Sunday Photo Fiction: Crazy Memories #amwriting #flashfiction 


Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting SPF. 

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Credit: Alistair Forbes – A Mixed Bag

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“You forgot it again, didn’t you?” I ask Gillian 

“Yes,” she said exasperated. “You know I’m always forgetting it, losing it, or damaging it permanently. Phones don’t like me.”

“I’ve known you twelve years and I’m pretty sure you’ve gone through more than twelve phones.”

Gillian starts to laugh. “Yeah, so true. My Dad would get so upset at me in university. I think I broke like six cell phones.”

I laugh at her memories. “One time you lost your new phone down the sewer. You were crying because you were drunk and wanted to go back for your phone. Melissa and I kept telling you it was gone.”

Really? I don’t remember that?”

“You wouldn’t,” I tell Gillian giggling. “I had to physically pick you up and place you in the cab. I told the cab driver to ignore your pleas to go back to the bar and I half carried you into Melissa’s apartment where you passed out.”

Gillian giggled, “Those were crazy times. Thank goodness my phone is just on the kitchen counter, not in the sewer.”

We both grin at each other. 

——

©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

 

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Writer Interview of Shivangi from ‘Stories by Shivangi’ #interview #nonfiction #author #childrensbooks


Hi, welcome to another interview for my biweekly interview series. I have been behind due to other projects so I’m having a special edition of my interview series featuring the lovely and talented Shivangi Singh from Minnesota in the United States, on a Sunday. Her blog’s link is here: Stories by Shivangi – Once Upon A Time . . .


Shivangi - Self
Credit: Shivangi Singh

1. Please Tell Us About Yourself? 

I am Shivangi Singh from ‘Stories by Shivangi’ from Minnesota in the Unites States. I am a stay at home mom and I love to weave stories inspired by my surroundings. If you enjoy stories, films, and kids stuff, visit my blog, you will most definitely enjoy it.

As a child, I aways dreamt of writing books but with the development of technology, I have learned how easy it is to self-publish, now more than ever. I have managed to write, do some illustrating, and be the author of two children’s books that are available on Apple Itunes. They include the books below.


The Princess with Brown Teeth 

By Shivangi Singh

Shivangi - The Princess With Brown Teeth
Credit: Shivangi Singh – ‘The Princess with Brown Teeth’

Find it at on Itunes here: (https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-princess-with-brown-teeth/id1146112226?mt=11)


Who Ate The Moon

By Shivangi Singh

Shivangi - Who Ate The Moon
Credit: Shivangi Singh ‘Who Ate The Moon’

Find it on Itunes here: (https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/who-ate-the-moon/id1206671343?mt=11).

 


 2. Please Tell Us About Your Recent Book? When Did You Begin Blogging and Writing?

My recent book Who Ate The Moon is about two naughty brothers Aala and Uja, who adore the moon. They steal the moon and through stealing it learn about the different phases of the moon. The book is educational as well as entertaining. Through my children’s books, I’m trying to make learning fun for kids.

I began blogging in January 2015 soon after my first little one was born. I have been a copywriter, journalist, and have won several awards in creative writing. The purpose of ‘Stories by Shivangi’ was to maintain my flair for writing. I was also feeling a little disconnected after moving to the USA from India, so I chose to start my blog to establish a connection with fellow bloggers, writers, and friends. Ultimately, my blog showed me the way to my dream of being a published author.


3. How is Writing and Blogging Meaningful for You? Where Do You Find Your Motivation and Inspiration to Write? Why Is Writing Important to You?

My blog and writing my books provide me with a much-needed creative outlet. It is my voice! I use this voice to entertain, advocate, and teach little ones such as my own. 

My inspirations are my surroundings, my kids, and the latest news or current events. As a child, I loved story books and I want my kids to love reading as much as I do. Mothers are the first teachers’ of their children so it’s my endeavor to instill the love of reading and writing in them. If I write blogs and books, they too will understand the joy of knowledge. This is one of my primary motivations to continue my blog as well as having that creative outlet for myself to write what I would like.


 “As a child, I loved story books and I want my kids to love reading as much as I do. Mothers are the first teachers’ of their children so it’s my endeavor to instill the love of reading and writing in them. If I write blogs and books, they too will understand the joy of knowledge.” – Shivangi Singh


4. Do You Have Any Particular Blog or Writing Habits? 

I write on the go and on my smartphone. A sentence here and a word there. With two demanding little ones around, it is harrowing to write sometimes and that is why I try not to commit to too much writing at this time. As my kids grow up and depend on me less, I will devote more time to writing books and to blogging.


5. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects On Your Blog or Otherwise? 

As of now, I have not planned anything. I will just keep writing one blog a week! My projects have been my two kids books which you can access above. As I said, I try to not commit to too much with my little ones and their demands at the moment.

My book did get reviewed by Ritu of But I Smile Anyway, and I wrote a guest post for the site. I was interviewed by Ranjeeta of atrangizindagieksafar as well but have no future plans as of right now beyond blogging.


 ” [I]t is harrowing to write sometimes and that is why I try not to commit to too much writing at this time. As my kids grow up and depend on me less, I will devote more time to writing books and to blogging.” -Shivangi Singh


6. Can You Briefly Describe Your Writing Process You Went Through Writing Your Books? 

It was quite challenging! I wrote the children’s books and created illustrations using inspiration by reading other books here and there. I had no professional help whatsoever while publishing and am proud to say I figured it out on my own. I kept reading DIY  blog posts and forums and through them, I managed to publish my children’s stories.

Time was a challenge and so were the illustrations, but I did have an illustrator paint my cartoons in the first book (The Princess with Brown Teeth). But in my second book, I illustrated with the help of Pixton.com. My challenged of obtaining a visa was also a challenge so I couldn’t publish my books on Kindle. I was thrilled when my books were published on Apple, but then, I know many people with Android readers don’t have access to my books.

I did, however, put together a video on YouTube and did a voiceover of my books for readers who could not obtain my books through Apple. It did not come out as I had expected and I struggled on each step. I learned an enormous amount of information about putting together a video of my books in the process. 


7. What Keeps You Going As a Writer? Do You Prefer Any Writing or Reading Genres? 

Persistence and a love for writing are key, a person just has to keep writing no matter what. As well, I am absolutely crazy about fiction! I like to read poetry too!


“I wrote the children’s books and created illustrations using inspiration by reading other books here and there. I had no professional help whatsoever while publishing and am proud to say I figured it out on my own. I kept reading DIY  blog posts and forums and through them, I managed to publish my children’s stories.” – Shivangi Singh


8. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice For Other Bloggers? Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share With Us Pertinent to Yourself or Your Writing? 

All my blog friends are doing great! I would advise them to be persistent and be better than their last post! As for having anything else to say, well,  I think I have said it all😀


9. For Fun, What Are You Three Favorite Blogs You Follow, of Any Kind? 

When I first entered the blog world, these were my favourite people. I continue to enjoy reading them.

  • Priceless Joy  — Her stories are awesome and her Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer Challenge is great for those who love writing and working on telling a story in only 150 to 175 words.
  • Ritu of But I Smile anyway — She blogs about day to day activities but the way she presents these activities, the way she writes, is awesome. Also, Ritu is such a positive and inspiring person!
  • Ali of Draliman On Life — (Because Sometimes Life Just Makes You Stop and Think) —  If you love a good laugh, visit Ali’s blog. I am a big fan of his humorous works.
  • I would also like to mention Millie Thom from Bringing History To Life — she is a writer par excellence.

10. Can You Please Share With Us Some of Your Favorite Blog Posts?

Anecdote – Lesson By My Grandma!

By Shivangi Singh

May 9, 2016

******

*****

My grandma is a grand old lady nearing a century. If you look at her, she may appear formidable in the beginning and then a ringing laughter would ensue, dismantling the image you had conjured up in your mind. The fact is, she is both formidable as well as light hearted. A unique, delightful combination!

Born and brought up in a royal family ( Kharsawan, Jharkhand), she has always had that regal bearing. She believes in maintaining distance from her kids, grandkids, great-grandkids as well as recently added a great-great-grand kid. And we are all supposed to behave in her presence. We rise when she enters the room and remain respectful in her presence.

During my childhood years, we lived with her, so, we had the opportunity to observe her from the closest quarters. I discovered her lighter side later in life. Initially, I was apprehensive of her. She commanded and the household ran according to her. But as I grew up, I discovered the lighter, fun side of her personality. There have been many instances when she would have us in splits.

Here is one such incident. One of our cousins was going to meet a prospective bridegroom. In arranged marriages in India, girls and guys are introduced by their families, they meet up, chat and then a decision is taken unanimously.

So, this cousin was both excited as well as scared before her first meeting. Our granny called her and said, “If you like this man, try to do little something to make him fall for you.”

We were seeing another aspect of our grandma. We all asked, “what?”. She immediately showed us how to woo a husband – “Look sideways at him and then look down… blush… look up again at him… look down and blush again. And then smile juuust a little.” We doubled up with laughter!

I don’t know whether my cousin looked sideways at the prospective groom or not but they ended up getting married!

*****

(Sharing a picture of my grandparents)

*****

I look up to my grand old lady because she always had the audacity to laugh at all challenges that came in her life. In her almost 100 years of life, she has seen many ups and downs. All her peers are long gone now, times have changed but she has remained strong.

I adore her because she is quite broad-minded, childlike and her booming laughter lightens the most serious of situations. A great devotee of Krishna, she follows what the playful God says – to celebrate life as it is!

Long live my grandma!

*****


Here Are Additional Posts Written By Shivangi:


Thanks so much to Shivangi for filling out my interview questions! I even gave Shivangi the wrong interview questions (the one’s for blogs that are causes) and she still did a brilliant job. She is an inspiration as a writer and a mother and I wish her good luck in the future with her family and writing. Here is the link to here homepage one last time: Stories By Shivangi


Thanks for reading this interview and if you are interested in being interviewed as a writer/blogger or you a blogger writing for a specific cause (or both), you can reach out to me on my Contact Page. See you on Monday for my regularly scheduled interview 🙂


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

100 Word Wednesday: The Cost #amwriting #flashfiction #crime #100WordWednesday


Thanks to Bikurgurl for hosting #100WordWednesday.

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Credit: Toa Heftiba

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I’m seventeen and I wish I wasn’t old enough to understand what was happening through the trees.

There were five men laughing around a garbage can bonfire. The worst part was the two women crying and begging the men to stop as each man took turns with the women, raping them.

I knew I couldn’t intervene. I felt helpless but then I remembered my smartphone in my pocket. It had a camera with many megapixels and zoom.

Above the pandemonium no one heard me snap as many pictures as I could. I walked back to my house from the ravine and I called the police; they said I was a hero after.

The problem is some things in life you can’t unsee.

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©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

1. How Was Last Night For You – The Beginnning


Chapter 1: The Beginning

“How Was Last Night For You.”

She had never seen John in her life before last night. But from the moment he and Nina spotted each other at The Manhattan Martini Bar, Nina had felt an invisible pull between them. Something about John made Nina feel breathless, excited, and terrified all at once. When he approached her with a unique pick up line it had made her smile. ” Of all your beautiful curves, your smile is my favourite,” he had whispered to her. John had bought her a cosmopolitan and they had started to chat. Nina and John had small-talked about the weather and how they liked living in Adare.

The next moment a fight broke out across from their table. Two men were wrestling. One head butted the other in the stomach while the other one punched the first guys neck and back. The men continued to fight. John had put a protective arm around her and led her away from the fight to another small table where they continued their conversation keeping an eye on the fight as it became increasingly violent and bloody.

It was an unusual scene for such a posh place, two men in designer suites going at it as if the fight was all that mattered. Jason, the manager of the Martini bar had called the cops and she wondered with increasing worry when they would show up. Some men had tried to unsuccessfully break the two fighting up with disastrous results. They had found themselves thrown out of the fighting circle and on to their asses, noses bloodied and ribs throbbing from a stray punch. The fight was getting too much to watch. Nina glanced up at John who wasn’t at all worried. He reassured Nina that the situation would be fine but she could not ignore the gasps, shouts, and groans of the other people at the bar as the two men fought like bears ready to maul each other to death.

Nina looked up at John with worried delicate pale-blue eyes. She did not know him well. But John had been perfectly amiable and flirtatious towards Nina. She felt John was distracted; however, and not by the fight.Nina had come out alone that night, to the little Martini Bar The Manhattan, underneath her condo building.

She had jumped in the shower after work, washing, then drying her almost white blond hair and carefully putting on sexy natural looking makeup: mascara, concealer, pink blush, and gloss. Nina chose a short classic black dress, the fabric hugging her curvy size ten pear-shaped figure. The dress draped in the back, revealed her soft white and shapely back. Nina was petite so gorgeous pink heels that completed the outfit were a must.

Nina’s group of friends had all been busy that night and she had  wanted to do something, anything, just to relax and forget a day at work where she had had to hustle. She was not sure why she spent so much time getting ready; she just had had a feeling about tonight, a premonition perhaps, that she needed to look smashing.

Then there had been John with those startling sapphire eyes, dark hair curling at his collar, and boyish handsome face. He was taller than her 5’6″ by a lot and he was nice offering to buy her a drink, sharing pleasant conversation with her, and making her laugh. But as the cops finally showed up, bursting through The Manhattan’s doors, Nina felt there was something off about John. He had not been one of the many men who attempted to intervene in the fight. He had watched the event as if it were perfectly normal as if he expected there to be a fight. John had almost seemed to be bored by it.

The cops who had come in numbers, with sirens, and with yelling, efficiently stopped the fight. Both fighters had swollen eyes that were black and blue and noses that were busted and bent. The men said nothing as they were separated and were shoved off into separate waiting police cruisers. They looked at each other with gleaming eyes full of malice and one of the men was jerked back painfully as he spit at the other man.

The noise in the bar gentled to a hum of excited voices out on a Friday night. The police were talking to witnesses, some people who had been at the bar near the fight, the bartenders, and waitresses dressed in tight black dresses and stiletto pumps. Nina looked up at John who was watching her closely. “Wow” she said, “that was brutal. I thought the police were never going to come. And did you see that fight so violent so….”

“Vicious” John replied quietly.

“But you weren’t worried at all?” Nina asked John.

“Not really” he shrugged “Boys will be boys, besides I would have kept you safe” he smiled. She half smiled back but found it hard to stay cheerful.

“Yeah, but you never thought to stop it with some of the other bigger men. I mean you must be 6’2″ or so and you look like you workout?”

“Why thank you,” John grinned but said seriously,” I knew the cops would have it handled, stuff happens at bars all the time, even this one. Given the nature of the fight I thought it unwise to interfere and leave you here alone.”

“I guess” Nina said distractedly wondering about John. There was something about him that just did not sit right with her. Yet at the same time she felt attracted to him and as if she didn’t want to be anywhere else.

“Want another drink?” She deliberated. “Nina?” John said quietly in her ear.

She shrugged “Sure I guess, a vodka water lime.”

“Let’s make it a double!” He grinned at her going to the bar but coming back empty handed. “Bar’s closing down, something to do with the fight.”

Nina nodded “I should….”

“Come on the night is young. Let’s go for a walk, go find somewhere else to enjoy?” John asked with a mischievous look in his eyes. Nina considered John’s request briefly. Was she safe going off with him? She still felt their was something a bit off about John. But there it was again, an invisible thread of attraction between them. She could feel the connection blooming between her and John when she caught him staring at her.

“Sure, sounds good.” Nina decided. She did not often go off alone and felt a bit nervous walking off somewhere with this near stranger. Usually, if she met guys at a bar it was with a friend or two. The thought comforted her but she felt drawn to John. She trusted him oddly enough, to some degree.

John draped Nina’s jacket over her shoulders and took her hand. They began walking down the block Nina lived on past other condo buildings, stores, and the occasional pub. John wasn’t interested into going into any place so she continued to walk with him, although her feet ached in her slim pink pumps. The heels were not that high but were not met for long walks past the Downtown to the Harbor of Adare, where bells dinged and she could hear water sloshing against the large white fishing and sailing boats. They had barely said a word to each other except for John asking her if she was okay occasionally. She nodded and they continued their walk past the Harbor to a further section of Downtown Adare.

Nina finally had to break the silence. “So you grew up here?”

“Yeah my parents still live here and like I said earlier, I own a publishing company with my two brothers Jasper and Jordan.” John grinned, ” I have great fun with my brothers, most of the time.”

” I bet,” Nina laughed. “Do you fish like most everyone around here?”

“Yeah, I love it. My Dad used to take my brothers and I out fishing when we were young. Taught us how to catch the best trout and how to gut and clean them. I’m more into sailing now, but my oldest brother Jasper goes with his two little boys sometimes. Their a bit young yet to fish but they like being with their Dad. Sometimes I go along.”

” Yuck” Nina said wrinkling her nose, “I hate fish. The way they smell, how they taste. It makes me throw up.”

“I’ll remember that,” John said, “No fish. I usually sail anyways. Only fish now and then makes good eats,” John teased.

Nina was distracted when she heard sirens again and was aghast to find police cars pulling up all over the block they were walking on. A group of paramedics carried a stretcher out in front of them and she heard whispers of a knife attack. She saw the evidence, bags of bloodied clothing, and a knife being carried out in a plastic bags by investigators.

Nina looked at John who shook his head and shrugged apologetically, “bad night” he murmured, “let’s get away from this scene, are you doing all alright?” Nina looked at John than up to the bright white orb of the moon dancing in the sky. It burned through the night sky as some beacon of hope then, a dark cloud moved to dance over it, partially hiding the moon’s revealing brilliance.

“I’m okay John. It’s just Adare, the city tonight is a bit scary. It kind of feels like the fight at the bar happening and this knife attack are more then just coincidence.”

John looked up at the moon and bit his lip. “Ah, full moon” he said” that explains everything” and he seemed satisfied with his answer. “Really are you fine, Nina?” Because I can help you get a cab or walk you home if you really want.” She breathed out carefully not so much afraid as flustered by John’s nearness.

“Like I said, it’s only that having a massive fight and encountering a stab victim on the same night is a lot to take in. Maybe we should head back to The Manhattan, I live right above there.” John looked at her thoughtfully and took her hand. They turned around walking back along the Harbor. Nina turned her head to look at the full moon again. “It’s so pretty but ominous” she breathed. John smiled, a gorgeous smile, much like the moon himself.

“Yes it is pretty, you’re pretty, and you don’t have to worry I’ll get you home. People just go a little peculiar on nights when there is a full moon, it’s scientifically proven. All the crazies come out.”

“Interesting theory” she wondered aloud,” what other kinds of weird things happen?”

“Oh, we’ll I guess anything out of the ordinary you could think of.”

“Hmm” Nina said, “that doesn’t make me feel better. But I do feel safe with you John.” He smiled at her. Nina continued to walk by the lake wrapping her white coat tightly around her body.

It was then something wrapped itself around Nina’s pink shoe and pulled! She screamed. John quickly came to her aid and pulled her away from the edge of wooden walkway at the Harbor. But a cold white hand, hung on to her ankle, and John pulled Nina and a cold shivering mess of a woman out from the Harbor water. “Oh my God” Nina stammered at the woman, “What happened to you? Are you okay? Are you hurt? How did you end up in the lake.Did you fall in?” Nina felt panicked.

The shivering mess of a woman began to cry. ” Somebody pushed me in” she wailed, ” I was standing at the rail of the boat after having dinner with my husband and then I was looking back waving at Thomas and these hands just grabbed me and hulled me over the side of our boat.” The cold wet woman had long auburn hair and shivered as John gave her his coat. She wrapped herself in the coat gratefully and Nina stood their transfixed as the woman told her story, frightened green eyes hazy with cold. “Then I called for help but no one heard me so I swam to the edge of the Harbor here. The water is so cold and I barely made it, then I saw your pink shoe and grabbed on.”

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Nina bent down to the woman. “ We should call the police John,” Nina said. John retrieved his Samsung phone from his pants pocket and began to dial.

“No, no, no” cried the woman suddenly, changing her mind,”it must have just been my imagination. I probably just fell. But I was sure there was this girl in the water. But I think I was tired and seeing things.” John and Nina looked at one another not knowing what to believe. It was strange, this woman changing her story and becoming all nervous, as if she was afraid of someone or something.

“But a doctor?” suggested John you could have hurt yourself and not known it.” The woman stood shakily and then more steadily.

“I’m fine really thanks…” The dripping wet woman hiked up her wet skirt and ran down the dock dropping John’s now soaked coat and headed for a boat with lights on. She turned around  and waved.John and Nina were left standing on the dock unsure of what to do as they heard the woman’s bare wet feet hit the dock in the distance.

John pulled himself together first, shook his head and went to retrieve his jacket. ” I wonder . . .” he said to himself thoughtfully, then shook his head as if what he thought couldn’t be true.

The light on the boat the woman had ran to went out and John grabbed Nina’s hand. They half walked and half ran all the way to her condo. John walked Nina up to her condo and feeling brave, after everything she had witnessed that night Nina invited him in. “What was that?” she asked John. What a night! A bar fight, a stabbing, and a woman who nearly drowned. And what was that she said about seeing some girl in the water?Do you think she was imagining things.” Nina took out a bottle of vodka and a bottle of Rye. They did a few shots to calm themselves down and began to talk again.

” It will alright Nina it was just one awful night and a full moon. We’re fine. No one is going to hurt us.” He kissed her forehead as if she were a child and preceded to make her laugh by telling her stories about growing up in his family with a Dad who was a Professor of Fairy Tales and Folklore, and a stay-at- home Mom who was a nurse again. Nina told him about her own childhood. About her divorced Mom, Heather, a Cosmetician, and her Dad the Wall Street Lawyer who they never heard from.

It was 3:00 am when Nina drunkenly, sauntered to the bedroom. John followed a dazed grin on his face. She never did things like this but tonight she felt adrenaline from the night rushing through her and just maybe, it was the full moon.

Nina felt her dress fall to the floor and John kissing and biting his way down her neck, before they both fell on to the bed half-dressed. Things became fuzzy after that. They had made love and fallen asleep but when she woke up the next afternoon it was to the ringtone on her iPhone “Crazy in Love” by Beyonce.

“How was Last Night for you?” The voice said on her phone as she pinched her eyes together and rubbed her left temple as a hangover set in.

“Um, interesting…” She croaked.

John laughed, “yes, it was” he said.

“How’d you get my number?” She asked John confused. “Oh, you gave it to me last night” he laughed “and this is me giving you my number.”

“Oh thanks,” Nina croaked trying to sound awake.”You left early.”

“No, thank you” he beamed through the phone “ I had a meeting. I just didn’t want you to forget me after all we had to drink and all that happened last night.” Thinking fuzzily back to last night Nina groaned:

“I wouldn’t forget you, believe me. It was just all so weird all the violence and that woman grabbing my shoe.”

“I like full moons,” John murmured,”unusual things happen.”

“Unusual is right.” Nina lay gratefully back on her soft bed.

“You, you were unusual, unexpected” he said softly.

“So were you,” Nina countered.

“I never thought I’d have a chance when you walked in but then….”

Nina sighed, “well that’s a full moon you. Strange things happen.” she commented wryly thinking about the palpable attraction she shared with John.

Nina planned lunch with John for Sunday afternoon. He did not seem so weird to her this morning, after their conversation late into the evening. Nina considered last night and shook her head in disbelief. When she thought of John and his handsome face she smiled. Then, she settled back against her pillows for a few hours more sleep. What a night.

Please read Chapter 2 here.

—–

©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved.

 

Showing Some Self – Control


SELF-CONTROL
SELF-CONTROL (Photo credit: roboppy)

Restraint how much do we as people have of it and how hard is it for us to exercise it? I think in today’s world having self-control is a very hard thing to do. Sometimes restraint can even be a mental disease for example, some of the people on the TLC television show Hoarders and other similar shows. Other times, self-control can be over spending money, eating food, or becoming addicted to electronic devices such as smart phones and the internet. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary online describes ‘Self Control’  as ” restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires” and I think if we are all truthful to ourselves, in some aspect of our lives we do not show restraint; we do not show self-control.

Sometimes it is just easier not to have self-control  – to not be responsible for our impulses – it takes discipline. Our “impulses. emotions, [and] desires” can be addictive (MWD. “Self Control”). For instance, I find for myself that practically, most any day I can find some good deal or some item I adore while shopping online or at the store. But when you actually think about it, there is only so many things a person can wear, or tends to wear – because we all have our favorite clothing – and pretty soon too many pieces of clothing sit in the closet and do not get worn; or pieces of clothing get worn once and then put into the ‘Good-Will’ bag. There is something innately exciting about a new out fit or a new pair of shoes, that many people cannot resist. And this goes for people who are not fashion shoppers too. Some men love power – tools, some people love buying things for their house, some people buy expensive cars. But when self – control begins to erode to often credit card bills increase, people get in debt, and our impact on the environment as consumers, is effected. Restraint in what we buy comes down to the fact that as people we must think about what we are buying. We need to ask ourselves, do I really need this? Can I afford this item? How will buying this item effect me and my budget (my families budget)? Will I wear/use this item more than once? What affect will this item have on the environment?

Another example of not showing self – control, is people and the amount of food we consume. I can attest to this one as I have been at home the last few years recovering from illness. It is very tempting to eat when you are bored, or if you know something really tasty like triple chocolate brownie’s are just in the kitchen, it is easy to just walk over to the next room and have a second one. Now I am not a major offender in this category, but some people are. Some people choose to mindlessly eat in front of the TV on chips every night. Some people choose not to pick things like fresh fruit and vegetables in their diet; they rely on processed meals full of too much salt and often cholesterol. Choosing not to think when it comes to food affects not only some people’s body weight, but body weight in return can affect a person’s emotional state, confidence in themselves, and future health. Fat is a lot easier to gain than it is to lose. Now showing self – control in what we eat does not mean we do not get treats sometimes, and that we have to give up fatty food altogether. It simply means we show restraint and choose the ‘right’ foods most of the time, and less healthy foods less of the time. It also means that we may (and probably) should exercise and strengthen our bodies so we can eat the food we like, and keep our bodies in good physical condition. But there is also such a thing as over – exercising. Exercising to the point, you are so tired you have to go home and take a 2 hour nap afterwards, or cannot do anything the rest of the night, is also a lack of self – control.  It comes down to choosing to think about your diet and exercise routein. We will not always succeed, but at least we should try.

A third item, I find it is hard to show restraint with is the amount of time we spend on computers, tablets, and smart phones. At younger and younger ages kids are learning to use Ipads and play on mom and dad’s phones. On the Marilyn Denis Show today they showed a two-year old who was able to flip through and play with certain applications such as his favorite application, Angry Birds on the Ipad. I was in grade 12 when I received my first cell phone – it was a graduation present. Now kids often are receiving phones in jr high, even elementary school. Now this makes it easier for mom and dad to stay in touch with their kids, but it also leads to kids sitting for hours playing their smart devices and not playing outside and not socializing in real life. And an addiction to smart phones etc. happens not only for kids but for adults. Ever left your smart phone at home and felt bereft with out it? Ever just had to go home and get it even though you could have survived the day without it? I just got my first smart phone, and Iphone, this last Christmas. While I was content to just text and make phone calls on my old phone, now I can take notes on my phone, check all my emails, read from the Kobo application, take and make beautiful pictures, listen to my music collection, and do any number of things that I could not do before but strangely I need to do now. This is another example, of  losing self-control. We have to show restraint and as much as we like interacting through our electronic devices it is critical that we learn to socialize with each other, to have phone (and other electronic devices) etiquette, and be able to put down our devices to do other things such as going outside, and getting done the chores around the house and office that need to get done,  or inviting or going somewhere for dinner; anything where we are actually interacting in real life.

So, I am asking you today to work on your self-control in whatever area in life you may have trouble. We all are human and I think it is impossible for us to ever completely have restraint. But if we can discipline ourselves to even change one thing we are obsessed with, I believe we will find it easier to show discipline in other areas of our lives. I know that controlling my food portions sure helped me, and so did learning to say no to certain items at the shopping mall; that really helped my credit card bill drop. Learn to know when to tell yourself  ‘no’ it is an invaluable tool in the journey we call life.