Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Sensitive Mission

Those folks at Smiley360 are at it again, this time sending me some ARM & HAMMER™ Sensitive Toothpaste to try.  Keep reading for my thoughts, a coupon, and to find out how to get your own free sample!

Sensitive Toothpaste

Brought to you by the makers of ARM & HAMMER™ toothpaste and Orajel™ oral pain relief medication, this toothpaste delivers maximum strength pain relief for less.  Start relieving pain triggered by hot or cold foods, acids, and sweets with this low abrasion formula that also effectively removes plaque and surface stains without causing sensitivity.

I suffer from occasional tooth sensitivity to cold and to touch.  Never know when it's going to strike, and it is all the more painful for its unpredictability.  I used ARM & HAMMER™ Sensitive Toothpaste two times a day for 2 weeks, and during that time I didn't experience tooth sensitivity once.  Then I went to the dentist, who apparently cleaned all that sensitivity protection away, and that very night, I experienced pain due to cold.  Coincidence?  I think not.

The taste is not the greatest, but it is much, much (soooo much) better than the taste of another brand of sensitive toothpaste that I've tried in the past, and after using this toothpaste, my teeth felt clean and smooth.

ARM & HAMMER™ Sensitive Toothpaste is available in 3 varieties, including ARM & HAMMER™ Sensitive Whitening, ARM & HAMMER™ Sensitive Freshening, and ARM & HAMMER™ Sensitive Multi-Protection. 

It's definitely worth a try if you experience any kind of tooth sensitivity.  And to make it easier to try, click here to get a FREE sample!

You can also click here to get a $1off 1 Arm & Hammer Sensitive toothpaste printable coupon, as well as coupons for other Arm & Hammer products, like baking soda, laundry detergent, carpet deodorizer and toothbrushes.

Thank you to for providing these samples for me to try, free of charge, for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Blessed Woman by Debbie Morris: A Review

I recently had the opportunity to read The Blessed Woman: Learning About Grace from the Women of the Bible by Debbie Morris.

From the back cover:
As women, the demands and expectations of others, and those we place on ourselves, can be overwhelming.  While trying to navigate this thing called "life," have you ever longed for a close friend, confidant, or mentor to walk alongside you and encourage you?
Why, yes, actually, I have.  In these years of mothering in the trenches (that's what I call these years when my kids need me so intensely), it's so difficult to find time for anything other than keeping the family afloat.  It is a busy and often lonely place to be, and it's hard to lift my head up long enough to find a friend, confidant, or mentor to encourage me.  That's why I love the concept of this book.  While I may not have a friend or confidant knocking on my door, I have everything I need right in the pages of the Bible.  The stories of Biblical women can inspire, encourage, and guide me through life.

In this book Mrs. Morris tells the stories of well known women, like Eve, Mary, Esther, and Naomi, as well as lesser known women, to show how each of them can teach us lessons for today.  These women were real people--imperfect, scared, insecure--and many of them did incredible things.  Debbie Morris points out their sucesses and failures and suggests ways that we can learn from them.

I enjoyed this book.  I love reading about Biblical people in a way that brings new insight, and brings their stories to life, and I love being able to apply Biblical truths to my life, which this book enabled me to do.

I received this book for free from Waterbrook/Multnomah Publishers for the purposes of this review.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Did you like this review? Please take a moment to rank it below. By doing so, you will be entered into a drawing to win a copy of the book.

Lead Me Home by Stacy Hawkins Adams: a Review

In this second book of the Winds of Change series, Shiloh Griffin is a pastor's wife and mom to 4 boys.  Two years ago, the family moved from a small town in South Carolina to Milwaukee for Pastor Griffin to become lead pastor of a large church there.  Shiloh gave up college and her dream to become a music teacher to marry her husband 18 years ago, and has struggled to find an identity apart from being a mom and "First Lady" of the church, when she's offered a long-term sub position teaching music at a Milwaukee high school.

Throughout her sub assignment, Shiloh grows to love her students and begins mentoring a teenage girl who desires to play flute professionally.  Through this relationship, Shiloh comes face to face with dark secrets from her past and learns about the power of love and forgiveness.

I liked this book.  It's a good story with a strong Christian foundation, and the characters and plot are real and very relatible.  I found myself identifying with Shiloh in her search for an identity beyond that of wife and mom, as well as in her quest to settle in and feel like she really belongs in a new place.
I enjoyed the theme of forgiveness and hope that is weaved throughout the pages of the book, and  I found the message that God still loves and forgives even the things of which we are most ashamed to be inspiring and reassuring.  This book shows, through fiction, how we can experience freedom in forgiveness.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the® book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Chia Breakfast Bowl

Hey, y'all!  Happy Thursday.  Today I wanted to share a simple, healthy recipe that comes from my cousin in law, Runner Girl.

You may have been hearing lately about the health benefits of chia seed (yes, the same stuff we seeded our chia pets with years ago.  Or y'all who were lucky enough to have chia pets did).  If not, check this out.

Anyway, I was intrigued by the whole chia phenomenon, and I knew RG was eating more healthfully, so I asked her if she had any good chia recipes to share.  And boy, did she!  This stuff doesn't look pretty, but it sure tastes good.  And it is so easy to make.

Here's what you do.  In a small bowl, mash a banana.  Add 2 T chia seed, 1/4 c milk (RG uses unsweetened vanilla almond milk or vanilla soy milk, which makes this vegan, I use skim), a splash of vanilla extract, and 1-2 shakes of ground cinnamon.  Mix together, cover, and refrigerate overnight or at least 2 hours.  In the morning, give it a stir and top with chopped walnuts or almonds, granola, fresh berries, or whatever else sounds good.

And that's it.  The splash of vanilla and sprinkle of cinnamon really take the taste over the top in this delicious meal or snack.

This recipe, prepared with skim milk, and topped with 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, contains 267 calories and is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, and high in dietary fiber, manganese, magnesium and selenium.

See?  Told ya it isn't pretty
So at this point, you might be wondering where to get chia seed.  Well, most health food and natural foods stores should have it, and I've seen it in the natural section of my local grocery stores as well.  You can also buy it online.  Or, if you're super lucky, like me, your best-ever brother-in-law will give you some for your birthday (by the way, I need a refill, best brother in law ;)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The big stuff

Not too long ago, I found myself pulling into the parking lot of a large medical clinic in a nearby city.  I was accompanying my husband on his visit to a specialist. 

I was a mess, my friends.  It's a good thing Hubby and I were driving separately, 'cause I think I would have scared him.

The Internet is, at once, a beautiful and a terrible thing, and I was scared.  Scared because in all of my research, these symptoms, combined with those test results, were looking like nothing good.  Nothing good as in chronic, last-forever things.  Nothing good as in often fatal things. 

Scared because, although I knew that God's hand was on us, I was afraid that maybe God thought I was stronger than I think I am.

I was worried enough about the implications of the visit that I didn't even stop to think about the parking situation, until there I was, in the parking lot at not quite 9 a.m., with hundreds of cars, and hardly any available parking spots.

Before we go any further, you should know that I have parking anxiety.  I simply do not go places if I don't know what the parking situation will be, because I'm afraid I won't be able to find a parking spot for the big old Suburban.

There I was, frantically looking about, trying to gauge which of the available spots would be easiest to get out of when the time came to leave, worrying about the appointment, when my husband pointed ahead.

And there, in the midst of hundreds of filled parking spots, was a pull-through.

Remember when I said this
If I can trust God to provide something as unimportant (in the grand scheme of things) as a parking spot, I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that God's going to take care of me on the big stuff.
And that's when I knew, my friends.  That parking spot was a sign, a gift straight from the hand of God.  God's taking care of us on the big stuff.

The specialist thinks Hubby's suffering from something that's actually quite common and very curable, and certainly nothing chronic or life-threatening.  In fact, I think we made the Doc's day, as Hubby's case presented in an atypical way.  In the specialist's words, it's a very interesting case.

We really don't know for sure just yet that that's what it is--the Doc sent out a test to confirm--but for now, I do know, without any doubt, God's got this.  I have no need of fear.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Enter to win $200 gift card

Wow, y'all, this one is super easy! 

Just click here to take a short survey.  In exchange, you'll be entered to win a $200 gift card courtesy of Smiley360 and Aveeno Nourish + Dandruff Control (click here to read my review).  And by short survey, I mean just one question.  You can do that, right?

Just click here to enter by July 31.

Would you like to try new products for free?  Check out Smiley360!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Conservation of Mess

No, that's not a type-o up there.

You might have heard of the law of conservation of mass (or matter), which states that in a closed system, the amount of mass (or matter) remains constant regardless of what else occurs in the system.  The mass can move around, and even change form, but the amount of mass remains the same, being neither created nor destroyed.

Today we're going to talk about a similar theory I've developed called the Law of Conservation of Mess.

The Law of Conservation of Mess states that the amount of mess in a house remains constant regardless of what else occurs in the house.  The mess can move around, or even change form, but the amount of mess remains the same, with mess being neither created nor destroyed.

For those of y'all who are sitting there scratching your heads and saying, "wha?!", I'll translate.  It is impossible for more than half of my house to be clean at any one time.  If my bedroom and bathroom are clean, the kitchen is messy.  If the kitchen is clean, the living room is atrocious.  If the living room is clean, the family room and laundry room are hopelessly cluttered.  The mess just moves from place to place and sometimes changes form.

All because of the Law of Conservation of Mess.

Do you need proof?  (I kind of suspect you don't, considering the universal nature of this scientific discovery--you already know it to be true).  Yesterday I spent an hour in the morning straightening up my bedroom.  Yes, an hour.  And in the evening, I spent about 45 minutes straightening up the kitchen.  And then I walked back to my bedroom, and guess what?  My bedroom was messy again. 

There.  Doesn't that make you feel better?  It's not just you--it's a scientific law.

I'm gonna go get ready for my call from the Pulitzer committee.  See ya later.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What we've been up to this summer

Swimming in waterfalls

Walking on cliffs
Hanging out at the beach
(or in the beach?)

Swimming in more waterfalls

Catching frogs
(or did this one catch him?)

Riding bikes.
Without training wheels.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Choose an Identity

Y'all!  I've missed you!  What a busy summer this has been so far.  And no let-up in the immediate future.  All those people who say summer is slower paced and more relaxed are just wrong.  Wrong, I tell you.

Anyway, because it's so busy, I don't have a lot of time to chat--although I would love to catch up with you--so I'll just get right to it.

So I was leaving a comment on a blog, and the comment form asked me to "choose an identity."  It used those actual words: choose an identity.  It gave me several choices, including my blogger profile, open ID, my name, or anonymous.  If you post a comment on my blog, you'll have even more choices (but it won't use those words).

That struck me, my friends.

Choose an identity.

Because we can choose our identity.  We can.  We are not bound by others' perceptions or expectations, by the way people see us, treat us, or talk to us.  We are not bound by our past, our failures or flaws, our regrets, our hurts.  We are not bound by labels; we don't need to listen to the voices that tell us we're not enough. 

You, me, we can choose who we are.  Today.  Going forward.

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view;
even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view,
we know him no longer in that way. 
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation:
everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
2 Corinthians 5:16-17
Who will you choose to be?
Me?  I am a new creation.  That's what I choose.
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