Sunday, August 31, 2014

The last Sunday video with this group

Next week is promotion, so Peyton, Nate and Grant will be moving up. I'll still do videos once a month when the next group comes in.

I'm still in middle of decorating the class with scenes from Genesis. In an hour and a half this afternoon, Rachel and I accomplished a good bit. (It's amazing how much productive you can be with a couple of proper step stools.)

I'm ready to get this side of the room finished to get us through the first month or two, then we'll work on additional stories on the other side of the room.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Daydreams of tile

Today's post is nothing short of boring. With my laptop down (read yesterday's post), I had to catch up on all my other blog posting from the week.

It's tough to keep an interesting blog going when life is boring. The most productive thing other than type up posts was daydream about redoing my bathroom. Here is the statement of the day...

There should never, ever, ever, ever be carpet in a bathroom. Ever. There's no way for it to never get wet and among the worst smells in the world is wet carpet. (This is not the first time I've ranted about that smell here.)

So, I looked up tile samples. I also came to the realization that if you find any vanities to replace the Formica covered one in your bathroom, 48" vanities are rather expensive.

But a girl can dream, right?

Friday, August 29, 2014

My hate relationship with technology

As I have mentioned, the past week or so has been a nightmare when it comes to technology.

Last Thursday night, I took my laptop that I primarily use for work to a friend from church to look at. The signs currently point to a bad hard drive. I'm having problems with 100% disk usage that is not particularly unusual for computers with Windows 8, especially laptops that came installed with it when they first came out, like mine.

Whatever the case, I shouldn't be having that problem.

It's so messed up that the guy looking at it said, "I tried to run this, but I've never even seen that happen before."

After talking over the weekend, before he started taking it apart, I decided I would call HP and ask if there's anyway I could get an extended warranty that might cover a hard drive since my one year was out, but I still had it less than two years.

On Monday morning, I tried talking to some guy in some other country. I hung up the phone aggravated because they could not find my information from when I registered my computer. After work that day, I tried again once I had my serial number in hand.

Both times, I kept trying to explain that:

  1. My computer was not in front of me, therefore, I did not call to be walked through anything. 
  2. I tried telling them what was happening and what diagnostics said.
  3. There weren't enough hours left in my life to do whatever they were going to ask me to do, even if I was in possession of the computer. 
  4. Again, I don't have the computer in front of me.
  5. It is not currently a software problem - now it's a hardware problem.
I even asked to speak to a supervisor. The third foreign tech in a row. I hung up after getting no where angry.

Fed up with these people, I decided I would try to get someone else's attention. I took it to Twitter.

Within 5 minutes, I heard back from @HPsupport, and on Tuesday had a reply tweet from +HP.

Meanwhile, I had also emailed HP about a warranty extension, and an email from them says they will sale me a replacement computer. That person was not a native English speaker either, I could tell by how things were worded. I told that person I had no desire to buy a new computer when this one hadn't lasted two years. I got another incoherently worded email back from them. 

Here's the thing, I understand I'm really out of luck on a warranty, but there should be some kind of recall if there have been the problems I have seen on forums with computers at 100% disk usage with +Windows8. I read of people losing more than one computer to the same problem. 

What really got me fired up is that I could not have a normal conversation with their tech people. I want a conversation, not just being talked to on a script. Humans have to operate computers. Everything does not follow an exact script in life. Act sympathetic if all else fails. Heck, don't ask me the same thing over and over when I told you the computer was not in front of me.

Anyway, back to my Tweet. I have been having a conversation by way of Tweets and direct messages with a support guy. I told him I wanted an American who was not at the entry tier of support. I've explained in an email my issues and was given a case number. Evidently that was put up the chain on Wednesday at some time (I guess due to shifts, etc.). I was supposed to hear back within 72 hours (business days), but now it's going to be Tuesday that I am supposed to hear from them. I don't know if Sean on Twitter is just trying to appease me or what. 

I started this complaint on Monday and have been in limbo about the laptop for a week. Because of the holiday, it's going to be Tuesday before I hear back? Aye carumba! All this to make sure that I can't get something checked out by HP because of a hard drive issue. By the time I talked to him Wednesday, the guy who has my computer isn't so sure it isn't something else hardware wise causing the hard drive error. I'm going to have to connect HP and Terry when I hear back from them.

So, if all of this weren't bad enough, I'm working on my other computer. Thankfully, I have more than one because otherwise, I'd be up a creek. On Wednesday, I messed it up though.

For some reason, on this computer, when I send an email, it saves a copy of the sent email in the folder I emailed from. Very handy in most cases, but kind of annoying since I was trying to work out of this folder - my "emails that need to be handled" folder. I move emails to this folder because Gmail can't be categorized in Outlook. 

Anyway, I knew my computer was going to get hung up for a minute when I realized that I was moving a big attachment. I ended Outlook so I could get back in and not get hung doing it. You do something a million times and sooner or later it's not going to work anymore. 

I spent the rest of the day trying to reload Outlook 2010, but it would hang on loading profiles. I try to troubleshoot it by looking on +Microsoft support. Nothing was working. I tried to delete out profiles and data files. It would open, then hang.

After getting home from church, I decided to uninstall and re-install Outlook. I needed to get to my working email folder which I couldn't access unless I had Outlook. When I uninstalled, it took out part of my +Norton 360 software for some reason. I tried to reinstall my download from, but came up with firewall messages. That's when I realized that it messed up 360. 

So, I had to get on tech support with +Norton because I couldn't get it to reinstall because it said all my downloads were taken up. I knew this was fixable because it had happened before. However, I had to restart my computer in safe mode because it was taking too long to connect with the +LogMeIn so I had to start all over again with support once I did that. 

At this point, I'm in tears, convinced both computers (this one is less than 3 years old) were going to die. I was going to swear off HP for life.

I finally got connected with the Norton team and told them to do whatever. I was at the point that I didn't care about their warning to close personal documents. The positive point of this night is that I got a good bit of reading done while my computer was under someone else's control.

I spent four hours after church trying to get my computer fixed. I left my computer doing updates and trying to open Outlook all night long.

I got maybe 5 hours of sleep, woke up an hour early, and my stomach was in knots because I needed my emails and was no closer to getting to them than before.

Then, I get on the phone with Microsoft. I tell them my problem, and I am told that since there is a version of Outlook newer than 2010, they no longer service that without a support fee. It would be $149 for a year of support or $99 for a one time fix. Knowing that would be a waste, I asked if I bought and installed a newer version of Outlook if it would take care of my problem because I could do that cheaper.

So, I decided to invest in +MicrosoftOffice365. At least I decided to try the one month free trial to see if it would fix my problem. It did, but there's more to the story. (I'll probably buy in because I think newer software would be a good idea if I get the laptop going again. If the laptop lives, I just have to decide which level and suck it up as a business expense of working from home.)

While I am trying to get the 365 download, I get a message "your internet connection is slow. This may take a while." 

I'm not kidding.

I call up +AT&T and complain that for the price I am paying, I should not have slow internet. I ended up getting a work order in for a tech to come out, complete with the whole, "if it is in the house there will be a service fee of $99, but no charges will be incurred without discussing it first." Yeah, yeah, yeah. If you know me, you know I've had this conversation with AT&T more than once before and am not the biggest +AT&T U-verse proponent there is.

Thankfully, the tech came right out. When he looked at my modem, he decided that was probably the problem since the type of modem I had has had a lot of problems. I know this to be true because after multiple calls out before, they replaced my last modem like that. 

So, after all was said and done, I am up running on one computer with a new modem. I had to deal with tech support at 4 companies. Four. If I had been on a cruise this week, I wouldn't have had to deal with three this week because I wouldn't have crashed Outlook when I did to go through the rest.

I have been flustered and tortured all week long. I was going to quit whining about it, but I really do need a vacation.

Regardless of how things shake out with my inquiry at HP, I sure hope I get my laptop back in working order. I never realized how much I would miss it until I didn't have it. I'm spoiled. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Rob Peabody urges readers to exchange mediocre faith for Kingdom-minded living

Rejecting “status-quo” Christianity

Rob Peabody urges readers to exchange mediocre faith for radical, Kingdom-minded living

When living what you believe to be a good Christian life still leaves you feeling empty, you might begin to wonder: Do I really know what it means to follow Christ? It’s a question Rob Peabody, author of Citizen: Your Role in the Alternative Kingdom (Monarch Books/July 29, 2014/ISBN: 978-0857215420/$14.99), asked himself at the age of 26, shortly after landing his dream job as the lead campus pastor of a burgeoning new campus of a Texas mega-church. “The church exploded with excitement. People were being baptized and saved, and true growth was occurring,” Peabody says. “It was all going to plan . . . and then it hit me. I couldn’t go on this way any longer.”

Peabody realized his faith had little connection with the world around him. He had inherited a westernized view of Christianity that too often glorifies personal success, comfort and individualism to the detriment of the lifestyle to which Jesus calls his followers. He realized Jesus was calling him — and all of us — to an all-or-nothing lifestyle, not a pick-and-choose faith salad bar. Something had to change.

He began by redirecting his church toward the poor on their doorstep. “Jesus did not just save us from something (hell and eternal separation from Him), but He saved us for something.” Peabody explains. The church adopted local schools and created mentoring programs to teach the less-fortunate important life skills. In Citizen, Peabody defines the kingdom-centered identity given to followers of Jesus and uses his personal story to reveal fundamental problems in the Christian culture. He shows how each problem — the model of competition, the idol of the autonomous self, the desire to create God in our own image and conflicting allegiances — can be resolved by appealing to our loyalties and duties as citizens of God’s kingdom.

Citizen is also a wake-up call to the church in the West. Peabody’s spiritual journey has now taken him from America’s Bible belt to the United Kingdom, where he is dedicated to reaching the young adults walking London’s streets. Only 2% of the city’s residents identify as evangelicals, giving Peabody a unique view of life as a Christian in the U.S. “When you live in a city as a part of the tiny religious minority, your faith either falls away or becomes very real,” Peabody reveals. “I think the church in America could use some of this shock to wake them up from operating as ‘business as usual’ before it is too late.”

In Citizen, readers will learn salvation is so much more than just a get-out-of-jail-free card; it’s an invitation to change the way they live completely and transform a culture in the process.  

Advance Praise

“Rob brings clear perspectives on what it means to follow Jesus, take risks and live with a unique identity as a citizen of the everlasting Kingdom.”
~ Chris McFarland, Executive Director, PULSE

“If you are satisfied and comfortable with your current state of life and faith, then I suggest you put this book down and continue shopping.”
~ Wes Hamilton, Lead Pastor, Hulen Street Church, Fort Worth, TX

“A splendidly vivid account of what it means to follow Jesus today.”
~ Rev. Dr. Michael Moynagh, author of Being Church, Doing Life

About the Author

Rob Peabody left his position as lead campus pastor of a mega-church in Texas in 2011 and moved with his wife, Medea, and their two sons to the U.K. He is now the co-founder and director of Awaken, a non-profit organization that exists to provide resources and creativity to the church and reach Londoners in their 20s and 30s with the Gospel. This work is commissioned by the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and in partnership with the Church of England.

Peabody also currently serves as a missional consultant for multiple church networks. He appears regularly at the Spring Harvest conferences in Great Britain and will be leading a new upcoming national U.K. conference for young adults called The Pursuit.

In addition, Peabody has written a small-group film series entitled Kingdom Rise, which was released in March of 2013.

For more information about Rob Peabody, visit his online home at, become a fan on Facebook (awakenmovement) or follow him on Twitter (@AwakenRob and @awakenmovement). 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

If I had been on a cruise this week

I've already alluded to part of the issues I have had this week. More than once I had the thought, "I could have been on a cruise this week."

This week was the week that cruise rates were the best.

Other than one big reason I was thankful I wasn't on a cruise, technology alone made me wish I was.

Because I am so behind in my blogging, stay tuned for a week outlining my hate relationship with technology at the end of the week.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Don't you know you aren't supposed to drink the water in Mexico?

I sure will be glad to get my laptop back. Making pages of notes, then typing them days later is such a waste of time. I got a cramp in my hand!

Tonight's episode picks up in middle of Graham's apparent panic attack. Has he seen the real AshLee? He feels like he is about to pass out and needs a medic. His eyesight is going. AshLee doesn't even check on him, $ does. And $ is very concerned.

Graham, the trooper that he is, decides that the show must go on. All the women are disgusted. Finally, he accepts his rose. Then, Lacy decides she needs to throw up.

"Something is making everyone sick," $ surmises. Uh. You are all in Mexico. Who drank the water? 

It is decided that Lacy really does need to go to the hospital since she's so sick, and Marcus says he will go with her. He fears the worst.

This? This is what the ambulance teases all season have been? Every time they build you up to knock you down. It's always a disappointment. I fell for it again!

From there, the show must go on again! Kaon is ready to go, just so he can go order room service.

4. $ picks Cody

5. Sarah gives Robert her rose

6. Jackie must decide between Jesse and Marquel. She still seems unsure. All in the editing, of course, she gives her rose to Jesse.

See? He should have picked Danielle. She was interested in him. He shouldn't have been so quick to jump on Jackie's bandwagon.

In case you were worried about Lacy, she had inflamed intestines and was dehydrated. She needed water. Marcus stayed right on the gurney with her to get her whatever she needed.

The next morning Clare is excited about love and the unbreakable-ness of her and Zack. I don't even think that's a word. Of course, statements like that mean that someone else is about to walk up the beach. Christy (another Juan Pablo reject) arrives.

Zack had met Christy before, and she jokes him about being sober this time. Of course, she arrives with a date card. "Let there be love."

Sarah promptly takes Christy off to fill her in on what is up, mainly that Zack is with Clare. Christy asks to talk to Zack anyway and offers him the date. He is flattered and he reveals that he wanted her to be there.

Casting did a bang up job of choosing certain people and finding out who they wanted to pair up with so they could decide who else to bring on board.

Zack just needs to figure out what he should do -- if he should be loyal to Clare after all the mess a few days ago when Cody came -- or not. After all, he can Clare just came into all of this as friends. Christy even asks, "didn't you just connect with her because she was the only one here?"

Meanwhile, Clare comes out of whatever hole she has been in and learns a new person has arrived. Shes' all cool with it until she asks where the new person is and finds out her man is outside talking to the new person. Clare once again goes on her rant about wanting a man who knows what she wants. Zack tells Clare he turned Christy down, so it's all rainbows again.

Christy chooses Jesse as her second choice. They have a very non-intelligent conversation, but make a connection because they evidently have a lot in common.

Jesse going with Christy means that Jackie has work to do.

Sarah gets the next date card and immediately looks to her right and asks Robert. Their last date was one of her BEST DATES EVER! She hopes for some making out. Mainly she's just ready for Robert to kiss her.

After an awkward dinner, he asks her to go swimming. They shake hands. Literally. Finally, after going in for a kiss a couple of times, he finally kisses her. That broke the ice and ushered in a chain of kisses.

Back at the house, Cody bench presses $, much to the the entertainment of Lacy and Marcus. Lacy thinks Cody's coming on too fast when he starts painting $'s toenails. Like Lacy has any room to talk about coming on fast. $ wants to dive in, but she's scared. Cody's admittedly falling fast for her. It's freaking her out and making her more cautious.

Oh my goodness! Jesse is so awesome! Christy wants to get wasted when they return from their date. Those two are great for each other. What goes around comes around for Jackie who is flailing around solo.

On the beach, Zack questions his choice of not going on the date with Christy because of Clare's intensity. He wants a relationship, but the pressure Clare has put on him and the short amount of time has him wondering if Clare is the one. Trying to talk to Clare is ALWAYS A MISTAKE, but, he doesn't it anyway. Clare quickly decides to leave and go to bed. Zack is confused by her reaction.

Momma $ goes to check on Clare who has locked herself in the bathroom. Then, Clare runs out into the jungle to cry to her buddy the raccoon. Remember the raccoon who was privy to her first breakdown? I remember the racoon, but had to look up who it was that Clare was crying about then. I know it has been just a few weeks, but everyone has mixed up, so I needed a reminder. It was when she wanted to ask Graham out, but psycho AshLee had her bathroom breakdown.

Clare didn't come here for the drama (it sure seems to follow her though), so she decides to make an even dramatic exit and leave the show. $ tries to calm her down. While all this is going on, Zack is snoring away. Clare wakes him up and wants to talk. She thought they were good, however, she sees red flags now. He is sleepily puzzled by her proclamation of leaving. He tries to tell her that he was giving her a legit shot. Give him some time to be serious, for crying out loud!

Another one bites the dust. Clare leaves, but not before she confesses to the camera, "I really just wanted to do Dancing with the Stars." Well played, Clare! Best line of the night!

It's time for another shake-up now that the numbers are even again. Lucy aka "Free Spirit" shows up. Seriously? Is this like every woman Juan Pablo didn't pick now? Cody believes that she arrives with no underwear. Probably true. Christy is excited to see her. Jackie is intimidated. Lucy hugs everyone upon arrival and her date card reads to "not ruin an chance on love."

Lucy promptly strips down and starts trying to see which guy drools the most. At least that's my take on it.

She goes up to Jesse who is all too excited. Christy was Lucy's BFF, but now she's making a play for her man. Lucy schools Jesse on Chichen Itsa, having been there before.

At the hosue, Christy is bummed and in the same boat as Jackie. Jesse is on his third date with the third girl. At least Christy can go back to Zack now.

$ gets a date card. Before it can be read to her, she's asked Cody. They leave almost immediately. Let me just say, she packed some ridiculous boots for the show.

When they arrive at the resort for their date, the wedding coordinator for the hotel arranges an engagement photo shoot. Michelle is overwhelmed while Cody is eating it up with a sppon. When the photographer asks them to change clothes, she finds a wedding dress waiting for her. Then she really freaks.

$ decides to put on the dress anyway. I don't know if Cody really realized what was coming up since he didn't put on a tux. He does have to wait around awhile though. He cracks up. He's in lust. She reminds him it's pretend. It's not real. She would like him to hold back a little.

Back at the house, AshLee finds Graham with a date card in hand. Unlike most cave, beach, or ruins dates, this is a race car date. The idea is not fun for her. She drives in neutral while he tests out the car with speed. He compares their relationship to this driving date. She's the race car in the relationship though.

That night, Christy wants booze since everyone is paired up. She expected more options.

Before joining everyone around the fire after their date, Lucy decides to start a makeout with Jesse. Jesse has to face all three of his women. He brings tequila shots. Christy is ready to go home before she is sent home, but wants to talk to Jesse first. Jesse plays Christy telling her that he didn't want to go on a date with Lucy. Christy believes him for who knows what reason. They start a makeout session in the bunk room. Lucy joins them. TMI!

Rose night time!

One woman will leave now that Clare left already. Zack decides to talk to Jackie first. With both being un-tethered, they might as well give it a go. They don't really want Christy and Jesse anymore.

Lacy and Sarah express how gross they find Jesse and his harem. Jesse talks with Christy - his choice? Maybe? Robert questions Lucy about the situation. Small talk, I guess. Lucy decides maybe she shouldn't be friends with Christy anymore since they are both interested in Jesse.

Lucy tells Jesse that Christy was so drunk and out of it when he went to her room last night that Christy didn't even know who was getting into bed with her. Supposedly, she thought Lucy was crawling in until she felt Jesse's beard. It's all about the back stabbing now.

Ceremony time! It starts off predictable.

  1. Robert picks Sarah
  2. Graham picks AshLee (which makes Lacy sick)
  3. Cody picks $
  4. Marcus picks Lacy (he gets syrupy talking to her - so sickening - awkward expressions and yawns abound)
  5. Zack picks Jackie
  6. Jesse picks Christy. 
Lucy must have been too wild for him. He calls her "what's her nuts?" He never could even remember her name. Thankfully, she had a quick entrance/exit.

Time in paradise is running out. Will any of the relationships last?

Monday, August 25, 2014

There's trouble in Paradise... and I've lost interest

This week's Bachelor in Paradise posts (two with back to back nights) will be delayed.

My laptop is on life support which has only caused more angst for me over the past week. (I still blame Windows 8.) That means that I cannot live blog since I cannot take my other computer downstairs and I don't have a TV upstairs.

My blood pressure is through the roof after talking to tech support about my computer that is less than two years old that needs a new hard drive. I want to talk to an American who might have sympathy for my issue. That is obviously too much to ask.

Post to come!

Here it is 11:19 PM on Wednesday and I'm finally getting a chance to type up the post. (The reason why will have to be explained when I finally get to make my actual Wednesday post.) I got a cramp in my hands taking notes while watching what has turned into the waste that I thought it was going to be. Curse those first two episodes that got me going! I'm actually hoping my download and installation finishes on my computer so I can go to bed before I get this post typed up.

All season long there have been teases of Claire grabbing knives. Of an ambulance taking someone off. The drama of it all! Each week we get teased. Each week we are led on by promises that are never kept.

Well as I watched the intro to tonight's episode, I was convinced... this is where it all goes down! There's trouble in paradise and this whole two night thing is going to be THE pay-off. 

There's never a payoff. 

The show starts off with everyone bidding a fond adieu to Chris after he gives his rose to Michelle. From here on out, I just will call her $ as short for Money. That will save me a number of key strokes from now on.

Psycho Chris and Elise go off for their happy ever after. I'm really beginning to wonder about my senile mind because I completely forgot her name and had to look up last week's post to get it. I think I need a vacation just to give my brain a break. It's bad. I don't know if I just don't pay enough attention while blogging or if I have early onset Alzheimer's or not which reminds me of another reason I didn't get anything posted last night.

Back to the show, everyone is so happy that $ (maybe I'll just type Money after all since I kept hitting the wrong key to get the $ sign). $hopes she can pull Robert away from Sarah even though Robert just gave her the rose. 

When they get back from the rose ceremony, a date card is waiting for them at the house. This one is for Robert.

"Choose a woman to set sail with tomorrow." Right after giving Sarah the rose, he does the logical thing and asks her out on the date. Otherwise, it would have been awkward. This sends $ into the bathroom and a flood of tears. Her buddy Graham goes to check on her. Is she that far off her rocker to really thing that Robert would take her out instead of Sarah right after the rose ceremony? Really?

Poor Graham. Between obsessive AshLee who latched herself on him before he could decide who he was interested in and being $'s shrink, I feel for the guy. 

"What's wrong with me? Maybe it's the pressure of my daughter."

While $ is having her pity party, Sarah, who usually shows no emotion with her monotone, says that she is excited for her date with Robert. $, the resilient hairstylist that she is, takes one for the team and works on Sarah's hair for the date. Oh, the irony of it all. "I'll make your braid look amazing," she shares with the camera.

On their sailing date, it seems as if they have nothing better to talk about than how screwed any new arrivals are since everyone is paired up. He has no clue whatsoever about how $ is so rattled with his choice of Sarah. Robert does find Sarah's strength of going through life without part of her arm to be sexy. I feel for the girl, really, I do, but her personality is that of a turnip. I think that's why she's not dated much. In one of many strange lines, Sarah talks about how the ocean makes you feel vulnerable, but Robert makes her feel save. 

Back on the beach, we rejoin $'s pity party already in progress. That's when personal trainer Cody from Andi's season makes his way up the beach with date card in hand. Marquel is the first to give his buddy a warm welcome, and $ decides she needs to make an introduction of herself as well. Knowing who he wanted to meet from the get go (they obviously polled potential participants to see who they wanted to date before they set the cast), he asks Clare out on the date.

And now it is Saturday afternoon and I'm just now getting this typed up. It's been a week, let me tell you! Unexpected plans, computer problems, volleyball games, work catch-up prior to a long weekend...

Clare wants to go on a walk with Cody to talk about it. Cody really liked Clare on Juan Pablo's season. One shot of Zack looks jealous. Clare is flattered, but declines on the relationship she has started. Cody asks for a recommendation, but really tries to convince Clare to go with him anyway. Clare wants to talk to Zack and see if he feels as strongly about her as she does about him. Zack's response to what he would do in the same situation is, "it depends on who the girl was." Not the right answer for Clare. "I was going to put all my eggs in your basket Zack, but you don't seem so sure." The #1 person I would not make mad is Clare. Zack must convince Clare he's all in, or off with Cody she will go.

Because there is never any privacy, Lacy and Ashlee try to figure out what is going on. Zack knows Clare wants serious, but he doesn't say in so many words that he is serous. "You know I care about you Clare." She makes some comment like, "Are you willing to let a girl walk away?" He's the one that starts walking away.

Zack wants time to think. Clare goes off to talk with $. Cody knows what he wants, and we have all heard Clare drone on and on and on about wanting a man that knows what he wants. These strongly committed women (5 days peeps!) are scaring the guys. She should have just told Cody, "no," and not created drama.

My personal commentary here for a minute. I know the goal of the show is to find "love" and they are coached in being dramatic, but to these people really expect some kind of firm commitment in such a short time? You feel so fast for the last person, see if you like the next one better on a date. The women are so stupid obsessed with their men. I think the men just go along with it so they don't endure bodily injury or have to listen to their verbal tirades while trying to enjoy "Paradise."

Cody continues to try to pry a yes from Clare. He lays it on thick after flying under the radar with Andi. He's determined not to make the same mistake of not letting his feelings known again. Jackie and others talk among themselves saying they think going out with Cody would be a good idea. I'm not sure who is after Zack, but I'm sure that has something to do with it. Clare finally outright declines, and Cody is good-natured about it. Clare goes on about it being "the right thing to do." Cody throws in a last "if you change your mind..."

Cody talks to his bud Marcus. Marcus explains the girls are in charge this week, so Cody needs to find him a date. Cody is basically heart-broken he says. Yeah, that won't last slong. He feels it would be fake to ask anyone else, so he gives Marcus his date to allow himself more time to mingle with the other women left. Marcus runs, not walks, to go ask Lacy.

This move by Cody earns him points with Clare. She appreciates this "classy" move. She hopes Zack is worth it. I doubt any of them are worth a whole lot, but that's just me.

Marcus and Lacy get their romantic date. I liked him on Andi's season, but my opinion has waned greatly. She's so... she just comes off as a big boobed blonde. He falls so quickly that he's as bad as the rest of the women. Lacy tells the camera that they haven't said I love you yet, but... It's Marcus. It won't take long. And there it is. He says it first. She, however, is scared to say it back.

Meanwhile, Zack knows he needs to fix it with Clare. "All my eggs are in her basket." He wants to be exclusive in Paradise. She should have just said, "thank you," but nooooooooooooo. That would be too easy and polite. She picks a fight and brings up Jackie. He would go out with Jackie. Finally, they make up. She runs so hot and cold. She gets giddy thinking that he has finally manned up.

Back to $ whining time again. She and Cody share whine time. She needs another guy to show up since he is still stuck on Clare. On cue, she gets her wish, but it is Kalen, one of the most obnoxious men to every be involved with the show. There's even mood music, and $ is instantly back at the bottom of her roller coaster again because she does NOT like him. At all.

Kalon got kicked off of Emily's season because of his daughter = baggage comment. Emily had cried to $ after some Twitter nonsense about it after his show aired. As much as $ needs a date, she is unimpressed with Kalon.

Of course, Kalon arrives with a date cared and miraculously, or more likely arranged by producers, goes up to $ and asks her off. "Oh, how sweet," she practically squeals. "Yeah, I would love that." Liar! It's a wonder lightning doesn't strike.

To the camera Kalon says some very crude things about what he would like to do with $. Very gross.

The thing is, in order to stay for another week, all $ has to do is pick someone to give a rose to. She could hand out her rose and hope someone else comes next week. 

Kalon says he is drawn to crazy and finds that in $. She wants to chat before their date time. She confronts him about her issues with him. Out of respect for her friend, Emily, she turns him down.

Fresh on the prowl again, Kalon decides to explore the waters. He goes up to Sarah and Jackie, "hey, sun lizards." Nice conversation starter. Not. He asks Jackie. She declines. For one thing, she's not attracted to him. He walks, but comes back pretty quickly and asks Sarah. Takes some guts given that she was right there when he asked a second person out. Sarah also declines, telling him that she has hit it off with Robert. Three strikes, and he's basically out.

Kalon takes this as, "apparently, no one wants to leave their comfort zone." I'm not sure that comfort zone and repulsion are the same thing. He decides to go on a date by himself. He goes down into a cave and has a great time swimming and talking to himself. He has a great time. He really does love himself, so...

There are six guys and seven girls, but Marquel isn't worried given Kalon's presence. Cue Jesse Kovac from some season long ago and a previous season of Bachelor Pad. While he has the reputation of a playboy, all the women are attracted to him. He asks Jackie out on his date, even though he really wants to ask them all out. When she says, "yes," Marquel's confidence immediately hits the floor.

Jackie and Jessie also go down into a cave because that's evidently THE thing to do. He doesn't believe in small talk, so lays it on thick. Time is short. She calls him on his crap and tells him she had a great date with Marquel. However, she still falls for his lines. We end the date with a private concert. Oh how I have missed those on this show. Not.

Back at the beach, everyone is getting back massages, so $ decides to let strong Cody rub on her. It's not long before she decides Cody isn't so bad after all and maybe he will get over Clare.

The next day, Clare tells Cody that she and Zack have decided to be exclusive. AshLee decides to have a talk with Zack though. "are you really into her? I love Clare, but she's coocoo!" She brings up what Clare does in the ocean. Why does AshLee care? She doesn't think there is a camera on them, so rattles away. She's busted because when The Bachelor is involved, there are always cameras watching. When she's busted, she wonders, "oh, how are they going to use that footage?"

AshLee gets very paranoid and starts telling everyone she got caught on camera saying something she shouldn't have. After she tattles on herself to Lacy and Jackie, Lacy turns around and passes on the dirt to Clare. Clare "trying to stay out of drama" tells $. AshLee wants to talk to Clare and try to defend herself, but Clare will have no part of it. Clare tells $ she is going to go off. Then cameras show Clare grabbing some knives in the kitchen.

Everyone knows something is about to go down. Graham is complimentary about his nice woman. Zack tries to calm Clare, but tells her he doesn't want to get in the middle. Clare wishes Zack had told her, not the girls what went down. "You didn't have my back," she rants. He doesn't have a backbone evidently. He thinks it's about the two women having a beef with each other and that it has nothing to do with him. He doesn't want drama or jealously. Well, he is connected to the WRONG woman.

Everyone is waiting for it to all blow-up. Finally, AshLee asks Clare again if they can talk. AshLee plays innocent like they are friends. Clare calls her bull. The whole thing "in the ocean" with Juan Pablo last year makes for fighting words with Clare. Ash apologize, but it seems oh so insincere.

Given all these people and what they are prone to do, I and my naive self don't understand why they find that of all things so trashy. I mean it was trashy in my opinion, but...

We finally make it to rose ceremony night. Seeing as the Ash/Clare thing really doesn't matter when it has to do with the guys going home, maybe that's the end of it for now. Or is it? Does it make a difference?

Marquel is a little unsure of his future. It's been between Jackie and $ who he has already exchanged roses with to determine if he will get a rose tonight.

Cody, whether jus vying for the rose or sincere, makes his move on $. There may be something there after the back rubs.

Jesse has to make his move on Jakcie. Is she team Jessee or team Marquel? Marquel better make his move and make it quick or helse he will be going home and trying to get Danielle back.

$ all of a sudden feels the urge to tell Graham what went down with AshLee and Clare in hopes of breaking them up. We're back to the ocean thing again. The whole room is covered with an awkward silence while $ and Graham are still talking. Chris Harrison comes in clinking his glass, and Graham doesn't have a chance to talk with AshLee first.

Rose ceremony time!

  1. Lacy picks Marcus (Graham wishes he and AshLee had a similar connection.)
  2. Clare gives her rose to Zack (Graham, we learn is friends with Clare, so what AshLee said hurt and he was the last to know.)
  3. AshLee is up... (Graham is sweating) and says, "Graham." Instead of going up to her, he walks off saying he needs a second. $ follows to check on him, but Ash just stands there and eventually puts her rose down on the table.
And that's where it ends for the night... TO BE CONTINUED!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

We may just sing...

That is what I told the kids when I got to class. Two of them had been at my house last night and had gotten onto the older girls about quietening down after I did at 1:30 AM. It would have been one thing if we weren't all headed to church the next morning.

Here are their smiling breakfast faces. (That's a strawberry, not a tongue.)

Here is our attempt at singing after a brief lesson.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

That great idea bombed

I had this great idea.

Sort of.

I had a feeling it would backfire.

It did.

Some of the junior high girls in Paige's class at church had wanted to have another sleep over at my house. I agreed to this on the condition that I would get some help working on my classroom at church and it would be reward for helping.

So I set a work date that worked for having the girls come over. Well, the date was a good date for everyone to come, just not to get work done.

I blame myself. I didn't communicate this well.

I was at the building about 10:15 AM. Paige and Peyton arrived around noon when their dad brought them up to get their church directory pictures taken.

Paige was in contact with the others, but their arrival times kept creeping later and later. We decided we'd get lunch in hopes that once we got back we would have help for what we needed more hands for.

Paige and Peyton were terrific sports and really helped me out in getting some of the room done. Not as much as I had hoped. They will probably never, ever, ever help me again. Ever.

We were trying to attempt one more thing before we left, and Paige, much like me had reached her limit. Thankfully, we had one person show up to help us finish one section off so that we could quit for the day.

After spending the day trying to get the room fixed, I was worn out.

Once I got home, I needed to make brownies and cookies, fix the tacos, etc. My box of 18 taco shells had 14 broken shells. (I called Dad to see if he had any - his went bad in 2012, so had to run to the store for me since I was burning things in the oven.)

I burned the brownies around the bottom and edge. (I hate my oven and baking anything chocolaty in it.) The cookie mix was awful.

Then I made muffins so I didn't have to get up the next morning.

I was exhausted and made for a lousy hostess.

Without a laptop to hook to the TV, I didn't have my karaoke account set up as an option. Where I was more participatory the last time they were over, I just left the 8 girls between 10-13 to their own entertainment.

My legs and back were killing me from all the time trying to hang up things in the room and standing in the kitchen all night.

I never should have planned to do both in one day. Potential help or not.

Lesson learned. I hope they all don't think I've turned into a terrible grumpy witch because I was so exhausted, that's exactly how I felt.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Quilts of Love | A GRAND DESIGN – Kindle HDX Giveaway & “Fall into Fall” Facebook Party!

Don’t miss this month’s Quilts of Love book, A Grand Design by Amber Stockton. Who hasn't struggled to let painful memories go and move into God's healing? You’ll be sure to love this heartfelt and encouraging tale set on historic Mackinac Island.

Celebrate August’s release by entering to win a Kindle from Quilts of Love and RSVPing for the "Fall into Fall" Facebook author chat party.

Quilts of Love Kindle HDX Giveaway, Amber Stockton, A Grand Design

  One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle HDX
  • A Grand Design by Amber Stockton
  • Hidden in the Stars by Robin Caroll
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 16th. Winner will be announced on the Quilts of Love blog. Plus make sure you RSVP to the October 7th author chat party with Amber Stockton and Robin Caroll for an evening of book chat, quilting tips and tricks, prizes, and more!

RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on October 7th!

A Grand Design, Amber Stockton


New From Quilts of Love
A getaway on a charming island may be just what Alyssa needs—if only she can let go of her past.
When Alyssa Denham, a single career woman, wins a fun getaway for two on Mackinac Island where her grandmother lives, she gives her carefree best friend a call. Together, they tour the old shops and hidden treasures of the quaint island while helping Alyssa’s grandmother piece together an heirloom quilt. Their quest gains them entrance into the homes of many longtime residents of the island, parts of the city that are otherwise off limits to tourists.
As the quilt’s story takes shape, Alyssa gains amazing insight into her grandmother’s life . . . and attracts the attention of the handsome Scott Whitman, an island resident in charge of hotel transportation. Will memories of her past keep Alyssa from letting go? Or will the quest to piece together the heirloom quilt restore Alyssa’s fractured heart—and bring healing to her entire family?
Amber Stockton


Amber Stockton is an award‑winning author, a national speaker, and a direct‑sales brand partner with Nerium International. She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have a daughter and a son, and an Aussie/retriever mix named Roxie. Three of her novels have won annual reader’s choice awards. Find out why readers love her by visiting her website
Find out more about Amber at

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Elisabeth Gifford’s debut novel highlights the healing that comes from honesty and vulnerability

Discover healing in the search for truth

Elisabeth Gifford’s debut novel highlights the healing that comes from honesty and vulnerability

What happens when you bring the truth of who you are into the light? In her impressive debut novel, The Sea House (St. Martin’s Press/April 15, 2014/ISBN: 978-1250043344/$25.99), author Elisabeth Gifford introduces readers to characters who are forced to dig up the pain and secrets of their past in order to let the fresh air of faith and grace purify and heal the broken places in their heart.

Gifford was inspired to write The Sea House after coming across a letter in The Times archives from 1809, in which a Scottish schoolmaster claimed to have spotted a mermaid. Weaving the ancient Gaelic myth of the selkies into her story, she has created a sweeping tale of hope and redemption that is an ode to the healing readers can find when they acknowledge the truth about themselves.

Readers of The Sea House are taken back to 1860 and meet Alexander Ferguson, a newly ordained vicar and amateur scientist who takes up his new parish on the poor, isolated Scottish island of Harris. He hopes to uncover the truth behind the legend of the selkies — mermaids or seal people who have been sighted off the northern coasts of Scotland for centuries. Family legend says Alexander is actually descended from selkies. As he struggles to be a good pastor, his maid Moira faces the eviction of her family by Lord Marstone, whose family owns the island. Their time on the island will forever change the course of their lives, but the white house where the vicar lives on the edge of the dunes keeps its silence long after they are gone.

Readers may identify much of their own faith journey in the vicar’s story. “Alexander says he believes in grace, but he really believes in a formula where his particular failures cannot really be forgiven,” Gifford reveals. “So he tries incredibly hard to become a better person. Only after he sees how miserably he fails as a pastor does he let go and accept the mystery of grace.”

It will be more than a century before the house reluctantly gives up its secrets, when Ruth and Michael buy the grand, yet dilapidated, building and begin to turn it into a home. Their dreams are marred by a shocking discovery: Buried under the house are the tiny bones of a baby whose fragile legs are fused together. Is it a mermaid child? Who buried the bones and why? To heal her own demons, Ruth feels she must discover the secrets of her new home — but the answers to her questions may lie in her own traumatic past. 

Connecting with the truth of one’s story is a critical theme in The Sea House. “I suppose there’s a human impulse to invent a better self so other people, and even God, will like us more and not turn away from us,” Gifford explains. “Jesus came to a very real and ordinary world, and that’s where God meets us. He sees all of us and doesn’t turn away. For Christians, we have the option of rewriting our stories around the extravagant love shown to us on the cross, if we choose to.”

To keep up with Elisabeth Gifford, visit, become a fan on Facebook (ElisabethGiffordAuthor) or follow her on Pinterest (LizGifford355).

Advance Praise

Gifford moves nimbly between the centuries and voices of her intriguing tale. She is a singular and poetic writer.”
            ~ Rhidian Brook, author of The Aftermath

“A sweeping summer read, packed with an epic tale of loss, love and hope.”
~ Irish News

“An epic, sweeping tale of loss, hope and redemption, and how we heal ourselves with the stories we tell.”
~ The Little Reader Library

About the Author

Elisabeth Gifford grew up in a vicarage in the industrial Midlands. She studied French literature and world religions at Leeds University and has published poems in Cinnamon Press and The Oxford Magazine. She’s also written articles for The Times and The Independent, along with a nonfiction book, The House of Hope (2011), a biography of Dr. Joyce Hill who opened a rescue center for abandoned babies in China. The Sea House has been shortlisted for the Historical Writer’s Association Crown debut award. Her second novel, Return to Fourwinds, will be released in the UK in September 2014.

Gifford has a degree in creative writing from Oxford OUDCE and an M.A. in creative writing from Royal Holloway College. She is married to an illustrator, and together they have three children. The family divides their time between Kingston, near London, and the Hebrides in Scotland.  

To keep up with Elisabeth Gifford, visit, become a fan on Facebook (ElisabethGiffordAuthor) or follow her on Pinterest (LizGifford355).

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

In Perfect Time by @SarahSundin | Enter to win a Kindle HDX and a set of books!

Don't miss Sarah Sundin's hot-off-the-press novel, In Perfect Time. Publishers Weekly gives it an enthusiastic thumbs up: “Sundin excels at well-researched historical detail . . . with such accurate depictions of culture and setting that we are fully immersed in the times as well as in the story. The strength of relationships forged in war and the apprehension of God in times of trouble infuse this well-crafted novel with substance and light.”


Sarah is celebrating the release of her book with a fun giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle HDX
  • The Wings of the Nightingale Series (With Every Letter, On Distant Shores, and In Perfect Time)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 24th. Winner will be announced August 25th at Sarah's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Sarah's blog on the 25th to see if you won! (Or better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)


Wings of the Nightingale series
Bold, sophisticated, and flirtatious, Army Air Force flight nurse Lt. Kay Jobson collects hearts wherever she flies, leaving men pining in airfields all across Europe. So how can ruggedly handsome C-47 pilot Lt. Roger Cooper be all but immune to her considerable charms? In fact, he seems to do everything he can to avoid her.
Still, as they cross the skies between Italy and southern France, evacuating the wounded and delivering paratroopers and supplies, every beat of their hearts draws them closer to where they don’t want to go.
Can they confront the fears and misunderstandings in their pasts?

Sarah Sundin


Sarah Sundin is the author of  the Wings of the Nightingale and and the Wings of Glory series. In 2011, A Memory Between Us was a finalist in the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Awards, and Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist’s mate (medic) in the Navy and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children. 
Find out more about Sarah at

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

When life’s storms hit, is a parent’s job ever really done?

When life’s storms hit, is a parent’s job ever really done?

Deborah Raney’s poignant new novel shows how the love of family helps us through difficult times

They say blood is thicker than water, and in her latest release, Home to Chicory Lane (Abingdon Press/August 19, 2014/ISBN: 978-1426769696/$14.99), Deborah Raney writes a story that examines how the love of our family can help us weather life’s storms. The first book in the new Chicory Inn series introduces us to Audrey Whitman, a mother who has launched all of her children into life and now looks forward to fulfilling some of her own dreams during her empty-nest years. However, not all of her children are ready to stay out of the nest quite yet.

Raney has beautifully captured the tenderness — and turmoil — of family life in her new release. It was easy for her to do. “We have four grown children and five grandchildren . . . so far!” Raney says. “So, as you can imagine, family is extremely important to us. We’re both close to our families, and all of the good, the bad, the ugly, the wonderful of being part of a family, went into this series.”

Readers of Home to Chicory Lane will meet all of the Whitmans, including Audrey and her husband, Grant, who are turning their beloved family home into a bed and breakfast. As Audrey works toward opening weekend, she is more than a little anxious, even as she joyfully anticipates her family and friends gathering from across the country to help celebrate the occasion.

What she doesn’t expect is her youngest daughter, the newly-married Landyn, to arrive with a U-Haul, clearly intending to stay more than just a few days. Questions flood Audrey’s mind: What happened in New York that sent Landyn running home? Where was Landyn's husband, Chase? It appears the Chicory Inn will be getting off to a bit of a rocky start.

The empty-nest parents of the story aren’t the only ones opening their doors to adult children — it’s a phenomenon increasing in the current economic climate, leading to the question: Is a parent’s job ever really done? “I think it is — or at least it should be,” Raney weighs in. “Ken and I loved how the relationship switch flipped from parent to friend at a certain point. Now, our job is to encourage, enjoy, give advice only when asked and to be the best grandparents we can be to our kids’ kids. That’s the true reward of all those sleepless nights raising our kids.”

In Home to Chicory Lane, that kind of parental love shines through Audrey’s character. As the stress of running her own business mounts, she will soon begin to wonder if she will be able to realize her dream while still providing her daughter with the comfort of home she so desperately needs.

Despite the challenges they face, Raney reminds us in Home to Chicory Lane that our family — whether brought to us through birth, marriage or adoption — is a gift given to us by God. Readers will come away from this warm and moving book with a new appreciation for family, in all its forms and functions.

Join Deborah Raney for a live Facebook Party on September 9 at 8:00 PM EDT, where she will chat with readers about the Chicory Inn series and give away copies of Home to Chicory Lane. Watch for more details on her Facebook Page.

About the author

Deborah Raney accomplished something very few authors are able to do with their first book. Her debut novel, A Vow to Cherish(originally published in 1996), inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title and launched her writing career after 20 happy years as a stay-at-home mom. Since then, her books have won numerous awards including the RITA, National Readers Choice Award, HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award, and have twice been Christy Award finalists.

Raney’s newest novel, Home to Chicory Lane, releases in August as the first book in the Chicory Inn Novels series for Abingdon Press Fiction. 

Deborah and her husband, Ken, recently traded small-town life in Kansas –– the setting of many of Raney’s novels –– for life in the (relatively) big city of Wichita where they enjoy gardening, antiquing, movies and traveling to visit four children and a growing brood of grandchildren who all live much too far away. Raney also enjoys teaching at writers’ conferences across the country.

For more information about Raney and her books, visit her online home at, become a fan on Facebook (deborah.raney) or follow her on Twitter (@authordebraney).  

Advance Praise

“Once again, Deborah Raney has succeeded in creating a heartwarming story that doesn't skimp on the realism of life — joys and jolts, challenges faced bravely and others regrettably. Within the first few pages of Home to Chicory Lane, the Whitmans, their children, and the community will feel like family — angst and all."
~ Cynthia Ruchti, author of All My Belongings

Deborah Raney is queen of small town, hope-inspired fiction, and Home to Chicory Lane has everything you’ve come to expect from her award-winning novels––and more. Raney captures all the nuances of today’s family and delivers it up with signature warmth and humor. Book your reservation for Chicory Lane. You won’t be disappointed!"
            ~ Tamera Alexander, USA Today bestselling author of A Beauty So Rare and To Whisper Her Name

Deborah Raney has once again painted a vivid portrait of our own humanity using characters readers will love and identify with, no matter what their stage of life. I fell in love with the Chicory Inn and the Whitman family. Tender, touching and filled with a unique patchwork of personalities, Landyn and Chase's story made me feel like a part of the family. Raney wraps her beautifully flawed characters in the unconditional love of a God who will never leave them––or us. I'm already anticipating the next book in the series!" 
            ~ Courtney Walsh, New York Times bestselling author of A Sweethaven Summer