Saturday, November 22, 2014

When Passion Meets Principle

Would your list of TV show favorites surprise any of the people who know you? There’s a host of shows I watch that fall outside my family’s viewing habits. At our house, you might hear someone shout, “Not Mommy TV! Grab it!” at our house. That would be the kids struggling to get the remote control before I do.

 Any title with ‘extreme’ in it usually grabs my attention. Several of my preferred TV shows highlight extraordinary situations. One of the shows I watch demonstrates how the budget-conscious live. Ignoring puzzled stares from strangers, these thrifty characters save money in the most outrageous ways. In one episode, a lady asked a baker to assemble several unsold pieces of cake. Once the baker refrosted the mass of cake, the customer negotiated and bought the dessert at a huge discount. Here’s another extreme situation:           

It takes creativity to concoct those kinds of strategies. If the guy put his ideas in a book, I’m sure it would sell well.  Clearly, when passion meets principle people do interesting things.

What things do you do that would puzzle the average person? 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Animals and Blurred Lines

Now that cooler temperatures have settled in, everyone wants to fire up a backyard fire pit. If you don’t own one, you probably know someone who does. I had an opportunity to sit around a large bonfire this week, one that included over twenty-five people. I couldn’t believe how much heat the fire gave off.  I thought it might singe my eyebrows when I roasted marshmallows for the smores. If you’re thinking only kids and the young-at-heart enjoy roasting marshmallows, check this out:

That poor creature doesn’t need those marshmallow calories; everyone knows you can’t eat just one.  Before they know it, the lab will be missing marshmallows and matches. Call in Smokey the Bear. You know what they say, “Fire safely goes, danger grows.”

Just because we can practice or teach particular behaviors and skills doesn’t mean we should. Who should decide where to draw the line?


Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Best Things in Life are Here

Every so often our cat approached me with a pitiful meow. I assumed boredom had taken hold of her so I went to the pet store to buy the perfect plaything. The task seemed simple: find a fun, inexpensive toy. Since she had a big, pink stuffed fish, cat teasers, and an assortment of rattling balls, I needed something new. After scouring the shelves, I chose a feathery, spinning thing that cost more than I wanted to spend. Would she play with it?
I took it home and set it up. She looked at it and walked away. Cat toy fail! I picked up one of her old toys, a five-year-old rope with a pipe cleaner attached to the end. I flicked it once or twice, and our cat darted after it. That little lesson reminded me how kids will spend a few hours playing with a pricey toy from the store, but give them a cardboard box and they’ll entertain themselves for a week.

Neither cats nor kids need the fanciest items in the store to be content. Sometimes the right item is already within their grasp, like this one:        

If you’re trying to save cash on the kids’ Christmas gifts, buy good ripping paper and a couple of large cardboard boxes. Those kinds of items never let you down. They say that the best things in life are free. In what way is that saying true for you?    

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Calling All Messengers

Isn’t it great that social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and  Instagram  allow us to voice our opinions, promote interests, and share pictures with the world?  Some folks prefer to skip the technology and take their personal expression to the streets. Maybe you’ve seen 3-D message blasts? I’m referring to those physical spots in the community where the most curious comments show up.

For instance, a vehicle carrying wood painted with angry, puzzling complaints used to park around town like a traveling billboard. In another spot, sits a building splashed with phrases that might be part of a local political feud. I’d like to decipher these unusual messages, but so far, they’re still mysteries.  See if these 3-D messages are easier to interpret:      

 If you could post a 3-D message in your community, what would it say?        


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Navigating the Next 24 Hours

Good information can come from many places. As we watched TV, my husband and one of the kids got into a discussion about salaries, daily expenses, and everyone’s favorite—taxes.  During an explanation about how taxes work and how much money can disappear from your pay, we noticed our youngest child absorbing every word. We had to laugh when our intrigued child said, “I should take notes on this!” You’re never too young to start soaking up worthwhile advice—especially when it comes to taxes. Maybe this advice will benefit you, too:  

Everyone has a story to share. What better way to learn a lesson than from someone else’s experience, especially if it’s a difficult one? I love how the teens went out and had face-to-face encounters with people that society often ignores. The advice fit everyone—youth, parents, college students, middle-aged folks, and even grandparents.  Some of the best advice came from the man who spoke about handling bad opportunities. He said don’t just walk away from them—run away! What guardrails have you placed in your life to keep you on the right track?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

More Pumpkin, Better Life?

Pumpkin flavors came early to stores this year. Now that it’s mid-October, pumpkin is in full force showing up in cream cheese, lattes, breads, donuts, cupcakes, cookies, smoothies, and even in milk. The funny thing is that pumpkin doesn’t have much flavor. It’s more cinnamon, sugar, and other yummy spices. Nothing wrong with that, I guess. For those of us who want more from a pumpkin, there’s always this activity:


The students came out to see the demonstration in order to get a study break. I love the ooohs and aaahs as if that was fascinating entertainment. Why are we so focused on pumpkins in the fall? I think it’s because we only have a short time to appreciate them and so we make every attempt to enjoy them. It’s like us. We only have a short time on earth, and despite the ups and downs we face, we make the best of it. There’s a saying, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” How are you maximizing the time that remains?    

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Living a Life Without…

“I can’t live without books!” I heard someone say that last week. Raise your hand if you agree, or maybe you’d call that an overreaction if you compare books to items like food, clothing, and shelter. Actually lots of people love books. I know someone who used to fall asleep at night surrounded by them, and I know another person who buys twenty second-hand books at a time, reads them, and then heads back to the store for more. Maybe books are life-sustaining.

Here’s a lady who found more than a few things she could live without:

Your heart rate must be slower after all of that tranquility. See how peaceful it feels living in an uncluttered environment? And did you see the collection of books? I’m sure they’re book lovers, too.

Mrs. Lorence only kept the items she considered basic necessities, but I don’t see us giving up most of the things she dumped. She eliminated electricity, so there’s no refrigerator, which also means no ice cream. That’s where I draw the line. Count me out!

What about you? What can’t you live without?