Category Archives: Thinkin’ Thursdays

“So”: A Needle Pulling Thread?

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We’ve heard it a thousand times. As we grow older, we notice it more so – we echo the refrain more often. “The Times They Are A-Changin.” Bob Dylan put the words to music in his 1964 classic ballad, and folks before and after agree. And, the world seems to change faster now than it did 50 years ago.

Fashion, technology, social mores, entertainment, architecture – we see rapid, as opposed to evolutionary, changes in those and most areas of our lives. Those who have chosen a life off-the-grid may be the exception.

I understand why change happens, but it seems that our use of the English language should remain more constant.

This is not a weighty post about why we have many non-English-speakers in our country. Nor is it a discussion of scientific and technical terms created within industry and business. I am not going to comment on the deluge of acronyms imposed on our culture by way of texting. I am resisting the urge to have fun with decades of really goofy fad words (or fine words used in goofy ways). Groovy, slammin’, dude, righteous, pad, hot mess, total babe, gag me with …

I said I was resisting!

No. My beef is with the word “so.” That’s what I said – “so.” It’s a puny little word. It really means nothing, unless I distort the spelling of it and pretend it’s actually the word Maria referenced when she taught scales to the musically-inclined von Trapp kids.

Saying the word “so” is like saying “well,” but not in the sense of state of being. It is a mere transition, an introduction to a sentence at the beginning of a conversation. But, today young people (25 and under is my best guess) are using it in the place of two words I heard all about in my speech classes and professional workshops some years back.

“So” is replacing “um” and “ah.” Nay, has replaced.

How many of you went through school repeatedly hearing that we should eliminate those extra “um’s” as we speak, particularly in public? How many of you worried during presentations that you might falter and let some “ah’s” escape? Those utterances could easily deem one lacking in confidence, or unprepared; they could cause “A” content to result in a “B.”

Now, along comes “so.” I blame reality TV. Participants use certain expressions repeatedly. For example, with brilliant introductory comments like “having said that” or “with that being said,” they cast presumably life-changing votes and dole out destiny-determining gifts.

I recently heard an interview on a St. Louis news station, and in it the interviewer was communicating with a group of very bright, accomplished science students who were explaining their work in robotics or a similar field. While I don’t remember the details of the interview, the question-answer part went something similar to this:

Interviewer: When did you first get into X?

Respondent #1: So, we always enjoyed working together, and we …

Interviewer: Where did you obtain the resources needed to pursue your project?

Respondent #2: So, as a group, we used crowd funding, and…

Interviewer: What are your goals with your invention?

Respondent #3: So, our plans are to…

Dazzle the world with the use of the word “so!”

You get my point. Obviously, gifted young people were completely ignoring the long-standing role of “um” and substituting “so.” I say if “um” is not needed in these cases, neither is “so.”

It was distracting, as you can see. I really don’t remember the good stuff at all. I’m so over it!

Here’s where “so” belongs:

Prohibition

“So, how’s that cold beer taste, my friend?”

(This photo was taken at the end of Prohibition, which occurred on December 5, 1933. My life-long friend shared the photo with me. For local readers, it is my grandfather, Alvin Adams, Sr., on the right and her grandfather, Reggie Crouse, left. She estimated they were about sixteen at the time.)

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“There has been a lot of wind, so the leaves are really falling.”

(Taken in the early eighties, I believe, this is my paternal grandmother, me, and my mom on a lazy fall day at Grandma’s. There aren’t many of those in 2015. Notice the seat is a painted tractor tire.)

 

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“You’re sooo big.”

(I’m feeling melancholy these days since this beautiful boy is now a senior in high school and 18 years old. I tried to crop out the mess, but couldn’t get rid of it all. That’s okay, though. Nothing about raising kids is neat and tidy!)

I enjoy a good rant about words, but few things are as special as a long-awaited drink with an old friend, a crisp autumn day spent with family, or a freshly-bathed baby in a clean white onesy.

So… that’s all I’ve got for today.

Have a Thoughtful Thursday!

Hally

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Boots are Hot! Shoeboxes are Better!

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Happy New Year! It’s been a while, but I am finally getting back to BBB with a post that was inspired in the old year. I always run a bit behind. And, I get distracted. I know that I wrote a post about accountability, and I promised a follow-up to that. I have not forgotten. I remain accountable.

And, who can begin a new year without at least addressing the idea of goals (I don’t wish to jinx any successes by using the “R” word)? Those thoughts are in my head as well, but today, I wanted to share with you an experience I had during the holiday season and an opportunity for you to consider this year.

There is one outreach my family supports each holiday season; we have done so sin20141205_101359ce my children were very young. It is Operation Christmas Child, part of Samaritan’s Purse International Relief, a Franklin Graham ministry. Many of you will be familiar with filling the boxes full of small toys, toiletries, hard candy, and stuffed animals to be sent to children all over the world.

I started filling boxes with my own kids for a couple of reasons. It helped them to actively participate in the giving. They loved going to dollar stores and shopping for items for a boy or girl just their age, and they still get excited about it. It makes me happy to think of children who have so little receiving a shoebox full of treasures selected especially for them. And, they also receive information about the gospel story with their boxes. OCC wants to provide something special for these children. But, more importantly, they seek to make disciples.20141205_150210

So, it was super rewarding to go with my daughter, two of her classmates, and their school’s administrative assistant in early December to one of the OCC processing centers. There are nine around the country; we visited and worked at the Minneapolis center for three days. It was a great experience.

The trip was five days, because we spent two of them on the road. Of course, we HAD to see the Mall of America. Cha-Ching! And, we had a great time at an activity called Escape MSP. It was a room from which you had to escape, using your wits, in order to avoid being blown up. We exploded. Fun times!

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The time at the center was awesome. Volunteers come from all over, and, after a bit of training, work alongside hundreds of others. It was fun to visit with others serving as we inspected, taped, scanned, and packed boxes to be shipped. At periodic intervals, operations would stop so that we could pray over the boxes or hear stories of how the boxes had touched lives all over the globe. Did you know one young woman found and married the man who sent her a box when he was just a boy 14 years earlier? That’s definitely a “God-thing”!20141205_133412

My adult partner found copies of a beautiful letter included in many boxes. One family, having lost a daughter, prepares boxes every year in honor of their child, and they shared their story with the recipients of those boxes.20141205_101334

Our girls enjoyed meeting a twenty-something worker there, too. She was our line leader for at least one of the three days, and they thought Stephanie was very cool. She was. And, it made me realize how important young Christian mentors are to our younger girls. I think that’s a topic for a future post, too!20141205_122543

There are many ways to give and serve during the holidays. Many are super generous during the Christmas season at the local, national, and international level. It’s one of the most precious things about that time of year.

There is much more to say about our mission trip, but I will leave you with links for OCC, the wonderful school my daughter attends, Mall of America, Escape MSP, and the story mentioned above.

http://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/

http://troyfirstfbca.com/

http://www.mallofamerica.com/

http://escapemsp.com/faqs/

http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/filipina-marries-boy-who-sent-shoebox/

Enjoy a Thoughtful Thursday,

Hally

Street Cred

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Language is fun. Colorful words, unique phrasing, timely sayings, regional accents, dialects – they add so much to our communication. I recalled some of the expressions, many coined by young people, which have been used by recent generations.

“Groovy” has been used to describe a thing or person that is really cool, but when something is a “hot mess” it most certainly is not cool or good. If a person tells another to “gag me with a spoon,” they are not impressed, but rather repulsed by something. And, if they are “blowing chunks” or “tossing their cookies” they have in fact actually gagged. If a person is “chillin’,” he is relaxed, the exact opposite of someone who has “gone postal.”

Things can be copacetic or heinous, just fine or awful. Girls can crush on (like) a guy, and boys can dump (break up with) a girl. They can be busted (caught), amped (excited), and cra cra (crazy). Complicated stuff! In fact, I am told by my teen sources that “cra cra” is now simply “cra.” Ocray. I mean otay. I mean okay! Crazy words and Buckwheat got combined in my boggled brain. This old mom has to work to keep up, or she will undoubtedly lose street cred.

It’s great to know the latest language when we communicate with our children, but perhaps the best way for us to gain meaningful credibility with them is by demonstrating honesty in our communications with them and others. It is by doing our jobs as parents even with that is hard. It is through showing them love always and discipline when needed.

Outside our homes, we have the opportunity gain or lose credibility as professionals and citizens of our community. If we fail to do our jobs well or lack integrity in our workplaces, we will lose credibility. If we support local clubs and schools, participate in service or volunteer projects, and engage in local government, we will be recognized as contributing members of our community.

And, we have the honor of gaining credibility for Christ. When we demonstrate our faith to those around us, we show them how having a relationship with Him provides hope, healing and internal (as well as eternal) happiness for believers. Though the walk of His children is not always righteous and sometimes is rough, Christians choose to persevere with His help.

And no matter what lingo you use, that’s radical!

Postscript:

As I complete this post, I am hoping it will bring you a smile. However, I am feeling sad this evening. A woman in my town died today, leaving three children behind. I have known her casually for a few years, but had a few meaningful conversations with her in recent months. She wanted to help others and had considered joining my writing group, but was busy with many endeavors. I am sorry for her children and family, but I am pleased to know that she had been saved in recent months. She was living for Christ. Please remember her children in your prayers.

Enjoy a Thoughtful Thursday,

Hally

Grandma’s Gift

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My grandmother had few possessions of any monetary value. When she passed away a few years ago in her early nineties, I was the executor of her estate. My father and uncle had given me the assignment years earlier when my dad was still living, and they deemed me, as the oldest grandchild and the one with a business degree, the person who should handle this project for my grandmother. I went with her to prepare her will, and I coordinated the disposal of her property after her death.

blog Grandma1Because she was a woman without much means, each family member basically “called dibs” on items in the home that we connected with in some sentimental way. It was done with civility and courtesy… and tears.

My outdoorsy cousin claimed some hunting items of my grandfather’s and an antique-looking phone decoration with dusty, fake flowers on it. My sister wanted the blue-and-white cookie jar. My son wanted an old scythe from the garage. And so it went.

I took for myself a wall hanging that hung on the wall for years, and, for me, was the essence of my grandmother.

(Grandma with my son when she spent a few days helping me in ’97.) 

 It read:

Four Things Every Woman Should Know

How to Look Like a Girl

How to Act Like a Lady

How to Think Like a Man

How to Work Like a Dog

For the most part, she did these things. I will admit that she was known to flash a certain finger privately if provoked by smart aleck kids, but she always looked nice out-and-about, and she had the thinking and working down.

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(Boy, wouldn’t she be excited right about now! This was taken one Christmas during the 70’s.)

 

I love the advice, but I am afraid many women today have failed in these areas.

A trip to the local Wal-Mart in most small towns demonstrates that many of us don’t take time to present ourselves properly to the world. Perhaps this is a lack of pride, time or means, but I think we have gotten lazy about looking as nice as we can in the world. I am guilty of this.

It takes all of five minutes of TV or internet to see that lady-like behavior is truly a thing of the past. The ways in which females behave is shocking and disturbing, unhealthy and damaging to individuals and the culture.

We are all so obsessed with our own thoughts that few take time to consider how others think. We learn about personality and interpersonal relationships in our culture and through our work, but do we care enough to practice those insights in the name of harmony? Most do not.

And, work ethic. Well, that’s a challenge for us parents as we raise girls and boys. Things come too easy for young people much of the time, and adults should remember to reward work, effort and determination for its own sake.

Four simple statements offer guidance to women on how to survive and thrive in the world. Maybe they were written in a different time, but are they irrelevant now? I think our daughters would be better citizens, wives, mothers and Christian sisters if they followed some of this sage wisdom.

(Grandma and Grandpa with my Dad’s horses and us four oldest grandkids in the early 80’s.)

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Thanks, Grandma, for the plaque and for living the message. It’s a gift as good as any I could have received!

Enjoy a Thoughtful Thursday!

Hally

Buffets and Blogs… And, a Guest Post!

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Blogs are like a buffet. There are lots and lots of choices. I don’t know how many – thousands, tens of thousands, millions. Whatever the number is, I know there are countless out there.

I am not a buffet kind of chick. I also do not enjoy shopping in large department stores, and I have never pursued the goal of building a home with my husband. Why? There are simply too many choices for me to deal with. Too many food options, too many dress racks, and too many possible cabinet/counter combinations. It’s overwhelming for me. I fear my head may explode!

However, I am also not a foolish person, and I understand that this problem of mine – this temptation to overdue, tendency to get overwhelmed, all-or-nothing mentality is an area in which I need to improve.

Having said that, I do subscribe to approximately a dozen blogs. I have checked out a considerable number of them, considered the benefits, and carefully selected a reasonable number to follow.

Like the food choices at your favorite buffet (again, I do not have a favorite), there are menu items with considerable substance and value. The protein and veggies at the buffet are good for our bodies, and the blogs that make us think and furrow our brow in a good way are good for our minds.

Buffets always offer comfort foods. The macaroni-and-cheese, the mashed potatoes, the chili and soups provide warmth and satisfaction. Likewise, some bloggers make us feel good and filled in a spiritual, emotional or cerebral way.

Typically, there are novelty or new items scattered about at a buffet. Like the excitement and adventure of a trying a new food, some blogs bring us new ideas and information we’ve not considered before. We may become introduced to an interesting hobby or a new perspective. That may merit a bit of your plate, and a bit of your time.

Finally, there are the sweet treats. Abundant at the buffet, who can resist enjoying some delicious fun at the end of your meal? Here’s a secret about my church and fellowship meals… Many of us enjoy the desserts so much, we shamelessly visit the dessert table while waiting to go through the line. Some blogs provide pure fun, humor and entertainment.

I’ve said all of that to introduce you to a buffet (I mean blog) that I visit regularly. My writer friend, Alecia Simersky, writes about the “something different” in her life as a Christian. Alecia shares thoughts about parenting, faith, life’s challenges, and more. And, yesterday she posted my tribute to teachers at her site. Take a peek at a favorite teacher memory of mine and her plate-worthy blog at:

http://www.aleciasimersky.com/2014/09/heres-to-mr-c-and-teachers-everywhere.html

Enjoy a Thoughtful Thursday!

Hally

Will Ferguson Be One of Those?

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Engagements, wedding days, births and deaths, simple holidays somehow turned extraordinary, “firsts” in our lives – these are the things from our personal lives that we each hold dear and remember most over the years. This combination of events is unique to each one of us, and it holds the stories of our lives.

And, there are those events that we all as a culture, a country, a body of citizens in this time period share in our collective memories. Those are the happenings and dates that resonate and are remembered by all of us who live in the same general time and place.

Of the later sort, here are some events I remember best (or worst) …

As a young teen in the back seat of my parents car (likely the silver 1970’s Chevy Impala), I remember them lamenting the untimely passing of Elvis. What a talent, what a waste. We’d been on a little road trip during the summer week of his death. Here’s a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Elvis_Presley#Final_year_and_death

It was a cold day in Kirksville, Missouri. My senior year of college, and I remember being burned-out, restless, and sad before I watched with the world as the Space Shuttle Challenger repeatedly exploded in the sky. A cold day indeed: http://abcnews.go.com/Archives/video/jan-28-1986-challenger-shuttle-explodes-9313918

Although I don’t remember the moment I learned of Princess Diana’s tragic death, I do clearly remember the time and year it happened. Only a couple of weeks after my son’s birth, Lady Di was killed in a car accident. I think many were touched by her. Though her life was so very different, there was something relatable and sympathetic about her: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diana,_Princess_of_Wales

One never knows what a day will bring. I was a second-year counselor at Francis Howell High School in St. Charles, MO at the time, and, we were busy in our offices when the news about Columbine came. What a devastating day! Though, it wasn’t really, it seemed like the first of multiple school shootings that have taken place since then: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbine_High_School_massacre

I watched Katie and Matt live the day the towers fell. I‘d left my job to be home with kids for a while. One was playing on the deck, one was waiting in Guatemala to come home, and I was sorting pictures in front of the TV, my broken foot in a boot. And, it was very likely the most terrifying day in U.S. history: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Katie+and+Matt+on+September+11&FORM=VIRE5#view=detail&mid=3B13BCAEB9F72D8D7AC13B13BCAEB9F72D8D7AC1

So, in our personal lives we have vivid memories of both the heartbreaking and heart-warming events we experience. We find wild laughter and uncontrolled tears in the scrapbook pages of our minds.

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In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord,

make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8 NIV).

 

 

 

 

Why, then, do the memories of our communities, country and citizenship seem to be so overwhelmingly sad? Why are those shared memories most often of the evil acts and painful days within our world?

I suppose the answer exists within the media. We can blame a lot of stuff on them, right? These horrific happenings are what we learn about first, what we see replayed repeatedly on our computer and television screens. I am making an observation as much as a judgment about this. But, one does have to ask, how would our culture be different if the positive and righteous events in our history were as clear and vivid in our memories?

A more loyal and proud citizenship? A more peaceful world? Less depression, more joy?

Will Ferguson be one of these events for our children?

(By the way, for those readers that are not local, Ferguson is less than an hour from my home. So, the rioting and violence taking place in that community right now is quite real for those of us in this part of the country.)

What days in history live large in your consciousness? Share your thoughts with us.

Have a Thoughtful Thursday!

Hally

Mantra or Messiah

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Visualization, positive self-talk, personal mantras – these are mental tools or exercises that people use to help them reach their goals or accomplish difficult tasks in their lives. These are ways to combat irrational fears and stinkin’ thinkin’.

Some hang photos of their thinner selves to help them get into shape. Others imagine themselves mastering physical feats, and attaining workplace status or educational credentials, and they may use pictures to focus on those goals.

I have been more inclined to cling to phrases for confidence. Over the years, I’ve repeated statements in my head and aloud to garner strength in certain situations. Though not particularly creative, I used to simply say “You can do this, Hally.” I repeated it as I finished my Master’s thesis, working full-time with a toddler at home. It came in handy when I dealt with the emotional strain of fertility treatments and the adoption process. I relied on it when my sister and I buried our dad.

Here’s the thing, though. In recent years, as my faith and wisdom have grown, I realize that those words alone didn’t sustain me. I wasn’t capable of surviving and/or thriving in any of those situations, whether my positive refrain made me feel so or not.

I am not particularly emotional or expressive when it comes to my faith. I tend to be more private. But by nature, I am honest about it. And, so, I no longer recite to myself “You can do this, Hally.” That feels dishonest, proud and delusional.

What is true is that I can do nothing without His help. I am helpless in so many (maybe all) areas of my life without my Heavenly Father to love and guide me. And, when I fail to consistently stay connected with Him, I am reminded of that once again.

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“I can do all things through Christ which     strengtheneth me.” (Phillipians 4:13)

Are there quotes or statements that you use to stay upbeat and focused? Are there verses that bring you comfort in difficulty? I’d love to hear what those are? Please share with us here.

Enjoy a Thoughtful Thursday!

Hally

Seasons

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School supplies are on the shelves. Orientation and open house dates have been posted. And, more summer 2014 days are now behind us rather than ahead of us. The season will soon change, at least from an everyday perspective if not on the calendar. Kids will be back at school and another summer vacation will have come and gone.

In the spirit of FB’s throw-back Thursday, I am taking a quick look today at a season in parenting that is behind me.

I now have a 16-year-old. In one month from today, he will turn 17. He is no longer my baby boy, and I miss that sometimes. Little guys and girls do cute stuff. They entertain with their innocence, and it is pure joy to watch them learn.

When Ivan (his name, by the way, means “Gift of God” in Russian or Czechoslovakian) was a tyke, he did the following:

Blog - Ivan July'14My in-laws are real-deal Germans. They came here in the 1950’s. So, when Ivan was small, I took him to German classes at the German Cultural Center in St. Louis. Kids learned German words and sang German songs with Frau Suzie. Around the holidays they had a concert, and my brown-eyed boy stood front and center amidst a chorus of blue-eyed blonds. He evidently became excited with the microphone. He seized it with one hand and randomly told the audience… “My grandpa drove his tractor to California.” After a moment, the room erupted with laughter, and I stood stunned, my brown eyes the size of saucers.

We met our daughter in January of 2002 in Guatemala. She was 4½ months old. Her expression was serious as she studied us. The first words her older brother spoke to her directly came when he bent down to look at her in her umbrella stroller and said… “Yessa, yessa do like chicken nuggets.” (Perhaps we ate too much fast food at the time.) She didn’t crack a smile.

A few short months after we moved into our home in 2002, he took his 5-year-old entrepreneurial self to the neighbors to inquire if they would like to buy some freshly-mown grass. His wagon was full and his hopes high. They politely declined, pointing out that they had quite a lot of their own on their 3-acre lot. While we hadn’t yet gotten to know our new neighbors well, the man worked with my father. So, the story was good entertainment at their workplace.

Kids are fun when they’re little! They do cute stuff! We parents have mental lists of stories that make us smile.

Fast forward to last week when my son earned a bit of money doing yard work. He still likes working outside. He came home from the store and announced that he had gotten something for each of us. He got batteries and BBlog - Ivan - FFA- July'14and-Aids for himself (don’t ask), a season of “Duck Dynasty” for his dad, a snack for his sister, and, drum roll please, a big bottle of Tide for me.

I know. Super cute, right! Not so much.

So, for all of you younger parents, enjoy the season you are in. Enjoy whatever season of parenting you are in. They are all good in their own ways. Though teenage years aren’t always cute, they are rewarding. Our kids begin to make us proud with accomplishments and wise decisions. They show their character and demonstrate their unique personalities. And, that’s pretty precious, too.

Share with us a special memory about your child.

Enjoy a Thoughtful Thursday!

Hally

 

 

 

The Joy in the Story

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Who remembers the features in which CBS news correspondent Steve Hartman interviewed ordinary people in towns and cities across the country? He threw a dart at a map, selected a random telephone number from the local directory, and interviewed a member of that household.

There were 123 installments of “Everybody Has a Story” completed during its seven-year run, and they ended approximately ten years ago. Presumably, Mr. Hartman’s goal was to show just how very interesting even ordinary folks are. He also wanted to show the “real America” by talking to people from all parts of the country.

I wonder if we take the time to hear and comprehend the stories of everyday people in our local communities and the larger world. I think not. We are all so fascinated with celebrity; we know way more than we should about the stars of screen, radio, stage, and reality TV. And, we communicate at a feverish pace with countless “friends” daily, but do we really know their stories?

I shared with you last week that my mother is a fine example of a person who exercises moderation. Today, I am sharing that my father was really good at learning (and, remembering) the stories of others.Scan_Pic0011

Dad was not a natural extrovert. My father worked hard at being outgoing and engaging. He had great interpersonal skills. He made others feel he was interested, and he was. He asked questions of others, whether it be about their work or their family or their history.

One time we visited a nightclub in Soulard, which is a neighborhood in St. Louis. This was some years back, and a guitarist named Billy Peek was performing at The Great Grizzly Bear. Billy, who still performs locally, has an illustrious musical background, having played lead guitar for Rod Stewart for over five years. When he took a break, my dad approached him in that way he had and learned a whole lot about the industry from Mr. Peek.

In preparation for last week’s posts, I spoke to local business people. I learned one business (All About Home) is owned by Chicago-to-Troy, Missouri transplants, Lori Akins and Greg Schmidt. Their business is housed in a historic building of Troy, which the Odd Fellows built in the late 1800’s. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) is a global altruistic and benevolent fraternal organization; they historically cared for orphans and the needy. The space is now used for weddings, meetings, photo shoots, and more. So interesting!

I may have to consider writing my own collection of “stories,” because it is fun to learn about and from others. Would this be something you’d enjoy reading? Share your thoughts with me!

Links to explore:

Enjoy a Thoughtful Thursday!

Hally

Happy

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What makes you happy?

Pharrell Williams has gotten us all singing and dancing about happiness. “Happy,” from the soundtrack of Despicable Me 2 was nominated for Best Original Song at the 86th Academy Awards earlier this year.

One of our local school principals made a cool video to the tune of “Happy” to encourage community support for a tax initiative to relieve crowding at the district’s middle school (currently, the largest one in the state of Missouri). Check it out at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72ARZTqxVOY

Phil Robertson writes about happiness in his book, Happy, Happy, Happy: My Life and Legacy as the Duck Commander. While I’ve not read Mr. Robertson’s book, I am a fan, and, with a title like that, I’d bet it’s worth a look.

We talk about “happy pills” and “happy places.” Happiness is important to us humans. It varies somewhat for everyone, but happiness usually involves fun, friends and family, peaceful days, and stress-free sleep. Happiness is associated with satisfied tummies and sufficiently full bank accounts. It may include pleasing music and breathtaking landscapes. A good book, a hot bath, a day at the beach, a piece of fine chocolate, a job well-done, a day of yard work – those are just some of the ways we define happinesblog - haPPY2s.

And, as I write I remember a little purple-and-blue-trimmed book from my childhood. I still have the 1971 Peanuts paperback, Happiness is a Sad Song by Charles M. Schulz. In recent years, they have published “warm blanket” and “warm puppy” versions as well.

While there are lots of ways we can feel momentary happiness or glee, there may not be as many ways to feel the contentment and peace that comes even in times that aren’t necessarily “happy.” We aren’t able to feel jubilant and joyful at all times, because life is just hard a lot of the time. However, we may be able to rest in trials and difficulties.

A popular benediction reminds us that lasting peace, peace beyond what we can comprehend comes through Him.

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phillipians 4:7 KJV)

I love “Happy,” but here’s another one I like…

“It is Well with My Soul” is a hymn written by hymnist Horatio Spafford and composed by Philip Bliss. Here are two lovely versions of this great song. One is more traditional, and the other leans contemporary. Choose whichever one makes you… happy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPPSG_SpojY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6yDFn3OAFo001

Today’s give-a-way is sure to make you happy! My Christian sister, (to clarity for my contemporaries, this is not to be confused with Night Ranger’s song, “Sister Christian”) Joann Brown, makes some awesome natural soaps, scrubs, fragrances, and more. Plus I love her company name: Absolved SoapsandMore. Her goodies smell great and come in super cute packaging. Check out all of Joann’s products:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/AbsolvedSoapsandMore?ref=search_shop_redirect

Enjoy a Thoughtful Thursday!

Hally