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February 20, 2015 Edition Why do socks never stay on a baby’s feet? Here are a few of my observations. Being super flexible, babies can bring their feet all the way up to their faces. They then can pull off their socks and feast on their tasty little piggies, all the while giggling with delight. Remember when you could do that? Babies also squirm and kick and writhe and stretch a lot, so with no shoes to hold them in place, socks work their way down and eventually fall off completely. Another reason socks don’t stay on tiny baby feet is an anatomical one. My adorable infant granddaughter has “cankles.” For those of you who don’t know what cankles are, they are the areas where chubby calves abruptly converge with chubby ankles. The straight cut of most socks refuse to cooperate with the triangular shape of cankles. Why is any of this information important? None of it is. But I bet some part of it made you smile.

#1 – Your Inner Child
3 things Kids Can Do that Can Lead to Self-Love and Happiness Think back to the days when you were a child. Do those memories bring a smile to your face? What feelings do you have when you think of your childhood and when did those feelings change, if they did? Somewhere along the way, most of us lose our inner child, the part of of us that is joyful, open, and inquisitive. In her article 3 Things Kids Do That Can Lead to Self-Love & Happiness, life coach Theresa Ho reminds us of ways we can nurture our inner child and develop more self-love. I particularly like the Jean Shinoda Bolen quote in the introduction: “When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.”

#2 – It’s A(Door)Able
A(Door)Able Game Here’s a mini game for you to play on your computer. Use the arrow keys on your keypad to pick up a key and stick it in a door on your screen. Sounds easy, right? Not so! To play this A(Door)Able “minute-long” game, you must have nimble fingers and act quickly. My husband got through the game and was able to see the cute surprise ending. Have fun playing!

#3 – Flower Power
Three Dimensional Photo Just in time for spring, here’s a clever way to capture the spirit of the moment and frame a photo. The vibe for Flower Embellished Photo Art is so happy and carefree. Think of all the different materials you could use alternatively to get the feel you want.

#4 – Paying It Forward
Looking for another way to pay it forward? Look at the thoughtful example that Rosa’s Fresh Pizza parlor in Philadelphia started. Other businesses should take note.

#5 – There’s No Outgrowing It
“A baby is born with a need to be loved – and never outgrows it.”
Frank A. Clark

Now go and spread joy!

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Praying Mantis ImageOh! Hello, young praying mantis. Would you mind holding that pose while I run inside to get my camera and tripod? Minutes later, I came out to find my new garden friend still sitting there on a leaf by my front door. As my camera lens zoomed in on him, I saw one of his five eyeballs rotate towards me and I noticed the slight up and down bobbing of his curled tail. I’m still experimenting with the macro aspect of my new camera, but fortunately I’ve found a “willing” subject to pose for me!

#1 – Praying Mantis Trivia
Praying Mantis Image In case you’re like me and you think it’s always good to know a little something about everything, here’s some interesting information about these fascinating creatures from the site ThePrayingMantis.org:

A. The word “mantis” comes from the Greek word meaning prophet.

B. The earliest fossils of the praying mantis are from Oligocene, a geologic epoch dating around 23 to 34 million years ago.

C. The praying mantis has excellent eyesight and can see up to about 50 feet away.

D. The praying mantis is the only insect that can rotate its alien-like head almost completely around!

E. In most mantids there is one ear in a form of a small slit near the legs and has two eardrums and tuned to 25-60 kHz, which allows them to hear the ultrasonic sounds of bats as they near so they can dodge them quickly.

F. The praying mantis is actually more closely related to the cockroach than to grasshoppers!

G. A State Insect? Yes, it is true. The European Mantis (mantis religiosa), a native of Southern Europe became the official State Insect of Connecticut on October 1st, 1977!

#2 – A Happy Home
Entry way bench No matter where you live or what your state insect is, being happy in your home adds joy to life. The site Hooked on Houses posted this list of 10 Ways To Be Happy At Home:

1. Stop resenting what your house isn’t and start appreciating what it is. There is always something to be thankful for!

2. Respect it enough not to clutter it up with things you don’t really like or need.

3. Have a comfortable chair in a quiet corner where you can read and recharge.

4. Turn the TV off and your favorite music on.

5. Keep fresh flowers on your kitchen windowsill in glass jars or bud vases.

6. Try eating dinner by candlelight, with music, for no special reason. And use your best dishes.

7. Create character where there isn’t any – crown molding works wonders!

8. Surround yourself with your favorite “happy colors,” whether they’re trendy or not.

9. Display something from your childhood that you treasure.

10. Don’t try to replicate the look of a model home. Strive to create spaces that exude warmth, love, comfort, and peace.

The author then asked for readers’ input which led to an additional 20 More Ways To Be Happy At Home.

#3 – The Pixel Painter

Art by Hal Lasko

Art by Hal Lasko

97-year-old Hal Lasko is an incredible and inspirational man. He is now blind and deaf, but that doesn’t stop him from doing what what he loves to do – create art. An online article about Lasko says this: Using an outdated version of Microsoft Paint, Hal Lasko is able to create anything from pixelated nature-inspired sceneries, animal portraits or abstract pieces. Building works of art pixel by pixel is a time-consuming process, but 97-year-old Grandpa says he has learned to be patient and never rush the creative process.

Prints of Mr. Lasko’s art are for sale with 10% of the proceeds going to Veterans of Foreign War programs.

#4 – Mah Jong Addiction
Mah Jong After my husband helped my mom upgrade her computer software, she complained that she didn’t like the new computer Mah Jong game he installed. There was one specific version she liked for its layout. After some searching, he found a compatible version for her to try. She’s very happy with it, but the only problem now is . . . he and I can’t stop playing it. Rev up those brain cells and try playing this Mah Jong game, but tell yourself you’ll only play it once! Click here for a link to a video on how to play the game.

#5 – Life
“Don’t go through life; grow through life.”
Eric Butterworth

Have a great weekend!

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pink spring bud

Photo by Linnell Chang

Spring promises hope with its mix of weather. Rain washes away dusty days and dim outlooks. The sun hastens growth and invigorates. Renewal and rebirth for all  – inside and out. Life is transformed on many levels.

#1 – Women Unite!
Global Mom Relay Women unite! We have the power to change the world! By sharing a daily post on the Global Mom Relay site everyday, we are helping a woman or a child somewhere in the world.

The United Nations Foundation states this about its Global Mom Relay:
From now until May 8, moms are powering an online conversation about motherhood to unlock donations. Every time you share a relay post on Facebook, Twitter, or email or donate $5 or more as part of the relay, a $5 donation (up to $8,000 per day) will be donated by Johnson & Johnson and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to one of four initiatives that are helping women and children lead healthy and happy lives – Girl Up, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA), and the Shot@Life campaign. Led by co-chairs, Arianna Huffington, Jennifer Lopez, Lynda Lopez, Elizabeth Gore, and Sharon D’Agostino, the relay is in support of Every Woman Every Child, a movement launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to save the lives of 16 million women and children by 2015.

The first step is easy. Read this article, Mothers Rewriting the Future and share it!

#2 – The Joy of Books
Hey book lovers – you know how books have a way of coming alive? This video is for you!

#3 – An Eight Letter Game
Get those cobwebs out of your head. Play Eight Letters!  It’s a little like playing Boggle. You must create as many words as possible with the eight letters you are given, in the allotted amount of time. There are extra challenges, too. Each level has a target amount of points for you to reach, plus after every five levels there is a bonus anagram to solve.

#4 – Find Your Passion
find your passion test There are only ten questions in the Find Your Passion exercise. The first one reads, “When I was a kid, I dreamed of _______.” Working through these questions, I surprised myself with some of my answers. The answers were so obvious, but evidently not to me, until now. It’s taken me decades to come around full circle and to finally see that the things I have passion for are the same things I enjoyed doing as a kid. The Find Your Passion exercise is part of O’s 4-Step Guide to Discovering Who You’re Meant to Be.

#5 – Dare to Bloom
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
Anais Nin

 Enjoy your weekend! Bloom!!

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With only a few weeks left before my son’s wedding, I am the picture of calm. Why then, does everyone ask me, “How are you doing? Are you stressed, yet?” Each time I smile and calmly reply, “No, no, of course not. I’m fine!” Their questions create momentary panic, though, and I begin to doubt myself. Should I be stressed? Why aren’t I stressed? Have I forgotten to do something? There must be something I’ve overlooked, because I’m not stressed. Then my “To Do” list pops into my head and I mentally review all the things that still must be done prior to the wedding. No worries, I have things under control – at least the things that I can control!

#1 – Room in a Box

For the last couple of years, my motto has been, “Less is More.” This new outlook of mine will shock those that know me as a collector and part-time hoarder, but it developed as I moved child after child out of their apartments and into new ones. When I saw this clever Room in a Box , my first thought was, “Wow, that would be so easy to move!

#2 – Sew and Sew

I could write a book about my recent woes with seamstresses. I ordered and purchased a dress from a bridal store for my son’s upcoming wedding. After two rounds of alterations, the dress was so tight, I could not move in it. When I complained about the fit to the dress designer/owner of the shop, she said, “You didn’t tell me you wanted to move. I thought you just wanted to look good in the pictures!” Seriously! In desperation I bought another dress to wear to the wedding and had the alterations done at the major department store where it was purchased. When I received the altered dress, I was disappointed to discover that one of the darts was noticeably puckered all along the seam. When my other son, the best man, took his dress shirt and wedding suit jacket to yet another place for alterations, one jacket sleeve turned out shorter than the other. The tailor had neglected to measure both of my son’s arms. I’ve learned my lesson and thank goodness I found a skilled seamstress who corrected the others’ poor workmanship issues. If you’re looking for a tailor/seamstress, make sure to read this article 10 Tips for Finding Your Perfect Tailor first!

#3 – Deal or No Deal?

A game of chance and a fun diversion from working at the computer, this game is very much like its television version. Deal or No Deal tests your luck and intuition. Select a briefcase and set it aside. Open up one briefcase at a time, hoping that you don’t come across the one that contains $100,000,000 because you want that amount to be in your briefcase. During the process the bank will tease and entice you with different dollar amounts to buy you out. On my first go-round my instinct led me to set aside briefcase #4 and I won a million dollars! If only it could be that easy!

#4 – Career Advice
What if you could receive career advice from someone at the very top of your chosen field? Let’s say a Nobel laureate. In the article, Careers Advice from Nobel Prizewinners, a few Nobel laureates were asked what advice they would give to someone planning a career in physics. Although their exact replies centered on scientific studies, the heart of their advice applies to any person pursuing any career:

1. You need passion.
2. Mentors matter.
3. You have to go out on a limb.
4. A dose of humility helps.
5. You can’t do it all.
6. Pursue your passion.

#5 – Do What You Came Here to Do
It is very important that you only do what you love to do. You may be poor, you may go hungry, you may lose your car, you may have to move into a shabby place to live, but you will totally live. And at the end of your days you will bless your life because you have done what you came here to do.
— Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Have a great weekend!

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Zooming in on three bees crawling on a purple thistle flower, I snap a photo and say to my husband, “Do you see what they’re doing?” As we stand in the warm Southern California sunshine, he replies, “Spreading pollen?” I look at him and say, “Yes, but they’re also ‘thistling’ while they work. Get it?”

#1 – Signs of Happiness
If you are happy, you will recognize these signs of happiness. If you are not happy, well, maybe it’s a sign that something needs to change in your life.
10 Signs of True Happiness - Networx

#2 – What About You, Now?
Mick Ebeling, the founder of the Not Impossible Foundation, poses these questions to people he meets, “If not now, then when? If not me, then who?” In this TED video he talks about how he and a team developed an invention that unlocked a paralyzed artist’s lost world.

#3 – Mind Games
Like your body, your brain needs exercise to stay in tip-top shape. After you do your morning stretches and exercises, sit down and play a few brain games. Play Mind Tree every day to keep your brain agile and alert. It will challenge your skills in logic, awareness, arithmetic and memory.

#4 – Love Stories

I’ve previously posted links to the blog Marc and Angel Hack Life and to its sister site Makes Me Think. I love reading both sites because they make me think and they inspire me to be better and to do more. 60 Tiny Love Stories to Make You Smile is a nice combination of both blogs.

#5 – The Best Day of Your Life
“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey – and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.”
Bob Moawad

Enjoy your weekend!

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Words failed me when the dressmaker said, “You didn’t tell me you wanted to move your arms!” Had I been wrong to assume that a store designing mother-of-the groom dresses would know that dancing and hugging were an integral part of any wedding? Defensively, she went on to say that models and movie stars can’t move in their dresses either. Her ludicrous words still ring in my ears and with only two months to go until the wedding and no dress to wear, words fail me again.

#1 – Word Portraits
While a reading volunteer at an inner-city elementary school, artist Judy Gelles found that children’s real-life stories were more captivating than the stories she was helping them to read. After interviewing 4th graders from around the world, she created word portraits – the combination of an image of a child with their answers to specific questions. The accumulation of these word portraits yields an insightful social commentary aptly titled, “4th Grade.”

#2 – Pillow Talk
Surround yourself with your favorite words or sayings by stenciling them on pillows. Follow the easy steps for this DIY project. These pillows would also make great gifts – think graduation!

#3 – Word Ruffle
Word Ruffle is a game that that challenges your vocabulary and spelling. You are given a set of letters and must make as many words as possible. In order to qualify for the next level you must create increasingly longer words until you run out of time. For help, hit the “ruffle” button to rearrange the letters.

#4 – Watch the Words
Watch the movie. Find the words.


Were you able to find the different meanings and uses of words in this 3 minute video?

#5 – Meanings Behind Words

There’s always . . .
A little truth behind every “Just kidding.”
A little knowledge behind every “I don’t know.”
A little emotion behind every “I don’t care.”
A little pain behind every “It’s okay.”
A little fear behind every “Leave me alone.”
A little hope behind every “Goodbye.”
There’s always “something” behind every “nothing.”
Unknown

Enjoy your weekend!

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Stones, tumbled by the sea, collect on the shore. The waters have worn some smooth and round, while others remain irregular and pockmarked. That they existed in the same turbulent waters, but weathered the forces differently, can only be attributed to their individual compositions and, perhaps, the length of exposure. If you were one of these stones, which one would you be? What are you made of? What qualities do you possess to help you weather the ups and downs in life?

#1- Top Five Regrets
Recognizing that this blog is about sharing and encouraging joy, I was at first hesitant about linking to the Top Five Regrets of the Dying as recounted by palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware. As I read through the article, though, I realized that it reinforced the belief that an authentic life is a life of joy. Here are the top five regrets, but to get the most from these lessons, it’s best to read the article in its entirety:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

#2 – Another Way to Recycle Newspapers
Here’s a creative undertaking that involves recycling newspaper in an unusual way. Italian artist Ivano Vitali uses strips of newsprint and, without the use of any adhesives, spins them into balls of yarn and crochets them into pieces using custom-made hooks and needles. Check out his Zero Impact Global Art website and be inspired to find new ways to recycle.

#3 – The Game You Can’t Stop
In The Game You Can’t Stop small balls of different colors drop from the top of the game that you must try to deflect using your computer mouse which controls a large ball at the bottom. As you deflect the small balls, you must attempt to connect three balls of the same color to score. Warning: Don’t play this brain game unless you have a little time to spare!

#4 – Super Bowl Snacks
Is it possible to serve healthy Super Bowl snacks? Sure it is! It just takes a little conscious effort and the willpower not to succumb to media ads. Here’s a quick recipe from one of my favorite periodicals Nutrition Action Healthletter:

Quick Quesadillas
Toss together 1 cup of black beans, 1 cup corn kernels, 1/2 cup of reduced-fat shredded cheese, and 1/2 cup of jarred salsa. Spoon the filling onto 4 whole wheat tortillas, fold in half, and sauté each in a non-stick pan in 1 tsp. of canola oil.

#5 – Possibilities
Nothing is IMPOSSIBLE, the word itself says “I’M POSSIBLE“!
Audrey Hepburn

Enjoy your weekend!

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