Thursday, February 12, 2015

50 Shades of NO WAY! #fiftyshadesisabuse #fiftydollarsnotfiftyshades

FTC disclosure:  Many of my posts include affiliate links to help support this blog.  

I am a Christian.  I read the 50 Shades of Gray series.  Some would say those are mutually exclusive.  I have seen them called Mommy Porn.  I saw someone say in a forum she stopped reading them because she would have to go to Confession.   Yet, I read them.

And I say it was hours of my life I will never get back.  I feel it was wasted, BUT if someone reads this and considers what I say, it will not be wasted.

It should have been named 50 Shades of Domestic Violence.  The girl in the book is so naive.  It is set in 2011.  She is a senior in college which means she is over 20 years old.  She has never gotten drunk, and she is a virgin.  Many people dismiss this as totally fiction.  I went to a Christian college and by my senior year I was never drunk, nor did I have sex.  I know a number of others who did as well.  But she was so naive, she didn't even have an e-mail address.  Why?  What college student do you know who does not have an e-mail address?  I have had an e-mail address since 1995, when the character in this book would have been about five years old.

There is stalking.  There is control of where she goes, who she talks to.  Is this a loving relationship?  Not where I come from.  When he has sex with her the first time he is unhappy.  Unhappy because he has to be gentle.  Does this sound like someone who has her best interests in mind?  What man is unhappy the first time he has sex with his girlfriend?

Let's stop there for a moment.  Are they having sex out of marriage?  Yes.  Does the Bible speak to this issue?  Yes.  But, as amazing as it sounds, let's take the premarital sex out of this discussion because I feel like it's beating a dead horse at this point, it seems like everyone is on one side or the other of "It's okay" -- let's discuss the other issues here.

The writing is horrid.  A sixth grader would have a better writing style than this.  From a literary standpoint it is pure garbage.  Why would anyone want to read something that is so horribly written that I wanted to take a red pen to it and send it back to the publisher?  The reason I did is because I can actually discuss this topic with people and them not dismiss me with the question, "But did you read the book?"   Yes, I read the book.   Therefore I can form a legitimate opinion on it.

In 50 Shades of Abuse, Mr. Grey is just kind enough that keeps Anna hanging on.  She is showered with gifts.  A new car.  But she is watched without her knowing so she will "be safe".  If my fiance hired someone to watch me, I would be furious especially with it happening without my permission.

In the second book, Anna is stalked by a former girlfriend of Mr. Grey's.  The bodyguard mentioned above was hired for this reason.  Wouldn't it be a good idea to TELL someone that they are being stalked instead of hiring a bodyguard to be a second stalker?  Then the bodyguard might actually be able to be called a bodyguard instead of a stalker.  Keeping Ana in the dark is a trend throughout the book as "not to worry her".  I know I'd want to know what is going on around me in the situations where she is not told anything!

Mr. Grey won't use condoms as birth control.  All morality out of the issue, I would think this is a decision that should be made TOGETHER and not demanded by one for the other to be totally responsible for birth control.  Do you know what he says to her when she gets pregnant?   From the book:  "He bangs his hand on the table, making me jump and stands so abruptly he almost knocks the dining room chair over, 'You have one thing, one thing to remember! #@&#! I don't ^(@^&@# believe it!  How could you be so stupid?"  What was your partner's reaction when you were expecting a baby?  Were you called stupid?  

Do you realize Anna is SCARED of Christian Grey?   She thinks thinks like "He WANTS to hurt me" (page 317)  She is afraid of his moods (page 478).  There is disempowerment, fear, physical abuse, managing of what she eats.  Does sex make up for all these ways this relationship is messed up?  If you answered yes, do you think it's normal to have to sign a contract with your romantic partner about what is allowed and not allowed in the bedroom.  I know the only thing I ever plan on signing is my marriage certificate because I believe in a romantic relationship these are things that can and SHOULD be talked out and the trust should be there to not require a contract.

The Journal of Women's Health made this statement about the book:

Our analysis identified patterns in Fifty Shades that reflect pervasive intimate partner violence—one of the biggest problems of our time. Further, our analysis adds to a growing body of literature noting dangerous violence standards being perpetuated in popular culture” - Journal of Women’s Health

Do you feel it's okay to put up with whippings because you want a man to be more affectionate toward you? Anna states in the book, "Deep down I would just like more, more affection, more playful Christian, more ... love"

Twitter is being filled with the hashtags #fiftyshadesisabuse and #fiftydollarsnotfiftyshades where people are being encouraged to donate the $50 they would have spent seeing the movie to a domestic abuse center. (If you are looking for one to donate to, this one is local to my area. Rape and Domestic Violence Information Center of Monongalia, Preston, and Taylor Counties. of West Virginia.)

For those of you who think that Fifty Shades is just BDSM, did you know how the BDSM community feels about it? Here's an article by a dominatrix (warning, this link is not a Christian site and you likely won't want to click on it if children are around.)

What if you have bought the book and read it and wish you didn't? Did you know there's Pull Back the Shades campaign where you can mail them your book and they will send you a copy of Pulling Back the Shades: Erotica, Intimacy, and the Longings of a Woman's Heart. You can find out more about the program at This program isn't available for ebooks. If it was, I certainly would trade in my copy!

Leah Heffner Blog

You can click on the photo above to visit a link up with more blog posts about Fifty Shades.  Thank you for taking the time to read this and considering my opinion.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Ghost Boy Book Review and $10 Family Christian Giveaway

FTC disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book for review and a $10 Family Christian Appreciation Certificate in exchange for hosting a giveaway.  All opinions are my own.

What would it be like to start having medical problems and doctors can't find a solution?  What if those medical problems start robbing you of your normal childhood?  Then what if they put you into a coma for years?  How would you feel if a few years later you "wake up" but are unable to tell anyone you are alert because your body will not move?  When your days are spent at a care facility that plays Barney nonstop, how would you deal?  Would anyone ever find you are in there?  Are you destined to spend the rest of your life not being able to communicate all the while people are talking about you not knowing you realize what they are saying?  This was the world of Martin Pistorius until a massage therapist was convinced he was alert but being held back from communication by his body.

Communication is vital to everyone.  My mother was given 48 hours to live at one point.  She survived that, but there was so much she wanted to say to me.  She was too weak to hold a pen to write at that time, I sat by her bed and said the alphabet.  She would gingerly move her head when I got to the correct letter.  It was a time consuming process and as confused as she was, I would often have to start over again and one word could easily take five minutes to communicate.  Yet, I treasured those words she said.  If it had taken five hours, I would have still done that.

Martin Pistorius was not so lucky to have a way to communicate.  Once his massage therapist felt he was only being limited by his physical condition and he was bright and knowledgeable a lot of hard work was ahead of him, but he tackled it with intensity.  This book is the story of his life during the time when he had no voice.  When some caregivers would abuse him and others like him because they never thought they would be found out.  It is the story of how he first identified a picture of a sandwich and how he later became an international speaker for those who use alternative communication.  This is a true story of what one person can accomplish with those who believe in him, support him, and help him.

This book fascinated me.  It was depressing in the beginning, then filled with hope, and then the joy of his success.  If you enjoy non-fiction, are a care-giver, or are looking for a story of a man with courage and perseverance,  I really think you will enjoy this memoir.  One word of note, this is a very truthful book, and although h is a Christian, there are a few things I feel would be inappropriate for younger teens reading this book.  It's not likely one to appeal to that age group, but I felt I should mention that.

And now for the giveaway:  One winner will receive a $10 Family Christian appreciation certificate that can be used in store or online.  This cannot be combined with other coupons.  USA only.  Winner has 48 hours to respond to winning e-mail or another winner will be chosen.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Your child's Internet safety -- AT SCHOOL!

I have lots of Facebook friends from all over the world.  They often share photos of their children.  If they are comfortable with this and they have some privacy settings in place, I enjoy these photos.  I don't like to see posts about little Johnny that are public so anyone can see them, especially those stamped with a place.  I once saw one timestamped that was public from someone picking her child up at school with location.  This is a bad idea for a couple reasons.  First, it lets anyone (including a predator who may happen to surf in on her page) know where her child attends school, what time his school lets out, as well as alerting people she is not at home.

I discovered that a number of teachers have PUBLIC groups where people can see photos (and often names and usually locations of their students)  By searching Facebook for a few of these, I found out the names (first and last) of dozens of children of all ages across the United States.  This information could easily get in the wrong hands.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Songs in the Key of Happy DVD review and Family Christian #Giveaway

FTC disclaimer:   I received the DVD I reviewed and a $25 Family Christian Appreciation Certificate to help me facilitate this review.  All opinions are my own.

When I was little, I remember the two eight track tapes that were constantly being played in my home were both by the Happy Goodmans.  I associate that sound with my parents, both who have since passed away.  In my opinion, so much of country music is looking ahead to when we'll rejoin those who we love who have gone before us.  As a teenager, I never understood my parents' love for southern Gospel, but as I have aged, songs such as Look For Me hold even more meaning.  There's a group of loved ones awaiting me there someday.

This DVD of Songs in the Key of Happy did not disappoint.  Though Goodman Revival is a new group, they are rooted in the tradition of the Goodman Family.  In Fact, the song, This is Just What Heaven Means to Me was on the eight track that my Dad played all the time when I was growing up, and it felt like it was the same people singing, just with better sound than our old HiFi player.

One thing I really like about Southern Gospel DVDs is how you get a chance to meet the people behind the songs.  Did you know Tanya Goodman Sykes works at a bank?   I didn't, and it makes her seem more like a person I would know than some star.  The chatting makes you feel like you're listening to stories told by old friends.  The music is great.  It's toe-tapping, good ole Southern Gospel and even includes guest appearances on this DVD by the Gaither Vocal Band.

With sixteen songs, this is an hour and a half of music that will make you long for That Beautiful Shore.  Anyone who has enjoyed the Happy Goodman Family will find Songs in the Key of Happy an instant favorite.  Also, anyone who enjoys southern Gospel will want to add this to their collection.  I really enjoyed this DVD and I think others will as well.

And now for the giveaway:   One winner will receive a $25 Family Christian Appreciation Certificate.  It can be used in store or online.  It is considered a coupon and cannot be combined with any other coupon codes.  USA only, 18 and older.

Friday, January 30, 2015

A new Product You'll Flip For -- Plus a Giveaway

FTC disclosure:  Purex brand provided me with a sample of Purex Powershot detergent in exchange for a product review.  However all opinions expressed here are my own.

There is a new product on the market that you'll flip for -- the new Purex Power Shot detergent.  How do I know you'll flip for it?  Because you have to if you want to use it!

This is a unique product where the measuring is done for you.   You flip it upside down, detergent runs into the built in auto dosing technology built right in the bottle, then you open the cap and pour it in the washing machine.  It's that easy.  You use one flip for regular loads and two flips for extra dirty loads.

Purex Power Shot comes in two scents:  Mountain Breeze and Natural Elements Linen and Lilies.

I know for me when I'm using a liquid laundry detergent to clean my clothes, I always end up spilling some.  That doesn't happen with this since it is a no spill detergent bottle.  My first thought with this is how much my mother would have loved it, as she had difficulty seeing the lines on the inside of laundry caps.  I can also imagine it would be great if you are teaching your child to do laundry.  That way they can't get over zealous using detergent since it is an easy measure liquid detergent.

And now for the giveaway:   Purex has generously offered THREE totally free coupons for Purex Power Shot detergent to one reader of this blog.

To enter, you must be 18 or older and live in the USA.  Coupons expire December 2015.  Winner has 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.  Giveaway ends 2/8 at 11:59 Eastern.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Debt Free Christmas, 11 months to go.

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for starting your shopping here as I receive a small amount when you purchase through these links at no additional cost to you.

It's less than 11 months until Christmas!   Are you ready?   I don't mean fully ready, but last night my boyfriend and I finished the book  The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.

In it, he says Christmas is not an emergency and not to dip into your emergency fund for it since you know it's coming.

What have I done so far this year in preparing to get ready for Christmas?   Well, I hit a 90% off sale right after Christmas.  I bought a few items for gifts.  Some things I will sell on eBay come Christmas time, as well as Christmas gift wrap and ribbons and bows.

Now is also the time to go ahead and start entering blog giveaways in hopes of winning some stocking stuffers and gifts throughout the year.  Here is a list of blog giveaway linkups.  If you are a blogger, it's a great resource to list your giveaway.  If you want to enter, it's a great list of places where you can find giveaways to enter.

Also, how much did you spend last year?  Take that number and divide it by 12.  Put back 1/12 of your Christmas money now.  

If you are the creative type, you might want to start planning now about what gifts you can make.  I am a cross stitcher and a nice piece can take a couple months to finish.

Christmas isn't a surprise, and it shouldn't cause debt.  If you start planning now, it won't!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Living Well Spending Less Book Review and a #Giveaway Ends 2/2

FTC disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honesty review.  Family Christian generously offered a $25 Appreciation Certificate to one of my readers since they sell this book.  I received no other compensation.   This post does contain affiliate links.

I remember the first time I stumbled on Ruth Soukup's blog.  When she began her blog, she was a shopaholic looking to be able to buy the same items she'd been accustomed to buying but at a discount.  I saw the word "luxury" in the blog's tagline and a quick glance around and I backed out.  I was looking for a site where I could find bargains out of necessity -- not out of wanting the best life had to offer on a dime.  My mother had recently gone on dialysis and needed a new bed.  I gave my mother my bed and took an old futon and after it broke I slept on the floor for a while.  I was looking for bargains I needed, not for throw pillows or fashionable boots.  From then on, I always thought "There's that one blog that isn't relevant to me."  Over the years, I never went back to notice the change.  But it happened.

I was given the opportunity to review a copy of  Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life.  Since I started my blog to document my frugal ways, this is a topic that always interests me.  It was not until I was reading this book before I realized this was written by the "luxury" blog woman.  But -- I've visited it since.  When you visit blogs about frugality, you often visit the big ones, I just never connected her current blog with the old one.

She documents how this change came about in the first part of her book.  My mother always told me there are always people worse off than us.  I was recently talking to a friend about my upcoming wedding and how I'm doing it on a shoestring.  I commented how it seemed almost wrong for me to spend too much because of how many people there are in the world who are in need.  I doubt that thought crosses anyone's mind when planning a wedding. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the first part of her book.  Even for a seasoned frugal shopper like me, this part was very much worth my time because I loved reading about her transformation when it came to material possessions.  Would you believe the lady I used to think of as "The Luxury Deal Blogger" now has a place in my mind as "The Lady Who Took Away all Her Kids' Toys".   What happened?   She had a change of heart as to needs, and this book details that.

The first half of the book talks about just general living well -- time management, goal setting, and how less stuff can make our lives better.  The second part of the book is one of the best guides to saving money I have ever read.  I am a coupon queen -- have been for over 20 years.  But I learned something important one day when I needed some groceries and didn't have my coupons with me --  I still got some amazing bargains without any coupons.  I still save about $1500 a year, but that is with minimal time involved, not like it used to be where I would sort coupons for hours and had an elaborate filing system.  Once I was asked to teach a coupon class, and I agreed with the caveat that I would teach coupons along side with finding good bargains to save money at the grocery store.  I was turned down -- they wanted only coupons to be covered.  This book mentions coupons, but gives great ideas on saving money.  It's a very well balanced frugal book, and I can't recommend it enough.

She also mentions savings.  Not savings when you spend (which is something I still say -- in fact I just said I saved $1500 last year -- but what is missing is how much I had to spend to save that!)  She mentions savings as in for the future.  I was told when I was in Kindergarten how expensive college is, and I immediately asked my mother if I could open a saving account.   I would deposit all my birthday and Christmas money and before I knew it, I had over $1,000 saved for college -- and I hadn't even hit middle school.  I highly agree with her advice on saving for the future in this book.  You never know what will happen -- just this month I had a $1,500 repair bill because my water pipes froze then burst!  I'm thankful I didn't have to put that on a credit card.

Another thing I loved about this book is how she discusses giving.  I love to give to others.  That's one reason I do use coupons, so I can give food or other items to people in need.  Sometimes books on frugality leave out giving to others.  This one does not.

I highly recommend this book no matter if you're just now starting to pinch those pennies, or if you have a reputation of being frugal.  

FTC disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book for review from the publisher.  Family Christian generously offered to sponsor a giveaway since they sell this book.  All opinions are my own and I only recommend products I believe have value. 

Family Christian sells  Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life  if you are interested in purchasing it.

For the Giveaway:

One reader will win a $25 Family Christian Appreciation Certificate.  You may choose this book OR the item(s) of your choice.  It works as a coupon code and cannot be combined with other coupons.  Open to the USA only, 18 and older.  One entrant per household.  Giveaway ends 2/2 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Peaceful Housewife Gift Certificate Giveaway Ends Jan 26 2015

FTC disclaimer:  I won a giveaway for some Peaceful Housewife laundry detergent.  I loved it and asked if she wanted me to hold a giveaway.  No other compensation was received for this post.

Recently I won a giveaway sponsored by Peaceful Housewife.  I know I love trying new products, and I wasn't exactly sure what or who Peaceful Housewife was -- but I entered and I won.  I decided to order some laundry detergent.  I am allergic to many laundry detergents.  I itched constantly when I was in college until I figured out my mother always used powdered detergent and I had been buying liquid.  Then I had to go with the lightest scents I could find.  I'm getting married in May, and the detergent that doesn't bother me is not good for my boyfriend.  I could just picture me someday having to do laundry and having to keep track of socks and keeping laundry not just separated by color but by person.

I was so thankful when I realized that the Peaceful Housewife laundry detergent was the answer to my problem!  Not only that, but I actually can have scented detergent now.  (I started out with French Vanilla.  Next time I order, I might try peppermint!)  There are a variety of scents.  Plus, it's easy to use -- just a tablespoon in the washer, and you're good to go on most loads.  I did put my detergent in a pretty jar as the bag it was shipped in was a little hard to navigate as I'm clumsy, but the end result was turning my laundry detergent into a beautiful decoration in my laundry room!

The cleaning supplies sold by The Peaceful Housewife Store are all natural and eco-friendly.  I like they are also hypo allergenic.   She also sells other products such as furniture polish, lotion bars, soaps, scrubs, and more.

And right now, to celebrate the new store, there is a 30% off coupon!  Just enter coupon code HOORAY at checkout.   This code expires January 25, 2015


Jenny from Peaceful Housewife has graciously offered one of my readers a $15 gift certificate.  You will be responsible for shipping charges.

The winner has 48 hours to respond to the winning email or another winner will be chosen.

And now for the giveaway:

Monday, January 12, 2015

Using an iPhone App to Succeed at your New Year's Resolutions

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. 

As I write this, we are almost two weeks into the new year.  I've heard much about resolutions.  I'm not one to make them, although this year I made goals for this year.  They were mainly financial, organizational,  and weight loss related.  (I have a wedding dress I need to fit into by May.)  Of course those can cover nearly everything in life.  I've been sitting down and breaking these larger goals into smaller ones so I can accomplish some each week.  How is it going?   Not bad. One thing my fiance and I want to do is read a book together each month.  We're right on track for January's book.  I haven't started writing my ebook yet, but I'm right on track with that as well.  As for fitting into my wedding dress goal?  That one needs worked on some, and organization?  I'm having the house remodeled, and it's hard to be very organized during that, so I'm currently working harder on some other goals and leaving that one to be tackled when time is better.

One thing I am thankful for is how smart phones have made life easier.  From being able to connect with family and friends, texting photos, and for some of my friends, just taking their U.S. Cellular iPhone 5s to the park so they can be with their children while answering e-mails for their home business.  U.S. Cellular's 4G LTE service makes this possible as it is ten times faster than 3G.

Today, I'm going to discuss apps that can help all of us reach our new year's resolutions.  (Or as I call them goals because I see goals as something that can be revised and I don't give up on them.)

photo courtesy of

Let's first discuss my goals and how I can use my U.S. Cellular iPhone 5s to help me accomplish those goals.

According to a 2014 U.S. Cellular survey, 43% had a new year's resolution to save money.  One app that is useful is the Mint Bills (formerly Check) app.  This free app allows you to link bills, bank accounts, and credit cards so you know exactly how much money you have.  The app also will set up reminders so you don't about paying a bill, and also you can set up automatic payments.  How are my goals going thus far of saving money?   Not well at all thanks to a cold spell where the water pipes froze then burst.  There will be a large bill to replace the water pipes, but unplanned emergencies happen, and it's now just a matter of continuing to decrease spending and increase savings.

I work at home,  and that means I have to be very wise with time management or I could spend the whole day playing games on my cell phone.  (I still play them, but I only play them during breaks from working.)  One app that is helpful to keeping the day on schedule is called .  You can create lists of things that need done and their order of importance.  You can set alarms (is it time for my break yet where I can line up candy?)  It is even possible to synch your phone's schedule with your laptop.  So how is this goal going for me?  I'm pleased with my progress so far this year.  I think breaking my larger goals into daily do-able parts is helping a lot.  (As well as setting alarms so I can spend time with my games AND get my work done as well.)

I think the most common New Year's Resolution is losing weight.  I have used my U.S. Cellular iPhone 5s in the past for weight loss.  Everything from geocaching for exercise to tracking calories. Another great app that is also free is Runtastic Six Pack.  You can create a virtual personal trainer to work out with you right on your phone.  I know compared to some personal trainers I have worked with, I'd much rather have a virtual one.  Ha ha!  Your virtual personal trainer will even show you the proper way to do new exercises.

Also, the Up by Jawbone Fitness band synchs to your U.S. Cellular iPhone or Samsung Galaxy. It can help you track what you eat, exercise, sleep patterns, as well as daily activities.  It even has an idle alert that will tell you when you've been sitting too long.  How handy is that?  How are my goals going in this area?  Well, let's just say trying to live a week with no water isn't exactly a perfect time to lose weight since I can't wash any produce and am trying to only eat things that don't dirty dishes.  Once my water starts working again, though, I'll be right back on it.

Another resolution many people make is spending more time with friends and family.  An app that is helpful for that is the GroupMe app.   This allows you to make categories of people so you can text them all at once.  I can see this being very handy for me this year with one of my categories being "bridesmaids".  How easy would this make life being able to share videos, events, photos, and texts with a whole group at once?

I am so glad to see the year 2014 over.  I'm looking forward to this new year, and I think it's going to be one of my best ones ever.  By not giving up on goals and keeping going when I don't always accomplish what I wish I would have is certainly one way to do that.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Book review: Madness, Miracles, Millions by Joseph Semprevivo and Larry Semprevivo

This review contains affiliate links.

As someone who grew up in a home where my parents owned not one but two small businesses, I have always enjoyed books where people discuss where the journey of business owners.  So when I had a chance to review  Madness, Miracles, Millions I expected it to be a good book.  It is short
, at 140 pages, and it captured my interest so much I only put it down once -- and then picked it up again the next day.

This books starts out with a tragedy.  In fact, much of the lives of the Semprevivo family is one bad thing after another.  This is a story about how hard work can turn your circumstances around -- and how what you worked for can be reduced to ashes quickly -- and how hard work will turn your circumstances around again.

When Larry Semprevivo gets his arm hurt in a printing press, things look hopeless.  In addition, many of their family and friends have nothing to do with them anymore.   I was in a similar situation in my life last year, but I loved how the book put it -- it gets rid of everyone in your life who isn't someone you can depend on -- basically helps clean house of your relationships.  That one paragraph of the book was, to me, worth reading the entire book!

You can watch the book trailer here: