Friday, March 31, 2017

In need of blogging inspiration

I need some blogging inspiration. I have a lot going on between work and weekend events, but I haven't had time to work on any new craft projects. I am trying to get to some new ones. I have lots I want to do, but no time to do it.

I haven't even had time to open the box that contains my new computer battery after that whole debacle last week. HP called while I was out at a restaurant to follow-up, but I told them I hadn't had time to deal with it. Seriously.

As much as I hate to, I may have to blog on The Bachelorette when it comes on in May. I was really planning not to, but maybe I just change HOW I've been doing it.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Are you Getting Jesus Wrong?


We all want something from Jesus, whether that’s help to get through life, a new job, a new direction, a new exercise plan. Learn why that approach doesn’t result in real faith or love in Matt Johnson’s new book, Getting Jesus Wrong. Whether we’ve followed a false Jesus or attempted to coopt the real Jesus, Getting Jesus Wrong ultimately offers us hope because it helps us see Jesus as he is. Getting Jesus right gives us more than spiritual vitamins or a blueprint for living; it gives us a full, rich life spent exploring the depths of gospel love together.

{MORE ABOUT GETTING JESUS WRONG}


(New Growth Press, February 2017)
Jesus is not a life coach, a movement leader, a cultural visionary, or a blessing dispenser—but you might not know that by listening to many Christians talk about their faith.
Feel-good slogans promote a caricatured Jesus made in our own image who cannot save us and leave us feeling guilty for not saving ourselves. Following the wrong Jesus disappoints us and produces anxiety, pride, and despair.
The first half of Getting Jesus Wrong recounts pastor and author Matt Johnson’s personal encounters with a string of false saviors—false saviors that many, especially young adults, will recognize. Johnson’s humor and transparency in recounting his own painful experiences will appeal to those who have tried a “brand” of Christianity and found it lacking.
The truth is, we all want something from Jesus. Some are just hoping for a little help to get through life—a new direction, a purpose that will get us up in the morning, an exercise plan, a way to get organized. But that approach to Jesus doesn’t result in real faith or love.
Whether we’ve followed a false Jesus or attempted to coopt the real Jesus, Getting Jesus Wrong ultimately offers us hope because it helps us see Jesus as he is. Getting Jesus Wrong shows that the message of the Bible is about Jesus coming to us as we are—which is good news for exhausted and disillusioned disciples. It shows us that getting Jesus right means a whole new way of thinking (the way up is down) and a whole new way of life (daily dependence on the one who knows the beginning from the end). Getting Jesus right gives us more than spiritual vitamins or a blueprint for living; it gives us a full, rich life spent exploring the depths of gospel love together.
Matt Johnson

{MORE ABOUT MATT JOHNSON}


Matt Johnson is a husband, father to two little girls, and is an armchair student of theology living in Seattle. He is also a freelance writer and editor. Until recently, Matt spent 7 years as an associate volunteer pastor in counseling and recovery ministry.
Find out more about Matt at www.therealmattjohnson.com.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A greater appreciation for green

I can't say that I have been out of the house much since getting back from vacation, but when I have, I have a greater appreciation for the green of spring here in Texas. It seems like suddenly everything turned from brown to green. I couldn't take pictures while driving down the road this weekend to our craft fair, but Texas is blooming blue. We sure didn't see bluebonnets in Arizona or New Mexico.

We did see a lot of dark pink bougainvillea around Phoenix. If houses had any color along with the palms trees and cactuses, it was this one certain color of dark pink bougainvillea.

However, we did go to the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix.




This wasn't at the garden. This was at the Talking Stick ballpark. We sure don't have cactus growing in our batter's eye at the Ballpark in Arlington. 











Tuesday, March 28, 2017

You need to see more of my pictures

I don't think I've shared enough vacation pictures. I have been working on getting a few uploaded to Shutterfly so I can print some for a collage picture frame. I realized that out of somewhere around 800 pictures, none of us got a picture of the snowy peaks around Flagstaff, just one in New Mexico.
















Monday, March 27, 2017

Welcome to College helps students navigate the journey into adulthood

 

Setting the trajectory for a life of following Jesus

Welcome to College helps students navigate the journey into adulthood

College can be the most exciting, as well as the most frightening, time of a young person’s life. On one hand are all the freedoms a recent high school graduate craves, but on the other are all the freedoms that come with responsibility. It’s a challenging time, especially for Christians coming face-to-face with worldviews different from their own. In Welcome to College: A Christ-Follower’s Guide for the Journey (second edition) (Kregel Publications/March 28, 2017/ISBN: 9780825444883/ $21.99), Jonathan Morrow helps students tackle this new stage of life and emerge on the other side prepared for what God has planned for them.

“Is there a more frightening question for a graduating high school senior than ‘What will you do with your life?’” Morrow asks. “In college, whether they realize it or not, students will answer that question every day with each decision. All of the new friends and new experiences of college will shape their future. As Christians, they will have the added layer of trying to figure out what God would want them to do with their lives. It can be overwhelming. It's critical that students know how to handle college before they're in the thick of it.”

College is a critical time for young adults to find and develop a faith of their own. Various surveys reveal between 40-75% of young people abandon their faith during their college years. While even one student walking away from their faith is too much, parents and students need to know and understand that college is not a faith-friendly environment. However, God has called students to more than surviving; he has called them to engage our culture with the life-changing message of Jesus.

Keeping this truth in mind, Morrow tackles the tough questions that arise during these formative years, including:
  • How do I grow spiritually?
  • Is all truth relative?
  • How do I manage my time both to study well and have fun?
  • How can I discover what I am supposed to do with my life?
  • As a Christian, how should I view issues such as drinking, dating and sex?

The first edition of Welcome to College, released a decade ago, was extremely popular and still very applicable to today. In this new edition, each chapter has been updated, and Morrow added chapters addressing the tyranny of tolerance and Christianity, homosexuality, and the Bible. He also delves into how social media has changed our culture and how students’ digital footprints will follow them all of their lives. Grounded in both his own extensive experience and biblical truth, Morrow's book is full of quick, easy-to-read chapters and practical advice.

“College is full of opportunities and challenges,” Morrow muses. “I want students to own their faith and not just survive college, but to thrive there and have the kind of influence God created them for!”


Advance Praise

“I know of no better book you can put into the hands of a Christian student headed to college.”
~ John Stonestreet, president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview (from the book’s foreword)

Welcome to College has been my go-to book for helping students prepare to succeed spiritually, relationally and academically in college. There is no other book that has such depth and balance. And I am thrilled to see that Jonathan has written a timely and helpful update, incorporating many of the biggest issues students face today. This book is a must-read for all Christian students who hope to have a vibrant faith in college.”
~ Sean McDowell, best-selling author, speaker and professor at Biola University

“If I could give just one apologetics book to a Christian going off to college, it is this one. Jonathan Morrow goes well beyond providing evidence for Christianity (as most such books do) — he provides succinct and sound answers to the kinds of moral and emotional issues that often trip up Christian college students. Highly recommended!”
~ Frank Turek, broadcaster and author of I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist
and Correct, Not Politically Correct



About the Author

Jonathan Morrow feels like he was able to do college right, with no major regrets. Although he admits to not having all the answers, his mission is to help other students do the same. Morrow is currently the director of cultural engagement and immersion at Impact 360 Institute where he trains high school and college students in Christian worldview, apologetics, and leadership. He also serves as an adjunct professor of apologetics at Biola University.

Morrow is the author of Welcome to College, Questioning the Bible and Think Christianly. He also co-authored Is God Just a Human Invention? with Sean McDowell and has contributed chapters to Foundations of Spiritual Formation and A New Kind of Apologist. Morrow has contributed articles to several publications and his books have been featured on a number of national radio programs.

He graduated with an MDiv and an MA in philosophy of religion and ethics as well as a DMin in Worldview and Culture from the Talbot School of Theology at Biola University. Morrow and his wife are the parents of three and currently live in Georgia.


Learn more about 
Welcome to College at 

Connect with Jonathan Morrow at 
and on Twitter (@Jonathan_Morrow).  

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Good Old Noah

Here's a throwback to last year. Just the look on their faces in the still frame makes me smile.




Good Ole Noah Built an Ark

To the tune of “Old MacDonald”
Change animals and sounds each time through

Good old Noah built an ark,
Like God told him to!
And on that ark he took two lions
Like God told him to!
With a roar, roar here and a roar, roar there.
Here a roar! There a roar! Everywhere a roar, roar!
Good old Noah built an ark
Like God told him to!







Saturday, March 25, 2017

Back to busy weekends

We had our first spring event of the year today. The first of three weekends in a row, at Mansfield Timberview High School.


The first of the season seems to always be a bust (remember last fall which had some great events, but started with duds). We love the high schools in this area. They are usually good for us. This one wasn't well advertised, and while there were hundreds of cars parked in the front for a math competition, there was no signage pointing anyone to the back. The woman in charge said there were signs, but none of the vendors saw them. There were also issues on the booth sizes. Let's just say the geometry teacher should have explained booth sizes to the coordinator because booths around a circle are not square. The application said one size and when we arrived, we were told they were a different size.

The only "shoppers" were the parents of kids who sang and danced in the area where the vendors were set up. They walked in the building, watched their kids, and went straight back out.

We hope all spring events aren't so poorly attended. All the vendors were very disappointed. If so, we'll be in trouble. We have three more schools in the next 5 weeks.

One browser we had was a sci-fi author who suggested we take our book letters to a Comic-Con to sell. I may have said, "NO!" a little too loud and quickly with a shake of my head when he said it.

First of all, I've been to Comic Con in San Diego once upon a time (for work, not for my own personal enjoyment). The legit one all others are modeled after. This kind of thing is not sold there. I don't think the guys dressed up as Storm Troopers are going to go for books cut into letters to use as decoration in their house.

Even if a Poison Ivy or two were interested, the booth fees would be so very expensive. We'd be priced way out. No telling how many books it would take to break even.


Friday, March 24, 2017

Tech support gonna make me lose my mind... up in here, up in here

Every day this week (Monday-Friday) I had to get on tech support with HP for my computer. I have been having problems with my battery fulling charging. Two weeks ago, I realized my computer had a message "plugged in, but not charging."

At that point, I got on chat, and they took remote control of my laptop, did some updates, ran a battery test and told me all was well and I wouldn't have the problem again.

It was fine for a time. Then last weekend, it happened again.

Monday I got on chat. They did the updates all over again. All was ok until I launched Tuesday.

Tuesday I got on chat. They wanted to reset my computer to factory settings. I said no and asked for someone to call me. I got on the phone, they agreed with me and tried some other things. They said they would check back the next day.

Or was that Wednesday. I don't even remember anymore. I know I talked to them every day. Oh yea, on Wednesday they called back after I recalibrated my battery.

Thursday they did call back. They wanted to do an advanced diagnostic test that would take 4 hours. I said, "Not during business hours. I can't function on my other one for the day." They called back at 7:30 PM. I went round and round again about the reset thing again. The tech started me down that road though he told me he wasn't. Then, he realized what I needed to do -- the full diagnostic. I ready off that it said it would take 3 hours, 56 minutes, 20 seconds. About 30 seconds in, I got a failure on my battery even though it passed all the tests before.

Then I was on hold so the tech could get with the supervisor to get me a battery. He said someone would call me the next day between 1 - 5 PM on Friday.

On Friday, I had to call them because I got no call. I fought to get through to a human. The phone tree didn't like that. I finally get someone, and she says I have to pay. That's not what the guy said the night before, but then again, I've had conflicting info all week. I asked for a supervisor, hoping to get an American who spoke English as their native language. I don't think I talked to anyone out of like 10 in the week that would apply to. I was fed up of being repeated back to or having to explain myself repeatedly.

I finally got a supervisor after a long hold and spilled my whole frustration. They asked for a callback number in case we lost connection, and it was a Denver number they read to me. Their computer system was obviously lacking... Just like calling AT&T on a bad phone line connection.

After 38 minutes on that call, I got disconnected. I was on the verge of tears by this point out of straight up frustration. He called back and I was on hold forever while they got to a point on their computers where they could take my credit card information.

What I can't figure out is why it took all these days to figure out I needed to buy a battery. That should have been early in their solutions, even if the battery was testing right.

I bought their factory battery since I am under extended warranty. I've already learned my lesson on going with the name brand, even when it costs more.

The last couple of days, we've also been dealing with getting a trailer hitch put on my car. Dad's been in charge. We went the more affordable route with a local tire shop. What they didn't say is that they couldn't program the lights.

I warned Dad of this in my research, but he didn't believe me and an ignorant service writer at the dealership did not confirm what I had read/seen online because he didn't ask the right questions.

The tire shop says, "oh, yeah, you have to go get it programmed. They should just charge you $20."

Nope. Cost $115.

Dad got mad at the guy at the dealership that pointed out the tire shop should maybe not be putting hitches on cars they can't program. He found it unprofessional. It probably was, but the man had a point.

Supposedly, we still saved more than $100, but we really didn't. I think the name brand install would have done some other things differently that would have been more what Dad wanted with the electrical hook-up and would have been a higher mount so he wouldn't have had to buy another ball to adjust the height.

I'm done. Simply done for the week.

(Saturday update to this story: he bought the wrong ball. He thought he was getting a 2", but actually got a 1 7/8" we realized after I pulled the trailer back and forth to an event and it kept jerking and making noise. He had to buy another new one on his dime and has another issue he's going to have to get someone with the proper tool to fix. He had to get someone to do it yesterday, and is hoping my uncle can get this one. It's a mess, I tell you!)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Hanging Batman

Wednesday nights in Bible class are rough. Everyone's worn out. By everyone, I mean us teachers. For real though, the kids are nuts too. 

Wednesdays are a review night, and usually there aren't as many kids. (What was odd, last year there were usually more kids on Wednesday than Sunday.)

These kids do not like to sing. At all. I hate Hangman, but Rachel was in charge this week, so we gave in. 

Let me just say that if you play Hangman, it helps if you can spell. I'll leave it at that.

Each kid wants to "earn" his/her nickname which usually actually isn't a positive thing. I finally decided this was "Smalls" as in "You're Killing Me Smalls." If you don't know what that refers to, you've never seen The Sandlot.

Anyway, Smalls decided to hang Batman. Rachel and I were so entertained by it. 


What was funny about Joseph is he was looking at one of our worksheets to come up with something to use has his word or phrase. He picked his own name off the sheet. I counted the letters and asked, "Is this a word you know now to spell really well?" 

"Yes!"

Smalls caught on quickly. This is his second chance word.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Control Girl to Jesus Girl


Part 2 of an interview with Shannon Popkin,
Author of Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden
of Control from Seven Women in the Bible


“I control because I care.”

“I just want to be sure of a happy ending.”

“I worry that everything is spinning out of control.”

Many women can identify with statements like these. They have a compulsion to make everything turn out just right and are willing to do anything to make it happen, but this unbalanced pursuit of control makes those around them anxious and defensive. When they realize control is slipping from their grasp, they lose control of themselves and react in anger or fear.

Shannon Popkin knows this struggle inside and out. Keeping her inner Control Girl hidden is a full-time job. Thankfully, she also knows another very important truth: no woman has to be a Control Girl.

Q: Tell about the epiphany moment you had several years ago, related to this problem with control.

In Bible study, I asked the women in my group to share a prayer request related to a relational struggle they were having. As we went around the circle, I was surprised by the consistency as each woman asked us to pray about a very strained, hurtful relationship with either a very controlling mom or mother-in-law.

As they each described the burdensome, controlling, older women in their lives, I wondered, “Lord, is this what I’m going to become like?” I was already seeing the seeds of my control problem, sprouting up and creating tension in my family relationships. After the women finished sharing, I leaned in and asked, “How do we not become them? How do we ensure that in 20 or 30 years it’s not our daughters and daughters-in-law asking for prayer about us?As I searched their faces, I could tell we didn’t have answers. No woman sets out to be controlling. No woman wants to be a burden. This problem seems to metastasize slowly throughout time without us realizing.

Q: Even though the motivation may come from a place of good intentions, how does trying to manipulate every detail often lead to more misery rather than contentment?

I think it’s helpful to recognize we often have good intensions when we try to take control. We’re not trying to exasperate or frustrate anyone. We’re actually trying to make everything turn out right! We have an urgency to do so, feeling as though it’s “all up to us.” However, by taking control and trying to create my own personal version of a happy ending, I’m really trying to take over for God.

No one who tries to replace God does a good job of it. First of all, we don’t actually have control. Second, when we try to take the control we weren’t designed to have, we become frantic, obsessive and more controlling — which isn’t fun for anyone.

Q: What about parenting? Doesn’t good parenting require us to be in control of our kids?

Yes and no — depending on our child’s age. In the book, I talk about the hold and fold principle, which I borrowed from Tim Sanford’s book Losing Control and Liking It. We should:

1.     Hold responsibility for what we can control (ourselves).
2.     Fold our hands, and surrender to God what we can’t control (everything else).

So here’s my guideline for parenting, using the hold and fold principle. If my child is small enough to hold, then I should hold responsibility. This will mean lots of restrictions, safety reminders and intervention. However, if my child is too big to hold, I should fold and surrender my child to God. So with a newborn, I’m completely holding; with an adult child I’m completely folding. In between, I’m constantly transferring from holding to folding and asking God for lots of wisdom in the process!

Q: Tell us the story of your son and a broken video game remote. How does that example relate to our own illusions of control?

Years ago, I bought a video game controller at a garage sale. When I got it home, I realized it didn’t work. I kept it because at that time, Cade, my youngest son, was about two years old and constantly trying to wrestle the controllers out of the big kids’ hands while they played video games. They would put this broken controller in his hands, and he was completely content, jamming his thumbs on the buttons and watching the guys on the screen jump around. He had no idea that not only was it broken, but it wasn’t plugged in!

This is such a good picture of me. As I watch life playing out all around me, I feel as though I’m in control, like I’m the one keeping everything from running off the rails. Then there are these moments when it becomes painfully obvious I’m not in control. It’s as if God leans low from heaven and dangles the cord of my teeny weeny controller in front of me, saying, “You know what, honey? You’re not plugged in!” God isn’t taunting me; He’s inviting me to lay down the burden of trying to control everything. This whole big world, with all of its shifting variables, does not rest in my hands. God is in control, not me. He invites me to live like I believe this is true.

Q: How can a woman avoid becoming a Control Girl?

No woman has to be a Control Girl. Jesus came to set us free from every bent our hearts have toward sin, including our struggle with control. There is so much hope. We might always struggle this side of heaven with an appetite for control, but Jesus invites us to a different path: the path of surrender. 

Think of Jesus in that most stressful, trying hour of his life, just before he was arrested. Unlike us, Jesus could have taken control and avoided the cross, but instead we see him saying to God, “Not my will but yours be done.” What deep surrender there is in those words! This sort of surrender is what turns us from Control Girls to Jesus Girls. When we abandon ourselves to God and trust Him with the future, we find the peace, hope and security struggling for control can never provide.

Q: How can we relinquish control in times when God seems distant and quiet?

Sometimes God does seem far away. We wonder if He sees us or if He cares. Leah felt that way. So did Hagar. Both of them faced desperate, horrific situations. It must have seemed as though God hadn’t even taken notice of them. But there’s a little phrase that punches a hole into the darkness of Leah’s story. Genesis 29:31 says God saw Leah was unloved. He saw her. When Hagar was in the wilderness, crying in desperation, powerless to save her son, Genesis 21:17 says God heard Ishmael. He was dying of dehydration, so I can’t imagine his cries were loud, yet God was close enough to hear him.

If I’m convinced God doesn’t see or hear and if I’m suspicious of God’s motives or wonder if He cares, I won’t surrender to Him. I’ll trust myself instead and resort to my Control Girl tactics. What if I just open God’s Word and remind myself of what’s true: God is not only enthroned above the universe, but He also cares about me and is working all things together for my good? Well, then. I’ve readied my heart to say, “God, I might not see you or hear you in this moment, but I know you see, you hear me and you are intricately involved in the details of my life. I surrender even the hardships and struggle to your good, God hands.”

Q: How do you recommend dealing with a controlling family member while still maintaining a healthy respect and harmony in the relationship?

The more controlling I am, the more I am bothered by other controlling women. They provoke me because they lunge after control the same way I do. Yet when I try to control another controlling woman, I simply become more like her. I once spoke with a woman who was intensely irritated with her ultra-controlling mom. I could almost see her blood pressure rising as she rehearsed all of her mom’s offenses. She told me she was learning to stand up and take back control, and as she talked, I couldn’t help but notice her stiff demeanor, entitled attitude and angry tone. She was displaying the very characteristics she was complaining about in her mother.

When I’m faced with another controlling woman, rather than trying to control her, I think God most wants me to deal with my own heart. If I struggle on and on with my own controlling heart, what makes me think I can conquer another woman’s controlling heart? What she needs, and what I need, is God. God alone can soften our hearts and show us our sin like no other Control Girl on earth will ever be able to. God alone can woo us with His grace, compassion and peace and turn us from Control Girls to Jesus Girls.

Q: Control Girl has a very intentional structure. How is this book designed to be used?

Each chapter is divided into lessons. I want the woman on a time-budget to be able to read a Bible passage, read a complete train of thought related to the topic of control and then make the content personal, all in one sitting. The chapters will be best digested one lesson at a time, rather than all at once.

The book can be used by individuals or groups. There is a free downloadable leader’s discussion guide on my website, www.shannonpopkin.com, along with other resources and freebies.

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

Shannon Popkin is a writer, speaker and Bible teacher who combines her gifts for humor and storytelling with her passion for Jesus. She is a regular contributor for the Revive Our Hearts’ True Woman blog and author of the book Control Girl. Popkin and her husband live the fast-paced life of parenting three teens in Michigan.

Connect with Shannon Popkin and learn more about Control Girl by visiting www.shannonpopkin.com, following her on Facebook (shanpopkin) or following her via Twitter (@ShannonPopkin).




Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Lost and Found by Kendra Fletcher

Are you too focused on the “right” ways of worship, work, and family life? Learn about the dangers of quiet legalism in Kendra Fletcher’s new book, Lost and Found. Kendra, homeschooling mom of eight, had it all “right,” until it all fell apart. In the course of eighteen months, Kendra found her baby in a coma, ran over her five-year-old, and nearly lost her eight-year-old to a septic ruptured appendix. Lost and Found is the story of how God used those events to transform her family’s self-righteous religion into freedom in Christ.

{MORE ABOUT LOST AND FOUND}
Lost and Found: Losing Religion, Finding Grace (New Growth Press, February 2017)
The “right” homeschooling philosophy. The “right” brand of theology. The “right” meal-planning, home-managing, keep-it-all-together parenting.
Kendra Fletcher, homeschooling mom of eight, had it all “right,” until it all fell apart. In the course of eighteen months, Kendra found her baby in a coma, ran over her five-year-old, and nearly lost her eight-year-old to a septic ruptured appendix. Lost and Found is the story of how God used those events to transform her family’s self-righteous religion into freedom in Christ.
Fletcher’s debut book is the gripping true story of how God used suffering to save her family from empty religion. As wave after wave of crisis hit, the Fletchers discovered that getting religion “right” wasn’t a good substitute for a living relationship with a loving God. Through their suffering, they learned about misplaced identities and false hope, and they threw themselves wholly into the arms of Jesus—where they found the grace they needed.
Fletcher, a well-known writer and conference speaker in Christian homeschooling circles, addresses the quiet legalism that so easily infiltrates Christian communities and exposes the dangers of focusing our hopes on the “right” ways of worship, work, and family life. More than a memoir, Lost and Found invites all of us to give up the things that hold us in bondage and find our value, worth, significance, hope, and identity in Christ alone.
Kendra Fletcher

{MORE ABOUT KENDRA FLETCHER}


Kendra Fletcher writes on faith and education for a variety of publications, including her blog. She is also a frequent speaker at homeschooling conventions, but she spends most of her time with her very large family. The Fletchers reside in California, where they play in the Pacific Ocean as often as possible.
Find out more about Kendra at www.kendrafletcher.com.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Bachelor Finale... Finally.

Here it is, Sunday night after 9 PM, and I'm starting my blog on the finale of The Bachelor (to post on Monday a week after the airing) becuase I need to suck it up and do it because this week is going to be crazy.

I wasn't able to completely disconnect from work while on vacation and actually worked most all day on Saturday to catch up to be ready for work this week which is going to be new release madness. It would have been nice to relax this weekend from a week on the go and in the car, but after church tonight, I went to Walmart and actually bought groceries there which I never do. It's sort of like, "how much punishment can you cram into a weekend?"

This week, I need to work on some projects because we start up doing three Saturday craft shows in a row, then I will work out at the shop we are in, have one week off, then we'll have two events in separate towns the last weekend of April, so I'll be making lots of stock over the next month.

That's why I need to get this season over with.

To be honest, I do know who Nick picked. I almost kept myself in the dark, but one night in the hotel, the TV was flipped onto/by an entertainment news TV show, and I saw who recieved the final rose.

Let me just say now... that won't last.

At any rate, here we go.

One one hand, there's Raven who's so in love with Nick. On the other is Vanessa who has her doubts about Nick because she knows he asked all the fathers for permission and that he doesn't really want to move to Canada. Despite my Fantasy League selection for the final rose from week 1, I think you can tell who I think he should pick.

Nick's family joins him in Finland to help him figure out what to do as he faces this last week. Everyone is a little skeptical it seems after Nick's last two experiences. Bella, his little sister, already met Raven on a date. Actually, more than just the sister met her, but she had the most time with her.

Raven is the first one to spend time with the family. They talk about their first date and meeting the family. Over dinner, they talk about how heart broken the last two seasons Nick was. Bella talks to Raven and asks if she really loves her brother. Bella is going to be pro-Raven. Raven professes her love to Nick's father. She thinks Nick is falling in love with her, or so she says when Dad grills her. She talks to Mom too.

Then, Mom talks to Nick and asks how he's so sure about moving forward. Nick says he isn't, but believes it's worth the risk of everything blowing up in his face. He says that Raven is fantastic.

After a fast 15 minutes of show, it's time for Vanessa to meet the family. With everyone gathered around, Dad says he wants Vanessa to tell everything about herself. She goes on to talk about their first date and how caring Nick was as she was as she became ill in zero gravity.

Vanessa wants to talk to Mom and see if she thinks her son is rushing into something. Vanessa wants to be engaged at the end, but is worried about it being too soon. There's conversations with another sister and Vanessa. Dad and Nick... Dad says he recognizes Vanessa as Nick's type, but that hasn't worked out before.

Dad and Vanessa talk. She tells him, too, that it is scary to be in this position, but she is in love with Nick. Vanessa asks Dad if he thinks love is enough to make a relationship last. He talks about commitment and sacrifice. Dad starts to cry. That's where Nick gets it from.

After Vanessa leaves, Nick's really large family talks about him. When he comes back in, they talk about how rejected he was before. He's hopeful it will work out this time, but it's hard to tell at this point which way he is leaning.

When it comes time to final dates, Vanessa is first. She has lots of questions, so the date may be a drag. However, Vanessa claims she is going to try to relax and be in the moment. They start by horseback riding in the snow. Since they are so close to the Arctic Circle, it seems Santa lives here. They go to a little cabin to meet him. After a little chit chat, Santa has a gift for Vanessa. It's a wooden sign with their likenesses.

Nick explains why this will work out if that's the decision at the end. She's not sure if she wants to win out in the end if her relationship is just slightly better than the other one.

Let me say right here that I completely understand where she is coming from. I would agree with her statement. But she can't act so unsure and ask the questions like she does and expect him to choose her. Later that night, she approaches some of the same things again. She accuses him of being generic in his answers. To his defense, he has to be in the situation. His answer is something about no guarantees.

When Vanessa asks Nick if he is ready to propose, his answer is the week isn't over and there are two people left. She said she doesn't like that answer. He says he knows that. Nick tells her he does not know his decision yet.

Surely Nick's date with Raven can't been such a buzz kill. Nick needs this day to make a decision. Since their thing is skating, Nick takes her ice skating on a frozen pond. Raven says this takes her back to the moment of falling in love with Nick on the roller skating rink.

Random interjection --- I prefer them being in the cold because the clothes are more normal than the ridiculously short shorts and shirts that require two sided tape when they go to the tropics.

Raven is much more confident in where their relationship is. She says there's no hesitations or reservations. Raven really thinks it's going to end with an engagement. Nick says it's easy with Raven. He even tells her how his family really likes her.

Then, Nick finds some husky puppies for them to play with. Later that night, she asks him how he's doing, in a caring way, not the quizzing way Vanessa does. He can't move his neck because he is stressed.

Raven tells him she knows the biggest of days is coming for him, but she has no hesitation. She is ready and sure of how she feels. The day will be easy for her if he chooses her. He tells her that he has always known where she stood with him. Their evening is much more relaxed and light-hearted.

For the fourth time in his life, Nick meets up with Neil Lane to pick out a ring. Neil shows him the biggest ring he's ever designed. There's a couple of big, gaudy rings in the running. But as Nick puts it, choosing a ring is the second hardest thing he has to do today. 

Even as they prep, Vanessa talks about compromising. Raven talks about being ready.

Nick has to mentally prep to do to someone what was done to him... twice.

Chris Harrison welcomes Raven first. She is nervous, but upbeat. She expresses her heart and mind first. She couldn't be more sure. "I love you."

There's an awkward pause. Nick starts up smiling, talking about last night, the first night they met, thinking about every moment they have had. Then, it gets really awkward. This morning, he just doesn't know if he is "in love." His heart is somewhere else. He loved being with her last night, but that made it harder this morning. He's torn up inside, but is letting her go. The tears roll for both of them. She says she'll never regret telling him how she feels. Raven gives Nick a heartfelt hug before turning to walk away. Nick holds her hand as he walks her to the door and out into the cold. She gave Chris Harrison her coat when she came in. Guess it will just hang there.

In the limo, Raven questions what she could have done differently. Now, she doesn't know if it's possible to find love.

Nick says goodbye to the reindeer strategically staged outside and goes back in. He's been falling in love with Vanessa for a long time now, but he's afraid she will say, "No."

In her gut, she thinks Nick will propose, yet Vanessa has gone back and forth on whether or not she wants that to happen. While she wants to say, "Yes," she wants to make sure Nick is ready. Chris Harrison welcomes her as well. I'm not sure if Chris' coat or Raven's is hanging there.

Nick welcomes Vanessa with a kiss. He launches into his speech instead of letting her do hers. He remembers her stepping out of the limo and feeling something very special at the second rose ceremony. At times he tried to fight it, but he can say now how much he loves her and sees his future with her.

Then, she talks about her first night and seeing him for the first time. Now she's all happy. Nick gets down on a knee to propose, and Vanessa seems sure now. Maybe it's that sparkly ring. Then, he has to ask if she will accept his final rose. They ride off on a horse drawn sleigh.

Now... After the Final Rose...

Chris welcomes Nick... Fourth time's a charm? He jumps into asking Nick about sending Raven home. Nick claims it broke his heart to send her home. Of course, he's nervous to see Raven again.

Raven wants to explain that she was so stoic in the moment of rejection because she was processing, but meant everything she said. Nick said there was no judgment because he had been there before. They move on to talking about how to compartmentalize their relationship while knowing other relationships are going on.

Raven is going to go to Mexico and be on Bachelor in Paradise. 

Next, Chris brings out Vanessa to see if it's happy ever after. Vanessa reveals some days are better than other. She wishes she had watched a full season before going on the show. Doing her homework would have helped. She didn't really realize how things worked. She explains she treated it like a real relationship in an unrealistic world. 

They have to do a lot of talking. They live in two countries and can't see each other and start a relationship like other couples do. They love each other, but as she expresses herself, you gather she is not getting her way.

She talks about when they parted ways in Finland, they almost forgot to exchange phone numbers. It's not evidently off to a good start since they haven't been able to spend time together.

Chris brings Nick back and I close my eyes out of exhaustion and boredom. They haven't been able to do life together, and it's still not going to be normal when he starts Dancing with the Stars.

Since the newly engaged couple is so boring, they bring out Rachel, the next Bachelorette. How does Rachel feel about the ending? "Good for him." She's ready for her adventure. Blah, blah, blah. I'm really trying not to fall asleep as midnight is quickly approaching.

The big surprise of the night is for Rachel. They are starting Rachel's journey on the set. She's about to meet a few of the guys who will be vying for her heart.

This may be all of the blogging on Rachel's season you are going to get. I'm for sure not going to blog each episode of Bachelor in Paradise. Unless I get more feedback about enjoying these posts, I think I'm going to give up the recaps for a while. Rachel's season starts in May though, and that's pre-BIP. 

A limo pulls up outside the studio. 


  1. Demario is the first up. He claims to be the only one and offers to elope in Vegas. He has a ring already.
  2. The next guy is a white guy who kisses her hand. His hair annoys me. His name is Blake and he has to have a second hug. 
  3. Dean is a dorky white guy. He's ready to go black, and he's never going back. 
  4. Eric from Baltimore is next. They quickly start grooving and dancing together. 
That's it for tonight. They must start taping episodes the morning after the live show. 

And with that, we close the season. I don't think Vanessa and Nick are going to last. Neither seemed excited about how things were going. To devote that much time to Rachel, I bet they are already done. Oh, Nick...

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sunday song selection

I have a hard time convincing the kids I have in class now to sing, especially for video, so I'm pulling some videos from the past back up. These kids really enjoyed their "Pharaoh, Pharaoh."




Pharaoh, Pharaoh

Well a burnin’ bush told me just the other day
That I should come over here and stay
Got to get God’s people out of Pharaoh’s hand.
And lead them out to the promised land.

Chorus:
Pharaoh, Pharaoh Woa-o
Let my people go!
Yea, Yea, Yea, Yea, Yea... (repeat chorus)

So me and God’s people going to the Red Sea
Pharaoh’s army comin’ after me.
I raised my rod, stuck it in the sand
And all God’s children walked on the dry land

Chorus

Well, Old Pharaoh’s army was a comin’ too.
So what did you think that I did do?
I raised my rod and I cleared my throat
And Pharaoh’s army did the dead man’s float.

Chorus

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Sedona

I did not have my aura read in Sedona though that seems the thing to do. I can tell you it probably would have been green after the drive down from Flagstaff. This map doesn't fully exhibit the extent of the curvy roads around and down the mountain (through construction).


I was so car sick by the time we got to Sedona.









Friday, March 17, 2017

The Grand Canyon

We spent all of last Sunday at The Grand Canyon. Dad wasn't opposed to going, but in conversations over years' past, his opinion was something like, "it's just a hole in the ground." He realized it was a more impressive hole in the ground once he got there. He shall forever get grief for that.