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A Slytherin’ Successsssss September 29, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Writing & Writers.
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42 comments

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Despite his eventual fame, Harry Potter did not find a publisher straight out of the gate.

Imagine if J.K. Rowling had given up on the idea when she received rejection after rejection:

* The world would never have met Dumbledore or Dobby the House Elf.

* Or wandered the corridors of Hogwarts or Diagon Alley.

* And none of us would know how to play Quidditch.

Rowling kept pitching her story until she found a publisher who saw in her stories what readers did ~ a spellbinding read.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money. ~ Jules Renard

The Benjamin Franklin Diet September 22, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Food & Drink, Vegetarian Recipes.
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36 comments

While scouting the library stacks for inspiration, I stumbled upon an interesting diet book . . .

I added it to the stack of books in my arms, ignoring the oft quoted adage and admonition . . . “neither a borrower nor a lender be.”

At home, I settled down to learn about Ben’s diet.

* At a young age, Ben swore off meat and quaffing pints of ale so as to have more money to spend on books.

* In so doing, he noted that he felt better and had greater mental clarity after meals consisting of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

* He also noticed that he felt better when he exercised for 15 minutes before each meal.  If the weather wasn’t being cooperative, he spent his 15 minutes leaping inside the house ~ forward and back or side to side.

In addition to the fascinating narrative of Ben’s life philosophy, the author, Kelly Wright, collected and shared a number of colonial recipes for grains, soups, stews, game, and sweet fare, including:  Hasty Pudding, Dauphiny Soup, Oatcakes, Classic Colonial Bread, Hoecakes, Tavern Bread, and Garlic and Herb Cream Cheese Spread.

Inspired, I whipped up a loaf of Mrs. Wright’s Beer Bread in minutes.

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Combine 3 cups whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup raw sugar, 1 Tbsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. salt.  Stir in a bottle (12 ounces) of beer or ale.

Pour into a greased and floured 9 x 5 loaf pan.

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Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes.

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“Hunger never saw bad bread.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Delighted with the result, I followed Ben’s lead and leaped and leapt about.

Aah . . . that’s better! 

To learn more:  The Benjamin Franklin Diet (Book) * The Benjamin Franklin Diet (Website)

Heaven Is For Real August 24, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Spirituality & Faith.
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56 comments

We watched Heaven Is For Real this week and enjoyed Colton’s story:

Colton Burpo survived an emergency appendectomy.  After recovering, he told his parents he left his body during the surgery and detailed what they’d been doing in other parts of the hospital.  He talked of visiting heaven, meeting Jesus, and shared stories about people he met there ~ including a sister who had died in vitro and his great-grandfather whom he’d never met.

It’s an intriguing glimpse at what may lie beyond the veil:

I’ve requested the book of the same name from the Island Library:

Maybe the best is yet to come.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  Is There REALLY Proof of Heaven or Life After Death? (SMART Living 365) * How Do You Live If Heaven Is Real? (SMART Living 365)

Give Kids The World August 1, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Gratitude, Happiness, People.
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18 comments

Give Kids The World Village is a 70-acre non-profit “storybook” resort and vacation village in Kissimmee Florida where children with life threatening illnesses and their families can enjoy a week’s vacation ~ all expenses paid:

The village is the passionate vision of Henri Landwirth, a holocaust survivor turned hotelier in Cocoa Beach, Florida.

A man never stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child.                   ~Father Flanagan

To learn more about Give Kids The World ~> visit www.gktw.com.

To learn more about Landwirth’s remarkable life ~> read Gift of Life.

Henri’s autobiography, with a Forward by Walter Cronkite and an Afterward by Astronaut and Senator John Glenn, was co-authored in 1996 by BFF’s cousin, J.P. Hendricks (“John”).

Revenues from the sale of Gift of Life go to Give Kids The World Foundation to help ensure that children and families who need help will always be served.

To find your way in this world, listen to your heart. ~ P.J.  Hendricks (1972) (“Pat”)

Aah . . . that’s better! 

3 Things I Learned This Week June 7, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Humor, Life Lessons, Mindfulness.
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44 comments

170px-PuckCoverAs a child, I loved the story of Epaminondas ~ a young boy who was forever applying the “right lesson” at the wrong time.

So much so that his auntie often shook her head and said, “Epaminondas, Epaminondas ~ you ain’t got the sense you was born with!”

Like Epaminondas, I’ve learned a few things this week.

Let’s hope that moving forward, I apply the right lesson at the right time:

1.  “Legal lingo” doesn’t translate well into the “real world.”

When lawyers counsel clients to avoid “even the appearance of impropriety” by revealing potential “conflicts of interest,” they are not saying that anyone has done or is doing anything wrong.

It’s “code” for laying all one’s cards on the table so that no one looking on will ever be able to raise the issue of possible impropriety or shady dealings due to the relationship of the parties.

2.  I need to avoid the temptation to extrapolate from what’s “right for me” to what’s “right for you.” 

Unless retained to represent someone else, I should keep my nose out of their business.  It doesn’t matter if I know what I would do if I were in their shoes . . . because they aren’t MY shoes.

3.  I am NOT the General Manager of the Universe.

What a relief!  A huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders.  Almost as if Atlas Shrugged ~ an interesting synchronicity since we happened to watch a documentary on Ayn Rand last night.

Aah . . . that’s better!

If any of you are looking for a “beach read” this summer, I have it on good authority that Andra’s book,  To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis, is a page turner!

“The mystery of how and why Meriwether Lewis died at thirty-five on the Natchez Trace in 1809 Tennessee is one of the lynchpins that holds the story together and propels it forward. In a wonderful leap of imagination, Watkins pits two adversarial figures straight out of American history against each other for one last deadly confrontation, with the winner gaining redemption and the loser falling into the eternal abyss.” [J.R. Stewart]

Related posts:  Traveling the Natchez Trace with Meriwether Lewis and author Andra Watkins (Breathe Lighter) * Interview: Andra Watkins (Blog Critics) * To Live Forever by Andra Watkins (I Heart Reading) * To Live Forever ~ A Novel By Andra Watkins (Michael Carnell) * More Press & Praise for the book.

 

 

Give Your Brain A Boost . . . With A Book April 25, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Health & Wellness, Meditation.
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43 comments

150px-Carlo_Crivelli_052Last week, Andra Watkins (The Accidental Cootchie Mama) shared links to two research studies done to evaluate the impact of reading on brain function:

Brain Function Boosted After Reading A Novel

This study revealed increased brain activity measured in the MRI’s of 21 college students during and after reading the novel Pompeii.

While this is promising news for book lovers, I wish the study had used control groups so we could compare results and determine whether reading novels has a more pronounced effect on the brain than:  watching movies, playing video games, meditating, dining out, texting, yoga, drinking wine, eating chocolate, walking, parasailing, riding a bike, talking to a close friend, having sex, etc.

Since everyone read the same novel, it’s hard to conclude, based on this study alone, that novel reading is better for the brain than other activities, such as reading poetry, attending a concert, watching a ballet, or “getting jiggy with it” by going ballroom dancing.

But reading definitely woke up a few neurons.

How Reading Lights Up Your Mind

Another article with anecdotal evidence about the value of reading (and meditation) for brain health.

Here’s what the article had to say about meditation:

“Meditation has long been studied to better understand how sustaining attention and focus affects the brain. Studies on mindfulness meditation, for example, show that parts of the brain associated with positive mood are activated with the practice of focusing attention.”

I have found this to be true.  Plus the sustained focus and attention carries over in all areas of life. Instead of re-acting to events (using stale beliefs about past experiences), we more mindfully choose how to spend our days.

Sally-BrownPerhaps by curling up with a good book.

And a cup of coffee.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related: Fight Brain Drain & Set Your Mind On Fire (Andra) * Your Brain On Jane (NPR) * Cross Train Your Brain

Cross Train Your Brain April 24, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Health & Wellness, Meditation.
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45 comments

A few weeks ago, we attended a lecture at Freedom Village on Cross Training Your Brain.

We’d heard the speaker, Dr. Kevin W. O’Neill, once before when he presented A Brain Training Symposium.

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Dr. O’Neill reiterated that what benefits the body, benefits the brain:

* Exercise ~ Ball Room Dancing is #1!
* Eat right ~ a Mediterranean Diet is best
* Sleep tight ~ without popping pills
* Don’t let the bed bugs bite
* Manage stress ~ meditation is great
* Focus on positives ~ don’t worry, be happy
* Interact with friends ~ be a social animal
* Tickle your funny bone chakra
* Learn something new today ~ build synapses
* Share your talents/volunteer/help others
* Develop an attitude of gratitude
* Drinking coffee lowers the risk of dementia
* Eat tumeric ~ curried veggies, please
* Play games, solve puzzles, have FUN!
* Live, Love, Laugh, Learn!

A few key points:

(1) Exercise is the fountain of youth when it comes to brain health.  It lowers the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, increases gray matter, improves blood flow to the brain, elevates mood, and reduces stress.  For a 76% reduction in Alzheimer’s risk, try Ballroom Dancing!

(2) Reducing Stress helps maintain brain health ~ try exercise, yoga, tai chi, meditation, or other purposeful pursuits.  And get enough sleep.  Sleep allows neurons to shut down and repair themselves.

(3) A diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and veggies, and omega 3 fats helps keep dementia at bay.  Vitamins C, D, and E are key building blocks for brain health.  As is Folic Acid ~ found in dark green veggies, chickpeas, and pinto beans.

(4) Intellectual Stimulation and Social Engagement are beneficial to brain health as we age.  Playing games and musical instruments helps ward off dementia.

(5)  Go ahead, enjoy your daily dose of caffeine.  According to the research Dr. O’Neill shared, drinking 3-5 cups of coffee a day will lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease . . . by 65%!

But don’t just sit around drinking coffee, R~E~A~D!  More on that tomorrow.

Aah . . . that’s better!

 

What do you do to keep your brain sharp?

Breathing Life Into Characters February 26, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
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22 comments

Tim Dorsey knows how to breathe life into his characters.

In a single paragraph, he describes 7 characters using brief sketches, allowing readers to flesh in the rest:

* Major Fletcher ~ steady leader with blond hair, a close shave, and a square dependable jaw

* Lee Barnes ~ a crusty and foul-mouthed veteran with hangover stubble and a footlocker of vintage Playboys

* Milton “Bananas” Foster ~ a highly excitable yet gifted mechanical wizard

* Marilyn Sebastian ~ a plucky aerial reconnaissance officer, as tough as any man, but every bit a woman

* Pepe Miguelito ~ a forlorn youth with pencil mustaches and unending girl troubles

* “Tiny” Baxter ~ a massive country boy from Oklahoma with simple but strong values

* William Honeycutt ~ a former bantamweight champion

Dorsey provides enough detail to bring his characters to life . . . without beating them to death.

Sometimes a skeletal outline or quick sketch connects us to a character faster than too many extraneous details.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  Explanations (Candid Impressions) * Two Writers Debate: Pantsing vs. Plotting (Eric John Baker) * The End is Never the End (Grannymar)

Mumbo Jumbo . . . and Sambo January 14, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Happiness, Humor, Spirit & Ego.
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26 comments

You know you’ve grown in spirit . . . when external turmoil does not disturb the peace and tranquility you feel within.

You know you’ve grown in compassion . . . when angry words tossed your way make you want to alleviate the suffering of the person doing the tossing, without first wanting to defend your own position.

You know you’ve found your bliss and are headed the right way . . . when your spirit is soaring and work feels like play.

And that’s no Mumbo Jumbo!

Aah . . . that’s better!

When I googled “Mumbo Jumbo” to learn the origin of the expression, one of the links transported me back in time to . . . Mumbo, Jumbo, and Sambo.

The Story of Little Black Sambo is a children’s book written and illustrated by Helen Bannerman, first published by Grant Richards in October 1899 as one in a series of small-format books called The Dumpy Books for Children:

Sambo is a South Indian boy who encounters four hungry tigers, and surrenders his colourful new clothes, shoes, and umbrella so they will not eat him. The tigers are vain and each thinks he is better dressed than the others. They chase each other around a tree until they are reduced to a pool of melted butter. Sambo then recovers his clothes and his mother makes pancakes out of the butter.

The story has been retold a time or two in different settings with changed names.  For example, in “Little Kim,” a storybook and cassette as part of the Once Upon a Time Fairy Tale Series, Sambo is called “Kim,” his father Jumbo is “Tim,” and his mother Mumbo is “Sim.”

For more on the history and resurrection of Little Black Sambo ~ New Takes on an Old Story (L.A.Times, 9/8/96)

Know-It-Alls January 9, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Humor, Joke, People, Poetry.
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42 comments

alice26th

Books, authors, words ~ how
vast the stacks. No know-it-all
ever knows it all.

And you can tell him I said so.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Do you know any know-it-alls?

Do you view them as a ready reference and reliable resource obviating the need for further research on your part?

Related posts:  Empty Your Cup * The Urge to Pontificate (Candid Impressions)

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