Story and Why
"Your Life is Your Story" Blog Archives
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I watched the movie, The Bucket
List, last night. Two men, complete strangers to
each other, share a hospital room and they both have terminal
cancer. They strike up a friendship and embark on a
globetrotting adventure as they share some of the final months of their
lives together. Their goal was to complete their “bucket
list” – that list of things you want to do before
you “kick the bucket”.
Jack Nicholson plays the billionaire, a fast living, oft-married,
self-made man who also happens to be the major patron of the hospital
they are both in. Morgan Freeman is in the role of a blue
collar mechanic who’s worked hard all his life and together
with his wife of many years raised three brilliant and accomplished
children, at much personal sacrifice. It’s an odd
This movie is a different take on the “buddy” movie
and it has some lessons for all of us. What are we doing with
the gift of our amazing lives? What sort of footprint, our
legacy, will we leave?
Just a few days prior to watching this film I had a nice chat with Robb
Lucy. He’s writing a book that explores the idea of
legacy and the importance of thinking about it and living it right
now. Your legacy is not simply the inheritance you pass on or
the “goodbye talk”. We all should be
living lives that make a difference. What that means varies
for each of us, but as Robb likes to say, it should be a legacy that
makes you smile. Check out his blog, Your Legacy Smile.
When we think about veterans of wars, usually it is about past wars.
And it is important to honor and remember them. Our
World War Two veterans are elderly and many are dying. The Veterans History Project
mission is to capture their stories, as well as those
stories from veterans of other conflicts.
But what about our vets from Afghanistan and Iraq? They have stories
and experiences. Like many veterans of any war, they don't
all want to talk or write about them. But some do. And the
powerful experiences they have should be shared so that families,
friends and even strangers can benefit from knowing what our veterans
have gone through.
Major League Baseball is getting involved in helping these returning
vets with ceremonies and fundraisers. I read an intriguing
article about it today at the MLB.com
website. Check the link out here.
I remember many conversations around the dinner table when I was a
teenage lad about 15 or 16 that made my Mom both laugh and blush.
I would launch into a George Carlin routine, nothing too
verbally offensive, mind you. But even the relatively tame Carlin stuff
Carlin died of heart failure on Sunday. But his
jokes and his
amazing take on the human language and wordplay will live on.
Sure, he might have been best known for the "seven words" you
couldn't say on TV or radio. But his real genius went beyond
that. He might offend you. He could be caustic. But, oh boy
was he funny. And he made you think.
He was more than a comedian. Thanks to an epiphany he had
seeing Lenny Bruce perform, he went on to be the counter-culture's
class clown. The very first guest host on Saturday Night Live
(1975). A few movie roles. The voice of the hippy
volkswagon bus in the animated Pixar movie Cars.
Carlin was very observational. And he had a lot of hit comedy
albums (that's what we'd listen to for laughs in the '70's, before HBO
specials - although he went on to great success with many of those,
was a frequent guest on the Tonight
Show. I think he really enjoyed making people laugh, but
he was dead serious about having free speech, which is why he kept
pushing the boundaries.
Just last week it was announced he was being awarded the 11th annual Mark Twain Prize for
American Humor. That honor will now be posthumously
awarded at the Kennedy Center in November.
I agree with this Associated Press article by John Rogers
- Carlin was a comedy icon.
Isn't it remarkable how easy it is to forget to be grateful? I like to
think I'm a person who appreciates my life experiences, my family, my
friends and my many blessings. However, I've been guilty of
going through a day without recognizing that there is a lot in life to
be grateful for.
Fortunately I have had some things happen in life that led me to change
my way of living and to walk a spiritual path. A big part of
that path is having a grateful heart. So when I get reminded
(and I do in various ways) how good it is to be alive it helps me see
the big picture.
We all get caught up at times in our problems and difficulties. Or we
lose sight of what really matters. Living an examined life -
your life is
your story - can help you keep this top of mind.
Tim Russert was a renowned TV journalist who passed away suddenly on
Friday, June 13. It was ironic in a sense that he died so
close to Father's Day. In addition to his longtime hosting duties with Meet the Press, he
was an author of two books about fatherhood (Big Russ and Me -
about his dad, and Wisdom
of Our Fathers - reactions from others touched by his
At a memorial service today at the Kennedy Center he was
eulogized by speakers that included former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw,
former New York governor Mario Cuomo, a video hookup performance by
Bruce Springsteen of "Thunder Road" and a tribute from his 22 year old
son, Luke Russert (who stated "I never met anyone filled with so much
It's clear that Tim Russert touched many lives, not just as a political
analyst in the high-beams of the media spotlight, but as a good man.
See coverage at the Washington Post website.
Some thoughts - post Father's Day
I was running yesterday morning. Legs pumping, feet touching
down and lifting up, little clouds of dust behind me as I ran along the
dirt path. The path was along an irrigation ditch not far
from the Rio Grande River. It is the Bosque area.
Trees are in full foliage green. The sun is peaking
in and out of branches. Little tufts of fluffy, white
cottonwood seed line the sides of the footpath (our summer snow). I
have my iPod playing some favorites. Van Morrison sings about
cleaning windows; Bono and U2 remark it is a beautiful day.
And indeed it was. Running can be a form of meditation.
On this Father's Day morning I was thinking about my Dad.
And thinking about being a father myself. And
remembering my mother. A coincidence of the calendar that the
two year anniversary of my mother's passing fell right on Father's Day.
So I had a lot of emotions and memories. I miss Mom.
I'm grateful for Dad. And for my wife and children.
Life is precious. Everyday is an opportunity to
experience the mystery of life.
It is not easy to run 4-5 miles. But the activity is
important to my health - physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Sometimes I feel like I'm gliding along with angels.
At other times it is a grind. It is like life - not
all the same, but up and down. The full spectrum of life
includes pain, suffering, laughter and joy.
Embrace it all.
Another weekend - yeah! I survived Friday the 13th (so far!).
How about you?
I've never been superstitious, at least not in the sense of bad luck
comes from breaking a mirror or opening an umbrella indoors.
Are there any family members or family traditions you would consider
superstitious? It might make for an interesting short essay.
Writing short pieces around themes is often a great way to
accumulate material for a family history book.
Father's Day is Sunday. Being a dad is a special calling, and
so is being a mother, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, grandparent and so
on. We are connected to our families.
Sometimes the miles separate us...or conflict, resentment,
anger and hurt keep us apart. But don't ever underestimate
the power of forgiveness. It can bring about powerful healing.
All of you fathers (biological and spiritual) have a blessed special
day. And if you wonder how Father's Day came to be in June,
the story I heard was about a month after Mother's Day a man suddenly
Kudos to Steve Pender, president of Tucson's Family Legacy Video, Inc.
He recently received two Awards of Merit at the 2008 Annual Cactus
Quill Awards, sponsored by the Tucson Chapter of the International
Association of Business Communicators (IABC). Pender's winning entries,
"Family Legacy Video Web Site" and "FamilyLegacy Video Producer's
e-Newsletter," were honored in the Electronic & Digital
Communications category. IABC/Tucson's Cactus Quill awards program
recognizes best practices in communications and is open to everyone in
Arizona involved in business communications.
I've recommended Steve's work and his workshops before. You
can check out his Family
Legacy Video website here.
1968 was a tumultous year. The cultural revolution, rock
music, hippies, anti-Vietnam War protests and a lot more.
Including, unfortunately and tragically, the assasinations of
two public figures with great dreams and great moral courage.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed in Memphis in
April of '68. On this day, 40 years ago, Robert Kennedy died from the
gunshot wounds inflicted on him 26 hours previously at the Ambassador
Hotel. He was there with his supporters for his Democratic
Presidential nomination bid and had just won the California primary.
Pictures speak volumes. Some previously unreleased photos of
Americans standing at railroad tracks to pay final tribute to Robert
Kennedy as his body was being transported by train are being featured
in a new exhibition. The photos were taken by Paul Fusco and
you can view them courtesy of the website Repubblica.it.
You can see some powerful quotes by the late Robert F. Kennedy at Wikiquote.
"Bom-bom-bom-bom-bom-BOM-BOM!" The Bo Didley beat has been
backbone of countless good boogie blues rock n' roll. Without
the Rolling Stones, ZZ Top, George Thorogood and many others wouldn't
be the same.
When I heard the news that Bo Didley had died it immediately brought to
mind his signature rhythm. And I also was suprised when I
he was 79. 79? He was such a legend and icon of the blues
that I thought he was much older!
There are not too many of the longtime bluesmen still
around. We still have B.B. King and Buddy Guy, two of
favorites. But Bo was something special. Not only
known for his signature hard-driving rhythm, but also for his unusual
He was born Ellas Bates in McComb, MS, in 1928, but he picked up the
nickname "Bo Diddley" from his days as an amateur boxer. Diddley
started out in music playing the streets and then the blues clubs of
Chicago. His first hit record in 1955 was the R&B hit "Bo
Diddley" which featured the rhythm that has been regularly used by
rockers and blues artists to this very day.
He had a number of hit songs including "I'm a Man" and "Pretty Thing".
"Who Do You Love" was one of his biggest songs and often recorded by
others. I love the line in the song, "I use a cobra snake for
Bo Diddley was a colorful character and the real thing. Check