In honor of Bravery

Today is a beautiful day to honor men and women who place their lives on the line to give freedom. I honor them with these stories of bravery:

1st_Can_Para_Bn_training_at_Fort_Benning_Georgia_8_Mar_1943._MIKAN_No._3563337THE POWER OF “WE”

The story of Charles Plumb is inspiring and emphasizes the value of each individual of a team. Captain Charles Plumb, a graduate of the Naval Academy, whose plane, after 74 successful combat missions over North Vietnam, was shot down. He parachuted to safety, but was cap- tured, tortured and spent 2,103 days in a small box-like cell.

After surviving the ordeal, Captain Plumb received the Silver Star, Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit and two Purple Hearts, and returned to America and spoke to many groups about his ex- perience and how it compared to the challenges of every day life.

Shortly after coming home, Charlie and his wife were sitting in a restaurant. A man rose from a nearby table, walked over and said, “You’re Plumb! You ew jet ghters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk . You were shot down!”

Surprised that he was recognized, Charlie responded, “How in the world did you know that?” The man replied, “I packed your parachute.” Charlie looked up with surprise. The man pumped his hand, gave a thumbs-up, and said, “I guess it worked!”

Charlie stood to shake the man’s hand, and assured him, “It most certainly did work. If it had not worked, I would not be here today.”

Charlie could not sleep that night, thinking about the man. He wondered if he might have seen him and not even said, “Good morning, how are you?” He thought of the many hours the sailor had spent bending over a long wooden table in the bottom of the ship, carefully folding the silks and weaving the shrouds of each chute, each time holding in his hands the fate of someone he didn’t know.

Plumb then began to realize that along with the physical parachute, he needed mental, emo- tional and spiritual parachutes. He had called on all these supports during his long and painful ordeal.


Nordfrankreich, Soldaten mit VW-KübelwagenLook for any opportunity in a negative situation

Maybe you’ve heard the story of the four American GI’s who were soldiers during WWII. They were driving along
a narrow dirt road in a standard-issue Army jeep. They were suddenly attacked from all sides, and to make a bad situation worse they came across a large tree blocking the road and their only route to escape. The road was too narrow to allow the jeep to turn around, but the soldiers knew without a doubt that their only chance was to get their vehicle turned around so they could escape.
Knowing they had only one chance at survival, they jumped out of the jeep and each of the four young men took a corner. While being fired upon, together they lifted the jeep into the air and turned it around so that it pointed back the way they had come. They jumped back into the jeep and raced through as a barrage of bullets flew by. Miracu- lously they escaped with none of them sustaining a single hit.
When they returned to their camp, they excitedly shared their incredible story. Their fellow soldiers laughed in disbelief. They ‘knew’ there was no way four guys could lift a jeep and turn it around with their bare hands. Their friends challenged them to prove what they claimed they had done.
The four soldiers surrounded a jeep and each took a corner and attempted to lift it. They grunted and groaned and strained and were unable to lift a single corner of the jeep again.

Where did four young men get the strength of ten? When they believed they had NO CHOICE, they were able to
lift the jeep and turn it around with ease. With the same arms, legs, backs, and muscles, they were able to do something that later they were completely unable to do. What was the difference? It was all in their THINKING, their unshakable belief that their very lives depended on their ability to lift and turn the jeep, and their unwavering con- viction that they would be able to do it.

The doubt shared by their fellow soldiers, combined with the passing of the immediate danger and the adrenaline rush that came with that danger, took away the ability of the four young men to repeat their feat.
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c6911aa638df132de4eacf3e42ec1358.jpgStockdale Theory

This version is taken from a post by Joe Kraus. Story found in the book Good to Great.

The Stockdale Paradox is named after Admiral Jim Stockdale who was the highest ranking US military officer imprisoned in Vietnam. He was held in the “Hanoi Hilton” and repeatedly tortured over 8 years. Collins describes going to lunch with Stockdale (can you imagine?) and trying to understand how he survived 8 years as a POW while so many died after just months in captivity.

Here’s how Stockdale put it. “I never lost faith in the end of the story. I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.”
“Who didn’t make it out”?

“The optimists. They were the ones who said ‘we’re going to be out by Christmas’. And, Christmas would come and Christmas would go. Then they’d say, ‘We’re going to be out by Easter.’ And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. Then they died of a broken heart.”

So, on the one hand it was about unswerving faith that one will ultimately prevail while on the other hand it’s about banishing all false hopes? As usual, the guy who lived it says it best.
“You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end – which you can never afford to lose – with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, what- ever they might be.”

Holding those two seemingly contradictory notions in his head simultaneously was the key to Stockdale surviving, even thriving, in his experience. Candy Bomber

On Christmas Eve, 1948, somewhere between Wiesbaden and Berlin, a twenty-seven-year-old American pilot gazed into the night sky.

The heavens were so full of stars, it seemed they would overflow and tumble to earth in a brilliant display of Christmas generosity and joy.

Hal, as he was known to his crew, wrapped his hands around the yoke of his C-54 cargo plane packed with 20,000 pounds of flour. “This is the real spirit of Christmas,” he thought to himself as he guided his plane toward Tempelhof Air Base in West Berlin.

When World War II had ended three years earlier, Germany and its capital city were divided between the Western allies and the Soviet Union. Then, in a grab for power, Stalin blocked ground transportation into the city. To preserve freedom and keep two and a half million West Berliners from starving, the United States and Great Britain began transporting food and other basic supplies by air.

Hal was one of hundreds of Americans who participated in the historic Berlin Airlift, which was called “Operation Vittles.”

That snowy Christmas Eve, as Hal radioed for clearance to land, his mind wandered back six months to the day that had changed his life. He had been standing at the end of the Tempelhof runway, taking home movies of arriving planes, when he noticed about thirty children on a grassy strip just beyond a barbed wire fence. In broken English, they asked about the planes, how much flour each one carried, and whether the airlift would continue. Although the children had been on meager rations, they were more concerned with freedom than with flour. They wanted what Hal had always had—the opportunity to pursue their dreams.

For nearly an hour Hal answered their questions before saying good-bye. As he turned away, one question lingered in his mind: “What makes these kids different?” All over the world, children were known to beg candy from American servicemen. These children had little to eat, and no candy at all, yet they were grateful for what the airlift had given them and asked for nothing. Their gratitude melted Hal’s heart.

Instinctively he wanted to give something back. Digging into his pockets, he found only two sticks of gum. “From little things come big things,” his father used to say. A broad smile crossed Hal’s boyish face. Giving so little to so many could cause a squabble, he reasoned. But a quiet voice within him urged him on.

Hal broke the gum into four pieces and passed it through the fence.

Without a word, the four children tore the gum wrappers into strips and passed them to the others. One by one, each small nose was pressed to the paper, breathing in the minty smell. Never had he seen such expressions of joy and wonder, even at Christmas.

As Hal watched in amazement, his mind raced. “If only I had more to give!” he thought. He had his own rations of gum and chocolate. Maybe his buddies would be willing to donate theirs. Just then another C-54 roared over his head and an idea formed in his mind. “I could drop candy from the air,” he said to himself.

This was the beginning of an extraordinary humanitarian endeavor that brought the spirit of Christmas to a world in need of peace and hope, earning Hal Halvorsen the nickname “The Candy Bomber.” Read the rest of the story in Christmas From Heaven. -From


In honor of so many who give their heart and soul for so many. Peace to you and your families today.  Bless and keep you safe.

Inner Fight. Inner Flight.

The past couple of mornings there has been a tapping sound on my kitchen window. It happens around 6 or 7 in the morning. I go to the window and find this bird tapping away on the window and I am puzzled. It looks at me and flies away. Within 15 seconds it comes back and taps again. Then it flies to the nearby tree and just watches me before it flies away again.

Well, to say the least, I was a bit curious why the bird would be tapping. I learned from online sources that it may see its reflection and be fighting with its reflection, thinking its another bird.

This made me think of how we, as humans, sometimes do this to ourselves. We look in the mirror and see things we don’t like, images that seem ‘too old’, ‘too fat’, ‘too many wrinkles’, ‘too much sun’…you get the idea. We have inner struggles. We don’t yell at the mirror, but we begin the inner chatter that seems to self sabotage.

My daughter was looking at old videos of herself the other day and came across one where she was doing a class report in elementary school. She was about 8 years old and fierce, but innocent. Her 8 year old version of herself was confident, but kind. My daughter beamed watching this video of her younger self.     A few days later my daughter was saying something negative to herself. She was beating herself up in a way with some self-talk. I gently turned her around to face me & said, “would you say that to your 8 year old self? You wouldn’t be that mean to her would you?”  She smiled and got the lesson.

We all have our ‘inner Childs’ those places within us that need to be protected and built up. Life can be harsh and there are plenty of other critics out there. We don’t need to be one of them. We need to protect ourselves from our inner critics and be kinder to ourselves. Who else will?  When we can be kind, say kind words, build & not tear down, that is where our healing will begin. That is where we will begin to grow. That is where we will begin to find our best self. AND, that little child within will smile that you finally figured it out.

What are you saying to yourself? What will help you—-fight or fly? be kind to you.


Peace to you.  -H

It’s a NEW…different day


You may not even notice, but I changed the overall look of this blog to something NEW and DIFFERENT. I truly hope you like the simplicity and natural look of the blog.

I think we should all be looking for things we can do differently. Things we can do to shake up our routines, our day. I thought I would start off this NEW blog image with a blog about seeking out ways to shake things up!! Here are some ideas to add some ‘NEWNESS’ to your day…your life!

STAND OUT.     Find ways to stand out in your own life. Maybe you like to paint your nails a flashy color, or like to be the aunt that always gives out candy. Feeling like you have fun things to share helps you feel like you stand out and are shaking things up for those around you.  My daughter is always full of variety–she comes up with so many voices (British, minions, gru, her own ‘Lava Kava’ language) and shares them with her friends and family. She also has a special, unique handshake she does with each one of her cousins. She stands out & makes everything fun!! Love it.

FIND SOMETHING FUNNY.      Laughter is so good for everything!!  Shake up your day with something funny. Find a video that makes you laugh, watch a good comedy for an evening date night, do something out-of-the-box like a bubble-blowing contest with friends or family. Find something that will make you smile and do more of that!!

CHANGE UP.     Do something that is not your ordinary–eat outside, walk to work, find a new route to work, eat somewhere you have never been before. Where a color or style that is completely new to you. Go somewhere you have never been before–like a local museum, library, concert hall, garden, etc. New places are always a good change up.

START A CONVERSATION WITH A STRANGER.     I have had many opportunities where I have started a conversation with a cashier & learned why they have not been able to get enough sleep (worried about a friend in another state that just lost his brother to suicide) or why they remember numbers so well (they take care of their ailing mother’s bills & they have to remember lots of numbers). Everyone has a story to tell. Take the time to listen and you will walk away with a greater appreciation for your life, a sympathetic heart for someone in need, a story that makes your heart ache to find a way to help…people need connection. Take a minute to reach out and listen.

JOIN A CLUB.     Maybe there are some people in your local community who do book clubs, garden clubs, volunteer with youth, dance as couples, do ‘foodie’ nights.  Think of something that is of interest and reach out to your local universities to learn more about community education or contact a local park and rec for local recreational activities. Just ask and find a good fit for you.

LEARN SOMETHING NEW.     I just picked up a guitar at a garage sale the other day for $7. I just love to hear how it strums. I have no idea how to play, but drumming on it and strumming it brings some sense of calm. I just started getting on youtube to see what I can learn about my vintage ‘Norma’ guitar.  It is fun and challenging to learn something new. Pick up a book or download a tablet book–get reading about something that interests you. There is a whole world of things to learn about, places to see, sports to try, crafts to make, languages to learn, classes to take….so many possibilities. Just begin.

BECOME WELL ROUNDED (‘fully or broadly developed).     If you were to take just 15 minutes a day to learn something new on a topic you wanted to know more about, just think of all you could learn. In just 30 days that would equal 450 minutes of learning. You could learn lots of things within just a month of being disciplined for 15 minutes a day. In one year that would equal 5,475 minutes, which would be over 90 hours of learning in a year. Think of all the possibilities!!

SHAKE IT UP.     Literally. Shake up your exercise routine. Maybe you have been doing yoga forever, so it may be time to add in a little urban rebounding (mini-tramp). Maybe you have always wanted to try Capoeira or rock climbing, so sign-up for a intro class to see what its like. Try speed walking instead of running. Try swimming in the ocean instead of at the gym. Shake up your workout and begin peppering your day with some new activities.

SHIFT YOUR SURROUNDINGS.     Maybe you need to add a little color to your living room, buy some throw pillows with some vibrant color. Maybe you need to dejunk & sell some of your stuff at a yard sale. Maybe you need to move some furniture around to make it feel more open. Maybe you need to get rid of the television in the bedroom. Maybe you need to empty out some closets and have some ‘open’ space. Maybe you need to add some music to soothe your sleep. Your surroundings affect the way you sleep, eat, relax, and live. You may want to do some research on organizing, room flow, decluttering, etc. to find the balance your are looking for.

PLAY.     Play is a good way to shake things up and avoid boredom. Everyone plays on different levels, so throw in some variety and see what feels good to you. Maybe you need to begin just playing a new card game. Maybe you need to join a club and learn Pickle Ball. Maybe you need to take some balls to the tennis court & just begin to play. Maybe you need to hit a bucket of balls at the golf course. Maybe you need to join a bingo night. Maybe you just need a board game night. Whatever you enjoy–do more, try more, play more.


I hope these ideas have given you a good start to begin to shake up your daily routine and step out of your comfort zone. Our lives become so routine, so it is up to us to step out, shake it up, find something new and begin.

Enjoy your day!! -H



True to YOU

I am not talking about selfishness. I am talking about being true to yourself in all of your essence, so that you can then better serve the world.

The world needs light!! Lots of light. There are plenty of people struggling to find their true light, that little spark of divinity. We are made of stardust! We are illumination and wonder and magnificence and we glow when we are feeling good.

Have you ever seen someone light up with an idea or excitement over something that they are interested in? Have you seen someone genuinely smile? Do you feel good inside when you see others embrace? There are little glimmers of this stardust that seems to fall in the eyes of others, so it is only obvious that YOU have it too!!

We all have the potential to shine, to find those things that light us up, to share our radiance with others.

Here are a few reminders of who YOU are…

Peace and Love to YOU today.

GREAT STORIES about perspective

Morocco-by-campervan-sidi-kaouki-beach-fireThe only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming.

Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements and to store his few possessions. But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky.

The worst had happened; everything was lost. He was stunned with grief and anger. “God, how could you do this to me!” he cried. Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him. “How did you know I was here?” asked the weary man of his rescuers. “We saw your smoke signal,” they replied.

It is easy to get discouraged when things are going badly. But we shouldn’t lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and suffering. Remember, next time your little hut is burning to the ground–it just may be a smoke signal that summons The Grace of God.

“Sometimes a change of perspective is all it takes to see the light.”                                   -Dan Brown

main_900This story reminds me of the zen parable of the Chinese farmer

Once there was a  farmer who worked his poor farm together with his son and their horse. When the horse ran off one day, neighbors came to say, “How unfortunate for you!” The farmer replied, “Maybe yes, maybe no.”

When the horse returned, followed by a herd of wild horses, the neighbors gathered around and exclaimed, “What good luck for you!” The farmer stayed calm and replied, “Maybe yes, maybe no.”
While trying to tame one of wild horses, the farmer’s son fell, and broke his leg. He had to rest up and couldn’t help with the farm chores. “How sad for you,” the neighbors cried. “Maybe yes, maybe no,” said the farmer.
Shortly thereafter, a neighboring army threatened the farmer’s village. All the young men in the village were drafted to fight the invaders. Many died. But the farmer’s son had been left out of the fighting because of his broken leg. People said to the farmer, “What a good thing your son couldn’t fight!” “Maybe yes, maybe no,” was all the farmer said.


vishen-lahkiani-book-list-reading-change-perspective-socialSometimes you just need to change your perspective. Enjoy your day!  


Magic & the little things

670px-User-Completed-Image-Make-a-Rainbow-Rose-2015.11.30- MAY 1st!!

For years at our house we have celebrated a special day on May 1st, FAIRY DAY!! Since my daughter was very little we created our own holiday to celebrate the magic of believing, fairies, wishes and the little things that bring a little extra magic.

I think life can always use an extra dose of magic, a sprinkling of well wishes, and believing in things that are full of  wonder.

Don’t fool yourself. I know there is a little child within every one of you that gets excited over little things like eating a yummy slice of cheesecake, walking under an umbrella as rain is falling all around you, watching shooting stars, hiking a mountain filled with spring blossoms, standing beneath a waterfall, biking down a hill with the wind hitting your face, Colorful flowers, driving in a convertible with the top down, little umbrellas in tropical drinks, glitter on greeting cards, surprises, butterfly kisses, a smile, warm showers, great food, driving fast, a colorful sunset, being creative, playing, the way the sun hits trees, rainbows ….there are lots of magical things that life has to offer.

6a011168668cad970c01156f74a945970cNOW. MAKE YOUR OWN LIST of things you find that are magical about YOUR life.  You don’t have to make a list, but just take a minute and think about it.

What surprises you? What surprises do you LOVE?

What colors in nature INSPIRe you? What colors surround you & why?

What activity brings you so much JOY?

What is your favorite food or drink to enJOY?

What do you like about a night sky? What do you like about a morning sky?

Do you get excited to see a rainbow?

What dream still whispers within your heart?

Do you have special rituals you do with your children? Does it make you both HAPPY?

Where would you go if you could go anywhere?

Where do you want to go in your own town?

Is there something you want to learn or grow from?

What makes you smile?

Hope these thoughts and ideas have you swirling with wonder and gratitude.

Have a BEAUTIFUL day!!  -H