Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Afters "Live On Forever" CD Review & Giveaway #TheAfters #FlyBy

The Afters - Live on Forever Bio:
It’s easy to assume stories of trial and triumph are just for the Bible or the history books. But miracles still happen, even when adversity hits hardest. Just ask Josh Havens, guitarist and lead vocalist of The Afters. He relates how the band’s latest effort, Live on Forever, began during a season of tragedy.

Just as the band regrouped to record, Havens witnessed the wife of a close friend contract cancer. Drummer Jordan Mohilowski (who produced the new album) had a brief health scare, and a close companion in his church—part of the worship team—was hit and killed by an impaired driver. She was a young woman, Havens says, who had unlimited potential.

But Live on Forever–the band’s fifth with the Fair Trade label-still took shape as a celebration of faithfulness, protection and promise—one that shimmers with strong rhythms, undeniable energy and compelling pop hooks. The album finds Havens in strong, soaring voice as he invites listeners to find shelter and strength in God. “If any theme has emerged, it would be ‘inspiration and motivation,’” Havens says.

Havens himself felt a deep need to hold on after another loss struck: The band’s longtime soundman, Anthony Martinez, saw his newborn daughter die in infancy.

Ask Havens to pick out a song that sums up the spirit of the album, and he chooses “Battles.” “It was the last song we wrote and the fastest we wrote,” he says. “We don’t typically write songs fast; we’ll change lyrics and melodies and craft our songs carefully. But ‘Battles’ poured out, the music and lyrics, in one day. It’s about standing up against fear and knowing God is always with us,” Havens explains. “It’s one of the takeaways we hope people get: ‘Don’t give up to fear.

Havens shares how, half a world away from his home in Phoenix, he caught a small glimpse of heaven’s reassurance. The place: downtown Amsterdam. The occasion: a dinner between shows with band members and spouses—including soundman Martinez and his wife. For their baby daughter, the Martinez couple had chosen an unusual moniker with an unusual spelling: Pieper. Against all odds, it also happened to be exactly how the intimate restaurant they dined at spelled its name. Still, no one was prepared for what happened at the end of the meal. “We were talking about baby Pieper, and as we got up to leave, we noticed that the only thing on the walls—the only thing—was a framed document, an award for hospitality. And the date on the award—the only date in the place—was Pieper’s birthday. Her mother just started bawling.” Havens sums up the reassurance all took home that night: “We thought, ‘This is where God’s angels fly: right in the middle of the loss.’ God gives us little glimpses to show us he’s here.”

“We worked on this record for almost two years and over those two years, it was a real season of loss,” Havens recalls. “But in the end, Live on Forever is about moving us to trust God, to stand up against fear. It’s an ‘ante up’ record, an anthem for people’s lives: ‘God you are with me in all this. I’m not alone.’”

That bio was very interesting to read, and very moving. I listened to this cd while I was doing various tasks around the house. I really enjoyed listening to it. It uplifted me with it's catchy tunes and inspiring lyrics. My favorite song for the lyrics is "Battles" because it talks about how we don't need to be afraid because God is all around us fighting our battles. This lyric was my favorite from the song: "In my weakness, You are strong. Every trouble You have overcome." My favorite song for the instrumental music is "Legends." It has lyrics too, but the music uplifted me. My favorite song for both the lyrics and instrumental music is "When You're With Me." It's a really encouraging song about how "Everything is how it should be When you’re with me."

If you want to check out this "Live On Forever" album for yourself, you can at these places:


Get connected with the Afters:

Music Videos:
Battles(Official Lyric Video)
Battles(Heart of the Song)
Live on Forever(Hear of the Song)
Live on Forever(Official Music Video)

I am also running a giveaway for you. You have a chance to win a free copy of I Love You Just Because. This giveaway is open to the US and Canada. All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below, fill out one option or as many as you want. The giveaway ends at 12:01 a.m. eastern time on 9/29/16.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

My Week

On Monday, my sub job had been cancelled, but luckily I picked up another one at around 10:00 pm the night before. I ended up subbing at the same school where my job was cancelled. I was in a 3rd grade class. A lot of the students remembered me from last year. In this class, the kids are in one classroom for half the day and learn math, and then they switch with the next door class and go there to learn language arts. I was in the math class. The kids were pretty well behaved and I was able to work one-on-one with several of them to help them understand the math. After I picked up my son, I had to cook dinner and do the dishes. Then I had to wait for someone else to come home so I could go for my walk. I ended up having to walk at 7:30, and it was already dark.

On Tuesday, my sub job had been cancelled, but luckily I picked up another one the night before. I subbed in a first grade class. I subbed in that class last year, and that class was much better behaved than the first graders she has this year. After lunch I had to have a serious talk with them, reminding them of the rules and how to behave. After that, they did pretty good. They were still a little talkative, but quieted down when I asked. After picking up my son, I got caught up on some things around the house. I went for a walk after dinner, dishes, and watering the plants in the backyard.

On Wednesday, I didn't have a job at first, so I walked my son to school and was going to stay for the flag ceremony. When we were almost to school, the phone rang! It was for a 3 hour job(Wed. are only half day anyway) in less than an hour. So, I dropped him off, told him I'm sorry I had to go, and walked home as fast as I could. I changed, grabbed my snack and subbing bag(luckily I always have it packed just in case), and headed out the door. I made it in time! The teacher's husband had gone in the hospital that morning, so she had to leave. There was a great aide in that classroom, so with her help, the short day was easy. It was back to school night at my youngest son's school. The chicken wasn't quite done when it was time for my daughter to drop me off at school, so she and my oldest son checked it when she got back. They did a great job checking - it was done just right. I walked home from school to get another walk in.

On Thursday, it was one of my worst subbing days ever! I was in a 3rd grade class. The day didn't start off good. It took me almost 40 minutes to get there, and it usually only takes 15. I ended up being assigned to a different 3rd grade teacher, than the one I signed up for. The kids were so horrible. They wouldn't listen to anything I said, and had no clue what to do, since they wouldn't listen. The teacher didn't leave very good lesson plans either, and the kids said they don't know what they normally do, so that didn't help any. I finally asked for help from the office, which is something I've never had to do at the elementary school level. The lady in the computer lab had trouble with the kids too. After lunch, they still wouldn't quiet down and listen, so I called the office again. Even while she was there, they dumped out pencil shavings on the teacher chair, split a pencil in half and left it near the teacher's chair, wandered around the room, sharpened pencils constantly, often went in and out the door, took the teacher's stapler and staple remover and put it in their desk, etc. Absolutely no work got done by the majority of the class. I will never sub in that class again!

On Friday, I subbed in my son's previous 3rd grade class. Since he was there last year, I'm familiar with her routine. It was a pretty good day, much better than yesterday! At home, Fridays usually aren't too bad. I just have to make dinner and do the dishes. I usually try to get caught up on some email since I don't get to do much during the week.

On Saturday, I did my usual grocery shopping and cleaning. My 2 older kids start college this week, so I wrote down one of their schedules. The other one's schedule won't be finalized until Tuesday; school starts on Thursday. It's hard to believe I'll have 2 kids in college! Their little brother is going to miss them. At least they're still living at home, but they'll both be gone all day. At night, we went to my parents house for dinner. My dad made his famous tacos; they are delicious!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

One of My Favorite Etsy Shops - A Pink Butterfly

One of my blogging topics every month is to share with you my favorite Etsy Shops. I used to sell my crafts on Etsy, but had to stop when I started back to work at my subbing job. While on Etsy, I found lots of shops I love to shop at and made lots of friends too. Today, I'll be sharing with you one of my favorite shops to shop at on Etsy.

A Pink Butterfly is a shop run by a wonderful lady named Michelle. She and I used to be on some Etsy teams together and enjoyed talking to each other. I miss our conversations. In her Etsy shop, she sells aromatherapy products that smell really good and are very effective!

Michelle sells soy candles in floral scents, like this Fresh Cut Rose Soy Candle.

She sells soy candles in sweet scents, like this Berry Vanilla Scented Soy Candle that smells so good!

If you prefer fresh scents, I'm sure you'll like this Raindrops Falling Soy Candle.

If you prefer earthy scents, you should check out this Smoked Applewood Soy Candle.

Michelle also sells soy tea light candles, like these Orange Blossom Scented Soy Tea Lights.

My favorite thing that Michelle sells is this Headache Helper Organic Aromatherapy Oil. I get headaches just about every day and I don't want to take medicine every day. So, I just rub on some of this headache oil on my forehead and neck, and I start feeling better pretty quickly. I have been a repeat customer several times for this wonderful product.

Another essential oil product Michelle sells is this All Natural Herbal Insect Bug Repellent. It's great because it's non-toxic.

So, the next time you want to make your house smell awesome, have a headache, or need some other essential oil products, check out Michelle's A Pink Butterfly Etsy shop. I'm sure you'll be very pleased with her products.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

My Week

On Monday, it was nice to have the day off school and work. We don't get another day off for over 2 months! We all went for our walks/runs in the morning. Then we went to Home Depot to pick up some mulch for re-doing our front yard. Our plans haven't been approved by the neighboring landlord yet, but the mulch was on sale for only $2 a bag. My husband's drill broke, so we went to Sears to get him a new one, that was also on sale. After lunch, I organized my subbing supplies by grade into these really neat tubs from Costco. In the late afternoon, we dug up the plants in half of our yard, in preparation for our re-landscaping. It's a lot of work to dig up plants!

On Tuesday, I only had a morning job in the same kindergarten class I was in on Friday. The second day is always easier because you have a better idea of their routine. I didn't have an afternoon job, so I just went home and worked on some computer things, until it was time to walk back and pick up my son. I don't have any jobs for the rest of the week yet. I was checking the computer for sub jobs, and saw one I might want. I checked my notebook to see if it's a teacher I've subbed for before, but I hadn't. So, I went back to accept the job, and it was already gone!

On Wednesday, I ended up without a job! So, I went to the flag ceremony at my son's school, then walked home. There was an email from the school district about an online training we have to do, so I went ahead and completed that. I also had to fill out 4 pages of paper work for the Ear, Nose, and Throat Doctor. I met with him in the afternoon about my plugged ears. He said it's most likely caused from dehydration, normal day to day, and especially when I exercise. So, I have to drink Gatorade more often. It's also caused by adrenaline, so I have to stick with my decaf coffee and try to work on not getting so anxious. I also told him about my vertigo, and he said it's curable! He couldn't believe the doctor I had 10 years ago when I had a major episode, didn't stick with my treatment and cure it. So, I have to go back sometime for a baseline hearing exam and for a "dizzy" test to see exactly what makes me dizzy. I have to have someone come with me when I have that done, to keep me calm, and drive me home.

On Thursday, I was in a third grade class at my son's school. A lot of the kids recognized me from last year. Also, a few of the kids have older siblings that know my kids, or that I've subbed for at the high school. They always like that I know their sibling. When I got home, I had to do the grocery list, which took until dinner. After dinner and dishes, I looked through my email. Then it was almost time for my son's bedtime. Time goes by so fast some days!

On Friday, I subbed at the high school, and it was not a good day! It said it was a Chemistry class, which should be fine, but ended up being a biology class, which is mostly freshmen. First period was AP Bio, and the video wouldn't load. I went to ask for help from another teacher, and in the meantime, someone thought it would be funny to unplug my computer mouse! Second period Bio was a pretty good class. Third period was horrible! They swore, sat on desks, wouldn't quiet down, wouldn't get off their phones, etc. 4th Period was prep, so that was nice. 5th and 6th had a student teacher that I know, so that was okay, but the kids still weren't the greatest. After I picked up my youngest son, I had to make dessert and then start on the dinner. I will be glad when this day is over!

On Saturday, I was very busy. I did my usual grocery shopping and cleaning. Then I ate lunch as fast as I could and then my daughter and I headed off to 2 meetings at our new church. The first was with the food pantry person and the second was an orientation with the childrens' ministry person. We're hoping to be able to help organize the food pantry, and keep it clean and organized. I'd love to help with the distribution, but since it's during the week, I can only do that if I don't have a sub job that day. Next Sunday, my daughter and I will be able to observe the children's classrooms we want to serve in. She will observe in the 2's and I get to observe in the nursery. When we got home, the NASCAR race was on, and my oldest son and I watch that together. During commercials, I would check email and I practiced interpreting the video for church on Sunday. I didn't get a lot of things done that I wanted to get done, but at least some important things went on.

So, how was your week?

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A Blog I Follow and Why: Our Everyday Harvest

Today the blog I'm featuring is Our Everyday Harvest. The blog is written by Kelli. Here is some of what's written about her on her "About Me" page: "I'm Kelly, blessed mom to a sweet toddler, coffee lover, and bookworm. Our Everyday Harvest is a family friendly blog. I originally created it, so that I can share my tips on frugal living through shopping deals, using coupons, and freebie promotions. I'm an avid couponer and really enjoy being able to save my family money. Little by little, Our Everyday Harvest also became a place where I could share my personal experiences after trying new products and services...I also enjoy sharing stories about life and motherhood, recipes, giveaways, and a little of this and that in between."

I enjoy reading Kelli's blog and entering her giveaways. She is a wonderful Christian woman who cares about her toddler very much and always does her best in everything she does with him. I'm always impressed when I read her book reviews, and find out how she read the book with her toddler and taught him important things along the way. At the top of the blog, she has the titles of the topics she writes about. You just have to click on it to be directed to those articles. Her topics are: Giveaways, Product Reviews, Book Reviews, Parenting, Kids, Toddler & Preschool, Homeschool, Food & Recipes, Recipe Index, Home & Garden, and Gift Guide. Her current giveaways are also listed on the side bar. Right now, it's for The Biggest Story CD/DVD.

Kelli always replies to the comments I leave on her blog, which makes me feel appreciated. That's a great way for bloggers to get to know each other, and to make me want to keep reading her blog. I think you would enjoy reading Our Everyday Harvest too. I'm sure you'll come away feeling refreshed, encouraged, and joyful.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Go Big or Go Home by Scotty McCreery Book Review

Go Big or Go Home narrates Scotty's journey from a kid imitating Elvis on the school bus to 30 million across America tuning in to see him win Season 10 of "American Idol”. Now as he completes his ground-breaking fourth album, Scotty shares a glimpse of where he came from and the impact his faith, family and friends have had on a humbled guy who keeps asking “why me?” The special thing with Scotty McCreery, is that he has this God-given ability to sing those tunes the exact way they should be sung. Daring to enter the limelight at such a young age, Scotty finds himself embraced by the nation, and even overseas, as he competes on "American Idol". This is his journey from his North Carolina roots to winning America’s most popular singing competition and launching a musical career he had always dreamed about.

My family and I enjoyed watching Scotty compete on American Idol, so I was so excited to be able to review this book, so I could find out more about him. In the book, he talks about his family, especially his great relationship with his sister; I really liked what he said about her. There's even a section in the book with pictures of his family, American Idol events, and other events. It's neat to read all the "behind the scenes" looks into what goes on in American Idol. I enjoyed reading about his life after American Idol and was amazed at how much work it takes to put it all together.

My favorite part about the book was reading about how Scotty lives out his faith in his day to day life. One thing he likes to do every year is the shoebox ministry for Christmas, and my kids and I like to do that every year also. My faith is very important to me, so seeing how this young guy can do so much for God, is really inspiring. One of my favorite things that he talked about is how music can give hope and heal and how it's a part of a lot of our memories. This is so true for me. When I'm feeling really sad and down, I just turn on my favorite music, and soon I'm feeling a little more hopeful and not so sad. Also, there are certain songs that when I hear them, memories of people/places/events come flooding back.

I am so glad I was able to read this book. I really looked forward to my reading time every night. If you would like to purchase this book, you can find it at or on

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

My Week

On Monday, I subbed in a 4th grade class at my son's school; unfortunately it wasn't his 4th grade class though. At least the kids in my class behaved pretty well. There's always a few that try to push the limits. When I got home, I made chicken manicotti. It took an hour and 45 minutes! I don't make it very often because it takes so long. It's also very messy stuffing the manicotti with the chicken mixture. When I shove the mixture in with a spoon, it gets all over my hands and sometimes rips the noodle. It uses a lot of dishes too.

On Tuesday, I subbed at the high school. It was really weird going to the high school without my daughter! I subbed in a History class that I subbed in often last year. There is a co-teacher for 3 of the periods, so I only have to teach 2 periods. In the classes I taught, we watched a movie, so that was easy. The students were well behaved in all of the classes.

On Wednesday, I know for sure, that I unfortunately have a cold. I'm pretty sure I caught it from one of the kindergartners from the past 2 weeks. Oh well, that's the hazards of the job - no matter how many times I wash my hands, I can't do anything about them breathing/coughing in my face. I subbed half a day in a 3rd grade class at my son's school. There was only an hour left before he got out of school, so I ate lunch with him and then did some work for the secretary. In the afternoon, my daughter and I met with the children's ministry director at the new church. We might be able to start serving in a few weeks!

On Thursday, I was only going to work the morning in a 1st grade class, but when I was almost to school, I received a phone call to sub the afternoon in a 2nd grade class. Luckily my daughter was home, so she packed my lunch and walked to school and brought it to me. The first class was actually a joy to work in because they were so well behaved. The second class wasn't bad either, so it was a nice day. When I got home, I had to do the meal planning for next week and make the grocery list.

On Friday, I ended up getting a phone call before I left to also work in the afternoon. I worked a morning kindergarten class, that was pretty crazy, and then the same 2nd grade class as yesterday, in the afternoon. Several teachers are out sick. I also have a cold. It seems that a lot of us get sick when we return to school.

On Saturday, I did my usual grocery shopping, cleaning, and we also went to Costco. I also baked a dessert. I didn't finish with all my household tasks until 8:30 at night! I can finally look at my email and other things.