Monthly Archives: October 2016

Interesting Facts About Halloween

Are you one of those Halloween buffs who goes all out every year to have a crazy party and decorations complete with ghoulish food and friends? Well, you’re not alone! According to statistics, Halloween is the second largest holiday celebration in the United States with Christmas being the first!

That seems a bit strange to me. I would guess Valentines Day or New Years’ Eve to be the second largest holiday celebration, but hey, what do I know? (Apparently not much when it comes to Halloween!)

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I was always taught that Halloween was a holiday from the underworld.  But apparently there’s more to it than that.  I did some research and found that Halloween is a celebration observed in a number of countries on October 31 which is dedicated to remembering the dead including saints, martyrs and all the faithful departed.  So, it’s not all bad.  It’s like anything….it depends on what you believe about the holiday.  It supposedly began from a Gaelic festival called Samhain in which people celebrated the end of the harvest season.  And western culture kind of twisted it into what it is today.  (Wikipedia:  Halloween).  I prefer to think of it as a day to remember my loved ones who have passed on.  Though I remember them all times, it’s a day marked to observe what their lives meant to me.  I also think of it as a harvest festival.

Here are some interesting facts about Halloween:

-Halloween celebrates the Christian holiday of All Hallows Eve followed by All Saints Day on Nov. 1.  It’s all in the attitude.  What does Halloween mean to you?

-In Great Britain, jack-o-lanterns were traditionally made from turnips.  We Americans turned that over on its head (ha!) and started the pumpkin craze!

-Trick or treating started in 19th century Scotland and Ireland.  Children went door to door praying for souls or performing for money or cakes.  Similarly, in medieval times, beggars went door to door praying for souls in exchange for food.  So next time you say trick or treat, you know where the concept came from!

-Halloween is a 6 billion dollar industry!  Like I mentioned above, it’s the second most practiced holiday in the U.S.  (Things that make you go hmmmm……)

-Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween!  Yeah…this fact pretty much speaks (or screams) for itself!

-50 % of kids prefer to receive chocolate for Halloween.  (I’m right with them!  Pleeeaase hand over the heath bars….:))

-The largest pumpkin ever measured was grown by Norm Craven in 1993.  It weighed 836 lbs!  I wonder how many pies could come out of that monster!

-According to Irish legend, jack-o-lanterns are named after a stingy man named Jack who tricked the devil several times and was forbidden entrance into Heaven and Hell.  So now he wanders the earth, waving his lantern to lead people away from their paths.  (Not a namesake I’d want to keep!!)

-Harry Houdini died on Halloween night in 1926 as a result of appendicitis brought on by three punches to the stomach.  Yeesh!  What a time to die!

-Dressing up as ghouls or spirits originated from the Celtic tradition of townspeople disguising themselves so that spirits roaming the streets wouldn’t recognize them!  I guess that could technically make sense…

-The Village Halloween Parade in New York City is the largest Halloween parade in the United States with 50,000 participants and over 2 million spectators.  Huh…this is the first I’ve heard about this parade!

-Owls signify Halloween.  In Medieval Europe, owls were thought to be witches.  When an owl was heard hooting, it was believed that someone was about to die. (Yikes!  That puts a clink into taking walks at night!)

Happy Halloween everyone!

Resources:

Wikipedia:  Halloween

Arts.Mic:  Halloween History:  13 Strange Facts On Why We Celebrate Halloween

Fact Retriever:  40 Spooky Facts About Halloween

How Can Love Bring Healing Into Relationships?

A focus on hate in society can be debilitating. Many believe that to stand up for what is right, an argumentative attitude is necessary. Unfortunately, argumentative attitudes only further complicate things. Many mistakenly decide that force may be required to change minds. But like Martin Luther King, Gandhi and other humanists have realized, hate only begets more hate.

In order to find some type of middle ground or resolution, love must be brought into the equation on some level. Why? Following are some great reasons!

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1.  Love increases compassion and empathy.  Compassion is defined as “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune”. (Dictionary.com).  When people enter into conflict with a sense of compassion, they feel the pain of their adversary.  It makes them realize how they would feel if they were in their adversary’s shoes.  Compassion is essential in bringing about change during times of conflict.  Likewise, empathy, “the psychological identification with feelings, thoughts or attitudes of another” (Dictionary.com) is also essential in bringing about change.  Until we can understand what someone else is going through on a personal level, we truly don’t know why change needs to take place.

2.  Love promotes more discussions and less arguments.  How many times have you tried to “get down to business” when anger is coloring your perspective?  Anger is like a flame that burns anyone who gets too close.  Anger is a natural facilitator of arguments.  It is nearly impossible to be objective when the flames of anger are burning bright.  Love, on the other hand, makes us more capable of being objective, thus facilitating more discussions.  And it is possible to have discussions without anger being involved.  It’s perfectly okay to agree to disagree-and much healthier than fighting, too!

3.  Love helps us to identify with an adversary’s perspective.  When we are able to identify with another human being on the level of humanity itself, anger is automatically driven to the background.  When we realize that we are all essentially searching for the same things on the level of being human, we experience unity and forgiveness.  Unity and forgiveness are critical in bringing about essential, peaceful changes.

4.  Love creates an atmosphere of acceptance.  When the kindness and compassion of love enter any picture, an atmosphere of acceptance is cultivated.  This is a widely understood topic even by giants in the movie industry (like Disney) with thousands of movies being centered around the topic.  Even children’s movies (one of my favorites entitled Brave)  speak of not only accepting others but also accepting ourselves….a beautiful mindset with a ton of benefit!

5.  Love reduces pride.  Now don’t get me wrong…pride in itself is not a bad thing…unless it is allowed to become the predominating mindset.  An inflated sense of pride causes us to believe that others owe us something.  Some synonyms of pride are conceit, egotism, vanity and vainglory.  (Dictionary.com).  How many times have you tried to reason with someone that is convinced they are overly important and you owe them the world?  It is darned near impossible to reason with people like that.  What is the outcome of vanity and an inflated self concept?  Argument!  And usually arguments with those types of personalities don’t turn out very well!

6.  Love increases a sense of value and worth among people.  Let’s look at the definition of love.  Perhaps I should have earlier, but the definition proves this point.  Love is “a feeling of warm, personal attachment or deep affection as for a parent, child or friend.”  (Dictionary.com). Love is easy when it comes to those closest to us.  It comes naturally.  But when you’re talking about your enemy, it can be much trickier.  Love with strangers and acquaintances is a decision, a life style you choose to lead.  It is responding with dignity to someone who you may not necessarily agree with.

I created a quote a while back that said “Lay down your weapons; embrace and be one; Forgiveness will reign when the battle is done.”  I got some backlash about this one!  But my meaning behind it was “Treat others with respect, as you would like to be treated.  Only then can you mend broken mindsets and societal patterns.”

How can we expect to find peace among the dissension when we aren’t even willing to lay our differences aside?  It’s impossible.  It will never happen until we make the decision to live with more loving attitudes!

7.  Love increases understanding.  When someone comes to you with a request, you must have a sense of understanding about what they’re talking about!  Love cultivates a sense of understanding.  That “aha” moment when we realize what someone else is going through makes all the difference in the world when it comes to us accepting them and being more loving.  Love breaks down barriers, arguments and all forms of hate and prejudice because it allows the beautiful knowledge of understanding to emanate among the souls of those discussing different scenarios and situations!  Understanding definitely diffuses arguments!

8.  Love promotes respect.  The nature of love is the nature of respect.  And the nature of respect requires that respect be given in order for it to be received.  When you respect someone, you care!  You listen, you lend a hand, you really want to make a difference!  That’s what love is all about!  It is impossible to say you love someone or want to make things better for them and yourself without experiencing some form of respect.  Respect is a precursor for the kind of caring that meaningful change requires.

9.  Love promotes hope and possibility.  With hate, there is little to no hope involved.  There is pain, anguish and agony.  With love?  Well, there is the hope of a better future because people are willing to discuss problems and understand each  other’s situations!  Hate leads to discouragement.  Hope leads to enlightenment!

10.  Love promotes a sense of responsibility.  Hate?  Well, it creates an environment where people feel helpless.  They become despondent and stoop to lower types of emotions and interactions such as apathy, anger and resentment.  Love creates a sense that everyone can make a difference.  When we each believe we can make a difference, our sense of personal responsibility rises.  So what’s better for our society?  Helplessness or an increase in caring and personal responsibility?  I think that one is pretty self explanatory!

The truth is we can make a difference.  Each and every one of us.  Even if we only influence one other person for the better, think of the ripple effect that can have on an entire society?  And the reality is, most of us are able to affect more than one other person.  Many of us are able to affect hundreds of people throughout our lives depending on where we work, where we live, who we associate with, where we go, etc.  Love is a powerful force for more reasons than those I just listed above.  If we all make the choice to embrace it, what a beautiful world this would be!

 

 

 

Chicken Chatter: The Burning Question…

Bernie and Kurt were longtime friends. Best friends, really. They were also roommates that had lived together for years. Complete opposites, Bernie and Kurt found that the age old truth was indeed correct: opposites do tend to attract, at least most of the time.

One day Bernie and Kurt were sitting in their living room. Bernie was staring intently at the T.V. while Kurt read his daily paper. As the images floated around Bernie’s mind from the television program he was watching, Bernie turned to Kurt with an abrupt and somewhat strange question.

“Is it true, Kurt?”

Shaken from his reverie, Kurt looked over the top of the newspaper.  “Is what true?”

“The age old question, Kurt.  You know….why did the chicken cross the road?”  Bernie stared vacantly at his friend.

“What, Bernie?  Why are you talking about chickens?”  Kurt responded, irritation edging his voice.

“Because, Kurt.  I have heard the question many times.  Why?  Why did the chicken cross the road?”

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Kurt set down his paper with a rustle and a bustle.  “Why are you asking ridiculous questions? That’s not an age old question!  That’s a riddle, Bernie.  A ridiculous riddle.”

Bernie shook his head.  “No, Kurt.  It’s an important question.  Kind of like the one about the chicken and the egg.”

Kurt stared at Bernie.  “What’s up with you and chickens, Bernie?  It’s a chicken.   Who cares about a chicken?”

Bernie was taken aback.  “Well, you seem to care a lot about chickens, Kurt.”

“I care about chickens?  When do I care about chickens?”

“When you eat supper…and sometimes lunch…”

Kurt threw his hands in the air.  “I care about chickens at supper and lunch because I’m hungry! Not because I care about a ridiculous riddle regarding a chicken crossing a road!  Since when have you ever seen a chicken cross a road, Bernie?  When?”

“I haven’t.”

“Okay then.  There’s the answer to your question.”

“What answer, Kurt?”  Bernie scratched his head.

Kurt sat forward in his chair, pushing his newspaper onto the ottoman in front of him.  “CHICKENS DON’T CROSS ROADS, BERNIE.  THAT’S THE ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION.”

Cowed by Kurt’s irritation, Bernie was silent for a moment.  Kurt watched him for approximately thirty seconds then sunk back into his chair, reaching for his paper again.

Sensing that the confrontation was over-at least temporarily over-Bernie said, “That doesn’t answer the question, Kurt.”

“Are you kidding me, Bernie?  Are you kidding me right now?”  Kurt plunged forward in the chair, almost nose diving across the ottoman.

“No..”

“NO?  NO what?”  Kurt ground his teeth together.  Then the thought occurred to him that it was ludicrous to be this angry over a riddle that some person most likely made up in the midst of a fit of complete and total boredom.

“I’m not kidding.  It….doesn’t answer..the question.”

Kurt sighed and shook his head.  “Okay, Bernie.  If you want the question answered so badly, go find a chicken crossing a road and ask it yourself.”

“But chickens don’t speak English, Kurt.”

“Enough!  Enough!  I don’t have an answer to your question!  I don’t know why a chicken would cross a road, I don’t know why it would WANT to cross a road and I sure am not going to ASK a chicken a question!  ENOUGH!  This conversation is over!  Good night, Bernie!”  Kurt jumped off the chair, tripped past Bernie and ran to his room, slamming the door.

“But Kurt, it’s noon…”

“Done!  I’m done!  Putting on my earbuds now.  DONE Bernie!”  he screamed from his bedroom.

Shrugging, Bernie clicked the remote to turn the sound up on the T.V. and lay back in his recliner.  I’ll ask tomorrow when he’s in a better mood.  I wonder what got into him.  He’s so cranky!

You’re Much More Special Than You Think!

Are you aware of the numerous things that make you, you? What would your answer be if I asked you what makes you special? Some of you may look toward the ground and say, “Not much. My fingerprints, I guess.” Others may exuberantly proclaim, “Everything about me!” Who’s right? Let’s explore the topic further!

For those of us with a “Pollyanna perspective”, we’d happily exclaim,  “Why, it’s my personality and the way I look!  Also the way I think and my unique traits like my fingerprints!”  Crazy thing is, these optimists are correct…and then some.  Not only is our appearance something that sets us apart, but there are other things that do too.

If your argument is “we’re all human and we’re all alike”, you’re correct.  But we’re all also different and that’s the beauty of life.  We are all truly unique.  Not only because of the above reasons but also because of several more.  First, our DNA:  the most important reality of this blog post.  Obviously DNA reigns supreme when it comes to pulling us apart at the seams, quite literally.  DNA evidence obliterated everything when it came to crime scene investigation and litigation.

But what else is there?  Well, our tongues for one.  Because our tongues are kept safely in our mouth (or not so safely, depending on what we talk about), our unique tongue prints are kept intact.  How would that work though, when asking for prints?  Could be a bit challenging….

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Then there are our ear lobes.  Instruments have been created to illuminate our earlobes to help in identifying us.  And it’s pretty conclusive.  Strange, eh?  I remember my grandmother being obsessed about earlobes….she was obviously onto something….

Many of us probably know about our retinol capillary patterns being individually unique.  Such is the reason for eye scanning equipment in high security areas.  But what about our irises?  Also very unique to each individual because “the color and structure is genetically linked, but the details of the pattern are not”.  Hmmm….this gives more meaning to “looking deep into your loved ones’ eyes”…..

What about how you walk?  Have you ever given thought to the way your body moves?  Well, that’s another way to determine individuality!  Not just your legs but your entire body, how you sway and put pressure on your feet, etc.  Makes me wonder about those of us who trip or fall off balance….can that be studied, too?  (Just a joke to make you smile!  Watch out for that rock…!)

Our voices and lip prints are also unique markers of who we are.  I don’t know about you, but I can just imagine a police station:  someone comes in and is asked to be lip printed.  I  don’t think that would be a fun scenario for the officers on duty.  Do you?  Could make for an interesting day, though.  🙂

Judge:  Step forward, please.  I understand you are being held for theft?

Defendant:  Yes, your Honor.

Judge:  Would you care to share your side of the story?

Defendant:  Yes, your Honor.  I walked into the store, leaned against the glass case and left my finger prints.  Then I saw something… an amazing watch in the case…. and looked more closely, accidentally brushing my lips against the glass.  Stunned, I stood up and found myself staring directly into the eyes of the clerk.  As she asked me if she could help me, I cut my finger on the edge of the glass case.  She gave me some kleenex and I wrapped it around my finger, thanking her profusely.  Then she showed me the watch.  I put it on my wrist, starting to walk back and forth in front of a nearby mirror to admire how it shined against my skin.  I tripped over a chair near the mirror and the watch fell off my wrist, landing on the floor and shattering.  I freaked out, went back to the case where the clerk stood with her mouth agape, and offered to pay for the watch.  Flustered, I paid her and then began walking out of the store.  Without thinking, I grabbed a scarf and dabbed my forehead then shoved it in my back pocket.  Immediately, upon leaving the store, I was apprehended.

(This person is doomed!  Not only because of all the evidence left behind, but also because of the security cameras!)  There.  Hope I made you laugh at least a little.  So this has not only been an informative post which I think I could safely call ‘Interesting’, but also ‘Humorous’.  Where will I post it?  Probably ‘Interesting’.  But I digress….

As for the point of this post, you are unique for so many ways that it would be pretty much impossible to deny it.  And there are so many intriguing things about you that make you unique that you must admit, there’s got to be an overall purpose to this!  So enjoy being you and know that nobody out there can fill your shoes-scientifically or from a humanitarian standpoint. Namaste!

References (Quite Seriously):

Quora:  What Things Are Unique To A Person Besides A Fingerprint?

Medical Daily:  Special Snowflake:  4 Things (Other Than Your Fingerprints) That Make You 1 In 7.2 Billion

What Does Falling In Love Do To Us?

Everyone loves the feeling of being in love. But what does love do to us? To answer that question, I’ve done some research!

First of all, the feeling of love is caused by chemicals in our bodies. Dopamine, vasopressin and cortisol flow in large quantities through our brain, making us feel that “high, fluttery feeling” when we’re around the person of our desire. So, technically, love is a drug!  Or maybe better said, love itself is an influencer of bodily (hormonal) drug activity!  (Thought Catalog:  19 Scientifically Proven Ways “Love” Affects Our Bodies Like A Drug.)

You may say, wait!  Cortisol?  I thought that was a stress hormone!  Well, it is.  But…cortisol is also responsible for many good things in body function as well such as controlling blood sugar levels, regulating metabolism and reducing inflammation.  It assists with memory and helps fetuses grown in women during pregnancy.  (That is, if you’re still in the lovey dovey phase! (Hormone Health Network:  What Does Cortisol Do?)

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Many times people say they feel different when they get involved with a new lover/relationship. And in a way they’re onto something.  The hormones present in your body when you’re in love create feelings similar to those of people with manic depression.  It is almost as if you could conquer the world.  As if life is different, vibrant and new.     (Thought Catalog:  19 Scientifically Proven Ways “Love” Affects Our Bodies Like A Drug.)

For these reasons, love is a good thing.  But, if we get dumped or break up with our lover, the opposite can happen.  When we are rejected, pain centers in our brain light up when we look at a picture of our ex.  We also can experience having a broken heart ( a real condition called stress induced cardiomyopathy) which has the very extreme and rare possibility of killing its victim.  (Thought Catalog:  19 Scientifically Proven Ways “Love” Affects Our Bodies Like A Drug.)

“Broken heart syndrome” can strike even if you’re healthy.   Luckily, though, it isn’t common.  The symptoms of stress induced cardiomyopathy are almost identical to those of a heart attack.  It is unknown how many people actually die from this condition but there are eleven documented cases in which Johnny Cash was one of them.  (Thought Catalog:  11 Documented Cases Of People Actually Dying Of A Broken Heart).

Love can heal and it can hurt.  It is my opinion that we are better for having loved because it expands us and enlightens us in our daily existence of being human.  Though the pain can be pronounced, the positive effects are worth the extra effort!

Not Alone by Gaelyn Whitley Keith

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The details of Joe’s life coming apart are covered in great depth. As a reader, it can be heartbreaking to see everything taken away from a man who is unaware of any reason why he should be so punished. Readers familiar with C. S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters will find the behind-the-scenes interplay between the angels and demons familiar yet still fresh and interesting.

Perhaps one of the greatest and most fascinating surprises of this book was the amount of action contained within. Despite its zoomed-in focus on Joe and Grace, the movements and deployments of the demons and the observatory defenses of the angels are covered in a fashion one would expect of a military history story. Additionally, nearly every demon is accompanied by a harrowing description of grotesque features and actions designed to complement their respective nefarious specialties. Once the battles begin between the angels and the demons, the action can be quite fast and frenetic as each side seeks to seize the souls of Joe and Grace at all costs.

Where you can find Not Alone:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/not-alone-gaelyn-whitley-keith/1122407426?ean=9781680284331

https://www.amazon.com/Not-Alone-Gaelyn-Whitley-Keith/dp/1680284339/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1474603907&sr=1-1&keywords=not+alone+keith

Where you can find Gaelyn:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26489271-not-alone?from_search=true

www.TheFatherofHollywood.com

Gaelyn’s Bio:

Gaelyn Whitley Keith was raised in Manhattan Beach, California, a stone's throw

from Hollywood. Gaelyn went to college at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in the early

1970’s and spent the years after college travelling around the world, writing short

stories and working for South Bay Magazine. She has been awarded top honours in

national writing competitions.

Gaelyn discovered her longing to be a writer when she was a child listening to her

mother’s imaginative true stories about Hollywood. She has an amazing heritage as

her great-grandfather, H J Whitley, is the Father of Hollywood.

In adolescence, encouraged by English teachers who described her as a “born

writer,” she began writing her own stories, as well as keeping prolific journals that

chronicled her experiences, both internal and external, a practice she has continued

throughout her life. Today Gaelyn lives beside a lake in El Dorado Hills, with her

husband Randy. She writes in a book-lined upstairs study where she can look out at

the lake and wildlife.

~The Virginia Kingdom Chronicles by L.L. Livesey~

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Set in a fascinating world that’s reemerging from a devastating famine caused by genetically modified seeds, The Virginia Kingdom Chronicles, Book 1: The Crown begins in 1992, when a Dutch accountant flees to the United States after stealing millions from a notorious drug cartel. Adopting a new identity, Espen Koning settles down on a remote Virginia farm.

Two hundred years later, nineteen-year-old Lady Elise Koning’s induction as heir to the prime governorship of Virginia is underway. However, her indolence causes her grandmother, the current ruler, to warn Elise that her succession is not set in stone. She could still name her youngest son, Carl, as the heir instead. But unwilling to give up on Elise just yet, she recruits the former adviser to Elise’s deceased father to groom the young woman for her leadership role.

The rules of the game are changing, as Virginia follows the lead of neighboring Carolina in transforming into a sovereign kingdom. Elise is changing as well—to the chagrin of her longtime companion, Decker Regan.

As Elise prepares herself for the rigors of being a strong ruler, will treachery undo her efforts to rise to the occasion?

Where you can find The Virginia Kingdom Chronicles:

https://www.amazon.com/Virginia-Kingdom-Chronicles-Book-Crown-ebook/dp/B010W96QLK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1476579003&sr=8-1&keywords=the+virginia+kingdom+chronicles

Interview with L.L.:

1. What prompted you to write your book?

During elementary and high school, I always enjoyed writing short stories and completing the creative writing tasks assigned in my English classes. I even attempted to write a Sweet Valley High book that I’d totally planned on mailing to the publisher in the hopes they’d include my idea in the series, although truthfully I never neared completion. Many years later, while sitting with my good friend on his balcony one night, we were talking about books and he confessed to recently losing all interest in reading. A copy of Game of Thrones that I’d lent him had sat on his shelf untouched for months. I told him in jest that if I wrote a book myself then he’d have no choice but to read it. The very next day, I started typing up an idea, and from there the story grew and grew into the Virginia Kingdom Chronicles. Koning House is actually based on the National Ballet School of Canada which sits across the street from my pal’s balcony. And the idea for the Black Harvest stemmed from his constant failure to grow potted tomatoes and peppers to which I always joked we’d starve to death if we relied on him to provide us with dinner. As for the idea of the Kingdom of Virginia, we once had a full conversation debating that if the American Revolution had failed, would the colonies have followed the European royalty system, unfolding into their own separate kingdoms with time?

2. Who are some of your favorite authors and why?

George R.R. Martin- He didn’t just write a fantasy series, he created an entire other world that feels no less real than this one.
Maurice Druon of the Accursed Kings series- This French writer brings to life the personalities of the 14th century French royal family and aristocracy, cloaking his historical books as page-turning novels.
Nele Neuhaus- I love her thrillers covering the unique cases of German police detectives Oliver von Bodenstein and Pia Kirchoff. Once you start reading one, it is near impossible to put down. She is a master at plot-crafting which is why her novels top the German book lists.
Julian Fellowes- The creator of the Downtown Abbey television series has also penned a couple novels, Past Imperfect and Snobs. These stories offer insight into the world of the English upper-classes, presented in a soothing reading-style to reveal the social nuances that separate the haves from the have-nots.

3. What inspires you to write?

Once I began thinking about writing an actual novel for my friend, all these characters and places and ideas started swarming about in my head so there was an urge to start putting everything to paper (or laptop screen). Yet even as the story takes form, there are days when I find myself weather-proofing my boots in the middle of summer rather than wanting to plug away at the keyboard. Sometimes I am just stuck on what to do with a character or how a story line should progress. So I leave it be and pick up another book, immersing myself in a completely different story. If I what I am reading is entertaining, the book often instigates a spark into how I shall continue my own story, and even if the book isn’t up to par, I find myself thinking, “Hey—I can do better than this!” And then I find myself right back at the old laptop…

4. If you could meet one celebrity, who would it be and why?

I am a huge soccer fan which is why I rarely write on weekend mornings while the English Premier League is in session (five hour time difference between Toronto and England). I cheer for Manchester United, so if I could meet any one celebrity it would definitely be the legendary and recently retired team manager, Sir Alex Ferguson. I envision us drinking lager and sitting side-by-side in the stands of Old Trafford as Manchester plays on, trading quips and commentary, laughing as he regales me with locker room gossip. I believe Sir Alex would be a right hoot to spend a match with.

5. What would you like your readers to know about you?

I work in Canadian government, so I am very familiar with the inner-workings of the political system and how the lure of power and money can easily corrupt. There is a lot of background plotting in the Virginia Kingdom Chronicles which is based on my own observations from my career in politics.
I am actually in my late-thirties (although I don’t feel it,) and when I started a twitter account to help promote my book, I realized not a single one of my friends actually participates on Twitter. I guess Facebook is enough for my crowd.
I love to travel, and one of my next planned destinations is to the Netherlands. For although the country plays an important role in my series, I’ve never actually had the pleasure of visiting. I can’t wait to walk along the canal in Amsterdam.

6. If you could give me one piece of advice about life, what would it be?

Always be prepared with a Plan B. It helps take the sting out of disappointment and rejection. For example, with the release of the first book of the Virginia Kingdom Chronicles, there is always the uncertainty that readers will hate the concept, detest the writing, and flag it down with one-star reviews. How can I brace for that? I have another completely different novel in the works. Meaning, if need be, I can just start placing my concentration on that book, and having that back-up novel immediately gives me more confidence. Going for a promotion at work? Why not apply to outside jobs too? Knowing there are always other options will lessen the blow if that promotion doesn’t come to fruition.

Where you can find L.L.:

I Think I Can!

Have you ever heard someone tell you to be more positive? Have you been told to try to achieve a more positive attitude? I know I have. Years ago when I was younger I had a horrible attitude. I was negative and felt like nothing would ever go right. My life was rough and it took its toll on me mentally and physically.

But I have changed my attitude. And I’m writing this blog to tell you why you should try to be more positive. There are numerous wonderful reasons for changing your perspective from “I know I can’t” to “I think I can”!

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Reason #1: It has been said that a positive attitude will increase your life span. Guess what? It has been proven! People with a positive attitude generally live 7 1/2 years longer than people with a negative attitude. What a great incentive right there!

Reason #2: People with a positive attitude have less stress. Not because life sends less stress their way, but because they choose to perceive it in a different manner than negative people. Positive people do what they can to change things and accept what they can’t change. They actively participate in life and this gives them a happier perspective.

Reason #3: Positive people deal with hardships more effectively because they realize “this too, shall pass.” They know that hardship doesn’t last forever and they take little steps each day to bring something positive into their lives during times of hardship. They know how to cope more effectively until better days come by taking responsibility to make good things happen while they are burdened by suffering. Positive people focus on good not bad.

Reason #4:  Positive people have a reduced risk of heart disease!  Stress takes a toll on the heart.  Therefore, less stress equals less heart problems.  Having an attitude of gratitude keeps diseases at bay.

Reason #5:  Positive people have an increased immune system.  As I mentioned above, an upbeat attitude lowers your risk of disease.  Happier people get sick less…even with the common cold!  Happier people produce more antibodies than unhappy people.  They also produce more serotonin-a chemical in the brain-which decreases depression and increases a feeling of well being.

Reason #6:  Positive people age more slowly.  During studies, it was found that positive people stayed mobile and thought more, engaging in frequent tasks that increased memory and body function.  Because they had a “can do” attitude, their bodies responded with “I think I can”!

Like the Little Engine That Could, so are we.  Much is left to our mental state.  If we choose to be positive, we reap the rewards that a positive life brings.  I’d rather have those rewards than sitting around expecting the worst…and getting it!

Resources:

Mayo Clinic:  Healthy Lifestyle:  Stress Management.

Science:  How Stuff Works:  Is There A Link Between Exercise And Happiness?

Scientific American:  How Happiness Boosts The Immune System.

Live Science:  Happier People Keep Healthier As They Age.

The Huffington Post:  Do Positive People Live Longer?

Product Review: 60 Second Instant Facial Lift Serum!

I’m as curious as the next person about these products that claim to get rid of under eye puffiness and fine lines. So I had my model try it out. Here’s what happened:

The company originally wanted a 60 second video done in real time.  However, after taking the 60 second video, I saw more changes for nearly 30 minutes after applying the serum.  So I decided to take pictures at five minute intervals recording the change.

My model had dark circles under her eyes as well as fine lines around her eyes and on her forehead.  After thirty minutes, the under eye circles were diminished by at least 75% and the wrinkles had diminished by at least 50%.  So a longer time frame proved to be useful in the difference L’Reve24K Luxury Skin Care Instant Facial Lift Serum made!

Another thing I like about this product is the price.  $29.95 is a value compared to other facial lift serums available.  And it does improve the skin’s appearance a lot.  This product would be a wonderful product to use for special occasions if you’re a little tight on money.  Otherwise it would be very useful for an every day regimen as well.

With this serum, there is much less worry about hiding under eye circles and puffiness with makeup and concealers!

Here’s the link in case you’re interested:

60 Second Instant Facial Lift Serum

 

*This is a sponsored post.  Free samples were given in exchange for a review.

Service Goat by Piers Anthony!

If you love to read books written by Piers Anthony, you’ll be happy to know that he has just written a brand new book entitled Service Goat!

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Orphaned and blind seven-year-old Callie has a service animal – a goat with extraordinary powers.

Ben Hemoth is a down-on-his luck news reporter facing prison. Needing to save his job and his reputation, he teams up with Venus, a young seductress caught up with a teenage drug gang.

When a mysterious letter arrives detailing a top-secret investigative operation, Ben and Venus think they’ve found their chance for redemption. The mission? Investigate a goat.

In exchange for an extravagant paycheck, Ben and Venus must piece together the wild rumors swirling around Callie, her supernatural goat, and a possible UFO visit.

Piers Anthony’s Service Goat is an extraordinary tale rich with adventure, extraterrestrial visitors, secrecy, dangerous governmental operations, and the classic hints of mischief that readers have come to expect and love from the New York Times bestselling author of the Xanth series.

Where you can find Service Goat:

https://www.amazon.com/Service-Goat-Piers-Anthony-ebook/dp/B01MDJ0DDQ/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1476006800&sr=1-4&keywords=service+goat