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Patience, Planning, Creativity, and You

Have you ever built a gingerbread house? I’ve admired them, wished I could taste them, and never actually built one. Some of them look wonderfully basic and homey, some can be very elaborate, and I wonder how that gingerbread tastes after sitting around through the holidays. Have you ever had a bite of one? How was it?

The patience, planning, and creativity involved in making gingerbread houses translates to real life, too. Accomplishing most work-related events uses those three skills. Ever been tasked with organizing a large meeting? A marketing push? A spay surgery on a very large dog? Each of those requires planning, creativity, and patience as you watch your creation begin to unfold. While they don’t result in a deliciously beautiful sculpture, they do result in the same feelings of accomplishment and pride. And sometimes the tasks you perform feel uphill, blocking your creativity, your ability to plan, and get on your very last nerve. That’s where the...

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The Fine Art of Holiday Memories

#holiday memories Dec 05, 2023

Quick – what one holiday tradition from your childhood did you love best? Opening gifts? Family game time? Snitching the cookies while they were still warm?

For me, it was the advent candles Mom let my brothers and me burn during the 12 nights before Christmas. She read an article in Good Housekeeping magazine with ideas to keep children’s anticipation and curiosity about all those presents under the tree focused and in control, and one of the suggestions was the advent candle. Mom would cut 11 notches into three identical taper candles and my two brothers and I would burn one notch each night, burning the candle to the very end on Christmas Eve. Somewhere between bath time and bedtime, we’d gather at the coffee table in the living room, Christmas music playing, a tray of Mom’s cookies and candies in front of us, and watch the flame on our candles dance, melting the red wax into star-shaped pools in the bottom of three glass candle holders.

OK, I know this...

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Ready...Set...Share on Giving Tuesday!

Unless your eyes are just now opening for the very first time today, you already know today is Giving Tuesday. Today’s newsletter is short and sweet – if you’ll be giving today, please share the link to the organization you’re supporting. If you give at other times of the year, share the link. If you’ve got a group you’d like to give to and are waiting for the perfect time, share the link. 

If you're on Linked In, share your links here:

If you're on Facebook, share your links here:

Whether you give time, talent, or treasure, please share the group, organization, or cause you support. And on this Giving Tuesday, please remember to give to yourself, too. Here are three episodes of the world’s second-shortest podcast to help you remember that you matter, too.

Are you giving away your own power? Here’s a Tiny Bite for that!

Need to stop...

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Do Your Words Really Matter?

In the United States, Thursday is Thanksgiving Day. In the early 1600’s, when the first Thanksgiving celebration featuring Englishmen in the New World happened, “giving thanks” was how people expressed their gratitude for surviving a tough year, or for bringing in a bountiful harvest.

The tradition of “giving thanks” was, and still is, a big part of the Wampanoag tribe, who were part of the early celebrations, though not quite as the story is told now. In the middle 1800’s, when the Civil War had ended and President Lincoln was looking for a way to bring the nation back together, Thanksgiving was cemented as a national celebration designed to reflect, gather, and share a communal, traditional meal. The “traditional” meal itself was made up at the time, as was the pastoral story of the early dinners with Pilgrims and tribesmen.

It was called Thanksgiving. Would we still celebrate it if it had been called Gratitude Day or Appreciation...

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Fruits, Veggies, Nakedness, and Being on Stage

Are you afraid to stand up in front of an audience and give a presentation? Most people are, including some professional speakers. There you are, unguarded, vulnerable, and relying on your memory and your personality to move the audience to think in a new way, act in a new way, and hopefully not throw rotten fruits and veggies at you!

There’s a word for the fear of public speaking – glossophobia. Nearly half of adults are affected by it, at least a little bit. Why it’s so common isn’t known yet, except researchers postulate that it could be rooted in the primal fear of being seen by predators. You never know who might be lurking in that audience, just waiting to pounce!

In reality, audience members want speakers to succeed. They’re on your side, not against you, so instead of imagining everyone as naked, try imagining they’re all your very best friend, that person you could say anything to and they would still love you. Use your imagination to...

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What Do You Want? When Do You Want It?

control election local vote Nov 07, 2023

Welcome to Election Day 2023. Though the news today is largely about who’ll be which party’s candidate for Election Day 2024, did you know that what and whom you vote for today could be far more important to your daily life than the votes you cast a year from today?

What do you care about?

  1. The quality of schools for your children, grandchildren, and your property value?
  2. The quality of roads in your region?
  3. The speed limit in your neighborhood?
  4. The resources available for crime and fire prevention in your town?
  5. What you pay for electricity, water, gas, health insurance, car insurance, property insurance, and property taxes?
  6. If you live in a state that collects income tax, how your tax dollars are spent?
  7. The types of subjects that are and are not taught in your schools?
  8. The types of intoxicating substances that are allowed to be sold?
  9. What else is legal, illegal, and how the laws are enforced at a city, county, and state level?
  10. If you live in Virginia, Rhode Island, or...
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Got Big Plans for Halloween Tonight?

Full disclosure – today’s post is just for fun. OK, you’re right – fun is important for team cohesion, stress relief, and for mental wellbeing, so today’s newsletter might be useful, too.

And it’s mainly for fun, and yes, there’s a prize involved!

Do you love Halloween? I love Halloween – always have. Mom made our costumes because she loved Halloween, too. My two brothers and I were all sorts of craziness as we headed off to school on costume day, and as soon as I was old enough, I helped Mom with the make-up and accessories. There was that one year when I was sent home because my I Dream of Jeanie outfit was deemed too risqué for 5th grade, so I put on a pink t-shirt under the top, tucked it into the harem pants, and went right back and won a prize in the costume contest.

Fast-forward to adulthood, when Halloween got even more fun when the candy came with a side of adult beverages and semi-suggestive fun. (Yes, the leopard...

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How to Keep from Being a Casualty in This War

Our lives are filled with war. War in the mainstream media, war in the social media, and war in the everyday conversations. We don’t have to live in the war zone to be profoundly mentally affected by war.

The social-mediazation of war began with the war in the Ukraine and shows no signs of stopping in this new conflict. From the first attack at the music festival to right now, social media accounts have been showing pictures of things no one should ever see, spreading fake news, and passing off old videos as proof of their version of current events, creating confusion, fear, and despair.

All of this takes a toll on everyone. Everyone, not just Israelis, Pakistanis, Jews, Muslims, innocent people caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, as well as combatants. Everyone, no matter how far away or how distantly aware of the events, is affected.

In the Time Before Social Media, the mainstream media had rules that were mostly upheld, and they existed for the physical and mental...

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Do You Know Who Your Vet Tech Is?

What do they do, these vet’s assistants?

They have the best job ever!

All day with kittens and puppies they play

Getting wags and kisses – so clever!

You’d almost pay to have their day

It just sounds so life-giving…

Vet technicians are almost magicians

Turning snuggles into a living!

What you don’t realize with those stars in your eyes

Kisses aren’t all they are getting.

Listen up, listen well – get a clue

And you’ll find out what techs really do!

Welcome to Veterinary Technician Week, a week that recognizes those who support veterinarians in caring for pets. There's a lot of misunderstanding about what vet techs do - let's clear that up, shall we?

Vet technicians – what people think they do:

  1. Play with kittens and puppies all day
  2. Assist the veterinarian with all the fun things they do
  3. Play with kittens and puppies some more

Vet technicians – a partial list of what they really do:

  1. Check on animals hospitalized overnight,...
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Tackling a Touchy Topic Today

Today is the day for an observance you probably don’t know about. By the end of this newsletter, I hope you’ll be planning ways to make this day a better one for you and those you love before October 10th 2024. Today’s observance is all about something I work with veterinary teams to improve – mental wellbeing. Welcome to World Mental Health Day 2023.

First observed in 1992, there’s been a great need in our society for decades longer than that to eliminate the stigma around mental illness. When most of us were growing up, those with different mental abilities were considered “slow” or “nuts” or just plain “weird.” We’ve made a lot of progress as research has identified different mental diseases and conditions, instead of lumping everyone into the same category and “slow learner” classes in school.

Around the world, one in 8 people suffers some sort of mental illness or condition that sets them apart...

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