Thursday, September 25, 2008

What Can Sarah Do For You?

Are you tired of the legislators spending gazillions of dollars flying around in private jets, driving hummers, and having everything charged to the government, whether it be local, state, or federal? I AM!

Read on to view a personal e-mail that was written by an Alaskan to show how Gov. Sarah Palin turned things around in Alaska ... wouldn't it be fabulous to have the same thing happen in Washington, D.C.?

Dear Friends.

Fishing is good here at Wildman and I rarely have time for politics, but recently many of our friends are asking us “Who is Sarah Palin?” Of course, as Alaskans, Kathy and I are extremely proud of her. We just want to let you know that Sarah “Barracuda” Palin is a straight shooting, hard charging, get it done gal. She knows when to listen, how to analyze the facts and how to make a decision, then implement the plan. She doesn’t do a poll before jumping in with both feet like too many of the Washington types. She has little legislative experience because she has always held the EXECUTIVE position; in private life, as mayor of Anchorage’s largest bedroom community or more recently as Governor of our State. She is a smart, attractive home grown Alaska girl with excellent moral and family values. She can see what needs to be done and does not hesitate to get it done.

One of our State’s major problems is that its Capital is in Juneau, 500 miles from the nearest road and 800 air miles from the population base which is Anchorage, Wasilla and Fairbanks. Our legislature and most of the State government is in Juneau and they ALL behave like a bunch of freshmen in a college town. It has been this way since Statehood in 1959. When Sarah moved to Juneau, so did accountability and responsibility When the oil revenue started flown and a barrel of North Slope Crude hit $23.00, these people began spending money like drunken sailors. You can only imagine what was happenings when oil hit $100.00 a barrel, about the time Sarah took command. My wife Kathy has first-hand experience with this fiasco, as her father and also her ex-husband were Alaska Legislators who served in Juneau as Senators, Senate President, or members of the State House for a combined period spanning nearly three decades.

About the time Sarah took the HELM as Governor of Alaska, about half of the State legislature was in the pocket of big oil companies or contractors doing big projects for Native Corporations around Alaska, all funded by State oil revenue. Alaska government was nothing but a good old boys club riding the perpetual wave of prosperity. This filtered down from the legislature, through the Department of Natural Resources, Department of Labor and even spilled in to the Public Safety who are supposed to “preserve and protect”.

When Sarah walked into the Governor’s Mansion, she promptly dismissed the State Trooper detachment assigned to Governor and had her and her husband’s gun case brought in from Wasilla. Then, she got rid of the former Governor’s STATE Jet and told legislators that there were no more free rides, they would have to fly Alaska Airlines, just like her and her family if they wanted to travel. Next came the nut cutting (the Barracuda part) the heads that rolled were too numerous to name, but when Sarah finished cleaning house, a number of our legislators ended up in jail for on corruption charges, or tendered their resignations along with numerous department heads and those who have been riding the gravy train for way too long, AND THEN SHE HAD LUNCH. By the end of the day, Sarah Palin had saved the people of Alaska millions and has not yet slowed down.

She has truly brought CHANGE to Juneau. I personally know several persons in the private sector in Alaska, that hold her in high esteem. She surrounds herself with smart people, many from my hometown of Anchorage, she listens to them but makes her own decisions. Sarah Palin is a no B.S. politician. It is refreshing that there is such a thing anymore. You want to talk about CHANGE? You should see a before and after picture of the State government in Alaska. That’s CHANGE! Sarah will bring a number of things to the election. I am sure she will appeal many voters who my otherwise could have gone the other direction on election day. The conservative block will not be for Barack. We have their vote. We need what Sarah will bring, first to the election and second, what she will bring to Washington D.C. McCain has been advised well, Let’s just hope the American people can get the straight scoop on her in the weeks ahead. This is just the opinion of one Alaska Bush Pilot and Guide, who pays attention to national politics, watches the news and is deathly afraid of the direction our nation is headed. I guarantee that if Sarah gets a chance to dig her spurs into the flanks of the liberal Washington types, they will know that she is in the saddle.

Butch King


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jude!

Today is my nephew's birthday ~ he's one year old! Last year I was so excited to have a new little one and a cousin for my girls when baby Jude was born. Then my brother and sister in law decided they had to move to the beautiful San Diego area, and so now I have to be satisfied with seeing pictures of him instead of actually spending quality time with him. The time has passed so swiftly since we last saw him when he was three months old. Hopefully when he's older and will actually remember us, we can make it down there to celebrate his birthday with him.

We love you Ben & Timea and the girls miss their baby cousin, Jude.

Happy First Birthday, Little Guy!

Love, Auntie Rhonda, Uncle Matthew, and cousins Shauna & Staci

This picture was my second attempt, which includes some items that I found while searching for baby boy birthday scrapbook ideas. I borrowed the "Celebrate" tag from The Avid Scrapper
and the other items were found just searching the internet.

Below is my first attempt at digital scrapbooking a birthday card/page for Jude. I like the second attempt much more than the first.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bro. & Sis. Howard

We were blessed to have Bro. & Sis. Howard with us for both church services yesterday. He is an amazingly funny preacher who will inspire you to continue your work for the Lord, and not grow weary in well doing. And Sis. Howard is a superb singer. The morning service title was "Fuel the Vision." Pastor Sullivan has a great vision for our church ~ he wants us to grow and reach out to our neighbors and our communities. We are praying that we will become a multi-cultural church with many different ethnicities; and we are also praying that those who have left the Apostolic way will return back to God and church.

The evening service was also awesome, but with a different dynamic. Do you ever feel like God has forgotten about you? "God remembers His customers" was one of the phrases Bro. Howard spoke in his sermon titled "Forgotten, to be Remembered." The scripture text was Genesis 39 - 42; and the story is of Joseph being put in prison, where he interprets the butler and bakers' dreams, and asks the butler to remember him. We read on in the Bible to see that Joseph remained in prison for TWO FULL YEARS after that. He was forgotten by the butler, but God did not forsake him or forget him. Sometimes we may think that we've waited years for a miracle or promise God has given us, and maybe we have - but know this: God has not forgotten you! Continue to seek Him and keep His kingdom first, and God will prove Himself faithful as He always has.

Shauna loved the services - she even stayed awake through the entire church service, even though she has a cold and didn't take a nap yesterday afternoon. She even asked him when he's coming back to our church. He said probably in two months = our current building project should be done by then!

You are not alone; God has not forgotten you.
When you're feeling low and down, look up to God and sing this song performed by Natalie Grant "I am Not Alone"

You're here in my heart
You're the light that guides me through the dark
You walk beside me, the night seems cold
Each time I fall, You're arms are there to hold
You walk beside me, giving strength I've never known,
I am not alone, You walk beside me, I am not alone

You're here in my mind
I talk to you and all my fears unwind
I know I'm loved for who I am
You make me want to be the best that I can
You walk beside me, giving strength I've never known
And I am not alone, You walk beside me, I am not alone
Wherever the road leads

And I rely on Your patience when I face the unknown And because of You, I am not alone

I am not alone, You're always beside me, I am not alone
In the sun, in the rain
Through the good times, and in the pain
You're always beside me
I reach out for Your hand, I know that You understand

Sunday Savings

Yesterday was a fabulous day.

After a tremendous morning church service preached by Bro. Kelly Howard, the girls and I headed to Target to return a few things. We then walked across the street to the Dollar Tree to buy our newspapers (we bought 5). Since my sister is getting married in November, we knew we'd need MANY Michael's ads/coupons. Then we walked back to Target and ate lunch there while I clipped coupons. There was a Target coupon for $3 off two Revlon beauty tools, along with a $1 manufacturer's coupon.

My purchase at Target included Clorox toilet bowl cleaner, some personal care items, emery boards and Revlon tweezers. The regular price of all items was $23.00. With the sales, clearance item, and Revlon coupons, I paid $11.96 = 48% overall savings!

Then we went to Michael's where each of the girls purchased an item for the cake baking session, using their own 50% off coupon.

My Michael's purchase was 5 "slice of cake" cake boxes, 10 spools of ribbon for hair bows; crocheted stickers for a friend's honeymoon album, and a set of clear stamps. The stampers were the only thing regular price, and they were $1. Original price of all items was $12.99, and I paid $6.50 = 50% overall savings. Yeah!!!

That was our Sunday afternoon. How about you? Are you having fun saving? Drop me a line and let me know. I love to receive comments.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Macy's Savings

I am a Macy's cardholder, but don't shop there regularly, as their prices just don't fit my budget. When I do go there, I never buy anything full price. However, you can get good quality items for a great price if you're willing to look through the racks and sometimes come home empty-handed. Today I lucked out with some good deals.

I had received special coupons in the mail for Macy's "Secret Sale." There were 8 coupons total, but the best value one was for $25 off a $100 purchase. I went with a friend so that we could combine our purchases to reach the $100 total.

Here's how I did:
Item Purchased Orig Price Clearance Price Price w/ Coupon
Hot Pink Eyelet Dress for Staci$ 32.00 $ 9.99 $ 6.99

Hot Pink Eyelet Dress for Shauna32.009.996.99

White Eyelet Skirt for my mom52.009.996.99

Toddler Girl dress for friend's baby12.984.994.99

Total Cost: $128.98 $34.96 $25.96

Savings overall off of regular price: It was 73% before I used the coupon.

With the coupon, I paid 80% off the original price! Yeah, me.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Patriot Day Prayer

I found this on the Presidential Prayer Team website.

by Rev. Greg Asimakoupoulos

Seven years? Already? Wow! The time has flown and yet somehow
they’ve coined a day to call to mind an unseen enemy.

Today we think of those who died in a Pennsylvania countryside
and those perished in New York as well as in D.C.

We honor those who lost their lives whose friends and families were deprived
of spouses, children, moms and dads…because of terrorists.

Lord, thank you for these patriots, for firefighters, heroes, cops.
For average folks who had no clue that day would be their last.

Please comfort families who still grieve and grant them faith so they’ll believe
their loved ones did not die in vain but left a legacy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I'm on the Coupon Bandwagon

In the past I've only purchased a Sunday newspaper (from the Dollar Tree, since it saves me 50 cents that way) if there was a Michael's ad in the paper; which, by the way, will have a 50% off one regularly priced item in this coming week's paper on 9/14/08.

Now that I've started following some of the thrifty/frugal blogs out there as well as Coupon Mom, I've discovered the errors of my ways. Unfortunately, Northern CA is not as nice as Southern CA when it comes to doubling coupons, however, I did go on a coupon-spending spree yesterday after work at Wal*Mart. Here are my totals:

My coupon savings at Wal*Mart yesterday:
Italian Chicken Fettucine Alfredo meal in refrigerated section $5.98; Hillshire Farms Roast Beef $2.88; Hillshire Farms Oven Roasted Turkey 2.88; Hillshire Farms Roast Beef $2.88; Hillshire Farms Oven Roasted Turkey 2.88; Sara Lee Bread 1.97; Sara Lee Bread 1.97; All Free & Clear 4.37; All Small & Mighty 3.97; Electrasol Gelpacs for dishwasher 3.67; Pert Plus with 30% bonus 4.34; Garnier Fructis Conditioner 2.67; Fructis Large Size Codnitioner with free trial size shampoo & cond 4.96; Fructis Special Conditioning Cream 2.67
Equals $50.16 (with tax)

two bread coupons -3.94
Pert Plus coupon -2.00
3 Garnier Fructis coupons - 3.00
Electrasol coupon - 2.25
2 All coupons -2.00
Meal coupon -1.00
Minus coupon total: -$14.19

equals $35.97 = 29% savings overall

29% savings overall isn't the GREATEST, I know, but I think I did pretty good for my first time of using coupons at Wal*Mart.

Friday, September 5, 2008

We've Survived the First Week of School

We've finally made it to Friday, yeah! It has been really hard getting back into the "wake up at 5:45" routine, especially after being on vacation last week. But, I think we're starting to get used to it again.

Here are some pictures from the first day of school, September 2, 2008.

My baby is now a kindergartner, and Shauna's a proud second grader. My, how the time does fly! Shauna was anxious/nervous, as she stated "I'm not ready for second grade, I don't know anything about it." I reassured her that she's not supposed to know everything about second grade, only about first grade. After the first week, she says "we still haven't learned anything new, it's all review; and still no homework."
Staci, on the other hand, was not a happy camper that first morning of school. Why? Because the uniform jumper I picked out was not the one she wanted to wear that day. Such drama for such a little girl! :) Not that Shauna hasn't had any drama herself - the biggest fight with her this week regarding school clothes is that she wants to wear her boots. I simply REFUSE to let her wear boots when the forecast calls for over 100 degree weather. I told her maybe on the first day of fall she can wear her boots.

65 Years Together

Happy 65th Anniversary!

Saturday, August 30, 2008, marked the 65th wedding anniversary of the oldest couple in our church, Mr. J. Robert & Mrs. Frances Gideon. The Gideon's are pillars of our church community, and have always been there to help out, when possible. The church books have pictures of Sis. Gideon helping carry bricks when we were building our current building in 1983. And then, a year or two ago, we got a picture of her helping "move rocks" to clean up the weeds alongside the driveway/parking lot. Sunday morning, Pastor Sullivan presented them with roses and a gift card for Hometown Buffet to help them celebrate.

We applaud Bro. & Sis. Gideon for their years of love and commitment
to each other and the Lord.
Happy Anniversary!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Texas Vacation - Summary of the Week's events

We are back home from Texas, and trying to settle into the "back-to-school" routine. I will leave you with a short summary of our trip, along with just a few pictures (over 900 pictures taken).

Friday, August 22 departing flight from SMF to DFW, arrived to find that Grandma was in the hospital

Staci & Shauna with Great-Grandpa Wm. E. Smith (aka Grampa)

Me & Grampa

Saturday, August 23 visited Grandma Gladys in the hospital and then hung out at Grandpa & Grandma's house, as we were hoping she would come home from the hospital that day.

Sweet nurse Shauna holds Great-Grandma Gladys' hand (aka Grama Gladys)

Sunday, August 24 visited Grandma in the hospital in the morning, then took the girls to Denton WaterWorks park - no pictures yet, as I took a disposable camera rather than the digital.

Monday, August 25 tractor rides with Grandpa, visited Grandma in the hospital, then took the girls to the mall in Denton, TX

Tuesday, August 26
stayed home in the morning, then visited Grama in the hospital, where we found out they would release her that day. She got to go home around noon. Then the girls and I went to the mall and shopped at JCPenney (I found some great deals for me, but nothing for the girls). The Denton Golden Triangle Mall does not have a "kids play area" so to speak, but they did have some "50 cent rides." The girls just HAD to ride the bull. :)

Wednesday, August 27 museum day - visited the Hangar 10 Flying Musuem, outside of the Denton Municipal Airport, the Bayless-Selby House Museum, then walked to the "Downtown Square of Denton" and visited the Denton Courthouse Museum. We then drove to find something to eat (Pizza Hut, I think) and then played at the park for a while before we went to the Texas Women's University (TWU). At TWU, we visited the gallery of "Gowns of the First Ladies of Texas," which houses the original (or in a few cases, a replica) gown worn by the "First Lady of Texas (the governor's wife) at the governor's inauguration. Here I've included the photos of the dresses worn by Laura Welch Bush and Barbara Pierce Bush. We also visited the "Little Chapel in the Woods" which is one of the oldest churches in Texas, but those pictures will be a separate post, probably next week.

This plane is about 60 years old

On the steps of the "Bayless-Selby House Museum" ~ a lot of really cool, very old, true antique itmes in this house, including old toys, clothes, a funny looking thing that looked like a pair of scissors sticking into the oil lamp, which we were told is how the ladies curled their hair back then. Unfortunately, the musuem guide would not let me take pictures, even without the flash. Anyone who is into antiques should visit this museum if near Denton, Texas.

One of my favorite pictures (it's amazing what positions kids can sleep in)
Here's sweet-pea Staci "crashed" after the full day of "museuming."

Wednesday, August 27 - stayed around Krum, went to the Krum library, then to Calvary UPC church in Denton pastored by Phillip & Debbie Hudson. The remarkable thing about this church is how beautiful it is - I was told by one of the young ladies that the building is about 5 years old, and Bro. Hudson is the 17th or 18th UPC pastor to be sent to Denton, TX, and the first one to build a building! Since our church is currently in the midst of remodeling our building, this was encouraging to see what can be done when there is a vision! (Also reminds me of the story in the Bible of the "Tower of Babel" - it says right there in black and white that they could accomplish anything that they set their mind to ~ this is truly amazing!)

Thursday, August 28 Stayed home in the morning and visited with Grampa and Grama. Late that afternoon, picked up the rental car and drove the girls to the Denton Firehouse Museum (which Staci had been asking to go to since we missed it on "Museum Day"), and then when we got there, she was crying and shaking, saying she was scared, because "they're fighters" - hence, I'm having a hard time explaining to this 4 1/2 year old that it's okay to be a soldier and fight the bad guys or be a firefighter and fight fires. Since Staci was scared, she didn't want to have her picture taken trying on the equipment or sitting on the fire truck.

One of the unique benches on the main street in Krum

Friday, August 29 - drove to Marietta Oklahoma in the morning, stopped at the Oklahoma Travel Center, then back south on I-35, stopped at the Texas Travel Center, and then went to the Frank Buck Zoo in Gainesville, TX. When my mom, sister, and I went to Texas in June 1998, my grandparents took us to this zoo. At that time, the zoo consisted of a walking path with a donation box. Now it's $6 entrance fee for adults, $4 for kids, they have the "Frank Buck Trading Post" where you can buy souvenirs, and there is an adorable wooden park with a train across the street from the zoo.

At the courthouse in Marietta, Oklahoma

At the military museum in Marietta

At the foot of the World War II Memorial at the Texas Travel Information Center in Gainesville, Texas

Saturday, August 30 - last minute drive to the Krum Elementary School playground, and then back to Grandpa & Grandma's house for a very short visit before we had to leave to head to the airport. Upon arrival back at G&G house, discovered I had accidentally run over and killed Grandma's baby kitten. It was so terrible and I felt so awful - that was not the way I would have planned on ending our visit, by any means.

On the rental car shuttle going back to the terminal at DFW (the airport is so huge, the consolidated rental car center is about 6 miles from the terminals)

"That is not good/nice - pushing someone out of the plane" says Staci, as she "reads" the safety information brochure aboard the airplane.

"Let's do a toast" says Staci, after we are offered beverage service by the flight attendants