Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dear Country Magazine #2

Dear Country Magazine,

I wrote you that you could not shorten my subscription, for which I paid for six issues, because you have decided to do a super issue for two of them. Your response was:

"To compensate for any disappointment you might feel, we've extended your subscription by one issue. Your subscription will now expire with the June/July 2012 issue."

This is NOT a disappointment issue, and I do not appreciate your approaching it that way. It is a breach of contract issue. I am highly disappointed with Reiman, both for changing the contractual agreement after payment, and then for calling it "disappointment" on my part.

Thank you again for your time.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Dear Country Magazine,

. . . No, you may not shorten my subscription because

"this edition is so big, in fact, that we are treating it as a special issue that will count toward two of your subscriber issues, so the duration of your subscription will be adjusted accordingly."

The agreement for which I paid was for six issues a year, and I feel it is underhanded for you to cut that subscription short after the fact. This is just another reason, in addition to the many changes which have been made in your magazines in recent years, which is causing me to allow my subscriptions to Reiman publications to expire without renewing again as they come due.

Thank you for your time,

Signed by me

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Shout-Out to Leighann

Leighann - You said you read my blog, so here's a shout-out for you! I had a great time talking with you and your sisters last night! It was great to see you! You need to start a blog!!! :-) Love you, Ann

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Two Monday Events

Mike and I went to the Clock for breakfast, and spoke with the father of several of my students who was there eating with a man he works with at the local thrift store/shelter. In other words, he has a ministry job and is not exactly making big bucks. He has a FINE family - one of the finest I know. His lovely daughter has just recently graduated and was in several of my classes over the years, as was his son who graduated a year ago. I will have his next daughter next year. When we went to the register, our bill was already paid. That is very humbling to me - a lovely kindness from a gracious man.

I made an unexpected trip to Atlanta yesterday. The quartet had a bus breakdown at 1 a.m. and couldn't get it repaired. Everyone but the leader (and his son) needed to get back for obligations. So I hauled down to pick them up. Were we ever loaded down - Seven people, luggage (as minimal as possible) and a dog in my Windstar.

The good result: After many phone calls and thinking that the bus would have to be towed to Gville, somehow they found a mechanic who could diagnose the problem, which turned out to be a hose and not as serious as they thought. So even the leader and his son got back by early evening.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Irresistible Purchases

Lest the reader of the entry that is four posts down thinks that the only thing that motivates me in purchases is how much money can be saved, please know that the following things are just about irresistible purchases, no matter if they include savings or not.

--Pretty printed paper towels or napkins
--Colored tissues
--Pretty printed or colored paper plates
--Publix brand seafood cheese spread
--Diet Sunkist soft drink - 2 liter
--Sliced pineapple
--Citrus air freshener
--A new color or brand of dishwashing soap
--Whatever cereal happens to be a craving at the time (usually Kix, Life, or Wheaties. Right now it's Kix. Has been known to be Captain Crunch or Alpha-Bits)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Book Review

"Not My Will" is an Excellent Example of Christian Fiction

“Not My Will,” by Francena Arnold. Chicago: Moody Press, 1946.

Much current Christian fiction, though not bad reading, nevertheless is not particularly good literature. The plots are often trite, and the characters are not very well developed. (“Miss X moves out west to be a teacher to pioneer children. The rancher next door helps her during a tornado. Could he be the one for her?” Answer: Yes. No need to buy the book.) Many of these works do not inspire the reader who is looking both for Christian-based novels, and also for literature that will remain.

That is why I suggest reading “Not My Will,” by Francena Arnold. This novel, originally published in 1946 by Moody Press and still in print (an eBook for Kindle is also available on Amazon.com), ought to be read by any aspiring writer of Christian fiction, or any reader looking for quality work in the same genre. It is an excellent example of a book that is not only inspiring with its powerful Christian message, but also full of good writing.

The plot revolves around Eleanor, a strong-willed and brilliant young scientist who is making a name for herself at her university. Eleanor becomes involved with Chad, a pre-med student from a small farm family with a strong Christian heritage. They wish to be married, but due to the terms of the will of the aunt who reared her, Eleanor cannot marry until age 25. So they marry secretly. After a glorious time together, Chad is killed in an accident — and Eleanor finds herself pregnant. She is beside herself with grief and almost becomes unhinged, giving her child up for adoption because she is not thinking clearly, which further compounds her distraught mental state.

The story of how Eleanor finds herself at Chad’s family’s home, and the loving way they take her in, results in a great plot twist and example of God’s loving provision for His children. Eleanor is a character who represents the strong will in many of us. As we get to know her and the people around her so well, it seems they could come knock on the door for a cup of tea (or, in our southern locale, a glass of tea with lots of sugar and ice).

A good piece of literature includes several characteristics: a powerful theme, a pace that moves neither too slowly nor too quickly, good flow of words, sympathy toward at least one character, a moral tension that drives the plot, a showing rather than telling of the theme and a moving of the reader that makes him or her desire to re-read the book, resulting in the discovery of deeper layers of meaning missed the first time. “Not My Will” (as well as its sequel, “Light In My Window”) is a Christian-based novel that fills these criteria and is well worth the reader’s time.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Couple of Graduation Pics

Well, graduation was last night, and it is going to take me a few days to recuperate from the year. Got some work done at home today, but I do a few things, then sit down awhile, and repeat. Glad to have breakfast with my two sisters this morning at my folks'.

This was my year to be senior sponsor, so I had more to do than some years. But it is fun to stand at the back with the seniors, and help usher them in at the right speed. Kind of like doing one last thing for them.

A couple of pics from last night (actually three). This is a link to about 45 photos on our local newspaper website.

This girl, Joanne, is an exchange student from Taiwan. She was a joy.

Another of my seniors, Haley!

Next year I will be seventh grade sponsor again. Another world!

Summer Plans

Am hoping that this will back post . . .it did!

To get accomplished this summer:

Friday 5/20 - major cleaning of window in bedroom that had been behind the plastic.
Saturday 5/21 - 4 loads laundry, grocery shopping, most of Sunday dinner
Monday 5/23 - unexpected run to Atlanta, cleaned 4 bathrooms
Tuesday 5/24 -
Wednesday 5/25 -
Thursday 5/26 -
Friday 5/27 -
Saturday 5/28 -

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

It's The Thought That Counts?

Today was locker cleanout day, and I got a present from a student. It was a very nice present - a makeup bag with a monogram. It was wrapped in red paper, in a snowman box, with poinsettia tissue paper. Guess when he was supposed to give it to me.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

My Take on Couponing and Food $$ Saving

Recently in our area (all over the country?) couponing has become a big thing. I'm glad that more people are learning some of the benefits of using coupons and are saving money.

Over the years I have consistently saved about 30% on the food bill. Couponing has been a part of that. It has not been the exclusive form of savings, because coupons can actually be a detriment if not used judiciously. I've learned that saving money is best done as a combination of several strategies, of which couponing is a valuable one.

If you are interested (if not, stop reading here), here are some of the ways I have routinely saved money on our grocery/paper/personal products bill.

--If the sale is right, and especially if there is a coupon to go with it, I buy more of the item than we need right then. Right now the bathroom closet contains half a dozen tubes of toothpaste. Crest and Colgate are usually $2.50 a tube. (That's for the basic, plain, tartar-control only. The fancier ones cost more and are money-generators for the company.) But when they are on sale, they go for a couple bucks, and I usually have a coupon for one or the other, for $.50 (doubled to a dollar at the store where I usually shop), or $.75. That's around a buck a tube. When they are available at that price, I get it whether we need it or not. Ditto TP. Right now we have about two dozen rolls in each bathroom. It will get used up eventually. :-)

--The exception to the above rule is when something will get stale.

--The downside of coupons is that you can get sucked into buying high-price or junk items. The drill is standard: Big-savings coupons appear for new items, sometimes several in a row over several weeks. Since the new item is often also on sale at the beginning of its marketing run, that really can be a huge savings. However, the goal is to get the buyer familiar with the product and in the habit of buying it. The first (and second and third) coupon may be for a dollar off; the next one $.75, the next one $.50, then a quarter, and finally - no more coupons. But by now, if the company has done its marketing right, you are hooked.

--If coupons don't match up, for most items the store brands are cheaper and you can't tell the difference. When have you ever thought "Oh, this casserole was made with Laura Lynn brand cheddar cheese, not Kraft." Or whatever item you are talking about.

--BOGOF items are almost always a savings, especially when coupled with coupons. Note the almost. You have to be savvy about prices.

--If the price is right, and the coupons match up, I buy items even if we can't or don't use them. They can always go in the giveaway box to the food pantry or when needs are known. We don't use boxed Betty Crocker potatoes, but when they are on sale for almost half price, and I have a $.50 coupon doubled off, I can get them for next to nothing. Somebody will use them even if we don't.

--The kids don't know this, but they have virtually never in their lives eaten any meat that wasn't on sale or bought on Saturday morning in the mark-down area.

--Other than mayonnaise (Mike won't eat ANYTHING but Duke's), our brands vary depending on what is on sale.

--Sam's Club is good for buying in bulk, but if you don't know prices really well, you will not necessarily get bargains there - and you'll have a lot more of whatever it is to use up.

--Study up on marketing strategies and advertising. It's a fascinating subject. You can't be sucked in by emotional appeals if you realize that that is what the company is using. Their goal is not to make you happy. Their goal is to get your money.

--One last thing. This isn't a money-saving strategy but it's part of my shopping. I prefer (am not hard-nosed, but do prefer) to shop at American-owned stores. Also, to buy produce from the U.S. and preferably from our area of the country. And I am beginning to make choices on canned goods based on that. In the summer, I will shop our farmers' market in order to buy locally--even if the produce costs a little more. That's becoming more and more important.

Other people probably do other things that are even better than these ideas--pass them along and maybe I can use them also. And that's my Saturday night opinion!

Friday, May 13, 2011

On the Homefront

So after Blogspot was down for two days - and for awhile lost the last post (it appears to be back now) - here are some shots from the homefront. Mike has always been a wonderful handyman, and here's what he's been doing. He's also a good "horse-trader" - the first two projects are part of a full lot of things he bought at a late-afternoon yard sale stop a few weeks ago. He got both of these light fixtures, about five sets of blinds, and several other smaller items he can easily use, for $20 total! I learned a long time ago - if he's trading, let him work his magic and keep my mouth shut!

Here's one of the light fixtures - now up in the hallway and replacing the old, sad wicker fixture that used to be up there.

This is the new fixture in the middle bathroom. Much better for a college junior to use when she is getting fixed up.

He also got the pool up and running. That's a bigger job than it may appear. During the big storm in April, the heavy wind caught the corner of the pool cover, at a small hole that was already there. That small hole was all it took, and the cover tore down the entire length of the pool. So. . .all the winter debris that had been on top, then went into the pool. It was a much bigger mess than some years.

The good news about the pool - last year's patch appears to have sealed the leak that has plagued us for three or four years. There was NO change in the water level over the winter or since the pump has been running.

The butterfly garden that we planted last spring, and which did not appear to be doing much - well, here it is now:

. . .and a closeup of the pretty red flowers that are appearing among the yellow ones.

Finally - I bought these today. Can this post end with anything any prettier?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


So in the past week and a half we've broken bridges and made paper columns (the strongest set of 6 paper columns held 49 textbooks before breaking) in physical science, made ester scents and ice cream in chemistry, completed building rockets and a rocket shoot in earth science, and taken a trip to a play in Greenville with the English classes. Oh, and my friend Nancy has had Babe Day, taken the 9th grade girls bowling in their final class, etc., etc., etc.

All good ideas, each done one time in some long-past year, and when any idea is done once, it becomes a tradition that must be done every year. "You're going to do that with our class, aren't you?"

Even that is well and good, until it gets to a certain point. . .

p.s. "Babe Day" - Well, when the biology students finish dissecting a pig, doesn't it seem appropriate to bring in pig food and watch the movie "Babe" as a celebration of finishing? The spread included bacon, sausage rollups, ham sandwiches, pork rinds, pork and beans, barbecue potato chips, and pig cupcakes. The kids get more and more creative every year.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Rocket Shoot!

Friday was this year's rocket shoot. We had a beautiful day - just enough clouds in the sky to see the rockets more easily; just enough breeze to keep it interesting but not interfere with the shoot. The man with the hat is Nick; he is a huge help to me every year on rocket shoot day. He keeps the rockets going and I do crowd control.

Getting the first ones set up.
I would say that this girl is a little nervously excited about this-

It's hard to get a rocket shooting in action - Mrs. T. did a good job with her photography.

I caught this girl's rocket barehanded!

The entire group-
It's always a relief to me when rocket day is over. We do this as safely as possible; however, as with most things in life, there is a remote possibility that something can go wrong. So I am always thankful when it goes well and goes smoothly.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

It is important to pass down old, great hymns to next generation

It is important to pass down old, great hymns to next generation

The week before Easter, the students at our Christian school performed their annual spring program, which is usually a fairly lighthearted presentation and includes the most recent fine arts competition pieces. But this program was different — our school choral director presented a musical journey through the book of John. Dressed as the apostle himself, a senior young man narrated the program, and students of all ages, first grade through seniors, participated in singing great hymns and newer meaningful songs commemorating the sacrifice and resurrection of our Savior.

That night I saw that at times even for youngsters a serious program is a good thing. Observing more than 200 students sing “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” and other hymns like it, was not only a joy to hear, but also a demonstration of good theology being lodged in young minds.

The opposite occurred several years ago in a junior high English class as we looked at the words to Isaac Watts’ hymn “I Sing the Mighty Power of God.” When I asked for a show of hands as to which students were familiar with this powerful text, only two or three out of a class of 20 had ever even heard of it. Ditto the next class. And this was in a Christian school.

Are we remembering the importance of passing down the great hymns of the faith to the next generation? I am not suggesting throwing out all choruses, or lighter songs, or singing only old hymns. I am also not advocating the regeneration of every song of the last century currently in the hymnbooks — some of them are quite insipid. However, along with anything else our children are learning to sing, parents, grandparents and teachers should be exposing youngsters to the deep truths present in such classics as “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” “Crown Him With Many Crowns,” “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah,” and many more.

Even teens can see the difference. As my dear friend Nancy said to her girls’ Bible class, and they agreed: “Yes, there is a difference between the generations that will always be present. But, to sing ‘Jesus is cool, He reigns and rules,’ is just not equivalent to singing ‘A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.’”

And depth is not just a function of past writers. Newer hymns are being written that are also full of wonderful meaning. “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us” and “In Christ Alone” immediately come to mind.

Furthermore, hymns are an enduring thread running through church history. Knowing that Christians throughout the centuries have sung the same rich songs should bind our hearts together and help transmit to our children and grandchildren the spiritual heritage that has been passed down more than 2,000 years. Martin Luther, St. Francis of Assisi, the Wesleys, Fanny Crosby — all are hymnwriters from various ages whose work is too rich to lose. We cannot allow the next generation to think that their faith exists alone!

It is a huge tragedy if we do not pass down the theology and history of past great hymnwriters to our children. As Steve Green sings in “Find Us Faithful,” “May the fire of our devotion light their way!”

Saturday, May 7, 2011


Andrew marched in Commencement exercises this morning. Very exciting to see a return on that multi-thousands investment. He still has 12 hours of summer school, but he'll knock that out.

My two favorite children -

With their grandparents -

Christmas card?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Post

So here I sit doing a study hall and thinking I've not posted on my blog since Sunday. Not good for increasing readership. Been too busy and had too much going on to think about this. It's that time of year for a schoolteacher. The natives are restless and the end-of-the-year projects are all going on. I took students to a play Monday night (didn't get in until 11:00 that night), we broke bridges in physical science yesterday, rocket shoot tomorrow morning. All those activities take time and planning that the students don't realize.

Throw in problems getting ML registered for summer school at the community college, senior exams, & just general things to get done, and I have been busy. Plus, the Faith and Values Board lady emailed me and said she had an extra slot if I wanted to get her another article - for this Saturday. That's too good an opportunity to pass up, so I cranked that out also.

Maybe some day I can breathe.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday Night Misc.

Nothing dramatic to write about, but it's been several days since a post, so maybe I'll just list some activities as of late.

--Taking 35 students to see PRIDE AND PREJUDICE tomorrow night. It will be a 16-hour day for me, but it's worth it. The only thing that absolutely frustrates me will be the one kid who won't have notified his parent to pick him up, and I'll have to sit in the parking lot waiting with him/her at 11:00 at night. Happens every time.

--Any more, getting a daughter registered for summer school classes at the local community college is as big an event as getting signed up anywhere else. I am not allowed to do legwork for her without an affadavit from her - and even then maybe not, depending on who is in the registration office at the time. Federal regulations - the employees could lose their jobs. Thank goodness for such oversight from the government. This could be a crisis if I were to complete registration for my daughter who is taking final exams in another city.

--I'll have to make meatloaf more often. Got lots of appreciation from my dad and the others at the table today.

--Was glad to hear that family in Alabama are OK. We have family from both sides in the Birmingham area as well as further north.

--Had a painful ankle/inside of foot for a month now. Didn't do anything to it that I know of, and the pain/swelling vary from day to day. Trying to avoid going to the dr. but may have to break down and go.

--I fell at school on Thursday of last week - just tripped over my feet and sprawled on the hallway floor. Fortunately there was only one girl in the hallway, so it wasn't a huge embarrassment. Thought I was fine - but the soreness and muscle pain kicked in yesterday. I'm too old to take swan dives.