Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Helpful Chart

I've been hearing stories from several friends that have lead me to believe that there are husbands out there that need some guidance on when it is and is not okay to talk to their wife about her weight. I know that many of these women made New Year's resolutions to lose weight. Some put on a little extra winter padding over the holidays. Their wives may be openly expressing dissatisfaction with their own figures. This leads to the husband's confusion. It is understandable. It happens to the best of husbands from time to time. This is why I have made the chart. I made it as basic as possible. If you right click on it, you can make it full size and print it up for the man in your life. Leave it on his pillow, on the refrigerator, or in the bathroom. Wherever he is most likely to see it. Encourage him to share it with friends. It could save a marriage or a life.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Trying Walmart's Pickup Service

For years I have wished there was such a thing as a drive through window at store that sold milk and bread. When I am sick or have a sick kid, the last thing I want to do is go to the store. Unfortunately, it is also usually the first thing I need to do. Walmart has decided to test out a program that answers this need. In theory you go online, pick out what you need, schedule a pickup time, and pay. I got a lovely coupon code for my first try, so I wanted to test it while everyone was healthy. Here is how it went.
I logged on to the site, which was pretty quick since I already have a Walmart account.
Selecting what I needed was fairly easy. I had a list to go from and know the name of the brands of I wanted. The search tool worked well. What I was looking for was usually within the first few search results. However, if you just put in a search like "cheese" you will probably end up with 35 pages to scroll through.
I was happy to see that everything I needed was available. I purchased can goods, yogurt, cereal, and even a couple of pillows.
There is a minimum order of $30, but who goes into Walmart and spends less than $30 anyway.
When it came time to schedule the pick up I noticed that the earliest time was the 4 to 6 window, which is too late for me, but perfect if someone wanted their husband to pick it up on the way home from work. I selected the 9 to 11 morning time slot for the next day.
At check out I thankfully noticed a box that said "substitutions". If you don't want them randomly substituting in a different product in the event that the one you purchased is not available, you have to uncheck that box.
My biggest concerns were that I would get yogurt that expired tomorrow or that the system didn't know they were out of half my order.
This morning I got a call 15 minuted before my pick up time to remind me. They asked me to call ten minutes before I planned on being there.
I had to stop at the bank on the way, so I called as I left there. It probably didn't take me ten full minutes, so I was a bit early.
There was a handy diagram in my confirmation email showing me wear to park, as well as a few small signs in the parking lot. The parking spaces themselves were clearly marked with orange lines
I pulled up and someone came straight out asking if I was another customer. I told her that I was not her, I was early, and gave her the correct name. I waited maybe five minutes for her to return. She pulled a flat cart with baskets that had my sacks in it, and went to my trunk and loaded them in. I signed a digital thing saying I got them, and that was it.
I looked at everything when I got home. It was all there, in good shape, and in good date.
I was 100% satisfied.
I hope it continues to be like this. I can foresee this going the way of fast food with wrong orders and bad service, but for now I am giving it two thumbs up and am really excited to cut down on the amount of time I spend in the store.
This would also be great if you had a friend with a new baby or an illness. They could order what they need, pay, and you could deliver for them.
Right now it is still in the testing phase so not everyone has it. My hometown does not, but all the ones local to me now do.
If you'd like to give it a test run, us my referral code for $10 off your first purchase.
refer.walmart.com

Let me know how it goes for you. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Another year, another box

My children tried to convince me that we needed a Steve head to add to our 8 bit pumpkin and creeper, but something about that just seemed wrong, so I suggested Enderman instead. A normal person could paint a box black, cut 2 eye holes, throw a purple light and be done, but let's be real here, normal people don't make 8 bit jack-o-lanterns to start with. Although, this has been the easiest one to date.
My supplies:
Square box
Black craft paint
The darkest gray craft paint
Yard stick
Pencil
Paintbrush
And I'll explain that other thing later

I started this one by just painting the whole box black. I was able to use a foam craft brush and it went very quickly.

I did my usual grid layout from a template online, and added in the gray (more than I thought there would be)
In case you can't figure out my code, blank squares are gray, "B" squares are black.

Now for the weird part. His eyes are suppose to glow purple. What I recommend doing is finding purple lighting gels to cover the eye holes. What I actually did was buy a packet of plastic dividers from the school supply section and cut the purple one to size making it two layers thick. This is probably a horrible idea. It could melt or burst into flames maybe, but I decided to risk it and promise to keep a paranoid eye on it Halloween night.  

For extra glow eyes I found a string of all purple holiday lights. I cut a square out of the back to thread the lights through and taped them to hang inside the box for a bit of a three dimensional effect. 

Here is our full finished stack for the year.
The teal one on top is for The Teal Pumpkin Project. Basically, it means our house offers both candy and a "not candy" treat option for the kids with allergies. We participate because something as simple as a peanut should not steal all the fun from the night for a kid. 

Here is a link to the Creeper post
And a link to the original Pumpkin post

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Too White

My son was just sent home from school for being too white. Well, actually he was sent home because he felt sick, but had he not been so white, I don't think they would have called. Today at school he got a little queasy, and was sent to the nurse. When the blood drains from an already pale face you get something close to the color of a dead body. It tends to freak people out. Even medical people. Normally, school nurses like to see actual proof of sickness. If you aren't having a fever and actively being sick, then usually you have to really sell it. Another kid was there who had blacked out and rolled down a hill, and the nurse was asking her if she wanted to try to go back to class. JD, on the other hand, walks in pale and without a question the nurse says to him, "You need to call your mom. You are going home." So, he is home with me, nibbling on crackers and cereal, feeling fine. His blood sugar was just low and he had too much orange juice and not enough real food in his system. 
While I am on the subject of JD, I need to brag on him a bit.
We are fans of the Pop! figures. They are adorable and fun. We love looking through the new ones at the store. It has gotten to be a running joke with us that we have seen all of the ones from the show Firefly except for Wash. We look for him every time. It isn't that they are sold out. It is because the store doesn't think his character is popular enough to stock (we asked). I started to feel bad for him.
It was recently my birthday. I was informed that Jack had picked out a present on his own, tracked it down online, and gotten his dad to get it for me. 100% his doing.

Look at the tiny dinosaur! 

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Very Revealing

Recently it has been bothering me that my hair had turned kind of a blah brown, so I went to the store and bought magic shampoo. This shampoo promised to bring life back into my hair. It was going to reveal the color and highlights that had been beaten down. About a month into using it, I realized that it had in fact brought out my natural color. It was shiny and healthy, just as promised. What I didn't count on was finding out that my natural color, hidden under that brassy haze of styling products and life's mess, wasn't the brown of my youth, it was gray . Let's not say gray. Let's go with silver. Silver sounds more exciting. Rocky tells me that God and I are the only ones who would notice the higher number. He loves me and tends to say things like that to keep me from being neurotic.  It seems especially obvious around my crown. My first thought was a bit of dread. I don't want to start coloring my hair. I'm cheap, hate going to have my hair done, and don't trust myself to handle it at home. But, women who aren't 50 yet have to dye their hair, right? The funny thing is, the more I looked, the more I liked them. Those silver strands proving my maturity. They kind of sparkle in the right light. I don't want to cover up a natural sparkling silver crown! I'm sure I might one day change my mind, especially if the sparkle starts to dominate, but for now, I'm kind of loving the glimpses of silver here and there.
I was thinking about this at church Sunday. Our church is going to have a revival in October, and for the time leading up to it, our pastor has asked us to pray about renewal twice a day for 4 minutes each time. That is spending 8 minutes a day for a whole month inviting God to reveal our true color. Much like my hair discovery, my first reaction was a bit of dread. This kind of renewing isn't always smooth. Sometimes God uncovers something we didn't know was there. That can be hard or even painful, but sometimes that pain is of our own making. 
In 2 Samuel 9, we read the story of Mephibosheth (ma-fib-o-sheth) who hid out in a terrible place trying to avoid David because he thought David would hurt him. When David did catch up to him, he invited him to his table like one of his own sons. In case you didn't know, David was the king of pretty much everything awesome at the time. Mephibosheth was even lame because of trying to hide. All that pain and suffering to just avoid getting treated like a prince. I'd like to not repeat his mistake. 
So, with Mephibosheth in mind, I quote Psalms 139: 23 & 24
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life." 



One other verse that I am playing on repeat during this is the always encouraging Jeremiah 29:11. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." God loves us and tends to say things like that to keep us from being neurotic.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Indivisible

My mother made a comment to me awhile ago that has been turning over in my mind a lot lately. She said that one of the main difference Ronald Reagan made as president was that he made us patriotic again. One of my earliest memories is of Reagan getting elected, so I don't really remember what the country was like before that. I've heard stories of gas lines, hatred towards the military, mistrust thanks in large part to Watergate (the first and only actual "gate" scandal), and just a general dissatisfaction. What I remember is the US beating the Russians at hockey, hostages being released, and the literal wall of communism being brought down.
In the 80's, if someone mentioned that the U.S. was the richest country in the world, we said "Yeah, it is!" If someone pointed out that we had the most fearsome military we responded with, "Hoorah!"  When it was pointed out that the U.S. was a Christian nation, we said, "God Bless America!!!".  Now, the response to all of those is, "I'm sorry." What happened?
It may seem like a side effect or trival, but the more I think about it, the more it seems like a major problem. When you no longer take pride in the condition of something, you often neglect the upkeep of that thing. That is what is going on. We have neglected to upkeep our great nation. We have thrown out all moral codes, chipped away at what use to be basic freedoms, and compromised our financial structure in a strange effort to prove we aren't better than anyone else.
People! It is okay to be the best at something. It is okay to be happy we were born into the freedom this country provides. It is okay that our country is so rich that even our poor people have more than some of the middle class in a third world country. We don't need to apologize. We don't need to give our stuff away. What we need to do is educate the world on how we got here. The cold war didn't end because of an apology. It was just the opposite. It ended because our way of life was clearly better, and we weren't going to back down or be ashamed of it. 
I think a lack of patriotism is at the heart of low voter turn out and uninformed voters. I recently heard a radio guy talking about how to get more people interested in voting, and the most common answer people gave was to entertain and feed people. This actually made me a little sick. I believe in the American voting system. I mean, hardcore, can't imagine not voting, have to know, believe in it. It's not just a right, it is a responsibility. We are charged with electing people who will preserve and protect the American way of life. If you are busy being embarrassed by that way of life or feel that you are owed something by it, then voting (certainly, informed voting) becomes a hindrance to you. We should not need a reason to vote beyond the fact that we have been blessed to be citizens of this great nation and are responsible for maintaining a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. 
When I was a kid, I remember my dad listening to a recording of John Wayne talking about patriotism. It stuck in my mind when he said that the National Anthem should not only bring you to your feet, but should give you chills up your arms every time you hear it. Can you imagine an actor unabashedly standing up to support the idea that we should be so in love with our country that we are willing to die for it? That is what John Wayne did, and by YouTube evidence, he did it fairly often. 
I don't think patriotism will solve all our country's problems, but I think a surge of it would go a long way towards healing the divide that has become so evident in this land. It is something I will be asking myself before I vote in the presidential primary, and then the election. Which canidate truly loves this country? Who wants to see it restored? Who recognizes that a revival is needed? If I said to them, "We live in the greatest nation in the world!", would they ask me to sit and be quiet or would they yell "Amen!"

Stand up people! We are awesome, and it is high time we remember that.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Oh, the irony!

This past week a high school marching band was told to sit out halftime instead of doing their show because the show included the song "How Great Thou Art", which is a classic Christian hymn. As with any story like this, there is more to the story. In a nutshell, this school in Mississippi had someone sue them over not having religion in school because they were praying at events and such. The school lost and has already violated the order once. The Washington Post has the order as stating this, "Defendants are permanently enjoined from including prayer, religious sermons or activities in any school sponsored event including but not limited to assemblies, graduations, award ceremonies, athletic events and any other school event. That means administrators, teachers and staff of the Rankin County School District may not participate in any religious activity, or solicit or encourage religious activities at school or while performing duties as a RCSD employee." The judge did not say specifically they couldn't play this song, but I can see where the district would assume it was off limits.
Friday night, while the band sat silent, people in the stands sang the song, and the Christians in the country went wild. It was a fun moment of mild civil disobedience. The story and video have been shared across the country. That is the part that makes it ironic to me.
A band director I know, who I won't name, sneaks a classic hymn into almost every one of his band's concerts. He doesn't make a big deal about it. It is usually in the middle of a innocently name medly, and I'd be surprised if more than a handful of people noticed. Why? Because when a high school band plays, it is just notes. No words, no witness, no gospel, just notes. 
If this band had taken the field last Friday night and played as planned, a few in the crowd would have smiled, some may have sung to themselves, and many others would have taken the moment to run to the bathroom and stop at the concession stand never noticing that a hymn was being played. Now, because someone insisted that this kind of thing can not be done, people who would have never heard of the Rankin County school's rendition of "How Great Thou Art" have not only heard the notes, but have heard the words, which is actually what makes it a Christian song. By opposing it, they have actually spread the message of this song better than the marching band would have even if they had won a national band competition. Excellent work Angry Atheist!

In the theme of words making the song, did you know that you can sing the words of "Amazing Grace" to the tune of the theme song of "Gilligan's Island"? And that the notes part of the National Anthem was first written by a British guy for men's social club? In spite of that, I have never once heard "The Star Spangled Banner" and been overcome with the desire to play cricket.