happy birthday Dave Adlard

Dave sent me a year in review philosophical Novella today. (Everyone forgets his birthday, Dec. 26th.)

I’ve posted the entire missive – Voluntary Simplicity – Dave Adlard style – in the comments of this post. But here’s a summary of his Maui rules:

9) Speak softly and wear a loud shirt

8) Age is relative – when you’re over the hill, you pick up speed

7) Beauty is internal – looks mean nothing.

6) Never judge a day by the weather.

5) Tell the truth. There’s less to remember.

4) No rain, no rainbows.

3) He who dies with the most toys still dies.

2) There are two ways to be rich: make more or desire less.

1) The best things in life aren’t things!

I love it !!

IMG_0490l_da.jpg

Thanks Dave. Looking forward to seeing you and Lisa soon.

related post – Voluntary Simplicity

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Rick Mc

Career gymnastics coach who loves the outdoors, and the internet.

One thought on “happy birthday Dave Adlard”

  1. I have over 800 personal contacts, but you rare few are getting this email because you are someone special to us… some of you have inspired us athletically (thanks, Peggy, Mike, Thomas, Robyn, Ian, Danelle etc…), through your business acumen (Jeff M, Dave H, Frank, Jeff L etc), some of you helped and hosted us (thanks, Dan and Jan, Frank and Johnna, Scott and Marci etc) some of you gave us a figurative kick in the pants when we needed it (a special thanks to Scott, who just knows the perfect time to remind you to stay humble, because you’re still an a**hole despite what people say!), and, most importantly, all of you were good and dear friends through what has been an exciting and challenging year! In short, we care about you, and you mean something special to us… some wise man once said that friends were the most important currency, and if that’s true, we are rich beyond our dreams!

    Basically, if you’re on this list, you are special, so buy yourself a T-shirt!

    It’s also a bit long winded (surprise!). And may, if you’re going to read it at all, it might need to be done in more than one sitting.

    This is mostly because it means something to me. And YOU mean something to us. Our lives have changed, and this is some of the story why, and hopefully for the three of you who may actually skim through, you will find at least one small kernel of something that resonates, like a tuning fork going off in your loins, that will make a difference to you, and inspire you to make a change, even if it’s just to not be like that jerk Adlard!

    From whence does this epic spring? Funny you should ask!

    Inside every older person is a younger person wondering, ‘What the heck happened?’

    My birthday, being today, December 26th, has its share of disadvantages, particularly in the “oh, lets get together and have a party” department, and the “hey, it’s a combined Christmas/Birthday present” department, or the “Screw him, it’s too damn close to Christmas” department, but it has its share of advantages too: I ALWAYS get in a good workout my birthday morning, no matter what, which helps shake off the two week food/sweets coma I’ve been in.

    It is never a work day.

    There are always good sales, as the 26th always kicks off America’s newest major festival: “Gift Card Redemption Week!”

    Also, seeing as they conveniently scheduled Christmas and New Years around my birthday, it allows me to take a look back at the previous year, appreciate the many blessings we’ve had, and sum up life, in just a few short pages…

    So… if you’re fortunate (or unfortunate, depending on your viewpoint) enough to be on our “near and dear” list, welcome to Dave’s annual treatise on life, love, and the philosophy that makes my world go around!

    (If you’re planning to escape, now’s the time, since if you keep reading, you’ll no doubt get sucked in by the amazing depth and scintillating verbosity of the prose to follow… J)

    On to this labor of love…

    “On your tombstone, there’s the year you were born and the year you die. Everything else – your dreams, your hopes, your accomplishments, the who, the what and the why of you – is covered by the dash in between… give your dash everything you’ve got!”

    ~ Dave’s twist on a famous country lyric

    First things first, and what everyone REALLY wants to hear about:

    Delaney Rebecca was born May 31, at 19 inches, and 5 pounds 10 ounces. She is now a shapely and petite 25 inches and 13’ 11 ounces of perfect, beautiful, precocious little girl! Seriously, who would have thought? I might be slightly biased, but she really is pretty special, in spite of my contributions! I am yet simply one more dad who said the Father’s prayer, and had it granted: “Please let her take after her mother…” and she did!

    She’s in perfect proportion, and is ahead of the curve developmentally, though, for all of you who know her mom, that isn’t too big of a surprise, and it appears my influence didn’t hamper her to any serious degree…

    At 6 months, she can crawl, sit up, roll over, chews on everything, and eats basically anything put in front of her – basically similar skills to those of a two week old cocker spaniel, and just as cute! I’d also like to tell you that she has started on her piano lessons, can write her name almost legibly, and knows her numbers up to thirteen, but that would be a lie… she can’t get past nine on most days.

    Lisa is doing great, and is back at the gym, back in shape, and her normal amazing self… I’m still working on losing my baby weight gain, but have lost the craving for ice cream and pickles… I just stick with the ice cream now.

    Seriously, Lisa is amazing! She barely slowed down while pregnant, took about 40 minutes off after a really difficult labor and delivery where she was the one cheering the watchers up (I’m not kidding, here!) and has taken to mother hood like few I’ve ever heard of. I know that those of you who know her aren’t surprised in the least, but once again, I am humbled and amazed to have had the luck to find such an amazing woman, somehow trick her into marrying me.

    Her only real faults are her obvious lack of eyesight and common sense for falling for me. God bless poor eyesight and bad judgment! (and I know that my sentiments are shared by many (all?) of the other gentlemen on the list who are equally amazed at their own good fortune!) They say that all the good ones are gone, but I think it’s all the lucky ones who are gone! Every day I count my blessings.

    “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

    ~ Anonymous

    Now that the important stuff is out of the way, pray thee, allow me to wax philosophical for but a moment…

    As Willy Shakespeare once said, “Folks, it’s been one hell of a year!”

    If someone would have told me, a decade ago, the kind of year we would have this year, I may have laughed, or possibly jumped off a bridge right then to skip the experience… I’m not sure which.

    On one hand, involuntarily going 19 months without a paycheck, and the subsequent issues that causes kind of sucks. Minor details like fighting off foreclosure, bankruptcy and coming up with yet another nutritious recipe for ramen noodles take their toll, but on the other hand, forced simplicity and “lifestyle downsizing” can give you new perspectives. On the third hand, somehow, despite the (hopefully transitory) financial woes, in many ways, life has never been better, and we have never been happier. It’s this third hand I would love to share (may I lend you a hand? How about three?), and I hope you will smile with the tellin’.

    How, some would query, can you be so upbeat while up to your ass in alligators, so to speak?

    Simple. Your attitude determines your altitude, and what you focus on is what you’re going to get. Want to sum those up even more summier? “Don’t worry, be happy.”

    Wish I’d made those up, and I apologize for the triteness of these over-used, clichéd chestnuts, but, silly as they may sound, in our case they’re true, so quit gagging at the nauseating sweetness and read on.

    Every day, and I quote my dear friend Joe Albrechta on this: “I can barely believe that life can be this good.”

    Huh?

    Once money ceased to be the center focus of, and measuring stick of happiness and success in life, we were able to focus on what is really important.

    (BTW, it’s remarkably easy to quit worrying about what to do with your money when you don’t have any.)

    Ever seen Shakespeare in Love, the Oscar winning movie? (if you haven’t, shame on you… bring it, a bottle of vino and some nice bread and cheese home, share it with your wife/girlfriend/loved one or hope to be wife/girlfriend /loved one, and remember what passion and love are all about)

    In S-I-L, the theater owner, on several occasions, when the situation seems hopeless, tells folks not to worry, and that it will all work out. When they ask how it will work out, he answers “I don’t know – it’s a miracle,” and yet, somehow, it always works out.

    What do I have to be thankful for?

    Ø I have a beautiful, loving wife who’s too good for me, but nah nah nah!

    Ø We have a perfect, healthy daughter, who is helping me in my quest to be the oldest dad at the PTA meetings… I may be the only dad who is taking his daughter to playdates with a walker… “it’s so nice your grandfather could make it… where’s your dad?”

    We also have the joy and privilege to brag about my older children: Maryn is 21 and a senior at Carleton University in Ottawa, having maintained a perfect GPA in doing so, while working full time. She is hoping to go into the Masters program in the fall, and is happy, already successful in business, and is as kind, caring and funny as she was as a child… Not to mention well read! Her reading list will make even the most erudite scholar/reader sit up and say “Holy Cow, Batman!” She has been approached to head up the International Baccalaureate program at a prestigious high school following her Masters, making her one of the youngest to ever do so!

    Chloe is 19, and a sophomore at Carleton. Chloe can light up a room (or an IM page!) like no one you’ve ever seen, and is one of the funniest young people I have ever met! She has been working two jobs as well as going to school, and is off to Egypt and Australia in 2010! One of the amazing stories about Chloe is that in the fall of 2008, just weeks after turning 18, she trotted down to the American embassy in Ottawa, by herself, got herself registered to vote as an American living abroad, cast her vote, and then spent election night with me on IM, speaking about politics and foreign policy more knowledgably than the vast percentage of Americans not living abroad, of any age! She wants to be a diplomat (an ambassador, to be precise), and is well on her way!

    Connor, 16, is a sophomore in high school, and has turned out, again, despite his dad’s genetics, to be a virtual prodigy at West Coast Swing dancing, where he was junior US Open National champion after less than 4 years dancing. I don’t know swing from Swahili, but some of the pros think he could end up being one of the best ever. The coolest thing is he truly loves it, and is already teaching classes and privates, making more money than I am! How many of us get to say, especially at 46, let alone 16, that we’ve found our passion, we’re good at it, and we can make a living as well? Someone famous once said “get a job doing something you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your ilife…” Way to go, Con!

    Do I sound like a bit of a proud papa? Perhaps, but unlike the rest of my writing, which is filled with my usual amount of exaggerations and outright lies, when it comes to my kids and wife, I’m telling you like it is, straight up. I guess part of my pride is in the fact that they have done so well in spite of me, and that they are all truly nice, sensitive, caring young people. I’m getting all misty, here, so I’d better get back to the diatribe before you nod off…

    Ø We have a roof over our head, no matter how modest, and a tent, if all else fails!

    Ø Have food to eat: BTW, the benefits of eating at home/making lunches are truly many and varied:

    ~ You save beaucoup de money (that’s en Francais for those of you who live south of oh, Minnesota)

    ~ It’s good food (with any luck), and often better for you

    ~ You really appreciate the times when you do get to eat out

    ~ It doesn’t take as long as you think

    ~ Did I mention it really saves money?

    Even if we can afford to eat out again, we likely won’t except on special occasions!

    Ø Our doors are still open at the gym, though the day-to-day struggles do their best to keep everyone on their toes.

    ** Note: I need to take a moment here to recognize Scott Wolf and the many parents and helpers who stepped up and helped the gym reorganize and refit when it needed it. What you have accomplished is nothing short of its own miracle! Thank you, thank you with all of our hearts!

    Ø We have our health:

    Actually, we’ve likely not been as healthy, overall, in a LONG time, despite being in a slight “offseason/Christmas cookie doldrum! (Who knew that cookies are basically their own food group, and can, with little modification or justification, be eaten at any meal? Oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip: not just for breakfast anymore!)

    Lisa is, as I mentioned, doing great, and looks terrific, as usual. Delaney is a picture of rosy cheeked health, and somehow, I’m hanging in there… The adventure racing, and having goals and great partners/teammates/workout friends (thanks, Jeni, Andy, Chris, Morgen, Rick, Sheena, Corey et al…) is managing to keep me from looking (or acting!) my age! We were able to compete in 4 races (Andy did 5, jeni did 6) this past summer, including the USARA Nationals in Texas, where we raced for over 29 hours straight (!), and finished strong, despite some mechanical issues, like 2 flats at the same time, and an irreparable broken chain 25 miles from the finish. This next year, we hope to do a couple of 3 day races as well as more 24 hour tests. Anyone else want in? it’s an awesome ride, and we love newbies!

    Ø We have AMAZING family, who have stood by us, helped us, lent us money, prayed for us and been a constant source of inspiration and support… they say that friends are the family you choose, but when your family can be your friends, too, that is the best of both worlds! In this, as in so much, we are blessed beyond what we deserve! Thank you, thank you!

    Ø We also have a few books to read, at least sporadic internet, one vehicle that still works (and a mountain bike when we need two “cars”), a great Christmas tree, and even a few small gifts under it (except for Delaney, who was SO spoiled by our family and our friends and athletes at the gym… this child wants for nothing, already has more friends than I do! Thanks to all who helped to spoil our daughter, even when we couldn’t! (Laurie, you’re amazing!)

    In short, life not suck too bad, despite not having two shekels to rub together most days.

    “Yeah, okay, Mr. Feel Good, but it’s not that simple… How’d you get around to getting there?”

    Good question.

    Short answer?

    The Maui Rules, and a few add-ons.

    Huh?

    In short, the Maui Rules changed (and maybe saved) my/our life.

    In Hawaii, a little over 2 years ago, when we were already well into our crisis, though we didn’t know it yet, I found this handwritten postcard in a small “paraphernalia” shop in Paia on Maui. Paia, for those who may not have been there, is where all the hippies went that used to live near you.

    They experience time passing slightly different than the rest of us, as they are just now approaching the end of 1968…

    Here are the Maui Rules, listed in my own order of approximate importance:

    9) Speak softly and wear a loud shirt

    Might seem random, but what I get from it is to not worry so much about what people think/say about you. I just heard a great rhetorical question that made me really rethink large parts of my life: “What would you do different if you could live your life over again, and not worry about what people thought of you…” Whoa.

    8) Age is relative – when you’re over the hill, you pick up speed

    Mike Kloser, STILL perhaps the greatest Adventure Racer in the World, just turned 50. Okay, Mike’s a freak of nature, but he is a maniac! What an example! He is one of my biggest inspirations while racing against all the folks (literally!) half my age, especially when we win! J Never stop doing… I took a mountaineering course this past year, and have several climbs coming up. I race, I run, I bike, I kayak, and I feel great! I haven’t felt this good in twenty years! Get up, get moving, pick a real goal like a triathlon or marathon or adventure race, get a friend partner involved, and get moving! You won’t regret it!

    7) Beauty is internal – looks mean nothing.

    Besides the obvious, I think what it really is referring to is internal beauty.

    We have a confession: after Hawaii, Lisa and I made a conscious decision to “beautify” our lives. Que? Do any of you have friends (and it can, sadly, often include family) who just sap your energy? We did. Do you ever watch any TV shows/movies that leave you emotionally exhausted? We did. Are any of you limited to 24 hours in a day? We are. Here’s another quote for you: “How you spend your days is how you spend your lives.” With the last thought in mind, we stopped spending our time and our energy on or with things/people who didn’t make us feel better. Simple as that. We stopped watching all of the heavy dramas and tension filled “reality” shows on TV (yes, (gulp) even Greys!), we spent WAY less time socializing with negative/whiny/depressing people who dragged us down. Life is too short. What about your “so-called obligations?” Believe it or not, you’re way less obligated than you think! You don’t have to be rude by any means, but, as guru Andy would say, “you have to follow your joy.”

    Spend your time being happy. Spend your time with people who make you feel better about yourself. Watch Hannah Montana and Disney Princess movies… follow your joy, smile more, go to bed feeling good, get up, take a few seconds to smile, and turn on Ellen… whatever your joy is, follow it! Seek out the beauty all around you!

    6) Never judge a day by the weather.

    Yup. You’d be amazed how beautiful biking in falling snow can be, or how amazingly invigorating running when it’s raining is! In non-athletic terms, just because a day starts out crappy doesn’t mean it has to end crappy, unless you let it. You’d be amazed how many small miracles you can find if you leave yourself open to them. In short, quit caring about the little stuff you can’t change, and revel in the wonders of the experience and the world around you!

    5) Tell the truth. There’s less to remember.

    ‘Nuff said. Many of us are too stupid to lie, since we can’t remember what we said. Now, don’t get this and “brutal honesty” mixed up… there are times (lots, actually!) where saving a person’s feelings is more important than just blurting out what you see as the truth. Make sure that you walk a mile in someone else’s moccasins before passing judgment. Being kind is often more important than being right, which sucks for those of us who are always right… how do you spell facetious?

    4) No rain, no rainbows.

    Just remember — if the world didn’t suck, we would all fall off.

    Sometimes life sucks.

    Trust me, I know.

    I also know now that that’s okay. Without the suckiness, there’s no growth. Without the bad times and the challenges, there are no triumphs, and you can’t fully appreciate the successes and the good times that follow. Don’t pray for an easy life… pray to be a stronger person! Use the bad times as chances to really work on your attitude, to learn to shrug off the pain and put it in a place where you can deal with it.

    Practice patience, kindness and humility.

    When you’re suffering, reach out and do something, no matter how small, for someone who needs it more than you. Trust me again: no matter how bad you think you have it, there are LOTS of people worse off… “I use to complain that I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”

    No one ever promised you a rose garden… God only promised that he would test the ones he loved. Yes, you can do it. Cheer up. Breath in, breath out, move on (thanks, Jimmy!).

    3) He who dies with the most toys still dies.

    Bottom line? Simplicity and priorities.

    Practical example for me? As many of you know, I collect wine. I also have a slightly addictive personality. These two things don’t go together well. If you’re not careful, soon, the act of collecting and the having becomes more important than the collection itself!

    Let me tell you, with wine, this can be bad. Now, wine is the one of the only collections you can have where to enjoy your collection negates its value – you can drive your cars, you can play with your baseball cards, but no one is gonna give you $300 for an empty Opus One bottle!

    And? So?

    I realized, a while back, while sitting in my wine room, rubbing my hands together in glee and cackling evilly, that I had enough wine to drink a bottle a day for 8 straight years, and not run out of wine. Say I drank a bottle every 2 days… hmm… 16 years…

    I’m 48 (as of today… yes, thank you, thank you… I know I don’t look a day over 46), and with my family history, I might not make it to 64. Unless they can set up an IV drip, I don’t want to die with bottles of Caymus Special Select, Inniskillin ice wine and Chateau Neuf de Pap undrunk! I don’t love my kids THAT much!

    Bottom line, in my heart of hearts, my fondest dream when I bought the wine was to be able to open it and share it with friends that at least to pretend to appreciate it as I’m pretending. Want some good wine? Seriously. Come on over and give me an excuse to drink it, since I don’t like myself enough to open some of the bottles alone!

    2) There are two ways to be rich: make more or desire less.

    Maybe this one, above all the others, has made the most difference. Granted, the learning of it came originally not by choice, but when the student is ready, the teacher will come.

    At this point, I make less than I have since I was 15. We went 19 months without a paycheck. We have bills. Oh, how we have bills. I’m happy.

    I used to “want” stuff. I used to spend frivolously. I was the Grasshopper. I coveted.

    Today, I had an REI gift card (okay a few – thanks, Family!!!) for my “combined Christmas/Birthday,” and I couldn’t spend it all! What? Am I sick?

    Sure, would it be nice to not have to put bills in the “can’t pay now” pile? You bet. Would it be nice to be able to answer the phone without someone wanting money? Yup. Does being “poor” suck? Yup again, but poor in a different way than it used to. There are a lot of so-called “rich” people whose lives suck, who are unhappy and can’t seem to buy themselves out of it. The money things are transitory and (hopefully) temporary, and the rest of my life is WAY richer! Would I turn down money? Nope. Do I want my novel to publish and to be “set for life?” You bet, but I can tell you now that I would be a WAY better rich person now! I would spend frugally, and continue to cherish and nurture the real blessings in my life without getting caught up in the status symbols of monetary success, because, and here’s #1…

    1) The best things in life aren’t things!

    Often, I think that all of the challenges of the past year or two were designed to punish/chastise, but now I know that really, they were to teach me this (I know I’m a slow student, but I didn’t think I was this slow… just sayin’). Money, stuff, status doesn’t really count in the long run. There aren’t many tombstones that read “If only I had had more money.” How about “If only I had spent more time at work?” or “He was a devoted and loving millionaire…”

    Get it?

    Money can’t buy happiness. (okay, though I will admit it might make a good down payment…) I know that rich people have problems too… I just want their money and my problems for about a week!

    So what else matters besides the above?

    Friends, for sure.

    We need you.

    We are blessed to have so many, of so many shapes and sizes (is round a shape?). Even in the darkest moments, we never felt like we were alone. Just when things seemed at their worst, one of you would call or email, and things would turn around.

    Not to get all maudlin, but trust me: even if you think we don’t stay in touch enough, NEVER underestimate the amazing, positive affect you can have on someone who needs a little propping up. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.

    Finally, to wrap up, here are some of the other cool, memorable things from this year :

    Top Books:

    1) Born to Run: Could be the most inspirational, enjoyable tome I’ve read in years! A true story about a guy’s journey to a hidden tribe of super runners in Mexico to discover why his feet hurt when he runs, and the greatest distance race that no one has ever heard of.
    2) Shantaram: Possibly the best written book I’ve ever read. An amazing, semi-true story about an escaped Australian convict’s journey to India where he lives in the slums of Mumbai.
    3) The new Dune series by Brian Herbert (Frank’s son). They’re as good as the original Dune, and better than all the rest of the originals! (Blasphemy, I know, but true nonetheless!)
    4) Name of the Wind (Thanks, Dave H!)
    5) No Shortcuts to the Top: By Ed Viesturs, America’s top high altitude climber about his journey to climb all the 8000 meter peaks without oxygen.
    6) The 47th Samurai: The best Bob Lee Swagger (From the movie “The Shooter”) novel ever.
    7) 50/50: The story of ultra-runner Dean Karnazes’ attempt to run 50 marathons in 50 straight days in 50 different states.
    8) Surviving the toughest race on Earth: The story of the birth of Adventure Racing and the incredible Raid Galouise.
    9) Scream and Run Naked: By Dr. Ali Arnold, a personal friend. Her story of personal growth and exploration. I read it again this year, and it’s just as poignant as the first time.
    10) Finishing Strong: A man’s survival guide.
    11) The Lance Armstrong books.
    12) American Patriot: The life and Wars of Colonel Bud Day (Thanks again, Dave!)
    13) The Lost Symbol: Okay, I know, but Dan Brown has told another “guilty pleasure” book that we have all read, and the coolest, life changing thing about it is that no matter the fiction of the story, he made an amazing effort to keep the actual research and facts used in the story true, and some of it is truly awesome in its potential!

    A couple of great websites: http://www.rickmccharles.com, and the accompanying http://www.besthike.com , and http://www.gymnasticscoaching.com

    http://www.theadventureblog.com

    And finally, some cool stuff that made a difference to us this year:

    This is the Silent Monks Hallelujah Chorus. Awesome!

    A couple of cool stories (Thanks, Scott, Andy, Dave, Dawn, Becky, Fritz et al, who shared these with us)

    STORY #1:

    Jack took a long look at his speedometer before slowing down: 73 in a 55 zone. Fourth time in as many months. How could a guy get caught so often?

    When his car had slowed to 10 miles an hour, Jack pulled over, but only partially. Let the cop worry about the potential traffic hazard. Maybe some other car will tweak his backside with a mirror. The cop was stepping out of his car, the big pad in hand. Bob ……Bob from Church!

    Jack sunk farther into his trench coat. This was worse than the coming ticket. A cop catching a guy from his own church. A guy who happened to be a little eager to get home after a long day at the office. A guy he was about to play golf with tomorrow.

    Jumping out of the car, he approached a man he saw every Sunday, a man he’d never seen in uniform. ‘Hi, Bob. Fancy meeting you like this.’ ‘Hello, Jack.’ No smile.’Guess you caught me red-handed in a rush to see my wife and kids.”Yeah, I guess.’ Bob seemed uncertain. Good. ‘I’ve seen some long days at the office lately. I’m afraid I bent the rules a bit -just this once.’

    Jack toed at a pebble on the pavement. ‘Diane said something about roast beef and potatoes tonight. Know what I mean?’

    ‘I know what you mean. I also know that you have a reputation in our precinct.’

    Ouch. This was not going in the right direction. Time to change tactics. ‘What’d you clock me at?’ ‘Seventy. Would you sit back in your car please?’

    ‘Now wait a minute here, Bob. I checked as soon as I saw you. I was barely nudging 65.’ The lie seemed to come easier with every ticket. ‘Please, Jack, in the car’ Flustered, Jack hunched himself through the still-open door. Slamming it shut, he stared at the dashboard. He was in no rush to open the window. The minutes ticked by. Bob scribbled away on the pad. Why hadn’t he asked for a driver’s license? Whatever the reason, it would be a month of Sundays before Jack ever sat near this cop again. A tap on the door jerked his head to the left. There was Bob, a folded paper in hand Jack rolled down the window a mere two inches, just enough room for Bob to pass him the slip. ‘Thanks.’ Jack could not quite keep the sneer out of his voice. Bob returned to his police car without a word. Jack watched his retreat in the mirror. Jack unfolded the sheet of paper. How much was this one going to cost?

    Wait a minute. What was this ……. Some kind of joke? Certainly not a ticket. Jack began to read:

    ‘Dear Jack, Once upon a time I had a daughter. She was six when killed by a car. You guessed it- a speeding driver. A fine and three months in jail, and the man was free. Free to hug his daughters, all three of them. I only had one, and I’m going to have to wait until Heaven before I can ever hug her again. A thousand times I’ve tried to forgive that man. A thousand times I thought I had. Maybe I did, but I need to do it again. Even now. Pray for me. And be careful, Jack, my son is all I have left.’ ‘Bob’

    Jack turned around in time to see Bob’s car pull away and head down the road. Jack watched until it disappeared. A full 15 minutes later, he too, pulled away and drove slowly home, praying for forgiveness and hugging a surprised wife and kids when he arrived. Life is precious. Handle with care.

    Story #2:
    TWO WOLVES

    One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
    He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.

    “One is Evil – It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

    “The other is God – It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

    The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”

    The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

    Scott’s Questions and Proverbs

    1. A day without sunshine is like night.
    2. On the other hand, you have different fingers.
    3. 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.
    4. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.
    5. Remember, half the people you know are below average.
    6. He who laughs last, thinks slowest.
    7. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.
    8. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese in the trap.
    9. Support bacteria. They’re the only culture most people have.
    10. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
    11. Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.
    12. If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of payments.
    13. How many of you believe in psycho-kinesis? Raise my hand.
    14. OK, so what’s the speed of dark?
    15. When everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.
    16. Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.
    17. How much deeper would the ocean be without sponges?
    18. Eagles may soar, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines.
    19. What happens if you get scared half to death, twice?
    20. Why do psychics have to ask you your name?
    21. Inside every older person is a younger person wondering, ‘What the heck happened?’
    22. Just remember — if the world didn’t suck, we would all fall off.
    23. Light travels faster than sound. That’s why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
    24. Life isn’t like a box of chocolates. It’s more like a jar of jalapenos. What you do today, might burn your butt tomorrow.

    Story #3: (A reminder to thank and appreciate our troops!!!)
    This reminds me that “we do the right thing because it is the right thing to do” regardless of who is watching. Hope this makes you feel good, it did me.

    The Old Man…

    As I came out of the supermarket that sunny day, pushing my cart of groceries towards my car, I saw an old man with the hood of his car up and a lady sitting inside the car, with the door open.

    The old man was looking at the engine. I put my groceries away in my car and continued to watch the Old gentleman from about twenty five feet away.

    I saw a young man in his early twenties with a grocery bag in his arm, walking towards the old man. The old gentleman saw him coming too and took a few steps towards him. I saw the old gentleman point to his open hood and say something. The young man put his grocery bag into what looked like a brand new Cadillac Escalade and then turn back to the old man and I heard him yell at the old gentleman saying,

    ‘You shouldn’t even be allowed to drive a car at your age.’ And then with a wave of his hand, he got in his car and peeled rubber out of the parking lot.

    I saw the old gentleman pull out his handkerchief and mop his brow as he went back to his car and again looked at the engine.

    He then went to his wife and spoke with her and appeared to tell her it would be okay. I had seen enough and I approached the old man. He saw me coming and stood straight and as I got near him I said, ‘Looks like you’re having a problem.’

    He smiled sheepishly and quietly nodded his head. I looked under the hood myself and knew that whatever the problem was, it was beyond me. Looking around I saw a gas station up the road and told the old man that I would be right back. I drove to the station and went inside and saw three attendants working on cars. I approached one of them and related the problem the old man had with his car and offered to pay them if they could follow me back down and help him.

    The old man had pushed the heavy car under the shade of a tree and appeared to be comforting his wife. When he saw us he straightened up and thanked me for my help. As the mechanics diagnosed the problem (overheated engine) I spoke with the old gentleman.

    When I shook hands with him earlier, he had noticed my Marine Corps ring and had commented about it, telling me that he had been a Marine too. I nodded and asked the usual question, ‘What outfit did you serve with?’

    He had mentioned d that he served with the first Marine Division at Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal .

    He had hit all the big ones and retired from the Corps after the war was over. As we talked we heard the car engine come on and saw the mechanics lower the hood. They came over to us as the old man reached for his wallet, but was stopped by me and I told him I would just put the bill on my AAA card.

    He still reached for the wallet and handed me a card that I assumed had his name and address on it and I stuck it in my pocket.. We all shook hands all around again and I said my goodbye’s to his wife.

    I then told the two mechanics that I would follow them back up to the station. Once at the station I told them that they had interrupted their own jobs to come along with me and help the old man. I said I wanted to pay for the help, but they refused to charge me.

    One of them pulled out a card from his pocket looking exactly like the card the old man had given to me. Both of the men told me then, that they were Marine Corps Reserves. Once again we shook hands all around and as I was leaving, one of them told me I should look at the card the old man had given to me. I said I would and drove off.

    For some reason I had gone about two blocks when I pulled over and took the card out of my pocket and looked at it for a long, long time. The name of the old gentleman was on the card in golden leaf and under his name……. ‘Congressional Medal of Honor Society.’

    I sat there motionless looking at the card and reading it over and over. I looked up from the card and smiled to no one but myself and marveled that on this day, four Marines had all come together, because one of us needed help. He was an old man all right, but it felt good to have stood next to greatness and courage and an honor to have been in his presence. Remember, OLD men like him gave you FREEDOM for America . Thanks to those who served…& those who supported them.

    America is not at war. The U.S. Military is at war. America is at the Mall. If you don’t stand behind our troops, PLEASE feel free to stand in front of them!

    Remember, Freedom isn’t Free, thousands have paid the price so you can enjoy what you have today.

    Story #4:

    EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE, WE ARE REMINDED OF HOPE

    Five (5) lessons about the way we treat people

    1 – First Important Lesson – Cleaning Lady..
    During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one:

    “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?”
    Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50’s, but how would I know her name?

    I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.

    “Absolutely, ” said the professor. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say “hello.”

    I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

    2. – Second Important Lesson – Pickup in the Rain

    One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride.

    Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 19 60’s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab.

    She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and knock came on the man’s door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached. It read:

    “Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s’ bedside just before he passed away… God Bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.”

    Sincerely,

    Mrs. Nat King Cole.

    ————————————————————————–

    3 – Third Important Lesson – Always remember those who serve.

    In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. “How much is an ice cream sundae?” he asked.

    “Fifty cents,” replied the waitress. The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it. “Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?” he inquired.

    By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient.

    “Thirty-five cents,” she brusquely replied. The little boy again counted his coins. “I’ll have the plain ice cream,” he said.

    The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left.. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies…

    You see, he couldn’t have the sundae, because he had to have enough le ft to leave her a tip.

    ————————————————————————–

    4 – Fourth Important Lesson. – The obstacle in Our Path.

    In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the King’s’ wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

    Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded… After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand!

    Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.

    ————————————————————————–

    5 – Fifth Important Lesson – Giving When it Counts…

    Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare & serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister.

    I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, “Yes I’ll do it if it will save her.” As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheek. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded.

    He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, “Will I start to die right away?”

    Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.

    And finally…

    A Birth Certificate shows that we were born.

    A Death Certificate shows that we died.

    Everything else show that we lived!

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

    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 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 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 no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn’t stop for your grief.

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

    I Believe…
    That you shouldn’t be so eager to find
    out a secret. It could change your life forever.

    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 you should send this to all of the people that you believe in. I just did.

    The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything;
    They just make the most of everything.

    Thank you God for all the wonderful people who help us throughout the journey of life….. bless you all, and have a wonderful. Healthy and HAPPY 2010!

    Love, Dave and Lisa

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