Coffee and Contemplation: National Compliment Day

Today is National Compliment Day. Compliments are important to a child’s development and to someone’s self-esteem. Not only does it improve the receiver’s mood, but it shows that the other person noticed them. Compliments must be sincere. Often people can recognize when someone is being fake. Consider what you admire about someone. Acknowledging a new hair cut or new outfit is a good start. This is also a good way to connect with someone new. Maybe you have a new coworker, or a friend is introducing you to someone. Compliments can help make a good first impression.

The other side of this is being willing to receive compliments. I often don’t receive compliments well. I’ve been forcing myself to reply with thank you and nothing else. I’m trying to be more grateful. If you’re like me and struggle with positive feedback, just accept it and move on. And definitely to reply with something negative or a deflective joke. That was hard for me at first but I’m improving. Accept compliments and give them often. It’s also a good way to keep everyone in a good mood. You know what I would appreciate, compliments about my blog and my writing. Anyone have any feedback to offer?

Coffee and Contemplation: Hunt for Happiness Week

Hunt for Happiness Week is the third week of January. It was founded in 2001 by The Society of Happy People. The society often has events, but the purpose of the week is to get people to look at what things make them happy. This might include activities or people you enjoy being around. This might seem like a strange idea, but have you actually thought about what makes you happy? Happiness is an attitude or mindset you create for yourself. It doesn’t just happen. You have to work at it everyday. For some, this is an easy task. For most of us, it can be difficult. 

There are a few things I’ve been doing for the past few years to help with my happiness. I don’t identify with any one religion, but I do like the practices of Buddhism. I don’t mean this as a religion but only as spiritual practice. One practice is being kind whenever possible; it’s always possible. Another thing I’ve done is keeping a ‘hunt the good stuff’ journal. Everyday before bed, I write down at least three good things that happened to me that day and why they were important to me. I’ve done this everyday for almost 18 months. The point is, think about what makes you happy or unhappy. Then try to do the things that make you happy and don’t do the things that make you unhappy. Easier said than done. Enjoy Hunt for Happiness Week.

Coffee and Contemplation: My Favorite Books of 2020

I enjoyed many of the books I read during this last year. I read more books than I have in an entire year and I’m proud of myself for that. There were two in particular that stood out to me. It wasn’t so much the stories themselves but the writing and the way the stories captured my imagination. This isn’t a book review. Not really. I hope what I say will encourage you all to read these books, though one might be hard to find. These were both new approaches to old ideas. And there was something supernatural and magical about them.

The first book is “The Wolfman” by Nicholas Pekearo. Many have said this is the best werewolf novel ever written. I’m inclined to agree. It was tragic that Pekearo died before seeing it published. The story is about a man who is a werewolf and uses this condition to hunt and kill bad people like murderers, serial killers, etc… The main character reminded me of my father in many ways. Both his good and bad qualities. Copies of this book are online. Physical copies are more expensive. I don’t think it’s being printed for the moment. If you prefer e-readers, it’s still more expensive than others. Just fair warning but it’s worth every penny.

The second book is “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern. The synopsis makes one think this will be a romance novel, but the romance is subtle. I didn’t notice the two characters were starting a courtship until half-way through. This could be because of the non-linear narrative. There’s no mushy stuff. There’s too much magic going on in the story. It has a little of everything and is well written. My enthusiasm for this novel overshadowed many of the others I read in 2020. This book is a little easier to acquire than the first one I mentioned. 

What were your favorite reads of 2020? I often stick with supernatural or magical realism type stories but please share any books that stuck out in your mind during 2020.