it's a blog-warming party!!

Friends!! I’m so glad you’re here! Thanks for stopping by! You are too, too sweet!!

If you’re new around these parts, WELCOME! I’m Marla, and this is where I hang out a lot of the time (and on Facebook and the library and around my kitchen table which triples as an eating surface, my desk, and Board Game Central).

I won’t bore you with a lot of details. Let’s get straight to the FUN!!

First of all, a humongous thank you to my husband, Gabe, for designing my new site (and all my old ones)!! I told him I love aqua and dark grey and Cambodia and simplicity and globes, and this is what he came up with. AND I LOVE IT. Love, love, love it. We kind of waited until the last minute to get it done, so there are some more features to be added and some tweaking to be done, but it’s good for now. Stay tuned!

NOW. Three really cool things we have in store in the next few months. (and then GIVE-AWAY TIME!!)


I’m doing a series I like to call REAL, HARD LOVE. In my line of work and ministry (writing & speaking about marriage & sex among other things), I’m privy to a whole lot of nitty-gritty details about people’s lives and marriages. And friends, there are a lot of you going through some H-A-R-D stuff. So I’m going to devote the Month O’ Love to sharing real stories of love. But not the happy-sappy love stories. The really, really tough ones that don’t always have happy, smiley endings. Affairs and abandonment and abuse and the like. But it won’t all be downers–don’t worry!!–because God is doing some powerful work in people’s messes. And I think you’re going to be SO ENCOURAGED.

AND SINGLE FRIENDS? Guess what. I love you to bits. You know I hate that most of my books exclude you (and you know I’ve promised not to write another one that you can’t read!). So this month of REAL, HARD LOVE? Is not just going to be about marriage, no sirree. Because there are lots and lots of kinds of love, and a good chunk of them are REAL HARD.


Remember Read-Alongs? Our last one in particular? 7 by Jen Hatmaker. That’s S-E-V-E-N. And hoo boy, was it a doozy! Remember that What You Wear to Church discussion? Yeah, I have nightmares about that sometimes still.

Well, guess what we’re going to do in March if we can get enough people to join in? (heck, I’m going to do it if only ONE of you joins in!)

The 7 Experiment: staging your own mutiny against excess. !!!!! A little birdie delivered the whole kit and caboodle (member book and leader DVDs) to my door today, and I’m SO EXCITED!! More details coming soon!


When I was maybe 10 years old, I started (or maybe my cousin Kyla started it?) this really fabulous, super-exclusive club. Are you ready for this? THE MARY LOU RETTON CLUB. You know you wish we were friends when I was 10.

Well, I think it’s high time to start another club. May I cordially invite you to join the absolutely-fabulous-and-anything-but-exclusive CAMBODIA CLUB? You heard me right. Doesn’t this sound EXCITING?!?!

What’s the CAMBODIA CLUB, you ask? Well, that info is coming soon. For now, I will whisper a little secret in your ear. Lean closer.

The girls and I have Gabe’s blessing to start slowly saving for our next trip to Cambodia. Oh my stars, be still my soul.


One GRAND PRIZE WINNER gets to pick THREE things from the list. One SECOND PLACE WINNER gets to pick TWO things from the list. And A BUNCH MORE PEOPLE get to pick one prize from what’s left. Cool?

THE PRIZE LIST (in no particular order):

–a $25 gift card to Noonday Collection from my friend Carey.

variety sampler (four 2oz bags) of yummy coffee from Three Story Coffee.

–a super-soft Gracehaven t-shirt (size small or large).

–a free photo shoot from my talented friend Comfort (C-bus, OH area only).

–a copy of Is That All He Thinks About? + a set of T-O-N-I-T-E magnets.

–a set of 3 handmade Strength and Courage cards.

–a $5 Chipotle gift card (because YUM).

–an original print of U.S. Capitol in the Snow from my artist friend, Fiona.

–a free year of website hosting from Gabe Taviano ($60 value).

–a $10 gift card to Banners by Bethany.

FUN, huh?!?! Okay, here’s how you enter to win:

Leave a comment telling me which THREE things you’d pick if you’re the lucky GRAND PRIZE winner.

(and I’m NOT SPEAKING TO RAFFLECOPTER because I’ve been trying for 40 minutes to get the other entries working, and I keep getting SABOTAGED)

So. Here are 3 other things you can do to enter (just leave a comment for each one you do):

1. Hug the nearest person or pet.

2. Share this post with someone (facebook friends, your mom, your dog, your co-worker, your imaginary friend).

3. Read Isaiah 58.

That’s it! Thanks so much for stopping by for the party! I’ll draw the winners Monday morning! Love you all to bits and pieces!!

150 thoughts on “it's a blog-warming party!!

  1. Rita

    I hugged my 3 little muchkins so hard, they told me I was stopping their breathing..(oh the dramatics of children) lol….
    My three things…Chiplote, photoshoot, and magnets..

    Love you so much!!!

  2. Melissa

    I would pick . . . hmmm . . . hard decisions but probably the noonday giftcard, the gracehaven shirt and is that all he thinks about with the tonite magnets 🙂

  3. jess

    i would choooooooose….

    chipotle, chipotle, chipotle.

    oh wait!
    chipotle, gracehaven T (L), and COFFEE.

    (i think i’ll go have a cup.)

    ps–hi. 🙂 i hope you’re having a good day!

  4. Kelly S

    I spent an extra long time hugging my six month old before bed tonight. She just learned to give “kisses” (i.e. slobbering all over my chin) and it is just about the cutest thing ever. 🙂

  5. rhonda

    Hi Marla,

    Love your website. And I do love your books. I am spending this new year focusing more on family, and discerning my vocation in marriage and in other parts of my life. I would choose the coffee (yummy) , strength and courage card, and a 10.00 gift card to Banners by Bethany. I have hugged my hubby, my stuffed pooh, have shared your link and am reading Isaiah 58. Bless you and I recommend your blog and books.

  6. Denise Dilley (@denisedilley)

    LOVE your new blog design! It’s simple yet amazing. 🙂

    I’m looking forward to the month-o-love series you’ll be doing. My marriage is rough, but God’s been showing me some stuff. It’ll be interesting to hear others’ stories and gain a little insight.

    Also, way cool on being able to save $ for your next trip to Cambodia!!!

    OK, now for the giveaway stuff….I’d choose the $25 gift card for Noonday Collection because they have really cool journals from India I would love to have, the 3 strength & courage cards, and the $5 Chipotle gift card. 🙂

    Now I’m off to share this blog with the world, hug my dog, and read Isaiah 58. 🙂

  7. Pingback: i heart {insert country} | Marla Taviano

  8. Jenny

    Love the new site! Looks awesome!
    1. I hugged a dozen or two preschoolers today!
    2. I will share your post on Facebook
    3. I will add Isaiah 58 to my reading list this weekend

  9. Sharon

    Just read in Isaiah. Oh my. The word “rebellion” in the first verse was probably not a coincidence. Someone in my household (here’s a hint. It wasn’t my toddler or my newborn) told me just 30 minutes ago that I was teaching our daughter to rebel against her parents (read: her Dad).

    1. Marla Taviano

      NEWBORN!?!? I need details!! I was JUST praying for you this morning and thought, HOLY COW, this “due in 2.5 weeks” on my card was like 4 weeks ago or something!!!! Congratulations!!!!

  10. Rachel W

    The blog looks great! =)
    I would want the $25 for Noonday Collection, $5 Chipotle, and 3 Strength and Courage cards. As for the others….
    1. I hugged myself (I have no pets and live by myself).
    2. I shared on Twitter.
    3. I read Isaiah 58.

    And thanks for thinking of the single friends in the next couple months coming up!

  11. Elishia Rosipko

    Love the new blog make over, its cute and sopisticated! Gave hugs read Is. 58, and sharing the blog! 3 choices: web hosting, book & tonight magnets (an area of focus this year) & $5 chipotle card, could be our next date night 🙂 You guys are awesome, I love your passion and big hearts!

  12. Rosanna

    I read Isaiah 58 just a few days ago for my 7 work book, and I wondered if I had ever really read that before, or was it just jumping off the page at me this time? Anyway, a GREAT passage…and as soon as I feed my niece, I will go read it again in the Message.

  13. Rosanna

    I gave a hug to my 4 yr. old and she gave me a huge hug back. In fact, yesterday, when I was writing down my to-do list, she said “Put ‘give hugs’ on there”. 🙂 She loves to give and get hugs and I love to receive and give them.

  14. Rosanna

    Marla, I love your heart! Thank you for all you to do encourage, inspire, reach out and be real to your readers.
    I would pick the coffee, the noonday collection certificate and either the banners or the tshirt. 🙂

  15. Jennifer Martinez

    Love the new blog!!

    The three items I would pick: $25 Noonday (because I’m seriously addicted!), coffee, and banners by Bethany (because I have been stalking like crazy).

  16. Dara

    OK – so I totally would love one of your sister’s banners. . .I’d take that gift card. . .and the coffee. . .and maybe the gift card to Noonday Collection (I was so bummed to miss that party/weekend). . .Read Isaiah 58 – that’s such a great one! “Is not this the fast which I choose. . .” That has so been on my heart lately. Going to go hug my playing kiddos right now! And shared you on Facebook! Have a great day, Marla. I’d REALLY love to talk with you sometime!!

    1. Ben

      “Look out, World” if you get ‘infected’ by Marla, Babe. You DO need to make some time to talk with her. I’ll see what we can do to help make that happen.

  17. Shannon B

    Oh my gosh. I would totally want the tonite magnets, coffee, and the noonday giftcard. 🙂
    awesome giveaway! LOVE the new blog layout 🙂

  18. Cheryl Armstrong

    I really like the new site! Great job Gabe.
    I would request the web hosting (I would like to start blogging), Chipolte (I love it) and a photo shoot that I would share with my family that lives near your great city!
    Thank you.

  19. Mary A

    Love the new blog – it looks great and it looks like you! Good job, Gabe.

    IF I won, I would pick…the free year of website hosting, the giftcard to Noonday, and the giftcard to Chipotle. 🙂

  20. Stephanie

    Since I love free stuff, I’d pick Noonday, Chipotle (since we’re moving to a place without it soon), and Gracehaven’s shirt.

    I’m excited about your month of tough love coming up. Will you be talking about porn at all?

  21. Laura Eckstein

    Just hugged my grandson Micah….he wanted me to read the poptart box to him but he got a hug instead….Isaiah 58….way good….sharing with my friend

    I would take….Banners by Bethany….Capitol print by Fiona…and the Chipotle card! Great job on the website Gabe….as always Marla…blessed by your blog!!!!

  22. Lesley

    The boys got up independently just now and I went in to hug them. I’m like “Can I get a hug?” Caleb hugs me and Robby says “I’m kinda in the middle of something right now, I’ll give you a back hug.” (He was putting toothpaste on his toothbrush.) It totally counts though.

  23. ellen

    OMG — you are the most creative person — I will be hugging the hubby when he comes up from his office, Is 58 is next on my list — and will be sharing the post, I think with my friend wintering in Fl.. I would pick – coffee, comfort and Noonday —
    SSSooooo excited about Cambodia – love you to pieces

  24. Lesley

    I would pick the Noonday gift card, the coffee (mmmmm, coffee says the girl drinking water), and probably the T-shirt.

    I like the new blog design and am excited for your Cambodia news!

  25. Donna

    I would love the Noonday gift card, Banners by Bethany (I just ordered 2 and now want more) and the strength and courage cards….
    Going now to read Isaiah and hug my dog…husband already left for work. Then I will share on FB.

  26. Alicia

    Yay! I love the new blog look and I am super duper excited to hear more about the Cambodia club. 🙂
    I totally don’t need to win three things, but I would love to win the coffee. I’ve been eyeing up the sampler for awhile on their website, but I’m a cheapo when it comes to paying shipping. I also like the Gracehaven shirt. Is it the same as the She Has a Name shirt, because that’s probably the most comfy tee I own.

    1. Marla Taviano

      I’m the same way with shipping. Man alive. But I love their coffee!! And it goes to such a great cause! And yes, the tee is just like the SHAN one! I wear one or the other every. single. day.

  27. Dee McCollum

    I love the Banners by Bethany, coffee, and Noonday earrings…..and I love the new web design, Gabe is very talented!

  28. Laura

    Loooooove this new design, Marla! WOW! Talented man, you have. 🙂 I hadn’t done any sort of devotional yet this morning when I opened this up, so I read your post and then pulled up Isaiah 58. That one will rock a comfortable world, won’t it? Amazing.

    Thanks for being you!

  29. Melissa

    I just read Isiah 58. It is a lot to take in. I think I will be begin to pray about this passage and what it means for our family.

  30. Melissa

    I just hugged my wonderful six yr old son! He decided to wake up much earlier this morning which is so not like him.

  31. Melissa

    Love the new blog design! Great job to Gabe! If I had to choose from the prizes I would pick the noonday gift card, Banners by Bethany gift card, and Gracehaven shirt. Thanks!

  32. Michelle

    Super excited for you! It looks great! I shared on Facebook, read Isaiah 58 and hugged one of my 3 girls so far this morning=)

  33. Gail

    Lovely job, Gabe! It suits you perfectly, Marla!

    I’d pick the coffee, the banners gift card, and the Noonday gift card if I won.

    There are exciting things here. The Feb. series sounds interesting, and the MLR club made laugh!

      1. Ruth

        Maybe not on the blog, but feel free to email me. 😉 Funny thing tho. Our pastor preached on Isaiah 58 today. Crazy God-thing. Almost cried through the whole service. Lol

  34. Andrea

    I said peak when I should have said peek. I also didn’t realize it was a comment for each item so I’ll pretend I didn’t say everything and this is my submission for reading the passage.

  35. Andrea

    1. I visited the blog when you urged people not to because your post was not ready. BUT I had to get a sneak peak of Gabe’s design. Beautiful new look!
    2. Whaddya mean singles can’t read your books? I’ve been violating that. Whoops.
    3. You are so fun.
    4. What great prizes! If I won, I’d pick gc to Noonday Collection, Chipotle, and Banners by Bethany.
    5. It’s uber late and the nearest person has the flu so I’m going to skip the hugs. I shared on Twitter. I love that passage and thought about it a lot during Lent, which perfectly coupled with the book group for 7 on your blog.

    1. Marla Taviano

      Andrea, you are 100% absolutely and totally welcome to read any and all of my books you want. I know some of my friends won’t touch them with a 10-foot pole. 🙂 YOU are so fun. Thanks for the love!!

  36. Ruth

    Hey! Your site works on my iPad! Woo hoo! I would choose the noonday gift card, the Gracehaven t-shirt, & the banner gift cards.

  37. Amanda

    Hugged sleeping dog, she didn’t mind
    Shared your blog via FB…already got a comment on it 🙂
    Read Isiah 58 and had to compare with The Message so I could “get it” and its pretty cool because I feel like some of what it talks about is matching up with whats going on in my life right now. So thank you!

  38. Marcy

    Marla, it looks terrific! I would love to win either the Gracehaven shirt, the “Is that all he thinks about?” book, or a year of free webhosting…since I have no idea what that is and would like to build a website/blog.
    Oh and I hugged my honey before bed…does that count? I could get the cat up to hug…but I fear that may have reprecussions.

    1. Marla Taviano

      Thank you, Marcy! Web hosting just means that you can have our own domain name ( but use WordPress (or another blogging medium) for your site. If Gabe didn’t host my blog, I’d have to use Gabe hosts my blog on his own server (he pays a monthly fee for it) so I can just use my own name. Make any more sense? As far as what a server actually is or how the internet works, NO IDEA.

  39. Amanda

    Hi Marla,
    I’m a friend of Krysten’s and I hear so much about you, can’t wait to meet you someday. Looking forward to reading your book she & Todd got us for Christmas. If I won I’d take the Chipotle GC because like you said, yum! I already have one of your sister’s banners and I’d like another one so I’d go for the $10 GC for her awesome banners. Since I’m looking into becoming a Noonday Ambassador, I’d have to go for the Noonday GC since that could help me build up my collection. Now I’m off to hug my dog, share your blog and grab my bible 🙂

  40. Danielle

    Sweet friend, how I have missed you! And tell Gabe I think he did a fantastic job! You two make a great team. You are a brave woman being willing to revisit the world of Jen Hatmaker in public after the last time around. I’m so excited about all of your plans!

    Down to business:
    1. The first 3 things on your give-away list are also the first 3 things on my list. Noonday, coffee, and Gracehaven t-shirt, that sounds lovely to me.
    2. I hugged my husband but he’s asleep so he’ll get another hug in the morning. Hugs abound in this house, even the dogs get frequent hugs.
    3. Isaiah 58 – um wow. So rich, so simple, such sweet promises for those who do the simple, hard work of the gospel. As our new youth minister would say, “BAM!”

  41. Krysten

    This is beautiful!! I am super excited for your new blog design (AWESOME WORK, GABE!!!) and all the upcoming fun stuff! I am going to leave all the cool-prize-winning for your other folks here, I would just like a blue ribbon for being the first person to comment on the new blog! (Since I was up late and all!) Ha! Love you friend, and I love the new picture God is painting for you every day. Lovely, lovely.

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