Category Archives: Attitude

Really Listening

Deidre’ Wallace – LinkedIn

This is an ongoing challenge for me. I recognized that my mother was challenged, too, but it was SO much easier to recognize it in someone else.

I used to make excuses for myself – that if I didn’t blurt out what I was thinking at the first breath the other person took, I would forget what it was I wanted to say. Now I realize that if I can’t remember it, it wasn’t that important to share in the first place. Besides that, it’s rude, and that really has NEVER been my intention.

My goal now is to leave knowing a LOT more about what’s happening with the other person, and what they think about things. If they want to know something, they’ll ASK.

I really want the other person to know that I care – that I want to be with them – HEAR them. An ongoing challenge, but I think a very worthy one.


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Rosemary Clement Moore –

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This Scrooge is Thawing

This photo of our son, Brian, and me was taken at Christmas in 2007. It’s still one of my all-time favorite photos.

I’ve been a Scrooge, basically, since then because my heart wasn’t really in it. Our son decided several years ago that in order to really learn Mandarin, he needed to live where it was spoken. He packed up and went to China, attending an American language school there, leaving just before they had a terrible earthquake. He came home, but then went back, this time living in Shanghai.

Then he decided that he wanted to live somewhere more quiet, so he went to Chiang Mai, Thailand. He has made it a point not only to continue learning Mandarin, but also to learn Thai. He participates on a regular basis on an app where people can call in for translations between Mandarin and English and Thai. This allows him to get more and more fluent as he tries to help others.

A friend and his wife joined him in Chiang Mai several years ago. They work together doing computer stuff for various clients in the U.S. Before he left the last time, he set up a secure chat program so that we could leave messages or type at each other real-time. We do that on almost a daily basis. He also set up a program called ‘’ which he and his friend use in conference calls. We can see each other real-time and talk, like Skype or other similar programs, but MUCH better quality.

It’s been three years since he’s been home. We communicate more than a lot of families who live in the same city, so he hasn’t really seemed a world away, though he gives wonderful hugs, and my ‘hugs bucket’ has been empty for a long time now.

Recently he talked about MAYBE coming home for a visit. I put it out of my mind because a lot can happen in a short space of time, making it impossible – although intentions are the best.

He is actually coming home! We will pick him up at the airport on the 10th of this month!!!! He can stay until January 2nd, when he will fly to see other relatives and good friends before returning to Chiang Mai.

I am definitely feeling the Scrooge in me thawing this year. This morning I got out the two Christmas wreaths I kept after my purge of ‘stuff’ in our home and put them up. I then got out one bag of decorations that I’ve put up in the past, when I wanted to look at least a little bit festive. These are up in the dining area now. (I’ll take some pictures to share a bit later today.)

My husband and I decided that this year we would decorate a Christmas tree and get out all the decorations we haven’t used in years. This means we will need to move furniture in the living room to accommodate the tree – plus haul the huge Tupperware bin of decorations and the tree up from the basement – something we haven’t done in a long time. I’ve decided to wait until our son is home to do the tree, so we can do it together as a family.

As the fact that he has his tickets, and we have a flight arrival time now (the trip from Chiang Mai to here will take a total of 28 hours with layovers, etc) the fact that he’s REALLY coming home is starting to sink in. My heart feels full, plus lighter and lighter. I keep finding myself smiling.

The very best Christmas present we could have – except for when I gave birth to him 40 years ago on Dec. 13th…


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Mary Engelbreit via

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I’m Not Sorry

Purple Clover via Cathy Ruggiero

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Be You!

Linda Sweigart via Cathy Ruggiero

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Oleg Vishnepolsky – LinkedIn

“Let’s infect the world with good.” Anneberly Andrews –


One of my good, long-time friends sets a beautiful, inspiring example for me each time we’re together. She looks for opportunities to help others or to be kind every day.

She doesn’t ever say anything about it. We were spending an afternoon together and I watched in quiet amazement as she did good thing after good thing almost unconsciously. They were small things, like offering to return a cart to its place in the parking lot for an elderly lady, or opening the door for someone, or letting someone get ahead of her in line. She returned abandoned carts to the store. She retrieved the lid of a trash can and put it on the can so it wouldn’t blow away again. I realized, after watching her, that it was an attitude, a habit developed by lots of practice, and an unconscious recognition of what she personally could do to make the world a better, kinder place.

When I asked her about it, she looked surprised and then said she had been doing it for years. This discussion happened several years ago. I’ll never be as good as it as she, or get to the place where I do it unconsciously, as she does, but I’m really trying to emulate her wonderful example. She makes people feel special – like always greeting me with a huge grin and open arms for a wonderful hug. She makes people’s loads a bit lighter. She brings out smiles wherever she goes.

She’s not perfect. None of us is. But she’s one of the best people I know on the planet and I’m so lucky to know her. I’ll continue to try to look for opportunities each day to do what I can do to brighten someone’s day.


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Inked Magazine via Desiree Angelique Hackett

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What Do You Think?

Martin Kornfeld via You Have the Right to Remain Healthy via Cathy Ruggiero


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Sarcasm Dujour –

I am having a challenging day.

It’s a combination – as challenging days often are – of things that don’t go as you planned, and, in my case, having to go back to where I was over and over again to FINALLY get what I wanted. (I get to the room, can’t remember what I went in there for, and have to go back to the office and sit down again before I think “Yes!” THAT’S why I got up!”

A cold front is coming in today. It’s being brought by really WHIPPY, cold wind that makes it seem MUCH colder than the actual temperature. Our temperature was a balmy 60 degrees this morning.  The forecast is for the temperature to plunge to about 35 by this afternoon. BRRRR! Because of this, my husband and I agreed not to mess around this morning, but get our grocery list made and hightail it to the grocery. We took Amber (our 93 pound yellow lab PUPPY) and even she thought the weather was a bit much, only sticking her head out of the window a few times on the trip to and from the grocery store. It REALLY felt cold as we put our groceries in the car and then I returned the cart. We are in now for the rest of the day, having put together a nice beef stew in the crock pot for tonight.

The morning has been filled with challenges, such as Amber giving back her breakfast with no warning on the carpet. I went to handle the cleanup on that and Molly (our elderly, quite deaf cocker spaniel/schnauzer cross) decided to come out of the bathroom just as I passed the doorway, almost sending me head over heels. I managed NOT to step on her, but seem to have wrenched a few parts trying NOT to hurt her. I fell, but managed to catch myself on the doggie gate, so I didn’t SPLAT.

My husband really surprised me, wanting to help put the stew together. We will have been married 50 years in June, and this is the FIRST time he’s offered to help! He was in the pantry, asking me what I needed for the stew. My poor brain didn’t want to function, and I couldn’t think of half of what I needed. I ended up joining him in the pantry and pointing. He drained and added things to the crock pot while I browned the stew beef and onions, and then asked what ELSE he could do. This made me wonder if someone had exchanged my husband for this really helpful, nice, good-looking man who drove me home from the grocery store! Not one to lose an opportunity, I set him to peeling two more onions – since I was planning to get ready for two more beef stew dinners in the future. When he finished that, I started him cutting the stew beef into smaller pieces. I joined him to finish that and we divided the onion and stew beef into two freezer bags and they are now cooling.

It only took me three trips back and forth from my computer to the dining area and back to finally get the aquarium filter cartridge box so that I could order more cartridges. THEN I couldn’t remember the name of the grain-free dry dog food I wanted and had to go into the pantry, only to find my husband had done away with the bag and he couldn’t remember the name of the food, either. Happily, had a history of our orders so I was able to get my order in…

I think it was Bette Davis who said, “Gettin’ old ain’t for sissies.” I also like Shirley MacLaine’s quote (paraphrased) that people who can laugh at themselves will never cease to be amused. I’m still laughing!


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While You’re Here…

Wilferd A Peterson via Lisa Bearnes Richey

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Zen to Zany

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Visions of Sugarplums Dance in OUR Heads!

The Salvation Army has a program called the Angel Tree program at Christmas time each year. The trees go up in your local town and people who qualify come and asked for their child to be added to the tickets on the tree. People choose a ticket and go and try to buy as many things on the list as possible for that child. The gifts are returned unwrapped by Dec. 7th to the people handling the Angel Tree and they and the Salvation Army handle the rest.

The child’s name, age, and gender are listed at the top of each ticket. Practical gifts, such as clothes (with sizes) are listed, plus a few ‘fun’ gifts on the wish list.

Each year we peruse the tickets and decide which one fits well with our ability to buy the things on the list. We have visions of an ‘idyllic’ beautiful boy or girl happily opening all the gifts, ecstatically happy with the choices with a wide open grin and whoops of joy. Reality is far different, probably, but we LOVE the idea of brightening a local child’s Christmas each year.

Last year we didn’t know where the tree was in time to participate. We were both really disappointed, so I wrote on my calendar this year to call City Hall in Greenwood to see if they were sponsoring the tree this year and when the tree would be up.

KVC West VA – KVC Health Systems

This year our choice was “Braden,” a 10-year-old boy.  We got clothes – pants (jeans) , a shirt (Flash), a puffy blue coat, boots, and then a remote control car and batteries. He’s into “paleontology stuff,” so we got him a big fierce-looking dinosaur. The “pokemon” cards he listed featured dinosaurs. We also got “Jurassic” hat, scarf and gloves set.

We took all the bags and the ticket, plus the receipt so that the mother would be able to exchange anything that wasn’t right back to City Hall and left them with the nice lady from the water department who is handling things.

It seems weird that we’re doing the Angel Tree before Thanksgiving. I guess that’s why we missed out last year. I guess they need the time to post all the tickets, gather the gifts, deliver them wherever they go, etc.

I love that the Salvation Army thought of this program and runs it, making it easy for local banks or government offices to administer it. I love that families can provide for their kids at Christmas will a bit of a boost from folks in the community. I love our ‘visions of sugarplums’ and the chance to give.

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Laughing Out Loud

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We’ve always thought that being able to see the humor in most situations is something that helps us through life. My dad did this, and I’ve always been grateful he instilled it in me. I can’t tell you how many times being able to stand back and see what is happening as though it’s happening to someone else has diffused possible strife in our home, saved friendships, and made for saner people (at least we like to think so!)

Lately, we have a LOT to laugh about –

  • The Internet God is unhappy with me for some reason. She gives me access only to snatch it away without rhyme or reason, without warning. We have a new modem that we can see is working. My husband has Internet. The problem seems to be in MY computer – though we put in a new network card, new cable between my internet card and the modem, unplugged, rebooted, etc. It all boils down to HER mood…
  • Our smart thermostats are old and tired – but still smarter than my husband and I. Today we’re tackling trying to reprogram our two thermostats once again. We follow the directions step by step, think we have them programmed correctly, and then find out we’ve either screwed up again, or they just don’t work with our geothermal system the way they should. Our geothermal checkup guy is looking into our options for replacing our thermostats with ones that are more compatible with our system. We got these when we had heat pumps. Our geothermal system doesn’t need “emergency heat,” but our present thermostats don’t seem to understand that….
  • It’s too cold to change to our snow tires on the truck – hopefully, when it warms up a bit Friday and Saturday, we can make the switch without freezing our parts off – and then we probably won’t need them until December or January…
  • At the grocery store I saw a young, quite flexible girl cleaning out a shelf at the head of one aisle. She was sitting with her knees bent, one leg going one direction and the second leg bent in the opposite direction, moving around quite comfortably, concentrating on moving the cans around. I got down beside her and told her that I envied her youth, her flexibility and agility, and the ease with which she moved around. I laughed when I admitted to her that in my yoga sessions, my biggest problem – once I finish folding myself into a paper airplane – is getting up off the floor!


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Starfish Story

My sister-in-law, Mary Lou, emailed me the Starfish Story. It is definitely food for thought, so I’m happy to post it here –

A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.

She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”

The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one!”

The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.

— Adapted from The Star Thrower
by Loren C. Eiseley


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What Makes a Relationship Successful? via


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I Woke Up Happy Today

I avoid exercise DVDs where the people are SO pert, SO excited, exuding the joys of moving – telling you how GOOD it all feels. They make me hostile. Likewise, I greet cloyingly sweet pictures and people with at least a silent snarl.

SO – you may react that way to ME this morning, because I woke up happy.

Though things are far from perfect, I have a pretty great life. I fell in love with my husband almost 60 years ago. We’ll celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary in June. AND we don’t just love, we’re addicted to each other. That doesn’t mean – by ANY means – that I don’t want to punch him in the face on a regular basis, but we chose to share our lives and it was definitely a good choice. We lost a daughter when she was 2 months old to SIDS – but we made a son who makes us proud of the generous, caring man he’s become, who loves us, reaches out on an almost daily basis from halfway across the world, just to check in and make sure we’re okay. And we might spend Christmas together this year!

We have two dogs, Molly (a sweet, elderly cocker spaniel/schnauzer cross) and Amber (a 95 pound yellow lab PUPPY) who drives us nuts and makes us laugh every day; two cats (Abby (a tortoiseshell fat cat) and Smoke (a sleek grey hunter); plus 4 goldfish who have tripled in size since we added them to our family.

We have a home we built over 30 years ago on top of a ridge line in Arkansas and we still love it. Since the initial building, we added a shop, then later doubled its size, plus built a greenhouse that so far hasn’t succumbed to wind and rain. We’re reasonably close to town, yet enjoy complete privacy up here, a really nice combination. We have a view of several ridge lines – and since we can see them, seeing the seasons change – we can pretend we own it all. :0)

Our health is improving as we get some of our lard off and are trying to exercise. I’m mainly doing my elliptical trainer and yoga stretching for old folks. My husband is doing better and better trying to do sit ups. We are consciously trying to move more.

We are retired, so many days we can do what we want – or don’t want to do. I can try to be productive or enjoy curling up in my chair with a good book.  I can choose to check things off my to-do list or play in my art room. We have good friends who make our lives rich.

I woke up happy today. I hope you did, too.

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Standing Out

Lisa Hurwitz at Expanets via zen to zany via cathy ruggiero

I may be more ‘mature’ now, but I vividly remember how STRONGLY I wanted to be like everybody else when I was a young teenager.

One super-vivid memory is that my mom made me an outfit from corduroy – a skirt and top that went over a blouse. The skirt was some kind of pattern with yellows and green and there were four large black buttons on the front, forming the corners of a square. The top was green. My mom bought me a pale yellow blouse to go under the top.  She was an amazing seamstress and the outfit was beautifully made.

The problem? Back in 1492 when I was a teenager, the saying was, “Yellow and green on Thursdays means you’re queer.” (or something similar.) This shows you that – as messed up as our country is NOW as far as being inclusive and embracing our differences, 60+ years ago, it was worse!

Of COURSE my mom wanted me to wear the outfit on Thursdays and told me how ridiculous it was that I would care what other people thought. This caused really bad scenes in my household, as my mom was strong-willed and I was stupid and wanted to fit in so badly I would have almost rather died than cross the ‘group.’

Another thing was tennis shoes. New ones, clean and white, meant you were a nerd. NOW I would be proud to be called a nerd – maybe I could have become a gazillionaire and had enough money I could make a difference – but THEN I would go out and purposely get grass stains and dirt on them the minute they came home from the store.

AND – for some unknown reason – I felt that I HAD to be good at things IMMEDIATELY or I wouldn’t be ‘accepted.’ I think ‘what CRAP!’ NOW, but I sure didn’t THEN. I remember a pool party where everyone was doing some kind of dive off the diving board. My mind has blurred the details of what dive it was, or even who I was with. My turn came. I gave it my best, but ended up with a huge, painful SPLAT on the water. I remember swimming under water to the shallow end of the pool (I was a good swimmer, but couldn’t dive). Someone was along side, yelling at me to find out if I was all right. I lied and said I did that for comic relief.

I substituted at the local schools for about two years, trying to get a job in the Greenwood School System, substituting for kindergarten through high school boy’s P.E. and was saddened to see that everyone is trying NOT to stand out. If you’re a good student, you try to be quiet about it. Everyone dresses alike, talks alike, give the same blank look when you ask them questions about the subject they’re studying, the book they’re supposed to be reading, etc.

It would be wonderful if children were encouraged by adults – and especially their peers – to be DIFFERENT – SPECIAL – UNIQUE.  To CELEBRATE the things that make them stand out. To be CONFIDENT – CURIOUS – with PASSION to seek a unique place in the world.


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What Day Is It?

A. A. Milne via Lisa Bearnes Richey

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Dog’s Life

Robert Falcon Scott via

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Wilferd A Peterson via Lisa Bearnes Richey

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“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

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Just So You Know…

Bored Panda

I just bought tickets for Power Ball, Mega Millions, and I’ve been entering the PCH Sweepstakes daily for the prize coming up soon.

My husband and I have all sorts of great ideas for what we would do with the money. We haven’t actually made a LIST yet, but we’ll have plenty of time for that after we win.

We already won the lottery on family – even with our doggies providing me with such a day of ‘fun’ yesterday.  Since we have everything else with each other, our improving health, our son, our pets, our lifestyle – we figure winning these three things would definitely be icing on an already-delicious cake.


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“Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.” 
― Gloria Steinem

Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.- Ashley Smith

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The Big Picture

Rollin’ France-YouTube

I guess we started really trying to lose the lard about a year and a half ago. We were doing low carb. I was cooking a lot, we were losing some weight, but not steadily enough. My husband’s blood sugar was better, but not good enough to qualify for insurance that required a health exam. The policy we had was going to skyrocket in premium on his birthday in November (Happy birthday to you…). He was still having bad symptoms from his diabetes.

I have been overweight for quite a while. I don’t like it. I got better with the low carb diet, but I need to lose a significant amount of weight to be healthy. We were kidding ourselves, SAYING we were on a low carb diet, and then ‘splurging’ on a regular basis, eating our favorite fast foods out once or twice a week. We finally got serious last April and signed up for NutriSystem. My husband is almost at his weight goal now. He just tried on some new, smaller jeans this morning. Better, but still too large. He has now ordered the next size smaller. :0)

Best of all, our doctor is patting us on the head. We’ve been going to quarterly doctor appointments, with blood tests for our various problems, for a long time. Last time we went, my numbers were so significantly better that she put me on 6 month appointments. My husband has one more quarterly appointment next month, and we’re hoping he’ll come back every six months, too! He qualified for a 10-year level term life insurance policy for twice as much insurance as we had. They jacked the premium up because of his age, but no one can control that, so we’re grateful to be covered now.

I’ve been keeping a spreadsheet on my lardage loss, to help me see the big picture, particularly when I don’t see much change for a week or two. The big picture shows –

Weight loss with NS is 28 pounds. Total loss since my highest lardage is 40 pounds.

Inches loss with NS is a bit over 23 inches. Total loss since my highest lardage is 39-1/2 inches.

Results at doc’s office –

  • Weight is down
  • Blood pressure is under good control with medication
  • My cholesterol is in the normal range now
  • Lipid profile is all showing in the normal range now

It feels good to be actively doing things that will increase our overall health.  We’re eating right and learning to eat outside the program without throwing things out of whack. We are not feeling deprived, with fast food items floating in front of our faces, as they used to. We are more active. I’m trying to get on the elliptical trainer at least every other day. I’m doing yoga stretching almost every day. I’m actively trying to ‘move more’ with specific chores I would like to do each day, such as housework and working in the yard. I write a post or two for my blog :0)  and then I get up and either do a chore, or exercise, over and over, throughout the day. I’m encouraging my husband, who is trying to do sit ups, to do more than ‘intend to,’ though I’m certainly no role model.

We ARE making progress – particularly when we look at the big picture. Seeing this is motivation to keep on keepin’ on.

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New Wisdom

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Anthony J. D’Angelo via

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Harold Whitman via

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