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2014 – My Giving Year

2014 January 1
by Bill

Its 2:30am on Jan 1, 2014 and I sit here with my 7&7 looking back on the interesting (and I use that term loosely) year 2013 turned out to be. I achieved so many milestones, some I honestly never even existed for me. Run a Half Marathon, TWICE IN ONE YEAR? Yeah, Riiiiight!!! I did it. Three Tough Mudders – DONE! Maintained my weight after loosing 75 pounds – Check. Although, for the record … the month of December I “Might” have added a few “winter” pounds to help with this “cold” weather we get in California. Either way … my new workout routine starts … ok, Tomorrow!

2013 was my year of being extreme (I got that idea from my buddy Josh Wilson) .. I think my year turned out to be pretty extreme, indeed. In more ways than one. I’ve spent the last couple months thinking about what this next year will center around. I’ve tossed it out to my Facebook network and I have discussed it with friends and family. I’m proud to say this year is going to be my “Giving Year”

This year I will be in the giving mood … Love, Advice, Inspiration, Guidance, Motivation, Kindness, Acceptance, Grace, Time, Thought, Heart, Blessings.  Its all here, in me, to give … Freely!  I will be helping people through tough times, I will be driving people to become stronger, more confident, proud, powerful.  I will help my friends reach goals they have set for themselves – This will be a GREAT year!!!

I’m glad to close the books on 2013, it couldn’t have come soon enough.  I’ve learned some really tough lessons and I have come out a little wiser, a little scarred, a little tired … but I have come out of it … I’m now standing in front of a blank canvass, turning my vision inward and looking at myself, wondering ….

Whats.  Next.

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Reinventing The Brister

2013 May 29
by Bill

My new site will be up and running shortly … thank you for your patience as I reinvent myself.

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And Give Me Something To Believe In

2010 November 26
by Bill

It has been a while since my last post … August 1st was my last post and since then life has taken control and I am only hanging on for the ride.  There have been times when I would think “I should write about that …” and before I am even able to jot some thoughts – My brain is chasing another rabbit.  So today, as I flipped through StumbleUpon I was directed to a personality quiz about my religious and spiritual beliefs.  At first I laughed … after all … it is called the “Belief-O-Matic” (Click on the link and take the test – leave a comment with the results if you dare!)

This is a quick 20-question quiz and the questions are not very complex.  I found that I didn’t really have to ponder the questions much – you’ll see what I mean.  It is very straightforward and you will either agree or disagree with the answer choices you have.

I would love to see the basis of these 20 questions and I would like to also get more into the “connections” between the questions and answers to a certain religion.  My results were … in a word … Surprising!

Here is the list of 20 (they gave me 26 results but as you can see – after the 20th I was in less than 50% belief with that religion)

1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)

2. Mahayana Buddhism (99%)

3. Sikhism (94%)

4. Liberal Quakers (93%)

5. Hinduism (91%)

6. Neo-Pagan (91%)

7. Jainism (88%)

8. Baha’i Faith (86%)

9. Theravada Buddhism (85%)

10. Reform Judaism (84%)

11. New Age (83%)

12. New Thought (79%)

13. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (78%)

14. Scientology (73%)

15. Orthodox Judaism (70%)

16. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (62%)

17. Islam (60%)

18. Taoism (59%)

19. Orthodox Quaker (55%)

20. Secular Humanism (45%)

I started reading about the first three on the list to learn more.  I have never heard of Unitarian Universalism or Mahayana Buddhism, although I do have a basic understanding of the Buddhist faith.   Sikhism I have heard of but have never read much about it, this is next on my list to learn.

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10 Easy Things To Make Life Fun

2010 August 1
by Bill

I have been inspired lately to read things that inspire!  Its quite interesting how many opinions are out there on what inspires people … for me, its all about living a good life.  I think if you ask 10 people to define “a good life” you will get 18 different definitions.  This got me thinking … what 10 things do I try to do every day?

1. Memorize Something – I work online … I am reading constantly.  I remember in school all the “studies” that have been done saying we as people forget 80% of what we hear and see in a day.  Find something that interests you and memorize a fact, a date, information about that topic.  Not only will this leave your brain sharp and your memory functioning, you will also have a huge library of quotes to bust out at any moment.  Poetry, sayings and philosophies are your best options.

2. Smile – I love making eye contact with strangers and just smiling.  Two things will happen … they will smile back or they will look around to see why you are smiling.  If they smile back watch how that makes you feel inside – and think about how that person will feel now.  I am shocked sometimes how a simple smile will change the outward appearance of someone.  Usually I look for someone with an angry look on their face or maybe they are sitting slouched in a chair … I make eye contact … smile … and watch!  Try it – who knows, you might even meet someone cool.

3. Do Not Be So Serious – Learn to laugh at the little things, life will be a whole lot easier.  If you find amusement in your mistakes and failures (and you are still alive) you can be thankful for a lesson.  Life is not strictly business, it can be mixed with pleasure.  You will find life to be a bit more entertaining if you can laugh more.

4. Make Someone Feel Special – Even something as simple as remembering a name (See #1) … you can have such a profound effect on someone’s whole day or week.  Reach out and tell someone you were thinking about them.  You know your friends … what makes them smile?  Most of the time you’ll find it does not take money to make someone feel special.  Give a word of encouragement … Thank someone for doing something nice … take an extra step to make someone feel like they mean something to you.

5. Relax – You remember … “Frankie Says” … did I just date myself?  Every now and then … sit on the couch and do nothing.  Think about what makes you happy, read a book, watch TV, play a video game!  Relaxing is not evil … I hear so many people tell me how busy they are and how much time they do not have.  How can you be happy and make others happy when you are sooooo busy doing busy things?  We all have the same 24 hours in a day … take some time out for yourself and relax for even 5 minutes.  Try it … Trust me!

6. Create A Daily Mantra – A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that are considered capable of “creating transformation” (says Wikipedia) … I admit I do not do this every day, but when I think about it creating a daily mantra is fun.  Try it tomorrow … when you wake up in the morning ask yourself “What one sound, syllable or word will transform my day?”  This can be as easy as the word “Love” … “Laugh” … “Smile!”  It can also be the sound of a sigh (breathe in slowly – exhale quickly) .. sometimes I need that sound when I am starting to feel overwhelmed.  Get creative … try a daily Mantra!

7. Learn To Juggle – Who doesn’t love to watch someone juggle?  Try it … learn it … you will be surprised how easy it really is.  If you do not even know where to start … Google “Learn to juggle” and I am sure you’ll find plenty of videos and website tutorials.  Juggling is fun … plus once you get good at it you can mark that down as an accomplishment!

8. Help Someone – Every minute of every day … someone in your network of friends needs help.  Take a few minutes to observe which one of your friends could use a hand with a task, a project, anything.  Helping others has a ripple effect too … if you help someone, the example is set and it may give them the motivation to help someone else.  You know – Pay It Forward!  Your relationship with that person will grow – I Promise!  If you believe in Karma … its always good to have some in the bank.  Also, if you want a selfish reason … you’ll be able to call in a favor one day and those around you will be more than happy to pitch in.

9. Laugh – Whenever you get a chance … Every time you think about it … find some reason to laugh!  Laughter is a great thing – that’s why we’ve all heard the saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.” There is strong evidence that laughter can actually improve health and help fight disease.  Laughter connects us with others and it is contagious, if you bring more laughter into your life, you will most likely help others around you to laugh more, and realize the benefits as well.  By elevating the mood of those around you, you can reduce their stress levels, and perhaps improve the quality of social interaction you experience with them, reducing your stress level even more!

10. Call Someone “Just To Say HEY!” – Has this ever happened to you?  You get a call out of the blue from a friend just ’cause!  It has happened to me and every time my day has changed for the better.  Think of someone you care about … and call them to say hi.  Do it now … and watch how your day becomes better by sharing with someone you care about.

This is your life … your journey … why not make it fun for you and those around?  Try some of these … leave a comment … tell us what you do to make life fun!

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5 Things Kids Want To Hear

2010 July 25

I was thinking about this the other day and decided to try to come up with a few things I do to push my son Tyler and challenge him to think and try harder.  I looked at this not from my point of view as the parent – but as Tyler and what would I want from me in order to really push hard and reach my goals … here are my thoughts on 5 things every kid wants to hear from their parents

1. No … Because – Nobody wants to be told “No” … especially when there is nothing backing up the decision.  How many times did you hear the phrase “No, because I said so!”  Then we as kids, would just walk away shaking our head thinking “well that didn’t make any sense at all” … but as kids, our attention span was the equivalent of a puppy so we quickly moved on.  The inquisitive nature of kids will always test and push your boundaries on what is and is not acceptable behavior, activities, language, mannerism.  It is our job as parents to provide the boundaries for the kids and then teach them how to use the boundaries to get the most out of life.  When they push the boundaries to far, it is up to us to correct and teach.  If the answer is “No” … explain why.  How else are they going to learn where the danger zones are?  “No, because if you touch the hot stove you will burn your hand” for example.

2. I need you to {insert goal here} – Kids need to be pushed … they need to be challenged.  If you do not start challenging early it is only making your job as a parent harder.  Last year Tyler moved down to live with Dawn and I.  It was a HUGE decision for him to make and he really put some thought into why he was moving away from his mom and brother and starting a new life with Dawn and I in a strange town.  Tyler has struggled in school always … I was very clear in what my expectations were regarding his school work and grades.  I set the bar very high for Tyler early .. A’s and B’s only on his semester and end of year report card.  Every day we talked about the progress, we had a countdown calendar for the semester and end of year.  I heard EVERY excuse in the book (my favorite was “The teacher gave us the wrong test … I studied chapter 3 and the test was on chapter 4!)  However, at the end of the first semester Tyler made Honor Roll (4 A’s and 3 B’s) and at the end of the year he finished with 3 A’s and 4 B’s … There are no words that can explain the pride Tyler felt and showed on the last day of school when he found out he actually DID IT!  Trust me – the 9 month journey was frustrating and hard … but I think that made the victory even sweeter for Tyler.  Kids want challenge … they need challenge … it is up to us as parents to set the bar and support them 100% in their pursuit.  This does not mean we should DO it for them … let them fail along the way … after all – how else will they learn?

3. You can do it!!! – Who does not LOVE a cheerleader in their corner?  This one is pretty self explanatory … support your kids while they are working to reach the goals you have set for them.  How hard do you work and how proud are you when you reach a goal and get nothing from those around you?  Kids look up to their parents … they strive to please their parents.  I pushed Tyler last year hard … at the same time, I told him every day “You can do this!”  Even when he gave me 186 excuses why his Chemistry teacher was not doing a good job … my response was “It is not his job to get the grades … it is his job to make sure you are in class and receive the material he is going to test you on.”  I knew Tyler was able to do it … and I pushed him to accept nothing less than a B and he DID IT.  So … I guess that would mean “I WAS RIGHT!”  When you set goals for your kids … cheer for them along the way … Its FUN!

4. I am proud of you – No matter what the outcome … be proud of your kids.  Try it sometime … out of the blue, when your kid does something … just say “I am proud of you!”  They might pretend to not care, but I promise they will remember that statement for a long time.  There were times when Tyler wanted to give up during the year … I supported him and kept him focused on the goal.  I gave him help, hired a tutor, emailed his teachers … I was involved.  I told him he could do it … and I believed that he could.  He struggled and accomplished the goal.  The icing on the cake was when Dawn and I looked Tyler in the eye and told him “We are so proud of you!”  He smiled … he pretended it didn’t matter … but his actions told a different story.  He walked prouder, he felt prouder … and I over heard him on the phone a few times telling his mom, brother, grandma and grandpa – “I did it!”  I am proud of Tyler … and in 4 weeks we start all over again.  I am soooooo ready!

5. I love you – Kids do everything they can to please their parents.  They look for acceptance from their parents and they are hungry to learn how their mom and dad feel about them.  Every day I tell Tyler I love him … and every time I talk to Bryan I tell him too.  Believe it or not – Kids care about what their parents think about them.  If you have not told your son or daughter you love them lately … START NOW!  For one reason – so they can never say “I dont know if my parents loved me” … and that statement usually comes out during a therapy session or an interview from a jail cell.  Kids want to know … kids beg for attention … give it to them – and watch what happens.

I am sure there are other things kids want to hear … leave a comment and tell me what you tell your kids and how you challenge them.

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An Endless Renewable Resource

2010 July 18

We all know someone who has ended a relationship, lost a loved one, or has been emotionally hurt by someone in their life.  This has been on my mind lately because a dear friend of mine just ended a marriage and is in the process of rebuilding her life.  I look back at my own journey when my marriage ended 10 years ago – what I went through, the highs and lows … the lessons I learned.  It took me 10 years to figure this out … but the latest discovery I have had in my own life and what I am helping my friend realize is that Love is a renewable resource.

How many times have you hear someone (or yourself) say “I don’t think I can ever love again!”  How many people in your life have shut down and refuse to open up and allow someone new in?  If we take a step back and think about it … why would you refuse yourself the feeling of loving another?  It is not like you can stop yourself from loving … how many things do you love?  A Dog, Cat, Mom, Dad, Siblings, Car, Book, Movie, Best Friend … no matter how hard you try … you cant “stop” loving.

So what does this accomplish – the act of protecting yourself from loving or being loved.  Sounds more like an oxymoron to me – how can you protect yourself from something that makes your life better/happier/healthier?  When I hear “I will never love again” … what I hear are people who stick their head in the sand and withdraw into their own world thinking they are protecting themselves.  But lets think about it this way … when a turtle pulls everything into its shell to protect itself from threat – how far can it go?

Protecting yourself is smart – it is necessary in order to be successful in life, but be smart with action.  Decisions you make, behaviors you allow, boundaries you set – these are all protective measures you take for yourself.  They help you maximize life by allowing you the freedom to focus on productive actions to build successful relationships.

I ran across a blog by Tracy Todd this past week … her post Heart Running Free was a great read and this quote helped me realize things in my own life:

With every emotion life has to offer – with every disappointment, heartbreak, tragedy, uncertainty, happiness, joy, dream, hope, and love (lost and found) – I learn a little more about myself.  I find strength within me that I never knew existed before.  Life’s experiences change and mold me.  But, more importantly, they define who I am.

What are your boundaries … what are the behaviors that matter most to you?  Tell us about your relationship successes and lessons learned.

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A New Three Ring Circus

2010 June 4
by Bill

TV today has become the new Circus.  I remember when The Learning Channel had informative and interesting shows (maybe) … now it seems like the tabloids have taken over our airwaves and the general public is eating it up like fat kids at an ice cream buffet.  The show that pushed me over the edge to write this post is “Toddlers and Tiaras” … have you seen this gem?  Quick rundown for ya … 3 year old girls are dolled up like prostitutes and their moms make them walk around on a run way trying to win beauty contests.  To me that is borderline child abuse.  For one … are the people coming to these freak shows researched?  How many child molesters show up to shows like this … its sick and their adult handlers (’cause they aint parents) should be hung upside down and beaten.

Next on the list … Kate plus 8.  No more Jon?  Well, since the divorce I am sure Kate was worried about the kids well being, mental stability and providing them a safe place to grow up, of course after she tromped around Dancing with the Stars looking like a Clydesdale Horse on Valium she focused on creating that safe environment for those kids.  After all,  I am sure she regrets those early years of using film crews and nanny cams to raise her kids while she went to the spa and got new boobs … her and John end their marriage and she is back on TLC’s payroll.  Sad to see Kate exploit her kids yet again so she can remain in the spotlight … just one more season!  I am betting she is looking at her nose and thinking she could make it cuter!

19 Kids and counting … have you seen the Duggar family?  Not much to say here … other than 19 KIDS AND COUNTING – STOP!

Now – do you remember watching the old 1950’s style documentaries where the traveling circus will have the “Freak Show” out back … and for $1 you can go into a tent to see the hairy lady, the lobster boy, the small midgets juggle?  Didn’t we as a society deem that cruel and mean?  When you see those old posters about the “freak show” what thoughts does that bring up inside?  TLC has brought the Freak Show to the smaller screen (TV) – The Little Chocolatiers, The Little Couple, Little People – Big World … there are others, but wouldn’t these shows be the equivalent of the “HEY – Look at the Midget Person!!!”  Same concept if you break it down – spotlight the Midgets … sell advertising to big companies … track the number of people who watch your show … justify to executives why you need MORE MIDGETS!!!  What about the hairy ladies you ask … have you seen the other amazing programming choices on TLC?  Intervention … Hoarders … Hoarders: Buried Alive (since the first Hoarders did so well) … Police Women of {Insert Redneck / White Trash City Here}

So let me ask those who stand up and scream “Objectification” when the topic of strip clubs and Hooters is discussed at parties … Where are you NOW???

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It Is A Choice

2010 May 14
by Bill

I remember back when I was around 14 … lighting that first cigarette.  I was cool … I was dangerous … I was just like all those other cool and dangerous people.  Throughout High School, I smoked … joined the Navy, smoked … I told myself (and others) “I can stop anytime!”  Then I was deployed to Operation Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia.  They had rules over in the sand box.  One of those rules, while on detachment from main camp was “No Smoking After Sundown” … not sure if you all know, at night the naked eye can see a lit cigarette being smoked for over 2 miles.  Now – add technology like Night Vision and InfraRed vision and heat vision … well you see what I am getting to.  I had to quit … and BOY was this NOT the place and guess what – I cant just stop anytime!

A few days after my last smoke … I was handed a can of Copenhagen Chewing Tobacco … and I rode that train for about 10 years or so.  It is, and was, a disgusting habit – and there were only a few people who knew about this vice I had.  However, I was addicted.  I tried to stop many times … I knew the dangers associated with it … I knew what I was doing to my body and mouth.  I was hooked – and I could not stop.  I quit using chewing tobacco in 2005 … for no other reason, than it was no longer enjoyable to me … plus, Dawn and I just started dating and I could see the looks of concern on her face.  She did not pressure me to do anything, she just waited.  One day – I just stopped.  I woke up in the morning and decided I didn’t want that anymore.

Jump back to 1989 … my first duty station in the Navy was Adak, Alaska!  If you have never heard of the place – it is a small island 3rd from the end of the Aleutian Island chain that extends off of Alaska around toward Russia.  Smack dab in the middle of the Bering Sea (yea where they film Deadliest Catch) … that is where I lived for 2 years.  Too make matters worse – the island was itself a military base – everyone on the island was either military, married to military, born to military or contracted by the government to work with the military!  We had 3 things to do on the rock – Work, Fish and Drink … and usually not in that order.  I quickly found my seat at the bar and for 2 years – I think I missed less than 5 nights.  I was Norm from Cheers … but I could shoot a rifle and run about a 9 minute mile.  My drinking career started off in a bad place … and to this day … I can not drink a Miller Genuine Draft Long Neck without thinking about that bar in Adak … the smell of the room, the feel of the bar, the sounds of the B-52’s blaring “Love Shack” out of the jukebox one blown speaker and my friends!  I drank … ALOT … I was classified by the Navy as an alcoholic and they sent me to class and meetings for that … but I always disagreed with their thought process.  I did not have a disease … I was not “sick” or weak … I made a decision, every time I ordered a drink.

Thank you for sticking with me through that story – now, let me tell you why I am writing this.  Have you seen the show – Intervention on TV?  Amazing show … tragic, sad, pulls at my heart most of the time.  So many things are brought to light during this show … failures, weakness, lies, manipulations.  I sit and watch these families go through hell with their addicted family member.  One thing I see on every show … is that choice!  That first drink of the day … the first hit from the crack pipe … the first pill.  I do not know how long the show is filmed to get the footage it gets – I am going to assume about a 4 or 5 day shoot with 3 days of footage and 2 days for the Intervention to take place.

Why dont they just stop?  Every addict I have talked to in my life has told me – I know I have a problem, but I can not stop.  I ask why, and I am met with – “Its not that easy” … TRUE … what type of change is Easy?  But that does not answer my question.  Every addict and every former addict has the same choice … do I take that one drink, smoke, pill, needle?  Recovery is the decision you make that one time, over and over and over.  If I looked at quitting chewing tobacco as … I can NEVER have another one.  I would probably still be doing it.  However, when I stopped … I chose not to do it then, and the next time my body said “GIMME SOME MORE!” … I made another choice not to do it.  One choice after another.

If you focus on the decision at the time you need your fix … make the right decision and tell someone about it … how can you fail?  Thoughts … Comments?

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10 Rules For An Apology

2010 March 29

I was thinking about my recent post on Forgiveness … and it did not take long to start thinking about apologies.  In the past few years we have had a few public apologies that just didn’t sit well with me.  Most recently being Tiger Woods.  I started putting together a list of things I think need to be part of any apology … this list is focusing on the reconciliation of the situation.  I find it amusing and sometimes disheartening to hear some of the Lame Ass apologies that people will stand in front of a camera and attempt to deliver.  An apology should be the a gesture, one to show whoever you hurt or damaged that you want to work with them towards repairing the relationship, trust, respect … it’s the first step in working together as a team toward one common goal.

1.  Do Not Read – An apology should come from the heart.  When it is time to deliver the apology … you should know what you want to say.  I think it is disrespectful to bury your face into a written note while you tell me how sorry you are for what you have done.  Look me in the eye … I want to see if you truly are sorry!

2.  Use Your Own Words – Do NOT hire or have someone else write your apology.  PR Firms are great for making apologies sound soooo … sterile.  Boring and insincere.  “I would like to apologize to everyone if what I did or said was or could have been misunderstood for something bad … blah blah blah!!!”  I do not want to hear your agency apologize … I want to hear You!

3.  Speak Sincerely (which can not be accomplished when reading from a card) – If you have to apologize, you know what you did … you know what you caused and you know who you have hurt.  If you do not need to apologize – Don’t … however, if you DO need to apologize, sincerity is always key.

4.  Ask For Forgiveness – It’s what you do when you hurt someone.  If you are going to take the time and emotions to sincerely apologize – the least you can do is ask for forgiveness.  This does not mean the other person will, this just means you have admitted what you did, apologized for what you did.  The act of forgiving will be a decision you can not control.  Live with it … learn from it.

5.  Admit What You Did – If you have to apologize, you did something.  If you did something, Admit It!  I really can not stand an apology that starts out like “I am sorry if you misunderstood what I said … ” – NOTHING is more insulting than an apology that points at the other person.  If you were misunderstood … then talk about that, explain what you really meant and apologize for not making yourself or your message clear.

6.  Do Not Excuse – It sounds like this “I am sorry for hurting your feelings, but I had to do it because {insert lame excuse here}. ”  We all know the saying regarding excuses .. and they all stink!  When you excuse an action you admit you can not control your behavior.  It is like when I am playing hockey and get called for a foul … I can tell the ref why things happened the way they did – The other player got in the way, I was going for the puck, I didn’t hit him that hard … more than once I hear the ref tell me “It is your responsibility to remain under control … that includes the way you skate, how you skate and how you control your stick.”

7.  Do Not Place Blame – When you are going to apologize … it is you who needs to apologize.  Nobody else … it is your fault if you have hurt someone – Own Up To IT!  Do not blame anyone else for why you did something.  It’s just lame to place blame – ha ha ha … I had to find some where in here to inject some smiles.

8.  Do Not Justify Why – Just like in #6 … I find it interesting to hear people justify why they did something to hurt me.  Excuses are just weak … justification is a bit different.  I look at it as a story of all the events that led up to You hurting Me!  I really do not want to hear how you got out of bed, stubbed your toe, missed your flight, argued with your wife/husband, stepped in a puddle, got yelled at by your boss … and then you did something to hurt me!  What are you looking for … should I say “Ohhhhhhhh – its OK then.”

9.  Acknowledge The Consequences – You know you did something wrong, you know you are going to ask for forgiveness, you know you hurt someone … please do not be surprised if the other person shares with you how they feel.  It is going to be a rough ride … and sometimes forgiveness does not come for decades.  Understand what the consequences will be.  Be true to yourself when you apologize … and remember why you are in the situation you are in.

10.  Give The Other Person The Ability To Speak – This is by far the hardest … after you have finished your apology, stop … and let the other person absorb it in, ask questions, speak.  I have seen people fake their way through an apology … and when they are done – change the subject.  “OK – since I have apologized … what do you think about St. Louis making it into the playoffs?”  By allowing the other person the opportunity to speak – you help them work through their own feelings and hopefully the two of you can reach forgiveness together.  That my friends … is how a relationship becomes stronger!

I do not think I need to say an apology needs to be face to face … however, when I had Dawn look over this post she mentioned it.  It should go without saying you do NOT text or email an apology … you should not do it over the phone unless it is not possible for those involved to get together.  Delivering an apology is like forgiving … it is not easy to do correctly – but when it IS done correctly … the relationship will always become stronger for it.  What is your stumbling block when you need to apologize … how do you feel when you are on the receiving side of a sincere apology / an insincere apology?  Leave a comment and let me know!

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Andy Dufresne Got It Right!

2010 March 16

In 1992 I read a book – Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption.  The book was made into a movie in 1994 and Morgan Freeman took the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading role.  I think the role of Red could not have been played or written any better.  What surprised me off the bat, and what some of you might know.  Steven King wrote this as a short story.  A “short story” that needed 2 1/2 hours to tell it … page by page.  In my opinion, the movie followed the book to the letter.  It is fabulous and if you have not seen it – GET IT!

At the end of the movie Morgan Freeman is narrating the following lines:

I find I’m so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it’s the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.

Watch the movie and you will understand … if you have seen it … you know what it did to you.  To me – that is hope!  Hope is the silent energy that keeps people going.  Hope is that small whisper in your ear saying “You can do it!” Hope is stirring inside of your chest when your brain says NO WAY … and your mouth says … I can do it!  I love hope … and I love what it brings with it.  What have you hoped for?  As a kid, I wanted a BMX bike … a blue mongoose with mag wheels!  I hoped … and there is was Christmas morning!  Hope gives you powers to make the impossible easy!  As Wikipedia says – “Hope is the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.”

My goal is to carry a message of hope … share that message with every one I come into contact with.  My own hope is tried constantly.  From those who are without hope – down, frustrated, angry … all I want to do is give them that spark.  I don’t need to give them hope – to me, hope is in everyone … hope is part of the human core!  All someone has to do is spark it, give it that little push, turn on the switch.  Most of the time – that hope will drive someone to completion … either through perserverence or through planning.  As long as you focus on your mission … and use hope to drive your momentum … Anything is possible.

A great dialog in the Shawshank Redemption between Red and Andy went something like this

  • Andy Dufresne: That’s the beauty of music. They can’t get that from you… Haven’t you ever felt that way about music?
  • Red: I played a mean harmonica as a younger man. Lost interest in it though. Didn’t make much sense in here.
  • Andy Dufresne: Here’s where it makes the most sense. You need it so you don’t forget.
  • Red: Forget?
  • Andy Dufresne: Forget that… there are places in this world that aren’t made out of stone. That there’s something inside… that they can’t get to, that they can’t touch. That’s yours.
  • Red: What’re you talking about?
  • Andy Dufresne: Hope.

Hope is yours … it is what makes you human, it makes you who you are … it completes you!  Nobody can take away hope from you life – some try, and others willingly give it up … but I think Hope is just as important as Freedom!  Without either – we are dead.

Hope is how we as friends can continue to motivate our other friends to complete what their passion is – Andy writes to Red – “Remember, Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. I will be hoping that this letter finds you, and finds you well. Your friend. Andy.”

I like asking people what they hope for … what drives their goals … and why do they set them.  I think the answers I get tell a lot about those in my life.  And they range from “I don’t know” all the way to “sit down, this will take a while.”

Lets get asking our friends and those close to us … “What do you hope for?” … you might be surprised at the answers you get.

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