Friday, August 29, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: Your Core

Today’s book review is of a Graham Blanchard children’s book titled, “Your Core” written by Callie Grant and Illustrated by Missi Jay.

I’ve reviewed a few of these Graham Blanchard books before, some of which were written by Callie Grant and they are always delightful. “Your Core” is no exception. It is a great book that describes what a core is, “something on the inside,” and then goes on to describe that we also have cores. Our core is where our soul resides and God fills it with “love, and joy and power”.

“Your Core” is geared towards children ages 0-5 and helps provide an easy understanding of our core, or what makes us who we are.

Graham Blanchard, Inc., founded by Callie Grant, is a “Christian publishing company based in Austin, Texas. They are on a mission to encourage and equip parents to effectively teach their kids about God, even at a very young age. They are the only company specializing in board books that help parents share faith with their children from infancy.”

“Your Core” retails for about $8 on Amazon and would make a great addition

If you are interested in having a copy of “Your Core” by Callie Grant, then just leave a comment on this post. The nice folks at Shelton Interactive have once again been kind enough to provide a copy for one of you dear readers.

The giveaway will be open through Thursday, September 4 at 11:59 p.m. and the winner will be announced on Friday, September 5. Thanks so much for reading and good luck!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Book Review: Spiritual Renewal Study Bible

I’ve been given the opportunity to review the Spiritual Renewal Study Bible for you all today. I reserved this book through my affiliation with Booklook Bloggers. If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, then you know I am a sucker for a new Bible. I like different types of Bibles and the various footnotes and devotionals they have to offer and so I was very excited to receive this Bible and review it for you all.

This Bible is probably one of my favorites of all the ones I’ve reviewed (and I realize I probably say that every time). It comes in hardback form with a lovely book sleeve. The book itself is plain brown with “Holy Bible” written across the front should you want a “low key” look, if you will.

The notes in this Bible are written by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Each book has a one-two page introduction which gives a brief synopsis of the book, an outline of the book, and a section of essential facts such as who wrote the book (if known), the approximate dates the book was written and who the audience is. This section also points out key verses and special features like the type of literary form used.

Within each of the books are various sections that help the reader further their knowledge and help their study. There is a profile of some of the main characters within the book which gives a summary of the person’s life as well as strengths and accomplishments. There are also “key” sections which highlight a section of verses and provide insight and thoughts about those particular verses.

There are also sections titled, “The Spiritual Disciplines” which highlight various aspects of Christianity such as fasting, prayer, and service. There are also footnotes for many of the verses which are very helpful when diving into the scriptures and trying to understand more about the word of God. The words of Christ are in red, which is also a plus as far as I’m concerned.

If you are looking for a new study Bible for yourself or someone you know, I would definitely recommend the Spiritual Renewal Study Bible. It retails for around $30 on Amazon  but the Kindle version is only $4.99! It is also available at Barnes and Noble and would make a great addition to anyone’s Biblical collection. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My Debut as Inspector

It was yet another voting day in Huntsville this past Tuesday. This go-around was for the general municipal election for the city. There was only one office to vote for in my precinct so needless to say there wasn’t much thinking to do. We voted a total of 142 people, which is a great deal more than we voted in the primary run-off back in July but still hardly a drop in the voter pool bucket.

The inspector for my precinct had knee replacement surgery last month and decided not to work this election and so the duties of inspector fell into my capable hands. I’m also happy to report the lady that messed up the clerk’s list last month was on vacation so I didn’t have to deal with the headache of her getting us off count for the day. In other words, I had a good crew and a smooth day.

I stopped by the precinct on Monday afternoon about 4:30 to set up the poll. It took me about 40 minutes to get everything set up the way I wanted it and to take care of everything that could be done the night before. The morning of voting, I made a run by Hardee’s to get everyone a biscuit. Our usual inspector does this each time we vote and so I thought it would be a good idea to do the same thing for everyone. We all arrived around 6:00 a.m. Tuesday morning and signed all the papers and envelopes and took the oath of office and by 6:15 a.m. we were done setting up and ready for our first voter. Of course, the polls didn’t open until 7:00 a.m. so we were ready with lots of time to spare.

The day went off without a hitch. We had a very slow yet steady pace of people come in to vote. Per usual, we ordered Steak-Out for lunch which was delicious as always. Mid-afternoon, I made use of the church’s walking track and walked for about 30 minutes to pass the time and try to get in a little physical activity. One can begin to feel like a sloth sitting around for hours on end.

I brought loads of things to do throughout the day. I knocked out some Bible study lessons and prepared for my Wednesday night three-year old class. I cut coupons and played games on my Kindle and I also wrote a few blog posts, this one included.

About 5:00 p.m. I started getting everything ready for the closing of the polls. Since we had made it out in record time back in July, I wanted to try and get out just as quick this go-around, especially since I would be the one taking all the ballots and results to the courthouse. We closed the polls at 7:00 p.m. and I got the reports printed out, signed and in their proper envelopes and everything loaded into the car by 7:09 and was at the courthouse five minutes later. I made a quick run by Publix downtown to pick up a few items that were on sale before heading home, making it in the front door by 7:35 p.m.

It was a successful day as inspector at the polls if I do say so myself. This was our last voting day until the general election coming up in November which will hopefully be much busier and more entertaining than this particular election.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The ESPN Debut

I realize Friday was a few days ago, but I guess it’s better late than never to write about it. Friday evening, Madison Academy played Leeds in the opening game of the high school football season and this year was extra special because the game was on ESPNU. That’s right, folks, the mighty Mustangs were on national television – no big deal.

My dad had gone up to the school early in the week to get our tickets and paid for parking. The game started at 8:00 p.m. which was an hour later than the normal start time. My dad, aunt, and friend Leah all got to my house around 5:30 p.m. and we headed to the stadium. Yes, you read that correctly, we arrived at a high school football game more than two hours before the game started. The gates didn’t open until 6:30 p.m. so we had to stand in the blazing hot sun for 30 minutes or so before we could get inside and grab a seat.

Leah and I ended up getting in to the game on her husband’s coaches’ pass from last season. So, my brother and his lady friend used the two tickets my dad had gotten for me and Leah. We made it in and got seats pretty close to where we usually sit and then hit up the concession stand for dinner.

Finally, after sweating it out in the heat forever, the game got underway. The first half wasn’t as grand as we MA fans hoped it would be, but they played better in the second half and ended up tying game. Leeds kicked a field goal with four seconds left in the game to win by three. It was thrilling to the end.
Yes, in case you were wondering, I watched the game on the DVR on Saturday. I was curious to hear what the commentators had to say about both teams and also to see what the game looked like on TV.

The game looked really great and was quite impressive on TV. I recognized the commentators’ voices from having called some lesser known college games from seasons past. I heard that they said the MA facilities were actually nicer than some of the college games they have called. The MA family also made a great impression on them and I heard that they said they wouldn’t mind coming back to do another game.

Despite the loss, it was a fun night and great exposure for this little school that many of us hold so dear. We’re looking forward to another fun and exciting football season and maybe even a third state title. Only time will tell. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

And The Winner Is...

Congrats to Meri Brown, winner of the recent giveaway "The Hope Quotient". Thanks for reading, everyone and have a good weekend!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

One Year Later

Believe it or not, this past Saturday, August 16 was mine and Pippa's one year dogiversary. Y'all, I've got to be honest, I really wasn't sure we would make it this long. When I got The Pip, it had been over a decade since I had dealt with a puppy. So, I think it goes without saying that we had some rather trying moments the past year and sometimes still do. Overall though, The Pip has been a real joy. She has definitely not taken the place of The Tide,  but my heart did make some room for loving another dog which I wasn't sure would be possible. So, a happy dogiversary to The Pip! Here's to hoping we have a few more!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Movie Weekend For Me

This past weekend was officially the last weekend before the start of football season; well, high school football season that is. So, I took the opportunity to have some "me time" and get some things done around the house. 

Friday night, I went with Leah to the home of her mother-in-law for a Premier Jewelry party and I'm pleased to announce that I bought absolutely nothing. There were a few items I would liked to have gotten, but I really didn't want to spend any money so I exhibited some self-control and went away empty handed. However, all was not lost as I saw my friend April for the first time in forever and we were able to enjoy a tremendous amount of laughs which is something we have always been able to do. It was so great to see her. She and I need to do a better job of staying in touch other than the random text every few months. 

Saturday morning, I was up before 5:00 a.m. - what can I say, I was just lying in bed wide awake so I figured I would go ahead and get up. I spent the morning cleaning and doing laundry and watching some TV too. I managed to get myself somewhat presentable and headed out to run some errands around noon. I knocked everything off the list and was home by 2:15 p.m. at which point I realized I forgot to go by Redbox and pick up the two movies I had reserved for the night. I debated whether or not I should leave the house again to pick them up or just forget about it. After much internal debate, I decided to go ahead and go pick up the movies. There wasn't much on TV for the evening and I didn't want to spend the rest of the afternoon and night bored to tears. So, I loaded up The Pip and we went to pick up the movies. 

I got "Divergent" and "The Railway Man". Divergent was okay, but definitely not as good as the book. "The Railway Man" was based on a true story and was a good movie, hard to watch at times, but a nice story of forgiveness. In between movies, I put together a breakfast casserole for my Sunday school class. It was a Cheesy Amish Breakfast Casserole and it turned out pretty good. 

Sunday after church, I returned the two movies from Saturday and rented two more. For Sunday I got "Philomena" and "The Book Thief". I watched "Philomena" that afternoon before evening services. I really, really enjoyed this one. It was also based on a true story (and book) and was just excellent; but then again, every movie with Dame Judy Dench is excellent. 

I watched "The Book Thief" after church that evening. I think I mentioned that my dad watched this on the plane on the way to Hawaii earlier this year and had said it was an excellent movie. I downloaded the book to my Kindle recently, but haven't started reading it yet (yes, I violated my book before movie policy). This movie was very, very good. I cried a couple of times during the movie and just really enjoyed watching it. I'm anxious to read the book and see how it is different from the movie. 

So, I guess you could say it was a movie weekend for me. I was glad to have the down time and time to take in some movies I had wanted to see. An overall great weekend in my book. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: The Hope Quotient

~~ This Giveaway is now closed ~~

Today, I have the privilege of reviewing for you a book by Ray Johnston titled, "The Hope Quotient." I don't know if I've mentioned it on the blog before, but I know I've talked with close friends about how I feel like hope is often cruel. Sometimes, it seems like when we are given hope, it become crushed and we end up with shattered hopes and so when I was given the opportunity to read and review this book, I decided to take it because a more positive spin on hope might not be such a bad thing. 

The book is a little over 200 pages long and an easy read. Mr. Johnston tells personal stories and uses a lot of humor to communicate his points making the book flow very easily. The books begins with an introduction of IQ (Intelligence Quotient) and EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient) and then asks a series of questions ending with "Why are some people just personally, emotionally, and relationally in better shape?" Mr. Johnston, after seven years of research and study of people, has come to the conclusion that it has to do with your HQ, or Hope Quotient.

The book is divided into three parts - Part One - The Single Most Important Thing to Do, Part Two - Seven Factors That Raise Your Hope Quotient, and Part Three - Unleashing a Culture of Hope. Every Section of the book brings out brilliant applications for life that can help us to have a better and more positive outlook and change the way we think and approach various circumstances. In part two, the seven factors that are discussed are as follows: 1) Recharge Your Batteries, 2) Raise Your Expectations, 3) Refocus on the Future, 4) Play to Your Strengths, 5) Refuse to Go It Alone, 6) Replace Burnout With Balance, and 7) Play Great Defense. Within each section are more detailed points such as (for point six) divert daily, withdraw weekly and abandon annually - in other words, take some time for yourself. 

In part three, Mr. Johnston discusses unleashing hope in the following places: marriage, kids, career, church, community, and world and discusses how hope can make all these areas of your life much better and work more smoothly than the do today. 

Overall, I feel like "The Hope Quotient" was a very good book with lots of great points and theories that when put to use will probably make an impact for the positive in your life. Obviously, there will still be bumps along the way; this is, after all, life. However, when using the applications learned from "The Hope Quotient" maybe the bumps won't seem as difficult to traverse as they might have been had you not read this book. 

The nice folks at Shelton Interactive have provided me a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader. If you are interested in winning a copy of "The Hope Quotient" then just leave a comment in this post. The comments will be open until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, August 21 and the winner will be announced Friday, August 22. Thanks for reading and good luck!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Food Truck Review: Bigfoot's Little Donuts

In case you've been living under a rock, Huntsville has recently had an influx of food trucks - some good, some not so good. I've tried a handful of them and overall have had good experiences. Generally speaking, I find that the food is more expensive than a brick and mortar restaurant and the portions are a lot smaller, meaning if you are super duper hungry, you might still be hungry after you eat. 

There are a lot of trucks I still have not tried, but have wanted to and hope to sometime soon. The problem is that most of the time, the only time I see these food tucks are on days like the food truck rally when the lines are astronomically long.  So, it's better to catch these rolling restaurants throughout the week rather than at large events where there are swarms of people. 

Bigfoot's Little Donuts is one of the newer trucks that I wanted to try and recently I had the opportunity to do so. They set up shop in South Huntsville close to where I work on Wednesdays and Thursdays each week and one recent Wednesday, I crossed the highway to stop in and pick up a dozen of their little gourmet donuts.

Bigfoot's has two types of donuts, the regular are cinnamon and sugar or powdered sugar and the gourmet are the regular donuts with some type of topping. On the day I went the gourmet choices were cinnamon bun, lemon and raspberry creme. I got an assortment of the three. The cinnamon bun was the cinnamon and sugar doughnut with creamy icing drizzled on top, the lemon had a lemon icing drizzled on top and the raspberry creme had some sort of raspberry jam and the creamy icing on top. 

The doughnuts are very small and thin and taste similar to a funnel cake. I knew they were going to be small, but was, for some reason, surprised at how small they were, they were basically bite sized. So, while I had intended to share some with my co-worker Jessica, I actually ate the whole dozen. I'm not even ashamed to admit it because they were good and I like to have a full belly in the mornings to start my day. 

The creamy icing and other toppings had a great taste and really complimented the otherwise plain doughnuts; although I have no doubt that powdered sugar or cinnamon and sugar would also be good. The doughnuts are $3 a dozen for the "regular" flavors and $4 a dozen for the gourmet version. If you can't make it to South Parkway on a Wednesday or Thursday, be sure and try to find them at one of the local events in town, it will satisfy your sweet spot and you are supporting one of our many great local businesses! 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Last Summer Wedding for 2014

I woke up Saturday morning about 6:00 a.m. and basically moved from the bed to the couch. I spent the rest of the morning napping on and off and watching shows from the DVR and then golf. I did manage to at least leave my house for about 30 minutes to fill the car up with gas and get a pizza for lunch. 

About 2:30 I dragged myself off the couch and got ready for my friend Jay's wedding. It was the fourth and final summer of 2014 wedding I would attend. Jay and I used to work together until he moved on to greener pastures almost a year ago. Well, it may have been over a year ago at this point. I seriously lose track of time. Jay and I have stayed in touch since he left and I was so glad to get his wedding invitation in the mail. He and Krislyn had dated for about four years and we used to tease him quite often about popping the big question. 

A while back, I had asked Nevin if he would go with me to the wedding. I knew that I would not know a whole lot of people other than the handful of work friends that would be going and so he graciously agreed to go with me. Nevin came by a little before 3:30 p.m. and we were soon on our way for the 4:00 p.m. wedding which was held at a church downtown close to my house.  The church was small and quaint, quite a contrast from the other weddings I've attended recently.

The ceremony was supposed to start at 4:00 p.m., but didn't actually get started until almost 4:30 p.m. Jay looked handsome and Krislyn looked beautiful, as it should be. The ceremony was short and sweet, lasting all of about 15 minutes. The most interesting part of it all was when Jay and Krislyn jumped the broom. Beforehand, the minister told the history behind it - how slaves were not afforded the privilege of a legal marriage and so they jumped over a broom to indicate a commitment to each other. The grandmothers swept away the floor (indicating a sweeping away of the past), then placed the broom on the floor and Jay and Krislyn took the big jump. It was a nice way to end a lovely service. 

The reception was across the street at the Roundhouse Depot. The room was decorated beautifully. There were appetizers and drinks for everyone to snack on while the wedding party was taking photos. Soon after the couple arrived, the entire wedding party was announced and the first dances took place. Jay and his mother really cut a rug during their dance. It was such fun to watch. The dinner was finally brought out and I loved that Krislyn's dad said a prayer to bless the food before dinner. We had greens, shrimp and grits, steamed veggies, wild rive, chicken and cornbread. Everything was really good. 

Not long after dinner, Jay and Krislyn cut the cake. I had a piece of the bride's cake which looked beautiful and tasted good. Nevin and I as well as my co-workers all left soon after. We had all been at the reception for a couple of hours and the dancing hadn't even started. I think we were all tired and ready to hit the road. 

It was a fun night with friends celebrating the love and union of two lovely people. Here's to wishing Jay and Krislyn all the best!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Day Two at the PGA Championship

On Friday morning, I got up around 7:00 a.m., got my shower and got dressed and then discovered that I had traveled all the way to Louisville without so much as a comb or a brush. So, I got a comb from the front desk and it was a miracle it didn't break when I combed the tangles out of my freshly washed hair. I woke my dad up and he got dressed and we headed downstairs for breakfast. 

When I had gone to the front desk that morning, I noticed it was pouring rain. We knew the weather forecast was rain and so it wasn't all that surprising. There was a rain delay at the tournament that morning and so we made some plans of things we could do in case play did not resume. Since there was an hour or so delay, we decided to go to the Louisville Slugger Bat Factory and Museum and take a tour. 

The factory was in downtown Louisville and we got there just in time for what I think was probably the first tour of the day at 9:20 a.m. There were quite a few people there who were biding time until the rain delay at the PGA Championship passed. The tour lasted about 30-40 minutes and our guide did a great job. You could tell he was very passionate about baseball and the history of the game. He also did great impersonations of famous baseball celebrities. At the end of the tour, each person is given a miniature Louisville Slugger bat. 

After the tour, our guide opened up the bat vault for those who wanted to go and there were five of us who took him up on the offer. Inside the bat vault, they have the original models of bats used by famous baseball players such as Babe Ruth, George Brett, Roberto Clemente and many others. It was very interesting to see and hold the bats and feel the different weights of the bats. Bats today are much lighter now than they were 50 years ago. We learned more about the contracts that the athletes signed with Louisville Slugger. Most of the contracts were for a set of gold clubs and a $100 - unheard of today. 

When we finished up in the bat vault, we left to go back over to Churchill Downs to park the car and ride the bus over to the golf course. I think we got to the course a little bit before noon. There were already tons of people out and about and lot coming in when we did as well. We decided to head over to the green at 17 to watch the action. Since it had rained all morning and (I'm assuming) the night before, the common walking areas were basically a big mud pit. We had to traverse very carefully over to the grandstands for fear we may slip and fall down the muddy slopes of Valhalla. We made it to the stands without incident, although I had one close call. 

We stayed at 17 for the early afternoon. The drizzle would come and go, but it was not terrible and we both had rain jackets and I had brought in a sheet that I had in the back of the car for when Pip takes a ride - thankfully it had just been washed. The sheet was used to wipe off the seats in the grandstands so our backsides wouldn't get too wet. We saw a lot of groups come through, but not too many big names. Since we had missed Rickie Fowler on day one, I really wanted to see him on day two. So, we headed back over to eight to try and catch him there, but the grand stands were full and it didn't look like anyone would be leaving any time soon, plus there was a large line to get in. 

We ended up at 13 which was my dad's favorite hole and the signature hole at Valhalla. We sat up on a hill overlooking the green. We got to see Rickie Fowler and a lot of the other big names come through, some of whom we had seen the day before. It was a great spot. After the Phil Mickelson group came through, we left for the day, catching the bus back to Churchill Downs. It took longer than usual to get back to Churchill as it seemed our bus driver didn't know where the heck he was going, but we finally made it back and then to the car. 

We stopped at Longhorn for dinner before beginning the long journey home. We enjoyed a really yummy meal and then got on the Interstate headed South. I was having trouble seeing - my eyes were tired and I think my prescription may have changed since last year - and so when we were just north of Nashville, we stopped and changed drivers. I tried my best to stay awake the rest of the ride home, but I nodded off a time or two, but not for long periods of time. 

We finally made it back to my house about 12:30. As we were unloading the car, the lady who had taken care of The Pip pulled up. She had dropped Pip off earlier in the evening and had been texting and calling and I was oblivious to it all. So, she wanted to check on Pippa and let her out again in case we were not home. She went on in to let The Pip out while we finished unloading the car. My dad then headed home and so did Galen and I was able to call it a night, or morning as the case may be. 

It was a whirlwind trip, but we certainly had a great time. We both really enjoyed ourselves and it was nice to get away for a couple of days. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

PGA Championship Road Trip

I've been MIA from the blog because I've been MIA from town. My dad and I went to Louisville late last week for the first and second rounds of the PGA Championship and we had a really fun two days.

We left from my house about 4:45 Thursday morning and headed north. Thankfully, we left early enough that we missed the rush hour traffic into Nashville and didn't have to wait in long traffic delays. We stopped for breakfast at Cracker Barrel once we got north of Nashville and then continued the rest of our journey.

To be honest, I can't remember what time we got to Louisville. We parked at Churchill Downs (where they have the Kentucky Derby) and then got on a bus for a 30-minute ride to the golf course. I think we got the course a little before noon - Louisville is on Eastern time which I didn't realize until my dad told me on the way up there.

When we got to the course, we grabbed a pairing sheet and looked at the map of the course to figure out where we wanted to go. The first green we came to was 13 and we stayed there for a few minutes and saw John Daly come through. We then decided to go to the 8th hole which was a par three on the back side of the course.

When we got to the grand stands at eight, there was a small line to get in. The stands were closed because they were full. As it turns out, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson's group was coming through and so it was crowded because of that. We are not Tiger fans and didn't care if we saw him or not, but I've always loved Phil and so I was thrilled when two people left the stands and we were able to take their place and watch Phil and Tiger putt.

The next few groups after that were also good and we got to see Bubba Watson, Graeme McDowell, Brandt Snedecker and a lot of other big names come through. We spent the rest of our day there at the eighth hole and watched all but about four groups. We then left for the day and stopped by Red Lobster for some dinner.

We went to the hotel after dinner and my dad made a phone call home and I was asleep before he even got finished I think. I was pooped from the long day. It was a great start to a fun road trip.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Splendid Weekend

Summer is winding down, but the weekend fun is not, which is just fine by me because soon ti will be football season and I won't want to do much other than sit in the stands on Friday nights or front of the TV on Saturdays yelling at 15-21 year-old boys. I can't help it, it's the way I was raised. 

Friday I had big plans to mow the lawn, but it rained that afternoon and I'm not a fan of cutting wet grass. So, I postponed the mowing and got some things inside marked off the list instead. 

Saturday morning I was up early and did a few more chores before cleaning myself up and taking The Pip to the vet. It was time for her monthly nail trim and I needed to get a weight on her to determine which heartworm medicine she needed for the month. She weighed 55.5 pounds this go around which is her largest weight yet; so, maybe she isn't finished growing after all. The whole trip lasted about 20 minutes and we were soon back home. 

Around 10:00 a.m., I headed over to my friends Paul and Leah's house for breakfast. Our friend Katie, who got married in June, was in town for a few hours (literally) and so Paul and Leah hosted a group of us so that we could catch up with Katie and Jonathan. It was a great group of people and so much fun. We had breakfast burritos which was a first for me. Breakfast burritos have never really appealed to me, but I gave it a go, stuffed it with what I liked and found that actually, I really enjoyed it. I would definitely have this again and would even make it at home. It was a great idea because it was filling and everyone could make their own to their own liking. 

I left Paul and Leah's a little after noon and went straight to the movie theater to catch the 12:30 showing of "Get On Up". I hope I will find the time to review this for you all before the weekend because it really was not worth $7.25. This one is a rental in my humble opinion. After the movie, I went back to Paul and Leah's to pick Leah up so that we could venture over to Lowe Mill for the Splendid Shindig which was put on by Piper and Leaf

Piper and Leaf is a local tea company here in Huntsville and they have all kinds of delicious teas which they sell at the various farmers markets around town. Leah was actually the one who introduced me to their tea. They have opened a permanent home in Lowe Mill in case you need a tea fix and it's not market day. So, they were having their grand opening event this past Saturday and they called it the Splendid Shindig, named after the festival in "Pollyanna". 

There were lots of vendors out for the day. they had all set up booths selling various and sundry goods. There were also activities for children and adults. We perused the booths and also the inside of Lowe Mill and, of course, bought some tea. There were quite a few people in attendance and it seemed as though everyone was having a nice time which was really great to see. 

We left Lowe Mill about 5:00 p.m. and I dropped Leah off and headed back home to The Pip. I spent the rest of the evening watching "Summer Magic" one of my favorite old movies and finishing up the laundry. It was such a fun, full day spent with great friends. I am truly blessed. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Book Review: The Blessings of Friendship Treasury

Today's book review is of "The Blessings of Friendship Treasury" by Mary Engelbreit. This book is absolutely delightful and, although geared towards children, would make the perfect gift for the good friends in your life. 

I have always liked Mary Englebriet "things", calendars, journals, etc. The whimsical prints and fun sayings are a great addition to an office wall or the side of a fridge, or to carry around in your backpack. The bright, colorful drawings often put a smile on my face and I'm sure they probably put a smile on yours as well. So, when I saw that one of the books offered this month through Booklook Bloggers was "The Blessings of Friendship Treasury" by Mary Englebriet, I knew I had to get it.

The book arrived last week, and it is every bit as delightful as I imagined it would be. There are, of course, lots of cute Mary Englebriet drawings, most of which are of "friends" - two or more persons in each picture. The content of the book was taken from various places and authors. There are poems and phrases and Bible verses throughout the book, all of which have to do with friendship or being a friend, or helping others. You will most likely recognize many of the authors, including one of my all-time favorites, Shel Siverstien whose poems I absolutely loved as a child. The book is also quite large (11.3x8.7) which is a good sized book for children as the pictures are large and vibrant and will open the imagination of a child. At 40 pages, the book can easily be read during an afternoon, or can be picked up and looked at from time to time - whichever strikes your fancy. 

Here is a blurb about the book: "The Blessings of Friendship, created by New York Times bestselling author and artist Mary Engelbreit, is a playful and poignant treasury of poetry, Bible verses, and quotes that celebrate the joy of friendship. Children will learn from timeless sayings and poems what it means to be a friend - helping, encouraging, listening, sharing with, and loving one another. Colorful and whimsical illustrations bring these words to life, as children learn the value of friendship. Verses from the Bible give us instruction on putting others above ourselves, loving each other, and being kind to one another. This book will make you smile with each turn of the page, remembering old friends and new friends alike."

"The Blessings of Friendship Treasury" retails for around $13 on Amazon and it releases Tuesday, August 5 (which is probably today for most of you reading). It is a great resource for teaching children about friendship but would also make a great gift for adult friends too. Pick up a copy today!

Friday, August 1, 2014

And The Winner Is...

Congrats to Kristina Nicole, winner of "A Christ Centered Wedding", which I know will come in hnady for her since she is getting married later this year. Thanks for entering and have a great Friday!