Glass Half Full – A Good Way to Live

In answer to the "Is the glass half empty...Image via Wikipedia

Glass Half Empty?

A few years ago I thought of myself as a “glass half empty” kind of thinker.  I started reading some books such as Love Your Life, by Victoria Osteen, and Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude, by Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone. I realized that my negative thinking was affecting my life. I also knew that it would take some work on my part to get rid of that negativity tape that kept running through my head.  But I really wanted to take on that challenge.  I wanted to become someone who loved life simply because I was alive. 

Nah, Glass Half Full
 So today, I think of myself as a glass half full kind of person.  I may not always like my circumstances, but I’ve worked to improve my attitude toward those circumstances.  And I really believe that God has the right thing in mind for me, even if I may not agree right at that moment.  When I do get those blue moods, I don’t think of them in terms of “Oh, I’m never gonna feel any better.”  They are simply short term moods. 



Beginning my day with optimism starts me off on the right foot. If I wake up on the pessimistic side of the bed, well, I might as well just get back under those blankets and hide out for the day!

Living an Optimistic Life
I recently read a post by Henrik Edberg, author of  The Positivity Blog – like me, he believes that pessimism halts you in your tracks.  Henrik goes on to write about what he calls the 6 Fundamentals of an Optimistic Life. I particularly like his point that we need to “shape the input,” in other words, think about what we let get into our heads, what we watch on television, even what kind of people we have in our lives. 

I also agree with Henrik that we need to be nice to ourselves.  Before I built my optimistic outlook, I would get angry at myself for small mistakes and expect myself to be “perfect” by saying and doing the right thing all the time (impossible, right?).  I’ve learned to be kinder to me, quit second-guessing myself, and accept my flaws. 

Finally, to keep pessimism at bay, I thank God daily for all the good I have in my life, and think about what I want to accomplish – this keeps me moving forward.

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Haiti Recovery: Where’s the Money?

What Mitch Albom, his group of volunteers, and the “Have Faith Haiti Missionhave accomplished with the $80,000 contributed by Michiganders (who have big hearts and are willing to give, even in these tough economic times), in one small corner of Haiti:

  • Beds for kids who have slept in the dirt for a year
  • Medical check-ups for these kids, along with needed medications
  • 3 daily nutritional meals for these kids
  • Re-vamping an orphanage with the help of the “Detroit Muscle Crew” 
  • Adding a 3-room schoolhouse to the grounds of the orphanage 

Finally, and most importantly, this dedicated group of people brought hope and joy to these children, with just the simple things, such as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. 

They’ve created something pretty amazing with a relatively small dollar amount.  And, they’ve shown us, the people who made donations, what they’ve done with that cash.

I like that. 

But this inspirational story leads me to a question:

What in the heck happened to the BILLIONS of dollars pledged by America and other nations throughout the world? What happened to the donations made by regular folks like you and me to the Red Cross, UNICEF, Catholic Relief Services, and other non-profits?

Here’s my sad answer to that question: I don’t know.  Do you? 

You might be interested in reading some of the information I collected from Google on this topic: President Obama pledged money from the U.S. a couple of days after the quake:

But read further:




The Total Failure of Global Aid in Haiti

What do you think? Should there be accountability when an organization collects donations for a cause? Shouldn’t we know what the money is being used for? Shouldn’t the money actually help people? Just wondering.

Your Brain (and Health) On Music

Bea has loved the song Europa by the guitarist extraordinaire Carlos Santana ever since she first heard it on his Moonflower album.  In 1976, she went to a concert at one of those long-gone concert venues in the Motor City (now known as “The D”) and sat in awe as she watched Carlos perform that song – the music going right through to her core.  It was simply one of those moments she’ll never forget.

Fast forward to Bea’s family room, January 2011.  This room has become Mr. Boomer’s concert venue of choice.  Recently, Mr. B. attempted to play Europa on his Les Paul electric guitar. All. Day. Long. Okay, so now Bea is just sick to death of her favorite tune and hopes she never hears it again.

Rock on, Mr. B.

In the past year, after a long hiatus, Mr. Boomer has really gotten into playing his guitar.  Bea envies and admires his ability to play “by ear,” something the Boomer daughter has inherited.  Mrs. B. has no musical ability – she likes to sing, but she ain’t fooling herself, she’s no American Idol.  What she lacks in talent, however, she makes up for in chutzpah (read: she sings loudly).

The hubby has also gotten together with friends from his workplace to “jam” together, and he jokes about taking his new group “Social Insecurity,” on the road.  (Great name, hmmm?  He made that one up himself).

Despite the fact that he’s ruined Bea’s favorite song for her, she thinks Mr. B. is really onto something with this guitar playing.  He’s enhancing his social wellness, by getting together with “the guys.”  Music also can reduce his job-related or wife-related stress, and even keep those brain cells alive and kicking.  In fact, according to the eMed Expert website, playing music can even make him smarter!

For Further Reading: 

Over 50? Discover the Coming of Age Website

The Coming of Age website defines itself as “all about what people 50+ can do.” 

For individuals, Coming of Age lets you:
  • Explore your future
  • Connect and Contribute

For communities or non-profit organizations, Coming of Age is there to help them connect with those of us over 50 who truly want to make a difference in our communities.
You can read more about its goals here.

Have you been forced to retire, and don’t know what to do with the rest of your life?  Coming of Age can help you discover your options.  Nowadays, we have opportunities our parents and grandparents could never have imagined! 

In the Explore your Future section, under the “Do Good” link, I found articles about:
(1) Finding a volunteer opportunity that’s right for you.

(2) How helping others can help you if you’re suffering from a chronic illness.
Do you want to make a difference in your community, using the personal skills and talents you’ve sharpened over the years?  Coming of Age can connect you with opportunities.

Under the Health link of the Connect and Contribute section, I found resources such as: The Alliance for Aging Research, Medscape, Medline Plus, and more. Under the Volunteer link of the same section, I found these resources with volunteer opportunities: Civic Ventures, Idealist, Network for Good, just to name a few.

People who make a difference:
Were you a Grateful Dead follower? Well, check out the “Grateful Alive” band, a group of older Americans who are using their musical talents and having fun by entertaining others in nursing homes and VA hospitals.

And then there’s the story of William Baker, who turned his life around in his fifties, working as a peer counselor and art instructor for people in recovery.

A selection of articles from the Coming of Age website:

The Coming of Age website offers a free e-book titled: The Age for Change: An E-Book for People 50+

You can also sign up for a free newsletter, or check out the site’s blog, “Coming of Age Around the Country,”  here

I really believe that we CAN make a difference, no matter what our age, if we just make the choice to do something and then take that first step. 

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Looking For The Fountain of Youth? Look No Further

Fellow boomers! Researchers have found what we have long been seeking! A way to kick the aging process in the butt – yep, a real fountain of youth. And no, it’s not an injection, nutritional supplement, or something we drink or eat. It sure as heck isn’t Botox or plastic surgery. It doesn’t have to cost a lot, and it’s something
that most of us can easily incorporate into our lives. Hint: It can also help us with out weight loss goals.

Have you guessed what I’m talking about? Yep, it’s regular exercise. The true fountain of youth: It motivates our brain cells, helps maintain bone density to keep us from fracturing your bones as we age, delays the loss of muscle, and of course, as I’ve preached before in this very blog, protects us from those age-related
conditions we all fear. You know what I’m talkin’ about. There’s even been a study relating regular exercise to good eye health.

Here’s the kicker for me, though. Exercise is a primary factor for not only living longer, but living longer better. Hey, you never know of course; after losing my beloved brother at the age of 50, I know that it’s still a crap-shoot. But if God does want to keep me around for awhile, I want to have a healthy old age. I’ve been on the exercise wagon for a long time, and feel pretty darn good so far. Now, if only I could get my hubby to embrace this  “fountain of youth!”


If I don’t get the hubby started on an exercise program now, he’ll be looking like this when he finally does start:

Run, Old Dude, Run!
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Need Some Great Weight Loss Tips?

Did you make a New Year’s Resolution, way back at the end of December (you know, 9 days ago!) to lose a few pounds to become healthier and more fit?  Well, if you want to kick-start your diet plan, WebMD’s slideshow of the 22 “Best Diet Tips Ever” can help.  If you’ve already lost the weight, these tips help you maintain your new body. 

My favorite tips from this slideshow include:
#1 – Drinking lots of water during the day: I don’t like the taste of plain water, and flavored waters are too sweet for my taste. So I just add some lemon or lime juice to my bottled water.

#4 – Eating smaller meals more often during my day – If I skip meals, or don’t eat my 3:00 p.m. (healthy) snack at work, I come home with that “I’m starving and I’ve got to eat some chips right now!” feeling.

#7 – Filling my pantry, fridge, and freezer with healthy foods and drinks! This is a big one for me – it helps me avoid those fast food restaurants that seem to be on every street corner as I drive home for lunch! I live close enough to my workplace to eat at home, so I plan what I’m going to eat at lunch before I go to work. 

I might have a tuna sandwich (mixed with vinegar and oil, not mayonnaise) on whole grain bread, along with tomato soup with some mixed veggies thrown in, a side of steamed cauliflower, then for a sweet ending, blueberries and raspberries or other fruit. 
 

#10 –  Having breakfast every day.  I’ve done this my whole adult life. I swear by it for helping me maintain a healthy weight! (No, it’s not an Egg McMuffin from McDonald’s or a donut from Dunkin’ Donuts) 

#11 –  Fiber, fiber, fiber!  We simply don’t get enough of it! I get mine from oatmeal, beans (I eat black or pinto on brown rice with a good salsa to top it off). I make my sandwiches with whole grain bread, and look for cereals with a decent fiber content. And of course, fruits and veggies are full of fiber.

Which leads to #17 – Eating more fruits and vegetables – rich in vitamins and minerals, few calories, so I can fill up my plate! (I just don’t slather them in butter, cheese, or other fattening stuff)

Finally, #20  One of my favorite means of weight loss is keeping a food diary – simply because it keeps me aware of just what in the heck I’m eating!

For further reading:
 

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Positive Thinking – There’s Power in It!

I’m currently reading an e-book I downloaded for free from the Guideposts website. When I was a child, my mom bought the Guideposts magazine regularly, and I loved reading it for its happy stories.

The book is Positive Thinking 2011: Rediscover the Power of Positive Thinking with Norman Vincent Peale and you can download it simply for signing up for inspirational updates from Guideposts.

Norman Vincent Peale, Christian preacher and a...Image via Wikipedia

Norman Vincent Peale – Isn’t he a happy looking man?

 

 

 

 

 

I read the original Power of Positive Thinking, published in 1952, as a young teenager because my dad collected books of all kinds, and as I kid, I loved to read. Well, I still love to read, and will surely love it up until the day I pass from this earth. As a child, though, it was my escape from real life.

Even as a kid, I wanted to be inspired, and discover the goodness in life – simply because my home life was not so positive. Of course, it was one thing to read about it, and another thing to put it into practice.

I’ve lived the negative version of life – it often permeated my childhood, and dragged on, even into adulthood, because I didn’t know how to let go of it. Somehow I finally figured out that by changing my thoughts, I could find a sense of serenity. I also had to let go of the past – not an easy task. But now I choose to live the positive way, as much as possible. When I do feel down in the dumps, I don’t let it get the best of me.   
I truly believe, as written in the 2011 version of the Power of Positive Thinking, that we do choose whether we are happy or not.  Sure, circumstances can be difficult at times; but have you ever noticed that some people still find a sense of happiness and peace even as they face difficulties, and others let negativity control their lives, no matter what their circumstances?  I’ve known people that let their past control them, and it ain’t a pretty sight. 
When I’m on my deathbed, I want to smile as I look back on my life.  I want to believe that I’ve made a positive change in the world while I lived in it. 

By the way, the Guideposts site has some cool stuff, for those of you looking to be inspired.  Free e-books, podcasts, and videos, and links to inspirational topics, not to mention uplifting articles and stories.

Quotes of the Day:

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. (Herm Albright)

All that we are is the result of what we have thought.  The mind is everything.  What we think, we become. (Buddha)

And one of my favorites:

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Our lives are not determined by what happens to us, but by how we react to what happens; not by what life brings us, but by the attitude we bring to life.  A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes.  It is a catalyst . . . a spark that creates extraordinary results. (Author unknown)

Prune Breakfast Month???

According to the Gone-Ta-Pott website, (a fun site,  by the way, if you’re interested in celebrating all kinds of unique holidays, just for the heck of it) January is Prune Breakfast Month. 

I’m not sure what this entails, however. Does it mean that we should be eating prunes, aka dried plums, from the first of January all the way to the end of the month?  If that’s the case, we just might be spending a lot of time in the bathroom relieving our digestive tract of its contents. 

Believe it or not, I also read that prunes have antioxidant qualities that help slow the aging process! Who woulda thunk?  My mom, who loved prunes, would have been astonished to know that they were not only helping her “digestively,” but were also keeping her youthful.

You can find more health benefits of dried plums here

I hate to admit it, but I’ve always had an aversion to this wrinkly fruit.  Never really had the “urge” to try it.  I may have to re-think this, hmmm?  And what better time than in January, aka Prune Breakfast Month?

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Oh yum.

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Why I’m Reading the ShareCare Website

I read about the ShareCare website in a recent AARP bulletinI get these bulletins in the mail because I joined AARP after becoming part of that awesome group of over-50 people in the good old U.S.A.  Can you tell I’m proud to be 50 plus? Darn right I am.

But as usual, I digress. 

Back to my point.  ShareCare provides expert health and wellness information from doctors at top-notch hospitals and medical centers, as well as highly regarded non-profit organizations. These organizations include the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association, and the American Cancer Society, just to name a few.

Got a health question?  It’ll be answered from medical experts at the Cleveland Clinic, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Johns Hopkins, among others, allowing you to get different points of view relating to that question.
For example, I typed in “how can I lower high blood pressure,” in the search box.  The site responded with 5000+ related questions and answers, such as: “How can I naturally lower my blood pressure,” and “Can meditation help lower blood pressure.” 
In the “Ask your health question” box, you can also search for an expert, organization, hospital, or disease by name. 
Click on the “Explore health topics” at the top of the home page to bring up three pages of health topics, 48 in all. Choose one of those topics and you’ll find videos and recently answered questions related to that topic.   
This site is easy to use, and it’s not cluttered up with advertisements, which makes it visually appealing.  And by the way, it’s not just for us older folks. Its topics relate to people of all age groups. 

At my age, I’m happy to be able to get health and wellness information at the click of a mouse. And to know I’m getting trusted information is even more important.

Image: Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net