Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Internet Marketing

Just signed up for Wealthy Affiliate and I am so excited! I haven't really addressed my finances too much in the last few months in my blog due to all the other things going on in my life but I have been diligently studying and learning as much as I can about this world of Internet Marketing and I find it fascinating!!

On a sidenote here, did you hear the story about the Ashley Qualls who is earning millions of dollars from the website she created on myspace layouts?! THAT is what I am working on doing!

Okay, back to the original purpose of this blogpost - Wealthy Affiliate! I've been researching this site for about 4 months and watching a couple of people who are members of this site (and reading their blogs) and I'm impressed with the results I've seen. It's not easy work...or an overnight money-maker! But what the guys who run Wealthy Affiliate help you do is show you step-by-step how to set up your own internet marketing business so you can draw in a residual "passive" income - and they guide you EVERY STEP of the way - which is something I desperately need help with...I have found that out quickly! LOL

Anyway, if you are interested in earning money online, check it out or just follow along with me and I'll keep you updated over the next 8 weeks as I begin my 8-Week Action Plan with Wealthy Affiliate!

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Tropical Storm That DIDN'T HAPPEN!

Well ever since that horrible year of hurricanes back in 2004-2005 that began with Hurricane Ivan and ended with Dennis, Emily, Katrina, Rita and Wilma...I've realized those of us who live in Hurricane Central have become kind of CRAZY when it comes to these storms now!! I just spent this past weekend glued to The Weather Channel for what!? A Tropical Depression that "might" turn into something else a little stronger. Oh my goodness...we even had Jim Cantore from the Weather Channel fly into town to broadcast from the beach here all evening Friday night and Saturday and we barely got any rain! It rained more yesterday AFTER the "storm" (cough cough) had passed us by. Now I wake up this morning to check out the news and there is another one coming up into the Gulf but it looks like its going to head west into Texas...but as they always say, that's subject to change so stay tuned!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Homeschooling Overload

I should be working with Dakota right now but frankly I am exhausted today! I'm just having one of those days where I am too tired to deal...of course HE LOVES THAT! LOL
We started a Bible study yesterday on the life of Paul. I love learning about Paul and his conversion from persecutor of Christians to the first Christian missionary and I wanted to teach my son all about his remarkable life. The first part of our study dealt with Paul/Saul as a baby and how he was raised in a strict Jewish household and how he was circumcised on the 8th day according to Jewish customs. I had to explain what that meant to my darling son - he didn't want to hear anymore! LOL It was everything I could do to regain control of our Bible study after that point.

We moved from Bible Study into handwriting/copywork - I let him write verses from our Bible study that morning. Dakota hates writing and this is always a chore to get him to complete all of his writing without complaining. I've learned though to tell him that I'll just add more writing if he complains and that has helped somewhat. I only had him write 5 verses of scripture but it took him an hour and a half to do that because he fiddled around so much - ugh! I just kept checking on him while he worked and I finished up some things of my own on the computer.

After his handwriting work was done we moved into Geography where he has been working on European countries and learning where they are on the map and having to label them. He has a test next Tuesday at his CAPERS class he attends so we are trying to prepare for that. That took awhile trying to finish memorizing and labeling all the countries. He is getting them down pretty good though - I have to admit I am impressed!

Spelling was next - still working on words from last week - he is struggling on a few words still so I had him write them 4 times each as well as spell them over and over and over to me. I was planning on having him make sentences with them but it was getting close to time to get ready for church so I figured he could work on that later.

Last but not least was math - just called out math facts - no written work. Ran out of time. We still needed to read some of his book too "Around The World in 80 Days" but we ran out of time for that too...had planned on doing that when we got home from church last night but we met my step-daughter at Whataburger after church for dinner because it was her 16th birthday and we gave her her gifts so we got home too late. I had not spent any time with dear husband - I just let Dakota go to his bedroom and play a game on his computer while hubby and I spent some time together before bedtime around midnight! Ugh, no wonder I'm so tired!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

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Brazil Trip Funny - Attack of the Bidet

Not sure if I had mentioned this in a previous post or not but in Brazil you can not put toilet paper in the toilet...the sewer system is not set up for any kind of paper products to go down the drains over there. So with that said - bidets are a common sight in hotels. However, in our first hotel we stayed at the majority of the week we only had a toilet and a "water hose bidet" not a bidet which is pictured here. In our 2nd hotel we had this lovely creation. LOL
Now let me set the scene for you...
We have just arrived in Bello Horizonte after spending all week in Monte Claros - we've been on a bus for the last 8-9 hours (bumpy roads, crazy drivers, etc) and this hotel is very nice! We get off on the 6th floor and we discover that there are only 6 rooms on this floor - all the rooms are in a little box shape around the elevator and members of our team are occupying 5 of the 6 rooms. This is great! We leave our doors open and just walk in and out of each other's rooms...the missionary we are working with all week gets off on our floor one time and comments "Uh-oh, I can see this is the party floor!" We are loving this! So we are all exploring our rooms and checking out the amenities and Miranda and I happen to notice the bidet in the bathroom...and this bidet is not like the "water hose" bidet in our last hotel we were in. We both have to go to the bathroom pretty bad at this point since we've been on the charter bus ALL DAY and everyone avoided using that bathroom - trying to avoid the disastrous events from the previous day's overuse - so Miranda states she is going to go to the bathroom BUT FIRST she says "Let's check out the bidet! I've never actually seen one of these work." So I follow her in the bathroom and she assumes the position (as shown in the picture above) and she turns it on...
We are both expecting a little sprinkling of water to come out...uh uh, no way...up from this bowl comes a geyser!!! It smacks her in the face, hits the ceiling and then spreads out to soak the entire bathroom!!! Talk about "rolling on the floor laughing my butt off" - that is EXACTLY where my teammates found me when they came running to find out what all the shrieking was about...this was the most hilarious thing I have ever seen in my life! Miranda walked out of the bathroom dripping wet! I still had to USE the bathroom so needless to say I was trying desperately to not "pee my pants!" from laughing so hard.
I can't believe the strength in which that water came out....that would have hurt!!

Brazil Trip Funny - Attack of the Charter Bus Toilet

During my trip to Brazil, on Friday (our last day there to do mission work) we spent the whole day in small cities prayer walking and doing door-to-door evangelism. There was nowhere to use the bathroom all day EXCEPT on the charter bus! By the time we left the last city at 8:00 p.m. to drive 1 1/2 hours back to Monte Claros the sewage smell emanating from the back of the bus hit ya as soon as you entered the front of the bus! It was overpowering!!

There was a group of us that normally flocked to the back of the bus everytime we boarded...but NOT this time! We generally saved the front seats for the "older" ones in the group - we ALL moved up as close to the front of the bus as we could. It didn't help much. We were grabbing Kleenex, Vick's inhalers or whatever we could to cover our noses to keep from smelling the horrible stench!!

Our pastor and the missionary just kept laughing at us saying they had never seen a team look quite like us before...but they looked as bad as we did! They would stand up and stick their heads up by the luggage rack where the air was coming out of the AC vents and breathe the air from the vents!! LOL
Me and our youth pastor Jesse are dying from the smell!! Then everyone is laughing so hard it makes it worse because I have to breathe harder through my laughing.

There was a box at the back of the bus that somebody needed to go get but nobody wanted to risk it!! Finally, our worship minister stuck his Vick's inhaler up one nostril and the lid to the inhaler up the other nostril and he ran back there and grabbed the box real quick....what a trooper he was!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A new friend!

When I found out who I was going to be rooming with on this mission trip my first thought was "Oh great! This is going to be like rooming with my daughter!" I had originally requested to room with another woman, a friend who is more my age and someone I have known for about 6 years but due to circumstances beyond her control she had to back out of the trip at the last minute which left me rooming with Miranda...who is a young woman not much older than my eldest child. We had only spoken a couple of times at church so we were not what you would even call acquaintances! THAT WAS BEFORE THIS TRIP! I thank God for putting us together. We had the best time getting to know one another and by the end of our two weeks together we were inseparable.
Miranda loves kids/babies as much as I do. We both flocked to the children and they flocked to us. We worked so well together!! These babies were cousins that were 4 days apart in age. We were never on the same team together technically but we managed to work it around so we could work with kids together a couple of times. Miranda covered for me so I could participate in the Operation Christmas Child project!

This is Jadson - one of our interpretors we loved joking around with. He was so much fun!! He, Miranda and I laughed constantly.

This is our hotel room in Bello - where we stayed the last two nights before heading home. There was a queen-sized bed and a twin-sized bed in the room. We convinced Lo to stay with us in our room these two nights instead of going by bus back and forth to her home (an hour away) so the three of us roomed together the last 2 nights. We had some late nights staying up talking and laughing. It was a wonderful time!

Since we've come back home, Miranda and I have continued our is great to have a friend who "understands" what it's like to want to go back overseas and to know we have one another as a prayer partner. I probably would NEVER would have gotten to know Miranda on my own due to our age differences and the fact that she is single with no kids and I am married with kids/grandkids! Didn't think we would have anything in common!! LOL

Test Results

I never heard back from the doctor before my mission trip but I never thought it while I was away either. I think it was Thursday (I'd been gone a week) and all of a sudden I realized I had not hurt the entire week and I felt terrible for not thanking God every day!! I had been so busy doing His work every day and He had blessed me with pain-free days....but then I didn't even realize it until a week later! When I arrived home Tuesday my husband told me the doctor had called so I called them as soon as I left the airport and I found out my test results for Lupus were all within normal limits. Praise God!!

Operation Christmas Child

While we were in church Sunday we found out that a group of performers from the church were going to a school on Wednesday to do a skit during a program for "Samaritan's Purse." This is the organization that sponsors Operation Christmas Child - the shoebox ministry at Christmas time that many churches get involved in!! Our church is very involved in this ministry - we collect hundreds of boxes to mail off every Christmas so this was an exciting opportunity to be able to witness firsthand the "other side" of this ministry. Since we all had obligations every day we all couldn't go - so only 3 of us went as long as our "jobs" were covered. Charlotte, another team member was definitely going to go because her job back in the States is at a large local church which is the regional collection & distribution center for these shoeboxes - she was so thrilled at the chance to be involved in this!
After lunch on Wednesday we headed out to this school. When we got there we saw the Army outside the school - the boxes were on the truck. We found out the boxes are kept under lock and key by the military over there!! They guard them and deliver them to all the schools! The kids had no idea they were getting these. There are so many schools in Montes Claros that the schools are on a 5-yr rotation for boxes. So this school we were in won't receive boxes again for another 5 years!! I had no idea! The kids were so thrilled with WHATEVER they received in their boxes. This girl got this winter doesn't get cold enough there for her to need that....but look at the smile on her face! She loved it!!
There was such an excitement in the air - it was such a rare blessing to be able to hand out these gifts to these children and then to be there with them as they opened them. I thank God for that opportunity to witness this!

Mission Trip - I'm home!

I've been home for one week from my mission trip to Montes Claros, Brazil. This was my first mission trip overseas. It won't be my last! This was the most amazing experience of my life!! I have put off writing about this in my blog because I can't adequately express with words how powerful this trip was. I can give you a blow-by-blow of what we did each day but there's no way I can tell you how THAT affected the lives of the people we met or MY life. You would just have to experience THAT yourself! I challenge you to do that if you've never gone before....

We had 16 members from our church go on this trip together...some of us left not knowing each other very well...but we ALL came back as brothers/sisters/prayer partners and the best of friends - because we had been through this amazing experience TOGETHER! To get to Brazil we had to take 3 plane rides and a 10 hour (extremely bumpy) bus ride. We were slightly exhausted by the time we got there. We arrived around 11:30-midnight Saturday night. When I got up to start getting ready the next morning for church I had a feeling my pastor, who was on the trip with me, was going to ask me to do my testimony in church that morning. Guess that was God's way of preparing me because there WERE 16 of us there so I don't know why I should think he was going to ask ME of all people but lo and behold right before we walked out to board the bus he pulls me aside and asked me! When I told him "I KNEW IT!" he said "well good, then the Holy Spirit's been working on ya!!" LOL

Now I've given my testimony before in small group settings but this was completely different! For one I had to use an interpretor - the pretty young lady in the pictures above - her name is Lo. She is a wonderful Brazilian who stayed with us the entire time and worked as our translator...we became great friends! Okay, so because I had to use an interpretor then I had to shorten my testimony to 3-5 minutes!! WHAT?! That is soooo hard to do! Also, when speaking through an interpretor you have to speak in complete phrases (but not too long) so they can have the whole gist of what you are saying to be able to interpret it. Anyway, it was a learning experience to say the least. I did it...I got through it...I'd do it again if asked! LOL

Monday I went out on evangelism team with a great guy from my church - Chuck and an awesome Pastor Lopes & his wife Elian from Monte Carmelo church there in Brazil. We had a fantastic day! Lo went with us for the day as our translator. We had scheduled appointments all morning in homes of churchmembers who had requested us to come meet with their loved ones who were not saved. Everybody we met with that day was saved! Praise God! We spent lots of time in all the homes talking to everyone, listening to them, answering questions....sharing coffee, cookies....and ultimately leading them to the Lord. It was a glorious day!

Tuesday I worked with kids all day! I thought I was going to do VBS (Vacation Bible School) at the church all day but when we got there they requested us to go into one of the local schools and go into 17 classrooms instead! We were able to hand out witness bracelets and share the gospel in only about 5 classrooms before we ran out of time. There are so many kids in Montes Claros that the older kids go to school in the morning until noon time and then the younger kids go to school from noon until 5. In some areas there is even a third shift that goes until 10:00 pm at night!!! Anyway after we left the school we went back to the church and had lunch....the whole city practically shuts down for 2 hours at lunch time to eat and rest....and then we did VBS the rest of the afternoon at the church. That was a blast! I had so much fun getting to know the neighborhood kids and building a relationship with the little girls. The picture above of all the little girls around me is from Wednesday night...they came back to church that night for Worship and I am trying to get on the bus to leave church and they keep wanting to give me things and get me to sign their little notebooks and stuff. They were precious!!

Wednesday and Thursday I worked the eyeglass clinic where we gave away free reading glasses to as many people as we could see. It was so rewarding to see these 50, 60, 70-yr-old people start crying because they could now see to read for the first time in years!!! I only worked 1/2 day on Wednesday at the eyeglass clinic because I was blessed to be able to participate in another project (that will have to be a separate post/blog!) Thursday's eyeglass clinic took place at Monte Carmelo (Pastor Lopes' church) and they had such a great team of people in their church helping everything run smoothly that we were able to give away over 200 pairs of reading glasses that day! We worked so hard to get everyone fitted with the right strength they needed and pick the frame they wanted! It was wonderful to work together like this even without the benefit of being able to communicate in English all have to get real creative trying to get your message across! LOL

Friday had to be the day that capped it all. We had worked with 3 churches all week in Montes Claros doing VBS, eyeglass clinic and evangelism to reach out to the communities. Well on Friday we went out into 3 (or 4 - can't remember now) small towns about 1 1/2 hours away from Montes Claros where there is NO evangelical church at all and we started prayer walking. The amazing thing is that the pastors and members of the 3 churches we had worked with all week came together and went with us...we had to rent another charter bus FOR THEM!! We had two charter buses full! Before lunch we just did prayer walking through the towns, no evangelism - because there is no set-up for discipleship yet. After lunch we worked in the town where we are planting a church and we did prayer walking and evangelism. Later that afternoon/evening we held a block party for the townpeople and we showed "The Jesus Film." Through our efforts over 200 people came to know Christ that day in that town!! The man that is moving there to begin the church, Marcos, was overwhelmed with his new mission....the pastors of the other churches assured him they were going to send him teams every month to help him until his church got going good. This was so awesome to see these churches working together!!!!

Saturday morning we woke up early to leave our hotel for our 10 hour bus trip back to Bello Horizonte, Brazil. We were met by churchmembers and all the pastors outside wishing us farewell. It was a bittersweet send-off. The bus ride was so much fun. I laughed and laughed and laughed....we sat in the back of the bus with our interpretors and enjoyed the last day or two we would have with them. We knew our time was coming to an end with them too. I wasn't ready for this trip to end. The days had been long and hard but the work was fulfilling and purposeful. We spent Saturday night and Sunday in Bello before we began our long journey home. I arrived home on Tuesday afternoon.

For a couple of days after arriving home I just sat here at home feeling sad...spending a lot of time in prayer and reading my Bible...trying to figure out what it is I need to do here in the States. Before I went to Brazil I was happy with my life here...thought I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. I reach out to people, witness to people, build relationships, encourage people...but after going on this trip and doing so much more I feel like I should be doing SO MUCH MORE here! But I'm not sure what? or how? Now I'm just praying for God to lead me to whatever He has in store for me next....