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O Little Town of Bethlehem December 9, 2019

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Happiness, Humor, People.
24 comments

We joined a Bethlehem Walk last night at a local church.

The re-creation was authentic down to the last detail (except for the Christmas lights decorating the “inns,” the microphones, the loudspeakers, and the asphalt upon which Mary & Joseph trudged while looking for shelter).

The event, oddly reminiscent of Noah’s Ark, included 2 spitting llamas, 2 Aflac-ing ducks, 2 bleating goats and a miniature horse who remained silent for the duration (no doubt annoyed that his mate had stood him up).

We sang carols (off key of course) while diners seated on the outside patio at The Waterfront restaurant looked on in awe.

After Mary & Joseph got settled into “the stable,” they invited us in to meet the star of the show ~> Baby Jesus!

Following a brief introduction to the bonny boy, the people who peopled the procession stayed to enjoy cookies, sandwiches and chips (a menu served at all the finest establishments in Bethlehem back in the day).

I doubt it will become an annual tradition for us, but it was an eclectic ecclesiastic event.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Yes, I Am Postive! December 5, 2019

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

Want to be a more positive person . . . along with all the perky perks that entails?

Here are 6 tips:

Reframe or Divert ~ Accept what you cannot change. You can shake your fist at the sky all you want, but it won’t stop the rain from falling.  Look for opportunities among the obstacles.  Find the silver lining.

Savor the Good ~ Focus on the positives.  Enjoy the luxury of a sunny day. Relish your meal.  Enjoy the tastes, sights, and sounds around you.  Be Mindful of the present of the present.

Set Reminders ~ Flexing your positivity muscle is a habit-in-the-making. Posting post-its around to remind yourself to see the good is a good way to shift your focus from “what’s wrong” to “what’s right.”

Do Something Nice for Someone Else ~ Sometimes the best way to improve our day is to improve someone else’s day.  So be kind to others and enjoy the boomerang effect of those positive feelings.

Phone A Friend ~ Knowing that someone has your back can be an automatic mood booster.  When you’re down in the dumps, don’t dump a pile on negativity of your friend’s shoulder.  Instead, boost your view by piggy-backing on his or her positivity for a while until your own resilience returns.

Say Thanks ~ An attitude of gratitude improves our aptitude and altitude in life.  When we shift our perspective from “what’s wrong” to “what’s right,” we feel an immediate shift from negative to positive.  It’s not what happens that determines our mood, it’s how we CHOOSE to view what’s happened.  Developing an attitude of gratitude pays BIG dividends.

Aah . . . that’s better!

To read more:  How To Be A More Positive Person (TIME)

A Tall Order November 23, 2019

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Happiness, Humor, People.
23 comments

We recently helped our niece celebrate her 23rd birthday.

We got her the perfect “sleep” shirt . . . for when she is NOT asleep.

Her dad ordered her a delicious four-tiered chocolate cake.

Aah . . . that’s a TALL order!

Settling Into Unsettling Feelings September 25, 2019

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Meditation, Mindfulness.
25 comments

A few days ago, some unsettling feelings were creating inner tension.

I settled into them and watched as they floated away.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related:  Feelings without Grasping or Aversion (A Buddhist’s Journey)

Notes & Quotes From Hugh Prather August 19, 2019

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
20 comments

In college, a friend shared her copy of Notes to Myself with me.  Years later, I read through Notes on Love & Courage.  Both books, by Hugh Prather, contained considerable fuel for thought.

Here’s a few quotes to stoke your fire within:

“An argument is always about what has been made more important than the relationship.”

“There are only three things you need to let go of ~ judging, controlling, and being right. Release these three and you will have the whole mind and twinkly heart of a child.”

“Almost any difficulty will move in the face of honesty. When I am honest I never feel stupid. And when I am honest I am automatically humble.”

~ Hugh Prather

Aah . . . that’s better!

The Broken Wheel August 17, 2019

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

Once upon a time, a broken wheel set out to explore the world.

Due to a missing chunk of wood, the broken wheel rolled slowly, but noticed everything.

It observed the flowers in the fields, the sun in the sky, and heard the sounds of songbirds and laughter of small children at play as it rolled happily, albeit slowly, through life.

One day, the broken wheel ran into a talented wheelwright who offered to fix the wheel by replacing the missing chunk with a spare part.

Delighted, the wheel accepted the generous offer.

With the spare part fastened securely in place, the wheel resumed its journey through life.

As it raced down the road, the wheel noticed nothing.  The trees, the flowers, the birds became an indistinct, blurry mass of shapes and colors.  Sounds faded into the background, and the rush of wind drowned out the peals of laughter ringing forth from children at play.

Unhappy, the wheel stopped beside a small pond to meditate.

In the silent stillness, all the wheel had missed sprung back into being ~ the birds took to the air, filling the silence with song; the flowers bloomed in the field, painting the landscape with color; and the sun lit up the sky once again, warming the world with its golden rays.

Rested and refreshed, the wheel resumed rolling slowly ~ leaving the spare part behind.

Aah . . . that’s better!  ♥ ♥ ♥

Source:  Unknown

Water Over The Dam August 13, 2019

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
20 comments

I seldom worry about “water over the dam” (since there is no way that I can chase downstream to re-claim it).

But I am careful about choosing how I want to spend my remaining time on this planet.

If we desire to make the most of the time we have left (however long that may be):

* We must be willing to exercise our autonomy and freedom.

* We must prioritize our limited time and energy.

* We must be authentic and make choices based on what we want out of life ~ not what others want from or for us.

Quote:  Just trust yourself, then you will know how to live. ~ Goethe

Aah . . . that’s better!

Shibal Biyong and Tangjinjaem August 9, 2019

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness, People.
22 comments

What’s Shibal Biyong?

It’s a “fuck it expense” ~ an unnecessary indulgence that keeps you from giving up entirely.  The expression originated in South Korea in 2016:

[I]n South Korea, a generation of frustrated young people is reclaiming the idea of frivolous expenses—from cab rides to expensive sushi—as a psychological survival tool dubbed shibal biyong.

* * *

A shibal biyong is an expense that might seem unnecessary but that helps you get through a bad day. It’s the $20 you splurge for a cab home instead of taking the subway after you’ve been denied a promotion or the comforting but expensive sushi you buy after you’ve been berated by your boss. The term implies that you might as well make yourself happy right now because your prospects in the long term seem bleak. Buy that nice coat, because you’ll never get on the housing ladder. Eat that steak, because you’ll never save up enough to retire.

* * *

Inequality and a sense of economic despair have taken a fierce toll on South Koreans’ mental health. Nearly half of all deaths among South Koreans in their 20s are due to suicide, compared with just under 1 in 5 Americans of the same age. The country’s overall suicide rate was the highest among OECD countries from 2003 to 2016.

The title of a recent South Korean bestselling book, I Want to Die, but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), captures the essence of shibal biyong.

* * *

If South Korean millennials are squandering their money, it’s not because they’ve lost touch with reality. Quite the opposite: For many of them, short-term consumption has become a rational choice maximizing the utility of money based on a realistic assessment of the future.

* * *

“Shibal biyong and tangjinjaem [squandering fun] are symbolic endeavors responding to social problems via individual consumption,” said Alex Taek-Gwang Lee, a professor at Kyung Hee University in Seoul. “As saving cannot guarantee the future, unlike in the past, the idea of investing in the present rather than the future gains strength.”

* * *

Koreans have begun blowing their money not out of ignorance but out of common sense. A small pleasure now is better than a promised future contentment that will never come.

To read more:  Why Young Koreans Love to Splurge (Foreign Policy)

Aah . . . that’s better!

Life Improves With Laughter June 15, 2019

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Happiness, Health & Wellness.
46 comments

Stressed out?

Find something to laugh about.

Yup.  It can even be something silly.

Seriously.

Laughter is the yin to stress’s yang . . . counterbalancing many of the nasty negative effects of stress.

Plus, laughing feels good.

“We do not laugh because we are happy . . . we are happy because we laugh.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

To read more:  Does Laughing Have Real Health Benefits?

Feed The Birds June 4, 2019

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Happiness, Home & Garden.
28 comments

Unlike most bird feeders that can be filled with seeds, hummingbird feeders are specially made for a hummingbird’s diet.  They contain a mock nectar solution that can easily be made at home.

Here’s the recipe:

  • Fill a 1-cup measuring cup to 200 milliliters with water.
  • Heat the cup in the microwave for 90 seconds.
  • Add sugar to the heated water until the contents of the measuring cup hit 250 milliliters.
  • Stir the cup’s contents until the sugar dissolves completely.
  • Let the solution fully cool.
  • Pour the sugary drink into the hummingbird feeder.

It’s really that simple.

Other recipes may call for honey or red food dye, but Bell, a staff scientist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s Microbial Ecology Lab and an avid bird watcher, strongly recommends against these additions, as they could cause health issues for the tiny birds.

Aah . . . that’s simple syrup!

To read more:  Feeders Help Hungry Hummingbirds (Shorelines)