Archive for August 31, 2012

Apology to Apple


I owe Apple an apology. I thought they were holding back my GREEN RICHES because it’s free (an old policy of theirs, I understand) but see that they are now providing all four of my e-books.  I just saw it listed on iTunes.

Tips to Avoid Arguments over Politics

THE SIMPLEST WAY, OF COURSE, IS JUST TO AVOID THE TOPIC.  BUT this will become harder and harder as we brawl through the November elections.  These tips from are worth remembering.

1. Be choosy: Pick your battles—the Golden Rule of interpersonal relationships—is especially valuable advice when discussing politics. If your husband is yelling at the television during a candidate’s speech, is that really affecting you? Probably not. So don’t bother starting an argument over it.

2. Seek shelter on common ground: Instead of focusing on how you and your conversational partner disagree, look for areas where your opinions harmonize. Begin a conversation by highlighting the values and goals you both share.

3. Don’t get personal: Because politics are based largely on personal values and beliefs, there is no such thing a “right” or “wrong” way of interpreting the issues. If you’re having trouble seeing things from your partner’s point of view, try asking yourself why a rational person would come to such a conclusion. You may still not agree with them—you don’t have to—but it’s important to admit that their perspective is valid.

4. Check your facts: Don’t waste time debating factual information you can just look up on the Internet. Before you engage in a lengthy debate over the exact amount of money that Obama’s plan for reducing the deficit is allegedly supposed to save, make sure you both know what that number is.

5. Let a sleeping argument lie: Once a political discussion has reached a natural stopping point, make sure it doesn’t start back up again. Quell your desire to have the last word in an argument and stay way from the phrase, “I just have one more thing to say about…”

6. Learn how to apologize: So many people don’t know how (or refuse) to apologize after they’ve said something wrong. Here are three guidelines for effective apologies: embellish the wrong (“I made a really big mistake when…”), say why you’re sorry, and tell the person how you’re going to avoid making the same mistake in the future.


Thoughtful Thursday: Charlie Brown Wisdom

Republicans Take Blame?

Republicans have been making some unfortunate verbal gaffs, but I think they really blew it in their daily themes, all of which were to work toward the main theme of “A Better Future.”

First (day 1) they shouted “We can do better!”  Without adding “…than,” they sound like a child facing scowling parents with his less-than-stellar report card.  On Tuesday the battle cry was “We built it,” a take-off on something said by President Obama (not his best speech).  Now, that sounds pretty positive—unless we hook it up in our minds to what everyone agrees is a major election issue, the poor economy.  Do they really want to admit they had any hand in putting us into this dismal position?  I doubt it.  Tomorrow is worse.  After bragging that they “built it” (surely they weren’t calling attention to the fact that the venue they’re in was built with public money), they show a lack of confidence by proclaiming, “We can change it.”  I wonder, if they built it right to begin with, why jump in immediately to change it?  Finally, on Thursday, they’ll announce the one thing all people can understand and grab hold of: “We believe in America.”  Yes!

I just wish they’d started and ended with that.  I myself believe in America…and the fact that, God willing, we’ll all live through another set of conventions, series of disingenuous campaigns,  and nail-biter elections, then come out the other side having only slightly-damaged souls and a renewed determination to work together, as a family of Americans, toward a mutually beneficial, honorable future.

Mangroves? Who Cares?!

Who cares about plants on another continent? What the heck is a “mangrove,” anyway? Truth is, mangroves support people, wildlife, and the Earth itself–what’s happening to the mangroves in E. Africa is affecting life throughout this interconnected globe we live on.  Read an interesting story of one man who realizes this and rolls up his sleeves to do something about it.

Earth-Friendly Tip: New Appliances

Need a new appliance?  Upgrade, save money, and give the Earth a break.  Ex: an already Eco-friendly dishwasher upgraded to one with an Energy Factor of 0.65-0.67 yields a $30 rebate from PG&E, and a 0.68 or greater gives you $50 back—the typical difference in cost.  That’s a good price for you, and priceless for the Earth.

[For more easy, Eco-friendly tips, download a FREE copy of Green Riches: Help the Earth & Your Budget. Go to view/7000, choose a format, and download to your computer or e-book device. Or download a free copy from your favorite e-tailer.]

Fly, Swim, Live

Thoughtful Thursday Quote #9

“We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers. “– Martin Luther King, Jr.

(Wasted) Food for Thought

20 pounds of food each month, thrown away, wasting 40% of America’s food supply each year. This waste affects us in more ways than most of us realize.  Consider what it costs to put that food in front of us: 10% of our energy budget, 50% of our land, 80% of the fresh water we use, and $165 billion each year in uneaten food. Polluting chemicals related to food production include fertilizers and insect-and-disease-control, but let’s not ignore the fact that all that food rotting in landfills produces 25% of the methane gas in our country.

It’s time to bring back the old “Clean Plate Club” many of the older generation grew up with.  If we aren’t going to eat the food we produce–or share it with the hungry in our country and all over the Earth–we should not be producing it.  It makes financial, ecological, and moral sense.

[The statistics were taken from the Natural Resources Defense Council.  Read their article on wasted food at]



As Different as Night & Day

If it’s true that we can’t agree on anything because we’re as different as night and day, shouldn’t one of us turn on the light?

The Kindness of Strangers Brighten the World

He made our day!

My friend and I finally managed to get together at a shady table outside the Almaden Roasting Co. and catch up on each other’s lives. We looked at vacation pictures, compared notes on Butchard Gardens, commiserated about our kids, shared some funny–and not-so funny–stories from our teaching experiences. We remembered how comfortable we are with each other. And how much our lives overlapped.

Soon we were damp-eyed, and maybe a little sniffly, as we talked about some challenges that were present in both our lives, discovering that many parts of our stories were identical.  It was all very cathartic…and damp-tissue-y.

A young man emerged from the coffee shop and went to his car parked almost in front of us, only to get out and approach us.  “I didn’t hear exactly what you ladies were saying,” he told us, “but I was wondering if * could buy you a cup of something.  Maybe it would help?” We declined and thanked him, and he drove away.

We smiled after him and commented almost in unison, “There’s hope for the world.”

As long as strangers are concerned about other strangers, Love lives on in this weary, jaded globe of ours.  And as long as Love lives, so will Hope.