Friday, November 20, 2015

Syrian Refugees Need Aid? So do the Disabled, Sick, Widows, Orphans & Vets | Christian Activities

 I don't have the answer on the Syrian refugee crisis. It is a
complicated issue. Maybe my own story will shed some light one one angle
of the debate. I don't plan to address the elephant in the room -- the
fact some of these "starving refugees" look like strapping, seasoned
soldiers and potential terrorists, because that is not a topic I feel
qualified to discuss. But here is the OTHER problem I see with bringing
these refugees into our communities.

Read more at: 

Syrian Refugees Need Aid? So do the Disabled, Sick, Widows, Orphans & Vets | Christian Activities

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Choosing the Less-Traveled Road

"The Road Less Traveled" by Robert Frost has resonated with me since junior high. I have often taken the road less traveled in my life both figuratively and literally.

Yesterday my hiking buddy Lisa and I literally took the road less traveled on the Hike for the Homeless opting for the longer walk even though she has a bad knee and I am having some issues with my hip. We both left feeling a bit whipped but exhilarated. The road less traveled will do that to you.

Read my devotional at:
Taking the Road Less Traveled -- Christian Activities

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Día de los Muertos draws crowd to Cheekwood Botanical Garden

The 16th annual Día de los Muertos took place Oct. 24 at Cheekwood Botanical Garden in Belle Meade. The popular Latin American family celebration was filled with activities including live performances, an international marketplace, food trucks with Latin cuisine and interactive art activities for everyone.

Translated as “Day of the Dead,” Día de los Muertos is a day-long celebration for Nashville’s Hispanic population as well as for families throughout the area.

The colorful festivities included face painting, shopping, watching the Aztec dancers, eating Mexican food at the food trucks, live music, coloring skull masks, interesting dolls, and enjoying the beautiful grounds all decked out for Cheekwood Harvest with flowers, pumpkins and scarecrows.

The weather was overcast but nice and crowds of all ages certainly enjoyed the festival.
Kathryn Darden with artist Julia Gauthier-Burciaga

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Monday, October 19, 2015

46th Dove Awards honors Christian music's best (photos) / Examiner

The 46th Annual GMA Dove Awards were handed out in 41 categories on Oct. 13 along with four special awards. Co-hosted by Erica Campbell and Duck Dynasty's Sadie Robertson, the night drew a record attendance at the Allen Arena on the campus of Lipscomb University.

Read the article at: 46th Dove Awards honors Christian music's best (photos)

Monday, October 5, 2015

I have to brag on Apple tonight. After NINE MONTHS of calling Apple Care and going to the Genius Bar, and going through THREE PHONES and experiencing a lot of doubt from Apple that I was having all the problems I was saying I was having, they finally identified the problem as a bug in the first phone that transferred every time I backed up and restored my data. In other words, every time they gave me a new phone and told me to restore from my backup, the bug came along for the ride. So after losing so much time over this and peace of mind over this, Apple made it right.

Tonight Apple replaced my iPhone 6+ Gold with the new iPhone 6S Plus Gold with FOUR TIMES the storage of my original iPhone. This phone is just as thin but weighs more apparently due to sturdier components. I am very thankful and hopeful and optimistic this will be a wonderful solution and blessing.

Single women over 60 don't have a lot of power in this world, but single women who use social media to document an ongoing problem can sometimes prevail. And if you can get the right person at a big corporation to hear you, they will often do the right thing. Thank you Apple! I will make sure everyone I know is aware that you fixed the problem and stood behind your product.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Worm in My Apple: Part 3

Today marks the end of my ninth month with my Gold Apple iPhone 6+ and to celebrate, I spent another four hours on the phone with Apple Care. To say this journey has been a disappointment is a vast understatement. Calling it a nightmare would be more accurate.

I told Nikthia, the very nice and very helpful rep who helped me tonight (one of FOUR reps I spoke with tonight) that  I could have given birth during the time it is taking me to try to get the issues resolved.

Apparently I got a defective iPhone last December. When Apple convinced me it was my carrier and NOT the phone, and persuaded me to leave T-Mobile and go with the pricier Sprint, they gave me a new Sprint compatible phone and had me restore my old data from a backup. Apparently the bug was passed along with the backup making my 2nd phone also defective, but it has taken months to figure this out. I have been calling Sprint every few weeks asking them to help me reset my phone because I would lose my ability to connect to the internet when I was away from my WiFi. Sprint kept telling me I shouldn't have to call them so often, but I knew Apple was not going to want to hear I had a defective phone again.

However, gradually the bug spread. Not only was I frequently unable to connect to the internet when I wasn't at home, but I stopped being able to back up my phone. Then Siri stopped working.

I run a VIRTUAL BUSINESS from my phone -- it isn't just "inconvenient" not to be able to use it -- I lose money when I can't use it! 

Finally I had to call Apple last month to let them know this phone was also defective, but it has taken a month -- first to get them to take me seriously and then to get the software checked. Sure enough, after another 45-minute drive (one way) to the Genius Bar, they ran a diagnostic and found a problem with the software.

Then I had to try to back up my phone but as I mentioned -- I have had issues backing it up for months, so I was on the phone for hours trying to get it backed up. Finally I got the new phone after another hour and a half round trip to the Genius Bar and a 10-minute appointment that turned into an hour and 25 minutes and caused me to be terribly late for a business meeting.

They sent me home with a new phone with older software, so I had to upgrade, but a problem with the wrong phone number in the system. which just became a problem last May and was supposed to have been corrected last week, had me on the phone again last night with Apple Care.  When we finally got the software updated, we had problems getting the download to start... and when we DID get it started, it said it would take 17 hours to update! So once again I had no use of my iPhone for almost a full day while I waited for the backup.

But the backup didn't go through, so I had none of my data on my new phone all day and it was back to square one tonight -- four hours of square one - four more frustrating hours stolen from me trying to get a phone working which SHOULD have been working last December!

Really, Apple, this is NO WAY to run a business. It is INEXCUSABLE to make a customer jump through so many hoops for so many months and have them pay a higher carrier fee because you convince them to switch carriers and tell them over and over the problem is NOT the phone when the problem really IS the phone. Samsung Galaxy is looking better and better all the time. If I had not been a Mac user for 30 years I would have switched over to Samsung last January.

I have a couple of case workers looking at the situation, and we shall see where it goes from here, but I am pretty much over the iPhone at this point. There has been a worm in my Apple since I first got it, and I am about ready to toss the Apple out.


Michael W. Smith Announces Return of Nationwide Christmas Tour with Amy Grant in Select Markets -- Christian Activities

Two of my life-long favorite artists are combining forces again this year for their popular Christmas Tour.  Michael W. Smith will once again bring holiday cheer to arenas, coliseums and theaters to more than a dozen markets this holiday season through his nationwide Christmas tour. Smith’s long-time friend and fellow GRAMMY® winner Amy Grant will co-bill with him in select cities including Houston, Dallas, Minneapolis, Sioux Falls, St. Louis, Atlanta, Greensboro and Fairfax.

The evening will feature favorites from Smith’s latest Christmas release Michael W. Smith & Friends: The Spirit of Christmas, which includes an all-star lineup of guests – Vince Gill, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Martina McBride, Amy Grant, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Nettles, Bono and Michael McDonald.

Article at: Multi-Platinum Selling Singer Michael W. Smith Announces Return of Nationwide Christmas Tour with Amy Grant in Select Markets

Friday, September 25, 2015

Whirlpool Fails Again

Right before the Nashville flood my water heater went out and was still under warranty but Whirlpool would not replace it, so I went without hot water for a YEAR! It was a short in the thermostat system and the heater just would not heat. I boiled water like a frontier woman for a little over a year, because I knew Whirlpool was supposed to replace a defective heater that was still under warranty, and I didn't have the money to buy a new water heater after all my flood losses. 

Finally, after a year, Lowes was able to get Whirlpool to do the right thing. Well, that relatively new hot water heater is now spewing 2 gallons of hot water everywhere every couple of days although I keep releasing all the pressure at the pressure valve which I do every year anyway. Once again Whirlpool does not want to replace it although Lowes says that much water every other day indicates a defective heater, and once again I have turned to Lowe's to help me get results. So far I have been disappointed with everything I have purchased from Whirlpool/Kenmore in recent years where customer service fell by the wayside a long time ago....

Lowes, please work your magic for me again and consider carrying a new line of water heaters.

Also see: Don't Get Mom a KitchenAid for Mother's Day!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Home Depot Price Checker Can't Be Bothered to Check a Price, Calls Customer "Liar"

Home Depot offers customers the opportunity to write a public review of their recent experience and then after the customer takes the time to write the review, follows up to say they are "not quite ready to display store reviews."

Since Home Depot #0722 won't display my store review from last week, I will do it for them. This experience is another reason I prefer and recommend Lowe's:

Your opinion is very important to us and the Home Depot community. Thank you for taking time to provide feedback about your experience in our #0722 Nashville store. We are not quite ready to display store reviews on, however, we are working to build this functionality which will be ready soon. Once the new functionality is available, we will proudly display your feedback on the #0722 Nashville store page. In the meantime, we will share your review with the Store Operations Team. Thanks again!
Extremely Poor Experience
The store was fine, the cashiers were great, but one woman ruined what had been a pleasant shopping experience. I found a box of cushions marked $9.10 & added 1 to my cart. When I checked out, it rang at $16-something. The cashier got on the phone, had to come back to the cart, got some numbers, returned to the phone & finally came back saying we would have to wait for a price. 
Whoever was on the other end of the phone dropped the ball & never came, so people had to keep leaving our lane to go get in the other cashier's lane. Finally the cashier said we had waited long enough, marked the cushion $9.10 & I checked out, but I paused to talk to another woman for a few minutes. That's when PriceChecker finally showed up -- maybe 10-12 minuted after we called. She started interrogating the cashier, came over to my cart, checked the numbers on the cushion, went back to chewing out the cashier & I left. 
I came back 2 minutes later to get some mulch -- in time to hear PriceChecker telling the cashier I was LYING! I said, "I wasn't lying & I'll show you the box." PriceChecker had not checked the cushions yet, because there was the box, just as I described it. She pulled another cushion out & said, "THIS is the one for $9.10." I said, "Fine, I'll take that one. It looks just the same." The cashier was there & she said, "It IS the same cushion." 
 PriceChecker was very slow to respond to our call for pricing help, and when she finally made an appearance, she was unpleasant to both the cashier and the customer (me), unprofessional, and didn't check the marked pricing before calling me a liar in front of two cashiers! 
So when I went out to pick up my mulch, there was PriceChecker, waiting to check my receipt although there was someone else there to wait on me! She couldn't make it out to check a price for us, but she scuttled down post haste to the mulch section to make sure I didn't rob you blind of mulch in my small car! She made me feel like a criminal over a $9 cushion and a $2 bag of mulch.
Home Depot PriceChecker's attitude
 Why Home Depot allows one power-crazed associate to lord it over other cashiers and customers like she does I will never understand other than she puckers up for management, but she is single-handedly giving your store a black eye, no matter how nice everyone else is. I did not insist the cashier give me the cushion for $9.10 and I didn't berate her for how long it took for someone to do the price check. The cashier was simply trying to provide good customer service and clear her line. How hard would it have been for PriceChecker to check the display before she told the cashier I was LYING? If she wasn't going to check the price, how hard would it have been for her to have said, "Maybe the customer made a mistake" or "Maybe our signage is wrong" or "Thank you, Cashier for providing good customer service and taking care of it." 
But instead of doing HER job and providing the price check, PriceChecker acted like the cashier and I both did something wrong and was so grossly unprofessional as to say I was LYING. Thank goodness there is a Lowe's just down the road.