Live Big, Love Bigger: Getting Real with BBQ, Sweet Tea, and A Whole Lotta Jesus

Here’s a book from Texas native, Kathryn Whitaker, Live Big, Love Bigger: Getting real with BBQ, Sweet Tea and a Whole Lotta Jesus. Now I have been reading Kathryn’s blog for quite a long time. Her party planning posts blew me away. Her vacation pictures may have sparked envy, even if I’d been to the same places. And then I started following her on Instagram. And here’s the thing, she and I have one main thing in common, we love Jesus. All the rest, so very different. I don’t drink sweet tea, love a good IPA and coffee, and don’t have room in my closet to invite you in via my phone even after I cleaned it out. And she has a very southern accent; I’m from NY and while I may live in the south, real southerners and transplanted northeasterners, know I’m not southern no matter how often I say “y’all.”

But we both love Jesus. And so I preordered her book. Which has not yet been released to the public, but the nice folks at Ave Maria Press sent me an early copy to review. Thank you Ave Maria Press.

If you have a family and think everyone’s life is better than yours; if you look around and think, “why me?” and wonder if God is ever going to take your burdens from you; if you know constant motion is not the way to a great life but can’t seem to stop – read this book. I say that as a woman in a very different season of life than Kathryn. I believe that we all have a story. Some of us share that story in a big way and some do it in a small way. All of us need to tell our story in some way because it helps others. We can learn from each other. I’m not talking about how to cook for 6 kids every night, I’m talking about how to let God into the messiness and reality of our lives so that he can help us, heal us, hold us. So he can be GOD! When Kathryn talks about how her life has unfolded and the difficulties in it, she is very honest. She reveals the deep parts of her soul in talking about her marriage, her children, her need for order. And then she shows you how getting to contentment and joy took time and it hurt but it was worth it.

I think this quote from the introduction to the book sums up what the book shows us, “God’s graced and mercy will simultaneously blindside you and fill you with gratitude. Because instead of chasing the life you think you deserve, you’ll be basking in the freedom of intentional living. You’ll stop trying to overdo life, and you’ll start living it with a genuine heart – with love, with passion, and with purpose. That’s what happens when you understand that being an imperfect disciple making imperfect choices with an imperfect heart for an all-loving and perfect God is living a hell yes kind of life.”

Go ahead a get a copy. You won’t regret it.





Deanna Bartalini

Deanna Bartalini

Deanna G. Bartalini, is a Catholic writer, speaker, and educator. She serves on the retreat team at Our Lady of Florida Spiritual Center. Deanna loves teaching about Catholicism and how it fits into our daily lives. She writes at, serves as the editor of the blog, and is a contributor there as well as at Deanna contributed to A Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion published by Ave Maris Press. She is the author of “Invite the Holy Spirit into Your Life: Growing in Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control” published by Our Sunday Visitor. Deanna is available to lead retreats and speak at catechist and ministry events.

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