Name: Merlin

Sex: Male (neutered)

Age: approx. 3 years

Breed: Pit Bull Mix

Merlin is a sweet, gentle dog with so much love to give. He is great with other dogs of all sizes, and loves children. Merlin will tolerate the presence of cats, but should not be considered 100% cat safe. His very favorite thing to do is to cuddle up and lay his head in your lap for lots of petting. When not cuddling, he enjoys stretching his legs in the field, then cooling off with a dip in the creek. Merlin is current on all shots, heartworm treatment and Frontline, has been neutered and has regular vet checkups with a clean bill of health. Merlin’s forever family can adopt him by contacting Southwest Missouri K9s or April Turner at UTurn Studios (417-844-6620 or


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Thoughts Become Things

The book The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale is worth a scan regardless if you are already a positive thinker; and certainly read it if you are not.  It focuses on the power of thought and most of us could use a course on taking control of our thought processes.  In today’s world we want to control the things that we can’t but neglect the things w e acutally have power over. Yes, you have power to direct your thoughts. If you don’t like the events in your life, how about changing them?  Nothing happens overnight.  With time you can retrain your brain to think better.  Skeptical minds must pause and give the alternative process a chance to prove their worth. Thought can do many things like build character, enhance health, attract success.  Just the practice of having better, happier thoughts will lift your spirits.

It’s not “magic” or any New Age theory but just making a decision not to entertain thoughts that do you damage. One example is that when someone is rude to you then we tend to play the episode over and over, thus growing the bad thought by feeding into it’s need for attention.  The bad thought sprouts like a vine, It spreads to more bad thoughts which intensify and even stretch out to others around you.  It’s like a cancer. However, you are human and have every right to feel.  When someone is rude and hurts you, feel it-but quickly move the thought to a better one.  Let the good thought be the one that buds and grows out to you and the people around you.

Take it from an optimist in training, small steps are the key to making any change stick. The idea of happy thoughts outweighing negative ones sound good. However, getting them to present themselves more often than not seems too good to be true. If you don’t try you will never know what you might be missing.  If it doesn’t work at least you were happy while you gave it a try. -pm

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Fall Back, Fast Forward

We’ve moved the clocks to “gain” an hour but the time speeds on by. This time of year screams go, go, go! Hustle and bustle is the phrase that pays when November and December come around. Retail thrives on people needing quick solutions to food, gifts, and anything else that might come up last minute. People really stress out this time of year and sometimes it seems that there is no escape from the madness. Treat yourself, friends, and family to some downtime. Take a quiet hike in the woods or walk your dog. Bundle up, go out and get some fresh air. It’s good for the brain and the light exercise will lower your blood pressure while burning off some of those extra holiday calories. If you are needing to conserve calories, maybe you’ve got a big race you are training for, the supplemental stress reducers might be better served by light stretching or deep breathing exercises. Sure this time of year can get rowdy but take some time to get away so you can recharge your energy and enjoy the craziness with everyone else. Moods are infectious, be the one spreading good cheer! -pm

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Bend Not Break

Stretching does is beneficial for improving circulation, flexibility, posture, and those are just a few things. There is some argument as to if stretching prevents injury. Regardless it is good for you to do if you are doing the proper stretches the proper way.

Dr. Jolie Bookspan has a site that recommends which stretches help and which ones don’t do so much. Often, the first stretch that comes to mind is to bend over and reach for the toes. This is not a bad thing to do but not one of the most beneficial considering that we don’t need to focus on the types of stretching that bend us forward. These muscles are over-stretched as it is so it is necessary to focus on a variety that will strengthen and improve mobility all around.

Don’t forget to avoid ballistic (bouncy) movements and to stretch to the point of ease – not pain. The idea is to bend not break! Hold the pose for 30 seconds and remember to breath. -pm

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Energy Flow

Working might not be as bad if the workday were only 8 hours start to finish. Unfortunately there is commute time, lunch time, prep time-because your healthy lunch isn’t going to pack itself and your clothes won’t climb out of the closet perfectly coordinated. There is a laundry list of work that goes into getting to work. It can zap your energy if you let it. Of course keeping fit is one of the best remedies to keep energy levels up. Throughout the day our bodies need to keep that blood flow going as a means to stay energetic.

There are numerous ways to get moving while stuck at work, it just calls for a little creativity. Here are a few to get you going:

Stretching is one of the most obvious and easiest ways to get the blood flowing.

Keeping good posture ensures a good flow of oxygen to the brain.

Take a walk while discussing a project with a co-worker.

Find tasks that encourage movement. Stand up while you talk on the phone, do some toe raises or lunges.

Take deep breaths several times through the day.

Visit SparksPeople for more ideas!

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Take a Stand

Are you having a mental block? Do you feel like your brain is stuck and you can’t get the wheels turning? Stand up! Brain activity improves when you move your body. Many of the desk jobs that people have require a great deal of brain power. So why then are we stuck to a chair for 8+ hours a day? Perhaps someday it will be a commonality to have a versatile standing-sitting work station so employees can get blood pumping power right to their brains. Until then try to take frequent stretch breaks, small walks, and consider standing while you read or talk on the phone. Not only will you be benefiting your brain you will be burning a few extra calories too!

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The Fitness Realm

Forever Fit is one of my mottoes. Feeling fit invigorates me inside and outside my body. Fitness is a realm. It’s a realm because fitness is not only a 30 minute cardio burn. Your “realm” might embody a deep, cleansing breath, a soulful stretch, or a warm, reassuring smile.

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