Blog #510 Thanksgiving Hymns

Coaching for Life Success:  More on Thanksgiving

Continuing my thoughts on Thanksgiving.  

Here are a couple of traditional Thanksgiving Hymns and some scriptures about giving Thanks:


We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known;
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing;
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

Come, ye thankful people, come,
Raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in, Ere the winter storms begin;
God our Maker doth provide For our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come, Raise the song of harvest home.


Psalm 118:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.


Psalm 100
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his;  we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

I Thessalonians 5:18: give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

And . an illustration about being grateful.


Happy Thanksgiving

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Blog Post #509 Thanksgiving traditions

Coaching for Life Success – Getting ready for Thanksgiving

My brain has snippets of the old Thanksgiving song we learned as children.  So, I found it on the internet (what did we do for song lyrics and trivia answers before the internet?)

Over the river and through the woods,
To grandmother’s* house we go;
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh,
Thru the white and drifted snow, oh!

Over the river and thru the woods,
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.

Over the river and thru the wood,
To have a first-rate play;
Oh, hear the bell ring, “Ting-a-ling-ling!”
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day-ay!

Over the river and thru the woods,
Trot fast my dapple gray!
Spring over the ground like a hunting hound,
For this is Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river and through the woods,
And straight through the barnyard gate.
We seem to go extremely slow,
It is so hard to wait!

Over the river and through the woods,
Now, Grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurrah for fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

While my grandparents are long gone, and I’m a grandfather to five wonderful grandchildren (who are all five years old for three more months), it is still good to have traditions.  This year I will probably not have the traditional Thanksgiving dinner (my wife and I will be on a Rhine River cruise), but I am already thinking of turkey (white meat please), mashed potatoes (hmmm – how long has it been since I had real mashed potatoes – or really potatoes other than French Fries?), and Green-Bean-Casserole (with French Fried onion rings on top).  Over the years, I’ve even learned to (first) tolerate and (later) like pumpkin pie. And, sweet potatoes and cranberries as well. And then, fall asleep in the living room during a football game.

That is my/our traditions. But, different families and different cultures do things in different ways.  Some might also have oysters, others pasta.

Our society is also changing.  I’m not sure I knew any vegans or vegetarians growing up, but now I know plenty.  Bread? But what about those with gluten allergies? Are you using milk to make your mashed potatoes creamy?  But, Aunt Connie is lactose intolerant. Are the various items organic? What did the cooks use for pans? Was it copper-free (or is that the other way around)?  

We, in America, are becoming diverse.  Should we have tamales in Texas for Thanksgiving?  Curry seasoning? Rice?

In spite of differences, make we should focus on the day – a day to give Thanks.  And, even that day, we can give Thanks to God – however, we think of Him or Her (or to no god at all).  It is good to take a day off, with family, friends, great food, great traditions, and reflect on what is good – and give thanks for that!!

What about you?


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Blog Post #508 Vacation

Coaching for Life Success:  Vacations

Are you taking some time off this week?  At least Thursday? Maybe even Thursday, Friday, Saturday AND Sunday?

You should!!

The highlighted article gives four SCIENTIFIC reasons for taking a vacation!

Here we go:

1- Stress Reduction.  You get away from job stress.  (Now family stress might still be there, but generally, that isn’t as bad).  In fact, the article cites a research study that more than just stress, but headaches, backaches and heart irregularities.

“A small study from the University of Vienna found that after taking time off from work, vacationers had fewer stress-related physical complaints such as headaches, backaches, and heart irregularities, and they still felt better five weeks later.”

2.- Heart Disease Reduction.  That’s right, taking a vacation (and getting away from stress), can help your heart.  Here is another study:

In one study, men at risk for heart disease who skipped vacations for five consecutive years were 30 percent more likely to suffer heart attacks than those who took at least a week off each year. Even missing one year’s vacation was associated with a higher risk of heart disease.”

So … vacations can help your heart health.  Get away and relax this week.

3- Improved Productivity. Again, the data shows that taking some time off will help your productivity when you return.  While it isn’t a vacation, I know if I’m working on a big project and my productivity is sagging, it is better for me to take a walk – and take a nap.  When I return to the task at hand, my heart is clear and I can generally have better ideas and better approaches.

4- Better Sleep. In the article we find this:

“Researchers say, that vacations can help interrupt the habits that disrupt sleep, like working late into the night or watching a backlit screen before bed. If you have stress from work and you find your sleep is disrupted because of anxiety or tension, take time off and learn to reset your sleep pattern.”

Having troubles sleeping – get away, have a vacation (or holiday).  Get to bed at a decent hour on your vacation, relax and put the problems of life behind you.

If you need to justify this, you can say “Dr. White prescribed vacation time for me, to reduce stress, lessen the chances of heart attacks, improve productivity and give me better sleep” (If you need to, ask me and I’ll try to write that on a pseudo prescription pad!!!  Of course, my father liked to say “My son is a doctor, but he doesn’t do anything good for people”!! Of course, I think I did a lot of good for my students in critical thinking and problem solving – and preparing for life!!!)

So … take some time off this week.  I will be!!


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Blog Post #507 Retirement and Family

Coaching for Life Success – Retirement #7 – Family

We’ve been following Zig Ziglar’s seven spokes (financial, spiritual, family, work/career, physical health, mental help, and personal/social).  Today the last – looking at the Family spoke.

The second article says:

“Retirement is when you reap what you have been sowing all these years. Only this article is about family and not about money. Far too often I have interviewed individuals approaching retirement and their biggest concern is that they have spent so much time and energy on their career and planning for their financial future that they have neglected to nurture one of their most valuable assets: Family!!!”

So, how is your family relationship?  Did you ignore them as you worked through life?  Did you separate or divorce your spouse? Do you have children that you rarely see?  How about grandchildren that you rarely see.

It is time to mend fences.  Go see your children, visit your cousins, see your extended family.  If you have not spent enough time building a relation, try Facetime or Google Hangout (or even Skype) to see each other and talk.  It doesn’t have to be a high-level philosophical discussion. If you don’t agree on politics or religion, then don’t talk about those topics.  Talk about what you are doing and what they are doing.

Yes, friends are important.  But, who is around to take you in when you can’t drive anymore (but not bad enough for an assisted living or nursing home care).  Your close friend Marge probably is about the same shape you are in, and she would wonder why she is going to take you into her house.

Forgive one-another.  Love one-another. Be the ‘bigger person’ and go to them to be reconciled.  

Matthew 5:23-24 says “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First, go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”

What do you think?  Can ‘bygones’ be forgotten?  Can you reconcile with that ‘hard to love’ person?



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Blog Post #506 Spirituality in Retirement

Coaching for Life Success – Retirement #6

We’ve been following Zig Ziglar’s seven spokes (financial, spiritual, family, work/career, physical health, mental help, and personal/social).  Today the next to last – looking at the Spiritual side of retirement.

Now, spirituality means different things to different people.  To some, it means a church, synagogue, a faith; to others, it may be nature and human kindness.  I am on the faith side of things – but want to suggest that in retirement and in life in general, ‘it takes a village’.  As John Donne wrote many years ago “No man is an island”. For me, that means belief in God and regular worship. For others that might mean supporting nature, supporting other causes that are bigger than one person.  

From this link, the author suggests three ways that your spiritual life enhances retirement.

1 – Keep a positive attitude.  Don’t accept negative thought, keep positive.  Put good thoughts into your brain. “You are what goes into your brain” – therefore let the good thoughts go in!!

2- Life Stage Satisfaction.  You are retired = face it. Yes, you worked hard to get here.  Do you remember telling people “When I’m retired, I’m going to <do something>”.  Well, now you are here. Don’t live in the past!! Be satisfied (and positive) about who you are – and where you are going.

3- Life meaning.  What will give you meaning in this life stage?  Just sitting on the sofa probably isn’t very meaningful to you.  What are your dreams? Who are you really? After years as “Dr. Bruce White”, my life has changed in retirement.  I am happy – and from #1 and #2 know I have to be positive and enjoy this (final) stage in my life.

I have chosen to be positive, to write and blog, to live life fully.  

What about you?


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Blog Post #505 Part-time work in retirement

Coaching for Life Success:  Retirement #5 Career and Work

Okay, I’m not quite ready to give up retirement for a new career.  But with volunteering, four groups that I meet with regularly, tutoring four students and trying to get the other of Zig Ziglar’s spokes down, I’m not sure I could really work a new career!!!  I had a contact for academic advising – which would be fun (for maybe 10 hours a week – two hours a day), but I don’t want a full-time job!!!

But, let’s look at career and work – for retirement – and for non-retirement.

My tutoring pays a little – so it is like a part-time job.  I have to be at a specific place at a specific time, I have to ‘deliver’ the goods (that is, teach and help the students do well).  I like the little bit of income as it makes me feel like I’m going something good for myself. (Not that I don’t like the volunteering, but mentally, without getting paid, it is a good-will, service, being a good person thing.  

For some of us in retirement, retirement can just be boring.  You can just get tired of playing golf every day, of doing ceramics every day, of fishing every day, of sitting and watching television every day.  

Yes, volunteering can be like a part-time job, but the few bucks in your pocket can let you ‘splurge’ and get a Starbuck’s Coffee occasionally, or have a dinner out.  You aren’t getting rich, but the finances can give you a nice feeling.

Of course, there are those that take a part-time (or full-time) job in retirement for the money.  Depending on your situation, that can cut into your Social Security payments. If you want (or need) the money, check how that can affect your government (and other benefits).

Some like the part-time jobs to get out-of-the-house, to interact with people on a professional (or semi-professional) basis.  I was a customer service representative for Kohl’s department store for Christmas two years ago, and I enjoyed it – even with customers wanting to return items and get their money back.  

Maybe your part-time job can work towards other rewards.  My brother-in-law, Bill, worked part-time for an airline for 10 years to get travel benefits on that airline (and my sister and brother-in-law are off on several trips every year).  Or, like my Kohl’s job, gave me an employee’s discount on items (and in the Christmas season that was great).

I have commented that I’d rather burn-out than rust-out.  I’d rather be active than sitting and watching television.

What about you?  Active retirement, lots of volunteering or part-time work?



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Blog Post #504 Mind/Intellect

Coaching for Life Success – Retirement 4 – Mind/Intellect

I’ve been following Zig Ziglar’s Seven Spokes.  They are Financial, Spiritual, Family, Work and Career, Mind/Intellect, Physical Health and Personal and Social.

Today is my fourth day on this and we are looking at keeping your brain busy in retirement (and actually in ANY age!!)

But first a comment (joke).  I keep thinking about the ‘Here After’.  Not the ‘hereafter’ when I die, but as I go into a room, I find myself wondering “What am I here to get -or -here after?

Here are comments from Harvard University on Seven ways to keep your memory sharp at any age:

1- Keep Learning.  Let me share my learning.  Not the least of my learning is writing a daily blog – and I mean daily!!!  Some bloggers do once a week or twice a week. I’ve done one blog post a day for most of this year (yes, I think I’ve missed two).  That means deciding on a topic, doing some research, formulating my thoughts, writing them down, checking spelling and grammar, and publishing twice (Facebook and at

But .. that isn’t all.  I’ve also ‘mastered’ (okay, not mastered) the German language on  “Mastered” as in completed all the lessons once (before they revamped them). Not mastered as I’m still looking for words and expressions.  

2- Use all your senses.  My eyes (sense of sight), and ears (sense of hearing) are probably the most used senses.  I probably need to work on my sense of smell more. The article suggests trying to determine ingredients when tasting a new dish, or taking a sculpting class and let the tactile sense of feeling help with the shape of the clay a well as the odor of the clay.

3- Believe in yourself!!  As we age, we sometimes buy into the myth that we don’t remember things well.  Yesterday I was with a friend (about half my age) who was trying to remember something and she said she was having a ‘brain fart’.  I believe in myself and don’t believe that my mind is gone, rather, I believe it is still strong and vibrant.

4 – Economize your brain use.  This suggestion is to use organizational skills to help your brain.  My iPhone calendar has been my ‘life’. I have all my tutoring appointments, my groups, my other events on my iPhone.  I kid when I say “if it isn’t on my calendar, it doesn’t exist” (but that is almost fully true. I also put my keys, purse/billfold in the same place every time I come in the door.  (I know some younger people who play “where are my keys now” very frequently).

5 – Repeat what you want to know.  My brain is filled with 71 years of great stuff.  I have names and faces of my wonderful students in my brain.  When I see a student (or friend) that I haven’t seen for a while, I will be recalling those details (and hoping I’m not confusing David L with David C.)

6- Space it out.  Recall things from yesterday, last week, last month.  Facebook does some of that as it recalls my memories from previous years on this date.  Today was memories of my trip to Kazakhstan for an ABET accreditation. That was quite a trip and having the pictures does remember me of that experience.

7- Some suggest a mnemonic to remember things – like HOMES (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior) to remember the Great Lakes.  I haven’t done enough of that, but that is a good suggestion.

In addition (really back to #1 above), I do daily games – like the SET puzzle, the daily Flow Free, and Flow Hex puzzles for spatial acuity.  “Use it or lose it” is somewhat my motto for keeping my mind/intellect active!

How about you


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Blog Post #503 Retirement #3 – Get up and MOVE

Coaching for Life Success – Retirement #3 – Physical Health

Today – Physical Health

This is obvious.  If you are not physically healthy, who cares what else is going on.

I’ve told the story before (maybe too many times) of a neighbor who retired from a supervisory position in a manual labor function.  He came home, sat on a comfortable chair and within the year had a heart attack and died. He did little more than just sitting.

Get up and move.  

The attached article states:

“Eye-opening research shows that keeping your butt in a chair (or on the couch) for hours at a time can lead to cancer, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and premature death. One study by the American Cancer Society found that women who sat six hours a day were 37 percent more likely to die by the end of the 13-year study period; men who sat were 18 percent more likely to die. Another study tied 49,000 U.S. cases of breast cancer and 43,000 of colon cancer to prolonged sitting.”

“Sitting isn’t dangerous just because it means you’re not exercising. It’s dangerous all by itself.”

“Prolonged time spent on your bum has significant metabolic consequences. It negatively affects your blood sugar, triglycerides, good cholesterol, resting blood pressure and levels of the appetite hormone” leptin, all of which are biomarkers of obesity and cardiovascular disease.”

This article adds:

1- Get up and move every 30 minutes.  Do something – pace the floor, go to your backyard and watch the grass grow,  get a drink of water – but MOVE.

2- Watch your favorite TV show (not just television for hours on end) – but do something – the article suggests to fold clothes, empty the dishwasher, or ride a stationary bike

3-If you have to be at your computer all day, try one of the computer stands who you have to stand up to us it, or a treadmill computer stand.

4- Get exercise.  Take a walk, get a dog and take the dog out several times a day.  You can even do exercises with television.


Do you get enough activity?

I don’t, but I’m working at it!!  (Just finished a 3 mile walk)


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Blog Post #502 Retirement #2 – Social and Personal

Coaching for Life Success – Retirement #2

Monday Matters: Zig Ziglar’s Wheel of Life – A Total-Life Approach To Setting Your Goals

I’ve talked and written about Zig Ziglar’s Seven Spokes before. They are Financial, Spiritual, Family, Work and Career, Mind/Intellect, Physical Health and Personal and Social.

Yesterday I wrote about retirement – the retirement issues that so many talk about – money – financial.

Sure, we do need money to retire.  But, there is a lot more to life – and retirement life – than financial.  I googled “retirement” and my first page was all financial retirement. There is more to life than finances.

But, of course, money begets money – and there are a lot of financial advisors just ready to advise you about retirement – of which they are meaning – financial retirement.  Financial advisors are not ready to tell you about (say) Spiritual. BUT – I am ready!!

For the next six days I’m going to write on the other spokes on Zig Ziglar’s Seven Spokes – and not write on the financial aspect (but, of course, I already did – yesterday).

Today – let’s start out easy with “Personal and Social”.

Do you know that one of the biggest needs in retirement is social?  Yes, you need friends, you need to get out, you need to be sociable!  

Obviously, this is true before retirement, but maybe even more important in retirement.  During your working years (my working year), you had friends. You went to events, you did things with friends.  But, in retirement, you now have 8:00 to 5:00 open. Your friends from before retirement are working. Sure you can still do things with them – but what about those long hours in-between?  Watch TV? (Gasp – not all day – your mind will turn to mush!!)

There are senior centers and senior groups.  One senior center near us had different events every day.  Playing card games is popular, lunches together are nice, crafts and hobbies are nice – but the important part is BEING WITH PEOPLE.  Don’t become a recluse!!

Can you find a neighbor to take a walk with you?  (That would combine social and physical).

Or maybe you can volunteer.  Many volunteers will be just like you – retired, yet not wanting to give up on life.  

Also, keep your personal side ‘fed’.  I am now in three men’s groups – mostly religious, but also very social.  There are a wealth of retirement groups. Maybe your church, synagogue, neighborhood or other has a senior group.  We have a senior coffee once a month in our neighborhood (subdivision).

Maybe you put some hobbies on hold while you worked.  Maybe you can rekindle those hobbies. My wife gets to quilt groups.  I just to collect coins – I could get back into that.

Travel is also an option.  We will be going on our first cruise in two weeks – and hope to meet new friends, had a great social and cultural time.

You need to take care of yourself – and that means getting out and getting busy and enjoying life – socially and personally!

What do you think?  What social and personal things appeal to you in retirement?


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Blog Post #501 Preparing for Retirement – part 1

Coaching for Life Success:  Ready to Retire?

I retired two years ago.  I had prepared (financially) for retirement, but found this article and wanted to share from it.

The article starts:

“Facts n Fewer than half of Americans have calculated how much they need to save for retirement.

In 2016, almost 30 percent of private industry workers with access to a defined contribution plan (such as a 401(k) plan) did not participate.

The average American spends roughly 20 years in retirement. Putting money away for retirement is a habit we can all live with.”

So, let’s see what this author/article suggests:

1 – Start saving, keep saving, stick to your goals

2 – Know your retirement needs.  The article states: “Retirement is expensive. Experts estimate that you will need 70 to 90 percent of your preretirement income to maintain your standard of living when you stop working.”

3 – Contribute to your employer’s retirement plan (if available).  Actually that was very easy for me. At Dakota State, I was required to be in the South Dakota Retirement System.  And, the SDRS was a very prudent, smart group. My eighteen years in South Dakota have been very lucrative. At Quinnipiac, again, my institute required that I be a part of a retirement plan.  I had 5% of my salary withdrawn from my check. When I got tenure, the university bumped their share to 10% and I kept my 5% contribution (and eventually raised it to 10%). That also is a large retirement plan.

4 – 10 – the rest of the suggestions in the article are:

4 – Learn about your employer’s pension plan

5 – Consider basic investment principles

6-  Don’t touch your retirement savings

7 – Ask your employer to start a plan

8 – Put your money into an IRA

9 – Find out about your Social Security Benefits

10-Ask questions.

But, for me, that was the easy part of retirement.  Tomorrow, I will talk more about preparing for retirement in other ways.

What do you think?


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