Launch Day at ThatCarolJones

It's Launch Day at and that is so full of awesome goodness I can't stand it! This day has been in the works for months and it's finally here!

I hope you'll take the time to click the links to my other blogs and visit each one today.  There are special giveaways on each blog, and I know you won't want to miss out on all the greatness you'll find there!

If you're a regular reader here, welcome back, and if you're brand new, I'm glad you're here!

Today is a day of celebration so I'm celebrating and giving stuff away!

On "All That to Say" I'm giving away a gift basket from a sweet friend who owns an online shop called Office Candy.  I love her stuff because she makes organizing life fun!

If you want to be entered to win this fun package, all you have to do is follow this blog, leave me a comment that includes a burning parenting question you might have, and then pretty please with sugar on top tweet, post and pin this blog so others will find out about its goodness and follow me too!

All that to say, Happy Launch Day! And thanks for stopping by! (And Zack Jones, thank you for your tireless work to make this happen!)


Are You Tired of Your Mom's Sucky iPhone Pictures?

Okay Moms and Dads, Grandparents, and pretty much anyone else who owns an iPhone camera, this is for you today!

Is your iPhone your primary camera?  Mine too!  But what's crazy is I actually own a really nice camera and even a really nice point and shoot camera. But still, my iPhone is responsible for about 85% of all the pictures I take!

I've been pinning a bunch of stuff lately on how to use my iPhone camera (figuring since I use it so much, I should get some better pictures from it!).  I've downloaded some great apps and started playing around with them and I have to say my iPhone pics have gotten much better.  I've been googling how to use the different apps and then decided there must be some kind of an "all-in-one" guide out there for using all those apps.  Oddly enough, I stumbled across this book that is written by a friend of mine!  When I said, "Hey, why didn't you tell me you wrote a book?!!!" she just said, "I don't know.  It didn't come up in conversation!"  HA!

iPhone Photography: The Visual Guide by Alli Worthington

It's AWESOME!  It's filled with TONS of tips, tricks, no-brainers that none of us use but should, and best of all it's only $9.97.  It has step-by-step instructions, super easy to read, and is filled with photos taken WITH an iPhone.  I know this sounds like a sales pitch.  It kind of is.  Because it's awesome and I think you should get it!  And later on when you're taking KILLER iPhone pictures, you're gonna probably write me and thank me for recommending you buy this.

Since it's Give Friday, I want to give her a little love and tell you, my readers, about her book.  Not only that, I'm going to give away a copy of her book too!

How can you win it?  Simple.  Follow my blog, pin this, tweet it, or post it on your wall.  The more you do, the more ways you'll be entered!  And I'll draw a winner on Monday!

All that to say, That Carol Jones, saving the world from bad iPhone pictures (well, maybe not the world . . .) HA!

When I Am Afraid, I Will Trust in You

When my oldest son was a very little boy, he had a terrible anxiety about storms. It started when we lived out in the country and a tornado ripped through a nearby town, leaving in its path a trail of destruction.  When he saw the sheared off trees and the splintered piles of wood that used to be homes, he was overwhelmed that a storm could do that.

Try as we might, there was no convincing him the type of storm that wipes out an entire town is not the typical type of storm that pitter patters on your roof.  When lightning struck and thunder boomed, he was thereafter terrified.

One night, when he was five years old, a storm came in the middle of the night.  When I heard the first roll of thunder, I laid in my bed, wondering if it had awakened him.  I could hear a slightly muffled voice coming from his room, so I got up and silently made my way down the hall.  I could hear him whispering over and over and over,

"What time I am afraid I will trust in thee. Psalm 56:3."

"What time I am afraid I will trust in thee. Psalm 56:3."

"What time I am afraid I will trust in thee. Psalm 56:3."

Just as I reached the doorway of his room, the lightning exploded in the sky and I could see him sitting under the covers in his bed.  The thunder crashed loudly and he screamed, "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.  Psalm 56.3!!!!!"

I remembered that story today as I was thinking about Boston.  About how to respond to the evil in this world.  And Zack's prayer came to my mind.

What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.

All that to say, I will not fear.  But I will trust and I will pray.  Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

When Friendship Seems Elusive

I was talking with a friend the other day about close personal relationships, especially close personal friendships.  Her struggle was that no matter how she tried, she just couldn't seem to connect with someone in a way that didn't end up a mess, or complicated, or frustrating on some level.

She said, "It's almost like God doesn't want me to have a close friend."

I swallowed hard at that sentence because I totally understand what she was saying, and yet, at the same time, it seemed counter intuitive to what I know about God.  I mean, He created us for community, right?

Her struggle is not unlike mine and many other women I know.  We are very emotional beings.  We need close friendships.  As Dr. Christina Yang would say on Grey's Anatomy (don't even think about judging me right now) "We all need our person."  We need that someone that we can go to with anything; someone who can look beyond what is seen, into the deepest darkest places, the places where we hide our secrets, our wounds, our desires, our dreams.  Someone that we can trust to see those things and not run away in horror. And even more importantly, someone who won't betray us when we become fully transparent with them.

For me, for her, for many, we find that we so desperately need a human being to share those things with, that we forget God's role in our life.  HE is that person for us.  His Word tells us, I will never leave you nor forsake you.

I have spent a lifetime trying to find a friend, a best friend, my person.  And I have been very blessed to have some incredible friendships in my life.  But here is the funny thing about those friendships.  Every single one of my close friends lives far away from me.  Every. Single. One.  Surely that cannot be a coincidence, right?

Here is what God has taught me about my friendships lately (just being really raw right now):

Lesson one is that I have a husband who would love to be my person, the person I share my hurts and hopes with.  And lesson two is that I have the personality type that would likely abandon having a close personal relationship with God if I had someone on earth to take His place.  That was difficult for me to grasp, but I recognize the truth of it.

My sweet friend and mentor of 15+ years told me once that she had struggled her lifetime to have a close personal friend. She believed God didn't want her to have that person here on earth because it would be a distraction for her.  I remember thinking, "You are the most godly woman I know.  How in the world could ANYTHING be a distraction for you?!"

And I'm not saying that I'm some super godly woman and that's why God doesn't want me to have a close friend. (In case you were about to make that correlation)  I'm saying, it comforts me to think back to that conversation because it tells me that God isn't being some ego maniacal Creator that doesn't want me to have friends.  It's comforting because it tells me He knows me.  He knows what I need, and He knows what would be dangerous for me.

All that to say, I'm kind of all over the place today. But what I'm trying to say, if I'm not saying it well, is this.  God loves you.  He knows you.  He knows what you need, and what you can't handle.  And He loves you enough to show you both.

What is God teaching you about your friendships?