Blogging Fun and Info

My Time to Do What I Can

I had only discovered Sara AKA Gitzen Girl’s blog in the past year and was absolutely stunned when she passed away recently. She always wrote with such joy and life, even while dealing with a very restrictive and complicated health issue.

Since she’s been gone, her sister, Laura posts things on her blog sometimes.

Tonight she posted, Thanks for saying “yes,” Sara!.

Here’s just a bit of it:

“You gotta just try to do every thing you can, when it’s your time to do it.”

I was watching Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, who is from a small Iowa town not far from me, receive the esteemed Medal of Honor for bravery shown in active duty. Sal had told President Obama that he was just doing his job, and following advice he had gotten when he first became a soldier.

During his first tour of duty in Afghanistan, his Team Leader said to him:

“You gotta just try to do everything you can, when it’s your time to do it.”

It struck me as the most profoundly simple statement. And while I’m sure it is essential advice for a battlefield, it also occurred to me it’s advice that works in every circumstance for every person trying to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.

She goes on to talk about how Mary & Joseph just did what they had to do when Jesus was born. They had no idea what all would lie ahead for him. They were humble people just doing the best they could at the time. But God used them, and He can use each of us too!

Sara was so wise and encouraging. She ended with a challenge to all of us.

But this year, I’m wondering how I can be more like Mary and Joseph. How I can do everything I can… now… when it’s my time to do it.

Will you take that challenge with me? Will you look beyond the celebrations and the wrappings and the carols we hum as we busy about our lives – and pay close attention to the little details in the lives of those around you?

Because you never know when it may be your time to do everything you can.

It reminds me of the saying, “Whereever you are, be all there.” Sara’s entry was an encouragement to me and I hope it will be to you as well.

Merry Christmas, Friends!


2 Great Freebies at Amazon Today

Laura Story, Emmanuel

I absolutely *LOVE* Laura Story’s song, Blessings! And I was happy to see that she is one of the artists featured on Amazon’s 25 Days of Christmas. Click here to download Emmanuel by Laura Story.

Money, Possessions, and Eternity by Randy AlcornAlso, when I asked for some suggestions on books or courses for teaching kids about handling finances, one friend recommended Money, Possessions, and Eternity by Randy Alcorn. I was really excited to the Kindle Edition: Money, Possessions, and Eternity offered for FREE on Amazon now too!

Hope you all enjoy the freebies. You never when Amazon is going to change prices though so be sure that it’s still showing as free before you checkout.

The 5 Best Toys of All Time

Big Smile!

That’s my youngest niece, Gwenny in the picture. Tony took this picture while she was totally engrossed playing in the corn truck (yes corn!) when we went to Christian Way Farm this fall. She was so busy playing that he had to get her to ask her a few times before she’d look up at the camera to smile. She was just having SO much fun.

In case, you don’t do Facebook or you haven’t seen this article yet, don’t miss The 5 Best Toys of All Time | GeekDad | I’ll wait here, while you read it. :)

Kids don’t need a lot of “toys” to be happy. What they need is time to spend exploring and playing with normal stuff. Some kids have more “toys” than others. I’m not bashing on that. We have plenty of toys at our house, but this article reminded me of the joy kids have with simple things. And that made me happy so I thought I’d pass it along to you all.

It made me think of other non-toy stuff that my kids have had MAJOR fun with: bubble wrap, duct tape, piles of leaves, the creek, the perfect climbing tree, and the much harder-to-find, and requiring parental supervision, dry ice!

What about you? What are some of the best non-toy things that your kids enjoy?


Great Deals on Movies & DVDs at Amazon Today!

Oh, Amazon, Amazon, how I love thee, Amazon. 

I haven’t been able to get out much/any to do any shopping yet this Christmas, but I’ve been very happy with the prices that I’ve found on things through Amazon. Most of them have been even lower than prices that I saw in store flyers AND they ship right to my house (usually for free!). Yipee! Since we’ve cut out cable, we all enjoy watching TV series on DVD and I love that I can get those used (like new) for even less!

This week is their Holiday Flurry Deals Week so each day they featuring deals from a popular Amazon store. Today it’s Movies & TV Day. Don’t miss the Deal of the Day and lots of limited-time deals on DVD and Blu-ray sets for hit TV shows, popular movies, and more. Check out even more movie and TV-show deals as well as what’s coming tomorrow with their Holiday Flurry Day Planner.

I love how they give you a peek at what’s coming up:

Thursday – Toys & Games including up to 50% off select Melissa and Doug toys!
Friday – Electronics
Saturday – Shoes & Accessories

Need to earn some Christmas cash? I took advantage of selling a few things through their Trade-In program, and earned almost $50 of Amazon credit, and I didn’t even have write out a description or pay for shipping. So easy!

Anyway, I just wanted to take a minute and remind you all that if you click through any of the links to Amazon on my blog, I earn a small affiliate commission. It doesn’t tell me who ordered what, but just that purchases were made and how much I earned. So if you’re going to be shopping online anyway, be sure to check out Amazon. I’ve found it to be a great place to order books, DVDs, video games, sporting goods, kitchen appliances, electronics, vitamins, and more!

Just click around. You might just start counting the ways that you love Amazon too!


Not So Sweet Anymore

I’ve known for a long time that too much sugar wasn’t good for you. My parents didn’t forbid it in our home or anything. We just weren’t big dessert people. Dessert was for special occasions, but there was usually plenty of fresh fruit around. My parents were smart like that.

Graduation with Mom & Dad

Graduation night, 1988

Here I am at my high school graduation with them. I probably weighed in at a whopping 110 lbs. I thought I was just naturally skinny, that I was simply “blessed” with the kind of metabolism that would let me eat whatever I wanted without gaining weight.

“Hello, 1988? This is 2011 calling, you’re going to want to enjoy wearing small sized clothes and having lots of energy and thinking you can tackle the world, it won’t last forever.”

For whatever reason, as I had each boy, I would gain a lot of weight and never be able to lose all of it. I was puzzled because staying healthy had never been an issue for me. And then things just kept getting worse in the past year. I just kept gaining and gaining. I felt really out of control.

This summer I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which helped explain why it was so difficult for me to lose weight. I was actually insulin-resistant so it made my body store my glucose as fat, rather than using it for other functions. Aha! That’s why I didn’t have any energy and just kept getting fluffier.

But what’s a girl to do?

Desperate times call for desperate measures!

I had thought of cutting out sugar before. I had read the books and information online. I knew that I was a carbohydrate addict. But I wasn’t sure if I could really stay away from sugar. I remembered that a friend had told me years ago that she stopped drinking sodas because they only made her crave them more, so that’s where I started – cutting out the sodas. When I got tired of just drinking water, I would make lemonade sweetened with a little bit of honey. And while not every no sugar/low sugar diet plan would agree with this, I pretty much ate a lot of fruit. Mainly apples. That was my way of having a naturally sweet treat without getting into processed sugar.

After a while, my taste buds began to adjust and I didn’t find myself craving sweets as much. I also started trying to read labels on everything and trying to keep my carb count for the day under 36g. It’s not easy, and sometimes I fail, but I just keep my eye on how much BETTER I’m doing with my eating, rather than beating myself up for giving in on occasion.

If you’re trying to cut out sugar, here’s a great article by the Healthy Home Ecomonist called  Slay the Sugar Monster in Four Doable Steps. 

I will say that I also started taking a cinnamon supplement to try and help my body metabolize sugar better, I’m taking a lot of coconut oil to try and help fight off cravings, and I try to focus on eating lots of protein throughout the day. I really do believe that if you can have healthy options that you ENJOY available as you’re weaning yourself off of refined sugars, it helps.

I’ve been happy to see the numbers on the scale going down slowly, but surely. I’m hoping that as I eat more healthy, the Carter men will get on board. So far they still enjoy teasing me about what I’m eating, but maybe after a while I’ll win them over. I know it took the fear of becoming diabetic to make me willing to make the change. And don’t worry that I’m going to cast a judgmental glance at you if you’re enjoying a yummy brownie, a gorgeous slice of cheesecake, or quick candy bar. I know how good they taste and how hard it is to steer clear of them, especially if it’s a comfort food for you. Trying to stay away from sugar makes me more understanding of how people have such a hard time giving up smoking. Even when you know something isn’t healthy, it’s hard to give it up when you like the way it makes you feel. I just thought I’d share how I’ve made some gradual steps in the less sugar direction in case anyone is just overwhelmed with the idea of totally giving up sweets.

I’m not sure how I’m going to make it through Thanksgiving without eating a slice of pumpkin pie. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I’m going to give in on that one, but I’ll try not to let the Sugar Monster get me back into my old habits.

How about you? Have been making any dietary changes? What are your favorite sweet treats that don’t involve refined sugar?