Archive for November, 2014


My Favorite Things: Walmart Savings Catcher…



savings catcher logo

It’s about to get weird. I’m going to say something nice about Walmart.

This Yankee would seriously rejoice if Target ever came to our sleepy little town, but alas, we are just fortunate to have a tiny JC Penney and one giant Walmart. Thus, much of my everyday and weekly shopping takes place at the latter, whether I like it or not.

The only other game in town for a grocery store is a regional chain that I absolutely adore. There’s only one problem–they have the world’s smallest aisles and the longest checkout lines in the history of man. Despite several efforts on the part of the town and the local management to coax them into giving us one of their “Whole Foods” type stores, we are stuck with this seriously overused and tiny store. H-E-B? Are you listening over here???

Thus, I find myself shopping at Walmart because I just can’t take the claustrophobic nature and lack of selection at H-E-B anymore. But, Walmart does give me one thing that I probably won’t ever be able to get at their competitor–their Savings Catcher app.

This free app does a lot of stuff, but honestly, I don’t use the other features. I don’t even explore them. I just tap the Savings Catcher menu choice and “rock and roll.” When I get a register receipt from Walmart, I click my app, click Savings Catcher and scan the QR code (those square do-hickies that look like ancient video game pixels gone wrong) at the bottom of my receipt with my phone. Almost instantly, Savings Catcher tells me it’s got the entire contents of my receipt in my phone. And, if I want, it will show me the entire receipt in a much easier-to-read display on my phone. Why is this a good idea?

Because Savings Catcher instantly looks for the closest stores to me and compares the prices of all items on my receipt for lower prices at the close stores. Even though I live in a small town, Savings Catcher manages to compare 15 different stores in my area, including dollar stores and a pile of other places that I probably didn’t even know carried the items I bought.

It then sends an email to me telling me that it has my receipt and it’s comparing prices. They warn you that it may take 72 hours to do that. Then, I get another email that the comparison process is complete. If they found cheaper prices at another store, they offer to put the difference(s) on an e-gift card for me. With another click, it’s on an e-gift card!

I started using this app in August and I now have $ 15.47 saved on an e-gift card from 14 receipts. I will grant you that this is not going to buy me the BMW convertible I’ve been eyeing for forever, but it might buy a few stocking stuffers this Christmas. And they did the work for me–I didn’t clip coupons; didn’t have to remind myself how to get coupons on my phone, didn’t have to wait eons for a rebate and didn’t have to type in some promo code in some box. I generally stick the receipts in one of my bags and then when I unload the bags at home, get out my phone and scan the receipt then, so it’s pretty easy to remember to do.

Occasionally, Savings Catcher tells me it couldn’t find a cheaper price, but as you can see, I’m saving about a dollar per receipt with this new little habit of mine. In the beginning the QR reader often didn’t work, but I have noticed this less and less, so they must be working out the bugs rapidly. Even if the QR reader doesn’t work, you just type in the TC# on the receipt which is pretty close to the QR code block. For those of us getting older, you will need your reading glasses to read that, though! And finding my reading glasses sometimes is an effort! But, I’m enough of a Scot to go looking for them for this purpose.

I confess that I haven’t tried redeeming the e-gift card yet, but as I said, $ 15 can get used for stocking stuffers, so I plan on checking out this part of the “equation” soon. Have you tried Savings Catcher? If so, I’d love to hear what you think of it and how much you have saved. I’d particularly love to know if you’ve tried redeeming your e-gift card and how that went for you. Comment below to share your thoughts.

Yes, I suppose I could participate in Black Friday and save even more money, but if I think clipping coupons is too much work, do you really think I participate in Black Friday?

Monday’s Post: Can you pronounce adscititious?

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Things I Hope to Be Thankful For in 2015…



I, like many of you, have engaged in expressing my thankfulness for various aspects of my life. While I will probably do the same this Thanksgiving as my family gathers around that all-important turkey, I do find myself wishing I could be thankful for other things in the coming year. Some are simply sarcastic; some are serious. What would you add to this list?

1. That Congress and the White House remind themselves that they are paid, elected servants of the people of this country and will actually work together to accomplish some good things for Americans who want nothing more than to be self-sufficient.

2. That Ebola will be eradicated around the world.

3. That those protesting the unfair treatment of various races and nationalities will remember the concept of peaceful protest constructed by Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

4. That all countries will respect other countries’ borders and only enter and exit them legally.

5. That more and more of us will be prompted to eradicate the hunger and thirst of the thousands of people who die in Africa, every single day, as a result of extreme poverty and a lack of knowledge and supplies to take care of this on their own.

6. That my kids’ stuff will actually leave home with them.

7. That more people emulate Jesus‘ actions. I don’t care if you’re Christian or not; believe in Him or not. The Man set a wonderful example of how we should treat each other.

8. That I will run my first official race this year. If you’re expecting me to do the Ironman Triathlon this year, your expectations are going to be thrown to the ground and stomped on unceremoniously. Can we call the snail pace I run on my treadmill running???

9. That I will stay out of hospitals. It’s not that I’m adverse to visiting them; it’s when I take up residency there that I wish for a trip to Tahiti. I am getting way too familiar with hospital cafeteria menus and when to arrive in hospital parking lots to get the spot closest to the entrance.

10. That hurting people near us will come to Compassion Counseling Center for help.

11. That people/organizations will donate to Compassion Counseling Center so that we can produce simple brochures, business cards and flyers to let people know we are here to help. So far, that has not happened.Better yet, that people and organizations in our communities will spread the word about Compassion without us having to spending a dime for such materials.

12. That 2015 will bring great joy for my family and friends. Many of my friends have children getting married and having babies in 2015. What a wonderful way to continue the world.

13. That MaryAnn will get back to actually writing her book. Note to self: Locate rough draft.

14. That those who are sad, for whatever reason, will know that people care about them.

15. That I have the ability to give myself my own allergy shots and can travel with my hubby.

16. That the Texas Rangers will be injury-free. If this happens, get smelling salts for the DSL, his wife and half of Texas.

17. That the Backpack Buddies program in our community will be fully funded so that we can feed all food-insecure children in our community. A quarter a day keeps the “hungries” away.

18. That celebrities and professional athletes will take responsibility for their irresponsible and dangerous behavior. I’m severely tired of them hiding bad behavior and making excuses for it. Send that memo to politicians, too.

19. That I will learn patience. Yesterday.

20. That the last year of Women of Faith conferences will lead to bigger and better things and that God will select the people who will accompany me to this last conference in October 2015.

21. That our own little community and one even smaller community to the southwest of us will both win state championships in football. Both teams are stellar examples of what teenagers can accomplish when people believe in them. Pride about that successful school team often translates into success in the classroom and in other extracurricular pursuits.

22. That my children will be successful at their pursuits and be happy and healthy. They deserve such success. I am so proud to say that I miraculously got to be their mother or play at least a small role in their lives (Yes, my dear DSL, that includes you.)

23. That my hubby will continue to enjoy success in his career and be healthy. Why? Because he’s supporting all of the crazy causes and interests of his silly wife at the moment.

24. That my Thanksgiving dinners (Yes, plural) will be calorie-free. (A girl can hope.)

25. That chocolate will be calorie-free. (I’m sensing a theme here.)

26. That I will become a better Bible Study leader. (Given the little project described in # 11, this may take a miracle along the lines of the parting of the Red Sea.)

27. That our marriage makes it to anniversary # 33 and that we make it to “double-nickels” this year. Gray hairs, wrinkles, reading glasses, stubborn cellulite and arthritis are a victory dance. Given the arthritis, probably a slow victory dance.

28. That God will bless our church. Our church pretty much accepts people as they are and has a huge heart. They deserve to have a financially struggle-free year.

29. That I read my Bible every day, regardless of my ever-changing health, my sometimes-lousy attitude, and overly-long to do list.

30. That you and yours will also have much to be thankful for this year and the next. Your loyalty to this blog does not go unnoticed or unappreciated at this end. You are my energy, my enthusiasm and my inspiration when I write.

What do you hope to be thankful for in 2015? Comment below!

Friday’s Post: My Favorite Things Returns!

You Might Also Like: Lessons Learned from Starting a Nonprofit Counseling Center and Lessons I Probably Shouldn’t Have Learned at Women of Faith


Word of the Week: adscititious

Dictionary --Word of the Week

Book Club: Are you Unstoppable? No? Well, let’s work on that. Go here for the details!

Compassion Counseling Center Update: Our web site is up! Go here to see it!  The DSL (who created this web site) created Compassion’s site. I’m impressed. How about you?

Happy Thanksgiving Week, Word Lovers! (I figure if stores can have “Black Friday Week” that’s really a day, we can have a week of giving thanks, right???) Last week’s WOW (Word of the Week) was infix. No one knew this one! So, let’s consult Merriam-Webster for a little help. There are actually 3 definitions for infix: to fasten or fix by piercing or thrusting in; to impress firmly in the consciousness or disposition; and to insert (as a sound or letter) as an infix.

I would like to state, for the record, that my last definition guess (last week) was kinda close. Why? Because it almost never is. So there.


Slow Reader Friday: Twirl


I needed this book this month. I especially needed this book this week. Things exploded this week on the Compassion Counseling Center front (in a good way) and I found myself scrambling to just get the essential tasks of living done each day. I’m not complaining–God has chosen to use me in a way I never thought I could be used and it’s exciting. But, if one is moving too fast through life, we may fail to stop and realize how much “extra” God has provided for us to simply enjoy, particularly in the United States.

Enter TwirlIf you’ve never heard Patsy Clairmont speak, plan to do it. The elder stateswoman of the Women of Faith speakers is hilarious when speaking and she could easily have her own comedy series any time she wanted. Instead she chooses to use that sharp sense of humor to remind us to take time to appreciate the little things in life.

The titles of her very short chapters ( more like long devotionals) tell the things we fail to appreciate every day: decorating, reading, laughing, art, dancing, fragrance, bubbles, trees, birds, cuddling, and stars, just to mention a few. At the end of each chapter she asks the reader to ponder 3 well-written questions to encourage deeper reflection about ourselves.

Even though Patsy is probably 20 years my senior and has a deeper appreciation for all of the above (particularly this month), I found myself identifying with various parts of her life and enjoyed both the poignant and humorous “phraseology.” Here’s a taste of what I mean:

1. “Sometimes growth can only be measured by where we’ve been, not by what others are doing. (You might want to back up and read that sentence again.)”

2. “Take, for instance, the seed….Get this: It has no brain, yet it knows exactly what it wants to be when it grows up. (Most of us are still trying to to figure that out.) We never see zinnias strain to produce tomatoes, nor have I caught my petunias trying to be svelte lilies. Instead this diminutive encasement follows its Creator’s plan and purpose right up to the blossoms.”

3. “As I age my sleep patterns become more unpredictable. I’m finding it takes a lot more discipline to set myself up for sleep. Resisting sweets, ice cream and chocolate after 6:00 seems helpful. And personally, I can’t handle any caffeine after 3:00, which includes chocolate; otherwise I’m practicing Zumba steps at midnight, which tends to annoy Les.”

As we enter this holiday season, I hope you will pick up this book and put down what you’re so busy doing and just read one chapter. And take a moment and remember how much fun it is to twirl, like you did as a kid.

Monday’s Post: What in the world is “infix”?

You Might Also Like: Slow Reader Friday: Beating Goliath; Slow Reader Friday: The Way Home; and Slow Reader Friday: The ONE Thing


Lessons Learned from Starting a Nonprofit Counseling Center…

Just because writing a blog, writing a book, teaching Bible study, organizing trips to women’s conferences, taking care of an ailing brother, taking care of his estate, serving on the Board of Trustees at my church, and recovering from 2 heart attacks apparently wasn’t enough to keep me out of trouble, I decided, in September 2013 to work on a new project. The project?


It’s good that I helped with its formation, because after this 14 month process (that often reminded me of childbirth–without the epidural), I probably need my head examined.

What is Compassion Counseling Center? A non-profit organization dedicated to helping those in our community who need counseling, but can’t afford it. But that’s not all it is.


Word of the Week: infix

Book Club Fans: This coming Friday is the Slow Reader Friday review for Patsy Clairmont’s TwirlGive Twirl a whirl! 🙂

Random Post Alert! For the next two weeks, there won’t be any Fast Five posts as I get things ready for a Thanksgiving family get-together, so you know what that means, don’t you? A random post from me. This could be serious trouble.

Top Mommy Blog Reminder! If you like what you read here, please click on the icon to the right and rate my blog! You can rate it as many times as you like. Thanks!

Last week’s Word of the Week (WOW) was opusculum. No one knew this word, but the hubby said he looked it up. He said I wouldn’t like the definition. I now know why. Merriam-Webster Online defines opusculum as a minor work (as of literature) —usually used in plural. That pretty much describes all posts at MIP. *le sigh*

Today’s WOW is infix. I keep thinking I should know this word, but since the brain cells are dying by the nanosecond, it escapes me. I’ll lay odds I’m going to hear from several of you about the definition for this one, as a result. Here are my guesses for infix:

infix: (ˈin-ˌfiks) 1. the opposite of “fixin’ to” in Texas 2. fixing the Inn 3. attaching something to the internal part of something else. 4. fixing dinner when it’s too cold and snowy outside

What’s your guess for infix? Submit it here!

Wednesday’s Post: Hmmmm….maybe a Lessons Learned???? 

You Might Also Like: Word of the Week: opusculum; Word of the Week: knackered; Word of the Week: hegira; Word of the Week: fantod; and Word of the Week: billingsgate


My Favorite Things:…


When I moved to “Small Town USA” in the early 1990s, the hubby and I pretty much dreaded the holiday season for one reason: it required us to get a sitter on the weekend (That can get pricey for 3 munchkins.) and travel an hour and 15 minutes (one way) to the northeast of us to embark on Christmas shopping at a Fort Worth suburban shopping mall. The first challenge upon arriving there, no matter the hour? Finding a vacant parking space.

Then, there was fighting huge crowds in every store we shopped. I vividly remember one foray into Bath and Body Works and waiting a full 45 minutes to buy stocking stuffers and candles. I’m still not sure that was worth the effort.

Part of the frustration was that our kids’ hand-scrawled Christmas wish lists were often misspelled or illegible. And they almost always wanted the one toy no one could ever get.


Fast Five: No Con 2 John…

2 John

2 John

One could fairly argue that both Obadiah and Paul, the authors of the books of Obadiah and Philemon, are fiery in the way they write. Obadiah probably had a chip on his shoulder about Edom since they probably participated, either directly or indirectly, in the demise of Judah. Paul is well-known for his controversial writing and his inability to tolerate immaturity from some believers. Today we delve into a book authored by someone often referred to as “the disciple Jesus loved,” aka John. And John is the antithesis of Obadiah and Paul.

John writes like a poet and a “lover.” This is true of four of the books he authored in the New Testament: the gospel of John, 1st John, 2nd John, and 3rd John. His last authored book, The Revelation, is much more brazen, most likely because it’s the result of a prophetic vision he was given about the end of the world. Let’s be honest–the end of the world isn’t going to be pretty. Writing about it as if it is, is probably inappropriate.


Word of the Week: opusculum

Book Club Fans: I’m reading about silencing my mind today in TwirlThat will happen when someone clunks me over the head with a hammer.

Fast 5 Topic for this Week: We’ve figured out why Philemon probably did what Paul asked him to do. Now, it’s on to hear John, the beloved apostle in 2nd John. No, not the gospel of John at the beginning of the New Testament…2nd John…towards the end of the New Testament.

Top Mommy Blog: If you enjoy any of my posts, please click on the icon to the right of this post and rate this blog. It helps me spread the word about MIP. Thanks!

Howdy, Word Fans! Last week’s word was knackered. I had a sneaky suspicion someone was going to know this word and actually two family members both got this one right. Merriam-Webster officially defines it as: tired or exhausted. This is a British expression, so I guess the relatives spent a week in London recently when I wasn’t looking. What is even more interesting is that knacker is a noun and has little to do with knackered. Go figure. 


My Favorite Things:…

Last summer something crazy happened. A friend of ours was looking for dressers that she could purchase cheaply, then update so that they could be useful pieces of furniture in our home. I had two such dressers and invited her to come and take a look at them. As a young mother she looked at my mostly tidy home and said, “I’m never letting you in my home; yours is way too orderly!” I laughed. If she only knew. Back when I was her age, I was just as ashamed of my messy, dirty, should-be-condemned home as she probably was. What changed?

To be honest–the kids moved out! It’s much easier keeping a home tidy if you and your husband are the only residents most of the time!  But, even before we had kids, I was a messy, lackluster homemaker. Obviously, my habits and mindset have changed. How? That’s how.

FLY stands for “Finally Loving Yourself” and was created by Marla Cilley. She, herself, describes an unkempt home until she finally took “baby steps” to get not only her home in order, but her life. The first baby step? “Shine your sink.” This probably sounds counter-intuitive since messy homes really have much direr situations in our homes than just dirty sinks. In reality, it’s brilliant. Why?

In my case shining my sink involved me taking all the dirty dishes out of my sink first! And after I had cleaned my sink thoroughly and made it sparkle for the first time in years, there was absolutely no way that I was putting those stinky dishes back in my clean sink! Thus, without really thinking about it, I finally unloaded the clean dishes out of my dishwasher and reloaded my dishwasher. If you’re a neat freak, you probably don’t understand a dishwasher full of clean dishes, but if you have 3 or more kids and no hubby to help you with the “arsenic hours” of getting kids from one activity to the next, making dinner, supervising homework, ensuring bath time goes off without major floods and putting your kids to bed, then you know how difficult it can be to get the clean laundry out of the laundry room and into your drawers and closets and how difficult emptying a dishwasher becomes. 

And I had 3 very different kiddos at 3 very different ages of maturity who had all picked up my bad habits of not tidying up their own messes and creating good habits. So, I needed to help me get on track and do things responsibly. will send you daily emails to help you unlock the joy of having a tidy home you can actually invite people to see without 3 days advanced notice. When you no longer need the emails, you can “graduate” to merely consulting her web site for more complicated tasks. And Marla doesn’t stop there.

She feels finally loving yourself also involves doing at least 15 minutes of exercise every day and “saving dinner.” So, she has other organizational helpers on her site that help you conquer the nightly terror of planning decent, quick dinners for your family and helping you to begin to take care of your body. Her checklist style and “zone philosophy” just appeals to the detail side of my head. I find myself still printing off some of her lists when the house needs a top-to-bottom cleaning. 

I know what you’re thinking out there, you fellow messies! “Your home has NEVER been the disaster mine has.” Wrong. Once there was a ketchup stain stayed on my floor for a full 3 months and I never had the time to actually clean it up, even though it was solidifying on my floor like cement. It required a putty knife and a lot of elbow grease to clean it up. And no, not all parts of my home are presentable. The garages are still a disaster area and two of the kids’ bedrooms are still a work in progress, along with the hubby’s office, our bedroom, our bathroom and pretty much all the closets and drawers in the house. And don’t look in my refrigerator–there are still at least 2 science experiments growing in there at all times.  Most areas of the house are still ridiculously dusty because I still hate, hate, hate dusting. 

So, what has changed? My dishwasher gets emptied every day and reloaded every day. I can find the laundry room floor now and every week the laundry gets done from start to finish, including sheets and towels and laundered items either get put away or are neatly folded and hung in my laundry room. My living room is no longer wall-to-wall toys everywhere (and I have a large living room!). I banished those to the kids’ rooms a long time ago. I actually put out some seasonal decor now and put it away on time. 

The kids’ bathroom is now usually clean. (It was a huge science experiment once upon a time.) And the eldest son’s bedroom is now a beautiful guest room with a mostly cleaned out closet. It’s ready for guests with little effort now. And I exercise a full 99 minutes a day every day. (That’s as high as the treadmill will let me go, time-wise, and I am slowly working on training for a race some day.) I’ve lost 30 pounds and stopped eating everyone’s leftovers on the way to stacking up the dishes in that dirty sink. And clutter is starting to just irritate the stuffing out of me, so it’s getting easier to let go of stuff. The less stuff I have, the easier my life gets–all the way around. 

And miracle of all miracles–I am finally starting to love myself.

So much so, that I have developed my own system for working on the house as needed and no longer consult religiously. And somehow I think Marla would like that. 

Thank you, Marla, for more than just a household organization system. Thank you for being so non-judgmental. Thank you for teaching me that taking care of my home is actually me taking care of me. 

Monday’s Post: How knackered are you?

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