Photo by Mallory

Photo by Mallory


Today is another day on our life's journey.

Perhaps here you can find encouragement

for wherever your journeys may take you.

Welcome to my thinking place where you can

read insightful posts.

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Monday, December 28, 2015

Are You Normal?


"Times and conditions change so rapidly that
we must keep our aim constantly
focused on the future."
                                  –Walt Disney

Now that Christmas is behind us, the next big “holiday” will be New Year’s Eve. And then the unknown year of 2016, the future. For many this time of year, thoughts of New Year’s resolutions pop into our head. Do you make New Year’s resolutions involving your future? If so, do you usually keep them and succeed with whatever the resolution mentioned?

More than likely New Year’s resolutions are made concerning changes. Maybe do more of this, or do less of that. Break this habit or start this new habit. Bernice Kanner, an author, spent two years asking Americans how they do it—how they floss their teeth, how often they’ve fallen in love, how often they weigh themselves, and how they feel about their mother-in-law.

Ms. Kanner published her findings in a book titled Are You Normal? Here are some things she found:

“More than half of us would drop some poundage.

About 5 percent—the truly obsessed—step on that scale more than once a day. Another 32 percent want to alter their bodies, their age or their intelligence, and a fifth of us would love to change our height or our hair. More than half would rather get run over by a truck than gain 150 pounds.”

Resolutions are admirable, if they’re realistic. You’ve probably heard the old question, “How do you eat an elephant?" And the answer is, “One bite at a time.” The question, “How do we tackle the unknown future?” would have a similar answer: “One day at a time.” Sure, we can and should plan for the future. But we can only live the future one day at a time.

How about you? Would you like to make changes for yourself? Are you busy writing down those New Year’s resolutions? Regardless of whether you make resolutions, I hope 2016 is a great and prosperous year for all.





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Thanks for reading my blog! My next novel in the West Virginia Mountains Series is titled Promise Me. Look for it next spring.

Monday, December 21, 2015

What is Christmas?


"He who has not Christmas in his heart
will never find it under a tree."
–Roy L. Smith,
American clergyman
                                    (1887-1963)

When asked “What is Christmas?” many folks might answer differently. The answers would probably depend on age and country of residence. I’m sure that the words gifts or presents would be included in the answers. The words Santa Claus might even be included in an answer about Christmas.


Those of you reading this would probably agree with me and say that Christmas is an observation of Jesus Christ’s birthday. In answering the question “What is Christmas?” we would recall the story of Jesus’ birth as recorded in the second chapter of Luke in the Bible.

I feel safe in assuming that the opening quotation, made by a clergyman, would probably agree with my answer as well. To me, having Christmas in our heart denotes a giving heart, a servant heart. When you get right down to it, isn’t that what Christmas is all about? Observing the birth of Jesus and having a giving heart.

My wish for all of you is a meaningful and joyous Christmas season where you can give Christian love to others along with the wrapped gifts you exchange. A time when giving, as God did, is the real reason for the season.


May we remember the words of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale: “The magic message of Christmas is that God gives us so much more than we can possibly give back. He gave the world the greatest gift of all time. ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given (Isaiah 9:6).’”


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Monday, December 14, 2015

Joseph's Patience


I'd like to share another Christmas devotion. "Joseph's Patience" is a devotion published in Simply Christmas: Memories, Traditions, & Stories of the Season co-authored by Vickie Phelps and me.

 
"Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary?" Matthew 13:55

I think of Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, as a patient man. He was a carpenter and by trade his work required meticulous effort if done well. When Joseph made furniture or toys for the neighborhood children, I can imagine him attending to each minute detail of the pieces he constructed.


The hours he must have spent sanding the wooden surfaces to perfection, the many times he redid a corner so that it matched with precision, the days he became weary but labored on until he finished an undertaking. Yes, I would have treasured something Joseph had built.



I can see his patience in his workshop manifested in his life with Mary. While Joseph was pledged to marry Mary, the Bible tells us “she was found with child of the Holy Ghost” (Matt. 1:18). Joseph could have reacted any number of ways to this news other than how he did. Many of today’s men would have exploded into accusations against Mary and her immoral behavior.

Joseph knew he couldn’t be the father of the child he’d learned that Mary carried. His response to the news was wrapped in his compassion for Mary. He didn’t want her to face public judgment and stoning if this news became known in their community. He would sign the necessary legal papers to quietly dissolve their engagement.


As Joseph considered the situation, an angel appeared in his dream and confirmed to Joseph the imminent birth of Jesus. The angel told Joseph that Mary’s conception was from the Holy Spirit, and to “fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife” and “thou shalt call his name Jesus” (Matt. 1:20, 21). Waking from his dream, Joseph did as the angel had said.


Prayer: God, give us Joseph’s patience, compassion, and obedience as we prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus, Savior of the world.


Available at http://tiny.cc/u81y4x
 






Monday, December 7, 2015

Finding Room

I’d like to share my Christmas devotion that appeared on December 5, 2015 in Christian Devotions, an international online daily devotional (http://www.christiandevotions.us/viewblogentry/529). This is a little longer than my usual blog posts, but I hope you enjoy reading it.


"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." Luke 2:7 (KJV)

When I was a youngster, my family went to Florida for vacation every year. The uniqueness of our vacations, when compared to today’s trips, is my parents never made reservations. When we’d arrive at our destination, sometimes as evening approached, my parents searched for a place to stay. All motels had something you don’t often see today: neon signs at their entrance that flashed “Vacancy” or “No Vacancy.”

Mother always wanted to stay at a motel on the side of the road adjacent to the beach. Which side of the road we stayed on didn’t bother Daddy. He got cranky when Mother nixed places to stay and asked him to continue the search for a room.


By then, both my parents were tired, upset, and wilted from eight hours of summer heat in a car without air conditioning. We had arrived at our destination, but still could not end our traveling to gain rest.




When Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem, the equivalent of “No Vacancy” signs greeted them. They were weary and drooped from the heat. And to make matters worse, Mary was very pregnant and perhaps ready for her son to be born so she could return to her normal lifestyle.

The late days of pregnancy are uncomfortable in the best of circumstances, much less those that Mary endured on their trip. She and Joseph probably craved a drink of cool water and someplace to stretch out and relax. But they found no vacant room.

One innkeeper showed compassion for the couple. He had a stable for his animals and offered it to Joseph and Mary, so they could rest and relax. And there the Holy Child would be born that night.

That innkeeper had probably seen travelers all day who wanted a room. He had filled all the lodging spaces he had. He had a full house that would gain him monetary means. He didn’t need to bother with Joseph and Mary. But he did, and the culmination of a miracle happened that night with the birth of Jesus in the innkeeper’s stable.


How many times has Jesus come to your heart’s door? Do you always answer His knock? Or is your day already full of other things calling for your attention? We could very well miss a miracle if we don’t find room for Jesus.


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Thanks for reading my blog! My next novel in the West Virginia Mountains Series is titled Promise Me. Look for it next spring.







Monday, November 30, 2015

Are You a Perfectionist?


Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.”
          –Will Rogers, American humorist (1879-1935)

Have you ever been told you are a perfectionist? If so, do you agree—do you think you are a perfectionist?

A perfectionist personality won’t accept any deviation from what they define as perfect—perfect behavior, perfect lifestyle, perfect … everything. He or she leaves no room for mistakes. In the perfectionist’s mind, any departure from their perfect plans is unacceptable and causes great regret and guilt.

Even if we're not a perfectionist, many times we drag guilt and regret around as an unnecessary burden. One way to prevent yesterday's guilt from using up too much of today is to forgive yourself. One way to do that is to say, “At the time, I thought I did the right thing. I was wrong and I forgive myself.” (Cecil Murphey, July 28, 2009)

We don’t feel guilt or regret from doing what is right. Guilt from doing something wrong according to our conscience is normal. The guilt feeling will not just go away. In order not to walk around with a heavy burden of regret, we can battle to overcome it. Forgiving self would be a good first step.

Sometimes, however, we allow ourselves to feel guilt or regret when we take responsibility for things we can’t control and fail to change the outcome. I doubt that living under such a cloud of false regret would be healthy.

We are not infallible; we do make mistakes. The best way to handle regret over mistakes is to realize we’ve made them and then leave them behind as soon as we can. Past mistakes cannot be changed no matter how much we think about them or fret over them. We may remember mistakes we made long ago—yes, we can learn from our mistakes, but to recall them over and over serves no good purpose.


That’s easier said than done, isn’t it? Do you have any tips to help forget past mistakes? 


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Thanks for reading my blog! My next novel in the West Virginia Mountains Series is titled Promise Me. Look for it next spring.




Monday, November 23, 2015

Fighting Stress


"If stress burned calories, I’d be a supermodel." --Unknown

Is the above quotation something you could say? We do live in a stress-filled world. With the upcoming holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas, many of us will cause added stress to ourselves by striving for perfection. But our holiday meals and decorations don’t have to be perfect.


Wherever your stress or anxiety comes from, below are some hints that could lessen your stress level:


Open an orange. Certain aromas trigger nostalgic feelings. Some science suggests that the smell of an orange can calm—and even take anxiety out of a dental visit. Some research says that smelling an orange can lessen stress by 70 percent.


Find quiet time. Stressing over something you must do? Your brain needs regular breaks to maintain peak function, so try for 10 to 20 minutes away from your chore every two hours.



Rub down. A massage can send you into a state of mental bliss. Research shows that it can improve your body image, and—in as little as five minutes—ease anxiety.

Unplug as night. Staying constantly tethered to your smart-phone can interfere with your relationships and sleep—both of which are key to a contented, unstressed outlook. One simple change that helps: Stop using your phone as an alarm clock. “It makes it so easy to read and respond to emails after you’ve turned off the alarm in the morning. At that point, you’re working, and stressing, before you’re even out of the bed,” says Christine Carter, author of Sweet Spot.


Break for Youtube. Indulge your Grumpy Cat video habit—or whatever it is that tickles your funny bone. Clips that make you laugh can give you a rush of feel-good endorphins and reduce stress hormones, helping you relax almost instantly.

Try to have stress-free holidays this year. Make your daily goal to be stress-free, one day at a time.



NOTE: If you received this blog post in an email and you'd like to leave a comment or check out something on the sidebar, please click on the title of this post and it will take you to the website where you can do that.

 

Thank you for reading my blog! My next novel in the West Virginia Mountains Series is titled Promise Me. Watch for it to come out next spring.





Monday, November 16, 2015

Too Much or Too Little?

"Happiness is a way station between
too much and too little.”
–Channing Pollock (1880-1946)
                         American author & dramatist


Webster’s Online Dictionary defines way station as “an intermediate stopping place.” In the above quotation, we don’t know what Mr. Pollack refers to when he speaks of “too much or too little.” We probably assume his reference is to financial means.

Along with financial means, we can also think of too much or too little materialistic possessions: the big home versus the small one; fine jewelry and clothes versus ordinary ones; sustenance like food, whether we have enough or not; also, we could consider whether we eat too much food or too little.





If we have too much of any of these things, by simple reasoning we would have more than we need. On the other hand if we have too little of something, we would have less than we need. So, in the quotation above, since the way station is an intermediate stopping place, then at that intermediate or midway point would be the ideal place between too much or too little.

We could assign the word “moderation” to that midway point between too much or too little. The Bible speaks of moderation: “Let your moderation be known unto all men” (Philippians 4:5, KJV). By maintaining moderation, we’d be self-disciplined, self-controlled, and we would limit ourselves in order not to overindulge on anything in any way.

The apostle Paul comes to mind when I consider the opening quotation or read about too much or too little. He said: “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need…I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” (Philippians 4:12, KJV).

Paul wrote that he learned to be content; being content wasn’t automatic. If Paul had been raised in the U.S. South, he might have written it this way: I have learned to make-do whether I have too much or too little.

I hope we all can find that happy spot between too much and too little, and make-do.


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                                                              _____

I hope you'll check out my novels in the right sidebar. All are sweet Southern romances and available on Amazon.


Monday, November 9, 2015

A Dangerous Tendency


Our most dangerous tendency is to expect too much of government, and at the same time do for it too little.” –President Warren G. Harding (1865-1923)

I’d like to share with you bits of a newspaper column written by Star Parker, concerning the state of America:


“According to the Office of Management and Budget, 70 percent of U.S. government spending in 2013 was government transfers—direct payments of the government to individuals. Before 1960, transfer payments used less than 20 percent of the U.S. government budget.


“All projections show growing federal budget deficits, growing debt, and mind-boggling red ink [are] the results of entitlement programs that cannot be sustained. Does our nation have to formally crash and burn in order to wake us up?”



The gist of President Harding’s words in the opening quotation is expressed well by Ms. Parker, whom I’ve just quoted. More and more Americans seem to want more and more from the U.S. government, while at the same time not contributing anything into the country’s bank account.

Webster’s Online Dictionary gives this definition for the word entitlement: "the condition of having a right to have, do, or get something; belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges."


Social security is indeed an entitlement in both the literal and legal sense. As workers have paid into it, they are entitled to receive it when they retire.


At the current rate of growth of America’s entitlement programs, those contributions to Social Security by some current workers will not be available in the future. Those workers will not receive from the government what they will have contributed to Social Security to sustain them in their retirement years.

I leave you with Ms. Parker’s last words: “Does our nation have to formally crash and burn in order to wake us up?”


NOTE: If you received this blog post in an email and you'd like to leave a comment or check out something on the sidebar, please click on the title of this post and it will take you to the website where you can do that.
_____

I hope you'll check out my novels in the right sidebar. All are sweet Southern romances and available on Amazon.


HOLIDAY SPECIAL THRU DECEMBER.... 

Love from the Past
, 5 eBook historical romances, about 879 pages of reading enjoyment, 99 cents.

Step back in time, to when love was pure and life was simpler. When a man knew how to treat a woman and women had a strength that belied belief. When courtships were the rage and the West was won. Put on your comfy slippers, grab your Kindle, and go into romances from the past. Here are five historical romances sure to warm your heart. My novel, Wait for Me, is included in this box set along with stories from these other authors: Darlene Franklin, Cynthia Hickey, Diane Kalas, and Gina Welborn.

Available through December for 99 cents at Amazon
 

Monday, November 2, 2015

How Do You Wait?

“All human wisdom is summed up
                        in two words: wait and hope.”
                 —Alexandre Dumas, French playwright


The leaves are falling and the trees are almost bare, their naked limbs reaching…  I would suspect they are reaching for a better season for their purpose on this earth. A season of budding shrubbery and bright green leaves to once more adorn their limbs. It’s a long time till spring and these bare trees and not-so-pretty bushes must wait…they have no choice.



Do we ever find ourselves in a similar place…waiting? We all wait at times in our lives. What we wait for is important to us. Do we wait patiently like the bare trees, knowing we have no other choice? Or do we lose your patience, our life filled with strife and stress from the waiting?

Impatience will gain us nothing but fretting and worrying. Impatience will not cause whatever we’re waiting for to appear sooner than it’s supposed to. Can you recall a time when you were forced to be patient and it was worth the wait when what you desired came to be?

Who or what makes your life complicated by causing you to wait? Waiting is not easy. It’s usually downright nerve-racking. Impatience is a close cousin to worry; neither will gain us anything. The secret to being happy while we are patient is to wait with hope, as indicated in the quotation above.


Monday, October 26, 2015

False Faces


"A grandmother pretends she doesn't know
who you are on Halloween."
Erma Bombeck

When I was a youngster enjoying the treats of Halloween, most of our costumes were home-made. We didn’t have the difficult decision as to which store-bought gear we would dress up in on Halloween night. Supplies for costumes were scarcer than our imaginations and, so, creativity suffered. Some were fortunate enough to have a spare sheet in the house which led to several ghosts floating around the neighborhood every year.
But most of us would bundle up against the cold of a Tennessee October evening wearing our own clothes. In the tradition of the holiday, however, we felt it necessary to hide our faces. Knowing that the person who answered our knock at the door couldn’t tell who we were added to the excitement.

The extent of my Halloween costumes usually was just a covering for my face. In my childhood we called these “false faces.” What a highlight it was to go to the drugstore and select a false face for Halloween.


I wonder if grown-ups ever wear false faces. Surely not. Surely we see everyone as they honestly are, never any imitations. Do I ever deal with a false face instead of the real person before me?


Trustworthiness can only thrive in the absence of deception. There can be no honor in one’s word if there is dishonesty in that word.

From individuals to bureaucracies, integrity can pave the way toward principled morality. And if all relationships are bathed in such a freedom from deceit, honest dealings could result. Wouldn’t it be great to replace all fraud with uprightness? To swap suspicions for trust?


Let’s leave the costumes and face covering for the children to enjoy. Deception by adults only brings the need to deceive again and again to maintain the false face. It’s simpler to live in accord with what is right.


Let’s get out from behind those false faces! Let’s discard the adult false faces and walk in honesty with all persons.

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                                                                   _____

I hope you'll check out my novels in the right sidebar. All are sweet Southern romances and available on Amazon.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Are You Feeling Sad, Anxious, at Peace?


 “Make your mistakes, take your chances, look silly,
           but keep on going. Don’t freeze up.”
            –Thomas Wolfe (1900-1938), from
                  “You Can’t Go Home Again”

I love the lighthearted wisdom of the quotation above.

I’m a big fan of not looking at the past, unless we’re recalling good memories. Looking back at our past mistakes is definitely unproductive. We can’t change one bit of our past. The past is done, finished. Hopefully, we will profit from our past mistakes, so that we won’t repeat them.

I shared this recently on Facebook, so if you're one of my Facebook friends, please don't be bored. Here's what I shared:
Regret is a thief! Regret takes away from your present and your future. Time spent in regret is wasteful. Time spent regretting is useless.

We don’t have to let our past define us—what we did or didn’t do. That’s all behind us. Some people allow regret over the past to control them. The advice in the Thomas Wolfe quotation at the beginning of this post is worthy to remember: “Make your mistakes, take your chances, look silly, but keep on going.”

We’re more than likely the only ones who will remember those mistakes that petrified us when we made them.

If you’ve read much of what I write, you know I changed schools seven times from Kindergarten to twelfth grade. One fall, when just beginning the school year in a large new school, I lost my way and entered the boys’ locker room—with boys in there! If I could find those boys and do a survey, I might find that I’m probably the only one who remembers that incident. (At least, I try to convince myself of that.)

As the saying goes, “Don’t fret the small stuff”—and it’s all small stuff if we will leave it in the past. Dumping our load of past mistakes behind us allows us to become less weighted down to step into our todays and our future.

We are the product of our past; we don’t have to become a prisoner of it. Each day is a gift from God--that's why we call it the present.

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Monday, October 12, 2015

Can Money Buy Happiness?


Money can’t buy happiness.” –Howard Hughes

An article I read recently disagrees with the quotation above. It turns out, according to that article, that money can buy happiness…if you spend it on experiences, not stuff, says Elizabeth Dunn, Ph.D., author of Happy Money: “Experiences, especially those shared with others, make you feel more connected. Plus, they’ll never get lost or ruined.”

I’m amused by the Publishers Clearing House’s claims about my good chances to win their million-dollar giveaways. The only way million applies to me is that my chances for winning are probably 10 million to one.

But it is easy to let the imagination run a little wild when wondering how we would react if we won. Thinking about that much money fills the mind with fantasies as easily as Christmas Eve brings “visions of sugar plums” to children.

What would I do with all that money if I really did win the Publishers Clearing House’s millions? I’ve given it some thought and come up with a couple of things.

When I’m a millionaire, I won’t pump gas for my car again. Instead, I’ll pull up to the full service pumps and let the attendants do that for me. I’ll be reminded of the “good old days” when that was the only way we got gasoline for our cars.

When I’m a millionaire, I’ll travel to all the places I read about. Travel editors of magazines and TV programs have brought faraway places to life for me.

I’ll never become a millionaire. At least not by society’s measurement—I’ll never be a millionaire in terms of money. But in terms of treasures of the heart, I feel I already am a millionaire when it comes to family, friends, church, and community.

I wouldn’t trade places with anyone, not even a millionaire. Because to get something, you sometimes have to give up something to make room for it. And I wouldn’t give up any part of my life, not even for Publishers Clearing House’s millions.

How about you? Leave a comment below about what you would do with a million dollars.

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Monday, October 5, 2015

Adult Halloween Costumes


“Halloween was confusing. All my life my parents said, ‘Never take candy from strangers.’ And then they dressed me up and said, ‘Go beg for it.’ I didn’t know what to do! I’d knock on people’s doors and go, ‘Trick or treat.’ ‘No thank you.’”
--Rita Rudner, 1953-, American comedienne, writer and actress

A recent article from the Associated Press began with this: “Who gets to decide what grown people wear for Halloween?” The article then answers the question with “Apparently everybody.”

Halloween wars of comments are already flying around social media about some pop-culture costumes available to adults this year. Among the Halloween costume choices for adults this season stirring up outrage are a blood-spattered dentist’s smock paired with a Cecil-like lion head.

For those who might not know: "Cecil was a well-known male lion, living in Hwange Game Reserve, in Zimbabwe. The lion was lured away from the sanctuary of the park and killed by an illegal party of big game hunters July 1, 2015, according to the Zimbabwean government. The hunter who killed the lion was identified by conservation groups as ... a dentist in Minneapolis."

Another pop-culture adult Halloween costume is a replica of Caitlyn Jenner’s cream-colored corset set she wore for her coming out on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine. I will not include that cover photo here—it’s probably already indelibly stamped on your memory.

Perhaps the digital age has spawned an overly politically correct atmosphere that will not soon disappear. Richard Lachmann, a professor at the University at Albany (New York) includes Halloween in his sociology of culture course, and he comments that costumes seem to be more inciting every year. Add a heavy dose of gore and ultra-sexy costumes, he says, and Halloween is now a free-for-all debate on decency and where the never-OK line belongs.
 

Lachmann thinks there is no OK line over which costumes must not go: “The point for adults is to be provocative, to do something that breaks the lines of what’s considered acceptable.”
 

At least four online sellers are hawking Jenner stuff. One of the largest retailer’s version of the Caitlyn-inspired costume goes for $49.99. The wig is sold separately at $16.99. One company offers “a beefy dude in a brown wig to show off its ‘Call me Caitlyn Unisex Adult Costume’ that comes with a bustier and white shorty shorts for $74.99.”
 

I would guess these “provocative” adult costumes will be popular at many adult Halloween parties. I leave you with your own decision about this topic. Me? I’ll stick with the tried and true Halloween of pumpkins and candy.

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Who are They?

"It is the anonymous 'they,' the enigmatic 'they' who are in charge. Who is 'they'? I don't know. Nobody knows. Not even 'they' themselves."
--Joseph Heller, American author (1923-1999)

Do you remember ever asking your parents for a special dress to wear to a high school prom? Or did you ask your parents to please let you drive the car? Maybe both times the answer was "No."

You probably continued to beg and whine and where
did that get you? Finally, you said, "But they are all
________." (You can fill in the blank.) And that got you the question, "Who are they?"

Finally such a conversation with your parents ended with them saying something like this: "Well, if they wanted to jump off a bridge would you jump with them?"
Sometimes in a conversation among adults one will comment, "They said ______ . (You can fill in the blank.) If someone asks the speaker who they are, the answer most likely is, "Just they. You know, they."

But as the quotation above says, do any of us know who they are? This universal they knows no boundaries and flits into many conversations every day.

What about you? Do you hear friends talk about what they said or did? And can your friends define who they are? The question of "Who are they?" is almost funny if it weren't so pathetic that we often refer to someone we can't identify.

Have you had a conversation about they? Are they sometimes lurking on the outskirts of everyday encounters with people?

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Monday, September 21, 2015

Happiness Boosters

Not long ago I read an article titled “Happiness Boosters To Try Today!” I’ll share a few of those “easy little tricks to energize your attitude” that the article listed.
    1. Bake. It’s emotionally therapeutic, research shows. Kneading bread dough or watching cookies rise in the oven offer a confidence-boosting sense of accomplishment.
    2. Dance. For a lift, get down, get down. University of Derby researchers found that depressed patients who took salsa lessons improved their moods, and an Australian study found that people who learned to tango had less depression and insomnia and greater life satisfaction.
    3. Make your bed. Doing one thing to enhance your sense of order is calming. It’s all about creating more small wins in your life. They are really valuable for happiness.
    4. Let the light in. If the sun is shining, go out! In one study, when people increased their exposure to bright light, they argued less and felt happier.
    5. Grin. Doing so stimulates smile muscles and sends nerve signals to your brain that you’re happy. So, do you smile because you’re happy or are you happy because you smiled?
Let’s look at that last one. What do you think—do you smile because you’re happy or are you happy because you smiled? Long ago my daddy told me when I saw someone without a smile to give them one of mine. You know, it works almost every time. Sometimes I’ve smiled toward the grouchiest person in sight and they smiled back at me.

In an interview, I was asked to describe myself with three words. My answer: hopeful, enthusiastic, positive. I certainly try to be all of those at all times. Some days it’s not easy, but I continue to try. Keeping a hopeful, enthusiastic, and positive mindset surely can’t be harmful.

So I’ll keep on smiling and keep a positive attitude. How about you?

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Monday, September 14, 2015

A Valuable Commodity

I’ve always valued friendship and the loyalty that binds friends together. I suppose one reason friendship is so important to me is that I had no brothers or sisters. Friendship is a valuable commodity to be cherished and cared for.

I’ve mentioned friends and friendship in many of my writings, so I won’t bore you with a lot of words from me this time. But for your enjoyment and for mine, here are some of my favorite quotations about friends and friendships:
 

 "A true friend is one soul in two bodies." –Aristotle

"Animals are such agreeable friends--they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms." –George Eliot

"A friend is one who dislikes the same people that you dislike." –Anonymous

"Friendship! Mysterious cement of the soul. –Robert Blair, Scottish poet


“Best friends are like stars…you don’t always see them but you know they are always there.” –Unknown

“True friends are never apart, maybe in distance, but not in the heart.” –Unknown

“Friendship is . . . the sort of love one can imagine between angels.” –C. S. Lewis

“There is nothing on this earth to be prized more than true friendship.” St. Thomas Aquinas

“Best friends make the good times better and the hard times easier.” –Unknown


                       Promise me. You won’t forget
                   Our laughs. Our jokes. Our smiles.
                       Our conversations. Our plans.
                          Our tears. Our memories.
                      Our experiences. Our friendship.
                                            --Unknown


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Monday, September 7, 2015

Failing Your Way to Success



"There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure."
--Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State

What is success? Is it the young boy who wanted baseball cards, set up a lemonade stand to make $5, and bought them? Is it the pre-teen girl who has her eyes on a special pair of earrings, babysits to make enough money to buy them, and purchases them?

How do you determine success? Do you make a string of goals and mark your successes with each goal you reach? Maybe you set a formidable goal that lasts a lifetime before you reach it, but when you do, then you arrive at your planned-for success.

Some attach success to having things: if I get the big house, the expensive car, elegant clothes, and fine jewelry, then I'll be a success. That could be called the "look-at-me success." Mother Teresa apparently didn't strive for those things; would you consider her a success?
And then some have success thrust upon them--the limelight of popularity found in sports, Hollywood, music. Even that shining success sometimes doesn't last forever.

But then what does last forever? Again, what is success?

Define success for yourself and make sure you're passionate about reaching it. We might be wise to set worthwhile and realistic goals for ourselves and do what's necessary to reach them. But remember these words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, American author and poet: "Our greatest glory is not in never failing but in rising up every time we fail."

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