Friday, October 3, 2014

How to get Free Books and More

You may or may not know that I have another blog where I review books and post some creative stuff as well. I am currently participating in the 31 Days Challenge and blogging about 31 different characters that I have created, but not written into any stories yet. So click over and enjoy that. You can also snoop around and see some of the books I have read.

You will notice many of them are from the website Story Cartel. Story Cartel is pretty awesome because they give you free books! You get the book for free if you post an honest review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, etc. You read it and tell other people what you think and you get free books. And that's not all.

You get other free stuff too!





Last month I got this box of great stuff for book readers. A classic novel, moleskin notebooks. candles, tea, coffee, headphones, and a gift card to buy more books! I reviewed a book and was entered in the giveaway. And I won! Even the box they sent it in is cute!  How amazing are these people!

(In case you can't tell by the exclamation points, I'm really excited about it.)

So go check them out, get some free books, review them and get free stuff. It really doesn't get any better.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

River's Deep by Erin Keyser Horn

If you have been around here or my Facebook page for any length of time, you know that I love the books this lady writes. So this one is no exception. In fact I love it so much that I'm going to post a review on here and on my other blog site.

Photo: Folks in the Thomson, Savanna, Morrison area: I'll be at the Heirloom Market & Cafe this Saturday, 9:00 AM to noon, with all my books, including River's Deep! Stop by to chat if you wish!

So here we go with my review praise. (I might as well be honest.)

The character of Kasia  is one of my favorite people. She is honest and fierce in her love of people and protection of them. She is not afraid of the truth, but isn't always willing to share this truth with others. It is that protection thing again. She is trying to find faith, but has trouble loving herself  to believe God can help her. Thankfully she has a strong group of friends around her to push her to be better. Blay, Jen, and Scott never back down from the challenge. They are with Kasia every step of the way. These 4 people will make you believe in love, friendship, faith, and hard work.

The author, Erin Keyser Horn, did an amazing job with this book. She was not afraid to take her characters to hard places and push them through to become better people. The characters don't have an easy journey in front of them, but they really have no other choice. They have to walk through this. Sometimes as a reader it is hard to read as characters go though the hard stuff. This is not one of those books. They go through the hard stuff and we can read that without drowning in the pain. And for me, that is huge!

Some might be hesitant to read a book about the supernatural and God. You shouldn't be! Horn does a fabulous job balancing faith and fantasy. The characters of Slavic mythology fit into the rivers of Illinois and the overall Christian worldview. Some might find the final battle to be telegraphed, but I would disagree with that. The enemies are compelling characters and the heroes areas well. You care about who wins and who loses. The how doesn't matter as much as the who.

The who is the best part of Erin Keyser Horn's novel. These characters will become your friends and you will want to come back and visit them several times.

DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of this book from the author for an honest review.

You can buy it here. And you should buy it!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Good Stuff Saturday 9-6

You may have noticed that I haven't posted a Good Stuff Saturday in a while. I find that I have less time to read blogs these days. So this might become a monthly feature instead of weekly.

Photos

Blue!
Flames and trees
Beautiful land
Bear swimming
Fall beauty
Mountains

A good reminder that what we say and do can make a difference.

This one really made me think about brokenness and holding on.

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Musically Significant Moment

Thanks to today's post from Carl's blog I have a story to tell.


Photo Credit: Chris Moore

This is the story of the day I discovered Jimmy Buffet.

As a grown up looking back on my childhood, I have a few snapshots in my mind of various events. There is the first time I remember throwing up, my Pink Panther cake, and waking up from the surgery on my adenoids. But today's story is the day I discovered Jimmy Buffet.

It was Father's Day around 1986. Well it was before Father's Day. My mom took my brother and I to a record store. Do you remember what those were back in the day when we actually bought physical copies of music albums? Anyway my mom was a brave woman and took a 5 year old and a 3 year old to a music store. I remember being in awe of all the albums they had in the store. I was equally in awe with my mom for being able to go right to the one that she wanted. I had no clue how she managed to pick that one album out of all the ones they had in that massive store.

She went right The Last Mango in Paris. It was a black background with some red words on it by a man named Jimmy Buffet. The words seemed fantastical. I couldn't imagine what story would bring mangoes and Paris together. I couldn't even imagine what a mango was or what Paris was. Who was this person that could use such fun words like mango and Paris in a song? And what were the other songs like?

I'm sure within a day or two we gifted the present to my dad and I know we listened to that tape a lot in the coming years on vacation especially. To this day that is one of my favorite albums. It brings me back to when I was kid and reminds me that songs can tell stories too.

Here are a couple of the amazing songs from this album.




Friday, September 5, 2014

Dear Maggie

Dear Maggie,

I work at Discovery this year. As I have told people where I work, they say, "Isn't that where that teacher...?" They never finish their sentence because the words are too hard to say out loud. The words are even too hard to say in my head.

This week was your birthday. We celebrated at Discovery. We wore pink ribbons and pink clothes because that was your favorite color. They were hoping to get enough cupcakes for everyone to have one. That's about 200. We had 800. That's a lot of cupcakes because there's a lot of love for you. You may not be there physically, but you are there. Your words and guidance still echo through the halls. Your actions still influence our decisions. You seem to roam the halls of the building like a guardian angel watching out for all of us.

Working at Discovery has reinforced an idea that has been roaming around my brain. I am sad that I never really got to know you. I saw you around district functions. I could tell from the way that you carried yourself that you were a good teacher. I could tell that you really cared about the kids. Now I have heard from so many people that you were a really good person too. I find myself missing you even though I never really knew you. I am left with a quote from a student, "Today we celebrate how beautiful she was and how beautiful she made us all feel."

Thank you for making us all feel more beautiful even if we didn't really know you.

Andrea





Monday, September 1, 2014

Beyond Uganda

I recently discovered a company that does good in the world and provides good stuff.

Beyond Uganda


They have purses, stuffed animals, backpacks, and more. They provide training for women in Uganda who then make the items that are sold. With the money they make the women can then buy the sewing machine they are using and eventually go into business for themselves. They also sponsor children that most other sponsor organizations would not. Often the children they sponsor are orphans or handicapped in one way or another. All of that is exciting and I needed a backpack, so I ordered one. I waited to get some confirmation that it was shipped and I didn't get any. So after a few weeks I emailed to ask about it.

I got a SUPER nice email in response that my order had been overlooked as the team had just returned from Uganda at the time of my order. They sent my backpack out right away, but they didn't stop there. They sent me 4 other products because of the delay. How nice is that! I was blown away by the gesture. Then one day last week I actually got my backpack. It is padded and absolutely perfect for me to tote around my work computer. Even the straps are padded so when I have papers to grade in it, they won't hurt my shoulders.




The little purse I got is perfect for my church needs. I never carry a full purse to church because I have to carry a diaper bag and sometimes a bag for the Bibles and other whatnots. I don't need a full purse on top of it. The purse fits my phone, my keys, a couple cards I might need, a pen, chapstick, and my little notebook. It is padded as well.



The little stuffed giraffe is so cute!! I can't wait to order an elephant as well.



I also got a beaded necklace and earrings as well, but I don't have a good picture of them yet. And with the necklace, I got a little card that told me about the woman who made it. A few more things that these amazing people do. They provide clean water as well as educational grants and a classroom adoption program. What don't they do is probably a better question?

So go to http://www.beyonduganda.org and check out all of the stuff they do and the stuff that you can buy. And then support them if you can. They are nice people doing great work.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Good Stuff Saturday 8-30

 

Life has been crazy with getting ready to go back to school and actually going back to school the last two weeks. I have some great blog posts in my head and I might even get them written down this coming week. Thanks for being patient.

Photos

Island in Maine, Aspen trees, Disney Princes


Articles

Maybe we are supposed to be over the Ferguson tragedy by now, but my heart is still breaking for the whole thing.  These are not the definitive words on the situation, but they spoke to me. And this too. I just keep hoping and praying that as a teacher I can do something to make a difference.

When Ferguson, Iraq, depression, murder, missing, diseased, and death get to be too much and threaten to overwhelm me, I can find a little happiness and a little hope in Disney.  Frozen: the feels, Anna and Kristoff, Hans. And this song.

Less liking is a good thing

Small colleges are too.