Dear Readers,
In today’s post, I want to share a wonderful verse by the author, A. A. Milne. Alan Alexander Milne was an English author popular for his books about the teddy bear, Winnie-the-Pooh, and children’s poetry. Milne was primarily a playwright before the huge success of Winnie-the-Pooh overshadowed all his previous work.  Milne’s verse today is titled: Halfway Down.

This post was originally posted on my blog on June 29, 2022

AA Miline

♦ Portions of today’s post were adapted from the book Halfway Down the Stairs, google graphics, and Wikipedia.

MJO – 2023


Dear Readers,
A favorite vacation spot of the O’Leary family is right here in Michigan — Mackinac Island.  George Piliouras, poet and blogger has penned a wonderful poetic description of Mackinac Island. His poem is titled: Is This Heaven?  It captures how he feels looking out at the Huron waters from the Chippewa Hotel and the joy he experiences in biking around the Island. This post was originally published on my blog on November 2, 2020.

The Beauty of Northern Michigan

One of the most beautiful areas in Northern Michigan is the Straits of Mackinac which includes Mackinac Island. My family and I have spent numerous summers vacationing on the island and the surrounding areas. Each time we visit, we are always struck by the grandeur and beauty of the scenery, waters, and the Mackinaw Bridge. (The Mighty Mac bridge is turning 63 this year.)


Is This Heaven?
by George Piliouras

“The early July sun made my eyes squint. The air was crisp. The wind gently washes my face as the lull of water swirls below our balcony at our favorite place, the Chippewa Hotel. From my perfect perch on the third-floor deck, I gazed at the breathtaking Catamaran pulling into Arnold’s dock at the pier in Mackinac. The blast of the horn sent the seagulls flyin

The sun burns through the fog in all it’s glory, and sparkles like diamonds on the water, my coffee is perfect. The hard-working team at the Pink Pony, unfold the rows of umbrellas in preparation. I look out at the vastness of water as the hustle of people and boats builds momentum. My work pace begins to fade away from my memory.

The friendly clip-clop of horses filtered through the rumbling of bikes whizzing by. Children giggle and run up to smell the fresh fudge with eyes as wide as saucers, eating ice cream before it melts. The parade of people stroll by, renting bikes, many brought their own.

My wife and I are ready to start our trip today with our bikes up the long hill past the Grand Hotel, as we pass the stables, make a left and disappear into the serenity of the West bluffs.

We take a breath in with our eyes and look at the boats coursing through the water towards the Mackinac bridge. I feel at home, as I reflect on the little town where I grew up.

Is this heaven? No, It’s Mackinac Island. I’m home. Again.”

♦ MJO – 2023

Dear Readers,
One of my favorite essays was written by an eight-year-old boy.  This post was originally published on my blog on March 25, 2021.

Little Boy Explains God —

The following essay was written by an 8-year-old, named Danny Dutton, who lives in Chula Vista, CA.  He wrote it for his third-grade homework assignment, to ‘Explain God.’ I wonder if any of us could have done it as well? Just something to think about today…

Explanation of God —

boy“One of God’s main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die, so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth. He doesn’t make grownups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way he doesn’t have to take up his valuable time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.

God’s second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times besides bedtime. God doesn’t have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this. Because he hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in his ears, unless he has thought of a way to turn it off…

God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you shouldn’t go wasting his time by going over your mom and dad’s head asking for something they said you couldn’t have.’

Atheists are people who don’t believe in God. I don’t think there are any in Chula Vista . At least there aren’t any who come to our church.

Jesus is God’s Son. He used to do all the hard work, like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn’t want to learn about God. They finally got tired of him preaching to them and they crucified him. But he was good and kind, like his father, and he told his father that they didn’t know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said O.K.

His dad (God) appreciated everything that he had done and all his hard work on earth so he told him he didn’t have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So he did. And now he helps his dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things that are important for God to take care of and which ones he can take care of himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more important.

You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the time.

You should always go to church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there’s anybody you want to make happy, it’s God!

Don’t skip church to do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong. And besides, the sun doesn’t come out at the beach until noon anyway”

♦Portions of this post were excerpted from dailychess.com/spirituality and google graphics.

MJO – 2023

Dear Readers,
One of my favorite short story authors is Ernest Hemmingway. An excellent example of his writing is seen in his collection of, The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway. The post featured below was originally published on my blog on August 11, 2020

Book Review

The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway include the first forty-nine stories, with a brief preface by Ernest Hemingway. Many of these short stories I read years ago as a college student, and I later taught several of them as a teacher. The volume includes 14 of the 24 Nick Adams stories. Nick Adams was a fictional character, the protagonist of two dozen short stories and vignettes written in the 1920s and 1930s. Adams was partly inspired by Hemingway’s own experiences, from his summers in Northern Michigan at his family cottage to his service in the Red Cross ambulance corps in World War I. The first of Hemingway’s stories to feature Nick Adams was published in his 1925 collection In Our Time, with Adams appearing as a young child in the collection’s first story, “Indian Camp”. Hemmingway’s greatest quality besides being a good storyteller is his ability to create descriptive scenes in his stories that really give the reader the feeling they are there with the narrator. These are great short stories; I recommend spending some time with Ernest Hemingway’s short stories.

From The Publisher:
This collection includes all the stories from In Our Time, Men Without Women, and Winner Take Northing, plus four additional later stories:

“The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber”
“The Capital of the World”
“The Snows of Kilimanjaro” and
“Old Man at the Bridge”

MJO, March 2023

Mike 2Dear Readers,
This post was originally published on my blog on January 31, 2018.

Today’s Quote: “My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition. ” – Indira Gandhi

Today’s Word: Ostensible adj. Stated or appearing to be true, but not necessarily so. Being such in appearance, plausible rather than demonstrably true or real. “The ostensible purpose of the trip was for business.”

Random Thought: Why does Jello have a strong smell when you add the powder in the water, but when it “gels” the smell is gone?

MJO 2023

Mike Fall 2020Dear Readers,
My weekend posts on The Bookman’s Page are limited to just one brief Thoughtful Quote. Featured below is this Sunday’s quote:

A Thoughtful Quote

“Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal a commitment to excellence that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”

– Mario Andretti –

♦ Portions of this post were excerpted from AtoZ quotes.com.

cropped-mike-fall-2020.jpgDear Readers,
My weekend posts on The Bookman’s Page are limited to just one brief Thoughtful Quote. Featured below is this Saturday’s quote:

A Thoughtful Quote

“I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.”

— E. B. White —

♦ Portions of this post were adapted from goodreads.com.

Mike 2022Dear Readers,
Several weeks ago, I posted that I wasn’t feeling well and that I would be posting some of my previous posts from years past.  As the weeks progressed, I started feeling better and added new medical procedures and medications to my health regime.  I am doing pulmonary rehab therapy three times a week and I am working with my pulmonologist and cardiologist on a regular basis. With all this going on with my health, I haven’t felt very ambitious or creative, however, I do want to keep the blog alive on a daily basis. To that end, I will once again be posting some of my previous posts over my thirteen years of writing the post.  Hopefully, in a few weeks, I’ll be able to get back to creative writing and research.

Today’s post features a post from March 28, 2010:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. ”

– Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles, 1992 (commonly misattributed to Nelson Mandela, 1994 inauguration speech)

MJO 2023

A Little Humor To Begin Your Thursday
But So True.


Portions of this post were adapted from Mike Baldwin’s cornered comic strip.

My friend, Deb writes a daily Haiku, I’ve posted several of them in previous postings.  Yesterday, she posted a very creative one:

before the internet
left to our own devices
meant time for hobbies
Her Haiku reminded me of an article I read some time ago about stress-relieving hobbies:


Stress-Relieving Hobbies

  1. Reading: Studies have shown that just six minutes of reading can help reduce stress levels by up to 60 percent. That’s 68% better than listening to music, 100% better than drinking tea, and 300% better than going for a walk. Reading isn’t a cure for anxiety, but it can help you feel better while doing something you already love.
  2. Gardening: Gardening can be a great stress reliever for many reasons, including getting you into the sunshine and fresh air, creating more beautiful surroundings to come home to each day, and more.
  3. Explore Photography: Whether you simply learn to take better pictures of your friends and family or delve into the world of creating true art, photography can be a great hobby. As you practice seeing the world through the eye of a photographer, you may begin to see things differently. The end results? Not only do you have a diverting hobby and an activity to call your own, but you see the world as a more beautiful place in your daily life.
  4. Scrapbooking: Whether you have a few pictures or boxes of them, scrapbooking can be a great hobby. It combines artistry with journaling to create a unique vehicle for displaying your memories and passing them on to future generations.
  5. Puzzles: Engaging your mind in a puzzle can take your focus off of what’s stressing you, and develop your brain power at the same time. The end result is that you get a nice break, experience some ‘flow’, and come back to your problems with a fresher, stronger mind, which can help you to better handle life’s stressors.
  6. Drawing, Painting, and Coloring: You can get in touch with your artistic side and use drawing as a way to process emotions, distract yourself, and achieve other stress management benefits. The end result will be something beautiful and personal that you can enjoy or share. Coloring is another great stress-relieving activity that has grown in popularity.
  7. Physical Activity or Exercise: Physical activity can not only improve physical health; it can also relieve stress and improve your mental well-being. Look for physical activity or exercise that you enjoy, then start making it a regular part of your life.
  8. Knitting: Aside from helping you create beautiful gifts for yourself and others, knitting provides you with an opportunity to relieve stress. The repetitive motion can get you into an experience of ‘flow’, or can at least provide an outlet for nervous energy.
  9. Playing an Instrument: Music has many health and stress relief benefits. While listening to music can probably be considered a hobby, creating music can be an even more powerful stress-relieving hobby, as it can absorb your attention fully and become a vehicle for creative expression as well.
  10. Writing: Many people have found journaling to be a great stress reliever, and the practice comes with proven stress management and health benefits as well.   Writing, whether in a personal journal, as an amateur author, or even as a professional, is a hobby that can be cathartic and relaxing, and provides something great to share with others.

Of course, there are many more hobbies and activities that could be mentioned, but these are just a few that have been proven to relieve stress and anxiety.  So, the next time you are left to your own devices, try one or more of these hobbies.

♦ Portions of this post were adapted from the very well mind website, Deb’s Haiku, and google graphics.