Sunday, March 1, 2015

Review: Lucado's Treasury of Bedtime Prayers

I'm just back home from a weekend visit to the Biltmore which was wonderful and I will certainly write about soon. Today, however, I want to start off the week with a book review. I actually have quite a few books I need to review, so don't be surprised if there's more than a fair share of reviews posted this week. One good thing is that some of them have giveaways as well so be sure and check back throughout the week.

Today's review is of Lucado's Treasury of Bedtime Prayers by Max and Denalyn Lucado. I'm sorry to say I do not have a giveaway for this book as it is absolutely lovely and I wish I had an extra copy for one of you. This book would be absolutely perfect for any toddler or young child in your life to read to them before bed at night. It is a collection of Bible verses and poems (some original by Max and Denalyn) that are sure to warm not only the heart of your child, but your heart as well.

The book is divided into 10 sections which are:

  • Good Morning, God
  • God, You are Great!
  • My Family and Friends
  • In My Play and Through My Day
  • My Mealtime Prayers
  • God Takes Care of Me
  • Teach Me, God
  • Prayers for Special Days
  • Thank You, God!
  • Good Night, God!

In addition to the prayers, poems and scripture, the book has gorgeous illustrations throughout the book which will no doubt make it very appealing to children who pick it up. Prayer is such an important and essential part of being a Christian and there's no better time to start teaching prayer than when children are young and impressionable. I feel like this book would be such a useful aid in helping children understand the importance of prayer. After reading some of the sections from the book, you could encourage your child to pray and help get them in the habit of talking to God daily and throughout the day.

Lucado's Treasury of Bedtime Prayers is available at Amazon for less than $20 and would make a great addition to any child's library.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Snowmaggedon 2015

Snowmaggeddon 2015 finally arrived in the deep south. The weather forecasters predicted we would get anywhere from 1-3 or 3-6 inches and to be honest, I thought they were all crazy. We often get predictions of snow to no avail so I wasn't so sure this time around it would actually happen. However, I must admit that every time we have a prediction of a big snow, I get all excited like a a little kid again and the anticipation of the snow is sometimes more than I can handle. 

I went in to work a little earlier than usual on Wednesday in case I needed to leave early. The manufacturing team was sent home at 9:30 a.m., but I was going to stay at the office until the snow came to Huntsville, People continued to leave throughout the day since many of them live an hour or so away from Huntsville and they wanted to be home and not stuck far away from their families. 

Of course, this would be one of the few days I didn't pack a lunch and of course, the cafeteria would close at 9:30 a.m. also leaving me to snack on the various and sundry granola bars in my overhead bin. Alas, we had some customers in house and they had catered lunch and there was some left over so a lot of us devoured the BBQ leftovers which were quite good. 

Late in the afternoon, there were only about 10 of us left at the office, all of whom live in Huntsville. A little before 3:00 p.m. the first snowflakes started coming down and we all started packing away our things and bundling up to go to our cars because we had been told by our coworkers and friends in other areas that the snow would come quickly and cover the ground in a hurry. Not 10 minutes later, the security guard got on the intercom and told us if we wanted to go home we had better leave now. 

By the time I got outside, the cars and parking lot was covered in snow. I got in my car after dusting the snow off and hit the road and a reasonable speed. There was clearly a line where the snow was coming in because not five miles down the road it was barely snowing and the ground wasn't even covered yet. 

I made it home before any roads were closed and soon after it started snowing at my house. I got a text from my cousin Lauren around 4:00 p.m. saying they were going sledding. So, I got bundled up and got Pippa leashed up and we walked the mile and a half or so to meet them at the sledding hill. I went down once, but there still wasn't a whole lot of snow at that point. Mostly I just watched Greer and Jon Mark have a big time. 

Afterwards we walked back to their house and Jon Mark, Greer, and I made a snowman while Lauren got their dinner ready. She invited me to stay, but I declined since I had The Pip with me. The roads weren't icy (just slushy) so Jon Mark was kind enough to drive me and Pippa home. 

Thursday I stayed home from work but had brought my computer with me so I was still able to get a few things done. I made a mini snowman and Pip and I went for a walk in the early morning hours before most people were even awake. I played in the snow a few more times that morning, but by the afternoon, it was mostly gone, which was sad. Snow is so beautiful bit not so much when it's melting away. 

So, that's my tale of Snowmaggedon 2015. I think this is the fourth big snow we've had since I moved into my house in Five Points and I've loved every one!

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Long Drive Home

Whew, what a weekend. It was all kinds of messy as far as the weather was concerned and it all started on Friday afternoon. 

It was predicted that we would get snow and ice on Friday, but the actual times it was supposed to start were varied. I met my dad for lunch at Surin at 11:30 a.m. and it was just starting to snow when I left work to go meet him. By the time we left the restaurant, it was snowing a little harder and there was a ton of traffic on the road. It was already bumper to bumper heading back to work and I assumed correctly that the arsenal and other business had let out early and folks were trying to get home. 

Within an hour of getting back to work, the roads were starting to ice over and people were abandoning ship so they could get home safely. I might have left as well, but I had to make up the extra time I had taken to meet my dad for lunch and I was waiting on some information from our corporate group so I could roll up a quote for my customer. As a result, it was almost 4:00 p.m. before I was able to leave for the day. I think my car and maybe five others was all that remained in the parking lot by the time I ventured outside. 

I had to wait a few minutes for my car to warm up and defrost and deice before I could get on the roads. I had put a blanket in the car that morning and I grabbed some snacks from my stash at work before leaving in case I ended up getting stuck some where. Thankfully, I had the mindset that morning to fill up with gas so at least I had a full tank and I would be able to keep warm if I had to sleep in the car. 

The overpasses on the Parkway were already closed and had been for hours by the time I left so I decided to take Whitesburg home instead of all the access roads along the Parkway. The traffic headed towards home wasn't too bad at all. In fact, I was surprised at home few people were on my route, but it was bumper to bumper headed the other direction and there is no telling how long it took those people to reach their destinations. 

I saw a few cars slip sliding across the roads but thankfully I didn't. There was one point when my brakes locked up over a big patch of ice, but other than that, all was good. I drove about 15 miles per hour the whole way home and stayed far behind the cars that were in front of me. A few times cars would get too close behind me, but they would eventually realize I wasn't going to speed up and so they would pass and I would be more at ease. 

It took me almost an hour to reach home but I made it safe and sound and was thankful to be in for the night. Lots of folks were stranded and I was glad to not spend the night in my car. This morning (Monday) we had some more icy roads, but I took Whitesburg once again and made it in to work just fine. The winter weather isn't over yet. We are expected to get more snow and ice on Wednesday. Hopefully I'll be as lucky getting home then as I was this past Friday. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Return of the Rodent and More Coldness

So, I broke down and called the HVAC man. Thursday morning I got up and it felt like the whole house was vibrating from the loudness of the unit. When I went out to warm up my car, the unit was about the only thing you could hear in the whole neighborhood. I figured I had better go ahead and have him come out now before the situation worsened.

About an hour after I called him, my neighbor Jeff called me to see if I knew how loud my unit was sounding which gave me a bit of a chuckle. Jeff is seriously the best neighbor, y'all. I know I say it a lot, but he kills bugs, opens jars, helps crank the lawn mower, shares new recipes, let's Pippa out and watches my house while I'm away during the day among other things. He is a rockstar neighbor!

Darrell (the HVAC man) stopped by around 4:30 or so. He called and said that basically the Freon lines were hitting against the side panel of the unit. Then as he was leaving it started making a racket again and he put some Freon in it and said it was the compressor working overtime. I feel like I've had the compressor placed once before, but I could be delusional. Anyone, he said when he left it was not nearly as loud as it was when he arrived and to expect some noise since it was working so hard. When I got home, the unit sounds like normal and I was no longer concerned that it might die on my in the middle of the night.

When I was scooting around the kitchen on Thursday morning preparing my breakfast and packing my lunch, I moved something around on the large rolling table my dad made and noticed some pellets that looked like mouse or rat poo. Y'all, I cannot even begin to convey how distressing this is. I thought I heard something a few nights ago when we had freezing rain or sleet or whatever that was and even turned on the TV to keep from freaking out. So far, to my knowledge, Pippa hasn't seen the rodent but I feel certain there's one running around here somewhere so I'm gonna have to talk to my trust bug/rodent man about it.

We are expecting more snow and ice on Friday which is rather disappointing. Pippa and I are supposed to run in the Bow Wow Fun Run at the Huntsville Botanical Garden on Saturday and I'd rather not traipse through snow and ice. The Garden in closed on Friday (because of potential weather) and so now I can;t pick up my race packet until the morning of the race. They've already pushed the race back by an hour in hopes of a little warmer temps I guess. I'm sure if the race goes on, there will be lots to write about.

Keep bundling up y'all - stay safe and warm!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Cold Weather and Lenten Season

This is going to be one of those rambling posts that some of you seem to enjoy so much because really, that's all I've got for now.

So, we've had a little dose of winter weather here in Huntsville lately and I think it's getting on everyones nerves more than anything. I, thankfully  haven't had any trouble getting to work in the mornings. Wednesday morning the Parkway was closed and as I was plotting out my route to work the Parkway was reopened and so I just took my normal route and had no problem at all. It's getting down into the single digits tonight and I think more snow or ice or something of the sort is expected on Friday.

All this cold weather means my HVAC unit is working overtime. It's been working so hard that I'm beginning to get concerned about its future. It's making a really loud noise but it is still keeping the house warm so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's not going to die. After new tires, new glasses and contacts, a year's worth of Pippa's heartworm medicine, a new washing machine, and an upcoming trip to the Biltmore and Washington, D.C.,  I don't really have the funds to have a problem with my HVAC unit right now. So, maybe you can keep your fingers crossed for me too.

Work continues to be completely insane right now which is great because I'd much rather be busy than not. I typically stay away from all the office drama and usually don't have a clue as to what's going on with everyone; but, lately I've found myself right in the middle of it all. We have a new girl that isn't exactly the brightest bulb in the box and it's causing a lot of interdepartmental riff. Really, I don't know that the problem is her brightness or lack thereof, I think it's more that she feels entitled and that she has every right to sit at her desk and not do a thing all day long. Needless to say, it's been a less than pleasurable experience.

In other news, the Lenten season is upon us and while my church doesn't necessarily observe this period of sacrifice, it never hurts to give up something in our own lives to help us remember the sacrifice of Christ. So, this year I've made the decision to give up desserts for Lent. It serves multiple purposes really. Since I love all manner of dessert and sweet, it truly is a sacrifice and also I'm hoping it might help me lose a few pounds as well. Lent just started today and I can already tell you that every manner of dessert has come to the forefront of my mind today so this is definitely going to be a challenge and I hope I will be strong enough to stick with it.

Well, I suppose that's enough rambling for now. Stay warm and safe everyone!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Mardi Gras on Valentine's Day

After an eventful Friday night, I had big plans for Saturday as well which included an oil change, tire rotation and alignment for Bertha.

When I got my new tires back in the fall, I also got the three year warranty for alignments and some other warranty for tire rotation meaning I can have it done however often I want during that time period. I asked the guy how often those things needed to be done and he said around 6,000 miles so I basically decided that every other oil change I would get my tires rotated and an alignment. I may as well get my money's worth. (I realize this is all so very intriguing.)

So, I dropped the car off at Goodyear and walked to the gym where I did some cycling and then took a Zumba class and then walked back to Goodyear where my car was all ready to go. It was a good way to spend Saturday morning. 

Once I picked up my car, I headed out to University Drive to get my free birthday burger at Steak and Shake (yes, I realize the irony of working out for almost two hours and then eating a cheeseburger) and then I stopped by Sam's Club. I have actually never been to the Sam's on University Drive probably because I loathe University Drive and typically avoid it at all costs. I usually go to the Sam's off of South Parkway because it's close to work and convenient. Anyway, I walked in and literally turned right around and walked right back out. There were so many people there that every line was probably 10 people deep. I haven't seen lines that long since a snowstorm came to Tuscaloosa in 1996. 

So, I walked back to the car and drove to the produce pickup location and just waited for about 30 minuted until they were ready for me to get my basket for the week. This week's basket was filled with goodness -strawberries, red leaf lettuce, avocados, halos, apples, bananas, onions, red peppers and probably something else that I'm forgetting. 

I went home and rested for a short time before it was time to take a shower and get ready for the Mardi Gras parade. I was meeting my co-worker Maria at 3:00 p.m. the parade was to start 30 minutes later. Not only did I meet up with Maria, but also some of my cousins showed up and stood with us too. Greer (the four-year old) got a ton of beads but they must have gotten heavy because he didn't want to wear them after a while. We decided that next year instead of standing along the road, we would be in the parade instead. 

When the parade was over I was supposed to hang out with Maria, but after the morning workout, my knee was bothering me and I really just was ready to go home, so I parted ways from Maria and my family and went home and snuggled up with my Valentine, Pippa. 

It wasn't a bad way to spend Valentine's Day and it was nice to have some time outdoors before the really cold temperatures came to town. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

He's Gonna Be Famous One Day

I've been a terrible blogger lately; you don't have to tell me - I already know. I blame it on a combination of laziness and a boring life. In addition to not really having much going on these days, I also just don't want to pick up a computer when I get home in the evenings which doesn't bode well for the two people who like to stop by here and see what's going on in my life. I'd like to promise to do better, but goodness knows if I make that promise I'll not be able to live up to it. So, I'll just promise to do the best I can and hopefully that will work for all of us. The good news is that I've got a lot going on in the coming weeks for which I am thankful and hopefully it will lend to some good blogging material. 

This past weekend was actually a little eventful believe it or not. On Friday night, I went to The Voice competition at the Academy for Academics and Arts. The very talented Troy McMullen was singing in the competition as was sweet Georgia who also goes to church with us at Mayfair. I sat with Troy's grandparents' Tim and Jan and it was so great to catch up with them. Troy sand a song from "Into the Woods" and he did an amazing job! I might be a little biased, but I honestly think he was one of the top if not the number one singer. He projected very well and had great emotion with his words. It was such a treat to see him perform.  

After all the singers were done (14 in all), the audience voted. Each member of the audience had three votes. You could vote for the same person one, two or three times, or you could vote for two people (one with one vote and one with two votes) or you could vote for three people (one vote each). There were also two judges and I'm not sure how much their vote counted. The audience turned in their votes and I have no doubt that the kid with the most family and friends in attendance got the most votes. 

After about 20 minutes or so of waiting, the votes were tallied and I'm so very sad to say that Troy didn't make the top three which was seriously so surprising to all of us. I think he was pretty devastated, but he held it together and didn't let it get him down, at least not while he was in front of all of us. The three kids that won were okay, but not great. I wouldn't have voted for any of them. The gal that got first place had a lot of spunk but here singing wasn't phenomenal. In fact, there was a tie for first place (the judges broke the tie) and they announced her as the winner, but said nothing about the the person who had tied but lost - that person didn't even get a trophy! Kind of nuts if you ask me. 

Over the weekend though, Troy had an audition and a callback for "13 The Musical" which is bring presented by Lyrique Music Productions. He won one of the lead roles and I'm super pumped for him. It wasn't a bad ending to the weekend for Troy!  The shows will be at the VBC Playhouse June 5-7 and 12-14. I'm thinking he will be in the younger cast which will be the matinee shows at 2:00 p.m. So, if you don't have anything going on one or all of those days, then go check him out because I know he'll be wonderful and I can't wait to watch!