Monday, January 16, 2017

Creating Peace and Serenity + #MyPostMonday The Week's Best Original Content

There is nothing as peaceful to me as quiet snow falling around a tiny little cabin, warmed by a fire, with a cup of something hot to sip on. To languish as long as possible in those moments is truly something to hold onto. Especially when there is so much to get stressed over, just thinking about it. 

I mean, seriously, how can Barnum & Bailey be closing forever? There goes a 146 year old piece of Americana! And seriously, the America I have known for all my life, is it really that bad? Because it is disappearing like a really bad game of Jenga, one piece at a time. Before long, children will think of the America I have known and loved as some kind of ancient history! And I'm not talking about the land-line dial-tone phones, the t.v.'s you had to stand up and walk over to change the channel, the strict dress standards at the school, or the excitement of watching the local parade. I'm talking about the respect that neighbors had for one another, the friendliness of people to each other, the slower pace of life, the overall lack of worry about locking the front door, the patriotism that citizens felt for the flag. 

And while I am concerned for the future of the country, and definitely other things that are more parts of my personal life, I love those peaceful moments when I don't have to think about anything but how much I'm enjoying the moment.  
I hope that we can all take a few moments and go to that peaceful place that gives us serenity more often, where worry isn't a part of the equation. Yes, it's appropriate to voice concerns, to take part in the change that is wanted/needed. But worrying about it is not really going to change anything.

Image - Jerol Garner

Friday, January 6, 2017

Sweepstakes Fanatics $100 PayPal #Giveaway

I'm participating in a New Year's Multi-Blog Giveaway that is sure to help you ring in 2017 with good cheer and anticipation! Check it out! Have you entered MY giveaway? It's for $100 to Cariloha! It's on my right sidebar under 'Current Giveaways'!

2017 Happy New Year

As we rang in 2017 many of us made resolutions that focused on 
new beginnings, health, and family. I know many overspent this holiday and your resolutions are about on saving money, getting out of debt, etc. I was lucky enough to win or receive for evaluation many of the gifts I gave this year. 
Many ask how I got started. Well, I stumbled upon blogging several years ago while entering a contest. There was an entry to post about the giveaway. From that entry, PaulaMS' Giveaways, Reviews, & Freebies was born. However, as my blog grew my love for entering did not diminish. I enter at least fifty things a week and have a few sites bookmarked that I visit several times a week to find giveaways to enter and Sweepstakes Fanatics is one of my favorites to visit. They're fanatics for Sweepstakes, Contests, and Giveaways just like me! One thing I really love about this site is that I often find something to enter that I haven't seen anywhere else. If you're all about winning sweepstakes, contests, or giveaways in the US or Canada, then this well-organized site is a must visit.

Sweepstakes Fanatics

What could be better than finding great prizes to win? The chance to win some cold hard cash! To help you do that, Sweepstakes Fanatics has offered one lucky reader the opportunity to start off 2017 with some extra cash in their pocket! That's right you could win $100 in PayPal Cash!
Sweepstakes Fanatics $100 PayPal Giveaway Ends 2/5 Worldwide

Welcome To The

Sweepstakes Fanatics
$100 PayPal 


Dates: January 6, 2016 at 12:01 am EST through February 5, 2016 at 11:59 pm EST

Prize: ONE lucky reader will win $100 in PayPal Cash

Sponsored By: Sweepstakes Fanatics

Hosted By: PaulaMS' Giveaways, Reviews, & Freebies

Co-Hosted By: 
Miki's Hope, A Gal Needs..., Amy & Aron's Real Life Reviews,
 Michigan Saving and More, Heartbeats ~ Soul Stains, Jenn's Blah Blah Blog, Deliciously Savvy, and IMHO Views, Reviews, and Giveaways 

Please take a moment to show our sponsor some love.

I would like to give a big shout out to all the blogs participating in this giveaway! I couldn't do it without you. Thank you for bringing this promotion to your readers. Please take a minute to follow them!
Thank You!

By following us on our social networks we are able to get the best giveaways together on the internet! 

This giveaway is valid where allowed by law and open to anyone who can legally open up a PayPal account. No purchase required to enter or win. Odds of winning depend on the total number of eligible entries received. Winning entry will be verified.

It's Giveaway Time!
Disclaimer: PaulaMS' Giveaways, Reviews, and Freebies nor any blog promoting this giveaway, is not responsible for the awarding of the prize. Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment. Any Questions about this giveaway? Email Paula At paula_stewart (at) ymail (dot) com.

Disclosure of Material Connection:
 PaulaMS has been compensated for organizing this giveaway. Regardless, she only recommends products or services that she uses personally and believes will add value to readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Beautiful Bamboo Giveaway - $100 eGift Code to Cariloha!

Cariloha is synonymous with tropical vibes. That's because their stores sell bamboo products exclusively! They have 50 stores in 14 countries, most of which are tropical vacation spots! Their products are soft, sustainable, wearable, and irresistible!

Welcome to the 'Beautiful Bamboo Giveaway' brought to you by Cariloha and A GAL NEEDS...

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017 Is Going To Be The Best Yet!! Right??

2017 is going to be so good! Let me get some heck yeahs and some cheers! Sure, 2016 wasn't quite what many of us had hoped, but hey, what election year is? I'm going to recommit with the things I was doing in 2016 and keep moving forward. After all, there is no such thing as standing still. If you're not moving forward, you're moving backwards! And it doesn't matter how fast---baby steps are awesome!

My Post Monday - I had so much fun writing my  (mostly) once-a-week posts about anything I wanted to write about (because it's called #MyPostMonday) and also finding the week's best original content on the internet, which I link and feature on Twitter under the above hashtag. I turned my love of stalking into a regular thing, and apparently you like me to bring the content to you as well! Thanks so much! 

Basically I wrote about whatever was on my mind and sometimes I went there. During the course of 2016, I revealed that I am indeed a Christian, an LDS Christian. My definition of Christian is someone who believes that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World and died for all of us, so that we might live once again beyond physical death. I believe that what we do beyond that amazing gift is up to us, but He is ever merciful and ever kind. No human being is so hopeless as to be beyond His infinite mercy! He is there when we are sad, lonely, depressed, angry, or dejected. We just need to call upon Him and have that humble, believing faith! He is available to all of us!! I think that in these troubled times, it is wise for anyone to invest in His amazing promises, which you can readily access in the scriptures!

In one post, I admitted that sometimes I felt envy and jealousy. I'm happy to say that I have overcome so much of those feelings in the past year. It's like I took my own advice in the post I wrote. I identified jealousy as a time sucker and gave 4 ways to overcome feelings of jealousy! It's called living abundantly and it is so freeing! And so it went from there throughout the year--me talking about things that I was concerned about or interested in. I even lamented the end of Downton Abbey, one of my all-time favorite t.v. shows! 

I hope to continue My Post Monday's and I hope you will continue to drop by and check them out when you can! Better yet, subscribe to my updates! (Right Side Bar) 

I also continue to write about health & wellness, fashion and do reviews and giveaways! Be assured I have some great ones lined up for the upcoming year! Thanks so much for your support and your readership! They help me continue to do what I love to do---blog for you!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Determination Could Save Your Life + #MyPostMonday The Week's Best Original Content

I sometimes wonder exactly how much grit and determination I would have if I were stuck out in the wilderness and no one knew where I was. Would I just lay down and hope against all hope that someone would rescue me, or would I do everything humanly possible to find a solution? If my recent experience of running out of gas on the freeway is any indication, it might be a very sketchy situation for me if I were in a more precarious scenario. 
I am a work-smarter-not-harder kind of person. But somehow my gas tank filling habits are definitely on the dumbed down side of my thought process, I am always seeing how far I can get before I absolutely have to fill up. 
And so I found myself trying to get home after work on fumes, constantly glancing at the gauge to see if I could make it to the next gas station. Fortunately, I was going downhill on the freeway and close to the exit, which I took, as my car slowed down---70, 60, 55---What made matters even worse was it was also the day I forgot my phone, so I couldn't call anyone. (Yes, it was a Monday and it had been a hectic pre-Christmas weekend.) There is obviously more than one way to run on fumes!
 I waited in the car with my flashers on for a full 26 minutes, not knowing where any gas stations were. I finally decided I needed to hoof it to someplace, any place, where there was a phone because no one seemed to want to stop and help this hapless woman, chilling in her car, flashers going, just barely off the exit ramp. I saw a distant building approximately 2 miles away that looked like an office setup. So I got out of the car and started walking. I hadn't walked 20 yards when I realized that on my right was a gas station that had been obscured by a small hill. That was my ticket to success and I was soon happily on my way. 
I could have waited in my car indefinitely, waiting for who knows what. I'm embarrassed that I waited for as long as I did.

Image - John Lloyd
And then there's the recent story of a woman who walked for 30 straight hours to find help when her family became stranded around the Grand Canyon because it was closed for the season. She wasn't about to give up. Her twin sister said that her personality is "Do it, or die trying."  She ended up eating pine twigs to keep herself from starving, drinking her own urine trying to keep herself hydrated and finally found a ranger cabin, breaking a window to get in, where she collapsed, barely conscious. Fortunately she was found. I've got to say, I admire her courage and her unwillingness to just lay down and give up. 
I think this kind of determination applies in a lot of different situations, not just life or death. What about you? Do you have the determination to "Do it, or die trying"?

 Today is "My Post Monday!" It's all about original content from bloggers who care to share what is on their minds--from Crafts to Camping, Wellness to Wealth, Fashion to Food, and whatever else is on the brain!  I  open up with a post of my own and then follow it up with a linky of the week's top original blog posts! It's all about what the writer thinks, believes, and knows--in other words, they are active, writing blogs. If I happen to find a great original, non-sponsored post, I'll link it up and share it with you here and on Twitter via the #MyPostMonday hashtag!  I can miss some amazing posts, but I don't want to!  So, in addition, if you'd like to link up yourself, you can do that too!  I'll visit your site, comment, promote and publicize! (Affiliate links welcome!) 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

2 Ways To Show People That They Matter #LIGHTtheWORLD

A couple years ago at the high school where I work, they handed out hoodies and these hoodies had a motto on them that read, "You Matter Because You Exist". Now I don't know about you, but this particular saying doesn't really do it for me. I am aware that there are millions of people "existing" in this world that don't seem to matter to anyone. Granted, some of these very same people seem to be the happiest! I think they must know something that some people don't! 

Christmas is a wonderful time of year to show people how much they really do matter! Love truly is the magical word for the season! We all want to feel loved all the time, but isn’t Christmas a wonderful time to share some extra love to the lonely, the needy, or someone whom you are very thankful for or who is extra special to you?
No monetary compensation was received for this post. This site uses both affiliate and non-affiliate links for reference purposes.Thanks for your readership and support!
Featured below are a couple of ways to show a few special people that they are loved, and needed! It is in keeping with the #LIGHTtheWORLD  campaign from, where they are helping us honor Jesus Christ during the 25 days of Christmas by doing the things He did each and every day He was alive on the earth! 

These are two ways to remind people how truly loved and valued they are--especially to the Savior Jesus Christ and to our Heavenly Father!  Each involves a free printout I discovered at Polka Dot Poplars, and a little bit of glue, paint, and thought!

Brown Paper Packages 
Use the free printable to create a small package to deliver to someone! I had a brown paper gift bag saved from another year.

 I used a hot glue gun to make a little envelope for a candy bar, along with a message saying "Brown paper packages tied up with string, Oh you are one of His favorite things!"

Wall Art Motivation
Using the free printable, I made some wall art. I found frames at my local thrift store and spray painted them 'heirloom white'. 

 The message by Dieter F. Uchtdorf is so reassuring that you are of infinite value and worth. Not just because you exist, but because you are loved by the most wonderful being in the Universe!
 It is the goal of the #LIGHTtheWORLD Campaign to help illuminate the earth with His light during this very special time of year. I hope that you will have a wonderful Christmas and feel how loved and important you are to Him, even Jesus Christ!

The Risk Of Confiding + #MyPostMonday The Week's Best Original Content

Image - Shawn Heiner
 I sometimes wait out the rush hour traffic if I happen to be running late. I'll stop off at a local bakery or the library and read or catch up on e-mails. Somehow last Friday I ended up reading a short story autobiography-type narrative and it sucked me in! 
It was about a woman telling about her life, starting when she was in college, rooming with a bunch of girls weaving in and out of each others' lives, and especially one particular friend. She described her as a Russian girl, sometimes very animated and other times very sullen and withdrawn. Through the course of their association, they became better friends than just roommates.  They ended up appreciating each other enough to do good things for each other, knowing more about one another than the normal chat-it-up at lunch things. Yet as the years rolled by, there were some things neither of them ever divulged to the other.  The narrator had been abused by her boyfriend and never chose to tell her friend because of an opinion her friend had voiced about abused wives and girlfriends being weak and co-dependent. They lost touch for a few years and by the time the narrator found where her Russian friend lived, the husband informed her she had died. When she asked how her friend had died, he vaguely said she had been sick. Finally, after some research, she found out that she had died of cancer and had fought it for some time. Her friend had never told her that she was ill and suffering. 
 How much deeper friendship might they have shared if they had chosen to share their secret trials? I suppose it had risks to it. Either one of them might have exposed themselves, only to find themselves rejected. It's always a risk.
We choose what to curate about our lives and how we reveal who we are to the world. Some of us are blatantly authentic, choosing to risk rejection for revelation. Some choose carefully and are very veiled about what they reveal about themselves. And understandably so.
I actually have a story of my own--of friendship lost! But it is because of confiding, rather than hiding. In high school I was best friends with a girl from another country, let's call her Flo. She came as an exchange student and we hung out a lot together. We had so many great talks and fun times. It's like we found so many similarities despite being from different countries and cultures! We were like soul sisters!
But we lost touch over the years. She went back to her country, got married, and ended up back in the States with her husband. But some years later, we connected, met up, talked and laughed again. During that time, she divulged something that happened to her when she was a girl. It was pretty heavy. because it was about abuse of some form. It was hard for me to deal with at the time because I hadn't walked in her shoes. Right after that, something really hard happened to me. It was tragic and hard. I told her, and I know it was hard for her to deal with. She hadn't walked in my shoes. I told her that she wasn't helping me. She responded back in kind. We lost the friendship. Too much pain to deal with. We discovered that those innocent times in high school had become more complicated and that there were things beneath the surface that were too hard to deal with. It's been 20 years since we last connected.
 After reading that story in the library, I am realizing that I don't want to let such a real friendship go, even though the things we both went through were hard and hard for each other to understand. The thing is, we did confide and reveal our hidden selves. And no, we weren't able to deal with the revelations. But time is a wonderful healer and a teacher. I think that I'm ready. I'm ready to go back and pick up where I left off with Flo. I think I'll be ready to be the friend that she had hoped I would be!
 Today is "My Post Monday!" It's all about original content from bloggers who care to share what is on their minds--from Crafts to Camping, Wellness to Wealth, Fashion to Food, and whatever else is on the brain!  I  open up with a post of my own and then follow it up with a linky of the week's top original blog posts! It's all about what the writer thinks, believes, and knows--in other words, they are active, writing blogs or vlogs. If I happen to find a great original, non-sponsored post, I'll link it up and share it with you here and on Twitter via the #MyPostMonday hashtag!  I can miss some amazing posts, but I don't want to!  So, in addition, if you'd like to link up yourself, you can do that too!  I'll visit your site, comment, promote and publicize! (Affiliate links welcome!)