Sunday, July 27, 2014

Let's Start the Week With a Double Giveaway

Hope everyone had a good weekend! I want to start off the week with a book giveaway - actually, two giveaways! Thanks to the wonderful team at Shelton Interactive, I'm able to offer these giveaways to you this week. I have not read either of these books so I cannot give you a first hand account of either one, but they may appeal to you or someone you know. So, please share the link with your friends. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post indicating which book you would be interested in. I'm going to run the giveaway through Thursday, July 31 at 11:59 p.m. and the winner will be announce Friday, August 1 - wow, August already! Some information on each of the books is listed below. Thanks for reading and good luck! 

Winning is in every racer’s blood. They continually push themselves to the edge, physically and emotionally, in pursuit of the checkered flag and a visit to Victory Lane. It is the racer’s way.

We too are racers in the middle of the greatest race known to mankind: life. We want to live in a way that, when we reach our finish line, we can be proud of what we've accomplished. We want to be an example for our family and friends. And if we are a follower of Christ, we want to hear the words “well done my good and faithful servant.”

In The Race, Motor Racing Outreach leaders Billy Mauldin and Kyle Froman share the lessons they've learned in the pits and among the NASCAR community to help others with their personal mission—preparing for it, receiving it, and then living faithfully on mission.

Billy Mauldin is the president and CEO of Motor Racing Outreach, and has served as chaplain for various racing series including the Unlimited Hydroplane Racing series, American Motorcycle Association and the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide series. A lifelong resident of Charlotte, N.C., Mauldin is married to Julie and father of Thor, Titan, Roxy and Daisy. Kyle Froman is the director of development at Motor Racing Outreach, overseeing a network of 40 associate chaplains as well as external donor and relational development. Froman currently lives in Spring Hill, Tenn., and is married to Michelle, with two boys, Micah and Kaleb. Darrell Waltrip is the winner of 84 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ races and a three-time champion. He currently serves as the lead analyst for NASCAR on FOX. He was recently inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame and is the author of several books.

Wedding planning has spawned a major industry. The average cost of the occasion now exceeds $25,000, and societal pressure to create the “perfect day” is so strong that even Christian couples forget what God originally intended for the sacred marriage ceremony.

While paying attention to the good fun that follows that special proposal (the dress, the flowers, the cake, the gatherings, etc.), A Christ-Centered Wedding first serves as a guide to believers who want their wedding to portray the relationship of Christ with the church and to reflect the gospel to all in attendance.

From the start, this thoughtful book looks to the Creator of weddings for guidance in planning by emphasizing the sacrificial love of the Savior more than the modern world’s idealistic view of romantic love. There are chapters filled with practical information about everything from pre-marital counseling and choosing a wedding location to other resources   like a planning checklist and timeline, music suggestions, guidance on potential issues of conflict, a listing of traditional financial responsibilities, sample vows, and other great ideas from couples who have successfully put together a Christ-centered wedding.

Linda Strode is a pastor's wife and has been involved in multiple aspects of wedding planning over the years. She survived the bridesmaid fashion horrors of the 70’s and 80’s and has quite a few photo souvenirs to prove it. Linda and her husband, Tom, live in Fredericksburg, Va.
Catherine Parks writes from home in Nashville, Tenn., where she lives with her husband, Erik, and their two young children. She has sung some terribly cheesy songs in weddings over the years, and gave one of the worst rehearsal dinner speeches in history to her college roommate. She blogs at www.catherinestrodeparkscom.

Friday, July 25, 2014

And The Winner Is,,,

Congrats to Erika who left the first comment in the recent giveaway post. She will receive a copy of "Notes from a Blue Bike" by Tsh Oxenreider. Congrats Erika!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Just Singing and Resting

As far as weekends go, this past one wasn't the most adventurous I've ever had. In fact, it was very uneventful, but that's okay because it had been a while since I've had a Saturday where I had nothing on the calendar and I was just looking forward to staying in and being lazy. 

Friday night, there was a singing at Lincoln Church of Christ and I have no doubt I've told of my love of singing on this here blog before and so I made the one mile trip over to Lincoln to sing some old fashioned gospel hymns with the over 60 crowd. Actually, I wasn't the youngest person there, as there were some children in attendance as well; however, I'm sure their parents forced them to come whereas I was there of my own free will. One of the kids that was there was Troy's friend Georgia. They go to school together and Georgia also attends Mayfair with us. She is such a sweet little girl and she came over and gave me a hug and said hello. Touched my heart, y'all. The kids love me! 

I met Erika and her mom there and sat with them and we proceeded to sing for the next two hours. Let me tell you something about Friday night singings - they are great. The people sing out so loudly and I find it to be rather impressive. The thing I dislike about these gatherings of the saints is that the majority of the songs that are chosen are slow and I am a fan of the fast song. Also, some of the songs are from the vault and even I don't know them which is really saying something because I know A LOT of hymns. 

After the singing was over, we feasted on a plethora of church finger foods, all of which were yummy. Erika made some delicious rice krispy treats. Sometimes I forget how good those are! We sat at a table with a guy we used to go to church with at Memorial Parkway/Chase Park and another lady who formerly went to Lincoln but now attends Mayfair. The company was even better than the food and we all had a nice time visiting with one another. There were quite a few other people there who I knew, including a couple of ladies who work at the voting polls with me. I headed home close to 10:00, watched the rest of the day's stage of the Tour and then went to bed. 

On Saturday morning, I was up at 6:00 to watch, what else, the Tour. It was a big mountain stage, the last day in the Alps, and it did not disappoint. The rest of the day was spent watching shows from the DVR, eating and napping. Like I said, it was rather unproductive, but I was totally okay with that. I was glad to have a day where there was nothing on the agenda and all I needed to was take it easy. 

Sunday was the usual - church and a trip to the grocery store. We had a softball game at 6:00 which I did not dress out for because I've been having some trouble with my knee - I know, if it's not one thing it's another. The other team didn't show up so we got our second win of the season! The team ended up practicing which was probably a good thing. After the hour was up, the team ended up scrimmaging a team we had played a few weeks ago because their opponent didn't show up either. In fact, at least three teams didn't show up last night which kind of blows my mind. Did they all just decide they were tired of the softball season and throw in the proverbial towel? I stayed for the first practice but then left because I had some things I needed to do at home before the start of the week. We have make-up games the next two weeks (provided it doesn't rain) and I'm hoping my knee is better so I can play. 

So, it was a much needed low-key weekend in the midst of all the craziness of summer. Here's to hoping your weekend was good too!

Not my best picture, but still hilarious.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: Notes from a Blue Bike

~~ This Giveaway Is Now Closed ~~

Today I am sharing with you a review of "Notes from a Blue Bike" by Tsh Oxenreider which was released earlier this year. Admittedly, the title was what first drew me to the book because as you probably know, I love all things bicycle related. However, the book, which is subtitled, "The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World" is really about so much more than the author's blue bike. 

In today's society, where we are constantly going here and there and caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, it is rare that we actually slow down to catch our breath, let alone attempt to slow down the pace of life. Even I, being single and having no children or husband to shuttle around and look after, often find myself exhausted from the week's activities; so, I can only imagine how those of your with families feel by week's end. 

In "Notes from a Blue Bike", Oxenreider tells the story of how she and her husband decided to intentionally slow down amidst the chaos of every day life. The author and her husband had been living overseas and then all of a sudden found themselves unexpectedly living back in The States. Having been used to a slower paced life while living in Turkey, the commotion of Austin, Texas, was quite a transition for them and their family. The Oxenreider's found themselves, in short, unhappy with their lifestyle and they longed for the more relaxed life they had experienced while living overseas. 

The family ended up moving to Bend, Oregon (also home to US Cyclist Chris Horner, just saying, y'all!), hoping that a smaller town might cure the problems of hurrying here, there and yonder, but as it turns out, it wasn't the city that was the problem. The Oxenreider family suffered the same hectic lifestyle in Bend that they had in Oregon. It was when Tsh took a trip to visit friends in Virginia that she outlined a map to her family's blueprint for a less chaotic and more intentional way of living. 

The book is very well written and really reads closer to a novel than a biography of sorts. Mrs. Oxenreider's story telling flows easily through the pages of the book, making it an easy read. By no means is this a "how to" book on changing your lifestyle or for creating an intentional life for your own family, it's just the story of how the Oxenreiders were able to do this for their own family which may in turn help or inspire you to make changes for your family. 

More about the author: Tsh Oxenreider is the founder of (previously Simple Mom) a popular community blog dedicated to the art and science of simple living. She's the author of "Organized Simplicity" and "One Bite at a Time", a regular contributor to (in), an advocate for Compassion International, and a top-ranked podcaster. A graduate of the Univeristy of Texas, Tsh currently lives in Bend, Oregon with her family.

The nice folks at Shelton Interactive have arranged for me to provide a copy of "Notes from a Blue Bike" to one lucky reader. If you are interested in a copy of this book, just leave a note in the comments section of this post. The contest will run through 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, July 24, and the winner will be announced on Friday, July 25. Thanks for reading, and good luck! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Working Those Polls

Tuesday was the primary election run-off and it was quite possibly the most boring day of my life. Usually I don’t mind working the polls, for the most part there is a steady stream of people coming in; but, this past Tuesday was the slowest I think it has ever been. My precinct voted 55 people. Yes, you read that right. That’s an average of 4.6  people per hour that the polls were open.

We started the morning at 6:00 a.m. as always. I got up at my normal time of 5:00 a.m. and was ready to go by 5:45 a.m. I was having a craving for Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkins (aka donut holes) and so I sped to Dunkin and bought some and made it to the precinct at exactly 6:00 a.m.

We got the last minute things set up and took the oath of office and signed all the papers we needed to sign and at 7:00 a.m. we opened the polls. It was almost an hour before we saw our first voter. By the time we had voted 12 people, the old lady working the books where people sign in had already messed up by letting a voter slip out the door without signing. I don’t even understand how this can happen. It’s not like there were hundreds of people lined up waiting to sign in. The most voters we had come in at one time was three people. So, how do you miss something like this? It’s not difficult to pay attention. These people I work with at the polls, all they care about it talking amongst themselves and to the people who come in, not about doing the job right and it annoys me to no end.

The day was spent listening to all the other workers talk about healthcare, surgeries, doctors, insurance, the cost of going to a pro-sports event, mailboxes, and a lot of other mundane things. I think we discussed the fate of Mullins Restaurant at least 10 times. I just wanted to find a little corner and take a nap. It was such a boring day.

We closed the polls at 7:00 p.m. and thankfully I had staged everything for a quick close and wrapped up the paperwork and I was home by 7:15 p.m. where I finished watching Monday’s stage of the Tour. Tuesday was a rest day at the Tour so that worked out quite well for my TV watching schedule.

Anyway, I’m proud to be an American, and I love that we have the freedom to vote, it’s just that some days are a little more interesting than others and some days you just sit and watch the clock for 12 hours longing for quitting time. Unfortunately, this past Tuesday was the latter. Here’s to hoping the election in August will be much more eventful. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I'm So Vein(y)

Sunday after the cookout, I went to church and the grocery store and pretty much came home and crashed. The Pip was still worn out from Saturday’s festivities and was very keen to sleep which was just fine by me.
Sunday evening I cleaned up a little and got ready for Monday night as I was hosting our women’s Bible study group. I figured I might as well get it all knocked out in one weekend I guess. Actually, I don’t think I realized I had planned both things until about a week before; but, it worked out well because the house was already straightened up and I had plenty of drinks, etc. left over from Saturday to use Monday night. We were having a salad bar on Monday and so I chopped up toppings and grated cheese and cooked bacon and put everything in dishes and wrapped it up until serving time.

Monday I headed back to work and after work I had an appointment at the Crestwood Vein Center. I don’t know if I mentioned it or not, but a month or so ago, we had a doctor from the vein center come out to work and you could sign up to have him look at your legs if you thought you were having problems. He looked at my legs and scheduled me for an ultrasound of my veins and that appointment took place yesterday.

As it turns out, and was not a surprise, I have a few veins that are varicose and not working properly which is causing discomfort and swelling. My main large veins are a-okay though which was good news. So, now, I have to wait 90 days (per the insurance) and treat with walking, elevating my feet at night and compression stockings (which the doctor said not to even bother getting) and I will then go back for another ultrasound which will be in October.

After the ultrasound in October confirms there is not much change in my veins, I will get a treatment for my veins to get them working again. It’s a quick procedure where they run a catheter up your vein and it gets them working properly. It’s noninvasive and you can drive yourself to and from the appointment. So, I’m pretty excited about getting these veins taken care of so my legs will feel young again. I shall certainly keep you posted on how these next appointments go. I’m sure you can hardly wait!

After my appointment, I went home and got everything ready for the salad bar. The girls started coming over about 6:30 p.m. and we had a nice time fellowshipping, eating, and studying together. We wrapped things up a little before 9:00 p.m. and I watched some of the day’s stage of the tour before retiring for the night.

Like I said, things have been busy lately, seems like I’ve always got one thing or another going on; some of them more random than others. Hope you are staying busy as well!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Cookout for 30

Hello readers! Hope you all are doing well. I’ve been busy as of late which has led to a lack of blogging so I’d figure I’d better get something posted soon before my Aunt Linda disowns me. Today is Tuesday, and I’m working the polls for the primary run-off and there’s sure to be a post about the day soon. Today, however, I’ll start with a recap of the weekend because it was rather eventful.

Friday after work, I went home and got the yard work done. I did the weed eating, mowing, and straightened up. I got finished with everything about 8:00 p.m. and showered and was in my pajama’s by 8:30 p.m. I watched the day’s stage of le Tour de France and then went to bed.

On Saturday morning, I was up early straightening, cleaning, and watching an hour of the Tour before I left to go get a haircut. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but haircut time is one of my favorite times because I love my hairdresser so much and Saturday did not disappoint. He was as fun as always.

I stopped by Star Market on the way home and bought about nine pounds of hamburger meat. I was having a cookout for my class later that day and was serving hamburgers and hot dogs. I spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon watching the tour and getting things ready for the cookout.

Jackie came over around 4:30 p.m. and helped me with some last minute things and our friend Jonathan arrived soon after with his grill so he could help me cook the burgers and hot dogs. We managed to get all the food cooked a little before 6:00 p.m. which was when the cookout was scheduled to start. Oddly enough, everyone seemed to arrive at the exact same time and we were underway a few minutes after starting time.

There were 30 people (including children and one baby) who came to the cookout. It was a really fun night getting to spend time with these friends. A lot of the guys played ball with the kids and Pippa and the rest of us talked and enjoyed each other’s company.

About 9:30 people started heading out and Jackie stayed later to help me clean up. Poor Pippa was worn out and by the time Jackie left and I had washed my face, I found that she had pulled back the covers on the bed and curled up and was sleeping.

I’m very thankful to have such a great group of friends, who I really consider family, from church. Mayfair has been a real blessing to me and I look forward to spending a lot more time with these good people.