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Copyright 2014 Carol A James. All rights reserved. This publication may be freely redistributed if copied in its ENTIRETY.


  • Promotion of the Month
  • Inspiring Quote for the Month
  • The Two Best Rules for Navigating Life
  • Obituary
  • The Secrets of Heaven and Hell
  • A Touch of Humor: Marital Problems

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“The Triple Sites of Life: Foresight, Hindsight, and Insight: We learn from hindsight, but we dream and hope with foresight. More important, we prevail with our insight!” — Maurice Joseph Gonder, 1926-2000

By Carol James

In a world of free will, it seems to me that the original intent of “religion” was to establish rules for operating in an environment where everything is possible, yet not everything is desirable, especially if it impinged upon another’s free will.

I see the two most important rules as:

  1. Treat everyone else as you would want them to treat you, and
  2. What goes around comes around.

Rule one is obvious, but rule two creates the ramifications of all choices and actions we make in that what we say or do to another we bring upon ourselves “¦ who we are attracts more just like us.

For instance, those who steal often encounter those who steal from them. Cheaters are cheated upon. Fearful people attract situations that cause fear. Unloving people encounter unloving people.

So the real question is, “Do you like the life you have created for yourself?”

If not, you can change it, but the change can only come from within you. You must look at yourself to discover the beliefs, attitudes, expectations and actions that resonate with the undesirable results you are getting.

For example, someone who is sick and tired of being sick and tired probably spends a lot of time focusing on and talking about all their health problems. Wellness can never be found by focusing on illness; wellness is found by eating healthy food, doing healthy activities and exploring those activities that lead to better health. Observe the habits of healthy people, not the unhealthy ones.

Here are three tips to help you make those changes:

  1. When you catch yourself thinking thoughts that cause distress in your body, ask yourself, “If not that, what do I want?” For instance, if your job causes distress, what job would you rather have? But if you have decided that there is no other choice for you, you are right. Your closed mind blocks all other choices from appearing.
  2. How you say what you want makes all the difference in the world. There is a huge difference between saying, “I don’t want to be sick anymore” and saying, “I want to be healthier.” The former states what you do not want; the latter states what you do want. The more you can discern the difference between the two, the closer you will get to the outcomes you want.
  3. Make a list of activities that move you toward your goal. For instance, if your goal is to be healthier, what foods do you need to get rid off and what foods do you need to add? Or what activities can you do that will help your body to be stronger, more limber or thinner? Or, which people do you need to avoid who sabotage your efforts?

I remember when I first made the decision to be healthier back in 1981, and my first step was to stop eating the larger Hersey’s milk chocolate bars with almonds and to quit smoking. So the man in my life at that time bought me a case of the chocolate bars and a case of cigarettes. HE was sabotaging my desire to get healthier and since he refused to support me, I had no choice but to end the relationship if I wanted to become healthier.

We ourselves are the only ones who can change the results we are getting in life, and we do it by changing the thoughts we think, the words we speak, the choices we make and our actions.

We don’t have to worry about changing those in our circle of connections who are not living as we would like to live, for that’s not our job. Our job is to clean up our own act “¦ to resonate with the life we want to live and to make choices that support that life.

If we hold steady to that, the people and things in our life that do not support us in the life we want will fall away as we make better choices about what is right for us.

It is not our job to change others; it’s our job to become the best person we can become.

The best we can do is to live our lives in a way that honors the two rules listed above and to live as an example to others, for we can never force another to change. But we can influence them by our example of living in greater harmony, creativity and joy.

Author Profile: Carol James is Editor and Publisher of this newsletter and the Founder and Owner of

(Author Unknown)

We were saddened to learn this week of the death of one of our most valued members, Someone Else.

Someone’s passing creates a vacancy that will be difficult to fill. Else has been with us for many years and for every one of those years, Someone did far more than a normal person’s share of the work.

Whenever there was a job to do, a class to teach, or a meeting to attend, one name was on everyone’s list, “Let Someone Else do it.”

Whenever leadership was mentioned, this wonderful person was looked to for inspiration as well as results; “Someone Else can work with that group.”

It was common knowledge that Someone Else was among the most liberal givers. Whenever there was a financial need, everyone just assumed Someone Else would make up the difference.

Someone Else was a wonderful person; sometimes appearing superhuman. Were the truth known, everybody expected too much of Someone Else. Now Someone Else is gone! We wonder what we are going to do.

Someone Else left a wonderful example to follow, but who is going to follow it? Who is going to do the things Someone Else did? When you are asked to help this year, remember — we can’t depend on Someone Else anymore.

(Author Unknown)

My grandparents were married for over half a century, and played their own special game from the time they had met each other.

The goal of their game was to write the word “shmily” in a surprise place for the other to find. They took turns leaving “shmily” around the house, and as soon as one of them discovered it, it was their turn to hide it once more.

They dragged “shmily” with their fingers through the sugar and flour containers to await whoever was preparing the next meal. They smeared it in the dew on the windows overlooking the patio where my grandma always fed us warm, homemade pudding with blue food coloring.

“Shmily” was written in the steam left on the mirror after a hot shower, where it would reappear bath after bath. At one point, my grandmother even unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper to leave “shmily” on the very last sheet. There was no end to the places “shmily” would pop up. Little notes with “shmily” scribbled hurriedly were found on dashboards and car seats, or taped to steering wheels. The notes were stuffed inside shoes and left under pillows.

“Shmily” was written in the dust upon the mantel and traced in the ashes of the fireplace. This mysterious word was as much a part of my grandparents’ house as the furniture.

It took me a long time before I was able to fully appreciate my grandparents’ game. Skepticism has kept me from believing in true love — one that is pure and enduring. However, I never doubted my grandparents’ relationship. They had love down pat. It was more than their flirtatious little games; it was a way of life. Their relationship was based on a devotion and passionate affection which not everyone is lucky to experience.

Grandma and Grandpa held hands every chance they could. They stole kisses as they bumped into each other in their tiny kitchen. They finished each other’s sentences and shared the daily crossword and word jumble. My grandma whispered to me about how cute my grandpa was, how handsome and old he had grown to be. She claimed that she really knew “how to pick ’em.” Before every meal they bowed their heads and gave thanks, marveling at their blessings: a wonderful family, good fortune, and each other.

But there was a dark cloud in my grandparents’ life: my grandmother had cancer. The disease had first appeared ten years earlier. As always, Grandpa was with her every step of the way. He comforted her in their yellow room, painted that way so that she could always be surrounded by sunshine, even when she was too sick to go outside.

Now the cancer was again attacking her body. With the help of a cane and my grandfather’s steady hand, they went to church every Sunday morning. But my grandmother grew steadily weaker until, finally, she could not leave the house anymore. For a while, Grandpa would go to church alone, praying to God to watch over his wife.

Then one day, what we all dreaded finally happened. Grandma was gone. “Shmily.” It was scrawled in yellow on the pink ribbons of my grandmother’s funeral bouquet. As the crowd thinned and the last mourners turned to leave, my aunts, uncles, cousins and other family members came forward and gathered around Grandma one last time.

Grandpa stepped up to my grandmother’s casket and taking a shaky breath, he began to sing to her. Through his tears and grief, the song came, a deep and throaty lullaby. Shaking with my own sorrow, I will never forget that moment. For I knew that, although I couldn’t begin to fathom the depth of their love, I had been privileged to witness its unmatched beauty.

S-h-m-i-l-y: It stands for “See How Much I Love You”.

(Author Unknown)

The old monk sat by the side of the road. With his eyes closed, his legs crossed and his hands folded in his lap, he sat. In deep meditation, he sat. Suddenly his zazen was interrupted by the harsh and demanding voice of a samurai warrior. “Old man! Teach me about heaven and hell!”

At first, as though he had not heard, there was no perceptible response from the monk. But gradually he began to open his eyes, the faintest hint of a smile playing around the corners of his mouth as the samurai stood there, waiting impatiently, growing more and more agitated with each passing second. “You wish to know the secrets of heaven and hell?” replied the monk at last. “You who are so unkempt. You whose hands and feet are covered with dirt. You whose hair is uncombed, whose breath is foul, whose sword is all rusty and neglected. You who are ugly and whose mother dresses you funny. You would ask me of heaven and hell?”

The samurai uttered a vile curse. He drew his sword and raised it high above his head. His face turned to crimson and the veins on his neck stood out in bold relief as he prepared to sever the monk’s head from its shoulders.

“That is hell,” said the old monk gently, just as the sword began its descent.

In that fraction of a second, the samurai was overcome with amazement, awe, compassion and love for this gentle being who had dared to risk his very life to give him such a teaching. He stopped his sword in mid-flight and his eyes filled with grateful tears.

“And that,” said the monk, “is heaven.”


A young couple decided to wed. As the big day approached, they grew apprehensive. Each had a problem they had never before shared with anyone, not even each other. The groom- to-be, overcoming his fear, decided to ask his father for advice. “Father,” he said, “I am deeply concerned about the success of my marriage.”

His father replied, “Don’t you love this girl?”

“Oh yes, very much,” he said, “but you see, I have very smelly feet and I’m afraid that my fiance will be put off by them.”

“No problem,” said dad, “all you have to do is wash your feet as often as possible and always wear socks, even to bed.”

Well, to him this seemed a workable solution.

The bride-to-be, overcoming her fear, decided to take her problem up with her mom. “Mom,” she said, “When I wake up in the morning, my breath is truly awful.”

“Honey,” her mother consoled, “everyone has bad breath in the morning.”

“No, you don’t understand. My morning breath is so bad, I’m afraid that my fiancée will not want to sleep in the same room with me.”

Her mother said simply, “Try this. In the morning, get straight out of bed and head for the kitchen to make breakfast. While the family is busy eating, move on to the bathroom and brush your teeth. The key is, not to say a word until you’ve brushed your teeth.”

“I shouldn’t say good morning or anything?” the daughter asked.

“Not a word,” her mother affirmed.

“Well, it’s certainly worth a try,” she thought.

The loving couple were finally married. Not forgetting the advice each had received, he with his perpetual socks and she with her morning silence, they managed quite well. That is, until about six months later.

Shortly before dawn one morning, the husband wakes with a start to find that one of his socks had come off. Fearful of the consequences, he frantically searches the bed. This, of course, wakes his bride and without thinking, she asks, “What on earth are you doing?”

“Oh, my,” he replies, “you’ve swallowed my sock!”

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