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I Want To DO Less . . . And BE More February 17, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
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57 comments

IMGP1800bOne of the best tricks I’ve found to discern whether I’m on the right path for me is to envision this as the last year of my life ~ to question whether I would regret spending the next 12 months engaged in similar endeavors.

At this point, I’m happy with the flow of my days and nights, but in earlier years this simple exercise inspired big changes:

In 1997, it led to my decision to leave the practice of law, take a sabbatical, and re-enter the work force as the director of a Crisis Intervention Team, assisting victims of domestic violence to evaluate options.

In 1999, it encouraged us to shed possessions, down-size, and move out of New Jersey to a home on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay ~ still close enough to visit family while being far enough away to live our own quiet lives.

In 2008, it freed us to leave winters behind for good and move to Florida.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

What would you do if your “final curtain call” lay around the next bend?

The Enduring Gifts of The Season December 25, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Mindfulness, Special Events.
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12 comments

 Peace on Earth. 

Goodwill towards Man.

May we share the Peace, Hope, Love, Light, and Joy of this Festive Season, whether (and however) we celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or the Winter Solstice!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Celebrate Good Times December 23, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Special Events.
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38 comments

We cannot do everything.

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If we try, we become fragmented, splintered, overextended, stressed out, etc.

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And we don’t enjoy any of it.

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Sometimes, LESS is MORE.

Nathan

Especially when making memories.

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For a tangible remind of good times, here’s a Holiday Wreath idea to consider.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Does Santa Make Kids Selfish? December 19, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Life Lessons, Mindfulness.
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46 comments

Xmas-CatThe training of new consumers begins on Santa’s lap. Ho~Ho~Ho!

And continues in front of the TV as animated ads from Toys ‘R Us ask . . . “What’re ya gonna get? What’re ya gonna get? What’re ya gonna get?”

We are programming kids to become greedy meanies.

For an eye opening look at how Santa’s questions frame responses and keep the materialistic spiral going:

But all is not lost.

Once Santa shifts his script from getting to giving . . . the kids opt to give the larger piece of chocolate away.

Aah . . . that’s better!

A Bolt of Lightning December 8, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Gratitude, Happiness, Life Balance.
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88 comments

2014-11-30 13-50-44_0013Joan flipped through sales flyers for the mall, planning her attack for Black Friday.  The front door slammed with insistence.

“M-O-M!  Christmas is ruined!”

“What?”

“The mall exploded!  It got hit by lightning and a generator blew up. It’s closed until January.”

“January?”

“Yes!  Christmas is ruined!”

“Calm down . . . there’s always Cyber Monday.”

“Ugh.  I hate on-line shopping.  No pushing.  No shoving.  No lines.”

Joan smiled at her daughter.  “And worst of all . . . no food court!”

Cathy collapsed into a chair.  “I’m going to go into serious sugar withdrawal without my weekly Cinnabon!”

Tossing the flyers into recycling, Joan stood.  “Don’t worry.  We’ll think of something.”

Joan found her husband tinkering at his workbench. “Paul, the mall has closed in a puff of smoke.”

“So I heard.”

“You did?”

“Yup.  I heard Cathy’s concerns about Christmas and Cinnabons loud and clear.”

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“What are we going to do?”

“About?”

“Are you daft?  Shopping.  Gifts. Christmas.  Ringing any bells?”

Paul caught Joan’s gaze. “Let’s make hand-made gifts.”

“You have sawdust for brains.”

“Hear me out.  Instead of poring over flyers, hunting for parking spots, and lugging piles of stuff home, let’s create gifts from the heart.  I’ll make wooden trains, planes, and puzzles for the kids. And a pipe rack for your dad.”

“What about me?”

“Your friends would love your homemade fudge or toffee . . . or one of your famous Grand Marnier cakes. You could make your mom that wreath she’s wanted.”

Warming to the idea, Joan returned to the kitchen and grabbed her recipe file.

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Soon delicious aromas circulated, mingling with carols.  As fragrant cakes baked, Joan created a starfish and sand dollar wreath for her mom, scented candles for her sister, and an afghan for Cathy.

Paul spent hours in his workshop emulating Santa’s elves.  Sawdust flying.

Cathy mastered the art of the Cinnabon.

Instead of waiting for the Big Day, Joan, Paul, and Cathy delivered treats to delighted friends throughout December.

Christmas morning, Cathy served fresh home-baked Cinnabons to her parents and grandparents.

Between bites, Joan grinned at Paul, “Hey, sawdust for brains! That was some bolt of lightning.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Written for Susanna’s 4th Annual Holiday Contest.  Entries accepted through 12/12.  Complete rules and other Merry & Bright Submissions ~> HERE.

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Joan’s famous Grand Marnier Bundt Cake:

1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 small package instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur)
4 eggs
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Combine all ingredients and mix well, about 5 minutes, with an electric mixer or whisk.  Pour into a well-greased and floured fluted Bundt pan (or 10-inch tube pan).  Bake in pre-heated 325 degree oven for about 50 minutes.  

OPTIONAL: Drizzle with Grand Marnier glaze or sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.  NOTE:  Cake Freezes well before topping.

Giving Thanks To Promote Giving December 4, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Humor, Mindfulness, People.
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36 comments

devious-hobbesMy e-mail box has been FLOODED with four types of messages this past week:

* Black Friday Sales Flyers
* Cyber Monday Sales Flyers
* Thanks Giving Thanksgiving Missives from Non-Profits
* “Giving Tuesday” pleas . . . please!

Black Friday Sales have overflowed the banks of traditional brick and mortar storefronts to infiltrate automobile advertisements, performing arts centers, and even the Smithsonian Museum.  Most are dispatched without whetting my appetite to Buy More.

The same goes for most of the Cyber Monday Sales Flyers.

That’s the great thing about cyber trash . . . No Residue.

Most Thanks Giving Missives received on Thanksgiving seem designed with manipulation in mind.

The-Pink-PantherAlma maters, non-profits, restaurants, charities, and businesses give thanks for past giving (encouraging us to bask in the glow of their “sincere” appreciation for past support) before asking us (in almost the same cyber breath) to reach into our piggy banks, wallets, and IRA’s to provide them with continued support.

Maybe it’s just me being cynical, but I tend to question the sincerity of Thanks given with a plea for me to Give More.

Especially when it’s followed up with “Giving Tuesday” pleas to “please give!”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  I Hate This Time of Year Rant (Crowing Crone Joss)

How We Plan To Spend The Holidays November 29, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Humor, Special Events.
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32 comments

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Quaint Colloquialisms November 2, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Humor, Life Balance, Life Lessons, Word Play.
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33 comments

Pooh-With-MailbagAs I read through my grandfather’s letters, his occasional turn of phrase made me grin.

For example, instead of calling someone a jerk (or worse), you might point out that they are “trying to be a bit odd” . . .

* 12/4/55 ~ Following his retirement from post office after 30+ years of service, my grandfather shared:

I am having some little fuss over the records but feel it can be cleaned up. Both Tim and Armond are trying to be a bit odd.

I bought a 160# quarter of beef. Have it hanging down stairs. I hope we continue to eat anyway.

As a pragmatist, my grandfather obviously felt that if you didn’t starve, you were doing alright.  Here’s another example along the same lines:

* 1/1/57 ~ “I read The Bible As History and a notorious new book with a local background across the river from White River ~ Peyton Place.  The author’s husband lost his teaching job in a N.H. High School over the book.  He got another job and did not starve.”

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And he dished up some good dope:

* 9/14/57 ~ “About the weekend of 25-26: I want to give you some dope on that.

* 11/26/61 ~ “So life goes on and it is foolish to brood over the mistakes we made.”

* 9/20/62 ~ “Don’t work too hard. I don’t if I can dodge it.”

He was happy to be needed . . . or not:

* 7/22/66 ~ “Margaret has gone slumming.  An Art Exhibit in Hanover and some shopping.  I did not seem necessary ~ happily.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Practical Resilience November 1, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Humor, Joke, Life Lessons.
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41 comments

Our hearts, like eggs, are fragile.

However, even when broken open, infinite possibilities await.

We can collapse into a pool of tears, become hard-boiled (or scrambled) by the ways of the world, or emerge sunny-side up.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Even The Grin Of An Ordinary Guru October 23, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Health & Wellness, Humor.
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35 comments
Cheshire_Cat_Tenniel

Happy Birthday to my Ordinary Guru

Life often conspires to teach us what we need to know.

Some lessons seem negative because our vantage point is limited.

We are lost in the trees.

Once we move farther along the path, we see more of the forest.  Our changed vantage point provides clarity.

With expanded cognition, we find that the “negative events” we resisted resulted in valuable lessons and navigational aids:

* Perhaps we learned to be patient and allow life to unfold.

* Or we shifted our perspective from malignant thoughts of certain doom to benign thoughts of light and laughter.

* Maybe we gained proficiency with a valuable life skill, such as living in the midst of uncertainty without gravitating to worst case scenarios, wild imaginings, and dire predictions.

Anything, even the grin of an Ordinary Guru, can be a nudge in the right direction.

A shortcut to becoming who were were always meant to be.

Aah . . . that’s better!

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