September 14, 2015
by Jennifer
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90 Minutes in Heaven Atlanta Premier

Earlier this month, I was treated to a night on the town and a red carpet movie premier of the new film 90 Minutes in Heaven with my hubby. 

  
The movie premiered at the Fabulous Fox Theater in Atlanta. This historic theater is always a treat to go to. 

  
The movie is based on a best-selling book and is the true story of a young pastor named Don Piper, who gets in a tragic wreck and is pronounced dead for 90 minutes.

Having not read the book, I thought the movie would be about Heaven, however, it was more about how you handle living on earth once you get a glimpse of what it is like in God’s presence.

Actor Hayden Christensen (Star Wars Episode III) portrays the physical and emotional pain of this experience with raw purity.

Actress Kate Bosworth (Blue Crush) plays a loyal and stoic spouse with all the grit and tenacity of a southern woman facing crisis.

   
 This story of perseverance, hope and acceptance of one’s purpose, makes you wonder how you might handle standing at the Pearly Gates only to be swept back to earth in a completely wrecked body with a long recovery ahead. 

The film poetically tackles depression, recovery, financial struggle, loneliness and the power of faith, hope, love and friendship. It is worth 90 minutes in the theater for sure! 

  

August 21, 2015
by Jennifer
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Book Review of Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin

Sarah Sundin does it again enthralling us in the early days of WWII in America through her Through-Waters-Deep-662x1024latest historical fiction Through Waters Deep.  While true to the historical period of WWII-era, the book is also part romance and part mystery.

Sarah’s composition typically includes two main characters with deep backstories who intersect. The intersection typically leads to romance and in this case, it also leads to some mystery. In Through Waters Deep we meet Mary Atwood, a wall flower not quite ready to step into the spotlight and Jim Avery, a young naval officer ready to prove himself.

Sundin’s character development skills lead the reader into a relationship with each character. The characters are multi-dimensional and I also appreciate how while Mary is sensitive and sweet, she is also a trailblazer who steps outside the typical expectations of the women of her time.  Alternating chapters give us a peek into to each character’s perspective, sharing their individual stories.

The setting is Boston just before the start of WWII at a Naval shipyard where Mary works as a secretary, and Jim Avery is stationed before he ships off to sea and into war. Mary and Jim knew each other in high school and meet again years later in this new setting. They were barely friends back home but now develop a friendship that helps them to see each other a bit differently than before.

Meanwhile, mischief is happening at the shipyard where several instances of sabotage have led to an FBI investigation in which Mary becomes immersed. As Mary and Jim’s friendship heats up, second guessing, assumptions and chance circumstance seems to prevent them from letting their true feelings known. Each character faces their own fears and must learn to set their own sails. There is plenty of tension and conflict to keep readers invested in the story to the end.

While the story is fiction, Sundin includes enough history from WWII era to make it seem real. She includes real ship names, General names and battle scenes with German U-boats and torpedoes.

The overall message is that God gave each of us talents and when we use them to His glory, we will truly find fulfillment.

You can get Through Waters Deep at Amazon or learn more about Sarah Sundin and her novels online.

August 17, 2015
by Jennifer
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Back to School

We made it through summer and survived the first week back to school!

The kids are excited about their teachers and classes and we are looking forward to a great year ahead. My kids are setting goals and engaging in activities and we are setting a new routine.

My youngest, started Kindergarten! Yea! He is in a co-taught class with a general ed teacher and a IMG_1330special ed teacher. He also has a para to go with him to specials. So far, he is doing great and we are working on potty training with the teacher.

He is also ready finding a name for himself in the school. After school at walkers you can find him standing next to the teacher calling out student names as they get picked up! So cute!

My social butterfly is happy to back in school and wants play dates every day. Her goal is to get in Discovery.

My oldest entered her last year of Middle School and Im proud that she decided to join the special friends club to be a peer mentor in the special ed class once a week. That’s my girl!

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Our schools provide agenda planners for the students and I am working with them to make sure they use it to keep track of assignments, extra curriculars and even chores. Might as well start them early on organization!

Here’s to a great year ahead.

July 29, 2015
by Jennifer
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Irene Hannon’s Hope Harbor

I was excited to get the latest Irene Hannon novel for some summer reading enjoyment and I was not disappointed. Hannon is excellent in character development and in providing just enough interest to keep me turning thHope Harbor by Irene Hannone page for more. I also like that she illustrates how love and attraction happen through relationship before intimacy. I would be happy to have my 14 year old read her novels and gain a healthy view of romantic relationships. The tension is there but it is tasteful too.

In Hope Harbor, we meet two characters who each are facing loss, and some associated guilt. Michael goes West searching for some peace and a new start after losing his wife . After arriving, he literally runs into Tracy Campbell, a cranberry farmer who is healing from her own loss and faces losing her farm on top of it all.

Along the way, we meet a reclusive old woman, whom Michael gives new hope; a tag team duo of the town minister and priest who are working together on a charity to meet local needs; and a prophetic food truck owner/artist. Each plays a role in some twists and turns giving love a second chance at Hope Harbor.

 

Disclosure of material connection: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free in the hope that I would give it my fair review. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Summer fun 

July 18, 2015 by Jennifer | 0 comments

Only a few more weeks of summer and we have been having a good one! We spend a few afternoons a week and some weekend days at the neighborhood pool. We have had two Vacation Bible School weeks for Carlie, sleep away camp for Annie and a summer long camp for Joey. We celebrated Joey’s 5th birthday at camp and with a party at Grammy and Pops. We went to the city Fourth of July parade in the rain and brought back lots of candy. We had some visits with friends and evenings around the fire pit. I got to see Kenny Chesney! We most recently drove to upstate Massachussetts for a family wedding. We have also made lots of plans for our upcoming renovation and began packing up the house. We are currently preparing to renovate our laundry room. And we have one more birthday to celebrate in two weeks!   

    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
 

This gallery contains 18 photos

July 18, 2015
by Jennifer
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Laundry Room Progress

The Renovation project slowly continues. Just before we were leaving for a drive from Atlanta to upstate Massachusetts, our washer decided to die on us.

With lots of laundry to be done, this unexpected  incident helped us make some decisions regarding our water heater and laundry set up.

We have a huge 50 gallon tank sitting where the dryer once was in out laundry. IMG_2326 Laundry OldThis prevents the washer and dryer form being side by side. Unfortunately, there is not enough space on the other side of the room for our dryer so it sticks out and makes any sort of organization a challenge. We looked into relocating a water heater back into its original crawl space location, but the logistics (and price) did not make sense. A “low boy” would cost $3,000 and a tankless $4,000. Replacing the current water heater and leaving it where it stands will cost approximately $1000.

So, our only option for gaining some space to sort and fold clothes and to maximize space in the room is to stack the washer and dryer. Luckily, I had picked up a stackable dryer off a Facebook garage sale group for $75. Now, we just needed to replace the washer. We ended up getting a front loading, stackable Kenmore from the Sears scratch and dent store and this thing is cool. It senses the amount of clothes you have and adjusts the wash accordingly.New Washer

Next, we need to have the electrical moved to accommodate the dryer and then we can stack the two. We will then give the room a fresh coat of paint and new shelving to accommodate a place to sort clothes into baskets  I’ll also get a new counter top and have a place to fold. We’ll be working on this over the next few weeks! Check back in to see our progress!

June 22, 2015
by Jennifer
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Mickey Matson: The Pirate’s Code DVD Review

Movie Review: Mickey Matson

I recently had the opportunity to review a family-friendly DVD, Mickey Matson: The Pirate’s Code. My kids are of varying ages but this is the type of film that would garner each of their attention. It is the classic tale of joining a secret group/club/society to battle evil. 

Mickey Matson is part of a secret society of trained teenagers who protect the country. They embark on a missionMM2_DVD to save the world from the evil plan of Admiral Ironsides, who with his crew, has taken control of a merchant ship and has developed a weapon to destroy every electronic device on earth.

When you combine family secrets, patriotism, youth training for a covert mission, pirates and technology, you are bound to interest any child or teen.
The film’s characters include competitive teens from different walks of life, a secret code, evil pirates, a backstabbing trainer and an eccentric innovator played by none other than Christopher Lloyd.
There is enough campiness to entertain the younger set and tension between good and evil to keep the attention of older tweens and parents making it a great summer family flick.
If you liked The National Treasure series, you’ll find this a similar concept that is also friendly for the whole family and more relatable for the younger set.
Enjoy this preview:

June 18, 2015
by Jennifer
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Renovation Preparations and Expectations

As I mentioned in previous posts, I recently moved my blog from SheranMemories.blogspot.com to this Word Press site. My focus for the blog is on crafting a remarkable life. One aspect of crafting a remarkable life is your home. So for a while, I am writing about the whole home renovation we are about to undertake. This post is an update on where we stand. And, to put it simply, we are coming along at a snails pace. I am like a kid waiting for Christmas to come as I anticipate demolition to begin, but there are so many steps to take before demolition that I was not really prepared for.

I am like a kid waiting for Christmas to come as I anticipate demolition to begin, but there are so many steps to take before demolition that I was not really prepared for.

I was somehow thinking my magic property brother would show up with a design and a concept and we’d be ready to begin. But no, when my own property brother (My brother Rick is a contractor) showed up to discuss the job, he bluntly told me the legwork is largely up to us.

I had been keeping a running Excel sheet of all the issues that needed addressing and renovations I wanted to make. I had also had several contractors and vendors come and give estimates for various aspects of the job. Now, I had to get into the details (what type of flooring, what designs, what is the look we are going for) and put dollar figures to each detail. It is easier said than done.

One hurdle we have faced is deciding where to begin with such a large renovation that will touch both the interior and exterior of the home. We decided to dip our toes in the renovation waters by starting with our laundry and downstairs bath. These are two of the least functional areas of the home, but also two projects that should be able to be completed rather quickly and relatively inexpensively.

Then, we will take on the big task of Kitchen/main level renovation. This is the project that will have the most impact and greatest return investment in the home. I have been able to make progress on a design for the kitchen. It took almost a month and I just received what I hope will be the final drawings. There was a personnel change that caused an almost three week delay. So with drawings and an initial quote in hand, I can now begin to compare prices on the cabinets, flooring, counters, backsplash and appliances. While we are undertaking this investigation, we can begin on the laundry and bath.

Our First Projects

The laundry is a decent size, but it had a large door that swung into the room taking up a lot of space. We will replace that with a barn door on the outside.

Secondly, at one point previous homeowners moved the water heater from the crawl space to the laundry room in the spot where the dryer should go. This water heater is huge! We need to replace it with a shorty and move it back into the crawl space. Once that is done, we can put the washer and dryer side by side. Then all we need is some paint, a new light and finishing touches and it will be good to go!

The downstairs bathroom is a small, full bath that my teenager will use. It needs a total redo. New tile in the shower and floor, baseboards, paint, toilet, sink, mirror and lighting. Did I mention it is small? I need to find a vanity that won’t get in the way of the door (18 inches deep). And the door frame had been busted at some point and needs to be replaced as well. So in the next week or so, we will be pricing out the materials for this job.

What do you think of our plans? Any tips? Maybe one day soon I can finally get to some demo!

June 10, 2015
by Jennifer
2 Comments

A New Adventure Begins

Two and a half years ago we returned to the neighborhood I grew up in to raise our family close to my parents, good schools and a thriving suburban city that is commute friendly. The homes in the neighborhood were built in the 1960s and 1970s and vary at their current state of updating to modern times.

I spent a year looking for the best buy. We looked at many houses. Some had literally not been touched since the 1960s – yellow, orange, olive and shag. Some still screamed of the 1980s and 90s. Others had been grabbed up by investors and modernized.

We found a diamond in the rough just as the market bottomed out. It was a foreclosure and it was a great deal that already has increased in equity considerably. The home sits on a corner lot, is houses away from the swim & tennis, and a short walk to the elementary and high schools, as well as my parent’s home.

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On the flip side, the home needs some major updates. The outside needs painting, new siding, windows, and a front door at minimum.

Inside, the main level needs a big update. Currently the kitchen has purple Corian and laminate counters with a painted plywood backsplash. One bathroom has a 1970s orange and yellow design that needs to go. Systems need updated, new flooring and painting everywhere are other needs.

Since moving in we have replaced the roof, put in a skylight and cleared out a massively overgrown yard, planted grass, and installed a fence.

We are now ready to begin renovation. We think. Neither of us have handled a renovation on our own (though my parents were always in some stage of renovation). Aside from cosmetic changes, we have never undertaken anything like this in our previous homes. We have kids, dogs and jobs to juggle.

There are so many decisions to be made and research to conduct. It is a huge undertaking for our already overwhelming lives, but it is a chance to enhance our investment, while making a simple, functional, pleasing living space for our family.

In preparation for the renovation, I am analyzing everything we own and taking stock. My new mantra is have nothing in your home you do not find useful, to be beautiful or to bring you joy. Useless knick knacks, old toys, things we might use someday have to go. No new junk unless it fits a specific and immediate purpose. So the clearing, sorting and packing has begun.

Have nothing in your home you do not find useful, to be beautiful or to bring you joy.

I am hoping you will join us on our renovation journey! If you have any tips for us, please share in the comments below!

 

June 7, 2015
by Jennifer
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Sheran Memories Debuts on WordPress

Greetings! I have been blogging for several years on Blogger at SheranMemories.blogspot.com and JS-for web (blue)have finally decided to make the leap to Word Press. I am in the process of migrating old content over to this site and will post new posts here moving forward.

I hope you will join me as I blog about my attempts to craft a remarkable life!

For the next few months my posts will focus on the whole home renovation we are about to undertake. I thought it would be fun to capture the process step by step.

I also typically discuss topics related to raising kids in general and specifically related to developmental disability, home organization, book reviews and more.

I am launching a new Planner system called Sheran Memories Purpose and Pause planner which is currently in Beta testing and will be ready for purchase for 2016.

I look forward to connecting with you and learning from you!

Thanks for joining me!

 

Jennifer