Most people dread the holidays to a certain extent—some more than others.  Anyone who’s grown up in a dysfunctional family, endured a bad marriage, or experienced some holiday tragedy is apt to feel apprehensive when Thanksgiving draws near.  If you’re one of those people, here’s the good news:   If, by some miracle, you made it through last weekend with no major glitches or mishaps, things turned out far better than expected.    Hooray, you survived those holiday jitters & are now feeling  post-holiday relief. 

Of course, a few things went wrong.  The weather was awful.  You got stuck in the snow.  No one ate the sweet potatoes. The rolls got a little burned.   Some of the kids were  whiny.  Someone strained their back.

But:   There was plenty of delicious food to eat, and the turkey was done on time.   Everyone was in good health.  No one got really sick (maybe an upset tummy or two from too much pie.) , or ended up in the ER.  There were surges of  pure joy upon seeing the faces of beautiful grandchildren and reuniting with far away loved ones.  Everyone got along really well and enjoyed being together.  The whole family seemed to bond.

All in all, there was much to be thankful for.  You will never erase the bad memories of unhappy holidays long ago.  But if you accentuate the positive, and eliminate the negative, you will make it through the New Year.

Holiday jitters may precede holiday relief
You may dread Thanksgiving because of sad holidays in the past.

Now that the first holiday of the season is over,  you may feel exhausted.  It’s going to be a long Monday if you have to go back to work.  But if anyone asks  whether you had a good Thanksgiving, you can  smile and say, ” yes, I did.”

If you feel the pre-holiday jitters coming on again, just remember that song made famous by crooner Bing Crosby:

You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between

 Happy Holidays to All!


Everyone looks forward to the holiday season.  But when it’s over we may feel a post season slump.  Things didn’t go as well as expected, and it’s partly our own fault.  Here’s how to avoid holiday regrets:

Do you control your appetite or does it control you?  The holidays start on Thanksgiving and don’t end until Jan 2.  Now is the time for some preventive maintenance.  Start downsizing your body before the holidays even begin. This gives you some leeway if you eat too much pecan pie and stuffing.

One way to control your weight is to ignore those first signs of hunger. Don’t head for the frig as soon as you feel your stomach gnawing or growling.  Drink a glass of water.   Do some exercises–anything to get your mind on something else. And on the big day, try to avoid second servings.

Here are five ways to avoid holiday regrets.

Alcohol and  relatives don’t  always mix.  Not everyone likes their in laws.  If you’re a never Trumper, someone in the family probably likes him.  Family gatherings are fertile grounds for disagreements over just about anything. The choice of restaurant, a loan that wasn’t paid back, grandpa’s will.  The list goes on and on.  You try to bite your tongue most of the time, but an extra glass of wine or a double scotch is apt to loosen it. .  And before you know it, you’ve said something nasty  and you can’t take it back. Know your limits.  Don’t let too much alcohol ruin family harmony and leave you feeling ashamed of yourself.

It’s fine to give expensive presents if you can afford them.  But don’t overspend. Who wants to be paying off Christmas bills at Easter time?

Don’t feel you must go home for Christmas. Ice and snow usually create hazardous conditions at least once during the season.  No family wants to get a call that their loved ones have been in an accident. You can always celebrate a few days later when the roads have cleared.

Stay home if you’re sick.  Don’ t push yourself  to attend social gatherings or go to work.  If you feel  you’re coming down with something, you’re probably contagious.  A bad virus infection can turn into pneumonia if you don’t stay in bed until you’re well.    For your own sake, and the wellness of others,  take care of yourself until you’re feeling healthy again.

Here’s hoping your holidays are full of happy memories, and no regrets!


Last year’s shooting of the newspaper staff in Annapolis got me thinking about the downside of  holding a grudge.  I doubt if there’s anyone in the world who doesn’t feel some resentment  over a long ago insult or perceived wrong.  How long can you hold a grudge?

I held a secret grudge for many years against a young man whom I overheard jeering, and saying I was “crazy” at a teenage party. This was right  after my older sister had a mental breakdown that required hospitalization.  His words were like a razor across my heart. There was a huge stigma surrounding mental illness in those days (still is). His taunts reinforced the assumption that I was “tarred with the same brush” as my sister, as the saying goes. Thank God there was no Facebook, or I might have been bullied into suicide.  Soon after, I went away to college and started a new life in Chicago upon graduation.

Fast forward: twenty years later.  I’m back in my hometown with a new job, and I’m seeing this guy at public events and social gatherings more often than I would like.  At first, I managed to avoid him.  But then I would see him again, and the knot in my stomach told me I was still holding a grudge for that long ago incident. It was not pleasant; I hadn’t felt that way for a long time, so I took another look at this man, and realized he wasn’t really a monster, just an ordinary guy fighting serious health problems and a failing business. He had probably forgotten making  such cruel remarks, and  hopefully, he had matured enough that he would not do it again.

Then I remembered the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.  “Hate is too great a burden to bear, so I chose love.” I won’t say I began to love my former detractor, but carrying a grudge was too great a burden for me to bear, so I let it go.

The scary thing about grudges is that they become a self defeating obsession. In the case of the Annapolis shooter, he  preferred killing 5 people and living the rest of his life in prison, to letting go of that grudge.



This is the last chance for you  to download a free copy of my  husband’s memoir.  A PREACHER CALLED SINN will be FREE  Sunday, May 12 @


This book tells the story of the way  my husband and I overcame the difficulties of divorce in the eighties,  and defied convention to meet each other before internet dating sites even existed.  When we finally married over the objections of family and friends, we thought our troubles were over,  Little did we know that the worst was yet to come.

. Here is a brief synopsis:

“The seeds of my undoing as a Protestant minister may have begun with my name.”

In 1995, Duane Sinn endured a brutal media attack that nearly destroyed him. How could this have happened to a young man who left the farm, served his country, and struggled twelve long years to get through seminary while working full time, and raising a family?

Duane bares his soul in this raw, honest memoir, writing about the heartbreak of his first marriage, the highs and lows of his troubled ministry, and his unlikely entrance into the rough and tumble world of politics.

A PREACHER CALLED SINN is a coming of age story that transitions into Duane’s life as a Protestant minister who falls in and out of love, starts over more than once, yet always remains true to himself.

About the Author:

Rev. M. Duane Sinn was raised on a farm in Nebraska, and attended the University of Nebraska for one year before joining the Army Air Corps during the Korean War.

Upon discharge from Hickham Air Force Base in Hawaii, Duane returned to Nebraska with his wife and twin sons to attend college and work various jobs: insurance salesman, radio announcer, window dresser, ladies lingerie clerk, and part time minister, just to name a few. It would take twelve years to earn his bachelor’s degree from Hastings College and finally, his Master of Divinity Degree from Iliff School of Theology in Denver.

In 1968, he came to Terre Haute, Indiana as the Methodist campus minister for Indiana State University and Rose Hulman Institute of Technology. Twelve years later, he joined LBJ’s War on Poverty as Executive Director of the Western Indiana Community Action Agency.

Fiercely independent, Duane has always followed his own moral compass when faced with difficult choices. He has been married to author Lucia Sinn for thirty two years, and they have six grown children.

Get a Free copy of Amazon Kindle book:  A Preacher Called Sinn , Thursday through Sunday  @



Most people don’t like to be in a roomful of strangers.  You know nothing about them—whether they’re hateful , rude, snobby, or unpleasant to be around.  When entering a restaurant in a new  city, we don’t feel comfortable surrounded by men and women we’ve never met.  Then, someone walks in the door with a baby , and the whole atmosphere changes.   People smile and wave.  Everybody loves a baby.

Babies bring families together

Science has proven that the maternal instinct is wired into women’s  brains.  And it’s a good thing, because those “love” hormones get a parent though  a lot of sleepless nights.  But even if it isn’t your own child or grandchild, most people sort of melt when they see a sweet little baby.  Why is that? Psychologists say it’s because we feel safe and secure around a baby. They aren’t judging us.  If we smile at them, they often smile back.  And even if they cry, we still think they’re cute because we know it has nothing to do with us, personally.  Maybe they’re tired, or sick, or  afraid of strangers—just like we are.

They’re sweet  and appealing and uninhibited.  We love the softness of their skin and the brightness of their eyes. They remind us of our own children when they were babies, and bring back wonderful memories.

Best of all, a new baby  often brings families closer together. Family feuds and past resentments fade away at holiday gatherings  when there’s a baby in the midst.  You don’t have to force conversation or talk politics.  All you have to do is ooh and aah while a toddler takes his first steps, or holds out her arms to be held. And sometimes, relatives who have been estranged are reunited when a new baby is born.  Everybody loves a baby.

Family feuds are forgotten when a new baby arrives

“Pretty Baby” was a popular hit tune written in 1915.  But most of us who are alive today remember it as  crooner Dean Martin’s hit album in 1957.


Everybody loves a baby
That’s why I’m in love with you
Pretty baby, pretty baby
And I’d like to be your sister
Brother, dad and mother too
Pretty baby, pretty baby

Won’t you come and let me
Rock you in my cradle of love?
And we’ll cuddle all the time
Oh, I want a lovin’, baby
And it might as well be you
Pretty baby of mine

Everybody loves a baby
That’s why I’m in love with you
Pretty baby, pretty baby

Earth Angels Among Us

EARTH ANGELS AMONG US  was one of my most popular posts at this time last year on my other blog, EightyGo.

Since this is an important weekend for many religions,  it seems like a good time to celebrate people  who give much to others, with no thought of reward.  What makes a person so generous that you can almost see the halo around their head?

Somewhere along the way, most of us have been touched by an angel.   In this instance, I’m thinking of two inspiring women who volunteer to teach Tai Chi and Mah Jongg  several days a week at our local senior center.  They also do many small favors for those who are lonely or in need.  As far as I know, one attends church and the other doesn’t, which may or may not rule out religion as their motivating factor.  What I do know is that both of them are very strong women—nothing meek and mild about them.   They come from different socio-economic circumstances, so it seems like one’s income bracket doesn’t influence  a servant’s heart.   Perhaps there’s a generosity gene in their DNA.  All I know is that earth angels are rare, and a blessing to those of us who come under their wings.

From what I’ve read, altruistic people are great leaders with a strong sense of purpose, who were raised in warm, empathetic families.   They aren’t condescending, and treat everyone with respect and dignity.  They bring out the best in people without any signs of thinking they’re superior—even though they actually are.  They would be embarrassed to read this blog, because they don’t believe they’re doing anything great.   And yet,  it would be impossible to quantify the joy they bring to so many lives, or how many low spirits have been lifted  by their kindnesses.

Thank heaven for the angels among us.



Remember that line  from the song Chicago?  “I saw a man, he danced with his wife.”  Yesterday, I saw a  man helping  his wife with her coat, and opening the door for her as they walked out of a restaurant. You don’t often see men doing things like that anymore. Chivalry is a rare sign of love.

They were a middle aged couple, both a bit overweight.  But the woman was attractive, with high heels, carefully groomed blonde hair, and stylish clothes.  She didn’t mind being treated with love and respect, and her husband obviously enjoyed treating her like a lady.  Is there something wrong with this picture? Apparently so.

Modern feminist researchers call this type of behavior “benevolent sexism.”  They say that treating a woman like this shows that he considers his wife weak, and in need of protection.  That doesn’t sound so bad to this old lady.  Even though women are just as smart as men, it’s a biological fact that they aren’t as physically strong..


Believe it or not, when I was dating in the 50’s and 60’s, you waited until a man came to your door to pick you up for a date.  You would have felt insulted if a guy asked you to meet him somewhere..  But now, in big cities, a woman is expected to meet her date,  and get there on her own.    Everyone is equal.

We go to brunch occasionally at a college hangout.  I have never seen a young man holding a door open for his date.  Typically, one of them has their head down looking at their smart phones as they come and go.   Supposedly, a young feminist would consider it a put down if a guy treated her like a lady.

On Valentine’s Day, I propose the return of romance in a relationship.  What in the world is wrong  with “vive la difference” as the French say?   I feel loved and cherished on a cold winter day when my husband backs the car out of the garage and warms it up for a few minutes before I climb inside.  I’m not sure a feminist would enjoy that, but I do.

Happy Valentine’s Day↑