Tag Archives: love

Kindness Is True Valentine's Day Love.

This Valentine’s Day, Show Real Love With Acts of Kindness <3

Love is in the air ♥

It’s that time of the year again … Valentine’s Day … the time of year that the stores try to guilt you into buying something heart shaped and red.

The media makes the most of this “Hallmark Holiday”. Weeks beforehand, you see commercials and ads about jewelry, flowers and chocolate. Every store you go into some kind of Valentine’s Day display … from power tools to lingerie. Most of these specials are geared toward couples in love.

What about everyone else? What about friends and neighbors? Not everyone is in a romantic relationship. There are many kinds of love, like … love between a child and parent or platonic love between friends.

While candy and flowers are nice gifts, they don’t last long. I would rather do something for someone as a way of showing that I care about them, that they are important to me. A simple act of kindness, like running an errand for someone is easy to do and helps them out.

Time is a valuable commodity. Show someone you care by spending time with them. Treat them to a nice leisurely lunch. Go for a nice long walk and catch up with all the happenings going on in their life. Bake some cookies for someone 🙂

This Valentine’s Day, show the people you care about how you feel about them with kindness.

BTW, if you decide you want to get a heart shaped box of candy for someone … helping them eat it will show kindness to their waistline (but not to yours) ♥

Pet Sitting / House Sitting Tips

Holiday Pet Care & House Sitting

It’s mid November, and the holidays will be here before we know it. To me, the holidays are all about spending time with family and friends ~ near and far. When you travel to see your loved ones, don’t forget about your pet care for your fur babies … they are family too! Who will take care of them?

Personally, I think in home pet care is the best option. This way, your pet stays in their familiar surroundings, even though you aren’t home with them. Another benefit of in home pet care is home security. Your home won’t appear vacant while you are away.

Pet care & house sitting is one of the many services that Tracy Helps You offers. I can come a couple times per day to feed and let them out to do their business ~ or ~ I can stay at your house. This has the added benefit of bringing in the mail, watering the plants, turning on/off lights and decorations, etc.  A home that has someone coming and going throughout the day is less of a target for burglars. Plus, your fur baby will have company in the evenings … we may go for a walk, play fetch, or have a good belly rub while watching TV 🙂 Dogs especially are such social animals, I believe they feel lonely and really miss their owners when they go out of town.

You can also board your pet at a kennel while you are gone. Your pet will have their basic needs met, but will otherwise be spending most of their time alone. Most kennels don”t have the staff to offer more than food & shelter. I highly doubt there would be many good belly rubs 🙁
If you have plans to travel, please call me sooner rather than later. The holidays will be here before we know it. It will be a wonderful gift for your fur babies to have someone who will love and play with them, as well as, take care of their basic needs. 

Happy Holidays … Call me 🙂

Locks of Love Logo

Locks of Love Donation

Locks of Love Preparation

Getting Started …

More Locks of Love Preparation

It’s getting real …

Locks of Love Donation for Valentine’s Day Weekend ♥

Last week, I chopped off 12 inches of my hair to give as a donation to Locks of Love. I’ve been interested in doing this for quite awhile and finally took the plunge 🙂


I’ve had long hair for (pretty much) most of my life. My hair is now shoulder length (it was waist length), and it feels so lightweight. It feels weird to not be able to keep my hair back when I look / bend down to reach for something. The biggest difference to get used to is washing my hair! Prior to my haircut, my wet hair had to be doubled and doubled yet again to wring out the excess water. Now, there is hardly anything to wring out 🙂

Locks of Love is a not-for-profit charity that helps children in the United States and Canada. This organization makes wigs out of the donated hair and provides them to children who have lost their hair due to illness. This is there Mission Statement (from their website:

“Our mission is to return a sense of self, confidence and normalcy to children suffering from hair loss by utilizing donated ponytails to provide the highest quality hair prosthetics to financially disadvantaged children. The children receive hair prostheses free of charge or on a sliding scale, based on financial need.”

Locks of Love - Chop, Chop

Chop, Chop, Chop …

Locks of Love - it's all over

All done !!

Locks of Love - ready to mail

Ready to mail 🙂

I’ve been blessed with strong & healthy hair my whole life ~ I’m so glad I can show a child some love through my donation!


Valentine's Day ... Everyday

Happy Valentine’s Day … Everyday <3

It is already the middle of February  … wow, time sure is flying by quickly. I realize that I’ve mentioned time going fast before, but, am I the only one that feels that way ~ I hope not.

Personally, I don’t believe that Valentine’s Day is only about romantic love relationships. I believe it is about all kinds of caring relationships … parents/children, siblings/cousins, friends, as well as dating/marriage relationships.

We humans are emotional beings – we need love and affection! Most people seem to flourish when they spend some time with others they care about on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to be anything special, just spending time together is what is important. Continue reading

Book Review & Giveaway ~ Holiday Bliss

Holiday Bliss is book 2 in the Bliss series– It comprises three romantic novellas by three different authors–set in different era’s, in one home on the water called, Bliss.

Tending Her Heart by Kathleen Shoop

Julie Peters’ plans to modernize Waterside Hospital’s labor and delivery protocols are thwarted by old school doctors and brown-nosing colleagues. But a handsome doctor who understands her point-of-view has a fine bedside manner and a way of Tending Her Heart that has forever-after attached to it. Can a Thanksgiving stay in the regal home called Bliss give her the space she needs to right her future and fall in love?

The Christmas Miracle by Marcy Waldenville

Brenan Brown has a terrible secret. One his beautiful wife doesn’t know about. One that could destroy his happiness and his family. One he’d thought he buried along with his former identity in a grave in Ireland. But shady characters–terrorists really–from his past come to the stately mansion with blackmail and kidnapping on their minds. And with his family’s after at risk, his future in peril, all Brenan can hope for is The Christmas Miracle.

Holiday Wish by JD Wylde 

Vaughn Jennings has one rule he refuses to break. Not even for Chelsea Chathford, the curvaceous master carpenter he employs. With just reason. But with every day that goes by, it gets harder and harder to follow his rule. Can he follow his heart? Or forever wish he had? Because Christmas comes but once a year. And with it, the only chance to have his Holiday Wish come true.

My Thoughts:

Holiday Bliss is a collection of 3 stories, each revolving around a historical home in Albemarle Sound, North Carolina, called Bliss.

Each story is set around the Holidays, but in different time eras. Each author does a great job of bringing the history and social injustices from that time to light.

In each of the stories, Bliss has featured role. We learn about the families who lived and loved there. This was a fun book for me because I have often thought about the people who live in the house where I grew up. I sometimes drive by and wonder what they are like … how the decorated my old bedroom, or what other changes they’ve made.

I liked the fact that although times change, Bliss was always a constant throughout. I feel all 3 authors did a great job at “connecting” 3 totally different stories of love.

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“Each story is vivid in historical and modern details and will certainly have you wanting to visit Bliss yourself. The characters come to life, making you fall in love with each and every couple, rooting for them to make it. I highly recommend this wonderful novel by five talented authors.” – Kristine McCaffrey – Amazon Reader Review on Bliss Series Book 1

“Loved the book! It’s my first anthology and I couldn’t wait to get to the next story for the continuation. Can’t wait to read these authors’ next books.” – review from Amazon on Bliss Series Book 1

Meet the Authors

Kathleen Shoop

Bestselling author Kathleen Shoop holds a PhD in reading education and has more than 20 years of experience in the classroom.

Kathleen has been featured in USA Today and the Writer’s Guide to 2013. Her work has appeared in The Tribune-Review, four Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and Pittsburgh Parent magazine. She lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.


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Marcy Waldenville

Marcy Waldenville knew she wanted to write at an early age. A firm believer in anything-is-possible, she is happy to be following that dream. Born and raised in a small town in Western Pennsylvania. She lives in Southern Butler County with her husband, Ken.

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JD Wylde

A misplaced mountain child, J.D. lives in the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania with her husband of more than thiry years (and yes, she was a kindergarten bride). Their sons and one beautiful daughter-in-law live nearby. Ozzie, their neurotic dog lives a lot closer. And yes, she still roams wild and free, whatever mountains are currently in her path.<

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




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Book Review & Giveaway ~ A Widow Redefined by Kim Cano

My Thoughts:

Justin and Amy White were high school sweethearts; they had a wonderful relationship where they dreamed of traveling to exotic places and seeing the world together. Justin worked long hours to support his wife and son, and to save for those longed for vacations. Then the unexpected happened ~ Justin died of cancer, leaving his wife a widow and his young son without a father.

Amy believed her marriage was perfect; that she knew all there was to know about her soulmate. She still mourns her husband’s death; she has been going through the motions but not really feeling anything. Until she discovered someone (besides her) was leaving flowers – yellow daffodils at his grave, she started questioning her relationship. Had he been unfaithful? Did he have a mistress? Discovering who this mystery person was became her mission. It gave her a new focus ~ and an unlikely friendship where she learned new things she hadn’t known about her late husband. This friendship helped her work through a large range of emotions and become a stronger woman because of it.

I think this story showed a fairly realistic look into the ongoing grief of losing a spouse and trying to start to live (and possibly love) again. I highly recommend it 🙂

On a cold Valentine’s Day in Chicago, Amy White, a young widow who lost her husband to cancer, visits the cemetery and makes an unsettling discovery: a bouquet of fresh daffodils lying in front of her husband’s grave.Curiosity grows into obsession as Amy searches for the stranger who left the flowers, while keeping her activities a secret from her live-in mother and seven-year-old son. The search leads to an unusual friendship that transforms her world and redefines her life.“The warmth of an evolving friendship bound by mutual interests and a family’s recovery from close-held grief makes the processes in A Widow Redefined revealing and involving. Any reader seeking a story of emotional growth from all protagonists will find this a story of quiet desperation, friendship, and moving on.” D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer, Midwest Book Review“A lovely story of deep love, friendship, grief, and the process of healing.” Mary/Full Circle Book Club, Algonquin, IL“Not since Lisa See’s Snow Flower and the Secret Fan have I read such a complex portrayal of friendship. A Widow Redefined will resonate with anyone who has ever lost a loved one and learned how to live again.” Author Deborah Brown“Inspiring! Destined to become a book club favorite.” Alicia Robinson/reader review

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About the Author

Kim Cano is the author of two women’s fiction novels: A Widow Redefined, her debut novel and On The Inside, a novel about a middle-aged woman who is sentenced to 17 years in prison for committing a white collar crime.

Kim has also written two animal books: For Animal Lovers, a short story collection for kids ages 9 to 12 (also appeals to adult readers who are young at heart) 10% of the sale price is donated to the ASPCA® to help homeless pets.

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






will each receive A Widow Redefined audiobook


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Mothers Day Special

Give a Tracy Helps You Gift Certificate to Your Mom This Mother’s Day

It’s May in Chicagoland ~ we are slowly but surely starting to get a taste of spring time warmth 🙂 May also means Mother’s Day to us Americans.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the observance of Mother’s Day. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

We honor our mothers with gifts and cards. Flowers seem to be a particularly popular gift. Many families treat Mom like a queen on Mother’s Day … treating her to breakfast in bed and a day of relaxation by taking over her usual household duties for the day. Many families go out to share a meal together.

Speaking as a mother, and I’m pretty sure I speak for most (if not all) mothers, I think one of the most wonderful gifts to receive is the gift of time spent with my family. Just spending time together, reminiscing and making new memories together is the best way to spend the day <3

This week, while you are making your Mother’s Day plans and choosing the perfect gift ~ remember that your Mom deserves to be pampered and treated more often than just on the holidays. While you are with her this weekend, maybe helping her out with some chores around her house, give her a Tracy Helps You gift certificate. It’s like giving her the gift of free time. Everyone needs some free time / me time, especially Mothers. Sometimes, Moms can sometimes feel a little guilty about taking some time for themselves in their busy life. There is always so much to get done. While I am taking care of stuff on her To-Do List, she can be relaxing without worrying about things not getting done … she will love it 🙂

This week, in honor of Mother’s Day, I’m offering a special rate for Gift Certificates ~ 3 hour for $50 … contact me 🙂

God Is In Love With You~ Photo Credit to Smoky Mountain Christian Village

Show Everyone Some Real Love on Valentine’s Day

February 14th ~ Valentine’s Day … it has very different meanings for different people at different stages of life. Some people think it is just a Hallmark holiday … a marketing ploy to boost sales of romantic cards, flowers, candy and jewelry. Some people think Valentine’s Day is the “be all – end all”. They think life is worthless if you’re not in a relationship on this day 🙁

This way of thinking makes me so sad. Everyone needs love, REAL LOVE … not only on this day, but every day. I’m not talking about mushy romantic gifts plastered with hearts, but love in the truest form of the word. Let people know that you truly care for them … family, friends, neighbors, and strangers. We may never know what they are really dealing with because many people put on a façade for the world to see. We have no way of knowing what goes on behind closed doors, but I think it would be a safe assumption to say everyone needs more love in their life.

So here is your “call to action”  ~  pay for the person behind you in line at the coffee shop … meet a friend for a Galentine lunch date … smile & pay someone a genuine compliment. Just the other day, a total stranger told me she thought my hair was beautiful ~ it still warms my heart just remembering it ♥

I follow a few blogs and 2 have really struck me this week … http://lysaterkeurst.com/2014/02/5-ways-to-survive-love-season/  and  http://mandisaofficial.com/home/single-appreciation-week-day-1/  … check them out and let me know your thoughts & Don’t forget to tell me how you shared your love with others today ♥


For every woman who wonders if she chose the right career

Carolyn Jenkins strives for two things–to be the greatest teacher ever and to find true love. She’s as skilled at both as an infant trying to eat with a fork. Carolyn’s suburban upbringing and genuine compassion for people who don’t fit effortlessly into society are no match for weapon-wielding, struggling students, drug-using colleagues, and a wicked principal.

Meanwhile, her budding relationship with a mystery man is thwarted by his gaggle of eccentric sisters. Carolyn depends on her friends to get her through the hard times, but with poverty-stricken children at her feet and a wealthy man at her side, she must define who she is.

The reality of life after college can be daunting, the road to full-fledged adulthood long and unscripted. Can Carolyn take control and craft the existence she always wanted?


My Thoughts:

Carolyn Jenkins is a character I can relate to … she leads a real life with everyday routine as well as highs and lows. She has her ideals and dreams, yet she has to deal with reality.

Personally, I was more drawn into the “Other Subjects” of the storyline than the “Love” portion.

I was interested in her passion of learning how to be effective in this inner city school while coming from a suburban background. I liked how the author addressed the interracial relationships between the roommates and the students. I feel Carolyn showed her true calling as a teacher in finding techniques that fit her student’s needs instead of just following the prescribed one size fits all approach.

I also liked hearing the witty, sometimes hilarious, “dialogue” in her head as she worked through issues and eventually matured in her personal relationships with her roommates, her parents and her boyfriends.

Buy the book from……. Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Barnes and Noble

About the Author

A Language Arts Coach with a Ph.D. in Reading Education, Kathleen lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

Kathleen has also written Love and Other Subjects, award winning After the Fog and her debut novel, The Last Letter, garnered multiple awards in 2011.  The author’s stories have also appeared in several of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

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






THREE Lucky Winners will each receive a $15 Amazon Giftcard,


courtesy of author of Love and other subjects, Kathleen Shoop


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Jesus is the reason Ornaments

Christmas Busyness VS. the Reason for the Season

Christmas is upon us ! For the life of me, I don’t understand how time flies by so quickly. We all lead very busy lives. Sometimes I wonder why we over commit ourselves, after all, many times, we decide what goes on our schedule. I think in part, as a woman (and a perfectionist), I’m expected to do it all … a.k.a. SuperMom. The Holidays seem to add even more commitments to our already busy days.

I love lists, as you probably know, they help me stay organized. During the year, I have many various kinds of lists … personal, household and business to-do lists. Some lists are seasonal, gardening – camping – raking – and, of course, Christmas. My Holiday to-do list is always long.

I always want the Currier and Ives feeling for my home. You know, where the loving family is gathered around a beautifully decorated tree sitting in front of a warm, cozy fire in the hearth. The well-behaved children are eating warm from the oven cookies while listening to Dad read the Christmas story, patiently waiting to open the perfectly wrapped gifts under the tree. In my dreams …

It’s totally unrealistic, I know, but in my perfectionist mind, I disappoint myself by not getting it all done. Will the world end if I don’t bake 10 varieties of cookies or the gifts don’t have matching bows?? Of course not … I know I make my own busyness (I write the lists), but I truly want to be able to slow down and enjoy the Holidays. I need to learn how to simplify my preparations. I want to concentrate on what this holiday is all about … not all the commercialism and Santa Claus.

Jesus is the reason for the season. Christmas is about the gift of love, not things. It’s about spending time with family … and if you know of someone who doesn’t have family near, adopt them into your family 🙂 It’s about celebrating traditions and reminiscing with loved ones and friends. It’s about making new memories. It’s about being grateful for all you’ve been blessed with. It’s a time for blessing others. It’s about enjoying the simple things …                                

I want to wish you and yours a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR !!!