Uncle Thor's Lessons, Anecdotes and Humor

15
Mar

The Souring of Spiritual Leadership

When Spiritual Leadership Turns Sour

While it is the prerogative of spiritual leaders to comment on current events, their main focus should remain spiritual. Comment, but leave the rest to the people. A spiritual leader, be he an actual leader, a figurehead, or a prominent person, ought not wallow in the morass of politics, public opinion and the mundane issues of the day. Should he focus too much on those things, he is no longer leading spiritually; he has become a commentator on current events.

I have seen individuals who had been spiritual leaders spend their time bemoaning the current state of things and the machinations of politicians. There are examples from all sides of the controversies of the day. They have ceased to be an inspiration to those who look to them. Insight and inspiration have been replaced by diatribes on temporal controversies.

The time has come for people to stop flogging a dead horse. Politics and government and social issues will proceed as they will, regardless of commentary. These things are temporary. People need the enduring wisdom of spiritual insight to ride above the tide of current events. Those who claim to provide it do a mis-service when they wade too long in matters best left to newsmen, political pundits and talking heads.

Those who are experienced in spiritual matters are leaders, whether in a leadership position or not. Such persons provide leadership by example. Their words and deeds show others how a spiritual person should behave. If one is constantly bickering over trifles or whining about the state of government and society, what example does he provide? The chronic complainer and the frequent participant in petty disputes set a very poor example, indeed.

Make sure that your example is worthy of the spirituality you claim to profess. Let true insight and inspiration be your priority. This assures your spiritual health and provides an example that does the most good for the people who respect you.

28
Feb

Big Problems, Practical Solutions

The following is a list of actions that can solve big problems. They are drawn from many years of experience and observation. The list gives you a sequence that includes practical thinking and practical action. It can be applied to any number of troubles. None of these are miracle cures. You have to make yourself part of the solution and apply good thinking and effective effort in order to succeed. There are no promises.

What I have found is that when people have a rational plan of action, they can act confidently and effectively. Those who have no idea of what to do tend to bumble about. They bounce from one thing to the next and have no clear path to their objective. Even the simplest game plan is far better than no plan at all.

The list below is here to help you make and implement a plan that works for you. Knowing leads to doing.

0) Realize that something is wrong.

1) Admit to yourself that there is a problem. Acknowledge it. Identify it. Better to face an unpleasant fact than perpetuate a pleasant lie. You can deal with facts. A lie is nothing. It allows the facts to deal with you.

2) Understand that whatever the cause of the problem, it is your problem. You are responsible for it. Whether you contributed to the problem or if it came with no input from you is a moot point right now. Accept your responsibility for solving your problem.

3) If what you are doing is causing or feeding the problem, stop doing it. Cease the action that perpetuates the problem.

4) In many cases, you may need help to solve the problem. If you could solve it yourself, you would have done so. If you need help, admit to yourself that the problem is bigger than your own knowledge and abilities at this time. Determine the kind of help that you need.

5) Access the help you need. For medical issues, find a doctor. For legal problems, consult a lawyer. Money woes may require meeting with a financial advisor. If the problem is mental or emotional, find a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist. For these and most other problems, there is help that you can access. Many areas have hotlines to help connect you with the help you need.

6) Do not sit back and let someone else do everything. Even with help, most solutions require effort on your part. Participate in your solution. Follow directions of those experts who are giving you help. Be the problem medical, legal, financial, relationship or otherwise, there are always things you should be doing. Follow doctor’s orders. Work with your lawyer. Heed the counsel of the financial advisors, marriage counselor or other experts. Help does not come and save the day by itself. It often requires your continued input.

7) Setbacks are a hazard of any effort, so mentally prepare to deal with them. You do this by making a commitment to yourself. No matter how many setbacks occur, always get back into the effort and keep moving forward. One might say that when Life knocks you down, get back up! Do not let setbacks win. You only fail if you allow them to stop you from further effort. When thigns go wrong, get back up and make them right.

8) Time is of the essence. The sooner you recognize the problem and commit yourself to its solution, the better. Generally, the earlier you move on a problem, the easier ti is to solve.

9) Complex problems require organized solutions. Dismantling a complex problem takes deliberate thought and planning. Usually, there is a core problem and several sub-problems that it has engendered. Defeating the core problem helps minimize the effect of the others. You can frequently ascertain a sequence in which to dismantle the others. For instance, if dealing with a drinking problem, the first thing is to stop drinking. Once there is enough time sober, the other problems caused by drinking can be addressed effectively in detail..

10) A key concept to consider is the impact of people, places and things. Perhaps there are people who contribute to the problem. There may be places which perpetuate the problem. Consider also things, be they objects or activities, which support the problem rather than the solution. Minimize the impact of all three, first by becoming aware of their influence. Avoid if possible. If not, choose other actions to mitigate their unfortunate influence. Gravitate toward people, places and things that support the solution.

11) Throughout the process, look for any patterns in your own behavior that might be contributing to the cause of your problems. Look for recurring things that eventually cause trouble. Make an effort to identify and break those patterns. Perhaps you are drawn to individuals whose influence leads to problems. Maybe there are things you do that start the process of trouble. By recognizing these patterns and recurring things, you can learn to avoid or minimize their influence.

12) Once you have a handle on the problem, you are still not finished. Be vigilant to prevent further outbreaks of trouble. Place yourself on the side of the solution in all things. Better to be the one who is on the side of improvement than the one who is always fending off impending calamity.

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Many a complex task is actually a series of smaller tasks. There is usually a sequence in which they are to be addressed. There is a simple trick to this. Determine the proper sequence and stick to it. Do not get ahead of yourself.

Deal with each stage of the complex task as if it is a whole job in itself. Do the job completely and thoroughly before moving on to the next step in the sequence. This assured that you get the job done right the first time, and you do not have to go back to fix glitches.

28
Feb

When Life Slams You: Slamming Back

(Dealing with those desperate times)

When I change the wound dressings on my legs, I wonder how long this is going to continue. I prefer to change them when nobody is around. The sight of the wounds and messy bandages might upset them.

I have not slept in a regular bed for well over a year. Most sleep is done sitting up on the couch. There is not much that can be done to mitigate pain when it happens. Progress is slow.

Two years ago, I had heart surgery. The recovery was grueling. Things started to get better for a little while. The came the other problems. I ask myself if I am any better than I was in the months before the surgery. Progress, if any, is slow. Sometimes I wonder if it was all worth it in the first place.

Thanks to the current medical situation, my life feels as if it is on hold.

I follow doctors’ orders and take my medication as prescribed. I follow the proper diet. Nonetheless, things seem to defy improvement.

The plain fact is that life is unfair. Some get more to handle than others. Contrary to what some theologians preach, this is not the wrath of an angry deity or punishment for wrongs. Bad things can happen to good people. Perhaps we are not responsible for the problem, but we are responsible to seek its solution.

There are also problems of which we are the authors. This is not one of them. In my case, it all began with a faulty part of my heart. I was born with it. That was not my fault, but dealing with the fallout is my responsibility.

I am writing this as an example for others who may be undergoing an ongoing set of unfortunate circumstances. The thing I have observed and experienced over the years is this: whether the problem is caused by you or not, the solution is your responsibility. Be it medical, mental, social, financial, locational or anything else, you are the one who has to deal with it. If you do not deal with it, it will continue to deal with you on its terms.

Life is unfair. There are no pie-in-the-sky answers and no pollyana slogans that address the situation. No sweetness-and-light quotations will do anything to help. The answer begins by looking at the situation itself and admitting its existence. Better to face an unpleasant fact than gloss it over with a pleasant lie. You can work with facts. You cannot work with lies.

Knowing what confronts you, you can begin to seek and develop solutions. The chance of a miracle solution is unlikely. It may take time and effort. It may be excruciatingly slow. Perhaps it will not go away soon enough to suit you. Yet if you do not get working on it, it will never go away.

Whether your problem’s solution requires doctors, lawyers, a financial advisor, a change in lifestyle, ridding oneself of bad habits or any other such thing, the process begins with you. You have to go to the doctor before he can help you. You have to hire the lawyer, meet the financial advisor, make necessary changes and be an active participant in your solution. You have to become willing to do whatever is necessary. Anything less than a full commitment is likely to fail.

Nothing seems to happen fast enough. The solution usually takes time. Results may be gradual. It is at the times when results do not come soon enough that you must persist. Indeed, it is necessary to persist even if you see no end in sight. Your solution may entail a test of your endurance.

There may be setbacks. Sometimes Life may knock you down. The only ones who lose are those who choose to stay down. Every time Life bowls you over, it is up to you to rise to the occasion. Getting back up may be slow and uncomfortable, but staying down is not an acceptable alternative. Those who stay down become failures by doing so. Those who respond to setbacks by rising and getting back into the effort are assuring their eventual success.

For me, this is a game of persistence. It is a matter of doing the tedious and sometimes unpleasant tasks time after time. There may be dark thoughts from time to time, but they are just fleeting shadows of the mind. For now, it is a matter of doing what I can and waiting. Conditions may be different for solving your problem. Nonetheless, it is important to get involved in implementing the solution. Make the commitment and then act. Nothing gets done without your input.

************

Feelings are part of the process. There will be good feelings and bad ones, days of hope and hours of despair. The important thing about feelings is that you address them rather than let them work against you. Admit to yourself what you feel: hope, doubt, fear, concern, etc. You need not, and perhaps should not, admit it to anyone else. Accept how you feel. When you do so, you are able to adjust yourself in light of these feelings. Admitting fear allows you to prevent it from affecting you adversely. You know it is there and so are able to minimize its input into your thinking and actions. The thing is that you admit feelings, but do not wallow in them. Put the fear, self pity and other unproductive feelings behind you. This is an effective way to sidestep the quagmire of dark emotion. Especially in dire times, manage your mind. Put intellect over emotion and do not feed into your feelings. Trust your instincts and put your faith in reason. Millennia of human existence has shown that when we put our faith in reason, we tend to get good results.

23
Feb

The Year of Hate

I am very disappointed to see people vilify others merely because of their political affiliation or whom they voted for. This is pure hatred, and many of the haters are hypocrites. Many belong to minorities who claim to have been persecuted, slandered, and deliberately misunderstood. Many are members of ethnic, religious, and / or gender minorities. They hate to be called out because of their preferences, but think nothing of slandering others for their choices.

The haters are not all buffoons. Some are people prominent and respected in their various communities. They set the example for others of their leaning. And it is not limited to one side of the political or social equation. People from all sides are guilty of spreading hate.

Idiots have ruined lifelong friendships and family relationships through perpetuating the hatred. It is these vitriolic people who are causing the biggest divisions in this country. They prevent dialog by trying to stifle views that differ from their own. Dialog? Many do not even have the goodwill to accept a friendly handshake from those they have targeted as their enemy.

Like I said, the hate is coming from people on all sides of the equation, not just one group of supporters or another. There is no excuse for it, no justification, no rational explanation. Those who attempt to defend their caustic diatribes do so in terms of spite, maliciousness and outright hatred.

I am not naming names yet, but if the shoe fits… Suffice to say that several people who I had thought were fair-minded and reasonable individuals have lost my respect and esteem.

As for everyone else, I voted as I wanted and I support the views that suit me. No matter how you voted and what views you take, I do not think less of you if yours contradict mine. I assume that everyone votes and sees things the way that suits him or her best. Just as we want people to have religious freedom and freedom of speech, so it is important that people have the freedom to choose the candidate and policies as they see fit.

Remember what I said many times before: treat every person fairly, whether you like him or not. Treat him fairly whether you like or dislike his views, his political affiliation, his choice of religion, his ethnicity, etc., etc. Humanity has proven that we cannot all love one another, but the least we can do is give people a fair shake.

And to the hate-mongers on all sides: you are an abysmal disappointment.

24
Nov

Zombie Month

The popular monsters of recent years are zombies, also known as the “walking dead.” The name comes from Haitian Voodoo lore. Modern movie and TV zombies are humans who have died but became reanimated due to a strange disease. These walking, rotting beings meander about aimlessly unless something calls their attention. Then the zombies focuses on the stimulus, form into a mob and proceed towards it. Zombies seek to eat human flesh.

In most of the Zombie genre, the monsters can only be killed by destroying their brains. They have to be shot, stabbed, slugged or chopped in the head.

The zombie is a fitting analogy for many people today.

How many people actually do their thinking for themselves? Fewer than you think. They are content to let someone else do the thinking. It may be the media, celebrities, political parties or popular causes. The people are content to let these various entities tell them what they should think, how to vote, what to do, and what and where to buy. The people themselves are content to take the messages at face value rather than look into things for themselves.

Like zombies, the minds of many wander and meander aimlessly, waiting for direction. Just as a sound or movement may draw the zombies to it, so the people react to the directions given by their favorite marketers, politicians, celebrities, etc. They do not take time to question the directions. Instead, they follow almost instantly.

From Thanksgiving night to December 24th, hordes of modern people make their zombie-like journeys to the markets. They buy as directed by advertisers, rushing into the malls and department stores the way fictional zombies rush after fresh flesh. And like the zombies, they seem insatiable.

The only cure is to help them reclaim their minds. That is easier said than done. Many prefer to give the responsibility for their choices to someone else than make the effort to choose for themselves. Then again, we have generations whose parents were willing to cede responsibility for moral education to the schools and television.

The Winter Holiday Season shopping is a large-scale example of the insanity of people who yield their mental responsibility. The buying frenzies, the hunt for bargains and people spending themselves deeper into debt are symptoms of a deeper problem. The simple truth is that the people are not thinking, but following the lead of other entities. In doing so, they are causing themselves difficulties. The folks providing direction to them do not care much about the consequences for these willing sycophants. The politician cares most about getting the vote, the marketer cares most about making more profits and the celebrity seeks to perpetuate his or her popularity. They do not care if people following their lead drive themselves into bankruptcy.

Those of us who make responsible choices based on doing our own thinking can appreciate the benefits of mental self-reliance. Those who cede their will to other entities need to take a good look at themselves and the things that influence their choices. That is the first step to reclaiming their minds from the clutches of marketers, politicians, etc. Normal people do not spend themselves into debt over things that are not necessities. Normal people do not agree to do something just because an entertainer endorses it. Consider that.

*****

The flesh that the zombies consume is like the insatiable consumption of goods that are unnecessary and whose cost is burdensome. Mindless eating = mindless buying. You can be sure that someone is profiting mightily from the careless expenditure of income. By the same token, those who spend harm themselves by placing themselves in needless debt over trifles.

23
Nov

Thanksgiving Message, 2016

To Begin: Happy Thanksgiving and Joyous Holidays to all. Joyous Yule to the Heathens and Pagans, Merry Christmas to the Christians, Happy Hannukah to the Jews and Happy Holidays to all.

The first Thanksgiving has turned into a legend and a cute story. It originated as a festival of gratitude for the first harvest in the New World. The images are of early 17th Century people, Northeastern Indians, turkeys, maize, and pumpkins. Many images of the men are sporting the blunderbuss, a crude ancestor to the shotgun.

In recent years, there have been attempts to debunk Thanksgiving and the original colonists. These new, dismal views of history have cropped up since the late 1960s when revisionists tried to re-write history.

Thanksgiving is a national day of gratitude, a family festival and the start of the Winter Holiday Season. The usual repast includes a turkey with bread stuffing, corn and other vegetables, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving coincides with the time of year in the temperate zone of North America when the last harvests are brought in and the hogs butchered for the winter.

From a personal viewpoint, I remember Thanksgivings up the country when there was a large meal. Hogs were butchered. about that time. The extended family was there. It was big and it was fun.

When I left home for the Army, Thanksgiving changed. At least, the technical side changed. The mess hall replaced the family’s large “knotty pine” room and I ate with friends instead of relatives. In subsequent years, I rarely had the opportunity to eat with family. Work schedules and other things prevented that. No problem there. I ate with friends. Whether it was turkey sandwiches in a gin mill or the chaos of friends trying their hand at cooking, it was all good.

Since my Audrey and I are together, there have been Thanksgivings with friends, Thanksgivings with family, Thanksgivings at restaurants and Thanksgivings at home. Had they not closed the Hofbrau Haus in Atlantic Highlands, we would probably still be going there for Thanksgiivng. We liked that place. Yet wherever we ate, it was good.

There is a tradition at Thanksgiving of recounting things for which a person is grateful. This year has been a tough one and it has not gotten easier. A series of medical misadventures has knocked me for a loop. So one thing for which I am grateful is that I am alive. I am most grateful for Audrey, my wife, who has gone through this with me. Her love and care have made all the difference.

M y experience has been that a good Thanksgiving is not about a home-cooked meal with all the trimmings. It can be happy wherever one is. Whether you get a meal of many courses with turkey and all the trimmings or nothing more than a turkey sandwich, it is all good. Be thankful and take joy in it.

*****

Gratitude is an attitude with benefits. When you are grateful for something, you appreciate it and make the most of it. If you are not grateful, you tend to ignore it and maybe even become resentful of it. If you are grateful, you find that you have more than you need to do what you must.

*****

My funniest Thanksgiving involved a woman I had met at work a long time ago. She was from another town. She was likeable and started hanging out with us.

At one point, the woman and I took an interest in each other. We spent time together and did things. However, every time I tried to move things forward, she backed up and said she was not ready yet.

After two months of seeing her, things seemed at an impasse. I figured we were getting close to “make it or break it” time. She seemed to warm up a little and invited me to her home for Thanksgiving.

I arrived at the appointed time. Most of the guests were her friends. We had a pleasant time. Dinner was excellent. The only thing was that the woman did not sit near me. I figured she wanted to sit nearest the kitchen so it was easier to bring things to the table.

Desert came with coffee and conversation. I was halfway through my coffee when the conversation turned toward her. She was talking about her hopes for the future. In the course of it, she explained that she wanted to be involved with an artist and visit sidewalk cafes and that lifestyle. The type of man she described was very different from me, and everyone knew it.

Everyone at the table was a bit embarrassed for me. I wanted to be out of there five minutes ago. However, I finished my coffee. After thanking her for her hospitality and wishing everyone the best for the holidays, I began to leave. One of her relatives brought me my coat. He walked me to the door downstairs. Our of earshot of the people, he said, “I’m really sorry, man, I had no idea she would do that.”

“No problem. Be well and enjoy the holidays. I know when it is time to go home,” I said
.
I walked out of there proudly. I was neither going to slouch nor stride off hastily. The thing that stood out was that this woman could have told me at any time that there was not going to be anything more between us. She could have told me a week earlier. The odd thing is that why spend all day with someone with whom you do not wish to be? By the time I got home, I felt like I got away from her just in time. And there was that nice Thanksgiving dinner and desert, no matter how it ended. I laughed.

And as I found out later, I got out just in time. She was the type who went through people’s lives like a tornado. I had not yet seen that side of the woman, but some friends had. So there was something extra for which to be thankful.

12
Nov

The Congregation that Works

Continue Reading »

10
Nov

Protests or Millennial Temper Tantrums?

The protests by Millennials in the wake of the Presidential Election are exercises in futility. They will not change anything. What they illustrate is the large number of crybabies who throw a college-kid version of a temper tantrum when they do not get their way. This is part of the same thing where Millennial college students ask for “safe space” to protect them from rhetoric that offends them. And somewhere in there is the trend to give everyone a trophy whether they won it or not.

This is not to say that all Millennials are a lost cause. Look at the young people who are joining the military and serving honorably. There are young people who have backbone. Unfortunately, it is the supposedly-educated weenies who are getting the most press because they are making the most noise.

At age 17, I was getting harangued by two drill sergeants while I reassembled my rifle. And I was not alone. Millions of Americans have had the same experience. There was no “safe space” in the Army. There was no “safe space” around town. There was no “safe space” in the gin mills or the job sites or the trade shops. In fact, the colleges and Universities also had no safe spaces them because they wanted students to encounter opposing views and free speech.

As for trophies, well, people of my athletic talent did not get them. That did not stop us from playing. And I did not get awards in school for academic achievement. That did not stop me from learning. People got awards for doing something better than others. For instance, I got my Expert Rifle badge in the Army because I was a good shot. People who did not shoot as well got Sharpshooter, Marksman, or nothing. Awards meant something because they were earned.

The result of this wimpification of young people is going to a be a bunch of thin-skinned weenies who require constant validation through meaningless acts of praise. Their fears of being offended will make them marginally effective at whatever they do. Meanwhile, tougher individuals will excel because they are not hamstrung by fear nor the need for constant reaffirmation. These people will be more self-reliant and capable of taking the initiative and creating opportunity. So it is that the fearful ones are already on the path to mediocrity while the fearless will make themselves a highway to achievement.

**********

The knee-jerk reaction of Millennials to protest at every little thing has diminished the power of protest. A protest is only powerful if it is meaningful. Needless acts and those with petty causes are at most a nuisance, and at best waste of effort. Then again, it is the nature of spoiled brats to throw their tantrums whenever their feelings get bruised.

31
Oct

Isa Rune Brittleness

A trait of the Isa Rune is brittleness. It solidifies like water to ice. This hardening is usually temporary and can be fragile. Brittleness is a problem that contributes to the temporary nature of Isa hardening. It is not limited to ice. Metals like iron can be brittle and fragment easily. To counter brittleness, the process of tempering uses heat and cold. It imparts enough flexibility and softness to keep the metal from shattering. To the coldness of Isa, it’s reciprocal – heat – must be applied. Of course, improper tempering can go the other way and make the iron too soft and bendy.

28
Oct

Yule is Not Christmas, 2016

Yule is not Christmas

Once again, the Christmas advertisements pop up on television. It starts a few weeks before Halloween now and continues until December 24th. There was a time when these advertisements were not seen before Thanksgiving.

I am reminded of a funny movie entitled “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” In the story, Halloween and Christmas somehow got confused. That is what happens in October. There is a push by marketers to sell their Halloween wares and begin pushing for the Christmas shopping season.

There was even a small bit on TV news about what holiday items to buy now!

For the Heathens among us, remember: Yule is not Christmas.

Retail greed has gotten worse during the past ten years. Stores open early for the Black Friday sales. Some open on Thanksgiving. Mobs of people crowd the front ,waiting for the doors to be opened. What happens next is pure savagery. The crowd rushes through the doors like a stampede. People make a beeline for the goods that are on a special sale. Of course, there are usually not enough for everyone. Then the brawls begin. Last year, a grown woman was shown on the news trying to tug boxes from under a little girl’s arm.

People sell their dignity to save a few bucks amid a feeding frenzy of greedy shoppers.

My response to these sales: stay home. The supposed savings are not worth the loss of dignity. If you get caught up in a pack of people behaving like frenzied animals, it’s hard to tell you from them.

Yule is not Christmas. Yule is not cause for a shopping blitz. Yule is not an occasion to show how much you care by the extravagance of the gifts you give. Yule is about family, friends, traditions and the changing of the year. We do not cheapen it with tawdry gifts and seasonal silliness. Our gifts should be meaningful and heartfelt, with an eye to the happiness of the receiver. They are tokens of esteem.
Our holiday decorations should be tasteful. We need to preserve the dignity of the occasion. Ostentatious displays and the like detract from the holiday itself.

Yule is not Christmas. We have no place participating in the Black Friday banzai charges and the battles to get the goods. Ignore the advertisements.

Part of the problem is that there are actually two Christmases. One is the religious holiday celebrated by Christians. It is easy for us to avoid. The other is the secular Christmas with its Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus and chintzy decorations. The secular songs and characters seem harmless enough. Many are innocuous, being more seasonal then reflective of the religious side of the holiday.
Heathen parents need to be careful here. We are not alone in confronting the ramifications of the secular Christmas. Jews, Buddhists and other non-Christians have also had to make their choices about the holidays.

One of the problems is the character of Santa Claus. He is a little too close to the Yule Visitor of various Heathen traditions. Granted, Santa is not Thor, Odin, Freya or Perchta. Do parents tell children that Santa equates with one of our Yule Visitors? Should they explain that he is a different character altogether? And in the matter of gifts, ought Parents explain them as delivered by Santa, or should they tell children that their gifts were bought by family?

Eight Reindeer? Eight-Legged Sleipnir? Maybe Santa is supposed to be a Sami or someone from Finland?
These choices will have to be made by each household. Secular Christmas is a bit more insidious than its religious counterpart. It is easy to pare out the obvious Christian songs and motifs, from Silent Night to Nativity scenes to the “Little Drummer boy.” It is a harder with things that are not so obviously religious. While we can enjoy the secular side of Christmas, we do best to set limits.

One problem we face is the matter of relatives. Most of us have relatives who are Christian to one degree or another. Even if they are not particularly religious, they probably dip heavily into the secular side of the holiday. While having Christmas dinner with the extended family is not much of an issue, other things might be a bone of contention. For instance, your nieces and nephews may have been told that Santa brings the presents. If your household prefers the Yule Visitor and tells the kids that the gifts come from parents, there may be conflict with some of the relatives. Family at holidays is enough of a minefield. Throw in religious differences and it is like walking on eggshells. Just be prepared for it and handle it tactfully.

Holidays are supposed to be fun. Merchants want to make them occasions to fleece us, thinking that extravagant gift-giving is a substitute for a good time. It is not fun if you have to go into debt to “enjoy” the season.

Get a free copy of our booklet, “Yule Thoughts for Heathens,” with any purchase of our books or other products over $25.00 Our items for sale are at www.trollwisepress.com

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