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Pride goes before a fall

pride-before-the-fallMaybe it’s because I was an only child and never had others to ask to pitch in and help me, but for whatever reason I find it hard to ask others for help. Bottom line though, it is an issue of pride, and we all know where that leads. So before I fall, I’m ditching the pride and asking for help.

For months, I have been working to prepare an ezine – an email inbox magazine – for women age 50+. Whether you recognize it or not, there are an increasing number of us, and we’re not ready to settle for the rocking chair. Yet most magazines target the 15 to 45 year olds in their topics. This leaves us feeling a bit disjointed because we have lots of things we’d like information on but eradicating acne is rarely one of them because we’ve been there and done that.

We’re looking for purpose for the second half and ideas and information about our health and wellness as well as weightier issues like dealing with aging parents, serious illness or a myriad of other topics. We also know that we’ve got a lot of experience that can be shared, but wonder how to share it; hence, the arrival of Golden Gals Only.

Here’s where I need to ask for help – there are three areas, really. Even if you don’t fit the category, there are ways you can render assistance.

  • Would you sign up for the FREE newsletter to help me out with numbers or would you pass the sign-up information on to those who are in this category and might be interested?
  • All you need to do to sign up for the bi-weekly newsletter (Monday and Thursday) is go to www.goldengalsonly.com and add your information in the blue box. You’ll receive an email with a link to click which will confirm your subscription. That’s it!
  • If you know of anyone in this age bracket with a great story or desire to contribute an article to the ezine, would you put them in contact with me via this blog or at my website?
  • Would you pray that this endeavor would bring honor to the Lord? This is of utmost importance to me.

I was touched this morning by a song sung most frequently by George Beverly Shea, who died this week at the age of 104. He is associated most often as having traveled with Billy Graham. His signature song gave me great encouragement as I venture out in what for me is uncharted waters, and I hope the lyrics of  His Eye is on the Sparrow may touch your heart as well.

Is it cold enough for you?

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Baby, it really is cold outside. If you’re like me, you’ve had enough of this recent cold snap that’s hitting Pennsylvania and other parts of the country – where is global warming when you need it? Even though Florida is experiencing cooler days than usual, a trip there sounds inviting. Yet if you’re like me and unable to travel to escape the frigid temperatures, you might benefit from some of these tips.

Dress for it

The other day, I saw a store customer wearing shorts and a short-sleeved shirt. Just looking at him made my teeth chatter. Most people, however, have common sense sufficient to know you need to dress appropriately in cold weather. Layers are better than bulky outer wear. A hat offers more protection than you might think, so if you’re going to be outdoors for even a short length of time – you can get frostbite in 30 minutes – make sure you have one. Here’s something I learned that will explain Mama Cat’s consternation at her naughty kitten. Mittens provide more warmth than gloves. This makes sense as your fingers are aligned close to one another and keep each other warm with body heat rather than being separated by a layer of cloth.

Drink lots

Hydration is particularly important when it is cold. Those layers of clothes you just added will cause you to perspire, and that fluid needs to be replaced. While warm liquids like coffee, tea and hot chocolate may tempt you, they’re really not the best choices as their caffeine acts as a diuretic prompting more loss of fluid.  Good, old fashioned water is best, and if you’ve just pulled it from the fridge, they say it will force your body to generate more heat. If you really are interested in a warm beverage, try heating up some apple cider, sugar water or an energy drink.

Define activities

Common sense says, “Stay indoors if you can,” and this is wise. Why go out if you don’t have to? But you live in a real world where you may have to walk to a bus, work or store from your car or a train. You may even have to work outside during bitter cold weather. If so, take precautions with frequent breaks to get warm and dry and time your activities to the warmest parts of the day. Keep this in mind for the kids playing outdoors as well.

If you’re staying indoors, add some moisture to the air. Hot air and heating systems can dry out your skin, hair, sinuses, nails, furniture, walls, floors and more. And as I have discovered, lack of humidity can even cause headaches. Placing open containers of water on a wood stove, heat registers or on the range will add a measure of moisture to your home. If you don’t mind seeing clothes hanging around the house, using a clothes rack instead of your dryer will also increase the indoor humidity without the additional purchase of a humidifier.

If Aruba or some other tropical paradise is not in your immediate plans, try some of the above tips and stay warm.

We’ve got today …

Kids-getting-on-school-busThis morning, I watched from my office window as the local school bus stopped to pick up the children to take them to school. I was too far away to see their faces, but I noticed more parents waiting with their children. Instead of making casual conversation with the other adults, they spoke to their kids and crossed the street with them to make sure they got safely on the bus. They lingered as the bus pulled away, perhaps wondering if this was how the parents of the children in Friday’s tragic shootings felt saying goodbyes to their kids. In their case, it was farewell.

We never know what tomorrow will bring, yet too often we humans bank on the fact that we will have a tomorrow and another one after that. Yet we have no guarantee. We often become paranoid and surround ourselves with protective devices or try to think ahead to prompt proactive behaviors. Although looking ahead and trying to remain safe are wise actions, we could easily go overboard. The bottom line is that it is out of our control, but our faith in the Lord must remain strong.

If one thing good is to come out of this sad tragedy, it might be what I saw demonstrated this morning and see on so many Facebook posts. Treasure the people in our lives now. We’ve got today.

Jingle all the way

Bells have long been used to herald news of significance – signaling warnings, proclaiming glad tidings and calling people to gather for worship services or public meetings. Tracing their use back to earlier times, pagan cultures often used them as part of their celebrations to ward off evil spirits. As time passed, bells have found their way into celebrations for Christmas and songs of the season.

One traditional favorite is Jingle Bells, written by Lord Pierpont in 1850, copyrighted in 1857. Though originally inspired by the Salem sleigh races,* Pierpont later introduced it as a Thanksgiving song to a Georgia congregation where he served as organist. The bright melody and cheerful lyrics brought immediate popularity, and it carried over and became a standard Christmas tune.

As a quick aside, if you ever wondered what “bells on bobtail ring” were all about, they are referencing the sleigh bells that adorned the one horse whose tail had been “bobbed” or shortened to avoid becoming tangled in the reigns. People traveling on foot would not hear a sleigh traveling across the snow, especially at night, and the bells would announce the sleigh’s approach.

Although Christmas is traditionally connected with winter – in our northern climates that equates to snow – and also a heightened sense of fun and laughing, you don’t see much else in Jingle Bells that brings real Christmas meaning to the song. You could think of it as just entertaining, and that is ok. But in another sense, it offers a metaphor of hope, and perhaps that’s why it has gained seasonal popularity.

Most people enjoy watching the snow fall and relish the pristine beauty that covers the mundane and drab winter countryside. Though today thoughts move more to the interruption of life and the work involved to eradicate it. The open sleigh in our song offers an opportunity to travel across its surface and enjoy, rather than curse, the gift.  Perhaps it is good to be reminded that the snow covers even the ugliest of surfaces and transforms them into things of beauty, and isn’t that why Jesus came at Christmas?

*Check out the full lyrics using the link and you’ll understand the connection to sleigh races.

Moving on with cars, drugs and toilet paper

The election is over and the political ads will cease, at least for a little while. Whew! Now we can move on to ads with higher value.

Venturing into the holiday season, we won’t skip a beat to move from flags, stars and stripes to bows, Santa and snowflakes. These ads are innocuous. In fact, they just ask me to picture myself driving through a snow covered mountain road flanked in white dusted pines at the wheel of their new Escalade. They’re so anxious to see me in their car, they play their ad frequently. I agree. I would look good in it, so I don’t take offense.

Oh, and if I my cholesterol rises, no worries. I just need to ask my doctor if one of the statin drugs advertised is right for me. I don’t need to concern myself with the probable side effects that they list in their auditory fine print. They’ll likely not impact me. They happen to other people. But, I cannot forget the import of the brand of toilet paper I choose. Yes, I’m “talking about what happens in the bathroom.” After all, “everyone goes” – remind me again why I discouraged my children from potty humor?

Rarely do I consider these TV ads aggressive or arrogant. They’re just part of doing business. I want my favorite programs to remain on the air, and that requires money. I understand they need me and others to buy-into their brands so that when it’s time to make our choice, we’ll purchase their products. Program sponsors often play their ads back to back, yet they evoke little passion. In fact, many times I find them entertaining and adopt their slogans into my daily jargon. Whatever happened to, “You deserve a break today?” I could use one.

Why should political ads be considered anything but a necessary evil like those of other branded goods? Some product claims are true and some have been proven to be hype. We don’t take offense with them, yet many do when it comes to political ads. Some link politics and religion together as taboo topics for discussion. Why is that? Likely there are personal preferences on both sides, and we don’t like these challenged. Yet truth will stand and prove itself, regardless of who wins an election. So what’s the deal?

I like these ads because I understand the stakes are higher than the toilet paper I select. They make a difference beyond me and have potential to impact generations to come. And if I think through their message and question what they say, it helps me to confirm what I believe or reveal holes in my perspective. I lean toward naivety, but understand its dangers, so these ads are good for me.

Will I enjoy the respite from the political rhetoric? Sure, but in the meantime, I will thank God we still have the freedom to promote our views whether political, religious or other personal preferences. In some countries, they don’t have this privilege.

One more chance to get it right

On this Election Day 2012, the question in the minds of most of us is who will be the next President, Congressman, Senator or other State and local officials?  Hopefully by this point we’ve studied the issues, made our selections and have already voted or plan to do so before the polls close today. It is important, if not critical.

We’re told that elections are all about hearing the voice of the people and knowing how they think. Our chosen representatives are supposed to listen to our voices and stand up for our choices when they create and enforce legislation. That’s what our forefathers intended, but reality demonstrates something else coming out of Washington these days. Our Pledge of Allegiance states that we are one nation under God. Our currency bears the inscription, “In God we trust,” but neither appears to be evident. What changed?

Perhaps it’s we the people. Have we become so proud that we’ve placed our trust in men’s ideas instead of God’s wisdom? Are we so arrogant that we value prosperity above righteousness? Do we value convenience and comfort above human life?

Are we looking at this election the way God sees it? I’m just saying, our nation is in need of help in so many areas, and He says if we humble ourselves and pray and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways, He will hear from heaven, forgive our sin and heal our land. I’m praying for one more chance to get it right.

History is about to change. Are you ready?

While waiting in a doctor’s office, I picked up a copy of the local newspaper. I’m always interested in people and their viewpoints, so I headed to the “Opinion” column. One person wrote in about a TV ad that obviously went against his candidate. Perhaps you’ve seen it also. This person opined the depiction of a young mom running to vent her frustration at her 2008 vote for Obama’s slogan of “Change.”

Rather than listen to the content of the message, the writer criticized the quality of this mom’s jogging stroller and the clothing of both her running attire and that of her little girl. Has this man never heard of grandparents or eBay? He also noted that he’d watched the ad several times to see if the woman was actually wearing a wedding ring. He carefully noted that he did not detect one meaning that he could not see it, but he did not offer a reason why. Were his eyes too dim? Did she not have one on? And if that was the case was it because she had just finished washing dishes and forgot, she needed to hock it for cash, the financial pressures of her husband being out of work caused a riff in their marriage resulting in divorce; etc.? Were her hands hidden? Was the picture too small to see it even if it were there? We don’t know and neither did he, but you can guess his implication.

Here’s my point. If you have nothing better to do than rip campaign ads to shreds, and you have an analytical or critical spirit, go for it. Right now you’ve got plenty to look at on both sides of the spectrum. But if you’re trying to persuade voters to choose your candidate, you have certainly lost my vote.

Let’s deal with the real issues facing us today and determine if we’re better off before or after the Obama administration.

  • How about our economy?
  • Are you doing better or worse, are you richer or poorer? (Sounds like wedding vows, but we’re not married to Obama.)
  • What do you think about the increase in the national debt?
  • Why are many medical professionals throwing in the towel because of Obamacare?
  • How do the candidates stand on issues that impact your personal values?

Do you know?

I heard about a young man who was not sure if he would vote in this election. This would be his first opportunity. He said he wanted to be an informed voter, and as of the Sunday prior to the election, he did not know where the candidates stood. Fair enough. As we saw from the above comments on TV ads, the sound bites may not be clear. If that’s your stand, then check out FRC Action’s (Family Research Council) voter’s guide. It’s downloadable so that you can share it or carry it with you on Election Day.

History is about to change, but we all need to do our part and vote. Are you ready?