Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though t'were his own.

- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"If I WAS a princessa REAL princess, I could scatter largess to the populace. But even if I am only a pretend princess, I can invent little things to do for people. Things like this. She was just as happy as if it was largess. I'll pretend that to do things people like is scattering largess. I've scattered largess."

I love this little speech by nine-year-old Sara Crewe in the classic book A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, which I didn't read until my 30s. In this scene, Sara had just cheered up a scullery maid by telling her a lovely made-up story and she understood that it was as valuable an act of kindness as if she had been a real princess doing grand things for people.

It's true. We may not be able to "scatter largess to the populace" but we can choose to do small acts that bring joy into people's lives. We can pretend to be princesses and kings and queens
not for the prestige and power, but for the opportunity and responsibility of making someone else's life just a little bit better. 

Maybe I'll pretend to be a princess today. How about you?

If they gave out gold medals for procrastination, I’d have a display case full of them.

Freelancers who work from home know the agony of trying to get work done when there are so many distractions and so many wonderful ways to avoid work: folding laundry, sharpening pencils, brushing cat hair off furniture... oh wait, that's just me? 

The good news is, distractions can be defeated! Here are my ten simple strategies that I encourage you to try (with a link to my longer article on this topic at the end):

  1. Identify your distractions.
  2. Start early.
  3. Make sure you're rested.
  4. Aim for privacy and silence.
  5. Sign off all social media.
  6. Simplify the assignment.
  7. Take breaks.
  8. Keep your workspace organized.
  9. Reward yourself.
  10. Keep a running distractions page. (You'll want to click on the link below to find out what this one's about!)

If you try all these techniques and still find yourself distracted and restless, stop and ask why. Are you tired? Sick? Afraid of failure? Lacking passion for your project? Take time to deal with what’s bothering you, pray, and ask someone else for help if necessary. Go for a walk, or work on a hobby to regroup and refocus. The time you spend recalibrating is less wasteful than sitting in front of your computer feeling uninspired and writing nothing.

We can’t eliminate all distractions, but having a game plan and sticking to it can mitigate their effect.

The long version of this article is found here on the Christian Freelance Writers Network blog.

whimsy & wisdom from the world wide web

I've seen this video many, many times and still find it incredibly satisfying to watch. Hungarian baker Mézesmanna ices cookies with impossibly intricate lace designs. I don't know how anyone dares bite into them later! 

Mercy Me's "I Can Only Imagine" has been around for two decades but this version, sung by One Voice Children's Choir, is new to me. It made me cry! You may want to keep a tissue handy. 

Six Marches ago, I started a blog post with this sentence: "The long, unusually cold winter in Montreal has been taking a toll on many people." Hmm. It may be time to re-share this little pep talk!


(adj) (of speech or writing) clearly expressed

It matters little how creative a story is if it's not also luculent.

What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.

Oscare Wilde

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