Lessons from the Government Shutdown

As I often say, this isn’t a political blog. If you want to see my opinions in that arena you can visit my personal Facebook page or read articles I’ve written myself over at one of my other websites, Intentional Conservative. I’m not concerned within the context of this article with the winners and losers in this rather farcical non-event endlessly trumpeted about from the Right and the Left. Instead, I’m sort of tickled at the way the RFNE illuminates human nature.

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Time-Tracking Tools

As you know if you’re a regular reader of this blog, one of the bloggers/podcasters I follow is a woman named Laura Vanderkam, a speaker and writer whose area of expertise is the efficient use of time. She tracks her own time regularly, and every year she invites her readers to participate with her for one week. Last year I started to do it but quickly fell off the wagon, as I couldn’t figure out how to characterize time spent sitting at the table and talking to my husband while at the same time eating a meal.

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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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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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Just Keep Plugging Away

Partially finished jigsaw puzzleHurtling is the word, dear friends, hurtling towards 2018. I’m reminded of how I felt several years ago during a five-day visit to New York City. We took the subway quite a bit, and the rushing by of the trains seemed a metaphor for now quickly our precious vacation time was passing. That image returns to me often: So much to do, so many goals to be accomplished, and so little time.

But once in awhile I step back and inhale loudly. I remind myself that what really 

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Carelessness Strikes Again–Or How I Failed to Show Up for Jury Duty

To do listWell, I guess it’s a life lesson when you finally get around to cleaning off your desk only to find the jury duty notice telling you that you were supposed to be at the courthouse at 9:00 AM and it’s . . . around 12:30 PM. The thing of it is, I did remember that notice. I remembered it last week, and I found it, and I was vastly relieved to see that I didn’t have to worry about it until last night after 5:00 when I was supposed to call and see if I had to come in. It was the old “oh, I’ll remember it” thing. I have plenty of resources at my disposal to keep track of my obligations, including Google calendar and Todoist, but they don’t do me any good unless I use them. For some reason, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, I figured that I’d remember. So I had to do my best to fix the situation, e-mailing

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How Many Seconds?

clockface with second handWe’re in the process of changing the title of this blog from “Intentional Happiness” to “Intentional Living,” and part of the reason I didn’t get much posted last week was because of that change—I wanted to have the new banner up. But that hasn’t happened yet; this post is about a week old. As I’ve continued to write on various subject of interest to me (and to you, I hope) I’ve realized that not everything I write falls neatly under the heading of happiness, and that my posts about food and books fit into this

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Where Will Your Month Go?

leaves fallingSometimes I think that this blog wouldn’t have many entries if I didn’t do so much cribbing from other sources. Gretchen Rubin is a big crib, but another one is Laura Vanderkam, whom I’ve mentioned before. She’s quite a gal; I last wrote about her in this post about downtime. In addition to her quasi-daily blog posts she also sends out a weekly newsletter that sums up her week or gives ideas for the week or month to come, appropriately called “A Week’s Worth.” (The link is to the signup form.)

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In Which I Decide to Focus Less on Things I Can’t Change . . .

control board. . . and more on things I can!

Almost exactly a year ago, on July 4, 2016, I started posting about the upcoming election on my personal Facebook page. I had never been particularly interested in politics before but had become greatly exercised about the possible outcome in November. My goal was to change a few minds or at least open them a crack. (I don’t post directly about politics on this page or on my author Facebook page.

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Read about a Sick Girl–and Count Your Blessings!

My Glory Was I Had Such Friends book coverLessons from a sick girl

Both images are from their respective Amazon pages; click on the image to be taken to the appropriate page. I used my two available Audible.com credits to get these books in audio form and am almost finished with Sick Girl. 

I’m not going to write much in the way of commentary here because it’s not needed. The book covers should tell you all you need to know about the worth contained between them. For those of us who are reasonably healthy, it’s good to be reminded of how precious that health and life is. It’s also helpful to be reminded of how utterly tactless we can be to those who are suffering. Even doctors and nurses–maybe even especially them–can add to the patient’s pain by their manner and words.

For an interesting and informative interview with Amy Silverstein about her second book (and her second heart transplant), go–where else?–to Gretchen Rubin’s recent blog post:

“I Simply Have to Put All My Energy into Hope and Life, Rather Than Trying to Avoid Doom and Death.”

That article will sell you on the books if nothing else will. You can get paper or digital versions at your library if you’d like. I was not able to find the audio versions at mine and thus went through Audible.