A True Short Story on Aging, Man’s Best Friend and Social Media

After graduating from Indiana University in 1973, I went to work for the DuPont Company in Wilmington, Delaware. There I had a co-worker who had a University of Michigan MBA, was a few years my senior, and from my perspective had substantially more intellect. For some reason, unbeknownst to me, this U of M grad took me under his wing, looked out for me, protected my back, shared his corporate “political” insights and we became best friends. DuPont was a large global company and our careers went in dramatically different directions.

I lost touch with this friend probably twenty years ago, and just recently, at age 63, decided I should attempt to find him using the Internet so I could say “thanks!” His name was a common name like mine, and after unsuccessfully searching for several days, I finally struck gold on Facebook and sent him a “Friend” request. Weeks passed and I never heard from him, so I got back on his Facebook page and found his wife. I sent her a friend request and she accepted immediately. I sent her a Facebook message telling her that for some reason her husband never responded to my “Friend” request. She explained, “He simply is no longer the man everyone knew and loved back in the glorious DuPont days, as he is currently suffering from both acute Dementia and Parkinson’s diseases. He has his good days and his bad days, but mostly bad days. I set-up his Facebook page for people like you who might want to find and help this extraordinary man, but most of the posts on his Facebook page are there because I posted them for him.” I asked if I could speak to him and she said she would try to arrange that on one of his good days. I shared that I had written a memoire that included stories of our glorious DuPont days together, and asked if she thought he would enjoy a copy. She said “Of course, he loves to read!” I mailed him a copy of my book inscribed with a note that provided my telephone number suggesting that he could give me a call when he finished reading the book and we could catch-up.

About a month later, my cell phone rang and it was my friend. He was as lucid as could be and we talked on the phone and laughed at one another together. He had informed his wife he was going to give me a call while taking a walk. I told him he sounded great and I was so pleased to reconnect with him so I could say “thanks” for all the wonderful things he did for me, helping me launch a successful career, just like his! After almost an hour on the phone, I noticed I had another call coming in and put my friend on hold to take the call. It was my friend’s wife, worried sick because her husband had taken their golden retriever for a walk, as he did most of his “good” days, but this time he hadn’t returned home in the normal twenty minutes it takes to walk to the end of their long country gravel driveway in Maine and back to their home. She was worried sick about him. I said, “No problem, I am glad you called, I am talking to him on the phone at this very instant!” I put her on hold and told my friend his wife just called concerned for his safety. He laughed a boisterous laugh he always had and said, “Tell her I’m fine, and I will be home shortly.” I relayed the message to his wife and ended her call. When I told my friend he should probably return home, he said “Jim, I don’t have a clue where I am, or any idea how to get back home!” It was the first evidence of Dementia I witnessed, so I asked him to tell his dog to take him home . . . I could hear him give instructions to the dog . . . and the dog turned sharply to the left and pulled him directly home in a matter of minutes! Turned out, he and the retriever somehow had been wandering around their 10 acre, heavily wooded home site, during our call, and the retriever apparently had never allowed my friend to get further than 200 yards from their homes back yard!

Praise the Lord for man’s-best-friend and my re-connected BFF on Facebook!

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Believe in Miracles?

I know people who say they have never experienced a miracle. Maybe you’re one of them. But I would argue that you have never NOT experienced one.

It may seem like you’re sitting still right now, but it’s an illusion of miraculous proportions. Planet Earth is spinning around its axis at an equatorial speed of 1,040 miles per hour.

Simultaneously, we’re also speeding through space at an average velocity of 67,108 miles per hour. That’s not just faster than a speeding bullet. It’s 87 times faster than the speed of sound.

So even on a day when you feel like you didn’t get much done, you did travel 1,599,793 miles through space! And to top things off, the Milky Way Galaxy is spinning like a top at the mind-boggling rate of 483,000 mph.

If that isn’t miraculous, I don’t know what is.

Yet when was the last time you thanked God for keeping us in orbit? I’m guessing never! “Lord, I wasn’t sure we’d make the full rotation today, but You did it again!”

We just don’t pray that way. Why? Because God is so good at what God does that we take it for granted. Albert Einstein said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as if nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything.” I unapologetically believe that everything is.

Trillions of chemical reactions are taking place in your body every second of every day—you are inhaling oxygen, metabolizing energy, managing equilibrium, manufacturing hormones, fighting antigens, filtering stimuli, purifying toxins, and circulating six quarts of blood through 60,000 miles of arteries, veins, and capillaries. If the blood vessels in your body were laid end to end, they’d circle the earth two and a half times!

Your brain has the ability to perform ten quadrillion calculations per second using only twenty watts of power. And its storage capacity is 2.5 petabytes. The entire print collection of the Library of Congress is estimated to be 10 terabytes. So your brain has the capacity to store 250 libraries of congress.

If your personal genome sequence were written out longhand, it would be a three-billion-word book. The King James Version has 783,137 words, so your genetic code is the equivalent of approximately four thousand Bibles. If your personal genome sequence were an audio book, and you were read at a rate of one double helix per second, it would take nearly a century to put you into words!

My point? You aren’t just surrounded by miracles. You are one. What if we started living like it? How would it change our daily lives? How would it change the way we treat the walking, talking miracles we live with and work with each day?

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The Challenges of Change

Author and personal development guru Jim Rohn is credited with saying “You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight!” Change is the most difficult things humans attempt to do. As Rohn suggests, even though change doesn’t happen immediately, you can start the ball rolling with your very next thought.

The reason creating change is so difficult is that there’s a vested part of our personality that aggressively resists change at every turn.

Since it’s our thinking that drives our behavior, all change begins with your thoughts. What you do is a direct result of what you think. If you can embrace the analogy that your life is like a business, enacting change requires putting your brain under new management. New management is generally a “change agent” . . . someone brought into the business from outside the business to shake things up and make the company more profitable, efficient or functional.

So, you have to first decide to change, then like running a business, run your mind in a similar fashion. Write a business plan articulating the baby steps required to achieve sustained improvement and real change. Write down your stategy for change (your goal), then articulate the steps (tactics) of how you are going to get there . . . baby steps . . . the 3-W’s . . . What are We going to do by When?

You have to have a supervisors or task-master mentality. But realize, it takes time to effect change, it doesn’t happen over night. You remember Aesop’s fable about the race between the tortoise and the hare?

The moral of the story was that slow and steady wins the race every time . . . the same is true for change!

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Laughter for Life: The Best Medicine

Humor has played an integral role in my life for as long as I can remember. I’ve always enjoyed great pleasure from making people laugh. I think of it as my gift to others . . . humor is nonthreatening, yet a powerful way to effectively make a point. As Bob Hope once said, “I have seen what a laugh can do. It can transform almost unbearable tears into something bearable, even hopeful.”

Bob Hope knew, because he delivered humor in some very serious places during his lifetime. And, since we all see our share of winter bleakness on our respective life journeys, we all need a little sunshine to create that happy and healthy balance.

Laughter changes our physical chemistry which allows our body to defend against physical, social and emotional ailments. Laughter has been shown to provide physical benefits by:

- Boosting our immune system
- Lowering debilitating stress hormones
- Decreasing the physical pain one might feel
- Prevent heart disease
- Relax muscles

Laughter also delivers superior emotional wellness by:

- Helping you deal with stress more effectively
- Helping you cope better with difficult situations
- Improve your mood
- Give you a positive feeling that lifts your spirit

There are two kinds of laughter: laughing with others publicly and laughing at yourself privately. I bet you’d agree that we like being around people who can make us laugh.

Will Rogers once said, “Everything is funny as long as it is happening to someone else.” Being able to laugh at yourself is like a wellness inoculation against the inevitable struggles in life.

If you want to ease the burdens in life, make a conscious decision and “decide” to be a happier person . . .you will notice that once you are, others want to be around!

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A few bits of wisdom on the 13th anniversary of 911

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery, today is a gift. That’s why we call it the PRESENT. (unknown author)

Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, your’re right! (Henry Ford)

Pain is inevitable but misery is optional. We cannot avoid pain but we can avoid joy. (Tim Hansel)

That which does not kill us makes us stronger. (Friedrich Nietzsche)

The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up. (Mark Twain)

When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and regretfully upon the closed door that we don’t see the one that has been opened for us. (Alexander Graham Bell)

We are like tea bags – we don’t know our own strength until we are in hot water. (Eleanor Roosevelt)

Accept challenges, so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory. (George S. Patton)

The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

How does one become a butterfly? You must want to fly so much that you are willng to give up being a caterpillar. (Trina Paulus)

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4 Odd Yet Effective Ways the Smartest People Prioritize Their Days

When you have a long list that needs tackling every day, the hardest part is getting started. That is, what needs to be done first? The very most successful people know that planning, organizing, and protecting one’s time is not an easy task. Below are four unconventional methods that keep the brightest focused exactly on what they need to do:

1 – THINK ABOUT DEATH – As yourself, “If today is the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” Reflecting on death has proven extremely helpful when you re-prioritize your goals and values.

2 – WEAR THE SAME CLOTHES EVERY DAY – When you downsize your closet, you also cut down on the number of choices you have to make every day, which means you can now better focus on what’s the most important: YOUR PRIORITIES. Think about it for a second, Steve Jobs wore the same jeans and black turtleneck day-in and day-out!

3 – KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN URGENT AND IMPORTANT – An urgent task requires immediate attention and is often performed in a hurried, reactive mode. An example of an urgent task is calming the baby or attending a pre-scheduled meeting. On the other hand, an important task contributes to long-term values and goals and is performed in a responsive mode that leads to new opportunities. An example of an important task is planning the company’s next global sales-team meeting. Important tasks can sometimes be urgent, but generally speaking, are not.

4 – MAKE AN “AVOID AT ALL COST” LIST – Warren Buffett knows that you can’t be amazing if you focus on everything your’re interesed in all at once. This is exactly why, to keep his focus laser sharp, he advises making a list of the to 25 things you want to accomplish in the next few years. From that list, pick the top five that are most important to you. Now that you have two lists, you “avoid at all cost” the longer list!

Whether you’re reflecting on your mortality or getting rid of your wardrobe, the smartest people know that there’s never more time in the day . . . rather only better ways to manage your time through prioritizing!

And if for some reason this doesn’t work for you, simply learn the most effective way to prioritize . . . “Listen to your heart, and start saying NO!”

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5 Relationship Building Blocks

What are the ingredients that make a great relationship? No doubt there are many, but the following 5 are the keys:

1 – TIME – Your time is a precious gift to give someone. Healthy relationships demand the gift of your time to increase the bond.

2 – COMMUNICATION – Communicaiton is a form of intimacy that comes in two distinct powerful forms: Verbal and Non-Verbal. Holding hands, a supportive caress, a touch to the shoulder are all non-verbal signals of relationship building. Those three little words that mean so much to all of us: I love you. There is no substitute for hearing loving words sincerely directed at you.

3 – RESPECT – Healthy relationships demand respect for your partner. You show admiration by being honest, accepting their opinions, and letting them know they’re needed by doing your best to make them happy.

4 – TRUST – You must be able to trust your partner with your feelings, dreams and passions, as well as your insecurities. And your partner must know that you have their back and will support them and give them the confidence that their hopes and dreams are safe with you.

5 – FORGIVENESS – Inevitably we all do things that upset or hurt our partner. In almost every case, these offenses are forgivable and actually provide an opportunity to grow closer. Learning to say “I’m sorry” when you slip-up is invaluable.

Happy and healthy relationships call for common sense, sensitivity, caring, understanding and acceptance along with a generous dose of love and affection.

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I believe . . .

I Believe . . . . .
A Birth Certificate shows we were born; a Death Certificate shows that we died; and pictures show that we lived.

I Believe…
That just because two people argue, doesn’t mean they don’t love each other. And just because they don’t argue, doesn’t mean they do love each other.

I Believe…
That we don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

I Believe…
That no matter how good a friend is, they’re going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

I Believe…
That true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance.
Same goes for true love.

I Believe…
That you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

I Believe…
That it’s taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

I Believe…
That you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

I Believe…
That you can keep going long after you think you can’t.

I Believe…
That we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I Believe…
That either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I Believe…
That heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I Believe…
That money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I Believe…
That my best friend and I can do anything, or nothing, and have the best time.

I Believe…
That sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you’re down, will be the ones to help you get back up.

I Believe…
That sometimes when I’m angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.

I Believe…
That maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you’ve had, and what you’ve learned from them…..and less to do with how many birthdays you’ve celebrated.

I Believe…
That it isn’t always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes, you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I Believe…
That our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

I Believe….
Two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

I Believe…
That your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don’t even know you.

I Believe…
That even when you think you have no more to give, if a friend cries out to you…….you will find the strength to help.

I Believe…
That credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

I Believe…
That the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.

I Believe…
That every day of your life is an opportunity to be a blessing to someone else.

I Believe…
That because of Jesus, we can have victory over anything that would try to hold us back!

I Believe . . .
The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; rather, they just make the most of everything.

I Believe…
That you should share the link to this with all of the people that you believe in. I just did.

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What happens when someone reads between the . . . stalls?

We heard this funny – slightly embarrassing – joke in our humor support group. Hope it makes you chuckle too!

I was in the public restroom – I was barely sitting down when I heard a voice in the other stall: Hi! How are you?

Me (embarrassed): Doin’ fine thanks!

Person in next stall: So, what are you up to?

Me: Uh, I’m like you, just sitting here.

Person in next stall: Can I come over?

Me (now slightly irritated): Are you serious?!

Person in next stall: Listen, I’ll have to call you back. There’s someone in the other stall who keeps answering my questions!

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Ever realize that all the faces in the world are actually mirrors?

Long ago in a small, far away village, there was place known as “The House of One Thousand Mirrors.” A small, happy little dog learned of this place and decided to visit. When he arrived, he bounced happily up the stairs to the doorway of the house. He looked through the doorway with his ears lifted high and his tail wagging as fast as it could. To his great surprise, he found himself staring at 1000 other happy little dogs with their tails wagging just as fast as his. He smiled a great smile, and was answered with 1000 great smiles just as warm and friendly. As he left the House, he thought to himself, “This is a wonderful place. I will come back and visit it often.”

In this same village, another little dog, who was not quite as happy as the first one, decided to visit the house. He slowly climbed the stairs and hung his head low as he looked into the door. When he saw the 1000 unfriendly looking dogs staring back at him, he growled at them and was horrified to see 1000 little dogs growling back at him. As he left, he thought to himself, “That is a horrible place, and I will never go back there again.”

What kind of reflections do you see in the faces of the people you meet?

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