Book Review: Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace

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BEN-HUR
by Lew. Wallace

This was a book that someone in our women’s church book club suggested. It was definitely a challenging read. I am telling you straight out that this is not the movie version with Charlton Heston starring as our buddy Ben. Not even close. Let me say that the movie was much more entertaining and not nearly as long as the book. Lew Wallace published this book in 1880. The author himself had quite a lively career, including as a general and the governor of New Mexico. He was a Christian and this was his idea of ancient Rome’s rule over Israel at the birth and life of Christ.

His testimony of Jesus Christ is throughout this book. The story opens with the coming together of the 3 Magi, Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar, and them following the star to where the Christ Child lying in a manger. The tale then switches over to focus on a rich young prince of Israel, Judah Ben-Hur. (Most of you probably know that the word Ben before a last name means son of —.) He lives with his mother and his younger sister in happiness and peace until he is accused of trying to kill a Roman procurator, Valerius Gratus. He and his family are on the roof/porch of their palace as the Roman legion and Gratus pass by. A loose tile falls from the edge hitting the procurator. The legion raids his home, killing his servants, taking his mother and sister prisoner, condemning Ben-Hur as a galley slave, rowing a Roman war vessel. The duumvir as captain of the ship,Quintus Arrius, notices him and begins to favor him. During a battle as the ship is destroyed, he saves the duumvir’s life. He is adopted by Arrias and his fortune changes.

In time he returns to his ancestral home. His mother and sister are still not accounted for. And though, he searches for them it is in vain. His former Roman friend, the Messala, becomes his sworn enemy because he is the one who had his family hauled away. Ben-Hur lives to get his revenge.

It took a lot of effort to continue the book as the first 150 pages or so were mighty boring. I appreciated that he was delving into Jewish and Roman culture to set the background, but good grief, it was murder. However, I hate to start a book and not finish it, so I struggled on. Finally finished the book last night after weeks of having read a bit at a time. In addition to the fact that it was so boring at the first, Mr. Wallace is as wordy as Victor Hugo. Three pages to make one sentence. Finally, I was insulted that he kind of painted the Savior as a weakling. Hmmm. Jesus was a carpenter, for goodness sake. I am sure He lifted a few 2×4’s and used a hammer. It actually made me angry.

So after, this diatribe, (Oh no! I’ve become as wordy as Lew!) I can say I persevered and finished this classic, and just about 3 months after the book club group finished it! Want to know the quick version, though somewhat inaccurately portrayed in the movie, watch the movie!!!

What’s a Mother to Do?

The dishes don't wash themselves around here

The dishes don’t wash themselves around here

Did you ever wonder how some things don’t change? Take for instance days off and food leftovers. When was a day off really a day off? I am sure many of you have “days off” like mine. When I am off on Sundays it is a more restful day. It is a day for church and family. Some things still have to be done even on that day, like dishes, cooking dinner, etc. What about a day off during the week? Not a day to relax, at least not for me. There are errands to run, doctor appts., oops! that last person who went shopping forgot the toilet paper!, the dogs has diarrhea all over the carpet (this is all true), got to go to the vet. Who is going to do the dishes? And there are 6 loads of laundry piled up because I can’t get off work in time, and why did someone have to have a fender bender during rush hour? Gee whiz! Why haven’t you put your clothes away yet or did you remember to take the dog for his evening constitutional? I sometimes think I would rather forget the day’s off and keep on at my job instead. Days off are as busy as work days, if not more so. Then it is off to bed because the alarm is going to go off at 5 am so I can get up for work. No wonder I am getting gray hair. If I had it my way, the dishwasher would load itself. My children would cook their own dinners and hang up their clothes. My daughter’s dog would walk itself and clean up his own poop and return home without getting lost or biting someone who is walking down the street. The laundry would wash and fold itself, and I would finally be able to sit in my recliner with my feet up and a good book (not Ben-Hur), and my daughter’s dog would sit on her lap and not on top of the book I am trying to read.

Food leftovers… Do you remember when your children were little and they didn’t finish all of their fish or veggies? Remember how you didn’t want to waste anything, so rather than throw it away, you would clean their plates for them by eating the stuff? Those days are not gone at my house. I trained my children to eat all kinds of fruits and veggies (except turnips. Those are the nastiest tasting things in the world, next to raisins. Even I won’t eat them.) I also cooked mostly with ground turkey and they both survived. Well, something happened on the way to adulthood and I don’t know what is was. My son and my daughter are picky eaters. So, for example, last night I fixed turkey burgers as this is okay on MediFast. I spiced them up. My daughter took two bites and she said couldn’t finish it. The meat tasted too “lean.” So, who do you think is going to get to have those turkey burgers for the next couple of nights in a row? Mom, of course. The other night the chicken didn’t tast right, so it wasn’t eaten. (Honestly, I am a pretty good cook, but you wouldn’t know it lately.) I got to have the chicken in salads for 3 nights in a row. It tasted fine to me. My son buys this seasoned pork loin because his children really love it. I am Hungarian so we live on pork, but this is not seasoned to my liking. Who gets the leftovers? Not my son. He doesn’t want it. The dog wants it, but he gets diarrhea so he can’t have it. I just had it for dinner. Uh huh! Just like when my children were little. Mom was the leftover Hoover at our house. Yum! Now, if left me cake or brownies, I would Hoover it. (Sorry, MediFast. Being honest here.) But of course, those aren’t left over.

All I can say is, “What’s a mother to do?” Blog you Later!

Something to Think About True Greatness

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Giving consistent effort in the little things in
day-to-day life leads to true greatness.
~ President Howard W. Hunter

Mama Vicky’s Book Nook

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How about a twofer today? I finished two books yesterday and so I will share them both. (I have had a bit of down time since having an outpatient surgical procedure on the 27th.) First:

A Narrow Margin of Error
A Hillary Greene Mystery

by Faith Martin

Hillary Greene is a 50 year old retired Deputy Inspector who gets called back to duty working cold cases. She is an investigator and not a full-fledged officer this go around. She is smart, sassy, independent, and has a nose for detective work. She and her small team are assigned the 10 year old case of an Oxford college student, Rowan Thompson, who was stabbed to death with scissors. Everybody supposedly liked Rowan, even though he was a bit of a fun-loving cad and a hypersexual experimenter. As with any cold case it is a matter of sifting through a mountain of old information and trying to find what is missing. And, of course, everyone who lived at the same residence all deny having anything to do with Rowan’s death.

Two of her staff are newbies gaining experience on the job and one retired police sergeant. Vivienne is one of the newbies and is only interested in Hillary’s boss, Steven Crayle. Her boss is a hottie and Hillary has to fight to keep her mind off his non-police side while Vivienne is throwing herself at him.

As the investigation slowly moves forward, Hillary starts finding flowers on her boat or stuffed in her car and is receiving text messages from a secret admirer. As the stalker becomes more obsessed with Hillary, his gifts start to be bizarre and frightening. It seems he is one step ahead of her.

Definitely a British novel as there were many terms used by the author that we don’t use here on this side of the pond. Some of the words I could figure out from the context, and some I couldn’t decipher. This didn’t have a big impact on the story. The book seemed to be a bit tedious as it drew out the tale. It was a pretty interesting story even though, but I still would only give it a 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Book 2:

spark joy
an illustrated master class on the
art of organizing and tidying up

by Marie Kondo

This is the companion to her first book, the life-changing magic of tidying up. Marie is my guru, as well as probably many other folks as well. In this current volume she has drawings that show how to fold things properly, how to arrange shelves and organize, and as always, reminds the reader to do everything with joy.

The beginning of the book was a quick summary of how to tidy, how to tell if an item brings a person joy. I have been doing as she suggests when I am going through things and holding them to see if they do bring me joy. This really works. I have also tried to be mindful of gratitude for those items that I am keeping as well as those I no longer need or want. She talks a lot about the kitchen and the bathroom and how to bring joy to those areas. In fact, today as I was putting kitchen towels away, I followed her method of folding and rolling items and actually had more room than I thought. Also, by following her methods, it is easy to see what’s in the drawer for easy use.

She tucks pearls of wisdom throughout the pages along with the explanations. The end of the book also talks about having joyful experiences with one’s family, how to sort photos of which I have an abundance, and how to easily scrapbook them. I love her ideas.

She did have a section on how to remain calm when other family members aren’t tidy and their stuff is all over the place. Let me remind you that I have a 950 square foot condo. Three adults live in it plus two wonderful grandchildren who have managed to amass a lot of toys. Clutter really can make a person uneasy. I am not a nut, but when I have to step over things of someone else’s I am just a bit disgruntled. This happens a lot. She did say that we can encourage them to make things neater, but that people don’t have the right to tidy and dispose of other people’s stuff. I shan’t mention which of my children is the clutter bug, but it drives me crazy that half the time the dining room table looks like a cyclone hit it on the clutter bug’s side while mine is neat and there is actually room to sit down and eat or color, etc. I will probably need to read that chapter a couple of times in order to stop my desire to throw stuff out and clean things up. As a parent, I have got to love the little darlings. Yowsa!

I hold Marie’s books in my hands, not only to read them, and I really feel joy. Again, she gets a 5 out of 5 stars and my gratitude. These are definitely keepers. I would recommend them to anyone.

A wild week and then some

My granddaughter is wild for Shopkins

My granddaughter is wild for Shopkins

It has been a bit of a trying week ever since I had outpatient surgery on the 27th of May. I was thinking this is a simple procedure, and all is going to go well and I am going to feel like a million bucks in a couple of days. Was I wrong! I don’t like to moan and fuss or complain, but I am sincere when I say birthing children was easier. Having 2 bigger surgeries were a cake walk. This one has done me in.

Then our rodent of a dog has been throwing up daily. (I don’t think it is because he feels sympathy for me.) We’ve been trying everything we can think of. So far today he is keeping his food down. If not, off to the vet we go.

The car needs work done. You name it; it has been happening. (I am calm about it and not bad tempered over things. I told you the advice in the Sugar and Spice section does work.)

The day after surgery my grandchildren were here and we actually had an excursion to Toys R Us. I felt good enough to go. (I was thinking that this surgery was not so bad. Proved wrong.) They were hosting a Shopkins Swap-a-thon and my granddaughter Katie was dying to go. She had never been to one. My granddaughter was in heaven. She is somewhat shy around strangers and at first let everyone else do the talking, but pretty soon she was making trades right and left. She just looked so happy. My grandson came along and observed the event. He does have a few Shopkins, but didn’t bring any to trade. But then to be fair to him, we had to go to the Star Wars Lego aisle. This actually took much less time and he found something he wanted.

Sunday, didn’t feel so great. Monday began throwing up and having a lot of pain. Have been pretty miserable for most of the time. And can’t stray too far from the bathroom. Yesterday I felt well enough to take Daphne to a bookstore we both love named Book Off. She had gone through her overloaded bookshelf and decided to part with quite a few books. (I think she was feeling a little bit of Feng Shui from Marie Kondo and that prompted her to clean her shelves quite a bit.) Book Off will buy books, CDs, DVDs, game stuff, etc. She got a good return for selling her items. Then I brought home Arby’s (Shhh. Don’t tell our Medifast counselor. Arby’s is definitely not on their plan.) Well, I ended up getting sick to my stomach and my belly blew up. The Arby’s food was yummy, not poisoned. I was the only one that the rich food did a number on. So, I re-learned my lesson to stay on my diet plan. By the way, I have lost 39 pounds since beginning my diet program. Yee haw!

Today I have more energy and at least I am not vomiting. And I can blog!! I have been trying to do that all week. I am supposed to go to work on Tuesday. I see the surgeon on Monday. I am definitely going to tell him that natural childbirth was better than this procedure. And, I have made up my mind that if anyone wants to go spelunking in my nether regions again, my answer is not only going to be NO!! It is going to be HECK NO!! (I don’t swear, but I think my point will be understood.)

Hope everyone had a safe and happy Memorial Day! Remember, Californians, that this Tuesday is the Primary Election. Please make sure to vote. Your vote counts.

Blog you later!!

Sugar and Spice Advice on battling anxiety and finding hope

Don't worry, be happy

Don’t worry, be happy

Is there such a thing as peace of mind in this day and age? I submit that there is in spite of the roller coaster economy, health problems, etc. It is understandable that there will be stress and anxiety in each person’s life. Mild anxiety is not a problem, but severe anxiety only makes things worse. Peace of mind can have a big, positive effect on how you handle your life, the people around you, and your health.

Contentment is possible. Don’t mistake it for complacency. They are not the same. Satisfaction comes as you make even small changes to work toward something better. Doesn’t it feel good to accomplish things? I know that I am excited when I step on the scale and find I have lost a pound. One pound at a time adds up. Try a positive outlook. Finding the good in your life can make you feel hopeful. Think of each stumbling block as a lesson to be learned. Believe it or not, it can have a calming influence. And remember, the current situation is only a sliver of your life, not your whole life.

Stress is relieved by releasing energy. Don’t keep everything bottled up inside. I am not advocating shouting at people or kicking the neighbor’s dog. Share what is going on with a person you trust. Sometimes we try to curl up inside ourselves and block out things. This is not a bad idea when you are feeling overwhelmed. Just realize it is only a temporary relief giver. Don’t let it be the way you live. Overeating and other unhealthy habits make things worse. Go for a walk. Walking can improve your mood. Or practice mindfulness.

Each day we are pulled in so many directions that we get fatigued or feel we are on a treadmill without a way to get off. In other words, we are stressed. Even in this case it is possible to achieve calmness. You don’t have to spend a lot of money in search of help. Do the following simple things that don’t take a lot of time, and you will see positive benefits. Slow down. De-clutter. Cut back on things. Simple things are wise things. And make sure that you do set aside some time during your busy day to breathe slowly and deeply. Do nothing even if it is only for a few minutes.

Miracles can happen, and I believe they do. But it does help a miracle to occur by doing some of the small things that we can, and you will find the peace of mind you are searching for.

(If you are looking for some help with your financial concerns and budget, may I recommend a book that can help anyone. I used the suggestions in my own life, and have found that they actually work. Now the only debt I have is my mortgage and my 2nd. I’m working on those now. The book is titled Debt-Free on Any Income – a Practical Guide to Financial Security for Latter-day Saints, by Lyle and Tracy Shamo. Honestly, you don’t have to be a Latter-day Saint to benefit from this book. It is a wise guide for anyone. I guarantee it.

Sugar and Spice Advice is brought to you by the co-owners of Sugar and Spice Designs, makers of hand-poured soaps, bath salts, greeting cards, and comfy beanies.

Something to Think About Aging

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Age is more a matter of how you feel, how you think,
and what’s going on in your head
than what’s going on in your feet.
~ President Gordon B. Hinckley

Blog tour/book review: All the Single Ladies by Dorothea Benton Frank

All the Single Ladies coverAbout All the Single Ladies

• Paperback: 400 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 10, 2016)

In this fast-paced and evocative novel, beloved New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank again takes us deep into the Lowcountry of South Carolina, where three unsuspecting women are brought together by tragedy and mystery

Lisa St. Clair knows a thing or two about weathering storms. A dedicated nurse with a healthy sense of humor, she single-handedly raised her truculent daughter, Marianne, after her ex walked out on them twenty-four years ago, sending them a lottery ticket once a year as support. One day he reappeared and lured their daughter into a dubious but lucrative venture in Colorado. Now mother and daughter aren’t speaking.

So when Kathy Harper, Lisa’s favorite patient, loses her battle with cancer, Lisa finds herself drawing closer to Carrie and Suzanne, the devoted friends who were always by Kathy’s side. As these three women’s lives inevitably connect, they share their concerns about men, getting older, and the horrors of maintaining financial stability. Suzanne’s ninety-nine-year-old grandmother, a former chanteuse, offers unexpected perspectives on the mores of the day. Carrie’s greedy ex-stepchildren are a chorus of cackling crows. And Lisa’s mother just can’t help herself as she henpecks her to distraction.

Somehow their conversations always return to the enigma of Kathy. Who was she? What did her short life mean?

As Lisa, Carrie, and Suzanne power walk the beaches of the Isle of Palms, they gradually uncover the truth of Kathy’s life and unfurl plans to secure their own futures, as fate steps in to help them discover that being single doesn’t have to mean being alone.

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Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

My Review

I don’t know which came first, this book or the song by Beyonce. This review has nothing to do with her song. I am writing about the book by Dorothea Benton Frank. I have again had the privilege of reading a book by someone I didn’t know, courtesy of TLC Book Tours. Thank you TLC.

You know that I am partial to books with nurses in them, especially when the nurse is a main character. Lisa St. Clair is a nurse at a geriatric facility, Palmetto House Assisted Living Facility, and she loves it, and babies her dog, Pickle. She cares about the residents and is able to connect with many of them and is able to help them. Lisa is also divorced, and has an adult daughter who won’t speak to her. It might be because Lisa is not happy with Marianne’s choice of vocations, arranging tours in Colorado for folks who want to be in marijuana heaven. Colorado has legalized marijuana use. Lisa has a high moral standard, and selling dope just doesn’t make sense. (I am with her on that one.)

While working at the facility, she meets a lovely lady, Kathy Harper, who is dying of cancer. Kathy has two caring and faithful friends, and through Kathy, Lisa finds herself with two new friends. And as it says in the title, these two ladies, Carrie and Suzanne, are also 40ish and single. Carrie is impulsive, funny, and determined to find a new man for her life. After all, husband #3 dropped dead at the altar during their wedding ceremony.

Suzanne is single lady #3. She lives on the beach with her 99 year old, spunky, gin drinking mother, “olives please,” Miss Trudy. She hasn’t had a whole lot of luck in the relationship with men world either. Suzanne is Kathy’s executor, and strange things start to occur when bills for expensive things start to arrive in the mail after Kathy’s death.

Mix together a wicked landlady with a gun, 3 men of various stations in life, Lisa’s unusual parents, a druggie, and octogenarian with a rubber ducky, sudden homelessness, a search for a missing husband, and very hot and muggy weather in South Carolina, and you have the making of a hurricane waiting to happen.

I will admit that I felt the beginning was slow, (I’ve heard life moves slower in the deep south.) and I kept hoping something would happen. Well, when it did, one strange thing after another tumbled over each other and the heat was on. (Pardon the pun. I related it to the description of the heat in South Carolin-ee.) It was an enjoyable read after the action started and I laughed and got angry right along with the trio of single ladies over some things.

I won’t give any more hints. My recommendation is to read it for yourself. Despite the slow beginning, I would still give this book 4 stars out of 5.

 

Dorothea Benton Frank

About Dorothea Benton Frank

New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank was born and raised on Sullivans Island, South Carolina. She resides in the New York area with her husband.

Find her on the web at www.dotfrank.com, or like her on Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

Tour Stops

Wednesday, May 11th: Books and Bindings

Thursday, May 19th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Monday, May 23rd: Back Porchervations

Tuesday, May 24th: Tina Says…

Wednesday, May 25th: Mama Vicky Says

Thursday, May 26th: Joyfully Retired

Thursday, May 26th: A Wondrous Bookshelf

Monday, May 30th: Queen of All She Reads

Tuesday, May 31st: Lavish Bookshelf

Thursday, June 2nd: The many thoughts of a reader

Blog tour/book review: Deception Island by Brynn Kelly

untitledAbout Deception Island

Hardcover: 336 pages

Publisher: HQN Books (May 31, 2016)

A stolen boy 

A haunted soldier 

A cornered con woman… 

Rafe Angelito thought he was done with the demons from his past—until his son is kidnapped. Blackmailed into abducting an American heiress, the legionnaire soon finds himself trapped in paradise with a fiery, daring beauty who’s nothing he expects…and everything he desires. But when he uncovers her own dark secret, Rafe realizes he’s made a critical mistake—one that could cost him everything.

Playing body double for a spoiled socialite was supposed to be Holly Ryan’s ticket to freedom. But when she’s snatched off her yacht by a tall, dark and dangerous stranger, the not-quite-reformed con artist will make a desperate play to turn her captor from enemy to ally, by any means necessary.

Yet as scorching days melt into sultry nights, Holly is drawn to the mysterious capitaine, with his unexpected sense of honor and his searing touch. When they’re double-crossed, they’ll have to risk trusting each other in ways they never imagined…because in this deadly game of deception, it’s their lives—and hearts—on the line.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

 

My Review

The lives of a spoiled socialite, 10 year old boy who’s been kidnapped, a not totally reformed con woman, and a tall, dark, and dangerous soldier cross paths in multiple ways when the spoiled socialite is abducted from her yacht that has been coasting somewhere in the South Pacific. Rafe Angelito, whose demons from darker days have never truly gone away, is the pivotal figure that causes the collision between the other people. Throw in some man-eating sharks, semi-automatic machine guns, island natives, and a host of unsavory people, and you have the makings of a suspense-filled wild ride.

In exchange for the ransom of the American “princess,” Rafe will be able to free the 10 year old boy. Meticulous planning has gone into the abduction of the senator’s daughter. For Rafe this is all business. Things go awry when a double cross occurs, and people may not be who they appear to be.

As things go from bad to worse, an evil pirate from Rafe’s past is intent on killing them all. The senator has no intention of letting his daughter be harmed. The con woman has no intention of dying either, and so in a shaky alliance with Rafe, they begin to work together. Not trusting the other one completely, they have no choice.

Intertwined in this story of kidnapping, modern day pirates, human trafficking, and daring attempts to survive, a romance develops which is not good for anyone involved. Romance leads to clouded judgements and Rafe is about to lose control of the situation. He has never allowed this to happen in all past missions.

I really liked the idea of the plot with the double crosses and things not really being what they appear on the surface. Will everything implode, ruining everyone involved, or will Rafe stop thinking with what’s in his pants, and regain control? Will brains and braun beat out evil? It is hard to say.

This is a romance story on top of a race-against-time suspense plot. I am not a romance reader, as a rule, but the plot twists were very inventive. The book was good, though it is safe to say that this book is a bit steamy, and not just because they are in the scorching hot remote Pacific Islands.

I give the book 4 out of 5 stars.

 

About Brynn Kelly

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As a journalist Brynn Kelly once spent her days chasing stranger-than-fiction news reports. Now she spends them writing larger-than-life novels, in a happy bubble of fiendish plots and delicious words. Brynn has a journalism degree and has won several prestigious writing and journalism awards, including the Valerie Parv Award and Pacific Hearts Award. Her debut novel Deception Island was a Golden Heart finalist. She’s also a bestselling non-fiction author in her native New Zealand.

 

 

Connect with Brynn

Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

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Brynn Kelly’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, May 2nd: Bewitched Bookworms

Wednesday, May 4th: Worth Getting in Bed For

Friday, May 6th: Just Commonly

Monday, May 9th: Read Love Blog

Wednesday, May 11th: A Holland Reads

Thursday, May 12th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Friday, May 13th: From the TBR Pile

Monday, May 16th: Books and Spoons

Wednesday, May 18th: I Wish I Lived in a Library

Thursday, May 19th: Books a la Mode – author guest post

Thursday, May 19th: Patricia’s Wisdom

Monday, May 23rd: Mom in Love with Fiction

Tuesday, May 24th: Book Reviews & More by Kathy – author guest post

Wednesday, May 25th: Mama Vicky Says

Thursday, May 26th: Romancing the Book 

Thursday, May 26th: Lilac Reviews

Friday, May 27th: Write Read Life

Monday, May 30th: The Romance Dish

Tuesday, May 31st: The Sassy Bookster – author Q&A

Wednesday, June 1st: Rebel Mommy Book Blog

Friday, June 3rd: Staircase Wit

TBD: A Chick Who Reads

 

tlc tour host

 

Thank you to TLC Book Tours and Harlequin Publishers for including me in this tour. I was not compensated in any way for my opinion.

Speak No Evil

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Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment. ~ Benjamin Franklin

Ill customs and ill advice are seldom forgotten. ~ Benjamin Franklin

Keep cool; anger is not an argument. ~Daniel Webster

Tact is the intelligence of the heart. ~ Anonymous

If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek, five things observe with care: of whom you speak, to whom you speak, and how and when and where. ~Anonymous

Friendliness is to do and say the kindest thing in the kindest way. ~ Anonymous

Anonymous has to be the wisest person on earth, right?

When I am referring to speak no evil, I am not referring to swear words this time, which in my humble opinion are completely unnecessary. Nor am I talking about insults, which are damaging, too. I am talking about the power that words have to heal and influence one’s attitude about themselves.

The positive and negative things we say, think, and hear go a long way to influencing our self-fulfilling optimism or pessimism. The thoughts, words, and what we hear can have a direct influence on how our bodies function and heal.

Victor Frankl, who was a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp, realized that the thing that can never be taken from a person is his/her choice of how to respond to a situation. He wrote a wonderful book in which he stated that those in the concentration camp who tried to help others and kept a more positive attitude survived longer than those who let the horrible conditions there ruin their outlook.

Athletes also know about the power of words. Remember, the little train that could, “I think I can. I think I can,” and he did.

Here a few things you can use to help you stay well:
Listen for inspiration. It will come. We just have to be willing to turn down the noise and listen, for usually the inspiration comes as a still small voice or as a thought. If we are distracted, we can miss it. Whether you are battling a life threatening illness, facing a difficult task, or even running a marathon, you can find encouragement in uplifting songs or testimonies of those who have been in your shoes. Don’t forget to look to historical figures, religious figures, or philosophers for comforting and inspiring quotes.

Announce your intentions. If you are going to cut back on sugar, quit smoking, lose weight, or some other strenuous event, tell someone. This works for two reasons. One, you have someone who can support your efforts; be your cheerleader. Secondly, when you put your plans out there into the world you actually help your mind remind itself. Writing things down and noting your improvements can help you set goals and see success.

Think with gusto. When negative thoughts begin to intrude, imagine them disintegrating. Think of those negative thoughts as dying embers in a fire and watch them fizzle out. Once you have kicked those negative thoughts off the stage of your mind, replace them with positive self-talk that will soothe and encourage your well-being.

One final quote from Mark Twain who was known for his tongue in cheek humor and wisdom: Drag your thoughts away from your troubles – by the ears, by the heels or any other way, so you can manage it; it’s the healthiest thing a body can do.

Wishing you good health and joy!

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