In the midst of this horrible pandemic and despite unsettling images of unrest in several of their major cities, Americans took the time to celebrate their 244th Independence Day.
I don’t know if the 4th of July means all that much anymore to the younger generations, but I hear there was fervent singing and a display of breathtaking fireworks to mark the occasion. It is encouraging to know that traditional salutes for Old Glory are still alive and well.
I chatted with a friend who has lived in the East Coast and has been an American for the last 50 years. She was pleased, relieved really, to tell me that there is still much fervor remaining, especially within her own age group, and that from their homes they sang along with the patriotic marches that played on TV.
“It was encouraging, after all the riots and protests and such discontent,” she said. “It was actually quite emotional.”
I want to believe that love for country is never lost. Wherever you may live. Whatever your flag.
And it feels good to see some of that old spirit, especially during these frightening times. We all need real flag waving! From the heart!
I remember celebrating “the 4th” when we lived in the United States. We had cookouts with hamburgers, fries and hotdogs. But the biggest hit was always our homemade chicken and pork adobo and a huge pot of rice, a tribute to our roots. We couldn’t “make happy” without it.
Those were gentler times. We were blessed to have spent most of those wonderful years in glorious Hawaii. It was the ideal place to raise a family. I loved the relaxed atmosphere, but I remember first being shocked by the too casual Hawaiian lifestyle. I couldn’t get used to people wearing tank tops and flip-flops or going barefoot everywhere, while I tried to teach my children the proper way to dress.
Many years later, my now all grown-up son tells me that because he wore a belt, socks and shoes to school, he was the target of jokes from his classmates. I have never lived that down.
Everything was perfect. My children played outside. It was safe. The sun and surf were their constant companions. Like paradise.
Recent news from Las Vegas was sad. We lost a friend, a father figure and favorite uncle for my children, a humble, exceptionally gifted and successful show band manager and mentor with more showbiz savvy than Ziegfeld.
Tony Ruivivar, brilliant leader of the famous Society of Seven, passed away in his sleep in his Las Vegas home on July 3. He was 79.
Tony was the ideas man, the concept creator, the very heart and soul of the SOS.
I can hardly contain the avalanche of memories that floods my mind and my heart.
I saw Tony last two years ago. He was a cancer survivor. He had gone through several surgeries and was undergoing dialysis three times a week. But he never complained. He was still on that stage, making music and calling the shots.
Tony is survived by his wife Karen and their son, Anthony Ruivivar, a Hollywood film and television actor, and three grandchildren.
A gem from the internet
Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar is an American Israeli. He is a teacher and writer in the areas of Positive Psychology and Leadership in Harvard University and is also known as “the happiness guru.” As a lecturer, he created Happiness 101 and taught the most popular course in Harvard’s history.
Here are some of Dr. Shahar’s tips on how to live happier and the tools to succeed and face life with more joy.
1. Thank God for everything you have in life that gives you happiness. Keep a gratitude journal and focus on the good things.
2. Practice physical activities. Exercise improves our mood. Thirty minutes a day is the best antidote against sadness and stress
3. Have breakfast. Some people skip this meal for lack of time, or because they are afraid to put on weight.
4. Be assertive. Ask what you want and say what you think. Being assertive helps improve our self-esteem. Remaining silent can create sadness and hopelessness.
5. Spend money on experiences. Seventy-five percent of people who invested in travel and courses or classes report feeling happier. Only 25 percent thought that buying stuff made them happy.
6. Face your challenges. Don’t postpone. The more you put them off, the more anxiety and tension you generate.
7. Surround yourself with pictures of loved ones or of places that bring you happy memories.
8. Be nice. Greet whoever you meet. Smile. It changes your mood and the mood of the other person.
9. Wear comfortable shoes. Hurting feet make you moody.
10. Walk with your shoulders back, looking forward.
11. Listen to music. It awakens the song in you.
12. What you eat affects your mood. Do not skip meals. Eat light. Avoid excessive white flour and sugar.
13. Take care of yourself. If you feel attractive, you feel good.
14. Develop a good sense of humor. Learn to laugh.
15. Fervently believe in God. With Him, nothing is impossible.