Oakley, an old oak tree, stood in a field surrounded by young saplings. Although proud of its tall stature and deep roots, Oakley often felt envious of the saplings' youthful beauty.

One day, a strong storm hit the field and the saplings bent and swayed, unable to withstand the winds. Yet Oakley stood tall, deeply rooted in the ground.

The young saplings were in awe of Oakley's strength and wisdom, but also felt a tinge of jealousy for their own vulnerability.

As the years passed, the saplings grew tall and strong, but Oakley remained steadfast.

During the scorching summer days, the young trees would seek refuge under Oakley's shade, grateful for its presence and the lessons it had taught them.

However, Oakley struggled with a newfound sense of purpose and meaning, as it watched the young trees surpass it in height and beauty.

A wise sage visited the field and sat beneath Oakley. The sage listened to Oakley's worries and then said: "Dear Oakley, your beauty lies not in your height or strength but in the lessons you have learned and the wisdom you have gained throughout the years. You have a special role to play in this world, and the young saplings will always seek your guidance and wisdom."

Oakley was filled with a sense of purpose and joy. It realized that growing older was a blessing, not a curse.

With each passing year, it became more beautiful and wiser, and had learned to appreciate the journey of aging. It embraced its role as a mentor and guide for the young saplings and stood tall and proud, basking in the sunshine.

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Vitamin C is a vital nutrient that offers numerous health benefits. A powerful antioxidant that helps protect the body against damaging free radicals and oxidative stress, vitamin C also supports the immune system by stimulating the production of white blood cells, which help fight infections and diseases.

Additionally, vitamin C plays an important role in the production of collagen, a protein that is essential for healthy skin, bones and connective tissues. It also helps the body absorb iron, which is necessary for the formation of red blood cells. In addition to these benefits, vitamin C might also help reduce the severity and duration of the common cold, lower blood pressure and improve heart health.

It's important to note that our body doesn't produce or store vitamin C, so it's essential to consume it regularly through our diet or supplements. To get the most benefits from vitamin C, consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables or take supplements as advised by a healthcare professional.

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April Fools Day, April 1. Prank or be pranked on this day of fun!

World Autism Awareness Day, April 2. Established to increase understanding and acceptance of people with autism and to foster worldwide support.

Groundhog's Day, April 2. Will Punxsutawney Phil see his shadow?

National Sibling Day, April 10. A day to appreciate and cherish your brothers and sisters.

National Jelly Bean Day, April 22. Indulge in your favorite Jelly Bean flavor - and why not share them with your friends and coworkers?

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what is your favorite season?

Spring is a great time to plan. This story is a reminder that planning and persistence take us to more places than imagination alone.

A small seed was planted in the ground just as spring arrived. Although the seed was excited to grow and see the world, as the days passed, it realized that growing was a difficult process. The soil was tough, the sun was hot, the seed was often parched and felt like quitting, but it remembered its goal of growing into a beautiful flower and spreading its petals to the world.

Yet, the seed persevered and pushed through the tough soil and scorching sun. It didn't give up even when it felt like giving in. Finally, after many days of hard work and determination, the seed emerged from the ground as a sprout. As the sprout grew taller and stronger, it realized the obstacles it faced were merely preparing it for the challenges of life. And when spring was in full bloom, the sprout blossomed into a beautiful flower, spreading its petals wide and basking in the sun's warmth.

To the flower's surprise, though, it soon discovered that it was not just any flower. It was a small sapling, destined to grow into a magnificent tree. The flower was amazed at how far it had come and how its perseverance had helped it reach its true potential.

Just like the seed, we might face challenges in life, but if we push through and persevere, we will probably be surprised by the amazing things we can achieve.

Gino Pezzani
DIEN Realty
604-418-9366
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Brightly colored fruits and vegetables get their color from flavanols, which are also found in tea and cocoa.

A small study, reported in Scientific Reports in November 2020, suggests that flavanols increase blood flow to the brain and oxygen uptake that increases the ability to solve problems.

In fact, the results are quick. In the study, people who had faster brain oxygenation after consuming high amounts of flavanols scored higher on cognitive tests and solved problems 11 percent faster. That was just two hours after consuming the flavanols.

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If your real estate agent flipped through a printed copy of the Multiple Listing Service the last time you bought or sold a house, then you might be surprised at how things have changed. Namely, advances in technology have completely upended the market.

Consider this: Most potential buyers have already done a virtual walk-through of a property before ever setting foot in the house. Today's listings are online and often include photos, videos and 3-D walk-throughs. And it's easy to browse online via such sites as Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia and Redfin.

Here are other ways that tech has influenced the real estate market:

Offers are made faster. Today's offers are sent and negotiated via email and don't even require a paper-to-pen signature. E-sign and other software means you can communicate and make changes to contracts in minutes.

Apply for a mortgage online. Gone are the days of making an appointment to fill out reams of paperwork. Today, the entire process can be done online. Granted, you can't plead your case to a loan officer in person, but on the flip side, you don't have to brush your hair. 

Do your research online. Your real estate agent will probably still visit town hall to check records, but a lot of your research can be done online. More and more public records become digitized each year, making it easier and faster to research a property from the comfort of home.

Tech inside of the homes themselves. Homes that have easy access to strong broadband connections are almost always more attractive than those without. More homes are outfitted with smart technology as well, meaning everything from security cameras to garage doors and refrigerators are high tech and can be controlled from mobile devices.

Many factors are up for discussion in any real estate transaction—from price to repairs to possession date. While technology has simplified the real estate search, it also has strengthened the need to retain the services of a real estate agent. He or she will look at the transaction from your perspective, help you negotiate a purchase agreement that meets your needs and allow you to do due diligence before you’re bound to the purchase.

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The Humane Society of Denver says a barking dog can cause neighborhood disputes and violations of animal control ordinances. If your dog's barking has created neighborhood tension, then it's a good idea to discuss the problem with your neighbors and tell them you are taking steps to modify it.

Determine when and for how long your dog barks and what's causing the barking. Is the dog left alone for long periods of time? Is the dog's environment barren, without playmates or toys? Is it a young dog with few outlets for his or her energy? Is it a herding or sporting dog who needs a "job" to be happy?

Recommendations:

Walk your dog daily.

Teach the dog to fetch a ball or Frisbee.

Teach commands for five to 10 minutes a day.

Take an obedience class with your dog.

Provide interesting toys to keep your dog busy when you're not there. Rotating the toys makes them more interesting.

When you are away, don't take away toys as punishment for barking. The dog won't know why the toy is gone. Instead, he or she will be bored and restless, and probably bark more.

When you have to leave for extended periods, take your dog to a "doggie day care" or have someone lined up to take Fido for a walk outside.

Teach your dog a "quiet" command. When he or she barks at someone, allow two or three barks, then say "Quiet." Interrupt the barking by shaking a can filled with pennies; this will startle your dog into being quiet, and then you can present a reward.

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The death of a loved one sets off profound grief that can affect every part of someone's life. According to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, grieving people often feel overwhelmed and unable to tolerate their feelings. Here are seven things that bereaved people should know:

1. It will get better. Some studies say there is a 2-year grief cycle before life really begins to resemble something normal.

2. You can handle the grief. Move through the pain by making space for it. Take breaks, go for a walk, stretch or sit quietly.

3. Nap, sleep more and drink water. Grief is exhausting, so be kind to yourself. Try to avoid alcohol, since it might worsen the grief.

4. When grief hits, think about it as a loop. Your calm might suddenly give way to sadness and crying, but that's not the end. The calm place will return and you will come back to serenity.

5. It's not just sadness. Grief can be a collection of emotions—anger, regret, relief, fear, grief, sadness, loss, and guilt. All these feelings are normal.

6. Look for the meaning. Some people have said grief itself seems useless—just more pointless suffering. But you might also find room for a sense of peace, or it might realign your priorities. Be open to meaning.

7. Proceed gently. Take a bath, avoid emotional TV shows or movies, but enjoy old favorites. Try not to make huge, impulsive changes in your life or lifestyle. Maybe quitting the job you love shouldn't happen right now.

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Owning a pet for a long time keeps you more astute and happy, a study has found. People who own pets seem to have a sharper mind compared to non-pet owners, according to the American Academy of Neurology.

The study, using data from more than 1,300 adults who participated in the University of Michigan's Health and Retirement Study, found that long-term pet ownership was the most beneficial, according to CNN. The key to reaping the highest benefit: ownership of five years or more.

Animal companions don't have to be the fluffy variety. Although dogs and cats were the more prevalent pets in the study, people who owned birds, fish and reptiles saw the same benefits.

The study's authors say that they could only confirm an association, and more research is needed to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between pet ownership and better cognitive health. But the relationship between pet ownership and stress reduction has been well-established in numerous studies, and researchers believe the physiological benefits of pet ownership, such as reduced blood pressure and lower cortisol levels, could positively impact cognitive health.

The study joins a growing body of evidence that supports what animal lovers have known all along: Pets just make life better!

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The humble-tinned sardine has never gotten a fair shake. Tender and a little salty, these tiny members of the herring family typically lack any unpleasant fishy odor or taste, and they are packed with heart- healthy omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B-12, calcium and other beneficial minerals. The American Heart Association recommends eating oily fish twice a week; and tinned fish, such as sardines, are an easy, inexpensive and shelf-stable choice. Combined with heart-healthy avocado and a fried or poached egg, sardine avocado toast is filling and delicious.

Ingredients:

4 slices sturdy bread

1 large ripe avocado

4 large eggs

1 tin sardines (smoked sardines in olive oil is recommended)

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Pinch garlic powder

Balsamic vinegar

Peel and mash the avocado. Add lemon juice and garlic powder, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside, then remove sardine fillets from the oil— about two fillets per slice, depending on the size of the fillets. With a fork, break the fillets into chunks and discard any stray pin bones. Set aside and toast the bread. While your bread toasts, drizzle oil into a skillet and place over medium- high heat until the oil shimmers. Fry eggs to desired doneness (or poach in them boiling water if you prefer a healthier version.)

To serve, spread each slice of toasted bread with mashed avocado and top it with your desired quantity of sardines. Lay the egg on top and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Add more salt and pepper, if desired, and serve.

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