Grammar Tip: Is It It’s or Its Or Is It Confusing?

Its, It’s

  • its = possessive adjective (possessive form of the
    pronoun it): The crab had an unusual growth on its shell.
  • it’s = contraction for it is or it has (in a verb phrase): It’s still raining; it’s been raining for three days.
  • (Pronouns have apostrophes only when two words are being shortened into one.)

Nutrition Hack: 5 of 10 Intuitive Eating Principles

Intuitive Eating Principle #5

Respect your fullness. Just as your body tells you when it’s hungry, it also tells you when it’s full. Listen for the signals of comfortable fullness, when you feel you have had enough. As you’re eating, check in with yourself to see how the food tastes and how hungry or full you are feeling.


Stress Hack: Attitude Makes A Difference

You Can Have Stress – Don’t Let Stress Have You

Stress is inevitable. But its cumulative effects over time are what damage your health. Chronic stress has been linked to a host of issues, including anxiety and depression, weight gain, inflammation, digestive issues, fertility problems, even poor memory. The way to avoid repercussions is by dealing with stress in the moment, as it happens.
The idea is to become psychologically flexible—or in other words, to learn to balance your exposure to stress with self-soothing efforts. I often equate this to standing on a surfboard, on top of a bowling ball. You can lean into your uncomfortable emotions, and then discipline yourself to pull out of that discom- fort. Being able to toggle back and forth like that will make you more resilient.
Research shows that it’s not stress itself but our attitudes and beliefs about stress that can make it “toxic.” When you feel powerless, that’s when stress becomes harmful. So it’s really not the amount of stress you have in your life that matters. It’s the way you ride it out.

Source: Lara Fielding in The 4 Pillars of Health (Stephanie Booth, author)

Longevity Hack: Enjoy Every Moment – Don’t Miss a One

Enjoy Life – Don’t Miss a Single Second

Rafaella Monne, a 107-year-old from Sardinia said it best: “Life is short. Don’t run so fast you miss it.” Slowing life’s pace may help keep inflammation in check, and apart from its health benefits, it adds richness to life, tying together many of the blue zones lessons—eating right, appreciating friends, finding time to downshift, putting family first, finding your purpose.

Vinnie’s On Summer Recess – His Poor Mom


Vinnie’s mom’s cell phone rings. She picks it up, checks the caller ID, and a shiver of anxiety runs through her body. It’s from Kennedy Elementary School. Vinnie’s in the yard playing with his buds, Joey and Larry. School let out yesterday for summer recess. Something’s wrong, what could it be? Vinnie’s home. Vinnie’s Mom’s mind within a millisecond computes two-hundred and fifty probabilities. 

Vinnie’s mom touches the accept call icon. “Hello?”

“How are you, Mrs. Ricci? Do you have a moment?” says Doctor Cashman, school principal.

“It’s no bother. How can I help you, Doctor Cashman?” answers Vinnie’s mom as she steels herself for the bad news.

“It’s about Vincent and his 4th grade room assignment.”

Vinnie’s mom internal warning system flashes red alert, red alert, red alert. She says, “Are you calling every parent and telling them who their child’s teacher will be next fall?”

“Oh no. I thought you could use the summer months to prepare Vincent to have a successful school year with his 4th grade teacher. After all, he’s 4th grade president. You must be so proud.”

“There’s something you’re not telling me, Doctor Cashman. The only time you called during the past school year was when Vinnie was in trouble. He’s on summer recess, now. He’s in the yard with Joey and Larry,” says Vinnie’s mom. Suddenly a surge of fear rushes through her and she wonders if the three boys rode their bikes to school and got in trouble. She covers the iPhone mic and hurries to the back window. A rush of relief gushes over her. The boys are shooting baskets.

“I have some good news for you, Mrs. Ricci. Vincent will have one of our best teachers as his 4th grade teacher.”

Vinnie’s mom picks up a tremor of nervousness in Doctor Cashman’s voice. She says, “Who, and it better not be Mrs. Mavis.”

“I didn’t choose the teachers and the class roster. It was all done by computer and the selections were random. Vincent will still have his friends Joseph and Lawrence with him. He’ll be a year older and more mature. Isn’t it exciting, you’ll see how much more Vincent has grown.”

Vinnie’s mom doesn’t stop to think. She blurts out, “Oh, dear God, no. You have to do something. It is not right. Vinnie will not be happy.” 

“My hands are tied. If we made an exception for you, we’d have to make an exception for everyone,” says Doctor Cashman.

Vinnie’s mom wants to strangle her phone. She says, “If you made exceptions for everyone, Mrs. Mavis won’t have any students. Admit it. You can make the change. I don’t believe your hands are tied. You’re the principal.”  

“I don’t like your attitude, Mrs. Ricci. I’m only following school board policy.”

Vinnie’s mom takes a deep breath. She tries to picture a peaceful mountain lake, but it doesn’t come into focus. She says, “I don’t care if it is a school board policy. You know what’s going to happen when they see each other.”

“Mrs. Mavis isn’t happy either. She told me she won’t be able to sleep all summer knowing she will have Vincent in class in the fall.” 

Vinnie’s mom answers, “I don’t care if she’s not happy, she’s an adult.”

“I am only paying you a courtesy, Mrs. Ricci. I hope you and Mr. Ricci will help Vincent to have a positive attitude about being with Mrs. Mavis in 4th grade.

“We’ll do our best to make sure Vinnie has a positive attitude when school begins. My husbands a lawyer and he will not be happy. Please make a note of my protest,” answers Vinnie’s mom.

“Don’t threaten me with Mr. Ricci. I know he is a lawyer for the mob. I even heard he’s their mouthpiece,” stammers Doctor Cashman.

Vinnie’s mom raises her voice, “That is not correct. I don’t care where you heard it. My husband is not a mouthpiece for the mob.”

“Vinnie told Mrs. Rokowski, my secretary. And, on the day when the children were to tell the class what their parents did for work, Vincent told his class, that his father only handles mob cases,” Doctor Cashman says with a bit of I got you in her voice.

“Vinnie says a lot a things. He has a vivid imagination. It’s not true,” says Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie, Joey, and Larry come in the house and head toward the refrigerator. Dexter follows close behind. Dexter’s beagle instincts knows three boys on summer recess it’s like being in beagle heaven, there will food all day long.

Vinnie sees his mom staring at her iPhone. He says, “Want me show you how to do snapchat?”

Writers’ Wisdom: The Source of Inspiration

Please get out of the habit of saying that you’ve got an idea for a short story. Art does not come from ideas. Art does not come from the mind. Art comes from the place where you dream. Art comes from your unconscious; it comes from the white-hot center of you. ~ Robert Olen Butler

A Brief Love Letter ~ Nizar Qabbani

A Brief Love Letter

Nizar Qabbani

My darling, I have much to say
Where o precious one shall I begin?
All that is in you is princely
O you who makes of my words through their meaning
Cocoons of silk
These are my songs and this is me
This short book contains us
Tomorrow when I return its pages
A lamp will lament
A bed will sing
Its letters from longing will turn green
Its commas be on the verge of flight
Do not say: why did this youth
Speak of me to the winding road and the stream
The almond tree and the tulip
So that the world escorts me wherever I go?
Why did he sing these songs?
Now there is no star
That is not perfumed with my fragrance
Tomorrow people will see me in his verse
A mouth the taste of wine, close-cropped hair
Ignore what people say
You will be great only through my great love
What would the world have been if we had not been
If your eyes had not been, what would the world have been?