For National Poetry Month — “The Story of Jack and Jill Retold”

With the month of April and National Poetry Month winding down, my writing muse urged me to give poetry another go before returning to work with Little Red Bear on his adventure stories.

If new to my writing pages site and a poetry fan, I invite you to find more on my new Dime Rhymes page for generally shorter works, along with more poems and short stories under the ‘Short Works & Free Reads’ tab at the top of the page.

So, hope you enjoy this retelling of an old classic, with a twist.  As in ‘twisting’ the top off and first licking the cream filling inside, of course.


“The Story of Jack and Jill Retold”

Jack and Jill

Went up the hill,

To fetch a pail of Oreo’s.

Neither fell down,

Nor broke their crown,

Whilst on a break from after-school jobs at Florio’s.

For while pizza is fine and always a treat,

Cookies on a hilltop can never be beat!

Simply licking cookies sitting under a tree,

It all sounds like a very good time, to me.

Playfully seeking out hidden shapes in a cloud,

Proclaiming discoveries, exclaiming out loud.

Moments to enjoy, look back and reflect,

Gather our thoughts, and with spirit connect.

We all should go on retreats of peace now and then,

For when the next chance may come, we never know when.

Made a few revisions to the old tale this day,

With no one being injured, at work or at play.

Just a little retelling, another fun poem,

Which should be no surprise, as by now we all know ‘em.

So, our Jack and Jill

Went up that hill,

Enjoying their pail of Oreo’s.

Time spent together,

Is always a treasure,

But now back to writing short story-o’s.


Thanks for visiting with us once again!  Please remember, happiness is a decision and way of travel, experiencing the journey along the way, not a destination.  Be kind and the reason someone smiles today!  —  Jim (and Red!)


 Family Times — Together Times — The Best Times!


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

“So of cheerfulness, or a good temper, the more it is spent, the more it remains.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson


 

Advertisements

“Warning” Poem by Jenny Joseph — “When I Grow Old, I Shall Wear Purple”

With April being ‘National Poetry Month’ and a focus on spreading awareness and appreciation of poetry, it seems appropriate to share a few favorites along the way.

The “Warning” poem by English poet Jenny Joseph (born May 7, 1932 in Birmingham) is one such poem, because I hear her speaking to each of us, male or female, in an ode to nonconformity, one of my personal favorite rants and topics.   In a humorous, tongue-in-cheek and  fun way, Jenny Joseph conveys a serious message for all, to never take ourselves too seriously or lose the twinkle in our eyes.

Age, after all, truly is only a number.  Contrary to earlier admonitions in my youth to the opposite — “Act your shoe size, not your age!”  It’s a lot more fun.

“Warning” was penned in 1961 at the age of twenty-nine.  Although having published many works in her lifetime and having received numerous awards, Jenny Joseph is best known for this defining poem.  The second line became the inspiration for the founding of the Red Hat Society, the self-described playgroup for women where there is “Fun and Friendship After Fifty.”

“Warning: When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple” and Jenny Joseph’s other works are available on Amazon.


“Warning” by Jenny Joseph

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple,
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves,
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired,
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells,
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain,
And pick flowers in other people’s gardens,
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat,
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go,
Or only bread and pickle for a week,
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry,
And pay our rent and not swear in the street,
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised,
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.


Interestingly, Jenny Joseph is apparently not a fan of the color purple in her own wardrobe (“It doesn’t suit me”), even though the two have perhaps become inseparably linked thru her poem.  But for her to now wear purple against her own personal tastes would be to conform to popular expectations, and that’s really what the poem is all about, isn’t it?

Thanks for stopping by and visiting with us.  Always remember, one very small act of kindness can change someone’s whole day or life around.  Be the reason someone smiles today! — Jim (and Red!)


“Life is short, and it is up to you to make it sweet.” – Sarah Louise Delany

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


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

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein


 

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

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

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

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

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

— Erma Bombeck

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

Family Times — Together Times — The Best Times!


Counting to Ten — Watching Our Words and Actions

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

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

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

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

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

— Thomas Jefferson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Family Times — Together Times — The Best Times!

 Peace  —  Compassion  —  Kindness  —  Love


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

~ Think Globally — Act Locally ~


Share the Love and Give a Book on Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines Day!  Did you know that Valentines Day is also International Book Giving Day?  With few large and organized events, Book Giving Day is more of a grassroots movement all about sharing our Love of Reading on that very special day of Love each year — Valentines Day.

Valentines Day is a day dedicated to expressing our fondness and love of others — sweethearts, partners, family, friends, co-workers, classmates, neighbors and more.  What better way to show someone how much you care than to gift them a book?

“How?” you ask?  There are lots of ways.  Wrap a book as a present and gift for someone special in your life.  It’s Valentines Day, so lovingly tuck a red rose into the ribbons, if appropriate.  Leave a copy of a book in a doctor’s or dentist’s waiting room for others to share.  Donate gently-used books to your local school, library, hospital, senior center, homeless shelter or orphanage.  Leave a book behind at a coffee shop or restaurant table. Gift a book or eBook thru Amazon or other online services in an email message for friends and loved ones in other areas of the country or world.

Books have the capacity to open new worlds of information and change someone’s life in so many ways.  Here are Ten Reasons Why Books Are So Important.   Books can also be revisited and enjoyed many times in a person’s lifetime.  And can shamelessly be re-gifted to benefit another along the way!

This year, Little Red Bear and I have partnered with a group of wonderful authors to give away copies of our own books.  I encourage you to tap on their names to visit these wonderful writers and their works.

Little Red Bear and I are giving away two eReader copies each of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” short story collection and the brand new “Pine Holler Christmas: A Little Red Bear Story”.

Our book giveaway runs now thru February 15th.  The more actions completed, the better chance of winning a free book for yourself, family or loved one.  Simply tap on the link to get started — Tap Here To Enter Our Books Giveaway!

The ‘Fine Print’ stuff — Terms and Conditions: There is NO purchase necessary to enter or win. Winners will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget within 48 hours and notified by email once the giveaway ends. The winners will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner(s) do not respond within 72 hours, a new winner(s) will be chosen. This giveaway is open to all who live in and outside of the US. However, as there are several sponsors of this giveaway who live both domestic and international. Print books are available only for domestic country of author origin; ebooks offered outside author’s country of origin at their discretion.

Thanks always for visiting!  Please join these wonderful authors and me in supporting literacy and reading on International Book Giving Day.  Share the Love and Give a Book this year on Valentines Day!  — Jim  (and Red!)

Family Times — Together Times — The Best Times!

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

 

 

 

International Book Giving Day — Why Reading Is So Important!

February 14th is not only Valentines Day, but also International Book Giving Day!  As such, I have partnered with some wonderful author friends from around the world to give away some copies of our books, hoping to inspire you to do the same.

Give a book you enjoy or one that you think may benefit someone — to a child, a loved one, family member(s), neighbor, or friend.  Donate some new or gently used books to your local library, to a local school, civic group, or to a local hospital.  Leave a copy of a book in the waiting room of a doctor’s or dentist’s office, or at a homeless shelter.  There are many ways to help spread the love of reading.

“Why is reading so important?” some ask.  With help from the folks at WhytoRead.com, let’s count the ways . . . . . . .

  1. Reading Helps to Develop Verbal Abilities. Readers tend to have a larger vocabulary and more ways of expressing themselves, while also helping to avoid acting out or remedies of violence.
  2. Reading Improves Focus and Concentration. Sitting down with a book requires longer periods of focus and concentration, developing attention spans.
  3. Readers Tend to Enjoy the Arts and Work to Improve the World. Readers are more likely to visit museums, attend concerts and the like, and are more likely to volunteer and to do charity work.
  4. Reading Improves Imagination. Reading about new worlds and peoples and having to create the images from the written words in one’s mind as opposed to merely viewing on a screen, develops creative and imaginative abilities.
  5. Reading Makes You Smarter. Having books available at home has been strongly linked to improved academic performance.  It’s all about learning.
  6. Reading Makes One Interesting and Attractive. The knowledge base and exposure to the world acquired thru reading allows one to hold their own and meaningfully contribute to conversations, as opposed to slinking off not to embarrass oneself.
  7. Reading Reduces Stress. In a study performed at Mindlab International at the University of Sussex, test subjects only needed to read silently to themselves for six minutes to slow down their heart rate and ease muscle tension.
  8. Reading Improves Your Memory.  As opposed to listening to a tape or lecture, reading provides the opportunity to pause for reflection and critical thinking, which also serves to improve memory retention capabilities.
  9. Reading Gives Us The Opportunity to Discover and Create Ourselves.  Being exposed to others’ lives, situations, feelings, opinions and perspectives allows each of us to examine our own life in the light of new knowledge and experience, learn life skills, and to develop who we really are and seek to be.
  10. Reading is Entertainment. Reading is fun, pure and simple. With due respect to all of the above, reading is also wonderfully Entertaining, allowing us to explore new worlds, escape for a mental vacation, and to be absorbed and immersed in a story or adventure for hours and hours. And to revisit as often as we like at no extra charge.  Take “The Adventures of Little Red Bear” for example. Where else can one go on the planet to a place where the animals and humans interact as equals and share hair-raising adventures, while learning about the natural world, kindness and positivity at the same time?

So, that is why reading is truly important.  We have joined together to give away a selection of both Print and eReader books.  Our book giveaway runs now thru February 15th.  The more actions completed, the better chance of winning a free book for yourself.  Simply tap on the link below to get started.

Tap Here To Enter Our Books Giveaway!

Terms and Conditions: There is NO purchase necessary to enter or win. Winners will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget within 48 hours and notified by email once the giveaway ends. The winners will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner(s) do not respond within 72 hours, a new winner(s) will be chosen. This giveaway is open to all who live in and outside of the US. However, as there are several sponsors of this giveaway who live both domestic and international. Print books are available only for domestic country of author origin; ebooks offered outside author’s country of origin at their discretion.

Tap Here To Enter Our Books Giveaway!

 

Thanks always for visiting!  Please join my friends and me in supporting literacy and reading on International Book Giving Day.  The world will be better for it! — Jim (and Red!)

Family Times — Together Times — The Best Times!

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

Happy Friday the 13th! Fact or Fallacy?

Today is the dreaded “Friday the 13th!” Ooooh, scary! Or perhaps not, depending on your individual outlook and experience with the date. But for many, and not to make light, the phobia is very real.

So many folks have such an innate fear of the number “13” that it has been given a scientific name — “triskaidekaphobia”. Many folks supposedly also have a traditional fear of Fridays, TGIF notwithstanding. Coupling them together, a Friday falling on the 13th of the month, can be doubly stressing. And it happens once, twice or up to three times every year.

The term applied for anyone so afflicted, fearing “Friday the 13th” is “friggatriskaidekaphobia”, from Frigga, the name of the Norse goddess for whom Friday is named, and triskaidekaphobia, or fear of the number thirteen. It is also known as “paraskevidekatriaphobia”, from the Greek Paraskevi for Friday, dekatreis for thirteen and phobia for fear.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now we have an Ice Storm Warning outside of St. Louis here today on Friday the 13th, lasting thru Sunday. Would that count as Friday the 13th bad luck?  Or merely coincidence?

What kind of a day is Friday the 13th for you? Do you have (hopefully not) unfortunate accident stories to share? Malevolent, ill-tempered or unlucky ladders encountered, perhaps?  Examples of serendipitous good fortune or happiness?  Maybe it all is a matter of personal experience and outlook, after all.  Whatever your views on the day, Little Red Bear and I wish you a wonderful, safe and happy Friday the 13th!

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

Family Times — Together Times — The Best Times!