Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Best Interview by P.L. Sweeney

Yesterday is a day that I won't forger for a long time. My 9-year-old daughter had told me yesterday morning that one of her year-younger fiends (third grade) wanted to interview me for a school assignment. Wow! A third-grader wants to interview me! I was thrilled. All during the day, I was anticipating questions and how I would respond. "How did you become Cyber Sis?" I could hear her ask. "How many hours do you work on the column?" was another obvious question. "How many readers do you have?" might pop in there as a candidate.
I prepared to field most questions she could throw at me with responses that would be comprehended by 8 year old children. Nothing too complicated. Nothing too condescending. A tough job, if you really think abut it.

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While shopping at a fresh produce stand, I imagined all the similes and metaphors I could use (for comedic effect) using fruit. "What do you think of your work?", answered with "It's a peach!" "How do you think people see you?", to be followed with "I'm a watermelon -- hard on the outside, but soft at the center." All day long, the muted excitement built.

I even changed clothes, just to appear "fresher" for the interview. When I went to the bus stop, I was primed! Upon returning home, I offered the girls after school refreshments. Anxious to begin, I asked Kayla where she would like to hold the interview.

She said, "Oh, it's okay. I don't need to interview you. I found somebody else."

Crestfallen (to say the very least) I replied, "Oh, really? Who did you get to interview?" trying to mentally size up the competition. She said, "Oh, just my mother's boss's mother."
"Really?" was my catchy comeback. "And what type of work does She do?" "I don't think she works. She's in a rest home." Not seeing any relationship between the targeted interview subjects, I asked, "Why did you happen to close her?"
"I had to interview somebody really old, around 50, who could tell me about life in the 1960's. She looks a lot older than you do!"she casually commented, munching on carrot sticks. 

And that was the best interview I never had..  

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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Red Marbles - An Important Message in Life

During the waning years of the depression in a small southeastern Idaho community, I used to stop by Brother Miller's roadside stand for farm-fresh produce as the season made it available.

Food and money were still extremely scare and bartering was used, extensively. One particular day Brother Miller was bagging some early potatoes for me.

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I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily appraising a basket for freshly picked green peas. I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas.

I am pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas I couldn't help overhearing the conversation between Brother Miller and the ragged boy next to me.
"Hello Barry, how are you today?"
"Hello, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus' admirin' them peas...... sure look good."
"They are good, Barry. How's your Ma?"
"Fine. Git tin' stronger alla'time." 
"Good. Anything I can help you with."
"No, Sir. Jus' admirin' them peas."
"Would you like to take some home?"
"No, Sir. Hot nu thin' to pay for 'em with."

"Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?"
"All I got's my prize Aggie ? best taw around here."
"Is that right? Let me see it."
"Here 'tis. She's a dandy.
"I can see that. Hmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red.

Do you have a red one like this at home?"
"Not zackley... but, almost."
"Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red taw."
"Sure will. Thanks, Mr. Miller."

Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me. With a smile she said: "There are two other boys like him in our community; all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes or whatever.
When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decided he doesn't like red after all and he send them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange on, perhaps."

I left the stand, smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Utah but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys and their bartering. 

Several years went by each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Brother Miller had died. They were having his viewing that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them.

Upon our arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could. A head of us in line were three young men. 
One was in an Army uniform and other two wore short haircuts, dark suits and white shirts, obviously potential or returned missionaries.

They approached Mrs. Miller, standing smiling and composed, by her husband's casket. Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket.

Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one, each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary, awkwardly, wiping his eyes.

Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and mentioned the story she had told me about the marbles. Eyes glistening she took my hand and led me to the casket. "This is an amazing coincidence," she said. "Those three young men, that just left, were the boys I told you about. They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim "traded" them.

Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size....they came to pay their debt. We've never had a great deal of the wealth of this world," she confided, "but, right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho."

With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three, magnificently shiny, red marbles. 
    
The moral:
We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds. 

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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Sioux Indian Story

"My grandfather took me to the fish pond on the farm when I was about seven, and he told me to throw a stone into the water. He told me to watch the circles created by the stone. Then he asked me to think of myself as that stone person.

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"You may create lots of splashes in your life but the waves that come from those splashes will disturb the peace of all your fellow creatures," he said.

"Remember that you are responsible for what you put in your circle and that circle will also touch many other circles. You will need to live in a way that allows the good that comes from your circle to send the peace of that goodness to others. The splash that comes from anger or jealousy will send those feelings to other circles. You are responsible for both."

That was the first time I realized each person creates the inner peace or discord that flows out into the world. We cannot create world peace if we are riddled with inner conflict, hatred, doubt or anger. We radiate the feelings and thoughts that we hold inside, whether we speak them or not. Whatever is splashing around inside of us is spilling out into the world, creating beauty or discord with all other circles of life. 

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Monday, June 17, 2019

Thief by Larry Harp

I remember as a small child when we would have these gatherings with either family or friends. Invariably someone would come up and mention my "cuteness" and ask, "What are you going to be when you grow up?"

Well, it started out being a cowboy or some super hero. Later it was fireman, policeman, lawyer... As I grew older my dreams of the future changed. When, at last, I was in college, I was asked, "What will you major in?" Another question designed to find out what I would be when I "grew up."

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By then I had my heart set on becoming a preacher as my father before me. So I studied and prepared for that life. I reached success in that endeavor. I was preaching nearly full-time for much of my adult life. Physical disability keeps me from plying my trade full-time anymore, but I still am called upon to preach here and there. I am content that I could realize my dream and perhaps have a positive influence on someone's life. My kids are now reaching their dreams and it thrills me to watch them achieve their goals.

However, for many, there is a "thief" which goes around stealing our dreams and robbing us of the necessary mental state to attain our goals.

Sometimes, the thief will come as a parent, a relative, a friend or a co-worker, but the greatest thief is, so many times, just ourselves.

We find ourselves just about reaching the pinnacle, and this "small" voice inside says, "You'll never make it." "You can't possibly do this." "Very few have ever done this successfully." And on an don the "small" voice predicts some kind of failure. Failure, though, is exactly how dreams are realized. It is one of the most important tools we have, because it teaches us invaluable lessons. And, when we learn these lessons well, we are poised and ready for success, which is probably just around the corner.

The message I always gave my children was, you are capable of doing anything our heart desires. You are smart enough, good-looking enough, strong enough, and worthy of reaching the starts. The human spirit is indomitable. Remember the saying, "If you can conceive it, and your heart can believe it, you can achieve it."

There are no "overnight" successes, but with perseverance, it will come. Imagine yourself in the life you dream of living. Then in your heart, believe it will happen for you, as it has for others. Then work, work, work, work. You get the picture.

So, be true to your dream, and don't let anyone steal it form you -- especially yourself. You can do anything your heart desires, so don't give up or give in. Let the dream in you live.   

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Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Uncertainty Principle by Adam Khan

Two sailors ran into each other in a pub. Over a few beers, one of the men told the other about his last voyage: "After a month at sea," he said, "we discovered our masts had been eaten through by termites! Almost nothing left of them."

 

"That's terrible," said the second sailor.

"That's what I thought at first too," the first sailor said, "but it turned out to be good luck. As soon as we took the sails down to fix the masts, we were hit by a squall so suddenly and so  hard, it would surely have blown us over if our sails were up at the time."

"How lucky!"

"That's exactly what I thought at the time, too. But because our sails were down, we couldn't steer ourselves, and because of the wind, we were blown onto a reef. The hole in the hull was too big to fix. We were stranded."

"That is bad luck indeed."

"That's what I thought, too, when it first happened. But we all made it to the beach alive and had plenty to eat. But now here's the real kicker: While we were on the island whining about our terrible fate, we discovered a buried treasure!"

As this story illustrates, you don't know if an event is "good" or "bad" except maybe in retrospect, and even then you don't really know because life keeps going. The story's not over yet. Just because something hasn't turned out to be an advantage yet doesn't mean it is not ever going to.

Therefore, you can simply assume whatever happens is "good." I know that sounds awfully airy-fairy, but it's very practical. If you think an event is good, it's easy to maintain a positive attitude and your attitude affects your health, it affects the way people treat you and how you treat others, and it affects your energy level and those can help pave the way for things to turn out well. A good attitude is a good thing and a bad attitude does you no good at all.
So get in the habit of saying "That's good!" Since you don't know for sure whether something will eventually work to your advantage or not, you might as well assume it will. It is counterproductive to assume otherwise. Think about it. If someone ahead of you in line at a store is slowing everything down, say to yourself, "That's good!" They may have saved you from getting into an accident when you get back in your car. Or maybe, because you slowed down, you might meet a friend you would have missed. You never know.

The truth is, life is uncertain and even that can work to your advantage.

When something "bad" happens, say to yourself, "That's good!"

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Saturday, June 15, 2019

Be Thankful

 

Be thankful that you don't already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don't know something,
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful when you don't know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you're tired and weary, 
because it means you've made a difference.

It's easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment come to those who
are also thankful for the setbacks.

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,
and they can become your blessings.

- Unknown  

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Friday, June 14, 2019

Harvard - Worth Remembering A True Story by Malcolm Forbes

A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a homespun thread bare suit, stepped off the train in Boston, and walked timidly without an appointment into the president of Harvard's outer office. The secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods country folks had on business at Harvard and probably didn't even deserve to be in Cambridge. She frowned. "We want to see the president, "the man said softly. "He'll be busy all day," the secretary snapped. "We'll wait," the lady replied.

For hours, the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away. They didn't and the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president, even though it was a chore she always regretted to do.
"May be if they just see you for a few minutes, they'll leave, "she told him. He sighed in exasperation and nodded. Someone of his importance obviously didn't have the time to spend with them, but he detested gingham and homespun suits cluttering his office.


The president, stern-faced with dignity, strutted toward the couple. The lady told him, "We had a son that attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard, and was very happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed and my husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him somewhere on campus. "The president wasn't touched, he was shocked. "Madam,"he said gruffly, "we can't put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died. If we did, this place would look like a cemetery."

"Oh, no" the lady explained quickly, "we don't want to erect a statue. We thought we would give a building to Harvard." The president rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress and homespun suit, then exclaimed, "A building!! Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical plant at Harvard!!"

For a moment the lady was silent. The president was pleased. He could get rid of them now. The lady turned to her husband and said quietly, "Is that all it costs to start a university? Why don't we just start our own?" Her husband nodded. The president's face wilted in confusion and bewilderment. Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford walked away, traveling to Palo Alto, CA where son that Harvard no longer cared about. 

"You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who can do nothing for them or to them."
   
‘People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did.’
‘But people will never forget how you made them feel.’


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Thursday, June 13, 2019

There Is Greatness All Around You - Use It

There are many people who could be Olympic champions, All-Americans who have never tried. I'd estimate five million people could have beaten me in the pole vault the years I won it, at least five million. Men who were stronger, bigger and faster than I was, could have done it, but they picked up a pole, never made the feeble effort to pick their legs off the ground to try to get over the bar. Greatness is all around us. It's easy to be great people will help you. What is fantastic about all the conversations I go to is that the greatest in the business will come and share their ideas, their methods and their techniques with everyone else. I have seen the greatest salesman open up an show young salesman exactly how they did it. They don't hold back. I have also found it true in the world of sports.
I'll never forget the time I was trying to break Dutch Warner Dam's record. I was about a foot below his record, so I called him on the phone. I said, "Dutch, can you help me? I seem to have leveled off. I can't get any higher."
He said, "Sure, Bob come on up to visit me and I'll give you all I got." I spent three days with the master, the greatest pole vaulter in the world. For three days, Dutch gave me everything that he'd seen. There were things that I was doing wrong and he corrected them. To make a long story short, I went up eight inches. That great guy gave me the best that he had. I've found the sports champions and heroes willingly do this just to help you become great, too.

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John Wooden, the great UCLA basketball coach, has a philosophy that everyday he is supposed to help someone who can never reciprocate. That's his obligation. 

When in college working on his masters thesis on scouting and defensive football, George Allen wrote up a 30 page survey and send it out to the great coaches in the country. Eighty-five percent answered it completely. 
Great people will share, which is what made George Allen one of the greatest football coaches in the world. Great people will tell you their secrets. Look for them, call them on the phone or buy their books. Go where they are, get around them, talk to them. It is easy to be great when you get around great people.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Optimist Boy

There is a story of identical twins. One was a hope-filled optimist. "Everything is coming up roses!" The other was a said and hopeless pessimist. He thought that Murphy, as in Murphy's Law, was an optimist. The worried parents of the boys brought them to the local psychologist. 

optimistic, success, motivation, passion, dream, joy, happiness 

He suggested to the parents a plan to balance the twins' personalities. "On their next birthday, put them in separate rooms to open their gifts. Give the pessimist the best toys you can afford, and give the optimist a box of manure." The parents followed these instructions and carefully observed the results.

When they peeked in on the pessimist, they heard him audibly complaining, "I don't like the color of this computer...I'll bet this calculator will break...I don't like this game...I know someone who's got a bigger toy car than this..."

Tiptoeing across the corridor, the parents peeked in and saw their little optimist gleefully throwing the manure up in the air. He was giggling. "You can't fool me! Where there's this much manure, there's gotta be a pony!"   

Moral of the story :-
Remember that a pessimistic person has difficulty in every opportunity, but an optimist can see opportunities in every difficulty, so we should always be optimistic. "Where there's a will, there's a way."

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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Choose How You Start Your Day

Michael is the kind of guy love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, would reply, If I were any better, I would be twins! 

He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Michael was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I wen up to Michael and asked him, I don't get! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?

Michael replied, Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Mike, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood.

Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it.

Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.

Yeah, right, it isn't that easy, I protested. Yes, it it, Michael said. Life is all about choices. When you cut away all junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. 

The bottom line is: It's your choice how you live life.

I reflected on What Michael said, soon therefore, I left the tower industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that Michael was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Michael was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back. 

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I saw Michael about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied. If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars? I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.

The first thing that went through my mind was the well being of my soon to be born daughter, Michael replied. Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or I could choose to die. I chose to live.   

Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness I asked? Michael continued,...the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the face of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead man. I knew I needed to take action. What did you do I asked ?

Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me, said Michael. She asked If I was allergic to anything. "Yes, I replied The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, Gravity. Over their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.'  

Michael lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that everyday we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.  

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