Monday, March 31, 2014

Hugging Instructions Not Included

More than 20 years ago I became a member of the National Speakers Association (NSA). I treasure the hundreds of friendships that I have formed including four people with whom I became partners in a newly formed business. Several of us formed mastermind groups or became accountability partners. Some of the people I got to rub elbows with were famous in the world of motivational speaking like Les Brown, Gladys Knight, Zig Zigler, Brian Tracy, Jeannie Robertson, Connie Podesta, and Mark Sanborn among many others. When I am with these thought leaders, I get energized as they fill my mind full of new, creative ideas.

At my second NSA convention, I was asked to write and perform a parody about a speaker’s first time experience attending an annual NSA conference with over 2,000 speakers. My skit was to introduce a concept that is well known among NSA’ers—hugging. There is so much of it going on, everyone leaves the conference feeling like they have been wrapped in bundles of love.

My friends and I demonstrated various styles of hugs. They were:
A-frame Hug 

Side Hug 

One arm hug 

Bear Hug 

Today’s gift was to invite a friend to attend the NSA convention that will be held in June. The coupon I sent entitles her to receive a $175 discount on her conference fee. She has been thinking of becoming a speaker and this could lessen her learning curve to achieving her dream. She is known for her big bear hugs, so she won’t need hugging instructions.

In Giving and Hugging,


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Who is the Cookie Lady?

What do you remember about your first jobs as a teenager? I worked in a fabric store for my first job. Another time I did secretarial work as a temporary employee. When I was a senior in high school, I was on a co-op program going to school in the morning and working in a hospital as an Admissions Clerk during the afternoon.

In the early 1980’s, one of my most fun jobs was Ambassador to Beaver Creek, Colorado, Ski Area. Really the job was not as prestigious as it sounds. To my friends I was known as the “Cookie Lady.”

I worked two hours a day, three days a week. During that time, I was the most popular person on the mountain. My job was to load a large vat of hot chocolate and trays of freshly baked chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies onto a cart and wheel it out to the base of the ski mountain. I offered the free snack to thirsty, hungry skiers. The ski area’s main purpose was to provide a unique experience in unparalleled customer service at Colorado’s newest ski mountain. They wanted tourists to return home and tell people about their great experience.

One day, Oprah Winfrey skied by for a cookie. Many times I couldn’t recognize the celebrities in their ski garb. Later my friends would tell me about the famous personalities that I had provided directions, given some uplifting words or told them where to find the best snow on my secret, favorite runs.

Today’s gift was to relive my “Cookie Lady” days, by baking ginger cookies for my neighbor. Who knows maybe I’ll start being called by my old nickname again!

In Giving,


Saturday, March 29, 2014

One Kidney, Please

Three-year-old Helen Lynn needs a kidney. She contracted a dangerous strain of E-coli last September and developed a disease called hemolytic uremic syndrome. Currently, her kidneys are only working at about 5%.

Helen undergoes dialysis for nine hours every night as she sleeps. The dialysis helps clean out toxins accumulating in her body. Because she's lost her sense of appetite, Helen gets nearly all her food through a tube. They are waiting for a transplant, because it is difficult to find a match since Helen's blood type is O-positive.

To help them cope, a family friend, who is recently cervical cancer free, is paying it forward. "My surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments would not have been nearly as tolerable without all the love and support I received," said family friend and lead fundraiser Dana Schallheim.

Schallheim teamed up with the Children's Organ Transplant Association (COTA), a national non-profit to raise money for Helen. All the money will go to Helen's medical costs over the span of her life. The goal is to raise $75,000. If they're lucky, a kidney will last about 20 years. That means Helen may have three to four transplants in her lifetime.

Today’s gift was to donate here to help Helen with the money she will need for her kidney transplant and ongoing care. On the donation page one mother wrote “Part of the girls’ allowance goes towards donations. They are gladly choosing to contribute for Helen.” I don’t think much about my internal organs until I hear stories like this. Let’s hope she gets a new kidney soon.

In Giving,

Friday, March 28, 2014

Not the Sharpest Knife

Timothy Chapek, 25, allegedly broke into a home in Portland, Oregon to take a shower. When he heard the owner come home, he got scared. And yes, called 911.
While he's calling 911, you can hear homeowner Hillary McKenzie: "Why are you in my house talking a shower?"
Chapek: "I'm sorry. My name is Timothy Chapek."
McKenzie: "Why are you in my shower?"
Chapek: "I broke in. . ."
McKenzie: "Alright, I am calling the police."
Chapek: "I have already called them, they are on the phone, right now."
She called the dispatcher... and they both had a good laugh.
McKenzie: "He's in the bathroom, the door's shut, and he said he is there, and I said (laughing), 'who the heck are you?"
911 operator: "Did he sound like he was high or drunk?"
McKenzie: "Well, he is obviously nuts."

That is almost as bad as:
Just last month, in Connecticut, a man called 911 to ask if he could get arrested for growing just one marijuana plant. It turns out, the answer is yes.

When this criminal burglarized a house, he forgot to take one important item:
Police say a man burglarized a home, but left something very personal behind—his cell phone. Police were able to trace the phone right to him. Neighbor Dan Styers just couldn’t believe how stupid the criminal was, “I've never heard of anything like that. People leaving stuff behind, normally they are taking stuff.”

Then there were the beer bandits:
You know when it's a bad time to try to steal a case of beer and some snacks from a convenience store? When there are four Sheriff's Deputies just feet away at the register. This hard lesson was learned when two men tried to steal $18.76 worth of brew and munchies. As soon as they made a dash for the door, the uniformed Deputies followed and arrested them.
Today’s gift was to check on a friend’s house who is out of town. She had asked me to be sure everything looked like it was in order. Since burglars often are not the sharpest knife in the drawer, I don’t want my friend to worry about finding one in her shower.
In Giving, 


Thursday, March 27, 2014

You Are Now What You Were Then

As I was preparing for an upcoming speech, I was enthralled with how world events have shaped people’s lives resulting in generational differences. For instance:
Civics or Traditionalists
       Born before 1946
       Youngest are 68 years old
       27 million. Six million currently employed.
       Great Depression
       Before penicillin, polio shots, frozen food, plastic, credit cards, dishwashers
       Either fought in WWII or were children
       Men typically worked and women stayed home
       Children seen, but not heard
       Cold War

Baby Boomers
       Born 1946-1965
       49 to 68 years old
       76 million. 55 million employed
       Rock and roll music
       Moon landing
       Had the largest numbers of people of any generation to date
       Viet Nam War
       Assassination of JFK and MLK and RFK
       Nixon’s resignation
       Gasoline shortages
       Oil embargo

Gen X or Busters
       1965-1978 (some say until 1981)
       36 to 50ish years old
       60 million. 45 million employed
       Berlin Wall
       Single parent families
       Legalized abortion
       Drug epidemic
       Women and minorities
       No major war
       VCRs and video games
       Dual-income household
       Highest volunteer rate

Gen Y, Boom Echo or Millenials
       Born 1980 –1994
       36 and younger
       88 million. 32 million currently employed
       Comprise 75% of workforce by 2025
       Oklahoma City bombing
       Rise of the internet
       OJ Simpson
       Death of Princess Diana

Gen Z or Digital Natives
       Born after 1994
       20 and younger
       23 million
       Children of Gen X
       Terrorism—they do not remember a time without war
       Internet after 1991
       Great Recession—2008
       Swine Flu—2009
       Hurricane Katrina— 2005
It made me think about each generation’s music and the device they listened to it. The Traditionalists probably sat around a radio or an old phonograph in a wooden piece of living room furniture. The Boomers may have had a small record player and eight track tape players. Gen X was carrying a boom box on their shoulder listening to cassette tapes. Gen Y listened to their Walkman CD player through earphones and Gen Z has an IPod with ear buds.
Today’s gift was to give away a pair of computer speakers, that I found in the closet, on FreeCycle. I was keeping them as a backup if my speakers stopped working. However, as quickly as computers change, I’ll need to buy new ones anyway. This generational comparison helped me understand that who I am now is because of who I was then—whether it was how I listened to music, played board games or rode my spider bicycle. Things of my generation made a lasting impact on me.
In Giving,