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Getting Ready for Fall?

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With such a tumultuous summer, I’m glad we are now beginning the fall season. There for a while, I didn’t think it was going to come. But, contrary to my negativity, it has arrived, and I’m delighted.

Summer wasn’t quite the way summers have been in the past. My family didn’t have many get-togethers and picnics like we normally do. However, we did have one, and that had to do for the summer. I’m hoping next summer we can catch up.

I remember when I was young, summer was a wonderful time. But, of course, maybe my memories are more wonderful than it actually was. At my age, you can’t always depend upon your memory. But then, it goes the other way as well.

I am so old that nobody can contradict any memories I might have. So I won’t say that I lie, but I do have a way of stretching the truth, just a little. And by just a little, I mean just enough to make it look better than what it actually was.

Of course, the best thing about my summers was no school. I was free all summer long to do what I really wanted to do. At the time, both of my parents worked full-time jobs, and I had the rule of my time.

As I look forward to the fall season, I’m trusting there will be some great times to celebrate. This generation seems to be the celebrating generation, but often it celebrates the wrong things. Some of the things that are celebrated make no sense whatsoever to me.

For example, I’ve grown tired of celebrating my birthday every year. After a while, it’s kind of mundane. How often can you listen to someone sing happy birthday to you?

Seasons have ways of coming and going, and by the time you get adjusted to one season, it’s over, and the next one is just beginning.

During the past summer, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage said several times, “When will this heat ever go away?”

I would always laugh and say to her, “When it is ready to go.”

She did not send a smile back at that time, but I still was smiling.

Every season has its individual characteristics, and sometimes we confuse them. For example, we have the imaginary expectation of perfect weather every day regardless of the season. But, to be truthful, I’m not sure what perfect weather is.

As we were getting closer to the fall season, the rain just came without a hint of letting up.

“When,” my wife said, “will this rain ever stop?”

As soon as she said that, she looked at me and said, “That was not a question for you to answer.”

I laughed because I had an answer right on the tip of my tongue.

Contrary to what people think, I do like change. The idea is that when you get older, you don’t like change, but I would like to contradict that.

I look forward to change.

Of course, the biggest change I like is the change in my pocket. But the other change is that I don’t like to get into a rut. I don’t like my wheels spinning and spinning and going nowhere.

I like to enjoy one season, because it always prepares me for the next season.

Of course, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is entirely against that. She would prefer that the season be the same all year long. But I like change.

I like to enjoy one season, and then I want to prepare myself for the next season.

The bad times during one season prepares me for the good times in the next season. If I didn’t have a bad time, I wouldn’t recognize a good time.

As we were sitting watching TV the other night, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage says, “I really don’t like change. I wish things would stay the way they are.”

“Well,” I said, “you certainly have changed through the years.”

She looked at me with a scowl and said, “What do you mean?”

Then I tried explaining to her that we’ve been married 50 years, and when we started our marriage, we were quite different than we are today.

“I’m not the person you married 50 years ago.”

She looked at me rather quizzically and said, “Who are you?”

She stared at me, and then both of us broke out in hilarious laughter.

There are two aspects of change; either for good or for bad. Each season brings in the kind of change needed to prepare for the next season.

I don’t know what this fall season will bring with it. I’m glad I don’t know because I probably would start the season with great discouragement instead of expectation.

As we discussed, my wife said, “and you are twice the man I married 50 years ago.” I thought about that and looked at her rather strangely, and then she broke out laughing. I was hoping she wouldn’t explain.

Thinking about that I was reminded of a verse of Scripture, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

Right now, I’m in the season where God can bless me. I don’t know what the next season holds for me but I do have faith in God to fully prepare me for the upcoming change.

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What Is Clean Fiction?

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When you visit a library, the books are all arranged according to categories. It makes the job of finding what you want so much easier than having all the books just loaded on the shelves randomly.

Similarly with online bookstores, books and eBooks are organized according to classification. All the mystery stories are in one section, all the suspense thrillers are together, all the sweet romances are together. That’s how Amazon does it. Barnes and Noble too. In fact, all the digital book sellers use a classification system that groups similar books all together.

The classification categories are based on what readers want, and what readers look for. Businesses exist to meet the needs of the market place, so if the buying public want something, it will be made available by some enterprising business.

Take murder mysteries for example. Knowing that the reading public loves to read murder stories, many writers have specialized in that genre. Often the reader is treated to descriptions of brutal murders with or without rape. The more shocking these acts are, the stronger the audience reaction will often be.

There are other writers who choose not to write such gory stories. They may deal with a murder or a sexual attack but without highlighting the violence, suffering or horror. It’s a tragic fact that human beings around the world violate each other every day, but there are writers who may or may not include such terrible things in their stories, but if they do the evils are treated briefly.

They choose to write stories without violence. Or if a violent act is included in their story, it is not dwelt on in any blow-by-blow way. It is not glorified. The reader will know that somebody was murdered but they won’t be struggling with mental pictures of the evil.

This is what clean fiction is about. Or more accurately, this is part of the ethos adopted by authors of clean fiction. As H.L. Wegley says of his stories, “descriptions and events will never be gross, graphic, or gratuitous.” He writes inspirational thrillers and high-action romantic suspense novels.

Wegley is one of the authors featured at CleanSuspense.com where books are chosen which are clean by virtue of: no bedroom scenes, no swearing or foul language, and where violence (if there is any) is not glorified. Some of my favorite authors also avoid profanity.

Clean fiction is not so much a book category but a description of the author’s writing. So clean fiction includes romance, suspense, mysteries, thrillers… even time travel. Pretty much any genre can be written in a clean way.

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What is America’s Number One New Year’s Resolution?

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Yes, you guessed it. Americans resolve to lose weight. So it is not at all out of the question to assume this resolution may be on your list as well.
If so, then keep in mind that achieving your health and fitness goals is not just a day-to-day, week-to-week or month-to-month affair. The key to keeping this New Year’s resolution is changing your entire lifestyle.
Although the phrase “weight loss” is really the hot button, fat loss is the actual issue. In order to lose excess body fat, you must take care of your body and nurture your emotional state too. So it is very important to remember as fat is lost, you should also help yourself crucial gain self-esteem.

Do not put your self-esteem on a weight loss plan as well.
Here are a few practical tips to effective fat loss and esteem improvement:
First, Take some time to learn. Do not be a “dense dieter.” It is recommended that you one of the original lifestyle diets, the Zone Diet Plan. As creator of this particular way of living and eating, Dr. Barry Sears has written eleven Zone Diet-related books and many include easy recipes to keep you in the Zone.

You may want to purchase a Zone Diet book and then try the recipes with your family. Get yourself into the nutritional state of mind. Becoming knowledgeable

will help you to internalize a healthy lifestyle you can follow with sincere understanding and confidence.
Second of all, realize Although weighing yourself is indeed important, it is in fact much more important to let your clothes speak for themselves. Monitor how your clothes are fitting you. That is much more gratifying and less defeating.
Thirdly, If you were thinner in the earlier years of your life, keep your thin photographs taped to your mirrors and carry one in your wallet. Take photos of yourself each month and put them in a scrapbook. It is very important to have a realistic view of your soon-to-be self.
Do not throw away that old pair of jeans that fit just a little bit too tight. Keep them around since some day, you will slide into them. No more tugging and squeezing. Set a realistic date for trying on the old jeans so you are not disappointed.
Fifth of all, Beware of the dreaded binge. Do not set yourself up for failure, which can play havoc with self-image. Have a healthy snack between mealtimes that will keep you satisfied so you’re less likely to overeat at the next full meal. Perhaps 1/2 of

a Meal Replacement Bar. You will then be less likely to stop at your favorite fast food “restaurant” for a double cheese burger and large order of fries.
Also Select an exercise program that you actually enjoy doing. This could mean taking a belly dancing class, running with your puppy, or participating in some group sporting events.
And last but not least, Add “superfoods” to your diet like nuts and seeds, beans and sprouts and other green foods. Get into the habit of buying them and jazz up your diet and the nutritional profile of the your recipes as well.
This will help keep you in the zone for good.

For more information on the Zone visit Zone Diet Nutrition and learn more.

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What Do You Expect From Your Customers?

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Customers are the backbone of every business. And no business can survive if it doesn’t take care of its customers. In fact, managing your customers is as crucial as managing your employees. Having said that, some customers can cause unneeded stress and take up too much your valuable time.

So what should you expect from your customers and how can this make your life easier?

Get Rid of Bad Ones

Your time is valuable and there’s no reason to use up all your time dealing with people who are hostile, rude, or who don’t want to spend any money with you.

Sometimes, business owners may think that offering exceptional service involves enduring the worst customers. But while it pays to offer excellent customer service, this doesn’t mean you’re obligated to tolerate people who make you and your team miserable.

Be respectful and polite and send them on their way. However, there may be some exceptions, especially with high-profile clients whom you deem necessary to put up with. It’s up to you to decide how much you’re willing to endure to secure a customer or a sale.

And remember that you’re giving them permission to treat you badly and they’ll continue to do so if you don’t set and stick to your boundaries.

Don’t Give Free Products or Services

Some customers just like to talk. These are the people who only want free information from you and they have no plans to buy anything from you. Yes, it’s a good idea to offer comprehensive information to potential customers, but there are plenty of other people who are waiting and are ready to buy what you’re offering. Be self-respecting and cut off people who are always calling and never buying.

Typically, you don’t want to create a reputation of being a tyrant, but it’s worth it to be pragmatic and sensible of your boundaries. And the goal isn’t to alienate your customers but to let them know your business operates within a reasonable structure.

So don’t be afraid to have consistent standards. Because when you respect your customers and take care of them, they’ll respect that you run your business on your own terms. This is the type of customer you want.

Customers Return and They Pay More

To provide excellent customer service and build a successful business, you have to set and stick to your boundaries. Customers reward the companies they enjoy doing business with: they keep coming back and they pay more.

Customers Talk about You More

Providing excellent service goes beyond current customers, because 80% of people will recommend a business to friends and family after great service. And 40% of happy customers will share their story on social media. This will grow your business and generate more profits.

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