Archive for July 28, 2022

Life-Wisdom from the Talmud

Like other holy books, the Talmud has a lot of basic wisdom to guide our lives, like today’s Thursday Thought quote:

“It is not upon you to finish the task, but you’re not absolved from trying.” – Talmud  

Personal Note: The Power of a Book

My adult son proved to me what I’d always known but had never seen in action.  Like many people his age when they can’t sleep, he was on the Net at 1 AM.  He spotted an ad for a new edition of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, which got him to thinking…and sending me an email. He said, “I just saw something that reminded me of the first  book I ever read [JLS].  I think this is why I love weight lifting.”

I think it’s more than that.  I think the spirit of reaching for the improbable, working to one’s full potential–that’s what JLS gave him as a child.  I’d like to think that his dad’s and my reinforcement of those qualities helped make him the caring, generous, capable, determined, hard-working individual he is today.  But I believe that the power of the first book he read, the book he remembers today, can NOT be discounted.

Gift Bags

You’re stopped at a light, car idling, breeze wafting through your open window.  Peaceful.  Until that scruffy guy with an “Out of Work & Hungry” sign leans down to make eye contact with you.  Rolling up your window on him or just ignoring him makes you feel guilty, because he might truly be in need.  Giving him money makes you think you may be feeding his bad habit.  The answer is simple: a smile to acknowledge him as a person and the offer of a gift bag.  Make up a few gift bags and keep them in your car for such an occasion.  Fill a zip-lock bag (half gallon size is good) with a bottle of water, a granola bar or bag of trail mix, a packet of tissues, a toothbrush, a sample-sized toothpaste, and a sample-sized hand sanitizer.  Unless standing out there is his “job” rather than filling a real need, he’ll gratefully accept your little gift.   You will have given him useful items to help him get by, acknowledged that he’s a fellow human in need, and regained your sense of calm.

It’s a Trashy World

Why worry about a little bit of litter?  Consider how long it takes for things to break down naturally: orange peels 6 months; paper 2-5 months; plastic bag 10-20 years; Styrofoam cup 50 years;  aluminum can 80-200 years; glass bottle 1 million years;  disposable diaper 450 years; plastic bottles 450 years/never.  Besides, litter is ugly!

[For more easy, money-saving, Eco-friendly tips, download a FREE copy of Green Riches: Help the Earth & Your Budget. Go to, choose a format, and download to your computer or e-book device. For a description of the book go to My Free Books).

July is Make a Difference to Children Month

Who are the most precious yet vulnerable among us?  Our children, of course.  Their lives — physical, mental, and emotional – are always at risk. But we can make a difference through small actions. We can take our son and his friend to the library and help them get excited about choosing their own books to borrow.  Have play-dates at our house so we can get to know the friends.  Help out at our daughter’s school event, at the YMCA, Scouts, or youth group. Organize playground cleanup or renovation.  Urge lawmakers to support bills to feed hungry children, keep them safe from abuse, and find loving foster families. Give a few minutes of undivided attention to listen to a child’s exited story or disappointment, even if it isn’t our own child.  Pray with them.  Teach them by our own example of compassion and peace. Sometimes just some eye contact and a smile reminds a child that they are not invisible or unimportant.  Such actions make children feel wanted, loved, and safe; they make a difference to them now and help them become confident, compassionate adults.

Deciding on a Bridge

This Thursday Thought Quote/picture really made me think — about my life’s past bridges and my future ones. Reflecting on the past has been interesting, both in a “Yes, that was the perfect thing to do” and in the “Boy, did I blow it!” sense. Take some quiet time to think about it. It’s actually cathartic.

Some Boozy American History

Here’s a little-known fact about our founding father George Washington: he was heavily into booze. He owned one of the biggest distilleries of his time (in 1799, he was producing 11,000 gallons of whisky). That’s thanks to his farm manager, who urged him to use the rye and corn being grown on Washington’s plantation. Convinced, he built a huge (for those times), two-story, 2,250 square foot distillery. That distillery has since been rebuilt and is in operation today, seasonally, using the 18th century methods of mashing, fermenting, and distilling the grain to make alcohol. If you can’t get to Mount Vernon to visit in person, take a virtual tour at

Know When to Water

A simple way to test the moisture of your soil is with a long bamboo skewer. Drive it into the soil, leaving the top inch or two exposed. Pull it out and you’ll be able to see whether you need to water by the moisture in the skewer.

[For more easy, money-saving, Eco-friendly tips, download a FREE copy of Green Riches: Help the Earth & Your Budget. Go to, choose a format, and download to your computer or e-book device. For a description of the book go to My Free Books).

Human Behavior in Self-Driving Cars

Supposedly, the hang-up on getting large-scale use of totally self-driving cars is that manufacturers are working on getting the cars to anticipate and react to human behavior. Makes me wonder. If they succeed, does that mean we’ll see one car intentionally ramming another because it “thinks” that another car cut him off or is hogging the lane? After all, road-rage is obviously part of common human behavior.

Taking Revenge

At first reading, today’s Thursday Thought seems nonsensical, because we all feel that twinge of desire for revenge from time to time. On second thought, though, the way we handle that twinge makes a big difference to us.