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Pat Hanson's Heirloom Ring Retrieved After Being Flushed Down Toilet


CENTRAL POINT, Ore. (AP) — Pat Hanson of Central Point says she’s lost about 10 pounds recently, an aftereffect of a fall, and noticed in church earlier this month that her mother’s wedding ring was loose on her finger.

After the service, Hanson used the restroom and, whoops, the ring got flushed. “I just panicked. I wanted to dive down that toilet right after it,” Hanson told Medford Mail Tribune (http://bit.ly/1FpkJz4).

The ring, she said, dates to 1920. Her mother died in 1989, and she’s been wearing it daily since then.

There was little she could do on a Sunday but pray. The next morning, Nov. 10, she and a friend went to the regional sewer utility, Rogue Valley Sewer Services.

Out to the Shepherd of the Valley Catholic Church went four workers, two trucks and portable closed-circuit TV gear.

No luck. The sewer workers broke the news to Hanson. Then the next day, without telling her, they went back to work.

“We didn’t want to get her hopes up,” operations manager Shane Macuk said.

They plugged the sewer main so they could inspect the line when it was dry. They vacuumed up some likely spots for items to accumulate and sorted the vacuumed material in a process similar to panning for gold.

Eventually, worker Travis Cox spotted the ring, and eventually the crew got it out.

With the ring cleaned up, repaired and resized, Hanson is praising the sewer workers and citing the patron saint of lost items.

“I’d done a lot of praying to St. Anthony,” she said. “I feel I ought to write a letter to the pope and let him know we had a miracle here in Central Point.”

___

Information from: Mail Tribune, http://www.mailtribune.com/
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How to Not Be Stupid

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Picture a family of nine children. Now imagine cooking dinner every night (no cheating with take-out), making school lunches (and getting everybody up and out), doing mountains of laundry, helping with homework and changing thousands of diapers for years, and years, and years.

As the oldest of nine kids, I don’t have to imagine it. I watched my mother do all this and more every moment of every day of my childhood. She never stopped, except to eat after everyone else had eaten and fall into bed exhausted at the end of the day.

Now picture a family of four, with one child off at college. It can get busy, but I feel stupid even saying that now.

I felt exceptionally stupid last Saturday. It started out innocently enough when I decided to bake banana bread. Although I’ve been known to cheat and make the kind from the box, I was intrigued by a recipe for “Ultimate” banana bread in the latest issue of Cooks Illustrated.

I peeled five bananas and microwaved them to release their juices (who knew bananas had juice?) Flour was measured, brown sugar packed, walnuts toasted and chopped. I mixed and folded and poured the mixture into a loaf pan, adding sliced bananas on top.

It was beautiful.

The final touch was a sprinkling of two teaspoons of sugar to create a crunchy crust and off it went into the oven.

Fifty-five minutes later a wondrous, home-made creation came out of the oven and slid onto a waiting rack for cooling.

I had to wave my husband away a few times, but as soon as it cooled, we were on it.

And it was… horrible.

My taste buds expected banana, but it was nowhere to be found with two teaspoons of salt burning a hole in my mouth.

How did I mistake salt for sugar?

It could have something to do with my addiction to multitasking. “Why make just banana bread when you can make chocolate chip cookies too? What’s wrong with working on the computer while I follow two recipes?”

What could go wrong?

I want the world to know that this minor catastrophe is completely my mother’s fault. Is there any doubt I learned to multitask at my mother’s knee long before multitasking was even a thing? My work ethic (whereby I think it’s normal to handle multiple things at a time until all hours of the night) is her legacy.

But let’s be honest. I don’t have nine children demanding my attention. In fact, there wasn’t a kid within 50 feet of me when I went off the rails.

No, I’m responsible for my multitasking-induced stupidity. Despite evidence to the contrary, I’m still surprised when my distracted and unfocused monkey mind is not only less productive, but downright dumb.

Ironically, the more thoughts we cram into our brains, the more mindless and less effective we become.

And that’s just stupid.

The antidote to multitasking-induced stupidity is mindfulness. I can throw dinner on the table, or I can slow down and really see what I’m doing. Focusing on the smell, taste and feel of the food in my hands grounds me. With mindfulness, bringing together even a simple dish is a work of creation and a gift of love.

And once I’ve mindfully created dinner, why not mindfully eat it? The secret to filling your life with simple pleasures (and food has to be right up there) is to actually pay attention to them.

It’s not a luxury to really taste your food. Your body deserves to be fed and your consciousness deserves to savor it.

It’s hard to break the multitasking habit. Being “busy” confers a degree of importance; it’s the ultimate status symbol.

Too often, however, “busy” is a smoke screen behind which there’s not a lot actually being accomplished.

But if my banana bread debacle taught me anything, I’ve learned that mindful focus on the still life that is my kitchen is better than a mouthful of salt any day.

Are you like me and struggle to stay in the moment? Post your stories below and join me at my blog. It’s always comforting to know I’m not alone.

Originally published on Positively Positive

Image courtesy of Esther Simpson.

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6 Things Everyone Should Know to Say (or Not Say) About Adoption


November is National Adoption Month and it’s a great time for us all to think about how we can support adoption in our communities. Each year, there are over 100,000 adoptions in the United States and there are more than 5 million people who were adopted living in the U.S. right now. Chances are, each of us has one or more friends or family members who was adopted or who has adopted. So it’s important we all know how to talk about adoption in a respectful way, and avoid accidentally offending our friends and family. I’ve had several adoptions in my family and I’ve talked with over 1,000 adopting families, and you’d be amazed by some of the inconsiderate things people say — even though they aren’t trying to be inconsiderate. Here are six things everyone should know to say, or not say, about adoption:

  1. Don’t say, “Real family.” Do say, “birth family.”

    Sometimes people ask about an adopted child’s “real family,” which unintentionally implies that the adopting parents are not the child’s real family. Instead, they should ask about the child’s “birth family.”

  2. Don’t say, “Adopted parents,” “adopted mom,” “adopted dad.” Do say, “parents,” “mom,” “dad.”

    By putting “adopted” before “parents” or “mom” or “dad”, it is implying you don’t think the parents are “full” parents. But a family is not defined by biology — families are defined by unconditional love, and parents who adopt love their children just as much as parents who give birth.

  3. Don’t say, “Were you unable to have your own children?” Do say, “How did you decide to adopt?”

    This statement is bad news for several reasons. Calling birth children their “own” children, implies you don’t consider children who were adopted to be their “own,” which is not true. Also, this implies that anyone’s first choice would be to have biological children and that adopting is a last resort. Wording like this can make children who were adopted feel inferior, which they shouldn’t. Lastly, it implies that the parents adopted for infertility reasons, which is why some parents adopt, but not all of them. People adopt for many different reasons.

  4. Don’t say, “Where did you get them from?” (Looking at parents with a child of a different race)

    This statement would only be appropriate if you were asking the parents where they bought their clothes. It’s not appropriate to ask this about their children. If you are genuinely interested because perhaps you are also interested in inter-country adoption or domestic transracial adoption, you can ask the parent, preferably not in front of the child, if they have experience with adoption and for their advice.

  5. Don’t say,”Are you worried she’ll want to reunify with their birth parents one day?” Do say, “Has your child had any contact with his birth family?”

    It has become more and more common for children who were adopted to have contact with their birth family throughout their life. This does not mean they will leave their parents to go back with their birth parents. They just become part of the child’s extended family.

  6. Don’t say, “Why did their birth mother give the child up?” or “Why didn’t the birth mother keep her?” Do say, “Why did the birth mother decide to place her child for adoption?”

    “Giving up” or “not keeping” implies the birth mother abandoned the child. Placing a child for adoption implies the birth mother loved the child and made a plan for her.

These are the six positive adoption language phrases I felt were the most important to share. If you are curious to learn more positive adoption expressions, you can go here for an extensive list.
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5 Reasons to Increase Your Ad Budget During the Holidays


When plotting out the marketing and advertising budget for the coming year, it makes good fiscal sense to allocate more advertising resources during the month of December. This may seem like a no-brainer on account of the increase in retail sales due to holiday shopping.

However, holiday sales aside, there are some compelling reasons that make it pragmatic to increase marketing and advertising expenditures during the final quarter, or even month, of the calendar year.

1. Competitive edge over rivals

If you don’t want to get lost in the crowd, standing out among your business rivals relies heavily on advertising and marketing promotions. The fourth quarter, December in particular, is when many retailers pull out their “big guns” in terms of ads, whether these manifest in print, radio, or TV.

According to Jay Ewing, CEO of Bird Golf:

Businesses need to get creative on how they get their promotional messages out. We co-brand with leading hotels and we often discount our packages based on negotiated reductions in room rates. This tactic drives more business to us and the hotels as well as giving the consumer a better price.

Customer giveaways and promotions are another way to entice potential buyers to your door, and the way to guide them there is through advertising. Apparel, technology, and cookware retailers spent twice as much on their holiday advertising in 2013 than they did for the entire calendar year, making this a challenging time to compete if you have not prepared to assertively advertise your business.

2. Consumer shopping trends

It makes sense to increase exposure and put more funds into advertising during the months when more consumers will be making purchases. The fourth quarter typically encompasses the holiday shopping season, but interestingly enough, December is a hot-spot when it comes to catching those last-minute shoppers with alluring ads and enticing deals.

For instance, consider a husband who is shopping for jewelry to give to his significant other for Christmas. It is estimated that 70 percent of male shoppers wait until December to make these purchases. The increases that retailers and vendors see during the holiday shopping season should compensate for the increase in advertising costs, making such spending a wise business investment.

3. Anticipatory advertising

Anticipatory advertising is another reason to pull out the marketing stops in December. Even if consumers have completed their holiday purchases or spent their Christmas shopping funds, you can anticipate another peak immediately after the season. After-Christmas sales events, liquidated holiday merchandise, and even shoppers that receive gift cards and cash under the tree will be looking to spend on December 26th. Advertising during this period of time can result in some impressive sales figures following the Christmas lull.

4. Streamline and liquidate inventories

Another compelling reason to invest more in advertising during December relates to inventories. If you are trying to clear out and liquidate merchandise prior to December 31st, it makes sense to garner maximum exposure through rock-bottom pricing, promotions, or sales events, to try and catch these customers prior to the end of the calendar year.

Since the conclusion of the Christmas season typically evolves into new merchandise lines and products for the coming spring, this could be the last chance for many retailers to liquidate their holiday inventory before they are faced with taking a significant loss on season-specific items.

5. Tax purposes and preparations

Have you heard the expression, “if you don’t use it, you will lose it”? This perfectly sums up the concept of spending more money on your advertising efforts during the final month of the calendar year. Since the majority of your marketing and ad expenses will be written off during the coming tax season, it makes sense to “go out with a bang”, or optimize your efforts during December.

According to Shane Siederman, partner at CPA Tax Planning in Manhattan, New York, there are definite advantages to increasing your marketing expenditures during this time, and it jives perfectly with other factors that come into play for businesses during this time of year.

Another tidbit from Siederman: “A prudent move by accounting firms is to reduce data entry type work, so the technicians or CPAs can focus exclusively on tax planning and reduce the tax burden.”

There are several reasons why it is prudent to utilize more of your ad budget during December, and amping-up your advertising budget during this time can gain valuable credits and deductions that will improve your tax situation in the spring as well.

Here’s a parting thought from Stewart A. Alexander, the Authority Marketing Guy: “Whether you are managing a major retail enterprise or if you are an independent contractor or small business owner, plan on allotting more resources to the end of the calendar year. This will help you and your company compete with business rivals, circumvent consumer shopping trends, and optimize your business-related deductions for the coming tax season.”
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Learning to Let Go

“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.” — Ann Landers

Anyone who witnessed the 10-1 ratio of Elsa vs. Everything Else this Halloween is probably somewhat familiar with the concept of letting go. And, there’s a reason for that. Beyond the popularity of a movie or the catchiness of a particular song, the idea of just letting it all go is the ultimate freedom for many of us. But, it’s also much easier said than done.

I’ve struggled with this concept immensely — not only how to let go of certain aspects of my life, but in identifying which of those things need to be let go of in the first place. Letting go can feel like giving up, giving in, not working hard enough to make something succeed. I’m overcome with a fear of quitting, of losing out, on looking back at decisions I make with regret. And this makes me cling, hold on with dear life, to some of the worst things.

The key, for me, has been to identify those areas in my life where letting go can lift the most weight and engender the greatest long term happiness, and then finding the strength to follow through.

Letting Go of Life Expectations/Frustrations

There are several reasons why life expectations and frustrations go hand in hand. We create an image in our minds of what we expect our lives to be. And, it’s important to have goals and dreams, something to strive for. This can help us lead a rich inner life. But when these expectations aren’t met through a variety of ever-changing circumstances, the frustration sets in. This can be incapacitating.

This cycle of unmet expectations and the onset of frustration has been an incredible struggle for me. I dream big, idealistically — I want to change the world. This passion is a fundamental part of who I am and how I interact with everyone around me. And, while I’ve never been keen on the five-year plan, I certainly have things I want to do and places I want to be.

And, of course, I haven’t done all those things and gotten to all those places just yet. There have been setbacks, road blocks, changes in plans. I’ve found myself at times lost, at times questioning what I was doing and even who I am in the face of these obstacles. I see people around me who seem to have it a whole lot more together than I do, and I sink deeper into those feelings of frustration and failure.

In these moments, I have to let go of those expectations, met and unmet, and learn to roll with the changing tides of what’s happening in my life. I still dream, I still strive to work hard for the life I envision for myself, but I also appreciate where I am now and what I’ve been through to get here. It’s in this place of acceptance that I can begin to put my frustrations in check and just live.

Letting Go of the Past

“What’s done is done” has been a platitude I’ve fought in many aspects of my life. In fact, I think letting go of the past is one of the hardest things to do. First of all, letting go of the past means letting go of pain, sadness, and trauma — those moments and memories that have left lasting scars, have become a part of who we’ve grown to be.

I have my fair share of those wounds and I have spent much of my adult life trying to run and recover from those memories. The hurting brought on by bullying and rejection has affected my concept of self-worth and I’ve fought an often uphill battle to let go of these painful memories and continue to put myself out there in life and love.

I’ve also learned that sometimes letting go of the past means letting go of the people in that past. I am not good at this. I love deeply and I put a tremendous amount of effort into all of my relationships. I pride myself on being a passionate and loyal person when it comes to the people in my life. And, I have a tendency to hang onto toxic connections far longer than I should.

I think we’ve all had at least one of those relationships. And if you’re anything like me, the idea of cutting ties with someone seems impossible. Not only does it feel like erasing the memories you worked so hard to create, but it feels like giving up on someone completely.

When I begin to consider letting go of a relationship with someone, I start to ask questions like “Have I tried hard enough? Loved enough?” But these are perhaps the wrong questions to ask. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how hard you’ve tried, how much you’ve loved, things just aren’t going to work for any number of reasons.

And letting go doesn’t mean you have to stop caring, stop loving, it just means putting distance between yourself and bad situation. This takes a far greater strength then staying.

Letting Go of What’s Out of Your Control

One of the most important lessons of my adult life has been that there are a whole lot of things out of my control. I can’t control health problems. I can’t control what other people do or don’t do, say or don’t say. I can’t control the economy, the state of the world, the weather. And, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The problem is that even though I recognize that so much of life is out of my control, I still get frustrated, angry, bitter even. And, all this does is breed negativity, making it harder to focus on what I can control. I have to let it go.

Sometimes, life is a mess. But instead of living in a perpetual state of expecting the worst, getting lost in the whirlwind of everything that happens to me, I have to just go with it. What I can control is my attitude, my outlook, how I choose to internalize things and what I do in response. By letting go of what I can’t control, I can turn my heart toward what I can, and this opens the door to incredible possibility.

Letting go is never easy. It can be painful and complicated and an ongoing process. But, if I can let go of some of the things that hold me back and weigh me down, I might just find that I can float out here in this big world all on my own.
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Pat Hanson's Heirloom Ring Retrieved After Being Flushed Down Toilet

CENTRAL POINT, Ore. (AP) — Pat Hanson of Central Point says she's lost about 10 pounds recen[...]
How to Not Be Stupid

How to Not Be Stupid

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6 Things Everyone Should Know to Say (or Not Say) About Adoption

November is National Adoption Month and it's a great time for us all to think about how we can sup[...]
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5 Reasons to Increase Your Ad Budget During the Holidays

When plotting out the marketing and advertising budget for the coming year, it makes good fiscal s[...]
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Learning to Let Go

"Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there [...]