Sensational Haiku Wednesday: June 29, 2011

Join the fun!Is it really almost the end of June? Where has the month gone? School resumes in just four, short weeks!

This week's theme to Jenn's Sensational Haiku Wednesday, over at You Know...That Blog? is living.

Since I've always considered life somewhat of a rollercoaster, this is the bend I chose to take on this week's theme. It reminds me of the internet joke floating around about arriving in Heaven, not clean, pristine and neat, but all used up and saying, "Man! What a ride!"

Hold on for the ride
Rollercoaster lifts and drops
Get out your barf bag

After it all stops
After the world stops spinning
It was almost fun

You have survived it
Stronger; In one piece even
It wasn’t that bad

The Merry-Go-Round
Just goes round, and round, and round
What’s the fun in that?

In the moment; life!
Live it long, strong, loud and proud
You only get one

Until next time...

PSA for all New Moms: Do NOT Use Black Frosting - Ever!

Okay, so first, I'd like to apologize for the quality of this picture. For starters, it is 13 years old. Second, it's a picture of a picture, courtesy of my wonderful MIL who keeps everything (good thing, too, because it's obvious that up until recently I sucked at keeping anything!) TMB took this picture while he was helping his mother move into her new place...which reminds me, I need to get over there and help her!

Anyway, about this picture: This is The Boy during his first birthday. His favorite *thing* at the time was the WalMart smiley face.  You remember, right? Well, anyway, as a new mother, I got the stupid bright idea to make the cake and use black icing for the eyes and mouth.

This is a bad idea for so many reasons:

  1. The picture. First birthdays are notorious for being messy; why add to your clean up misery?
  2.  Black frosting stains - a lot! (See Point #1).
  3. Black frosting tastes disgusting! It is bitter and not the least bit palatable. I think The Boy's birthday guests were secretly glad he demolished it so that they'd be spared eating something that is supposed to be edible, but clearly is not.
  4. Is there anything less joyous than black frosting? Black frosting is reserved for unpleasant things, not first birthdays.
  5. Using black frosting for your eldest first birthday gives your extended family ammunition for years to come. Every birthday, every time a cake is served, my wonderful family is very quick to point out my baking faux pas.
I have since learned my lesson. I have made  21 cakes since that dreadful day and none of them have had black frosting on it. My cakes now have a lot of white on them.

So, please let this be a word of caution to all over zealous moms (and dads - no sexism here): USE BLACK FROSTING WITH CAUTION. You have been warned.

Until next time...

Summer Ponderings: When did The Boy become a Man Beast Jr.?

Meet The Boy. Here you see him in his natural habitat, the kitchen. Why the kitchen? Because the kitchen, dear readers, is where I need the most help (really, just ask TMB!) When I went back to school back in 2009, TMB told me that I needed to enlist the help of the kiddos because as he put it bluntly, "You can't do it by yourself." He was right, of course (but notice how he didn't put himself into the equation?*) I can't do it all. Well, I could if I wanted to be a big pile of mess with absolutely no time for myself or anything *fun*. So, anyway, that is how The Boy got into the kitchen.

This picture was taken the day he got back from week-long boyscout summer camp. (What you don't see is the subsequent eye roll and the comment, "Why did you just take a picture of me?"). A valid question. Why would I take a picture of The Boy doing his nightly kitchen clean up? After all, he's being doing it for the past two years; what makes tonight any different?
Could it be because I had not seen my oldest in a week? Could it be that while he was gone, I had to do kitchen clean up, every night? Could it be because after a week working with wood, leather and water, he had a tan that I could only dream of?

Yes, to all of the above, but the biggest reason I took a picture of The Boy is because what I've been trying to ignore for the past year is staring me right in the face: The Boy is turning into The Man Beast Jr (or The Man Beast-in-Training). I mean, look at him! Is this really a 13 year old? (No, actually, it isn't. This is a picture of a 13 and a half year old.) 

This "boy" is now taller than me. He wears bigger shoes than me. When people hear him in the background on the phone, they swear that it is TMB. Where did the little boy go?

What they don't tell you in the magazines and Parenting 101 classes is that this reality just sneaks up on you and slaps you upside the head with a 2x4. While logically, I know this doesn't happen over night, emotionally, it does.

TMBIT (The Man Beast in Training) will be entering 8th grade next year. In two years, he'll be in high school. In three years, he'll be driving. In five years, he'll be graduating from high school (and voting!). Five years is all I have left? Really?

I feel cheated. As frustrating as the MB/MBIT relationship is currently (and believe me, it is frustrating), this is when life is starting to get good. The kids, both kids, are older and subsequently more interactive. They have opinions and they like to share them. They like to talk about adult issues (current politics and what is fair) and kid issues (what video game are we buying next?) They are just more fun now that they can do for themselves. TMBIT is learning how to cook, as is Baby Gurl. I'm slowing bringing her into the kitchen to help her brother clean up. I have them both sweeping, mopping, dusting and vacuuming. TMBIT is doing his own laundry, start to finish; Baby Gurl is folding hers and putting it away. (I promise I do keep house; it is just important that both the kiddos learn to do things for themselves so that when they leave my nest, they'll know how to get it done.)

This is me reaping the rewards of all those sleepless nights, poopy diapers, struggles in math and elementary school with The Boy. I know I have a long way to go and I know I'm no where near done, but I feel like things are just getting good. (I already said that, didn't I? Well, they are!) I know there are struggles around the bend (but I don't want to think about them right now; no sense in borrowing trouble). 

But did I go from this:

To this:

* Note to my readers, while TMB does not voluntarily sign up for inside duty, he does work the yard and he did help me do dishes the week TMBIT was away at camp. Make no mistake about it, TMB is a keeper.

Until next time...

Sensational Haiku Wednesday: The Evening Edition

I *almost* missed it - but I didn't!

Join the fun!

This week's theme is JOY. I took a different approach to joy as I understand. It isn't anything that someone can bring you; it's a decision you have to make. The great thing about joy is that things don't have to be doing well in your life for you to have joy. In otherwords, one isn't necessarily synonomous with the other. Isn't that a great idea?

As always, you can click on the graphic to read other great Haikus.

Joy’s not happiness
Joy is nothing external
Joy is in the heart

Having joy is a choice
No one can give you real joy
Make the decision

Joy is many things
Joy is in the every day
Joy is simple, pure

I'm No Beauty Queen

I'm no beauty queen, but of course this is no secret to anyone who knows me in real life. I am just over five feet and weigh well over the recommended 120 lbs that all the BMI charts recommend. My hair isn't perfect. Neither are my teeth. Or skin. Or nails (save for the occassional pedicure/manicure I get about twice a year). But there has been something that's been bugging me for awhile and I wasn't quite sure how to put it into words or if I should put it into words at all. However, I have run across blogs and subject matter that has just brought this issue to the front and I figure since it has spoken to me, maybe it'll speak to some of you. And if not, well, that's okay, too.

Just because I'm not a "perfect" size and I don't have the "perfect" body, why should I feel less than worthy to exist?

The answer is: I shouldn't. And neither should anyone else who is less than perfect. (And really, what is perfect anyway? An ideal of what TV, movies, magazines and video games have deemed worthy? How many of those women actually exist?)

This idea started with the Dove campaign a couple of years ago. Here was a company who was willing to lift the veil and expose the magazine industry for what it was. It allowed women to embrace themselves as themselves and not worry about anybody else. They even had a campaign for older women, which was brilliant.

Recently, Lands End did a Swimsuit Confidence campaign in which they encouraged women to post pictures of themselves in bathing suits. For those of you who are unaware, Lands End makes a wonderful assortment of bathing suits that fit real bodies. They even sell their two piece suits seperately for those women who are bigger on the bottom than the top (or vice versa). They also make mastectomy swim suits. I fully support Lands End for their efforts.

The deciding factor of this blog post was a meme I've been seeing for the past two weeks: What I Wore Wednesday hosted by The Pleated Poppy. Every Wednesday, Lindsey, and dozens of women who link up with her, post pictures of themselves wearing outfits they wore the previous week. Every woman boldly shows off what she wore the previous week. Granted, these meme is for the fashionista which I clearly am not, but what it stands for is so much more.

Driving home last night from a Mary Kay party, I've decided that  I am very definitely a woman and I'm going to enjoy it. I don't have to be a frumpy woman just because I happen to wear double digit sizes. I can be pretty. I can be well put together. I can be happy. I can be fun. And none of these thing depend on a number on the scale, the size of my clothes, or whether or not I compare to other women (I don't nor them to me).

In the words of Popeye: "I yam what I yam."

Sensational Haiku Wednesday

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It's that time again - Sensational Haiku Wednesday! Are you tired of it? I just love it! My one complaint about poetry is that I hate rhyming! I hate rhythm. (Perhaps because I don't have any?) But a haiku? A haiku challenges me to say in 17 syllables; no more, no less. For a woman who tends to run at the mouth, this is a good thing.

This week's theme was FORTITUDE. To be honest, I didn't know what it meant, so I had to look it up. According to it means, "Strength of mind that allows one to endure pain or adversity with courage." I'm not sure my haiku exactly meets the definition, but to me it's fortitude.

Be sure to pop over to Jenn's blog to read other fabulous haikus!

Young. Naïve, maybe.
Mistakes made repeatedly
Lesson learned? Hardly.

Children. One then two.
Young parents. Young offspring.
Equals disaster.

Where is wedding bliss?
Where is perfect family life?
Someone lied to me!

Overtime, things change.
Young parents become wiser.
Couple grows closer.

Slowly, life is good.
Eventually, it’s right.
Happy ending?

Secure and loving.
Respect. Maturation grow.
Finally, it’s right.

Happy Birthday To Me!

I celebrated my 35th birthday on Saturday. It doesn't shame me to "out" myself on the internet about my age because I'm quite proud of my age. Every year I have a birthday is another year that God has allowed me to stay above ground (Thanks for the insight, Billy!). It makes sense to me!
Funds are bit tight here in the Turtle household. We are attempting to widdle down all of our credit card debt (it's not much) over the course of the year while I am still gainfully employed in order to prepare for my student teaching stint when I will not be gainfully employed. So, that being said, we have been cutting down on some costs (not all – I might go into that at a later time). So, instead of going to an expensive Japanese steakhouse that cooks your meal right at your table, The Man Beast bought two steaks and cooked them along with some roasted potatoes and broccoli. Originally, my dinner was supposed to be on Saturday night, but The Man Beast was unavoidably delayed at work so the dinner was subsequently delayed until Sunday night.

Dinner complete with wine
It was amazing!
I'm not a huge fan of steak. TMB and I were discussing this last night as I inhaled my steak that I swear to you melted like butter in my mouth. He came to the conclusion that the reason why I don't like steak much is because I haven't had any good steak (read: any of his steak). He could be right. All I know is the steak was amazing.

I said that already, haven't I?

When I reflect back on my life these past 35 years (because somehow hitting such a milestone requires the need for reflection) I think about how far I've come as a person. My mother called me on my birthday and we chatted a bit and inevitably, we discussed how we wouldn't want to go back and be a "kid" for anything. I know I wouldn't. For the first time in my life, I am comfortable in my skin. (Granted, I want to lose a few pounds and eat healthier, but as a person, I'm comfortable in my skin). I think this level of comfort is something that only comes with age and experience. Of course I have a lot more living to do (and a lot more mistakes to make, and hopefully, a lot more experience to gain). I'm not suggesting that as a woman of 35, my life is over or that I've learned everything there is to learn. I look forward to getting older if for no other reason than the experience and wisdom that comes along with it. It is a wisdom that cannot be read about in books – it must come from experience (and sometimes, that experience is very bad).

But I believe ultimately, we shouldn't think of our experiences as "good" or "bad" because it is what we take away from them that really matter. We learn from our mistakes. (It is important to note right here that some of us don't learn the first time we make our mistakes and sometimes, a good lesson isn't learned until we've made the same mistake several times. Flylady calls this a God Breeze – God teaching you a lesson quietly, in almost a whisper. I call it a Brick Upside The Head. God has plenty of them in His arsenal and they all have my name on them. If God has ever whispered to me, I didn't listen. Instead, I made the same mistake over again until I can only imagine The Father up in heaven, getting mighty fed up with His daughter, and finally chunking a brick in my general direction. Sure, it hurts. But the lesson is learned).

These are the best years of my life (so far)! I look forward to the years ahead as I imagine them in my mind. I am wise enough to know that the picture I have in my head is probably all wrong. What God has planned is probably much better – after a few more bumps along the road (I know I haven't stopped having those; but hopefully, I have learned to listen better so God can talk in a breeze instead of with a brick).


Are You Making the Most of Your 24 Hours?

This is another article I wrote for the Women Within Newsletter. A little backstory: At the time, I was homeschool The Boy and Baby Gurl. Considering Baby Gurl is now entering the 5th grade and I homeschooled her during the Pre-K/K years, it'll give you an idea of how long ago this actually was. However, it's advice that bears repeating.

Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.

- H. Jackson Brown

Everyone has 24 hours to complete whatever it is they feel they need to do. Granted, most of wish we had more, but the fact remains, that regardless, we have 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of nightlight (assuming you don’t live in Alaska, that is).

In order to make the most of our time, many of us get less than 8 hours of sleep and survive on mega doses of caffeine. If you’re one of these people, how’s it working for you?

If you’re like most of us, it’s not. You are merely going through the motions. Completing your to-do list. Not living. Existing.

Do you know that there is a better way? (Boy, do I sound like a television infomercial or what?!) But there really is a better way: natural alert tendencies—our biorhythms. The same ‘thing’ that wakes you a second before your alarm goes off is the same ‘thing’ that can help you make the most of your day.

Natural alert tendencies are when you are on your mental A game. I find that it’s usually when I’m not only most alert, but happiest. Are you a morning person? Do you ‘wake up’ around midmorning or do you find yourself surfing the net at midnight? Are you slating your schedule according to when you’re most alert? Probably not.

I’ll use The Boy and me as an example and you can plug yourself in where you see fit. Obviously, your schedule is different from ours, but the same basic elements apply:

The Boy and I start our day roughly at 7:30 in the morning. We both wake up to alarm clocks (obviously, our ‘thing’ doesn’t work very well!) After breakfast, clean up and showers, we usually hit our studies by 9 am. Through the course of our school day, we have to complete Bible, Spelling, Language Arts, Math and History. (Those are the main subject, there are several sub-subjects. For example ‘language arts’ include handwriting, English, US maps and reading). We are morning/mid morning people. We want to get our work done, over with, and out of the way so we can do the less mental straining tasks of chores and general free time. However, if The Boy and I were night owls, we’d be miserable with this schedule! We would be dragging ourselves out of bed at 7:30 (but probably not closer til 9 and then, only because we had to). It would make sense for us to shift our schedule to the after lunch, early evening time.

“Well, not everyone home schools and stays home, Iva.” Yes, I realize that, but you can still use your natural alert tendancies to your advantage. Do you have a night owl or an early bird in your midst? Why not let them do their homework later at night or early in the morning (chances are, they’ll be up anyway – might as well make the most of that time). Where is it written that homework has to be done immediately after coming home from school? If your child is worn out, maybe it would save the after school homework battles if you waited to sit them down until later in the day?

The same goes for you, you know. If you have to balance your checkbook, you should find when you’re most alert to do it. First thing in the morning? During your lunch break? At night once the kids go to bed? Late at night once hubby goes to bed? My point is: you have a biological clock – use it!

If you doubt what I say is true, try it this weekend. Be totally aware of how you feel. Note when you feel chipper and upbeat. Note also, when you’ve reached a slump. Now, try to work your harder, mentally heavy tasks during those highs and try to leave the relaxing (or the less mentally challenging tasks) for your lows.

And if it doesn’t work? So what? You have absolutely nothing to lose. If nothing else, you’ll be more aware of your natural energy tendencies. What you choose to do with them is up to you, but I think you’ll find if you try shifting your schedule just a skootch, you just might increase your productivity. Make the most of your 24 hours. Do it now!

[Note: TMB and I have been married for 13 years. There was a time when we were night owls because of his schedule. The kids were still very young so Daddy's schedule was our schedule. Basically, you have to do what's right for you and your family; but you can make it work.]

Haiku Wednesday: Health

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Life has a funny way of working out. First, my rant yesterday about the media and its perception of health and now Jenn over at You Know...That Blog?, who hosts the Sensational Haiku Wednesdays, has created HEALTH as her topic this week!

Never one to follow rules (well,not much anyway), I've decided to make a Haiku story instead of just a Haiku. Click the graphic above to read more Sensational Haikus; tell them Iva sent you!

Oh! The dreaded scale!
Why do you torture me so?
Oh, look – chocolate cake!

Water, water every where
Twenty trips to the bathroom
Water, water everywhere

Protein, fats, and carbs
Too much! Too little! Just right?
Stop when you are full.

Stop! Stop the madness!
No more counting calories!
Stop! Live. Laugh. Love. LIVE.

Watch Out! Iva's on a Mission

This article was originally published for the Women Within Voices newsletter I did eons ago (Do some of my long-time readers remember?)It's kind of funny how some things change but stay the same, isn't it?

This year is my year to get mad. I’m on a mission: to change the world’s perception of eating right, exercising and permanent lifestyle changes. I get so angry when I hear the media setting the guidelines for what is healthy; not even healthy – what a woman should look like!

I am here to tell the media (and anyone else who feels a woman should be a size 0) that the Constitution might say that all men were created equal, but all women don’t fit into a perfect little box! No! Real women have curves! Yes, some of those curves fit into a size zero pair of jeans but not all of them do. And if a woman’s curves fit into a size 18 jean, so what? She is no less a woman, no less beautiful, and no less worthy of love, admiration or prestige.

Yes, I’m a little ticked.

Anyone who talks to me on a regular basis knows that I’ve made a resolution of sorts to begin a new healthy lifestyle. With the help of a friend, I was directed to a website that has allowed me to gain the knowledge and the support to succeed. Am I done? No. But guess what? I will never be done! This is a lifestyle change. Sure, I’m in the process of losing weight, but eventually, I won’t be. Eventually, my healthy lifestyle with merge with who I am and no one will say ‘Oh, you’re on a diet?’

NO! I am not on a diet. I couldn’t stick to a diet for two seconds. I couldn’t stick to a plan that told me what not to do. Don’t tell me what not to do. Don’t tell me what to do. Telling me what I can or cannot do is a guarantee that I will do the opposite of what you say. No. This isn’t a diet. On a ‘diet’ I can’t eat bread. On a ‘diet’ I can’t eat red meat. On a ‘diet’ I can’t eat chocolate. On a ‘diet’ I’m hungry all the time and salivating, ready to pounce at the first chance I get to ‘cheat’. And if I were on a ‘diet’, I would give up the very first time I fell off the wagon.

No, sorry…no diet for me.

So, this year, I will bring the information that I’ve learned (and am still learning) to you. Maybe I’ll share something that you don’t know or (a more likely scenario), I’ll share something that someone in your circle needs to hear. (Don’t underestimate your circle. It’s amazing how deep into our families the media has actually invaded. My 9 yr son [The Boy is now 13] refers to what I’m doing as a ‘diet’. Of course, I set him straight, but that night, as I pondered my day and our conversation, I was utterly disgusted that a 9 yr old boy would be tuned in to what society’s view on beauty and health actually is. It really is disturbing! And this from a boy! What are your daughters thinking?

If I can make just one woman think about herself differently, I will have achieved this year’s goal. We are our worst critics, ladies. We are our worst, when we should be our best! After all, if we don’t take the initiative to take care of ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually, who is going to do it for us? The media? Please!!

Things I've Been Meaning to Do {June} and an Introduction to I'm a Lazy Mom

I recently found a fabulous blog hosted by a gorgeous woman named Stacey. Her blog, I'm a Lazy Mom is a bit deceiving. According to her site, a lazy mom:

The short and skinny of it is this... a Lazy Mom is a mom who doesn't do everything for her children, she teaches her children how to do things for themselves, thereby making her a "lazy mom."
She raises her children to be responsible for themselves.
She teaches them to be ready for life when they grow up.
She gives her children boundaries so they feel safe and secure.
She doesn't let them "rule the roost."
She builds within them a "team" mentality.
She takes care of herself so that she can be a better mom. 
She loves her children so she disciplines them when necessary.
She leads her children by example.
See? I told you it was misleading. I think a mom who does all of the above criteria is anything but lazy. But a Lazy Mom is also a woman who:

Makes mistakes along the way.
Doesn't always get things done around the house.
Sometimes fails at this thing called mothering.
Apologizes to her kids when she gets it wrong.
Struggles over whether or not she's a "good mom" just like everyone else.
Prays for wisdom and guidance as she raises her children.
Realizes she can't do it alone.
Is this not just the epitome of who I am as a mother? (The answer here is, yes.) I find that I make several mistakes along the way and feel like I fail often. However, I told a friend of mine a couple of years ago that this whole childrearing thing couldn't be done by us mortal mothers alone; God has a very huge hand in things. In my case, I believe He spends quite a bit of time cleaning up my messes.

And speaking of messes...this brings me to her Meme: Things I've Been Meaning To Do. This meme is done on the first Monday of every month and includes pictures of our To-Do list (or more realistically, those things that always make our to do list and get pushed to the next day's to do list...and then next day's, and the next day's until finally, we realize that something that should have been done two months ago is still needing done.) If you click on the little graphic at the end of this post, you can read about other women who have the perpetually revolving to do list.

I have my own but I've decided that I'm going to use Stacey's meme to motivate me to do some things that I haven't quite gotten around to doing (Flylady would be so proud; after she passed out from the state of clutter in certain parts of my house, that is!)

And now...without further ado:

 This is our winter comforter. The Man Beast has been after me for months (well, since it started getting hot down here in GA) to change out this comforter into a more summer-friendly one. Every Monday I wash sheets (which is why the comforter is on the floor and my bed is naked). Today, I'm going to change out the comforter!
 This is my closet. In an effort to make the Love Nest less stress-inducing and more romantic, I put  stuff on the floor of our closet. In theory it was a good idea. Now, I am reminded of the mess every time the closet door gets opened.
 This is my over-flowing dresser. This one drawer is over flowing with t-shirts. Just t-shirts. I also have another drawer in this dresser that is overflowing and the The Man Beast has...well, all of his drawers in his dresser overflowing. I've only included a picture of my dresser because I feel that this is the only thing I can control. It would be my luck that I got rid of TMB's favorite t-shirt, pair of shorts (enter favorite item here) and he would want to wear it the very next day. I am notorious for doing this. Just ask him.
 This is our main bathroom. It's not that it's dirty (well, except for those cotton swabs that haven't found their way into the trash can because The Boy still has it in the mudroom from when he hosed it out last week) but all of this stuff can and should be put in drawers, cabinets and the like. In other words, there is no good reason for all this stuff being on the counter. It's visually stress-inducing, is it not? Oh, and you see that little white container in between the Speed Stick and Degree deodorants? That is a travel case for our sonic toothbrush from when we went to Atlanta a week ago. Seriously? The proper place for this item is three steps to the left, in the closet. It could have easily been put up when I did the laundry from the trip (which I'm proud to say I did the very next day...or two days later, at the most).
 This is the shelf unit beside TMB's computer desk in our study. Again, this is just a case of me not finding a home for all of this stuff. Truth to tell, I believe most of this stuff is mine except for the shelves that are on top of the box of file folders. Those are technically ours but he has to put them up because could you imagine what a mess of things I would make?

And last but not least, we have my desk which is also in the study. This was cleaned off last week some time. However, I went through some coupons (notice some of the circulars), went and picked up some medicine (notice the bag) and did a little homework now and then (notice the textbook under the red cell phone to your bottom right).

So, there you have it. This month's theme is uncluttering. All of the chores are caught up (my laundry is washed, folded, ironed and put away, thank you very much). These are the problem areas I need to focus on this month. And I will. Starting right now!

Read other mom's stories!

Lazy Saturdays: What I'm reading

I think since school is out for the summer, I'm going to get back onto themed blog posts. Saturdays are a good day to have Lazy Saturdays and in this particular post, I will talk about what almost every other blogger in the blogosphere is talking about: Summer Reading.

I've actually had the pleasure of reviewing two books this summer. I am a member of Reader Spoils,  a website which introduces new authors to readers who are interested in reading their books. I'm always up for a good book and since I'm sitting on a very rough manuscript myself, I'm always interested in helping a fellow writer get the word out. So, in short, I jumped at the chance.

Stolen Soul: The Beginning by S. R. McDaniel is a supernatural-spiritual suspense story which combines the Left Behind series with the Da Vinci Code. The story begins with an interview of a world renowned Christian child psychologist who has discovered a gift in children who have been diagnosed with Autism. These children, Dr. Matthew Reiber has discovered, are able to communicate with others through transference and telepathy. Dr. Reiber believes that not only can science and faith co-exist; they should.

The story unfolds into a dark background, spanning over 30 years, that eventually connects the past with the present. Preacher, a serial killer who uses Christian propaganda to control others, eludes police at every turn. Eventually, FBI Agent Travis puts the 30-year puzzle together to corner Preacher and end the murder spree.

The story is quite short (just 128 pages). Truth to tell, I would have loved to see McDaniel develop his characters more fully; I only got a "taste" of the characters when, deep down, I feel there was more to learn about them. All in all, I'd recommend the book for a quick read (I read it this past weekend when we went up to Atlanta to watch the Braves game).

I look forward to McDaniel's newest book in the series: Like a Thief in the Night: Stolen Soul Book II which comes out later this month. To learn about Stolen Soul: In the Beginning or the second book in the trilogy, visit McDaniel's website.

Eat Your Heart Out, Major Coffee Chain

Thanks to my wonderful Man Beast and my Rockin' MIL, I have in my possession, a Keurig. This machine, while initially pricey, is probably the best invention of all time! One might think that individually packaged coffees, teas, and cocoas, would be a waste of money. For those java drinkers who like drinking their Folders or Maxwell House, you would be right. However, if you're a gal (or guy) who likes a little variety in their life or has several caffeine drinkers with different tastes, I'd kindly ask you to reconsider.

Hot coffees, teas, and cocoas are great for winter, you say, but hello - it's 100 billion degrees outside! Yes, yes. It is hot. Which is why I ask you to behold:

The iced coffee - at a fraction of what major coffee would sell them. What you see here is an iced hazelnut with Splenda and 2% milk. If I were to break it down, I'd say it cost me maybe $1 (but probably a lot less). Keurig makes iced versions of their coffee favorites; they are supposed to be more bold and robust. Perhaps. But since I'm not a robust coffee drinker anyway, a lightened version of my hot favorite suits me just fine.

On a hot day when the funds are a bit low, a homemade ice brew is just what your soul ordered.


***I was not compensated for posting this blog in any way, shape or form. I just like sharing the good things in life!***

Cars 2: The Video Game

Does anyone else plan on buying (or at the very least, renting) the new Cars 2 video game?

Do a Google search for "Cars 2: The Video Game" and you'll get thousands of hits about the new game coming out this month!

There are a million games out there that gamers are going mad for, many of which require the user to log hundreds of hours of game time, contain questionable language, violence, and/or sexual situations - none of which I am the least bit interested in playing.

However, a good driving game, I can get behind! And I love game that are geared towards kids but are just as fun for adults to play. I remember when the Boy was much smaller, he and I used to play Lego Racers on the computer. As we drove along the track, we could pick up trick bricks which allowed us to (harmlessly) sabotage other drivers (many of you will recognize the game play if you play Mario Kart). This game seems quite similar except that it features some of our favorite four-tired friends.

While I haven't played it yet, I do look forward to it. From the trailer, it looks like everything us "casual gamers" (read: not-spend-hours-in-front-of-a-screen) are looking for.

***Sharing of my opinion gives a chance at a BuzzAgent giveway for a free copy of the video game.***

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Keto Journey: Week 7

Like many of you, I created a New Year's Resolution. (I know! I know!) I stepped on the scale soon after Thanksgiving and I did not ...