Sunday, April 29, 2007

No! The Cha-Chas Are Out!

I am SO sad that Oswald and Danny are out of the Race! I was really hoping that they would win--especially after Uchenna and Joyce were eliminated. Oh I'm rooting for the Beauty Queens because they really do work hard--even though they are a bit devious. Eric and Danielle just need to go--they should have been gone a long time ago, but unfortunately they're still here. Charla and Myrna are okay--but they're not as dynamic as the Beauty Queens. However, I would like for them to get second place--mainly because I don't think Eric and Danielle should win. How about tonight's episode?! I would have LOVED to do all of those challenges--even though I wouldn't be able to find my way out of a paper-bag with the GPS thing--I still think it would be cool! Oh well--I'm still looking for someone to race with me when they open up casting for the next season. Let me know if you're interested!

The next funny thing is that I've caught Madison watching TV! She definitely LOVES drama! Animal shows are out--maybe because they don't really speak her language, but I was flipping through channels the other day and stopped off on some of the talk shows...She isn't into Oprah, but she likes Dr. Phil--I think because he has a deep voice, so it catches her attention...who knows? She also watched Cinderella this weekend--I think it was because they mice were running around, or maybe it was because of the birds? She also watched a couple more movies and of course she watched the Amazing Race tonight! Check out her pics!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Oh, What a Week!

There has to be a full moon coming up because the kids were PSYCHO this week! Now that Spring is in the air and the stupid FCAT is over, the kids think they no longer have to do any work and are at liberty to do whatever they want. (And people have voted for the school year next year to be extended through June? Are they nuts? Obviously they've NEVER been in a classroom with 35 students trying to mutiny....but that's a rant for another time...)

Aside from the job aspect, this week hasn't been too bad for me personally--I WON a book from Katrina at Callapidder Days! I'm VERY excited to have won this book by Tamara Leigh because ironically, the main character sounds a bit like me. Here's the blurb that Katrina posted on her site about the book:

11. Perfecting Kate
By Tamara Leigh
Ships: US

Kate's Creed: Thou shalt embrace singledom and be unbelievably, inconceivable happy.

Yeah, right.

Kate Meadows is a successful San Francisco artist looking for a nice, solid Christian man. So when not one, but two handsome bachelors enter her orbit in rapid succession, her head is spinning. Michael is a hunky makeup artist who actually seems to be flirting with her, rather than her physically flawless housemate. Trouble is, he keeps handing her business cards from various beauty professionals and plastic surgeons. Is he trying to stamp out every last bit of self-esteem she has?

Then there's Dr. Clive Alexander who sends Kate's pulse skittering every time he comes near. Too bad he's only interested in her work--and doesn't think she's much to look at. It's enough to send a girl running for her paint-splattered, relaxed-fit jeans and swearing off men altogether! But after undergoing a makeover from Michael's staff, Kate can't be oblivious to the admiring glances men throw her way. Maybe she should try contacts...consider some fancy dental work...and you know, that mole really could stand to go. The question now is, what kind of work will Kate do on herself? And who exactly is she trying to please?

OK--so maybe her creed sounds more like mine, because there are certainly no guys even speaking to me, unless you count my co-workers who are married, or my own family members. It sounds as if Kate is searching for something more out there for her own life--something I am still seeking for myself. (Yes, I am a Christian, so God is not whom I am seeking. I think I'm seeking out how to become more comfortable with myself, but that's a blog for another time.) In any case, I am excited to have won this book and can't wait to read it!

Pretense by Lori Wick
While this book is over 700 pages, it is definitely worth your while! Have a box of tissues ready because the storyline follows the Bishop family through their trials and tribulations throughout their lives. Will they ever find God-whom they're seeking desperately? Will the characters overcome the hardships they suffer, or will they be overwhelmed and completely turn away from God forever? Captivating from page one, you will be wrapped up in the lives of each Bishop family member and feel like they are each your best friend. What a great book!

We usually hold a Family Picnic twice a year--one in April and one in October. This month's picnic was last Saturday. It was a nice time to catch up on what everyone is doing and to learn about the celebrations of others.

My cousin Tanner is graduating high school in a few weeks and is going to Europe with his aunt as a graduation present.

Uncle Herb came over from Oregon to catch up with his siblings.

Ken (my step-dad/dad) turned 50!! (He also just left to visit my brother (step-brother) Adam over in England! I am SO jealous.)

My cousin Doug is trying to become a postal worker--they have several openings in our area and make the same amount starting that I do after 8 years of teaching! (Hmmm...maybe I should check into that field.)

Of course we had our normal volleyball games, zip-line for the kids, lots and lots of food, and this time--a water-balloon toss!

Have a great weekend! I plan on reading and of course resting!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

OOPS! I'm Sorry!

I know...I know...I haven't posted for days (OK-so maybe a week or so). I really do have some good excuses, but I'm sure you don't really care about them, so I won't bore you with the details.

In other, more exciting news--I WON! I WON!

Meljean Brook had a contest on her blog to win a copy of her book Demon Angel! As you can see by the cover--Hugh (that's the gorgeous angel) is my idea of tall, dark, and handsome--not to mention the fact he's an angel (?)-- so I HAD to enter! Will wonders, never cease--I WON!!! Ms. Brook sent me a personally inscribed copy of the book (no I am NOT giving you the inscription--you wouldn't "get it") AND it arrived TODAY!!!! (If that's not incentive to get my homework completed in my class so I can read all night Friday, I don't know what is....)

I'm really excited about reading this book, and in case you've read this one, Ms. Brook has another book in the series coming out soon. Check out her blog and find out all the juicy details. I can guarantee you--they will be juicy. After all, look at Hugh....

I finished another book on my Spring Read Thing list. It was a bit long, but worth the effort.

Bamboo and Lace by Lori Wick

Lily Walsh lives with her father in the country of Kashien, while her brother Jeff, lives in Hawaii (having stayed after attending college). Jeff is writing to his father and asking permission for Lily to come visit for six months so that he can teach her new things. (Kind of weird, but once you understand the Kashien culture, it makes sense.) Owen (the father) grants Lily to go visit Jeff for three months instead of six--a disappointment to both siblings, but it was better than nothing.

Flash forward to Lily arriving in Hawaii--eyes downcast and not understanding our culture. (She wasn't familiar with the items we take for granted each day--indoor plumbing, hot water, plastic get the picture.) Jeff then has to leave for two and a half months for a work emergency on the mainland, so rather than send Lily home to their father, he asks his close friend Gabe (and Gabe's immediate family) if Lily could stay with them, and if they would continue to teach her all the things he had planned. Being a true friend--Gabe takes over for Jeff.

Lily learns new things and a romance blossoms. Will Jeff make it home before Lily has to return to Kashien? Will she be able to extend her visit if Jeff doesn't make it? What will happen to Lily's new romance? You'll have to read the book to find out what happens.

I was intrigued by Lily's situation at the beginning of the book. I became completely engrossed in Lily's "education" that I forgot there was going to be a romance. The characters became like my best friends, and I couldn't wait to find out what happens with Lily and the interactions with her family. It's a fabulous book--one that brings hope and invites inspiration.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Happy Tax Day!

You're probably wondering why I have a picture of cows posted, and you'll understand why after I give you my blurb on the latest book I read. In reality, I lived in Abilene, TX last year and this is the view from my apartment. Startling, I know--especially for a girl who had to drive to the "country" to see/smell cows in FL. Needless to say, I didn't spend many hours on my balcony in TX--when the wind blew (which was every 5 seconds) or when the heat was intense (Summer), the cows were pretty ripe! One even escaped the fence once-but that's a story for another day.

Welcome to Wahoo by Dennis and Elise Carr

Victoria Van Wyck is forced to flee her privileged life in Europe when "the mob" threatens to kill her family. Being escorted by family friend/employee Adam York (aka "Uncle Bob"), Victoria (aka Amanda Jones) must face life in the middle of "no-where" Nebraska, aka Wahoo. While adjusting to changes--(having to get a job, making friends (?), and having to (egads!) clean up after herself)--Victoria/Amanda must also complete her Junior year of high school and "keep her nose clean" and stay out of the limelight so that those pesky mobsters do not find and kill her. Will she manage to pull it off? Will she survive "the mob" and be reunited with her family? You'll have to read the book to find out!

I wasn't sure what to expect when I first started reading the book--some of the characters were not as rounded as I thought they should have been--given their status in the book. The saving graces are that Victoria starts working at her local library, learns to LOVE reading, competes with her new-found friend for the best grade in History, and isn't concerned about the typical teenage "what will they think of me" syndrome. It's a really cute story and most girls will enjoy reading the book.

I've actually spoken to Mr. Carr and was in negotiations to bring him to our school--especially since he seemed to really care about instilling the love of reading to the students--unfortunately/fortunately, he was arrested for "allegedly" having drugs in his camper. Click here to read the article. Needless to say, they WILL NOT be making an appearance at our school.

Why the cows? That's what I think of when someone mentions the "middle of nowhere." (The setting of the book.) I'm sure wheat fields would be more appropriate, but Abilene is a small town (although a bit bigger than Wahoo) and that's how I related to the book. After all, I had to readjust to "small-town" life after having lived in the "big city" for a gazillion years too.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

"The Look" and "Queen of Babble"

Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot

Talk about hilarious! Lizzie Nichols might be my twin! (Although I've never been to Europe, and traveled to France through the Chunnel, and unloaded my life's story on a handsome stranger, but we both do tend to ramble.) Lizzie graduates from college (sort of) and decides to follow her boyfriend back to England for the summer. Soon she realizes that he's not for her and runs to her friends who are staying in a villa in France--helping with weddings that are scheduled there. Talk about drama! I love this book! In fact, my neighbors were probably wondering what "that crazy girl upstairs/next door" was laughing so hard about--especially since they know it's just Madison and I up here. Great read--let me know what you think about it when you're through.

Speaking of Madison...I think I've given her "the look" more than once and she's adopted it as her own. Seriously...any of you that remember "the look" that teachers know--the one with the half raised eyebrow that says everything they're thinking? Well, check out Madison's version. I must say she definitely has it down pat.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Time for Celebration

Today is my lil' sister's birthday--Happy Birthday A! I think I'll call her and sing on her voice mail--I just know she'll appreciate my singing abilities! (HA!HA!) The cutie patootie beside her is my niece H (whom by the way, is the person responsible for my picture on this site. It was a Chuck-E-Cheese outing.)

OK--the real reason why I'm writing today is that I've finished one of the books on my list--Yippee! So, this is where I'll post my reviews:

Missing Abby by Lee Weatherly
I must admit, I knew the ending of the book before I started reading it thanks to my library aide last year. (I was hoping that I'd forget so that I could enjoy the book without trying to hurry through it to see if she was right, but it didn't happen.) Nevertheless, Abby is missing and her former best-friend Emma was the last one to see her alive! Now Emma must re-live their friendship to try and find Abby. Will it work? You'll have to read it and find out! Overall it was a good book-despite the D&D fantasy theme. It reminds teenagers that friendships are important and to treat others kindly--you never know when you might come across that person again and need his/her help.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Happy EASTER!!!!

Happy Easter everyone! Here's an email I received from one of my friends and his wife. I think it pretty much explains it...

Have a Blessed Easter

You know I have read many times in the Book of John the story of John and Peter going to the tomb..

"Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen." John 20-6-7

I ask you, what did Peter see when he looked in the tomb...a empty tomb, linens laying around, no body where they had laid one? Yes, all those things, but recently I read something I want to share with you from a book called "The Carpenter's Cloth", that made me see that Peter saw something else.

"During Jesus' time there was one way a carpenter let the contractor know a job was finished. A signature, so to speak.

Imagine a hot afternoon in Galilee, Jesus has completed the final pieces of a job he has worked on for several days. The hair on his strong forearms is matted with sawdust and sweat. His face is shiny with heat. He takes a final--and welcome-- drink of cool water from a leather bag.

Then, standing to the side of his work, he pours water over his face and chest, splashing it over his arms to clean himself before his journey home. With a nearby towel, he pats his face and arms dry.

Finally, Jesus fold the towel neatly in half, and then folds it in half again. He sets it on the finished work and walks away. Later, whoever arrives to inspect the work will the towel and understand its simple message. The work is finished.

Christ's disciples, of course, knew the carpenter's tradition. On a Sunday of sorrow, three years after Jesus had set aside his carpenter tools, Peter will crouch to look into an empty tomb and see only the linens that the risen Lord has left behind.

A smile will cross Peter's face as his sorrow is replaced by hope, for he will see the wrap that had covered Jesus' face. It had been folded in half, then folded in half again and left neatly on the floor of the tomb.

Peter understands. The carpenter has left behind a simple message. IT IS FINISHED!” …. The Carpenter’s Cloth, by Sigmund Brouwer

Now we know what Peter really saw when He looked in the tomb!
Job completed….salvation paid for!


From Our hearts to yours....Have a blessed Easter Resurrection Day!

Love and blessings,

G & H

Saturday, April 7, 2007

John Winter's Death

I have to say,I just turned on the TV after not having it on since last Sunday, and I'm still reeling over the news of Channel 8's meteorologist John Winter's suicide. He was always witty and charming, not to mention good-looking. He did so much for the community with the Rough Rider's Teddy Bear collection and the Hillsborough County Animal Shelters, and now he's gone. I can only imagine what it must be like for his wife, family, and friends. I only knew the man through the TV screen, and they knew him in person. What a shock and a tragedy!

Yes, God and I have been having a HUGE conversation all day long about depression, and I still have some unanswered questions...why does He let some people suffer from depression more than others? Why is it that I am able to claw my way out of the darkness, and others, like Mr. Winter, are unable to shake it off? (I can tell you from experience that it's hard when you're in "the dark place" because it feels like no one can help you and that no one understands. You're surrounded by a black fog and you feel like screaming, only no one can hear your cries for help.) I talk to God on a minute-by-minute basis and have problems with depression, I can only hope and pray that Mr. Winter's knew Him too. Why does it take a tragedy like this one for others to get the help they need? While I know God will show me the answers in His time, I can only pray for those bleeding hearts out there. Yes, Mr. Winter's will be missed.

Saturday Musings

My latest package of books just arrived--delivered none other than by my fabulous postman! (Seriously, he climbs 3 flights of stairs to bring me my boxes--especially when he could have left them in a larger mailbox instead.) He isn't wearing a ring, so maybe he's single too! Hmmm...I think I need to go order some more books so I can ask him next time....Gotta go! Cheers!

Friday, April 6, 2007

Spring Reading Thing 2007

In case you haven't noticed, I subscribe and read to several blogs. Brandilyn Collins is a wonderful author whose blog is one that I subscribe to and read on an almost daily basis. In today's posting, she mentioned another author's site (Katrina) and that Katrina had started a Spring Reading Club called the Spring Reading Thing 2007.

First of all, while I love to read, I've always been a little hesitant to join a "reading club." (What if I can't keep up, what if I don't finish all my books, etc.) However, I am excited about the fact that Katrina was going to give some books away during the Spring Reading Thing. Then, a publishing house got wind of her Spring Reading Club, and they have decided to donate books to give away as well. So what does Brandilyn Collins have to do with all this, you ask? She was urging those other authors that are interested in getting some of their books out there to readers to contact Katrina to give them away during the Spring Reading Thing! How fun is that?! Free books, all while trying to get some reading done that I've been "saving!" While this journey officially started March 21 and goes through June 21, I will only list the books that I am starting today onward...

So, here my dear readers, is my "official list" for the Spring Reading Thing:

The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus-DONE!
The Crystal Cavern by Hannah Alexander-DONE!
Freefall by Kristen Heitzmann-DONE!
Enemy Mine by Kay Hooper-DONE!
Wicked by Shannon Drake-DONE!
Missing Abby by Lee Weatherly-DONE!
Pretense by Lori Wick-DONE!
Bamboo and Lace by Lori Wick-DONE!
Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot -DONE!
Welcome to Wahoo by Dennis and Elise Carr -DONE!
If the Shoe Fits by Marilynn Griffith-DONE!
Less Than Frank by Lynn Bulock-DONE!
The Sisterhood of the Queen Mamas by Annie Jones-DONE!
@Home for the Holidays By Meredith Efken-DONE!
SAHM I Am by Meredith Efken-DONE!
Married to the Mob by Ginny Aiken-DONE!
Who knows..I probably will not be able to finish them all..especially with work, but I am willing to give it a try. I'll keep you posted on how it goes. Let me know if you decide to join and what you're reading this Spring!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Happy Tuesday!

I guess "it's great to be a Florida Gator!" At least that's what the students thought as they watched their team defeat the Buckeyes AGAIN! Congratulations Gators--from a Seminole fan! Of course this means that tuition is going to triple--after all, they have to pay the way for their championship winning players. Good luck to anyone applying...I hope you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth or you play sports REALLY well!

All this orange and blue talk is making me sick so I need to move on....

For those of you unaware, I am a HUGE fan of Sir Elton John. As I was trying to satisfy my YouTube craving today, I searched for a video of Sir Elton's. What I found was SO much funnier than I imagined. Several years ago when Elton and Billy Joel were in concert (I was there!) they decided to play over in Tokyo. Here's the clip I found of their concert....

(It's not AC/DC coming out to join them, but it sure is funny.) Just watch Billy Joel's face...he's cracking up the whole song! Thank you to whomever posted this video--I will laugh for hours!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Here We Go AGAIN!

So, I'm having a problem...I used to live in Ohio, but now I live in Florida, so who do I cheer for during tonight's basketball game? No, I'm not a Gator fan (I prefer the Bulls or the Seminoles); however, they are from my current home state. Hmmm....maybe I'll just wait to find out who wins and pretend I cheered for that team. (Although the Gators are favored to win....AGAIN!) Decisions, Decisions....