Friday, November 19, 2010

Book Tour: Follow

A problem that I see often that really bothers me, is that so many Christians base their faith on Church. While Church is not a bad thing, it is meant to be a place where people go to worship together, and to support one another in our walks with God. However, many people miss the boat on this. Instead of growing our relationship with Jesus, people go to grow their relationships socially with other people. People get wrapped up in Church politics and social functions, and sometimes lose the light of where their focus should be. I love the way that this book encourages through example how liberating relationships with Christ can be, and I hope that it helps just one person change their focus and grow their own relationship.

Follow begins by sharing McClung’s own personal story of how he was set free from a life of religious tradition to enjoy one of relationship with Jesus. This liberating experience caused McClung to realize the importance of changing the focus of life from ourselves to Jesus and led him to form outward-looking communities of disciples. “Rather than setting out a list of rules that put people in bondage to religious legalism, we should be offering unbelievers and believers alike a Jesus-focused invitation to find one’s identity and life shaped by the kingdom Jesus came to establish here on earth,” says McClung. By using stories and Scriptural examples, McClung reveals the freedom that comes from living our lives the way God intended and provides an intelligible path toward total Lordship—without condescending into religiosity. 

Follow’s message is centered upon the practical, personal areas of believers’ lives that must be examined and transformed so that they are able to love Jesus, love each other within the body of Christ, and love others currently on the outside. While addressing topics such as obedience, identity, significance, church, sexuality, marriage, work, humility, faith, prayer, witness, sacrifice, and simplifying church life, McClung seeks to answer the question, “How are we to think and live day to day as followers of Jesus?” Each chapter ends with questions for group discussion and some practical steps of application. 

Offering a fresh injection of spiritual adrenaline into mediocre attempts at following Christ, Follow teaches readers how to be on mission with God in His world, free from the world’s attempts to domesticate and tame what it means to follow the wild, untamable Jesus. “We must constantly return to Jesus as our source and our example for how to live life and how to do church together,” McClung believes. “Studying His life, spending time in His presence, seeking to be filled with His Spirit, and fulfilling His mission with others in community—this is how we are to experience life as Jesus intended it.”

About the Author: Floyd McClung is the founder and director of All Nations, an international leadership training and church planting network that partners with local churches to send short-term and long-term church planting teams to more than 30 different countries. Floyd has spoken on more than 100 university campuses and has traveled to 187 countries. He is the author of fourteen books, including the best-selling books The Father Heart of God and Living on the Devil’s Doorstep, that have had a profound influence around the world and have inspired new generations to take risks in both outreach and service. Follow will serve as a catalyst for church growth at the local level—growth in both depth and size. The McClungs live in Cape Town, South Africa where they lead a training and outreach community that equips church planters to work among the poor and unreached in Africa and Asia. 

David C Cook/September 1, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4347-0192-3/254 pages/trade paperback/$14.99

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Homeless in Need

Back when we lived in TN, I worked in the banking industry, in the downtown Memphis area. One of the major issues you encounter when working downtown is homeless people. There are signs around asking you not to give panhandlers or homeless individuals money. Some of the homeless shelters "sell" cards that you can buy and handout ensuring the recipient a meal and a bed for a night. This is a program with excellent intentions, as I have seen on multiple occasions, murder scenes outside the bank I worked at, where homeless people were killed when being robbed. Some people aren't comfortable giving money for fear that it will be used for drugs or alcohol, and in some cases that is true, but robbery is probably the largest threat. It is very sad and upsetting to see these scenes and people walking by as if it is just the norm, because it happens so often.

With that said, there is also a huge issue with homeless shelter management. It is on the news frequently across America that especially in this economic situation that donations are down and shelters are in trouble. However, even several years ago when we were in Memphis, the management would be on the news because they were in danger of having their utilities turned off and other dire circumstances. This has not changed, and is not different in Oklahoma. Many people are not inclined to purchase these "gift cards" from a shelter that is in financial crisis itself.

Sunday morning when I was reading the paper, I saw an article in the paper about how the director of one of the primary shelters here, The Jesus House, had to take a huge pay cut to allow the shelter to stay open. This shelter has been in the news frequently due to financial mismanagement, and the accusations are quite frankly appalling. The board ultimately kept the current director on staff, despite the allegations, yet cut her pay from $177,940 to $80,000 and cut her son's (Asst Executive Director) by 10 % to $45,592. I am disgusted that the salary for these positions is so high, even after the cuts. It's not that I think they should work for free, but if you are working to help people who have nothing, and are in danger of losing the shelter because you can't pay the electric bill, you should be ashamed that you can take home a paycheck of such a large amount. I cannot fathom on a moral level, how these salaries were not capped. It is my understanding that they get a base salary, and then take home a percentage of donations brought in. This job is one that obviously requires a passion for helping those in need, and in my opinion, that passion should be your fuel for fund-raising, not the percentage that you get to take home. Also, volunteers and employees should not be allowed to take "loans" from donations. Ever. For any reason. If you need a loan, go through proper channels to get one, do not take money intended for food or shelter for someone in need.

While I do think it is our responsibility to help out those less fortunate in a time of need, I am very careful about where we donate, and I do thorough research. I once attended a board meeting for a Boys and Girls Club fundraiser, where we were raising money to provide free lunches to a local school. Previously they had donated 75% of funds raised to the school and kept 25% for the organization for overhead costs. When I saw the numbers though, I raised questions. The anticipated 25% was well above the cost of running this particular chapter for an ENTIRE YEAR, and they had other fundraisers throughout the year where the same thing happened. I argued my point, and insisted that only a specific amount of the money raised from the project I was participating in be kept for the organization, and the remainder go to the school so that more kids could eat. We ended up donating 97% of what was raised. People CANNOT just sit back and let things go on as they have in the past, just because it is easier, and less confrontational. Doing the right thing is not always the easiest, but it is your responsibility.

Just this week with Thanksgiving approaching, there are so many news stories and blog articles about donating food for the holiday to shelters that do not have the money or food on hand to feed the number of people they are anticipating this year. Can you imagine how much food can be bought with the near ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLAR pay cut that one director alone took. That is a ton of turkey and dressing. What if everyone who took the Sunday paper redeemed the coupons in the paper and combined them with sales to get canned vegetables for $0.10 per can and donated them to a shelter. How many people would that feed. Sparing one dollar would get 10 cans of vegetables, and feed about 40 people.

I donate extra food and household goods that I get when doing my deals at the drugstores, to food pantries or to a different shelter supported heavily by our pediatrician. She donates her services for FREE and accepts these items, as well as children's clothes and toys, and she takes them to the shelter. I do not donate cash to these organizations. If I have extra cash or a gift card I have gotten, that I am able to donate, I prefer to donate anonymously to a person that I know has a need. As individuals, we may not be able to help everyone, but you can help someone.

Monday, November 15, 2010


I was very fortunate to be selected to share with you my love for Cottonelle and their Moist Wipes. Most of you know that I have three small boys. Boys who are too old for diapers. However, dry toilet paper is jut not sufficient for their delicate needs. We have used flushable moist wipes exclusively in their bathroom since they were potty trained. In fact, if you ever visit our house, you might want to check to see if there is any dry toilet paper in the guest bath before you go in. Often I forget to put it in there. I don't leave it in regularly because I mentioned I have boys, and a certain 5 year old has been known to cause plumbing problems with dry toilet paper.

Whenever I have a friend talking about potty training, I always mention flushable moist wipes. They are a tad more expensive than dry paper, until you factor in the quantity a child will use, and the plumbing repair bills they will create. Trust me, it will save you money in the long run! I'd also like to share with you a link to get more information on this product, as well as a funny video, and other Cottonelle information at: www.getfre​shwithafri​ Also, they sent me a really cool EasyReach hanger with my product sample that I LOVE! It attached to the wall with 3M Command strips that don't ruin the wall, and makes it so much more convenient for the kids to access. SO MUCH better than them throwing the package all over the place!
"I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of the Cottonelle brand and received a sample to facilitate my candid review. In addition, I received a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Frugal Friday

I got some deals in my email this week I thought you might be interested in:




I hope you enjoy them!

International Girls Day

This Saturday, several chapters of my sorority, Kappa Delta, will be joining together and hosting an International Girls Day Event in Memphis. These girls have worked very hard to plan this event, and even won a grant to help cover the costs, so that the event can be FREE to the public.

The event is THIS SATURDAY from 1pm to 5 pm at the Memphis Botanic Garden. There will be several special guests and key note speakers, including Miss Memphis. One of the organizations that we sponsor as a philanthropy is The Girl Scout Council. They are expecting tons of children and girl scouts to attend. There will also be a petting zoo and many vendor booths.

I will not be able to attend the event because I live so far away, but I wanted to invite all the women and girls I know to attend. I know that the Union Homecoming is also this weekend, and several of you will be there, but if you are going to be in Memphis this weekend, I hope you will stop by and help celebrate this event with some other amazing women!

The cost is FREE!!
THIS SATURDAY November 13th
Memphis Botanic Garden
750 Cherry Road
Memphis, TN 38117

Nature Made Review and Giveaway

When you are pregnant, one of the most important things you can do for your baby is to eat a healthy diet, and to take a daily Prenatal Vitamin to ensure that your growing angel gets all of the nutrients they require. So many people in this economy are without insurance, or cannot afford the copay for prescription prenatal vitamins. Nature Made Vitamins are a quality product from a reliable company, and they sell their Prenatal Vitamin over the counter at an affordable cost. It includes the necessary nutrients such as DHA, which plays an important role in brain and retina development during fetal development and infancy, and is passed directly from the mother to the baby. I take Nature Made Vitamins personally, upon the recommendation of my primary care doctor, so I felt that this product line was a great review match for me to share with you. I have taken their products for years, and can tell a difference in the way that I feel if I miss a day. If you are not pregnant or nursing, their other multi-vitamin products are excellent as well.

Nature Made provided this additional information on this product:

Product Information:
  • Nature Made was the first OTC brand to launch a Prenatal Multivitamin with 200mg DHA in one single softgel so that expecting moms/nursing moms would only have to take 1 softgel per day.
  • One softgel offers:
    • 200mg DHA
    • 800mg Folic Acid
    • Vitamins A,C,D and Zinc
    • Iron
    • B – Complex (Vitamins B6, B12)
    • EPA/DHA, Niacin

What is DHA?

DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that plays an important role in brain development, especially during the critical period of fetal development and infancy. DHA is transferred directly from the mother to the fetus during brain and retina development or to the infants through breastfeeding.  Recommended DHA dose is 200-300 mg/day.

What is Folic Acid?

Folic acid, sometimes called folate, is a B vitamin (B9) found mostly in leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach, orange juice, and enriched grains. Repeated studies have shown that women who get 400 micrograms or more (0.4 milligrams) daily prior to conception and during early pregnancy may reduce the risk that their baby will be born with a serious neural tube defect (a birth defect involving incomplete development of the brain and spinal cord) by up to 70%.

How do the the vitamins, iron, etc. play a part in my overall health?

Vitamins A, C, D & Zinc –  Support Immune System Health

Iron – Supports Blood Cell Production

B – Complex (Vitamins B6, B12) – Supports Energy Metabolism

EPA/DHA, Niacin – Support Heart and Circulatory Health

Nature Made has graciously offered a giveaway of one Prenatal gift pack for one of my  readers. The giveaway gift pack includes a 9 month supply of Nature Made Prenatal Multivitamin with DHA, two 2-packs of cloth diapers and a "Just for Baby" food processor. To enter, simply fill out the form below with your contact information. You may ENTER ONCE PER DAY. This contest will end at midnight CST on 11/17/2010. The following morning I will select a winner, and forward the contact information to the company so that they may send you your prize.


"I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central on behalf of Nature Made and received the products necessary to facilitate my review and giveaway.”

Tapestry Productions

I am joining with B&B Media to help promote Tapestry Productions beautiful artwork. My favorite piece, A Mother's Love is pictured above. If you are looking for a unique gift this holiday season, I urge you to visit their website and take a look around. These items are available framed and unframed.

Are you looking for a special gift to give this Christmas?

There is no gift more special and meaningful than the gift of the Gospel. Tapestry Productions Inc. (TPI) realizes this, and each work of art from the artists they represent is created for the sole purpose of communicating the Gospel message and the love and forgiveness of God with unapologetic boldness to a visual and greatly hurting world.

What would it have been like to hold the infant Jesus, the incarnation of God, for the very first time? Would you be forever changed to have been present at the Crucifixion? The stunning and heart-transforming artwork of award-winning artist Ron DiCianni (Tapestry Productions’ featured artist) is bringing these very images to life before the eyes of viewers across the globe and the life-changing impact is undeniable.

In the WildernessSpiritual WarfareThe Cross

Through fine art reproductions, Christian artwork, biblical prints, calendars, and books of the highest quality, TPI is ministering to families, individuals, and churches with the Gospel of Jesus Christ—a message that Christ lived, died that we may know redemption, and will return, and that this truth impacts our lives every day—all in visual form. Each work is of the highest artistic quality and skill but is intended for purposes far beyond decoration. Rather, every piece of exquisite art uses arguably the most powerful medium of communication—the visual—to tell the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world, transcending cultures, languages, backgrounds, and denominations like no other form of media can.

TPI artist Ron DiCianni has focused his career for the past twenty years on the Gospel message. While some may not immediately recognize the name, they do recognize his art. Others see his awe-inspiring pieces and are surprised that they have not encountered them before. The powerful images evoke so great an emotion that those who view DiCianni’s pieces do not simply want a reproduction; they suddenly recognize that they need it in order to share with others. Tapestry believes that a print sold is a life touched and their goal is to create an awareness of their art so that more lives can be touched by the Gospel message.

Description of Simeon’s Moment:

To hold the Son of God in your arms has to be an awesome experience! For Simeon it was indeed the moment of a lifetime as it showed the fulfillment of God’s promise to him and to the world. Simeon’s Moment speaks to the joy and elation that Simeon must have felt at seeing that prophecy fulfilled. As the Michael Card song so beautifully describes in words and this painting so powerfully displays, this is the moment that Simeon had lived his life for. Luke 2:21-35

Book Tour: The Life Book

This is an amazing movement to reach teenagers and help bring them in contact with God's Word. There is a link at the bottom of this information piece with a link to the Life Book website, where you can get additional information on how to help spread the movement, get a free pdf copy of the book, or send a copy of the book to a friend. If you know someone with the passion and desire to start a movement in your area, there is a link for them to fill out on the site as well. Enjoy!

Bible Smuggling 101
Legally Saturating High Schools with God’s Word
In today’s divisive culture-war society, when news stories about separation of church and state thrive with controversy, one cutting-edge Christian ministry is having remarkable success spreading the Word of God. What makes it remarkable? They are doing it by distributing Bibles in public schools—legally.

Carl Blunt is the president and CEO of The Life Book Movement, a Christian mission centered on Blunt’s own contemporary, youth-oriented edition of a portion of the Bible called The Life Book, a unique presentation of Scripture designed to engage high school students with the truth of God’s Word. The Life Book presents a brief overview of the Old Testament and the Book of John using an interactive format with honest student comments and real-life questions in the margins. Readers are drawn into the only story that can change their lives forever. 

thelifebookFounded by The Gideons International as an innovative strategy to reach high school students with God’s Word, The Life Book Movement works in collaboration with churches throughout the country to provide the books for free to high school students. Blunt’s organization brilliantly threads a separation-of-church-and-state loophole by getting his publication into the hands of Christian high school students and having them pass the books out to classmates at school—a practice that is entirely legal, as long as the books are not distributed by school staff or other adults. Blunt says, “It’s like we’re helping students smuggle God’s Word into a closed country (public high schools) to reach an unreached people group because studies show that only 4% of today’s teenagers are Bible-believing Christians.” The goal is to ensure that every student in every high school in the United States has an opportunity to receive the gift of The Life Book. This approach presents a phenomenal opportunity to impact a generation with the good news of Jesus Christ. 

The Life Book Movement is best described to students as a week-long mission trip to their local high school. Local churches work together in targeted areas to ensure The Life Book is offered to every student in each chosen high school. All churches involved receive the books at no cost from The Life Book Movement and provide the books, along with some evangelism training, to the students in their youth groups. The students then spend a week passing them out to their friends and classmates at school. One student who received the book said, “I got one today. I read it in almost every class today. I like it. It’s pretty neat and other people asked to look at it and then asked where to get one.” 

Flying under the radar since its inception last fall, The Life Book Movement is rapidly closing in on distribution of more than 300,000 copies in public high schools across 21 states and even the British Virgin Islands. A quiet success, indeed, but extremely ambitious, The Life Book Movement has an ultimate goal of distributing The Life Book to nearly 18 million high school students when all is said and done. And, so far, the outlook is extremely promising.

Become a fan at and follow the movement at

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Working Woman Blog Tour and Giveaway Info

While I may be a stay at home mom (attempting to do minor non-home related work on the side) who does not go to a job outside of our home, I did have a career previously. Working outside the home and going to an office full of co-workers definitely has its pros and cons. One of the largest cons is all of the gossip and politics that must be dealt with on a daily basis, and if you are in management, acting as a peacekeeper. It can be very difficult to maneuver professional relationships. Often you become close to your coworkers, but there are very fine lines that have to be drawn to keep the business relationship non-personal. I have had to fire someone I liked on a personal level because they were just in the wrong profession. They were a great person, just bad at their job. Likewise, I have also worked with people who had amazing job performances, but were not people whose company I enjoyed on a more personal level. These things go both ways, but often contribute to the office gossip pool. I'd like to share with you an article Gossip In The Workplace, that you can download. It is full of wonderful tips and ideas on navigating this treacherous route!

Rosemary Flaaten has written an excellent book on helping women navigate their 9 to 5 working relationships. The summary:
For most people, the workplace is their home-away-from-home. We spend most of our waking hours with coworkers and employers. No blood relation, but yet we must build healthy relationships with them if we hope to excel at our work and enjoy our careers. Just like families, our work families are disturbed by dysfunctional issues. Interactions at work are often anything but ideal, let alone godly.

We find someone to vent about the grumpy boss, that arrogant team member, the lazy coworker who gets by doing nothing, and the undermining woman who makes our lives miserable. Yes, it’s easy to blame them for our workplace woes—but it’s better to look inward at what we have control to change.

A Woman and Her Workplace shows how God can perform a deep heart transformation within us so His love flows through us to the people in our workplaces. By delving into the issues that wreak havoc on our workplace relationships, author Rosemary Flaaten provides readers the help they need to develop and apply strong biblical principles of humility, integrity, forgiveness, grace, and celebration in the workplace.

Through discussing relationships such as boss to staff, woman to man, woman to woman, and teamwork, Rosemary guides women to develop healthy interactions in their workplaces. It makes sense to invest some effort into the relationships where we spend the lion’s share of our waking hours. This book isn’t just for women, though. Men find the book gives them insight into how to make the best of their working relationships with the opposite sex in their offices.

Author Bio:
ROSEMARY FLAATEN’S successful book, A Woman and Her Relationships helps women process their outside-of-work relationships, so now she’s delving into these 9-5 relationships. She writes from a fully equipped life-experience toolkit. In it we find her varied work experience, a counseling and educational background, and a deep love for God as well as a passion to help others. Her Relationships book won The Word Guild Award, which is Canada's top Christian literary honor. A dynamic speaker—Rosemary challenges women of all professions to view their work as a calling and their workplaces as opportunities to live out Christ’s love. Rosemary lives with her husband and three children in Calgary, Canada.

Kathy Carlton Willis Communications and Rosemary Flaaten have teamed together for this tour, and are offering a wonderful giveaway of the above pictured items, which include:
  • An autographed copy of
    A Woman and Her Workplace
  • Hard cover journal
  • 40 piece stationary set
  • Handbag styled refillable note dispenser
  • Photo frame
  • Stainless steel travel mug
  • Mini stapler, pen, pencil and highlighter

Contest Details:
To enter this contest, just leave a comment (including contact information if you win) on this blog post by 7am CST on Friday November 19, 2011. That morning, I will be drawing one name, and forwarding it to Kathy Carlton Willis Communications. They will combine one name from each participating blog tour and will draw from them to select the Grand Prize Winner on November 22, 2010. All blog tour participants will be notified of who the winner is. The blog tour participant will contact the winning commenter and then forward their information to the company to work out the delivery details.

***I received a complementary copy of this book for promotional information purposes only. All opinions expressed are 100% mine.***


I have been reading all the fascinating posts from my Canadian blogging friends that were fortunate to be able to attend the most recent BlissDom Conference that was held in Canada. This is such an amazing conference that is full of blogging educational workshops, and networking opportunities. The next BlissDom Conference is scheduled to be held in Nashville, TN Jan 26-29, 2011. This is just up the road from where all of my friends and family live, but quite a distance from Oklahoma.

If you have not heard of BlissDom,  it offers workshops on how to effectively manage all of your social networks as a blogger, writing workshops, brand partnerships, and personal strategy. Blogging is a platform that can be a legitimate work at home opportunity for moms, that is as big or small as you allow it to be. As the seasons of our lives change, so does the atmosphere of our blogs. While I know the basics of how to manage my blog here on the Blogger platform, I am no expert on adding any features not included in my design. I would love to attend a workshop, and see first hand how to make some minor changes to improve the look and functionality. I also know that if I want to be able to bring to you some of the larger product giveaways and other brand related features, that I need to be able to go to a conference and meet with reps from these companies and PR firms, and develop a network of professional relationships.

While I would love to be able to attend this conference, I just cannot justify the expense right now. The early bird registration fee is $349 alone, plus the cost of travel and hotel. However, One 2 One Network is graciously holding a contest to pay for THREE people to attend the Conference. While winning the Grand Prize would certainly make things the easiest for me to attend, the distance is drivable for me, and I am sure that I have a friend or two in Nashville that would let me sleep on their couch if I didn't win the hotel package (haha, LOL).

As of right now, there are about 700 entries into the contest, and it just started yesterday! To up my chances, I am entering each of the entry methods, because I know I can't win if I don't enter;) If you would also like to enter to win a chance to attend BlissDom, I have pasted the contest information below.

GRAND Prize: Full conference pass (includes Wisdom Workshops), 3 nights at the Opryland Hotel, AND airfare/travel to the conference (up to $500)!!! A $1500 value!
FIRST Prize: Full conference pass (includes Wisdom Workshops), 2 nights at the Opryland Hotel!! An $800 value!
SECOND Prize: Full conference pass (includes Wisdom Workshops) A $500 value!
To be ELIGIBLE to enter:
(Eligibility requirements will be verified before prizes are awarded.)
To ENTER the contest:
Leave a comment telling us what you hope to learn at BlissDom ’11.
For ADDITIONAL entries:
  1. Tweet the contest: I want to go to #blissdom with @One2OneNetwork!
    Leave a separate comment with the URL to the tweet.
  2. Post on Facebook: I want to go to BlissDom ’11 with One2One Network (Please tag One2One Network in your post so that we can see it!) Leave a separate comment telling us you posted on Facebook.
  3. Blog about the contest – Let your readers know about this incredible giveaway! Write a post on your blog about the contest or why you want to go to Blissdom, and leave a separate comment with the URL to the post for another entry!
Each additional entry requires a separate comment. Twitter and Facebook comment entries are limited to one per person.

Contest will run Tuesday, November 9th through midnight (EST) Monday, November 29th.

Winners will be selected by a random number generator. Winners will be contacted via e-mail and have 48 hours to respond. If a response is not made, another winner will be chosen. Winners will be announced on our blog no later than Friday, December 3, 2010.
If you are selected as a winner of the contest and you have already purchased a BlissDom ticket, we will work with you regarding your options.
We are so excited about this giveaway! And we’re very much looking forward to sending three of our members to BlissDom ’11.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Book Tour: Almost Heaven

I am thrilled to be able to participate in the book tour of Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry. I love music, and this book, while fictional, is based on the real life of Billy Allman. Maybe it's because I am from the South, but I love books set in this area. Allman lived his life in the hills of West Virginia, and Fabry truly captures the essence of the hills and hollers, and the bluegrass that reigns in these areas. The book was excellent, and I could not put it down. Billy has an angel, Malachi who is sent to watch after him. On the back of the book, in the description, it says, "each step Billy takes is a note added to a beautiful song that will forever change the lives of those who hear it". Does that not apply to us all! How exciting, and I don't think there is anything more powerful I can say than that to compel you to read this book!

Book Description:
Billy Allman barely survived the flash flood that swept through his holler, taking many a life. Truth be told, it took his daddy's life, too. Daddy's body kept living after the flood, but his mind never left the waters that snatched two little girls from his arms and held them until they were in the loving arms of Jesus.

The only thing Billy saved was his daddy's mandolin and it is his ability to make that instrument sing that God allows to bring about Billy's destruction...and his ultimate redemption.

Author Bio:

Chris Fabry
Chris Fabry is the host of Chris Fabry Live!, an hour of spiritual encouragement from his backyard radio fence. The program challenges listeners to think biblically about their spiritual journeys. Chris is also the author of the Christy Award-winning novel Dogwood, and his latest fiction release, June Bug. He and his family live near Tucson, Arizona. You can learn more about Chris at

I received a complimentary copy of this book courtesy of Glass Road PR, all opinions expressed are 100% mine. If you would like to purchase a copy of Almost Heaven, it is available through Amazon for about $10 (the Kindle price is showing FREE!), and most Christian book retailers. I have also read his book Dogwood, and it was also really good.

Friday, November 5, 2010


We had such an adventure with our heat yesterday. You see, about 2 months ago, our utility company came out and changed all of the meters in our area. Our new meters are the kind they read over radio frequency instead of them having to go into each yard. Well, when they changed them out, they had to cut off all of the gas to prevent any danger to the serviceman. Afterwards, he cut the gas back on and said he re-lit all of the pilot lights. We had hot water, so we thought we were golden. Until we went to turn on the heat yesterday and it was blowing COLD air.

Now, perhaps we shouldn't have waited until the night the temperature was dropping below freezing to turn it on, but we had been fine with out it. Those insulated curtains I got earlier in the year are proving their worth. Anyway, we had never lit the pilot light on this furnace since we have lived here. Honestly, neither of us really knew where it was, much less how to light it. After a few phone calls to my dad and brother (who were also prepping for the freeze in their area!) we finally got it lit. We had a couple of hours of warm temps outside where we could leave the windows open while it aired out.

I am not sure if it is the colder temps or the turning on of the heat, but I am all congested today, and wheezing. Looks like its time to go back on my asthma meds and take it easy today;) I still prefer the winter over the summer though. I can get warm under blankets, but it's hard to get cooler.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Oral Care Challenge

I am very fortunate to be able to team up with Mom Central, Listerine, America's Toothfairy and Reach to help raise awareness of Pediatric Dental Disease. We were sent this amazing package of products, and a kit to "Trick or Treat for America's Toothfairy". We were given a kit to take with us around the neighborhood as we trick or treated, and collect donations to send in to America's Toothfairy, as they help provide care for children who might not otherwise receive it. 

In addition, my family and I have taken the LISTERINE Oral Care Challenge. Our goal is to make sure that each child and family member is brushing (for the proper amount of time), flossing, and using mouthwash TWICE a day for three weeks. This isn't a difficult challenge, as this is our routine anyway. As the mother of three young boys, I KNOW how hard it is to make sure they are all brushing properly twice per day. The mornings are especially hectic, and at night, we are all exhausted.

One of the things that we do to make this fun, and to keep order at the sink, is that they take turns. They all love to sing, so one person sings a song while another person brushes. They brusher can't stop until the song is over. This ensures they have brushed thoroughly and well. They love doing this, and it eliminated fighting over people splashing one another or whatever the reason was, and now they think it is fun. I also require the oldest who homeschools and the youngest in half day kindergarten to brush three times per day, after each meal. The middle son gets his third time in when he gets home from school! Using the rinse agent at the end ensures any germs in hard to reach areas are also killed.

I think the week following Halloween is the perfect time to start this challenge, since I am certain I don't have the only children begging to eat their candy on a daily basis. They are allowed a certain number of items, then we brush. I am especially fond of the Listerine Pre-Brush Rinse that colors their teeth and shows them EXACTLY where they need to brush better. I recall having to eat some kind of red drop at the dentist as a child that did the same thing. It is nice that it is available for home use now!

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of LISTERINE and REACH and received products to take the Oral Care Challenge. Mom Central Consulting also sent me a Global Giving gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ten Tips for bringing new babies home

I still remember the day we brought our oldest son, Aaron home from the hospital. I had a history of multiple miscarriages, and after a difficult delivery, we were probably on the extreme side of caution when it came to cleanliness. Lysol and TwitterMoms would like for me to share with you 10 tips for new mothers who are bringing home new babies.

  1. Insist that all people handling your baby wash their hands thoroughly with hot soap and water before they touch your baby. Hurting feelings is better than risk to a newborn's health. Be vigilant about washing your own hands throughout the day as well.
  2. I always preferred to wash our bottles in the dishwasher on hot after every use. We bought plenty so we'd never run low, and after each feeding, we would rinse the bottle (and all parts) and place them in the dishwasher to make sure they got disinfected.
  3. Our middle son, Joshua, had RSV as an infant. To protect him, we always made sure he was bundled up well, and avoided taking him out, unless absolutely necessary. When a baby has a higher risk of complications, you must be vigilant in keeping germs at bay.
  4. I used disposable disinfectant wipes in the nursery to clean the crib rails, etc. Especially once they are a tad older and can stand up. Certainly you might put them to bed clean, but if they stand and slobber (as babies are prone to do) on the crib rail, you want to keep it clean. 
  5. When we brought Aaron home we had a dog. We had her for years before we had Aaron, so she was protective and didn't really like him being in our home. We had to keep her in her crate most of the time, so we finally gave her to my parents. When it's a choice between dog and child, the child wins. Every time. Also, Daisy had some health problems, and we just couldn't risk anything.
  6. When we would take the babies out, we would always keep a think blanket over the top of the car seat carrier to protect them from wind and prying hands. Babies are cute, and while people mean well, they feel entitled to touch babies at random, just as they do to some pregnant mommy bellies!
  7. We did not allow strangers to touch our baby. Period. You don't know anything about them, and we couldn't risk our baby getting sick.
  8. If we were going to be out, and around people we knew and felt comfortable with them holding the baby, we would ALWAYS keep antibacterial hand wash in our baby bag. I also kept extra baby blankets to cover their clothes. With Joshua's RSV, he was sensitive to perfume, and if it was on someone's clothes, he would start to wheeze.
  9. The dirty diaper bin. Here's a secrets. I HATED the bin that made the "tootsie roll's". I can't remember what it was called....the genie maybe? anyway, I hated it. I finally got just a small covered trash can, with normal bags, and we emptied it each night. I'd spray it out with Lysol, leave it on the patio for 15 mins to dry, and put a clean bag in. It worked so much better for me!
  10. Finally, changing a diaper in a public place. When you have to change a diaper in a public restroom, try to always use a changing pad from home, or at least a baby blanket to lay them on. Keep small pkgs of wipes handy to clean their bottoms, and bags to put the diapers in before disposal. I always kept disposable disinfectant wipes in our bag too, and I'd wipe the table down before AND after each use. It's nice to find a clean table, so I made sure to always leave it that way.

 I know most of my readers are parents, and know people with babies, so I'd be thrilled if you left additional ideas or tips in the comments section. I never get my feelings hurt when a new parent asks me to take precautions, they are just looking out for the baby! Also, if you aren't feeling well, don't put the parents in the awkward position of telling you no, you can't hold the baby. Just don't go near a baby when you are sick;)

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Lysol® Wee Wisdom blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

Monday, November 1, 2010

Can you make your teen smile?

Way back when I was in elementary school, I had braces. You know, the horrible silver braces that you had to go get tightened at the orthodontist a couple of times a month. The kind that gave me a phobia of all things dental related. However, as an adult you have to get over that fear and take yourself to the dentist. Then you have kids, and you get the added responsibility of taking them to the dentist. When you have had a traumatic experience with braces yourself, it is difficult to stay positive when you realize they are going to need braces.

It is nice to now that times have changed though, and that now there are "invisible" braces offered by Invisalign. Invisalign aligners are not only more preferable for just cosmetic reasons, they are also safer with no wires or metal brackets involved! I know that I still have damage from the wires from my braces that I had almost 25 years ago:( I eventually need to get braces again, since I had so many issues with my set as a child, that did not work properly. I had decided to live with my teeth the way they are, but I have seen some people I know with the Invisalign, and they say they are so much better. After researching them and reading the material for myself, I am inclined to believe them. There are adult and teen treatments available. Both of the treatments are much shorter than mine was, running at about 9-15 months, and the cost is comparable to traditional braces, and is covered under many dental insurance plans.

Invisalign aligners are popular with teenagers because it safely allows them to continue in sports programs they are involved in, they can continue to play musical instruments with ease, they are much more comfortable than traditional braces and can be removed for oral hygiene, and are less noticeable than traditional braces.

Invisalign is currently hosting a Make Me Smile Challenge. Each month for three months, you can see what the challenge of the month is, then record a video of 30 seconds or less to submit. You can enter as many times as you want! There will be monthly winners, and a Grand Prize Winner. The Grand Prize Winner will get the Ultimate Hollywood Experience! Details are on the Challenge website.

I am bringing you this post as part of a Mom Bloggers Club program, where we share helpful sites and information with other Mom Bloggers!