Category Archives: My Thoughts & Opinions

Top 10 Most Popular Blog Posts of 2019

Top 10 Most Popular Blog Posts of 2019

It’s still hard for me to believe that it is 2020 … harder still to believe that I’ve been sharing blog posts with you since 2013! Time sure flies ? At the beginning of each new year, I usually go over website stats for the previous year. Those reports showed that these ↓ blog posts were the most popular.

Check out 2019’s Top 10 most read blog posts:

#10 – A Personal Assistant ~ What It Is & What It Isn’t

https://www.tracyhelpsyou.com/personal-assistant-isnt/

#9 – Holiday Pet Care

https://www.tracyhelpsyou.com/holiday-pet-care/

Continue reading

Y2K - A Lot Can Change in 20 Years

Y2K til Now – A Lot Can Change in 20 Years

It’s December 31, 2019 … the last day of this decade, my last blog post of this decade. Do you remember what you were doing on December 31, 1999? Do you remember the Y2K bug? Did you heed all the warnings?

In hindsight, we know that not only did all the computers continue to work, but they, and technology in general, have thrived. So many things that we take for granted today were not around (to the general public) twenty years ago. Continue reading

Give Thanks

What Are You Thankful For?

Another November is drawing to a close; and once again my thoughts returned to being thankful for my many blessings. Overall, I consider myself to be a grateful person, but November usually brings thankful thoughts more front and center to mind.

For the last decade or so, I’ve been participating in #30DaysofThanks challenge. I believe it is mostly on social media, hence the hashtag ?, but my reflections were mostly private during my devotion time. I really like the 30-day format because it helps me to really concentrate on the everyday blessings that could otherwise be taken for granted. Continue reading

Alaska Cruise Selfie

NCL Alaska Cruise 2019

It’s hard to believe that nearly a month has gone by since my cruise to Alaska. My husband and I cruised with 2 other friends. The natural beauty of the Last Frontier was breath taking. I have so many photos of spectacular mountains and waterfalls, each one more awe inspiring than the last. We were blessed with beautiful weather, sunny each day with not a drop of rain (despite everything I’d heard about being prepared for rain daily). It was an experience I’ll never forget. We want to return someday just to explore more inland. I highly recommend our travel agent, Terri, she was great – and put up with lots of questions 🙂 Continue reading

Gut Health is Everything!

GUT HEALTH is Everything!!

The Gut/Brain connection is undeniable. The gut is literally like our second brain. Gut health is tremendously important when dealing with brain function. About 90% of your serotonin (happy hormone) is produced in your gut, melatonin (which helps you sleep) is produced in your gut, and about 70% of your immune system is in your gut.

Understanding gut health, along with infections, food allergies and intolerances, the gluten issue, bacterial overgrowth, yeast, heavy metal and chemical toxicity, hormone imbalance, high cortisol levels due to chronic stress, etc. is the key to living a life of good brain and body health.

I’ve learned that our SAD diet (Standard American Diet) promotes chronic disease by producing chronic inflammation in our bodies. Our food is literally making us sick in the brain resulting in a myriad of symptoms… what are yours?

Brain fog? Problems with memory? Forgetfulness?
Depression? Trouble sleeping?
Anxiety? Stress? Gastrointestinal issues?
Emotional, Psychological or Behavioral symptoms?

The simple system of nutrition that Isagenix offers works as a foundation for overall wellness and addresses these issues by delivering efficient and convenient nutrition, tackling toxicity and managing stress in the body. Along with our probiotics and digestive enzymes, it is no wonder that thousands upon thousands of people report feeling better than they ever thought possible. What may have started as a weight loss journey for some, has become a celebration of health and wellness that goes way beyond a number on the scale.

This article offers ideas to improve your gut health. Check it out! I would love to discuss this further … let me know when is the best time for us to talk.

Coldest Chicago Temp -27 on 1-20-85

ICYMI ~ It’s COLD in Chicago!!

I’m from Chicago, born & raised. I never left (ok, technically I moved to the suburbs), but I still consider myself a Chicagoan. I’ve lived through some tough winters in my lifetime. I was around for the Blizzard of ’67 (kindergartner), and lots of snow storms during my high school years in the late ’70s. I made a lot of cash shoveling people out and setting up lawn chairs with brooms laying across them … It’s a Chicago thing – DIBS, you can Google it 🙂 I also remember Christmas week in 1983, it was so cold that my pet fish, Oscar, (he was a giant, you guessed it, Oscar) died because the power was out for several days and the tank nearly froze. However, my most prominent, vivid memory is January 20, 1985.

Ice Crystal Bird by Lorra Rudman - llinois Birding Network FB 1-30-19
Photo Credit: Lorra Rudman

Ironically, January 20, 1985, the coldest day in Chicago history, was the first day at my new job … as a ramp agent working at O’Hare airport. I remember coming in from running bags (as a trainee, I had to shadow each type of job position) from our incoming flight to the baggage claim … when we got back to the ready room, I had actual frost on my eyelashes (similar to my feathered friend above)! I was never so cold in my life. I kept asking myself why the heck I quit my job as a travel agent at a Michigan Avenue travel agency. I honestly have no idea why I didn’t quit then and there (I stayed close to 15 years), but I’m glad I didn’t because I have so many wonderful memories of my years there and met so many great people.

Delicate Frost Bubble

Which brings me to our current Polar Vortex. This time I was blessed to be able to stay indoors for the duration. I was blessed with a nice warm home to stay cozy and safe. My husband’s employer closed down for the extreme cold. We didn’t have any major emergencies, no broken pipes or furnace mishaps. My furnace was able to keep the temperature a reasonable 60 degrees, I wore layers and snuggled under a blanket to watch movies with my family 🙂 I also spent way too much time on social media. Everyone was posting about the temperature. Many braved the elements to throw boiling water into the air to watch it freeze, and some people recorded these beautiful frost bubbles. I am fascinated by them, they are so beautifully intricate and fragile … amazing! Sadly, they were also posting about some of the struggles they were having trying to cope with this extreme cold … frozen pipes, broken furnaces, etc. We had only one problem because of the weather, one (of 3) vehicles wouldn’t start. That’s OK, we had no place we needed to be yesterday. Late this afternoon, in a balmy -5 degrees, we replaced the battery and it started right up. They are predicting a high of 13 tomorrow … that’s practically a heatwave 🙂

holidays on typewriter

Happy Holidays ~ Looking Forward to 2019


I hope all of you had a wonderful Holiday season. My Holidays were nice, but somehow a little different, even though Christmas is generally one of my favorite times of the year.

Somehow this Christmas seemed very rushed, more like work. The whole month of December seemed to fly by for me. I felt like I was always trying to play catch up to get everything done. For some reason, I don’t think I ever really got into the Christmas Spirit.

I feel like society seems to put so much pressure on have a perfect holiday. You’re supposed to take the perfect family photo for the annual Christmas card, complete with a letter updating everyone of the happenings in your life during the past year. The holiday parties start early in the month. It’s stressful trying to get together with all your friends who have busy schedules as well.

Don’t even get me started on my Christmas tree lights … ugh … just don’t

Holiday baking didn’t go as planned either. On the plus side, I did get all my gift shopping and wrapping done before Christmas Eve ?

I received numerous wonderful gifts, I enjoyed delicious holiday meals, I enjoyed the company of family and friends. Yet, for whatever reason, I missed the happiness & joy that the Christmas season is about. I’m sure next year will be better. I won’t let the stress and business rob me of the true meaning and spirit of Christmas!

I’m truly looking forward to a wonderful 2019 for each and every one of us!

Book Review & Giveaway ~ Nutcracker Sweets at Moonglow by Deborah Garner

My Thoughts & Review A personal and/or virtual assistant can help you check items off your to-do list. Delegate some tasks to us today.

I always enjoy my annual visit to the Timberton Hotel, I enjoy catching up with old friends (that I met in the previous books). Reading these short novellas always helps me get in the Christmas spirit. I also love that she includes recipes that are mentioned in the story. This year I plan to make, Glazed Cinnamon Nuts, Peanut Butter Fudge & Lemon Crinkles ? You can read my reviews of the previous books in the series here.

This year Betty and Mist are expecting more than the guests actually in the reservation book … they will have guests from the local theater group as well. After a tragic fire burned down the theater, the a few of the dancers performing “The Nutcracker” need to find a place to stay. In addition to the actors and their regulars, we meet a young family whose daughter, Maria, is in a wheelchair, and an elderly woman, Olga, who has a bit of a mysterious air about her.

As usual, Mist has a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner planned, along with a special surprise …

If you love feel good, happy endings kind of stories, do yourself a favor and read this one … you’ll be glad you did!

5 Stars and 2 Thumbs Up ?

 

NEW RELEASE….

The small Montana town of Timberton has a way of bringing magic to the holidays, especially for guests of the local hotel. Resident artist and chef Mist has a way of touching people’s lives with exquisite cuisine, imaginative art, and her own ethereal nature.

When a nearby theatre burns down just before Christmas, cast members of The Nutcracker arrive at the Timberton Hotel with only a sliver of holiday joy. Camaraderie, compassion, and shared inspiration combine to help at least one hidden dream come true. As with every Christmas season in Timberton, this year’s guests will face the New Year with a renewed sense of hope.

*Cookie and candy recipes included!



The Moonglow Series…
Each book may be read as a stand-alone novel, or as part of the series.
Mistletoe at Moonglow, Book 1
Silver Bells at Moonglow, Book 2
Gingerbread at Moonglow, Book 3
Nutcracker Sweets at Moonglow, Book 4

Available to buy from……
Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Paperback

 

Also available in The Moonglow Series

Each book may be read as a stand-alone novel, or as part of the series.

Mistletoe at Moonglow, The Moonglow Series, Book 1

The Timberton Hotel has always provided a perfect Christmas retreat for regular guests, as well as newcomers. But the small town of Timberton, Montana, hasn’t been the same since resident chef and artist, Mist, arrived, bringing a unique new age flavor to the old western town.

When guests check in for the holidays, they bring along worries, fears and broken hearts, unaware that Mist has a way of working magic in people’s lives. Old-fashioned time spent together, exquisite food, conversation and a snowball or two offer guests a chance to trade sadness for hope. One thing is certain: no matter how cold winter’s grip is on each guest, no one leaves Timberton without a warmer heart.

 

Available to buy from….
Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Nook iBooks Paperback

Silver Bells at Moonglow by [Garner, Deborah]

Silver Bells at Moonglow, The Moonglow Series, Book 2

Christmas at the Timberton Hotel arrives each year with a unique set of guests, some returning, some new. When this holiday brings a celebrity seeking reprieve, sisters who are distant yet closer to each other than they think, a widow approaching a new horizon, and an eclectic smattering of local townsfolk and visiting relatives, the season is certain to be eventful. Add in a hint of romance and there’s more than snow in the air around the small Montana town.

Elegant decor and exquisite cuisine from resident artist and chef, Mist, form a backdrop to much needed camaraderie, bringing strangers and friends together. When the last note of Christmas carols has faded away, the soft whisper of silver bells from the front door’s wreath will usher guests and townsfolk alike back into the world with hope for the coming year.

 

Available to buy from….
Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Nook Paperback

 

Gingerbread at Moonglow, The Moonglow Series, Book 3

The small town of Timberton, Montana, boasts an ambiance of near-magical proportions during the Christmas season, due in no small part to resident artist and chef Mist’s mysterious way of working small miracles in people’s everyday lives. Each year, return guests and new arrivals mingle with local townsfolk to enjoy companionship, exquisite decor, and exceptional cuisine at The Timberton Hotel.

As the aromas of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and molasses mix with heartfelt camaraderie and sweet romance, guests share reflections on family, friendship, and life. Although decorating the outside of a gingerbread house may prove easier than deciding what goes inside, no one leaves Timberton without renewed hope for the future.

 

Available to buy from……
Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Nook GPlay Paperback



About the author

Deborah Garner is an accomplished travel writer with a passion for back roads and secret hideaways. Born and raised in California, she studied in France before returning to the U.S. to attend UCLA. After stints in graduate school and teaching, she attempted to clone herself for decades by founding and running a dance and performing arts center, designing and manufacturing clothing and accessories, and tackling both spreadsheets and display racks for corporate retail management. Her passions include photography, hiking and animal rescue. She speaks five languages, some substantially better than others. She now pides her time between California and Wyoming, dragging one human and two canines along whenever possible.

Find the author on the following sites…
Website Facebook Twitter Pinterest Google+ Goodreads Bookbub Amazon Author Page

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Time Flies - Seasons Change

Time Flies ~ Seasons Change

Labor Day Weekend is upon us once again, the unofficial end of summer. I love autumn, but I’m not ready for summer to end just yet.

Time flies by too quickly … I know I say this all the time, but it’s true! I truly believe that the busier you are, the faster times goes by and this summer proves it (for me anyway).

I was so excited when the weather warmed up last May. I had so many things I wanted to do: Continue reading

Thankful for Hats For Troops

Thankful Thoughts

So today is a Sunday, and it’s a great day (actually every day is) to be thankful for all I’ve been blessed with. My day started out like pretty much every other day, with a cup of coffee and my daily devotions. On most mornings, my cat, Jack, jumps up on my lap and proceeds to try to knock my book out of my hands so that I can concentrate on petting him.

For the last few days, I haven’t been interrupted by him because he has been resting peacefully on his favorite chair. This is just one of the things I’m thankful for today. He is recovering from a surgery to have a non-cancerous (hopefully) cyst removed. The surgery went well, and he is home recuperating. The 3 hardest things in his post-surgery care have been, not letting him jump up on the furniture, not letting him lick the incision, and giving him his medicine. He is doing well, getting better every day, for which I am very thankful.

Thankful for Jacks Successful Surgery

I’m thankful that Jack’s surgery went well.

 

But I digress … Continue reading