Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year

As we enter into a New Year, here is a good devotional from Oswald Chambers that reminds us of holds our past, present, and future in His hands. Start the New Year off the right way with God.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

How not to Get a Good Tip

Just returned from Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Beautiful time of year with the snow and Christmas lights still up. However, our stay kinda got off to a sour start at the newer Cracker Barrel on the lower end of town. Here is how our visit went. I was hungry and looking forward to a good, hot Cracker Barrel Bacon/Cheeseburger, we stopped at the Cracker Barrel that is just below Wears Valley Road and was real close to our Motel. Upon arrival at the restaurant, I walked up to the hostess podium and waited for the hostess. After a brief wait at the podium a hostess walked up and instead of a courteous greeting, blurted out two words, " how many." Then,, if I remember right, the next word I heard was something to the effect, "ready", I may not be exactly right on the words used but the point is that the hostess was not personable at all and was speaking in one or two word phrases. After putting the silverware down I think I heard her say have a nice day or enjoy your meal or something to that effect. The non-personable attitude of the hostess set a bad tone for the dining experience.

Part Two- The Service
Our server came to our table and was somewhat friendly and we were alright with the service up until there was delay on recieving our salads. When I order a salad, I like to get the salad a good bit of time ahead of the entree so I can eat it before the entree arrives. It took several minutes for the salad to arrive, which probably was not the servers fault but probably something wrong in the back of the house, an issue Cracker Barrel needs to work on. We finally got our salad and I was able to eat most of it before the entree arrived, my burger and fries had to sit for a few minutes while I finished my salad.

Missed Items on Order
The food was brought out by a different server, with a few things missing, no mayonnaise for the burger, a side of slaw left off, and my wife's steak was overcooked. I had the server who brought the food to bring me some mayo, but my wife was never checked back on for her steak, so she ate it anyways. Our server finally came by and refilled our drinks but my wife had by that time relented to eating her overcooked steak.

Bad Finish
Here is where the service got bad. I was half way through my burger, almost out of tea when our server gave us our check. No offer to refill my drink, no offer for desert, just a have a nice day. The server might as well have thrown in, "Don't get choked on the rest of your burger and fries." I managed to get the burger down with the ice in my glass. My wife sat across the table from me with an empty glass, while our server went MIA. My wife finally asked another server if they would get our server to bring more tea, we were through eating and my wife was disgusted and angry before the server returned. As I walked to the cash stand to pay I had the manager get me a to-go drink to wash my food down. We complained at the register and the manager did take the drinks off the bill.

Now this was not the worst service I have received and it did not totally destroy my day, but I work as a waiter and tip very well and like to be served well. My wife is a waitress and she expects to be served well. There is no excuse for this type of service.

P.S. This is not the first time that we have not been happy with the service at this Cracker Barrel. We had another experience earlier this year that was kinda sour. It is not that we are nit-picky people, but we are servers and know how to take care of guests and we know when servers are not taking care of a guest as they should.

Monday, December 20, 2010

How to Make a Last Minute Christmas Gift

For last minute Christmas shoppers who still have not bought that special gift for someone on their list, here is an idea that is inexpensive and relatively simple. Instead of wandering around the mall and going through merchandise that has already been picked over by countless shoppers, why not make a Christmas gift. One gift idea is to make a gift from a photograph. For those who have children and are looking for something to buy their own parents, consider making a picture album or framing an 8 by 10 picture of your children to give your parents, Grandparents love pictures of their grand kids. Giving a special photograph as a gift is inexpensive, simple and something that most people enjoy receiving. So for those running behind on their Christmas shopping or are running out of ideas, consider making a gift out of a photograph. All that is needed is a photograph, or photographs if making an album, and a picture frame or photo album. Put them together and you have a nice little gift.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Driving on Ice

Have you ever considered taking a drive on an icy day? Take my advice, don't, it is not very fun. The family and I went out to a movie last Wednesday afternoon and before we made it back home we found ourselves traveling on a road coated with ice. I inched my way home for a few hours before giving in and pulling off the highway ( when your vehicle changes lanes on its on without your consent it is time to give it a rest). The thing about driving on ice is that you have very little or no control over your vehicle. You can be doing well one second and the next second find yourself sliding out of control. So my advice is that if you do not absolutely have to be out on the ice, then stay at home. If you have to be out on an icy road, then go slow, stay off brakes as much as possible, use low gear and pray. Be safe and have a  Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Blue Ridge Dam- Past and Present

Blue Ridge Lake is currently drawm down in order to allow repairs to the dam. Yesterday the Tennesee Valley Authority had an open house at the dam, giving visitors an opportunity to have a close up look at the dam with lake drawn down and also an opprtunity to view pictures of the original construction of the dam.

An Update on Blue Ridge Lake 5/19/2011

The lake is beginning to fill up again. Stretches of shoreline that me and the family walked back in the winter are now covered in water. Hopefully the lake will be full before Summer arrives, which is coming up fast.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Giving Ourselves to Whom We Belong

As we get ready for church and put on our best clothes, best Christian manners, and our Jesus mask, may we be reminded that we are called to so much more than a Sunday morning extravagamza of fine suits, Sunday dresses, and parading around like we are the holiest of the holy; we are called to present ourselves daily to God as a living sacrifice. That is so much more than our standard religious activity.

in reference to: My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers (view on Google Sidewiki)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Horse Grants

Horses are used to treat and provide therapy for children who are facing various challenges. A recent study has shown that equine assisted activities have been beneficial in treating autism in children from seven to 12 years of age. In addition to treating autism, horses have been used in treating children facing other mental, physical and socio-economic challenges. There are child’s equine grants available through different associations to fund this type of therapy.

EQUUS Public Service Grants
The EQUUS Foundation is a national charitable foundation whose purpose is to increase public awareness of the many benefits that horses offer to society. The Foundation seeks to accomplish this through education programs and by providing grants to charities that: 1) utilize horses to benefit the public; 2) seek the well being and healthiness of horses; and 3) promote the equestrian sport. The EQUUS Foundation provides child equine grants in the form of Public Welfare Grants to help equine-assisted programs benefiting ill and disabled children and at-risk youth.

Equestrian Sports Welfare Grants
A part of the mission of the EQUUS Foundation is the furtherance of the equestrian sport. Sports Welfare Grants are issued for the advancement of the sport through the means of youth involvement, scholarships, awards, aid for equestrians in need, and through programs designed to educate and raise awareness.

2010 Gray and Jerry Fadden Horse Whisperer Grant
The 2010 Gray and Jerry Fadden Horse Whisperer Grant from the EQUUS Foundation was awarded to the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center (BTRC) in Buffalo, New York. The BTRC is a safe, relaxing, nonacademic facility that uses horses, volunteer workers and peers to work with children who suffer from physical and mental handicaps. Nearly 90 percent of the children who participate in the BTRC program are from economically challenging circumstances. Horse Whisperer Grants bear the name of the donor and are given to charities that promote therapeutic horse riding and to charities that promote the general welfare of horses.

Horses and Humans Research Foundation Grants
A recent study by Margaret M. Bass, Ph. D., and Maria Llabre, Ph. D., has shown equine-assisted activities to be beneficial in treating children diagnosed with autism. The study concluded that autistic children from seven to 12 years of age showed improvement in cognition, communication and motivation after taking part in equine related activities such as riding, grooming and interacting with horses. The study was funded through a grant from the Horses and Human Research Foundation. Equine grants from the foundation are made possible through donations from foundations, businesses, individual contributors and riding therapy programs across the nation.


Equine Chronicle: Research Validates that Horses Positively Impact Children With Autism

Discover Horses: Buffalo Therapeutic Gets Equus Foundation Grant

Equine Chronicle: Health Equine Care 


The Pocono Equestrian: Home


Making a Worm Bed for Composting

Having a worm bed is an excellent way to compost your table scraps or yard debris. A worm bed serves several purposes.
1. A natural method of food disposal that otherwise would be thrown in a landfill.
2. Provides rich soil that can be used for gardening projects.
3. For those who enjoy fishing, worms make excellent fish bait. Not only does a worm provide free fish bait, but an industrious composter might even sell worms raised in a worm bed for an additional source of income.
in reference to: Worm beds, making worm beds, backyard composting, backyard composting how to (view on Google Sidewiki)

Benefits of Composting

Composting is the process by which plants and other organic materials decompose into an earthy nutrient rich substance that makes an excellent fertilizer. As a fertilizer, compost can be used for houseplants, vegetable gardens and flower beds. Households can do their own composting by starting a compost pile or by using a compost bin. Composting is not only beneficial for those who use the compost but has environmental benefits as well.

Reduces the Amount of Waste in Landfills
It is estimated that kitchen and yard refuse comprise 30 per cent of landfill content. A compost bin is an alternative method of disposing of kitchen and yard waste as opposed to using a landfill for disposal. The utilization of compost bins or compost piles is a step towards reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills.

Reduces Methane Gas and Acidic Leachate
Yard debris deposited in a landfill takes a very long time to decompose due to a lack of oxygen. As the debris decomposes in a landfill it leads to the production of methane gas and acidic leachate, leachate is any liquid that flows through the debris in a landfill that contains particles of the debris. Both methane gas and acidic leach are not desirable for the environment

Positive Effect on the Soil and Air
A compost bin gives kitchen waste and yard debris an opportunity to breakdown naturally. When this process takes place through natural means such as bacteria, fungi, insects, and worms it allows for nutrients to be put back into the soil and for carbon dioxide to be released back into the atmosphere.


The Compost Queen: 2 Good Reasons to Compost []


Mass: Low Cost Compost Bins


Cracker Barrel Going Electric

Evidently Cracker Barrel believes there could be a great demand for EV charging stations or there could be other motives behind this move. Maybe Cracker Barrel is just way out in front of the rest of the nation. Only time will tell. Personally, I would like to see free WIFI, so I could connect to the internet when I I am travelling.

in reference to: Tennessee Cracker Barrel Restaurants to Become EV Charging Stations | Transportation Nation (view on Google Sidewiki)

Good Morals are Not an Accident

Good morals, and a vibrant relationship with Christ does not happen by accident, it is something that believers must put some effort into. We are not saved by our own efforts, but by the grace of God, but it takes effort on our part to live up to the life we have been called to live.

in reference to: My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers (view on Google Sidewiki)

Friday, December 3, 2010


For aspiring freelance writers or for those who just want to make a few dollars on the side, textbroker is a good entry level writing site. They are reliable, they pay, and provide a steady stream of writing jobs.

in reference to: Unique content - (view on Google Sidewiki)

Reality of Redemption

The reality of redemption in Christ, a reality not based on emoitions or human experiences, but on the death and resurrection of The Son of God. When believers life their live according to this reality they truly experience God.

in reference to: My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers (view on Google Sidewiki)