The Breakfast

“The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance. “ Brian Tracy In a phone conversation, he asks if I would be willing to share a few words at an upcoming breakfast. He is Marty O’Malley, Financial Life Leader and Director of L’Arche Mobile, a non-profit organization that is a favorite of Carol’s, my wife, and mine. Involved with this group a long time, we have contributed financially and with many volunteer hours. Our participation evolves over … [Read more...]

Broken Glass

“There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself.”     Henry David Thoreau It’s not the first time for my sisters and me. The shattering sound confirms that the drink container that was in my hand seconds earlier is now in many pieces on the hardwood floor. My first reaction to the mishap is disbelief – surely it had not occurred. How could I be so clumsy? My second reaction is to apologize, of course, but … [Read more...]

A Few Keystrokes

“You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life” Zig Ziglar Another birthday has come and gone. For a number of years, I have been telling my kids to not give me any more presents. I suggest they buy something special for their families, or donate time or money to one of my favorite charities. They accept and honor my request.  In this transition, I discover something I still need, which my two daughters (and eight grandchildren) can offer. The difference it … [Read more...]

Hopscotch

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!” Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! Dr. Theodor Seuss The theme for our meeting today at Toastmasters is ‘old-fashioned fun.’ The facilitator provides the questions for our topic and selects different members to share their answers. It’s a great session, soon evolving into a focus on old games enjoyed during childhood. When Hopscotch is mentioned, I am immediately transported back into my … [Read more...]

Being Connected

“The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.” Aristotle (384-322BC) “Being aware is more important than being smart.” This is a quote from the book, Sacred Hoops: Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior, written by Phil Jackson, NBA All-American and former head coach of the Chicago Bulls. Phil Jackson had the privilege of coaching one of, if not the greatest of players in NBA history – Michael Jordan. He knew that Michael … [Read more...]

Road Signs

“I am impressed when people do not get stuck. When you move, things change.”  Dianne Watkins, R.N. (and my sister) There are a lot of road signs in our country.  When you travel, you can’t help but notice them. Many cities have adopted ordinances restricting their placement. When a political campaign is on-going, it seems that signs multiply – no law can stop them. What is the purpose of a road sign? Some signs give instructions needed immediately; others tell us what to expect in the near … [Read more...]

Hello . . . . . Goodbye

“Happy trails to you, until we meet again.”  Ʊ Dale Evans The Beatles recorded a song in the 60s that included these lyrics: “You say hello, and I say goodbye.” ‘Hello’ and ‘goodbye’ are words frequently spoken and heard in our daily lives. Leaving our homes to go to work or school, we say goodbye to other family members.  In the first few seconds of seeing someone for the first time on any given day, our greeting is “Hi,” “Hello” or “How are you doing?”  As we come and go throughout … [Read more...]

Popcorn Man

"Nothing is perfect. Life is messy. Relationships are complex."  Hugh Mackay, author of The Good Life.   “It was something about popcorn the gentleman was saying as I walked past him.  Uncertain as to all of the words just spoken, I turned back to greet him.  In a friendly, questioning tone, I asked, “Pardon me?”  We were in the Delta Air Lines Sky Club® lounge at the Atlanta Airport.  For frequent air travelers, this room is a welcome respite, especially if you have a long layover between … [Read more...]

The Toughest Thing About Communication

I am in the audience for the Wednesday Noon gathering of Toastmasters in downtown Mobile. Our speaker, the past president of the Club, leans over and cups her hands around her ears, just like someone does when intently trying to listen in a noisy environment. It is a great opening, with significant relevance to her speech on communication. The audience sits up to take notice. Her theme – the importance of listening and the inherent difficulties – are the points she makes throughout the … [Read more...]

Are Positive People Ever Negative?

Have you wondered if positive people are ever negative? Do they get down or experience disappointment? Do they ever have a bad attitude? The truth is, bad things happen to everyone. All of us have challenges in life. There are disillusionments. We do not get everything we want. Sometimes we lose. We have family, friends and coworkers who suffer. There is sickness and death. What we expect does not always happen. Our deepest desires sometime become our largest disappointments. Life is … [Read more...]