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?         

Friday, October 3, 2014

Silicon Valley? Not on My Bucket List

I’m not an early adopter. Those are the folks who line up at store doors clamoring for the newest version of the latest technology. They spread the word on the pros and cons of a gadget, and morph into community experts who share advice about what technology to purchase or avoid.

I am a late adopter. I buy the oldest versions of the newest technology. While much of the world wants version XXX, I settle for version X, two versions back. I’m the one carrying the actual camera because my cell phone camera functions best when the photographic background isn’t too dark, too bright, or too…anything. I’m a late adopter and that’s okay. I don’t own the fancy version of any type of technology—yet. These folks understand what that’s like:

The one guy couldn’t make sense of the scene, and he even thought up several potential reasons for why someone would carry those loads. Despite what others think, we usually have good reasons for what we do. What types of things do you do that separate you from the crowd?        

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Which Way to Go?

Is it true that lessons we learn in our youth don’t always stick? For some reason, I keep going the wrong way when people give me directions. More than once someone said, “Turn right.” I turned left. On another occasion I heard, “Turn left.” I turned right. Hmmm. My teacher must have taught left vs. right in my kindergarten class, so I was half-amused, half-puzzled as to why I kept going the wrong way.

I came up with three possible explanations:

  1. Heard, but never actually listened to the directions.
  2. Thought I knew better.
  3. Learned, but forgot left vs. right.

I choose a combination of answers one and two. So now I’ll focus on listening more and resist thinking I know it all. Lesson learned? We’ll see. Here’s a guy with another lesson to pass on:

That short clip was full of good advice. Take what you need from it. Thinking about your own  childhood experiences, what’s the best thing you learned that still helps you today?  



Saturday, September 20, 2014

Who Changed My Cheese?

Our family enjoys grilled cheese sandwiches. I usually make them by melting the butter, spreading it on the outside of the bread, topping the unbuttered inside with slices of cheese and popping the whole sandwich—in the oven—not in the frying pan. Brown on both sides and there it is. It’s quick to make without a butter-drenched pan to clean.

Well, last week our microwave broke. I wasn’t in the mood to melt the butter on the stove so when I made myself a sandwich, I decided to skip butter altogether. I told one of our kids about the omission. Judging by the shocked look I received, you would have thought I said, “I’m disabling the Internet and tossing out the TV!” Of course, no one asked to taste my sandwich.

Grilled cheese tastes a little different without butter, but it’s edible. I wonder if we’d notice if these twenty-five items disappeared from our food:


Why would a scientist decide to put such odd ingredients in foods? We’ve grown used to them now. Remove the weird items and we’re bound to hear, “Hey, this cheese tastes funny. Who took out the calf’s stomach?”

What items have you left out, but now want to add back into your life?





Saturday, September 13, 2014

Can I Help You?

Driving through the city one morning I spotted a young adult, possibly the father, brother, or uncle, of the grade school girl who trotted beside him. One detail about the pair made me smile. The little girl had a backpack, but she wasn’t carrying it. The guy carried the bag. Nothing unusual here except that he didn’t carry it in his hand. No, he had that girly, pink backpack firmly attached to his person, sporting it like he owned it. That’s lending a hand. Good for you, guy!      

Who hasn’t needed or provided help at some point? Circumstances dictate when and how help arrives. Giving and getting help often requires a sacrifice from the receiver and the giver. While the receiver might give up pride or control, the giver might sacrifice time, money, security, or something greater. Consider these sacrifices: 

Although I am unfamiliar with this specific organization, the video highlights an important topic. Make a decision and give family members your yea or nay.   

What sacrifices have you made and who has sacrificed something for you?


Friday, September 5, 2014

Best Day of My Life? Well…

Have you ever had a wonky week that made you wonder what could possibly happen next? Last week we struggled with a  stubborn plumbing problem. This week yellow jackets decided to make our home their home. Fortunately we’ve managed to eliminate the clog and our winged guests. 

There’s more. We’re still wading through several other life and death situations. But we’re not alone. Initiate authentic, heart-to-heart chats with acquaintances and you’ll discover that they face major challenges, too. What about you?
Here’s the good news: A bright spot can lighten our darkest times. Perhaps this video will brighten your day.  Take a look:   


No matter how small or far away, bright spots can change your perspective. Take a moment to pause, relax, and reflect. In spite of your worries, what’s your bright spot?