Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘Love

Cookies Galore

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She’s done it again! Cyndie moves like magic in the kitchen when her weekend of Christmas cookie baking arrives. She made a noble dent in the project all by herself on Saturday to start, then, with the help of friends and family yesterday, achieved a record number of total recipes baked when the flour dust finally settled.

It was a sight to behold, but don’t take my word for it. See for yourselves. (Thank you to Melissa Williams for sharing pictures she took of the extravaganza!)

For the first time ever, Cyndie baked meringue cookies from her gramma’s recipe. They come with a memory of being told, as grandchildren, that they needed to be very calm and quiet while meringue cookies are baking in the oven or the cookies would be wrecked.

After her first try success, Cyndie is inclined to think the strict constraints placed on them back then could very likely have been a ruse by her grandmother, taking advantage of an easy opportunity to command good behavior.

More power to her, I say.



Written by johnwhays

December 10, 2018 at 7:00 am

Increasing Love

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It’s simple. Last night I scanned the headlines of my news feed and didn’t find anything other than gloom and doom. Shortly after that, I happened upon the PBS Frontline episode, “Documenting Hate: New American Nazis.”

It was unsettling, to say the least.

There is only one response I can muster. Love, and more of it.

A lot more of it.

Please join me in growing more love. New love. Feel love. Conjure it in your mind from your heart and your soul.

Send it out to every corner of your world and beyond.

Love one another. Love your neighbors. Love your enemies. Love those who are so damaged they only feed on hate.

Send love to leaders who provoke and promote hatred in all its forms.

We have the power to generate unlimited amounts of love. Don’t take that for granted, and for the good of the human race, don’t for a minute neglect this most precious of resources.

Grow your love and throw your love out into the world with reckless abandon and laser-like focus.

All we need is love. Love is all we need.

And as an added bonus, a loving hug is icing on the cake.



Written by johnwhays

November 21, 2018 at 7:00 am

Think Sticktoitiveness

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If there is one simple key to self-improvement that could serve us well no matter what aspect of our lives we wish to address, I would select —whatever action toward better health you choose: repeat it every day.

Repeat it every day. Don’t stop. If you miss a day, don’t give up. Pick up the next day and the day after that. For a week. Then a month. Six months. A year. No reason to stop now. Keep doing that healthy thing every single day.

Look at the inverse. What do humans do that make themselves suffer negative consequences?

Smoke cigarettes? They smoke every day.

Eat poorly? Day after day.

Not get enough exercise? Harbor negative thoughts and feelings? Don’t get enough sleep? Neglect friends and family? Neglect themselves!

Most of the afflictions we heap upon ourselves grow into problems because of unhealthy choices enacted repeatedly, day after day, over an extended period of time. It’s illogical to think an easy remedy would erase the results in a fraction of the time it took to travel a great distance away from good health.

Turn around. Go the other way. Take a step toward optimal health and then do it again the next day. And then three hundred sixty-five more days after that.

Because. Progress accumulates.

I took the first steps to interrupt my slowly intensifying depression in 1993. As can happen in many situations, things got a little worse after the initial diagnosis and early treatments, but eventually progress settled in and incremental improvement began to develop. Slowly.

Sometimes, in waves. I can almost measure progress by decades. This year, I am noticing new levels of relief that reveal I am continuing to improve, even decades removed from the day doctors released me from medication and therapy treatments. A year ago, I didn’t notice that my mental health was anything less than prime.

It is only by experiencing this unprecedented level of healthy mindset lately that I’ve gained a sense that it wasn’t as good as this before.

Every day, I do something that helps. I also DON’T do things that harm. I don’t do negative self-talk like I used to. I make an effort every day to not do that. I do get exercise, I eat healthy, I smile, I pay better attention to energy, I send love, I sleep well, I write a daily blog. Doing these things regularly and over time, continues to provide accumulating improvements to my mental health.

This year, I am noticing improvements that weren’t so apparent last year.

It really does pay to stick to it.

I invite you to stop doing something today that isn’t healthy for you in the long-term. Replace that with one thing that is healthy that you can do every day. Do it for more days than you ever thought possible. Then do it for a few more years after that.

Here’s to the ongoing journey toward optimal health.




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just nope
flail all you want
reality doesn’t recoil
as change happens
about not thinking
so hard
about the very thing
that will happen
because that’s what happens
no matter what
get tossed around
without proper attention
to one critical detail
that has to do
with a genuine love
in its simplicity
and as real
as change




Written by johnwhays

November 11, 2018 at 10:34 am

Problem Solved

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Look! No leaves!

Just in time for Cyndie’s return from Guatemala, 3 or 4 inches of snow have covered up the leaves in the front yard.

She flew to Atlanta last night and texted me from there to bring her a jacket. I grabbed a scarf and mittens, too. The flight from Atlanta left over an hour later than scheduled. It was a middle of the night drive to the Minneapolis airport and back.

Small price to pay to have my baby home again!

Despite a few scares, I kept all the animals alive while she was away. I must say, that’s a welcome relief.



Written by johnwhays

November 10, 2018 at 7:00 am

Simple Feasts

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Eating alone this week while Cyndie is out of the country brings back some memories of the year she lived in Boston and I stayed home in Eden Prairie. Cooking for one is always a bit of a trick, but doing so when I’m not the person who does any food prep in this household adds some challenge.

Although, it only becomes a hassle if I happen to venture very far from the few simple choices I tend to produce with embarrassing regularity. Warming already prepared food in a microwave falls right in my wheelhouse.

One task I am pretty handy with in the kitchen is, melting cheese. There aren’t very many leftovers in the refrigerator that I can’t enhance by melting cheese over the top when reheating.

My lovely wife was unnecessarily thorough about providing me with many meal options before she left. The freezer was well stocked and the refrigerator held a variety of delectable leftovers.

Last night, I assembled one of my favorite reworkings of leftover meatloaf.

I toast a slice of bread while heating servings of meatloaf in the microwave. (Doing two things at once in the kitchen! Look at me go!) Place meat on the toast, cover with a slice of cojack cheese, add a little salt and course-ground pepper, then broil until the cheese is bubbly.

It’s a leftover delicacy.

Plus, clean up is a cinch. No pots and pans.

Monday and Tuesday was reheated homemade chicken chow mein, per Cyndie’s suggestion I eat that right away or toss it, as it was approaching an expiration date. Between that and the meatloaf, of which there is still enough remaining to last for days, I might never get to all the things she stocked in the freezer.

I think there may still be some grilled bratwurst patties somewhere in the fridge, too. Add in fresh “homemade” eggs and I will have no problem assembling simple feasts for myself until she gets back.

I certainly won’t have to worry about going hungry.



Written by johnwhays

November 2, 2018 at 6:00 am


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simple luxury abounds
in abundance
to the point
of being overlooked
an electric outlet
a grocery store
broadcast radio
books filled with pages
and love
what a luxury
to love




Written by johnwhays

October 21, 2018 at 6:00 am