December, for many, is a time that marks the ending of a year along with the heightened season of giving, reflection, appreciation and review before entering the New Year.

This month’s feature article on “The Emerging Power of ‘We’” is included with our community of readers in mind. Laurie McCammon, author of Enough!, mentions the importance of authentic communication. As a reader, a question may come to mind as to what might be the qualities of being an authentic reader. According to some sources, listening is included as an integral part of authentic communication. In listening authentically, comprehension of what is being said is the focus—not thinking about a response to the conversation. Active listening is fully engaging in understanding what the speaker is communicating. When you’re face to face, there’s an additional opportunity to get cues from body language and tone to create a more complete image of intent for what is being expressed. In applying that to reading, have you ever stopped to research the usage of a particular word, or to consider why one word is used over another similar word? Oh, the fun in learning new things every day!

Nowadays, we have many handy, quick avenues for research. Dictionaries and white papers are at our fingertips through our smart phones. Translations can happen in real time. Searching a word on one’s phone for a better understanding as to its meaning in print seems like it could be described as a process of authentic reading.

Another article included this month, “Inhaling the Joy of Life”, by Marlaina Donato, discusses something we automatically do all day, every day— breathing. What an informative article for our readers! Discover the many ways one can breathe for help with issues such as depression, pain, anger, addictions and anxiety. Donato shares “how-to” details on several types of breathing techniques, what they are used for, and how to best try that type of breathing so we may experience the benefits firsthand.

Of course, we mustn’t forget the body… supported by our bones and muscles; that living tissue needs time and attention, too. Read up on what we can do to assist our critical skeletal structure and understand the role of calcium. Our Fit Body department article is titled “Beyond Calcium”, found on page 22.

If cooking up delicious sweets is your thing, you may really enjoy trying some of the recipes included in this month’s Conscious Eating department, especially if you love chocolate! Several of the recipes are raw. The kitchen is a great place to create something family and friends can enjoy and appreciate.

This month also includes some additional articles and briefs that are sure to bring a smile to your face and warm your heart; ‘tis the season to share in the love, collaborate, and find just the right words or expressions to share with those who are closest… and just for the love of it… adding in a smile for a stranger or two.

Best wishes this holiday season and beyond.

“None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.”
~ Mother Teresa

Susie Q Wood, Publisher