Thursday, November 30, 2006

Share The Love

I received this a few days ago from one of my church family members.? It's a message I've been reminded of many times in my own life, but never heard expressed so well.

The holiday shopping season has arrived along with stress, short tempers, tight budgets and long lines. Several years ago, my young daughter and I were discussing the stress of holiday shopping. I am infamous for my impatience and short temper. It isn?t something I?m proud of and the subject of personal prayer. During this particular discussion, we decided to try something new. We were going to "share the love". When faced with poor service, rudeness and the like, we decided to smile and show God?s love ? no matter what the situation. It sounded like a great idea at the time but I had no idea how tough it would be! It wasn?t long before we were placed in a situation to be tested. As I came close to taking a cashier to task for something I can?t even remember now, I felt a nudge at my elbow and a reminder from my daughter to "share the love". I took a deep breath and smiled, and then another deep breath and smiled. It wasn?t easy but we left laughing about how much it took for me to "share the love". There were many more times that holiday season to share the love and over the years since, we?ve shared the love many times.

Anyone that works in retail today has seen the changes in the treatment of customers and treatment by customers. Sometimes I want to speak up and ask if their mothers know they are acting like that but I don?t, I just "share the love". Now many years later, my daughter works in retail. She remembers those lessons that she learned and wishes there were others out there who could do the same.

This holiday season challenge yourself to have more patience, many more smiles, greater appreciation to everyone you meet. Whether it is the harried cashier or the rude driver, just "share the love". Take a deep breath, smile and treat the person as you would want someone to treat your child if he or she were in that situation. You may need help. Ask your shopping pal to hold you accountable and remind you at the right times! I promise you ? you will leave that situation holding your head a little higher, a little less stressed and the respect of those who witness your behavior.

Reflect Christ in everything you do this CHRISTmas! "Share The Love!"

DeAnn Colegrove


Theater Did More Than I Thought...

Your Linguistic Profile:
60% General American English
15% Dixie
10% Yankee
5% Midwestern
5% Upper Midwestern

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Keep That Wallet Fat!

I love internet shopping...maybe a little too much. But that's why I love Oriental Trading Company. They have great deals on all those little novelties that I love. Even better, they've begun carrying what they call "Go Gifts," great gifts ranging from 3 or 4 dollars to 20 or 25. It's like a clever little gift basket (which I love) that you didn't have to go to four million stores to gather together.

I especially love shopping there when I've found some Oriental Trading coupon codes. Hey, the more I get for my money, the happier I am; and the happier I am, the happier everyone else is, right? I rarely shop without coupons, even on the Internet. It only makes sense to take advantage of a good deal whenever possible, and it helps me to be a better steward.

And honey, when your income is as low as ours is, being a good steward is essential to having electricity.

Wow - It's Getting Bad

Yahoo's at it again.? This morning, I do my usual and check all the headlines.? I see this:

Being a mom with Wiggles fans, I click on the headline about the Wiggles.? What do I get?

Well, that makes a lot of sense!

Monday, November 27, 2006

You're Unique, Just Like...Hey, You Are!

Being a word processor (typist, typesetter, virtual assitant, get the idea) by trade, I pride myself on finding creative ways to present information.? That probably explains why I absolutely cringe when I see someone pimping themselves or their products as "creative!" or "unique!" or "unlike any other!" when they've got the same exact thing I've seen in countless other places except for the color.? Ooohhh...there's some uniqueness!?

So imagine my surprise when I check out these custom wedding invitations. I'm expecting to be able to proclaim as one of my favorite Incredimail backgrounds does, "You're unique - just like everyone else!"?

But guess what?? They actually are unique.? With funky asymetrical designs, cutouts, diecut shapes, and even the taboo red, you're actually going to find something you haven't seen anywhere else before.? Flip-flop invitations, anyone?? How about snowflakes for your winter wedding?? And these are elegant invitations - not some hokey "I'm-too-cheap-to-buy-real-invitations" invitations.? We're talking foil accents, beautiful fonts, and custom folds here.

Lest you traditionalists worry, you'll find gorgeous and sophisticated designs, too.? You've got your embossed frame?and rose, double-ring, and even Precious Moments to choose from, among a host of others.

Michael and I have discussed getting remarried for our tenth anniversary next year.? With this site, I may just have to plan that...

What I Did for Thanksgiving

We went camping to see my mother-in-law for the holiday.? Sounds like fun, eh?? Well, let's see here...what does that entail?? Here's my list:

  1. Plan menu and packing list to make sure I don't forget anything.

  2. Shop for needed items on aforementioned list.

  3. Locate the rest of the items on aformentioned-aforementioned list.

  4. Pack for 3 days and 3 nights for five people (four by the end, because Michael actually packed his own clothes).

  5. Load (cram is actually a better word) van with ridiculously huge amount of stuff to be "roughing it."

  6. Attempt to get children to "go" before we go so we don't have to stop a block down the road.

  7. Travel 3 hours by car with a one-year-old (Ms. "Get Me Out of This Carseat"), a four-year-old (Ms. "I'm Hungry"), and six-year-old (Mr. "I'm Talking and I Can't Shut Up").

  8. Check into the camp and pay $4 for?three pieces of firewood and no kindling in a place that forbids gathering firewood.

  9. Hastily unload the car because you're late, then reload it with the necessities to go eat with aforementioned children, including a high chair and spare change of clothes for each one.

  10. Make everyone trek to the bathroom to "go" again before you head out on your 30 minute journey to dinner.

  11. Cram 3 adults and 3 children around a table no bigger than 30x48 in a 12x12 kitchen occupied by an early-1900's wood burning stove?(I must interject here that it was really good.? We had BBQ chicken instead of the traditional turkey, and I think I could've eaten the whole thing had I not been making a pig of myself with the Kraft stuffing.).? Some would call it an?"intimate dining experience."

  12. Make another 30 minute trek back to camp and set up in the dark.? It was a screened shelter with a light, though, so it wasn't as bad as it sounds.

  13. Pass out at 9:15.

  14. Wake every other hour with the crying one-year-old between you because you didn't have room for the playpen.

And that was just Thursday...

Still sound like fun?

Quote: "Blah, blah, blah."

My auto insurance premiums seem to rise steadily with each renewal, so I've been shopping around and getting quotes, which led me to hades.? Well, they call it Free Insurance Quotes.

Ha! Free, my foot!

Okay, so no money outlay, but time?? Oy, make sure you've got lots of it.? The first page of the form says, "It only takes about 4 minutes to fill out the following form for Free Auto Insurance Quotes."? True - it takes precious little time to fill out the information.? Be sure you have your VINs on hand, though.? Yeah, they want everything.? The little lock is closed, so it's technically safe, but remember, they'll be giving your information to the companies they work with to find your quote.

Oh yeah, quote.? You don't get one.?

You get four bajillion e-mails and phone calls from agents to give you your quote... after they've asked you all the same information you've already given again.? And sorry, but I don't give out my social security number when I haven't initiated the phone call, so most of them were a bust.

So did I actually get any quotes?

One - for over $200 more than what I'm paying now.

Save yourself some time and money - go to Farmers Insurance.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Happy Buy Nothing Day!

So the fourth Thursday of November is always Thankgiving.? The Friday after Thanksgiving has a variety of names, most notably, Black Friday. Ever wonder why?? Fun Advice has an answer from a guy that mentions the slave trade before the Civil War, but I've never heard it anywhere else and?there's absolutely no evidence given.? Wikipedia and a host of other reputable sites explain that it's the day that retailers traditionally began to finally operate "in the black," making a profit for the year.

My personal favorite is "Buy Nothing Day."? I like the sound of that - avoiding an early morning, rude people, and buying things that have no value whatsoever except that it was "a really good deal."? I first learned about it at Holiday Insights?and included it in our primary school's crazy calendar.? Checking Wiki for Black Friday, though, actually mentions Buy Nothing Day.

Wow, it's bigger than I thought.? According to Wiki, it was created by a guy named Ted Dave, a Vancouver artist, activist and actor who was tired of consumerism and decided to protest with his money.? Well, without it, actually.? He made a bunch of posters and encouraged people to not shop on the last Friday of November back in 1992.? In the 14 years since its Canadian birth, BND has spawned a slew of international sites, a song, and even a couple of churches.? I think I'll just stick to, "I like the thought because I get to be lazy."

Whatever your motivation for celebrating it, Happy Buy Nothing Day!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Viral Love

I like being a little on the fringe.? Anything from extended breastfeeding and co-sleeping to blogging and viral marketing is fair game for me.? My passionate views tend to be controversial, which is why I love PayPerPost.? It's a genius idea, but the majority just don't get it.??The opportunities are varied, the pay is good on most?of them (but Ted's working on that), and despite what good ol' Arringdumb rants, the vast majority of them are neutral.? You promote something, you get paid for it.

Hey wait, isn't that what commercials are?? And what about all the adverticles spread all over the web?? Same idea - just?a?lot more aggravating.? Let?me tell you, I cannot stand?finding what I initially think?is a great resource site of articles on how to save money, get things free,?get?tough stains out, etc. only to find?a stinkin' bargeload of adverticles!? Somebody tug it off!

Sorry, my soapbox jumped underneath me there for a minute....

Anyway, PayPerPost is simply what women have done for centuries - only now we get PAID to do it.

Knock, knock....Hello?!


And this is a bad thing......why?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Wow - Yahoo's Losin' It

Okay, how many of you can catch the flub in this screenshot?

Wonder who's gettin' fired over that one....

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Antlers as IQ Indicators

"They don't get them because they're stupid or anything.? They get them because...when they..."

- one of Brandon's classmates while discussing the deer antler she brought in for show-and-tell

"...they get knowledge."

- another one of the classmates finishing her sentence.

Incidentally, Brandon piped up with, "They get them because they're getting more bigger!"? Granted, the grammar stinks, but at least he was right.? The sad thing was that the class disagreed with him.? Haven't these kids watched Bambi??

Oh yeah, right.? His mother gets killed so it's too upsetting for the kiddies, so we'll let them watch Shark Tales instead...

Meet My New Rich Uncle ZOPA

As I've mentioned before, our credit's not superb.? But I don't trust banks, anyway.? They're only out for how much money they can make off of you.? Frankly, I don't think there's much difference anymore between getting a loan from a bank and getting one from the local loan shark downtown.? Sadly, we don't have any rich relatives to borrow money from, though.? So where does that leave you when you need some dough?

Well, I've discussed online loans from banks before.? There's a new company that does?online loans from individuals - ZOPA (Zone of Possible Agreement - don't ask me where they got the name - it doesn't make any sense to me, either).? It's like adopting a rich uncle - hey, cool!? It's currently available only in the UK, but is getting ready to expand to the US.? On the surface, it appeals to my rebel, stick-it-to-the-man persona.? I can't help but wonder about it, though.? Maybe it's a fear of the new and undiscovered financial country.

Rest assured I'll be keeping my eye on it; but at the moment, that's the only thing I'm putting on it.

One Liner

"Ladies and gentlemen, they say the show must go on, but they never say why."

- An answer on BlogThing to the question: "What words are most likely to come out of your mouth?"?to find out which Muppet you are.

By the way, here's the results:?

You Are Miss Piggy

A total princess and diva, you're totally in charge - even if people don't know it.
You want to be loved, adored, and worshiped. And you won't settle for anything less.
You're going to be a total star, and you won't let any of the "little people" get in your way.
Just remember, piggy, never eat more than you can lift!

You got that right! It's the month after halloween - what do you expect?!

Free Floundering

You don't find much free stuff anymore.? Oh yeah, the word free is plastered all over the place these days...with an asterisk next to it.? What does that little inkblot mean?? NOT free.? There's a price for free these days.? "Get a free?iPod!" ...after you join about a bajillion newsletters and of-the-month clubs. Free stuff sites abound, but I found that they're usually just a niched search engine report with TONS of Google advertising.

Hey, I'm all for free.? But refdesk defines free as "Costing nothing; gratuitous."? I'm diggin' here, guys - no luck yet.? Let's check "Free Stuff for Teachers."? After I scroll past two sets of Google ads and the same "Order these Free samples!" (I thought you only ordered? things that you were paying for....hmm - first clue you're getting had) ad that's on every single page, I find a list of a whopping?eight articles.? I stop after I scan the first four.? Great ideas about how using free stuff can help teachers, students, the economy, hey, the whole world.? There's a vital piece missing though: where is all this free stuff???? Oh, yeah, well, you have to go find it yourself.

Wait, this is just a site with a bunch of adverticles, but no actual free stuff?

What a waste of time.

Okay, that's a bust.? Let's move on to "Free Stuff for Babies."? Those little darlings are expensive.? Mama could use some baby freebies.? Let's see, here...This looks promising: "New Parents Will Receive $500 in Baby Supplies For Free."? Cool!? Ah, wait... "Enter your email to see if this offer is available in your area."? Since when do you track your area with your e-mail?? Second clue.

I like to think I'm a fair person.? I'll give it?one more shot.? "Free Food Stuff."? Can't go wrong with free food.? Open the page and discover "Free Food and Candy" - now you're talkin'!? Well, hot dog!? I found something!? I've actually done this one, so I know it's free:? Kraft Food and Family Magazine and Calendar.? Register with the site so you can get all kinds of recipes online (you get an optional e-mail newsletter once a month, I think), and they send you a magazine chock-full of recipes every other month and a calendar with a new recipe for every month.

So, is it worth it to trudge through the adverticles for it?? Nah, just go to save yourself a bunch of time.

And check back here from time to time.? I'll list really free stuff that you can get and?where to get it.

Have You Seen Me?

"I miss you, Daddy."

- 4-year-old Sarah

"I miss me, too."

- Daddy

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Quiz Freak

Okay, okay, I confess:? I love taking quizzes.? The folks over at BlogThings?are just cruel.? How could I not love them?? They've got about a bajillion different quizzes - some fun, some funny, some disgusting, some are even surprisingly serious.?

I have one gripe, though.?? All the ones about stuff you'd?be good at keep telling me I should be a teacher...

Mortgage Mortification

We're on the "we're buying the house" swing again.? The landlord wants about twice as much as the house is worth, since he can't figure out how to calculate interest.? Add in the fact that he has no understanding of tax valuation, and we're in the forest of "I'm the owner and I can do what I want, but I don't realize that I'll never sell the house."? Our credit is shot (thanks to an ex-husband and MLM fraud - NEVER join one [more on that later]), so owner financing is about our only option.

We tried to buy a house a few months ago.? It was a nightmare.? Just when we thought (thanks to the realtor) we'd be able to do this American Dream thing, we get the paperwork.? You wouldn't believe all the extra fees, payments, blah, blah, blah that are in those papers!? I wish we'd known more about mortgages when we did it. We wouldn't have looked like such big idiots.?

Mortgages?are explained in depth at Every kind of mortgage you can think of is defined in great detail, and anything you may share with the site is protected by SecureTrust, which complies with several different privacy regulation sets like the FTC and DoNotCall, among others.? I especially appreciate the pre-qualified versus pre-approved loan page.? We decided we'd get a pre-approved loan before we'd try to buy again.? Luckily, it turns out we were on the right track - but it was sheer happenstance.? I learned, though, that getting pre-qualified is actually our first step.

Anyway, check it out - save yourself some mortgage mortification.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Linguistics Lover

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence

You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convicing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.?

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.

Let the Caroling Begin!

It's the second week of November, folks.? What does that mean?

Time to break out the Christmas tunes, baby!? This is my favorite time of year - I love Christmas music.? I try to restrain myself until November, but then all bets are off.? The cds come out and the music becomes a non-stop backdrop to my days... Hey,?I gotta do something to stave off the SAD (Seasonal-Affective Disorder).

There'll be a new selection on my playlist this year: Greener's Christmas Song.? You rockers can enjoy the electric version, while us hippies can bliss out to the acoustic version.? I actually like both versions, and will probably purchase both to play depending on my mood.

Oh yeah, and here's a little early stocking stuffer for you...




Click to play the acoustic version of Greener's Christmas song.



Monday, November 6, 2006



- six-year-old Brandon after taking a drink of sweet tea - a rare treat for him.

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Frumpy Fran

Well, as if it isn't bad enough that I'm not losing weight walking, I now have bursitis in my left leg so I can't even walk this week!?

I used to be skinny.? When I met Michael ten years ago, I weighed all of 95 pounds while I was wearing my clothes and shoes.? I couldn't gain weight for anything.? I ate like a horse, and nothing.? Little did I realize that it was apparently a delayed-reaction sort of thing, because now I weigh 157 pounds living on fruit salad.

I went to MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) yesterday and our icebreaker activity was telling something about ourselves based on the color of the M&M we picked out of our fun-size bag.? For example, red M&M: tell something about your family, blue: tell something you love to do, brown: something you don't like to do, etc.? So all the reds were saying junk like, "I have a four-month-old," "I have a nine-month-old," blah, blah, blah.? And I'm sitting there looking at these disgustingly thin women while wallowing in my fat rolls with a 1-year-old in the nursery.?

Talk about feeling like the fat kid.? At least I didn't have to eat a plateful of asparagus on a regular basis as a kid.? Ted Murphy over at PayPerPost did. Check it out:


Can you imagine?? Man, I feel for ya, Ted.? Let's go to the gym right after we scarf down a Veggie Lover's Pan pizza...
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