Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's ALIVE.....

Or, I'm alive, as it were. In the words of Bob Wiley:


It seems I may have over committed a bit this fall. Except that I have every intention to continue with everything I signed up for until May. Awesome.

Speaking of alive... My heart is actually pumping at a decent clip for the first time in weeks. I fell off the running wagon, and didn't have the gumption to chase after it and climb back on. Not that I would have time to run anyway, but if they decide to ditch daylight savings in exchange for adding three hours to our day, I might just be able to wedge it in somewhere.

Looks like the winter exercise regime will consist of turbo worship with Chloe. David Crowder is the sound track. There's lots of jumping and clapping, and well - the baptists would just have a fit. I may be in the market for a bladder lift or whatever they do for you when jumping and sneezing is problematic. Thank you, Eve.

So. Between not running, working, prayer ministry class, Bible study, MOPS, and the 17 other things I've volunteered to participate in (and bring baked goods to), the bloggy blog is probably going to be parked on the back burner. Sad but true.

Hopefully, I'll at least be around occasionally. Gotta vent the funny somewhere.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Busy As a Bee

I have so much going on. All good stuff, but it still leaves me feeling like there isn't time for extra things.

Like blogging.

That makes me sad.

Be back when I get a free minute.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fruit of Righteousness

I've been reading through my prayer journal and two days in a row I've been struck by a passage of scripture I felt God wanted me to focus on for this year. Philippians (one of my favorite books, by the way...) 1:9-11 says ~

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

What stands out to me in this passage is what results from the abounding love. We are filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ. We don't produce the fruit ourselves. We are filled with it. It's not our efforts, but what Christ can do. It's always about Jesus, and never about ourselves. How different would your life be, if you lived according to that? Mine would be unrecognizable. Here's hoping no one knows who the heck I am, sooner than later.

Friday, September 10, 2010

One Hand, Two Hands By Max Lucado, Illustrated By Gaby Hansen

One Hand, Two Hands by Max Lucado is a precious children's story about how we can help others with our hands. It is illustrated by Gaby Hansen and she has added so much to the story through her whimsically detailed pages! Each page has beautiful, colorful pictures that would capture the attention of any child. This book is a delightful bedtime story, just perfect for very young children who are in the process of learning about how to use their hands. The message of using our hands as a blessing to our family and friends will be well received by families of all kinds.

My two year old daughter and I loved it. It is perfectly age appropriate for her and ties in quite well with what we have been learning and doing around our home. She connected well with the lesson of the book and I would recommend it to anyone with small children. This one is a keeper! It will be on our book shelf for years to come!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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.”

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Legitimate Work From Home Jobs

They're out there, yo. You just gotta find 'em.

I knew they were out there. I knew of a couple different people who had them. I just wasn't sure how to find them. The internet... Well, the internet is a peach - but there are many a rotten spot. Have you ever googled work from home? Yeah... Don't bother. Scammy McScamster is busy as a bee flooding the internet with stuff where you pay him to work from home. Hi. I need money - I'm not going to pay you money. Duh.

So I was lamenting on facebook one day about wanting a work from home job. One of my childhood best friend's dad pointed me here. And I was shocked at the number of options. Most of them don't work for me at the moment, but it was very encouraging to see that the opportunities are there. The whole "quiet work environment" is sort of a deal breaker for me... Pesky two year old. ;)

I had decided that I really wanted to get serious about blogging, but well - that is a big time investment with no compensation... I'm willing to invest, but mama needs a new pair of shoes today! Interestingly enough, it was in my research for blogging that I came across this website. He is quite the smarty pants where blogging is concerned, and I saw he had a link to work from home opportunities. CLICK! And that is where I found this company.

(PS - While I was trying to find all the links, I came across this article, too. Very helpful.)

I have been hesitant to say a lot for numerous reasons. The biggest being that they have a confidentiality policy and I can't remember what all I promised I wouldn't share... :/ Oops. So - I will direct most questions to their website.

I will say this. The test? Was HARD. It's not for sissies. Not that I'm calling ya'll sissies, but if the shoes fits, don't waste your time. I have easily invested 30 hours into studying and taking the test. That doesn't include time spent updating my resume, which I did for the sole purpose of applying for this job. I kind of had all my eggs in this basket. And you can only take it once. If you fail, well - so long sucker. No pressure or anything...

I had been praying for a specific type of opportunity. I had been praying specifically for the what the when and the how. It is very apparent to me that this is the answer to more than 8 months worth of prayer. Isn't God awesome?

And let me just say - if I've ever been patient where waiting on God is concerned, it has been here. Not because I've got it all together and have unwavering faith, either. Because I didn't want a stinkin' job.

As only God can do, He has slowly changed my heart in this area. At the end of last year, I began thinking that it might be time to start trying to find something. I didn't want to do this, and I refused to do that, and it had better not entail X, Y or Z... But as long as it fit nicely into the box I had dreamed up, - Sure! I'd get a job. Over the course of the next several months, that changed into a desire to do whatever it takes, as long as I was certain it was from God. It's cool how it took that journey, with a long stop in Surrenderville, to get me to the place where I am now. With a job that fits the exact specifications I originally had, even though I had finally opened my mind to whatever God wanted for me. Kinda reminds me of this. Oh when, when will I learn?

It is my prayer that one day (soon would be awesome) when God says, "Do you trust me?" I have an affirmative answer spouting off my lips before He even gets the whole question out. Not there yet. ;)

So, back to the job. This is the job description. If you have mostly no idea what they're talking about, then you are just like I was when I first read it. 30 hours later, I'm confident that I can do it. Well, confident might not be the most accurate word, but I will get there. Did I mention that the test was HARD? My Word. I think it might be their intention to weed out the riff raff with the long and arduous application process. I'm sure it works.

Here's why it appealed to me:

There are no set times I'll have to work. I will be able to work late nights, very early mornings, or days when Frank is here and can take care of Chloe.

The pay. I know that ya'll want to know how much. That I know I'm not supposed to share, so I'll just say this. In my opinion, it will be worth the efforts I've put forth. I am confident that I could not find a flexible part time position around these depressed parts for anywhere near the coin they are going to pay me. If you decide to apply, that information is given to you before you have to give birth. And by that I mean take that crazy test. :)

A few more things... This company is looking for highly educated people. I also think my past (non-teaching) experience really impressed them. Specifically, the year I spent as a Business Systems Analyst. (Oh, to have that pay check again.) If this particular company doesn't work for you, do some serious searching and you just might find the perfect work from home opportunity!

There you go. That's what I've been up to. Happy? ;)

WFMW - Freezing Garbage

Ever come home and think - Wow, there is a rotting carcass in my house. Awesome. -? Well, the real question is - what on earth is in the garbage? Meat wrappers (especially chicken, yuck) make for some very stinky garbage.

Here's what works for me. When I make chicken or anything else that might be especially stinky, I put the waste into a plastic grocery bag and pop it in the freezer. On garbage day (when I remember), I put it in the trash. No more stinky garbage!

Now, I should clarify. I have two deep freezers along with the one attached to the fridge. I can imagine that some people might not have lots of room, but if you do - give it a try!

For more great tips, check out Works For Me Wednesday at We Are That Family.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Boy Who Changed The World By Andy Andrews Illustrated By Philip Hurst

The Boy Who Changed The World, by Andy Andrews is a book meant to teach children that the choices that they make have a greater impact than they realize. It is a full sized story book with beautiful illustrations by Philip Hurst. The book tells the stories of multiple historical characters and how their lives changed the world. It is very interesting to see how their lives are intertwined and how their interactions effected our world and how we live our lives. This would be a great resource to use in an educational setting. It is meant for older children, as there is a considerable amount of text on most pages.

This is a book that I would recommend. I would have liked to see the message of God and His purpose for our lives a more central theme in the book, but am thankful that it was at least mentioned. It is still a good jumping off point for that conversation. Probably my favorite part of the book would be the illustrations. They are fantastic! Vibrant and interesting, life-like and realistic. The story is engaging and leaves you thinking what the author intended, - "wow, what I do does matter." This book will be well received by a wide range of young readers, and whoever is reading it to them will likely enjoy it as well.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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.”

The Butterfly Effect By Andy Andrews

The Butterfly Effect by Andy Andrews is a gift book that uses the Law of Sensitive Dependence Upon Initial Conditions, which is a scientific principle of cause and effect, to inspire people to greater lives. He states, "Every single thing you do matters. You have been created as one of a kind. You have been created in order to make a difference. You have within you the power to change the world." Mr. Andrews uses true stories from our country's history to prove the point that everything you do can effect the world for years to come.

I found it odd that God was never mentioned in the book. I like the concept of the book, and agree that our choices matter and that we were created for a purpose, but there's more to the story than just that. We were created by God, for God for the purpose of worshiping Him and advancing His Kingdom to the glory of His name. Coming from a christian publisher, I would have expected that to be the punch line and it wasn't. I found that rather disappointing. That aside, I did find the facts and the way the history was told in story form quite engaging. I think history buffs and someone in the military might appreciate this gift book, but I wouldn’t use it as a ministry tool. I don’t think that it would influence an unbeliever in any way.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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.”

Friday, September 3, 2010

Motivation - Time = Frustration

Yikes. Math.

I'm going through one of those hyper creative phases where I'm texting myself messages in the dark so I don't forget all my great laying-there-trying-to-sleep blog post ideas. If only I had time to put them all on paper. As soon, as things calm down you're going to have lots of reading to do...

But until then, I'm studying like a football player who runs the risk of riding the bench while his teammates play in the state championship game. Which stinks. But if it pays off, it will be totally worth it.

I'll let you know how it turns out. Feel free to pray for me.

And in the meantime, if you need a belly laugh that makes you cry, watch this video. Thank you, Boomama for posting it. If laughing extends your life, I will plan on living until I'm 114.

Just know that if I don't pass this exam (which thankfully is in English, muchas gracias) I will be spitting mad, too.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


I mentioned here how I'm currently starting my day. Within the first couple of days of starting my day with this prayer, I began to feel a fog lift and it was almost as if I was able to perceive things I had been completely oblivious to before, or maybe I was just ignoring them. Either way, it has been interesting coming off of 'auto pilot'.

One morning after my extra long prayer and devotional time (what I usually refer to as my 'quiet time'), I went for a run. A two mile run. Up hill. Both ways. My road thinks that the laws of physics are just suggestions.

As I was running, with Shane and Shane blaring in my headphones, I heard something in the grassy, leafy ditch next to me. I'm hoping it was a chipmunk, because if it was a snake, it was a BIG one. I found it interesting that, despite the fact that I was focused on something else (getting up the hill while remaining alive), and even playing loud music in my ears, I could still hear and sense what was going on next to me.

It was sort of a revelation to me. There is stuff going on that is normally very easy to ignore. Until we begin to focus in on the unseen, we live haphazardly, not claiming the authority that has been given to us through Christ and the work He has done for us.

Many of the things referenced in the morning prayer that I have been using are things that I know about. I believe all of it is available to me and that there is a supernatural power that is mine for the taking. But how many years have I been running along, not taking hold of it? How much have I missed because I've allowed distractions or worse - laziness - to keep me from the fullness of what Christ has for me.

Take the armor of God. Ephesians 6. I know about the armor of God. Why I don't think about it everyday and pray that I would be clothed in it is beyond me.

Back to the fog that has been lifted. I think when we begin to focus on the unseen things or at least acknowledge that they are there, daily, we begin to subconsciously (and consciously) be on guard. We are more likely to remember to take our thoughts captive and walk in the victory that is ours. When there is a snake in the grass, we can be aware of it, even when we are engrossed in other things, because we will be engrossed in other things. I mean, come on. I have a two year old. It's not quiet around here very often. Even if you don't have little ones noisin' up your day, I have to believe you have stuff to do.

When we set our minds on eternal things first thing in the morning, we are much more likely to come back to that repeatedly during our busy and noisy days. When we let the noise start before even bracing ourselves, we often operate in survival mode. Survival is better than the alternative, but I'm looking for victory. How about you?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Get More, Pay Less

We went on a little mini getaway last week. We took Chloe to a children's museum (ee-um, as she calls it) and a really cool zoo. We needed a place to stay, so I used Priceline.com as I have a few times in the past. I'm never disappointed when I do.

I thought I might share my experiences, in the event anyone is curious about how it works.

First of all, you don't have to use the 'name your own price' feature. But that's what I always use and we get a steal of a deal every time. The major downside to the 'name your own price' feature, is that you have to give your credit card info and if they accept your offer, it's a done deal. Understandably, this might scare some people off. This is the main reason I'm sharing my experience. If you understand how it works, you will likely be more willing to give it a try.

This time I decided I wanted to spend 40$ on a hotel room. Now, you might be thinking - well, stay at the Red Roof Inn or Motel 6. Not to say anything bad about either of those places, but I'm looking for more of the quality of a Hilton or Holiday Inn for the Motel 6 price.

The cool thing about priceline, is you put in when and where, and then you tell them what star level you want and how much you are willing to pay. The trick to getting a great room at a great price, is to select a high star rating and then put in your price. As long as you're specifying a 2.5 or 3 star rating, you don't have to worry about winding up in a rat trap. They might not accept your offer, but you never know... They might!

There are certain limitations, and you can't just keep upping your price by 5$ until they bite. There are different criteria that you can change and every time you are denied, you have to change one of the criteria, or wait for 24 hours before trying again with a higher price.

For instance, we stayed in Grand Rapids, Mi. There were 4 different areas you could choose from in GR. I obviously wanted the one closest to the museum, but that was one criteria that I could change to see if it made a difference. Eventually, I had to lower my star rating to a 2, before it accepted my price of 40$. I waited until the day before we left (on purpose, for weather reasons) so I didn't have the cushion to try for a nicer room at a slightly higher price.

As it always does, it worked out fine. We wound up at a Baymont Inn. It was a nice spacious room, with a king bed and plenty of space for a pack N play. It had a pool and hot tub, a work out room, and free breakfast. Not bad, huh?

I've booked rooms in NYC (twice), Grand Rapids (twice) Fort Wayne, IN, Tampa, FL, and surely a couple other places that I can't remember right now.

Go check it out. You can see everything I've talked about, and play around with it before you click accept. You'll be really glad you gave it a try!

I have nothing to do with priceline or Baymont Inn, I justed want to share my experience in an effort to help anyone who may have considered using priceline, but didn't know how it worked.

For more great tips, visit We Are That Family for Works For Works for Me Wednesday.