Prevent Dementia with Smart Food Choices

Out of Bounds
5/4/2015

Dementia (including the most fearsome type of dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease) has become as feared in our society as cancer. Fortunately, there are proactive changes we can make to greatly reduce our odds of getting dementia. In addition to getting plenty of physical and mental activity – eating a healthy diet is absolutely essential.

Read more about brain foods that’ll help prevent dementia by clicking the link.

Heart Healthy Benefits of Drinking Your Heart’s Favorite Drink: Green Tea!

How Tea Can Help You Prevent Heart Disease

Cup of Green Tea
 

The health benefits of green tea are legendary.  I could, I’m certain, write a 6,000 word essay on the powers of green tea and still not cover half of the information.  Since I have a lunch date with my family in a few hours, I won’t launch into that right now.  I know one thing, though, as usual, I’ll be ordering tea to drink.

Green tea isn’t just one of the smartest drinks anyone can choose, it might just be THE smartest one an individual at risk for heart disease could choose. Given the sobering fact that, each year, roughly 1.5 million Americans have a heart attack, it makes sense to do absolutely everything to make sure we don’t fall within this number. When lowering our risk is as simple as choosing the right drink to pour into our glass, it’d be ridiculous not to jump on board.

The following excerpt from Prevent a Second Heart Attack lays it all out beautifully:

Just like chocolate, tea is a form of plant food – and plants contain a plethora of phytochemicals that, when stacked together, will maximize the strength of your daily heart disease defense system. No doubt about it, a few daily cups of tea, and especially green tea, can provide cardiovascular protection via antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms.

There are three main varieties of tea – black, oolong, and green – and all are derived from the tea plant known as Camellia sinensis (Countless herbal infusions are informally referred to as “tea,” but these are unrelated to real tea produced from Camellia sinensis). Teas are classified based on how the leaves are processed, with the leaves of green tea being the least processed of the three varieties. Green tea is dried but not fermented; hence it retains the greatest amount of polyphenols.

What exactly is in green tea that wards off heart disease? Researchers believe that the primary therapeutic component in green tea is another type of flavonoid, the catechin family of plant polyphenols, found in exceptionally high concentration.  The most abundant of the green tea polyphenols is called epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG for short. EGCG is believed to be the most active health-protective component in green tea. (Incidentally, green tea contains 40 percent more polyphenols than black tea.)  According to researchers out of the University of Hong Kong, EGCG is a highly effective agent for lowering inflammation in the bloodstream as well as reducing oxidation of LDL, thereby protecting against plaque buildup.  – Page 225, Prevent a Second Heart Attack by Janet Bond Brill, PH.D., R.D., LDN

Did you know that research shows that drinking tea may reduce the risk of death following a heart attack. A study showed that people who drank two or more cups a day had a 44 percent lower death rate following their heart attacks than did non-tea drinkers.

Some of the health benefits of drinking tea may come from the fact that it keeps you from drinking soft drinks and diet soft drinks – both of which aren’t even remotely healthy.  It’s always the right time for tea… so I think I’ll go have a cup right now. – Joi

You can read my Prevent a Second Heart Attack Review by clicking the link. The article includes GREAT advice on heart health whether you’re looking to prevent a first or second heart attack! The author also answers some questions about heart health and heart attack prevention.

See Also: I’m not just a tea drinker or a tea lover… I’m actually a Crazy Tea Chick. Click the link for my tea blog!

Dealing With Stress and Stress Triggers

Often Finding Peace Means Making Peace

 

Sweet Hannah

Hannah: One of the Sweetest Cats to Ever Cat

Have you ever seen an individual in the throes of stress?  They look like they have it worse than anybody on earth. They act like the entire world… and possibly even God, Himself, is out to get them.

Some lash out in a temper tantrum like a 5 year old that’s being forced to leave the McDonald’s playground.  Others sulk like one that never made it to the playground in the first place.    Still others internalize their stress – keeping it all in and under wraps, at least for the time being. I say for the time being because, it’s sure to come out eventually and when it does… you don’t want to be anywhere near the event.

Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness. – Richard Carlson

Stress can be sneaky.  You can think you have a handle on it, but next thing you know,  every little thing seems to set you off.    After a while, you don’t even realize that SO MANY things are getting under your skin. You get so used to the feeling, you think it’s normal.

The saddest thing about this is the fact that you’re wasting precious moments, hours, days, weeks, months, and years of happiness and peace.

As far as I’m concerned, happiness and peace are two of the most beautiful words in the entire world.  Why let anything stand between you and these two beauties?!

If any of this sounds remotely like you, I have good… make that great… news for you. You don’t have to live at stress’ mercy.  You can do something about it and, quite frankly, the fact that you’re still reading means you are WELL on your way.

Coping Techniques for Stress

There are coping techniques for stress that you can experiment with.  Use these techniques in your own life and find the ones that bring more peace into your life and happiness into your days.

There are those beautiful words again.

Blowing up, internalizing, sulking, stressing – these are all things that are causing damage inside your body.  If you could somehow look inside and see what your inability to handle stress is doing, you’d find a way…. make a way… to cope.

I’m not judging and I’m not condemning.  I’m probably the least judgmental person you’ll ever encounter.  I get that everyone is different and I, honestly, love that fact.  I also have read enough, observed enough, and simply know through good old common sense that everyone reacts to things differently.  On any given day, three people can get a flat tire and each will react differently:

  1. One may cuss, pound the steering wheel, and search for the nearest person to blame – the road crew, the city, construction workers, the spouse (always a good one), God (yeah… He’s always home and has nothing better to do than pop tires), etc.  The blamers of life are real pills, aren’t they?  My oldest daughter and I watched a man outside of a coffee shop one afternoon a while back.  Something wasn’t quite right under the hood of his truck and he put on a display unlike anything I’ve seen in a while.  He hit the hood, he screamed at his mortified wife, he stomped, he kicked…  Some people were laughing at him, my daughter said he was “gross” and I just went back to my coffee hoping I never met him face to face.
  2. One may tear up and have a little “poor me, nothing ever goes right for me” cry.
  3. The third one might just say, “Wow, didn’t need that, but at least no one was hurt.  Oh well, if this is the worst thing that happens to me today, I’ve got it made.

One person isn’t OVER ALL any better, smarter, or cooler than the other two.   Each simply copes differently.  The thing is, when we get to the place where we’re able to cope with stress like the individual in the third example, we’ll enjoy life more, we’ll function better, our health will be better, our relationships will be sweeter and we won’t be spectacles for others to laugh at, call gross, or wish we’d never even seen in the first place.

Irregardless of how we react to it, stress is a most unwelcome guest.  Like all unwelcome guests, it boils down to two choices:

  1. Get rid of it. If there is anything within your power to deal with what is stressing you out, do so. Most things are within our control – it’s just easier to “hope” for change than it is to “work” for it.  If you are physically, mentally, or emotionally unable to deal with it – find someone who can help you. There is no shame in asking for help – we all have to every now and then. And if it helps get rid of stress, isn’t it worth it?
  2. Learn to deal with it. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but sometimes you just have to make peace with a situation.  This is especially true when what’s causing your stress within someone else’s hands. You cannot control other people, and shouldn’t even want to, if we’re being honest.

Let’s take a closer look at the second one… learning to deal with it, simply because this is the water most of us will find ourselves wading through.  Often the things that cause us to “stress out” are things that we simply have no control over. The economy, politics, the media, sports, our grown children’s decisions – we’ll simmer over these worries until we’ve worked ourselves into a bundle of stressed out negative energy.

Over things we can’t control! What a waste of time and emotion. When we let things “get to us,” simply realizing it is the first step.  Taking a deep breath (two, if it involves our children), and acknowledging that this is something beyond our reach is the next step.

The third step is where the magic is – make peace with it. Remind yourself, “You don’t have to like it… you certainly don’t have to love it. But you will not let it rob you of another minute of peace.”

As usual, this makes me think of animals… everything makes me think of animals! Recently, a MUCH loved cat of mine (Hannah) had approached old age.

Very old age, to tell you the truth.

During the last months of her life, she lost weight and just wasn’t herself. As someone who has, literally, had cats all of her life, I saw (but hated) the writing on the wall. I found myself getting so stressed out and sad over it that I realized that I wasn’t enjoying the time I had left with her as much as I should have been. When she first began losing weight and looking like the little old lady that she was, I found myself feeling heartbroken and sad when I was around her. Sometimes I’d even start to cry because I knew time was running out.

I caught myself one day, though, and made up my mind to stop focusing on the negative and concentrate on the positive. I’d had this beautiful little cat in my life for many years and whether it was months, weeks, or days that I had left with her – they were going to be happy days.  Days celebrating her living, not days dreading her dying. I made peace with something that was the last thing I wanted to make peace with. However, it was inevitable and you know what fighting with the inevitable causes, right?

STRESS.

I did, of course, lose Hannah to old age. But I chose (and choose) to focus on the fact that I had one of the sweetest-natured, most beautiful, and spoiled rotten cats ever! She was my constant companion when I walked, did yard work, or just sat on the ground with her. She loved having her picture taken and would ALWAYS roll onto her back to show off her belly. She was uncommonly proud of that belly!

We gave her a wonderfully happy life and she brought more sunshine into our lives than you can imagine.

Sometimes if you want find peace, you simply have to make peace.

After all, when you think of peace, what do you think of as its “opposite?” War, right?  If you aren’t living “at peace,” you are living “at war.” How miserable and unhealthy does that sound?!

Stress Triggers

Before you can actually deal with stress, however, you have to identify your triggers.  In the example above, the man in front of the coffee shop obviously couldn’t cope with adversity.  (Good luck with life, buddy.)   I also wonder if a little bit of feeling helpless had something to do with his performance.  After all, if he knew what to do, wouldn’t he have been doing it rather than acting a fool?  The lashing out at his wife was probably somewhat of a defensive reaction to keep from showcasing that he didn’t know what to do.  (Pick up the phone… call someone who does… easy peasy…)

We can’t all know everything and there is no shame in simply smiling and saying, “I know as much about this as I do the mating habits of the blue footed boobie.”  There never has been and there never will be any shame in admitting that you’re human.

Some of my favorite people in the world are human.

Other people are triggered, seemingly, when they think the world isn’t doing enough for them or giving them enough.

My advice for these people is this:   The world doesn’t owe you anything.  If this is your thinking, let me hasten to point out that you’ve got it all twisted…. You owe the world.  Start giving and you won’t have time to throw a pity party.  Also, while you’re at it, stop complaining that others aren’t doing enough for you.  If you want something done, do it. Try this on for a while:  Go out of your way to do things for other people.  Compliment them, smile at them, help them out whenever and however you can.

There’s a great old saying, What goes around comes around – maybe you’ve been living that out and what you’re receiving is what you’ve been giving… or, in this case, haven’t been giving.

Just a thought.

A third stress trigger is feeling overwhelmed – like life is just giving you too much at one time.  We’ve all been there and few of us ever want to go back.

The emotions, turmoil, and so forth that surrounded my mom’s sudden death in 2006 left me feeling like I was completely and totally spent.   If not for prayer and an outstanding family, I might still be in bed with the covers over my head.

I actually remember the day that I “got up,”  emotionally.  I hadn’t physically stayed in bed for days after losing my mom, but my spirit sure did. With the covers pulled tightly around its head.

Then, one day, I was in the back of the house and I heard my husband and our youngest daughter in the front of the house looking for something.  I knew that, not only was this dynamic duo completely helpless when it came to finding anything, they’d make a colossal mess trying.  I flipped a switch that I’d forgotten even existed and, literally, rejoined my family.

Sometimes we have to admit that we’ve “gone under.”  Make no mistake about it, we all do at one time or another – we feel overwhelmed and worn out.  The trick is not to stay there.  Remember Lao-Tzu’s words, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  If relationships, finances, work, or another potent opponent has you on the ropes…. or even if it has knocked you to the mat!… you have a choice to make:  Are you going to stay there or are you going to fight back?

The answer to your triggers, your problems, your adversities, and your stress lies inside of you.  Find someplace quiet and sort things out.  Stop placing blame on anyone, beginning with yourself.  Blame is the most irrelevant and useless expense of energy I can think of.  Forge past blame, forge past self-pity, and forge past anger. Find the solution you need to either remove your personal stress from your life or determine how you’ll learn to deal with it.

Life is too precious and the world is too beautiful to spend any measurable time whatsoever “on edge” or “stressed out.”

 

‘Cause You Got Per-son-al-ity

Walk Personality, Talk Personality, Smile Personality...

Personality Song Lyrics
 

I have always LOVED the song  (You’ve Got) Personality by Lloyd Price. What a voice. In fact, I think his is one of the best voices that have ever carried a tune… and this man carried the heck out of it.

There’s actually a method to my madness today – I’m not just posting cool song videos or doing unsolicited music reviews to suit my fancy (though it most certainly suits it fine). I was making a graphic for an old article I wrote about personalities. As I read over the article, each time I read the word personality, I read it as “per-son-al-ity” – and, you guessed it, it was to the tune of Lloyd Price’s song.

By the time I was through with the graphic, I knew I had to make another one (the one above) while listening to the song.

On repeat.

Click the following link to check out the old post: Is Your Personality an Asset or a Liability? but first, listen to the wonderful song below.

What. A. Voice.

Money Secrets from C-Suite Coach Tony Robbins

What three things does self-help guru Tony Robbins think anyone can and should do to catch their next big break?

In an interview with Rebecca Jarvis, the host of Real Biz with Rebecca Jarvis and ABC News’ chief business and economics correspondent, Robbins shares his secret to creating the best strategy to break through barriers and get results in the shortest period of time. Click the link above to see what he has to say!

 

10 Tips for Starting Your Own Blog

There's A Lot to Consider Before You Write Your First Word

Alexa

My boss, Alexa, questioning a post title.

I recently received an e-mail from a VERY sweet lady who was interested in beginning her own inspirational blog. She asked, like many have over the years, if I had any tips, suggestions, or advice.

I thought I could actually best serve her (and possibly even you, if you have an interest in this sort of thing) by devoting a post to the subject.

Jumping right into the Top 10, I will start with the most important tip of all….

 1.  Be absolutely certain this is what you want to do. I’m certainly not trying to talk anyone out of their decision to have a blog – far from it. If you have equal amounts of time, determination, and ability – having your own blog can be extremely rewarding. There are many great benefits – running the gamut from earning a little extra income to honing your writing skills. If your subject requires research, you can also keep your mind sharp… which, let’s face it, is always a good thing.

However, as someone who has done this for well over 10 years, I feel it’s only fair to point out a few things:

  • Running a blog takes a great deal of work.  It isn’t simply a matter of typing out a few thoughts and popping a picture at the top. The reason you see SO many abandoned blogs along the internet highway is the fact that what looks so easy and simple really isn’t. At all. It takes time and it takes commitment. For anyone with a full-time job, I’d strongly consider thinking long and hard before jumping into something that’ll take more time away from recess.  I work, full time, from home and even I find the work load to be overwhelming at times. When it’s time to get up and fix supper or clean house, I often find myself jumping out of my seat like a kid at the end of a school day.  Bottom line? It’s work.  Frustrating line? Few people see it as such.
  • There are a lot of “technical” aspects to blogging that you’ll need to learn – preferably before you even buy your domain. You’ll need to have at least a “good” understanding of search engines (seo – search engine optimization – will become a permanent resident in your subconscious thoughts).  You’ll also need to learn the rules and regulations of using content and pictures (basically, use your own – more about that later), “plugins,” link-building, disclaimers, privacy statements, graphics, themes, etc.  If you’re accustomed to Facebook or Tumblr, beware that having a blog is nothing like these social media websites.  A lot of people have the misconception that it’s basically the same thing, and it really isn’t. At all.
  • There are costs involved. If you’re going to run a website or blog, and do it right, there are costs involved. I’ll spell them out below, but (again, unlike Facebook and other social media sites), it isn’t free.
  • Speaking of social media websites…  You can create a great following and help tons of people simply by being active on Twitter, Facebook, or another social media website.  If you were to decide that having your own blog IS more work than you’d counted on, you don’t have to give up on reaching out to people or throw out the idea of expressing yourself creatively. Simply build a following on your favorite social media website and interact there.
  • Finally, consider guest posts. I work with people on each of my blogs in the area of guest posts. If an individual is not promoting a website or product that isn’t relevant to my subject, I am more than happy to consider publishing their article or articles on one of my websites. I’ve published quite a few on Self Help Daily, alone.  The authors of these posts are credited, of course, and have an opportunity to reach people they might not otherwise have the chance to reach.  Guest posts are simple to do – simply search out blogs that are relevant to your subject and contact the owner. Ask if they accept guest posts and ask if you can submit one for consideration. I’ve often had people ask me if there’s a particular subject I’d like for them to write about… I always think that’s pretty cool. Just be sure to only submit original articles that you have written yourself and never submit the same article more than once. Once a blog has published an article, it’s done – don’t ever submit the same on anyplace else. It’s called duplicate content and it’s bad, bad, bad. Suffice to say, it’s a terrible way to get on a website owner’s good side.

 2. Decide on Your Niche.  If you’re still reading, I assume you either are wholly committed to the idea or are simply one of those people who follow through anything they begin to the end. Either way – my hat’s off to you!

If you are certain you want to make the commitment to having your own blog, decide upon your subject. While some “personal blogs” are successful, most people do not enjoy reading what the average person eats, drinks, or thinks.  And selfies? Yeah, you can probably go ahead and keep them to yourself.

People are more interested (understandably!) in how THEY can get more out of life. They’re interested in how you can help them improve themselves and, as a result, improve their life.

They don’t care as much about seeing you happy as they care about what you can do to make them happy.

You need a good, solid “niche” (subject) and this niche needs to be obvious to your readers right away. If you have something to offer people that is worthwhile… something that can help them.. then you have solid ground to build on.

 3. Take a Look at What’s Already Out There. This one’s tough to explain, but I’ll do my level best.  If your subject is one that is uncommonly popular, you’re probably going to be one small fish in a great big ocean.  For example, if anyone were to start a food blog today, they’d be up against it. WAY up against it.  Not only are there countless recipe websites online (Food Network, Cooking Channel…), every conceivable food product has their own website – complete with, you guessed it, recipes. Add Pinterest, with it’s limitless recipes, and a food blogger has their work cut out for them. How do I know? I’m a food blogger! I began my food blog Get Cooking! many years ago.  I didn’t do it for any other reason than the fact that I loved to cook and experiment with recipes and I wanted a “cool” place to accumulate my recipes, tips, and advice for my three daughters.  Over the years, competition for visitors to a food blog has become nuts. The tricky thing is – you want your subject to be popular enough for people to care… but not so popular that… well, again, you end up a tiny little fish swimming with sharks. If you DO decide to run with a subject that’s greatly saturated, just be sure you stand out!  Look at the different blogs in your niche – take a good look at the top 10 that show up in Google. Ask yourself (honestly) if there’s anything that you could or would do differently.

 4. You’ll Need a Domain Name. From the start, I have used GoDaddy.com for all of my domains.  They are completely trustworthy, dependable, and have a stellar reputation. In the RARE event a problem does arise, their people are lightning fast in responding to the issue. You’ll want to choose a domain name that’s easy to remember and easy to spell. When naming your website and choosing your domain name, be sure to (again) search on Google and make sure you aren’t stepping on any toes that are already on the dance floor.  You pay for a domain name yearly , but it’s a very low price – around $12 – $15.

 5.  You’ll Also Need a Reliable Host.   GoDaddy.com also offers hosting but I’ve always used HostGator. Completely trustworthy and helpful  – plus, I’m pretty crazy about the gator. You can find all of the information you need about domains and hosting on either one of these websites. Each spell everything out beautifully and there are always helpful experts on the other side of the phone or e-mail.

6. You’ll Must Have WordPress.  A lot of articles about “starting your own blog” will outline your different options. Not me. I’m just going to tell you, flat out, you need WordPress. It’s free and it’s the best platform for your blog. The best plugins and “themes” are made with WordPress in mind and, when it comes to your readers, it’s by far the best.

7. You’ll Need a Theme. A blog theme is basically it’s “design.”  There are free themes available, and you’ll be able to access a great number of these as soon as you install WordPress. However, free themes can come with a lot of headaches and, no matter what you do, they will almost always look as free as they are. If you plan to treat your blog as a business, you’ll want to purchase a premium theme. A quick Google search (“Premium WordPress Themes”) will give you plenty to choose from.  Before purchasing one, be sure to read different reviews of the theme and theme’s creator. Also, look at their different demos, and ask yourself, “How much tweaking and customizing went into this? Is it something I could do?”  Most of us weren’t born with the information to code or design websites or blogs. It’s incredibly complicated, in fact, so be sure you find the most intuitive and easy-to-use and understand theme possible.  I stand 110 percent behind the GetNoticed Theme.  In fact, I tend to get annoyed with my blogs that aren’t yet sporting this theme!

8. Graphics and Headers, Oh My!  See the “logo” at the top of the page – it says “Self Help Daily – Inspirational Blog with a Save the World Complex.”  This is called a “header” and your blog will most assuredly need one of these. 9 out of 10 people are best served by finding someone online (a graphic artist) to hire for this part of the process.  Unless you have Photoshop (EXPENSIVE!) and some experience with graphic art, paying someone to design a logo for you would be the smartest way to go.  They’ll need to know the dimensions (information found within your theme), colors, whether you want it to be transparent or not, and possibly even some information about the font(s) you had in mind.  If you find a graphic artist you’re thrilled with, be sure to keep them in mind for future work.

 9. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words. When it comes to content and pictures you publish on your website, you can find endless advice online about what pictures to use, where to find “free, loyalty-free images,” etc.  Yet again, I guess you could say my advice is narrow-minded…. use your own.  People have been taken to court for using other people’s pictures. Actually, it happens every day. Personally, I don’t even trust the websites that tell you to use their pictures free because, unless I know where that picture came from… how do I know IT wasn’t once taken from someone else?! I’d much rather eliminate all worry and prevent all headaches by only using only pictures I (or a member of my family, of course) have taken.  I also simply make a lot of graphics – such as the quote graphics you see everywhere on the website. These are perfect for a blog because they’ll be shared on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter. If you use someone’s quote on your blog, always give their name and never post anyone’s content as your own.

10.  If You’re Looking to Make Money…. Sorry, Charlie, it’s the rare fish that strikes it rich. Maybe it’s because this blog is an inspirational, self-help blog, but most of the people I hear from aren’t looking to start a blog for money as much as they are simply interested in reaching out and helping others. However, most people DO think, “Eh, I can make my own blog and make a lot of money… people will pay me to advertise, people will buy books….”  When I come across that mindset, I think, “Bless your heart…. bless your heart..”

Blogging is like anything else, really – sometimes people strike it rich, but most of the time they don’t get anywhere near anything resembling rich.  The only “riches” I’ve ever known had last names… and there was only one of them:  Rich Brooks, a former UK Football coach.

And I never even met him!

Yes, there are more people online than ever before – common sense would tell you that this is where the money is, right? Problem is this: The internet is saturated with websites and social media. There are thousands upon thousands of websites covering every niche known to man, woman, or cat.  The streams of income that were once “handsome” online are starting to look downright “homely.”

Social Media can be a two-edged sword. While it can, hopefully, be used to draw people to your website – the competition for people’s attention has never been greater.  A great, great, great number of people… when they get online… go to Twitter or Facebook and that’s it.  They jump on, then they jump off. You have a small window of opportunity to catch them and pull them to your blog.

It can be done, mind you – but, again, it takes work.  It takes time, self-confidence, determination, elbow grease, and… to be perfectly honest… more than a little stubbornness.

BONUS Tip: A somewhat thick skin will serve you well. People can be jerks sometimes and putting yourself “out there” invites the jerks to approach you. Whether on Twitter, in e-mail, or in your blog’s comments, the jerks will appear from time to time.  They seemingly have no life of their own to speak of, so they’ll simply try to bring you down to their  level of misery.  There are spell check police who degrade you if you accidentally leave an i or an e out of a word, there are clowns who are anti-God, anti-America, and anti-just about anything you can think of who just sit out there ready to pounce on anyone who DARES to be pro anything, and there are simply people who live to start stuff.

Years ago, I tried to reason with the jerks of the world. I’d be as sweet and hospitable as my Kentucky upbringing demands. Southern charm would ooze out.

More times than not, approaching jerks that way is about as effective as spraying perfume over a cow pasture.

You have to realize that miserable people try to spread misery the way happy people try to spread happiness. Always remind yourself that the problem lies with them, not you. If you allow them to make you miserable, they’ve won.  Come on now… that’s the last thing we want!

Spray a little perfume, if you must, then walk away as fast as possible before you step in anything.

If you have any questions and/or advice, please leave a comment below.

~ Joi

Alexa


At the end of a long day!

How to Read More Often AND How to Get More Out of Reading

Open a Book... Open Your World!

Quote About Books
 

If one of your New Year’s Resolutions was to read more, I hope you’re just blazing a trail right through a string of amazing books! If you fell off a little bit over the past few weeks, I  hope I can help you get back on track.

First a few things about reading:

  • Reading is, to the mind, what travel is to the body. It opens up a whole new world!
  • Reading has been proven to help a GREAT deal in the prevention of dementia, including Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • If you read inspirational books, they can help lift your spirits to new heights.
  • As wonderful as books are, remember that reading is only as valuable as the books you read.  Reading bad books isn’t really much better than not reading any books at all.

 The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read. – Mark Twain

How to Read More Often

If finding time for reading is an issue for you, I have a few suggestions.

  1. Keep a book near one of your favorite spots.  For example, I’m almost always reading more than one book at a time. I’m always (and when I say always, I mean always!) in the middle of an Agatha Christie mystery, so I keep her nearby at all times. I’m also, at any given time, reading a cookbook or book about cooking/food, a historical non-fiction book (history buff), and a self help related book (usually to review for Self Help Daily).  I keep the cookbook or food-related book in the kitchen, so I can read it during lunch or breakfast – sometime during the day when it’s just me and my cat Alexa dining.  I keep the historical non-fiction book near my chair in the den, and the self help related book is kept by my bed.  Wherever I happen to be, during the day, I have a book nearby. It really doesn’t take a lot of time to read a chapter, after all, and they can be slipped in at just about any given time.
  2. Fall in love with reading e-Books! Whether you have a Kindle or download books to your iPad or iPod, this is the ultimate way to keep your book with you at all times. I have a Kindle, but I also download books right to my iPad, so it’s convenient to keep Hercule Poirot with me at all times.  In celebration of National Reading Month, Amazon’s Kindle is just $59, twenty dollars less than the regular price. Amazon is also the perfect spot to order your books – whether they’re physical books or downloadable books. Amazon also has you covered for the next suggestion…
  3. Two words: Audio Books.  Audio books are a dream come true for a lot of people – people who are on the road a lot, people with attention spans that tend to wander, and people who aren’t just busy, but darn busy!  You can listen to your book being read to you while driving, doing dishes, taking a bath, doing chores, etc. It’s still “reading” and it’s still gaining information and, when applicable, inspiration and motivation.
  4. Set goals.  Pick a book you’d really love to read and set a deadline. Map out the number of chapters and the amount of time you’ll devote to each. Most people will rise up to a goal, even if it’s one they set themselves.
  5. Choose a reading buddy.  Plan to begin reading a certain book with a friend or family member, with each grabbing their own copy of the book. People always watch tv shows and discuss them, why not treat books the same way? I’m in the middle of a WONDERFUL book, John Adams, by David McCullough and I often wish someone I knew were reading it as well. The topics of conversation would be epic.  This book is available in every conceivable format on Amazon and, I just can’t possibly say enough good things about it. This is a book to end all books.
  6. Read about what interests you.  I am a huge history buff, so I can’t get enough of historical books, biographies, and autobiographies.  I’m such a history nut, I could read a History text book just for fun. And I have.  Think of a subject (or subjects) that interest you, then search out books relating to this subject(s).
  7. Explore different Fiction niches and authors. If you don’t think you’d enjoy reading fiction, try a few different authors and even niches before you swear off fiction entirely.  You’ll probably come across a particular author and think, “Now I want to read everything this author wrote!”
  8. Get a Library Card and Use it.  Whether you prefer fiction or non-fiction, you’ll probably find that visiting a library is just as fun as an adult as it was when you were a kid. More so, actually, because we actually LIKE quiet now.  Library trips can be the most tranquil and relaxing part of your week – especially if you find a comfy chair or table and dive right in… to the chair and the book.
  9. Make Reading a Personal Retreat.  Set aside a time where you grab a cup of coffee or tea and escape with your book. It’ll become a time that you look forward to each day.
  10. Get great ideas for books to read from book reviews. You can find killer non-fiction book reviews AND fiction book reviews online.

How to Get More Out of What You Read

To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting. – Edmund Burke

I actually asked the biggest book lover in the world to share with you her tips for getting the most out of books.  Below is the advice from author, book reviewer, and book lover extraordinaire Emily Dill:

I have one main tip for non-fiction and one main tip for fiction. When reading non-fiction, my main tip for getting the most out of the material is TAKE NOTES. No matter what kind of non-fiction book, I’m reading, I take notes as I go.

Bob Harper book about exercise or nutrition? I write things down as I go.

A book about how to write an entire novel in the month of November? Take notes.

An Amen Clinics book about keeping your brain healthy? Yep, notes.

My main tip for getting the most out of fiction is to read in a quiet area. I know a lot of people brag about reading while the tv is on, kids are yelling, music is playing, and so on, but that doesn’t work for me. And it probably doesn’t work for most people either, because I can promise you they’re missing a few things in their reading. It has happened to me before – when I try to read in a loud or active room, I’ll end up reading the same page two or three times and still missing things.

So treat yourself and concentrate 100% on your reading – that book deserves your full attention!

I totally agree with the tip about taking notes! I am a note taker from way back. Writing something down helps you retain the information – it can also serve as a fantastic reference point, specially for long books or if you’re reading different books covering the same subject.

This actually brings me to another tip for getting the most out of reading.  If you find a particular subject that you enjoy reading about, search out as many books relating to this subject as possible. Make a list of all the different subjects you want to learn more about.  You can get inspiration for reading subjects anyplace – just pay attention to the things that spike your interest and follow through.

Here’s an example: My husband and I watched a GREAT mini-series on the History Channel, Sons of Liberty. Was this History nut ever in Heaven?!?!  By the time the series ended, I had a LONG list of subjects I wanted to delve further into: John Adams, Abigail Adams, John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, The Boston Massacre, the Tea Party, Paul Revere, Benjamin Franklin… and on and on.

Suffice to say, I have enough subjects to last several years!

My note-taking will really come in handy while reading through these fascinating subjects. I can cross-reference and see, for example, where George Washington was (and what he was up to) during the Tea Party, or what Abigail Adams thought of Benjamin Franklin… that sort of mentally delicious thing.

You should also pause to reflect on what you’ve read with fiction as well as non-fiction. Think back over the lessons that could be carried away from the characters, their experiences, their choices, etc.

A good book should leave you… slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it. – William Styron

I hope this article will serve as inspiration to you in your quest for reading more and for getting more from your reading. Thanks again to Emily for her words of wisdom and experience.

If you have any reading tips of your own, please share them with us in the comments!

~ Joi

All the secrets of the world are contained in books. Read at your own risk. – Lemony Snicket

Also See: More quotes about reading.

People Can’t Drive You Crazy If You Don’t Give Them the Keys (Review)

Get Your Hands, Eyes, and/or Ears On This Book

People Can't Drive You Crazy if You Don't Give them the Keys
 

Continuing the Focus of 2015: Building a Happier Family!

A while back,  I downloaded an interesting sounding e-book, People Can’t Drive You Crazy If You Don’t Give Them the Keys (Kindle edition link) by Mike Bechtle.  I fell in love with the cover image Come on, who wouldn’t be? It’s a duck. In a snazzy jacket with a whackadoodle hat.

And can we talk about the fact that he has green hair?

The title is, to be honest, what initially caught my eye. Even before the duck. The title reminds me of a something I always said to my three daughters while they were growing up. I don’t know about where you live, but in Kentucky we have a popular saying, “He’s getting my goat…” or “That really gets my goat..”

With three little girls, I often heard, “She just gets my goat…” In one of our infamous, “table talks,” I told my girls, “People can only get your goat if you put it out in the open. If they know where your goat is, it’s easy pickings.”

The title of this book just kind of reminded me of homespun wisdom and it had me at “crazy.”

When doing book reviews, as I often point out, I want to give a great “feel” for the book without giving the entire premise away. If I were to lay out all the brilliance of a particular book right here, why would you need to read it for yourself?

Since I VERY much want everyone to read People Can’t Drive You Crazy If You Don’t Give Them the Keys (paperback link) as soon as they humanly can, I’m going to tread lightly.  I hope you’ll stick with this book review, even if it gets lengthy – this book is extra special.

As we continue the focus of 2015 on Self Help Daily, Building a Happier Family, I have to strongly suggest everyone read this book. If you are a really, really busy individual, and simply don’t have time to devote 30 minutes to an hour reading each day, I have a few solutions…

A reaction is how we feel; a response is what we do. Reactions are automatic, but we choose our responses. – Mike Bechtle, People Can’t Drive You Crazy if You Don’t Give Them the Keys

Like most books, this particular WINNER is available in a variety of formats, so there’s simply no reason NOT to make this the next book you read… even if you read it with your ears.

The beauty of People Can’t Drive You Crazy If You Don’t Give Them the Keys (as it relates to building a happier family) is that it gives you the motivation, information, and inspiration you need to do your part to make your family the happiest family in town.  This book is, also, ideal reading for anyone who’s looking to improve their relationships at work or school (or anywhere for that matter) – but since our focus is on families… we’ll just stay seated around the dining room table rather than a board room table.

The food’s better anyway.

As I said, I read People Can’t Drive You Crazy if You Don’t Give Them the Keys on my iPad – so I couldn’t highlight or underline extra-insightful and/or humorous quotes and paragraphs. I could, however, write them down – and I did just that. You never saw so many notes and notations!

…. Your emotions got the best of you, and your crazy person has you dangling in her grip like a bungee jump gone bad….  Mike Bechtle, People Can’t Drive You Crazy if You Don’t Give Them the Keys

True story: One night a History Channel show that my husband and I wouldn’t miss for a million dollars had just gone off.  I knew I had about 15 minutes to read a little something before bedtime, so I grabbed my iPad to read from one of my e-books. I flew past PCDYCIFDGTTK (looks like a cat just walked across the keyboard, doesn’t it?) and chose an Agatha Christie mystery I was in the middle of. Why? I didn’t have my pen and notebook with me and I knew that even just 15 minutes with PCDYCIFDGTTK would have produced more than a few note-worthy points.

It’s that good.

For one thing, People Can’t Drive You Crazy if You Don’t Give Them the Keys is a very enjoyable and entertaining read. The author is absolutely hilarious. I’ve read that he’s a popular speaker and I can absolutely see why. GREAT sense of humor.  The sense of humor and warm stories about his own family and friends (including precious granddaughters) make for a very, very special book.

A certain passage about the author’s oldest granddaughter reminded me so much of my oldest daughter (Emily) that it’s beyond uncanny.  I was delighted –  the world can never have too many colorful, detail-oriented, little girls who march to the beat of their own drum. They grow up to be colorful, detail-oriented young women who just keep on marching.

People Can’t.. is also a really “fast reading” book.  When you aren’t taking notes, that is.

A lot of self help or self improvement books are good, while you’re reading them, but fail to “stick.”  This is not one of those books. It’s fantastic while you’re in the middle of it, and it sticks like super glue.

History brings us to where we are right now, but it doesn’t have to dictate how we respond in the future. – Mike Bechtle, People Can’t Drive You Crazy if You Don’t Give Them the Keys

I will, in the foreseeable future often quote or refer back to this wonderful book. However, I have to give you one of the most profound messages or points from the author and his wonderful book.

Ever read a quote or a passage that is so profound and packs such a wallop that you go back and re-read it… allowing it to wallop you from the other side? Early in the book, Mike Bechtle hits the nail on the head when he says, “Never allow yourself to become a victim of anyone else’s shortcomings or weaknesses.

I read a lot.  A LOT. But it has been ages since a single cluster of words had such an impact on me. When we allow others to impact our peacefulness or happiness, we become their victim. This could be anyone..

  • rude servers
  • inefficient store clerks
  • family members
  • co-workers
  • friends
  • toxic people online…. I’m looking at you social media

…. anyone, anywhere, anytime. If we allow them to remove us from where we want to be —- content, peaceful, happy —- and place us anywhere else, we are at their mercy. Worse, we are their victim.

I guess I’d just never thought of it that way before. Since reading (and re-reading) the words, however, I’ve thought about it plenty!  There are a lot of jackals in this world, after all.  Not one has victimized me since.

Not even vile online toxicity rattles my cage anymore.  If I see someone being a complete jackal, I just thank God that it isn’t my jackal and go about my business.

Book Synopsis: Strange as it may seem, other people are not nearly as committed to our happiness as we are. In fact, sometimes they seem like they’re on a mission to make us miserable! There’s always that one person. The one who hijacks your emotions and makes you crazy. The one who seems to thrive on drama. If you could just FIX that person, everything would be better. But we can’t fix other people – we can only make choices about ourselves. In this cut-to-the-chase book, communication expert Mike Bechtle shows readers that they don’t have to be victims of other people’s craziness.

With commonsense wisdom and practical advice that can be implemented immediately, Bechtle gives readers a proven strategy to handle crazy people.

More than just offering a set of techniques, Bechtle offers a new perspective that will change readers’ lives as they deal with those difficult people who just won’t go away.

How Can People Can’t Drive You Crazy If You Don’t Give Them the Keys help You?

Let’s get right down to it, want to? Why should you get your hands, eyes, and possibly ears on this book as soon as possible?

Because you deserve to be happy. Simple as that.

Yes, reading this book can help you keep peace within your family. Yes, the author’s wonderful advice can help you get along with even the craziest of the crazies, at work or home.  Yes, if you read this book and allow it to sink in, you can have the kind of peaceful, happy family holidays you see in tv commercials.

But, just for a minute, don’t think about any of that. Just for a minute, put everyone and everything else out of your mind and only think about yourself. It isn’t easy to live in a world of crazies – they’re everywhere, after all.  They can, and will, leave their footprints on your psyche. You’ll find yourself coming unglued, sighing deeply, whining, crying, and arguing with people over the silliest things. If it continues, you may even find yourself unable to sleep or unwind as well as you once did and your health can (and will) pay for the turmoil.

A lack of harmony in your life and an inability to “deal” with the handiwork of a crazy person can affect every corner of your life.

This book will help you clean out those corners. You’ll be happier and, as a result, everyone around you will be happier.

Think about it – if you feel tension in your family or at work, everyone feels it.  A tense individual in a room is like a caged tiger. Everyone focuses on the show, holding their breath waiting for the roar.

If you aren’t handling your crazy person (or crazy people, if you’re an over-achiever) well, you’re making everyone around you tense, unhappy, and downright miserable. Whether you encounter your crazies at work or home, you will be happier when you know how to cope with them.

You know I always level with my readers – and I’m telling you right now, this is a book you have to read.  This one’s a life-changer. ~ Joi

 “Never allow yourself to become a victim of anyone else’s shortcomings or weaknesses.” – Mike Bechtle

Review: Clean Slate, A Cookbook and Guide from the Editors of Martha Stewart Living

Reset Your Health, Detox Your Body, and Feel Your Best

Clean Slate Cookbook and Guide

Clean Slate: A Cookbook and Guide: Reset Your Health, Detox Your Body, and Feel Your Best

Almost everyone is TALKING these days about “clean eating,” cutting out empty calories, cutting back on red meat, and forgetting that fried food even exists. Yet hardly anyone is actually FOLLOWING through.

Why? It’s a whole lot easier to say you’re going to changer your way of eating than to actually do it.

The talk? Easy. The follow thorough? Not so much.

Clean Slate: A Cookbook and Guide: Reset Your Health, Detox Your Body, and Feel Your Best, from the editors of Martha Stewart Living, might just be the book to help you nail the “follow through” once and for all.

As the back cover states, Clean Slate is more than just a cookbook:

More than just a cookbook, CLEAN SLATE, from the editors of Martha Stewart Living, provides you with the nutritionally sound information you need to shop for and prepare food that nourishes body and mind. You’ll find guidelines for restocking your pantry with whole grains, beans and legumes, lean proteins, and healthy fats; glossaries of the best sources of detoxifiers, antioxidants, and other health-boosting nutrients; and menus for a simple 3-day cleanse and a 21-day whole-body detox, with easy to follow tips and strategies for staying on track.

If you’re at all familiar with computers, you now that sometimes your desktop computer needs to be “reset.”  Hitting reset gives your computer a chance to gather itself and clear its thoughts!

I had an old Gateway once that would (every so often) get “hung up.” It’d freeze, usually when I was right in the middle of something. It just really knew how to pick its moments. I’d hit “reset” and it’d come back as good as new.  Oddly enough, it’d actually perform 10 times better after I afforded it the opportunity to start fresh.

Clean Slate offers readers a chance to do just that – to reset their approach to food and get a whole new fresh start on the health of their body by being smarter about what they put into their mouth.

This beautiful book emphasizes eating clean, whole, unprocessed foods as part of a primarily plant-based diet. There are more than 160 great looking, “doable” recipes to help you along the way. Juices, smoothies, main dishes, snacks, and even desserts!

One of the things I love most about Clean Slate is the fact that each recipe clearly and plainly states whether it is vegan, dairy free, nut-free, and/or gluten free.

While I lvoe the recipes like any self-respecting foodie would, my favorite part of the book is the KNOW YOUR NUTRIENTS section. Within these pages are listed the superheroes of the food world – along with colorful photographs:

  • Super Detoxifiers: Foods that support the liver, the “Main Guy” in charge of detoxification. Avocado, citrus fruits, flaxseed….
  • Antioxidant Powerhouses: The vitamins in these foods help neutralize free radicals that contribute to the onset of aging and disease. Carrots, dark beans, cloves, plums….
  • Inflammation Fighters: The foods with Omega-3s, Vitamin E and other compounds that help prevent inflammations. This, in turn, reduces the risk of cancer and heart disease while soothing the aches and pains from arthritis.  Walnuts, herbs, papaya…. 
  • Digestive Aids: Foods that are particularly loaded with beneficial bacteria and fiber. They keep the digestive system running smoothly. Honey, mint, turmeric, coconut, ginger…

While there were some foods listed within each of the above groups I expected, there were far more I didn’t expect. It makes smart meal planning easier when you know what each ingredient brings to the Clean Slate Party.

Other subjects covered in Clean Slate:

  • Golden Rules for Eating Clean
  • Restocking Your Pantry
  • Action Plans for Detoxing Your Mind and Body
  • MANY recipes along with gorgeous photographs.

Clean Slate is a beautiful guide/cookbook that’ll help you sort through the maze of healthy eating. You’ll come away from this book armed with all the information you need to begin a fresh new approach to food…. An approach that’ll lead you and your family down the path to better health.

Click through any of the links to take a closer look at Clean Slate on Amazon.

~ Joi

Note: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. The opinions are entirely my own.

Top Ten Things You Should Stop Doing

If You Want to Be Happier, Drop These Habits NOW!

Top Ten Things You Should Stop Doing
 

We are a generation of to do lists, multi-tasking, smart phones, and appointment calendars.  We’re convince that the MORE we DO, the happier we’ll be.  We think, “If we want happiness, we have to do do do and get get get…”

We proudly wave our “git ‘er done” mentality and vow to do just that.  And, of course we want our lunch to go – after all there are places to go, people to see, and plenty of ‘er to get done.

I won’t even lecture (well, not today anyway) about what this does to our health, psyche, and relationships. You get a free pass, I’ll go all mother hen on you about your well-being another day.

What we fail to realize, however, amongst all of our busyness, is that we can have an admirable “To Do” list, but if we keep doing certain negative, destructive things – we’re just shooting ourselves in our ever moving feet.

Think of these 10 self-destructive thoughts or actions as your To Don’t list.

  1. Don’t put things off.  If you’ve been wanting to build a tree house… go buy your lumber today! If you’ve always wanted an herb garden Martha Stewart would be impressed with, start planning it right now. If the thought of something makes you smile, imagine how much you’ll smile when it’s out of your brain and in your reality.
  2. Don’t let others determine how you feel about yourself.  Never look to other people to see your own reflection – you’ll never get the same one twice.  Taking a good, hard look at yourself is the first step in the self improvement journey.  But YOU are the one that has to take inventory.  Don’t let others build you up too high, but certainly don’t allow them to tear you down.  When someone else determines your highs and lows, don’t they pretty much have control over you?
  3. Don’t allow toxic thoughts to rent space in your mind. Here’s the dangerous thing about thoughts – they don’t remain thoughts. They become actions, they become attitudes, and they become words. Actions and words CANNOT be undone. They can be apologized for, agonized for, and can serve as huge weights on your conscience – but they can never be erased. If you entertain negative thoughts about an individual and keep feeding these thoughts with MORE negativity and hatred, it will come out – make no mistake about it. Think of negative thoughts as toxic waste. NOW, how long do you want them sticking around?
  4. Never “bad mouth” your loved ones to others.  I once read a woman’s quote that said something to the effect of how thankful she was that her name was always safe in her sweetheart’s mouth. I thought that was beautiful. She knew that if he ever spoke of her to his friends and/or family, it would be with kindness and love. When we speak of our loved ones, should they not be able to say the EXACT same thing? Are your loved one’s names safe in your mouth? Don’t run people down – especially those you love. Build them up… brag on them! People will make judgments about your loved ones by your own words – they’ll also judge just how much you love and pride you have for them from these same words.
  5. Don’t make excuses.  If you mess up, and come on, who doesn’t – own up to it.  Don’t try to laugh it off if it isn’t funny, don’t try to re-size it (up-size or downsize), and most of all, don’t try to put the blame on someone else.  Finger pointing is a big pet peeve of mine. Don’t. Do. It. It’s ugly.
  6. Don’t underestimate karma.  Seriously, never ever fail to give karma her due – you’ll be sorry.  I’ve been telling my daughters about her (and her keen memory and even keener sense of justice) as long as I’ve been telling them to say please and thank you.  Karma can be a rewarding, kind, beautiful seeker of justice, but she can also seem like a cruel, vindictive something or another. Either way, she has an impossibly long memory. You can’t outrun her, you can’t hide from her.  The only thing you can hope to do is to stay on her good side.  You know the old adage that says the mother is the “heart” of the home, and that if she’s happy, everyone’s happy – but if she’s miserable, everyone’s miserable?  Meet Karma… the heart of life’s home.  When you make a point of doing the right thing (whether anyone’s watching or not), Karma keeps score and your world will be more harmonious.  But when you dodge what’s right in favor of what’s wrong, you’re instantly on her ‘ish list.  And make no mistake about it, she’ll get to you.
  7. Stop doing what you hate. If you’re working in a job that makes you miserable, find another one.  Life’s too short to spend it being miserable.
  8. Stop thinking so much about money.  That’s another thing that sort of defines our generation. We never seem to think we have enough money.  Think about it this way – if we had more, we’d just spend more.  When my husband and I were first married, we didn’t have a heckuva lot of money.  When our beautiful daughters started arriving, we had even less.  More love, more happiness, more laughter – but most definitely less money.  Today, we’ve been blessed to have enough money, but guess what?  We still spend it.  We simply pay a little more for what we wear, where we live, what we eat, and what we drive.  We were as warm, as comfortable, as full, and as mobile then as we are now.  I’ll let you in on a little secret too, we were just as happy then as we are now.  We’re the same people now as we were then.  We laugh out loud at Andy Griffith reruns, get far too wrapped up in UK Basketball and St. Louis Cardinals baseball, spoil our daughters and cats, and so on.  Money buys stuff but it doesn’t buy happiness, it doesn’t buy relationships, and it doesn’t buy memories.  If you’re sacrificing any of the three in its pursuit, you’ll be more than sorry in the end – you’ll be devastated.
  9. Don’t nitpick other people!  Sorry for the exclamation mark – I just felt compelled to yell this one out loud.  How this guy wears his hair, how that woman dresses, what this person eats, how that person talks – none of your concern.  Not your problem. In the new testament, at the point where Jesus has risen and is addressing his apostles, one of them sees fit to ask Him about another apostle.  Jesus’ response was, “What is that to you?” A very loving and long-suffering way of saying, “Now remind me how that’s any of your business sir….”  We get SO off track by looking at what others are or are not doing.  They are responsible for their own lives – how they dress, where they work, how they live… Unless it is directly… directly, now… affecting you or one of your loved ones, let it go. Why bother finding MORE things to worry about or be unsettled by? Wouldn’t life be better if one looked for things to be happy about? Also, keep this in mind – if you overly criticize people, they will eventually stop trying to please you. They’ll figure, “I can’t do anything right with this so and so… so…. I quit even trying.”  If you kill someone’s creativity and confidence, how does that benefit you OR them?
  10. Finally, stop doing what isn’t working. If you’ve been working toward a particular goal and don’t seem to be gaining on it whatsoever, it’s time for Plan B because Plan A is belly up.  You can either keep wasting time and hope it suddenly flips over and miraculously starts working, or you can abandon what doesn’t work and find something that does.

BONUS: This one is my absolute favorite one… so I set her aside from the rest. A chosen, favored one to be sure.  Once years ago, I read a quote that – if there were such a thing – would be my ‘Spirit Animal Quote.’  It said, “All I’m after is a world filled with laughter.”  I’m all about laughter and had MUCH rather be accused of finding too many things funny than of finding too few things funny.

Yes, I’m one of those who laugh out loud at commercials with talking animals, and can be found doubled over with tears in her eyes while watching funny cat videos online.

I love to laugh and the sound of other people laughing is music to my ears.  Never fail to look for the humor in situations.

Here’s an example that happened to my family recently.  I was sitting beside my daughter Brittany in a “surgery waiting room.” She was waiting to be taken back for kidney stone surgery.  She was in quite a bit of pain and was almost as worried and anxious as me. Almost. There, surrounded by about 10 other people who were awaiting surgeries, we found ourselves in a totally somber setting.

Then she pointed out something to me and we both had to laugh – a “biker” came strolling through, slowly, and took a seat. On the back of his leather jacket were the words GRIM REAPER.  Brittany said, “Oh, great. What’s he doing here?”  I told her, “I thought he’d be taller.

I don’t know, there was just something about the moment that made us laugh. She even reached for her camera phone to take a picture but the Grim Reaper sat down and his chair hid his identity.

We both decided that, yet again, we had proof of one thing – God has a terrific sense of  humor.

Just because we aren’t kids anymore doesn’t mean we have to stop looking for the fun in life. It’s there. You’ll find it if you look. Try to find the humor in as many situations as possible.

Laughing beats grumbling any day.

Sometimes we have to STOP doing things in order to START doing things.  The negatives just weigh the positives down, so ditch them on the now.

Now, I’m off to plan my epic herb garden,
~ Joi

Quote About Humor