HAS THE PAST year of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related civil unease got you frustrated? Have events caused mood changes, irritation, resentment, depression or feelings of exasperation?

You’re not alone. The past year has disrupted the lives and dreams of most Americans. Lives have been lost, routines altered and it’s uncertain when we can start putting our lives back together. It’s been a perfect storm. We can’t seem to agree on anything. Frustration has made for a tough year even for an optimist.

The following story about a Texas kindergarten teacher sums up the frustration most of us feel about the dysfunction our government is mired in as they make everything a calamity.

The teacher was helping one of her students put on his cowboy boots. He asked for help and she could see why. Even with her pulling and him pushing, the little boots still didn’t want to go on. By the time they got the second boot on, she had worked up a sweat.

She almost cried when the boy said “Teacher, they’re on the wrong feet.” Sure enough, they were. It wasn’t any easier pulling the boots off than it was putting them on.

She managed to keep her cool as together they worked to get the boots back on, this time on the right feet. He then announced “These aren’t my boots.”

She bit her tongue rather than get right in his face and scream “Why didn’t you say so?” like she wanted to. Once again, she struggled to help him pull the ill-fitting boots off his little feet.

No sooner had they gotten the boots off when he said “They’re my brother’s boots. My mom made me wear them.” Now, she didn’t know if she should laugh or cry, but she mustered up what grace and courage she had left to wrestle the boots on his feet again.

Helping him into his coat, she asked “Now, where are your mittens?” He replied “I stuffed them in the toes of my boots.”

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A FELLOW by the name of Charles Swindoll once said “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.” Swindoll, age 86, is an author, educator and radio preacher based in Texas.

“Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, education, money, circumstances, failures, successes, what other people think or say or do.

“It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company, a church or a home.

“The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past, we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.

“We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have and that is our attitude.

“I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you, we are in charge of our attitude.”

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BIG NUMBERS can be a head-scratcher. Take a trillion. A trillion is a million million. It is a thousand billion. The U.S. Treasury said there is $1.8 trillion in circulation or about $6,000 for each American.

A billion seconds ago would be 1987. A trillion seconds ago would be 30,000 B.C. A trillion $1 bills would weigh about 2.2 billion pounds or more than 630,000 midsized cars. Is it any wonder we’re headed toward a cashless economy?

A trillion pennies stacked on top of each other would create a tower 870,000 miles high. That would reach to the moon, back to Earth and then, back to the moon again.