Category Archives: Tough Life Thursdays

Vitamins and Supplements for Preconception

Yesterday’s post explored pre-conception from both the woman’s and the man’s point of view (well, the way I saw it anyway).  Today, I want to provide a brief rundown of recommended vitamins and supplements for women trying to get pregnant.  These tips are from Before Your Pregnancy: A 90-Day Guide for Couple on How to Prepare for a Healthy Conception by Amy Ogle, M.S., R.D., and Lisa Mazzullo, M.D.

Most prenatal vitamins will contain these and other essentials for preconception periods.  The following are recommended vitamins and supplements for healthy, well-nurished women.  Always see your doctor first about the proper regiment for you. 

Folic Acid (Vitamin B)

Folic Acid is a vitamin B supplement.  It is known to reduce the risks of such fetal and birth defects as spina bifida, and anencephaly, which is incomplete brain development.  Folic acid supplements should begin at least one month prior to conception to ensure effectiveness.  Women are recommended to take 400 mcg (micrograms) daily for preconception.

Other Vitamin B Supplements

Vitamin B1 plays a role in converting carbohydrates into energy and is necessary for proper function of the nervous system.  Women are recommended to take 1.1 mg daily during preconception.

Vitamin B2 assists the body in its use of energy from different food sources.  Women are recommended to take 1.1 mg daily during preconception. 

Vitamin B6 promotes amino acid and protein metabolism and a healthier nervous system, immune system, red blood cells and cardiovascular system. Women are recommended to take approx. 100% of the daily value for Vitamin B6 during preconception, while never exceeding 100 mg.

Vitamin B12 is necessary for normal red blood cell formation.  It also needed to help maintain the nervous system and cardiovascular health.  B12 is especially important for vegetarians.  Women are recommended to take approx. 2.4 mcg daily during preconception. 

Niacin (Vitamin B) assists the body in its use of energy from different food sources and is essential to maintaining a healthy nervous system, skin and digestive tract.  Women are recommended to take 14 mcg daily during preconception.

Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B) is necessary for the metabolism of fats, protein, and carbohydrates.  Women’s recommended daily dosage during preconception is 5 mg.

Biotin (Vitamin B) is also necessary for the metabolism of fats, protein and carbohydrates.  30 mcg is considered an adequate dosage of daily intake during preconception.  A recommended dosage has not been established.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A assists with the maintenance of healthy bones, skin, and gastrointestinal and urinary tracts.  It also plays an essential role in maintaining vision. Women are recommended to take 2300 IU (international unites) or 700 mcg RAE (Retinal Activity Equivalents) daily during preconception.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D strengthens bones and teeth by assisting the utility function of calcium and phosphorus in the body.  Women are recommended to take 200 IU daily during preconception.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E has antioxidant properties.  It works with Vitamin C to protect cell membranes from damage.  It is not well-established that Vitamin E can reduce the risk of miscarriage or age-related decreases in fertility.  Women are recommended to take 15 mg (milligrams) daily during preconception. 

Vitamin K

 Vitamin K plays an important role in normal blood clotting.  It also assists with placing calcium into the bones.  Women are recommended to take 90 mcg daily during preconception.  

Iron, Zinc, Calcium, Selenium, Other Minerals

Iron helps our immune system and assists the oxygen-carrying compounds hemoglobin in red blood cells.  Women are recommended to take 18 mg daily for preconception. 

Zinc promotes metabolic processes, growth, immune system function, tissue health and a healthy appetite.  Women are recommended to take 8 mg daily during preconception. 

Calcium maintains bone and teeth strength.  It also helps to maintain muscle-contraction, blood pressure regulation, and immunity.  The safe and adequate intake of calcium is 1000 mg daily during preconception.  A recommended dosage has not been established.  

Selenium is an antioxidant working in conjunction with Vitamin E for the protection of cells.  Women are recommended to take 55 mcg daily during preconception. 

Other minerals and their recommended daily doses for preconception include:

Phosphorus: 700 mg.

Magnesium: 310-320 mg

Iodine: 150 mcg

Copper: 900 mcg

Manganese: 1.8 mg

Fluoride: 3 mg

Chromium: 25 mcg

Sodium: minimum of 500 mg daily, no recommended dosage established.

Chloride: minimum of 750 mg daily, no recommended dosage established.

Potassium: minimum of 2000 mg daily, no recommended dosage established.

TOUGH LIFE THURSDAYS is a self-development forum.  It takes from my own experiences and desired self-improvement, and I hope it will evolve through input by you and others.  If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive updates by email or RSS reader.  

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Filed under Family, marriage, Marriage and Relationships, relationships, Tough Life Thursdays

Finding A Home In An Unfamiliar Place

Yesterday, I started my search for a house in Gulfport, Mississippi, where I am planning to move in July.  My husband is stationed there and will be returning from Kuwait in August.  Ideally, I will have found a place for us to live and will be completely moved in and set up by the time he gets home.  Once there, I will also be setting up a home office so that I can continue work with my firm from Gulfport.  I will write more about setting up a home office in another post. 

Even though I hadn’t officially started my house search before yesterday, my husband had started sending me listings from Craigslist a couple of weeks ago.  The houses were gorgeous, but I decided to wait a while before seriously pursuing property.  At that time, although a few of the listings excited me, I was powerless to take any action.  It was too far out for me to make a commitment and I was not prepared to travel to Mississippi at that time to see any of the properties.  So, my excitement was futile.  I decided to just wait until the beginning of May to begin my search. 

I will also plan to travel to Gulfport at the end of May or the beginning of June to look at properties.  By the first part of June, I might be ready to make a commitment.  I might even decide to move a little earlier if the right place comes along. 

If you are planning to find housing in an place where you’ve never lived, here are some things you can do to stay on track.  This may be especially useful for my fellow military families who are moving to the next duty station in an unfamiliar area. 

Visit Before You Start Considering Property

If it is at all possible, I would definitely recommend visiting the place to which you intend to move before you start looking for a place to live. You will get a much better feel for how it will be living there, if you’ve seen it for yourself. You can also plan to visit different communities in search of one suited to your interests and budget.

I have only been to Mississippi one time in my life and that was back in February of this year when I went to visit my husband right before he deployed to Kuwait.  It was supposed to just be a visit to spend some time and say our goodbyes. 

Luckily, with limited things to do in Mississippi, we kind of planned on the fly to drive around in search of desirable communities for living.  At the time, we thought we might want to try and buy a house (well, really it was me that wanted to consider it) so we were actually looking at new houses for sale.  But, we ended up finding a couple of really nice communities and these became our target communities.  I will look at these and other comparable communities when trying to find a home. 

While in Mississippi, my husband and I were also fortunate to have had a waitress in a restaurant that lived in the same area and was able to tell us which areas to stay away from.  She had bought her house right before Katrina hit and was able to offer us some great insight into living in that area.

Property Listing Websites: Craigslist, Military by Owner

If you intend to find your own housing, as opposed to going with a real estate agent, websites offering real estate listings are a great and convenient tool.

Yesterday, I started with Craigslist ( and Military by Owner (  On both of these websites, you can specify a state and an area for finding property, as well as other criteria such as the number of bedrooms and rental price range. 

Once I found a property I liked, I sent an email inquiring about whether the property was still available and whether it would be shown.  In some cases, I requested additional information, such as a street address or community designation and more photos. 

Since it is important to my husband to be only a short distance from the base, I also used Google Maps to determine the location of a particular house and its proximity to the base. Google Maps has a great satellite feature that allows you to view the street where a house is located.

Plan to Go and See Properties After You Have Made Some Selections

If it is possible, plan a second trip right before it is time for you to move to go and see the properties you have selected.  You will definitely want to do a walk-thru of the property to look for defects and things that were not represented or were not represented accurately in the property listing.  These things will be red flags that you will need to use to weight and rank your selections. 

In case you are not able to see the property yourself, maybe you can make other arrangements if you have family or friends in the area.  Recently a work colleague of mine moved to Washington state.  Since he wasn’t able to travel out there to see properties for himself, he got a friend to go and look at the properties instead.  It is always a good idea to have someone’s eyes on the property, someone that you trust, before you make any commitment.

I will continue to search for properties over the next couple of weeks and will then plan a trip to Gulfport to see these properties for myself.  Even though my husband will not be home to visit with me, he will participate in the selection through the internet and by email.  He will be able to see the properties online and we can discuss our options on the phone. 

Have you ever had to move to a place where you have never lived or even visited?  How did you find a place?

TOUGH LIFE THURSDAYS is a self-development forum.  It takes from my own experiences and desired self-improvement, and I hope it will evolve through input by you and others.  If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive updates by email or RSS reader.

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Filed under Career, Family, marriage, Marriage and Military, Real Estate, Tough Life Thursdays

Development – Back On, Tweet Nice

Back On Schedule

Last week in Development Interrupted, I questioned whether the indiscrete signature block would cause further delay in this two-year development.  Instead, today, I see that they have cleaned up the graffiti and have moved forward with building the staircases.  I had a nice photo of the improvement but the image is not cooperating.  So, I have to ask you to use a little imagination, return to my previous post, and imagine the same building, with no signature.  

Nice work guys!  Moving right along according to schedule. 

All You Gotta Do Is Be Nice

Yesterday, I was alienated on Twitter.  Not a big deal really.  Once I unsubscribed to this person’s blogs and stopped following this person on Twitter, I felt a lot better. 

Anyone who knows me, knows that my humor is about as dry as old bread, except when you don’t know me and have never interacted with me.  Then, I’m not so much looking for dryness, but a little courtesy, at least in the beginning, and especially when I am supporting you and your business.  I think the general rule should be that if you are on Twitter, you should assume that everyone is a writer or content distributor and that anything you say or do will be published the next day. 

Now, generally, I’m not a tattle tale and I don’t like to name names so I won’t.  I will just tell you, in a general, that this person is a professional blogger, also known as a Problogger.

So, this is what happened.  Yesterday, I was on Twitter for all of 10 minutes, which is about my average in a week these days.  I am trying to be more ‘proactive’ in building a network on social networking websites, yada, yada.  I first responded, albeit late, to a girl that had sent me a direct message.  Then I noticed a question from this Problogger person.  It was something to the effect of being in a book store and wanting to buy a book.  This person asked for recommendations.  Harmless. 

 Well, although I haven’t read any good books lately, I had just purchased a book online on the same day.  I purchased BoneMan’s Daughters by Ted Dekker.  It is a dark tale about an Iraqi veteran who discovers that his daughter has been kidnapped by a serial killer.  Only, at some point in the story he winds up suspected of being the serial killer.  It promises to be an intensely thrilling, and bone-chilling horror story.  No pun intended. 

Just to give you a little background, I had been looking for more of these types of stories, not because I am an overly morbid individual, but because I thrive on the adrenaline rush I get from reading these types of novels.  Right now, my number one adrenaline-provoking favorite is Intensity by Dean Koontz.  I have been looking for novels that can match that intensity.  Again, no puns.

Anyway, since this problogging individual had asked for a recommendation, I offered up Boneman since it was fresh on my mind and with a qualifier about its morbidity.  He responds quite dryly, something about needing to stop asking these sorts of questions and that the richness and numerousness of my recommendation nearly paralyzed him… er, uh, this person.

Anyway, it was a minor, minor slight, but enough to piss me off.  Maybe he was being funny, maybe he wasn’t.  Maybe he’s just an ass.  It doesn’t matter really, I immediately signed off of all of this person’s brands.  

Now, maybe this person cares, and maybe this person doesn’t, but in order to earn my following, and loyal business, all you gotta do is be nice. 


TOUGH LIFE THURSDAYS is a self-development forum.  It takes from my own experiences and desired self-improvement, and I hope it will evolve through input by you and others.  If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive updates by email or RSS reader.  

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Development, Interrupted

I took this picture yesterday of a newly developed property in my neighborhood.  The development has been a slow process… almost two years, but we seemed to be getting close to completion.  The doors and windows had just been installed within the past two weeks.  And then this…


This signature appeared earlier this week.  I don’t know how easy it will be for the owner(s)/developer(s) to fix this, but I suspect that now we are in for further delay on completion of this project.  This saddens me because it means that my neighborhood is not progressing quite as quickly as myself and a lot of my neighbors had hoped. 

There is no point in me asking why something like this would happen.  I can perceive of the many reasons why these types of things happen.  But, it doesn’t make it any less disgraceful.  

TOUGH LIFE THURSDAYS is a self-development forum.  It takes from my own experiences and desired self-improvement, and I hope it will evolve through input by you and others.  If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive updates by email or RSS reader.  


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The Longest Facebook Comment String

Facebook by benstein

Facebook by benstein

Yesterday, one of my elementary school classmates posted our sixth grade class picture on Facebook.  Now, I think I am witnessing one of the longest comment strings on a Facebook photo that I’ve ever seen, 64 comments and counting.  Really, its more like 76 because the photo is so large that my classmate had to divide the photo into halves and post each half as a separate picture.  There are twelve comments on the other half.  

So many of us from that photo have added two cents or more to the comment stream.  The conversation has been flowing all day.  So many memories, two fallen classmates and so many years later, we all just want to send a shout out, share our awkward memories and friend the people we haven’t already friended in one massive reconnection after all this time.  

Facebook rocks.

 TOUGH LIFE THURSDAYS is a self-development forum.  It takes from my own experiences and desired self-improvement, and I hope it will evolve through input by you and others.  If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive updates by email or RSS reader.  



Filed under social networking, Tough Life Thursdays

Living Before Dying

an Fear Marbh by mozzercork

an Fear Marbh by mozzercork

At today, You’re Going to Die the Way You Live tells us a little about living before dying.  The article is about the terminally ill, some who take the time to execute life-filled forms of closure with family, friends and even enemies before their time has come.  It is about the fact that too often the time left is used only for tying up loose ends and making final arrangements rather than living life to the fullest and dying the way one has lived.  Too often, the time left is spent on just being afraid.

Fear of the unknown, as I can only imagine, must be one of the most difficult obstacles to living right before death.  I have thought before about dying.  I have even thought about an ‘afterlife,’ although temporally speaking rather than matter-of-factly as a place or physical state.  I don’t subscribe to the concept of heaven or hell and I am very satisfied with the reality that I don’t know what will happen to me when I die.

I do know that there are a lot of things of which I am afraid.  For example, I am afraid of even writing this post, for fear that this writing will be prophetic or simply coincidentally and unfortunately timed. 

Being afraid of death, however, can only ever be from the perspective of being alive.  Ultimately, I believe without knowing, that my fear is insignificant because just as we are unaware of life before we live, we will be equally unaware of death after we die.  I am not immune, however, to taking comfort in the thought that our loved ones in death are still with us somehow and are indeed, paradoxically, dead but conscious of where they are and where we are.

Finally, I am afraid of missing out on life, a fear certainly taken from the perspective of life.  Not to trivialize death, but I liken it to having to leave the party at its climax or having to leave in the middle of a very stimulating conversation.  After death, I am no longer able to contribute my thoughts and I will not hear the rest of the story.  Instead, a snapshot of me will be captured and frozen there for all of eternity or until the last memory of me has been forgotten or forgone.   

In spite of my fears, I want to live everyday of my life to the fullest before dying.  Although this article was inspired by a writing about life before death for the terminally ill, I think that each of us should hope and wish for a long and prosperous life, while setting aside our fears and living life to the fullest before we die.   

TOUGH LIFE THURSDAYS is a self-development forum.  This is likely to be biased toward my own experiences and desired self-improvement, but I hope it will evolve through input by you and others.  If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive updates by email or RSS reader.  

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The Good In Setting and Sharing Goals, My Goals for Aspire to Grace

I feel like the time has come for me to set some concrete goals for Aspire to Grace for the rest of 2009.  But for now, I will start with goals for the month and build from there. I started this website two months ago not really knowing how far I could go or in which direction. I feel like I’ve done a lot in this short period of time, although I know there is a lot more that I could be doing. It is a challenge to provide updated content every day during the work week while also having a full-time career where overtime is an expectation. Among the few reasons that it has gone as smoothly for me as it has is my love for writing number one and the fact that I am in an empty house every evening while my husband is away.

Now is the time for me to lay the foundation for the path that I would like to follow with Aspire to Grace. In a few months, I will need to transition into moving, maintaining a full-time home office, spending quality time with my husband when he returns, and maintaining this blog. At least, this is what I am planning. But, I will need to determine whether and how this transition will work.

Setting Goals

We should already know that setting goals is a great way to sort out in our minds where we would like to go in the future. Some goals are very small like establishing that you would like to wash the dishes, clean the house, or get the car washed. On the other hand, some goals are quite grand such as a goal to become wealthy, become the President of the United States, or build a personal flying machine to replace the automobile.

Many times, it is appropriate for us to set medium goals. Goals that may require some good and productive work but are definitely achievable in the short term. These are the types of goals that keep us moving forward. They are at the same time a carrot on a stick and a bit of wind at our backs. They also keep us motivated and a little intimidated at the same time.

Sharing Goals

Not only does the setting of goals keep us organized, but the sharing of goals can keep us committed. Once you have articulated one of your goals to someone you know such as a friend or spouse, how do you feel? If you are a person that likes to keep your word, who values your own credibility, then something as small as verbally expressing your goal will commit you to the task.

I remember when I was younger, I was afraid to tell people what I was planning to do because I feared that I would not follow through and would look silly. Usually, I was right and did not follow through. But did I fail to follow through because of poor planning, or because, since no one else knew about it, it didn’t feel like such a failure?

Now, while I am still reluctant to share every detail of the goals that I set for myself, I am a lot more likely to state my goals out loud, if only to keep myself accountable. This brings me to the reason for this post.

Goals for Aspire to Grace

First, let me start with the goals that I have set and have already achieved. To illustrate my previous point, take note that these goals that I have already achieved were set rather quietly and because I have some achievements under my belt, I am just now getting to the point where I am more confident about articulating further goals.

1. At the end of last year, I set a goal of starting a blog at the first of this year.  I started Aspire to Grace on January 31, 2009.

2. I planned to choose a niche topic on which to write.  I ended up choosing five different topics that interest me for every weekday.  This enables me to stay motivated and inspired to write a post everyday.

3. During the first week of March, I set a goal to reach 35 unique visitors in one day by the following week.  Until that point, about a month into my blog, my highest traffic day was 19 visitors. Although, I did not reach 35 visitors the following week, I did reach 31 visitors as a result of my own link back to Aspire to Grace on Reddit. Three weeks later (last week) I reached 109 visitors in a day because someone submitted a link to my story on Road Etiquette to StumbleUpon.

Here are some goals that I have set for the coming weeks. I’m still a bit of a punk, so I want to start out with small goals over short periods that should increase in greatness over time. But, at least I am articulating them here, so I am definitely committed.

1. By May 1, I’d like to have 10 unaffiliated subscribers. Right now, I only have 1 subscriber that is not affiliated with me through friendship, family or marriage. A big shout out to my peeps that know, love and support me!! Big shout out also to my lone subscriber that I don’t know, thank you for being my first. I hope to have 9 more like you soon enough!

2. This month, I’d like to submit three more articles to directories such as E-Zine. I have already submitted two articles, but each were replicas of posts that I have done on Aspire to Grace. My understanding now is that it is best to submit unique articles to such directories since search engines frown upon duplicate works appearing in the search engine.

3. I’d like to write a guest post on another web blog or have an article appear in a carnival. Guest posts and carnivals are great ways to gain exposure for your work, while building credibility for your blog.

I am going to keep it simple with these three goals. At the end of this month, I will review these goals to see which ones I have achieved and which ones still need some work. At any rate, I will continue moving forward as I work on completing these and other goals that I have set in other areas of my life. I will keep you updated as to my progress.

Do you set and share your goals? What are some goals that you are working onnow?

TOUGH LIFE THURSDAYS is a self-development forum. This is likely to be biased toward my own experiences and desired self-improvement, but I hope it will evolve through input by you and others. If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive updates by email or RSS reader.

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