One party, the Democratic-Republicans, admired Jefferson and the Declaration. But the other party, the Federalists, thought the Declaration was too French and too anti-British, which went against their current policies.

By 1817, John Adams complained in a letter that America seemed uninterested in its past. But that would soon change.

After the War of 1812, the Federalist party began to come apart and the new parties of the 1820s and 1830s all considered themselves inheritors of Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans. Printed copies of the Declaration began to circulate again, all with the date July 4, 1776, listed at the top. The deaths of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams on July 4, 1826, may even have helped to promote the idea of July 4 as an important date to be celebrated.

Celebrations of the Fourth of July became more common as the years went on and in 1870, almost a hundred years after the Declaration was written, Congress first declared July 4 to be a national holiday as part of a bill to officially recognize several holidays, including Christmas. Further legislation about national holidays, including July 4, was passed in 1939 and 1941.

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Exercise actually has a neurological benefit (as well as a physiological one). The endorphins released in our brains during exercise make us happier, and the feeling of accomplishment we get from regular activity can help curb anxiety.

Guided meditation can also help, since the entire point is to calm the mind and dismiss the errant thoughts that lead to anxiety and stress. Meditation can help you focus on your surroundings or be mindful of the present, instead of letting the background seep into the foreground.

Imagine that you’re in the most relaxing environment that you can possibly think of, whether it’s at home in bed or on the beach in the tropics. Wherever you think you would be most relaxed, stop and really put yourself there. If you’re at the beach,  ask yourself how warm it is, and whether there are clouds in the sky. Are you alone? Is it quiet, or can you hear the ocean? The goal here isn’t just to paint a pretty, relaxing picture in your head, but also to get your brain working on those details—the more you do, the farther away your mind will be from whatever’s triggered your anxiety.


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Which impulses take up more space and why?

The actions we take can literally expand or contract different regions of the brain, firing up circuits or tamping them down. The more you ask your brain to do, the more cortical space it sets up to handle the new tasks. It responds by forging stronger connections in circuits that underlie the desired behavior or thought and weakening the connections in others. Thus, what you do and what you think, see, or feel is mirrored in the size of your respective brain regions and the connections your brain forms to accommodate your needs.

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Five Types of Dog; Which One Are You?

In Chinese element theory, each zodiac sign is associated with one of the five elements: Gold (Metal), Wood, Water, Fire, and Earth. For example, a Wood Dog comes once in a 60-year cycle.

It is theorized that a person’s characteristics are decided by their birth year’s zodiac animal sign and element. So there are five types of Dogs, each with different characteristics:

Type of Dog Year of Birth Characteristics
Wood Dog 1934, 1994 Sincere, reliable, considerate, understanding, and patient
Fire Dog 1946, 2006 Intelligent, hardworking, and sincere
Earth Dog 1958, 2018 Communicative, serious, and responsible in work
Gold Dog 1910, 1970 Conservative, desirable, cautious, and always ready to help others
Water Dog 1922, 1982 Brave and self-centered, even seemingly selfish; well-versed in dealing with financial issues
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Your Score—-and what it means?

Rate your responses on a scale of 1 (completely disagree) to 7 (strongly agree) and add your score. According to Caglar Yildirim, an assistant professor of human computer interaction who created the scale for use in his research at State University of New York at Oswego, a score of 20 or below means you’re not an addict; a score of 21 to 60 means you’re mildly nomophobic; and a score of 61 to 99 means you probably can’t go long without checking your phone.

“It might be a good idea to be conscious of that,” Yildirim said, “but we are only concerned if it starts to interfere with your daily life.”

Did you score between 100 and 200? You’re probably struggling with severe anxiety when you can’t access your cell phone, he said.

“This might negatively affect your social life and relationships with friends and family,” Yildirim said. “There are studies that show those who score high on the test tend to avoid face-to-face interactions, have high levels of social anxiety and maybe even depression.

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 Signs of Smartphone Addiction

 Signs of Smartphone Addiction

Baylor University professor James Roberts believes:

“It is incumbent upon researchers to identify the all-important ‘tipping point,’ where cell-phone use crosses the line from a helpful tool to one that enslaves both users and society alike.” 

But where is that line? For full “addicted status,” Dr. Greenfield believes smartphone use has to impact major life areas such as: work, academics, home life, and relationships. Below are 10 signs that may indicate a teen is addicted to their smartphone:

  1. Looking at their smartphone upon waking and last thing before going to sleep
  2. Checking notifications during the night
  3. Losing interest in activities that don’t include a smartphone
  4. Interrupting face-to-face conversations to answer calls or texts
  5. Using their phone to avoid social interaction
  6. Turning to their phone when things get awkward
  7. Checking their smartphone constantly for no reason
  8. Feeling phantom phone vibrations
  9. Being on their smartphone during study time, class time, or work
  10. Experiencing panic attack or increased anxiety if their phone is left at home
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Halloween is an annual holiday, celebrated each year on October 31, that has roots in age-old European traditions. It originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints; soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating and carving jack-o-lanterns. Around the world, as days grow shorter and nights get colder, people continue to usher in the season with gatherings, costumes and sweet treats.

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10 Commandment for Social Media Use

#1 – Educate Yourself

When you purchase a product for your child(ren) make sure you know what types of media that they will have access to. Media can be accessed many ways…. iPod, smartphones, tablet, laptop, desktop, and even gaming consoles.

With all of these devices your teen will have access to the outside world.  What apps are they downloading? What do those apps do? What websites are they visiting? What types of games online are they accessing? What kinds of ads are those games showing your children? You have to know what your children will have access to when you give them these devices! For example, you may have purchased games for their consoles, but they can also access games, apps and other content online… even chat. How do you find this out? Talk to your teen. Get know to know what apps & games they like as well as what they friends are talking about and using.  Even though you may be completely disinterested in keeping up with what is available…. for the sake of your teen, you need to do your research.

#2 – Educate Your Teen

Teach your kids appropriate and safe behavior. As parents, we hear stories of teens doing crazy things like sending inappropriate photos of themselves to other people or bullying other teens and we think ‘my teen would NEVER do that!’.  But the fact of the matter is, communicating via social media provides anonymity.  Kids feel safer saying things on text, email, or chat than they would in person.  So this means as a parent, you need to be proactive!  Have conversations with your teens about what is safe behavior and what to do if someone does ask them to do or say something that is not healthy, safe, or smart. You need to also build enough trust that they know that if someone were to talk to them inappropriately or if something bad popped up on their device, they know they can come to you for help.

#3 – Use Social Media Yourself

As a parent you may think you do not have time for this, but the fact is you do not have time not do this. To properly understand social media and how it works you really need to be actively using it. No, you do not have to have a Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, KIK account. Choose one… the most universally used is Facebook and it is one that you will most likely benefit from. Use it and interact with it. If you really want to get a window into youth culture get an Instagram or Twitter account.  (insert Cathy here… I think you SHOULD be where your kids are.  And they aren’t on facebook anymore).

You will get an ‘eyeful’ that is for sure. It is a window into the current teen culture and will help you understand the challenges your teen is faced with. And at the same time, if your child knows him/her mom is following them, they are less likely to do inappropriate things on their page!

10 Commandments for your teenagers' social media use... If your kid has access to an electronic device that connects to wifi, then you need to read this. And you need to make sure your friends know this too.

#4 – Know Their Friends

This may seem obvious and you may be thinking ‘of course, I know their friends’. The ones they go to school with or have on the basketball team or go to church with.  Well I hate to break it to you… if they are using social media at all, it’s quite possible they have gained a whole lot of NEW friends. Friends you have never met, friends that probably live in other states as well as possibly in other countries. Youth are very open, trusting and are hungry for friendship… so they are willing to open themselves up to people that they have only met through a photo, or a twitter feed. Talk to them about who they have met and where they live. Don’t be shocked if your daughter says, “Nicole and I are going to the mall next week” and you find yourself thinking “Who is Nicole?”.  Then after asking your daughter you learn that she and her new friend were texting last week because they liked the same photos on Instagram.

Uh yeah….it can happen that fast.

Don’t panic, be open.  Be willing to talk about these new friends with your teen and meet them yourself.

#5 – Front Load Expectations and Responsibilities

Before you hand over the weapon of mass communication, think about what expectations and responsibilities your teen needs to maintain.  Some things to consider are…  chores, homework, cleanliness, attitudes, and appropriate use.  If you have a co parent, talk it over with them.  Discuss what these rules and responsibilities should and will be and sit down with your teen and explain what the expectations are.  Keep the rules simple and few so they are clear to all parties involved.

#6 – Limit Gadget Use

Once you have opened the door to mobile technology such as a tablet, iPod or smartphone, it is a difficult door to shut. The teen that you once knew can become much like a zombie, wandering around the house from couch to chair, with their face staring at a screen… with only one thing on their mind… the next response that they feel compelled to give to their new found friend on the other end. Most likely you will need to limit their gadget use. If you do not, it will become attached to their hand and it will be difficult for them to perform small tasks like picking up their dirty dishes, or doing their math homework or just even paying attention to you when you are attempting a conversation. It is amazing how a conversation with a live person can quickly take a backseat to a conversation with a person they have never personally met.  Believe me it does happen.

Some questions to ask yourself to help set limits:

  • Do you want them using them at night when they should be sleeping?
  • Should there be ‘gadget free time’ in your house?
  • Should their phone have limits on texting or calls?

These are just a few things…. think of ways technology could affect your child and set limits on those things even before you give them the device.

10 Commandments for your teenagers' social media use... If your kid has access to an electronic device that connects to wifi, then you need to read this. And you need to make sure your friends know this too.

#7 – Keep Their Passwords

All of the devices listed at the top require passwords.  BEFORE you hand over that device YOU set the password. This allows you to have access to the device at any time. It gives you the ability to check it if you need to. Realize that this does not give you license to be a ‘stalker’. Some parents can be so invasive with their teens that it damages their relationship… driving the teen off into social media oblivion avoiding all parental contact.

Passwords and emails are also a requirement when setting up social media accounts for for app purchases on ipods, smartphones and tablets. Using your email or setting up an email account that you have access to will help you monitor what apps they are downloading. Also when you lose access that you at one time had with their device it is a sign that they could be hiding something from you. TIP: If you are using an apple device, give your children your Apple ID to use. That way, whenever they download an app, it will also download on your device so you know what kind of apps they are using.

#8 – Use Parental Controls

There are lots of ways that parental controls can be employed in your teen’s use of social media. There are apps that you can download onto your teens devices before you hand them over. If you have any apple products you can look up in the app store and find several time limit apps, content limiting apps etc. (Word from Cathy – Apple has some built in restrictions that I personally like) Read over them and decide which ones are the best fit for the guidelines you have set for your youth. Invest in a wifi router that allows you to turn off wifi access to devices in your house at certain times.

Here are some of my favorite ways to help you control what happens on the internet in your home:

Linksys AC1200 Wireless router

The Linksys AC1200 Wireless router allows you to manage internet access for all wifi enabled devices in your home. This can be set up through a program on your computer and managed through your smartphone. In one word AWESOME….It is an investment of $180.00 that is well worth it.

Net Nanny

A fantastic resource for more of this information is Net Nanny. Net Nanny is dedicated to educating parents and teens about social media and they have software that will help you keep your family safe when they are online.


Circle is a small little device that pairs wirelessly with your home wi-fi and gives you the ability to manage any device that is connected to your network through the app.  You can create profiles for each family member so they have a customized and appropriate experience while on their device. You can also control WHEN they can be on their devices… dinner time, homework time, bedtime… any time you want to “pause” their usage, you can! You can also add filters that will only allow them to see things that are appropriate for their age. Circle will allow you to set limits on how long they can be on an app and will automatically shut it down once that limit is reached. This device is awesome and is a great way to protect your kids. I have many friends who use this and LOVE it.

Check out more about it on our full post JUST about Circle! 


The app Screentime is another option to protect your children and it is the one that I personally use! Like Circle, Screentime will allow you to personally control your children’s devices right from your phone. It is done all via an app. What you will do is download the app on your device and then download it on each of your children’s devices as well. You will be able to set up a profile for each child and customize the way you want them to use their devices. You will be able to see their search history, know how long they are spending on each app, set times, pause the internet, set bedtimes and much much more! I personally swear by this app and love how I am able to protect my kids. It is so important to know what they are doing and this app helps me always be aware.

Follow this link to get a free 2 week trial! 

There are many ways to control your children’s devices and these are just 4 of my favorites. Try them out and see which one works best for you and your family.

#9 – Be Willing to Take it ALL Away

There may come a time in your teen’s use of social media that you discover they are engaging in unsafe behavior. Risking not only their own selves, but others. They may be sneaking out at night to meet people, visiting porn sights, sending inappropriate photos via text or snapchat. This type of behavior warrants taking away access to all devices. If you find your teen in a place such as this, be willing to do the ‘hard thing’ and get them help. Get a referral to a counselor so that you can talk to a professional in how to get your teen the help they need. This type of behavior is not to be taken lightly and is often a cry for help.

#10 – You are the Parent

Yes….you….you are capable, you are knowledgeable, you are in control and contrary to what your teen may voice to you they NEED you.  They need you to be consistent, loving, informed, present.

You are the largest influence in their life, and they truly need YOU the most.

Let’s keep our kids safe!

These 10 commandments will help your children tremendously if you just take the initiative and start being a few steps ahead of them. The internet is such a wonderful thing, yet it can be such a harmful thing. Make sure that your children only see the good things that the internet can provide (because let me tell you, there are so many bad things out there!) Although your children might seem upset when you start to implement new rules, remember that it is for their good and someday they will thank you!

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Are you breathing the right way?

Learning good breathing techniques

The key to good technique is learning how to breathe with your diaphragm. That’s the muscle beneath your rib cage, the same one you use for singing or laughing. ‘If you’re breathing properly, you can feel your diaphragm pushing down into your belly,’ says Prinsen, who points out that through it isn’t crucial for the abdomen to go in and out while you’re breathing, it can be a good technique. If you’re guilty of holding in your stomach so that it looks flatter’and many women are’then you definitely aren’t using your diaphragm properly. And utilizing the diaphragm is the key to letting go of stress. ‘It sends a message to the nervous system that you’re relaxed,’ says Prinsen.

Daley says learning to control the breath is as simple as taking long, deliberate inhales at designated times throughout the day. He recommends counting to three as you breathe in, and then again as you exhale, making each inhale and exhale the same length, without pausing. ‘Not only does it make you aware of your breathing patterns, but it forces you to calm down and it draws your focus inward, like meditation does,’ says Daley. He also suggests lying down with a pillow under your upper back as an even easier method to practise calm breathing. Once you get good at it, you can practice calm breathing while you’re walking, doing dishes or sitting in your car at a stoplight.

Finding a daily breathing routine

Though Prinsen recommends deep breathing for 10 to 20 minutes a day, he says even practising for a minute every hour will have noticeable benefits. ‘It will completely change your mental and emotional state,’ he says. As an added bonus, he adds that good breathing has physical benefits for the whole body, as it helps reduce acidity and makes the body more alkaline. ‘If you have chronic acidity in your body tissue,’ he explains, ‘you’ll have a greater tendency to develop chronic disease.’ Isn’t that worth taking a deep breath for?


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1. Groom yourself. This seems like such an obvious one, but it’s amazing how much of a difference a shower and a shave can make in your feelings of self-confidence and for your self-image. There have been days when I turned my mood around completely with this one little thing.

2. Dress nicely. A corollary of the first item above … if you dress nicely, you’ll feel good about yourself. You’ll feel successful and presentable and ready to tackle the world. Now, dressing nicely means something different for everyone … it doesn’t necessarily mean wearing a $500 outfit, but could mean casual clothes that are nice looking and presentable.

3. Photoshop your self-image. Our self-image means so much to us, more than we often realize. We have a mental picture of ourselves, and it determines how confident we are in ourselves. But this picture isn’t fixed and immutable. You can change it. Use your mental Photoshopping skills, and work on your self-image. If it’s not a very good one, change it. Figure out why you see yourself that way, and find a way to fix it.

4. Think positive. One of the things I learned when I started running, about two years ago, what how to replace negative thoughts (see next item) with positive ones. How I can actually change my thoughts, and by doing so make great things happened. With this tiny little skill, I was able to train for and run a marathon within a year. It sounds so trite, so Norman Vincent Peale, but my goodness this works. Seriously. Try it if you haven’t.

5. Kill negative thoughts. Goes hand-in-hand with the above item, but it’s so important that I made it a separate item. You have to learn to be aware of your self-talk, the thoughts you have about yourself and what you’re doing. When I was running, sometimes my mind would start to say, “This is too hard. I want to stop and go watch TV.” Well, I soon learned to recognize this negative self-talk, and soon I learned a trick that changed everything in my life: I would imagine that a negative thought was a bug, and I would vigilantly be on the lookout for these bugs. When I caught one, I would stomp on it (mentally of course) and squash it. Kill it dead. Then replace it with a positive one. (“C’mon, I can do this! Only one mile left!”)

Know yourself and you will win all battles. – Sun Tzu

6. Get to know yourself. When going into battle, the wisest general learns to know his enemy very, very well. You can’t defeat the enemy without knowing him. And when you’re trying to overcome a negative self-image and replace it with self-confidence, your enemy is yourself. Get to know yourself well. Start listening to your thoughts. Start writing a journal about yourself, and about the thoughts you have about yourself, and analyzing why you have such negative thoughts. And then think about the good things about yourself, the things you can do well, the things you like. Start thinking about your limitations, and whether they’re real limitations or just ones you’ve allowed to be placed there, artificially. Dig deep within yourself, and you’ll come out (eventually) with even greater self-confidence.

7. Act positive. More than just thinking positive, you have to put it into action. Action, actually, is the key to developing self-confidence. It’s one thing to learn to think positive, but when you start acting on it, you change yourself, one action at a time. You are what you do, and so if you change what you do, you change what you are. Act in a positive way, take action instead of telling yourself you can’t, be positive. Talk to people in a positive way, put energy into your actions. You’ll soon start to notice a difference.

8. Be kind and generous. Oh, so corny. If this is too corny for you, move on. But for the rest of you, know that being kind to others, and generous with yourself and your time and what you have, is a tremendous way to improve your self-image. You act in accordance with the Golden Rule, and you start to feel good about yourself, and to think that you are a good person. It does wonders for your self-confidence, believe me.

One important key to success is self-confidence. A key to self-confidence is preparation. – Arthur Ashe

9. Get prepared. It’s hard to be confident in yourself if you don’t think you’ll do well at something. Beat that feeling by preparing yourself as much as possible. Think about taking an exam: if you haven’t studied, you won’t have much confidence in your abilities to do well on the exam. But if you studied your butt off, you’re prepared, and you’ll be much more confident. Now think of life as your exam, and prepare yourself.

10. Know your principles and live them. What are the principles upon which your life is built? If you don’t know, you will have trouble, because your life will feel directionless. For myself, I try to live the Golden Rule (and fail often). This is my key principle, and I try to live my life in accordance with it. I have others, but they are mostly in some way related to this rule (the major exception being to “Live my Passion”). Think about your principles … you might have them but perhaps you haven’t given them much thought. Now think about whether you actually live these principles, or if you just believe in them but don’t act on them.

11. Speak slowly. Such a simple thing, but it can have a big difference in how others perceive you. A person in authority, with authority, speaks slowly. It shows confidence. A person who feels that he isn’t worth listening to will speak quickly, because he doesn’t want to keep others waiting on something not worthy of listening to. Even if you don’t feel the confidence of someone who speaks slowly, try doing it a few times. It will make you feel more confident. Of course, don’t take it to an extreme, but just don’t sound rushed either.

12. Stand tall. I have horrible posture, so it will sound hypocritical for me to give this advice, but I know it works because I try it often. When I remind myself to stand tall and straight, I feel better about myself. I imagine that a rope is pulling the top of my head toward the sky, and the rest of my body straightens accordingly. As an aside, people who stand tall and confident are more attractive. That’s a good thing any day, in my book.

13. Increase competence. How do you feel more competent? By becoming more competent. And how do you do that? By studying and practicing. Just do small bits at a time. If you want to be a more competent writer, for example, don’t try to tackle the entire profession of writing all at once. Just begin to write more. Journal, blog, write short stories, do some freelance writing. The more you write, the better you’ll be. Set aside 30 minutes a day to write (for example), and the practice will increase your competence.

14. Set a small goal and achieve it. People often make the mistake of shooting for the moon, and then when they fail, they get discouraged. Instead, shoot for something much more achievable. Set a goal you knowyou can achieve, and then achieve it. You’ll feel good about that. Now set another small goal and achieve that. The more you achieve small goals, the better you’ll be at it, and the better you’ll feel. Soon you’ll be setting bigger (but still achievable) goals and achieving those too.

15. Change a small habit. Not a big one, like quitting smoking. Just a small one, like writing things down. Or waking up 10 minutes earlier. Or drinking a glass of water when you wake up. Something small that you know you can do. Do it for a month. When you’ve accomplished it, you’ll feel like a million bucks.

16. Focus on solutions. If you are a complainer, or focus on problems, change your focus now. Focusing on solutions instead of problems is one of the best things you can do for your confidence and your career. “I’m fat and lazy!” So how can you solve that? “But I can’t motivate myself!” So how can you solve that? “But I have no energy!” So what’s the solution?

17. Smile. Another trite one. But it works. I feel instantly better when I smile, and it helps me to be kinder to others as well. A little tiny thing that can have a chain reaction. Not a bad investment of your time and energy.

18. Volunteer. Related to the “be kind and generous” item above, but more specific. It’s the holiday season right now … can you find the time to volunteer for a good cause, to spread some holiday cheer, to make the lives of others better? It’ll be some of the best time you’ve ever spent, and an amazing side benefit is that you’ll feel better about yourself, instantly.

19. Be grateful. I’m a firm believer in gratitude, as anyone who’s been reading this blog for very long knows well. But I put it here because while being grateful for what you have in life, for what others have given you, is a very humbling activity … it can also be a very positive and rewarding activity that will improve your self-image. Read more.

20. Exercise. Gosh, I seem to put this one on almost every list. But if I left it off this list I would be doing you a disservice. Exercise has been one of my most empowering activities in the last couple years, and it has made me feel so much better about myself.
All you have to do is take a walk a few times a week, and you’ll see benefits. Start the habit.

21. Empower yourself with knowledge. Empowering yourself, in general, is one of the best strategies for building self-confidence. You can do that in many ways, but one of the surest ways to empower yourself is through knowledge. This is along the same vein as building competence and getting prepared … by becoming more knowledgeable, you’ll be more confident … and you become more knowledgeable by doing research and studying. The Internet is a great tool, of course, but so are the people around you, people who have done what you want, books, magazines, and educational institutions.

22. Do something you’ve been procrastinating on. What’s on your to-do list that’s been sitting there? Do it first thing in the morning, and get it out of the way. You’ll feel great about yourself.

23. Get active. Doing something is almost always better than not doing anything. Of course, doing something could lead to mistakes … but mistakes are a part of life. It’s how we learn. Without mistakes, we’d never get better. So don’t worry about those. Just do something. Get off your butt and get active — physically, or active by taking steps to accomplish something.

24. Work on small things. Trying to take on a huge project or task can be overwhelming and daunting and intimidating for anyone, even the best of us. Instead, learn to break off small chunks and work in bursts. Small little achievements make you feel good, and they add up to big achievements. Learn to work like this all the time, and soon you’ll be a self-confident maniac.

25. Clear your desk. This might seem like a small, simple thing (then again, for some of you it might not be so small). But it has always worked wonders for me. If my desk starts to get messy, and the world around me is in chaos, clearing off my desk is my way of getting a little piece of my life under control. It is the calm in the center of the storm around me. Here’s how.

Somehow I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four C s. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence. When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable. – Walt Disney

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