Laura Story – Open Hands – Review & Giveaway

IMG_20170311_121305813I’m constantly on the lookout for new music for me and for my kids. So, I was excited when I got to review Laura Story‘s newest CD, Open Hands for free. I love Laura Story’s music and this CD was no exception.

The music is beautiful and relaxing. Both me and my children love listening to it. It’s the perfect music for listening to any time.


Throughout the Bible, there are countless stories of ordinary people whole-heartedly attempting to live a life fully surrendered to God’s unique calling on their lives. More than once, God asks people of faith to relinquish control and simply trust Him.

“We have this picture all the way through the Scriptures of all these great leaders in this process of surrendering everything. What the Lord is asking them is not, ‘You need to hold on tighter. You need to manage this better.’ What the Lord asks us is to surrender,” Laura offers, “It’s about learning to live with open hands, learning to live life in this constant state of saying, ‘Lord, my life is Yours. My time is Yours. My resources are Yours. All of this is Yours. Do what You will.’”

Story has built a life—and a career—around submission to her calling. She’s led worship at Atlanta’s Perimeter Church for the past 12 years. In addition to penning songs recorded by artists like Chris Tomlin, Story has found success as a recording artist in her own right. Since the release of her solo debut in 2008, Story has amassed a GRAMMY® Award, a Billboard Music Award, multiple GMA Dove Awards and an RIAA Gold certification for her massive No. 1 hit “Blessings.” In addition, she’s also the author of two books, including the latest “When God Doesn’t Fix It – Lessons You Never Wanted to Learn, Truths You Can’t Live Without.”

Open Hands is the follow-up to 2013’s critically-acclaimed God of Every Story, and in the years that have passed since her last release, Story has given birth to twins, making their brood a family of five. Now, as a mom to three kids—Josie, Benjamin and Griffin—the posture of “open hands” feels more necessary than ever before as she juggles ministry and motherhood.


“We never get to a point where we can do life apart from complete and total daily dependence on Jesus,” Story admits. “The irony is the less control we have, the more peace we have and the more, I would even say, success and joy we find. It’s a contrary picture to what the world tells us, but it’s gaining through letting go.”

Open Hands’ fresh collection of originals blends Story’s signature congregational worship with intimate moments. A parade of A-list songwriters, including Matt Redman, Matt Maher, Mia Fieldes, Hank Bentley, Sarah Hart and Seth Mosley, among others, pepper the album’s 11 tracks.

The title track—already a chart-topper prior to the album’s release—features guest vocals from Third Day’s Mac Powell, a fellow Atlanta-native and Story’s longtime friend. “You Came Running” borrows imagery from the biblical narrative of the Prodigal Son. In true Story fashion, several selections (“Awake My Soul (1000 Tongues),” “For The Love of My King”) reimagine timeless hymns, which she refreshes with an original chorus.

Reflecting on the world her kids are growing up in, Story wrote the album’s sparse closer, “Grace Abounds,” after weeks of turning on the television only to continue to watch stories of terror attacks, extreme injustice and racial tension make headlines day after day. “It’s easy to lose heart, and the song is about just acknowledging the brokenness. First of all, we can’t just pretend like it doesn’t exist,” she advises. “When it seemingly doesn’t make sense, I’m choosing to believe that God’s grace is enough. God’s grace is enough for any social injustice. God’s grace is enough for any loss that we go through. God’s grace is enough for any loneliness that we experience, for any relational strain and for any relational rejection.


“When it feels like hope can’t be found, when we don’t even know how we’re going to put one foot in front of the other,” she continues, “Scripture teaches us that’s when grace abounds.”

“Worship at the very core of what it is is ‘worth-ship.’ It’s the easiest definition I’ve ever heard of worship. It’s giving God worth, and sometimes that means verbal adoration and praise. Sometimes that’s showing Him worth with our calendars and our checking accounts. No matter what it is, it always begins with open hands. It always begins with a willingness to say, ‘You are worth whatever cost you call me to give,’” she maintains. “Worship in its very core begins with surrender. That’s how we really show God that He’s worth it all.”

You can follow Laura Story at:





You can Buy Laura Story – Open Hands at:



As part of my review, I also get to give away one copy of Laura Story – Open Hands CD.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

The Biggest Story – Review & Giveaway


I received this product free for purposes of my review. All opinions are my own.


The Animated Short Film: Featuring beautifully animated illustrations adapted from the book, The Biggest Story: The Animated Short Film will captivate children and parents alike as they see how all the classic stories in the Bible connect to Scripture’s overarching message about God’s glorious plan to redeem his rebellious people.

This is short animated story of the Bible for kids. It’s only 26 minutes total and it’s divided into 10 chapters.

It’s simple, fun to watch, and all 3 of my kids liked it (even the 3 yr old). They do a really quick walk through of the Bible starting in Genesis with Adam and Even and ending with how all of this leads to Christ and God’s plan to redeem us.

The animations are quite interesting and I would honestly watch it several more times just to see more of the animations.

The narrator is the same as the Audio Book. We watched the DVD first and while the kids liked it, I thought the animator was a bit monotone for them and they probably would like the audio CD. Boy was I wrong. We’ve only watched the DVD once but the kids have listened to the Audio Book at least 10 times now.

IMG_20160830_223352982The Audio Book: This audio book of The Biggest Story — written and narrated also by the best-selling author Kevin DeYoung—leads kids and parents alike on an exciting journey through the Bible, connecting the dots from the garden of Eden to Christ’s death on the cross to the new heaven and new earth.

This CD is the same story as the DVD. My kids love listening to it over and over while they play. It’s only 26 minutes long and they have listened to it at least twice a day since we’ve gotten it.

I honestly assumed that with the animations on the DVD my kids would prefer that, but while they like the DVD they would much rather listen to the Audio Book and play while listening.

Either way, I like that they’re hearing over and over the progression from Adam and Eve to Christ, and how God has a plan of redemption for each of us.


Want a copy of The Biggest Story? Enter below for your chance to win.

Happy Mother’s Day!

There are ways you want to be wished Happy Mother’s day and there are ways you don’t. In celebration of Mother’s Day, I’m sharing my most random Mother’s Day wish of the year!

I don’t know about you, but the end of April and beginning of May is just a crazy time around here. With all our end of school year stuff plus beginning of summer stuff, we’re super busy! So, I was actually pretty happy when my daughter’s end of year ballet performance arrived. I’m so ready to be done with lessons for the summer and spend as much time as possible at the pool!

The exciting part about this is that her ballet performance is at one of our downtown theaters. Now, I live in a medium sized city, but more in the suburbs so it’s not that often that I go downtown, park in a parking garage, and have to walk city streets. It’s really not my favorite thing with little kids in tow.

For her performance I end up being downtown 3 nights in a row. The first night, is tech. She’s in two classes and her techs were 1.5 hrs apart. So after her first one she changed and we walked up to the square for some icecream – I will say, I was pretty proud of myself for remembering where it was. Only two blocks away from the theater, but seeing as it’s been about 4 months since I was down here I’m not always certain of my directions. That was uneventful. We were downtown from about 3pm to 6pm so we left right about the time the restaurants started getting busier.

The second night however, was not as uneventful. I dropped her off at 6 and had to be back at 9 to pick her up. It was rather busy when I dropped her off but I didn’t think about it at the time (I found out later that that particular night was the one night out of the month that all the musicians set up downtown in all the storefronts so it’s a really busy night). When I came to pick her up, my 4yr old came along – she wasn’t going to go to bed without her sister since they share a room so why not!

I was glad I got there 15 minutes early. I circled the entire parking garage and there was no parking. So, I decided to exit and try the garage across the street. As I pulled out there was a spot right on the street that had just opened up – so I parked – parallel parked – luckily I was driving my husband’s car, I never would have been able to do this in the van!

After parking I was walking up the alley between where I parked and the front door to the theater (really, it’s a one way street, but it’s kind of an alley because not a lot of people are on it). On the way up I see that I’m going to pass this guy, and I instantly recognize that he’s going to say something to me. Now, I have my 4yr old with me, the guy looks drunk, so I’m kind nervous.

People always talk to me – in the checkout line at the grocery store, waiting at the post office, walking through a store parking lot – people feel compelled to tell me their life story. I don’t know why. But, I can usually tell when someone is going to say something. So, I avoided eye contact because I’d rather not have this random conversation, with a drunk guy, in an alley, with my 4yr old in tow.

But, he feels the need to speak anyways. Right as we reach him, “Happy Mother’s Day!” he says (and yes, he was drunk, because his speech was slurred). “Thank you!” I smile, and continue walking past him. Totally relieved!

Happy Mothers Day!


I’ve had several people say that Frozen is Disney’s best movie since The Lion King (Two-Disc Platinum Edition). I’ve only seen Lion King once and it just wasn’t for me – I think it was all the animals, I like movies better with people. Not that it’s a bad movie, it’s just not something I’ll watch over and over again. I love Frozen though, I’ve probably seen it 10 times since it came out – I don’t love it THAT much, but I have young kids who do and since I like the movie too, we watch it a lot.

Apparently, I’m not alone, because Disney Frozen merchandise is really hard to come by. And, every single one of my kid’s friends knows the songs (even the boys).

But, think about all the movies between Frozen and Lion King, there’s a lot of them. So, what is so great about Frozen?

What appeals to me, is the sacrifice. There’s not a lot of movies these days that show a sister willing to sacrifice her life for her sister. Anna gave up her chance to live when she saved her sister Elsa at the end of the movie. (of course, in true Disney fashion, Anna didn’t die, but the point is, she was willing to, and she showed that with her actions). Also, the love story wasn’t just about being swept off your feet and falling “in love” it was about working through tragedy together. (and, there were no randomly singing chipmunks, skunks, or animals cleaning the houses). Not that I’m against falling in love – but very few people fall in love at first sight and live happily ever after.

Ultimately, I’m all for my kids watching this move over and over and over and over again because I like the story, and I like the “putting others before yourself” concept that it portrays.