Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree –Day 23 Blog Challenge

oh christmas tree

As promised from my Day 22 Blog – Christmas trees from around the world!

While decorating my tree; I became mesmerized with all the ornaments and decorations and developed a keen interest in how far back the idea of these types of décor for this special occasions derived. As I dug deeper and deeper, I was so elated and filled with my own joy to read about the many cultures that brought so much to America for this glorious celebration.

So, I’m going to bring you on my personal journey through the wonderment of the Christmas Tree and it’s decorations from around the world through the centuries.

Christmas Trees Around The World

German settlers migrated to Canada from the United States in the 1700s. They brought with them many of the things associated with Christmas we cherish today—Advent calendars, gingerbread houses, cookies—and Christmas trees. As we learned on Day 22 – When Queen Victoria’s German husband, Prince Albert, put up a Christmas tree at Windsor Castle in 1848, the Christmas tree became a tradition throughout England, the United States, and Canada.
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gingerbread house
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In most Mexican homes the principal holiday adornment is el Nacimiento (Nativity scene). However, a decorated Christmas tree may be incorporated in the Nacimiento or set up elsewhere in the home. As purchase of a natural pine represents a luxury commodity to most Mexican families, the typical arbolito (little tree) is often an artificial one, a bare branch cut from a copal tree (Bursera microphylla) or some type of shrub collected from the countryside.
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The Norway spruce is the traditional species used to decorate homes in Britain. The Norway spruce was a native species in the British Isles before the last Ice Age, and was reintroduced here before the 1500s.
Norway Spruce Picea abies 2
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Christmas trees are imported, as no trees live this far north. Can you just imagine how expensive it would be to have a tree that was imported? They are decorated with candles and bright ornaments.
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The Christmas tree has joined the “Nacimiento” (Nativity scene) as a popular ornament because of the large German population in Guatemala. Gifts are left under the tree on Christmas morning for the children. Parents and adults do not exchange gifts until New Year’s Day.
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Although Christmas falls during the summer in Brazil, sometimes pine trees are decorated with little pieces of cotton that represent falling snow.
brazil cotton
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Christmas trees are bought anytime in December and decorated with colored lights, tinsel, and baubles. Some people favor the angel on top of the tree, others the star. The house is decorated with garlands, candles, holly, and ivy. Wreaths and mistletoe are hung on the door.
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Most people buy Christmas trees well before Christmas Eve, but it’s not common to take the tree inside and decorate it until just a few days before. Evergreen trees are decorated with stars, sunbursts, and snowflakes made from straw. Other decorations include colorful wooden animals and straw centerpieces.
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Nowadays Norwegians often take a trip to the woods to select a Christmas tree, a trip that their grandfathers probably did not make. The Christmas tree was not introduced into Norway from Germany until the latter half of the 19th century; to the country districts it came even later. When Christmas Eve arrives, there is the decorating of the tree, usually done by the parents behind the closed doors of the living room, while the children wait with excitement outside. A Norwegian ritual known as “circling the Christmas tree” follows, where everyone joins hands to form a ring around the tree and then walk around it singing carols. Afterwards, gifts are distributed.
norway circling tree
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Celebrated on December 25th by Catholics and on January 7th by Orthodox Christians, Christmas is the most popular holiday in the Ukraine. During the Christmas season, which also includes New Year’s Day, people decorate fir trees and have parties.
party decorating
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A popular Christmas custom is Catalonia, a lucky strike game. A tree trunk is filled with goodies and children hit at the trunk trying to knock out the hazel nuts, almonds, toffee, and other treats.
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Italy – My heritage country right here!
In Italy, the presepio (manger or crib) represents in miniature the Holy Family in the stable and is the center of Christmas for families. Guests kneel before it and musicians sing before it. The presepio figures are usually hand-carved and very detailed in features and dress. The scene is often set out in the shape of a triangle. It provides the base of a pyramid-like structure called the ceppo. This is a wooden frame arranged to make a pyramid several feet high. Several tiers of thin shelves are supported by this frame. It is entirely decorated with colored paper, gilt pine cones, and miniature colored pennants. Small candles are fastened to the tapering sides. A star or small doll is hung at the apex of the triangular sides. The shelves above the manger scene have small gifts of fruit, candy, and presents. The ceppo is in the old Tree of Light tradition which became the Christmas tree in other countries. Some houses even have a ceppo for each child in the family.
italy ceppo
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South Africa
Christmas is a summer holiday in South Africa. Although Christmas trees are not common, windows are often draped with sparkling cotton wool and tinsel
so africa
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Saudi Arabia
Christian Americans, Europeans, Indians, Filipinos, and others living here have to celebrate Christmas privately in their homes. Christmas lights are generally not tolerated. Most families place their Christmas trees somewhere inconspicuous. Thank God it hasn’t gotten to that point here in the United States.
saudi arabia
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Fresh pine trees are too expensive for many Filipinos, so handmade trees in an array of colors and sizes are often used. Star lanterns, or parol, appear everywhere in December. They are made from bamboo sticks, covered with brightly colored rice paper or cellophane, and usually feature a tassel on each point. There is usually one in every window, each representing the Star of Bethlehem.
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Of the small percentage of Chinese who do celebrate Christmas, most erect artificial trees decorated with spangles and paper chains, flowers, and lanterns. Christmas trees are called “trees of light.”
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For most of the Japanese who celebrate Christmas, it’s purely a secular holiday devoted to the love of their children. Christmas trees are decorated with small toys, dolls, paper ornaments, gold paper fans and lanterns, and wind chimes. Miniature candles are also put among the tree branches. One of the most popular ornaments is the origami swan. Japanese children have exchanged thousands of folded paper “birds of peace” with young people all over the world as a pledge that war must not happen again.

Origami Ornaments on the Christmas Tree at the American Museum of Natural History
Origami Ornaments on the Christmas Tree at the American Museum of Natural History

more japan
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Stay Tuned for Part 3 on Day 24 of this Blog Challenge –
Christmas Tree Trivia

I’m having a blast! This is so much fun to know – especially at this time of year!


The Christmas Tree Story — Day 22 Blog Challenge

the Christmas tree

As I was decorating my Christmas tree and many other decorations throughout my house; I stood back for a moment and wondered what all of this is really about. How far back does the idea of decorating a tree for the actual event of Christ’s birth go?

In my research I found that long before the advent of Christianity, plants and trees that remained green all year had a special meaning for people in the winter. Just as people today decorate their homes during the festive season with pine, spruce, and fir trees, ancient peoples hung evergreen boughs over their doors and windows. In many countries it was believed that evergreens would keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits, and illness. And right then and there, after finding this out – I was hooked! I wanted to know more!

In the Northern hemisphere, the shortest day and longest night of the year falls on December 21 or December 22 and is called the winter solstice. Many ancient people believed that the sun was a god and that winter came every year because the sun god had become sick and weak. They celebrated the solstice because it meant that at last the sun god would begin to get well. Evergreen boughs reminded them of all the green plants that would grow again when the sun god was strong and summer would return.

So I went a little further — The ancient Egyptians worshiped a god called Ra, who had the head of a hawk and wore the sun as a blazing disk in his crown. At the solstice, when Ra began to recover from the illness, the Egyptians filled their homes with green palm rushes which symbolized for them the triumph of life over death.

I was so excited by this time….this was so interesting and wondered why I had never learned any of this before now!

Early Romans marked the solstice with a feast called the Saturnalia in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture. The Romans knew that the solstice meant that soon farms and orchards would be green and fruitful. To mark the occasion, they decorated their homes and temples with evergreen boughs.

In Northern Europe the mysterious Druids, the priests of the ancient Celts, also decorated their temples with evergreen boughs as a symbol of everlasting life.
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The fierce Vikings in Scandinavia thought that evergreens were the special plant of the sun god, Balder.

I knew that all of this was leading to the ‘Christmas Tree’ and where it all got started.

Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know it in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles if wood was scarce.

It is a widely held belief that Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles. Just imagining this taking place had to be a sight for sore eyes. His family must have been delighted to say the least.

Most 19th-century Americans found Christmas trees an oddity. The first record of one being on display was in the 1830s by the German settlers of Pennsylvania, although trees had been a tradition in many German homes much earlier. The Pennsylvania German settlements had community trees as early as 1747. But, as late as the 1840s Christmas trees were seen as pagan symbols and not accepted by most Americans.

It is not surprising that, like many other festive Christmas customs, the tree was adopted so late in America. To the New England Puritans, Christmas was sacred. The Pilgrims’ second governor, William Bradford, wrote that he tried hard to stamp out “pagan mockery” of the observance, penalizing any frivolity.

The influential Oliver Cromwell preached against “the heathen traditions” of Christmas carols, decorated trees, and any joyful expression that desecrated “that sacred event.” In 1659, the General Court of Massachusetts enacted a law making any observance of December 25 (other than a church service) a penal offense; people were fined for hanging decorations. That stern solemnity continued until the 19th century, when the influx of German and Irish immigrants undermined the Puritan legacy. (click photo to enlarge)

In 1846, the popular royals, Queen Victoria and her German Prince, Albert, were sketched in the Illustrated London News standing with their children around a Christmas tree. Unlike the previous royal family, Victoria was very popular with her subjects, and what was done at court immediately became fashionable—not only in Britain, but with fashion-conscious East Coast American Society. The Christmas tree had arrived.
Queen tree

By the 1890s Christmas ornaments were arriving from Germany and Christmas tree popularity was on the rise around the U.S. It was noted that Europeans used small trees about four feet in height, while Americans liked their Christmas trees to reach from floor to ceiling.
August-Marie Christmas1890

The early 20th century saw Americans decorating their trees mainly with homemade ornaments, while the German-American sect continued to use apples, nuts, and marzipan cookies. Popcorn joined in after being dyed bright colors and interlaced with berries and nuts.
apples and nutspopcorn

Electricity brought about Christmas lights, making it possible for Christmas trees to glow for days on end. With this, Christmas trees began to appear in town squares across the country and having a Christmas tree in the home became an American tradition.

My excitement filled the room with glee as I learned more and more about a tradition that has lasted for centuries and how this year next to 100 million Christmas Trees will go on display worldwide! From apples to an awesome display of ornaments and lights – Germany’s once pagan tree has become the centerpiece for millions of Christian families around the world. Thanks in part to a popular British Queen and the public’s desire to copy her.

Stay tuned to Day 23’s Blog about Christmas Trees around the World from Canada to Japan and Christmas Tree Trivia!


Have a BLAST for the Holidays! —Day 21 Blog Challenge

Holiday Detox Blast
holilday detox blast

Now that one holiday is over and all of the house guests are gone, it’s time to start getting back on track. This means getting back to the normal routine – fruits, vegetables, and lots of exercise. In other words, it’s time to begin my Thanksgiving holiday detox! I better do this before Christmas is here and this vicious cycle starts all over again. After all, going on a binge from Thanksgiving to Christmas through New Years could be deadly and hard for your body to recover from in a healthy manner!

Although, I could just refrain from eating all the bad stuff and just be a nerd and not have any fun at all…..uh….I don’t think I’ll go that far….but I more than likely will be somewhere in between on Santa’s naughty or nice list.

While I was writing this blog today, I came across this fun website that struck my fancy especially at this time of year. For those of you who have kids or just love being a kid yourself; check this out! I had so much fun with it! (click link below photo)

santa's nice-o-meter
Santa’s Naughty or Nice List

Back to the Holiday Detox

Undoubtedly, around holiday times, I would always have these nagging questions embedded deep into my subconscious: what do I do with all the cakes and cookies? What about all the leftover candy, desserts, champagne?

Several years ago, I discovered the best way to control my urges to eat everything at once and return to my normal diet. I concocted this awesome Detox Blast. It was refreshing and helped cleanse my body of the sugars I’d been enjoying for weeks. I love this one first thing in the morning after my workouts!

I made this Blast every morning for three days and I’m happy to say that my digestive track was no longer singing the blues. And I didn’t crave the sugars of the holidays, either.

Thanks to the incredible, wonderful Blendtec blender and my Detox Blast for helping get me back to my normal routine!

By the way, my Blendtec blender has been the best kitchen appliance that I’ve purchased in years! I’ve turned on so many people to this magnificent blender that completely swear by it. I should get a job promoting it; the rate I’m going. But, all kidding aside; the expense of this machine will almost always save you with doctor bills and co-pays; that’s for sure! (click link below photo)

Blendtec Blender

A lot of people like to use a juicer rather than a blender. Once in a while it’s good because the liquid is easier to assimilate through the body. But; a nutritionalist once told me that blending is better for you because you get all the pulp that has the most nutritional value in your drink and don’t just throw it away. More bang for your buck!
I get myself all energized just writing about this and sharing it with the world!

Here’s the Holiday Detox Blast Recipe:

• ½ Cucumber
• ½ Cup Pineapple
• 1 Apple
• 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
• 1 Handful Spinach
• ½ Avocado
• 1 Handful Almonds
• 1 ½ Cups Water
I generally use Granny Smith Green Apples here because it contains less sugar and is easier to maintain your insulin levels in this recipe; since the pineapple is also high in sugar as well.

Throw all of the ingredients in the blender and viola.

foods in recipie
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holiday blast nutrition facts
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Getting used to a monthly detox routine could not only indirectly put money in your pocket by omitting some of those doctor visits but you just might be around longer to enjoy it!


Walking – It Does A Body Good! —Day 20 Blog Challenge


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dad's facebook posts

Those were the words of my father on his Facebook page when he was 89 years old! He lived to be 91 but he should’ve lived even longer than that considering the excellent health he was in. If any of you have followed my posts for the past 20 days, you’ll recall a post about ‘Harboring Resentment” about my father and his death. That’s an entirely different story.

So let’s get back to “Walking”.

Myself; my father; and his father before him “my grandfather” all made a definitive practice of walking miles and miles daily for many years. Even my grandfather lived to be 91 years old! So this walking that we do must have some merit – along with diet – eating healthy – who could ask for more?

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Regular walking, like most aerobic activities, is good for you because cardio-vascular exercise strengthens the heart and lungs, increasing overall fitness.

Together with a proper diet and other exercise plans, it can also help with weight loss and tone up muscles. And it also helps boost circulation.

Power-walking – keeping a brisk pace at moderate to high intensity – can burn the same amount of calories as jogging or running. So it is useful for helping with weight loss.

Because it is low impact, it does not have the same potential for injury as jogging. Yet it can offer all the benefits.

Walking helps to drain the lower legs of excess fluid and can help prevent varicose veins through the pumping action of the calf muscles

The increased supply of oxygen exercise promotes also gets rid of the waste products in the tissues. And because more people are able to walk at a consistent speed than run, it is a more beneficial form of tissue-cleansing, particularly for the over-50s, for whom jogging can actually cause more problems.

Walking is also better for the spine than running, as it puts less stress on the discs. Yet we were designed for constant movement, not sitting in cars or in front of computers, which causes negative pressures on our spinal cord.

Regular walking is excellent for spinal discs, which receive minerals and vitamins through the pumping action it causes.

And the best thing is that you can see results from walking reasonably quickly – although it depends on each person’s individual level of fitness, age and how often and fast they are walking.

There are also psychological benefits to walking. And this is my favorite of all the benefits of walking that I use the most – When you walk, just like any other form of exercise, your body has a chemical release of serotonin, the natural feelgood chemical.

And the absolute best of all is that there is also the release of endorphins, which are happy hormones, which is why people feel on a natural high at the end of an exercise session. Remembering how you feel should be an incentive for you to keep it up.

I’ll take it!

What I have found is that linking up with a ‘walking buddy’ is another healthy part of a walking exercise.

If you have a commitment to meet a friend for that walk, you are less likely to cancel. Whereas if you are planning to walk on your own, it is often easier to make excuses and put it off.


Let’s face it – think about this for a moment – we drive around a crowded mall parking lot for 15 minutes to find a close parking space just so that we can go to the Mall and walk around for 2 hours! Completely twisted in a sense. Why not park further away and let that be your start to your walking regime at the mall?

Climb the stairs whenever you can and don’t take the elevator. When I was a basketball coach; I used the stairs as a conditioning tool for my players. It’s probably even better to get that type of exercise than just regular walking routines. And very invigorating as well.

Here’s a good summary of the benefits of walking to kick start the day!
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Walk your way to a more healthy lifestyle.


How Do You Take Your Coffee? –Day 19 Blog Challenge

coffe pic

Decisions, decisions!

Do you ever find yourself trying so desperately to decide what coffee you’re going to order at a coffeehouse or just in your kitchen with all the varieties you have staring at you in the face from your Keurig assorted coffees?


I usually take my coffee black – so I can taste the fabulous flavors of the various types of mountain grown coffees from all over the world. Tasting the savory “Choc full of nuts” flavors and breathing in the aromatic scents that permeate throughout a room is the essence of a what I long for every morning upon awakening. But on occasion I’ll spring for a Starbucks Macchiato and treat myself on a glorious morning!

How do you take your coffee?

There seems to be something to that statement that I found to be quite interesting; especially if you’re a die hard coffee drinker and have to have it a certain way and ‘just so’.

Let’s figure out why you want your coffee that certain way and what it tells us about you…

coffee choice

This is what I found in my research….a guide to what your favorite coffee drink reveals about you. Or what the coffee you order says about you on that particular day, if you’re prone to change your choice.

Regular coffee, black: you’re a very direct, no-nonsense kinda person. You prefer to experience life in its truest form. You care less about fads and more about integrity.

Regular coffee, light (that’s sugar and cream, for those of you outside New York City): you’re a dreamer whose feet don’t touch the (coffee) ground(s). You believe people are generally good. You seek beauty and a bright (sweet?) side to every situation.

Espresso, short (ristretto): you’re very headstrong; a clear thinker who knows what you want and goes for it. Some people say you rush into things, but you’ve got a plan and won’t be swayed.

Espresso, long (lungo): same as above but you take a little longer to get what you want.

Grande decaf coffee: the head says, “Go out and get ’em!” The body doesn’t respond. You often feel torn between doing what you want and what others want of you. If you take your decaf with sugar and cream, the head doesn’t even say, “Go get ’em!” The head says, “Relax, be cool, things will go your way…” The body says, “Okay.”

Latte: you sometimes feel like Peter Pan — you long to return to your simpler childhood days, when a fun time meant picking out your Trapper Keeper for the next school year.

Cappuccino: if you consume this drink in the morning, you’re an authentic person who likes to relax and enjoy all the ups and downs life tosses your way. If you down this after dinner, you strive for truth, which sometimes eludes you and gets distorted along the way. For a life change, switch to espresso or regular coffee after your evening meal.

Chai latte: you often feel reticent to decide. Stay or go? Do or die? Coffee or tea? It’s all too much for you! You find yourself carefully tiptoeing across life’s tightrope, trying not to be swayed one way or another, but taking the middle road to keep yourself and those around you happy. You try to stay neutral, especially when it comes to dinner table discussions between Grandpa Bob and Uncle Joe.

Hot chocolate: there’s something missing in your life that leads you to seek warm, delectable chocolate sweetness in a cup. The Aztecs, after all, considered chocolate an aphrodisiac and an aid to spiritual development. If you order your hot choc with whipped cream, you’re really in trouble!

Any drink made with skim milk (or “no foam”): you feel better about yourself if you deny yourself even the simple pleasure of creamy milk or a foam-coated upper lip. But there’s still hope for you…unless you opt for artificial sweetener, too.

If you really think about all these examples; and put them into perspective, you’ll see how true to life they really are.

Or take a look at this chart and see if it compares:


Hopefully this fun info will enable café goers to alter their lives simply by their beverage choices. It’s also my desire that these theories will help people begin to understand each other, at least while in line at the café. When the pushy bow-tied broker before you orders a skinny no-foam latte, you’ll now know what lurks in his deep unconscious. You’ll know his psyche’s secrets. And be privy to his private shortcomings.

Think about it – How do you take your coffee?


Footloose & Fancy Free — Day 18 Blog Challenge

I love this song!! Just watching this video or even hearing this song – makes me want to jump on my desk and dance all over the place and just get crazy! What a sight that would be!!

Here’s how I really feel ~

Foot Loose & Fancy Free

Foot loose – catch the drift
Fancy free – do as you please

Lackadaisical with no cares
Not attached – in any way

Find a niche – make it tight
Where you go – no one knows

Live it up – it’s okay
Travel everywhere – it’s not far

Dance it up – kick those feet
Enjoy the music – swing those hips

Once arrived you’ll still be
Foot Loose & Fancy Free


There you have it —
Short and sweet and to the point ~ in one of my favorite genres


Best Friends Forever – (BFF) — Day 17 Blog Challenge


Best friends are over rated anymore now-a-days! The idea of BFF(best friends forever) is just a Facebook; Twitter or text moment in a young person’s eyes and only can be exemplified and really proven by the long term relationship that can be endured through many many years.

Does this generation understand that when they continually proclaim BFF within conversations with each other; that they are putting themselves in a heavy duty position of accountability? Do they really think they are talking about the now or the real forever? It’s a casual acronym that is used so freely with today’s youth that it creates what is perceived as a long term friendship; similar to “until death do us part” to all it’s users..

Let’s think for a minute of the long term effects of such a statement….Forever is a very strong word to describe a relationship. And how many folks actually fulfill the expectations of that statement? There’s more to it than what meets the eye……..


Definition of “FOREVER”

1. without ever ending; eternally:
to last forever.

2. continually; incessantly; always:
He’s forever complaining.

3. an endless or seemingly endless period of time:
It took them forever to make up their minds.

4. forever and a day, eternally; always:
They pledged to love each other forever and a day.

So, with the long term effect of the ‘forever’ part of the friendship, there’s an awful lot of expectations that go along with the BFF job requirements and could be very strained at times.

But for the most part; what I’ve personally learned is that friends will come and go in your life, but more important than how long a friendship lasts, is that a good friend will love you for who you are. The way you can tell the sign of a good friend is by looking at the actions they take –big and small – that show they care.


For example:

  • Someone who will support you no matter what
  • Someone you can trust and who won’t judge you
  • Someone who won’t put you down or deliberately hurt your feelings
  • Someone who is kind and has respect for you
  • Someone who will love you because they choose to, not because they feel like they should
  • Someone whose company you enjoy
  • Showing loyalty
  • Being trustworthy and willing to tell you the truth, even when it’s hard
  • Someone who can laugh when you do
  • Someone who is willing to stick around when things get tough
  • Someone who makes you smile
  • Someone who is there to listen
  • Someone who will cry when you cry.


    It’s truly a commitment and also an honor to be labeled a person’s ‘best friend’ and if you truly are a ‘best friend’ wouldn’t you want it to be ‘forever’?


    My best friend is a gal I’ve been friends with for over 30 years and still going strong. We’ve been through births, deaths, marriages and more. We’ve been estranged in times of turmoil but always seem to magnetically find each other again. Through thick and thin – that’s a ‘best friend forever’ (BFF) – with love!

    deb and val


  • Venting: A much Needed Change —Day 16 Blog Challenge


    This is a day for me to vent. And what better place to do this but on my blog?

    I find myself having such a negative week – that I really don’t believe in. But I continue to harbor it, feed and allow it into my life in one fashion or another.


    Today was a breaking point of sorts for me. One that I will learn from and make some changes.

    I’m a giver; caretaker; and a controller. Whoever I come in contact with ends up knowing that and using that to their fullest potential. Benefiting them and frustrating and hurting me to the point of no return.

    Usually when I get to this point; there’s never a happy ending unless the parties agree between them and resolutions are sought after and accomplished.

    The best way to do this is to communicate.


    I’m a firm believer in communication and most of the people that cross my path are not. I wonder why that is and search after the answers diligently until I’ve got something to build on.

    After all; how is anyone going to know how you feel unless you express it to them. Keeping your emotions and feelings about things pent up is not good or healthy for that matter.

    Communication – dare I say it?

    Good communication is a fundamental part of a any healthy relationship. When people stop communicating well, they stop relating well, and times of change or stress can really bring out disconnect. As long as you are communicating, you can work through whatever problem you’re facing.

    Communication is about more than just exchanging information. It’s about understanding the emotion and intentions behind the information. I personally think that effective communication is also a two-way street. It’s not only how you convey a message so that it is received and understood by someone in exactly the way you intended, it’s also how you listen to gain the full meaning of what’s being said and to make the other person feel heard and understood.

    So then after communication would come the absolute resolutions.


    It depends what kind of resolutions you set. For many people, I would think resolutions are an expression of hope, not an action plan for the future. I found that with me…when I make a change; a decision; and a resolve to change, then I immediately feel more confident, in control and hopeful.

    I even feel stronger and taller, which is kind of ridiculous, since I only stand about 5’2” but this just shows how uplifting resolving to change can be for me.

    Sometimes people make resolutions as a way to connect to a growth mindset – the belief that through effort and support, that they can change and grow in meaningful ways – that’s all fine. And it’s not necessarily a tragedy if they fall short. I won’t put myself in that position.

    The worst thing I can do is to make a promise to myself that I don’t really care about and that I don’t really plan to see through.

    Here’s what I learned from my experiences to get me to the place I’m in today:


    Before anything can change in my life, I have to shed light on it.. There has to be a moment when I take a hard look at the truth and contend with the fact it is no longer acceptable. I must be uncomfortable to make a change.- which is where I am now. Totally uncomfortable and changing!

    I’m not expecting miracles from myself, but I am expecting a definite recognizable change that will affect the negativity and change it into positive.

    And that’s the way it is –

    Goodnight Chet – Goodnight David!
    Huntley-Brinkley Report


    Anxiety Ridden – Fight or Flight —-Day 15 Blog Challenge

    Seriously; after watching that short video, how many times have you ever found yourself in traffic and you’re running late and you can’t seem to get anyone on the road to MOVE out of your way? Or you seem to hit every red light on your journey and think what a waste of time it was to just sit there? How about that time that your debit card got declined in the grocery line?

    I’m sure most of you have experienced some type of anxiety that just makes your blood boil. I actually know people that cannot control their fight or flight response to such a point that they could be prime candidates for high blood pressure, heart problems and more!

    Let’s explain why this happens and what your anxious reaction to these occurrences in your life actually does to your body.

    Our response to these types of situations is called the fight-or-flight response, also known as the acute stress response, and refers to a physiological reaction that occurs in the presence of something that is terrifying, either mentally or physically. The response is triggered by the release of hormones that prepare your body to either stay and deal with a threat or to run away to safety.

    The fight-or-flight response was first described in the 1920s by American physiologist Walter Cannon.

    Cannon realized that a chain of rapidly occurring reactions inside the body help mobilize the body’s resources to deal with threatening circumstances.

    How does it work?

    **A threat is perceived
    **The autonomic nervous system automatically puts body on alert.
    **The adrenal cortex automatically releases stress hormones.
    **The heart automatically beats harder and more rapidly.
    **Breathing automatically becomes more rapid.
    **Thyroid gland automatically stimulates the metabolism.
    **Larger muscles automatically receive more oxygenated blood.

    The important thing to take away is that the fight or flight response is an automatic response.

    Now here’s where this great automatic response needs to be controlled by us!

    False alarms!

    Even though the fight or flight response is automatic, it isn’t always accurate. In fact most of the time when the fight or flight response is triggered it is a false alarm – there is no threat to survival. The part of the brain the initiates the automatic part of the fight or flight response, the amygdala, can’t distinguish between a real threat and a perceived threat. You’re not going to die if you sit at that red light for 3 minutes! Or yelling at everyone in traffic surely won’t get it to move any faster.

    worse traffic


    Chill, no, freeze!

    Sometimes the perceived threat is so intense it triggers a “freeze” response. This could be interpreted as the brain being overwhelmed by the threat, or it could also be an adaptive / positive response to a threat. It probably evolved in humans and animals as a way of “keeping still” so a predator’s attention would not be triggered by movement.

    Either way, for modern humans the freeze response means that the muscles remain tensed and poised for action….action that is never really initiated. That’s why we often get “knots” in our backs, shoulders, neck, and arms. We have not discharged the tension.

    In most cases today, once our fight or flight response is activated, we cannot flee. We cannot fight. We cannot physically run from our perceived threats. When we are faced with modern day, saber tooth tigers, we have to sit in our office and “control ourselves.” We have to sit in traffic and “deal with it.” We have to wait until the bank opens to “handle” the bounced check. In short, many of the major stresses today trigger the full activation of our fight or flight response, causing us to become aggressive, hypervigilant and over-reactive. This aggressiveness, over-reactivity and hypervigilance cause us to act or respond in ways that are actually counter-productive to our survival. Consider road rage in Los Angeles and other major cities.

    It is counterproductive to punch out the boss (the fight response) when s/he activates our fight or flight response. (Even though it might bring temporary relief to our tension!) It is counterproductive to run away from the boss (the flight response) when s/he activates our fight or flight response. This all leads to a difficult situation in which our automatic, predictable and unconscious fight or flight response causes behavior that can actually be self-defeating and work against our emotional, psychological and spiritual survival.


    Suppose on Saturday afternoon you go to the grocery store. You have a cart full of food and when you go to pay with your ATM card, it is declined. You don’t understand, you made a deposit just yesterday and there should be money in your account. Your heart starts beating wildly, you are stunned. Your fight or flight has been activated. You decide to run (by walking out of the store embarrassed), but you haven’t solved the problem. You can fight but with who? The cashier only knows your card has been declined, she has no way of checking the balance or activity on the account. The bank is closed until Monday. Instead you are left with a feeling of apprehension for two days. Your fight or flight response remains, you stay on high alert for two days. When your fight or flight response has been activated, everything in your surroundings becomes a potential threat. You spend the weekend jumpy and agitated. Since the fight or flight response diverts blood and resources away from your digestive tract, you don’t eat much (which is good since you couldn’t buy food). Your adrenaline is pumping, so you don’t sleep much. By Monday morning, you are angry and go to the bank ready to fight.


    In the past, when we were confronted with fears like lions and tigers and bears (oh,my), the danger was immediate and usually passed relatively quickly. Our fight and flight was activated, helped us and then was deactivated. In today’s world, it doesn’t always deactivate as you can see from the above example.


    Some experts believe people with anxiety have a hypersensitive fight or flight response. That is, it activates without much provocation or with no provocation at all. Even a perceived danger can make you go into full blown fight or flight. Once you do, everything around you becomes a possible danger and you become overly anxious. You see the world as a fearful place. You are stuck in “survival mode.”

    The best part about learning all of this is that we now will recognize the symptoms and signs of being in the ‘fight-or-flight’ and begin to take steps to overcome the stress overload.


    It served our ancestors well, but it has a cost. Staying physiologically on guard against a threat eventually wears down the body’s natural defenses. In this way, suffering from frequent stress —or frequently interpreting experiences as stressful —can create a serious health risk: an essentially healthy stress response can become distress.

    So what we’ve learned here basically is to