Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Book Review: Midnight Mystery


This is the 4th book in the "Winnie The Horse Gentler" series by Dandi Daley Mackall.  Unlike previous books, this one actually does include a mystery, and the horse Winnie is helping doesn't board in her barn.  This time the circus is in town, and she's needing to help a circus horse who is jumpy, frightened, and even disobeying commands he's been taught.  But the Russian circus is going to be there to scout for new talent. . . can she figure out what is going on in time?

Sub-plots of the book are Catman's Grandfather "Colonel Coolidge" is in town.  He's gearing up for a reunion of army men -- but where are they?  Even more important is Winnie's mother's birthday is approaching.  Since her mother died, Winnie wants to put on a horse show for the family -- celebrate the birthday like they always did when her mother was alive which meant a movie in the morning, spaghetti for lunch, and a horse show in the afternoon.  Winnie wants to teach Nickers to bow because her mother always had her horses bow, but will Nickers learn in time?  And besides that, with Winnie's dad headed to the Invention Convention in Chicago, he's not going to be home on her mom's birthday.  Lizzie has a writing competition that day, so that leaves -- Winnie -- and Winnie alone to remember her mother's birthday -- or so she thinks!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sweepstakes to enter: You could win an iPod Touch

I'm a Tyndale Book Reviewer, and they e-mailed me today about a sweepstakes they are running.

It's Your Kid, Not a Gerbil Giveaway

Prizes?

3 Random people will win a prize pack of Kevin Leman books
5 Random people will win a copy of It’s Your Kid, Not A Gerbil
1 Random person will win an iPod Touch


All the information is on that page, and it ends September 9th!  So take a look and enter!





Saturday, August 27, 2011

Review: The Cause Within You



The Cause within You: Finding the One Great Thing You Were Created to Do in This World is a book where the title might not be as catchy as it could have been but the one thing that will catch in this book is inspiration.  Matthew Barnett was the youngest pastor of his denomination at age twenty, and he took a church that had about eight people in attendance to creating a huge center that reaches out to those in Los Angeles who are hurting and desperate -- the homeless, drug addicts, and anyone who feels hopeless.  People come to serve at his church and he stresses that serving will bring out the cause that is inside you, just serve and you will find that.  He says that true joy comes when we realize others are better off because of our investment in them.

This is a fascinating book.  He is certainly someone who hasn't thought traditionally.  A church that is open 24 hours a day?  There's always someone at the church serving.  Vans go out to feed the homeless.  He tells personal stories, too.  The story of taking the homeless children to Build-A-Bear was one I really enjoyed, but my favorite was one where he was telling of a woman who started a ministry in his church to pimps.  She even got invited to the Pimp of the Year award ceremony, and they all told her they would go to one function she wanted them to go to, and one Sunday morning there was a section of pimps in Matthew Barnett's congregation.

This book isn't a one-two-three to find your purpose in life.  Instead, it's a book of inspiration for you to discover that yourself -- or if you already know what your cause is, it's a book of encouragement to keep it up! 

I very much enjoyed this book, and will definitely be recommending it to others. 

FTC disclaimer:  I was sent a copy of this book free from the publisher as part of their summer reading program.  The thoughts and opinions of it are my own.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Winner! My Love Book!

The winner of the My Love Book giveaway has been selected and she has been contacted!


The Grace Card -- WINNER

I just selected the winner for The Grace Card giveaway.  The winner has been contacted.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cricket 1. Kitchen Light 0.

I've heard crickets in the house are good luck.  However, I'm not sure the one we had in our house this week was.

It jumped from the counter, hit the kitchen light and this is what happened:




Hard to believe this cricket could do that!  Of course it is only a lightweight plastic, but still. . . and the light inside hasn't worked since.  An earthquake and a cricket this week. . . Hope next week is better!


Winners of Comfort Cross Giveaway

The winners have been contacted!  :)




Tuesday, August 23, 2011

EARTHQUAKE!

At  1:54 Eastern time I posted on Facebook:

Was that an earthquake?

Indeed it was an earthquake!  I know people from California are probably laughing at those of us who only felt the earthquake, but I never expected my first ever earthquake to happen while at home on my computer.  Isn't that something that is suppossed to happen when you are visiting California?

I was sitting at my computer, which is near the corner of the house.  I felt something, but my mind dismissed it as a gust of wind like sometimes happens in the winter.  Then I realized it was neither winter NOR blizzard conditions.

I turned around in my chair and just felt.  The floor was shaking.  I realized then it was an earthquake.  I started to get up to walk to a doorway.  No matter how slight an earthquake we have, I was going to use my earthquake preparation  learned 20 years ago when I was a college student in Tennessee and everyone was saying that there was going to be an earthquake in Missourri. 

I got sidetracked, though.  My closet door was open slightly, and my clothes were swaying.  I stopped and watched.  (So much for earthquake preparedness)



I stopped for a moment because it was just so strange to see the shaking, and then I walked to the doorway of my bedroom.  I called out to Mom, "Get in a doorway".  (Hey, who knew if it would continue to increase in magnitude?) 

She yelled, "What is going on?" and I felt like Chicken Little yelling "Earthquake".

Since when does West Virginia have an earthquake?  I guess since August 23, 2011!

I learned something important today -- Facebook is a much better than CNN, http://www.usgs.gov/ , or any other website in the first moments after something happens.  Report on my news feed started flowing in from Virginia, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Massachussettes.  Even our local once a week paper reported that was an earthquake before CNN or the United States Geological Survey.


A little shaking, but otherwise we're fine.  I saw someone on twitter say something to the effect that Californians are probably laughing at us, but let's send them two feet of snow and laugh at them.  (Two feet?  Why be easy on them? How about the snow we had Feb of 2010!)  :) 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Five Minute Friday -- "New"

(This is a "new" thing I'm doing.  The details about it are below my blog entry.")

New.  This time of year, I think of new as school supplies.  New pencils.  New notebooks.  New whatever-that-half-round-thing is you use for a few days in math class.  New notebooks and writing instruments (pens, pencils, highlighters, markers, etc.) are my favorites, though.  I love wondering what might be contained in a notebook.  I don't have kids, but often use notebooks for journals, keeping notes, listing things.  When I start a new blank book at the beginning of the year for my contest wins, I always wonder what will be in it.  Will this year be the year I win that elusive car? What all will be filled in that book?  A new calendar at a new year.  What days will be significant?  Will the year be dull enough that there will not be much to look forward to?  You never know.  When the year starts -- a school year or a new year it's open to all kinds of possibilities.  Maybe something really great and life changing will happen.  Of course, maybe something not so great and life changing will happen.  Like a freshly sharpened pencil, a new year, new notebook, new journal all feel so fresh and clean.  By December, there's no surprises left to be had in the newness of a calendar, and it's all marked up, a tribute to one more year gone by and all the appointments that were jotted down so you wouldn't forget you had that haircut on April 8th.

Five minute Friday Linkup and rules:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

2. Link back here  The Gypsy Mama and invite others to join in.
3. Get a little crazy with encouragement for the five minuter who linked up before you.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Book Review: Bold Beauty



Bold Beauty is the third book in the Winnie the Horse Gentler series for tween girls.  It's a Christian series, and definately are wholesome books.

In this volume, Winnie is to gentle a jumper.  Only problem is, Winnie is thrown while jumping -- and starts telling lies about what happened to her so that her dad won't make her quit gentling horses.  But what about Bold Beauty?  She needs to be gentled enough so she can make the jumps at a competition.  Without Winnie having confidence, will she be able to make Bold Beauty have the confidence needed to make that highest jump?  Not only that, but she's being paid a nice sum of money to gentle this horse, and she'll only get paid if she accomplishes that.  If she can't get this done, she won't have money to keep Nickers since she lost her job mucking stalls!

I really am enjoying this series.  So many of the characters are so well developed.  The only thing I didn't like about this book is the abortion debate.  I realize this is an important issue, but I also don't like it thrown into books where it could as easily be left out, especially when it feels "tacked on" as it did in this book.   Also, for younger or more naive children, this might be a little more than their parents would care for them to know on this topic.

Other than that, this is a highly enjoyable series and this book doesn't disappoint.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Older, but are we wiser?

Saturday was my 20th high school reunion.  While I didn't actually graduate with my class, they are generous enough to include anyone who spent any time with us to our reunions.  I left after 9th grade to go to a Christian school, then graduated early, so by the time my class was finishing their senior year of high school, I had finished my sophomore year of college!  But having gone K-9 with the same group of people, it still feels like they were MY class.

There were 80 who graduated as well as a number of us who spent part of our time in school with the class.  Of those, only 14 of us were at the family day of the reunion.  (I skipped the BYOB party because I'm not into drinking and didn't know if high school days would repeat themselves.  As it turned out, I should have gone to that as well!)


Although most people will see fourteen classmates in this photo, there are really 15 of us.  You see, when we were in sixth grade we had an invisible classmate and it drove our teacher nuts.  :)  The things middle school kids do!  (We also had an invisible classroom dog named George after our teacher.  We were always warned the dog had to behave or his name would have to be changed.)  It's a wonder our teacher stayed sane after our class.

A couple of my favorite photos:


I had to ride the merry-go-round to get this one.  The kids thought I was a load of fun.  After the ride, I wondered how I used to be on that thing so long!  That was the only moment of the reunion that I felt my true age!



Jason used to sit in front of me in English class, and I must say that's the only class I ever was regularly asked what I was up to!  He would turn around when the teacher wasn't noticing, make a joke, turn back around and look innocent and I'd be there laughing.  I was always so good in every other class, so we know who the REAL troublemaker was, don't we?



My friend Mary and I are going to the Women of Faith conference in Pittsburgh in October.  You can read about that on my Women of Faith blog post.  I really like this photo of the two of us, although it highlights how short I am!  (Or does it highlight how tall she is?)  :)

The day was a lot of fun, I enjoyed seeing people I hadn't seen in years.  Although, as you can see in this photo it maybe was a bit more fun for others than me:



Randy (on the left) was always the class clown and class flirt and time didn't change that!  He gave all of us tons of laughs on Saturday!  I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Review: Instant Menace


I just finished reading Instance Menace by Jerry B Jenkins and Chris Fabry.  This is a mystery geared towards pre-teens and teenagers. 

Bryce and Ashley are twins, and they are Christian sleuths.  If there's a mystery, they are going to get to the bottom of it!  This is the first book of the series I have read, so it makes a great stand-alone book as well, although I'm sure the other books would be good as well.

In Instant Menace, Bryce and Ashley are separated at school by the new principal.  The last principal thought they would do well together after their dad died in a plane crash, but the new principal thinks it's best they are separated.  And why did the last principal, Mr. Forster, leave? 

First day of school brings enough changes, but then a teacher's prized coins go missing from a locked cabinet.  Who took those?  And does it have anything to do with Mr. Forster?

The 8th grade class is split into "teams" to come up with a community project.  The Red Team decides to create a secret chat room.  Bryce is turned into the principal because of threats he made to another student in the chat room.  Only Bryce says he didn't make them. 

Being the mystery-solvers they are, Bryce and Ashley find a clue which solves the entire mystery.

I really enjoyed this book.  I'm not the targeted age but it was a great read and I think anyone in the targeted age range, boy or girl, would enjoy this!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Review and Givewaway: The Grace Card DVD

The Grace Card releases on DVD on Tuesday, August 16, 2011.  This is an inspirational Christian movie about Mac McDonald.  The movie opens as his small son is killed seventeen years ago.  Determined to keep that from happening to someone else, he becomes a police officer and is once again passed over for a promotion because of his attitude.  He's paired up with Sam, who he doesn't like.  For one reason, he got that promotion Mac wanted and secondly, he's not the "correct" skin color, and also he doesn't like his "preaching" at him.  During the movie Mac's son Blake gets kicked out of school, and as always, bad stuff in our lives is always relative because not long later in the movie, Blake's being expelled from school is the least of their worries. 

This movie focuses on unforgiveness.  It mentions slavery and shows the effects of unforgiveness towards a stranger who killed a child.  Not only for those involved themselves, but for those around them.  It mentions drugs briefly, and I believe this movie would be an excellent starting point for a discussion in families of some tough issues.  It would make a good movie to be shown at church events, as well. 

Everything can change in an instant … and take a lifetime to unravel. When Mac McDonald loses his son in an accident, the ensuing 17 years of bitterness and pain erodes his love for his family and leaves him angry with God … and just about everyone else. Mac’s rage stonewalls his career in the police department and makes for a combustible situation when he’s partnered with Sam Wright, a rising star on the force—who happens to be a part-time pastor and a loving family man.

Can they somehow join forces to help one another when it’s impossible for either of them to look past their differences—especially the most obvious one? Every day, we have the opportunity to rebuild relationships and heal deep wounds by extending and receiving God’s grace. Offer THE GRACE CARD … and never underestimate the power of God’s love.

You can purchase The Grace Card on DVD starting Tuesday August 16th at most retailers, or you can purchase at Amazon: The Grace Card

 ~~~~~~

You can watch the official movie trailer now:




I have one copy of The Grace Card DVD to give away to one of my readers.

Details of the giveaway:


Open to the USA, 18 and over. Please leave a SEPARATE COMMENT for each entry you do. I use random.org to pick winners so a separate comment is needed for each entry. Please leave your e-mail address in your comment if it's not in your blogger profile. Winners will have 48 hours to respond to the e-mail before another winner is chosen.

Giveaway ends August 24th at 11:59 pm.

MANDATORY ENTRY:
Tell me why you would like to win a copy of this movie.

Additional entries:
#Win a DVD of #TheGraceCard movie from @jenndiggy ends 8/24 http://bit.ly/q035Cb

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services
mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I
only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255:
“Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Review and Giveaway: My Comfort Cross

I was in Bethlehem in 2006.  The difference between Israel and Palestine was amazing.  At Nativity Square there were children selling candy to try and make a little money with the backdrop of the site of one of the most familiar passages in the Bible. 

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.  Luke 2:14

But unfortunately, there is little peace in the Palestinian Territory.  I had to remind myself that the angels in Luke 2 told the shepherds "Fear not".  There is fear.  I admit I breathed a sigh of relief when our taxi dropped us off in downtown Jerusalem after having been in Bethlehem.  Because of that fear, tourism is down.  I'm feel certain even more so now than when I visited in 2006.  I bought most of my souvenirs in Bethlehem.  I loved all the different items that were being sold made from Olive wood. 

To me Olive Wood seems so beautiful, and almost peaceful.  It reminds me of Israel, and not the Israel I saw with soldiers but a more peaceful place.

So when My Comfort Cross contacted me and said they would like me to do a review, I was excited to do so!  I received a "Comfort Cross" which is about four inches high and about 2 1/4 inches across.  It was in a velveteen bag with a Scripture card. 




At first I thought it looked a little strange because I am accustomed to seeing crosses with sharp edges.  However, this is made with actually USING it in mind.  Some people might want to hold it while praying.  The cross fits perfectly in the palm of my hand.  When I was younger, I used to sometimes have nightmares.  This would have been great for me to keep on a bedside table and hold when I woke from one of those.  Depending on your Bible cover, you may be able to tuck it in there if you would like it with you when you are doing Bible study.  I can imagine this being used with a child.  Not only for teaching about Jesus and the cross, but also showing what olive wood looks like, and helping calm a child's fear.  Think of when a child is afraid, placing this cross in her hands and relaying the story that it was made in Bethlehem and recalling the angels' words of "Fear not".  These would make a nice gift.  Something given at Christmas, to someone who is ill, the elderly, lonely, or a "thinking of you" gift.

Comfort Crosses are also affordable.  As a special to readers of my blog, you can CLICK HERE to order two crosses for $10.  This also includes shipping within the USA.  This is a $2 discount from the usual price.

If you are interested in ordering in quantity either for fundraising or to give multiples of these, you can order eight of these for $40 or fifty crosses for $165 (that includes shipping).

The crosses are made by Christian craftsmen in Bethlehem.  When you make a purchase, this helps a Christian make a living in a place where I saw children selling candy to make a little extra money.

My Comfort Cross has been generous enough to give TWO of my readers a Comfort Cross of their very own.

Details of the giveaway:
Open to the USA, 18 and over.  Please  leave a SEPARATE COMMENT for each entry you do.  I use random.org to pick winners so a separate comment is needed for each entry.  Please leave your e-mail address in your comment if it's not in your blogger profile.   Winners will have 48 hours to respond to the e-mail before another winner is chosen.

Giveaway ends August 23th at 11:59 pm.

Mandatory Entry:
Tell me either why you would like this or who you would like to give this to.

Additional entries:
  • Visit http://www.mycomfortcross.com/ and tell me something you learned
  • Follow me Google Friend Connect
  • Tweet about this giveaway: (this may be done once a day) You may use the following:
#Win a #MyComfortCross made in Bethlehem from @jenndiggy  ends 8/23  http://bit.ly/p1BIRD TWO WINNERS

FTC disclaimer:  I received a MyComfortCross of my own to use and review.  The opinions are my own.



Book Review: Eager Star (Winnie the Horse Gentler)



This is book two in the "Winnie the Horse Gentler" series.  It is aimed at girls ages 8-12 and about a junior high girl who can make impossible horses into good ones.  Her mother has died, and she learned how to do this from her mother.

In this book, it's the start of the school year and her classmate, Grant, is to be riding in a barrel race.  However, his horse "Eager Star" doesn't want to cooperate.  She even bucks Grant off of her at one point in the book.  Winnie's job is to make this horse that is frightened and nervous into a winner in one week.

Also during the course of the book Winnie gets off on the wrong foot with her English teacher, and wouldn't you know it, but she turns in the WRONG journal to this woman, which doesn't make things any better for Winnie. 

She also plans a slumber party, inviting the most popular girls in school.  That doesn't go quite as expected for her.

This was an enjoyable book even though I'm not the target age range.  It is a quick read, and one that girls who love horses would be especially fond of.    I am looking forward to reading the rest of this series.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Crickets and Blue Jeans

I hate winter.  I really hate winter.  I loved it when I was a child, and we might get a month off from school, but as an adult this is no fun.


I started hearing crickets on July 20th.  Around here, we say the rule of thumb is the first frost is six weeks from when the crickets start.  If that's true then our first frost will be August 31.

I'm not one to like cooler weather.  It's 68* outside as I write this.  Already this week I have worn jeans.  I I like wearing shorts, mainly because it feels more acceptable to wear flip flops with shorts, and when I wear jeans I feel like I should always wear socks and shoes.  (And if it's cool enough to wear jeans, then my feet would be cold with flip flops.)

I didn't put my electric blanket away until mid June.  I'm wondering how soon I'll have to get it out.

I think I should live closer to the equator!


Review: Wild Cat (Starlight Animal Rescue Series)


When I started reading this book, I didn't realize it was book three of a four book series.  It is great as a stand-alone book, or if you're like me, now I want to read the whole series! 

Kat is in junior high, which is always a tough time in life, but to make it more difficult, she has cancer and it's not uncommon that she will vomit.  A lot.  So this is geared for girls 9-12 but because of that, I could just hear myself at that age saying "That's sooooooo gross!"  Of course, for a child with cancer, this would be a welcome book because I've not read that many books that have the main characted as a teen with cancer, at least not when it discusses the effects of treatment such as the vomiting and she does remove her wig at one point as well as deciding "which hair" to wear for the day..  Another major issue addressed is foster children and adoption. 

In this book, Kat is going to be adopted and she feels like everyone in her family has done something great and she doesn't deserve to be a Coolidge.  When a project at school comes up, she hopes it will proves she does deserve to be a Coolidge.  She and Fiona decide to start a service to improve the behavior of their classmates' cats.  Fiona has a cat that she calls dumb, and Kat takes it home to see how she can help it.  In the end, will Fiona reject Kat as she has her feline cat? 

I very much enjoyed this book, and I think most tween girls would as well.

 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Creative? Or have a great sausage burger recipe?



Are you creative?  Or do you already have a great recipe already using  Johnsonville Brat or Italian sausage patties?  Well, if so, you want to be sure and enter the  No Ordinary Burger contest Jonsonville is sponsoring by clicking HERE!  You can enter your recipe between now and September 6th, and be sure and vote for your favorite.  You could win a year's supply of free groceries if you have the winning recipe!  Be sure to read the full contest rules.  You can also check out Johnsonville on Facebook or if you need to get your creative juices flowing, check out some of the recipes listed at Pork Be Inspired.


Disclosure:  I am writing this post as part of the One2One network.  I did not receive compensation for this post, however, I was entered in a drawing for gift cards.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Newspaper article

I was interviewed a couple weeks ago for an article for the local newspaper.  I've been couponing for about 20 years now, and have likely saved over $30,000 if not more during that time (taking into account the time that I was in college and also when I could barely walk when I was suffering from Lyme disease.)  I usually save $2,000 or $2,500 a year, and I spend about an hour a week organizing.  The woman who was the main one featured in the section on coupon shopping spends hours a week and saved $3,000 last year, up from $2,000 the year before.  (Personally I'd rather spend 1 hour a week and only save $500 less per year.  Time is money, you know!)

I don't understand why everyone now thinks the only way to organize coupons is a binder.  It may work for some, but I preferred a box when I used to clip coupons.  Now what I do is file the entire insert.  This is why it takes me so little time each week to prepare.   I get the coupon insert.  First thing I look through it and clip any coupons I KNOW I will use even if the item isn't on sale or almost free after coupon.  Those go in the small accordion coupon file in my purse.  The rest of the insert is placed in a file folder with that day's date on it (Such as 8/7).  When I visit coupon match up sites online, they will say which supplement the coupon that corresponds to the sale items were in.  For instance, say Crest toothpaste is on sale.  On a coupon match up site, it will say "Crest Toothpaste $1.00 off any 4 oz. or larger P&G date".  The way this is decoded is P&G means the Proctor and Gamble coupon supplement, and the date is when it was in the paper.  So I just go to my file, pull the file folder for that week, get out the Proctor and Gamble insert, and clip just the coupon I need.  It saves tons of time.

Of course, I only shop for two people.  And I don't buy 100 jars of mustard for $23.00 so I can tell everyone I saved $100 on mustard.  I will buy things to donate.  But I don't clear shelves.  That is plain rude.  I am not smart with cashiers.  Yes, I've had my problems with cashiers, but being rude is not the way to solve problems.

I was also glad to see the articles I was mentioned in (yes, I was mentioned in two) didn't mention buying coupons off eBay or from clipping services.  I have heard there are plans in the works to code coupons by region to prevent this from happening, as it does say on the coupons that buying or selling invalidates them. 

What you see on TV isn't reproducible all the time.  You may occasionally have a shopping trip like that, but not all the time.  I once bought $158 of groceries for $10.  My best sale ever was when I bought $1700 of games (although I admit they were very overpriced) for a final total of $65 (but still 90+ board games for $65 is cheaper than garage sale prices!  That was no using any coupons, however.)

Coupons aren't available for fresh fruit and veggies, for milk, meat, and rarely bread. You can still save money, but don't believe everything you see on TV.  Just because the TV might show a woman using coupons on an item they aren't supposed to be used on doesn't mean you can get away with it.  (People have been arrested for it in the past!)  Stealing newspapers is a crime, and you can get arrested for that, too.  (I recently read a newspaper article where a woman said she was going to pay her $4,000 fine she received from stealing newspapers with the money she saved from coupons.)

If you're going to use coupons, use your head.  Don't steal newspapers to get coupons, don't commit fraud by using coupons on items they aren't meant to be used on, don't be rude to cashiers or other shoppers, and don't clear shelves. 

Review: The Boy who Came Back from Heaven



UPDATE:  PLEASE READ THIS LINK.  The mother of the boy who was to have written this book has a lot to say about this book.  
The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven. . . Not Quite

I was skeptical of this book before picking it up.  Am I skeptical now?  I have to say I still am somewhat about the parts of heaven -- I'm not sure anyone can really know what heaven is like until we die and not return to earth.  (The author claims that his son died, and he may have, but I'm not sure we can still really know about heaven until we're there permanently.)  But it doesn't matter  if you read this with skepticism or an open mind, this is a page-turner.  Although it's entitled "The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven", it's more about the struggles the family encountered after the dad and Alex were in a car wreck and Alex became paralyzed. (One thing I noticed right away was the dad was talking on a cell phone while driving when in the wreck.  That bothered me a lot.  He blamed a dip in the road for him not seeing an oncoming car.  I realize the cell phone was probably only one contributing factor to the accident, as well as a chattery four year old in the back seat, but there was even a photo of how the road appears straight but really there is a dip.)  I did enjoy reading the account of how God provided for the family through their ordeal be it financial (although I was amazed the family qualified for government help with the medical bills since he has a psychiatric practice.)  Their church banded together like I've never experienced in any church I've ever attended, they provided food, people praying, people to help repair the house, get it ready for Alex to move back home, and more.  The parts about heaven?  It was only a tiny fraction of the book.  If you're reading this just to read about heaven, skip it as you'll be reading lots of accounts of hospital stays, medical milestones, and learning to adjust to a new life.  If you're interested in how a family survives a major crisis that changes their lives forever, this is an inspiring book.  

Monday, August 8, 2011

Swagbucks Sign up Promo

I've mentioned before that I LOVE Swagbucks search engine.  It's like every other search engine with one big exception -- you can WIN what are called "Swagbucks" which are redeemable for prizes.  I recently got an Amazon Kindle with Swagbucks I earned.  (When was the last time you got a gift worth over $100 from YOUR search engine?)

There's a special promo going on right now with Swagbucks.  Just sign up (and I'd love if you click on any of these blue links or banner in this post as it will help me earn points as well!  I have something in mind I want to give someone for Christmas and I am trying to earn points for that!)

As you sign up, enter the code  AUGUSTBONUS  and you'll receive FIFTY "Swagbucks" when you sign up.

You can redeem your points for lots of things, such as CVS gift cards, Starbucks gift cards, or do like I did and redeem them for Amazon certificates and order a Kindle!
Search & Win

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Women of Faith Coming to Pittsburgh

I'm so excited !  I found out I was a blogger chosen to attend the Women of Faith conference in Pittsburgh!

What is Women of Faith?  Well, it's a Christian conference with speakers, music, and of course where there are women, there is a lot of fun!



I've never been to Women of Faith, but I've heard excellent things about it!  I'm going with a friend from church.  We went to school together a well, and have known each other for three decades, so I know we'll have a ball at this event!

So who are the speakers and musical guests at the event for Pittsburgh?

  • Lisa Harper
  • Angie Smith
  • Luci Swindoll
  • Shiela Walsh
  • Natalie Grant
  • Mary Mary
  • Nicole Johnson
  • Henry Cloud


I'm really excited to be going!  If you want to connect with Women of Faith, you can do so:

Want to follow along LIVE at the Pittsburgh event?  On October 7-8, search for #wofimage on Twitter, and you'll be in on the action!

Don't live near Pittsburgh?  There are twenty-eight cities where the conference will make a stop and you can catch the Women of Faith conference at one near you!  http://www.womenoffaith.com/events/2011-events/

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Review: So Long Insecurity



 I'm not one to really struggle with insecurity, so I'm not sure I'm the best one to write a review.  However, I realized why insecurity probably isn't a big issue to me.  In the book, she talks about how once we depersonalize someone, we no longer see them as human, and they are larger than life in our minds.  I stopped to think about that.  If you were to look at my list of friends on a social networking site, you'd find authors, recording artists, missionaries, even someone who has done modeling as well as "average" people.  Yet, I still find these people "normal".  My friend who won a Dove Award?  I remember the time he insisted we meet for a class project in college in his car, and then us riding around the city while doing our homework.  I guess I'm unlike a lot of women and see the human side of people rather than the larger-than-life side.  That said, I'm not totally immune to being insecure, but even with her, I see she has strengths I don't, and I have strengths she doesn't.

While this is an area I don't often struggle with, it helped me understand a bit more the women who do.  The stories of crazy things women did because they were insecure was a very interesting section of the book, as well as what men had to say about insecure women.  I enjoyed the chapter on dignity, because I've rarely seen that addressed as it was in this book.  Most times I've seen it either as being proper or covering your body sufficiently, but Beth Moore took this a step farther and basically describes dignity as the opposite of self-esteem.

I would recommend this book to other women who struggle with this issue!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Review: Don't Kill the Birthday Girl


Have you ever read a book that made you want to eat an omelet with hazelnut chocolate sauce with a glass of soy milk?  Well, I never had until I read this book!  I wanted to celebrate being able to eat these foods!  In  Don't Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life , Sandra Beasley presents a sad but at the same time humorously written account of life with multiple food allergies.  Weddings?  As careful as she is, nearly half of them have left her gasping for air during an allergic attack.  Traveling overseas?  Don't forget plenty of meds, they may not have the same items available.  Family reunion?  What a joy when a doctor relative gifts you with six months of allergy samples.  While this is a memoir, I learned a lot about food allergies and some of the theories behind them.  Did you know that China doesn't have the incidence of peanut allergies the United States does?  Does dry roasting peanuts make a difference in the higher rate of peanut allergies in America?  While that's not known, she does present some interesting facts about food allergies sprinkled through the book.  From childhood until now, she chronicles what life was like without whining, but instead making it almost laugh out loud funny.  From being "Fish Girl" in college to rejoicing at receiving raisins in her Trick-Or-Treat bags, or not being able to kiss a boyfriend after he ate a forbidden to her food, she shows how life, all of life, is affected by food allergies.  This is a fantastic book, and one of the best I've read this year! 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Couponing Success Tonight!

It amazes me how things change over the years, including my perspective.

I haven't been to the drugstores for a while now because it seems like every time I go they are sold out of the sale items, and my time finding the coupons that match the sale items was a waste because they are all sold out. 

Well, we were nearly out of pop, and I saw CVS had Coke on sale for 4/$13 this week with $3 back for your next shopping trip.  As my mother can only drink caffeine free Diet Coke, I expected the shopping trip would be pointless, it has always seemed that caffeine free pop is always sold out around here.

Not tonight.  I was able to buy 4 cartons of it.  As I was walking up to the counter, I remembered there was a candy bar that was free after Extra Care Bucks. So I thought I'd get one.  Not surprisingly, both boxes of qualifying candy bars were empty.  Or was it?  I checked more thoroughly.  Would you believe the candy bar was small enough that one was pressed to the front of the box and no one saw it?

So I got the candy bar after all as well as the four cartons of Diet Coke.

Times have certainly changed when I consider finding a sale item in stock a victory! 

(I used a $10 gift card I got free, so I paid $4.39 and got $5 back in Extra Care Bucks because I had the last quarter savings spit out at the register as well as my $1 for using my Green Bag Tag four times.)