Feeling Uneasy or Frightened? – BANISH THE BOGGARTS!

Perhaps like so many these days, you find yourself suffering from a case of the “Nightly News Blues.”  The daily news hasn’t exactly been cheery of late, has it?

Have you read the ‘Harry Potter’ books or seen the movies? Do you recall the ‘Boggart’ scene in Professor Lupin’s class?

For those who may not be familiar with the books or movies, or who simply may have forgotten, please allow me to recap.

The scene takes place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In the class, Professor Lupin is instructing the witch and wizard students on the subject of Boggarts.


Traditionally, boggarts appear in English folklore as either household spirits who have been wronged and then turn to mischief, causing such things as milk to sour, things to disappear, dishes to break, the family dog or horse to go lame, and so forth. Or, they could be malevolent spirits inhabiting marshes or holes in the ground and responsible for much more evil doings, like missing children, misguided and lost travelers, etc.

In the Harry Potter stories, the boggarts are shapeshifters who hide in wardrobes, closets, and other places, and who feed on negative human emotions, then emerge to take the shape and form to become whatever it is that someone fears most, which is why they are so terrifying – your greatest fear realized and standing right in front of you! Think spiders, snakes, your fifth-grade math teacher, and your crazy Aunt Martha. Boggarts would know and feed on someone’s negativity and deepest fears.

But, as it turns out, boggarts are rather easy to get rid of. At Hogwarts, the magic spell to make a boggart go away was to loudly and in a bold voice direct the magical charm word “Ridiculous!” at the boggart, combined with a proper flip of the wand while at the same time imagining the boggart in some way one found amusing. Then burst into unrestrained laughter. Imagine crazy Aunt Martha in a bright purple, polka-dot clown costume with a pink cotton candy hairdo, and then burst into side-splitting laughter!



Laughing at the imagined image was most important, leaving no negative or fearful emotions in your mind for the boggart to feed upon. Stripped of all power then, the harmless boggart would simply disappear, embarrassed and humiliated in retreat.

Even with non-magical folk like us (i.e. ‘Muggles’ in the stories), it can seem as though we are bothered by Boggarts from time to time in our lives, as well.

Negative feelings and fears come into our minds, increasingly occupying our daily thoughts and nightmares until they become living obsessions; for all intents and purposes our own personal boggart feeding on our greatest negative emotions, anxieties, and fears, making our lives miserable as they grow ever more powerful and in control.


Please don’t let the Coronavirus and news transform into your personal boggart. The Daily News, Sheltering-In-Place, and Social-Distancing can be stressful, but do not let it all generate negative emotions and fears to feed a boggart, enabling it to put dark clouds over your days or cause anxiety and sleepless nights. Don’t feed the boggarts with negative thoughts.

Follow the example of the Hogwarts students and send your fears and boggarts packing. Recognize negative emotions and fears as the ridiculously agonizing tormentors they are, and banish them with positive thoughts and laughter.

We all need to stay informed with the news but do we need to hear the same thing repeated six, twelve, or more times a day, the same dire reports and doomsday predictions over and over and over again drummed into our minds? No, we don’t.

Because that is when it becomes a negative obsession driving our thoughts and emotions, pulling us down, and transforming into a boggart before our very eyes and stripping us of all our happiness.

We may not have a magic wand, but we do each have a remote control with a quite magical “OFF” button. Please, don’t be afraid to use it to preserve your peace of mind and happiness. Twenty-four-hour news access is not necessarily a good thing. Certainly not for happiness and peace of mind. So, switch off. We are much better served enjoying Mickey Mouse and Road Runner cartoons!

The times are trying and challenging enough on their own, without dwelling on negativity and imagined fears every moment of the day, adding bothersome boggarts to the mix, pulling us into an ever-darkening misty fog while also diminishing our resistance, hopes, well-being, and immunities. Our thoughts can indeed make us sick.

Whenever uncomfortable thoughts enter your mind, bust out with a resounding – “Ridiculous!”  Then laugh out loud at it all. Laugh at yourself and at the pure silliness of you blurting out “Ridiculous!” for all to hear. Laugh about the thought of others hearing you. Then laugh about them laughing. And then laugh some more. Laugh, smile, enjoy it, and feel better.

Laughter, together with a positive attitude, truly is the best medicine!


If we didn’t like a song playing on the radio back in the day, we simply changed the channel. Same thing! Simply change your thoughts and switch the channel.

Happiness is always only ever one thought away.

Laugh, Smile, Laugh Again –  and you will feel instantly better – 99¾% guaranteed!

For information on How to Protect Yourself & Others from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), simply tap the link.

Our very best wishes and health to you and yours!

Take Care, Stay Well, Laugh, and by all means — Live In The Moment and Be Happy!  –-  Jim (and Red!)

Stay Positive and Be Happy!  Banish the Boggarts!


If you enjoyed this piece, you may also like — “I Will Greet This Day With Love In My Heart”  

(New Visitors — Welcome! To find out what we are all about here, please check out — “Welcome To My Writing Pages!” and “About the Blog, Jim & Little Red Bear” — and sign up to follow and be notified of every new post!)


“The person who was holding me back from my happiness was me.” – Keanu Reeves

“Pain results from a judgement you have made about a thing. Remove the judgement and the pain disappears.” –  Neale Donald Walsch


Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”


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

       “No matter how chaotic it is, wildflowers will still spring up in the middle of nowhere.”     – Sheryl Crow  


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, each month we are able to donate free print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to Senior Citizens,  School Libraries and Classrooms, and to those who could otherwise not obtain a copy.

Patrons also help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as a non-monetized, ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone. We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


                        “Remember, what you “feel” and what is “real” are often very different.”                      –  Eddie Capparucci


 

Monday Musings — Stay At Home!

Still growing into my new role as Resident Manager of a Senior Living Community here on the outskirts of St. Louis, a month ago I began sharing short writing pieces with everyone in a little weekly feature I call “Monday Musings” distributed door-to-door each Monday morning.

Topics vary, but if you know me by now at all, you also know that the messages include a good number of thoughts about kindness, positivity, helping others, and such. Usually with a little humor tossed in, because it is always good for the soul. In a spoonful of sugar, sort of way.

Here is the little piece I prepared for everyone today in case you might be interested, dealing with a very serious topic in the news, the Coronavirus.  Being in a senior living community, our residents are among the most vulnerable, so taking it all very seriously here. As should we all.


MONDAY MUSINGS

We have been asked to Shelter-In-Place.  Many ignored it.  Now we have a Stay-At-Home order, issued by the City, the County, and now the State.

States are increasingly calling out the National Guard to assist state police in enforcing Shelter-At-Home orders. In Pennsylvania, a motorist taking a scenic car ride was stopped by police and given a $200 ticket for violating stay-at-home orders in that state.

Stores are beginning to limit the number of shoppers allowed inside at one time for social distancing. Many stores are now requiring masks to be worn. Some are no longer allowing shoppers to bring their own bags. Some are not allowing children in stores. Some are limiting one shopper/one cart per family.  If anyone has been in doubt until now, this is serious.

For the sake of not only yourself, but also for friends, neighbors, and family, please Stay Home unless absolutely necessary to go out for the foreseeable future and allow only Truly Essential Visitors. It will not last forever, but for right now this is what we need to do for us ALL to get thru the Coronavirus Pandemic together. Please.

It really is fairly simple –


The above is what I shared with our residents today.

If you would like to see my Monday Musings as a weekly feature here, please Vote In The Poll and feel free to leave a note in the comments.  I would be happy to freely share them here with you as well because sharing is what it is all about, isn’t it?


Thanks always for visiting with us because YOU are why we do this, to begin with.

These are not fun times, unlike anything we have ever seen. At least in my seventy years here in this go-round. There were those bedeviling plagues long ago, but we’ll leave those stories for another day.

To imagine that as little as a month or so ago life was going on as usual here, and now in just the span of a few weeks, we have been ordered to remain at home for our own health and safety and urged to wear a protective face wrap when out. We now practice Social Distancing.  The economy has been turned on its head, and travel has become greatly restricted. Sports and entertainment venues have been shuttered for the foreseeable future, and so many summer vacation plans tossed into the wind.

Yet, despite it all, you and I are still here. Together.

And ‘together’ is how we have always gotten thru times like these in the past, and ‘together’ is how we will all get thru it this time. Helping and being there for each other — neighbor to neighbor, friend to friend, stranger to stranger. That is how we do it.

It is not the “American” way. It is the “Human” way.  It is all-embracing Kindness and Compassion at work for everyone’s mutual survival and benefit.


For information on How to Protect Yourself & Others from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), simply tap the link.

Our very best wishes to you and yours for continued health and well-being.

My story friend Little Red Bear and I will be regularly sharing a variety of things here in the coming weeks to keep in touch. Some topical, as this one was, some not so much, and others free reading just for fun and to take a break from it all, like “The Three-legged Chicken” story. I invite you to follow along and stay tuned for more.

In the meantime, God Bless and Stay Well.  — Jim (and Red!)


P.S. — In the interest of public safety during the current Coronavirus situation, I have decided to wear a mask, albeit in traditional Bandit Bandana style, ala Jesse James. 

For those questioning the effectiveness of such a mask, I believe the historical record will bear me out on this. No one was ever found to have caught a virus of any kind from Jesse James during a bank or train robbery while he was wearing his Bandit Bandana mask. A few bullets, perhaps, but there have been no documented cases of anyone ever having caught a virus from Jesse, that I am aware of. So, if it worked for Jesse and the boys, I figure it will work for me.

And, who knows? It may open up some new career opportunities along the way. Always be open to possibilities, as my father used to say. 

(In case you are wondering — I’m going with the basic “Red Robber” model for starters.)  


           “Be the morning in everyone’s eyes and make their day turn into a thing of beauty.”          – Anthony T. Hincks


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!


“The person who is willing to say ‘YES’ to experience is the person who discovers new frontiers.” –  John Templeton


 

An Astonishing New Free Short Story — “The Three-legged Chicken”

This little writing site of mine has always been about freely sharing materials for everyone’s enjoyment and (hopeful) benefits, and will continue to do so.

With so many of us confined-to-quarters with the Coronavirus Shut-In situation for the foreseeable future, I will be posting and sharing a few more pieces from time to time for folks to enjoy reading while helping the time pass.

The following is a short story I just finished for the enjoyment of residents here at the senior living facility where I am the resident manager. The story was inspired by old folk tales and a joke told by the comedian Buddy Hackett years ago.

Again, hopefully bringing a smile and helping the time pass for everyone.


THE THREE-LEGGED CHICKEN

Years ago, when I was very young, six or seven at the time, my family all got into the car one early summer Saturday morning to take a “drive to the country.” That’s how my father would always put it – taking a “drive to the country.”

“The country”, as he referred to it, was the old homestead and farm where my mother had been raised, near McKittrick, Missouri just outside of Hermann, off Highway 19. If you crossed over the Missouri River and landed in Hermann, you probably blinked and missed McKittrick and went too far. Nowadays, McKittrick is home to the world-famous “Joey’s Bird House B&B” on Main Street. But you probably knew that already, being so renowned as it is, so I shouldn’t have wasted your time telling you again.

My father never said the words “drive to the country” in a happy, “let’s hurry up and get there” tone. That’s how I felt, but he did not share my youthful exuberance. A “drive to the country” always ended up being work for him, as my two aged uncles who lived on the farm at the time, Coley and Ellis, two old bachelor brothers who had never been married, always had a list of chores that needed to be done. “We could surely use your help with (insert the chore for the day here) before y’all head back to town, Rudy.”

Rudy was my father’s name, of course, being short for Rudolph, spelled the old German way with a “P” as he would always point out, just like the legendary reindeer. But no relation, my father being of Alsatian heritage as he was and the famous reindeer being from somewhere in the Yukon territory, having hung out with Yukon Cornelius in the day, as I recall.

My father, a city boy with no love for the country or outdoors, would dutifully help out with whatever chores they requested. He came to realize over time that it was best if he just agreed, did the tasks, and remained on speaking terms with my mother. She would visit with family and he would work. Did I mention that he never really liked going to “the country?” His least favorite chore was cleaning out the chicken coop, and after having helped him on one occasion when I was older, I can’t say I disagreed with him. After that, I realized why our family seemed to invariably have fried chicken at Sunday dinners. It wasn’t about cuisine; it was about revenge, pure and simple.

And that brings me to the point of all this. On that one Saturday morning, as we were going on along Highway 19 on the way to my uncles’ farm, a chicken suddenly appeared running alongside the car down the center stripe of the road. Which it actually was at that time, a narrow two-lane, winding blacktop road, as I recall. The term “Highway” can be a misnomer in our state when driving thru the backcountry and Ozarks areas. “Highway” looked good on the fold-out gas station maps and sounded alluring and enticing to tourists thinking about venturing into the state, but in reality, most of the side and back roads at the time were straight-as-a-snake curvy and just plain old “shake your false teeth loose” rough. Another of dad’s expressions.

Anyway, back to that chicken, the one we left running alongside the car as you may recall from a minute ago. My father was driving along at a brisk forty mile an hour clip, a good speed for a winding country road in the early ‘50s. He looked out his side window and exclaimed to us all – “Look at that. A chicken is running alongside the car!” I will never forget his exact words. He said – “Look at that. A chicken is running alongside the car!”

Perhaps feeling challenged by the fleet fowl, my father sped up to 45 mph. So did the chicken, keeping pace right alongside.

From my backseat observation window, I noticed that the chicken was running alongside in an atypical manner, although I didn’t know the word ‘atypical’ or what it meant at the time, of course. Just using it here for you now to indicate that something didn’t appear normal in the way the chicken was moving, in a rather unconventional manner, you see. After a minute or so, thru further study and examination, I then determined that the chicken had three legs. Really, count ‘em – One, Two, Three Legs!

My father sped up to fifty. So did the chicken.

We accelerated up to 60. My mother was about to come unglued, as frequently doing 60 on a hilly and winding country road could result in a quicker-than-planned trip to the cemetery back in the day before life-saving seat belts were invented.

My father floored it and zoomed up to 65, and at this point, apparently having reached its own destination, the chicken sped up even more, dashed ahead of us and cut right in front of our car to sprint up a gravel side road leading to a nearby farmhouse.

My father slammed on the brakes, having passed the gravel road at such speed, immediately threw the car into reverse, and then sped up the road in pursuit of the chicken, gravel and road dust flying everywhere.

Standing in the nearby barnyard was the farmer, dressed in dusty blue overalls and wearing a straw hat that looked like it may have been original Civil War issue. My father leapt out of the car and headed towards the farmer, with my mother and me hurrying behind to catch up.

“Did you see that chicken that just ran past?” my father blurted out, half out of breath.

“Yep,” replied the farmer, calmly.

“That chicken had three legs!” my father exclaimed. He was nearly frantic about what had just transpired on the road, as even being an over-the-road trucker most of his life he had never been in a chicken race of that sort before.

“Yep,” responded the farmer. “Three legs.”

My father was incredulous at the farmer’s indifference. “Well, don’t you find that unusual?” my father pursued.

“Nope,” deadpanned the farmer again. “We breed and raise ‘em here. Lots of ‘em.”

“You raise three-legged chickens?!?” my father came back. “How?!?”

“That’s simple,” the Farmer explained. “We crossed a regular ol’ two-legged chicken with a one-legged Road Runner to get three longer legs and more meat for folks.”

My father, totally bewildered, pressed on. “But why on Earth would anyone want a three-legged chicken?!?”

“Welp,” the farmer began again, a confused look on his face as to why he would have to explain something so obvious, even to a city dweller, “do you like drumsticks?”

“Yes,” replied my father.

“How about your wife?”

“She likes them, too,” my father answered.

“And the little boy there?” the farmer asked, waving a crooked bony finger and then pointing directly at me. “Does he like drumsticks?”

“He loves them,” my Father replied. “They are his favorite part.”

And they were. My father always knew me well when it came to food. Drumsticks were my favorite. Dad was spot on with that one.

“Well then,” the farmer explained, “there you have it. Three people in your family, three drumsticks. No need to cook up an extra chicken and then have that extra leg and a lot of other chicken parts left over. What sense would that make? None at all, I say.”

“That may be fine and good,” my father agreed. “But what do they taste like?”

“Don’t rightly know,” the farmer replied sheepishly, hat in hand.

“Crossing ‘em with Road Runners as we did, we ain’t never caught one yet to find out!”

© Story James R. Milson, 2020


Thank You for visiting with us and I hope you enjoyed our little chicken race adventure. This was an original story, all of which is true and factual. Mostly.

You can find more Free Reads like this thru the Short Works & Free Reads tab at the top of the page. And that is a true fact, sure enough. If you enjoyed this piece, please feel free to share it with family and friends,  along with other site resources available.

And something I do not do often enough, sending a heartfelt “Thank You!” to both new and established patrons of this site, whose generosity, encouragement, and on-going support help keep this all going and making posts like this possible for everyone!  To find out what it’s all about, visit my Patreon Page to learn more.

Wishing the very best continued Health and Happiness for you and yours! Helping each other, we will get thru this challenging period. Together!  — Jim (and Red!)


If you enjoyed this piece, you may also like — “How The Teddy Bear Got Its Name”

(New Visitors — Welcome! To find out what we are all about here, please check out — “Welcome To My Writing Pages!” and “About the Blog, Jim & Little Red Bear” — and sign up to follow and be notified of every new post!)


Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”


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

“If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share.” – W. Clement Stone


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, each month we are able to donate free print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to Senior Citizens,  School Libraries and Classrooms, and to those who could otherwise not obtain a copy.

Patrons also help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as a non-monetized, ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone. We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


              “It’s not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something.             May I suggest that it be creating joy for others,
sharing what we have for the betterment of personkind,
bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely.”  ― 
Leo Buscaglia


One Moment Please — Laughing On The Corner #1

OVERHEARD ON THE STREET CORNER

Taking the dog for a walk the other day, I overheard two little boys talking at the street

corner.

As we approached, they were chatting about being out of school with the Coronavirus thing going on.

I overheard one say to the other –

“Nah, I don’t miss school and homework, Billy. But I’ll sure be glad when all these ‘Don’t Touch Your Face’ rules go away so I can pick my nose again!”


These are stressful times for us all right now and for so many reasons.

Please remember to take some personal moments thru the day to simply stop, take a deep breath, relax your shoulders and muscles, and simply be.

Being mindful, eating healthy,  following the recommended guidelines of handwashing, social distancing, and sheltering in place to take care of ourselves, our families, and loved ones, staying positive, being kind and helping each other — these are things we all can do now.

And finding something to smile about and taking a minute to laugh now and then, for laughter truly is the best medicine!

For information on How to Protect Yourself & Others from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), simply tap the link.

Stay positive, Be Well, and We Will All Get Thru This Together! — Jim (and Red!)


“You inspire, you put a smile on someone’s face, you make someone laugh or deeply touch a          person’s heart. We all have that in ourselves no matter how tough our journeys are.”       – Shellie Palmer


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!


“He who has health, has hope. And he who has hope, has everything.” –  Thomas Carlyle


 

It’s Here — Coping With The Coronavirus Challenge Now

Good Golly, Miss Molly! – What can one say about the news the past week?

The world as we know it seems to be progressively shutting down around us as each new day gets crazier than the last. It’s hard to keep up, just with all the new words and phrases alone – Coronavirus – Pandemic – COVID-19 – Flatten the Curve – Shelter In Place – Social Distancing – Self-quarantine.

And how about “R-naught or RO” – a virus’s basic reproductive number and the metric used to describe the contagiousness of infectious agents? We aren’t even going to talk about that one.

Some of my writer friends and I are sharing our thoughts in our “Coping in Coronaville Blog Hop.”  I invite you to visit their amazing blogs, listed at the end of this post, to discover their ways of coping and surviving in such times.


Our daily routines and patterns have been totally upended, almost overnight. That is stressful enough for most, without the added concerns of a nasty virus lurking around every corner. And now we are under a “Stay-At-Home” order in our area, as well.

It’s all enough to scare the pants off Superman! And wouldn’t that have been a sight. Likely not ‘G’ rated, but perhaps interesting and entertaining, nonetheless.

Imagine Superman soaring pantless thru the stratosphere as he did, frost and icicles forming on suddenly exposed tender bits and what-nots where they shouldn’t. Was that a wrap-around cape he wore, to bundle for warmth perhaps? And were phone booths ever heated? Has any super guy ever survived a severe case of frostbite on the Willie? Or, even wanted to? What would Lois Lane think?  So many questions . . . .

Sorry, my mind wandered there for a moment, but being old I get a pass on stuff like that now. Is that a fair trade-off for being in the higher risk grouping with the coronavirus nowadays? I don’t know, but it does have its tactical advantages when used prudently, or just wanting to annoy and wind up the kids from time to time. Just for fun. And payback. Yeah, some of that, too. Parents –  you know what I’m talking about, don’t deny it.


But, back to the virus which may have folks feeling jittery and on edge. The projected numbers and newscasts can be worrisome, no doubt. Scary stuff.  But there are really only two types of problems in life – those you can do something about, and those you cannot. Honestly, it really is that simple.

If you can do something about a situation, why worry? Do what is needed to be done and take care of it. If there is nothing you can do about a situation, then why worry? Like an asteroid falling from outer space, if there truly is nothing you can do about it, whatever “It” is will happen or not, all on its own with or without us agonizing, losing sleep, and worrying over it.  Worrying never solved anything.  Ever.

The only thing worrying ever does is to heighten our stress levels, thereby lowering our natural resistance and immunity,  making whatever we are worried about in the first place — such as a virus —  even more likely to occur, like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

We truly do become what we focus on and think about most, so for goodness’ sake please do not obsess about or dwell on thoughts of catching the coronavirus or being sick! Nothing good at all will come of that.

Be mindful, stay positive, laugh, enjoy life and time with loved ones and those around you, live in the moment, be happy, focus on the good things and what truly is in your control, and then let the devil take the hindmost.


Accordingly, then – we do what we can.

We wash, wash, wash, wash our hands thru the day, and then wash them again just for good measure. That is vitally important, and we can do that.

We also no longer touch our eyes, mouth, nose, or facial area in general. We can surely do that.

And if for some reason you can’t resist the urge to rub and scratch, order a beekeepers mask. Or a Halloween mask.  Order a frightfully scary Jason Halloween goalie mask and terrify the little virus buggers. They might even run away. I would.

Masks could be fun all on their own, anyway, and if they help keep you from touching your face, it’s a win-win all around.

And we can also stay as isolated as possible, practicing social-distancing by maintaining a good six (6!) feet of space between ourselves and others when we do legitimately need to be out and about on occasion. Honestly, for the sake of our own health, our families and the community at large, less frequent and only truly necessary outings are for the better right now.

Smile while thinking of all the time and gas money saved!


So, simply do what you can do, and after that – take a deep breath, treat yourself to a cookie, beverage of choice, and relax. Whatever it is will run its course without our needlessly having helped it along or added to our worry wrinkles.

These are all simple things we can do, and certainly worth the relatively small price when considering the alternative of being exposed to and spreading the virus and its consequences for everyone. Even with the cost of the beekeeper and Halloween mask.

This is the period we live in right now. Change can be challenging, and our lives seem to be rapidly changing in ten-minute increments the past week. Nevertheless, it is time for us all to accept the new reality, adjust to it by each creating our own “new normal” to make the best of the situation, develop new daily routines, and carry on.

As my Mother always reminded whenever I was troubled –

“This too shall pass.”


Hopefully, we can all work together to “flatten the curve” as they say, and things will all get back to normal soon. But for the foreseeable future, diligently practicing good hygiene, being positive and mindful, social distancing, and being a bit isolated is the new normal.

And again – we can do all that. Together.

We are a community here, blessed with amazing and wonderful folks, and “Together” we will get thru this if we each act responsibly and do our part.

For information on How to Protect Yourself & Others from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), simply tap the link.


And one more thing. An early observation. This week already I have seen more families together — Moms, Dads, Kids, Dogs, Cats — all out taking walks, kicking balls around the yard, stomping with galoshes in rain puddles, and just having fun — Together.

Others too, finding their way back outdoors to walk around the block and spend time with Mother Nature in the fresh air again. Reconnecting — with the outdoors, family, and neighbors. And that’s a very good thing.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we see a return to old-fashioned family times and activities after we have been so individually busy and increasingly separated over the past few decades? Is it going to take a disaster to bring us back together? Hopefully not, but perhaps it will be a positive ultimately realized from such a potentially devastating pandemic. We’ll see and maybe talk more about that another time.

In the meantime, let’s all focus on and reconnect with those people and things that are truly most important in our lives, keep good thoughts, and hope while expecting the very best outcomes for us all. And we will get thru all this — Together.


Thank you always for taking the time from your day to visit with us!

If you learned anything, laughed for a moment and escaped the weight of the daily news breaks, or simply enjoyed your visit, we hope you may consider subscribing and following the blog here. It’s free, and never any spam.

Little Red Bear and I also hope that you will extend a kind word and helping hand to others during these trying times. We all could use a little mutual support and comforting reassurance right now.


With so many working from home, schools dismissed or being “confined to quarters” at present, I invite and encourage you to take advantage of all the “Short Works & Free Reads” offered here on the blog. Enjoy a selection of feature articles, inspirational pages, posts, poetry, videos, and short stories, along with a growing list of Children’s Activities, Puzzles, and More! Find them all thru the tabs at the top of the page. It’s all Free because that’s just how we roll here.

In addition, at Little Red’s Bear’s urging, we have lowered the price of his print book, “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to the lowest price we can offer thru Amazon — from $12.95 to $7.50.

We changed the distribution for the time being to lower the cost, and have eliminated all royalties so that we make nothing on any sale. The price of the Kindle Version for eReaders has also been lowered to only $2.99, and it is still Free with Kindle Unlimited.

Discover what others have had to say about Little Red Bear and his friends in some of our Reviews & Reader Comments.

We are doing this as our small part to help out, encouraging home reading both “to” and “for” children, as well as providing a light entertainment alternative for adults and seniors just to mentally escape for a while when needed during these stressful times. It is always a good day in Little Red Bear’s neck of the woods, and we invite you to drop in for a visit, prop your feet up and ‘set’ for a spell.

Very best wishes and good health to you and yours, stay well, and we will be back soon, with clean hands (and paws!) while maintaining an appropriately safe distance, of course. We’ll meet you at the intersection of Positivity and Hope! — Jim  (and Red!)


If you enjoyed this piece, you may also like — “Wishing You Happiness, Peace, Joy — And A Very Good Day!” 

(New Visitors — Welcome! To find out what we are all about here, please check out — “Welcome To My Writing Pages!” and “About the Blog, Jim & Little Red Bear” — and sign up to follow and be notified of every new post!)


I invite you to visit my writing friends to discover their thoughts on “Coping in Coronaville”, and to follow their blogs for wonderful new posts throughout the year!

Julie Gorges — “Ten Things Baby Boomers Can Do if Self-Quarantined”

Cat Michaels — “I Refuse To Be Wasting Away in Coronaville”

Rosie Russell — “Ideas on How to Cope in a Coronavirus World”

Rebecca Lyndsey — “Coping In Coronaville”

Carmela Dutra — “How to Stay Positive in a Coronavirus World”

Chris Gorges — “7 Ways to Cope with Coronavirus Fatigue”

Sandra Bennett — “Staying Grateful In A Coronavirus World”

Auden Johnson — “Quarantine Life: Ways To Cope In A Coronavirus World”


          “Be the morning in everyone’s eyes and make their day turn into a thing of beauty.”        – Anthony T. Hincks

“In the darkest time, I have always believed, the light will shine.” – Lailah Gifty Akita


Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”


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

    “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.”
– Leo F. Buscaglia
    


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, each month we are able to donate free print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to Senior Citizens,  School Libraries and Classrooms, and to those who could otherwise not obtain a copy.

Patrons also help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as a non-monetized, ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone. We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.
He is rich who owns the day,
And no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.”                   – Ralph Waldo Emerson



 

 

“Happy Leap Year Day! What Will You Do With Your Extra Time?”

Happy Leap Year Day!

As you undoubtedly recall from earlier school days, Leap Years happen only once every four years, pinning an extra day onto the end of the month of February, with the year’s shortest month magically becoming one day longer.

This small change works to keep the calendar year in sync with the solar year so that the calendar’s seasons and holidays do not shift thru the solar year over time. Think Christmas during the heat of July and watching Fourth of July fireworks in a snowstorm someday in the future. Like that. The added leap day every four years serves to keep it all in balance.

So, the February 29th extra day every four years is kind of special. Like on that one of four times you actually receive a hot and fresh pizza delivery order. A time to celebrate and open up the box right away and enjoy it before the specialness is gone!

How are you going to spend your extra day and twenty-four gifted hours of time this Leap Year?  Have you thought about it yet?


Just for fun, I did some random, unscientifically based sampling of friends and neighbors to see what they had in mind for their extra day and time.

Results varied from “Excited” to “Not-So-Much” . . . . .

  • “Take in a basketball game!”
  • “I am going to sleep all day!”
  • “Probably forget about it and then feel guilty later about having wasted my extra day.”
  • “Reflect on the new year so far and my plans for the next ten months.”
  • “Play Bingo all day until my money runs out.”
  • “Pray to make it to the next Leap Year Day.”
  • “I am going to go shopping, have lunch out, and treat myself to a new pair of shoes!”
  • “Play video games all day!”
  • “Will probably just do some blood sacrifices and other pagan rituals as a tradition to honor the day.”  (There’s always that ‘one guy’ in every group, isn’t there?)

The above plans notwithstanding, by far and perhaps rather sadly, the most frequent response was — “Nothing special, just another day.”


For me personally, after falling so far behind on things with recent health issues (read about it all here, if you dare — “Old Age Ain’t No Place For Sissies!” ), I plan to take advantage of my special Leap Day by spending the greatest part of the time with my story friend Little Red Bear catching up on all the writing work we are so far behind with.  There just hasn’t been enough time in the past few months.

And in saying that just now, how often do we find ourselves saying the exact same thing  — “There just hasn’t been enough time”? Or, perhaps expressing its variant — “I just don’t have the time”?


In “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, Douglas Adams is famously quoted for observing that — “Time is an illusion.”  And he has noted physicists backing him up on it. According to the experts, our naive perception of time’s flow does not correspond to physical reality. Wow, heavy stuff.


But this piece today is not intended to be a dissertation on the subject or history of “Time” itself; there are many readily available sources that discuss the topics in detail if you care to learn more.

My interest rather is in how we choose to use “Time”.

 — “Nothing special, just another day.”  —

As mentioned earlier, this is a leap year with a bright and shiny, extra new day added this month on February 29th. Twenty-four golden hours of opportunity.

We all receive the same amount of “Time” each and every day. Some accomplish much with it. Many allow it to pass by relatively untouched and unused, adding to an ever-growing discard pile of “Just another days”.

Some use Time for good purposes; others not. Some enjoy its passing, aware and savoring every moment. Some seem to sleepwalk thru the day. Some are motivated by time’s passage, while others crumble under the pressure and weight of deadlines, both outwardly and self-imposed.

So maybe the question is — Do we control Time, mindfully utilizing what we are given to best suit our needs and wishes, or do we allow Time to control us?

We always seem to have, make, or create the necessary time in our schedules for what we truly want to do, while responding “I don’t have the time” for those things we would rather not do if given a choice. So, maybe it all merely boils down to a matter of priorities in the end. We do what we want to do and that which personally serves us best, and let the devil take the hindmost.  And that’s the reality, simple enough.

When we ask someone to do something or other and they respond that they would love to but do not have the time, it really just means that we or our request are simply not high enough on their priority list.  No one receives more, and certainly not less time than anyone else each day. It’s just all in how we choose to use it.

Getting back to the subject at hand, due to the idiosyncrasies and vagaries of its measurement, we each will receive an extra twenty-four hours of special Leap Year Time this month, free of charge. Gifted.

What will YOU do with it?


Some of my writer friends are sharing their thoughts about “Leap Day”, also.

I invite you to Visit and Follow their pages listed below for wonderfully varied content throughout the year!

Julie Gorges – “How Baby Boomers Can Make Leap Day Count!”

Rebecca Lyndsey – “Very Superstitious . . .”

Rosie Russell  – ” We’re Leaping and Hopping for Leap Year 2020″

Sandra Bennett – “What Will You Do With an Extra Day?”

Carmela Dutra – “How to Take a Leap on Leap Day”

Cat Michaels – “Five Easy Things You Can Do with Your Extra 24 Hours on Leap Day”

Auden Johnson – “How Will You Spend Your Extra Day This Leap Year?’

Chris Gorges – “A Rare Gift”

Julie Schooler – “3 Easy Ways to Make February 29th Your Best Leap Day Ever”


Thank you always for visiting and spending part of your day with us here!

In addition to our writing work, Little Red Bear and I will be heading outside on Leap Day next weekend, trash bags in hand (paws?) to pick up litter and trash along our nearby walkways.

It’s called “Trashercize”, a growing, environmentally conscious activity combining healthy outdoor walking and exercise with trash removal to beautify our neighborhoods, waterways, and landscapes.

Watch for more about Trashercize and Plogging in a coming post here as we all prepare to head back outdoors with the arrival of Spring soon! 

In closing, if each person in the world helped just one other person or did one simple thing to help Mother Nature and the environment, wouldn’t the world be a much better and more enjoyable place? A lot of simple little acts can add up to something really big if we all pitch in and take the Time to do our part by putting someone or something else’s needs before our own wants.

So then, what can you do with your extra Leap Year Day to reach out and help someone?  How about doing something today? And if not today — when?

Could you possibly offer a kind word or pick up and properly dispose of a piece of litter, perhaps? Little things. They add up. Please join us today in making a positive difference in the world!  — Jim (and Red!)   🤠 🐻


If you enjoyed this piece, you may also like — “Finding A Purpose Driven Life — What Would You Do If . . . . . . ?”  and “Opting for Millstones or Milestones — The Desiderata” 

(New Visitors — Welcome! To find out what we are all about here, please check out — “Welcome To My Writing Pages!” and “About the Blog, Jim & Little Red Bear” — and sign up to follow and be notified of every new post!)


       Think Globally – Act Locally! Tomorrow Begins With YOU Today!    

“Lost time is never found again.”  – Benjamin Franklin


Like and Follow My Writer’s Page on Facebook For Daily Inspirations & More!


Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”


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

         “There’s only one thing more precious than our time and that’s who we spend it on.”       –  Leo Christopher


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, each month we are able to donate free print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to Senior Citizens,  School Libraries and Classrooms, and to those who could otherwise not obtain a copy.

Patrons also help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as a non-monetized, ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone. We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


“Time and tide wait for no man.” – Geoffrey Chaucer



 

 

 

 

 

Simple Thoughts and Reflections on a Rainy Day

“Here comes the rain again . . . .”

So began the song of the same name by the Eurythmics back in 1983. I always loved that song and still do. There was just something mesmerizing about the voice and style of Annie Lennox that set the song apart at the time.

What brought it to mind is that we are expected to receive a good bit of rain over the next few days, three to four inches in our neck of the woods they are saying. That can be a lot all at one time here in the Midwest. The last time it rained on a Saturday night a few weeks ago we had a two-and-a-half-hour power outage that started before the rain even arrived. I think the power lines grew overly anxious just hearing about it, somewhat highly strung as they are.

Supposedly, the baseline for converting inches of rain to snow is that one inch of rain equals about ten inches of snow, subject to vary with the amount of moisture, temperature, etc.

Simply using the general baseline as our guide though, that means that if it were cold enough to support snow, it being early January after all, that we could receive up to forty inches of snow instead. Yikes! That would certainly shut things down for a while. Personally, with apologies to the snow bunnies in the crowd, I will take the rain at this point.

Back in the day and maybe before many readers were born, Karen Carpenter sang about how “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down!”  A beautiful song, as so many were by The Carpenters.

B. J. Thomas sang a different, more upbeat tune than the others. Butch Cassidy fans please feel free to sing along  —

“Raindrops keep falling on my head,
But that doesn’t mean my eyes will soon be turning red,
Crying’s not for me,
‘Cause, I’m never gonna stop the rain by complaining,
Because I’m free,
Nothing’s worrying me.”

So then, how do you feel about rainy days?  Love ’em? Or not so much, perhaps? Please take a moment to share your thoughts about rainy days!


Here in the backwoods with my story friend Little Red Bear, we always try to look for the good to be found in any situation, rainy days notwithstanding. Excluding torrential downpours, floods, and hurricanes, of course, of which I have seen my share over the years.  We are merely talking about your run-of-the-mill, overcast, grey skies, rainy days here today.

You know the sort. The cozy by the fireplace, pull-up-a-blanket and take a nap on the couch kind of days.

For me, everything just seems to go at a more relaxed pace when the clouds darken and heaven’s sprinkler is turned on for gentle and refreshing rains.  The pit-pat-pit on the windowsill. The “splack” sound of raindrops falling on dry autumn leaves still lingering on the ground. (Little Red Bear is a master with a fishing pole in his paws, but just try to get him to stand still long enough to put a leaf rake into them.)  A cup of tea or hot cocoa and a good book.  Conversations with friends and family. Many folks seem to be more at ease and open on a rainy day, like the rain sort of smooths out the wrinkles and sharp edges.  Have you noticed that, too?

On a particularly good day, maybe even a batch of cookies or brownies baking in the oven.  I can almost smell the chocolate chips now, just thinking about it!


For those who would enjoy a nostalgic break while munching on a cookie at this point, or for those maybe new to Annie Lennox and the song mentioned above, here ya go. Newbies can have a cookie, too. We’re all-inclusive here.


A rainy day inspired this fun little piece whilst reading about Harry Potter and his friends a few years ago . . . .

“The Muggle in a Puddle”

Walking home I encountered a Muggle.

The wee Muggle seemed stuck in a Puddle.

Working quickly I soon had him outed.

Then running on he turned back and shouted-

“Thanks, mate, for the break but I am rather late.

So sorry for the bother and trouble!”


“No man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child.”

Having nothing to do with rainy days directly, but still sort of in a  “Saving For A Rainy Day” kind of way, this wonderful quote has been variously attributed to Abraham Lincoln, James Dobson, Danny Thomas, and others. My feeling is that if any of them did not actually say it, each certainly could have.

Such a lovely sentiment and meaning, applying not only to children but also the spirit of bending over and lending a helping hand to anyone struggling or in need. Stuck in one of life’s puddles, perhaps.

And isn’t that what we are all truly here for, to help each other?

        “Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.”         — Philippians 2:4


Thank you always for visiting and spending part of your day with us here! What can you do today to reach out and help ease another’s burden?

Lend an umbrella, perhaps?  — Jim (and Red!)   🤠 🐻


If you enjoyed this piece, you may also like — “Mitakuye Oyasin — We Are All Related” 

(New Visitors — Welcome! To find out what we are all about here, please check out — “Welcome To My Writing Pages!” and “About the Blog, Jim & Little Red Bear” — and sign up to follow and be notified of every new post!)


         “There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”         – John Holmes    

The Muggle in a Puddle

“The only thing I shall want for a rainy day will be my umbrella.” –  Agatha Christie


Like and Follow My Writer’s Page on Facebook For Daily Inspirations & More!


Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”


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

“A rainy day is the perfect time for a walk in the woods.” – Rachel Carson


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, each month we are able to donate free print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to Senior Citizens,  School Libraries and Classrooms, and to those who could otherwise not obtain a copy.

Patrons also help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as a non-monetized, ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone. We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


                                                          “Into each life, some rain must fall.                                                         The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


 

Getting Back Up and Where I Have Been — “Old Age Ain’t No Place For Sissies!”

Inquiring minds, online friends, and longtime followers may likely be wondering by now  — “Where in tarnation have you been for so long, Jim? Sleeping like a bump on a log? Why the lack of new material lately? You missed Autumn and the Christmas Season,  your favorite time of year. Where ya been?!?”

The short answer for those in a hurry is that I have been taking some time off for personal health reasons.

The longer version is more complicated, in that I went to have what was advertised as a simple repair type surgery and it unexpectedly turned into something much more involved, and then the hits just kept on coming, as the DJ’s used to say.

I suppose it is not exactly a plot spoiler to add that everything came out okay in the end because I am clearly back at the writing desk creating this piece for everyone now. So much for cliffhangers, drama, and plot devices.

Briefly, I went into the hospital on October 24th for what was expected to be a “minor” spinal fusion, adding on to previous fusion hardware already in place, but which then went quite unexpectedly sideways. A week later to the day I was in the Emergency Room (ER) being treated for an impacted bowel.  Six weeks after that found me in the ER once again, with a fractured femur following a very hard fall while moving to a new apartment. All while still in a back brace for the spinal fusion. In short, that is where I have been for the past couple of months.

Having turned 70 three days after my hip fracture and having celebrated the milestone event with a new pair of crutches, as Bette Davis so astutely observed —

“Old Age Ain’t No Place For Sissies!”

But the interesting part is in the details and observations made along the way. For the not-too-queasy inquisitive folks, brave-of-heart, those about to enter the medical system in the near future, and those with nothing better to do,  I offer the following information and observations from my recent experiences. Suffice it to say — nothing was as advertised in the brochure.

So if interested, I invite you to pour a cup of your favorite beverage, prop your feet up on the coffee table, and read on . . . .


As some know and others do not, I have dealt with the effects of various degenerative disc and joint diseases since childhood, with both hips replaced and two back surgeries, including a spinal fusion of L3 thru S1, four levels, and for the past twenty-odd years spinal stenosis. For the past few years, the next level L2 had become affected by the stress of overuse with all below already previously fused, causing a great deal of pain and discomfort, sciatica, periods of numbness from the waist down, and paralyzing leg cramps.

Not being a doctor myself, but as I can explain it a summer MRI revealed that the deterioration and bony overgrowth at the L2 level had totally closed off my spinal column at that level, with no spinal fluid at all visible on the MRI with resulting pressure on my spinal cord and adjacent nerves. The MRI, CT Scan, and a bunch of X-rays attested to all of the previous fusion work still being solid and intact, requiring no additional correction or work to be done.  A decision was made to do another surgery to fuse L2 to L3, one that would be much less involved than the previous four-level fusion with its twelve assorted screws, rods, and plates, with this surgery requiring the addition of only two screws and two rods to do the job. A much smaller incision, clear out the debris, fuse L2, and done. Three hours or so. The surgeons enjoy a timely lunch and afternoon round of golf, and I take a nice nap, rest for a day in the hospital, and then go home in a back brace and get on with life. That was the plan.

Wiser people than me have observed throughout history that no battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy. True enough. When they opened me up to do the surgery, the neurosurgeons discovered that one of the metal rods used in the prior fusion had completely broken in half. How, when, where, or why the rod had broken, or why nothing was revealed on the MRI, CT Scan, or X-rays beforehand —  I have no idea.

Completely unforeseen or planned, the broken rod then required them to remove all pre-existing hardware from the old fusion and greatly expand the incision from mid-back all the way down into my butt crack. Really. To such an extent that if I ever go shirtless at the beach again I risk being sued for defamation by a plumber, with a butt crack and incision now seemingly running up to my shoulder blades.

Afterward, I had surgical tape — on my butt. My story friend Little Red Bear found that part particularly hilarious for some reason, most notably when a nurse ripped off all the tape before going home.

I was going to share a picture of the incision, but three folks passed out in the focus group at this point during the pre-release of this post, so sharing an image of Little Red Bear’s reaction instead.

The original surgery scheduled for three hours suddenly became much more involved and stretched to just under five. My neurosurgeon was so impressed/taken back/stunned by the broken rod that he felt moved to take a photograph of it with his cell phone, just for the record. He kindly shared the image with me later in the hospital. A broken support rod. Who knew?!?



I am now fused at five levels, and what was to be a short, simple postoperative rehab period following, like the surgery itself was expected to be, became much more complicated and demanding. Here are some observations I noted along the way, in no particular order —

  • Upon admission to a hospital, while busy signing all the permission and notification forms, they also make you surrender your Modesty Card, giving Carte Blanche permission to poke, prod, stick, inject, and insert whatever they feel necessary at or into whatever location they choose.  Prepare to be humbled, as no intrusion of privacy or orifice seems to be off-limits once admitted. The invaders are massed outside the castle gate, and the admissions representative just lowered the drawbridge.
  • It had been quite a while since my last fusion and in-hospital stay (my recent bicep rupture and repair in December 2018 was outpatient), back in the days of circling selections on a meal plan form and turning it in when collected the night before for the following day.  Now, at least at my hospital, St. Luke’s Hospital on the outskirts of St. Louis, it was more like ordering from Room Service. Kind of like staying at a nice hotel, but with IVs. They hand you a master menu of what is available, and you call Food Service before each meal to order whatever you want from the menu. I am fortunate in that I have no dietary restrictions, so anything goes. Your meal is then delivered in forty-five minutes, hot and fresh. By far, the best hospital food I have ever had. For someone used to the old ways, truly amazing. It almost made the stay enjoyable. Almost.
  • The food service was a little less amazing the first day, however, as the extended surgery time resulted in my having an adverse reaction to the anesthetic and me fetching up and dry-heaving into a barf bucket throughout the day. I had pointed out to the anesthesiologist beforehand that I had reacted badly once before to anesthetic, but four other surgeries had all been uneventful. Dude — did you even bother to check the hospital computer records and notes?  Ugh!
  • As with the prior spinal fusion, I came out of surgery with a catheter. A mixed blessing, to be sure.  No need to hurry out of bed to the restroom the immediate days following surgery, but the day of reckoning and removal eventually does arrive. After my first fusion some years ago, a male nurse on the night shift had removed the catheter when the time came, and I was more asleep than awake from pain meds. No big deal, really. This time, the task fell to two young, lovely, female blonde nurses on duty when I was wide awake one afternoon. Suffice it to say, the experience turned out to be all of my lifelong threesome fantasies gone horribly wrong, and we will just leave it at that.
  • If you sit up in a chair for a few hours, walk around the halls demonstrating that you are up and moving about, and utilize the proper techniques of getting up and out of bed on your own (“roll like a log”), and eventually manage to keep your food down, it seems that everyone wants to shake your hand to acknowledge your progress — the doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and three strangers you pass in the hallway.  Please — easy does it, folks.  Or did you not notice the great big blue IV port sticking in the back of my hand as you crunched down on it?  Shake my left hand?  Nah, it has an IV port and tubes running out of it, too.  Maybe just nod and wave. That would suffice.
  • Prior to surgery and to prepare for life after, I stocked up on a number of frozen dinners. Quick, easy-to-prepare. Minimal standing time and effort required to prepare a hot dinner. I am okay with the lower end, less expensive dinners, so admittedly went “budget first” on these. But, I should maybe have taken a few extra minutes in the frozen food aisle to more carefully read over the packaging and ingredient lists. Banquet Dinners — really?  The Meatloaf and Salisbury Steak in both meals are — “Made with Chicken, Pork and Beef”.  So, good for you for stating it right up front on the box and shame on me for not having taken the time to notice that “Beef” was actually the third ingredient listed in what I assumed would be All Beef dishes. In the end, what you are truly saying in the ‘magnifying-glass-required’ small print on the end of the box is that your Meatloaf and Salisbury Steak are “Mechanically separated Chicken, Pork, Beef, Water, . . .” —  basically, just glorified hot dogs?  Clearly, the lesson here was to take time to check the ingredients more closely.  Hot dogs would have been even less expensive, quicker and easier to prepare, served in a bun, and easier cleanup, after all. If there is a next time, I will simply go straight with cheap hot dogs, some buns, and a bag of chips and call it done.

Moving on, it would appear that there are certain evidence of progress steps and achievements to be made along the recovery trail to earn your Healing & Recuperation Merit Badge, which ultimately leads to your official front door release and Life After Surgery On The Outside —

  • The first, of course, and it should really go without saying, is — Waking Up. If you do not Wake Up in the recovery room following surgery, then none of the other convalescing steps really matter because you are likely not going to be leaving via the front door of the hospital after discharge anyway. So, Waking Up is a biggie, right off the bat. I cannot stress enough, you really do need to nail that one. Seriously.
  • Keeping food down is nice. Food Service folk like to think that their work is appreciated. Nurses and attendants seem to greatly appreciate your not heaving and spewing, too.
  • Getting off pain injections and/or IV drips and switching to oral pain medications is a  must if seeking release.  I was never on any pain shots or pain-relieving IVs following this surgery, beginning solely with oral meds, so this was a non-issue for me this time. However, another discussion about pain meds and their effects will follow later, below. There is more to be said on that topic.
  • Getting out of and back into bed on your own and in the prescribed manner is important, especially if living alone and being solely dependent, as I am. “Roll like a log” and you get a checkmark on your merit badge card. Any noticeable bend or twist will send you straight back to Remedial Therapy for re-education.
  • Sitting in a chair without hurling or passing out is followed by standing and walking unassisted. I totally failed the chair test the first day, but I still don’t think it was fair to put the chair in a spinning room like an amusement park ride.
  • In my experience, physical and occupational therapists seemed to care a great deal about my being able to get up out of bed and a chair under my own power,  walk around the hallways, brush my teeth, comb my beard and hair, and to generally function independently, but never gave a whit about whether I could dress myself or not, other than trying to convince me to order a  nifty little Sock-Putter-Onner assist device from Amazon. Perhaps they just assume you have helpers to assist in putting on socks, pants, tying shoes and such, all under the overarching restriction of “No BLTs!” — therapist jargon for “No Bending, Lifting, or Twisting!”  Of course, being in a restrictive back brace whenever out of bed for the next three months, one is kind of reminded about the “No BLTs” axiom naturally, it turns out. I was just relieved when assured that “No BLTs!” did not really exclude one of my favorite sandwiches, as I had incorrectly assumed at first, so readily promised not to Bend, Lift, or Twist before they changed their minds. And no, I never did order the nifty little Sock-Putter-Onner device, just relying on my trusty old Reacher to do the job. However, in all fairness, it should be pointed out that I am a Certified Reacher Master of the First Order, an accomplished skill developed over many years of use. If new to the “No BLTs!” game, one might want to consider ordering a Sock-Putter-Onner device (there are several styles available on Amazon) to have on hand ahead of time. Putting on socks with a reacher can be a challenge some days, even for the experienced and skillful,  requiring a good deal of patience and practice.
  • Speaking of walking around the halls for physical therapy, if wearing the latest in hospital gown fashion apparel, please remember to always check to make sure that the back flap is closed over before leaving your room.  Omitting this step can turn handshakes and appreciation of your mobility efforts into snickers, jeers, gasps, and guffaws as you pass by hospital staff and visitors in the hallways, leaving them ‘cracked up’ as you pass by, so to speak. Take the extra minute to make sure you are not over-exposed.  Just sayin’.
  • Mentally preparing and properly timing pain meds for the potentially agonizing ride home is a good idea, when you are likely to be jostled and thumped like riding in a buckboard wagon, and your back feels every small bounce, bump, and pothole like the car just fell into and climbed back out of a sinkhole, registering each as a seismic earthquake. (Pausing at this moment to send a special shout-out and bear hugs to my daughter-in-law and son-in-law, who each took great effort to avoid potholes and bumps on the way home from the hospital — Three Times! Very much and truly appreciated. Masterful job, kids!)

Next, under the heading — “Sweet Mother of Misery, I Did Not See That One Coming!” — exactly one week later from the surgery date found me in the back of an ambulance and on the way to the Emergency Room of the hospital with a very different, dire, but somewhat related issue on Halloween Night — an impacted bowel. There may be some things the hospital staff were not totally forthcoming about regarding pain medications it would appear, and it was all much more Halloween Trick than Treat.

The combination of Opioid Pain Medications, Muscle Relaxers, and Inactivity turned out to be a three-headed monster in my case, resulting in an impacted bowel. After much effort and a few hours of agony, the first ‘movement’ following surgery two days earlier was successful. Although the ordeal took so much effort and time that I initially felt compelled to name what emerged and set up a college fund, certain that I had given birth — to “something”. The first bowel movement after surgery is frequently tough, but after finally achieving a break thru assumed I was in the clear. Once again, nothing of any of this was like the brochure.

Two days later, on Halloween night, it was like a determined Gandalf had taken up residence in my bowels, allowing nothing whatsoever to pass. After a few hours of effort with no results and coming close to passing out from cramps and pain, I decided it was time to call in the pros and summoned an ambulance. Thru it all, I came to realize that mothers do not receive nearly enough credit and appreciation for what they have been thru. Respect.

Sparing sensitive readers, those seeking more information on the subject and what followed at the hospital are welcome to “Google It”.

And yes, it is every bit as uncomfortable and painful as they describe and one can imagine, with the “digital” treatment having nothing at all to do with modern technology. The invaders were once again crashing the gates.

When the doctor says — “This is going to be as uncomfortable for me as it is for you” — challenge and call him on it. Ask if he would like to switch places. Chances are he won’t, and you will have caught him in a placating falsehood because there just ain’t no way that statement holds water.

As a result of the experience, on my own, I immediately stopped taking all pain medications and muscle relaxers at that point, vowing never to go thru that again. I made the quick decision that I would much rather be uncomfortable than immoveable, so to speak. Basically and as explained to me later, opioids on a scale of one to ten, are a “Ten Plus” in drawing out all moisture from your colon and causing bowel blockages, leaving concrete in their wake. I cannot imagine anyone being so desperate as to want to do Oxycodone or any of these meds voluntarily, and my heart goes out to anyone so affected. So, a cautionary warning about the side effects of pain-killers and why I chose to fly solo without them from that point on, and still am despite a fractured femur.


Someone once said that Southern fairy tales and the very best stories begin with — “Y’all just ain’t gonna believe this, but . . . .”

So then — Y‘all just ain’t gonna believe this, but —  on the evening of December 13th, unbelievably (and I ain’t makin’ this up!) —  a Full Moon Friday the 13th to be precise —  I suffered a very hard backward fall, landing on my left elbow, knee, shoulder, and hip, and finally cracking the back of my head against the door on the opposite side of the hall where I live. Feeling something was not quite right in my left leg, I nevertheless waited until the following morning to see if things would improve overnight. They didn’t.  Saturday morning found me once again in the back of an ambulance headed to the ER. The good news was that my left knee, elbow, and shoulder were merely battered and bruised with nothing broken, and that, having a notoriously hard head, I had not suffered a concussion. The not-so-good news was that I had suffered a Left Greater FemurTrochanter Fractured Hip.

As it turns out, the treatment for such an injury is a hip replacement. As explained above, I already have both hips replaced, so the fracture was being stabilized by the existing prosthetic rod already in place in my femur from the prior hip replacement. With nothing more to be done, I was discharged with no other treatments. “Time heals all wounds” as they say, and the fractured femur should accordingly heal all on its own over time. That’s the plan, anyway.

So, while still wearing the back brace for the spinal fusion until at least mid-January and hoping no damage was done to my spine or the fusion work in the “crash and burn fall” on Friday the 13th, I have been getting around on crutches ever since. This past Friday, the three week anniversary of “The Fall”, I progressed to using only my cane for short walks while still relying on my crutches for more support on longer walks. Literally, small steps but in the right direction!


With all that, it has been an unexpectedly much longer road back from what was anticipated to be a “no big deal” surgery at the end of October.

It recently dawned on me that in roughly the last twelve months I will have been thru a right bicep muscle rupture and surgical repair, spinal fusion surgery, impacted bowel, and broken left femur at the hip, and spent six months or more of the past year in one form of brace or another, with the hard cast and then arm brace following my bicep surgery on December 7th of last year, and now on crutches, while still firmly strapped into my back brace tighter than a mule in a packsaddle, likely to continue into mid or late January.

Going on at the same time as all of this was moving to a new apartment to become the Resident Manager of the Senior Community I call home while also bringing in and training a new assistant to help me catch up with things a bit. Her name is “Allie”, she has four legs and is faster than greased lightning whenever food hits the bowl. Or the floor. Check back to find out more about Allie in a coming post.

All in all then, I feel a bit less guilty about not getting more accomplished during the past year. While acknowledging that we can only do what we can during any given stretch as the life cards are dealt,  still feeling somewhat disheartened about the lost time. A lot to catch up on now in the new year just beginning and looking very forward to getting back into it all with Little Red Bear and his friends very soon.

Thanks for reading and visiting, and for hanging in there during my absence from social media. We have actually not lost, but rather have continued adding new followers to the site here while I have been away, Little Red Bear’s books are entertaining new readers, and daily visits to the site have remained consistent at pre-surgery levels.  That is truly amazing, heartwarming, and most sincerely appreciated.

This is purposefully a non-monetized site with all materials freely offered for entertainment and educational purposes, generating no revenues other than book sales to offset operating costs and expenses, and is self-funded with the assistance of kind-hearted and devoted patrons. So, it is never about the money here. Just trying to be a calming, kind, and positive voice in an increasingly raucous world. Your ongoing support shows that maybe we are doing something right — together.

If new to my pages, I encourage you to take a few minutes to enjoy some of the many Short Works & Free Reads from the drop-down menu above, and to register to follow and be notified of every coming new post and feature.

Though not actively writing as much the past few months with life issues interfering, a large stockpile of notes and ideas has accumulated, so watch for new material to come regularly again going forward.

And as always, a gentle reminder that in a world where we can be just about anything we choose, please choose to be kind and share your smile with someone. The world needs more of that. And if in hospital, it may very well lead to an extra dessert on your dinner tray now and then! — Jim (and Red!)   🤠 🐻


If you enjoyed this piece, you may also enjoy → “I Will Greet This Day With Love In My Heart” 

(New Visitors — Welcome! To find out what we are all about here, please check out — “Welcome To My Writing Pages!” and “About the Blog, Jim & Little Red Bear” — and sign up to follow and be notified of every new post!)


“He who has health, has hope. And he who has hope, has everything.” –  Thomas Carlyle

“Start each day with a positive thought and a grateful heart.” – Roy T. Bennett


Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”


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

   “Kindness begins with the understanding that we all struggle.” – Charles Glassman


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, each month we are able to donate free print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to Senior Citizens,  Schools,  Classrooms, and Local Libraries,  and to those who could otherwise not obtain a copy. 

Patrons also help my friend Little Red Bear and me to cover site fees, registrations and operating costs while continuing this as a non-monetized, ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone.

We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


“To get the most out of a life’s journey, one has to positively live through its humbling and glorious circumstances.” – Wayne Chirisa


 

Christmas Peanuts & Linus’s Inspirational Message For Us All

Merry Christmas and a Very Happy Holiday Season to everyone!

Some writer friends and I are taking a few minutes this month, some to recall treasured holiday memories and traditions, and others to take a look back at the writing year soon coming to a close. I invite you to check out their thoughts later, listed at the end of this post.


For me, the morning of December 9th, 1965 found me one week away from my 16th birthday, approaching nearly not fast enough at the time, as you may well imagine — The Big 16!

That evening featured the debut of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” on the CBS television network, based on my favorite comic strip “Peanuts” by creator Charles Schulz. The show remains a much-anticipated classic and delight each holiday season for millions of viewers to this day and an annual highlight of my family’s Christmastime.

I honestly do not believe that Charles Shulz, the creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip, ever envisioned the impact this simply created little show would have over time. Nevertheless, over fifty years of continuous broadcasts and changing times have not diluted or diminished the show’s impactful messages.

While there are many discussion themes running thru the story, the most poignant for me has always been Linus’s speech on stage, responding to a frustrated Charlie Brown’s question of — “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?!?”

At this time of year, trying to keep our wits about us while navigating thru and around all the hustle and bustle of crowded malls, traffic, grocery shopping, cookie exchanges, decorating, children’s school plays and activities, holiday parties, family pictures and greeting cards, boxes, packages, wrappings, and bows, all while trying to out-maneuver porch pirates from swiping online deliveries, do you ever find yourself wondering the same question — “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”

Sometimes we simply need to pause, taking a moment to catch our breath, and reflect.


“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought,                doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”            — Dr. Seuss


As one of my sometimes forgetful uncles used to say years ago — “I don’t need to be told, but I do occasionally need to be reminded.”

In reply to his friend Charlie Brown, Linus took the stage to remind us all —

“Lights, please . . . .”


“And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

“And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them! And they were sore afraid.

“And the angel said unto them — “Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ, the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

“And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and goodwill toward men.”


And that is what Christmas is all about. For Charlie Brown. For Linus, Lucy, and Snoopy. For us all. The reason for the season, as they say.

Not to be found in a store, Christmas it turns out, does indeed mean a goodly bit more.



Linus is famously noted for carrying around his trusted security blanket with him wherever he goes. Held tightly fast and never let go lest panic ensues. Have you ever noticed that at the point when Linus repeats the words of the angel “Fear not!” that the blanket is suddenly on the floor beside him, confidently lain aside until he once again retrieves it at the end of the presentation?

There are subtle messages and lessons to be found in Linus’ simple action and demonstration of faith for us all this Christmas Season.


As Ebenezer Scrooge even came to realize in the end — “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year!”

Peace, Good Will, Kindness, Generosity, Charity, Compassion, Empathy, Love — none of these are or should be exclusive or seasonal things, as each of us should truly keep them in our hearts throughout the year.

The Christmas Season is an annual reminder of how we should be always, for everyone and all things in this miraculous and beautiful world we all share and call home. Sometimes we do not need to be told, but occasionally do need to be reminded.

Thru the inspiration of Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts”, Charlie Brown and Linus remind us of the real meaning of the Christmas Season each year.


Thank You for visiting with us! In a period when it seems so much and so many seek to divide us, perhaps the Christmas Season is a time when we can all set aside differences for a while, come together in the spirit of the season, and just perhaps, realize that in coming together, like Charlie Brown’s little Christmas tree, that those things are really not so divisive and bad, after all.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry and Blessed Christmas and Holiday Season!

A simple act of kindness or encouraging word can change someone’s entire life around. Will you do that for someone today?

In the Spirit of Christmas.  — Jim  (and Red!)  🤠 🐻


If you grew up with the Coca-Cola Santa image as I did as a baby boomer in the ’50s, you may also enjoy my piece on  → “Haddon Sundblom, Coca-Cola and Santa Claus” 

(New Visitors — Welcome! To find out what we are all about here, please check out — “Welcome To My Writing Pages!” and “About the Blog, Jim & Little Red Bear”

(Then sign up to follow and be notified of every new post!)


I invite you to please visit with my other writer friends to discover more about their writing year and holiday season thoughts!

Cat Michaels — “My Ups, Downs, and In-Betweens on the 2019 Writing Road”

Rebecca Lyndsey — “December Dreamin’ – Holiday Traditions that Ring in My Season”

Julie Gorges — “Baby Boomer Writer’s Ups, Downs & In-Betweens in 2019”

Rosie Russell — “My Ups, Downs, and In-Betweens on the 2019 Writing Road”

Julie Schooler — “3 Writing Wins and Lessons in 2019”

Sandra Bennett — “December Dreaming – 5 Ways Looking Back Can Help You Look Forward”


            “Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves.” – Eric Sevareid

“Peace on earth will come to stay, when we live Christmas every day.” – Helen Steiner Rice


Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”


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

“Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.” – Washington Irving


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, each month we are able to donate free print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to Senior Citizens,  Schools,  Classrooms, and Local Libraries,  and to those who could otherwise not obtain a copy. 

Patrons also help my friend Little Red Bear and me to cover site fees, registrations and operating costs while continuing this as a non-monetized, ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone.

We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


“Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.” – Dale Evans Rogers


 

“A Sudden Awakening – Enjoying Life’s Startling Surprises”

I always maintain that we are never too old to stop learning, having adventures, and experiencing new things. And to have fun while doing it, if for no other reason than it sure beats sitting home on the couch eating popcorn and grumbling about being bored.

For example, the other day I shared on my Facebook Page that right now I am at one of my children’s homes for two weeks dog and pet-sitting while they are away cavorting around Disney World with Mickey Mouse and the gang.

Sitting for two families, watching over four dogs altogether, ranging in size from a very large and heavy German Shepherd to a lighter-than-a-feather long-haired Chihuahua, with a medium-sized mixed breed and five-month-old pug puppy completing the pack.


Back to experiencing new things then, just this morning, for example, I was awoken at 4:19 a.m. by the little black pug puppy standing on my pillow, urgently licking the bald spot on top of my head. We tend to take note and remember the exact time of such unique and momentous occurrences in our lives, don’t we?

Having written about a wide variety of animals and critters over the years with Little Red Bear in his adventure stories and being fluent to passable now in a number of animal languages and dialects, I immediately understood the message from the puppy to be —

“I need to go outside and pee right now and if I don’t you will be sleeping in a wet bed and it will not be my fault because I told you first hurry up I gotta go!”

As you can probably tell, especially in the middle of the night, puppies are more focused on delivering the message and not really yet into dramatic or purposeful pauses in their speech and dialogue at that stage.

Grasping the urgency of the message, I jumped out of bed, stepped into shorts, and moments later three adult dogs and I were standing in the backyard batting away mosquitos and staring up at the moon and stars while the puppy watered the grass in the beam of my flashlight.

Despite the risk of a nervous neighbor reporting a half-dressed old stranger leaning on his cane with a  flashlight in the backyard, a little black dog is hard to spot and keep track of in the dark of night, and we’ll just leave it at that. This fact attested to by movie ninjas dressing all in black, opting not to go on martial combat missions dressed as circus clowns. Although, clowns might actually be more terrifying for some, but that is perhaps a topic and post better suited for Halloween at a later time.


With a high degree of confidence, I can honestly state that the occurrence of having the bald spot on the top of my head frantically licked in the middle of the night was a new experience for me, as I have no recollection whatsoever of it ever having happened to me before.

Well, with the possible exception of that toothless Florida swamp zombie a few years ago, but his intent was so different I really don’t count that encounter the same.

And must admit that as far as the puppy licking my bald spot this morning is concerned, overall it was an unexpectedly energizing experience, not unlike the lemon juice thinking cap of Zaphod Beeblebrox in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams. (Something to definitely check out.)

Despite suddenly waking from a very pleasant dream about a chocolate sundae in the park, I understood the importance and immediacy of the situation right off the bat and am proud to say I responded accordingly, as any responsible dog sitter would be expected to do. And also as someone very averse to sleeping on a soggy bed.


Ramblings aside, the message here is that it is important to remain open to new experiences, broaden our horizons and try new things in life. At every age. There is just too much of life going on around us to throw up personal isolationist barriers and walls to keep it out.  Thru experience is how we learn and grow, after all, so we should always be open to an adventure and trying something new.  It never gets old and helps to keep one from getting old in the process.

Who knows? A new experience may come disguised as an anxious and impatient puppy licking the top of your head in the middle of the night. We don’t always get to pick and choose our adventure experiences, so I have found over the years that it’s just best to roll with them, trusting that the Universe has it all under control. And if it doesn’t, well then, we’re kind of doomed like a dead duck so it won’t make any difference in the end, anyway.

As my story friend Little Red Bear observed and commented on life — “You might as well enjoy the show. There ain’t no refunds.”

So while rolling along thru life, we all need to remember to simply leave our cranky pants in the closet and look on the bright side when surprised, or when things don’t go our way or as imagined.

For several folks I have come across, I can imagine that suddenly being woken by frantic head-licking at four in the morning might have had a sour impact on them that no amount of morning coffee could have changed, perhaps even ruining their entire day. What fun is that? For anyone?

Call me crazy if you like, but I laughed about it. Personally, I had never been awakened by anyone of any species licking the top of my head before so just chalked it up to a new experience, another added to the list.  Even with the zombie fellow, I was already wide awake and active that day when the slobbering licking incident occurred so like I said, not really the same.

Life is much more enjoyable when we are able to look beyond the discomfort, inconvenience, or self-imposed misery of the moment and to find the humor in a situation.

Be happy. It is a choice, you know. I think the puppy was laughing about it, himself.


Thanks always for reading and visiting with us!  We hope you enjoy your visits here and return often, if for no other reason than to check out the number of Short Works & Free Reads available whenever the reading urge strikes. A lot of cold and dark winter days await shortly over the horizon. Good reading time.

In my own reading the other day I came across a message from Dr. Wayne Dyer, not to seek peace, but rather to Be The Peace.

Please remember to be kind and live your life as though all of your children are watching. Because they are.  And always choose to be happy.  The folks around you will appreciate it.  — Jim  (and Red!)


If you enjoyed this piece, you may also enjoy → “Opting for Millstones or Milestones — “The Desiderata” 

(If a new visitor — Welcome! To find out what we are all about here, please check out — “Welcome To My Writing Pages!” — and sign up to follow and be notified of every new post!)


“Choose being kind over being right and you’ll be right every time.” –  Richard Carlson

                “A little Consideration, a little Thought for Others, makes all the difference.”                 – A. A. Milne (‘Winnie the Pooh’)


Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”


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

    “The person who was holding me back from my happiness was me.” – Keanu Reeves


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, each month we are able to donate free print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to Senior Citizens,  Schools,  Classrooms, and Local Libraries,  and to those who could otherwise not obtain a copy. 

Patrons also help my friend Little Red Bear and me to cover sites fees, registrations and operating costs while continuing this as a non-monetized, ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone.

We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


“All the peace and happiness of the whole globe,
The peace and happiness of societies,
The peace and happiness of family,
The peace and happiness in the individual persons’ life,
And the peace and happiness of even the animals and so forth,
All depends on having loving kindness toward each other.” – Lama Zopa Rinpoche


Happy Book Lover’s Day — Why Lifetime Reading Is Important!

In honor of Book Lover’s Day on August 9th, some writing friends and I are sharing what books mean to us and how we enjoy them. I encourage you to visit their pages as well, listed at the end.

But one cannot talk about the subject of Books without also talking about Reading. Because unless they are being used solely for decoration, and that would be sad, books and reading go hand in hand. Or would it be hand on page?  Either way.

There are so many, many “rules” about writing, most of which I largely ignore. But one that I do believe has merit is that to be a good writer, one must also be a good and avid reader.  Simply put — the more writing one does in practice and the more reading one does in study and research, the better writer one is more likely to become. So, if you want to become a writer, then become a reader and learn to love books!

I have always been a lover of books, consistently reading two or three levels above my grade in school each year. All credit goes to my mother who began reading to me from a time before I can remember and was a continual reading advocate afterward. Unless cooking, gardening, or doing housework, she was never to be seen without a book in her hand. A stellar example, to be sure.

I wrote more about my love of books and what they mean to me in another post if you would like to see what I consider The Five Most Influential Books Guiding My Early Life.

I will never forget how astonished my new sixth-grade teacher was at the beginning of the school year, asking the class what we had read over the previous summer. I had read “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey” by Homer, among several others. Skeptical (to say the least), I had to do impromptu book reports on each to convince her.

Later that year, she became another strong encourager of my becoming a writer someday. (My fourth-grade teacher was the first.)  And a lesson on why it is so vitally important to be aware of what we say to impressionable young children. They are likely to take you seriously!


For me, books are Gateways.  Books open doors to adventure, history, information and learning, and to other worlds both real and imagined that we could never hope to visit otherwise. Trust me, the land of Little Red Bear is an amazing place to visit, but one can only hope to travel there thru reading the Little Red Bear stories, as it is with all fiction.

Reading a classic is like having a conversation with an author who may have long since departed, yet the knowledge and wisdom can be passed on forever. When reading the preface and proverbs of Benjamin Franklin’s “Poor Richard’s Almanac” over my early years, I felt as though I was benefiting from kindly, grandfatherly advice.  How much would anyone be willing to pay to attend seminars led by Marcus Aurelias, Lao Tzu, Socrates, Michelangelo, or Henry David Thoreau?  Just to mention only a very few as an example. Books and reading make it possible. Choosing not to read is choosing to ignore and close the door (and mind!) to all of those possibilities.


Mark Twain said that — “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”

And that alone is why every child should be read to from the earliest age on. One of the most surprising predictors of success in life was discovered to be a child’s reading ability in primary school. Reading for pleasure, notably fiction, even at early ages, is far more important than imagined. It helps expand and foster imagination.

Encouraging reading and the development of engaged readers is fundamentally important, especially for boys, as there is a significant literacy gap between boys and girls from third grade all the way thru high school graduation. With so many distractions nowadays with sports activities, video games and more for both boys and girls, we all truly need to do everything we can to encourage a love of reading and books for children at the earliest age. Their future depends on it.

As a baby, even though they may have no concept of the meaning of the words, the mother’s or father’s voice is comforting, soothing, and bonding. As a toddler, it encourages and develops a fondness for the books themselves, as well as tightening family bonds. They get used to being around books, while at the same time seeing the reader’s beneficial example of enjoying the experience.  As a child grows, reading both to and with them sets and reinforces the foundation for a lifelong love of reading and education. Not to mention some of the highest quality time together.

Few things are as important as reading to a child and encouragement to keep them reading, to become avid learners. As we all should do to continue vitalizing and expanding our minds as we age. Daily cognitive stimulation (like reading) may help keep dementia away.


What do books mean to you? What are your all-time favorite books?  Please feel free to share in the comments, along with your own reading experiences.

Thanks always for visiting and reading with us!

As you can probably guess, my story character friend Little Red Bear and I are all about encouraging not only young readers but readers of every age. That is one of the main reasons why everything included in the “Short Works & Free Reads” tab at the top of the page here, is well — all Free.  And no ads running to lag and slow down the experience.  It’s doing what we can do.

What can you do to encourage your children, grandchildren, and others to pick up a book and enjoy a good read?  Books are excellent and thoughtful gifts when the holiday season rolls around.

But, why wait for the holidays? Give someone a book today, just for the sheer joy of it. We never know which book may provide a life-changing experience or motivation for someone.

And they would have you to thank for it. That’s pretty cool, yes?   — Jim  (and Red!)  🤠 🐻


If you enjoyed this piece, you may also enjoy → Opting for Millstones or Milestones — “The Desiderata” 

(And if a new visitor — Welcome! To find out what we are all about here, please check out — “Welcome To My Writing Pages!” — and sign up to follow and be notified of every new post!)


I invite you to visit with my #Gr8Blogs Writer Friends listed here for their book-loving thoughts and information, and to share yours in the Comments, as well.

Children’s Author Cat Michaels on “Cat’s Corner”

KidLit Blog by Children’s Author Rosie Russell

Author Rebecca Lyndsey

Fantasy Author Auden Johnson

Author Sandra Bennett’s “Story Chair” Blog


“I have a passion for teaching kids to become readers, to become comfortable with a book, not daunted. Books shouldn’t be daunting, they should be funny, exciting and wonderful; and learning to be a reader gives a terrific advantage.” – Roald Dahl

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


Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”


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

         “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend.  Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”          – Groucho Marx


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, each month we are able to donate free print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to Senior Citizens,  Schools,  Classrooms, and Local Libraries,  and to those who could otherwise not obtain a copy. 

Patrons also help my friend Little Red Bear and me to cover sites fees, registrations and operating costs while continuing this as a non-monetized, ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone.

We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


“A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.” — Neil Gaiman


 

 

Pausing To Savor A Special Moment — “Yeah, That’s Good!”

As a writer, occasionally you sit back, read what you have just written on the page, and declare — “Yeah, that’s good.”  It is at those infrequent and exceptional moments when you feel that you are doing what you are intended to be doing — writing.

So it was yesterday morning with the second collection of Little Red Bear’s adventure stories, “The Second Holler Over!”

With the next collection of short stories well more than halfway completed, a new inspiration came to me stepping out of my morning shower. It was so strong and compelling that a planned breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast was scratched in favor of a dry bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats cereal to munch on in order to set to work immediately, not to lose the revelation.

Initial thoughts were quickly added to the end of the second story, already written.  Then they were refined, edited, refined, and edited again. Over and over thru the morning.  My normal process of writing, editing as I go.

When finished hours later just in time for lunch, I re-read what I feel are the twelve most well-crafted and impactful paragraphs I have ever written. Twelve short paragraphs linking two adversaries, establishing an ominous tone, and underpinning all subsequent themed action to follow in the ensuing stories and coming books.

Admittedly not one to be easily impressed, I myself felt the impact of the new addition on the stories and was moved. Where the sudden inspiration for the addition to something that was already “finished” came from, heaven only knows. Literally, perhaps.

And after years of progressive study, reading and examining the works of others, writing, editing, more writing, more editing, rewrite work and more, it suddenly occurs to you over a lunchtime fruit smoothie a few minutes later that your writing ability, just maybe, has taken another small step forward to being truly proficient at what you do.  And, yeah — that’s good.

If you are interested in what the twelve paragraphs were, you will need to wait until “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The Second Holler Over!” is available in the fall. They will be the closing paragraphs of the second story, entitled “The Great Bramble Scramble.” I hope you are moved by them, too.

If new to Little Red Bear and his adventure stories, right now in the midst of summer reading season while even the leaves on trees seem to be melting on some days, it would be a good time for catching up with all the prior action, since the short stories run in sequence.  “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” is available in both Print and eBook versions on Amazon. The book will also be available in a Large Print version soon, as requested by numerous senior fans of Little Red Bear.


By this time, a few may be thinking “this guy is a bit full of himself.”  But to conclude that would be to miss the real point.

Whether our main activity and focus be on career, child-rearing, hobby pursuit, or personal passion like my writing is for me, often as we go along it can seem like we ourselves are Sisyphus reincarnate,  doomed to repeatedly push a huge boulder  up a steep hill, endlessly for eternity, only to have it roll back to the bottom each time, never progressing or making a difference. The view on life’s treadmill can become monotonous and seem unchanging.

It is beneficial to be aware and recognize special moments when they present themselves, to press the “Pause” button, step off and realize that we have done something out of the ordinary, above and beyond expectations.  To savor the accomplishment and personally acknowledge that yes indeed, we are making progress on our journey, however small it may be. A step forward is however measured, a step forward nonetheless.

And then, purpose reaffirmed and heartened a bit, we get back at it with a refreshed energy and spirit to move forward another step. And then another.

Pause occasionally, to savor a special moment.


Thanks for visiting with us! We never know what very special surprise or revelation may be awaiting us as we begin each new day.

We hope that whatever your passion and pursuit in life, that you may also experience such uplifting and reaffirming moments.  So that you too, can say — “Yeah, that’s good.”

What can you do to help someone find a happy moment today? Share your smile or a kind gesture? Or an unexpected flower, perhaps?

A simple act of kindness has the power to be life-altering for someone. That is pretty special in itself, don’t you think?  — Jim  (and Red!)


If you enjoyed this piece, you may also enjoy → “Finding A Purpose Driven Life — What Would You Do If . . . . . . ?” 

(And if a new visitor — Welcome! To find out what we are all about here, please check out — “Welcome To My Writing Pages!” — and sign up to follow and be notified of every new post!)


“Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.” – Orson Scott

“If the book is true, it will find an audience that is meant to read it.” – Wally Lamb


Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”


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

      “People say, ‘What advice do you have for people who want to be writers?’  I say, they don’t really need advice, they know they want to be writers, and they’re gonna do it. Those        people who know that they really want to do this and are cut out for it, they know it.”       –  R.L. Stine


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, each month we are able to donate free print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to Senior Citizens,  School Libraries and Classrooms, and to those who could otherwise not obtain a copy.

Patrons also help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as a non-monetized, ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone. We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


                  “I believe myself that a good writer doesn’t really need to be told anything except to keep at it.” – Chinua Achebe