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Back To School: Extraordinary Teens August 19, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Book Reviews, Books, Feelings, learning, life, School, School Supplies, thoughts.
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With everyone going back to school, it’s so much easier to remember the clothes, school supplies, and even money set out for lunch. But one thing that parents tend to forget: motivation. Since teens are often boggled down with school and extra-curricular activities, it’s quite normal to think “What am I doing this for?”. Believe me- I’ve been there.

But thanks to Chicken Soup for the Soul, your teens can have the motivation they need to go out into the world and do something- if even not everyone agrees with it. If your teen wants to start a business helping people decorate for the Holidays, then this book is for this. Chicken Soup for the Extraordinary Teen is chock full of stories from teens that had no idea what they were doing but succeeded in doing it anyways. There are even stories from some of the most famous teen celebs- Ryan Cabrera, Julie Marie Carrier, and even Mythbuster Kari Byron. All of the stories are heartfelt (which Chicken Soup for the Soul is known for) and so inspirational that no teen will close the book untouched by the stories from these amazing teenagers.

chicken-soup-for-the-soulWhat I loved is that I could remember what it was like at that stage- awkward, uninspired, and just tired of school and nothing to go along with that. I wish I was as creative as the teens in this book. Each story is unique and each story has several sentences bold- true words of wisdom. This guarantees that each and every person that reads it will leave with a little something in their heart that says “I may not be a teen. But I still have plenty of time to do what I want- even if that means starting a business to help people decorate for the Holidays!”. I will warn you about something though. These kids achievements by themselves are staggering so if there are any teens or Moms who are sensitive about their academics, this may not be the book for you. While it it amazing some of the achievements mentioned, sometimes it can get a little overbearing.  But also with that, you can just skip over that box if you wish to read it.

Did I learn anything from it? I may be turning 25 this Winter, but I still learned a lot. I’m not too old to do this or accomplish that. If I can dream it, it can happen. Same goes for everyone who reads this- You’re not too old to do this or accomplish that. If you can dream it, it can happen.

Book Review: Jansten’s Gift July 20, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Book Reviews, Books, Charities, family, Feelings, learning, life, thoughts.
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Author: Pam Cope

Published: April 2009

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Genre: Non-Fiction

ISBN-10: 0446199699

ISBN-13: 978-0446199698

Nine years ago, Pam Cope owned a cozy hair salon in the tiny town of Neosho, Missouri, and her life revolved around her son’s baseball games, her daughter’s dance lessons, and family trips to places like Disney World. She had never been out of the country, nor had she any desire to travel far from home.

Then, on June 16th, 1999, her life changed forever with the death of her 15-year-old son from an undiagnosed heart ailment.

Needing to get as far away as possible from everything that reminded her of her loss, she accepted a friend’s invitation to travel to Vietnam, and, from the moment she stepped off the plane, everything she had been feeling since her son’s death began to shift. By the time she returned home, she had a new mission: to use her pain to change the world, one small step at a time, one child at a time. Today, she is the mother of two children adopted from Vietnam. More than that, she and her husband have created a foundation called “Touch A Life,” dedicated to helping desperate children in countries as far-flung as Vietnam, Cambodia and Ghana.

Now MY take it on:

I really don’t know where to start. Some would tell me to start from the beginning, but it’s so much more than that. When I started reading it, I didn’t expect my emotions to run away with every page. You wanted to be there to comfort her. You wanted to be there so you can help. You wanted to experience everything she was experiencing while in Vietnam or Ghana. As I read, I could feel sympathy and compassion rising inside of me. It is so heartfelt, heartwarming, and in some places, heartbreaking. I never imagined that all of this was really happening and it opened my eyes up to countries I thought were beautiful. They never show this on TV or even slightly mention it. So without books or the Internet, we would have never know all of this was going on. You can’t imagine what it must feel like. But thanks to Touch A Life Foundation, many children will never know what it feels like to be a child slave. They’ll be able to have friends, play, go to school, and even sing.

For more information on Touch A Life Foundation, visit www.touchalifekids.org.

Christmas in July: Dear Santa July 17, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in alpha inventions, Animals, Books, cats, Christmas, Christmas in July, dogs, family, Feelings, funny, holidays, life, Pets, random, Siblings, sisters, thoughts, twins.
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Note: I took the idea from Manders (aka Confetti Dreams).

 

Dear Santa:

It’s July. It’s hot, muggy, and no rain. I’m tired of it and wishing Fall would get here soon. So what does this have to do with you?

Everything! You grace us with your presence every year at Christmas, and getting through Fall just means you’ll visit us once again. But I must remind you: The cats are still sort of afraid of strangers. They are attached to their owners and don’t want attention from anyone unless he or she is part of the family. Of course, that doesn’t include that dog. They hate him. But then again, he loves to chase them. Speaking of the dog, he won’t bite. I promise that. His bark is a lot louder than his bite. Milk and Cookies are in the fridge. Pup likes cookies and kitties like milk. For the reindeer, since it’s going to be a long night, there is some soda in the fridge as well. They could probably use the caffeine.

So what do I want this year? Not much, really. Like my other half, a laptop would be REALLY nice. Then Mom wouldn’t get tired of hearing us argue about who has been on the longest or asking “When am I getting on?”. We wouldn’t have to argue either. True, sisters (especially twins) argue over inanimate objects like computers but after a while, it gets boring. We need something new to argue over! I’m pretty sure if I said more books or a nutcracker (which is on my “just-in-case” list), we wouldn’t have to argue over that and Christmas would end up boring. But of course I’ll take practically anything dealing with books, movies, music (heavy metal or Jagged Ege please), or nutcrackers.

Manders will take George Strait or Kahn (from Kamelot) under the tree this year. Forget any CDs or DVDs by these men. She’ll just take them as they are- in the flesh. She wants them only for a month, but I know her too well and she secretly wants them for more than a month. Please leave a note on how long she can keep them. Oh and if they come with any accessories (guitars, ya know), leave those as well. Mom could probably use a vacation. As far as where, that’s a conundrum. I have no clue! You’re better off asking her. I don’t know what you could get Daddy. You might want to ask him too.

Oh and if it isn’t too much trouble, please make sure that all pets are in the house. Smokie likes to escape. Give the Mrs my best.

I’m thinking… June 17, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Books, family, Feelings, life, Siblings, sisters, thoughts, twins, writing.
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As I laid down to go to sleep, I started thinking about the books I have been reading. All of them have been fiction and in 95% of them, they feature some sort of paranormal monster- whether it be a vampire, werewolf, or witch. Then I got to thinking of the nonfiction books that centered around twins. None of them came from the actual twin’s point-of-view. They have all been written by some expert or a parent of twins.

Sure we want to know how twins come about or what it’s like to have a set of twins. But you don’t get a sense of who the twins truly are, unless they are young and can’t write the book. But with all the adult twins in the world, you figured that they would write a book about what it’s like to be a twin and live with a twin. Maybe I am thinking outside of the box, and that’s who I am.

But I was thinking of writing a book about twins… from the twin’s point-of-view! I wouldn’t write it like it was some distant future and we’re already in college and trying to make our way through life and Biology. That would be disingenuous of me and wouldn’t really make sense since there is still a lot that Manders and I go through every single day. Hell, we still argue over what to watch on TV before we go to sleep. No one ever tells you those little things that make twins so wonderful. We argue but we don’t stay mad.

I think it would be so cool for people to see what twins are TRULY like from their point-of-view instead of an expert who has no twins or a parent whose twins are too young to say what the bond is like. It would be one of a kind!

Quiet… June 6, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Books, cats, dogs, family, Feelings, life, random, reading, thoughts.
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As I sit here, the only sounds I hear are the hums of the fans and my fingers hitting the keyboard. It’s unusually quiet- I am the only one awake. Even the cats are asleep. Zeus is asleep in the chair. Patches is on top of the television (which I expect her to fall off of any moment as she usually does). Smokie and Princess are asleep in the bedroom with Manders- who must have been really tired. Mom is asleep on the couch because she has a headache. Dad has gone out for a while to do a few errands.

I usually don’t like all the quietness because it feels like I could go crazy with my thoughts. But because of a migraine yesterday and endless channel surfring on the TV (there was nothing on that piqued my interest!), I welcome the quiet. No music, no television, no dog barking at air- soothing quiet.

It’s been a while since I could sit here, in the living room, with nothing but my thoughts. Usually Zeus is making some sort of noise with his endless amount of toys. Smokie would want attention as soon as she woke up. Not long after that, Manders would wake up and would want online. While I have no thoughts in which I have a decision to make, it is nice to reconnect with myself once more. I am a believer in that meditation (in some shape or form) truly cleanses your body, mind, and spirit. I haven’t meditated in a long while due to everything that was going on and there never seemed to be any peace and quiet. It even seemed a little louder than I liked in the bedroom- even while reading and having some movie on for background noise. It’s like I couldn’t concentrate on what I was reading because even the words pounded in my head.

Maybe I’ll get a little more reading done than I had gotten done yesterday. I have 2 books I need to read and while I haven’t even made a dent in the other one (with almost 1000 pages and I am only on page 135), I am almost halfway with the other. Both interest me but I refuse to read them when I will just skip over a majority of what the book says instead of my imagination running wild as I read.I am finally making a dent in my quest to read 100 books by December 31st. To make it seem as if it wasn’t a blazing 100* outside, I even plan to read books that were made for the Christmas Holiday instead of Summer. Why? Not only do I look forward to Christmas every year, reading about snow and Christmas trees will make it seem as if it were a mere 30* out instead of triple digits.

Patches just fell. Told ya she would.

100+ Reading Challenge May 25, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Blogging, Books, Feelings, life, random, reading, thoughts.
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On J. Kaye’s Book Blog, she is holding the 2009 100+ Reading Challenge.

I asked Mom if she thought I could read 100 books (or maybe like 80) between now and December 31st. She replied with “You’re a good reader, aren’t you?”. I thought about it and said “Why yes, I am!”. I read the whole Twilight series in less than a month- I consider that very good reading. Even if I don’t like the book, I will finish reading it just to give it a chance.

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I am thinking of entering it. I have to post my reading list as I read them along with the reviews and since I have a lot going on here, I’ll post them at Texas Banter Book Reviews that way Texas Banter ISN’T so cluttered. This should be a fun little challenge and I have to set up my post(s) and TBBR before I enter so that maybe I can enter. With 2 books coming from the library, an eBook, and a book I am currently reading, this should be fun!

Maybe I won’t fry my brain and get confused with characters. If that’s the case, I’m gonna still going to read because I know I can do it. I can, can’t I?

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Books, Books, Books! May 1, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Books, Feelings, life, random, reading, relationships, thoughts.
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I am absolutely sure that I will eventually fry my brain from reading.

Yes, I love to read.

Why do I say that?

I am currently reading 4… count them- 1, 2, 3, 4 books! 2 of the are from the same author and the other 2 have NOTHING in common. I picked up “The Stupidest Angel” from Christopher Moore (told you I liked him) from the library this afternoon because I had requested it about a week ago. I’ve read it before but since I love it, I wanted to read it again. It had been about 2 years (maybe 3) since I last read it. That’s one I need to get.

I am also reading “Twilight- Eclipse”, which is if I am correct, the 3rd book of the series. These books are getting thicker and while I love the series, I have to take my mind of vampires and love. Being single, it can feel kind of lonely when you’re reading about love and relationships when the only thing warm in your bed at night is your cat wanting attention or the blanket draped over your feet.

So I then opted to start reading a book I bought YEARS ago but never really read because at the time, life was a little hectic and I wasn’t really big into reading. Boy, I sure have changed! This book definitely reminds me of me, if that makes sense. Ain’t it funny how you but books, thinking you just want to get away into some Fantasyland but end up changing you way of thinking about things because the books reminds you so much of yourself, you have declared you are changing?

This last book is no where near that! Remember me talking about “A Dirty Job” in a previous post? Yes, I am still reading it. I have a bad habit of getting caught up in a book or searching for books at the library that I forget that I am halfway through another book! So I end up getting books that I most likely won’t read but neglect that same “halfway through” book. Poor book.

Cats & Books April 29, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Animals, Books, cats, Christopher Moore, Classical Music, dogs, family, Feelings, fun, funny, Guys, health, kittens, life, love, music, random, thoughts.
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This isn’t going to be an interesting post. But because of the Swine flu outbreak and regular flu cases here in my area, I am homebound. I can get out for the ride, I can’t get out of the car. So I won’t be able to speak of the hot guy I saw on the way home or some cute guy saying “Hi” to me on the way out of the store (if that ever happens.). So naturally, I am inclined to speak of Smokie, Zeus, the books I am reading, or the music I am listening to. Or maybe perhaps the weird stuff I do when I am not blogging. Ok, I really don’t do any weird stuff when I’m not online. I read, watch TV, sleep (which I seem to be doing a lot lately), or study. Speaking of studying, I need to get back to doing that. Maybe I will this evening. Otherwise I’ll never be ready for that test.

Smokie has seemed to developed a habit of sticking her tail into their water bowl. For the second time today when I pet her, her tail was wet. I know it can’t be from cleaning herself because even when she grooms, she isn’t soaking wet. Since I am witty, I kept saying “Are you leaking? My cat is leaking!” and the family laughed. It just seems weird because the tip of her tail seems to be wet and I can’t figure it out unless she IS leaking or sticking it in the water bowl. Well atleast when it comes time for her Spring bath, she’ll be used to water. Yes, I bathe my cat. It’s not as hard as it seems when you start young. Except one year on my birthday, she escaped my grasp and the bathroom. She was trailing cat shampoo and water all over the house. Just to piss her off, I relathered her.

I am still reading the Twilight series. I am currently on the 3rd book and am in love with it. I would love to fall in love with a vampire like Edward that has superhuman powers. I know it’s just fantasy. But how cool would it be to fall in love with someone that makes your heart beat fast with every thought of his/her voice or knee-wobbling kisses. We all dream of that. I am also re-reading “A Dirty Job” by Christopher Moore. I bought the book after I checked it out from the library because I loved it. I can’t say what it’s about without going to Google for a synopsis or reading the book to give you one. It’s been about a year or two since I’ve read it so I don’t remember everything. But there is one funny part that always keeps me laughing (even if it is a bit morbid)- everytime his daughter says “kitty”, anyone in the near vicinity drops dead. I know it shouldn’t be funny but if there was a killer on the loose and all you had to say was “kitty” to get him dead?

You will not believe what song I am currently listening to! Does anyone remember the first time they heard Henry Hall’s “Teddy Bear Picnic”?

Fads and Movies April 22, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Books, family, fun, funny, learning, life, music, Musicals, random, reading, thoughts, TV, twitter.
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Thanks to Manders, I am now following a fad. Oh you means, beside Twitter? I’m the one that started the fad within my family.

But I am currently reading the first book of the “Twilight” series. Manders wanted to read it to see what all the fuss was about. Now she knows. She eventually asked me to read it. I thought “Oh great, I am following a fad. I hate fads.” but to much of my surprise, the first book is so far good! Granted, I am only on Chapter 6. I would fall in love with Edward too! Something about being a Vampire and stealth is sexy to me. I checked out the 2nd book from the library as well so I can read it when I’m done with the first.

I also check out “Chicago” and “Now and Then” from the library. Both of them happen to be one of my favorite movies! I tend to lean towards musicals every once in a while (don’t act so shocked!) so I knew I would automatically love “Chicago”.  And Renee Zellwegger is one of my favorite actresses. Not to mention the soundtrack and music is just awesome! I even have some of the songs on the old iPod. Love iPods. I like “Now and Then” because I used to watch it when I was a teenager because Mom would watch it. It’s just a funny little movie where you can escape to another time and place.

Oh yea, and obviously, even though computer screens, people can tell we’re twins. Conley Isom, a meteorologist from KXXV (the place I went before. Remember from “My awesome memory!”?) is following both me and Manders on Twitter. I don’t know what my sister said, but Conley asked who her sister was. She said me. He replied with “I thought ya’ll were sisters!”. So me and the twin are either so memorable, we resemble each other. Or people can just tell no matter what. That was very cool!

I wish it wasn’t 90*. It’s too early to be too hot. I’m going to take a cold shower.

Eating before bed… April 21, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in blog, Blogging, blogs, Books, Dreams, Fantasy, Feelings, food, learning, life, magic, random, thoughts, TV.
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Around midnight, I was hungry. I hadn’t really eaten since noon so I decided to get a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I obviously did not remember the fabulous line every mother tells their children: “Do not eat an hour before bed or you will have bad dreams.”. Now, that rule doesn’t usually apply to me unless it’s by some freak accident.

After watching a little bit of Futurama, I decided to go to sleep- which was only 30 minutes after eating. I shouldn’t have eaten that sandwich before bed. I had the most weird dreams! It was where I was bitten by a vampire but instead of turning into some ugly looking-creature that books have made vampires out to be, I turned into this beautiful countess with a flowing white dress that had a blood red bodice. But little did I realize that in my dreams, I was dreaming that. Because upon awakening in my dream, I said I was going to write a book about the dream I just had and blog about it. I was going to call the book “Magick” because of the dream’s Pagan backgrounds and the blog “Vampires, oh my!”.

I don’t know where the vampire came from and I don’t know where the book thing came from. I know where the blog part came from because I was just in the living room as Manders was writing a post. Maybe it was “Magic’s Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed” I watched before bed. I now find magic fake due to this. But it’s so interesting to see what magicians use for their biggest tricks.

I have the weirdest dreams. I think I will until the day I die. I wonder what’s for lunch.

Confusion… April 19, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Books, Christopher Moore, Feelings, learning, life, random, reading, thoughts.
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This doesn’t have to deal with Cyber Guy (though we are still talking) or someone I have my eye on. This actually has to deal with a book.

If you may remember from previous posts, I am reading Fool by gore-author Christopher Moore. I usually have no problems following his books because they’re plain and straightforward. I thought it was going to be the same way with this book. Was I totally wrong the minute I started reading it! Let me set it for you: It is set in 1288 where a king’s fool is set out to set the king’s misdoings straight but end up getting into trouble himself. Sounds easy enough, don’t you agree? Wrong! I love Christopher Moore and have ready almost every book (except 1 or 2) so I should be used to his writing. But I didn’t live in England at 1288 so I don’t speak 1288 English Slang. Luckily they have footnotes for some slang words so I can follow along.

But so far, it’s a pretty interesting book! Pocket, the main character, meets witches, cats, and other characters. I am hoping that by the time I have to return it to the library, I will have finished and understood it. Okay, well, not 100% but most of it. Hell, I remember the first Christopher Moore book I read. My mom had checked out “The Stupidest Angel” from our local library and only read a couple of pages but she enjoyed it. She thought I would so I decided to read it. I was enthralled with it! I loved it! I fell in love with Moore’s writing style so I decided to buy Practical Demonkeeping, which is like another awesome book.

Maybe reminding myself of his other works will give me confidence that I can finish the book. We’ll see.

15 Things About Me April 8, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Animals, birthday, Books, cats, Computers, Entertainment, Football, Foreign Languages, German, Horror Movies, life, Movies, music, Pets, random, thoughts.
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Since things are starting to look up for the family, I thought I would write a happy post. Sure I pretty much just put everything out there for the world to read on a daily basis- or do I? How much do you truly know about Texas Banter? Here are 15 things you would have never guessed:

1. I know every song by R&B group Jagged Edge by heart and love them to death. Name a song and I’ll give you the CD and track number.

2. I can only drink Dr Pepper or generic Dr Pepper. I refuse to drink any other soda unless its Sprite and I have the flu.

3. I used to be blonde for 8 years before a tragic breakup made me dye it.

4. I live for Subway and their tuna footlongs.

5. Football fanatic!

6. I started using computers when I was 15 but can’t build my own- go figure!

7. I am only 2 minutes older than Twin and take great pride in being the “big sister”.

8. I know a little Scottish Gaelic, German, and Spanish.

9. I like all kinds of music but mostly R&B and heavy metal (with country and other genres thrown in for good measure.)

10. I LOVE horror movies- I prefer those over action or suspense.

11. My cat, Smokie, has my nickname from high school as her name.

12. I share a birthday (Dec. 12th) with Frank Sinatra and Connie Francis.

13. I live for Spring and those hair-raising storms!

14. I try to read 2 books a week.

15. Bill Paxton and Tom Hanks are my favorite actors while Renee Zellwegger is my favorite actress.

Well now you know more about me- any questions?

I don’t feel bad… March 25, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Books, Charlie Huston, College, Feelings, health, Huston, learning, life, math, Mathematics, random, thoughts.
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I take that back. I do feel bad- I have a cold, remember?

But usually every day for several hours, I bury myself in trying to figure the hell out of College Algebra in which I could easily spend 2-3 hours writing and rewriting this junk. Why they expect us to know what x(squared) + y (squared)= (x+y)(x+y) I don’t know. It usually drives me crazy and after a hand cramp, I give it up. It can wait another day.

Today, I didn’t study at all. I read a little bit of  No Dominion by Charlie Huston and took a nice nap. I didn’t even think about studying. True, I only have until this fall (when they list new test dates) to get everything memorized so I can at least a good showing that I am ready for college. I know I have the Writing, Reading, and Essay part ready. I am extremely dreading the Math with a vengence. But I didn’t feel bad for not studying and still don’t feel bad.

It can wait. I still hate Algebra. Evil. Pure evil.

I am a math goddess! March 18, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Animals, Books, cats, College, computer, Computers, dogs, family, learning, life, Mathematics, Pets, random, thoughts.
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Okay, so I’m not really a math goddess. I’ve been studying the math section of the THEA book and decided to do one of those easy-peasy and it was 20 questions in all. It was one that dealt with fractions (granted, I stayed away from Least Common Denominator because I still have NO clue) and I only missed 1! That gave me a confidence boost as I reach my least-favorite section of math- Algebra. I suck at Algebra. I hate Algebra.

On the bright side, we might have the computer fixed by the weekend. We were able to move things around to where we could get it done. We’re getting the part probably Friday and it might fix the problem. Let’s hope that’s the problem or we’re screwed!

Everyone is doing… okay. Of course, Mom is stressed but what Mother isn’t. Hell, even I’m stressed! Manders is doing okay. She fell yesterday and kinda hurt her shoulder but she’s a-okay. Daddy is doing well. Nothing new there! As for Zeus, Patches, Princess, and Smokie? Still chasing each other and still furry.

Let there be light! March 16, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Books, College, Feelings, health, Huston, Internet, learning, life, Medical, random, thoughts.
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It’s about damn time! About Wednesday night, it started raining. That was okay. We needed the rain badly because we were in a drought. Thursday- raining all day. I could live with the rain. But it was cold and depressing. Same as Friday. Onto Saturday, the clouds, rain, and cold come. Talk about depressing!

Sunday rolls around. It’s a little chilly and cloudy most of the day. When we only have 2 1/2 hours of daylight left, the clouds part and the sun comes out! I haven’t seen the sun since Wednesday morning. Oh it was so beautiful!

The sun is still shining but can’t enjoy much of it- I have a stinkin’ ear infection! I hate to rant and vent, but ugh! If it’s not one thing, it sure is another. But still hanging in there… almost done with studying for the THEA! I just need the finish the math, look up “Lowest Common Denominator” (because I’m an idiot at math), and then once I review it, I should be good to go. I’m also reading the last book of the “Henry Thompson” series and start another series by Huston. So far, this new series is freakin weird but freakin awesome!

Kisses!