Monday, April 30, 2012

Our Favorite Reads For April

As usual, it was difficult to choose favorite reads for April. We read quite a few really good books this month and encourage you, if you are a reader, to check out our book blog for our other reviews at Grab a Book From Our Stack.

Gerard's review:
The one we both agreed on as definitely a favorite of the month is One and Only Ivan by Katerine Applegate:
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate tells the story of Ivan, a Silverback gorilla, and his friends: Stella, an old elephant and Bob, a stray dog. They perform three shows every day at Exit 8 Big Top Mall. When business slows, Ruby, a baby elephant, is brought on board and things change. This is a lovely story, funny for sure, and it will get and keep your interest. I think this is a book for all ages. It will touch your heart and put a smile on your face! I enjoyed it very much and the ending is so, so good!

Karen's review:
I really enjoyed The One And Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate even though it is children’s fiction. It is based on a true story about Ivan, a Silverback gorilla who was captured and put in a cage for 27 years without any contact with any other gorillas. In this book, Ivan is the narrator and his owner sells Ivan’s drawings and paintings. Ivan is quite an artist. Ivan has a stray dog named Bob who comes into his “domain” and sleeps on Ivan’s stomach. In the next cage is Stella, an elephant, who is a good storyteller but who had a hard life at a circus. When a baby elephant, Ruby, joins her, she is very protective of her and when she knows she is dying, gets Ivan to promise to protect Ruby for her. He comes up with a great plan to get Ruby moved to a zoo. This is such a cute book that has a happy ending. It is a quick read but very enjoyable! If you like animals and are looking for a heartwarming story, I recommend this one! I loved it!

Here's links to our other favorites for April:

Kill Switch by Neal Baer and Jonathan Greene
Nothing to Envy--Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick

Catch Me by Lisa Gardner (Gerard liked this one too!)
Into the Free by Julie Cantrell

(50 cents per legitimate comment during April goes to Paralyzed Veterans of America.)

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Friday, April 27, 2012

3 Things We Learned This Week 18 of 2012 (pets, books)

Friday Fragments is hosted my Half-Past Kissin' Time for bloggers to post a list of short things on their minds that aren't really enough for a whole post. We like to share what we've learned each week.
  1. Special Day

    Today is Hairball Awareness day! Spunky Doodle wanted me to be sure to let everyone know this important tidbit of information. Brush your cats daily to help prevent this messy little problem.
  2. Pet Food From China

    I learned to check packages of dog treats to make sure it's not from China after reading this article:  Vets Warn of New Treats From China Poisoning Dogs.  When I saw this it really got my attention because we give Abby "Better Than Pig Ears" and "the Canyon Creek chicken liver center:

    So far, the brands implicated are all made in China:
    • Beefeaters Sweet Potato Snacks for Dogs
    • Canyon Creek Ranch Chicken Yam Good Dog Treats (FDA has issued a warning on this product)
    • Drs. Foster and Smith (exact item not specified in the report)
    • Dogswell Veggie Life Vitality
    There was also speculation that the problem may also extend to pork products (pig ears) and cat treats made in China.
  3. North Korea

    Gerard read Nothing to Envy--Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick and what an eye opener it was! We are so fortunate to live here in the USA! One thing he learned that shocked him was that dogs in China eat better than doctors in North Korea! (p. 220)

(50 cents per legitimate comment during April goes to Paralyzed Veterans of America.)

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012


 Here is a cute little poem I'd like to share with you (since I have nothing better to post). 


It's wondrous what a hug can do--a hug can cheer you when you're blue.
A hug can say, "I love you so," OR "I sure hate to see you go."
A hug is, "Welcome back again,"
and "Great to see you!  Where've you been?"
A hug can soothe a small child's pain and bring a rainbow after rain.
The hug--there's no doubt about it--We scarcely could survive without it!
A hug delights and warms and charms.  It must be why God gave us arms.
Hugs are great for fathers and mothers, sweet for sisters, swell for brothers.
And chances are your favorite aunts love them more than potted plants.
Kittens crave them.  Puppies love them.
A hug can break a language barrier, and make your travel so much merrier.
No need to fret about your store of 'em.
The more you give, the more there's more of 'em.
So stretch those arms without delay and give someone a hug today!!!
                   --author unknown

Hope you can find someone or a pet to hug!

(50 cents per legitimate comment during April goes to Paralyzed Veterans of America.)

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I Did It--Challenge Completed Ahead of Schedule

The Five Chapters I Typed From Memory

Back in January I accepted the challenge to memorize the entire book of James (only 5 chapters) as part of the Beth Moore Bible Study. My plan was to memorize one of the chapters each month which would take to the end of May. I am happy to report that I have memorized all five chapters as of Monday of this week. This is by far the longest thing I ever memorized in my life! It was not easy, but I was determined and kept plugging along, trying to do at least one verse a day. Some took longer but some I already knew so I could sometimes lump several together.

Here is a list of the methods I used which worked for me:

First of all, I prayed asking the Lord to help me do this and believed that he would since memorizing scripture is within his will.

I wrote the verse of the day on a small paper and analyzed it, marking the prepositional phrases, noting the verbs, looking for word patterns and just anything that would help me remember the word order.

If it was a long verse, I wrote it again using just the first letter of each word and kept it at my desk where I would see it and could practice the verse using the clues.

When I thought I had it memorized, I would try typing it without looking at it and then checking it against the Bible to see if I had it right. If not, I'd practice some more and try again until I could get it perfect.

I also reviewed the verses I memorized in my head before on my way to the bus stop, on the bus, before I went to bed at night or on my breaks or lunch at work. Reviewing is very important if you want to remember it long-term.

As I finished a chapter, I tried typing the whole chapter without looking and then checked it, marking the words I missed and making the correction, then printed it out and highlighted my errors. As I would read it over from that copy, I would focus on making the correction and try it again. On my next attempt, sometimes I would miss different words or leave something out and would mark those errors with a different color as well as the errors I made on the first attempt. I did this with each chapter as I finished them and kept on trying until I got it right (I still have to try chapter 5 again). I think using this to review with was most helpful.

As I went along, I set short-term goals as well. After I got Chapter 1 done, I knew I could do it because Chapter 1 was the longest of the five and very hard!

The hardest thing I found in memorizing this book was keeping track of when the verse had "brethren" or "my brethren" tossed in. Also, I found it hard to keep track of when to use "which" and when to use "that." These were the most common errors for me. My mind did get a little boggled up though as I added more chapters which repeated some topics. I really had to focus on which verses went to which chapters.

I hope this will encourage some of you to try memorizing some scripture, perhaps not a whole book but maybe a favorite chapter at least.  Have you memorized any books of the Bible?  Do you have any other memorizing tips that work for you?  

(50 cents per legitimate comment during April goes to Paralyzed Veterans of America.)

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Aww Monday with Spunky Doodle and Manny

Spunky Doodle crawling into mommy's work bag.

I haven't been in here for awhile.

Here comes trouble!

Go away, Manny, I was here first!

You have to hold your ground and let them know who's the boss.

Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend--happy Monday to you.

We joined Monday Mischief Pet Blog Hop today--you can too!

(50 cents per legitimate comment during April goes to Paralyzed Veterans of America.)

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Friday, April 20, 2012

6 Things We Learned This Week 17 of 2012 (books, food, brain, work, TV)

Image source:  Amazon
Friday Fragments is hosted my Half-Past Kissin' Time for bloggers to post a list of short things on their minds that aren't really enough for a whole post. We like to share what we've learned each week.
  1. Jackson Galaxy

    At The Conscious Cat this week I learned that Jackson Galaxy of the Animal Planet show "My Cat From Hell" has four cats and a dog. He also has written a book which comes out in May called Cat Daddy: What the World’s Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Clean.

  2. Christian Author

    I discovered a new [to me] Christian author this week, Ann Tatlock who wrote Promises to Keep. It kept my interest all through and had a surprise ending, unlike most Christian fiction books I've read. This is about two little girls, one white, one black who are best friends and make a "daddy deal" to pray for each other every day that their friend would get back together with her daddy. The theme is that God always answers our prayers, but not always in the way we want Him to or that we expect Him to. (Click on the link to see my review.)
  3. Work

    When helping in our Accounting Dept. at work this week due to s shortage of people, I learned how to print out the draft bills, final bills, and office personals. Time always flies by when you are doing something new, doesn't it?
  4. Asparagus

    According to an email I received, asparagus is supposedly a great food to prevent cancer, so I tried a sample at Giant Eagle. YUCK! I think it was the sauce that was on it that I really didn't like so I do want to give this another try. It comes in a big bunch though and I don't want to buy that much in case I don't like it. Any suggestions?
  5. Harry's Law

    I saw the previews of this show and thought it looked like something I would like so I've watched two episodes and found that I do like it. Both times the case was interesting and the court trial is very quick. I also like the prosecuting attorney. Harry is a gray-haired lady who runs the firm.
  6. Brain Performance

    I had time to try and like it. Each game you play on Lumosity belongs to a brain area: Memory, Attention, Speed, Flexibility, or Problem Solving. By doing 15-minute training sessions regularly, it should increase your brain performance index which measures your cognitive performance.  My favorite games are bird watching and Familiar Faces.  My strongest area so far is memory and problem solving and my weakest speed (no surprise there).  Have you tried this yet?

(50 cents per legitimate comment during April goes to Paralyzed Veterans of America.)

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

8 Reasons I like Our Awning

When we first bought our house, the porch had an awning but then several years ago when we got a new roof, the roofer removed the awning because it was in the way of doing the roof.  We went without one for about 3-4 years I think and found that I missed it.  We finally had this new one installed and I am so glad to have an awning again for the following reasons:
  1. When it is raining, we have shelter when unlocking the door to get in so we don't get all wet (assuming we had an umbrella).

  2. When it rains, our porch chairs won't fill up with water as much.

  3. When we leave a bag of clothes out for the Salvation Army or Veterans of America, the bag (or box) won't get wet now if it rains and fall apart.

  4. On hot summer days when it is raining lightly, we can still sit outside on the porch.

  5. It provides shade so on warm sunny days I can sit on the porch and read without getting a headache from the sun or having to squint. Abby prefers lying in the shade too as opposed to the sun on hot days.

  6. In the winter, we won't have ice right outside our front door anymore and won't need to shovel the porch off.

  7. We now have something to hang a wind chime on again or a hanging basket of flowers.

  8. I think it looks better with the awning than without it. Without it, it looked too open and unfinished.

Now if I could just find a way to keep the bees from coming on our porch. Already when we were sitting on the porch reading on Sunday, a big yellow jacket came flying through and then came near me on its next visit. I HATE those things and went inside shortly after. I felt like "Little Miss Muffet" except it was a bee that chased me away instead of a spider.

(50 cents per legitimate comment during April goes to Paralyzed Veterans of America.)

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bring Some Water Along by Abby

We were waiting for a nice warm day to show you my great water bottle I got for Christmas.  It got up into the 70s last Sunday so was a perfect day for my mom to come along to take the picture.  It's a Gulpy pet water dispenser that my daddy brings along on our walks now so I have clean water to drink if I get thirsty along the way. It also helps me be able to keep going longer on warm days! He shakes it a bit and water slowly comes out of the bottle into the little trough that opens up for me to drink from. Then it folds up nicely so he can carry it easily or even clip it on his belt if he wanted to.  Below is a picture of me showing you how it works.

Ah, that tastes good!
I recommend this for any doggie,  My mom found this at a special store at Westpark mall in Strongsville, Ohio.  It came from the same store that my daddy got me the big cookie shaped like a bone and the dog brick puzzle game.  The links will take you to my YouTube videos of demonstrating both these items.  Woof!  Woof!

(50 cents per legitimate comment during April goes to Paralyzed Veterans of America.)

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Greedy much or Generous?

It just sickens me when I hear about greedy athletes, but Chris Singleton of the Washington Wizards, takes the cake!  He's 22 years old, a rookie basketball player making just under $1.5 million this season and is not satisfied.  He spent $10,000 on lottery tickets to win $640 million.  Talk about greedy!  He has so much money he doesn't know what to do with it and wants more?  He said it was a wise investment.  If he hadn't spent it on the lottery tickets, he would have just blown it in clubs.

This is a good example of plain old greed.  I am so glad he didn't win!  I'd much rather see someone win who doesn't have a lot of money already.  Hey Chris, if you have so much money that you don't know what to do with, how about investing it in a charity where it would do some good for others?  Did you ever think of that?  You do not need to get richer to help make the world a better place.  Start now with what you have!

I know it's his money and he has the freedom to spend it any way he wants, but greed destroys people.  I hope he doesn't become one of those athletes who end up bankrupt because of making so many poor spending decisions.  I'd say he's off to a pretty good start here.

What do you think about this? 

On the other hand, we have the anonymous couple who paid $100,000 to spend the day with Tim Tebow. at an auction to raise money for Tebow's charity.  They planned to share him with their Florida community and let him meet and play with the kids.  This couple obviously must have a lot of disposable income to be able to do this, but I like that they use their wealth to help others. 

Any thoughts on this?  I'd love to hear what others have to say about these things.

(50 cents per legitimate comment during April goes to Paralyzed Veterans of America.)

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Movie "Courageous" Is A Message To Fathers

I went to see this movie over the weekend at our church and think it has a very good message for fathers. It certainly didn't keep me on the edge of my seat like "The Hunger Games" and didn't entertain me like "We Bought A Zoo," but it was more of a family drama. It shows five or six different men interacting with their families, all but one being on the police force.

When Adam's young daughter is killed in a car accident, he has regrets about not spending more time with her and is surprised how much the Bible says about fathers when he takes the time to look search the scripture. He and his co-workers chat about being a good dad and he asks them to hold him accountable to a list of resolutions that he drew up based on the Bible. Parts of the movie did seem corny and unbelievable, like when his group of friends from work all decided to make the same resolutions as well. That would have been corny enough, but then they actually have a ceremony with their families and frame and hang the resolutions in their homes.  (You can actually buy a print of them online at

There were parts of the movie I liked though too. I liked when Adam decides to run with his son in the father-son race.  CAUTION--SPOILERS AHEAD:  Another favorite part was when the construction worker kept his integrity even though it meant putting his much needed job on the line. I think the most touching scene though was when the father of the teenage daughter took her to a fancy restaurant and dressed up to let her know how much she meant to him and that he loved her so much that he wanted the best for her. He asked her to promise him that she would let him approve the guys she wanted to date and until they agreed on the right one, he gave her a ring to wear to memorialize their special dinner and agreement.  I liked that the young guy who was a father out of wedlock and left the girl on her own decided to step up and be a father to his little girl.

I think any father could learn something on how to become a better father by watching this movie.  Please let us know what you thought of it if you've seen it or leave a link in the comments to your review of it.

(50 cents per legitimate comment during April goes to Paralyzed Veterans of America.)

Friday, April 13, 2012

6 Things We Learned This Week 16 of 2012 (golf, words, TV, zoo, animals)

Friday Fragments is hosted my Half-Past Kissin' Time for bloggers to post a list of short things on their minds that aren't really enough for a whole post. We like to share what we've learned each week.

  1. Bubba

    I was thrilled to see an unknown golfer (art least to me) win the Masters this year.  Bubba Watson won using a pink driver! Here's a link to the post I did about him: Congratulations, Bubba!

  2. New Talk Show

    Guess who is going to have a talk show in September. . . Jeff Probst, the host of Survivor! I'm going to DVR it at least for a week to check it out. I like him and am curious as to what topics he'll be talking about. He twittered about it.
  3. Zoo News

    Aye-Aye (image source: Zoo magazine)
    A new animal that I never heard of arrived: the aye aye. It is a small animal with big ears, long claws that looks kind of like a lemur. Here's a link to National Geographic to learn more about this unusual creature from Madagascar.

  4. May 12, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., people can come ride their bikes all through the Cleveland zoo!

  5. Kallie, a 29-yr.-old female elephant arrived from the Pittsburgh zoo and already knows three of the ones here from being with them before.
  6. Doula

    This is a word I just heard last night at our Women of Wonder ("W.O.W.") meeting from one of the ladies at my table who said she wants to be one. I had no idea what it was, but she explained it's someone (a non-medical) person who focuses on supporting a woman giving birth, kind of like a labor coach. According to Wikipedia, the goal of a doula is to ensure the mother feels safe and confident before, during and after delivery.

(50 cents per legitimate comment during April goes to Paralyzed Veterans of America.) Share this:

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Congratulations, Bubba!

I was thrilled to see an unknown golfer (at least to me) win the Masters this year.  Bubba Watson won using a pink driver!  He is also a risk taker and finished with an exciting approach shot from the trees.  That I can relate to--my ball ALWAYS lands in the trees it seems. He never took a golf lesson in his life, is humble and thanked his "Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ." He sure looks good in that green jacket with his white pants! Congrats, Bubba! Did you watch the Masters? I'm sorry to say that I didn't, but I enjoyed seeing Bubba's finish and his interview. Here you go for those who missed it the first time:
Here's a link to another video that shows his shot: After Sunday, his Twitter followers rose to over 500,000! It's amazing how quickly a person can become popular overnight with the technology we have today. (50 cents per legitimate comment during April goes to Paralyzed Veterans of America.) Share this:

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter Everyone--He Is Risen!

Praise God for his amazing love for us, his goodness and faithfulness! What a joyous time Easter is when we focus on Christ's resurrection from the dead! Growing up, I always enjoyed getting up early to go to the Easter Sunrise service, but the church we now attend doesn't have a sunrise service so I'll go to the 8:15 a.m. one which is the earliest. Then, I'll leave a bit early to get ready to do our puppet presentation, "Nic at Night" for the kids while their parents are in the service.

It's a musical about how Nicodemus, a pharisee, came to Jesus at night to have a serious talk found in John 3. Jesus told him, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus asked, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?" Jesus went on to explain we need to be born of the spirit. Jesus told Nicodemus about the snake story with Moses, how that
as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
I am so excited to be a part of this puppet ministry to share the gospel in this special way with the children. It was on an Easter Sunday (I think 51 years ago) that I was born again into God's family by trusting Jesus as my savior. I know at least some of the readers of this blog are my brothers and sisters in Christ because they too have put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repented of their sin and asked Jesus to forgive them and save them as well. I look forward to meeting you in heaven some day if not on this earth.

 To those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus yet, I would love to introduce you to my Lord and try to answer any questions you may have if you are seeking the peace that only God can give and make this Easter special by opening your heart and receiving Jesus as your personal savior. I leave this verse with you:
But as many as received him [Jesus], to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.--John 1:12
(50 cents per legitimate comment during April goes to Paralyzed Veterans of America.)
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Friday, April 6, 2012

5 Things We Learned This Week 15 of 2012 (charity, ants, safety, MLB)

Friday Fragments is hosted my Half-Past Kissin' Time for bloggers to post a list of short things on their minds that aren't really enough for a whole post. We like to share what we've learned each week.
  1. Comments For Charity

    The total comments for March on our blogs was 216 so we donated $108 to The American Cancer Society, split between Louise at Country Pictures and Mrs. 4444 and her Difference Makers at Half-Past Kissin' Time. For April, our charity is the Paralyzed Veterans of America.
  2. Ants

    Over at Modern Mom, I found out ants hate coffee. She suggests putting dry coffee grounds in a paper bag on your counters and in cupboards where you found ants and could also spread some around the perimeter of your house to keep them away.
  3. Crime Prevention

    I attended a Street Smart Crime Prevention at work and learned several things regarding personal safety, one of which was not to walk and read at the same time which I used to do every day on my breaks and at lunch. I posted my notes on this blog in case you missed them, here are the links: Part 1, Part 2.
  4. Orange and April

    I learned this week that April is Animal Cruelty Awareness month and the color to wear is orange to show your support. (Kind of like pink for breast cancer.) You can donate to the American Society For the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to support this cause. 
  5. Longest Opener

    The Cleveland Indians lost to the Royals  Toronto Blue Jays in their home opener thanks to a blown save in the 9th that launched the game into 16 innings, the longest opener in the history of major league baseball. “I feel terrible,” said Perez. “Everyone did their job today but me.” This makes four losses in a row for Cleveland home openers. Oh, and out of the 16 innings, the Indians only scored in one of them. On a brighter note, they had a pretty good season last year so I'm still optimistic. It was cold too, not good baseball weather. I felt sorry for the players and the fans who went. See: Wrong Side of History--Indians Lose Longest Opening Day Game.

Have some marshmallow eggs too--they are my favorite Easter candy!

(50 cents per legitimate comment during April goes to Paralyzed Veterans of America--maybe next month will be ASPCA.)

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

14 Street Smart Crime Prevention Tips--Part 2

I am continuing the tips from Tim Dimoff that he gave in a seminar at my place of employment last Friday. Part 1 was yesterday.

Here are 14 Rules that Tim Dimoff gave to help prevent you from becoming a victim to crime:

Rule #1--Pretend to be a criminal. Think where would you hide if you were a criminal wanting to catch someone off guard? Who would be an easy target?

Rule #2--Pay Attention--Watch People. This takes away the element of surprise. By increasing your circle of awareness to 360 degrees around you, cuts your chances of being attacked by 90%!

Rule #3--Avoid groups of strangers. There is a "pack mentality" so it is wise to avoid walking close to groups of teens at the mall or a group of guys hanging around a store or ally.

Rule #4--It's okay to profile. Trust your inner alarms. If someone looks suspicious or you feel as though someone is following you, look directly at them and change your direction. If they continue following you, head for a crowd of people, light or a noisy place.

Rule #5--No stranger needs to be closer to you than 5 feet. If someone approaches you for directions and is getting closer than that, just tell them to "stop, close enough" and you could back up.

Rule #6--Know when to retreat. Do not show fear, change direction and get away. Do not be afraid of hurting their feelings if someone is making you uncomfortable or you think they are doing something suspicious.

Rule #7--Watch to see who is watching you. If someone is watching you and you look directly at them letting them know you know they are watching you, chances are they will look away and choose a different target, one less aware.

Rule #8--Watch for people getting out of cars at parking lots. Have your keys ready as you approach your car and lock the doors as soon as you get in.

Rule #9--Run in direction of your choosing--towards people, lights, activity and noise. Do Not go anywhere with any predator--upset their game plan--if they ask for something, give it to them and walk away or run away. Don't discuss it. Drop it on the ground, turn and leave. Property can be replaced, your life cannot.

Rule #10--Do not allow yourself to be surrounded. Change direction if you sense more than one person coming at you.

Rule #11--Designate a meeting place for your family if get split up when on an outing. Have a code phrase for your family to use to convey danger-listen up.

Rule #12--If someone does get the drop on you, don't argue, increase distance between you and them if possible, give them something and turn and go in different direction. Don't get into a conversation.

Rule #13--If someone attacks you rather than asking for something, that is the time to fight back. Do not go with them to another location.

Rule #14--Avoid high risk behavior. Do not provoke an attack and be aware of your surroundings. Stay alert.

Tim Dimoff said we should go home and tell our families and friends these tips. I hope you will do the same by sharing this on Facebook, tweeting it, Google + it and talking about it. If you didn't see Part 1, please take a look at it as well and stay safe!

(50 cents per legitimate comment during April goes to Paralyzed Veterans of America.)

Here's Part 1 of the Street Smart Crime Prevention Tips if you missed it. Share this:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Street Smart Crime Prevention Tips--Part I

I am sharing notes I took at a seminar that Tim Dimoff (President and CEO of SACS Consulting and Investigative Services, Inc.) did at my place of employment last Friday.  He was in law enforcement, worked for the FBI and worked under cover with no weapons. He didn't give self-defense moves or tell us how to use weapons but he did tell us how to use our head to help prevent us from becoming victims of crime.

For instance, if you are driving home from work and stop at a light and a man with a gun jumps into your car from the passenger side and tells you to drive, what do you do? 
(a)  Argue with him
(b)  Cry
(c)  Do what he says
(d)  Floor the accelerator and drive into a pole or tree and wreck the car

The correct answer is d because then you changed his game plan.  He knows police will be called and respond and he has to get out of there.  The number one rule for crime prevention is NEVER EVER go to a new location with a predator because chances are you will be killed.

Awareness and Presence

Extend your circle of awareness when you walk.  Look around and be alert.  Do not look like a victim, unaware of your surroundings.  (I guess I shouldn't walk while reading on my breaks and at lunch downtown anymore.) 

If you think you are being followed, cross the street or change direction and look at the person you feel is following you.  Criminals do not like to be looked at.  They like the element of surprise.

Listen to what your gut is telling you and if you feel uncomfortable, head for light, people and noise. 

Criminals avoid victims who look like they will offer resistance, so stand tall, walk confidently, look around and make eye contact.  Do not get lost in electronics--(cell phones, Kindles, ipods).

Avoid parking next to vans.  If one is parked on your driver side, get in on the passenger side, lock the door and slide across the seat of your car. 

Do not let a stranger within 5 feet of you.  Maintain your personal space by backing up to increase the distance and just tell them to stop before they get too close. 

He said if you want to use a weapon, carry pepper spray rather than mace.  It is effective at a greater distance and you do not to be as accurate when aiming it.

(50 cents per legitimate comment during April goes to Paralyzed Veterans of America.)

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Abby's All Better--Praise the Lord!

Inch diameter hole January 2012 after attack
3-24-12 only a small slit
Back in mid-January Abby (our dog) was attacked by two Rotweilers off leash and bitten 15 times all over her body. She was rushed to our vet in critical condition and had a big hole on the inside of her back leg that was about an inch in diameter. The vet said it would have to heal from the inside out and would take time. Thank God, it has finally completely closed up without getting infected.

The vet asked if he could take a picture of it healed up so they could show people that these things can heal. He said a lot of people would have had their dog euthanized if it was in such bad shape as Abby was. He thought that perhaps by showing people the pictures, it would encourage them to save their dog.

Saturday was our final follow-up visit and the hole is gone.  It actually did close up.  Now we can resume her advanced training classes and hopefully get her accepted as a therapy dog to visit hospitals and nursing homes.
3-31 12 all closed up--no more hole!

 (50 cents per legitimate comment during March goes to Paralyzed Veterans of America.)

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Our Favorite Reads For March (Writer's Workshop)

Both Gerard and I loved these two books:  Defending Jacob by William Landy and Home Front by Kristin Hannah. Click on the links to see our reviews.

Defending Jacob by William Landy is about a kid accused of murder and his father who is one of the investigators on the case who wants to believe in his son's innocence but has doubts when the evidence starts showing up.  In the back of his mind he can't help thinking about the other murderers in his family and wonders if it is in his genes and his son's genes.  The wife begins to wonder if her son needs psychiatric help and feels guilty, wondering if they weren't good parents.  It's a great read!

Home Front by Kristin Hannah is an enlightening book about a military family.  When Jolene's and Michael's marriage is going south, Jolene gets deployed to Iraq as a helicopter pilot.  She leaves thinking her husband doesn't love her anymore and so only writes to her two young daughters via email.  She doesn't tell them how bad things really are though because she doesn't want them worrying.  When she finally comes home, it is because she got shot down and was seriously injured.  Her husband learns to appreciate her more when she is gone and realizes he does still love her but doesn't know how to convince her.  It gives good insight into the adjustments soldiers and the families have to make, even after they get home from war.

We linked up with Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop to respond to this prompt:  Book review time! Some people STILL read books…share one of your more recent reads and tell us what you thought!

(50 cents per legitimate comment during April goes to Paralyzed Veterans of America.  Thanks to receiving 216 comments in March, we donated $108 to the American Cancer Society, giving half to Mrs. 4444 at Half-Past Kissin' Time to sponsor her difference makers and half to Lucky Lady at Country Pictures to sponsor her in the Relay For Life.)

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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Don't Judge By Looks

I loved how this pair nailed it and made the judges and audience feel foolish for laughing at them at the beginning. So often we make judgments based on appearances, don't we? I'm sure it took a lot of courage for Jonathan to go on that show and I give him a lot of credit for being loyal to his friend who helped give him the confidence he needed to do it. Simon told him he thought he should dump his friend because she may hold him back but he said they would continue as a duo. Good for him! It's not always easy to overcome a bad first impression, but this 17-yr. old boy did it in just a few seconds--as soon as he started to sing. (50 cents per legitimate comment during March goes to The American Cancer Society by sponsoring Mrs 4444 and Lucky Lady in The Race For Life.)

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