Peace In Our Time, Hope for the Future

Having just passed another Memorial Day Observance followed by the 73rd anniversary of the D-Day Invasion of Normandy, although ‘anniversary’ never seems the best choice of word, a thought came to me.

Wouldn’t it be nice, if OUR generation,

Recalling the sacrifices of the PAST generations,

Figured out a way so the NEXT generation could live in peace,

And not be memorialized for their sacrifices by the FOLLOWING generations?

World War I was billed as “The War to End All Wars”.  It wasn’t, as WWI was followed shortly by World War II.  In turn followed soon thereafter by the Korean War.

Two years later, in 1955,  Jill Jackson Miller and Sy Miller composed a beautiful song which most are familiar with and have sung together on Sundays, but perhaps we need to listen more closely next time and take personal responsibility in its message.

Their song  began —

                                        “Let their be Peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.                                                              Let there be Peace on Earth,  the Peace that was meant to be.”

        “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”        – Mother Teresa

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.”

— from ‘For the Fallen’, by Robert Laurence Binyon

“If you wish to experience peace, provide peace for another.” – Dalai Lama

In 1969 during the Vietnam War, John Lennon later added — “Give Peace a Chance.” 

We keep writing and singing songs about peace. Perhaps it is time we finally follow thru to put words into action and give Peace a chance in our time, so our great-grandchildren will not be memorializing our children and grandchildren.

Thanks for visiting with us again. We wish you Peace.  Help the world to find a better way, and be the reason someone smiles today! — Jim (and Red!)


“Peace begins with a smile.” – Mother Teresa

                   “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.”                     – Albert Einstein


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages and Fitness Levels!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

         “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”                ― Jimi Hendrix


 

Embrace Your Talents and Passion — Share Them With The World!

We hear it so many times going thru life. Nearly every day. And one reason why it is so important never to compare one child with another. We each are born with our own natural talents and flair for some things, while maybe feeling totally inept at others.

  • “That guy has a natural talent for playing baseball.”
  • “Her musical ability is a gift.”
  • “He/She has a natural aptitude for math and science.”
  • “That person has a gifted eye for photography.”
  • “That guy has a natural flair for public speaking.”
  • “She is naturally talented at fashion design.”

What is talent anyway?  Generally, it is regarded as a special ability which someone is born with.  A skill that someone seems to possess which allows them to do frequently difficult things more naturally and easier in one area than another person might be able to.

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say — ‘I used everything you gave me’.”

— Erma Bombeck

Nevertheless, as my parents always reminded me, talent alone is no substitute for hard work.  Each of us is capable of doing pretty much anything we set our mind to.  We may have to work harder at it and settle for “95% great” compared to someone with “gifted talent”, but great and to our own satisfaction just the same.  Hard work beats natural talent every time, when talent doesn’t work hard. And if following our passion and doing something we love, it’s not “work” anyway.

Seek out and discover your natural talents and encourage children to do the same by exploring and trying their hand at a wide variety of activities. Everyone has a gift for something which allows them to be better and to excel in an area — be it sports, music, the arts, entertainment, science, cooking, parenting, teaching, and so many others.  Or, simply just kindness and being there with a listening ear for others.  Don’t minimize or discredit whatever may come naturally to you — it’s a gift.

Could Mother Teresa cook well or excel at soccer or painting?  I have no idea, because no one ever mentions it — only her kindness, compassion and love.  True gifts.

“Hide not your talents, they for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade?” — Benjamin Franklin

That being said, never let a perceived or described lack of talent ever stop you or your children from doing whatever it is you or they may want to do.  Your heart will always show you the way. If you have a dominant, recurring thought in mind of something you want to do, listen and do it. Not doing something because “I don’t have any talent” is an excuse, not a reason.

“If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.”  — Michelangelo

Talent is nice to have, but it never makes up for heartfelt passion, dedicated effort and hard work to develop and grow the needed skills.  Just ask the guitar player or artist born without arms and creating great works with their feet alone.  If there is something you would really like to do or try — just do it.  And if doing it makes only you happy, that’s all that counts. If it happens to benefit others along the way, even better.

So, if you are gifted with a natural talent, embrace it and share it with the world.  But don’t let a perceived lack of talent in an area  stop you. Follow your passion, put in the extra effort doing something you love and do it anyway.  The world will be a better place because of it all.

Thanks as always for reading and visiting with us!  Share your talents and abilities with the world, and be the reason someone smiles today!  — Jim (and Red!)


“Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine.” ― Roy T. Bennett, “The Light in the Heart”

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” — Emilie Buchwald


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages and Fitness Levels!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

Family Times — Together Times — The Best Times!


Counting to Ten — Watching Our Words and Actions

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Everything we do in life — each action, spoken word, message, gesture, eye roll, sideways glance, or even thought, has the potential to do either great harm or great good for not only ourselves, but also for everyone around us.

Always true, it is amplified even more living in our modern social media world today, having the capability to influence the lives of people the world over.

So we need to be careful, take a moment to catch our breath, and reflect before speaking, acting or responding.  I was never aware that my Mother was quoting Thomas Jefferson when she frequently admonished “Count to ten” when I was upset or angry about something.

“When angry count ten before you speak. If very angry, one hundred.”

— Thomas Jefferson

It is especially important with young and sensitive children, whose self-images, attitudes and behaviors may be influenced, molded and shaped by our next words and actions.

Children who are always, always watching and listening — and learning by observing. It’s what they do.  It is a lot of responsibility, but no one ever said parenting or acting like a mature adult was going to be easy.

As the old carpenter saw goes — “measure twice, cut once.”   So we need to think twice, count to ten (or a hundred, or even one hundred, ninety-eight and three-quarters) and only then speak or act –  prudently, thoughtfully, compassionately.  Thereby serving as the very best influence and guide for children and everyone else in our lives.

Children learn from the examples we set, intended or not.  If we cannot control our own emotions and behaviors, how can we reasonably expect our children, or our neighbors, co-workers, employees, or anyone else to do so?

“… every single act we do has the potential of causing pain, and every single thing we do has consequences that echo way beyond what we can imagine. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t act. It means we should act carefully. Everything matters.” ― Sylvia Boorstein

“Words are like toothpaste, Charlie.  Once out, there’s just no putting ’em back.  They can land with the gentleness of a feather or the force of a sledgehammer.  And the effects go out like ripples across a pond, for good or bad.” — Little Red Bear

Thanks always for dropping by, and we hope you enjoy your visits here.  Please act gently and kindly with not only fragile young minds and spirits, but with everyone; and be the reason someone smiles today! — Jim  (and Red!)


Family Times — Together Times — The Best Times!

 Peace  —  Compassion  —  Kindness  —  Love


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages and Fitness Levels!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

~ Think Globally — Act Locally ~


I Will Greet This Day With Love In My Heart!

An inspiring and thoughtful selection from  Og Mandino, and a lovely way to begin each day and go thru life.

I will greet this day with love in my heart.

For this is the greatest secret of success in all ventures. Muscle can split a shield and even destroy a life, but only the unseen power of love can open the hearts of men, and until I master this art I will remain no more than a peddler in the marketplace.

I will make love my greatest weapon and none on whom I call can defend against its force.

My reasoning they may counter; my speech they may distrust; my apparel they may disapprove; my face they may reject; and even my bargains may cause them suspicion; yet my love will melt all hearts liken to the sun whose rays soften the coldest clay.

I will greet this day with love in my heart.

From ‘The Scroll Marked Two’ by Og Mandino in his book “The Greatest Salesman in the World”.  For the complete piece and more information, please tap the link to see my Page — “I Will Greet This Day With Love In My Heart”.

“He who comes to do good knocks at the gate.  

He who loves finds the gate open.”

— Rabindranath Tagore

Thanks as always for visiting and wishing you the very best.  Spread some Love and Kindness in the world today! — Jim (and Red!)

Family Times — Together Times — The Best Times!

~ Children Learn To Read on the Laps of Their Parents ~

Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages and Fitness Levels!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

Happy Friday the 13th! Fact or Fallacy?

Today is the dreaded “Friday the 13th!” Ooooh, scary!

Or perhaps it is not, depending on your individual outlook and experience with the date. But for many, and not to make light, the phobia is very real.

So many folks have such an innate fear of the number “13” that it has been given a scientific name — “triskaidekaphobia”.

Many people supposedly also have a traditional fear of Fridays regardless of the date, TGIF notwithstanding. Coupling them together, a Friday falling on the 13th of the month can be doubly stressing. And it happens once, twice, or up to three times every year.

The term applied to anyone so afflicted, fearing “Friday the 13th”, is “friggatriskaidekaphobia”, from ‘Frigga’, the name of the Norse goddess for whom Friday is named, and ‘triskaidekaphobia’, the aforementioned fear of the number thirteen.

It is also known as “paraskevidekatriaphobia”, from the Greek ‘Paraskevi’ for Friday, ‘dekatreis’ for thirteen and ‘phobia’ for fear. Try saying that three times fast at a Friday afternoon happy hour without having to reglue your dentures.

Being distracted trying to remember and pronounce either one may well cause someone to lose focus and walk under a ladder, step into a hole, or choke on a chicken wing without any other supernatural influence involved whatsoever.

There are a number of explanations of how it all got started, but an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the U.S. are so affected and paralyzed by their fear of Friday the 13th that they reschedule air flights and travel, alter business and household routines, and go to great lengths to protect themselves from bad luck and occurrences. Reportedly, some never get out of bed on the day. Anyone having a phobia about Friday the 13th is certainly not alone.

In some countries, accidents, in general, actually do increase on Friday the 13th. To promote awareness and safety, Finland celebrates National Accident Day each year, always on a Friday the 13th. In some areas of the world, the number of traffic accidents reported  increases on a Friday the 13th, while in other countries accidents decrease with people being extra cautious on the day. Either way, it does seem to have an effect.

“I’m not nearly as afraid of Friday the 13th, as I am of the people who are afraid of Friday the 13th.” — Unknown

Black cats have suffered from superstitions and unfounded beliefs surrounding the day, unfortunately causing many prospective owners to pass them by at adoption and rescue shelters over the years.  So if you or someone you know is thinking about adopting a cat or kitten, please do not pass by the black cats. They are wonderful loving companions deserving of good forever homes, too!

Personally, since I was born on a Friday and the first letter of my last name “M” is the 13th letter of the alphabet, I have always considered it a “lucky” day. No one can call me irrational.

Although, I do recall living in Winter Park, Florida on Friday the 13th of August, 2004, when Hurricane Charley visited and left us without power for many days and removed part of the back wall. And a related tornado snapped a palm tree in half about fifty feet off my back patio that night. Would that count as a Friday the 13th thing? On the other hand, we all came thru it without a scratch, so should we then consider ourselves ‘lucky’? Or was it all simply mere coincidence?

What kind of an event is Friday the 13th for you? Do you have (hopefully not) unfortunate accident stories to share? Malevolent, ill-tempered or unlucky ladders encountered, perhaps?  Examples of serendipitous good fortune or happiness?  Maybe it all is a matter of personal experience and outlook, after all.

Whatever your views on the day, Little Red Bear and I wish you a wonderful, safe, and happy Friday the 13th!

But — a precautionary note — Please exercise a little extra caution and care if headed out and about. It is Friday the 13th, after all. — Jim (and Red!)


      “I had only one superstition. I made sure to touch all the bases when I hit a home run.”      — Babe Ruth”



“Superstition is the poetry of life.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly, Multi-generational Stories and Fun for All Ages!
~ About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends ~

                                          “Superstition is foolish, childish, primitive, and irrational.                                             But how much does it cost you to knock on wood?” — Judith Viorst 


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Wishing You a Very Good Year!

Happy New Year!  Wishing You a Very Good Year!

If you spend the coming year as if it were the very First Year in your life – opening your Mind to be Grateful, Aware and Alert to all of life’s Awe, Beauty, Wonders and Miracles;

and as if it were to be the very Last Year in your life – opening your Heart to all of life’s Kindness, Love, Compassion and Blessings;

and then letting them flow thru you to everyone that you meet and to everything around you —  to be blessed by your Smile, by your Touch, and by your Presence;

then you will have spent the coming year quite well — and it will truly be a very good year.    

This was adapted for the new year from my “Wishing You A Very Good Day” entry in the ‘About the Blog’ section, inspired by a message from Brother David Steindl-Rast.

Wishing you and your loved ones all the very best of health, happiness and prosperity in the coming year!   — Jim  (and Red!)

Peace  —  Compassion  —  Kindness  —  Love

Family Times — Together Times — The Best Times!

The Importance of Play!

Nature programs and the internet are full of videos showing cute baby animals at play.  Young animals learn critical life skills thru their play, and human children are no different.  The old saying — “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” — certainly applies to children and the learning process.

Thru active play children learn to use their imaginations as well as developing critical interactive social skills and creativity.  Outdoor play is even better, combining activity with fresh air and exercise.  Children not only deserve, but need a healthy dose of playtime.

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”   ~ Fred (Mr.) Rogers

It is important to remember also, that playtime is not restricted to the young.  We all need to step away from the routine now and then to refresh and recharge, in order to remain healthy, alert and active; both living and enjoying life to the fullest.

Thanks as always for visiting.    Now, go outside and play! — Jim (and Red!)

Artwork by Jessie Willcox Smith via Garden of Bright Images, Facebook

Artwork by Jessie Willcox Smith
via Garden of Bright Images, Facebook

There Are No Age Limits on Fun!  “The Adventures of Little Red Bear” Short Stories.  For All Age Groups and Fitness Levels!

Setting New Year’s Resolutions– Be Specific, Bob!

Thinking about New Year’s Resolutions this week?  Taking steps to Better Health, perhaps?  Exercise?  Healthy Eating?  Better Job?  Travel?  Volunteering?  Charity Work?  More Family Time?  Reading More?  Planting a vegetable garden to grow your own produce?  Learning a new musical instrument or foreign language?  Finding time to paint or a hobby?  Finally write that novel in the back of your mind?

Whatever your resolutions may be, when developing your list of annual New Year’s Resolutions this week, please be sure to put a completion date on them to help stay focused and on a timeline.  As they say– things with deadlines get done.

Also, please remember to be specific.  It makes all the difference.  Being specific forces you to clearly identify what it is you want to accomplish with the goals, helps to visualize in helping to bring them about, and makes them more quantifiable and easily measured to monitor your progress towards achieving them.  It’s very important.  Be specific.

For example, I am in growing need of an assistant in the workroom, so asked Santa to please bring me a Pug for Christmas this year.  To help with smaller tasks, help keep me motivated and moving.  I was not specific in my request- male, female, young, old, black, fawn- didn’t matter.  Any friendly little helper in need of a new home would be fine.

Pug Dressed For Christmas with a Red Bow Tie

Pug Dressed For Christmas with a Red Bow Tie

Or, if Pugs were in short supply, fully appreciative of the fact that children should come first on the Christmas Gift List, I asked Santa to please bring me a St. Bernard in need of a good home, instead.  To help with the bigger tasks around the workroom.

St. Bernard in a Field

St. Bernard in a Field

Again- I was not specific- male, female, puppy, young, older, short hair, long hair, color- did not matter.  Just a helper.  A big one.  Now here’s the point.  Again, I was not specific in my request.  Here is what Santa brought.

Toy St. Bernard,  "Ho, Ho, Ho!" to you too, Santa.

Toy St. Bernard, “Ho, Ho, Ho!” to you too, Santa.

So, yes.  Now I have a St. Bernard.  A very cute, fuzzy, little St. Bernard– Toy.  Quiet, great disposition and temperament, but not very helpful beyond being cuddly.

Now, I admit to having tweaked Santa Claus a bit this year in a few blog posts, all in good-natured humor and fun.  Maybe this was the Old Boy’s way of getting me back.  Lighter to carry than the traditional lump of coal, perhaps.  On the other hand, maybe it is because I was not specific and clear in making out my Wish List.

I asked for — “a St. Bernard.”        I got — “a St. Bernard.”

Santa brought what I had requested and checked me off the list.  Job done.  But not at all what I had in mind when making the request.  So being specific is important.  More so with Santa Claus than I had imagined, apparently.

Good luck setting your goals and resolutions for the New Year.  And wishing you the very best of luck and success in achieving them all.  Please remember to put a date on them and to be specific.  It really does make all the difference in achieving your goals.

Thanks as always for reading!– Jim (and Red!)

 

New Eyeglasses Bring The World Into View!

Well folks, I finally broke down and ventured out for new eyeglasses last week. They arrived yesterday, so the ol’ “bear-maker/storyteller/whatever-he-is” has new glasses to work with. Finally! A support in the old glasses had broken in July and things have been more or less out of focus than usual the past several months, held together with rubber bands.

Ralphie from "A Christmas Story"- "You'll Shoot Your Eye Out!"

Ralphie from “A Christmas Story”- “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out!”

That, and the “old” glasses were vintage 2001 before kids started traipsing off to colleges one after another. When did the cost of a pair of eyeglasses start to rival the price of a major appliance or qualify as a major prize award on “The Wheel of Fortune”?   Holy cow!

With the old glasses being 13 years old and the new prescription vastly changed, there is quite a bit of adjustment going on getting used to the new specs. Hopefully the “transition period” will be short (a week or two the doc said) and then allow for much faster work not only on making things, but also on catching up on both a long list of story research, things to read and new writing projects. A major headache last night but so far so good today! So stay tuned, the world is coming back into focus. I can actually see individual leaves on trees now! Wow!  It makes me wonder if the Impressionists painters were actually doing stylized work or if they were just poor bummers too, in need of new glasses?

 Vincent van Gogh- "The Alpilles with Olive Trees in the Foreground"

Vincent van Gogh- “The Alpilles with Olive Trees in the Foreground”

And so much to catch up on.  Stories to finish, research to do, maps to make, cover designs, book trailers.  Not to mention teddy bears and the holiday season!  Quite a list and stack, indeed.

Stack of Books and Research

Stack of Books and Research

I went with Duck Commander styled frames, with a Camouflage Design on the inside of the arms.  I figured it would help me get around with Little Red Bear and the Little Fairydiddle gathering story tidbits now.  It’s good to remain undetected when sneaking about in the backwoods digging up story ideas like a chipmunk gathering acorns.   And, they make me look a lot younger, if I say so myself. Not a day over 93. Have a lot of reading, research and work to catch up on. Off to it now.

“Hey Red! I see a varmint sneakin’ around that tree over yonder. Probably a dad-blamed weasel. Should I plug ’em with my Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle With a Compass in the Stock?”

Ralphie from "A Christmas Story"

Ralphie from “A Christmas Story”

Thanks as always for visiting and reading.  Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend! “SEE” ya later! We have a lot of work to do. — Jim  (and Red!)

Ralphie from "A Christmas Story"- New Glasses!

Ralphie from “A Christmas Story”- New Glasses!

A Brisk Walk into a Busy Week!

Happy Monday!  The start of a new week full of new opportunities and adventures!

A very busy week ahead with lots to do.  Several new bears nearing completion to be finished for the store, Little Red Bear’s fifth short story to finish, the new Blog position I mentioned last week to be filled right away so the new feature can get started soon, more new story characters to interview, more story research to be done, and more.

And– starting a new daily exercise and walking program today.  I have been on a steady but gradual “get healthier” program since the beginning of the year.  I have been doing very well with a conscious and determined effort to eat healthier, opting for homemade natural foods and eliminating processed foods from my diet.  Now it is time to get busy, adding more physical exercise to the routine now that winter seems to be finally letting go of its grip on the thermometer.

Accordingly then, a daily walking and exercise program starts today, albeit a bit restricted by numerous replacement parts.  But walking will do.  Fresh air and exercise.  We all need more of that.  Especially the kids!  That’s why Little Red Bear is so healthy.  He’s always out walking all over the mountains and thru the hollers searching for honey.

So, here we go.  A lot to do this week so time to get busy.  Wishing everyone a healthy and productive week! — Jim  (and Red!)

Heads Up It's Monday

Heads Up It’s Monday