Friday, March 31, 2017

Dream Lifter Tripod Review (Tomoson)

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links.

I received the Dream Lifter Tripod, in exchange for honest review from Tomoson. The tripod came with the tripod plus an adapter for your phone. The tripod also comes with a carrying case.

I wanted to try out the tripod to help with blogging and in the case of someone needing me to cover a live event. I have a tripod for my camcorder, but it is not compatible with a phone adapter.

First, the tripod adjusts in multiple places. You can adjust the legs three times (4 sections on each leg). Each section of the legs also can lock into place.

You also can adjust the height of the middle section. If you twist the screw near the top of the legs, you can adjust the height of the tripod more. Once you have the height desired, you can lock the middle section into place.

I do wish there was a lock for the bracket between the legs though. The tripod can be a bit wobbly if you fully extend it out. a bracket lock would help stabilize the tripod more.

Next, you can adjust the shoe height with the screw next to it. This screw also locks into place once tightened.   The top adapter piece (show plus lever portion) also can be removed for easy storage, if you unscrew the section

Last, the tripod is light-weight and easy to carry. You can toss the tripod in your bag for your photography and video needs. My camcorder tripod is heavier and larger, making it not easy to carry and set up at times. I also like the built in level on the shoe.

You can purchase the tripod using the link above. The tripod is prime-eligible.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Trip to the Neurologist (3/28/17)

The trip to the neurologist

March 28, 2017

Yesterday, Kalen had his regular neurologist appointment. Kalen visits his neuro every six months, usually. This time around, it was 9 months because I had to reschedule because Medicaid transportation sent a car to the wrong address and would not send another one out to the correct address. I had a feeling this visit to Texas Childrens would be interesting.

First, Medicaid transportation changed the rules for round trip travel. If a child is able to catch the bus, the company now provides bus passes versus sending out a car. Brad (my oldest) has to ride in a car and has a level of need on file to not ride on a bus, due to safety issues. Kalen can ride either in a car or on a bus. The problem with riding the bus is Kalen’s mama has limited experience riding the busses and trains in Houston. Stacie is also bad with directions. We may get lost. We may have to leave earlier to make sure Stacie does not get lost, confused, and frustrated.

Google maps was my best friend yesterday. I took two busses to get to the hospital. The second bus had a different design with narrow steps to get on the bus and fancier seats. I had to slowly carry everything up and down. I hate heights. The driver asked me where I was going. I said medical center. He said I had the right bus and get on. My brain was not processing why he asked me where I was going and not the other passengers. The ride was peaceful and quiet.

I was happy when I spotted Texas Childrens When I got off the bus. 

New Suspected Diagnosis: ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. 

Visit went ok. Kalen is 3’6 and 38 lbs. His neuro also suspects Kalen has ADHD, based on his recent behavior and latest test results. She referred me to the case worker to get psych services to confirm or not confirm the new diagnosis. I love her because she said she is neuro and will only work on neuro, while letting Kalen’s other doctors work in their specialized areas. Dr. D also said Kalen may be on Risperidone if the diagnosis is confirmed. If the diagnosis is confirmed, Kalen and Brad will have three diagnoses in common. Brad has Autism, ADHD, and creatine deficiency disorder. 

For reference, Kalen's diagnoses are (official and suspected):

  • Global Development Delays
  • Static Encephalopathy (breath holding spells)
  • Autism
  • Sensory Processing Disorder
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Creatine Deficiency Disorder
  • Seizures
  • Suspected Long QT Syndrome
  • Suspected ADHD

We left the doctor and walked to the bank (across the street, a few feet away). I needed to get Kalen something to eat and get a few bucks to wash a few loads of clothes. After we got our food, we caught the train, then walked over to the bus stop to head home. Kalen also had an in-home speech evaluation around 1 p.m. The evaluator called yesterday. I figured why have Kalen miss two days out of school when he can miss just one, so I scheduled the appointment for yesterday.

The homeless man, who won’t leave me alone

I get to the bus stop, sit down, and start eating my food. We had a 10-minute wait before the bus arrived. A homeless man was walking around the bus stop asking people for money. I gave him a dollar and Kalen’s fries (Had a bigger box of fries with my food, Kalen could eat). Kalen picky about what he eats so no one was touching the other fries except me and him.

The man still stood a few feet away, staring at my baby eat. I went on alert. I may be short, but I am a blogger. I have a few hidden safety devices on my person at all times.  I had ordered Kalen a kid’s meal (he already finished the nuggets before we got on the train) and I got the chicken fries combo and a Hershey pie. A few minutes later, the man appears again to ask for more money. Told him, I gave him all I had to give (not touching my laundry money). He walked away and started asking other people for money. He showed back up a few times asking again. By this time, the food was mostly gone except my pie and he asked for the last half. I gave him the last half to keep from going postal. 

This made Kalen cry, but I know next time.  I am still going to get Kalen something to eat, but we are not eating it until we get home.   I don’t mind helping the homeless but this man kept violating my personal space.

Heading Home

I finally headed home. When I got off the bus, I was struggling with a sleeping baby, stroller, and three bags. I ended up breaking the lock on the stroller and Kalen had to walk part of the way home. Luckily, I live across the street from the bus stop. I got to the house, where Brad’s aide was waiting. (I still am not processing why he needs to arrive early at my house over an hour before my son gets home). The time was around 1:20 and the therapist was supposed to arrive in 10 minutes. I started straightening out my living room.

Kalen had poured out some baking soda the night before. I had started sweeping and mopping before we headed out to the appointment, but didn’t finish. I had to put the rug, table, and a chair or two in place. The aide was annoying me to death. A few days before, I moved Kalen’s bed frame into the living room. I am trying to declutter my house and Kalen’s bed was moved temporarily out the bedroom. I also had to replace a screw, but couldn’t find the right size screw for his bed. After I moved the bed, my shorter counterpart, kept knocking over the frame, and a few more screws fell out. I may either buy more screws or buy him a sturdier bed. No more plastic leg and frame beds since Kalen is more destructive lately.

While I was cleaning, the aide kept telling Kalen about how I fixed his bed for him to sleep in. (He also kept asking what was the white stuff on the floor. I said baking soda. I am not repeating myself). I kept repeating the bed is not fixed and I need to get more screws. The aide kept saying I have the screws to fix it and I had to tell him to stop it because I had a long day and he was not helping. If you are going to be on the clock, do some damn work, instead of standing around. I had been up since 5 am and I am tired. I also don’t know when the therapist was going to knock on the door. The therapist finally shown up and the aide walked outside. Hallelujah.

The visit with the therapist

I know the form she was using since Brad has speech therapy from the same company. Kalen barely participated and was more interested in the therapist’s toy collection, she brought. The therapist changed focus from Kalen to asking me questions about Kalen to see if he needs in-home speech. Since I got to the house after 1 and she got to the house after 1:30, time moved quick and it was time to go get Brad off the bus. The therapist continued to ask questions while we walked to the bus stop. It did not help the aide was trying to answer questions about Kalen. Ummm why? Can you name all seven official diagnoses? Do you know his medical history? Do you know his growth milestones, Ms. L was asking about?

Stop talking and let me focus on the questions. We walked back to the house slowly so I can answer the questions. The aide kept talking about we need to move faster because of Brad. If Brad is calm, leave him be. I change my speed as needed but I needed to focus on the evaluation.

Then Mental Health Called for Brad

 Brad was approved for a mental health waiver a few weeks ago. The waiver focuses on in-home services. I admit, I was tired so when they called, I thought the company was his dentist, scheduling a follow-up. Mental health wanted Brad to come in for a four-hour appointment. I told them, they would have to break it up into smaller sessions because Brad does not sit still too long and may have some behavioral issues with a long appointment. I also may not be home before Kalen gets out of school, depending on when Medicaid transportation comes back to pick us up and how many other passengers, will be picked up and dropped off before we get home.

The coordinator was helpful and agreed to do part of the assessment in-home. I also can come in, without Brad to do the financial assessment. We finally got in the apartment and the aide left. (yay). Today was not the day to do absolutely nothing useful. The speech therapist finished up the evaluation and suggested Kalen was in the two-year old range for speech. I agreed because Kalen’s mental age is also 2 to 3 years old. His functional age is a tad higher though. I fixed the kids something to eat and went to my bed to relax. I know I still was tired because Kalen tore up a few magazines and it did not phase me until 2 something this morning (as I am writing this blog post). 

Everyone went to sleep early, starting with Brad. I did not know I had took a nap until I woke up and checked the clock.

I got up, found my phone, hand-washed Brad some pants for school, and tossed them in the dryer (Thank you Jesus for blogging). I had washed Brad some pants a few days ago, but my mind is still gone and don’t want to take chances I can’t find them when it’s time to get him ready for school at 5 something a.m.

I have a lot of work to do Thursday morning. I need to finish sweeping, mopping, and straightening out the living room. I need to do some laundry. I also want to get a few blog reviews completed. Of course, I need a little sleep as soon as those two get on their individual busses. I think I need myself an aide (useful and willing to work hopefully). Today, March 28th,  was a long, long, day. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Silicone Food Huggers Review (Tomoson)

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links.

I received Make Easy's Silicone Food Huggers, in exchange for honest review from Tomoson. The huggers come in a set of 8: 2 of each size to help hug food and containers. I have used them for onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, and containers.

The huggers help save and preserve food. They also can help reseal jars and cans. I thought the huggers was a good idea because man times, I don't have a correct size lid for a container or can and just end up using the whole product in food, which may lead to waste.

The silicone is more durable and harder to tear than aluminum foil or saran wrap from my experience.

You can purcahse the Huggers using the link above. The huggers are prime-eligible.

Monday, March 20, 2017

People of the Second Chance Review (Blogging for Books)

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links.

I read People of the Second Chance, in exchange for honest review from Blogging for Books. The book was written by Mike Foster. The book is Christian-based. The book is about the hurt and broken. We all have been given a second chance through God to live a more purposeful life.

One of the first things, which stood out was how God still loves us, despite our flaws, mistakes, hisotry, and past. On the same page, the author said we are not our failures: just because we have made mistakes, doesn't mean we are mistakes (p. 9). When our identity is defined wrong, we will "carry the wrong definition into your story. (p.9). God celebrates the broken. Page 13 said that we see the pain but miss the miracle of healing of ourselves and others around us. To be a second chancer, we must find the celebration. We should be like the prodigal son, who realized he was wrong. He came home to a celebration. His father (God) was happy his child returned.

The next chapter discusses how we need to embrace our messes and find peace within our lives. The author says we need to embrace our brokenness versus hiding it behind shame. God can turn our messes into something beautiful.

I liked the book because I am broken. I have defined my life, at times, by my mistakes. I have defined my identity by my mistakes. You can't grow spiritually if you focus on your mistakes and flaws. To sum it up, page 20 (paperback) says God "says whoever you are, whatever you look like, whatever mess you been in, don't worry about that anymore. You're mine and you're in good hands now.".

We are God's.

You can purchase the book in hardback, paperback, audible, and audio cd format. The book is prime-eligible.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Laura Story Open Hands CD Review (Flyby Blog Promotions)

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links.

I received Laura Story's Open Hands CD in exchange for honest review from Flyby Blog Promotions. Listening to the CD was a challenge at first (had to send my Dell to the shop) but a friend sent me a new used pc, in exchange for social media cooperation. The CD and the PC arrived within a few days of each other. Note to self: develop great friendships and business relationships. You never know how God will bless you.

I haven't heard of Laura Story before, but I love Christian song. The first song, Death was arrested, was powerful. "When death was arrested and my life began". I also liked Open Hands, featuring Mac Powell from Third Day.

The CD was a beautiful worship cd.

About Laura Story and Open Hands

What the Lord is asking them is not, ‘You need to hold on tighter. You need to manage this better.’ What the Lord asks us is to surrender,” she offers, “It’s about learning to live with open hands, learning to live life in this constant state of saying, ‘Lord, my life is Yours. My time is Yours. My resources are Yours. All of this is Yours. Do what You will.’”

Story has built a life—and a career—around submission to her calling. She’s led worship at Atlanta’s
Perimeter Church for the past 12 years. In addition to penning songs recorded by artists like Chris
Tomlin, Story has found success as a recording artist in her own right. Since the release of her solo
debut in 2008, Story has amassed a GRAMMY® Award, a Billboard Music Award, multiple GMA Dove Awards and an RIAA Gold certification for her massive No. 1 hit “Blessings.”

In addition, she’s also the author of two books, including the latest: When God Doesnt Fix It - Lessons You Never Wanted to Learn, Truths You Cant Live Without . 

Open Hands is the follow-up to 2013’s critically-acclaimed God of Every Story, and in the years that
have passed since her last release, Story has given birth to twins, making their brood a family of five.
Now, as a mom to three kids—Josie, Benjamin and Griffin—the posture of “open hands” feels more
necessary than ever before as she juggles ministry and motherhood.

"We never get to a point where we can do life apart from complete and total daily dependence on
Jesus,” Story admits. “The irony is the less control we have, the more peace we have and the more, I
would even say, success and joy we find. It’s a contrary picture to what the world tells us, but it’s
gaining through letting go.”

Open Hands’ fresh collection of originals blends Story’s signature congregational worship with intimate moments. “I wanted to make an album so that each song I write would be just that seed of hope or that lifeline that someone listens to during that tough moment and thinks, ‘I’m going to choose to trust God,even during this,’” Story shares. “I pray that God would speak through me in the midst of the music.”

A parade of A-list songwriters, including Matt Redman, Matt Maher, Mia Fieldes, Hank Bentley, Sarah Hart and Seth Mosley, among others, pepper the album’s 11 tracks. Through writing sessions both alone and with others, Story began to gradually see this common thread of surrender emerge.

“Rather than picking a theme and writing around it, a lot of times, it takes me writing to be able to step back and see what the themes are, not just of the record but of my life,” she says of her creative
process. “It was neat to step back and see that ‘open hands’ is a theme that ended up presenting itself rather than me choosing it.”

The title track—already a chart-topper prior to the album’s release—features guest vocals from Third
Day’s Mac Powell, a fellow Atlanta-native and Story’s longtime friend. “You Came Running” borrows imagery from the biblical narrative of the Prodigal Son. In true Story fashion, several selections (“Awake My Soul (1000 Tongues),” “For The Love of My King”) reimagine timeless hymns, which she refreshes with an original chorus.

“I’m pretty sure that the theology that I learned as a kid was from old hymns. It’s amazing, even now as an adult, how those hymns come back and really provide that sturdy foundation for life. It reminds me of how important it is for me to teach my kids those old hymns,” Story reflects, adding, “As long as I am singing, I will be singing hymns.”

Poignant piano ballad “Give You Faith” finds the singer pondering the legacy she wants to leave her
children. “The song is about releasing your kids into the hands of God,” she explains. “The most important thing that we could possibly give our children is to not just tell them about the faith that we
have but to live out that faith as a family. Sometimes that means not giving them everything they but showing them that the most important thing in my life isn’t even them—it’s actually my faith in Jesus
Christ—and just point them to Jesus.”

To that end, Story readily admits motherhood has impacted her songwriting on all levels. Thinking
specifically about her daughter, she says, “I’ve realized that these songs form people’s theology, and
they affect how this little girl is going to think about herself in the future. They might affect decisions that she makes in the future because of what she believes about God and what she believes about His
Word. I’ve changed as a songwriter with kids.”

Reflecting on the world her kids are growing up in, Story wrote the album’s sparse closer, “Grace
Abounds,” after weeks of turning on the television only to continue to watch stories of terror attacks,
extreme injustice and racial tension make headlines day after day. “It’s easy to lose heart, and the song is about just acknowledging the brokenness. First of all, we can’t just pretend like it doesn’t exist,” she advises. “When it seemingly doesn’t make sense, I’m choosing to believe that God’s grace is enough.

God’s grace is enough for any social injustice. God’s grace is enough for any loss that we go through.
God’s grace is enough for any loneliness that we experience, for any relational strain and for any
relational rejection.

“When it feels like hope can’t be found, when we don’t even know how we’re going to put one foot in front of the other,” she continues, “Scripture teaches us that’s when grace abounds.”

Story isn’t afraid to write about grace at work in the middle of unexpected, unexplainable situations. She can only write from experience and how she’s seen God redeem the darkest chapters of her own life.

“My greatest goal is always for my story to encourage listeners to believe that they, too, can live out
their faith in the midst of hard circumstances,” she says. “I truly believe that the songs we sing and thesongs we write act as the soundtrack for people’s faith. So I want to give people the most substantialtools that give them the clearest picture of who God is and who they are in Christ.”

The life of a songwriter is a sacred calling and one Story doesn’t take lightly whether she’s writing
songs for her church, for a new record or simply for herself as a cathartic release. “It’s not about my
songs or my story or even my artistry,” she asserts. “It really is about Him getting the glory for the work that I believe He has chosen to do through songwriters and through songs. It’s a unique work that He’s chosen to do there.”

She may lead others in worship through song on stages both big and small, but on a daily basis, Story
is intent on loosening her grip and choosing to live with open hands as an ultimate act of praise.

“Worship at the very core of what it is is ‘worth-ship.’ It’s the easiest definition I’ve ever heard of
worship. It’s giving God worth, and sometimes that means verbal adoration and praise. Sometimes
that’s showing Him worth with our calendars and our checking accounts. 

No matter what it is, it always begins with open hands. It always begins with a willingness to say, ‘You are worth whatever cost you call me to give,’” she maintains. “Worship in its very core begins with surrender. That’s how we really show God that He’s worth it all.”

Social Media





Video links:

Open Hands (Official Lyric Video) - YR1No

Open Hands (Song Devotional) -

You can purchase the CD using the link above. The CD is prime-eligible. Open hands is available in MP3, Audio CD, and through Music Unlimited. Open Hands is also on Google Play Music. 

Unchained Book Review (Litfuse)

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links.

I read Unchained by Noel Jesse Heikkinen in exchange for honest review from Litfuse. The book is Christian-based. The book's subtitle if If Jesus has set us free, why don't we feel free?. Guilt. I am a Christian and I have felt guilt over many things, even years after I asked for forgiveness over and over again.

The author discussed how Christians walk around with heavy chains on, worrying about how many mistakes God is adding up. For me, one of my heavy chains is my sexual past. The author said "there is no joy in sin and I felt trapped." I have felt that way many times after having one sexual encounter after another. I was sexually free, but not truly free with God. Freedom should tell the world you are Christian was one of the most powerful lines in the book.

Another topic, which hit me hard was about prayer schedules and reading the bible. The author discussed how people have good intentions to read the bible and pray every day, but then things get in the way. The idea of reading and praying becomes more important than following Jesus. It is like when I took a bible course on purity years ago. Some days, I forgot to log in, so I tried to double up and triple up the next day. Completing the course became more important than trying to improve my spiritual life. When I did complete the course, I was more happy I finally finished though I barely learned anything.

The author said the problem with man-made rules is the rules place yokes, which require more than the bible commands. The man-made rules changes how we think God feels about us and when we fail, "we don't feel free."

I also liked the section on the law (biblical law, aka the old testament). The author discusses how people place different levels of importance on different laws. Is it a better sin if we steal some paper from work versus robbing a  bank? How important is keeping the Sabbath? When was the last time we truly kept the Sabbath?

The section on the law was my favorite section in the book.

The book has discussion questions at the end of each chapter. The book was an amazing read.

You can purchase the book using the link above. The book comes in Kindle and Hardcover format. The book is prime-eligible.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Jadiance Total Body Detox Soak Review (Tomoson)

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links.

I received Jadiance Total Body Detox Soak, in exchange for honest review from Tomoson. Each 8oz bottle contains two uses. The soak helps reduce stress and anxiety,which I have a lot of. The soak also has a wonderful smell. The soak also comes in 16 oz and 128 oz sizes.

I received the 8 oz bottle and poured half in the tub. My tub fills up slowly so I have some time to do a quick clean of the bathroom and turn on the diffuser. You soak for 20-30 minutes.

Some of the other benefits of the soak includes:

  1. Helping with bowel movements
  2. Helps with gas and bloating
  3. Helps clean the liver

For me, I noticed some improvement on bowels and gas. I also was more relaxed before bed. Normally, I am a wreck before bed. I have to lay out kids clothes for school; hide house keys somewhere close by; pack backpacks for the kids; and do some cleaning before bed (so I can work in peace).

You can purchase the Soak, using the link above. The soak is prime-eligible.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Circo GPS Tracker and App Review (Tomoson)

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links.

I received the Circo GPS Tracker in exchange for honest review. I wanted to review the tracker for multiple reasons: a) to track Kalen. I also can use it to track him coming home from school since his bus time varies. B) to track Brad because he is a runner. C) to track my keys because I keep hiding them from my kids and then forget where I put them up at.

The tracker was easy to use. The app uses a micro usb cord to charge the device. You will also need a sim with data and a phone number attached.  A regular micro sim card will not work. I tried to use a micro sim at first, but it would not connect to the app.

I am waiting for the company to send a data enabled, sim card in the mail, but here is what I have learned so far. The app requires a huge chunk of space on your phone at first. I had to remove two apps to install Circo. Google play has many apps named Circo. Look for the one owned by Athentek. The app requires you to sign up for an account, using your phone number and a password. You will also need to verify your account with a code sent via text message.

Then, you need to connect your Circo tracker to the app. The app provides instructions. A pin comes with the package to reset the tracker. Do not throw the pin away. The instructions was clear. Just follow along. If you have the wrong sd card, the tracker will not pair with your phone. You will need a data enabled sd card for the tracker to work.

You can purchase the tracker using the link above. The tracker is prime-eligible