Archive for December 31, 2018

A Golden Way to Start the New Year

I thought it would be good to start the new year by reminding ourselves of a guideline that is so basic that all major religions have it written into their holy book.

A happy, peaceful, loving 2019 to you, your loved ones, and our world.

Cards that Keep on Giving

Thinking about putting Christmas decorations away for the year? Be sure to recycle those Christmas cards that gave you warmth and beauty over the season: make postcards out of the fronts; use them in arts and crafts projects; make a collage to form a photo-album cover; use clear sides for notes; donate them to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children or another charity; or (as a last resort) put them into the recycle bin.

[For more easy, money-saving, Earth-friendly tips, download a FREE copy of Green Riches: Help the Earth & Your Budget. Go to or your favorite e-book seller and download to your computer or e-book device. Totally free, with no strings attached.]

Escape into an Elevator

I’m not a fan of elevator music, but I may become one. I thought it was my imagination that the car next to me, stations being shuffled, or just wandering by people with headphones screaming were all tuned into the same music somehow, even though it was many different genres. Nope, according to the Journal of Popular Music. They studied the lyrics of over 6000 songs from the Billboard Top 100 (500 songs) for the last 60 years, through 2016. What they found was that lyrics have become less happy and joyful and increasingly more filled with disgust, anger, sadness, and fear.

Most of us listen to music for entertainment, not to produce ill feelings.

In our current world, where politicians lie and call each other names, where leaders manipulate our beliefs, where brother is purposely turned against brother–show me to the nearest elevator!


Thanks to Lindsay West for today’s Thursday Thought. It’s something for all would-be leaders to think about. (Author is unknown.)

OK, So What IS this Kwanzaa Thing?

It’s the day after Christmas. Now we’re hearing about another holiday–Kwanzaa. What exactly is it? It isn’t another Christmas, or even a religious holiday, even though it does promote faith, among other things.  Here’s a brief description, including the 7 Principles. (You’ll probably have to do a Ctrl -Alt while scrolling to enlarge it so you can read it easier.)

You can learn more about by going to the Kwanzaa official website. Whatever our own culture is, this celebration has a lot for all of us to embrace.

New Computer? Check this Out

Doing some last-minute shopping for a computer for your college student?  Look for an eco-friendly one that saves money.  Buy one of the new energy-efficient models with a fan that doesn’t run constantly.  If just a moderate number of us did this we’d cut computer energy use in half and save $5.5 billion.

[For more easy, money-saving, Earth-friendly tips, download a FREE copy of Green Riches: Help the Earth & Your Budget. Go to or your favorite e-book seller and download to your computer or e-book device. Totally free, with no strings attached.]

Is Going Gluten-Free a Healthy Choice?

“A gluten-free diet is designed specifically for those with celiac disease and a condition known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity,” yet it has become a health fad, with many people convinced it’s the healthiest thing for them. Is that accurate?  If you’ve been diagnosed as unable to process gluten, yes, or if you have headaches, fatigue, and joint pain, maybe (ask your doctor if they’re related).  Otherwise, there are dangers, like getting false results on tests for celiac disease, not finding out (and being able to treat) what is really causing your health problems, deficiencies in the nutrients you need to take in, thinking that a snack food is not bad for you simply because it’s gluten-free, and just trying to avoid gluten when in social situations.

Going gluten-free is costing us millions of dollars annually–much of it spent by people who don’t need to do so. Read Gluten-free diet not healthy for everyone and decide what’s best for YOU.


During this pre-Christmas time of year, when love and compassion should abound, I’m struck by common things we do to each other: anger at other drivers, illegally and inconsiderately using a handicap parking spot, pushing fellow shoppers out of our way, avoiding eye-contact and a humanizing greeting for people we pass, especially the homeless, tossing our trash on the yard we walk by, not calling or visiting someone we know is lonely or ill….  For those of us who call ourselves “Christians,” this season and this Thursday Thought quote should be a reminder.

“We are not going to win the masses to Christianity until we live it.” – Dorothy Day

Sex: Not Just the Catholic Church

This is NOT a defense of the sexual abuse by Catholic priests. We’re  very aware of their unconscionable crimes because priests are the ones getting most of the press. This is a warning that sexual abuse of children and adults and its cover-up is prevalent in many positions of authority. Here are only two.

Boy Scouts of America: This organization has 2.7 million kids and one million  volunteers. Before 1994, they had reports of approximately 2000 cases of abuse . Between 1992 and 2012, the courts ordered the BSA to release files that they were keeping secret. Only 1000 were revealed between 1965 and 1985. The courts now have 1800 out of 6000 files, with the others being kept secret by the BSA for “confidentiality” concerns.  Note that these numbers include only the boys who actually reported their abuse.

Police Officers: Here’s the list compiled by the Bowling Green State University–not including federal officers–of police officers arrested for sex crimes 2005 – 2013: 636 forcible fondling; 405 forcible rape; 219 forcible sodomy; 98 indecent exposure; 58 sexual assault with an object; 186 statutory rape. That totals 1,602 in eight years. Have these been covered up or simply dismissed within their ranks? We don’t know. All we know is that we haven’t heard of that many cases. And, again, the numbers reflects only the people who actually reported their abuse.

The point is, it’s not clergy (of any denomination) or youth leaders (BSA or any others) or police. It’s a society in which sexual crimes are far too abundant and too often covered up, leaving a trail of victims scarred for life. Plus a multitude of good people tarred with the same brush as the offenders in their job-categories.

It’s past time of blaming organizations and get down to fixing a society which is horrified by the abuse yet does little to change the attitudes and laws that keep these degrading, demeaning,  life-altering, emotional scars forming.

Screen Time–Report

People (especially parents and their kids) go back and forth on how much screen time (including phones) is healthy for kids. The National Institute of Health followed 11,000 subjects age 9/10 into adulthood. It was a landmark study, costing $300 million and spanning many years.  Here is some of what they reported:

When the child has spent 7 or more hours a day of screen time, their cerebral cortex, which is the area of the brain that processes sensory information, shows premature thinning. With 2 or more hours a day they were less successful on thinking and language tests. In other words, it seems that screen time is changing our children’s brains.

Granted, this is only a preliminary study. They’re doing more research to determine a solid cause/effect relationship, if there is one, as data seems to indicate right now. Even so, I think it makes sense for us to be aware of it and be on the safe side by following guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The Academy suggests no screen time at all for 18 – 24 months. Then, for age 2 – 5, no more than an hour a day, but of high quality programming that you watch with your child. Sounds like a reasonable precaution to me.