Monday, March 18, 2013

You're going to the movies! [giveaway winners announced]

Congrats to Katie and Jennifer!
Check your emails, ladies!

They both win a family 4-pack to see Escape from Planet Earth and a $15 Cinemark gift card.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Let's go to the movies! An Out-of-this-World Houston Giveaway

A few weeks ago, I checked my voicemail to find the sweetest little voicemail from Nephew #4, asking me to come along to see Escape from Planet Earth. No way was I passing that up. I met them at the theater, took a seat next to Nephew #1 and asked, "So what's this about?" He didn't have a clue.

We were both in for a treat.

Escape from Planet Earth is an exciting, fun and heartwarming animated film that may be the most pro-family, pro-marriage, pro-children, and pro-fatherhood films you will see this year. It tells of a superhero who finds himself trapped by evil forces on the distant "Dark Planet" (aka, Earth!) where only his nerdy brother Gary can save him, with the help of his devoted "stay-at-home" wife and enterprising young son.

I often need to pick or recommend movies that are SUPER kid friendly, so my "inappropriate radar" is always on when I'm watching films that show potential. Usually there's unnecessary adult humor, jabs at Christianity, or just junk in general. Are you ready for this?...

Escape from Planet Earth has NONE.
Honestly. NONE.
There is not one single moment that even the littlest of littles couldn't see. I could not have been more impressed!

Needless to say, when Whitney from Allied Faith & Family contacted me about giving away some tickets on the blog, I was thrilled.

Whether you have a family full of littles, or no kids at all, this movie is a great pick. Our crew included my sister, her four boys, my mom and dad, and myself. We all loved it!


What can you win?

Two of you can win:

A family-four-pack of tickets to see Escape from Planet Earth, provided by Allied Faith & Family.
Tickets can be redeemed at any Houston area Cinemark theater, Mon-Thurs (excluding holidays). Passes are valid as long as the film is in theaters.

A $15 Cinemark gift card.
Because I can't let you go to the movies for free and not throw in free popcorn. It would just be silly :) 

How can you win? 

Comment on this post and tell me what your favorite movie is and why. Really. That's it!
If you're not sure how to comment, email me at hannahlanestovall [at] gmail [dot] com and I'll add it for you.

Make sure that I have some kind of access to your email address, either linked through your Google or Blogger account or just leave it in the comment. 

You can comment once per day. You can only win one family pack, but it will up your chances of winning!

When will I announce the winners? 

Monday, March 18. 
Everyone needs a little Monday pick-me-up, right? Movie packs will also be mailed out on Monday. 


You will LOVE it! I'm certain. 

Thanks to Whitney and Allied Faith & Family for providing our tickets! 
Allied Faith & Family (AFF) is a dynamic PR and marketing service group that encourages and assists the entertainment community in promoting life-affirming messages that touch the heart and uplift the human spirit. Located in the heart of Hollywood and with 21 field offices around the country, AFF exist to build bridges between the faith and entertainment worlds and advance media that entertains, enlightens, inspires and endures.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

dear friend on the iPhone

photo courtesy of
The infamous letter Dear Mom on the iPhone went from zero to crazy overnight. I can admit that when I hit "share" on Facebook, I wasn't even thinking about all the great moms I know who occassionally glance to the screen every once in a while for a moment of relief. I wasn't worried about the sweet mommas who love social media because, for crying out loud, it's the most practical way for them to have a conversation with their friends. I just wasn't worried about them. I applaud them. I want to be them.

More than anything, I hit "share" because, in ministry, I encounter a handful of littles every week whose faces drop the second I even check the time on my iPhone. They've been hurt by mere ounces of technology. They really just wish Siri would hush.

But what I really loved about that letter? It's 100% transferrable.
It could just as easily have read:
Dear Dad on the iPhone
Dear Grandpa on the iPhone
Dear Brother on the iPhone
Dear Teacher on the iPhone
Dear Roommate
Dear Boss
Dear Coworker
Dear Daughter
Dear Sister
Dear Friend

I know that I, in any of those roles I fill, could stand to read it; and on some occassions, even need to say it.

What could it look like?
In the most relevant form for me (both to and from me), it might sound a little something like this:

Dear Friend on the iPhone,
I'd like to think that our time together is worth something, but that's not what I'm picking up from you.
I don't want to be clingy. I don't want to monopolize your attention, but out of the days or weeks or months we're apart, I'm only asking for an hour or two of your time.
I feel like if I sat across the table and sent you texts, you might be a little more into this. 
Your head is down, you're laughing at jokes over text messages.
Someone else is more deserving of your attention.
Someone else is funnier.
You would rather be somewhere else, right?
That's all I see.
That's all I hear.
Could you put it down? Put it away?
Everything you think you're missing will still be there when our hour is up.
But this hour is what we have.
My favorite little iPhone feature is the 'Do Not Disturb'
From the moment I turn it on, to the second I opt out of self-control and peek at the screen, all notifications, phone calls, emails, tweets, texts, game updates, ESPN feeds, etc are completely silenced. Zero distractions. (Since work and family emergencies are a part of reality, there's even an option to allow calls from favorites.)
I love a little technology.
I'm a Twitter nerd.
I like FunJump and Fruit Ninja as much as the next iUser.
So please hear me when I say, I am just as guilty.
Guilty, but trying to get over my iPhone.
Trying to get over myself.
My one little word for this year is low. I set out to lower my sense of self, and part of that has been lowering the iPhone and looking people in the eye.
That's where their story is. You don't want to miss it. You can't afford to.

**look back tomorrow for a family-fun, Houston giveaway!**


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

back in the saddle again.

And just like that, I think it might be better to watch Sleepless in Seattle than write.
Because no one's really missed this.
No one really needs to read anything I say.
No one will be sad if I just delete the whole thing.

But, dangit. I would miss it! I have missed it.
So just like all the tediously wonderful things (working out, getting up early, washing your hair. grin), the first time in a while is always the hardest.

In all fairness, though, I really have been writing. I really have been blogging. Just...not here.


Sozo: To be made whole.

A while back, my sweet friend, Becky (whom you surely know by now) started writing for Sozo, an encouraging blog community for women. In November, Becky and I were chatting at her baby shower about how bad we've gotten about posting on our personal blogs. Grin. She mentioned that deadlines are what helped her stay faithful to posting for Sozo. I asked a few questions about it, and we moved on to other conversations.

By the time I got home that night, I had an email from Bre'anna, fearless and fabulous leader of the Sozo blog. She read an archived guest post I wrote for Becky and wanted to know if I was interested in joining the Sozo team. I immediately sent a text to Becky to see if she had anything to do with it (she's easily in my top 5 fans). Nope. All the Lord.

There are thirteen contributors and Sunday through Friday, we cover:

A Weekly Scripture Passage
Mommy Mondays
Tasty Tuesdays (weekly healthy recipe from our own resident nutritionist!)
Wedded Wednesdays
Thirsty Thursdays (devotional)
Female Fridays

It's such a privilege to write and walk alongside these great women! We're learning and sharing and encouraging and it is such a joy. One of my favorite things about writing for Sozo is that, from that very first email, Bre'anna made it clear that none of the daily topics were off limits for me. Not married? No kids? No big deal. I still have the opportunity to speak into those moments and how they are relevant to me and where I am. I pray there are others who can relate. 

My Sozo posts so far: 


I honestly could not even tell you when my Twittership (Twitter + friendship) with Renee started. All I know is, she was tweetin' things and bloggin' things and before I knew it, I was hooked. This girl is good. And this girl writes truth. She has been such an encouragement and inspiration. When I thought I didn't have two words worth saying about dating and relationships, she gave me an outlet to talk about my perspective and experience (or lack thereof) in the hardest post I've written. When she added monthy columnists to her blog, now webzine, I shamelessly asked to be included. Wink. 

Along with three other girls who cover devotionals, health & wellness, and relationships, I'm her events girl. My first post on President Obama's inauguration quickly created some heat, but I don't scare that easily. More current event/pop culture posts to come!


The Lord has been sweet to open doors for me to get my writing itch relieved in this season. I'm so grateful. But this is home.

This is where we started. 
And I've been so neglectful. 

This first one's out of the way and more are coming soon!

A family-fun Houston giveaway and a review of Shauna Niequist's upcoming book! Stay tuned.