Shadow Dance

Shadow Trees

Spindly and bare,
trees striped and spare,
look at them dance
and boldly prance
in shadows that flow
across fields of snow.

Spindly and bare
trees striped and spare,
Beautifully arrayed
this woody brigade,
rooted yet wild
like a sturdy child.


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THE BROKEN LIFE

Broken Life

 

 

 

 

Pain is plain,
a heart’s wretched stain
that weeps in the night
when hope takes flight.
Grieve as you must
for love withered to dust,
let go of your grief,
find release.
You’ve done your best,
lay your pain to rest,
you cannot repair
someone else’s despair.
Pray, pray for a better day,
for your loved one to find his way
from cracked and broken
to hope and peace re-awoken.


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THINK POSITIVE – BE POSITIVE

Calendar

January 1, guilts many of us into making resolutions. I’m not much into assigning myself tasks I’m unlikely to fulfill, but it’s become part of our national tradition to think about all the things that are wrong with us and then figure out ways to fix those flaws in the next 12 months.

This is the way I see it, five ways times two, to a better you.

Five reasons not to feel guilty your resolutions have crashed and burned

Even if you don’t keep your resolutions, you benefit from having made them. Resolutions are practical decisions intended to make you a better you, which takes a positive mindset. Studies show that a positive attitude improves your outlook and your disposition, which does indeed, make you a better you.

It’s probably something that made you feel bad about yourself anyway. Resolutions to quit this bad habit or that bad habit throw you into a negative mode from the get-go. The day to start a healthier lifestyle isn’t Jan. 1; it’s any day you are empowered to make positive changes.

You’re not alone. A 2019 U.S. News & World Report report indicated an 80 percent failure rate among those who made resolutions, with most respondents losing their resolve by mid-February, if not sooner. The trick, if you must make a resolution, is to keep it simple, doable and with a short shelf life. “I’m going to clean my dresser, one drawer at a time, over six days,” (six drawers, six days; get it?) is more doable than, “I’m going to walk five miles every day.” I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

Making a resolution gives you something to think about. So, you didn’t make or keep a resolution. So what? It made you think about changes you can make at any time to improve your health or some other aspect of your life. That is something to feel good about.

If you don’t make a resolution, you don’t have to feel bad when you don’t keep it. Guilt is a terrible motivator. It makes you cranky and resentful and dribbles salt into your wounded ego when you don’t achieve the often impossible goals you set.

Tackle self-improvement in a more holistic and creative way that avoids negativity and makes life better for you and those around you.

Five healthy habits to make your life better without the messy guilt of not keeping a resolution

If you smoke, quit. There has never been a scientific study that says smoking is in any way good for you. As a former smoker I can say categorically it is the worst thing you can do to your body. And vaping? Good grief. It is not a safe substitute.

Walk regularly, no excuses. Walking is good cardio, gets you out in the sunlight, creates opportunities for you to interact with other people, limbers you up, improves mood, boosts your energy, burns calories and contributes to creativity.

Call a friend and just chat. Friends are the family we create for ourselves. Good friends help bolster your sense of purpose and lift you up when you’re down. They listen without judgment and help you keep life in perspective. They are a shoulder to cry on and the ones who get it when you’re laughing about something that makes no sense to anyone but the two of you. These are inexplicable relationships you can’t do without.

Laugh every chance you get. Laughter truly is the best medicine. Align yourself with people who know what it means to bust loose with a guffaw, a giggle, a snort. People who laugh with babies and those who wipe tears from their eyes from laughing so hard at a well-told tale are among my favorite people. Know and respect the difference between laughing with others, not at them.

Become involved in a project or organization. Studies have shown that people who have a purpose are the happiest and most fulfilled. Every organization needs participants, members and volunteers. Lend your skills to a worthwhile cause and reap the benefits of better health and building relationships.

So, there you have it. Think about what you can do and have done, not necessarily to improve yourself, but to make the world around you a better place. That alone makes you better today than you were yesterday, and there is a ripple affect; it has a lasting impact.


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LIFESTYLE MUSINGS

She said is a new series of posts, a collection of lifestyle articles that will cover an array of topics. The posts come under the topic of She said because – although I will cull information from experts – I am not an expert. So She said is my take on life, supported by information I’ve gleaned from a variety of sources. And sometimes it’s just my opinion.

Here are links to previous posts that in future will come under the She said category.

https://wp.me/p1IcOU-2Km
https://wp.me/p1IcOU-2t0
https://wp.me/p1IcOU-1Rj
https://wp.me/p1IcOU-5R
https://wp.me/p1IcOU-pv

I would be interested in what you think. Please comment or like or share. And if you happen upon this post and aren’t currently a follower, I hope you will become one. Readership is the lifeblood of content producers like me.


Thank you for being a reader/subscriber. It is my goal to present informative, interesting and creative content on this site. Your likes, shares and comments are welcomed and hugely appreciated.


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Print advertising a thing of the past?

Print has a nearly 80 percent response rate; digital still plays second fiddle to visual call-to-action advertising in print media.

In the digital age, there is a perception that if you put your business offering up on Facebook or other social media, that’s enough. While social media is an important part of getting your customer’s attention, it is only part of the mix. Although it is “free” in the sense that posting doesn’t cost you much more than time, it is transitory at best and the number of people who will see that post is based largely on who’s on line at any given time.

Fido DeliversThe rule of thumb for ad space purchases is to budget 10 percent of your annual income to advertising. In a small town, that generally means radio and newspaper. It does not include charity or support giving to various school and community publications asking you to “buy an ad.” Advertising is any medium intended to reach the greatest number of people in which you include a call to action.

Many advertising surveys indicate consumers respond more readily to print – whether it be magazines or newspapers – or through direct mail – than to digital media. One report stated that 79 percent of readers are more likely to respond to print ads than e-mailed or digital sales pitches. Digital media will argue that is changing, and perhaps it is. The magic bullet of digital advertising is more difficult to measure.

My favorite explanation for effective advertising (Sales vs Marketing) –

Sales: A hitchhiker on the side of the road with a sign that reads, “To Dallas.”

Marketing: A hitchhiker on the side of the road with a sign that reads, “I want to get to Mom’s for Christmas.”

Your sales pitch is your goal. Marketing is knowing how to reach that goal by understanding the marketplace and your customer.

Print continues to be an important platform for getting your message out, but as the fellow going to Dallas figured out, tugging at the heartstrings of his audience was more important than saying outright what he wanted.

What works for you will depend on your expected outcome. A caution here, avoid buying advertising with the flawed expectation that one ad is going to result in customers flocking to your door in mass.

If you are selling furniture and your one page $2,000 full-color ad nets one sale of $500, you haven’t wasted your money, but perhaps you haven’t made best use of the space. Your goal is to make the ad as appealing as possible to assure you get enough sales to at the very least cover your cost. Five $500 sales would more than do it. The point is, manage your expectations. Know your reach. Understand your market.

Ad 1

Let’s say you have a restaurant and you want to run an ad that lets folks know you are now serving T-Bone steaks. Which of these two ads is more likely to work?

Ad 1 with address prominently displayed with a small picture of a T-Bone Steak and in small print “NOW SERVING T-BONE STEAKS,” is okay. You will likely get customers out of it, but the reality is the message has been lost.

Ad 2-2

Ad 2 with a grilling T-Bone steak prominently displayed, coupled with a 10% discount gives the buyer incentive to show up, ad in hand. It serves two purposes: getting customers in the door and being able to track the effectiveness of the ad.

If you spend $150 to $175 for the ad and the meal price is $25, you could easily sell 10 meals including the discount, and more than cover the cost of the ad.

Sometimes your goal is to let customers know who you are and where you are. The bonus is sales; the message is where to find you.

Advertising serves many purposes. While word-of-mouth has its place, advertising specific offerings provides updated information, provides actionable offers, and expands a business’ customer base.

As a business person, you likely know on day one of a new year what you hope to achieve in the next 12 months. Make planning for your advertising as important as planning for paying your employees, even if the employee is the person you look at in the mirror every morning. Advertising is as much of an investment as the fixtures in your store. Let it work for you and it will pay off.

These links lead to a series of ads that will inspire you to think more creatively about ad space purchases.

Word stream
Boredpanda
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I have not solicited or been given compensation for this content. If you found this of interest and worthwhile, please share with your network. Readers and new Followers make my day. Please add your thoughts or comments. Thanks for reading and following.


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The Prayer

cropped-Christ-Child.jpg

In a chaotic world this song – so beautifully rendered by these talented young men – reassures and uplifts. Merry Christmas. I’ve posted it before and will probably post it again.

 


Thank you for being a reader/subscriber. It is my goal to present informative, interesting and creative content on this site. Your likes, shares and comments are welcomed and hugely appreciated.


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Mist

Misty morning

morning’s misty glow
filtered through foggy dawn light
a new day is born

 


future imperfect cover2Future Imperfect, a serial work of futuristic fiction is available to subscribers for only .99! Posts will appear every week until the book is complete. It will be offered in its entirety after the last episode is published in e-book format for $7.99. Save $7 by subscribing now! An unremembered past. A world in chaos. Read the first episode FREE here.


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I have shingles. Ugh!

 What I have learned:

  • Sharon VSince I found out two days ago, nearly every third person I’ve mentioned it to has had shingles, hence the staggering national average that says 40 percent of Americans will experience the itchy painful illness at some point in their lives.
  • Shingles is not the first thing that pops into a medical provider’s head when you go in complaining of an ear ache or other pain, especially when you are otherwise in excellent health. I saw three providers before I happened across an article my husband was reading about shingles shots. In reading it, I found that I had five of the eight symptoms listed. When I went to the ER here, I mentioned the possibility and guess what? By golly, Mrs. Vander Meer, you do have shingles!” I’m on meds and they are working, but I suffered about seven days of outrageous pain before treatment began.
  • Shingles does not always reveal as a cluster of pulpy sores as seen in medical site photos. It is on my scalp and hidden by my hair, which may be why nobody spotted it, despite my saying “My head is on FIRE!” But I digress. I’m much better now.
  • Stress IS a contributing factor. We all have stress and it doesn’t always lead to shingles, but let this be a reminder that every day counts, every moment can make or break you, don’t let tension rule your life.

I want to thank my friend Em Krall. When I was feeling my worst, she worked her magic and helped me get rid of a lot of tension.

I want to thank by friend Kathy Allen, who called last night out of the blue and made me laugh and feel her long-distance hug.

I want to thank my friend Mary Schipper, whose encouragement and positive outlook let me see the bigger picture. It’s more than “this too will pass,” it’s more about appreciating what you have right here, right now.

I want to thank my nephew and great nephew, Seth and Carter, for bringing us food and mail and newspapers.

Shingles is by no means life-threatening and most of us get through it without too much angst, but it does get your attention. The pain is indeed, painful. The blisters can be unsightly. The healing may end but neurological reactions may continue. There’s no guarantee you won’t get it again. (This is supposed to be the upside!) It does make you stop and think about being joy-filled and a joy to be around. I confess when this all started I was a bit of a grumpy puss, which is not like me at all. So, to anyone I snapped at, forgive me.

My poor husband has suffered from this as much as I have, maybe more. The poor guy has been house bound because I didn’t feel much like getting out, and I’m the official driver! Can anyone say CABIN FEVER! I’m mostly kidding. His greatest concern is for me, so I thank him most of all for being patient and doing everything he could to take care of me. I am truly blessed.

– Sharon on the mend


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Which do you prefer and why?

And what are you reading now?

This is something everyone knows, but I would like to use it to stimulate a conversation. Do you prefer fiction over nonfiction or nonfiction over fiction? Why? What are you reading now and what is it about the content that keeps you turning pages? Are you a writer or a reader?

Fiction or Nonfiction