When All Systems are Down, Be Happy! By Jo Russell

“It’s just like a small town to have only one eatery open after nine at night,” Paul commented to his fiancée, Carole. “Sorry. I’d hoped for some place nicer. But the only place open is the 24-hour McDonald’s.”

“That’s okay,” Carole smiled. “I love their senior coffee and fancy coffee lattes topped with cream.”

But as the seniors waited under the bright lights for their turn in line in the fast food place, Paul and Carole overheard the clerk telling the late night crowd the bad news, “Sorry, the computer is down. No debit or credit sales.”

When the couple got to the counter, Paul asked, “How about I write a check? That’s cash to you. Besides, you know me, Carole, and everyone else in town.”

“I do. But no checks. Just cash tonight. So sorry.”

So Paul and Carole stepped back, put their heads together, and counted the currency and coin in their wallets.

“I have $1.26.”

“And I’ve got $2.70.”

Together they looked at each other and got the idea, “Let’s check the car seats!”

“Dibs on the back!”

The senior couple dashed out to check in and under the seat and floor mats for more change.

They hit pay dirt.

“Two quarters!

“A dime and a penny!”

“Wow! A half dollar and a nickel!”

Sharing the richness of memories of their teen years, they slurped a milkshake through two straws. With fries and a drink before them, the two remembered that contentment comes from the inside out in all circumstances. And this experience brought them both a smile.

Paul wrote, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” [Philippians 4:11-13].

Paul’s challenges were much more serious than not having enough currency for a late night snack. A need for real sustenance arose often enough, but he looked beyond that. Instead, Paul focused on God, not on what he did or didn’t have. And God provided for him as he does for us. Paul advises us to be content and to look to God for our true needs.

How often do we ask for or long something that is not a need? How often does God say ‘No’?” But do more possessions that crowd closets, storage lockers and sheds fill the gap where God should be? What could be better to choose than a lasting relationship and communication with a great God of love, care, and provision?

Compare wants to needs. God always gives generously and in a timely manner.

Best of all, God’s divine communication never closes down to accept cash only. He opens the door at any hour—and it’s all free.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Round and Round We Go: Where No GPS Has Ever Gone By Jo Russell

Paula initiated a one-woman campaign against roundabouts.  She failed dismally.

Around the state, she learned, small communities considered them arty and practical. Town councils – even her own – voted traffic signals out as completely obsolete. Even kindergarten teachers didn’t use the signal’s red, green, and yellow to teach colors anymore. Now the streets spouted landscaped gardens thriving in the circular median. Tree huggers everywhere celebrated the greening of the asphalt.

Not Paula. With a roundabout, Paula needed four tries to find the correct outlet.  But to their credit, everyone on the four corners was friendly.

The first try, Paula ended up at the high school.

The school secretary greeted her, “Welcome to Pine Valley High School. Are you enrolling a student today or would you rather help with the Open House this evening?”

“No, I’m lost in the Black Hole Roundabout and just trying to get to – Highway 260. Thanks to that roundabout, I’m way off course. It’s worse than a black hole in space! ”

The school secretary clicked her tongue in sympathy. After the Grand Opening of the roundabout, she confided, they completely lost track of six punctual teachers and hadn’t seen them since. Classes started without them. Other staff members, unable to figure out the maze, had parked across the street and walked to school.  The crossing guard doubled as a trail guide through the roundabout.

When Paula tried the roundabout on a second try, she was headed for the mini mall and ended up at the Humane Society.

“We’re having a special on cats,” smiled a young woman cuddling a kitten. How about adopting one?”

Paula never made it to Highway 260. Coming home from a simple trek, she held a kitten, cat carrier, food, and a pledge to bake four dozen cookies for Open House. Paula blamed it on the roundabout.

The next week, she took her complaint to the town hall and picked up a petition to bring back traffic lights. “It’s the American way!” she argued with the council member manning the counter.

“No, I voted for this. Roundabouts are the latest in traffic engineering! They save lives, money, and provide a great garden area for anyone who is hopelessly lost! It’s a giant step forward for the environment!”

Next, Paula approached Denise and her husband Robert for a signature. “Sorry, I can’t,” Denise explained. I’m President of the Garden Club. We get to design and plant the beautiful roundabout in front of the turnoff for Sonic. With an arbor and bench, the garden will be a great place to meditate and find serenity while contemplating how to cross the street. But most people aren’t having any trouble with the roundabouts. You are?”

Paula pondered, “A path to serenity? It’s nearly impossible with a roundabout.” She’s right about our needing a quiet place to think. But what about another path and another trail guide?

All of our lives, we choose paths leading to adventure, opportunity, and relationships. Garden Club President Denise is right that we also need to find a path to serenity. But finding true calm against the storm isn’t generated in navigating roundabouts–no matter how beautifully they are landscaped.  Serenity is not built into a 60-minute lunch hour, time at the gym, a relaxing massage or even a vacation.

In the search for serenity, try trail guide God. Old Testament King David shares these views: “He [God] lets me rest in fields of green grass and leads me to quiet pools of fresh water. He gives me new strength. He guides me in the right paths, as he has promised.” [Psalm 23:2-3 Good News Bible].

Choosing paths and trails can be difficult all by yourself. With God, who knows the entire trail to the end, it’s easier.

He’ll even help you find your way through the roundabouts. You’ll never be lost again.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and  website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

 

 

 

Learning to Like Onions and Life As It Is by Jo Russell

Normally, you couldn’t keep Bryan away from mac and cheese with a team of Clydesdale horses. Instead, the four-year-old was staring at his food.

“What’s the matter, Sweetie?” his mom asked, wondering if he were sick.

His brother was munching down the new variation with gusto, making “Mmmm” sounds. Soon John reached for seconds.

But Bryan lamented, “I can’t eat this, Mom.”

“Why not? It’s your favorite!”

“Not like this. It has onions in it.”

“So? Onions are a spice of life! You’re going to have to learn to like onions. ”

His face was full of concern as he started to pick out the onions from the casserole.
“I’ll learn to like onions when I’m five and I’ll learn to like girls when I’m fifteen.”

Years later, Bryan, the married man, made “Mmmm” sound while eating roasted chicken breast smothered with mushroom sauce, cheese, and caramelized onions. Obviously, he learned to like both onions and girls.

Sometimes God will move an obstacle for us. Sometimes he plows through it with us. Sometimes he just leaves it alone, working beside us, knowing that he can make up for any weak areas we have.

Though Paul’s request is for the healing of a physical ill in this passage, he writes, “But he [God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’…That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” [2 Corinthians 12:9-10] NIV.

Through it all– the challenges and even the onions, God is with us, making us able
to be strong and to learn to like life whatever comes our way.

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, available from her website, www.button-to-god.com and Amazon.com. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog.]

Away from the Chaos, Clatter, and Confusion By Jo Russell

Never had sleeping arrangements been more comical. Only no one was laughing – yet.

“We’ll provide you and your group a comfortable place to sleep,” the church youth event director had promised over the phone.

Chaperone Cindy and Susan plus the nine girls looked around the classroom that would be lodging for the night. Cindy could predict neither the sleeping bags nor the concrete floor would be soft enough.

“How do we turn off these bright lights?” Chaperone Cindy asked a committee member after she flipped a switch and nothing happened. The fluorescent fixtures flooded every nook and cranny with light.

“You can’t. All the classroom lights stay on at the same time.”

“So when God said, ‘Let there be light,’ on the first day of creation, He was thinking of your church!”

“I never thought about it that way.”

“What about the bathrooms?” Cindy wanted to know. The girls clutched their backpacks, sodas, and lip gloss. They needed facilities right away.
“We unlocked them just for you – they’re one floor down across from the elevator.”

While Chaperone Cindy took half of the girls to the bathroom, Chaperone Susan helped the girls set up their sleeping bags. Another group from parts unknown bedded down on the other side of the plastic divider walls. The rising volume of talk, music and laughter set the stage for a great building-wide slumber party. It was exciting news for the girls, but bad news for the chaperones.

Soon after she rolled out her own bag, Susan pulled the top flap over her face. More than sixteen hours earlier, she had dressed, headed to a full day of work, and then traveled with the vanload to its destination.

The full quota of their girls settled in for an all-night party helped along by M & M’s, chaos, clatter, noise, and laughter. At least they were all happy sounds. Susan sleepily wondered if it was the rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air that flew overhead – or was it popcorn, candy, and game pieces?

In the morning, Susan awoke refreshed under the bright lights. But Cindy and the girls seemed limp with fatigue. The chaperone roused herself onto an elbow to ask, “How ever did you sleep with the lights and the noise?”

Susan just smiled.

Chaos, clutter and noise seem to dominate minutes of our multi-tasking lives.
But when it comes to building our relationship with God, it’s not about multi-tasking. Prayer is one-on-one communication. Paul advises, “Pray continually” [1 Thessalonians 5:17]. Best case scenario is illustrated in Jesus’ own life.

Just as we do ourselves, the Savior himself needed time alone for rest and refreshment. He chose places where he was alone and could pray. Often, this came before or after major events.

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. “[Mark 1:35 NIV] This happened after he healed Simon’s mother-in-law of a feverish illness. News spread quickly. By evening, the residents of the entire town crowded to her door to be well again.

He went off by himself after healing a paralytic lowered through the roof where he was preaching. [Mark 2]. Jesus took to the hills after feeding the large crowd with two fish and five rolls. He needed time alone with God to regroup and to deal with John the Baptist being murdered. [Mark 6] Much art commemorates Jesus’ time to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane before his arrest and crucifixion. [Mark 14].

In our busy lives, popcorn, candy, and flying M&M’s may be the benchmark–or bane–of our existence. But in seeking God, we must leave chaos and confusion behind. In our private time with God, we get the rest we need – even where the accommodations are comical and the lights are on all night.

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, available from her website, www.button-to-god.com. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog.]

Ban the Guilt Gene Forever By Jo Russell

Any day now, I’m expecting scientists to announce the discovery of a gene specific to women—the guilt gene!

Sue rushed through the after-dinner clean-up, filling the dishwasher and slapping the control panel with an elbow–only to hear a strange thumping noise. She stopped the machine! Staggering out of the maze of plates and silverware was a wet and soapy pet–the family ferret, Ferdinand. She might have thought, “Oh, good, he needed a bath!” But instead, as the children wailed, “Mom, how could you do such a thing!” she felt the ill-effects of the guilt gene. She would never live this down.

Jill whipped up a batch of pesto to take to a potluck when she looked down and noticed that one new acrylic nail was missing. She hastily ran the pesto for the group through a sieve. “Don’t eat the pesto in the fridge!” she called out as she dashed through the door. “I lost a fingernail! I’ll find it when I get back.” Her husband and son, intent on the sports channel, may not have heard her while eating chips and dip. Her guilt gene kicked in for the next three hours. She worried about them choking on the plastic piece the size of an almond.

A tour guide, Lacy, rattled off a regional housekeeping fact, launching a dozen women in the crowd into a guilt gene-driven tizzy. “Even though the average rainfall here is thirty-one inches and it rains nearly every day, the women here wash and polish their windows three times a week.” There were gasps. One woman mouthed, “Three times a week?” How long since she had washed her windows? Like me, maybe she couldn’t remember.

When I took a clean bathrobe with me as a prop for a humorous speech at a crowded restaurant, I donned the robe to make a point. Floating to the floor was a pair of my lacy underwear. It was a one-of-a-kind experience for the standing-room only lunch crowd. I could have thought “Wow! I’ve been wondering where those were. I’ve been looking for them forever.” Or, let the guilt gene kick in, “You should have used a dryer sheet and it wouldn’t have stuck.”

“Does the guilt gene ever fade away?” I wondered as I called a friend to ask, “Do you ever feel guilty for the things you don’t get done now that you’re retired?” She cupped her hand around the phone so her husband would not hear her answer, “Oh, yes! Absolutely.”

However, God immobilizes the guilt gene with a needed remedy: praise and encouragement. In Proverbs 31–a record of major multi-tasking, the Bible refers to the assets of women, “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” [NIV] Sweet words for the guilt-plagued.

Though scientists may discover sound evidence of a guilt gene, God recognizes women as an important component of the family and the world. “Give her the reward she
has earned, and let her bring her praise at the city gates.” Amen to that. How have you praised a hard-working woman today?

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, available from her website, www.button-to-god.com. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog.]

No Room for the Negative D’s: God Don’t Allow No Whinin’ By Jo Russell

As a small group shared an hour in a craft class, Negative Nellie swelled up with what she considered her important role: Bearer of Bad News. She watched the crowd’s reaction to her steady newsfeed. When class members’ shoulders slumped and high anxiety rose, Nellie escalated her talk with a focus on the D’s: death, disease, distemper, disorganization, the disadvantaged, deflated water wings, decreased values, defaulted loans, as well as dingy dishes.

Once the class slipped lower into the chairs, Nellie rose to leave like a drama queen. She called out with a smirk, “When the factory closes at the end of this month, our houses will depreciate and become worthless! We’ll lose them!”

Other class members left mumbling, contemplating slitting their wrists, taking Prozac, or going on a chocolate binge—whichever took the least amount of effort. I opted to put on my “Life is Good” smiley-face socks and head to the gym. “If anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things,” I recalled from Philippians 4:8.

Faith in God opposes Negative Nellie’s thinking. “God don’t allow no whining,” I reminded myself. Just a few days later, I remembered that when I read a bankruptcy notice from my book publisher—less than a year after my first book was released.

I talked to God as He lit the sky with his sizzling lightning. Then I saw God’s smile studded with raindrops. He was giving the earth what it needed. He would give me what I needed, too. Not just basic needs, but more words, too. For I know He can and with his help, I can, and whatever your needs, He will provide, too.   

After Jesus talks about our concerns with our basic essentials and needs, He advises “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well….Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. [Matt. 6: 33 NIV]. Or as Paul writes, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” [Phil. 4:6 NIV] .

There is no room for Negative Nellie in a faith-filled heart. Count on God. He’ll give you what you need each day.

 

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, available from her website, www.button-to-god.com. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog.]   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Need Love Insurance? By Jo Russell

Day or night, you couldn’t miss the two-foot high, lighted letters on the top of a multi-story building close to a major freeway: LOVE INSURANCE!

Every trip down the highway during my stay in the sprawling city, I strained to catch a glimpse at LOVE INSURANCE to see if the parking area was overflowing. If LOVE INSURANCE lives up to its promise, it should be!

Regardless of age, sex, or culture, anyone with a credit card can participate in today’s popular searches for love. Whether coping with loneliness, romance, or the lack of it, computer searches for love and acceptance are a popular pastime. The objective of “love insurance” is assurance that one’s love is always two-way and that the outcome of heartfelt investments of time and money always win. If love can be guaranteed, LOVE INSURANCE be ever-growing in staff and should need a bigger building!

As a planner, I like guarantees. But I know I’ll never find any perfect love from an agency that sizes me up by age, appearance, liabilities, and pre-existing conditions.

But there is a different kind of love that is insured and guaranteed with no pre-requisite. That is the type of love that God has for us. No matter who we are, what value the world places on us or what we look like, God loves us without limits. When we get out of line in thoughts, words, or action, Jesus steps in to take the consequences. Just as Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, he wipes our lives clean, too.

God’s love to us shows in the gifts of every day. Life itself, a place to stay, a variety of food, spring sunshine, and the company of others all come from our loving God. Most of all, “…God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners that Christ died for us!” Romans 5:8. [NIV]

So do you need love insurance? You’ve already got it. God cares for you!

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, Intermedia Publishing 2011. For more chuckles, keep checking  her weekly blog on Button-to-God.com.]

Content in All Things? By Jo Russell

 For weeks at a time, my grandfather and his crew held onto hope that they would be able to pull up the hull of a sunken ship off the coast of Alaska. It was rumored to be heavy with gold. The men sorely missed having a real cook. As the project persisted through the seasons without much success,   they grew tired of the cold salt spray in their faces, the chilly days, and each other.

Their standing rule became whoever complained about the food would be cooking next.

One sailor slurped his first spoon of beef stew, coughed, spit and sputtered, “Gosh, this stuff is salty!” All eyes were riveted on him.
Then he added brightly, “But it’s just the way I like it!”

Contentment and a thankful heart in all circumstances are what God expects of us. Apostle Paul writes in Philippians 4:11, “I am not saying this out of need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” (NIV)

How often do we wistfully wonder, “If only I had _____, then I would be_____.
“If only I had my youth back, then I would be bungee jumping!”
“If only my young children were grown, I wouldn’t have to be the cookie police. I would be able to sleep in, wear necklaces without my kids doing pull-ups on them, and grow my hair long again.”
“If I only had a new car, I would be headed down the highway to Disney World with grandkids.”

Sometimes on frigid winter holidays when bad weather keeps me off the streets and home in front of a fire, I begin to think, “If I only had more airline points, then I would be flying out to see my sons.” But in pining over flights, I missed looking to be content in all circumstances.

When is a day of thanksgiving? It’s not just an American holiday. Thanksgiving is every day.

Is there food in the house? Are the bills paid? Is the roof keeping out the weather? Have the insects that secretly scuttle around at night left the premises for the winter?

Ask yourself, “What great things has God given me so far?
How can I show him my thankful heart?” Each day that you count your blessings is truly a day of thanks.

And when the stew is salty, smile and give thanks! It’s just the way you like it!

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, Intermedia Publishing, 2011. For more chuckles, keep checking  her weekly blog on Button-to-God.com.]

Sheer Determination – Or Be Still? By Jo Russell

Could Arthur Itis stop me? NEVER! Not with my determination and vision!

When a winter, indoor tri-athalon was advertised at the local gym, the event advertised such short distances, I signed on the line. It would be easier than sprinting across the local Wal-Mart.  Once again, to enjoy the camaraderie of amateur athletes! The cheering! The fun! The challenge! New friends!
Though my last race had been a century ago or so, I remembered how much I had loved participating in amateur athletic events. Around middle age when many other women stopped competing, I had started racing. More than anything, I had always raced to prove arthritis could not stop me.

Doctors disagree. Over time, the disease causes a gradual thinning of the cartilage or padding in the joints.

“I will set a new record in the knee replacement class! People will have hope again!” I had not known at the time I would be setting a record, all right. But the speed of sea turtles is not legendary in athletic competitions.

While I tore it up during the swim, I earned a smile from the trainer. While I cranked and spun the pedals of the ancient recumbent bike, I realized at 68 rpms, I had only gone one-and-a-half miles in twenty minutes. Obviously, the machine needed repair. On the road or on any other machines, I was four times faster.

Sheer determination kicked in. My knees, including the metal one, began to complain, burn, incinerate, and turn to baked, shapeless ABC gum. “Be still and know I am God,” I heard softly in my mind, but instead, the pain and the sweat staining my color-coordinated outfit had my full attention.

An hour later, I teetered off the bike with numb legs. Stumbling to the treadmill for the final event, I looked around for my fellow athletes. None. Only a forest of empty machines told the story. So much for camaraderie.    The cheering? The trainer muffled a yawn. She headed downstairs to catch a bite while I continued in “record-breaking” time—the speed of a sea turtle enjoying a leisurely trip around the Galapagos Islands. Bound by my own promise to finish, I stuck it out to the end.

Arthritis: I now admit it stands between me and sprint triathlons. I had been denying it as well as grieving over my limitations.

Apostle Paul describes “There was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me” and three times asked God to take it away from him. [2 Corinthians 12:7-10] NIV. God’s answer in verse 9: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul concludes, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I had not considered what a gift is it than when lack of skills, failure, or any physical affliction takes over, God fills in the weak areas with his power and strength!. Instead of grieving over the lost cartilage, I had to move forward in a journey down an unfamiliar road. I will grow with God’s help. I may falter, but he is there with his power and strength.

“Be still and know that I am God” from Psalm 46:10 is timeless. What assurance! God had walked with us in the past. He accompanies us on the adventurous route ahead.

Have courage! For his presence, power and strength are with us.

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, Intermedia Publishing, 2011. For more chuckles, keep checking  her weekly blog on Button-to-God.com.]

The Envy of the Neighborhood by Jo Russell

What does it take to be the envy of the neighborhood? A dazzling remodel? A new car? A second home? A whirlpool tub? A two-story glassed-in sunroom? A cabin cruiser?

Not in my kid-friendly neighborhood. Fisher-Price constructs most second homes here, and they live in a toy box. Boats? Why, they are floating in the bathtub along with rubber duckies!

While waiting for routine maintenance at a shop, I saw the uniformed mechanic coming out with something from under the hood that was so furry, it belonged on a mammal. “And what is this?” I asked him.

“Your air filter. It needs replacing. Danny also recommends that for a mere $$$ and one hour, you could be the envy of the neighborhood with three new belts. The old ones are beginning to look cracked and wrinkled.
“Whoa! Just like me at 5:00 a.m.” I thought.

That was the first time I ever considered automotive belts making my truck the envy of the neighborhood. It was more meaningful to me to have the truck in top shape for an upcoming road trip. By the time they finished the work, I had eaten all their bananas, drank hot cocoa until I knew I would be buzzed for twenty-four hours, and read everything on the magazine rack three times, knitted a scarf, planned a party, and balanced my checkbook. While I waited, I wondered. What is so important about being the envy of the neighborhood? Keeping up with the Jones’s? Where does this fit in with God’s ways?

It doesn’t.

Instead, ask yourself, “What am I doing to touch others as Jesus did with kindness, compassion, generosity, and my encouragement?”

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, Intermedia Publishing, 2011. For more chuckles, keep checking  her weekly blog on Button-to-God.com.]