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, April 16, 2018

Missing Ingredients


I don’t propose to enshrine the good old days. They were good and they rendered lasting, positive memories. But memories represent the past. On the other hand, perhaps today’s society could benefit from the past. Maybe past virtues could contribute to the improvement and good fortune of the present.

Nothing is ever so perfect that a little improvement wouldn’t be welcomed. This principle holds true for America. Our country probably never has been perfect. Far from it or our history wouldn’t be speckled with wars and depressions and poverty and discrimination.

But the pockmarks of adversity can serve as stepping stones toward a better today and tomorrow. In the throes of hardship, we long for something better. Some that could work.

That something which reduced my childhood anxieties and fears contained elements available today. Perhaps they could again be blended into a palatable recipe to ease fears and tensions. What are some of these ingredients that seem to be absent or neglected in our world today?


Responsibility of everyone to do what’s necessary.
Sacrifice of our time for the sake of family members.
Trust of each other and of our community for the safety of our children.
Relaxation instead of hurried stress, everything in proper perspective.
Respect for others and self.

Every day I long for my world to return to virtues that worked. Virtues that could work again if allowed a place of importance in today’s lifestyle.

_____



My latest book is out – Her Reason to Smile, a novella. Here is the cover, and you can read more about the book and the first chapter here.


Monday, April 2, 2018

Silence Gives Consent


I don’t remember her name or where she lived. I do remember she was three years old. The car she rode in became lost in one of America’s cities.

When the car made a wrong turn and ended up on a gang-infested street, it was not a simple matter of turning around to leave the area. Gunfire erupted, spraying the car with bullets, killing the three-year-old. An innocent child who had not chosen the location. The toddler had no control of her life and ultimately on this dead-end street in America, she had no control over her death.

A child speaking at the memorial to the three-year-old killed on that dead-end street asked, “Is this America?”

Yes, this is America. My America. Your America. Today our America has gaping sores on her moral landscape that ooze pain and destruction. The stench from these pockets of decay repels the law-abiding citizenry. But does it repel us to action or to apathy, as long as it doesn’t touch us?


America appears to have abandoned the guidance of the moral codes set forth by her founders. Has moral restraint finally collapsed like a house of straw in a puff of wind?

How can we return to fundamental, accepted principles of right conduct across this land? How can we mold minds to distinguish between right and wrong? What is the ointment for the contagious distress and fear overtaking America?

The two greatest commandments were defined by Jesus and give the prescription to fight our country’s disease: First, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and second, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39).

If these two principles were in place within hearts, no room would remain for hate, which can smolder into violence. With these two principles active in each of us, we would be eager to “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31).

Yes, this is America. May each one of its citizens do what is necessary to put her back together in her original condition. Remember the words of Thomas Fuller, “Silence gives consent.”



My latest book is out – Friendly Persuasion, a novella. Here is the cover, and you can read more about the book and the first chapter here


Monday, March 19, 2018

Routine or Change?


"Live your life and forget your age."
--Norman Vincent Peale

I remember the day in a restaurant when the waitress gave me my very first senior citizen’s discount--without my asking for it. I do realize I can’t possibly live on this earth even as long as I already have. Therefore, I’ve looked a little differently at what time might remain. And at some of the things that may fill that time.

I’ve decided to store away more memories than photographs. And another thing that intrigues me is not trying to prepare for all possible emergencies when I travel—from now on I might not pack a heating pad, ice pack, smoke detector, flashlight, battery-powered radio, and two umbrellas every time I leave home overnight.



Is it typical behavior to consider throwing caution to the wind in one’s later years? After all, the children are raised and out of the nest; no obligations remain in that area. No regular job to go to every morning, no commitments except those we choose to make.

But it’s not that easy to change, is it? Not when routines are established. Rarely is change sought when life’s as comfortable as an old bathrobe.

My Girl Scout training is still ingrained in my mind from decades ago. So, I’ll probably continue to take along a flashlight on trips. After all, the power might go off and I would want to be prepared.

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.


My latest book is out – Friendly Persuasion, a novella. Here is the cover, and you can read more about the book and the first chapter here


Monday, March 5, 2018

Who Are They?


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 event? 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.

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.


My latest book is out – Friendly Persuasion, a novella. Here is the cover, and you can read more about the book and the first chapter here

Monday, February 19, 2018

Parenting or Grandparenting?


"Children will not remember you for the
material things you provided but for
the feeling that you cherished them."
—Richard L. Evans, president of Rotary International (1966–67)

For many years a cartoon hung on my refrigerator door in which a small child sat on a chair turned toward the corner. The boy’s mother stood nearby looking at him with impatience, her arms folded across her chest.

The child’s face is turned toward the mother and the line at the bottom of the drawing reads, “I’ll bet Grandma would have thought it was cute.”

Many of us have no doubt been there, either as the parent or as the child. It might be a toss-up to decide which role is more trying: that of a child who is certain he or she is never completely understood by his parents, or that of a parent who may wonder daily about his or her ability to raise a child. Why is mutual understanding sometimes limited in parent-child relationships?

Dr. James C. Dobson, family psychologist, writes of today’s under-30 generation:

“What they want, if I read them correctly, is to be respected within the human family and to be given a chance to prove themselves. They deserve no less.”

I would expand Dr. Dobson’s statement to apply to most parents as well as their children. Too often we afford more respect and good manners toward those at our workplace or even to strangers than we do toward members of our own household.


Overall, parenting is a most difficult task, and yet at the same time a most rewarding one. We don’t get “parent training” in a school. Dr. Dobson writes that even parents determined to do the job right often mess up.

Why?

Because, he writes, children are complex; there’s no exact formula that will work in every case of child rearing. Ideally, parents would have no other function than raising their children. With nothing but their children to occupy their time and minds, parents might do a perfect job.

But parents’ lives are complex as well. The whole bundle of family obligations crowds against their desire to be a good parent. They’re concerned about their jobs, making money, household tasks, paying bills, putting food on the table, and on and on, until raising their children becomes one of many responsibilities they must meet.

Whatever the plans or ages of the children, parenting continues. Only the focus of the parenting changes—from diapers and formulas to braces and bicycles, from driver’s licenses to graduation, from wedding invitations to birth announcements…

Remembering again that cartoon mentioned earlier—who is the good guy there? Grandma. Usually grandparents can take tremendous and marvelous interest in grandchildren without having to assume liability for their upbringing.

And, as the little boy in the cartoon affirms, children and their grandparents normally enjoy a bond of friendship unlike any other.

Grandparenting sure is less complicated than parenting!

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My latest book is out – Friendly Persuasion, a novella. Here is the cover, and you can read more about the book and the first chapter here


Monday, February 5, 2018


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

February is here and Valentine’s Day is around the corner. A day in our country when we celebrate love. We tend to identify Valentine's Day with romance and sweethearts. But other love can be honored as well—paternal love, love between siblings, love between grandchildren and grandparents, and especially love among friends.

A love for and between best friends is something special. I’ve always valued friendship and the loyalty that binds friends together. Friendship is a valuable commodity to be cherished and cared for.

Do some of your friendships date back to years ago? Just by our life experiences we know what a friend is, but how would you define "friend" to someone who had no knowledge of the word?


I like Aristotle's definition: "A true friend is one soul in two bodies." A less literary and more lighthearted definition of a friend is by Anonymous: "A friend is one who dislikes the same people that you dislike."

True friendship is a durable thing. Commitments between friends are easily made and certainly kept. Good friends don't feel the need to carry on incessant conversations; silence between friends is an enjoyable time, not an awkward time.

Understanding between friends is a beautiful thing because their thoughts often lie on the same plane; much of the time friends know they are in agreement without even voicing their thoughts. The proverbial they can finish each other's sentences applies to best friends.

And true friends are very much in agreement most of the time. Even when they disagree, friends are okay with that. They agree to disagree and neither is put out with the other.

Do you have a best friend? How long have you been best friends?   

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 above and it will take you to the website where you can do that.


My latest book is out – Friendly Persuasion, a novella. Here is the cover, and you can read more about the book and the first chapter here


Monday, January 22, 2018

How's Your Life Going?


"The greater part of our happiness depends on
our dispositions, not our circumstances."
–Martha Washington

Is your life simple or stressful? If your life is stressful, can you ever get back to simple? These days the world seems to expect everybody to multitask—do more than one thing at the same time. Do you ever feel like you're barely staying ahead of a full-blown crash of your life?

Some of us probably would enjoy a life of simplicity. A little child’s life is an example of simplicity. Children can fuss one minute and then a while later are the best of friends.

Seems like once we become adults we’ve learned the words disagree, dislike, argue, and unforgiving. We adults find it easy to remember hurt feelings; unlike little children, we hold grudges against those who have hurt us.


Have you watched how simple a little child faces each day? How they probably don’t remember having their feelings hurt? They embrace everyone, trusting and laughing. Little children who are cared for are happy every day (unless they are sick).

They usually get along with anyone who pays attention to them. Little children are unaware of all the bad around the world; they look at the world through innocent eyes that yet don’t know evil.


We can look at little children and find innocence. Knowing what we know in maturity, some might wish to turn the calendar back a ways and start again. The second time around they might keep that simple innocence that brings such happiness to little children.

An old song sung by the Statler Brothers goes like this: “Life gets complicated when you pass eighteen.” The song tells of the adult lives of members of a high school graduating class—how well some have done and also how some have led miserable lives. 

The truth of that song is that life does get complicated when you outgrow your childhood. And to become responsible citizens, we must at some point, leave childhood behind. However, through the small children in our surroundings, we can sometimes experience childhood again, if only for brief periods of time.


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AMAZON GIVEAWAY for a chance to win 1 of 3 copies of Friendly Persuasion (Kindle Edition). NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends Jan 26, 2018, 11:59 PM PST.