Friday, June 29, 2012

A Visit From the Fairy Hobmother

I received a visit in my email box from the Fairy Hobmother on June 21, 2012. Here is what was written:

Hi there!

I'm the Fairy Hobmother, spreading light and joy across the blogosphere with the help of talented bloggers like you! I stumbled across your comment on a post about me today and it was enough to entice me to take a look at your blog
http://finamoon.blogspot.co.uk

In recognition of your bloggish efforts I'd like to send you a gift in the form of a $50 voucher for Amazon!

All that I'd ask is that you mention me, and a little about what I do, in one of your blog posts. I don't need a whole post to myself, just a small note, and as an added bonus if any other bloggers comment on the post I may well be paying them a visit before long as well!

If this sounds like something you'd be interested in please let me know and I'll get things moving this end. In the mean time take care, and keep up the good work!

Matthew Mitchell
So, who is this Fairy Hobmother? He is a guy...yep who knew? He also works for Appliances Online, and loves to spread the word by giving gifts.

So if you have a blog of your own, be sure to leave a comment here on this post and with luck the Fairy Hobmother might visit you too! Just make sure you leave a way to be contacted (email or blog url). Check out these cool fridge freezers while you are online also so that he may share the love some more.

You can also follow him on Twitter.

Thank you so much Fairy Hobmother! I truly appreciate everything that you do for us bloggers!

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: In sharing about the Fairy Hobmother and writing this blog post I am receiving $50 Amazon Gift Code. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this post.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Foodie Friday Mission Organics Tortilla Chips Review and Giveaway with Beet Chocolate Swirl Ice Cream - Keeping Portland Weird


I received three 13 oz. bags of Mission Organics Tortilla Chips to try, each in a different flavor variety: Blue Corn, White Corn, and Multi Grain. These are all USDA certified organic tortilla chips that start off as masa (maize (corn) dough made from freshly prepared hominy) made from organically grown corn. The tortillas are cooked in organic oil and topped with fresh sea salt for a traditional taste. I really liked the blue corn and multi grain the best myself. These chips curb my salty, crunchy snack craving and are great with my homemade salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. I however wanted to try them out with something unconventional this time.

So, in keeping Portland, Oregon weird I decided to pair the Blue Corn Mission Organics Tortilla Chips with one of my favorite recipes from a wonderful ice cream cookbook called Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams At Home. This cookbook has some really strange sounding, but divinely delicious recipes for ice creams, sundaes, sorbets and frozen yogurts. This particular Jeni's recipe is her Beet ice cream with mascarpone Italian cream cheese, orange zest, and poppy seeds. Although, we did a slightly different version with the poppy seeds substituted with 4 ounces of melted semi-sweet baking chocolate slowly drizzled in during the last 2 minutes of rotation.


The taste of the Beet ice cream has a subtle earthy beet flavor with piquant citrus hints and chocolate throughout. The color of the ice cream is a bright fushia, so paired with the Blue Corn Mission Organics Tortilla Chips it was quite the color combination. The salty chips brought out the sweet citrus taste of the ice cream even better and gave it an interesting crunch. All in all it was an interesting experience for my refined palate.

BUY IT
Mission Organics Tortilla Chips are currently available in 13 oz. bags for a suggested retail price of $3.99 at select Safeway, Haggen, QFC and Fred Meyers stores throughout Portland and Seattle. Prices may vary by location. For more information, visit missionmenus.com.

WIN IT
Prize: 5 winners will win 1 Mission Organics Tortilla Chips 3 Pack just like the one above. Retail value of $12 each.

I am trying out Rafflecopter on my blog. Please click on this post link if you do not see the script for it below. Also, if there is anything that is wrong with it let me know by emailing me: finamoon AT gmail DOT com I will try my best at fixing it. Thanks for being awesome readers!

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to Mission for sending me product for free to review. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this review.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Annie's Truth by Beth Shriver FWCT Book Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!



Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Realms (May 15, 2012)

***Special thanks to Althea Thompson | Publicity Coordinator, Charisma House | Charisma Media for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Beth Shriver received a degree in social work and psychology from the University of Nebraska. She worked as a caseworker for Boulder County Department of Social Services before starting a family. Beth and her husband of twenty years and her two children live in Texas after moving from their first home in Colorado. She freelances for the local papers in her area and writes columns, devotionals for magazines, and novels in a variety of genres in both fiction and nonfiction.

Visit the author's website.


SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:





Annie Bieler sets out on a journey of the spirit when she discovers she was adopted after being found as an abandoned newborn. Her father is strongly against her decision to go as it could mean Meidung, or excommunication from the community and even her family. But Annie knows she must find “the path that has her heart.” Her search also takes her away from John, the young man who is courting her.





Product Details:
List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Realms (May 15, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 161638607X
ISBN-13: 978-1616386078


AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


The dinner Bell rang just as one of the milk cows slapped Annie’s kapp with its tail. Now she was late for the evening meal. She pulled the black kapp off her head. When Maggie swatted Annie, the pins were knocked loose. She wiped off the dirt and cow manure then hastily twisted up her hair into a bun and pulled the kapp over her mess of hair.
“Need some help?” John Yoder’s dark eyes smiled at her.
She jumped at the sight of him looking down at her with a
grin. “Nee, I can finish up.”
Her mamm would scold her for her tardiness and her unruly hair, so she quickly grabbed two containers of milk, clutching them to her chest. When she turned around, John was removing the cups from the Guernsey’s udders.
“Danke. The boys must have missed a couple.” The cover of one of the containers lifted, causing milk to spill out onto her black dress. Annie wiped her hand on her white apron. Frustration bubbled up and burst out in an irritated groan.
“Now what?” John opened the barn door and shut it behind them.
Annie pointed to the milk stain and slowed her walk so he could catch up. Her mamm wouldn’t be as upset with her if she saw Annie with John.
“I spilled on myself, my hair’s a mess, and I’m late.” She jug- gled the containers to keep them in place as she walked.
John’s smile never left, just tipped to the side while she listed her worries. “You’re never late.”
“You will be too if you keep talking to me.” The milk sloshed






3








Beth Shriver


around in the containers as she adjusted them again. “Taking the long way home?”
“Jah, thought I’d come by to say hallo.” He took one from her then reached for the other.
She turned slightly so he couldn’t reach the second bottle. “I’ve got this one.”
“Suit yourself.” He shrugged as his grin widened.
They walked together toward their houses, which were down the path from one another, divided by a dozen trees. John was three the day Annie was born and had been a part of her life more than her own brothers were at times. His brown hair brushed his collar as he walked with her, holding back to keep in step with Annie.
“Aren’t you late to help with cooking?” He nodded toward her white clapboard house. A birdfeeder was hung at the far end of the porch, which had a peaked black roof, and daisies filled her mamm’s flower garden in front of the house. Mamm created a colorful greeting of flora for every season.
She shook her head. “Nee, Eli’s helping the Lapps, so I’m helping the boys with milking. What were you doing, cutting tobacco?”
He nodded. “Nice day for it too. The sun was bright, but there was a breeze that kept us cool.” He lifted his strong, handsome face toward the sunshine and took in a deep breath.
He was just trying to irritate her, so she ignored his jab. John knew she preferred being outdoors and that she would trade places with him in an instant. When the time was right she would help with the tobacco harvesting and, along with many others, would then prepare the meal after the task was done.
“It looked warm outside to me.” She took the milk from him and kept walking. The last of the warm summer days were coming to an end, and soon it would be time for fall harvesting.
They reached the trail that led to John’s home on the far side
of a stand of tall oak trees. “Not as hot as in the kitchen.” He




4








Annie’s Truth
snapped his suspenders and turned onto the trail leading away from her.
“John Yoder . . . ” was all she could say this close to her daed’s ears. She watched him continue on down the roughed-out dirt lane thinking of what she would have said if she could. Her gaze took in the many acres of barley, corn, and oat crops and then moved to the Virginia mountainside beyond, where the promise of fall peeked out between the sea of green.
Annie walked up the wooden stairs and into the kitchen. The room was simple and white, uncluttered. A long table and chairs took over the middle of the large room, and rag rugs of blue and emerald added color and softness. For a unique moment it was silent.
“Annie?” Her mamm’s voice made her worry again about being late, with a soiled dress and unkempt hair.
Her tall, slender mamm stopped picking up the biscuits from a baking pan and placed both hands on the counter. She let out a breath when Annie came into the kitchen. “Ach, good, you brought the milk.” Mamm’s tired gaze fell on Annie.
“I was talking with John.” She opened the cooler door and placed the milk on the shelf.
Her mamm’s smile told Annie she wasn’t late after all, so she continued. “He said it was a good day for baling.”
Hanna and her brother strolled in, and he grabbed a biscuit, creating a distraction that allowed Annie time to twist her hair up and curl it into a tight bun. A tap from their mamm’s hand made her son drop the biscuit back into the basket with the rest. “I’m so hungry.” Thomas’s dark freckles on his pudgy face con- trasted to his light hair and skin, so unlike Annie’s olive-colored
complexion, which was more like their daed’s.
She tousled his hair. “You are always the first one to dinner
and the last one to leave.”
“I’m a growing child. Right, Mamm?” Thomas took the basket of biscuits to the table and set them next to his plate.
“That you are. Now go sit down and wait for the others.”


5








Beth Shriver


Mamm placed a handful of biscuits in the breadbox and brushed her hands off on her white apron.
While they waited for the others to wash up, she addressed
Annie. “John walked you out this morning and walked you home?” “Like he has most every day of my life.” Annie’s voice almost
reached the edge into sarcasm, but she smiled to make light of it. Didn’t her mamm know that her obvious nudging turned Annie away from John, not toward him?
Hanna had been quiet, listening, and walked over to Annie. “Should we ask Mamm if we can look in our chests in the attic?” Annie peered over Hanna’s shoulder at Mamm. “Jah, but let’s
wait until after supper.”
Her mamm’s brow lifted just as the buzz of her family coming into the room sidetracked her attention from Annie and Hanna. The younger ones were restless with hunger, and the older sib- lings talked amongst themselves. Frieda, Hanna, Augustus, Eli, Thomas, and Samuel all sat in the same chairs they were always in, and Annie took her assigned seat with the rest.
Her daed sat at the head of the table and waited with watchful eyes until everyone was quiet. When Amos folded his hands, all followed suit, and they all said silent grace.
Geef ons heden ons dagelijks brood. Give us this day our daily bread. Amen. Annie thought the words then kept her eyes closed until she heard movement from the others.
Amos passed the food to his right until it made a full circle back to him.
“We’ve almost finished with the Lapps’s tobacco field,” Annie’s oldest brother, Eli, informed Amos. He and Hanna had Mamm’s silky blond hair and blue eyes, but Hanna didn’t have her disposition.
Amos nodded and lifted a bite of chicken to his mouth.
Eli leaned toward Amos. “I can then tend to our barley day after tomorrow.”
Amos spoke without looking at his son. “You will work the
Lapps’s land until they say you are finished. Not before.”


6








Annie’s Truth
The gleam in Eli’s dark eyes faded as he took up his fork. “Jah, Daed.”
Mamm spoke then. “It’s an honor you are able to help them while their daed recovers.” She shifted her attention to her hus- band. “Have you heard how Ephraim is healing?”
Amos continued to eat as he spoke to her mamm. “His back is mending. It’s his worrisome wife that keeps him laid up.”
“Ach, I’d probably do the same if it were you.” Mamm waited a moment until Daed’s mouth lifted into a half smile.
He gave the table a smack to stop Frieda from tempting Thomas with another biscuit. “The boy can help himself without your teasing him.”
She set their hands in her lap. “Jah, Daed.”
He nodded for them to eat again. Conversation was uncommon during meals, so Annie let her mind wander. Harvest season was approaching, and the excitement of upcoming weddings was on everyone’s mind. Although the courtship was to be kept quiet, most knew which couples would most likely be married in the coming months.
Annie’s mind went to John, the one she knew her parents, as well as his, would expect her to be with. Although she had feel- ings for him, she wished her spouse would not be chosen for her. It had changed her relationship with him just knowing what their expectations were. He had been her best friend, but she now kept him at bay, hoping for more time before the pressure became too great and they were forced to marry.
She put the palm of her hand to her forehead, resting there with thoughts of who else she could possibly be with from their community. Names went through her mind, but not one appealed to her in the same way John did.
Hanna nudged Annie as everyone began to clear the table. Annie’s mind rushed back to the present. She knew why Hanna wanted her attention. She was thinking about the upcoming nup- tials too. Their wedding chests gave them promise for their own
special day.


7








Beth Shriver


“Let’s ask Mamm.” Hanna’s eyes shone with excitement. Annie felt a lift in her spirits at the thought of having the privi- lege to rummage through their special treasures. She looked at her mamm laughing at her brother’s story of his britches getting caught on the Lapps’s fence. Her smile faded when he showed her the hole the wire made, which she would be mending that evening.
“You ask her,” Annie urged.
Hanna was the closest to Annie’s age and her confidante, as she was Hanna’s. “After dinner.” Hanna got up from her chair to help.
Frieda started the hand pump as the others gathered the dishes and put away the extra food. Once the dishes were cleaned and dried, Hanna and Annie went to their mamm, who stacked plates in the cupboard as the girls walked over to her.
“What do you want to ask me?” Mamm continued with the dishes until the last plate was put away.
Hanna and Annie looked at one another. Annie furrowed her brows to make Hanna talk.
“We’d like to see our hope chests.”
“It’s a long while from any weddings being published.” Mamm placed a hand on the counter and studied them. “Okay, then. But after your lessons are done.”
Hanna grabbed Annie’s hand, and they walked quickly from the kitchen. “Jah, Mamm,” they said in unison. Annie hadn’t looked through her chest since she’d given up the doll her mamm had made for her. Since it was her first, Annie had chosen to store it after receiving another from her aunt.
Hanna urged Annie to stop doing homework after she com- pleted hers, but Annie wouldn’t go until she’d finished her story. Finally the girls ran up the wooden stairs to the attic. Hanna grabbed the metal doorknob and pushed on the door to open it. The door creaked in the darkness, and Annie held the kerosene lamp up to examine the room before entering. It looked exactly
the same as the last time she’d been there.


8








Annie’s Truth
A chest of drawers held baby clothes, and beside it stood a cabinet full of documents and paperwork Daed kept but never seemed to use. Special dresses and a bonnet hung on the far side of the room alongside a box of old toys her daed and Eli had made.
The girls spotted the chests lined up next to one another, where they would remain until their owners were married. Amos had made each of his girls one in which to keep their sentimental belongings. One day, when they had their own homes, they would have a memory of their daed and the things they held dear during their childhood.
Annie ran to the last one. Amos had lined them up according to age, so Hanna’s was right next to Annie’s. “You first,” Annie told Hanna.
“Nee, you.” Hanna moved closer to Annie and watched her lift the heavy wooden lid. “I can’t wait.” Hanna went to her chest and opened it as well. “Ach, I’d forgotten.” Hanna reached for the doll Mamm had made for her.
Annie grabbed hers, and they examined them together, just alike and equally worn. “I loved this doll! I had forgotten how much I played with it when I was a child.” The black bonnet was torn around the back, and the hay stuffing peeked out the back of the doll’s dress.
“Mine is tattered as well. I’m glad we put them away when we did, or there would be nothing left of them.” Hanna glanced at Annie’s doll.
Annie placed the doll in her lap and pulled out her wedding quilt, the one of many colors. Hanna’s was a box design, and Annie’s was circles within circles, resembling the circle of life. She ran her hand across the beautifully stitched material and admired her mamm’s handiwork. When she looked up, Hanna was doing the same.
Their eyes met. “Hold yours up so I can see.” Hanna’s voice was soft and breathy. “It’s beautiful, Annie. You’re lucky to be
closer to marrying than me.”


9








Beth Shriver


Annie tilted her head and turned the quilt to face her. “I don’t feel ready.”
Hanna’s brows drew together in question. “Why? You’ve always known you’ll be with John. And he is a handsome one.” She grinned. “I’ll take him off your hands.”
Annie tried to force a smile. “Why has everyone chosen my spouse for me?”
Hanna put her quilt back into the chest. “Don’t let your mind wander. Just be happy with the way things are.”
Annie fell silent, in thought. “Questioning is how we find the
truth.”
“The truth has already been found.” Hanna reached for her family Bible as she spoke.
Annie nodded, humbled, and looked for her special Bible. She moved a carved toy Eli had made for her and a book her mamm had given to her. Finally, at the very bottom, she found a Bible the minister gave her. As she opened it up, she skimmed through the flimsy pages. She went to the very front of the book and smiled when she saw how she had written her name as a young girl. The letters were varied sizes and uneven.
Her mamm’s and daed’s names were both written under hers, their dates of birth, and a list of her brothers and sisters under that. Births and other dates of additional relatives proceeded on to the next page, including the dates of their marriages. Annie flipped back to the first page and noticed the day of her birth was missing. Only the year was written; the day did not precede it, only the month.
“Hanna, come look.” Annie handed her the Bible and searched her sister’s face for some sign that she knew the reason for the omission. Annie thought back to the days her family recognized her birthday—one in particular.
Birthdays were often celebrated after church service on Sundays when everyone was already together and they wouldn’t take time away from daily chores during the week. This being
tradition, Annie didn’t think much of the exact date of her birth.


10








Annie’s Truth
Thoughts of self were discouraged. Everyone was treated equally so as to prevent pride.
On Annie’s thirteenth birthday she had been surprised by her family and friends with a party. A cake with thirteen candles was brought out, and gifts were given. Her brother had made her a handmade wooden box, and her sister, a picture of flowers. Other useful gifts such as nonperishable food and fancy soaps made by her aunt in the shape of animals piled up on the picnic table next to a half-eaten cake.
The best gift was from John. He had taken an orange crate and decorated it with his wood-burning tools. It was filled with small, flat wooden figures of every significant person in her life. The time and care he had put into the gift had touched Annie. She treated the present with such care she had thought it wise to store it in her hope chest. Now Annie wished she had enjoyed the box more.
She searched for it now and found the pieces scattered throughout the bottom of the chest. She picked up the wooden figures one by one, examined them, and put them in the box. Although they all looked alike, as no graven images were per- mitted, she used her imagination to pick out each person. Frieda, Hanna, Augustus, Eli, Thomas, and Samuel were all accounted for, then Mamm and her daed, her mammi and dawdi—grandparents—then John and her. All of the boy fig- ures looked the same as well except for their height, facial hair, and a hat her dawdi always wore.
She’d envision John’s figure to be the exception. He had a thick head of black hair and always wore it a bit longer than he should. He could always get away with such things due to his charismatic personality. That was something not encouraged, so not often seen in their community.
Annie ran a finger along the small wooden likeness of John and wondered if she shouldn’t dismiss him so readily. As a friend she adored him, but the thought of marrying him annoyed her.
But did that feeling come because of him, or was it her?


11








Beth Shriver


Hanna’s sigh brought Annie back to the moment. Hanna looked from her Bible to Annie’s. “That’s odd, isn’t it?”
Annie turned a crisp page and stared at the words again. “I
wonder if Mamm simply didn’t remember to fill in the day.”
Hanna frowned. “It’s not like Mamm to forget to do anything like this.”
Annie didn’t want to believe that Mamm forgot, and Hanna was right in that their mamm never left anything undone, espe- cially when it came to her children. “I’m sure there’s a reason.”
“The only thing left to do is ask.” Hanna closed the Bible and handed it to Annie.
Annie took the black book, its pages edged with light gold. “Don’t you want to?” Hanna grasped her hands together and
set them on her knees.
“Jah, I do.” Annie stroked the top of the golden pages with her
finger. “And then I don’t.”
Hanna grunted. “Well, that’s silly.”
Annie stopped and took the Bible in both hands. “But I have a strange feeling.” Annie squeezed the Good Book. “Maybe it’s better if I don’t know.”





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DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: I wrote this blog post because I thought you might be interested in knowing this information and taking part of this deal because I also took part in it. I downloaded the app for use later. I thought I would share the freebie. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any compensation for doing this post, but will be eligible to win a $250 gift card or one of ten $50 gift cards because of posting because I am posting as a member of One2One Network.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Canvas4life Stretched Canvas Print Review

I've been wanting to get my 2011 family Christmas photo hung on my wall ever since I got my Christmas cards done up with it. The picture just turned out so well. So when I was approached by Canvas4life I didn't turn them down. They let me get a custom 20"x16" stretched canvas print. It was so simple to order on their website.

All I had to do was upload the photo I wanted to use. They have quality detection software that will automatically detect the resolution and pixel dimensions of your photo and only allow you to choose sizes compatible with your image quality, ensuring top quality canvas prints each and every time. Once my photo was uploaded to their Canvas Builder I could select the canvas layout (single panel, split panel 2, split panel 3), size, print finish (uncoated, matte or satin), depth (.75" or 1.5 deep frame), bleed (bleed, no bleed, mirror bleed or gallery look and/or border/edge color), virtual frames (a number of them to pick from if wanted at all) and if I wanted PhotoPerfect (if checked yes Canvas4life can adjust the photo to help enhance end result). These choices did not cost any extra no matter what selection I chose. I could see every change made by me also done to my photo in real time in the virtual preview.

Then I could also click on the Advanced Editor and fix the image positioning, cropping, depth, bleed choices, photo effects (black & white, sepia, etc.), adjustments (brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, blur), and/or add text.

 You can also click the Living Room Viewer and add in furniture, people, pets, etc. then change the color of the walls and floor so you can view your canvas all in a virtual room setting. I kinda wish they had more variety of things you can put in the room because my virtual living room turned out kinda boring and really didn't look anything like my living room. You could also view the canvas in 3d and have it rotate 360 degrees so that you can see how it would look from front to back and all around.

After playing a bit with the settings and getting the canvas exactly how I wanted it I was ready to order. It was fun creating this work of art! Once I received it in the mail I saw that it was expertly packaged so that it would arrive to me safely. Once I opened it up I saw the same exact work I created virtually come to life. The canvas they use is 100% cotton and weighs in at 400gsm and the inks they use for printing are HP Vivera inks which are archival standard guaranteed to last over 75 years. Every canvas from Canvas4life arrives stretched over real artists' stretcher bars and has corner wedges in every corner on the back to ensure the stretch does not sag over time and lasts a lifetime. Also their SuperSaver shipping is absolutely free and they have a 100% money back guarantee if you are not completely satisfied. When I opened up my canvas print I also found two $10 gift cards for their store and information on how to care for my canvas. Wow! That is great customer service!!

BUY IT
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DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to Canvas4life for sending me product for free to review. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this review.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Blood Sugar Solution: The UltraHealthy Program for Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Feeling Great Now! FWCT Book Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!



Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (February 28, 2012)

***Special thanks to Rick Roberson The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


An internationally respected physician, researcher, educator, activist, and five-time New York Times best-selling author, including The Blood Sugar Solution (also a PBS special), The UltraMind Solution (also a PBS special), The UltraSimple Diet, UltraMetabolism, and UltraPrevention (winner of the Books for a Better Life Award), Dr. Hyman has dedicated his life and career to ensuring optimal health - UltraWellness - for all individuals. His new book and PBS special, The Blood Sugar Solution, will be released March 2012 to address the global epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular and other related diseases.

His revolutionary "secret" to achieving UltraWellness? Dr. Hyman is the world's leading pioneer and practitioner of a ground-breaking and emerging approach to medicine that treats our system, not our symptoms. This new health paradigm is a systems-based, patient-centered method (called Functional Medicine) to preventing and treating disease and promoting health that works on two intertwined platforms: identifying and addressing the underlying causes of disease instead of just managing and masking symptoms and employing emerging trends in science and medicine, and integrative medicine.


Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


In the new #1 New York Times bestseller, The Blood Sugar Solution (Little, Brown and Company February, 2012), Dr. Mark Hyman - Chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine and founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center - reveals the secret to losing weight and preventing diabesity. According to Dr. Hyman, a staggering one in two Americans suffers from diabesity, the condition of metabolic imbalance and disease that ranges from mild blood sugar imbalance to full-blown diabetes. Diabesity is one of the leading causes of chronic disease in the 21st century, including heart disease, stroke, dementia, and cancer, and the numbers of sick people keep growing. One in three children born today will have diabetes. We are now raising the first generation of Americans to live sicker and die younger than their parents.

Genre: Health & Fitness




Product Details:
List Price: $27.99

Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (February 28, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 031612737X
ISBN-13: 978-0316127370



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Introduction
Diabesity: What You Don't Know May Kill You
What's in a name: insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, syndrome X, obesity, pre-diabetes, adult-onset diabetes, type 2 diabetes. These are all essentially one problem; some vary by severity but all can have deadly consequences. The diagnosis and treatment of the underlying causes that drive all these conditions are actually the same.

Diabesity is a more comprehensive term to describe the continuum from optimal blood sugar balance toward insulin resistance and full-blown diabetes. If you answered yes to any of the questions in the quiz on page xxi, you may already have diabesity.

Nearly all people who are overweight (over 70 percent of adult Americans) already have “pre-diabetes” and have significant risks of disease and death. They just don't know it. Even worse, while the word “diabesity” is made up of the concepts of obesity and diabetes, even those who aren't overweight can have this problem. These are the “skinny fat” people. They are “underlean” (not enough muscle) instead of “overweight” and have a little extra weight around the middle, or “belly fat.” Currently there are no national screening recommendations, no treatment guidelines, no approved medications, and no reimbursement to health care providers for diagnosing and treating anything other than full-blown diabetes. Think about that. Doctors are not expected, trained, or paid to diagnose and treat the single biggest chronic disease in America, which, along with smoking, causes nearly all the major health care burdens of the twenty-first century, including heart disease, stroke, dementia, and even cancer. But here is the good news--there is a scientifically proven solution that I have mapped out for you in this book.

Our current medical practice has not caught up with our knowledge. In 2008, the American College of Endocrinology and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists gathered twenty-two experts and reviewed all the scientific data on pre-diabetes and diabetes. They heralded a wake-up clarion call for individuals, the health care community, and governments around the world.1 Their conclusions were as follows:
The diagnosis of pre-diabetes and diabetes is arbitrary. A fasting blood sugar over 100 mg/dl is considered pre-diabetes, and a blood sugar over 126 mg/dl is considered diabetes. However, they found these cutoffs don't reflect the whole spectrum of risk-- including heart disease, cancer, dementia, stroke, and even kidneyand nervedamage--whichstartsat much lower numbers, numbers most people consider normal.
The DECODE study of 22,000 people2 examined the continuum of risk measured not by fasting blood sugar, but by blood sugar after a big sugar drink (the best way to diagnose the problem). The study found that even starting at blood sugar levels that were perfectly normal (95 mg/dl), there was a steady and significant risk of heart disease and complications well below the accepted abnormal of less than 140 mg/dl for pre-diabetes and long before people reached the diabetic cutoff of 200 mg/dl.

Bottom line: Even if you have perfectly normal blood sugar, you may be sitting on a hidden time bomb of disease called diabesity, which prevents you from losing weight and living a long healthy life. Insulin resistance is the major cause of aging and death in the developed and most of the developing world. This book will help you identify and reverse this explosive situation for yourself. It also lays out a comprehensive action plan for greater collective action to solve this problem individually and collectively by getting healthy together.




Part I
Understanding The Modern Plague
For this we must make automatic and habitual, as early as possible, as many useful actions as we can, and guard against the growing into ways that are likely to be disadvantageous to us, as we should guard against the plague.
-- William James,
“The Laws of Habit,” The Popular Science Monthly (February 1887)
It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.
-- Mark Twain
1
a Hidden epidemic: The United States of Diabetes
Diabesity, the continuum of health problems ranging from mild insulin resistance and overweight to obesity and diabetes, is the single biggest global health epidemic of our time. It is one of the leading causes of heart disease, dementia, cancer, and premature death in the world and is almost entirely caused by environmental and lifestyle factors. This means that it is almost 100 percent preventable and curable.

Diabesity affects over 1.7 billion people worldwide. Scientists conservatively estimate it will affect 1 in 2 Americans by 2020, 90 percent of whom will not be diagnosed. I believe it already affects more than 1 in 2 Americans and up to 70-80 percent of some populations.

Obesity (almost always related to diabesity) is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States and around the world. Gaining just 11-16 pounds doubles the risk of type 2 diabetes, while gaining 17-24 pounds triples the risk. Despite this, there are no national recommendations from government or key organizations advising screening or treatment for pre-diabetes. We are becoming the United States of Diabetes.

The prevalence of type 2 diabetes in America has tripled since the 1980s. In 2010 there were 27 million Americans with diabetes (25 percent of whom were not diagnosed) and 67 million with pre-diabetes (90 percent of whom were not diagnosed). African-Americans, Latin Americans, and Asians have dramatically higher rates of diabesity than Caucasians do.1 By 2015, 2.3 billion people worldwide will be overweight and 700 million will be obese. The number of diabetics will increase from 1 in 10 Americans today to 1 in 3 by the middle of this century.

A Childhood Problem
Perhaps most disturbing, our children are increasingly affected by this epidemic. We are raising the first generation of Americans to live sicker and die younger than their parents. Life expectancy is actually declining for the first time in human history.
Here are some startling statistics:
One in three children is overweight in America.
Childhood obesity has tripled from 1980 to 2010.
There are now more than 2 million morbidly obese children above the 99th percentile in weight.
In New York City, 40 percent of the children are overweight or obese.
One in three children born today will have diabetes in their lifetime.
Childhood obesity will have more impact on the life expectancy of children than all childhood cancers combined.

A Global Problem
Diabetes is just as widespread in other parts of the world: In 2007, it was estimated that 240 million people worldwide had diabetes. It is projected to affect 380 million by the year 2030, about 10 times the number of people affected by HIV/AIDS.2 Sadly this is a gross underestimate. Estimates in 2011 put the worldwide total at 350 million. In China alone, rates of diabetes were almost zero 25 years ago. In 2007, there were 24 million diabetics in China, and scientists projected that by 2030 there would be 42 million diabetics in China. However, by 2010, there were 93 million diabetics and 148 million pre-diabetics in China,

Special Note: Childhood Obesity and Diabetes --The Blood Sugar Solution for Children
The biggest tragedy is the global spread of childhood obesity and “adult”onset or type 2 diabetes in little children. We are now seeing eight-year-old children with diabetes, fifteen-year-olds with strokes, and twenty-five-yearolds who need cardiac bypass. While The Blood Sugar Solution is a program mostly for adults, it is also powerful and effective for children. The whole family must be part of the solution, and we have to make our homes, communities, and schools safe for our children.

The Blood Sugar Solution includes many child-friendly recipes. And when it comes to supplements, there is something for everyone, even infants and children. In fact, any child over twelve years of age with diabesity can follow the basic Blood Sugar Solution plan. Children younger than twelve or those who qualify for the Advanced Plan should work with an experienced functional medicine practitioner. See www.bloodsugarsolution.com for how best to support your children's health if they are overweight or have type 2 diabetes.

almost all of whom were previously undiagnosed. Imagine if we had 148 million new cases of AIDS overnight in one country.

Sixty percent of the world's diabetics will eventually come from Asia because it is the world's most populous region. The number of individuals with impaired glucose tolerance or pre-diabetes will increase substantially because of increased genetic susceptibility to the harmful effects of sugar and processed foods. Interestingly, people in this Asian population (who are uniquely susceptible to diabetes even though they may not be obese) are increasingly affected as they adopt a more Western diet. Weaker environmental laws and regulations also expose them to increasing levels of toxins, which, as we will see later, are a significant cause of diabesity.3



Ponder this: From 1983 to 2008, the number of people in the world with diabetes increased sevenfold, from 35 to 240 million. In just three years, from 2008 to 2011, we added another 110 million diabetics to our global population. Shouldn't the main question we ask be why is this happening? instead of what new drug can we find to treat it? Our approach must be novel, innovative, and widely applicable at low cost across all borders. Billions and billions have been wasted trying to find the “drug cure,” while the solution lies right under our nose. This is a lifestyle and environmental disease and won't be cured by a medication.

Diabesity: The major cause of chronic disease and decreased life expectancy.
Diabesity is one of the leading causes of chronic disease in the twenty-first century, including heart disease, stroke, dementia, and cancer.4
Consider the following:
One-third of all diabetics have documented heart disease.5
It is estimated that nearly everyone else with type 2 diabetes has undiagnosed cardiovascular disease.
People with diabetes are four times more likely to die from heart disease, and the rate of stroke is three to four times higher in this population.
Those with pre-diabetes are also four times more likely to die of heart disease.6 So having pre-diabetes isn't really “pre” anything in terms of risk.
There is a fourfold increased risk for dementia in diabetics.7 And pre-diabetes is a leading cause of “pre-dementia,” also known as mild cognitive impairment.
The link between obesity and cancer is well documented and is driven by insulin resistance.8
Diabesity is the leading cause of high blood pressure in our society. Seventy-five percent of those with diabetes have high blood pressure.
Diabesity is also the leading cause of liver failure from NASH (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis), also known as fatty liver. It affects 30 percent of our general population (about 90 million) and 70-90 percent of those who have diabesity. Those with fatty liver are at much greater risk of heart attack and death.9
Diabesity is an important cause of depression and mood disorders. Women with diabetes are 29 percent more likely to develop depression, and women who took insulin are 53 percent more likely to develop depression.10
Nervous system damage affects 60-70 percent of people with diabetes, leading to a loss of sensation in the hands and feet, slow digestion, carpal tunnel syndrome, sexual dysfunction, and other problems. Almost 30 percent of people age forty or older with diabetes have impaired sensation in their feet, and this frequently leads to amputations.
Diabesity is also the leading cause of blindness among people ages twenty to seventy-four.
Diabesity is the leading cause of kidney failure --accounting for 44 percent of new cases each year.
People with poorly controlled diabetes are three times more likely to have periodontal or severe gum disease.

A recent remarkable study published in the New England Journal of Medicine examining 123,205 deaths in 820,900 people found that diabetics died an average of six years earlier than nondiabetics and 40 percent of those did not die from heart disease or the usual diabetes-related causes.11 They died from other complications not obviously related to diabetes, complications most wouldn't necessarily correlate with the disease. Yet it makes perfect sense given that diabesity is the underlying cause that drives most chronic illnesses.
Diabesity: A major global threat to economic development.
Direct health care costs in the United States over the next decade attributable to diabetes and pre-diabetes will be $3.4 trillion, or one in every ten health care dollars spent. Obese citizens cost the U.S. health care system 40 percent more than normal-weight citizens. In a sample of 10 million commercial health plan members, those without diabetes cost $4,000 a year compared to $11,700 for those with diabetes, and $20,700 for those with complications from diabetes.

Diabesity places a large economic burden on our society. The direct and indirect costs of diabetes in America in 2007 amounted to $174 billion. The cost of obesity is also significant, and amounts to $113 billion every year. From 2000 to 2010, these two conditions have already cost us a total of $3 trillion. That's three times the estimated cost of fixing our entire health care system!12

Are we getting our money's worth? Is our current approach winning the battle against these completely preventable and curable diseases? Clearly the answer is no!
The Impact of Diabesity on Developing Nations
Diabetes is not just a problem for rich countries with too much food; it is also a disease of poverty13 that is increasing in developing countries as well.14 In India, diabetes carries a greater risk of death than infectious disease. In the Middle East, nearly 20-25 percent of the population is diabetic. When I helped in Haiti (the poorest country in the Western hemisphere) after the earthquake in 2010, I asked the director of Haiti's main public hospital what the major medical problems were prior to the earthquake. His answer surprised me: heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes--all caused by diabesity.

By 2020, there will be fewer than 20 million deaths worldwide from infectious disease, but more than 50 million deaths from chronic preventable lifestyle diseases--heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. These are all fueled by the same preventable risk factors: high blood pressure, overweight, physical inactivity, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and smoking. But strikingly, 95 percent of private and public efforts and funding focus almost exclusively on combating communicable or infectious disease.15
The Solution: Take Back Our Health
There is a solution available, one that is accessible and scalable, one that is available to everyone and prevents, treats, and reverses diabesity at a fraction of the cost. This book provides that solution for individuals, communities, and nations. It will require significant change at all levels, but each of us has the power to transform this problem.

In addition to curing diabesity on an individual level, we need a movement. I call it Take Back Our Health, and in Part V, I explain how we can all join this movement so we can get healthy together. It starts with the individual, but moves into families, communities, workplaces, schools, and faith-based organizations and filters through us to government and corporations.

In the next chapter, we will look at the true causes of diabesity, and why current treatments aren't working.

Edens Edge CD Review

Edens Edge is an American country music band composed of Hannah Blaylock (lead vocals), Dean Berner (vocals, guitar, Dobro) and Cherrill Green (vocals, mandolin, banjo, guitar) from Arkansas. The band is signed to Big Machine Records and Edens Edge, their self titled album, is their first studio album.

This is a gorgeous debut album that was released on June 12, 2012. This trio is perfect together. Hannah has such a strong, beautiful twangy voice. The guitars, banjo, Dobro and mandolin in each piece manifest so much. Dean and Cherrill bring superb harmony to Hannah's voice.

Track Listing and my thoughts:
  1. Amen: Twangy and fun. This song is about her guy friend finally getting his head out of the clouds and coming down to Earth about a girl he finally saw what she really was and let her go. "Someone give me an Amen."
  2. Swingin' Door: Fun and upbeat. About how she isn't gonna let this guy take her even with his sweet talkin'. "I ain't your swingin' door."
  3. Skinny Dippin': This song makes me giggle. Such a seductive song about a sweet cool temptation on a hot day. "Close your eyes, uh uh no peakin'."
  4. Too Good to Be True: About a boy that is just that...Too good to be true. "Like money fallin' out of the blue."
  5. Last Supper: Sad song about about the realization of a possible break up of the relationship. "Is this our last supper?"
  6. Feels So Real: Sad song about
  7. Who Am I Drinking Tonight: Even though I don't drink alcohol and don't condone this. I think that this is a trend in country music to sing about alcoholic drinks.
  8. Liar: Sad song about letting her love go to someone else because she never told her feelings to him. "I'm a liar."
  9. Cherry Pie: A song about reminiscing and being thankful for the people and animals that helped influence her life and become who she is now. Great vocals and instrumentals and an fantastic instrumental end. "I hope you understand, you have so much to do with who I am."
  10. Christ Alone: Beautiful Christian song with the gorgeous trio singing A Capella. "By Christ Alone will I be found worthy of that golden crown."

BUY IT
You can purchase Edens Edge on Amazon.com for $6.99.
 
DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: I received product for free and I reviewed it on my blog because I wanted to. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this review.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life by Nick Vujicic FWCT Book Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!



Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

WaterBrook Press; Reprint edition (June 5, 2012)

***Special thanks to Ashley Boyer, Senior Publicist at Random House for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Nick Vujicic is the founder of the international non-profit organization Life Without Limbs. Nick recently made the move from Australia to California, his new home base as he travels the world speaking to a range of different groups such as students, teachers, youth, businessmen and women, entrepreneurs, and church congregations of all sizes. He has told his story and been interviewed on various televised programs worldwide, including “20/20,” “60 Minutes,” and “The 700 Club.”


Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

What Would Your Life be Like if Anything Were Possible?

Born without arms or legs, Nick Vujicic overcame his disabilities to live an independent, rich, fulfilling, and “ridiculously good” life while serving as a role model for anyone seeking true happiness. Now an internationally successful motivational speaker, Nick eagerly spreads his central message: the most important goal is to find your life’s purpose and to never give up, despite whatever difficulties or seemingly impossible odds stand in your way.

Nick tells the story of his physical disabilities and the emotional battle he endured while learning to deal with them as a child, teen, and young adult. “For the longest, loneliest time, I wondered if there was anyone on earth like me, and whether there was any purpose to my life other than pain and humiliation.” Nick shares how his faith in God has been his major source of strength, and he explains that once he found a sense of purpose—inspiring others to better their lives and the world around them--he found the confidence to build a rewarding and productive life without limits. Let Nick inspire you to start living your own life without limits.

Includes a Life Without Limits Personal Action Plan to help anyone determine their unique path to a successful life.






Product Details:
List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press; Reprint edition (June 5, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307589749
ISBN-13: 978-0307589743



AND NOW...PART OF THE FIRST CHAPTER:


If You Can’t Get a Miracle, Become One

O ne of my most popular videos on YouTube shows footage of me skateboarding, surfing, playing music, hitting a golf ball, falling down, getting up, speaking to audiences, and best of all, receiving hugs from all sorts of great people.

All in all, those are pretty ordinary activities that just about anybody can do, right? So why do you think that video has been viewed millions of times? My theory is that people are drawn to watch it because despite my physical limitations, I’m living as though I have no limits.

People often expect someone with a severe disability to be inactive, maybe even angry and withdrawn. I like to surprise them by showing that I lead a very adventurous and fulfilling existence.

Among the hundreds of comments on that video, here’s one typical remark: “Seeing a guy like this being happy makes me wonder why the hell I feel sorry for myself sometimes . . . or feel that I’m not attractive enough, or funny enough, or WHATEVER. How can I even think thoughts like that when this guy is living without limbs and still being HAPPY!?”

I’m often asked that very question: “Nick, how can you be so happy?” You may be dealing with your own challenges, so I’ll give you the quick answer up front:

I found happiness when I realized that as imperfect as I may be, I am the perfect Nick Vujicic. I am God’s creation, designed according to His plan for me. That’s not to say that there isn’t room for improvement. I’m always trying to be better so I can better serve Him and the world!

I do believe my life has no limits. I want you to feel the same way about your life, no matter what your challenges may be. As we begin our journey together, please take a moment to think about any limitations you’ve placed on your life or that you’ve allowed others to place on it. Now think about what it would be like to be free of those limitations. What would your life be if anything were possible?

I’m officially disabled, but I’m truly enabled because of my lack of limbs. My unique challenges have opened up unique opportunities to reach so many in need. Just imagine what is possible for you!

Too often we tell ourselves we aren’t smart enough or attractive enough or talented enough to pursue our dreams. We buy into what others say about us, or we put restrictions on ourselves. What’s worse is that when you consider yourself unworthy, you are putting limits on how God can work through you!

When you give up on your dreams, you put God in a box. After all, you are His creation. He made you for a purpose. Therefore your life cannot be limited any more than God’s love can be contained.

I have a choice. You have a choice. We can choose to dwell on disappointments and shortcomings. We can choose to be bitter, angry, or sad. Or when faced with hard times and hurtful people, we can choose to learn from the experience and move forward, taking responsibility for our own happiness.

As God’s child, you are beautiful and precious, worth more than all the diamonds in the world. You and I are perfectly suited to be who we were meant to be! Even still, it should always be our goal to become an even better person and stretch our boundaries by dreaming big. Adjustments are necessary along the way because life isn’t always rosy, but it is always worth living. I’m here to tell you that no matter what your circumstances may be, as long as you are breathing, you have a contribution to make.

I can’t put a hand on your shoulder to reassure you, but I can speak from the heart. However desperate your life may seem, there is hope. As bad as circumstances appear, there are better days ahead. No matter how dire your circumstances may appear, you can rise above them. To wish for change will change nothing. To make the decision to take action right now will change everything!

All events come together for the good. I’m certain of that because it’s been true in my life. What good is a life without limbs? Just by looking at me, people know that I faced and overcame many obstacles and hardships. That makes them willing to listen to me as a source of inspiration. They allow me to share my faith, to tell them they are loved, and to give them hope.

That is my contribution. It’s important to recognize your own value. Know that you also have something to contribute. If you feel frustrated right now, that’s okay. Your sense of frustration means you want more for your life than you have right now. That’s all good. Often it’s the challenges in life that show us who we are truly meant to be.

A Life of Value

It took me a long time to see the benefits of the circumstances I was born into. My mum was twenty-five years old when she became pregnant with me, her first child. She’d been a midwife and worked as a pediatric nurse in charge in the delivery room where she provided care for hundreds of mothers and their babies. She knew what she had to do while she was pregnant, watching her diet, being cautious about medications, and not consuming alcohol, aspirin, or any other pain-killers. She went to the best doctors and they assured her everything was proceeding smoothly.

Even still, her apprehension persisted. As her due date approached, my mum shared her concerns with my father several times, saying, “I hope that everything’s okay with the baby.”

When two ultrasounds were performed during her pregnancy, the doctors detected nothing unusual. They told my parents that the baby was a boy but not a word about missing limbs! At my delivery on December 4, 1982, my mother could not see me at first, and the first question she asked the doctor was “Is the baby all right?” There was silence. As the seconds ticked by and they were still not bringing the baby for her to see, she sensed even more that something was wrong. Instead of giving me to my mother to hold, they summoned a pediatrician and moved off to the opposite corner, examining me and conferring with each other. When my mum heard a big healthy baby scream, she was relieved. But my dad, who had noticed I was missing an arm during the delivery, felt queasy and was escorted out of the room.

Shocked at the sight of me, the nurses and doctors quickly wrapped me up.

My mother, who’d participated in hundreds of deliveries as a nurse, wasn’t fooled. She read the distress on the faces of her medical team, and she knew something was very wrong.

“What is it? What’s wrong with my baby?” she demanded.

Her doctor would not answer at first, but when she insisted on a response, he could offer my mother only a specialized medical term.

“Phocamelia,” he said.

Because of her nursing background, my mother recognized the term as the condition babies have when they are born with malformed or missing limbs. She simply couldn’t accept that this was true.

In the meantime, my stunned dad was outside, wondering whether he had seen what he thought he saw. When the pediatrician came out to speak to him, he cried out, “My son, he has no arm!”

“Actually,” the pediatrician said as sensitively as possible, “your son has neither arms nor legs.”

My father went weak with shock and anguish.

He sat stunned, momentarily unable to speak before his protective instincts kicked in. He rushed in to tell my mother before she saw me, but to his dismay he found her lying in bed, crying. The staff had already told her the news. They had offered to bring me to her but she refused to hold me and told them to take me away.

The nurses were crying. The midwife was crying. And of course, I was crying! Finally they put me next to her, still covered, and my mum just couldn’t bear what she was seeing: her child without limbs.

“Take him away,” she said. “I don’t want to touch him or see him.”

To this day my father regrets that the medical staff did not give him time to prepare my mother properly. Later, as she slept, he visited me in the nursery. He came back and told Mum, “He looks beautiful.” He asked her if she wanted to see me at that point, but she declined, still too shaken. He understood and respected her feelings.

Instead of celebrating my birth, my parents and their whole church mourned. “If God is a God of love,” they wondered, “why would He let something like this happen?”

My Mum’s Grief

I was my parents’ firstborn child. While this would be a major cause for rejoicing in any family, no one sent flowers to my mum when I was born. This hurt her and only deepened her despair.

Sad and teary-eyed, she asked my dad, “Don’t I deserve flowers?”

“I’m sorry,” Dad said. “Of course you deserve them.” He went to the hospital flower shop and returned shortly to present her with a bouquet.

I was aware of none of this until the age of thirteen or so, when I began to question my parents about my birth and their initial reaction to my lack of limbs. I’d had a bad day at school, and when I told my mum, she cried with me. I told her I was sick of having no arms and legs. She shared my tears and said that she and my dad had come to understand that God had a plan for me and one day He would reveal it. My questions continued over time, sometimes with one parent, sometimes with both. Part of my search for answers was natural curiosity and part of it was in response to the persistent questions I’d been fielding from curious classmates.

At first, I was a little scared of what my parents might tell me, and, since some of this was difficult for them to delve into, I didn’t want to put them on the spot. In our initial discussions my mum and dad were very careful and protective ...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Okee Dokee Brothers Can You Canoe? A Mississippi River Adventure Album Review and Giveaway

Can You Canoe? A Mississippi River Adventure Album by The Okee Dokee Brothers is a great album for the summertime or really anytime you want to get into the spirit of camping, canoeing, and the great outdoors. The songs in this CD and DVD are wonderfully lyrical with fun play on words. In this their first CD/DVD in The Okee Dokee Brothers' Adventure Album Series Justin Lansing on Banjo and Joe Mailander on the guitar paddle down the Mississippi in a canoe singing and camping along the way. I love their bluegrass, country, folk feel to their songs. This album is my favorite of theirs so far and I can't wait to listen to their next CD/DVD in the Adventure Album Series. Includes a CD, DVD and field journal.

Here is the Trailer to the DVD:




The DVD takes you up close and personal to see Justin Lansing and Joe Mailander and some of the other crew having boat barge loads of fun doing what the two do best...adventuring outdoors. The Okee Dokee Brothers are superb lyricists. In just 30 days while camping, canoeing, filming and writing they created this album containing 15 outstanding songs. The music videos and footage taken for the DVD are of their grand trip. My favorite parts are where they try to make a sail for their canoes and where they talk with Kenny Salwey, the self proclaimed "Last River Rat" who shares his wisdom with them.

Track Listing on the CD:
01. Can You Canoe?: A great song about canoeing and how the simplicity of it is grand.
02. Haul Away Joe: Based on a traditional song this version is about being a raftman.
03. Mr. & Mrs. Sippy: Such great play on words and personification in this one about the Mississippi River :)
04. Bullfrog Opera: Great song about comparing New York to camping outdoors in the South.
05. Rosita: A little bit of a Latin beat to this one about a mosquito.
06. Campin' Tent: Camp living in style.
07. Memphis Town: About a train going to take him to Memphis Town and all around.
08. Along for the Ride: About having a friend or companion to be there by your side.
09. Muddy River: Fun song about the countdown of going fishing on a muddy river.
10. Boatman's Dance: Upbeat song about the boatman's dance.
11. King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki-Me-O: Based on a traditional song that I remember singing at camp. I love this nice song that brings back memories.
12. Thousand Star Hotel: A great song about sleeping under the stars. You can see the making of this song on the DVD.
13. Brother: Upbeat song about being brothers.
14. Small and Simple: A slow song, singing me to sleep.
15. Roll On River: “The Mississippi river splits America in half, so to speak. And yet, it joins it together.” – Kenny Salwey – The Last River Rat

The Okee Dokee Brothers are fun to watch perform as well! With their beards, flannel shirts, overalls and instruments they're sure to be fun listening to around a campfire or even in a canoe :)

BUY IT
Go HERE and you can buy The Okee Dokee Brothers merchandise.

WIN IT
Prize: Win a copy of  Can You Canoe? A Mississippi River Adventure Album by The Okee Dokee Brothers CD and DVD set

I am trying out Rafflecopter on my blog. Please click on this post link if you do not see the script for it below. Also, if there is anything that is wrong with it let me know by emailing me: finamoon AT gmail DOT com I will try my best at fixing it. Thanks for being awesome readers!

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to Beth Blenz-Cluc​as of Sugar Mountain PR for sending me a free The Okee Dokee Brothers - Can You Canoe? A Mississippi River Adventure Album CD/DVD to listen to and review. This giveaway is also provided free from Beth Blenz-Cluc​as of Sugar Mountain PR. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this review.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 4, 2012

Mohawk Home Rug Review and Giveaway

Since we have moved into the home we live in now we have made a lot of upgrades to our home. We have redone both front and back doors, made a cement doorstep that is wheelchair friendly, re-rocked the driveway, repainted the house, re-roofed and upgraded the skylight in our kitchen, put in a large stainless steel double sink in the kitchen, remodeled both bathrooms, etc. When we moved in our backyard looked like a jungle. We had to go through and rip out all kinds of thorny locust bushes and raspberries that were taking over. I have since had a lovely garden back there with vegetables and herbs growing in it and the grass is lush and green now.

One thing I didn't have though was a lovely doormat to welcome guests to our home. My doorstep was very bare until I received the Mohawk Ocean Doormat to test and review for free on my blog. It was just the right touch that it needed.

If you have read this blog for long you know that I love the ocean. This doormat has wonderful sandy browns, aquamarine blues, and grassy greens. I think my favorite square on it is the Sandpiper because it reminds me of my father-in-law who used to own a business with the same name. The sailboat is a close second because it reminds me of a dream my husband and I wanting to build a large sailing vessel someday to sail the ocean in. This Coastalhome Snapshot is the perfect thing for my front doorstep.

This Mohawk doormat is made of 100% polyester facing and 100% recycled rubber backing. It is a good size, 18" x 30", for welcoming and is very durable for all weather types. It is also functional as well as beautiful since it removes dirt and debris from shoes and feet as you come in and can be easily cleaned with a vacuum or shaken out. You can also rinse as needed with a garden hose and then let it air dry. My rainy weather here in Oregon sure makes cleaning this doormat easy.

Mohawk Home offers more than just doormats. They have a wide selection of area & accent rugs, indoor/outdoor rugs, kitchen rugs, bath rugs and rug pads with different patterns, color, and style. You are bound to find one that you just love. Watch this video to find out more. Mohawk Home makes safe and sustainable products. Just look for their GreenWorks symbol on their items and you will be getting something using recycled rubber and/or fibers, ecocotton, and/or natural fibers.

BUY IT
You can find Mohawk Home products online at retailers like Home Depot, Kohl's, Lowes, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, & Sears, Walmart and JCPenny.

WIN IT
Prize: Win a Mohawk Home item valued up to $19.99 (includes doormats, kitchen rugs, bath mats, and rug padding).

I am trying out Rafflecopter on my blog. Please click on this post link if you do not see the script for it below. Also, if there is anything that is wrong with it let me know by emailing me: finamoon AT gmail DOT com I will try my best at fixing it. Thanks for being awesome readers!

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to Mohawk Home for sending me product for free to review and one to give away for free. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this review.

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