Saturday, June 30, 2018

Banned from the office, I finally got my hoard in order

After working into the wee hours of Friday night/Saturday morning, I decided I was going to ban myself from the office for the weekend. My goal: to not even set foot up there for two days. 

I knew I had put in a lot of hours for the month, but it wasn't until I looked at my time sheet that  I realized how many. Not knowing what to expect, in the job transition, I probably over committed for a time and am working toward adjustments. I'm so very thankful for the work. I'm not complaining about that at all. However, I know what it is to be a workaholic, and I'm trying not to get myself into that pattern. It's a bad habit, and I can't fall into that pattern, especially with fall quickly approaching when I need to and want to be available late into the nights to work on craft projects. 

I have to give myself down time. 

It's all going to work out. Now that I've overcome most of my technology problems, I have to work on my focus. It will all work out. I'm saying it again because it will and it is good. 

I really am enjoying being able to put some of my graphic design background into use. I know I've said it before, but it's true. I'm doing some ad design in addition to social media memes. I just didn't think it would be a 16-17 year break between opportunities to do it professionally. 

Now onto my weekend. Since I banned myself from going upstairs at the risk of getting sucked into something, then staying longer than I intended, I needed to work on crafty-related things. I finally boxed up all the finished projects that had been sitting on my kitchen table, leaning on chairs and hanging around the studio. Then, I had 200+ books sitting in this area of the room to the left. I had just gotten books organized when I got several more shipments. 

I had bought a shelf for the closet that did not fit. Determined to be able to walk through my house without kicking a box, I went out to Home Depot and bought one that had to be assembled inside the closet and just did fit. I barely got the shelves in the door and turned to install. That picture? All those books are double stacked. I have two other big, full shelves, a small one and books up the stairs. They are organized by pattern and colors. Well, one isn't. Long story.

I also put inventory stickers on four or five boxes of books. I need the rest of the boxes back out of the trailer to organize books and create a stock pile of cut books for the fall so we aren't cutting them during the week between two events. We have seven events confirmed for the fall. I have also been trying to find events and figure out our calendar the past few weeks. 

Now that I have a clear path to the stairs, I need to clean out the closet underneath and take all the stuff in it upstairs to a big closet so that I can have it for craft storage too. That is not going to be fun. However, it's all my Christmas stuff. I've decided if I do decorate for Christmas this year, I'm going to put my tree upstairs since that's where I am most waking hours. Notice how I just came full circle? 

I'm just trying to get used to the clean floor. It's the little things in life and think I can really appreciate this for a while.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Peter faced his fear

This week I am posting videos from last week's Vacation Bible School. Our theme was about super heroes and how they often have to overcome a weakness in order to be a hero. The Bible tells of heroes too.

Our final night took a look at Peter and how he let his fear get the better of him.


Thursday, June 28, 2018

God wouldn't let Moses keep making excuses

This week I am posting videos from last week's Vacation Bible School. Our theme was about super heroes and how they often have to overcome a weakness in order to be a hero. The Bible tells of heroes too.

Moses made excuses for why he couldn't lead God's people. God didn't let him get away with that though.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Job conquered doubt

This week I am posting videos from last week's Vacation Bible School. Our theme was about super heroes and how they often have to overcome a weakness in order to be a hero. The Bible tells of heroes too.

This was from our second night, featuring Job's story.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Joseph overcame being mistreated

This week I am posting videos from last week's Vacation Bible School. Our theme was about super heroes and how they often have to overcome a weakness in order to be a hero. The Bible tells of heroes too.

This first video was my night to teach about Joseph. His challenge to overcome was being mistreated. 

Monday, June 25, 2018

The time has come to cut the drama on #thebachelorette

It's 10:30 PM, and I should really just go to bed. Yet, I'm full of angst and about to start The Bachelorette. It's not that I had a bad day. Even if after I quit for the day I found out I need to reschedule two interviews and cancel another because someone (not me this time) wasn't paying attention.

My moments of most annoyance (and I had a few) weren't work related today (even though I had to re-enter Excel data because of a bad save unlike anything I've ever had happen in Excel before). I even had an encouraging time talking to someone I had not spoken to in quite some time. Yet, when I walked in the door late, I was bombarded by a call from someone angsty at me for no reason. I called back to say I checked something and explained why I wasn't thinking along a line for some reason, and let's just say that call ended in a hang up (not me this time).

So, I may not finish all this post tonight. I may have to revisit it tomorrow, but we'll see how it goes.

At least we know the David vs. Jordan feud ends tonight with one or both of them going home after the two-on-one date. At least I have that to look forward to.

The twelve remaining men and Becca have headed to Las Vegas to "roll the dice on love." Sin City is the perfect place to take risks on this journey.

Their first morning in town, Colton predicts the two on one is coming soon. It's not the first date though. Chris reads the card. "Colton, let's ride off into the sunset together."

The card might have hinted a horseback riding date, but now. It's camel riding. Becca wants to see if there is any chemistry since they have started off slower than some of the other relationships. They ride to a hot tub in middle of the dessert. Depending on the time of year there, a kiddie pool may have been better appreciated.

Back at the hotel, David and Jordan are annoying one another which entertains all the other men.

Becca and Colton step into the tub of boiling water. It seems odd to be there in bright daylight. Hot tubbing seems more like an evening activity, but what do I know?

Becca decides there is chemistry after all and that it is good. That night, when it's time to talk about past relationships, Colton says he has only been in love once. She broke up with him. She didn't love him back. He doesn't want her thinking that just because he's only been in love once that he's not ready to be in love. He doesn't say "I love you" or "I'm falling in love" lightly.

New date card arrives back at the hotel, "Wills, Garrett, Blake, John, Connor, Leo, Lincoln, Jason, Chris... I'm looking for my Mr. Las Vegas."

The guys easily figure out David and Jordan are the two left. At least it should have been easy. Of course, to the camera, the insults are hurled from each man about the other. 

Back to the date again. Same page. Faced obstacles. Here's the rose. Private trip down the strip on the top level of a bus. The guys all see one of the marquees lit up with, "Kiss her!"

The next day they all head out to Wayne Newton's ranch. They tour and see all his collectibles. He has had so much work done to his face. It's completely stretched tight and botox frozen. It looks like a mask. "Ohmyface, darling I can't move my face. I can't express joy or pain." (Sing that to the tune of Danke Schoen.)

Back at the hotel, David is asking Jordan if he is wearing the golden underpants on his date and points out one of them is going home. 

At the ranch, the men have to write a song about their experience with Becca so far. Chris feels confident since he's had to write lyrics on another date.

Lincoln is using some of his native language.

Now as we get a closer look at Wayne, it looks like part of his face was burned off. Maybe it was and I just don't know about his accident. I know his teeth are also the whitest false teeth I have ever seen.

The men are going to have to sing in front of a live Vegas audience. They dress in their Sinatra inspired tuxes and head off.

John is up first. Bless his heart. I'll leave it at that.

Garrett is not any better. It gets worse with Lincoln. Connor mentions his flinging Lincoln's picture frame off the roof.

Why is hairy Leo still around?

Chris tries to throw some Spanish into his version. Becca this his energy and enthusiasm is hot.

She thinks lots of things are hot. That's kind of her thing.

Then, it's time for the men to ya ya at each other while Becca takes them off one by one for alone time.

At the hotel the final date card arrives. Colton pulls it out, "David and Colton. Meet me in the Valley of Fire." With that, Colton drops the card on the table and sits down to listen to them bicker.  Colton says they remind him of two rams butting horns. He tells them they may push themselves both off the mountain.

Chris isn't bothered by the other men spending time with Becca. They can't bring what he can bring. He's getting cocky.

Blake tells Becca that he's falling in love with her. Supposedly they were gone 35-40 minutes. She comes back and apologizes for not being able to spend individual time with everyone. With that, she gives Blake the rose. Chris is seething. He is shook. He is hurt. He thinks she doesn't want him, so he might go home. Connor says he didn't spend time with her last week, but he's still there. Chris says Connor isn't on the same level as him. He just might back his bags.

As she left, Becca stated she was nervous about the next day, so was turning in.

The next day, both men are confident. David to an annoying level considering how obsessed he is with Jordan's golden underpants. When they arrive, Becca acknowledges what a bad rap the two-on-one has, but she wants to just have a good time. They go off-roading in a Jeep. 

Becca takes David off to talk first. His voice is annoying. In true to bad form, he brings up the other guy and bad mouths him. He says Jordan is always talking about the other women he would like to date. Feeling he exposed Jordan for who he is, he's so happy now.

When Becca takes Jordan off, she asks him about the comments regarding the women he wants to date. She says in their time alone, he makes her laugh, but she doesn't know much more about him. He goes into a story about his mom having multiple mental illnesses and the rough time he had growing up.

Becca decides she needs time to think.

When Jordan comes back, the men continue pick at each other and argue. David goes on about Jordan's Tinder profile again.

When Becca arrives back, she is annoyed with how the men keep going on. She says as much. She walks off again. The guys argue again.

She comes back. She goes ahead and sends David home. However, she's not sure she wants to give Jordan the rose yet.

David is on his own, in middle of the dessert.

This is where I have to stop for the night because it is midnight, and I keep falling asleep with my finger on the K key on the computer. I have no idea why K, it just is.

... Now I'm not getting started back again until 10:00 on Tuesday night.

Becca and Jordan head to "dinner." Becca was annoyed at how the day went because Jordan had to defend his character the whole day. David was certainly annoying, but not as annoying as Jordan. So far, all Becca sees in him is a laugh. His question is what her weekends look like. She tells her weekend.

He starts off talking about how much he has to work out and keep up his appearance. She asks how realistic Zoolander is. He makes a bunch of dumb faces. He wishes he could show off his portfolio. She finally sees that all he talks about is himself.

Back at the hotel Chris is whining and carrying on about his place in the pecking order. Becca needs to show him that she wants him there now. If she doesn't, he is going to say goodbye now.

Jordan makes an awkward move to kiss her. Like really lame. Becca picks up the rose. She starts off by talking about how the day wasn't easy. She wanted them to get to know each other. He's one of a kind, but there's something missing there. She doesn't feel like she can give him the rose tonight.


Of course, Jordan didn't see this coming. He set out to be a better man than David, but it doesn't seem like it since they left on the same day. He is so great, he wishes he knew what Becca didn't like about him.

Fireworks are going off as he leaves. At first the guys think it means Jordan's coming back. However, they realize it is a great celebration of his departure.

I really did figure both were going home.

Leap forward to the next night when everyone is headed to the pre-rose ceremony cocktail party. 

Chris is still whining and Leo has heard enough. When Becca arrives, she tells them yesterday took a toll on her. She does take Chris out first. She's confused. First he didn't spend time with her at the group date, then she heard about how made comments to the men about not wanting to be there.

Becca tells him he should have come to her. I said, you said, he said, you said, I said, blah, blah, blah defensiveness. She gets frustrated, so leaves him before she gets more annoyed.

Chris is upset that she doesn't look at him this week like she did last week. If he wanted to leave, he would have left already. What a bunch of wishy washy people. "She doesn't want me here man." Now big tough guy is on the verge of tears.

Becca is talking to Wills, and Chris interrupts. Becca says they JUST sat down. Wills gives them two minutes. Chris tries to tell Becca it was a misunderstanding. Wills comes back and says, "Time's up." He's not budging. Becca's silent. Finally, she tells Chris that she will come find him later. Wills cockily settles back in on the couch. He and his ugly giant plaid head-to-toe suit.

When Wills finishes his time with Becca, he is smug as he comes back to the group and speaks to Chris. Now those two start trading barbs. Then, they all start mouthing. Chris is going to do what's best for Chris though.

Becca comes to get Chris, then he does all the talking. I was scared. I care so much about you...

When Chris comes back to the group, Chris Harrison comes in to ring the glass and get Becca. She needs to go think.

It's time for roses. 

Blake and Colton have theirs...

  1. Garrett (I think I like him)
  2. Jason (Kind of surprised he is still around)
  3. Wills (I hope he has an epiphany after seeing how that suit looks on TV)
  4. Lincoln
  5. Leo
  6. Connor
  7. Chris
Going home is John. Just not a stand out. Neither are some of the other guys like Jason. They are all going to go down like flies now.

I think in the final four will be Blake, Colton, Garrett and ... Connor maybe. 

They are now heading to Richmond, VA. I thought most of the drama had gone home, but someone's going to ramp it up next week. 

Sunday, June 24, 2018

As the Deer

I think the look I got in that freeze frame is the look I got all night long from him! ;)

I didn't have the words for "As the Deer" saved like I thought I did, but they are easy to find if you don't know the song. 

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Why I hate summer

I dread summer every year. My office gets so very hot. I finally decided I needed to come downstairs and be DONE for the day when I looked at the thermostat with the upstairs A/C going and it was 89 degrees up there. 

It isn't an air conditioner problem. It's a insulation problem.

I can tolerate it pretty warm. I turn the A/C way down at night and it cools off. When I go upstairs in the morning, it's a normal temp. Slowly, like turning up the heat on the water pot with the frog inside, I don't notice it being hot until it finally gets upper 80s.

Fed up with it being hot, I finally decided to give in and buy a room air conditioner. 

This shiny new unit is the very loud new addition to my office. Because of the window to vent it is up so high, it has to sit on a table instead of the floor, but it least it was easier than mounting a traditional window unit. I have to open the blinds partially that allows the sun in. I usually have them closed with the thermal curtains closed. 

In my first day of having it in my office, I was able to keep the temp around 80, about 10 degrees better. It was already really hot up there when we got it installed. I bought the biggest unit in hopes of making a dent. Now, I have to hope I can keep the electric bill controllable. 

Thankfully, it has a remote so I can turn it off from my desk when I get a phone call because, did I mention, this thing is loud? 

Friday, June 22, 2018

It's all a big blur

Today's post is just a boring little update.

I am getting definitively old. My weeks are blurring one into another, especially since I have been trying to catch up on some work. My still learning the right balance.

I looked at my Instagram account and realized I had one share in like two weeks. What happened to my grand plans to post daily? I post daily for my clients. Posting daily photos of my office would get old, I suppose. I haven't been creating in the studio lately, but I need to soon. I feel that I NEEEEED to. Spending a few hours in the studio tonight marking books to be cut does not count.

Speaking of which, I have more and more piles of books. One box of 50 though arrived with 22 books missing. (Replacements are on the way.) Somewhere between Wichita, Kansas and here, there's a stack of Reader's Digest Condensed books. You'd think when they started falling out of a box all ripped up they would have figured out where they came from. The box had to be be completely taped up on two edges. The third one had one single piece of tape across. it.

I should have a contest for people to guess how many uncut books I have sitting around my house. I really couldn't tell you, but they are multiplying faster than bunnies. I should go through them pretty quickly in the fall. Speaking of which, I'm trying to get my fall events booked up.

In the good news category, my technology is finally all behaving. It's a miracle! I'm even adapting to my Mac now that I have a mouse. I can be productive! At least, if I'm not productive, it's not because of technological glitches. My problem now is my new floor mats at my desk I got since my old one was cracked up. I actually have two next to each other as I slide from one desk to another. I'm also rolling off, and when my wheel catches, I hear a crunch that has me convinced every time I cracked the new ones. In the process of getting stuck, I keep catching the back of my heal on the mat. I have scratches across my heel, and I guarantee you I am going to hurt myself. Seriously. It's going to be one of those freak things you hear about and question the reality of on Facebook.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

More photos from Vacation Bible School

Since I only taught on Monday night at Westhill's VBS, I took pictures the other nights for the Facebook Page. I also videoed one of the class/skit sessions every night. I do promise to get those uploaded to share. 

These shots are from the craft room, the intro skits in the auditorium and the Job, Moses and Peter lessons.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

I want to see

I Want to See
By Marlo Schalesky

Excerpted from Reaching for Wonder by Marlo Schalesky
©2018 by Abingdon Press, used with permission.

Bartimaeus may just be my favorite character in the Bible. There’s something about his tenacity, his audacity, and his fierce vivacity that inspires me. He lived in darkness, and yet he saw more clearly than any of his seeing contemporaries. He saw more clearly than I. A blind beggar sitting in the dirt alongside the road to Jerusalem knew what he wanted, and he couldn’t be dissuaded from it.

What if I had his vision? What if, in my own darkness, I had his tenacity, audacity, and vivacity? What if all I wanted was to see?

Even as I write these words, I’m filled with a crazy hope, a wild wonder. What if, when I am sitting in the dirt, in the dark, in my life, I let none of it stop me from calling out to Jesus? What if I don’t care what others think but instead cry out all the louder? What if I believe that Jesus is who he says he is? What if I throw off everything, absolutely everything, that would hinder me, and run in my blindness to him? What if I could speak those four simple words, “I want to see”?
Bartimaeus simply does not give two hoots about conforming to what others want. He doesn’t care a whit about criticism, rebuke, or reprimands. And so he is free to seek only Jesus.

Lord, give me the heart of Bartimaeus! Give me his courage, his faith, his sight.

Jesus’s encounter with Bartimaeus is the last such healing and disciple-making that we will see before Jesus is arrested and killed in Jerusalem. Jesus and his disciples are traveling with a crowd on the road from Jericho to Jerusalem.

On that road to death sits Bartimaeus, a blind beggar who still dares to hope. He will be the last one to ask for healing. He will be the last one to become a follower of Jesus before Jesus is hung on a Roman cross.

The last one who finally, after all this time, gets it right.

As soon as Bartimaeus hears that Jesus is among the crowd walking by him, he shouts out. He hopes, he reaches, he dares to call for the one thing he believes this Son of David can give: Mercy. He asks for something he doesn’t deserve, but knows he needs. “Jesus, Son of David, show me mercy!” (Mark 10:47).

Everyone around him rebukes him for it. They know he doesn’t deserve it either. He is a blind beggar sitting along the roadside. They tell him to be quiet, to be invisible, to disappear.

So, when you’re afraid you’ve missed him. When you’re sitting in your darkness and blindness, terrorized by the fear that God has come and gone and you didn’t recognize him, take heart! Be encouraged! He’s calling to you.

But this man, sitting in his world of darkness, believes more strongly in Jesus and who Jesus is than he worries about what others think of him. He doesn’t care about that at all.

In fact, in the face of discouragement, he cries out all the louder and all the more: “Son of David, show me mercy!” (v. 48).

To Bartimaeus, Jesus is not just a wandering rabbi. He’s not just a healer or a teacher. He is this one who was promised to open the eyes of the blind and free those sitting in darkness (Isaiah 42:6b-7). He is the promise of God to his people. He is the promise of God to Bartimaeus. And Bartimaeus dares to believe it, to believe all of it.

Here there is no “if you want” or “if you are able.” No, Bartimaeus goes all in. He holds nothing back. He stakes everything on the belief that this Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of David who will fulfill all God has said, and will fulfill it for him. That is an audacious faith.

And then the voices change. Instead of “sit down and shut up,” they start saying, “Take heart! Be encouraged! Buck up! He’s calling you.”

In your darkness, in your blindness, Jesus is calling you. He is calling you. And he’s calling you in a way that you can hear. He doesn’t motion to the blind man. He calls to him. He uses a sense that Bartimaeus can receive.

So when you’re afraid you’ve missed him. When you’re sitting in your darkness and blindness, terrorized by the fear that God has come and gone and you didn’t recognize him, take heart! Be encouraged! He’s calling to you. He’s calling to you in a way in which you can hear. And you can do as Bartimaeus did—you can jump up and run to him.


Marlo Schalesky is an award-winning author of eleven books (both fiction and non-fiction), including Reaching for Wonder: Encountering Christ When Life Hurts. A regular speaker and columnist, she has published more than 1,000 articles in various Christian magazines and has been featured on many national radio and TV programs.

Schalesky is the founder and executive director of Wonder Wood Ranch, a California charitable organization that brings hope through horses to at-risk, gang-impacted, homeless, and other disadvantaged kids in Monterey County. Marlo lives with her husband, six children, and a menagerie of large and small animals in Salinas, California.

Find out more at She can also be found on Facebook (MarloSchalesky) and Twitter (@MarloSchalesky).

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Poor, mistreated Joseph

This week is VBS at Westhill, and last night was my night to teach. Our theme was superheroes overcoming certain challenges, and my lessons centered on Joseph overcoming mistreatment. I usually don't have a big cast because depending on actors makes me nervous, but these guys did a great job. I only had 7 of Joseph's 11 brothers, but no one actually pointed that out. I kept talking about the 10 mean older brothers. 

If I had my script together more than a week ahead - because I run behind on absolutely everything - I probably could have found a few more. 

All the lessons were videoed, so I'm going to try to get them uploaded to share. I have to do it when I'm not trying to work because they will take FOREVER, and I can't function while videos are uploading. 

Here's my cast with a kid hiding in middle for a picture. Keep scrolling for the picture of the brothers throwing Joseph into the well one more time, just for the fun of it. Between rehearsals and three performances, I have no idea how many times this actually happened.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Jordan's ego is too big for his golden britches on #thebachelorette

I don't think I've gotten to start and stay on track with the live airing of The Bachelorette once this season. I tried once.

Tonight, I taught VBS, came home, ate dinner, started some photo uploads, and at 10 PM am just getting started. Seems to be the time I get going every time. 

So, we were at the cocktail party when the episode ended last week. Clay went home with a broken wrist, and that's where we left it. Tonight, Becca is still talking to some guys. She and Blake talk about how many children they want to have and what they want to name their daughters.

All the men sit around seriously discussion the severity of David's fall from the bunk bed. Jordan has an odd camera interview where he says he talks to God daily and some people that go against him wind up hurt. I guess he is alluding to having God smite David. Jordan's ego is too big for his britches.  

Speaking of Jordan and britches, when he gets time alone with Becca, she gives him a pair of golden shorts. Like Joseph and his coat of many colors... (Sorry, that's the lesson I covered multiple times tonight - three official lessons taught.) The man thinks there are men in the house who thinks he is the best looking man in the house. I don't know that any of them think that.

David arrives back at the mansion to a warm reception from the men. He looks rough. Becca takes him off to talk. So that he doesn't have to stand through the rose ceremony, she gives him a rose early so he can go rest. He shows off the rose to the men, then heads up to sleep. 

Now for the rest of the roses...

Recap: Chris and Colton have roses from last week's dates. Clay got a rose on his date, but went home to have wrist surgery. David got the pity rose. (Jordan just used the same term, after I did, which makes me sad.)
  1. Jason
  2. Wills
  3. Nick (Who is wearing a track suit for some reason. I don't know why. Didn't notice before.)
  4. Christon
  5. Lincoln
  6. Blake
  7. Garrett
  8. Leo (Surprised he is still there.)
  9. John
  10. Connor
  11. Jordan (grrrrr...)
  12. Jean Blanc
That means that Mike and Ryan are gone. They weren't memorable. Mike and a man bun, but I had to try to figure out Ryan's name to type it here. 

It's time to leave the mansion. They all pack up to leave for Park City, Utah.

Becca comes to visit the guys in their cabin. She picks up Garrett for the one-on-one date. He got the first impression rose, so she's had a thing for him from the get go. She admits he gives her butterflies and she finds him attractive (to the camera, not to him). Becca thinks her dad would have liked him. 

Back at the cabin, the men try to convince Lincoln that the world is not flat. Something about a belief in friction... Supposedly, he is serious...

Back to the date. Onto the ski lift. Since they are at Olympic Park, they are going to go bobsledding. They are being coached by 2006 silver medalist bobsledders who were a team and fell in love. (Raised eyebrow. #convenient) They actually do a four man bobsled. 

As they go into dinner time, Becca says the day was a 10 out of 10. She tells Garrett that he reminds her of her dad because of their love for adventure and the outdoors. 

When it's time to talk about past relationships, Garrett talks about the last time he was in love. He reveals he was previously married. They were together for a year and a half before they got engaged, a year before they got married, then were only married two months before they got divorced. Hmmm. That's when he realized he feel in love and got married to the wrong person. This raises red flags.

Date card time... "Jordan, Chris, Blake, Nick, John, Lincoln, Leo, David, Connor, Christon, Jason, Colton, Jean Blanc..."

That means Wills is the one left for the other one-on-one date. 

Becca starts asking more questions about Garrett's ex-wife. He says she was emotionally abusive, building him up and tearing him down. She drove a wedge between him and his family. Becca asks about what if he's not ready when the time comes to propose. Garrett says he's had two years to start to heal and won't say "I love you" until he's serious about someone. 

He does end up with the date rose. Time for a concert and dancing to Granger Smith. 

The date... lumberjack competition. The Lumber Jack and Jill fell in love through the sport, by the way. 

First up, everyone tries their hand at splitting wood with an ax. Most of the guys do well. Some embarrass themselves. There's an ax throw and log flipping. All this is practice for the big competition. 

The men are divided into teams and compete relay style. The Golden Ax goes to John. 

That night, Becca comes to the conclusion Jason is a good kisser. Jordan is wearing his golden underwear. He takes off his pants to prove it. Then he goes back out to the men sharing them off. 

Chris and Colton take Jordan out to tell him what they think about how he's behaving. That goes over real well.

Jean Blanc gives him some perfume because that's his thing. He awkwardly tries to kiss her. It didn't go well. She's probably relieved Leo interrupts. He goes back for a second conversation. Becca tells her he's coming on too intense and she's not sure she's on the same page. She decides to cut him loose and walk him out. He asks about the gift he just gave her. It gets weirder. He says something that makes her question which parts of what he said were honest. He takes back what he said about falling in love with her when she doesn't reciprocate. It puts her in a funk, so she goes back in and tells the rest of the guys she wants them to be sincere with her. She decides not to give out the date rose. 

The next day before her date with Wills, Becca is still shaken up. She starts off the date for apologizing for her funk. They set off on a snowmobile. The whole thing seems mellow. 

The dinner portion is a snoozefest too. They talk about his last relationships. They talk about their fears... his is not being enough for someone. He gets the date rose. 

All the men sit around being filmed at cabin on the morning before the rose ceremony. Chris Harrison comes in and tells them Becca knows what she wants to do, so there won't be a cocktail party before the rose ceremony. 

Garrett and Wills have their roses...
  1. Leo (Still surprised he's there.)
  2. Colton
  3. Blake
  4. Jason
  5. Connor
  6. Lincoln
  7. John 
  8. Chris
  9. David
  10. Jordan (UGH!)
That means the men headed back to where they came from are Nick and Christon. 

Next stop... Vegas. I think David and Jordan go on the two-on-one!

Sunday, June 17, 2018


I love having a big group! I snagged this video on our Unity Sunday where all the Churches of Christ in town come together for worship. These are actually all our kids, but most everyone was sure to be there that morning.


By John W. Thompson; © Kruger Organisation
Used by permission. CCLI # 1132191

(girls echo)
Oh Lord prepare me, to be a sanctuary
Pure and holy, tried and true.
With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living
Sanctuary for You.

It was you Lord, who sent the Savior
Heart and soul Lord, to every man.
It is you Lord, who knows my weakness,
You refine me with Your own hand.

Lead me on Lord, through my temptations
You refine me from within
Fill our hearts with the Holy Spirit,
And take all our sins away.

Lord teach Your children, to stop the fighting,
And start uniting, all as one.
Let’s get together, loving forever
Sanctuary, for You.

And when He comes with shouts of glory
And our work on earth is done
O, how I long to hear Him saying,
“Faithful servant well done.”

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The struggle is so very real

I've ranted about my technology issues for weeks here on the blog. In addition to locking myself out of the Mac earlier in the week, I have had numerous problems on other computers. After calling AT&T more times than I could count over a two week period, I finally had someone come out to test the lines this morning. There were times where the internet was so slow, I couldn't function.

There was something with the line, they needed to back me down to a slower package because of capabilities, and then my laptop was drawing more data than it should have been. Something there was holding things up.

At the same time, I couldn't get Photoshop to save an image as a jpg to save my life. Then, it wouldn't open That's a bit problematic.

So, instead of being productive, I decide to go back to restore points on both computers to see if I could go back to before the latest Windows updates to see if that would help because things have been getting progressively worse.

On my laptop, the restore failed because I still had my anti-virus on. When I tried again, I had an disc error that made it impossible to move forward without a reset. My files all saved, but other than that, I had to get wiped clean. That always scares me, especially the longer it takes to do its thing. Then, I had to re-download all my programs to install.

On my desktop, I had to re-install some things too. I kept trying to install older versions of Photoshop and search for fixes when it was a common problem people looked for. Finally, late, late into the night, I changed some computer registry settings to have it back working correctly.

This all sounds like loads of weekend fun, right? Maybe, next week, I can move forward.

This is literally consuming my days and nights.

If I weren't grossed out at the thought of not bathing for weeks on end, had a proper bathroom and any physical skill, I would apply for Survivor to get away from technology.

UPDATE: I had my email back-up file imported in, then had to move it around to get it to sync and accidentally deleted some folders I thought had moved, but didn't. I spent 3 hours on Tuesday night after VBS sorting the 3000 emails that were thankfully on my other computer so that I could put them in new Gmail email folders to be able to access them on my laptop. My Google Drive files have all had to sync onto my computer yet again. 

One of my author client's thinks I may be cursed. Maybe so, but there isn't away to fis that. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

Rachel Dylan's Breach of Trust cover reveal

This week, Rachel Dylan revealed the cover of the third book in her Atlanta Justice Series, Breach of Trust, coming in February 2019 from Bethany House Publishers

If you haven't read any of the books in the series, you should. Both Deadly Proof and Lone Witness have been on best sellers' lists. Learn more on her website and make sure you are following her on social media too!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Good Things God Wants for You

The Good Things God Wants for You
By Katie Bennett

Excerpted from Heavenly Minded Mom by Katie Bennett ©2018 by Abingdon Press, used with permission

 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—
how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
—Romans 8:32

Today on the radio I heard a voice clip from a well-known Bible teacher. She said that God is good—He wants good things for His people—so we should believe that He will give us good things. The voice clip was just brief enough that I couldn’t determine whether I agreed with her or not.

She certainly spoke truth. God is undeniably, exceedingly, and completely good. He does want good things for His people, and He gives us many good things. Yet perhaps sometimes our definition of good is something far less than what God has in mind. Perhaps our finite, limited view leads us to define good things in terms of health, popularity, and material abundance. And thus, we settle.

However, eternity begs a different perspective. Eternity dictates that all our wealth, health, ease, and worldly success are here today and gone tomorrow. And while these are good things in a temporary sense, they will not matter past the moment in which they are enjoyed. What’s more, they do not bring about total dependence on God, and they do not drive us to throw aside everything to follow Jesus in complete surrender.

Could it be that there are better things in this life than the worldly blessings for which we busily pray and seek? Could it be that God is wiser, more loving, and more good than we know?

When we have the opportunity to be mistreated for the sake of the gospel, to faithfully persevere in trials, to return good for evil, and to radically and sacrificially give, we invest in eternity, glorify God, and store up treasures in heaven. All those days of comfort will hold no meaning.

So, consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds because these trials lead us to higher places than we could have otherwise trodden. Consider it pure joy when life is smooth, pleasant, and filled with the good things, recognizing that this too is a gift from God. Wisdom teaches us to “rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), knowing that God is trustworthy and loving. He wants truly good things for the children He loves, including deep character, perfect dependence on Him, abiding joy not bound to circumstances, spiritual maturity,
and rewards that will last forever.

Embrace God’s Word

For further insight, read James 1:2-5; Romans 8:28-39; and 1 Peter 3:9-14.

Journal Your Thoughts

Before today, how would you have defined what it means to say God wants good things for me?

How does viewing life in the scope of eternity help you trust God in all things?

Katie Bennett is the author of Heavenly Minded Mom and the creator of the Top Mommy Bloggers’ award-winning blog and podcast, Embracing a Simple Life. Katie stepped out of the career world and embraced a no frills, no extravagance or excess lifestyle. Just Jesus and her family—clearing out the excess and making the most of what matters most. Katie and her family live in the St. Louis, MO area.


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

I lack the ability to take decent selfies

I know you have read my complaints about the lighting in my house before. I have a really hard time taking good pictures because of the lighting. There's not tons of natural lighting in the house, and as far as light fixtures are concerned, it's still not well let. Then, there is fluorescent lighting. Bad, bad, bad. That and my phone takes horrible pictures. Horrible, horrible pictures. 

Here are two terrible examples of selfies. Before and after getting my hair cut yesterday.

First of all, this is a picture trying to show how long my hair had gotten. The back was or seemed longer than it shows here. This is me trying to get the shot in my very small, oddly shaped half-bath upstairs lit with a twirly bulb. Plenty of light. Just hard to tell it here. The rest of the upstairs is very dark, especially with the heat shield curtains closed and the bulbs needing changed in the fan. The second one just went out. I always change them at the same time. 

Anyway, my hair was long, made for a great long ponytail when straightened, but was a complete hot mess in more ways than one when I didn't tame it.

The lighting for pictures in my living room is always bad. Without the light above my head (in the pic) on, it's really dark (one light bulb), but with it on, it's a weird affect.

Oh, and no, I didn't dye my hair. I don't know why it's so dark. That's my other point. The effects are weird. I also think I look cheezy and have additional chins when I smile thus no smile.  

You should have seen the pile of hair I left on the floor. Now, I HAVE to straighten or curl it. That is one of the perks of working at home, by yourself. If you don't fix your hair, it doesn't matter because no one will see it!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Really good news and stupid bad luck

I have some really good news... in addition to good things I have going on with "Audra Jennings PR" as I call it, I'm joining the team at New Growth Press as Publicity and Social Media Manager! 

I have worked with the team on various projects for I can't tell you how many years! (I think probably 14... something like that.) I worked on publicity for the first book they released. I am excited about the new adventure.

It's the first time I've worked on staff for a publisher, so even though I get to do a lot of what I have done before, I'll get to venture into some new areas too.


After lunch with the owner today, I ventured home to set up a new computer. I haven't worked on a Mac in forever, but shouldn't be a big deal.

Shouldn't be...

I set up a new Apple ID at the same time I set up the computer password. Then, I did updates that restarted the computer before getting the validation email on the account. That completely locked me out of the computer and I spend over two hours with Apple support and went through FOUR support reps. That's partly had to get higher level of support part I got disconnected from the second guy.

Then, after I got into the computer, I got locked out of the ID for another 24 hours. It was a mess!

Talk about feeling like an idiot. I felt like a giant loser.

Technology has been the farthest thing from my friend lately. I feel like I haven't gotten squat done in two weeks. I have literally lost track of the number of times I have talked to AT&T via phone and chat on their website. My internet connection has mucked up everything I have been working on. Supposedly they were going to send me another router because mine was faulty (same diagnosis as my old one about two weeks ago), but that order never went in. Finally, they have decided it is a line issue and will be out on Saturday between 8 AM - 8 PM. It's a good thing I planned to be home anyway.

So help me, after Saturday, it better be fixed. I have work to do!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Even more odd things going down on #thebachelorette

Urg. I had watch the last ten minutes online. 
Here I go back posting this week’s episode of The Bachelorette again. I was going to work on it after getting back from Peyton’s softball game, but my parents’ air conditioner went out and they needed to come over here to sleep, so it wasn’t a good time to start work on it.

Of course, here I actually am on Tuesday after long day. Terrific in that there’s a good job announcement to make (more on that tomorrow’s post), but also maddening in how I ended up on the phone with tech support for two hours. (This time not with AT&T, but had to be on chat with them yesterday, and I’m waiting for another new router. Because my internet keeps spacing in and out, I am having to type this as a word doc to paste into the blog.)

Anyway… 10 PM Tuesday hoping to get this in before I fall asleep typing from the chair in my living room.

This week’s episode starts on a rainy day where David is complaining about Jordan, especially his roaming unclothed. Jordan talks about David being a dry chicken with no sense of humor who is always cooking scrambled eggs.

Colton is still wondering where things stand with Becca. I finally understand what her issue was with him dating Tia. She thinks he’s only there because he was hoping Tia would have been The Bachelorette. I didn’t put that together until she talked about it in the previews. I don’t know why I didn’t get that before. I just didn’t.

Chris Harrison arrives with the date card happy that Jordan has on some clothes instead of just his swimsuit. He asks what else is going on. He tells them that Becca has gotten really serious. There will be two group dates and a one-on-one. No two-on-one to get rid of David and Jordan at the same time or Lincoln and Connor.

After leaving the card, Blake reads it. “Wills, Jason, Jordan, David, Jean Blanc and Colton. It’s time to relax.”

Jordan is annoyed about going with David. Colton is ready to make a move and get past the speed bump.

Before the men arrive, a bunch of the women from last season join Becca for mimosas. They are going to the spa and will be the extra eyes and ears. Becca brings up Colton to Tia. Bekah (the weed farmer too young for Arie) asks questions and puts together the Colton hoping Tia was the bachelorette part. I’m not sure if that sentence made sense.

Becca informs the men that they are the ones doing the pampering instead of being pampered themselves. The men go in and meet the women. Colton thinks it’s one of his worst nightmares to be there with Tia given he was on thin ice.

When Becca introduces the men, she stumbles over remember Jason’s name. He didn’t go on a date last week, so out of sight, out of mind.

Jason and Colton talk about the awkwardness of Tia being there. He’s the only one that knew about the Colton situation from Colton himself.

I’m never going to get the episode finished. I already had to pose to rest my eyes.

One of the things the women are watching is to make sure the men are actually paying attention and spending extra time with Becca.

Becca takes Tia off to talk. Tia says Colton told her about getting picked on the show soon after when they met. She still doesn’t know if he has the right intentions, so will have to talk to him later. I’m tired of hearing about it already.

When Becca arrives for the evening part of the date, Wills pulls Becca off first. Snooze.

Becca tells Jason she really did remember his name and that he makes her a little nervous (in a good way). They start a make-out session.

Jordan talks in front of the other men about getting an email congratulating him on 4000 matches on Tinder. They ask him how much swiping he had to do and how much time he had to spend each day.

When David talks to Becca, he’s obnoxious. I hate the sound of his voice right now. He tells her he gets along with everyone except Jordan who walks around undressed. (Jordan wasn’t completely naked even though everyone else was in suits. Yes, he was being a turd and should have gotten dressed instead of wearing a blanket to the rose ceremony, but why bring it up.) Becca interrupts him to remind him of the chicken suit. He also tattles on the Tinder thing.

Becca comes back around later congratulating Jordan on his matches. David and Jordan have some battle of the words. Jordan goes to talk to Becca next. She says he has a sense of humor. He says he has a hard time finding a hard time finding 100% match on intensity. He defends his masculinity while being in his element of pampering. His ego is HUGE.

When Jordan joins the group again, it’s David vs. Jordan. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I think some of the guys are creating a drinking game with all this. David accuses Jordan of being there to build his modeling career. Jordan starts bragging on himself and his image and his professionalty. Jordan and his made-up words may be the most annoying thing about him when there are so many annoying things.

Back at the house, the next date card arrives. “Chris - Let’s make your heart sing.” That’s all there is to that.

Group date… Colton and his blahblahblahblah to Jason. Becca still yadayadayada… here for me… She sits Colton down to talk about it. He wants her to know he’s being serious. For all the muttering and nothing particularly convincing in the conversation that I heard, I’m surprised that Becca gives Colton the rose.

Next day… next date… Becca and Chris head off in a limo. They arrive at Capitol Records. When they go in, Richard Marx is playing the piano. I don’t know how Chris recognizes him. Lines had to be fed to him. Yes, I know who he is, but after 20 something years since his last hit, I wouldn’t recognize him.

Becca tries to sing, “Right Here Waiting for You” with him, and it is painful. Richard says for the date they will be writing a song. Chris has a mini meltdown because he’s afraid of being vulnerable this early on. There’s some sappy sharing of bad lyrics/poetry. Awkward. Richard plays the guitar some. Becca and Chris dance around the floor.

Then there is a 10-15 minute interruption with live news break of President Trump and Kim Jong-Un -shaking hands. The show then resumes in its entirety, but my DVR is going to cut off before the end. I’m going to have to pull that up online which annoys me.

The final date card of the night arrives, “Clay, Leo, Christon, Ryan, John, Garrett, Mike, Lincoln, Connor, Blake - we can tackle anything together.”

Nick is the odd man out without a date. Both football players should have been on the same date to side into teams. In middle of all the men, Jordan tells Colton he has a question for him that he can ask there or pull him aside to ask. Jordan asks him about the Tia thing. David starts in on Jordan again.

Dinner with Chris… rehash what had made him nervous - writing things down and expressing himself. He didn’t want to build up feelings to be brought down. He starts talking about his father leaving his family on New Years Even when he was 7 years old. It’s an odd transition/time to reveal this. Evidently, he wrote a letter to his dad after many years, and his dad didn’t write back. This was why he got emotional. He gets the date rose.

Cue private concert with Richard Marx. I can’t name one song he sang other than “Right Here Waiting for You.”

At the house, David is carried out of the house on a stretcher. Basher from Oceans 11, I mean Lincoln talks about how there is blood everywhere and how they hope David lives. A dramatically edited moment that concludes with Jordan sitting by himself in the living room before cutting to commercial.

A shot of a little bit of blood on the floor opens the next segment of the show. Some of the men talk about the bloody scene. Chris Harrison shows up at Becca’s hotel to tell her that there was an incident and one of the guys was rushed to the hospital and is in intensive care. Busted nose. Busted face. Becca asks who did it. All this is told very dramatically. Then, Chris Harrison reveals this happened after David fell out of bed. Becca and Chris call him. David laughs it off saying he’s used to sleeping in a king-sized bed.

Jordan puts a rail on the bed to keep it from happening again.

Moving along to the group date. A couple of female football players come out to show them how it’s done. They go through drills and try to show off.

Clay shows his aggressive side - we’ve only seen nice Clay so far, and Becca likes seeing him in his element.

They suit up in full gear to really get into the game. They are all playing to win. Clay does not want to lose (he ties the game in the last play) and hurts his wrist. They have to call in the medic.

The evening portion of the date takes place in an antique shop. That’s bizarre and random.

Blake is already talking about how weird it is being on a group date after being on the one-on-one. He calls her his girlfriend and this makes her giddy.

Clay comes back to the date with a sling. An ortho has to check it out tomorrow. She tells him about how it was fun to see him in his element, but he didn’t rub it in to anyone.

When they all come back together, she wants to give the rose to someone who makes her feel like a princess. She gives it to Clay.

Here is where I have to try to get the online video to work for me. My internet connection may give me fits!

Cocktail party time!

Nick is plotting his move. Without a date, he has to make up for lost time. When Becca arrives and makes her toast, you can really hear her ice rattling in her glass.

But first, Connor has to take her out to the driveway for some t-ball because he acknowledges he’s not much of a football player.

By this point, Clay has seen the ortho who told him he needed to have surgery to fix his wrist. She doesn’t want to lose the chance of having something with Becca, but needs surgery so he can play football and earn his pay for the next few years. He has to sit down and talk to her about it. He claims it’s the hardest decision he’s ever had to make. He knows it’s the choice he has to make… to leave. Now, he was sitting on a bench in front of the fireplace, and when he gets up, he puts weight on his splinted wrist as he uses that hand to push himself up. If it was hurting that bad, he wouldn’t have been doing that. He tells Becca he has to leave to provide for his family. She was starting to have feelings for him. HMMMM.

This really upsets Becca, and that’s where we have to leave it for the week. I hate it when we don’t get the rose ceremony at the end of every episode. Urg.