Thoughts on Intentional Gift-Giving

wrapped gifts under treeChristmas is less than a week away, a fact that prompts me to think about gift-giving. What a very fraught subject! I’d be more than willing to just forget about the whole process myself, being content with good food, decorations, socializing with friends and family, and special outings. But I can’t be a complete Scrooge, can I? So here are some ways that I enter into the spirit of the season without putting myself through the wringer or giving items that may not be used or appreciated:

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Mindful vs. Mindless Eating

Book cover for "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle"Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver with her husband, Steven L. Hopp and her daughter Camille Kingsolver, originally published in 2008.

I’ve just started listening to a great audiobook by Stephen C. Meyer, but I won’t be ready to post about it this week. So I was reminded of a great book I read some time ago, well before I started this blog. It won’t inspire you to move out in the country and start raising vegetables and turkeys any more than it did me, but it’s well worth reading for a number of reasons:

1. It’s a charming family story, with a husband, wife, and two daughters working together to fulfill a goal, that of relocating and then limiting themselves for one year to food grown within a predetermined distance from their home. The younger daughter is a special joy: we learn all about the ins and outs of her egg business, for example.

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Simple Health Advice from a Cardiologist

slender dragonflyHere it is: stay slender. That’s it. (Assuming that you’re not doing so by smoking or taking diet pills or starving yourself. Notice that it says “slender,” not “skeletal.”)

Where did I get this piece of startlingly simple advice? From a cardiologist. Well, not from him directly, but from one of my stepsisters-in-law. She works at a local airport where rich people who own their own planes take off and land and is in charge of their fuel purchases.

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Don’t Be a Pushover!

multiple arrows against oneIf you follow this blog much you’ll know that I’m a great, great fan of the blogger, podcaster and author Gretchen Rubin. I was thinking today about how my own blogging and book writing was kicked off by the simple act of my reading a review of her first book on happiness, The Happiness Project (Revised Edition): Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun, which came out in December 2009. 

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Do You Have a “Project Brain”?

big project--cranes, etc.The hits just keep coming from Dana K. White, author of last week’s book pick, How to Manage Your Home without Losing Your Mind and of the blog A Slob Comes Clean. Remember how I said that she had me nailed with her description of someone sitting at a messy kitchen table reading about how to clean up her kitchen, when what that person really needs to do is . . . clean up the kitchen? Well, she has another concept that is so, so me: “project brain.”

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Take the Final Step–But Plan Ahead First

man on ladder finishing ideaThere I was, driving to the church for the Cherry Creek Chorale’s Christmas Concert (that’s five C’s, folks) on Friday afternoon, kind of thinking that it had been really fun to work on all this great music, and couldn’t we just leave it at that? Did we really have to go ahead and do the performance?

Well, yes.

I’ve been struck before with the thought that you can go through almost the whole shebang, an entire series of steps, and yet fail in the end because you didn’t go ahead and do the

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Slobs Unite! You Have Nothing to Lose but Your Clutter!


How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind: Dealing with Your Home’s Dirty Little Secrets by Dana K. White of the “A Slob Comes Clean ” website and blog.  Title link is to the sale page on her website and is not an affiliate link.  I will be honest and say that the only reason I ran across the book (in its audio form, read by the author) was that it showed up in the “recommended for you” section on Hoopla, the public library app that I use quite a bit. Hmmm. Did Hoopla know something about me? I don’t really remember downloading any housecleaning books from them, but you never know.

And by the way, before I go any further (or farther–I never know which one to use): the word “slob” is her word, not mine.

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The Best Way to Make Yourself Happy

I’ll have a post later this week about doing the food for the Chorale post-concert reception on Friday, but for today I have a couple of quotations for you and some observations about doing good deeds for other people and how helpful that is for the person performing said deeds.

First, from the comic Patton Oswalt, whose wife died suddenly in April 2016:

“Something that really pulls you out of grief is helping other people. . . . Anything to get you out of your head.”

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Do the Boring Stuff

healthy, relaxing breakfastAnother great podcast today from Liz Craft and Sarah Fain’s “Happier in Hollywood,” their podcast about life as TV writers living in Los Angeles. I would encourage you to listen to the whole thing. (One instance of bad language very early on, BTW.) Anyway, they have a guest this week, Melissa De La Cruz, a mega-best-selling author of young adult fiction. (Who knew? Not me.) But Melissa’s fabulously successful career came at the cost of a stroke.

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A Clear-Eyed Look from the Inside–and the Outside

How the Right Lost Its Mind by Charlie Sykes, 2017, available in hardback and Kindle fomats.

This book is the third one I’ve read since last fall about our current political landscape. I wrote a post about the first one, Matt K. Lewis’s Too Dumb to Fail: How the GOP Betrayed the Reagan Revolution to Win Elections (and How It Can Reclaim Its Conservative Roots), in August of last year and have since read Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle by Sen. Jeff Flake. Both are excellent, both cover roughly the same territory, and now I’m adding this one to the list. I think that’ll do it for now.

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