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Jax Woodworkers gives away more toys each year

By | artists, gifts, NONPROFITS | 5 Comments

“I’m the last living founding member of Jax Woodworkers. All the others have passed away. I’ve been the Chaplin for many years,” Bobby Clayton said.

Woodrow Connors with Bobby Clayton, two of the four founders of Jax Woodworkers Club.

Woodrow Connors with Bobby Clayton, two of the four original founders of Jax Woodworkers Club.

“My neighbor, Woodrow Connors, had a two-car detached garage in his back yard. That’s where he had all his woodworking equipment. When we moved into the neighborhood, he had been living there several years before us. This is where Woodrow founded the club. I’ve been there ever since the beginning, since the inception. Jax Woodworkers formed with four men, including me. Carmen Fenanelli was a banker and became the treasurer right away. And Ray Reynolds was the other guy. He made a bunch of grandfather clocks and walking canes, plus many, many, many toys over the years. We’re considered to be the founders. But Woodrow was the man, the head man. It started a long time ago,” Bobby said.

Jax Woodworkers started in December 1989 in Woodrow’s garage.

Woodrow Connors with Ray Reynolds, two of the four founders of Jax Woodworkers Club.

Woodrow Connors with Ray Reynolds, two of the four founders of Jax Woodworkers Club.

“Woodrow was already making the crosses. They were designed to be hung in rear-view mirrors inside cars. He brought the idea from the North Jacksonville Baptist Church. He was a member of that church and that’s where he got the idea. He started making crosses in his garage. Each one is made of hardwood. They all have red yarn and a heart that holds the yarn together. His wife, Miriam, used to string the red yarn through the crosses and add the plastic hearts. The crosses were free and not to be sold. He just gave them away. Woodrow made more than 20,000 crosses and today they’re probably all over the world,” Bobby said.

Miriam and Woodrow Connors . . .

Miriam helped her husband, Woodrow Connors, by stringing red yarn through crosses that he gave away for free.

“I have a wood shop in my garage too. I put all my equipment on wheels. When I want to work, I roll everything out in the back and work on it,” Bobby said.

“Woodrow founded the club in his back yard. That’s where we started making toys. I’d walk over there. I was just one of the guys who was helping to get it started. We started with four guys. It grew to 60 plus members. We made thousands of toys and we’d give them all away. None of them are for sale. They’re for small children,” Bobby said.

“We’ve met at different places. We’ve moved around to anyplace that would have us. Now we’re meeting at St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church. We meet on the third Saturday of each month at noon. We eat in the church dining room before we start the meeting. The workers from the church fix us lunch,” Bobby said.

“After we eat, we start the meeting right on time. The president might mention if anyone is sick. Many of the members are older. We also have younger guys and gals and they’re happy to learn from the older woodworkers. They’re very skilled at what they do. Before they retired, some of them were woodworking artists.”

“The president always starts the meeting with a prayer and the pledge of allegiance. That’s important, the prayer part. Make sure you put that down. The secretary reads the minutes from the past meeting. Then the safety officer gives a safety report. Working with saws can be very dangerous, especially with small projects. He reads and speaks from his own personal experience. You don’t put thin plywood in a planer, for example. If you do it will fire bullets. This is just an example. You should never plane a piece of plywood,” Bobby said.

“On the third Saturday of November each year, all the members bring in the toys for distribution. Some of the toys go to Shriners. There are about fifteen agencies that come to pick up the toys during the pick-up time. We divide them between the groups. Some people take them to the hospitals and give them away,” Bobby said.

Jax Woodworkers club members lay out all the wood toys to prepare for pick up.

Jax Woodworkers club members lay out all the wood toys to prepare for pick up.

“The members of Jax Woodworkers make about 5,000 toys a year. In November, we spread the toys out all over the floor. People come with boxes to get the toys. They go fast,” Bobby said.

“One of the club’s biggest expenses is wheels. The wheels are expensive. The toy chairman orders wheels and axles with money collected from annual membership dues,” Bobby said.


Jax Woodworkers Club purchases the majority of their wheels from Woodworks.


Jax Woodworkers members make thousands of toys each year

Jax Woodworkers members prepare thousands of handmade toy cars, trucks, planes and other wood toys for their annual giveaway.

“Every year we make thousands of toys for the various agencies The American Legion, Sulzbacher Center. Some of them I never heard of before, such as a group for babies of prisoners,” Bobby said.

Jax Woodworkers . . .

Jax Woodworkers lay out all the toys for distribution each November for various nonprofits to come pick them up.

“The people who receive these toys are invited back from last year to this year and they tell about giving them away. When the children go into the room with plastic toys and wooden toys, they always run to the wooden toys. People get up with tears in their eyes to tell what a joy it is to get the toys. The men are humble. When you lay 5,000 toys out on the floor, it’s quite a sight. The woodworkers don’t want any credit. They’re just doing the work of the Lord,” Bobby said.

Jax Woodworkers . . .

Jax Woodworkers Club gives away thousands of handmade wood toys each year.

“The woodworkers have such great camaraderie. They’re not trying to outdo the other ones. They’re just trying to do something for the children,” Bobby said.

“One of the main places we get our wood is Rulon in St. Augustine. They supply us with wood. They’re in the business of making ceilings and wall systems for properties all over the world. We’ve developed a relationship with Rulon to get their wood. So we get choice wood, quite often poplar and black walnut. Rulon makes fancy commercial ceilings,” Bobby said.


“One of our members, Greg Fisher, found out about Rulon from a friend who was getting wood from them. Greg went to see Rulon to tell them what Jax Woodworkers Club does and our need for any wood they could give us. Rulon was happy to give us wood to make toys for needy children. They have been doing this now for over six years. Each meeting there is a pickup truck full of wood for our members donated by Rulon,” said Web Master Bob Corona.

Rulon International Jax Woodworkers Club Jacksonville Florida warehouse St. Augustine Florida Jacksonville community

Rulon International is committed to giving back to the community. They have been donating wood to Jax Woodworkers Club since 2010.


“I like this club because it gives us an opportunity to be of service to the Lord to see the children light up when we give them a toy. Aside from that, I personally enjoy getting a hold of a plan, making the toys, and sharing ideas on how to make different ones,” Bobby said.

“The woodworkers also build a lot of stuff for show-n-tell that’s not given away. We have show-n-tell at every meeting except December when we have our Christmas party. The callers make the calls to remind people about the meetings a few days before,” Bobby said.

“Making toys is our main goal, but at each meeting we do show-n-tell. The show-n-tell officer chooses a topic such as drill press or table saw. They’ll bring stuff in that they made with this equipment. We have a table full of stuff that has nothing to do with giveaway toys. Some guys come in with cabinets they’ve built or airplanes. We take it in and show it. You leave your name by your piece and someone will call you up to explain how you made it. And then people ask questions like, ‘what kind of glue did you use’ and so on,” Bobby said.

Bobby Clayton talking about a ukulele he made at Jax Woodworkers Show-N-Tell

Bobby Clayton at Jax Woodworkers March 2014 meeting during show-n-tell, describing how he made this ukulele.

“I made a ukulele once. I brought it in and showed it and played it. I’ve brought clocks in and showed them. I’ve probably made about twenty different clocks, one big grandfather clock. We have three grandfather clocks in our house. My father had an old clock made in Mississippi. it’s a little over three feet high. That’s what got me interested in clocks,” Bobby said.

“A few years ago a gentleman called the Jax Woodworkers Club to find out if anyone would be interested in purchasing a grandfather clock kit that his father purchased in 1991 from the Wisconsin Clock Company. That same year his father passed away leaving the kit in limbo for nine years. I negotiated a price that included all the basic parts including the movement and, to my surprise, a nine-tube striking system. I didn’t keep a record of how long it took to complete the project, but I would estimate between six to nine months, of course, part time,” Bobby said.

Bobby Clayton built . . .

Bobby Clayton has a number of clocks chiming every quarter hour throughout his home. This grandfather clock that he built from a kit, is the largest of his collection.

Sawdust Trails can be any Saturday of the month except during our monthly meeting. A member will host a gathering at their home. These events usually have about fifteen to twenty people. People volunteer and invite people to come to their house for breakfast on Saturday. This gives the other members a chance to see their workshop and learn something. We call this Sawdust Trails,” Bobby said.

Jax Woodworkers Club members Naylor Sawdust Trail gathering men Jacksonville Florida

Jax Woodworkers Club members at Jim and Wilma Naylor’s Sawdust Trail gathering in March, 2016.

“In December we have a Christmas party. People dress up in costumes. If you want to bring a gift, you can. If you do, then you get a ticket and pick a gift that looks attractive. It’s fun. We sing Christmas carols. All the wives are invited and many of them come. There are mostly men who do the woodworking, but some women do too,” Bobby said.


“Margaret Miller was the president for years. She kept us together. She stepped down to let others have a chance. She’s a woodworker. She makes some pretty good stuff. We have a mission statement, by-laws, and a full slate of elected officers,” Bobby said.

Margaret Miller holding an award she received in recognition for all her years leading Jax Woodworkers Club. The plaque was presented to her at the club's June 2015 meeting.

Margaret Miller holding an award she received in recognition for all her years of leading Jax Woodworkers Club. The plaque was presented to her at the club’s June 2015 meeting.

“We need help to get the word out there about Jax Woodworkers. Our club has many elderly members and young people are more into technology, so getting new members is difficult. I was president for six years. It was an honor and a privilege to be part of this great organization who, for over 25 years, have worked hours and hours to see to it needy children receive toys at Christmas. These members with beautiful hearts are a gift to the community,” said Margaret Miller.


Woodrow Connors went to join his Maker in Heaven on February 6, 2009. He was 95 years old. But this hasn’t stopped Jax Woodworkers from carrying out Woodrow’s vision of making more and more toys each year.

Woodrow Connors has made, and given away, more than 20,000 of these crosses. He gives them away for free. "The Gospel is free. Jesus didn't charge anything. How can i?" Woodrow said.

Woodrow Connors has made, and given away, more than 20,000 of these crosses. He gave them away for free everywhere he went. “The Gospel is free. Jesus didn’t charge anything. How can I?” he said.


“Woodrow wanted to expand the club. There’s another woodworkers club in Jacksonville at Woodcraft. They sell woodworking equipment and wood. There are many woodworking clubs all over the country. If you look up woodworkers, you can find many of them out there,” Bobby said.

Jax-Woodworkers-Corinthians-Bible-verse-reap-sow-gifts-wood-toys-handmade-airplanes-cars-trucks-wheels-DrLorraine

“I truly appreciate my daughter, Lorraine Haataia, and the work she did to pull this story together,” Bobby said.

Recipients of toys made by Jax Woodworkers Club include, but are not limited to, the following organizations:

Argyle-United-Methodist-Church-logo-Fort-Worth-Texas

.

childrens-home-society-of-florida-embracing-children-inspiring-lives-logo

.

Methodist-Childrens-Village-growing-kids-character-child-care-Jacksonville-Florida-curriculum-instruction-kindergarten-teachers-enroll

.

Northeast-Florida-Community-Hospice-compassionate-guide-logo

.

shriners-hospitals-for-children-logo-love

.

St. Andrew Episcopal Church

.

Sulzbacher Center Way Home logo

.

Jax-USO-logo-Jacksonville-support-services-home-mission-families-homefront-military-armed-forces-volunteer

.

Wolfson-Childrens-Hospital-Baptist-Health-pediatric-Florida-Jacksonville-community-patients-quality-health-mission

Happy birthday tip: Plan something spectacular every month

By | birthdays, gifts | 2 Comments

Think about how many obligatory trinket and gadget gifts you’ve received over the years . . . the ones you forget about within a few weeks. Most are a waste of money, right?

What if there was something you could give yourself that would change the course of your life? Too good to be true? Not so. You don’t have to spend any money, but you have to do something that’s even more difficult for most. You have to invest a little time thinking about your future. One of the best gifts you can receive on your birthday is one you give to yourself.

“It’s my wife’s birthday tomorrow,” my friend told me. “So last week I asked her what she wanted as a present. ‘Oh, I don’t know ,’ she said. ‘Just give me something with diamonds.’ That’s why I’m giving her a pack of playing cards. Jokes4Us

When was the last time you got your car aligned? It was probably more recently than the last time to aligned your activities, habits and lifestyle with your passion, dreams and deepest desires. The more your daily activities align with these, the more likely you are to be happy, productive, likable, and in the long run, more successful. This can be the happiest year of your life.

Lots of people wait until New Year’s Eve to make a resolution or set new goals. But consider this: your birthday is your own personal New Year’s Day. This is an ideal time to reflect on the prior year of your life. What went well? What do you want to increase in your life? What do you want to decrease or eliminate?

How to get happy now via habits, goals and resolutions

If you create a clear vision and top it off with strong desire, you can have an amazing year. Begin with what you want your life to be this time next year. Can you really change your life in a year?

Think big. A woman (with a little help from a man) can create a new life in nine months. As an intelligent adult who knows you better than anyone else, you should certainly be able to make a few adjustments in your life’s direction in the next 9-12 months, right?

TipForaHappyBirthday
In the next nine months, you could move to a new location, get a new job, or turn your hobby into a business. You can improve a relationship or get yourself out of a bad one. You can save up to travel to that place you’ve been wanting to go. What do you want to do? It’s your life and it’s your new year. Why not make it a good one?

It’s helpful to set monthly milestones that get you closer to where you want to be. If you’re unhappy with your long work commute, for example, there are many ways to solve the issue:

  • find a new job
  • work with your employer to work from home some of the time, or all of the time
  • find a new place to live
  • turn your favorite hobby into a business with a plan to quit your jobl
  • learn a new skill so you can work toward a promotion or new occupation
  • use public transportation or a carpool to get to work so you can make better use of your commute time

Any one of these could be a monthly milestone to help you reach your goal.

This CAR game will drive you crazy

It’s easy to look at an issue, such as a long commute, and feel stuck. If you feel stuck in a job, home or relationship, think about this. Assuming you make it to your next birthday, you’re going to be busy living life each and every day. You’re going to have some happy days and some stressful days. Life is a roller coaster. So why not spend your up and down days taking action to build a happier future for you and the people around you?

the-roller-coaster-angela-l-walker

The Roller Coaster by Angela L Walker

Lots of people choose to mask their dissatisfactions with nonproductive pastimes such as:

  • drinking too much
  • overeating
  • zoning out on video games, movies or TV
  • following rabbit trails on social media
  • watching spectator sports

Perhaps some of your closest friends or family members attempt to indulge and subdue you with similar junk on your birthday: pizza, cake, ice cream, sodas, alcohol, gag gifts and so on.

If you cycle deeper into these escapes year after year, it’s easy to let an entire year go by without changing anything. You will have all the same problems next year that you have now, and possibly even more. Would you like to put your head down in the sand or up in the sky?

What goes up and never comes down?

Your age. Jokes4Us

There’s no such thing as bad habits

Your life is like a garden. Weeds are always growing. Life weeds are the issues that inevitably come up in relationships, work, health, or finances, for example. You have to continue to weed your life garden in order to refresh your mind, body and soul.

If you decide to concentrate on your most pressing issues one-by-one, in search of solutions, you can eventually find ways to resolve them. Choose to pull the weeds out of your life. If you do, you can look forward to this time next year with excitement and anticipation. Everyone gets one day older every day, but few continue to grow and mature into their full potential day after day. Do you want to be average or above average?

TantrumCartoonNickAndZuzu

As you plan your most important milestones for each of the upcoming twelve months, have a vision in mind. Close your eyes and picture yourself one year from now. What would you like to be, do or have? How is it different from now? What bridges do you need to build to get there?

As you consider the changes you need to make, it helps to set milestones for the upcoming twelve months. Be reasonable. Don’t underestimate or overestimate what you can do in the next 30, 60 or 90 days. The most important thing is that you get started and create movement in the direction you want to go.

How to have a very happy birthday

Once you begin taking actions to create change, momentum builds and propels you forward, helping you find the ways and means to skip steps and accomplish goals faster than you originally anticipated. The more you engage others in your vision and the more activities you take toward it, the luckier you become.

This can be your happiest birthday ever. Now that you have the gift, it’s up to you to decide what to do with it.

This is your life. Are you who you want to be? Is it everything you dreamed that it would be? Switchfoot

CLICK ON IMAGE TO SUBSCRIBE NOW to Rascal Radio. This is the world’s first online personal development radio service. By putting the right thoughts into your mind every day, you can start living the life you’ve always wanted to live. You only have one life. You’re worth it.

 

Meditation: The answer to all your problems

By | gifts, healthcare, NONPROFITS | 2 Comments

Most of our daily lives are dominated by a busy outer world, much of which we can’t control. This causes us to miss what’s going on inside of us. We become disconnected with who we are and what makes us truly happy and fulfilled. Many people try to find prosperity in the outer world by striving for more and more things or experiences which only drains them even more.

Change begins from within. If you’re unhappy with some aspect of your life, you’ve probably been searching for the solution in the wrong places. Chances are, the answer has been within you all along, but you’ve never been taught how to get to it. When was the last time you thought about your thinking?

meditation meeting

Meditation is a simple mental technique from Hindu tradition. Here’s what you do. Get into a comfortable seated position. Then close your eyes and repeatedly think of a word, sound or phrase, your mantra. Many practitioners recommend that you do this twice a day for 15-30 minutes or more.

During this time you allow all thoughts and distractions to pass through your mind like clouds passing by in the sky. Let them flow without passing judgment or allowing them to destabilize your emotions or sense of balance. As you do this, you’re fully aware of your body and surroundings in the present moment, yet you let everything pass through you.

Meditation promotes deep relaxation resulting in greater inner awareness. Some people say it helps them to feel centered. David Lynch is film director, musician and actor who has been practicing meditation since 1973. He says that it’s like being in an elevator that takes him up.

“It has given me tremendous effortless access to unlimited reserves energy, creativity and happiness deep within.” says Lynch.

Not only does he get tremendous personal benefit from meditation, he saw how much it could help anyone regardless of their age or life circumstances. In 2005 he started the David Lynch Foundation for consciousness-based education and world peace. Today the foundation teaches meditation to children and adults in countries all over the world with sometimes astounding results.

You can meditate almost anywhere. The more you do it, the more creative you can become in finding new ways to incorporate it into your everyday life. Sogyal Rinpoche

Deep breathing can help to enhance your experience. When you become consciously aware of your breathing, it has an immediate calming affect.

You can also experiment with candles, incense, sunlight or other natural relaxants. Go out into nature whenever possible for even greater benefit. If you want to get some exercise at the same time, try meditating while breathwalking. Huffington Post

Some people incorporate yoga with meditation. When you begin by doing yoga to stretch out your body, it may help you to reach a more intense state of relaxation. Some people like to sit in a lotus position after stretching, while others prefer to lie down. It’s completely up to you. It’s best to do yoga on an empty stomach, so the combination of yoga and meditation can be a great way to begin and end your day.

Meditation has a way of removing filters, blocks, fears, doubts, torments and pains from within. Some say it helps to ward off their depression, anxiety, stress and more.

Meditation cartoon catsMeditation isn’t a religion, but it may help you to tap into your spirituality. Meditation isn’t a formal treatment, but it may improve your sense of well-being. Meditation isn’t a science, but you may get measurable results. BBC

Observe animals and toddlers. They live in the moment without passing judgment. Their bodies and minds are free. Meditation helps you free your body and mind as you move into a higher sensitivity to your surroundings. It recharges your mind and body in a powerful way that you can only discover over time.

Many people tout the benefits of meditation, saying that once they started, they wanted to continue every day. A surprising number of successful people practice meditation: Mahatma Ghandi (Indian nationalist leader), Rupert Murdoch (one of the richest people in the world, Dr Andrew Weil (holistic doctor, naturopath, author and professor), Dalai Lama (spiritual leader) and many other successful celebrities and executives. Business Insider

Russell Simmons - Transcendental Meditation

Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons says that meditation promotes happiness. “It teaches you to appreciate now. It brings you close to your power. Meditation is for any one of us who want the cycle of good to happen, want to be optimistic, want to be an inspiration, want to make everybody else’s lives better so they can be better. Meditation promotes stillness. When you’re still is the only time you can think.” YouTube 4-minute clip.

Meditation “transformed me and many of my friends,” said Apple CEO, Steve Jobs. “It was profound.” In his younger years, he created a meditation space in his attic complete with Indian prints, candles and meditation cushions. He read books like Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Chogyam Trungpa and Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda (a book he read once a year ever since he was a teenager).

Challenges and difficulties can come at you at anytime day or night in the form of thoughts, physical symptoms, or other human or technological interventions. This sludge can cause you to lose clarity and focus. Meditation gives you a release valve to understand what’s most important now. That’s why companies like Google,  Twitter, Facebook and many others in Silicon Valley are also embracing Eastern traditions such as meditation. Wired

Meditation helps you to become more attached to the present moment, while become detached from worldly things and thoughts. Some find meditation so effective, even more powerful than the effect of drugs. It’s easy to get hooked on meditation because of its profound benefits. In the beginning, you might want to keep a journal to note your experience.

You can begin practicing meditation on your own now. If you’re looking for a layman’s guide to getting started, check out Meditation for Beginners 22-Day Course by Vern Lovic. He provides simple steps to calm the circus in your mind. I like this book because it’s a casual description of one man’s journey. Yours may be very different. 

As is true with any good habit, you get the most benefit with regular practice over time. You can’t expect meditation in itself to solve your problems right away. But it may become one of your most valuable habits in maintaining a more satisfying and balanced life.

Once you experience the benefits of meditation, you may want to get some training. Look for practitioners or a Meetup in your area. Some centers charge for their services, while others are nonprofit faith-based organizations. 

There are many different meditation techniques, so if you decide to get some instruction, don’t hesitate to experiment with different methods until you find one that’s right for you. David Wants to Fly

Are you ready to become an Urban Monk?

One day a student at the went to meditate with two monks as part of his education. They went to the opposite side of the lake from a monastery and were about to start their morning meditation when the first monk said, “oh no, I forgot my mat.” So he walked calmly across the surface of the water to the monastery and returned with his mat. Then the second monk said, “I forgot my sun hat,” so he ran across the surface of the water to the monastery and returned with his hat.

The student was astounded by this and at the end of the meditation he tried to walk across the water. He fell straight in and emerged soaking wet. The two monks watched his failed attempts for a while. The first monk said to the second, “do you think we should tell him where the stones are?” Metta

How to Live Forever: Laugh More, Eat Less

Please get back to me later to let me know what meditation is doing for you.
Telling someone about meditation is one of the greatest gifts you can give.
Pass it on.

Namaste

Art of LIving logo

How to Save money: 7 Silly Secrets for Shopaholics

By | gifts, holidays, money | No Comments

You’ve already heard advice like “make a list before you shop,” or “pay cash for everything you buy,” but why bother with silly things like this when you can buy now and pay later? Not many people are willing to give up shopping for a year like Colin Beavan or Judith Levine, but most people can benefit from a few tips on how to save money when shopping. Here are a $even $illy $ecrets for $hopoholics:

1. Wear casual clothes when you shop. 

You know how some people get showered and all gussied up to go shopping? Don’t do that. If you go out in a pair of old sweats, your pajamas or your underwear, you’re more likely to shop faster. Millions of Walmart shoppers are using this strategy to help save money. Check out the People of Walmart website or the People of Walmart video to see how easy it is to pull together some minimalistic outfits for shopping. The worse you look, the quicker you’ll want to get back home.

shopping in underwear cartoon Tim Wyatt is a cartoonist who lives on a remote island
about 10,000 miles off the coast of New Jersey called Australia.

2. Avoid shopping in malls or stores that are larger than a football field. 

If you spend an entire day in shops and malls searching for shoes when you already own hundreds of pairs, you might be a shopaholic. This is just one of the many Confessions of a Shopaholic. Big name stores are set up to entice you into making impulse buys. Even when you have a shopping list, you have to pass by hundreds or possibly thousands of things you had no intention of buying. Bigger stores mean you’re going to waste more time wandering around and you’re more likely to purchase things you don’t need.

Whether you’re in a big box store or a mall, you’re forced to waste a lot of time getting to the few things you came for. Did you realize that American malls and stores have enough square footage to fit everyone in North America, South America and Europe inside all at one time? These glitzy mazes are full of hallways, aisles, fountains, slow escalators, endcap displays, music and smells, all designed to hypnotize and consumerize. Shopping atmospheres work so well that millions of people feel good about charging their way into debt.

3. Shop with two frugal friends.  

Some people use shopping as a way to zone out and forget their troubles. If you find that you lie about your purchases or hide them from family, you may need more frugal friends on your autodial. You need to shop with people who are so cheap that they wouldn’t even consider downloading a 99-cent app for deals. When you shop with frugal friends, you’re more likely to make fewer purchases.

Your frugal friends can help you decide whether you need To Buy or Not to Buy. If you get into a disagreement or have a shopping breakdown, they’ll outnumber you. They’ll win the argument and you’ll have one on each side of you to grab your arms and pull you out of the store. If your withdrawal symptoms are too bad, they might allow you to get something on Freecycle to help ease your discomfort. You can learn a lot from frugal people . . .

4. Listen to sermons by Reverend Billy’s Church of Stop Shopping.

Reverend Billy is seriously hilarious! He’s on a mission to $ave People from their $hopping addictions and their condemnation into eternal debt. “Nearly 1 in 5 Americans may be clinically addicted, compulsive shoppers,” he says. Reverend Billy and The Stop Shopping Choir are performance activists who have turned the First Amendment into the lyrics for a gospel tune.

Thank God kids go to school to learn how to sit still and pay attention, and to raise money holding bake sales and car washes, but unfortunately they don’t learn other practical things like how to prepare a budget or pay bills and taxes. “Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money on things they don’t have for things they don’t need.” Will RogersWatch Reverend Bill’s film What Would Jesus Buy? for free on YouTube. Stop shopping! “The Shopocalypse is coming,” he warns . . .

5. Track the number of hours you spend shopping. 

If you can go into a clock shop for more than an hour and enjoy every minute of it, you might be a shopaholic. You may know how much money you’re spending, but you may not realize how much time you’re wasting until you actually keep track of it. Use your calendar or a journal to note how many hours you spend shopping in stores and online. Be sure to include the time it takes you to get to the store and back, wait in line, assemble products, store things and anything else associated with buying stuff.

Keep a supply of rubber bands or bracelets on hand and put one around your wrist for every hour you shop. Let them accumulate for a week. Keep them on all day and night as a reminder. Then start over the next week and see if you can reduce the time. When you’re pulling out your credit card or cash for something you know you don’t need, you might want to tug on the the rubber bands to remind yourself of the sting of spending money.

Once you have a better idea of how many hours you spend shopping, you can brainstorm better ways you could be using your time. Challenge yourself to have fewer rubber bands on your wrist each week. As you become more like Miss Minimalist, you’ll have more money and free time to enjoy life in new ways.

There’s no such thing as bad habits 

 

shopping online cartoon

 

6. Spend time instead of money. 

If you go into grocery stores and take other people’s full carts when they aren’t looking just because you’re in a hurry, you might be a shopaholic. Many people feel the urge to shop before they go to a party or family gathering. Some people use the excuse that they need to spend large sums of money to show the depth of their love.

Some people have turned their holiday gatherings into ceremonies focused on how well the house is decorated and how well the gifts are wrapped. All the time you spent shopping, decorating and wrapping is time that you could have spent with family or friends doing more meaningful things.

The media glorifies gift-giving as if the cost of the gift is the measure of your love. But as Reverend Billy says, “you don’t have to buy a gift to give a gift.” When you’re shopping it’s easy to lose your sense of time. During store hours, there’s no past or future. You won’t find clocks in stores. The system is designed to make you believe that you need to buy more stuff now in order to live life to the fullest in the present moment. It’s a fantastical world of make believe. Next time plan to spend time instead of money, and if you feel you must provide a gift, give a gift card . . .


7. Get help from Shopaholics Anonymous.

Terry Schulman of Shopaholics Anonymous is a specialist in shopping addictions such as overspending, hoarding, shoplifting and employee theft. He recently helped a man who got caught stealing ice skates from a sports shop. The guy is making some progress. At least he knows now that he should have waited until he left the store before he put them on.

Here are a few facts from Schulman’s book Cluttered Lives, Empty Souls: Compulsive Stealing, Spending and Hoarding. Over 10%, or 30 million Americans, are shoplifters. About 75% of people repeatedly steal from their employers. Check out what he has to say about compulsive shopping . . .

Many of the shiny and beautiful new things in stores are made in sweatshops by people living in poverty. Happiness can’t be bought this way. In the long run, it’s bad business for the makers and the buyers. It’s is an evil cycle that’s coming back to bite those who have profited as others have suffered. As Americans continue to buy cheap things made abroad, it’s only fair that they’re now giving up retirement benefits, jobs and in some cases even homes in their homeland.

The average American is $225,238 in debt and about $16,000 of that is credit card debt. The problem with credit card debt is that “the amount you owe increases almost as fast as you can pay it off. In fact, the credit card companies plan it that way,” says Douglas Adams, an accountant who helps people sort out their finances and deal with credit card issues.

Money can buy a clock . . . but not time.
Money can buy a bed . . . but not sleep.
Money can buy a book . . . but not knowledge.
Money can buy medicine . . . but not health.
Prem Rawat

But enough of this serious stuff. I’m sure you’re ready to get back to shopping. Before you leave, please be sure to buy everything mentioned in this post. It just might be the smartest buying decision you make all year! Good buy.

Looking for more ways to acquire, keep and produce more money? CLICK HERE now to start living your dream life!

Tired of living paycheck to paycheck? You have the power to improve your finances and develop financial fitness. CLICK ON IMAGE now to learn the offense, defense and playing field of money. You can become financially free!

 

YouCaring: A Toadly Awesome Fundraising Tool

By | gifts, healthcare, NONPROFITS, parenting | One Comment

Harry the Hungry Frog

You know why are frogs so happy? Because they eat whatever bugs them.  AllAboutFrogs

Does it bug you that you don’t know what to do when a friend is facing a serious life challenge?

One thing that makes social media sites so engaging is that you never know what you’re going to see next: a joke, a dog or a frog. Anything’s possible.

While one friend is posting a profile of his wife’s very pregnant belly, someone else is checking his kid into an emergency room. How did the frog get hurt? He jumped to the wrong conclusion. It’s a real-time reality sitcom, soap opera and tragedy all at the same time.

One day, more than a decade ago, my husband and I were doing what we often did . . . driving around in our SUV loaded with kids looking for an affordable place to feed the family. As we were passing through fast food strip-mall lined suburbia, my youngest stepdaughter pointed out the window and said she wanted to eat at Chewys.

Chevys Fresh Mex

Everyone started cracking up. She had no idea why, so she continued on about how much she liked Chewy chicken, which made every laugh even louder.

“What,” she kept asking. “What’s so funny?”

We didn’t have Facebook back then, but if we did, our friends would have heard about this one.

“Daddy,” a teen girl asked her father, “how much does it cost to get married?”

“I don’t know,” he responded. “I’m still paying for it.” Jokes4All

If you have kids, you know how costly they can be, upwards of $200,000 each by the time they graduate from high school. Housing accounts for about a third of that expense, while child care and food combined accounts for another third. USA Today

One day a little girl brought home a story that she wrote. It was about a hungry frog. A proud father was inspired. Author Larry Levy elaborated on his daughter’s story and developed it into a book about Harry the Hungry Frog.

That’s how I first met Larry. He said “yes” when I invited him to talk to a group of writers. He shared a fun story about a frog who ventured out to find delicious food. That was several years ago.

Recently, Larry shared a different story . . .

Even when kids are relatively healthy, medical bills can put families in a pinch. So you can imagine how hard it is for a parent who suddenly has a mailbox full of doctor bills and hospital expenses he can’t afford.

Larry is a father who knows what this is like. And to make matters worse, doctors still haven’t found a cure. How would you feel if your child couldn’t even eat without being in pain?

To this day I still smile every time I drive by Chewys. I wonder what Larry will be thinking about his daughter Mya when he looks back ten years from now?

Next time a friend or family member is facing a serious illness, you don’t have to feel toadly helpless. Think about what you can do to offer just a little hope or hoppiness.

Here are numerous ways you may be able to help Mya or others like her who are ill:

  • Contact Larry if you know a medical professional who may be able to help with her unusual illness.
  • Ask if there’s anything specific you can do to help. Buy a Hungry Frog book to help support her family, for example.
  • Share her story with your friends and family who may be able to help.
  • Offer a donation through YouCaring to help with fundraising for her medical expenses.
  • Give her a reason to smile, or even better, a reason to laugh. Jokes for Your Friends Who Are Sick and Tired
  • Bring a smiling stuffed animal for her to snuggle with and to remind her to search for ways to smile every day. Frogs can turn into princes and wishes can come true.
  • Learn about her illness so you can better understand what she’s going through. “A new study showed that licking a frog can cure depression, for example. The downside, however, is that as soon as you stop licking, the frog gets depressed again.” Jay Leno quote on MichaelsWorld
  • Visit her in the hospital. Remember to fill the parking meter so your car doesn’t get toad.

You Caring

Aromatherapy Gifts for Nosy People

By | dream, gifts, health, Natural Remedies, restrooms, Sleep | One Comment

Kids who rely mainly on their vision are called “visual learners.” They say things like, “look at me!” As adults they say, “I see what you mean.” When you know what to look for, it’s easy to detect a person’s dominant sense, especially in children. But unfortunately, many adults lose touch with their good sense.

nosy person

The five basic senses are visual, tactile, auditory, gustatory and nosy. Each of us has a dominant one. You probably know plenty of nosy people, but you may not be familiar with which aromatherapy products are best suited for different types. Let’s eavesdrop on a few nosy peeps.

Number One: Tinker Bells

Social Tinker Bells enjoy going out for drinks with friends. Social tinklers invite a friend to join them when they go to the restroom. It gives them time to ask personal questions about the other people with them.

Shy tinklers go alone. At work they spend their break time in the restroom listening to their coworkers make stall calls. Tinklers don’t care whether their colleagues are calling to argue with their spouse, or calling about why their credit card was denied. It’s all good stuff.

imagesNosy tinklers like to pee a little and save some more for later, like dogs do when they go on walks. Why waste a good pee all at once? They spend a lot of time in the bathroom tinkering around, powdering their noses and rearranging their hair. So it’s convenient for them to have aromatherapy products in the bathroom where they can access them easily.

LUSH products are ideal gifts for Tinker drinkers who use colognes, perfumes, or breath fresheners to cover up the smell of alcohol. LUSH products are a powerful remedy they’ll love.

If you’re drawn to the enticing smells of essential oils from nature, you can’t help but go inside a LUSH to snoop around and sniff their fragrant items. If you’ve ever been near a LUSH, you know what I’m talking about. You can smell them coming and going. Tinker Bells can’t resist.

Number Two: Loggers

When loggers visit you, they’ll ask to use the bathroom to wash their hands, but the truth is, they’re full of crap. What they really want to do is look in your medicine chest to see what types of prescriptions you’re taking and look under your sink to see what they might dig up. They don’t mean to butt-in, but they can’t help themselves.

That’s why you should stock your bathroom with Trap-A-Crap. It’s the perfect product for people like loggers, hunters and campers who know how much a few good logs can put out. You don’t have to be a professional logger to recognize the smell of fresh cut wood.

A lot of people don’t like loggers. They believe that deforestation is harming the planet, so people are banding together in organizations like the World Wildlife Fund and The Nature Conservancy to save the trees. Talks are underway between the tinklers and loggers. They’re planning on uniting to help protect the rainforest.

Number Three: Physicians

Nosy tactile people become gynecologists, nurses and moms. They’re genuinely into people. But in order for them to do their job well, they have to ask a lot of questions and do a lot of poking around. Sometimes this can be uncomfortable.

Olbas aromatic oil is an herbal remedy that loosens muscles, soothes nasal passages, and even reduces symptoms of nausea. It’s a sensational multi-purpose product they’ll love.

Olbas Oil is made in an olfactory in Basel, Switzerland. For more than 100 years, Olbas’ products have been delighting people throughout the world. According to the makers, “The synergistic combination of these six essential oils provides amazing sensations to your body at multiple levels.” I want some of that, don’t you?

Number Four: Outdoor enthusiasts

Louis C K lives in The Big Apple. Because it’s one of the most densely populated cities in the US, New Yorkers are more likely to experience nosy neighbors. He tells this story about a fellow outdoor enthusiast he encountered shortly after he moved into his new apartment . . .

Beat It! insect repellent is an ideal gift for outdoorsmen who put themselves at risk of getting stung every time they go outdoors. It’s obvious that Louis likes this deet-free product, which apparently works well for men. Michael Jackson liked it so much he wrote a song about it.

Apply it wherever you typically get bit. Why swat it when you can Beat It?

Number Five: Hypochondriacs

Hypochondriacs complain about random health issues. Take rhinosinusitus, for example. This is a condition in which the nasal passages become inflamed and blocked due to allergies or infection.

When nosy people lose their sense of smell, it’s like blindfolding a visual teen boy at a crowded beach. Nosy hypochondriacs appreciate this homeopathic spray that gives them the quick remedy they need to get their noses back to minding other people’s business.

I use Sinus Buster when my spring or fall allergies flair up. I do one good squirt in each nostril and then lay down to do some deep breathing. When you spray a small dose of red hot cayenne pepper up your nose, it turns out, your eyes water and you can feel your sinuses begin to clear immediately. For long-time allergy sufferers, it’s a dream come true.

Number Sex: Star Gazers

Some nosy people have sleep issues. If you know someone who has a telescope in his bedroom, it probably means he has this disorder. He’s an anonymous volunteer for the neighborhood watch. When he can’t sleep, he checks on his neighbors. He really wants to settle down, but he thinks if he does, it would be a nightmare.

An aromatherapeutic pillow mist is a great gift for gazers. When they spray this special mist on their pillows and sheets, it helps to lure them into bed and into a more relaxed state of mind.

We don’t have a telescope in our bedroom, but we do mist our sheets several times a week. My husband says he likes it.

Number Seven: Housecleaners

Imagine the refreshing smell of citrus when you tear away the peel of an orange. Compare this to the smell of a cigar or car fumes. What you smell can instantly change your mood.

Housecleaners are there to serve, and if you ask, they’ll be happy to give you a naturally clean home. They can create a relaxing forest scent in your great room by sprinkling a few drops of pine, cypress or oakmoss oil on the carpeting before vacuuming. They’re eager to learn new secrets.

Common Scents for Nosy People 

With aromatherapeutic products spread throughout your home, you and your nosy loved ones can experience fragrant pleasures more often. Each time you pass along a good whiff, you could be creating a memory that lingers.

Some people have completely lost touch with their good sense. We’d all be happier if we became a bit more childlike and reawakened our curiosity from within. Gastroenterologists and psychologists agree that it’s good to release our logs from within. Who nose what we might come upon?

Essential oils have countless applications. If you’d like to prepare custom blends for the special peeps in your life, look for recipes on AromaWeb. There are lots of other great products I’d like to tell you about, but I really should to get back to FaceBook to check up on my friends.

AromaWeb

 

Advice From The Scarecrow: Take Up Gardening

By | books, eating, gardening, gifts, restaurants | No Comments
Food for Thought

Food for Thought

You’re walking on a dirt path and you come to a fork. To the left you see a NO TRESPASSING sign. There’s a fence surrounding a cornfield that extends into the horizon far as you can see. You see gigantic tractors driven by men wearing masks. They’re spraying a mist on the crop. It smells bitter. You start coughing.

You turn to the right. Through the distance you spot a house. A woman is pulling weeds near the front porch. You smell roses and hear birds chirping. As you walk toward the house a dog greets you, wagging his tail.

“Don’t mind Lucky, he’s harmless,” a man wearing a straw hat says as he pops a cherry tomato into his mouth. “They’re delicious, want one?” he asks as he extends a handful of tomatoes.

“What do you get if you cross a collie with a rose?” the man asks you.

“Don’t know,” you respond.

“A collie-flower,” he says as he pops another tomato into his mouth.  Jokes4Us

You’re at this fork in the path every time you buy food. Which is more appealing to you? The factory farm to the left or the organic approach to the right?

Look to the left. Conventional produce contains synthetic pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, and petroleum based fertilizers, which are known to pose health risks to all living beings, especially children and wildlife. These chemicals and processes strip top soil of nutrients, depleting the nutritional value of the produce. The runoff from this industrial agriculture wreaks havoc as the poisons travel downstream.

Even our government is starting to take things more seriously. The White House recently confirmed the use of chemical weapons in Syria. They say the government has been feeding Monsanto sandwiches to rebels.  JokeBlogger

Gardening is easy when you do it one foot at a time.

Gardening is easy when you grow plants one foot at a time.

Look to the right. The food tastes better and has more nutritional value. When you buy from farmers who work in harmony with the local environment, you help protect the community, environment, and food supply for future generations. Buying or growing organic helps to reduce toxins in the air, soil and water. And most importantly, it minimizes the number of toxic critters swimming around in your body.

Feel the difference. Fresh organic produce is more effective at building your immune system, protecting your liver, and supplying you with life-sustaining energy. Experience the health benefits for yourself.

Although organic foods typically smell and taste better, you can’t always tell the difference. Your stomach and organs, however, know the difference. They work hard on your behalf to sort out the good from the bad.

But why do organic foods cost more?

“It’s quite simple,” George Carlin says,”McDonald’s breakfast for a dollar doesn’t factor in the cost of the coronary bypass surgery.”  ManWalksIntoaJoke

You get what you pay for. I decided long ago that it’s worth paying more for organic products to increase the nutritional value of food for me and my family, and to reduce our exposure to toxins. I’d rather give a few more dollars to my local farmer today, than tens of thousands of dollars to a hospital later.

Gardening is easy when you grow plants one pot at a time.

To help keep your food costs down, support local farmers who use sustainable farming methods, join a local food coop, or take up gardening as a hobby. A little extra effort today may save you from discomfort or disease later.

Gardening is easier than you think. Adopt an edible plant today. If you have questions, these guys can help:

Mel Bartholomew, Author of All New Square Foot Gardening

Edward Smith, Author of Vegetable Gardener’s Container Bible

Give the gift of life. Next time you pick up a gift for a friend, take a rosemary or an oregano plant. Not long ago I gave a plant to one of my friends who knew nothing about gardening.

“Anytime I need help,” she told me, “I put on short-shorts and bend over to pull weeds. My neighbors are always willing to come over and give me a hand.”  Funny-Jokes

Would you rather buy from the guy wearing the mask or the one wearing the straw hat? It’s not a hard question. You can always purchase things later, but even if you’re Steve Jobs, you can’t buy a new body . . . now or later.

It seems that some people get lucky when it comes to health, but it’s not all due to chance. If I were a betting person and had to pick which guy would outlive the other, I’d put my dollar on the guy wearing the straw hat.

Food&WaterWatch

 

Jokes for your friends who are sick and tired

By | Comedy, gifts, healthcare, Movies | 5 Comments
Halloween wheelchair

Fear of Western Medicine comes out of the closet on Halloween

“Nurse,” an anxious mother whimpers, “can you please tell me how my son is? He’s the one who swallowed the quarters.”

“No change yet,” the nurse replies. AhaJokes.com

Do you tighten up with fear each time you visit a friend or family member in the hospital? You’re not alone. In the US, the fear of doctors and dentists is right up there with the terrors of death, darkness, snakes, heights, and public speaking. Why are Americans so afraid of health care?

“Did you hear about the guy who lost his left arm and leg in a car accident?”

“Don’t worry, he’s alright now.” GreatCleanJokes

Despite the fact that laughter is good for your health, medical schools neglect to provide courses on humor, and other important things like compassion and nutrition.

Dr. Patch Adams is a firm believer in the healing power of laughter. He put his medical degree and career on the line as he relentlessly laughed his way through medical school. Because traditional Western Medicine had little tolerance for his funny ways, he founded Gesundheit Institute, “a project in holistic medical care based on the belief that one cannot separate the health of the individual from the health of the family, the community, the world, and the health care system itself.”

At Gasundheit, health care is free, and full of fun and play.

Instead of letting your worst nightmares stifle you, use your dread of doctors, dentists, hospitals or shots to motivate you to prevent illness. Work on making better choices in your lifestyle and daily habits. Your fears are there to protect you. Use them wisely.

“Doctor, my hair keeps falling out. Can you give me something to keep it in?”

“Any glass jar will do,” the doctor replies. AhaJokes

Americans spend over $8,500 per capita on health care, more than any other nation in the world. Despite all this spending, American longevity ranks at the bottom of the list of developed countries. Life expectancy is an overall measure of the quality of life in a country. See the CIA World FactBook for the complete list of countries.

The Western medical community implants the belief that “prevention” requires visiting your doctor, taking a prescription, or checking in for surgery. Remember Angelina Jolie? This is no laughing matter!

Why We Need to Do Doctor Reviews on Our Last Doctors’ Visits

Patch Adams cartoon - empathetic doctor

“Doc,” says Steve, “I want to be castrated.”

“What on earth for?”

“I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. My wife insists that I should have had it done a long time ago. If you won’t do it, I’ll go to another doctor.”

“OK, but I advise you not to.”

Steve has the operation. The next day he walks down the hospital corridor very slowly, legs apart. Heading toward him is another patient walking the same way.

“Hi there,” says Steve, “looks like you just had the same operation as me.”

“Yeah,” says the patient, “I finally got circumcised too.”

“Steve’s eyes widen in horror, “Oh no! How do you pronounce that word?” Jokes.com

The next time you visit a friend or family member in the hospital, make a special effort to make him or her laugh. You won’t be able to help everyone in the hospital, but you can make a difference for one person.

When I woke up after a surgery I had a few years ago, I remember feeling elated. Not only was I happy to still be alive, but also the pain medication was good stuff. My good friend, Cecile, sat on the bed, held my hands and made me laugh. It felt so good to giggle with her, despite the fact that it caused blood to gush from my fresh suture. She had me in bloody stitches!

Instead of bringing cut flowers that wilt and die within a few days, bring the gift of laughter:

Bring some whoopee cushions for your friend and the nurse.

Tell jokes to lift his or her spirit.

Bring a funny movie.

Hire a local comedian to perform for an hour.

Find a comedian through GigMasters or FunnyBusiness, or contact a local comedy club for a referral.

ComedyCures Logo EPS with website

A blond is having sharp pains in her side. The doctor examines her and says, “You have acute appendicitis.”

Wimpering, the blond says, “that’s nice of you doc, but I’m here for medical advice.”  Jokes.com

Good advice from Robin Williams: Carpe Diem

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CLICK ON IMAGE TO SUBSCRIBE NOW to Rascal Radio, the world’s first online personal development radio service. By putting positive thoughts into your mind every day, you can heal wounds. You can start living the life you’ve always wanted to live.

3 Yummy Books Under $13 for 3-Year-Old Kids

By | books, eating, gifts, parenting | No Comments

Say YES to Watermelon

How many times have you seen a picture of a kid with cake and icing smeared all over his or her face? It’s a classic American shot. Parents proudly display to their friends and family that their boy or girl is one year older, so it’s time to eat cake.

“I can’t get my kids to eat vegetables,” some parents say. It’s usually for one obvious reason. The parents are feeding their kids other things. When you go to a Farmer’s Market, you see kids gnawing on carrots or apples. When you go to a mall, you see kids sucking up soda from straws or chewing on giant cookies that are too big for their little hands.

Whether you’re the parent, grandparent, nursery school teacher, uncle or nanny, you play an important role in what that 3-year-old eats. Let’s face it, most of them aren’t tall enough to reach stuff on shelves or get through the checkout line. They eat what you eat.

Here are three great books that will help toddlers get excited about fruits and vegetables:

Now I Eat My ABCs

You have an opportunity to teach children to eat their ABCs in the form of  fruits and vegetables. Fresh organic produce is packed with vitamins just the way nature designed it to be. When kids develop good eating habits at an early age, parents save money on vitamins and doctor bills. When kids develop a taste for whole foods at an early age, they benefit the rest of their lives.

Fast Food

America is known as the Fast Food Nation. And we all know how SAD that is! I love the image on the front of this book. What little boy wouldn’t want to eat the wheels off this hot rod? Cucumber slices make great snacks. Health-conscious moms know it takes very little time to chop up some vegetables or fruit. It’s the best kind of fast food. This book is full of fun illustrations that will entice and inspire both kids and adults.

Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z

A few years back, I  remember reading the findings of a study that showed American kids could recognize hundreds of logos and labels, but couldn’t come up with names for produce such as ginger root, yams or sprouts. When prompted with images or logos, they could call out “Tony the Tiger” or “Tootsie Pop” but very few could come up with the right name for a tangerine.

Imagine the face of that innocent 3-year-old you’ve been thinking about. Wouldn’t you rather have him or her ask for mangos instead of M&Ms?