Archive for the ‘Life Lessons’ Category

This Thing Called Time

February 27, 2012 1 comment

Honestly, it’s just crazy! The older I get, the faster life seems to run. I thought that it would slow down a little as the kids got older. I figured that not having to run after little ones would afford me a little more time and freedom. Although this is true in some respects, it just seems that life has picked up a velocity that keeps churning, spinning and pushing me to the brink of exhaustion. 

The beautiful balmy breeze in South Florida and brilliant sunshine taunt me as I yearn to spend a lazy day at the beach.  Scratch that. Did I say “day”? I really meant at least a month. Heck, I’ll take a day-who am I kidding? I KNOW I’m not the only one who feels this way, right?

Several years ago I asked a friend’s mother a question as I pondered this same dilemma that was plaguing me back then. She must have been in her mid 70’s when I asked her a series of probing questions concerning this warp speed that my life had taken on.

“WHEN-Please tell me when this will slow down? Will it slow down? Does it ever slow down?” I’ll never forget her response. She looked at me through her thick glasses and said, “Oh yes, dear. It does slow down.  After the grandchildren are all grown up, it starts to slow down a bit.”



Categories: Life Lessons

Knowledge and Wisdom

Let’s get something straight here. I’m not a silver-haired (I admit it, I DO hit the bottle once in a while-hair color, for those of you wondering) elderly woman who has lived enough life to give the younger generation great morsels of wisdom. I hope to get to that place one day, but for now I will settle for what little I do know.

A retired friend once said this to me,” Knowledge and Wisdom are not the same.” I have pondered that little statement many times. I agreed with it when I first heard it and I agree with it now~even more so.

What good does it do to go to college, graduate school and beyond if you fail to apply wisdom with the knowledge you receive?  What’s the difference? Knowledge is the attaining of facts. I can go to school and become an outstanding surgeon with the proper training. Wisdom, or the lack of it, will dictate how I use that training. I could go on to do wonderful things and help save lives. I could also go off and use that medical knowledge for unethical, inhumane atrocities. This is a very basic comparison that I’m laying out for you.

I’ve seen, too often, where many will attain great knowledge and degrees only to use their new status in life as a pedestal to look down on others. Big mistake. Wisdom would say otherwise. Any time you give more value to things (knowledge included) rather than the relationships in your life, you make a grave error. It is my opinion that the relationships that we foster, for good or for bad, are what give us the most satisfaction or dis-satisfaction in life. We are all wired for relationship. When we don’t have good ones, we ache deep inside. When we have healthy ones, life seems to be good~even through difficult circumstances.

If you’re not careful, you could mistakenly confuse wisdom with knowledge. I don’t believe they’re even distant cousins! When used together though, wisdom and knowledge can give birth to some wonderful life-long legacies.

Just my opinion.

Categories: Life Lessons

Gratitude-Paying It Forward

October 21, 2010 1 comment

I recently received a card in the mail from somebody that I didn’t recognize at first. I opened it and as I read the words that were written I was both astonished and filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude for this person~a woman whom I just happen to meet several weeks earlier at a department store check out line.

Let me explain. It was late at night. This particular department store was having one of their big sales and they were open late. It must have been around 10PM, if my memory serves me correct. Anyway, as I was standing in line waiting to check out, a conversation was struck with the woman in line behind me. Those of you who know me understand this much about my personality~that I live by this mantra: “There are no strangers in life-only friends I haven’t met yet!” As was this case, we talked about her recent move to the area, how her husband was in active military, the weather, etc. A very pleasant conversation with a sweet soul. As I finished paying for my items, I turned around and handed her my 30% OFF coupon. I didn’t need it anymore and that was the last night that any of us could use it. She gladly accepted and we parted ways.

Evidently, my name and address were on that card. Hence, the nice card I received. Here is what it said:

Dear Mrs. Hastings,
I stood behind you in line at ABC Dept Store (NO~Not the liquor
store!) last month. We exchanged a few friendly words and then
to my surprise, you shared your coupon with me.

You saved me close to $30, and more than that, you touched my
heart. To a one income, active duty Army family, $30 is alot! 😉
I prayed a special blessing for you and your family. Your kindness
was unexpected and I greatly appreciated it and felt the need to
tell you so.

I have already paid it forward, to say the least. Random Acts of
Kindness are heart warming and inspiring. In my case, it was also
a blessing. Thank you so much! Take care and God Bless.

This woman could have gone the rest of her life, never sharing her heart with me about this incident. I so appreciated her taking the time to let me know that this seemingly insignificant act on my part touched her in a sweet and special way. I am the one who was touched by her!

I keep this card tucked away in a very special place. I see it often and it serves to remind me that we all have those “Divine Appointments” in life. Whom will you run into tomorrow? Under what circumstance? How will you respond? How will I respond. Will I be kind? Or, will I be hot and bothered that day about God knows what? I hope that I choose kindness. How about you?

Please~Share your thoughts by hitting the “Leave A Comment” button at the top of this page.

The 545 People Responsible for All of America’s Woes

A friend sent me the following article. AMAZING!! This was written in 1985 by journalist and columnist Charley Reese. Since we are in an election year, I thought it fitting to re-post this classic, with just a few alterations to reflect current names and military occupations.

I don’t know about you, but he hits the nail on the proverbial nail head and for the most part, I couldn’t agree with him more. Please POST YOUR COMMENTS! Let’s talk!

By: Charley Reese

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, we have deficits? Have you ever wondered why, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The president does. You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does. You and I don’t write the tax code. Congress does. You and I don’t set fiscal policy. Congress does. You and I don’t control monetary policy. The Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president and nine Supreme Court justices – 545 human beings out of the 235 million – are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered but private central bank.

I excluded all but the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it.

No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislation’s responsibility to determine how he votes.


Don’t you see how the con game is played on the people by the politicians? Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of Tip O’Neill, who stood up and criticized Ronald Reagan for creating deficits.

The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it. The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating appropriations and taxes.

Nancy Pelosi is the speaker of the House. She is the leader of the majority party. She and her fellow House Members, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetoes it, they can pass it~ over his veto.


It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 235 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted – by present facts – of incompetence and irresponsibility.

I can’t think of a single domestic problem, from an unfair tax code to defense overruns, that is not traceable directly to those 545 people.

When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair. If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red. If the Army & Marines are in Iraq & Afghanistan, it’s because they want them there.

There are no insoluble government problems. Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take it.

Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exist disembodied mystical forces like “the economy,” “inflation” or “politics” that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people and they alone are responsible. They and they alone have the power. They and they alone should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses – provided they have the gumption to manage their own employees.

This was written in September 1985.

Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years.

Doggie Love

October 13, 2010 2 comments

Many of you know that I am a proud mama to my three little canine kids. There is this “love” thing that goes on between dog owners and their pets.

What is there NOT to love?

Nothing against little kitties, but to me, nothing compares with the unadulterated love that you receive from your dog. It doesn’t matter how you’ve treated them~good, bad or indifferent. It doesn’t matter if you’ve over-fed or starved them. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been by their side every waking moment or gone for a month. As soon as they hear your car pulling into the driveway the symphony of excitement can be heard and seen through the windows.

When I walk into my house after being away for the day, the first ones to always greet me are my doggies! They’re little bodies are dancing with sheer exuberance at my sight. It’s amazing how much rhythm they have stemming from their little tails. (I have small dogs) Then, the show begins. Whom will I greet first? They begin to bicker and fight amongst themselves for my affections! They’re duking it out to be first in line!! Hilarious. They always bring a smile to my face and are a welcome sight particularly after a stressful day. They just love you. Who doesn’t want or need that kind of love?

I’ve buried a dog or 2 in my lifetime. Those are excruciating moments. Those of you that are dog lovers know what I’m talking about. But, this is life. It’s about living and ultimately dying. I have a personal belief. It might be crazy to some, but it’s my belief. One day, when my turn comes to enter the Pearly Gates, I believe that I will hear the familiar symphony of excitement as I near that gate. I believe that all my little furry (and not so furry~Yes. I have hairless pooches) friends will be running once again to greet me. Honestly, I get teary eyed just thinking about it! Maybe I’m wrong about that one. I don’t know. I’ll find out one day.

You may think that it’s quite presumptuous of me tho think I’ll make it to the Pearly gates. I have a deep, personal and quiet assurance about that. The real question I pose to you is, “Will YOU make it to the Pearly Gates?” I really do hope so. Your canine family will be waiting.

Yep. She's a Nude!

My Little Lovelies!

Our Kids Are Like The Federal Government

That’s right. You heard me correctly. Those of you who are parents out there know EXACTLY what I’m talking about!

Friday night. My husband and I take our two boys out for dinner. A new place for us. Right on Hollywood Beach~A place called ‘Oceans 11 On The Beach’. (You can purchase a “half off” gift certificate like I did by clicking HERE) Decent food. Fair prices. Fantastic service~Our server was Cari. Did I mention it was right on the beach? Absolutely beautiful weather. So far, a very a nice evening.


The View From 'Ocean's Eleven on The Beach.'


So, after dinner my eldest says, “Hey, why don’t we go down to Jackson’s Ice Cream Parlour? It’s just down the street!” My youngest chimes in on the brilliance of the idea. He too, is convinced that his older sibling has had a momentary incident of GENIOUS! Well, I’m not really opposed to the suggestion but I inform them that the bank has run dry. If they want to go, then they will have to treat. In other words, they must pay for the entire bill!

All systems come to a  grinding  HALT! Of course, that rule changes things a bit. It’s not that they didn’t have the money between them, it’s just that now it would require something of them. Sacrifice. Sweat equity. Counting the COST. Was it worth it? Was it a good value? SHOULD they spend their money on this costly ice cream escapade? Hmmmm.

Sounds a lot like our Federal Government at work with our dollars. So long as Uncle Sam doesn’t  have to break his back earning it, he goes right along spending it with seemingly little to no regard. Much like our kids do to us~right?

After a little talk between the two brothers, they agree to share the cost and we embark on our journey to the famous ‘Jackson’s Ice Cream Parlour’ for desert. It has easily been over 20 years since my husband and I set foot in that place and everything looked exactly the same! The Tropical Coconut Ice Cream on my banana split was the best. We really enjoyed ourselves and had a great time with Mikey~the little Monkey who set up shop outside on the parking lot collecting coins for a handshake. Now, that’s one smart monkey!


'The Turtle' Sundae at Jackson's Ice Cream


It took one good look at the menu for our boys to learn a quick lesson on the cost of nostalgia and ice cream at Jacksons. We agreed that sharing two ice cream creations between the four of us would be just fine. Honestly, one banana split would have been plenty. They are very generous with their servings.

So, there you have it. The rantings of a South Florida tax professional! The moral of my story? If our Federal Government could take a lesson from two brothers~counting the cost of ice cream, I think this country would be in a much healthier position. (No pun intended) I wish that I was not so cynical when it comes to this subject. Short of a miracle (and I do believe in those), I don’t see our elected officials having very much, if any, thoughtful contemplation on how they tax and spend the money of  the American people. (You and me!) I have no doubt that if it was their money on the spending block, they’d have a lot more conscience about things. Maybe we should send two brothers to address Congress on this issue of cost & spending.  ???  Just my opinion here.

If you have any thoughts or ideas~by all means, post and share!

What can Little League teach us?

I went to my son’s little league baseball game last night. I always look forward to them. They are a highlight for me in this season of my life.

So, I arrive at the park in time for the top of the 1st inning. Our team is on the field and our pitcher is really struggling. One hit, two…three, five….Before you know it, the opposing team is up by five runs~ Top of the first!

It’s starting to become crystal clear to me at this point, that our pitcher is mentally out of the game. His body language is screaming, “D-E-F-E-A-T-E-D!” With his shoulders slumped, he tosses the ball across the plate. BAM, another 3 runs come across home plate. The rest of the team has caught on by now to the pitcher’s lack of fight. They have had their fair share of errors on the field to help make this one of the longest opening innings in little league history! (OK, maybe I’m exaggerating just a little, but it sure did feel that way!) They are all beginning to show signs of defeat as well~It’s the TOP OF THE 1st INNING!!

I can’t help to think of the metaphor illustrated by this little league baseball game. How often are we the catalyst for defeat? In our families? In our workplace? In our personal relationships? The list goes on and on.

The opposite is just as true. Whether we see it or not, we have influence. PERIOD! Everywhere we go, everyone we meet~we have influence. It may not be a life changing event for most. It’s those little seeds we plant along the way. An encouraging word. A nice gesture to a stranger. A reminder to someone complaining in a longer than usual grocery checkout line~”If this is as bad as it’s going to get for you and me, I’ll take it!” We all have influence and we all contribute to setting the tone for our lives and the lives of those around us. The question is, which side will you choose? Victory or Defeat?

So, back to the game. Somewhere around the 5th inning I said to my husband, “It just takes ONE! One believer on this team to go back into the dugout and make them BELIEVE. Convince them that it only takes ONE GOOD INNING!! Then, someone has to spark that belief with a good crack of the bat. That’s all it will take for them to have a fighting chance.”  I started to yell this theme out loud. To make them hear the words. I was looking for just “one” to catch the vision. The next at bat for them was better. We scored 2 runs. It wasn’t enough to win, obviously. But they were trying better and harder than they were before.

We won’t always win the game, but we can be winners in the journey. By not quitting. By playing harder and smarter. By getting up when we fall down. By helping someone up, who has fallen down.

So, what has this got to do with death and taxes, you may be wondering? Nothing and everything. We’ve all heard the cliché, “There are two thing for sure in life, Death and Taxes.” Pretty true statement. But there’s also a lot of living that goes on between those two events. Little league is one of them!

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