Thursday, July 31, 2014

Do me one quick, little favor

This week at work, in our Facebook group message gather we call the "Water Cooler," we have had some interesting conversations. A couple of us educated the others on the lyrics of "Up in Here" by DMX. This was mainly driven by the fact the two of us who were educating the others wanted a cross stitch of the lyrics such as these seen here on Etsy (click the lyrics).


Yeah, we got really side tracked. One of our more productive conversations (sort of - at least it was work related and based on a client question) was about comments on blog posts.

I don't know if you guys are reading anything here, but you don't comment. I can tell someone, or someone's bots are visiting by the page visit counter on the blog and the stats from Blogger.

Over 150 specific page views in one day of The Bachelorette finally, but not one comment.

I don't believe that a lack of comments necessarily means a lack of readership. I have people tell me they read my posts and can tell me what I said. Therefore, at least a few people are reading.

In my case, I often read, but don't comment either. That's because I don't necessarily plan to come back and visit that particular post to interact. Sometimes I read comments. Sometimes I don't.

So, just for the sake of a little experiment, could you do me a favor? If you read this post, just leave a comment of some kind. Maybe share why you don't comment on posts or what makes you comment when you do.

If you have a blog, do you get a lot of comments? Does a lack of comments mean anything to you?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I have a start on the next project


Here is my next project about two hours in. The finished product is going to be a square (how big depends on how long the yarn lasts). I bought four small skeins on clearance at Hobby Lobby a while back and haven't done anything with it. I figured if I did a square:

A) I could tell the whole thing would seem to be getting bigger

B) I wouldn't have to guess at what dimensions it would need to be to start off horizontal (last time I started out wide, ran out of yarn, and make it look like I meant it to be vertical stripes)

C) I liked how the last square one I did turn out.

No intended recipient yet. It's probably going to depend on size.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A gift... six months late

I think I'm back on a crocheting kick again. Even if it is short-lived, at least I finished this baby blanket for my co-worker Christen. I started it around Christmas. Oliver Scout was born in January.

Better late than never.

I talked to Paige on the phone. She saw my Instagram post that I was done. Her kind words were "at least he's not in high school yet."




Monday, July 28, 2014

Is Andi's final pick the dramatic decision ABC teases it to be?

I saw a post from The Bachelorette on Facebook billing tonight's finale as the "MOST. DRAMATIC. FINALE. EVER!"

The skeptic in me highly doubts it.

As a public relations professional who graduated with a minor in advertising, I understand the need to put a dramatic spin on things, but for Pete's sake. You can only say that about every episode and/or finale and still expect some gullible soul to believe it.

So here I sit, poised to start blogging live, with my laptop already warming my left thigh as I sit here, ready to torture myself for three hours. Like Grumpy Cat, if I weren't complaining, I don't know what I would do.

If I actually got the TV network that aired Married at First Sight because I caught two of three episodes last week (I can't get the first one because of my cable provider), and I must say, I am sucked into it. However, watching it online again and blogging isn't as easy as sitting here with the TV on (or I'm just making it difficult), so that will have to wait.

Chris Harrison just came on talking about the unexpected ending. I have to pay attention now.

Here's a tease of tonight's "meet the parents" encounters.

Andi introduces the guys to her parents while in the Dominican Republic. She claims that this is the first week where she doesn't know what might happen. I'm pretty sure I've heard that before too.

First up is Nervous Nick. I think her dad is about ready to eat him alive. Andi's mom says that it's ok to be nervous as they all get nervous around Andi sometimes. Nice thing to say about your daughter!

Momma Patti notices that he's not very demonstrative around Andi, but chalks it up to nerves. When asked about his first impression rose, much like me, he doesn't know why he got the first impression rose. When he talks one-on-one with Andi's mom, she starts off by saying that Andi is new in her career and worked her way through law school. What does he think about her career?

Nick tells Patti that he loves her daughter so much in ways he never imagined before. This makes Mom tear up. 

Meanwhile, Andi tells her sister, Rachel, that she thinks Nick can see her. Like really see her. See what she's thinking, and is so passionate. And blah, blah about his kissing.

Nick then sits down with Andi's dad to ask permission to marry her. Dad asks what it is about Andi that he loves, and where he sees the future. Nick mumbles on without making a lot sense. There's a long pause though after Nick asks if he would have his permission. Finally, he gets an, "if that's what you both decide to do."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Next up is Josh. Andi talks to her parents about him being an athlete, his background, how at first she didn't want to give him much attention. Her dad is unimpressed. 

Dad tells the camera he's ready to to compare him to Nick. Dad's first impression is that the guy doesn't have a prayer because as cool as he is trying to be that he as nervous as can be.

Mom's first impression is that he is loud and talks a lot about being nervous and the room being hot. 

The sister thinks that on paper he is kind of guy she always goes for. She's skeptical which actually isn't really fair to Josh. Sister and brother-in-law decide to grill him. He asserts that he is in love, ready to get married, and ready to marry Andi.

It's Dad's turn to give him a hard time too. A harder time than Nick got. Plus, Dad has a harsher expression on his face when Josh asks permission to propose. Hy (what kind of name is that anyway?) does say that the short time line of the show doesn't bother him, and Josh has his blessing, all he has to worry about is Andi's. Ultimately, Dad can also see Josh being a son-in-law (just like he said about Nick).

At the end of the day, they all seem a little more comfortable at the end of the day with Josh, or so it seems.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Andi's first last date is with Josh. Will she continue to question their whole relationship? Maybe it isn't that she's been dating the wrong kind of guys in the past (jocks). Maybe she just didn't date THE right GUY.

Out on a yacht they go! Josh is ready to propose TODAY. Meanwhile, Andi is still in her own head, not about anything Josh has or hasn't done, but about second guessing herself through the whole process. 

That woman can go from all smiles to the most serious, somber expression in two seconds flat. 

Since he lives in Atlanta that makes things easier on one side. Does the fact that news has gotten out that she quit her job means she didn't pick Josh and stay in Atlanta?

Andi always has fun with Josh, and we hear her say yet again that he is exactly her type. 

Where is the drama? I'm ready for the drama? Will a shark get them as they float around the ocean after jumping off the boat? Guess not.

That night is his last chance to spend time with her before proposing, or at least he hopes to propose. Andi keeps asking, "is this too good to be true?" She keeps saying, "this is crazy." She has so many trademark phrases.

Josh tells Andi that he has no questions. He is ready. "How do you know?" she asks. Now, more than ever, I ask what these guys see in her? 

Josh gives her a note with a very special baseball card with stats that he made of her. They get a kick out of it, together. She tries out his last name... Andi Murray.

Chris Harrison told during the introduction that the man Andi didn't choose was heartbroken and tried to confront her in Mexico while she was on vacation. Andi told him, "no." He tried again on "The Men Tell All." Again, she said, "no." I don't see Nick as being that aggressive. I think she turns Josh down. Josh would fight for her. Well, I take that back. Nick does have some stalker qualities, I think. I don't really know because I don't get him AT ALL!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Andi spent two days in a row with Josh - the day with her family and their final date. Now, Nick gets his time. She wants to end the day knowing what her decision is. Will she?

Their date consists of going off-roading. He just enjoys being around her. He never says anything profound. I couldn't stand trying to have a conversation with him. He mumbles. He doesn't say anything that makes sense.

They take a picnic to a private lagoon. I then tune out because I can't stand listening to him. I don't know what it is that makes her feel sexy. I just don't understand anything about him.

She goes over to Nick's for their last evening together before the possible engagement. He wants to be sure before he proposes to anyone again. He's not going to propose if there is any doubt in his mind that he's the one. Nick doesn't know if Josh is still in the picture and how serious things are. 

It's not long before Andi can tell that Nick's mind is hard at work. She gives him permission to ramble. At least he admits he is rambly. She puts on her serious face as he tells her about the last time he proposed to some one he got the feeling something was off. That would kill a guy to be rejected twice during proposals.

Before long, Nick is sure that Andi is giving him all the signs. I'm no expert on signs, but I didn't pick up on any. 

They start talking about what a day in the life is like in Chicago. Nick can see a life with her, but he's not as impassioned as Josh. He does have a present for her though. He gives her a necklace that has a vile of sand from the same beach where he first told Andi that he loved her. It reminds me of Angelina's vile of Billy Bob Thornton's blood or vice versa, whichever it was.

As the evening ends, Nick seems more confidant.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It's the next morning, and when Andi wakes up, in the back of her mind she knows this is the day she could get engaged. Excuse me, but I don't think it's in the back of her mind. We hear her voice over as she walks around in her short red nightgown with the slit up the front of her leg. Why? Why is she dressed or not dressed like that?

Both of the guys are contemplating life shirtless on their respective balconies.

Andi describes Nick with the word passion. I missed if she said anything about Josh. Maybe she didn't. Whatever the case, Andi knows she needs to cut one of the guys loose.

For Nick, he knows what's in his gut and his heart. He's going to propose to Andi. It's going to be a day he never forgets. Will it be a good one or a bad one?

Josh asserts this is the biggest day of his life - above getting drafted into professional baseball. He was up all night thinking about what he is going to say. A knock at the door, and the jeweler arrives so that he can pick out a ring. Josh can pick out a ring for me. I like his pick. 

When there is a knock at Nick's door, he is surprised to see Andi on the other side. They cut to Chris Harrison and the live show where everyone gasps in shock. They were just probably directed to make noise.

Chris Harrison asks some of the audience what they think. Last season's final reject Claire wishes that someone had come to her door before the final rose seeing as she sent to the final rose area with Juan Pablo to get turned down. Farmer Chris expects that Nick will be caught off guard like he was when he was sent home. He doesn't think this is going to turn out well for Nick. Drew, the reject from Des' season? I think it was Des' season, but I lose track. Anyway, Drew adds his two cents. 

Michelle Money wants her two seconds of fame and demands to know who the new bachelor will be. From his expression and the fact that he is turning so red to chants of "Chris, Chris, Chris," it would lead everyone to believe that it is Farmer Chris. Chris Harrison says it will be announced at a later date. I think it's Farmer Chris with his Cheshire Cat grin.

After like 10 minutes (or more because of the live coverage and TONS of commercials), we're back to Andi and Nick.

Andi thought a lot about Nick telling his story about something not being right the morning of the last time he proposed. This time, Andi didn't feel right that morning. It's not what Andi envisioned. It's clear to Andi that the way she sees them is not what's best for them. Thankfully, Nick is speechless. You have to feel bad for him, but I really can't listen to him mumble. When Nick asks how long Andi's felt this way, she tells him she's felt the intensity of over analyzing everything for a while. She feels that her life with him would be her over analyzing all the time. 

Odd. I would have thought that with Josh. It's got to be hard on the guys for her to act like she's all into them when she can't really tell her feelings while they have to tell theirs. She can't answer though if it's about them (Nick and Andi) or if it is about something else. 

Nick woke up excited and confident, but now he tells her that she took things too far to say this now. Rightfully, he tells her there's things she shouldn't have said or done. 

Nick had been saving all of his roses in his suitcase. He digs them out and throws them away before he packs up the rest of his things to leave. As much as I don't like him, you can't help but feel for him in his state of rejection and confusion. 

Since that day, Chris Harrison reveals, Nick has been trying to sit down and talk to Andi. Tonight during "After the Final Rose," Andi can avoid him no longer.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The time has come. Andi is dolled up and waiting for a ring. Will Josh propose? He gets out of the car dressed in his suit. He wants this future so bad, I think he would go insane if she had sent him home instead of Nick. 

Andi is more nervous than Josh. When Josh gave up his first love, baseball, he did so to search out and find a love greater than that of the game. He's so much more articulate than Nick could EVER be. After expressing his love for her, it's Andi's turn. She rambles about like Nick. Josh starts getting nervous. I thought he was going to start crying, thinking he was about to get rejected.

Finally, she spits out that she's loved him since early on and wants to spend her life with him. That's when he gets down on one knee and proposes. She's overtaken with the bling of the ring. After some kissing, she magnetically attaches the final rose to his lapel. Then, she looks at the ring again. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Before we can celebrate with the happy couple, we have to check in on Nick and watch the rest of his heartbroken journey. He's not over her. His mom talks about how difficult it was to watch the show. It's hard for Nick to let it go, so has been trying to talk to her before the final show. He doesn't think that Josh is the one for Andi. 

Nick is tired of having conversations with Andi in her head. He needs her to know he still loves her. We see clips of Nick talking to Chris, before last week's "Men Tell All" show. She was not ready to talk to Nick, but he gives Chris a letter to give to her. 

For a while, Andi stares at it on the table (after Chris told her he thought she should read it). 

Back from commercial again... (I swear there are more commercials than usual. I could have watched 3 hours in 90 minutes easy if I had just used the DVR.) Nick comes out first, emotional from having just watched everything back. As inarticulate as ever, he is still in the depths of heartache. 

Given their last conversation, I don't see what more she really has to say to him. I think she answered his questions. Nick does have kind things to say about Josh. A very emotional Nick still feels he needs to know "why?"

Finally, Nick gets his chance to talk to Andi. When he finally gets his chance, he doesn't really know how to start. All the poor guy wanted to do was tell her how he felt about her and their relationship. She did read the letter. He doesn't necessarily want to ask her anything. It's almost dead air, he has so many pauses. She says nothing. Just nods her head. 

Finally she says that she knew how hard it was for him because he was a skeptic setting out. He felt like she felt something for him that she didn't. Basically, he felt led on. She said they had a great relationship, but she didn't love him. She had a greatER relationship. 

FINALLY, he calls her out. They did what you wonder if people do in the fantasy suite, and he wants to know why if she wasn't in love with him. (It may not have been in the fantasy suit. It possibly happened in the water the day he told her he loved her on the beach since the water came up the day she broke it off... A little too Claire and Juan Pablo if you ask me.) It meant more to him than it did to her. She was calm until then because she thought it was a low blow to tell the world they had done what they did.

I wonder if this is news to Josh. It will be another 15 minutes before we find out between commercials and more previews of Bachelor in Paradise. I feel as if my life has passed me by tonight. Also, I really don't know if I can handle the trashiness and ridiculous of it. We'll see next Monday night.

With less than 10 minutes left on the night, Josh gets to come out with Andi. Turns out those two had only lived 5 minutes apart. 

They are ready to finally go on a dinner date in public. They've been sneaking over to see each other for two months with wigs, hats and sunglasses. I can't tell if he is more happy than her or if they are just crazy giddy. 

They are going to enjoy being publicly engaged. He's ready to get married sooner than she is. 

Before the show closes, we see clips of Andi frowning, and there is an appearance by Grumpy Cat. I must message Christine on Facebook. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Saturday, July 26, 2014

I can find a million excuses not to do housework

If you ever come to my house, I can promise you it's going to be straightened and arranged without stuff out of place.

I cannot promise there won't be a layer of dust over the perfectly arranged knickknacks, tables or even the TV. Nor will I promise the floors won't need vacuumed, there won't be dishes in the sink (and the sink needs to be washed too), and the bathrooms won't need scrubbing.

I'm a neat person that hates a mess and wants everything organized. However, I hate to clean house.

For weeks, there have been reasons I haven't spent Saturdays cleaning. Because goodness knows I'm not doing it at night or on a Sunday between church services (as you all know, that's the sacred nap time).

  • I need to go shopping to use a coupon before I meet Rakia at the Ranger game.
  • I have to go take my great aunt to go see my Grandmother.
  • I spent all day painting letters at my parents. 
  • I have some work I need to get done.
I was determined I was going to do it today. Today's excuses may be the lamest of them all.
  • I have the cramps so therefore I am going to lay on the couch and watch Food Network until noon (ok - at least 11:00 when The Kitchen goes off). By the way, it was nice and cool and comfortable, plus my mom told me I should do just that when I called to let Dad know I was awake like he asked me to since he was going to come mow.
  • "Mom, do you need to run errands? I thought I had some toothpaste in the cabinet, and I don't know how much I can squeeze out." Dad told her she needed to get out of the house and avoid phone calls. 
  • I needed to get a bookshelf to hold more of my book hoard in my office.
  • I decided I wanted to paint my rusty mailbox. It was supposed to be gold, but with rust, I had decided it needed freshening up. Dad was out of black spray paint so he painted it brown as a primer coat before I painted it to match my front door.
  • I need to balance my checkbook and note all of my August payments that I've gotten bills for this week. 
  • I need to waste hours on the computer for no reason whatsoever.
  • I need to catch up on my blogging. 
But, hey, don't you like my mailbox? My phone takes the world's worst pictures, by the way.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Why must portrait photographers be so cheesy?

I would say thankfully that tomorrow we would be able to not hear about getting pictures taken for our church directory, but they've added three dates in August for people unable to make it for pictures this week/weekend.

Somewhere in the announcements at every worship service, we've heard, "you will get a directory and a free 8 x 10, but you do not have to buy anything." Well, I don't see how you could afford it. As one of the church members put it (a former preacher around 90), "It costs $40 just to take the warts off your face."

Yes, the touch ups on your pictures - which will be in everyone's directory and your "free" 8 x 10 - cost around $40. If you're looking in the mirror daily, you know what you really look like, as do most members of the church. With too much touch up, you may not look like yourself, defeating the purpose of a church directory.

Besides... can you really see warts and wrinkles in a 2 x 2 inch photo?

What doesn't help ol' Lifetouch Photography's sales is the fact they show your pictures to you on a computer screen that has the wrong proportions. It stretches you wider than the wide angled camera it took to get you in all your already fatty fatty 2 x 4 glory, making you even look worse.

I sat with my mom to look at the pictures of her and Dad since their appointment was right before mine. Dad was waiting in the truck listening to the Ranger game because he was already annoyed a the whole thing, right down to having his picture made in the first place. Her gasp at how wide her face looked on the monitor was clear. That made me even more fearful to see mine.

Mom and Dad had already refused to hold each others faces and look deep into each other's eyes because goodness knows that wasn't going to be in the first place. Like most everyone through the process, they just wanted to pick their 8x10 and go.

Between turning my body one way, my face the other, my chin yet a third direction, I hope the photographer got my thinnest angle. I firmly drew my line at putting a hand anywhere near my face to make a dreamy expression. "No."

"That's not you?"

"No."

"Ok, well, we're done then."

"Good."

One picture was about at this angle over here to the left.

I would have liked to have a digital version of one of the least bad ones to use as a professional headshot, but that would have cost me $199 to pay for the copyrights for the whole kit and caboodle. So not worth it. I'll stick to selfies, via cell phone or web cam.

That's what happened with the ACFW program last September. I know that Amy sent a better picture than the one that showed up in print. I was horrified. It was a picture I took as a joke on webcam with a hat my Nanny crocheted. It was admittedly better though. Sadly.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Win a KitchenAid Mixer in Susan May Warren’s Hawaiian Chef Showdown!

Susan May Warren's newest book in the Christiansen Family Collection, When I Fall In Love,  has won over readers' and critics' hearts alike. With critical reviews like, ". . . an exquisite romance. Profoundly touching on the topic of facing fears, this book is a true gem," and more than 60 five-star reviews at Amazon, When I Fall in Love is sure to please.

Susan has teamed up with some amazing food bloggers for a fun food challenge and a KitchenAid Mixer giveaway!

whenifall-400-click

  One grand prize winner will receive:
Grab your aprons and wire whisks and buzz on over to the When I Fall in Love website to learn more and enter the Hawaiian Chef Showdown! Susan is challenging you to make a Hawaiian-inspired dish using coconut, mango, or one of the other ingredients mentioned in the book. You’ll get extra points for creating your own recipe—plus she might share it on the When I Fall in Love site! Or if you're not up for an adventure in the kitchen just click one of the icons below for easy entry.

Hurry, the giveaway ends on August 10th. All winners will be announced August 13th at Susan's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Susan's blog on the 13th to see if you won!


{MORE ABOUT WHEN I FALL IN LOVE}


WhenIFallInLoveA Christiansen Family Novel 
Hawaii was the last place Grace Christiansen ever imagined she’d vacation, much less fall in love. But when her family surprises her with a cooking retreat in paradise, she is pulled—or maybe yanked—away from her predictable, safe life and thrown headfirst into the adventure of a lifetime.
Max Sharpe may make his living on the ice as a pro hockey player, but he feels most at home in the kitchen. Which is why he lives for the three-week culinary vacation he takes each year in Hawaii. Upon being paired with Grace for a cooking competition, Max finds himself drawn to her passion, confidence, and perseverance. But just when Grace dares to dream of a future beyond her hometown, Max pulls away.
Wrestling with personal demons, Max fights against opening his heart to a love he knows he should never hope for. And as his secrets unfold, Grace is torn between the safe path in front of her and what her heart truly desires. If love means sacrificing her ideal happily ever after, Grace’s faith will face its toughest test yet.

{MORE ABOUT SUSAN MAY WARREN}


Susan May Warren
Susan May Warren is the bestselling, RITA Award–winning author of more than forty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. She served with her husband and four children as a missionary in Russia for eight years before she and her family returned home to the States. She now writes full-time as her husband runs a lodge on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, where many of her books are set. She and her family enjoy hiking, canoeing, and being involved in their local church. Several of her critically acclaimed novels have been ECPA and CBA bestsellers, were chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times, and have won the RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award. Five of her books have been Christy Award finalists. In addition to her writing, Susan loves to teach and speak at women’s events about God’s amazing grace in our lives. She also runs a writing community for authors. Visit MyBookTherapy.com to learn more. 
For exciting updates on her new releases, previous books, and more, visit her website at www.susanmaywarren.com

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Book lovers and foodies unite!

Susan May Warren hosts Hawaiian Chef Showdown —
the perfect pairing for her new book

To celebrate her new release, award-winning author Susan May Warren is hosting a contest every foodie will love! When I Fall in Love (Tyndale House Publishers / June 20, 2014 / ISBN 978-1414378435 / $14.99) is the third installment in Warren’s Christiansen Family series and is filled with a sense of adventure — and lots of good food.


From July 24 – August 10, Warren’s readers have the chance to win a KitchenAid mixer by entering the Hawaiian Chef Showdown, hosted on www.susanmaywarren.com. Readers can enter by creating or selecting a recipe using one of the main ingredients mentioned in the book, then pinning the recipe to Pinterest, and sharing it via other social media sites, including their blog. The grand prize winner will receive a KitchenAid mixer and all three books in the Christiansen Family series.

Food bloggers Jackie Brown from Mom on a Mission and Melissa Ringstaff from A Virtuous Woman will be creating custom recipes inspired by the book and giving away some treats of their own. More information about their contributions, as well as more details about the contest, will be available on the book’s website, whenifallinlove.susanmaywarren.com, when the contest launches on July 24. The Hawaiian Chef Showdown is being held in conjunction with the When I Fall in Love blog tour being coordinated by Litfuse Publicity Group.

The recipe contest is tied to the main storyline of When I Fall in Love. In the book, Grace Christiansen finds herself snatched from her everyday routines when her family surprises her with a trip to a cooking retreat in Hawaii. There she meets hockey player Max Sharpe, who’s trying to escape the pressures of his career for a few weeks. As the romance — and the oven — heat up in the kitchen, Grace and Max both will have to learn to step out of their expectations to find the right recipe for true love.

Susan May Warren says cooking has played a role in her own love story. “My husband is a fantastic cook. I’m more of an ‘open the fridge and see what I can create’ kind of gal,” she admits. “We could drive each other crazy — but we create great food and enjoy sitting around with our family, laughing, telling stories and feasting on life. In a similar way, Max and Grace’s story shows us we can be a winning team if we’re willing to embrace the current ingredients before us and enjoy the mess we make together.”

Readers can keep up with Susan May Warren at her website www.susanmaywarren.com and the Hawaiian Chef Showdown at whenifallinlove.susanmaywarren.com. Warren is also active on Facebook (SusanMayWarrenFiction) and Twitter (@susanmaywarren).




About the Christiansen Family series:

Set on the north shore of Minnesota, the series features the Christiansens, a family readers can identify with as they try to figure out how faith meets real life.


In Take a Chance on Me . . . (the 2014 Christy Award winner for Contemporary Series)
 
Darek Christiansen, heir to the historic Evergreen Lake Resort is angry since the loss of his wife. After a charity auction connects him with assistant county attorney, Ivy Madison, Darek begins to believe there might be love again in his future, but he’ll have to overcome his painful past – and Ivy’s secret connection to his wife’s death.

In It had to Be You . . .

Eden Christiansen’s job as handler for her NHL rookie brother, Owen, leaves her little time to focus on her own career. If only team enforcer, Jace, would mentor the young man. When Owen’s carelessness leads to an injury, Eden and Jace are thrown together and begin to wonder if they belong on the same team after all.

In When I Fall in Love . . .

Hawaii was the last place Grace Christiansen ever imagined she’d vacation, much less fall in love. But when her family surprises her with a cooking retreat in the Aloha State, she is pulled away from her predictable life and thrown headfirst into the path of hockey player, Max Sharpe, and the romantic adventure of a lifetime.

Coming in February: Always On My Mind


About Susan May Warren:

Susan May Warren is the bestselling, Christy and RITA Award–winning author of more than forty novels, whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike.

She served with her husband and four children as a missionary in Russia for eight years before she and her family returned home to the States. Warren now writes full-time as her husband runs a lodge on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, where many of her books are set. She and her family enjoy hiking, canoeing and being involved in their local church.

Warren holds a BA in mass communications from the University of Minnesota. Several of her critically acclaimed novels have been ECPA and CBA bestsellers, were chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times and have won the RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award. Five of her books have been Christy Award finalists. In addition to her writing, Susan loves to teach and speak at women’s events about God's amazing grace in our lives.


Readers can keep up with Susan May Warren at her website www.susanmaywarren.com and blog www.susanmaywarren.com/scribbles-blog/. She is also active on Facebook (SusanMayWarrenFiction) and Twitter (@susanmaywarren)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

THE BUTTERFLY AND THE VIOLIN Kindle Fire Giveaway and Facebook Party from @KCambronAuthor!

Welcome to the launch campaign for debut novelist Kristy Cambron's The Butterfly and the Violin. Romantic Times had this to say: "Alternating points of view skillfully blend contemporary and historical fiction in this debut novel that is almost impossible to put down. Well-researched yet heartbreaking. . . ."

Kristy is celebrating the release of the first book in her series, A Hidden Masterpiece, with a fun Kindle Fire giveaway and meeting her readers during an August 7th Facebook author chat party.


butterflyviolin-400-click

 One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 7th. Winner will be announced at The Butterfly and the Violin Author Chat Party. Kristy will be connecting with readers and answering questions, sharing some of the fascinating research behind the book, hosting a fun book chat, and giving away some GREAT prizes. She will also be giving an exclusive look at the next book in the series, A Sparrow in Terezin!

So grab your copy of The Butterfly and the Violin and join Kristy on the evening of August 7th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 7th!


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{MORE ABOUT THE BUTTERFLY AND THE VIOLIN}


The Butterfly and the Violin
A mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest corners of Auschwitz—and the loneliest hearts of Manhattan.
Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire for distraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl—a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.
In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William Hanover, the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul, who may be the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together, Sera and William slowly unravel the story behind the painting’s subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von Bron.
A darling of the Austrian aristocracy, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.
As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of places: in the grim camps of Auschwitz and in the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.

{MORE ABOUT KRISTY CAMBRON}

Kristy Cambron
Kristy Cambron has been fascinated with the WWII era since hearing her grandfather’s stories of the war. She holds an art history degree from Indiana University and received the Outstanding Art History Student Award. Kristy writes WWII and Regency era fiction and has placed first in the 2013 NTRWA Great Expectations and 2012 FCRW Beacon contests, and is a 2013 Laurie finalist. Kristy makes her home in Indiana with her husband and three football-loving sons.
Find out more about Kristy at http://kristycambron.com.

Monday, July 21, 2014

I doubt they really tell all


Tonight's episode of The Bachelorette presents viewers with "The Men Tell All." I bet the men don't tell us much we don't already know.

We can all hope for juicy tidbits, but in reality, it's going to be watered down blah, blah, blah.

Before it even starts, we find out that a good chunk of the time is devoted to a live ultrasound to tell the gender of J.P. and Ashley's baby. Ugh. OOOOOHHHHHH!!! But, we find out who lied during the lie detector tests. Chris Harrison has a copy of the results that Andi didn't tear up.

More men than ever before told Andi that they loved her teases Chris Harrison. Before we learn which of the guys that have been brought back to talk about their experience... Marcus, Marquel, Farmer Chris... we have to talk to Ashley and J.P. about their upcoming baby.

They are so over the top happy it's sickening. Not only are they moving to Miami to escape the polar vortex, Chris teases they are moving closer to Juan Pablo. Who cares? For some reason, they are surprised with a live ultrasound. She's due October 7th. They could have had this done long ago. In fact, they probably know if the baby is a boy or girl way before this whole "live" thing. When asked if they are excited, they are speechless.

She luckily has a split in the side of her long dress to be able to do this. Maybe it wasn't a surprise.  It was all staged, or actually, it looks like they tore the seam out of her dress. Her fluid is good we are told. TMI. Finally, after floating the wand around, we're told it's a boy. Ashley tells that she felt like it was a boy all along. J.P. is happy to pass along the Rosenbaum name.

When we come back from the commercial, do we get on with the guys telling all? Of course, not!

We get previews of all the crying from Michelle Money, nasty Claire, Ben the daddy, and all of the others on Bachelore in Paradise. Lots of "kissing" in the ocean is sure to ensue since everyone is on the show looking for the hook-up. Will everyone fall in love? Will everyone pair up? There will be new arrivals every week, including Lucy, the "free spirit," Marquel, Marcus, Chris the crazy guy that tried to meet Andi, Cody, and lots of other undesirables. An ambulance shows up... there is blood on the floor... is there a murder?

Finally, thirty minutes into the show, we are introduced to the men who are telling all. Even the ones who were booted so early they have nothing to tell.

Carl (the fire fighter - don't even remember him), Brett (the hairstylist who may or may not have been into bachelorettes), Andrew (the one with the creepy grin who may or may not have been racist), Patrick (forgettable guy in ad sales), Bradley (the opera singer), Ron (the man of color who was not Marquel), Craig (who also has a weird smile), Nick (the golfer), Tasos (who seems very effeminate to me), J.J. (and his pants of many colors), Marquel (sans cookies), Cody (and his muscles), Dylan (he's going to get busted on the lie detector results, I just know it), Coach Brian, Marcus (who is so very nice to look at), and Farmer Chris.

They are all wearing scarves, and looking quite dumb indoors with them, I will add. Obviously, it's some joke about the season. Maybe the producers read one of my tweets from earlier in the season. Even Chris Harrison has one on and mentions it being the "scarfiest" season they have ever had. I'm pretty sure they saw the the Pinterest pin about the 30 ways to tie a scarf because everyone had them tied a different way.

What was it about Andi that stuck out?

Farmer Chris found her to be beautiful, but also had so many things she was looking for. Marquel thought it was a blessing to be in this situation (or a curse... a blessing or a curse). Nick the golfer was intimidated by the builds of all the other hot guys.

Our first clips of the season has all the guys oogling and googling at her. After checking out her, they start checking out each other. Then, they get jealous. Then they bad mouth each other, accusing others of "not being here for the right reasons."

Chris Harrison picks "the most sensitive issues of the whole season" involving Marquel confronting Andrew about allegedly making racist comments. Then, on stage, Andrew gets Ron and Marquel's names confused. #busted

Andrew calls J.J.'s reputation into question for being the person who tried to get something going. Chris tells J.J. that he was always trying to start something like a politician - why didn't he just go to Andrew who he had a problem with? There's a lot of he said/he said that is hard to follow exactly.

I don't think that Andrew does the greatest job of defending himself. He doesn't seem to deny it exactly. When they come back from commercial, it's time to put someone in the "hot seat," but J.J. speaks up to defend himself since he got slammed in the earlier conversation.

First up in the hot seat is Marquel, complete with his stupid looking cookie pin. I think he stole it from Cookie Monster. It looks like a Sesame Street prop. Before he talks, we see a montage of his greatest moments and his tears over being "nothing special." The crowd goes wild. J.J. must have given him some pants, by the way because they are a very loud red-orange color.

Marquel laments about being stuck in the friend zone. He does take some responsibility for not getting out of the friend zone. Chris Harrison asks him why he just didn't kiss her like everyone else -- that he was missing some signals. In retrospect, he would have done some things differently. Teasing the upcoming series, Harrison asks him if he would do something different if he found himself in Paradise. He says he would take advantage of the opportunity. We shall see. Before his 15 minutes of fame ends, he throws out giant black and white cookies to the audience.

Next up... Marcus. He was the first to tell Andi that he loved her. Is he still heartbroken? I heard he was engaged to someone from Bachelor in Paradise, so I think he just falls in love too quickly. Marcus' clips from the season are full of Andi complimenting Marcus... until she doesn't give him a rose after home towns. He can barely watch the recap from the hot seat. In fact, he has tears in his eyes. His gorgeous blue eyes.

After a great hometown date, when asked, Marcus still has questions about what happened. He has mixed emotions about what happened. He was embarrassed and disappointed, but he did not mean it when in the limo he said, "I never should have told her I loved her."

Marcus is open to finding love again, and he too may find it in Paradise.

One more guy before Andi comes out... Farmer Chris! Andi found Chris' farmer self to be sexy. His family was greater than she had imagined. Yet, she just couldn't get past Iowa. I'm still impressed with how he took it when Andi decided it wasn't going to work for them. He too has an emotional moment.

The only thing he would have differently was to spend more time to tell her what she was willing to do for love. Chris Harrison shares that Andi said that the hometown date to Iowa was her favorite.

Harrison does ask Chris what will happen next for him. A random woman from the audience speaks up from the audience and asks if she can ask him a question. This small town Canadian woman named Ketra (?) in her very short shorts outfit (like her butt hangs out the back when she sits down) comes up and sits next to him. She asks Chris if he thinks he will find someone in Iowa. She'd like to date him. In an awkward moment, they get to talk during commercial. It turns out that she came from the Toronto area just to come to the show. She gives him her phone number on a post-it note before exiting the stage.

Will the fact that he is not quizzed about finding love in Paradise mean Farmer Chris will be the next Bachelor?

FINALLY!!! It's time for Andi to join them. Some of the guys look a bit miffed to see her (like Dylan).

Chris gets the first chance to ask her a question. Being caught off guard, he asks what it was that changed during that last date. She felt like maybe Chris was giving her an out by asking more than once, "do you see yourself in Iowa?"

Marcus asks if the fact that he was so open about his feelings was what scared her off. His puppy dog eyes are killer. (Maybe his engagement from Paradise has already ended?) She explains that she just didn't see her feelings catching up to his in the time that they had left.

Cody speaks up and says that Andi never got to see the real Cody. She said it was painful to let him go on a one-on-one date, but it was better than putting him through a rose ceremony.

Marquel asks about the friend zone. Andi said that sometimes it is there, and sometimes it isn't. They were always about having fun. Marquel accuses Andi of being to shy to kiss him. She turns it on him and asks, "were you too shy to kiss me?" which he denies except the fact he didn't realize everyone else was kissing on the first date.

Nick the golfer thought her guard was up during any time they had together.

For some reason, Chris Harrison makes Crazy Chris, the one that tried to get in the first night, stand up. Harrison points out that you'll be able to see more of that Chris in Paradise. One shameless plug right after the other. Of course, no one but the most die hard of Bachelor fans is going to watch it -- even among loyal fans.

Chris Harrison tells Andi that she is not out of the woods yet. He asks Andi if she is pregnant, after all, there is an ultrasound machine in the back. She denies the story.

However, Harrison does have lie detector results. Do you like it when Andi says, "stooooooppp?"

Brian, Marcus, J.J., Chris, Dylan and Josh were on the lie detector date. Three men told no lies -- Brian, J.J. and Chris. Shame on Marcus, Dylan and Josh. No wonder Josh was so upset about it all.

Marcus said he had slept with fewer than 20 women, but that was a lie!

Dylan didn't lie about his personal hygiene, but he lied about preferring brunettes to blondes. He's also not ready for marriage.

Harrison asks Andi if she would like to know about Josh's two lies. She's a bit conflicted. Brian tells her not to do it (though he ripped into her answers). Dylan says to trust him. Andi isn't completely sure though. I want to know!

Then, the blooper reel rolls. I was less than impressed.

As the show closes, it's a look at the final two men. Nick vs. Josh. I would have chosen Chris.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

When the Roll is Called up Yonder

Since we're in Revelation which talks about angels and trumpets and all, I thought this song was appropriate for today. Except, I thought they would have known it a little better. You can't tell we practiced it first.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Blah, blah, blah

So, obviously, July has not been a big month for book releases as evident by no book posts this week.

As busy as April and May were for new releases and tours, coupled with prepping for ICRS in June, it has been nice to catch up on the items of my to-do list that kept being pushed down the line. My email inbox is remarkably empty as I tend to things as they come. However, I know there are also things I need to get ready for upcoming releases, but I digress.

This is one of those periods of time that prove just how boring my life is with no idle chatter to fill each day's post. The girls don't have any sporting events going on right now, so there's nothing to post about there either.

This week has been a bit different. My grandmother had surgery Wednesday, and I took her sister up to visit her today, so that's two days that I have been away from the house.

Thankfully, everything went well and evidently smooth. The most eventful thing of yesterday was when I scared myself half to death changing lanes. I looked in the mirror. I looked over my shoulder like I always do. I had my signal on, but as I start to easy over, I realize there is a car in the other lane that either sped up in that lane or came around me as I was about to change lanes. I swerved back in my lane, had a very dramatic moment of straightening up, and thankfully no one was on my right. It shook me up for the day and made me wonder if I would have rolled my old car. My aunt was very calm for the whole thing, but I was a basket case. Everyone was safe and sound outside of the scary moment.

One can only hope something fun and exciting can happen soon... for my own entertainment and yours.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The payoff is never as good as the tease

So, only two more weeks of The Bachelorette... sadly about the only thing on TV that I am watching right now. Further proof I need to find better things to do like go walking and have a heat stroke in the evenings (I should have gone this week when it was record lows for July), work on crochet projects or read.

There was a commercial with a good tease about the "Men Tell All" episode, but it's not up on the site. Will Andi question her choices? I doubt it. The payoff of the actual episode is never, ever as good as the tease.

But then again... would we watch if the commercials said, "There will be nothing unexpected and everyone pretty much minds their Ps and Qs."

Here's the only preview from the site for Monday night.


In other boring TV news, the "season" finale of Sister Wives is Sunday night. I think it's a bunch of rehash of rehash of their lives and how each wife joined the family. The commercial teases, "is Robin pregnant?" Probably not. She's probably just going to announce that she is giving up on My Sister Wives' Closet so she can try to have a baby or something. I'm over the Brown family too.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

May the new TV season come swiftly

Tonight I have been contemplating how I really hope time flies, and we get to start the Fall TV season soon. Usually I can cope from TV series withdrawals by watching the Texas Rangers for the summer, they have been so absolutely horrible this season, I just can't do it.

On a Thursday night in the summer -- which is normally my favorite TV night -- the pickings are slim. As I scroll through the channel guide, my choices include TLC's Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and VH1's Dating Naked. I may watch a bunch of dumb reality crap, but I do draw the line somewhere. I do have my standards, and obviously my morals. Even if I do end up watching the train wreck that Bachelor in Paradise will be. I don't plan to blog my way through it, but that could change.

I "tried" to watch NBC's debut of Welcome to Sweden. I give that show less than a month before it is cancelled. I found it that annoying.

With all this horrid swill on TV, maybe that contributes to the fact this is the BEST thing I've watched all week.

 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Because I know you have missed posts about my latest crochet project

As I am sure you know, because I posted so many pictures here, I did a lot of crocheting last fall/early winter for Christmas presents. That hexagon blanket big enough to cover the top of my parents' king size bed, a couple of headbands, and more hats than I can remember (at least 10). 

By the time I started a baby blanket, I was so over crocheting, I had to put it away. About 1/3 to 1/2 way through a baby blanket I promised someone, I just couldn't do anymore. I told my co-worker, Christen, that Scout would have it by his first birthday. 

Getting the itch again, and after buying more yarn that I didn't need yet bought anyway because it was on sale last weekend at Hobby Lobby, I pulled my project back out this week. I'm hoping to whip it out. It may end up more of a vertical stripe blanket because I think I'm going to run out of yarn to make it be horizontal stripe. 

This year, I'm hoping to make up a bunch of hats before winter and have ready to sell before Christmas. However, you know me and my good intentions.



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What do you do?

As I mentioned Sunday, it's a light blog tour week, and I need something to ramble about this week. 

Maybe it's because I don't venture far from my little corner of the world, but people frequently ask, "where do you work now?" or "what are you doing now?" While well meaning questions, for some reason, they always seem to come off with a sense of "do you have a job?" 

I'm sure that's just me. I'm sure they don't mean it in a way that sounds like, "are you an old maid that lives with your parents?" Since graduating college (when I lived away for three years), I stayed with my parents for only two brief intervals: 1) less than 6 months when I graduated and was looking for a job, and 2) about 6 months when I needed to move out of the 'hood I was living in after an incident of coming home to find police in my front yard looking for gun shell casings and another time of finding out the apartment on the other side of my wall had been broken into during broad daylight.  (That's the only time in 17 years I haven't lived in my own place.)

Obviously, these people are not my blog readers. Inspired by the sermon this morning where the visiting preacher said, "I'll just answer the obvious questions now. I am 6'6", and yes, I played basketball."

Yes, America, I have a job. Other than a less than two week transition period in 2012, I have had a job consistently since April of 2002. Before that there was a three month period where I was looking for a job after deciding my mental well being was more valuable than the education of 20 fourth graders who were driving me to the brink of insanity. For 9 years and 11 months, I worked at one company doing PR work. Then, I changed jobs, but for over 2 years and 4 months, I have worked for another company doing the same kind of thing I did before.

Although I do the same think I've done for the past 12 years, now, instead of going to an office outside of my home, I get dressed and go to another part of the house every morning.

On behalf of all people that work from home... You can have a full-time, actual work from home job. It's an actual living. It's not like answering some weird classified ad on Craig's List. Yes, I have some hermit tendencies that I've always had, but it's not some odd taboo thing or just something people do in order to be able to homeschool their children (that's the usual situation - I'm not downing anyone). You don't have to be a stay at home parent to have a real work from home job.

The "what do you do?" question though gets me. For over 12 years, I've tried to explain it, and my dad still calls me by the wrong job title (one I haven't had in at least 10). I might as well work for the CIA. It'd be easier to say, "it's classified" or make up something. The problem with making up something... it's mostly people at church that ask.

Do any of you have some kind of odd job or working situation that people ask you about? Have you worked at one place for ages, and people just don't realize it?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Who will make the final two on The Bachelorette?

I gave up an invitation to go swimming with Paige and Peyton tonight so that I could go to the grocery store (I had no form of cheese or eggs) and be able to blog with The Bachelorette live.

Actually, I went over to my parents house to eat after work and left late enough to have to run through the grocery store, and I'm still 20 minute late starting The Bachelorette. I'll be caught up by right after an hour in though. That's how many commercials there are.

As much as I hated to say no to a very chipper sounding Paige, I was down to my last 4 Coke Zeros in the office fridge and goodness knows, that is more troublesome than being without cheese. Plus, I didn't want another late night of blogging on the episode some other night like I have for the past two or moer weeks.

So who will Andi invite to the fantasy suite? Word around the web is that one of the three guys will be let go before the invitation is extended. I don't guess there is a chance that the word of it being Chris isn't true? I don't think Josh is the best choice, but I can't stand Nick.


After Andi's last fantasy suite experience with Juan Pablo, Andi is fearful of a guy being one way on camera and another behind closed doors. I think the time has come for a lot of second guessing.

To start off the week at the Dominican Republic, she's glad each of the guys are there for a different reason.

Josh has a personality Andi thinks most women are attracted to. (Yeah, the cocky guy...) Outgoing, funny, lively, kind, and compassionate. She has so much fun with Josh. I don't know that I would say easy going like she does. He has been pretty intense since the whole lie detector thing. It is hard to resist tall, dark and handsome. She admits to being giddy around him.

He admits to falling in love with her.

For all the positives, however, a red flag comes up with the former athlete type she has had trouble with before. (Juan Pablo ring a bell?) She has been guarded with Josh because there is that side that came up after the lie detector test when he went crazy about trusting him. Blame the show, not Andi is all I have to say about that.

Chris is a sweet, smart, light-hearted and funny guy. He is cute, charming, romantic and makes her feel like he is there to find love. Andi is attracted to the manly qualities of the farmer. He impressed her by writing down and sharing his feelings for her. In her words, Chris is mature and sexy.

Until Andi met his family, he couldn't even begin to picture herself in Iowa.

Nick has always stood out to Andi for reasons I will never understand. His shy and skeptical side has always been memorable to her. There is a mental connection that intrigues her. Flattery evidently gets him everywhere.

He is sweet, affection, smart and serious, in her words. His lisp gets me. He gets her, she says. He sees her (according to a poem) and has that passionate side. Evidently, he is a good kisser.

The potential of growing old with him is there.

Sigh. Go ahead. Take him off the market. I don't know who wants him if they have watched the show.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There isn't even a video of Nick's boring date available on the site.

Her first date - or the first date shown - is her date with Nick. She wants to talk to him today about his past break-ups. Evidently, his version is not as dramatic as his family described them to be.

Nick is ready to share how he feels about Andi with her. He's been wanting to say something since Belgium.

They hop a helicopter and try to make out while wearing giant earphones with microphones. They land on a private island (or at least beach) for the day.

I'm getting a sunburn watching them. The cameras pan them both taking of their respective shirts and cover-ups. I'm struck by the side shot they didn't edit out of an obviously padded bikini. I mean, the padding is coming out the side.

Now, it's time for Andi to pry into his past relationships. Andi says it was more like his family was more worried about him getting hurt than whether or not they were a good fit. Nick says one time he broke up with a girl and didn't speak to much of anyone for six months. I'm not sure if it was the same or a different relationship where a fiance broke up with him. I'm not backing it up to listen to him any more than I have to in order to figure out the details.

He admittedly rambles on a while. I don't even know what he was talking about. Now he can't spit out his feelings.

Later that night, Andi tries to get Nick to open up. She starts by asking what is his most embarrassing thing is--like are you clumsy? He just owns up to being quirky. Then, he says he has to show her what he's been up to this week... what any 33 year old guy would do... write a fairy tale. I think he may have pulled out his box of 24 Crayola crayons to illustrate the story.

I thought it was a cheezy retelling of the season. She found it childish in a really, cute, fun way -- but very romantic. This makes her think of a side of Nick being a father and reading to their children.

There are a lot of blank pages left to finish off the story. At that point, she hands over the envelope with the invitation to the fantasy suite. She asks him what she thinks, and he rambles on for a while about talking her ear off when she finally interrupts him to ask, "is that a yes?"

FINALLY, and I do mean finally, he says, "I love you." He's been rambling to the camera forever (like weeks) about wanting to say it.

I try to block out their loud sucking face noises during their make-out session before they go off for the night.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Next up... A day in Santo Domingo with Josh. Josh tries to show off his Spanish. I think he remembers about as much as I do which is not much.
Andi is putting a lot of pressure on this date. They spend the day soaking in local culture - food, shopping, street dancing... She then takes him to watch a local sandlot game of baseball. The two get out and play with the kids. They are Dominican, so it's future Major League Baseball players here.

Josh feels for Andi something he's never felt before. He asks Andi what she thought about his family. Andi admits to be a little scared of his mother. He understands why.

He loves her, and tells her that he knows that she can't say it back. This makes her more giddy than she already was.

That night at dinner, it gets more serious. She needs to know that he is serious about proceeding in a relationship.

Looking back, Josh admits he thought he was done after the first night when he came off as cocky, or just maybe overly confident. They move on to talking about what kind of parents they picture themselves being. Josh talks about picturing the future when they are around kids like they were today. I think she can see his level of seriousness about a family now. He says he is ready to propose and get married. After a little kissy face, her mood changes a bit. She brings up him being happy all the time which seems to be problematic for her.

Out comes the invitation to the fantasy suite. Andi says she wants to see how she is without all the cameras. So, off they go, but not without a swimming pool/hot tub moment first. *gag*

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The final date is with Chris. Before the date starts, she expresses to the cameras that it is a make or break date for them as she isn't so sure she's at a point that she is ready to spend a night with him. There's the admission it isn't just talking all night, as if there was ever a question.

They go horseback riding which is a fantastic idea for someone who isn't really comfortable around horses. He's quite comfortable. I don't really think about corn farmers riding horses. It's been like 20 years since she has ridden. The horse starts trotting more than Andi was prepared for, and I thought she was going to lose it. They observe farm life much more manual than Chris experiences now before stopping for a picnic. He seems more talkative than she is, thanking her for their time together in Iowa. They talk a bit about her impressions of his family. Chris' dimples show as he smiles while listening to her talk about his family.

She's much more somber on this date than the others. They try to make it a little more light-hearted by playing hide and go seek like their date in Iowa ended.

That evening things get real. The poor guy really likes her. She's just mentally in a not great place for the date - probably over thinking everything. He doesn't want to beat a dead horse, especially after riding horses all day, but asks her, "what do you think of Iowa?" Understandably so, she's concerned about the transition. Chris tells her that he is willing to make sacrifices. She starts onto her struggle, not only with the thought of Iowa, but the seriousness of the fantasy suite card for her. He asks, "where do you want me to try to go with this?" Alls he really wants to do (he starts saying alls, I notice) is let her know he's in love with her and try to work it out.

He's in a tough spot. Chris is in a family business. Farming is in his blood. He's willing to try to work it out. He's told her all of this, but Andi is going to have to make the call if it is worth the risk to her. I really think he's done all he can do -- it's up to Andi to decide if she likes him enough to pursue it further.

Now she starts ugly crying that she can't see herself in Iowa and that she doesn't see herself in the relationship where he does. Andi needs a paper bag as she is just short of the hiccups. She says she has more respect for him than to say it's just Iowa and wait for a rose ceremony. At this point, she cuts him loose. Chris stays really calm and listens to her. Finally, Chris pats Andi's back, tells her he is disappointed. She rants on about being an idiot, then says her head and heart doesn't match up. Chris tells her that she's not an idiot -- the whole thing comes down to her feelings. He awkwardly can't decide how to make his exit. She walks him out, and he tries to calm her by saying that she did the right thing. He graciously takes his exit.

Chris tells the camera that he didn't see it coming and that it hurts. He takes it like a man. He came on the show to take it seriously, and tries not to cry while the camera is in his face in the car. It just dawned on me how awkward it must be to talk to yourself on camera because you have to say something with the camera there.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And then there were two...

Andi recovers quickly after the commercial break saying it's been a good week even though there were some hard things. It's time for a breakdown of the week with Chris Harrison. If she had it all to do over again, she'd still pick these two guys. 

Chris Harrison asks her about Bachelor Chris. He asks if it was about Iowa. She said the foundation wasn't there, but complimented him on being a class act, a gentlemen.

Then, Harrison goes on to ask about Nick. She talks about the main thing she wanted to discuss with Nick - his break-ups. Then, she reveals his confession of love. 

Harrison asks if Josh said "I love you" too. He did. 

There are concerns with both. The intensity of Nick (can he be funny) vs. the fun of Josh (can he be serious?). She likes both sides of the spectrum.

Going into the final rose ceremony, it's a given that she is going to offer the final two roses, but supposedly she is wondering if both will accept. They've expressed their love, so I don't know what else she expects.

As they arrive at the beach to claim their roses, each guy tells the camera how excited he is to meet Andi's family. When they arrive, neither guy says anything about wondering where Chris is. Chris Harrison points out the obvious about him not being there. Andi arrives to hand out roses. She starts by telling how she didn't see a future with Chris and how even though there are only two left, she still wanted to have a rose ceremony. She wants each guy to have the opportunity to bail if that's what he wants to/needs to do.

She gives the first rose to Nick, leaving Josh with a funny look on his face. Maybe it's just the sun grins. It could easily be the sun grins. Then Josh accepts his rose.

Josh thinks he's going to be proposing.

Nick wonders why she didn't send Josh home too.

However, we have to wait two weeks before we find out if she makes the horrible choice, picking Nick.

Next week is the "Men Tell All" episode. I hope there is dirt, not just a lame show.