Archive for September, 2012

A Birthday Letter to The Momma

September 30, 2012

The Momma and me forty years ago

Today my mom turns eighty-one. I don’t know what I did to deserve such a wonderful mom, but I am humbled and grateful to be blessed so much. With her permission, I am sharing the birthday letter that I wrote to her to thank her for all she’s done for me and to celebrate the beautiful person that she is.

Click here for a more recent photo of us.

Dear Mom,

You are such a wonderful mom that it makes me sad. I’m sad for the millions and millions of people in the world who would give anything and everything they have to have grown up with such loving, caring and supportive parents. I fully realize how fortunate I am to not know their grief and their pain.

I am one of the lucky ones who was blessed with all the love a kid could ever need, the love that enabled me to grow up healthy, happy and self-confident. It was this love that (more…)

Let’s Hear it for the Dads!

September 26, 2012

Tate Stevens

The last time you went to Home Depot, you may have passed a potential star in the Ceramic Tile aisle. If singing competition shows are any indication, there are plenty of talented dads out there who have, for the most part, put their performing dreams on hold while they raised a family.

Ultimately, of course, helping children grow up is a nobler choice and infinitely more satisfying than singing to sold-out auditoriums, but still the itch remains. If you are a singer, you must sing. It’s who you are, and sooner or later, that part of you will demand expression.

Daryl Black

That’s where shows like The X Factor come into play. In recent weeks, we’ve been introduced to two dads in their mid-thirties who forsook (more…)

Autumn Equinox 2012 Update From Astrologer Laurie Baum

September 22, 2012

Laurie Baum

If you enjoy astrology, you will like this Autumn Equinox update written by my good friend Laurie Baum, MSW, a psychological astrologer and psychotherapist in practice in Encinitas, California.

Laurie writes a free astrological newsletter about how planetary alignments affect our lives on earth. Click here to e-mail Laurie to subscribe at no cost, or visit Laurie’s website and click on “Free Email Newsletter.”

Laurie is a former newspaper (more…)

Hallelujah! Jeffrey Adam Gutt Puts it All on the Line

September 21, 2012


Jeffrey Adam Gutt

Jeffrey Adam Gutt

When Jeffrey Adam Gutt stepped on the X Factor stage on September 20, 2012, he was singing for his life. At thirty-six, Gutt, a single dad with a four-year-old son, was almost out of chances. He was barely making ends meet and needed to make something good happen fast. As he noted before he sang, failure was not an option.

It’s a common refrain: you’re in your twenties and living a carefree existence, then one (more…)

Meeting Eva Kor, One of My Personal Heroes

September 20, 2012

My daughter Erin and I were privileged to meet Eva Kor after her talk at St. Cloud State University

Two years ago, I interviewed Eva Kor for my blog. Eva had been sent to Auschwitz in 1944 at the age of ten, where she and her sister Miriam were experimented on by the brutal Nazi doctor, Josef Mengele.

Tonight, I finally got to meet Eva in person. She lectured on her life and philosophy to a packed auditorium at St. Cloud State University. Afterward, she signed copies of her books for dozens and dozens of people who waited patiently in line. Many also wanted photos and a few had personal questions for her. I was amazed by Eva’s energy and capacity for joy. She gave each person a friendly smile and as much time as they wanted. It was after eleven o’clock by the time she put down her pen.

It is Eva’s stance on forgiveness that has made her an iconic and controversial figure all over the world. On January 27, 1995, in a public ceremony marking the fiftieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet troops, Kor declared her forgiveness toward the Nazis who murdered her parents and two older sisters. Standing by the ruins of (more…)

Joseph Wooten: “You Matter!”

September 17, 2012

Michelle Stimpson, a walking, talking ray of sunshine!

My new friend, Michelle Stimpson, is a writer, positive change expert and founder of LifeShine, which offers professional coaching for women. I’ve been reading and enjoying her many posts about how she and her husband, Bill, score front-row tickets to major rock concerts. Click here to contact Michelle about her coaching services.

WIth Michelle’s permission, I’m presenting her interview with Joseph Wooten, keyboardist and vocalist for the Steve Miller Band. Joseph wrote a song called I Matter that he hopes will inspire people to believe in their own worth and capabilities. You can listen to the song by clicking on the audio player below.

Many of Michelle’s posts are all about the beauty of synchronicity. So we appreciated the “coincidence” that she had interviewed Joseph for her blog, Following Your Joy, and I had interviewed his brother, Victor Wooten, bassist extraordinaire, for my book, Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything. Thank you, Victor and Joseph, for your passion and your generous spirits!

I am pleased to present Michelle’s post:


So I got a guy who knows a guy. A friend of mine said, “You’ve got to meet Joseph Wooten. He brings me so much joy!” He went on to say that “Joseph breaks the mold, and he’s living proof that our nation is on its course to righteousness and equality.”

Naturally, I couldn’t wait to meet Joseph!

Joseph Wooten

He’s keyboardist and vocalist for the Steve Miller Band and one of the Wooten Brothers from Nashville. He calls himself ‘Hands of Soul,’ and he’s got his own amazing music to boot. When we did meet, Joseph and I really connected on his song called “I Matter.” It’s a song connecting people and addressing the deep need that we each, in our own right, matter.

Throughout my years of coaching, one of many consistent threads I see in my work with clients is (more…)

Shoot Out on Main Street

September 16, 2012

When my daughter Erin was in fourth grade, she brought this math problem, xeroxed from a textbook, home from Mr. Gustafson’s class:


Fumble Fingers Freddy Farnsworth and Cross-Eyed Carl Crosswhile had been feuding for a year or so. It started over a chance remark Carl made about Freddy’s no-goood dog, Lester. Freddy was sitting near Carl in the Ace High Tavern with his girl friend, Esther. Freddy misunderstood Carl’s comment, partly because Elbows Chopin was making so much noise at the piano and partly because Carl was looking at the dog and Esther at the same time. Matters became worse and finally they declared a showdown.

At high noon Carl and Freddy stood 30 feet apart in the middle of Rocky Gorge’s Main Street. A crowd gathered. Sheriff Dan Outright stood directly between them and counted to three. On the count of three Carl started blazing away. His first shot put a hole in Amos Tinsley’s new hat ($12); the second passed through Mona DeMona’s open window and killed (more…)

Carly Rose to the Occasion!

September 13, 2012

Carly Rose Sonenclar

I love X Factor judge L.A. Reid‘s reaction just a few notes into thirteen-year-old Carly Rose Sonenclar‘s audition on September 13, 2012. He throws up his hands and says, “What?” Exactly. Carly Rose didn’t just come out of nowhere. She was a preternatural pre-teen. At the age of seven, she made (more…)

JIllian Jensen Proves Simon has a Heart

September 12, 2012

Jillian Jensen

Jillian Jensen’s X Factor audition on September 12, 2012, was noteworthy not just because she sang so authentically with such raw emotion, not just because judge Demi Lovato got up out of her seat and embraced the sobbing twenty-year-old after her song, and not just because most of the audience was crying along with Jillian.

What was most stunning of all was that judge Simon Cowell actually (more…)

Smoothie Surprise!

September 11, 2012

That’s me in the middle with my good friends Scott and Pam Carlson

I was having dinner at Ecopolitan tonight with my longtime friends Scott and Pam Carlson when Jeff the chef came out and presented us with three Orange Julia smoothies. I had no idea why he brought them to our table because we hadn’t ordered them. But since I had been living in Encinitas, California for over a year and had just come back to Minneapolis for a visit, and since I had pretty much lived at Ecopolitan for years and knew everybody that worked there, I figured that a mistake in someone’s order had been made and they decided to give us the excess. Sweet! We made quick work of the three smoothies and enjoyed every gulp!

Preston and Liz Palmer (photo by Jim Zurales)

Preston and Liz Palmer (photo by Jim Zurales)

Fifteen minutes later, my friend Preston Palmer walked into the restaurant and asked where his smoothies were. GAH! I was (more…)

Christopher Maloney—No More Torn-Up Envelopes

September 8, 2012

Christopher Maloney

When Christopher Maloney walked onto Britain’s X Factor stage on September 8, 2012, he was a nervous wreck. His hands were shaking so much he couldn’t hold the microphone still. Earlier, while standing in line outside, he had said, “It took me five years to actually build up the courage to apply. I’d download the application form, fill it out, put it in an envelope, but rip it up every year.” Fortunately, he found the courage to mail that envelope in this year because when he started singing The Rose, the song that was played at his dad’s funeral, he moved the audience to tears.

I like Christopher’s audition and his story because God only knows how many talented people are out there, hiding in the (more…)