Sunday, August 2, 2015

Where Did Summer Go?

I simply cannot believe that it is already AUGUST. Unreal. Unfathomable. Unfairly true, though! 
This month in Maine there are three "State Fairs" around us happening, and I am a long-time fair fan.

Bangor State Fair opened July 31st and to be absolutely, in a totally only my personal opinion way, this is THE fair to head to if you are in the Piscataquis/Penobscot county area, or the Somerset-heading-toward-Penquis county area, and are either 1) a family with kids that LOVE the rides, or 2) a kid at heart and, also, love the rides! For an almost all inclusive price of $12 at the gate, your bracelet includes fair admission, most shows, all exhibits, and UNLIMITED mechanical rides (anyone wanna Tilt-a-Whirl with me?), a price that is, when compared to other fairs, some of which charge a gate admission and then the bracelet for rides separately, sometimes to the tune of $15/$18/$20, can't be beat. This year Bangor State Fair runs July 31st through August 9th, and they have a lot of new shows and attractions, so check out their website before heading over!

Next up is the fair I grew up at, and it's always a hit especially with "MotorHeads" and the daredevil set, by that meaning the big draws are the Demolition Derbies and the midway, the first place I ever rode the Zipper and the Gravitron! Skowhegan State Fair admission varies this year, with opening day being only $2, weekend dates (the 14th-16th and 21st & 22nd) $10, all other days are $8, and there are special event days where admission is reduced for certain groups, like Senior Citizen Day on the 17th, where all fairgoers 62 and over get in for just $4. Kids 5 and under are free EVERY DAY. All day ride bracelets are $12 on opening day, $17 on the 15th, 16th, and 22nd and $15 every other day. You can find more information on the exhibits, shows, and events here

Finally, at the end of August is MY local fair, the Piscataquis Valley Fair, located in Dover-Foxcroft.  This year's fair runs from August 27th to 30th. While we're a smaller fair, still mostly focused on agricultural competition and animal events, that doesn't mean we don't know how to have fun. If you're a rocker, come out and see Back in Black on the 28th! For those who like country sounds, well, come shake your perspective up a little with Ragged Jack on the 29th. These guys are pure, ragged, Rockabilly sound and you will LOVE them!! Gate admission only $6, find all the details here

I hope your August is filled with fun, fairgoing, relaxing pool or lakeside, great eats with loved ones, and sun, sun, sun!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Have you ever gotten that lost feeling...

I know I have. Several times. The times that it frustrates me, though, are the times I'm trying to get into the Word and just get left feeling like a spectator at a political debate with no information on the candidates, their platforms, or the issues.

Well, that obstacle has finally been removed, thanks to Tyndale House and The Wayfinding Bible. I was given the opportunity to check this Bible out, test drive it if you will, and it is an honest Blessing. I have bought a few versions of the Bible, but this one really honestly speaks TO me, instead of AT me. I know that's a personal perception, but that is why I'm thankful for the many different editions of God's Word out there.

This Bible is helping me understand my faith, the history of my faith, our God, and my savior Jesus better than I ever have. 

There are three reading plans that are integral to the layout and printing of this edition. They are the flyover route, the direct route, and the scenic route. 

The Flyover Route is a collection of 54 readings explaining the most important events in the Bible, and making them understandable, easy to grasp, and relevant to Christians today. I started this plan today, and plan to do the 54 readings over 3 days. It wouldn't surprise me if I complete this route in two, actually. I had to tear myself away simply to write this post! 

The Direct Route is the one I am going to immerse myself in next. 200 readings, and we have 121 days left in the year. I plan to complete one reading each day, but to also double up and read two readings on Wednesdays and Sundays.

The Scenic Route is the plan that I'll start on January 1st, and I'll share my progress here on the blog every couple of days. The Scenic Route is a collection of 400 readings, and I'll read through that one just as I'm going to read through the Direct Route, one a day, but doubling and possibly even tripling up some days as I feel led.

To purchase your own copy of The Wayfinding Bible, simply click HERE

*My copy of The Wayfinding Bible was provided to me free of cost from the Tyndale Blog network in order that I may review it. The opinion shared here is purely my own and no further consideration was given for a positive review. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

That's What Faith Can Do

It seems like such a very, very long time since my heart has been right with God. I lost my dad last September, and I tried the good old adage "fake it til ya make it" but through it all, faked smiles, faked laughs, genuine tears and even some genuine good moments, I was angry. At God. At Alzheimer's. At God for saddling both my parents with Alzheimer's. My mom, rest her soul as well, had been declining slowly for years, and I mean over a decade, closer to 15 years actually, when she finally succumbed so I had time to steel myself for it, and get used to it. My dad went extremely fast. I NEVER "accepted" that the strongest man I knew, who was the 'strong, silent type' most all of my life, was not the same man who raised me, taught me to drive, taught me to weld, to cut pipe, to fix electric issues, plumbing problems, and dang near everything else in my life, couldn't remember who I was, who my children were, most of any given day, then most every day of any week, then at all...I was SO mad, I can admit that now, and slowly I turned my back on God, the God I felt stole my dad from me. I told everyone, "Well, at least he and mom are reunited now." But inside? I felt numb, mostly, with flashes of intense grief and a constant, simmering rage. I completely turned away from my faith, from my Heavenly Father, through my small inward vision, I took the focus off the larger thing that mattered most...through ALL that, I still had, and still HAVE, my Heavenly Father! He's taught me everything, too, because I couldn't have learned it without Him giving me the earthly parents He did. This song, which I heard while station surfing on the radio a couple of weeks ago, froze me. It felt like someone ripped the earplugs out of my ears, and the eyes of my soul opened, and my heart stopped for a moment, and I completely and totally GOT IT. My parents were gone, yes, but HE didn't "take them" away from me. He took them out of pain, and suffering, and misery, into a transformed existence with Him. Wow. Kinda got a bit jealous at that.

I have a new relationship with God today, with my Savior, Jesus, with my family and friends. My co-workers, too. I've noticed the return of my faith has made me excited to greet each day, able to handle the small training tips I felt I didn't need for so long. Able to be proud of my younger co-workers who are above me in status rather than resenting "having" to take instruction and 'orders' from "kids" I rejoice in the strong, smart, funny, dedicated young people I work with each day, and pray for them every chance I get.

With that shared, I am thrilled to be on fire for God. To be infused with creativity and insight for this blog again. To feel whole, and loved, and part of God's family above all!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Coming Soon To the Great Outdoors Near You...

Yes, that's right, Spring is almost here! The vernal equinox is on March 20th this year. Here in Maine we are pretty much assured a few more snowstorms after that date, but hopefully not too much. The past three days have been pretty warm, actually, for this time of year. It hit 42° here yesterday, whew, that is practically shorts 'n t-shirt weather! Today it is only going to be in the teens but since there's no wind, that's not really bad. I think our below zero days are behind us.

I am busy making plans for what needs to be fixed around the homestead once warm weather hits and the snow melts. The first thing is going to be finding out what the issue with our new well-pump not holding a prime is. The fall and winter have been quite hard without running water, but Spring will see that remedied. I also need to diagnose how many pipes are broken, and where, underneath the house and get those replaced. The entire living room and kitchen wiring on the back wall needs re-done. Thank God my Daddy taught me how to do all this stuff, or I'd be living in a faulty-wired box with no water for a LONG time, since it is crazy expensive to hire someone.

The BEST news of the year, so far, is that I got my dream job at Tractor Supply and will be starting right off! I am so excited, the timing is ALL on God, because I have tried to find a job since last winter with no luck, and seeing the setbacks that have happened since then in hindsight, it was all because He knew I'd not be able to keep a job with the setbacks that were looming. I had a short lived gig as a cook at a local pub, LOVED it, miss it, but I've dreamed of working at TSC since I was a little girl, about 7 years old...I'm 33 now lol and it's finally happened!!

I have also been blessed to have a friend ask me to help with their landscaping and gardening this year, meaning that although I have a tiny space here at my home to garden, and will be making great use of it, I will have a HUGE garden elsewhere that I can enjoy working and getting my hands dirty in!

What are your plans for Spring? Share 'em below or share the link to your own blog! I LOVE reading what other homesteaders and rural folk are up to!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Halfway Day

♪Halfway Day, It's Halfway Day♫

And just what is halfway day, you ask? It's December 28th, three days past Christmas and three days until New Year's Eve. For me it is the day I finally get all the Christmas decorations put away, and start reflecting on the past year. I make my Priority One lists, which basically are things that need done around the house and homestead, activities I take part in, and character traits that I need to improve or remove over the year. I choose books that will help me be the woman God made me to be, that will uplift and inspire me to be and do more. I add those to my list to read over the coming year. 

I have done this ever since I was 16 and someone very dear to me told me he had done it for most of his life, since returning home from Vietnam and escorting his only brother's body back. He started by picking one thing he knew his brother wanted to do that he wouldn't get to, one thing about himself he could change for the positive, and one way to give back to the community in his brother's name. His Halfway Day evolved over the years and everyone's of course is going to be a little different. My husband picks two big projects around the homestead, one major outdoor trip and four smaller ones (he says this year, wait...THIS YEAR...we're going to finally do the Allagash!), and ways he wants to give back and reach out. My kids put things on their lists like books they want to read after seeing the movie, or a craft or hobby they want to start or improve on, and one volunteer project or act of giving they want to help with. 

 So, with that said, and at almost lunchtime, I still have some ornaments and lights to box up and lists to finish. 


Monday, November 18, 2013

A Feminine Revolution!

So a few months ago I was generously blessed to be chosen to test and review something I have wanted for a very long time, the Diva Cup. A feminine hygiene product, the Diva Cup will make you think completely different about "that time of the month." I have now been using mine for four months and couldn't be happier to have become a Diva Cup user!

Diva Cup is a silicone cup which is extremely durable and very flexible. It comes with full instructions but is so easy to use that after one or two tries you'll feel like a pro.  Yes, you insert into your lady bits, similar to a tampon, however, there is NO risk of contracting toxic shock syndrome with the Diva Cup because it of the durable silicone it is made from. Cotton or synthetic fiber tampons are a good breeding ground for bacteria, and as we ladies know the longer you leave them in, or the higher the absorbancy level you use, your risk of TSS increases. Not an issue with the Diva Cup. There is no applicator, you do use your hands so if you're squeamish be aware of that detail before hand. However, a plus of this is getting to know your own body and know what's going on with your feminine health. You can wear the cup for up to 12 hours without needing to empty it, whereas with tampons you are urged to change them after 4 hours, it is 'safe' to wear them overnight...but I've never taken that risk because of the fact, I've NEVER felt comfortable or safe wearing tampons for more than two hours, let alone four...and couldn't sleep if I tried to wear one overnight...believe, I've tried...once...on a camping trip when I had no supplies of my own and my friends all wore tampons...yeah, long night, little sleep until I decided to make an improptu pad out of TP and a paper towel. Definitely NOT a fun situation to be caught in!

The Diva Cup comes in two models, one for women under 30 and those who have not had children, and women 30 and older and/or have had kids. I fall into both over 30 and having had kids, so I was sent Model 2, which is shown on the right in the following image:
They also make a cleanser called Diva Wash. It is formulated to clean, deodorize, sanitize, and also increase the lifespan of your Diva Cup. You can also use a simple liquid soap, but it needs to be free of lotions, dyes, and fragrances. Basically Dial liquid, although I use JR Watkins on mine because it's what I keep in the house anyway and it fits the specifications, as well.

As you can see, your Diva Cup comes safely boxed and you also receive a cute storage case. I also LOVE the "Diva" pin it comes with and display it with pride. Diva Cup has restored my sanity, confidence, and comfort during that one week of the month I used to dread. I no longer worry about if I have pads in the house, if I need them, if I'm going to be able to afford them if they're not on sale, if the closest store will even have them or if I'm going to have to drive 30 miles to the nearest Walmart, and so on and so on...Not any longer.

I use a really nifty little app called Period Tracker, which is available in both the iTunes Store and Google Play Store for iOS and Android platforms. There is a free version which works beautifully and a paid upgrade deluxe edition which gives you access to more moods in the journal log. Since I started using PTracker four years ago I have only been 'surprised' by an early visit from Aunt Flo twice. Yes, twice, total, in four years. The app lets you input your cycle and track how long each period lasts, what moods and symptoms you experience not only during your period week but leading up to it and afterwards as well. After you've got three months of established data in your profile it will predict when your next period is due. It only took four months of using the app for me to see what a great tool it is, and to be alert to when my period was due. Now I put my Diva Cup the night before I'm due to start, and have no surprises. It doesn't cause any harm and has saved some embarrassment and a few pairs of panties, as well.

Diva Cup retails for around $20. Visit their website at to find a retailer location near you, or to buy online. Becoming a Diva was the best decision I ever made and I have no regrets! I can't say enough great things about this product and won't be without one again!

*In exchange for posting this review on my blog, I received a Diva Cup free from the manufacturer. I was NOT paid for this review. The opinion shared above is completely unbiased and not swayed in exchange for the product I received.*

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Lord, it's good to be back home again

Here on the blog, I'm talkin' about! I've been away since July for a lot of different reasons. I didn't intend to take a long hiatus...I didn't plan to take any hiatus, actually, but one thing led to another and posting slipped down to the bottom of my priority list, sadly.

Gladly, things have turned completely around and I am able to focus on home, church, and definitely on blogging again.

So, there's a quick update, just to say hello and I'm back, and of course, WELCOME BACK TO MY BLOG! With all that said, November is leading us headlong into my favorite time of year, the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday there are going to be lots of posts with recipes, crafts, book reviews, movie recommendations and reviews, and occasional random postings that pop into my head, of course.

Here's one of my favorite John Denver songs to kick off the morning while I polish up my upcoming post, live here in an hour or so, so stay tuned!