Sunday, December 24, 2017

Embracing Grief at the Holidays

I think most of us can remember a time we loved the holidays.  Santa Claus. Our grandparents giving us huge hugs -- and even bigger gifts.  The smells of the once a year treats from the oven, and laughter of cousins.  I think for many of us somewhere along the way the magic of Christmas has turned into dread or endurance.

My husband and I didn't put up a Christmas tree this year.  It has always been my favorite part of Christmas.  I love looking through the ornaments and remembered so many good times.  The doll my 2nd grade teacher made out of a pack of lifesavers and a styrofoam ball head.  Yes, I have a roll of 34 year old candy in my Christmas decorations.  I loved my teacher, and the fact she made something for me was so special.  (She made one for each of us in our class.)But then there are the other ornaments.  Childhood creations from people who won't speak to me any longer.  Ornaments bought on years the holidays wouldn't be considered "good".  The year a family member threw out all the gifts I gave him.  

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Tech Savvy Senior Citizens And Smart Phone Options

FTC disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post from U.S. Cellular.  

I was a caregiver for my mother for years.  One of the things that was difficult for her was making the switch from a land line to a cell phone.  I wish I knew then what I know now about mobile phones and the elderly. 

Now just over 40% of adults 65 and over have a smart phone.  That is up from 18% in 2013!  It's no wonder either with all the features the iPhone 8 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 provide.

For many seniors, they may have difficulty with eyesight, hearing, or dexterity.  That can intimidate some shoppers. Most smartphones have an "Accessibility" option in the settings where users can increase font size, activate high contrast and set voice controls! 

I have a friend a friend who is deaf, and would you believe she has a smartphone!  Did you know that most smartphones now allow closed captioning and LED flash notifications.  Of course, she uses text to communicate.  Reality is, even if someone is totally deaf, a smartphone can open up a world of communication to them. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Owl That Was Afraid Of The Dark Children's book

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains Affiliate links.

The Owl That Was Afraid of the Dark is an adorable picture book that is also interactive for children.

The beginning of the book there is a 'hole' in the page where Owl is looking out of her tree.  The next page has a lift the flap where you can see some foxes. This is talking about her being afraid of the dark and not getting to play with her friends because they come out at night.

When she receives an invitation to go flying with a friend, children can unfold the letter.

The moon sees her sad and has a talk with her about how she can know that God is always with her even if she can't see Him and she doesn't need to be afraid.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Why It's Not Worth Going Into Debt for the Holidays

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

When I was growing up, we had a LARGE tree, and the underneath was filled with TONS of packages.

We all got gifts -- cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents -- and multiple gifts from each person.  It was total chaos of bows, ribbons, wrapping paper, and Under Roos.

Monday, December 4, 2017

She Reads Truth Bible Review

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.  I received a free copy of this Bible to review.  All opinions are my own.

My very first impression of the She Reads Truth Bible was "It's Heavy!"as it is almost four pounds.  There is  the She Reads Truth Bible was how heavy it is.  Weighing in at just under four pounds, it's nearly the weight of the barbells I use to work out.  (Puts a whole new meaning on strengthening yourself in the Word, doesn't it?)  I have made heavy Bibles my main Bible in the past, so I wouldn't discount this just because of the weight.  There is the a lighter version in LeatherTouch weighing in at 3.2 pounds.  However the hardcover Bible does come in its own slipcover making it extra nice, and the color is really pretty.  (The official color is "Poppy" but I kind of think of it as a rose-peach.  This would look beautiful on any bookshelf with a display of nice looking books.

The only version it comes in is the Contemporary English Version, also known as the CEV.  This is a version that was produced by the American Bible Society.  In my opinion it would be nice to have other versions available because this is such a nice Bible.

Friday, December 1, 2017

8 Ideas for Keeping Christ in Advent

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

At the church I attended when I was really little, there was little celebration in the way of holidays with the exception of the Christmas pageant and something mentioned in Sunday School.  I still remember my line from the pageant the year before I was in the angel choir.    I'll be a little light too, and quietly shine the way.  I'll do my part, with all my heart, to shine for Him each day.

I didn't realize until just a few years ago that Advent is NOT a celebration, but a longing.  A yearning for Christ to appear.  I have always loved the song "Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel".  The tune is so haunting, so mournful.  I always thought after I was a teenager the Christmas season began on the first Sunday of Advent and ended on Christmas Day, but Advent is the time of preparation for the Christ Child.

Advent and Lent have a lot of similarities.  When observed the way that has been done traditionally, there's a lot of focus on what is about to come.

But how in this busy world do we take time out from Christmas parties, shopping, and decorating to focus our hearts?

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Managing Children's Smartphone Useage

FTC disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.

It feels like the holidays have been in full swing for a while now.  I've already finished my Christmas shopping, and now I just need to find the time to wrap the gifts.  While I don't have children, one gift that I know is popular each year is giving a child a cell phone -- or upgrading your device and giving them your old one.

In 2016, U.S. Cellular did a survey about mobile phone usage.

Did you know that on average parents began letting children use their smartphones or tablets at age eight? 

Participants in this survey said the appropriate age for a child to receive their first cellphone is 13, which is down from 14 years old just five years ago.  Even so, more than half of the parents surveyed said their child had a cell phone, and the average age of the child when receiving it was eleven.

Safety is the top reason parents purchase a cell phone for their child.  It's a crazy world we live in today!  Being able to check in with your child and have her check in with you can give everyone great peace of mind.  In fact, 59% of parents said safety was the number one reason they decided to gift their tween a mobile device.

Three out of four parents also monitor their child's cell phone usage on a frequent basis.  Having talks about how they use their iPhone or Samsung device can give everyone -- including the child relief as to knowing what is expected.  You might think this is just for them, but if you require them to tell you about any bullying or other inappropriate behavior, it gives them peace of mind to know you are open to discussing difficult situations online with your child.   

It's not always easy to come up with guidelines to discuss with your child, and U.S. Cellular would like to help out.  Just visit the site   This is a FREE resource for everyone!  One of my favorite things about this contract between you and your child is the parent can promise to use their iPhone 8 safely -- for instance you can promise to never text and drive -- so it isn't just your child who has guidelines.  Children learn by example, and this is a great way to model responsible cell phone use! 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

10 Children's Christmas books that Should Be in Your Home Library

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

Are you looking for some new, fun Christmas stories?  Looking for some books to use to make Christmas
memories?  Here are some of my favorites and why I like them.  Most are under $10, one is under $2.50, so you won't break the bank to add one or more of these to a stocking this year!  While I'm sure you have heard of some of these, I expect a few will be new ones to you, and hopefully they will turn into beloved favorites like they have here!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Total Christmas Makeover by Melissa Spoelstra

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

The Total Christmas Makeover By Melissa Spoelstra.

Normally I don't care for devotionals.  I went to a Christian college, so I have quite extensive Bible knowledge.  Also, I have been through a lot in life, and it seems often devotionals that are so fluffy it is like they are reminding women that God loves them even on a bad hair day.  If I can find one that is just right for me, then the picking up the book, reading one devotional, bookmarking it, setting it back down, and then having to find it the next day often seems a little too much trouble.  (Thankfully this is now remedied with e-books.)

But Christmas.  I have always loved Christmas.  I don't have kids, plus very little family.  The last few years I have just spent Christmas Day by myself, taking a nap, reading a book, or even working.  My husband gets time and a half on Christmas and we live too far from any family to be able to visit, so the last few years, Christmas has been like any other day to us.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Descriptions and Prescriptions by Michael R Emlet

FTC disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book to review.  This post may contain affiliate links.

I studied psychology in college.  I didn't expect this book to be anything new to me, but I wanted to read it to see how the concept was presented to pastors and other church leaders in helping those who are mentally ill.  Mental illness is a real -- it's not something we can say to them everything would be fine if they just pray more -- in fact instead of helping, that can be harmful in discouraging the truly sick to avoid going to a psychiatrist.  My grandmother landed in the hospital multiple times over her life because her pastor encouraged her to go off her medication -- without consulting her doctors or being weaned off of it.  Then there are times that someone knows there is a sin issue causing them problems and a pastor just says to go to Christian counseling.  Can there be a good balance between faith and trust in God and medicines that help improve functioning?  I believe so.  And I am happy to say that the author of Descriptions and Prescriptions thinks so as well.