Thursday, December 30, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas: What Makes the Season So Special



Away in a manger, what child is this. O holy night, silent night. Blah, blah, blah. I love singing Christmas carols, but they've become so common that people miss the point, especially when secular musicians and radio stations conveniently leave out selected verses. I've talked a lot recently about the fabulous things about Christmas, and while that's all wonderful you can't ignore the reason we celebrate - Christ.

Let's face it - if you call yourself a Christian, then there's no other reason to celebrate than the birth of our Savior. Lights, presents, and trees are fun, but if we didn't have those would you still enjoy the season? Sadly I think there are some "Christians" out there who couldn't say yes.

While my husband and I don't have kids now, when we do, we don't plan on bringing Santa Clause into the picture. To focus on Santa during this season is to take the focus off of Christ and put it on someone else. Think about it - how would you feel if, on your birthday, everyone lavished attention on your cousin? Would you feel loved? Appreciated? Special? But year after year we do that exact thing to the God who loves us so much that he sent his son to die for us.

Without Christ, there's no reason to celebrate. Toys and clothes are fun to receive, but they're temporary. Santa isn't real. The food disappears. Without Christ, nothing about Christmas lasts. He is the only reason to celebrate because He is the only thing about Christmas that provides hope, joy, and love for all eternity.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Delta & Cherry Capitol Airport - What's Next?

In case you missed today's TC Ticker (I suspect this will change the details of my January flight itinerary...again):


Delta in TC for Chamber Meeting; Cassens Retiring

Delta in TC for Chamber Meeting; Cassens Retiring
It’s a far cry from “business as usual” at Cherry Capital Airport this week.
Yesterday, airport officials announced that Airport Director Steve Cassens will retire in February after 34 years of service.

Today, Delta Airlines officials are descending on Traverse City for a private meeting at the TC Area Chamber of Commerce with representatives from the TC Convention and Visitors Bureau, airport officials and key local business stakeholders. The total attendees? Sources say no more than 12.

Delta representative Trebor Banstetter declined to comment on the specific reason for the impending meeting except to say, “We don’t want to say much about it publicly beforehand. I would say that we’re always happy to meet with any of the communities we serve if they have concerns or feedback or anything they want to talk to us about.”

Indeed, the Traverse City community has voiced both. This past August, the TC Chamber solicited comments and stories from the public regarding airfares and scheduled flights to and from Traverse City, and how those fares and flights – the former generally considered exorbitant; the latter scant – affected the public’s businesses and travel plans.

The Chamber received nearly 300 responses within one week, many of which stated that driving to DetroitGrand Rapids or other airports often proved more affordable and convenient than flying out of Cherry Capital.

The Chamber compiled the testimonials into a 59-page document and sent it to representatives in Washington D.C. One recipient, Senator Carl Levin, contacted Delta, American and United Airlines.

Donald Ponniah, president and general manager of Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, will attend the private meeting. Since taking over at the resort in July, he’s been working to induce change with the airlines who fly into TC, going so far as to hire consultant Tom Rockne, who boasts extensive connections within the airline industry thanks to a 35 year career in the retail travel market.

“It’s costing me money,” Ponniah says of Rockne's employment, “But he has significant airline relationships. I knew if I hired someone like that I could get to the leadership directly.”

Ponniah says he has lost bookings from seven groups – each numbering between 30 and 300 people – in the last three months alone because the groups declined to fly into TC. “The No. 1 concern people have is that its too expensive to travel here,” he says. “No. 2, there’s not enough flights.”

“I lose a lot of business, and it’s a frustration,” he says. “We are one of the largest employers here. If we don’t get enough business … we have to start laying off people. That’s not what we want.”

What does Ponniah want? What everyone else in TC wants, he says: “I just want the airlines to be fair. I know the airline business – they are in the business of making money, just like me. But let’s be fair here. I’m not saying charge me nothing, but let's look at the price point and the load factor, guys. Let's be fair."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Memories: What Matters the Most

I've had so many fabulous Christmases that I couldn't possibly pick a favorite. I remember sneaking downstairs at 5 a.m. to peek at the presents, and falling asleep under the tree to the warm glow of multi-colored twinkle lights. There were sticky cinnamon rolls in the morning, roast beef in the afternoon, and leftovers all night long. I love remembering all of those things.
There is one event, however, that not only stayed with me, but continues to motivate me every Christmas season.

When I was a kid, my parents took my sisters and me to the Ben Franklin in town. My folks let us pick out any toy that we wanted...then they had us give the toy away. I don't remember where we donated the toys, but that doesn't matter. What I do remember is the lesson - it's about giving, no getting.

Every year I see the Salvation Army bell ringers, the Toy for Tots bins, and other local charities and I can't help myself. I just want to buy something for everyone. Granted I don't want to encourage the commercialism of Christmas, but I know that a lot of families struggle just to provide appropriate clothes. I also struggle with the reality of children feeling unloved and unwanted during a season that's all about love.

That's why I sponsored another kid this year, and I'll probably do the same next year. I don't do it so a child can get the latest toy. I do it because I hope that each gift will help that child understand that she is loved, and I pray that with that understanding comes the revelation that it's God who loves and will provide for her.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Monday, December 06, 2010

How To Start a New Christmas Tradition

I come from a close knit clan of five: two parents and three daughters. None of use married early, so by the time I got hitched, I had spent nearly 30 years celebrating Christmas the same way. I thought I would just include my hubby in my family ways, but for all of the premarital counseling a person receives, no one can really prepare you for blending traditions. Sometimes it doesn't work very well, so it's time to create some new traditions.

Starting a new tradition doesn't happen over night. It can take a couple of years to figure everything out, but you can do it. Here are a few techniques that I recommend for starting your very own traditions:

1. Find something that interests you. If you don't like baking, then don't try to start a cookie exchange. Don't go skiing if you don't like the snow. Pick a passion, and start there.
2. Find something that interests others. If you want to celebrate the holidays alone, then you can skip this part. If you want others to join you, however, then you need to think of them, too.
3. Figure out a way to blend the two interests. Having a bonfire on the ice skating rink obviously won't work, but if you make time for everyones likes, they'll make the time to attend.
4. Personalize it. Sticking with the bonfire theme: yes, they're fun, but you can make it better. Have everyone's favorite roasting food, or prepare a favorite hot beverage. Show people that it's not just about doing something, it's about doing something with them.
5. Be Patient. Doing something one year is a fun time. Doing it again the next year is a repeat performance. By the third year, the tradition is forming. Be willing to stick to it and give your event a chance to catch on.

With a little bit of thoughtfulness and a little bit of planning, anyone can start a new tradition. Have fun!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Swagbucks: Crappy Customer Service Continues

First it was big fat stinky Leroy with Delta Airlines accusing me of lying to him. Then we all heard about TSA randomly selecting people for either a radiation blast or grope session. And now it's Swagbucks, a search engine that I've been faithfully using (and promoting) for over a year.

What do Delta, the TSA, and Swagbucks have in common? They operate outside of US law. If someone takes you to court to charge you with a crime, you are innocent until proven guilty. Outside of the courtroom, however, you're guilty until proven innocent, and in some cases you don't have the chance to prove your innocence.

I've already told you about Leroy. Let me tell you about Swagbucks. It's a search engine where you can randomly win "bucks" with every search. As you accumulate the money, you turn it in for free stuff. Not a bad deal, eh? I'd been using it for about six months when my husband noticed. He asked about it, and I helped him set up an account.

Last week my account was deactivated. No warning, no explanation. It was just deactivated. There was an email address listed where I could write if I felt it had been a mistake. I emailed them immediately. That was Wednesday, November 25. It is now Monday, November 29. I have not heard back from them. My sister's account was also deactivated on that day. She not only heard back from them, but she was eventually reinstated. My husband also emailed and heard back from them when he wanted to see if we could figure this out. But me? Nothing.

This is what they told my sister:

After reviewing your account, we did determined that you were deactivated due to opening a new account. This action violates our terms and conditions.

Please remember, only one account is permitted per household.

Due to past experiences, this is a method used to protect our Swagbucks Community from cheaters and potential fraud activity.

We apologize for any misunderstanding. Thank you for your time and have a nice day.



I can only assume this is why my account was deactivated (but I still don't know). If this is a case, it's an honest mistake. Matt opened his account in May - we didn't realize we could only have one per household. They could have denied his account when we tried to open it (since our address was already in their file), or contacted me when they found the error and either given me a chance to explain or cancel one account. Instead, I've been ignored.


At one time I actively promoted Swagbucks. I had links posted on both of my blogs. I recruited friends on Facebook to join them (I had nine referrals). Now, because of a genuine misunderstanding, I've been labeled a cheater (I assume, since they won't contact me). Once again I'm a faceless minion that the big companies treat like a criminal because they've been cheated by others - they don't need to know anything about me, they just assume that I'm evil.


Swagbucks, I'm truly sorry. I know that I broke your rules, but I really didn't mean to do it. I hope that other people treat you better than you treated me. I will use your "customer service" techniques in the future as a reminder of what not to do.



Monday, November 29, 2010

Why The Holidays Are So Exciting

Three days ago I enjoyed a "first" in my life - Black Friday. This wasn't my first Black Friday experience, it was my hubby's. I had the pleasure of sharing it with him.

The pre-dawn alarm clock, the ant-like trail of traffic, insane lines of pajama clad women. We hustled, scooted, pushed, and saved. I loved every minute of it!

Isn't that what makes the holidays so exciting? I certainly hope not.

I love the thrill of Black Friday, but it's just a day. I'd have as much fun if it happened every June right after the full moon. The shopping and saving doesn't have anything to do with Christmas - it's a bargain lover's dream, nothing else.

Then what makes Christmas so exciting?

It's not the presents, the parties, or even the  excessive family time. It's much deeper. It's even more than birth of Christ. You have to keep going deeper.

Love. Jesus didn't come to earth because he wanted to know what life as a human was like. He came because of love.

God loves us so much that He sent His son to die for us. Jesus knew his birth would be his death sentence, but he did it anyway. We have freedom, joy, and peace all because of love. We have families and friends so we can buy presents, throw parties, and cook elaborate feasts all because of love. God IS love.

That's what makes the holidays exciting - knowing that everything we celebrate stems from love. We are extremely, thoroughly, and completely loved. That's what really matters.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Coming next week - the Christmas Blogs!

Are you ready? Are you READY?!?

Next week starts my holiday blogging! Every Monday I'll have a little Christmas post. The topics were picked by someone else. Since she can't host the blog tour on her blog this year, I decided to go ahead and share my posts here.

I hope you'll stop by and enjoy my Christmas thoughts!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Gettin' Into the Christmas Spirit

I'm definitely not organized when it comes to posting blogs on this site - sorry about that. I'd like to say I'm changing that, but I don't want to lie to you, so here's the deal:

A few weeks ago I agreed to be on a "blog tour" - a lady set up a schedule and then would invite people to different blogs on different days. It helps you discover new blogs (and lets new people discover you). Unfortunately she's had some stuff come up and she won't be able to get it going this year...but I've already written my posts!

Since they're already done, I'm gonna post them over here (how's that??). The plan is to put up one a week for the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I'm pretty excited about this - it should be a good time. It was fun (for me) to sit back and write a stress-free article (no worries about tone or word count). I'm always thinking about how things will look in the paper or periodical that I sometimes miss the good ol' blasts of random thoughts.

So that's the deal, peeps. I promise I'll have fun pictures - k? K.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tired Matt-isms

Matt: "I bought iPod listening thingys."
TRANSLATION: I bought headphones.

Matt: "I'm trying to protect your rotundra, I mean your de'fu'mwa."
Karin: "Deffy, what?"
Matt: "It's a French cheese."
TRANSLATION: I'm trying to protect your papasan chair. (I still haven't figured out the mysterious French cheese thing...)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Big, Fat, Stinky Leroy

Today I spoke with six customer service representatives at Delta to try to figure out some tickets. I have to travel with my Aunt Linda because she's mentally handicapped and needs a companion. I'm flying her out to Vegas in December so she can spend some time with my parents and sisters. I'm flying back out in January to pick her up.

Here's the problem - I live in TVC, have to fly to DTW to get Linda, then we travel to LAS. The trip back, therefore, is LAS to DTW to TVC. We booked the tickets in May with Linda and me on the same flights. Delta has since canceled their 8:20 pm Saturday flight from DTW to TVC, which was supposed to be my trip back home.

Delta has a policy regarding schedule changes - they will put you on another flight or refund your trip. Here's the problem - to reschedule me mean rescheduling all of Linda's flights, which we have to coordinate with people in two places to make sure she can get rides to/from the airport. It's hard enough to find one day/time that works for everyone. Trying to find a replacement day would be another headache. The other policy, of course, is to cancel the flight and give me my money back. Well that won't work unless we cancel Linda's trip, too.

For the most part everyone at Delta was wonderful. They were very understanding of my situation and did everything they could to help me. I ended up having to book a flight for a day later, so I have to spend the night near the airport and will get home almost 24 hours later than expected. I asked the gal if there was any way Delta could help me with the cost of the hotel room and three meals. She couldn't, but she offered me a $100 voucher.

Let me preface by saying that I was thrilled that she offered me ANYTHING! I was happy enough that it only took me 30 minutes on the phone. Though it was an inconvenience, the experience was overall an easy one. Everyone I spoke with was completely understanding and friendly.

Here's where it gets good: as the gal was giving me my ticket number, we were disconnected. I called back to confirm that I would receive the credit. The new gal didn't see it mentioned anywhere, and she only had the authority to give me up to $50. She offered to transfer me to a supervisor who could override that authority.

Introducing big, fat, stinky Leroy.

When Leroy got on the phone he was already on the defensive. Even though he had my file and explanation in front of him, he started off with "We don't compensate for schedule changes. You can change your flight or cancel." Here are the highlights:

Me: "Delta canceled my original flight--"
Leroy: (interrupting me) "It wasn't canceled. It was a schedule change."*
*Um, if flight 1234 no longer exists and I'm now on flight 5678 is that a rescheduled flight, or did you cancel one and put me on another one?

Me: "I can't reschedule. I have to travel with my aunt, so if I have to reschedule, then she has to reschedule."
Leroy: "We're only talking about your ticket here."

Leroy: "There's nothing that says anyone offered you anything. We don't compensate for schedule changes, so even if someone did offer you..."*
*Translation: Liar

I can't even tell you how many times he said, "You can reschedule or take a refund, but we don't compensate." I pointed out that he's the supervisor and has the authority to compensate, and he'd repeat his mantra. My personal favorite was when I kept trying to make the point that if I canceled  my ticket I'd have to cancel Linda's and my earlier ticket. Like a mean ol' teacher he kept snapping, "We're only talking about this ticket. We're only talking about this ticket."

When I asked to speak with someone else he told me I could call back and try to reconnect with someone else, or I could write a letter to complain.

SERIOUSLY?!?!

He's the customer service supervisor! When I pointed that out, he repeated the mantra. When I told him he wasn't actually providing customer service, mantra, mantra, mantra. I asked for his employee ID number so I could complain, but he would only tell me that he was the Customer Service Support Supervisor in Cincinnati.

I did finally hang up on him. I called back Delta to speak with someone else just because I needed to know that all of their supervisors aren't like big, fat, stinky Leroy. I spoke with John next - not only did he apologize, but he gave me a $50.

I'm happy with that because my intent was never to fleece Delta. I asked for something because the worst that could happen was that they'd say no and I'd be no worse off than before, but I wouldn't know if I didn't ask. I completely understand how the airlines work - I don't agree with it, but I understand it.

Of the six people I spoke with today, five of them were fantastic. Just as I realize the schedule changes aren't their fault, they realized that spending time on the phone rescheduling a previously scheduled flight isn't my fault either. They were polite and friendly; I was polite and friendly. Everything was find until big, fat, stinky Leroy.

I took his advice and hung up on him. I will absolutely take his advice and send a letter. I'm exacting my own revenge by letting you know that Cincinnati Customer Service Support Supervisor Leroy is a big, fat, stinky jerk who has no business working in customer service and definitely shouldn't be a supervisor. If you're ever flying Delta through Cincinnati, consider yourself warned.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Entitlement Issues in the Blogging World

Wow! What kind of a jerk do you have to be to do this?? And isn't this just a "nice" way of saying you plagiarized??

Magazine Lifts Blogger's Article, Then Says She Should Be Grateful
From Online Media Daily

Media and entertainment companies have long accused Web users of infringing copyright by sharing music or movies on peer-to-peer networks, or by reposting newspaper articles on blogs and other sites. But the tables were turned on Thursday when accusations flew that a traditional magazine, Cook's Source, had lifted a blogger's article.

College student Monica Gaudio wrote on her blog that she discovered through a friend that the Massachusetts-based magazine had used her piece "A Tale of Two Tarts" in its print edition and also online. Gaudio's article explored how a 14th century English apple pie recipe differed from one dating to the 16th century.

After exchanging emails with the editor, Gaudio says she asked the magazine to apologize and to give $130 to the Columbia School of Journalism.

Managing editor Judith Griggs allegedly responded by telling Gaudio that not only was Cook's Source entitled to use Gaudio's post, but that Gaudio should be grateful because the magazine had edited her piece.

"Honestly Monica, the web is considered 'public domain,' and you should be happy we just didn't 'lift' your whole article and put someone else's name on it!" Griggs wrote. "If you took offence and are unhappy, I am sorry, but you as a professional should know that the article we used written by you was in very bad need of editing, and is much better now than was originally. Now it will work well for your portfolio."

Gaudio posted the exchange on Wednesday night. By midday Thursday, Web users had flooded Cook's Source Facebook page with angry comments, and the magazine was one of the top trending topics on Twitter. In addition, Facebook users are now investigating the magazine in an attempt to uncover other instances of alleged copyright infringement.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

What to do when your husband is away...


Bake bread, duh!

I didn't make the loaves big enough, so I ended up with four small artisan loaves. Thankfully size doesn't matter - these are YUMMY!

I'll try to save one for Matt :)

Friday, November 05, 2010

www.BarnDoor.net


Monday is the start of a new season in my life. After years of hosting my own personal blog (this one), then adding my professional blog (over here), I'm finally going to start contributing to a regional blog - The Barn Door.

This is a midwest blog, written by midwest writers about our midwestern lives. Being a lifelong midwesterner, I'm quite qualified to participate in said blog. It's not a blog about writing (though we are all writers) - it's just about life (through a midwesterner's eyes). I'm really looking forward to it!

My contributions will appear on the 1st and 3rd Fridays of every month (and I may throw in a couple of others, if needed). I'm not doing this along, though. In fact, I've done very little of the work. Lisa and Patty have really done the hard stuff.

I hope you'll stop by and see what it's like to live in our neck of the woods. 

Monday, November 01, 2010

Changing of the Guard


Here it is - the moment you've been waiting for...


Gone are the pretty, pretty pastels (they're for sale, if anyone wants them), and here are...

...jewel tones!! We ordered service for eight - four with the design, then one each in green yellow, purple, and blue.


We like 'em!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The First Pizza

Matt's birthday is coming up and he recently received his first present - Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day. To say that he was excited is a bit of an understatement.

We started buying ingredients two weeks ago, just waiting for the day when Matt could buy the book. When he got it in the mail from the fabulous Clan Gabel, he went to work.

He mixed up his first batch of dough last night (because we keep our heat set at 65 degrees, it took five hours to rise instead of two). We considered making bread today, but we still have half a loaf, and we had a hankerin' for pizza.

Here's our first attempt. It's not pretty, but it sure was tasty!! If you're looking for tips on making your own pizza, visit my sister's blog here. She did a whole series on it.

I'm looking forward to Matt making his first loaf of bread. He's pretty excited. I'd like to video tape it for you (he's SO funny!), but I'm 146% sure he wouldn't go for that (but I'll try).

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cooking with Camille

My older sister, Camille, is trying to start a website, but every name she tries is already used (or someone bought the URL and wants her to pay them $1000 for it).

Anyway - since I'm the helpful sister that I am, I started looking for options. I stumbled upon Cooking with Camille. This cooking blog is FANTASTIC! Camille is a 4-year old blond cutie who has her own cooking show (only two so far). They are SO entertaining that I need to share them.

Here's Camille's link - stop by to learn how to make gummies and banana pudding!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cinnamon Popcorn

It looks funny, and it doesn't sound like a good combination, but Cinnamon Popcorn is AWESOME! It's so addicting (even if you're not a big fan of cinnamon, it really is good).

The hubs got a little too excited after Valentine's Day this year and bought out the clearance supply of Red Hots from a local store. I have 3-4 bags of these things. I couldn't think of a way to use them (other than baked apples), so I googled. I found this recipe (which I tweaked) and I LOVE it!

Try it for yourself - I took it to a home party tonight and the ladies just about licked the bowl clean, it's that good:

This isn't the exact recipe, but it's how I made it...

1 cup popcorn kernels (popped in hot air popper) - put popped corn in a large roasting pan

Melt in a sauce pan over medium heat (5-10 minutes):
1 cup butter
1/2 cup corn syrup (I actually used maple syrup)
1 cup Red Hots (Cinnamon Imperials...whatever you call them)

Pour melted mixture over popcorn and coat well (pour quickly - the mixture will start to harden again).

Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

And that's all there is to it - have fun!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Voting Info for the Michiganders

I've had a lot of questions recently about next week's election. Please know that I don't like the thought of telling people who to vote for - there's a ton of info available online. It's not too hard to find. However, I realize that some people are pressed for time, so I'm doing my best to put a bunch of info together for you. If for some reason you know me and never realized that I'm conservative, then I'll let you know now that I am, though I've desperately tried to keep everything pretty neutral.

First things first - EVERYONE need to visit the Voter Information Center website. All you do is plug in some info and you will get to see what's on next week's ballot for your township, city, county, state, and federal governments. I can only access the info for Elk Rapids, so I can't comment on any issues that will appear in Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, or Leelanau counties (you'll just have to look it up!)

Start here: Voter Information Center: https://webapps.sos.state.mi.us/mivote/

You'll notice that there are actually five candidates for governor and most other positions. The five parties are:
Republican
Democrat
Green
U.S. Taxpayer (Michigan's affiliate with the Constitution Party)
Libertarian

To put these into very loose categories: the Democrats and Green Party are Liberal; Republican and U.S. Taxpayers are Conservative; Libertarians are Moderate.

For information on Rick Snyder, go here.

When you go to vote, most positions will tell you who is affiliated with which party. Some don't, but there are only two people running and you can only vote for two people, so its sort of a moot point. There are a few candidates, however, who are hanging around with no affiliation. To help you out...

Supreme Court - below are links to these candidates' endorsement pages, so you can see for yourself who recommends these candidates

Supported by the GOP:
Bob Young - http://justicebobyoung.com/endorsements/#header
Mary Beth Kelly - http://www.marybethkellyforjustice.com.php5-14.dfw1-2.websitetestlink.com/?page_id=6

Supported by the Democratic Party:
Alton Davis - http://justicedavis.com/endorsements.html
Denise Morris - http://www.deniselangfordmorris.org/Involved.php (couldn't find an endorsement page)

86th District Court - There are two on the ballot, but you can only vote for one. Here are their endorsements:

Kevin Elsenheimer - http://www.elsenheimerforjudge.com/media/elsenheimer-for-judge-endorsement-tally-increases/
Mike Stepka - http://www.mikestepkafordistrictjudge.com/public_support.php

Proposal 10-1: A proposal to convene a constitutional convention for the purpose of drafting a general revision of the state constitution - I googled "who supports this", but I got a website full of people who oppose it. Check it out here: http://www.nomichiganconcon.com/index.asp (you'll notice the Traverse City Chamber of Commerce opposes this)

Proposal 10-2: A proposal to amend the state constitution to prohibit certain felons from holding elective office and specified types of public employment positions. Make a person ineligible for election or appointment to any state or local elective office or to hold a position in public employment in this state that is policy-making or has discretionary authority over public assets, if:
a. within the preceding 20 years the person was convicted of a felony involving dishonesty, deceit, fraud, or a  breach of the public trust 
b. the conviction was related to the person's official capacity while holding any elective office or position of employment in local, state or federal government.
I couldn't actually find anything on this proposal. It sort of seems like a no-brainer to me...

Hope this helps...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Why I Decided to Support Snyder

Conservative Karin here. If you've already decided that my political beliefs are awful, then I invite you to leave. Don't take it personally, but comments on my blog won't change my opinions on the issues (just being honest). Right now I'm talking to the conservative Michigan crowd, those fans of the Constitution Party and the GOP. I want to tell you what I've found out about Mr. Snyder.

When I was doing my primary election research I remember being very impressed with Snyder's business strategy for Michigan, but I wasn't feeling great about the rest of his plans (education, family values, health care). I voted for someone else.

When he won the GOP seat after the primary I immediately emailed his headquarters to ask about his thoughts on abortion, gun control, and family values. Here's the response I received:

Rick is pro-life and, as Governor, will work hard to defend the rights of the unborn. For more information on Rick's stance on abortion, you can read his op-eds at http://www.mlive.com/ opinion/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2010/05/rick_snyder_ economic_recovery.html and http://www.rickformichigan.com/michigan-talks/campaign-news/ 06-09-2010-icymi-rick-snyder-says-good-economy-will-reduce-abortions-gr.



Rick is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and owns several guns himself. He believes that Michiganders should have the right to own and carry guns as long as it is done so legally and responsibly.


Rick is pro-life and pro-family, but his primary focus is on creating jobs and turning around Michigan’s economy.

Then I remembered something that my dad said - it really is all about jobs. If Michigan can't bring in more businesses we will continue to lose our tax base; as the tax payers leave there will be no money for education, health care, or any other government issue. We need to improve our economy.

Then I had dinner with some gals in the education industry, and the one had a fabulous point - it's ridiculous to think that anyone is qualified to know EVERYTHING they'll need to know as governor. What's really important is who the governor chooses for his cabinet.

And for the Right to Life crowd - Snyder is not endorsed by RTL of Michigan because he is okay with abortions in cases of rape or incest. His running mate, Brian Calley, however is a member of RTL. Another RTL endorsed candidate recently pointed out that Snyder is still heavily pro-life, and by electing other pro-life officials (including Calley), citizens can make sure Snyder is surrounded by people who do have the RTL endorsement.

I also recently checked out the list of people who endorse Rick Snyder, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is on there. Really, that sealed the deal for me. (If you don't know who Christie is, search for him at YouTube - he's fun!).

Synder wasn't my first choice for governor, and there are some things that I still question, but I truly believe he's the best of the two candidates.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I Shoulda Been A Cowgirl

Sometimes I think God put me too far east...I think I should be in Montana, or Wyoming (they only have 400,000 people there). It's not so much the space that I crave, it's the cowboys. My dream in life is to get Matt in some boots, a hat, and tight jeans, then put him on a horse :) Sorry...tangent.

The point here is that I'm a SERIOUS country music fan, but even for me this past week has been unusual. I cannot, I mean I really cannot get through the day without listening to my favorite country men. I've officially created a Pandora channel for them. They soothe my soul...
 ...HOWEVER, I was pretty disappointed when I went to find pictures of them, and none of them were in cowboy hats! I'm sorry guys, but a baseball hat is not proper country music attire. Sheesh.
There's no realy point to this post. I just thought I'd share, cuz y'all are really interested, aren't ya?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fall Colors


Well, the fall colors didn't really impress Ella last time, but I promised to find some colors, so here the are. It doesn't compare to the brilliance of the leaves this year, but you'll get the idea.











Friday, October 08, 2010

Things that confuse me...


Just some observations, things I've seen around recently that I truly don't understand. I'm not looking for explanations, I'm just putting this out there.

Here are some things that I just don't "get":

- People who rebel against parents, school, and religion because of the oppressive rules, but will do whatever it takes to follow the rules and qualify for government funded anything.

- People who encourage open mindedness, yet as soon as they find out I'm a Christian they impose upon me their understandings of what a Christian is without bothering to actually ask for my thoughts or opinions.

- People who protect unborn children by trying to educate pregnant women about the dangers of smoking and drinking during pregnacy, but then tell you abortion is okay because it's a choice.

- People who either don't believe in God or despise him, but then have their children baptized to appease their family members and/or society.

There are more, but these are the things I've seen recently. I'm still scratching my head...

Sunday, October 03, 2010

For My Desert Baby

Since my adorable niece was born in the desert, she misses out on some fun stuff (lakes, snow, grass). She also miss out on autumn. I was talking with her on the phone the other day and told her I saw an orange tree - that impressed her! I'm sure she's imagining an orange trunk and all :) To help her figure out the colors of autumn, it's my mission to get some pictures for her. Here's the first:


This is the burning bush at my in-laws' house. It's usually the first to change colors. This photo isn't even close to how amazing it looks up close, but it's the best I could do. So here you go Ella! A reddish-pink tree!! More to come...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I don't want to be Paris Hilton

Not that I think people will look at me and confuse me for the superficial space cadet, but I can't help wonder if I'm turning into her profesionally.

In the past few years I've attended four writers' conferences. I didn't know anyone when I registered for them, but that didn't matter. Somehow I always ended up knowing tons of people, even to the point of introducing virtual strangers to each other with the ease of introducing a childhood friend.

I recently attended the ACFW annual conference, even though I haven't actually written any fiction in months. Instead of working on a manuscript I've been reviewing books, posting blogs, and establishing my freelance career. My lack of manuscript didn't matter, though. I still mingled, networking and meeting fabulous people.

That's when it hit me - I'm turning into the Paris Hilton of the novel world. I don't haven't done anything, I'm not really doing anything, and yet I know everyone. I can socialize and schmooze without having accomplished anything.

While that's enough for Ms. Hilton, I want more. Don't get me wrong - it tickeled me like a peacock feather when I met Mary Coneally this weekend, but I don't just want to know her. I want my books to compete with hers for the Carol Award. I don't just want to know 75% of the Hartline Literary Agency - I'd like for one of them to represent me!

So what's a girl to do??

Write.

That's the only thing I can do. If I don't start producing novels, then I'm no better than Paris - known by association. I won't let that happen to me. In order to make sure that doesn't happen, I need to get to work...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Return of Slap-Happy Matty

Tired and incoherent, our hero returns...

Discussing an author I recently met:
Karin: "She writes romantic suspense."
Matt: "Is that when the guy ways to propose until the day before the wedding?"

Discussing acrylic nails:
Karin: "After they grow out I have to get the growth filled in."
Matt: "Kind of like caulk?"

Watching Matt wander aimlessly through the kitchen:
Karin: "What are you doing?"
Matt: "I don't know. My tired-to-cuteness ratio is off."

Lamenting our pizza & ice cream dinner while snuggling in bed
Karin: "Ugh. I don't feel so good."
Matt: (shyly) "Sorry. Is it my armpit?"

Friday, September 17, 2010

She'll always be Cammie to me...

Happy Birthday to YOU!
Happy Birthday to YOU!
Happy Birthday to Cammie!
Happy Birthday to YOOOOOUUUUUUU!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

What Do You Think?

First - this picture has nothing to do with the post. I just really like it :)

Okay, here's the deal. I'm almost done with my website (and when I say that I'm almost done, I mean my web designer is almost done). The only thing I really want to add is a section "About Me". This has been hard to write, not because I can't think of anything good to say about myself but because it's just so hard to narrow it down. (hee, hee)

Anyway, before I commit this to my website for all eternity (or at least until I want to change it), I thought I'd get some advice from the ones who know me best, but since my cats can't type, I'm asking you. Any comments are appreciated (though I'll only consider the nice ones):

I'm a daughter, sister, friend, and wife. I've worked on a ship, at a ski and golf resort, as a staffing specialist, and I still substitute teach. While I treasure my relationships and have enjoyed my work experiences, something was always missing. I found it in 2007 when I sat down to write a novel. I just wanted to see if I could to it. Six weeks after I started, I had 80,000 words. I didn't need any more encouragement.

I researched publishing, writing, agents, editors, but the more I researched, the more I realized how little I knew. I wanted to learn more, but I also wanted to keep writing while I learned.

Enter the Elk Rapids News - a small, weekly newspaper in need of a writer. I applied, and they hired me. Two years later I'm enjoying my freelance career as much as I enjoy writing my novels. Whether I'm writing devotionals, how-to articles, or a feature story about a local hero, I compose each piece with the care at attention I give to my fiction. I've realized that I don't just love writing make-believe, I love writing.

Since I started freelancing, I've had over one hundred articles published and have finished three full-length manuscripts. I'm also an active member of the American Christian Writers' Association and the American Christian Fictions Writers' Association. Someday I hope to modify this website to include two sections: Karin The Freelance Writer and Karin The Novelist.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Perfectly Pancakes

As I've been writing recently, I've been covering a lot of different festivals. Whether the festival is for the local business association or big ships, they have a common occurrance - the pancake breakfast.

Mmmmm...pancakes. I'm craving some now. In fact, I found this fun recipes for Protein Pancakes, but the batter turned out like milk, so I modified it. Not a great move. I have six VERY DENSE pancakes now. I bet I can get Matt to eat them...

I'll try following the recipe next time, and if it's any good, I'll share it. In the meantime, just enjoy the picture and think perfectly pancake thoughts...