Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Adopt A Shelter Pet Day!

April 30th is Adopt A Shelter Pet Day! I'm sure you've seen and read that our family has adopted 3 pets from our local SPCA over the past 5 yrs. Our first adoption was Peru, an American Bulldog. Our next adoption was Batman a couple years later. We had lost one of our older cats (she was 17) and Simba was alone, which we didn't want. Then Simba passed away at the age of about 15 so Batman was alone. He is a rambunctious cat so I wanted to get a kitten, but when we went to the SPCA none of the kittens seemed to be what we were looking for.

We did meet an older, chunky cat named Willow. She had come into the SPCA a month earlier and spent that month at a foster home. She was 20 lbs when she showed up, but by the time she made it back to the shelter she was down to 14 lbs! I found out that she'd had a lot of applications and that our chances were pretty slim that we'd get her. We went back the next day so the rest of the family could meet her "just in case". I couldn't believe it, but the next day I got the call that she was ours!

Have you been thinking about adopting a puppy or a kitten? My friends at Purina asked me to share these reminders as you consider expanding your family with a fur baby.

  • Consider your lifestyle. Take some time to truly evaluate your lifestyle and how much time and space you can dedicate to your new pet. If you’re not home very often, or don’t have space, a large breed dog may not be for you. Purina’s Breed Finder walks you through a series of questions to help identify the right dog breed for your lifestyle. 
  • Know your resources. Online resources such as the Petfinder offer plenty of tools to help guide you through this important decision and can help you locate the perfect adoptable friend for your family.

  • Make sure your new pet will have his (or her) nutritional needs met. Like people, puppies and kittens benefit from a complete and balanced diet – helping set the stage for a lifetime of health. Dr. Brian Zagnhi, DvM, Research Nutritionist at Purina encourages new pet owners to look for foods that have the right balance of nutrients like DHA to promote brain and vision development, and encourages new pet owners to look for puppy and kitten specific formulas with “complete and balanced” on the packaging, meaning it has the right blend of proteinfat and carbohydrates. Nearly half of pet owners dive right into buying adult pet food for their little furballs, and it’s not the recommended choice.

  • Puppy/kitten-proof your home. Welcoming a new pet into your home can come with some growing pains, but you can make the transition easier with a little prep work. Look for items that can help make your pet comfortable, while deterring potentially destructive behavior. Scratching posts, puppy pads, chew toys and a heap of patience can go a long way.
  • Check out gadgets to help ease into pet parenthood. Consider an automated feeder, which creates a slow release of food at various times throughout the day – helpful for pets who are eager eaters and pet owners committed to following feeding guidelines to keep their pet at an ideal weight. For cats, you can make things more interesting for them by creating a puzzle feeder, a great way to fulfill your cat’s instinctual desire for the pursuit of food.

Something else to consider is the cost. One of the questions that we're asked when we apply for a shelter pet is something along the lines of how much we think it's going to cost yearly to care for our new pet. You have to consider that you have their food, toys, and vet visits, but even more than that, what if there's an emergency? Not only an emergency, but on a Saturday night after hours. That won't be a cheap visit and are you prepared have the willingness to know that cost will be high?

Getting a new pet to join the family is one of the most fun you can have! Be sure to find the right one that will fit your family. Do the research you need to be sure you make the best decision possible for everyone included. Good luck and have an exciting time rescuing whichever animal you decide on!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Christmas In April - A Volunteer Opportunity

This past Saturday our church had the chance to join an organization called Christmas in April (CIA). This was the first time we've participated as we're new to the church. Our church serves a lot of individuals and families in Calvert County. Our church had the opportunity of serving by helping do repairs at 5 homes.

I was put on a team with Pastor Robert, his 2 sons, 2 other men from church and my oldest son. I had no idea what this experience was going to look like because I didn't know what skills the pastor had or the 2 guys who were with us. Our task at this house was to install a door and gutters.

We headed to North Beach to check out the task ahead of us. One of the guys, Ben, was someone I hadn't met before. Jason is a guy I've talked with a few times since he heads up our Greeting team. We arrived at the home and the homeowner brought us around to the back of the house to show us what needed to be done.

I was selected to run to the local hardware store to get some painting supplies for the door & frame, work gloves, silicon, and some drain tile. We actually made a few trips to the hardware store as well came up as we were working on the project. Thank goodness we were only a few minutes away from the store. Each home was allocated about $100 from CIA for supplies. Thankfully we came in much lower than that.

It was great being able to get the door painted, installed, and the gutters up for this family. The door had to be replaced because the homeowner had no gutters so the water was rotting the wood so hopefully that problem will be resolved. We didn't have enough gutter to cover the entire back of the house, but the owner said the family had old gutters they could put up at a later time on the areas we weren't able to do.

One of the things I appreciated was watching the pastor teach my son how to do what needed to be done. Pastor Robert's boys (one 14 and the other a preteen) both got into the job and went to town. It was clear he's been teaching them construction skills for a while! Watching him explain to Jacob about installing the door was terrific. Who knew the pastor was also a handyman?!

During my 2nd trip to the hardware store the guys cut 2 holes in the deck so that the water from the gutters would go under the deck instead of spilling over onto it. This will definitely help keep the home in good shape!

I definitely wish I could've gone to each house to see the work everyone was doing. It was wonderful hearing about the repairs that were done: windows installed, water heaters replaced, clean up, and so much more.

I'm already looking forward to participating next year!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Job Search Continues

The past month has been pretty frustrating. It's been 5 weeks since I was let go from my last job. It hasn't been going as well as I had hoped. When you work in Influencer Marketing you realize what a small industry it is once you don't have a job.

I tried to do what most people suggested this time. I decided to network. I'm not comfortable trying to sell myself to others. I've reached out to pretty much all of the Influencer Marketing companies I'm aware of. I've also been applying to jobs that have what looks like a strong need for social media help. Honestly, it gets discouraging applying to job after job and either not hearing back or reading that the company has decided to pursue other candidates.

There are a lot of industries that require degrees and it seems like most of the social media type jobs also want someone who has marketing, graphic design, or some sort of analytics experience/degree. They want someone who does it all. You should know HTML, SEO, Adobe, Management, marketing, design, copywriting, etc.

It's been a huge blessing to have so many people in the Influencer Marketing world who know me and have been passing along jobs they find. I've gotten so many messages from people I've worked with in the past. They've been an incredible encouragement. So far none of the leads have gotten me anywhere, but at least they're rooting for me!

One of the perks of my last two jobs is that they've both been remote. I haven't had to go into an office. It's given me the freedom to work from anywhere, which has allowed me the opportunity to go back to Minnesota every July. My boys and I drive out there. Jacob is now only staying about a week, but my youngest volunteers at a camp. I can go get him every weekend to give him the opportunity to spend time with friends and family. I'm not sure that will be possibility this year, and that will be a very difficult pill to swallow.

I'm hoping that I can find a job locally that will give me the option of going into an office occasionally and have the option of working remotely. I mean, it's the best of both worlds. I can go in to an office and interact with people, but still be able to go to Minnesota for a month.

In the meantime I'll keep applying to jobs that seem like they'll be a good fit and applying weekly to my unemployment. Maybe one of my connections from networking will be the golden ticket. If you have any suggestions, I'm open to hearing them! You can find me on LinkedIn and message me.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Danny Gokey Pop Up Concert

About a week ago I found out that Danny Gokey was going to be at our previous church, Chesapeake Christian Fellowship. 95.1 Shine FM was bringing him to the church to do a Q&A with him and having him sing for the audience. I was super excited until I realized it was the same night as my Bible Study Fellowship. Since I wasn't able to go, I got tickets for my boys to go.

My oldest son decided not to go and I wasn't sure how I was going to get my youngest there and back so I decided I would use my oldest's ticket and miss Bible study. Not what I wanted to do, but realized that this was where I was going to be.

It was kind of a rush to get dressed, get out the door, and get to the church in time to get a good seat. That meant I didn't eat. My stomach was growling for dinner by the time we were standing in line. lol There was no way I was getting out of line to go grab something to eat so everyone around me was just going to have to deal with my loud, growling stomach.

Now, I haven't been back to CCF since we moved churches back in December with Fred's new job. It was like a mini church family reunion. Seeing so many of my brothers and sisters in Christ who I absolutely love just filled my heart to overflowing!

We got in and grabbed our seats, but my youngest ended up going to sit with one of his friends. Turned out ok, even though I thought we were going to have bonding time over the music we love. One of our young adults who we adore came and sat with me and our time together before the concert was so blessed.

Danny came out to do an on-air session with Jack and Erin from 95.1 Shine FM. They chatted for a while, answering listeners questions. After they were off the air, the 3 of them sat at the front of the stage and talked with the audience. This was probably my favorite part of the concert.

I knew that Danny had been on American Idol and that his first wife had passed away just before he auditioned for the show. I have to admit that I don't watch the show so didn't know anything about his time on there. It was incredible to hear his testimony and learn more about his faith. Having never heard anything other than his songs, I had no clue about how much of an impact his faith had in his life. I tell you what, he could easily be a preacher. He knows how to share about the Lord!

Now, this wasn't one of his full blown concerts. He only had his keyboard player with him. Apparently when he "brings the funk" he's got all kind of instruments. Without having all of that there he was limited to what he could sing. Thankfully he sang Come Back, Hope In Front Of Me, Rise, and Haven't Seen It Yet. Then he played a song that he and Mandisa recorded together called Tell Somebody. It was so incredible. I'm so excited for his album to release and for the rest of the songs to be played on the radio. The other songs he sang with us were worship songs.

I want to encourage you to listen to one of his newest songs. It is beyond incredible. The song is called Wanted. The lyrics are powerful beyond belief. If you've been in dark places, know that YOU are wanted. That God was right there with you in that place. You were never alone. You will never be alone. When he sang this song, I was DONE! More that I was un-done! Powerful my friends.

As soon as Danny walked off the stage I was up, out of my seat, into the foyer to find the line to get the CD signed. I had to text the youngest to come find me because I was the first person in line. Only sad part was we weren't allowed to take pictures because he had to get going. I gave the kiddo the CD so he was able to get the autograph and shake his hand. I just moved out of the way. Yes, I did. I'm one of those people who would've just stood there just wanting to connect. hahahaha I'm not the type to fangirl, but I'm a people person and I like chit-chatting. He didn't have time for that so I just moved right along.

I'll definitely have to make plans to see him in concert because we've got to hear him bring the funk!

Monday, April 8, 2019

Far Side Of The Sea By Kate Breslin

Far Side of the Sea
by Kate Breslin
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 9780764217821

It's been a bit quiet around the house when it comes to book reading. I've been so busy doing so many other things, I've had to be intentional with my books. Can you even believe I'm saying those words? Thankfully I received Far Side of the Sea from Bethany House to be able to kick me into gear again!


In 1918 England, Lieutenant Colin Mabry spends his days decoding messages for MI8 after suffering injuries at the front. When he receives an urgent summons by carrier pigeon from Jewel Reyer--a woman who saved his life and whom he believed to be dead--he can only hope he'll regain the courage he lost on the front lines as he's driven back into war-torn France. 

But Jewel isn't the one waiting for him in Paris. Instead, it is a stranger who claims to be her half sister, Johanna, who works at a dovecote for French Army Intelligence. She found Jewel's diary and believes her sister is alive and in the custody of a German agent. With spies everywhere, Colin is at first skeptical of Johanna, but as they travel across France and Spain, a tentative trust grows.

That trust is quickly put to the test, however, when their pursuit leads them straight into the midst of a treacherous plot and their search for answers quickly turns into a battle for their lives.

My Review:

This was my first novel by author Kate Breslin. What a great way to start off with her! Far Side of the Sea is book that you read slowly to take in all of the detail. It's not a slow read in the sense that the book is slow, but the author's writing is so detailed that as the reader you take it all in and feel like you're right there with the characters. Her book took me longer to read (NOT in a bad way because of that). It's not that often I have the pleasure of reading a book that is so vivid in description.

Have I whet your appetite for this novel? I sure hope so because that was the intent. lol

Another aspect of this story that I enjoyed was the suspense of who is who. Who can be trusted? Who is the enemy? I tried to pretend like a sleuth as the story began, trying to figure out Johanna is, but quickly realized I was going to have to wait until I got to the end of the story to know for sure. Don't think I was tempted on more than one occasion to cheat and check out a few of the last pages! Alas, I refrained.

PTSD wasn't a label back in this time, but it's clear that Colin Mabry is suffering from it. He dealt with so much at such a young age. You can almost sense his reactions as he heads into the danger area of Paris in search of Jewel Reyer. Every time raids come, his reaction is palpable.

While I was fascinated by Johanna, I was also leery of her as well. Is she Jewel's half sister? Is she a spy? What I was fascinated with was learning about the dovecote handlers. The detail of how the carrier pigeons worked during the was was completely new to me. I think it's probably a lost skill, training the birds.

The intrigue and espionage starts at the beginning of the story and brings the reader along for quite the adventure.  I have to admit, when they head to Spain in search of Jewel, I was a bit excited as I've been there before. As you get further into the story, if you're anything like me, you'll be thinking, "Did THAT just happen?" I don't even know how many times I thought, "Wait, what?!" hahahaha Can you tell I enjoyed this book?

I'm going to have to go read Not by Sight since that's the novel where we're introduced to Colin Mabry. It's the story of his sister, Grace and his friend (and boss) Jack Benningham.

About the Author:

Kate Breslin

A Florida girl who migrated to the Pacific Northwest, Kate Breslin was a bookseller for many years. She is a Carol Award winner and a RITA and Christy Award finalist and lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington. Find her online at www.katebreslin.com.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

The Memory House By Rachel Hauck Review & Giveaway

The Memory House
by Rachel Hauck
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-0310350965

It's been a while since a Rachel Hauck book has landed on my TBR pile. It was also my first time working with Audra Jennings PR to review a book. Do you ever love an author so much that you don't even check to see what the book is about? You just know whatever the topic is you're going to love it. That's how it is for me with Rachel Hauck.


When Beck Holiday lost her father in the North Tower on 9/11, she also lost her memories of him. Eighteen years later, she’s a tough New York City cop burdened with a damaging secret, suspended for misconduct, and struggling to get her life in order. Meanwhile a mysterious letter arrives informing her she’s inherited a house along Florida’s northern coast, and what she discovers there will change her life forever. Matters of the heart only become more complicated when she runs into handsome Bruno Endicott, a driven sports agent who fondly recalls the connection they shared as teenagers. But Beck doesn’t remember that, either.
Decades earlier, widow Everleigh Applegate lives a steady, uneventful life with her widowed mother after a tornado ripped through Waco, Texas, and destroyed her new, young married life. When she runs into old high school friend Don Callahan, she begins to yearn for change. Yet no matter how much she longs to love again, she is hindered by a secret she can never share.
Fifty years separate the women but through the power of love and miracle of faith, they each find healing in a beautiful Victorian known affectionately as The Memory House.

Click here to read an excerpt!

My Review:

From the start of page 1 I was invested in this book. The Memory House starts off with Beck in hot pursuit of a perp. We're thrown into her story right away and and from there the reader is taken on an adventure. The story has multiple characters that span generations. I love when authors bring us from one time period to another so we get to understand the characters' histories. Don't you wish you could have a glimpse into the past like an author can give us?

Next we meet Bruno. Oh, Bruno. He's a guy with a lot NOT going on, which means he's a dude with a lot going on inside. lol He and Beck are both people who have no idea where they're going. A match made in heaven? I think they might exasperate each other. That being said, I love the depth of both of them. Their storyline is rich and it just felt real to me.

Next we're introduced to Everleigh and life in the early 1950s. 1953 to be exact. There was an actual tornado that happened in Waco, Texas which the author wanted to add as the backdrop to Everleigh's storyline. What that poor woman lived through! It's incredible how God can use the terrible things that happen in our lives! Do you ever want to hug a character in a book? That's exactly what I wanted to do with this her.

Then comes along, Don. He's torn between wanting to help Everleigh move away from the past, but his family has expectations of him as well. The choices we have to make aren't always the easy ones, but when God is involved, He makes a way.

I have to tell you, this book was a fast read. I didn't want to put it down. I think it took me a day and a half to read it. I actually cried towards the end, which hasn't happened in ages! I wonder if other readers will be as moved as I was. Thankfully I was by myself as I finished the book so I didn't have to worry about anyone catching me. HA!

While I know this isn't a story that will have a sequel, it certainly makes me wish we could get to know Beck's dad's life from when he was a child until he met her mom. What Everleigh's life was like later on. lol I can't say much because there's so much connection throughout this story. Definitely the reason why I'd like to read "more".

Now you see why I enjoy books written by Rachel Hauck. She brings the reader deep into the story and gets you to invest your heart in them. She also weaves faith in the Lord into the story as well. Of course, this is the most important piece. It gives the reader the opportunity to see how God can work in people's lives, even in the midst of tragedy or going through unforeseen circumstances.

You definitely need to get your hands on this book. I guarantee you'll appreciate the writing style, the characters, and the storyline.

About the Author:

Rachel Hauck is an award winning, New York TimesUSA Today and Wall Street Journalbestselling author.
Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times Book Reviews. She is a double RITA finalist, and a Christy and Carol Award Winner.
Her book, Once Upon A Prince, first in the Royal Wedding Series, was filmed for an Original Hallmark movie.
Rachel has been awarded the prestigious Career Achievement Award for her body of original work by Romantic Times Book Reviews.
A member of the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers, she teaches workshops and leads worship at the annual conference. She is a past Mentor of The Year.
At home, she’s a wife, writer, worship leader and works out at the gym semi-enthusiastically.
A graduate of Ohio State University (Go Bucks!) with a degree in Journalism, she’s a former sorority girl and a devoted Ohio State football fan. Her bucket list is to stand on the sidelines with Ryan Day.
She lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery cat.
Win a copy of The Memory House by entering the giveaway:
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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.