Quote of the Week

“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate.”

—Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

Nocturne painting of a tree and lighted windows

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Fostering Gratitude at Thanksgiving and Year-Round

Black and white painting of dishes and fruit on a table

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays.  Its historical origins aside, for me, it’s a day spent with family, some of whom I don’t see as often as I’d like.  When I was a kid, the hosting duties rotated among my mom and her four siblings, and a crowd of 20-30 of my aunts, uncles, and cousins gathered together for a delicious potluck-style meal, followed by hours of card games, laughter, and enjoying each others’ company.  The gatherings have become smaller over the years and the format has changed a bit, but I still look forward to this holiday more than any other.

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Favorite Legal Podcasts for Non-Lawyers and Lawyers

A pair of wireless headphones for podcast listening

The U.S. legal system is complicated.  Even if you were born and raised in the United States, you likely didn’t get a thorough overview of our legal principles in your schooling unless you went to law school.  With legal topics frequently in the news, you may be left wondering about aspects of American law.  Why do courts decide cases the way they do?  Why don’t legal rulings always comport with what seems like common sense?

As long-time readers know, I like to listen to podcasts, particularly educational ones.  In this post, I thought I’d round up some of my favorite law-related podcasts that can help you gain a better understanding of the legal concepts that shape current events and daily life in the United States.  Readers, what are your favorite legal podcasts?  Please tell us in the comments.

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Spending Money to Save Time: On Outsourcing Chores

Still life painting of candles, soap dispenser, bowls

A few months ago, I read about a study indicating that people are happier when they spend money to buy themselves free time (by outsourcing chores) than when they spend the same amount of money on material goods.  (The study was widely covered; you can read more about it here, here, and here.)  The authors reported that the reduction in time-stress resulting from paying others to perform daily tasks and routine chores led to greater life satisfaction across a wide range of income levels.  In other words, even people who are not wealthy benefit emotionally from spending their discretionary money on services rather than goods.  Given this information, why am I, like so many people, still cleaning my own house and weeding my own flower beds?

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The Power of Poetry

Four poetry books stacked on a counter

While searching for Monday’s Quote of the Week, I found myself traveling down a rabbit hole of poetry about autumn.  I don’t often take the time to read and contemplate poems at length, but when I do, I’m rarely disappointed.  There’s something about a poem that can communicate a feeling so profoundly.  Free from prose’s need to explain everything in complete sentences, poetry can make its point through images and metaphors, playing with rhythm and structure in ways that make the reader appreciate language like never before.  A great poem has the power to make me feel connected to its author through universal human experience, conveyed with just the right words.

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November is COPD Awareness Month

A photo of the author’s father
My dad, Dennis, who lost his life to COPD.

COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  COPD is an umbrella term that encompasses both emphysema and chronic bronchitis.  It’s the disease that led to my father’s death this summer and that made him struggle to breathe for years.  According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States, killing more than 135,000 Americans each year.  More than 15 million Americans have been diagnosed with COPD, and many more are likely unaware that they have the disease.

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