pans. One minor detail. Packaging tape comes off in the freezer. So welcome to hundreds of unidentified frozen meals floating around the freezers of the Housewives of Lafeyette County.121
    4. Figure it out as you go: “I’ve done this so many times before! No worries!” said no smart freezer cooker ever. Always have an itemized “Day Of” plan. You need to know when to cook the potatoes and when to layer the enchiladas. Trust me. Make an order of operations plan and stick to it. Also, don’t burn GALLONS of the most amazing loaded baked potato soup you’ve ever eaten. Errr, actually NOT eaten because it tastes like cigarettes. You will hate yourself. And so will your friends. Womp. Womp.122
    5. Forget to account for trash receptacles and the days between cooking day and garbage: This was quite possibly my most epic fail. Aside from inviting all my friends over on the ONLY day of the year that Joel needed ALL their husbands to help with our massive landscaping project. That was bad. But aside from that, I completely underestimated how much trash we would amass from this Guinness Book of World Records cooking day. We have two giant trash bins that we roll to the street twice a week. But this was Saturday. And they were partially full. When I say that we had a small landfill out front of our house I am not kidding. So by the time the sunset we had all the neighborhood animals and then some coming out of the woods to devour the remains of our day. My day ended with a trip to Home Depot to purchase yet another trash can. This time a 96-gallon commercial size. And let’s just say that raw meat makes for a less than joyful neighborhood by sunny day #3125

So those are the freezer meal failures to avoid. If you’d like to learn more about how TO SUCCESSFULLY freezer cook, read THIS post and THIS one too. And you’re more than welcome to email me with questions.

Here are my favorite freezer meal NO-FAIL recipes that will be sure to become staples for you.
Have you tried freezer cooking? Freezer meal swapping?
What tips and tricks would you share? What fails have you learned from?
Pin It

My Favorite Adoption Resources

Did you know that November is Adoption Awareness Month? I’m not sure who declared it such, but I am glad that they did! With that in mind, I wanted to share some of my favorite foster/adoption resources, whether it’s just a wild dream or a stark reality. adoption

If you’re thinking about it…

Adopted for Life
This Article by Russell Moore

If you’re in the thick of it…

The Connected Child
Toddler Adoption
This Article by Jason Johnson
When Good Things Aren’t Good 

When you feel like you could give up or you just need an parenting refresher…or need to know you’re not crazy…because the kids who need the most love sometimes ask for it in the most unloving ways!

Empowered to Connect Conference

Children’s Books (Great as gifts for adoptive parents or for your child’s teacher’s library or if you just want a good ugly cry!!)

God Found Us You
I Wished For You
Happy Adoption Day

Living in the tension of fostering? 

This girl // This girl // or My Incubator

There’s so much value in these resources and also in those who’ve gone before you! Take advantage of support groups, therapists who understand parenting children from hard places and/ older families in the community. Those are my faves.

Any resources you have found helpful that you would add to this list?

Pin It

Orphan Sunday

Our pastor prayed the most beautiful prayer for orphans this morning. It was so encouraging to have our church petition God on behalf of those without an earthly advocate, and together, ask God how we might be a part of loving the Fatherless.

I really appreciate this video. It’s a weighty and accurate picture of the American orphan experience. I hope it will bring awareness, compassion and fervent prayer to you the way it did to me.


ReMoved from HESCHLE on Vimeo.

Psalm 82:3 Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.

Hello, November

October is over, but it sure was a sweet month for our family…

GrandB & Grampy came to visit us. 226 263 293

We picked pumpkins.


We snuggled.269

We play in the dirt.279We hit very important milemarkers.
294We hung out with lots of college students.

We remained undefeated by snagging dem flags.
013We went on several hundred field trips.
002032 04610314556_10152465255463937_1953464750296311942_nphoto (56)image (2)

We adored Fall Retreat and wanted to move there.008

We practiced our bow hunting. 012And our camo face paining. 010We enjoyed the last few days of warmth. 

And conquered the monkey bars! (HUGE DEAL)038 039046We went on nature hoarder walks

049We baked. And baked. 020And then played ding dong ditch to ministry supporters in Memphis.


We hung out with more college students.
026We dominated the birthday party circuit.
132We recited in chapel.081 094

We cheered on the Rebs. 295We loved us some “non-scary” Halloween. photo 2 (5) photo 1 (2) photo 5

And we loved every minute of it all. 030And now it’s November!!

It’s the hush before winter. The month for all things warm, cozy and thankful. It’s the month that is older and wiser. The one that takes a little restraint not to rush right past. I’m anticipating what November promises to those who will pull back the reigns and resist the urge to run straight through to Christmas. 

hello novemnber

How are you feeling about November? Can you believe 2014 is nearing an end? Are you with me in milking this month for everything it’s worth? I’m ready!


Don’t forget to email me by Monday if you’re interested in this month’s virtual book club! And sign up to receive the newest monthly newsletter coming to an inbox near you soon and very soon!

Happy November, ya’ll!

Table Talk: Grand Finale

21, 961 words.

Who would think that writing about the same topic for 31 days could be so completely refreshing and energizing? Joel has walked by my computer multiple times this month and said, “Pippi Blogstalkings, this thing would be my personal hell, but I am so glad that you love it.”


I’m actually sad to see this challenge come to an end. It’s been really good for my soul and I’m so grateful for the valuable feedback you gave this month. You’ve been so generous with your thoughts and your time and I am truly appreciative. 

I am so grateful that I think I’ll give away some fabulous napkin ties. :) Congrats to….sweet Megan Carey!a Rafflecopter giveaway

And just in case you missed any of the action this month…

Day 1: Table Talk: Being Intentional Without Being Awkward 
Day 2: Table Talk: Pushing Past Awkward
Day 3: Table Talk: A Favorite Table
Day 4: Table Talk: Tummy Talk (Southern Supper)
Day 5: Table Talk: Thinking of You & A Writing Prompt
Day 6: Table Talk: Dinner Party
Day 7: Table Talk: The Techie Table
Day 8: Table Talk: 12 Barriers to Listening
Day 9: Table Talk: 10 Building Blocks to Listening
Day 10: Table Talk: The #1 Way to Avoid Offensive Small Talk
Day 11: Table Talk: Loving Your Neighbor
Day 12: Table Talk: 100 Conversation Starters
Day 13: Table Talk: Crowd Pleasers
Day 14: Table Talk: Gratitude 
Day 15: Table Talk: Share Your H.E.A.R.T.S
Day 16: Table Talk: People of Walmart
Day 17: Table Talk: Hospitality in the Home & On the Road
Day 18: Table Talk: Round-Up
Day 19: Table Talk: The Professional
Day 20: Table Talk: Tummy Talk (Asian Supper)
Day 21: Table Talk: The Conversation Jar
Day 22: Table Talk: Don’t Hesitate to Conversate
Day 23: Table Talk: The Encouragement Chair
Day 24: Table Talk: Navigating the Holidays Like a Ninja
Day 25: Table Talk: Speaking Up & Holding Back
Day 26: Table Talk: Sabbath Rest
Day 27: Table Talk: Corporate America
Day 28: Table Talk: State of the Union
Day 29: Table Talk: A Pep Talk With My Infertile Self
Day 30: Table Talk: With Adoptive Parents
Day 31: Table Talk: Grand Finale

Somehow I still have Table Talk interviews and ideas swirling around in my mind, so you may see some more where that came from in the future. Who knows. What’s one actionable step you’re walking away from this series ready to take? I know one of mine will be continuing the priority of showing up to THIS table regularly! 

If you’re new here this month and/or if you’d like to automatically receive posts in your email inbox just sign-up in the little “email love” box. There’s a monthly newsletter coming soon and there are plenty more adventures in ministry, motherhood, menu-planning and miscellaneous enjoyments of following Him and loving them to be had.

Ya’ll, let’s rock out the rest of 2014 together, shall we? I simply can not wait!

Pippi 1See you in November!!


Pin It