Friday, October 31, 2014

Saturday Radar's Blog Giveaway Roundup 11/1/14

On Saturdays I'm going to start a giveaway linky here on The Radar Report.

Please link to the page with the giveaway, and please, blog only giveaways open in the USA only.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Book Review: Experiencing the Loss of a Family Member

Experiencing the Loss of a Family Member: Discover the Path to Hope and HealingExperiencing the Loss of a Family Member: Discover the Path to Hope and Healing by H. Norman Wright
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I hate that this book applies to me this year.  My parents owned a gravestone business when I was growing up, so I was often around when there were others dealing with their grief, many of my childhood photos took place in cemeteries because we often made a trip Dad needed to make for work into a family trip, and I even met my best friend in elementary school when her family stopped in to buy a monument for her brother.  But as much as I had been around grief, it's another story when it hits home.  This year I lost my mother, my grand-father-in-law, and several family friends.

When my mother died, it felt like my world stopped.  She had been going downhill, but it was still a surprise.  There seemed nothing different about that day than any other, but that day will be engrained in my memory, down to the clothes I was wearing.

Life has to go on for the living, even if we don't want it to.  There are fears and losses.   I'm dealing right now about how I plan my wedding since both of my parents have passed away.  Milestones bring back memories.  Holidays are no different.  Things change even when we don't want them to.

This book, Experiencing the Loss of a Family Member helps work through that grief and emotion.  It reminds you that what you are feeling is okay.  There are questions to help you think about why you are feeling the way you are.  Examples are "I am afraid of ______.  What can I do about it? ______"

This book is difficult to read.  Yet, I'm so glad I did.  There are different chapters, and not all relate to me, but each one had something worthwhile in it.  The chapters are:

The World of Grief
The Loss of a Spouse
The Loss of a Child
Helping Children in Grief
The Death of a Parent
Parent Loss
The Loss of a Sibling
The Loss of a Friend
The Loss of a Pet
The Questions of Life
Helping Others

There are Bible verses in this book that help give hope.  Hope is something that is so difficult to see when the sun has set on someone's life, but this book helped me go on.  It helped me think about my own mortality, and that I want to be important enough in others' lives that they will need a book like this when it's my time to go.

This book encourages you to seek out others.  Be it in a group setting of a grief support group, or calling up a friend.  Life is a journey, and we need one another.  If we didn't then we wouldn't be grieving.

I remember seeing a quote somewhere on line recently that I should be thankful for grief, it means I loved someone so much I miss them.  That's true, but there's more heartbrokenness for me   There is pain, but I get up every morning.  I go on.  And this book helped me start looking to the future instead of the past.

FTC disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for a fair and honest review.

You can purchase this book here:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014

Giveaway for Free Gold'n Plump Chicken!

I decided it's time for a fun giveaway.  I have had this coupon for a free package of Gold'n Plump Chicken for a while and can't find it in my area, so that's what the prize will be.  The coupon is good until December 31, 2015.

This giveaway ends on November 4, 2014 at 11:59 Eastern time.  Gold'n Plump, Facebook, Twitter, and eBay are in no way associated with this giveaway.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Frugal Wedding Planning

I saw an article online this week about different factors that a study found makes for a strong marriage.  One of them is to have a large wedding, and another is to have a frugal wedding.  That's what we are wanting to do.

In the community where I grew up, open church weddings were common when I was a kid.  If you knew the bride and groom, you were welcome to show up.  Afterwards, everyone went downstairs to the church fellowship hall for punch, mints, and cake.

Fourteen years ago, the man who is going to walk me down the aisle married one of my bridesmaids.  They said at their reception one thing that was special about the day was to have so many people they loved all in one place.  I've never forgotten that statement.  And that's what I desire.

Yet, we don't want to spend a fortune. I've been putting things together as inexpensively as possible.

The culture in our area, you don't have alcohol after a Christian wedding.  I won a year's supply of Coke or Coke products (Diet Coke, Fresca, Sprite, etc) from an Instagram sweepstakes.

I have been entering blog giveaways.  I have won a number of things that will help out.

We were in Tennessee coming home from a family emergency and saw a bridal shop that was going out of business.  I bought my dress for $150.  I also bought a number of things there from shoes to my fiance's bow tie.

I am allergic to flowers so that cuts down on expenses right there.  I am going to be carrying the Bible my mother carried at her and Dad's wedding in 1968.  I have not yet decided what my bridesmaids will be carrying.

I am hoping to do fried chicken for the reception.  I would like to make welcome bags for all our out of town guests, but that is something I will do if I can.  I'm saving free samples of toothpaste, candy, etc.

One of my bridesmaids found the dresses my bridesmaids are going to wear at Amazon for $35 each.  I found my "flower" girl's dress at a local clearance store for $5.

So far I have my dress, bridesmaid dresses, "flower" girl dress, invitations, save the date cards, stamps, my fiance's tux, shoes for both of us, a guest book, 100 wedding favors, containers for the candy "bar",  600+ cans of Coke, $200 towards food, bagpipe player, and an inflatable drink holder for the soda.  Thus far my expenses are under $450!

I know there will be a lot more expenses as the day approaches, but I want to keep things economical yet nice.  I know the entertainment we have lined up will be a hit with everyone (we're doing something very different) and our unique wedding reception will be a great reflection of our personalities but will be a great time of clean, wholesome fun for all ages!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Victory in Jesus

I posted this on my Facebook status yesterday:

Went to church at the  Church of the Nazarene this morning. Opening song was Number 434 in the old Nazarene hymnals -- and I didn't look at the hymnal once for that song. When I was a kid going to church there, we sang that song almost every week. Victory in Jesus. That church brought back so many memories. There was cake and ice cream for birthdays after church, and we were able to visit with some people for a while. Yet, I remembered some special people who have passed on from that church. Bob and Dean were so special. I would pick on Dean and she'd always say "I'm telling you!" Gayle is why I started going to church there back in the 1980s. I'm so thankful for her influence in my life. A good day day remembering as well as knowing the future holds good things in store.

I neglected to mention my friend Shelly who went to church there as well.  Shelly passed away this summer. 

It feels like so much has been ripped from me this year.  Nothing feels normal.  Nothing feels even remotely the same.

But going to church where I spent many an hour, hearing 434 being called -- the hymnal fell open to it yesterday, and the strains of "I heard an old, old story" -- a song so familiar I hadn't heard it in years and yet I remembered every word.

I remember the time the we were coming home from a church picnic about 25 years ago, and a kindergartner started singing Victory in Jesus.  Only he sang ONLY the words "Victory in Jesus", on repeat.  I saw his name in the church directory yesterday.

I remembered the time my friend Dean was decorating the Christmas tree and had a strand of Christmas lights that were plugged in at her feet.  She asked, "What hymn am I?"  (Answer "Let the Lower Lights Be Burning".)  Corny, but her laugh was so infectious that we laughed until we almost cried.

I remembered the time after revival we all gathered around the piano and Angie played a number of hymns and we sang until we were hoarse.   

I remembered the time I met the principal of the Christian high school from which I graduated.  My parents and I didn't even know it existed until I greeted her after the service and she told me she was there to give someone information on the school.

And my precious Gayle.  She invited me (no pestered me) to go to church with her, and I got connected in that church.  She passed away a couple years later.   I was an awkward teen, and she reached out, and in so doing honestly changed the course of my life.  Her brother told me on my Facebook page:

What terrific memories and testimony of our sweet Gayle. Thank you Jenn for remaining true to Jesus and honoring my sister by dong so. May the Lord richly bless your marriage!

I feel humbled that he would say such.  My life was made much more full for having known her.

There are others who have passed on from that church, but I've had a rare two days.  Instead of looking at the grief around me and feeling sad, I'm hopeful.  I heard about a mansion he built for me in glory. . . and some sweet day I'll sing up there the song of Victory.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Rare Bird Book Review

Rare Bird: A Memoir of Loss and LoveRare Bird: A Memoir of Loss and Love by Anna Whiston-Donaldson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don't know why I have been seeking out memoirs of loss.  I have lost my mother, grandfather-in-law, as well as three family friends this year.  Reading about loss should be the last thing I want to do, but when I was offered a chance of an advance reading copy of Rare Bird, I accepted it.

This book is beautifully written, tragic, and yet filled with hope.  The only thing I disliked about the book was the foul language used.  Yes, it would be (insert expletive of your choice here) to lose a son, but with this being a Christian book, I was surprised at the language and that would keep me from recommending this book to some people.   I do appreciate her honesty though, and I am not saying I didn't use language like that after some of the losses I experienced this year, I just didn't feel it was appropriate for a Christian book.

The author takes you into her journey of loss.   Being there for her daughter.  Dealing with the loss of a son.  Finding a new normal.  Grief popping up at unexpected times.  Others not knowing what to say or how to help.  Learning about herself.   Learning about others.  Living with loss, heartache, and sorrow.  I admired the support system she had.  When my mother died, I felt lost as I was her primary care giver for years.  I lost a bit of my identity as I did not have a job outside of that.  The day of the funeral a couple desserts, a meat and cheese tray, and some bread arrived at the house.  Then it seemed like silence.

Death is a part of life, but it shouldn't happen too young.  The author's son was in 7th grade.   It was a freak accident during a flood.  Children shouldn't die.  Yet they do.  Life comes with no guarantees.  Picking up this book is like taking a walk with the author in her painful journey of everything being fine one moment -- her last Facebook photo before the accident was of her children and candlelight because of the power outage.  The next day her life was changed forever.

While I have lost family members before, I have never lost a child, an hope I never do.  But this is a glimpse into the horrible pain that those who have lost a child must feel.   Read this book hug your children tighter, and cherish each day because this moment is all we are guaranteed.   Make the most of it.

FTC disclosure:   I received an advance reading copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own.  

Watch the trailer:

You can purchase a copy here: