Just Coffee

“Life is an echo. What you send out, comes back. What you sow, you reap. What you give, you get. What you see in others, exists in you.” Zig Ziglar   As Matt approaches the counter, he remembers what had happened just a week earlier in this same convenience store. As he pulled out his wallet to pay for a cup of coffee, the clerk told him that an elderly gentleman who had just left the store had already covered the cost of his beverage. Matt hurriedly sought and found this thoughtful … [Read more...]

Tee-Shirt Message

“Never, never, never give up.”    Sir Winston Churchill ‘The harder you train, the smaller your obstacles become” were the words imprinted on the back of his tee-shirt. We were with our grandkids at a yogurt shop in Orange Beach -- everyone  was chomping into delicious desserts. Fifteen-year old Chase, when questioned about the meaning of the motto he was sporting on his comfortable apparel, responded quizzically that he was uncertain about the slogan; nor could he remember how he acquired … [Read more...]

The End

“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” T.S. Eliot “You can stop taking your blood pressure medicine. You no longer need it.” His welcomed words were the unbelievable end to a three-year journey. The beginning of that story, three years earlier, took place in his office with the words, “You are on the way to stroke, diabetes and early death.” The gradual evolution of that journey reminds me of so many movies. … [Read more...]

Comfort and Joy

“Today is the only day. Yesterday is gone.” John R. Wooden (The ‘Wizard of Westwood’) It is Saturday morning – Christmas Eve. The last three days have been very busy for Carol and me.  After hosting a party for L’Arche (a local organization we support) on Wednesday, attending our company’s (Hackbarth Delivery Service) party on Thursday, Carol’s family gathered at our home for an annual Christmas celebration on Friday.  Over 30 relatives joined us. Later this afternoon, we will join our … [Read more...]

The Waiting Room

“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.”      Lao Tzu He is probably in his seventies, I think.  Accompanied by his wife, the gentleman follows the staff assistant into the small, crowded waiting room. Over an hour has elapsed since  I arrived at the clinic – an eye clinic where I have had optical care for 30 years, always seeing the same doctor. Reflecting on three decades of association with this physician, I do not … [Read more...]

The Letter

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”      Ralph Waldo Emerson My non-verbal facial reaction and slightly audible ‘hmmm’ from our seats in the back row of the audience informs Carol, my wife, of my chagrin for the facilitation of this particular part of the marriage preparation weekend being presented by the other couple teaming with us.  Roger and Dottie are propounding instructions for a non-scheduled, unwelcomed outline change. Instead of the … [Read more...]


“You may delay, but time will not.” Benjamin Franklin He looked at the chart notes the nurse had written, documenting my vital statistics –  weight and blood pressure. With his usual smile to which I had become accustomed nowhere to be found, he stated haunting words I will remember the rest of my life: “Rob, you are headed for diabetes, stroke and early death.” The words landed on me like a giant wave crashing on the beach!  Stunned, I could hardly catch my breath while trying to comprehend … [Read more...]

Don’t Waste Your Life

I believe every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don’t intend to waste any of mine.” Maj. Gen. Neil A. Armstrong (USAF, Ret.) My wife Carol and I are enjoying, with family and friends, Jimmy Buffett in concert at The Wharf in Orange Beach.   Even though his origin as a well-known entertainer was in the early 70s, there are, surprisingly, many young people in attendance at this performance. I guess parents are passing on ‘their music’ from t. hat bygone era. One of Buffett’s … [Read more...]

The Bombardier

“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” Albert Schweitzer, M.D., Ph.D. The explosive sound of sharp shrapnel piercing the thick metal signifies that his plane has been hit – struck multiple times. Damage is substantial. A certain crash is impending. As a bombardier, he automatically performs the first task that he was taught in training: immediately … [Read more...]

Pay Attention

“Even the simplest actions you take . . . matter beyond measure . . . and they matter forever.” Andy Andrews   Source: The Noticer Close calls in death are not the only big moments we forever remember. Special occasions are usually not forgotten. Weddings, graduations, awards, games, birthdays, et cetera --   the list goes on. Within a single instant, we can remember when life changed for us. What about that moment when we learned an invaluable life lesson? If we add the close calls, plus … [Read more...]