Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sneak Peak of wedding Photos

I have a lot of wedding posts I want to make soon, (including how I spent my wedding night in the emergency room.   I am fine now, but I thought I had appendicitis.)  But here's a few photos until I get back into the swing of blogging again next week.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Called to be Amish by Marlene Miller Book Review

FTC disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

I realize I went to an unconventional high school.  There were 16 of us in grades 1-12.  A small Christian school at the beginning of the Christian schooling movement, we were unique.  Mine was the first graduating class.  We were located right in the middle of an Amish community.

We didn't have any Amish students attending our school, but I can remember buying carrots from the lady with the buggy parked in her garage.  There's nothing like a carrot harvested that day.  It was not unusual for another Amish lady to stop by to use the phone in our one room schoolhouse.  

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Weirdest things Happen to May May 2015 edition.

I can't believe that one week from today I'll be married.   Actually with the stress I can.  Stress is at an all time high for me.  The contractors finally finished the kitchen this week.  I told them to be done by May 1st.  So the house is pretty much still unlivable.  I can't find my veil.  My guest book pen is still among the missing, the bulletins aren't done, I still have the slide show to put together, favors to assemble, and that's just the beginning.

The other day I was in Walmart getting some last minute items.  Well, not too last minute, but some stuff I needed.  My fiance saw an older man had been carrying a broken bottle of Palmolive through the store, and my fiance stopped, but I walked right into it.  I pulled a muscle in my back trying to keep my balance.  Then as I stepped out of the puddle my Palmolive covered shoes wanted to send me down to the floor again.  I had to finish the rest of my shopping trip in pain and barefoot until my fiance took my shoes into the bathroom and washed off all the dish washing liquid.

I'm at that stressed out level now that I am having nightmares about not getting everything done for the wedding.   I am looking forward to having as much done as will get done and enjoying everything.  Being out of commission for over 48 hours due to a man carrying a broken bottle of Palmolive through a store is NOT something that was good timing.  Not that it would ever be good timing, but there are times it would be a lot less stressful than it is now.

Seven days!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Making the Most of Your Summer Using iPhone Apps

FTC disclaimer:  I am part of the U.S. Cellular Better Moments Blogger campaign.   I received compensation for this post but 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. 

My life is so busy right now!   I'm sure everyone can say that, because as summer begins, so do activities.  I remember a Facebook post last year about this time where someone said, "Seriously people, there are other days in May besides this Saturday".   This year I am feeling like everyone chose the 23rd as the day to do things.  After I chose it as my wedding date!   I heard of nothing going on that day when we picked it -- last July.  Since then I've learned of four weddings, a bridal shower, a flea market,

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Day I left Church in Tears

I'm 41 years old, and I'm getting married for the first time in nineteen days.  I never expected to be this old and just now getting married, but my mother had a lot of health problems and once the time was right and I met my boyfriend, my mother asked him to move here and help take care of her.  I had been taking care of her myself but  it was too much for me to handle at that point without help.  She didn't want to live her final days in a nursing home.  I honored my mother's wishes, and my boyfriend did, too.  Between the two of us, we were able to keep her at home.  To me, it was the right thing to do, and I felt I was doing what God wanted for me as well.  She passed away at home, while I was at a small group from church.

Last Mother's Day was the first without her.   I headed to the first service our church holds, and it being on a Saturday I thought I was "safe".  I remembered how my mother said in her childhood church every woman got a carnation -- one color if your mother was living and another if your mother was deceased.  I thought about how difficult it would be the first year to wear the deceased color.

Nothing was said about Mother's Day all through the service.  But at the end.  Oh, how I wish I had left early.  Our church had about 50 in that service, and the mi
nister called all mothers up to the front.  I was the only adult woman left in the pews.  It was all men and me.  (I don't recall any children being at that service.)  I felt so singled out when every woman but me was called to the front.  Every woman but me received a flower.   It was uncomfortable, but I've dealt with that for years.  It doesn't matter how much you may want a child, at most churches I've been to only those who have children either biologically or adopted are honored.  (I've often wondered how women who have no children with them but have given a child a chance at a better life by releasing them to be adopted feel when all mothers are to stand.)
Mom and me after she was on dialysis for a couple years.

I was the only woman who was not given a flower.  I was the only woman looking on at all the other women while the minister did a mini-sermon about how being a mother and raising a child is God's highest calling.   (Isn't the calling God has on your life His highest calling for you?  And my calling is not what someone else's calling is so why should we say what is God's highest calling?)    My fiance tried to comfort me, but that only made it worse.  I was in absolute tears.  So much so that one of the women brought her flower to me, the childless one.

Isaiah 51:4 says it beautifully:

Rejoice, childless one, who did not give birth; burst into song and shout, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the forsaken one will be more than the children of the married woman," says the LORD."   (NLT)

Yet, it sometimes feels that churches forget this verse.  I have a friend named Leslie who is an amazing children's volunteer in her church.  She's still single.  Do you think the dozens of children she has ministered to would not rise up and call her blessed?  (Proverbs 31) I know I feel that way about the children's and youth workers I have had in my growing up years.  Leslie has children -- just in a different way -- their parents trust her with their child's spiritual education each week.  Mother's Day is just as much about Leslie as it is the woman who gave birth.  Let's begin to recognize that fact, and honor the sacrifices people like Leslie make.  We met at a retreat and she said how much she loved the times of worship because it was so seldom she was able to be in an adult worship service.

Last year after the minister finished his mini-sermon on motherhood being the highest calling in a woman's life, church was dismissed.  I want children.  I spoke to my doctor today about the possibilities and risks of trying to have a child.  I'm 41 and have health problems.  From the sounds of things, it likely won't happen.  We hope to adopt.  But until now God's highest calling for me was taking care of my ailing mother.   I couldn't have cared for her the way she needed if I would have had children.

Ours was the first of four church services over Mother's Day weekend last year.  As I left the church, I mentioned to the minister that he might want to be aware that there are women who want children and can't have them and hearing that motherhood was God's highest calling might not be the best way to honor mothers.  I was met with silence and a blank stare.

As soon as I got to the car, I announced I was never again attending church on Mother's Day as it was too painful.  I went home and went to bed.  My fiance had the next day off work and wanted to see me busy so we did a day of geocaching until we were exhausted.

Let's remember that God calls different people to different things.  Mother's Day can be a difficult day for various reasons.  Infertility, singleness, miscarriage.  I'm not saying to not  honor mothers but I'd love to see churches be mindful of the pain this day can cause, and let's also remember the Leslies in our church, the single women who give so much to the children.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Max Lucado: Let the Journey Begin

FTC disclaimer:  I am a Family Christian blogger and received this book and an appreciation certificate to facilitate my review and for hosting a giveaway.  Post does contain affiliate links.  All opinions are my own.

Let the Journey Begin: Finding God's Best For Your Life a great little hardcover gift book, perfect for graduation.  It is more of encouragement as to what the future holds.   While it would be great for the graduate, I think it would make a nice gift to a newlywed couple with a gift card to Family Christian tucked inside.   Why do I say that?  As I was reading this book, I was reminded what my fiance recently asked me.  We are getting in 20 days, and between wedding planning and renovating the house I inherited from my mother, we have had little to no free time.   I think back to the days when we would play a board game, watch a DVD, or participate in other hobbies.  We haven't had time to do anything other than wedding prep and house remodeling.  Add in the fact we each have been sick in the last month and we both work, time has been at a minimum.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

West Virginia Ramps (Wild Onions)

I think most people think of inclines when you say "ramps", but that's not the case if you're from West Virginia.  It's the end of ramp season right now and in this part of the country, when people say "ramps" they are often referring to a wild onion.

These have a very strong and distinct flavor.  Legend has it that when my dad was in high school, there was a test he wasn't prepared for, and he put ramps behind the radiators in some of the classrooms causing school to be let out early because of the smell.  Some of his stories were a bit outlandish, but I tend to believe this one.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday Seven Takes Friday April 24, 2015 #7QT #SQT

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.

Yesterday marked one month until I get married.  Here's a few quick takes of what has been going on around here.

1.  There was an eight hour manhunt in my small town of 1500 last week.  A man murdered someone and then was on the run.  I don't know what of the rumors were true or not, but my fiance and I holed up in an upstairs room, with the lights out, checking social media, and had a couple knife blocks with us.  The suspect was either captured or turned himself in the next morning.  

2.  I've been sick, and my fiance has been sick.   I was supposed to have my teeth cleaned this week, but had to reschedule.   I get to do that next week.  I also binge watched Bulloch Family Ranch on gMovies.  (I have a giveaway going on for a six month subscription to gMovies.  Open to the US and Canada and ends 4/26.)

3.  Yesterday was one month until the wedding.  Being sick for a week this close to the wedding?  Ain't nobody got time for that!  I've had a virus and then immediately developed a cold, barely over the viral infection.  

4.  Our premarital counseling was this week.  All I have to say is I hope the minister was wrong when he said that we'll always have things happen like last year and will never be done renovating the house.  (Last year 10 family, friends, and neighbors passed away, there was a breast cancer scare, diabetes diagnosis, false police report against me, blackmail that I didn't give into, burst water pipes, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.)   Renovating the house has been going on since November.  It's been an expensive process, lots of surprises (and none of them good), and even having to saw through a floor to get to the main water shut off.  Why it was put under a floor I don't know.  But I hope the minister actually meant small home repairs and not that we would always have projects like this going on:

5.  I was feeling so bad yesterday that one of my blogger programs announced they would be opening an amazing blogger opportunity later.  I read that, and fell asleep and dreamed they gave us ice cream and that it helped my throat from being sore.  (Needless to say when I woke up, I got some of the strawberry cheesecake ice cream that is in the freezer.)

6.  I registered to attend the National Sweepstakes convention in Boston.  I can't buy my plane tickets yet because I'm not sure if my name will officially be changed by then or not, but I'm excited.

7.   I found out that a roommate from college is flying in for my wedding.  I was on a Campus Crusade summer missions project in 1996, and three of my four roommates will be coming in even though they live in Montana, Kansas, and Tennessee.   It is very sad my parents wont' be at my wedding (they are both deceased) but these girls will help add so much joy to my wedding.  I can't begin to tell you what a blessing it is they will be there.  Yes, I'll miss my parents greatly, but there will still be so much love surrounding me.  I haven't seen them since 1998, 2005, and 2006, and we will Skype with the one girl who won't be here.  Its going to be amazing.

For more Seven Quick Takes, visit This Ain't The Lyceum

Thursday, April 16, 2015

G Movies review, Free trial and Giveaway

FTC disclosure:  I received a free subscription to gMovies to help facilitate this review.  All opinions are my own.

I love my tablet.  There's so many things it can do from entertainment to educational, encouraging me spiritually, and helping me track finances.  It is usually with me at all times.  One thing I often like to do is watch something to help me fall asleep.  With no cable service, it is sometimes hard to decide what to watch.  So when I had an opportunity to review gMovies, I was excited.  After all, a movie streaming service with family friendly options?  What's not to like?  Plus, there is no contract and you can cancel anytime!

Of course, I use my tablet, but gMovies can be accessed from an iPad, Android, or PC.  There are 300 Christian movies and TV shows you can choose from with new titles added monthly.  It's powered by the UP Network for UPlifting entertainment.  At only $4.99 a month, this would be great to allow children to pick their own shows because you know everything on this app is wholesome entertainment.   Wait -- did I say entertainment?  They also have some documentaries.  I'm a documentary junkie and that was the first section I checked out when I downloaded the app.

Another thing I really liked was the selection of shows.  I was happy to see they had some Davey and Goliath.  But the very first thing I watched was Mandie and the Forgotten Christmas.   I was always a huge fan of the Mandie books when I was a child, and I hadn't known there had been Mandie movies made.

I have a special treat for my readers.  gMovies has given me a code for a TWO WEEK FREE TRIAL!   That's right, every one of you can try out gMovies for two weeks.  Just go to gMovies and enter code: FREETRIAL56

That's not all, one reader will receive a six month subscription to gMovies.   Just enter the giveaway below.  Giveaway open to the US AND Canada.  

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Taxes, Smart Phones, and Finances

FTC disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post.  I am part of the U.S. Cellular Better Moments blogger brigade.  All opinions are my own and I only recommend items I think are helpful and beneficial.

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. 

When I first started blogging, I wrote mainly about deals I got from coupons, freebies received in the mail, and other small money saving items.  I was a coupon queen before it was cool, and once popularity hit, seemed like deals dried up, so I started looking for other ways to save money.  One of them which really surprised me, is to do my taxes myself.  Did you know that many accountants charge by the number of papers you have?   Last year I earned a small amount of interest in a few different accounts, won a sweepstakes prize, blogging income, and I had a whole slew of 1099s.  There was one for three cents!  That would have cost me an extra $20 or more at the accountant in town just because I earned three cents in interest.  So I did my taxes myself.  I was even able to do them on my tablet with TurboTax -- and if you are lucky enough to get a refund you can track it with MyTaxRefund if you e-file.  Some might think that because I like to save money I should have gone with IRS Free File but that only allows you to file federal and I wanted to file my state taxes as well.  Another app that will help you file federal taxes is H & R Block for iPad.  While not free, TaxAct Ultimate Bundle for $17.95 uses an interview process to help save you money.