Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pep Talk: "Lift a Spirit"

Whenever blessed to have the opportunity to stand before a group of people and encourage them, the topic of change, and how to effectively deal with it, always is addressed.
Ya know, those unexpected things in life, those unwanted things in life appearing at just the wrong time and leave us saddened and shocked. For example, the recent movie-theater shooting draws all the headlines as the media saturates our lives with coverage of funerals, recoveries and the constant - perhaps futile - question pointing toward, “Why?”
One grieving mother of a young woman who perished that horrific moment summed it up well when interviewed by stating, “It is so SENSELESS.”
Amen to that sister. The point is this, each and every one of us usually has something going on in life challenging our emotional, physical, financial or spiritual well-being. It’s, unfortunately, just the way life is. We are frequently shocked and saddened. However, this Pep Talk is offered to encourage you, and others, to not allow whatever is occurring right now, subdue you.
We must keep faith in ourselves that within our souls lies resolve, defined as “a firm determination to do something,” to weather the storm. Trying times always, at least in my cranium conjure a visual of folks in the path of hurricanes “batting down the hatches.” We know the future is going to be rough and uncertain but we’re preparing to the best of our abilities to survive and, ultimately, thrive despite what ails us.
Recovery from adversity ain’t gonna happen unless we believe it’s possible. It gets tough to maintain a positive attitude when the road gets rocky. That’s why it’s wonderful to have folks around us who can lift our spirits in the trying time. Be that type of person this week, okay?
Recently, while cleaning up around the Victory Productions office, I ran across a letter a friend had sent me years ago. I was struggling with the fallout from divorce - emotionally wounded. My buddy, Billy Mac from Hackensack, would say, of those predicaments from life, “You gotta lie down and bleed a little before rising to fight again.” Well, I was darn lucky to have another wonderful friend who cared enough about me to send, framed, a poem of hope. At this moment, it’s shared with you in hopes it lifts a spirit, or two, in your world. The beautiful prose is titled, Twenty-Four Things to Remember...and One Thing to Never Forget:
Your presence is a present to the world.
You’re unique and one of a kind.
Your life can be what you want it to be.
Take the days just one at a time.
Count your blessings, not your troubles.
You’ll make it through whatever comes along.
Within you are so many answers.
Understand, have courage, be strong.
Don’t put limits on yourself.
So many dreams are waiting to be realized.
Decisions are too important to leave to chance.
Reach for your peak, your goal, your prize.
Nothing wastes more energy than worrying.
The longer one carries a problems, the heavier it gets.
Don’t take life too seriously.
Live a life of serenity, not a life of regrets.
Remember that a little love goes a long way.
Remember that a lot, goes forever.
Remember that friendship is a wise investment.
Life’s treasures are people, together.
Realize that it’s never too late.
Do ordinary things in an extraordinary way.
Have health, hope, happiness and hugs.
Take the time to wish upon a star.
And don’t forget....for even a day...
how very special you are...
especially to me.
Many years ago, a human being knew I was struggling and took the time to copy this poem, print it, frame it, then send my way. Obviously it had significance, I saved it. Lucky for me, it was unearthed during a recent cleansing of the office. It still means the world to me. It lifted my spirit. Thanks Stuffers.
Be that kind of friend for someone this week. We all know someone struggling with illness, loss of loved one, divorce or job loss. Send them the above poem.
It sure meant the world to me. I dunno, just a simple dude from Missouri, but who knows, maybe it will lift the spirit of someone in your world too.
Do it!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Pep Talk: "Of Dire Need"

It was not a typical Saturday morning in the Mile High City. No, it was a little more than 24 hours since horror filled the air inside an Aurora, Colorado movie theatre as a 24-year-old, with no regard for human life, shot 71 people, 12 of them mortally.
So while precious princess drives toward a busy weekend of driver’s education classes, I’m sitting in the passenger seat reading the paper. Actually, at this moment it was impossible to read because of the tears blurring my eyes. Three pictures in the Denver Post stirred such emotion. Two display anguish. One from a father who lost a son and woman who lost a friend. The third photo is of a mother, overwhelmed with joy, hugging a son who was in the theatre but escaped unharmed, at least physically.
My mind wandered back to the day before and our radio show, Drive Time with Mac and Doog. Normally from 3-6pm each weekday on Mile High Sports Radio we talk about sports, not this day. No, the three hours were spent talking about life, and its fragility.
We had two callers who were in the theatre when madness, dressed in full-body battle armor, descended upon an unsuspecting throng gathered to see the premier of Dark Knight Rises. One was a man attending the, in a trilogy, final Superman movie with a sister, who was shot in the leg. Luckily the caller’s sibling was treated and released from a local hospital. The other caller was in the theatre adjacent to the unfolding massacre. He thought, initially,  knuckleheads in the back of his theatre, also showing Dark Knight, were shooting off firecrackers until bullets began flying through the wall separating the two theaters.
So daughter and dad are driving south on Interstate 25 and, while sitting in the passenger seat and reading, I’m struggling with emotions. I’m thinking of those grieving and how tragic a day it was, and will continue to be, for those who lost loved ones. I was also thanking my lucky stars an almost 16-year-old bundle of amazement, I’m proud to call daughter, was not interested in attending the midnight showing. My heart ached in trying to fathom the feelings that must be pervasive within those who hugged a loved one and left them with, “Have a good time at the movie” and now deal with the reality a child, spouse or friend is gone forever.
It’s such a powerful reminder to one of life’s sobering truths: we just never know when an event will radically alter our journey. We see it played out daily with the news of accidents, illnesses and other calamities that confound our imaginations and leave us wondering, “What the heck is going on around here?”
The reminders of this truth are usually not so outlandish, but they exist for each of us. Unexpected, and unwanted, stuff happens. The question becomes, how will we deal with the challenges of picking up the pieces and moving forward in healthy and productive ways? 
This tragedy is also another reminder of another of life’s great truths: we need each other always, but especially in times like this. I just hope and pray that once the dust settles and the pain, if it’s possible, subsides, those directly affected by this tragic moment will realize the great value in rallying around each other in attempting to move past the sadness and anger positioned to dominate the future.
How do we deal with such tragedy? We rally around each other, that’s how. We unite with like-minded folks and encourage - give hope and confidence to - one another that, we can survive and, ultimately, thrive despite the unwanted and unexpected changes life throws our way. The venues may change, but the strategy is the same. We must realize we’re not alone, rally with others of similar experience and, most important, encourage self and everybody else to move forward in ways honoring, nurturing and adding value to the communities we serve.
Tragedies have a way of reminding us to truly count our blessings and cherish each day because, “You just never know.” Thoughts and prayers to the deceased, wounded and witnesses. What they experienced is unimaginable.
Perhaps this Pep Talk comes down to this: life’s uncertainties bring anguish and pain. We know that. Let’s make sure this week one thing is perfectly clear, certain: We will care for one another, especially in time of dire need.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pep Talk: "Marinating in Love and Learn"

Anybody out there moved lately? What a pain in the butt, ain’t it? That’s my world and it’s really been, while laborious, an emotional joy ride relieving almost 20 years in a cherished home. But hey, it’s mentioned often in this forum that life is all about change, right? Question becomes, good or bad? In this case, it’s wonderful. After nine years of courtship darling girlfriend and your humble correspondent are taking the next step.
Back to the story, I’m trying to take advantage of moving and get really organized. I write “Memories” on a storage container lid and think about what has been deposited. Almost two decades in Congress Park, the village tucked into Denver’s near-east side and close to the beautiful Botanic Gardens. Ya know, momentous from those moments that have become part of our DNA. Those times, and the emotions the times produced, that become part of our DNA and define us.
When moving here, from Denver’s nearby Hilltop neighborhood, after divorce number one, first priority was getting close to kindergarten son’s parochial elementary school. Mission was accomplished when a fixer-upper, less than a block from school, become available. A man recovering from divorce and five-year-old son moved in while mother and former wife pursued a new opportunities in Los Angeles.
An interesting time in life for sure. That was long ago, long before Pep Talks and the Comeback Coach stuff was born. Life was demanding but one of the best makers of Hamburger Helper - the kids down the block will vouch for me, I hope - had a responsibility - still do - to weather the storm. Faith demands that of me. Life had thrown a lemon and it was time to transform it into a sweet and savory margarita. I know, simple, not easy. Let’s never forget, we’re in this together! 
Okay, to the point. Moving, packing up and the experience is triggering many thoughts, emotions and all that other stuff. Two words keep popping into cranium: love and learn.
What you say?
Well, another cool thing about this savored tree-lined street in Congress Park is this: at one end of the block, there’s a church. At the other end of the block is the before-mentioned school where son and, after second marriage, little sister attended and learned.
I’ve been called a lot of things in life, smart rarely one of them, but I’ve always thought it was cool to have a church and school as block bookends. Good mojo. At one end, an institution dedicated to encouraging others to love one another. The church serves many denominations. I see the human kaleidoscope often when departing or arriving home considering my alley garage stands maybe 60 feet from a popular gathering spot on the church’s south side. There’s an admired strong sense of community present.
At the far end of the block rests a school building, long-time parochial and now private, with the critical, noble and challenging mission of educating our nation’s most precious resource. Our kids, 25% of our population, 100% of our future.
One end of the block stresses love, the other, learning. Love and learning? Bartender, buy everybody another round, will ya? I was lucky. It’s a prayer everyone who stepped into the humble abode benefited, from that quality marinade. The energy emanating in this little piece of the Mile High City was “Love and Learn.”
How about this week, we make sure that dynamic duo oozes from us too. Marinating in love and learn can’t be bad for you, right?
Have a great week!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Pep Talk: "The Wisdom of WOHELO"

As an admitted baseball nut, the disastrous 2012 Colorado Rockies’ baseball season has been difficult to watch. The franchise, now in its 20th season, is threatening to produce its most disappointing season and could lose 100 games for the first time. Pure and simple, the Rockies stink.
But as a baseball fan I continue to endure and each weekday on Mac and Doog, this simple dude from Missouri, along with co-host Jimmy Doogan, continues to press for someone from the Rockies’ front office to “fall on the sword” and be held accountable for the losing. One of the bright spots has been outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, the five-tool - run, hit, throw, field and hit with power - standout has made his first All-Star team - you go Cargo.
The other night, while watching the Rockies lose to the St. Louis Cardinals, television announcers Drew Goodman and George Frazier were engaged in a conversation about the all-star voting process. Primarily because of fans voting for their favorite player, regardless of whether they have produced standout statistics, or are injured, it has become a joke. Goodman said something rattling the bones. “Folks have got to realize that players voted to the All-Star team should be deserved.” Amen brother.
That short phrase, “Should be deserved” is what burrowed deep into my brain. What does it mean to be “deserved?” According to Merriam-Webster it means, “Do something, or have, or show, qualities worthy of reward, or punishment.” Life will often - illness, injury, divorce, job loss to name a few - throw moments our way that have us wondering, “What the heck is going on around here?” Those life lemons leaving us bewildered, perplexed and challenged with, “Why me?”
On the other hand, life often produces moments of euphoria, happiness and joy, when perhaps we’re really not that “deserved” of emotional, physical and/or financial reward. They appear nonetheless. Yeah us!
What can we do to be deserved, in healthy and productive ways, home, work and elsewhere? Here’s three ideas courtesy of Luther Gulick, founder of Camp Fire Girls, now known as Camp Fire USA. First, a little background on the Hawaii native who was a pioneer in youth development for our country.
In the late 1880‘s, Gulick, as superintendent of the physical education department at the International YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts, instructed a peer to devise a winter, indoor, sport for boys. That peer was James Naismith and the sport was basketball. Gulick helped Naismith promote the sport, became an international official and was inducted into basketball’s Hall of Fame in 1959.
But it was 1912 when Gulick, along with wife Charlotte, planted another seed that speaks to this Pep Talk message about “deserved.” By this time, a century ago, Gulick, who studied medicine at New York University, was spreading his message about the importance of physical fitness in schools. 
Furthermore, the couple had become increasingly concerned about the lack of attention to young girls and their development. They watched young boys march off to many a summer camp experience and wondered, “What are we doing for the girls?” Camp Fire Girls was born. The mission was to promote physical fitness and learning experiences for girls designed to empower them to think beyond being a homemaker.
The Gulick’s stressed three things in Camp Fire endeavors. These three rock solid traits, remain the founding principles of an organization, now coeducational, and known as Camp Fire USA to mentor America’s youth: work hard, make healthy choices and show love and respect for self and others.
So there ya go. What can we do this week, in our efforts to be deserved of events honoring, nurturing and adding value to our lives? Well, let’s take a cue from Gulick and work hard, make healthy choices and love and respect each other.
While there is no guarantee of success, what we become in living WOHELO - Camp Fire acronym for work, health and love - will make us deserved of the possibilities.
Have a great week!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Pep Talk: "Never Lose Our Nerve"

This week’s Pep Talk was hatched, early morning, while staring at Vail Mountain from a hotel balcony during an annual trek to the mountains for Independence Day celebrations. If you’ve never been to Vail, Colorado and attended its July Fourth patriotic concert, put it on your bucket list. When the visiting philharmonic orchestra, often it’s Dallas’, begins to play our nation’s armed services - Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine and Coast Guard - hymns, rarely is there a dry eye in the amphitheater. 
For the record, I have always loved the Marine hymn the most. My late father is a Marine and I can remember, as a youngster, hearing him sing it with buddies, over beers usually, and would often join in. By the way, according to Wikipidea, the Marine hymn is the oldest official song of the United States military, here are the lyrics:
From the halls of Montezuma,
to the shores of Tripoli;
We fight our country’s battles
In the air, on land, and sea;
First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean:
We are proud to claim the title
of United States Marine.
Our flag’s unfurled to every breeze
From dawn to setting sun;
We have fought in every clime and place
Where we could take a gun;
In the snow of far-off Northern lands
And in sunny tropic scenes;
You will find us always on the job
The United States Marines.
Here’s health to you and to our Corps
Which we are proud to serve;
In many a strife we’ve fought for life
And never lost our nerve;
If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven’s scenes;
They will find the streets are guarded
By United States Marines.
236 years ago, our nation was founded. Since then, in many a battle, men and women have fought, suffered and perished to protect the American way of life. So many words of this song resonate, but toward the end, third verse, lines three and four really stand out: “In many a strife we’ve fought for life and never lost our nerve.”
In the midst of strife, to never lose our nerve ain’t easy. It’s a tall order and takes a ton of courage, defined as “that quality of mind enabling us to encounter danger and difficulties with firmness, heart and valor.” It’s sure easy to talk about encountering danger and difficulty with heart and valor, far more challenging to execute, right? When the going gets tough, how do we respond?
The challenges come from a variety of sources, emotional, physical, financial and elsewhere. Nobody is immune from the “stuff” life brings our way. Heck, sitting here on a beautiful Centennial State morning, staring at Vail Mountain bathed in early-morning sunlight, and sharing thoughts with you, conjures up images of a loved one battling cancer, challenges at work, relationships needing nurturing and other situations threatening peace of mind. I know you have “lists” too. Bless you in dealing with them.
When life throws us lemons, often at the most inopportune times, let’s take a cue from the United States Marines: encounter danger and difficulty with firmness, heart and valor. While there is no guarantee of success, the ability to never lose our nerve will serve us well in addressing whatever ails us - home, work and elsewhere.
Have a great week!
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