Thursday, February 16, 2017

When We Last Spoke

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

I've been feeling a bit nostalgic lately. Packing and unpacking boxes can do strange things to a person. I spent a good bit of time tracking down my grandparents' old house in Texas for no other reason that to just look at it again. I also had a book I had agreed to read for a review that turned out to be set in Texas. While the characters are older than I and lived in a different part of Texas (a fictional one, at that), I still felt a very satisfying connection to this story and enjoyed reading it immensely.

Juliet and Evangeline Cranbourne had anything but a typical upbringing. After their father went off to war, their mother dropped them off at the grandparents' house and took off to live her dreams. Although surprised to be suddenly saddled with two young girls, Walt and Ruby made the best of the situation and gave the girls a loving home.

Told mostly as a flashback, the story follows Juliet and Evangeline (affectionately known as Squirrel and Rabbit) growing up in 1960s Texas. From the radio show, to the crazy lady down the street; home-style family dinners to unexpected house guests; Juliet remembers the ups and downs of her childhood and worries about the secrets and half-truths that have driven she and her sister apart.

From the perspective of adulthood, most of your caregivers' decisions can be justified, but that is a decision that each person needs to make on their own, and that is the reason Juliet and Evangeline need to spend at least one more Christmas together in Fireside, Texas.

About the author: Marci Henna was born in Austin, Texas and lived as a child in Kenya, East Africa with the Wakamba tribe where her parents managed a medical research station. She later moved to the Hill Country ranch which has been in the family since the 1800's and currently lives in Austin.

You can learn more about the Fireside Texas novels on Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, or at  FiresideTexas.com
Buy: Softcover (http://bit.ly/WWLS_softcover)
Kindle (http://bit.ly/WWLS_Kindle)
Trailer on YouTube (http://bit.ly/WWLS_TRAILER_HD)

 *****Please note that the author will be giving away a FREE Kindle version from Feb. 20-24 on Amazon.*****


Or you can try to win one here: When We Last Spoke book & intro DVD promotion

Monday, February 6, 2017

Two Become One

About two weeks ago, I had a pretty sleepless night. I wrote an amazingly coherent blog post and, for the first time ever, came up with a project that actually made sense!

Our February Blog With Friends Challenge theme is "Love is in the Air" and my very tired brain took the air part literally. Inspired by all the house hunting I've been doing, I came up with a plan that involved a bird's eye view of love. More specifically bringing two homes together to create one.

For this project you will need:
  • a canvas (you can use a sheet of cardboard, or poster board too)
  • paint
  • cut out letters/words
  • brushes
  • ModPodge/glue
  • Google map pictures of previous homes 
I printed out pictures of the home I grew up in in Radford and asked Ken what he considered to be his childhood home. For people that have moved around a bit, there's really no wrong answer. Go with whatever feels right to you. I had a hard time deciding what to print for the third picture. It didn't seem right to choose the place we are currently living, as it's only a temporary rental. It didn't seem right to choose the place we've been considering, because that's not a done deal and I didn't want to jinx anything. Ultimately, I chose the house we had just sold. The house we started our family in and lived in for 14 years. When we move, I'll update this artwork with a new picture, right on top of the old one, because that home will always be in our hearts.

I used the Cricut at work to cut out the letters for TWO and ONE, as well as the word become, but you could free hand cut them, paint them, or print them out. Again, use what you have access to.

After I had all my supplies together, I laid out some newspaper on the table and painted my canvas blue. I added some white into the paint and blended it together to give it a little more interest. I let that paint dry overnight.

I cut out a heart template and used this to cut the map of our home together into a heart shape. I centered the little red map marker in the middle of the heart. Then I cut my template in two pieces like a puzzle piece. Using this template I cut out the shape for my childhood home and Ken's, being careful to take note of where the map marker was.

I used a bit of leftover red paper to delineate the space between the puzzle pieces (otherwise, you couldn't really tell there were two different maps there) and glued them together. Once I had everything laid out, I decided that the word become didn't stand out enough, so I tore up an old map and put it underneath.

After everything was laid out the way I wanted it, I went back and used Mod Podge to glue the pieces down. This will give it a nice even finish and hold the pieces together without being sticky.

I've hung this artwork in the dining room behind our table and it's been sweet to hear the kids talk about it. I'm excited to move it into a new home and update our heart once we get settled.

Want some more thoughts on "Love is in the Air?" Keep scrolling!

Dawn at Spatulas on Parade has Chocolate Cherry Muffins that are making me hungry!

Karen of Baking in a Tornado has Strawberry Hot Fudge Pie, a fluffy, delicious-looking refrigerator pie.

Kia from Think in English has some stories of falling in love with a second language.


Melissa from My Heartfelt sentiments offers the cute handmade Valentine treats for that special someone.

Lydia of Cluttered Genius tells it like it is with these Things I Hate (But do Anyway).

Kristin of Little Mama Jama has these adorable DIY Gold Milk Bottle Vases!


Friday, February 3, 2017

Senior Moments

I have a horrible memory. Have I said that before? I don't really remember! LOL!

High school? I remember bits and pieces. I remember people. Some of that is aided by Facebook now. And the fact that I had my 20 year high school reunion last summer.

I took a government class where the teacher had us copy down current events each day and then quizzed us on them each Friday. I remember frantically going over the bits and blurbs at the end of the week. Looking back I think he was trying to teach us to follow the news, but I never picked up on that at that age. I wish I had.

I had an Advanced English class. We read a lot and wrote a lot, but I honestly don't remember much of the content of the class. Except I can't stand John Steinbeck. I had to write a report on him. Even today I'm not sure if I dislike him because of the assignment or if the assignment was difficult because I didn't like him.

I had a Physics class. Was that senior year? That teacher was a HIPPIE! In a good way. We liked her. We threw eggs off the press box in the stadium to see if we could protect them from breaking. Frances did a similar experiment in fifth grade that caused some flashbacks.

Calculus? I think I took that senior year. I had always liked math until imaginary numbers popped up. At that point I was pretty sure it was all made up! Seriously, they are called imaginary numbers!

I sang in the choir. I always loved choir. It's one of my favorite overall high school memories. I wasn't an especially good or confident singer, but I've always loved singing. My dad always requests his favorite song Far, Far Away. As in, "Can you sing far, far, away?" Funny!


I had a boyfriend. We went to prom. I think that was the year my mom had my dress custom made. That was an elegant experience. The material was like butter! I think we broke up shortly after prom that year. He had moved away to another state.

I played soccer. I was on the boys' team because there wasn't a girls' team. The coach was kinda a jerk to me. The other boys were too. I thought I kept up pretty well for a five foot tall girl playing against a lot of bigger, taller guys. I enjoyed the sport. And I enjoyed annoying them. I guess that part of my personality hasn't changed.

Was that the year of Channel One news and obsessions over that news caster, Rawley Valverde? The guy we called Greased Lightning? My mom still has a cleaner by that name and I laugh every time I see it! Lisa Ling got her start there. And Anderson Cooper too. We got autographed pictures from some of them! I probably have the packed away in a box in my parents' house!
LOL! The magic of Facebook friends!!

Was that the year we kidnapped Mary Katherine for her birthday? We smuggled her into the back of the car and took off. At the time, we thought it was so funny and she had no idea. Looking back, she probably knew the whole time. She might have been less than amused by the bag over her head.

Was that the year we snuck a toilet seat out of the girls' bathroom? Becky, do you still have that?! It was loose and not that hard to remove. But then we had to sneak it out of the school. I'm pretty sure we remembered to clean it before we wrapped it up as a birthday present, right?? Please tell me we washed it! Whose picture did we frame with it?

It's funny that when I sit down to think about it, I remember more than I thought I had. I still had to dig through Facebook to jog my memory a bit. We didn't have Facebook when I was in high school (thank goodness!) but I have reacquainted myself with a lot of my classmates on there since then.

What are your favorite high school memories?


Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 14 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:
Baking In A Tornado
Dinosaur Superhero Mommy
Spatulas on Parade
The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver
Sparkly Poetic Weirdo
Simply Shannon
The Bergham Chronicles
Confessions of a part time working mom
Not That Sarah Michelle
Southern Belle Charm
The Angrivated Mom
When I Grow Up
Climaxed

My subject is “Let's go back to high school for a moment. Tell us about your senior year....fave teachers, classes, memories, etc. It was submitted by: The Angrivated Mom.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Garden: CD and giveaway

Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

There are lots of times in life where I just want to curl up in my bed and stay there. Mostly it's because I'm always cold, but it's occasionally so I can insulate myself from the world. Lately I've been doing a little of both.

I recently switched radio stations on my van. Don't get me wrong. I like pop music and it's fun to sing along to, but I needed a break. And I was getting a little tired of explaining breakups and "cheating" to my kids because of the lyrics.

This switch coincided with a CD I was asked to review from Christian music artist Kari Jobe. The Garden is the newest offering from the Grammy nominated female worship leader. The album has 14 songs full of worship and songs for personal reflection.

Jobe has gone through many ups and downs in life including grieving her sister's stillborn child while anxiously awaiting the delivery of her own. The juxtaposition of such sadness and such joy in such a short time period was the catalyst for writing many of the songs included in this new album.

In Jobe's own words:
Those seeds were planted years ago for it to be the way that it was that day for me, because it wasn’t just last year that they planted all this beautiful ivy. That took years,” she observes. Something in my spirit started to rustle. Life was coming back. What felt dead in my heart was starting to wake up. It was like I’d been in this place of being numb in my walk with the Lord, but something just started blooming in my heart.”
Jobe's album has been a healing experience for her and it has been wonderful reflection time for me. Instead of discussing breakups in the van, I've been able to answer the kids' questions about what it means for God's glory to "fall" on us and what it means to sing and surrender all to Jesus. These are the kinds of discussion I'd rather be having, to be honest.

Today is the album's release date, so you can be among the first to purchase it here, or you can wait and see if you'll win a copy below! Either way, I hope this music will bless you the way it has blessed us.
Kari Jobe's "The Garden" CD Giveaway

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.
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