Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Time is Here: Ecuador, Here I Come!

Cootopaxi looming over Quito
Photo by C├ęsar Viteri on Unsplash

After month of planning and preparation, the time to embark to Quito, Ecuador is here.  Tomorrow I will be travelling 14 hours (6 by van, 8 by plane) for the trip of a lifetime.

My husband and I will be gone for a week on a mission trip, along with 12 other people.  This is a first for me and Jason.  Our days will be packed with building and restoring, teaching, and feeding.  I'd like to say I'm going there to change people's lives.  But, in all reality, I'm sure they'll change mine.

I will not be posting on my blog at all during the time I am gone.  But, when I get back, be prepared to be bombarded with photos!  And, if you're the praying kind, I'd appreciate them.

Earn Rewards for Your Opinion with Opinion Outpost

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Get Colorful with Paper Mate - Review and Giveaway

I received products for review from Paper Mate.  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.

Most people have completed their back-to-school shopping but, if you're anything like me, you shop for supplies throughout the year.  Work meetings, decorating for PTA posters, or writing a letter to a friend are just a few reasons that you might want to consider Paper Mate's new products.  
Paper Mate InkJoy Gel Pens, Flair Candy Pops, and Color Lead Mechanical Pencils are available in a wide variety of colors.  Paper Mate has been providing progressive, performance-driven pens, pencils and correction products for more many years, and their new line of writing utensils makes jotting, drawing, and doodling a little more fun.

There's not a whole lot of things I'm picky about but I'm kind of a pen snob.  It's not necessarily about the brand but it's definitely about how well it writes and how it fits in my hand.  I also want the ink to go smoothly on paper.  Also, there's the big fact that I'm a lefty.  If any of you are in the same boat, you most likely know that we write differently and ink tends to smudge on our hands or on the paper.  It's irritating as all get out. I've been using the new Paper Mate products on all sorts of things and they pass my test.  

The Paper Mate Ink Joy Gel Pens are perfect for my adult coloring books and other projects. I can get all sorts of creative with the 14 different colors.  The ink stays on the paper instead of smearing the side of my hand.  Hooray for lefties like me, the ink dries quickly enough that it doesn't smudge.  These pens feature a ergonomic comfort grip that wraps around the entire pen and comes in 0.5mm fine point and 0.7mm medium point options.

Paper Mate limited edition Candy Pop Flair Pens come in 12 vivid candy colors.  These fine felt tip pens are perfect for journaling, writing in a scrapbook, or creating small designs.  Like the gel pens, they don't smudge.

As for the Paper Mate Clearpoint Color Lead Mechanical Pencils, they're Awesomesauce!  I've always used a pencil to jot events and work schedules in my appointment book, and now the Paper Mate Clearpoint Color Lead Mechanical Pencils have become my go-to for doing just that.  My oldest son, Logan, also likes to use them when working on college homework that requires writing.     These mechanical pencils feature a clear body so you can see the 0.7mm colored lead inside.  A jumbo eraser allows you to easily erase your mistakes.  Your writing will stand out with Pink, Red, Orange, Green, Blue and Purple colored pencils. For instance, the red mechanical pencil shows up a red color on the paper.  The same goes for all the other colors too.

If you're anything like me, you'll get a kick out of taking school notes, jotting signatures, composing notes, and doodling your day away with these new Paper Mate products.

Win It!

One person will win a set of Paper Mate writing utensils that includes:

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

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Silky Smooth Savings from Silk

This post contains an affiliate link.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Silk has you covered—whether you’re after 0 grams of sugar,
protein & Nutmilk with 10g protein per serving, coffee creamer,
or an alternative to yogurt.  Soy Milk and Almond Milk are among two of their most popular products.

Sign up for free to get offers, recipes, life hacks, coupons, and more by email from Silk.  For U.S., ages 18+.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Awakening of HK Derryberry - Book Review

I received book for review from Handlebar.  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.
Quick Overview:

The Awakening of HK Derryberry is the inspiring story of how one man was willing to step out of his upper middle-class world into the life of a young, disabled boy with a dismal future. Little did Jim Bradford know the transformational potential of that friendship-for HK and himself.

HK Derryberry came into the world with the odds stacked heavily against him. Eventually it becomes apparent that buried beneath HK's severe disabilities is one spectacular ability. He is diagnosed with Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM), which involves superlative powers of recollection that enable him to remember everything that has happened to him since the age of three. Less than one hundred people have been diagnosed with HSAM, but none of them have the physical disabilities of HK Derryberry.

My Review:

HK Derryberry is a boy who's a known pickpocket....He steals people's hearts.  I may not know him personally, but he definitely stole my heart.

The Awakening of HK Derryberry is a first-person account of Jim Bradford and his forging friendship with HK.  Several years ago Jim took an unconventional turn into to a restaurant for coffee, and that day forever changed his life.  It was there that he met HK Derryberry, a young boy bent over listening to the boombox.  Jim noticed that HK was disabled and learned that the boy spent many hours at the restaurant while his grandma worked.  Jim formed a friendship with this child and, throughout the years, became his mentor and best advocate.

HK had so many odds stacked against him, yet he flourished once he found a friend who invested time in him.  HK is blind and has cerebral palsy, yet has a remarkable memory and a positive attitude. If we were to take the courage and strength of HK and blend it in with the patience and kindness of Jim, this world would be a much better place.

HK Derryberry and Jim Bradford now work together as motivational speakers.  I'd be thrilled to attend one of their events someday.  The book about the two is been amazingly uplifting.  Although it chronicles HK's struggles, it's mostly tells of a child with special needs (now an adult) who was given a chance at life and exceeded expectations.

Update on Email Subscriptions for my Blog

With many thanks to Mimi, blog owner of Woven By Words, it was brought to my attention that there may be a glitch in my email subscriptions.

I did have two ways in which you could subscribe to my blog via email - Feedburner and Mail Chimp.  For now, I am ceasing subscriptions on the latter.  For whatever reason, Mail Chimp would sometimes redirect people to my old blog domain, which happens to be owned by a semi-sorta spam site of tattoos and half-naked peeps.  So, here's the bullet point rundown:

1.  I've gotten rid of Mail Chimp.  I hope I don't lose many subscribers because of that but it's necessary.

2.  Please subscribe to my blog via Feedburner.  There's a "subscribe to my blog via email" link at the left hand side of my blog where you can do that.

3.  Don't buy your domain from GoDaddy!  That's my personal experience, at least.  They're the ones who caused me to have to buy a different domain name in the first place.  My old domain expired a couple years ago, I wasn't notified, and I was bought out by a different "parked" site.  (Which, coincidentally enough, has GoDaddy ads!)  I hope I'm wrong, but it leads me to believe that GoDaddy is super shady.

Thanks to Mimi for pointing this out.  I hope you'll subscribe to me via Feedburner.  If email isn't your thing, there's also Bloglovin and Google+.

What's your experience with GoDaddy?
Through which avenues do you follow my blog?

Precious Moments: Little Book of Bible Stories - Review and Giveaway

I received product for review from Tommy Nelson.  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:

Teach your little ones how they are precious in God’s sight through Precious Moments Little Book of Bible Stories. Children of all ages are sure to enjoy these sweet illustrations and simple Bible stories about our loving God.

My Review:

To me, the Precious Moments® brand represents innocence and childlike faith.  I have a couple figurines in my home and have purchased some as gifts.  I love that the Precious Moments personification is included in a Bible Storybook.  

Precious Moments:  Little Book of Bible Stories is geared toward children up to age four.  It is a board book with a soft padded cover.  The stories are short and are written in a way that children can understand.  The Precious Moments illustrations are simply adorable.  For each story, there is a Bible verse, scriptural reference, and brief words of worship or prayer.  This is a wonderful keepsake book for any young child.
Win It!

One person will win Precious Moments: Little Book of Bible Stories.

*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA.*
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Friday, September 15, 2017

My Experience with Linzess (Prescription Pills for IBS)

First of all, I'm not a doctor (and don't play one on TV).  So if you have a medical issue, be sure to see your physician.  This is my own personal experience regarding IBS and Linzess.

Warning:  I will be talking about poo.  So hang on to your "oh shit" handles and come along for the ride.

Before I tell you about my experience with Linzess, I want to tell you about the battle I went through prior to taking it.  I've suffered with severe stomach problems for close to 20 years now.  I noticed it not long after I had my gall bladder removed (some people say the two are linked).  I could go three weeks without pooping, and my stomach was so round and hard it looked like I was ready to give birth.

Mind you, I've never been a skinny girl.  But being asked when I'm due is a blow to the ole' self-esteem.  I mean, I guess you could say I was pregnant.  I felt like I was due with ten turd babies that were clinging for dear life.
my insides "before"

When it was time to take a deuce, it wasn't a normal routine.  It was an all out death match.  I'd get super clammy and have cold sweats.  Goosebumps would form on my arms, and I'd double over in abdominal agony.  And there was no waiting.  When the Turds of Torment decided to finally come out, it was a NOW OR NEVER situation.  I can't tell you how many times I've stopped at the side of the road on an interstate and ran into a ditch to poo.  Or how many times I've begged my husband to stop at a stranger's house so I could run into their bathroom, then explain details later.  (He never would!)  I'm no stranger to hospital visits either.  There never was much they could do, but the pain meds were enough to get me through at the time.  My mother passed away in April 2016 from a small bowel obstruction. (That was enough to scare the shit outta me!)

At any rate, I've went to doctors and was finally been diagnosed with IBS and borderline Celiac disease.  I started taking Digestic Herbal Supplement in 2016, after I had been given a bottle for review.  It is amazeballs but was costing me $40 a month.  A little too steep for my pocketbook!

Fast forward to earlier this year:  The gastrologist put me on Linzess, which are prescription pills for IBS treatment.  It's been my miracle drug.

Linzess comes available in three doses, and I take the highest one.  I take one pill a day half hour before supper.  Since taking the pills, I don't have problems "dropping the kids off at the pool".  I still don't dookie every single day but I'm much more consistent.  All the agonizing symptoms have gone away.  I no longer feel like I'm dying a slow death.  Granted, I can hear my food digesting somewhat loudly after I eat but I'm all good with that cuz I know it's not gonna get stuck in my insides.  Sometimes the poo isn't solid; There's days when it's the Hershey's Squirts.  But it's not so sudden that I can't walk, rather than run, to the nearest restroom.

I have a fairly decent insurance plan so it costs me $13 for a 30-day supply of Linzess.  According to the papers, insurance saves me over $400.  If you have good insurance and struggle with IBS, I highly suggest that you talk to your doctor about Linzess.  If it does anything for you like it does for me, your gut will thank you.

my insides "after"

Do you suffer from IBS or Celiac disease?
Have you ever taken Linzess?  Or, what steps do you take to relieve the symptoms?

Tangled the Series - #JAKKSToys Review and Giveaway

I received products for review from JAKKS Pacific.  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.

Rapunzel Secret Journal

JAKKS Pacific is excited to launch toys and other products to relive the adventures of Rapunzel.  From an intricate dress and a customizable bag to a stylized bow and arrow and a secret journal, JAKKS Pacific line of products, inspired by Tangled The Series, will have every kid wanting to seek out adventure.  I have two great-nieces that are big into Tangled the Series and who proclaimed me the best auntie ever when I presented them with two toys from the line.  They've played and played with the journal and adventure bag.

For up-to-date Disney Tangled The Series information, follow #JAKKSToys on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  And, don’t forget to tune into the Disney Channel for the latest episodes of Tangled The Series.

Rapunzel Dress
Kids can look just like Disney’s princess, Rapunzel, in her iconic dress inspired by the new Tangled The Series on the Disney Channel. The Rapunzel Dress is perfect for kids ages 3 and older, in sizes 6 to 8, and is available at retailers nationwide at a retail price of $29.99

Rapunzel Adventure Bag
Kids can customize their Rapunzel Adventure Bag with charms to look just like Rapunzel’s bag from the new Tangled The Series on the Disney Channel.

Rapunzel’s Adventure Bag comes with a bag, one journal charm, one Pascal charm, one frying pan charm, one flower charm, one lantern charm, one feather charm and one sun charm.  The Adventure Bag is recommended for kids ages 3 and older, and is available at retailers nationwide at a retail price of $12.99.

Rapunzel Bow & Arrow
The Rapunzel Bow & Arrow Kids will let kids recreate Rapunzel’s adventures as well as create their own with a stylized bow and arrow set inspired by the new Tangled The Series on the Disney Channel.  The Rapunzel Bow & Arrow can shoot up to 20 feet, and the set comes with a bow, three arrows, and one quiver.  The set is ideal for kids ages 3 and older and will sell at a retail price of $19.99 at retailers nationwide.

Rapunzel Secret Journal
Kids will love keeping all of their secrets safe with the Rapunzel Secret Journal.  Kids can get creative with the invisible ink pen, and just like Rapunzel uses the “crystal" black light to reveal invisible ink, they can too!  The journal comes with a secret drawer, a black light, an invisible ink pen, marker, stencil, three sheets of paper, two sticker sheets, one Maximus hair charm, and of course only one key plus three AG13 batteries are also included.  The Secret Journal is perfect for kids ages 3 and older, and sells at retailers nationwide at a recommended retail price of $19.99.

Rapunzel Adventure Bag

Win It!

One person will win a Rapunzel Adventure Bag.

*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA.*
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Rimmel London Insta Range - Review

I received products 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.
I'll be the first to say I've never been an expert at applying makeup. I know how to put makeup on my face but it never turns out model perfect. With that said, I do like to experiment with makeup and Rimmel London is a brand I've come to love.

Rimmel London has introduced its first selfie-ready Insta Range for the Picture Perfect Look. The new line-up features easy-to-use products to correct, conceal, contour, and fix your complexion so you can pass the smart-phone challenge – both under the flash and in daylight. Have fun expressing yourself through selfies … with total confidence. #instaselfie

Insta Conceal & Contour- This palette camouflages and enhances the different tones of your face and allows you to sculpt the angles, creating a naturally flawless complexion and defined features. Apply on top of foundation and blend.

Available in 3 shades  (Light, Medium and Dark) to complement the different tones around your face which allows you to Highlight, Conceal and Contour

Insta Conceal & Correct- Address and conceal your skin’s different tones and imperfections with this color-correcting kit for dark circles, redness and dull-looking skin.
Peach neutralizes dark circles
Green covers redness on the skin
Lilac cancels out dullness

Again, I'm not a makeup expert and can't say I've achieved my desired Picture Perfect Look.  But, with these two Insta products from Rimmel London, I have noticed an improvement.  Dark circles under my eyes are the worst, and the Conceal shade helps get rid of that.  I have redness on my nose a lot of times and the Green shade definitely helps.  There are illustrations on the back of each palette that show where the shades should be applied on the face.  The Insta Range is now a daily part of my makeup routine.

popchips® Galaxy Puffs Star Wars Themed Snack - #jointhepopside 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.
I won't purchase merchandise or food based mainly on a character or celebrity endorsement. I don't have a lot of purchasing sway that way. But I know kids tend to gravitate towards edibles that feature popular characters and colorful graphics. I have no problem buying such food products as long as I believe in the actual food or drink itself, not just the packaging.

One snack option that is sometimes available at my house are Popchips, crunchy potato snacks that are heated in a pressurized chamber and then quickly released.  They're flavorful and airy with a crunch.  I was excited to recently try Galaxy Puffs for the first time when they were sent for review.  Galaxy Puffs are from the same company and, like popchips, they are never fried and contain only real ingredients.

Earlier this month Popchips launched Galaxy Puffs nationwide, just in time for Force Friday II and the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi release. The product will be available as an everyday item for the duration of the company’s three-year collaboration with Disney and Lucasfilm.  Galaxy Puffs are offered in one flavor - aged white cheddar - and feature Star Wars shapes.  Galaxy Puffs are available in two sizes, and offer parents a fun choice for kids' lunches or snacktime.

While my kids are older, they still enjoyed these Star Wars themed Galaxy Puffs.   We liked the packaging and fun shapes.  But, most important, we liked the crunch and flavor of this snack.

Win It!

One person will win bags of popchips® Galaxy Puffs Star Wars Themed Snacks.

*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA.*
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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Sun Basket: 50% off Family Menu

This post contains an affiliate link. Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services. Your opinions and results may differ.

Get 50% off Family Meals from Sun Basket. Fresh organic and sustainable ingredients and kid-friendly recipes delivered!

As the summer sets into September, Sun Basket is focused on making the transition into fall routine easier for everyone. They have four great ways to simplify dinnertime.

More paleo choices: Starting next week, the menu will offer an additional, fourth paleo dinner recipe every week. This means more variety for 2 and 3 meal plan customers and an option to order 4 full paleo meals every week.

New easy labels: New recipe labels help you save time and eat healthy this fall: one-pan, easy-prep, great for entertaining, speedy stir-fry, and make it ahead meals.

Get back on track with Lean & Clean meals: The Lean & Clean meal plan can be a great option for those looking to manage their weight. Lean & Clean meals are around 550 calories and feature high in protein, with healthy fats to keep you feeling nourished and satisfied. These meals are always gluten-free, dairy-free, and free of added sugars.

Simplify Back to School: Simplify your back-to-school routine with Sun Basket’s healthy, easy family meals—no meal planning and no grocery shopping required. Sun Basket’s Family menu offers family-friendly dishes to serve 4 people, with Paleo-Friendly, Gluten-Free, and Vegetarian Family options. Recipes are designed for quick prep and clean-up.

Peppa Pig's Pop-up Princess Castle - Review and Giveaway

I received product for review from Candlewick Press.  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.
All hail Princess Peppa! There’s so much to do at Peppa’s royal residence. Children are invited to explore the castle’s many majestic rooms with press-out figures of Princess Peppa, Prince George, and their family and friends. After entering through the working gate, they’ll want to peek into Peppa’s closet and read the mini storybook telling all about Peppa’s day at the castle. It’s a Peppa fairy tale come true!

Peppa fans will be royally pleased to discover this pop-up play set with press-out characters — presided over by Princess Peppa, of course!

Airing each weekday on Nick Jr., Peppa Pig follows the adventures of Peppa, a loveable, exuberant little piggy who lives with her brother George, Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig. Peppa’s favorite things include playing games, dressing up, spending days outdoors, and jumping in muddy puddles. I have a couple of great-nieces who are big fans of Peppa Pig, and who love getting out Peppa Pig's Pop-up Princess Castle when they come over to visit.

Peppa Pig's Pop-up Princess Castle is a hardcover book tied together with a pink ribbon.  Once you open it, the pages spring to life with the pop-outs and lift-the-flaps.  Kids can go through each page one by one or they can maneuver the book in a way that the entire castle comes together.  There are Peppa Pig characters that can be used along with the castle but it requires carefully removing them from the enclosed flap first.  At the back of the book is a small booklet that tells a short story about Peppa Pig in a castle.    The book itself and the pop-out pages are quite sturdy, but destructive little hands might be able to tear it up.  This is a new book, out by Candlewick Press, that fans of Peppa Pig will delight in.

Win It!

One person will win Peppa Pig's Pop-up Princess Castle.

*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA.*
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Power of Prayer Thursdays - Week 89

Photo by Guilherme Romano 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 89. 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.

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.
1 Peter 3:8 NIV

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Several More September Winners

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

The winners of the Bring It On: Worldwide #Cheersmack Blu-ray giveaway are #9, Deanna Lynn and #48, Kimberly Myers.

The winner of the Press Out and Color: Butterflies giveaway is #58, Jennifer Cervantes.

The winner of the Color, Snap, App!: My First Animated Coloring Book giveaway is #42, jill190.

The winner of the Egyptology: The Coloring Book giveaway is #28, Jennifer Bowen.

The winner of the 9/11 Film Gift Pack giveaway is #5, bnchile.

Congrats to the winners and thanks to all who entered.  There are several other active giveaways going on right now.  Be sure to enter if you haven't already.  They're listed at the top left hand side of the blog.  There's no limit to how many you can enter or how many you can win.

Guess How Much I Love You Coloring Book - Review and Giveaway

I received book for review from Candlewick Press.  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:

Love is a colorful thing! Fans old and new, young and not so young will revel in these intricate scenes of nature featuring Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare. In ninety-six pages of beautifully rendered images and words inspired by the beloved story, the world of Guess How Much I Love You stands ready to come to life with the help of some crayons or markers, dozens of stickers, and a whole lot of love.

Guess How Much I Love You is a book with a 1994 publication date.  It has gained popularity and is now available in several different formats.  The Guess How Much I Love You Coloring Book was released by Candlewick Press in March 2017, and is a nice addition to the lovable series of two hares who have immense love for each other.

This coloring book includes several illustrated designed, inspired by the children's book.  The pictures range in complexity, with most of them being outdoor nature scenery.  At the very back of the book are over 100 stickers that can be added to the pages.

page of stickers

Some of the pictures span across two pages, while others fill just one page.  I'd prefer if the pages were perforated but there's still enough leeway on most pages to carefully cut or tear them out without cutting into the design.  The paper quality the book is favorable for coloring pencils, pens, markers, and other utensils.  Some designs are more intricate and smaller than others.  For instance, you may come across a page that has a lot of little leaves or flowers.  

Although I haven't completed an entire picture yet, I have gotten much enjoyment out of coloring in this book.  I've started on some of the illustrations and will hopefully have some finished soon. 

I recommend this coloring book to purchase as a gift for the enthusiast or for yourself as a source of relaxation.

Win It!

One person will win a Guess How Much I Love You Coloring Book.

*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA and Canada.
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ThermoServ Double Wall Tritan Tumbler - #thermoserv 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.

Call me a fish, but I always have to have a drink on hand. Unless I'm asleep, I have a soda, water, or coffee by my side at all times. I'll sip throughout the entire day. My most recently discovered beverage holder of choice is a ThermoServ Double Wall Tritan Tumbler. Whether I'm drinking a cold refreshing drink or a hot warming beverage, the tumbler keeps my beverages at the temperature they're supposed to be.  This particular style of Thermoserv Tumblers are made with Tritan™ from Eastman, are made to keep drinks hot or cold, reduce condensation, are virtually unbreakable and dishwasher safe.

The tumbler I received has a pretty blue damask design with a matching lid.  The tumbler itself is clear in color and the design is on the inside.  I like that I don't have to worry about the design itself becoming worn out because it's not on the outside of the tumbler.

When I'm in the car, I put the lid on my tumbler to keep it from spilling. The lid has a slider that opens and closes. The tumbler fits snugly in my vehicle's cup holder. I don't have a dishwasher so I can't vouch personally for it being dishwasher safe.  The fact that I don't have my drink sweating and creating condensation on my furniture and work desk is a major plus.

Mercy Triumphs - Book Review

I received book for review as part of a Litfuse Blog Tour.  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.

Kelley 1

About the Book:

Three women. Three impossible circumstances. One merciful God.

Mia, an American Christian, has lived in Sudan so long that persecution, harassment, and danger have become commonplace for her. Her tough outer shell threatens to harden her heart while her newly Christian friends, Halimah and Rania, former Muslims, are forced to live in exile outside Sudan. All three quickly discover that escaping danger in one place only means facing even greater challenges elsewhere. As God's mercy becomes evident in their lives, they must choose whether or not to offer mercy to those who don't deserve it.

Third in a trilogy, Mercy Triumphs opens the reader's eyes to modern-day persecution and the life of Muslims in Sudan. Based on real-life events,

Mercy Triumphs reveals some of the struggles Christians face when living under Islamic law. The reader will be inspired to pray for new believers, those who are persecuted for their faith, and even for the salvation of the persecutors.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

About the Author:

Author of the captivating novel "Side by Side," Jana Kelley is a Texan who hardly ever lives in Texas. Raised in Southeast Asia, Jana developed a love for cross-cultural living early in life. Her love for writing came soon after. Jana returned to Texas to attend East Texas Baptist University. She and her husband married a month after she graduated, and by their second anniversary, they were living in a remote African town. After 13 years living in Africa and the Middle East, Jana, her husband, and their three boys moved to Southeast Asia where they currently live.

Find out more about Jana at

My Review:

I have been a Christian for most of my life and I have a strong passion for my faith.  I can't imagine what it would be like to be persecuted for what I believe in.  Yet, there are people who go through persecution all the time.  Willingly, nonetheless.

Mercy Triumphs tells of three women whose lives become intertwined through circumstances.  Mia is the one I most related to.  She is an American Christian who lives in Sudan and wishes to tell others of Jesus Christ.  Although she is a believer, she also faces fears and sometimes wonders if God will provide.  Mia is faced with unexpected circumstances that leave her saying goodbye to Sudan for good.  Mia's real and raw emotions can be felt in the words of the book.

The other two ladies, Halimah and Rania, are former Muslims who live outside Sudan.  Halimah was beaten and ousted by her father for being a Christian and Rania is more closeted with her faith.

There's not a lot of crescendo in Mercy Triumphs.  Although all three leading female characters went through struggles, I didn't get a strong feel for a climatic story line.  That area fell flat for me.  But, I will say, I did have empathy for what they went through and I was encouraged by their strong faith and following for Jesus.

Have you ever felt or been persecuted for your faith?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Ride: Kit Meets Covington - Book Review and Giveaway

I received book for review from Candlewick Press.  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:

Trying to move on from her mother’s death and afraid of riding after a bad fall, plucky fourteen-year-old Kit Bridges doesn’t quite know what to expect when her father takes a position at The Covington Academy, a prestigious boarding school in England. Things are looking up when Kit meets her cool, possibly secretly royal new roommate, Anya, and the boys of Covington, like Will, with their charming accents. But she hadn’t anticipated such a strict headmistress as Lady Covington. Or the expectation that every student be a rider. Or the wild horse that she seems to have a strange and special bond with. While navigating new friendships, romances, and an alarmingly austere new environment, Kit needs to figure out whether she’s ready to get back in the saddle. And at the end of the day, it’s hard to tell who will be more changed by her arrival — The Covington Academy or Kit herself.

My Review:

Ride is a fairly new TV show that airs on Nickelodeon.  It was introduced to the United States in January of this year.  I've never watched the series before, and very recently just heard of it.  Ride: Kit Meets Covington is a book based on the show and it even includes full-color pictures.  This book was just released for sale today, September 12th.  

Tweens and teens alike will enjoy reading this book of a girl who enters a boarding school and has to learn to take on a whole new world.  Kit is likable and relatable as she overcomes fears, navigates friendships and crushes, and handles hardships.  

You don't have to be familiar with the Nickelodeon TV show to read this book.  Although mostly predictable, the story lines are easy to follow and this is a pleasant book to read.  Ride: Kit Meets Covington is the first in a series of books.  

Win It!

One person will win a hardcover book copy of Ride: Kit Meets Covington.

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Random Tuesday Thoughts - Six Flags and Mission Trips

I've been a fan of Random Tuesday Thoughts for quite some time.  If you'd like to throw out your randomness, link up with Stacy Uncorked.

Had a Six Flags day with my son Saturday. Despite what they might say, they're never too old to have their pic taken with Daffy.

We spent four hours at the St. Louis park and got on every ride we wanted to with wait times being 15 minutes or less.  Booyah!

I won't know for sure until October 1st, but I signed me and Jason up to renew our vows at Six Flags Fright Fest on October 13th, with 13 other couples.  He and I were married there almost fifteen years ago and it'd be awesome to renew our vows in the same fashion we were married...complete with dead flowers and garbed out in costume.

food that was prepared for Ecuador Fundraiser Dinner

In nine short days, Jason and I will be leaving for our mission trip to Ecuador.  I'm stoked and ready to go.  It will be Jason's first time flying, and a first for both of us going out of country or doing a mission trip.  We will be gone a week, so there will be no blog posts during that time.  If you're the praying kind, we'd appreciate them.

We will be going with a group of eleven other people.  We've worked our arses off doing personal and group fundraisers.  Jason and I have been beyond blessed with the monetary donations and support through the fundraisers (Including one amazing blog reader...You know who you are!)  We could not have done it on our own.

While away on the trip, we will be helping build and repair homes, teaching VBS, cooking meals, and working a food pantry.  I'm sure there will be tons of pictures and posts when I come back.

Retreat home where the fundraiser supper took place

A short time ago Jason and I gussied up and attended a gathering held by the church for staff and their spouses.  The location and food was wonderful.  But, I have to say it:  Who doesn't serve wine at a winery?!!
 If you want to see a scary clown movie that will traumatize your child but don't want to dish out the money to see IT, watch Clown (2014).  A loving father becomes a savage killer while wearing a cursed clown costume that won't come off.  You'll save money and still scare your kid.   You can thank me later.

Adam has settled into his new apartment.  He lives in the same town but I don't get to see him very often.  He's started a new welding job that involves 12-hour shifts Monday through Friday.  We did go over there Sunday to visit, and Adam cooked up a nice meal of spaghetti.  #SappyandSentimental

Uncle John and Aunt Selma

I received news that my Uncle John passed away Saturday night.  It was very unexpected.  He had a massive heart attack while mid-flight in the AirEvac copter.  He was one of the very few men I had the utmost admiration and respect for.  He lived a very simple life and wanted the same in death.  There will be no services.  He will be cremated and his ashes will be buried in their back yard.  I will definitely miss him.
What's your randomness for the week?
Have you ever been on a mission trip?  Have any tips for travelling out of country?