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Monday Morning Mojo: Finding Happiness in Everyday Circumstances

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

“Remember that happiness is a way of travel, not a destination.” –Roy L. Goodman


Look for positives, not negatives

Many people complain about the price of gas, though few ever take the time to stop and be intentionally happy about the fact that they own a car! As it turns out, we can find a positive almost immediately underneath any negative—and looking for the ‘positive’ in every situation could be the key to unlocking genuine happiness.


Smile more often

This might seem a bit cheesy, but smiling can actually make you feel a lot better about things. People who walk around wearing scowls all day definitely don’t derive any benefits from it. They look miserable, they tend to exude a very negative aura, and they are much less likely to get a positive response from those around them.


People who smile, on the other hand, are basically inviting positivity—especially if they can manage to fuel it with true happiness and thankfulness on the inside.


Be the ‘nice person’

Spotting angry, frustrated, or grumpy people around us isn’t that difficult—but it’s also not exactly memorable. Far more memorable are the ‘nice’ people that we meet throughout the day. The gas station attendant who smiles, the teacher who asks us how our day is going, the manager who helps without acting mad about it—these are the types of people who make days better for others.


Of course, these types can be tough to find sometimes—so why not choose to be this person? Make memories by leaving a positive, uplifting impression. Fight negativity with a smile and kind words. Make people feel good about themselves by treating them with respect and dignity.


Taking time out of your day to do any of these things can make a huge difference.


And last, but definitely not least… don’t fall into the trap of thinking that someone or something else is required to make you happy. You might spend your entire life trying to chase it—only to realize in the end that happiness was, in fact, not something that you had to acquire or achieve, but something that you create within yourself.

Monday Morning Mojo: Do as much as you can with what you’ve got

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

“If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.” –Napoleon Hill


Some of the most successful people who have ever lived were people who got stuff done one step at a time. Everyone wants to succeed at the big stuff—but it’s when you develop an eye for the ‘smaller’ things that you really begin to make the world a better place.


Not as many people care about the smaller things—but small things add up to make big things. Long-term goals are achieved in small portions, and small portions of goals are achieved in our daily routines and rituals. Choosing to succeed often begins with the ‘random’ moments when nothing else is going on. What you choose to do with that extra day off, or even with that extra hour during the afternoon—these are the things that determine success.


If you ever feel limited by circumstances, then take heart in the fact that you are definitely not the only one who has felt that way. Many people give up because they don’t have enough money, resources, or talent—but in truth, the only thing that you truly need for success is the willingness to move forward, to learn, and never to give up.


Never let a lack of resources stop you from dreaming big. If you can’t afford college right now, educate yourself and learn with library books while you save up for it. If you can’t afford to buy that house right now, make your apartment the nicest in the building while you work toward buying something bigger. If you don’t have the strength today to do 300 pushups, then do as many as you can—and then do crunches on top of that.


Do the very best with what you have to work with. Make yourself the most efficient professional in sight, and never miss an opportunity to work toward something better.

Monday Morning Mojo: Give the greatest Christmas gift of all

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

If you’re anything like me, then you probably hate shopping for Christmas gifts. It’s not because you don’t like buying things for people—it’s just that it can be very, very difficult to know what to buy. Nowadays, it can sometimes seem like people have everything. It also seems like it gets more and more difficult to get people things that they can actually use. Unless you know them very, very well—you are more than likely going to be taking a shot in the dark if you buy them anything other than a gift card.


But gift cards also tend to be sort of ‘blah’. I mean, their nice—but to me, it always seems like I’m saying “Hi, I don’t really know you well enough to know what to buy you, so here’s a gift card.”


Again, I don’t want to knock the gift cards—but sometimes I want to give people something that’s a bit more meaningful.


Here are three possible gift ideas that are a little bit different—but that just might solve your problem. As it turns out, you might not have to buy the right thing—and here’s why. The greatest gift of all might be made of something better than plastic, steel, or wood. Giving someone a little bit of your time might be all that is required to give the very best Christmas gift possible.


Cook a Christmas dinner for your friends and sit down to visit afterwards

Inviting someone over for a Christmas dinner might seem sort of ‘normal’, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t be appreciated. Plus, once dinner is over, you can make it a point to sit down and to spend some quality time together. Ask them how everything is going. Catch up on current news. Display interest in who they are and what they’re doing. Take some time to learn about them, and make them feel like you truly value their company.


Have a play-day with your children

Kids can be tough to buy presents for sometimes—but this Christmas, try to make sure that they get some quality time with you as well. Spend some time playing with baby dolls or action figures. Take them to lunch or treat them to a milkshake. Ask them how their day has been. Some of the most rewarding conversations I’ve ever had have been with my 3 year old daughter. She always has something to say, and I’ve never regretted taking the time to let her tell me what’s going on in her life.


We don’t always do a good job of remembering that our children really value time spent together—so try to keep that in mind, and remember that your relationship is more important than toys or gadgets.


Make a phone call to a distant relative

Sometimes talking to distant relatives can be awkward—but picking up the phone and doing it anyway is good for everyone. Try to catch up and take an interest in their life. Invite them over for dinner and tell them how much you miss them. Let them know that you’ve been thinking about them, and wish them a merry Christmas.


It might seem like a simple gesture—but sometimes the simplest gestures are the most memorable ones.

Monday Morning Mojo: 3 tips for staying more focused at work

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

Here are a few tips that might help you to stay ‘on target’ as you navigate a busy, yet important holiday season at work. Some of these tips may not work for everyone, but there’s a good chance that at least one of them will give you an edge when it comes to finishing up those slow, tedious workdays.


1… Try to break larger tasks down into smaller ones

Focusing on a larger project in its entirety might make you more likely to run out of steam. It may also cause your attention to wander. Instead, focus on small, individual tasks that will eventually enable you to complete the bigger overall goal. This will keep you motivated, and will likely help the time to pass by faster as you check tasks off of your list.


2… Go to bed a little bit earlier the night before

Having trouble focusing could be an indication that you aren’t getting enough sleep. Try going to bed an hour or two earlier and see if it makes a difference. You might find yourself feeling more rested and ready for the day as a result.


3… Remind yourself that you must stay on target to succeed

For me, one of the best reminders to stay focused is to remember that I won’t be successful if I don’t keep moving. This is true in any job or career. If you don’t keep moving forward and getting things accomplished, then you might find yourself treading water—or even sinking!


If nothing else, remember that you can always take a quick break from your normal routine to try and ‘revitalize’ your mindset. Going for a quick walk, drinking a fresh cup of coffee, or even just standing up and stretching for five minutes are all methods that you can use to get yourself back into the right frame of mind.


At 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time (12:55 p.m. EST) on December 7, 1941, Japanese fighter planes attacked the U.S. base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, launching one of the deadliest attacks in American history. The assault, which lasted less than two hours, claimed the lives of more than 2,500 people, wounded 1,000 more and damaged or destroyed 18 American ships and nearly 300 airplanes. Almost half of the casualties at Pearl Harbor occurred on the naval battleship USS Arizona, which was hit four times by Japanese bombers. As we commemorate the 73rd anniversary of this “date which will live in infamy,” as President Franklin D. Roosevelt described it on December 8, 1941, explore five little-known facts about the USS Arizona and the attack that plunged America into war.



1. Twenty-three sets of brothers died aboard the USS Arizona.

There were 37 confirmed pairs or trios of brothers assigned to the USS Arizona on December 7, 1941. Of these 77 men, 62 were killed, and 23 sets of brothers died. Only one full set of brothers, Kenneth and Russell Warriner, survived the attack; Kenneth was away at flight school in San Diego on that day and Russell was badly wounded but recovered. Both members of the ship’s only father-and-son pair, Thomas Augusta Free and his son William Thomas Free, were killed in action.

Though family members often served on the same ship before World War II, U.S. officials attempted to discourage the practice after Pearl Harbor. However, no official regulations were established, and by the end of the war hundreds of brothers had fought—and died¬—together. The five Sullivan brothers of Waterloo, Iowa, for instance, jointly enlisted after learning that a friend, Bill Ball, had died aboard the USS Arizona; their only condition upon enlistment was that they be assigned to the same ship. In November 1942, all five siblings were killed in action when their light cruiser, the USS Juneau, was sunk during the Battle of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.



2. The USS Arizona’s entire band was lost in the attack.

Almost half of the casualties at Pearl Harbor occurred on the naval battleship USS Arizona, which was hit four times by Japanese bombers and eventually sank. Among the 1,177 crewmen killed were all 21 members of the Arizona’s band, known as U.S. Navy Band Unit (NBU) 22. Most of its members were up on deck preparing to play music for the daily flag raising ceremony when the attack began. They instantly moved to man their battle positions beneath the ship’s gun turret. At no other time in American history has an entire military band died in action.

The night before the attack, NBU 22 had attended the latest round of the annual “Battle of Music” competition between military bands from U.S. ships based at Pearl Harbor. Contrary to some reports, NBU 22 did not perform, having already qualified for the finals set to be held on December 20, 1941. Following the assault, the unit was unanimously declared the winner of that year’s contest, and the award was permanently renamed the USS Arizona Band Trophy.



3. Fuel continues to leak from the USS Arizona’s wreckage.

On December 6, 1941, the USS Arizona took on a full load of fuel—nearly 1.5 million gallons—in preparation for its scheduled trip to the mainland later that month. The next day, much of it fed the explosion and subsequent fires that destroyed the ship following its attack by Japanese bombers. However, despite the raging fire and ravages of time, some 500,000 gallons are still slowly seeping out of the ship’s submerged wreckage: Nearly 75 years after its demise, the USS Arizona continues to spill up to 9 quarts of oil into the harbor each day. In the mid-1990s, environmental concerns led the National Park Service to commission a series of site studies to determine the long-term effects of the oil leakage.

Some scientists have warned of a possible “catastrophic” eruption of oil from the wreckage, which they believe would cause extensive damage to the Hawaiian shoreline and disrupt U.S. naval functions in the area. The NPS and other governmental agencies continue to monitor the deterioration of the wreck site but are reluctant to perform extensive repairs or modifications due to the Arizona’s role as a “war grave.” In fact, the oil that often coats the surface of the water surrounding the ship has added an emotional gravity for many who visit the memorial and is sometimes referred to as the “tears of the Arizona,” or “black tears.”



4. Some former crewmembers have chosen the USS Arizona as their final resting place.

The bonds between the crewmembers of the USS Arizona have lasted far beyond the ship’s loss on December 7, 1941. Since 1982, the U.S. Navy has allowed survivors of the USS Arizona to be interred in the ship’s wreckage upon their deaths. Following a full military funeral at the Arizona memorial, the cremated remains are placed in an urn and then deposited by divers beneath one of the Arizona’s gun turrets. To date, more than 30 Arizona crewmen who survived Pearl Harbor have chosen the ship as their final resting place. Crewmembers who served on the ship prior to the attack may have their ashes scattered above the wreck site, and those who served on other vessels stationed at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, may have their ashes scattered above their former ships. As of November 2011, only 18 of the 355 crewmen who survived the bombing of the USS Arizona are known to be alive.



5. A memorial was built at the USS Arizona site, thanks in part to Elvis Presley.

After the USS Arizona sank, its superstructure and main armament were salvaged and reused to support the war effort, leaving its hull, two gun turrets and the remains of more than 1,000 crewmen submerged in less than 40 feet of water. In 1949 the Pacific War Memorial Commission was established to create a permanent tribute to those who had lost their lives in the attack on Pearl Harbor, but it wasn’t until 1958 that President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation to create a national memorial. The funds to build it came from both the public sector and private donors, including one unlikely source. In March 1961, entertainer Elvis Presley, who had recently finished a two-year stint in the U.S. Army, performed a benefit concert at Pearl Harbor’s Block Arena that raised over $50,000—more than 10 percent of the USS Arizona Memorial’s final cost. The monument was officially dedicated on May 30, 1962, and attracts more than 1 million visitors each year.

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Diane Cardano & Associates
CARDANO Realtors
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Abington PA 19001
Office: 215-576-8666
Fax: 215-576-8677