Monday, October 28, 2013

This Week's Memory Verse - Proverbs 31 OBS - A Confident Heart

As I have begun reading my assignments this week for Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study of "A Confident Heart" by Renee Swope, I am already incredibly uncomfortable.  None of this is unexpected.  I know that in order to gain the confident heart I seek.  In order to remove the past as my frame of reference for my value, I also have to confront my beliefs and where they came from.  

There is a wonderful line on  page 77 in "A Confident Heart" where Renee says"

"Although I knew God wants me to deal with my past, I also knew God did not want me to dwell in my past."

I think sometimes I haven't wanted to fully confront some of my past because I do not want to get stuck in there, but the muck of my past hangs on me like mud.  Some of it is dried and hard and causes parts of me to not move.  Other parts are still soaked in the squishy mud that is so fresh that even wiping it off will probably leave a smear of grit and gunk.  I could probably even pretend that once it is wiped off, that remainder is not that big of a deal, but as long as it sticks, I am being impacted.

What a pain.  

I feel like the biggest pain in my life.  I am continually knocking myself down.  I am continually doubting myself.  I don't doubt my God.  That might sound weird, but I don't.  I know that He has a plan and a purpose for my life.  I just feel (feeling are such a bad thing to hold onto I know) that I am not worth that plan.  I feel like I can't make it to that plan whatever it is.  I need to remember that even this is part of that plan. 

I am looking forward to putting out weekly verse to use.  

"Why are you frightened?" he asked. "Why are your hearts filled with doubt?"

Luke 24:38

I haven't really mapped out my scriptures well, but this time, I think I am going to get on it.  I am going to move forward even in these difficult moments.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Book Review - Missing Mabel by Nancy Mehl

For a while I had been kind of missing out on reading.  Life seemed to be screaming by me with no time for anything I simply enjoy.  Because of this I am refocusing on one of the things that truly brings me joy...reading.  Reading provides an escape that books simply do not offer me.  I love becoming completely submerged in a story.

Last week I began to read "Missing Mabel" by Nancy Mehl.  This book was lent to me by a fellow book lover, because she knows how much I enjoy Cozy Mysteries.

Title:  Missing Mabel
Publisher:  Barbour Publishing

About the Author (from Goodreads):  
Nancy Mehl lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband, Norman, and her very active puggle, Watson. First published in 2001, she has now authored nine books, including an omnibus mystery collection, Cozy in Kansas, which contains three of her previously published Ivy Towers mysteries. Book three in the series, For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls, won the American Christian Fiction Writers Mystery Book of the Year award. Nancys main writing interests lie in mystery although her new Harmony Series leans more toward the romantic suspense genre. Nancy runs a HUD program for the city of Wichita and is president of a volunteer organization, Wichita Homebound Outreach. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Kansas Authors Club. You can find out more about Nancy by visiting her Web site at:

About the Book (From Goodreads):
Watch the tangled mess a Kansas hairdresser gets herself into when she reports to the funeral home that the body she is to work on is not the same as in her reference photo. Is she being punished when the director accuses her of stealing a diamond ring? Will Hilde Higgins’s former boyfriend help her unravel the issue or only bring more trouble to her life?

My Review:
"Missing Mabel" is the first in the "Hometown Mysteries" and "Curl Up and Dye Mysteries" by Barbour Books.  I was immediately drawn to the story because of my appreciation for the author as well as the publisher.  Both have proven themselves when it comes to a good cozy mystery.

Hilde is the perfect heroine for a cozy.  She is flawed but has just enough going for her to not appear to be a gigantic loser.  Hilde is following a personal passion and ministry which involves being a hair stylist to the deceased.  Having an aunt who actually did this for a time being early on in her own career as a hair stylist caused me to be further drawn in, yet also freaked out.  As dear as Hilde explains it, I could still not do it.  

The community involved in the story is remarkable.  I immediately enjoyed the individuals in Hilde's circle from her landlady, Mrs. Hudson and other tenants in the boarding house to her neighbor across the way named Gabe.  They each have their own quirks and oddities which adds a sweet interest into the background and foreground of Hilde's story.  

Hilde herself is a bit of an eccentric and of course what more could you expect from a woman who makes a living doing the hair of the dead.  She finds herself in several minor scrapes and of course the major scrape of realizing that her deceased client is not whom the funeral home believes she is.  Are they trying to pull one over on the family?  Is someone trying to pull one over on the funeral home?  Hilde is not aware of who is doing what, but her own conscience and professionalism require her to say something.  Her own love of mystery and the belief of doing what is right keeps her searching out the answers while also finding new questions along the way in her own life.

There is a faith-based component also to this mystery that I enjoyed.  Hilde is a Christian and because she is, her faith becomes an important aspect of the book.  Being a Christian, I can completely relate.  My faith is an important part of my life as well.  Hilde's faith is played out best in her love for others, and her love for her friends.  She doesn't hide it from her friends but they do know where she stands. 

Missing Mabel is the exact escape read I enjoy.  The characters are engaging, the heroine is someone I relate to and would hang out with, and it takes place in a town that surprisingly I'd want to visit.  Mehl makes Kansas sound like an absolute delight (what can I say, I love small towns).  I am delighted to know that I can enjoy another book in this mystery series "Blown Away."  I can't wait to get my hands on it. 

PS The main character, Hilde loves SPAM the food product.  Guess what?  So do I.  Well fried SPAM anyway.  There is a recipe in the book, I just might try it.  :)

Thursday, October 24, 2013


This is in my response to today's blog hop at Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Study

"A Heart Surrendered to Christ ~ Renee shares her story of the moment she finally surrendered her heart to Christ. Share your story and what made you finally accept His invitation to a personal relationship."

My surrender is a daily occurrence.  There have been large moments and small moments.  Many are simply rough moments.  I know in my head that God loves me, and my heart knows it too, but somewhere in between is still this woman/girl who is so broken the struggle is often going on with small breaks of feeling okay.  The following is pretty reflective of the kind of moments, I have with God.  The one thing that I can say is I have always been very conversational and truthful with my God.


Whoa wait a minute.

Not sure I can actually do that.

See, well the fact is that I have a lot of stuff on my plate you see.

My son over there, well, he's 18  now, and Lord knows (nothing personal here) but Lord knows he needs his mom.  I screwed up pretty big there you know with being a single mom and all.  I wanted nothing more than to be a mom and love someone with all my heart.  Trouble was, I made some really bad choices and I am afraid that he will suffer forever.  Surrender him?  Hold on.  

I do.  I surrender.

But work, now that is a different story, see I worked so hard, but I am always afraid.  I am sure that everything is going to come crashing down at any moment.  I'm supposed to have all this much more together.  But wow, not an easy task.  Do you know how many times a day I have to walk into the building feeling downtrodden and near tears?  Do you know how often I wonder how I am going to possibly be able to pray for someone when I know that I have a pile of work to do?  Do you know how I desperately want to encourage someone, but right now I simply cannot find the words?  You do?  Ask you?

Okay.  I surrender.

My marriage God, it is pretty great.  Seriously it's great.  In fact I don't know how on earth I got so blessed.  What could I have possibly done to deserve this wonderful man who loves me?  Even when I gain a little weight (which is kind of annoying to be honest because I feel pretty punky about myself), he sees this beautiful woman.  He sees the woman he fell in love with.  Of course I don't see her.  She was way cuter than I am.  I mean seriously that girl was adorable.  Now here I am with this thyroid condition that automatically helps me gain weight, get thinner hair with a side of depression.  Six months after marriage!  Six years later though, as much as he did that day in the red rocks.  

That's right.  I surrendered my bad relationship choices to you.  I realized I didn't have the knowledge to choose.  I asked you to choose.  You did.  He's wonderful.  Thank you.

I started this study, but man it is getting HARD!  Yesterday I had to listen to three worship songs in the car and just keep praising you Lord!  I had a blanket of ick over me that I couldn't even understand.  I am so tired of the fight Lord.  I'm so tired of the thoughts and negativity.  I just want to know in my heart what I know in my head.  Why Lord is it so hard?  Why can't I just get it?  Why do I feel attacked?  Just once, just once I would love to see your love without having to first wipe away the clouds of doubt and play smack down with my own emotions and past.  

"See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands..."  Isaiah 49:16

Okay.  I surrender.  I will not fight.  I will not fret.  I will let go.  I will not get in Your way.

Thrifty Tips for October 24, 2013

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The Simple Dollar is a site that I highly recommend you check out. The Simple Dollar has lots of free printables, saving information and tips.  In fact this link will take you to one of my favorite articles:  Little Steps 100 Great Tips For Saving Money for Those Just Getting Started.


Favado is a new app for iPhones and Android phones that has input from coupon and freebie bloggers all over the country that will work together to save you money when you shop by telling you the best sales and matching coupons both newspaper and printables that will help you get the most bang for your buck when you hit the grocery stores.  You input your shopping list of your favorite items and get notifications when they are on sale and what additional savings you can find even special store deals create a list from your newly found deals.  It is super easy and completely free.   Sign up online and then add it to your smartphone. 


There is a great sale on Fresh Pork Sirloin Chops at Albertsons (98 cents lb) and I found a delicious recipe for pork fried rice meal that is amazing!  Follow this link to Betty Crocker's Pork Fried Rice recipe.  Also perfect for the season is a baked sweet potato recipe with pecans from Food Network.  Sweet Potatoes are on sale at Albertsons too!

FREE EBOOKS (Remember that these books were free at the time of my posting.  Always check the price before downloading)

Forsaken Dreams (Escape to Paradise) by MaryLu Tyndall -Barbour Books ( (Amazon) (Barnes & Noble)

Salads to Go by Arnel Ricafranca (AMAZON)

David C Cook free ebooks are offered at least once a week.  Sign up for their email updates and they'll let you know when you can download a free read.  The books are usually free for no more than two days, so an email reminder is a great plus.


While supplies last, sign up for a free sample of Arm & Hammer Sensitive Toothpaste by following this link.

Also while supplies last, get free KCups of Green Mountain coffee by heading to their Facebook page and watching the very short video.  


Thanks to Hey It's Free I have a Red Box code for you.  It is supposed to expire on November 7.  I'd try it this weekend:  9MXW2LPC


Get a $15 rebate in the form of a $15 VISA gift card when you buy $50 worth of select Procter & Gamble products.  Follow this link for a printable of the rebate which also shows a list of what you can buy from 10/15/2013 to 12/31/2013.  Mail in the form following ALL directions (including writing down all UPC codes and including all receipts with purchase prices and products circled).  And remember that the $50 spent is after coupons.



Albertsons Gallon Milk Select Varieties $1.87 (limit 2)
Dole Ripe Bananas 39 cents lb
Fresh Pork Sirloin Chops Bone-in Family Pack 98 cents lb
Yams or Sweet Potatoes $1 lb
Large Slicing Tomatoes $1 lb


Kroger Turkey Frozen 10-20 lb 79 cents lb (limit 1 per transaction w/ additional $25 purchase)
Mini Seedless Watermelon 2/$3
Gala, Granny Smith, Red or  Golden Delicious apples 99 cents lb
Iceberg, Romaine, Red or Green Leaf Lettuce 99 cents
Roma Tomatoes 99 cents lb


Home Pride Bread 20 oz White or Wheat 2/$5
Fresh Wild Keta Salmon Fillets $3.99 lb (extreme value pack)
Fresh 80% Lean Ground Beef $1.99 lb
S&W Variety Beans 15 to 15.5 oz Selected Varieties 5/$5
Texas Ruby Red Grapefruit 99 cents each

Monday, October 21, 2013

Thanking God and Seeking God for His Priceless Love

I am absolutely learning so much from the Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Study with Renee Swope's book "A Confident Heart."  One of the things that has been a struggle in my life is getting over my past and the things in my head.  I realize that I need to reach out to God every morning for His perfect love.  The new cry of my heart will be for the Lord to show me his love and help me get the head knowledge into my heart. 

If you have found yourself searching and seeking for significance for confidence and for love, I want to recommend you check out this book and this study.  I am just in Chapter 3, and my life is changing!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Blog Hop - At The Well

So this week I began another highly anticipated online Bible study through Proverbs 31 Ministries.  This study is with Renee Swope's book "A Confident Heart."  To know me from the outside would probably cause you to wonder why on earth would I feel the need for this study, but when you peel back my layers, it all becomes pretty clear.  I have a myriad of issues that I am still working through, but thankfully I am not working through them alone.  

In Chapter 2, Renee brings us back to the day at the well when Jesus spoke to a Samaritan woman who approached the well alone at noon to draw water.  I can so fully relate to this woman at the well.  So many times in my life I approached Jesus alone, unsure and with little more than an empty vessel hoping somehow I could fill it on my own and not daring to ask Jesus for help because of my own shame.  My past is also not terribly pretty. 

What struck me as I read the Biblical account this time was how Jesus shared with Sam in such a way that she knew that He knew everything about her already.  He spoke with her knowing full well that her past was far from pretty and in fact that her present was pretty rough as well.  He was accepting of her as she was at that very moment and willing to spend time with her and offer her so much more than she had ever imagined.  Her emptiness would be filled with what she needed.  For the first time, true love and true acceptance from the living God were going to take place of the loneliness and the unloveliness that had seized Sam's heart and brought her to so many bad and sad choices.  

Sam was struck by Jesus knowing all about her.  It changed her perspective.  It changed her so much that really she simply HAD to share about him with the people in her village.  Because of that, Jesus stayed on for two more days, and many more became believers.  It all started with Sam.  

Who knows what will start with me?  

Thrifty Tips for October 17

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In an attempt to save money for the upcoming holidays, I am trying to find more uses for things especially things I might normally toss.  Here are a few things I discovered.

Pot of coffee -
Leftover morning coffee?.  Don't pour it out, instead use it up.
-Freeze in ice cube trays for a later date to make iced coffee that doesn't get watered down or blend cubes with cream and sweetener for your own homemade coffee frappes.
-Mix left over coffee with some balsamic vinegar and herbs and make a great coffee marinade for steaks.  Look around online for lots of variations.
-Shine up dark hair (note I am writing dark hair).  My sister-in-law uses a cold coffee rinse in her hair to give it extra shine after a shampoo.
Coffee grounds -
-Used coffee grounds make a great exfoliante for hands, face, legs and body.  They are also great for getting the onion smell off of your hands after chopping onions.
-Coffee grounds are great to mix in your compost.
-Scatter some used coffee grounds in the yard to deter some pests like snails and ants (as well as the occasional stray cat).
-Used coffee grounds in a small container (like an old yogurt cup) is a great way to deodorize the fridge.

Bananas -
-Whiten teeth by rubbing them with the inside (white side) of a banana peel.
-Relieve the itch from bites by rubbing the inside of a banana peel on the itchy areas.
-Hold onto this one when the roses come back up.  Hang a banana peel around your roses and other plants that aphids visit, apparently aphids are not crazy about banana peels.
-Polish shoes with the inside of a banana peel as well.
-Compost the peels as well.

Onion Skin -
-Don't toss onion skin.  Use it in soup.  It adds flavor and nutrients that you don't want to toss.
-Red onion skin can be used to dye eggs or even yarn.
-Make a tea out of onion skins (not sure if I could do this) and drink nightly to help reduce leg cramps.
-Of course compost.

Silica Packets -
-Place in tool box to keep tools and nails from oxidizing.  Also works great in jewelry boxes to inhibit tarnishing and fancy silver utensils.
-Put on your dashboard to keep windshield clear rather than foggy (we'll have to wait and see how this works).
-Put silica packets in photo boxes to keep moisture out so photos will not stick.
-Need to dry the packets back out.  Put in an oven that has been preheated to 200 degrees for about 3 minutes.  Reuse again.


Get four free music downloads from FreeCCM today by following this link.  FreeCCM also has great contests and giveaways so it is a great place to keep connected to.

New Release Tuesday has five free music downloads for members as well as a free preview of Natalie Grant's new album "Hurricane."  Follow the link and enjoy!

FREE EBOOKS (These were free at the time of my posting.  Prices can change quickly so always check the price before downloading)

The Secret's in the Sauce by Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson from Revell Publishing (CHRISTIANBOOK.COM) (AMAZON) (BARNES & NOBLE)

Lion of Babylon (A Marc Royce Thriller) by Davis Bunn from Bethany House Publishers (CHRISTIANBOOK.COM) (AMAZON) (BARNES & NOBLE)

Circle of Friends - 25 Pie, Crisp & Cobbler Recipes by Gooseberry Patch (AMAZON)

Beginners Soap Making:  Simple Homemade Recipes by Annie Needs and Mel Jeffries (AMAZON)

A Beginners Guide to Keeping Backyard Chickens by Mel Jeffries (AMAZON)

GROCERY DEALS (All store names will link to their websites for more details on sales)


Family Packs of Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts from the Meat counter 3 lbs or more $1.58 lb
Kelloggs Cereal 11-18.7 oz, Nutri-Grain Bars 7.4-10.4 oz, Pop Tarts 12 ct or Keebler cookies 6.6-15 oz Select Varieties $1.58 when you buy 6
Sanderson Farms Whole Frying Chicken 98 cents lb
Extra  Lean Ground Beef 85% Lean $2.88 lb
Russet Potatoes 10 lb Bag $1.78 each


Rancher's Reserve Boneless Beef Top Round London Broil $2.79 lb
Fresh All Natural Whole Pork Shoulder Bone-in Single Pack sold Whole in the Bag $1.49 lb
Scarlotta Red Seedless Grapes $1.99 lb
Ragu Pasta Sauce 16-24 oz Selected Varieties $1.29 each (must buy 4)
Campbell's Condensed Soup 10.5 to 11.5 oz Selected Varieties 10/$10


USDA Choice Boneless Chuck or Cross Rib Roast $2.99 lb
Asparagus $1.77 lb
Bartlett, Bosc, Red, Comice or Concord Pears 99 cents lb
Gala, Granny Smith, Red or golden Delicious Apples 99 cents lb
Minute Maid Orange Juice 59-64 oz $1.99


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thrifty Tips

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One of my favorite websites is FatWallet.comFatWallet is a great place to shop online and get cash back, it is a great resource for online shopping codes for discounts and it has a thriving forum where members share lots of great tips.  With the holidays rolling near, could give you some help in


Isn't slow cooking one of the greatest things ever? I love the idea of setting the cooker up in the morning, heading off to work and coming home to a ready meal.  When that meal includes sale items, I love it more.  Fry's has a nice sale on Kroger Boneless Chicken Breasts that you can use with this slow cooker chicken and dumpling recipe from All Recipes.  Bottom round roasts are not terribly tender, but when it is on sale like at Safeway, you find a way, and this recipe for Slow Cooker bottom round roast from makes the roast very, very tender.


With ALL the sniffles and coughs going around in our office, I thought it would be nice to find a nice do-it-yourself home remedy.  It has been called a Vick's shower puck and shower disk, and it couldn't not be easier to make. 

1 Cup baking soda
1/2 Cup corn Starch
1/3 cup water
2-3 tsp Vick's VapoRub (I used Kroger brand instead as it was cheaper and uses real camphor)

Line a 12 muffin tin with cups.  Combine baking soda and corn starch in a bowl (used a medium sized mixing bowl) mix together well.  Heat up water and add vapor rub, stir until melted.  Add water/vapor rub mixture to bowl of baking soda and corn starch, mix well into a thick mixture, if you need to add more water do so or if you need it to be a bit thicker add more baking soda.  Gradually spoon mixture into muffin tins filling about 1/4 of the way (you can always add more after filling each one).  Let air dry for about 48 hours.  When you are ready to use pop the disk out of the muffin tin and put in the shower to aid your shower time.  You can also bake these in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees to make them dry up quicker but then you will find that they brown at the edges and to me that is a tad creepy.  If you do not want to use vapor rub you can use eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils and add about 15 drops of each to the water instead or to the disks after pouring.


FreeCCM has four free music downloads for you today.  Remember you need to be a member but they will not spam you. 

GROCERIES (All store names will link to their website where you can thoroughly read the other deals)


Albertsons Gallon Milk Select Varieties $1.48 with flyer coupon (get your hands on one if you can)
Fresh and Wild Keta Salmon Filet $3.99 lb
Red Seedless Grapes 75cents lb
Northwest Bartlett Pears 99 cents lb
Marie Callender's or Healthy  Choice Dinners Entrees or Pot Pies 8-19 oz $1.88 (limit 6)


Mix and Match Meat Sale - Fresh 93% Lean  Ground Beef, Safeway Select Extra Meaty Pork Loin Back Ribs Previously Frozen, Rancher's Reserve Boneless Beef Chuck Cross Rib Roast and Rancher's Reserve Boneless Beef Bottom Round Roast Mix & Match $2.99 lb
Cucumbers 99 cents each
Barilla Pasta 12 to 16 oz Selected  Varieties 4/$5
S&W Variety Beans 15 to 15.5 oz Selected Varieties 5/$5
Sunny D 128 oz Chilled Selected Varieties 2/$5

FRY'S (All Manufacturer's Coupons Equal $1.00)

Kroger Boneless Chicken Breasts or Thighs USDA Inspected $1.79 lb
Broccoli or Cauliflower 99 cents lb
Progresso Soup Selected Varieties 18.5 to 19 oz 8/$10
Iceberg, Romaine, Red or Green Leaf Lettuce 99 cents
Gold Pineapple 2/$5