Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Opening New Doors!

That's what we get to do every time we leave the house, or come back home now!

Our landlord bought 2 new doors for the house a couple of months ago. Ray was supposed to replace them, and deduct the installment cost from the rent. He replaced the side door shortly thereafter. However, he got busy with work after that, (PTL) and then we got nothing but rain...and even snow...for weather after that for quite some time. Finally, this past weekend, the weather cooperated, and Ray got a chance to replace the back door, which is the one we use most of the time.

This is what the inside of the old door looked like, after Ray removed the trim around it. It wasn't that bad looking...for an old door. However, there was so much cold air coming in around this thing last Winter that it was unbelievable! I'm not sure how much money went out that door, while the cold winds were entering in. We should stay much warmer (and richer) this year.
Here's what the new door looks like. He still needs to put the trim around it. I'm sure CJ will get after him about that. He told him last night, "Grandpa, you're NOT finished with your door project yet!!" That was after Ray had spent a couple of hours finishing the trim around the OUTSIDE! LOL!

As an added plus, the new door lets a lot more light in than the old door...which really helps, since there is no light in the entryway.

Here's the old door from the outside, Ray had to remove the canopy first, since it was attached to the old door frame. I was a little afraid those bricks were going to fall down on his head! I made sure he had his cell phone close, while CJ and I ran some errands...just in case!

Here's the brand new door with the new trim around it. Ray plans on adding another canopy sometime too...but that may not happen until we get some nice weather again for a few days. I think it looks great...except for the smudges that the dogs already put on it...stupid animals.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Happy 5th Birthday, CJ! (updated)

My grandson turned 5 today! Finally. At least in his eyes...he's been waiting for this birthday for a long, long time and counting down the days. I woke him up this morning, by singing Happy Birthday to him. He opened his eyes and said, "Is it REALLY my birthday?" Like it was too good to be true. And then he said to his dog, "Finn, can you believe it's my birthday?"

Unfortunately, his mother can't be with him today, because she's in Texas, doing some training for the Air Force Reserves. But she sent him a couple of presents. CJ really likes the "PS man" because he brings him stuff all the time! Anyway, we let him open one of them the day they came...he just couldn't STAND to wait to open both of them. It was a video game for his V-motion. He's waiting for Mama to call him right now, so she can watch him open the other one via webcam. Ahhh...the wonders of modern technology!

This afternoon, we have a party planned with his cousins at "Space Aliens." That should be fun...I'll have to post more pics later.

(update 10 days later)

Well, I'm finally getting around to adding the pictures from his actual birthday party. Unfortunately, in my rush to get to the party, I forgot to grab my SD card, so I was only able to take as many pictures as my camera's internal memory could hold.
It was the first time I'd been to Space Aliens, and it was not a bad deal. For $75, you get a party package for up to 6 kids. They have a party room, aptly called "Area 51" where they set up the party. Each child gets their own indivdual pizza, a small drink, a prize bag including 25 tokens for the game room, and ice cream. It's $10 extra for each additional child. I just wish I'd included Molly and her friend Liz as extra kids...I spent a lot more than $10 on each of them.

Tiegen, Elizabeth, Katie, Christian, Molly and Liz

Katie, Christian and Molly
Time to open presents!

First, was a GI Joe ninja sword and mask from Shelby and Tanner

Christian was thrilled with it--that's Shelby watching him open it.

Here's what he got from Tiegen & Grayson...Shelby looks like she's thinking, "Oh brother!"

Coincidentally, he got another K'nex semi truck from Katie and Liz! GMTA!
I think Katie decided to bump a balloon up in the air, just as I snapped this one.

Ray and I got him this walkie-talkie set with a base station.

Thanks to everyone who attended, and made Christian's 5th birthday a very special one!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"Extraordinary" by John Bevere ~ Book Review and Giveaway!

Wow! I just finished reading "Extraordinary: The Life You're Meant to Live" by John Bevere. There is a lot of great information in this book. In some ways it reminds me very much of the Beth Moore bible study that I participated in a few years ago, entitled "Believing God." Both Beth Moore and John Bevere, basically say that there is much more to "Grace" than most Christians even realize. Yes, it is our free gift of salvation...but it's so much more than that. We all need to understand that grace is "God's unmerited empowerment, which gives us the ability to do what truth demands of us." We have been made new, and need to start living that way. We have the power that raised Jesus from the dead, available to us. We just need to tap into it through faith. This is a book that every Christian needs to order to live the full and God-pleasing life that was meant for us to live.

This incredible book is available for purchase from


There’s a question that troubles many believers: “Why am I not experiencing more joy, more hope, more satisfaction, more intimacy, more power, more everything in my Christian life--didn’t Jesus promise that?”

He did promise an abundant life, but too many people are trapped by the curse of “the ordinary.” They have accepted the wrong idea that following God means losing individuality, creativity, and a passion for achieving lofty goals.

Nothing could be further from the truth! John Bevere builds a convincing case, straight from Scripture, for a way of living marked by extraordinary experiences and accomplishments—the life God always intended for his children.

Here is a guide to understanding God’s incredible plans, and how to enjoy a life where he adds the “extra” to “ordinary.”

Author Bio:
John Bevere is an internationally popular conference speaker, teacher, and author of bestsellers, including The Bait of Satan, Drawing Near, and Driven by Eternity. His award-winning curriculum and books have been translated in over sixty languages and his weekly television program, The Messenger, is broadcast around the world. John and his wife, Lisa—also a bestselling author and speaker—reside with their family in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Visit his ministry website at

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, and they also provided me with an extra copy to give away to one of my readers!

Win! Win! Win! Win Win!

All you need to do to enter, is to leave me a comment after this post. I will choose a winner by random drawing on November 1, 2009. This contest is open to residents of the continental U.S. only. Please make sure to include an email address, so I can contact you in the event that you win. Good luck!
And the winner is....Sarah H! Congratulations, Sarah! I'll get your book to you ASAP. I know you'll enjoy it as much as I did.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Global Warming?!?!

Yeah....riiiiiiiiight. I, for one refuse to believe it. We have had one of the coldest Summer's on record, and after a rather nice (but short) Fall...we got SNOW on October 9th this year. I suppose that's not unheard of here in MinneSNOWta, but the first snow of the year generally melts as it hits the bare ground, and even the white stuff sitting atop the grass, normally melts by days end.

We had our monthly "Ladies' Night Out" at church last night, and as someone was leaving around 1 am, they came back in to warn the rest of us that our vehicles were covered with snow. I think partially because the rest of us didn't want to go out and face the cold facts, we settled in and chit-chatted for another two hours. Finally, at about 3am, we wandered out into the parking lot...and found this:

Luckily, I did have a scraper in my vehicle...most of the others ended up using credit cards to scrape their windows...but none of us had gloves...and it was c-c-c-cold! A couple of the girls even had a little 3 am snowball fight...but i didn't participate. I took this picture of my van, thinking that the snow would be melted by the time we got up this morning, and no one would believe it was even there. I was wrong.

Of course, when CJ woke up this morning, he was pretty excited about going out to play, and wanted to put his new winter coat, hat and mittens on to try them out. Fortunately, last year's model of boots and snow pants still fit him. He was having a blast just running around in the white stuff, despite the bitterly cold I guess he stayed warm enough.

I think he was trying to do the hand signs that the big kids always do in the picture above...but it kinda loses something with his fingers inside the mittens!

Despite my dislike of the cold and the early snow, I was struck by the awesome beauty of the brightly colored leaves intermingled with the sparkling whiteness, and the still-green blades of grass peeking out between them.

CJ was running around being silly, and "posing" for me. I wanted to get his attention for a close-up, so I asked him how many days there were until his fifth birthday...

I'm guessing he's holding eight fingers up underneath those mittens!

Oh well, I just hope this snow has not quite moved in for the season...we've got things to do before then. Ray put in a new door on the side of the house about a month ago, but he's either been busy working elsewhere, or it's been raining out ever since that time. We NEED to get the new back door installed. I was reminded just how much cold air comes in around the old one today, while the frigid winds of winter were inviting themselves in.

Friday, October 2, 2009

"If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil" by Randy Alcorn ~ Book Review

Wow! This review is about a week late in coming, but I wanted to make sure I read at least MOST of this incredible book. The size of this book alone is a bit overwhelming, but once you start reading it, you won't want to quit. The author does not claim to know all the answers, and in fact, says that our finite minds are obviously too small to even comprehend the ways of God, which is something I just said to my husband a few days BEFORE I read it...(GMTA), but he does attempt to explain WHY evil exists in the world. He offers many different compelling reasons, including the fact that God is the ultimate author, of the greatest story ever told. We humans, (who are made in His image), would not enjoy a book or a movie that had absolutely no conflict, and no hero riding in to "save the day", so why would God write the stories of our lives that way? We will not know the ending or the reasons for everything that occurred in our lives until we get to heaven.

There is so much in this book, (and I still have not read it all), that it absolutely boggles the mind...but it has many compelling arguments as to why the existence of evil does not mean there is no God, but on the actually proclaims His very existence and glorifies Him by the fact that He is great enough to conquer it all! He says it much better than I ever could though, so you'll just have to read it for yourself. The book is available from for $24.99 and is WELL worth it!

Here is a summary of the book:
Every one of us will experience suffering. Many of us are experiencing it now. As we have seen in recent years, evil is real in our world, present and close to each one of us.In such difficult times, suffering and evil beg questions about God--Why would an all-good and all-powerful God create a world full of evil and suffering? And then, how can there be a God if suffering and evil exist? These are ancient questions, but also modern ones as well. Atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and even former believers like Bart Ehrman answer the question simply: The existence of suffering and evil proves there is no God.In this captivating new book, best-selling author Randy Alcorn challenges the logic of disbelief, and brings a fresh, realistic, and thoroughly biblical insight to the issues these important questions raise. Alcorn offers insights from his conversations with men and women whose lives have been torn apart by suffering, and yet whose faith in God burns brighter than ever. He reveals the big picture of who God is and what God is doing in the world–now and forever. And he equips you to share your faith more clearly and genuinely in this world of pain and fear. As he did in his best-selling book, Heaven, Randy Alcorn delves deep into a profound subject, and through compelling stories, provocative questions and answers, and keen biblical understanding, he brings assurance and hope to all.

Author Bio:
Randy Alcorn is the founder and director of Eternal Perspectives Ministries and a bestselling author. His novels include Deadline, Dominion, Edge of Eternity, Lord Foulgrin’s Letters, The Ishbane Conspiracy, and the Gold Medallion winner, Safely Home. He has written eighteen nonfiction books as well, including Heaven, The Treasure Principle, The Purity Principle, and The Grace and Truth Paradox. Randy and his wife, Nanci, live in Oregon and have two married daughters and four grandsons.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Crazy Happenigs ~ And Book Winners announced!

I know I said I would draw names for these books on our anniversary yesterday, but due to some crazy things happening around our town, I got a bit distracted.

Unfortunately, some sick soul decided to plant numerous incendiary devices around town. One at the high school, one at the post office and one at the public utilities building. Apparently, they turned out not to be extremely dangerous, but the person or persons that did this went to great lengths to make them LOOK like they were. Meanwhile, police and fire departments from neighboring counties came to help, two bomb squads were called in, the FBI and the ATF were called in too. It was a little scary...They sent all the school kids home at 9:30AM, and thankfully, no one was injured or anything...but it was definitely a CRAZY day.

Now, on to my winners...the book "Stray Affections" goes to Carol G! And for "The Book That Made America" I have two copies to give away. One goes to Lisa of QTPies7 and the other winner is Debbie from Deb's Desk! But wait...that's not all, also win a copy of "Stray Affections" since I have an extra copy of that book, donated by my friend Daisy, who also reviewed this book but had no takers. It's your lucky day! I'll get those books out to all of you just as soon as I can. Congratulations!

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