31 days?

October is coming up and that means the 31-day writing challenge begins.  I thought about participating, but for goodness’ sake – it’s a major event if I manage two blog posts on consecutive days!  Happyone would be the one for that – 31 Days of Walking Happiness!  She’s way more consistent than me.

My husband just sent me these pictures.  The ship, El Galeón Andalucía, is on tour and docked where he is working.  It’s a beautiful ship, and HUGE!





I realize the pictures are huge too!

Today was a good day.  I finished work, read a while and then started tackling cleaning the screened porch.  It’s my favorite place but it needs some attention.  Hope your Thursday was a good day, too.

Happy Thursday!




Let’s All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs – Book Review

brave Let’s All Be Brave, Living Life with Everything You Have by Annie F. Downs was an enjoyable read.  I have read the author’s blog for several years now and her book reads much like reading her blog, personal and funny.  She takes you on a journey through her life; times when she has been brave and times when she has not.  She tells about the bravery of others and encourages us to be brave.  Miss Downs writes that being brave takes many forms, big and small.  Your brave will be different from my brave, or as she puts it, your map will be different than my map of where we are going and what we need to do to get there.

At some points I feel she is writing to a younger audience, which she is well-equipped to do, having already written two books for young women and heading college-age groups.  But there is  a bigger message, no matter your age.  You can be brave and do those things that you feel God calling you to do, no matter how big or small.

I felt that Miss Downs was brave herself in writing this book.  It took courage to write some of the personal stories she wrote, sharing her thoughts and feelings so openly in these pages.  All in all, a quick read, but a good read; one that will make you want to be brave and just do whatever it is you feel led to do.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”






Loving This Weather!

I LOVE fall.  It is my favorite season, with winter being the next favorite.  I have been loving the weather the last several days.  I actually closed the house up Sunday night because it got chilly.  Somewhere between using air conditioning and firing up the woodstove is where I like it the best.

Jerry did a lot of yard work this weekend.  Mostly I just watched!  We have had bushes lining the driveway and sidewalk since we moved here 19 years ago, and they were looking pitiful.  We trimmed them up two years ago hoping that it would initiate new growth, but I think they were on their last legs and looked their very worst this year.  All of them but four are gone now and the yard looks so open now.  I’ll admit – Jerry and the boys have been wanting to get rid of those bushes for the last five years and I have been the single holdout because they afforded us a little teensy bit of privacy.   But we’ll figure something else about that; the bushes were awful looking, and even I finally had to admit it!  If I can figure out how to post a video from my phone, I will post pictures that I took.

Work has been interesting.  One of the companies I work for is now splitting into two companies and we were given the option of going with both of them or staying with one or the other.  We were told we would be offered new contracts and to make our decision after that.  It turned out not to be a hard decision.  Of the two companies the current company is splitting into, one company is keeping everything the same as it is now; same people, same pay, etc.   The other company offered us a 40% pay cut.   I could be wrong, but I’m thinking the second company really didn’t want any of us to go with them because I believe they are looking to take the work to India, whereas the other company has told us they were staying U.S. only.  While I was waiting for my contract proposals I was praying for God to help me choose.  Turns out, He did, in a big way!

I have a new book review that I hope to get posted by the end of the week, and fall housecleaning to do.  Oh, who am I kidding?!  I just need to do housecleaning – period – no matter what the season!  I am not an especially good housekeeper :(

Hope you are having a lovely kind-of-fall day.  Happy Tuesday!




Book Review – Time to Choose by Dawn Kazmierzak

This book, Time to Choose, is subtitled Growing Up under Hitler and Watching History Repeat Itself, as that is what the book is about.  I finished this book in three days, it was that good!

The book is written in Hilda Gutwein’s words (Dawn Kazmierzak is her daughter).  Hilda grew up in a rather wealthy family.  Because of ongoing territorial wars, her homeland would change hands several times as she was growing up.  This never really changed their lives dramatically – not until the war came to their front door and they had to leave everything behind.

Hilda’s story is amazing in that through losing everything, from the farm that had been in the family for generations, to literally the clothing on their backs, they never once doubted God and his provision for them.  Because there was lack of media in those days, they were for the most part uninformed about Hitler’s true purposes and watched with confusion as their Jewish friends and neighbors were rounded up and then disappeared.  It is fascinating and horrifying to read these accounts from Hilda’s perspective.

There are points to think about given at the end of each chapter.  While the points seem mainly geared to parents of younger children, they are still good points to think about.  Hilda’s purpose in writing this book and giving the points to think about, was to share her strong prayer that history should not repeat itself in our future generations.  I very highly recommend this book.  It is well written and certainly gives a different perspective into a dark period of history but also gives hope of restoration through faith in God.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”






Whew!  It’s been a while.  Actually, though, nothing major is going on, and that’s okay with me.  My garden is slowing down.  I have one lone acorn squash and the vines decided they liked it better outside of the raised bed.  It’s getting kind of late for squash, though, so we’ll see if this turns out or not.  The tomatoes are looking good.  That last picture was the other day’s pickings.  I’ll be making stuffed jalapenos this weekend.




One of these days I will get the pictures to line up neatly next to each other instead of running straight down the page!  On other fronts, work has been crazy, and that is a very good thing.  I don’t know the reason for it, but it is a most welcome change.  It doesn’t leave a lot of time for blogging, though!

Oh, yes, and I mustn’t forget to tell you about my exciting Friday before last.  I was sitting, reading in the sun, minding my own business when my chest started hurting.  I tried to ignore it, figuring I had just overdone the weightlifting, and it did go away after a minute.  But then it came back worse than before and this time my left arm started getting numb and tingling.  After about 45 minutes of this I figured I’d better get checked out.  I drove myself to the ER (in my defense, I DID say the pain was intermittent!) and Andy went with me.  Since my husband was working out of town, I didn’t call him until a few hours later when they were getting ready to discharge me.  Being Friday, I knew he was trying his best to finish up what he was doing so he could head home, and there wasn’t anything he could do by being there, anyway.  (Yeah, I kind of heard about that.  I was called “hardhead” all weekend).

My initial tests were okay but because my sister, two years ago at age 51, had a left anterior descending artery (LAD) dissection out of the blue with no risk factors whatsoever, they did extra tests on me just to make sure everything was okay.  I had a CT angiogram so they could check my heart for dissection but that, too, was just fine.   Everything was perfectly normal and they sent me home.

Maybe I really did overdo it weightlifting!  There are still a few loose ends just to finish all the workup they want to do.  Last week I had an echocardiogram which was fine, and in two weeks I have a stress test, which is the last of the workup.  I’m still weightlifting and still training for that 5K in October, and I feel just fine.

Also, reading has been taking up a lot of my free time.  Not only for BookLook (and I SERIOUSLY have a review due for them….) but also my oldest son, Tom, and I made a deal.  I had been after him to read the Artemis Fowl series of books.  Andy had read them first and then convinced me to read them and they were really good.  Well, Tom was pushing me to read the Harry Potter series, so we made a deal – he would read the Artemis Fowl series if I would read the Harry Potter series.  He finished before me; I just finished the fifth book in the series and have two more to go.   I’m really enjoying them.  And he said he liked Artemis Fowl, too.  Win-win!

Last but not least, Cheetos.  Yes, I must mention Cheetos.  For some reason baked jalapeno flavor Cheetos have been my downfall all this week.  Those stupid (wonderful), awful (delicious), bad for you (but so crunchy good) things that stain your fingers orange, have been taunting me.  I’m usually pretty good about junk food, but for some reason I have been craving these awful things all week.  I hope I’ve eaten enough to get it out of my system now!  We’ll see when I pick Andy up from work tonight and see if they call me from the chip aisle.  If the good Lord can part the sea, he can surely remove my craving for jalapeno flavored baked Cheetos.

Anyway, that’s all for now.  I’m off to make myself a healthy wrap for dinner along with a smoothie made with a fresh tomato, cucumber and banana pepper.  Sounds  yucky, but is really good!  Happy Thursday, everyone!


On My Mind

I know I haven’t posted in a while; I have mundane gardening updates to share with you, plus a book review that I have to get written, but today, right now, I’m writing what is on my heart.  Writing has been an outlet for me for a long time, so I need to write this to help me sort this out.   I hope you understand a moment of seriousness in what is my usual mundane-ness.

I am feeling so sad and grieved right now by this world.  I honestly can’t tell you why it hit me so hard today when I see it all around me every day, but it did.  I read a news story this afternoon that the Ocean City boardwalk now has a pole installed and has nearly-naked pole dancers performing.  In plain sight.  For families, grandparents and everyone to see.  When people complained about it, the mayor apparently tried to stop it but the ACLU stepped in and said that stopping it would be in violation of free speech, and so therefore it is lawful and allowed to continue.  I only read one news account of this.  If there are more details I am unaware of them, but I stopped reading at this point.  I had read enough.

The world is trying so hard to find entertainment and happiness but what it doesn’t realize is that it’s looking in the wrong direction.  It is digging deeper and deeper into darkness trying to find satisfaction, but in so doing actually just destroying families and lives, and innocence is falling by the wayside at an alarming rate.  Happiness and satisfaction will never be found in indecency and immorality.  It is a downward spiral that just goes deeper and deeper,  and gets darker and darker.  And so because they can’t find happiness at the current level of immorality, they keep pushing the envelope making it more and more indecent and not seeing the slippery slope they are creating for themselves.

If only people could realize the simple joys of innocence.  There is great joy in everyday things when your mind isn’t filled with dark, unholy things.  I wish the world could know and understand that the direction it is headed in will only lead to death and destruction.  To live in the freedom of God is true freedom.  The smallest things can make me laugh.  I am in awe of the simplest wonders of nature.  I see each new day as an adventure.  Oh, how I wish everyone could be happy in just the simple and innocent things of life.  I know that God has me right here, right now, for a purpose.  As I’m still sorting my feelings about this out, I don’t have any concrete answers for dealing with my grief about this just yet, but I do know that I need to be a light in this dark world and try to be an example that there is a much better and happier way to live; one that brings life, satisfaction and true happiness.

Thank you for bearing with my ramblings while I got these thoughts off my mind.  Please pray for the people who are in darkness and only seeking more darkness in their forms of entertainment, thinking it will fulfill them, and not seeing that they are actually heading straight into the mouth of the beast.  May we be lights in this world and show them a better way and lead them back to life.

A Request

The Leach Family    I have a special favor to ask my readers.  We are neighbors with the Leach family – literally, as in three doors down.  Their daughter Abby was born with cerebrocostomandibular syndrome, a very, very rare disorder.  She will be undergoing the first of what will be many surgeries tomorrow.  Your prayers will be most appreciated for Abby, and also for her big brother Caleb, and her mom and dad, Julie and Matt.  This family has been through so much, but through it all they have believed in God’s provision and plan for them.  Their blog is aptly named – Choose Joy; that is what their family does.

Here is their blog, and here is Abby’s story.

Thank you for lifting them all up in prayer.











Book Review – Living Life Undaunted by Christine Caine

 Living Life Undaunted is a 365-day devotional by Christine Caine.  I was not familiar with Christine Caine  or her writing, so I was looking forward to reading this devotional.  I was not disappointed.  While the daily devotions are short, they end with one or more questions that prompt you to really think about what you have just read.  She covers such a variety of subjects in the Christian walk that this is really a well-rounded devotional.  This book can be used as a companion devotional to her other book, Undaunted, which I have not read, but it is not necessary as this devotional stands quite well on its own.  If you are looking for a concise yet thought-provoking devotional, I definitely recommend this book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”






Now THAT’S An Egg!

Look at this egg!  That poor chicken!


My wonderful friend has been keeping me in eggs for a while now.  Her chickens produce the best eggs I have ever had and I have a standing order for three dozen every Monday.  Everyone loves her eggs.  Of those three dozen, we keep our son and my mother in law supplied.  My breakfast most mornings consists of two soft-boiled eggs, with a teaspoon of coconut oil and a few splashes of hot sauce added.

My friend should really start a blog of her own.  She is hilarious and our emails back and forth usually have me laughing out loud.  But I also know that she is a very busy woman, so I understand that writing a blog would probably not be on her to-do list.  Her name is also Karen!

Her son and Andy have been friends for somewhere around 14 years now.  Her son came over a couple of weeks ago to fix our AC when we tried to turn it on for the first time this season and it wasn’t working right.  It got to 93 degrees here in the house, and her son knew just what the problem was, ordered the parts and had it fixed the next day.  We are very grateful, and very comfortable now!

Friends are a blessing; those I know in person and those I have only met through blogs.  They all make my days much more wonderful and I’m thankful for each one of them.

Well, I guess I’d better get busy for today.  There is my normal work to do for my job, plus my house needs some serious attention.   Also, my husband has been out of town for the week and will be coming home this evening, and getting myself purty for him will take a while.  That’s what happens when you go a week without maintenance!

Happy Friday, everyone!


Bats and Other Items

Last night as I was driving home from picking Andy up from work, something came out of the woods beside the road and ran/flew right towards my truck.  I couldn’t tell what it was, but I sure heard it hit.  When we got home there was a poor bat plastered onto the front of my truck.  A brown bat plastered onto the front of a red Tahoe.  It weren’t pretty.

The bat was all still intact, thankfully (because ewwww….) but it was surely dead.  Andy was brave and peeled it off and disposed of it.  Actually, one of its wings had wedged under the hood and we had to open the hood to release it.  I am apparently a bat magnet because on my way to get Andy 15 minutes earlier another bat had flown right towards me and suddenly flew upwards, missing my windshield by inches.

Today I wreaked havoc at the grocery store again.  Okay, not really.  I just rolled a Visa gift card and got mad gas points at Giant.  This is the third week I’ve done this, but alas, all good things must come to an end and today is the last day for this particular promotion.  Last week was particularly lucrative.  I bought a $500.00 Visa gift card for which I got 4 times gas points (2000 points or $2.00 off a gallon).  Then I bought another $500.00 Visa gift card, using the first gift card to pay for the second, thereby receiving another 2000 points.  I then used that $500.00 gift card to buy my groceries, fill my gas-hogging Tahoe, and paid bills for the month.

Unfortunately, the maximum they’ll let you use is $2.20 off per fill up, but still, I paid $1.44 a gallon and filled my gas-hogging truck for about $30.00 which would normally be around $80.00.  I had enough gas points left over that our oldest used them to fill his tank last week, and now I have enough to fill my truck one more time next week with the discount.  I am sad that this gift card promotion ends today, but I sure had fun while it lasted.

We had a nasty storm roll through last night.  It didn’t last too long but that thunder was shaking the house.  We didn’t lose electricity but it blinked and dimmed off and on for a long time.  It looks like it could rain anytime now.  I am thankful for the rain, but not the gully-washing kind that took out my mulberry plantings.  The hydrangea I planted and my garden needs watering, not flooding!

So, back to work for me right now while I contemplate what I shall have for lunch.  Probably leftover eggplant parmesan that I made yesterday.  My mother in law has been graciously keeping us in vegetables and this past weekend Jerry’s uncle gave us eggplant.  I bought a Veggetti because I read good reviews about it and I have tons of squash and zucchini.  Has anybody used one?  How do you like it?  I will let you know how I like mine just as soon as I get a chance to use it.

Hope everyone is having and will continue to have a wonderful Thursday :)