Monthly Archives: August 2021

Photo of the Week

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Hike Leadership Metaphor Forward – Recipe

My wife is a great cook. I watch her do her thing in her kitchen without getting too close as to disturb the creative juices and the momentum of the delicious smells flowing from pots and pans. Once I asked her how she got so good, and she shared that she started by following recipes, and then over time the recipes became second nature, and now she just flows with the fixing of food (that is my alliteration for the day). However, if she wants to try something new, a recipe appears on the kitchen counter and provides the protocol for perfect preparation (sorry the P’s just happened).

An organizational leader is so much like the recipe. Let me share what I mean by mixing three leadership ingredients together to bake this metaphor.

#1. A recipe typically starts with the list of ingredients needed to make the dish. It is very specific and detailed: 1 ½ cups uncooked rice; 3 cups chicken broth; 2 teaspoons margarine; 5 cups thinly sliced or bite-size pieces assorted vegetables; 2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese….. An effective organizational leader needs to know all the materials and resources needed to accomplish a task or a project. Nothing can be more discouraging than to run out of an essential resource halfway through or worse yet when the project is in its final phase. The leader must ensure that the specific needs are met with the precise materials needed. Having to sit and wait because the leader failed to be prepared is not a recipe for success

#2 The recipe provides the steps of execution. Rinse, boil in a 2-quart saucepan, reduce heat, cover and simmer, stir, sprinkle, All the needed steps of actions are listed for the novice or experienced chef. A good organizational leader understands and communicates the steps needed to accomplish the mission of the organization. I am not advocating micro-management or detailed mandates, rather I am emphasizing the big-picture steps. Assigning the right managers to the right tasks, creating a timeline that prevents train wrecks and traffic jams, and prioritizing organizational flow so that the cart does not find itself in front of the horses. Just as a recipe sometimes allows for flexibility and substitutions (replace 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 2-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour; use chocolate pudding instead of vanilla pudding), so leaders need to be creative and flexible in adapting the steps toward the goal, but the basic recipe (mission) should not be compromised.

#3 The recipe is careful to communicate how the chef is to combine the ingredients. Sometimes it is as simple as, put all the ingredients into a blender and blend on high speed until smooth. But most of the recipes call for a more sequential and strategic combination. Melt margarine in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat; add chopped garlic and cook for 30 seconds; stir in vegetables; cook for 2 minutes stirring frequently; etc. The organizational leader needs to be a master at combining the resources at the right time and in the right sequence to optimize the effectiveness of the company. Mixing all the ingredients (people, budget, programs, projects) together in the unique culture and climate of a particular organization can be challenging, but the leader, just like the recipe, coordinates the blending and mixing of all the elements to produce a delicious meal.   

Photos: Check out the picture and the recipe for Juicy Meatballs at Juicy Meatball Recipe (VIDEO) – NatashasKitchen.com; Ingredients: The Rough Collection

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Hike Fun Foward – Special Days August 15- 21

August 15 – Relaxation Day

Relaxation Day encourages us to slow down and unwind. The fast-paced and often hectic lifestyles in our American society can result in great amounts of stress. Too much work and pressure can cause physical, emotional, spiritual problems. Taking time to relax, reflect, and rejuvenate can prevent many health risks. I find it interesting that there is a national relaxation day when God commanded a day of rest each week. The Sabbath is a principle of rest. It is not just a time for prayer (which is a fantastic activity that should fill part of every day) and spiritual reflection; it is a day for physical rest and a change of pace. The work that demands our time, focus, and energy should be set aside and replaced with peaceful connections with God and others.  

Find a favorite way to relax and make some plans for relaxation:

Enter the adventure of a good book

Discover a quiet bench in the shade and listen to the birds sing

Go fishing with a friend

Enjoy a picnic in the park

Dreams some sweet dreams

Drive along the back roads in the country

Indulge in a visit to the Spa or slide into a bubble bath at home

Take a walk along the beach or in the woods.

Grab your camera or smartphone and snap some great photos

Cool down in a swimming pool – even a kiddy pool will do.

Watch a movie with some popcorn

Do a leisurely lunch with friends

Sip a soft drink and catch a sports event on TV

August 16 Tell a Joke Day

I recently had a teenager ask me to tell him a Bad Dad joke. I had to think for a while, but I finally came up with one. That started a series of funny jokes and stories that had me laughing out loud. What was my joke? It was bad – “Why do cows wear bells around their necks? Because their horns don’t work!”

If that causes a groan to form in your throat, try this one:

What did the grapes say to the apple when the apple criticized them for lazily sunbathing in the afternoon sun? “We are not being lazy – we are raisin awareness.”

If you are still shaking your head in disgust, this will put you over the edge,

“Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

Goliath.

Goliath who?

Goliath down your looketh sick.”

Okay, I will stop, but you need to begin. Today is tell a joke day. It doesn’t have to be a good joke. It doesn’t have to crack everyone up. But it should be clean, it should be appropriate, and it should not be offensive. Find some funny jokes and make some people smile. Laughter is great medicine.

August 17 – I Love My Feet Day

Being an avid hiker, I could not let this day go by unnoticed. My feet are getting old, but they are so faithful. My feet do things for me that my hands cannot accomplish. They help me stand, walk, jog, run, skip (which I don’t do very often), and even dance (which I only do when no one else is watching because I am a very bad dancer). My feet carried me 2,186 miles in 2014 from Georgia to Maine.

Celebrate your feet today. If you have healthy feet treat them to a warm bath, a gentle massage, and comfy socks. Keep those nails well-trimmed and be sure your shoes fit well. Elevate your feet when you can and take a load off your God-given mode of transportation when possible.

I remember many evenings in my tent after walking some tough miles, I gave my feet a quick rub-down with Aquaphor Ointment. It felt fantastic, it did wonders for cracked skin, and it just made my feet smile. I know feet can’t smile but if you mixed the letter up a bit, it spells “miles” – after a long day on the trail, my motto was “amazing feet accomplish amazing feats.” 

So, this Tuesday, August 17, and every day thereafter, pamper your feet.

August 18 – Take Your Pick

Today is Fajita Day, Mail Order Catalog Day (replaced today with Online Shopping), and Ice Cream Pie Day. As I reviewed the detail of these days, none of them jumped out at me as greatly significance. Take your pick to celebrate OR order a fajita meal online and enjoy a slice of ice cream pie for dessert.  Oh, the joys of a first-world nation.

August 19 – Bow Day

On the heels of the Olympics Games and the skill of the archers from Korea and Turkey, the bows of the sport of archery take center stage. What? It is not that can of bow? Oops. It is amazing to watch the precision of the violinists in the prestigious symphonic orchestras. Every stroke of the bows makes the entire string section appear as if it is one player. Pardon me? Wrong bows again? So sorry. 

This is a day that celebrates wearing bows as part of fashion. There is no end to the way to wears bows – on a dress, blouse, as a necktie, as a belt, as a bracelet, and in your hair. Bows seem to complement any outfit and this accessory is quite popular today.

Men can celebrate this day as well with the ever-appropriate bow tie. Bow ties with jeans, with a suit, with a tuxedo, with a sweater, even with a plaid shirt. As one of the Doctors (the 11th Doctor to be precise – Matt Smith) said, “Bow ties are cool!” What an unusual day. What an easy day to celebrate.

August 20 – Radio Day

Radio Day recognizes the great invention of the radio. Take some time today and tune in the news, listen to a talk show, and enjoy the music station or your choice. I have always stood amazed at how sound can carry across the airwaves and then can be broadcast in my home or in my car riding down the road. There is much debate as to the inventor of the radio, but certainly, several individuals have contributed to its early beginnings. Heinrich Hertz’s research proved electricity could be transmitted wirelessly. The prolific inventor Nicola Tesla patented multiple inventions involving alternating current and provided the radio with the Tesla coil, and the Italian, Guglielmo Marconi receives the crown when it comes to the first commercially available radio.

Catch these cool facts about the radio that I gleaned from Radio Fun Facts !! | The Radio Agency | http://www.radiodirect.com; and How radio saved the Eiffel Tower from destruction – OFFICIAL website (toureiffel.paris)

  • The 1920s brought the first broadcast stations to the forefront. In 1920, the world’s first commercial radio station, KDKA, went on the air in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. KDKA radio is still alive and doing well in Pittsburgh.
  • In 1931, two out of five homes owned a radio.
  • By 1938, four out of five owned a radio. 
  • FM Radio made its first appearance in 1939.
  • At the end of 2012, more than 15,000 licensed broadcast radio stations were operating in the U.S.
  • The Eiffel Tower was supposed to be scrapped after 20 years. It only survived because the military started using it as a radio tower, intercepting crucial military transmissions during WWI
  • One 30-second TV commercial in the 2015 Super Bowl cost $4.5 Million. In that same year, the same advertiser could have funded a full, 52-week, national campaign on radio for that price.

August 21 – Honeybee Day

I had a great friend who kept bees. He had the smoker and the beekeeper’s suit, and he especially enjoyed his sweet hobby at harvest time. August 21 celebrates the honeybee, the beekeepers who tend the hives, and the thick, sticky honey that tastes so good in our baking, stirred in our tea, and swirled on a peanut butter sandwich. The honeybee is also a contributor to our health as it pollinates many nutritious plants and keeps the flowers blooming.  

Honeybees do sting, but typically they do not bring out their swords unless threatened. If your come in close proximity with bees, stay calm, hold still, and move slowly. More than likely, you are just too sweet, but the bee will soon fly away to seek another source of sweetness.

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Hike Thru-hikers Forward: Update August 12

No updates from the Appalachian Trail. Both the online journal from Mileage and virtual postings from Rock & Roots are silent. I have heard nothing from Mileage since July 1. I posted a concern on her site, but I have received no response. Either she has abandoned the journal, or she has abandoned the trail. My hopes and prayers are with her. It would be great to hear that she is out there still hiking north.

Rock and Roots posted on July 31 from Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Great Barrington is about 15 miles north of the Connecticut/Massachusetts border with another 75 miles in MA before Rocks and Roots step on the trail in New Hampshire.

Sorry that I have no words, photographs, smoke signals, emails, or coded messages from the thru-hikers this week. I will keep checking their journals and update you when I hear any news.  

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Hike Leadership Forward – Realistic

Some leaders have difficulty creating and communicating their vision for the future. They may have many strengths as a manager and organizer, but they fail in seeing how their organization can impact the future in powerful, positives ways. However, other leaders have incredible dreams and can paint a vision of world-wide change and global impact. They have a vision to lasso the moon, but they are not really sure how to get there. Their optimism, excitement, and zeal have no realistic legs to carry the organization forward. People want to follow these visionaries, but they must be convinced that there is a realism behind the grandeur; a blueprint behind the imaginary castle; a doable plan behind the mission.

Five areas of clarity will assist in bringing a sense of realism to our leadership. Unrealistic thinking can push others to a point of frustration and discouragement that they send out resumes and applications to other companies. Let’s explore these five areas.

First, followers want vision but not fantasy. Effective leaders spend time crafting their vision in understandable language and discernable steps of accomplishment. Instead of painting the picture of the organization’s first office on the moon (your ultimate vision), you might want to start with an initial step of opening another office across town, then an office in a neighboring city, then 10 offices throughout the state, then….. An excellent novel can be fiction without being science fiction – the same is true of a vision.

Second, followers want realistic goals. Short term goals should be challenging but not out of reach. We have the goal of selling 1,800 widgets next month increasing our sale by 100 widgets over this past month, might be realistic. We have a goal of selling 18,000 widgets next month which will equal the total sales of widgets last year – this goal might be so far out of sight that it crushes the motivation of the widget makers   

Third, followers want realistic assignments. Make assignments that recognize and celebrate past success. Acknowledge the talent and ability of others, but don’t fail to recognize the human limitations of a group/individual. You did such a nice job presenting the first step of our new design to the visiting group of donors, I would like for you to develop and present the material for the remaining 21 steps to the board tomorrow night. Since step one took a week to develop, it would seem absolutely impossible (unrealistic) to expect 20 additional steps overnight.   

Fourth, followers want realistic timeframes and results. An effective leader needs to be realistic when placing demands of time and quality on others. To demand a working protype be ready by Monday, or the scale model to be built in three days, or the 200-page report submitted by the end of the week may be unrealistic demands. Good followers want to do an excellent job and they desire to be proud of their work. Unrealistic deadlines can cause frustrations, disappointments, resentment, and resignations.

Fifth, followers want clear and realistic expectations. Insensitive expectations can backfire in a leader’s face. Anticipating that an excellent employee can handle more responsibilities without additional time, resources, or compensation is unwise. Hard working lieutenants are most often working at 100% capacity. To be rewarded with more work without any additional assistance can break the motivation and spirit of your trusted employees. Higher, realistic expectations should be accompanied by additional resources, coworkers, authority, and time.

A wise and effective leaders will be realistic. Paint the vision, call the people, enter the race, clarify the target…. and then be realistic moving forward. Be willing to take a risk, be ready to take a leap of faith, be excited about open doors, but keep it real.  

Photos: Large Unrealistic balloons – Unrealistic Expectations | Veritus Group; Small balloon picture – War for Talent: Retain Employees & Improve Culture | Wejungoballoons – https://veritusgroup.com/unrealistic-expectations/

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Hike Books Forward – August 10

Two audiobooks to recommend this week. Both are old, but one is 100 years older than the other. Both are spiritual books, but one is based in reality while the other is couched in fantasy. Both are excellent reads, but one is written for adult eyes while the other has young readers in mind.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin – 1852 – Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Wow! What a powerful book. I had to remind myself several time that this was written in the 1850s. It is a book that addresses the mindset of American today. The church needs to read this book with eyes and ears and hearts wide open. The gospel is so beautiful proclaimed, and the hypocrisy of the religion is painted with stark realism and incredible insight. The faith of little Eva and of Uncle Tom brought me to tears many times.

I have never taken the opportunity to read this classic. What a loss for me. This profound work of fiction has real life behind it. The dialog of slavery speaks with a raw harshness and the attitudes of bigotry and prejudice fill many of the pages the text. And yet there are the golden rays of hope and love and prayer and compassion.

The book opens in Kentucky as a farmer, Arthur Shelby is in debt and in danger of losing his farm. He has a benevolent relationship with his slaves, but begrudgingly agrees to sell two slaves to a Mr. Haley, a slave trader. He sells Uncle Tom, a gracious, honest, loyal middle-aged man who loves Jesus and trusts in his Lord completely and he sells Harry, a young boy, a son of his wife’s maid, Eliza. Eliza hears of the sale and decides to run away with her son and head toward Canada. Thus begins the stories of hardships and encouragements; of harshness and compassion; of cruelty and support; of ignorance and confusion; of truth and deception; of good news and hatred. 

If you have never read this book, I highly encourage you to take the time. It is not a short book, but it is a powerful one. If you read it many years ago, this might be a good time to pick it up again and see the novel through the eyes of 21st century America.

The Horse and His Boy – 1954 – C.S. Lewis

The reading of the seven books that comprise the Chronicles of Narnia is always a treat. The order in which they are read involves a choice. Some like to read the books in the order in which they were published while others desire to read the stories in a chronological sequence within the times of Narnia. By publication dates, the order is 1. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1950); 2. Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia (1951); 3. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952); 4. The Silver Chair (1953); 5. The Horse and His Boy (1954); 6. The Magician’s Nephew (1955); 7. The Last Battle (1956).

The Narnia historical sequence changes the order: 1. The Magician’s Nephew; 2. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; 3. The Horse and His Boy; 4. Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia; 5. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; 6. The Silver Chair; 7. The Last Battle.

The reading order does not seem greatly significant in my opinion, although in The Horse and His Boy, I did scratch my head a bit at the first mention of Susan, Edmund, Lucy, and Peter. The author quickly clears the air by mentioning the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (LWW). Once I realized that The Horse and His Boy fits inside the story of LWW, the time frame made sense.  

I love the title of the book as it places the relationship between talking animal and young lad as well as the leadership in their escape from slavery in an appropriate dynamic. I have to admit that this is not my favorite volume in the chronicles, but the adventure is still rich, and the role of Aslan is powerfully written. Plots to kidnap and conquer, a boy and a girl and two horses on the run are keys to the fate of Narnia, and the interventions of the lion make this a wonderful book for all ages.   

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Hike 2021 Forward – Week 31

I continue to work toward my goal of hiking 2,021 miles in the calendar year of 2021. Starting on January 1, 2021, I calculated that I needed 39 miles each week to complete the journey during the last week of December. Week 31 (July 30 – August 5) was a good week. I walked 53.1 miles bringing my total to 1,487.

Rocky and I went on a Metropark hike at Twin Creek this week. It was so good to be in the woods and hiking with my wife. The mileage takes longer on the terrain of a forest trail but the path is so much easier on the feet and legs (the payment of the neighborhood tends to pound the joints more). The thistles stood tall and straight. They were attracting bees and butterflies (and hikers) so we stopped occasionally to take a look.

One of my regular routes around the neighborhood takes me to North Park. On the straight shot, the park is only about 0.7 miles from home but taking a big loop I can stretch the journey to up to four miles. The Park itself has a nice one-mile perimeter walk/run track. The shorter, direct route takes me across a small bridge over a small creek and then up a hill through a wooded area into the park. I have recently discovered several alternate paths through the trees ending at various spots in the park. They make welcomed changes to the routine.

This week at North Park they are preparing for an outdoor musical, Cinderella. I most likely will not attend, but the set up is interesting. Hopefully my photos show that the lighting is being hung, the set is being made, and everything appears to be coming together – except for the pumpkin carriage that looks a little flat backstage.

I also took a nice walk along the Great Miami River this week. I saw a heron in the river looking for some breakfast. This large water bird is one of Rocky’s favorite animals to see on our hikes. She was not with me, but I thought of her as a snaped a photo of our long-legged feathered friend. The river was a little low in volume, but I still enjoyed the walk along the flowing water.

I am looking forward to another good week coming up. I hope to reach the 1500-mile mark and bring the finish line under 500 miles away. Life is good and God is faithful.

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Hike Photos Forward: Photo of the Week

Night Walk
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Hike Leadership Metaphors Forward – Quarterback

Johnny Unitas

Back in my early childhood, Johnny Unitas and Bart Starr were my favorite quarterbacks in professional football, then I remember the scramblings of Fran Tarkenton, Broadway Joe Namath, and the consistent Roger Staubach. Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana filled my TV screens on Sundays in early 80s and then there were the highlights of Dan Marion and John Elway in the 90s. The early 21st century brought Brett Favre, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and Kurt Warner to my list of great QBs. I don’t watch the NFL much anymore, but I still enjoy watching college ball – go Buckeyes!

That was a rather long first paragraph just to introduce the position of quarterback, but if the names brought memories to your mind, then not much more needs to be said about the importance of the QB to the success of a football team. He controls the tempo and the flow of the game. His actions (good or bad) have a huge impact on the outcome on the game. I think the quarterback is a powerful metaphor for the organizational leader. Let’s take four snaps of the ball to see if we can score with this analogy.

First Down – The quarterback directs the team in the huddle. Whether the play comes in from the sideline or the QB calls the play himself, the quarterback communicates the play to the team in the huddle before the team moves to the line of scrimmage. The team is confident that everyone on the team knows the play and that the quarterback will put the play into action enabling each team member to do his part as designed.

An effective leader knows the play, whether the board has provided the direction, or the leader has personally developed the strategy. The leader must then be articulate and clear as he/she communicates to every member of the team/organization. Every person in the company must be on the same page  before the day begins. With clear communication comes confidence (notice the 4 C’s or is that the Four Seas?) in the leader and the plan. Making sure that everyone knows the mission, the QB enables each person to use his/her talents and positions and authority to accomplish the goal. The quarterback leader is the communicator

Second Down – The quarterback needs to make quick decisions. He handles the ball every down and must decide to run, hand the ball off to a running back, or pass the ball to one of his receivers. On many designed plays, the quarterback must decide which option is the best one. One option is to keep the ball and carry the ball forward himself. Another option is to hand the ball off to a teammate and trust the running back to gain yardage while protecting the ball. Or the QB can pass the ball to one of several receivers. The quarterback must be able to see the whole field and quickly spot the open receiver with the best shot of catching the pass.

The organizational leader needs to run with the ball sometimes, hand it off to a trusted co-worker at other times, and on other occaisions throw the ball into the outstretched arms of a colleague. Initiative, trust, and delegation are all options for the leader. Discernment in decision making is critical for his/her success. There are somethings that are in the “Do It Yourself” category because of convenience or expectation or necessity. Other activities present opportunities to hand off to others in order to help the team member grow or to utilize the giftedness and talents of those within the organization. Passing responsibilities to others is sometimes imperative but the right receiver must be selected. The pass is a risk but the results can be significant.

Third Down – The quarterback must know when to change the play from the one called in the huddle. The QB must know how to read the defensive formation of the other team and decide if the planned play needs to be altered. If a change is needed, the QB calls an audible while the team is on the line of scrimmage. Through a series of symbolic words, the quarterback communicates to the entire team the change in the play before the ball is hiked. Every player must know the play and the count in order to start together. If one moves earlier than the others, it is a penalty. If someone begins late, the play is usually not effective as timing is often critical to the team’s strategy.

The quarterback leader must call audibles occasionally. As the leader sees the whole playing field and the details of a particular situation, he/she must quickly change the plans and direction of the day. The change must be communicated well and thoroughly to the entire organization. This communication might not be easy, but it is essential, if the change is to be effective.   

Fourth Down – The quarterback is not a coach on the sidelines, but a player in the midst of the game. He is not cheering from the bench, rather he is executing the play from the front line. The quarterback calls the signals to start the play. The quarterback both coordinates the play and participates in the action.  The actions of the quarterback impact every offensive play and dictates the responses of every other member of the team.

The quarterback leader might from time to time be a coach (mentor) and a cheerleader (filled with raise and encouragement), but when he/she is the quarterback, he/she is actively involved in the mission and workings of the organization. His/her sleaves are rolled up and his/her presence is front and center. He/she is visible as the wheels turn in the workings of the company. The leader must recognize the importance of his/her behaviors and should make the most of his/her positive impact on the other stakeholders in the organization.    

Touchdown!! I hope.

Photos: Johnny Unitas – (519) Pinterest; Football – Wilson TDS NFL Official Size 9 Rubber Cover American Sports Football Wtf1858 for sale online | eBay

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Hike Fun Forward – Special Days: August 8 – 14

August 8 – Dollar Day

August 8 commemorates the day Congress established the U.S. monetary system in 1786, but it was not until 1862 that the United States printed its first dollar bill.

Here are some interest facts about the dollar bill:

The first face on the dollar bill was not George Washington. It was Salmon P. Chase, President Lincoln’s Secretary of Treasury.

The dollar bill in your wallet hasn’t been changed for more than 50 years. While the $5, $10, $20, and $50 have all undergone redesigns in recent years, the single dollar remains unchanged.

The number 13 represents the original 13 colonies and is seen numerous places on the dollar bill. On the back of the bill there is a pyramid with 13 steps; the eagle opposite the pyramid holds 13 arrows in its left talon and a branch with 13 leaves in its right; above the eagle’s head is a cloud containing 13 stars.

Minimum wage in 1961 was raised to $1.00 per hour.

The dollar bill is not made of paper. We may call it “paper money,” but it is actually fabric – 75% cotton and 25% linen.

Check out 20 Facts About the Dollar Bill That Every American Should KnowBest Life (bestlifeonline.com) for some more interesting facts about the one dollar bill.

August 9 – Book Lovers Day

This day is set aside for all who love to read. Find a quiet place, a favorite place, a good reading place. Get a good book, get comfortable and get lost in the story as the author takes you into their world of mystery, sports, adventure, romance, or sci-fi. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, narrative, memoir, fantasy, history, and humor can all be part of your day – it is all up to you and your preferences.

Enjoy a hard copy book where you turn pages and hold the story in your hands; Or grab your ipad/tablet and read an ebook on your digital screen; Or plug in you ear phones and listen to an audiobook.

Read quietly by yourself, or open a book with your children and share the adventure together. Allow them read to you and encourage their skills.  This is a great day to visit your public library and be inspired by the many books that want to be adopted. Books stores (new and used) are fabulous places to go if you want to own a book and add it to your collection. Check out Amazon, especially for self-publishers who have some great material for sale.

August 10 – S’mores Day

S’mores consists of a roasted marshmallow with a layer of chocolate bar sandwiched between two pieces of graham cracker. On August 10th we can all celebrate the most popular of campfire treats.

The first recorded version of the recipe can be found in the 1927 publication of Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts. Today, many variations on the original s’more find their way around a campfire.

Spread peanut butter on the graham crackers before adding the other ingredients.

Substitute peanut butter cups in place of the chocolate bar.

Replace the graham crackers with fudge-dipped cookies.

August 11 Son’s and Daughter’s Day

Hopefully August 11th will bring parents and their children together for quality time. On Wednesday of this week, let your children know that you are glad they are part of your life. If your children are still living at home, spend some time with them doing some of the following:

Go for a walk and listen to the events of their day; Find out about their hopes and dreams; Learn what inspires them; Teach them something new; Ask them to teach you something; Share some family stories; Do a puzzle; Read a book; Throw a ball; Play some music and dance with them; Laugh and tell jokes; Pray for them and with them; Play board games; stay up late and look at the stars.

If your children are grown and out of the home, mail a card, make a phone call, compose an email, or send them a text. Remind them how special they are to you.

August 12 – Julienne Fries Day

I have enjoyed this think crispy potato fry before, but I had no idea what they were called. If you are daring, try making some Julienne Fries – fry up skinny sliced potatoes for a delicious and crunchy treat. Cut into thin, uniform strips like matchsticks, then fry them up nice and crisp.  They are often called “shoestring fries.” Julienne Fries have been around for a while. The oldest known written reference goes back to a 1722 French cookbook.

If you have never attempted to make Julienne Fries before, join the club. Here are some helpful hints provided by  NATIONAL JULIENNE FRIES DAY – August 12 – National Day Calendar

“Once you’ve sliced your potatoes into matchsticks (which can be achieved with a tool with a julienne blade), let the potatoes rest in a bowl of ice water for about 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, pat the potatoes dry with paper towels. You want them dry before placing them in hot oil, or the grease will vigorously splatter.

When you add the potatoes to the hot grease, don’t add too many at a time. They need room to fry on all sides. This tip also prevents your oil from excess splatter and overflowing.

The ideal temperature for frying your potatoes is about 350°F.

Once the potatoes become golden brown, remove them from the oil to a clean paper towel to drain and season immediately.”

August 13 – Left Handers Day

Approximately 10% of the American population are left-handed. Scientists don’t know why a person develops left-handedness, but there may be a genetic factors.  

Out of the 47 Presidents of the United States, eight have been left-handed (17%). Two fairly famous artists, Michaelangelo and Leonardo de Vinci, were lefties. A few famous musicians were left handed including Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr (50% of the Beatles).  

Here are a few other talented/famous left handers:  

Morgan Freeman, Whoopi Goldberg, Lady Gaga, and Nicole Kidman.

Hugh Jackman, Robert Redford, Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), and Jimi Hendrix.

Babe Ruth, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Mark Twain and Benjamin Rough.

Isaac Newton, Marie Curie, and Nikola Tesla.

August 14 – Garage Sale Day

Have one or visit one. This is a good day to set up the tables and price your things – or – head out around the neighborhood and look for all the great deals.  Most Garage Sales in my area run Thursday, Friday, Saturday, but the day highlighted each year is always the second Saturday in August.  

“One person’s junk is another person’s treasure” is the philosophy that makes the garage sale work. The Garage Sale is such a first world phenomenon, but if you are savvy, diligent shopper, you can find some fantastic deals to update your décor, fill your closets, entertain your children, and add to your collections. Some entrepreneurs find good deals and then resell the items on eBay or a nice profit.

Photos: Chase Dollar Bill – U.S. Paper Money Trivia: Salmon P. Chase and the $1 bill | Coin Talk;  S’mores – S’mores, the classic marshmallow treat can be served many ways (foodsided.com); Books – The Rough Collection; Sons and Daughter – The Rough Collection; Julienne Fries – Lisa Kcraf Table; Left Handed – The Rough Collection; Garage Sale – (518) Pinterest.

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