Monday, April 30, 2012

Why Sunday School Teachers Are Important

I love this cartoon.
Obviously, this kidlet had a great Sunday School
teacher - to help him really dive into 
the Bible story.

Sunday School teachers are a vital part 
of a children's ministry.

They help introduce Biblical concepts to students.
They help explain things.
They love on students.

Teachers are becoming a "rare" bred.
You have to invest you
time, 
talents
presence and
witness 
to serve children.

It's often a thankless job.
Students are often loud, 
obnoxious, and well, messy.

But  honestly, 
The best Sunday school teacher
doesn't have a theology degree
or tons of biblical knowledge.

What makes a difference is 
time.

Teachers make an eternal difference in a child's life.
For that, I'm thankful for all of my volunteers.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Family By Choice

As I reflect on the weekend, when I spent time with the kidlets (and their parents),

I stumbled across this quote from Barbara Bush:

To us, family means putting your arms around
each other and being there.


That's what we did on Saturday and Sunday.

Simply spent time together.
shopping,
laughing,
reading story books
(with the youngest kidlets),
eating fro yo,
going to a ball game
(two of the kidlets sang the national anthem
with their honor choir)

eating a funnel dog
(think corn dog, with a funnel cake outer layer,
instead of corn meal)

and just being together.

We simply spent time living.
Honoring the legacy of a good man.
(The kidlet's paternal grandfather passed away Saturday morning.)
Because while life stops a wee bit, when a death happens,
we wanted to keep living life.

Here's a couple of scenes from the weekend:


Shopping with C and G.
Two years ago, when I took them shopping at the same mall,
They walked with me. Wanted me to be around.
This time, they naturally walked about 10 paces ahead of me.
It was a quite funny thing to take note of.


Kat and Kiki sing the National Anthem with the All Star Choir,
at the Northwest Arkansas Naturals' Baseball game.

You don't choose your family.
They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.
~ Desmond Tutu

Ya know, I know Desmond Tutu's quote
says "you don't choose your family"

But in this case, I chose the kidlets.
(and their parents).

I'd like to think we're God's gift to each other.
And for that, I'm grateful.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Six in Branson (Review & More)


Awesome.

If you were to describe Six's show in Branson, Mo., in one word it would be awesome.

But if you did it in six words it would be:Awesome. Electric. Amazing. Engaging. Impressive. Phenomenal.

Six Voices - Zero Instruments - All Music.

Using only their voices. The six brothers - Barry, Kevin, Lynn, Jak, Owen and Curtis Knudsen - have developed a performance that blends a variety of musical styles (everything from Sinatra to the Beach Boys) and comedy - woven between the acts - truly engages the audience.

Sitting in the theatre, it's like you are listening to a group of singers AND a full instrumental band featuring drums, horns and more.

They are that good. 

I'll be honest. We purchased the tickets for Six after a long day in Branson. We went into the theatre on a whim, not even sure if it was possible to get them - let alone get two seats together.

A friend of Laura's (my partner in crime) said "you should really check them out."

It must have been fate. Two tickets, near the front (left side) of the stage had just opened up. Together. When we asked if they were good, the clerk just said "yes take them."

Let's just say the clerk was right. The seats were great. We were slightly to stage right (on the left side of the room), two seats from the aisle, just a few rows back from the stage.

The only thing better would have been being in the same row, in the "middle" section - then I could have "tagged" myself in the Facebook pic Jax took and posted from the stage.. But with the way brothers engaged the audience, I truly don't think there was a bad seat in the house.

During the first "break" after the first introduction songs, I turned and looked at Laura and said "thank you" because going to the show was all her idea.

Suddenly the exhaustion of the day (I'm fighting a sinus infection) went away as the adrenaline rush of their performance kicked in.

This isn't your grandparent's show. It might not even be your parents' show.

For the first time in years, I truly felt like I was sitting in a Branson show that my entertainment needs.

But before you think it was just a "80's or 90's show," picture this. I saw high school students, their teachers, young newlyweds, and adults celebrating multiple anniversaries - all laughing and enjoying the moment.

Yes, there were people who grumbled about the intensity of the music - did I mention it was a bit loud? (Nothing you won't hear at a rock concert). And I saw others in my section leave at intermission. That was their loss.

And yes, others just sat there, not responding (or only responding slightly) to the antics of the guys.

So, let this be my official apology to the guy sitting next to me. Yes I was loud, yes, I clapped and yes, I did the YMCA dance with the crowd.

To answer your slightly sarcastic question at intermission ("you're not enjoying this at all are you?") um.... duh, YES!

I've been coming to Branson since I was 10. Living in Carthage meant that our vacations consisted of going to the county fair and to Silver Dollar City - with the occasional show in "town," especially if extended family came into town.

Let me tell you this. By far, Six is THE best show I've seen. Period.

I've only seen one other show that comes a close second (The Haygoods.). All of the other shows are good. But none compare. I've never engaged with a show like this.

It reminded me how something artistic like this can truly energize my creative side.

I'm glad I took a chance on an "unknown" show. It was truly worth it the splurge. I have a feeling I'll be seeing them again this year. (I'm hoping my cousin will read this and Branson/Six will weave into our "big birthday" celebration plans this summer.).

On a side note: The group did (in the second half) weave in the two "things" Branson shows are known for - God and Country.

But here's the deal. They did so with integrity. It didn't feel forced. It wasn't like they were just trying to "fit" the Branson mold. It truly seemed to come naturally. I was impressed with the authenticity of that part of their show.

Want to Know More About Six?
Here's a promo video the group posted of YouTube

Visit Six's website: http://www.sixtheshow.com/index.php
Listen To A Sampling Of Six's music: http://www.sixtheshow.com/sixjuke.html
Follow Six on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SixBros
A video of them singing With or Without You by U2


As a freelance journalist (and children's pastor), I am  sometimes provided comp stuff (usually books) to review. However, this was not the case in this instance. I purchased my ticket - just in case you (or the FTC) were worried about this detail.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A piece of vacation fun

Friday night - after the Six Show (more coming on it) Laura and I went to eat at Mickey Gilley's restaurant (next to his theatre.)

It was random. But it was kind of cool when the announcer said "Mickey Gilley is in the house."

Ok, Laura dared me to go over to get his picture.

When I asked permission to take his picture, he said "well, would you like to take one with me?"

Um.....YES!

Fortunately, one of the guys standing waiting grabbed my camera as I tossed it to him and snapped this shot.

When I got back to the table, I showed her this picture. Of course being a good Texas gal, Laura wanted to have a pic with Mickey.

So, here's a selection of the randomness we found in Branson.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Blog Tour: The Baroness (Review)

Susan May Warren has once again created a novel that captures a snapshot of life, using history as the setting.

Cracking open the "roaring twenties," Warren introduces us to Lily and Rose, the daughters of the sisters found in book one - The Heiress.

While this book didn't capture my interest as intensely as the first (it was really good), The Baroness is a solid story.

It weaves together the girls dreams vs. society and family expectations.

It also explores different aspects of the twenties - I especially liked the track Lily took, being a "wing walker."

If this book does one thing, it shows how actions and decisions have consequences.

On a scale of one to five, with five being the highest, I give it a solid four. It's definitely worth a read - especially if you are looking on a fun book (or series) to take on vacation.

A last thought - Warren truly shows a snapshot of America during the twenties. I can't wait to see the end of the series - Rose's story in book three. If it's anything like the first two, it will make me want to dive into the history books.

About The Book
(From the Publisher)
Baroness – Book Two in the Daughters of Fortune series
Lily and Rose, daughters of an empire coming of age in the roaring twenties, can have anything they want ... except freedom.

Expected to marry well and to take the reins of the empire, they have their lives planned out for them. But, Lily, Esme's daughter longs to return home to Montana, to adventure outside the confines of New York City. And Jinx's daughter Rosie dreams of the bright lights of the newly emerging silver screen. But following their dreams - from avant garde France, to Broadway, to the skies in the world of barnstormers and wing-walkers will take all their courage.

And if they find love, will they choose freedom or happily ever after?

Find out more from Behind the Pages: http://www.susanmaywarren.com/books/baroness

About The Author
Susan May Warren is the RITA award-winning novelist of over thirty novels. A five-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Carol Award.

A seasoned women’s events speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!.

She is also the founder of www.MyBookTherapy.com, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice. You can find her online at www.susanmaywarren.com.

Online Resources
Link to buy the book:
http://ow.ly/ajLQF

Follow the blog tour:
http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13429072

Spread the word on twitter: 
Meet the "fiery" heroines in @SusanMayWarren's Baroness! Click & enter to win a Kindle Fire. http://ow.ly/ajLpZ @litfuse 

Share the message on Facebook: 
Baroness, Book Two in Susan May Warren's Daughters of Fortune series has arrived! Meet Lilly and Rosie (daughters of Jinx and Esme) in this fiery tale of cousins setting out to find freedom. Enter to win a Kindle Fire in Susan May Warren’s Roaring 20's Giveaway!  All the details here: http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/13456521/baroness "Lily and Rose, daughters of an empire coming of age in the roaring twenties, can have anything they want ... except freedom." Pick up a copy today!

Read my review of book one, The Heiress: 
http://www.myscrappylife.com/2011/10/blog-tour-heiress-review.html

It's A Contest
Baroness Roaring 20s Kindle Fire Giveaway from @SusanMayWarren!
Find out what the reviewers are saying here!

Expected to marry well and to take the reins of the family empire, they have their lives planned out for them. But following their dreams -- from avant garde France, to Broadway, to the skies in the world of barnstormers and wing-walkers -- will take all their courage.  And if they find love, will they choose freedom or happily ever after?


Celebrate with Susan by entering her Roaring 20's Giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Signed copies of Baroness and Heiress by Susan May Warren
But hurry, the giveaway ends on 5/7/12. The winner will be announced on 5/9/12 on
Susan’s blog, Scribbles!

Just click one of the icons below to enter! Tell your friends about Susan's giveaway on
FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Past Reviews of Susan May Warren's Books

As a freelance journalist, I was provided a copy of this book by Litfuse Publicity Group. This review was not influenced by a free book - just in case you (or the FTC) were worried about this detail.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Photo Flashback: November 2011 Sheridan's Baptism

Photo Flashback: Photos taken in November 2011, for Sheridan Alyse's baptism. The photos of her brothers, were taken in an attempt to get a good shot for her mom....not all perfect, but for the moment, priceless.

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