Saturday, November 18, 2017

For the Kids: Santa's Hotline is Now Open

I received no product or compensation for this post.  This post is in partnership with PR firm.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Who needs stamps? Santa’s Hotline is back and now accepting phone calls from children of all ages. It is a great way to find out what the kids are looking for — or help parents keep kids busy while they shop for everyone's wish list. Connect with Santa of the 21st Century at 319-527-2680. has opened its annual "Santa's Hotline" to spread holiday cheer to millions of children around the globe with a no-cost voicemail to send gift wishes directly to the North Pole., the most recognized conferencing and collaboration brand on the planet, lets kids call Santa using today’s technology. Today, the company announced the opening of its eighth annual "Santa's Hotline”, making it easy for millions of children around the world to call in holiday wishes straight to Santa.

The hotline is an international voicemail line for children of all ages to leave messages for the North Pole at no charge. Children in the United States can simply call Santa Claus from any phone at (319) 527-2680. uses a dedicated voice mailbox that is a secure and easy-to-use system, allowing users to record private messages for Santa.

Nice News for These November Winners

A few of my giveaways have ended and the winners have been randomly drawn.

The winner of the Christmas Coloring Books giveaway is #24, Sue Hull.

The winner of The Glass Castle Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack giveaway is #44, LesleyfromWI.

The winner of the Macadamia Professional giveaway is #58, LesleyfromWI.

The winner of the Leap! Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack giveaway is #1, Peggy.

Congrats to the winners and thanks to all who entered.  Be sure to check out and enter my currently active giveaways, listed at the top left hand side of my blog.  There's no limit to how many you can enter or how many you can win. (just ask LesleyfromWI!)

Adored: 365 Devotions for Young Women - #AdoredByGod #FlyBy Review and Giveaway

I received product for review.  The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Book Overview:

Help young women tackle the issues they're facing, while learning how precious they are to God! Each daily entry features a Scripture verse; relevant devotion on topics including bullying, social media, friendships, and dating; journaling space for reflection; and real-world applications to help them find God in their hearts and lives. Ages 13 and up.

My Review:

I have a blended family of six kids.  All of them are teenagers and above right now.  We've gotten through the early years and are now navigating the waters of being a teen and young adult.  Each generation has their battles with how to get by in this world, and this generation is no different.

I'm extremely blessed (not bragging, but for sure blessed) that I've had minimal problems with my kids once they reached the teenager years.  I believe a lot of it has to do with arming the kids with the truth of God's word and supporting them through both achievements and trials.  It's books like Adored: 365 Devotions for Young Women that I'm in favor of giving to our kids because they focus on their age group and give them hope in a time of peer pressure and negativity.

Adored: 365 Devotions for Young Women is a devotional specifically geared for female teenagers and young adults.  The hardcover book has a blue, white, and gold foil color theme.  Within the pages is a daily devotional for each day of the year.  It's not dated by exact dates of the calendar year but rather with Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and so on.  For each day, there's a Bible verse and a short devotion pertaining to that verse.  Several topics are explored, including modesty, truthfulness, sex, feelings and more.  There is a short lined section at the bottom for young women to journal their feelings or prayers for that day.  The only change I would make is to have a ribbon bookmark so you can immediately go to the next day's page without thumbing through.  It's a beautiful book that heeds excellent advice.  

If you go to Zondervan's landing page for this book, you can download and print a 7-day devotional portion of this book for free.

Win It!

One person will win Adored: 365 Devotions for Young Women.

*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the continental USA.*

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Glass Castle - Blu-ray Review

I received product for review.  The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Based on the best-selling memoir written by Jeannette Walls, Oscar® winner Brie Larson (2015, Best Actress, Room) and Oscar® Nominee Woody Harrelson (2009, Best Supporting Actor, The Messenger) star in The Glass Castle. Hailed as “one of the must-see movies of 2017” (Vanity Fair), The Glass Castle chronicles the adventures of a young girl growing up in a dysfunctional family of nonconformist nomads. From the producer of The Shack and The Blind Side, the film also stars Oscar® Nominee Naomi Watts (2012, Best Actress, The Impossible) and Golden Globe® Nominee Max Greenfield (2013, Best Supporting Actor – Television, “New Girl”).

Chronicling the adventures of an eccentric, resilient and tight-knit family, The Glass Castle is a remarkable story of unconditional love. Larson brings Jeannette Walls’s best-selling memoir to life as a young woman who, influenced by the joyfully wild nature of her deeply dysfunctional father (Harrelson), found the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.

Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12) and written for the screen by Cretton & Andrew Lanham, The Glass Castle features all-new bonus content including a behind-the-scenes featurette and deleted scenes, and is available on Blu-ray and DVD for the suggested retail price of $39.99 and $29.95, respectively.

9 Deleted Scenes
The Glass Castle: Memoir to Movie
A Conversation with Jeannette Walls
Making of "Summer Storm" by Joel P West
Scoring The Glass Castle
My Review:

I've always been a fan of Woody Harrelson and his strong acting skills.  He knows how to deliver in a movie and he was no different in The Glass Castle.  Based upon an autobiography of Jeannette Wells (which I'd love to read someday), this film platforms family dysfunction at top level.  Woody plays Rex, an alcoholic father who demeans and belittles his children.  Rose Mary, the wife, is too busy with her passions to pay any mind to the kids.  As sad as it is to see, it just goes to show how some children are raised in an unbalanced family. The children, including Jeannette, are shuffled from town to town so they can avoid the law.  After some time, Jeannette has had enough and tries to escape the situation.  The climax of the film is when Jeannette ultimately forgives for what's been done to her.

The Glass Castle switches from Jeannette as an engaged adult to scenes from her childhood.  I couldn't even begin to imagine the lunacy of her life.  The movie does an excellent job with its cast and character portrayals.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Eight Faith-Based Organizations to Support This Holiday Season

It's during the holiday season that we are the most charitable.  But, if you're anything like me, you want to know that your money is going to a good cause and actually helping people.  Some not-for-profits have been reamed for using donated money to pad their paycheck or we find out that very little of the money given is actually going towards the cause itself.

I highly suggest you always research who you donate to before taking the leap, but I've compiled a list of eight faith-based organizations that are legit.  I've worked with them, either directly or indirectly.  I've personally met many of the leaders and partners.  I can say with confidence that these organizations are reputable.  Please consider donating to any or all of these organizations.  Their cause continues because of the help and prayers of supporters.

Pan de Vida

Love the Lou

Their mission is to develop hope and healing in north St. Louis, MO.  Volunteers turn vacant lots into gardens, rehab apartments, create businesses, and refinish storefronts.  These completed projects are then handed over to neighbors to build up community.  My husband and two teen sons have volunteered twice at Love the Lou.  While there, they mowed yards, cleared debris and planted a garden.

The Well House

Located in Quincy, IL, The Well House is a Christ centered program for women coming out of incarceration and/or drug treatment facilities.  It provides a safe place for the women to rebuild their lives.

Reach India

This organization provides disaster relief during floods and other calamities.  They also provide food and clothing for widows, provide medical care, establish children's homes, and drill new wells for fresh and safe drinking water.

Rapha House

Children at Rapha House receive a safe place to receive healing, counseling, education, job skill training, and the good news of Jesus.  Their mission is to end the trafficking and sexual exploitation of children.  The organization has three safe houses in Cambodia, Haiti and Thailand.
Love the Lou

CLTI Ivory Coast

CLTI Trains and supports over 100 local churches in Ghana.  Their purpose is to enable churches to develop leadership through extension classes, seminars, and resource materials for leadership development.  Each year seminars are held that include women enrichment, church growth, budget/finance, and strategic planning.

FNC Uganda

FNC Academy is a Christian-based school that provides hope for students through five pillars - financial, educational, physical, emotional, and spiritual. 

Fishers of Men

Another organization located in Quincy, IL, Fishers of Men provides housing needs for men so they can focus on their personal goals.  All of the men that come to stay are homeless.  My husband leads a Bible Study on Wednesday nights for those who are staying at Fishers of Men.

Pan de Vida

This organization is very near and dear to my heart.  It's the one I worked with when I went on a mission trip to Quito, Ecuador in September.  I can't say enough about the people who work there or the founder himself.  Pan de Vida helps the less fortunate by serving over 19,000 meals every year, providing summer camps for unique children, and sending teams to repair family homes in need.

If money is tight or you want to use other resources other than money to support a charity or organization, reach out and see what you can do.  Donate your time.  Lift them up in prayer.  Volunteer.  Help.  Not just during the Christmas season, but all throughout the year.

Do you support any particular faith-based organizations?
What are some things you do to help others during the holiday season?

Pack These Baby Products When Traveling This Season - Giveaway

I received no products or compensation for this post.  This post is in partnership with PR firm.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.
Just like your everyday purse, diaper bag items need to be updated based on the season and that means being armed with the necessities. Sure, diapers and wipes are no-brainers, but what about the other secret weapons that should live in every diaper bag this traveling season?

Baby Magic No-Rinse Wash – This product is the diaper bag essential that should be at the top of your list!  It is specially formulated for baby's sensitive skin.  The self-foaming application allows you to clean your baby without running a full bath and is great to use when you are away from home for a quick and easy clean-up.

Boudreaux’s Butt Paste – Diaper rash can strike at any time… and no one wants a cranky baby with a tender tush. Boudreaux’s Butt Paste to the rescue! This decades-old diaper rash solution starts healing on contact and comes in three varieties –Classic, Maximum Strength and All Natural. This skin protectant and diaper rash ointment is a must for every diaper change.
Win It!

Three winners will each win Baby Magic No-Rinse Wash and a tube of Boudreaux’s Butt Paste .

*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA.*
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Power of Prayer Thursdays - Week 96

Photo by Jenny Smith on Unsplash

I believe in a God that hears prayers and answers them. I've witnessed the miraculous gift of answered prayer. And, I want to pray for you. I've started weekly Power of Prayer post every Thursday. We are now on week 96. If you are needing prayer in an area of your life, please leave a comment and I'll commit to pray for your need or request. You can be as general or as specific as you like. Whether it be for healing, salvation, finances, emotions, or another area of life, I'd like to lift it up in prayer.

Exodus 33:19 
And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

KORRES Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deals

Lip bundle: $45 ($110 value): Natural Lip Essentials
  • Two mango butter lip sticks (cinnamon, natural pink)
  • Two raspberry twists lip sticks (grace, allure)
  •  Two guava lip sticks (wine red, natural pink)

Greek yoghurt bundle: $55 ($93 value): Greek Yoghurt Makeup Prep
  • Smoothie priming moisturiser
  • Under Eye Priming moisturiser
  • Makeup wipes

Body bundle: $68 ($137 value): Head to Toe Hydration
  • Two showergels (vanilla guava, white grape)
  • Two body butters (Japanese rose, jasmine)
  • Two Mandarin Lip Butters (Rose, Peach)

3rd Annual Super Stocking Stuffer Giveaway Hop - Despicable Me 3 Blu-ray Giveaway

I will receive product for review.  The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Christmas will be here before we know it!  Take your chances at winning several blog giveaways during the 3rd Annual Super Stocking Stuffer Giveaway Hop, hosted by The Kids Did It and The Mommy Island.  Be sure to check out and enter all the giveaways (after you've entered mine, of course!)



Illumination and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment present Despicable Me 3 on Digital and Digital 3D November 21, 2017 and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray™, DVD and On Demand December 5, 2017. The characters beloved by everyone – Gru, his wife Lucy, their three adorable daughters—Margo, Edith and Agnes—and the Minions provide hours of family fun in this heartwarmingly subversive comedy from Academy Award®-nominated producer Chris Meledandri (Despicable Me Franchise) and directors Pierre Coffin (Despicable Me Franchise) and Kyle Balda (Minions 1 & 2, The Lorax). Hailed as “the best Despicable Me movie yet,” by Ali Plumb of BBC Radio 1, with over $949 million in global ticket sales, Despicable Me 3 is the ultimate holiday gift, with almost an entire hour of exclusive bonus features including an all-new mini-movie, a never-before-released deleted scene, and much more!

 Illumination, the studio that brought you Sing, The Secret Life of Pets and the Despicable Me franchise, continues the adventures of Gru and his family in Despicable Me 3. After he is fired from the Anti-Villain League for failing to take down Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker, “South Park,” Team America: World Police), the latest evil mastermind to threaten humanity, Gru finds himself in the midst of a major identity crisis. But when a mysterious stranger shows up to inform Gru that he has a long-lost twin brother — a brother who desperately wishes to follow in his twin’s despicable footsteps — the former super-villain rediscovers just how good it feels to be bad.

Academy Award® nominee Steve Carell (Foxcatcher) reprises his hilarious role as reformed criminal mastermind Gru, as well as his newly discovered twin, Dru. The all-star voice cast also features Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids, Despicable Me 2), Miranda Cosgrove (Despicable Me 1 & 2, School of Rock), Steve Coogan (The Secret Life of Pets, Philomena), Jenny Slate (Zootopia, The Secret Life of Pets), Dana Gaier (Despicable Me 1 & 2) and legendary singer and actress Julie Andrews (The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins).

Despicable Me 3 will be available on 4K Ultra HD in a combo pack which includes 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray™, Blu-ray™ and Digital. The 4K Ultra HD will include all bonus features on the Blu-ray™ disc.


All-New Mini Movie — The Secret Life of Kyle
Minion Moments — Watch the Minions cause more hilarious mayhem with Gru
Deleted Scene — With intro by Dana Gaier, the voice of Edith
Character Profiles — The inside scoop on the most popular characters, from the actors who play them
The Making of Despicable Me 3 — A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movie
Developing Dru — Behind the scenes character development of Dru
The AVL Files — Through the lens of the Anti-Villain League’s hi-tech database, this ultra secret, interactive surveillance briefing showcases all of the agency’s amazing creations and top agents
Freedonia Visitors Guide — Welcome to Freedonia! See all that the town has to offer with this interactive map. From its world class cheese, to its beautiful coastline, Freedonia has it all!
Despicable Me TV — Tune in for some fabulous fun with these Despicable Me 3 infomercials. Includes “Balthazar Bratt Action Figure,” “Bad Boy Bod by Balthazar Bratt” and “Agnes’ Super Cute, Incredibly Amazing Toy Sale.”
“Doowit” Sing-Along — Sing along with Pharrell Williams as the Minions plot their escape from prison
“Yellow Light” Music Video — Official music video by Pharrell Williams
Minion Mugshots — The Minions add to the long list of celebrity mugshots in their very own “rogues gallery.”
Wanted Posters — Have you seen these Minions wanted for various crimes?

Win It!

One person will win a Despicable Me 3 Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack.

*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA.*
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wordful Wednesday - Grafitti

When we were in Quito, Ecuador on the mission trip I noticed a lot of grafitti.  From my understanding, it's encouraged to paint areas that would otherwise look desolate.  

I was amazed at a lot of the talented work.  Most of it was very well done.  There was some that was obviously done to vandalize property but the majority was artistic and interesting to see.  

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Random Tuesday Thoughts - Bathroom Done Went to the Dogs

Tuesday.  Nuff said.  Now go link up your randomness at Stacy Uncorked

reminds me of a funeral director

Jason officiated his first funeral last week.  Unfortunately, it was his grandpa's.  The guy was 90 and lived a good life so that's a plus.  Our church was kind enough to hold the funeral dinner for us afterwards.  We had baked ham, au gratin potatoes, cakes and pies, salad, and green beans.

Jason had a few suit jackets but not a full ensemble.  While we were in Iowa a couple weeks ago we went to the Stuff store (a high-end consignment shop that I've raved about a couple of times) and got him a full suit for $20.  Score!

Jason with his girls, Juliann and Allyson

A Man's Best Friend

Adam keeps telling me that he's going to take Helen to live with him when he gets a place that allows pets.  Love the dog, but I'm gonna hold Adam up to that promise.

Speaking of Adam, me and him went to the theater last week and watched Jigsaw.  If you're a fan of the Saw horror movie franchise you know what I'm talking about.  I'm not sure that it was a necessary movie to add to the franchise but it still held all the gore and mystery.

Just like many years before, I packed a shoe box for Samaritan's Purse - Operation Christmas Child campaign.  Usually, I pack up a box for an older girl.  But I chose to get gifts for a boy this year.  Here's hoping it makes some kid happy.

We've been in the middle of a shit storm (pun intended) this past week.  Ameren Gas contracted a plumbing company out to do some work and mark sewage lines.  It's been a freakin' fiasco ever since.  The plumbers did something wrong and screwed up our toilet or pipes.  At first the toilet was leaking.  Three days later it went into full flood mode.  Plumbers finally came back out and gave some crappy line (pun!) about how they're not sure it's their fault.  

Um, hello, our crapper worked just fine until y'all came out!  Good money it's your fault.  Any ole' how, Roto Rooter came out yesterday.  Still nothing fixed.  They're supposed to come back out this morning with a back hoe and will possibly be digging up my yard and tearing into my bushes.  I've had to rent a Rug Doctor (to the tune of $70) to clean up the bathroom mess and my towels have been through the washer umpteen times.  And, for now, we get to go to the great outdoors (otherwise known as our back yard) or the gas station down the street to pop a squat.  #OneBathroomFamily
So, there you have it boys and girls.

What's your randomness for the week?
Ever pack a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child?

Lovely Candy Company - Review and Giveaway

I received products for review from Lovely Candy Company.  The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Sometimes I get excited when I find out about new brands or companies that I hadn't known about before.  One of those times was recently with Lovely Candy Company.  

The Lovely Candy Company was founded in 2013, making it fairly new.  It started out with just licorice but has since expanded with other treats.  The candies contain no high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, flavors or Trans fats.  In addition, they are natural and/or non-GMO, gluten-free.  

I know that a lot of people have adverse reactions to gluten and are cutting it from their diet. There's also those that have food allergies.  That's not the case with anyone in my family. With that said, we are not against consuming gluten-free or natural foods if we like the taste of them. 

The holidays are a time of sharing love, sometimes by the gifting or enjoying of sweets. The experts at The Lovely Candy Company are helping to spread the “Love-ly” and mark the arrival of the season with their line of delicious Consciously Crafted® candies – both at retail and online. The company has lately included two products to their rapidly growing line - Honey Gummy Bears™ and Dark Chocolate Honey Patties.

The new Honey Gummies are the first gummy candy that lists honey as its primary ingredient. They contain no gelatin and are peanut free. The gummies are available in assorted fruit and sour berry flavors and come in six ounce packages that retail for $4.99.  Each bag of Honey Gummies is resealable.  I always consider that an added perk.  The Honey Gummy Fruit Bears come in assorted flavors of cherry, lemon, apple, and orange to a bag and the Honey Gummy Sour Bears are cherry, strawberry, and blue raspberry flavors with a sugar coating.  Although they had a sour taste to them, it wasn't so extreme that my face would pucker up each time I ate one.  My teens and I have been eating them by the handfuls.  The bears are chewy and taste fresh.  Don't let the fact that they're made with honey hold you back.  I've never had gummies with honey before but I sure do like these!

The new Dark Chocolate Honey Patties are sweetened with, well, honey and contain only a few ingredients.  The three available flavors are:
§ Dark Chocolate Honey Truffles
§ Dark Chocolate Honey Truffles with Mint
§ Dark Chocolate Honey Truffles with Raspberry

Although I haven't tried the mint flavor, I did try the other two.  I'm not quite sure the what's or why's of each bag being different, but the Dark Chocolate Honey Truffles with Raspberry were individually wrapped and placed loosely in the bag.  The Dark Chocolate Honey Truffles were packaged up like a candy bar, with individually wrapped patties inside.  I personally liked the latter way of packaging better but it honestly doesn't make much of a difference to me as long as what's inside tastes good.  And, they sure did!   The dark chocolate coating with the thin, creamy middle is quite tasteful.

Food allergies shouldn’t limit your meal choices, no matter the season.  And that's why you should consider Lovely Candy Company to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Win It!

One person will win a Lovely Candy Company candy selection that includes:
Dark Chocolate Honey Truffles with Raspberry
Dark Chocolate Honey Truffles
Honey Gummy Fruit Bears
Honey Gummy Sour Bears

*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA.*
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Edushape Happy Kitten - Plush Toy Review

I received product for review from Edushape.  The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Although I have no desire to have a baby of my own (been there, done that) I love browsing baby selections for friends and family who are due with wee ones.

Whether you are a first time parent, grandparent or a friend searching for the perfect
baby shower gift, Edushape is here to help. Edushape, a company that focuses on learning and fun, has the cutest soft plush for young'uns - The Happy Kitten.

The Edushape Happy Kitten Plush is visually appealing with its red, gray, white, orange and blue colors.  The size of it is bigger than I expected, which I really like.  It's 10" long and is more than just a cute plush kitten.  It sharpens auditory sensory development and fine motor skills.  The tail has an orange teether ring, arms come together to hug, and there's a bell for sound.  If you pull one leg, the other will retract.  This plush is super cute, soft, and gives little ones a way to have fun while developing skills.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Live Clean Argan Oil Hand Soap and Body Wash - Review

I received products for review from Live Clean.  The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.
Winter will soon be here and many of us are already experiencing cold weather.  It's important to make sure you stay healthy during any season of the year because, honestly, who has time to be sick?  One of the easiest and quickest ways to avoid getting sick is by washing your hands.  What better way to fight the sickly bugs and germs than with Live Clean Argan Oil Hydrating Liquid Hand Soap.

Live Clean® Hydrating Argan Oil Hand Soap features 100% pure Argan Oil to nourish and replenish the skin for improved texture and tone, while certified organic botanicals of Grape Seed and Olive Leaf Extracts help to protect the skin’s moisture barrier.  It leaves my skin feeling clean, soft, and smooth.  The fragrance is pleasant and appealing to both men and women.  It works away dirt and leaves hands smelling clean.  Because the soap doesn't contain harsh chemicals or additives, anyone who comes through the house can use it to wash their hands.

With my super dry skin, I need products that will bring it back to life.  That's where the Live Clean Replenishing Argan Oil Body Wash comes in to play.   It seems to be helping my skin replenish itself and keeping it from drying out as badly. The fragrance is pleasant and is appropriate for both men and women. Although I'm armed with some  knowledge, I don't know all the facts or hype surrounding Argan oil. With that said, I'm pleased with how well this body wash, formulated with the oil, softens my skin and gives a feeling of freshness after every wash.

Live Clean was created with a simple vision: to create high performance skin and haircare products that celebrate natural beauty while honoring the earth. The company believes that living clean isn’t just about what we eat, it’s also about the products and ingredients that we put in our bodies. Live Clean harnesses the power in plant-based ingredients to create gentle and effective products that are safe for you, your baby, and the environment. All Live Clean products are created with naturally based ingredients, certified organic and free of harsh chemicals.  They are also pure vegan and vegetarian, cruelty-free and biodegradable and recyclable.

M*A*S*H Has It Wrong: Suicide Is Not Painless

Photo by Mohammad Metri on Unsplash

I'm dating myself a bit, but I remember watching M*A*S*H back in the day.  If you've ever watched the TV show you may recall the theme song, Suicide is Painless.  I'm here to call BS.

This post may be long but hang on for the ride.  I'm angry. I'm upset.  I'm sad.  I'm heartbroken.  I know suicide isn't anything new but, darn it all to hell, I've been hearing more and more about it lately.

I've worked as a 9-1-1 Dispatcher for over 13 years and have been on the other end of the line of a suicidal call my fair share of times.  But this year seems like it's been out of control - almost an epidemic.  Just this last week we had two people found in the woods from hanging themselves.  (Imagine being the people who walked upon that!)  We also had a gal who set her car on fire as a means of suicide.  She decided it was too hot and tried to get out.  But not before over 90% of her body was burned.  She's now going through a whole new level of hell, all while her father who has terminal cancer has to sit by and watch.

my ugly crying face

There have been a couple points in my life where the world tumbled down on me and I was positive there was nothing or no one that could help me. Not only was I not sure that I wanted to live, my body wasn't sure either. I became a real life robot, with nothing but a blank hole inside. I lost weight and would stop breathing for short periods of time. My mind hated myself and so did my body.
Acute clinical depression became my diagnosis.  The first time was sixteen years ago and the most recent was just one year ago.

I was at war with myself for a long time. God took over and brought a series of events into my life to show that things would be okay. It wasn't an overnight change but I soon came to realize that there is a light at the end of the darkened tunnel. I am a better person today and am no longer plagued with those thoughts or actions.

My line of work has also brought upon coming in contact with those who call for help or those who call to inform that a life has ended. These calls, at times, affect me personally because I want to scream and shake that person who calls for help and make them honestly believe that it really will be okay. And to hear the screams and hysterical cries of those who've found a loved hits at the core.

PLEASE, PLEASE .....if you ever feel that the world is okay without you, know that you are horribly wrong. Know that there are resources and people who will and want to help. And know that you're not the only one who's been through this profound pain. But most of all, know that God will see you through and it really will get better. Sometimes bad things happen to open the door for even better and greater things.

Photo by Ian Espinosa on Unsplash

Don't use suicide as a tool to call attention to yourself.

I'm not being flippant when I say this, but some people make suicidal threats to use as a power tool against someone else.  (i.e. If you dump me, I will kill myself)  There are people who really are suicidal, and those who use the threat of it as a way to draw attention are ignorant.

You can and do matter to others.

I've been lucky enough to have a great support team during my times of depression and suicidal tendencies.  Not everyone is as lucky.  I don't care who you are or what you've done, you matter to someone.  You are someone's father, child, brother, sister, mother, a Child of God.

Friends and family will be left with guilt and grief.

It's easy to think that your friends and family would be better off without you.  That couldn't be further from the truth.  A wave of tremendous guilt and grief will come towering over your family and friends.  Your death will be final, but their sorrow will not be.

There is one who has your back - Jesus.

I'm going to get all religious here and say that Jesus made you, and He made you for a reason.  God don't make no junk.  If you have a personal relationship with Jesus, you can draw comfort and strength from Him.  Being a Christian will not make life any easier, but it will make it worth living.

As a side note, I know that Christians also commit suicide.  They're not an exclusive group.  But I know that there are people who have had their lives transformed for the better by seeking out God.

Seek help.  It's not a stigma.

As more and more suicides happen, people are becoming more and more aware.  Depression and other mental illnesses are not something to be ashamed of.  Life events happen.  The wires of our brain become crossed.  Seek professional help and find medicines, therapies, counseling, and other means to get back on track.

Your life is worth living.

Point. Blank. Period.

Zebra by Popcornopolis - Gourmet Popcorn Review and Giveaway

I received products for review from Popcornopolis.  The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.
With the holidays coming up, most of us are on the lookout for gifts to give or snacks to take to parties.  If this is the case for you, there is a product that fits the bill for both.  And that would be Zebra by Popcornopolis.

Popcornopolis, a gourmet popcorn company, has launched a delicious new product line called Zebra by Popcornopolis® that includes five indulgent, confection-style gourmet popcorn snacks made with organic popcorn, premium chocolate, and hand-selected ingredients with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
The decadent chocolate-drizzled snack line, developed by Popcornopolis’ Cordon Bleu-trained chef, features five innovative varieties inspired by the brand’s popular Zebra® Popcorn:

            Chocolate Stripe: Dark and White Chocolate Drizzled Caramel Corn

            Chocolate Peanut Butter: Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter Drizzled Caramel Corn

            White Chocolate Macadamia: White Chocolate Drizzled Caramel Corn with Macadamia Nuts

            Chocolate Candy Cane: Dark Chocolate Drizzled Caramel Corn with Crushed Peppermint (Holiday Edition)

            White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice: White Chocolate Drizzled Caramel Corn with Pumpkin and Spices (Holiday Edition)

Seriously, you can't go wrong with any of these delicious flavors.  It is gourmet popcorn at its finest.  The packaging itself is eye-catching and the bags are resealable.  Although I would have been more than happy to eat each and every bag by myself, I did share with my teen kids and people from my Small Group.  Each flavor was a roaring success.  I absolutely loved each variety, but would have to say that Chocolate Peanut Butter was my favorite.  The popcorn tasted fresh and the flavor combinations were scrumptious.

Purposefully designed to satisfy consumer preferences, Zebra by Popcornopolis® is gluten-free, non-GMO, made with USDA certified organic popcorn, and popped in coconut oil. Every ingredient – premium chocolate, pure cane sugar, creamery-fresh butter and more – is free from artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.

You can find the NEW Zebra by Popcornopolis® at the following retailers:

Bristol Farms – LA
Gelson’s – LA
Stater Brothers – LA
Safeway – Seattle and Portland
Von’s – Southern California
Albertsons – Southern California
Publix – National
Walmart – National

Win It!

One person will win the Zebra by Popcornopolis popcorn collection (one bag of each flavor).

*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 10, 2017

Shop Hollar for the Holidays and Receive $5 at Sign-Up

This post contains a referral link.  The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.
It's been a few months since I've declared my love for Hollar.  I slowed down on shopping there for a bit because I was spending an arm and a leg there.  Just a few months later, I had to check the site out again.  And, yep, I done went and bought more stuff!  #Obsessed Much

Hollar is your destination for the coolest gifts and goods starting at just $2. They have everything from makeup and sunglasses to toys and apparel. Everything is 50-90% off the original price.

Hollar offers free shipping on all first-time orders and on orders over $25 after that for U.S. customers. As an added bonus, you will receive a $5 credit on your first order when you sign up at Hollar. And their emails often offer promotions.  I always make sure to check my Hollar emails because, a lot of times, the company is offering either free shipping, percentages off products, or discounts.  To date, I've received over $65 free credit in discount and referral codes.  That's been in just a little over a year.

Their inventory changes often so it's best to buy if you see something you like. Right now they have a nice selection of holiday goodies and gifts, home decor, makeup, and more.  I've purchased several items for myself and as gifts for others.  I definitely recommend Hollar.  It's good finds at great prices.
My latest Hollar Haul included shampoo, tea towels, framed art, and Christmas toilet paper.