Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Dancing For The Bus

If only his mind were as easy to fix as his body.” ― Han Nolan

The news story above can at first be amusing or even easily pushed aside with one excuse or another. Certainly the individual has some type of issue whether it be drug-related, just having a bad day or quite possibly a mental illness.

Many of us including myself have in some way been touched by others with mental illness. It hurts to see someone you love go through the daily struggle. And to see others brush off the affliction as if only a bandaid were needed to repair them.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), is an organization dedicated to helping people build better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

All of us can do a little bit to help as well because mental illness is just that, an illness. It is not laughing at the man dancing for the bus.

Mental Illness ― Emm Roy, The First Step

People assume you aren’t sick unless they see the sickness on your skin like scars forming a map of all the ways you’re hurting.

My heart is a prison of Have you tried?s
Have you tried exercising?
Have you tried eating better?
Have you tried not being sad, not being sick?
Have you tried being more like me?
Have you tried shutting up?

Yes, I have tried.
Yes, I am still trying, and yes, I am still sick.

Sometimes monsters are invisible, and sometimes demons attack you from the inside.
Just because you cannot see the claws and the teeth does not mean they aren’t ripping through me. Pain does not need to be seen to be felt.

Telling me there is no problem won’t solve the problem.

This is not how miracles are born.
This is not how sickness works.

Stay inspired my friends!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Blue Sky For A Dreary Day

If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things in nature have a message you understand, Rejoice, for your soul is alive.” - Eleanora Duse

There is a great song many of you are probably familiar with. It is called Mr. Blue Sky and was written by Jeff Lynne and performed by his group Electric Light Orchestra.

In a BBC Radio interview, Jeff Lynne talked about how he came to write this particular song. He recalls he had been staying in a Swiss chalet trying to write his bands next album after having just released their New World Record album.

As he says, "It was dark and misty for 2 weeks, and I didn't come up with a thing. Suddenly the sun shone and it was, 'Wow, look at those beautiful Alps.' I wrote Mr. Blue Sky and 13 other songs in the next 2 weeks."

Yes, a blue sky can lift and inspire when life seems most dark and dreary.

A blue sky is like the smile upon someone's face when they greet you. Kindness can make your day better. Kindness can once again make the sky blue in your life.

And while the sky might be overcast with clouds where you are, maybe I can put this song into your playlist as an act of kindness. And quite possibly make your day a "blue sky" kind of day.

Mr. Blue Sky - Electric Light Orchestra

Radio announcer: Warning! today's forecast calls for blue sky's
Sun is shining in the sky there ain't a cloud in sight it's stopped raining,
Everybody's in the play
And don't you know it's a beautiful new day, Hey, Hey
Running down the avenue, see how the sun shines brightly,
In the city, on the streets where once was pity,
Mr. Blue Sky is living here today, Hey, Hey

Mr.Blue Sky, please tell us why,
You had to hide away for so long (So Long),
Where did we go wrong
Mr.Blue Sky, please tell us why,
You had to hide away for so long (So Long),
Where did we go wrong

Hey, you, with the pretty face, welcome to the human race
A celebration, Mr. Blue Sky's up there waiting,
And today is the day we've waited for, Oh-Oh

Hey, there, Mr. Blue, we're so pleased to be with you,
Look around, see what you do, everybody smiles at you
Hey, there, Mr. Blue, we're so pleased to be with you,
Look around, see what you do, everybody smiles at you

Mr. Blue Sky, Blue Sky, Blue Sky, Blue Sky, Blue Sky, yi
Mr. Blue, you'll get it right, but soon comes Mr. Night,
Creepin' over, now his hand is on your shoulder,
Never mind, I'll remember you this, I'll remember you this way

Mr.Blue Sky, please tell us why,
You had to hide away for so long (So Long),
Where did we go wrong
Mr.Blue Sky, please tell us why,
You had to hide away for so long (So Long),
Where did we go wrong

Stay inspired my friends!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Overcome The Obstacles

If I had to select one quality, one personal characteristic that I regard as being most highly correlated with success, whatever the field, I would pick the trait of persistence. Determination. The will to endure to the end, to get knocked down seventy times and get up off the floor saying, ''Here comes number seventy-one!''” - Richard M. DeVos

When the will to overcome an obstacle in our life becomes stronger then the obstacle itself, anything is achievable.

Perseverance will take hold as you battle setbacks to achieve a dream you've placed in your heart.

Take the story of Andy Kadavy, a senior football linebacker at the University of Nebraska. He always had a dream to play for his beloved Huskers while playing high school football in his hometown of Seward, Nebraska. When a few other large schools offered him scholarships to play, he developed a belief and vision that he could also play for Nebraska.

With that vision, he decided to walk-on and attempt to make the team's roster. But during this same time he began to develop a problem in his right eye. He kept this condition from most everyone including his coaches. He struggled, he had successes but then was let go. You can read more about the details of his story on Lincoln Journal-Star.

His story is one of perseverance, of never letting go of his dream. He stayed with his goal and his circumstances changed; opportunity came again. His reward for sticking with it was a scholarship earned in his senior year of university.

He believed in his vision, he acted upon his vision and finally realized his vision.

When it comes to your dreams, your visions, your goals - persevere and you too can achieve that which you seek.

Stay inspired my friends!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Service With A Smile

"Sow good services; sweet remembrances will grow them." - Madame de Stael

In the spirit of service to others, here is a story from quite some time ago told by Andy Andrews. Andy wrote of a person who had an unending spirit to serve others. I felt it was a good story so here I reshare his story with you.


I met him at least eight years ago—maybe ten—on Concourse A at the Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport. He wore black pants and a white shirt with a black tie and bib apron. "Let me carry that for you, young man," he said, noticing the balancing act I was performing with my luggage and the tray of food from Paschal's Restaurant that included iced tea and peach cobbler. He didn't wait for me to say yes or no. The old fellow just grabbed my tray with a smile and was off, limping heavily on one leg that was obviously shorter than the other.

I followed him around the escalator to an empty group of tables I had never noticed and it was only then when I realized that he had also brought napkins, a straw, and packages of salt and pepper ... items I usually forget. With a flourish, he wiped a table, removed my plate from the tray and arranged it carefully with the napkins and the iced tea. Pulling back my chair as I hurriedly retrieved three, one-dollar bills from my pocket, he smiled and said, "God bless you." His nametag read: FOSTER.

After I had eaten, I walked back around to the food court, curious to see if this was a new service the airport had put in place. Certainly, I had never been "helped" before. I saw several other men and women dressed like my new friend, loosely assembled, and talking with each other, waiting without enthusiasm for tables to come empty. At that point, one of them would disengage from the group, clear any trash left on the table, wipe it down and return to their coworkers.

Glancing around the huge area, I quickly spotted Foster. Smiling, laughing, and moving fast, he helped one person after another. Mothers traveling alone with children or elderly people seemed to catch his eye first. He never waited to be summoned. He went where he was needed. Most were like me—shocked at the help—and looked around as if there might be a hidden camera recording this amazing event. I watched for fifteen minutes before heading to my flight and counted six people or groups of people he had helped during that time.

I was back through the Atlanta airport the next day and couldn't wait to visit the food court again. Sure enough, there he was, the old man with the big smile. He didn't have time to talk, but he helped me to a table as he had the day before (with napkins, salt and pepper, and a straw) and said, "God bless you, young man," as he held out my chair.

I had a twenty folded and ready to place in his hand that day. I was impressed and inspired by this old man who struggled to walk, yet moved like a dervish as he cleaned empty tables and looked for people to serve. From that day forward, he was Mister Foster to me.

As the years rolled by, I developed a great admiration for Mr. Foster. I saw him several times each month and introduced him to my wife and boys along with anyone else with whom I might have been traveling. "Watch this guy," I would always instruct as he left our table. "And watch that bunch of other people over there dressed just like him." The contrast was clear.

I enjoyed contributing to his financial well being—especially during the holidays—because he worked hard helping those who needed help. I never once suspected Mr. Foster was making a play for tips. In fact, though I rarely slipped him less than twenty dollars, he often made me wait while he helped someone in obvious need of assistance. And whether they offered money or not, he always smiled, held their chairs and said, "God bless you."

And then he was gone.

About eighteen months ago, unable to find my friend in the crowd, I asked the ladies at Paschal's, "Where is Mr. Foster today?"

"Fired," they told me.

"What?" I asked, not believing what I had heard.

"That's right," the ladies all nodded. "They fired him. Humiliated him. Sent the man home!"

"Who fired him?" I said, stopping the buffet line in its tracks. "And for what?"

The Atlanta Airport Authority, I was told, had determined that Mr. Foster had become "a distraction". They ordered him to stop helping people. "Stand with everyone else," he was told, "and wait for the tables to empty like you are supposed to. You are a busboy…act like one."

But who can act like a busboy when your heart tells you that you're so much more? He couldn't and he didn't and they fired him.

A few months later, he was back (happy as ever) on a trial basis. But I never again let him carry my tray. I did, however, continue with the twenties. And the fifties. And sometimes more. He took the money because I made him take it. I was mad for him and he knew it. His "God bless you's" often came to me with a tear. His spirit was gone.

Today, I went by Paschal's—Concourse A in the Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport. Before I could even ask, one of the ladies on the serving line spotted me. "I been expecting you," she said. "Mr. Foster's gone. He quit. He told 'em he was old and sick and couldn't do the work no more." Then she cocked her head and added with a whisper, "He ain't sick. There ain't nothing broken about that old man."

Nope, I thought as I turned away, there ain't nothing broken about that old man. Nothing but his heart.

Mr. Foster, I miss you. I am one among many who do, I suspect. So wherever you are ... God bless you.


Try to serve others in whatever capacity you can. Do not because you have to but because you want to. You will be remembered for years to come and have made the world a little bit better place for others and yourself.

Stay inspired my friends.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Make Them Laugh

If we couldn't laugh we would all go insane.” ― Robert Frost

Donald O'Connor had an amazing dancing ability and was a joy to watch.

Maybe today we can relax from the toil of politics and circumstance.

Maybe today we can just laugh.

Stay inspired my friends!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Serving To Be Served

He who wants to be served must first know how to serve.” ― Lailah Gifty Akita

Having a positive attitude, overcoming your own issues and serving others is something all of us can do. If you think about it, the thing which helps you get through bad days is the servitude of others.

What does it mean to serve others?

In his book The Spirit To Serve - Marriott's Way, J.W. Marriott states that a core purpose is, "to make people away from home feel that they are among friends and are really wanted." These simple words are how you can approach every day interacting with other people.

At a sporting event, your job or even the grocery store.

This idea does not confine itself to your own home or workplace. It could be said anywhere you go, the space you flow through is your home. Being in any place at any time means you can make another person feel welcomed and wanted. So many of us travel through life with blinders on to those around us. We should become an open and friendly person in everything we do.

Everyday and everywhere.

Sure its tough to always be cheerful and friendly. Yet the more you do it, the more you will see others open up to help you when you are having a bad day as well. Not long ago, I was on a trip far from home. It had been raining and I was not particularly pleased to be here.

But then a man offered me his umbrella in order to get to my car.

Nothing was asked of in return, a smile and a thank you as he moved towards his car. A simple act of kindness to make me feel a bit more at home and to ease my day. So I carried forward his kindness to others. Make it a good day for someone.

And stay inspired my friends!

Friday, October 14, 2016

4th and Go

"To love is to risk not being loved in return. To hope is to risk pain. To try is to risk failure, but risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing." - Unknown

Two teams were in overtime, playing a heated rivalry football game. The score was knotted together at twenty-three to twenty-three with plenty of momentum on one side. The offense had fallen upon a fourth down with less than one yard to go for a first down. The ball was on their own thirty yard line.

Easy decision was to punt and wait for another chance.

Hard decisions require us to try and go for it.

If they made a first down, momentum would have clearly swung their way. If not, the opposing team would be in a position to win. The teams lined up, excitement grew as the quarterback barked out the call. Huge men came crashing together trying to outdo each other.

The running back took hold of the ball and ran into the mix of bodies, trying to search out those few precious feet. But it was not going to happen. He was stopped short of the first down marker, short of the goal that would allow them to continue.

The opposing team had stopped them on "4th and 1" and went on to kick a game winning field goal. One team victorious and another defeated.

All of this drama played out for a mere two or three feet.

Sometimes we get that close to our own goals in life. One, two or three feet is all which separates us from achievement. As we make our final push to cross over that line, we get pushed back, defeated and rejected.

It seems during those few moments all is lost.

But not all is lost, there is hope. There is strength in knowledge of what went wrong. There is greatness in moving forward and trying again. The obstacles in life we face sometimes get the better of us. Even when we felt we were unstoppable and had the greatest of confidence in our own ability, the opposition will win sometimes.

So you withdraw, replan and reattack the goal.

You jump back into it with new experience and understanding. You keep trying.

Stay inspired my friends!