How Your Blog Can Change The World

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. – Mark 16:15-17 KJV

Imagine for a moment…

Frank is a young man. A college student. He’s studying hard and doing his best to juggle the responsibilites he has. Sometimes he gets a little overwhelmed. Life got a whole lot harder when, seemingly all of the sudden, he found himself on his own in a big world.

Mom is not there to take care of him.

He’s surprised by the realities of life. The choices he has to make seem neverending and never seem that simple. He’s trying to deal with studies, finances, and planning his future; all while trying to maintain a social life.

Don’t even get him started talking about that! He could write a book about the challenges he faces trying to navigate through the crowd.

Take it a step further…

What if Frank is a grown man, with a family? Or a kid in high school? Maybe it’s Francesca and she’s a single mom?

Woman Praying

The point is that everyone, not one person exempt, goes through times of questions, doubts, fears, or needs.

When that happens, people often start looking for something. They know, for sure, that somewhere out there is the answer to what they seek. Where do they turn?


That’s right. Google. Millions of people every day type the questions they have into a search engine on the screen of a computer. They might even use a cell phone or PDA. But they are searching.

“I want to say prayer daily” is a real search that led a real person to Forever…Wherever! Isn’t that amazing! What an opportunity!

At that point in time, at that moment, that person was seeking to get closer to God. They wanted to know one thing “how do I do it?” And they found this blog! Yikes!

I sure wish I knew how they felt when they left. I pray that they found something, maybe in our post “The Power of Prayer” that encouraged them on.

Be a Light!Be a Light

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:5-17


Consider the power of your blog! Imagine that! What if you wrote in your blog every day, for the rest of your life? What would happen? I can tell you.

You will attract seekers. Many of you don’t read up on search engine optimization. You may not have even heard the term. It’s about how to get people to your blog. The bottom line is that all the little tips and tricks help a little, but the content helps a lot!

The more content you have, the more people will find it. The more appropriate to a “search phrase” your post title is, the more likely someone who really needs that post will find it.

Besides, don’t forget, there is a Guiding Hand. Remember? Sort of like Field of Dreams; you build it, they will come.  He will lead them to you!

Would it be worth it, if you put all that effort into your blog, if one person was touched? What if one person, just one, was led to Christ through your words? What, exactly, would that be worth to you?

I’m shaking my head, because the answer is beyond words.

Preaching Nacho thing?      


Maybe you don’t feel comfortable writing preachy stuff like I have above. That’s okay! You can still make a serious impact! In fact, I think it’s just as important to lead by example as it is to preach, if not more so!

You know what our most common search word has been lately?


That’s right! Nachos. Irish Nachos, to be exact. Kim wrote about her Irish Nachos (praise the Lord and sing hallelujah!) last week for Tasty Tuesday.

That post has drawn in more search engine traffic than any other because Sunday is the big game, and becuase the Travel Channel had a show on great bar food recently that sent thousands out in search of Irish Nachos.

Two things happen. First, Kim helped some people out. Some people were looking for how to make this awesome dish and they found her pictures and her recipe! How cool is that?

Second, people found our blog. So isn’t there a chance, keeping in mind that Guiding Hand, that they would have surfed around a little bit and found our Daily Thanks, or a link to another great Christian blog? Maybe my Mom’s blog…Sweet Tea for Surrendered Sisters would really change someones life! Breaks me up a little to think of it, to be honest.

Pray and Remember

So you should do two things, constantly, forever, always, no matter what, without a doubt, for sure…

1. Pray for God to use your blog to reach people!

2. Remember the impact you can have on the world! Imagine the impact we can all have together!



If you’re reading this blog and YOU are that person seeking, please contact me by email.

If you’re another blogger and you have a story to tell or encouragement in this regard, please let us know in the comments. 

Hooked on Coffee and Proud of it!

Coffe And A Cookie!


I enjoy sipping a steaming, fresh brewed cup of coffee every morning!  I like to slowly wake up while sitting in my favorite chair.  I’m not much of a morning person and I usually don’t say too many words until I’ve had at least half a cup.  I need this cup of coffee to get me going each day!      

Julia at Hooked on Houses is hosting a Hooked on Friday party today and I thought this would be a great example of something I can’t live without!


Come afternoon, when we’re out running around to music lessons, TARGET, or the grocery store, I’m looking for an iced coffee (it’s 80 degrees here!) or a vanilla latte. That’s right! Time for a coffee break!There are four or five coffee shops near our house so I can swing by one to grab a coffee and not miss a beat!  This cup of coffee is a treat to myself for all I’ve accomplished in the first part of my day!  Yay!


When four o’clock rolls around I like to sit down, check emails, and stop by my favorite blogs before I need to get dinner started. Well…coffee is great for this time of day! I sometimes brew some up just for me.   

And Night…

After dinner is finished and the kitchen is back to normal I usually sit down and relax a bit with Tim and the kids. You guessed it…time for coffee.  

Wow, writing this down really does make me look (and feel) like a coffee freak!

Since I do love coffee these photos caught my attention the other day…


I didn’t even know this was possible! 


Isn’t this lion cute??

More coffee art can be found here .  

 I wonder if this could explain the staying up all night phenomenon?  Anyone else out there a coffee nut? (or is that Coffee ‘bean’?)


Sweet, Sweet Valentine!


This time of year the magazines and stores are full of glittering,shimmering, and down right glitzy decorations! Last year I went all out and decorated every door in the house, the kitchen, bathroom and any table with space! Let’s just say it was a LITTLE more than I should have done! We’ve moved to a smaller house and sold all those red and pink decorations at a yard sale. I know Tim was thrilled about that!

I want to keep everything “simple and easy” feeling around here!

Here’s what I came up with…

I’m decorating with CANDY AND CANDLES!

The LARGE glass jar is filled with colorful candy that’s tasty and pretty!  Even the cute little boxes are full of candy. I bought them at Target, cut the tag off, and set it on the table! I know…how creative you say!  The pink candle is on a white flower plate.

Here’s why this works for me…

  1. The candy will definitely get eaten, and it’s great for bribing the kids to do school work and cleaning…just kidding (not)!!! 
  2. I don’t have to pack any of it away and hope to find it in good shape next year!
  3. The little boxes of candy will be given away as a Valentine’s Day gift.
  4. The candle will be used now and for Spring decorations.

No waste!  No fuss!  That’s why I’m decorating with candy and candles for Valentine’s Day this year!  Keep it simple!

That’s what works for me…Stop by Rock In My Dryer for more Works-For-Me-Wednesdays!

Be sure to visit Nesting Place and read Tim’s Remodeling Guy guest post!

Superbowl Snacks on Tasty Tuesday – Welcome to the Blog Party!

Irish Nachos, Wings, and More Wings!!!

TT3 - potato nacho

It seems like the perfect Tasty Tuesday for some great Super Bowl Snacks and today we’re making Irish Nachos!

Irish Nachos are something I just learned about today. Yes, a potato dish that I didn’t know about!!! They looked so yummy on TV that I ran out to the store and bought what I needed to give them a try.  I need to watch out for the Food and Travel Networks!

Irish Nachos are pretty much nachos made with potatoes instead of tortilla chips. It has all the same toppings, such as cheese, onions, bacon, jalapenos, tomatoes, and sour cream. It seems like everything I’m making lately has a little sour cream involved! Oh well, who needs variety!

J. Gilligan’s Bar & Grill located in Arlington, Texas is believed to have invented the dish. It gets the “Irish” part of its name from the potatoes, which is something Ireland is famous for. And I love potatoes!!!

Irish Nachos

  • 5 potatoes, sliced thick with skin on
  • 5 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 6 thick slices of cheddar cheese, chopped
  • 4 pickled jalapenos, sliced
  • 1/4 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons of Seasoned Salt
  • Vegetable oil 

Topping:  tomatoes, scallions, pickled jalapenos, and sour cream

TT3 - frying potatoes

I started by frying thick slices of potatoes in vegetable oil until they turned golden!  Drained them on paper towels and sprinkled with Seasoned Salt! Yum! 

TT3 - potatoes in skillet

Then I took the potatoes and layered them on the bottom of my skillet.

TT3 - ready to go in oven

I added my chopped cheddar cheese, cooked bacon, onion, and jalapenos.

It’s ready to be put it in the oven on broil for 10 – 15 minutes to make it hot and delicious!

Then just add the sour cream, scallions, tomatoes, and more jalapenos if you like! Top it off just like you would your favorite nachos. You are going to LOVE it! It tastes even better than Nachos!

Here’s the wings I cooked up to try something a little new…

TT3 - lime chicken wings

Let’s call them “Kim’s Yummy Wings!”  Yes, I made it up!  Did the name give it away?


  • 2 pounds of chicken wings
  • 2 tablespoon Lime and Pepper Seasoning (there are a few varieties to choose from)
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 tablespoon Emeril’s Essence seasoning
  • salt and pepper

Mix everything together in a bowl. Marinate for an hour. Spread them evenly on a pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes. They have a great flavor with or without blue cheese! 

Now here’s some “Hot Wings” to stick with Super Bowl traditions…

TT3 - regular wings


  • 2 pounds wings
  • 6 oz. Crystal Wing Sauce – Original
  • Salt and pepper

Combine in a mixing bowl and let marinate for one hour. Then spread them evenly on a baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes.  When the wings are done toss them in a little more sauce and serve with blue cheese and celery.

Wings are a great party food because you can make a variety of flavors at the same time.   Tim fries chicken wings in a deep fryer, but baking them is easier for me.

I hope you’ll try some of these ideas for your “Super Bowl Sunday!” 

Since everyone here likes food…I thought you might like some of these awesome recipe card downloads!

There are a few cards to choose from here.  They’re great for that cupcake or crock pot recipe you have scrawled on a napkin! 

And some cool floral cards here!  I love the colors of these! 

Now let’s see what everyone brought to Tasty Tuesday!  I’ve found some great new favorites from your blogs over the last couple of weeks!  Thanks! 


Now don’t forget to put a link back to us in your post so the party will be more fun for everyone!  You can use the button over in our sidebar if you would like.   Of course, if orange just isn’t your color…you can do a simple text link!

Three Great Tools for Exploring Flickr

Remember this: Forever Wherever loves COLOR! If you want a pick-me-up of beautiful bright colors, you can find it here.

225383610 5cf5d1afa6 b

Isn’t this picture AWESOME!

Given this addiction, you might imagine how entranced I became when I finally found a way to search millions if images on Flickr in a way that works like my brain works…visually!

Check this Out!

Be warned… you’ll have a hard time stopping once you start on this!

Idee Multicolr Search Lab

This thing is so awesome! You can search for photos based purely on color! And you can add up to ten colors to the mix. The results are pure eye candy!

ScreenHunter 01 Jan. 24 10

It’s super easy and intuitive to use. Just start picking colors. I started with the color of my coffee cup, then added the color of a sticky note in front of me…and I was off and running!

ScreenHunter 02 Jan. 24 10

This is totally addictive. I could sit and do this for hours!

Air Tight Interactive – Related Tag Browser

This tool uses the tags, or descriptive words, that flickr users associate with the pictures they upload. This gives you some ability to direct your search based on subjetct. I started with one word: Explore


I spent awhile just playing around with this tool.

Once you type in your first entry, a thumbnail selection box comes up in your screen. Move your mouse over a little and the screen zooms out revealing a circle of related tag words all around the image.

Pick one of those and keep exploring!

As soon as you see a photo you like, click on it and a preview pops up to the right. I went from Explore, to Sea, and found this:

ScreenHunter 05 Jan. 24 10



FlickrStorm is another great tag related search tool with a different kind of interface. As with the others, it’s easy to get hooked and just sit and look at these pictures.

ScreenHunter 06 Jan. 24 11FlickrStorm seems to me to give a little more ability to target your search.

I recently did an article on trim and molding over at, so trim was on my mind.

I searched for Trim, Blue.

I ended up with this:

404843049 34fb9a742b

I love these colors!

So there you go… three great tools to help you find inspiration, color, and fun on flickr. I hope you enjoy!

Colorful Art – Matlacha Style

art - Lovegrove art gallery

Matlacha (Matt-la-shay) is a colorful little town full of big, colorful art! Lovegrove Gallery is always on my list of stops! This has been one of my favorite places to find art for years now! We are talking “Island Art at its finest around here! It’s located on Pine Island, Florida, and you might miss it if you’re not looking for it!

It’s about 25 minutes from Punta Gorda and today was a pretty nice day to visit…a little cold for me, but nice. Jacob and I even had some ice cream. I know I said it was cold out, but they had homemade ice cream! Girl Scout Thin Mint Ice Cream! It wasn’t too cold to have a little!

art - gallery backyard

The photo above was taken in the Lovegrove backyard! As we entered the gallery today they were passing out marshmallows for roasting around their firepit! Jacob really enjoyed that! The town is swarming with visitors at this time of the year and the shops and galleries are extremely busy! I thought it was wonderful to see this art community thriving!

Pine Bay Art and Antiques has a great selection of local art, and they have wonderful books by Robert Macomber that Tim loves! He lives on Pine Island and writes great historical fiction novels. I happened to find a cute little purse here today…wearable art!

art - gallery

There’s a great hotel to stay at located right in the heart of everything.  It’s actually built out OVER the water, with fishing just out the door to your room! That’s right…you walk out your door onto the dock with chairs waiting for you to sit down and “catch the big one” for dinner! Bridge Water Inn is great for families! Can you tell I practically grew up in my Mom’s travel agency?

art - hotel

Here’s one of my favorite things from Matlacha…The Giant Fish! We really should name him because he hangs out on the wall in the kitchen everyday! This is one of the many “colorful art” pieces that decorate the inside and outside of our house.

art -fish

Here’s another one of my earlier purchases…

art - paradise sign

Here’s more backyard art at the gallery…a reminder of Hurricane Charley that did so much damage in this area.

art - hurricane signs

Colorful art really does brighten everything up a bit!


Stop by Hooked on Houses to see what others have to share.  It’s “Hooked on Fridays!”

Today at The Inspired Room  you can find links for all the others participating in “A Wonderful Life!” 

There are so many great ideas at Hooked on Houses and The Inspired Room!  


AJ Christian Rocker – Daily Thanks!

He will, He will, Rock YOU!Daily-Thanks-Logo

God will, if you let Him.

And AJ will too (sometimes even when you wish he wouldn’t!)

I know we already DID a Daily Thanks on music and that we probably shouldn’t do another one already! But we can’t help it! Our cup runneth over… Here is a photo only two hours old…

AJ Christian Rocker !!!

That’s AJ playing with the church band! It was just practice, but they told him to come back for practice next week too! That’s a good sign, right?

We are so thankful for AJ. He’s been doing great in every way! We’re proud of the fact that he was outgoing enough to tell them that he plays the guitar and go up there and try-out!

He was a little nervous, but he did great!  You can check out his blog by clicking on the link in our sidebar. He hasn’t been updating it AT ALL, but maybe some comments to respond to would be a good writing project for a homeschooled young man and get him fired up about his music and his blog!?  (Homeschool moms, hint, hint)

God Rocks! AJ Rocks! We are thankful!

Visit Thankful Thursday to read more wonderful posts!

Tasty Tuesday Blog Party

large tasty tuesday

Welcome to Tasty Tuesday ya’ll!  We had some fun last week with so many great recipes!  I hope you’ll be able to join us this week with a recipe, restaurant review, food tip…whatever.  The more the merrier, right?

It’s been soooo cold all across the country, even in Florida, and I’ve been craving some good, hot soup to warm us up!

Today I’m making Southwestern Soup and the smell alone is enough to make everyone hungry as they walk in the door!  I love soup simmering on the stove!  And it’s much easier than it looks!

mexican soup 2

Southwestern Soup

  • 1 1b ground beef
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (16-oz.) cans light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can petite diced tomatoes and jalapenos, undrained
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes and mild green chilies, undrained
  • 1 (14-oz.) can beef broth
  • 2 cups frozen yellow and white whole kernel corn
  • 1 (1-oz.) envelope taco seasoning mix cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

Toppings: sour cream and chopped fresh cilantro

  1. Brown ground beef, onion, and garlic in a large Dutch oven overmexican soup step 1 medium-high heat, stirring often, 10 to 12 minutes or until meat crumbles and is no longer pink and onion is softened; drain.
  2. Stir in kidney beans, next 8 ingredients, and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in cilantro just before serving. Serve with desired toppings.

I added less of the canned tomatoes and peppers so it wouldn’t be too hot for us! Hey…we like stuff a little on the mild side!

I baked up some cornbread to go along with it…YUM!


I thought about making cornbread from scratch…and then I came to my senses. I found this wonderful mix and it’s a new favorite! Our youngest son wanted to know if I would make it for him everyday!  The flavors of the cornbread and the soup made for a great combination!

cornbread mix

This whole meal was really simple to make. Brown the meat, onions, and garlic, throw everything else in, and move on to painting your nails (don’t you wish?) until it’s time to eat! That’s just the kind of recipe I need during the week.  I think it would be yummy with chicken or maybe even some tortilla chips as a topping!  

Tim saw me taking photos of the soup and he had to give it a try right then! He gives it “two thumbs up!”

tim testing soup

I did try a couple recipes from last week’s party, and they both turned out great!  When I saw the recipe for Nonnie Bear’s Bacon Bow Tie Pasta I realized I already had most of the ingredients…it was a big hit! Then we needed dessert, so I tried TidyMom’s Chocolate Crescents recipe, and I’ll just say that they were fighting over who would get the last one!

I think all my boys are pretty happy about this new food bloggin’ party stuff!  

Now let’s see what everyone else brought to our Tasty Tuesday blog party this week!

Now don’t forget to put a link back to us in your post so the party will be more fun for everyone!  You can use the button over in our sidebar if you would like.  Or, if you want to go huge, you can grab the image at the top of this post!  Of course, if orange just isn’t your color…you can do a simple text link!

The Best Laid Plans…

We’ve been home about, what, 2 1/2 weeks? And our last trip included enough harrowing experiences to settle us down, right? Yet the itch is there. Where can we go? It’s SOOO COLD everywhere!

carnival inspiration rb

That got me to thinking…”where have we been in January before?” Oh yeah, I remember…The Planning Cruise!

First, Ditch the Kids!

It’s been right at two years since we headed out from Tampa on the Carnival Sensation headed to Key West and Cozumel, Mexico. Now, we’re all about family travel, and we rarely leave the boys behind, but this cruise had a purpose! We were on a mission to get serious about life and make some plans for the new year. You know, a “take the bull by the horns!” kind of thing. So we left the boys with Grandma and we were off.

Copy (2) of getting things done

We were on fire for organization at the time. I mean it was for real! We had files for everything, and each one was labeled, and not by hand, uh uh, these were printed out with a label maker. Yup.

Getting Things Done!

It was all brought on by the book you see in the picture here. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity, by David Allenis a great book on how to organize your life.

The more you have going on, the more you’ll love this book. It promises early on that it IS possible to have amazing, incredible (enough for fifty people, I want to jump off a bridge!) amounts of work to do and still feel great, and calm, and soothed. (as I calmly relieve the force on the keyboard buttons). Shhhhhh…it’s okay.

Anyway, the book is a great book and I would recommend it.

So we were off to plan out 2007. We were going to figure it all out ahead of time. This way it would flow perfectly. Right? What are you laughing at?

Needless to say, things didn’t go as planned. Not a thing. In fact, not much of anything has gone as planned ever since that cruise! Maybe it was something in the food. Or the tequila…

One Tequila, Two Tequila, Three Tequila, Floor!!!

That’s what the funny T-Shirt in Cozumel Mexico said on it. Still Cracks me up! We had a great time, and we didn’t partake in too much of the local flavor. But, like I said, it was a really fun time and we took time off from the planning while we were in port.cozumel1

We started off having breakfast in a great little restaurant right in the center of town. I wish I could remember the name of it, but at least I know how to find it when we return.

One of my favorite parts of breakfast was the building itself! If you look closely in the picture to the right, you’ll see the huge glass shutters/doors/windows. Awesome! I had to have a picture so I can make some…soon too; I had forgotten! I love the tone of Mexican woodworking. Really very detailed, but not too perfect. You can tell it was made by hand. Love it.

Rent a Mexican Moped, Dude!

We rented a scooter first thing when we got off the boat. So when we were done looking around a little after breakfast we had to hit the road. Where to? The road less traveled of course!

The downtown area near the ships is packed. It’s fun but after being stuck on that ship, we wanted to get away from the crowds for awhile. We headed directly across the island toward the beaches on the opposite coast. I’d read about a little watering hole over there called Mescalito’s. It sounded interesting so we decided to check it out.

While a little more horsepower on the moped might have helped, we did eventually make it, but not before stopping and buying an awesome tropical colored Mexican blanket. It was supposed to be Kim’s, but I’ve since confiscated it. I love that thing!

The Path Less Traveled!

Here is what we found when we got off the beaten path:


The beach was beautiful! The water was perfect! Kim scoured the sands and found a mother load of incredible sea glass. She can walk on a beach for hours and I’m happy to watch her.

We took the long coast road back, narrowly escaping certain death when I had to pull some moves out of my boyhood days. I know the guys know, but I wonder how many of you ladies know what a “bunny-hop” is?

Anyway, I had to do one with a scooter carrying two people at 40mph! We were just cruising and wouldn’t you know it, right as a big truck was coming the other way, a huge pothole appeared out of nowhere! I swear, I wasn’t looking at the ocean and the scenery! Really! Anyway, we flew over that thing and I still don’t know how. It was the size of…hmmm (in terms the readers could understand?) a fire pit from Target! Same size! I bet you can picture that!

Be the Last People On-Board!

Having made it safely back to town we spent the rest of the day exploring the area near the port. It was a blast!kimgetsinked

Kim found this beautiful bright yellow dress and had to have it. She wore it right out of the store! I think it’s the only time I’ve ever seen her do that! She was raised to know how to have a good time in a tropical island port-of-call. I lucked out big time!

She let me talk her into getting one of those temporary tattoos. It was fun. Really fun!

The Plans?

Like I said, no joy on the plans we made. So much has changed! But our love for foreign places (especially in the Tropics) will never change. So we’ll be heading somewhere soon. Maybe a little closer to home this time…

But you know, I have a job right next to where that cruise ship docks in Tampa. Every few weeks I’ll happen to be there on the day the ship is in and I’ll stand out on the 17th floor balcony and look down at that ship and think…”it would be fun to go again!” Just not in January…water is too rough!