Saturday, December 15, 2012

Silence and Support

On Tuesday, December 18th, there will be a blogger day of silence. We will post the button and that's it. Please try to not post anything else that day if possible.
We are also raising money that will go to an organization in the memory of this tragedy. The organization is called The Newtown Family Youth and Family Services.

Here is the official description of the support service we are donating to:

"Newtown Youth and Family Services, Inc. is a licensed, non-profit, mental health clinic and youth services bureau dedicated to helping children and families achieve their highest potential. NYFS provides programs, services, activities, counseling, support groups and education throughout the Greater Newtown area.


Please visit THIS PAGE to make your donation.

We can't imagine how they must be feeling, especially this close to the holidays. We would love for you to spread the word on your own blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Let's make a difference and use blogging in a positive way.

Thank you in advance for participating.


The Blog World

Thanks to Mariel at Living For His Glory for sharing this.

Free Sierra Mist at Walmart

I wanted to share this with all of you.  Holiday gatherings are coming up or are already upon us and we have all been asked to bring something.  Or maybe you want to stick up for your home.  I wanted to share with you a fantastic coupon find.

There is a $1 off of 1 2-Liter bottle of Sierra Mist coupon at Kroger and affiliates in the soda aisle in a blinkie machine (you know the machine on the shelf where you can pull out a coupon).  At Walmart, Sierra Mist 2-Liters are $1 each. 

The Kroger Krazy website also mentions a hang tag that is for Buy 4 Get 1 2-Liter product free of Sierra Mist or Schweppes Ginger Ale.  I had to go to 2 Krogers to get my coupons and I do vaguely remember the hang tag, but I was so gung ho on getting the blinkie coupon, I didn't really pay it any attention.

Here is an example of one of my receipts.

Also, to see a picture of the coupon, please visit Kroger Krazy's post at

I don't know how long this deal will go on so go and get you free Sierra Mist now!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Giving Thanks

This year's Thanksgiving was an interesting one.  Usually my mother and her brothers spend it together along with their children and grandchildren at one of their houses.  For whatever reason, that did not happen this year.  I spent a great day with my brother and mother as they were both nursing colds and preferred not to be around anyone else.  I ended up doing a lot of the cooking which was different, but I truly enjoyed it.  My uncle called my mother and said that Christmas we as a family all need to get together.  I totally agree.

This past year and a half has been a trying year for us.  My mom lost her sister in September of 2011 - she fought a long fight with colon cancer.  Then a few days before New Year's, another aunt passed (my mom's younger brother's wife) after battling a lifetime of illness.  In March, my other aunt passed (my mom's older brother's wife).  Now she is the only girl left.  I know it has been really hard on her - but it has been hard on all of us.  To lose 3 strong women so closely - I can't imagine.  She lived with me for about 3-4 months during that time.  She just couldn't bear to be by herself.

So when I think I Thanksgiving, I think of how grateful I am that God has truly been there for my family.  Even in times of sorrow and recently in times of joy (a cousin was just born), I can say that we are truly blessed.  I am thankful for all of the time that I spend with my family and look forward to many more wonderful times. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Erin Condren Life Planner review

It arrived!  I received my Erin Condren Life Planner 2 weeks ago.  It was soo worth the wait (and the online stalking).

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Erin Condren is a stationary designer that designs personalized stationary, planners, and journals.  With products made in the USA with lots of love, whatever you buy is well made and worth the wait.

Here is my planner.  I debated long and hard to find a cover with purple in it that would really compel me to use my planner.  I chose the Rad Plaid design.

The first section lists special dates and anniversaries in a perpetual calendar format.
Each month has a two-page spread in which to highlight special dates and appointments, etc.
Weekly pages are divided in 3 sections daily - morning, day, and night.  I use these sections mainly for my work tasks and it works great.  The main reason why I purchased this planner was to be able to see all of my tasks in one glance.  The Erin Condren planner has been a tremendous help for me in this area and I am able to stay on top of all of my to-dos.  I use sticky notes to list any messages are immediate things that I have to take care of.
One of my favorite parts has to be the Keep it Together folder.  I am bad for having scraps of papers and notes stuffed into other notebooks.  Then whatever happens and they are gone.  This folder keeps everything in one place.  Right now, I have coupons in it as well as some mail that I need to follow up on. 
All and all, I love my Erin Condren planner.  I have only had for about 2 weeks and I take it everywhere with me.  I don't have a color-coding pen system like some other people do.  I may do a post later to show you how I am using it - haven't decided yet.  As I get new tasks or have appointments, I list them in the appropriate weekly section.  Once I have completed the task, I put a little check mark.  This way, I know I have completed the task, but I don't make through it so that I can refer back.  Also, the Erin Condren team is very responsive.  I went to a conference last week and was afriad that I might not get my planner in time.  They assured me that it would ship and I received it very quickly once I explained my concerns.
Some of you may wonder why everyone is obsessed about Erin Condren and her life planner.  Once you get one you will see! 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

For Mary - Anyone Can Get Lung Cancer

Yesterday, I signed up for the Breathe Deep Atlanta Lung Cancer Walk sponsored by Lungevity Foundation.  I'll be walking in support of my mother, a lung cancer survivor.  I know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month - my grandmother died from breast cancer.  But when my mom was diagnosed, the assumption that she smoked was too much - because she didn't.  You can read about my mom's story in my post, Standing Up For Mary.  I wanted to share with you a few facts that you may not know about lung cancer.

The Statistics

  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, regardless of gender or ethnicity.
  • Lung cancer impacts one in 14 Americans and kills more than colorectal, breast, pancreatic, and prostate cancers combined.
  • Lung cancer kills almost twice as many women as breast cancer, and more than three times as many men as prostate cancer.
  • About 55% of all new lung cancer diagnoses are among people who have never smoked or are former smokers.
  • Lung cancer accounts for 14% of all new cancer diagnoses but 28% of all cancer deaths.
One major fact that us in the Lung Cancer supporter community are trying to end is the stigma.  Anyone Can Get Lung Cancer - you don't have to have smoked or lived with a smoker.  You can be old and you can be young.  The following story truly touched me.  I have decided to do a weekly post (or more) on Lung Cancer to get the word out. 

Jill lost her battle with Lung Cancer.  Her wish was to beat this disease.  Let's do more!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Weekend Blog Walk: Greetings

I just wanted to say hello to any of the new visitors who might come via the Weekend Blog Walk.  This is my first time doing a link up and I am pretty excited.  This blog is just about me and my daily life. 

But..since you are here...

(Just a fun question)

If you could visit any country, where would you go and why?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Waiting Game

Remember one of my first posts on the Erin Condren Life Planner?  Well, I bit the bullet and purchased it last week.  Now I am in the waiting game, becoming almost OCD checking the website for an status.  I know that is is really not that serious, but only a few things have capitivated my attention like the planner.  I think it is because it is very practical but very different and personalized that has truly made me want one.

I am definately going to do a post so that you all can see the unboxing - maybe a vlog, who knows.

On another note, can you believe that it is October already!  This time of year is my absolute favorite.  Waiting on the leaves to change or watching them change is oh so breathtaking and reminds me of all of the special celebrations that take place in my life this time of year.

  • My Pastor's anniversary at my church
  • Football games
  • Fall Leaves and Cool Breezes
  • Breathe Deep Atlanta Lung Cancer Walk
  • Birthdays! (mine ;) )
  • Christmas
  • New Year's
I don't really celebrate Halloween but I do get candy in case some kids come by.  They haven't in the past couple of years - yet I still buy it.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Trip Down Memory Lane

This past weekend was a busy one for me.  It started off on Friday at the City of Refuge volunteer project. Then a prayer breakfast on Saturday morning and a cooking class in the afternoon.  In the hustle and bustle of going to and fro, I was able to take time to think about life and reminise on various events.  Here is my little trip down memory lane.

  • Volunteer Day: My volunteer experience really began as a candy striper at DeKalb Medical Center.  I served from 8th-12th grade.  I really loved my time helping the patients and nurses.  In fact, I didn't even have a job in high school as I was busy being a volunteer.

  • Cool Fall Mornings: I think my favorite season is Fall.  The cool crisp air reminds me of comfort, warmth..and football (lol).  Not to mention that when fall begins, the leaves turn on the trees.  And soon after we have the winter holidays and my birthday!

  • Japan: The Japanese cooking class condjured up so many emotions that I am not even sure if I could settle on one thing.  We cooked miso chicken, takegomi rice, and sweet potatoes.  The food was delicious and even the tv shows we watched were nostaligic.

What has happened to you that makes it easy to travel along life's journey? 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Where Good Works - City of Refuge

Today was a great day.  Every year, the company I work for, 2 Places At 1 Time, holds an annual volunteer day where employees nationwide give back in their local communities.  This year the staff in Atlanta volunteered at City of Refuge.  City of Refuge is in fact that - a place of hope and rebuilding in a community ravaged by poverty and crime.  Our task was to work in the Eden Garden. 

When we met the Volunteer Coordinator, Phil, he gave us bracelets that said "Where Good Works" Micah 6:8.  This bible verse reads: (taken from New King James Version)

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

I don't always do this.  I know what is right in so many situations, but do I always do what the Lord requires of me to do.  If someone is hurting or going through a bad situation, I should do whatever is in my power to assist them and build them up - not tear them down.  I never intend to do them harm - but my inaction can often speak volumes.

City of Refuge is a blessed place.  You can feel the love there.  You feel safe there.  Not one time, did I even think of what neighborhood I was in - in terms of feeling afraid.  They are doing the Good Work and continues to spread God's message of love and healing to those who need it.

I think of the times that I am asked to help others and I complain or asked to give a hand to those in need and I do it begrudgingly.  I may not have nothing going on but I am mad that someone asked for my time.  Is it possible that I have nothing going on because it was for me to help them.  I am sure that is the case.  I will gladly wear my bracelet so I can share with others about the City of Refuge and how we can me be models of Micah 6:8 and do what the Lord requires of us to do.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Friday Night Fireworks

This past Friday, I went to a high school football game.  As someone who was a member of my high school marching band from 8th - 12th grade, as much as I love football, I am also very interested in the marching band.  But for whatever reason, I hadn't gone to any high school football games since I graduated.  Well I take that back - I went to one.

My younger cousins were playing.  It was the game of the week - Southwest Dekalb vs Stephenson.  Football team vs Football team, Band vs Band.  One of my younger cousins vs the other cousin.  Whoever was the victor would definately have bragging rights.  And to top it all off, my uncle is the Offensive Coordinator for Southwest Dekalb.  I couldn't miss it - even though I was starting to come down with a sinus cold.

Traffic was horrible.  It had rained earlier that day which made things worse.  Determined to support and represent, I finally made it to the stadium at about 8pm. (The game started at 7:30pm).  I decided to sit on the Stephenson side, for no other reason than that I figured more of my family would be on that side and that it would be more fun.  I am so glad I did.  I got there about 2 minutes before halftime.  Looking through the crowd, I spotted my family and waited until the buzzer sounded so that I could make my way down the bleachers to where they were sitting.

I tried to hide my excitement, but I couldn't wait to see the Stephenson band.  As the visiting team, they went first.  Memories came back as I looked at the drills.  This band was really good. But the best was truly to come.  As they finished an amazing set, all of a sudden they started playing the them from "Superman" and formed the "S" symbol on the field.  And then....

An epic move that cannot be duplicated because it will be imitated.

Because imitation is the highest form of flattery (lol).  There were FIREWORKS!  I'm sorry, but I will remember that forever.  It was AMAZING.

My phone ran out of power so I couldn't video tape it, but here is a video of the band from 2 years ago. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Encourage Yourself

It's been too long since I last made a blog post - sorry everyone!  At times life s gets in the way.  It's at those times, those moments you need a little encouragement.  But what do you do when you have no one to lean on?  You have to encourage yourself.

This past week, I really went through a rollar coaster of emotions.  I had a not so favorable review at work, sorta bad family news about the health of loved ones, and more news concerning a sibling.  All I know to do is to pray for a way to help me know that I can make it - but it can be hard.  When people constantly turn to you for help, who is it that I can turn to.  That's why encouraging yourself is so important.

You can do it!

You are deserving.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Encourage yourself - it helps me.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


As I watch the morning news, I am often reminded of how blessed I am.  The news used to be a place that I went to to get the morning weather report, traffic report, and to know what is going on in the world.  Too often these days, it has turned into a place where you are reminded don't eat that, don't go there, don't pick that up, and don't even think about...doing anything or you will get hurt, sick or die.  How depressing it can be.

But I am reminded of the better things and for that I start to smile. 
  • God - without my belief in Him, there is no way I could make it.  If you believe in a higher power, find peace in knowing you can draw strength to make each day a better day for yourself and others.
  • Health - Yes, I am starting to get aches and pains in my 30-something body, but I am thankful for my health.  I am not sick and I'm free of disease.  I am embracing learning and striving to live a healthier lifestyle in all ways.
  • Family and Friends - I am thankful for those people who are in my life.  I do whatever I can for them and hopefully they would return the favor if needed.  But if not, my life is enriched for being a part of theirs.
  • Others - I am reminded that God wants us to love our neighbors and others.  Sometimes this is not a easy feat.  The driver who cuts you off on the road, the person in a hurry in the store who bumps you are knocks you down and doesn't acknowledge what they goes on and on.  It's your reaction that determines truly who you are. 
This was just a few of things that I thought about this morning.  What are the things that make you smile?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Standing Up for Mary

My mother has cancer - lung cancer. When you are young and growing up, cancer is always something that other people get. It doesn't affect you. You feel sorry for those who have it but go about your merry way and really don't think about it - until it happens to you or to someone you love. That is what happened for me almost 5 years ago.

My mother went in for a routine doctor exam and was told she was pre-diabetic. As always happens in my family, she armed herself with the all the tools to take care of herself. She went to nutrition classes, took her readings and took the prescribed meds. Mama would share with me the recipes she got and she even started working out at the local senior center. She was getting healthier and it was great to see. One night I was woken by a call. Mama was at emergency, they may have to intibate her, come now. What?!? It had to be like 2am? Was this a joke? I tried to call my brother back but he didn't answer. I rushed to the hospital and she was taking a breathing treatment. Apparently she had an allergic reaction to her diabetic medication, lysinopril and it almost cut off her airway. She spent a day or two in ICU as they got her stabilized. She was put on steroids as a treatment and was sent home. Some how I realized something just wasn't right.

A week later I got another call. Mama was taken to the hospital for heart palpitations. By now I am starting to question what is going on. The palpitations were due to the steroid treatment. She was in the Cardiac Unit for observations and tests. One of the tests showed something - they weren't quite sure what it was. More tests were ordered. As we advance forward about a month, after a lot more tests and biopsies, I find myself waiting in the hospital waiting room. She was in surgery having a biopsy done on her lymph nodes and lung. If it is benign, they would remove her lymph nodes and the upper right lobe of her lung. If it is cancerous, they would close her up, she would have radiation and chemo to shrink the tumor, then they would go in and remove the lymph nodes and upper right lobe. It was cancer. My mother, a never smoker had lung cancer. I had read not so good things about lung cancer - I wasn't prepared for this.

But my mom is a fighter and a wonderful woman. She went through her treatments with the determination to live and fight this disease. Right now, she is doing wonderfully well. They don't see any evidence of the disease and will soon take her off of her chemo treatment - which he is happily looking forward to. We have lost others in my family to various forms of cancer. But I have always believed that my mother was given this disease to be a testament to others that you can beat it and you can live. Don't look down on those who are going through illnesses. It is only with your well-wishes and prayers that they draw the strength to endure.

As I listened to some of the stories on the Stand Up 2 Cancer show tonight, I was reminded of the stories that they did not highlight. They didn't tell my mom's story or may never know about her. But I do. And I am standing up for her. Lung Cancer is the least funded of all of the cancers but affect the most people. We have to stop the stigma that associates it with blame of something that you did to your self. No one deserves cancer. Support those who are fighting. I'm Standing Up For Mary. Are you?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My little obsession

I think I have a problem.  Well I wouldn't really call it a problem - maybe just a small obsession.  I was watching an Organized Like Jen video update on her FiloFax system and it reminded me to start using my Franklin Covey planner that I was so gung ho about earlier this year.  I really loved using it but the pages ending up being too thick for the binder so I couldn't put the entire year in it.  After finding myself not using it to its total functionality..I just drifted off to another notebook.  But then Jen did an update video and it reminded me why I purchased it - organizing my day and time is a necessity.

While looking at her video, I noticed another video about a life planner.  I watched it and the obsession began.  I have fallen in love with the Erin Condren Life Planner.  I really really want one, but I am just not able to afford one at the moment - plus my current planner is not done. I must have checked out every youtube video and every blog to thoroughly check it out to see if it is something that I really wanted.  It is.

What's so great about it, you may ask. From it's bright, colorful pages, to the simple designs- it's functional, personalized, and when I get one, everything I need to stay on task. (Anyone doing a giveaway or know of a coupon code? lol)

I would love to know if anyone is on the fence of getting a Life Planner.  If you have one, how has it made you more organized?

Introducing - Traveling Steps

Welcome to my first post on my new blog, Traveling Steps!  I am excited to start a new project where I share with you all those things that I find important as I travel through life.  These words are my traveling steps.

This blog will be a little about everything, but here is a little background about my main topics.

Southern Girl:
I'm a Georgia girl - born and raised in Georgia and I went to UGA. Go Dawgs!!!

I love Japanese culture, language, the country, and most of all the people.  I studied Japanese through school and went to Japan on several occassions - homestay, study abroad, and working as a teacher on the JET Program.  I am not actively involved with the JET Program alumni association.

Lung Cancer:
My mother, a never smoker, was diagnosed with lung cancer almost 4 years ago.  I hope to share her story.  Amazingly, doctors see no evidence of cancer.  We can only praise God for his blessings, healing, and favor.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.