Grandma with a big smile


Practice Pleasantness

Occasionally; while out running errands, I will encounter a stranger who, out of nowhere, greets me with a genuine smile and a pleasant hello.

Automatically, I smile and respond with a pleasant smile and hello.

On those days, I find myself smiling more than usual and in turn being pleasant to others.

Pleasantness is contagious. It makes the world a better place.

Practice pleasantness. Smile at the clerk. Say hello to the bus driver. Say thank you to the day care lady. Hold a door. Pay for someones coffee.

It does not matter what you do. Just be pleasant and make someone’s day a little brighter.

Display pleasantness to the young people in your world and watch how they respond.

It takes a village to raise a child,

Take care of your village

Auntie Starshine








While it is true that rest and relaxation are important to overall health and well being; exercise may be just as important. Exercise provides many of the same benefits as rest and relaxation, such as lower blood pressure, better mood and stress reduction. Exercise has the added bonus of building muscle, and improved energy and stamina.

Cardio exercise is the best choice for anyone who wants to improve overall health and vitality. It is the least expensive form of exercise available; and it requires no special equipment. The boost that comes from cardio exercise, lasts beyond the time of the workout. According to a Mayo Clinic article on exercise,”Regular aerobic (or cardio) exercise can help you live longer. Aerobic exercise can reduce health risks, prevent excess weight gain, strengthen your heart and boost your mood.”

Cardio or aerobic exercise is any activity that increases your heart rate. The more intense the exercise, the greater the heart rate. Do not exercise beyond your level of comfort, a little challenge is fine, but do not go to the point of distress. During moderate exercise, you will notice that you are breathing a bit faster and possibly a bit harder, but you are not out of breath. After a few minutes of moderate exercise, you will develop a light sweat. During moderate exercise you can still carry on a conversation.

The Mayo Clinic recommends that healthy adults get an average of 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily. The bonus is that it can be broken up into 10 or 15 minute blocks. There is no best time of day to exercise, however, some experts recommend that you do not exercise too late at night because it may interfere with your sleep.

Some of the best forms of cardio exercise are; walking, running, bicycling, jumping rope, and as I have discovered, dancing to the grand children’s TV character songs. My granddaughter likes the movie “Sing” (Universal, Pictures 2016) and for a few weeks during the summer, we watched it 3 times a day. The movie is full of several generations of get your feet moving happy music. The kind of music that you just can’t help dancing to. On the first day, I could not dance through a whole song. But by the end of that time, I could dance to the entire 15 minute ending credits music. I also found some extra stamina for housework, and for the first time in months, I could actually make a round trip to the basement and back up without being tired. I was not trying to accomplish anything at all; I achieved that by being silly with the kids.

The youth in your world could benefit from some moderate exercise with the old folks. We are reminded daily, that obesity is a health concern for our youth. So grab a young person, turn on some music and get moving. It is alright if they laugh at you a little.

This article is intended to be an encouragement for self care and better overall fitness and well being. No information in this post is intended to be medical advice. If you have health concerns, consult a physician before taking on any new activity.




Stress and Relaxation

Now that the busy season is over, do not forget to rest and relax. While I was at an appointment; just before Christmas, the office clerk mentioned that she was feeling totally overwhelmed about the holidays. She said that she was hosting a Christmas Eve Brunch and attending a Christmas day dinner, along with shopping for gifts, getting the home ready for guests, and the every day expectations and responsibilities.

We chatted about a few supplements that help your body recover from stress, but I also told her that the most important part of stress recovery is to be still. We both had a laugh at the notion of being still during the holiday season. But seriously, stress recovery is vitally important to our health and well being.

Chronic stress can lead to health effects such as increased risk of stroke or heart attack. Muscle aches, stomach pain and digestive issues as well as depression and much more. The remedy for stress is rest and relaxation.

Rest and relaxation do not occur simultaneously. Each must be accomplished individually.  Rest first and then relax. Dedicate at least 10 minutes to rest; once you have fully rested, relaxation will follow. Note that in the beginning a conscious effort must be made, in order to truly relax. Do not get stressed out trying to achieve the perfect form of relaxation. Just be still and be quiet, dismiss thoughts of what happened an hour ago as well as thoughts of what must be done an hour from now.

Rest means that you stop doing something,which allows you to recover your strength. However, relaxation has a further purpose. Relaxation allows us to clear our minds and refresh our spirits. It allows deeper metabolic functions to perform their specific tasks, which in turn is good for our health.

Some of the benefits of really relaxing are reduced muscle tension, improved breathing patterns, slower heart rate and lower blood pressure. Relaxation also improves cognition, memory, learning as well as our daily coping and communication abilities. According to a mayo clinic article on stress, Practicing relaxation techniques 2 to 3 times a week can have many benefits, including:

Slowing heart rate
Lowering blood pressure
Slowing your breathing rate
Improving digestion
Maintaining normal blood sugar levels
Reducing activity of stress hormones
Increasing blood flow to major muscles
Reducing muscle tension and chronic pain
Improving concentration and mood
Improving sleep quality
Lowering fatigue
Reducing anger and frustration
Boosts confidence to handle problems

Everyone should include relaxation in their lifestyle. In the beginning relaxation may be a challenge. After all, we have to “learn” how to relax. However as noted the benefits are worth the effort. It could literally save your life.

Start with simple stress reduction activities, try 3 to 5 minutes of quiet, clear your mind and just be still. If you are not accustomed to absolute quiet, then use soothing background music.

Consider Yoga, not the twisted like a pretzel yoga that takes years of mastery, but simple yoga stretches, they are wonderful. Yoga stretches improve posture and include all of the relaxation benefits.

Aren’t you worth 5 minutes to yourself. I promise you that the world will not fall apart in that space of time. Try to Increase your quiet time to 15 to 30 minutes at least twice a week. Outside of the listed benefits; in total, these effects can improve your overall well being, improve your appearance and possibly increase longevity.

Our young people can benefit from learning to relax early in life, grab a niece, nephew, neighbor or child and encourage them to sit quietly with you for 5 minutes.

It Takes A Village To Raise A Child, This is My Village Project
Take Care of Your Village,
The Village Mother


organization                                     Organization

Not too long ago, I posted about preparation for success. That post was about to goal setting and creating workable plans and steps to accomplish goals. Organization and basic daily preparation is my current thought. Daily preparation includes the little things, like the morning bathroom routine and getting dressed and out the door before the bus shows up. What many young people don’t realize, is that the morning routine actually begins the night, and sometimes, the week before. Preparation includes figuring out clothes and putting homework in the backpack so that it can make it back to school.

Some are better at daily organization and daily preparation than others. My grandchildren must belong to the other group. I find that I am continually rescuing them from simple flaws in their preparation process. This week my grandson just pushed granny help me to a whole new level. In 3 days out of a 5 day school week he needed assistance with socks, jeans and a particular tee shirt.

Therefore, I thought it might be time to reinforce daily preparation with him. So I started at the beginning. When he arrived home from school, I told him that we were going to do a project. I had him round up all of his dirty clothes, even the socks that seem to live under the bed. Next he checked the laundry hamper and the basket of last week’s laundry that never got folded. He washed all of his own dirty clothes, folded them and put them in their proper place.

Once everything was complete, he looked at the stack of tee shirts and said, “Wow, I don’t have to worry about a tee shirt for two weeks.” In his world, if you have a clean tee shirt, you are good to go. I told him that he had just learned his lesson, and we each went away happy. Thus marking the final chapter in the Granny help me saga.

Perhaps, the young people in your world could benefit from a fresh lesson in organization and daily preparation; encourage their growth.

It takes a village to raise a child, this is my village project
Take care of your Village
The Village Mother



The Charles M. Schultz character “Charlie Brown” seems to be the quintessential under achiever. As Lucy says; a “Blockhead.” But Charlie Brown might be the victim of unreasonable expectations.

He fell for Lucy’s football trick more times than we can count, but he gave it his best shot… time and time again. He knew that she would trick him; but despite their history, he always tried. He hoped that this time would be different. His effort reflects his faith in humanity and hope in his friends. It also shows great perseverance.

In the holiday special, “Happy Thanksgiving Charlie Brown”, Peppermint Patty invites the whole gang to Chuck’s house, but he has other plans. When they arrive, Charlie Brown accommodates them the best he can under the circumstances. He serves a dinner of toast, pretzels, popcorn, and jelly beans When Peppermint Patty voices her disappointment, about the dinner, Ol’ Chuck feels bad that he let down his friends. Which shows compassion. Being courteous, he calls his grandma to explain that he will be late for dinner, because he still has friends over. She invited them all over and the day was saved.

In the Christmas special “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, Lucy the therapist, asks Charlie Brown to be the director of their holiday play. After a round of non cooperation from his cast mates, Charlie Brown decides that the set needs a Christmas tree. When he returns with a branch on a base, he was ridiculed by the gang. Charlie Brown takes the little tree home to decorate it. While Charlie Brown is inside, the gang shows up to his house and decide to fix it. So the spirit of cooperation was restored when the kids work together to fix the tree.

So While the average Eight year old  will only see the blockhead in Charlie Brown, the wisdom of life lets us know that Charlie Brown will make it. After all, haven’t we all had our own Charlie Brown moments?  Is Charlie Brown the victim of unreasonable expectations? At the least, he is taken for granted and disrespected.

Please take a moment to discuss some of these character qualities with the youth in your world. Perseverance, Kindness, and Hope are just a few of them.


It takes a village to raise a child
take care of your village,
The Village Mother


The Black Pledge

This is an update of a post from a couple of years ago. I am presenting an updated version because I believe that this post has something to teach us all.

I use the Black Pledge with my youth group. The Pledge was developed in 1968, by Shirley Williams for the Black Panthers. Despite their public image, the Black Panthers embraced all of the values that most Americans hold dear.

I am not a member, nor have I ever been. But when I was thinking about a statement for my youth group when, this came to mind.

I remembered the existence of this pledge from hearing it back in the 70’s, so I looked it up to share with my group.

The purpose of a pledge is to state the values, principles and mission of an organization. It assures that each and every member of the organization, knows what is expected of them.

When a person makes a pledge it, is a statement of agreement with that pledge as well as loyalty to the organization.


The United States of America has a pledge; so do as the Girl Scouts, Boy, Scouts, and most Fraternities.

This is the statement regarding the Girl Scout Promise Pledge, from the Girl Scouts website.

The Girl Scout Promise and Law are shared by every member of Girl Scouting.The Girl Scout Promise is the way Girl Scouts agree to act every day toward one another and other people. The Girl Scout Law outlines a way to act towards one another and the world.

The Black Pledge The Black Panther Pledge October 26, 1968 by Shirley Williams

I pledge allegiance to my Black People.

I pledge to develop my mind and body to the greatest extent possible.

I will learn all that I can in order to give my best to my People in their struggle for liberation.

I will unselfishly share my knowledge and understanding with them in order to bring about change more quickly.

I will discipline myself to direct my energies thoughtfully and constructively rather than wasting them in idle hatred.

I will train myself never to hurt or allow others to harm my Black brothers and sisters; for I recognize that we need every Black Man, Woman, and Child to be physically, mentally and psychologically strong.

These principles I pledge to practice daily and to teach them to others in order to unite my People.


Let’s examine this pledge

Line 1 I pledge allegiance to my Black People. Allegiance, means support and cooperation.

It means that I will come to your defense if you need me and I expect you to come to mine.

Line 2 I pledge to develop my mind and body to the greatest extent possible.

To develop my mind and body to the greatest extent possible. Promotes physical fitness and intellect.

Line 3 I will learn all that I can in order to give my best to my People in their struggle for liberation. To give my best to my people in their struggle for liberation.


No one is suggesting a revolution, but a change has got to come. This is a call for a Ethos based revolution.

Education, Cultural History, Earth Knowledge and Wisdom. Change can be affected in the arts, in the sciences, and in the humanities. It can take place in homes, on playgrounds and in the church. Change can happen in politics and in industry.


The liberation that is being spoken of is more psychological then physical. Consider liberation from the mental hold that seems to have followed us from slavery, through the civil rights movement, and into today. It suggests that we should be able to free ourselves from the impact of hundreds of years of institutional discrimination, both conscious and unconscious. This is a call for us to do something about our own situation. Within our own communities and through our own efforts.

Line 4 I will keep myself physically fit, building a strong body free from drugs and other substances which weaken me and make me less capable of protecting myself, my family and my Black brothers and sisters.

Physical fitness, purposeful nutrition, and abstinence from things that affect you mental awareness and physical well being.

Protect myself… Every man desires to protect his home and family.

Line 5 I will discipline myself to direct my energies thoughtfully and constructively rather than wasting them in idle hatred.

Discipline and positive use of energy and effort.

Line 6 I will train myself never to hurt or allow others to harm my Black brothers and sisters

Care and concern for your own kind and humanity in general.

Line 7 for I recognize that we need every Black Man, Woman, and Child to be physically, mentally and psychologically strong.

A strong community of strong, healthy, mentally stable a brothers and sisters.

Line 8 These principles I pledge to practice daily and to teach them to others in order to unite my People.

Unity, every family tribe and nation on this planet strives for unity within its group.

Please take this pledge to heart, learn it live it teach it. Have a conversation with the youth in your village so that they might become strong fit caring and wise.


It takes a village to raise a child, This is My Village Project

Take care of your village

The Village Mother



This is a re-post from last year and I am still full of gratitude.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day.  But let me share with you an experience that I had a couple of weeks ago.  It was our usual hectic busy week, the grand kids had been over all week long. So my husband and I, were on full time grandparent duty. We drove the kids back and forth to school. We supervised homework and prepared dinners. We Insisted on baths and all the rest.

When the Kids left our house on, Saturday evening, I was especially tired. I went to bed and slept in a deep sound sleep. The kind of sleep that you can’t get when you have to listen out for a busy two year old who will walk the floors, even in a dark house.

Sunday morning arrived. I was laying there enjoying the quiet. My husband came into the room and popped on the light. I raised my arm to shield my eyes. “Thank God I can cover my eyes from the light. Thank God that the light bothers me.” I thought, as I continued to lay there. By then I had lain in just a bit too long, so I got up to hurry to the bathroom.

No pain in my feet. My knees did not hurt. I can get to the bathroom all on my own. So I Thanked God, that I was able to walk. I did my bathroom routine and exited from the warm shower. “Thank God for warm water, some people don’t have that” I thought as I continued on my way. I headed to the bedroom, sans bathrobe, the house was nice and warm. Thank you Lord for the heat.” I said out loud. I got dressed and changed my mind about the outfit. I changed blazers to make a brighter ensemble. “Thank God.” I thought, “I have a closet full of clothes.”

As it often happens with Michigan weather, my lightweight jacket was insufficient. So I reached into the back of the closet and pulled out my long wool coat. Another “Thank God “was whispered. Because I had a coat for the colder weather.

My husband and I headed out for Church and locked the doors behind us. Again, a wave of gratitude come over me,”Thank God that we have a secure home.” We got into one of our three cars; none of them are new but there are three just the same. What a blessing to have three cars. Just at that moment, I thought how grateful I was to have a Man of God as my husband.

We drove to the local coffee shop and ordered coffee and bagels. Again, I thought what a blessing to be able to spend the Five dollars for coffee and bagels. It sounds like a lot Thank You Lords and Oh how Blessed I am’s, but, on that particular day, for no reason at all, I found myself in a state of Profound Gratitude.Thanksgiving is nice, but Gratitude is much more fulfilling. Always be grateful.

Always be grateful.

Pamela Moultrie

The Village Mother