April Reading

I didn’t get much reading done in the month of April and my goal of reading 4 books a month was not met.  I completed only two books this month.  It was a busy month filled with doctor appointments and medical procedures and I just didn’t seem to be in the mood to read.  A great deal of the reading I accomplish is at night in bed before turning out the light and the usual act of propping my head up on two pillows seems to be aggravating my neck pain.  So my bedtime reading has drastically decreased here lately. Here’s the two books I did read:

  1.  Falling Into Grace: Exploring Our Inner Life With God– by John Newton

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I was interested in reading this book after hearing about an Episcopal church book club in the area who was doing a study of the book.  I also read some about it on a blog I came across.  The author is an Episcopal priest in the diocese of Texas and serves as the Bishop’s Chief of Staff.  It’s  a short book, but don’t let that fool you.  I found it to be very deep and one I couldn’t read through quickly.  Each chapter had thought-provoking discussion questions at the end.

From the Amazon comment page: “Jesus was quite clear that we must lose our life before we find it. This book gives a hopeful and realistic look at what losing our life entails, articulating how “growth” in the Christian life is not our ascent to God but the process by which our eyes are opened to the beauty God has already given to us. It is a book about descending into God, and into our own inner depths, about the deep waters of the Christian faith. “Put out into the deep and let your nets down for a catch.”

In the introduction, John Newton says:

Grace is not some spiritual vitamin we take that helps us control our life, but the all-consuming experience of God’s Life taking over, which always leaves us more relinquished to God than before.  It is an experience that feels an awful lot like falling.  Like Jacob, we limp away from the encounter with God not quite sure what happened or what to make of the experience.

Jesus routinely told us that he came, not to teach us how to succeed, but rather how to fall, lose, and die.

This book extends the invitation to us to let ourselves fall.  I understood the grace and healing power of God a little better after reading this book.

I enjoyed this book but I think I would have liked it even more had I read it with a group in a book-study format with discussion.  Like I said, it was deep (or I thought it was anyway).

2.  Your Body’s Many Cries For Water: You’re Not Sick; You’re Thirsty                     Don’t Treat Thirst With Medication– by F. Batmanghelidj, M.D.

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From Amazon’s comment page (with some spelling and grammar correction by yours truly):  This is the third edition of Dr. F. Batmanghelidj’s classic water book! This book, based on a pioneering physician’s twenty years of clinical and scientific research into the role of water in the body, explains a breakthrough discovery that Unintentional Chronic Dehydration(UCD) produces stress, chronic pains and many painful degenerative diseases. Dry mouth is not the only sign of dehydration; waiting to get thirsty is wrong. You will learn the different signals of thirst when your body is calling for water. Simply adjusting your water intake – yes, water! Natural, pure water!- can help you to live a healthier, pain-free life. Learn: How to naturally prevent and reverse conditions such as asthma, allergies. How to naturally eliminate pains including heartburn, back pain, arthritis, colitis pain, migraine headaches. How to use water to prevent and combat premature aging. How to lose weight effortlessly, without strict dieting.”

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I’ll start off by saying this is a controversial book and I knew that before delving into it. The biggest problem is that there doesn’t seem to be much factual research provided by the author.  He provides lots of testimonials from people who believe in his claims and anecdotal evidence but it wasn’t backed by research.  So I did have a lot of “issues” with this book.

That being said, I think a lot of what this doctor says is true.  Most people DON’T drink enough water and most of us walk around in a chronically dehydrated state.  I certainly don’t think water is a cure-all for every disease but I do think drinking more water can help many medical conditions.  As a GERD sufferer myself, I was particularly interested in his claims that water can greatly help those who suffer with acid reflux.

So while I questioned a lot of what was written in this book, the big take-home message for me after reading it was that I was not drinking near enough water and I needed to start!  Soooo…. I’m giving up my sweet tea (believe me that might just kill this southern gal) and I’m incorporating more water drinking (much more) into my weight loss program.   Yesterday I drank 80 oz. of ice water which was quite an accomplishment for me as drinking plain water has always just been hard for me.  I’m discovering that as I drink more water, I don’t really want anything else in the way of beverages.

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Happy water drinking and happy reading!

Are you a big water drinker?  Did you read anything interesting in April?  Leave a comment if you so desire.

Gail ♥

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Things I’m Loving These Days

  1.  Aladdin Insulated Cold To-Go 20 oz. Tumbler

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I’m trying to drink a lot more water which has been difficult for me since I’ve just never been much of a water drinker.  I’m making a conscientious effort though to get healthier and lose some weight and I think drinking more water (a lot more in my case) is going to play a key role.  I’ve started to drink ice water from the time I get up in the morning until a few hours after the dinner time meal.  I purchased this Aladdin sea green double wall insulated tumbler at Target a year or so ago.  It doesn’t sweat and so keeps the table surface and your hands dry.  It’s efficient and keeps the ice from melting for hours and therefore the water stays cold.  It’s dishwasher safe, comes with a reusable sturdy smoothie-sized straw, and it’s the perfect size.  The tumbler also comes in different colors to choose from (there’s also a clear tumbler and a fuchsia colored tumbler that aren’t pictured).  I really like this tumbler!
L7641822 2.  Wooden giraffe and baby—carved in Kenya

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I found this on clearance in an Alabama Home Goods store.  Since I was heavily into the Giraffe hysteria that took over the world recently while awaiting April the Giraffe to have her calf, I couldn’t resist buying two of these.  I gave one to a friend of mine and her husband who were also on April-watch.  I have mine sitting on my mantle.  It’s perfect and makes me smile.  I think I’m a true giraffe-aholic now.

3.  Red Tea Kettle

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I go through tea kettles like there’s no tomorrow.  The spring-loaded trigger spout on my last kettle broke and so it was time for another.  I’ve had all colors.  Since I love pigs and have a pig-themed kitchen, I’ve even had 2 pink tea kettles.  A dear friend from church once told me that her mother told her that you should always have something red in every room of your house.  Even if it’s only a single red rose, because just having that little splash of red will “liven” up a room.  We were discussing this in book club at church one day and I had never heard this.  I do have red in most of my rooms but since I didn’t have red in my kitchen, I decided I would try a red tea kettle.  I found this red matte kettle at Target. I’m very happy with it…. I just wish it whistled a little louder!   I could hear my old tea kettle whistle from any room in the house but this one has a much softer whistle.  Good thing my kitties always “alert” me when my kettle is whistling and will hunt me down meowing loudly to let me know the water is boiling. God love ’em… what would I do without them?

4.   Waterpik Water Flosser

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The dental hygienist and my dentist recommended this to me for years before I finally went out and bought one.  Ashamedly, I’ll admit that it was another few years before I actually took the thing out of the box and used it!  What can I say?  I’m such a procrastinator.  I guess I just refused to believe that it could be more effective than regular dental floss but boy was I wrong.  It took a nasty gum infection caused by a popcorn shell to get me to finally break it out of the box and use it.  I’ve been using it daily ever since and I’m amazed at the difference in my gum health.  It’s rechargeable and portable.  And yes, it really DOES work much better than regular dental floss. Moral of the story?  Don’t be stubborn like me.  Listen to those dental professionals!

5. Copper Nonstick pan

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I got one of these for Christmas and was curious to see if it would live up to all the hype I’d heard about them.  It has.  I really like cooking with it.  So far I haven’t found anything that sticks in it and it washes so easily.  Now I’m seriously thinking about getting one of the Red Copper Square ™ pans as it holds a little more and is deeper.  I’m such a sucker for these As Seen on TV products.

6.  The blooming beauty of spring-time

The rain’s been hard on the spring flowers this year (we’ve really had a lot of heavy downpours in the past few weeks).  My azalea was beautiful as always but only for a day or two before the wind and rain knocked all the blooms to the ground.  Several of my irises have bloomed (definitely my fav flower)!  The peonies bloomed just a couple of days ago but the rain got them last night and they’re gasping on the ground now.

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These are my next door neighbor’s Azaleas…. so beautiful!

Gail ♥

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Favorite Perfumes

I’ve loved perfume for as long as I can remember.  As a child, I can still remember pulling up a chair to my mother’s dresser and climbing up to look at her perfume collection and sometimes dabbing a bit behind my ears.

I have memories of perfume scents from middle and high school.  There was green apple perfume that I loved and my mother despised (she didn’t like when I chewed the Super Bubble green apple bubble gum either so maybe she just didn’t like green apple).  I can still hear her telling me to go spit that stinky gum out!  I loved the bottle that this perfume came in as well as the scent!  It smelled just like an apple!

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There was Charlie Perfume.

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I loved Jontue.

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And le Jardin.  Do they still make this?  It had such a sweet flowery smell.

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There was Tabu.  It had to be worn sparingly as it  could be really overpowering.  My oldest sister wore this one a lot.

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Another favorite was Jungle Gardenia.  It could be very strong too.  I wish they still made it.

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I loved White Shoulders.  I bought some a few years ago but it just wasn’t the same.

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My roommate in college always wore Chloe or Halston.  To this day when I smell either of those scents, I think of her.

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I loved Avon’s Honeysuckle perfume.  I remember how upset I was when they discontinued it.  I’ve never found another honeysuckle perfume that smelled as good as Avon’s.  The only problem is that bees and wasps liked it too.  I can remember being chased by bees when I wore this in college!

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My favorite scent by far in my teenage years was Heaven Sent.  It seemed every girl in the neighborhood wore this perfume.  It’s still a favorite with me but it is hard to find these days.  I love the fresh baby powder scent.

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Today, I wear a lot of Design perfume.   I get so many compliments on this perfume.  I’m amazed at how many times I’ll get on an elevator and someone will say, “Someone’s wearing Design Perfume.”  Even men seem to know the scent by name.

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I also like Pleasures by Estee Lauder but I’ve been out of it for a while (hint hint family).  Just kidding—they don’t read my blog.

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It’s funny how perfumes can take you back in time or remind  you of a certain person. My mother always wore Chantilly so I think of her whenever I smell it.

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My other sister wore Evening in Paris.  I always thought the bottle was pretty.

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What perfume scents do you like?

Gail ♥

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Sunday Glory- The Creation Museum and Ark Encounter Trip

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.   Genesis 1:1-2

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I spent this past Thursday traveling to Northern Kentucky with my oldest sister.  On Friday we spent about 6 hours touring The Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. It’s a 75,000-square foot facility where we walked through biblical history, saw some pretty remarkable exhibits, toured the outdoor botanical gardens and a petting zoo. There was a special effects theater, a planetarium, an insectorium, dinosaur exhibits, a cafe and zip lines.  The museum has been visited by 2.5 million guests since its opening and I was almost convinced that all 2.5 million of them had come that day!  Yes, it was very crowded (buses and buses of church folk) and we stood in some long lines to see everything but no complaining from me as it was worth every bit of the waiting.

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Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden

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The Botanical Gardens at The Creation Museum

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Petting zoo at The Creation Museum

Saturday, we ventured to Williamstown, Kentucky to the Ark Encounter, a full-sized Noah’s Ark, built according to the dimensions given in the bible.  It’s about a 45 minute drive from The Creation Museum.  It’s the largest timber frame structure in the world and was built by skilled Amish craftsman.  Spanning 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high, this modern engineering marvel blew me away y’all!  It has three decks of exhibits and you will experience what Noah’s life may have been like on the Ark while he and his family cared for all those animals.  Have you ever wondered how many animals were on the Ark?  How Noah fit them all aboard?  Have you ever wondered how Noah and his family fed and watered the animals?  How he cleaned up after them? You’ll learn about all of that and more and how Noah and his family lived while on the Ark. And you’ll learn all about the flood.  I can not even fathom how Noah accomplished all this, especially after seeing the size of this ark (it’s really mind-boggling)!  Truly amazing and definitely worth seeing!   Again, expect long lines and huge crowds if you go (I’m not sure I would recommend going on a Saturday like we did) but it’s definitely worth seeing!  I loved every single minute of this tour! Even the pouring rain didn’t bother me because like my sister said, “What better way to experience Noah’s Ark than in the pouring rain!”

“There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.”  Genesis 7:9

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13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”  Genesis 9:13-17

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Front of the Ark (it was so massive, I had trouble getting the whole ark in the photo).  I couldn’t get far enough away!

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The front of the ark

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Noah’s Ark Replica (sorry, I couldn’t quite get the entire ark in the photo– almost but not quite). I could not get far enough away after walking and walking to photograph it and it was pouring rain that day.  You can see how massive it is by comparing it to the buses in the picture.  This is the front end of the ark.

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The back-end of the ark

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On a side note:  On the way up to Kentucky, my sister got a phone call from her daughter with the wonderful and happy news we had been waiting for that she had been accepted into veterinary school!  So she’s one step closer to achieving her dream of becoming a veterinarian.  We’re all pretty proud of her as she has worked very hard these past four years to achieve this goal and as you know getting into veterinary school is NOT easy.  It’s an extremely competitive and complicated process.  So congratulations to my niece Melissa…  Your Aunt Gail could not be more proud of you!!!  She and her twin sister are graduating from college in a few short weeks (same day, one hour apart in different cities)!  I have another niece who is also graduating college that same day!  So all of my nieces (three) are getting college degrees all in the same day and all in different cities! What are the odds of that happening?!

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My niece Melissa and her twin sister, Laura, in the back.  Love these two!

It was a good weekend!

Gail ♥

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He is Risen!

Hope you all had a Blessed Easter!

Gail ♥

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It’s A Boy!!

I was so happy to be able to witness April the Giraffe having her calf on the livestream cam early this morning (along with 1.2 million other people).  I knew labor was imminent last night as she was pacing, pacing, pacing and doing a lot of licking.  Her behavior was definitely “off.”  I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning watching until I was literally nodding off at my computer and just could no longer keep my eyes open.  I had my alarm set for 7 am (CST) but got a call from my good friend Tommy at 6:53 who called to tell me she was giving birth.  So I sprinted out of the bed (my husband probably hasn’t seen me run that fast in, well… ever), ran into the living room and watched the livestream on the TV.

It was a perfect labor and birth and April is every bit as good a mama as I predicted she would be! That calf is such a cutie and I already can’t take my eyes off of him.  What a joy he will be to watch in the coming days!

Congratulations to the team and staff at Animal Adventure Park and thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this beautiful experience with the whole world these past two months.  What a gift of joy you gave to us this Easter weekend!  

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Gail ♥♥♥

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“It is Finished”

Reposting this one from 4 years back.

Moonlight Reflections

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Today is Good Friday, the day we commemorate Jesus’ crucifixion and death.  It’s a somber day.

Today’s two services at my church, Stations of the Cross at noon, and then the Good Friday Liturgy tonight, were both spiritual and moving.  The Liturgy of Good Friday celebrates the Passion of the Lord, or the events before and including Jesus’ crucifixion.  It’s a solemn service.

The altar is completely bare from the previous night’s Maundy Thursday service and the “Stripping of the Altar.”  The Hangings (or all the different fabric adornments for the lectern, pulpit, altar, etc.) have been stripped.  They are gone.  Jesus’ body was stripped of its coverings, so we strip the Altar of its coverings.  The candlesticks have also been taken away.  The candles are removed from our presence in recognition of the darkness that followed Jesus’ death on the cross.  The church lights are dimmed.  Jesus, our light of…

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