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March 2nd, 2016

Expand Your Writing Horizons

Attention all Writers

This entry is an unabashed BSP post.

What is BSP?

It stands for Blatant Self Promotion.

What is being blatantly self promoted?

I’m promoting myself. As an author. As a teacher. I’m flexing my wings and extending my reach. I’ll be teaching a writing class on the Savvy Authors site starting on March 14, 2016. It’s about using disabled characters in your stories.

What’s the name of the class?

It’s titled, Pardon, is my Disability Showing? Writing Believable Disabled Characters — an Interactive Approach.

Quite a mouthful of a title, right? And although there are only 8 lessons including an introduction, the lessons contain a massive amount of information about three disabilities. the disabilities covered are: Vision, auditory, and mobility challenges. (Or if you’re not politically correct — Blindness, deafness, and paralysis entailing the use of a wheelchair.)

What makes you the person to teach this class?

For the first twenty-seven years of my life, I was one of the non-disabled. Then a head injury rendered me completely blind. I’m now one of the physically challenged. I’ve had to change the way I do certain activities, learned to use adaptive equipment, and focus more on what I’m doing. And occasionally, I have to ask others to help. (But, there’ll be compensation.)

This gives me the opportunity to look at disabilities from both perspectives. The non-disabled view where those with disabilities interact with the non-disabled on a limited basis. And the disabled viewpoint, where performing even simple tasks can sometimes take a Herculean effort.

Why teach a class like this?

In many of the books I’ve read, the disabled have, for the most part, been well and effectively portrayed. But, it takes a lot of research to make them and the tasks they do flow so seamlessly. So, this is my attempt to gather the majority of the information together and present it to interested writers.

Why use a disabled character for a story?

Using a character with a disability in your story can add more excitement, intrigue, and emotional wallop. It can supercharge the visceral content, enhance your character’s inner strength, and provide a person to cheer for. Or a villain you can really hate. Not all the disabled are true-blue and saintly. The disabled can also be vindictive, greedy, and out for revenge. You know, just like you non-disabled.

But, what if you don’t know anyone disabled, and have no idea of where to look for information?

Relax, Just take my class. Starting March 14, you can register on the Savvy Authors site at:

a course taught by Barbara Bates: Pardon, is my Disability showing? Writing Believable Disabled Characters — an Interactive Approach.

Who should take this class?

It’s suggested to get the most benefit from this course; you have a strong grasp of the basics: POV, showing versus telling, using characterization and setting techniques, and being able to layer your story.

For, this is not an introductory course, the lessons are long and the information detailed. Not only will you learn the ins and outs of how to write a disabled character, but you can pretend to be one (within limits, of course).

The course includes two lessons for each disability. the first lesson is chock full of information about the disability. The second lesson is the interactive one. In the second lesson a series of tasks are provided for you to take part in. These tasks will allow you, for a limited time, to perform tasks as the disabled do. Boundaries will be set up so you face the same limitations as the disabled do when doing simple tasks.

And if your caught doing these tasks, then you’ll have to explain to your significant other, or child, or good friend – why you’re walking around the house blindfolded, or banging pot lids together in the kitchen, or rolling around the house belted into the desk chair. What could be better than that? Come join us at:


New Year, New You

January 13th, 2016

New Year, New You

The Procedure

While you don’t need to start new habits, or a change of lifestyle at the beginning of the year, it is a convenient time to do so. But it takes planning, determination, and the urge to make positive changes in order to succeed.


Do you want to start a new habit? Stop an old one? Adjust your lifestyle? The first thing you must do is plan.

First decide:

- What do you want to accomplish?


Make it specific, attainable, and determine how long it should take to get there.

- Why do you want to do this?

Figure out if you want to attain this goal to better yourself, improve your lifestyle, or just feel good.

- Set a starting date. And if applicable, an ending date.

Pick a starting date it’s easy to monitor. The beginning of the week or month may work best for you.

Is there a definitive ending point? Or will this be an ongoing change? Is this the beginning of a new habit you want to continue? Or is it something you want to stop doing?

- How often and by what means will you measure progress? Set up charts, journals, or whatever you need.

If you’re starting an exercise routine or beginning to eat better, decide how often you want to document your progress.

Choose a way to determine if you’re still on the right track. If you gave up certain foods, did you stay away from them all week? If you lapsed, how many times? If you want to exercise so many days per week, did you make your sub-goal?


1. Write out your plan.

2. Divide the main task up into do-able steps. The smaller and easier the steps are the better.

3. Set up sub-goals and associated rewards.

- How long will it take to get to each sub-goal?

Estimate how long you think it will take to reach each sub-goal. Don’t worry, if you don’t make it, you can reschedule and try again.

- Give yourself a reward for reaching each sub-goal.

When you reach and conquer each sub-goal reward yourself. Make the reward positive, in line with your goal. If your goal is to lose weight, a proper reward is NOT a hot fudge sundae. It can be buying that new blouse you’ve been eyeing, though.


1. Document your starting point.

If you want to lose weight, write down your starting weight and take measurements of those areas you want to decrease.

If you want to stop smoking, write down the number of cigarettes you smoke each day.

2. Determine how often to chart your progress and mark it down.

You don’t need to chart your progress every day. You can if you want. But you may want to do it once or twice a week. You decide.

3. Determine evaluation points and alter the steps or order of sub-goals as needed.

If the amount of time goes by for yo7u to attain a sub-goal and you don’t make it, decide why.

Reschedule the time to attain the sub-goal and try again.

4. After a set amount of time evaluate your status.

- Have you gotten into the groove of a new habit?

- Have your cravings disappeared for performing an old habit?

- Do you feel comfortable with the lifestyle change you made?

Let the world know.

At some point in your development you may want to let others know of your journey. You can:

- Show friends your starting point and how far you’ve come.

- Tell others of your journey and how far you’ve traveled from your starting point.

- Or, just bask in their praise of the changes you’ve made.



Coming Soon! Coming Soon!

January 22nd, 2013

I’m soon to be a published author. Coming out in February, from Damnation Books, will be my first novel, “AsterIce”. Listed as a science-fiction thriller, it’s the story of what happens when an alien virus is set free in Earth’s environment and how it changes humanity. There are four POV (that’s point of view) characters telling the story of mankind’s attempts to remain “human”.

The characters telling the story are: Bernard DuBonne, a computer programmer with a military background, the idea man behind DuBonne Enterprises; Tanya DuBonne, his wife, and a prominent genetic biologist; Richard DuBonne, Bernard’s younger brother and the financial mastermind behind the DuBonne dynasty, and Elaine DuBonne, Richard’s wife and a police detective in the city of SouthSide.

February 1 is the release date. Damnation Books, part of Eternal Press, will have the books available on the site Feb 1. I’m not sure where else or exactly when other places will have the book available, so stay tuned.

The Toe Bone’s Connected to the Neck Bone

January 1st, 2013

Happy New Year!

Let’s try to make 2013 the year of Connectivity. Why Connectivity you may ask.

Remember the children’s song that went something like:

The toe bone’s connected to the foot bone. The foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone…

All the way up to the head bone (skull).

It’s turned out this is more true than anyone suspected. News articles have declared:

“Germs in Your Mouth can Affect Your Heart”, “Stress can Pack on the Pounds”, and “Lack of Sleep Leads to Lack of Energy”.

If you view the human body as a closed system, then every sub-system can affect the others. Let’s take this idea one step farther.

Consider the earth as a closed system. If we destroy our environment, or one facet of it, all the others will be affected. Continued pollution of any kind, will over time, affect the human population negatively.

Now, take a side-step. We are all human. Rich. Poor. Diverse colors, religions, ethnicities and nationalities. But human, all of us. We have one planet. Count it, one. We have to learn to give and take, to share and compromise, to keep our home viable and able to support us. Or we’ll go the same way as the dinosaurs. What’s that you say — a meteor hit the earth that destroyed the dinosaurs. Really, were you there? And destruction is destruction, whether it comes from an asteroid, or from us poisoning ourselves. Extinct is still extinct.

So, what I hope to do this year on this part of the blog is show how we’re all connected and what we can do to benefit each other.

But there will be a subtheme concerning disability. Being one of the physically challenged, (read as totally blind), disability concerns are always close to my heart.

On the part of the blog, I’ll keep you apprised of how the publication of my first book, “AsterIce” is progressing at Damnation Books (a small press in California). And on the health and nutrition part of the blog,, I’ll put up articles giving ways to make your life healthier.

I’m planning on blogging at least twice a week, not sure of the days or which blog I’ll post on yet.

Developing Characters

January 14th, 2012


When developing characters for your stories, you need not only a physical description, and general background, but also habits, wants, memories, favorites and fears, Hopes and hatreds. There should be a reason for everything your character does in the story. The grown man who gulps down his food because he grew up the youngest in a family of nine children. The female engineer who’s afraid to voice her opinion, imagining her father telling her “nice girls don’t do that”.


Sometimes actual people can be used as a framework for your characters.   The operative word here is “framework”.


1. Take one or two characteristics from a real person. The way she snaps her fingers as she thinks. Or the way his smile lights up his face making him look boyish. Or maybe take her curly blond hair, or his smoky gray eyes. But don’t develop an entire character around a real person.


But you may argue, “My uncle is such a card; no one will believe he’s real.” Until, other members of your family start pointing out how much your such-and-such character reminds them of Uncle Joe. So, if you must have your character bray a laugh like Uncle Joe’s, make sure he looks nothing like him, or has enough other interesting habits to minimize the comparison.


2. Create combination characters. If you chose characteristics from people you know, create combination characters. How about combining your mother’s love of cooking, Cousin Thelma’s red curls, and Aunt Flora’s ability for snappy comments into one character.


This is also useful for the antagonists in your story. If you have the “bad guy” resemble a friend or family member, friction could develop between you and the real person. But if the evil-doer has your brother’s limp, a friend’s large hands, and cousin Adam’s constant sniffles, then they’re just characteristics, and can come from anywhere.


3. The good, the bad, and the humorous. Everyone has bad habits, even the hero and heroine. The antagonist should have some good habits or characteristics, too. A fully fleshed-out character has a good side, a bad side; a public persona and a private one. Miss “Goody-Two-Shoes” may turn into a witch and cast an evil spell or two in the privacy of her own dark cave. Mr. “Stay-Away-If-You-Value0-Your-Sanity” may be the best dad in the world to his motherless children.


And a bit of humor never hurt. The female student who swipes her favorite male teacher’s favorite pen, then finds a spreading spot of ink on her sweater when she meets him in the hall. (No one told her he used a real ink pen.) The young boy who hides a puppy in his room and it gets out and eats his father’s socks.


4. Individual history. If your character does something “out of character”, make sure there’s a reason in his background to explain it. The prominent businessman who steals candy because he never had enough money when he was young. The attractive female executive who doesn’t know how to talk to men because she was teased for being shy and clumsy all through school.     


You don’t need to put the reason right before the unusual action. It can be mentioned briefly at the beginning, or referred to during conversation. But, like a well-woven tapestry, that shows new details at every inspection, it should be there.


5. Forms and Profiles. There are many character profile forms out there. They should include: physical description, education, family history, former employment, travel experience, outlook on life, innermost hopes, favorite things, secret fears, habits, ambitions, and friends and family members. It can include important past incidents and secrets.        


How do you develop your characters? Do you use profile forms or simply write a brief “history” for each? Do you take characteristics from actual people or do you create them completely from fiction?  


Other articles of interest:

1. Janis Hubschman’s: Creating Characters at




Stretch Your Reading Muscles

January 4th, 2012



It’s the start of a new year and I’ve set a goal of blogging at least once a week (for now, it could go up later). The focus of this blog has changed. From now on, the postings will be more concerned with writing matters as opposed to the current events as it has in the past. I’m not sure how articles will be divided between here and the section, but matters will resolve over time.


Let me start off by saying I’ve always been a reader. I cut my reading molars on science fiction and fantasy. Over the years, my tastes have grown and diversified into horror, crime, thrillers, mystery, and suspense. I never got into either romance or historicals, but occasionally read Womens Fiction.


My CP (Crit Partner) writes YA with a distinctive Scottish flavor. So, when I heard about two series — the Highlander series by Karen Marie Moning and the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, I managed to get copies of both. (This isn’t always possible for me as being visually challenged, I only have access to those books that have been recorded.)


While I enjoyed Moning’s Fever series, I haven’t appreciated the Highlander series as much, as they are basically romances. But Gabaldon’s series blew me away.


Did I mention I don’t usually read either romance or historicals?


The first Outlander book drew me in and captured my attention from the get-go. I’m on the fifth book, “The Fiery Cross” and intend to finish the series. These books, by the way, are all good sized books. The shortest one is at least 500 pages,   and the one I’m reading is over 900 pages.


Usually, I try to read and analyze at the same time. For the Outlander series, it worked for a page or two, but then the story wrapped itself around me and I’d be back in the Scottish past with Claire and Jamie. There is a bit of fantasy in each book, but it’s the excellent writing that keeps me reading. The characters are so believable you find yourself giving them advice on what to do and how to do it. One of my favorites is Jocasta Cameron, Jamie’s blind aunt. She’s depicted as a strong woman who lost her sight — which to me smacks of reality. Being in her situation, I feel her frustration, aggravation, and annoyance when people either don’t tell her what’s going on, or ignore her. Give the series a try, maybe like me, you’ll like it.


Which brings me to the second part of this article — stretching your reading muscles. I write Urban Fantasy, so tend to read a lot of it. But since I have police detectives and other officials in my books, I also read crime and detective fiction. I try to learn something from every book I read, no matter how small. How to set a certain mood, how to use an expressive gesture to its best effect, or blending in description without using narrative. Showing a character’s actions or reactions instead of telling how she feels. Every author can teach you something, even if it’s how not to do something. And one of the best ways to do this is to read authors in genres other than the ones you feel comfortable in.


I don’t like westerns or books concerning wars. But I’ve read some and have picked up new ways to write action scenes, though I’d leave out all the rot about describing the weaponry. (Thanks but no thanks, Tom Clancy.) And I’m reading more romance, but tend toward the paranormal or romantic suspense. One of my favorites is J. D. Robb’s Eve Dallas series; a blend of science fiction and romance.


So, this year, go forth and read. Pick a genre at random and give something new a try. You may like it. Spread your reading wings and soar!   


The Bottom Line — Profits

January 28th, 2011


I remember watching a movie about a small business and its rise to “the top”. The CEO, a Donald Trump wanna-be, pounded his fist on the conference table, pointed to the chart behind him showing flat line growth and shouted, “It’s profit, the bottom line is profit!”


Let’s look at this statement. Are profits the bottom line? What are the benefits of profits? I suppose those getting them think they’re great — but whom do they benefit? Do they make the lives of those on the assembly line, toiling day in and day out more worthwhile? Do they aid those who buy the product or service? Or is their greatest boon given to those sitting behind desks all day, flexing their power?  


Let’s do a quick comparison.


In most companies, the profit goes to the Board of Directors (BOD), and then to the stock-holders. A definite minority. By doing little to no work, the group gets the majority of the assets created by the workers for the specified market.


Consider a malignant tumor or cancer. It too, does little work, taking from the host and feeding only itself, growing and fulfilling its own needs first.


If profit equals cancer, what can we do to stop the growth of the interloper?


How about:

- Profit-sharing. Instead of the BOD getting the money, give it as bonuses to those who manufacture the product or provide the service. The percentage to the employee can be determined by years of service, type of job done, hours worked, and other specifics.


- Put back into the business. Keep up with technology; maintain the equipment, working conditions, and employee benefits. (Don’t follow BP’s example.)


- Living wage. Make sure your employees are receiving a “living wage”. This means they have enough money to pay their debts and live comfortably while working for you.


- Give back to the community. Some local businesses give some of their profits to local social organizations, schools, and community groups.


- Act as a patron. Pick out a charity, or non-profit and give a monthly contribution.


Choose one or a combination, but stop feeding the tumor.


Making profits need not be evil or harmful. But the money garnered by a corporation, agency, or whatever, should be used in a way to provide the greatest benefits to society as a whole. Ostentatious wealth is neither a necessity for a happy, meaningful life, nor a requirement to prove “you’ve made it”. While a bit of luxury is nice, an overabundance of anything can stifle and cause harm. The harm usually isn’t physical; stunted emotional growth, mental anguish and indecision, as well as feelings of isolation are all possible results.   


Up until now, we’ve discussed profit as if it was made in an honest, up-front manner. That goods manufactured are of the highest quality, assembled in clean and humane conditions, and built with an eye to lasting for years (with an excellent warranty). That services rendered are the best available, given with sufficient guarantees, and have follow-up options.  


This sadly is not the case. Most manufactured items today are of inferior quality, have a short lifespan, and generally need constant repairs (if they have moving parts). Services provided often expire after the warranty or are not offered at all. A printer purchased for our computer was given a 2 year warranty, with no option to renew. After two years, the company considers it too expensive to repair the unit. They expect you to buy a new one.


So, is most profit garnered from low quality items sold for exorbitant prices that last for a short period of time? Is it fair for companies to rake in millions selling these inferior products and services?


Would the quality of products improve if those making them had a share in the profits? I think so. If we bring back “pride in our workmanship” I think quality will improve. If a salesperson working for a major department store got a percentage of the profits, would she try to sell more? If she knew the goods being sold were of the highest quality would she point this out to customers?  Again, I believe so.


There are a small number of companies in the U.S. today that are employee owned. Why don’t we hear more about them? Could it be corporate America doesn’t want the word to get out that those at the top may not be needed? If we cut out the majority of our top-heavy corporate structure, how much would the system improve? Are we willing to try?    


Or do we have our heads in the sand so deep we no longer see the sun? Opinions?


The litmus test:

Profit cannot exist without people.



People can exist and thrive without profits.


Profits are not the bottom line.


The Bottom Line — Introduction

January 28th, 2011


I’d like to start a series of articles concerned with where you consider your “Bottom Line”.


“Bottom line” refers to the final, determining consideration in a decision. It’s the grit or core of a subject; usually the basic or most important factor, consideration, or meaning. It shows a net positive or negative result — in your business, your career, your life. Let’s extend this to include: your community, the country, our society in general.


Not only am I interested in where your bottom line is, but also your opinions on things I think can and cannot be considered a bottom line item. So, let’s keep the “nice article” comments to a minimum and let me know how you feel about these items. Agree? Agree with reservations? Disagree? Disagree, but with some modifications, maybe? State your opinion. Take a side.   


Our society as a whole has gotten too — materialistic, commercialized, egocentric, and electronic gadget oriented. Should we refocus? And if so, to what? And how?


Have our brains been rotted out by our music, video games, advertising, and focus on ourselves instead of on our environment, community, children, and things outside of ourselves? What can we do to change things? Is it worth it, or are we “too far gone”? Have we reached the point in our civilization, like that of the Roman Empire, where the only direction to go is down? Can we pull ourselves back up to the top and fresh air and sunshine? Or has the rope rotted through and it’s only a matter of time before we drop into the dark abyss?  


In case you haven’t noticed, we’re raping the earth of her resources, polluting her water, land and air at an increasing rate. It may come as a shock, but there’s no place else to go. Once the earth has been ruined, it’s too late. We’re stuck.


How much longer can we ignore our own in our attempt to have the biggest, newest, best? Does the pig at the top realize others underneath can’t breathe?  Have we lost sight of the meaning of life, if we ever had it?


Millions of years ago, reptiles, in the form of dinosaurs, ruled the earth. They gave way to mammals, which over thousands of generations, led to Homo sapiens taking their turn as the ruling class. If we don’t change our evil ways, will a new ruling line emerge? Will we be supplanted by the insect kingdom? Will giant cockroaches rule? Will the billions of insects inhabiting the world be the only ones able to live amidst the polluted, resource sparse environment our world is heading towards?  


The big question remains — do we still have time to stop the decline? Or will the human race be just another blip, too small to notice, on the timeline of our universe?


Squeaky Wheel Syndrome

December 26th, 2010



Should the squeaky wheel get the grease? Should it be allowed to continue on the same path? Or should other alternatives be considered?  



Let’s take two examples – extremists and fanatics. These types can be considered to be squeaky wheels, as they draw attention – mostly of the negative variety — to themselves and their cause. They refuse to consider the opinions of others, and continue on their chosen path, no matter the fate of individual members.  


-An extremist is defined as:    a person who indulges in immoderate or excessive actions, opinions, etc. 

- A fanatic is:    a person whose enthusiasm or zeal for something is extreme or beyond normal limits.  



So, both of these groups operate outside the norm, on the ends of normal limits. Why then, do they garner so much attention? Is it their ability to step outside the norm by causing destruction, mayhem, and harm to others that draws our interest? Is it because we can sit home, safe and secure, while watching someone else’s misfortune?   


Individuals involved in groups meeting the definitions of fanatic or extremist, make up less than 5 % of the population. Yet they appear in the local, national, and world news on an almost daily basis. Why do we allow this, and what can we do about it?



First, we must disassociate ourselves from these fanatics and extremists. We must let them know we, the majority, don’t feel, think, or want to act like they do. That, their actions are not within the norm and should be not allowed to continue. They should be condemned for the travesties they are.


To a certain extent, this has already started. Several attempts to either set off explosives or otherwise damage airplanes in flight have been thwarted by passengers.


But this brings up another question. What about explosions in public places? Should individuals acting strange in public be stopped and apprehended? Where should the line be drawn to keep the majority of the public safe? What conditions constitute a situation giving the authorities the right to deny certain individuals their rights? Are there such situations in America? Should there be?   


What can the general public do?



First we should close ranks. Form ourselves into community groups with a clear purpose, a clear set of ideals and goals, and a clear vision of our future.  Inherent in these statements should be the fact that people have the ability to travel without being harmed by others.


When described in any type of news media these groups should not be glorified; they should be frowned upon, ignored, and forgotten.   


Second, we must stick by our convictions. Don’t give these people any publicity, confirmation, or donations. Let them know they, as extremists, acting outside our realm of proper behavior, are beneath our notice. Report the facts, denounce those in charge, and move on. Avoid sensationalism at all costs, they thrive on it.   


Third, we should not allow these people back into the “fold” or whatever community they used to be in unless they recant their former ideals and lifestyles publicly. Yet, they should not be excluded for exclusion’s sake. And while some may revel in being shunned, many won’t, and may return to a position of normalcy.  


One of the reasons extremists tactics work is they get a lot of publicity. This publicity draws other like-minded extremists to them and increases their numbers. And when they find strength in numbers, they can perform actions one or a few would not be able to accomplish.


So, we should form and strengthen our communities, and announce to the world, we don’t support these extreme groups, agree with them, or approve of their actions.



Don’t condemn them, ignore them. Don’t bring more attention to their cause, expound your own. Don’t be fooled into thinking their message holds anything relevant or significant, it doesn’t. Strengthen your own communities, bring more like-minded individuals into your sphere of influence, and snub those who advocate: violence, hate, and narrow-minded actions. Diversity is part of the charm of the human race, it should be encouraged, but it should not be allowed to denigrate or degrade any other group — no matter how different their ideas. Diversity is one of the human races’ strengths. It should be encouraged, not put down. You have the right to your opinion, as I have the right to mine. When we interact, we should have respect for each other’s opinions. That doesn’t mean we have to follow another’s opinion, or live by it; but we should acknowledge they exist and leave them like that. Having an opinion and forcing it upon someone else are two different matters.  


When, not if, these splinter groups are regulated to the fringes where they belong and their message ceases to hold the fascination of the population, it will lose its grip on the majority and their popularity will drop by the wayside. So, when that darned wheel starts squeaking, don’t oil it and keep using it; change it, and dose it with the oil, then throw the darned thing into the fire. It’s the only thing it’s good for – providing warmth for others by its own destruction.


The Day of the Night Before Christmas

December 24th, 2010


It’s the day of Christmas Eve


It’s the day of Christmas Eve. I wanted to wish everyone out there happy holidays, whichever one, or none if you’re so inclined, you celebrate.


I think part of what should be said comes from some song lyrics:


“May God bless and keep you always,

      May your wishes all come true.

May you always do for others,

      And let others do for you.” *


Being brought up Christian, I celebrate Christmas. But Christmas has changed since I was small. We now have overt commercialism, unbridled materialism, sagging morals and ethics, as well as political and economic corruption, to deal with.  It’s hard to see any light at the end of that long tunnel.


But no matter if you see Jesus Christ as: the son of God, an important prophet, or a wise teacher and good human being, remember he changed the world, history, and our fates – through peaceful means, not war. Whether or not you agree with his teachings, many have lasted to this day.  And, he was a radical in his time. He stood for peace in a time when armed Romans walked the streets. He taught acceptance when the ruling class wanted to keep the classes segregated. He preached material wealth wasn’t the be-all, end-all; we have a spirit too.


Try to take some time this season and figure out what you want in your life. Where you want: to go, to be (when you grow up), to have. Materialism isn’t everything; health, family, community exist without excess wealth. Happiness can come from the “little” things in your life. A child’s smile. A helping hand. A letter from a loved one. A look through a photo album.  


Celebrate the 3F’s this holiday season. Feasting, family and fun. (Those were the 3 F’s you thought of, right?) Savor and be grateful for what you have. Take steps to get those things you need or want. And stop once in a while and take in the grandeur around you. Happy holidays. Barbara


*from “Forever Young” song by Bob Dylan, sung by Joan Baez.