Monthly Archives: November 2013

God Bless Our Veterans

Tracy Helps You’s Thankful Thoughts for Today ~ 11-11-13

November 11 ~ Today I am thankful for my freedom. We Americans seem to take our freedom for granted. I am thankful for all the veterans who have fought to keep the United States free. I am thankful for every man and woman who has voluntarily enlisted in our military. I am honored by their sacrifice. I am honored by the sacrifice of the families they leave behind to serve.

I love American History and historical movies. I particularly like WWII movies, so many of them portray honor, pride and a sense of duty. I’ve always been patriotic, and I usually get all choked up and teary when I remember how blessed I am to live in this great country. I am proud to be an American citizen and I’m proud of our veterans. Happy Veterans Day !

♥ Today I am thankful for my freedom, and for the veterans who fought for it 

photo by: Tim Evanson
Autum Fall Scene Log Cabin

Tracy Helps You’s Thankful Thoughts for Today ~ 11-10-13

November 10 ~ Today I am thankful for weekend getaways. I think it is so fun to escape from everyday life for a couple of days. It doesn’t have to be far from home. I just like to get a little break from the normal day to day routine.

This weekend, we are having a romantic weekend getaway to celebrate our anniversary. We have reserved a cozy little log cabin out near the Rock River. The weather is supposed to be dry and sunny, but pretty cool. We will bundle up and take a long walk along the river; hopefully there will still be some beautiful leaves on the trees. Then we can warm up by the fireplace 🙂

♥ Today I am thankful for weekend getaways 

photo by: bterrycompton
Our Wedding

Tracy Helps You’s Thankful Thoughts for Today ~ 11-9-13

November 9 ~ Today I am thankful for my wonderful husband ♥ It is our wedding anniversary and as I sit here reminiscing, I remember how truly Blessed I am to have him. Sometimes I need to pinch myself when I remember how hard my life was before we started dating. I was a single mother struggling to make ends meet. It was so hard trying to be both mother and father – encourager and disciplinarian – provider and caregiver … well, you get the picture. Most of our “dates” included the kids. We’d play miniature golf, go go-carting or go to Great America for the day. They loved it and I fell in love with him. It felt so good to feel loved and taken care of.

He is steady and dependable; he is my rock. He is a hard worker and a wonderful provider. He works 2 jobs so I could be a stay at home mom (which is something I’ve always dreamed of). He always helps out around the house. He even thanks me for making dinner and then cleans up the kitchen.

He makes me feel beautiful. He makes me feel secure. I am so blessed to have him in my life … he is a definite keeper 🙂  I look forward to growing old together, making more memories and falling deeper in love with each other along the way.

♥ Today I am thankful, so very thankful for my loving husband ♥

My Direct TV DVR Remote

Tracy Helps You’s Thankful Thoughts for Today ~ 11-8-13

November 8 ~ Today I am thankful for my DVR. Don’t laugh, I know it sounds silly, but I really am thankful that I have one.

I love that I have it set to record all the regular shows that I like to watch. I don’t even know what day of the week or time that they come on. Since I don’t have a lot of time for watching TV, I truly do appreciate that all my favorite shows and Hallmark movies are recorded and waiting for me to watch.

Yesterday afternoon and evening, I had some free time to catch up on a couple of my shows. I love that I can watch an hour long show in about 40 minutes by fast forwarding through the commercials. I even watched a Thanksgiving movie on the Hallmark Channel. Since I was actually watching “live” TV, I wasn’t able to skip the commercials. It was ok though because I saw previews for some of their Christmas movies. I just love those sappy, happy ending type holiday love stories … so I set my DVR to record them 🙂

♥ Today I am thankful for my DVR ♥

Some of My Favorite Authors

Tracy Helps You’s Thankful Thoughts for Today ~ 11-7-13

November 7 ~ Today I am thankful for good books. Reading for pleasure has been one of my favorite pastimes since childhood. One of my favorite memories of reading is from when I was in the 4th grade and my family had just moved. I had just transferred into a new school in April and hadn’t made any friends yet. I was a lonely little girl and will forever remember and be grateful for my new teacher; Ms. Clemens. Her routine was to read aloud to the class for the last 15 minutes of class. I remember she was reading “The Boxcar Children”. This was the first time I remember being introduced to chapter books. She would have us lay our heads down on our desks and just listen to the story. Ever since then, reading has been one of my favorite hobbies. One of my current favorite genres is Historical Fiction. I also enjoy contemporary stories … here’s my thoughts about BOTH SIDES ( in case you didn’t see my earlier post)

My personal definition of a good book is when the author tells the story in such a way that you can create the scenes in your mind. You are so drawn into the story that you almost feel you are a part of it. He introduces you to his characters and you feel like you know them as friends. I call it a great book when I wish the story didn’t end and I find myself missing the characters 🙂

♥ Today I will focus on spending some free time reading a good book ♥

BOTH SIDES ~ A Book Review

Imagine if you were in a tragic accident – unable to move or speak but otherwise cognizant of everything around you. Imagine hearing doctors deciding your fate without you having a voice in the outcome.

Alex is a 16-year-old girl who finds herself in that exact situation in Both Sides, a novel that begins when – while on a class field trip – Alex and another girl, Sandra, end up in a horrible accident.

If the doctors act quickly, they may be able to save one body…and one brain. Amid the confusion and uncertainty, we hear everything that’s going on in Alex’s mind – from her initial disbelief to her quips about the absurdity of it all to her realization that she may have to go through the rest of her life living in the body of a girl she couldn’t stand. If she survives.

Both Sides tackles these issues and more. Within its pages every reader will find her own answers and discover, in the end, a story of courage and a girl who never before existed.

Award-winning author Paul E. Stawski captures the minute-by-minute struggles of a 16-year-old girl whose world is suddenly turned upside down in Both Sides. Radical brain surgery is the only option. Time is running out and Alex’s mind is racing: will she still be the same person when she comes out on the other side?

Buy the book from….
Barnes and Noble

About the Author

Paul E. Stawski won the Highlights for Children fiction contest for his short story, Code Red, a science-fiction story about a little girl who has to make a very grown-up decision. As a child, Paul was the subject of Newbery-Award winning author Lois Lenski’s We Live in the North. Then, as an adult, he taught at an all-girls’ high school before becoming a full-time writer. Both Sides is his first novel, he is currently writing the second book in the Both Sides series, Taking Sides due to be released January 2014. He lives in Troy, Michigan, with his wife and two cats.

Follow the Author

Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and YouTube

Taking Sides is the second book in the Both Sides series. In BOTH SIDES, Alex grappled with the idea of her brain being transplanted into Sandra’s brain-dead body. In TAKING SIDES, she struggles with her new reality, starting with the ride home from the hospital and the ensuing media circus. She’s now a celebrity who literally comes face-to-face with her new identity every time she looks in the mirror – and every time someone else looks at her. How will her friends react? How will Sandra’s? And what about their classmates and their parents? With everyone taking sides, Alex begins to wonder: is anyone on her side?

Tour Dates



I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.

My Thoughts …

Are you familiar with the expression “you read my mind”?  In this book you do just that …

I was immediately drawn into Alex’s mind. I kept thinking, wow … how would I feel if I were in this situation, would I react any differently? How scary it would be to know what is going on, but not be able to communicate in any way except quickening or slowing your heart rate.

I think the author was pretty spot-on in his understanding and depiction of a teenage girl’s rollercoaster of emotions. I liked the way he introduced Alex as fairly self-centered and then showed her baby steps of growth toward maturity by her starting to see the situation from Sandra’s point of view.

I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the next book in the series, “Taking Sides”.

Curves Complete Warrenville, IL

Tracy Helps You’s Thankful Thoughts for Today ~ 11-6-13

November 6 ~ Today I am thankful for my health. I am a middle aged, overweight woman who has never really taken care of herself. I have been blessed with relatively good health all my life, but I’m ashamed to admit that I took my good health for granted.

A couple years ago, I injured my lower back / left hip when I fell down some stairs. After treatment from doctors, chiropractors, and physical therapists, I am finally feeling back to normal (or as close to pre-injury as I’m likely to get). All of these professionals treated me from differing points of view. However, they all agreed on one point, I needed to lose weight and workout. They all advised me to work at strengthening my core to protect my back from being re-injured.

I have been overweight and out of shape since my first pregnancy over 20 years ago. I have been able to lose weight several times over this time span … but I’ve always gained it back, plus some 🙁

I have never enjoyed exercising … never thought of myself as athletic. But I knew in my heart it had to be different this time.

I joined CURVES a few weeks ago and took my first steps on what will most likely be a life-long journey of getting fit and staying healthy. I really like that the program I joined has everything I need under one roof – diet, exercise, counseling and support of new friends. Everyone I’ve met there has been friendly and welcoming. I am determined to make eating healthy and working out my new lifestyle.

♥ Today I am thankful I have started my journey to a healthy lifestyle ♥

Aunt Terri's Visit ~ November 2013

Tracy Helps You’s Thankful Thoughts for Today ~ 11-5-13

November 5 ~ Today I am thankful for my Aunt Terri. All week I have been posting about our adventures during her visit to Chicago, but today I’m sad that she is leaving. This afternoon, she will be boarding a plane heading for home.

I am thankful to have spent a busy, fun-filled week with her. I’m so glad she chose to stay at my house this visit. Many times during the week, I’ve had the realization that we are alike in so many ways. One of our similarities came to light each night when we would get home after a long day of being out and about, we would both comment on how good it felt to be home. We’d put on our jammies, kick up our feet and veg out watching an old episode of “Law & Order” on Netflix. We are both multi-taskers, so of course, we would both be on our computers while watching 🙂

I will miss her, but will always cherish the new memories we made while remembering and sharing our old family memories 🙂

♥ Today I will focus on the blessing of making memories ♥

Computers and internet are a huge part of modern technology

Tracy Helps You’s Thankful Thoughts for Today ~ 11-4-13

November 4 ~ Today I am thankful for modern technology. This, of course, is a huge topic … PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, wifi, etc.  I’m focusing on computers and the internet for now. When you stop to think about it, it is truly amazing how information is delivered instantly by the click of mouse. Mind-boggling!

Since starting Tracy Helps You earlier this year, I feel like I’ve made leaps and bounds in my knowledge of the internet. My cousin Terri (a phenomenal genealogist … if you’d like to learn more about your family history) has been my teacher / mentor in my technological education. My friend Julie gave me a beginner’s crash course in social media marketing. I count their support and friendship as one of my many blessings.

It was just last week while I was with my Aunt Terri and cousin Terri (aka the 3 T’s), that Terri (cousin) and I were talking about my website and some wordpress plugin updates. My aunt interrupted us to say she had no idea what we were talking about … it sounded like we were speaking a foreign language. In that moment, I felt proud of myself when I really thought about how much I had learned about technology in a relatively short period of time.

♥ Today I will focus on being thankful for modern technology ♥

photo by: Johan Larsson
Thankful for no alarm clock days

Tracy Helps You’s Thankful Thoughts for Today ~ 11-3-13

November 3 ~ Spring forward … Fall behind … Did you remember to turn your clocks back an hour??

Today I am thankful for an extra hour of sleep 🙂

Sadly, I’ve entered an age of life where I can trick my mind into believing I get an extra hour of sleep, but unfortunately, my bladder didn’t get the memo. I am however thankful that the sun was shining when I woke up this morning. I was tiring of the overcast, rainy weather Chicago has had for the last several days. Since I gained an extra hour, I will spend it enjoying some free time. Today, I’d like to take a nice long walk in a forest preserve with my aunt. We both love the colors of autumn and hope to get lots of pictures capturing the wonderful spectrum of colors of the changing leaves. So many of the tree varieties are simply glorious in the sunshine.

♥ Today I will focus on enjoying some free time ♥ 

photo by: Alan Cleaver