A new way to give thanks this Thanksgiving

This week provides a welcome respite for many, as we put aside our daily troubles, gather with family and friends, and pause to give thanks for what we have and those who helped make it possible. 
 
It can come in the form a few words over a meal, a phone call or a prayer.  All are valuable practices in gratitude.
 
But often these moments can be fleeting and soon replaced by Black Friday sales, workouts, and holiday movies.


Small Invisible Acts

A man wrote a short story that he could not get published. So he included it in 200 Christmas cards he sent out to friends and family.
 
One of the cards ended up in the hands of a film director. He made a film based on that story.
 
It lost a fortune and the director never made a successful film again. He ultimately had to sell his production company and with it the rights to the film.


What Does It Take to Save a Life?

This week buried beneath the din of politics and conflict was a brief article in the New York Times featuring an 81-year-old Australian man who was donating blood for the last time in his life.

He started giving blood as a young man – a way of paying back those who had donated the blood he needed to survive surgery as a 14-year-old boy.

He would go on to give blood every few weeks for over 60 years.


Be The Master of Black Holes

Last week, I learned that a pivotal person from my past had died.  Yet, when I heard the news, I felt more emptiness than sadness.

Our history was decidedly mixed. He was in our lives the better part of a decade, responsible for moving us from Boston to Pennsylvania. Without that single act, I don’t meet my best friend, get the same education, marry my wife or have my children. …


Where Did That Come From?

In just the last week I tripped over these three tidbits:

On Sunday, our family went to Armonk, NY for Frosty Day. This town was home to Steve Nelson, the lyricist who wrote Frosty the Snowman. There we stood in the Village Square where 65 years ago, Frosty invited the kids to “catch him if you can.’

On Tuesday, I was distracted from work by one of those “20 Things You Didn’t Know About…” click bait articles.…


Grab A Bucket

The fire broke out in the early morning. It traveled quickly through the walls of the white house on the corner lot. The 69 year-old Ralph Waldo Emerson rushed out of his home calling for help.

Townspeople throughout Concord came running to his aid. They included Louisa May Alcott, who with her sisters,  were armed with baskets to rescue the books in his library.

On a recent tour, one of the historians pointed out a common feature of his home and others at the time. …


Why Do Racehorses Wear Blinders?

This is the question posed by legendary music producer Jimmy Iovine during the spectacular HBO docu-series, The Defiant Ones, chronicling the parallel journeys of his life and Dr. Dre’s and how together they made music history.
 
His answer to this question is “focus”.  Without blinders horses would look to their left and right distracting them from their pursuit of victory.
 
This six hours series is a testament to how focus and hard work can help overcome extraordinary life challenges.

80% Of People Will Find Jobs This Way

Over the next two months, approximately 3 million young adults will graduate and enter the job market.  About half will graduate from college and the other half will graduate from high school with no plans for higher education.

Despite the differences in career paths and future opportunities, how they find that next job is likely to be similar. According to this study, 80% of people will find a job through someone they know.


Do You Feel Lucky?

On the lead up to St. Patrick’s Day, I wondered about the phrase, “luck of the Irish.”

I had just watched a PBS documentary on Irish history and they didn’t seem very lucky at all.  Considering:

  • The great potato famine took over one million lives and drove another million to emigrate – decreasing the population of Ireland by almost 25%.
  • Their war for independence from England caused a lasting divide between Unionists in Northern Ireland and Nationalists in Southern Ireland.

Maybe You Could Be President Someday…

This phrase has probably been uttered to hundreds of millions of American children over our country’s 240 year history.

Yet during that time only 44 people have actually held that job.

It is no wonder that when we tell the stories of our Presidents we marvel at the individual efforts and the hard work that must have been required to ascend to our highest office. Yet consider how many other factors, like these, had to fall in place when you hear their extraordinary individual tales:

Money helps.…