Sunday, March 31, 2013

One Thousand of My Gifts

photo courtesy of Ann Voskamp

Continuing my count of one thousand gifts, numbering each one.

53. Tears of grief and so much love
54. Crisp, clean sheets
55. Heavy down comforter pulled up to my chin
56. Sparkling trees in the morning sun
57. My mom's chicken and dumplings
58. Mother/Daughter time...when I'm the daughter
59. Excellent food whose flavor and aroma just leave you speechless
60. A new broom
61. Vase of daffodils inside while the wind howls outside
62. Tulips from my husband
63. The smell of new carpet
64. Telling the story of Jesus' death and resurrection to those who haven't heard it before
65. Having our kids understand that Jesus died to save us
66. Watching Reagan take communion for the first time and knowing that she understands the meaning of it.
67. The giddy laughter an Easter egg hunt brings.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Radisson Blu at Mall of America

Radisson Blu Mall of America
Two weekends ago, I had the pleasure of staying at the BRAND NEW Radisson Blu hotel at the Mall of America.  We were some of the very first guests to stay there on its opening weekend!

It is quite an amazing place.  Everything is very modern looking as well as modern in its function.  The hotel is "mostly" paperless and is full of technological advances.  The rooms had plenty of outlets for all our smart phones and tablets.

One of the lounge areas
There are a few room types to choose from during your stay and since we were there opening weekend, we got a deal to stay in what is called the Mansion Room. This level allowed us access to the Concierge Lounge with free drinks (soda, coffee, tea, wine, and beer) and snacks in the afternoon and free breakfast in the morning.   The rooms were adequate size with modern decor and fun black tiles with sparkle specks throughout that gave it a glamorous feel.  We enjoyed the free Wi-Fi during our evenings and the dreamy soft comforters on the beds.
Main lobby

Since it was opening weekend, the hotel had some kinks to work out with motion sensors and lighting issues in our room.  The staff was VERY accommodating and gave us our first night free.  The second night we had absolutely no issues.  The customer service at the hotel was PHENOMENAL! There was always staff available and ready to assist you with any questions or concerns.  We had bellmen, concierge, valets, and other staff ready and waiting to serve us.  Be aware though that you DO NOT have to use the valet service even though they will try to make you think you do.  At $22/day, and since we weren't needing our cars much, we chose to park the car ourselves which was totally fine.

Since the hotel is attached to the Mall of America, I highly recommend you stay here if you are planning to have a Mall of America shopping trip.  It is so nice to not have to go outside at all and it is quite easy to go back and forth.  I do think that staying in the Urban Room level is just as good, but won't get you access to the Concierge Lounge or Free Breakfast.  With the difference in price, I am not sure the upper level rooms are really worth it.

 The hotel also has a pool and fitness center, but I didn't check out either of these areas during my stay.

For more information on RADISSON BLU at the Mall of America, check out their website, HERE.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Book Review: God Inside the Fire By Greg Stelley

An Amazing True Story

By Greg Stelley

Published: May 26, 2012

Joni is no stranger to miracles. Her prayers and even her dreams have a habit of coming true. Her husband is regularly amazed by her strong faith and her premonitions: "I had a dream, Greg. There's going to be a fire. I saw Kathy and Frank in the middle of it."

Frank Scalari is a physicist. Frank, his wife Kathy, and their four children, along with their horses, goats and chickens, have just moved onto their new five acre ranch high in the Cuyamaca Mountains, 60 miles northeast of San Diego. 

On October 25th, 2003, the ravenous Cedar Fire sweeps down into San Diego on strong Santa Ana winds. Two days later the monstrous thirty-mile-long firestorm reverses course and heads back to the Cuyamaca Mountains. Joni assures Kathy, her ever-skeptical best friend, that she is praying for her property and that: "Nothing is too hard for God! Not even this terrible firestorm!" But neither Kathy nor Frank believe in the supernatural. 

GOD INSIDE THE FIRE is a true life page-turner of epic proportions. As the 427-square-mile Cedar Fire takes direct aim at the Scalari family's ranch, Joni, and Danielle, her 9-year-old daughter, each pray for a miracle. They're praying for more than just a horse ranch—they're praying to open their friends' hearts and minds to the reality of God. The impossibilities within this amazing true story will astound you. If you look, you just may find...GOD INSIDE THE FIRE.

This book was recommended to me by my cousin.  Her husband is a Fire Fighter for the National Forestry Service and has worked on many wild fires.  She read this hoping that she would learn some things about what he does and the kinds of fires he faces.  Unfortunately, for her, she didn't learn as much as she was hoping, but still found the story intriguing and told me about it.

As a believer, I love hearing about God's miracles and this story provides just that.  I won't tell you what the miracle or miracles were as I don't want to spoil anything for the reader, but this book definitely made me stop and think about His great power in our lives.

The book is heavily Christian based and quotes Scripture throughout as a means of sharing the story.  Joni and Frank are not believers like their friends Kathy and Greg, but their friendship is still strong and thriving.  I found this part of the relationship very interesting as Kathy and Greg certainly didn't hide their faith and yet Joni and Frank didn't seem interested either.  

Since this is a true story, I found so many facts of the fire horrifying.  I thought Stelley described the scene, the emotions and the fear of the residents so well that I was finding it hard to breathe as those in the story were breathing through the smokey air.

Christian or not, I really think you will find this story fascinating.  I barely remember the Cedar Fire happening.  I had a 3 year old, a 2 year old and our house was on the market at the time, so I barely had time to brush my teeth let alone watch the news.  But, I remember other wild fires in recent years and I will certainly be more interested as fire season begins soon.

I think there is much we can learn from this story and it would encourage a great discussion about your faith. This would make an excellent book for a book club or a Bible study group.

The things I took away from the book include:  prayer works, your things mean nothing compared to family and friends, and God can do amazing things...if we just ask him to.  I am certainly going to try to be more specific in my prayer time with God.

At the time, I was able to get this as a free book for my Kindle.  GOD INSIDE THE FIRE is also available on paperback and is currently $3.99 for the Kindle.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Love At First

Fifteen years ago, I was working from home on my computer.  I was entering data into a program to keep track of statistics at the homeless shelter I was running.  Over the course of the day, I had gotten several "instant message" requests from strangers wanting to chat on AOL.  Keep in mind, this was 15 years ago...when computer chatting was pretty new.  I wasn't interested in chatting with strangers as I was working and just didn't commonly strike up conversations with someone I didn't know online.  Until.....

I got this instant chat from someone that said, "Hello from the NW side".  At that point I was living in a city that divided itself into quadrants...NW, NE, SW, SE.  At that time I was living on the NE side.  I don't know what possessed me...maybe I needed a break...maybe I liked the original greeting....maybe because I knew the person was from the same town...I said "Hello" back.  From there a chat ensued and continued  off and on through the next several days on the computer.

Finally, I had asked him to meet up with some friends at a bar....hoping I could get a peek at this guy I had been talking to.  But, he didn't show.  I was bummed and then found out...he was in a car accident....really...for real.  He really was in a car accident.  It was even in the newspaper.  

But, because that car accident was in the newspaper, I was able at that point, to get his address.  So, I did a little investigating.  Because of my job at the time, I could look up people's criminal records and backgrounds.  It wasn't as easy then as it is now.  Anyway, I took the opportunity to check out his records and do a "drive by" of his place.  Would you believe he lived just a few houses away from my best friend's dad???

After finding out he didn't have a criminal record, lived in a decent house, and really worked where he said he worked....our conversations moved from the computer to the phone.  We spent many nights on the phone solving the world's problems and learning about each other.

Finally, in the wee hours of March 28, 1998, after nearly a 3 hour conversation, I suggested we meet.  So, I offered to go to his house.  I KNOW YOU ARE PROBABLY SCREAMING AT ME RIGHT NOW! You should NEVER go to a strange man's house in the middle of the night without ANYONE knowing where you are going!  Well, I did.  I remember I was shaking like a leaf.  I remember taking the exit off the interstate and saying out loud....What are you doing????  I pulled in his driveway and said a little prayer that I hadn't made the stupidest decision of my life and got out of the car.

When Pat opened the door, I breathed a huge sigh of relief.  He was sooooo cute.  He was "normal".  He even had 2 cats.  We stayed up all night talking and he made me breakfast.  I left to go home and sleep and came back later.  Truthfully, I think we were together every day after that night.  

By May I had taken him home to meet my family.  By August 1, 1998, we were engaged.  

This is us before Pat's brother's wedding in August 1998.  Oh how young we look.

We decided it would be fun to be married exactly 365 days after we officially "met". So, we got married March 27, 1999.  It was a beautiful, spring day.  The sun was shining, the breeze was blowing, and the flowers were blooming. Our siblings, family, and friends all stood up with us and shared in our special day.  It was such a blessing to have Pat's dad with us as he was only with us 5 more months.  Some of those photos from that day are some of the last that we have with him.  I just remember being blissfully happy that day.  We had SO. MUCH. FUN.  The reception was a blast and I remember thinking that I didn't want the night to end.  

And we are....15 years after meeting, 14 years after our wedding life to the fullest.  We are blessed with 3 amazing children who keep us laughing, running, and in awe of their talents nearly every day.

I can't tell you how grateful I am that HE said "Hello" and I said "Hello" back.  It truly was "meant to be".

Monday, March 25, 2013

Book Review: Rush by Maya Banks

Breathless #1

By: Maya Banks

Published:  February 5, 2013

Attention:  This book may not appeal to all readers.

Gabe, Jace, and Ash: three of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the country. They’re accustomed to getting anything they want. Anything at all. For Gabe, it’s making one particular fantasy come true with a woman who was forbidden fruit. Now she’s ripe for the picking...

When Gabe Hamilton saw Mia Crestwell walk into the ballroom for his hotel’s grand opening, he knew he was going to hell for what he had planned. After all, Mia is his best friend’s little sister. Except she’s not so little anymore. And Gabe has waited a long time to act on his desires.

Gabe has starred in Mia’s fantasies more than once, ever since she was a teenager with a huge crush on her brother’s best friend. So what if Gabe’s fourteen years older? Mia knows he’s way out of her league, but her attraction has only grown stronger with time. She’s an adult now, and there’s no reason not to act on her most secret desires.

As Gabe pulls her into his provocative world, she realizes there’s a lot she doesn’t know about him or how exacting his demands can be. Their relationship is intense and obsessive, but as they cross the line from secret sexual odyssey to something deeper, their affair runs the risk of being exposed—and vulnerable to a betrayal far more intimate than either expected.

For most of the book, I was interested in the relationship between Gabe and Mia as well as between Mia and her brother.  The premise is common, guy falls in love with best friend's sister, but what was uncommon was how their relationship played out.  I was interested in how they were going to keep their secret from Jace, how Mia would handle her personal and professional relationship with Gabe, and how Mia would handle being in this type of controlling relationship.

As someone who at one point in her life was in a relationship full of power and control, those parts of the book were definitely a turn off.  In no way did I find those parts of the book healthy or loving.  That is what turned me off from reading the FIFTY SHADES OF GREY series.  In a lot of ways this book was very similar to that book with a wealthy bachelor becoming infatuated with a naive woman, but there were differences as well.  I think if you liked that series you will like this one just as much, if not more.

Gabe was a jerk and his selfish behavior and greed made him very unlikable to me.  Even though he does redeem himself in the end, I am not entirely convinced that he will overcome his issues.  His relationship with Mia lacked emotion and if they are to remain interesting in future books, there is going to have to be more meaning to what is happening with them.

RUSH is the first is a series that reminds me a bit of the BACHELOR series by Carly Phillips in the early 2000's.  The series focused each book on one of three bachelors much like this series.  The next book by Maya Banks, FEVER, arrives April 2, 2013. The final book, BURN, arrives in August 2013.

Maya Banks is a USA Today and New York Times bestselling romance author.  She lives in the South with her family. Visit her online at  
Like Maya Banks on FACEBOOK at
or on TWITTER.

To purchase a copy of this book, click the photo below:

Thanks to Penguin Group for sending a copy of this book for review.  This review is my honest opinion.  I was not compensated in any other way for this review. If you choose to purchase the book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for it's purchase. Thanks for supporting 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Companies With Faith

I just love when companies are willing to put their faith on the line.

This week, my husband received a card from DRAKE SOFTWARE, a company he purchases his tax software from.

The inside of the card was signed by each of their employees.  What a wonderful sentiment from a company during this Easter season.  It reminds us to continue to give them our business. 

Locally, there is a car dealer, GROVERT'S CHEVROLET,  that is located on a major highway and every Lenten season, they have a huge cross that is placed on a large rock in their lot.  They usually have a truck or some type of vehicle placed on that rock, but during this Easter season, they place a large wooden cross and then on Easter weekend, the sash is weaved through the cross to signify that He has risen.  

There are many other companies who are willing to share they faith with the business world.  I am a consultant with MARY KAY COSMETICS, and their philosophy states that in life you should prioritize with God First, Family Second, and Career Third.  

CHICK-FIL-A is so willing to proclaim their faith, they are willing to be closed on Sundays.  Missing out on huge sales because it is more important to them to honor the Sabbath.  

Did you know that INTERSTATE BATTERIES states up front that it's mission is to "glorify God"?

FOREVER 21 prints John 3:16 on the bottom of each one of their shopping bags.  

TYSON FOODS strives to honor God in their business and be a "faith-friendly" company.

HOBBY LOBBY believes that it is by God's grace and provision that they have endured.  Their mission is to "honor the Lord in all they do by operating in a manner consistent with Biblical principles". 

I'm sure there are many, many other companies, but these are ones that I am familiar with and have given them our business.  If you know companies who are willing to wear their faith on their sleeve, be sure to thank them by giving them your business.  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Book Review: Beyond the Valley By Rita Gerlach

Daughters of the Potomac #3

By: Rita Gerlach

Published: February 1, 2013

When Sarah Carr’s husband Jamie drowns, her young life is shattered and takes a turn that she never expected. Pregnant and now widowed, she reaches out to Jamie’s family for help, but they are unwilling. Instead they devise a plan to have her kidnapped and taken to the Colonies to live a life of servitude. Sarah’s new life in the Colonies finds her surrounded by a family’s whirlwind of secrets, while she hopes the young doctor she loves with will bring her freedom.

I am bringing you this review as part of the BEYOND THE VALLEY Blog Tour sponsored by Pump Up Your Book.  I reviewed the first two books in this series as well.  You can find my reviews for them by clicking the titles, BEFORE THE SCARLET DAWN and BESIDE TWO RIVERS.

This third book in the series focuses on Sarah who we first meet in BEFORE THE SCARLET DAWN. We only know pieces of her life-story from that story and this book goes back to Sarah's life as she is newly married and living in England.  We learn her horrific history that brings her to America and eventually to Eliza and Hayward's home which is where BEFORE THE SCARLET DAWN picks up.  Even though this is Sarah's story, I do think you would be able to understand so much more of her and Eliza's time together if you read those books first.  But, this could also very easily stand alone.

BEYOND THE VALLEY moves quickly and is a fast read, mostly because you want to know what is going to happen to Sarah.  Just when it seems nothing else can go wrong and it can't get any worse, you find yourself reading about yet another setback in Sarah's life.  But, what amazed me was Sarah's unwavering faith in God.  That is something I have found in each of these three books, the character's strong faith.  Each one of the books features strong women and difficulties in their lives.  Each one of them never once loses their faith or blames God for not hearing their prayers.  I think these books could be inspirational to someone who is also struggling in their life.

Even though this book is set in the 1700's and deals with the idea of slavery and servants, I could still identify with the fears, hopes, and attitudes of the women featured in all three of these books.  Each of the women  were determined to fight for their family, for their faith, and for their lives.  I truly rooted for each one of them all the way through and Sarah was no exception.  Through all of her obstacles, she made the best of the situation and that alone, gave me hope that good would come of her struggles.

I did think that maybe Sarah's numerous struggles were a bit too much.  How much can happen to one woman in one story?   I also wondered if BEYOND THE VALLEY would have been better as the second in the series rather than the third. 

I must say, of the three books in the series, this one has my favorite cover.  I think it represents the image of Sarah that I have had in my mind from the first book and the bright colors draw you to it.  

Without giving anything away, I will say that I was pleased with the ending and certainly enjoyed the book and the series.  

Rita Gerlach writes inspirational historical fiction with a romantic bent, with unique settings in both America and England. She lives with her husband and two sons in a historical town nestled along the Catoctin Mountains amid Civil War battlefields and Revolutionary War outposts in central Maryland.  Check out Rita at her website, or like her on Facebook, HERE.

I was provided with a copy of the book in order to review it.  I was not compensated in any other way for this review.  This review is my honest opinion.  

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Little Monday Inspiration

I found this several years ago and just came across it again and wanted to share it with you.  This would be perfect to use for a daily prayer to start your day.  I may even have to make this into a document that I can print out and post where I can see it daily.  Unfortunately, I have no idea who the author of this daily wisdom is.  If you know, please share it with me.


Monday - Wash Day
Lord, help me wash away all my selfishness and vanity, 
so I may serve you with perfect humility through the week ahead.  

Tuesday - Ironing Day
Dear Lord, help me iron out all the wrinkles of prejudice I have collected through the years so that I may see the beauty in others.

Wednesday - Mending Day
O God, help me mend my ways 
so I will not set a bad example for others.

Thursday - Cleaning Day
Lord Jesus, help me to dust out all the many faults 
I have been hiding in the secret corners of my heart.

Friday - Shopping Day
O God, give me the grace to shop wisely so I may purchase eternal happiness for myself and all others in need of love.

Saturday - Cooking Day
Help me, my Savior, to brew a big kettle of brotherly love 
and serve it with clean, sweet bread of human kindness.

Sunday - The Lord's Day
O God, I have prepared my house for you. 
Please come into my heart 
so I may spend the day 
and the rest of my life in your presence. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Mapmaker's War Winner

The winner of THE MAPMAKER'S WAR by Ronlyn Domingue is................................

Amanda G

Congrats Amanda! I will be contacting you by email.  Thanks to all of you who entered.

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Little Monday Inspiration

I think what's important for kids to know is that 
your decisions here on earth matter, 
your behavior matters, 
and how your treat other people matters.
Matt Damon, actor and father

This is really what parenting is all about.  We try to teach our children to make good choices and treat people with kindness.  Now, in the age of social media we have add that whatever you put "out there" will be there forever once you hit "SEND". What you say about others, what pictures you take, and how you react. Actually maybe this isn't just for our children, but a good reminder for ourselves.  If we model responsible choices, responsible use of social media, kindness towards others, our kids will have a great example to follow.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Product Review: BYOU Magazine for Girls

BYOU Magazine for girls ages 8-14.  

December 2012/January 2013 Issue of BYOU Magazine

BYOU ‘Be Your Own You!’ Magazine is a magazine for "tween" girls between the ages of 8-14.  BYOU focuses on providing the message of positive self esteem and to empower them to become a positive force in tomorrow's world.  BYOU offers a balance of entertainment (note Olivia Holt, teen star, on the cover), education, and fun that will hopefully make a long-lasting and powerful impact on the self-esteem of girls.   BYOU features stories and information on current topics and challenges that girls face today (such as bullying, body image, and friendships),  popular teen/tween celebrities who are positive role models and making a difference in the world, and throughout the whole magazine, offers a positive message.

Our daughter, Reagan is 8 and when she saw BYOU Magazine arrive in the mail she immediately asked if she could read it. After both of us had a chance to read it, I asked her what she liked most about the magazine.  Her favorite sections were:
  • What it means to me to be your own you - Young girls from all over share their dreams and a little bit about themselves.  
  • Ask A & A Girl Talk - Allisyn and Audrey from Disney's "So Random" answer questions about friendships and life in girl world.
  • B-Smart - Games, puzzles, and exercises to workout your brain
  • Featured article with posters on Disney Channel star Olivia Holt.
  • Fun Wintertime Crafts - Making a peanut butter bird feeder and a snowflake craft.
As you can see, Reagan really enjoyed the magazine and it got the "Mom Approved" stamp from me as well.  It is brightly colored, engaging, and discusses topics in a positive and fun manner.None of the topics are over her head or "too old" for her to start to think about and discuss.  It even allowed us the chance to talk about something I probably wouldn't have asked her about.  I would definitely choose this over some of the other "teen" magazines out there now.    

BYOU Magazine is available in bookstores such as Barnes & Noble across the US & Canada or available by subscription for $17.97/year at

The February/March 2013 issue of BYOU Magazine is available now.  It features Katherine McNamara, Disney Channel star, on the cover.  

You can also "Like" BYOU Magazine on Facebook, HERE.

Thanks to BYOU Magazine for sending us an issue for review.  I was not compensated in any other way for this review.  This review is mine and Reagan's honest opinion.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Book Review: Past Tense By Shawn Kilgarlin

365 Daily Tools for Putting Stress Behind You - for Good!

By:  Shawn Kilgarlin

Published:  April 1, 2013


In this reader- and consumer-friendly, stress-beating, daily dose of relief book, Shawn Kilgarlin (with help from her husband Ron and crackerjack editor Skip Press) provides solutions to any triggered stress response that may darken your mind, from environmental and workplace stressors to daily events and unavoidable life changes. With sections for every season and pages for each day of the year, Past Tense is guaranteed to have something for everyone—even you. If you feel the need to stress, read this book first, and learn how to handle those worries immediately, or even set them aside forever!

Have you noticed a theme in my reading lately?  I've been reading books to help me handle stress and that "overwhelmed" feeling.  PAST TENSE is another book I highly recommend for those who feel like life is unraveling, like they will never catch up, that the world wants too much from you, and that you just can't handle any more stresses of life.

This book really covers it all.  With sections on handling your anger, your health, organization, marriage, family, and time management to name a few, I dare you to find a section that doesn't benefit you.  It even has a section for the new college student! It just might make an excellent graduation gift for someone you know.

While reading this, I marked so many pages that I realized this book was made for someone just like me.  A mom juggling a part-time job, a home, three kids and their crazy schedules, several volunteer obligations, church and family obligations and all the extra stuff that comes can get pretty stressful and I can frequently feel overwhelmed.  I look forward to reading this book at a much slower pace, really reflecting and putting to use the tips offered each day.  I was delighted to see one of the earlier pages titled, "Let Go, Let God" which is something I try to do every day.  Other days titled "Control Your Tongue" and "Smile" were excellent reminders.

Another section that is related to friendship reminded me that "Moving On" and "Getting Rid of Toxic Friends" will go a long way towards relieving stress in your life.  Don't we all have that friend who continues to hurt your feelings or is a constant complainer???  Why do we allow them to continue to stress us out? This section gave powerful examples for handling just those situations.  

As a volunteer who finds it difficult to say No, "Saying Yes to Saying No" was music to my ears.  Next time I get asked to lead or chair or run something....I may actually be able to say NO and mean it! 

Each reading for the day begins with a quote, then covers the topic in a short devotion and ends with another quote or Scripture.  It is easily read in just a few minutes and could be read over the course of one page/day for a year, or just by focusing on each section as it applies to you throughout your days.  If you are a quote lover, like I am, you will enjoy all the life-lessons included from Mark Twain, Billy Crystal, Aristotle, Albert Einstein, Kenny Loggins, Regis Philbin, and so many more.

The only down-side for me is the size of the book.  Since I have an uncorrected proof and the final copy is not yet available I am not 100% sure on the final size.  But, according to Amazon, it states it will be 10x7x1 inches which is the size of the book I have.  It is large and heavy and not something I would carry around, but one I would leave on my night stand. Since the book is large, the print is also not so small that you need a magnifying glass to read, which I appreciate.

I really enjoyed the thought-provoking, current, and convicting lessons in this book and I am convinced you would also. I would love to see this as a Page-A-Day calendar in the future. How about 2014... anyone????

Shawn V. Kilgarlin is a writer, speaker, and Chief Operating Officer of Louisiana-based American Screening Corporation (ASC), a nationwide leader in drug testing products since 2004. In 2011, she was named a Cambridge Who’s Who Professional of the Year in Health Care Support. Ms. Kilgarlin’s husband (and co-author), Ron Kilgarlin is ASC’s CEO and an internationally recognized sales expert. Their company has helped over a million people deal with the plague of substance abuse. While unusually active in her industry and community, Ms. Kilgarlin’s true passions are writing and helping those in need. She is the author of the book God’s Love Letters: Overcoming Adversity. Past Tense is her second book.
Ron Kilgarlin is founder and Chief Executive Officer of American Screening Corporation. He no stranger to adversity, under extreme conditions, and with his father’s sound advice, he sold off an underperforming company. On January 2004, Ron started American Screening Corporation, in his parent’s sunroom.
Under his direction, 9 years later & with the help of his wife Shawn Kilgarlin, COO, ASC is now the #1 Rapid Drug Testing Company in the United States. In 2009 his company was awarded by GSA, a contract, to sell to federal government agencies. ASC is ISO 13485 Certified, specializing in the manufacturing and distribution of Rapid Drug & Point of Care Tests, serving US & International Clients, including Medical, Corrections, Retail, Direct Consumer, Commercial, & Government Markets. ASC has Free Sale Certificates in 27 foreign countries, Health Canada, Saudi FDA, & Iran OFAC license.
Ron is a drug testing expert helping over 1 million clients fight the plague of drug & alcohol addictions. Ron is an internationally recognized sales & internet marketing expert. He led the creations of, which is the premiere website to purchase drug & health tests, with over 4000 products and growing.
Ron has recently accepted a position on the board, for the Louisiana Economic Development Council, as Ambassador, for executive’s considering expansion or relocation.
His love for writing started years ago as he kept a journal for self- improvement. His goal is to reach out, inspire, and connect with the world, sharing his personal stories of hardship, and researched studies on techniques for self-improvement.
While not working Ron enjoys spending time with his beloved family, traveling the open road, smoking fine cigars, reading, & writing.
To follow Shawn on Twitter, click HERE.
To follow Ron on Twitter, click HERE.
This review is part of a blog tour with  I was provided a copy of this book for this review.  I was not compensated in any other way for this review.  This review is my honest opinion.

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Final Goodbye

Sadly, our last family pet has passed on today.  Last March, we lost our cat Buddy, and today, we had to say goodbye to our cat, Baxter.

I got Baxter on a farm just outside of Janesville, Wisconsin in May 1997, and I remember choosing him from the rest because he was the cutest and fluffiest and was very playful.  When Pat and I met in 1998, Baxter and Buddy were not fans of each other, but after a few days they became inseparable.  Buddy was always the playful one and always, always had to be on your lap.  Baxter loved to play with glitter balls but preferred to curl up on the couch, usually the back of the couch with the sun shining on him. 

Buddy left us on March 14, 2012 after suffering from feline leukemia.  Since Buddy has been gone, Baxter became much more loving.  Lately, he had been sleeping at my feet at night and preferring a lap over the couch any time.  We could tell that Baxter wasn't feeling the best and seemed to at times, act like he had a stroke or something.  Then yesterday, he began having seizures and after an entire day of struggling, we took him to the vet this morning to have him put to sleep.  I was relieved to see him peaceful and quiet and I am sure Buddy was there to greet him and guide him to a big comfy couch for them to lay on in the sun!

We will miss you Baxter.  Thanks for almost 16 great years together!
May 1997- March 2013

A Little Monday Inspiration

Taken from JESUS CALLING by Sarah Young:

The most persistent choice you face is whether to trust Me or to worry.  You will never run out of things to worry about, but you can choose to trust Me no matter what. 

I am a chronic worrier.  I worry about an impending snow storm.  I worry about my husband and kids while they are away from home.  I worry about my parents. I worry about my long list of To-Do's. I worry about the future for our children.  I worry about the stock market (our income depends on it).  I worry about our safety.  I could go on and on and on with my list of worries.  This devotion from JESUS CALLING spoke to me and was a reminder that I needed to hear.

Then in this same time frame, I came across another quote related to worry.

Worry is pulling tomorrow's clouds over today's sunshine. 
Shirley Wood

What a perfect visual reminder of how worry can affect your attitude and how the rest of your day plays out.

I need to remember one of my favorite sayings, "Let go and let God!" and live it!  Hey, wasn't that my 2013 Resolution????  Ugh...need to keep working on that!

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:34