Saturday, October 31, 2015

We're Adopting and Ways you can help!

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Big news!   We're paperwork pregnant!

The bad news is, the house we have been fixing up to make live-able (there was 60 year old carpet plus tons of other stuff that was bad for the lungs or just unsafe).   It's taken all the life insurance money I got from my mother.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Why I donate with eBay for Charity Giving Works -- The Reasons may Surprise You!

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eBay Giving Works program allows you to donate 10% - 100% of your listing's sale to the charity of your choice (provided they are signed up with the program.)

1.   It makes me feel good to help others.

2.  It's an easy way to donate to causes I care about.

3.  It helps my listings stand out.

4.  If there are two identical items people will be more likely to chose your item to purchase.

5.  You don't have to pay eBay fees on the portion you donate.  That means your donation dollar goes further than if you sold the item on eBay and then donated to your favorite charity offline.

6.  Tax deductible giving!

7.  I have a section in my store that is called Partial Proceeds to Charity.

8.  It actually earns me more money!  I know this sounds odd, but I have done experiments in the past with items selling identical items and I almost always had the item sell for MORE than it would have if I had kept all the money myself.  Granted, it's not much more, but if I can make a difference and make a donation and still make about $1 more, I see no reason NOT to use this great feature on eBay!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Late October Adoption Update

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It's been a long month of classes.  So far this month, we have spent five evenings going to classes.  Because of where we live, it takes us as long to get to class and back as it does to sit through class (two hours and three hours depending on where the class is.)  This week, we only have five hours of classes, but they are also my husband's only days off.  One week we had seven hours of classes (and seven hours of travel) in three days time.  Oh, and did I mention we also have homework in addition to getting the house in order and trying to come up with enough money for adoption expenses?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Why your Passwords should be in a Safe Place in case of Death

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In February 2014, my mother passed away.  After that, I started preparing things I never would have thought of in the event of my untimely demise.  My mother had been ill for a long time, and was not very computer savvy,  which made things easier in the online world.

Someone logged her out of every one of her accounts AND passworded her computer the night she passed away.  Yes, I know someone else did this and my mother didn't -- it was passworded AFTER my mother was pronounced dead.

First, the password that was put on Windows was able to be taken off by a computer expert.  The cost of this was about $100.  My mother was a writer and had many unpublished works on her hard drive, so the cost was well worth it as I hope to publish them posthumously.  In fact, my mother made me repeatedly promise I would do so.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Someone tried cheating in a blog giveaway!

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Last week, I arrived in the house late one evening.  My husband and I had been at foster / adoptive parent training and I decided to check my e-mail and a few things online before heading to bed.

I refreshed my blog, and it showed that I had over 4,000 entries to my iTunes giveaway, yet for the one for the Paparazzi bracelet, it had about 20 entries.  I thought to myself, "I thought for sure I had that to show entrants, not entries."  So I went to Giveaway Tools, and amazingly, I did have it to entrants.  During the time my husband and I were at class, over 3800 fake names were used to enter my giveaway -- over 12,000 fake entries.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Seven Quick Takes: Falling while on the floor and more

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1.  My husband and I are in foster parent / adoption training.  We had three nights of classes this week totaling seven hours.  Because of the rural area we live in, we spent the same amount of time in the car traveling to the classes this week.  Fourteen hours in three days.  We had a two hour class on how to give medicine to children.  There were three hours on laws regarding foster parenting and adoption, and a two hour first aid class.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Simple Ways to Show Support to your Friend who Blogs

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I think everyone has a friend who blogs.  You might read their blog but never mention it to them.  It's great when people are supportive of those of us who blog.  Not sure how to be supportive, here's some tips:

  • Mention their blog posts to them in person.  Sometimes it feels to bloggers they are writing to an anonymous world. Let them know you are reading their posts.
  • Comment on their blog posts.  It's always great to get a friendly comment on a post.  Sometimes a blog post can take hours to write and then it's just crickets from the Internet.  See one you like?  Comment.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Book Review: Called for Life by Kent and Amber Brantly

FTC disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.   All opinions are my own.  This post may contain affiliate links.

I think the whole world was watching when Kent Brantly stepped out of an ambulance to be admitted to Emory Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.  The headlines read that Ebola had reached American soil. Many people prayed for him, and many more were terrified about what it would mean to have someone in America with Ebola.  I'm not a prepper, but I decided to do my annual winter food shopping trip a little earlier than usual.  You never know.  I had been watching the situation in Africa unfold, and I didn't know might happen.

But behind the prayers, fear, and apprehension, there were people.  Two of those people were Kent and Amber Brantly.  Where there are people, there are stories -- true accounts of what they experienced.   This is the book I am sure they never dreamed of writing and wish they didn't have the story that is told in these pages.

Dr. Brantly was a medical missionary in Liberia.  I think that would have to be one of the toughest jobs in the best of times, and I read through this book and envisioned all the death and disease among the people he cared for, I wondered how he could go on.  I have heard that sometimes courage is just not giving up, and I have to say Dr. Brantly is one of the most courageous people I have ever encountered through the pages of a book.  Disease, death, fear of the foreigners who were trying to help, and not enough medical supplies -- or workers took their toll on everyone, but thankfully not all workers contracted Ebola.

The scene I remember most from this book is the workers at the hospital decided to remove the body of an Ebola victim while the body was still at its most contagious.  The reason was a relative of hers was in a bed near hers.  When Dr. Brantly states in the book he thought as he was doing it -- "This is the most dangerous thing I have ever done."  It shows his courage and compassion.  I can't imagine ever being in a room of Ebola patients, let alone moving a body when it was most likely to give others the infection -- for the mental well being of another dying person.

Amber Brantly was in the United States for a wedding when her husband contracted the disease.  Yet, her anguish of her husband likely dying on the other side of the world and her not being able to ever see him again, hold his hand, or even bury him.  The two accounts weave together to create an unforgettable book.

I can't say I enjoyed this book because of the subject matter, but I found it facinating.  I didn't want to put it down.  I highly recommend this!

You can purchase the book here:

Friday, October 9, 2015

Our First Snowfall Family Tradition

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I was probably about five years old the first time I remember this tradition.  It was the middle of the night.  My mother woke me up, and told me to go to the living room and look outside.  It was snowing.  To a five year old, it has been a long time since it has snowed, and I was at the age I loved it.  The moment was magical.  My mother made some popcorn and hot chocolate and we ate and watched it snow.

Every year after that popcorn and hot chocolate became our first snowfall family tradition.  If it snowed earlier that day and was just a cold rain by the time we got home from school and work, we still celebrated the first snowfall.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Some Wounds Time Never Heals

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Photo courtesy Kelley Bittner Photography
October 7th.   Just another day in the life for most people, but on this day in 2006, I will never forget seeing my dad alive for the last time.  I held his hand, told him I loved him, and sang "Found a Peanut" to him.  (He used to sing that incessantly when I was little, and it was my turn!)  It was before I had a cell phone, most people didn't at that time, and my mother was talking to her sister.   I knew the moment my dad passed away.  I recount the story in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Messages From Heaven so I won't go into the story here, but when Mom got off the phone, there was a message for me to call Dad's nursing home.

Time doesn't heal all wounds.  It's a nice cliche.  I think this last year has been the worst with missing my dad since he passed away.  I have cried many an evening and have said, "I wish I could talk to Dad."   I got married -- a lifelong dream of mine -- and I had to settle for a photo of my father being walked down the aisle.  No matter how close the friend is who gave me away "on behalf of her parents", it's not the same as having Dad there.   Dad was big as life and twice as loud.  I can only imagine how loud he would have laughed at the master illusionist we had as our wedding entertainment instead of dancing.

Earlier this year I entered a contest where I won a $500 jewelry gift card.  I had to take a photo of a piece of jewelry that is special and tell the story behind it.  My dad's class ring which he lost when he was fighting a fire in the early 1960s which was returned to him in the mid 2000s was the subject of my entry.  I bought my husband's and my wedding rings with that gift card.  It was like Dad gave us a wedding gift.  But I still wish he would have been at my wedding.

Although, as I mentioned in the post I wrote entitled Our Slice of Eternity, it felt like we were in the midst of a great cloud of witnesses.  Some who went before us, some who will come after we are gone.  I could see my parents' grave from where we got married, and it felt as if their love was present that day.   But I still wish I could have had Dad walk me down the aisle.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Keeping Your Child Safe This Halloween

FTC disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post.  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. 

One aspect  of safety that is on everyone's mind this month is Halloween.  That means Trick or Treat for younger kids!  I remember how fun it was when I was growing up even if I never got any chocolate treats.  Everyone gave out hard candies because there were so many trick or treaters.  But it was fun to go door to door asking for candy.  For older kids this month means Halloween parties -- and sometimes mischief, but hopefully less mischief than my friends got into when we were growing up because now with cell phones you can check in on your children easier than our parents could -- especially since 47% of parents have a child with a cell phone and the average age for the first cell phone is 12.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

4 Ways to Reach a Small Financial Goal

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I often hear people say, "I would like _____ but can't afford it".   I have never been one to think that finances should stand in the way of a goal if there is something you honestly want / need.  I am not saying to go into debt, but I am saying GET CREATIVE.

Here are some things I have done:

1.  Find a way to make do without the item, at least temporarily.   Right now I have my eye on a Samsung Wireless Monochrome Printer (SL-M2020W/XAA)  at $127 and with me having an eBay business, it seems like it's a reasonable want/need, right?   Well, here is my plan.  I am going to keep an eye on this and see if it goes down in price (that's one thing an Amazon wish list is great for!)