For Bulletins published in 2023 and beyond,
after February 6, see the T/C listing on this page.
December 17, 2022: Choose How You Want to Live in 2023
November 16, 2022: Bring New Peace and Joy into Your Life.
October 12, 2022:Living in Two Different Worlds
September 15, 2022: How to Create Legal Documents without a Lawyer
July 20, 2022: How's Your Memory These Days?
June 20, 2022: How to Find Your God-Given Mission in Life
May 24, 2022: Tornadoes, Disaster Preparedness, and God
May 9, 2022: What Real Life is All About
April 20, 2022: Technology and the Importance of Lifelong Learning
April 4, 2022: How Cats & Dogs Track Their Owner's Whereabouts
March 11, 2022: My 85th Birthday, Baptism and Celebration
February 18, 2022: Time Flies—But How Did We Get This Old So Fast?
February 10, 2022: Eating Wisely to Improve and Maintain Good Health
All Bulletins above this point have been converted to permanent articles
in an appropriate ARTICLES category. Those below are archived on this page.
March 21, 2022: Reader Feedback on Three Earlier Blog Topics
January 26, 2022: Dealing with the Hand We’ve Been Dealt
January 10, 2022: Create a New Future for Yourself this Year!
December 20, 2021: Dealing with Holiday Stress and Year-End Burnout
December 9, 2021: Plan to Make 2022 a Blessed Year
How to fix auto-correction errors,
how healthy eating can negate the need for meds,
and how we are driven to create chaos in our lives.
Auto Correction Errors and Proofreading
In my Jan, 26 post, I spoke about my typing and proofreading problems, which prompted several responses. Designer Joan Green summed them up nicely:
“Now that we type on the computer I find I have to be more diligent in proofreading because the computer automatically changes some of my words. I type them correctly, but the computer will change the word to something similar. I’ve also had this problem when texting on my phone. I know I’ve typed it correctly, but it thinks it’s smarter than I am and changes it. I’ve actually seen my word come up correctly and watched as the computer or phone instantly changes it for me! I find this very annoying, and I’m guessing some of your ‘errors’ may be due to the same issue.”
I found two articles that may help you fix this problem: (1) “How to turn off autocorrect on your Android”; and (2) “Too Many Autocorrect Fails? How to Tweak Your Keyboard Settings on iPhone and iPad.”
How One Man with Diabetes Healed Himself
with Diet and Determination
My Feb. 10 “Eating Wisely” post prompted several reader responses, but my communication with Ed B. was amazing. A Native American who grew up on three reservations, Ed had a heart attack in 2006 and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2011 (which runs in his family). He was prescribed the usual drugs, but by doing extensive research and then changing his diet and lifestyle to a healthier one, over a period of years he was able to stop taking all his heart and diabetes medications.
He explained, “In early 2012, a nurse friend got me started me on a course that began to change my life. She introduced me to a book, The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, which led me to watch the documentary, Forks over Knives. That book and film helped me realize just how much food affects our health.”
Ed was doing great until he got Covid right after Thanksgiving 2020. “I got hit hard and had to go into one of the local hospitals for treatment over a three-day period, Thought I was going to die that first night, said many prayers. What really helped me was the blood plasma I was given from someone who had Covid and survived. Was never told who that person was, but I am forever thankful for their donation.”
It took Ed a while to get past what Covid did to his willpower and health, but he’s back in control once again and off the medication he was given during recovery. In our last email exchange he recommended another film, Eating You Alive, that helped him and may help you too.
On a lighter note, after reading my eating wisely post, one of my dearest friends emailed, “I have a box of Godivas and I’m not sharing, so you can thank me for saving you calories and a trip to the dentist!” – Love, not-so-pleasingly-plump Sylvia
How Time Flies and the “Chaos Theory”
Prior to writing my February 18 post on “Time Flies,” I didn’t know there were millions of web pages discussing the “chaos theory.” One of the three questions I asked myself in this post was whether I could stay happy and content in a world I saw crumbling into “cultural, political, and social chaos.” Searching to see if those keywords were being used together on the web, I stumbled upon a fascinating article titled “The Culture of Chaos.”
My post prompted author George Berger to share his thoughts on time and chaos. “I’m not far behind you in age and have come to some related observations, We are programmed to collapse the past and expand the future. Events of the past seem to have come and gone in the blink of an eye, but when we look forward to a future event, the time for it to arrive seems exceedingly long. That’s true for a five-year-old and an eighty-year-old.
“Social media have created a greater chaos now than in the past. But that’s not all. The First World standard of living is exceedingly high compared to all time past—think health care, food, transportation, drugs, tattoos, smart phones, televisions, planes, welfare programs. Humans have not adjusted.
“In times past, all our energy had to be applied to subsistence—finding food, shelter, safety, our tribe to help us. No longer. Yet our very essence needs, must have, constant life stress to thrive. So, when the real word does not surround us with real challenges, real chaos, we are driven to create it, make it up. Here’s a glimpse from people who have thought about this:
• “7 Surprising Reasons You Keep Creating Chaos—Live a Life You Love” (Individuals will create chaos out of modern sheer boredom.)
• “Human Dimensions of Chaos Theory— Consciousness, Physiology, Perception, and Psychology.”
The above outdated article had a paragraph that rang my bell:
“Throughout history many innovative discoveries have come through the process of reverie, daydreaming, or inspiration. Research has also shown that the greater the mental challenge, the more chaotic the activity of the subject’s brain (Rapp). After incubating a solution in the chaotic state, we seem to ‘get a brainstorm.’”
Brainstorms sometimes lead us in crazy directions. That quote and George’s comments reminded me of a T-Shirt graphic I related to that may “ring your bell” too. It read:
“My mind is like someone emptied the
kitchen junk drawer onto a trampoline.”
Is it a cold, or Omicron in disguise?
Barbara’s Christmas surprise;
plus her proofreading challenges and
the benign brain tumor causing them.
Life is full of surprises. Here are three of mine.
Is it a Just a cold or Omicron in Disguise?
I haven’t had a cold in a long time, but I was surprised by the one that hit me on Christmas day. Besides the usual runny nose, my voice dropped an octave because I was so congested. I didn’t think much of this until concerned friends warned me this could turn into pneumonia. When I called my doctor, she insisted I get a Covid test to prove I hadn’t caught the omicron strain, which presents itself as a cold. Since I hadn’t been around anyone with Covid, I was told I could get a test at the medical building where I normally get blood tests. A simple Q-tip swish in my nose and it was over—and negative, as I knew it would be.
NEW! Shortly after doing this test, I learned the government is now offering four free Covid test kits to every home in the U.S. Get yours here.
Covid is worse now in my city than ever before, and it’s disconcerting to know that one more thing has changed to upset our lives. Never again can we be sure that what we have is “just a cold.” We’ll have to get tested to make sure we’re not spreading the omicron strain of Covid. I can only wonder how many other strains are coming.
The first of January, my local hospital reported it was treating its highest number of Covid patients since the start of the pandemic nearly two years ago, and that their findings reflected the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases nationwide. Of the 113 patients then being treated, 60 were not vaccinated, 33 were, and three only partially vaccinated. The good news was that over the previous four days, 72 patients who had been treated were discharged.
For more info, see this article on how Omicron affects “the Boosted, Vaxxed and Unvaccinated.”
As my long-time readers know, I have been known to sometimes publish a Bulletin with the wrong date, giving one the impression that I don’t know what day or month it is (a debatable topic). I was surprised to find I’d done it once again because I try so hard to be perfect.
How could I NOT have seen that I dated that first post of this year “December 10, 2022” instead of January, even after proofing the post several times? Perhaps because my head was still in the month of December and the year-end work I was doing when I wrote the draft after New Year’s day. Each time I proofed the post, I wasn’t looking at the heading but the main content, where I usually find the kind of errors that are caused by the meningioma in my brain.
I corrected the date on my website, but once a Bulletin is mailed, I can’t correct an error like this, so thanks to those who noticed it but were too kind to mention it to me. As for trying to write perfectly, I console myself with Vince Lombardi’s take on this topic: “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase it, we can catch excellence.”
FYI: About my Benign Brain Tumor
I do have a medical reason for my inability to always publish everything without errors. I learned I had a meningioma in 2010 when I took a hard fall on black ice and ended up at the hospital. The emergency room doctor said hitting the back of my head like I did had shaken my brain and I should never fall like that again or I might end up like a brain-damaged football player. I made it a rule then to never leave the house if conditions were icy.
This stat on the web might surprise you: “Meningioma accounts for 38% of primary brain tumors. An estimated 34,840 people will be diagnosed with meningioma this year.” Many, like me, never know they have one until it's accidentally discovered.
My fall and concussion changed my life by giving me serious balance issues that have required physical therapy three times so far. But the worst thing was how it affected my ability to type as accurately as I’d been doing prior to 2010. Suddenly I could no longer type a sentence without typos.
EX: When proofing, I’d see that “real” was “read.” “Learn” was “lean,” “plan” was “play,” “not” was “now.” Words needing a plural ending often ended up without the “ed” or “s,” and a missing letter in the middle of a word changed “things” to “"thngs.” I figure it now takes me four times as long to write, edit, and proofread anything for publication than it did before my brain concussion. Add to this the lesson I learned when I was a good typist:
If you’ve written and typed all the words, you’ll find it nearly impossible to see all your errors because your mind knows what you meant to say, and when you read what you’ve written, your eyes will see only what your mind tells them to see.
Thus, everyone who writes will make typos, as explained in this fine article by Nick Stockton on why it’s so hard to catch your own typos. “We can become blind to details because our brain is operating on instinct,” he says. “By the time you proofread your own work, your brain already knows the destination.”
Want to change your life?
Consider “reinventing yourself” to
make a dream come true this year.
And don’t let your age stop you.
“The best way to know your future is to create it yourself,” someone once said. While it’s true that we have a lot of control over the direction our life’s journey will take, many things beyond our control will naturally impact our daily life and decisions.
I like this perspective from Dr. David Jeremiah, a favorite pastor and author. In a New Year’s message titled “Writing Your Story,” he said:
“Journeys have a beginning and an end, but we can’t always predict what comes in between. And that’s where our faith comes in. We may not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future.”
Since each year opens another chapter in our life’s journey, I hope you still have unrealized dreams and goals that will spur you onward in the months ahead—in spite of all the disturbing things happening in the world around you. I believe our focus needs to be on things we can control, such as our attitude.
Thanks to how I was raised, I’ve always had a hopeful and optimistic attitude about life, which makes it easy for me to relate to Helen Keller’s philosophy:
“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement; nothing can be done without hope.”
If you’re unhappy with your life, or perhaps simply older—or retired from your life’s work and feeling aimless—maybe it’s time to try something new and exciting to you. Perhaps my experience, documented in “How to Be a Fearless Dreamer and Reinvent Yourself at Any Age,” will give you some perspective on the benefits of being open to change.
Some people live one day at a time doing what they’ve always done—merely waiting to see what happens next—but I think most of us tend to make plans for specific things we want to do in each new God-given year. Living like this has always given me a reason to get up each morning with a positive attitude and hope for the future. And as all my writing indicates, my hope for the future is grounded in my faith.
Making God my CEO in 1994 was the smartest thing I ever did. As I’ve said in another article, “Found: A New Source of Strength,” given half a chance, God will help us achieve our special dreams and be all we can be in both our personal and professional lives. Our greatest strength may well lie in our brains and talent, but let’s never forget who gave them to us in the first place.”
"There are times in our lives when we have to realize that the past is precisely what it is, and we cannot change it. But we can change the story we tell ourselves about it. And by doing that, we can change the future." – Eleanor Brown, American novelist, anthologist, editor, teacher, and speaker
Goal Setting Tips
As I’ve done throughout my home-business life, I still follow the “Smart Tip” I gave in the first edition of my Homemade Money book:
“Put all your goals in written form since they will automatically become a plan. Keep them large enough to motivate you to go forward, yet small enough to be easily achieved.”
Sometimes the best goals are simply to finish things we weren’t able to complete the year before. One of my major goals this year is to finish writing Call of the Heart: A Rescue Dog’s Dream, which I began in 2019 and had to put on the back burner in 2020 in order to achieve my goal of building this new website.
Another major goal revolves around my new word for the year, which is SIMPLIFY. I’ve started to look at everything in my personal and professional life that’s stealing my time and energy or causing me mental grief or concern. One by one, I’ll take steps to deal with each of these issues.
I feel even more bogged down than usual this year by all the “stuff” I no longer want and need to get rid of while I still have the physical energy and mental desire to tackle this job. Feeling as though I’m drowning in paper, I’ve begun to look through the twelve drawers of my office filing cabinets in search of everything that’s no longer relevant to my life, my work on the web, and the books I plan to write and publish. The first big shopping bag of paper is in this week’s trash.
As Joshua Becker, author of four books on minimalism and intentional living, says, “The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.” He adds that “Time spent on minimalizing possessions is never wasted.”
So here’s to all of us spending some time this year on decluttering our life, reaching for new dreams, and reinventing ourselves to make our life all we want it to be.
Barb’s cure for both—with tips on
planning a “staycation,” a story about Houska,
and a reminder of the reason for the season.
December and its holidays always bring extra stress as we make to-do lists for everything related to our Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. I think we all feel we have more to do now than time to do it in, so it's no wonder holiday stress and year-end burnout are so common.
But I know the cure for both. At year's end, I always refresh my spirit with a restful staycation. Mine will begin on Christmas Eve day, but I imagine some of you may have to delay your break from stress till after Christmas.
For a stay-at-home vacation to work, you must break the pattern that’s causing you stress or worry, which means stop what you've been doing. And disconnect from mainstream news and the internet as long as possible. Forget about email, and stay off your social media outlets and your blog, if you have one. You may think you’re connecting to the world by doing these things, but you’re actually distancing yourself from both your family and the real world—the one God created for your pleasure and enjoyment. (When did you last "commune with nature?" This can be a great stress reliever and emotional healer.)
Carve Out Time for Yourself
Whether you’re burned out or not, plan some special time at the end of the year for things you didn’t have time to do before. In days ahead, I plan to reorganize my writing files, get back to stitching, call old friends, and fix special meals that take extra time to prepare (or have too many calories to enjoy more than once a year). I’ve already baked dozens of cookies and loaves of Houska, the Czech bread Harry loved so much.
When we married in 1961, his aunts said I needed to learn how to bake this bread if I wanted to keep him happy. (This sweet, braided bread with golden raisins is best served warm with a generous spread of butter and some hot cocoa on the side.)
Whenever Harry and I were “on the outs” and I wanted to get back in his good graces, I just said, “I’ll bake Houska for you today, honey,” and all was forgiven. I made that bread for him right up to the end of his life; now I make it for myself and as a gift for others who have shown me special kindnesses during the year.
At Christmas, I also escape by binging on Hallmark Christmas movies, which bring back memories of my romantic days with Harry and growing up in a small town with a mother who always made this holiday so memorable for the whole family.
Leaning on the Lord
I hope all of you have happy Christmas memories to fall back on, especially if your life isn’t as happy now as it was in the past. Many people have good reason to be sad this Christmas with the country now more divided than ever and Covid still claiming the lives of loved ones. For some, faith in God may be the only thing they have to hang onto.
If you aren’t leaning on the Lord now when it’s His birth we’re celebrating, I hope you will read the story of how I finally connected personally to God at the late age of 58 after taking Him for granted all my life. A simple prayer changed my life overnight, and I’ve now turned my Testimony for Christ into a PDF document you can download for later reading and perhaps sharing with someone who’s feeling lost and discouraged this Christmas.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16; NIV).
My Christmas Wish for You
In this most special season of the year, I pray you can see the wonder of God in your life and the world at large, and that you have family or friends who give you peace and joy. Merry Christmas, everyone, and may your New Year be bright with surprising opportunities, small miracles, and success in your chosen endeavors!
As always, I look forward to another year with hope, expectation, and thanksgiving for all I’ve been given, and I hope the same is true with you. I leave you with a joyful video of Frank & Zack Hyde playing their original piano arrangement, “Sleigh Ride Fantasy.” This is my favorite Christmas song and I listen to these remarkable young pianists and songwriters every year. They deserve your attention. Enjoy!
Barbara’s Rules on how to live in God’s will for your life
& new “Do You Know” feature. This month,
Medical Records & Knee Joint Surgery
As the end of another year approaches, many of us tend to look back and ask ourselves where the year went as we ponder our accomplishments and lessons learned. But I like to focus on the new goals I hope to achieve in the New Year, and I no longer make “resolutions” that are so easily broken.
Covid-19 smashed many of our dreams and goals, forcing us to accept it as part of our daily reality, not only next year but perhaps forever, much like the flu. (The scary rising infection and death stats in my city pushed me to get the booster shot this week.)
Like you, I've found it hard to accept that decisions once simple to make must now be weighed against the danger we face if we associate with people who can make us sick, and even kill us if we have a weakened immune system. I’ll never again feel safe to step foot into an auditorium with thousands of people, and wonder if I’ll ever feel safe in attending a small theatre to see a play or musical performance. This is not a joyful way for anyone to live, and yet peace and joy is ours for the taking if we simply know how to find it.
Barbara’s Rules for
Living in God’s Will for Your Life
Many are searching for an answer to this question, but how to find it? As Jonathan Cahn, pastor at Beth Israel Worship Center summarized it last Sunday, “Seek God’s will for your life by beginning with what you already know. As your relationship with the Lord deepens, you’ll begin to understand exactly how He wants you to live” (James 1:5).
Here are some of my rules for joyful living:
• Do what you say you’re going to do. This is the foundation of your personal and professional integrity. (You’ll also like yourself better if you keep your promises to others.)
• Do what needs to be done. If you can’t do it alone, ask others for help to accomplish specific tasks. (I would not be here today if not for the help of many business friends and associates.)
• Be careful what you let into your mind. Stop listening to ungodly people. These days it doesn’t take much to kill one’s inner joy and peace of mind.
• Ask God for wisdom about everything you need to do (James 1:5-6). Pray that He will bless you by working all things together for your good and for His purposes for your life (Rom. 8:28).
• Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and also love your neighbor as yourself. These first two commandments actually summarize the Ten Commandments God gave to the Israelites—which Jesus confirms in Matthew 22-37 that we must obey today to be in God’s will for our life.
In summary, a featured article on the HOME page explains one reason why I count 2021 as one of my most blessed years. By leaving a church I’d long attended and joining another one God miraculously led me to in June, I found a new extended and loving Christian family five minutes from my door.
Treasure your happy memories, my friends. Be grateful for today’s blessings, and above all, pray for God’s guidance in all your tomorrows.
Do You Know …?
Do You Know . . . that doctors now keep your medical records for only five to 10 years? So you either need to keep very detailed records of your own or some day will have to request them from your hospital.
STORY: Before one of my sisters had knee joint replacement surgery, she asked me what kind of prosthesis I’d gotten for my surgeries in 2005 and 2006. Although I’d documented details about them, I didn’t note this info. I soon learned when I called my surgeon that, like my other doctors, he no longer has access to my records. But he said he has used Zimmer implants for years and considers them the best available today.
How long will a replacement joint last? I last saw my surgeon in 2019 after I’d banged up one knee after a fall. After X-raying both knees, he said, “If I didn't know better I'd think I'd done your surgery last month.” He again confirmed that I'd never need to have these joints replaced, no matter how long I lived. And my younger sister was told the same thing. (But I wonder if younger adults or runners would get the same answer.)
FACTS: More than 6oo,000 knee joint replacements are done each year in the US. If you need knee surgery, I suggest you find a specialist in this field who will answer every question you have. Get personal references if possible. I simply used the same surgeon my husband had success with. Discuss the type of prosthesis to be used. (For details on your options, Google “4 types of knee joint implants.”) Good luck to you!
Copyright © 2022 by Barbara Brabec.
All Rights Reserved.