Archive for October, 2008

Kids Pick the Funniest Poems

October 31, 2008

kids-pick-the-funniest-poemsIf there’s a kid in your life who likes to laugh, Kids Pick the Funniest Poems will make a wonderful present. I wrote five poems for it (including the one below) but that’s not why I’m recommending it. I don’t get any royalties from sales. I just think it’s an awesome book that every kid should have.

Bruce Lansky of Meadowbrook Press combed through tons of poem books to collect what he thought were the cream of the crop. He then read the finalists to actual grade school classrooms and the kids voted on which poems they liked the most. Those are the ones that made it in the book.

One of the reasons the book turned out so well is that Stephen Carpenter illustrated every poem. He’s a wonderful artist and his work really brings the book alive. Coincidentally, I found out later that Stephen just happened to be the illustrator for a number of greeting cards I had sold earlier to Hallmark. Small world!

I’ve read some of the poems to grade school classes and kids absolutely love it. Lots of teachers keep the book in the classroom because it’s a class favorite. I’ve even received fan letters from kids all over the world, some of whom were doing book reports on me. Ha! It’s fun to respond back to them.

My daughter was twelve when I wrote the five poems that I contributed and we were in full goofball mode, so writing them was easy and fun! I hope you enjoy the book!


Illustration by Stephen Carpenter


I don’t understand why everyone stares
When I take off my clothes and dance down the stairs.
Or when I stick carrots in both of my ears,
Then dye my hair green and go shopping at Sears.
I just like to dress up and do goofy things.
If I were an angel, I’d tie-dye my wings!

Why can’t folks accept me the way that I am?
So what if I’m different and don’t act like them?
I’m not going to change and be someone I’m not.
I like who I am, and I’m all that I’ve got!

Illustration by Stephen Carpenter


The monsters in my closet
Like to sleep the day away.
So when I get home from school,
I let them out to play.

When Mom calls me for supper,
I give them each a broom.
First they put my toys away,
And then they clean my room.

The Mummy hates to vacuum.
So if he starts to whine,
I kick his rear and tell (more…)

99 Balloons

October 30, 2008

I shared the following quote in a previous post, urging people to take another chance at love after a failed relationship. 

When love beckons to you, follow him, though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you, yield to him, though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you, believe in him . . . though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
Kahlil Gibran

So many people choose to be alone, afraid that loving someone may lead to a broken heart. Matt and Ginny Mooney had no such fears. They welcomed their son, Eliot, into the world knowing full well that he was just passing through. They cherished every moment that he graced their lives with his presence. And when the day came that Eliot’s spirit was freed from his bodily prison, they joyously celebrated his life and spirit.

Broken hearts can (more…)

Don’t Sweat the Big Stuff

October 29, 2008

Not long after I started my freelance writing career, I was asked to write a script for a non-linear video presentation, which essentially means that the viewer would be able to jump from segment to segment. Kind of like clicking on links on a website today.

the-panic-buttonI listened carefully to the instructions but since this was brand-new territory for me, I was a bit confused. When I got home, I stared at the computer screen, not knowing how or where to begin. Panic began creeping in.

Did I mention this was a rush job? A draft had to be completed in just a couple of days. I took a deep breath and plunged in, not sure that what I was doing was what needed to be done. I called the client to get clarification but hung up the phone more confused than ever. Still, I managed to put together some semblance of a script and showed up at the appointed time, project in hand.

To my horror, the client’s face began souring as he read the draft I handed him. Finally, he looked up with an expression that I interpreted as, “I can’t believe I trusted this project to such a bozo.” Heart pounding and palms sweating, I tried to remain calm as he explained that what I had given him was off target. Somehow, I managed to restrain myself from bolting out the front door. (more…)

There Goes My Life

October 28, 2008

Kenny Chesney

Ever have one of those lives when all your plans go kablooey . . . only to find that things worked out better than you ever could have imagined? 

I love this video by Kenny Chesney. It’s pretty much a description of my life, and perfectly captures the joy of fatherhood. Get ready (more…)

Change Your Mind . . . Change Your Life!

October 27, 2008

My friend Janet hated her writing job. After too many years of doing the same old same old, she was no longer being challenged, every task became tedious, and the enormous weight of negative office politics dragged her down into the dark and dreary Land of Bad Attitude. But guess what happened when she was allowed to become a telecommuter? Overnight, she became Little Miss Sunshine! On the days when she came into work for meetings and to pick up assignments, she was cheerful, energized and had a kind word for everyone.

She was still doing exactly the same work for exactly the same salary for exactly the same company. The only difference is that she was able to work from home, an environment that felt more comfortable to her and one that she had more control over.

Although Janet’s attitude overhaul involved a significant physical change, her transformation really came down to a mental shift. The implications of that statement are staggering. We all have the power to reframe any situation simply by changing the way we look at it. (more…)

Heidi Stokes Wins the Triumph Award

October 26, 2008


Heidi Stokes

Yesterday, I wrote about how Heidi Stokes and her family have triumphed over a variety of health challenges. On April 18, 2008, in San Francisco, Heidi was presented with a very special award by the National Pain Foundation (NPF).

According to the NPF website, the Triumph Award is presented to an individual living with pain who has made a significant difference in the lives of others. It was presented to Heidi Stokes for her amazing courage and strength in the face of daily pain, for her ability to bring joy to those around her despite her own challenges, and for her example of finding beauty and possibility (more…)

The Courageous and Inspiring Stokes Family

October 25, 2008

I wrote this article a few years back about an amazing couple, Brad and Heidi Stokes. I’ve known Heidi for more than ten years and I am amazed at how she and her husband Brad cope with their family’s health challenges. May you be as inspired reading it as I was writing it!


Brad Stokes

Brad Stokes

It was Brad Stokes’ dying wish to build a professional audio studio in downtown Minneapolis.

It was early 1994 and his health was failing rapidly. Still, at age 35 and with a major business opportunity beckoning, Stokes knew it was time to act. Eight years earlier, he had been diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis, the same liver disease that would claim the life of football great Walter Payton. But thanks to his ability to draw strength from the twin passions in his life—his wife, Heidi, and his dream of expanding his business—the fact that Stokes was awaiting a life-saving liver transplant seemed like nothing more than an inconvenience. (more…)

God’s Fingerprints

October 24, 2008

When you’re going through a rough patch, it’s easy to feel alone, abandoned, and scared of what lies ahead. And yet, if you believe that you are one with God, that you co-create whatever comes into your life, and that everything happens for a reason, then it follows that hardships are nothing more than course corrections on your spiritual path. It may take some time and distance, but if you look closely enough you will see God’s fingerprints everywhere.

Granted, this may be difficult to do in the midst of an emotional maelstrom. Still, the instant you (more…)

Be an Email Angel

October 23, 2008

computer-with-heart-screenHow would you like to do something extraordinary today? Just send this email to everyone on your list. I don’t mean as a group email, I mean one email at a time. It won’t take you long. Just keep cutting and pasting the same message—but be sure to personalize each email with the person’s name. (Granted, it may not be appropriate for everyone on your list. Use your discretion.)

An important reminder

NAME, never forget that you (more…)

Take Heart, Some New Delight Awaits You

October 22, 2008

At thirty-four, I was unemployed with a family to support. I didn’t have highly marketable skills and was getting more desperate by the day. Then I aced an interview for a copywriting job at a hearing aid company. A few days later, I called the company expecting to hear good news, only to discover that the woman who had interviewed me, and who I had clicked instantly with, was no longer with the company and that the job had gone to somebody else. I was crestfallen . . . and scared. There was no clear path in front of me and I had no clue what to do next.

Looking back, not getting that copywriting job was the best thing that could have happened. Had  (more…)

It’s About Time

October 21, 2008

One notion I keep on bumping into in the course of my reading is that time is an illusion, a man-made construct. This hypothesis, increasingly embraced by theoretical physicists, holds that there is no past or future. There is only now, the present moment, which serves as the portal to infinity. Everything that has happened, everything that ever will happen, is happening now.

Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.
Albert Einstein

This concept has been around for quite some time (meaning, I suppose, that it has always been, and will always be, around). For instance, Kurt Vonnegut wrote in his 1959 masterpiece, The Sirens of Titan, ” . . . everything that (more…)

How One Mother Transcended Her Grief

October 20, 2008

Liz Wencl

On September 20, 2003, Kim Wencl‘s worst nightmare came true: her twenty-year-old daughter, Liz, a sophomore at the University of Minnesota, died of smoke inhalation from an early morning fire at the Dinkytown duplex where she lived just a few blocks from the U. Two of her roommates also perished.

Kim left the comment below on my post about the Awareness Release Technique. I’ve gotten to know Kim over the last couple months and I am astonished at how courageously she has coped with her unimaginable loss.

messages_from_beyond_cover1Kim wrote about her story in the book True Stories of Messages From Beyond by Julie Aydlott and Friends.

Two years after Liz died, Kim received a very special letter from her daughter. Click here to read about that incredible experience.

Kim granted permission for me to share her story in this way. I believe that Kim’s words will be of great comfort and inspiration to others who are dealing with loss of any kind.

Reading your blog entry today on Awareness Relief Technique has made me realize that I unknowingly used that technique when dealing with the intense grief over the death of my 20 yr old daughter Liz. It defiintely works! You have to feel the pain and acknowledge it before it will leave. That’s why people who just “suck it up” or choose to “soldier through” after a tramatic event in their lives will have issues with those emotions and feelings for the rest of their lives — or until they are forced or choose to go back and re-live them and actually feel the pain and then let it go. (more…)

Eva Kor’s Commencement Address

October 19, 2008

Eva Kor

Holocaust survivor and forgiveness advocate Eva Kor was kind enough to e-mail me the commencement address she gave in May 2008 at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in Indiana. I had written about her stunning act of forgiveness and invited her to share more of her incredible story. 



President Behrs, Board of Trustees, Faculty, Staff, Students, and Friends:

I want to thank you for this rare privilege of speaking to you today as your commencement speaker, and for awarding me an honorary doctorate. It is a unique honor and it will solve my problem with my son, Dr. Alex Kor. When I give him my “Dr. Mom” advice, he often says, “Mom, why don’t you get a Dr.’s degree?” From now on I can say to him, “No thanks, I already have one.” (more…)

They’re Playing Your Song

October 18, 2008

I love this essay by Alan Cohen, author of Don’t Get Lucky, Get Smart and lots of other books. He’s right, we all have music within us.

Click here to sign up for Alan’s free e-newsletter.



Alan Cohen

When a woman in a certain African tribe knows she is pregnant, she goes out into the wilderness with a few friends and together they pray and meditate until they hear the song of the child. They recognize that every soul has its own vibration that expresses its unique flavor and purpose. When the women attune to the song, they sing it out loud. Then they return to the tribe and teach it to everyone else.

When the child is born, the community gathers and sings the child’s song to him or her. Later, when the child enters education, the village gathers and chants the child’s song. When the child passes through the initiation to adulthood, the people again come together and sing. At the time of marriage, the person hears his or her song. Finally, when the soul is about to pass from this world, the family and friends gather at the person’s bed, just as they did at their birth, and they sing the person to the next life. (more…)

Healing with the Awareness Release Technique

October 17, 2008

Dr. Ibrahim Jaffe

At a life-changing seminar with Dr. Ibrahim Jaffe ten years ago, I was taught the Awareness Release Technique (ART), a powerful method to achieve deep and lasting healing. While ART may be used for both physical and emotional issues, for the purpose of this article, I’m focusing on the healing of emotional wounds.

The premise behind ART is that there is a core energy behind every emotional issue. By identifying and expelling this energy, the issue goes with it.

While the effects of an ART session can be long-lasting, if the subject reverts back to the lifestyle pattern that created the issue in the first place, the negative energy associated with it will most likely return and once again take up residence.


Mike Veeck’s Powerful Story of Courage and Hope

October 16, 2008


Mike Veeck speaks at the October 1 Continuum Center event

Baseball executive Mike Veeck was kind enough to join us at the Continuum Center on October 1 for an evening with six storytellers from my book, Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything.

When I read the story of Mike and his daughter in Sports Illustrated a few years back (click here to read The Sorcerer’s Apprentice), it brought me to tears. I knew I had to include his story in my book. When I contacted Mike, he was gracious enough to tell me the story from scratch so I could write it from a fresh new angle. Here is the start of his story in my (more…)