Friday, August 31, 2012

Video: Bird Uses Bread as Bait to Catch Bigger Meal

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Payback is Nice!



Since Brandon and Amanda babysat the five younger children, ran the household, and took care of our farm so we could go to Wintergreen, we sent them on an adventure of their own. We paid for them to go to Kings Dominion and Water Country the following weekend.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Kitty Has a Home!



 We are helping an allergic friend rehome this beautiful blue eyed cat. 

 Lily is "lily white" and has medium length fur. She has shown a good disposition with our children. She is spayed and about 1 year old. She has not been declawed. 

We will include food, dishes, toys, litter, and a litter box. Please share this so we can find Lily a good home. 

THANK YOU! Lily has a loving and responsible forever home.

Wintergreen Rental Pictures and Review


I have had so many questions about Wintergreen that I am posting pictures of the unit here in hopes it helps someone else. This condo was part of the package deal. We asked for a 1 BR, but they upgraded us to a 2BR 2BA free.


it is a very small kitchen, but it was just the two of us. There is only room for one person to work and move around comfortably. Clint and I found that a drawback because we enjoy cooking together, but bumping into each other was nice too! 

The unit contained a microwave, fridge with freezer, stove with oven, trash compactor, and dishwasher. I left our dishes in the sink one morning and came back to find out the cleaning staff had placed them in the dishwasher and ran it for us! Toaster, blender, and a coffee maker made up the small appliances.
There was also a hair dryer in the bathrooms.


I was surprised to find a laundry room. I made good use of it because I hate going home with dirty clothes.


The kitchens are stocked with the basic necessities and should be about the same for whichever unit you rent. They have a checklist they give to each owner.


Coffee and tea are left for you every day when they clean, like in a hotel. Toiletries and new towels are left in the bathrooms for you too. Paper towels, toilet paper, dishwasher detergent, dish detergent, soap, shampoo, conditioner, salt, and pepper were all complimentary.


Dining room. I used one of the chairs to dry hand washables. We had to buy a fan on one of our trips to town because we are use to sleeping with one running. I used that to speed drying time.


Sitting area with a fireplace and a view of the golf grounds with an outdoor dining area. There was a cable TV, but no stereo. I would have rather had the music.


Master bedroom with a comfortable king sized bed and plenty of pillows. There were plenty of blankets in the condo. The furniture was rugged and showed some wear.


Outdoor sitting area outside of the den and MBR. We had our morning coffee and ate dinner here.


A golf course view is desirable in the summer months. It is where the action is. The fragrant butterfly bushes were a nice touch! We rode around the golf course, and it is very pretty.


The lights automatically come on as you ascend or descend which was a nice feature. The rental # pictured in here is 2055. If you have mobility challenges, you will find access difficult due to the many stairs and levels.


dining area outside the 2nd BR

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wintergreen Anniversary Trip

Wintergreen had a lot of work going on, so construction equipment was evident.
The flowers were very pretty.

View from Founder's Overlook
There are three overlooks on Wintergreen Mountain.
One of them was under construction while we visited.



inside the lodge


There were rides we could have enjoyed, but we chose to hike instead.

Devil's Knob
Clint and I sat on the grass here for an hour looking at the view and talking.
We prayed here and thanked the Lord for all He has done in our lives.

Wildlife sightings are posted on a board in the nature center.
I really wanted to see a bear, but didn't.

I will share pictures of the rental tomorrow.

Mt Torry Furnace



Mount Torry Furnace
If you want to learn about the history of the structure, go here and scroll down.
There is a hiking trail right next to it.

We stumbled upon this as we drove to Wintergreen. 
There is very little room to pull off the road, so be careful.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Prayer Request: Flor de Maria

An 7.3 earthquake has hit El Salvador 120 km from Usulutan. Aftershocks have followed. This is where Flor de Maria, our sponsored child through Compassion, lives. While there are no immediate reports of casualties, please keep her and her family in prayer for protection and provision.

Grand Caverns 2012

Grand Caverns is the oldest continually open show cave in North America.


It has the most shield formations in the eastern U.S.
This is called the "Triple Cheese Upside Down Flying Pizza."


There was a huge new section of caves found through this very narrow opening, but federal law prohibits from being opened to the public.


Parties use to be held in the cave and this formation was used as a buffet table.


This stalagmite is known at the "Hitching Post" because ladies who wanted to dance would go stand beside it.


There is damage to the formations from an earthquake visible on the tour.


There are Civil War signatures throughout the caves. Dates on these signatures prove Union and Confederate forces toured the cave at the same time. There were no known incidents inside of the cave. It was a place for the men to escape the horrors of war. There are many signatures throughout the caverns.


While they had to backpack food in for the elaborate parties, water was collected in crocks for drinking.


This formation is known as George Washington because of its resemblance to him in candlelight.


I had to hold the camera over my head to get a picture of these caves that go on a ways. There are many levels visible.


This ladder was portable because it was able to be taken apart and carried on a man's back. However, this one was left in the cave for over 100 years and rusted together. The rungs are only about 12" wide.


At one time this area was filled with water. The water rings tell the history.


This is known as cave glitter. It is much more sparkly than what my camera caught in the brief time I had in front  of it, but it is very pretty.

We enjoyed our tour very much. Jennifer, our tour guide, clearly loves the cave and her enthusiasm for its history was evident. This tour was more relaxed and less rushed than Luray Caverns. We were able to ask more questions and move around a bit more. We discovered things on our own which was quite exciting!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

After 24 Years, It is Time for New Kitchen Knives

     When I started working at 16, I started buying things for my future home. Among the items I purchased was a set of knives. I still have part of that set today and use them often. However, after 24 years of marriage, many of those knives are missing, and it is time to buy a new set. I wanted to invest in a good set that would last me at least another 24 years of marriage.

     The first thing I did was check Consumer Reports. I trust their reviews on products and love how they save our family money by helping us be wise stewards. The top five knife sets in their review cost respectively: $290, $600, $400, $350, and $75. The $75 model came within two points of the top rated model and one point of the $600 model. I wasn't too keen on the brand name because I associated it with cheesy TV commercials.

     Ginsu is not a brand I would have picked out if I hadn't have read the reviews on Consumer Reports. I am glad I read the reviews that compared them to more expensive models. Now I know I have good knives at a bargain price that can handle the heavy workload they will see in this household. I also have peace of mind knowing I made a good purchase.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Reflecting on 24 Years Ago

This is not a story Clint and I have shared with many until now. It's not that we are ashamed of how we were married, but it does not speak well of our family. We want people to learn from what we have experienced so they can have better relationships. People say we have the "fairy tale" marriage and family. Remember every fairy tale has a dark side. This also explains why we did not have a wedding. Clint and I were 16 when we started dating, and we knew within months it was forever. We started telling people after we graduated we planned to marry.

     Twenty four years ago on August 24, Clint and I, at age 19, went to the Justice of Peace and had a civil ceremony.  After lengthy discussions and praying for months, it seemed the best course of action. His family took swipes at me verbally every chance they could. I would speak and be ignored. I'd walk into the room and the conversation would stop, and I'd be stared at, or they'd sigh like they were sorry I came back. They would talk bad about me in front of my friends who warned me I was in a "bed of vipers." Everything I did was interpreted as a hateful action towards them when I was greatly desiring love and acceptance. I had a very low self esteem. Their hostility further eroded my confidence and caused me to do all I could to avoid encounters with them. I am not in any way claiming I was perfect, but I did seek counsel from my parents on how to handle the hostility. I ignored most things to the point I would have to go to the bathroom and cry. Once, I asked my father to come pick me up so I could get away from it.

     My family did not enjoy being around his because of how they had been treated.  After we married, some of the rudeness aimed at my family was caught on video tape, so we knew then their previous concerns were real and not imagined or contrived. At the time though, it made things very hard for us especially when we were told "Don't have us over when they are over. We've had enough!" Oh, how we agonized over our family issues! .

     We did not see how we could keep both sides happy for a ceremony. We were already having to cater to special demands, snippy comments, and control tactics. Most of the time we dated, we spent away from our families because if one side heard we were at the other's house, it made it worse. Inviting one side or the other to a wedding seemed wrong. So we decided to leave them all out. It was not a decision we made lightly.

     We explained to the Justice of the Peace who married us a little of what was going on and told him we were Christians. He loudly told us he could only perform a civil ceremony. Then he closed his office door so the ladies working outside could not hear. He counseled us and prayed over our marriage with us. God puts the right people in the right place at the right time. We could feel the Lord in the room. On August 24, 1988, in that little office, he married us. It was intimate, genuine, simple, and without drama. Mr. Murdock told us we did the right thing and said he would keep praying. Off we went to tell our families how very happy we were! We look back on those moments with him very fondly.

     We stopped at my home first because Clint wanted to see if my Dad would let him borrow his truck. While they knew we were planning to marry, my parents were still a little surprised but very delighted. They immediately called Clint their son. He was embraced several times and offered anything he needed to help him move into our new home. My father offered his truck to Clint without being asked. Both of us wondered then if we had done the wrong thing. Maybe a wedding would have went OK after all. Maybe our parents could have celebrated with us and not brought drama to a ceremony. We only doubted our decision for the seven minute drive to Clint's house.

     When Clint told his mom, I was falsely accused of being pregnant and that my parents had been in on it because my father had forced Clint. It was hinted that my "well off" parents paid Clint. It was screamed that had to be the only reason Clint would marry me. We discovered his mom had already been spreading gossip about me being pregnant soon after Clint told her he planned to marry me weeks earlier. This was very embarrassing to me. She said Clint would soon "wake up," and the marriage "will not last six months." She would be rid of me then. She said our marriage was cursed because it was not held in a church. I was accused of being the reason Clint didn't go into the military or college. (My father co-signed a loan at Clint's request. Clint had tubes in his ears, which she knew, I was not pregnant, and he was enrolled in college at the time she said it.)

     With Clint as my witness, the only thing I said in response was to Clint. "If that lady is going to keep yelling at me, I want to go home." My mother's advice was to not fuel the situation, but to remove myself from it. That just netted another spewing of venom. Neither Clint or I said anything else. We left. It was later claimed I said all sorts of things in response to her as she widely spread the story. I prayed and cried and railed at God. I was heartbroken, angry, and worried what others thought. I resolved to stay clear of his family as much as I could to keep the peace and avoid the constant criticism. This made them angrier, but I was not going to make myself an easy target. I do not claim I was perfect, but I did all I could to limit contact to try to keep the peace. I very rarely* stood up for myself and chose avoidance instead. When I was around them, I made sure Clint was always present so no one could say I did or said something I did not do. I asked Clint to do this shortly after we started dating. This kept my marriage intact when false accusations started years later.

     In 1992, it started being aimed at our newborn son. Soon after, Clint, desiring to protect his family, distanced himself further. Stories were made up about things he said and did to her even though he had not been around her to do those things. We made many efforts to reach out to her and repair the relationship over the years, but each was rebuffed. Birth announcements granted us nasty comments. Godly counsel told us softening her heart towards us was not our job. That is the work of the Holy Spirit.  As far as we know, she died still angry with us because she never responded favorably to any effort we made, and we made many. 

     We later found out she had been telling people stories about us. This concerned us for our testimony and for the family name our children would inherit. It took many years for us to find out, but people told us they did not believe what was being said at the time because it was so out of character for both of us. That was an answered prayer! God kept our testimony intact despite efforts to destroy it. We look back on all of those years of praying about it and realize God had answered them before we uttered them!

     Telling his mother was not a pleasant experience, but God used it to erase all doubts in both of our hearts. We had done the right thing. It is a decision Clint and I have seen reaffirmed many times over the course of our marriage including the pain filled experiences in the recent year. Following God's lead kept those precious moments stress free. We can look back to that quiet time in the JOP's office and rejoice in God's protection and provision! We would have not had that precious experience if we had had a wedding. Most likely, we would have had calamity! Mr. Murdock caring enough to offer godly counsel and pray with us was the best part of the day. A stranger did for us what no one else would. 

     We look back to those difficult days as a young couple and believe God allowed it to move us to where we are now as a family. I do not believe I could have homeschooled our children with my self-confidence constantly being cut away by a sharp tongue  Clint would not have grown into the strong leader he is today. We believe God works all things for good to those who love Him. 

     Now, we and our peers are at the age where our children are soon to choose mates. We see some of you lashing out at the choices your children are making. We decided to share our story to encourage you to learn from our experience and show God's love and grace to whomever your child chooses and extend it to everyone in their family. If you can't get along, keep a focus on the future and control yourself for the brief times you are with them. If it seems impossible, ask yourself if this area of contention is worth having a broken family. 

     If you want to be included in their lives, you need to maintain the relationships. It is not your right because you raised them. It is a privilege. They shouldn't have you around because they feel obligated by blood, but want you there because you are someone they enjoy. They shouldn't have to choose to distance themselves from you to protect their family. Couples who want to live a life of peace and quiet do not embrace hostility, criticism, attention needy people, or drama. We are called to build each other up. You should be an asset, not a hindrance, to the joyful and peaceful life God has called them to live.

Father, thank You for our wonderful marriage and joy filled home. Thank you for that blessedly quiet and uncomplicated time in Mr. Murdock's office and for his concern for us. We are so grateful for all You have done. We have agonized over how to best share this story. It is not our goal to disparage Clint's mother, but to help others avoid estrangement in relationships. We hope it shows Clint's family members there is more to the story than what they have heard and assumed. Let those with a heart for You see our true intentions here. Let them see our hearts for You and for this family. Please take it and work Your will in the lives of those who read it. Please bless them with strong relationships that endure. Please let it bring glory to You. 

*Clint and I can remember two times I stood up for myself. At 19, I did not have the emotional or spiritual maturity or relationship skills needed to handle those situations with an appropriate godly response. I reacted in frustration and anger at the open rejection and harsh judgment of a woman I honestly wanted to love me. When I say I loved her and still do, I say it with honesty. When you pray for someone as God directs, He changes YOUR heart. That's the blessing of obeying Him. When I remember my MIL, I choose to remember the good.It is hard sometimes because she didn't give me much to work with, but that is how I choose to remember her. 

This is the LORD's doing, and it is wonderful to see.  – Psalms 118:23

Monday, August 20, 2012

View from Devil's Knob

Clint descending Devil's Knob
You may need to enlarge picture by clicking it to see him.

Clint and I just returned from a long weekend getaway.

Well, I did. He decided to go over the barricade at 3851 feet on Devil's Knob where there are bears, bobcats, and rattlesnakes around. That was the last I saw of him.

Just kidding! He and I are safely at home after a wonderful time in Wintergreen.
We will post more soon.

Isaiah 44:23 Sing, O ye heavens; for the LORD hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Natural Homemade Garden Insecticide and Fungicide Recipes

Garden Insecticide

1 cup minced garlic with juice (insect deterrent)
1/2 cup garlic powder (insect deterrent)
1/2 cup cayenne pepper (insect deterrent)
1 cup dish soap (insecticide-coats their abdomen and kills them)
1 cup vinegar (fungicide)

Simmer on the stove in a pot with 4 cups added water. Cool. Strain through old t-shirt or cheesecloth. Squeeze strained medium to get all of the juice (but no pulp) out. 

Add to a 1/2 gallon glass jar or glass bottle. I used a recycled pickle bottle. Fill the remainer with water. Add 1 cup to a recycled spray bottlle, fill with warm water, use on plants.

You should run a test on delicate plants first. 

The pulp you have left over, you can put at the base of your squash or tomato plants as a deterrent. I also used fresh minced garlic this way. It kept the squash vine borers off the plants this years. 

A quick fungicide...1 cup listerine in a spray bottle, fill with water, shake, spray on and under leaves and base of plant. This killed the fungus that attacked my tomato plants this year.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Preschool Links

When life gets busy for us mothers, it is easy to overlook the important things. Have you hugged your children today? Have you told them how much you love and value them in your life? Have you thanked your husband for all he does for you? Have you told him you'd marry him all over again? You can't afford to neglect the relationships of those you value the most. What good is our efforts at managing our homes if we lose the hearts of the people we care for along the way?

Here are some preschool links I just updated for family friend Amanda M.:

Activity Pad "offers printable preschool activities, word search puzzles, mazes, kid games and more to help children learn and have fun!"

Everything Preschool "Our site contains over 30,000 early childhood education ideas separated into over 100 themes, 26 Alphabet Idea Sections, & Lesson Plans."

Perpetual Preschool "has over 12,000 free ideas for parents and educators of young children."

Laugh Out Loud Poems "Do your kids think poetry is stuffy and boring? Then have I got a surprise for them! I've personally selected these five poetry collections for their laugh-ability. These funny poems are best when shared aloud, so go grab your loved ones – and read them a funny poem. After all, April is National Poetry Month."

Brightly Beaming Resources "This curriculum has grown out of the experiences I have had in teaching my own preschool age children at home. I would like to share what I have learned to help you, as you also strive to have enjoyable learning experiences with your preschool child. I hope the ideas I share will help many children gain skills on the path to lifelong reading and learning."

Up to Ten  "With over 700 educational games and activities for children aged up to ten years old! A safe place to play and learn where your child will feel right at home, right away." Features animated stories, songs, more. Our preschoolers laughed themselves silly at some of this stuff.

Stephen Carr's Page of Preschooler Resources features links to more resources for preschool educators.

Fun Lesson Plans "Preschool teachers and parents can use these printables to teach children how to recognize, print, and recite the letters of the alphabet, a first reading lesson. Download the printable pages, have children trace the dotted school font alphabet letters, and follow the craft instructions to assemble the airline alphabet banner."

This is also a good time to start observing your child to see how they learn. Understanding the different learning styles is key to teaching children. There are many websites available to help you understand the characteristics of each styles. Take the time to learn how your children learn is a good investment of your time and will save you frustration in the years ahead.

I also can not recommend enough the Leap Frog educational videos. Joshua learned how to read spontaneously from these videos. They are worth every penny!

My children, come. Listen to me.I will teach you to have respect for the Lord. Psalms. 34:11

We Saved $700+

    A few days ago, we left our home intent to purchase a replacement for our broken dishwasher. We never got to the store to buy the dishwasher. Something happened to damage our truck's lights. We had to turn around and go home with nothing accomplished.

     I wish I could tell you were were praising the Lord for the delay. We weren't. We were frustrated. It is difficult to find time to do things with our busy schedule. We talked as we drove home about when we would attempt to go again. The next opportunity we had was over a week away! The dishwasher had already been broken for a couple of months.

     The next morning, I sat down to clean out a cubbyhole in one of our desks. Amazingly, I found a receipt for a warranty extension we did not remember we had purchased! I guess we got to the register and remembered the workout our dishwasher would get and added the warranty. The aggravating delay saved us $700+. Now that we can see the results of the delay we are thankful and rejoicing. Some lessons of faith, we learn over and over again.

      We've seen this kind of thing repeatedly in our walk with the Lord. We have delays and setbacks that test our patience, but in the end, they are God's way of blessing us or providing us with a unique opportunity. Several times being delayed has kept us from harm. If you are being delayed, have heart: He has not forgotten you. Praise Him in the midst of the delay because sometimes delays are God's way of providing or protecting.

 Proverbs 3:5-6 
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Brandon is Exempt From Final Exams

     Brandon is exempt from his exams tomorrow because he is so far ahead of the class! The teacher told him he knows he will ace the test, so he will go ahead and give him the attendance and grade without making Brandon drive in to the school.

     Today, the classroom instruction was far below Brandon's skill level. So, the teacher put Brandon in charge of teaching students as they learned how to repair modems. This gave Brandon experience teaching in addition to the instruction he has given his siblings in our homeschool.

     One of the reasons homeschooled students do well in a college setting is that they learn to self-teach. Brandon has self-taught himself all of the advanced skills he knows about computers. At 15, he was way ahead of where Clint and I could teach him, so we encouraged him forward by purchasing the required textbooks and by asking questions of our friends who work in tech support.

     Brandon, Dad and I are very proud of you for your character, good manners, hard work ethic, self drive, and skill level. We are beyond thrilled to see how well you are doing in your college classes. Remember to continue to give the glory to the Lord for all you do because He gave you your mind and resources. Keep Him as your focus always, and obey the commands in His Word. We love you very much.

Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Saving Okra Seeds

     I read online in several places that okra seeds will not keep longer than one planting season. This is false. The Clemson Spineless that I am harvesting today grew from seeds I collected in 2008. I had approximately a 50% germination rate, which isn't bad for seeds that were that old. When you factor they were left in a hot area (90+) for a long time, it is pretty amazing!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Dentist Says God Doesn't Exist

This video is a good response to people who claim God does not exist because there is hardship in the world. I could not find an embed code on the website, so the best I can do it share the link to get you there.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Article: An Interesting Encounter

While I am human and sometimes say bad words, I try to avoid crude language and profanity which is why I didn't include the title of the article in the post title. Plus, it would probably cause me to lose my family safe rating on several websites.

This article is about a very interesting encounter with a very interesting man. Here's a sample.

“I’ve been against Macintosh company lately. They’re trying to get everyone to use iPads and when people use iPads they end up just using technology to consume things instead of making things. With a computer you can make things. You can code, you can make things and create things that have never before existed and do things that have never been done before.”
“That’s the problem with a lot of people”, he continued, “they don’t try to do stuff that’s never been done before, so they never do anything, but if they try to do it, they find out there’s lots of things they can do that have never been done before.”

Friday, August 10, 2012

Brandon's Blessing for Obedience

     Brandon has made several payments on one of his student loans even though he isn't required to start paying on the loan until he graduates in a year. His financial aid counselor called him in, told him she was impressed with him for paying off his debt early, and commented that people his age are usually behind, not ahead of payments. She also told him that if he pays half she will cancel the other HALF his of his loan! Brandon has faithfully tithed every time he has earned money. He is constantly seeing God bless him financially because of his obedience.

Malachi 3:8-10 Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.

Deuteronomy 26:12-15 When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied.  Then say to the Lord your God: “I have removed from my house the sacred portion and have given it to the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, according to all you commanded. I have not turned aside from your commands nor have I forgotten any of them.  I have not eaten any of the sacred portion while I was in mourning, nor have I removed any of it while I was unclean, nor have I offered any of it to the dead. I have obeyed the Lord my God; I have done everything you commanded me.  Look down from heaven, your holy dwelling place, and bless your people Israel and the land you have given us as you promised on oath to our ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Thursday, August 09, 2012

God's Provision

A friend filled our large freezer with venison and wild turkey. We feel so blessed at the unexpected gift. God provides!

We thank you, O God! We give thanks because you are near. People everywhere tell of your wonderful deeds.  – Psalms 75:1

Wednesday, August 08, 2012


     Sydney and our family had to part ways at the beginning of July. He was nearly 21 years old and had suffered many injuries before he came to live with us. His wing was broken. Because of that, he would jump when he was afraid which caused many breaks in the bones of his feet. Everyone who met him and heard his story fell in love with his incredible spirit.

     We noticed he had started struggling more with mobility. Then he couldn't perch. As long as he was eating well, we were content to leave him alone. Eventually, his weight started dropping off and mobility became very limited. We tried all we could, but in the end the kindest thing was to end his suffering. It made all of us sad to say goodbye to a bird with so much will to keep going in spite of very difficult circumstances. I was very attached to the old man and shed a few tears when we had to say goodbye. We are glad his former owners gave him to us because he was so incredible to watch. Clint and I hope our chidren learned a great deal from him.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

UPS is Awesome!

This is a follow up on: 

We had some difficulty getting the first UPS clerk to understand how it was not our address when it appeared in the database as our current address. It took a full explanation that we really didn't want to get into to spare our Relative some embarrassment since their name is linked to this mix-up. We had to share the story in order to fix the database error and make sure it doesn't happen again. Sharing the story opened doors for us though. Once the clerk knew the full story, they referred us to the manager. Once the manager knew what was going on, she took over the case herself.

     She called at 9 pm last night to let us know the laptop screen was in her hands and would put it on the truck herself. It was delivered today! Evidently she has had a similar situation and could sympathize. She was extremely nice and understood the situation we were forced into and what we've been through. God puts the right people in the right place! Awesome! UPS delivers personal customer care! Clint wouldn't have had to tell UPS all of the details if the Relative had just called us to let us know of the mistake and offered to let us pick it up from somewhere. That would have been the nice and easy thing to do.  I do not know why I expect different than what they have shown us all along. UPS more than made up for their continuing unkindness though!

Thank you UPS for making something very difficult much easier with your excellent customer service!

Romans 13:7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Monday, August 06, 2012

LED Dog Collar

     No matter how carefully one looks after their dog, there is always a risk the dog will manage to get off the leash. Even the most well trained dog can become lost or injured. Visibility is key to retrieval if your dog takes off when light is low. I have recently been introduced to a product that will help prevent that by making sure the pet is on the leash securely and giving high visibility during evening or early morning walks.

       The representative of failed to compensate me for my review of the Safe Glow LED Dog Collar as agreed upon. This is the second time I have done a review for Sarah Thompson. I had trouble getting compensated previously. To have someone write and respond to your emails immediately when they want you to do something, but then ignore your emails for over a week after you have completed the task seems suspicious. I can give the benefit of the doubt for the first occurrence, but to have the exact same issues twice in a row seems like a scam to me. My time is valuable, and I feel communication for compensation should be as quick and easy as when being asked to do a job. 

Update 9/1/2012: I guess posting my dissatisfaction moved them to send me the compensation. Then, I received another request to review the collar from another person. I did not answer the email. I received another dog collar in the mail anyway. I marked it RTS (return to sender) and will drop it off at the post office. 

     The LED Dog Collar will allow you to keep track of your pets during low light situations with an LED bulb attached to a light transmitting polymer core that illuminates almost the entire length of the collar. The LED has three settings: a continuous steady light, a fast pulse, and a slow pulse. There were no instructions with the collar. However, it was very simple to figure out with a little investigating. The LED light with on and off button is hidden inside of a two sided pocket in the collar. The button is easy to find and press through the collar fabric. Push once for a fast pulse, twice for a slow pulse, and three times for a steady light. A fourth push of the button cuts the unit off. 

     The collar is not waterproof, so that makes me worry about what will happen to the LED and battery case if it should get wet. As all pet lover’s know, sometimes Fido has to go when the weather is inclement. The LED unit is protected somewhat from wet weather because the LED rests under the dog’s chin when walking on a leash. Making this unit waterproof would give more value to the collar.

Photobucket  Photobucket
     The collar is well made. The stitching was complete and sturdy on the collar sent to me.   The nylon fabric is of a good quality and should last many years.  My husband has the very tiny screwdriver to open the battery case, but I doubt many households do. The three tiny screws will make changing the battery difficult, but the LED light should have a very long life reducing the frequency. As someone who despises fishing around a collar for the ring to clip the leash on, I also liked there was a D-ring fastened permanently in the middle of the collar for ease of locating it. 

     To me, the collar is only as good as the fastener. Since I have had some bad experiences with poorly made clasps on dog collars, I gave it a thorough test. The plastic on the clasp is rigid, and strong. It locks firmly in place. I closed the clasp and it held a test of my strength. Then, I called my son into the room to help me test it. We could not free or break the clasp no matter how hard we tugged, pulled, or twisted.  However, it was still easy to open and close. I feel the collar will hold even a very strong and very hyper dog securely.

     Overall, I am very happy with the LED Dog Collar. I feel it will make night time jaunts safer with my dogs. I love knowing that if they get off the leash during a night time outing, I will be able to see them easily with the LED collar. This will also make my furry friends visible to cars, pedestrians and bikers.

Cheyenne, Amanda's gentle and obedient German Shepherd, models the collar

Friday, August 03, 2012

Faith in the Darkness

Clint and I were asked how we stay positive in a world so full of bad events and evil people. If you have read through the blog, then you know that our family has been through some challenging things like several miscarriages, having a missing child, a flooded home, and a significant loss due to fire. These things have not eroded our faith, but have built it and our testimony for the Lord. God did not bring these things into our lives to harm us, but to strengthen us. We suffered no lasting monetary loss because God left us better off afterwards than before the losses. Our child was kept safe when she was missing on two separate and traumatic sleepwalking events. Our miscarried babies are not "lost" but will share eternity with God's people.

Romans 12: 2

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Psalm 37:1-9

Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. 
Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.

Emergency Handfeeding Formula for Pet Birds

I am working my way through emails during a quiet evening.

Ideally, you would let the parent's raise them until the last two weeks. This is because the parents pass along valuable crop properties (enzymes) to prevent sour crop. The commercial hand feeding formulas are the better choice for meeting necessary requirements, but sometimes a parent bird escapes at the wrong hour to go to the pet store. This is a well known emergency formula recipe:

3 tsp smooth peanut butter
3 tsp Gerber oatmeal cereal
1 Banana
3 tsp applesauce
3 tsp Gerber Baby creamed corn
3 tsp Gerber Mixed Vegetables
3 tsp plain yogurt

I have kept baby birds alive by feeding this for 24 hours until I could get to the store. It was all I had on hand of the recipe above and it worked very well for the lovebirds I used it on.

3 tsp yogurt
3 tsp smooth peanut butter
3 tsp applesauce

When you feed the baby bird, you need to slowly give the formula to the baby bird's LEFT side. Its LEFT, not yours. Formula needs to be warm, but not hot. Too hot will cause crop burn. Advice on temperature varies widely. I am a mother of seven, so I use a skin test and look for the formula to be just slightly warmer than my my inside wrist skin. At this temperature, the birds eat well for me and the danger of a burn is very low. If they stop eating, empty the syringe into one side of your container and take formula from the bowl. It stays warmer in the bowl than in the syringe. If the baby still doesn't eat, reheat the formula to the right level.

I like using a syringe with a flexible pointed tip attached. An eye dropper, plastic pipette, or bent spoon can also work. Everything, including your hands, must be kept very clean to prevent infecting the bird with bad bacteria.

This site has formulas for specific breeds including wild birds.

OBX Rentals

Stan White Realty is the agency we have gone through several times now. We have nothing but good things to say about them.

We have also heard good things about Twiddy Realty and Sun Realty.

Renting a house outside of peak season when rates are lower is a great way for a large family to have an affordable vacation. It is a beautiful area with many things to do. Some of those have been featured in past posts.

The Thing I'd Really Rather Not Deal With, But It Keeps Popping Up

Clint talked with his relative about this. The relative says he never knew anything about it. We've been through so much with this person, that we simply don't know what the truth is. We do want you to know their claim though, because we may be wrong. We may have falsely accused here. If so, we apologize to them and our readers.

"Did they ever apologize for the way they treated Clint and your family? Did they make an effort to repair the relationship? Where is your family at on it? How can we pray?" We were surprised and touched to know a group was still praying about this when we were asked these questions not too long ago. I waited on answering because I really didn't want to think about it. Then, a few days ago, something else happened. Today, I was asked about the situation again. So here goes...

We let the relative know that any time they wanted to be a family and came with honest intentions, they were welcome. We left it open. That was back in March or April. We have not heard a thing from them once they purchased the house from Clint. With the lengthy and loud profession that "I LOVE THIS MAN!" directed towards my husband, you would expect something by now, but no.

Clint's birthday came and passed, as did other family members'. With the statements about how it was not about the house, but was about the relationship, you'd imagine at least a slight effort would be made. Again, not surprising, when you consider it. It's just same old, same old. We thought we were done with it all, but it keeps popping up.

Clint ordered the screen to replace my laptop. The seller took a P.O. Box address, but unknown to us chose to deliver it by a carrier who needed a street address. When the carrier looked the street address up on the computer, the insurance information came up. Because of the house insurance the Relative put in Clint's name without Clint's knowledge, our address is now connected to the property. The computer screen was shipped an hour away from our actual home.

Yes, the insurance had to be put in Clint's name for the coverage to be complete. However, concealment that he owned the house was a deliberate choice. Sitting in our home and lying to a direct question about who owned it was a deliberate choice. Obtaining insurance before addressing Clint's ownership was unethical, but not as unethical as claiming to want to heal the relationship while lying and scheming about the property with friends that told them hiding pertinent information was OK. None of the manipulative  or deceitful efforts had to be made. None of the many lies had to be told. Manipulating people is not condoned in Scripture. There was an easy, honest, and straightforward way to handle it, but that was the choice not chosen. Choices are still being made.

The Relative has Clint's contact info, but did not call to alert him of the mistake with the screen or try to work out a way to get it to us easier. The occupant let UPS know the package was there. UPS says they have returned the laptop to the shipper, and now we are waiting on it to be delivered to our home.

An interesting thing has happened through all of this. The decades long burden that kept us praying for healing in this relationship has been removed. Clint and I have done all we can. We have reached out time and time again in spite of the things being done against us. We made the most of every opportunity. We were willing to overlook everything they did, but they never came to work things out. We have peace that we have gone above and beyond what God required of us. You can't shake hands with someone who has theirs hidden. The last time we heard from them was when they called to see if we had signed a piece of paperwork.

We simply rest now knowing that God is in control and will bless us for the way we eagerly welcomed them into our lives with love and forgiveness. God will bless us for showing them kindness while they had ill intentions. Yes, we opened ourselves up and were wounded. However, we know now more fully who we are and who they are.

We like who we are as a family in Christ. By how God's light revealed things being done in darkness, we are encouraged to draw closer to Him because we value His protection and intervention. When a member of our family feels frustrated by what has transpired at Relative's hand, we uplift and encourage each other to pray for Relative. We admit we struggle when we see how each other has been hurt. Sometimes it is very easy to keep the right mindset. Sometimes, like now, when wounds are reopened, it is a challenge. We choose to work through the battered feelings to maintain an attitude of forgiveness and love. God rules in our heart and helps us make the right choices. We are thankful He understands our hurt and frustrations and forgives us for failing. We are so thankful just to know Him during trying situations like this.

We rest knowing they could have used the laptop screen as an opening to change things, but chose to hold onto their bitterness by keeping distant and impersonal. We pray for blessings, provision, and protection in their lives, but also have the wisdom to recognize the kind of people they have revealed themselves to be time and time again. Sadly, based on many past and recent events, we believe they would hurt us further if they could. Even in that, we can rest while thanking the Lord for protecting us from further harm by keeping them away.

Psalm 150
 Praise the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.  
 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.