Family is where it is!!!!!

Family is where it is!!!!!
Christmas in Disney
Thanks for stopping by. Let me know if there are topics I should be spouting                                   off on.  

Remember that "Life is short. Break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly,                love fully and laugh uncontrollably....."


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Down in the dumps--think like an oyster.

Think Like An Oyster--By: David Clegg

Someone recently e-mailed me a poem about an oyster, I know it sounds crazy. But the poem made me think.
You may or may know it, but oysters have problems, too. Those poor little guys have to live on the bottom of the ocean. And they often get all sorts of trash in their shell.
Sometimes, they get a grain of sand stuck inside their shell in a place that they can’t reach to get it out. This sand scratches them and irritates them. So God, when he designed oysters, gave them a way of dealing with these irritations. The oyster secretes a milky white solution that surrounds the sand, so that it won’t scratch as much. As long as this sand is in it’s shell, the oyster continues to cover it. And, as I am sure you know, that grain of sand eventually becomes a beautiful pearl.
What does this have to do with you? Like the oyster, you are going to be faced with many little irritants. Some that you can’t seem to do anything about and they never seem to go away.
The Apostle Paul wrote:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV)
When those irritations come, begin to think like an oyster. Instead of complaining about the irritations, look for what God can do for you, in you and through you.
Start looking for the pearl, instead of the sand.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I'm not a hero ---USAir Pilot Captain Sullenberger

This will be appearing in Newsweek next week (FEB 23,2009)

Fellow Pilots,

"All I Wanted Was to Talk to My Family, and Get Some Dry Socks"

“The night of the accident, after we'd safely accounted for all 155 people on the airplane, left the hospital, finally reached the hotel—the pilots' union and the NYPD whisking us away—I remember thinking that my needs were very simple. I'd lost all my belongings; I'd had the most harrowing three minutes of my life. All I really wanted was to talk to my family, and get some dry socks.

It's been a month since the airplane I piloted, US Airways Flight 1549, made an emergency landing in the Hudson River.

Since then, the attention given to me and my crew—I'm trying to resist, somewhat unsuccessfully, everyone's attempt to make this about fewer than five people—has obviously been immense. But I still don't think of myself as a celebrity. It's been a difficult adjustment, initially because of the "hero" mantle that was pushed in my direction. I felt for a long time that that wasn't an appropriate word. As my wife, Lorrie, pointed out on 60 Minutes, a hero is someone who decides to run into a burning building. This was different—this was a situation that was thrust upon us. I didn't choose to do what I did. That was why initially I decided that if someone offered me the gift of their thankfulness, I should accept it gratefully—but then not take it on as my own.

As time went by, though, I was better able to put everything in perspective and realize how this event had touched people's lives, how ready they were for good news, how much they wanted to feel hopeful again. Partly it's because this occurred as the U.S. presidency was changing hands. We've had a worldwide economic downturn, and people were confused, fearful and just so ready for good news. They wanted to feel reassured, I think, that all the things we value, all our ideals, still exist—that they're still there, even if they're not always evident.”

As Leaders, we need to be aware of and respond to the need that Sully is talking about. All of the people in our organizations are experiencing what he is describing and his anecdote is right on:

Leaders need to touch people’s lives personally
People need some good news People need to feel hopeful
In times of significant change and turbulence, people need to know that the values we believe in and the ideals we hold to still exist
“When I was very young, my father impressed upon me that a commander is responsible for the welfare of everyone in his care. Any commander who got someone hurt because of lack of foresight or poor judgment had committed an unforgivable sin. My father was a dentist in the Navy, serving in Hawaii and San Diego from 1941 to 1945. He never saw combat, but he knew many who did. In the military, you get drilled into you the idea that you are responsible for every aspect of everyone's welfare.

During every minute of the flight, I was confident I could solve the next problem. My first officer, Jeff Skiles, and I did what airline pilots do: we followed our training, and our philosophy of life. We valued every life on that airplane and knew it was our responsibility to try to save each one, in spite of the sudden and complete failure of our aircraft. We never gave up. Having a plan enabled us to keep our hope alive. Perhaps in a similar fashion, people who are in their own personal crises—a pink slip, a foreclosure—can be reminded that no matter how dire the circumstance, or how little time you have to deal with it, further action is always possible. There's always a way out of even the tightest spot. You can survive.

Even though we had a successful outcome, it's human nature to wonder about the what-ifs. The second-guessing was much more frequent, and intense, in the first few days at night, when I couldn't sleep. It was hard to shut my brain off and get back to sleep. Sometimes I didn't, I couldn't. It was part of the post-traumatic stress that we have all felt, that each of the crew members has reported to each other.

It's funny—for the first two weeks after the accident, Jeff kept telling me, "I just want my old life back." But the other day he finally said for the first time, "You know, this is OK. I'm learning to like this. This is good." I think he's coming to terms with what's happened. He realizes that he's entitled to the attention. That he can still be true to himself; that accepting it isn't selling out.

Besides the outpouring of support from the passengers, the most touching sentiments I have received have been from other pilots. They tell me that because of the years of economic difficulties faced by the airline industry and its employees and the decreased respect for the profession, they have not felt proud to go to work—some of them for decades. Now, they tell me, they do. And they thank me for that. They thank us, the crew, because we've reminded people what all of us do every day, what's really at stake. They feel like they've regained some of the respect they'd lost.

What's next? I will return to flying for my airline—when I'm ready. I'm not sure when that will be; probably a few months. I still haven't had many nights at home. My family and I are trying hard to remain true to ourselves and not let this change us, but there's a steep learning curve. The trajectory of our lives has changed forever. And we're determined to make good come out of this in every way that we can.”

Capt. Sullenberger and his crew saved all 155 lives aboard US Airways Flight 1549.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Enlightened Perspective from Andy Rooney


I've learned... That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

I've learned.... That when you're in love, it shows.

I've learned.... That just one person saying to me, 'You've made my day!' makes my day.

I've learned.... That having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.

I've learned..... That being kind is more important than being right.

I've learned.... That you should never say no to a gift from a child.

I've learned.... That I can always pray for someone when I don't have the strength to help him in some other way.

I've learned.... That no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.

I've learned.... That sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

I've learned.... That simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as
an adult.

I've learned..... That life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.

I've learned.... That we should be glad God doesn't give us everything we ask for.

I've learned.... That money doesn't buy class.

I've learned... That it's those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.

I've learned... That under everyone's hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.

I've learned... That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.

I 've learned.... That when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.

I've learned.... That love, not time, heals all wounds.

I've learned.... That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.

I've learned... That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.

I've learned..... That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.

I've learned... That life is tough, but I'm tougher.

I've learned.... That opportunities are never lost, someone will take the ones you miss.

I've learned.... That when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.

I've learned.... That I wish I could have told my Mom that I love her one more time before she passed away.

I've learned.... That one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.

I've learned.... That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

I've learned.... That when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, that you're hooked for life.

I've learned.... That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're
climbing it.

I've learned.... That the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Clergy Letter - from American Christian clergy

Below is a letter signed by thousands of clergy who " ......believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist." I say Amen to that.

Within the community of Christian believers there are areas of dispute and disagreement, including the proper way to interpret Holy Scripture. While virtually all Christians take the Bible seriously and hold it to be authoritative in matters of faith and practice, the overwhelming majority do not read the Bible literally, as they would a science textbook. Many of the beloved stories found in the Bible – the Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah and the ark – convey timeless truths about God, human beings, and the proper relationship between Creator and creation expressed in the only form capable of transmitting these truths from generation to generation. Religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth. Its purpose is not to convey scientific information but to transform hearts.

We the undersigned, Christian clergy from many different traditions, believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as “one theory among others” is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children. We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator. To argue that God’s loving plan of salvation for humanity precludes the full employment of the God-given faculty of reason is to attempt to limit God, an act of hubris. We urge school board members to preserve the integrity of the science curriculum by affirming the teaching of the theory of evolution as a core component of human knowledge. We ask that science remain science and that religion remain religion, two very different, but complementary, forms of truth.

Blaze your own trail (from the PositiveTakeOn Blog)

You may or may not have heard of Jennifer Figge, but when she felt the warmth of the Caribbean sand on February 5th 2009, she became the first woman to swim across the Atlantic ocean.

This is a truly amazing feat in itself; the 56 year old left the Cape Verde islands just off the west coast of Africa, she then battled her way across 2000 miles of ocean, through strong winds and 30ft waves, swimming for 8 hours a day, in a cage to protect her from sharks.

Sound impossible?

Jennifer didn't think so. She knew what she wanted to achieve and she went for it. She trained for months in icy water in Aspen, Colorado to prepare for the challenge.

Some things sound impossible until somebody has the guts to do it, then once one person has done it, suddenly it becomes a lot more achievable.

Climb Everest, jump out of an aeroplane strapped to a giant plastic sheet, walk across hot coals.

All these tasks would have seemed impossible (and probably a little ridiculous) when they were suggested initially but the people that achieved these things first, clearly had the determination to prove everyone wrong. They opened the gates to the realm of possibility. You can do the same. You can do anything you set your mind to.

Think of the most challenging, most outlandish thing you can...Then go an do it.
See how many people will follow your footsteps in the future.

Well done Jennifer Figge

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Wal-Mart (more than you wanted to know)

Since my wife practically lives in Wal-Mart, thought it appropriate to show what her contributions have done for that retail giant.

    1 . At Wal-Mart, Americans spend $36,000,000 every hour of every day.

    2 . This works out to $20,928 profit every minute!

    3 . Wal-Mart will sell more from January 1 to St. Patrick's Day (March
    17th) than Target sells all year.

    4. Wal-Mart is bigger than Home Depot + Kroger + Target + Sears + Costco
    + K-Mart combined.

    5. Wal-Mart employs 1.6 million people and is the largest private
    employer. And most can't speak English

    6. Wal-Mart is the largest company in the history of the World.

    7. Wal-Mart now sells more food than Kroger & Safeway combined, and keep
    in mind they did this in only 15 years.

    8. During this same period, 31 Supermarket chains sought bankruptcy
    (including Winn-Dixie).

    9. Wal-Mart now sells more food than any other store in the world.

    10. Wal-Mart has approx 3,900 stores in the USA of which 1,906 are
    SuperCenters; this is 1,000 more than it had 5 years ago.

    11. This year, 7.2 billion different purchasing experiences will occur
    at a Wal-Mart store. (Earth's population is pproximately
    6.5 bil lion.)

    12. 90% of all Americans live within 15 miles of a Wal-Mart

    13. Let Wal Mart bail out Wall Street

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Eat locally-help your local community

This was an article that appeared in Style Weekly, a newspaper published for the Richmond, Va. community. Having worked in the hospitality business for years, this hit home so I share it now. Times are tough. Lets keep revenue flowing at home as well as regionally and nationally.

An Open Letter (Please Eat With Us)
We tend to long for the things we have lost, but never seem to blame ourselves for not supporting them while they’re here.
by Carey M. Friedman

I have nothing against national chain restaurants. My family and I dine at chain restaurants and I understand their allure, the comfort of knowing what you will get, whether in Richmond, Chicago or Omaha, Neb.

I’m asking that when you make your dining decisions, please remember the locally owned restaurants. Full disclosure: I own a family-run restaurant. Since the economy bottomed out last fall, business has dropped off — just like every retail sector in our economy. It’s hit our industry especially hard, however, particularly during the recent holiday season.

People are still eating out. I make it a regular habit to drive around to see how other places are doing on a given night. It’s been very frustrating when I drive by a dozen or so local restaurants and the parking lots are empty, but when I go by the chains, there are people waiting in line to get in. I’ve lived in a lot of cities up and down the East Coast. I’ve been in Richmond since the early 1990s, and I’ve never seen a city so taken by chain restaurants. If you look at the various “Best of” surveys that come out in local publications, chain restaurants are always on the list.

This is not to say that the national restaurants have no place in our local food chain. There are advantages, however, to eating local that I would like you to think about. The money you spend at local restaurants stays in Richmond. We buy our products from local distributors, support local farmers, local meat producers and other local suppliers. Our profits are not being sent back to some national headquarters. We also employ local staff. Many of the chains bring in staff and management from other locations.

Chain restaurants also have no ties to the community. Richmond offers a wonderful array of local flavors, regional specialties and the like. When I travel to any city, I always find out where the locals eat. I want to taste what the area has to offer, to see how they do things differently than we do. Culture is most often expressed through the tradition of food. If you want to get to know the people, eat with them. There’s a reason why politicians on the campaign trail often head first to the local diner. This is where you connect with a community, with its people and its traditions.

You will often find the basis for local food goes back many generations.

Take barbecue. Every small area of the country has its own style. This is because the ingredients readily available to the poorer classes were made into their type of barbecue. Pork was affordable in the South, while in Texas and the Midwest, beef was plentiful. Sauces are the same way. In colonial days, the tomato was thought to be poisonous in the eastern half of North Carolina, so their sauces are only made from vinegar and spices. Western Carolinians held no such view, so their sauce has tomato.

Local flavor defines our culture and bridges the gap between generations. I look upon the Richmond restaurant landscape and am fearful that we are not going to keep our local traditions alive. As more people dine at the chains, the local owners are closing up shop. A recent article in Style Weekly read like an obituary of local restaurants during 2008. Some were new places, but there were some old classics that just couldn’t make it.

This reminds me of the story of the downtown Miller & Rhoads department store. When I first moved to Richmond, I worked downtown. Everyone lamented the loss of the downtown shopping during lunch at Miller & Rhoads. By the time I got here, the buildings were long boarded up. When I began asking people how often they bought items there, I found that it wasn’t very frequently. We tend to long for the things we have lost, but never seem to blame ourselves for not supporting them while they’re here. The 6th Street Marketplace comes to mind. There are countless other examples.

As economic times have gotten to all of us, it’s even more important to support local retail and restaurants. The large chains have the capital to withstand the ups and downs of the market. Local owners do not. All of my friends in the restaurant industry are suffering. For us, a 10 to 20 percent loss of sales is a crushing blow. Many have experienced worse. The big guys are going to survive. Are we?

When deciding to eat out, the question you have to ask yourself is, “What do I want the Richmond restaurant landscape to look like when we come out of this recession?” It may be more convenient to grab a bite at one of the chains at the mall, but your local owners cannot afford the rent. Look at all the new construction in your area. The only ones who can afford to open a restaurant there are chains.

I’m asking you to go a block or two out of the way. Get off of Broad Street or Midlothian Turnpike and support your local restaurant. You’ll be surprised at the diversity of flavors and choices available. Our prices are competitive, our food is outstanding and many of us provide extra value to help ease your pocketbook during this recession. We each have our vision of what we want to provide Richmond. Without your help, our vision, and the local traditions, may soon disappear. S

Carey M. Friedman is a local restaurant owner. To avoid the appearance of impropriety, Friedman requested that Style withhold the name of his establishment.

Opinions expressed on the Back Page are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Style Weekly.