Small Little Unexpected Acts of Kindness (And a Teabag Squeezer Thingy)

Winter paid us a visit with 7″ of snow over the past few days here outside of St. Louis.  Had I known the storm would take so long in passing I would have installed a ‘Take-A-Number’ system at the bird feeders. What crowds we have had!  I trudged out to top off each feeder at sunset each evening to be ready for the next morning’s rush.

In a recently-moved-into new apartment, I now live on the third floor overlooking my feeders at ground level, below. At one point late in the afternoon one day, two purple finches perched on my windowsill and began tapping on my window. I wasn’t sure if they had sought me out to express their gratitude for the feeders or to possibly convey the message — “Hey Jim, we need the Safflower Seeds refilled again. Right now!”

As it turned out, the little finches were right about the Safflower Seeds. Thru the combined efforts of Purple Finches, House Finches, Cardinals,  Juncos, Titmice, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Assorted Woodpeckers, and more, they had emptied the entire Safflower Feeder in one day! Surrounding trees were filled with chattering birds waiting their turn at the feeder. Safflower Seeds are an excellent choice for feeding the wild birds in winter because so many different backyard birds love these seeds, while squirrels, at least right here, do not bother with them at all.


Before the “Snowpocalypse” began, a friend unexpectedly stopped by simply to deliver a gift, totally out of the blue. Knowing that I am an inveterate tea drinker, she dropped off a Stainless Steel Tea Bag Squeezer. A simple little thing made for squeezing out the last drops of brewed tea from a teabag (or in my case and how I will use it since “squeezing out the last few drops” is not really the best thing to do) for reaching in and grabbing those bothersome teabags that come with no strings attached.

(Yes, I am looking at you, Celestial Seasonings. I love your herbal teas and truly appreciate and respect your environmental protection stance, eschewing the paper or foil bag covers and tags used by so many other companies as you do, but is a thin little string attached to pull the bags out with really too much to ask?)

A life-long tea drinker and frequent sufferer of scalded fingers from reaching into hot teacups of boiling liquid to retrieve the bags, I was not aware that such a clever device even existed, and immediately wondered why in the world I hadn’t invented one years ago myself.

Later, I researched the little squeezer on Amazon and found one listed for only $2.67. I tend to think that my friend more than likely just picked it up on a recent visit to the Dollar Store, though.

(As an aside — are things still really a dollar at the Dollar Store, or more costly now perhaps with the pandemic? I have heard rumors about things that were previously a dollar not necessarily being only a dollar any longer. If so, should they change the name to “Slightly-Or-Somewhat-More-Than-A-Dollar Store,” perhaps? That would make for a much larger sign in front though, wouldn’t it?)


But the Tea Bag Squeezer is not really the most important thing here, and to be honest, unless rushed I have usually used a spoon to fetch out hot teabags over the years, having learned to avoid scalded fingers over time. So I may have exaggerated a bit about the scalded fingers, above. (But c’mon — Celestial Seasonings — really, a simple little string, no tags attached. Think of all those dedicated tea sippers who are not yet blessed with a nifty little teabag grabber. Please?)

As they say, it is really not the gift but the thought that counts. I was blown away by the unexpected gift, regardless of what it may have been or not.

Being unexpected as it was, associated with no predictable holiday or event, made being remembered and someone going out of their way to deliver such a simple little thing even that more special. It was a kindhearted way to show that someone was thinking about me and cared. And that in itself is the really cool and nice part of it all, yes? Simply to know you are on someone’s mind now and again.

And that is the way with Kindness. It really doesn’t take that much effort or cost to spread it around. A telephone call, text message, greeting card, or a short note sent along. Simply to let someone know that they are important enough in your life that you are thinking about them and took a few minutes to let them know it.

The benefit, both to the receiver and sender, is enormous.


Will you give Kindness a try today, reaching out to someone you know? A lot of folks find themselves shut-in, confined, and feeling isolated from the world during these COVID days for one reason or another.

Merely being a little more patient and friendly with the stranger checking out your groceries at the market goes a long way in spreading Kindness, as well. Along with our invaluable Healthcare Workers, Service Workers have had a rough go the past few years, too.

The past couple of years during the pandemic have been tough on everyone. We can all do our share to make a simple effort to brighten someone’s day.

And at some point, I can guarantee that you will quite unexpectedly find yourself on the receiving end of a kind gesture made by someone else, just for you.

It might even be a little Tea Bag Squeezer/Grabber/Thingy.


Thanks for stopping by today for this short message from my story character friend Little Red Bear and me to simply let you know that we have been thinking about YOU today. Go out, spread a little Kindness, and make it a great one!

Take care, best wishes, and God bless! ‘Til next time  — Jim  (and Red!)  🤠 🐻


If you enjoyed this piece, you may also like — “I Will Greet This Day With Love In My Heart”  and  Wishing You Deep Peace, Love, Happiness, and Joy –  And A Very Good Day! 

(New Visitors — Welcome! To find out what we are all about, 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! Because really, why in the world wouldn’t you?)


            “Life is not so short but that there is always time enough for Courtesy.”           –  Ralph Waldo Emerson 

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness.
Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” – Scott Adams

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 is the sunshine in which virtue grows.” — Robert Green Ingersoll

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, I invite you to Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, 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 site free of distracting advertisements,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of Happiness, Inspiration, Kindness, Environmental Awareness, and Conservation with everyone.

We invite you to Join Us In Making A Positive Difference In The World!


“It seems to be from my own personal experience that there is kindness everywhere.” – Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Thank You for visiting with us!
Please feel free to share with family and friends. Likes, Shares, & Comments are truly appreciated and help expand our reach and encouraGE new readers to visit!
Because together, we can do so much! 

 

The Wondrous and Wonderful Week That Was!

Hey, y’all — how is your new year going so far? Wait ’til you hear about the week I had…

My new year started off with a Bang the past week! I’d be surprised if you hadn’t heard it. (Not a literal but rather a figurative “Bang!”, of course.)

What a fantastic week and auspicious start to the new year here! Hope yours went as well, and as always, please don’t be shy and feel free to share in the Comments. We would all love to hear about it!

Here is a quick recap of my past week  . . . . .

Monday — 

I have always been an avid bird lover and watcher. One of my most favorite little birds is the Black-capped Chickadee. Despite recognizing all of their various songs and “dee-dee-dee-dee-dee” alarm calls, I had never actually seen one live and in person.

Until Monday! Walking my little chihuahua, Allie, I paused at a spot to let her do her ritual sniffing of the fallen leaves and grass routine when all of a sudden I heard two Chickadees.

I looked up and there they were, a pair of Black-capped Chickadees no more than four feet away in a small tree above my head. I was able to watch them go about their business for several minutes.

Then, walking a little further ahead, I again paused near a friend’s bird feeders to let Allie roam about on the lawn. Within two minutes, I saw a pair of Bluebirds, more Black-capped Chickadees, a pair of Cardinals, and numerous Purple and House Finches, capped off by a White-breasted Nuthatch going up and down the tree beside me, again mere feet away. What an amazing winter walk we had that morning!

Tuesday —

The most amazing, red-letter day —

I became a “Grandpa” for the first time!

Having had four children of my own including a set of twins, I have always joked and kidded around that I have been training all of my life to be a “Grandpa.” And now, looky here — I am one!!

Tuesday saw the birth of my first grandchild! Little Pendleton Robert Milson was welcomed into the family, firstborn of my son Matthew and his delightful wife Samantha. Marvelous kids who will make outstanding parents! I could not imagine a baby being blessed with more wonderful parents.

(Of course, I am biased! But please grant a proud Grandpa a little leeway and license to brag, yeah?)

Way to go and most sincere, heartfelt congratulations to Matthew, Samantha, and baby Pendleton!!

Wednesday —

On Wednesday morning, I received a lovely note from a “Little Red Bear” stories reader, enjoying “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” and apparently not even finished yet, (Wait ’til she gets to the story about the Woodboogers!) —

“Dear Jim — I just wanted to sit a spell and tell you how much I am enjoying “The Adventures of Little Red Bear”. Although I am a city slicker, my husband grew up around the Ozarks areas of the stories and is well acquainted with hollers and criks. Reading your book is such a delight, as I become engrossed in Little Bear’s adventures. I just had to smile as I leaned back and fell into Little Red Bear’s world. The stories and voice of Little Red Bear are so needed for kids and adults and I am so appreciative that you share these stories!! Thank you so much!” — L.H.

Thank you, L.H., for your kind and generous note! Little Red Bear even put down the honey jar and broke into a Happy Dance across the kitchen floor. Wish you could have seen it! When Red breaks into a dance, it rattles the cabin floors in such a way as to rival a small earthquake. And he rattled them for quite a spell after reading your kindhearted and thoughtful note!

Having eliminated all royalties on my Little Red Bear books at the beginning of the COVID Pandemic to make the books and stories as affordable as possible for everyone, reader notes such as this touch my heart. If you would like to see what others have had to say about the stories, check out “Little Red Bear Book Reviews & Reader Comments!”

Thursday —

Thursday saw the publication of a new blog post, the first official piece of the new year here —Guided By The Golden Rule — Living Happily with Kindness and Compassion”.

With my primary mission this year to get back to regular writing, the new post got the ball rolling right on schedule.

Friday —

On Friday morning, I had another follow-up visit with the doctor for the recent Rotator Cuff Surgery on my right shoulder. Thanks to the amazing work of Dr. Spitzfaden, the orthopedic surgeon, and the efforts of Marla B., my physical therapist, I passed all movement and strength examinations with flying colors. All of the therapy work and at-home exercises paid off in grand fashion and I was granted an early release.

So, I am most happy to report that while continued healing and strength training work will continue for the next year (and maybe two, the doctor said), my right shoulder is now functioning amazingly well, with it being only eleven weeks, less than three months out from surgery.

And, not to overlook, the feeling has returned to around 90% in all of my fingers, following the bilateral carpal tunnel and trigger finger surgeries on both hands in June. So, though still nursing along an irreparably damaged left shoulder which may result in a future shoulder replacement at some point, other areas are definitely trending up.

Saturday —

Living on the outskirts of St. Louis and the nearby Ozarks Mountains region, we received our first measurable snowfall of the winter season on Saturday morning. It was only about a little less than an inch, but so beautiful.

With snow on the ground and gorgeous pink sunsets framed by bare tree branches out my windows in early evenings, winter always holds its own very special beauty for me.

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is time for home.” –  Edith Sitwell

What do you enjoy most about the Winter Season? Please share in the Comments.

Sunday —

It is early on Sunday morning as I write this, so who knows what special event or happenstance later today may cap this amazing week?

Maybe it is simply the fact that I am once again typing away at nearly full-speed on the laptop with my newly rehabbed shoulder and hand surgeries, working on new Little Red Bear adventure stories, and getting ready to share yet another new writing piece with you already in the new year!

And that in itself is pretty special all on its own, isn’t it?


So, what an amazing week, don’t you think?!?  Feeling truly blessed in so many ways, not the least of which is having you reading along to share it.

Thank you so much for stopping by today!  I hope your upcoming week is very special for you, too. And the coming new year for us all, as well.

Sometimes we can pick up on the dark clouds hanging over someone and the struggles they may be going thru, but oftentimes not.  That is when a simple kind word or gesture may serve to turn someone’s entire day or life around, a kindness freely shared and shining thru the darkness.

We all go thru turmoil and issues in our lives that are frequently not visible to others, and perhaps that is when an unexpected kindness counts the most.

Will you shine your special light and help to brighten someone’s day today? And again tomorrow? I invite you to join “The Smile & Compliment Club” and allow kindness to become a regular practice in your life. It will make a world of difference for others, and for yourself, as well.

‘Til next time! — Jim  (and Red!)  🤠 🐻


“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain

“In music, in the sea, in a flower, in a leaf, in an act of kindness . . . I see what people call God in all these things.” – Pablo Casals 


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.

“I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.”

– Maya Angelou


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, I invite you to Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, 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 site free of distracting advertisements,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of Happiness, Inspiration, Kindness, Environmental Awareness, and Conservation with everyone.

We invite you to Join Us In Making A Positive Difference In The World!


“Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.” – Gandalf, “The Hobbit” by J. R. R. Tolkien


Thank You for visiting with us!
Please feel free to share with family and friends. Likes, Shares, & Comments are truly appreciated and help expand our reach and encouraGE new readers to visit!
Because together, we can do so much! 

 

 

Guided By The Golden Rule — Living Happily with Kindness and Compassion

Welcome to my Writing Pages and the first official entry for the new year — 2022!

Wow, where does the time go? It seems like only yesterday that the Christmas and Holiday Seasons were just beginning. And now we are already in the second week of January!

Have you made any New Year’s Resolutions? How is it going? Please don’t be shy. Feel free to share your resolutions and progress in the Comments!

I have read that about 40% of Americans make resolutions for the new year and that roughly 75% of people who actually do make resolutions are still successful in sticking with them after the first week. After that, the sticktoitiveness seems to taper off.

Sadly, only about 8% actually succeed in keeping to their New Year’s Resolutions in the end. But, that is 8% of us who are hopefully all the better for the experience! So you go, all you little resolutors out there! We’re rootin’ for you to follow thru to the end and succeed!

The only resolution that I made for the new year is to get back to writing consistently. That involves sharing more new materials on the Writing Pages and lighting a fire under my story character friend Little Red Bear’s furry butt to get some new stories and at least one more book assembled and published by the end of the year. So far, so good, as evidenced by this new post today. But enough about that.


Getting to the subject then, as the new year was just beginning a week ago someone asked me what quotes most influence me regarding how I live my life, guiding principles, etc. I had to think about that. But not for long, really. The answer was quite obvious once I put my mind to it.

As followers here know, I tend to share a number of relevant quotes at the end of each writing piece. Writing topics thru the year here range in subject matter from Positivity, Kindness, Compassion, Children, Family, Environment, Conservation, Wildlife, Writing Topics, and Holiday Features, to plain old silly and humorous pieces now and then just for fun. And the list of my quote influencers is long, from Mark Twain and Benjamin Franklin to the Dalai Lama and Dr. Seuss. So, that is quite a range of accompanying quotes from which to be asked to pick out a few favorites.

How about this one perhaps, from “The Simpsons” TV show —

“A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man!” – Jebediah Springfield

 

Of course, despite the fine, emboldening quote, it turns out little Lisa Simpson, dutifully doing her due diligence researching more into the town hero’s background, later discovered that Jebediah Smith had previously been known as ‘Hans Sprungfeld’, a murderous pirate. The local town hero was, in fact, a fraud.

And that is always the risk in quickly grabbing any “quote to suit occasion” without researching if it is really true and factual, or not. Abraham Lincoln nailed it right on the head. Or did he really say that?!?  Random quoting can be a tricky business if one is not careful.


Seriously though, ol’ Jebediah and Abraham Lincoln aside, there is no question about my most favorite quote, the guiding principle which governs and influences everything I do in my life and always has — “The Golden Rule”.

      “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”     

Luke 6:31

Growing up, The Golden Rule was always prominently displayed on a kitchen plaque on the wall, placed right above the kitchen table where we could not help but see it. This verse was my Mother’s favorite Bible passage and she never wasted an opportunity to apply it in any situation. I grew up with it, and do my very best to live up to it every day.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”Short and simply stated, but it seems to encompass it all, doesn’t it?


In the same vein and going right along with The Golden Rule is another guiding quote and principle in my daily life and the way I go about things —

“This is my simple religion. No need for temples. No need for complicated philosophy. Your own mind, your own heart is the temple. Your philosophy is simple Kindness.”

– Tenzin Gyatso, Dalai Lama XIV


Simple kindness and going about treating others as you would like to be treated yourself. They both tend to get a lot of lip service it seems, but the world would be a lot kinder and gentler place for us all if more folks put those few simple words into true practice, don’t you think?

So, those are the principal guiding quotes in my life, influencing my approach to writing, my Little Red Bear stories, how I conduct myself, my relationships with others and the world around me.  Guiding everything I do in my life.


I invite you to visit with some of my writing friends to see the quotes which most influence their lives going into the new year —

Sandra Bennett → “A Few Favourite Quotes to Live by in the New Year”

Rosie Russell’s ‘Books By Rose’ → “Four Special Quotes To Consider For 2022”

Carmela Dutra → “Favorite Quotes to Live By in the New Year”

Rebecca Lyndsey → “A Whole New Year”

Julie Gorges → “Favorite Quotes to Live By in the New Year”


A simple kind word or gesture costs nothing and yet has the power to possibly help turn someone’s challenging day or entire life around.  Another of my Mother’s favorite sayings was —

“You Reap What You Sow”

I choose to sow Kindness. How about you?

Thank you for visiting today!  I hope everything is going well for you and yours as we step further into the new year now.

Little Red Bear joins with me in sending along very best wishes for a safe, happy, and healthy year ahead!

‘Til next time  — Jim (and Red!)   🤠 🐻


If you enjoyed this piece, you may also like — “I Will Greet This Day With Love In My Heart”  and  Wishing You Deep Peace, Love, Happiness, and 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 and feature!)


“What lies behind us, and what lies before us are but tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.


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.

   “Lift up your hearts. Each new hour holds new chances for new beginnings.”

–  Maya Angelou


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, I invite you to Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, 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 site free of distracting advertisements,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of Happiness, Inspiration, Kindness, Environmental Awareness, and Conservation with everyone.

We invite you to Join Us In Making A Positive Difference In The World!


 “Here is the secret of happiness: Forget yourself and think of others.” –  Paramananda


Thank You for visiting with us!
Please feel free to share with family and friends. Likes, Shares, & Comments are truly appreciated and help expand our reach and encouraGE new readers to visit!
Because together, we can do so much! 

 

A Post-surgery Return Piece About Nothing In Particular (But I’d Appreciate If You’d Visit Anyway)

Lacking an impactful and attention-grabbing opening sentence or two today, I am admittedly in a bit of a quandary as to how to begin this particular piece.

After coming off the Writer’s LTIR (Long Term Injured Reserve) list, maybe I should have spent a bit longer stint in the Junior Writer’s Training League before rushing back to active duty following surgery.  Undecided as I am then, how about we change pace and begin with a question of sorts . . . .

Is it appropriate for me to begin this by saying “Welcome Back!” to readers, since everyone has really been here all along I would imagine, and I am in fact the one who left for a while to have yet another surgery, this time a rotator cuff repair on my right shoulder? Or, rather, should I perhaps begin by saying “I’m Baaaack!”, instead?

In the end, the more I think about it, the latter might be the more appropriate opening to employ since it was, in fact, me who went away for a spell. So let’s do that, shall we? Thank you for your patience while I cleared away the writing cobwebs and worked thru a momentary bit of senior befuddlement. Here goes then, as we truly begin . . . .

I’m Baaaack!

Returned from recent surgery no worse and measurably better for the experience, my story friend Little Red Bear and I are raring to get back to it! The feeling has largely returned to my hands following the dual carpal tunnel surgeries in June with both hands and fingers still improving each month. And despite six more weeks of therapy to rehab my right shoulder and arm that lay ahead,  I decided that they are both functioning well enough right now to be put back to work.

Little Red Bear and I simply cannot wait any longer to get back into the writing process once again, so let’s get to it then, shall we?

Thank you to everyone for your good wishes, patience, and kindness during the quiet period here over the past few months! We have actually added several new followers during that time, and that’s pretty cool.

Getting to it then, the following are some unassociated topics concerning the recent surgery, the coming Christmas and New Year’s holidays, the ongoing pandemic, and more . . . .


As tends to happen every year around this time, the Holiday Season is upon us! “Ho! Ho! Ho!” Time to grab the jingle bells and mistletoe!

Trudging thru our third COVID Winter, it looks like this will be the second year in a row where holiday plans are limited or altered due to the pandemic. As I write this, Broadway Shows are shutting down, NHL hockey games are being canceled, ICUs are overflowing, and more. Nevertheless, it is still a time when we can celebrate and find joy in the true spirit of the season despite how altered previous plans and traditions may be.

In that regard, I invite you to visit the many Christmas Holiday Features available here on my writing pages.

Please feel free to enjoy and share with family and friends, because sharing and spreading good cheer is what the Christmas spirit is all about. Here are just a few to get you started (hint — Little Red Bear’s “Happy Christmas” Left/Right Gift Exchange Game is always the most popular each year) . . . . .

And not to forget — Little Red Bear’s “Christmas & Holiday Season” Coloring Pages for all ages. Again, please feel free to download the images and share!


If you know someone or perhaps have a family member (or for yourself) on your gift list who, like me, has difficulty putting on their own socks in the morning due to stiffness or other issues, I can highly recommend the Sock Aid from my own personal experience the past several weeks.

I looked at these a couple years ago following another spinal fusion surgery but dismissed them as gimmicky. They are not, and are rather worth every penny and more. A real game-changer for someone with limited flexibility.

Tired of working to put socks on with a reacher and knowing that I would be doing everything solely with my left (non-dominant) hand for possibly several weeks after the rotator cuff surgery, I decided to finally try the Sock Aid.

Being unable to pull a sock on over the device with only one hand though, I actually ended up ordering two of these. A friend would pull the socks onto each Sock Aid the night before, and then I would slip each on the following morning, able to do the pulling with only one hand.

The Sock Aids are easy to use and work perfectly. You can possibly find the Sock Aid available at local retail outlets, or on Amazon complete with a demonstration video of how they work. I am not affiliated with this product at all, merely passing the information and personal recommendation along for anyone who may benefit from it. This simple device made a positive difference in my life.


Dealing with the supply chain shortages at present, just a friendly “nudge and wink” reminder that if the hi-tech stuff is unavailable for holiday giving this year, please remember that old-fashioned books make excellent gifts. And most are available for Kindle and other e-reader devices, too.

“The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!”, a collection of six short stories introducing Little Red Bear and many of his friends, is available in both print and for Kindle.

“Pine Holler Christmas”, a standalone Christmas-themed short story, is available for e-readers only at this time. Both books are available Free with Kindle Unlimited on Amazon.  A week ago, we received a heartwarming note from one of our followers concerning the “Pine Holler Christmas” story . . . .

“I’m re-reading ‘Pine Holler Christmas’ as I do every year, it really gets me in the festive mood.” 

Suitable for all ages, even for non-readers as “read-to-me” stories, I invite you to check the books out. You can check out Little Red Bear Book Reviews & Comments here to find out what others have had to say about the books.

When the pandemic began and we were all sheltered in place, I lowered the price of both books to Amazon’s minimum, eliminating any royalties so that folks would hopefully be able to afford and enjoy them while confined in their homes with family during the shutdown. The books still remain at ‘pandemic pricing’ until the end of the year!


Although not sharing new material live recently, my story friend Little Red Bear and I have been hard at work in the background preparing several new feature pages about Conservation, the Environment, and Our Children’s Future in a warming world.

Things today are clearly not the same as when I was growing up in the ’50s and ’60s. The seasons have changed with summer seemingly becoming longer each year, storms are more severe, and other impacts of climate change are being felt all over the world. Folks may still debate the cause (although I have no idea why) but the effects are all-too-real. and need to be addressed. The time to seriously confront the issue has already passed, and now we are forced to make hard choices and play catch up.

Mother Nature is a frequent mention and topic in the Little Red Bear stories, so we will be adding a good deal of material here on the writing pages after the first of the year which will be suitable for all age groups. I encourage everyone to share the pages, information, and activities with young people because they will be the ultimate ones to have to continue dealing with the issues of climate change in their lives. The Animal Alphabet Pages will continue to grow thru the year now that we are back and active again, as well.

So, just a heads-up to please watch for the new Environmental Feature Pages and posts coming in the new year!


At this point, it is understandable that so many people are worn out by the topic and feeling “so over with” the pandemic. They’re tired of wearing masks, travel hassles, standing in line for vaccine injections and tests, hearing about it every night on the news, dealing with bothersome restaurant and store restrictions, and on and on.

Believe me, I get it. But dismissing COVID because it is an inconvenience to the life we enjoyed before does not change the fact that we are still being affected by it and forced to deal with both it and the consequences.

Until the whole world is suitably vaccinated, I do not foresee this ending any time soon as new variants continue to emerge and spread. I hope I’m wrong, but am proceeding with caution accordingly.

This pandemic has been tragically life-altering and deadly for so many thousands so far, individuals and families, with over 804,000 deaths in the U.S. at this time, while adding over 17,000 new cases each day at the time of this writing as the new Omicron variant doubles every three days with the holiday season continuing and we near Christmas.

With two competing variants, Delta and the new Omicron, raging right now and hospitals’ staffs exhausted and progressively depleted, now is not the time to throw caution to the wind simply because we are tired of dealing with it all. Sometimes, as grownups, we have to make uncomfortable and hard choices. When confronted by any problem or crisis, it is best to view it realistically for what it is and deal with it. Wishing, hoping, and complaining about it will not make this pandemic go away. If things continue unabated as they are and with the grim possibility of reaching One Million deaths at some point in the U.S. alone, in my book that counts as a Crisis we can not turn our backs on in the hope it magically disappears.

I pray every day for the safety, health, and protection of my family, friends, and loved ones. And for everyone, everywhere. I hope that everyone who is able to benefit from the vaccines and boosters is able to do so. And quickly. I encourage everyone to take the necessary precautions and steps to stay safe and protect not only themselves but also their families and loved ones in the holiday season and coming months.

Taking advantage of the vaccines and boosters (which were not yet available at this time last year), wearing a mask, social distancing, and simply being smart about things are still the best ways to protect both yourself and others. It’s a bummer, but that’s the way it is right now. And we all need to do it. For ourselves and for each other.


The holiday season is always a bit stressful for many, and these COVID times are especially so. A simple kind word or gesture costs nothing and can go a very long way towards easing the stress and burdens for someone else. It may even change their day or entire life around!  I invite you to join our “Smile & Compliment” club and to share a ray of light in another’s life. The neat thing is, you will feel better about yourself, too.

As always, Thank You for taking time out of your busy day to visit with us. If you made it all the way to the end here, please Like and Comment and I will ask Santa to leave an extra Sugar Plum or two in your dreams on Christmas Eve! And if new to the site and visiting with us for the first time, please register to join our growing community and be notified of every new post and feature, as there is much more to come soon.

It’s good to be back with you!  Very best wishes for a safe, healthy, and happy Holiday Season! I am off now in search of a Snickerdoodle. ‘Til next time. – Jim  (and Red!)

(p.s. — Likes, Shares, & Comments are truly appreciated and help immensely in expanding our reach and encouraging new readers to visit! Because together we can do so much!)


If you enjoyed this piece, you may also like — “I Will Greet This Day With Love In My Heart”  and  Wishing You Deep Peace, Love, Happiness, and 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!)


“Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind.” – Mary Ellen Chase

             “Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.”         – Peg Bracken


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 one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” — Charles Dickens


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!


                   “The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.” – Burton Hillis


Thank You for visiting with us! Please feel free to share with family and friends. Likes, Shares, & Comments are truly appreciated and help immensely in expanding our reach and encouraging new readers to visit! Because together, we can do so much! 


 

Discovering the Super Hero Within and Lending A Helping Hand To Others

Happy “Whatever-Day-You-May-Be-Reading-This” and Welcome Back!

A friend stopped by to visit yesterday. That in itself is not so unusual given the ‘usually’ cordial fella that I am. But as so often happens, caught up in the moment and merriment as I was, my unstoppable sense of hospitality outpaced my brain. Not thinking, I invited my friend to stay for dinner.

Normally, that would not be an issue at all, but right now my cupboard and supply of readily-at-hand food items with which to prepare a bonafide dinner are very low, having not grocery shopped in quite a while.

A Chicken Little-Esque and embarrassing feeling of panic set in when my rational thinking left brain caught up with what my good-intentioned right brain had proffered, the dinner invitation still hanging in the air as it was. I had painted myself into the proverbial corner, as the old saying goes. Now, what to do? I was suddenly caught up in a crisis (admittedly a small one) of my own making.

But, not to fear, however, for in a moment my unquenchable spirit of adventure and determination to rise to any challenge kicked in. I began to look about and survey those items which were on hand, determined to rise to the occasion.

Spying a baguette sitting on the counter, I went in search of ingredients to whip up some French Bread Pizza halves on the spot. Knowing my friend as I do, I also knew that pizza of any kind would be received as an acceptable offering at any time of day.

I also knew for a fact though, that I did not have any true pizza sauce or ingredients with which to make a real pizza, but did find a jar of Prego Sausage & Garlic pasta sauce to use in place of a traditional pizza sauce. The pasta sauce was not exactly hiding in the back of a mostly empty cupboard and was easy to spot.

In the refrigerator, I spied what was left of an open bag of Shredded Italian Six Cheese Blend, and then found the remains of a length of Hickory Smoked Summer Sausage. Fetching a Red Onion, Butter, Garlic Powder, Oregano, Red Pepper Flakes, and Parmesan, I formulated a plan.

I set to work simmering the pasta sauce for a few minutes in order to reduce it just a bit.  Slicing the baguettes in half lengthwise, I proceeded to slice the onion into thin slices and then separate into individual rings. Taking the summer sausage in hand next, I was able to slice a dozen thin rounds from the bit that was left and set them aside. I then spread butter on each of the four opened baguette halves. Sprinkling each half with a good dash of garlic powder and just a smidgeon of kosher salt for flavor, I placed them in the toaster oven for 2 ½ minutes to give the baguette halves a head start, firming and crisping them up a bit before spreading the sauce over them so they would not be so “bready”.

Removing the lightly-toasted baguette halves from the toaster oven, I covered each with the reduced pasta sauce and a layer of sprinkled parmesan cheese, followed in turn with the shredded cheese, onions, sausage slices, and a dash of sprinkled oregano and red pepper flakes. Back into the toaster oven they went. The smell of baking onions mixed with the sausage and spices filled my apartment.

What emerged from the oven five minutes later was so amazing I was unable to snap any photos before they disappeared. “Hold on for a minute while I snap a few photos,” I asked. My friend would have none of that and dove right in. An impromptu Pizza Party dinner success!


Admittedly, the combination of ingredients on the pizza loaf halves would not be attractive to everyone. In truth, I was fortunate my friend also liked onions and summer sausage, the items I did have on hand. But that’s not really the point.

Oftentimes in life, we are presented with challenges or situations for which we do not feel prepared. Small and large. The outcome and what happens next is in good part determined by how we then proceed – whether we choose to react in a negative manner, feeling depressed, fearful, bitter, or angry; or to respond with confidence and a sense of self-reliance in a positive way.

Do we crumble under the sudden pressure like an empty soda can underfoot, or do we rise to the challenge and do the best we can with it? Whatever “it” might be.

In my case, it was simply a premature dinner invitation offered without anything on hand with which to prepare a real dinner. Not a real “biggie” in terms of many of the challenges we face in life, but still somewhat of a  “react, panic, and risk embarrassment” or a “respond and figure it out” type situation. For me, I live in what I refer to as the “Magical Land of Make Do, Figure It Out, and Get By.”

What challenges might you be faced with today? Situations occur for which we feel we are unprepared or not yet ready in the moment. Certainly, not everything always goes according to plan or as we have scripted it. That’s just part of life, isn’t it?

Last week I learned of yet another, unexpected surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in my dominant right shoulder in a few weeks. Torn just about clear-thru the MRI said. Surgery number “Eleven” for those who keep count. To borrow a trite expression – “It is what it is.”

My feeling anxious or bitter about going thru yet another surgery and extended one-handed rehab period following recent surgery on both hands this past June would do nothing to change the fact that I have a severe, perforated rotator cuff tear in my dominant right arm and shoulder, and that I may need a complete left shoulder replacement at some point in the future, as well. I am looking at this as more motivation to finish getting my new apartment in order beforehand, followed by an opportunity for a few weeks of quiet reading, study, and research while rehabbing to benefit my writing and work both here on my Writing Pages and in my Little Red Bear adventure stories.

The next time you may feel caught off-guard or confronted with an unexpected challenge, I urge you to set fear, doubts, and worries to the wayside, and instead gather your courage and respond in a positive way. Look at it as a challenge. Maybe take a cue from the approach of Mr. Hyde –

“Trouble? I call it sport.”

 – Mr. Hyde, “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”

Do not give in to anger, bitterness, worries, doubts, and fears. However bothersome or distressing, try to view the situation as an opportunity to be creative, stretch your abilities, and grow. Have fun with it if you can.

However the issue may resolve in the end, you will have emerged stronger and more confident on the other side for having done so, and more prepared to deal with the next surprise life may have in store. Have faith in yourself and you will be surprised just how much you can do and accomplish when you set worries to the side, put your mind to it, take action, and put your best, positive foot forward.

You may even tap into some inner, previously undiscovered Super Powers you weren’t even aware of in the process. I have faith in you. Do you?


Along the same lines, if you see a friend perhaps suddenly confronted with an unexpected challenge or calamity in their life, what words of encouragement or support could you offer to help them thru it?

Perhaps, just maybe, what your friend is going thru could also be a call and another opportunity for you to step up. Putting your hands on a friend’s problems can remove the focus on yours for a while. At those times when we reach out to help another with their problems, it seems that our own issues and challenges frequently diminish in size. When we help another, we end up helping ourselves, as well.

We are all in this together, and none of us are prepared or has all of the answers all of the time. Everyone can benefit from a friendly helping hand and words of encouragement now and then. The beastly thing that may loom very large and intimidating when finding oneself standing all alone in front of it, is not quite so menacing when standing side by side with a friend.

Sometimes we all could use a helping hand and are in need of a friend. Sometimes, we ourselves can be that helping hand and friend for another.


Thanks always for stopping by to visit. A smile and kind words have the power to better someone’s day and maybe even turn a whole life around. Will you share your smile and a kind word or gesture with someone today?

Until next time — Best Wishes and Blessings!  – Jim  (and Red!)


If you enjoyed this piece, you may also like — “I Will Greet This Day With Love In My Heart”  and  Wishing You Deep Peace, Love, Happiness, and 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!)


“You open your hand, and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” — Psalm 145:16

                “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.”                 — Albert Camus 


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 one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” — Charles Dickens


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!


                      No matter what kind of challenges or difficulties or painful situations you go through in your life, we all have something deep within us that we can reach down and find the inner strength to get through them.” — Alana Stewart


 

Happy Autumn, Pumpkin Spice, and Everything Nice about Fall!

Happy Autumn, Pumpkin Spice, and Everything Nice about Fall!

Living on the outskirts of St. Louis, Missouri, September can oftentimes feel more like Summer than Autumn, despite what any calendar says.  We do, however, usually receive a tempting tease or two of cooler Autumn temperatures during the month, and such was the case last week when daytime highs dipped into the mid-70s with nighttime lows in the mid-50s. (Temperatures given in the Fahrenheit temperature scale, of course, because living in the U.S. that is what we do it seems, the rest of the world and the scientific community with all their Celsius stuff be hanged.)

The air was cool and brisk. Morning walks were delightful. During evening walks, the faint scent of heavenly woodsmoke from a neighbor’s backyard firepit drifted thru the air. As anyone who has followed my pages here for a while is well aware, Autumn is far and away my favorite season of the year.

And now, as we are about to turn the calendar page to October, there is only one thing left to say —

Happy Fall, Y’all!!

Happy October!  Happy Autumn!  October is the perennial gateway to my very favorite time of the year — Autumn and the Holiday Season!

Here in our neck of the woods, besides getting back into Boots and Blue Jeans these are a few of our favorite things — Sweaters, Changing Fall Leaves, Crisp Mornings, Chilly Evenings with Woodsmoke in the air, Listening to the honking of Migrating Geese overhead, Raking Leaves followed by Hot Chocolate, Apple Butter, Cider, Pies, Warm Muffins with Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice!

With Summer my least favorite time of the year due to various health issues it presents for me personally, I always view the advent of Autumn and its promise of the coming holiday season as my personal reward for having survived yet another summer’s onslaught of midwest heat and humidity.  Having survived once again now it’s time to run outside, do my “Falling Happy Leaves Dance” on the front lawn, and PARTY!

I don’t feel alone in this view, because I believe even the most casual observer would agree that Mother Nature must certainly agree with me as she decorates all the trees and hills in a riot of colors each fall. Mother Nature is partying right along with me!


To help little ones and others to get into the spirit of the Autumn season, we have added a new collection of coloring images to the site — Little Red Bear’s “Happy Autumn Season” Coloring Pages!  Gather the little ones around and feel free to download, color, and share as many as you like.  Free of charge, of course. Little Red Bear is adamant about that. As he has stated so many times —

“It’s just not right to charge people for having fun, learning something, and having a good time. Gettin’ it free is most of the fun, anyhow!”

We hope you enjoy this new section, along with our collection of other fun and educational features here on the site.

So, what do you look most forward to in the coming Autumn period? Please do not be shy. Little Red Bear loves to hear what folks have to say, so please feel free to share your thoughts in the Comments section.


While not having posted regularly here for a spell attending to some personal health issues (not COVID related) the past few months, my story character Little Red Bear and I have nonetheless kept very busy preparing several new blog features and items you will be seeing very soon. Some new features we have recently added for the little ones include —


Here is a sample of just a few of the things we are working on for you to enjoy here in the coming weeks ahead . . . .

  • 101 Things To Do In The Fall
  • Time To Clean Out Bird Nest Boxes In October
  • Autumn Activities & Nature Scavenger Hunt
  • Happy Halloween Spooktacularly Good Recipes Special III
  • How To Preserve Autumn Leaves and Clean Pinecones for Holiday Displays
  • The Impact of Climate Change on Bird Migrations
  • Creating An Autumn Nature Leaf and Other Family Art Projects
  • Squirrel Proofing Your Bird Feeders
  • All About “Pie Birds” and Holiday Pie Recipes
  • And  Many More!

As the topics of Global Warming and Climate Change seem to dominate the news ever more each month as one disaster follows another, watch for more Nature, Conservation, and Environmentally-themed posts coming soon, as well.  As evidenced by the wildfires ravaging not only the west but also the world, the fuse is literally burning down on these issues.


I invite you to check out my original short story “Haystack Harry” during the Autumn season. Please feel free to share it with family and friends, because that is simply how we roll here.

Also, Little Red Bear has agreed to once again make himself available to respond to readers’ questions and comments in his “Ask Little Red Bear” segment, a very popular feature in the past. If you or a youngster have a question about something dealing with Nature or the Environment, please just drop him a note here.

Little Red Bear and I aren’t so big on relationship questions, but if you find yourself up a creek with no one else to turn to with something of that sort,  please feel free to go ahead and send those tricky questions in too, and we will do our best to try and help you out.

Little Red Bear promises to provide honest and factual information in response to all questions, and lacking the same will do his very best to make up something fun and interesting for you. Bearing in mind, of course, that we are both unabashed storytellers, after all.


I invite and encourage you to also visit with some of my wonderful writer friends to check out their pages and views on the coming Autumn season!

Cat Michaels — “What’s Not to Love? – Six Things to Make You Fall for Fall”

Rebecca Lyndsey  “Fall Favorites”

Julie Schooler 3 Harmful Habits to Cast Aside in the New Season”

Julie Gorges — “A Fall Self-Care Bucket List to Make the Most Out of Autumn” 

Sandra Bennett  — “Spring Into The Season”

Rosie Russell — “Jumping Into Fall With Big News At Books By Rose”

Auden Johnson — “What’s On Your Fall Bucket List?”


Thank you always for stopping in to visit with us!  Little Red Bear and I are pleased as blackberry punch to share the upcoming Autumn and Holiday Season with you!

So until the next time, we wish you and yours a delightful fall season filled with pumpkin spice and everything nice.

Best Wishes for a Beautiful, Healthy, and Happy Autumn Season! — Jim  (and Red!)


If you enjoyed this piece, you may also like — “I Will Greet This Day With Love In My Heart”  and  Wishing You Deep Peace, Love, Happiness, and 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!)


“For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together. For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad.” – Edwin Way Teale 

“Autumn leaves don’t fall, they fly. They take their time and wander on this their only chance to soar.”  – Delia Owens, “Where the Crawdads Sing”


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.

    “And all at once, summer collapsed into fall.” – Oscar Wilde 


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 the first day of autumn! A time of hot chocolatey mornings, and toasty marshmallow evenings, and, best of all, leaping into leaves!” — Winnie the Pooh


 

In A “Back-To-School” Memory Daze — Announcing “Little Red Bear’s Back To School” Coloring Pages!

Happy Back To School time!

Shareable new materials have been in rather short supply here for a spell while I stepped aside to attend to some pressing personal health (non-COVID related) issues. In the interim though, I have nevertheless been working on background items and new features to be revealed in the near future, so please do stay tuned, as they say.

We will talk about some of those issues that kept me away along with some other things in a coming post soon.  But for now, although while still not fully back in the writing saddle quite yet, with it being “Back To School” time and my favorite season of Autumn on the horizon, let’s get it all rolling again with one of those new features I mentioned, shall we?


Now at age 71, “Back to School” in my day many years ago was special. It was almost a season in itself.  An abbreviated period as compared with the traditional four seasons, no doubt, but with the exception of the still-hot and humid readings on the thermometer each afternoon, “Summer” had officially been declared “over with” by my Mother, and school preparation activities dominated each day.

There were new school clothes to shop for, along with new shoes and required gym outfits to acquire. (I missed the memo when they stopped calling it “Gym” and began referring to it as “P.E.”, short for “Physical Education.”  I simply kept calling it “gym class”, but digress.) In addition to clothing items, there were notebooks, pens, and Number 2 pencils to stock up on, along with erasers, scissors, crayons, rulers, Elmer’s School Glue, and who knows what else.

And not to leave out the mandatory end-of-summer haircut, of course. My best friend Rick lived down the hill in a corner lot about two houses down in the back. Rick, the oldest, came from a family of five kids consisting of four boys and one severely outnumbered sister. The night before school restarted each year, we would watch Rick and the other kids all line up in the backyard as their mother gave one after another the annual Start of School Haircut. Then in for a bath and off to bed for an early rise in the morning.

We had strict dress codes back in the day, even in the public schools I attended. Girls were required to wear a dress or skirt, the shortest of which could reach no higher than mid-knee. Tee shirts, sweatshirts, and sweat pants were not allowed for anyone. For boys, all shirts had to have collars and buttons. Hair on boys was not allowed to touch the shirt collar. Socks were mandatory and gym-type shoes were only allowed in Gym class. At the same time, no soled shoes were allowed anywhere near the pristine wooden gym flooring.

All pants were required to have belt loops and be held at the waist by a belt. Failure to wear a belt resulted in being sent to “The Office” for a visit and attitude adjustment session with the Assistant Principal, or as we kids mockingly referred to him as — the “Enforcer In Chief.” After a stern lecture about how flaunting the rules and not wearing a belt could negatively impact the remainder of a ten-year-old’s life, the beltless boy would be given a length of rope to wear around the waist for the remainder of the day, a clearly visible (and embarrassing) signal and dire warning to every other boy not to forget a belt in the morning rush out the door.

And of course, one could not hide the fact they had forgotten to wear a belt that day, because all shirttails had to be tucked in. The belt omission was clearly obvious to anyone paying attention. A rather trivial issue it seemed to me at the time, although all the teachers seemed inordinately obsessed with it, in my opinion.

Personally, I was never apprehended without a belt, neither wanting to risk a visit with the Enforcer In Chief nor suffer the embarrassment of wearing a long rope around my waist. Always careful to obey the rules and do my best to stay out of trouble back then, I do admit to having contemplated the possibility of wearing overalls one day to challenge the belt rule but lacked the courage to act upon the urge, not having yet transitioned into the independently-minded “Rule-Challenger-For-The-Fun-Of-It” I became later in life and remain today.


Getting back to it then, our Back to School feelings were always kind of a mixed bag. The excitement of seeing school friends we had lost contact with over the summer was mixed with the uncertainty of what new teachers might be like. Everyone seemed to have an ingredient to add to the simmering pot of New Teacher Trepidation —

  • “I hear Mr. Townsend is a real beast with math homework and has never given anyone an ‘A’ grade. He assigns homework every night. And every weekend!”
  • “Miss Burns always makes the girls in her English class get down on their knees at the start of every class to make sure their skirts touch the floor.” 
  • “Mr. Grimharsh had a friend of mine in gym class who would not stop chewing bubblegum last year, so after telling him twice to get rid of it made him spit out the gum and then stuck it in his hair. Johnny Jones had to go to the barber and get a crewcut after school. A crewcut!”
  • “Miss Hendricks only accepts writing assignments and homework in blue ink. She will give you an “F” if your paper is written in pencil because she wants to see all the changes you make and not be able to erase them. Always remember to take a blue ink pen with you to her class.”
  • “Mr. Miller told the kids in his Science class last year that the word ‘Fire’ begins and ends with an ‘F’. If you set anything on fire in his class it will end in an ‘F’ grade for the quarter. And if you break something you have to pay for it! My weekly allowance won’t cover the cost of a microscope!”
  • “Why do I have to choose between French and Spanish this year? Miss Burns told me last year it was clearly evident that I hadn’t mastered the English language yet. And now they expect me to learn a second language, too?!?”
  • Mr. Newchance lets you take any History test you fail over again, but the best grade you can get then is a “C”, even if you get everything correct.”
  • “My Dad said that if I have over a ‘B’ average at Thanksgiving that he would buy me a new electric guitar for Christmas. But I can’t even spell Triggernumery, much less do it! I am going to start saving up for a new set of strings for my old guitar, just in case.”

On and on the gossip and info-dumps went over the last few weeks leading up to the start of school each fall. Of course, in my time, school always restarted with a half-day on the day after Labor Day each year. Never in early or mid-August as so many do now. And it goes without saying that nobody went to a school with air-conditioning in those days, and school was never called off due to excessive heat.

For us boys sitting in school with long pants on after spending the summer in shorts and swim trunks, we were just hot, plain and simple. Desk papers stuck to our forearms from the sweat running down our arms, and wasps buzzed around our heads, having flown in thru open windows. One large and very loud fan in the front corner tried to cool the classroom but caused us to simply not be able to hear the teacher who no one was paying attention to in all the heat, anyway.

And don’t even get me started about the mile-and-a-quarter walk to and from school every morning and afternoon, regardless of the weather, — rain, snow, or shine. And yes, sure enough in our case, it truly was more or less uphill both ways because there was a big valley between home and school regardless of which way we were heading.


Looking back on it now, it is fair to say we had generally pleasant while at the same time somewhat queasy feelings about the whole “Back to School” thing each year. A goodly bit of eagerness and excitement over new school clothes and the prospect of reuniting with friends was more than tempered by a healthy dose of general apprehension and miserably hot 90-degree temperatures lasting thru mid-to-late-September in our neck of the woods. It is probably fair to say that in my circle of friends, anyway, when it came to the “Back-To-School” thing each year, we could generally take it or leave it. In our minds, there were still too many perfect days on the calendar for baseball and bike riding to waste them all shopping and trying on endless changes of clothes in a hot department store.

But, in the end, mixed feelings or not, we always seemed to find our way back on the first day of school each autumn, didn’t we?  Maybe we were a little more excited about the whole “Back-to-School” thing than we were willing to admit or let on in public, after all.

What are your “Back to School” memories? Good? Bad? Or mixed, like ours? Please don’t be shy. Feel free to share them with us in the Comments Section.


To help ease the annual End-of-Summer and Back-To-School transition for older kids and build excitement about the new experience for younger ones, my story friend Little Red Bear has assembled a collection of Back-to-School-themed coloring images with varying degrees of complexity for all ages.

Coloring images are available for unlimited Free downloads simply by ‘Right Clicking’ on an image, choosing ‘Save Image As’ in the dropdown menu to save a local copy on your computer or device, and then printing out as many as you want.

It is our hope that these pages, made possible thru the kind assistance and support of our Patreon Community, provide a means for not only preparing and generating excitement for going back to school, but also for spending quality family time together — reading, coloring, and learning. Simply Tap Here to view them all and get started!


 “Thank You!” for visiting and spending part of your time with us! We always look forward to your visits and comments, because YOU are the reason we do it all.
My story friend Little Red Bear and I hope that you and any little ones heading off to school enjoy this post and Red’s new “Back-To-School” Coloring Pages. As always, please feel free to share and pass along to family and friends!
We have a great deal of new material and features to share with you over the coming months so please visit often. If not yet subscribed yet please register now to follow along and be notified of every coming new post and feature here.  — Jim  (and Red!)

Please consider joining our Patreon Community today to help us grow and keep freely-shared, family-friendly educational new materials and features coming, helping to make a positive difference in the world!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy “Wishing You Happiness, Peace, Joy — And A Very Good Day!” and Little Red Bear’s growing “Animal Alphabet Coloring Pages!”

(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 Now to follow along and be notified of every new post!)


              “Labor Day is a glorious holiday because your child will be going back to school the next day. It would have been called Independence Day, but that name was already taken.”  — Bill Dodds
 
       “Anyone who thinks the art of conversation is dead ought to tell a child to go to bed.”       — Robert Gallagher

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.

Find out what readers have to say about Little Red Bear and His Friends!

(Royalties from the sale of Little Red Bear’s books go directly to supporting this site.)


“Home computers are being called upon to perform many new functions, including the consumption of homework formerly eaten by the dog.” — Doug Larson



“I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.” — Lily Tomlin 


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!


“Let us remember: One Book, One Pen, One Child, and One Teacher can change the World.” — Malala Yousafzai

A New Feature For The Little Ones — “Little Red Bear’s Easter Holiday” Coloring Images!

Happy Spring and Happy Easter!

As long-time followers to the site know, I have not been sharing much new material lately, having been sidetracked with some ongoing and new (non-COVID related) health issues the past few months. More about that in a coming post soon.

Please Tap to Like & Follow on Facebook for More Information & Fun! 
 (Image via Bitmoji)

Suffice it to say, today’s post is all about Easter and Artwork and spending Quality Time with the kids.

Specifically, we wanted to announce that my story character friend Little Red Bear has just added special “Easter Holiday” Coloring Images to the site, just in time to color up a bunch of Easter Artwork and Greeting Message Cards for Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, neighbors, and friends for the coming Easter Holiday!

Coloring images are available for unlimited Free downloads simply by ‘Right Clicking’ on an image, choosing Save Image As’ in the dropdown menu to save a local copy on your computer or device, and then printing out as many as you would like. You will find a mix of very basic and simple images for the youngest colorists, and more complex images for older children and adults to enjoy.

We invite to you haul out the crayons and markers, sit down with the kids, and have a fun time coloring and sharing original artwork this Easter Season.

Simply visit Little Red Bear’s Easter Holiday Coloring Pages to get started.


Easter 33 -shutterstock_182368322

Easter - shutterstock_98982989 by Cristoprudnaya

A Note For Parents — This website is mostly Self Funded. “Little Red Bear’s Easter Holiday Coloring Pages” are made possible only with the assistance of our Patreon Community and independent donations to sponsor pages. Future holiday and nature-themed images will come in sequence as funds are available.

Each image has been purchased and licensed thru Shutterstock in order to secure user rights and be able to provide easily accessible downloads for our readers and their children. The coloring images here are offered Free Of Charge because that is just how we roll here.

If you would like to help support this and future projects, or our site in general, please consider joining our Patreon Community today for as little as $1.00 a month.

We truly appreciate and love the members of our Patreon Community for all they allow us to do, for helping Little Red Bear and me to keep growing the site, and for sharing in our vision of helping to make the world a better place. For everyone!

Will you join us today?



Thank you for stopping by to visit with us!

We hope that children and families enjoy and benefit from these new pages and are as delighted as Little Red Bear and I are to bring them to you. Please register to be notified of every new post and feature, and then visit often as many more new features and activities arrive in the near future!

To get you started, please feel free to download the Bunny Image above (one of Little Red Bear’s favorites!),  print out as many copies as you need, gather the family together over a bowl of popcorn, and color together for a wonderful time. Then “Bunny-Hop” on over to Little Red Bear’s Easter Holiday Coloring Pages to create many more delightful Easter Holiday artworks!

Best wishes for a safe and healthy Easter Holiday!  We will be back and see ya soon with more! — 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 still believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and true love. Don’t even try to tell me different.” – Dolly Parton

Easter - shutterstock_1008777061 by Klara Viskova

                    “One thing I love about Easter is being able to share an awesome, memorable moment with my family that we will reminisce forever.” – Jayden Hayes


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.
 

Find out what readers have to say about Little Red Bear and His Friends!


Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays! Sharing Writing Gifts For The Holiday Season!

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

My story character friend and writing partner Little Red Bear and I would like to share some of our holiday season writings and activities with you to enjoy with family and friends in the coming days!

Below, please find links to our “Twelve Days of Christmas Free Holiday Reads”, “Little Red Bear’s Christmas Holiday Coloring Pages”, and one of the most popular visits on the writing site this time of year — “Little Red Bear’s Happy Christmas ‘Left-Right’ Game!” to play with kids and holiday visitors.

Please just tap on any link to visit the page(s) and activities of your choice!


“The Twelve Days of Christmas Free Holiday Reads”

“It’s In The Singing Of A Street Corner Choir”  —  An ode to the “Muppet Christmas Carol” show.

A Christmas Poem – “Blue House on the Hill” — A nostalgic Christmas poem inspired by a winter painting created by artist Trisha Romance.

A Holiday Short Story – “Susie’s Bear” — The heartwarming story of a grandmother’s love and devotion during the depression, confronted with a blustery snowstorm and a very sick little girl.

“Haddon Sundblom, Coca-Cola, and Santa — A look back at how the artist Haddon Sundblom defined the image of Santa Claus for not only my generation but also for generations to come.

“Christmases of My Childhood” by Kathleen Creighton — A very special piece contributed by my dear friend and award-winning author Kathleen Creighton.

A Christmas Poem – “The General Store Christmas”  — Inspired by country artist John Sloane’s painting, a little boy shopping for family presents and gifts.

“A Christmas Tradition — Trains and Memories Beneath the Tree”  — My fondest family traditions and Christmas memories seem to run thru tunnels, over bridges, and along train tracks thru the years.

A Nostalgic Look Back – “Christmas Thru The Window Glass”  — A nostalgic look back at Christmases past, with the highly anticipated and decorated storefront windows, department store Santas, and more.

A Christmas Poem – “Fireside Questions for Santa”  — With a few questions and wondering why. So waiting up to ask the jolly elf guy.

“That’s What Christmas Is All About, Charlie Brown”  — Words of wisdom from Linus in “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, a simple reminder of what the holiday season is truly about — Peace, Good Will, Kindness, Generosity, Charity, Compassion, Empathy, and Love for all.

A Christmas Poem – “Love’s Candle in the Night” — Waiting for a loved one’s safe arrival thru the snow on Christmas Eve.

“Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus . . . . . . And More!”  — What circumstances or forces in the Universe worked to bring together a young girl and a cynical, childless curmudgeon to produce a timeless literary piece of Hope, Generosity, and Faith that endures thru time?

Bonus — “What to Do on a Christmas Week Night?” A fun little rhyme during the holiday time.


“Little Red Bear’s Christmas Holiday Coloring Pages”

Little Red Bear’s Christmas & Holiday Coloring Pages Summary

Little Red Bear’s Special “Beary Christmas!” Coloring Images

Little Red Bear’s Special “Santa Claus” Coloring Images

Little Red Bear’s Special “Santa’s Elves & Angels” Coloring Images

Little Red Bear’s Special “Snowmen & Reindeer” Coloring Images

Little Red Bear’s Special “Ornaments, Trees & Bells” Coloring Images

Little Red Bear’s Special “Christmas Holiday Greetings” Coloring Images

Little Red Bear’s Special “Other Christmas & Holiday” Coloring Images


Little Red Bear’s Christmas & Holiday Fun Activities

“Little Red Bear’s Happy Christmas ‘Left-Right’ Game!”— An entertaining group gift exchange game to bring plenty of fun and laughter to family gatherings and holiday events featuring characters from the Little Red Bear stories.


 As always, “Thank You!” for visiting and spending part of your time with us here thru the year!
We always look forward to your visits and comments, because YOU are the reason we do it all here.
This has been a strange year, indeed, hasn’t it? If pandemic circumstances prevent us from gathering with family this holiday season, there are other ways to connect these days which will allow us to all be present together for the next one.  And regardless of technical expertise, we are always truly connected in our hearts.
Please take precautions to be safe, stay healthy, and enjoy the holiday season in spite of it all. And if staying at home not visiting with loved ones this year to stay safe, just think of how glorious next year’s holiday celebrations will be!
Sending the very best wishes your way for a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season! And a Happy and Healthy New Year!
See y’all in the New Year with more new posts and features!   — Jim  (and Red!)

              “Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”             – Hamilton Wright Mabie
 
“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.” — Roy L. Smith

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.

Find out what readers have to say about Little Red Bear and His Friends!

(Royalties from the sale of Little Red Bear’s books go directly to supporting this site.)


“Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind.” – Mary Ellen Chase



“It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.” – W.T. Ellis


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 sometimes think we expect too much of Christmas Day. We try to crowd into it the long arrears of kindliness and humanity of the whole year. As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little at a time, all through the year. And thus I drift along into the holidays – let them overtake me unexpectedly – waking up some fine morning and suddenly saying to myself: ‘Why, this is Christmas Day!’” – David Grayson

Just In Time For Christmas — “Little Red Bear’s Christmas Holiday Greetings” Coloring Images!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

My story character friend Little Red Bear has just added special “Christmas Holiday Greetings” to his Christmas Holiday Coloring Pages!  Just in time to color up a bunch of greeting cards for Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, and your odd Aunt Lillian.

We invite to you sit down with the kids and have fun coloring and sharing this Christmas and Holiday Season!






A Note For Parents — This website is mostly Self Funded. “Little Red Bear’s Christmas Holiday Coloring Pages” are made possible only with the assistance of our Patreon Community and independent donations to sponsor pages. Future images will come in sequence as funds are available.

Each image has been purchased and licensed thru Shutterstock in order to secure user rights and be able to provide easily accessible downloads for our readers and their children. The coloring images here are offered Free Of Charge because that is just how we roll here.

If you would like to help support this and future projects or our site in general, please consider joining our Patreon Community today for as little as $1.00 a month.

We truly appreciate and love the members of our Patreon Community for all they allow us to do, for helping Little Red Bear and me to keep growing the site, and for sharing in our vision of helping to make the world a better place. For everyone!

Will you join us today?


Thank you for stopping by to visit with us today!

We hope that children and families enjoy and benefit from the new pages each holiday season and are as delighted as Little Red Bear and I are to bring them to you.

Please visit often as many more new features and activities arrive soon!

To get you started, please feel free to download the Header Image below,  print out as many copies as you need, gather the family together over a bowl of popcorn, and color together ’til the cows come home!

Our very best wishes for a safe and healthy Christmas and Holiday Season!  See ya soon with more! — 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!)


                  “Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love!”         – Hamilton Wright Mabie

                    “Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts.”        – Janice Maeditere


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.

Find out what readers have to say about Little Red Bear and His Friends!

(Royalties from the sale of Little Red Bear’s books go directly to supporting this site.)


               “Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.” – Author unknown, attributed to a 7-year-old named Bobby


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!


“Christmas now surrounds us,

Happiness is everywhere,

Our hands are busy with many tasks,

As carols fill the air.”

– Shirley Sallay


Grab the Crayons Kids! Announcing the Launch of “Little Red Bear’s Christmas Holiday Coloring Pages”

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

My main story character Little Red Bear and I are pleased as Candy Cane Christmas Punch to announce the launch of “Little Red Bear’s Christmas Holiday Coloring Pages!”

Christmas and Holiday Season coloring images are available for unlimited Free downloads simply by ‘Right Clicking’ on an image, choosing ‘Save Image As’ in the dropdown menu to save a local copy on your computer or device, and then printing out as many as you want.

Each page features a collection of Christmas Holiday images for children and adults alike to enjoy — Santa Claus, Snowmen, Angels, Elves, Bells, Christmas Trees, and more! Along with various Holiday Bears, of course!

As with “Little Red Bear’s Animal Alphabet Coloring Pages”, some are simplified and basic coloring images for the very young, and some are more detailed images for older kids. And, for Mom and Dad to color along at the same time.

Little Red Bear and I are all about setting aside the cell phones and other screen distractions and spending quality family time together.

It is our hope that these pages provide an opportunity to enjoy a bit of the holiday season fun and joy together!

Have fun displaying finished works on the family refrigerator this holiday season and by gifting original works of Holiday Season Art to Grandmas and Grandpas. Trust me, we love that sort of thing!

Below are the page links to get you started . . . . . .

LITTLE RED BEAR’S CHRISTMAS & HOLIDAY COLORING PAGES SUMMARY
LITTLE RED BEAR’S SPECIAL “BEARY CHRISTMAS!” COLORING IMAGES
LITTLE RED BEAR’S SPECIAL “SANTA CLAUS” COLORING IMAGES
LITTLE RED BEAR’S SPECIAL “SANTA’S ELVES &ANGELS” COLORING IMAGES
LITTLE RED BEAR’S SPECIAL “SNOWMEN & REINDEER” COLORING IMAGES
LITTLE RED BEAR’S “ORNAMENTS, TREES, & BELLS” COLORING IMAGES
LITTLE RED BEAR’S “OTHER CHRISTMAS & HOLIDAY” COLORING IMAGES

A Note For Parents — This website is mostly Self Funded. “Little Red Bear’s Christmas Holiday Coloring Pages” are made possible only with the assistance of our Patreon Community and independent donations to sponsor pages. Future images will come in sequence as funds are available.

Each image has been purchased and licensed thru Shutterstock in order to secure user rights and be able to provide easily accessible downloads for our readers and their children. The coloring images here are offered Free Of Charge because that is just how we roll here.

If you would like to help support this and future projects or our site in general, please consider joining our Patreon Community today for as little as $1.00 a month.

We truly appreciate and love the members of our Patreon Community for all they allow us to do, for helping Little Red Bear and me to keep growing the site, and for sharing in our vision of helping to make the world a better place. For everyone!

Will you join us today?


And oh yeah — here is the recipe for the amazing Candy Cane Peppermint Punch mentioned above, a new Little Red Bear holiday favorite! If you love eggnog . . . .

Candy Cane Peppermint Christmas Punch Recipe

There are only four ingredients to make this delicious holiday punch —

  • Pour one (1) quart of Eggnog into a bowl.
  • Add one (1) liter of Club Soda.
  • Scoop in 1/2 gallon of Candy Cane Ice Cream.
  • Hang Candy Canes around the edge of the bowl as a garnish.
  • Lastly, wet the rims of drinking glasses and then dip them into crushed candy canes to create a candy cane rim. Enjoy!

(Recipe credit and original recipe with instructions → The Sugar and Charm Blog)


Thank you for stopping by to visit with us today!

We hope that children and families enjoy and benefit from the new pages each holiday season and are as delighted as Little Red Bear and I are to bring them to you.

Please visit often as many more new features and activities arrive soon!

To get you started, please feel free to download the Header Image below,  print out as many copies as you need, gather the family together over a bowl of popcorn, and color together ’til the cows come home!

Our very best wishes for a safe and healthy Christmas and Holiday Season!  See ya soon with more! — 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!)


“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas Day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.” – Andy Rooney

          “Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.”         – Peg Bracken


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.

Find out what readers have to say about Little Red Bear and His Friends!

(Royalties from the sale of Little Red Bear’s books go directly to supporting this site.)


                “Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts.”               – Janice Maeditere


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!


“Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind.” – Mary Ellen Chase

Growing My Hair Out To Support Children With Hair Loss

Happy December!  Happy Holiday Season!

But before we get into holiday season topics and features, taking a few minutes today to talk about another issue dear to my heart – Children With Hair Loss.

Seeing sick and ailing children in hospitals has always torn at my heartstrings. While having actively supported St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital thru the years, I have always sought out ways to do more, and have recently discovered another way to help the children. And it costs nothing, really.

In recent days, some folks here have approached and asked me about my increasingly long hair. “What’s up with the ponytail, Jim?” Here is the inside scoop for everyone.

What began as more of a lark when the COVID shutdown occurred last spring, growing out a ponytail just for fun because I could not get to a barber anyway, continued afterward when restrictions eased just to see what it would do, aided by my lifelong disdain for barbers and costly haircuts in general.

I had always wanted to grow a ponytail just for fun and had made more than a few aborted attempts along the way, always grabbing the scissors when my hair reached five inches or so, not having the nerve to really go thru with it. But always in the back of my mind were the mental images of some of my heroes, all sporting ponytails (or “queues” as they were called in the early days) at one point or another in their lives – George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Willie Nelson, George Carlin, and others. Admittedly, some may have been wigs in colonial times, but still a simply smashing good look!

So, with a beginning boost from the COVID shutdown in spring, my personal “Ponytail Project” has now evolved into purposely growing my hair out with a reason.

I am supporting and joining in the efforts of a large (and growing) number of men who are growing their hair out to support the organization “Children With Hair Loss”, a non-profit organization that provides human hair replacements at No Cost to children and young adults facing medically-related hair loss due to Cancer treatments, Alopecia, Trichotillomania, Burns, etc. Beginning in the year 2,000 and helping children and young adults across the nation, Children With Hair Loss has assisted over 5,000 nationwide thru 2019.

A 2019 event sponsored by ‘The Longhairs’ organization I am participating with set a Guinness World Record, generating 339 pounds of hair donations and $50,000 in support of the Children With Hair Loss efforts.  The next big donation event – “The Great Cut 2024” is scheduled for some time in 2024 (exact date to be determined later), at which time they are working to do even more and set another Guinness World Record. At that point, I will donate my hair to be part of it all.

So, that is why I am growing my hair out – to help the kids. Because the painful effects of the treatments these children have to endure are far more than physical, and deeper than merely cosmetic.  Self-image is a very important thing when one is a youngster, teen, or young adult. Emotional scars are just as or more painful than the physical, with emotional damage perhaps everlasting.

If you would like to join with me in the cause and save a bundle of cash in barber and hair salon expenses over the next four years, I would be honored to grow along with you. There will be opportunities to donate and/or participate from anywhere in the world.

Donated hair must be at least 8” long, with the strongly preferred length 12” and longer. It can be grey or any color, dyed, or treated, but cannot be bleached. On average, human hair grows approximately ½” per month, so now is the time to start.

In the meantime and as time goes on, your support and encouragement are greatly appreciated while I simply Keep on Growing!

I will update with progress reports here from time to time as we go along and eagerly look forward to hearing from others who may be growing their hair out for the children, as well.

Right now, with the early head start last spring, my hair is already 9” long. With the kids in mind and along with the other men, I am shooting for a length of 24” to 30” by 2024. Please wish me luck and just call me “Hippie Jim” if you like.

Will you grow along with me to help the Children With Hair Loss efforts? It is for a very good cause and is yet another opportunity to help make a positive difference in someone’s life.

Thanks always for visiting and reading along! Very best wishes for a Happy & Healthy Holiday Season!  Keep on Growing!  – ‘Hippie’ Jim


If you enjoyed this piece, you may also like — “How To Be Mindfully Aware Of Positive Thoughts and Actions”  

(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!)


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

“The charities closest to my heart have always involved helping children in some way.”           — Oscar de la Renta


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.

Find out what readers have to say about Little Red Bear and His Friends!

(Royalties from the sale of Little Red Bear’s books go directly to supporting this site.)


“Helping someone because you want to is much more appreciated than helping someone because you have to.” — Unknown


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!



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The Great Cut 2024” info → https://thegreatcut.us/

Children With Hair Loss → https://childrenwithhairloss.us/