Sunday, October 31, 2010

Solution Sunday--God Gave Me An Answer (Closed)

Comment 21 won and has been contacted.

Well, God gave me an answer to something I wondered about but refused to worry about.  Sounds interesting, doesn't it?  Here's the story.

I was in Sunday School again this morning.  Our study of grace has been so freeing.  And today God brought me to tears yet again as I realized yet another truth.

Have you heard it said that we die to the Law when we are saved?  Yes, that is true.  But what does that really mean?  It means that we came into this world "married" to the Law (see Romans).  We could never measure up. The more we tried to get right  with God, the worse it got.  And so we realized we couldn't do it on our own. So we came to the Lord and accepted His free gift of salvation.  That is all He asked.

So now our old nature has died.  Our old self has died.  The Law is alive and well, but we died.  God gave us a new nature. We are no longer married to the Law.  As a new creature, we are now married to Christ.  We are free.  We are no longer under the Law.  I didn't explain it as well as it was explained today, but I challenge to check it out.  Christians are free in Christ, freed from the Law, and have become new creatures in Christ.

Now what was this answer God gave me?  Well a few weeks ago, I remember wondering what I would do when Martin came back in regards to the physical relationship between us.  But the cool thing was that I decided to leave that with the Lord.  I left it with the Lord, and I refused to worry--this is certainly abnormal being the worry wart I am.

Today as I studied about being completely free from the Law, God gave me the answer in a way I didn't expect.  All of a sudden,  God said very clearly to my heart that I needed to make it clear to Martin that it was not because the Ten Commandments forbade it or because I was worried about pregnancy.  It was not about Law.  It was not about following rules and regulations.  Here's my response.  Physical intimacy is a picture of Christ and the Church.  It is probably the highest form of love a man and woman can experience.  It is sacred and special.  Martin is not in a position to receive the love I so long to give to him.  We are not fully committed to each other in marriage.  Martin believes in keeping emotion out of the act itself.  So it becomes purely a physical, fleshly act.  Because Martin is not able to receive this love, it is not right for us to do it.  Until Martin is saved and we are joined in marriage, this physical act is not beneficial.  And I probably did not put this into words all that well, but hopefully I communicated my thoughts in some kind of tangible way.

So as Martin arrives on Thursday (I may miss my blog post on Thursday), I know that I have nothing to fear.  I do not have to fear what I may or may not do.  I know who I am in Christ, and since His Spirit lives within me, I know that I will desire to live for Him and not the flesh.

My solution tonight?  Know who you are in Christ!  And don't put yourself back under the Law when you have died to the Law.  Don't fall into the typical American church trap that says "While you don't have to do anything to be saved, you have to do many things to remain saved."

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sporadic Saturday--Blog Promotion/Giveaway

Simply Stacie, one of my very favorite bloggers, brought a blog to my attention that it really unique and has a neat giveaway going on right now.  I don't know if you have ever heard of Hotel Chocolat, but Martin sent me some one Christmas, and it was fantastic!  It is very expensive chocolate, and  it tastes  really great.

Head over to Chocolate & Croissants and check out the fantastic Hotel Chocolat giveaway she is having right now. It ends on November 5th, so you'd better do it quickly.  She also does  book reviews and posts recipes, so be sure to check her out!

Don't forget to enter!

I have one giveaway ending tonight.  And be sure to check out my other giveaways!  Two end tomorrow and one on  Monday.  Low entries on most giveaways!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fortified Friday #6--And Another New Cookbook

Last week's recipes are not all quite done, but the ones we have tried are great!

First of all, the Peking Pork Chops from a couple weeks ago were awesome!  I loved the flavor.  We are very happy with Make It Fast, Cook It Slow: The Big Book of Everyday Slow Cooking cookbook!  We even made the gingerbread latte recipe from it last weekend, and it was good.  I made it too spicy,but it was nice.

Last week's beef sandwiches and fiery penne were great from Rachael Ray's magazine.  I also made the Halloween chex mix, and we are planning to make more chex mix soon.

So to this week.  We will finish up with the Turkey Strudels this weekend.  And I still have the white chocolate crasins cookies to make, but here are the other meals.  I just did get the Hungry Girl 1-2-3: The Easiest, Most Delicious, Guilt-Free Recipes on the Planet cookbook from the library, and I thought, let's plan meals from here.  At least for Tuesday and Wednesday.  Martin comes in this week, and we'll have to rethink what we are  doing for Thursday and Friday.

Meal 1:  Chunky Veggie Pumpkin Chili p. 176
Meal 2:  Stuffed Chick Cordon Bleu p. 94

I honestly am not going to list any more meals until I find out what the end of the week holds for us.  But this will be a good start for us.  I have never had pumpkin chili, and this gives me a chance to try it!

Book Beginnings on Friday

Over at A Few More Pages (on of my favorite book blogs!), there is a wonderful meme.  This blog is the brand new host of this book blog, so I'll join in this week.

How to participate: All you have to do is share the first line (or two, I'm not too picky) of the book you are currently reading on your blog or in the comments. Include the title and the author so we know what you're reading (and can go pick up a copy if it sounds good!). Then, if you feel so moved, let us know what your first impressions were based on that first line, and let us know if you liked or did not like the sentence (thanks to Rose City Reader for inspiring this meme). The link-up will be here at A Few More Pages every Friday.

I am currently reading The Rebellion of Jane Clarke: A Novel.  Here is how it begins:

"May 6, 1769
Jane Clarke stood in the sedge growth on the lip of the dune and looked out over the half-drained bay, the ribbons of sand rising up through the retreating water."

The judge (me) is still out on this book.  I really thought I was going to devour it, but so far it is not terribly exciting.  It has its moments, but not every book is going to be enthralling after all.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday--My Thoughts on Halloween

I wasn't sure what to post, but I guess this is as good a topic as any.  After all, we are almost to Halloween, aren't we?  My daughter misses out on her classroom activities tomorrow because she caught my cold from last week, and she still  has a pretty high fever.  She should be better at least by the weekend.

When I was growing up, I always celebrated Halloween.  My earliest recollection is my mom dressing me up as a witch.  When I wanted to do that again, she said it was wrong of her to let me do that, and she wished she hadn't done it the previous year.  I can still remember not feeling comfortable in preschool when they invited 2 witches to our classroom, and I refused to participate in the activities.  I'll never forget that.

Now, as I grew up, things really seemed to change with Halloween.  I'm not saying there were not any ghoulish decor or costumes, but it was much less prevalent than it is today.  And there were not near the decorations nor Halloween specials that there are today.  All there was on TV was "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown."  Some of the other TV shows did little innocent celebrations, but it was not anything too offensive.

This year, the Halloween specials have seemed to rule the airwaves.  The Halloween ads seems to get more and more offensive. And I don't take my daughter trick-or-treating because it's not safe.  There are Halloween blow-ups, and some people have entire graveyard scenes in their front yard.  Adults wear racy costumes.  Little kids dress up like the scariest, most foul character possible.  Whatever happened to little kids being little kids rather than idolizing people like Lady GaGa and Lil Wayne?

I understand the origins of Halloween are pagan.  Yes, I get it.  There were a few years I refused to have anything to do with it.  But if I accept some of the pagan traditions of Christmas but don't carry it too far, I can't see the harm.  We have our own limits, and we still have some of the fun of the season.

My daughter is going to be a female pirate this year.  She already got to wear her costume once.

So that's my thought for the week.  So glad the weekend is almost here!

Dutch Doll Giveaway (closed)

Comment Number 6 won, and the winner has been contacted.

Aren't these cute?  I do collect dolls, and these are genuine Dutch dolls brought back by my grandmother, but alas, I have no room for them.  I think they speak for themselves.  I think they are made from plastic, and they have been preserved quite well.  With Christmas coming, this could be just the thing to give that doll collector or little girl in your life.

Now to the details.  First of all, this is open to anyone.  I will ship internationally. This contest is open from now until November 15 at 9:00 P.M. Pacific time.  I will verify each entry.  Make sure that you have your e-mail either accessible in your profile or listed with your comment entry.  Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

Here's how you entry.  Do as many or as few as you would like.

1.  Who would receive this set of dolls if you won?
2.  Follow my blog any way you like (GFC, e-mail, RSS)--one entry for each method.
3.  Friend me on facebook--or tell me you already do.  Leave your user name.
4.  Post my button on your blog.  Leave the url so I can verify it. (5 entries)
5.  Share this giveaway any way you like.  Leave any appropriate links if applicable.  1 entry per day.

Unlimited entries:  Yes, it is true.  I always do this with my giveaways and will as long as I can.  It has been fun to see who does it because some of you really do and leave some fantastic comments!

What country or countries have you visited? Where would you like to visit if given the chance and why?  What is your favorite place to visit?

Answer any or all of these questions.  You may enter as often as you like with these entries.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Well-Spoken Wednesday--Book Review of "For the King"

For the KingFor the King by Catherine Delors
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I knew  I would enjoy this book for the very reason that it is historical fiction, and I love historical fiction.  Especially historical fiction that is well-researched.

I was first taken in by this book because of the time period.  I have always been fascinated by the French Revolution, but I was not too familiar with what happened after the French Revolution in Paris.  Talk about it being the worst of times, maybe Charles Dickens should have written a book during that time period!  It was horrid!  I knew Napoleon was bad, but he made things worse than I imagined.

After the first few chapters, my interest waned.  Delors is a fantastic authoress, but for the second quarter of the book, I was not as enthralled.  I don't know why.  I guess I just didn't care so much about the characters.  Maybe the intrigue just didn't draw me in.

I remember that about a week ago, the plot took a twist that I wasn't expecting.  That is when I was so drawn to the book that I did not want to put it down.  I won't add any spoilers, but it concerns the character Blanche.  And as I read on, the plot become even more intriguing.  I now cared about what happened to Roch, the main character.  I did not know if the ending would be happy or sad or a mix of both.

The best part of the book for me was when Delors described the historical authenticity of the book.  Although she took artistic liberty, much of what she wrote was based on actual fact.  The event around which the book is centered really happened.  If you do decide to read the book, do not hesitate to read that section.  There is even a United States tie-in that I never would have guessed.

In conclusion, I would recommend this book to most people with a taste for historical fiction.  While I found a portion of it dry, the last half of the book made it very worth reading.  The sex scenes are not graphic, for the most part.  And profanity is very rare--I appreciated that.  I think Delors has the power to write in such a way that you feel as though you are transported back in time and are living the events of the lives of the characters right along with them.  Or at least you are watching from a safe spot close by.  While it is not the best book I have ever read, it is well worth your time.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Twilight Tuesday--Trusting God in Spite of "What It Looks Like"

Well, here we are again.  Tuesday.  The semi-dark post with a glimmer of hope.  As I was at work today, I racked my brain trying to think of what to write.  But, of course, God always has ways of bringing to me what I need to write about.  I came home, and it seems like all I have struggled with tonight is what I will write about.

I was talking with my friend, Martin, tonight.  He will be coming back to the States next week--a week from Thursday, to be exact.  At least I am not suffering panic attacks and the like this year.  I am ready to see him again, but I thankfully have a life and an outlet.

His friend is coming a few days later, and they are going off to the Grand Canyon.  He told me this last week, and my first thought was, "You idiot!  At this time of year??"  But no point in saying that.  You can't talk him out of anything.  No point trying.  He is one stubborn guy.  The other thing to consider in all this is that he has practically no money coming in.  He also wants to get about a thousand dollars worth of car repairs done before he leaves.  He is leaving with his friend for two reasons.  Yes, his friend wants to see the Grand Canyon, but Martin can't stand my dad.  That's a whole other story.

Well, tonight I was at least pleased to hear that Martin's friend was financing most of the trip.  I was disappointed they wouldn't be here for Veteran's Day since we all have the day off, but that's his choice.

As we continued talking, he made a statement that still annoys me.  He said that in six years he has not done anything with his life--his life has been on hold.  I disagreed vehemently, but of course, he didn't budge.  The thing I thought of immediately was me, then my daughter, and my mom.  It was hard to hear him say that since we have been a very integral part of his life these past six years.  I know he meant that his life has not been like he hoped it would be.  He hoped that by now he would have met a woman, got married, and settled permanently in the U.S.  Well, I'm sorry, but until he surrenders his life to God--like he really knows he should--he will not have the kind of life he wants.  God is trying to get his attention, and it may take a lot with a stubborn man like Martin.  I'm so glad God is so patient with mankind.

As I look at the situation, I am not happy.  Martin is not taking care of his finances as he should, and now he is not appreciating what he has.  It would be pretty easy to just say goodbye and forget everything. It is tempting.  But you know, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  As hard as it is, God is asking me to trust Him.  It is not up to me to figure everything out.  That's God's job.  I need to just let go, and let God.  That is a good, old line,  isn't it?

So in spite of "what it looks like," I will trust God to follow through on His promises.  The Bible says He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.  He says that with man this is impossible, but with God, nothing is impossible.  I hold onto those verses.  Plus the one that says that they that wait  on the Lord shall renew their strength.  They shall mount up with wings of eagles, they shall run and not be weary.  They shall walk and not faint.

So, God, it is up to You!  You work it out because I can't.  My job is to trust in You completely!  And indeed I shall!

On a different note, I used my first of four gift certificates for CSN stores. I got a meat slicer--I was pleased to find an inexpensive one with good reviews.  Once I get it and use it,  I'll be sure to review it.  They seem like a fantastic place, and I look forward to ordering from them again very soon.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Music Monday--Clay Walker Christmas CD Review

I know.  I should be reviewing Taylor Swift's new CD.  After all, she's my favorite singer, right?  And with all the buzz about it.  Later, I might.  Sorry, I didn't get it yet.  I pre-ordered it, but Amazon ran out of it.  Go figure!

Actually, I want to review the following the CD:
Now, I will tell you up front, I am not a real Clay Walker fan.  Or I wasn't.  I kind of liked his last single, "She Won't Be Lonely Long,"  but it was nothing really special for me.  He has a normal country sound, and I never saw him as someone worth listening to.

This summer, he was on Fox News, and my mom commented on how clean cut he was.  And she was right.  It was nice to  see a singer without tattoos and earrings.  And he did present himself well, I must say.

Well, somehow it got me to thinking.  And I noticed he had a Christmas album coming out.  There was no real promotion for it, but it looked like it might be good.  And it was cheap.  And I had some Amazon funds. So I bought it.  I pre-ordered it.

It arrived in late September, I think.  A little early for Christmas.  But I popped it in my car stereo, and I fell in love with it!  It was unbelievable.  The arrangements are well-orchestrated, and I like the choir back-up singers.  It has a nice mix of traditional and modern as well as secular and sacred.

He begins his album with "Silent Night/Away in a Manger."  The version is beautiful and simple.  It is a lovely way to begin the album.  He then goes on to sing a breathtaking version of "Mary, Did You Know?"  I have heard several versions of this, but this one really drew me in, especially when he spoke the lyrics at the end of the song.  It sent chills through me.  "O Come All Ye Faithful" was a real surprise because a country singer sang almost flawless Latin!  It is so nice to hear this.  I think his pronunciation of Latin follows a different school of pronunciation than I was taught, but I know there is more than one right way to pronounce Latin.  Then comes my daughter's favorite--"Go Tell It On the Mountain."  If it were up to here, she would play this one over and over and over and over--get the idea?  It is a very soulful version, and  it fits his voice very well.  He goes on to sing "I'll Be Home for Christmas."  Very simple, very heartfelt. The next songs "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Winter Wonderland," "Please Come Home For Christmas," "Frosty the Snowman," and "White Christmas" are just simple country versions of the song, but of course he sings them well.  Sometimes you would swear you were listening to Gene Autry or one of the old-time  singers.  It's a nice step back in time.  He ends with a very strong rendition of "Feliz Navidad."  A country singer who can sing in three languages?  That is something!

I definitely give this 5 stars.  I have come to really appreciate Clay Walker as a singer and as a person.  He has overcome a lot, including MS, and he is truly one who remained true to who he is.  Read about him here if you like.

I'm sorry there is no video for these songs.  I doubt there ever will be.  But if you want to here some clips, click here.  I highly recommend this CD.  I guess I already said that,  didn't I?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Solution Sunday--It's Not About What I Do

Okay, hold onto your hats--yep, I'm posting another spiritual thought.  God has truly been teaching me so much, and during church (really Sunday School), He yet again revealed something to me that I wasn't even thinking about.

When I first "fell in love" with my ex, I spent all my time trying to please him.  I was willing to do almost anything to be with him.  I ate four meals a day and gained a good ten pounds when I had not gained any weight that semester.  I even made myself sick one day when he was gone all day and I was supposed to go to a singing engagement with a girl's group.  I called in sick--I really thought I was.  It was all emotional, but I didn't know that till later.  I began studying in the library--me?  I never studied in the library.  I even got in trouble in the library, and it was all related to him.  They tried to throw me out.  I skipped class.  My goodness, I did a lot to get him to fall for me, didn't I?

And that is how I spent the next almost 10 years of my life.  I spent them trying to please him.  I did whatever he wanted.  Yes, I let him control me.  You see, before he came along, no guys except the scum of the earth ever showed an interest in me.  Paul made it very clear that his love for me was based on what I do, not who I was.  But in my naivety and ignorance, I thought that was normal.

And after all, why should I be surprised?  My relationship with my Heavenly Father was basically the same.  I felt that as a Christian, I had to do certain things.  Okay, so I didn't have to do anything to be saved.  That was the free gift.  But to keep God happy, I think I tended to buy into the idea that I needed to do this and this and that.  God would love me more if I did this or didn't do that.  And sometimes I tended to think that God was like Paul.  When I messed up, I think I tended to imagine that God would punish me somehow.

Proof of this feeling even shows up in recent times.  Satan tried to put me under condemnation even today as I was remembering how I was late to work this week.  Maybe God would remove me from that distirct, and I wouldn't be able to work there any more.  When I didn't get a teaching job last school year, I tended to think that this was God's way of punishing me for making a move back here to Washington state.  I sometimes still expect fire and brimstone when I forget to do my Bible reading (like I did yesterday).

When I was married to Paul, he never pointed out when I did something right (except in the bedroom, but even those were few and far between).  He waited for me to mess up, and he was the first to point out when I was wrong.  Even after I tried to break away from him, I still read book after book and was led to believe that if I did what Dr. Phil or Oprah said, I could fix my marriage.  And sometimes, it worked.  I can remember a day when Paul and I cried together and talked--really talked.  But that was it.  Pretty soon, the criticisms returned.

Now that I am out from under that bondage, I am fully willing to embrace the fact that it is only by God's grace that I can make it in this life as His child.  There is not one thing I can do without Him to please Him.  It is not about trying harder, but it is about being controlled by His Spirit.

Amazingly, it is my friend, Martin, who has taught me the most about this kind of unconditional love.  While he and I are not romantically involved, we love each other unconditionally and always have.  I can remember how often I used to worry that if I said the wrong thing or did the wrong thing, he would no longer be my friend.  After all, Paul was like that as were so many of my friends growing up.  Even God was, or so I thought.  There were so many times that I felt so far away from God because I continued to mess up.  And every time I tried harder, it just got worse.

The time that showed me just how much Martin loved me was a time back a couple years ago when we had such a sharp disagreement that I sent him a very nasty e-mail.  I was angry, and in I knew after I sent it that  I shouldn't have.  It was the worst day I ever had at work.  All I could do was think about how much I had hurt Martin and that he would stop being my friend.  Yes, it took some time to heal our friendship, but the thing that showed me exactly how much he loved me was that he picked me up from work.  He let me ride next to him in  the car.  And when I tried to apologize, he actually blamed himself more than anything.  Within a couple weeks, we were closer than we had ever been, and it was as if nothing had ever happened.

If that isn't a deep thought, I don't know what  is.  As I write this, I don't think I can even grasp everything I have written.  But what I do know is this.  Paul never loved me unconditionally in spite of everything.  He loved me for what I did, how I tried to please him, and how I would fit into his future plans.  He figured he could make me into the person he wanted me to be.  And I tried, but I just couldn't become that person.

Thankfully, the solution to all this is that God loves me for who I am in Him.  And, dear reader, you need to embrace this truth if you are God's child.  Don't do what I did for nearly 30 years.  Trust solely in God.  Let Him live through you!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sporadic Saturday--More Randomness!

Well, I'm at a loss today, so I think I'll just share some random links that have proved helpful to me.  I always like it when blogs do that, so here I go.

This is a site I saved long ago, and I forgot about it.   It looks really great.  Have you ever wondered how to do something?  Well you just might find it here.  It has all sorts of how-to videos.  It has a lot of Halloween ideas--some that I will say look gruesome, but there are some other great tips, too.  I don't know about you, but when I can watch a video of how to do something,  I usually do it better.  Oh, this is great!  I just did a search for html (something I know very little about!), and there are 1096 tutorials!  I need to check this site out more often.

I have used this one before.  Have you ever wondered what was going on locally?  Check out Goby!  Put in your location and what you want to do and when, and it will bring up what is going on in your area.  What I like is that it shows you things you would not normally think about like playgrounds and libraries.  Be sure to check it out!

This is a site I didn't really get into, but then I found it after I had lost most of my weight.  If you are going to lose weight, it is to your benefit to check out sites where you can track what you eat and your workouts.  I like the way this site is set up, and it is free.  I really like the exercises and workout plan.  What I say about losing weight is that everyone has to find what works for them.  If not this site,  be  sure to check out the loads of free sites out there that will help you lose weight.  It really does help.  I am living proof.

I have not really used this site--I forgot about it.  I'm famous for saving sites and forgetting about them.  Are you a single parent like I am?  This has all sorts of articles that might give you some good suggestions and advice.  This is an article I should have read when my daughter started asking about her father.  It looks like you might be able to send in questions, too.  So check it out.  I think I may just have to look at it a little more.  No, it  is not a Christian site, but sometimes there is good advice even on worldly sites.

Now, I really don't remember where I got this site.  It looks like an intriguing search engine. I just may have to play with it.  Okay, I like the say this works!  I think I'll use it the  next time I do a search.  I just signed up for an account with them.  I can't say I know a lot about it, but the searches really seem to make sense.  The results are organized well.  I love google, but sometimes I just can't find what I am looking for.  I'm going to try this site for a while, and I'll get back to you on how well it worked.

Okay, I hope you have found something valuable.  Don't forget to check out my giveaway page at the top left.   I hope to get some more giveaways as time goes on.  

By the way, I realize I never reviewed the "Legends of the Guardians."  Watch for it some time this week.  I'm sure you have already seen it, and if you haven't, it's probably because you don't have kids  or don't like that sort of film (or you waiting for it to come out on DVD--I don't blame you!).

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fortified Friday #5--Good Recipes!!

Last week's meals were great!  We have bought the Make It Fast, Cook It Slow in spite of any negative amazon reviews I read.  Don't believe everything you hear.  The only recipe we haven's tried yet is the Peking Pork.  The Bean Stew was fantastic--we added some ground beef to it,  and the flavor was superb!  And those rice krispies treats--they were so easy and even become somewhat caramelized.  I highly recommend the book.

This week, we had to recycle the Peking Pork Chop recipe because some family members are coming on Sunday for dinner, and this means we cook a roast.  Just so you know, my mom is actually the one who has been cooking the recipes.  I want to give her credit.  She appreciates my planning the meals out.  I love cooking,  but when one leaves at 6 in the morning and sometimes doesn't get back till nearly 5, it makes  things tough.  So we share the cooking.  It is imperative that I plan out easy meals.

So I will only be listing 3 meals and 1 dessert.  I did make an apple crisp one evening from the Fix-It and Enjoy-It! 5-Ingredient Recipes: Quick and Easy--for Stove-top and Oven!  I got this from the library, and I plan to use it  for meals soon.  We were very pleased with the apple crisp recipe.

The three recipes come from a magazine that I waited for a long time to place a subscription.  I am a Rachael Ray fan--always have been since I first heard of her and watched her 30-minute meals show.  I wanted her magazine, but I waited till I get could get it cheaply.  And I think  I got a year's subscription for about 5 dollars or so.  Not bad.  So from "Every Day With Rachael Ray" October 2010 issue:

Meal 1:  p. 130--Dripping Roast Beef Sandwiches with Melted Provolone, veggies, chips/fries

Meal 2:  p. 36 Fiery Penne, garlic bread, salad

Meal 3:  p. 81 Turkey Strudel, veggies

Dessert:  p. 29 Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Snack:  p. 54 Halloween Chex Mix  (I have to make this for my daughter!)

All right, there you are.  Pretty easy.  I'll let you know how it goes.  I love cooking Rachael Ray!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday--How God Has Been (and is) Changing Me

I don't know about you, but I am one of those people who likes to plan everything out--and I mean everything.  When I was a little girl, I had my life completely planned out.  And you know, it worked out for a while.  I got into music and was recognized for my talent.  High school was great.  Even college was good.  Getting married wasn't part of the plan, but it was interesting how I wanted to marry him, and I did.  Everything went along very well.

I remember the first time I realized not everything was going to work out as I planned.  I graduated from college, and I applied to a master's program.  I made the tape, and I sent it off to Illinois State.  I was certain they would want someone as musical as I.  It was not the absolute best recording, but I felt it was all right.

Imagine my shock the day they sent it back with a rejection letter--rejection me??  What was wrong with them?  And then the other university lost my information, and by the time they found it, it was really too late to consider going there.

As I cried, it was only a day or so later that my former pastor's wife called me and said that there was an available job--3 to be exact.  She had been teaching music, and she said that I might be able to take over.  She wasn't coming back.  I didn't want to teach, but...  To make a long story short, I worked at 2 of the places.  The other one didn't pan out.  But I gained valuable experience.

Then I was sure I would remain there.  I was ready to get going on becoming a full-fledged music teacher.  And my then husband said we were moving.  I got the job in Fort Worth over the phone.  Things were great.  Lots happened in that four years--some good, some bad.  I again learned so much.  

When I realized I had to move on because the school could not ask me back, God provided the ideal job yet again.  My then husband didn't believe I would get a job in the public school, but I did.  God continued to provide for my needs.  

Everything got messed up during my divorce.  And then I moved out here with my parents, didn't get a job--and when you think of  all that has happened, you would think God would finally get my attention and I would understand that in this life, I do not have to be in charge of everything!!

What I have noticed is that over the past couple weeks, God has been changing some of these old habits.  For example, today when I was late to work through no fault of my own, I didn't get upset like I did last year.  Last year when I was one hour late to a training, I was beside myself.  I was ready to completely give up.  When I was sent home on Tuesday due to scheduling error, I didn't get upset.  When I think of Martin coming back, I actually don't dread it.  Satan tried to get me thinking down the wrong path today, but I didn't.  In fact, there was a song I heard on the way home that really spoke to me.  Now, it has one word in it, I do not use, but the chorus is as follows:

You keep your heart above your head and you eyes wide open
So this world can't find a way to leave you cold
And know you're not the only ship out on the ocean
Save your strength for things that you can change
Forgive the ones you can't
You gotta let 'em go

Even God used that song in my life today.  And it's true.  Stop stewing about what didn't go right.  Stop trying to plan your whole life out.  Let God take hold of your life!  Amen!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Well-Spoken Wednesday: A-Z Wednesday (and a Giveaway!) (Closed)

Welcome to A-Z Wednesday!!

To join, here's all you have to do:

Go to your stack of books

Find an author whose first or last name starts with the letter of the week


1~ a photo of the book

2~ title and synopsis

3~ link(amazon, barnes and noble etc.)

4~ Come back to Reading At The Beach and leave your link in the comments.

If you've already reviewed the book, add it or the link to your post.

This week's letter is: "K"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Twilight Tuesday--Fighting a Cold

Well, I could have really gotten upset, but I didn't.  And it is only by the grace of God that I didn't.

I went off to my sub job today feeling all right but not fantastic.  I discovered at 1 in the morning that I came down with a cold.  But I didn't feel too horrible.  I went off to work, and of course, I ran into traffic.

I arrived, and it was clear they were a little ticked  I was late--oh well.  They told me where to go.  I headed to the  room, and  the teacher was there!  I called the office,  and they told me to come back.  Somehow this job was put into the  system although it was assigned to someone  else.  I should not have been able to pick up the job.  There was no job available in the district.  They apologized, and  back I went.  Home.

Now, I could have chosen to get upset-I could have.  After all it is a 45-minute drive to work.  But no problem. God knew.  And the first thing I thought was, "God knew  I needed to rest."  And I have rested.

While one may wonder why it happened, I really don't care.  I am taking tomorrow off,  too.  I haven't felt horrible.  Goodness, I would have gone to work if I had had a normal teaching job.

So in the midst of all this, what is the song I cling to? You know, I just feel like praising the Lord and knowing that He will work everything out in His own time.  If you are the twilight shadows awaiting His hand, cling to this truth:

Teaser Tuesday/Music Tuesday

I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone.  Yes, I'll make  my regular post soon for tonight, but I don't usually have time to do either of these because I am so busy.  I am suffering from a touch of a cold, so I have been home from work.  So here are  the two reader MEMEs for tonight.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
This is my current read.  My teaser:

p. 149
"Roch looked up when he heard the noise outside."
"He expected the wait to be short."

Now those seem really short as far as teasers go, but I followed the rules.  I am truly enjoying this book.

Now, the song I have chosen does go with the spirit of the book and it even matches the time  period--I just looked it up.  "Do You Hear the People Sing?" from Les Miserables is from  the same general time period as this book--post-Revolutionary France.  I have never had the privilege of watching the musical live, but I have seen it on video.

I will post the video below this.  And the lyrics are on the video itself.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Music Monday--Quick Tonight and a Song to Match

As I was thinking about tonight's post--and I am very tired tonight--I got a song  stuck in my head I hadn't thought of in years.  And I just might list a few songs from this musical.  Did anyone ever see the old Disney movie Babes in Toyland?
  It stars Ray Bolger, Annette Funicello (oh, don't you love her?), Tommy Sands, Ed Wynn, and more than I can remember right now.  Sounds crazy, but this is six and a half minutes into this particular video.  I was somehow thinking of the line  the children sing:  "Hurry, hurry, hurry till we're done."

Here's the sweet love  song between Annette and Tommy.  Aren't they sweet?

Yes, I know this version is a far cry from  what it should be (Victor Herbert's operetta), I still love it, and it has  been ages since I  have seen it.  I should certainly request it from the library.  I don't  know if my daughter has seen it.

By the way, be sure to check out my giveaways. I did add a bonus entry for a few of them.  And  by the way, I did really, really well on my organizational tasks.  I repaired my jewelry and threw away jewelry I didn't want to repair.  Keep on watching.  I hope to get some more giveaways going.  You never know what I might do next!  And I think my next goal is 200 followers.  We are at  112 right now.  So let's not lose the momentum!

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. Rules are simple. Leave ONLY the actual post link here and grab the code below and place it at your blog entry. You can grab this code at LadyJava's Lounge Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.  

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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list...

PS: Because of spamming purposes, the linky will be closed on Thursday of each week at midnight, Malaysian Time. Thank you!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Solution Sunday--NeilMed Sinus Rinse Review

I don't know about you, but I have pretty severe allergies at times.  In fact, most of my colds throughout the years have begun as a result of allergies.  I just didn't know that as I was growing up.

I have taken my share of product over the years.  I was addicted to over-the-counter nasal sprays when I was a teenager--I didn't know any better.  They put me on a prescription nasal spray.   I took my share of Sudafed, Comtrex, Benadryl and Actifed (those two are the only ones that would just knock me out!).  But nothing was long-lasting.

I took Zyrtec-D, and it was finally able to get relief.  But even with this medicine, I still struggled at times.  There used to be an allergy month, then an allergy season, and now it is  year-round allergies.  Sometimes I had to take another product for a couple days when Zyrtec stopped working.

Several years ago, my P.E. coach friend at school introduced me to a great product--NeilMed Sinus Rinse.  She highly recommended it, so  I got on, and I ordered it at once.  Yes, it worked, but I decided to only use it as a last resort.  It was easy enough to fill up the bottle, but I did not exactly like squirting the stuff up my nose.  And once my ears got clogged, I couldn't use it any longer, per the directions. You have to have clear ears to use it.

Well, my allergies have gotten worse since moving out to the country.  I cannot skip a dose of Zyrtec-D, and it just seems that no matter what I  do, I still get such bad allergies.  So I decided to do my own little experiment this summer.  I began by using NeilMed Sinus Rinse every night.  I had done a lot of reading about it, and I thought it just might help.  And it did!  And then I increased the use to twice a day since I read that was recommended.  In fact, the doctor on Sunday morning on Fox News that does a health segment said he used nasal rinses twice a day for the past year and had not gotten a single cold.

I am a teacher, and with being a substitute teacher, I am not generally exposed to the same students.  I go all over the place, and I often come in contact with students who are sick and should have stayed home.  While I do all I can--I had a flu shot, I wash my hands, etc.--I know the possibility exists that I could get sick.  But I am not!  Of course, I may, but I have noticed that my singing voice (I am a music teacher who majored in voice) is stronger than it ever has been.  I rarely need a Kleenex throughout the day.

I know that some may argue with me.  There are studies that show people got sick  more as a result of the sinus rinse.  But I have to say I am sold.  It has become a normal part of my routine.  And I am really quick about it now.

Here is the procedure I follow:
I put filtered water in the plastic bottle.  I fill it up to the line, and I put it in the microwave for 25 seconds.  You do not want to get it too hot.  I did that the other day, and it is wicked!  I had to dump it out.  I then put the contents of the packet into the bottle. I put the top on the bottle, hold my finger over the hole in top, and shake the bottle.  I always get at least 1-2 Kleenexes and set them next to me on the counter.

Then  comes the yucky part, but I have gotten very proficient at it.  You put the top of the lid where the hole is below one of your nostrils.  Make sure you are standing over a sink.  I squeeze the bottle, open my mouth, and let the salted water flow into my nostril.  Yes, sometimes the water goes into my throat, and then I feel like throwing up.  But I have gotten much better as time has gone  on.  I use about half the bottle on each sinus.  I blow my nose as needed.  And my sinuses feel so clear!  I then wash the bottle out, and  I use soap on the top of the bottle about once a day.  It says to replace the bottle every 90 days, and I kind  of follow that.  You can tell when it's time to replace it.

The only part I really get tired of is that when I bend over or exercise within an hour after using the rinse, everything comes out!  It is really gross when this happens, so be prepared.  But this has even minimized over  time.  Your sinuses do adapt.  The only problems I have ever had are burning sinuses if I don't do it just right and sometimes a minor sore on the outside of the nose--but that only happened right at  the beginning of the regimen.  It has not recurred.  There are other  products that you can use, but I got to try the NetiPot, and I hated it.  Everybody is different.

So, if you are interested, you should be able  to buy this  product just about anywhere.  Costco is the best deal, I think, but it has certainly come  down in price.  And I feel the  product is worth it!

By the way, NeilMed does not even know I am reviewing this.  I am going to submit this review to them, but it is not done with the thought of getting anything  out of them.  This review is my honest opinion with no financial or material reimbursement.

A Baby Shower Giveaway (closed)

All right, I know I have my big giveaway going right now, but I thought I would go ahead and get this one going, too.  This was supposed to be for a baby shower that never happened.  I know I could hold onto the stuff, but I don't know when I might get invited to a baby shower again, and we just don't have room.  So here goes.

Comment 7 won and has been contacted.  Thanks!

You will probably notice these are not the best pictures--I suppose I'm being a little lazy today.  But know that all these products are new.  Because of the outfit, this is definitely a package for a little girl.  The outfit consists of an 18 month size 123Kids brand tank top and hat in green with pink ruffles and the alphabet--I think you can see that in the picture.  The other items are Safety 1st baby nail clippers, Giggle Guide to Baby Gear

and a cloth book about me with a few pages to write and put a photo on the book.  It would be so cute for a baby to look through this book because it is virtually indestructible.

So indeed, my loss is your gain.  Here's how we will work this giveaway.  All you need to do is leave a comment with your e-mail saying you would like this gift package.  However, if you want unlimited entries (maybe you have a baby shower you will be going to next month or a new baby on the way for Christmas!), all you need to do is post books and products that you would recommend for new parents with little babies.  Maybe you even have some advice.  Anything like that is acceptable.  And you may enter as many as you like.  Just make sure each time you put it in a separate comment.  I tell you, I have learned so much already from the recipes and the products you have listed on my current giveaways.  I love the unlimited entries option.  This giveaway will close on Monday, November 1 at 9:00 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, so be sure you get your entries in by then!  It will give me great joy to know that this prize package can be used by someone rather than just sitting around getting dusty and old.  Best of wishes to all!

Bonus Entry:  Add my button to your blog for an extra 2 entries.  List the link so I can check it out.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sporadic Saturday--Show Time

Joyce of From This Side of the Pond  had an interesting post that she got from facebook.  So here I am--thought this might be fun.

Okay, here are the 'rules'- Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen movies you've seen that will stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes. I'd love to see your list can post it on your blog or in the comments here or on facebook.

1. The Sound of Music
2.  Fiddler on the Roof
3.  The King and I
4.  The Notebook
5.  Amistad
6.  The Blind Side
7.  Mr. Holland's Opus
8.  Dead Poet's Society
9.  Stand and Deliver
10. Singin' in the Rain
11. Hello Dolly
12. Funny Girl
13. The Phantom of the Opera
14. It's a Wonderful Life
15. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

I actually picked a few I didn't think I would.  I think I would.  Interesting.  

Sporadic Saturday--I've Been Tagged!

Debra over at Footprints in the Butter was tagged this week, and I definitely want to respond since she tagged me.  Be sure to check out her blog--it is fantastic!  It has been one of my favorites since I began blogging.

  1. What type of gifts do you prefer to give?  Do you prefer home-made, gift certificates, store-bought, etc? It all depends on the person to whom I am giving the gift.  If I know the person well, I prefer to buy them something special.  I love making things, but I don't always have the time.  Gift cards are easier, but they don't normally show the same thought and planning on my part.
  2. What type of gifts do you prefer to receive? You know, I can't really say I have a preference.  It depends on the person giving me the gift.  It is always neat to get a handmade gift--I suppose I treasure them more sometimes, but the main thing is that I want a gift that someone has actually given after putting some thought into it.    
  3. Do you stock a gift closet, or box, and purchase gifts throughout the year? I do a little bit of both.  I try to stock a gift box to a degree, but I have to make sure I don't forget where I stashed it and what I already bought.
  4. What is your favorite type of music?  Do you have one?  I have much more eclectic taste than I used to, but my favorite music is musical theatre soundtracks.  It is followed closely by country.  I like light rock and pop.  I also  like oldies--especially easy listening oldies.  I like classical.  I really don't like rap/hip hop.
  5. Do you like chick-flicks, or not? Sometimes.  It all depends.  I prefer movies with good acting, good storyline, and family-friendly is always nice.
  6. Do you have a hobby?  Do you make time for it regularly?  Reading is probably my hobby.  As well as blogging, surfing the internet, and that is probably it.  I used to do crafts, but I admit that when my daughter came along, I just ran out of time for that.
  7. What is your favorite thing about where you live?  Every place has its pros and cons.  What are the “pros” about where you live?  Easy.  We live in the country on five acres.  We have gorgeous scenery--Mt. Rainier is just outside.  We don't have to fight traffic, and my daughter has lots of space to run.
  8. What is your favorite kids cartoon movie? "Beauty and the Beast." 
  9. How did you decide to Homeschool?  Sorry, I don't homeschool.  I wanted to, but I am in a different position right now.  I am a single mother, and my daughter blossoms at her school.  I think she and I would drive each other crazy if I homeschooled.
  10. What is something about you most people would be surprised to know?  I have written several unpublished books.  
  11. What is your favorite praise and worship song?  "Shout to the Lord"
  12. If you had no children and homeschooling wasn't necessary, what would your dream job be?  I would be a Broadway musical theatre star.  I really don't mind that that dream never came about.  I am pretty satisfied even as a substitute teacher.
  13. What book(s) are you currently reading?  For the King  by Catherine Delors
  14. How has Jesus changed you? Too much to answer in a short space.  Here's what I know.  Jesus has changed me completely into a new creature.  I am not who I was, and He continues to mold me into His image.
  15. How would you like to be remembered by your children?  I hope my daughter remembers me as being a mom who instilled the love of God in her at an early age.  I hope she will remember that I loved her, and that she could tell me anything.
  16. How will your children likely remember you? She will probably remember all the times I yelled at her. She will probably remember how I cried over many things and how I often had to miss her things at school because of my job.  Hopefully she will understand and realize that I was only human.  
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