DO WE HAVE FIREWORKS IN OUR SOULS?

I posted this original Fireworks in Our Souls in 2016 and this seemed appropriate to post it again. We exhibit what I think is too extreme emotions and reactions to politics while our fireworks in our souls seem to fizzle. The fireworks display such a splendor and I am patriotic with love in my heart for our country, but let us show the sparkle in our souls with as much explosion of compassion and love. Enjoy the upcoming holiday and keep the fireworks of spirituality alive all year round.

TODAY THE WORDS are FIREWORKS IN OUR SOULS. All over the country this next weekend, we are celebrating our independence and one of the traditional signs is our American Flag. First we look at an article on the History of the American Flag 

According to popular legend, the first American flag was made by Betsy Ross, a Philadelphia seamstress who was acquainted with George Washington, leader of the Continental Army, and other influential Philadelphians. In May 1776, so the story goes, General Washington and two representatives from the Continental Congress visited Ross at her upholstery shop and showed her a rough design of the flag. Although Washington initially favored using a star with six points, Ross advocated for a five-pointed star, which could be cut with just one quick snip of the scissors, and the gentlemen were won over.Unfortunately, historians have never been able to verify this charming version of events, although it is known that Ross made flags for the navy of Pennsylvania. The story of Washington’s visit to the flagmaker became popular about the time of the country’s first centennial, after William Canby, a grandson of Ross, told about her role in shaping U.S. history in a speech given at the Philadelphia Historical Society in March 1870.What is known is that the first unofficial national flag, called the Grand Union Flag or the Continental Colours, was raised at the behest of General Washington near his headquarters outside Boston, Mass., on Jan. 1, 1776. The flag had 13 alternating red and white horizontal stripes and the British Union Flag (a predecessor of the Union Jack) in the canton. Another early flag had a rattlesnake and the motto “Don’t Tread on Me.”The first official national flag, also known as the Stars and Stripes, was approved by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. The blue canton contained 13 stars, representing the original 13 colonies, but the layout varied. Although nobody knows for sure who designed the flag, it may have been Continental Congress member Francis Hopkinson.

Excerpt from the article in Info

Please. Read more: History of the American Flag | Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0875838.html#ixzz36V4j3DtH All rights reserved by Infoplease.com

How proudly it waves on this Independence Day! How proud are we concerning our Country and how we respond when we see the Stars and Stripes? Is our patronage visible in our every day life? Is our spiritual image as visible? Many fought for our independence; One died for our spiritual freedom  and it is as important we show our “patronage” in both ways. Have a Happy Fourth of July and spark some fireworks in your soul! The Heavens will light up if you do!



FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:

Psalm 33:12-22 ESV 

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage! The Lord looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man; from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds. The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. 

(c) copyright 2012-2019 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission. Third party reference material sourced to original location.

YEAR ROUND FIREWORKS BY GOD

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I decided to re-post this message that I wrote on Fourth of July one year. Looking at a lot of my husband’s photos, it seemed appropriate to visit the fireworks of life.

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY for all Americans! I woke up this morning thinking about how much money is spent on America’s Independence Day and all countries have holidays which have a big fireworks display for their finale. I have always loved fireworks and the colors in the sky, the anticipated explosion of spectacle along with the unexpected booms. However, this morning it seemed to hit me we are missing out on a year round display of fireworks provided by God and Nature (His assistant). There are not admittance fees to attend. It doesn’t have a start and end time clock as Nature is on the colorful display 24/7. We have to keep our eyes open and look for the free shows which are available.

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Wanda Hutto Medders shared this magnificent shot. 

Today I will give you an example for what to look for when craving some excitement and creative displays of lights and colors provided for your pleasure and delight. After the pictures, I want to share with you a life lesson if you want to keep reading. Sit back and enjoy the show, given to you by nature and some regular folks who know what I am about to show. You don’t have to wait for holidays as these shows are right out your back door.

I have collected some photos that are mostly shot by amateurs but wow, what a display of colorful displays of delight and amazement. What a Natural Fireworks Show brought to you by Our Higher Power, the best artist ever!

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Missy Smith Haas my daughter is mesmerized by the amazing sunsets at her Dad’s home in Georgia

My message for celebrating this holiday and life: When we are blessed to have been awakened, start admiring the natural fireworks of life. Do not wait until someone has assembled a 30 minute to one hour of drama, excitement, and colorful show. There is an ongoing life fireworks show all around us. God gave us the ticket to not only view this magnificent show, God encourages us to view it and live it. It costs nothing but opening our eyes to Earth’s natural beauty and believe me, man has tried but has never managed to outdo The Masterpiece of Life itself.

Today, and everyday, wake up and look around.

What are the colors you see? Thank God as you have sight.

What are the sounds you hear? Thank God as you have your hearing.

What textures can you feel when you touch something? Thank God as you have feeling in your body.

What taste does your food and drink have? Thank God as you have your taste to appreciate the good taste and to know when something isn’t good.

What do you smell? Good or bad smells means another reason to Thank God as we love to smell the flowers but are given the bad smells to know when to take out the trash.

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CARDINAL IN THE PINES by Greg Miller

LIVE LIFE; LOVE LIFE; AND LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST by honoring God’s gifts to us in the most magnificent, colorful, delightful ways and they are not to be wasted but appreciated.

(C) Copyright 2012-2019 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced if known for credit references.

FISHING HOLE, WHERE’S MY POLE?

For a good while, a lifelong friend and I have talked about the fun of fishing and how, with our busy lives, will we find time to stop what we are doing, grab a pole and sink a hook. This morning, I woke up and thought about how we continue to talk about the goal of going fishing and letting the world go by us. This re-visiting of this dream or goal caused me to give it a different direction. Let’s take and fling our fishing pole to how we make goals in our lives and have to keep re-visiting them.

First, allow me to take us down to the fishing hole and see exactly how we go about catching a fish (or achieving our goal in life). Before we take off to go to our favorite spot, we have to prepare, right? We can’t go without bait (or our talents or tools). What good would it do to only take part of what we need? So let’s make a list of what we should gather, find, learn about, get good at using the essential tools like our pole or rod and reel.

Our Fishing Supplies as compared to Our Life Supplies:

  1. A Bucket or Cooler to collect our fish (or in life, results) We should be able to evaluate our progress by counting our fish or what we have gathered to say we have accomplished what we sat out to do.
  2. Bait of your choice. I use this analogy as your choice of direction for your goal(s). Bait does entice the intended catch but making sure the hook properly loaded is as important. Education, research, experience, interactions with mentors, teachers, business associates, and even outside sources is essential to life goals. How many of us asked the ones who have the reputation of being the fisherman who catches the most fish every time he or she goes? Information is the best bait in life.
  3. Location is an important factor to the person. Finding the right spot. I will share a personal memory of my Mom who had rather fish than eat. When we got to the fishing hole, she walked around observing and watching the water for movement or bubbles. She didn’t really talk but watched intently. Once she “scouted” the water, she sat down with her pole and her supply of bait. All of us novices would try this spot or that spot, constantly moving up and down the bank looking for the illusive catch while Mom sat patiently in the same spot. She would begin to pull one in but didn’t move from that spot after she had re-baited her hook. Another one, another one, and all of the while, us walking behind her and trying to catch one. Yes, we would catch some doing it this haphazard method, but at the end of the day, Mom would outdo us. With a smile on her face, and a lot less running, she would have a contended look on her face. This leads me to believe, we have to commit to whatever goal we choose and be willing to stay “put” until it comes to full rendition.
  4. Depth is another factor to consider. How many of you have gone fishing in a pond or deep, dark hole? Could you visibly look for depth? As most of us who have fished a lot, know you find the depth if you want to catch the cooler water fish or do you want to catch the top feeders? I use this as a measure of who we associate with as we move through life.There are people in our lives who are top feeders who grab what they can from us, eat everything in sight, and swim away quickly. Also there are the bottom feeders who skim along the bottom and you may not see their true intentions right away and once you get them in your life or on your hook, they are so hard to get them loose. I say all of this to say, those who come into your life may be a quick catch or one that you cannot figure out. Maybe find the right depth for finding the catch that matches your taste and leave the bottom feeders and the top flighty ones to swim another day without you.

I find fishing relaxing but I realize there is work to this fun event and that brings me to my final thought on this subject: Nothing is free even though we see catching a fish without having to pay for it at the fish market as a freebie. It is never free; bait costs; equipment costs; and getting to and from the fishing hole of life costs. Learn to appreciate what it takes to catch a fish or in reality of life, to find success. LIVE LIFE; LOVE LIFE; AND LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST by grabbing your talents( and get ready to catch the success of life.

(C) Copyright Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced if known to original location for credit reference.

REPEAT AFTER ME, I DID THIS TO MYSELF…

Quite often, I post blog messages that apply to myself mainly, but true to form, others jump in and comment, this is me too. The focus of today’s message is a blunt look at how we humans remain in denial on many issues. We have a desire to stay healthy, look attractive, succeed at whatever work or career we choose or is placed at our door. We strive to have a wonderful relationship with our spouse, lover, sweetheart, and also our families and friends…….Or do we? Uh, oh, I feel the crunch of me stepping on toes but please know I am feeling the pain as this is a selfie message so I feel ya!

Let us begin the recognition of a stumbling block to our happiness by answering some hard questions:

  1. Who do I blame when I gain weight?
  2. Do I actually realize who is at fault when I fail at goals?
  3. Do I feel I have to justify my actions or throw blame at my parents, my life, God, or family/friends?
  4. Do I review my actions in any matter which caused me to succeed or fail to better future actions/results?
  5. Am I the first one to thank another person who has encouraged or do I feel they overstepped their boundary?

Can you see where I am going with this train of thought? Too many times, we want the denial excuse rather than make the appropriate changes we could make to change outcomes. This morning, very well timed, a post I wrote on Facebook seven years ago showed up and it is worth reading:

Today is a good day to think back over life and ponder over things that have happened. What would we change, what we have said differently to someone if we had a “do over”, what would we do about our occupations, would we live where we live now, would we go for a dream that we put off for other things or people, would we have chosen to eat healthier, exercised more, loved better, smiled more and forgiven easier? The reason I ponder about these things is to say that the past is the past, but today is today and tomorrow is yet to come. Right now and for the future, we have choices and we should not delay to make some changes or insure that the good things stay intact an securely, love better, stay in shape and healthily, be frugal, and above all else, remember that if we have been forgiven, we have to forgive others. Removing any anger allows the smile to come forth more readily, and it is healthy to smile. Arline Miller 2012

I think we all have great intentions as it would not make any sense on any given day, we wake up to be a failure at anything but we are humans with weaknesses and who doesn’t love a treat, a gift, a pleasure, right? It is when the realization of the repetitive giving into temptations over and over seeps in and becomes a denial. Now, to get really real with myself and hopefully you may find yourself saying oops, I do that. Here are the usual denial hoops we jump through. An additional thought for you to ponder: Apply these hoops by replacing words and see how the denial train stops at all life stations whether it be health, wealth, love, and just life.

  1. I don’t know why I can’t lose weight. I try so hard.
  2. I must have bad genes as I don’t overeat.
  3. I should be able to eat sweets, candy, desserts like all of my friends.
  4. I don’t know why I don’t lose weight because I go walking, or cleaning my house but it doesn’t work.
  5. I plan healthy foods but my family won’t eat them so I stopped making them.
  6. It takes too much time to prepare healthy foods and I work all of the time.

I could go on and on but you get the idea. What I feel would help us the most is to get tremendously honest with ourselves. I will go first with the honest answers to these questions. Seriously, don’t try to deny that we use these reasoning to avoid doing what is necessary to be what we want to be.

  1. Do I try that hard because in the past when I have eaten properly, I have lost weight and until I stopped doing it right, the weight stayed off. Ugh, the truth hurts and that is the truth.
  2. If family genes are the culprit, and I will admit they make it harder but not impossible, we would all be fat or skinny and let’s look at family pictures. My grandparents changed their bodies while living, some didn’t. Okay, I have all of their genes combined. Justifying weight by family history only explains if we are repeating eating habits not gene repetition results.
  3. Okay, I am diabetic type 2, and yes family history but hey, that is no excuse. Someone who is not diabetic should not eat sweets as a constant “nutritional” food. It is not one and is very addictive. The more sweets we eat, the more we want and so goes the vicious cycle. One good reminder of how much sugar plays into our weight, is to think back when sugar was a novelty and not a substance. Pictures prove hardly any percentage of people were obese. Those who were likely had their hands on sugar supplies.
  4. Here is my personal truth….I don’t exercise and there it is, the hard truth. When I was younger, I worked at more physical jobs and walked, ran, and danced like a fool but I moved. I don’t need to make excuses; I should move.
  5. This is one I may be the least guilty of using. My family will join in and eat healthy if I prepare it. Do they always like to keep eating healthy? No, but I am being honest. Neither do I. I love the tempting foods and I bleed Southern fattening cooking blood so I have to be aware of my deficiency in desiring healthy foods. The bottom line is do I want to sabotage my health in this way?
  6. This is a myth and I will have to say, I don’t use this denial tool but I have heard others say it many times. Do you?
Stickabilty will stop us from having to use any denial tactics and will move us toward our goals so Stick with your healthy eating and living programs.

(C) Copyright 2012-2019 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material, if source is known, is referenced to original location for credit reference.

I GUESS THEY SAID 70 SO HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME

THOSE WERE THE DAYS, BUT THESE ARE THE MOST PRECIOUS TIMES.

I HOPE I DON’T LOSE MY SENSE OF HUMOR!

I see all the getting older jokes of losing this or that.
Where are my keys and what did I do with my hat?
We are forever looking to find our young figure flairs.
While at the same time, we look for chocolate eclairs.

We look for the perfect clothes to instant camouflage.
No, we are not going hunting, only going to the garage.
Where are our glasses, how do we always lose them
But can find every wrinkle and bulge when we see ‘em?

One thing I would like to keep close to me and not lose
Is my sense of humor so I don’t get a case of the blues.
When gravity keeps changing the way my body looks.
And all I wear will require special buttons and hooks.

I may have to place a very special box on my table
To occasionally pull out my witty side, that is if I am able.
A good burst of laughter may truly be the best medicine
Because my persistent doctor acts like food is a deadly sin.

Lord, I asked for some patience and I was told to wait
And while I did I found weight gain to be my dreaded fate.
So while getting older, I am trying to google and search
Eating a snack while trying to balance on this high perch.

Why with all the advertised diets on the social pages.
Showing everyone in bikinis promising me the latest rages.
As a total Seenager, all I am looking for is my sense of fun
Since they want me to take my cute fat self and begin to run.

As a writer of poetry, I wrote this poem to welcome
In my fantastic seventieth year of this crazy life.
Arline Miller, author 2019

This poem is for all my friends who know me well and know I will go into this next decade, laughing and having fun.

A dear friend posted Birthday Wishes Card she created for my milestone 70th Birthday! Thanks Betty Burkhalter. Love you!

WHAT IF WE HAVE FAMILY DAY AS A HOLIDAY?

My brothers Joe and Carlton, both deceased and my sister Juanelle who I treasure our time together.

We have celebrated several holidays this year and several more are on the horizon. This morning, I was listening to Yogi Berra’s son, talking about how his father played such an important part in his sobriety. It moved me toward this blog’s topic, WHAT IF WE HAVE FAMILY DAY AS A HOLIDAY? I realize we have many of the holidays which bring families together but they are for other great reasons for celebration. How about a single day or weekend that is devoted totally to celebrating the family.

We used to have family reunions, and a small number still have them. When you think about your childhood, it is likely an annual family reunion is in this mix. It certainly is in mine. I was close to my cousins and all of my aunts and uncles at that time, and now it is only on social media or funerals that most of the interacting takes place. What does that say about the family unit and where we are heading?

Family Reunions when they were the big event in family togetherness.

I found this statement about positive and negative effects of family in Google: Family dynamics significantly impact health in both positive and negative ways. Having a close-knit and supportive family provides emotional support, economic well-being, and increases overall health. … When family life is characterized by stress and conflict, the health of family members tends to be negatively affected.

This is a good read for all of us to discover how important the family unit is for our well being:

The Benefits of Healthy Families

https://www.livestrong.com/article/147185-the-benefits-of-healthy-families/

SARA IPATENCO

Families are a source of emotional support, love, security and protection, reports Healthy Children. Healthy family relationships result in happy and secure children and give parents the ultimate reward of being important in the life of a child. Healthy families benefit each family member in important ways and help provide a unique sense of belonging and value that cannot be found in other relationships. The benefits of healthy families are far-reaching and all encompassing.

Moral Character

The love and support of family members motivates many people to continually strive to be better people. The development of strong moral character is one important benefit of a healthy family because it builds a bond between family members that is centered on a similar belief system. Healthy Children reports that families provide guidance to children regarding values, discipline and the internal code of conduct that motivates human behavior. A similar belief system can also encourage each family member to pursue his own interests while adhering to a strong set of personal beliefs and expectations, says Healthy Children. When each family member feels supported and valued it builds a healthy bond that encourages the formation of strong moral character.

Physical Health

Healthy family relationships often translate to healthy eating and exercise habits as well. According to Kids Health, families who engage in healthy eating and exercise together will ultimately become a healthier and stronger family unit. Parents are encouraged to model and explain to children why eating certain foods is healthy and how exercise can benefit all aspects of a healthy life. Finding time to cook healthy meals together and engage in physical activity will build a stronger and healthier family that will benefit from being physically healthy. Kids Health also indicates that children who are taught how to eat healthy and exercise during childhood are more likely to become healthy adults who also raise a healthy family.

Independence

Healthy families encourage each member to become independent and self-sufficient. Healthy Children reports that parents can offer important and necessary guidance to their children to help promote independence that will serve a child as she grows up. Offering children increased independence as they grow will build healthy families that are secure and comfortable enough to disagree with one another while also supporting individual interests and opinions. Healthy Children indicates that autonomy builds a child’s confidence while also teaching her important problem solving skills that will follow her in other relationships she builds throughout her life. Healthy Children also suggests that giving each family member a role or specific duties will help build a partnership that will allow for increased independence as a child grows.

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Note from Blogger: Yesterday I was busy working as I have been all week. I had realized it was Friday and the weekend was coming soon. It had been a week of different stresses, not all work related but stressful anyway. It was close to the work week closing and I was satisfied with the project’s status. We had wind damage to some trees on our property but my husband had jumped into action and had the young man who helps doing yard work and handi man jobs take care of the cleanup with some assistance from Greg. I had counted our blessings and was checking out some final tests, when I heard some sounds coming from our backyard. To my surprise, my sister Juanelle and her granddaughter Makenzie had slipped in for a visit. Talking about forgetting all of the stress and enjoying some time with them, wow!

I think we should have a national celebration for the family. On that day, no arguments between family members should be allowed. We should only be able to call or communicate with family so friends, business associates should be busy with their families. I have watched over this past week of a family who united and the best part is this is an annual event of a lot of them go to the beach and are together for the entire time. I saw photos of them flying kites. When is the last time any of us found the time to go together and fly kites with the children and adults? Kudos to my dear friends Wanda Medders, her husband, children and grands, Dianne Troupe and her family members, and especially the children and grands of their deceased sister, Teresa Hester. How special and important for them to be included in this family event.

The beach family time with Wanda, Dianne, and Teresa’s families. Great way to celebrate.

Our lives are busy; I get it! All of us have so many things to do or really do we? Tomorrow is Father’s Day and how many plan to see your father if you are blessed to have your father around? Or will other events be more important. I have a rule of mine and it may not mean a hill of beans to anybody reading this……As long as your parents are living, they outrank you on celebrating special days. If you go to your in laws, nothing wrong with that but how does one set of parents outrank the other? Go see both or one on one day and the other on the next. Is this asking too much? Shame on you. So think about how many times they came through for you. Enough said……Have a great holiday and remember, this is one of the days family is celebrated, one member at a time.

LIVE LIFE; LOVE LIFE; LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST BY HONORING THE FAMILY, ESPECIALLY YOUR OWN.

(C) COPYRIGHT Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced to original location if known for credit reference.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY 2019

This year on Father’s Day 2019, I revisit with some additions, a post I wrote about my Daddy’s goats. I thought I would add another poem I wrote recently about Daddy. I realize these are personal reflections of my time with him but the bigger picture is most of my readers could write this topic’s blogs as we have memories of our parents and they are steeped in love. On this special day, pause and remember those times with your Dad.

Here is the original post:

A LOOK BACK TO DADDY’S GOATS is a tribute from Daddy’s girl (me) to my Dad Arlie Lott. You can see who I was named after and miss this man who shared so much of my childhood with hunting and fishing. We rode the country side together and if he had his head under the hood of his 1949 truck, my head was under there too. I treasure those times and I found this post from several years ago. I hope you enjoy the humor in it because that was something my Dad and I shared too. Happy Father’s Day to all Fathers this Sunday.

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Here is the post featuring my attempt at writing a song (you can see I was smart enough to stick with blogging. A little update, I finished the second book and started on the third book.

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TODAY THE WORDS are DADDY’S GOATS.  Usually,from the stories I post which encompass the animals, I get a lot of response. This one may give you a little laugh or smile. Many of you will know who I am talking about when I mention Peggy Mercer, a classmate of mine, author of several children’s books and songwriter  encouraged me to try my hand at song writing. I assured her she might want me to stick to writing on the blog and on the book, but many of you know how persistent Peggy is so here is the first verse and chorus of my “song”  DADDY’S GOATS. The beauty of the story is such a good one for all of us to learn from the goats. They knew how to keep life simple. They had goals and if something happened to upset their completion of those goals (climbing up and going down) they got up and tried again. I miss my Daddy since he died and I miss those special times when we would go out and visit with his animals and what I would give to go fishing with him one more time. When this song writing fiasco happened years ago, I emailed my song to Peggy and once she stops laughing at my amateur attempts at song writing; she will probably tell me to get up and try again LOL.  (Side note: As of July 2015, I have received no offers for song writing contracts so I leave all of that to my friends, especially Michael Rey – Country Songwriter; Lily Nelson; and Peggy Mercer but on a good note, I have published my first novel, “A Mistress, A Wife” and now writing my second one, “Tell Me Lies; Love Me Still”.)

The moral of this story is we may not be good at everything, but it never hurts to try. We may have to try several times to get it right, but we need to keep trying. God allows us, by forgiveness, to try and try again to get our lives and souls right. I hope you smile when you read Daddy’s goats. Live life; love life and live life to the fullest!

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Verse 1

My mind goes back to a better time

When life was simple and people were kind

I would  visit on My Dad’s country place.

The farm; my Dad; and his goats in a line,

Laughing and loving, all the love we could find.

Chorus:

Love was simple way back then

Nobody was mad; everybody was glad

Dad loved his goats and he loved us.

They loved him back like the rest of us.

He was simple in love; he was simple in life.

If life could be free as Daddy with his goats.

Here is the latest poem I wrote about Remembering When:

DADDY, I REMEMBER WHEN….

I remember those times as if they happened yesterday.

I can recall the special times with you in a special way.

A lot of people have referred to me I was Daddy’s girl.

It seemed to me you polished me like a shiny pearl.

Maybe others have memories of going on exotic trips.

I remember the winding roads through mountain dips.

It wasn’t always fun and sometimes even was scary.

Yes, we sat still and quiet while the trip was wary.

Our times of your spoiling may be been frugal.

Bat Masterson’s show brought ice cream for the ritual.

We laughed, joked, and shared some family time.

Our dog Dooley brought his bowl for a treat divine.

Daddy, I remember the fishing, hunting, and visiting

To the country we would go together smiling.

You taught me to always have a daring soul.

With love, discipline, and charity, you played a role.

Daddy, I remember your laughter and your smile.

I never forget the many times we share and each mile.

I remember the pride you always showed to me.

You were my father then and you always will be.

Happy Father’s Day to Our Dad, Arlie Lott

Written by “The Baby” Arline Miller 2019

FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:

Galatians 6:9
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 


(c) copyright 2012-2019 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission. Third party material, if source is known, is credited to original location for credit references.

TO SQUASH THE SQUASH or NOT?

To Squash the Squash or Not? Over the years on the blog, I had referred and/or posted several squash recipes, even squash pie. I love summer squash and today I will make the following recipe with the exception of using only summer squash since I don’t have zucchini. After you look at this yummy recipe, I will add some thoughts on whether to squash the squash or not (hint: not a recipe but a life lesson so stay tuned).

Summer Squash Cheesy Bakeadded by Stacey Lawson

My brother plants a large garden every year and just the other day his zucchini and yellow squash are now ready. I brought some home and wanted something a little different to do with it where they weren’t cooked to a mush.Cook time: 30 Min  Prep time: 15 Min  Serves: 4-6Ingredients1 large zucchini, thinly sliced4 large yellow squash, thinly sliced1 medium onion, chopped4 clove garlic, minced1 Tbsp dried basil1/4 c olive oil1 c Parmesan cheese, freshly shredded1/2 -3/4 c mozzarella cheese, shreddedsalt and pepper, to tasteDirections1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Sauté onions and garlic in two or three tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

3. Prepare a baking dish (approximately 8×8) with non-stick cooking spray.

4. Spread the onions and garlic on the bottom of the baking dish.

5. Stack zucchini and yellow squash alternating vegetables. Make rows in the baking dish, standing the vegetables vertically in the pan. Continue until you fill the pan.

6. Sprinkle squash with dried basil, salt, and pepper; then drizzle with olive oil.

7. Cover pan with foil and bake in 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

8. Uncover pan. Cover vegetables with Parmesan cheese. Return to oven for 10 minutes.

9. Then cover vegetables with mozzarella cheese and return to oven for about 5 minutes until cheese gets golden brown.

10. You can also place it under the broiler.Last Step:Don’t forget to share!
Make all your friends drool by posting a picture of your finished recipe on your favorite socialSummer Squash Cheesy Bakenetwork. And don’t forget to tag Just A Pinch and include #justapinchrecipes so we can see it too!

As you can see variety is abundant in the versatile vegetable. Baked, raw, stewed, and even fried are the many ways of preparation for yummy dishes.
Arline’s 2nd Try Buttered Squash Casserole
Even Salads love Squash Morsels

I am not a recipe blogger, I love squash and on my Pinterest you can find recipes but I thought about squash and it motivated my out of the box blog topic……Squash the squash or not? I would like to share my thoughts with you:

Life is made up of all types of people in all shapes and colors. Some are thin and some are not. Some can talk your ears off and the others you can barely make them out in a crowd. Some have deeper thoughts and serious goals; others just want to have fun. Variety is definitely not confined to squash. People display an even more complex makeup and design and we have our favorites. Some we even find distasteful and we shy away from that flavor or as I like to observe as their personality. We mark them off our grocery list or circle of friends easily and without much thought.

My daughter is her father’s care giver for his dementia. When we were married, his taste was very bland and if you mentioned garlic or any spicy flavored food, he wasn’t having any of it. My daughter is a garlicoholic and makes yummy dishes with a lot of spices and even hot peppers. For whatever reason the dementia has lessened that resistance and he loves spicy, garlic loaded food. Who would have thought it?

Now for the deeper thought: Before we squash the squash or as in this life’s lesson, avoid the people who we don’t butter up to at first….we give it a second try as I did on the dish shown above. I tried it again and with some slight changes, I made a very good dish. If you give people a second chance, you may expand your friend circle or at least make the experience a neutral one instead of one you want to spit out. I am not advocating every bite will be tasty, but sometimes people are an acquired taste not an instant favorite. LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, AND LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST by giving people as well as food a second chance if the first exposure is not the most pleasant.

(C) Copyright 2012-2019 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced to original location, if known, for credit reference.

ENCOURAGE NOT DISCOURAGE

This morning’s blog is not meant for any specific person and doesn’t exclude myself as it is an important message for all of us. When we are in a relationship, a business association, a blogger or even a motivator and especially in a friendship, we can find ourselves in a mixed emotional situation. This is the focus of this message and I feel I can use a refresher course.

STEPS TO ENCOURAGE OTHERS:

  1. Encourage even the smallest effort. …
  2. Stop finding fault with the wrong and applaud the right. …
  3. Look for outwardly demonstrable ways to encourage a person. …
  4. Reject negative responses. …
  5. Make positive comments. …
  6. Write encouraging comments. …
  7. Tell people positive things about themselves. …
  8. Notice when someone does something good.

As usual, I like to get some thoughts flowing so we can evaluate where we stand on this topic and I list some thoughts to get the conversation going:

  • Am I sincere with my comments or is it just fluff?
  • Do I truly care if this person improves his or her self esteem?
  • Have I listened more than I have talked?
  • Is this area of concern or worry an area I have sufficient experience to express ways to improve?
  • Do I offer encouragement or do I express how to do it differently?
  • Do I have the trust of this person to feel my genuine feelings of encouragement?
  • Do I make it known to this person I am interested in their success?
  • Have I evaluated, not judged ways to encourage and not discourage?

Over the years, I have had the blessing of encouraging others and it is probably as meaningful to watch another grow. When others have encouraged me, it had given me hope I am going in the right direction.

However, I have had, and I am sure you have experienced the opposite of encouragement and received discouragement, judgment, opposition, and other forms of distasteful words which injure your confidence. What or how do we handle this form of discouragement? Here are some thought provoking questions for this element of life:

  • How do I receive criticism?
  • Do I feel this statement is meant to encourage or discourage?
  • Do I feel less important or successful after hearing this statement?
  • Do I listen if someone is offering advice or have I dismissed their advice before I hear it?
  • Can I separate encouraging words from discouraging statements?
  • Do I understand the difference between constructive criticism and harsh judgmental criticism?
  • Have I considered my personal methods of speaking to others?

All of us have talents, some expressed and some we have hidden for fear of rejection. I have witnessed some people who have talents which are far more gifted than others who have no problem expressing their gifts. Most of the time, if the hidden talented person is encouraged by those people they trust the most, they will find it in themselves to begin sharing those talents. On a personal note, I have witnessed from my sharing of family memories, personal experiences good and bad, others will share their stories and they are delightful. I sit sometimes and wonder why they wait but that is their choice. We are blessed from their willingness to override their apprehensions. I find if I or others, who have found their voices, step out and begin the conversation, it allows the freedom for expression. This is a form of encouragement.

In all ways, try to improve someone’s days. There are struggles and we should want to help in the fight, whether it is our loved ones, friends, co-workers, and even strangers. When you are expressing your expertise or talents, we can remember the person standing in front of you may be a hidden genius or artist and the right word can be all they need to push them to sharing their talents with us. We will definitely be the winner if this happens. LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, AND LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST by encouraging someone to do the same.

(C) Copyright 2012-2019 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material, if source is known is referenced to original location for credit.

DID SOMEONE SAY SEVENTY?

This morning, as well as a few during the last couple of weeks, I have awakened with the thought of my upcoming birthday. Seventy, did someone say I will be seventy this year? In so many ways, I feel like celebrating and in others, I could let this one silently pass. Wasn’t I just 40 or 50? Where did eight grandchildren come from? Maybe, they keep me young. My wonderful husband has a lot to do with my happy being and I like having him as one of my reasons to be young. I still work, and love my work but shouldn’t I be retired or not? I am writing on my third novel and am loving the story behind it. Is it my creativity keeping me young at heart? I have become a soul seeking peace and am more contented with all that God has given and not missing what others have. Well, as my usual positive self, I will assemble a list of reasons why I should celebrate and not deflate. Here is an article I found which points out the Best Things About Growing Old:

My husband Greg is such an active man and I have to admit we are a good match. This picture was taken around the time we married and even with the changes life gives us as we age, we stay young at heart. Love is a youth serum but allows us to have a great sense of humor at the changes.

Best Things About Growing Old

Here’s a list of 10 great aspects of aging — from the financial perks that come with turning 65, to the personal insights that come with decades of experience:

1. A Happier Outlook

It may surprise some, but studies show that seniors are among the happiest groups of people, and that they are significantly more happy than their middle-aged counterparts.

The author of a study on the subject, Dr. Saverio Stranges, says, “This could be due to better coping abilities. Older people tend to have internal mechanisms to deal better with hardship or negative circumstances than those who are younger.” Another reason seniors may also be happier is because age means that they are “more comfortable being themselves.”

2. Grandchildren

American writer Gore Vidal once joked, “Never have children, only grandchildren.” Grandparents often get to experience the joys of little children without the diaper changes and sleepless nights. Grandparents love their grandchildren, and this love lightens their own heart while simultaneously benefiting the grandchildren who receive this love.

Dr. Karl Pillemer. who studies aging and intergenerational relationships, is a firm believer in the importance of the relationship between children and their grandparents. He notes that, “Research shows children need four to six involved, caring adults in their lives to fully develop emotionally and socially” and that “the grandparent/grandchild relationship is second in emotional importance only to the parent/child relationship.”

3. More Time for Loved Ones

Retirement isn’t inherently joyful or relaxing — it’s how that time is used that makes it special.

One of the best parts of retirement is spending time with family, friends and other loved ones.

4. Opportunity to Pursue Your Dreams

Victorian novelist George Elliot wrote, “It’s never too late to be what you might have become.” The time gained during retirement is an excellent opportunity to pursue dreams and passions that you might have put on hold.

For instance, you can learn a new language, take that trip you’ve always dreamed of, or write the novel in your head that’s been waiting to get out.

5. Participation in Civics and Volunteering

Growing old provides a sense of broader perspective, and it often makes people inclined to focus much of their efforts and energy towards bettering society and creating a better world for future generations.

In addition to spending time with loved ones and pursuing passions and personal dreams, retired seniors have more time to be civically and politically involved, and they do just that.

For example, people over aged 65 vote at a higher rate than any other age group according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. They also volunteer at a high rate. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported that one in four U.S. seniors 65+ actively volunteered during 2015.

6. Wisdom

Smithsonian Magazinearticle described a number of recent studies demonstrating the emotional and intellectual benefits of aging. One study described in the article showed that seniors have better control over their emotions than other age groups. Researchers had participants of all ages play a gambling game “designed to induce regret” and found “unlike 20-somethings, those in their 60s didn’t agonize over losing, and they were less likely to try to redeem their loss by later taking big risks.”

To read some great advice from America’s wisest, see our blog post, “Priceless Advice from Older Americans.”

7. Better Social Skills and More Empathy

Another study described in the aforementioned article asked participants to give advice to hypothetical authors of “Dear Abby” letters. The findings indicated that seniors have have superior empathetic and social abilities. The study said:

“Subjects in their 60s were better than younger ones at imagining different points of view, thinking of multiple resolutions and suggesting compromises.”

While seniors may have acquired better social skills than their younger peers, they can be vulnerable to isolation. Read our blog about helping seniors avoid social isolation to make sure that these skills have a chance to shine.

8. Guaranteed Minimum Income, Medicare and Social Security

In an article about the history of aging, we discussed how, before the 20th century, seniors without the means to support themselves  were forced to move into what were referred to as “poorhouses” or “workhouses.” This was the lot of seniors who were not independently wealthy or who did not have family members who could take care of them.

While poverty is still a big problem among seniors, safety-net programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security mean that American seniors should have a guaranteed minimum income and health insurance even if they aren’t wealthy and don’t have children who can support them.

President Franklin Roosevelt in 1935 described the importance of Social Security and similar safety-net programs that he helped to enact, “We can never insure one-hundred percent of the population against one-hundred percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life. But we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age.”

9. Senior Discounts

As trivial as senior discounts may seem, there must have been a time you envied them. The discounts offered to seniors can help people save money in a period when income tends to be fixed and limited. These discounts also provide a great incentive for seniors to make the most of their retirement, for the discounts are often for the exact types of services that help seniors stay engaged and active, such as dining, medication, entertainment and transportation.

There are even websites like SeniorDiscounts.com which exist to help seniors locate businesses that offer senior discounts.

10. Sense of Accomplishment

Older people often have a healthy sense of pride that comes from their accomplishments. These accomplishments needn’t be great feats.

John Lennon’s lyric, “A working class hero is something to be,” puts it well. Seemingly ordinary achievements like raising a healthy and happy child, being happily married, serving in defense of the nation, or retiring from a job in good-standing after years of dedicated service, can be the foundation of a pleasant contentment in old age.

What is your favorite thing about growing old? We’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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My daughter Missy keeps me young as she is the forever young poster girl. She was and still is a blessing to my life. In all things in life, I know she is by my side. Cherish your children and grands and love each moment you share with them.

Note from Arline Miller, blogger and author about My Feelings About Getting Older: I do feel older but not OLD. I find that the busier I keep my mind the younger I feel. No, I don’t know a lot of the questions on Jeopardy but by watching I have learned more than I used to know. Google is my friend and I don’t hesitate to research something I am interested or at least curious. I think curiosity is a good thing and maybe that is why a cat seems to have 9 lives. If we stay young in our minds, our bodies get deceived and we keep going. I am not going to be on youtube as an acrobatic 90 year old and I don’t try to look 20 in makeup or clothes, BUT what I do is try to live life to MY fullest. I rest when I need to rest: I go when I need to go: I laugh because I like to laugh; and yes, I cry when I need to cry to release any hurt or loss because I loved and will continue to love. I feel songs and sad stories but I don’t allow sadness to be bigger than gladness.

This was taken before I decided to cut my hair. Knowing me, I will let it grow again, only to cut it again and so goes the Arline theme of growing and going.

(C) Copyright 2012-2019 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material, if source is known, is referenced to original location for credit reference.