Tyler Perry’s Higher is Waiting & a Giveaway!

When the days get shorter, the temperatures become cooler and it feels like I’m being pulled 100 different directions with mom life, there is nothing more comforting than a cup of tea, a cozy and worn patchwork quilt and a good read.

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Those moments of peace are some of my favorite and a great way to expand my thoughts beyond, “What’s for supper,” “did I get Bradley’s wrestling gear washed,” and “is this the weekend Madeline is coming in from school?”

While I love good historical fiction, a sappy (not trashy) romance, and a decorating book full of inspiration, without a doubt I will always choose nonfiction over it all.  And this fall nonfiction seems to be dominating my reading list!

“Ever since I was a little boy I’ve always known there was something greater than myself, This holy force was protecting, loving, and keeping me close. It was helping me live through physical pain and emotional heartache and guiding me to envision and believe in extraordinary possibilities.”

~Tyler Perry (Higher is Waiting)

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Tyler Perry has established himself as a cultural icon through acting, writing, producing, directing, as a playwright, and even songwriting.  Of course Perry is most well known for his Madea movies, but the road to reach this status was rough and troubled.  Perry’s new book Higher is Waiting is one of inspiration that will resonate with me for quite a while.  A little biography, inspiration and faith this book encourages readers to keep going in their lives reaching out for a more purposeful life, looking for something greater than self, and of course, never giving up.

“My childhood was a story of discouragement, belittlement, and unthinkable abuse.  There was no way I could have found any kind of happiness, hope or vision if my mother Maxine and my aunt Mae hadn’t shown me the grace of God.”

Due to hit shelves this week, Perry’s book is described as a “spiritual guidebook, a collection of teachings culled from the experiences of a lifetime, meant to inspire readers to climb higher in their own lives and pull themselves up to a better, more fulfilling place.”

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Perry’s life story is truly extraordinary and in sharing his experiences he hopes to inspire others to reach for the stars.  His success with the Madea franchise, television shows and plays is a stark contrast to the hardship he faced in an abusive home living in poverty, growing up in 1970s New Orleans; an area still suffering from generations of Jim Crow law.  He recalls the beautiful moments that shaped him despite the brutality that also existed through physical abuse of his father and sexual abuse from a neighbor.  He kept his dreams quiet, but worked hard with determination to reach higher.

Throughout Higher is Waiting, Tyler Perry affectionately recalls the people that kept him going, while instructing him in integrity, faith, discipline and even forgiveness.  He shares stories of his mother’s never-ending faith who always maintained “God is good,” no matter the pain she lived through at home.  Seeds of experiencing God even in the little things planted by his aunt Mae, and the kindness of a blind man, Mr. Butler who taught him that sometimes you have to stand still, wait and be patient when looking for answers to prayer.

 With each memory shared, Perry also shares a devotional thought and scripture encouraging you to dive into your own faith.

The book is divided into four sections using the metaphor of a tree: planting seeds, nourishing the roots, branching out and harvesting the fruit.  From early childhood and dreaming big despite the obstacles in his path, it is so refreshing to read of a man’s faith developing over time in an age where so many are content let their faith sit stagnant.

Perry’s vivid recollection of recognizing God’s presence growing in his life, learning to listen, carry on in the toughest of times, and choose faith over fear will inspire you to step out of your own box and reach higher in your own lives.

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I am giving away one copy of Higher is Waiting to one of my readers.  All you need to do is leave me a comment here on the blog, telling me someone who has influenced your life and faith.  I will announce the winner on December 3, 2017.  Winners will receive their books in 4-6 weeks after the giveaway ends from Penguin Random House.

** If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again.

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Review Wire Media for Penguin Random House. I received information to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

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What I Wore: A Glimpse of Fall

Living in gym clothes most of the time, fashion isn’t always something I think about.  While I do my hair and makeup everyday, as a stay-at-home wife and mom it seems I don’t require a huge wardrobe.  Between cooking, cleaning, high school sports and quick errand running, I just want to be comfortable most days,  For me that is yoga pants and tee-shirts.

{Now most of my tee’s are trendy with little sayings like “Wife. Mom. Boss”}

While I have gained confidence in a lot of areas since my days of being morbidly obese, how to dress is not one of those areas which may be why I am most happy in yoga pants.

Dress up days for me are Sundays and date night with that hubby of mine, but he sees me all the time.  Recently I posted a couple of pictures on social media from events I attended and was asked over and over by friends about what I was wearing!

Now I don’t know if it’s because I’m always dressed casually so dressing up is a big deal, or if because what I was wearing might actually be fashionable, but I thought I would share a little “what I wore” and  “where to buy” today.

You might find yourself surprised!

The first outfit I wanted to share is one I recently wore at Disney World and Epcot when I visited for the International Food and Wine Festival.

My girl friend Tami and I wanted to dress up just a little since we were there for a specific reason, and she is a fashion blogger so I needed to step out of my comfort zone a little.

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I loved this blue top/dress and everyone was amazed to discover that I found it at Cracker Barrel of all places!

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I loved the color and the fact it could be dressed up or left casual just by swapping jewelry, shoes (I wore it with 4-inch heeled booties to church services) and adding tights.  For this particular day I wore it with Hue leggings that can be purchased at Macy’s for under $20 and a pair of Sam & Libby ballet flats from Target.

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As for the mouse ears, you can find a wide variety throughout Disney, so it was easy to find the sapphire ones to match!  After all, every little girl needs mouse ears for her first visit to Disney!

My second outfit that stirred a flurry of comments was this fall ensemble that is actually from LuLaRoe.  Yes, I’ve read all the negative publicity surrounding the company, but I have several pieces that really work for me.

And I find them to be quite nice.

For this outfit I paired a “Joy” (the long vest) with a “Carly” (a high/low swing dress).

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I’m not big on extra flowy (it goes back to when I weighed 270 pounds & liked to hide behind my clothes), so I put a dart in the back so that it fit in a way I felt comfortable; not clingy, but also not baggy.

While I don’t have to shop there to dress my body anymore, my tall boots are a leather classic riding boot and were purchased at Lane Bryant.  I have large calves (a by product of years of catching in softball), and Lane Bryant carries boots that fit just perfectly over mine!

To dress up my LuLaRoe, I added a large pendant that I’ve had for years of a Fox Hunting scene (an eBay purchase) and carried a small leather purse from Brahmin (Purchased at Macy’s).  It’s always amazed me how well-chosen accessories can really add to a rather plain outfit!

Out of curiosity, what is your everyday look?  What type of pieces work best for you?

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Post Vacay Clean Eats

I absolutely love to travel, experiencing the many fun and unique things you can do in other places from culture to food.  But, what I do not like about travel is how I often feel upon returning home; swelling from long plane flights, belly bloat and just plain feeling fat … it is miserable!

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Audley, Bradley and I returned from San Diego late Sunday night. While I still battle my weight (I always will), I have settled into a pattern of maintenance that keeps me feeling healthy, energetic, and happy for the most part.

An occasional “cheat” type meal fits into my lifestyle just fine, but after an entire week of spicy Mexican food, rich desserts, home cooked full breakfast each morning and a stop at In and Out Burger my body was not at all happy with me.  I have spent the last three days doing a little intermittent fasting (do a little research as it is good for you to add to your health and wellness routines from time to time), trying to detox and make my gut happy with me again.

Another way I detox is to eat really clean whole foods with ingredients that I can pronounce.  That means I prepare and cook everything that goes into my body and on our table using fresh and organic ingredients.

The easiest of all recipes is egg whites and oatmeal.  I carb-cycle (three low carb days followed by a day with two meals of heavy carb), so this delicious one-pan meal, that is so filling and satisfying, is a favorite of mine.

It’s also super easy to make and can be so versatile.**

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Ingredients are very simple: 4 egg whites (separate these yourself, do not use the ones in a carton), 1/2 cup McCann’s Oatmeal, 2 Tablespoons Navatis Cacao powder (I found this at the Vitamin Shoppe), 1/2 cup water and a little stevia if you like it sweet.

Whisk all the ingredients together in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the oatmeal and egg whites reach a custardy state, stirring continuously while it cooks.

{This will stick if you aren’t paying attention.}

Top with strawberries and serve up pretty.  It’s almost like a dessert, so you never know that it’s good for you!

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**I did mention that this recipe is versatile, so here is another option:  Leave out the cacao powder and instead toss fresh diced fruit of another variety in your oatmeal.  Peaches are so good, as are any type of berry!

Your body will thank you for eating so clean and your tummy will thank you.

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I have learned from experience food can either destroy you or heal you.  It’s all how you eat and use it!

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Seasons of Change

On January 04, 2006 I hit publish on my first ever blog post.  My husband, Audley, and I had just returned from watching Georgia play in the Sugar Bowl and I wanted to share the experience with my family.

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After living in five states with our four children and in the process of moving again blogging was a fabulous and easy way for the grandparents and aunts to “Keep Up with the Jones'”.   I could share picture and thoughts on the little things in our lives from sports to holiday celebrations from a distance.

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The first picture of my kiddos ever posted… we had been camping.

One day a friend asked me to share a recipe through the new social media platform of Facebook.  It wasn’t a difficult recipe, but sometimes pictures are useful, so I opted to share it from my blog.  A short time later, Audley and I restored an old dresser from the 1880’s.  Since my mom wanted to see pictures, I also shared it from the blog. This was the beginning of dabbling in the blogging world.  Soon I was reading other blogs on the web, discovered they were reading my musings as well.  Rhoda from Southern Hospitality was one of my first connections and I still adore her!

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I knew Rhoda through her blog, but met her the first time in February 2010

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First time I ever experienced a group blogging event… This night in Atlanta was so much fun!

Over the last eleven years I may have changed formats, just a little, but dabbling in blogging continued as did my life with an extremely active family of four!

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We’ve had band and a drum major, competition color guard, basketball, baseball, soccer, volleyball, swim team, wrestling, track and lacrosse.

We’ve enjoyed youth group, mission trips, traveling and experienced four more moves with Audley’s always changing job.

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Jamaica mission trip with two of my girls

There have been three graduate from high school, two become brides and one signed to play college lacrosse.

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Samantha & Justin’s wedding day

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MacKenzie and Michael’s wedding day

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The most recent picture of my four together; back in May

Personally I went back to college and finished my bachelors degree, battled obesity, and spent the last four years (prior to our February move) working outside the home.

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College graduate with a degree in Public Relation

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Fighting for my life!

This leaves just our son at home to begin his senior year of high school followed by Marine boot camp as he has already cleared MEPS.

In just under a year, Audley and I will be EMPTY NESTERS!

So what now?

To be honest, I’m not sure. Over the years I’ve written about family, food, decorating, travel, faith, marriage health, and life.  I’ve never monotized and don’t know if people found anything I’ve written to be useful, but it’s been a great way to occasionally express what’s on my mind and help my family keep up with us. For now I think I will definitely continue to write.  Maybe Fiddle Dee Dee will become more than just a place for me to occasionally muse.  decisions of which direction to take are often challenging, especially when you are at a crossroads. What I do know is it’s a true season of change and I hope that you’ll stick around for the journey!

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