Sunday, December 21, 2014

Announcement from Maggie: New Website & Blog

Hello Everyone!

Please visit Linda's new website at  It is under construction for the next few weeks, so be patient & kind :-) 

My blog, 'Thoughts from Maggie', will be posted only on the new website. All material on Blogger will be deleted within the next few weeks. The website,, will expire within the next month.

The new year will see the release of 'Legacy of Grandpa's Grapevine'. It is the first book in the trilogy: The Manciano Family. Also, Linda will continue to blog about 'When It's Family' and 'America the Beautiful'.  I'm sure there will be a few surprises, too!

So come on over & join the fun at my new hang-out:
I'll be waiting for you!
Love & Licks-

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Maggie's Thought for the Week: Dogs Tails Never Lie... Same With Humans

Body language tells a lot about a person. When we are nervous, our bodies may shake, twitch, sway or even start to sweat. Happiness may look like tears streaming down one's face, uncontrollable belly laughter or even gasping for breath. Now lying....that's when it gets tricky.

Maggie was a good dog. However, sometimes she did get into a little mischief. She ate my building plans for a log cabin, chewed the wood trim in the hallway and killed a few chipmunks in the yard. Whenever she did these things, she would look at me and wait for my response. If my tone was low while saying her name, she knew something was wrong. Knowing this, her tail would always go between her back legs. Seeing this, I knew she was disappointed & would learn from her mistake. Maggie was a smart dog- she often never made the same mistake twice.

I wish humans were like Maggie. If only we could realize when our actions are disappointing to others or not acceptable- and never do it again. I guess this weakness is why so many people lie. People lie to get out of bad situations, try to make themself look better, or- the complete lowest of lies- to knowingly hurt someone else for the own selfish needs. How can you tell when a person is lying? Unfortunately, it takes time to get to know a person's habits. However, once you do, always trust your instinct.

Whether it's a wagging tail or devilish grin- a liar always gives a clue.

'The liar’s punishment is not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else.'
~George Bernard Shaw

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Maggie's Thought for the Week: Be Proud of Yourself

Ever notice the many different ways people accept a compliment? Some people blush, others deny the amount of hard work & time in their accomplishment, and some just say- 'oh, it was nothing.'  It's okay to accept a compliment.

Maggie enjoyed being the center of attention. She loved when people admired her new haircut and called her 'pretty dog'. She wagged her tail with extra excitement when she discovered a treat secretly placed in a toy, or found a hidden ball in the yard. She jumped and twirled when she caught a fly in the house, and waited anxiously for praise & cuddles. Maggie was proud of herself when she accomplished something, and wasn't shy about showing it.

Every person should never feel uncomfortable about showing pride in their accomplishments. Our purpose in life is to make this world a better place. Our actions should always be positive & encourage others to bring out the best in them. When Maggie was excited, it excited others around her. This positive emotion brings positive energy.

Ever notice what a person with negative energy brings to a room? Ever ask yourself why someone can not be happy for others accomplishments? The answers are usually a result of a persons own insecurities and lack of confidence. One can not take pride in someone's success, unless they have experienced pride in their own success.

It's okay to be proud of yourself.
Even better to encourage the feeling of pride in others. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Maggie's Thought for the Week: Every Day Is a Holiday

There are certain times of the year people race to be with their loved ones, spend hours decorating their homes, or exhaust themselves trying to find the perfect gift. The reason for this chaos? Holidays.

Maggie loved every thing about every day. She looked forward to walks every day at six in the morning. She twirled for her morning dental chew and night time cookie. Daily greetings to neighbors and chasing squirrels in the yard exhibited the same excitement as a toddler on Christmas morning.  Although these things were routine, to a stranger, one might think it was a special day... a holiday.

We all need to remember that every day should be viewed as a holiday. Every day is a gift. Another day to spend with loved ones, make our world a better place, and remind friends how special they are to us. A holiday should not be the only time people rearrange schedules for family dinners or spending time with old friends.

What if everyone gave true thanks for the gift of every day- every day?

Sunday, November 30, 2014

America the Beautiful: Hill City, South Dakota

If you're looking for America, Hill City South Dakota is your destination. American history, wildlife, old-fashioned downtown shops, and restaurant food that tastes like grandma's Sunday dinner- it's all here.

Explore the Black Hills by steam train. The twenty mile round trip between Hill City and Keystone will provide amazing photos of landscapes, animals and the post card perfect towns of Keystone & Hill City. Of course, anyone who collects trains will be in awe with riding the locomotive- just like our ancestors did in the old days. After the ride, a myriad of shops and eatery's await.

Mount Rushmore is a must see for every American. The light show at night will leave you in tears & honored to be a U.S. citizen. Gutzon Borglum, and his son Lincoln, would be proud to know over two million people visit this monument every year. In 1927, the initial concept was to sculpt the presidents from head to waist. However, lack of funding forced the construction to end in 1941. Washington, Jefferson, T. Roosevelt and Lincoln were chosen because of their dedication to preserving the Republic and expanding the territory. Mount Rushmore received its name from the leader of a prospecting expedition, Charles Rushmore, and his crew- David Swanzey (husband of Carrie Ingalls) & Bill Challis.

The Crazy Horse monument is a privately funded project commissioned by Henry Standing Bear to pay tribute to the Ogala Lakota warrior. The sculptor, Korczak Ziolkowski started in 1948 and remained committed to the project until his death in 1982. His wife, Ruth, continued as the supervisor. Her decision to place emphasis on completing the face, as opposed to her husband's idea to complete the base, was a great success. Visitors to the monument increased dramatically, as well as private donations. Ruth died in May 2014.

Custer State Park consists of 71,000 acres of wild life; including 1500 free roaming buffaloes. A drive along Needles Highway is a must with a camera. Although the landscape & animals may seem surreal, it is wise to obey the park rule: Don't Approach the Buffalo. The banks of French Creek is where Custer's expedition discovered gold in 1874. One can also explore the log cabin of Badger Clark- South Dakota's first poet laureate.

Hill City, South Dakota. One of my favorite destinations.
God Bless America

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Maggie's Thought for the Week...Be Thankful for the Small Stuff

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on our blessings. Sometimes, these reflections rekindle memories of happier times when loved ones were with us. Other times, our thoughts may help us appreciate the fortunate opportunities & gifts in our lives.

Maggie was a great reminder of all the blessings in our world. She enjoyed scratching her back on the freshly cut lawn; just happy to have a yard to romp about on those carefree summer evenings. The smell of the slow-cooker on Sunday afternoons made her mouth salivate; as she guarded the kitchen until dinner was served. Family visits and guests to our home meant belly rubs or a new squeaky toy. Snuggled under her favorite blanket in her soft bed on a snowy day, while her owner watched old movies & drank hot chocolate.

We often forget it's the small stuff that creates the best memories. All the 'ordinaries' in our daily lives, when gone, becomes the most difficult to live without.

Be thankful for the small stuff.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

When It's Family... I Remember Marriage Meant Forever

My childhood memories include family day-trips, holiday gatherings and Sunday barbecues. I can remember playing kickball in the neighborhood, riding bikes with friends, and watching 'Little House on the Prairie' with my sister. Most importantly, I recall most of my friends having parents who were married. Divorce...Separated...these words were said in a whisper & not very often. What happened?

That question got me thinking a few years ago. So, I decided to find out why. Why do so many people get divorced today? Why do so many people decide to live together without being married? Why has saying 'it's over' become so easy to say?

I thought about interviewing divorced couples and couples living together. I quickly realized that was the wrong direction. I remembered my father's advice- 'If you want to learn how to do something right, watch an expert.'  What qualifies a couple to be an expert at marriage. I decided, it was those who are still happily married after a reasonable amount of time as a married couple.

I don't remember exactly how I decided on the number of years, but I selected thirty. I would interview couples who have been married for thirty years or more. My questions were simple- Why do you think you are still married? Why do you think couples today don't stay married? What advice would you give newlyweds today?

Their responses were honest, heartfelt and memorable. What do I remember most from the interviews? The understanding that marriage is a job for a life-time. It takes constant nurturing, commitment and faith. That's a huge undertaken in a society that prides itself in fast, easy and replaceable.

After completing the book, I've had many interviewers ask if I think staying married for a life-time is realistic. My answer is yes....although I haven't tried it yet.

What do you think?