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My world - Martha Carr

To make Rice Krispies Cheese Cookies, mix 1 c. or 1/2 pd. butter, softened, 1/2 pd. shredded cheddar cheese, 2 c. Rice Krispies, 2 c. flour, dash of red pepper (to taste). Form into cookies and press a piece of pecan into the center (optional). Bake in hot oven at 450 on ungreased sheet for 8 to 12 minutes. Serve room temperature, store in refrigerator.

OK, I included the recipe because it's a great one that's hard to mess up, and because I knew that would attract more people to clip out the column. Everyone's been giving out plenty of advice these days on how to get more of just about anything, and I've been told I need to step up my game.

Anyone who has a Facebook or Twitter account, has seen the trend. It's amazing how many gurus have popped up who regularly hand out some tidbit of wisdom that really means nothing. I've been feeling the pressure, but didn't want to acquiesce completely and decided to really give readers a little something. I'm throwing out a little bait so that readers will want to share with their friends. It's in my nature to look for the gift with purchase. Besides having a lot of old southern recipes full of fat, I also know how to tap dance really well and, some day, I hope I get the opportunity to be a foster parent.

It's also in my nature to ask for advice and then take the parts that I already agreed with and ignore the rest. Then search for more advice and do the same, building my own Frankenstein of a plan. Later, I'd wonder why it didn't turn out as I had hoped, again. However, as I've mentioned before, I've changed my ways and now I'm sticking to it. Fortunately, I've been graced with some very tolerant, positive friends who also don't tolerate whining. That combination has been key.

They don't offer advice unless asked, and when they give advice and no one takes it, they catch on and stop listening at all. However, just as important, as I've taken the first small steps, they've cheered me on to the next step.

So, here's where I am so far. I've managed to get myself to the new gym in my neighborhood a minimum of four times a week, so far, and take part in Pilates class. Chris, who works behind the desk, has agreed to run a 5k with me in the fall. I'm thinking the Chocolate Run in Chicago had me in mind. There is lots of chocolate given out along the route.

On the career front, I have actually started to listen to my agent, take her advice and have managed to keep the questions to a minimum, so far. That part has been the hardest all the way around. I've wanted to analyze, pull apart and ask, what does it all mean, but that's annoying because it's a question without a possible answer. No one can tell me for sure what the future holds.

Really, in the past, I had no trust in much of anything and was using the questions as a delay tactic or as a means to not get rejected. The end result, though, was that I wasn't sticking in one place long enough to build anything above the ground floor.

I've also found places in Chicago to be of service, such as www.imerman.org, which supports cancer patients and their families and, www.iamepic.org, that provides free media work for nonprofits. I get the opportunity to be of service and meet people in my community. Volunteering on a regular basis is the best way to remember it's not all about me, ever.

Enjoy the cookies, but even more important, enjoy your life where it is today, the way it is and then brush your teeth, say your prayers and go to bed. Tomorrow's another day full of adventure and you'll want to be ready. More adventures to follow.

Martha's column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc., newspaper syndicate. E-mail Martha at: Martha@caglecartoons.com