Wedding Day

Wedding Day
Enjoy EVERY moment in your wedding gown. You can't stay in it forever...SO UNFAIR!!!!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Thinking On God


I have been in a struggle lately both physically and spiritually. My physical struggle some people are aware of as I wrote about it here several times. Spiritually I am not struggling with my faith, but I am struggling with my walk. I want so desperately to have a deeper walk with God.


I can't even explain the desire of my heart. I am at that point where I want so much to delve into my Bible and really know God and His words to me, but I have never been a great Bible study kind of girl. I just don't know how. I know how to read, but how to get DEEP into His Word. That is my desire.



I know God loves me, and I know He hears me. I have countless answered prayers. I have countless instances where I have seen him work in my life. I have had a life of struggle, but those struggles have brought me closer to Him. But I want to be closer. I am not sure if you can understand what I mean. It is hard to explain that I know God loves me and I know He is there for me, but I want to REALLY know him.


I read devotionals by some of my favorite authors and Christian leaders and I am just humbled by their depth of understanding. I WANT THAT. I want to really hear God speak. Anyway, I am writing this because I read a particularly great devotional this morning by Susanne Scheppmann through my Proverbs 31 Ministries: Daily Devotions. Susanne's devotion is titled The Committee, and it really helped me recognize a few things in myself. If you haven't read these devotionals, you might want to take a peek. They are incredible.


So this morning, I was reminded to really give God the opportunity to be heard over my many voices. I could relate so much to Susanne, because seriously I have a dozen voices all running along in my head. My voices encourage, discourage and often distract. It can make focusing on the Lord a little more than difficult.


I have decided to make a point of really listening to God's direction. This is to be my focus for July. I know it is the last day of June, but I was so excited I had to post this plan today.



Here is my not very well thought out plan. :) I am going to tackle several things this coming month and see how things go.



Since I am not sure how to really study my Bible and that is a HUGE part of my heart's desire, I am going to be reading
"Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl" by Lisa Terkeurst.

Here is a description from the Proverbs 31 Ministries Website:



Is something missing in your life? Lysa TerKeurst knows what it’s like to consider God just another thing on her to-do list. For years she went through the motions of a Christian life: Go to church. Pray. Be nice. Longing for a deeper connection between what she knew in her head and her everyday reality, she wanted to personally experience God’s presence. Drawing from her own remarkable story of step-by-step faith, Lysa invites you to uncover the spiritually exciting life we all long for. With her trademark wit and spiritual wisdom, Lysa will help you enjoy the passion of conversation with God, discover the life-changing words of the Bible, watch God use disappointments for good, and find incredible joy as you live your faith out every day.


As Lysa writes, “Fulfillment is closer than you ever thought possible—and found in the most unlikely places.” The adventure God has in store for your life just might blow you away. Reading Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl will enable you to:
  • Learn how to make a Bible passage come alive in your own devotion time
  • Replace doubt, regret, and envy with truth, confidence, and praise
  • Stop thinking that there’s something bigger and better that you’re supposed to be doing
  • Have inner peace and security in any situation
  • Sense God responding to your prayers
Lysa TerKeurst is the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries and is the author of twelve books (including a Gold Medallion finalist and a People’s Choice Award finalist) and numerous magazine articles. She has told her remarkable life story on national television and radio, including /Oprah/ and /Good Morning America/. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and five children.


Secondly, until I get through Lisa's book, I am going to read my Bible daily, but I am going to focus on one chapter at a time. My prayer is that God gives me some big ole signs during these chapter studies. Of course I have no idea what book of the Bible I am going to focus on, but I believe God will work that out for me by tomorrow. :)


Third, prayer. I am going to focus more on prayer. Time talking with God with this specific goal in mind. To know Him better and to better understand His word. I don't want to just read the Bible. I want His word to be imbedded into my heart in the way that I have always desired. This is not to say that I don't pray now, but I want to keep a mind on this specific purpose as well. Does that make sense?

Last, I will be journaling here. I have no idea what I will write about, but I will be journaling my progress either way. This is my accountability end. :)
When I was reading the devotional today. There were some power verses that were included. This one in particular really struck home with me:

1 Kings 19:11-13 (New King James Version)

God’s Revelation to Elijah
11 Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.

13
So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”


Pretty amazing isn't it?

I copied it in the New King James Version from BibleGateway.com If you haven't been there before, it is a GREAT resource.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

First Wild Card Tour - The Mailbox by Marybeth Whalen

I was not a part of this blog tour as far as reading this fine book goes, but I have to tell you I have so thoroughly enjoyed Marybeth's devotions that I could NOT pass this up. I read a description of this novel and I immediately put it on my wish list. No joke...just ask my husband. :) Truly this book sounds like an absolute dream. Read the first chapter, I know you are going to want to pick The Mailbox up. :)


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


The Mailbox

David C. Cook; New edition (June 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings of The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Marybeth Whalen is the general editor of For the Write Reason and The Reason We Speakas well as co-author of the book Learning to Live Financially Free. She serves as a speaker for the Proverbs 31 Ministry Team and directs a fiction book club, She Reads, through this same outreach. Most importantly, Marybeth is the wife of Curt Whalen and mother to their six children. She is passionate about sharing God with all the women God places in her path. She has been visiting the mailbox for years.

Visit the author's website.



Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (June 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0781403693
ISBN-13: 978-0781403696

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Sunset Beach, NC

Summer 1985


Campbell held back a teasing smile as he led Lindsey across the warm sand toward the mailbox. Leaning her head on Campbell’s shoulder, her steps slowed. She looked up at him, observing the mischievous curling at the corners of his mouth. “There really is no mailbox, is there?” she said, playfully offended. “If you wanted to get me alone on a deserted stretch of beach, all you had to do was ask.” She elbowed him in the side.


A grin spread across his flawless face. “You caught me.” He threw his hands up in the air in surrender.


“I gotta stop for a sec,” Lindsey said and bent at the waist, stretching the backs of her aching legs. She stood up and put her hands on her hips, narrowing her eyes at him. “So, have you actually been to the mailbox? Maybe the other kids at the pier were just pulling your leg.”


Campbell nodded his head. “I promise I’ve been there before. It’ll be worth it. You’ll see.” He pressed his forehead to hers and looked intently into her eyes before continuing down the beach.


“If you say so …” she said, following him. He slipped his arm around her bare tanned shoulder and squeezed it, pulling her closer to him. Lindsey looked ahead of them at the vast expanse of raw

coastline. She could make out a jetty of rocks in the distance that jutted into the ocean like a finish line.


As they walked, she looked down at the pairs of footprints they left in the sand. She knew that soon the tide would wash them away, and she realized that just like those footprints, the time she had left

with Campbell would soon vanish. A refrain ran through her mind: Enjoy the time you have left. She planned to remember every moment of this walk so she could replay it later, when she was back at home, without him. Memories would be her most precious commodity. How else would she feel him near her?


“I don’t know how we’re going to make this work,” she said as they walked. “I mean, how are we going to stay close when we’re so far away from each other?”


He pressed his lips into a line and ran a hand through his hair. “We just will,” he said. He exhaled loudly, a punctuation.


“But how?” she asked, wishing she didn’t sound so desperate.


He smiled. “We’ll write. And we’ll call. I’ll pay for the longdistance bills. My parents already said I could.” He paused. “And we’ll count the days until next summer. Your aunt and uncle already said you could come back and stay for most of the summer. And you know your mom will let you.”


“Yeah, she’ll be glad to get rid of me for sure.” She pushed images of home from her mind: the menthol odor of her mother’s cigarettes, their closet-sized apartment with parchment walls you could hear the neighbors through, her mom’s embarrassing “delicates” dangling from the shower rod in the tiny bathroom they shared. She wished that her aunt and uncle didn’t have to leave the beach house after

the summer was over and that she could just stay with them forever.


The beach house had become her favorite place in the world. At the beach house, she felt like a part of a real family with her aunt and uncle and cousins. This summer had been an escape from the reality of her life at home. And it had been a chance to discover true love. But tomorrow, her aunt and uncle would leave for their home and send her back to her mother.


“I don’t want to leave!” she suddenly yelled into the open air, causing a few startled birds to take flight.


Campbell didn’t flinch when she yelled. She bit her lip and closed her eyes as he pulled her to him and hugged her.


“Shhh,” he said. “I don’t want you to leave either.” He cupped her chin with his hand. “If I could reverse time for you, I would. And we would go back and do this whole summer over.”


She nodded and wished for the hundredth time that she could stand on the beach with Campbell forever, listening to the hypnotic sound of his voice, so much deeper and more mature than the boys at school. She thought about the pictures they had taken earlier that day, a last-ditch effort to have something of him to take with her. But it was a pitiful substitute, a cheap counterfeit for the real thing.


Campbell pointed ahead of them. “Come on,” he said and tugged on her hand. “I think I see it.” He grinned like a little boy. They crested the dune and there, without pomp or circumstance,

just as he had promised, stood an ordinary mailbox with gold letters spelling out “Kindred Spirit.”


“I told you it was here!” he said as they waded through the deep sand. “The mailbox has been here a couple of years,” he said, his tone changing to something close to reverence as he laid his hand on top

of it. “No one knows who started it or why, but word has traveled and now people come all the way out here to leave letters for the Kindred Spirit—the mystery person who reads them. People come from all over the world.”


“So does anybody know who gets the letters?” Lindsey asked. She ran her fingers over the gold, peeling letter decals. The bottom half of the n and e were missing.


“I don’t think so. But that’s part of what draws people here— they come here because this place is private, special.” He looked down at his bare feet, digging his toes into the sand. “So … I wanted to bring you here. So it could be our special place too.” He looked over at her out of the corner of his eye. “I hope you don’t think that’s lame.”


She put her arms around him and looked into his eyes. “Not lame at all,” she said.


As he kissed her, she willed her mind to record it all: the roar of the waves and the cry of the seagulls, the powdery softness of the warm sand under her feet, the briny smell of the ocean mixed with the scent of Campbell’s sun-kissed skin. Later, when she was back at home in Raleigh, North Carolina, she would come right back to this moment. Again and again. Especially when her mother sent her to her room with the paper-thin walls while she entertained her newest boyfriend.


Lindsey opened the mailbox, the hinges creaking as she did. She looked to him, almost for approval. “Look inside,” he invited her.


She saw some loose paper as well as spiral-bound notebooks, the kind she bought at the drugstore for school. The pages were crinkly from the sea air and water. There were pens in the mailbox too, some

with their caps missing.


Campbell pointed. “You should write a letter,” he said. “Take a pen and some paper and just sit down and write what you are feeling.” He shrugged. “It seemed like something you would really get into.”


How well he had come to know her in such a short time. “Okay,” she said. “I love it.” She reached inside and pulled out a purple notebook, flipping it open to read a random page. Someone had written about a wonderful family vacation spent at Sunset and the special time she had spent with her daughter.


She closed the notebook. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. She couldn’t imagine her own mother ever wanting to spend time with her, much less being so grateful about it. Reading the notebook made her feel worse, not better. She didn’t need reminding about what she didn’t have waiting for her back home.


Campbell moved in closer. “What is it?” he said, his body lining up perfectly with hers as he pulled her close.


She laid the notebook back inside the mailbox. “I just don’t want to go home,” she said. “I wish my uncle didn’t have to return to his stupid job. How can I go back to … her? She doesn’t want me there any more than I want to be there.” This time she didn’t fight the tears that had been threatening all day.


Campbell pulled her down to sit beside him in the sand and said nothing as she cried, rocking her slightly in his arms.


With her head buried in his shoulder, her words came out muffled. “You are so lucky you live here.”


He nodded. “Yeah, I guess I am.” He said nothing for a while.

“But you have to know that this place won’t be the same for me without you in it.”


She looked up at him, her eyes red from crying. “So you’re saying I’ve ruined it for you?”


He laughed, and she recorded the sound of his laugh in her memory too. “Well, if you want to put it that way, then, yes.”


“Well, that just makes me feel worse!” She laid her head on his shoulder and concentrated on the nearness of him, inhaled the sea scent of his skin and the smell of earth that clung to him from working

outside with his dad.


“Everywhere I go from now on I will have the memory of you with me. Of me and you together. The Island Market, the beach, the arcade, the deck on my house, the pier …” He raised his eyebrows as

he remembered the place where he first kissed her. “And now here. It will always remind me of you.”


“And I am going home to a place without a trace of you in it. I don’t know which is worse, constant reminders or no reminders at all.” She laced her narrow fingers through his.


“So are you glad we met?” She sounded pitiful, but she had to hear his answer.


“I would still have wanted to meet you,” he said. “Even though it’s going to break my heart to watch you go. What we have is worth it.” He kissed her, his hands reaching up to stroke her hair. She heard his words echoing in her mind: worth it, worth it, worth it. She knew that they were young, that they had their whole lives ahead of them, at least that’s what her aunt and uncle had told her. But she also knew

that what she had with Campbell was beyond age.


Campbell stood up and pulled her to her feet, attempting to keep kissing her as he did. She giggled as the pull of gravity parted them. He pointed her toward the mailbox. “Now, go write it all down for the Kindred Spirit. Write everything you feel about us and how unfair it is that we have to be apart.” He squinted his eyes at her. “And I promise not to read over your shoulder.”


She poked him. “You can read it if you want. I have no secrets from you.”


He shook his head. “No, no. This is your deal. Your private world—just between you and the Kindred Spirit. And next year,” he said, smiling down at her, “I promise to bring you back here, and you can write about the amazing summer we’re going to have.”


“And what about the summer after that?” she asked, teasing him.


“That summer too.” He kissed her. “And the next.” He kissed her again. “And the next.” He kissed her again, smiling down at her through his kisses. “Get the point?


“This will be our special place,” he said as they stood together in front of the mailbox.


“Always?” she asked.


“Always,” he said.


Summer 1985


Dear Kindred Spirit,


I have no clue who you are, and yet that doesn’t stop me from writing to you anyway. I hope one day I will discover your identity. I wonder if you are nearby even as I put pen to paper. It’s a little weird to think that I could have passed you on the street this summer and not know you would be reading my

deepest thoughts and feelings. Campbell won’t even read this, though I would let him if he asked me.


As I write, Campbell is down at the water’s edge, throwing shells. He is really good at making the shells skip across the water—I guess that’s proof that this place is his home.


Let me ask you, Kindred Spirit: Do you think it’s silly for me to assume that I have found my soul mate at the age of fifteen? My mom would laugh. She would tell me that the likelihood of anyone finding a soul mate—ever—is zero. She would tell me that I need to not go around giving my heart away like a hopeless romantic. She laughs when I read romance novels or see sappy movies that make me cry. She says that I will learn the truth about love someday.


But, honestly, I feel like I did learn the truth about love this summer. It’s like what they say: It can happen when you least expect it, and it can knock you flat on your back with its power. I didn’t come here expecting to fall in love. The truth is I didn’t want to come here at all. I came here feeling pushed aside and unwanted. I can still remember when my mom said that she had arranged for my aunt and uncle to bring me here, smiling at me like she was doing me some kind of favor when we both knew she just wanted me out of the picture so she could live her life without me cramping her style.


I tried to tell her that I didn’t want to come—who would want to spend their summer with bratty cousins? I was so mad, I didn’t speak to my mom for days. I begged, plotted, and even got my best friend Holly’s parents to say I could stay with them instead. But in the end, as always, my mother ruled, and I got packed off for a summer at the beach. On the car ride down, I sat squished in the backseat beside Bobby and Stephanie. Bobby elbowed me and stuck his tongue out at me the whole way to the beach. When his parents weren’t looking, of course. I stared out the window and pretended to be anywhere but in that car.


But now, I can’t believe how wonderful this summer has turned out. I made some new friends. I read a lot of books and even got to where I could tolerate my little cousins. They became like the younger siblings I never had. Most of all, I met Campbell.


I know what Holly will say. She will say that it was God’s plan. I am working on believing that there is a God and that he has a plan for my life like Holly says. But most of the time it feels like God is not aware I exist. If he was aware of me, you’d think he’d have given me a mom who actually cared about me.


Ugh—I can’t believe I have to leave tomorrow. Now that I have found Campbell, I don’t know what I will do without him. We have promised to write a lot of letters. And we have promised not to date other people.


A word about him asking me not to date other people: This was totally funny to me. Two nights ago we were walking on the beach and he stopped me, pulling me to him and looking at me really seriously. “Please,” he said, “I would really like it if you wouldn’t see other people. Is that crazy for me to ask that of you when we are going to be so far apart?”


I was like, “Are you kidding? No one asks me out. No one at my school even looks at me twice!” At school I am known for being quiet and studious—a brain, not a girl to call for a good time. Holly says that men will discover my beauty later in life. But until this summer I didn’t believe her. I couldn’t admit that no one notices me at school because, obviously, he believes I am sought after. And I knew enough to let him believe it. So I very coyly answered back, “Only if you promise me the same thing.”


And he smiled in that lazy way of his and said, “How could I even look at another girl when I’ve got the best one in the world?”


And so now you see why I just can’t bear the thought of leaving him. But the clock is ticking. When I get home, I swear I will cry myself to sleep every night and write letters to Campbell every day. The only thing I have to look forward to is hanging out with Holly again. Thank goodness for Holly, the one constant in my life. In math class we learned that a constant is something that has one value all the time and it never changes.

That’s what Holly is for me: my best friend, no matter what.


I wonder if Campbell will be a constant in my life. I guess it’s too soon to tell, but I do hope so. I’m already counting down the days until I can come back and be with Campbell. Because this summer—I don’t care how lame it sounds—I found my purpose. And that purpose is loving Campbell with all my

heart. Always.


Until next summer,

Lindsey

©2010 Cook Communications Ministries. The Mailbox by Marybeth Whalen. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Thyroid Adventure Continues

Photobucket



Oh my freakin' thyroid.

Personally I hope you don't mind that I used the word freakin' here. I know there are some people who think that you use one word in place of another so you really mean the other word. Anyone who knows me knows that whatever word I use is the word I mean. That is really not wholly important, but I thought I would just throw it out there. I could use more choice words, because let me tell you when it comes to the roller coaster ride I have been on with my thyroid there are many words that come to mind.

Last Monday I got to see Dr. Catz in Beverly Hills. I stayed at my brother and sister-in-law's home the night before so I wouldn't make the entire trip in one burst from Arizona.

Traffic was pretty much what I expected with the added bonus of some areas of the highway being extra crowded because of the Lakers parade in L.A. I didn't mind at all though, because I got to listen to a book on CD. Actually I listened to "I, Alex Cross," and it was magnificent!

Digressing.

Sorry about that. Did you know that one of the symptoms of thyroid trouble is concentration difficulties? I knew that. I didn't really know that it was a symptom. I just knew that I had difficulties concentrating in addition to scattered thoughts and moment of absolute brain fog. These issues in addition to many others lead me to look into whether or not I had thyroid troubles.

My family has a long history of hypo and hyperthyroidism. Because of this, whenever I had a doctors appointment my mom would say "have them check your thyroid levels." This is when I didn't even have a problem. I once thought my mom was a little overboard, but now that I actually am hypothyroid, I understand. She knew what it was like to have a thyroid disorder. She knew about the depression, weight gain, fatigue, dry skin, scattered mind, hair loss, funky slow heart rate, heavy periods and intolerance to cold. She knew what it was like to feel like your body has given up on you. She knew what it was like to feel like garbage all the time and have no one understand and no doctors listening. She didn't want me to go through that.

Wow! Digressing again.

Anyway, it is really hard living with a body that rebells against you. It is really hard looking in the mirror and trying your hardest not to hate yourself. Which is easy to do because one of the side effects of the little disorder you have is depression. I have to question myself literally and ask if I am really feeling the way I feel or is it my thyroid messing with my mind. Mind you I am not picturing my thyroid as some mad scientist pushing the buttons of my brain, but if your hormones are not regulated properly...oh the fun you will have! If you don't understand what I am saying, I couldn't be any happier for you. I hope that you never go through this. It is a struggle.

Sorry. Digressing again.

What I really wanted to talk about was that I finally got to see Dr. Catz, and he was able to read my blood work and my ultrasound results and decided that I am definitely not on enough thyroid medication. This was a no-brainer for me. The thrill was that it was a no-brainer for my doctor. My family doctor has been so worried about over medicating me that I never got better from my crash (thyroid crash) back in 2008. All I did was hover in a limbo of not getting any worse...that is until I did get worse.

Dr. Catz prescribed that I double my Armour thyroid dose, take Folic acid every morning and evening, take Calcitrate after breakfast and dinner, and also that I take Duozyme with meals. I am going back in three weeks (two now) and we will see if there is any improvement.

I have to say that it is amazing having a doctor listen to me and not tell me that the problems are in my head. It is such a blessing to have a doctor get it. I know that I have a battle ahead, because this is an illness that will be with me for a lifetime, but just knowing that finally someone HEARS me is so promising.

One of the issues that I have had because of my hypothryoidism is fatigue. This has kept me from blogging. That and a very vacant mind (also thanks to my hypothyroidism). I am truly hoping that my med changes will bring about the old me again. Here is a list of what has been plaguing me since mid 2008. I mention it in case you feel any of these symptoms. Also you may know someone who is hypothyroid. Maybe seeing that what they complain about is similar to what others complain about will help you understand it. I am always hoping that my husband will understand. So often I keep having to tell him that I am going through what I am going through because of my thyroid.

1 - Dry, brittle, thinning hair and hair just falling out.

2 - Dry, dry skin. Especially my heels and elbows. Specifically my left elbow which was so dry and raspy at one point I thought I had some weird little rug burn on it. This was my first oddball thyroid sign.

3 - Depression symptoms. Literally I would just bawl in private. I felt so miserable and I had no idea why which made me even more miserable.

4 - Weight gain. As if the depression wasn't making me sad enough the weight gain gave me even more to feel miserable about. And we are not talking about a little bit of weight here.

5 - Vision problems. I kept feeling my left eye drifting. No joke. I couldn't see straight. I went to an eye doctor who found nothing wrong and really only could prescribe me with reading glasses to stave off eye strain. Dr. Catz told me that this was not a surprise.

6 - Fatigue. I work from 7:45 am to 2 pm Tuesday through Friday. Before my thyroid really went bonkers, I would get out of work at 2 so I could pick up my son from school. I would use my waiting time to read books for book reviews. When my thyroid began to really fall flat on me, I was so fatigued, I would sleep in the car until my son would get out of school. Also I would fall asleep on my husband's lap at night when watching television.

7 - Thick tongue. Yes. I bite my tongue all the time now, and I have marks on my tongues sides from my teeth.

8 - Low blood pressure.

9 - Get cold when no one else is cold.

10 - Long and heavy periods. This one event always sticks with me. I literally changed a tampon in my hotel room in Vegas, took the elevator down to the main floor, and immediately I had to run to the bathroom to change again.

11 - Icky lil bumps on my arms. Kind of like blemishes.

12 - Numb brain. I feel often so scatter brained and unfocused. I feel like I have to work so much harder right now to keep a coherent thought.

13 - Dry and brittle nails. I always had beautiful nails that were long and strong. Until I became hypothyroid.

14 - This one is pretty, the skin on my calves looks dry and scaly so I have to lotion constantly and I literally baby oil after every shower. Can you imagine if I didn't?

15- Pain in my muscles.

16 - Difficulty with breathing after exercise. Seriously not typical for me.


While I am waiting for my next appointment, I am going to do some serious reading at Stop the Thyroid Madness, and see what kind of information I can glean. :) I am also going to try very hard to not hate my new self. I just hope my old self comes back soon. I miss her.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hello Handsome!



I have no idea how I got there. I was browsing blogs, giveaways, and one place would lead me to another. You know how sometimes you even click on a comment and just find your way to a really interesting blog. Well, I found Homemaker Honey who is doing this awesome Hello Handsome event. How cool is this? You can win some great prizes, but the really great thing is just the focus on loving that wonderful man of yours.

So lets talk a moment about my wonderful man.

I have been through the ringer in my life. If there was ever a person who was destined for many relationship mishaps, I was the girl. Seriously I am one of the best people to come see for relationship advice because I have dated each and ever bad boyfriend stereotype known to women, and I can recognize them all and point out any red flag someone may have missed. My knowledge was hard won. Somehow though, God managed to gently orchestrate the meeting of my absolute soul mate. God is good my friends. Even when you think that there is no hope, God has surprises for you.

He did for me.

I am not going to go into my past and the ickiness though, because this post is about the fun Hello Handsome event and my wonderful husband Scott.

Check him out. :)



This is one of the reasons I love him. He is not afraid to be silly. He isn't silly 24/7 of course, but not being afraid to be a dork is huge!




(This is a pic I took on his 40th birthday as he played with the gag gifts I bought him)



Scott is also easy to snuggle with and cuddle. YES! He is a man who likes to snuggle up on a Saturday or Sunday morning (usually Sunday because on Saturdays I am off at 6:30 am to pick up veggies from the food co-op).

He has a sweet spirit and an eye for the simple things and beautiful things in nature. Check out these pics he took.






God truly blessed me with an amazing husband. He is a very kind, sweet, and loving man. I love him with all my heart, and I will forever thank God for somehow finding me worthy of such a wonderful husband. We married four days after my 40th birthday, and he was worth every moment of wait and every struggle I had that makes me appreciate him more.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Yard Sale Buying Tips - Freebies and Rebates too

Once again I am posting my Thrifty Tips spot from my day job. I do promise to get back to posting more regularly once my thyroid gets straightened out and I am not beset with total and absolute exhaustion and malaise. In the meantime, check us out sometime at Radio Shine. Online at www.radioshine.org or in Arizona at 90.9 FM Phoenix and Quad Cities in Arizona, 101.9 FM in Wickenburg, AZ, and 90.7 FM in Flagstaff and Northern Arizona.



Two weeks ago I posted some tips for having your own yard sale or garage sale. Last week we focused on Father's day. Now I am going to refocus on yard sale tips but this time as the savvy buyer. Or semi-savvy buyer which I tend to be. I haggle minimally. Some people (like my fabulous sister-in-law) can haggle like a pro. I just don't have it in me, but I will if I feel motivated.



Okay off to the tips:


1- Plan your yard sale route. Most newspapers will have online postings and newspaper ads for yard sales, garage sales, estate sales and church rummage sales. Look them up and decide where you want to go. If you do this online you can map things out fairly simply with mapquest.



2- Start early. This is pretty obvious, but the fact is the really cool stuff gets snatched up. Of course if saving the most money is your goal, starting late works too. You can get a lot of great deals at the end of the day when a seller is not interested in packing there stuff up. Ages ago I read "Saving Money Any Way You Can" by Mike Yorkey, and one of the things that stuck with me was this woman Mike knew who purchased things for their church. She had like a free shop for people. She would go to yard sales at the end of the day and offer them a flat amount for everything they had left. If you do this, be sure you have the transportation to pull it off and some containers to do some sorting.



3- Shop with smaller bills. If you are planning on purchasing some high priced item, by all means carry the bills you think will be necessary, but do be sure to have plenty of denominations below $20 and some change too. This is simply a point of being considerate.



4- Carry a list of your family's clothing sizes and shoe sizes. You never know what you are going to find.



5- If you are looking for certain movies or books bring a list of those items. I can't tell you how many times I had stumbled on an amazing pile of books with some of my favorite authors and new authors I had recently discovered and I was a bit unsure of what I had and what I wanted.



6- If someone is having a bag sale (where you purchase a bag and fill it up), roll the clothes to get the most room. They also wrinkle less this way.


7- If you are hitting yard sales for a specific need, write that need down and the price range you are willing to go. This way you are ready if you come across the item you want. When I moved into my first apartments, I needed everything. I purchased everything too through yard sales and thrift stores.
When you arrive at a sale and don't see what you are looking for be sure to ask.


8- When shopping for baby. Do not purchase car seats, cribs, bouncy swings...etc. The fact is so many things have been recalled that it is just wise to go new for those items. Do buy clothing and toys, but keep in mind choking hazards. Most of my son's clothes were purchased through yard sales and thrift stores because baby's frankly don't have the time in the clothing to ruin them. I also would resell his clothes at yard sales, thrift stores and consignment stores. Always use your judgment.



9- Keep some bags on hand for your finds. Some sellers will have bags and some will not.



10- If you aren't sure if you want an item, walk around with it while you shop. You don't want to set it down and have someone else pick it up just when you decide you do want it.


11- BE POLITE AND CONSIDERATE - This is one of the reasons I mention bringing smaller bills. Also watch how you park your car. Don't block a neighbor's driveway. Look both ways before bolting across the street. Don't cross in someone's lawn to get to a person's yard sale. Be polite to the other shoppers. My being polite helped me score a color television over a rude shopper which I sold eight years later for the same price I paid.

Also by being polite, don't get cranky if someone doesn't want your haggled down price. Some people have a set price and that is it. The year I was moving cross country, I had a yard sale in which I sold comic books at 25 cents each. A man tried to get me to sell my boxes (250 per box-no joke I was a collector at the time) for $5 each. Basically about two cents a comic. He yelled at me when I politely told him my price. He proceeded to yell that he was a comic book dealer and he knew prices. I informed him that I was a collector and I too was well aware of the prices and had no intention of going any lower than I already had. I had been to far too many comic book shows and knew for myself what those comics could sell for at any show and that any dealer would charge at least double my 25 cents and more likely prices of up to $1.00 for most of my inventory (yes I was a comic geek).

His rudeness eventually got him removed from my yard by another shopper who was highly irritated at this man's actions.



11- Carry tools with you like a measuring tape, screw driver, tape, rope and pliers. You never know when you are going to need to take an item apart, tie it down, or measure it to see if it will fit.



12- If you don't need it, do not buy it. This goes for yard sales and any kind of shopping. A great deal isn't a great deal if you don't need the item.



13- If you are looking for collectibles. Study up on what you are looking for. You can get some great deals that way.



Now onto something cool. It has been my dream for probably the past ten years now to go to the World's Longest Yard Sale which is also known as the 127. This sale is a four day yard sale extravaganza that had its humble beginnings in 1987 as a way to bring people to the less traveled highways of Tennessee and Kentucky. This year's sale is to extend from Hudson, Michigan to Gadson, Alabama and runs August 5th to August 8th. Check out the map of the sale below:



For more information about the 127 Corridor Sale follow the link below:


LINK: 127 Corridor World's Longest Yard Sale or 12 Corridor World's Longest Yard Sale (2)



FREE SAMPLES



While supplies last you can get a free sample of
Biore Steam Activated Cleanser or Makeup Removing Towelettes. They take 8 to 10 weeks to arrive.


LINK: Biore Samples


If you are a dad, John MacArthur and Grace to You have a hard cover copy of "The Quest For Character." This very generous offer for dads expires on June 27th.


LINK: Grace to You - The Quest For Character


Walmart has another sample of
Starbucks VIA. If you find yourself to occasionally desire a little coffee but don't want to make a full pot, this is a great way to go. Follow the link below:


LINK:
Starbucks VIA


Free Samples of Gas X Thin Strips. Beat the tummy grumbles with Gas X. Give it a try at the link below:



LINK:
Gas X Thin Strips Sample


From IKEA Wednesday June 23 to Monday, July 5 Kids Eat Free. Here are the details from the website:


Wednesday, June 23, 2010 tp Monday, July 5, 2010
Kids Eat FREE!
Fill up their tummies with a free meal 11am until closing!

Valid Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - Monday, July 5, 2010. No adult purchase necessary. Choose any three kid-sized items to create a meal, including five meatballs, mac and cheese, PB&J sandwich, kid's yogurt, two cookies, chocolate milk, and more! Kids under 12 only. A $2.49 value.
Always check with your local store first. This is from the Tempe IKEA.




REBATES



Buy $50 worth of Olay facial care productss including their cleansers, moisturizers and specialty treatments and get a $20 rebate. This is definitely worth the time if you like Olay products. The products must be purchased by June 30th and postmarked by July 16th.



Rebate link:
Olay $20 Rebate


Get a $5 rebate from Clorox if you buy the
Clorox Toilet Wand System. Expires 2/1/11.


Rebate Link:
$5 Clorox Toilet Wand


While supplies last mail your receipt from the purchase of Cover Girl Lash Blast and get a free Elle Mirror (very cute). Again this is while supplies last. Follow the link for directions.



LINK:
Free Elle Mirror with CoverGirl Last Blast Receipt


Get a free reusable grocery bag mailed to you from Jolly Time popcorn when you send in 3 UPCs while supplies last. Get details on the website at the link below. I totally recommend picking this up. I got a great one a while back from Sunsweet, and these bags are amazing. They hold way more than your typical grocery store reusable bag.



LINK:
Free Jolly Time reusable grocery bag with 3 UPCs


Send receipt with purchase price circled and UPC from Just for Men - Touch of Gray and get $9.50 back. Know someone who'd like to try this out? This is a great way to give it a shot.



LINK:
Just for Men $9.50 rebate


Get a $15 rebate when you buy any Neutrogena Clinical. Neutrogena has long been known for their excellent skin care. Try their new Clinical Treatments and get $15 back. Purchase needs to be made by August 31, 2010 and postmarked by September 14, 2010. Follow all the directions on the form.



LINK:
$15 rebate on Neutrogena Clinical


Schick Hydro
will give you up to a $10.99 rebate just for trying Schick Hydro. Mail the original sales receipt, UPC, and rebate form (not valid on purchases from Sam's Club or BJ's Wholesale Club). Always follow the directions to get your rebate. Receipts need to be dated between 6/14/2010 and 8/18/2010.



LINK:
Up to a $10.99 rebate for trying Schick Hydro


Get $5 back by mail when you purchase any three SC Johnson Products. Products listed here:



Ziploc

Glade

Windex

Scrubbing
Bubbles

Pledge

Shout

Fanastik

Draino

Raid

Off

Saran

Nature's Source

Must be postmarked by 7/15/2010 and received by 7/30/2010. Follow the link below for the rebate form and all the details. Remember follow all the directions.



LINK:
SC Johnson Rebate download


Buy $25 worth of Aveeno products in a single purchase (yes SINGLE purchase - very important to remember in other words can be more than one item but only one receipt), send in certificate, receipts with items and purchase prices, write in UPC codes on the space provided on the form, and send it in. The items must be purchased between 6/14/2010 and 7/18/2010. Follow the directions to the letter.



LINK:
$10 Rebate from AVEENO for $25 in AVEENO products purchase.


The word at
A Full Cup is that there is a Snapple rebate pull off at several grocery stores that gives you a full rebate up to $6.99 for the purchase price of a Snapple 6 pack. I haven't seen it yet, but I thought I would give you the heads up. This would be a tear off thing. One per household so just take one if you find it. :)


Don't forget to check out the newest coupons from Cellfire that you can download directly to your store's loyalty cards. Follow the link below.



LINK:
Cellfire

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Posting From My Day Job - Thrifty Tips - Father's Day

Yep...another post from my Thrifty Tips spot at my day job. As always I invite you to check us out some time on www.radioshine.org or if you are in Arizona at 90.9 FM in Phoenix and the quad cities of Arizona, 101.9 FM in Wickenburg, AZ and 90.7 FM in Northern Arizona. Apparently we have sunspot issues and have been heard in Kansas on occasion too. :) Usually our out of state listeners listen on www.radioshine.org. OH! I also want to recommend joining Club RadioActive if you like Christian music. We do two music surveys a month and draw three winners and send them free music. Follow this link to sign up: Radio Shine's Club RadioActive




Last week I talked about having a garage sale or yard sale and gave some tips I learned from watching my mom and grandma through the years and participating in some of my own.

One thing I forgot to add was what to do with the stuff you have left after a yard sale. Most of the time, my mom and grandma would keep the item for the next sale. So this could be choice number 1, but some areas have a limit to how many yard sales you can have. When we were moving, it became necessary to sell what we could and get rid of what we couldn't. Here are ways you can do this:

1 - Donate what you don't sell. There are many places you can donate to. There are two nice things about donating. You are blessing an organization who will use the funds to help others, and you can get a receipt for tax season.


2 - Post what you have on Freecycle.org. This is what we did when we had our final moving sale. We boxed everything we had left and posted on Freecycle that we just had a yard sale and everything we had left over was boxed up. We invited people to come take the boxes with the stipulation that they did not go through the boxes. This is because we were renting and we wanted the boxes taken away. Within two hours everything we had left was gone. Next week I'll talk about shopping the sales. :)

3 - You can always supervise a free time by posting a free sale sign when you are done. I find the Freecycle posting works the best though. You get to set the parameters (like insisting they take a box and not go through everything) and anyone who comes will follow your lead.





FREEBIES



I have a website that you are totally going to want to check out. It is Kraft First Taste. Kraft First Taste gives its members the opportunity to try new products, share your opinions, and get connected and in the know with other members. I had joined a while back and when I logged in a few weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised to find out I qualified to try several products.

Through the mail I received a coupon for:
One free Kraft 100 Calorie Cheese Bites
One free Kool-Aide Fun Fizz Drink Drops
One free DiGiorno Deep Dish Pizza
One free package of Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh Shaved Meats
One free package of New Kraft Homestyle Deluxe Macaroni & Cheese Dinner (I just saw a commercial for this new product and it looks more like homemade baked mac n cheese)
One free package of Ritz Crackerfuls.

I added up the retail value on the coupon and it adds up to $21.06. And all they ask members to do is try the products and come back with their opinion. :) Follow the link to sign up.


LINK:
Kraftfirsttaste.com

Walmart has a great bodycology free sample right now. They have great fragrances and right now you can get a sample of Cherry Blossom or Cucumber Mellon. Follow the link.


LINK:
bodycology free sample

In fact, Walmart again has some amazing samples in several categories. Follow the link to take advantage of them all.


LINK: More Walmart samples

If you are looking for a fun activity for the kids, check out this month's and next month's Lowe's Build and Grow Clinics. Follow the link below and decide between the Monster Truck clinic on 6/26 from 10am to 11am or the ball and cup game on 7/10 also from 10am to 11am! Actually you can go for both. :) Follow the link to see what these finished products look like and sign up.


LINK: Lowe's Build and Grow Clinic

While available, you can register for the Kellogg's All Bran Promise Pack. Get them while they last by following the link below.

LINK: Kellogg's All Bran Promise Pack

Friday June 18th is National Flip Flop Day and you get a treat if you are one of the first 500 in the Tropical Smoothie Cafe in flip flops. If you do don some flip floppage, you will get yourself a FREE Jetty Punch Smoothie! There aren't a plethora of Tropical Smoothie Cafes in Arizona but there are three in Mesa. Follow the link below for information.


LINK:
Flip Flop Day at Tropical Smoothie Cafe

I have no idea how much you are going to get, but Bull's-Eye has some new regional barbecue sauces, and while supplies last, you can get your hands on two samples. Follow the link below to get yours.


LINK:
Bull's-Eye Regional Barbecue Sauce Sample

Costco has a free sample of Dove Damage Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner. You do not need to be a member, but it is one per household so if you signed up before for the member only promo that counts.

LINK: Dove Damage Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner Sample

I have mentioned before how you can get some pretty nice freeebies via Facebook. There is a really awesome one going on right now for Clairol Natural Instincts Hair Color. They are giving away a free hair color to the first 1000 facebook fans to sign up at noon EST on the 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th and 21st. Check out the details at their facebook page.

LINK:
Clairol Natural Instincts Hair Color

Parents don't pass up this free sample of Pampers Extra Protection. The samples come in size 4 or 5 and are up for grabs while supplies last or until June 30 whichever comes first.


LINK: Pampers Extra Protection

Free CCM free download this week is Vicky Beeching "Blessing and Honor." They also still have free downloads of songs by Carlos Whitaker, Addison Road, Jonny Diaz, and 33Miles. Sign up while they are still available at the link below.

LINK: FREECCM Downloads


CRAFTS FOR DAD AND THE FOURTH


Father's day is this Sunday, and Michaels has some pretty great activities for the kids that can help them create something pretty special for dad. And below those activities links, I have also included a few more activities that I found online.

Michaels

Children ages 6 to 12 can make dad a Duck Tape wallet while supplies last. This is today's activity (that is 6/17) so don't wait too long. The time is listed as 6 to 8pm, but I would check with your local Michaels.

LINK: The Knack craft for dads Duck Tape wallet

June 18th at 6pm children 2 and up can enjoy a make it and take it activity for dad by jazzing up a t-shirt. This activity requires a t-shirt purchase. Again this activity is listed as 6 to 8pm.

LINK: Make it and take it T-shirt for dad

On June 19th kids 3 and up are welcome to come and make a Father's Day card from 10am to 2pm while supplies last. Get there early!

LINK: Father's Day Card

On June 26th bring the kids in to make some patriotic projects before the 4th of July! This event is from 10am to 2 pm while supplies last.


LINK: Patriotic Projects

Family Fun has a whole page full of great ideas for showing dad how special he is. Follow the link and learn how to make some great gifts for dad. One of my favorites is a sunglasses sling you make out of one of dad's old ties. Mind you they suggest purchasing him a nice new one too. :)

LINK: Family Fun Father's Day


The Holiday Spot has a great selection of Father's Day activities, crafts, recipes to celebrate dad's special day and a history on how Father's Day got started check them out for some great tips.


LINK: The Holiday Spot Father's Day



You might also like to check out the Idea Box for some more ideas. There are lots out there. I don't know about you, but my dad always liked things that were handmade. You can't lose with the ideas at any of these sites. Plus the idea box has a great pancake recipe to get the day started just right.


LINK: The Idea Box Father's Day

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Posting from My Day Job - Thrifty Tips - Yard Sales & Freebies


Now is the time of the year to start saving money with yard sales. Actually yard sales go on a lot all year round, but summer really is THE season. When I lived in Rhode Island, my family had yard sales about once a month. It was the way my mom and grandma came up with extra cash. Here are some tips I learned from them for doing a yard sale.

Make a bank -- Have change on hand. Do not assume that all the people who go to your yard sale will have small bills. My mom and grandma actually had a seasonal thing with yard sales so they set aside a bank for the entire season. Typically they would start off with about $150 in $10s, $5s, $1s, and plenty of change. After the sale, they would first count the bank money out, and their profit would be what was left. I highly recommend a bank, because truly it is much better to have the change on hand for those people with larger bills. I can't tell you how many times someone would come up with a $20 to buy a $1 book. And speaking of that bank. My mom and grandma always held the cash in a fanny pack. You can pick these up cheap at just about any thrift store. It was a lot easier to have the money on them rather than some cash box that could be snatched. Lastly...don't accept checks. It is really not a good idea.

Plan your sale -- Do not just wake up one day and decide to have a sale. Give yourself a few weeks in order to plan what you want to sell and why you want to sell it. Are you trying to make money? Are you trying to declutter? A few weeks of planning can really make the difference in the success of your yard sale. You also can use this time to figure out how you will advertise your sale.

Know your prices -- It is perfectly fine to do some dickering over prices, but you should have a pretty good idea of what you want to charge for the things you are selling. It isn't like someone else is picking the items out of your home for the sale. You are the one doing it. So figure it out while you are setting the items aside for sale. If you are really not sure how much you should charge for an item. Go to some yard sales before you have yours and see what other people are charging. Ticket your items. We wouldn't ticket things like books. We usually had a set price for hardcovers and another for soft and would have that posted.

Have a power supply handy -- We often sold items like radios and televisions at our yard sales. We made sure to have a power supply so people could test out what we were selling. The last thing you want is to leave your sale area to bring a stranger into your home to see if a toaster works.

Do not be intimidated -- Set your ground rules. If you do not want early birds, don't allow it. If you have a certain level you will drop your price to and you don't want to go lower, don't (remember to look around at other sales and see what kinds of prices similar items are going for). We were pretty rigid with our prices until later in the day. That was when we were more likely to haggle. I was a little harder edged than my mom and grandma. I truly had no interest in haggling with a woman holding a coach wallet, but at the same token, I was a complete pushover for a dad buying some Barbies and clothes for his little girls. Choose your battles. :)

Know when to sell -- My grandma and mom would usually hold their yard sales on Saturdays or Sundays. I don't quite understand the yard sales on weekdays. I know I see it a lot out here, but to me it always seemed more the early bird approach where you are quite likely to be hit by dealers rather than people looking for a deal. My family also avoided yard sales on holidays, but now with more and more people not traveling far, you may want to try it

Combine sales with neighbors -- If at all possible, work with your neighborhood and have a neighborhood sale. There was a neighborhood in my town in Rhode Island that would do one neighborhood sale for a weekend in the summer. It was great because you could park your car and just walk all over the neighborhood from sale to sale. It also kept the neighborhood yard sale traffic down throughout the rest of the year. Another cool thing was a lot of the children had cookie and lemonade sales during the weekend. Let me tell you, they did well!

Display -- Never underestimate the power of displaying your items nicely. First, keep things clean. Do not sell items that are so dingy no one would even want to touch them. Think about what makes you want to look and what makes you not want to look. My mom hung clothes off a portable clothing rack and on our fence. Other items she put on tables. She always had a box of clothing people could go through as well, but the nice stuff was displayed and displayed well. Also think about what appeals to men, women, children and teens and set up areas accordingly. Also display eye-catching items where people can see them when they drive by. My mom always made a point of putting large exercise equipment and yard tools like weed whackers up front to draw in the men who might not be as willing to browse as their female companions were.

What sells -- To save aggravation, it is a good idea to get an idea of what sells. I found a pretty awesome list at thefuntimesguide.com Guide to Household Tips. Follow the link below for a great list of what sells and to whom. :)

LINK: What Are The Hottest Yard Sale Items?



FREEBIES:

This is sooooo cool. The American Museum of Natural History and NASA have an awesome freebie for educators. It is the DVD "Journey to the Stars." Here are details from the site:


"Educators and parents: Are you ready to take a Journey to the Stars? The American Museum of Natural History and NASA have joined forces to produce a planetarium show about the amazing variety of stars that dot our cosmos--exploding stars, giant stars, dwarf stars, neutron stars, even our own star! But you don't have to go to a planetarium to experience this mind-blowing journey. NASA will send you a DVD, and Educators Guide for free!"

When my son was younger, we got some amazing weather maps from NASA. I guarantee you are going to want to alert any educators you know. Follow the link below:

LINK: Journey to the Stars

Humana is offering a free "Retirement for Dummies" or "Well-Being for Dummies" when you register with Humana.

LINK: Humana free book offer

Follow the link below for five freebies from Walmart.

LINK: Walmart Free Samples


Earlier last weekend I posted a free sample for Starbucks VIA. If you haven't picked that up yet, here is the link: Starbucks VIA (mind you they could be all gone) Now if you are a Costco member, I have another opportunity for you to get a sample of Starbucks VIA. Follow the link below, but remember you do need a membership number for this one.

LINK: Starbucks VIA sample for Costco members

Free CCM has a free song download for "Jesus Saves" this week from Carlos Whittaker as well as still having free song downloads from Addison Road, Jonny Diaz, 33Miles, and Mike Farris. Don't wait for these to disappear. Follow the link.

LINK: Free CCM Song Downloads

More music? If you enjoy country music or would like to give a country music CD to a friend check this out. If you write a letter to a soldier and take it to your local Ram truck dealer, you can get a free CD "Breaking Southern Ground" which features the Zac Brown Band, Sonia Leigh, Nic Cowan and Levi Lowrey.
They are looking to get 1 million letters written to soldiers. Details and a way to find a dealership near you are available by following the link below. Also there is a free song download on their site from the Zac Brown Band. If you download a song directly from the site, Ram truck dealers will make a donation to Soldiers Angels with EVERY DOWNLOAD!

LINK: Letters for Lyrics


FREE NATIONAL PARK ENTRY IN AUGUST!

National Parks are offering a few more free days this year. For this summer, take advantage of free entry on August 14 and 15. Other free days include September 25 (Public Lands Day) and November 11 (Veteran's Day). Follow the link for participating parks state by state: Free National Park Entry

Check out the National Parks page for events that will be held all summer. Most events are free though there is a charge for entry to the parks. This link takes you to Arizona National Park Events: Arizona National Park Events

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

When the Day of Evil Comes - By Melanie Wells - Book Review





If you took a gander at yesterday's post, you would have gathered that I was reading and enjoying Melanie Well's novel "When the Day of Evil Comes."

I absolutely devoured this book, and I have thought about how I would like to review it. I have decided to go for the hands on keyboard and eyes away from the screen method. You aren't going to get a lot of literary jargon if indeed I could do that. The main reason for that is, my husband will certainly interrupt me. That is what he does when I am writing. It is a wonderful little inner clock thing that just goes off in him. This means I really cannot keep a fluid thought if I am looking at the screen. Well...it works for me. What I want to share is how much I enjoyed this book. Like I said yesterday, I enjoyed it so much I took it with me to the cafe on Saturday. I squeezed in reading while my husband took his contacts out before bed. Basically, if I could read When the Day of Evil Comes even for a moment, I did it.

The story introduces us to Dr. Dylan Foster who is a psychology professor at SMU. Dr. Foster sounds like the kind of woman I would have aspired to be when I was growing up. She is strong, well educated, beautiful, and has direction. Dylan's main flaw might be that she is a bit disconnected from those around her. She seems to have few close ties. Life may be slightly predictable and a bit boring for Dylan, but that changes rather quickly after an afternoon picnic with her colleagues at a lake.

From a meeting with a strange and rather creepy individual, Dylan finds herself on a path to possible personal destruction. Her usually ordered life is slowly coming unraveled with her professional ethics being questioned and her very career being put in jeopardy. Worse still she seems to be under some sort of spiritual attack, and that is far more difficult to get ahead of when you are accustomed to an orderly life where the rules are usually followed and most things are easily explained.

This story had plenty of edge and mystery to keep me reading. It contained characters that were entirely realistic and believable. This is a book that kept me actively engaged from the very first chapter. Seriously, I did not want to put this down. There were some questions in the story that kind of left things up to the reader, but that could be so you can find out more in the other books in the series.

Melanie Wells took me on a very interesting ride that I enjoyed thoroughly. I look forward to reading the second book "Soul Hunter" this week, and if it is anything like the first, I will be devouring "My Soul To Keep" the week after. Good thing I have a doctor's appointment coming up. I will definitely have waiting room time.

To learn more about Melanie Wells (one of my new faves), head on over to her website here: Melanie Wells

Monday, June 7, 2010

NOW READING!!!! Melanie Wells - When the Day of Evil Comes


This book was so good, I couldn't leave it home when my husband and I went to the Raven Cafe in Prescott. I can't even believe I have stopped reading long enough to tell you how much I am enjoying it. Well, I can believe it, because I had to work today (boo, hiss, blech) so I had to put it down for that anyway. By the way, the boo hiss part about work is partly in jest. I do love my job. I just love my Monday's off more. Got to pay the bills.


I have wanted to read this series for a while, but I have been waiting until I could get all three books in the series (if I know a book is a part of a series, I just want them all). I started When the Day of Evil Comes by Melanie Wells on Saturday night, and I LOVE IT! I am just a few chapters away, and I have got to say that you MUST come back because I will be reviewing it tomorrow.




PSSSST...the link above is an Amazon Associates link which means if you feel absolutely like you MUST READ THIS BOOK NOW! or...oh well, as soon as it is shipped to you, you can go to Amazon via that link and they will give me some sort of compensation. Actually I don't know what they'll give me. I fly on faith with it. ;) So like I was saying...come back tomorrow for a review.

Rachel playing with a string of yarn

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Kittens!!!!

Photobucket



Kittens have invaded our home! Not really invaded. They are invited guests. For the longest time I have wanted to expand our little pet family and adopt some kittens. It is now kitten season. At least I think it is since I always see a bunch of kittens this time of year. Last weekend, my husband and I went to the mall where the humane society has a cat adoption center. I saw a sign at the center asking for people to become foster parents of kittens. THAT was right up my alley. I got a business card, called the center on Tuesday (since it was a holiday weekend), and on Thursday I took home four adorable little kittens: Phoebe, Ursula, Monica and Rachel (we didn't name them, I think the shelter does that to personalize them for the docs or maybe to make them more appealing and adoptable).

The main idea of fostering for the humane society is to give the kittens a home and a place to grow until they are adoptable. Sometimes they need medication. Of my litter of four, one needs to take medication twice a day. The important thing is to keep them safe and loved. I have made it my mission to show them plenty of love so when it is time for them to go up for adoption, they will be irresistible to potential new parents. :)

Our family's pros:

1 -- Kittens are just plain cute. Seriously, they are snuggly, fun to watch (great for the blood pressure), and they just want to be loved.

2-- It gives us an opportunity to see how our older cats will behave with kittens. This is a great step for us, because if we will know if adopting kittens will disrupt our adult cats too much. If it is too traumatic for the older cats, we do not want to move forward with adding any more cats permanently into the family.

3-- It adds a new measure of responsibility for my son.

4-- Our shelter provides the food and other things you need so you don't have to have a financial strain.

5-- At least in our case, the kittens are box trained. Nice pro! One important thing when training is to remember to remove poo as soon as it is left behind and give them lots of praise when they use the box. Cleaning the box ASAP apparently makes them more interested in going there.

Our family's cons:

1-- Eventually we will have to give them up, but we can also then get a new litter to love.

2-- We have to keep one room closed off for about a week and a half. This is not really a major con. One of the important parts of being a kitten foster is to keep the kittens away from your other cats if you have them. We have a play room that is now kitten central. This room is kept closed for now to keep our cats from getting any infections. Chances are good that the kittens do not have anything, but you need to give them separate space just in case. After about a week and a half, any issues will appear. This also means we wont find out immediately if our older cats can handle having kittens, but it also means they aren't being disturbed either.

I'll be posting some of our kitten pics later so you can see how cute they are. :)

If you are interested in this opportunity, check with your local shelters. If they are like ours, they will be thrilled to have the help!