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Sailing Toward A Brighter Tomorrow

As this perplexing and often troubling year takes its final breath, we received a few final reminders that everything is temporary. George Michael passed on Christmas Day, followed by the back-to-back deaths of Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds. Earlier in the year we lost two of the most influential and prolific icons in modern music history: David Bowie and Prince. The long list of familiar people taken from us in 2016 includes Glenn Frey of the Eagles, Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane, Maurice White from Earth, Wind & Fire, Nancy Reagan, and Garry Shandling. There are so many more, but I must also mention someone who held special significance for me: Beatles producer George

Joy to the World

Last week I had the pleasure of hearing a local school choir perform its holiday concert. I was filled with happiness before the kids sang the first note. They were dressed for the occasion in Santa hats and holiday sweaters. Hot cider and sugar cookies were served. Snow fell gently outside. The scene could not have been any more perfect. The first song they sang was “Joy To The World.” While listening to the song and soaking in the innocence of their voices, it occurred to me that inner joy is the key to ongoing happiness. When we are joyous, we feel good. If you learn to experience joy in some moment or experience every day, then pretty soon you will start finding MANY joyous moments every

A Grandmother's Love Goes On and On

A lot has changed over the years at my Granny Ashton’s humble abode on Radway Road in Liverpool. The privacy hedges are gone. Windows have been replaced. And the garden wall wasdemolished. Never again will the low wall tempt a young boy to pretend he is a trapeze artist. Nearly lost my crown jewels on that one. Despite all the changes new owners made over the years, my memories remain. I remember all the foot traffic in and out of the little row house. Neighbors stopping by for a cuppa and freshly baked raisin scones. Granny made her scones with a special trick I still use to this day. Using milk that’s a couple days old will add just a wee bit of tartness to give the scones a signature flav

All We Leave Behind Are Memories

There is a word in Portuguese that has no direct translation into English. However, it sums up how I felt during much of my recent trip home to Liverpool. Although “saudade” has no equivalent word in my native language, I understand that it conveys the deep emotions we feel toward the people and things no longer with us. It is our emotional state when we think of someone who passed away, or when we ponder a lover, friend, family member, or object whose whereabouts are unknown. It is the love that remains after someone is gone. Portuguese writer Manuel de Melo describes saudadeas, "a pleasure you suffer, an ailment you enjoy." I experienced saudade as I shivered in the cold, damp air of the w

Po’ Boy Sandwiches: The Antidote to Conformity and Sameness

“I’ll just have a sandwich.” That simple phrase is probably uttered millions of times every day because people often think of the proletarian sandwich as nothing more than a quick fix. It’s the go-to solution when we can’t think of anything better to put in our bellies. It’s typically about convenience. You can eat a sandwich on the run. You can prepare one with a few simple ingredients in your fridge without turning on the stove. Or you can easily buy one at any of the omnipresent corporate sandwich shops that dot every strip mall, gas station, and airport terminal. Sure, those places serve a need. They are efficient, predictable, and standardized. However, they also represent everything th

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© 2016 Jon Ashton