Thursday, April 29, 2010

Quote for the Day

A quote from Charles Dickens:

"Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never fires, and a touch that never hurts."

Boy if we all followed these lessons for life wouldn't the world be a better place?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Is the World Round for a Reason?

"God made the world round so we could never see too far down the road."  Isak Dinesen

Are you a planner?  I sure am.  I like to know what is going on, when it is going to happen, and what I am going to do after that happens.  Anyone that knows me can testify to that part of my personality.  Lately my schedule hasn't been able to be planned out.  I had to wait to get sports schedules before I could plan or commit to other functions.  I can't plan much during the week as I am expected to need to substitute teach nearly every day.  Some days I haven't felt the best and so didn't feel like I could commit to something until I knew I was going to be feeling better.  All this "unknown" stuff has been stressful for me and made me a bit anxious.  Last Monday, when I turned my calendar page, the above quote was the quote for the day.  It literally calmed me.  Maybe I'm not supposed to know every little thing I am going to be doing tomorrow.  Maybe not EVERYTHING on my list has to get done.  Maybe I can wake up and wait and see what the day holds for me.  And, maybe, just maybe, I can actually be OK with that.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Thanks to THE VIEW

Last week I received a package in them mail.  I was excited to see it was from ABC and Mom Central.  This was my "compensation" for helping ABC Daytime with their publicity for THE VIEW.  I look forward to drinking coffee from this cute spring mug and getting my groceries in the tote bag!  Be sure to check your local listings for THE VIEW and you can also check in with THE VIEW on Facebook here.  Thanks to Megan at Mom Central for hooking me up!

A Monday Giggle

Yesterday my calendar page had a little saying on it.  I thought it was appropriate after spending a week with teenagers.  I am sure those of you who are raising teenagers will get a laugh from this as well!  Have an awesome Monday!

Raising teenagers is like nailing Jell-O to the wall!

Friday, April 16, 2010

An Overwhelming Yet Rewarding Week

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have begun substitute teaching.  Since February, I have been subbing at least once or twice a week at our Middle School/High School.  Each day seemed to bring new challenges.  Somedays I was expected to teach topics I wasn't too familiar with (Alegbra) and others I had to learn to deal with disrespectful and even disgusting situations that students decided to put me in.  After each day, though, I felt I got more comfortable and felt like I had gained some more respect both from the students as well as the teachers.  It felt good when the phone calls to sub again kept coming.  I wanted to say, "they like me!" or (maybe they are really desparate).  This week I was faced with a challenge to sub for an entire week for someone that has been gone and may be gone for more days/weeks.  The students miss their regular teacher, resent the numerous subs that have been through there, and have gotten used to "slacking off".  I was completely overwhelmed on Monday, but by Wednesday, I felt like I was really making headway.  By the end of today I realized I might actually miss these students a bit over the weekend.  I am planning to return next week and who knows if I will be needed after that.  This week has not only been an adjustment for me, but also for my family.  I haven't worked 5 days in a row out of the home since I have been a mom (which was 10 years ago this weekend).  So, not all the housework got done, not all the laundry went from washed/dried/put away in one day, some of the meals were quick-fixes, and my daughter didn't get the attention she was used to.  But, after going through all of that, I also found this week was rewarding.  My husband and daughter got to have some daddy/daughter time each morning before daycare and most of the day today.  I met some great people this week that I never would have met.  I also realized how fortunate I was to grow up in a loving home and to have my children grow up in that same atmosphere. I am grateful that I had parents who cared about what I did or didn't do at school, who my friends were, and what I was doing at night.  I am glad I had parents who gave me consequences when my grades or attitude wasn't what it should have been.  I am grateful I had teachers who respected me and expected the best from me.  I have learned after this week what can happen when students don't have all those things that I had growing up.  So, if I end up going back next week, my goal is to give those kids what I am capable of offering....a solid education, expectations, and a guide to lead them through the rough patches.  I know it won't be easy, but I am up for the challenge.  I am asking you to be involved as a parent.  Get to know their teachers, check their grades and assignments on a regular basis (most schools have online programs to do that), and be there for your kids.  Care about who they hang out with, ask them about their life, follow through with consequences, and hold them accountable for their actions.  Your child will appreciate you some just took me 37 years to realize how lucky I was!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Energizer Keep Going Hall of Fame and a Giveaway!

Over the past 5 years, America has truly demonstrated its power to persevere.  From Hurricane Katrina to the economic crisis, Americans have stepped up to help one another in the face of difficulty.  I have even seen this on a local level where we live.  The Floods of 2008 in Iowa affected thousands, and yet the communities and the people that live there have kept going by rebuilding their homes and bringing businesses back to their communities.  This year is the 5th anniversary of the ENERGIZER KEEP GOING Hall of Fame - a program dedicated to honoring ordinary people with unstoppable energy.

Every day, people from all walks of life are compared to the Energizer Bunny, from celebrities and athletes to teachers and crossing guards.  The Hall of Fame began in 2006 as a way to honor those inspirational people for the energy and perseverance they demonstrate in their daily lives, no matter what challenges they might face.  National Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr was the first inductee.  "To live your life like the Energizer Bunny means bringing enthusiasm and dedication to all that you do, " Ripken said.  Through the ENERGIZER KEEP GOING Hall of Fame, ENERGIZER is proving that with the right attitude ordinary people can do extraordinary things.

As I am writing this, I can think of several people who I think have that KEEP GOING spirit.  I am sure that if you look around your school, community, church, workplace, or even your own family, you can think of several who remind you of the ENERGIZER BUNNY! 

Now through April 23, 2010, you can nominate that person or even yourself, who lives with a KEEP GOING sprit.  Just visit and fill out their nomination form.  You can also find stories about past inductees at the website.  Their lives will inspire you to have that KEEP GOING spirit yourself!  You can also check out the ENERGIZER BUNNY'S Facebook page at for more information.

Nominees will be narrowed to a field of 100 semifinalists who will be honored in their hometowns.  Then 10 finalists will have their names and stories posted online.  Then America will be able to vote online starting July 6, 2010 - August 20, 2010 to select the inductee.  Every vote will trigger a $1.00 donation to the Cal Ripken, Sr Foundation, up to $10,000 from ENERGIZER.  The foundation is an organization dedicated to helping the disadvantaged young people residing in America's most-distressed communities through baseball-themed programs.  The inductee will then attend a special ceremony in St. Louis, MO and will receive a $10,000 cash award and an additional $5,000 will be donated to the charity of his or her choice.

Now for the giveaway.....
I have a package of 24 ENERGIZER MAX AA batteries to giveaway to one lucky reader.  Please leave me a comment with someone you know that has that ENERGIZER BUNNY spirit.  Be sure to leave an email address where I can contact you if you win.  This contest is open until April 23, 2010 at 11:59 PM.  I will use to chose a winner from all comments on Saturday, April 24, 2010. 

So, go today, and nominate someone that has that KEEP GOING spirit at  You only have 2 weeks left to nominate someone.  Leave me a comment to win some ENERGIZER batteries and let me know who you think has that KEEP GOING spirit.

Energizer provided me with 2 packages of  24 Energizer Max batteries.  One to keep and one to giveway.  Thanks to Sara and Jeff at Energizer for telling me about this opportunity.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Plate and Heart Are Full

I know I have been MIA for awhile.  Spring has been the start of a new schedule around here and it has taken me a few days (weeks) to get readjusted.  I have been subbing 2-3 days/week and the kids have some sort of practice every night of the week.  Plus throw me getting sick, one of the kids getting sick, the Easter holiday, and other outside committments and you get a mom who is way behind!  It seems every day I look at my schedule for the day and cringe.  What happens to stuff that I need to get done?  It seems to go by the wayside and instead the day-to-day living things get moved to the top...I suppose the kids need clean clothes...I suppose they need a decent supper to eat....I suppose the floor needs to be swept and the bathrooms cleaned....etc, etc, etc.   But, the important thing is that even though I have been a little stressed lately and my schedule is out of whack....I still try to begin each day with a happy heart.  Even though my plate is full (sometimes overflowing), my heart is full as well.  I am so blessed and each day I try to be grateful for that.  Jesus reminds me in Proverbs 15:15....

He who has a merry heart has a continual feast.  Proverbs 15:15 NKJV

So, even though, it would be really easy to be grumpy and stressed, I know if my heart is happy, I will continue to be blessed.   Even though my plate is overflowing right now, I will try to check in with you regularly.  May you have a happy heart today!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Review: A Murderous Procession by Ariana Franklin

Adelia is back in this thrilling fourth installment of the Mistress of the Art of Death series.

In 1176, King Henry II sends his daughter Joanna to Palermo to marry his cousin, the king of Sicily. Henry chooses Adelia Aguilar, his Mistress of the Art of Death, to travel with the princess and safeguard her health. But when people in the wedding procession are murdered, Adelia and Rowley must discover the killer's identity . . . and whether he is stalking the princess or Adelia herself.

When I was contacted to give a review of this book, I was excited because I really enjoy historical fiction.  This time period is one I don't typically read about, but was eager to give it a try.  Medieval fiction writing and the language used is different, obviously, than what is used in more recent historical fiction.  Along with the language, the names are also uncommon, for example:  Ulf, Mansur, Boggart, and Scarry were some of the characters.  Also, there were numerous titles used for characters: Bishop, King, Queen, Princess, Lords, Ladies, pilgrims, peasants, and their place in the world was important to keep track of.  It helped me to keep a post-it note with names and titles and their jobs along the procession in order to keep everyone straight.
The story focuses on Adelia, who had to leave her daughter behind with the Queen, while she accompanies the Queen's daughter, Princess Joanna, on her journey to marry the King of Sicily.  At this time the princess is only 10 and is to be married to a King, which is hard to grasp in today's world, but was very common during this time period.  Adelia travels along with numerous others in the procession and along the journey there are numerous murders taking place.  The question is whether Adelia is in danger or the princess.  To find the answer, you will have to read the book!
Even though there are odd things happening, there were definately points in the story that were humerous and I appreciated that.  This is the 4th in the series of A MISTRESS OF THE ART OF DEATH, but even though I hadn't read the other three, I didn't have too much trouble keeping track of all the characters or knowing what was going on. 
I did become interested in the characters in the story and was trying to figure out who the "bad guys" were.  Agan, even though I wasn't used to this style of writing, I easily became wrapped up in the storyline.  The writer uses chapters, but also has three divisions to break up the story which I liked.  I also appreciated the author's notes at the end of the book.  She explains that Princess Joanna's journey is a true historical event as well as explained numerous other historical figures and facts from that time period. It is obvious the author did her research before writing this novel.
Even though this was a story about murders, I found it enjoyable to read.  I began to care about many of the characters and was surprised on many occasions as well as laughed.  I am sure this will be another hit to those who follow the MISTRESS OF THE ART OF DEATH series.  I give this 3 out of 5 stars.  This book is available for purchase starting today.  If you would like to learn more about Ariana Franklin please visit her website
Thanks to Putnam, a member of Penguin Group for sending me an ARC of this book.  This review is my honest opinion only and was only compensated with a book for this review. 


April is a promise that May is bound to keep.
Hal Borland