Friday, June 15, 2018

Five Loves on Friday // Disney Plans, Date Night, and My Favorite Summer (Book) Sale!

Happy Friday, friends!  I hope your week has been as lovely as you all are, but if it hasn't then get excited because the WEEKEND will be here in a snap!  First, here's a handful of things that made my heart skip a beat since this time last week!

One  //  Celebratory Date Night



My parents invited our girls to spend the night last Friday to give Jason and I a date night in belated celebration of his 40th Birthday (earlier this month)!  Since he's been dividing his days between a high stress job and the home improvement project we have in full swing here, we decided a relaxing evening in was the best way to enjoy that special one on one time together.  We ordered takeout from our favorite local BBQ restaurant.  To keep it low carb and high yum I decided to try a new-to-me recipe (linked below the photo) to accompany the marvelous meat.  We rented the finale to The Maze Runner movie trilogy (based on a book series, I've not had the pleasure of reading) to enjoy while savoring each bite.  I have mixed emotions about this flick.  I will keep it completely spoiler free and say that I was hoping for a bit of a different ending.  I had a love/hate relationship with this final film.  Yet, it was an epic movie, our food was fantastic, and as always, any uninterrupted quality time with my man is thoroughly enjoyed!


Two  //  An Afternoon Spent with my Moms {Mom & MIL}

My parents and my in-laws have always gotten along so beautifully.  While Jason's dad and my own have been working side by side throughout our home improvement project (such skillful help those two are!), our moms had yet to visit on the some "work days" until Saturday.  The last time they were all together was two years ago when my in-laws attended my parents' 40th Wedding Anniversary party.  It was sweet to sit in the living room chatting with both my mom and Jason's.  It truly filled my heart with joy to hear them catching up, knowing that they were happy to see each other.  I know not all families that are joined by marriage mesh as well as ours do and I'm super grateful that's the case for our family.


Three  //  Our Milestone Wedding Anniversary Trip Extended & the Extra Resort Booked! 

Flights just became available for our upcoming 20th Wedding Anniversary "just the two of us" celebratory trip this fall.  (I'm so excited to celebrate being married to my incredible better half for half of my life SOON!)  We decided to do something a little different this trip.  Rather than heading to the airport a few hours before dawn, we will be flying out an evening early and arriving shortly before midnight.  This will give us the day we'd typically spend traveling already there in the parks!  Oh yeah, in case you hadn't heard our trip is of the Disney World variety, naturally!  We haven't taken a couple trip there since fall of 2011, so this is sure to be magical!  I am tickled pink that our celebratory vacation will be in the happy place where we began our life together on the very week we originally honeymooned there!  We will enjoy all that Food and Wine Festival has to offer, delicious dining, and a more adult trip.  If you think Disney Parks are just for kids, I look forward to sharing some trip reports in the year to come that will show you otherwise!


Anyway, on to the details about our accommodations...  Since we did bump our trip up a day we were in need of a room for the night of our arrival. We decided to spend it at Disney's Pop Century Resort!  We've never stayed here before (firsts are so much fun) and they've recently refurbished their rooms giving them an entirely different look, which I love!  




Photos Courtesy of  Tom Bricker of www.disneytouristblog.com.  See his full photo & video review of the new rooms at Pop Century here.

These rooms are have a clean, modern look to them.  They seem to be a fun value level resort option.  (AKA:  They're inexpensive, yet still give guests all the perks of staying on Disney property while also keeping you in the "Disney Bubble".)  

After our first evening we'll be transferring to spend the following week at our Disney Vacation Club home resort, Animal Kingdom Lodge, in a savanna view studio!  Here's a peek at the spectacular sights we enjoyed a few years back when also scored a savanna view...


Yep, those are giraffes just outside our private balcony!


Here's a look at some of the animals we spotted from our balcony at night.  My husband turned up the exposure on our camera and I also brightened the photos up a bit to give you a better look at the animals.





I am super excited about this upcoming trip for two!  I'm thrilled it was extended a teensy bit too!  I look forward to recapping the Disney deets for you all right here in future Trip Report Tuesday posts!


Speaking of Trip Report Tuesday....


Four  //  Disney Posts Prepped for Months to Come! 


I love reliving all the magical memories of our Disney vacations through creating and sharing recaps in my Trip Report Tuesday blogging series.  However, the process of putting the posts together is quite time consuming between sorting through thousands of photos, editing, uploading, and rambling away on all the deets of each day.  I honestly debated whether or not to create these new installments to the blog series recapping our recent trip.  I wasn't sure I wanted to spend so much time behind my computer each week throughout the summer months.  My family warned that I would regret it if I didn't.  (I am certain they were right. ;))  So, I decided I'd blog ahead using every bit of free time that either my girls were busy with other activities and/or my husband was working on our home improvement project here (which is currently every night and weekend).  Now just a few weeks into summer break I've officially completed the drafts for all 17 days worth of Walt Disney World Trip Report Tuesday posts to come!  Since I typically work each week on the post that's to be published the following Tuesday this felt like a HUGE accomplishment! While confetti and balloons didn't drop from the ceiling upon saving the upcoming WDW Day 17 post (that will be published way out in Mid-September!), I felt both a huge sense of accomplishment and relief that I've freed up that much time for the rest of summer break and carried on the tradition I started way back in 2013 of capturing those priceless memories from each of my family's Disney vacations thereafter!  



A Note to Fellow Disney Fanatics
If you love the Disney Parks and have missed these posts you can check out my previous trip reports (from both Walt Disney World and Disneyland) in my Trip Report Tuesday tab HERE!  Want even more Disney goodness in your life?  Return to Chatting Over Chocolate each Tuesday for a fresh new dose of Disney.  When the final post recapping our most recent trip is published we'll actually be on our next WDW vacation!  Then, I'll be starting all over again with fresh new installments of fall fun at WDW! 


Five  //  My Favorite Summer Sale!

Just a note before sharing:  I am in no way affiliated with Grace to You.  These links are being shared simply because I have benefited tremendously from this ministry and hope that any of you, sweet readers and cherished friends, that are looking for excellent resources will find this sale to be helpful to you and your loved ones as well!


Each June Grace to You has an incredible sale that offers 25% off PLUS free shipping across their inventory of wonderful biblically sound books, dvds, bibles and more!  If you're in the market for excellent, thought provoking books that will feed a biblical worldview, and nourish your soul as each is rooted in the truth of the Bible, I HIGHLY recommend checking out the goodies there! Here are some of my top picks that I've personally purchased during previous Summer Sales!




My Favorite Daily Devotional


Direct Link:  Drawing Near

I bought this during the last summer sale and have been using it for about a year now.  It is absolutely wonderful!  



Product Description (as given at GTY.org):


Drawing Near, the first book of its kind by John MacArthur, offers you 365 days' worth of practical, verse-by-verse nuggets of truth from Scripture. This devotional is designed to strengthen your overall understanding of the Bible and provide spiritual nourishment you can apply to day-to-day living. It's an ideal companion to you and your family's study of God's Word.

Also, if you prefer reading digitally you can find the devotions from this book for FREE daily at: https://www.gty.org/library/devotionals



Great Reads:

Direct Link:  Anxious for Nothing


Product Description (as given on GTY.org):

As Christians, we're certainly not immune to the troubles of life.  We aren't promised an easy road, and when troubles do come, we're urged to rise above them and experience "peace that passes all understanding."  But how, in day-to-day life, does that really happen?

While numerous books have been written on overcoming anxiety, Anxious for Nothing moves us beyond pop psychology's temporary cures by returning us to our one true source of comfort and victory—Scripture.  John MacArthur reminds us that God is completely sovereign, understands our struggles, and has equipped us with resources to not only face, but also to triumph completely over our anxieties.

This book comes with a study guide in the back of the book.



Direct Link:  The Glory of Heaven



A portion of the intro as shared in the product description on GTY.org:

Here’s a brief excerpt from the introduction concerning the current interest in heaven:
One thing is clear: it does not signal any significant upsurge of interest in the biblical perspective on eternity. On the contrary, the data actually seem to indicate that lots of people are simply making up whatever concept of heaven pleases them.
We would of course expect New Age practitioners, cranks, and cultists to abandon the Bible in favor of their own dreams and fantasies. But this tendency to invent one’s own personal concept of heaven seems to be an even bigger problem in the evangelical community than it is in the world at large.
The heart of our study together in this book will be an in-depth look at what the Bible says about heaven. No matter what one thinks about or wishes to imagine about heaven, the reality is different and better by magnitudes.
If the inerrant biblical truth God has given us is the only reliable knowledge about heaven we have access to (and it is), then that is what should grip our hearts and minds. . . . Now let’s see why the Bible’s account of heaven is so much better than the dreams and speculations of the human mind.


My Favorite Study Bible


Lastly at the tip top of my recommendations, my favorite study Bible!  This was one item I didn't purchase during a summer sale.  It was given to me by my sweet husband for Christmas a dozen years ago.  Since receiving this precious gift it has been my go to for studying the Bible! Its 25,000+ explanatory study notes have brought so much insight and clarity in reading God's Word in the intended context.  I cannot recommend it more highly as an incredibly helpful tool in studying the Bible!  

Direct Link:  MacArthur Study Bibles
This link will take you to Grace to You's Bible section that includes all cover styles and translations available there, each currently marked 25% off!


If you'd like to check out this sale jumping straight to the category you're interested in, here are some direct links:



Thank you so much for stopping by today!  It is such a pleasure to have you here!  Be sure to say, "Hello!" in the comment section below before you go, and then have yourself a lovely weekend!



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22 comments:

  1. Happy Friday, sweet lady! That corn bread looks amazing. And yay for a couples trip and 20 years together. My in-laws and my parents also get along so well :-)

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    1. Thanks, sweet friend! So much to smile about here! I appreciate you sharing in the joy of it all. :) I love that your in-laws and parents get along so well too! That is such a blessing!

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  2. Wow, Brenda! So many cool things going on in your life right now! Super jealous of the Disney trip:). I hope you guys have so much fun! I'm glad you and your hubby had a night alone. Those are so important! And I'm going to have to try one of those books you recommended:). Happy Friday!

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    1. Thanks a bunch, Cassidy! We're so excited to celebrate this milestone at our happy place! I agree, date nights are so important! I hope you enjoy whichever book you choose as much as I did! Have a wonderful week, friend!

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  3. Happy Friday Brenda! It's such a blessing when families can mesh this way. I think one of the main reasons my ex and I were able to continue to be friends is because our families were so close as well. Have a super weekend!

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    1. It really is a beautiful thing when families mesh well! Thanks so much for stopping by, Shelly! I always enjoy hearing from you!

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  4. I am glad you are posting trip reports and going to Disney again! The animal kingdom lodge is one of my dream resorts!

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    1. Thank you, my sweet Disney loving friend! You make sharing all our WDW adventures even more fun! AKL is such a beautiful resort! You should definitely make that Disney dream come true with a stay there on a future trip!

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  5. Beautiful pics of Disney. Thanks sharing them. Would love to go to the Aninmal Kingdom there.

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  6. Happy Friday! So happy that you got all that work done, I'm super jealous. I always have grand plans to do something like that. But then it never happens, haha! I still haven't seen the last movie in the Maze Runner series....need to do that, maybe this weekend. Thanks for the reminder. You should read the books, it's way different than the movies...

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing in my joy over prepping all those posts ahead! It seriously felt like such an accomplishment! Hope you enjoy the movie. Now I want to read the books after hearing you say that they're way different from the movies! You've got me curious! ;)

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  7. Such a wonderful week you've had, Bren! Time with your loved ones, delicious food and entertainment, and the most magical plans! I'm SO proud of you for working ahead and getting those posts done! I know how much you love looking back on them yourself, but how much work they are to put together! Thank you for sharing the memories with the rest of us too! You're the best! Finally, I absolutely LOVE gty.org too! They offer fantastic Bible studies that are not "fluffy" but truly allow for a more in depth study of the Word of God. I'm loving my Romans study now! While the MacArthur Study Bible is still on my wishlist, I can definitely see why it's your favorite! Enjoy your weekend, sweetest friend!

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    1. Thank you so much, Nik, for your continual sweetness, kind words, and support! It is absolutely my pleasure to share here! Thank you for always being here to share with! :) I wholeheartedly agree with all you said about gty.org! We have thoroughly enjoyed & appreciated the dedication to biblical truth within every resource we've gotten from that ministry! I'm so glad you're loving your Romans study! That's awesome! xo!

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  8. Happy weekend friend! So many awesome and fun things going on - can y’all be my adopted family?! Haha! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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    1. Absolutely! You and lit'l Miss A are a package deal, right?! ;) Much love to both of you sweet girls! xoxo

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  9. That sounds like an amazing trip! My husband and I vacationed in WDW... gosh it must have been 10 years ago now and it was so much fun without the kids. Enjoy!

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    1. Thank you!! We are so excited! I'm so glad you and your husband enjoyed such a fun couples trip there too! Love it!

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  10. Sounds like a fun date night! And what a fun trip to look forward to!

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  11. You are going to have the BEST time on your anniversary trip! WDW does things right & you'll enjoy Food and Wine festival so much! Thank you for sharing the links to those great books & devotionals. I love discovering new faith reads. XO

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    1. Thank you so much! We can hardly wait! I agree, Disney does things right! We love Food and Wine Festival and are so looking forward to savoring those samplings around the world (showcase :))! You're most welcome! If you decide to pick any of those books up I hope you enjoy them as much as I have! It's always a joy to hear from you! Thanks a bunch for visiting! xo

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I would love to hear from you today! I enjoy reading each and every comment I receive. (I do moderate them before they're published. Gotta keep it family friendly! ;)) I will respond to comments directly on the blog post. Let's chat! B.Y.O.C. {Bring Your Own Chocolate!}