Author Archives: bethparker

Addicted to Food? Join the Made to Crave Bible Study

Bethanny's "Before" Pictures 1-17-14I’m addicted to cookies, and to a lesser degree, cake. If there are cookies in the house, I eat them. And I don’t mean one or two. That would be fine. We’re talking a dozen or two. And with two young children in the house who are constantly asking for them, I often cave in and buy or make cookies. For the kids, of course! As a result, I’m carrying around close to 100 extra pounds of cookies and cake on my body.

It wasn’t so bad at first. Size 12 I could live with. But you just keep getting bigger and bigger. 14, 16… until several years pass and now I am up to size 22 pants and 2XL shirts. I am fat.

I look in the mirror and what I see makes me feel ashamed. My face is fat; my stomach is fat; my butt is fat. It’s hard to feel good about yourself when you want to cry every time you look in the mirror.

I have let myself go in other ways. I look bad no matter what, so why bother with makeup? Why curl my hair? What’s the point?

My back hurts, and I have …

Posted in Faith, Fitness | 20 Comments

Myrtle (A Limerick)

I have written over 100 poems in my lifetime, but most have been lost. Somewhere, there is a Zip disk (remember those?) out there with my poetry on it. I’m sure I’ll never see it again. Anyhow, this limerick popped into my head a few days ago, so I decided to publish it before I forget it again. I wrote this many years ago, probably around 1993-1995. I wrote another limerick the same day, but so far, I can’t remember what it was about. If I can remember, I’ll come back and post it later.

Skinny Myrtle


There once was a woman named Myrtle
who was skinny but not very fertile
    She wanted a kid,
    but when finally she did—
She had to start wearing a girdle!

Fat Myrtle
Have you written any limericks? Feel free to share them in the comments—but keep it clean! This is a family-friendly site.

Image credit: The images used in this post were cropped from Fat and Slim Ladies Stock Image by africa on

Posted in Poetry | Leave a comment

Progress Charts for #NaNoWriMo and #SlapDash100

NaNoWriMo Writing ChartSlapDash100 Mile Chart

Both NaNoWriMo and the Slap Dash 100 start today, so I made up some progress charts to help me (and you!) track our progress.

The NaNoWriMo Writing Chart

My NaNo chart goes to 100,000 because the type of novel I’m writing typically has around 100,000 words. If you’re just trying to hit the 50,000-word minimum, you can modify the Excel file or just try to fill in the chart up to whatever your goal is.

  • To get the .png image file, click the small NaNo chart image above and right-click the larger image to save it.
  • To download the .pdf, right click here and save to your hard drive.
  • To download the .xlsx file, right click here and save.

Note: The .xlsx file contains both charts. Click the tabs at the bottom to switch from one to the other.

To use the chart, just fill in the date in the space on the left when you reach that word count. For example, if I write 3,100 words today, I’ll write today’s date in front of 500, 1,000, and so on up to 3,000.

The Slap Dash 100 Mile Chart

My SlapDash100 chart goes to 125, just in case I go …

Posted in Fitness, The Writing Process | Leave a comment

3 is the Magic Number for Nov. 2013 Challenges #NaNo #SlapDash100

November 2013 Challenges

One challenge at a time is probably enough for most people, but NO… I have to complicate things. I have two challenges lined up for November: NaNoWriMo and the Slap Dash 100.

So… a little about each:


I signed up for NaNo first. The goal of this challenge is to write an entire novel in one month, but you get credit for finishing if you write at least 50,000 words. I signed up once before, I think, in a previous year, but didn’t get far.

This year, I have a new project to work on and I’m determined to finish. Since the novel I’ll be working on is a political thriller, the finished length should probably be somewhere around 100,000 words. That number was just too scary though, so I set my goal at 90,000. That comes out to 3,000 words per day. Yeah, that’s a reasonable goal. I can do that.

But I’m going to be sitting on my butt typing for hours on end, and that’s not good. So I jumped at the chance to get involved when Sadie announced…

The Slap Dash 100

To win this challenge, you run, walk, jog, swim—whatever—a total of 100 …

Posted in Fitness, The Writing Process | Leave a comment

Father’s Day at the John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids

John Ball Zoo Entrance

For Father’s Day, we took the kids to the John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids. We all had a good time, and the kids were remarkably well-behaved. Reilly fell asleep for a while, so we put the seats down in the wagon and pulled him around while he napped.

Julie really seemed to enjoy looking at the animals. She was fascinated by the big brown bear that kept pacing back and forth in its cage, and she almost started crying when we left the budgie cage, which has 200-300 budgies in it. You can actually go inside and feed the birds seed from a stick! Julie loved that.

Here are some of the pictures I took at the zoo:

John Ball Zoo Entrance

The entrance to the John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids, Michigan


John Ball Zoo Rose Garden

The rose garden outside the entrance of the John Ball Zoo


John Ball Zoo Budgie Aviary

The budgie aviary houses at least 200-300 budgies.


John Ball Zoo Budgies

Budgies at the John Ball Zoo


John Ball Zoo Budgies 8

Julie really got a kick out of feeding the budgies.


John Ball Zoo Budgies

A Yellow and Green Budgie


Budgie at the John Ball Zoo

Someone Feeding a Budgie


Green and Yellow Budgie

Green and Yellow Budgie


John Ball Zoo Budgies

Budgies at the John Ball Zoo


John Ball Zoo Pelican



John Ball Zoo Pelicans



John Ball Zoo Reticulated Python

Reticulated Python

Posted in Family Outings | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Why I Won’t Be Joining Thruzt

Let’s start with what Thruzt is: it’s a social bookmarking site. At first glance, it looks great. The layout is styled after Pinterest, but it’s not just for photos. You can share articles too. In fact, most of the content appears to be shared articles.

Just look at this screenshot, and you’ll see why Thruzt is so appealing:

Thruzt Screenshot

It looks great, right? So what’s the problem? Here it is, from the Thruzt FAQ:

Thruzt TOS Screenshot

Let me get this straight: By submitting content to Thruzt, I am dedicating it to the public domain? WHAT?! You have got to be kidding me. There is no way I am dedicating my content to the public domain.

In case you’re not sure just what that means, here is a screenshot of the definition of the Creative Commons Public Domain Zero license:

Public Domain Dedication

And that is why I won’t be posting anything on Thruzt. Unless, of course, they change their terms.

Posted in Internet Marketing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

What Growing Zone Am I In?

Plant Hardiness Zones for Gardening Have Changed

If it seems like the weather is getting warmer, it’s not your imagination. The USDA has just issued a new zone map for gardeners that reflects recent climate changes. Here are the new USDA zone maps for the US and Michigan. If you’re in another state, you can click your state on the interactive map on the USDA website to see the hardiness zone in your exact location.

USDA Hardiness Zone Map

USDA Hardiness Zones in Michigan

Posted in Gardening | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

House Remodeling Update–with Pictures!

A bunch of guys from church came and helped us put up drywall this morning. There was an electrician with them too. They were only here for about four hours, I think, but they probably got more done than we would have been able to do by ourselves in a week! It’s so exciting to see so much progress.

The heat has been working for about three days now, and we are staying in the house at night even though the water isn’t hooked up yet so we still have to use the bathroom in the RV. The air mattress we were sleeping on developed a hole, though, and we have a regular mattress to sleep on in the house.

The toilet and the drain for the tub are hooked up now, and the city will be coming out to turn on the water on Monday. Hopefully, we can get the rest of the plumbing done before then. We still have to hook up the bathroom and kitchen sinks.

Here are some pictures to show how much has been done so far.


Entryway Before

Entryway Before

Entryway Today

Entryway Today

Living Room

Living Room Before

Living Room Before

Living Room with Insulation

Living Room with Insulation

Dad working in Living Room

Dad working in Living

Posted in Our House | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

“Before” Pictures of Our New House—and a Progress Update

We are buying a house from my Mom and Dad on land contract. They had bought it as an investment—they were going to fix it up and sell it—but somehow it never happened. We were looking for a place to live and my Dad said, “Well, we have that house in Grant.”

I had completely forgotten about it.

The house in Grant was completely gutted by the former owners. They were going to completely remodel the interior but guess what? They never got around to it either. So we have a house that looks pretty much OK from the outside, but the inside is a completely different story.

Here are the “before” pictures:

#gallery-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 33%; } #gallery-1 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-1 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */

Pretty, huh? Well, it will be!

Since these pictures were taken, we have cleaned it up, pulled out a lot of nails, and torn out what was left of the old insulation and drywall. We have framed in the interior walls and are almost done with the wiring and insulating …

Posted in Our House | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Going on a Mind Diet

Today We Are RichI downloaded a free excerpt of Today We Are Rich, which you can get from Tim Sanders’ website, and I have realized that I need to go on a mind diet. This is not the first time I’ve heard of this concept, but sometimes you need to be reminded a few times before you actually remember something and do it.

What Is a Mind Diet?

A mind diet is the practice of paying attention to—and controlling—what goes into your mind. It’s about watching, reading, and listening to positive things and avoiding things that are negative, such as violent TV shows, video games, and news articles. It goes beyond simply avoiding the negative, though. You also need to avoid things that are merely useless. There may not be anything negative about playing FarmVille or whatever the latest addictive Facebook game is, but these things keep you from thinking about and doing things that are positive.

I have done well by eliminating mindless games from my life. I have been guilty of wasting countless hours in the past playing Farmville, Zoo World, Kingdoms of Camelot, and other addictive games. What could I have accomplished if I had used those hours …

Posted in Book Reviews, Self-Improvement | Tagged , | Leave a comment