Category Archives: family

Survive the Unthinkable,

 

I am always on the lookout for good books.

I try not to ‘over-recommend’ either, but here is a great one….Survive the Unthinkable,

 

…here is some background…..you may know someone in a situation that this may be relevant…..

Violence against women remains one of the most common human rights abuses in the world. Women ages 15 through 44 are more likely to die or be maimed because of male violence than because of cancer, malaria, war, and traffic accidents combined.

Rape and attempted rape are very much silent assassins. Only 16 percent of rape victims actually report an incident to the police, which means that the statistics we have about rape in the United States barely reflect the grim reality. The World Health Organization has found that domestic and sexual violence affects 30 to 60 percent of women in most countries. And the majority of offenses are committed by someone the victim knows or at least recognizes.

Perhaps the most disturbing truth is that the rape perpetrator will probably victimize seven to nine women before he’s jailed.

In our increasingly violent collective, women must often yield to an incessant voice that warns: Be careful where you walk. Be careful where you park. Be careful where you go. Be careful what you wear. Be careful what you say.

The unnerving posture of gender violence is what prompted me to seek out the best self-defense instructor I could find for the women I care about in my life — who just happens to be the author of the book you’re holding in your hands right now.

Tim Larkin’s Survive the Unthinkable relays a message of empowerment, not panic. It’s the key that can unlock your personal power as a woman.

With many things in life, the truth is often nearly 180 degrees from what your imagination might suggest. The principles and methods that Tim Larkin shares in this critical book are perfect examples of this:

  • Women need NOT be vulnerable to attack, and they already have the tools necessary to avoid violence or protect themselves in those rare instances where avoidance isn’t possible.

  • Even the most violent sociopaths are incredibly vulnerable once you know the psychology of what drives their behavior.

  • The people who are most effective at “self-defense” typically have no formal training.

Being able to protect yourself doesn’t require muscle, fancy techniques, or months of practice at the martial arts studio. All that you need to live confidently and joyfully is knowledge and the willingness to apply it.

As a woman, you have people who depend on you — perhaps your partner, children, siblings, friends. Please consider the ability to defend yourself a responsibility, not a luxury, in much the same way that you might exercise, wear your seatbelt, or get regular medical checkups.

This book presents imperative components that ensure peace of mind, which ultimately allows us to find fulfillment in our daily life. The emotional edge my friend Tim Larkin presents helps to create a better life through key adjustments to our perception, psychology, and awareness. You can trust, as I do, that Tim Larkin’s teachings are the most effective, thoroughly tested, and reliable way to ensure your safety, confidence, and self-assurance, which will in turn enable you to effectively cooperate with others, operate at optimal productivity, and get the most enjoyment out of every day of your life.

www.timlarkin.com

Approximately   1.9 million women are physically assaulted annually in the United   States alone. In his New York Times bestselling book Survive the Unthinkable, Tim Larkin empowers women to   understand that surviving a potential attack isn’t about being   physically bigger, faster, or stronger; it’s about knowing how to   self-protect, not self-defend. – See more at: http://www.timlarkin.com/book.php#more

(Foreward by Tony Robbins)

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Father’s Day

Father’s Day

First, Happy Father’s Day!

I lost my dad in 2009. He was a great dad.

Growing up, many of my friends liked him because he joked around, remembered their names, and was friendly. I was sometimes embarrassed by my dad then and thought he talked too much. Now that I’m a father, I strive to be like him. I am sometimes a bit silly with my daughters’ friends and I like to play jokes on them. I try to smile a lot like my father did. I’m sure my daughters get embarrassed by me now and then, but that’s OK.

I had the opportunity to work with my dad in a family business. We also traveled together on business trips. Looking back, I really feel fortunate for having done this with him. I gained so much. Years later having worked in many other business environments with many other managers, I know that my dad was giving, gracious, helpful and good boss. In life and in business, my dad gave me some guidance but also gave independence so that I would learn on my own, even if it meant having failures or mistakes come my way. He made his own mistakes and took risk, and he shared many of those lessons with me.

I look back and shake my head at those times I was embarrassed by him, times that I was impatient or angry at him. I used to feel sorry for myself because everyone always asked about my dad and not about me. My ego got in the way. I often felt that his ‘shoes were hard to fill’ and I felt inadequate in his shadow.

Today I just miss having him around.

The other day I saw someone cutting down a tree with a chainsaw. The saw dust, sound and smell triggered a moment when my father and I were cutting down a tree one hot summer day, years ago. The saw dust was sticking to our sweaty arms and we were moving the logs and branches around. I think we polished the evening off with a cold, refreshing iced tea and a nice walk with our dog Greta down the road we lived on, which was lined by large Scotch Pine trees. There was a gentle whisper as the warm summer breeze blew through the pine branches.  I was glad that I was in the moment then. I try to be in the moment now with my own daughters; you never know what or which memory will stick with you.

If your dad is still around, tell him how you really feel and share a good memory with him, then go create a new one with him.

If your dad is gone, give thanks and share a good memory with someone else, and then go create a new one with someone you care about.

Best regards,

Jim

Dad taught me everything I know. Unfortunately, he didn’t teach me everything he knows.
Al Unser

To a father growing old nothing is dearer than a daughter.
Euripides

It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.
Anne Sexton

The top 10 things people claim to have taken for granted

elephant couple

A single item today – this from Michael Dooley of http://www.tut.com aka The Universe

The top 10 things people claim to have taken for granted, when they were alive:

10. How important they were to so many.
9. How easy life was when they stopped struggling.
8. That all of their prayers and thoughts were heard.
7. That there really were no coincidences.
6. How far ripples of their kindness actually spread.
5. What really was important: happiness, friends, love.
4. That any and all of their dreams could have come true.
3. How good looking and fun they always were.
2. How much guidance they received, whenever they asked for help.
1. That God was alive in everything, including themselves.

As expressed by the recently departed, fresh after their life-review on the big, BIG screen.

Ah-so,
The Universe

My Story, Chapter 5

Continued….

…Fast forward a few years…..After our firm lost 90% of our income from the one factory going direct nationwide, I struggled a few years finding what the next step was and despite the fact that I was working full time I didn’t take any salary the first year after we lost the big chunk of income. I was working and acting on faith. I had saved and invested for the past few years and I’m glad that I did because I was able to live off that while I rebuilt the business. My father had retired and I was running the business full time.

I had to search and find companies and products that I could represent and sell that would start to replace that income. It was a scary and exciting time. It was easier perhaps, because I had few responsibilities. There were some ups and downs in the business and in the economy but life was good for a single guy.

I had a great group of friends from college with which I still hung out. We called ourselves the Dudes. Now, after college, life and work sometimes got in the way. However, we still found time for roadtrips, parties, and other fun things. I have lots of good memories of laughs, practical jokes, talking, hanging out, traveling.

So one summer, our next fun thing was the Jimmy Buffett concert. I didn’t even like Jimmy Buffett but it was a chance to hang out with my friends and to have some fun in the sun……in a parking lot somewhere outside of Pittsburgh. So we packed into my white mini-van and drove. We sat in the parking lot and tail-gated. Frankly I don’t think that I even went in to watch the concert……

So we were partying, having fun…. Just as you do when you tailgate, we were walking around, mingling, and others were coming around to our spot. There I saw Jill again. (Jill was a friend from college who was always nice to talk with … I knew some of the people she dated and she knew some of the people I dated during college)..For the past 2 years, Jill was away at graduate school in North Carolina. Now back in town, she was with her sisters at the concert.

The concert came and went. A few weeks later my buddy from Maryland asked the Dudes to a hotel in Pennsylvania while they were in town for a wedding. For whatever reason, I faxed Jill to let her know we were going there and she was welcome to meet us. (before texting and email, faxing was an easy way to communicate-AOL was still in the early stages) At that point I still thought of Jill as a friend and I wanted to include her with my other close friends.

Jill came and we all had a good time. The next day everyone went their separate ways. Jill and I decided to go have lunch at Wendy’s. I don’t know what was in the Frosty that day but we laughed and had a good time. I made dumb jokes and she laughed. Something had clicked from the evening before. Somewhere in there we decided that we were fond of each and we began to date.

It was a different feeling, it was an attraction, sure, but it was also a head and heart sort of thing. I recall saying to myself, “She’s pretty, smart, funny. We’re good friends, I respect her, I have a great time with her, we can talk about things, we have great families.” I hadn’t seen it before that moment but we were a great fit. We liked spending time with each other and trusted one another. We could talk about anything. There were feelings there. From what started as an immature relationship as friends in college grew to that of young adults taking on life together.

I never looked back after that point. In my younger years I had been fickle and immature with some relationships. But when I thought about dating Jill, I thought, “Yes, this works, this makes sense, this feels right.” The relationship hit all cylinders; my mind, heart and body. I no longer considered dating others and no longer became distracted.

I continued to work in the business and tried to find the right fit for a company to represent. I found another company with a great product but it turned out the owner was taking all the profits and buying boats, etc. and didn’t bother to pay the bills. It’s tough for a manufacturing company to run when you don’t pay for the machinery. That company closed and I again had to start over. I found another company with really good people but their product line was limited and they started having quality issues. Soon because of customer feedback and quality issues, I split with them. It all started to work away at my credibility, since I was switching product lines.

I learned a lot about people, perserverance and life during that time. Many people stuck with me because of my dad, some because of me, some because of the product and / or service. Others took off in a heartbeat after years of working together and after giving them lots of free consulting and help.

I confess that I took some of these things personally, and my ego was bigger then, so it was tough. Plus I suddenly was earning much less despite working long hours, traveling many miles, and driving a white minivan. (A mini-van wasn’t great for a single guy in his mid-twenties!)

Cool, neat, little things happened to us when we were together….for instance one time we got bumped from a flight while we were flying to Florida. We got free first class tickets to anywhere in the continental U.S. So we picked the farthest point that sounded great – San Diego. We traveled to San Diego and experienced lots of great things – with trips to L.A. and Mexico. We again had cool experiences together there. San Diego grew on us.

Jill and I dated for a while but we didn’t want to wait too long to be married. We also didn’t really want all the big ‘fuss’ for our wedding. You see, the year we decided to get married, there were 15 other weddings…..we were invited to all 15. Jill and I were in about 7 of them, including her two sisters. It was crazy! Just think, we spent at least $50 (usually more) for a wedding, plus hotel and travel. That was an expensive year! Most of those weddings were crammed into September-December.

At first we were going to elope to the Outer Banks and come home married. But we decided not to do so, our families might have had hurt feelings, etc. So we decided to have a much smaller and elegant wedding. We wanted to pay for it all ourselves. I got a second job selling alarm systems. One large project paid for some of the reception, another paid for most of the honeymoon. Jill worked a second job and saved money for the wedding and other things. Our parents still wanted to help, so my parents helped by adding and upgrading the food. Jill’s parents helped with the wedding dress and photography.

Still, it felt good to pay for most of it ourselves. I was self-employed and I had decided to start attending the evening MBA program at Pitt. I enjoyed it but the classes after work were a bit tough, as were the payments. I did take out a loan for some of it and I tried to pay for some as I went.

After about a year, my new wife and I saved some money, used a small gift from my parents, and built a small Cape Cod. It was nice and simple. The upstairs and basement were left unfinished to save on dough. We were happy.

The thing about all of it was this- we were tight financially for some time. I actually had to ‘lean’ on my wife for 1-2 years as I rebuild the business, she often made more during the volatile time for me. Then I kept growing it.. She believed in me and I in her. Jill and her sisters were running a large child care center that eventually would have 80+kids.

(At this point I began to think about something that I’d see observe and feel for the rest of my life – it seemed that I was reaching out for a job, an opportunity, something that I was definitely capable of doing well – but I was pushed back. I think in some way I was being pushed or pulled back to where I was supposed to go. Maybe something inside of me or part of me was guiding me. Maybe it was God or something else. But so many times we all experience it – ‘that job would be great and I can do it ‘ then you apply and get smacked back royally. Maybe there’s a reason….almost like we’re being guided back onto the right path….)

I found some stability with my own business and really started to enjoy the MBA program. Many cool things were happening in our lives. Small things like the fact we got upgraded to a Penthouse suite with 3 bathrooms, a dining room with 10 chairs, full kitchen, den, living room, and skyline veranda in Toronto…..Big things like getting pregnant – we were expecting our first child!

Then I had a chance to move onto a totally different career. I got a job as an intelligence analyst. I felt like Jack Ryan from Tom Clancy’s series. I started working for the U.S. Department of Justice and I liked it for a while.

Leaving a cushy job – a good idea or bad idea?……..

Words To Live By: Certainty

(This is one of a part of a series of WORDS TO LIVE BY. This series grew out of a workbook I first made for my young daughters and discussed at the dinner table. These Words include values, good ideas, and Words to aspire to….and learn from….enjoy!)

certainty

Certainty. Do you recall the last time that you were certain about something….and you knew it was right, and you were right? Maybe it was at work, maybe it was with your family or a relationship – for different people it is different – it may have come from your head, or maybe your heart…..but you felt Certain.

When you meet someone that is certain, you can tell right? Often the person that is most certain is most influential in the situation. Certainty is much like confidence. It comes across in someone’s way of acting, their attitude and words.

Think about a situation where you felt certain. Picture it in your mind. How did you feel? Feel now how you were when you were certain. Stand up. Go ahead and stand up…….feel certain. ….really certain. There is a calmness, coolness about it perhaps? You feel confident. You probably feel relaxed – although energized too. What is your posture and physiology like?

Stand as if you were certain! Are your shoulders sagging or are you standing tall? How is your breathing?

Now stand as if you are Absolutely Certain! How would you stand? Breathe? What is your posture, your physiology? What is your appearance? How are you talking? How are you holding your head?

Certainty is achieved from our posture, physiology, and attitude.- your state of mind, your state of your body. You own the situation, right? You own the moment.

Tony Robbins has a list of what he calls the SIX HUMAN NEEDS. Certainty/Comfort, Variety, Significance, Connection/Love, Growth, and Contribution.

Tony discusses Certainty this way – We all want comfort, right? And much of this comfort comes from certainty. Of course there is no ABSOLUTE certainty, but we want certainty the car will start, the water will flow from the tap when we turn it on and the currency we use will hold its value. We search for certainty in other parts of our life. At one time there appeared to be certainty in some industries and jobs.

Sometimes I find certainty in other ways…..I don’t know who told me once but they told me ‘Nothing in life is permanent, no problem is permanent, it is passing; your Soul is permanent. You are permanent.  Nothing is so inescapable that you can’t move on….”

Knowing that ‘this too shall pass’ helps me ‘shake off’ something bad and I feel a little relieved, calmer, and more certain. Look at the big picture. Look at other – other people have recovered from this and worse. I also think about the good things in my life. I focus on what is working and I feel more certain. I look back in my life and recall how I overcame other challenges, I look at my successes, I look at my loved ones and support network. We are not alone. I personally believe in a Creator that is benevolent. I don’t pretend to understand or label but I believe in something.

We all have this power, this source, this strength inside of each of us. We’ve all felt it from time to time in our lives. It often feels like the ‘real person’, the person at the core of ourselves. When we access this part of us, we operate from a foundation of certainty, don’t we? But it does take a moment for each of us to access it  – being calm, focused, even meditation….. but the point is that YOU can access the certainty inside. You can reach in and grab it – you don’t have to look outside.

Extraordinary people bring certainty into uncertain environments. Whether it be in sports, business, or even being a great parent, in times of uncertainty people are drawn to those who’ve somehow found a way to find an internal certainty that can guide them. That certainty is not that you have all the answers, but rather that there’s certainty inside you that, together with your loved ones, you can find the answer and move forward.

Lastly, having a Vision in mind is also key. If you have that END IN MIND – the dream, the vision of what you want, if you spend time visualizing it and really feeling it – feeling as if it is already happening NOW, then you will be able to access certainty. If you know where you’re going and you know that you’re not going to give up until you get there, then it’s OK when you encounter big and little challenges in life. You’re certain that you’ll reach the end and you’re certain things are working out. The path may be not as you expected but no path it.

Focus on asking the right questions to yourself and focus on what you say to yourself. Are your words and self-talk building up or breaking down certainty in you?

Like you, I’ve had successes and also been in tough jambs. There were times when I thought my life was over financially and I was embarrassed, stressed, whatever. But as I look back, in the big picture, that was just part of the journey. Those things passed. Other things will pass, I am certain of it! My real friends are still around. That ‘real Jim’ is still inside me. Struggles bring strength. Strength brings certainty.

My Story, Chapter 4

inspire

Continued…..

….so that fall I returned to college a new person….really I felt like a man for the first time ever. As I mentioned, people treated me differently. I had a new confidence and self-respect. I can tell you that my relationships, grades, and life were affected.

I went to the fitness center 4 or 5 times a week. I ate better. I worked in the office and carried a 90% load of schoolwork. My grades improved greatly. My professors noticed my change. I began to think differently.

My parents now went to Florida from January to April. They bought a small place there and had a great time – they deserved it. My dad played volleyball 4 or 5 days a week and softball once or twice a week. My mother and father rode there bikes around the park most of the day and they socialized. They looked and acted years younger.

Besides some basic challenges, the year went on well. My father had a minor set back the next year but recovered quickly. I continued to run the business mostly on my own, using my dad as a valuable consultant. I would bounce ideas and situations off of him and we’d work together. My father and I did travel together to some larger clients, some tradeshows and other business. I got to spend time with him as a boss, partner and for the first time friend. It was a great time and I am forever grateful for that time. As time went on, I began to inject more of my own ideas and personality into the business. I had much to learn.

The next year of college came and I continued to maintain the balance of work, school, and social life. I began to enjoy the bit of extra money that I started to gather. Life was good.

I began to really taste independence. When I say that, I mean it in a few ways….I tasted what it was like to earn money, to save money, and to invest it. I saw my money grow in my investments, so I understood the passive nature of investing.

By the nature of our business, we set up dealers, home centers, and distributors. They sold our products. We earned commission. That was pretty cool. We earned money whether we were golfing, driving, sleeping or whatever. Sure we had to offer support, service and coordinate deliveries….and yes set up new dealers, but it was cool when I understood that there was a recurring revenue of sorts happening there.

The other part of independence was that we were living one about 30 acres – about 10 acres of fields in front of the home and office, and the balance behind us in beautiful woods. There was a small hillside on the on side of the property so that we were in a nice little valley. Not far in the woods, we had a creek. You could sit in the office in mid-summer and open the windows to a great cool breeze. You could hear birds sing, hear the bubbling creek, and look out and see deer.

If you wanted to take a walk, go fishing, it was all possible. There was an independence so that we were not tied to a city building, hampered by a commute and traffic. We weren’t tied to one employer. We had the freedom of recurring income. The independence that all people experience when they first reach a certain level of income was there. Life was good.

Later in my life I got away from many of these things. I worked in the city and had a very long commute. I worked for controlling employers. I would spend years longing to get back to that independence – the feeling that I controlled my own life. I lost the recurring revenue and the almost passive nature of the income.  For many years, sometimes on purpose, sometimes because of circumstances around me, I lost independence. I can tell you this, it is much better, in so many ways, to be as independent as possible. I’ve had it and in some ways, I lost it.

As with any life event, I learned lessons. Among others, I learned the WORDS TO LIVE BY: Independence. Being free to act on your own, free to live where you want. I encourage you, define what independence means to you and what types of it are important to you.

—-

I really grew over a few years. I learned a lot. I took some risks. I made some mistakes. I had successes.

One of the companies was about 90% of our income. We were independent but when you looked at the finances of our business, we were very dependent on one company. It wasn’t by design but because that company had such a diverse nature of products and because of how the territory simply developed, we were tied to them.

One spring we got news that this company hired a new set of sales managers. We got the call that one was coming to our area and we had to set up some visits. We approached it with a great attitude but he was pretty tough to deal with. Even though he knew nothing of the industry, he came across as egotistical, typically interrupted people, and was not a pleasant guy to spend the guy with…..

….he came into town a few times that summer and he’d typically tick off clients wherever he visited. We’d ask for help solving problems but he never solved one of them. He often was late for appointments and was disrespectful to me and my father. Then one day he asked us to meet him somewhere far. So we got up at 5am, drove to see this guy and we got fired.

That year, that company let go of any and every representative like us across the country and they went with some in-house salaried people. (Within 12 months that company also let go that sales manager!) Things change. You must adapt!.

So we drove all the way home on that beautiful summer day. I could tell that my dad was very upset that suddenly the business had lost 90% of its cashflow and the legacy he wanted to leave was not going to be the same. We tried to enjoy the day and we discussed the exit strategy….we also began to think about what the next step would be………

….continued….

My Story, Chapter 2

…continued….

….so my dad had a heart attack and was in the hospital…..I woke the next day and went to the hospital. My mother was actually there alone as they had taken my father to a hospital in Pittsburgh by helicopter. He was going to have open heart surgery.

We drove to Pittsburgh together. My mother was a strong woman. She never showed weakness. In this case she again was in control. I saw no tears, no shaking, no signs of fragility. She was in control and leading the way. We covered things about my dad’s business, the home, who to call, relatives to contact and that sort of thing. We acted like a team. We had a common goal and we were passionate about it.

My dramatic, self-centered nature from the day before had vanished, it seemed.

My sisters came to the hospital and my father went for surgery. I was still pretty confused and in shock. I recall getting all the information from the doctors and surgeons about the procedure but in that state I all just seemed to pass through me, I must have been glazed over. He was getting a multiple bypass, his heart was badly damaged. I remember someone saying he should have died with all that damage – that he should be dead now…., I remember then thinking that that person should have thought before they spoke.

After hours of waiting, pacing, visiting the cafeteria, walks around the block, my father came up from surgery. We went into his room as a family – my mother, my sisters and I. My dad was laying flat on the bed no pillow, no blanket or sheet. His arms were spread out wide with tubes in them and there were plastic ‘boards’ taped on his arms keeping them stiff. His bare chest had a very large bandage right down the center where they did open heart surgery. He had tubes down his throat and was still on a breathing machine. It was shocking. I wasn’t prepared for it.

Amazingly, he woke up. Of course he couldn’t speak and for some reason his eyes were tired and he couldn’t keep them open. But he wanted to communicate with us. I remember that he took our hands and tried to spell something in our palms; ala Helen Keller. My sisters and mother couldn’t get what he was saying. He moved to my hand and I felt his clammy cold hand, different from his standard warm grip. He spelled some words and I seemed to get them right away! A breakthrough. He said somethings that I don’t now recall. Then I remember him saying it was not pleasant to breath with the machine. Then he joked that he was full of hot air. He always had a good sense of humor.

He was moving his feet and toes a lot and my mom told him to relax. I think he spelled back that someone told him to move his feet and legs to keep the circulation going.

At one point it got quiet. We were all standing around the bed looking at my dad. It was such a wonderful moment. I think we all held hands for a quiet long moment. For many years my oldest sister had been living in Florida, my other sister was going through a divorce, I was away at college….we were now together with one mission,…..more importantly we were together. I’m not sure what everyone else was thinking but that moment was one I won’t ever forget. We were a family, a single unit. I’m not sure how long it lasted but it was magical.

The next weeks were spent at the hospital with challenges, progress and set backs. My mother basically lived at the hospital. My one sister moved home from Florida to help. I was driving a little over an hour to the hospital and home, trying to keep things going. We had support from many friends and some relatives.

I questioned myself. I was thrust into the role of taking care of the home, a fairly big one; all the property; the family business, and all that sort of thing. Suddenly I had to get up much earlier to meet the delivery guys, I had to deliver things and coordinate logistics. I had to place orders for kitchens and products. All this with about a day’s experience.

I recall when my dad came home. It was a nice day outside, shining sun, birds chirping, a pleasant breeze blowing….. However the recovery wasn’t over. He was still tired and couldn’t do much. My mother was on him to behave and first showed some signs of stress. My sister was now living at home and trying to put in her two cents. She was a nurse, had lived alone for many years, and she had her way to do things. My mother was strong willed and had her way. They bumped heads. Neither was right or wrong, just different from one another.

My sister thought I was just a kid (I basically was) and often treated me like that. Yet I had to do all the things a man had to do.

I was making progress and I knew it. But I still had to deal with my recently sloppy academic record. I remember trying to call the Dean’s office at the college. My intention was to stop or ‘catch’ my report card before it got home. I spoke to the Dean herself telling her my dad had a heart attack, that my grades were not good, and the report card could upset him more. Looking back, it sounded like a typical scam, I suppose, but I was truly worried. I even enlisted another professor to plead my case. No luck. The report card came home.

My parents really didn’t get upset, they were just disappointed, which actually hurt more. They didn’t say much. I recall my dad sitting there quietly – he wasn’t really a quiet guy – then asking me if I was serious about school and if I thought I should stay on campus next year – or even attend next year. I emphatically said I was serious and that next year would be different.

With that said, I signed up for a summer accounting class – a class that I had just got a “D” in – I was going to retake it. I didn’t have to retake it, I was told by my professor, but I chose to do so.

So I’d work the business, do things around the house to keep things running, then I’d go to class, return and work on the business more. One day I came home from the summer class and my mother came right out in the driveway and said simply and rather abruptly, “The water isn’t working, you need to go up on the hill and fix it.”

We had a pretty cool system for water. There was a large hill by our house and this very powerful spring ran a high volume of water all year long. It provided great tasting, safe water for our home. The overflow went to our pond and was a nice thing. For some reason it stopped working.

Again not knowing what I was doing, I climbed the hill in the mud and poison ivy. I dug and dug. I searched for the problems. I recall thinking that my mother was so mean not even saying hello to me. She just came up and said she wanted something. How dare she?

Then something jumped into my mind. I recalled doing the same thing to my parents. I recall being abrupt and selfish with my parents. Except it wasn’t about water or some basic needs, I wanted something dumb and silly that I can’t even remember what it was now. I remember doing this multiple times and then thinking how my parents must have felt.

The next day my dad’s friend Don joined me on the hill and despite our best efforts, we couldn’t figure out the problem. More days went past and the consensus was that the spring “moved” as it does sometimes and the spring was no longer viable as the primary source. So we had to drill a well.

We got the well guys out there to our house. My dad had a minor set back so he was definitely not able to interact so my mother and I worked with the well drillers…. and they tried to take advantage of my mother by not fulfilling their promises to do certain things and fill in the ditch, complete the job, and generally did a half-baked job. I had to stand up to them a few times and it was a first for me standing up for the family. I didn’t like it yet it felt good to ‘defend’ my family and get our money’s worth – and hold them to their Word.

That summer brought lots of challenges in the way of the family business…….

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During this an other challenges in my life, I learning key lessons. One was the WORDS TO LIVE BY: Keep Moving. Sometimes when you’re in a storm of sorts – or it seems like it is – just keep moving. To me at this age and this time, my dad’s health, the responsibilities of the business and being the ‘man of the family’, and other challenges seemed overwhelming. Sometimes I let myself become overwhelmed. I even thought of escaping, withdrawing and just going to live at the beach or something and letting my family pick up the pieces. But when I took a breath, relaxed a bit, smiled and just kept moving ahead looking for solutions, things weren’t that bad. All of a sudden people gave me good feedback, good things started to happen, and more than anything, I got through it. Looking back, it wasn’t all that bad. Just keep moving, have faith in yourself, in others, in God/the Universe/the Source or whatever you believe. Sitting still whining and feeling sorry for yourself won’t help! Ask for help then take action, any action! Mistakes are OK – in fact mistakes will help you learn and be a better person.

….continued in the next chapter…….

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