Monday, December 4, 2017

My Big Decision

Well, I guess y'all  have noticed that I have been absent from blogging for seven months. I can't believe it myself, seven months. It really didn't seem like that long until I looked back and realized I had not blogged since May. Boy, do I have a lot of catching up to do. There have been some good things and some sad things that have happened in the last seven months, but I am going to start off by telling you about my big decision.

Nine years ago I graduated from a local community college with an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. I wanted to transfer to a four year college and continue with my education, but was told that all my credits would be lost and I would basically be starting over. I was devastated! I didn't want to do that, so I just decided to stay home, raise my kids, do a little babysitting and give up that teaching degree dream.

Fast forward to March of this year and I decided to look into school again, just in case something had changed and to my surprise it had.

I discovered that I could transfer almost most of my credits and go into the school at almost junior status. I thought why not apply, so I did and I was accepted. The next few months were a whirlwind of paperwork, financial aid headaches and advisement meetings. In August I started my first semester at one of our state universities and it has been one more exciting semester. I only registered for two classes, per advice from my adviser, and I can tell you I am glad I did. I spend so much time each week reading, working on papers and discussions.

I have been stressed to the max!! 

Image result for college life is stressful image

One of the things I love best about it is the that all my classes are online. I don't have to drive all the way to campus and I can do schoolwork in my pajamas.  I do miss one thing about being in a classroom, raising my hand to ask a question and getting an answer right away. The thing with online school is emailing your professor and then having to wait for a reply.

This week is finals week for me and thankfully one professor has decided not to give us a final exam, because of all our hard work this semester, but I do have to study for the one tomorrow, then the semester is over. I get a few days off and then go right into a mini-mester for the month of December, it is going to be a wild and busy month.

Image result for textbook and pencil

This new journey I am on is both exciting and scary, but anything worth doing is.  

  "That's my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?"

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The little things

The other day I got to noticing some things I had never really taking the time to appreciate before. They were not big things, not major events, just little small things that I had noticed, but never really paid that much attention to. Each one brings me happiness in it's own special way and I wanted to share just a few of these things with you.

1. I love how my youngest daughter automatically takes my hand when we walk side by side:
It never fails, just as soon as we start to walk anywhere if she is beside me, she will reach out and take my hand automatically and I am going to enjoy it while it last.

2. I love how my little dog Dixie looks up at me with such love in her eyes:
I just love so many things about my Dixie, but the love in her eyes is so real and true. Humans can fake or hide their emotions, but dogs do not have the ability to do that. There have been many days that her love and comfort have seen me through difficulty and I hope to have her around for a very long time.

3. I love how my husband always holds my hand as we are driving down the road:
I hardly ever drive anymore, unless I just have to. I like being able to ride as a passenger and just watch the world around me. You see so much more when you are not driving, but I like holding my hubby's hand the most. There is just something solid and comforting in knowing that he is there and taking care of us. 

4. I love how my oldest daughter and I can sit just reading together without saying a word:
So many times we feel the need to fill up our days and the days of our children. It seems as if everyone's kids have sports, music, and all sorts of activities planned each week. I am so thankful for the quiet nights at home when we just sit around with our books, not feeling the need to talk or go everywhere, just content to be at home and share our love of reading.

5. I love how all the kids around call me Tink:
Eight years ago a little boy named Hunter came into our family and since them I have been known as Tink. It is a nickname that is short for Tinkerbell.  All the little ones in my family and some in my church call me Tink.  It just seems so natural that they all use that for my name. I am so glad to have so many wonderful little ones in my life.  I was privileged to finally meet "myself" on our most recent Disney vacation. I have to say I was very impressed.

6. I love snuggling up on the couch with the girls for movie night.
My husband doesn't really care for the whole cartoon thing, so if the choice for the night is a movie of the toon variety, my hubby just lets me and the girls do our thing.  There is always fighting over space and the last bag of popcorn, but I love our time anyway.

7. I love how my youngest daughter "plays along" with our pianist at church:
Every service as we are singing in the choir I look down to see my 10 year olds little hands playing right along with Ms. Sherri.  She gets so upset if she has to stand in a different spot and can't see Ms. Sherri play.  I am so glad that she has a talent for music and I pray that she will use it her entire life.

8. I love how a cool breeze is just what you need on a hot day:
Southern summers can be hot, but not just hot, they are humid.  Sometimes you can just stand outside and not be doing a thing and the sweat will just be rolling down your back and legs.  Then all of a sudden the Lord will send a nice cool breeze along your way and it is like instant air-conditioning.

9. I love how the acoustics in our church bathroom are perfect for speaking whale.
Really, I am serious! I guess it comes from watching to much Finding Nemo and Finding Dory, but the way that bathroom makes your voice sound is perfect. Speaking whale is so cool!!

10.  I love older television shows:
I know it sounds strange, but I just love to sit back and watch old tv shows from when I was a kid.  When I say older I mean they were in reruns when I was growing up.  I am so glad to have the chance to introduce shows like, Gunsmoke, The Rifleman, Little House on the Prairie, etc.  That was when television, was good and decent.

You see, the little things are important. They are the things that we never really notice or we do, but just don't appreciate.  I am going to start trying to find the little things around me each day and to appreciate them even more.

   "That's my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?"

Why I Adore Country Living!

I have traveled some and been to some pretty big cities and I love seeing new things, but there is no where I can imagine making my home than in the country. I know a lot of people would absolutely hate it. They would ask, "How can you be so far away from everything?". You see the thing is I don't see myself as being far away from everything. Sure the closet town to us only has a population of about 2500 and I have to drive at least 30 miles to get to a fairly good size city and that I have to travel at least one and a half hours to get to a major metropolitan area, but I like it that way. The way I see it, I am close enough if I want to get there I can and far enough away that I don't feel the "big city" creeping in.

I know there are good things about city living, I can't deny that, but let me share just some of the reasons I adore living in the country.

1. The quiet: I know this will not be a plus for some people, but I absolutely love sitting on my back porch listening to the quiet, peaceful sounds of nature. You can always hear the frogs at night or the birds during the day. In fact lately we have a mockingbird who has decided that singing at 3:30 in the morning is an appropriate thing to do. I remember my trips to the big city and it always stuck out to me that even in the parks and natural places I couldn't hear nature. All I could hear where horns honking and people yelling.  I much more prefer my quiet little country oasis.

2.The wildness: This sort of goes along with the first point, but expands it some.  When I say the wildness I mean the actual wildlife.  I really enjoy watching the kids chase frogs and toads across the driveway and catching fireflies on a hot summer night. I enjoy those cool autumn mornings watching the deer drink from the pond as I have my morning coffee.  I know that these wild animals have started making their way into the more populated areas, but there is just something magical about seeing them in their own environment and being able to share that with my children.

3.The people: It seems to me that most people see us country folk as rednecks, hicks or backwoods people. I have heard all the stereotypical terms used to describe us and to tell you the truth those words don't really offend us. We might go at a slower pace, talk a little slower and do things differently, but we are a true, loving and compassionate people.  I don't think you can really appreciate the country without knowing it's people.  We are kind and would give you the shirt off our back if you needed it. We live, laugh and love just like city folk, but yet we are looked at as if we are ignorant and backwards. I admit some people do fit that bill, but for the most part you can't find a better group of people anywhere else.

4.The lifestyle: I think that I have already covered this some in my previous points.  Living in the country is just a slower, more laid back lifestyle. We have a different way of living and being. I am thinking about one thing in particular. My Daddy wanted to buy a hen from a man. He really wanted this hen, she was what we call a good sitter, which just means she would be good for raising baby chicks. The man didn't want to sell the hen, but was willing to trade her off for a turtle. Yes, you read that right, a turtle. His plan was to cook and eat said turtle. Yes, we do eat turtle around these parts. So, my Daddy has spent the last week trying to catch a turtle to trade for a chicken. I just had to laugh and say only in the country.

I know that our way of living may seem strange and foriegn to a lot of people. but I hope that after reading this you will have a better appreciation for the country and maybe you will even want to visit it some day. It will be somewhat of a culture shock, but come on over! We'lll brew up some sweet ice tea, bake a pound cake and sit on the back porch visiting and enjoying some country living.

"That's my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?"

Money Saving: Dimes for Disney

A couple of months ago I shared with y'all one of the ways I am saving for Disney, recycling cans. Well today I am going to share another of our projects, Dimes for Disney. 

I got the idea for this project from Pinterest. 

After reading about some other peoples experience I decided to give it a try. 

I started out with an empty two liter drink bottle. If this seems to extreme at first I have read that some people start out with a small water bottle,doing this makes the task seems less daunting. We decided that we would just go for the big payoff from the get go.  After washing the bottle and allowing it to dry, it was time to decorate. We wanted something that was Disney related, since it was a Disney saving project, so we cut out a picture of Cinderellas castle from the Lego catalog and glued it to the front of the bottle. We then used letter stickers to label our bottle Dimes for Disney. 

Making the container was the easy part, now we have the task of filling it up. All of us, my husband included have started saving our dimes. I have even started asking for my change back to be as many dimes as possible. That gets me some strange looks from the cashier, but then I explain why and most of them totally understand.  I read that when the jug gets completely full you would have somewhere in the neighborhood of about $650, but no matter the amount it will be a huge help in paying for our vacation. 

"That's my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?"

Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Bucket List Project 2017 (part 1)

I am sad to say that my 2017 Bucket List challenge has not gotten off to a very good start.  I have been overwhelmed with life. I have the job of wife, mother, teacher, daughter, sister, Tink and church member.  All these things have keep me extremely busy the first quarter of the year.  I have learned a few new things this year, nothing I really wanted to, but that is just how life goes.

If you had read my challenge from last year, you would remember my goal was to cross twelve things off my bucket list, one for each month, and I accomplished that. I had so much fun in doing it that I decided to go for a repeat this year.  As I said it is not going as well. That being said I guess now would be the time to write on how my twelve bucket list things in one year challenge for this year is going.  

January 2017: 
NOTHING!!! That is right I got absolutely nothing done that month.  January was filled with dealing with trying to get things started with my Mama's estate, not a chore I wanted to do. We had one of our birthdays to celebrate without our Mama. We tried to stay positive and be happy, but honestly it just wasn't the same without her.  The weather here was cold and rainy and I honestly hardly ever left home.  

February 2017:
And again another month of absolutely nothing crossed off my list. February was filled with all the above things mentioned, plus preparing for a birthday party in April and the Senior Citizens banquet at our church.  We had a quiet Valentines Day, nothing special, just me and the husband getting a couple of hours to eat out alone.  I guess in my hectic life carving a couple of hours really is accomplishing something.

March 2017:
Amazingly this month it finally happened, two things on my bucket list!! We decided to take the family for a quick little get away over spring break.  I has been on my bucket list to go to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, so that is were we headed. Unfortunately the week of our spring break was cool and not the perfect weather for the beach, but we made the most of it. I won't go much into Hilton Head itself, I did a post on that earlier, but I will say the beach was beautiful and quiet, just what I was looking for.

The second item was checked off on this trip as well. I have always wondered what it was like to just sit on the beach, watch the kids play and read a book. Every time we go, there are always shows, aquariums and other things to see and I never get to do that lazy day on the beach.  Well at Hilton Head you have to pay by the hour to park at the beach access, so I didn't get a whole day of sitting on the beach and reading, I only got a couple of hours. 

I can honestly say after trying it for a couple of hours, I don't think I could stand a whole day. I don't know how people do it. I learned that I am really not a beach person. I am more of a lets go somewhere different and see lots of different things type of person, as long as the hotel has a pool. 

So now here I am into the month of April, by now I should have three things done, but I am only at two. I am not concerned though, the summer months are coming and there are so many fun things on my list to do that hopefully I can still make that goal by the end of the year. 

"That's my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?"

Friday, March 31, 2017

The Paris Wife: Book Review

This post will be completely different than any other post I have written.  I never really thought about doing book or movie reviews, but after my latest read I just had to share my opinion. 

First off, I really did not know that much about Ernest Hemingway, just the basic facts that I had picked up over time. I will admit I have become somewhat fascinated with him since we visited Shakespeare and Co. in Paris. This is a little book store that was often visited by Hemingway, Fitzgerald and other great authors of their time. 

I never knew anything about his marriages, other than he had several of them, but I was intrigued to read this story about his first wife Hadley, Hemingway's Paris Wife.  

Hadley Richardson Hemingway

I love the fact, that even though fiction, this book takes you through the intense love and passion that Ernest and Hadley held for one another. From the very beginning you can see that their relationship and marriage would be tested not just by others and family, but also by the Hemingways themselves.

Paula McLain does a fantastic job of bringing 1920's Paris to life. I could just feel myself walking around the streets of the city right alongside Hadley and Ernest.  It brought back wonderful memories of our time there and presented what life was really like during the era of the Roaring Twenties. Paris was so different from the Mid-west United States that the Hemingways departed from and that Parisian life would not only test them, but would change them both. 

The only issue I had with this novel was the use of some profanity. I can see that this is exactly how a man like Hemingway would have spoken, but I do believe the story could have been told just as well without it. 

Overall I give the book four out of five stars. It is beautifully written and presents the story of a regular girl caught up in a romance for the ages. 

"That's my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?"

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spring Break Getaway 2017

Spring break, for us, started off cold, rainy and windy! In other words, not very spring like.  We had already decided to take a few days off that week, since there was no school and head to the beach. This year we went a little further south than usual and ended up on Hilton Head Island.

We took our time driving down and stopped at Cracker Barrel for breakfast.  When we arrived we stopped by our hotel and was able to check in early. After a little rest we drove down just to get a look at the shops, the beach and Harbor Town. One thing different about Hilton Head is you just can't go to the beach at any spot. Most of the island is owned by individuals and private resorts and you can not access their beaches. However we did visit two beaches, Coligny and Folly Field.  Coligny has free parking and there is a fountain where you walk in, makes it easy to find. There was more people there and lots of dead jelly fish washed up on the shore.  Folly Field has to be driven too and there is a fee of one dollar an hour to park.  We spent about an hour at each beach, then found a Dominos, ordered supper and  headed  back to the hotel.

Lighthouse at Harbor Town

Coligny Beach Park

Just one of many jellies

On Friday, we slept in, ate breakfast and hung out in the room watching cable, something we don't have at home. Around lunch we headed out for shopping at Barnes and Noble, Goodwill and then Dairy Queen for lunch.  As always, I had to find an old cemetery to visit. Afterwards we headed back to Folly Field beach and spent a couple of hours walking on the shore, reading and picking up shells.

Toes in the sand

It was pretty chilly

Feeding the sea birds!

On Saturday we got up early, ate breakfast, checked out and headed up the coast line towards Myrtle Beach for the car show. Just let me say that place was so crowded you couldn't find a place to park. We did find a public beach access, parked (two dollars an hour) and then walked down to the beach. It was so cold we only stayed about 30 minutes and we didn't try to tackle that car show crowd. We stopped for a quick break and then headed home. Instead of stopping for supper, we had stew waiting for us at home, we just stopped by The Berry Patch for an ice cream treat to tide us over.

Now for my opinion of the island. It was beautiful and if you like riding bikes or playing golf it is perfect for you. My children love looking for shells and unfortunately there was not a lot to pick from.  The ocean is very calm there, not many waves, so the shells just don't wash up. After the trip we all agreed, that our favorite beaches of all are our very own North Carolina Outer Banks.

Folly Field Beach Park Hilton Head
The ocean was very calm and no waves or breakers. 

Myrtle Beach
Just 221 miles north of Hilton Head and the ocean is rougher and has lots
of waves and breakers. 

It was  a wonderful little relaxing vacation. Sometimes all you need is just a couple of days to get away, recharge and spend time with your family. My husband likes to say, "If you don't "come apart", you will come apart."

"That's my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?"

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Beauty and the Beast Controversy

Seeing as where this movie is going to be hitting theaters this weekend I decided to jump on this big Disney controversy. I am not going to share my own personal thoughts on homosexuality, I am simply going to use this as a chance to just clear up a few important points. That being said,   I am sure if you have been reading my post for any length of time you have a pretty good idea of what my thoughts are on the subject.

First off let me say that I do personally know someone who is gay. In fact, I have known this man since I was a little girl, but didn't know until about 15 years or so ago that he was in fact a homosexual.  If I see him I am kind and courteous to him. He has always been good to me and when my oldest was sick he even came to visit her in the hospital and has helped with my youngest 50 state rock collection. Why did I feel the need to point that out you might ask?  Well, I want to make it clear to y'all that I do not live a sheltered life where I am hiding away from society. I know people and I know about the lifestyle they live.  I just didn't want my readers to think I am writing this without actually knowing someone who is gay.

Now back to the topic at hand. I will be discussing three things I think are super important for us not only as parents, but as citizens of this free nation to consider with this movie controversy. 

1.  I am the parent!  It is my job as the mother, the parent, the legal guardian of my children to explain delicate matters to them. I have two children, the oldest knows what homosexuality is and the youngest is beginning to get the idea, but it is not something we have explained to her.  At this point I am doing my best to explain to her how she is growing up, much less what is going on with anyone else.  I think of it like I did the Santa Claus issue. We never told our girls that there was a Santa, but we always made sure to let them know that it was not there place to tell that to other children. We explained that it is the parents responsibility to teach their own children about such things. All that being said, it is my responsibility to teach my children about such things. It is not the job of Hollywood, movies, cartoons or Disney.  '

2.  If I was a business owner/government it is up to me what I do!  It has recently come to light that a Russian lawmaker wants to make the movie illegal. Russia has decided to show the movie, but only allowing those over 16 to see it. Whether or not Russia does this is simply up to Russia. It has also been revealed that the films release in Malaysia has also been postponed due to the controversy, even after the film censors reportedly cut the controversial scene from the movie. I have no control over what any government does or does not do. We have also heard that a private movie theater owner is refusing to show the movie because it goes against his moral/religious beliefs.  I am waiting for our government to step in and shut them down for it. This is in a nutshell the business owners right. I believe that if a person is faced with doing something that goes against their religious beliefs they should not be forced to do so. I am sure that others will say that goes both ways, you can't support one religion and destroy another.  The way I see it,  the only religion anyone is trying to destroy in the country is Christianity. (Another topic, for another time)

3.  What else have you not noticed?  I know for a fact that this is not the first time Disney has raised my eyebrows. I remember specific instances of adult themed content in their movies.  Of course little kids don't get it, but the adults do.  Here are just a few examples of what I am talking about.

 I remember in the original cartoon version of Beauty and the Beast there was a scene with Lumiere (the candelabra) and Babette. They were behind the curtain and some questionable stuff was going on.

And how about this honeymoon joke from Aladdin and the King of Thieves?

And who could forget this interaction between Buzz and Jessie?

Not to mention Who Framed Roger Rabbit! That entire movie was highly questionable! (Beware: this trailer shows exactly what I am talking about) 

I am not just picking on Disney here, there are plenty of other company examples,  but they are the ones who got this whole thing started.

When I first heard about all this I wondered if it was "an in your face moment" or just a suggestion? I was trying not to pass judegement, but I did pass the information on to a couple of families that I know.  I felt that people should be made aware of what was being said.

After reading this you might be asking, what do you plan to do?  I will wait, let someone else do the viewing and then I will decide if and when we should watch it. I have already heard a couple of early reviewers that say it is really just a suggestion that LeFou has feelings for Gaston, which was what I suspected.

I guess I will find out in a few days!

"That's my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?" 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Money Saving: Crowdtap

Today I want to introduce you to another one of my money earning/saving  weapons, Crowdtap.   

Crowdtap is an online community of people who participate in sampling, reporting and reviewing of products.  All you do is join "crowds" for certain products you use and some you would like to use.  They will then offer you opportunities to earn points, which you then redeem for Amazon gift cards.  

The opportunities are called missions and they include: polls, sharing item promos on your social network sites, sharing photos based on certain missions (for example: I recently did one for Tide and all I had to do was snap a photo of my laundry before it was washed) and if you are fortunate enough, samples.  

I discovered Crowdtap back in August and decided to give it a try. Since then I have earned $90 in gift cards. For every one thousand points I earn, I get one $5 gift card, which I then add to my Amazon account.  I have gotten samples for Jif Peanut Butter, Curel hand lotion, Splenda, Listerine, etc.  I am currently in the review process for Mrs. Myers hand soap and lotion. (I will be posting on that as soon as I complete my mission.)  

I encourage all of you to look into this service.  I spend about 10 minutes a day on the site and it normally takes me anywhere from 7-10 days to earn my next gift card. Of course some days there is not much to do, but other days make up for that, you just have to stick with it.  At first you will not get many missions, but after a couple of weeks you will notice that increase and then the samples will start coming. I am currently on the list for five more samples, just waiting to see if I get the approval to try them out. I am hoping that I get all five of them, but it is unlikely that will happen. 

The only problem I have encountered is one of my emails was not delivered with my card code in it. I contacted the company and within a couple of days they emailed me my code. I am very satisfied so far and have no complaints. 

I know that lots of people would say it was a waste of time and I wasn't earning enough to make it worth my while. How is ten minutes a day, sitting at home a waste?  I always do this first thing in the morning, even before my coffee is done brewing.  I have always been one that needs a little television or computer time to really wake up and this does that for me.  It is almost the first thing I do and helps to get me "awakened" so that I can read my Bible without falling back to sleep.

I know that everyone doesn't have lots of time, but if you have just ten minutes a day you can do this and make a little extra on the side. I am planning to keep tapping and use all my funds for Christmas, but put my Christmas cash in my Disney trip account. That is what all this is about, going to Disney. 

I have included a link if you would like to check it out. I wish they had a referral section so I could get credit if you join, but unfortunately they do not. 

"That's my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?"

Raising Daughters in Modern Times: Part 1

As you can see this topic is one that I will be writing on at least two, maybe three times, so today I will just start off with the basic thought, discuss it just a little and then elaborate further in the weeks to come.

Recently my youngest daughter was tasked with the job of doing a report on a famous person for school.  She was giving a list of people to choose from and she automatically decided, without even looking at the list, that she wanted to do her report on a famous woman. She narrowed her list down to Betsy Ross, Amelia Earhart, Annie Oakley and Harriet Tubman. We then went on a search of our local library where we came up empty. That's right no books for her age with enough pages she could use. We decided to dig through our extensive collection of books and we hit gold.  I had totally forgotten about the book I bought her on Amelia Earhart. (I actually read the book and it was very informative. It is from a series called Who was.... and I have included a link to the store we purchased it from.)

Now to get back to my topic. I love the fact that both of my girls are interested in women's history and about the famous women that have come before them. My oldest has done reports on Women's suffrage and loves learning about the fight for the right to vote. I have always taught me girls that the women in this country fought long and hard to gain us the right to vote and we should not waste that right.  I have also taught them to never support a cause just because it has the word woman attached to it.  We have discussed how not every cause that includes women in the name is morally right. I have tried to instill in them the importance of education and making sure you can take care of yourself, but I have also taught them that marriage to the right man is a wonderful thing.

When I was a little girl I always wanted to be a mommy and stay home taking care of my babies. I always wanted to live on a farm and have a houseful of kids, but the Lord had other plans for me. I actually ended up going to college and getting my degree in Early Childhood Education. I worked for several years in our public school system, but 12 years ago we made the decision that I would stay home. When I say we, I mean myself and my husband. I did not feel forced into it then, nor do I feel forced to do it now. There are times I miss the adult interaction, but I do not feel like I have wasted the last twelve years.

I don't know about the rest of the women like me, but I feel like it is really difficult to raise daughters in these modern times. I want to my daughters to understand the love, honor and respect that comes with being married to the right man, but I also want them to be prepared for life. I have heard stories of women who pray for the right husband, marry who they believe God had just for them and then wind up divorced and trying to raise children on their own.  That is one of the main reasons I push my girls to do well in school and to attend college.  I want them to be able to be self-sufficient if the need should arise. I have actually had someone say that this view is wrong. That I should just be raising them to be housewives, but I just don't believe that. I am trying to raise daughters to be submissive to their husbands as the Bible teaches, but to also be able to take care of themselves.

In this feminist, woman are equal to men society I find myself living in, raising these girls is tough.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What is Love?

What is love?? I think that is a question that perhaps has been asked many times over the course of human history.  I also think that many people have their own definitions of love. For example, The dictionary defines love as, a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. I do believe that for the most part this definition rings true. I love my family and friends, my husband and my children and I feel this definition describes that love. That being said I also know that some peoples idea of love is merely the physical attraction. They think another person is hot or a cutie and they believe that to be love. Well, they are wrong. What do you do if you marry someone solely on that premise and then in 15 or 20 years they have aged, gotten wrinkles, gained weight, lost that "look" they once had. Does that mean your love for them is lost as well.  As much as I hate to admit it, but in this "free love" society we live in Love often is seen in this way or as only in a sexual nature.  People believe that sex, or being intimate with someone is love. Again, they are wrong. What happens is that person is no longer able to satisfy you physically? What if they are in an accident, or have a medical issue that can not be helped with medication. We as adults should be striving to show or children and the younger generation what real love is. 

Real, true love is when two people commit themselves to one another no matter what happens. When we said our vows on our wedding day, my husband and I both meant them. Now, there have been times that things have gotten rocky. Our little ship has been tossed about in the storms of life, but we just put on our life vests and hung on for all we were worth. I remember after my third miscarriage I honestly just wanted to die. I didn't want to continue living. My heart was broken into so many pieces and I had just giving up on everything. My husband though refused to give up on me. He loved me, supported me and prayed for me through it all.  You see my vest had gotten weak and could no longer support me in the way I needed it too, so it was at that time that he had to use his life vest for the both of us.  The life vest I speak of is none other than Jesus Christ. 

Y'all show that coming didn't you. 

In all honesty it is the truth. We have both had to cling to our faith and belief in Jesus. The faith that he would carry us through all things, but my faith had gotten weak. I could not understand how Jesus could allow so much pain and anguish in my life.  I questioned everything I knew about him and even if he truly loved me like he said he did.  Of course we all have times like that and getting through them just makes your faith stronger. 

I have gotten a little of topic so lets get back to love. This true, right love is taught and manifested to us. The Bible is very clear on the topic of love. 

The Bible teaches us the who, when, where, why and how of love. 

1. Who are we to love?  All men

  Matthew 22:36-40King James Version (KJV)

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 

There can be no mistaken what Jesus meant with these words, love the Lord God and your neighbor. The loving God part really doesn't need an explanation, but exactly who is our neighbor? I think that means everyone.  There is no doubt that I love my children, my husband, little Gracie, my brothers, my Daddy, the list is extensive,but what about those that are out in the world in sin? How about the drunk on the corner, or the junkie in the crack house? How about that person you work with that cusses every breath? How about that woman on the corner who makes her living with her body? Do I really love those people?  Do any of us? 

2. When are we to love? Always

Proverbs 17:17a KJV A friend loveth at all time, 

I don't know about y'all, but there have been and are times that I find it hard to love. Some situations/circumstances are just so very difficult, it makes it hard to love. We all have had times like that, be it family, friends or even church family,  but we still know that it is right to love at all times, no matter the situations.

3. Where are we to love? All the world

Matthew 28:19
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 
This just simply means that we are to share the love of Christ with all the world. We should not only be telling those local to use, but we need to give to missions in order to get the gospel to all the world. Past given we could also consider the idea of actually going on a missions trip. My Mama loved the time she spent in the Philippines. She told me that seeing and being with those people was so different than just reading about them. She told me many times that she hoped I was able to go someday and I pray that the Lord allows me to do just that. 

4. Why are we to love?  It is commanded of us

John 13:34-35
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another:as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. 

Have y'all ever heard of dogs warning their owners about fires or even impending seizures? I remember this one story of a pot bellied pig whose owner had a seizure and that pig kept going in and out of the doggie door of the house and standing in the road to try to get people to stop. Finally someone did and followed the pig back to his home and found his owner, called 911 and ultimately saved the owners life. Or what about the cat, that during Hurricane Hugo kept howling at his owners and they finally got up of the couch to see what he wanted and seconds later a tree fell through the roof right onto the couch. I don't know if you believe it, but I do believe that God tells animals what to do and they do it. Animals do not have a free will. We as human beings have been giving a free will. God has allowed us this ability to be able to decide for ourselves what we will do.  He has clearly given us a direct command. We can decide rather or not to do it, but ultimately we are to love simply because he told us to.  

5. How are we to love? As he does. 
John 3:16
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. 

God shows us how to love. His love for us was so strong and unconditional that he gave his only son for us that we might live. We are taught to love sacrificially. I watch my Mama give of herself for twenty eights years caring for my oldest brother. The other children never felt he was favored, we just knew that he needed Mama more than we did.  I remember when my oldest was going through cancer treatments and how my Mama took care of our youngest for us so I could be with our daughter and my husband could keep working. I remember the way she always made sure we had vacation, Christmas and that my brothers got to go to Boy Scout camp every summer.  Her love for us for so strong that she literally gave of herself to the end. Just a couple of months before she passed, she was up trying to help with my older brother. Her love was unconditional. There is no doubt that she would have willingly given her life for us and that is true unconditional love

So, you see all we need to know about love, we can find in the Bible. In 1 Corinthians 1:1-7 King James Version (KJV) the Bible talks about Charity, which is love. The Bible says:
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

We see exactly how important love is in 1 Corinthians 13:13:

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Love is the greatest gift that we can give or receive. God gave it to us in his son Jesus now it is our job to make sure the world around us knows about that same amazing gift of love.

"That's my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?"

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Money Savings: Can Recycling

The first of my money savings/making strategies I am going to be discussing is can recycling. I am sure that this money saving/making weapon of mine is self explanatory, but here it goes anyway. 

We do not drink a lot of sodas here,but the ones we do drink we never throw out the cans. Instead we bag them up and take them to our local salvage dealer.  We also have a few different people who collects their cans for us as well. My daddy saves his own cans and then picks them up when he goes for his evening walks. We also have two different families in our church who save their cans for us a well.  Not only do we save our own cans and have others save for us, we also go on weekly walks, weather permitting and pick them up from the road side. We live in a very rural area so there is not a lot of traffic and people tend to throw out a lot of cans.  

We normally wait until we have about two to three trash bags full of them and then we recycle.  Now I know that when most people think recycle they are all about being green and keeping the earth clean. We feel that way too, but we also see dollar signs in the process.  Of course it is not very much money to be made, but it does help. Currently we are getting thirty-five cents a pound and that isn't much.  I like to look at it as a win-win. I get money for Disney and the earth gets a little cleaning.  Whenever I see cans just thrown away it hurts me, because to me that is just throwing money away.  

*Now here is where I need to explain our one exemption to this can rule. We do not drink any type of alcoholic beverages, so we never have those types of cans. Our rule is to never pick up or sale those type of cans. We see lots of them on our walks, but we made the decision to not have that participate in our family vacation money.  We are totally and completely against alcohol drinking and will not have any part of it in our trip. 

This was not the last load we took, my husband left before I got a picture, but this is the load before. We got about two dollars for these cans. I told you it does not bring much, but it does bring a little. 

Each time I manage to make a little extra for my vacation fund it really makes me feel accomplished, not matter how small or large the amount and in the end that really is all that matters. 

"That's my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?"

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Money Saving

A couple of years ago I posted about how we had been working together to save money for our upcoming Disney trip.  Well as soon as we got home in March of 2015 we started the process all over again. My idea was to save for a cruise to Alaska, but my oldest decided that she wanted a cruise to Disney for gradation (2018) so that is what we are currently working towards.

My savings in 2015 was great, but in 2016 I sort of fell of the savings wagon, but now we are in a new year and it is time to get busy. Currently we are sitting at $1900.00 saved out of $6,000.00 we need. Well, I guess you could accurately say we have $2900.00 saved because we always budget $1,000.00 each year for vacation. My husband has money taking from his check each week to pay for Christmas and vacation and it is truly a blessing.  Now I know that not everyone can do that so I am planning to write a series titled Money Saving. I will be using these post to introduce you to some things we have in our arsenal of money saving weapons.

In this post I will simply be listing them one by one and then later I will be writing an individual post on each. I call it my Bakers Dozen of Money Saving.

 1. Crowdtap
 2. Swagbucks
 3. Receipt Hog
 4. MileUp
 5. Consignment Sale
 6. Dimes for Disney
 7. Money Jar
 8. Coupons
 9. Turning in Cans
10. Fundraisers
11. Purging sale
12. Buying and Reselling
13. Babysitting

As I stated earlier we are saving money to pay for our daughters graduation trip, but these same ideas could be used to save or pay for about anything you want or need.  All that really matters is that you save.

I know that it can seem overwhelming, especially when one is not working/out of work, but some of these tips can be done even then.  I know there are places that I could work on, currently my nemesis is a budget. No matter how much I seem to try I just can't nail one down. I am hoping in the next couple of months to get that under control as well.  Just remember in this savings game, all it takes is one small little change to make a huge difference.  Thanks for reading everyone and happy saving!! 

"That's my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?"

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Toll

If there is one thing I have learned over the last 6 years it is this, grief is exhausting. I know I have talked about grief before, but since my Mother passed I have just been dealing with so much of it. I am not sure how most people feel, but the following has been my experience. 

Some days I find it hard to simply get out of bed and get dressed. These waves of fatigue wash over me, often for no particular reason. Eventually I allow my mind to "go there" to that place when all of life changed in an instant. Try as I might, I can never erase that moment in time. Why?  Because that was the moment part of my heart left me. I felt it. I felt what it was like to have part of myself die and from that point forward I just struggle

I did a little research and discovered that doctors now recognize grief as "real" -- the overwhelming fatigue is part of a daily tug-of-war we have. Part of us has died. It's impossible to explain to others, only those who have shared the same experiences can understand. We can sympathize with others, but until we have experienced what they have we can never really know what they are going through. I remember around 8 years ago I knew a young woman who had a miscarriage. My heart broke for her and I was sad, but I had no idea what she was going through, now I do.  In fact I know that pain 3 times over.  Up until this past December when I would hear of someone's mother passing away, I was sad and heartbroken for them, but now I know what it was truly like for them. I am there, I understand, I can sympathize with them.  All that being said this post is not about knowing how others feel or "walking a mile in their shoes", it is simply about what grief has done to me. 

Grief has turned me into a new person, a woman that I no longer recognize in the mirror. 

I have been changed physically.

I can see those new little wrinkles that have appeared on my face. I can see the lost, forlorn look in my eyes. I can see that somewhere there is still that optimistic, wide eyed little girl I used to be, but I can't seem to bring her back. Don't get me wrong there are times when she there. It may be laughing with the kids, creating something new with my youngest, date night with my hubby or just talking with my oldest. In those times I can forget the hurt, sorrow and heartache I feel. The only problem is those times do not last. Eventually the old me is gone, and the new one reappears. 

I have also been changed mentally. 

My thought processes are not the same. It takes me longer to get my thoughts together and at times I lose complete train of thought and disappear into my memories. I have more trouble concentrating on getting through the day. To say that I sometimes suffer from complete brain shutdown would be a true statement.  I often find myself staring off into space, not day dreaming, just shutdown from it all. 

Ways to overcome these changes:

There are a couple of things I have discovered to help with my mental changes. The first is that the routine, mundane things of daily life can help. You don't need a lot of brain power while folding laundry or washing dishes, so I tend to let it rest during those times. I relish in the simple little things that the day holds. It is then I can allow my brain the time it needs to continue healing. I have also found that creativity helps my brain to rest. I am sure that sounds funny, but instead of being shutdown to everything, it is just shut down to the world around me and I am able to focus all my thinking on the task at hand. I may be blogging, brainstorming for my novel that I want to write, or even helping the kids with projects. My youngest daughter loves to create worlds for her dolls, so I spend a lot of time helping her with her creative plans. 

The only things I have found to counter effect the physical changes are: exercise,plenty of rest, and good nutrition, all of which we should be doing for ourselves anyway. Also, a little facial pampering will not hurt. I don't really know if any of that stuff makes a difference in the long run, but I do know that if it makes you feel good to pamper your skin, then do it. 

Ultimately the only things we can really do during our grief journey is look after ourselves. We know how much our body can take and when we have met our limits.  I will benefit us all to step back from our daily lives, if only for a few minutes and take that break. If for you that means doing yoga, reading in quiet or even hiding in the closet eating chocolate (yes I have done that), then do it.  After all we can only take care of our families by first taking care of ourselves. 

"That's my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?"