Friday, March 30, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Simple Gifts

The Shaker Hymn says "'Tis a Gift to be simple, Tis a Gift to be Free", and sometimes the best gifts are just that -- simple thoughtful things from one person to another.  Good manners is an example.  Many times you don't realize the person has good manners, but you certainly realize it if they don't.  Manners help make the world a better place.  Giving things that are simple but of yourself are also wonderful gifts.  I remember the time  a friend called me on a day that holds lots of bad memories for me.  Every year on my birthday I wait for a friend to call me.  She only missed the summer I was in China and she was in Russia!  I remember a neighbor lady when I was growing up would sometimes see me playing and bring me a piece of fruit to snack on.  Small things can sometimes be big things to the person receiving it.  Think about what small thing you can do for someone.  I know lately some of the smallest things have meant a lot to us.  I've been in the hospital, my mother has been in the hospital and a number of things just haven't gotten done.  Someone to pick up a few items at the store was a huge help, as was someone willing to drive me to the emergency room the night I needed to go.  Why not think of someone who could use something simple done for them, pick up the phone and suggest it.  If you're going to the store anyway, why not see if someone who might have a difficult time getting there could use a gallon of milk or if they have enough eggs?  That might make their life a lot easier!


How Five Minute Friday works:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat on the prompt- no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Meet & encourage someone who linked up before you.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Weekend Mail Wrap-Up 3/24

It's time once again for my "Weekend Mail Wrap Up"

The week started rather slowly, but picked up considerably, and most of the stuff you see below was received today, Saturday.  Turned out to be a pretty good week!  :)

Things that came in the mail:

$6 refund check (not pictured)
$20 Movie Cash and $20 Concession Cash (not pictured) (win)
Dr. Seuss' The Cat In The Hat (Widescreen Edition) (win)
set of 3 Uglee Pens (win)
Airborne Effervescent Health Formula, Original Orange, 10 ct (win)
trial packet .17 oz. each of shampoo and conditioner (win)
$25 Best Buy card (win)
Rebounders: How Winners Pivot from Setback to Success (review)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Tuba Greetings!

Back in college, I was on a retreat.  It seemed like the most peaceful thing to do was to find a tree, take my Bible and enjoy some time reading it while looking at the beautiful scenery West Virginia displays in the fall.

Then all of a sudden I heard the loud sound:  the Omph, omph, omph coming from a nearby tree.

There was a college aged boy playing the tuba under a neighboring tree.

First off, what college student picks the tuba as an instrument to take on a retreat, and secondly, didn't he see me under my tree, Bible in hand.

Turns out, playing a tuba is a good way to meet someone.  At dinner that evening, he came up to me an apologized saying he hadn't seen me there.  It sounds strange to say it, but that started a good friendship between the two of us.  I haven't seen him in years, but we spent many hours together in college.  I was already a coupon queen back in the mid 1990s before it was cool, and there was a couple times he'd join me on shopping trips.

To think our friendship started over the loud sound of a tuba while on a retreat!


Want to play Five Minute Friday? It’s easy peasy! 

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Meet & encourage someone who linked up before you.
OK, are you ready? Give us your best five minutes on: LOUD

Book Review: Then Sings My Soul Book Three

Then Sings My Soul, Book 3: The Story of Our Songs: Drawing Strength from the Great Hymns of Our FaithThen Sings My Soul, Book 3: The Story of Our Songs: Drawing Strength from the Great Hymns of Our Faith by Robert J. Morgan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a great book that gives the history of hymns, who wrote them, what inspired that person to write them, and other information surrounding the hymns selected in this book.

This would be great for a variety of uses:  to use in personal or family devotions, for a music minister to talk about a hymn each week and then the congregation sing it, use within a Christian school, especially in music class.

This book was a hard read for me because it's more devotional length stories, and I'm one who usually prefers to sit down and read one long story rather than little bits.  That's just my reading style.  However, I didn't know many of the hymns in this volume.  They were very obscure.  I went to three years of Christian schools (including a Christian college in Nashville.)  I was in my 20s before I started attending a church that sang more contemporary songs, so the fact I knew so few of these was a surprise since I have spent many hours singing hymns.

Also, I am not sure why "Up on the House Top" was mentioned.  I've never sang that in church.  (Perhaps because I don't think anyone considers it a hymn?)  I have, however, sung that in first grade at our Christmas program since it is about Santa and not a religious song.  That was one of only about the dozen or so songs I knew. 

This is a great book, very interesting, however because of the selection of songs, I am only giving it three stars since they seem so obscure.  My advice to the author would have been include the more well known ones in previous volumes and make them a little longer and skip this one all together.  I believe it's the last in the series, and I think by the time the author got to this one, he'd covered most of the hymns everyone knows and went looking for ones to help complete this book.  Even if they aren't as well known, it's still worth a read, but just not as enjoyable as if they were ones that were sung more often.

FTC disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

You can purchase it here:

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Weekend Mail Wrap-Up 3/17

It's time for another edition of my weekend mail wrap-up for the week of March 17th, 2012.

A slow mail week around here, but still some goodies in the mail.

Monday brought a $10 Fun Cash certificate.  I've gotten these before, and was disappointed to see that books are not included on the "fun cash"  (I've won "book cash" before, and to me books are more fun than a DVD.)  It's good on DVDs, CDs, electronics, toys, games, sporting goods, or a movie ticket.  I suppose I can find something to spend it on, but would rather have had "book cash".  :)  Yes, I'm a bookworm

Another win this week was The Closer: The Complete Sixth Season

Books in the mail this week were both ones I ordered, one from and the other from

They were:

Win Your Fortune in Prizes (Win With Lynne)  (I have wanted this for some time, it's about sweepstakes in the United Kingdom, so just a curiosity to me, won't actually HELP me learn about sweepstakes in any way, but something I've wanted to read.)  I was updating my Amazon wish list and saw a used copy for under $1 plus $4 shipping, so decided to go ahead and order it since it's been in the $15 range in the last year.


How to Be Found by the Man You've Been Looking For  -- Sounds like an interesting read.  Don't know if it will be helpful or not since I believe the author is single, but I have enjoyed reading some of her other books!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Five Miute Friday: Bravey Crockett

Baby Crockett became "Bravey Crockett" to me.  He had more dental problems than any guinea pig I'd ever had.  I've been a guinea pig "parent" to eleven pigs, and I know when they are ready to give up and when they are wanting to keep fighting, and I was determined as long as he wanted to keep fighting, I'd keep fighting for him.  Through tooth trims, through having to be hand fed for over six weeks, he never gave up, and I wouldn't either.

When I was in the hospital for nine days last month, I kept thinking of him.  I never had pain so severe in my life as the raging infection in my jaw bone.  A month later, 9 days in the hospital, and 10 doctor visits later, I'm still not well, although I'm some better.  I can't help but worrying about finances as well, since I have no insurance.  But not being well, the most important thing to do is get well.

I keep thinking of Bravey Crockett.  He didn't quit fighting until his body started shutting down months later.  I miss him so much and wish he was still here to hold him and get some courage from him when my mouth is hurting so bad or I'm on another liquid diet, or have another doctor appointment.  He showed me how to be brave in the midst of medical problems.


About Five Minute Friday:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back  To The Gypsy Mama and invite others to join in.
3. Meet & encourage someone who linked up before you.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Another doctor appointment

I had another doctor appointment today.  I think there's so many specializations that people get shuffled like a deck of cards.  Tuesday I saw an oral surgeon and she said I had to come back next week because I needed to have a consult with a "general dentist".  I'm back on a soft diet.  I no longer like chocolate, peanut butter, or mashed potatoes since I was in the hospital, but I've never liked bananas and now I do, so I'm not sure what is going on with my tastes changing so dramatically in the last month.

I have a few giveaways planned here on my blog, but it's been quieter than usual because I have been sick since Feb. 3rd.  So hang in there with me, and there will be some giveaways and other fun stuff coming up when I'm feeling better.

But I know several of you sent well wishes after I'd posted I'd been in the hospital for so long, so wanted to give you an update.  Basically the doctor said I'm being very slow to recover or I'm getting worse.  (Hmmm, that was pretty much my options before I saw him!)  I have another appointment with this doctor last month, and as for now, I'm going to go take a nap!  But there will be some fun stuff soon so keep checking back!  I'm trying to get my blogging a bit more regular, plus some giveaways!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Walgreens and Sheetz Shopping!

The other night I realized I had $16 in Walgreen's Register Rewards that were going to expire that night.  So even though I've been sick, off I went.  For $35 (after my coupons) I got:

6 Fridge Packs of Diet Coke
3 Fridge Packs of Diet Root beer
2 cans Lay's Stackers
4 Cans Pringles
1 bag Bugles
1 bag tortilla chips
1 gallon of milk

I paid $35, and got another $10 back in Register Rewards, and will get $10 back in a mail-in rebate.

Then I stopped at Sheetz.

I got:

Chicken Salad Sub (free because I bought 10 subs previously)
Smoothie (free with a coupon I had purchased in a booklet from a fundraiser)
bottle of Aquafina water (their freebie of the month)

Of course, my grand total was nothing!  :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Book Review: A Prairie as Wide as the Sea

A Prairie as Wide as the Sea: The Immigrant Diary of Ivy Weatherall, Milorie, Saskatchewan, 1926A Prairie as Wide as the Sea: The Immigrant Diary of Ivy Weatherall, Milorie, Saskatchewan, 1926 by Sarah Ellis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is another in the "Dear Canada" series, and one of the best of Scholastic's "Dear" books I have read.  I really prefer this type of book when there is no war or other hardship, and this was a pleasant "Little House on the Prairie" type read filled with day to day adventures of ink freezing at the schoolhouse, preparing for Halloween, the Christmas program, and tales of Dot, her horse.

Ivy Weatherall comes to Canada from England, and there are plenty of adventures she encounters because of the language barrier even though she speaks English, she doesn't speak Canadian English. 

She wants her hair bobbed like is the current style, but she's told she is too young. 

Basically it's a wonderful book for 8-12 year olds set in 1926 Canada.  It's also a great afternoon read for an adult who enjoys historical fiction!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Weekend Mail Wrap-Up

This week was a slower mail week than usual for me, at least it seemed that way as I made my way to the mailbox each day.

Here's the breakdown of what I got in the mail this week:

Life Application Study Bible NLT (sent to me from Tyndale House for writing a blog post)

Relearning Jesus: How Reading the Beatitudes One More Time Changed My Faith (I ordered this.  I was revamping my Amazon Wish List and realized that this was about as cheap as a credit on Paperback Swap, so I decided to go ahead and order it.)

FOUR coupons for candy bars.  Too bad M&Ms and Snickers both have chocolate in them.  Since I've been in the hospital, chocolate tastes disgusting to me.  (Win)

$10 Dollar General gift card (win)

Toastabags Reusable Non-Stick Sandwich/Snack "In Toaster" Grilling Bags, 2 Pack (Ordered)  These are the most amazing things I'd never heard of until I had won some.  Now I always make my grilled cheese (one of my favorite foods) in the toaster using these!

Not a huge week of surprises in the mailbox, but still fun stuff.  As sick as I've been and as behind as I've gotten on sweepstakes entries I'm afraid I won't be having as many wins for a while.  Now, back to bed. . .  really been exhausted lately.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Empty in Israel

Walking around Jerusalem, my friend had what I have come to realize as a profound statement.  When in Jerusalem, we were visiting the emptiness of the places around us.

The Garden Tomb?  We were not visiting the tomb as much as the significance of it being empty.  (In fact, I e-mailed my priest the next day I would have brought him a keepsake from inside the Garden Tomb except there was nothing in there.  He told me later the joke didn't dawn on him for a few days.)

The Western Wall?  Well, that's all that is left of the Temple.  The Western Wall wasn't why we were visiting that site, but the holy site that was destroyed.

Even when I visited Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial, the emptiness of the world because there were six million murders, that was what we were honoring.

The Mount of Olives was a defining moment of my trip.  Why?  Because I felt the emptiness in me beginning to be filled.

The emptiness around us is what we sometimes honor.  Be it an empty tomb, an empty world because people have died, or a missing building where God has been worshiped.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.