Monday, January 20, 2014


I'm really enjoying the #WordMasteryMonday and I hope you are also.  For this week, I've chosen CHARACTER.  Every person in this world should have character.  I'm not talking about being the life of the party, though that is fun.  What I'm talking about is how you act, how you treat others, because people notice it.  Even if you think no one is watching or paying attention, there are always those that do watch.  

The definition of CHARACTER is: the combination of qualities or features that distinguishes one person,
                                                      group, or thing from another; moral or ethical strength
(American Heritage College Dictionary, 4th Edition)

Some synonyms of CHARACTER are: aspect, kind, nature, personality, quality, spirit, and style

Some antonyms of CHARACTER are: corruption, evil, villainy, disgrace, meanness, immorality

There are many people that have CHARACTER and are not swayed by money or influence.  But, there's also some people that abandon their CHARACTER in favor of "getting ahead" or winning a race or game. CHARACTER is a big personality trait for me.  If you don't have moral CHARACTER, then what is to stop you from using me to get ahead.  CHARACTER shouldn't be the way people behave towards others, it should be a way of life.

For the mommy's out there, here is this weeks puzzle on CHARACTER.  (Just click the word)

How do you feel about CHARACTER?  Do you feel it's an important personality trait?  Are you raising your children with CHARACTER?  Leave me some feedback.  Do you like the #WordMasteryMonday feature?
Teach me to do your will,
For You are my God;
Your Spirit is good.
Lead me in the land of uprightness.
                                      Psalm 143:10

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

First Day of School

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
                                                              Philippians 4:13

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Living a Life of Uncertainty

It's been five years since my husband and I heard the words Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus.  And our quiet life that we had planned went out the window.  Hydrocephalus basically means "water on the brain."  There are basically two types of hydrocephalus, which are: congenital and acquired.  Congenital means it is present at birth, and acquired means just has been acquired either through injury or illness. 

When I first moved in with Mike, he had headaches EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  They were so bad that he was taking an unusually large amount of aspirin.  He had started getting the headaches while he was in Iraq.  I insisted he go to the doctor for these headaches, and that's when the doctor sent him for a MRI, and it was discovered.

During all this time, Mike was forgetting a lot of things, he was falling a lot, and very unsteady on his feet.  We believe that all the concussions that he was suffering in Iraq from the constant bombings is the reason he has the hydrocephalus.  And because it took four (yes, FOUR) years for me to make him go to the doctor, he has suffered some brain damage from this pressure on his brain.  

Things kinda went fast forward after we received the diagnosis of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus.  He was scheduled for his first brain surgery on April 15, 2010.  This was for the placement of a VP shunt, to drain the fluid from his brain, since the ventricles that were supposed to do that were completely shut.  

The first shunt got infected.  Mike never recovered from that surgery, and was very ill during that time.  Within two weeks, he could barely get out of bed.  When we ended up back at the VA hospital, the doctors ran blood tests, and they all came back normal.  The doctor decided to admit him because he could tell there was something wrong.  After two days in the hospital, the blood tests FINALLY showed the infection.  Mike was scheduled for surgery the next day to remove the shunt.  

This started our roller coaster ride.  After the shunt was removed, the fluid was building up in his brain again.  But, the doctors could not insert another shunt until AFTER he was free of the infection.  And they wanted to make sure, so it was 6 months before they inserted another shunt.  We were lucky!  Yes, LUCKY.  Mike has Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, which means that he was able to be discharged from the hospital during this time.  If it was not Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, they would have had to keep him in the hospital during the time that he was treated for the infection, and he would have had a very long hospital stay. As it was, Monster pretty much grew up in the corridors of the VA hospital in Houston during this time.  

After the infection was gone, and they inserted the second shunt, things got back to our new normal.  Mike has the days of being "wobbly" and he still has the constant headaches.  The damage was done though to his brain.  We will always have a hard time with him learning new things.  He will ALWAYS carry the diagnosis of "Traumatic Brain Injury" and he will always have the brain damage.  

We live the roller coaster life of hydrocephalus.  Every time he gets sick, I worry if it's a shunt malfunction.  When he has a headache worse than normal, does that mean that the shunt isn't draining as well.  He will always have the bump on his head where the valve for the shunt is.  He will always have the hole in the back of his skull from the first shunt.  

This isn't meant to be a "poor me" post, because we're incredibly lucky with our lives.  We have each other, and we have Monster.  This is meant to be an "eye opener" for those that think that hydrocephalus is no big deal, because it is a big deal.  This is the first of many posts of what it is like to live with someone that is "special needs", because it's not just kids that are special needs.  We live a "special needs" life, and we live it to the fullest.  

Monday, January 13, 2014


For this weeks #WordMasteryMonday I have chosen INTEGRITY.  This is another one of those words that people throw around, though I doubt they know what it really means.  Many people say they have INTEGRITY, but I doubt they know what the real meaning of the word is.  It is more than honesty, though that's a big part of it.  I've decided to use this word because it means a lot to me.  If you don't have INTEGRITY, then you're really not living an honest life.  You're lying to yourself and others by your actions.  You can't say one thing, and do another.  

This weeks word is INTEGRITY.

The definition of INTEGRITY is this:  1. Steadfast adherence to a strict ethical code
                                                          2. The state of being unimpaired; soundness
                                                          3. The quality or condition of being whole or undivided

(The American Heritage College Dictionary, Fourth Edition)

Some synonyms of INTEGRITY are: honesty, principle, purity, sincerity, virtue and candor

Some antonyms of INTEGRITY are: deceit, dishonesty disgrace, corruption, and dishonor

There are those that have used deceit and dishonesty in their actions towards others.  Corruption is everywhere. It is in local governments, schools, workplaces, and even fraternal orders.  There are those that have refused positions of honor because of the corruption used in the name of INTEGRITY.  There are also those that have undergone many trials and tribulations because they had INTEGRITY and refused to join in corruption.  

For all the mommy's out there, here is this weeks word search on INTEGRITY.  (Just click the word)

Do you know of anything that was done in the name of INTEGRITY?  Are you trying to raise your children with INTEGRITY?  Are you providing a good example of INTEGRITY in your daily life? 

Bible Verse:
Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
                                                                                                             I John 2:6

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Braun Forehead Thermometer...It works for cranky hubby's also!

I recently got the Braun Forehead Thermometer to try out from Influenster.  I love getting these things, because they're usually something that I need, and about at the right time.

Luckily, Monster hasn't been sick lately.  BUT, the day I got it in the mail, Mike wasn't feeling well.  So, I figured, hey, I can try this out on him.  He is on the sofa saying he doesn't feel well, and I go over to him and within a couple seconds I can see that he doesn't have a fever.

I had a forehead thermometer from when Monster was little.  It was hard to read because the numbers were small, and it was not backlit.  Which means, if I took his temperature in the dark, I would have to walk out of the room to see what it was.  I rarely used it, except when Monster was really sick because I just didn't like it.

With the #BraunTherms it was much better.  This thermometer not only has a light where you can read the temperature, it's COLOR CODED!!!!  It will show you a green, yellow, or red light when you take the temperature so you don't even have to look at the numbers if you're in a hurry.  (You know...when the kid won't hold still!)  And the numbers on it...they're HUGE!  You don't have to put on reading glasses to see exactly what the temp is.

The only reason I typically use a thermometer is when I have to make sure and document if there's no fever, and for how long.  This is usually for school.  Now, when ever Mike or Monster say they're not feeling well, I can bring out the thermometer without hesitation and make sure they don't have a fever.

If you're a new mommy, or even a mommy or wife, I would suggest this thermometer for your First Aid Kit.  You won't ever have to wonder if you read the numbers right, the color coding makes it super easy for everyone to be able to use, and fairly reasonable in price as far as forehead thermometers go.   I found some on Amazon, starting around $50.

*Disclosure -- I received this product from Influenster complimentary for testing purposes.  All opinions are my own.*

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Do You Know Who Dr. Rob Morris Is?

Dr. Rob Morris.  How many of you have heard of him?  

Dr. Rob Morris was born August 31, 1818 near Boston, Massachusetts.  He was a Mason.  When he became a Master Mason on March 5, 1846, he felt the female relatives of Masons should be able to share some of the knowledge and benefits of the Masonic Fraternity.  With this thought, he set out to create an order in which men and women can be members.  

While he taught at "The Little Red Brick School Building", in Richland, Mississippi, he worked on creating this order.  Between 1849-1850, he wrote a Ritual of the Order of the Eastern Star with five degrees.  He contemplated the themes of each degree with five heroines from the Bible. These five heroines are Adah, Ruth, Esther, Martha, and Electa.  This first ritual was published with the title, "The Rosary of the Eastern Star."

Dr. Rob Morris also traveled extensively.  He organized the first Masonic Lodge in Jerusalem.  He was also an accomplished poet and author.  Many of his works were about Masonry, and The Order of the Eastern Star.  

Dr. Rob Morris died on July 31, 1888.  He is known as the founder of The Order of the Eastern Star.  "The Little Red Brick School Building", in Mississippi is still to this day maintained as a Shrine.  If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Rob Morris, all you have to do is search his name and you will find a wealth of knowledge about him.  He was an incredible man that enjoyed sharing with others his knowledge and faith.  

Persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.
                                                                                                2 Corinthians 4:9

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

10 Years

Today marks 10 years that my husband's life has been forever changed.  It marks the 10 year anniversary of the death of his soldier in Iraq.
PVT Jesse Mizener
 KIA Jan 7, 2004
(photo used with permission)

Every year on this day, Mike withdraws into himself.  Probably to live his nightmare and cope the only way he knows how.  Every year on this day, I make a special bracelet to be close to him.  This bracelet is only made once a year, and I don't charge for it.  The only thing is, it goes to someone in need.  Last year, my Remembrance Bracelet went to Jesse's sister.  

I do have to say, that having Jesse's brother as a friend has been helpful for Mike this year.  I figured as a wife, I wanted to do something to help him, so I contacted Jesse's brother.  At first, I was worried that Mike would be upset, but then they hit it off.  We've experienced the birth of Brians's daughter through his Facebook posts.  And, between our two families, we keep Jesse's memory alive.  

So, as usual, this year I will be taking nominations for the Remembrance Bracelet.  The person doesn't have to be a service member or family, but someone that has experienced loss and needs a little help.  This has been my way of HONORING Jesse every year. 

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
                                                                             Matthew 5:4

Monday, January 6, 2014


I've decided to build my vocabulary this year.  And, I figure I can share what I learn with you.  Therefore, I'm starting "Word Mastery Monday".  And my first word for this year is one that everyone has heard, and used.  I would even venture to say that SOME PEOPLE have used it over-zealously.  We're not going to say which people, because quite frankly, I have NO CLUE who said it.  But, this word...this simple little word, has caused me to lose one of the things that mean the most to me.  No, I'm not talking about MonsterBoy.  I won't say what that thing is, but it is very important to me.

This weeks word is EVIL.

The definition of EVIL is this: 1. Morally bad or wrong, wicked
                                         2. Causing ruin, injury, or pain; harmful
                                         3. Bad or malicious
                                         4. That which causes harm, misfortune, or destruction
(This and all future definitions will be coming from "The American Heritage College Dictionary" Fourth Edition)

Some synonyms for EVIL are: bad, hateful, destructive, malevolent, malicious and ugly

Some antonyms for EVIL are: decent, friendly, good, kind, virtuous, and upright

For my mommy's out there, I've created this word search for your little ones!  I hope you like it!

I'm going to also try to include a Bible Verse with each word.
Bible Verse:
To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.  They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works.  They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.
                                                                                                      Titus 1:15-16

I will not go into my own thoughts on this subject.  I will only leave you to think about this for the week.
What are your thoughts on EVIL?  Do you think it is a word that is over used or one that we need to pay more attention to?  Please, leave a comment with your thoughts.

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year, New Wardrobe...Almost?

With the New Year comes a lot of changes.  I'm starting school for one!! W00H0000!!  Another is that I have some pretty big Resolutions for the year.  

And, in looking at my closet and getting ready for school, I noticed something.  My wardrobe consists of mostly t-shirts.  And, I want to TRY to look a bit more professional for school.  So, I went shopping with the Belk gift card that I won. 

The other day, Mike took me to Belk to try to get me to feel better.  Retail therapy I guess you can say.
I didn't feel like buying much.  But, I did get a shirt for him and two shirts for me.  Here's the 2 shirts I got for myself.
Now, I wasn't paying attention to prices that day and figured I spent about $100.  But, when the total price came up it was only $54.97 with a savings of $99.22!!!  The purple shirt I liked because, well, it's PURPLE!  The white shirt is beautiful and matches a black shirt that I got at the beginning of December.  See, when I find stuff that I like, I usually buy the same thing in different colors.  Here's the two shirts together.
Today, I didn't plan on buying much.  Just some clothes for Monster.  But, when I went into Belk, they had restocked from the holiday shopping and there was a LOT of stuff on clearance.  Yes, I did get some clothes for Monster...that kid is growing so fast.  I got him two pair of jeans (with an adjustable waist) and two shirts.  They're going to look so good on him.
Then, we got a suit for Mike.  With him being in the upper level business classes, and both of us doing more community oriented activities, we needed to get him another suit, because just one won't do it anymore.
I can't wait to see how good he looks in this!!! And with Belk's prices, we paid less than $100 for both pieces.  It pays to keep an eye out for sales and coupons!!!!

Then, I visited the clearance racks in the Women's Department.  They had mostly long sleeve shirts on the regular racks, and I'm not into long sleeves much.  I found a bunch of shirts that I really liked, and the most expensive ones were these three that I got to match with the sweaters.
Each of these three shirts was actually less than $20 each!  That's a great price for them.  They will go with these sweaters and they will match just about all my pants and skirts.
Then I found these shirts, which, if you know me, yell "THE MARCI FACTOR".  They're unique and original.  They will match my other outfits, but that's not why I got these.  I LOVE the colors, and on the third one, the pattern.  

All three of these shirts will go great with the Lilla Rose Flexi of the Month, which is a Peacock.  I'm in love with it and can't wait to wear it. (Shameless plug here)
So, for all of the clothes that I got today, I SAVED more than I spent.  My total was $273.70 and my savings was $385.16!! This is why I love shopping at Belk!  

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year!


Yes, I know it's a day late, but everyone else probably wrote the post yesterday and you were overwhelmed.  So, I decided to send out my greetings a day late.

First, I want to say that I have enjoyed having you as readers.  Some send me comments and some are pretty quiet.  

Next, we're going to HOPEFULLY be doing random acts of kindness all through the year.  I did this last year, but didn't post about it.  I've really enjoyed doing the random acts of kindness, and really it's not that hard.  

I'm also doing my Reverse Money Challenge this year.  I've already put away the funds for January, since I only get paid once a month.  (You can change it to when you get paid)

I'm going to be really busy this year as I'm headed back to school.  I can't wait!! I LOVE learning!  I'm going to have two classes with Mike so that I can help him with the studying.  There's nothing a wife wouldn't do for her husband to help him succeed.  (Besides...I need the classes for my degree also!)

It doesn't seem real that I'm going to be going back to school and finishing my degree.  It seems like, every time I've tried to complete it, life gets in the way.  Now, we're pretty settled as a family and barring any unforeseen incidents, I should be done in a couple of years.  

I also plan on keeping up with my blog more...I know I know...I've said this before.  But this time I MEAN IT!!!

And now, for you to keep me on track.  A couple of New Year's Resolutions!  

1.  Complete the Reverse Money Challenge

2.  Run a 5K.  This one is going to be tough because I have asthma and the running always makes me wheeze.  But with an inhaler, I will do it!!

3.  Keep up with Money Saver Marci A lot of you have asked me how I get the gift cards and credits that I get and that is where you will find all the deals, coupons, and money/point earning sites that I use.  

4.  Make it to a blogging conference.  This is my big goal because then, in my eyes, my blog is something...LOL.

These are the main resolutions.  I have more, but they tie into these, so I'm not going to list them.  BUT, I will be posting about my weight loss and healthy living changes.  And with this comes a photo that I'm not very proud of.

This is me in my exercise outfit.  This woman will not be standing here one year from now!  It's time for a change.  It's time to start living healthier!!

So, now that I've told you my New Year's Resolutions, what are your's?  Do they involve exercise?  Weight loss?  Saving money?  If so, hang out with me while I do all these things this year!