You may have noticed that there is now some advertising on the site here, and I wanted to call attention to it because it’s all affiliate marketing, which means one important thing: I chose every ad you’ll see, and I chose them for good reasons. Not all of them are for services or products I use, like with the ads for Weebly, but they’re ones I feel I can reasonably and solidly recommend.

One in particular I like is Pure Therapeutics. I use their Methyl-B Complete capsules, which give me methylated B-12 along with folate and the other things I need because I have a mutated MTHFR gene (that’s another story, but it means without those little capsules, my energy levels drop off to pretty much zero), and they’ve been a great value and are safe ingredients for me.

I also made sure to become an affiliate marketer for Malwarebytes, because their Mac adware and malware software is the only one I really truly trust, and I love sharing software that has saved my bacon before.

I could go on, but just know that when you see an ad on my blog, it’s because I selected them and trust them, so you can feel comfortable clicking on any of them. I have to copy the code by hand, and I’m not going to put anything up here that’s not worth that effort.

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Amazon Prime Day Begins at 3PM!

It’s just about here!  Amazon Prime Day is the single biggest day for Amazon Prime signups in the company’s sales each year, and it’s no surprise, since you can’t get their biggest deals without being a member.  Better yet, you can get it all with the free trial, so you’re not even stuck paying $119 for the year if it’s not a good value for you.

Amazon’s own devices are some of their biggest sellers, with the Kindle Paperwhite being an incredible deal right now, especially if you have a previous Kindle to trade in.  It’s on sale for $79 right now, down from $119, and then if you trade in a previous generation Kindle (super easy if it’s on your Amazon account!), you get an additional 25% off plus up to $25 for the old device itself as an instant gift card, before you’ve even actually sent it back!  Take a look here:

While you’re at it, sign up for Kindle Unlimited and get yourself some free reading, and again, cancel the 99¢ trial if it’s not worth it!  Amazon makes it super simple to cancel, and I’ll be upfront about getting a great bonus for each person who signs up for Amazon Prime, Kindle Unlimited, or any other Amazon services, in addition to buying anything through these links!  Thanks for reading!


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An Intolerant Gut

Let’s talk about something most people don’t want to talk about.
The bathroom.
The ins and outs of digestion and excretion aren’t a subject for public discussion usually. We talk about the subject mostly with euphemisms (if we’re trying to be polite) or overly exaggerated euphemisms (if we’re guys trying to get a laugh). If we’re being serious about the subject, there’s a lot of meaningful pauses and empty spaces, or phrases like “not feeling regular”.
I get it. It’s not a subject I discuss openly either. But maybe it should be.
I’m someone who has struggled with a disturbed gut (not a medical term) for years. When I was about 16, I started having big problems that grew and just never went away. If you’re interested in knowing the types of problems without me going into great detail, let’s just say you have two extremes when it comes to bathroom problems, and I swung back and forth between them like a pendulum. I rarely could identify any type of a cause, and I wasn’t the type to dig into an issue, so I just accepted that was the way my body was working and let it go at that.
My wife, however, isn’t so keen to let something go, so when she finally found out about these issues that I was so delicately trying to keep from her (out of love and mercy, mostly), she started prying, and searching for the cause. Good thing, too, because she managed to succeed at finding some relief that I never could.
See, it turns out my body can’t process corn, in any of it’s forms. Or, I guess I don’t know that it’s a matter of not being able to process it, but it hates it. Corn syrup, corn starch, corn meal…doesn’t really matter, though the sugars are definitely the worst culprits.
I suspect this issue is more common than many people would guess, especially with the rising numbers of sufferers from issues like Crohn’s and Celiac’s, which have similar symptoms from a different grain (or often from many grains), but corn isn’t getting the same type of attention, probably because it’s ridiculously hard to identify in most of it’s forms. In order to eliminate corn from your diet, you have to look out for at least these items (and a laundry list of hundreds of others, potentially):

  1. Corn syrup
  2. Corn starch
  3. Corn flour
  4. Cornmeal
  5. Modified food starch
  6. Cellulose
  7. Dextrose
  8. Maltodextrin
  9. Caramel color
  10. Citric acid
  11. Smoke flavoring
  12. Vegetable oil
  13. Glucose
  14. Fructose

Incidentally, that means that while you obviously know to avoid Coca-Cola and Krispy Kreme (or would you?), you also have to watch out for table salt (iodized salt has dextrose, which is a process form of sugar usually derived from corn), baking powder (which usually has cornstarch in it), and many forms of alcohol.  At least I can still have most of the good beers, so maybe it’s been a good thing there.

Even without corn in my diet to the greatest degree we can manage, I’m not exactly sailing through my bathroom visits with all of the pleasantries most people enjoy, but it’s much better, and I no longer feel ill after having a slurpee, mostly because I don’t have them anymore (ever, that stuff is nasty).

I mostly started writing this just to bring some awareness to the issue, and to the fact that we mostly ignore these types of discussions, but it’s worth noting as well that I have been having some success more recently with enzymes from Young Living, and I’m going to be experimenting more with other gut-healthy things as I can (kombucha is good, but start slow, please!), so I can maybe even provide some updates.

If you know anyone experiencing issues like this who hasn’t found a cause, though, suggest they look into going to all fresh foods for a while, without corn or really most other grains, and keep an eye out for these types of nasty little surprises.  It was amazing how long it took us to discover some of these sources of the one thing my body hates above all others.

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The Why Of What I Do

Many people want to know why a business exists, or why a person decides to start selling a product or service, and I imagine many of you feel the same.  It’s a good question, and if you’ve wondered about me, wonder no more!

Still in Beta Designs started from a simple idea I had: I’m not fully functioning, so as a human, I’m still in beta testing mode, not ready for public release but okay for some purposes.  That idea spiraled though my mind and turned into a trickle of ideas, which has become a tornado of wild and crazy concepts, some of which have shown up in my designs.  Other ideas get rejected eventually or are sitting in my long list of ideas that have yet to see fruition but may at some point in the future.

Why actually take these ideas beyond just thoughts and try to sell them?

Why not?

The simplest explanation for any business is always to make money, of course, but that’s a poor substitute for the actual main purpose of making money: to provide for yourself or your family. Many of you may know that I have not been able to provide for my family the way I’d like because of a variety of problems, some of which I’ve either already talked about or will talk about on this blog. When I discovered the idea of using print-on-demand services, at first it just felt like a low-risk way to make some passive income, but I’ve begun to see great potential in the business, because of one simple fact:

I’m not alone.

I don’t think I’m the only one who realizes they’re not perfect.

I’m not the only one who knows they still need help, or time, or work.

And I’m not the only one who needs to be told that’s ok.

So I started sharing my designs, and while I will continue to push the idea that it’s ok not to be perfect (which is good, since no one is), I’ve also continued to broaden my scope.  I’ve added a second storefront (without it’s own dedicated site for now) called Proskuneo to my Spreadshirt and Teespring stores, as well as a few Amazon listings, featuring Godly designs and quotes, many of which will be coming from the works of church fathers like St Augustine, St Francis, Sir Thomas More, and others, as well as Bible verses and inspirational or motivating quotes. You can see those at these three links: | |

So the answer to Why I do this?

Because I’m not perfect.

And that’s ok.

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Amazon Prime Day is Coming!

So every July for a while now, Amazon has been offering some big deals on Prime Day. To be honest, I don’t know that I’ve gotten any of them, except that I have gotten a few deals leading up to it (really, Prime “Day” is misleading, since there’s going to be deals every day leading up to it as well. July 16 at 3PM Eastern is when it all hits the big time this year, and it actually goes through July 17 as well!

Here’s the best part: if you sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime, even if you cancel before you pay a dime, not only do you get to enjoy the big discounts (plus watch shows like The Grand Tour, which I find hilarious) for a month, but I get a nice bonus as well!  If you, or anyone you know, is considering signing up for Prime or for any of Amazon’s services, like Audible or Kindle Unlimited, please consider signing up through my links so I can get the benefit! You can do that from the link in my sidebar or here: Visit the Amazon Prime Day Promo!

An extra note on Audible: I was never a big audiobook person, but I recently started listening to The Happiness Advantage, by Shawn Achor. Some of you may know that depression has been a huge struggle for me, and I’ll probably write a separate post on that at some point, but this has been a great book for me to listen to, but would have been difficult for me to read.  It’s a great alternative to music when I’m driving.  You can get it for free along with a second book of your choice (really, any two books you want, though I really like this one) if you sign up through my link! See the banner below.

Please pass along this message as well!

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New Design Style!

I haven’t done much image compositing for my designs yet, although I’d practiced doing it in the past, but I’ve tried a couple designs now and I like the results.  Check them out!

King of the Universe:

The Majestic Space Unicorn: (or the shop link to the left)

Let me know what you think!

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Obesity Doesn’t Run In My Family

I’ve been overweight, or more accurately, obese, for most of my life.  At times, it’s reached weights that should have scared me, and some of those times, it did scare me, though not often enough. Even now, when I’ve been trying to manage it better, I have a long way to go to reach a healthy weight.  With everything else going on in my life, the shortened lifespan attributed to being significantly overweight is not helping, nor is it what I want for my family, but it’s a tough situation to escape.

I titled this post very intentionally.  There’s a joke I’ve heard for years that goes “Obesity doesn’t run in my family. Nobody runs in my family.” There’s some truth behind the concept, but it’s actually also somewhat misguided. Obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes…all are things that are thought to have genetic components, and they most likely do (and that may have been proven beyond doubt, but that’s not my area of expertise), but as I was reminded recently in an audiobook I’m listening to called The Happiness Advantage, there are more factors in play than genetics.  Our attitudes and the way we were raised are factors in these problems as well, but that’s not to place the blame on our parents or families, and it’s not permanent.  I may always have to struggle with my weight, but as my oldest sister has proven, getting to a healthy weight is possible, and changing your attitude towards weight and what’s possible is a huge part of that. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to take a different approach than she did due to food intolerances, which is another blog post entirely, but I have to keep in mind that it is possible, and her example is one I need to dwell on.

I debated whether to share this, and topics like it, for a little while, but as of now, I plan to share a wide variety of topics, some of them intensely personal like this one. Too many subjects are elephants in the room, known to everyone but never talked about, and I want to do my part to combat that.  This isn’t going to be a blog with answers to every issue, but I don’t plan to hold back, either. I don’t know how to bring my weight down to a healthy level, which is currently at least 50 pounds away, but I do know if I never talk about it, it’s likely to never change. So here’s a first step, or third, or 400th. Take a step today if you struggle with something similar.

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My amateur artistic abilities

I haven’t tried seriously drawing anything by hand, at least not that I intended anyone else to see, since middle school.  I could do a few things well, but it was never something I felt drawn to (pun totally intended), and I just rarely tried.  I do regret that on occasion now, though, as I keep getting ideas in my head and lack the ability to truly sketch them out the way I see them.  This is a good example, one I hope to get turned into a printable design eventually, but that will probably require some help from others:

I’m kinda proud of a few elements, and sure, it gets the point across, but until I get it digitized and play with it, it likely won’t turn into much.  Hopefully you’ll see this on a t-shirt at some point!

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