Live Life Like a Little Kid Does

Aria

Aria making fire fairies with her magic wand

Yesterday afternoon, I went to a six-year-old girl’s birthday party.  Everything was super girly—pink and purple decorations, a huge Hello Kitty cake, laughing little girls running and skipping around the house.  The day before that, she had another party (on her actual birthday), a theme party where everyone came dressed up as a fairy princess.

I enjoy studying people and their reactions to certain situations, so at this party, I observed how the little girl—who is my cousin’s daughter, Aria, by the way—and her friends played with one another and their general reactions to things.

As I pointed out in a post back in July, there are many lessons we can learn from children.  They can teach us how to think and behave in almost every situation in life.  And today’s post is going to expand upon that, and I hope that you will begin to life your life like a little kid does.   At the very least it will be good for your mental health.

Be grateful for everything in your life, even the smallest things

At yesterday’s party, Aria opened a mountain of gifts.  She got everything from new coats (one of cousin Angie’s gifts) and those bizarre lalaloopsy dolls to an airbrush tattoo kit (another gift from cousin Angie).  Surrounded by a load of expensive gifts, I was not surprised when she became instantly attached to a little stuffed dog she got from her uncle.  Aria has always had a knack for appreciating the small things in life.

I hope that she keeps up this attitude as she grows older.  And I think we should all begin to appreciate the smallest things in life.

You may not think you have a lot of things going on for you, whether it’s looks, money, clothes, whatever.  But do you have a job?  How about food to eat or a roof over your head?  Even if you do not have all those things, you still have air to breathe, your health…and hope.  Be grateful for those things.

Make friends wherever you go

Little Aria has charisma.  She can make friends wherever she goes—at the park, at the supermarket, just walking down the street.  And from the start, she considers everyone she meets a “friend.” She makes no enemies.

If everyone had that attitude, we would be one step closer to world peace, don’t you think?

The next time you are out and about, stop and say hi to someone passing you on the street, or nod at smile at the person standing next to you on a subway platform and engage them in conversation.  Do not concern yourself with thoughts about whether you sound or look foolish,  or if that person looks like someone you want to talk with.  Be open and be friendly.  And do not judge a book by its cover.

Set aside some time for play

Puppy Dance

Aria demonstrating her “Puppy Dance” at the park

When we become adults, sometimes we forget about playing and having fun. We should stop doing that.  We should revert back to childhood for at least twenty minutes each day and play.  Seriously.  Just go outside and skip and laugh; bring some sidewalk chalk or bubbles with you and act like a kid again.

You didn’t think I actually meant playing like a little kid, did you?  You thought I was going to talk about going to bars, dancing, and doing all the “play” that adults engage in.  Nope.  I meant what I said.  Play like a child.

Grab your spouse or best friends and start a game of tag or hopscotch, or hide and go seek.

If you are highly stressed from work or some other aspect of your life, taking that twenty-minute break to go back to a childhood game does wonders for you.  Trust me.

What other things can a person do to live life like a little kid does?  Do you have any suggestions?  Please leave a comment below and let me know what sort of things you would do or have done.

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Shameless Self-Promotion Is a Good Thing!

English: Symbol "thumbs up", great

Give yourself a “thumbs up”! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Are you someone who is a bit shy about promoting your website, your business, the new book you are writing (Joan, that is you), or something else that you wish other people would find out about and spread the word about how fabulous you are?

You do not want to come off as too obsessive or pompous, so you just sit and wait for the right opportunity to come along.  Or the right person who is willing to promote your work for you.

Stop doing that….

The whole month of October is dedicated to self-promotion, making people aware of your presence.  So if you are working on a project that you think people would benefit from in some way, LET THEM KNOW ABOUT IT, damn it.  What is the point in creating anything if you do not share it with the world?

Some people want you to think that self-promotion is a bad thing, but it is not bad at all.  It is telling the world, “Hey, this is important to me, and I hope it is important to you, too.”

Do not be afraid to go out there and shamelessly and incessantly promote your hard work.

Take my friend, the aforementioned Joan, for instance.  (She will probably kill me for talking about her, but oh well…) She has been diligently working for over a year to collect information about the life and murder of Carl Switzer, who was famous for his role as Alfalfa in the Our Gang series.  Lately she has become a bit protective of her work for whatever reason.  She does not know if she wants to keep a blog to update others who might be interested, or share any other information with people on this project.

What Joan and other people like her need to realize is, that some (even if it is minimal) promotion of this type of thing is necessary to get people interested in the project and help spread the word about it.  If Joan wants people to know the truth about Switzer, she needs to start promoting her work…but as I told her, she does not want to give everything away because then there would be no reason for people to buy the biography.

Remember that, folks:  shamelessly self-promote, but do not give everything away.  Tease people.  Entice them.  Make them want to find out more.   And do not be so overprotective that everything you have done becomes useless.

So how can you shamelessly self promote this October?  Try some of the following things that will put you in the public’s eye.

  • Start a blog. Even if it has a small following, blogging about your passions or your upcoming project will help people connect with your work on a more personal level.
  • Start a Facebook fan page or Twitter account. Do you have any updates you want to share with people about your project?  Put them on Twitter or a Facebook fan page.
  • Send out a press release.  Have you got something newsworthy? Let the media know about it.  There are plenty of resources online that can help you set up a free press release and get the word out.
  • Put your links everywhere.  If you have a blog or website you want to promote, put the link everywhere—in letters, in e-mail, on business cards, on fliers you attach to a lamp-post on the street or on a bulletin board at the supermarket.
  • Recruit friends and family to share your stuff for you. Unless you are working on something that you would be embarrassed to tell granny about, then give her a ring and ask her to tell a friend and have them tell a friend about what you are doing.  Repeat this with everyone you know.  It is surprising how quickly the word will spread.

There are countless other things you can do to shamelessly promote your work.  Do you have any tips and tricks for anyone who needs to get out and get something done this October?  What has worked and what has not worked for you?

Who or What Is Really in Control of Your Day?

favorite quote

Either you run the day or the day runs you

~Jim Rohn

The above quote  from Jim Rohn is something I need to remember—it’s something we all probably need to remember, is it not?  If we do not take control of our days and make things happen, we cannot expect things to go our way, can we?

So who or what is really in control of your day?

Do you wake up in the morning and decide that it is going to be a good day, and that you are going to do everything you have on your agenda?  Or do you just “go with the flow” and take life as it comes?  If you lean more toward the latter, are you really getting everything you want out of life?  If you are, good for you!  If you are not, perhaps it is time you start with a plan…and stick to it.

It all begins with positive thinking

English: Think positive

Think positive (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Something positive can happen during even the worst situations you can imagine.  For instance, if you are in a car accident and you lose use of your limbs (or lose your limbs completely), but you still have your life, you should be grateful.  You can still wake up and see the sun shine for at least one more day.  You still have the opportunity to make a difference in the world, even if it is a small one.

All you have to do is find the proverbial silver lining.

The next time you are faced with a difficult situation, do your best to think positive thoughts.  You will be surprised at what a difference positive thinking can make in a negative situation.

It is all up to YOU

If you are simply waiting for something good to happen, you are going to be waiting for a mighty long time, my friend.  Once you dream up something, you have to put those thoughts into action.  Nobody else is going to do it for you.  It is all up to you.

And if you want things to run smoothly, you have to put those actions into a manageable plan.   Sure, there are some things you can do impulsively, but overall, it is better to plan out your life.  I learned from years of experience that careful planning goes a long way.

And remember the late Jim Rohn’s words:  Either you run the day or the day runs you.

YOU are in the driver’s seat in life.  Do not let anyone or anything control the wheel for you.

Bust Out of That Closet and Be Yourself

National Coming Out Day logo, designed by arti...

National Coming Out Day logo, designed by artist Keith Haring. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today is National Coming Out Day here in the US and in various countries around the world.  This is a very important day for the LGBT community.  It i’s a day that celebrates people finally accepting and publicly admitting who they are.  It is also a day that attempts to bring awareness to our “representatives” and the public about gay and lesbian rights.

It seems very strange that the so-called “land of the free” denies rights to certain people.  The Constitution is supposed to guarantee rights for all people is it not?  Well, the LGBT community is denied rights all the time, just like people of certain races and religious backgrounds are/have been denied rights they should have had all along.

And those prejudices are often made into constitutional amendments.  The very document that outlines freedoms for some has made it perfectly clear that some people are not good enough.

Here is the message this country is sending people when we deny basic human rights to others:  You are only allowed to have rights if you are the right color, the right religion, or the right sexual orientation.  If you are not white, Christian, and heterosexual, you are out of luck—you are not entitled to anything.

Is this really the message we want to send?  If it is, then can you really, honestly, believe that America is the greatest country on earth?  How can a country that thinks anyone is less than human be the greatest at anything?

Why do people care if John and Jim want to get married?   They do not care when Adam and Eve walk down the aisle.  When a heterosexual couple get married it is a beautiful and blessed event, but when a gay couple kiss in public or want to get married, all hell breaks loose.  It is unnatural and should not be allowed…right?

Wrong.

English: The Bisexual flag and Gay flag put to...

The Bisexual flag and Gay flag put together (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Homosexuality is just as natural as heterosexuality.  Human beings are not the only ones that choose partners of the same-sex.  Research has found that same-sex couplings are “found in nearly all animals.”  Deny it if you want, but it is true.

So if you are someone who is struggling with your sexuality, I ask you to stop. You are better than the bullies telling people they are perverts and freaks.  So bust out of that closet and be yourself, brothers and sisters.  Announce to the world that you are who you are and people are just going to have to accept it.  If they are unwilling to do that, then you do not need them in your life.

No one should ever have to deny who and what they are in this society.  Do you agree?

Do You Support State Sponsored Murder?

Electric chair

Electric chair (Photo credit: Boston Public Library)

Ladies and gentlemen, once upon a time I fully supported the death penalty here in the United States.  I thought that executions were a just and necessary punishment for people who committed murder.  In fact, I thought that we had gone too soft when we got rid of the electric chair, public hangings, the guillotine, the firing squad, etc.  There was not any punishment too cruel and unusual for me when it came to cold-blooded murder.

My mind began to change about the death penalty once I started doing some research.  There is no way of knowing how many innocent people this country has put to death.  I’d venture to say well into the thousands in just the past 100 years, but I cannot back up those figures with real evidence.  There is, however, real evidence of people who spent the better part of their lives on death row finally being released because they were finally able to prove their innocence.  141 people in 26 states have been exonerated and released from prison since 1973, with an average of 5 exonerations per year since 2000.

That number might not seem like a lot to you, but it does to me.  Yes, people who have been murdered deserve justice. Their murderer deserves to be punished.  I would like to emphasize that last point:  a victim’s murderer deserves to be punished—not the guy that cops picked up during a hurried investigation.  That guy and the guy who actually did the murder are not always the same person.

If we are going to execute someone, we had better make damn sure that it is the person who is actually guilty of the crime they are accused of committing.  And until we can do that with certainty, the death penalty should be suspended in all states.

English: Total number of executions carried ou...

Total number of executions carried out in the USA up to 2010.  Source of data:http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/executions-united-states Death Penalty Information Center – Executions in the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But even if we started catching every guilty person who has run and ducked from the law, is the death penalty really effective to prevent crime?  Is it really a deterrent?  It doesn’t seem to be.

I live in one of the most dangerous cities in the United States and someone (or many someones) is murdered here every day.  Our prisons are overflowing.  The people who go out and kill are obviously not deterred by that fact, are they?  They know the consequences of the crimes they are committing and they commit them anyway.

Once can safely assume that the death penalty is not a deterrent.  In fact, some malicious jerks out there are probably willing to wager that they will never get caught, that some innocent person will be put on death row in their place.  It happens all the time, doesn’t it?

Since our justice system is not perfect at catching the bad guy and possibly putting a needle into an innocent person’s arm, the death penalty, to me, is nothing more than state sponsored murder.  And again, it should be suspended until we know that all people on death row are guilty.  I do not ever see that happening.  Police work is too focused on getting people behind bars and not doing a proper investigation to make sure they have the right person or people.

Are you for or against the death penalty?  Are you like me, a person who has concluded that it is nothing more than state sponsored murder, or do you feel that it is effective in preventing crime and bringing justice to grieving families?  Sound off in the comments below.

It Is Time To Face Your Fears Head-On

English: Trúður

A scary freekin’ clown…making me think that my irrational fear isn’t so irrational. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are anything like me, you more than likely have an absurdly long list of irrational fears.  (I hope you are nothing like me because I am completely ridiculous!)

Here is my top five list of irrational fears:

1. Clowns

This one is one of the more rational irrational fears.  When one considers clowns that go by the names of Pennywise and John Wayne Gacy, it does not seem too ridiculous to have a fear of clowns, does it?

2. Puppets

Have you ever been to a Punch show?  If not, it’s all about a drunken puppet named Punch who beats the ever-living crap out of his wife Judy.  It’s a centuries old show geared toward children, believe it or not.  Punch and Judy were the first experience I had with puppets as a young child, and it made me deathly afraid of them.

3. Elevators

I absolutely refuse to get on an elevator by myself because I have a crippling fear of them.  I have repeated nightmares about being by myself on an elevator and it suddenly gets stuck, or the cable snaps, sending me to my death.  I have thankfully never been stuck on an elevator in reality, but that is because I tend to avoid them at all costs.

4.  Dead People

Good old necrophobia.  I absolutely hate going to funerals and I make dang sure I am never left alone with the corpse when I cannot get out of going.  I’m afraid that the corpse could spring up and grab me at any moment.

Don’t laugh.  It has happened, you know.  Way back in December 1918, when my granddad was all of nine years old, his grandmother died in a fire.  During her wake she grabbed his arm and they had to break her fingers to release him.  I’m glad my family was kind enough to tell me this as a young child because it caused a lifetime of nightmares and nervous fits.  Who doesn’t want that?  It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

5.  Semi Trucks

I hate being near one of these things on the street as a pedestrian or a driver.  Every time I see one I become extremely nervous and hope that it does not overturn and crush me.  I even become nervous seeing one of them roll down my street while I am safe inside my apartment.  I try to avoid them as much as possible—needless to say I don’t get on the highway very much.

Since it is Face Your Fears Day, I have decided to face many of my fears head-on and laugh about how silly I have been all these years.   Thankfully I do not have an opportunity to face my fear of dead people, clowns, or puppets at the moment, but I will be out and about and likely facing some semis and elevators.  I don’t know how I am going to approach the semi situation, but I WILL be getting on elevators all by myself today.  I hope I don’t have a nervous breakdown….

What are some of your fears?  Are they as irrational as mine are?  Are you going to take the opportunity to finally get over how silly it all is once and for all?   If you do, please let me know how it works out for you by leaving a comment below!

America, Will You Please Stop Celebrating Genocide?

Christoper Columbus arrives in America

Christoper Columbus, ready to kill some natives. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know that this is going to make me look rather Anti-American, but I do not care.  This country has celebrated genocide and slavery for far too long.  It needs to stop now.

We prop up dictators for decades and then decide that we are against them for whatever reason several decades later.  When we want to sever ties, we enter their countries and bomb so-called military targets that wind up being full of innocent civilians, many of them children.   Those of us back home are peddled the BS line that military action was necessary to save American lives.

Better them than us, right?

As I sit here and type the media is busy trying to get us to support possible wars with Syria and Iran.   It does not matter who wins the election next month, one or the other will go beg Congress to declare war.  I hope I am wrong, kids, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I am right.  Trouble has been brewing for a while now and our so-called representatives will lie to our faces (again) to get us to support dropping bombs on people.

And when we aren’t at war with foreign countries, we support state-sponsored executions of people who, more often than not, have not committed murder.  Don’t you think it would be fair to know that the people we are putting on death row are people who are actually guilty of the crimes they have been accused of committing?

This country, this continent, has always had a bad habit of executing innocent people.  Just take what we are celebrating today as proof of that.  We are celebrating the life of a power-crazy genocidal maniac who exterminated an entire race of peaceful people.

Christopher Columbus was no hero, ladies and gentlemen.  He and the Spaniards destroyed countless human lives because they wanted land and gold.  The people who were already living on the land that now belongs to Haiti and the Dominican Republic were beaten, raped, enslaved, and killed because of greed.  And all this was done in God’s name, by the way.  Christopher Columbus and the rest of these savage beasts fancied themselves “Christians.”

And we celebrate this genocide every year without fail, and look at indigenous peoples here like they are crazy when they go out to protest.

America, let us please forget Christopher Columbus the hero of the seas and remember Christopher Columbus the killer of natives.  We should instead celebrate the culture he found so inferior and fought so hard to get rid of, don’t you agree?

Tell Them They Matter Before It’s Too Late

You matter.

You matter. (Photo credit: Im Kelsi)

Ladies and gentlemen, no one can really predict the future.  Psychics and mediums are things that happen in Hollywood and late night infomercials on television.  Magician Harry Houdini regularly went to séances to bust phonies who suckered grieving people out of their money and valuable time.

Scam artists like Kenny Kingston and Sylvia Browne do not really see dead people standing around you, waiting to give you a message from the great beyond.  And I don’t know about you, but the idea that a bunch of dead people are always standing there staring at me gives me the freekin’ willies, my babies.  I do not want to know that grandpa always has his eye on me. Go play poker with Jesus, gramps, and leave me alone!

Long story short, once someone is gone, they are gone.  They are not going to spend eternity trying to get a message to you.  Dead folks have better things to do…such as playing footsie with critters in the soil. Read the full post »

4 Ways to Make People Think You Have Lost Your Mind

Alice’s Abenteuer im Wunderland Übersetzer: An...

Mad Hatter and March Hare (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After seeing that headline you are probably thinking, “Angie, why would I want people to think I have lost my mind?  That’s crazy talk!”  Well, there is one very important reason for that:  it’s Mad Hatter Day here in the United States.

I know, some of you in Great Britain are probably huffing and puffing, saying that I got it all wrong, that Mad Hatter Day is June 10 (10 June?).  Well, we here in the US have to do things differently than you, obviously, so our day is October 6.

What is Mad Hatter Day exactly? Started in Boulder, Colorado in 1986 and gaining some popularity a couple of years later (I admit that I was not aware of this day until a few days ago), it is a day that people celebrate being silly. Think April Fool’s Day without all the crazy—sometimes mean-spirited—pranks.

So put away that shaving foam, fake vomit, rubber spiders, and itching powder.  You do not need them.  Instead, try the following four things that will probably make people think you have lost your mind, which will make them all the more fun to do.

Read the full post »

Happiness Has Been Right Under Your Nose All Along!

favorite quote

A smile is happiness you’ll find right under your nose.
~Tom Wilson

It’s time for another edition of Favorite Quote Friday!  Each week since the beginning of this blog, I have brought you some of my favorite quotes from authors, motivational speakers, and others.   For a while now I have thought that Favorite Quotes Friday should have its very own blog.  Well, my babies, it’s going to happen!  Stay tuned for details about when and where Favorite Quotes Friday is moving to.

Now on to today’s post…

“Improving the world, one smile at a time”

Ball posing with a selection of Smiley merchan...

Ball posing with a selection of Smiley merchandising (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today is World Smile Day.  This day was created by the late Harvey Ball (1921-2001), the Massachusetts artist who created the iconic yellow smiley face in 1963.  Ball wanted people to use the first Friday of every October for random acts of kindness that will hopefully bring smiles to people’s faces.

Shortly after Ball’s death, the Harvey Ball World Smile Organization was set up to honor him and continues to sponsor activities that promote acts of kindness. Read the full post »

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