Wednesday, August 27, 2014

DVD review and Giveaway: Holy Ghost Be Bold Be Brave

Wanderlust Productions is putting out a movie called Holy Ghost.   On September 6, is the worldwide premier at

This is a 113 minute film where the premise is there would be no script, just allowing the Holy Ghost to direct the movie.  What it reminds me of is people having cameras follow them around while doing street evangelism.

As a Pentecostal turned Catholic, I thought I would either love this movie or not care much at all for it.  I did street evangelism in my day, and looking at this movie, I wonder if they helped those people connect to a local church.   I'm sure the intentions were good in by the people who made this film, but I wonder how much good it actually did for the people who were shown in it.  Now, it may well be the bigger purpose of this movie is encouraging the watchers of this movie, but I felt it left me with more questions than answers, questions that have no answers.

At one point, it is said in the movie "God will heal you".   Not "God can heal you".  Do I believe God heals?  Yes.  Do I believe God always heals?  No.  I think back to a year ago this week, I was told I was likely going to have to remove my mother from life support.  Was she healed?  Not in my mind.  She lived through that episode and her health deteriorated rapidly  and she passed away less than six months later.  I don't believe that means anyone lacked faith.  It just was.  God didn't fail me, it's just that His answer was not what I had hoped.  I'm sure someone could say she was healed by physical death, but I don't like that answer.

Another point I wasn't real keen on is how the encounters with God seemed almost emotional to some of the people.  I believe that can happen, but I also believe that God speaks in a still small voice as well.   I've been in the extreme emotional services, but I found at times I was chasing an emotional high instead of God.  Mass is rarely emotional, although sometimes it is for me.  The peace, the love God has for us speaks so loudly I occasionally shed a tear or two.   I experience God's love more through the stillness, the Gloria, and the acknowledgement that I am a sinner and He forgives than I do in another type of service.  While I believe others can experience God in other ways, I once heard it said that the way I worship God is something that others may not be able to understand because it is personal to me, and it doesn't make me wrong in how I worship, it's just different.  I'm not judging how others worship God, just saying it is different for me.

Still, I think this movie could be a huge encouragement to others, especially if you attend an Evangelical, Pentecostal, or Charismatic church.  Also, I think it would be great for someone who has never experienced this type of worship to see how others feel led by the Holy Spirit.

And for the giveaway:

Open to U.S. and Canada, 18 and older.  Winner has 48 hours to respond to the winning e-mail or another winner will be chosen.    Ends Sept 4.

"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 the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Horseradish Cheese -- Answer Me This. . . Volume 5

This is a link up, to read others' answers, visit Catholic All Year

1.  What is your favorite picture book?

Oh, this one is hard.  There are so many.  I love Dr. Seuss, especially The Sneetches and Other Stories.   Every year when we put up our tree, we always read  Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree.  I was also a huge fan of the Barney Beagle series. Gus the Friendly Ghost was another series I loved as a child.  I have always been a huge reader, and have loved books since before I could read.  Another book that I checked out of the library a lot as a child wasThe Story of Little Black Sambo.  That might not be politically correct, but it was a story that enthralled me when I was a preschooler.

2.  Are you a boycotter?

No.   I remember in the 1980s we were told at church not to buy a certain brand of toothpaste because there were signs of the devil on the box.   Really?  It was an image that had been around for about 100 years, and it was taken off because of all the rumors about it.  I think boycotts give people a bad name, and many times it's Christians doing the boycotting.  That said, there are certain brands I won't buy and certain motels I won't stay at because I have had really bad experiences there, but I'm not telling others to do the same.  I kind of think of boycotts as lemmings.   If someone told you not to patronize that business would you know anything about what it is you are protesting?

3.  How do you feel about cheese?

Yes, please.   Especially sharp cheddar.  Few things are better than a good toasted cheese sandwich, two slices of Kraft Cheese, one American, and one swiss.  Imagine my surprise when I went to Faith and Fitness camp last year and we could choose between cheese or almonds as our snack with a piece of fruit.  I also love colby cheese and the cheese with pepperoni in it isn't bad, either.  I tried some horseradish cheese recently and it was okay.

4.  How many pairs of sunglasses do you own?

One.  I have a pair that is an older prescription pair.  My eyes didn't change much, so they are fine for driving, but if I were to use that prescription for a lot of close up work, such as using the computer or reading, I'd get a headache after a while.

5.  How long has it been since you went to the dentist?

Day before yesterday.  Picture it, Sicily, 1922.  (Oh wait,  and bonus points if you get the reference.)  Picture it, Alabama, July.  After having made appointments for my fiance and I to go to the dentist, they got cancelled.  We were told to make new appointments we had to wait until after August 16.  Well, between when our appointments were supposed to be (August 11) and the 16th, I got a bad toothache.  We have appointments for in October, but I went to the WVU walk in clinic the other day.  I have a tooth sitting on a nerve.  I only had two of my wisdom teeth out because they were concerned about how close they were to the nerves and a wrong move could leave part of my face paralyzed.  So I'm going to have to make a decision as to what to do -- basically take the risk of having it out or put up with pain.  And last time I went to the dentist before this was about a year and a half ago and I was cut by a toilet seat there, but that's another story.

6.  If you could visit any religious site in the world, where would you go?

Can I return to Israel?   Does that count?  If not, I would pick either the church my great-great-grandparents were married in (does that count?)  Or the Vatican.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Book Review: Lord Have Mercy The Healing Power of Confession

Lord, Have Mercy: The Healing Power of ConfessionLord, Have Mercy: The Healing Power of Confession by Scott Hahn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Scott Hahn does it again.  This time in a 177 page volume, he explains the origin, history, and necessity of Confession.   As someone who is joining the Catholic Church and has completed RCIA, I think this book adds a lot to what was not covered in our classes.  I think Dr. Hahn’s books should be utilized in RCIA — or at least they were not in my classes.  

Don’t think this is a book for just the non-Catholic, I truly believe Dr. Hahn’s books are fantastic for anyone.  My fiancĂ© is a cradle Catholic, and because of me learning about the Catholicism, he has been enriched as well.  Sometimes things become rote, and that’s not what our faith is about, it should be living and dynamic, and I think that reading Lord Have Mercy will give you a new appreciation for Confession.  I admit, I picked up this book because as a Catholic convert, I am nervous about this sacrament.  This book has put my fears at ease, and in fact, I’m looking forward to when I will be able to make my first Confession.  

As with many of Dr. Hahn’s books, this took me a long time to read.  They are so full of great information I want to ruminate on them.  One of my favorite parts was where he explained why our sin does not cease to exist once it is forgiven, we live with the consequences.  He picked apart the common Protestant teaching that God turned his back on Jesus while He was on the cross.  This is something I heard my whole life, and when I read why Dr. Hahn feels it is an incorrect teaching, it felt so freeing, and helped me understand my sin and its consequences all the more.  We can’t think “Oh, this is just a little sin” because it still separates us from God — and therefore we need confession.

I also learned why Dr. Hahn thinks regular confession is a good idea.  I know at one local church they didn’t even have a confessional until recent renovations.  Penitents had to go with the priest to a room off the kitchen.  Yet, in years past, there would be lines of people on Saturday evenings.  Maybe they knew something we have lost along the years?

This is a book I will be referring back to quite a bit in the future.  It’s an excellent work, and one I believe should be in every Catholic’s library.

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

You can purchase this book here:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Back to School With Technology and U.S. Cellular #spon

I've already been enjoying the back to school photos my friends are posting online.  With school back in session for a week now in some places (Really!  One of my friend's children started in July!)  I wanted to write a post about using technology to get organized, stay on top of things to do (including assignments) and a bit on how technology is used in the classroom.

A recent U.S. Cellular survey showed that 74% of households with children under 18 have a tablet.  That's a great tool for your child to use, especially when a child is sick and misses school.  It's easy to message a classmate  -- or even a teacher to get assignments which can be completed at home.  I know when I was a child before the advent of so much wonderful technology, teachers were scrambling to figure out a cost effective way to get snow day work to us during January 1985.  The solution -- as I remember it anyway -- was make the kids who lived in town go to school one day (the fire exits were snowed shut!).  We were loaded down with more snow work and we were to call our friends who lived in the more rural areas.  How easy would it have been for the teachers if they could have posted assignments online and we could have picked them up instead of those of us who lived in town having to relay the message via phone to those who were still snowed in!  Even if you live in a warm area, the same holds true -- if school is missed for any reason, it's easy to get assignments.

Did you also know that tablets are being used in the classroom?  I'm a little more familiar with this because I have friends who have special needs children and I am more aware of them using tablets.  But all children can benefit from educational apps, eBooks, online videos to enhance learning, and Internet access.  A recent Student Mobile Device survey showed 87% of students would like using eBooks instead of traditional textbooks because it would be much less to carry in their backpacks.   I know when I was in school, from about November through March, we were required to take home all our textbooks every day even if we didn't have homework -- in case it snowed and we were off school a day.  That would have been much easier if we had eBooks.

Accessing the Internet opens up a whole world of learning.   With U.S. Cellular's reliable 4G LTE high speed network, this can be utilized for many different learning activities.  I remember when I was in second grade, we were class pen pals with a school from Oklahoma.  How fun would it have been if the technology existed back then to have used Skype or Facetime to have been able to "meet" each other at the end of the year?  Obviously, this could also be used to "bring in" guest speakers to a class who might not otherwise be able to visit.  My 4th grade class had a very unique opportunity -- we had someone from Australia visit.  My teacher had taught there for a couple years and a friend of his came to visit.  In the 1980s, the only way we could have a guest speaker was for them to physically come into our classroom.  Now, there's the technology available that a guest speaker could be on the other side of the world and be able to interact with a class of students in another hemisphere.

Another notable app is Teachers Assistant Pro which is a $3.99 download.  This allows teachers to keep track of classroom behavior and achievements as well as communicate with parents to help cut down on paper usage.

Dropbox is another great app.  This is a cloud based file sharing app.  Be it teachers storing data or students working together on a group project, this is a handy site to use.

Notability gives users the ability to take notes, record a lecture, journal, sketch ideas and more.  It can even be shared with others using iCloud or Google Drive.

But what about funding?  Every school could use more funding, right?  Well, U.S. Cellular is bringing back the Calling All Teachers promotion.  If you live in the U.S. Cellular footprint area and are a public school teacher, apply at and register as a U.S. Cellular affiliate teacher.  U.S. Cellular is fulfilling $1 Million of teacher projects for the 4th year!  So if your classroom is needing something your budget doesn't allow, apply and your project might be chosen!  Your project must be submitted between August 11 an September 21 to be eligible for this year's funding.

Finally, back to school is a great time to go over cell phone usage with your child.  The FREE Parent Child Agreement is a great tool to be able to start a conversation to make your child's cell phone experience safe and enjoyable for everyone.

FTC disclaimer:  I am part of the U.S. Cellular Blogger Brigade and this is a sponsored post.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Dial Coconut Water Refreshing Mango Body Wash

I recently received a sample of Dial Coconut Water Refreshing Mango Hydrating Body Wash.  I love anything mango.  I spent a summer in Asia in 1997 and I was on the mango bandwagon well before anyone else in the United States seemed to be.  So I jumped at the chance to review the new Dial Soap Body wash.  If it's mango or mango scented, I'm right in line for it!  Another thing I like is it's a fruity scent so it's a great family body wash.

This is a clear body wash, which isn't always my favorite because without glasses in the shower I'm not always sure how much I'm using, but that's the only thing I didn't like about this.  I really like how slick it is, I can really tell it's a moisturizing body wash.

Dial is a brand I trust, I have used it my whole life, and I'm excited they have added this nourishing body wash to the line up of skin care products for healthy skin.  It's something I'll definitely be buying in the future.

FTC disclaimer: The Dial brand provided me with a sample of Dial Coconut Water Refreshing Mango body wash in exchange for a product review.  However, all the opinions expressed here are my own.

And now for the giveaway. . .

One winner will receive THREE totally free coupons for Coconut Water Refreshing Mango Body wash 11.75 ounce size or larger with a maximum valued of $4.49.  These expire on September 30, 2014.  Open only to the United States.  Winner has 48 hours to respond to the e-mail or another winner will be chosen.

Ends 8/10 at 11:59 pm.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A One Room School -- 1980s style

I went to a one room schoolhouse in 1988-1989.  Well, almost. It was a converted farmhouse, and walls were removed to make one large room.  From where I sat, I couldn't see the boys' room, my view was a closet that held hymnals for our weekly chapel.  If you had already guessed it was a Christian school, you are correct.  We were loosely associated with a Pentecostal church, but we were the only Christian school in the area and we had Pentecostal kids as well as Mennonite, and me, a then-Nazarene attending the school.  Aside from the actual texts we used, there was no one belief that was taught to be superior.

There were 16 students in grades -- um something -- through 12.  Except for seniors, no one was really quite sure what grade they were in, so they usually said what grade they would be if they were in public school.  We used a curriculum where we worked at our own rate.  Twelve workbooks equaled one credit.  We worked on our own and if we had a question we would ask our teacher.  Upon finishing a section, we would "go score".  We never thought of the secular use of the word "score" and we tossed around sayings like "I need to score."  "I left that at the score table."  "I really need to score."   What was scoring?  Basically checking our answers.  There were red pens at the score table.  (Our teachers used green on tests.)  Until we reached the end of our workbook, we checked all our work ourselves.  Then we took a test, and if our grade was under 80%, we had to redo the workbook.

As you can imagine, with so few kids, we had some great times.   This post is first in a series and basically gives you a bit of an overview.  Our school day started at 9:00.  We began with the pledges to the American flag, Christian flag, and the Bible.  There was the Scripture of the month read.  If we wanted to be on honor roll, we had to memorize that passage.  Then someone would open the day in prayer.  I always hated when they called on "Sister Jennifer" to pray.  I wasn't even a Christian then (though I didn't realize it!) and I thought "Sister" in front of my name sounded so funny and I'd always have to hold back a giggle before I prayed.

We then worked in our workbooks until morning recess.  (Yes, even 12th graders got recess!)  After that break which was sometimes playing volleyball or going into the basement to play ping pong with badmitten birdies or tennis balls, we were back at our workbooks until 11:30, at which time we had an hour for lunch.  We often brought board games for this break, and the picture on this post is us playing Old Maid.  For some reason we played that quite a bit.  After lunch, back to work until 1:30.  On Wednesdays we were dismissed at 1:30 (and had no morning recess because we had chapel instead.)  The other days, the final hour of school might be gym (either volleyball or running around the school building 12 times.)  This was also the hour where girls had home ec and boys had wood working, at least for a while.

I eventually showed up once a week to school.  Homeschooling was illegal in my state at that time, and the school said as long as I did 2 1/2 hours of school work each day, I would be counted present.  I went to school to take tests and get new workbooks.  Home Ec was then 120 hours of cooking, baking, sewing, crafting something I had never previously made.

I have so many unique and fun memories of that year I will be sharing over time on my blog. . . so stay tuned. . .

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Spellbinders Celebration Collection

Did you know there is a new collection of papercrafts on the market?  It's called Spellbinders and it's by Richard Garay.   I was selected to receive a sample and be able to make my own items from the new collection.

With an upcoming wedding, I'm always on the look out for ideas I can use towards favors and such.  With papers, inks, stamps, dies, and embellishments, I'm sure if I decide to do some DIY favors, I can find whatever I need in this line to complete my idea.

I received the materials to make this project:

It was quick and easy to do, just a little cutting and pasting.  (The stamping had already been done for me and the green was a diecut)  Wouldn't something along these lines in white be cute for a wedding?

I also received supplies to make this, but I haven't had time yet to put together this card.  It's so cute.  I'll have to make it for a friend's little girl's birthday.  She would just think it is wonderful!  Or maybe I'll just introduce her to the world of card making and let her give this card to a friend and maybe she'll become a new papercrafter.

In this collection everything is coordinated so it makes it even easier to make celebrations special with handmade items.

FTC disclaimer: I received a sample of items from Spellbinders.  All opinions are my own.