Becoming Mindfully Aware Of Our Thoughts and Actions

Imagine yourself, if you will, in a cafeteria for lunch. Tantalizing food choices pass by in front of you on a conveyor belt, emerging from a window opening from the kitchen on the left side and then passing on out of sight thru another window at the other end to the right. A continuous stream of moving menu offerings to handpick from as they stream past.

No one expects everything offered in a cafeteria to necessarily be to their liking, so of course, you select and place on your tray for lunch only those items which appear appetizing and most greatly appeal to you.  Makes sense, doesn’t it?


What if we approached the random thoughts and ideas streaming thru our mind every day in the same way, selecting to note and act only upon those thoughts which most greatly appealed to and benefited us? Those thoughts congruent with our most basic nature of universal kindness, compassion, tolerance, acceptance, and love?

That is the nature we were born with, after all, before being indoctrinated into our disparate ‘tribes’, society’s conditioning and various belief systems.

Merely allow any thoughts of intolerance, prejudice, bigotry, judgments, hate, jealousy, greed, resentments, ill will, and others to pass by and out of sight unacted upon in the same way as you would your most disliked and distasteful food items on the cafeteria belt.

In other words — Take No Notice, Disregard, and Ignore Them.

Thoughts and ideas come in a never-ending stream throughout the day. Even in our dreams. Scientists say the average human has 60,000 separate thoughts a day. But we maintain the power and control to choose those which we deem worthy enough to act upon while allowing the disagreeable ones to merely ‘Exit Stage Right’ and pass on away and out of sight.

It really is that simple and the positive results can be life-altering. But it does require being mindful.


It becomes more onerous though when we realize that we must accept responsibility for our selections, the ones we choose to take from the passing thought stream and act upon, and then living under a dark cloud of gloom if we have not selected wisely with our highest and best interests in mind.

Reflexively making unhealthy choices at the cafeteria selection belt by consuming a steady diet of super-sized fatty burgers, fries, cakes, cookies, candy bars, and milkshakes every day will have no less of a detrimental impact on our overall health, happiness, and wellbeing than selecting negative, unfavorable, hurtful, and unwholesome thoughts as they enter into our minds each day, inevitably followed by the oppressively gloomy dark clouds.

But we have the right and ability to allow those undesirable thoughts to continue on the conveyor belt and pass right on out of our mind again without acting upon them. Merely let them pass by untouched in the same way you might that unwanted passing dish of brussels sprouts and oysters.

Do not feel ashamed or guilty, nor judge yourself harshly for unhealthy and destructive thoughts entering your mind. Everyone has them, for with so many media and social stimuli and inputs each day we have as little control over where they come from or the randomness of thoughts passing thru our brains as we do menu offerings appearing on the conveyor belt in the cafeteria.

There are ways that we can help to influence our thoughts, but that’s a topic for another day.

The key point is that just as in the cafeteria — We Get To Choose Which Thoughts We Pick Up — while letting the others pass by and away untouched or acted on.


Spend today mindfully, being mentally aware and noticing, without judging, which thoughts are passing thru your mind today. Then choose to select and act only upon those which can bring the greatest good to both yourself and those around you.

Acknowledge being aware of the undesirable thoughts, just as you would notice the dish of brussels sprouts perhaps, but allow them to pass.  And then do it again tomorrow. And the next day. And the next.

Small steps — one hour, one day at a time — gradually but steadily raising your level of awareness and mindfulness in life-changing ways.

Much sooner than later, you may notice the air around you is lighter, people around you are friendlier, your food tastes better, unsolicited help begins appearing without asking, and your life as a whole has changed for the better as you spend more time and energy on the positive thoughts and ideas in line with your loving, basic, God-like nature.

I urge you to give it a try. After all, what do you have to lose — another grumpy, bummed-out day of judgment, negativity, and gloominess?


Because here’s the thing — when we become aware of our thoughts and persist in consciously and repetitively acting upon the negative and hurtful ones, then we are as responsible for the damage and pain they inflict on ourselves, our family, and others around us, as we would be for our 60-inch waistline from snatching all the poor food choices at the cafeteria.

Whatever we get out of life is the result of our own independent, conscious choices. And that begins with our thoughts. It’s not our background, upbringing, family, where we were born, financial situation, or anything else we might wish to point a finger at. It’s on us.  It is easier and better for everyone to accept responsibility for our thoughts and subsequent actions, and to follow our better natures.


Please imagine again, if you will, not only you and I acting upon our best kind and loving thoughts, but also together with us a whole bunch of folks the world over. Do you think it would take very long for the world to become a kinder and gentler home for us all?

Thanks always for visiting and reading with us. A single kind word or action has the power to positively change someone’s day or whole life. It’s all about sending out positive ripples. Will you splash some kindness today for someone? —  Jim  (and Red!)


If you enjoyed this piece, you may also like —  “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” 

(If a new visitor — Welcome! To see what is coming in the New Year on this site, please check out — “It’s A New Year — The Guideposts Are Set — Here’s Where We’re Going!” — and sign up to follow and be notified of every new post!)


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

                “Guard well your thoughts when alone and your words when accompanied.”                 – Roy T. Bennett


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


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

                                                                   “We are addicted to our thoughts.                                                 We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking.” – Santosh Kalwar


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 soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts.” – Marcus Aurelius


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s A New Year — The Guideposts Are Set — Here’s Where We’re Going!

Happy 2019! 

A brand-spanking new, shiny, and as yet unblemished and dent-free New Year. The start of a new year is like a new car, fresh off the assembly line, complete with an assumed bumper-to-bumper warranty, many expectant miles to log on the odometer, and all the hopes and dreams which only a new car smell can inspire.

At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve annual hopes and goals spring anew within our hearts, as daffodils bursting thru late snow beckon the long-awaited arrival of Spring.

Maybe yet another way of looking at a new year is as a blank slate with our having no way of knowing what will be written upon it as the year unfolds. What do we each hope and plan to write on our slate for the year?  How will this new year, still full of January’s fresh hopes and promises, be scored when the coming year’s unforeseen events, decisions, and actions cast long shadows in December?

Regardless of our individual approaches to a new year, most regard it as a time of looking forward with a fresh start, of high expectations, of planning and preparing.


Taking a moment first to look back before looking forward, the year just passed was one of the busiest and perhaps more challenging of my life (having counted 69 of them now!), including two out of town cross country trip weddings for my twin sons, with a major relocation move sandwiched in between in the summer months, and extended absences while dog- and house-sitting for others sprinkled thru the year. It seemed at times as though writing distractions seemed to leap out from behind every corner.

When Thanksgiving came and went, and the last trip and activity had been marked off the calendar, the schedule wondrously opened thru the remainder of the year to finally complete the summer’s delayed moving work of unpacking, settling into my new home, and getting back to writing with Little Red Bear. But, as we should know, the Universe sometimes has other plans and things in mind for us which always seem to take precedent.

As Facebook Friends are aware (not previously shared elsewhere), the year concluded on a more challenging note when I ruptured the biceps distal tendon below the elbow in my right (primary) arm the last week of November when lifting a ridiculously (now looking back) heavy box unpacking, resulting in surgery on December 7th to repair and reattach the totally shredded and displaced tendon to the radius bone below the elbow. Two separate incisions, drilling, a washer, pins, and assorted medical magic and miracles.

A post-surgery full arm cast was replaced at Christmas by what friends refer to as my new ‘Robo Arm’ brace, which I will continue to wear for the foreseeable future, recovery presumably measured in months and not weeks. (The photo is a mirror image, really my right arm. Left hand did its best trying to get the photo.)

“Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.”

– Dennis P. Kimbro

With my right arm and hand prohibited from any movement or use at all with the sole exception of twice-daily therapy stretches, my left arm and hand (hereinafter referred to as “Lefty”) have both had a very steep learning curve the past month. Happy to report that Lefty is doing very well, better than expected actually, and is solely doing the typing and preparation work for this post.

(Doing well, that is, with the notable exception of being able to eat soup without embarrassment and adding to the laundry pile.

And on a related note – why is that upon hearing of your surgery and suddenly limited to sole use of your off-hand, friends all rush to bring bowls of healing Soup to your aid?

Not to sound unappreciative, because I truly am grateful and love homemade soups, but a pepperoni pizza or cheeseburger didn’t occur to anyone at all? This is the first holiday season in which I actually lost weight. Soup – the under-appreciated weightloss secret.

Sorry, I digressed. Hunger tends to have that distracting effect on me, regrettably.)

Lefty will continue to fly solo until such time as Righty is cleared for return to duty.  Therapy is going very well, so “hoping” it will not be too, too long before Righty can at least get back to typing. Will see. Sharing this only so everyone understands the uncharacteristic absence of regular posts and annual new holiday features the past several weeks.


Traditional New Year’s Resolutions in and of themselves are not a thing here, most often having been an exercise in self-deluding folly and foolishness in the past. That being said, it would be no less foolhardy setting sail without noting the prevailing wind direction and at least an idea of where you hoped to eventually arrive.

Looking forward to the New Year then, while beginning the new year with my ‘good’ arm figuratively tied behind my back for an undetermined period, there are a number of things we (that would be Little Red Bear and me)  still plan to focus on and look forward to accomplishing in the coming year.

Notably —

  • A resumption of regular blog posting activities and pages focusing on the important themes of Children, Family, Kindness, Compassion, Positivity, Inclusion, Diversity, Wildlife, and Mother Nature. That is what we have been and will continue to be about here.
  • An increased focus on heightening awareness, saving, and preserving the environment and natural world around us for our children and future generations. There is no backup or “Earth 2.0” in the works.  We all share this planet as our home, and it is the only one we have.
  • Joining with the focus on Positivity, more attention on self-awareness, improvement, and our place in the Cosmos. Why do so many seem to be increasingly disconnected today?
  • Continuing to freely share more feature stories of interest (like the Haddon Sundblom ‘Coke Santa’ feature), original short stories (like the ‘Susie’s Bear’ story), and works of Poetry (like the recent ‘Tex-Mex and Rex’ poem). (Yes – there will be more poetry – consider yourself warned.)
  • Completion of the long-anticipated second collection of Little Red Bear stories book – “The Second Holler Over!” for release in the fall. More new characters – new locations – more adventures – and a somewhat novel new format. Watch for updates as we get closer to the release date!
  • Adding more games, puzzles, and other activities to Little Red Bear’s Activities Pages for children. Watch for new ‘Coloring Pages’ coming soon, featuring domestic animals, wildlife, flowers, and other items from nature to help educate and interest the little ones, including several characters from “The Adventures of Little Red Bear” stories!
  • A resumption of the popular “Ask Little Red Bear” feature, wherein Red responds to reader questions. He already has an accumulated stack to get thru, but if you have any questions regarding one of Red’s stories, nature, or life advice in general, please just send them along and Red will try his best to get to them around writing sessions (and fishing).
  • Continuation of the always popular “Little Red Bear’s Hand-picked Recipes” specials for holidays and seasons thru the year, with a few additional now and then concentrating on one dish and variations. Stay tuned.
  • Continue developmental work on a series of Picture Book type stories in verse for Little Red Bear, Cinnamon Charlie, and their friends, to bring Red’s messages of kindness, positivity, and nature more intimately and in a more colorfully fun way to pre-readers and little ones, and to distribute to those in hospital care.
  • Add a new feature presenting interesting historical and background information on some of the topics, locations, characters, and other items influencing but perhaps not actually making it either in whole or in part into the Little Red Bear stories. Only so much can be fit into the short story format or into a book, and so much material which must be trimmed is fascinating from a true historical or inspirational sense. Red thought you might enjoy seeing some of it.
  • Call back Rusty the Fairydiddle, our intrepid little Red Squirrel Reporter, from his extended personal appearance tour following his featured role in the “Pine Holler Christmas” story, to conduct some more character interviews for you, like the one he did with Groovy Gary that time.
  • Time permitting (and we really want to do these!) the publication of separate standalone Little Red Bear stories (like “Pine Holler Christmas”) — a conservation-themed story entitled “Walking With Trees” for which I am doing extensive reading and research at present for a targeted summer release, a ‘Not-So-Frightfully-Scary’, Spooky Halloween Story for fall, and a second Christmas-themed story for the holidays, tentatively titled “Little Red Bear and the Kris Kringle Krinkle Krunch Krewe.”
  • Because many of our readers are Seniors with Little Red Bear being enjoyed from one end of the age spectrum to the other, we will attempt to make the already published books available in Large Print editions, as many have requested. But, like the publishing of other books, this one may likely require more outside technical help beyond my abilities, so will be dependent on financial resources and ability to bring this about in addition to the publication of the new works listed above. This may be the most “iffy” with hospital surgery bills coming in the mail and extended therapy copays, but again — we really would like to do this for our senior readers.
  • Lastly, in the “thinking about” stage, perhaps doing a continuing  feature with Little Red Bear, Cinnamon Charlie, and their friends in Little Red Bear Land, freely shared on the Writing Pages here in weekly installments, either in continuing serialized story form like the weekly ‘Little Orphan Annie’, ‘The Lone Ranger’, ‘Flash Gordon’, and other radio serials years ago, or with more of a “Happening This Week in Little Red Bear Land” news story approach in a Garrison Keillor “Tales From Lake Wobegon” fashion. Either way, just considering and trying to work it out with Red as possibly something fun to do and share. If you have any thoughts or suggestions on this one, which approach sounds most interesting, or other, please let us know in the comments. We would love to hear them!

Seems like an ambitious list, doesn’t it? But isn’t that the whole idea expressed by the old phrases “Shoot for the stars!”, “Reach for the sky!”, “Go for the gusto!”, “Go the limit!”, and others? The whole purpose of making the effort and stretching our abilities to improve and grow?

Little Red Bear and I may not achieve all of these goals this year, because as my ‘Robo Arm’ indicates, life can unexpectedly intervene and alter the best-made plans at times.

But the approach here has always been that small, incremental daily changes add up to big results over time, getting up each morning a little further down the road towards our goal than the previous morning and the morning before that. A decision to be healthier this time last year led to me changing my lifestyle and slowly losing just a little over a pound a week last year. No big deal.  But again, small incremental changes add up to big results over time. In my case, a 66-pound weight loss over the year, significantly reduced blood pressure, no blood sugar issues, and every pre-surgery blood test within normal ranges. Keep taking small steps, and sooner than later you will get there!

So, will we reach all of the above goals? Well, just like the weight loss, we are going to keep at it each and every day, step by step, and give it our persistent and very best effort. And whether we achieve all, some, or only a few items, we will be further down the road and in a better place with our writing work and mission than where we begin today. Little Red Bear and I feel that we are already in a better place and off to a very good start by simply having made our list and having set the guideposts for our journey this year.

In summary, Little Red Bear and I will strive to continue bringing new posts, features, and creative projects to the Writing Pages with the intention of being Entertaining, Informative, and Educational, while also helping to Encourage everyone to become their very best true self.

If we do that, we feel, that come December it will have been a very good year, and any shadows cast will all be positive.

Little Red Bear and I have set our course. The above items are intended as the Guideposts for our journey thru this new year as we continue to do our small part in trying to make the world a more kind and gentle home for every one and every thing. We hope that you will be here to join with us each step along the way!


Even if so many may not end up holding that wished-for winning lottery ticket in the coming months, there are loads of things we can engrave upon our personal slates this year before we count down the seconds with bated breath while awaiting the magical clock strike heralding the arrival of the next shiny new year.

What are your plans for the New Year? For inspiration and ideas, I invite and encourage you to visit my fellow bloggers and friends, below, as they share their thoughts about the coming year. Then, perhaps pull out a blank slate to chart your course for the year!

And if unsure or having doubts about your ability to make positive changes in your own life this year, maybe it would help you to know that both Little Red Bear and I believe in you! Just take the first small step to get started. Then the next. And the next. And the next. Then, eventually, you will look back at this time next year and see how very far you have come!

For inspiration, visit — “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” and  “Finding A Purpose Driven Life – What Would You Do If .  .  . ?”   Then get going on your slate and New Year!


Here is what my friends are doing . . . . . .

Cat Michaels
Rosie Russell
Sandra Bennett
Carmela Dutra
Julie Gorges
Shana Gorian
Corrina Holyoake
Jacqui Letran
Rebecca Lyndsey

Thanks always for spending part of your day with us here, because when all is said and done, you are why we do this! Wishing you and yours the very best as you chart your own course for this shiny new year! — Jim  (and Red!)

If you enjoyed this post, check out —  “I Will Greet This Day With Love In My Heart” 


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

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” – William James


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.

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” – Lao Tzu


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!


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


“When Everything Around You Feels All Upside Down”

“When Everything Around You Feels All Upside Down”

When everything around you feels all upside down,

It’s so easy to replace your smile with a frown.

But you really shouldn’t do it, please don’t you dare,

Knowing all those around you still truly do care.

Your smile is needed to brighten or own windblown days,

It’s helpful and reassuring in so many ways.

If you don’t think you can, please do give it a good try.

Paint a smile on if you must, just ask any clown guy.

Even when things in your life seem blown sideways and tossed,

With a smile –  Friends, Hope, and Love are never truly lost.

So please keep on smiling, dear one, that’s my heart’s wish for you,

For when we smile long enough, even big wishes come true.


Thank you for reading today!  Little Red Bear and I hope that you enjoy your visits with us, and invite you to share this poem and site with friends, neighbors, and family, and register to be notified of every new post.

By the way, Little Red Bear and I are still trying to determine “Who or What is Mickey McJibbers???” If you missed the post, please tap on the link to help us out!

A friendly smile or act of kindness can brighten someone’s day or turn a whole life around. Will you join us in sharing your smile today? Join us in the ‘Smile and Compliment’ club, and make a positive difference in someone’s life! — Jim  (and Red!)


“Peace begins with a smile.” – Mother Teresa

“Share your smile with the world. It’s a symbol of friendship and peace.” – Christie Brinkley


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

                                          “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single minute before starting to improve the world.” – Anne Frank


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, last month we were able to donate six print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to a Senior Citizens Library and Residents!

Patrons help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as an 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!


                                        “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile,                                      and sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” – Thich Nhat Hanh


 

 

 

Walking A Mile In Another’s Moccasins — What Tracks Will We Leave Behind?

The name of this heartfelt poem by Mary T. Lathrap (1838-1895) was originally titled “Judge Softly” when written in 1895, and has later come to be known by its most famous and quoted line — “Walk a Mile in His Moccasins.”

This line was quoted by my Mother to me over and over growing up, and has been attributed to various Native American tribes, but comes from this poem by Mary Lathrap. Whether she was inspired by a direct Native American contact or not I have yet to find, but it reads as heavily influenced by the conditions of Native Americans both on and off the reservations at the time.

Regardless,  it is not the title which is significant in the end,  but rather the meaning and true message of the words of Compassion, Kindness, Empathy, Tolerance, Acceptance, and Understanding still so relevant and needed in our world today, over a hundred years after it was written. Have you walked in another’s moccasins?


“Judge Softly”

“Pray, don’t find fault with the man that limps,
Or stumbles along the road.
Unless you have worn the moccasins he wears,
Or stumbled beneath the same load.

There may be tears in his soles that hurt
Though hidden away from view.
The burden he bears placed on your back
May cause you to stumble and fall, too.

Don’t sneer at the man who is down today
Unless you have felt the same blow
That caused his fall or felt the shame
That only the fallen know.

You may be strong, but still the blows
That were his, unknown to you in the same way,
May cause you to stagger and fall, too.

Don’t be too harsh with the man that sins.
Or pelt him with words, or stone, or disdain.
Unless you are sure you have no sins of your own,
And it’s only wisdom and love that your heart contains.

For you know if the tempter’s voice
Should whisper as soft to you,
As it did to him when he went astray,
It might cause you to falter, too.

Just walk a mile in his moccasins
Before you abuse, criticize and accuse.
If just for one hour, you could find a way
To see through his eyes, instead of your own muse.

I believe you’d be surprised to see
That you’ve been blind and narrow-minded, even unkind.
There are people on reservations and in the ghettos
Who have so little hope, and too much worry on their minds.

Brother, there but for the grace of God go you and I.
Just for a moment, slip into his mind and traditions
And see the world through his spirit and eyes
Before you cast a stone or falsely judge his conditions.

Remember to walk a mile in his moccasins
And remember the lessons of humanity taught to you by your elders.
We will be known forever by the tracks we leave
In other people’s lives, our kindnesses and generosity.

Take the time to walk a mile in his moccasins.”

~ by Mary T. Lathrap, 1895


“We will be known forever by the tracks we leave,” is a Lakota Native American proverb. Words of wisdom to be kept foremost in mind when choosing our actions and reactions, and the individual impacts each make upon the world around us today. And the far-reaching effects on the world we will be leaving for our children and posterity. What tracks do we each choose to leave when confronted with choices of kindness and peace, or exclusion and violence?

Thanks for visiting and spending part of your day with us. When we find ourselves rushing to judge others, we reveal more about ourselves as being someone who feels the need to judge, than about the other person. We never know what storms others may have been called to walk thru in their lives, and each of us is carrying a burden, whether seen or unseen.

Choose to brighten someone’s journey and share your smile, a kind word, or gesture today, and truly be the change you wish to see in the world.  — Jim (and Red!)


“Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another, and feeling with the heart of another.” – Alfred Adler

“If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”  — Harper Lee (‘To Kill a Mockingbird’)             


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

“Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping him up.” – Jesse Jackson


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. Patrons help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as an ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes.


“Open your mind to the world and the many different ways that can be found in it, before making hasty judgments of others. After all, the very same thing that you judge from where you are— may very well be something totally different in meaning on the other side of the world. The problem with making hasty judgments is that it will emphasize your ignorance at the end of the day.”  — C. JoyBell C.


Making the World Worthy: A Timely Reminder For Our Children and Us All — “You Are a Marvel”

Sharing an illuminating piece from Pablo Casals, applicable not only for guiding our children but for reminding ourselves, as well.

For those not familiar with the name, Pablo Casals was from Catalonia, Spain (December 29, 1876 – October 22, 1973), and is generally regarded as the pre-eminent cellist of the first half of the 20th century, and one of the greatest of all time. Also a composer and conductor, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy.

His comments seem especially relevant as so many search and attempt to find their way and place in today’s world.


“Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France.

“When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them — Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michaelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel.

And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel?

The child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn’t been, and until the end of the world will not be, another child like him.

You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children.”

— Pablo Casals


These instructive words of wisdom seem very applicable today, as so many in our society struggle with self-image issues, self-doubt, personal worth, learned hatreds and prejudices, resulting in lashing out more and more frequently with heartbreaking episodes of violence, with families and communities shattered and forever changed.

People the world over share a desire for happiness and a better life for their families. If we truly desire a peaceful, kind, compassionate, and forgiving world, not only for ourselves but for our children and children’s children, then it must start now with each of us taking responsibility for our own actions and for the age-old resentments we harbor, continue to nourish and pass along to future generations. No one is born with hatred and prejudices — they are learned.

Leaders and politicians may bluster, give speeches, form committees and convene hearings. But change, true change in society never comes from the top because attitudes and morals cannot be legislated. True changes in society invariably spread and percolate up from the bottom.

Peace and kindness for our children and the world begin with each of us as we go about our daily lives, starting with how we view and treat ourselves, our families, and our neighbors.  We must step up and “Say ‘No!’ to Violence”, and become a kinder and gentler people. Because violence and hateful rhetoric are dividing and ripping us apart.

You, like a child and along with each and every one of us, are a marvel, unique in all the history of the world and time to come. There has never been and will never be another “You!” A gift to the world. A perfect marvel capable of so much more than we imagine.

You and I each have within us the power to change the world for the better or worse. It is up to us. Do we choose to allow our light to shine, encourage, and show the way for others, or to keep it hidden while those around us continue to stumble thru the darkness and our world becomes ever more violent and intolerant? Our country and the world are in urgent and dire need of more Light.

Thanks for visiting and spending part of your day with us.  Brighten someone’s journey with your smile today, share a kind word or gesture, and truly be the change you wish to see in the world. Lead with your light for others to follow, and help to make the world worthy of its children. — Jim (and Red!)


“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 

“When we see God in each other we will be able to live in peace.” – Mother Teresa


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                           “In this world, hate never dispelled hate. Only love dispels hate.                         This is the law, ancient and inexhaustible.” – Buddha


“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” – J. R. R. Tolkien


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. Patrons help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as an ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes.


                            “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace . . . . ”  – St. Francis of Assisi


“Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus . . . . . . and More!”

Most everyone is familiar with the phrase “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” but may not be familiar with the interesting historical information behind it.

The phrase comes from an editorial entitled “Is There a Santa Claus?” first appearing in the September 21, 1897, edition of ‘The (New York) Sun’ newspaper in reply to a question sent in by a young girl. The editorial response has since become the most reprinted newspaper editorial in the English language.

As the story goes, eight-year-old Laura Virginia O’Hanlon first asked her father the question “Is there a Santa Claus?”  Virginia’s father, Dr. Phillip O’Hanlon, a coroner’s assistant in Manhattan, suggested that she write a letter to the prominent ‘Sun’ newspaper, advising that “If you see it in ‘The Sun’, it’s so.”

There is some question due to the wording if Virginia actually completely penned the letter herself at age eight, or more likely with the aid of her father. Regardless, the query arrived at ‘The Sun’. Few may be aware of the rest of the story.

The editor who prepared the response to Virginia’s question was named Francis Pharcellus Church. Interestingly, Mr. Church had been a war correspondent during the devastating and horrific American Civil War and suffered from a great loss of faith and hope in society afterward.  He was a hardened cynic, an atheist not given to superstition, curmudgeonly, and wanted no part of writing the newspaper’s reply, to the point of initially not allowing his name to even be attached to the piece.

Nevertheless, Mr. Church’s response turned out to be a masterful testimony much more far-reaching than the original, simple Santa Claus question. Addressing the philosophical issues of not only the existence of Santa Claus, he uncharacteristically affirmed hope, encouragement, generosity, love, and faith, as well.

Despite being placed seventh in order on the newspaper’s editorial page, even appearing below an article on the newly-invented chainless bicycle, Mr. Church’s reply was both noticed and well-received by readers, taking on a subsequent life of its own which has endured over a century and still going strong.

Reprinting here for everyone, should you wish to share this inspiring piece with your family this holiday season . . . .


“We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

“Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.

“We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

“Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

“You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

“No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.”


Virginia went on later in life to become an educator, receiving a doctorate from Fordham University in 1930, with her dissertation on ‘The Importance of Play’, a theme later echoed famously by Fred (Mr.) Rogers, that play is actually the work of childhood.  Later in life, she credited Mr. Church’s editorial response to her Santa Claus letter to influencing and shaping the direction of her life in a positive manner. She passed away on May 13, 1971, at the age of eighty-one.

At the time of the editorial reply, Francis Pharcellus Church was fifty-eight years old. He passed away a few years later at the age of sixty-seven and is buried in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, New York. He had no children.

One wonders what forces of the Universe combined to bring together such an unlikely pairing? An innocent young girl and her curiosity about Santa Claus, and a childless curmudgeon, to inspire a timeless literary piece of love, generosity, and devotion.

What would the world be and what would we do without Santa Claus? Without Kindness, Hope, Faith, Love, Compassion, Generosity, and Charity? Without Santa Claus embodying the Spirit of Christmas?  Without our faith and belief in the unseen? Truly, there is nothing more real, indeed. May the Spirit of Christmas continue to live within and inspire us all.

Thank You always for visiting and spending part of your day with us! And in the words of Charles Dickens thru Tiny Tim —“God bless us, every one!”  — Jim  (and Red!)


“They err who think Santa Claus enters through the chimney. He enters through the heart.” — Charles W. Howard

“Of course there is a Santa Claus. It’s just that no single somebody could do all he has to do.            So the Lord has spread the task among us all. That’s why everybody is Santa Claus.        I am. You are.” — Truman Capote


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“Whenever you give someone a present or sing a holiday song, you’re helping Santa Claus. To me, that’s what Christmas is all about. Helping Santa Claus!” — Louis Sachar


“To say there is no Santa Claus is the most erroneous statement in the world. Santa Claus is a thought that is passed from generation to generation. After time this thought takes on a human form. Maybe if all children and adults understand the symbolism of this thought                             we can actually attain Peace on Earth and good will to men everywhere.”                 —  Charles W. Howard


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. Patrons help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as an ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes.


“Whenever anyone was unselfish, that was Santa Claus. Christmas Eve was the time when everybody was unselfish. On that one night, Santa Claus was everywhere, because          everybody, all together, stopped being selfish and wanted other people to be happy.         And in the morning you saw what that had done.” — Laura Ingalls Wilder


 

 

“That’s What Christmas Is All About, Charlie Brown . . . .”

The morning of December 9th, 1965 found me one week away from my 16th birthday, approaching nearly not fast enough at the time, as you may well imagine. That evening featured the debut of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” on the CBS television network, based on my favorite comic strip “Peanuts” by creator Charles Schulz. The show remains a much-anticipated classic and delight each holiday season for millions of viewers to this day. Fifty-two years have not diluted the show’s message.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Lights, please . . . .”


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

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

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

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


And that is what Christmas is all about. For Charlie Brown. For Linus, Lucy, and Snoopy. For us all. The reason for the season, as they say. Christmas, it turns out, does indeed mean a little bit more.


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


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

Peace, Good Will, Kindness, Generosity, Charity, Compassion, Empathy, Love — none of these are or should be exclusive or seasonal things, as we should truly keep them in our hearts throughout the year.  The Christmas Season is an annual reminder of how we should be always, for everyone and all things in this miraculous and beautiful world we all share and call home.

Thank You for visiting and spending part of your day with us.  Wishing you and yours a very Merry and Blessed Christmas and holiday season! A simple act of kindness or encouraging word can change someone’s entire life around. Will you do that for someone today? In the Spirit of Christmas.  — Jim  (and Red!)


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

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


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


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


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today. Patrons help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as an ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes.


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


 

I Will Greet This Day With Love In My Heart!

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

I will greet this day with love in my heart.

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

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

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

I will greet this day with love in my heart.

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

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

He who loves finds the gate open.”

— Rabindranath Tagore

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

Family Times — Together Times — The Best Times!

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

Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages and Fitness Levels!
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Family Sundays Together –Celebrate National Mom and Dad’s Day!

Happy Family Sunday!  Three cheers for ‘Team Mom and Dad’!  Today on November 13th, we celebrate National Mom and Dad’s Day!

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are set aside to recognize and honor each individually with their own special day, but Mom and Dad’s Day has been established to spotlight the “Mom & Dad Team”, the combined unit together. And in an increasingly fractured society, isn’t that what we need more of — Moms and Dads working together —  to restore family values and home life for our children and the future?

What better way to observe the day in honor of Team Mom and Dad than celebrating it together with the family?  Spending time together with our parents, and with our own children that make us Moms and Dads ourselves.

Image Credit -- Grandparents.com

Image Credit — Grandparents.com

And who hasn’t been tag-teamed by their Mom and Dad at one time or another?

“Mom, can I do this?” — “Go ask your Father.”

“Dad, can I do this?” — “Go ask your Mother.”

“Mom, Dad said to ask you again. Can I do this?”  — “Well, if your Father says it is okay.”

“Dad, Mom said I could do it if it’s okay with you.” — “Well, it’s really up to your Mother.”

“Mom, Dad said it was up to you.” — “Well, I don’t know, dear. Check back with your Father.”

A time-tested routine that works almost every time. Because sooner or later, most kids just give up somewhere between the family room and the kitchen and just say “never mind.”  Another victory for “Team Mom and Dad”. The ability to say “No” without actually saying so. Kind of like a Pocket Veto.

Image Credit -- TodaysParent.com

Image Credit — TodaysParent.com

Of course, the strategy for overcoming the tag team defense was to do an end-around and catch Mom and Dad together in the same room.  Sometimes it would result in a score.  But risking a numbers game, other times the end-around strategy could backfire and result in a brutal rejection, like a guarded basketball net,  when they had you outnumbered two to one in the same room.

But since it was the only play in the kid playbook with any chance of success, after the third or fourth round trip to the kitchen it was the only option available other than giving up entirely, which is what the tag team defense was designed to achieve in the first place. Of course, I suppose the object of the game on both sides was to wear the opponent down until they submitted.  But in a single contest, parents most always have the numbers on their side.

Image Credit -- FamilyShare.org

Image Credit — FamilyShare.org

I speak of this now after having raised four children of my own and having experienced the game from both sides of the field.  My parents were accomplished masters at the tag team game.  We never quite achieved their level of success in establishing the impenetrable tag team defense with our children, which my parents seemed so easily adept at and able to pull off each time.  But then again, they always had me outnumbered, dealing with only one opponent because my sister was much older and already enlisted on their side.

Our four children had the distinct advantage of being able to work in tag teams of their own, applying relentless pressure on the defense. We seemed to invariably get trapped by the vaunted end-arounds by our kids, cornered on the couch and surrounded on all four sides. When the question before the court was not a life or death issue, relenting frequently seemed the only reasonable chance of emerging from the encounter with our sanity and scalps still intact.  So maybe it is a numbers game, after all.

“One of the most important things we adults can do for young children is to model the kind of person we would like them to be.”                              — Carol B. Hillman

So let’s celebrate the dedication and love of Moms and Dads together, and hats off and huzzahs for the Mom and Dad Team! And to single parents who lovingly and determinedly wear the hats of both roles. Parenting is not an easy job and doesn’t come with an instruction book. And no child seems to arrive complete with an operator’s manual. But the rewards are priceless.

Today is a special day to do something nice for Mom and Dad, or to treat yourself and children to a celebration day of ‘Team Family’.

Image Credit -- DeeperWaters.us

Image Credit — DeeperWaters.us

November 13th is also World Kindness Day.  Practicing and Teaching kindness and compassion right in your home is a great place to start. Children live what they learn, and learn by what they see. Moms and Dads — do a random act of kindness for someone, and show the kids how it’s done! And you don’t need to go far. Mother Teresa put it well — ” Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.” Start right in your own family — today.

Image Credit -- TheDailyQuotes.com

Image Credit — TheDailyQuotes.com

Happy Moms and Dads Day!  Happy Kindness Day!  Happy Family Day!  

Wishing everyone a beautiful autumn and family Sunday celebrating Moms and Dads and Kindness — together!

Family Times — Together Times — The Best Times 

Thanks as always for visiting! The special Christmas Story for Little Red Bear and the crew has passed thru the editing stage and coming right along.  Please stay tuned for updates soon, and have a wonderful upcoming week!  —  Jim (and Red!)

Image Credit -- THINKSTOCK

Image Credit — THINKSTOCK

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

 

“Empathy — Walking a Mile in Their Moccasins”

As a kid growing up, to me my Mother was a suburban housewife, no different from all the other kids’ moms.  Getting me off to school in the morning, keeping up the house while dad worked, having dinner ready when he got home.  Doing the shopping and all the other household tasks of a 1950’s and 60’s housewife.

Only now, can I look back to realize and appreciate the rich Southern, Country and Native American background and traditions that my mother also brought to my upbringing. She had familiar and time-worn phrases that she would repeat over and over again which have stayed with me all my life. In retrospect, she was probably the wisest person I have ever known. One of her favorite admonitions was — “Never judge someone until you have walked a mile in their moccasins,” from the 1895 poem by Mary T. Lathrap.

Empathy 33

Everyone has a story and a chapter they are living today in that story, and we are all part of the whole.  What happens to one of us happens to all of us.    The world needs more Empathy.  So often we toss out the well-intentioned “Hey, how ya doin’?” without pause while we keep on walking.   What if we stopped our own pursuits  for a minute and meaningfully asked — “Really, how are you doing?”  And cared.

Empathy 27

The following is a wonderful, heartfelt video produced by the Cleveland Clinic which can be extended beyond the hospital walls to the world outside.   When you look at someone, do you observe the outward appearance of the person in front of you, or do you feel and see the story of the individual?

 “Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?” — Henry David Thoreau

Everyone is living their own story, facing their own struggles and battles, most of which we are not aware, and it gets lonely in the trenches sometimes. We need to take the time and make the effort to learn the stories to let someone know they are not alone.

Thanks as always for visiting!  Help make the world a more caring and better place today.   — Jim  (and Red!)

Empathy 25

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