Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Growing Closer To God As Women

As a woman who attends church, you likely know that fellowship with other women is important in your walk with the Lord. If there isn't a program at your church, there are a few ways that you can start a Christian women's fellowship so that classes can be offered as well as activities that bring everyone closer together.

Women's Bible Studies Sign UpThe first thing that you should do is define the type of ministry that you want to start. It could be one where you come together to pray over other people, to go through a Bible study series, or even to learn how to do something new, such as a craft, while learning about the Lord.

Think about whether you can lead the group or whether you should ask someone who has been walking with God longer than you have or who is in a better position to lead the group. You want the women to be successful, and if they can't relate to the woman who is leading, then they likely won't get any kind of blessing from the ministry.
Try to make a calendar of events that spans the course of a few months. Arrange a few special activities that include other members of the church as well as a few activities where the women can spend time alone together. Ideas include dinners that you can prepare together or collections that involve gathering items to donate to an organization in the community.

Make a plan that you can present to the church. Although allowing women to sign up for the ministry is an option, you should keep the ministry open to all women who want to be involved and who want to grow. Listen to the advice of others, and seek the assistance of other ministry leaders so that you can be the woman who the Lord wants you to be and who the women of your church need.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Capture the People in Your Life

We live in a world of social media and selfies, but sometimes people need something a bit better. Hiring a professional photographer to take some special family pictures is always an option, but it's also nice to be able to take some nice pictures of your own. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Taking pictures of people is a bit different than taking pictures of inanimate objects because if you don't photograph at the right angle or with the right light, somebody's going to be unhappy with the way they look. Keep a realistic expectation in mind, and don't make promises you can't keep. While you may want pictures that look a certain way, you might not have the skills to deliver the results. Of course, the more you practice the better you'll get.

Don't try to take pictures at a straight angle. Sometimes, the best pictures are those where the people sit or kneel and you stand above them. Let your subjects smile naturally. When they are together and they relax, then their natural reactions will shine through, giving a beautiful image instead of one that looks forced.

As a people photographer, try to keep everything as simple as possible. You don't always need the most extravagant backdrops or props. Sometimes, the best pictures are taken using natural lighting and the things that are already in the background instead of adding a lot of extra details. Try to find an area that is flat if you're taking pictures outside so that the surrounding details can come into play when you take pictures. Perhaps the biggest thing is to be aware of those surrounding details. You don't want to take the perfect picture where everyone is actually looking at the camera with a nice smile on their face - and then find out there's a tree growing out of Aunt Mary's head.

When you take pictures of people, you're going to need to play around with a few of the settings on your camera. These settings will allow you to zoom in and out along with giving you a margin of error while taking the pictures. Some of the settings on your camera can allow you a bit more freedom when editing pictures at a later time before delivering them. Try to find a camera that has multiple settings that are needed for taking pictures of not only people but inanimate objects as well. Take the time to learn about some of those settings and what they do before you get the family together for that important photo.

Also, have fun and take plenty of pictures. Even the ones that aren't perfect will bring back memories in the future.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Keeping Your Child Healthy and Happy with the Right People

Your child’s health and happiness is your top priority. Achieving this begins with having the right people there to help you.  Establishing a relationship early on with a pediatrician or general practitioner, a dentist, and an eye doctor is a good idea. Not only will you have people that you can rely on in emergency situations, but you'll know where to turn for answers to all of your important questions.
  • A General Practitioner
    You will most definitely need a good doctor that you trust and your child feels comfortable with. Search for ones in your area with good reputations. Ask friends, family, and neighbors for recommendations. Set up an appointment with any potential pediatricians or family doctors so you can talk to them and discuss any concerns you may have.
  • A Dentist Pediatric Dentistry
    As soon as that first tooth pops through, you want to begin teaching your little one how to brush and care for their teeth properly. You also need to take them for regular check-ups at the dental office. A st johns county pediatric dentist can help you keep your child’s teeth healthy and attractive. They will be the person that walks you through every step of their oral care.
  • An Eye Doctor
    By the time your child starts kindergarten, you will want to take them to an eye doctor for an examination. Children often cannot tell if they are seeing properly or not. These professionals can spot problems before they become big issues as well as set them up with glasses if necessary.

Once you have established a relationship with a good pediatrician, dentist, and eye doctor, you will feel much better, and your child will get a wonderful start in a life filled with health and happiness.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Book List 2018

I've been reading as long as I can remember, but it wasn't until 2008 that I started putting together a list of all the books I read each year. I use Goodreads to keep track throughout the year and then list them all here once the year is over. Even though Goodreads compiles my Year in Books, it's always fun to go back through all the books I've read over the course of the year and see how many pages and how many hours of reading I have.

Also, once again I'll link to any reviews I did. As always, I have good intentions to review more of the books I read, but I don't always follow through. I feel like I did a much better job of rating and reviewing this year. Several books even earned 5 stars, which is rare for me. I usually go with 4 stars, saving that elusive 5th star for something that really makes an impression.  Let's see what 2018 looked like, shall we?

Again, all books are listed by the month I finished them. Even if I started listening or reading the previous month.

  1. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley (audio) - 8 hrs
  2. The Good Liar - Catherine McKenzie - 373 pages
  3. One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are - Ann Voskamp - 241 pages
  4. Hearts of Resistance - Soraya M. Lane - 324 pages
  5. Substitute: Going to School with a Thousand Kids - Nicholson Baker - 733 pages
  6. Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage - Alfred Lansing (audio)  - 10 hrs 20 min -  (5 stars)
  7. The Thief's Daughter (Kingfountain #2) - Jeff Wheeler - 368 pages
2039 pages | 18 hours and 20 minutes | I wrote a review for 6 out of 7!

  1. Turtles All the Way Down - John Green - 304 pages
  2. Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1) - Rachel Caine (audio) - 10 hrs 26 min
  3. Scarred: A Journey of Restoration - Jan Levine - 162 pages
  4. The King's Traitor (Kingfountain #3) - Jeff Wheeler - 386 pages  - (5 stars) but for some reason, I didn't take the time to write a review...
  5. My Sister's Grave (Tracy Crosswhite #1) - Robert Dugoni (audio)  - 10 hrs 49 min
852 pages | 21 hours and 15 minutes | and, ummm - only 1 review

  1. The Maid's War (Kingfountain 0.5) - Jeff Wheeler - 302 pages
  2. The Zookeeper's Wife - Diane Ackerman (audio) - 10 hrs 55 min
  3. How to Stop Time - Matt Haig - 331 pages
  4. God's Love Story - Marissa Baker - 42 pages
675 pages | 10 hours 55 minutes | a review for all 4

  1. The Wretched of Muirwood (Legends of Muirwood #1) - Jeff Wheeler - 350 pages
  2. God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea: Experiencing God in the Midst of Everyday Moments - Rose Chandler Johnson - 149 pages
  3. Sunrise (Sunrise #1) - Karen Kingsbury - 301 pages
  4. The Fate of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #3) - Erika Johansen (audio) - 19 hrs 33 min
  5. Charlotte Morgan and the Great Big Math Problem (The Number Investigators Book 1) - Martin Tiller - 117 pages
  6. Jar of Hearts - Jennifer Hillier - 311 pages - (5 stars)
  7. Isaiah 53 Explained - Mitch Glaser - 164 pages
1392 pages |19 hours 33 minutes | reviews for 4 of 7

  1. Dark in Death (In Death #46) - J.D. Robb (audio) - 13 hrs 25 min
  2. The Blight of Muirwood (Legends of Muirwood #2) - Jeff Wheeler - 548 pages
  3. Bring Me Back - B.A. Paris - 384 pages
  4. The Wind Through the Keyhole (The Dark Tower #4.5) - Stephen King - 309 pages
  5. Girls' Night Out - Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke - 333 pages
  6. Nick of Time (Nick McIver Adventures Through Time #1) - Ted Bell (audio) - 11 hrs 56 min
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee - 324 pages - (5 stars)
1898 pages | 25 hours 21 minutes | reviews for 4 of 7

  1. After Anna - Lisa Scottoline - 352 pages
  2. A Life for God: A Rabbi’s Analysis of Life, the Cross, and Eternity - Greg Hershberg - 112 pages
  3. All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr (audio) - 16 hrs 2 min
464 pages | 16 hours 2 minutes | a review

  1. A Gathering of Secrets (Kate Burkholder #10) - Linda Castillo - 308 pages
  2. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon - 226 pages
  3. Baby Teeth - Zoje Stage - 304 pages
  4. Lies - T.M. Logan - 498 pages - (5 stars)
  5. To Be Where You Are (Mitford Years #14) - Jan Karon (audio) - 17 hrs 48 min
  6. Edison: The Mystery of the Missing Mouse Treasure - Torben Kuhlmann - 112 pages
 1448 pages | 17 hours 48 minutes | reviews for all 6

  1. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Fly Guy (Fly Guy #4) - Tedd Arnold - 32 pages
  2. Summer (Sunrise #2) - Karen Kingsbury - 356 pages
  3. Hearts of Fire: Eight Women in the Underground Church and Their Stories of Costly Faith - The Voice of the Martyrs - 304 pages
  4. Wake Up Happy: The Dream Big, Win Big Guide to Transforming Your Life - Michael Strahan (audio) - 5 hrs 38 min
  5. The Kitty Committee: A Novel of Suspense - Kathryn Berla - 234 pages
  6. Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson - 198 pages
1124 pages | 5 hours 38 minutes | 3 reviews (sort of)

  1. The Man in the High Castle - Philip K. Dick (audio) - 9 hrs 58 min
  2. No Longer a Slumdog: Bringing Hope to Children in Crisis - K.P. Yohannan  - 156 pages
  3. The Teacher's Funeral - Richard Peck (audio) - 4 hrs 42 min - (5 stars)
156 pages | 14 hours 40 minutes | 2 reviews

  1. The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi: My Journey into the Heart of Scriptural Faith and the Land Where It All Began - Kathie Lee Gifford - 224 pages
  2. The Library Book - Susan Orlean - 336 pages - (5 stars)
  3. A Long Way From Chicago: A Novel in Stories (A Long Way from Chicago #1) - Richard Peck - 157 pages
  4. Vessel - Andrew J. Morgan (audio) - 8 hrs 46 min
  5. I'll Never Tell - Catherine McKenzie - 380 pages - (5 stars)
1097 pages | 8 hours 46 minutes | 3 reviews

  1. Adrift: A True Story of Tragedy on the Icy Atlantic and the One Who Lived to Tell about It - Brian Murphy - 257 pages
  2. Ready Player One - Ernest Cline (audio) - 15 hrs 40 min - (5 stars)
  3. Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates - Brian Kilmeade (audio) - 4 hrs 52 min
  4. Night Driving: Notes from a Prodigal Soul - Chad Bird - 160 pages
417 pages | 20 hours 32 minutes | a review for all 4

  1. Wolves of the Calla (The Dark Tower #5) - Stephen King - 714 pages
  2. The Girl in the Spider's Web (Millennium #4) -David Lagercrantz (audio) - 13 hrs 23 min
  3. Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices - Frank Viola, George Barna - 337 pages
  4. The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas - 447 pages - (5 stars)
  5. The Tattooist of Auschwitz - Heather Morris - 249 pages
  6. Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence - 389 pages
2136 pages | 13 hours 23 minutes | 5 reviews
  • Total books - 63 (compare to 36 in 2017 - looks like I just flipped the digits!)
  • Total pages - 13,698 (compare to 5180 pages in 2017)
  • Total time - 192 hours 13 minutes  (compare to 178 hours 55 minutes in 2017)
Page counts courtesy of Goodreads; audio lengths courtesy of Audible. My reading goal for the year was 50 books, and I met and surpassed it. Feels pretty good, considering I failed to meet my goal last year. I'm not confident enough in my ability to repeat that, though, so I'm shooting for 50 again this year.

I did a better job of writing reviews this year - 43 reviews. Some of them were just a few words, but that's better than nothing, right? Still, there were books that I really meant to review but didn't...

  How many books did you read in 2018?  I'd love to hear some suggestions for my 2019 reading list.  Because my already crazy long and ever-growing TBR list can always use a few more.

*if you happen to click any of the book covers and buy from Amazon, they say they'll pay me a small percentage.  Every little bit helps, and I thank you for your support!

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Doodle for Google

I love this! I always love seeing the artwork submitted for the Doodle for Google contest every year. There are some really talented kids out there! This video shows a bit of what it looked like when the finalists got to visit Google and interact with the Google artists. And they worked with the winner to add animation to her doodle. Visit Google today to see it.

To find out how to your student can enter this year's contest, be sure to visit Doodle for Google. The theme is "When I grow up, I hope..."  and the deadline for entries is March 18, 2019 8:00pm Pacific Time (PT).

Friday, December 28, 2018

A Year of Books

2018 is almost over, and it's about time for me to start working on my book list for the year. Since I keep track of all the books I've read - and the ones I want to read - over on Goodreads, I already know how many books I've read this year. It's been a pretty good year, judging by the number of individual titles I've read. What I won't know until I go back through all of them is how many pages I've read and how many hours I've listened. That's probably a clearer indication of how much I've read than the actual number of books.

Stack Of BooksNow if I could only actually get to reading more of those books on my Want to Read list...

That particular list just keeps getting longer and longer, but that didn't stop me from signing up for my friend Ruth's Reading Recommendations, 2019. I already pay attention to what she's reading on Goodreads, so I know there will be some really great books recommended every month. The question is - will my to read list just get longer, or will I actually read some/a lot/most of the books she recommends? I guess we'll see.

If you're interested in some great recommendations, be sure to sign up for the monthly email.

Now, I need to run on over to Goodreads and finish up some ratings and reviews so I'll be ready to post my 2018 Book List.

(see previous book lists here)

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

How to Help Out Someone Who is Mourning a Death

Knowing that someone you care about has recently lost a loved one can be very upsetting. You might know that there is nothing that you can do that can truly take the pain away, but you still want to help in some way. Here are a few things you can do to bring a level of comfort:
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  • Send Flowers to the Funeral
    One popular way to show support to someone who is mourning the loss of a loved one is to send funeral flowers Brookfield IL. You can contact a local florist to find out more about the different flowers or plants that you can send to the funeral home for the service. Be sure to respect the wishes of the family. Sometimes donations to a scholarship fund for the surviving children or donations to a charity may be requested in lieu of flowers.
  • Bring Them Food
    Even though your grieving loved one might not feel much like eating, it's important for him or her to do so. Someone who is mourning the loss of a loved one might not feel like cooking or going out to get something to eat so you can help by bringing food. You can prepare food yourself, or you can pick up something from a local restaurant. Either way, the hot meal is sure to be appreciated. Stocking up your loved one's refrigerator and freezer with food that can be eaten later and even bringing along paper plates and other necessities can also be very helpful.
  • Help with Child Care
    Taking care of children can be challenging at even the best times, and it can be even harder when someone is going through the grieving process. If you volunteer to babysit for even a little while, this can help take a big load off of your loved one's shoulders during a difficult time.

Helping someone who is grieving can be very hard to do, but there are ways that you can help. The tips above are great for helping someone who has suffered the loss of a loved one.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

That'll Teach Them to Steal Packages!

Glitter is evil. It's exactly what those people deserved.

Have you ever had a package stolen off your porch? Thankfully I'm usually home, and our porch is shielded from view, so we haven't had that problem. But, wow - I would really want to do something to the people who would dare to do something like that.

I've also seen the posts going around that recommend putting some of your old junk into Amazon boxes and putting them out on the front porch for the porch pirates. Might be a convenient way to get rid of some stuff you don't want...

Monday, December 17, 2018

How to Get the Best Deal for Your Auto Insurance

Saving Cash with Budget Car InsuranceAuto insurance is a necessary thing, something that we're all required to have if we're going to drive. It can also get expensive, especially if you stick with one company and never shop around. One of the best ways we've found to save money on our auto insurance - besides paying for the policy annually instead of monthly (or even every 6 months) - is to find an agency that represents multiple insurance companies. Every year, they review our policies and select the ones that give us the best deal.

Below are a few things to keep in mind when searching for the best deal on your car insurance rates.

  • See If You Qualify for Good Driver Discounts
    Take full advantage of any type of discount that is offered, whether it's a good student, good driver, military, or any other savings plan. Saving a few dollars each month can add up over the calendar year. Make sure you add the information about low mileage use if you are only taking your car around the local area.
  • Only Purchase the Coverage You Need
    Don't opt for coverage that you might never use. Adding excessive amounts of property and medical coverage can hurt your wallet in the long run. Weigh out carefully whether your car is worth enough to carry full coverage insurance. It might be better to stick with liability only if your car is older and in less-than-perfect condition. (this is one area that could possibly save us some money because our vehicles are several years old, and should something happen, the amount the insurance will pay will be far from enough to purchase a new vehicle)
  • Instant Car Insurance Charlotte
  • Do you qualify for multiple vehicle savings?
    Including more than one vehicle on your insurance policy will get you automatic savings with most companies. Adding two or more vehicles will reduce the price you would pay for each one separately. Also consider insuring your home and your vehicles with the same company for multi-policy discounts.
  • Get Quotes from Several Companies
    Not all companies charge the same rates. Gather up several quotes to make a comparison. Take the time to investigate how people review the quality of each company. It might be worth paying a few extra dollars if you have faster claims and better customer service.

Find the auto insurance Orlando FL residents count on to give the best rates and top service in the area. Don't get caught without the right type of insurance for your vehicles.

The Importance of Roof Maintenance

Your roof is the most important system in your home. This is one of the reasons why when people talk about their home, they refer to it as a roof over their head. The roof is designed to protect your home from damage, protect your property from damage, and provide shelter to the home’s occupants.

There are a wide range of roofing materials that you can use on your home. They include things like asphalt, slate, concrete, and granite. The type of roofing material you will select depends on the style of your home and the structural strength of your roof. Certain materials, like slate and concrete, are very heavy. If your roof is not properly reinforced, it might not be able to support the weight.

Most roofing material does an excellent job protecting your home from storm damage. However, during severe storms, your roof is liable to sustain to damage. There are certain things that you can do to give your roof the extra support it needs to endure a severe storm.

One of the best things that you can do for your roof is to stay up-to-date with the repair and maintenance of your roof. If there is a small defect or a small amount of damage on your roof and you do nothing about it, the damage is going to get worse. When a storm comes, the area of damage will be a weak point that could lead to the complete collapse of your roofing system.

Identify roof leak before causes serious roof damage
Roof repair Beaverton Oregon professionals understand that giving your roof the maintenance it needs requires vigilance on your part as a homeowner. A small leak may go unnoticed for some time. Then it can explode into a large leak that causes serious damage, especially when a storm hits. This underscores the importance of being vigilant and monitoring your roof for signs of damage, such as missing shingles, missing granules, and signs of leaks. The better you take care of your roof, the better your roof will take care of you.