Archive for April, 2009

Hollie Steel Makes Three!

April 30, 2009

Shaheen Jafargholi isn’t the only youngster capable of giving Susan Boyle a run for the money on Britain’s Got Talent. Ten-year-old Hollie Steel brought down the house on Saturday, April 25, when she broke from a nondescript ballet performance—just as it appeared that Simon was about to buzz her—and burst into song.

The best thing about these three talented contestants is (more…)

You Came Here For Me

April 29, 2009

Dr. Francis Collins

I really enjoyed working with Dr. Francis Collins on his story for my book, Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything. He was very down to earth and authentic. Considering his pedigree and position, I was impressed by his casual assumption in his very first e-mail to me that we should be on a first-name basis. Here is his bio and an abridged excerpt from his story about his work at a small mission hospital in Nigeria.

Dr. Collins, one of the country’s leading geneticists, is the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. From 1993 to 2008, he headed up the Human Genome Project as director of the National Human Genome Research Institute. Prior to that, Dr. Collins helped to discover the genetic misspellings that cause cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, and Huntington’s disease. Working on the cutting edge of the study of DNA, the code of life, he has personally discovered some of the scientific evidence for the common descent of all living creatures. For more information, visit
Four or five days went by. I took care of a myriad of problems, helping some patients, not knowing what to do with others, but generally having the sense that whatever I did was only putting a finger in the dike of what ultimately would be a disaster for most of these people. It was discouraging, knowing that many of them would go back to the same environment that had been the cause of their illness, only to be stricken by something else.

Then a young farmer came to the clinic, brought by his family, with a very puzzling illness. In the previous couple of weeks, his legs had gradually swollen to twice their normal size. He was weak, almost unable to stand, and appeared very seriously ill. In examining him, I took his pulse, and a startling revelation was immediately apparent. His pulse, while palpable when (more…)

It’s Reiki Time!

April 28, 2009

remotely-sending-reiki-energyThat remarkable day in my Reiki Two class when I successfully sent and received energy, the teacher casually mentioned something that sounded both very outrageous and very cool. She said that because divine energy operates beyond the constraints of space and time, we could remotely send Reiki energy to people back in, say, 1948 . . . or to someone five minutes or five years from now. So if a friend was having difficulty healing from a physical or emotional trauma, we could send loving energy to them at the time that they were actually experiencing the crisis, which would retroactively aid in their healing process.


On one hand, did I mention how (more…)

My Twilight Zone Moment

April 27, 2009


To set the appropriate mood for this story, click on the audio player below.

In October 2006, I attended a Self-Realization Fellowship retreat at a hotel in Chaska, Minnesota. During an afternoon class on Saturday, I was seated behind a few young people. The oldest of them looked to be about twenty. As he turned to talk to someone and I saw his face, it struck me that, both from the back and the front, he looked remarkably like John Linn, a good friend of mine back in high school thirty years ago. Then I saw him smile, and he looked even more like John. I couldn’t get the resemblance out of my mind. When the class ended, everyone stood up to leave. When he turned around, I was stunned. His (more…)

Stop Hitting the Snooze on Life’s Alarm Clock

April 26, 2009

When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.

A monk wrote this 900 years ago, his name forever lost to the mists of time. Did we listen? Of course not. All of us have to reinvent the wheel and make our own mistakes rather than listen to and live the wisdom of the sages through the ages.

woman-visiting-elderly-womanYouth is indeed often wasted on the young. Most of us don’t get our priorities straight until much later in life. By then, it’s often too late to be the father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister or friend that we could have been. It’s never too late to become what you might be, of course, but the later we awaken, the more regrets we tend to accumulate.

Begin now to live more consciously. Start by watching your thoughts as if they were someone else’s. By doing so, you become a conscious witness to your own life and begin to (more…)

The Joy of Being a Baseball Fan

April 25, 2009

casey-at-the-bat-cartoon-mudvilleCan “sports” and “spirituality” coexist in the same sentence? Absolutely! The adrenaline rush from an exciting game stirs something important in our souls, inspiring us to work harder and reach higher in our own lives.

When the Minnesota Twins made their playoff run in 1987, eventually becoming World Series champions, the entire state of Minnesota was emotionally sky-high for a full month. People were happier, more outgoing, more likely to strike up a conversation with a perfect stranger. After Game Seven of the World Series, I’ll never forget watching everyone outside the stadium celebrating, laughing and hugging each other—people they had never met before! I saw one guy high-fiving people from his car as he drove by. Even now, the memory of that time brings a smile to many a Minnesotan.

As that magical season unfolded, I wrote a tribute to the team called The Miracle Twins and followed that up with Thanks to the Twins after they disposed of the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games in the World Series. Fittingly, before the season had started, I had written a parody called Hrbek at the Bat, which was later published in (more…)

Astonishing Cirque du Soleil Body Control Artists

April 24, 2009

What will your reaction to this Cirque du Soleil act be? Two words—stunned amazement. I love performances that (more…)


April 23, 2009

I was fresh out of high school when I wrote a couple of non-autobiographical song lyrics to the tune of Charlie Daniels’ Uneasy Rider. One of those lyrics is called Dad. That was over thirty years ago, and there are some dated references to be sure, but it still holds up pretty well.

The second lyric is called George. I have a soft spot in my heart for these two songs and always wanted to share them with others. This blog gives me the perfect opportunity to do just that. Hope you enjoy them!


Early last week, I caught a ride back to town,
It’s been quite awhile since I’ve been around,
And the first place I stopped was my Dad’s corner store.
For some strange reason, I felt out of place,
But he was awfully pleased when he saw my face,
He said, “I’ll be right with you, son, as soon as I’m done sweepin’ the floor.”

I said, “I came all this way to see you again,
And all you can give me is a (more…)


April 22, 2009

I was fresh out of high school when I wrote a couple of non-autobiographical song lyrics to the tune of Charlie Daniels’ Uneasy Rider. One of those lyrics is called George. That was over thirty years ago, and there are some dated references to be sure, but it still holds up pretty well.

The second lyric is called Dad. I have a soft spot in my heart for these two songs and always wanted to share them with others. This blog gives me the perfect opportunity to do just that. Hope you enjoy them!


George was the neighborhood junkie and our baseball coach,
You never saw him without a bat or a roach,
He was a few years older than us but he had our respect.
But one day when he cried, “Guys, let’s pick teams,”
His pupils were burstin’ apart at the seams,
When he collapsed in the dirt, we all knew he was pretty well wrecked.

With a bat in hand and a glazed look in his eyes,
He yelled, “Out in the field, I’ll (more…)

Shaheen Jafargholi Wows the Judges

April 21, 2009

Looks like twelve-year-old Shaheen Jafargholi of Wales will be giving Susan Boyle some competition on Britain’s Got Talent. His April 18, 2009 audition didn’t start well. In fact, it was awful. I’ve never seen Simon Cowell do this before, but he stopped Shaheen just a few lines into the song Valerie by Amy Winehouse, telling the boy that he got it wrong and asking if he had another song to sing.

And that’s when (more…)

Angels Saved Christopher’s Life . . . Twice!

April 20, 2009

Christopher Barbour

My friend, Christopher Barbour, a clairvoyant intuitive and writer who assists law enforcement with difficult cases, told me two amazing stories about how his angel saved his life. I asked him to write up his stories so I could share them here. Goose bump alert!


As far back as I can remember, I have always felt watched over and cared about by a divine mysterious creator, and what I would call a spiritual support system. Thankfully, this inner life of mine was not foisted upon me by organized religion or well meaning family members — it’s always been there, and always will be there.

When I was seven, episodes of clairvoyance and intuition spontaneously began to bubble to the surface in my life. These experiences always took me directly to the sacred and the mysteries that we all share. That intuitive wiring of mine would eventually become part of my work, expressed via a path of mysticism and service.

If you asked me prior to when I reached my 30s if I believed in angels, I would have said, ”Of course!” I would have answered that question looking through the prism of faith, combined with an inner knowing, as well as through reading accounts in ancient sacred texts, and listening to stories people have shared with me over the years about encounters with angels.

In the fall of 2002, I was dealing with some difficult personal and family issues and was rebounding from the death of a friend who had a long struggle with heroin addiction and eventually died of complications from hepatitis. I was in such a state that no amount of praying, meditation or discussion with my support system was helping. I was (more…)

The Joyous Life and Wedding of Katie Kirkpatrick

April 19, 2009

Katie Kirkpatrick

Katie Kirkpatrick’s story is a powerful reminder that we can still find joy in the midst of suffering tragedy by focusing on and celebrating the present moment. The photos and text come from an e-mail I received and from which verified Katie’s story.

On Valentine’s Day, 2002, Katie Kirkpatrick, then a freshman at Rochester College (a small Christian college in Rochester Hills, Michigan), was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Undaunted, Katie strove to keep up with her studies, but she suffered another setback in 2003 when she was diagnosed with an inoperable lung tumor wrapped around her pulmonary artery. Nonetheless, in 2004 the resilient Katie took part in champion cyclist Lance Armstrong’s Ride for the Roses cancer fundraiser.

On January 15, 2005, twenty-one-year-old Katie—the girl “with a contagious smile and unrelenting optimism” who had been battling cancer for three years—married twenty-three-year-old Lapeer County sheriff’s deputy Nick Goodwin, her high school sweetheart and the love of her life, at Church of Christ in Hazel Park, Michigan.

Photos were taken by Romain Blanquart.


Katie Kirkpatrick and her fiance, Nick, rest prior to their wedding. Katie has terminal cancer and spends hours in chemotherapy. Here Nick waits while she finishes one of the sessions.


Even in pain and dealing with her organs shutting down, with the help of morphine, Katie took care of every single wedding plan. Her dress had to be adjusted several times due to her constant weight loss.


Inflatable Street Sculpture by Joshua Allen Harris

April 18, 2009

The fertile minds and fresh, original works of artists never cease to amaze me. You’ll enjoy this two-minute profile of street artist Joshua Allen Harris by New York magazine, which was accompanied by the following copy:

Call us boring and simple-minded, but before we saw the work of street artist Joshua Allen Harris we never once considered the artistic possibilities of subway exhaust. Using only tape and garbage bags, Harris creates giant inflatable animals that become animated when fastened to a sidewalk grate.

Steven Psyllos caught up with Harris recently to discuss his older works (including a bear and a giraffe) and unveil a new (more…)

Every Moment, Every Day Is Spiritual

April 17, 2009


Brother David Steindl-Rast (photograph by Jim Nichols)

Sometimes people get the mistaken notion that spirituality is a separate
 department of life, the penthouse of our existence.  But rightly understood,
 it is a vital awareness that pervades all realms of our being.  Someone 
will say, “I come alive when I listen to music,” or “I come to life
 when I garden,” or “I come alive when I play golf.”  Wherever we
 come alive, that is the area in which we are spiritual.  And then we
 can say, “I know at least how one is spiritual in that area.”  To be
 vital, awake, aware, in all areas of our lives, is the task that 
is never accomplished, but it remains the goal.
Brother David Steindl-Rast

Wise words. Spirituality is (more…)

As You Wish

April 16, 2009

black-and-white-surrender-to-godWhat is devotion? It is the unceasing practice of acknowledging God’s presence, with the ultimate goal of living your life as one long prayer.

Devotion requires complete immersion in divine love. In the Bhagavad Gita, Hinduism’s definitive guide to the science of self-realization, devotion is referred to as shraddha, the natural inclination of the heart quality to turn toward its Source in faith and surrender.

Surrendering means you recognize that whatever is, is. Accepting that you cannot change what cannot be changed enables you to deal with whatever is in front of you more objectively, free of judgment and emotional resistance.

The word “surrender” raises a red flag for some people, especially for those who believe that they can manipulate the universe to suit their own ends.

Attempting to exert control over every aspect of your life is like swimming upstream—progress is slow and difficult. When you surrender to divine will, you begin swimming with the current. You are in the flow, and life gets easier.

Surrendering to divine will does not mean you are sacrificing your free will. You (more…)

The Joy of Childhood Innocence

April 15, 2009

little-girl-picking-dandelionsPat, a high school friend of mine, sent me an e-mail today that made me smile:

I overheard Isabelle, the four-year-old little neighbor girl, who was finally able to climb up on the swingset and swing by herself, singing at the top of her lungs: ” I can swing by myself; it’s the best day ever. It is spring and it is beautiful; and I can swing by myself.”  So much joy! 

Ah, if only we all could find such joy in life’s ordinary moments! It reminds me of another little girl, my friend Leslye’s niece. Leslye said her little niece woke up, walked to the window, looked out, and gasped:

It’s a brand new day!

As a proud father, I’d like to add one more Cub Quote to the mix. When my daughter, Erin, was eight years old, (more…)