Friday, May 8, 2009

My Trip to The Rock

I got to go to The Rock yesterday. What's that? Well, its the new Christian bookstore that opened about 5 - 10 minutes from my house. Its a short drive but its out of the way and too far for me to walk to, unfortunately for me (and quite fortunately for my purse!) I had a lot of fun and got quite a few new books that I am starting to spend some time with now. So, what did I get? Take a look below:

My first instant grab was Lee Strobel's The Case for Christ. I own another copy of this; I think it is out at camp along with The Case for Faith but just incase those have animal droppings or anything on them over the winter, I figured "Why not?". I only paid $6.50 for it. Its not as large as my old copy (the larger version was $16.50 and I bought a lot) but it will do. I did not get to get any more Lee Strobel since the only other book by him that the store had in stock was "Unequally Yoked", which is about being with someone who does not share your faith. I already realize the problems with that issue and do not need them repeated, thanks! (Especially when Jay's
not the problem to begin with.)

Next on my list was to see what the store had in stock by Liz Curtis Higgs. They had Bad Girls of the Bible and Really Bad Girls of the Bible. I own both of those and like them. They also (yay!) had a copy of Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible which is a set of in-depth character portraits of Sarai (later Sarah), Hagar, Rebekah, Leah and Rachel. I am already a good hundred pages into this book and am enjoying it thoroughly. Then again, I was pretty confident on this one since I have purchased stuff by this author before and tend to love
her work.

Next on my wanted list was The Power of a Praying Woman by Stormie Omartin. Prayer has always been the out of tune string for me with regard to Christianity and I figured that if I am going to be trying to connect with God that is something I need to work on. So while I was at it I grabbed her Power of a Praying Woman Bible. Love the book, LOATHE the bible. I have nothing against the NIV translation -- and in all actuality it will be GREAT when I go to do my comparison with The Bible Experience (when I *eventually* (SIGH) get that.) What is wrong with it then? First off... NEVER again will I get a bible that is hardcover. It is already having issues that my leatherbound CEV one I have owned nearly 10 years does not have. Also, I am kinda meh about the normal print in the book, and I *HATE* the way that the purple on white / violet background with white text works. It seems to fade in and out and makes reading the passages by the author -- the REASON for the new Bible(!?!?!?!) -- practically illegable. ARGH. I will NEVER understand why so many Bibles are in bubble wrap. I felt hideous making the lady open it and did not notice the purple on its pages until it was too late. Ew.

Next up was an easy choice for me: The Love Dare. I had kicked myself for nearly two months that I did not grab this on my trip to Florida since it was in practically every WalMart. But I did not grab the novel it ties to (FireProof, which is excellent, btw.) until the ride home. Returning to Canada, guess how many copies of The Love Dare I found in the last week? Zip, up until yesterday. But I have it now so I guess that is alright. I know Jay and I are not quite at THAT point yet but I am still enjoying it and you know... it is pointing out something to me. Being a good person does not make me weak or a pushover or mean that I am asking for trouble. It paid for itself with that revelation. Now I need to learn to live that like I mean it.

Next on my list of purchases was The Greatest Life of All: Jesus by Charles Swindoll. This seemed like a good idea since I am doing a study of the gospels right now and the books in his series of character portraits (forgive me if that sounds horrifically crass! I am speaking strictly as a writer here!) received excellent reviews from I figured that studying his book on Jesus might add some more flesh to the study that I am currently doing. (And hopefully I will succeed in getting The Bible Experience, which will add even more layers for me.) Have not gotten to really start this yet but I am quite excited about it.

The last two books that I bought were recommended to me by the shopkeeper. One is "God's Trophy Women" by Jacilene Jakes and the other is My Utmost for His Highest which is a daily devotional. I wish that I had done more homework on these areas before going to the store (and that Shawn had not been whimpering about being stuck there for twenty minutes -- although I guess it is sort of cruel to drag an athiest to a Christian bookstore. At any rate, I am not sure whether I will end up warming up to these two or not.

Why? The book by Jakes does not really seem to be focusing on any form of active teaching. She seems more interested in retelling stories from the lives of other women. I did not need a book on how other Christian women have done it -- I need things that are going to enable *me* to do this. I went through quite a complicated mess in high school thanks to a grade 12 english teacher's (very uncouth, for the record!) subliminal pagain propaganda and I am trying to fix a lot of brainwashing.

As for the devotional... I just don't *feel* it. The lady got it in her head that I needed a large print devotional since I explained to her that I needed a large print Bible (why couldn't she get it right? *sigh* Obviously I did not communicate well enough -- I am sure she meant well.) At any rate, I do not really feel that I am getting anything out of this book that I have. I do not feel like it is really tackling anything that I care about or that I am concerned about. Maybe its a problem with me? I don't really know, to be completely honest.

Overall I am relatively pleased with my visit to The Rock and I look forward to going there again. Next time I will be more prepared and know what I am looking for before I step through those doors though. Ah well... I still have a "shopping trip" on Amazon to do and am still over my budget so I can do some damage control if I really want to.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

REVIEWED: Bride Wars

The Plot: Lifelong friends Liv and Emma have both shara common dream their entire lives: having their own dream wedding at the Plaza Hotel. As each of them is proposed to and accepts they book an appointment with a well respected wedding planner and each get a date for their ceremony at the Plaza. All is going well until a scheduling mistake happens, causing their weddings to have been booked on the same day. Now only one question remains: which will give up her dreams of a Plaza wedding and reschedule somewhere else? Neither is willing, and thus Bride Wars ensues.

While I realize that the plot is highly unrealistic and over the top I stilled thoroughly enjoyed Bride Wars. It is a comedy so a certain amount of suspension of disbelief has to be permitted to really "get it". Interestingly, though, there is a lot more to the movie then the hilarious snippets shown in the trailers. Overall I was quite impressed.

Characterization: This is a comedy so a ton of depth is not really expected. I think that what happens to the characters *as* characters (as opposed to the actual 'bride wars' stuff) is very interesting though. Overall I think that the movie hit on something of real depth in the parallels and contrasts that occur between Liv and her fiance (names are eluding me here!) and Emma and hers. My one big issue with all of this is the "bow tie" scene and what it eventually leads to. While it was a crucial part of the movie's resoluton, I wonder if there might have been a better way to give it more of a connection to the overall story.

Packaging: This is where Bride Wars tripped over its own heels for me. There was no inclusive booklet telling me the scene names (or anything else for that matter) which is something I'd expect when paying $9.99 for a movie -- not $23.99. Further, there was only one featurette and three deleted scenes. While this does not actually impact the movie itself, what it tells me is that the marketing team behind it did not care and did not take the project -- and thus in turn its target audience -- very seriously. Bad form!

Overall: I think that Bride Wars earns 4 stars out of 5 for me.

Haven't heard of Bride Wars? Check out the trailer below!

A Few Cool WoW Images...

This first image is of Katallina and her pet pig, Mr. Wiggles. I got Mr. Wiggles for Katallina as a prize during Children's Week
on World of Warcraft when I completed the Human Orphan questline. I also did the Draenei Orphan quest line to get "Peanuts" an Elekk. He is cute too.

This achievement is for making bunniesin the event Nobles Garden in WoW. I had a little help from Jay on this one. ;)

This image shows Jay and I got for completing Children's Week.
We got our Matron (me) and Patron (him) achievements. There was some tough PVP involved but we did it. Go us!

Here is an image of Twylla and Manaki. These are our low level Horde characters that we play when we just want to goof
around and explore. Don't they look cute together? <3>

WANTED: Lullaby by Jewel

I have been following this for a while now and it has finally released today. I am very anxious to get a copy of it. Don't let the fact that "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and "Brahms Lullaby" are on this fool you -- this is not only for infants. The album is being promoted as being "remnicent of ... Pices of You. " This is a very good thing, and the samples that I have checked out around the net definately back up this fact. This is the best way to hear Jewel, in my opinion. Excellent vocal, good lyrics and simple, clean musical accompanyment that works with the vocal rather then trying to shield some type of preceived imperfection. Oh, and I am even more hyper to see that it is on sale for $8 brand new on ($7 on Are you looking to get a copy?

Click here.

I am also including a video that I found on YouTube that has a bunch of the samplers on it. Feel free to take a peek! You might like this!

Let me know what you think. :)

Monday, May 4, 2009

How About A Hamster?

" Isn't she cute? "

I have been considering whether I would like to get a hamster. Jay has one (it is a dwarf hamster named Jet.) and he seems to enjoy that. We talked about it today and he said that looking after Jet is relatively easy and that watching him play and playing with him is fun. Well, I have Coco and D'Argo and they are awesome. Would they eat my new friend? Also, my right wrist is incapable of twisting normally -- would I have trouble holding my pet? And of course there is the challenge of actually having my parents let me get one. That ought to be fun.

But I have started researching. It seems that hamsters come in three broad varieties: Syrian, which are the larger ones. Dward, which are the smaller ones. And Chinese which are smaller but more mellow then the dwarf ones. Within those there are other variations but I am going to keep this simple here. Apparently, Syrian hamsters are 100% solitary and each one owned needs its own cage. Dwarf and Chinese hamsters can be in pairs or groups provided that you get the bunch at the same time.

I am still not 100% sure which species that I want to buy. I think I want my hamster to be brown, which likely rules out the Winter White Dwarf hamster. Nothing against that breed -- its just that Coco is white and D'Argo is black so a brown hamster seems like it would be unique. I think that there are steps that I need to take before I can really think of going and getting my new pet though. Those are as follows:

1) Get a book on hamsters so that I can research them properly. This may cause me to choose between the larger Syrian variety and the smaller Dwarf counterparts.

2) Go to a pet store and look at / hold different hamsters to see what it is like. Do I like them as much up close as I do in pictures? They look cute but closer evaluation might prove they are not right for me at all. I need to know this before I buy one.

3) Find out how much different things cost. How much is a good cage (I want a quality one -- not some $10 piece of crap!). How much are toys? Treats? A hamster ball? A stand-alone wheel? A hamster house? Food? Vitamin additions for water? The list goes on and on. And of course -- how expensive is a hamster and does it need to go to the vet for anything as a baby? (The way a cat or dog might.)

4) The last preparatory step is to choose where I will be housing my new pet (my nightstand or my dresser are my best guesses right now.) and (ew) making sure that my family will actually let me get one. I am not Mike or Shawn -- I do not just walk in with a living breathing creature without announcing it. Especially when it is small enough to be easily drowned!

5) Finally, if all goes according to plan, I get to go out and get my new pet. Ideally I want to buy everything together so that I can make sure that the equipment I buy will be the right size for the hamster I choose. Then it is just a matter of bringing my little buddy home and letting him / her get adjusted to their new life.

Anyway, this one is going to take some time. My mother is like "Ew! Why would you want a hamster? We already have Coco and D'Argo." So we shall see. Anyway, I just wanted to get the thought out there. You know what they say about positive thinking, hm?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

When Life Gives Me Lemons...


Or at least be prepared to be turned into it. Anyone who knows me knows that I tend to be an optimist. What only those who know me well know, though, is that it isn't always easy. Everybody suffers disappointments, setbacks, hurts, embarrassments... The list goes on and on. But the thing is, you have two choices in this life. You can get into it or get on with it when bad things happen. Now, I am not advocating turning a blind eye when something awful happens. Lets get that straight here and now. But I am saying that being able to work through how you feel (no emotion is good or bad in and of itself -- its what we do with it) can be a major step toward creating a more balanced, happy and stress free life.

For example, today I wanted to go to a bookstore. I love books, I really do. But I can't drive and I live out in the country outside of a small town. The bookstore of choice was in town but it would have been a two mile walk and that would not have worked very well. I had mentioned it to my mother but she was too busy. I then mentioned it to my brother, Shawn, but he (after having taken a two hour nap) said he felt "too tired". To put it blunty, I was extremely disappointed. But it is not specifically about the Bookstore. I felt disappointed that I would not be able to go today when I had been looking forward to it. I felt frustrated that I had no power, no "way" to enable myself to go. I felt pushed aside by my family, regardless of the fact that I intellectually understood that their reasons were from within their own lives, not to do with how they view me as a person. In short, I was sad. I was also spending the afternoon with Jay.

Now, Jay is great. I don't think I have mentioned him on here yet (not surprising since this is only my second post). Jay is my boyfriend and (sssshhh, not sure if He knows this) its probably safe to say he is pretty much my best friend as well. (Along with you, RJ and Tommy). With the job he works now, Saturdays and Sundays are important to us because we get to spend the whole day together. So I didn't want to wreck our whole afternoon because of one stupid little disappointment. So, what do I do about it? I start to think of good things that are happening right now, to begin. Lets see...

1. We got the Two of Nobles so Jay will be able to get his Nobles Deck that he has wanted for months.

2. I won a totally amazing new mace for Katallina and to my surprise and delight it glows white and blue and little bals of energy trail behind it when I move.

3. I got Bride Wars when I went shopping today, which is awesome since I have wanted to buy that movie for the last two months. (Should I be saying that in public?) I will do a review of that soon.

4. I got garlic sticks with cheese that can be cooked in the oven. Yum! Can't wait to try them.

5. Its May! You know what that means? Beautiful weather, more BBQ'd food, and Jay's next visit is edging closer and closer. (Which is a given anyway, but taking something that I care about so much for granted would be silly.)

Why am I giving you my "attitude of gratitude" list here? Because it is by looking at the good things in our lives that we can put the more frustrating or disappointing moments into perspective. You wanna know what got me out of my rotten mood? Thinking about the garlic sticks with cheese. Yes, I realize that to some people the idea of food being used to trigger changes in emotion is terrible. But that goes beyond my point, which is twofold:

1. If simple things can make you happy you will have more happy moments then someone who waits for the Big Events to feel this way. I am certainly not saying you shouldn't Have the Big Events, but rather that life is not all about them. An ordinary day can have extraordinary moments when you take the five minutes that might be needed to do little things that are special to you.

2. Taking joy in good things happening to good people is a great way to boost how happy you feel. Did you notice Jay's upcoming trinket on my list up there? We worked together to get that and we had a few 'intersting' moments along the way. But to me there are two successes with him being able to get that. First, sure X will be stronger. And that is great. But far more important to me is the fact that working toward something that took time and dedication from both of us taught us things about how we can deal with things as a couple, which caused us to grow. So while the item is for his character, there is a lot more depth as to why I am happy about it.

Being able to get past a bad mood has made me able to avoid having so many bad days. I am not sure if my way of doing things would really work for everybody, but I know that it does tend to work for me.

So, how do you handle having a negative experience? Do you have bad moods or bad days? What little things do you do that brighten your day -- and could it benefit you to do more? Discuss!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Its A Good Day...

Every day has the potential to be a good day. Yet so often we allow the little details of life to stop us from embracing this cheery and optimistic outlook. A bill is due. A tellamarketer tries to badger us into doing a survey on the phone, the car keys go missing... Any number of things can turn the mood of our day sour without any prior warning. And heaven forbid those things begin to stack up. Then you're really in for it. There is something you can do to balance out those less then precious moments, though. You can develop an attitude of gratitude.

What is that and how does it work? Its simple. Instead of thinking about what is missing, you focus on what you have. Instead or worrying about what is wrong, you set your mind on what is right. One of my goals within my daily blogging efforts is going to be listing five things that I am grateful for each day, as suggested by Sarah Ban Breathnach (one of my favorite authors) in her book Simple Abundance. So, here we go... My First

Five Thankful Things...

  • My check arrived safely, which means that I did my accessment properly.

  • I found a gorgeous dress for when Jay visits me. Very excited about wearing that.

  • Jay and I completed the Noblegarden event today in World of Warcraft. Go us!

  • I had KFC for dinner. I'm the first to admit it: I am a fast food addict. Bad kitty!

  • I shared popcorn with Coco and D'Argo. I love my furbabies!