By John Ruberry

“And it was inevitable that some of these people pushed back…”
Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles.

Could it be that the deep-blue residents of America’s second-most populous county, Cook County–Chicago is the county seat–have had enough?

Probably not, at least yet. But serious dissent may be bubbling as the effects of Cook County’s unpopular soda tax sink to the bottom of the glass.

Cook County Board President Toni “Taxwinkle” Preckwinkle, a former Chicago alderman who represented the University of Chicago area–the Obamas were among her constituents–touted that tax as a public health measure. The new tax covers not just soda but also many other sweetened beverages including those with corn syrup, such as diet sodas, some iced teas, and bottled sweetened Starbucks coffee–but not, for instance, cavity-causing Frappuccinos prepared at a Starbucks location by a barista. Even “free refills” are taxed now. But Preckwinkle, a hardened leftist, exposed her true colors by suing a retail association that delayed collection in a legal challenge of the tax for a month for $17 million of what she claims is lost revenue. That is how thug states such as Venezuela and Russia are run. Dissent will not be tolerated–enemies will be punished.

Preckwinkle defeated a Democratic incumbent in a 2010 primary election vowing to repeal an unpopular one-percent county sales tax. She phased it out, yes. But last year Preckwinkle brought it back.

And the soda tax was never about health. If it was, then why the lawsuit? Taxwinkle is a liar. Besides, federal law prevents taxing food stamp recipients–there are nearly 900,000 of them in Cook County–on their sweetened beverage purchases. Poor people consume larger amounts of sweetened beverages than wealthier folks and the health problems blamed on these drinks, such as diabetes and obesity, are more prevalent among the less wealthy.

The soda tax is a penny per ounce. That doesn’t seem like much, but the cost of a case of Diet Coke, as you seen in this Tweet, soars by 5o-percent after the Taxwinkle tax is figured in.

My friends and co-workers–and yes, there are some liberal Democrats within that group–are furious about the soda tax, even the ones who don’t drink what most people here call “pop.” Yesterday one man told me, “I live just south of Lake County, I’m going to buy all my Coke there,” adding, “There is a big sign outside the Target there, ‘No county sugary drink tax here.'” And of course he won’t only buy soda there–he’ll probably buy most, maybe all of his groceries there. Why wait in two long check-out lines? Grocers on the wrong side of the county line not only will face lower sales, some may be forced to close down and of course lay off their employees. Oh, I forgot to tell that new Lake County shopper that he should top off his gas tank up there, as there is also a Cook County gasoline tax.

And there are so many other taxes Cook County residents, particularly Chicagoans, have to endure. In an example provided by the free market Illinois Policy Institute, the base price of a two liter bottle of pop is $2.49. But when the 67 county soda tax is added, on top of the nation’s highest 10.25 percent sales tax, and an additional 3 percent Chicago soda tax, the true cost of that soda jug is $3.49. And if you accept a bag, paper or plastic, when you buy that sugary drink in Chicago, there is an additional 7 cent per bag tax. Unless you are paying by food stamps, formally known as SNAP–the “N” stands for nutrition–with your Illinois Link card.

When was the last time you devoured a grocery bag?

Keeping track of all of these taxes are a nightmare for retailers. That extra cost of course is passed on to consumers.

Last month Illinois’ income tax rate was hiked by 32 percent. Illinoisans are burdened with among the highest property rates in the nation. Yet, Illinois, Cook County, and Chicago are functionally bankrupt, which exposes another left-wing lie–fiscal stability in Democratic-run sinkholes is always only just one more tax hike away.

Why does Crook County need the soda tax, and yes, the next tax, what ever that one is going to be? To pay for lavish but woefully-underfunded county worker pensions and the Cook County Health System.

Chicago is a sanctuary city and Cook is a sanctuary county–Cook County health facilities are often the health care provider of choice of the area’s large population of illegal immigrants. No, I’m not saying we should cut off care to illegals with health concerns, but as a Cook County taxpayer, it’s fair to know what that care costs me.

Liberalism is very expensive.

Blogger in downtown Chicago

Next year Taxwinkle will face voters. She’ll probably be reelected. Rebellions take time to build, after all, it took ten years from the passage of the Stamp Act until the first battle of the American Revolution to be fought.

How did Preckwinkle fare in her last election? She ran unopposed.

Shame on you, Cook County Republican Party.

Meanwhile Illinois, Cook County, and Chicago continue to lose residents.

Quietly, the rebellion has begun.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

President Obama and many on the left celebrated today as the 100th anniversary of Planned Parenthood. They used catchy hashtags like #100YearsStrong to promote the idea that this “healthcare” company has been a positive force in America for the last century. Meanwhile, seven million babies have been murdered by them.

Is that a harsh way to put it? Yes. Does it make some people, even many pro-lifers, cringe when conservatives call it murder? Yes. It should. We should all be cringing. We should feel uncomfortable with abortion. Some would argue that this is a political issue and attacking it on an emotional level doesn’t help the pro-life cause. I offer the counterargument that tackling the issue of abortion on any level other than emotional is a losing battle. Death is emotional. When we take away the emotion by making it purely political, scientific, or technical, we are declawing ourselves before the battle can be fought.

We need our claws. We need it to sting. We need supporters of abortion to face the reality that by embracing choice over life, they are placing a higher value on one person’s existence over another’s.

It was mentioned today that “The battle must be won for the hearts and minds of the people in America and around the world.” This is true on multiple levels. It’s the reason that Planned Parenthood and its supporters use technical terms like “reproductive rights” and “fetal tissues” instead of “abortion” and “babies.” The goal of their narrative is to desensitize us to the realities of abortion. They cannot win the emotional battle, so they make it political. They make it scientific. They make it technical. Unfortunately, many in the pro-life movement oblige by laying down our most powerful weapon, emotion, before we step into battle.

By no means am I calling for us to stop fighting with our votes, in court, and elsewhere on the political front. However, if those are the only arenas where we’re willing to fight, we are likely going to lose. Our disadvantage is that it’s 2016 and the people are so distracted by the Kardashians and Pokemon Go that they don’t allow themselves to be easily burdened by emotional realities in politics and religion. Our advantage is that it’s 2016, which means we have the technology to spread the message to those who are willing to hear. We can show them what a partial birth abortion really entails. We can share videos and images of babies in the womb, demonstrating that these are not just groups of fetal tissues. They are human beings, albeit very small ones. They are alive.

Here’s an example of why this is true:

We cannot win this battle with politics alone. Regardless of the law, the real battle must be fought from an emotional level. Some people are willing to have or support abortions because they are not convinced that they are promoting the end of someone’s life. If we turn the battle there rather than simply pushing for laws and promoting technicalities in court, we have a chance of winning battles. It’s important to remember that the battles are one life at a time. One abortion prevented is a life saved.

by baldilocks

The benefits of quitting smoking are manifold.  I seem to enjoy sunshine and fresh air—such as it is in Los Angeles—more than ever. I wake up and get started earlier and am happy about it—even with our seemingly dismal political future looming.  As soon as the sun is on the horizon, I want the windows up, the blinds open, and the coffee brewing.

Planning was never my strong suit, but I find that it is essential now, with the many things I want to do around my apartment, not to mention the things I need to do.

Order and reordering are now the names of the game. To those ends, and because I lost much of my furniture, I mean to build my own shelving and tables for my living room and kitchen. And, possibly, make my own decorations.

Am I detoxing? Most certainly.  I’d also say that I’m having what we generally call a midlife “crisis.” I guess it could manifest itself in much worse ways.

obsessive-compulsive-disorder-3
Not quite this OCD

Another thing: it’s difficult now to stay on Social Media, blogs, etc. because that requires sitting down. All I want to do is get up and get things done, even mundane tasks like cleaning my floors.

I said all of that to point to a free service about which a surprisingly small number of people seem to use: the free digital offerings—ebooks and audiobooks–held by our public libraries.  Yesterday, while putting together the Black and Decker Workmate I requested and received for my birthday a couple of weeks ago, I listened to The Princess Bride, and today, I will continue listening to The Romanovs. I downloaded the latter to my Android so I can listen to in tomorrow while on the way to church. So, tomorrow, I will sit down and listen…for a little while.

How did I do this? Through the Los Angeles Public Library, which uses Overdrive. I would guess that Overdrive is used by countless public libraries across the country and all one needs is a library card.

You do have one of those, don’t you?

So the next time you are clean, mopping, fixing, seeding, weeding, feeding, etc. while you are listening to The Divine Comedy or Raylan, be sure to think of me favorably. Thank you.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>>baldilocks

Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.

Matthew 10:32-33

You know there are very few things more depressing when on a pilgrimage to the grave of a nun who built an organization proclaiming the truth of catholic faith to the world to read about this:

Sr Jane Marie Klein, told AP the name changes are in keeping with the mission of the Sisters of St Francis of Perpetual Adoration, which founded the hospital system.

What name change is Sr. Jane Marie Klein saying is in keeping with the mission of the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual adoration? Why removing the “saint” out of hospital names that she runs.

The health care system that oversees the Illinois and Indiana hospitals has determined that dropping the saint names will strengthen the brand identity of the system as a whole, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal.

“Unsainted” hospitals include those that had incorporated the names of St James, St Anthony, St Elizabeth, St Margaret, and St Francis.

Because nothing better illustrates the mission of Catholic nuns like ditch the saints and the Catholic identity they allude to.

It seems she followed the exact path that Screwtape suggested.

quietly and gradually nurse him on to the stage at which the religion becomes merely part of the “cause”… Once you have made the World an end, and faith a means, you have almost won your man, and it makes very little difference what kind of worldly end he is pursuing.

This entire story might seem confusing. While the Hospitals will discover that like God, the saints will not force themselves on those who don’t want them and will, however reluctantly agree to stay away, you would think that given the purpose of a hospital is to treat the sick, the aid of the Hospital’s patron would be very valuable. Of course that presumes actual belief and unfortunately I’ve discovered belief is not longer a given among the professed religious.

Exit question, who wants to bet that the Hospitals don’t remove the “St.” when trying to fundraise from faithful Catholics?


Still in alabama with WQPH, this Trip was a bit of an expense for me. If you like what you see here and want to help cover the costs please consider hitting DaTipjar




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Zika virus is ravaging in South America. It has been linked to thousands of cases of microcephaly in Brazil, and now it’s emerging in Colombia, since, for Zika-infected pregnancies, microcephaly risk may be as high as 13 percent.

While the virus is mostly transmitted by mosquitos, a man with Zika can transmit the virus to his sex partner(s) through sexual intercourse.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) keeps a tally of Zika cases in the USA.

Here in Florida there have been 162 cases of travel-associated Zika. The first baby with Zika-related microcephaly was born this week (emphasis added)

The birth mother is a Haitian national who came to Florida to give birth. She was infected with the Zika virus in Haiti.

While the baby was in the hospital,

Senate Democrats on Tuesday blocked a deal providing funding for the fight against the Zika virus, virtually guaranteeing that Congress won’t get legislation to President Obama’s desk this month.

John Sexton points out that the

Democrats seem to have resolved not to vote for the bill, in part, because Planned Parenthood told them not to do so.

Indeed (emphasis added),

After clamoring for new Zika funding for months, they are set to vote against a bill at funding levels they’ve already agreed to. They’ve offered myriad objections: That the bill is paid for irresponsibly, inordinately relaxes clean water regulations and was constructed with no Democratic input. On Tuesday morning, Planned Parenthood wrote all Senate offices opposing the bill, arguing that “a vote against this bill will be seen as a vote for women’s health care.”

Bottom line: The Dems, the members of the party which passed the ruinous Obamacare behind closed doors and advocates for open borders, are taking orders from merchants of death Planned Parenthood, on matters of public health.

You can now add Zika babies to the 60 million victims of Democrat policies.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S, and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

unpluggby baldilocks

Sometimes you have to separate yourself from the Internet for a few waking hours. I do it regularly in service to and in conversation with my God. But I find that it’s also necessary to do it at home; not just to clean your house, to cook a meal, to finish a novel, or any mundane life tasks like those. It’s necessary to do it to keep yourself sane. The speed at which information and events are delivered to us now is so fast that one feels lost. I do, at times. It’s one of the reasons that I don’t try to document news/events as they happen. I’ve tried; it makes me crazy and spurs an ongoing battle I have with anxiety.

I’ve already talked about walking. Usually, I have a destination and/or a task in mind. But sometimes I don’t. Often, I’ll take one of my devices along in order to listen to whichever audiobook I’m in the middle of. (One day I’ll finish one of them.) But, sometimes I don’t.

Sometimes I need to be reminded that there’s a world separate from the digital space which seems endless, always offering, and—best/worst of all—always requesting input. It always seems to want to know what you have to offer. Often, I have nothing.

It might seem strange for a longtime-blogger and author to think this way, but, ironically, my writing comes far more easily after a break to take in the “real” world around me. I say ‘hello’ to the people who live near me and who pass me on the street and the world seems better, if only for a short time.

I’m not pretending that the world isn’t falling apart. I just don’t want to be reminded of it every waking moment. There’s beauty and goodness still out there. Small pockets of it, to be sure. But it’s there. And it makes me feel better for the seeing.

SPEAKING OF BEAUTY: Happy Anniversary to Mr. and Mrs. Ingemi. God bless.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>

baldilocks

by baldilocks

Being blessed with great health and energy for almost all of my life, I found it disconcerting when I began to get tired at strange times in the day—like 1PM. The cure? Vitamin C and lots of it. An orange, a half of a grapefruit, the juice of a small lemon and a kiwi a day seem to have fixed the problem.

blood-oranges
Blood Oranges. Disconcerting at first, but really good for you.

It seems so simple, doesn’t it? We all grow up being told to eat citrus fruit and to drink a lot of fruit juices. Well, I don’t drink juices—or soda—because they have too much sugar in them. I don’t even buy bread that has more than one gram of sugar in it. (The only area in which I break this rule: coffee.) Keeping sugar out of my diet has kept me from getting too humongous–a battle which members of my family fight, especially the women. So, I had been inconsistent in eating the good sugars. No more and those grapefruit(s) are tasty!

Another natural remedy I’ve used for a couple of years: apple cider vinegar. Members of both sides of my family also suffer from high blood pressure, beginning in the late 40s and I was no different. My pressure had been very low before that, but I noticed the up-creep; I was always right on the borderline of hypertension. I did not want to take prescription medication, so I searched online for natural remedies and consistently found a daily recommendation of 2 tablespoons of ACV with 8 ounces of water. Now, every time I go to the doctor and my vitals are check, my systolic is in the 120 range and my diastolic is in the 60-70 range. (I drink it with a straw so that it doesn’t damage the enamel of my teeth.)

I don’t recommend doing any of these things without doing your own home work first and checking with your doctor. I mention them merely because it seems to me that God has provided many of the cures for nagging issues and signs of aging (I’m 54). We only have to be looking for them. And in the age of Obamacare, it’s always a good idea to be looking for ways to avoid the healthcare system.

I also wonder whether much of the craziness we see around us stems from vitamin, mineral and other dietary deficiencies. Well, excuse me now; I think I need a burger. Beef.

Kenya Trip Wishlist at Amazon.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects JOB: HER TRIP TO KENYA! Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>

baldilocks

Lake Huron
Lake Huron

By John Ruberry

The Flint crisis–dangerous levels of lead have been found in its drinking water–is a travesty, but one that the left is using to advance its agenda.

Background: Two years ago after telling the the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department in a cost-cutting move that it would stop buying its Lake Huron water by 2017 when a new Huron pipeline project would be completed, Detroit ended its agreement with Flint, which compelled the impoverished city to turn to the Flint River for its water. But somehow Flint authorities made a colossal and possibly deadly mistake by not adding an anti-corrosive that costs $150-a-day into the water supply. That toxic error allowed lead from old pipes to get into the drinking water and yes, into the bodies of Flint residents. Had that additive been used, the expert who uncovered the Flint debacle says the lead crisis never would have occurred.

Rather than uncovering what went wrong and finding out who was responsible, the left is looking beyond the Flint water crisis to intensify a long-running political battle. Businesses and governments from all over the nation are shipping bottled water to Flint. Liberal bomb-thrower Michael Moore isn’t interested. The self-described Flint native–he actually grew up in a wealthy neighboring suburb–lists his demands for Flint which include the arrest and removal from office of Rick Snyder, Michigan’s Republican governor.

Flint and Detroit Public Schools are under control of an emergency manager because of longtime corruption and malfeasance perpetuated by its so-called public servants. Until recently so was the city of Detroit. Not coincidentally these government entities are cash honey holes for Democratic bureaucrats, which is why the left hates the emergency manager law. Snyder appoints Michigan’s emergency managers. Get it?

John "Lee" Ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry

If you don’t, then read last week’s Washington Post column by leftist Dana Milbank. He blames the entire Flint travesty on Snyder and he of course sub-divides his finger-pointing on the emergency manager law.

Was Snyder–who should not be entirely blameless–the one the decision not to spend $150 on anti-corrosives? He almost certainly was not. Do Moore and Milbank care who it was? No, they would rather attack a Republican and push their idealogy.

A Students for a Democratic Society radical once mused, “The issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution.”

Some things never change.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

by Steve and Timothy Imholt (mainly Steve, Tim was too angry, as he is an adult with autism and has an autistic son he pays out of pocket to cover.)

Do you remember the debate about why Obamacare was going to be so very good or so very evil (depending on who was hogging the microphone)? Regardless of where you fell on the scale from progressive to arch conservative, one area which had very little argument was over what healthcare should cover regarding children. Yes, there was argument about the role of government, about government over reach, about fiscal consequences, but about kids?

Nope, I don’t remember it.

I bet you don’t either.

I can remember the discussions about orphan drugs. I remember comments from both sides about catastrophic coverage. Even discussions about pre-existing conditions. These were things that most people thought the ACA would/should (depending on party affiliation) cover. Even the insurance companies and the Republicans in a last ditch effort to stop the ACA talked about other legislation, in place of the ACA, that would cover pre-existing and catastrophic situations.

But what they didn’t do was talk about situations that were fixable when the fix was expensive. Talk about donut holes. There is donut hole in coverage the size of the Holland Tunnel if you work for most companies. You see, the way things are today, some kinds of illnesses actually ARE covered by the ACA marketplace and public aid, but NOT through employer plans precisely because they are so expensive, and the employers had good lobbyists to get wording in there for an exemption for employer based plans.

Still others aren’t covered by the ACA market place OR the employer because get this… they are too expensive. It’s like finding a Ho Chi Minh tunnel at the bottom of a Florida sized sinkhole. You take the tunnel because you have to.

Is there a poster child for this hole? Autism.

You see, when you catch autism early it is treatable. But the treatment needs to be aggressive. And even better, its effects can be truly managed and even called cured. But the current costs are somewhere higher than $30,000 and in some cases even $50,000 per year for several years. Most employers would rather not have to deal with that kind of cost. And (please use a Gomer Pyle voice when reading this), Surprise, Surprise, Surpirse, state and federal laws say they don’t have to cover it.

Think about this. The employed person has to pay out of pocket to get his kids treated. That same person has to pay taxes that, in turn, pay for subsidized coverage for other people, some of whom don’t have a job, so that their kids can get this treatment because the ACA says that they can. So one guy gets to fork out the money twice, or if he can’t afford for his kids to get these treatments out of his own pocket has real problems.

That is assuming the guy who has a job can find a way to afford it. How many people have that kind of money leftover from the rest of their budget in their after tax salary? Especially with all the new tax rates, hikes in grocery store prices, and stagnant wages in the middle class.

It is a nutty situation, but that is just one prime example. We are SURE there are others. We will be on the lookout. Just follow bankruptcy filings and some will likely be found.

The ACA act itself provides a partial loophole as well. Turns out the Fed doesn’t always cover it because it’s a congenital condition. Those plans which do cover it are a lot more expensive. Currently, the only real option left for a family with an average income is for the kid to get put on public aid. On public aid, the kid can get covered. Except that like a Ho Chi Minh tunnel, the hole can collapse at any moment.

Now for those readers who don’t have to deal with this every day, getting on public aid is NOT like switching cable companies. You need to get qualified again, and again, and again. It takes a lot of effort by parents to pull it off. And each time they have to requalify, treatment gets impacted either because docs won’t accept it, or they can’t actually deliver until approved (again and again and again).

Remember that comment about catching it early, and being aggressive? Let’s be blunt. Being aggressive is not compatible with government paperwork.

So, as a country, we end up actually causing kids to not get the treatment they need, exactly when it would do the most good. All because companies didn’t want to have this really large cost, and the Feds on ACA didn’t want the premiums to go up even more than they are going up next year.

How did it get this way? From my perspective, it was because from the progressive standpoint, it had to be covered, so sticking it to the states was a good idea. (Actually for some of the progressives, anything that eventually will lead to a single payer system is a good thing, no matter how many kids get trampled in the meantime). But the conservatives aren’t off the hook either. Again, from my standpoint, allowing companies to exclude this kind of thing, is the direct equivalent of being Pontius Pilate, washing their hands. Why? Because for conservatives, anything that shows how bad the ACA is must be good, no matter how many kids are trampled.

From my perspective, political autism has eradicated public oughtism.

The saddest part of all? It’s not those kids knowing that they won’t be treated today. You see, none of them will notice it today because they are too young, and they really do have issues. And it probably won’t be those kids when they are grown, because at the speed they won’t get treatment, they will have challenges, at a much higher rate than they should. And the annual cost of that will be paid by everyone, just as the ineffectual treatment they will get because of a defective public aid system.

Yet keep sending these yahoos back to Washington, again, and again. Perhaps it’s the public who is more autistic than we would ever want to admit.

I posted last week about the possibility that many people could be suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

Those of us who are paying attention are more than likely to be stressed or unhappy.

I also mentioned some possible remedies to pursue.  Let’s add something else to your arsenal; gratitude.

I have been reading a book about gratitude.  It’s probably not the best book on the subject, but it was enough to make me sit back and think a bit about the wisdom of keeping a gratitude journal.

Listen up, men; this is for you, too. It’s just not a girlie thing, even though it sounds girlie.   It sounds really super-duper girlie when you start flinging around words like “journal.”  Girls, you may keep a journal, and you guys can just keep a notebook.

Robert Emmons, professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, is one of the foremost authorities on the topic of gratitude in North America.

Emmons even wrote a book about gratitude based on many years of scientific study.

Emmons’ research indicates that gratitude is not merely a positive emotion; it also improves your health if cultivated. People must give up a “victim mentality” and overcome a sense of entitlement and deservedness.

As a result, he says, they will experience significant improvements in several areas of life including relationships, academics, energy level and even dealing with tragedy and crisis. source

Gratitude simply means being thankful, or expressing thanks for things or events.

For instance: We have a cat.  She acts like a cat.  Like most cats, she is always on the wrong side of the door. It can be annoying to constantly have to open the door for her to come in or go out.  So instead of being annoyed, I decided to be thankful that she has embraced her “catness.”   I’m doubly grateful that she doesn’t feel like she’s a dog trapped in a cat body and demanding expensive species reassignment surgery.

Gratitude is about noticing things.  How many of you men reading this really notice your magic underwear drawer?  You know, the one that always seems to be filled up with clean folded undies?  Do you ever stop and ask yourself how they got there, and do you thank the person who was behind all that magic?

Dr. Emmons says that your gratitude journal doesn’t have to be fancy.  He’s a guy. What the hell does he know?  Ladies, feel free to unleash your inner crafter if you want, and make a dazzling journal.   Guys, go buy a notebook.

I had planned on writing down a few things each night for which I was grateful.  But according to Emmons, that’s the wrong approach.

Here’s some research-based tips for reaping the greatest psychological rewards from your gratitude journal:

  • Don’t just go through the motions. Research by psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky and others suggest that journaling is more effective if you first make the conscious decision to become happier and more grateful. “Motivation to become happier plays a role in the efficacy of journaling,” says Emmons.
  • Go for depth over breadth. Elaborating in detail about a particular thing for which you’re grateful carries more benefits than a superficial list of many things.
  • Get personal. Focusing on people to whom you are grateful has more of an impact than focusing on things for which you are grateful.
  • Try subtraction, not just addition. One effective way of stimulating gratitude is to reflect on what your life would be like without certain blessings, rather than just tallying up all those good things.
  • Savor surprises. Try to record events that were unexpected or surprising, as these tend to elicit stronger levels of gratitude.
  • Don’t overdo it. Writing occasionally (once or twice per week) is more beneficial than daily journaling. In fact, one study by Lyubomirsky and her colleagues found that people who wrote in their gratitude journals once a week for six weeks reported boosts in happiness afterward; people who wrote three times per week didn’t. “We adapt to positive events quickly, especially if we constantly focus on them,” says Emmons. “It seems counterintuitive, but it is how the mind works.”

Need more proof?

If you’re anything like me and want to research something to death, here’s a link to a gazillion articles  in Psychology Today on gratitude.

Now, you’ll have to excuse me.  I have to let the cat out.

 

Adrienne is grateful to blog at Adrienne’s Corner. Some day she plans to come out of her corner and join the real world.