In This House, We Will Giggle



I’ll never forget the moment Andy and I loaded our first newborn into the squeaky-clean, fresh-out-of-the-box car seat that was perched in our car. We were in the parking lot of Piedmont Hospital and were in shock that the “hospital people” were letting us take him. After all, we knew very little about what we were doing. We kept eyeing the revolving doors to see if maybe a security team was on its way to stop us with a “Hey! What do you think you’re doing? You can’t leave with that baby. You don’t know enough!”

But they did let us leave, and we’re grateful. I realize now that it wasn’t just the physical stuff of taking care of a baby that concerned us. It was ALL of it. Good grief, this baby would be a high school student someday, and a college kid someday, and probably even a dad someday. What if we mess up?

Early on, Andy and I discovered that there were so many facets of parenting. Not only did we want to care for the physical needs of our kids, we wanted to help them develop understanding. We wanted to lead them to be discerning and wise. We wanted them to be in a position to honor God and honor others in their choices and decisions.

While all of that sounds a bit heavy, the lion’s share of it comes in the day-to-day living with our kids. The daily training and coaching and FUN that comes from being together. The daily modeling, encouraging, and celebrating important virtues and character traits.

The GREAT news is that Courtney DeFeo has recently written a book about this very thing! In This House, We Will Giggle is the book I wish I’d had when the Stanley three were growing up. I’m thrilled that I can use it with nieces and nephews and our sweet foster kids who are in and out.

Here are the chapter titles, because I think they’re awesome!

  • Joy: When the Reality of Life Meets a Heart of Gladness
  • Love: Letting Concern for Others Guide
  • Forgiveness: Discover the Freedom That Comes Only Through Grace
  • Faith: Planting Seeds of Trust for a Lifetime of Spiritual Growth
  • Patience: Some Things Are Worth the Wait
  • Perseverance: Pressing On Through
  • Respect: Words and Actions That Honor Others
  • Responsibility: Working Hard and Taking Ownership
  • Service: Meeting Needs with Our Hands, Feet, and Hearts
  • Humility: Giving God and Others Center Stage
  • Gratitude: So Many Reasons to Be Thankful
  • Generosity: Join in the Adventure of Giving

In This House, We Will Giggle provides parents with the motivation and practical ideas to plant these virtues deep in the hearts of their kids and have so much fun doing it. For each virtue there is a practical activity to do with your kids to make it fun. Don’t miss this! The book launches on October 7, but you can preorder your copy this week on Courtney’s website: The publisher is offering a buy one get one free deal right now. If you think you might want to do this as a small group study, now’s the time to get a great price.

Comment here with which chapter you expect will be your favorite and you’ll be automatically entered to win a copy autographed by Courtney! Drawing will be on release day, October 7.

Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Sauce

ASC_3801Occasionally, when Andy and I are in Buckhead, we make our way over to Houston’s Restaurant. One of our favorite menu items is the Grilled Chicken Salad with mixed greens, jicama, honey-lime vinaigrette and peanut sauce. So, when I saw‘s Chopped Thai Chicken Salad , I knew we’d LOVE it.

Sure enough, it did not disappoint! Little warning… it’s hard to stop eating. I did make a few changes to the original recipe based on ingredients I had available and the number of servings I wanted. So, here you go. I hope you enjoy it!

Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Sauce


  • 3 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
  • 1 head of green cabbage, shredded
  • 2 large carrots, shredded
  • 1 large mango (not too ripe), chopped
  • 3/4 Cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 Cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 Cup chopped peanuts


  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili pepper, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar or local honey
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 Cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 Cup of water, if needed

Toss all salad ingredients, except peanuts, into a mixing bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Whisk together the first seven dressing ingredients. When well combined, add peanut butter and water. Again, whisk well.

Toss dressing with salad. Plate the salad then sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Garnish with a little extra cilantro.

Take a pic, and be so proud of your beautiful, healthy, and oh-so-delicious meal!

Live from Israel!

Isn’t it funny how we visualize a person we’ve only talked to but never seen? We have a picture in our mind’s eye of that person—hair color, facial features, height, build. Then we meet him in person. The collision of expectations and reality prove us completely wrong.

For me, the Holy Land was that way. Before visiting Israel for the first time, I had certain pictures in my mind. Some of them originated from Sunday school pictures and flannelgraph stories. Some of them I simply conjured up on my own.

After seeing some of the significant sites of my faith, and walking in places where Jesus likely walked, it was like seeing a person for the first time when I’d previously only heard his voice. The familiar stories of the Bible took on new significance and depth.

If you ever have the opportunity to visit, you should! Meanwhile, here are a few pictures from our journey.

Holy Land Sea of Galilee

Sea of Galilee as the sun was setting.

Holy Land

View of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives.

Holy Land Walls

Walls around Jerusalem

Holy Land Court of Gentiles

Temple Mount

Holy Land Jordan River

Jordan River

Holy Land Upper Room

Upper Room

Holy Land Gethsem

Garden of Gethsemane

Holy Land Holding Jesus

Holding cell in the High Priest’s house (Caiaphas’ House)

Holy Land Garden TombGarden Tomb

Imperial Chicken Bake

photoYears ago, when Andy and I were newlyweds, a group of ladies at First Baptist Church of Atlanta put together a cookbook. This was no ordinary church cookbook. It was a beautiful hardcover cookbook filled with photographs taken by my father-in-law. The recipes were tested and tested and tested. In fact, there was a running joke that the cookbook would never be released because the tester ladies were having too much fun.

If you love cookbooks, you should definitely try to find one of these online!

So, back to my story . . . Again, I was a newlywed and was just learning how to cook. Really, I was bad at it. I remember making some sort of sponge cake that had three or four Jell-O colors in it. And, no, it wasn’t Mardi Gras. I really thought it was going to be good. I was not correct.

Thankfully, Among the Lilies was finally released. Maybe Andy called them and asked them to please hurry. Every recipe in that cookbook was amazing. Here is one that I bet I’ve made over a hundred times. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Imperial Chicken Bake

  • 3 C. dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 C. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 T. minced parsley
  • 1 t. salt
  • 6 chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 C. milk
  • 3/4-stick butter
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Paprika to taste

Combine first five ingredients in a large shallow bowl. Dip each chicken breast in milk; then dredge in the seasoned crumbs. Place in lightly greased dish. Combine butter, garlic, and lemon juice. Drizzle over chicken. Sprinkle paprika over all. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes until tender.

Guess what? I have a copy to give away! Enter to win by commenting with your funniest cooking mishap. There will be a random drawing on Monday, September 1!