Friday, 24 July 2015
Thursday, 16 July 2015
Wednesday, 15 July 2015
It was after a weekend in St. Augustine, Florida that Jim Olbrich had his too-close-for-comfort brush with death. That night a blood clot rushed into his brain and caused a major hemorrhagic stroke. A stroke that has left Jim walking like Frankenstein. Jim had driven the two hours back to his home in Orlando. Tired, he went to bed ... but, found he had trouble rolling over ... couldn't easily get into position for sleep. During the night, it felt as if a little girl's hand pulled him out of bed. Jim headed for the bathroom ... not yet aware that his left side was already losing control. He banged off the walls ... stumbled his way ... finally made it. Jim fell off the toilet ... lay on the floor for awhile. Next thing ... Jim was in a helicopter -- being whisked to the hospital. It happened that quick! And, it happened while he was sleeping. ~ Blood Pushing on the Brain ~ Later, in the ICU, Jim heard his skull crack ... a cracking sound on his right side. Then, his head started hurting. The on-duty nurse offered a simple solution, "Well ... I'll get you a couple Tylenol." But ... this wasn't a simple headache to be solved by a couple of pills. Soon, Jim was in a coma. In the operating room, his skull was opened ... blood was drained ... the pressure was released. But ... "My brain fell out!" When Jim woke up the next morning, "I got a gazillion staples in my head ... holding everything together." He'd also died. ~ Waking Up in the Morgue ~ Declared was declared dead and put in the morgue. A body bag was nearby and a nurse was putting a tag on Jim's big toe. Luckily for Jim, the rubber band tangled with the hair on his toe. When the nurse pulled it back ... she ripped out some of Jim's hair. He woke up! When Jim sat up and spoke ... the startled nurse ran for the door. Instead she ran headlong into the wall. Now ... Jim had to wait for her to come to. Finally, he was wheeled back to his room ... a lot nicer than spending a night in the morgue. "I would have spent the rest of my life looking at somebody else's feet." ~ What caused the stroke? ~ After years of being checked out constantly ... Jim feels the doctors are still guessing. His cardiologist believes it was an artery on the front of Jim's heart ... it exploded and blew off ... sending the deadly clot on its way to Jim's brain. The clot caused a "brain bleed" -- a destructive hemorrhagic stroke. Pressure from the pooling blood "crushed" Jim's brain. ~ Jim's Still Paralyzed ~ Now, three years later, how's Jim doing? "Not bad." Jim's not one to complain. His sense of humour is one thing that has gotten him through this ordeal. Sporting a carbon-fiber plate in his skull ... completely paralyzed on his left side ... suffering from constant headaches ... Jim chuckles at all his problems. "I walk like Frankenstein ... on a cane." Jim is still on therapy and hopes to one day "become more graceful." If Jim's doctor had been correct ... Jim wouldn't walk at all. But ... Jim is stubborn. He may not walk pretty ... but, with his persistence, he does walk. It is a source of relief to Jim ... he never lost his ability to talk. Also, his memory is still quite good ... barring a few blank spots. "They're a total mystery to me." They may be lingering in a small piece of brain ... in a jar. A piece of brain -- "The size of my small finger" -- is still sitting in a jar downtown. Jim hasn't been able to see it yet ... but he'd like to. "I want to see where my memory is." ~ Can Jim's paralysis be treated? ~ "That's forever!" Or, until more T-cell research is permitted. Jim needs that ... he's on everybody's list to volunteer. What Jim needs now is a new president ... someone who won't be against such research. Why is the current administration against T-cell research? "That's because they're healthy!" ~ How to Avoid a Stroke ~ Jim's advice? "Keep an eye on your cholesterol. Arteries clog up ... that's the problem." High levels of LDL cholesterol will lead to atherosclerosis. And, the poor dietary habits that create this problem also bring on high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. All put you at a high risk of heart attack and stroke. Take some time out today ... look at your diet. Could it be healthier? Start eating better, get some exercise, live a healthier, longer life. Jim doesn't want you to join him. He's quite content being the only one who walks like Frankenstein. If his story can keep you from suffering what he has suffered ... you'll put a bigger smile on his face.
Monday, 13 July 2015
I was sound asleep at 6: 30 in the morning, May 20, 2002, when I heard a voice in my right ear. The voice was calm and spoke clearly, "There's someone in the house." I immediately opened my eyes, and standing on my chest no more than 2 inches from my face, looking me directly in the eyes was my black Egyptian cat, Isis. My first response was to grab the remote control for the closed-circuit television for my house. Turning on the remote with my right hand, I reached with my left hand for my 38 revolver under the covers, as I balanced Isis on my chest. As the picture appeared on the monitor I saw a black man in my courtyard opening the gate to leave. My first thought was, "Thanks Celina (my caregiver) for not locking the gate!" I was able to follow his actions through the different cameras. He moved to the front door and bent down to view the packages the United Parcel Service man had left the night before. As soon as he bent his head, he was right next to the intercom speaker, I pushed the intercom button. "Can I help you?" I said loudly. The man took off running like a ghost was chasing him. I couldn't believe what had just happened. Isis was still on my chest looking me in the eyes. "Thank you, baby, for protecting us," I said with deep gratitude. Her green eyes acknowledged the thanks with a blink. I was shaken by the event, but I knew I had to get up to look around the house. I put Isis on the table next to the bed. Moving from the bedroom into the adjoining living room, I could see where the man had entered through one of the windows that Celina had not locked. The burglar had tried to steal the big screen TV that weighed 400 pounds. He was not able to move it more than a few inches from the built in entertainment center. He had tried to open the file cabinets, but had abandoned his attempt since they were locked. Had he come into the bedroom? How long had he been in the house? How much time had it taken for Isis to wake me up? I don't know; all I know is what Isis told me, " There's someone in the house." There was no sense in calling the police. They would never be able to find this person in Los Angeles, California. That evening my best friend Kerry came over to visit, since I had telephoned him about the burglary and Isis’ notifying me of the event. "I can't believe Isis spoke to me in perfect English. She's the reason I knew somebody was in the house." Isis had never liked Kerry; but she came prancing up to him as soon as he entered the door and started meowing. It was as though she was saying, with great pride, "You heard about what I did? Aren't I incredible? I saved my mother's life." Kerry picked her up. "I always thought you were just a stupid cat. I didn't know you were this intelligent. I have great respect for what you did." Isis stayed in his arms basking in the praise. From that date they had a close relationship. What a mystery Isis is to me. As I gaze into her green eyes, I can’t help but wonder how she came to be so insightful. "What do you know that I don’t know? What do you see that I can’t see? How were you able to communicate to me on that day?" I ask her silently. Her silence tells me that it is a mystery I must unravel.
Mankind has always celebrated the harvest with a feast and with fellowship. A bountiful harvest meant survival and many blessings to come. Ancient civilizations have documentation that indicate celebrations were held during the harvest season each year. The Egyptians, Hebrews, Greeks, and Chinese are just a few people we know who held a festival each season when the harvest was in. The first harvest festival celebrated in North America was in 1621. This is widely considered the first Thanksgiving. Native Americans were happy to share their bountiful harvest with the colonists because the Pilgrims showed their respect to the Native Americans by following the strict hunting and planting philosophies set forth by the local Tribes. By honoring the culture of the Native Americans, the Pilgrims gained their trust and their protection, ensuring the colonists' survival through the first harsh winters. This was indeed something to be thankful for! These early harvest celebrations in North America were not called Thanksgiving. Even though the Pilgrims harvest festival is thought of as the first Thanksgiving, in reality the term Thanksgiving was normally applied to a religious holiday. The term Thanksgiving Day was originally adopted by New York State as an annual event. President Abraham Lincoln declared a National Day of Thanksgiving and since then every president has given a Thanksgiving Day proclamation every year. President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed that Thanksgiving should be held each year on the third Thursday of November. Later, Congress passed a resolution that moved Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of each November and that is when Thanksgiving is officially observed to this day. The early harvest celebrations did not include foods that we recognize as staples at a Thanksgiving feast today. It is entirely possible that wild game was served, including migrating duck, geese, and wild turkey. However, turkey did not hold the sacred place it holds today. It is also believed that seafood was a major component of the harvest celebration due to the colonist's proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. There would have been seasonal vegetables and root crops on the table. Squash, potatoes, onions, and late season corn would have been on the menu. Side dishes which we are familiar with today would not have been a part of the feast. Cranberry sauce or relish, and green bean casseroles would not have been served in the early festivals. Also, desserts such as pies and cakes were most likely not included due to the lack of sugar. More likely you would find some late season berries as a dessert offering. As a matter of fact, because salt, sugar, and other spices were a rare commodity, the dishes found at the early harvest festivals would have been quite simple. The Thanksgiving meal we recognize today didn't happen overnight. It evolved over several hundred years. When shipping food became easier, our food supplies became more varied and plentiful. Readily available canned and frozen foods made side dishes like Green Bean Casserole a new standard. Modern conveniences like food processors, microwaves, and blenders have all changed the harvest table over time. Something as simple as the modern oven, refrigerator, and freezer helped to develop our "new traditional" favorite dishes through the years. But, even our traditional favorites can take a hit. During the sugar rationing of World War II, our much loved pumpkin pie was off the table for a time. Seems our table will continue to evolve. We have many reasons to be thankful on Thanksgiving Day - our friends and family, our easy access to food, and the modern conveniences that help us whip up that feast. Early Thanksgiving celebrations were held to rejoice in the gift of a bountiful harvest and the very survival of the colonists. Today, we gather to celebrate our own plentiful blessings and to express our thanks for another year with our loved ones. Happy Thanksgiving!
Sunday, 12 July 2015
Up until – probably the last 5 years – I always tried to pretend like I was perfect. How are you Scott? I’m fine. Doing great. What’s happening? Just really busy. Doing this. Doing that. It’s all good. In short, I would try and hold everything I could from those around me in order to appear as if everything was perfect. I wouldn’t share parts of myself. I would try to keep it a secret. But over the last couple of years, I’ve decided that doesn’t serve me or anyone else. And that’s why, particularly over the last year or two, I’ve started to be more open. I’ve shared stories about my struggles at the beginning of my business. I’ve told stories about my experiences in cults… with gurus… about moving schools and suffering through bullying as a teenager. It’s stuff I would have never shared in the past. But you know what happens when you do stuff like this? I’ve found that people don’t rub it in your face… they actually begin to connect with the real you more. Why? Well, when I was at a very well respected recruitment firm in my early 20’s I think I shocked everyone (including myself) when as I was leaving as I read out the following poem: — Don’t be fooled by me. Don’t be fooled by the face I wear for I wear a mask, a thousand masks, masks that I’m afraid to take off, and none of them is me. Pretending is an art that’s second nature with me, but don’t be fooled, for God’s sake don’t be fooled. I give you the impression that I’m secure, that all is sunny and unruffled with me, within as well as without, that confidence is my name and coolness my game, that the water’s calm and I’m in command and that I need no one, but don’t believe me. My surface may seem smooth but my surface is my mask, ever-varying and ever-concealing. Beneath lies no complacence. Beneath lies confusion, and fear, and aloneness. But I hide this. I don’t want anybody to know it. I panic at the thought of my weakness exposed. That’s why I frantically create a mask to hide behind, a nonchalant sophisticated facade, to help me pretend, to shield me from the glance that knows. But such a glance is precisely my salvation, my only hope, and I know it. That is, if it’s followed by acceptance, if it’s followed by love. It’s the only thing that can liberate me from myself, from my own self-built prison walls, from the barriers I so painstakingly erect. It’s the only thing that will assure me of what I can’t assure myself, that I’m really worth something. But I don’t tell you this. I don’t dare to, I’m afraid to. I’m afraid your glance will not be followed by acceptance, will not be followed by love. I’m afraid you’ll think less of me, that you’ll laugh, and your laugh would kill me. I’m afraid that deep-down I’m nothing and that you will see this and reject me. So I play my game, my desperate pretending game, with a facade of assurance without and a trembling child within. So begins the glittering but empty parade of masks, and my life becomes a front. I idly chatter to you in the suave tones of surface talk. I tell you everything that’s really nothing, and nothing of what’s everything, of what’s crying within me. So when I’m going through my routine do not be fooled by what I’m saying. Please listen carefully and try to hear what I’m not saying, what I’d like to be able to say, what for survival I need to say, but what I can’t say. I don’t like hiding. I don’t like playing superficial phony games. I want to stop playing them.I want to be genuine and spontaneous and me but you’ve got to help me. You’ve got to hold out your hand even when that’s the last thing I seem to want. Only you can wipe away from my eyes the blank stare of the breathing dead. Only you can call me into aliveness. Each time you’re kind, and gentle, and encouraging, each time you try to understand because you really care, my heart begins to grow wings– very small wings, very feeble wings, but wings! With your power to touch me into feeling you can breathe life into me. I want you to know that. I want you to know how important you are to me, how you can be a creator–an honest-to-God creator–of the person that is me if you choose to. You alone can break down the wall behind which I tremble, you alone can remove my mask, you alone can release me from my shadow-world of panic, from my lonely prison, if you choose to. Please choose to. Do not pass me by. It will not be easy for you. A long conviction of worthlessness builds strong walls. The nearer you approach to me the blinder I may strike back. It’s irrational, but despite what the books say about man often I am irrational. I fight against the very thing I cry out for. But I am told that love is stronger than strong walls and in this lies my hope. Please try to beat down those walls with firm hands but with gentle hands for a child is very sensitive. Who am I, you may wonder? I am someone you know very well. For I am every man you meet and I am every woman you meet. — This poem is called “please hear what I’m not saying” and was actually written by Charles C. Finn in September of 1966. Personally, I think there’s something we can learn from it as human beings and as marketers. Remember, nobody is perfect. So when we try to pretend we are perfect we don’t endear ourselves to anyone. But when we start to break down the shackles, and quite simply be ourselves… warts and all… our friends, our family, and our customers respond to this warmly.
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Saturday, 11 July 2015
Friday, 10 July 2015
Thursday, 9 July 2015
The father of a woman found injured alongside her dead boyfriend three days after a car crash which police apparently failed to investigate has said she is on life support. Officers are believed to have found Lamara Bell, 25, injured and driver John Yuill, 28, dead in the Renault Clio on Wednesday morning after it left the road near junction nine of the M9 near Stirling. Ms Bell, who has a nine-year-old daughter and a son aged five, is in a critical condition at a hospital in Glasgow. The couple were last seen with friends in Loch Earn in the early hours of Sunday. John Yuill and Lamara Bell missing A police photograph of the car the couple were in Police are now facing questions over the delay between the crash being reported on Sunday morning and their eventual arrival at the scene. Ms Bell's father, Ossie, who had earlier appealed for help in finding his missing daughter, said on Facebook on Wednesday: "Lamara was in a field for three days after the accident. She was on her way home. "Because of some nice guy that phoned it in and was ignored by the incident room the messages were never passed on. "Now my daughter is laying on life support. "All I can ask from everybody is help tonight … tell her to wake up! "Sorry as I write this I am crying my eyes out. Please make her wake up." Police missed crash for three days The scene of the accident One well-wisher told him: "Lamara is a strong, healthy young girl … she can fight this." Lamara's mother, Diane Bell, told Sky News she was "really angry, annoyed (and) disgusted" with police. "She could have died there," she said. Mrs Bell said Lamara is in an induced coma with a brain injury and she was not sure if she would survive. She said she also suffered a broken arm in the crash and was dehydrated when firefighters arrived to free her from the wreckage. When they asked how long she had been there, she apparently replied: "Half an hour." Mr Yuill's father, Gordon, told the Daily Record: "[The delayed police response] wouldn't have made any difference for John. His injuries were such that he died on impact. Police missed crash for three days An investigation has begun to find out why police took so long to respond "But I feel it may have made a difference for Lamara." Assistant Chief Constable Kate Thomson said officers had been alerted to reports of a car having gone off the road "late on Sunday morning" but did not investigate. She said: "For reasons currently being investigated, that report was not followed up at the time. "Officers have notified the families of this update. Our thoughts are with both families at this difficult time. "A full investigation is currently under way to establish the full circumstances of the incident." The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) said it was looking into what happened.