Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Our Favorite Reads For January: "Impulse" and "Legend"

Gerard's favorite read in January was Impulse by Hellen Hopkins:

WOW! "Impulse" by Ellen Hopkins is a fantastic read! Tony Connor and Vanessa each have their own demons to deal with. They all wind up at Aspen Springs, a place that helps teens deal with their issues. How they deal with them and their own stories is just remarkable! To say I enjoyed this book would be putting it mildly. I LOVED "Impulse"! Although it is over 600 pages, it is in verse and I was so caught up in it that it did not seem that long. This is for sure going to be my favorite read this month and will be in my 12 favorites for 2012. This is one you will not soon forget--what an ending! I highly recommend it!

Karen's favorite for January was Legend by Marie Lu:

Legend by Marie Lu is a futuristic teen romantic thriller about a fugitive 15-yr.-old, Day from the slums, who is passionate about protecting his family and helping people, even if it means going against the Republic. When June, a Republic agent and military prodigy from a wealthy family, thinks Day is responsible for killing her brother when trying to steal the cure for the plague to cure his youngest brother, she hunts Day down. This is a fun, adventurous novel that is a page turner.   

Favorite quote from Legend:
“I never did ask you about your street name. Why 'Day'?” “Each day means a new twenty-four hours. Each day means everything's possible again. You live in the moment, you die in the moment, you take it all one day at a time.”
I liked how the author alternated telling the story between Day and June.  It kept my interest and was also easy to follow.  Although somewhat predictable, I enjoyed it very much and was rooting for Day and June to become friends from the start.  I recommend this to anyone who likes action and romance.

Gerard liked it too: Legend by Marie Lu is teen fiction that takes place in a futuristic Los Angeles.  It is told by a young boy named Day and a young woman named June.  Day is an outlaw and is wanted by the Republic.  June is a member of the Army of the Republic.  They are on opposite sides, or are they?  Legend is so good that the movie rights have already been sold.  If you loved "Hunger Games" and "Divergent," you will love Legend too.  I look forward to the second book in this series.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman was a very close second for both of us. It's a science fiction book about organ donation and storking as a solution to abortion. It's a fascinating, thought provoking read with interesting characters that keep your attention. Visit Grab A Book From Our Stack to see all our book reviews. We are also on Shelfari and Goodreads.

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Monday, January 30, 2012

3 Steps To Get Out Of Credit Card Debt

Gerard Cutting Up His Credit Cards
Fortunately, we do not have any debt. However, before we were married, Gerard had lots of credit card debt that I didn't find out about until we were engaged and were applying for a loan to buy a house! I was shocked and actually considered calling off the engagement. He assured me that I could handle all the money so we forged ahead. We paid off his credit cards with money from his investments and from then on, he just used his Discover Card. It was nice we were able to pay them all off right away; however, many people are trapped and can't do that. That is why I thought I'd share this post with you that I got from our sermon notes on Pastor Dan's series, "Four Steps To Financial Fitness." Here are the three steps you can use right away to get you out of credit card debt:
  1. Stop acquiring new debt. If you don't have the cash for it, don't buy it.
  2. Save a little from each pay to establish an emergency fund of at least $1,000 to cover unexpected expenses such as repairs.
  3. Implement the debt snowball. I loved this! Here's how it works: First, list all of your credit card debt from the smallest balance to the highest balance. Second, Make the minimum payment on all debts, but put all the money you can toward paying off the smallest debt first. Third, when the smallest debt has been paid off, roll over the amount you were paying into the next largest debt, repeating until all your debt is repaid. 
For example:
       credit card                total Balance           Minimal Payment       New payment
Kohl's                                $ 150                            $15                                   
Macy's                              $ 250                            $10                          $ 25 
Sam's Club                         $ 500                            $ 75                          $100 
VISA                                 $1500                           $ 90                          $190 
Car                                    $4000                           $210                         $400 

Getting rid of your debt using these steps won't happen overnight, but it will certainly move you in the right direction and as you see some paid off, it will motivate you to carry on. "Success breeds success."
Before looking for stocks or mutual funds to invest in, ask yourself the question, "Do I have any consumer debt?" If so, you have a wonderful investment opportunity.
  • It's guaranteed.
  • It's tax free.
  • It's immediate.
  • It offers a high rate of return on your investment.
Pay off your credit card debt!

Are you in the 46% of Americans who have credit card debt? If so, I wish you success in paying it off by following the above steps I have shared here.

Source: Taken from Jan. 22, 2012 sermon notes by Pastor Dan Barfell at Parma Heights Baptist Church. Follow the link to listen to the whole sermon.

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Managing God's Resources

I am enjoying our Pastor's sermon series on Financial Fitness. The Bible has more to say about money and money principles than it does about heavn and hell. Tht surprised me when I first heard it. As Christians (Christ followers who have trusted Jesus as their personal Savior), we must realize the God owns everything we have. He owns us and all we have is from Him, even our ability to work and earn money. Once we realize this, then it makes sense to act as God's resource manager or a good steward who uses what God has given us for His purposes. (This is prinicpal is illustrated by the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30.) The question we should ask ourselves then is How can I manage God's resources in a biblical manner so that I may be found faithful?  

Here are 3 steps to follow to Manage Money Biblically:
  1. Earn diligently. The diligent worker is hard working, purposeful and grateful. (Col. 3:23; Deuteronomy 8:18)

  2. Save wisely. Don't spend what you don't have. I liked that our Pastor pointed out the difference between saving and hoarding. Saving is putting money aside for appropriate goals which is Biblical. (Proverbs 21:20; Proverbs 6:6-8) On the other hand, it is sinful to hoard as illustrated in the story Jesus told in Luke 12:16-21. Hoarding is continuing to put money aside AFTER our goals are reached.

  3. Spend Prudently. We hear it's wise to diversify and "Don't put all your eggs in one basket" all the time about investing. Set up a budget based on your net income and then stick to it. (Ecclesiastes 11:2)
As we spend, we need to consider if God would want us using His money in that way. At least 1/10th of our income should to our church (the storehouse) which is called tithing. Remember though, God owns it all and we are his stewards so we should save wisely to meet our future needs and the needs of others. Certainly we need to take care of our family. When it comes to what charities to support, we try to give to those that are doing God's work and/or furthering His kingdom. Just ask God what He wants you to give to and see how He leads and what passion he places in your heart.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-21, Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth . . . But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (NIV)
You can actually to to our church's website to hear the whole sermon for yourself at phbaptist.org. Tomorrow's post: "3 Steps To Get Out of Credit Card Debt" Share this:

Friday, January 27, 2012

4 Things We Learned Week 4 of 2012 (reviews, money milk, Facebook)

Friday Fragments are just some items that aren't substantial enough for an entire post and is hosted by Mrs4444 over at Half-Past Kissin' time where you can find more and link up your own.
  1. Amazon Book Review

    I was thrilled to learn that Beth Ann from It's Just Life read My Funny Dad, Harry and loved it. Not only did she make my day by letting me know that in an email which gave me a lift that I needed, but she also reviewed it on Amazon: "A Daughter's Memories of a Wonderful Dad." Whenever I really enjoy a book, I will review it on Amazon (and sometimes on Barnes and Noble) because I know how good it makes the author feel. Here's my stats for my reviews: Reviews written: 286, Reviewer rank: 4,741, Helpful votes: 332 of 420.
  2. Practical Plan for Getting Out of Credit Debt

    Last Sunday our Pastor continued preaching on financial fitness based on what the Bible says about money and shared a very practical 3-step plan on how to dump credit card debt. I thought this might be helpful to a lot of people, so plan to post about it next week.
  3. Milk

    In our W.O.W. meeting in January, we had a certified fitness instructor/Physical Education teacher speak about good nutrition and exercise. She recommended the almond milk over regular dairy milk so I tried it and it tastes good!
  4. Bartels and Busack Pet Hospital

    This is the place that saved our dog, Abby. They are so impressed with how well she is doing and the great progress she made since being attacked that they are going to post about her case on their Facebook page. Yea for Abby, our "miracle" dog!  Thank you, Dr. Busack!

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

One Less Blog To Do

I finally made the decision to let go of the first blog I started: Always Looking Up over at PNN. I originally started there because another author recommended it to me, I had no clue at all how to blog but wanted to promote my book, My Funny Dad, Harry. It was pretty simple to use and it grew to much more than just book promotion. We did lots of book reviews over there and wrote about our activities. I even let our pets blog there on their own separate pages: Cat Corner--Meow and Abby-Woof, Woof! It was also where I first blogged about our Miracle cat, Moe.

I liked their star system and post voting there but it wasn't always available when I wanted to post something new, couldn't schedule posts ahead, and didn't have too big a following.  I did like the summary page which showed recent posts with number of votes by category, but I had to sign out to get to that page.  The commenting feature was annoying too if I wasn't signed in, that Capitcha made me nuts!  Farewell, PNN! 

I'd love to know if you are visiting here from over there in the comments.  

Related post: So Long PNN, Visit Us at Blogspot

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Monday, January 23, 2012

My Tubes Are Out by Abby

My back sore is still draining but they took the tubes out anyway.  If you look in the holes, you can see inside.

The vet and his staff all came to meet me at the door when I arrived to get the drainage tubes out and were so thrilled that I was walking so well already.  The one nice lady said it's a miracle!  I know we have a awesome God and my mom and dad really believe it was all the prayers that pulled me through.  The vet said my mom and dad did a good job taking care of me.  Most of the holes where the tubes were are dried up except for this back part.  The tubes are out but these aren't all done draining quite yet.  Every time I try to lick back there, my mom and dad stop me and sometimes put the big plastic collar back on me.

My daddy carried me in and out of the van but it wasn't easy.  I don't know how Karen is going to manage on Thursday when she takes me back to get cleaned up.  They have to wait for the holes from the tubes to close so soap doesn't get inside me.  I think I'll be stronger by then and maybe be able to at least get my front paws up and she can just give me a boost.  She tried picking me up tonight like the technician showed her, but said I was heavy and that was when she had lots of room to work, not like getting me in and out of the van.

Watching the Bruins game with Daddy
Gerard was surprised when I trotted along with him when he took me out after work.  He was all thrilled that I made three big poopers too!  I am glad to be home and back on my normal schedule again, except for my long walks.  Hopefully by summer I'll be able to do them again.  The vet gave me permission to go up and down our front steps on my own now so that is good since I would do it whether he said it's okay or not.

I look forward to my bath on Thursday.  Karen is taking the day off because they want me in early in the morning and stay until afternoon to be sure I am dried real good.  The staff there is looking forward to my visit that day.  I am very loved!  Woof!  Woof! 

Head over to Bozo's Pets Forever for more Pet Pride posts or link up yours!

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AWW Mondays

They are just too cute to chase off!
Manny (left) and Spunk Doodle (right) like laying on our new chairs, even though we try to keep them off.  When I walked into the room and saw this, I just didn't have the heart to chase them off.  Since though, we put the throw pillows down flat and that seems to help keep them off.

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

I'm Stuck In Memorizing But Not In Applying It

If you noticed my verses at the top haven't changed for a few days it's because I'm having trouble memorizing this portion in my quest to memorize the book of James of the Bible. I am doing Beth Moore's Bible study on James and she had a good explanation of this passage.

Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.
--James 1:9-11 (KJV)

I didn't really understand exactly what was going on with these verses but she explained that James (the 1/2 brother of Jesus) was Pastor for Jews in Jerusalem and many were poverty stricken because of persecution of the believers. Many had their land seized. (This was all new to me!) Anyway, the "brother of low degree" is the one who is in poverty that should rejoice in knowing that he will be exalted in heaven. The rich should be willing to give to the poor, knowing that their possessions will pass away and won't do him any good in heaven anyhow.

Remembering the poor was one of the things the pillars of the early church, James, Cephas a/k/a Peter and John told Paul to do when they met with him in Galatians 2:9-10:
And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.--Galatians 2:9-10

This month, we are helping the poor through KIVA by donating 50 cents per legitimate comment on all our blogs and thanks to Abby's popular posts, it looks like this will be the biggest donation we have made yet from blogging. If you are not familiar with KIVA, it lists many needy people who are requesting loans for different needs and you can make loans to them for as little as $25. There is no guarantee you will be paid back, but all that I have made are being paid back and I know of several others who have had the same experience. Once they start paying back, you can use that same money to reloan to others. I encourage you to look into this. I feel it will ensure that I'll still be able to actively give generously to the poor even after I retire just by reloaning the same money over and over again. The difficult part is choosing who to help; there are so many poor around the world.

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Welcome Home, Abby!

Today when we went to visit Abby at the vet's we got a nice surprise--they let her come home with us!  Hooray!  We are so happy to have our dog back home and she is on the mend and that the other dog owners, who are nice people and very sad this happened, paid the $3,000 bill.  (Gerard doesn't look very happy in this picture because he just watched his Boston Bruins blow the game.) That patch on her back end is to ease her pain--it released pain medication through the day.  The drain tubes and patch will be coming out on Monday.  She still needs to wear the clunky cone for about another week until she gets her stitches out to keep her from licking them unless we are watching her closely.  We were able to take off here blue bracelet tonight.

She is eating like normal now and made some very nice poop on her short trip outside after supper.  She is not allowed to do stairs though so Gerard has to carry her up and down our front steps.  Also, the leash is very flimsy and soft, more like a lead.  She is not allowed to go for any real walks yet, just in our yard to do her business and get outside for a little while.  At least Gerard won't have to get up as early.

We are so glad you're going to be okay, Abby!

She has three different medications that we give her with her meals and we have to keep track of how much she eats, how much more drains out from her and how much poop she makes.  I have a notebook set up.  I have a new admiration for vet technicians who keep track of all the medications their patients need.  I have just one to keep track of and it's not easy.

We appreciate the many people who prayed for us, especially for Abby.  These pictures don't even show all the damage that was done, but thank God, she survived! 

Related Posts:  Our Sweet Dog, Abby, is Fighting For Her Life
On the Road to Recovery by Abby

Visit Pet Pride for more pet posts or link one up of yours. 

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Friday, January 20, 2012

5 Things We Learned This Week 3 of 2012

Friday Fragments are just some items that aren't substantial enough for an entire post and is hosted by Mrs4444 over at Half-Past Kissin' time where you can find more and link up your own.
  1. This Mortal Life

    One of my blogging buddies, Rebecca, has started a new blog which is completely different from her other seven. No advertising, no one telling her what to write about and very educational! She is writing about her passions: art, music, history and literature. She calls it "This Mortal Life" and explains all about her unique blog header and choosing her pseudonym (Polyhymnia) in The Muse post.
  2. No More "Chunky" Spunky

    Spunky Doodle visited the vet last Saturday and was declared "healthy, just right weight, and looking good." The vet was impressed with how shiny her coat was and how white her teeth were. He did suggest I try using gauze on my finger to "brush" her teeth instead of the brush, we'll see. Cost of routine comprehensive exam: $82 (and that was with a $10 discount).
  3. List Post Mistakes

    I read Six Easily Preventable Mistakes Bloggers Make With List Posts and I noticed that I make two every week with this post: No introduction and unnumbered items, so I will correct these things.
  4. Ruby Bridges

    The best post I found for Martin Luther King Day was How We Celebrate Martin Luther King Day At Our House. They watch a movie, about Ruby Bridges and included part 1 of her story with a YouTube video. This is it:

    I never heard of Ruby Bridges before but this video looked so good, I immediately ordered the book and DVD from the library.
  5. Punch in the Nose

    When we talked to a neighbor about our dog and Gerard being attacked by two big Rottweilers this early this week, he said the best way to get the dog to let go would be to punch it in the nose.  Dog bites take a long time to heal.  Abby wrote an update for you:  On The Road To Recovery.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

On The Road To Recovery by Abby

I'm getting better, so happy daddy and mommy came to visit me!

 I am more alert today so wanted to thank all of you kind people who are praying for me. I know Karen already wrote all about my being attacked but if you want to read the gory details, go see the post right before this one called Our Sweet Dog, Abby is Fighting for her Life. It was very scary and I don't know why those two big dogs didn't like me. I wasn't even by their house!

Karen told me there are lots of people praying for me and that God will help me get better. I ate today for the first time but it wasn't food I am used to. It was some soft brown mushy stuff but I didn't have to chew it. My humans will be bringing me supper tonight with my normal food.

I have pain patches which give me relief all through the day. I was so excited to see my mom and dad this morning that as soon as the gate to this cage I am in was open, I sat up and started coming out but they told me to stay. The doctor removed that big clunky round thing from my neck so that Karen and Gerard could pet me better. They were allowed to stay and visit me much longer than they did yesterday too. I can't go home with them yet but if I can't be home, Bartels is my favorite place away from home. Lots of people love me here and visit me. Karen and Gerard brought me a couple of their shirts with their scent to comfort me and to let me know they are constantly thinking of me and love me so much. I know they do.

I peed outside today and hopefully will poop soon too. I can't go home until I do but that gives me incentive. I was able to stand up on my own and walk a little bit but won't be able to do stairs for awhile and it will be a long time before I'll be able to enjoy long walks again. I was really hurt bad, but I did walk to the car when Karen came to the scene of the crime. Even though I was in lots of pain, I didn't growl or strike out in any way at the people who were helping me. Karen and Gerard both keep telling me what a good dog I am and how proud they are of me. I love hearing that!

I am sad that Gerard got hurt too trying to protect me. His hand is all wrapped up and hurts him a little bit. It hurt a LOT when that mean dog chomped down on him. It's the hand he uses most too so I don't know if he'll be able to lift me in and out of the house and handle the door and all or not once I get home. Karen didn't have her camera this morning so she'll post an updated picture of me on here later she said.

Thanks again for praying for all of us--it will be a long road to full recovery, but I think I can do it! I'll give it my very best! Hope you never have to experience this--it was definitely NOT a good adventure.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Our Sweet Dog, Abby, Is Fighting For Her Life

Hi Daddy!  I'm so tired, really need to sleep.
Last night was a nightmare for us!  After a good day at work, Gerard left me the car at the bus stop so I wouldn't have to walk in the rain.  He and Abby welcomed me home at the bus stop and continued on their evening walk while I drove on home.  I had an uneasy feeling and prayed that they would both get home safely.  Well, that didn't happen!

I was upstairs feeding Spunky Doodle when my cell phone rang.and a lady told me my dog and husband were hurt three or four streets from our house.  She said I should come and I'd see all the police cars and flashing lights.  I just threw some food for Spunky on her table and hurried on down to throw some in Manny's bowl, then out the door I went.  I was so scared at what I'd find.

Two Rottweilers came running loose and attacked Abby really bad.  She had bites on her ear, neck, legs, abdomen and groin area and was all bloody but was conscious and could walk when I arrived.  Gerard was by the EMS truck screaming about his dog.  Gerard beat the dogs trying to get them off Abby but it was useless and they bit his left hand too.  He told me later that he felt so helpless, he tried to protect her and couldn't.  He called for help and it seemed like a long time before anyone came.  Some neighbors came and beat the dogs with sticks, one guy shot a gun in the air or at the ground to try to scare them off.  Finally they left her alone and fortunately the cops were able to catch the dogs and track down the owners. 

I walked Abby to our car and called to make sure Bartel's was still open (thank God for cell phones).  I was so relieved when they said one doctor was still there and I could bring her in.  They all know and love Abby too.  A nice policeman lifted Abby into the front seat of our car for me and another one brought Gerard to the hospital shortly after.  Once we got Abby admitted and the papers signed for surgery, we went to the hospital to get Gerard's hand looked at.

Fortunately, no bones were broken, but he had to get a tetanus shot, an x-ray, have his hand bandaged and in a contraption for a couple days.  He said it didn't hurt but I know that's because he was only thinking about Abby.  She was in surgery for a couple hours and the wonderful staff at Bartel's stayed way past their normal hours to help her.  The surgeon said she did well through surgery and was looking good and doing well but the first 72 hours are critical.  Any number of things could still go wrong so we would sure appreciated all the prayers we can get for our wonderful dog.

We stopped in to see her this morning, but were only allowed to stay ten minutes because she was on pain killers and needs her rest.  The doctor kept saying she was doing well and looking good but I sure think she looks very bad, certainly not good.  I don't know what dog he was looking at.

This is Abby looking good!
The animal warden told us the owners were cited for their dogs running loose and declared them dangerous and highly recommended that they be euthanized.  It's sad for them too and they did ask about Gerard and Abby.  The police and dog warden both said they are responsible for all the medical and vet bills that we will get so I do really hope they step up and do the right thing by paying them.  The estimate we got for Abby is around $2,000 but she is so worth it!  We miss her so much and are overcome with sadness but praying God will strengthen her, heal her and that she would be okay but I think it's going to take a long time for her to fully recover.

I know that God's will for us is to give thanks in everything, and I certainly do.  I am thankful Abby wasn't killed on the spot by those two dogs, thankful that Gerard had his cell phone with him and I had mine with our vet's number in the contacts, that we were able to take her to our own vet which is close by and for the wonderful doctors and technicians at Bartels.  I am also thankful that the police have pictures of everything to document the report, that they were able to impound the dogs and that the owners were found and cited, it's only right. 

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

6 Reasons I Like My Owl Hat

This is a picture of the owl hat I got for Christmas. It was one of the things I pointed out to Gerard that I liked as we walked through Kaufman’s on our Black Friday shopping trip.

I like owls so thought it was both (1) cute and (2) kind of funny. (I like funny.) I’ve seen this style hats on teens and thought they looked a bit silly, but now that I have one, I see they are very practical. (3) It is light weight, (4) covers my ears, and (5) is warm but does not block my vision. You can laugh if you want, but another very practical feature is that (6) it is highly visible because of the white around the eyes. I get compliments every time I wear it!  

What do you think of it? Do you have any cute animal hats?  If not, I think you should give it a try! Hoot, hoot!

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

I Can Finally Wear a Dress Again

I have quite a few skirts and nice dresses that Gerard has bought for me in the past but I quit wearing because I just couldn’t find any comfortable shoes to wear with them. I really don’t like dressing up, but at least wore a dress or skirt to church for years. Once I quit though, I got used to being comfortable on Sundays too! I haven’t worn a dress in probably three years at least, until last Sunday.

I decided that if I didn’t want to part with my skirts and dresses, then I should start wearing them again and getting some use out of them. So, I finally went to Lucky Shoes when we did our Christmas shopping and bought myself a pair. I was very impressed with the shoe saleswoman that actually brought several different shoes for me to try without an attitude. She was very helpful and even measured my feet. I am pleased to say that I wore them all morning without my feet hurting last Sunday! Next time I need shoes, it’s off to Lucky Shoes.

I figure it’s only fair that if Gerard gets dressed up for church in his suit, that I should dress up too. I got lots of compliments on my dress and always do because he really does have good taste in clothes.

So, another one of my resolutions for this year is to dress up for church on Sundays again. How often do you get dressed up? Do you have clothes hanging in your closet that you never wear? If so, maybe you should give some away.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

4 Things We Learned Week 2 of 2012 (Kindle, gardening, fitness, bus)

Kindle Version

The book I wrote, My Funny Dad, Harry, is now available for Kindle! Now to try to get it into Amazon's digital library.

Planting Bulbs

Thanks to Not the Brightest Bulb in the Bunch at Freaky Frugalite, I checked out a gardening website called Dig Drop Done that gives tons of information about what, when and how to plant bulbs to get the flowers you want plus a whole lot more! You insert when you want them to bloom and click on the pictures of the ones you like.

Home Workout Movement

At our Women of Wonder (W.O.W.) meeting last night, we had a guest who talked about fitness and shared with us about a great website, Bodyrock.tv that gives powerful short workouts you can do at home, plus recommended recipes. They currently have a 30-day exercise challenge going. (Just what I need, another challenge!)

Bus Change

The RTA made a change to my bus schedule so now I have to be careful to get the one that goes all the way to my street. Certain times during rush hour, one #20 goes all the way but another #20 goes only part way. Yesterday, when I got out of work a bit late, I ran for my bus, looked up and saw that #20 at the bus stop and I was stuck on the other side. I waved my bus pass and jumped up and down and the nice bus driver stopped for me special, as soon as I got on though, I realized I was on that one that doesn't go all the way home! Whew, I got off at the next stop and waited just a few more minutes for the right bus. I wish they would change the number--I have to actually read the description now!

Stop by Half-Past Kissin' time for more Friday Fragments or to link up some of yours.

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Accepting a Challenge

I am so excited about starting a new Bible Study at church with other women, going through James Mercy Triumphs by Beth Moore.  This study gives 5 different level options so you can choose how much you want to put into it without feeling guilty. When I first got the book and looked through it, one of the first things I noticed was that part of this study involves memorizing the entire book of James (only five chapters, but still).  I have never memorized an entire book in my life!

My first reaction was "Yeah, right, no way.--you got to be kidding me!"  We have a very motivational, upbeat leader in Elena, our Pastor's wife, who gave us a little pep talk. She read my mind! She actually said out loud what I was thinking which got my attention. By the next morning, I found myself eager to take on this challenge.  Yes, folks, eager!  We are looking at a 5-month time frame with short term goals of memorizing one chapter a month.

Here are the reasons I decided to do it:
  1. It's included in the study and I want to get the most out of my $15 investment.
  2. It's something I've never done before.
  3. I read a lot of books so by memorizing God's Word, it will be in my mind more which is a good thing.
  4. The book of James is one of my favorites.
  5. I will have others doing it with me so we can nag encourage one another.
  6. As Elena pointed out, God can help me do it!
  7. I've got nothing to lose by trying so I'm going to give it a shot and have updated my New Year's Resolutions to include memorizing the book of James.

Just to help me keep on track, I'm posting my verse that I am memorizing each day on this blog at the top. Perhaps you would like to join me in this? Yeah, right?

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What Is Your Healthiest Habit?

Many people are concerned about their health and especially at the beginning of the year, one of the most common resolutions relate to health such as exercise, get fit, lose weight, eat healthier, etc. That is why I thought this little quiz would be appropriate. I was curious to see what my healthiest habit is.

Although I eat pizza 3 days a week, I only eat two slices a day.  Believe me when I say, I could easily eat the whole pizza at one sitting.  This takes a lot of will power on my part, but I do it.  I am pleased to say I think it came out accurate for me:

Your Healthiest Habit is Practicing Moderation

You don't think that anything can kill you in small amounts. You believe it's all about balance.

You are willing to engage in unhealthy habits occasionally. After all, they are a lot of fun!

Some may criticize your moderate approach, but it's very sustainable.

You're into being healthy for the long haul, and you know that extremes only lead to trouble.

Click the link to take the quiz to find out what your healthiest habit is and share your results in the comments.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Good Thing We Had Snow!

The day after New Year’s we were both off work and we had snow. I figured I didn’t have to go out at all so it didn’t bother me, but then in the afternoon, I felt like I should at least go for a walk and get a little exercise in. I joined Gerard and Abby, our dog, for one of their afternoon walks. I made it to the corner of our street and decided it was too cold, so let them continue on without me and I went back to my warm house.

Unfortunately, when I got to the porch I realized that I didn’t have my keys with me. Not intending to go outside, I left them on my dresser that morning. UGH! Well, off I went to track down Gerard and Abby. It actually was kind of fun following their footprints in the fresh snow. They were the only ones there which made it very easy which was good because they always go different ways.

In my desire to catch up quickly before they got too far away, I even ran! This was way more exercise than I planned on having, but was kind of fun. They were pretty far along by the time I caught up, so then I just kept on going along with them for the rest of the walk.

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Your Pizza Is In My Way by Spunky Doodle

Won't you please give me some pizza?

Spunky:  Hey Karen,  I would love to have some pizza too! 

Karen:  Spunky, get off my pizza!

Spunky:  Well, if you don't want me sitting on your pizza, you shouldn't put it where I like to sit.  Especially when you don't let me have any of it!  I wonder what Sparkle the Cat would have to say about this.

(If you don't know Sparkle, she is a "Dear Abby" for cats.  Cats can write to her about their problems and she gives them advice.  She has two books full of letters and advice she gave.  You can read our review of the one we read:  Dear Sparkle, Cat-to-Cat Advice From World's Foremost Feline Columnist.)

Visit Boza at Pet Pride for more pet posts or to link up yours!

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Friday, January 6, 2012

6 Things We Learned in Week 1 of 2012 (eyes, cats, food, Kindle, sermons)

Gerard's Eyes

I see fine!

When Gerard went for his follow-up eye doctor appointment, he was told he had some issues going on that may be problems down the road like cataracts and a loose retina, but for now it's nothing serious. He didn't think it was a sign of any brain damage so that was a relief. However, he has to go back for another appointment in Jan. 23.

TV Show

I was happy to learn this week that the TV show, "My Cat From Hell" with Jackson Galaxy is beginning a second season January 7 on Animal Planet. I love this show that shows how you can communicate with your cat and get them to change their bad behaviors.

New Year's Resolutions

Over at Sparkle's Sunday Catinee, I discovered that some kitty cats make New Years Resolutions!  Have you made any yet?  It's a real cute and well done video worth watching.  I subscribed to their YouTube channel after viewing it. Here's a link to my resolutions if you missed them and really want to see.

New Foods

We shopped at a different Giant Eagle and discovered they sell some really good stuff that all I have to do is heat up in the microwave, like salmon, fried chicken, and quiche! The quiche even had Brocoli in it and I liked it! I decided to try different foods like is suggested in Keep Your Brain Alive.  (Also learned to spell quiche, I thought it was kish.)

Kindle Highlighting

While reading "Dear Sparkle" on my Kindle, I learned how to highlight things. It's a nice feature!


Sermons Online

I found out that at our church's website (www.phbaptist.org) you can listen to the sermons and see the note outline. If any of you do not attend a church, perhaps you would like to check this out.

Find more Friday Fragments at Half-Past Kissin' Time and link up some of yours.

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

6 New Year's Resolutions (Writer's Workshop)--UPDATED

I didn't make any last year and Gerard says he's not making any this year but I have a few so here it goes:

  1. Get more active by taking a break from the computer every half hour, even if it's just standing up.
  2. Do things standing up whenever possible.
  3. In good weather, take the first parking spot I see.
  4. Break out of my routine more often by varying my schedule, taking different ways to the bus stop and not always getting off at the same stop.
  5. Eat more of a variety of foods.
  6. Get an awning for our front porch this year.
  7. UPDATED 1/12/12:
  8. Bank Gerard's check and see if we can manage just on my income to see how it would be if he were retired.
  9. Memorize the book of James by the end of June.

Some I got from reading "Keep Your Brain Alive" and some from my friend's blog, Think Like a P.T.
Did you make any this year? 

Part of Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop to share your New Year's Resolutions and report how you did on last year's.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Commenting For Charity--Doing It Again

For December, donate 50 cents per legitimate comment on all our blogs to the Cleveland Pregnancy Center for a total of $126. Thank you to all who commented!

I would like to know if the fact that we donated to charities per comment last year actually influenced anyone to comment on our blogs or visit our other blogs. Kindly let us know by leaving a comment on this post if it influenced you. I debated whether or not to do this again this year and in weighing the pros and cons decided that yes, it is a good thing to do and I will do it again.

Last year I discovered several new charities by doing this, including KIVA, Doctors without Borders, Last Hope Cat Kingdom, and Heifer International. I was happy to see that Ann at UP North, Beth Ann at It's Just Life and Mountain Woman at Red Pine Mountain joined me in doing this last year. If you choose to do it with your blog, please let me know.

My First loan--Jose in El Salvadore

This month, I will join with Beth Ann over at It's Just Life and give .50 per legitimate comment for loans through KIVA to help poor people change their life.  Last year I made nine loans (two of which have been fully paid back already).  
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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"We Bought A Zoo" Will Make You Laugh

We went to see "We Bought A Zoo."  We were surprised how good it was!  In fact, Gerard got up to use the rest room during the movie, and I didn't even notice he got up, I was so into this movie.  It is way more than just about a bunch of animals.  It is about a grieving family and how they are trying to start over.  The little girl is very cute and the emotions and interaction between the teenage son and his dad are very believable and touching.  There are a lot of animals in it and lots of humor.  I absolutely loved the opening day of the zoo.  It's a real heartwarming movie and very entertaining and funny.   I'm so glad we went! It's actually based on a true story!

"It only takes 20 seconds of insane courage and something great will come of it." This sums up the whole theme of the movie in a nutshell.

Go see it--you'll be glad you did!

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Monday, January 2, 2012

"War Horse" Will Make You Cry--MUST SEE!

We went to see "War Horse" the day after Christmas and it is as good as the book!  It's really fantastic and we both cried, it was so moving.  You see the horrors of war but yet also the sacrifice for others, love, determination and some funny scenes too!  Great book, great movie!  I didn't notice any bad language in this one, and I appreciated they didn't show separated body parts flying through the air in the war scenes.  We highly recommend it--you should definitely go see this one!

SPOILER ALERTI felt so bad for the poor horse, but it has a happy ending!

See our review of the book: War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

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