Sunday, June 28, 2015

Book Review: 7 Secrets to an Awesome Marriage Review

FTC disclaimer:  I received an advanced reading copy of this book to facilitate my review.  This post does contain affiliate links.  All opinions are my own.

I've been married for about five weeks.  Some people are probably wondering why I feel qualified to review a book on marriage.  A fact that has surprised several friends recently is I am no stranger to reading books on marriage.  I heard a speaker in high school say we should read up on subjects that interest us and that are important to us.  I've always wanted to get married, so I started reading books on marriage at that time.  After all, your marriage is your most important human relationship.  I know a number of people would say that is incorrect and your most important human relationship should be your child.  I disagree, because I feel like a child will thrive more if he knows both parents love each other.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Why I wish Family Christian's Reading Program Existed 30 years ago!

FTC disclaimer:   This is a sponsored post by Family Christian.  It contains affiliate links.  All opinions are my own.

I always loved to read.  I always hated in first grade we had to circle all vowels and color all pictures on our worksheets every day before we could go to the reading nook and read.  There was this girl, who also shared my first name who was quicker at that, and she got to go to the reading corner more often.  I'd look on with envy as she was there with an open book when I had to color pictures.  To make matters even worse, she had a cooler last name than I did because it came before mine in the alphabet.  She got to read, and she was Jennifer "1".  Add in the fact that my last name was Short, there was no way I wanted to go by Jennifer 2 Short.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Judging -- When you don't know the whole story.

We go to a church in our closest city when we are able.  It's a little over two hours away and it gives us a lot of discussion time being in the car that long.  We often discuss what the homily or youth group was focused on.  Even though we are adults, we are welcome in the youth group as we have a good relationship not only with this church but many of the teens.

One of the many topics we discussed recently was how there are so many different ways of judging others.  There's the obvious "What you are doing is a sin" way of judging others, but sometimes we can be judging just because we don't know the whole story.

An example of this is some years back I had hundreds of McDonalds monopoly pieces that were winners for free food.  I had sent away for a lot of game pieces, and had way too many.  I gave a huge amount to a local church to give to those who might not be able to afford lunch otherwise.  If someone were to see a family each one with a meal that costs about $5 and you suspected they were on welfare, would your first thought be that they got it free or that they shouldn't be allowed to eat there because they should save their money.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Basics of Winning Sweepstakes and Contests

FTC disclaimer:  Most of my blog posts do contain affiliate links.

This is this blog's most popular post, and I've revised it slightly since it originally published in July 2010.

I love to enter sweepstakes, contests, and giveaways. I think it's no secret I get slightly annoyed when I mention something I've won and I get the comment, "You're so lucky" or "I've never met anyone as lucky as you."  While luck has a bit to do with it, I see sweepstakes as just a numbers game.  Contests rely on skill and therefore there is no luck involved.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Tips For Keeping Your Kids Safe Online

FTC disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post from U.S. Cellular.  All opinions are my own.

U.S. Cellular offers a FREE PRINTABLE Parent Child agreement to help you discuss safety of the Internet, cell phone usage, limits, and courtesy with your teen or tween.  You don't even need to be a U.S. Cellular customer to access this, although I have been for 10 years and highly recommend them. 

Did you know that June is Internet Safety Month?  (Personally I think every month should be Internet Safety Month, but this is a good time to remind everyone about the cautions of social media in our lives.)

The Pew Research Center found that 74% of teens 12-17 access the Internet on a Smart Phone, tablet, or other mobile device, at least on occasion.  I remember when the big safety suggestion was having one computer in the house and having it in a public area.  That's not realistic these days to help safeguard your kids, so one of the most important things is not giving them a Smart Phone until they show enough maturity to use it properly.   But this is also a little difficult because there are so many things for children to access -- TV shows, magazines, music, videos, and even books.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Who's The New Kid by Heidi Bond Book Review

FTC disclaimer:   I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own.  Many of my blog posts also contain affiliate links.

So why did a newlywed of less than three weeks and someone who is not a mom sign up for a blog tour of  book written by a mom who helped her child fight obesity?  It's obvious that I am not reading this to try and help my child -- but the subject interested me.  I was the one in school who was overweight.  I remember one time a teacher said we could write our nicknames on our papers we turned in.  Mine was handed back with "Use your real name."  Evidently, it was acceptable to use "Bubba" but not "Short, Fat, and Ugly".  As an adult, I now see why my teacher said that, but at the time I thought, "That's just my name."

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Our Slice of Eternity

Most of my posts contain affiliate links where I get a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you when you purchase something through a link.  Thank you for starting your shopping here at Books, Bargains, Blessings.

On my wedding day many, many thoughts went through my head.   One of my favorite moments of the day was when we asked all our guests to join us for a group photo by the crosses at the church we got married in. This isthe church I grew up in, and looking at the charter membership, I think there are more charter members who have passed on than are still on this earth.   My memories from this church are dear.  I remember a lady named Dean stringing Christmas lights around her feet, plugging them in, and asking, "What hymn am I?"  (Answer:  Let the Lower Lights be Burning.)  I remember her husband, Bob, one time saying we needed to sing a new to us hymn and somehow picking something more suited to a toddler Sunday School class.  I never laughed so hard in church in my life.  Dean and I could't even sit up straight we were laughing so hard.  Then there was our precious Gayle.  She invited me to church in 1986, and passed away a few years later.  Who knew that when she invited me to that church, I would someday get married in it?  When I learned she passed away, I was helping with VBS that week (Anyone remember JoyTrek space themed VBS?)  It was the closing program, and my friend Shelly got up and sand "Friends" by Michael W. Smith and said Gayle had passed away.  I can remember feeling responsible for my 5th and 6th graders but just wanting to run out and scream "Why God?"  I remember the care in picking out a sympathy card for her family.  It was the first time I ever had to send a sympathy card to a friend's family.

In addition to friends and family from that church, from where we had the group photo I could see my parents' grave.  

Something about that moment gave me chills.   We are here.   Yet we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.  

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside
 every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with 
patience the race that is set before us  Hebrews 12:1 KJV

My mother had a story in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Messages from Heaven: 101 Miraculous Stories of Signs from Beyond, Amazing Connections, and Love that Doesn't Die.  In her story she talked about how she made a bit of the journey to the afterlife with her uncle.  I'm not one for what I call "Heaven Tourism" stories, but I remembered what she said about seeing people she knew who had gone before and seeing those she knew would come after her.  I thought of this.

Somehow the cloud of witnesses almost felt tangible on that day.  We are just one small slice of enternity.   The Bible says the average person lives 70 years.  That's a drop in the bucket of time.  No matter how long we live on this earth, it's never long enough.  My husband's grandfather passed away at age 99, yet it still didn't feel long enough as his goal was to live to 100.

We have a small slice of eternity to make a difference.   Let's use it wisely, and remember those who came before us.