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I read, I write, I learn. I’m forever dedicated to my curiosity. Blog: https://www.renovatorlife.com Twitter: @BonnieJohnson

His company is worth $73 billion today

After putting up $4 million of his own dollars and raising $91 million more, he was down to his last $5,000 and about to lose his company. Desperate, he went to Vegas and put it all on the blackjack table. Talk about risk!

But he saw risk differently than you or I might. You see, by then he’d already served two tours of duty in Vietnam and was honorably discharged having received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and two Purple Hearts.

Unhesitatingly rushing through the intense hostile fire to the position of heaviest contact, Lieutenant Smith fearlessly removed several…


Situations, like clay, mold to form what works best for us

Hands working clay on potters wheel
Hands working clay on potters wheel

We can’t avoid new situations, no matter how hard we try. If we could, COVID-19 wouldn’t be a thing right now. Life comes at us. We need to shape it to best suit our needs. But how?

Imagine a new situation as something soft and pliable, something ripe for molding. We get to decide its final shape. Think of a new situation as a lump of wet clay and throw that blob into the center of your awareness.

Inspect the rough shape of it

Take a look at the general shape of each new situation. …


I’m a Boomer, You’re a Millennial, Can We Talk?

Man wearing okay, boomer t-shirt
Man wearing okay, boomer t-shirt

Generation Labels

Boomers, Millennials, Gen Z — all man-made labels stamped on people born at a particular time. The label assigned to a generation usually spans 20 years. That’s a large track of time. A lot can change in 20 years.

Lumping vast swaths of people together under one label is the king of all generalizations. Broad statements about a large group of people will mostly be false. Everyone’s different, after all.

Generalizations and labels miss the interesting bits. What’s worse, labeling divides us into tribes and encourages an “us vs them” attitude. …


Don’t group me in with the fools who won’t wear masks

Reconstruction of a neanderthal woman.
Reconstruction of a neanderthal woman.

Recently President Biden referred to certain states lifting mask mandates as “Neanderthal thinking”. It was an admonishment. He was referring to how small-minded it is of these states to throw all caution to the wind. As a proud Neanderthal descendant myself, I was more offended he lumped us in with these pea-brained governors.

Before you sling “Neanderthal” as an insult, there are some facts you should know about us and why I’m proud of my Neanderthal heritage.

Just the facts

Neanderthals lived before and during the last ice age of the Pleistocene…


She’s disappearing right before my eyes

Faded, blurry photo of a woman with Alzheimer’s disease.
Faded, blurry photo of a woman with Alzheimer’s disease.

There’s nothing anyone can do to stop it. It starts slowly at first, leaving little clues that something's not quite right. By the time we fully understood what was happening, it was already well on its way to stealing her from us.

Like an old faded Polaroid picture, the person I’ve known my entire life is receding into a wispy outline of herself. Alzheimer’s shrinks people. Did you know that? Her body seems half the size it used to be.

Food battles

Eating is not interesting to her anymore. She would rather eat chocolate than a proper meal. Who can blame her…


Even when it’s hidden behind a mask, you can still feel a smile

Woman’s face with a huge smile
Woman’s face with a huge smile

I once read somewhere that smiling at someone was like blowing them a kiss from your soul. What a lovely thought, but how do we do that with masks pulled tight over our smile-makers.

I want to blow kisses from my soul. I yearn to catch kisses blown my way from other souls too.

Here we are in a pandemic — still. How can we send these kisses from our souls through layers of cloth?

Smile with your eyes, of course. Smize. It’s a thing.

smize /smīz/

INFORMAL

verb

assume a playful or alluring expression of the eyes. …


Just like popular memes, they’re really hard to miss

Warning: I’m about to call to your attention a strange phenomenon which, once you are aware of it, will present itself everywhere. Like the Bernie meme. If you’re ok with that, read on.

I see them almost nightly while watching the news. Last night, for example, there was a story on clear-cutting old-growth forests. They interviewed someone from The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. His last name was Forest. Of course it was. They’re everywhere and you’ll notice them when you pay attention.

I’m talking about aptronyms.

Ap·tro·nym

/ˈaptrəˌnim/

noun

a person’s name that is…


You can’t ignore grief but maybe you can deflate it a little

Drawing of a woman with a red tear coming from her eye.
Drawing of a woman with a red tear coming from her eye.

I’ve stopped and started this story a dozen times. Where to begin? How much to share? Who wants to read about grief, anyway?

Here’s the thing. It’s unavoidable. In your life, the cruel icy hand of loss will reach out and touch you one day, if it hasn’t already.

Grief is deeply personal and unique to everyone who meets it. Despite all the ways it differs, there is a recognition. I might glimpse it in your eyes. You might perceive it in mine.

We can all agree it hurts like hell.

A little background

Seven years ago, my husband's daughter, my step-daughter, passed…


Naked woman wrapped in barbed wire.
Naked woman wrapped in barbed wire.

A letter of apology

Dear Body,

You’re pissed. I’m getting the message loud and clear — now. I’m sorry it took this long for me to finally hear you. When I look back, I can see how you were sending me clues about how unhappy you were, but I kept ignoring them. I’m sorry.

In my defense, I thought I was doing right by you. Remember how I quit dairy for you? I know, again, I should have done that many, many years before I did. I hope you understand how hard that was for me. I mean, quitting cheese? I love cheese. I…


A lesson on how to nip hatred in the bud

Protester with sign that reads Hate Makes You Ugly
Protester with sign that reads Hate Makes You Ugly

How often have you listened to someone and thought, I don’t like what you say? Or worse, watched them and thought, I don’t like what you do?

I hope you don’t experience this too often with people you know personally. If you watch the daily news coverage, I’ll bet the answer would be — daily. I’m a news junkie and catch myself thinking I don’t like you every day. That can’t be good.

I know people who have vowed to look away. They don’t watch news coverage at all anymore…

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