Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Leap of Faith

Lots of people are fanatical about eating the healthiest foods possible. At our house, we recently purchased snacks made with—you guessed it—vegetables. I’m eating corn chips made with beets, a vegetable I rarely eat. Sure, I’ll eat a few beets at a salad bar or if they show up on my plate at a friend’s house, but I’m not going to select them from a list of side items in a restaurant. Even if you dislike beets, you might like them in corn chips. Have you tried corn chips made with spinach and kale? I know. They’re green, not the best color for a snack food, but they taste great. If you like veggie snacks, then you’re probably a health-conscious person who’s ready for the next stage. Welcome to the next level of healthy eating:  

I just started enjoying veggie snacks so I’m not yet ready for the “next level.” Scratch that. I doubt I’ll ever be ready to knowingly go that far. Do you think you would? Who knows, in a year, maybe we’ll see bags of delicious insects in the supermarket. Is there something you thought you wouldn’t or couldn’t do, but now you realize how different your life would be if you had not taken a leap of faith?             

Friday, March 20, 2015

Fitting In

 A boy about four years old wearing a fashionable jacket and snazzy hat scooted into the row in front of me. Seated beside his mother, he removed his hat and waited for the assembly to start. Of course, within a few minutes, he started fiddling and fidgeting. Eventually he tried putting his hat back on, but it didn't fit. That’s odd, I thought. Why doesn't the hat fit now? As soon as he tilted it, I spotted the problem. He stuffed a chunky, toy inside the hat’s crown, leaving no room for both a head and a toy.  
Whenever you try to cram in too much, things are going to feel uncomfortable. I don’t why this group decided to sweat through this particular challenge, but they did.   


Overextending ourselves with work, activities, and too many commitments makes us cranky.  For whatever reason, we maintain our busy schedules and keep on going. Instead of struggling to scale back your commitments, what could you add to help cope with the busyness?  

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Closer Than You Think

Can you believe the fog? Earlier this week when warm temperatures mixed with melting snow, the roads almost disappeared in the fog. Add howling wolves, a shadow lurking beside a shed, and you have the perfect setting for a mystery/thriller movie.

It’s amazing how much danger a dense fog can hide. One minute you‘re driving down an empty   road and the next minute an animal or vehicle appears from nowhere. You never know what you’ll spot once the fog clears. Here’s a scary situation:

Fog is like life: go far enough and you’ll encounter a surprise that’s just beyond the bend. Sometimes circumstances cloud our perspective and discourage us from seeing down the road, until we slow down and look around. Better days may closer than we think. What’s one thing you can do right now to enhance your journey?  

Saturday, March 7, 2015

An Amazing Twenty-Six Hour Day

I’m sure you have a favorite household appliance or gadget. I like the clothes dryer. On cold winter days nothing beats bundling up in a toasty blanket taken straight out of the dryer. Try it. I guarantee it’ll make you say, “Mmmmm.” It’s like a quick massage, yet much less expensive.

We fill our homes with modern conveniences, but for every benefit a new household invention brings, there’s a potential downside. For instance, clothes dryers suck up energy, shrink your clothing, and rob them of their vibrant color. When designers try to help us save time, space, or energy, we wind up with technology like this:

If I owned that contraption, I’d end up yelling on the phone to the manufacturer, “Help, my kitchen’s  on lock down!” I can appreciate creating a compact, artistic kitchen, but should anybody need a forklift to move it into an apartment? You’ll probably have to remove a wall. I’ll stick with traditional kitchens that don’t unfold.

We have more convenient gadgets and inventions today than we’ve owned in the last fifty years, so you'd think we'd have more free time. I doubt that's the case. If you gained two more hours per day, how would you use them?


Friday, February 27, 2015

Time of Our Lives

Maybe we should call 2015 the Year of Catastrophes. It’s hard to name a crisis that hasn’t happened in the last eight weeks. Scanning the country and the world, we’ve seen everything from outrageous terrorist attacks to train derailments, from gas explosions to twin typhoons. Add in seventy car pile-ups, and non-stop, massive snow storms and you get a sense of how things have been going.

Daily news stories create fears about walking outside and apprehension about staying inside. A random vehicle could come crashing through our wall at any time. That’s already occurred this year, too. Regardless of the potential dangers, we glide through life not expecting a major crisis to directly impact us. And if it does, we’ll hope for a miracle.  For many of us, miracles defy logic, and stir up both curiosity and frustration. We’re always wondering how miracles occur and if we’ll experience one. Figure out how these people survived:    

I’m sure my blood pressure rose after watching that video. Every day we live life on the edge hoping to avoid one of 2015’s catastrophes. Like a dark cloud of danger hovering above us, the present and the future can hound our thoughts. In perilous times like these, what keeps your blood pressure stable?           


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Shake It Off

What a relief when snowplows clear your street after a major snow storm—until you walk outside and find your mailbox on the ground. What happens next? I can tell you what you shouldn’t happen. No angry calls to the snow plow folks complaining about damaged mailboxes. Damage is a hazard of the season. You also don’t call the mailbox repair man because there isn’t one. Even though you can call for help to clean your house, clear out the debris, pick up your dry cleaning, mow the lawn, and shovel snow, no one’s coming to your house to fix a mailbox. Last week we had to pick up our little mailbox off the ground and move on. No use moping. It’s a time to get the creative do-it-yourself juices flowing! You should see some of the contraptions people devise to solve snowy weather problems. Here’s one:

It’s not what you’d expect to see after a snow storm, but it is a solution that works. If you’re a regular news watcher, you’ll notice that we’re becoming a society of emotional responders rather than creative problem-solvers. Every week someone commits an unnecessary act of violence because things didn’t work out according to their plans. We all overreact from time to time. How do you control your anger?      

Friday, February 13, 2015

Your Perfect Spot

Nothing raises spirits like a brief retreat from the everyday routine. A few weeks ago, I retreated to the beautiful Bahamas. We stayed at Atlantis, an amazing hotel where activities and fun were within a ten minute shuttle ride down the road. The proximity of restaurants, music, wonderful beaches with sparkling turquoise water, aquariums, snorkeling, and a water park made it feel like we had stepped into paradise. The trip still feels like a dream, and that's probably because our short stay left me no time to get nitpicky.

Once we find “paradise,” it’s interesting how soon we find fault with it. Before long, we’re ready for the next perfect place. Have you discovered the paradise? Maybe this is what you’re looking for:     

Daily routines bore us. Paradise is good for two weeks and then we’re in the Bahamas muttering about too many sunny days. Some people believe a utopian society is impossible, but we can still aspire to it. What's paradise look like for you?