Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Valentine’s Day is the day for romance

Goodness knows I don't celebrate the upcoming holiday known as Valentine's Day, nor am I married. However, we're working with author Rhonda Stoppe, and she has some great advice leading up to Valentine's on how romance looks different for a married couple. 

Please share this post with anyone you think would find it insightful. :) 

If you are a radio host or producer, let's set up an interview!

How does romance look different
for a husband and a wife?
By Rhonda Stoppe

Valentine’s Day is when Americans focus on love and romance. What love means for a man is different than what a woman thinks about love. After all, that is how God created them! Understanding what each partner needs is key to a long and happy marriage.

Rhonda Stoppe, author of If My Husband Would Change, I’d Be Happy, explains more about the differences between men and women when it comes to romance.
Kim was busy with last minute dinner preparations when David waltzed into the kitchen with a bouquet of gerbera daisies. Amidst the chaos of trying to help their eight-year-old study for his spelling test and almost tripping over their four-year-old’s doll house, Kim tried to appear grateful for David’s thoughtful gesture.

David tossed the flowers on the counter and gave Kim a flirtatious grin and a wink. Then he went into the den to watch sports on TV until dinner was ready.

Kim thought, Oh yeah, that’s right buddy. You brought me flowers so I know what you are thinking about for later. Does the man not even notice that I am in survival mode right now? The last thing I want to think about is romance.

Maybe you can relate to David and Kim’s scenario. Remember when receiving flowers from your love would cause your heart to pitter-patter? I do.

When my husband Steve and I were dating, he used to leave work on his lunch hour to drive thirty minutes to my house to drop off flowers. Because his lunch break was only one hour he only had time to deliver the flowers, give me a kiss and then head back to work. As I stood clutching the flowers, I remember thinking, “How romantic!”

After we were married, and I became a stay at home mom, I remember Steve bringing flowers home. Only this time my response was not, “How romantic!” Rather it was, “How expensive!” because I knew buying flowers no longer fit into our single income budget.

What I didn’t realize is my less than joyful response deeply wounded my husband. Not only did I tell him that his attempt to be romantic had failed, but he also took my comment to mean he was failing me by not making enough money.

In If My Husband Would Change, I’d Be Happy, Steve shared this insight:

“When your husband makes an effort to be romantic, help him know when he is on the right track. Remember, he is likely putting himself into a situation where he feels inadequate. This means your husband might think he is risking humiliation if he gets it wrong. He may even believe he will lose your respect if his attempt at romance fails.”

The Bible instructs husbands to live with their wives according to knowledge. The problem is sometimes our husbands need some help in figuring us out.

So it’s your job to help your husband learn how to romance you in the different stages of life. While a bouquet of flowers may have once spoken romance, now you can help your husband realize how much you would be drawn to him if he would jump in to help when he comes home from work.

What speaks romance to your husband? Let’s look at these three insights:

Play with him. Remember when you were dating? How did you spend time with your love? Most likely your courtship was filled with hours of conversation and playing together. Think back. How did you play together when you were courting? Maybe you went hiking, golfing or simply building sand castles at the beach.

If you’re like most women, the talking and listening you experienced in courtship filled up your romance tank. By contrast, the time you spent playing together likely ranked high on your husband’s romance chart.

All-too-often married couples forget the value of playing together. If enjoying activities with your husband filled his romantic tank then, it likely will do the same now, as long as you go along to enjoy his company and not to invade his solace with nagging or complaining about everyday life issues he may be trying to escape through his playtime.

Laugh with him. Laugh when your husband attempts to be funny. My husband is a pastor, so he preaches every week. I often laugh way too loudly at his jokes. The other day a woman said, “We all laugh harder at you because you think he is so funny.”

Then, before I felt embarrassed about my unbridled laughter during Steve’s sermons, she added, “I’ll bet all our husbands wish their wives would grace them with laughter like you do.”

Let him pursue you. When you were dating your husband, part of the romance for him was pursuing you. So devise ways to entice him to pursue you. When it comes to filling your husband’s romance tank, you’ll be surprised at how far a little flirtation goes.

Your husband may not be able to put into words what he needs from you, but you would be wise to find ways to romance him. Take some time to consider what speaks romance to you so you can help your husband learn to romance you through every season of life. I promise you won’t regret it.


Rhonda Stoppe is the No Regrets Woman. With more than 20 years of experience as a marriage mentor, pastor’s wife, author and speaker, Stoppe leads women of all ages to live lives of no regrets. She is the author of Moms Raising Sons to be Men, which mentors thousands of moms to guide sons toward a no-regrets life. Her latest book, If My Husband Would Change, I’d Be Happy & Other Myths Wives Believe, is helping countless women build no-regrets marriages. Rhonda is currently writing a new book, tentatively titled Love Stories of the Redeemed, releasing in early 2018.

Stoppe lives Northern California with her husband, Steve. They have four adult children and eight grandchildren.

Visit her website at www.NoRegretsWoman.com for more resources on love, marriage and parenting. Follow Rhonda on Facebook (Rhonda Stoppe No Regrets Woman) and on Twitter (@RhondaStoppe).

Monday, January 30, 2017

The most emotionally unintelligent season of #thebachelor ever

Photo courtesy @bachelorABC on Twitter

I have so much I could be doing, need to be doing, but yet, it's Monday night, and here I am.

We pick back up on the cat fight that is Corinne vs. Taylor. Taylor is describing what emotional intelligence is. She's a mental health professional, after all. Corinne thinks Taylor is all about herself and drama.

I don't see anything intelligent about Corinne, emotional or otherwise. Raven doesn't think Corinne has done anything personally to Taylor, but is sure Taylor is psychoanalyzing her. I gather Raven isn't Taylor's biggest fan. Oh, Corinne just accused Taylor of being a *itch and always having a stank face.

I'm trying to decide if I hate Corinne more than Olivia from a few seasons ago. Possibly.

Corinne goes to talk to Nick. She says Taylor isn't nice and that she's scared of her. She shares that she doesn't think Taylor is there for the right reasons. Mean, vindictive, I don't even know what to call her. Nick encourages her to keep being mature.

Hopefully, they'll both be gone tonight. That way I don't have to worry about typing Corinne vs. Corinne because I have it both ways in this blog post and noticed I had that problem on last week's post too. I'm trying to fix tonight's. I was so inconsistent last week, I had to fix it. I may have to go back on the whole season because it bugs me.

From here on out, her name shall be Corn.

Chris Harrison comes along. It's rose time. Chris and Nick chat a little. Nick comments these are mature women here. HUH? Anyway, we've gone from 30 to 15. Now two more will be leaving tonight.

Danielle L., Kristina and Raven have roses from last week. As he calls names, the women are blowing smoke. Literally. It must be freezing. They are wearing coats over their dresses which is really unusual.

  1. Whitney
  2. Danielle M.
  3. Jasmine
  4. Rachel
  5. Jaimi
  6. Josephine (I think she was in shock)
  7. Vanessa
  8. Alexis
  9. Corn
  10. Taylor

This means leaving tonight are Astrid and Sarah.

Now, they are all going to head off to New Orleans. 

As they land, I hope Alexis never tries her Louisiana accent and that shimmy again.

Raven suspects either Corn or Taylor will buy a voodoo doll.

They stay in a high rise hotel and some act as if they have never been in a hotel before. Jumping on the beds. Really?

The first date card arrives, courtesy of Chris Harrison. Three dates. One-on-One date, group date, and two-on-one date. He leaves the card no the table and smartly walks off.

"Rachel... Where have you beignet all my life?"

When she arrives, she greets him with a kiss that turns into almost turns into way too far nasty PDAs. I'm pretty sure her outfit is made up of a one piece swimsuit and some shorts the way her top is. Who dresses like that normally?

They have oysters. Do hot sauce shots with them. Then, they go for their beignets.

Nick says he's the most chemistry with Rachel as with anyone there. They dance down the street in a parade. The women watch in jealousy from above.

They wander into a club with live music and get their dance on. Later, they have "dinner" in Mardi Gras World, which from what I can tell, is a warehouse of decorations.

They talk about their families. Her parents have been married 36 years, Nick's for 38. Rachel's father is a federal judge in Dallas. He talks about how he should address her father when he meets him. Nick talks about having asked two other fathers for permission to propose to their daughters. From the conversation, he plans to keep her at least until hometowns. Nick says he may be breaking rules, but he is super into her. She really likes him. He presents her with the date rose.

Next date card arrives! "Til death do us part! Josephine, Kristina, Alexis, Raven, Jaimi, Vanessa, Danielle M., Whitney, Jasmine, Danielle L."

Corn and Taylor know that means they will be going on the two-on-one together. Further proof that the producers run the show. They do this when they know we're all sick of the two women because they two are sick of the women.

Corn thinks this tastes like victory. Taylor hopes Corn feels threatened. Raven seems glad they will fight and claw to the death. Heck, they might kill each other alone with Rachel in the suite while everyone is on the group date.

The next morning, they take a bus out to a plantation. Raven says Nick looks "fine as a dime." The house is one of the most haunted houses in New Orleans. They head in and the bartender/caretaker of the house serves them Mint Juleps and tells them about the house. He tells them about the ghost, an 8 year old named Mae who died of yellow fever. She's always looking for her doll. Boo gives them a tour of the house.

Some women don't want to make the ghost mad. Some take it all way too seriously. Some don't believe any of it, of course. Vanessa wants no part of the Ouija board. While they play, the lights go off. Nick takes two volunteers with candles to go looking to see if May's doll is up in her room. It's gone. They go back into the room where some are still playing with the Ouija board.

Josephine and Jasmine go looking with Nick in the room that had a covered statue. When they lift the covering, a chandelier falls.

At the hotel, Corn is giving herself a facial and taking a bubble bath. She has champagne and orders lots of food from room service (and asks to be sure she gets change from the waiter). 

The women take their one-on-one time with Nick and alternately get freaked out in the house at noises. Some of the women think Mae is out for Jasmine for touching her hat earlier. At first, Jasmine didn't believe in any of it. By the end of the night, she believes in ghosts

At the hotel, Rachel talks to Corn, then both Taylor and Corn. Rachel says she thinks both are misunderstood in some ways. Neither wants to stay if the other one does anyway. The date card arrives.

"Corinne and Taylor - meet me in the Bayou."

Vanessa thinks she's connecting with the ghost more. They ask their flickering candles questions like they will get some kind of answer.

Who will get the enchanted rose, kept under a dome like on Beauty and the Beast? Of course, every commercial break, they are promoting the live Beauty and the Beast coming soon.

Raven says she wasn't nervous until they went skating and she fell in love with him. She said that part by accident. She doesn't get the rose though. It went to Danielle M.

The next morning, Corn and Taylor roll their suitcases to the door so that at least one can be picked up when Nick sends someone home. 

Nick acknowledges two-on-one dates can be awkward, but he wants them to have one.

Taylor says it shouldn't be hard. She has a master's degree in clinical mental health counseling and doesn't have a nanny. She has "emotional intelligence." There's that term again.

They take a boat down the river and walk the creepy crawliness that is the bayou. They get a lesson in New Orleans voodoo, including the dolls. They were meant to be a part of healing, not harm. The priestess introduces them to a reader. They get a tarot card reading. Because of the tension, the reader asks to read just one of them at a time. The reader goes with Taylor first.

Corn and Nick walk off to talk. To the cameras, Corn calls Taylor a Swamp Monster. We'll see if she tells Nick that. Corn tells Nick that Taylor emotionally attacked her.

Meanwhile, the reader talks about the tension, emotional toxicity, etc. What the producers told her.

While Corn gets read, Nick and Taylor go off. Nick addresses with Taylor what Corn told her. He says he knows there's too sides to every story. Nick says Corn felt mistreated and called names. Nick seems to fully believe Corn yet admits his surprise. Taylor brings up "emotional intelligence" to Nick.

Corn is told her mouth will get her in trouble by the reader. Corn asks about voodoo dolls and making them specific to a person.

By her demeanor, there's no way that Nick is going to keep Taylor around. She doesn't do a good job of defending herself, at least we don't see it. Taylor calls Corn on her lies and twisting her words. Corn can't believe Taylor is a mental health counselor. Taylor can't believe Corn runs a multi-million dollar company.

Nick doesn't feel like he has an easy decision, but it's not how Corn and Taylor feel about each other, but how he feels about them. Nick joins them at the table with the rose and gives a speech. He know how difficult, blah, blah, blah. He gives it to Corn. He turns to Taylor and says it was the most difficult decision he's made since he's been there. He hugs her and she wanders off. Nick and Corn go the opposite direction. Then Taylor goes back to the table where they had been sitting to watch Corn and Nick leave in a boat.

Taylor doesn't go off as she promised in her interviews.

I'm going to get sick as Corn and Nick suck face in the boat. Taylor wanders through the bayou back to where the people who welcome them are singing. The priestess and others do some kind of ceremony with Taylor. Taylor says she will not leave without saying her peace.

Corn and Nick have dinner in a typical empty building. Corn is glad the negative energy is gone and is glad Nick trusted her. Corn tries to lay on her charm. It's working with Nick.

Taylor interrupts the date and tells Nick she needs to talk to him. That's where it ends for the night with previews of Taylor "speaking her truth to Nick."

I think both may end up going home because another woman comments about how they didn't expect two people to go home on the two-on-one.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Kum Ba Yah (the newer one)

Kum Ba Yah

Kum Ba Yah my LORD, Kum Ba Yah,
Kum Ba Yah my LORD, Kum Ba Yah.
Kum Ba Yah my LORD, Kum Ba Yah,
Kum Ba Yah my LORD, Kum Ba Yah.

Singin’ rain, storm, fire, wind,
Kum Ba Yah
Rain, storm, fire, wind,
Kum Ba Yah

Somebody’s praying LORD, Kum Ba Yah,
Somebody’s praying LORD, Kum Ba Yah.
Somebody’s praying LORD, Kum Ba Yah,
Somebody’s praying LORD, Kum Ba Yah.


Somebody’s singing LORD, Kum Ba Yah,
Somebody’s singing LORD, Kum Ba Yah.
Somebody’s singing LORD, Kum Ba Yah,
Somebody’s singing LORD, Kum Ba Yah.


Somebody’s crying LORD, Kum Ba Yah,
Somebody’s crying LORD, Kum Ba Yah.
Somebody’s crying LORD, Kum Ba Yah,
Somebody’s crying LORD, Kum Ba Yah.


Come by here my LORD, come by here,
Come by here my LORD, come by here.
Come by here my LORD, come by here,
Come by here my LORD, come by here.


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Shop keeping

Last night the shop (Virgil and Maudie's) we have a booth in had a girls' night out, so I did a little rearranging and picture taking. 

I don't get to dive into the new projects I wanted to get started today because I had too much going on, but I really hope to share those with you soon.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Surrender the burden of control


Shannon Popkin invites readers to live

like God is in control, because he is

Many women worry about life spinning out of control and want to be sure of a happy ending. They have a compulsion to make it all turn out just right and are willing to do almost anything to make it happen. When they realize control is slipping from their grasp, they lose control and react in anger or fear. This unbalanced pursuit of control makes those around them anxious and defensive. Author Shannon Popkin knows this struggle well. In her new book, Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the Bible (Kregel Publications/January 27, 2017/ ISBN: 978-0825444296/$14.99), she reveals to readers the only way to find the deep security they crave is to surrender to God and entrust the outcome to Him.

Popkin admits the need for control has been a problem in her life for a long time, but she didn’t always recognize it. “Even as I was behaving like a complete ‘Control Girl,’ I didn’t see control as my problem. I thought my problem was anger,” she confesses. “Then one day I heard Dee Brestin on the radio talking about the sin beneath the sin. We often recognize our surface-level sins, such as anger, but we fail to connect them to the deeper sin. When she mentioned the sin of control, I instantly knew that was my problem.”

From there, Popkin began to explore how women of the Bible experienced the same need for control. That exploration led her to write Control Girl. In each chapter, Popkin examines the lives of one of seven biblical women for the moments in which grasping for control circumvented God's plans for good, whether it was Eve's desire to know instead of to trust, Sarah's inability to wait for God to move or Rebekah's controlling hand on her family's future. She also guides readers through the lives of Hagar, Leah, Rachel and Miriam.

Using each woman’s story, Popkin examines warning signs and offers lessons for modern-day life and insights about God. Readers will discover how each one of those women took matters into her own hands, tried to make everything turn out right and ended up in misery. “This is my struggle, too,” Popkin admits. “I hijack the story God’s still writing, ignore His greater purposes and make the story all about me and my happy ending.”

Popkin finds God's perspective on each of the problems and reveals how readers can have their own happy endings in similar situations by surrendering control to God. Surrender, however, is not a one-time event. Rather, it is a new direction. When Control Girls choose — in big ways and small — to resist the craving for control and hand the reigns back to God, they are transformed into Jesus Girls. The very important truth is no woman has to be a Control Girl. “When we abandon ourselves to God and trust Him with the future, we find the peace, hope and security that struggling for control can never provide,” Popkin explains.

The author also shares from her own struggles and follows each Bible study with questions for personal reflection and meditation. In the end, Control Girls will find insight into their own experience, peace in the knowledge that God is in control and relief they are free.

Download a free Control Girl leader’s guide for group discussions at www.shannonpopkin.com.

Advance Praise

“Shannon has a wonderful ability to translate the truths of God’s Word into interactive Bible studies that speak to relevant issues women face today. Control Girl is a penetrating look at how selfishness and self-protectiveness wreck lives — and why surrender and trust are God’s life-giving pathways to true freedom and joy.”
~ Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author and Revive Our Hearts teacher and host

“If you’ve ever struggled with control issues, read this book. With personal vulnerability, biblical depth, powerful personal illustrations and pointed application questions, Shannon Popkin reveals how seven women of the Bible can teach us how to surrender our will to God’s design for our future. It’s ideal for personal use or for small-group studies.”
~ Carol Kent, speaker and author of Becoming a Woman of Influence

About the Author

Shannon Popkin is a writer, speaker and Bible teacher who loves pointing others to the truth of God’s word. She combines her gifts for humor and storytelling with her passion for Jesus. She regularly speaks at Christian ladies’ events, retreats and moms’ groups — encouraging women of all ages to put their hope in God.

Popkin is also a regular contributor for the Revive Our Hearts’ True Woman blog and The Dove Foundation’s parenting blog. Her articles have been published by Family Fun, Focus on the Family Magazine, MOMsense and others.

Popkin has been married to her husband, Ken, for more than 20 years. Together they live the fast-paced life of parenting three teens in Michigan. When she’s not taking pictures from the sidelines of her kids’ sporting events, Popkin loves to be home, opening her front door to friends and family.

Connect with Shannon Popkin by visiting www.shannonpopkin.com, following her on Facebook (shanpopkin) or following her via Twitter (@ShannonPopkin).

Thursday, January 26, 2017

At least it could result in some blogging material

So this came in the mail today.

Sometimes I grumble more about getting these than others. The last time I got one, I got excused early in the process because I had a set business trip I was leaving for later in the week, and the attorneys couldn't guarantee they would be done in time. I blogged about that adventure here. 

The time before that, I was close to getting "caught," but was luckily a few jurors away after spending all day long on the process. That case was for a guy that brought part of a joint into the jail. As I recall, it was in the pocket of his jacket. Bring drugs into a jail is yet another charge. What it really came down to is the police or sheriff's department didn't search him well enough during his arrest. At least that was my impression. I really think I blogged about that, but I can't find the post. It's not coming up by searching "marijuana." It should come up that way because I now remember that there was something in voir dire about marijuana being pronounced and spelled in some odd way by one of the attorneys. Surely, I blogged about that. I found where I said I was going to blog about it, but I must not have gotten around to it. Sort of like a couple of months ago when I said I was going to blog about the Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. I haven't gotten around to that either. 

Of course, the one time I did serve on a jury, it resulted in two long, hilarious posts. If you have never read about it before, you really need to read "The Potato Chip Story" part 1 and part 2. Seriously, it had to have been the dumbest trial ever. Judge Judy would have told them so. 

I mean it. Click on those links. You need to go read it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

It was supposed to take a little longer than that

Because we have sworn off turkey leg and dog events, we don't have a lot of options for events to do in the spring. However, we're actually going to do two events on one weekend at the end of April. This shall be interesting because we've never done that before. There's some logistics which will make it interesting, but we shall see.

Since we have taken a good bit of stock out to Virgil & Maudie's after a busy fall, we're a bit short on spring stock. I keep buying books on eBay, as you have seen in previous posts, but I run through them quickly. Maybe this coming weekend I can finish some bookkeeping and inventory items and tell you how many books we sold in 2016. Hundreds. One of our big tasks to start with is to have enough books cut to have stock out at the shop, but to also have enough to split between two events. By "enough stock," that also means I need to have Q and Z. We'll actually take every letter because I seriously think U is the only letter we've not been at least asked about. (I have sold a Q and if I had Q and Z at other times, I could have sold them then.)

Dad has been antsy for me to trace off letters for him to cut. So antsy, to keep the peace, I spent 2 1/2 hours starting at 10 PM Monday night tracing off 106 books for him to cut. This was after I gave 15 or more books between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning to cut.

I called Dad on Tuesday morning to let him know I had boxes ready for him whenever. Keep in mind, I know we don't have to have all of these done for three months. We could pull from as needed for the shop, but we really don't need them all for THREE MONTHS. So help me, at the rate he is going, Dad is going to have them done in THREE DAYS.

This is problematic because I don't know how to keep him occupied beyond that. I knew he wouldn't spread them out that much, but I thought it would take  a little while longer. He insists circles need to be made for sports balls, which to an extent they do. (I still have quite a few, but we have to have enough to share.) However, those take him no time, even if he has to do base coats. I have some things I need to and want to do before lettering all of those. I'm not ready to start with the "Be the one everyone wants to watch, but no one wants to play against. I've enjoyed the break.

However, there's no rest for the weary, as they say.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Home is where coaching takes us

To go along with the custom order I posted a few days ago, I also did this one. Hand lettering and drawing everything has its disadvantages. I don't use vinyl decals and such like some other people do.

That's why it took me too long to work out this project. Instead of working on it at night, I used the excuse that I needed to not do it late when I was tired because I needed everything to look consistent. I joked that I wasn't going to post this one because I may get a flood of orders. 

Honestly, I don't love printing on signs. Script is more forgiving. Part of it is a funky camera angle here, but I notice how crooked some of the logos look here. I'm always such a harsh judge of my own work. 

It did turn out a neat project though. This doesn't have the hooks attached between the slat yet, but it's line up with close to the right spacing. 

I have some new canvas projects in mind. Stay tuned for those!

Monday, January 23, 2017

The #cattiest season of #TheBachelor ever

Tonight, on the latest edition of the raunchiest season of The Bachelor ever, we pick up with the women trying to figure out if Corinne is doing unimaginable things with Nick or if she is upstairs snoring again.

Side note: A media friend sent me a link from Fox News' entertainment section today. "Raunchiest" was a term they used to describe this season too. I have called it that from week one. If people in media think it's bad, it's horrible.

We pick up on the conversation between Nick and Vanessa where she asks him if she wants a wife or someone to _________ around with. She's willing to give back the rose because if he's not serious and really wants someone like Corinne, she's done. Nick says he wants to know when she is upset and wants her to be honest, but that he wants her to be a little more patient about Corinne.

Chris Harrison arrives to pull Nick away so they can all get ready for the rose ceremony set for later in the evening.

Taylor and Sarah go up to find Corinne in her room and tell her that the rest of the women are not happy about appearances. They tell her she is acting privileged and needs to pull it together. Corinne doesn't give a flying fig.

Before Nick goes in for the ceremony, Chris asks Nick about Corinne because she is rubbing the others the wrong way. We don't really get Nick's answer. We get B-roll of Corinne being the immature slutty brat that she is.

Remember... Vanessa, Rachel and Danielle L. have a rose.

  1. Raven
  2. Taylor 
  3. Whitney
  4. Kristina
  5. Jasmine
  6. Alexis
  7. Astrid
  8. Danielle M.
  9. Jaimi
  10. Josephine
  11. Sarah
  12. Corinne
The voice overs the whole time talk about how immature she is. Everyone is upset. I still had problems understanding the names Nick the Mumbler was saying. 

Going home are: Christen and Brittany. 

With the women gathered, Corinne gives a toast that makes everyone ill. 

The next day, Taylor is having to bit her tongue just being in the room with Corinne. Chris Harrison arrives to tell the women to pack their bags. They will be traveling around the globe, but the first stop is Nick's hometown of Milwaukee.

The race is on to pack it up. I'm not sure what it mans for so many women to meet his family so early on. A lot of people went to Iowa with Farmer Chris, but they didn't all meet family as I recall. 

His parents wonder what's up with him coming home so early in the process. Nick claims last week was a big week because he got to know some of the women so much better. He feels same as the same anxiety and nervousness as before. His mom does think this can work out, but worries maybe he has just been single for too long. 

Nick means all the women in a park. He gives a little spiel about the town. The first one-one-one date starts right there. He asks Danielle L. to go on the date with him. 

As they walk along, Nick answers one of the questions from this week's Fantasy League predictions. He once jumped in a dirty river for $12. They head into the local bakery where they have a cookie with Nick's face drawn in icing... a Nickerdoodle.. They decorate some of their own cookies while they are there. They make a mess with icing and proceed to lick it off. Thank goodness it's not Corinne. 

As they walk by the deli window, they see an ex-girlfriend. He stops and says, "oh my goodness, there's my ex." This is so staged. Why did he stop? They dated three to four months, and now they all sit down to talk to dish. She offers to ask Danielle's questions. "Why do you think Nick is still on the market?" The answer is he bails if he just doesn't feel it. Otherwise, Amber is complementary towards Nick. 

Then, they hang out at the park. There were lots of firsts here. Kiss... She shares the awkwardness of her first boyfriend. 

Later that night, they chit chat more about most embarrassing moments, flaws, if she goes to the grocery store in her sweatpants. They talk about her parents' divorce and how that has made her more cautious about relationships. She was 17 when they split and thought her parents were so romantic while she was growing up. 

At the fanciest mansion in Milwaukee, there is a knock at the door. "Rachel, Alexis, Vanessa, Jasmine, Jaimi, Sarah, Whitney, Kristina, Astrid, Taylor, Josephine, Danielle M., Corinne... Say cheese."

This will mean Raven gets the second one-on-one. 

Nick keeps talking about how much potential she has and how he thinks there's something about her. He does give her the date rose. Nick has a surprise for her. It has to be a private concert. Well, not so private because there's a crowd in the local theatre. It is a concert though. It's Chris Lane. I'm out of it, and I have no idea who that is. They are excited and dance on stage. 

Alright. Next day. Group date. Corinne wishes she was at a nice spa having a chicken taco, but instead they are at a dairy farm. One of his friends growing up lived on a farm, so it brings up warm memories. 

Lots of the milk on the farm ends up as cheese, we are told by the farmers. The farmers also put the women to work. They have to feed the cows their hay. Next, they have to try to milk the cow. Nick tries first, but some of the women are having to coach him. Jaimi shows him how it's done.

Corinne wants no part of it. She really doesn't want to scoop manure. She's glad she didn't wear designer today and claims she needs sushi. After a while, she's off by herself again. You know, if she doesn't like what's going on, she'll go spend time by herself.

The doorbell rings at the house. Danielle reads the card to Raven. "Let's kick it." Raven is going to be so giddy.

Back on the date. Corinne said her hand was going too numb to shovel "poopy." She says "poopy" several times, and it's so obnoxious. 

Kristina wants to tell Nick about her past, but says she is probably going to have to tell it in pieces since they will have so little time together to talk. I know it sounds bad, but I don't want to listen to her. 

Corinne isn't in the group, but overhears everyone talking about her. She now figures out that the women have a problem with her. She compares herself to a cornhusk you have to peel layers on before you get to the golden, sweet, buttery corn.

Vanessa gives Nick a book that her students made him. The book is all about Vanessa. 

Corinne decides to confront all the women about what she heard. She addresses the crowd acknowledging she's not their favorite person, but they need to come to her if they have a problem. Sarah asks if Corinne is genuinely ready to marry a 36-year-old man. Somehow Corinne thinks this disrespect has to do with her nap. I don't know what Sarah said that made Corinne address that. Corinne also says she does not think that age had anything to do with it. Corinne also claims she seriously almost had to go to the hospital because she lost feeling in her fingers at the farm. 

Vanessa explains to Corinne that there is friction because she first missed the rose ceremony, then the pool party. While all of this is going on, Rachel tells Nick how hard it is for her to be vulnerable. She's making her move while everyone else is obsessed with the drama such as Kristina asking Corinne if she is "there for the right reasons."

Corinne gets her time with Nick. She explains how she told all the women to come to her if they had a problem. She says she feels so much better and that she doesn't feel like there will be issues from now on. She's trying to act mature all of a sudden. (She had just said told the camera about how she was personally attacked by Kristina. "I mean we're fighting for a fiance, not a pickle.")

Speaking of Kristina, she got the group date rose. It's going to get ugly.

On to the date with Raven... She's so excited to be on a one-on-one in his hometown. This is special! 

She thinks they can bond over small town. Nick takes Raven to Bella's soccer game. This is the youngest child of 11. They warm up and play with her team. After watching a little bit of the actual game, Nick introduces Raven to his parents. Dad asks about the story behind her name. 

At the house, Corinne tells several women about her speech, but they were all there. It makes no sense. In the bathroom, Taylor is in her bikini with her feet in the bathtub telling Danielle how sick of Corinne she is. That's bizarre in itself.

Nick and Raven take Bella roller skating. The girls talk while Nick skates laps. We learn that, fortunately, Bella was not allowed to watch Bachelor in Paradise. The must send Bella home after a while. Nick and Raven continue to skate and skate. 

That night over dinner, they talk about past relationships. Raven tells the story of literally catching her ex-boyfriend in the act. It's pretty graphic. I think Nick felt a bit uncomfortable, in fact. Regardless, she gets the date rose. 

There's not enough time left in the show at this point to get another rose ceremony in tonight, but we do get to start the cocktail party in the last 10 minutes.

Corinne decides Nick is going to see the real Taylor since he hasn't yet. Danielle snags him first. Nick tells her that she looks fantastic. That's because one of her boobs is seriously about to pop out. She tells him she's going to go after what she wants.

Since Danielle already has her rose, Taylor interrupts quickly. 

Corinne decides to start turning some of the women against Taylor. Josephine takes the bait and joins in. Josephine thinks it's hypocritical of Taylor to say what she did about Danielle getting time first. I think Josephine is weird. 

Corinne then pulls Taylor outside to call her out. She calls Taylor mean. "You heart my feelings!" Taylor reasserts she doesn't think that Corinne had the emotional intelligence, maturity, etc. to have a committed relationship. It gets catty. Corinne doesn't think Taylor is qualified as a mental health counselor. Corinne drops being a multi-million dollar company owner. 

The show ends there with a promise that the cat fight will continue. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Kum Ba Yah (traditional)

Kum Ba Yah

Kum ba yah, my lord, Kum ba yah!
Kum ba yah, my lord, Kum ba yah!
Kum ba yah, my lord, Kum ba yah.
O Lord, Kum ba yah

Someone’s crying, Lord, Kum ba yah!
Someone’s crying, Lord, Kum ba yah!
Someone’s crying, Lord, Kum ba yah!
O Lord, Kum ba yah

Someone’s singing, Lord, Kum ba yah!
Someone’s singing, Lord, Kum ba yah!
Someone’s singing, Lord, Kum ba yah!
O Lord, Kum ba yah

Someone’s praying, Lord, Kum ba yah!
Someone’s praying, Lord, Kum ba yah!
Someone’s praying, Lord, Kum ba yah!

O Lord, Kum ba yah

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Home is where the Air Force sends you

This is one of the custom projects I've been working on. I've needed to finish it for several weeks now. I hit a wall on doing anything right before Christmas and have had a hard time getting back out in the studio and doing anything.

I REALLY need to work on a couple of signs someone asked me about in October now. I hyperventilate a little bit thinking about having put them off.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Hearts are for book lovers

Valentine's Day is coming up, so we have to have hearts! Here are our latest creations. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Texas "cold"

It's a typical Texas winter around here. Cool one day, 70-something the next. Thankfully, no one seems to care too much because I've still sold at least 6 hats this week. Thank goodness for the messy bun craze! (A couple of these didn't have holes in them though.)

Speaking of Texas... We did Texas signs in other colors. We'll do other states in whatever color you want too!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Mark of the King - book giveaway

You’ll be on the edge of your seat as you take the journey to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana in Jocelyn Green’s new book, The Mark of the King. After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict. With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king’s mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.
Enter to win a copy of The Mark of the King from Jocelyn. Five winners will be chosen! Click the image below to enter to win. The winners will be announced February 7th on Jocelyn’s blog!

(Bethany House, January 2017)
Sweeping historical fiction set at the edge of the continent
After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.
When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne’s brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on?
With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king’s mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.


Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning author of ten books to date, including Wedded to War, a Christy Award finalist in 2013; Widow of Gettysburg, Yankee in Atlanta, and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. A former military wife herself, her passion for military families informs all of her writing as well as her numerous speaking opportunities. Jocelyn graduated from Taylor University with a BA in English and now lives with her husband and two children in Iowa.
Find out more about Jocelyn at www.jocelyngreen.com.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

It’s time to retreat

 Part 2 of an interview with Letitia Suk,
Author of Getaway with God:
The Everywoman’s Guide to Personal Retreat

Does spending time with God sound like just one more thing to check off an ever-increasing to-do list? How are you supposed to fit in anything that threatens to be more time-consuming? Too often there's simply no room to experience the intimacy, grace, and peace that God offers us.

In Getaway with God, Letitia Suk does more than invite readers to step away from life’s pressures to take a personal retreat. It shows you exactly why you must for your sake and for your family’s.

With grace and warmth, Suk provides step-by-step guidance and the necessary tools to enable any woman on any budget to plan time away, whether it’s a quick, half-day break or a weeklong time of restoration.

Q: Why does everyone need to take the time to go on a retreat alone?

Perhaps not everyone does, but any woman who is in need of deeper rest, longing for a connection with God for more than a minute or feels overwhelmed by the to-do’s of her life would highly benefit. I guess that would describe all of us at some time or another!

Time after time, year after year, I came away filled with a renewed sense of purpose, clarity of vision, trust in God’s ability to untie all the knots of my life and overwhelming sense of being loved. There’s nothing quite like a retreat to provide that much restoration in such a relatively short amount of time. Many of us are familiar with the relationship boost a getaway with your spouse or family can provide, and a getaway with God has the same results for our souls.

Q: Tell us a little bit about your new book. Is Getaway with God a precise, step-by-step guide for personal retreats?

Yes, in a very warm, conversational tone, the first part is a detailed guide for all the how-to’s/what if’s of a shorter retreat. It is designed to bring along as a guidebook to be referred to throughout the retreat.

I include:
·         Detailed schedules
·         Recommended reading
·         Packing lists
·         Retreat exercises
·         Guidance for doing small group personal retreats
·         Links to discover retreat centers
·         Creative ways to change up your prayer life

The second half invites the reader to take a longer life-review retreat, and I use my own five-day retreat as a model. In this section the reader is guided to take a deeper look at where she has been, where she currently is and where she is going.

Q: When people hear the word “retreat,” they often think of mountain cabins, church groups and long drives to get there. Is it possible to take a personal retreat without going far or spending a lot of money?

Definitely! If you are on a tight budget, a convent or retreat facility usually fits the bill for anonymity and few distractions. Retreat centers are sprinkled throughout the country in places you wouldn’t expect them. In the appendix section of the book are links on how to find them. Check the website or call ahead to see if they serve meals and if special requests can be accommodated. Do they have a fridge available for you to bring your own meals? Is there a place to walk? Is silence the norm?

For a no-cost retreat, consider asking a friend who is gone during the day if you can use her place, or trade homes with a friend for a weekend. When my children were starting morning programs in school, I asked a neighbor from church if I could use her apartment for a morning retreat while she was downtown at work. I didn’t have the luxury of an overnight or even a full day, but the change of venue and close proximity created just the place I needed.

An outside retreat at a public garden, large park or on the beach can work in the right kind of weather for a shorter retreat. Bring along something comfortable to sit on and create your own sacred space.
One word of caution: Staying home to retreat may seem like an ideal solution. But if possible, get out of your house. Too many distractions, including undone chores, ringing phones and getting chicken out to thaw out for dinner, can derail the best of plans.

Q: What other reasons do women give to not take time away? What advice do you give for eliminating excuses?

This comes up so often there is a whole chapter in the book titled “Common Concerns.” Some of these concerns that can hold women back include fear of the unknown or of being alone. A personal retreat is a new experience for most women. Some women hold off because of the uncertainty of whether or not they will get anything out of it. While we can’t predict exactly what will happen, I can assure you something will change for you as a result of the retreat. Time and money issues are another concern, and I like to remind the reader to consider the expense as an investment in their spiritual life. From both the time and money angles, this investment in getting alone with God will provide dividends to live on the rest of your life.  

Finally, lack of family support can be a real issue. It can be difficult to get your husband’s blessing, especially if you’re not quite sure about a retreat yourself. I encourage women to start with a short retreat and think of the refreshed and revived wife and mom their family will receive afterward. Isn’t that a great tradeoff for everyone? Try a getaway in which your absence minimally affects your family. Each common concern is addressed with reassurance and responses.

Q: In Getaway with God, you offer a “menu” of retreat types. What are some of the options you discuss?

I invite women to choose a theme to start with but to feel free to jump to something else during the retreat as God leads. Three common themes are:

1) Rest and Restoration: Many times you have to start with a nap or two before you are ready to think about anything. This type of retreat focuses on sleep, nutrition, taking walks and simply preparing to experience the favor of the Lord without doing much else.

2) Listening to God: Sometimes we are seeking God about direction or guidance but never have time to listen. A listening retreat provides that time to pray, read and create space for the still, small voice.

3) Planning: It’s easy to get carried along in the swirl of our to-do’s without stopping to sort out our day-to-day lives, much less our future. This type of retreat might include goal-setting for both the long- and short-term, reviewing our current commitments and adding or removing items from our daily round.

Q: Share with us the rhythm of the Sabbath and how we can observe it, even in today’s fast-paced life?

There are many styles of Sabbath, and the one common component is to stop and rest. So how does a busy, tightly scheduled woman of the 21st century pull this off? By first making the choice to do so and then finding a model that works for each season of her life. Whichever style you choose to practice Sabbath, the point is to slow down with Jesus and find those things that refuel you. The chapter “How Can You Get Away without Going Away” has a lot of suggestions to try.

In this empty-nest season of my life, observing Sabbath starts with choosing to change the pace. After coming home from church on Sunday, I usually do very little. As an introvert, I gravitate toward quietness as a way of getting restored. What does that mean? I schedule very few social events, avoid housework (other than cleaning up after myself), certainly don’t schedule meetings and mostly stay off the phone and the computer for anything that’s work-related.

Instead, I enjoy a longer prayer time and exchange my Monday – Saturday readings for some Sunday-only selections, such as reading all the additional Scriptures suggested in my current devotional. During the afternoon I might read the newspapers from the week (since they are always piled up), take a nap or a walk, read something fun and watch TV in the evening with my husband over a bowl of simple soup.

For you extroverts, practicing Sabbath might include getting together with life-giving friends. For many families, Sabbath is an opportunity to connect. For family members who commonly go their own ways during the week, what a great way to grow closer, relax and enjoy time together! Here are some ideas that might help you plan:
  • Play games together at home. Watching a movie can work too, but it is not as interactive.
  • Parents can take turns “on duty,” one spending time with the kids while the other enjoys time alone to refill and restore. Single parents can do the same with a friend.
  • Read aloud to your family on Sunday nights (or whichever night is your Sabbath). My husband and I read through the whole Little House and Narnia series while we munched on countless bowls of popcorn and sliced apples.
  • Store a collection of crafts/activities for Sabbath-only use. Make sure they’re fun.

Q: The Bible promises when we walk in obedience to God, the enemy will try to thwart us. How can we combat the discouragement such attacks can bring?

I wish I could tell women not to worry about this, but going on a retreat does kick up some opposition. Can you imagine how threatening five days with God is to the enemy of our souls? It often shows up close to the retreat when you want to back out, usually as health or family issues. When a lingering fever showed up in my body before my first long retreat, I felt unprepared. I felt like an arsenal was unleashed to try to keep me home.

I wish I could sugarcoat this part of the story, but it may happen to you too. Maybe not a fever, but something will likely show up to deter you and cause you to second-guess the whole thing. Don’t give in to fear. Hang on to truth and remind yourself over and over and over again that God is in control. If He invited you to come on a retreat, He will see that you get there.

Learn more about Getaway with God and Letitia Suk at www.letitiasuk.com, on Facebook (Letitia.Suk.Author) and via Twitter (@LetitiaSuk).