Archives for May 2011

Summer of Happiness

There is nothing better than the first really warm day of the year that ushers in the presence of summer. Summer is the season that most everyone looks forward to all year long and it sometimes feels like it takes forever to arrive, but once it’s here, you never want it to go.

There is just something about summer that makes it the sweetest time of the year. From the warm heat to the fresh produce to the laid back feel in the air, summer is arguably the best time of the year.

One of the best advantages of this particular season is the incredible free time that comes along with it. The kids are out of school and the sun lingers around for longer to be enjoyed by all. There is so much happiness to be had in the simple pleasure of seeing kids out riding their bikes, playing at the pool or beach and enjoying popsicles.

Even if you’re not a kid, it is so important to get out there and be a kid again! It will boost your mood and is likely to throw a positive spin on your life outlook.

The warmer weather is an incredible mood-lifter and a fantastic excuse to get outside and enjoy life! The activities in summer are endless. From water sports to bike rides to hikes to lazy days at the pool, summer is a fantastic bounty of fun. In places that typically experience a harsh, dreary winter, summer represents an eagerly-anticipated freedom to get outside and enjoy life.

Summer’s amazing weather finally lets people get outside and enjoy the warmth of our precious sun and enjoy activities that the heat makes possible. Use a sports authority promo code to save on all of your summer outdoor equipment.

Winter and fall can be so melancholy because of the looming gray skies and torrential downpour, so when summer comes, even the way we cook changes. We throw more barbeques, more parties, and thus, our social lives improve. We are spending more time with people enjoying a fun activity, which leads to a greater satisfaction in life.

The more we can decrease our stress, invest in meaningful relationships and nourish our whole person, the healthier we will be, and summer is most definitely the best time for that!


Makayla loves to write and can be found writing about therapeutic boarding schools and distance learning universities, among other topics. When she is not writing, she is out running with her husband and two Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies.



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Your report card has arrived

It turns out that Ralph Lauren is more than just a fashion designer; he is also a philosopher:

“We all get report cards in many different ways, but the real excitement of what you’re doing is in the doing of it. It’s not what you’re gonna get in the end – it’s not the final curtain – it’s really in the doing it, and loving what I’m doing.”

Being a parent, I get report cards from my kids all the time.  It is easy to get caught up in the marks.  But it is much more important to make sure my kids are:


A) Doing their best.

B) Excited about learning and improving.

These are two things I can easily monitor from home and I don’t even need to understand the subject matter to keep tabs on the progress.  And these are two things that will actually mean something as my kids grow up and have to focus on matters beyond school and on living their lives.

After all, the real report card is whether we are truly living our lives and not just passing through

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It’s not like it’s the end of the world

OK, the word is officially in.  The world did not end today.  I have this from a reliable source.  He tells me not to worry if you didn’t rapture; it’s not the end of the world.

You will hear many other prophecies, and many of them will even come true.  In fact, the world will end some day, whether there are any humans around to witness it or not.  But I suggest you don’t worry too much about specific dates, because it is unlikely that any of us can predict with that kind of precision.  If we could, imagine how much more useful weather forecasts would be.  When we carry an umbrella, it might even rain.  And when we leave our umbrella behind, it might not.

There are plenty of things you can worry about, things you can actually change, things where you can make a difference.  Worry about those instead — but don’t just sit around worrying.  Do.  Something.  Make a difference.  Change the bad that might have been into the good that can be.

And now that the end of the world failed to make its scheduled appearance, that might just be what this guy will have to do…


Reader question: would you paint your car up like that if you knew it was the end of the world anyway?

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What The Humble Baked Bean Tin Teaches Us About Goal Achievement!

A recent series I watched on TV followed a young British engineer as he traveled around the country on a longboat, celebrating Britain’s industrial heritage. One episode featured the humble tin of baked beans, and in this article I want to cover what this teaches us about goal achievement…

Guy Martin is an engineer and well known bike racer. Well known in bike racing circles that is, I confess I had never heard of him before watching his TV series.

In ‘The Boat That Guy Built’ on the BBC, he wanted to remind people of a 150 year period when British inventions and engineering helped to change the world, to drive the industrial revolution.

He traveled around on his barge, fitting it out using traditional techniques, and I was drawn in by the whole series. One episode featured him making baked beans on toast, so he went right back to the basics and history of the can, making it by hand. This is where the goal achievement lesson comes in…

The patent for the tin can was given in the early 1800s in Britain, and it wasn’t long before it had been sold on and developed, as a way of storing provisions for the army and navy. This was state of the art stuff at the time, rather like NASA inventing ideas for the space program.

Within a few years though, maybe a decade or so, the baked bean had moved from being a novelty food for the posh to a common ingredient, and the tin can had gone from being experimental to being part of everyday life.

It was taken for granted.

150 Years Later

This is all over 150 years ago now, but the lesson we can take today is still fresh…

While it’s possible that your goal may be groundbreaking, it’s more likely that it has been achieved before. Someone, somewhere, will take it for granted. Someone, somewhere, will have gone through the trial and error process and got to the end result.

Yes, it will be new for *you*, there will be learning and set backs, but you can make the journey far easier if you seek out the knowledge of others who have gone before.

You will also have an easier ride of it mentally if you imagine yourself in the position of those who take your goal for granted.

Developing an assurance that your goal will happen, helps to motivate you when you come to step that are wary or nervous about – you’ll be much more confident to take it when you know others have been there before.

So to sum up, the humble tin of baked beans can teach us about trial and error, and it can teach us about repositioning goals in our mind as taken for granted rather than experimental.

I loved Guy Martin’s show, and the next time you are struggling with a goal, open a cupboard and stare at a baked bean tin for some inspiration!

Gordon Bryan is a writer from the UK, who loves writing about goal achievement. Grab his free 8 Step Goal Achievement Formula at

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Resentment is Poison

When we hold onto resentment, the only person we are hurting is ourselves. Let go. Let go. Free yourself!

I love this quote by Carrie Fisher: “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”

She talks about resentment, but I have pretty much said the same thing about anger and blame and hate.  In fact, any negative feelings you hold toward someone else fits this quote well.


Because negative feelings hurt the feeler.  In very few cases does the other person even know – and if she knows, doesn’t even care – that you hate her or resent her or blame her.  But as long as you feel these things, you are burning up inside.  These feelings are poison, and they will eat away at you – all the more so out of frustration that the other person isn’t dying from the poison you swallow.

Is there an answer to this problem?  There is, but … you might not want to hear it.


You might not be able to forget, but you can forgive.  Yes, pretty much everything can be forgiven, no matter how odious the crime.  Forgiveness does not make anybody more or less guilty.  Nor does it undo anything that has been done.  But it does let you come to terms with what has happened and move on to live the rest of your life without a huge weight around your neck.

I am not saying that despicable criminals should not be brought to justice.  I am saying that hating and resenting and blaming them won’t bring them to justice – but it will unjustly corrode your own self.

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How to inspire your kids to greatness

To be able to go on to do great things, children need encouragement and inspiration. A child will try his or her best when a parent’s support is behind them. Sometimes it’s not easy to figure out exactly how to help kids with this, but there are some things you can do that are sure to inspire.

Follow Your Child’s Bliss

Pay attention to what your child loves. If he or she loves art, encourage the creation of paintings, sculptures, drawings, or whichever media they have an interest in and keep plenty of art materials on hand. If you notice your child looking at the stars and gravitating toward astronomy topics, make plans for trips to a planetarium. Know what your child is interested in and feed that interest in every way possible.

Give Your Child New Experiences

There is nothing like learning about different cultures and seeing new things to open a child’s mind. It isn’t necessary to take a trip to Japan or Africa to accomplish this. Learning about how things are done in a culture on the other side of the world can show a child that all humans are different and interesting. Going to plays, ballets performances, and museums also fall into this category.

Turn off the Electronics

On at least one night a week, turn off the television, computers, phones, and any other gadget that the family is attached to, and have the family create something together. Any child, regardless of interests, should learn to create. Whether you paint something on a canvas, put together a birdhouse, or build a piece of play equipment for the back yard, make something that your child can see every day and be proud of helping to create.

Look into Extracurricular

Whether it’s a day camp for a particular interest, Scouts youth organization, or sports team, get your child into some extracurricular activity. This gives kids the opportunity to work with other kids outside of a school atmosphere. It is important that your child be interested, though. Some children won’t mesh well with all activities.

Expect Good Things, but Don’t Go Too Far

Letting your child know what you expect in terms of school and activities is a good thing. But be careful not to apply too much pressure. Becoming angry when one of their activities doesn’t work out the way you expected it to will only discourage your child. Celebrate over your child’s efforts toward something, rather than only rewarding a perfect result. Also realize that not all children will be good at everything. It may take a few tries before you and your child figure out the best activities and interests for him or her.

In conclusion, do not underestimate the importance of building your own inspiration as a parent. Read parenting books, discover inspiring family quotes, exchange with other parents and do not hesitate to try new activities.

And do not forget, the key is to spend quality time with your child. This is something your child will remember forever.

About the author: David is the manager of, an interactive database containing close to 30,000 quotes and citations from famous people and popular movies. This post has been featured in the Spring Homeschool Carnival and the Garden of Learning homeschooling carnival.

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How To Find Happiness in Five Minutes

Life is crazy isn’t it? And sometimes being happy and content just seems impossible. Life is hard, long, and at times painful. But the good news is that it is possible to find joy and be happy. It really is. Here are a few tips that can change your dreary day into sunshine and smiles. And you can make that happen.

Realize that rain falls. When you accept that life will and does get tough and sometimes for entire season you can smile. Sure ,what you are experiencing may be really painful and even difficult, but those very things can help you grow. Know that this life will be filled with hard things but strive to overcome them and look for the light on the other side. You really can smile even in a thunder storm. Remember that things don’t stay the same and seek to learn all you can about yourself and other people when life hurts and feels unfair.

Smile at a stranger. Take the time to care about other people. Even people you don’t know. It really is true that even small things like smiling are not only helpful. They are contagious. Be kind to the grumpy salesperson, let the rude driver pass you and buy a coffee for the person you don’t even know. Why? Just because you can. Make the world a better place.

Forgive and move on. Most of us carry around hurts from the past. Some are huge and some go way back into our childhood. But guess what? You gotta move on. Don’t dwell on the past. You don’t have to forget or give up boundaries to protect yourself from an unhealthy relationship but letting go and forgiving can do wonders to your heart. Realize all the wrong and hurt you have caused, yes maybe even back in elementary school. Give grace to people and let yourself heal and grow by forgiving.

Slow down. We all move way too fast in life. Sure there is a lot to see and many responsibilities but busyness steals away from the simple joys of life. Take time to visit that grandparent, pick up the phone and call a friend you miss. Pause and see the new flowers budding in the middle of the city. Open a door for someone or simply slow down when walking to your next destination. Cancel meetings that don’t need to happen, hug that little one that is changing by the minute, sip your coffee and quit making your schedule so full. Enjoy the time you have been given. Life moves fast. Don’t miss it. You know there are no dress rehearsals so get it right the first time.

Be grateful for where you are at. Even if you are in a terrible divorce, have been wronged by a boss, or are grieving a major loss, seek to find the good. It may feel impossible and against what you want to do but you can choose to focus on the positive. Even in the worst of situations there are things to be grateful for. How about a healthy child? Food to eat? A family or even one person who loves you? Be happy and thankful for the big and small things you have in life. If you focus on what isn’t or what you don’t have you will only make life exasperating and no fun. Each day seek to focus on what you have to be grateful for. In fact, why not make a journal. You can do that right now. List all you can rejoice about. It may be as simple as a new bloom on a flower, or a hot shower, but even these little things will help your heart enjoy the life you have been given.
Try these things and see that happiness is right in front of you!

This is a guest post by Diane Johnson, who primarily writes about online classes and anything else that interests her. She enjoys traveling, reading, and sports.

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Opportunity Knocks

Have you heard this one before?

“Knock, knock.”

“Who’s there?”


“Opportunity who?”


Yes, silence.  When opportunity knocks, so often we respond with silence.  Perhaps it is the silence of fear.  Or perhaps it is the silence of inertia.  Or perhaps it is the silence of uncertainty – what to do next.

When opportunity knocks, you have to answer it.  If you wait around asking questions, opportunity will wander off somewhere else, knocking on someone else’s door by the time you answer.

Worse than hesitating and questioning opportunity, is ignoring it altogether.  Perhaps we don’t want to hear the knocking.  Perhaps we are too busy or careless or introspective or afraid to pay attention.

I am convinced that the biggest difference between people who are successful in life – however you choose to define “success” – and those who are not, is how they respond when opportunity knocks.  Successful people…

  • Remain constantly alert, so they hear the knocking.
  • Answer right away. with open arms.
  • Welcome opportunity in with open arms.

What do you do when opportunity knocks?  Do you answer?  Do you stand near the door and hesitate? Do you even hear the knocking?

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I Am A Good Luck Charm

I’ll bet you think this is a motivational post where I tell you that each of us is a good luck charm if we just have the right attitude.

Well, it’s not.  This is about how I, David Leonhardt, am a good luck charm, and how a recent experiment involving the entire population of Canada scientifically proves it.

The experiment was called the “Federal Election”.  Of the five parties in contention, three are in rapture this morning and two have been decimated due to one simple trait that the three winning’ party leaders share and the two losing party leaders do not.

Did they all brush their teeth yesterday morning?  No, that’s not it.

Do they all have tattoos on their left ear lobes.  That’s not it either.

Are they all three Capricorns.  Nope.

I know all three.  Personally.  Sort of.

Steven Harper.

Congratulations to Steven Harper, he is now a full Prime Minister.  The people of Canada have elevated him to majority status…and all because he and I used to work on either side of the same wall.  Yes, I could tap messages in Morse Code on the wall to communicate with him.  I could…but I didn’t.  We did chat in the hallway.  We did do lunch sometimes.  We did meet later on when he was the Reform Party and I was a CAA lobbyist.

And seeing this, the people of Canada have given him a majority in the House of Commons.  (No, he was never a “warm” person, but he was always friendly, intelligent and idealistic.)

Jack Layton

Congratulations to Jack Layton, the new Leader of the Opposition.  The previous record for NDP seats was 43; the people of Canada chose to give the NDP a stunning boost to over 100 seats yesterday.  Not only that, but the party had never held a seat in Quebec until four years ago; today they command 59 seats of the province’s 75 seats.  Wow!

How did Jack Layton accomplish this historic feat?  By knowing me, of course.  Oh, he might not remember me, but I was the guy he nearly ran down with his bicycle when I made a false start at crossing the street without looking carefully and kept his nose stuck up in the air with that this-is-my-space-you-doofus-who-doesn’t-look-where-he-is-going look.  Yeah, not quite the guy you see on TV. You don’t have to be nice to me for the good luck charm to work, you just have to know me.

Elizabeth May

Congratulations to Elizabeth May, the Green Party’s first ever Member of Parliament.  How did the Green Party manage this historic breakthrough? You guess it – by knowing me.  Back when I was a CAA lobbyist and she was the head of the Sierra Club of Canada, we found ourselves working briefly together to have MMT removed from gasoline in Canada (That’s methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl for all you tongue twister fans).  She was not very familiar with the chemical, and I was able to explain her a few things.

If Elizabeth May appears energetic, rough-cut, friendly and authentic on TV, that’s because she is exactly as she appears in real life.  (Imagine that – a politician who actually is whom she appears to be!)

Michael Ignatieff

My condolences to Iggy.  Michael Ignatieff led his Liberal Party (formerly referred to as Canada’s “natural governing party” by many) to a historic and stunning defeat, just 35 seats – its worst showing ever.  Why?  Because Iggy didn’t take the time to know me.

Gilles Duceppe

And my condolences to Gilles Duceppe, who’s separatist Bloc Quebecois cleaned up in Quebec for six straight election, but last night was reduced to a four-seat rump.  And all because he did not know me.  Well, at least nobody will miss them.

As you see, this experiment was carried out with a fairly large sample size, and the results are conclusive: I am a good luck charm.  To know me might not be to love me, but to know me is to be a winner.

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