Thursday, November 29, 2007


A positive attitude is all we need. There are ample opportunities to go negative. Cancer strikes. Your loved one disappoints. Your dog chews up the new "shew." Your creativty wanes. Your income drops. Your expenses skyrocket. Opportunity stops knocking. Book sales slow to a crawl. You get the idea. Bottom line? If you somehow manage to find a way to choose a positive mental attitude about the disappointments in life, every disappointment can be some type of blessing.

There was this little boy who wanted a pony. All he talked about was his pony. He had pictures of his pony. He checked out library books about ponies. PONY, PONY, PONY, was his mantra. Unfortunately, he lived in a small New York City apartment and his parents knew there was not going to be a pony in his future.

They took the boy to a psychiatrist who tried to talk the boy out of wanting a pony. Didn't work. PONY, PONY, PONY, was all the boy talked and dreamed about. The shrink offered an alternative plan.

"Let us gather up all the horse manure from the carriage horses in the city and fill the boy's room with horse poop. Surely that will discourage his compulsive desire to have a pony."

The parents agreed and the day the boy came home from school to find his room filled with horse poop, he tore off his jacket and dove into the mess wildly throwing the stinky matter all around.

The amazed parents asked, "Why are you so thrilled with horse manure?"

With all this horse poop around, there's got to be a pony in here somewhere!" the boy exclaimed.

Now, that's a positive mental attitude.

God grant me the courage to be as brave as that little boy.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Kat's Magic Bubble Getting Noticed

Jeff Lower's tragic story of his doomed daughter Kathrine's short but happy life is getting a lot of media attention. So far, since the book's October release, feature stories have appeared in 5 newspapers nationwide. Three television stations in Mpls. and Duluth have done features as well. It appears that this touching story is reaching out to and ministering to people in need. For this we are truly grateful.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I've had a lot of people die on my this year...well, three. My mom. My friend/employee Kevin. My dear, dear friend, Pam. All this loss has me thinking about the value of publishing, the value of spending my days staring at the screen, hanging on the phone on hold, reading manuscripts during the wee hours of the morning. Maybe I should be talking face to face with someone rather than looking at a monitor. Maybe I should be going to New York City to meet the Barnes & Noble person. Maybe I should get me to Greenville, N.C. for an author meeting rather than have pernicious email-itis. Maybe it would cheer me up to see a smile, or even a frown, as opposed to a web page. Maybe it would soothe my hurting psyche to travel to the big city even if it is only to learn that I've got it good out here in the hinterlands. Maybe it would change my attitude for the better to smell the salty ocean air rather than stay sitting on my derrierre sniffing the dairy air of Wisconsin.

All this reflection has me wondering...what's publishing all about? Today my conclusion is: It can only be about love. Money just doesn't cut it. A highly successful businessman I know says often, "Nothing happens unless someone sells something." I admire his financial success, but when his dog died his grief looked awefully similar to mine, albiet he was crying in a mansion while my tears fall on linoleum. The better saying is: LOVE MAKES THE WORLD GO AROUND. So, my friend, above all else, love yourself, next love your others, finally, love as much as possible, knowing that all things will pass away and only love matters.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Andresen's Interview Across the Pond

The BBC interviewed Lee Andresen, author of Battle Notes, the only complete discography of the music of the Vietnam War, this week. You can listen to the BBC Radio Ulster program by clicking the Listen Again option on their website.

The interview will air Sunday, November 11 and be available on the web for a week.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Another Great Quote from Candace

While it may be somewhat cynical, if you're going through a difficult time, just remember this quote I read today on my Google webpage "Quotes of the Day" gadget.

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.
Robert Frost, American Poet 1874-1963
In the movie, City Slickers, Curly (Jack Palance) had this dialogue with Mitch Robbins (Billy Crystal)...
Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is?
(holds up one finger)
Curly: This.
Mitch: Your finger?
Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don't mean spit.
Mitch: But, what is the "one thing?"
Curly: (smiles) That's what YOU have to find out.

It means something different to everybody, and it may take a life-altering experience to figure out just what the secret to life is for you.

One thing I know for sure is: life does just go on.

Cherish it, and live it to the fullest!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Thank you Ernest Shackleton

Sir Ernest Shackleton was an Antarctic explorer who was trapped in the ice for two years back in 1914. He and his crew endured incredible hardships and deprivation. He vowed to get everyone back to England alive. Through terrible times and against virtually impossible odds, the entire expedition got back to civilization. Lo these many decades later, Shackleton has contributed greatly to my life by uttering one single sentence regarding what he learned from the ordeal. "Optimism is true moral courage."
This life provides many challenges of all kinds for every one of us. There is an unending resevoir of discouragement, depression, and worry out there for us to encounter. But, the glory of life is that we can choose to be optimistic in the face of gloom, dispair, and death.
Life is worth living. Choose optimism. Yes, embrace failure, defeat, and sadness, for these griefs are a part of life, but do not let woe conquer you by eschewing optimism, for optimism grants true courage to face all the small and great tragedies of our full and dynamic lives.