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Review and Renew
December 31, 2018
Here we are, on the cusp of a new year. Many people make big plans to
celebrate on New Year's Eve and people are typically in a hopeful and
celebratory mood. All good.
But because I try to live one day at a time and be present to each
moment, I find that the end of the year does bring about reflection.
However, I am not that big on New Year's resolutions. I do like to
renew my commitments to live for today and to do better. You might
notice that I said, "do better" instead of "do my best". Best is the
goal, but progress is how I measure. I know myself well enough to
recognize that I will and do make mistakes.
Failure and change are as much a part of life as success and growth.
The key is to keep progressing while not getting too down on yourself
or being lazy, or worse, oblivious to what needs to be changed and
Here's to the Review and Renew
process. Be true to your dreams. Be the best you that you were born to
be. These are good and worthy goals for anytime and especially into
2019. Thank you for sharing time on your life story journey with me. I
am grateful for all who visit this site, who read the content, and for
the many people I have worked with and learned from this past year.
Happy New Year everyone!
Asking the Right
December 23, 2018
It's the Holiday Season and as you gather with family and friends it is
natural to renew our relationships and talk about our lives. This is
typical. What is not so typical is spending the time to preserve the
stories about our lives and families for us to appreciate and for
future generations to learn about us.
When I interview people about their lives I like to prepare a list of
questions. It doesn't mean I don't leave room for spontaneity. It is
very important to let the interview unfold like a conversation. But it
helps to have some starting points and to think in advance about areas
How do we know what are the right questions? I think it is anything
that gets us really reminiscing about what matters most to us. Some are
lighthearted, like the great family stories passed down through the
years. Others can be more thought-provoking, such as what your values
are or what life lessons have been most important.
I've got a few thought-starters for you with this article, The
Right Questions. See what you think and I hope that you
get a chance to have some good Q&A with the people that matter
most in your life.
December 18, 2018
Rock n' Roll songwriter/musicians have impacted my life as much as "The
Boss" - Bruce Springsteen. As a kid just out of high school in upstate
New York that summer was one of listening over and over to The Wild, the Innocent and the E
Man, songs like "Rosalita" had my heart and fist pumping rock
roll victory thrusts. One of my best buddies, John Yerka, and I had a
job cleaning and painting a beach house on a nearby lake and we'd talk
about Springsteen a lot. And we loved it when the radio would blast a
Springsteen tune. The man - as so man have known for years - just has
rock n' roll in his blood.
In 1975, while at the University of Oklahoma, I saw one of the best
concerts of my life when Springsteen and the E. Street Band practically
blew the roof off the Civic Center in Oklahoma City. This was when
Bruce was on both the covers of Time
magazines and the Born to Run
album was out. The show was riveting with a night of sweet
foot-stomping, bottom-shaking, soul-making, sweat-breaking rock and
soul! It was just amazing.
So, being a life-long fan of Springsteen I was naturally anxious to see
the Springsteen on
I couldn't go to New York, but fortunately Netflix is streaming one of
the shows in a excellently produced special. Bruce reminisces about his
life, growing up, his sometimes embattled but ultimately redeeming
relationship with his father, other family members and his career
journey. It is passionate and heartfelt. I read Springsteen's memoir, Born to Run, last
year and much of the Broadway show feeds on that material. All in all,
well worth watching is you are a fan.
Best Part of Feeling Better
December 16, 2018
There are times when we are down, depressed or ill. These struggling
times can take a toll. Yet when we finally feel better it gives us a
new perspective and a relief that I find very valuable and gratifying.
I realize that many people have experiences that are hard to deal with.
When we lose a loved one or have
life setback it is completely normal to suffer. The good news is we do
not have to remain in the suffering. I believe there is always a silver
lining, even when it is not apparent.
I am very fortunate that I have a loving family and friends who support
me and help me through the hard times. I have much to be grateful for
and staying in touch with that is one of the keys to my mental and
This past Saturday marked another "trip around the sun" for me as I had
my 63rd birthday. I realize I am heading towards senior citizenship,
although I certainly don't feel like it. I am, however, becoming an
elder. That can be an important responsibility as we share our strength
and experience with others, especially our families. This can be a
primary reason for creating a memoir, a life story that explores and
shares the milestones of our lives and the lessons we have learned.
Fortunately I am not dealing with any "blue" feelings this holiday
season. But I did have a bout of food poisoning on my birthday and it
made for a miserable day in bed without food and a lot of stomach pain.
The good news (yes, there is some) is that today I am feeling better.
The best part of feeling better is realizing that the illness and
suffering can and do pass. I know it sounds simplistic, but honestly
just being able to eat and hold something down feels really good
There is another lesson that comes from going through a painful
experience, be it a stomach ailment or a tough emotional time. It is
that we can get better. Feeling better is a big part of that.
H. W. Bush - a Kinder, Gentler President
December 6, 2018
The big takeaway from this week's tributes and remembrances of former
President George H. W. Bush was that this was a man who lived a long
life with a dedication to his country and to his family.
It is a rare thing these days to hear people talk about a kind and
humble person who had a long career in politics. The news has been
filled for a long time with tales of power grabbing and self-centered
politicians. And citizens are divided over their country's leaders and
issues. Bipartisanship seems to be nearly non-existent.
President Bush, fondly called "41" for being the forty-first President
of the United States, was a one term president. But he served for 8
years as a Vice President to Ronald Reagan. He was also a season
diplomat with ambassador posts, he served as the head of the CIA, he
was a congressman and a World War II Navy pilot war hero.
He also was devoted to his family. He and "Bar", as he called Barbara
Bush, his wife of 73 years, raised a family, including some sons who
have had careers in high posts. Jeb Bush has been a governor and George
W. was elected the 43rd president. If you've watched the news you have
seen the impact that the father had on that son and the rest of his
After his political career the former president stayed active and even
sky-dived on a number of ocassions. He lived to be 94, the longest
lived former president in history.
In case you were not aware, one of the most astounding things about
Bush Senior's career was how he teamed with former President Bill
Clinton (the man who defeated him in the 1992 election) for
humanitarian aid efforts to both victims of the tsumami in Asia in 2004
and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It was an unlikely alliance for the
onetime bitter rivals. The two former presidents forged a friendship
over the years that I find refreshing.
When elected, George H. W. Bush called for a kinder, gentler United
States. He cared about others, including the disabled who have rightly
benefitted from the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
The man was not a saint and he had to deal with some tough things
during his time in office, including the first Gulf War. Nevertheless,
he was someone who showed courage, humility and sensitivity, both in
office and after his long career of service.