Tour of homes benefits Fayette Humane Society

Christmas Tour of Homes benefits Fayette Humane Society.
Christmas Tour of Homes benefits Fayette Humane Society.

Christmas Tour of Homes benefits Fayette Humane Society.

Harry Norman Realtors will present the inaugural Fayette Humane Society Christmas Tour of Homes on Sunday, Dec, 7, 2014 from 1 to 5 p.m., showcasing five homes in Fayette County. Homes to be showcased are located in Interlochen, Saranac Park, Maple Shade, The Estates and North Cove subdivisions.

Tickets will go on sale Oct. 1 at a cost of $25 and will be available at the Harry Norman Realtor office, 120 Peachtree East Shopping Center in Peachtree City, Ga. All proceeds will go to provide food, shelter and medical attention for the animals.

Leah Thomson, fundraising chairman, could not be more excited about this event and the willingness of the community to get involved.

“I have received so much positive response to this event,” Leah said. “It is a win/win situation for our area and all the animals that need our help.”

Each of these homes will be decorated by local professional decorators and local musicians will provide music in each home and local restaurants will display their food and products.

“The decorators we have on board are enthusiastic and fabulous at what they do, and can’t wait to get started,” Leah said. “Ticket holders will be very pleased with the local businesses that are involved, and we are very fortunate to have so many talented local musicians in our area that have stepped up to provide us with some wonderful music.”

For more information on the event visit the Fayette Humane Society’s website at http://fayettehumane.org, the Fayette Humane Socitety Christmas Tour of Homes Facebook page, or stop by the office of Harry Norman Realtors.

ABOUT

The Fayette Humane Society is the oldest humane society in the area and last year alone provided assistance to over 600 dogs and cats, either through adoption or through various spay and neuter programs. With your help in supporting fundraising events such as this, we will continue to do so.

Front Porch Players brings Oklahoma! to local stage

Joanna Griffin plays Laurey Williams alongside Jack Allison as Curley McLain in The Front Porch Players production of the perennial classic "Oklahoma!"
Jakson Mulhall (Will Parker), Brian Walsh (Ali Hakim), Alison Chambers (Ado Annie) rehearse for the Front Porch Players upcoming production of "Oklahoma!"

Jakson Mulhall (Will Parker), Brian Walsh (Ali Hakim), Alison Chambers (Ado Annie) rehearse for the Front Porch Players upcoming production of “Oklahoma!”

The Front Porch Players stage will come alive on September 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, & 14 with some hootin’ and a hollerin’ as they proudly present the perennial classic, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!. Featuring a 23-person cast and crew comprised of residents from Henry, Clayton, Gwinnett, Fulton, Fayette, and even Floyd Counties, the production will take place at the Family Center of the First Presbyterian Church of Jonesboro. The cast includes former Fayette Woman cover Alison Chambers.

Based on the 1931 play Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs, Oklahoma! was the first collaboration of Rodgers & Hammerstein and contains some of their best-known music, such as “Oh, What A Beautiful Morning”, “Surrey With the Fringe on the Top”, “I Cain’t Say No”, and of course, “Oklahoma!”.

Joanna Griffin plays Laurey Williams alongside Jack Allison as Curley McLain in The Front Porch Players production of the perennial classic "Oklahoma!"

Joanna Griffin plays Laurey Williams alongside Jack Allison as Curley McLain in The Front Porch Players production of the perennial classic “Oklahoma!”

Set against the backdrop of the Oklahoma Territory at the turn of the century, the musical tells the story of cowboy Curly McLain (Jack Allison) and farmgirl Laurey Williams (Joanna Griffin) and the pride that keeps them apart, childhood sweethearts not-so-bright Will Parker (Jakson Mulhall of Tyrone) and Ado Annie (Peachtree City’s Alison Chambers) who has recently blossomed and is enjoying all of the new attention , and rough farmhand Jud Fry (Gary Wofford of McDonough) who is obsessed with Laurey and willing to do anything to get her. Fayetteville’s Barbara Zellner is the feisty Aunt Eller.

Karen Ferrell-White brings her expertise to the role of director of this large production, and the musical direction is in the capable hands of Lucy Stembridge.

What has been called “the best musical of the 20th Century” opened on Broadway in 1943 and ran for an unprecedented 2,212 performances. It won a special Pulitzer Prize in 1944, and the 1955 film adaptation won an Academy Award.

Playwright Thomas Hischak once noted, “Not only is Oklahoma! the most important of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, it is also the single most influential work in the American musical theatre. It is the first fully integrated musical play and its blending of song, character, plot, and even dance would serve as the model for Broadway shows for decades.”

Curtain is at 8:00 PM for Friday and Saturday night performances and 2:30 PM for Sunday matinees. Ticket prices are as follows: Reserved seating is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors (55+), $10 for children, and general admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $8 for children. To purchase tickets, for directions, or for more information, please visit: www.TheFrontPorchPlayers.com or call (770) 897-1404.

The Front Porch Players will present "Okhlahoma!" Sept. 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, and 14 at the Family Center at First Presbyterian Church of Jonesboro.

The Front Porch Players will present “Okhlahoma!” Sept. 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, and 14 at the Family Center at First Presbyterian Church of Jonesboro. Pictured, front row, from left, are Brian Walsh, Barbara Zellner, Joe Wiley, and Gary Wofford. Back row, from left, are Alison Chambers, Jakson Mulhall, Candace Todd, Jack Allison, and Joanna Griffin.

Fayette County: Homes needed for kittens & puppies!

Meet Bo, a male kitten looking for his forever home.

Kitten season is still in full swing.  Fayette Humane Society (FHS), a 501(3)(c) nonprofit animal rescue group, is overwhelmed with requests from the community to take unwanted or stray cats, kittens, dogs, and puppies.

Meet Bo, a male kitten looking for his forever home.

FHS does not have a shelter, although a building fund has been started. The rescued pets live with foster families until volunteers can find them permanent, loving homes. When FHS lack foster space, callers are told we can only help them place the animals if they are willing to foster them.

Even if you can’t make the commitment to adopt a pet right now, consider becoming a temporary foster. FHS will provide food, supplies, and medical care for the animals; you provide the love.

For more information about becoming a pet foster parent or to adopt a pet, please visit our website at www.fayettehumane.org. To sign up, call 770-487-1073 or email us at info@fayettehumane.org.

Protecting Your Vehicle from Summer Theft

cars

Protecting Your Vehicle from Summer Theft: Security Experts Offer “Rules of the Road”

Choosing a road trip over air travel this summer may seem like a smart way to save money on the high cost of airfare. However, families who take this route may be putting themselves in a position for an even costlier risk: having their car and its parts stolen or irreparably damaged.  A June 2013 report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) showed an upward trend in motor vehicle theft for the first time in eight years. (https://www.nicb.org/newsroom/nicb_campaigns/hot_spots)
According to the NICB, July and August are the two most common months for motor vehicle theft. And with nearly two-thirds of Americans planning a road trip this summer according to AAA, security experts caution road travelers to take extra precautions to avoid becoming a target for thieves – thieves who are capitalizing on increased gas prices and the high street value of car parts.

“Wherever your car is parked – whether at a hotel, in a gas station parking lot, or even in your own home – you need to take precautions, especially during warmer weather,” advises Mark McClure, owner of the Signal 88 Security franchise serving Atlanta. “Leaving your windows cracked, even slightly, can be an invitation for theft.”

Signal 88 Security, Inc., a private security company with more than 100 franchise offices across  more than 30 states, offers three key suggestions that can help car owners avoid being victimized during the summer months.

Step One: Identify Possible Threats “There are a variety of items that are attractive to thieves: electronics, gas, metal and even the car itself,” says McClure. “Take a look at your car and note if any of the above are easily accessible.”  If you drive a high-profile vehicle, you’re especially at risk of catalytic convertor theft. In many cases, the platinum inside the part can be sold for scrap. Company fleet vehicles and other cars that are parked for extended time periods are also prime targets.

Step Two: Secure Your Vehicle Always roll up your windows and lock your doors, and activate your security alarm if you have one. If you drive an older model car, consider adding a locking gas cap to prevent siphoning. Watch for gas dripping from the bottom of your vehicle; if a hole has been drilled in the tank, there is a risk of fire should you start the car.
Whether at home or away on vacation, park in a well-lit area, and consider installing motion-sensitive lights around your residence.

Step Three: Keep a Watchful Eye If you will be out of town and your car will be sitting out, ask your neighbors to keep an eye out for suspicious activity. If you live in an apartment complex, notify the management. Contact law enforcement if you see suspicious activity around your residence. “I remind our officers that any pedestrian traffic after dark should be treated with in-depth observation. People walking in groups or less populated parts of a property can be a cause for concern,” says McClure.

While nothing is foolproof, providing barriers to entry such as these makes it more difficult for thieves to target your vehicle, increasing the chance that they will give up and move on to an easier target.

“Vehicle-related crimes threaten our sense of personal security, but taking a few simple precautions can minimize the impact. Creating awareness is key,” says McClure.
For additional information about Signal 88 Security, visit www.signal88security.com.

Senior Workshop: Get Fresh! With Farm-Fresh Eating

radishes

Piedmont Fayette Hospital’s Sixty Plus Services and Fayette Senior Services present

Get Fresh! Farm-fresh eating…it’s easy, fun and better for you!

Thursday, July 18

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (includes lunch)

Fayette Senior Services Life Enrichment Center

4 Center Drive, Fayetteville

The event is FREE. PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. Seating is limited. Please call 770.461.0813 to register.

Whether it’s picking a tomato from your own garden or purchasing a basket of Georgia peaches from a local produce stand, there is a direct health benefit of eating fresh food. The “farm to table” local food movement is one current trend that is actually good for you! Our home-grown experts will introduce practical tips to make farm-fresh eating a part of a healthier lifestyle and ways to make the most out of seasonal produce. Learn all about the benefits of buying locally-grown food and why community gardens are such a great resource. From getting great nutritional advice to understanding what “super foods” are and why they are so good; the program includes a cooking demonstration and a fresh and delicious lunch!  Featured speakers: Tricia Stearns, executive director of Fresh South, Inc., Keith DeMars, director of nutrition and dining services, Piedmont Fayette Hospital and Lisa Stillman, RDLD.

Seniors: Bone Nutrition Class

bones

“Bone-ified”

Tuesday, July 9– 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Fayette Senior Services (FSS) – Fayetteville location at the FSS Life Enrichment Center, 4 Center Drive.

We don’t think about it very often, but our bone health is just as important as the rest of our health, especially as we age. Sue Raia will be on hand to share with us all about the importance of bone nutrition and bone density testing. Learn who is at risk, how to detect it, nutrition and exercise tips and more to get your bones healthy and strong. This program is FREE but pre-registration is required. 770-461-0813 or email register@fayss.org (include name, phone number and event title). FSS members and non-members welcome. www.Fayss.org

Keep Your Home Safe While You’re Away

home security
With an estimated 136 million Americans going on at least one vacation this summer, safety and security precautions are a must. Proactive measures can help consumers keep their home safe from fire, carbon monoxide, and the threat of burglary while they are away.

Better Business Bureau and home security pioneer ADT are offering the following safety tips for homeowners during the summer season:

  • Be careful about the vacation details you share via social media. Burglars can use posts on Twitter or Facebook to determine when you’ll be away. More than one third (35%) of Americans polled in ADT’s Safety Data Index survey said they believed their home is too ordinary and would not interest a burglar. However, a vacant home could be enough to attract unwanted attention, so be careful about broadcasting your travel plans.
  • Lock your doors even when you’re gone for a brief amount of time. Two thirds (67%) of Americans surveyed for the Safety Data Index agree they do more to protect their homes when they are going away for a night than when they are just leaving for a few hours. But, according to the FBI, more than half (53%) of home burglaries happen during the day, so homeowners should secure doors and windows every time they leave their home.
  • Check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors every month. Summer marks the beginning of hurricane season, and if a generator needs to be used in a power outage, a quick test of your monitored life safety devices can help keep your family safe from potentially dangerous fumes.
  • Keep hedges and bushes around your home trimmed, so burglars don’t have places to hide.

If you want to relax on vacation, make sure your vacation planning includes securing your home while you are gone. If you choose to contract with a security company, check out their BBB Business Review first at bbb.org.

Learn more about ADT’s Safety Data Index, a survey examining the safety and lifestyle habits of Americans. For more consumer information you can trust, visit bbb.org, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

NOTE: ADT is a Better Business Bureau National Partner and all locations are BBB Accredited Businesses.

Taking care of your stressed self

Are You Okay?: Caring for Yourself in the Midst of Stress
Marla Tomazin shares seven strategies that will help you to focus on your own
well-being—and to feel a little bit better—in the midst of one of life’s rough patches.

New York, NY (June 2013)—Everyone goes through rough spots in life—it’s an unfortunate but unavoidable fact. You might feel worried about an upcoming move, overwhelmed as you try to deal with an illness in your family, or anxious about a looming project at work. Maybe you’re simply worn down by the never-ending stress and relentlessly hectic pace of modern life. If so, you’re not alone.

“I can sympathize—I went through a rough spot myself recently,” says Marla Tomazin, who has been an image consultant for twenty years after earlier experience in the fashion industry.

“Due to several different factors, I was extremely busy for several months,” she explains. “When I’m under pressure, I become stressed (no surprise there, I imagine!) and feel ‘wired,’ meaning that I go to sleep later at night and wake up early each morning. And, of course, because I’m perpetually tired, I tend to worry more about significant and insignificant things. Not a very healthy cycle to be caught in.”

After one particularly crazy day, Tomazin says, it occurred to her that she should take her own advice.

“When I’m working with clients, I focus not just on outward appearance but on the whole mind-body-spirit connection,” she shares. “I always urge my clients to take care of and honor themselves in all situations, but especially when life is chaotic. If you don’t focus on your own well-being when times are tough, you won’t have the mental, emotional, or physical energy you need to change external circumstances for the better, either.”

Here, Tomazin shares a few taking-care-of-yourself strategies that have been helpful to her, and that you can put into practice to help you make it through the next rough spot in your life, too.

Realize that things will get better. When you’re in the midst of a tough time, it’s easy to believe that things will never change. But sooner or later, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. No matter how you feel right now, the truth is that you won’t be stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed for the rest of your life.

“Think back on past obstacles you’ve overcome to give yourself motivation to press on and ask a trusted friend or family member to help you put your current struggle into perspective,” Tomazin suggests. “This last strategy is particularly effective because not only will sharing your burden help to lighten it; the other person might be able to help you think of solutions you were unable to see on your own.”

Hydrate. Drinking water might seem a little odd at first glance, but it’s actually one of the best things you can do to keep yourself looking and feeling good when you’re under stress. Staying hydrated helps you stay energized, ensures that your body operates optimally, and can even improve the appearance of your skin (a welcome gift when you’re worried and tired!).

“Personally, I drink a quart of water every morning, and I carry a bottle with me throughout the day,” Tomazin says. “I can tell that it makes a difference!”

Exercise. Working out is often the last thing you want to do when life is tough. (Flopping onto the couch probably sounds a lot more attractive!) But the truth is, even a little bit of physical activity can work wonders in terms of how you feel. Exercise makes you feel more capable mentally and physically. It can help you sleep better, reduce feelings of stress, and even relieve symptoms of depression as effectively as medication.

“In other words, a half-hour at the gym or a walk around the block is one of the best decisions you can make,” Tomazin asserts. “That’s why, no matter how busy or unmotivated I am, I commit to working out at least two days a week.”

Give yourself credit. When you’re upset or worried about one aspect of your life, those feelings can easily spill over into your general attitude and outlook. You start looking at your whole life through a negative lens, and you might start to focus on the mistakes you’ve made and the things you could have done better.

“If that sounds familiar, stop!” Tomazin urges. “Think of one, or two, or ten or twenty things you’ve done well in the recent past and give yourself credit for accomplishing them. Remember, nobody is even remotely close to perfect. Don’t make a tough situation even worse by remaining your own worst critic.”

Prioritize. Especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, it’s tempting to fixate on each shiny ball that rolls past instead of directing your energy and attention to the problem at hand. When your efforts are scattered, though, nothing gets done, and you end up feeling even more frazzled than you did at first. Remember, you can focus only on one or two big goals at a time, no matter how adept you are at multitasking.

“As you work through the next rough spot in your life, sit down and decide what is most important to you,” Tomazin recommends. “If spending time with your family is at the top of your list, for example, put them first and consciously make sure that other things remain on the back burner.”

Say no. Many of us have trouble saying no for a variety of reasons: We don’t want to let others down, we don’t want to be seen as weak, we’re afraid to refuse, etc. However, until you learn to say no when you need to, you’ll never be in the driver’s seat of your own life, and it will be more difficult to steer yourself out of draining, stressful situations.

“Realize that you don’t have to do it all—nor should you,” Tomazin points out. “You don’t have to make every decision, supervise every person’s schedule, chair every event, host every party, and come to the rescue every time something goes wrong. Again, decide ahead of time what’s most important to you and prioritize those things. Then you can feel okay about saying no to some of the rest and focus on working toward your own well-being.”

Take time for yourself. Whether the current demands on your energy and time are coming from your family, your job, your friends, your finances, or something else, it’s important to “get away” every so often—literally or at least metaphorically.

“To make sure that you don’t become too drained and burned out, do something for yourself,” Tomazin urges. “Maybe it’s sitting down to enjoy a cup of coffee in the midst of running errands, locking the bathroom door and taking a bubble bath, reading a motivational book during your lunch break, or going on a walk through the park. When you unwind and take a breather, your perspective will stay clearer and your stress will be more manageable.”

“In the end, you can’t avoid going through rough times in life, but you can decide how to respond to them,” Tomazin concludes. “Remember that your own health and sanity are paramount, and most of all, have confidence that the sun will emerge from behind the clouds soon!”

# # #

About Marla Tomazin:
Marla Tomazin, Certified Image Consultant, established her image consulting business in 1990 with the goal of helping clients identify an authentic image and develop its effective expression.
From a successful career in the fashion industry, Marla gained expertise in retail buying, merchandising, sales, and marketing. She began with May Company in Denver after earning a B.S. in Marketing from the University of Denver. Marla moved to New York where she worked with several well-known Seventh Avenue design firms. As she developed her business skills, Marla made a serendipitous discovery—an innate sense of style and facility for working with fabrics and colors to maximum advantage.

The progression to Certified Image Consultant was a natural transition. Marla utilizes her abilities in evaluating body shape, movement, and coloring as well as synthesizing optimal cuts, lines, colors, and textures. This results in balance and proportion that accentuate attributes and conceal flaws. Her clients include women, men, and corporations seeking external revitalization that mirrors their internal development.

Have a Blast on July 4th — Safely!

fireworks

It’s that time of year when our nation celebrates Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

For many, that means picnics, baseball, pool parties and almost always, some type of fireworks. Whether you will be attending a fireworks show, or having a not so private fireworks display at your home, safety should be your number one concern.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB), with information obtained from the National Council on Fireworks Safety http://www.fireworksafety.com/, provides the following tips to ensure your July 4th remains fun and free of any harm or hospital visits:

Follow these safety tips when using fireworks:

  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
  • Use fireworks outdoors and only as intended. Don’t try to alter them or combine them.  Use common sense. Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter and the shooter should wear safety glasses.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Have a “designated shooter.”
  • Know your fireworks. Read the caution label before igniting.

And note these special safety tips, if using sparklers:

  • Always remain standing while using sparklers.
  • Never hold a child in your arms while using sparklers.
  • Never hold, or light, more than one sparkler at a time.
  • Never throw sparklers.
  • Sparkler wire and stick remain hot long after the flame has gone out. Be sure to drop spent sparklers in a bucket of water.
  • Teach children not to wave sparklers, or run, while holding sparklers.
  • Only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Twilight Theatre Hosts the Princess Tea Party

PrincessTeaParty
An annual favorite for little princesses and their favorite adult, Twilight Theatre is proud to present another Princess Tea Party  portraying favorite princesses of all time. This short show is packed with music and tips on how to be the best princess ever PLUS after the show, enjoy special desserts (made specially for the little princesses by the big princesses) while princesse of every age chat and take photos. So don your favorite princess attire (crowns are perfectly acceptable) and join your favorite princesses for stories, songs, and desserts.Performances are at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. on Friday, June 28 and Saturday, June 29 at the Historic Train Depot in Fayetteville. Tickets are $10 for students, princesses, military and seniors and $12 for adults. Reserve your tickets today by emailing Lori@thetwilighttheatre.com.

“Thank-Yous” Every Father Should Hear

fathers day

On Sunday, June 16th—otherwise known as Father’s Day—dads around America will receive ties, tools, and other “toys” from their children. Sure, those gifts (as well as cards, visits, and family meals) are a great way to let Pops know that you love him and that you’re glad he’s part of your life. But according to Todd Patkin, as you and he get older, there’s an even better way to honor your dad on Father’s Day: Tell him thank you and mean it.

“All parents are different, but one thing they have in common is that they want the best for their children,” says Patkin, author of Finding Happiness: One Man’s Quest to Beat Depression and Anxiety and—Finally—Let the Sunshine In (StepWise Press, 2011, www.findinghappinessthebook.com). “As a father myself, I can tell you that while we all make mistakes from time to time, we genuinely do our best to help our kids to be capable, responsible, and fulfilled adults.”

Because our parents tend to be such constant presences in our lives, says Patkin, we often take them—and everything they’ve done for us—for granted. Father’s Day is the perfect time to think about all of the ways in which your dad has impacted your life, and hopefully, give him the gift of heartfelt thanks.

“I know that stereotypically speaking, men aren’t supposed to be very ‘touchy-feely,’” Patkin admits. “But I promise you, when it comes to your kids, all of those rules go out the window. I cherish every ‘I love you,’ ‘thanks,’ and genuine smile I’ve ever gotten from my son. It’s incredibly heartwarming and fulfilling to hear directly from your child that he or she thinks you’ve done a good job as a parent.”

Here, Patkin shares eleven “thank-yous” that might just make your own dad’s Father’s Day perfect:

• Thank you for almost always making time to come to my games, concerts, and awards ceremonies. I know you were under pressure and busy a lot of the time, so your priorities taught me that family and relationships are always more important than work and outside achievements.

• Thank you for supporting me when I decided I’d rather be in the school band than play basketball. The fact that you clapped loudest at our concert let me know unequivocally that you love me for who I am—especially since you were the star point guard during your own high school days!

• Thank you for making me help with yard work and home improvement projects on the weekends. I may not have enjoyed it at the time, but you taught me the value of hard work. Because of you, I take pride in a job well done, no matter how large or small!

• Thank you for teaching me to ride a bike, and especially for encouraging me to get back up and try again when I fell. I learned that persistence and practice pay off, and that the results can be fantastic!

• Thank you for coaching my YMCA sports teams. You showed me what good sportsmanship looks like and taught me why it’s important to shake hands after every game, even if we lost! In all aspects of my adult life, I know how to lose (and win!) with grace because of you, Dad. And even though I’ve aged out of Little League, I also exercise on a regular basis and try to stay physically fit.

• Thank you for disciplining me and telling me why you were disappointed. I certainly didn’t enjoy being punished, but now I have a strong set of core values and a firm sense of right and wrong.

• Thank you for teaching me how to drive and for remaining patient throughout the process—I know I wasn’t always the nicest student. Now I can merge, parallel park, and back like a pro. (But I’m still trying to beat your least-number-of-stops-on-the-way-to-the-beach record!)

• Thank you for showing me that there’s a difference between being aggressively confrontational and being politely firm. Because of you I stick to my convictions and don’t let others take advantage of me while remaining respectful.

• Thank you for making executive decisions on everything from where to eat dinner to when to leave the neighbors’ holiday party to which movie to watch on family night. These examples may seem insignificant, but over the years you taught me the value of knowing your mind and acting decisively. You saved me a lot of waffling, hemming, and hawing!

• Thank you for always treating Mom with respect, patience, love, and sometimes a little mischievousness. You taught me how to treat someone you love and what a strong marriage looks like. Now I have a great relationship—and a lot of fun—with my own partner.

And for men specifically, Patkin suggests this acknowledgment:

• Thank you for teaching me the “essentials” like how to tie a tie, iron a crease into slacks, shine my shoes, and shave. While I might not put all of those skills to use every day, I always take pride in my appearance…and I think I do “clean up” nicely!

“Whether you write your own personalized thank-yous in a card or share them with your dad in person, you can rest assured that this will be a Father’s Day he’ll remember forever,” Patkin concludes.

# # #

About the Author:
Todd Patkin, author of Finding Happiness: One Man’s Quest to Beat Depression and Anxiety and—Finally—Let the Sunshine In, Twelve Weeks to Finding Happiness: Boot Camp for Building Happier People, and The Sunny Days Secret: A Guide for Finding Happiness (coming 2014), grew up in Needham, Massachusetts. After graduating from Tufts University, he joined the family business and spent the next eighteen years helping to grow it to new heights. After it was purchased by Advance Auto Parts in 2005, he was free to focus on his main passions: philanthropy and giving back to the community, spending time with family and friends, and helping more people learn how to be happy. Todd lives with his wonderful wife, Yadira, their amazing son, Josh, and two great dogs, Tucker and Hunter.

 

6 Things You Can Do for a Summer of Happiness

sunshine girl

Summer of Happiness: Six Simple Things You Can Do This Summer to Let the Sunshine In
If your life could use a little lift, Todd Patkin says there’s no better time than summer to make small changes that will have a big impact on your outlook.

Summer is a time of warm temperatures, sunny skies, green leaves, neighborhood cookouts, family vacations, ice cream cones, and more. In short, it’s a season that’s full of opportunities for enjoyment—so why do so many of us drift through these warm weeks in the same hum-drum fog we’re lost in during the other three seasons? The fact is, most of us have become numbed by life, feeling that we’re victims of circumstance and simply trying to survive each day. So while a refreshing dip in the swimming pool might put a smile on your face while you’re submerged, your good mood usually doesn’t last long.

Don’t despair, though—you can influence your level of happiness to a much greater extent than you think. And the best news of all is that there’s no better time to start than during the summer.

“Most people don’t realize that happiness is a choice,” says Todd Patkin, author of the new book Finding Happiness: One Man’s Quest to Beat Depression and Anxiety and—Finally—Let the Sunshine In (StepWise Press, 2011, www.findinghappinessthebook.com). “It’s true—happiness is learning how to live your best life by figuring out a better way to react to what happens to you. It’s the culmination of all of the little actions, choices, and habits that fill our days, as well as how we think about them.”

If that’s true—if your happiness really is determined not by what your life looks like but by how you look at your life—then why is summer an ideal time to start changing your focus?

“Life doesn’t completely stop in the summer, of course, but it does tend to slow down and give us more time to reflect on how happy we are with our lives, and to think about what changes we may want to make,” explains Patkin. “For many families, the daily pace is less hectic, and you’re more likely to spend time relaxing. Plus, since summer is a time of warmth, light, and growth, it’s naturally uplifting. Put together, that all means that over the next few months, you’ll have more time and (hopefully) energy to devote to making meaningful lifestyle changes.”

Patkin knows what he’s talking about. After realizing that financial success, recognition, accolades, and atta-boys didn’t bring the fulfillment he thought they would, Patkin set off to identify the ingredients of a happy and contented life. And he’s found that surprisingly simple lifestyle changes and habits can make a tremendous difference in your attitude, mood, and outlook.

“If you take the following suggestions to heart, I promise that you’ll be a much happier person by the time the leaves start to turn,” Patkin asserts. “And don’t worry—most of these habits will take only a few minutes out of your day, and some won’t take any extra time at all. Plus, they’re activities the whole family can get involved in and benefit greatly from.”

If you’re ready to put a genuine summer smile on your face, then read on for six simple ways to up your contentment quotient:

Enjoy the weather: Exercise. No one except the most avowed couch potato can resist venturing out into the great outdoors when the sun is shining and the grass is green. Take advantage of the wonderful weather and up your activity level! Exercise will begin to relax you, make you feel stronger, and improve your sleep. It’s also a natural anti-depressant that will boost your attitude and outlook. And as time passes, you’ll gain the added bonus of being happier with your physical appearance as well.

“I think exercise is the single most important thing you can do to improve your life right now,” Patkin asserts. “It’s a fantastic energizer, and it actually opens you up to future change by invigorating your mind and body. And don’t worry—I’m not saying you have to start training for a marathon. Commit to walking just twenty minutes every other day to start out. Or if circumstances allow, take a walk in the woods or swim a few laps in the pool instead. Lastly, take your kids along—you’ll be instilling exercise in them as a great habit that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.”

Get some new sunglasses: Be easier on yourself. Most people tend to go through life as though they’re wearing glasses with prescriptions that allow them to focus only on the negative things: their failures, mistakes, worries, etc. This summer, put on a new pair of shades with a more positive prescription that enables you to focus on all of the good things in your life, too! The fact is, we’re all human—and thus fallible—so it’s normal to make mistakes. However, it’s not healthy or beneficial to dwell on them.

“Most of us tend to be out and about more in the summer than in the colder months, so really take note of all the positive interactions you have and compliments you receive,” Patkin urges. “For instance, let yourself bask in your family’s compliments when you grill a great meal and savor your neighbor’s praise of your backyard garden. Basically, extend to yourself the same love and kindness that you would to others you care about! Until you give yourself permission to break free of the cycle of self-blame and negativity that causes you to be stuck demanding perfection from yourself in every situation, you’ll never have a chance to be a truly relaxed, content, and happy person.”

Plan some fun activities: Play to your strengths. The days are longer, schedules are more relaxed, there are several holidays to look forward to, and you’ll probably be taking some vacation days. Resolve to spend some of that time developing your special abilities and talents! If you want to be happy, you need to recognize, use, and share your gifts. Each of us has been given special, unique strengths, and when we are using them, we’re happier and feel much better about ourselves—and the world at large is better off, too!

“If you’ve never done so before, sit down and make two lists: Write down your strengths as well as what you really enjoy doing,” advises Patkin. “Usually, many of the things on these lists will overlap. Then, make it a goal to spend more time doing these things that you enjoy and are best at. Focusing more on a hobby or personal interest you like is a good start, even if, like exercise, you do it for only twenty minutes every other day. After all, your kids get to go to special-interest activities and camps during the summer…so why shouldn’t you get in on the action, too?”

Smell the roses: Live in the present. There are so many moments to treasure throughout our lives, and they’re often especially vivid in the summer: the sound of your kids playing outside, the scent of the herbs in your garden, the feeling of sand between your toes and sun on your skin. The question is, are you really experiencing and enjoying these moments…or is your mind obsessing over the past or worrying about the future while only your body is physically present? If it’s the latter, you’re only exacerbating your anxiety and unhappiness by choosing to dwell on things you can’t control.

“I can’t stress enough how important it is to truly appreciate the present moment,” Patkin shares. “And hopefully, this season will offer plenty of good opportunities to do that. Try to be aware of what your thoughts are ‘doing,’ and please don’t get discouraged when you find yourself going back to your old negative mental habits! In fact, pat yourself on the back because you’re noticing that you’re doing something you don’t want to do anymore. This is a fantastic start. By autumn, you’ll be closer to living the adventurous, wonderful life you were always meant to. Also, keep in mind that your children usually know when your mind is not 100 percent there with them. Don’t unintentionally make them feel less important in your life.”

Break out the barbeque: Strengthen close relationships. Summer is known for cookouts, pool parties, and front-porch sittin’. Don’t be “that family” who always keep to themselves—try to host at least one or two events between June and September and invite the people you love over for some fun. The truth is, it’s worth putting work into improving your relationships with your family and friends all year round, because the quality of your bonds with the people closest to you can make or break the quality of your life.

“Also, I’d like to specifically mention one relationship you need to focus on in particular: your relationship with your spouse or significant other,” Patkin says. “You must put as much time and effort into this relationship as you do your house, your car, or your job. Celebrate your spouse every day. Trust me: This can make such a great difference in your relationship, because when your partner feels as special as he or she did in the early days of your romance, he or she will feel just as loved…and the spark of your relationship will stay alight. Summer is a great time to pick a bouquet of wildflowers, plan a romantic getaway, or purchase tickets to an outdoor concert that you’ll both enjoy, for starters.”

Smile and say hello: Be friendlier. Yes, spend more quality time with the people who are most important to you this summer, but also continue to make new connections. You’re not the only one who ventures outside your front door more often in the summer—so make a conscious effort to be friendlier to others you encounter, too. Introduce yourself to the family next to you at the pool or beach, for example, and say hello to folks you pass while walking in the park. (You’ll also be setting a great example for your kids.)

“Extending simple human kindness to others can make a huge difference in their lives…and in yours,” Patkin promises. “You see, everyone on Earth is carrying some sort of burden. You can’t make their pain, stress, or grief just disappear…but you can be what I call a ‘lamp lighter’—someone who makes others feel just a little bit lighter and happier on their feet, if only for five seconds. When you make friendliness a habit, you’ll attract kindness and smiles in return…and you’ll feel great about yourself for making a positive difference in the world!”

“These suggestions are meant to be a starting point for you,” Patkin concludes. “My hope is that you’ll incorporate these habits into your life and experience a more sunshine-y summer…and that you’ll remember this season as the beginning of your journey toward happiness. It’s true—what may seem like small changes in your actions and attitudes really can make a huge difference in how you experience the rest of your life!”

 

 

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About the Author: Todd Patkin, author of Finding Happiness: One Man’s Quest to Beat Depression and Anxiety and—Finally—Let the Sunshine In, grew up in Needham, Massachusetts. After graduating from Tufts University, he joined the family business and spent the next eighteen years helping to grow it to new heights. After it was purchased by Advance Auto Parts in 2005, he was free to focus on his main passions: philanthropy and giving back to the community, spending time with family and friends, and helping more people learn how to be happy. Todd lives with his wonderful wife, Yadira, their amazing son, Josh, and two great dogs, Tucker and Hunter.

About the Book: Finding Happiness: One Man’s Quest to Beat Depression and Anxiety and—Finally—Let the Sunshine In (StepWise Press, 2011, ISBN: 978-0-9658261-9-8, $19.95) is available at bookstores nationwide, from major online booksellers, and at www.findinghappinessthebook.com.