15 September  2015      

Another week has come into our lives, and we hope that you're making
all that you can of this new week in your life!

How to Get into Your Own Home
Paul Pearsall

Try Giving Yourself
Arlene Boucher and John Tehan

Making Room
tom walsh

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I have always been delighted at the prospect of
a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.

J.B. Priestley

Happy the people, and happy they alone,
who can call today their own;
They who are secure within can say, tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today.

John Dryden

Overstraining is the enemy of accomplishment.
Calm strength that arises from a deep and
inexhaustible source is what brings success.

Rabindranath Tagore

You will succeed best when you put the restless,
anxious side of affairs out of mind, and allow
the restful side to live in your thoughts.

Margaret Stowe


How to Get into Your Own Home
Paul Pearsall

How many of your rooms are actually "living" rooms?  Do you have several rooms in your house that are "for company and special occasions only"?  Does your family cluster in a basement or family room and only use the "good" rooms on holidays or for entertaining?  Do you find yourself cleaning rooms that are almost never used?  Are you paying bills for the heating and lighting of rooms that really don't need these utilities because human beings seldom visit these "not for living" rooms?

Are you living in and enjoying your home or has your home become another factor in the complication index, another whale for your Ahab complex?  We now have family rooms, dining rooms, guest rooms, living rooms, bedrooms, even so-called "great rooms," as though certain human behaviors can only be done in rooms with the appropriate names.  With the exception of the bathroom and kitchen, how many of the rooms in your house can really only serve primarily one purpose?

"I don't know why we finished off the basement," said one man.  "It's supposed to be a recreation room, but we never recreate down there.  It's still a basement, a below-ground stuff holder.  Our ping-pong table is a storage center, the pool table is an open-air file cabinet,  and you couldn't find the bar because of all the toys on top.  We all go out to recreate, we go our separate ways.  There's no room in the recreation room to recreate any more."

Here are some radical suggestions for getting more super joy out of your own home:

1.  Allow everybody into every room.  Every room should be a family room.

2.  Allow all family members to sit on the furniture, even the "good" furniture.

3.  Allow people to leave their shoes on, even on the carpet.  (Remember, if every room is a family room, then all of the family must help in the cleaning of all rooms.)

4.  Eat some family dinners at the dining-room table, even though it's no one's birthday.

5.  Go ahead and "leave stuff out."  There is nothing sacred about always "putting things away."  If you find yourself in a "hide the stuff" panic when there is an unexpected knock at the door, you probably just have too much stuff.  Maybe your visitor could take some of your stuff when he or she leaves.  Leave your stuff out as a type of perpetual estate sale for visitors to shop through and take some stuff off your hands.

6.  Allow some eating in rooms other than the kitchen.  Getting crumbs on the couch is good for your health (again just so long as everyone helps clean up).

7.  If you don't want to make the bed, shut the bedroom door and pretend it's made.

8.  Eat on paper plates as often as possible and throw the entire table away when you're finished.

9.  Allow spoons in the fork pile in the silverware drawer.

10.  Write the word "joy" in the dust on the table sometimes.  Dusting is only a process of small particle rearrangement.  Erma Bombeck said that she would like the following line on her tombstone:  "Big deal!  I'm used to dust."

The above list is just for fun, but it makes the point that if we allow our daily living to be governed by obligatory compliance to a set of rules of "house cleaning," we will have little time to enjoy homemaking.

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Try Giving Yourself
Arline Boucher and John Tehan

Gracious giving requires no special talent, nor large amounts of money.  It is compounded of the heart and head acting together to achieve the perfect means of expressing our feelings.  It is love sharpened with imagination.  For, as Emerson explains, "The only gift is a portion of thyself."

A little girl gave her mother several small boxes tied with bright ribbons.  Inside each were slips of paper on which the child had printed messages such as, "Good for two flower-bed weedings," "Good for two floor-scrubbings."  She had never read Emerson, but unconsciously she put a large part of her small self into her gift.

When unexpected expenses wrecked a business girl's budget at Christmas, she hit upon a similar happy idea.  Her presents that year were "time credit" slips which her friends could cash in at their convenience.  A young couple received slips entitling them to leave the baby with her for two week-ends.  T a niece in college went an offer of her car for a Christmas vacation trip.  An elderly shut-in could claim her time for five reading-aloud sessions.  No costly presents gave so much satisfaction--both ways.

A young bride received a wedding present from an older woman.  With it went a note, "Do not open until you and your husband have your first tiff."  When there finally came a day of misunderstanding the bride remembered the package.  In it she found a card box filled with her friend's favorite recipes--and a note, "You will catch more flies with honey than you will with vinegar."  It was a wise woman indeed who gave of her experience with her gift.

Often the most successful gift is a spontaneous one.  Act while the impulse is fresh--giving of yourself knows no special days.

Probably no gift ever thrilled a doctor more than a letter he received from a youngster on her birthday.  "Dear Doctor, 14 years ago you brought me into this world.  I want to thank you, for I have enjoyed every minute of it."

Family gifts should be the most satisfying because we know each member's wish and whim.  Yet how often we make the stereotyped offerings--ties, candy, or household utensils.  One man I know is planning an unusual present for his wife.  When I saw him coming out of a dancing studio, he explained:  "I got tired of hearing my wife complain about my dancing.  It's going to be a lasting birthday present for her--my dancing well."

An elderly lady on an Iowa farm wept with delight when her son in New York had a telephone installed in her house and followed it up with a weekly long-distance call.

Flowers are our first thought for a sick friend.  But why not a more imaginative idea?  A friend in a hospital received a flowerpot filled with dirt.  On top was a packet of seeds with the note, "You'll have more fun growing your own!"  A nurse told me about a woman patient whose recovery dated from the moment a neighbor brought her a pressure cooker, something she had always wanted.

In her autobiography, His Eye Is on the Sparrow, Ethel Waters tells about her gift to Rex Stout when he was convalescing.  Though she was starring at the time in a Broadway play, she turned up early one morning at the hospital and, dressed as a nurse, carried in his breakfast tray.  She spent the day with Stout, diverting him with chitchat, wheeling his chair, giving him all her attention.  Friends of the author said that this was his most cherished gift.

In your own profession or business you have imaginative gift opportunities.  One Christmas morning a Washington, D.C., woman was waiting for a trolley to go to the station when a taxi stopped beside her.  The driver motioned her to get in.  At the station when she fumbled in her purse for the fare, the driver said, "Nothing doing--I asked you.  Merry Christmas."  In memory of her sister who was killed in service during the war, a waitress often pays the checks of servicemen who sit at her table.

All gifts that contain a portion of self signify that someone has been really thinking of us.  One of the most useful and thoughtful travel presents a girl ever received was currency of the country to which she was going.  A friend bought her some pesos from a bank so that she would have the correct money for tips and taxi fare when she first arrived in Mexico.

A GI stationed in Mississippi tells this story:  "I made friends with a sharecropper who lived near camp.  Though poor, he was the most contented man I had ever met.  One day when I was grousing about not being able to borrow $20 that I needed, he handed me the money, saying it was a gift, not a loan.  He explained it this way:  'If I lend you this money and for some reason you never return it, I must always think you have wronged me.  If I give it to you as a gift, we're both happy.  When you have the money and feel you want to make me a gift of $20, then we'll both be happy again.'"

Chances for heroic giving are rare, yet every day there are opportunities to give a part of yourself to someone who needs it.  It may be no more than a kind word or a letter written at the right time.  The important thing about any gift is the amount of yourself you put into it.




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For years, the people of Canyon Bluff have shared the stories of the Nogglz, their own version of the monsters in the closet. "If you don't behave, the Nogglz will come and get you and carry you down into the mines," they've told their children. Of course, they were just stories. Nobody could have stayed alive in an old mine for six decades. But when one of their own is brutally murdered one cold November night, it may be time to come to terms with the sins of their fathers and their own ties to the town's dreadful past. And for the sheriff and his deputy and the state troopers who are called to the town to deal with the murder, an ordinary day becomes an extraordinary battle for simple survival.
Sometimes I write things just to tell a story, but I just can't help mentioning some life lessons, even in a novel about creatures running amok in an old mining town in the Colorado mountains.  Nogglz is available in print by clicking here, or as a Kindle e-book by using the link to the left.  Using the mining town as the setting is a tribute to my mother, who grew up in a tiny mining town herself, and who has never left there in her heart.


Treat the other person's faith gently; it is all he
or she has to believe with.  Others' minds were created
for their own thoughts, not yours or mine.

Henry S. Haskins



Making Room

I just read a very nice line written by a man named Stephen Paul.  He said, "Every time you let go of something limiting, you create space for something better."  I like the line partly because it contains two of my favorite words--"let go"--but also partly because of the idea of creating space for something better.  We hear a lot about the need for letting go in our lives, but we don't hear nearly as much about better things coming into our lives.

Someone I know read the line and laughed.  "That's what I did," she said happily, referring to her ex-husband and her new life with her new husband.  She let go of a relationship that was destructive and harmful, and because she let go of it, she was able to start a new one that has turned out to be more rewarding and positive for her.  If she hadn't let go of the limiting part of her life, she wouldn't have had space for the new relationship, obviously.

We all aren't in situations in which our relationships are limiting us.  Sometimes we're limited by other things, such as our fears, our prejudices, our judgmental attitudes, our arguments for our own limitations, or a host of other possible things.  But we can let go of these things if we want to, and once we do, we have room in our lives for something more.


We must be willing to let go of the life we have
planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.

Joseph Campbell

Personally, I don't think I would have been able to develop a successful relationship with my wife if I hadn't been able to let go of the loneliness that I felt for many years.  Because of my loneliness, I always approached potential relationships with a certain sense of desperation, hoping that the loneliness would end, and I always ended up trying too hard to make things work, even in some situations when it would have been much better if things didn't work out.

But when I was able to feel comfortable with being alone and loneliness wasn't such a huge part of my life, there was now space in my life in which a relationship could flourish.  It was like clearing up all the weeds from a garden so that some flowers could grow and thrive.  I was still alone, but my negative feelings about being alone no longer were holding me down.  And once they were gone, there was room for more positive thoughts about other things in my life, such as my work, my hobbies, my home, and many other things that I could appreciate much more when I wasn't feeling so down.

Let go.  Why do you cling to pain?  There is nothing
you can do about the wrongs of yesterday.  It is
not yours to judge.  Why hold on to the very thing
which keeps you from hope and love?

Leo Buscaglia


Sometimes we hold on to music--old songs that bring back specific memories, and by focusing exclusively on certain music, we don't really allow for new music to enter our lives.  It might be nice to revisit old songs now and then, and I do so quite often, but I also listen to tons of new music, for I want to continue to grow and change with new influences.

Sometimes we hold on to beliefs.  We believe we can't do certain things, so we sometimes even stop trying to do them.  That way, we guarantee that our beliefs will be truths.  We might believe that someone else is dishonest because of one incident, and if we hold on to that belief, we simply can't learn anything else about that person--there's no room in our minds for something more positive.


We believe that it is difficult to let go, but in truth, it is much more difficult
and painful to hold and protect.  Reflect upon anything in your life that you
grasp hold of--an opinion, a historical resentment, an ambition, or an unfulfilled
fantasy.  Sense the tightness, fear, and defensiveness that surrounds the
grasping.  It is a painful, anxious experience of unhappiness.  We do not
let go in order to make ourselves impoverished or bereft.
We let go in order to discover happiness and peace.

Christina Feldman


Letting go of things that are limiting us or holding us back would be much easier if we knew what the "something better" was, but we generally won't find that out until much later.  We can be sure, though, that it will come sooner or later, for we've created a situation in which it can enter our lives and thrive within us.  Once we identify the things that are limiting us, holding us back, we can figure out how to let go of them and make room for something better.  It definitely sounds easier than it is--both the finding and the letting go--but the effort is worth it if we want to make our lives richer and fuller.

After all, everything that limits us is holding us back from becoming the people we were meant to be.  If we can take steps to let those things go, we can take leaps towards becoming the people that we're here on this earth to become.  We have to help the process along, though, with more than a bit of effort.

More on expectations.


One of the most important elements
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Success or failure depends more
upon attitude than upon capacity.
Successful people act as though
they have accomplished or are
enjoying something.  Soon it
becomes a reality. Act, look, feel
successful, conduct yourself
accordingly, and you will be
amazed at the positive results.

Dupree Jordan


How then, do we come in contact with ourselves?  Number one, by becoming aware.  Isn't that a nice word--aware?  It kind of hits you right where it matters, doesn't it?  To be aware.  To be aware of everything.  To be aware of life.  To be aware of growth, to be aware of death, to be aware of beauty, to be aware of people, flowers, trees.  Open your mind and begin to see and feel!  Begin to experience, and don't be ashamed of it!  Touch, feel, chew, as you never have before.  Keep growing!  Keep consistently growing.  Every moment that you do, you change.  Open your mind, open your heart, open your arms, take it all in.  You can keep taking and taking and taking, and what is, never runs out.  There's always more.  The more that you see in a tree, the more that there is to see.  You hear a Beethoven sonata, and it leads you to infinity.  Pick up a book of poetry, and it leads you to beauty.  You love one person, and that love leads you to hundreds.  Keep growing.

Leo Buscaglia


I have never been bored an hour in my life.  I get up every morning wondering what
new strange glamorous thing is going to happen and it happens at fairly regular intervals.
Lady Luck has been good to me and I fancy she has been good to everyone.  Only some
people are dour, and when she gives them the come hither with her eyes, they look
down or turn away and lift an eyebrow.  But me, I give her the wink and away we go.

William Allen White


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