Effort is How to Succeed

“Success is almost totally dependent upon drive and persistence. The extra energy required to make another effort or try another approach is the secret of winning.” Denis Waitley The excited raised voices in the cockpit of The Great Gab-Sea communicate that one crew member has a fish on his line. From my view atop the flybridge, I can see Justin and the rod he is holding bent over the side of the boat. Our young angler is holding on for dear life. First mate Ben quickly moves to Justin’s aid … [Read more...]

Plant A Tree

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.”  Chinese Proverb Hopefully you are different than most people. But, by now – in mid-March – many New Year’s resolutions have fallen by the wayside for a great number of well-intentioned folks.  The fact that it is still early in the year can be an uncomfortable reminder of something we really meant to do, yet have once again failed. This year was going to be the year we get it done! Lose weight. Exercise weekly. … [Read more...]

Boom-Boom Room

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.”       Henry David Thoreau As I walk into the room, I see Bert whom I had earlier agreed to meet here. I am a new resident in Mobile, having arrived a couple of weeks earlier in response to a job offer and promotion from the regional director of Woolco, a division of the F.W. Woolworth Company, my employer. When you are single and in your 20s, getting settled into a new town is a process full of … [Read more...]

Little Sister

“Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.”      Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Seeing the familiar number on my cell phone, I quickly press the button and say, “Hello, Janice.”  She begins, “Hey, Robert.”  (Unfortunately, at this point in my life, I am always a little nervous when answering the phone call from one of my sisters).  I am thinking about the possibility of bad news. It is part of being a certain age. Parents experience this when children call, … [Read more...]

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...]