How to Enjoy a Far Better Life of Freedom Instantly

Too Much TV Can Be as Dangerous as Some Viruses

A Neilson report found that the average American watches more than 34 hours of television each week.

Besides wasting time, having little meaningful social interaction and missing out on your life, studies also reveal:

🔹The vast majority of news, drama, comedy and reality TV is negative, manipulative, or serves the purpose of social engineering (think propaganda and untruths).

🔹Most television programming actually poisons your belief systems. News is generally about crime, suffering, disaster, death or manipulation. Comedy teaches you to laugh and jeer at social akwardness, being over weight, stupidity or something racial.

🔹Television distorts reality to create unrealistic expectations.

🔹TV disillusions people, especially if they are weak enough to compare it with their own life.

🔹There are two reasons why television programs exist: 1) To sell products/services/ideas to make money, 2) pursuade ideas and thought.

🔹It degrades self control and personal discipline.

🔹The electrical activity in your muscles stops when you are sitting.

🔹You can get computer vision syndrome — harmful conditions that result from looking at a television, computer or smartphone screen.

A major health study was comprised of almost 340,000 men and over 226,000 women living in six states and two metropolitan areas in the United States.

It was headed by Dr. Loretta DiPietro, chair of the Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences at the George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health in Washington, D.C. (the findings were published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences).

For years, Dr. DiPietro and team kept track of the sedentary behavior and exercising habits of 134,269 of these participants, recording how much TV they watched.

🔹 30 percent of the participants who were healthy at the beginning of the study developed a walking disability, described as being either “unable to walk” or walking at an “easy usual pace,” defined as less than 2 miles per hour (mph).

🔹The researchers found that “greater TV time was significantly related to increased disability within all levels of physical activity.”

🔹More specifically, participants who watched TV for 5 or more hours every day were 65 percent more likely to have a walking disability 10 years down the line, compared with their counterparts who watched TV for less than 2 hours every day.

🔹Participants, who over a 6-year period watched TV more than 3.5 hours per day, experienced a more significant decrease in verbal memory. This decrease ranged from 8-10%.

TV News is Especially Harmful

Towards the end of 2020, a monumental poll like no other in history revealed Americans’ trust in media is gone!

What 20,000 citizens revealed to the Knight Foundation and Gallup was earth shattering to the news industry. The political events surrounding the handoff of power in federal government and pandemic reports are the primary reasons the bottom hasn’t dropped out for them.

If you turn them off, they have no power.

In 2022, the figures are devastating to the news industry. Their partisanship in news reporting is obvious to a record breaking 89% of Americans who believe they are dishing out constant servings of a very biased and corrupt political agenda. In 2007, that figure was high at 62%.

While universal trust in the media has been gradually eroding over the decades, a sheer drop in faith and questions about what motivates the mainstream media can be traced to the last years of the Obama presidency. Obamacare promises, Deep State growth, Benghazi lies, billions of cash dollars secretly shipped out to foreign enemies and nonsense like 33,000 missing Hillary Clinton emails was their iceberg.

After 5 years of media destruction against popular President Donald J. Trump, the public had enough. The solution was simple: TURN THEM OFF.

You get one life to live and it’s up to you to make the most of it. Every hour of the day is an investment that pays off right now and in your future. Invest wisely and your life will actually be filled with truly beautiful people doing amazing things and having great adventures.

Note: We watch less than one hour of television within every three months since 2020. Our amount of exercise has increased over six times since prior to turning off the TV. We find far more reliable news from other non-mainstream sources. We defy social engineering, propaganda and government manipulation to live a far more free life.

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JOHNNY CASH MUSEUM

Lessons From Noah’s Ark We All Need Right Now

During the height of the pandemic in 2020, we went on a 32-day roadtrip. We refused to lockdown.

Jack & Dodie Dennis at Ark Encounter

One of the most fascinating days was spent at the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky. It is a type of historical and biblical theme park centered around a life-sized reconstruction of the massive ship, built at God’s command, that saved Noah, his family, and representatives of every kind of land-dependent, air-breathing animal from a global flood.

“The ark was 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high and it housed the several thousand animals God brought to Noah,” their literature reads. “The global flood lasted about one year. The ark came to rest on the “mountains of Ararat” (Genesis 8:4), and Noah’s family, with all the animals that were saved from the flood, eventually spread throughout the world.”

Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth.”

Genesis 6:11-13

Years ago, I came across this poster in one of my son’s Sunday School classrooms and always thought the lessons applied to adults as well as children. This wisdom is worth applying and sharing.

1. Don’t miss the boat

Ask for guidance from the Almighty, He will help you get through whatever obstacles you are facing right now.

Matthew 11:28 (NIV) “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

2. Remember that we are all in the same boat

As the old saying goes “No Man is an Island” just means were are connected with each other. Some people will leave a huge amount of memories, and others will cause us pain, both though will contribute to our learnings for us to become a better person. Every time you meet new people, it will become part of you forever because it can leave good or bad memories that will stay on your mind for the longest time.

Ephesians 1:3. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”

3. Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark

Ephesians 5:16 (KJV) “Make the most of your opportunities because these are evil days.”

Lay down plans about your future regarding what you want to become in life. Make room for errors. Do not just rely simply on Plan A. Make some sort of Plan B and Plan C to deal with setbacks.

Ark Encounter (Jack Dennis)

4. Stay fit. When you’re really old, someone may ask you to do something really big

1 Corinthians 9:26-27

26 “I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:

27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”

Work to remain healthy physically and mentally. You might need to be part of something amazingly big that is life-changing at least for the people around you.

Stay fit so that you may be able to live a longer life to see your children and grandchildren fulfill their dreams and become successful in life. Many grandparents are not able to see because they lead an unhealthy life and leave this world too soon.

5. Don’t listen to the critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done

1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

Be reminded not to listen to skeptics when you experience setbacks from time to time. Focus on what you want to achieve in life. Years after, the words that critics have said against you won’t even matter anymore.

6. Build your future on high ground

1 Corinthians 3: 10-11 10 “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care.” 11 “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

Make your future to be foolproof. Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

7. For Safety Sake, Travel in Pairs

Romans 8:35-37. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?”

Ark Encounter (Jack Dennis)

8. Speed Isn’t Always An Advantage. The Snails were on board with the Cheetahs

James 1:19 “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”

Who remembers the race between the turtle and the hare? Consistency is more important than speed—or at least have both speed and consistency work together.

9. When You’re Stressed, Float a While

James 1:2-3 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

Having trouble dealing with your personal issues? Take a deep breath, and relax. Learn to unwind for a while to cool down. Afterward, go back to the drawing board and deal with the issue again. A rested mind is more creative than a weary one.

10. Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals

1 Corinthians 1:20 “Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?”

Be humble. It doesn’t matter how mighty you perceive yourself to be, know when to tame your ego. Sometimes a low profile is best as situations may backfire on your part.

11. No matter the storm, when you are with God, there’s always a rainbow waiting

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

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Ark Encounter

The Lord’s Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer reminds us that God longs for His people to communicate with Him, not just go to church on Sunday, but wherever we are and whatever our need.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the Kingdom. The Power and Glory forever. Amen.

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Sources and Networking for Writers, Investigators and Sales People

“Where do you get your ideas for articles? How do you develop and retain dependable sources? How do you sell more? Increase business? Obtain information?”

These are common questions I have received over the years as a “Jack of All Trades” being an investigative reporter, insurance salesman, business executive, trade organization president, writer, detective and corporate facilities manager. The simple answer is to be a good networker.

Personal Connections

After making any connection, I always tried to build on it. Sometimes it takes creativity and thoughtfulness, but those are wonderful traits for life anyway. At HEB Food/Drugs, my division had thousands of employees (Partners), service providers, vendors and other resources to keep our stores, offices, warehouses, manufacturing plants and other real estate safe, lawful and in welcoming conditions.

H-E-B calls employees ‘Partners’

Early on, I would use Rolodex files (labeled: “Sources,” “Engineers,” “Partners,” “Designers,” Electricians,” and others) for individual information on people in each category.

For example, when I visited Austin, Houston, Dallas, the Rio Grande Valley, the Coastal Bend and other regions of Texas, the file for that area would include more than just names, phone numbers, and emails. It was critical to have personal notes to connect and care with individuals I may come in contact with. Examples might be:

Birthplace, Birthday, Anniversaries, Spouse, Children, Other Family, Connections, Hobbies, Interests, Education, and Accomplishments.

Others items to note might include Affiliations, Career and Work History, Goals, Prides, and other interests.

“Is Bobby, Jr. still playing baseball this year? How’s Nancy doing in track? Here’s an autograph of Tim Duncan for your brother. I know he’s big on Spurs basketball,” were some ways to build rapport.

The key was to capture the bits and pieces of hot, vital information
about people I met. These appear as phrases such as “Texas State alum,” “loves to fish,” “never eats lunch,” and so on.

Many times I kept a pocket recorder to help remember for when I jotted it down in the hotel room or plane ride later. As technology developed, I kept computer files and spreadsheets instead of manual Rolodexes.

Note: Even today, I do not include confidential information and confidential names on a computer or internet file. My reputation and ability to gather data and news depends on sources trusting me.

Resources You Can Count On

It’s all a lot of work, but worth every minute of it. What does all this
have to do with resolving an emergency, mitigating a problem, gathering resources, or closing the sale? Just about everything when it’s
used at the moment it’s needed.

Who can you depend on for help when your dealing with a hurricane, a sales proposal or news article?

I don’t subscribe to the saying “Networking is a numbers game.” The success doesn’t come from how many people you can meet. What you actually need is to have a list of people and resources you can count on.

One of my greatest mentors was a senior vice president of Facility Alliance at H-E-B, Ralph G. Mehringer. I watched and learned. When he met someone for the first time–a food server, janitor, visitor, new partner, whoever— Ralph was consistent about making them feel like the most important person in the room.

When I lived in an apartment above the Majestic Theater in downtown San Antonio, a neighbor, Walter Stovell, known as the “Godfather of Houston Street,” totally made eye contact with others–and he kept it. He smiled. He listened.

Majestic Theater

During conversations, Walter made comments and asked questions that showed he was hearing and listening. One day the current and two ex-mayors of the Alamo City walked by and Walter amazed me with his abilities to engage each one opportunities to express themselves without interruption.

What If You Need a Large List to Increase Sales or Potential Sales?

A sales person may mention to someone for whom has been a good customer, “I was just going through my checks, and I realized I spent over $2000 with you last year. I guess we’re really getting to depend on each other more than I knew.”

A typical question I receive is “where do you get your articles and story ideas?” They are all over, if you network properly.


You can expand networking by simply trading networks with someone else.
How big is your network? If you answered infinite, you’re
right. You’re only limited by the number of people on earth. Your network is potentially the size
of all your contacts, plus all your relatives’ contacts, your
friends’ contacts, your business associates’ contacts, and so on.

Suppose you want to introduce a new service you offer. Are you going to limit the list to the names you’ve been able to scrape together? Of course not. You’ll ask me for my list, and if I like the offer I might even ask a few other people for their lists. Instead of a few hundred names, you now have a few thousand.

Always treat anyone’s contacts with the utmost respect. Like tightrope walking, this is a system based on trust. A fall from grace, like a fall from the high wire, can be very hard to recover from.

3 Tips on Selling

🔹 Be Knowledgeable. If you want people to listen to you, you need to be an expert about the product you’re selling, about the market it exists in, and about the way it addresses the needs of your customer.

🔹Establish Rapport. Your primary responsibility is to establish a connection between the needs of the customer and the solutions that your product/service provides. It’s about them, not you. If you’re not paying attention to the customers’ needs, how could you ever accomplish that? Listen to what they’re saying. Ask questions to gain deeper understanding. Seek to build and demonstrate empathy.

🔹Build Relationships. Many people will go to online reviews to learn about your product or service. It’s amazing how much stronger leads are that come from customer referrals. Cultivating customer relationships will give you more leads, and when you listen to compliments and complaints about your offering, it will help you improve for future customers.

One final thought is to use the forever faith 80/20 rule. Twenty percent of your network likely provides 80 percent of the value. What have you done for them lately?

Jack Dennis

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HEB FOOD DRUGS

The Power of Habit Summary

Everyone has big dreams, but they think that they have to do huge things to accomplish those dreams. They get so overwhelmed by their own aspirations that they get analysis paralysis and are sluggish to accomplish anything, much less the big things they had planned. They forget that everything great is accomplished through consistent daily effort. In other words, greatness is a habit.

In the book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg tells us, “is that your habits are what you choose them to be.”

Everyone has habits, whether they know it or not. It’s simply the way the brain works. When you learn how your brain creates habits, you can figure out how to hack the brain and start replacing bad habits and building good ones.

Here’s a quick overview–every habit is centered around 3 things:

🔹a cue,

🔹a routine, and

🔹a reward.

Maybe you’d like to create a better morning routine. A lot of people wake up, hit snooze a few times, pick up their phones and catch up on news, social media, etc., and then get ready for work. The reward is more sleep, a comfortable morning, a slow start to the day.

But a comfortable morning is not a productive morning. So, if you can recognize the cue, you can alter the behavior, and change the reward. Lazy mornings usually happen because people keep their phone next to their bed and use it as their alarm. When you wake up, your phone is already in your hand, so of course you’re going to start your day by checking everything on it.

But if you change the cue by putting your phone across the room, you have to get up to turn off the alarm. When you’re standing there, you’re much less likely to spend much time on your phone. With the cue changed, it’s easier to change the routine to something like reading or exercise. As a result you’ll be rewarded with a healthier body, a sharper mind, and an all-around better day.

These rewards will cement the new behavior and over time you’ll have a much stronger daily performance that is grounded in strong habits.

When you know how the brain works, you can recognize the cues and rewards that you’ve been giving it and change them to eliminate unhealthy habits and build stronger ones. Over time, these habits will make you stronger, wealthier, and wiser.

Jack Dennis

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HEB FOOD DRUGS

The Dolphin Cried, Then Enzo Dived

The famous Italian diver Enzo Mallorca recalled “when I first started thinking about setting freediving records, the medical experts kept saying that a man could not stay alive diving deeper than 165ft [50m] because his lungs would not make it.”

“Doctors were creating barriers for us and I admit that at the time it worried me,” he admitted. “Even Aristotle claimed a man could dive no deeper than 30 ft.”

In September 1960, he successfully descended to a depth of 45m, in the process setting the first of 17 wworld records in the variable buoyancy category.

Two months later, he extended this to 49m.

Enzo Mallorca died at 86 in 2016.

In August 1961 he set a new record of 50m in the “constant weight” category, in which there are no additional buoyancy aids and the diver must descend and ascend with their own fin power. The Italian media dubbed him Lord of the Abysses.

Years later, Enzo dove into the sea of Syracuse and was talking to his daughter Rosanna who was aboard the boat. Ready to go in, he felt something slightly hit his back.

He turned and saw a dolphin. Then he realized that the dolphin did not want to play but to express something.

The animal dove and Enzo followed.

At a depth of about 12 meters, trapped in an abandoned net, there was another dolphin. Enzo quickly asked his daughter to grab the diving knives. Soon, the two of them managed to free the dolphin, which, at the end of the ordeal, emerged, issued an “almost human cry” (describes Enzo).

(A dolphin can stay under water for up to 10 minutes, then it drowns.)

The released dolphin was helped to the surface by Enzo, Rosanna and the other dolphin. That’s when the surprise came: she was pregnant!

The male circled them, and then stopped in front of Enzo, touched his cheek (like a kiss), in a gesture of gratitude and then they both swam off.

Enzo Mallorca once said, “Until man learns to respect and speak to the animal world, he can never know his true role on Earth.”

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A Bias For Action: Procrastination is a Personal Pitfall

Read This Now, Not Later

For a number of years I taught a class called “A Bias For Action” to literally thousands of employees in classrooms, meetings and one-on-one.

It was important to make certain we had “shared expectations” and “working definitions” immediately. Hard as it might be to admit it, we sometimes put off the tough stuff in our lives and especially our job.

Some leaders would avoid confronting a direct report who isn’t performing within the new work environment. Others had a tendency to postpone projects that would test their self-confidence, abilities, comfort zone or patience. But procrastination is a leadership pitfall. Causing stress and anxiety, it sticks with you like glue until you’ve addressed it. So tackle the tough stuff first, and you’ll immediately eliminate undue stress, build your abilities, raise your comfort level, and boost self-confidence, too.

Here are some points to keep in mind:

Procrastination is the enemy. 

According to “Psychology Today,” 20% of people are chronic procrastinators. They avoid challenging tasks or addressing big issues, even seeking out opportunities for distraction.

So, what’s the big deal? Procrastination is negative and always has consequences — some direct, some indirect. These negative implications can be tangible, like a missed deadline, and intangible, such as irritability from losing sleep over an issue. It’s an enemy that affects you, your team and your company’s potential to succeed.

Addressing challenges is often easier than you think. 

Taking the first step is the hardest part, but things often go smoother after that. The classic example is when you’ve needed to address a performance issue with a direct report and been a bit worried over doing so. Then when you go to talk about it, the person is surprisingly receptive, rather than reactive, and your anxiety melts away. You think, “Why didn’t I do that sooner?” You’ve freed up your emotional and mental currency, the problem is addressed, and now you’re able to get back to and really focus on your main job.

Dealing with “it” leads to greater productivity.

Some people claim that they work better under pressure and actually use that clichéd excuse to avoid a project, problem or person. But this mindset’s repercussions can prevent and destroy productivity.

For example, maybe you’ve put off fixing some software bug because it would test your patience and take too much time. Yet the crippled system slows the daily performance of your direct reports — and then stops altogether when it crashes one day. Everyone (most notably you) now suffers big consequences. You must do (in panic mode) what you previously put off, plus repair and pay for more serious damage that’s now been done. No doubt, fixing the problem in the first place could have lessened or prevented the blow, yet one common reason people procrastinate “dealing with it” is simply because they don’t know how or where to start.

Begin by putting some ideas down on paper and then build a specific, deadline-oriented plan for tackling that tough stuff…and there will be A LOT during this time. Doing so will help you create the accountability and steps necessary for your goal achievement. And it will also help prevent further procrastination, so you can drive, rather than dodge, that critical, ever-productive change.

 6 Strategies ASAP To Keep Procrastination At Bay:

🔹Start on the day before day one. Your strategy to avoid workplace procrastination should start before your employee’s first day. Start with clear and accurate job description matched up to accurately qualified candidates, then analyze the next steps of your hiring process.

By recruiting and hiring employees that possess the right skills for the jobs at hand, you’ll get off to a good foundation in your quest to avoid procrastination pitfalls. Incorporate checkpoints in your interview questions, reference check process and in your interview testing process to look for signs that your potential new-hire has a procrastination track record.

Clarify goals and expectations. Now that you’ve done your best to hire the right employee for the right role, it’s quintessential that you set them up for success with a strong start. By communicating company-wide (as well as departmental) goals clearly and defining the expectations of the specific role, you’ll alleviate gray areas that could lead to workplace procrastination.

Make communication a two-way street. As business owners try to avoid workplace procrastination and correct it when it occurs, opening the communication lines with employees can be the greatest way to drill down on the causes. Create multiple communication vehicles to help employees communicate with management regarding issues that could lead to and improve upon workplace procrastination. This communication strategy can consist of surveys, anonymous comments boxes and push notifications via mobile app or intranet tools.

Train, train and retrain. Bake procrastination avoidance strategies into your training program for all employees. Be sure to train managers on ways to spot, address and avoid workplace procrastination issues among their teams.

Work on your company culture. A team of motivated, engaged employees feels connected to the company mission at a deeper level and less prone to procrastination. Company culture can be the edge your business operations needs to keep procrastination and all its repercussions at bay. Creating a strong culture may consist of employee recognition programs, career development opportunities as well as work life balance considerations.

🔹Trust but verify. It’s important to place trust in your team and trust your hunches regarding your business, but the importance of measurement can’t be discounted. By setting up systems to measure deadlines, productivity and detect dips before they have detrimental impacts, you will gain real visibility into your business operations. Using this data, you can avoid workplace procrastination as well as be able to quantifiably reward the positive efforts of your team.

Letting procrastination run rampant in your workplace can cost your business customers, impact your bottom line and create a negative culture. If you make smart hiring decisions, set your team up for success and measurement performance, however, you’ll be able to avoid the complications that workplace procrastination can bring.

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

Goettle HVAC and Plumbing services are located in Phoenix, Tucson, San Antonio, Austin, Las Vegas areas as well as regions in Southern California.

Actions for Leaders to Be Less-Critical

There’s little doubt about the fact that there is no immunity to tough circumstances. Everyone fails. And yet we tend to be our own worst critics.

While taking responsibility for our actions is a healthy practice, dwelling on our mistakes can be dysfunctional. It can hold us back from helping us achieve our full potential and unnecessarily negatively affect the body, mind and spirit. Rather than lying awake in bed, stewing all night about how you blew it, create a learning opportunity by searching for the lessons in your mistakes.

Cutting yourself some slack can be easier said than done. It takes willingness, self-discipline and the ability to “let go” of past transgressions.

Here are some best practice strategies:

1. Don’t do the blame game.
One of the traps that’s easy to fall into is blaming others for our problems — and this is the exact opposite of being overly self-critical.

🔹When we do this, we risk earning a reputation for being someone who can’t admit our own mistakes.

🔹This trait puts our credibility at risk, while courageously admitting and taking ownership of wrongs builds respect.

As you toil to avoid being too self-critical, also avoid the common temptation to blame others.

2. Stop replaying the scene.
After we’ve made a mistake or done something wrong, we often repeatedly replay the scene in our minds.

🔹While processing the event is healthy, obsessing over it is not. It creates undue stress, undermining mental and physical health.

🔹Consistently stay alert to when the mind’s negative movie projector starts rolling and find a positive distraction — quick!

🔹Shift your thoughts elsewhere: exercise, meditate, breathe deeply, call a friend, go get a glass of water — just do something to stop that brutal, cyclical thinking.

3. Forgive yourself.
Create an affirmation around your natural goodness because this, too, will enable you to move on. Use the mantra, “I forgive myself for letting down the team. I am a capable leader.

4. “Confess” to a confidant.
If you’ve made a mistake or failed in some way, sometimes just discussing it with an unbiased confidant or mentor helps. Not only does sharing our humanity with others make problems easier to bare, but it also opens the doors to fresh feedback, insights, solace and even solutions.

5. Go a little easy on others.
We all know the people who are hardest on themselves are often harsh on those surrounding them. Curb your critical tendencies toward others. Think before you speak, be a little kinder and quickly forgive others.

6. Lead by example.
When you start taking a less critical approach — be it with yourself and the team that surrounds you — the impact on others will be infectious, and they’ll be less harsh on themselves, each other and even you, too.

7. Love the lesson.
When it comes to being critical of yourself, remember, your weaknesses are opportunities for building strength and smarts. Every failure is a chance to learn a lesson. Make lemons into lemonade by discovering that lesson, taking corrective action, and then celebrating your victories and successes.

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

Twice the Hero, This Olympic Swimmer Saved Many Lives

In 1976, Shavarsh Karapetyan, an Armenian Olympic swimmer who earned eight gold medals and broke several world records at European championships for finswimming, had just completed a 12-mile run with his brother Kamo when they saw a trolley bus crash into a dam reservoir. The trolley bus sank 80 feet offshore at a depth of 33 feet.

It was September 16, 1976 when Karapetyan risked his own life to save over three dozen people from drowning in the reservoir Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.

Despite zero visibility, he managed to kick in the back window, injuring himself in the process. He proceeded to save 37 people trapped in the bus, one at a time, for hours.

Using the routine he had developed from his swimming training, Karapetyan fell into a rhythm. He took five breaths, dove down for two passengers, and kicked against the top of the bus for momentum as he returned to the surface with the people in both arms.

He had instructed Kamo to stay at the surface and ferry passengers to the bank of the reservoir, as he dove again and again. Karapetyan’s own legs were bleeding, sliced open by broken glass, but that did not deter him.

The two-man lifesaving effort lasted about 20 minutes, before a rescue crew arrived, some of whom moved in on kayaks.

Because of the flurry of action and lack of clear government records, it’s unknown how many people the Karapetyan brothers saved; they estimate about 30. Some survivors freed themselves. Forty-six people died.

Karapetyan after rescuing about 37 people, is shirtless at the bottom center.

The combined effect of the cold water and his inquiries from breaking the glass window led to his hospitalization for 45 days after the incident, during which time he developed pneumonia, sepsis, and lung damage which ended his athletic career.

For years, his story wasn’t known, until an article about the event identified him by name in 1982. In 1985, he happened to pass by the Sports and Concert Arena when he witnessed a fire break out and rushed inside, again saving people trapped inside one at a time until he collapsed. He was again hospitalized with severe burns and lung damage.

He retired at the age of 24, having set 11 world records. Karapetyan held 17 world championship titles, 13 European championship titles, and seven Soviet championship titles.

He was born in 1953. As of 2022, Karapetyan says that he wouldn’t change a thing. Diving into Yerevan Lake that day cost him his athletic career. But he would do it again.

“There was no other choice,” he said. “I knew that it wouldn’t be right if the world’s fastest underwater swimmer was there and didn’t even try to help. Nature and humanity would have judged me. God probably would have judged me.”

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

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In Moments of Desperation, We Were Broken

One of our faithful readers sent this to us recently:

“I was in Family Dollar store last night, and there was a lady and two kids behind me in the LONG line. One was a big kid, and the other one was a toddler. The bigger one had a pack of glow sticks, and the toddler was screaming for them.

The Mom opened the pack and gave him one which stopped his tears. He walked around with it smiling; but then the bigger boy took it, and the toddler started screaming again. Just as the mom was about to fuss, the older child bent the glow stick and handed it back to the toddler.

As we walked outside at the same time, the toddler noticed that the stick was now glowing; and his brother said, “I had to break it so that you could get the full effect from it.”


I almost ran, because l could hear God saying to me, “I had to break you to show you why I created you. You had to go through it so you could fulfill your purpose.”


That precious child was happy just swinging that “unbroken” glow stick around in the air, because he didn’t understand what it was created to do – which was “glow”.


There are some people who will be content just “being,” but some of us are chosen… we have to be “broken.”
We have to get sick.
We have to lose a job.
We go through a divorce.
We have to bury our spouse, parents, best friend, or our child…


In those moments of desperation, we were broken. But… when the breaking is done, then we will be able to see the reason for which we were created. So when you see us glowing, just know that we have been broken

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

What To Do If You Have the Mandate and Lockdown Blues

Special Note:  If you start having thoughts of wanting to die or harm yourself, seek professional help immediately, or let a loved one know. Or call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which provides 24/7, free, and confidential support.

When the COVID-19 Pandemic first appeared in early 2020, Jack and I were as startled as everyone by the strict restrictions of just going to the grocery store to buy toilet paper and food. After a few weeks, we both agreed “NO MORE.”

We moved to the country, lowered our living expenses (cut them over half), started an organic garden and became far more self sufficient (energy, water, food backups and redundancies). In a nutshell, we simplified.

While many people we knew were rushing to get experimental vaccines, buying hoards of masks, staying home and complying with lockdowns, we took the opposite approach.

We went on several roadtrips (Washington DC, Las Vegas, Colorado Springs, Phoenix, Graceland in Memphis, Pigeon Forge in the Smoky Mountains, Andy Griffith Museum in North Carolina, Ark Encounter in Kentucky and other crowded places) visiting 20 states.

We were a bit surprised to see both ends of the spectrum:

1. People wearing masks, gloves, headgear and wrapped in extra clothing just to walk outside to their mailbox.

2. Or like us, RVers, bikers, campers, and travelers enjoying America’s freedoms indoors and outside. We only wore masks per local establishment restrictions, but even then, like other patriots, it was minimal. We attended theater plays, saw movies, enjoyed concerts, explored museums and road amusement park rides.

Everyone experiences ups and downs, but the sadness we’ve been seeing from some people is like weather. It tends to come and go, and it can lift quickly if something positive happens. We made sure to focus on positiveness. We turned off the TV and especially mainstream media of any kind (radio, newspapers, magazine’s, etc.)

Those who took similar approaches seem to snap out of it—sort of like a rain cloud moved aside by the sun.

When It’s More Than Normal Sadness

But some people practically bolted themselves indoors and continuously watched the propaganda and news. Their sadness wasn’t a temporary occurance like a rainshower. It is full blown depression, like a season.

Depression moves in and stays for a while, most of the day, every day, for weeks at a time. It can affect your mood, your physical health, and the way you perceive just about everything. Rather than an emotional state, depression is a health condition.

Consider simplifying your life, finding alternative news sources (like CleverJourneys.Com), and improving your well being. Here are some suggestions:

1. Get moving. Any form of regular exercise boosts mood and energy. It’s hard to get moving when you’re feeling down, so start with small steps and build from there. Standing, stretching, or taking a quick walk around your house or neighborhood is better than being boarded up. And guess what? You don’t need to wear a mask! As a registered nurse of 40 years, I’m not about to wear a mask so frivolously. Just move!!!

2. Try meditating. Research has shown that medication can improve depression symptoms, but research shows you can equate the benefits of 30 minutes of meditation to the effects of one antidepressant pill. Of course, if your doctor has prescribed medication, you should continue to take it as instructed—but you can add meditation to your routine. There are plenty of apps that can help you get started, including Headspace, Calm, and The Mindfulness App. Or simply just go walk!

3. Go outside. Spending time in nature can decrease feelings of depression. It also exposes you to sunlight, which can help your body produce vitamin D. Low levels of the nutrient have been linked to depression, but soaking up even 15 minutes of sun per day can lift your spirits in the present and over the long term.

4. Foster close relationships. Nurturing your existing relationships with friends and family is one of the best things you can do for your health. But it’s also never too late to forge new bonds. How? Sign up for a book club, volunteer to lend a hand at your local community center or place of worship, take a group exercise class, or simply invite a neighbor to meet for a cup of coffee. As feelings of connection increase, depression often decreases.

5. Read. Simply pick up a book and read it. I say book, instead of reading on a computer or phone, for the sake of your eyes. Each day, I have a ritual of reading Bible devotionals and a few chapters in a novel. Library cards are a good thing. It is positive and good for the spirit.

6. Practice gratitude. Making daily lists of what you’re grateful for has been found to help lift mood. Even if you’re not able to write everything down, simply thinking about it or expressing gratitude to others can help boost happiness.

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

Enlightened Patriots Are Surviving the Greatest Psychological Warfare in Human History

If you understand what’s going on and didn’t take the poison, you have survived the greatest psychological warfare in human history.

Do you realize how much time, resources, money and effort they put into this?

They have tried to manipulate, brainwash and force you. They have been trying to scare you. Attempted to make you feel guilty.

They tried to bribe you with gifts. They tried to confuse you and question your reality, and also your sanity.

They tried to make you abandon your principles, your morals and your values. They even managed to turn your loved ones and friends against you.

Almost everyone fell for it. But not you. You never gave up on yourself. You stood up for yourself. Against all odds.

You rose like a Phoenix in the night and entered into your own full power. You are the best. Stay that way.

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.