How getting my seasonal flu shot helped a child through ‘Get a Shot. Give a Shot’ at Walgreens

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Shop_Walgreens_Give_Shot_Hero_Bandaids

 

I don’t remember the first time I got a flu shot but I bet it was in college, maybe high school. At the time, I just thought “it’s a good idea” but later I learned that certain people who are more at risk should definitely make sure to get a seasonal flu shot. Because of various health issues, I now know it’s vital for me to get my annual seasonal flu shot. That’s why I jumped at the chance when #CollectiveBias offered me the opportunity to talk about immunizations and how, through the Walgreens Get a Shot. Give a Shot program, I could help children in underdeveloped countries get the vaccinations they need. Continue Reading →

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#ad 9 signs of dehydration and how to prevent it with #healthyhydration and Ozarka water

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I had a dehydration incident a couple of weeks ago that I almost don’t want to talk about on my blog because I don’t want to worry people. But I think it’s important to share what we learn in life so I’ve chosen to share a scary incident regarding dehydration, how water could have prevented it, and how healthy hydration through various sizes of bottled water such as Ozarka and other regional Nestle water brands can help #HealthyHydration no matter where you’re located. This is a sponsored #ad opportunity through #CollectiveBias but not only is everything here my own story, it’s something I’m pretty passionate about.  Continue Reading →

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Five Minute Friday: Ready

Ready Clouds

 

It’s time for another five-minute Friday post! I’ve been so busy lately with out of town guests, volunteering, work and just … life that I’ve not written much more than these FMF posts. My goal is to get back to doing more organic posts soon!

As a quick reminder, Five-Minute Fridays are designed to give writers a chance to free-flow write for a set five minutes on a given prompt every week. Writers all over are writing on the same prompt every week. It’s a great writing exercise and reminds me of the 10 minute essays we did in high school. You may notice this is published on a Saturday. Yeah, I need to actually do my FMF posts on Friday, I suppose.

5 Minute Friday for Sept 12: Ready

When I hear the word “ready,” I immediately think of the Rich Mulins song Ready for the Storm. Continue Reading →

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Five Minute Friday: Reach

Reach

 

So, it’s obviously not Friday. I decided to do this post and life just got a little nuts. I am determined to get these done so this is my weekly contribution to Fast Minute Friday. Want to join me in the weekly prompts? You can find the word of the week at this Five-Minute Friday Facebook page. The idea is that you interpret the one-word prompt how you choose and then write non-stop for five minutes. No editing. No making it pretty. Just writing.

This weeks word is: Reach

Reach is a funny word, if you think about it. I looked it up and confirmed that it both means (to some degree) the journey to get somewhere or something and also the word we use when we’ve arrived.

Example:

“I reach to get the remote control”- Your journey to get to the remote control but you haven’t gotten it yet.

“I reached my destination.” Your travel journey has ended.

Another way that the word reach seems to pervade my life lately is in the idea of social media reach. In other words, how many people can I influence or potentially influence with my words on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. It also means the reach I have on my blog, which is measured in pageviews. That tells marketers and myself how many pages people have come to visit on my blog in a given 30-day period.

Reach is a funny thing. It’s not something I’m used to caring about. I’m used to doing my thing and if people liked it, they read it. If they don’t, they don’t. When I worked in the news world, people were interested in the topic I was writing about. Or, in the case of budgets, they may not have been interested per se but what I wrote about affected their lives whether they realized it or not.

So what’s this about social media reach? It’s certainly a conundrum for me. I want more writing opportunities with my blog and that means I need to increase my reach. But at the same time, I love writing for writing’s sake and squirm at the idea of just getting people to my blog. Then again, the more people who read that’s more people who might be positively impacted by what they see here be it a faith-based message or a cool new recipe.

Yup, reach is a funny thing.

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5 Minute Friday: Begin

FMF Begin

 

There’s a fun and actually meaningful trend among bloggers to participate in a Five Minute Friday challenge (#FMFParty) where we each respond to a one-word prompt and write on that word for five minutes. We don’t edit, we don’t care about nice fancy photos. It’s about writing and responding. That’s it. I’ve been meaning to participate for several weeks and then forget. Even now, I’m about 90 minutes late and just discovered I chose the wrong prompt (I looked at the wrong blog). Today’s word is supposed to be “Change” but I am sticking with the prompt from a couple of weeks ago, “Begin.”

So here goes five minutes of writing on Begin:

The word begin means a lot to me this week because I began something that’s been a goal for a long time. I’ve wanted to write a book for a long time and even started a book of “essays” that were based on blogs I had written. My heart was never in it and I realize now it just never felt “right.”

I think the fear has been “well, I started this one book and never went back to it and I don’t want to fail like that again.” But really, how is it failure to not spend time on something that isn’t a right fit? It’s just taken me this long to get the guts to try again.

The book is for my business and doesn’t have an official title yet. It’s based on seminars I’ve done about how and why a business or organization should have a blog. I’ve got the outline pretty much done and now just need to flesh it out. My goal is to have it done by October if not sooner.

I think trying to begin something is the hardest thing for me. The whole idea creation is my best talent and I try to see things through. Once I get started writing I can just write and write. But that moment where the first words are put on the page … that’s where I sometimes struggle.

But you know what? I”m proud of myself. It’s just an outline but it’s a beginning, a start. I feel like once I get this first one under my proverbial belt I can produce the next two books that are in my head and heart.

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#MyGoodLife is busy … How I’ve learned to refuel when I need an afternoon break

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Get tired in the afternoon? Take a break and enjoy new Stouffer's Mac Cups and Nestle Pure Life water.  What other ways do I replenish my resources in the afternoon? Find out.

 

I’m the first to admit that the schedule in the Smith household is a little “nontraditional.” With John working second shift (and lots of overtime lately) and me working from home and able to match my schedule to his, we often don’t find ourselves going to bed until 3 or 4 a.m. and getting up mid-morning. With us both working long hours, add to it the slightly oddness of those hours, and it can be easy to get worn down. I’ve learned to take better care of myself and try to take a break before I get too overworked. I recently got the opportunity through #CollectiveBias and #Walmart to talk about ways that I replenish in the afternoons and keep up #MyGoodLife in part using Nestle Pure Life water and Stouffer’s new Mac Cups.

3 Ways I get refueled in the afternoon

Continue Reading →

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A much needed ‘sabbath’ weekend and making new discoveries in Eureka Springs

This is the view from CR 309 outside Eureka Springs on my way to Christview.

This is the view from CR 309 outside Eureka Springs on my way to Christview. It was about 8:30 a.m.

 

I used to believe that “sabbath” meant a specific day and that you didn’t work unless you absolutely had to and it always involved some kind of churchy activity. It was the day you made sure everyone new you were church folk. After attending a seminar by my friend Cari Kaufman a few years ago, I feel I have a better understanding of what sabbath means.

It means rest. It doesn’t mean take time to make sure everyone knows you’re spiritual. It doesn’t make a specific day of the week more sacred than the other (after all, aren’t we to worship God every day? That part always puzzled me.). Keeping the sabbath holy means to make sure to give yourself time to rest, reflect and rejuvenate. It means making time to refresh and refill yourself and your relationship with our creator.

Our sabbath weekend

This simple but beautiful arrangement is in the basement meeting room for Christview Ministries where we had our Captivating Heart leadership retreat.

This simple but beautiful arrangement is in the basement meeting room for Christview Ministries where we had our Captivating Heart leadership retreat. It’s a beautiful place for a pastor/ministry leader get away and mentoring.

I’m the first to admit I’m not really that great about taking sabbath time. I feel pressure to make sure I run my business, keep my animals alive and to do a myriad of other things I’ve convinced myself are necessary. When I do get brief respite, I realize how valuable it is to my mind, body and soul.

This weekend John and I got away for what I consider a “sabbath” weekend, which involved spending a couple days in Eureka Springs. He’s worked 8-10 hours of overtime each week for a couple months and I’ve been under a lot of stress lately, too.

The weekend started with the whole idea that I needed to be in Eureka for a day-long leadership committee retreat for the Captivating Heart Retreat team. I didn’t really want to drive all the way there and be there at 9 a.m. so I told John I might go the Friday night before to spend the night. He said he would take Friday off from work and we would make a weekend of it. He would spend the Saturday while I was at the retreat enjoying time alone watching cable TV.

Oddly enough, I got sick during the weekend and felt icky but still felt like my spirit was renewed. Both in time of worshipping with my Captivating Heart sisters and spending down time with my husband. Seriously, all we did was hang out at the hotel and go to one or two stores and out to eat. I never plugged in my work hard drive and only answered one or two work emails simply so I could let them know I would get back to them when I was back.

I didn’t get a lot of photos this trip and even that felt good. I had to snap a few that captured my attention along the trip (using my cell phone, hence the less than stellar quality).

This is outside the homestyle restaurant Granny's Kitchen in Huntsville. We heard it was good so we tried it.

This is outside the homestyle restaurant Granny’s Kitchen in Huntsville. We heard it was good so we tried it.

 

I can’t believe I never got any pictures of the Regency Inn in Eureka but we will definitely be back. Truth be told, we don’t go to Eureka that much because pretty much the whole town is very wheelchair inaccessible. Even most the hotels don’t have an accessible room and in many cases, their version of “accessible” is just … not. The Regency not only had a great accessible room, it was clean, easy to get to and the owners were a delight. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Saturday morning I got up bright and early to head to Christview Ministries for the Captivating Heart leadership retreat.

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That first picture I shared was the valley as I was driving there (I stopped…was not driving and picture taking). Here’s another view from the window of Christview later that afternoon.

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The retreat was just what my soul needed. I was in a place with people where I felt free to worship God in a way that fits me, not what church society says I should be doing. We also spent time going over every part of the schedule for the three-day retreat and made plans to promote it as much as possible. By the way, you don’t have to live in Arkansas, Missouri or Oklahoma to come to this. Those are just the closest states. Please come!

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After the retreat John and I went to a new-to-us restaurant called Mei Li Asian Cuisine. It was not as accessible as we were told over the phone so we ended up eating on the patio. That ended up making the entire experience delightful! I failed to get a picture of the sign but I linked to their Urbanspoon.

I was still feeling sick from earlier so we just went back to the hotel and enjoyed watching Animal Planet marathons all night! We don’t have cable and the only channel we truly miss is Animal Planet. I love that I’m married to a man who loves to watch hours of television programming that is nothing but cute animals.

The next morning we were ready to check out and had plans to go to another favorite Eureka Springs restaurant Rowdy Beaver. Not to sound like a broken record, but instead, neither one of us was feeling all that great and it just sounded too heavy so we went to our most favorite Eureka Springs shop and then headed home.

We discovered this shop a few years ago and we make a point to stop in every time we're in Eureka Springs. They had a lot of new stuff this time and we had fun looking at all of it!

We discovered this shop a few years ago and we make a point to stop in every time we’re in Eureka Springs. They had a lot of new stuff this time and we had fun looking at all of it!

 

As we got closer to home, we were feeling better enough and hungry enough to eat. On our way to Eureka (we took a different route than normal because we had to drop the dogs off to Dogwatch Doggie Daycare and Boarding), we had noticed a cafe in a tiny town called Goshen that sounded interesting. We stopped there and will definitely be back at some point! It’s only about 20 minutes or so from our house and would be a nice Sunday afternoon getaway.

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When we got home and got our cats fed and the dogs picked up (they got baths at Dogwatch! More rest for us!), we realized we were both still very, very tired. Our spirits were full but our bodies were not (both of us were up sick a lot the night before). We decided to take a nap and we both woke up feeling a lot better.

 

 

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Easy Spicy Chicken Stovetop Casserole recipe (don’t forget your Kraft coupons!)

New CB Disclosure 600px wideSpicy Chicken Stovetop Casserole has jalapeno sour cream dip, bacon, green onion, chicken, and shells & cheese. This same recipe can be revised to make a tasty breakfast (exchange the chicken for eggs) #shop

 

 

Remember last month when I shared about the manufacturer coupons that you could find on the Walmart website? These printable coupons are #PackedWithSavings and they are available for only a limited time. John and I took the opportunity to use some of these coupons (there’s printable coupons for like 20 different Kraft products!) to make up another casserole recipe. One of the activities we enjoy each weekend is whipping up some kind of delicious but balanced meal that has lots of nutritional value yet still tastes amazing. Continue Reading →

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Sharing Captivating Heart over at Coffee with Jen

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Earlier this week, I was incredibly honored to guest post at my friend’s blog, Coffee with Jen. Jen and I met at a scrapbooking shindig a couple years ago but have become friends through our love of blogging.

I am very grateful that she let me share about Captivating Heart and how that retreat and curriculum helped me through an identity crisis I didn’t see coming.

Go to her blog now and check out my article Solving an Identity Crisis through Captivating Heart (then go look around at more of Jen’s blogs. Great stuff!)

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“The world through Jamie’s eyes”

BlackEyedSusans

 

Isn’t it amazing how our perspective about something can be reframed when we hear how others view the same thing we are seeing? Sometimes that can be hurtful, other times it can be inspiring. Continue Reading →

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