Courage as you least expect it

Some people say that courageous people are never afraid.

Not true.  They are afraid all the time.

The difference between someone who is brave, and someone who is a coward, is that the brave person acts in spite of their fear, while the coward lets it win.

Courage is also seeing the truth, as it really is, rather than how we would want it to be.  It means not settling for the explanations that are given to us, but digging deeply, checking our own sources, and thinking critically about the result.   There are so many common misconceptions that would be seen through if more people had the courage to see clearly.

It takes courage to shout the truth – it takes more courage to speak it, politely and in a reasoned way.  More people need to pause, consider their words, and then speak only the truth rather than resorting to shadings or leaning on the common rhetoric.

Here is a post I did about courage that has some tips for overcoming fear if you, too, want to be brave.

After all, cowardice is not a life sentence.



via Daily Prompt: Courage

Short Story – When the Eye of London Blinked

I flopped down on the wide, pillowy, slid under the fluffy duvet and between the fine sheets.  It was late, the room was dark, I’d had a long day of exploring, but I just couldn’t get comfortable.  You could say I’m bad with hotels.  Not even this particular grand lady, the famous Savoy of London, could woo me into sleep.  True to legend, the hotel was a beautiful old place, lavishly decorated and full of Old World charm.  I was footsore from exploring London, window shopping and sightseeing and trying not to act too much like a blasted Yank.  My return carry on was filled with sweetmeats and trinkets and I fancied I was already developing an accent.

I shifted one way, then the other, trying to find just the right spot.  My business meeting would come early tomorrow and I wanted to make a good impression on the Senior VP of European Export.  I sat up on the pillows, looking out the window.  City lights shone pinkly against the clouds, and I had a good view of that dazzling Ferris Wheel, the Eye of London.  Personally, I hate the thing.  I think it spoils the skyline.  London is meant to be an old and storied city, not a setting for a blindingly modern eyesore.  Then again, I’m not from ’round here, and it’s not really my city to complain about.

Damn it, I thought, I have to get to sleep.  Old Man Bedford isn’t going to put up with me if I’m not a hundred percent on the ball.  He’ll want his money’s worth for flying me all the way over here, and I don’t blame him.  I briefly considered a Scotch and soda.  That wouldn’t do, though, I pondered.  Then I’ll be muzzy and tired.  I just need to relax.  I lay back again, still watching out the window.  Finally, almost miraculously, my eyes grew heavy.  They slid closed, opened again.

I snapped awake.  It was dark outside, most of the building lights were out, and the night sky was perfectly dark.  I jumped out of bed, my heart pounding.  Was there a power outage?  I looked out the window, sniffed vainly for smoke.  The Ferris wheel was completely black – had the power gone out?  I strained to see it, then realized it wasn’t there.  More, the sky was clear and I saw stars.

I looked down at the street and stared at the only glow I saw.  The streetlights had changed.  They were were lower to the ground and had changed to old fashioned looking lamps.  They shone with a yellowish white light.    I blinked hard, shook my head.  Was I dreaming?  The room felt utterly solid and real. The carpet was still soft under my curling toes.

Then I heard an unmistakable clopping sound, along with the rattle as of wheels on cobbles.  Presently, an old fashioned horse drawn cab – I think it’s called a hansom – rolled by.  The horse had his head down and was plodding slowly.  The driver looked tired too, slumped a bit into a his long, dark coat.  He removed his black hat, scratched his head, put it back on, gave the horse a touch of his whip, and they clattered out of sight.  There were no cars in sight, not even the ones that had been parked along the street, and I saw no painted lane markers anywhere.  Only worn, dirty cobbles shining damply under the yellow-white gaslights.  I began to look at the buildings, seeing how everything had changed.

Am I going nuts? I thought.  I leaned closer to the window, straining to see more.  Then the world rippled, there’s no better way to explain it, and all at once everything was back the way it should be.   The blasted Eye stared me down, almost mockingly, and all the streetlights stood tall, shining pinkly against the clouds.  The cobblestones were gone.  Cars were parked outside again.  I couldn’t help but check to make sure they were the same ones.

I hope that conjured up some interesting images for you!

Tending my health with “Fire Cider”

It’s cold and flu season where I am, and I am in the middle of helping teach a class of forty two adults, many of whom have little germ factories, I mean, kids!  This is in a highly populated building and I also have shopping and errands to do.  I also have narrow airways and wimpy sinuses.  Needless to say, I need something to help keep me well!

Enter Fire Cider.

This is a potent concoction consisting of apple cider vinegar that has had all kinds of good things soaking in it – like garlic, onions, ginger, turmeric root, horseradish, chili peppers, citrus, as well as various other herbs and spices depending on need and taste.  It steeps for about a month in a glass jar and then you take it by the tablespoonful.  You can mix it with raw honey, water, or both.  I use water currently and can deal with it just fine.  In fact, it’s tasty – I used a smoked chili in my mix so it has a lovely flavor.

If you don’t like heat, you can make this with weaker peppers, or fewer of them.  The onion and garlic really don’t make it that much hotter.  Some might not be able to handle the horseradish, but if that’s you, you can leave it out.  However, as for me…

Scoville Units.png

Anyway.  The whole point of Fire Cider is to harness all the good properties of these different roots and herbs in a way that doesn’t have you downing a bottle of supplement pills every day.

So far I have not been taking the full Fire Cider, but rather a concoction I made to use while the main batch is steeping – it contains ginger, black pepper, turmeric root, smoked dried chiles, onion, garlic, lemon from my boss’s tree (including peel since he doesn’t use pesticides), and organic apple cider vinegar.  It has many of the good properties of the main batch but probably isn’t as potent.

However, even this lesser batch has had the following clearly noticeable effects:

Improved energy (I use it sometimes instead of coffee)

Better digestion (there’s that ACV)

Improved mood

Better circulation (my legs don’t swell as much now)

And, this is the best part, I HAVEN’T GOTTEN SICK.  This is despite working very closely (like within inches) of people with various colds and strains of the flu.  In fact, when I start feeling run down, I just take extra and it seems to help.  Of course, during the wort days I did augment with extra garlic.  Still, I’m very pleased and am looking forward to starting the big batch at the end of the month!

For anyone who wants good info about how to make this, and more detail on the therapeutic properties, check out these two links:

The Organic Prepper Fire Cider making article, with video (includes “instant” version)

Mountain Rose Herbs Fire Cider article and recipe


Profuse Excuses

Do you have a profusion of excuses for why you aren’t succeeding?

I know I do!

The secret to success is eliminating those roadblocks to success.  The first step is to admit they’re there, the next step is to identify them, then you admit it’s possible to overcome them, then you find ways to do so.

Sounds like a lot of work, right?  Not so fast – the first three steps take maybe a minute. 

Let’s use weight loss for an example.  And my own excuses – I make a great guinea pig.  After all, I’ve been known to squeak loudly at opening refrigerator doors!  I know I won’t really lose weight until I figure out what my excuses are, my roadblocks to success.

A good way to do this is to find times where I failed in the past, figure out why I failed, and come up with strategies to avoid the same problems this time.  Usually, there’s an excuse behind everything.

“I can’t stay on a diet, I get too hungry.”

Okay, I got too hungry.  That was my roadblock.  So I design a plan with lots of low calorie foods so I can be constantly eating.  Or I stay low carb and high protein, because that naturally makes my hunger go away.  Excuse nullified.

“I don’t have time to work out.” 

There’s about half a million ways to sneak in exercise, as seen in this article for example, and they are all great excuse busters.

“I get bored.”

Great excuse as that has been the biggest roadblock to many of my weight loss efforts.  So I switch out my healthy snacks, I use music when I work out, I seek variety.

“I don’t have enough money to eat healthy food.”

Another really good excuse.  Good thing vegetables are cheap, so are eggs, and it costs less to cook at home!  Roadblock removed, excuse nullified.

Once I have my biggest excuses identified, I am free to think of creative strategies to stop them in their tracks.  Then all that’s left is to take action!  A well planned strategy to overcome your own difficulties can eliminate your excuses.  This idea works for many personal struggles.  Budget, working out, losing weight, improvements at work, playing with your kids, and really whatever you want to do.