Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Ten Year Old's Story

I believe everyone has a story to tell. All of us. Our ancestors passed down our stories orally. Usually, there was one person who was the storyteller for the family – and children learned their history at that person's knee. Today, we hope that our children study well in school. Some families are into genealogy – and will pass on a book with pictures and words that show generations. But are there stories in that book? Oh, probably not. And what of the story of a town?

We are indeed blessed with our Historical Society. They do fantastic work! You can walk into the museum and be transported back in time. The one thing missing, is the individual stories. We can see the well known people of the town, and hear about their lives some. But what about the rest of us?

I live in Hampton Iowa and my business partner and I will be writing the book The Hampton Project over the course of the next year. We will be interviewing people from our community – and sharing the story about our town. Last Saturday I spoke with several people in town. Today I'm sharing an interview given by a young lady. It may not be big news – but it sure was to her!

What is your name?
Brianna Viet

How old are you?
10

who are your parents?
Holly and Randy

where do you live?
In Hampton, in a yellow house on the North side

So I hear you have a story for me?
It's about when I was a baby. It starts when I was 10 weeks old. I was in a baby contest. First we started out in Mason City. I got first place in the contest there. Then we had to go to Iowa City for the next one – I got 2nd place. But while there I got a hemangioma (blood clot).
We had to stop the baby contest in Iowa City and start going to the hospital.

After Iowa City we had to go to Chicago for another baby contest. While we were in Chicago, I got first place there. Then we had another competition in Chicago but we had to stop with the baby contest because the hemangioma was getting so big. It was on my neck on the right side. See? You can still see the purple mark.

Then we had to come back to Hampton and have a doctor look at it and give us another appointment in Iowa City. I was four years old by this time. Then my mom had to give me a shot in my thigh twice a day. She had a hard time giving me shots because I squirmed to much. So I didn't always get two shots. Finally it started to go away. But if I had fallen on it I would have bled to death. So it's a good thing it went away!

That's my story. I'm only ten.

Friday, November 28, 2008

My Reason Why

Good morning. We had a great Thanksgiving, and our prayers are that you did too. It was a day of fellowship, family and friends - and of course more food than you knew what to do with!

My sister in law baked 7 pies - one for each child and grandchild. In our family, like a lot of other families in the Midwest, love is expressed with food. "Have a cookie - you'll feel better. Let me get you something to warm up your stomach. You did good! Let's go out to eat." We've all heard some version of those statements.

I think I must really be loved - because I have packed on the pounds these past years! I could blame that on my family - always feeding me stuff I love. The real truth is quite different though - I'm the one that put the fork up to my mouth. No one forced me. Food does make me feel better - for a minute or so.

There is a tie between my lips, stomach and brain – yummy food (like mom's no bake chocolate cookies) goes in my mouth, down to my stomach and BAM memories of growing up on the farm explode into my head. I'll be 6 years old again and making those cookies in the farm kitchen with my mom. She lets me lick the pan. That sugar gets me every time. The feeling only lasts for a minute or so – and then guilt slides in. Why am I eating all this junk? It's making me fat! Do I want to stay fat?

I watched the move The Art of Travel on Tuesday. The tagline of the movie is “the art of travel is to deviate from the current plan”. Excellent movie and if you are a traveler, you must own this movie. Let me tell you what I got from this movie – and how it relates to getting in shape.

They travel to Machu Picchu towards the end of the movie. I've always wanted to travel there. The way I will go is by trekking the Inca Trail – which is a 4 day trek. It is 2400 meters above sea level. I believe I will need to be in my best physical shape to make this journey comfortably.

I had a moment of synchronicity while watching the scenes of Machu Picchu in The Art of Travel. I knew that I would go there one day. I also knew that preparing for this trip would be my new way to deviate from the plan. All other attempts at getting in shape had a final outcome in mind. That was to just look better. What's the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again hoping for a different outcome. I did all the diets in the world, lost some weight – and was never happy about the outcome.

I believe you need an objective to reach. For me, it's not just looking good. Frankly, I think I look good now! Sure, I can stand to lose a few pounds. But I do love myself the way I am now. So that objective – to look good – is not the one for me.

Travel, on the other hand – is the best objective for me. I love nothing more than getting on a plane and going somewhere. I'm the girl who didn't get tired of business travel. Frustrated, maybe – because I couldn't spend the time exploring like I wanted to!

In order to travel the Inca Trail and end of up at the home of the gods, I will need to be in my best physical shape. I'm going to take two years to achieve that goal. I will be 55 years old. My business will allow me to take a month and make that trip. I will enjoy the trip and not be exhausted at the end of each day up the mountain. I might even go to Patagonia and see the penguins!

I've found my reason why. In September, 2010 you will find me in Peru, trekking the Inca Trail and visiting Machu Picchu.
(photo of Machu Picchu provided by Guillaume Audureau and taken from wikipedia)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Roeder Studios

I found Laura Roeder on http://www.twitter.com/ She is a follower of Chris Brogan, so I figured she'd be someone I want to follow. I was right! Laura is the principal at Roeder Studios and she sat down for an interview with me.

Hi Laura! Tell us a little about Roeder Studios please.
Roeder Studios specializes in what we call "digital publicity", helping individuals and businesses promote and market themselves using the web. We take a holistic look at your entire web presence which goes way beyond your website to include social networking activities, 3rd-party reviews, and online press. Our "sweet spot" is helping you to translate your core mission to an to an online strategy for maximum reach and impact.

What kind of services do you recommend for small, brick and mortar businesses?
These days the internet has replaced the yellow pages. So when people are searching for a tire shop they turn to the web. One tire shop may have a website with operating hours, directions, and a service list with pricing. They may have also used social media to encouraged their customers to write reviews of the shop, so web browsers can read real reviews from happy customers. There may be another tire shop with no web presence. Which will the customer choose?
Why would a customer spend their own time researching a tire shop with no information available online, when they have all they need to know to head to the competitor? This example illustrates why EVERY business no matter what the type needs at minimum a basic website. Beyond that, small businesses can use social media to spread their message and ensure that there is more positive information about them on the web than their local competition.

How did you get interested in this kind of work?
I was an early adopter of the internet and it has always fascinated me - its just incredible that we get to live in a time where new technology is revolutionizing the world we live in every day! The web is a powerful tool with the ability to spread a message to millions around the world instantly. However many people find the whole thing intimidating and confusing, and it does not have to be! I love to help people bridge the gap by showing them how the web can easily be used to further the core value of their business.

Would you tell us a little about yourself?
I live a block away from the beach in beautiful Venice, California! I'm an odd duck Californian because I rarely drive, I love just taking walks and bike rides around Venice and Santa Monica. I recently moved here from Chicago so the sunshine every day is still a novelty to me!

What two tips would you give the person just developing an online presence?

1. Craft your messaging then keep it consistent across your online presence. Many people sign up for the "hottest thing" (right now facebook) without any thought as to how it will further their marketing message. Write down you mission, tagline, core services, etc and make sure that you are sending a consistent message with all your online activity.

2. Your website is the core of your online presence, and nowadays almost 100% of your prospects check out your website before they initially contact you. An unnatractive website that is difficult to use is like showing up to a business meeting in rumpled pajamas! Your website matters, make sure that it represents your business in a way that makes you proud to show it off.

How can social networking/media enhance my bottom line?
Great question! One way that social media enhances your bottom line is by giving clients a way to know, like, and trust you before you ever meet. You've probably heard the old axiom that we do business with those that we know, like, and trust. Social media is a great way to accelerate that process. Before the web, we had to have several phone or face-to-face meetings with someone before we could establish a relationship. If you use social media well you will start to find clients approaching you because they have already gotten to know, like, and trust you via the web.

Any sites or books you recommend?
Everything Seth Godin has ever written, including his blog. He writes about marketing in a way that be easily translated to any medium - online or offline.

You can find Laura at http://www.roederstudios.com/ She is also at http://www.twitter.com/ as @lkr Follow her! You'll find Roeder Studios on Facebook and LinkedIn as well.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Deer Season

Monday night I was driving to Hampton to see if I could rent Iron Man for my 3 year old great nephew. I was on 105th street (Geneva blacktop), going about 50 miles an hour. It was 6:30 and just getting dark. I just passed the grove of trees West of the Old Stone House and was right by the gravel pit. This is deer season and I'm always vigilant – those buggers will run right out in front of you!

I topped the small hill and in a flash, there was a small doe stuck to my grill. Yes, I hit a deer. I saw her step onto the highway. If I swerved to the left, I would have hit her. If I swerved to the right, I would be in a ditch – and at night, it looked like a steep ditch. I just ran smack dab right into her. Then I put on the brakes.

My grill, framework, radiator and hood are done for. I drove the one mile home (did a U turn, prayed all the way) with screeching noises waking up all the animals in the wilds of rural Geneva. I can't open the hood, the deer bent that under. I have antifreeze on the ground. My old beloved 91 Caddy is probably going to be retired. Dang it.

I called the Sheriff's office and reported the accident. If you believe you have over $1,000 in damage you need to do that. The dispatcher told me I was the third person calling with a deer meets car call – and she had only come on at 2 pm! Because I left the scene, and the deer was off the road – they would not be coming out.

Here's the thing – the week of Veterans Day I read an article at associated content: ten tips for save driving during deer season. I remembered in that split second that I should not swerve the car, don't brake at impact and to look out for more deer. I also had my seat belt on, I always wear it. Also – be sure to keep your cell phone on your body (in a pocket, clipped to your belt, for example). A crash can throw that phone to a spot you may not be able to reach if you become injured!

How lucky am I? I was not injured, I didn't go in the ditch, no one else was hurt. My car can be replaced. I can't! Here's that article. When you're driving outside of town this deer season – be prepared!

Ten Tips for Safe Driving During Deer Season
by Dennis Buenger
1. Drive with extreme caution in areas where deer crossing signs have been posted.

2. Be mindful of the high risk time periods – dusk and dawn.

3. If you see one deer on or near the road, expect that there will be more.

4. Do not just rely on high-beam headlights and deer whistles to deter deer – they may not have the desired effect.

5. When possible, drive with high-beam headlights as they will illuminate the eyes of the deer and give you maximum response time.

6. Wear your seat belt and drive at a safe speed.

7. Do not swerve your vehicle to avoid hitting a deer. That may sound strange, but if a collision with a deer is probable, it is more important to maintain control of your vehicle.

8. Some experts say that in the event you are headed for a collision, you should avoid braking at impact (makes the front of the car go down) so that the deer is more likely to pass under the car, as opposed to hitting the windshield. This would not preclude braking before impact.

9. Report any deer-vehicle collisions to local authorities.

10. Stay alert, awake and sober. Deer are often unpredictable, especially when frightened, and you will need your quickest response time.


Fyi – the average vehicle traveling 60 mph will take 300 feet before they can stop! How close are you?
http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/23340/dennis_buenger.html

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Kim Dushinski - Mobile Marketer

I've been fortunate to make the acquaintances of some business people online who can help out our local communities. As we become more of a global community, it's important that locally we all stay connected. Today I interviewed Kim Dushinski – and her area of expertise can be used anywhere in the world. Enjoy the read!

Kim, what is it that you do? I help businesses market with mobile.

What do you mean by mobile? Phones primarily – mobile internet, text messaging communication with your customers on their mobile device.

Why did you choose this field? I've been in marketing for 20 years or so and was looking for something new. Mobile really is the newest thing we have – and everyone now has a cell phone.

Tell me a little about yourself please. I grew up in small mountain town, Tabernash, Colorado. I live in Denver now. I've got one daughter and have been married 20 years. I work from home and really enjoy all things related to the internet, technology and social networking. In my spare time I like to scrapbook !

I have a brick and mortar business? How can you help me? I can teach you how to make sure you are available on the mobile web when your customers begin to look for you there. I can help your small business build a communication stream with your customers on the web that will help drive business to your store when you need it. I will show you how provide value for your customers.

Would you give me an example? Sure, a restaurant might have on their table a sign up sheet to receive text messages for when the restaurant has a 2 for one night, or kids free night (you chose). Customers will text in to get on the list for the 2 for 1 night. So say it's 5 pm and it looks like it's going to be a slow night. You send out the text to your list of customers stating it's two for one night as long as you get there by 7. You will get customers on their way home from work and give them enough time to call the hubby or wife and say 'meet me at the restaurant, it's two for one!” The restaurant gets business it wasn't getting, customers get a good deal – it works for everyone! Any other method of informing your customers would be too slow: email, coupons in mail – nothing works as quick as mobile.

You could use this service in all kinds of ways. There could be reminders to get your oil changed, that you've got a one day sale going on, a guest speaker is at your store – those are just examples.

I see you have a book coming out this month. Tell me a little about it. The book is a mobile marketing handbook that is coming out in a couple of a weeks. T his is my first book! I had come out of book marketing and I taught authors how to publish their book. I wanted to go mobile and decided I needed to do my research. And there were no books about it, really. I called the publisher, submitted a proposal and landed a book contract right away. Now I had to write it! So I researched, learned it and wrote at the same time. I was given 10 months to do that.

Who is your client base? I work with internet marketers, social media consultants, businesses looking to learn mobile marketing and sell to other people. I also consult for brick and mortar businesses. Small one business guy to fortune 100 companies – I can help anyone. The book will also teach you how to do this. It covers strategies, how to think about it, the tools, what you want to do – it's all there.

About The Book: In this practical handbook, Kim Dushinski offers easy-to-follow advice for firms that want to interact with mobile users, build stronger customer relationships, reach a virtually unlimited number of prospects, and gain competitive advantage by making the move to mobile now. If your organization wants to reach mobile device users—locally, nationally, or within a specific demographic niche — The Mobile Marketing Handbook will help you put your message in the palms of their hands.


You can contact Keri at Kaleidoscope 641-456-2787 and have her order the book for you. Or just visit http://www.ourfocusisyou.com/ and order online, free shipping!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Do You Know The New Rules?


I had the opportunity to interview David Meerman Scott this week. It was a quick interview, filled with a lot of information. David is the author of several books including The New Rules of Marketing and PR, Tuned In, Cashing in With Content and Eyeball Wars. David's background includes Vice President of marketing at NewsEdge Corporation and marketing director for Knight Ridder. He's written over 100 magazine articles and 3 books. He is an expert in thought leadership and a viral marketing strategist.

So maybe you want to branch out from traditional marketing and try this online marketing approach. David sent me these New Rules for marketing and PR.

The New Rules of Marketing and PR:

·Marketing is more than just advertising.

·PR is for more than just a mainstream media audience.

·You are what you publish.

·People want authenticity, not spin.

·People want participation, not propaganda.

·On the web, the lines between marketing and PR have blurred.

·Instead of causing one-way interruption, marketing is about delivering content at just the precise moment your audience needs it.

·Marketers must shift their thinking from mainstream marketing to the masses to a strategy of reaching vast numbers of under served audiences via the Web.

·PR is not about your boss seeing your company on TV. It’s about your buyers seeing your company on the Web.

·Marketing is not about your agency winning awards. It’s about your organization winning business.

·The Internet has made public relations public again, after years of almost exclusive focus on media.

·Companies must drive people into the purchasing process with great online content.

·Blogs, podcasts, e-books, news releases, and other forms of online content let organizations communicate directly with buyers in a form they appreciate


What are some forms of online thought leadership?

  • Blogs

    Direct to buyer news releases

  • E-books

  • E-mail newsletters

  • Webinars

  • Wikis

  • Research and survey reports

  • White papers

  • A content rich Web site

  • Podcasts

  • Video content (vodcasts, and vlogs

I've started using some of these techniques. My customers all receive weekly email newsletters, I blog at www.debworks.com. You can visit two of my websites at www.debrareneebrown.com and www.debthinksgreen.com

I recommend you visit his site at www.davidmeermanscott.com See what will work for you. Then get started! 

Monday, November 17, 2008

It's Just A Conversation

I have a home based business. I set up accounts for an American company. I've been their customer for over four years, and last August I decided to make some additional income by setting up accounts for them. This has evolved into the work I do full time. It allows me to work from home, set my own schedule and be able to write more.




This article is to share with you different ways to talk to people about what you do. Some network marketers are looking for 'secrets' to involving more people in their business. There is no secret formula, just work. No one gets anything for free (there is no free lunch – first rule of economics).

The most important thing to remember, is just have a conversation. Talk to people. Listen to what they say. They will let you know what it is they need, if you listen. Don't read prepared scripts, people know when you are doing that. Just talk. Read the suggestions below, try them out with someone you know (Practice). Then go out and talk to people. You'll make mistakes, fall on your face, look stupid – at first. But really, who cares? It's like riding a bike, you fall, you get up, you fall you get up, you ride!

Let's start with some approaches for people you know.

Response to a conversation about being strapped for cash:
You know, we were the same way. I was thinking about getting a second job to help our budget, but then we started a little home based business. I know lots of people who have developed a second income in a very short time. Ours is already growing and it’s easier than getting another job. No commuting, daycare, gas, lunch out and such, and I get to stay home. If you like I’ll come over and share with you what I am doing, or if it is easier I can actually do a visual presentation right on your computer, which would work best for you?”

Response to a conversation about everything is too expensive:
“I know how you feel. We recently joined a great consumer discount company that is helping. They offer savings on every household product and on long-distance telephone services, prescriptions, dental and vision care and more. If you are interested in savings for your family I would be happy to share it with you. When would be a good time?”

Response to a conversation about being health conscious/green:
Hey, we found some fabulous natural, non-toxic products we can buy wholesale, direct from the factory. They’re more effective, completely safe for our family, the planet and save us money every single month. Are you interested?”

Response to use when talking to a good friend:
“I need somebody who’s not gonna bit my head off and I immediately thought of you”. Could I pass something by you and see what you think?”


Sooner or later, you've talked to all the people you know. Now it's time to step up your game. You get to talk to people you don't know!


Response to use when meeting someone at a party, church, a wedding, but doesn’t have the time now for a full presentation. Set the appointment. Wait for an opening in the conversation perhaps they ask what has been going on with you?
"I’ve started a new business. I’m an executive with a marketing company that markets environmentally safe products. It’s fabulous, I’d love to tell you all about it some time, but right now I have to run. Why don’t I call you and we’ll get together? What’s your number and the best time to reach you?”

Response to a stay at home mom:
“You know, it’s getting tougher and tougher to make it on 1 income, but we want one of us to be able to stay home with the kids. We recently started a business that lets us work at home to earn a second income. Does this sound like something that would be a solution for you?

Response to a fantastic service person:
“You know, you have given us such excellent service. Can I ask you a questioned you getting paid what you’re worth here? I have a business I think you’d love and be great at. It’s the best part-time business I have seen. It will pay you what you are really worth. When would we be able to meet for coffee so I can share the details with you and see if this makes sense to you like it did for us?

Response to a business card you collected:
"I am not a head hunter, I’m a recruiter and I am looking for misplaced achievers. I’m not sure how I got your card. We are expanding our business in our area. WE are looking for people who are people centered. I’m not asking you to join anything. I’m just asking you to take a look at what I am doing. We’re not after investors –we are looking for personality – the successfully discontent."

The above conversations should get you started. Enjoy yourself!

By the way, do you know anyone who wants to earn additional income around what they currently do, right from home? Have them give me a call! 641-458-1114 or http://www.debrareneebrown.com/

(free speech poster from wwii-posters.com)


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Five Things

Dominic Evans started this meme – five things you may not know. He sent it to Chris Brogran, who you wouldn't think would take the time to answer it. I mean, come on – Chris is busy with writing his new book, blogging, leading Podcamps, following his Tweets, his family – and life. Here's the thing about Chris, he's got an uncanny knack for knowing what's important and what is not.

Dominic Evans is important. Dominic has dived into the social media pool and is learning to swim. Chris believes it's really all about helping out the other guy. Chris is truly a golden rule kind of guy. He is one of my heroes. Chris, who didn't know me from Adam, spent some time doing an interview with me for my paper. It wasn't until it was published that I realized just how busy Chris is. And he took time out for me, one of those new swimmers out there with Dominic.

Lesson for today: pay attention and help somebody else. You never know when a smile, an 'atta boy', a compliment, can make a difference in somebody's life. It's not all about you.

With the object in mind to find out new things about me so we can make a connection, here are my five things you may not know about me. (I'm doing the sales edition, like Chris did).

1.I look up words in the dictionary. I need to know the origin of the word. One year of Latin in high school taught me this valuable trick. If you know the origin of the word, you'll never forget it. Meme (rhymes with dream) – a relatively new word. Oxford zoologist Richard Dawkins used it in 1976 in his book The Selfish Gene. Meme consists of any unit of cultural information, such as a practice or idea, that gets transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another (wikipedia).


The Straight Dope (just search ask.com for meme for the link) says this: “Dawkins proposes that the meme is to culture what the gene is to biology. A meme is a reproducible idea and as such is the basic unit of cultural transmission. In his words: "Examples of memes are tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches. Just as genes propagate themselves in the gene pool by leaping from body to body via sperm or eggs, so memes propagate themselves in the meme pool by leaping from brain to brain via a process which, in the broad sense, can be called imitation."


2.I was a bartender in a neighborhood bar in Chicago in my youth. I believe that if everyone bartended for six months in a blue collar bar, this would be a better run world. If you can handle drunks with money, you can handle any sales position. You learn what people like, you learn how to talk to them, you get to see what alcohol and drugs can really do to a person, you listen to a lot of stories and learn to empathize, you look for the good in people. If we all just looked for the good in people, our experience of living on this planet would change. Really.


3.My favorite movie is Shirley Valentine. Shirley is a middle aged housewife in Great Britain. Her kids are grown, the hubby works all the time. She talks to her wall - “hello wall”. She's bored and feels unwanted, unneeded. Shirley goes on holiday with a girlfriend to Greece. Shirley finds herself. She's a pretty good person. She's helpful. She waits tables there for a friend. She refuses to go back to Great Britain. Shirley knows that in order for her to live her good life, she has to like herself and be in a place where she can be herself. Gutsy broad. I like Shirley. You gotta do what you gotta do.


4. I worked in corporate America (insurance underwriting) for a number of years. I thought I would die. Hated it. I was good at it, but I hated the environment. Everyone sat in cubicles (some were bigger cubicles, they called them offices). You had to go down 34 floors to breath outside air. Your opinion really didn't matter. You were just a little robot. Doing the same useless thing day after day. I went into retail management – I managed a luggage store. Took at 50% paycut. I thrived! I got to talk to people all day, help them make decisions that mattered to them. Within in a year I had replaced my previous salary. I was back in my element. You won't find me in an office anymore – that is just not who I am.


5.I love penguins. I have a penguin tattoo. I own the movie Happy Feet – I watch it when I need cheering up. Penguin mothers lay the eggs, and the dads watch over the eggs while mom goes in search of food. That's the kind of mom I am. My husband had the boys (previous marriage) and I got to help raise them. How lucky am I? In the end, penguins make me laugh. And we all need a good laugh.

Follow Dominic Evans at www.twitter.com @DominickEvans Visit his website http://www.dominickevans.com/ He might tell you your future. All kudos to Chris Brogan, see his blog at www.chrisbrogan.com I promise it's addictive. Enjoy.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

How Are You Affected by Environmental Stress?


20 years ago we, the average consumer, had no clue that our environment could stress our bodies. This stress might seem like no big deal, but it puts small amounts of stress hormones into our blood stream. This accumulates. Then when a big stress in your life occurs, it's just like dominoes – they all go tumbling down!


In one five year study, the EPA reported that our homes had chemical levels that were 70 times higher inside the home than outside. 70,000 new chemicals have been introduced since World War II – and they were developed out of the extensive research in chemical warfare! (Karen Possick Why Are You Poisoning Your Children?)


We are the first generation to grow up with such extremely high levels of chemicals in our homes. And what do we do with them? We see and use them. We disinfect our baby's rooms with them, we clean up with them, we smear them on our skin, we wash our clothes in them and wear them all day and sleep in them all night. We don't question whether they are safe. We trust that if the grocery story sells the product – it is safe.


According to the U.S. National Research Council, no information on toxic effects is available for 79% of the more than 48,500 synthetic chemicals listed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Fewer than one fifth have been tested for acute effects, and fewer than one-tenth for chronic, reproductive or mutagenic effects.


The health in our nation is not looking good. We are seeing allergies, birth defects, ADD, migraines, asthma, Alzheimer’s, cancers of every kind and the list goes on. According to the Toxic Substances Strategy Committee, 80-90% of cancers are triggered by exposure to hazardous substances in the environment. This was reported in 1980. So why are we still using all of these toxic products?


Did you know?
- In 1901, cancer was rare: 1 out of 8,000. Since the Industrial Revolution, the cancer rate today has risen to 1 in 3 and soon, it will be 1 in 2. (Source: The American Cancer Society)



Toxic chemicals found in homes are, on average three times more likely to cause cancer than outdoor airborne pollutants. EPA Study


According to a Consumer Product Safety Commission study, 150 chemicals commonly found in our homes are directly connected to allergies, birth defects, cancer, and psychological disorders.


The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health analyzed 2,983 chemicals used in personal care products and found 884 of them to be toxic. Some even caused mutigenic changes.
50% of all illness is due to poor indoor air quality (State of Massachusetts Study)


The United States of America Federal Code of Regulations exempts manufacturers from full labeling of products if used for personal, family or household care. (Source USA FCR: Section 1910.1200C, Title 29, Section 1500.82 2Q1A)


Women who work in the home have a 54% higher death rate from cancer than women who work outside of the home. (Source: 17- year EPA study)


Cancer is now the #2 killer of children - second only to accidental poisonings. Since 1977 the rate of cancer among American children has been steadily rising at a rate of nearly 1% each year. (Source: National Cancer Institute)


In one decade, there has been a 42% increase in asthma (29% for men, 82% for women). The higher rate for women is believed to be due to women’s longer exposure times to household chemicals. (Source: Center for Disease Control)


Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) in adults and children is also rising - in 1993; 4.5 million children took the drug Ritalin so they could sit still long enough to learn. By 1998, 11.4 million children were being drugged with this powerful Class-2 narcotic. (Source: Your Children and Ritalin, The Detroit News (March 8. 1998) See also http://toxtown.nlm.nih.gov/main.html


Scary statistics, huh? What is even scarier (to me) is the fact that there are simple steps we can take – and most people don't 'want to be bothered'.


There is a simple first step everyone can take. Start using safer cleaners in your home. Get rid of the bleach and cleaners with formaldehyde. Use products that have no dye, phosphates, ammonia, abrasives, aerosol propellants and other harsh ingredients. Buy green.


I market for an environmentally responsible company that manufactures products right here in the U.S. Melaleuca's products are safer for you and your home. They meet all of the above requirements and are more cost effective than name brand products. Contact me for more information or visit my website www.debthinksgreen.com


My company is not the only one – there are lots of better companies out there where you can buy safer products. Watkins, Shaklee – just to name a couple! Do a http://www.google.com/ search and see what is out there. Talk to you friends, see what they are doing. Call me and let's talk. But for God's sake – do something!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Keith Burtis, wood turner

Hi Keith! Tell me a little about yourself. My name is Keith Burtis. I reside in Snyder NY, a small suburb just outside of Buffalo. I was born and raised in this area, in fact I live in the house that my father was raised in by my grandparents. I am 34 years old, a professional artistic woodturner and I have been working with wood nearly my whole life. When I was a child it was always a challenge going to sleep in our house because my father was always down in the basement playing with his wood working tools. I am lucky to have picked the Lathe as my tool of choice because it is much quieter than most power-tools. Waking any future children shouldn't be a problem.


Last February, I was engaged to my beautiful fiancée Michelle, and we plan to get married in May of 2009. I have a daughter from a previous relationship as well. Her name is Sara and she is 16 years old. Our family is very artistically gifted and the craftsmen in my family go back to before the great depression. My grandfather and his father built all of their own tools and constructed everything from Cabinets to handmade bow & arrows. My Grandfather was the NY State Archery Champion for many years with longbows that he built, laminated and sculpted by hand. You could say it is no surprise that you can find me in the same basement shop that you found my grandfather and father in back in the 50's. I still in fact have some of the old tools that they used then.


What is wood turning? What kind of things do you make? Woodturning is a process in where a solid piece of wood is attached to a Lathe and carved to shape with a variety of different gauges and tools. The lathe of today is usually powered by an electric motor and the wood is attached to a chuck that spins at a high rate of speed. So unlike traditional carving or whittling the force used to cut the wood is produced by the spinning head of the lathe rather than pushing a knife through the wood. The process has been used for hundreds of years to create


everything from functional pieces like mallets and bowls to present day contemporary art. I like to turn both functional art and display art. Some of my more popular functional art pieces are Wine bottle stoppers, Sushi Sets, Gavels, and Seam Rippers.


A new item that I am adding in the near future will be drop spindles used by knitters that make their own yarn. Some of my display pieces range from hollow vessels, to artistic bowls, all the way to conceptual art. In January I will begin working on a series of conceptual pieces I am calling "Connected" The series will be a conceptual line of pieces that will embrace how the world and all of it's living things are inexplicably linked. The series will contain 6-7 one of a kind pieces that will come with the story and theory behind the piece. I will also capture much of the making and thought process as a series of articles on my blog.


What got you into wood turning? What do you hope to do with your work? I got into woodturning as a hobby. It seemed like a natural evolution for me as I started woodworking at such a young age. However, the catalyst for my decision came early on in my teenage years when I went to a local State Fair and watched the men and women selling and demonstrating their craft. I was captivated by the piece of wood spinning on the lathe, and to watch it take shape so quickly was fascinating. It wasn't long after that I got my first lathe.



In terms of what I want do do with my work I think it can be summed up in a one word answer; 'Inspire' I want to inspire others to be creative, I want to inspire a younger generation to embrace the craft and learn all they can, I want to inspire the buyers of my work by sharing with them the stories behind it. Thats largely why I have embraced the internet. With the international scope of the internet the tools to share and inspire are all right at your fingertips.



I understand you are doing a fundraiser for the SPCA. Tell me more! Yes, my first annual fund raiser for the SPCA. I am running the fund raiser through the first of January (Maybe longer......shhhh) and I will be giving 10% of 100% of my earnings through woodturning that I make to the SPCA. I have a best friend that hangs out with me in my shop on a daily basis. He is a Dalmatian named Saber and I got him from the SPCA. I think as an artist and as a human I like to give back. I have become sort of known as the guy who will make a piece for donation or auction for a worthy cause. However, the majority of the charities that I give to are human centric. I wanted to give back and possibly save the life or fund medication for an animal in need.



Where do you get your wood? I've looked at your pictures and the work is stunning. I get my wood from many places, but mainly I procure it from fallen trees, dug up root balls, and trees that folks ask me to take down because they are dead or a hazard. Some of the exotics that I use I get from a local supplier and they are great. You would be surprised to see how beautiful some of the woods tare hat grow locally right in your front yard. In fact, Japanese Yew Root is one of my favorite woods to turn and comes from a shrub commonly found in front yards all across the country. The purple, cream and black colorations in this wood make it a treat to turn.



Do you do commission work? Like what? I do quite a few commissions. Many of my commissions are for presents or gifts that someone is giving to a special friend, husband or wife. To say exactly what the commissions are is tough without photos, but I will describe my method. So, when someone comes to me many times they have an idea of what they like by having looked through my website or portfolio and thats a good starting point. However, try to go deeper with my commissions. If they are buying for someone else I like to ask questions about the person receiving the gift. I'll ask things like what their hobbies are, likes, dislikes, favorite color, age, and tidbits about their personality. After getting the answers I often come up with some inspiration based on the answers.

I then choose an appropriate wood or woods, generalize the shape in my mind and start working. Incredibly, I find that many of my customers love the experience and will tell me that the pieces are perfectly suited to the person on the receiving end. I like to get involved. I like to create something for someone that has a bit of meaning or a story behind it.


How are you combining writing and woodturning? This is a great question. From the angle of writing I like to try and inform, inspire, and educate others on the craft of woodturning. Yet as I said in the past question i also like to incorporate the story behind the pieces I make and share with others my source of inspiration. If you don't mind I will share one of my inspiring stories with you now.

Last summer, I was browsing through some websites that offer free books in audio format. I came across a trilogy of books called 7th Son, by J.C. Hutchins and decided that the story looked interesting and even better it was long. I spend a lot of hours at my lathe with my earbuds in. Hutchins, I learned after a few episodes had worked relentlessly writing this trilogy of amazing books yet was unable to procure a publisher. After much soul searching Hutchins decided to release it as a free book via his podcast and each week or so he would read, record, and release a chapter or two for his quickly growing fan base.


Well, I was late to the game and Hutchins was already in book two by the time I started listening to book one so I had hours of great entertainment for my ears while I spent time at my lathe producing my woodwork. As the book progressed I became more and more inspired to create a piece of tangible art that would represent an area in the book. I emailed and chatted with Mr. Hutchins and told him that his book had inspired me so much, and he had provided so many great hours of listening for me that I wanted to produce a piece inspired by his novel. A few weeks later I was finished and I sent the piece to him nearly across the country to show him my appreciation.

Little did I know that Mr. Hutchins had a plan of his own. He video taped his entire un-boxing of the piece that I sent him and recorded every nuance of his reaction. After filming the un-boxing he released the video into his Podcast which at the time had over 30,000 listeners. The fact is I wanted to give something back to Hutchins for all of the entertainment he provided me, but in the end it turned out to be an emotional experience helping each other out. Hutchins had since struck a publishing deal.This is why I love sharing the stories behind my work, and why I enjoy taking others experiences and emotions and tying them into my art.

Christmas is coming .............. tell us about your gift ideas! This year I have decided to keep the majority of my holiday items functional art. I am working on a batch of collectors series rolling pins, a batch of ornaments, lots of wine bottle stoppers for the wine lovers, artistic bowls, and possibly some ring holders. Because, if the tighter economy I have decided to try and keep my pieces accessible for the person spending in the $35 - $65 range. This is not always easy as my items are all handmade one at a time, but you have to roll with the times.

Between November 10th and the 17th I will be featuring my holiday items on my website as I roll out this years ornament design and add the other items that people can choose from. The bottle stoppers and wine themed items are always my most popular. A handmade bottle stopper really spruces up the gift of a bottle of wine.


What is the best way and time to contact you if I want to purchase some of your woodturning? The best way to contact me would be either by going to my website www.magicwoodworks.com/blog or by emailing me at keith@magicwoodworks.com. Feel free to leave me a note anytime and i will get back to you really fast. If email or the web is a challenge you can feel free to call me at 716-464-8938. Most of the time you will get voicemail so please leave me your number. When I get done on the lathe, I will call you right back.



Links you might need:





http://magicwoodworks.com/blog/?p=309 - MY SPCA post, I will be doing another.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Angels All Around Us

Samantha is a beautiful dog. She is part lab and part cocker (we think). Samantha is also very sick. Let me tell you her story.


Samantha's owner is not a nice person. It's not that she beat Sammie – she just didn't pay her any attention. She let her nails grow too long and she didn't give Sammie baths. It also looks like she didn't feed her too much. Samantha's owner lives just around the corner from Erin, and she is a 'goth girl'. Her boyfriend overdosed a couple of months ago on heroin (and died) and we are pretty sure she's got that problem too. So her main interest is not in her dog – it is in the drug she is addicted too.


Wednesday night around 8 p.m. Samantha's owner opened the front door of her building and Samantha was let out. Amy was out walking her dog Phoebe and she saw this transpire. Samantha walked around the corner and sat down in front of Erin and Amy's building. You see, this is a rather unique apartment building on the North side of Chicago. First of all, they allow dogs and cats in the building. Second of all, the majority of the animals in the building are rescued animals. Samantha must have had the idea that she would be safe in front of that building.


Amy watched the dog for a couple of hours – and she noticed no one was coming to get Samantha. Finally, Amy called the police. The police were kind, but unfortunately, there was nothing they could do. They did say if she stayed there, they would call Animal Control in the morning (they work from 8 to 4). If they did that, Animal Control would euthanize the dog immediately.


By this time, many of the pet owners in the building were outside. A plan had to be made! There was no way this lovely dog would be abandoned to only be killed the next day. Amy sent her dog Phoebe (a golden retriever) on a sleepover with Fez (a New Foundland). Amy then took Samantha home with her. Another resident donated a crate for Samantha to sleep in. Food was also donated and Sammie ate 3 bowls of food immediately, poor thing was starving!


The next day Erin went to Samantha's building and spoke to the caretaker. He told her that Samantha probably is goth girls dog – but that goth girl had thrown away all of Sammie's bowls the night before. Erin took Sammie over to Scrub your Pup at 2935 North Clark St in Chicago. They bathed her, paid extra special attention to her and made her feel loved. Scrub Your Pup also donated a portion of the care they gave to Sammie. They also pointed out to Erin that Sammie's paw was infected and that she had an ear infection, most likely.


That night Sammie spent the night with Amy again. Just so happens that Amy's brother is in town and staying with her. He's in medical school and he looked at Sammie's paw really good. He also declared that she really needed help, her paw was probably infected.


Erin was at Doggy Style Pet Shop at 2023 West Division telling them Sammie's story. They donated one month's worth of dry dog food, just told Erin here you go and they loaded it up in her car!


Erin went home and contacted PAWS (Pets Are Worth Saving) – a volunteer organization that she is involved with. They told her to contact Family Pet Animal Hospital, Dr. Rae Ann Van Pelt. Erin is a foster home for PAWS and takes in very sick cats. She knew Dr. Rae Ann well. An appointment was made for Saturday morning.


Family Pet Animal Hospital has a Needy Animal Fund. It is through generous donations that this account is funded. There is not enough money in the fund to take care of Samantha. She will need stronger antibiotics, she may lose her paw and she has a really bad ear infection. Samantha will also need a home. There is work to be done and your help is needed! Why not be one of the many angels that have come to take care of Samantha?



Please send donations for Samantha's care to:
Needy Animal Fund
Family Pet Animal Hospital
1401 West Webster Ave
Chicago, IL 60614



You can also contact Erin Criss for updates on Samantha, or if you have questions. Her number is 773-296-1781 and her email is erin@erincriss.com


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Life Story

I spent 8 hours in the car with my Mom, Dad and computer.  Mom drove, Dad talked and I typed.  It was the perfect opportunity to hear some of the stories of my Dad's life and get them on paper.  I am a historian at heart, and getting the down the stories is my job.  Following is a few highlights of Dad's story.  Enjoy the read!

A Short Life Story by Ben During Jr.

Coming to America

Mom and Dad came over from Germany in November 1922. It took 3 weeks, and dad was sick all the way over. Jean was 2 and Lena was only 2 months old. They were sponsored by Tinis Johnson in Alexander ( a distance cousin). I don't know how much it cost. Deb, my daughter, remembers Dad saying they were burning money in Germany to stay warm – it wasn't worth anything. They came in through Ellis Island. They took the train to Hampton Iowa. Tinus must have met them there. On the train was a black man, who was a porter. He would come and get the two girls fresh milk. Dad said if he'd had the money, he would have gone right back. Dad was in the German army for four years. He fought in the first world war. He was gassed there, and he always had headaches his whole life. He was told this was the land of opportunity and they would be better off here.

I was born in 1931 – certainly a last minute thought! I'm also the only son. I had a lot to live up to.

In The Fields

We rode the haywagon during thrashing time. We went from farm to farm with 8,9 or 10 guys. My Dad was the straw stacker. The straw after it came out of the oats went into a big pile and he had to make sure it did not flop all over. We did this east of Geneva – I was in middle school.

We used to go in the haymow and slide on the bare floor. One time as I took a slide I ran a sliver clear up my foot. That sure hurt!

I once got under the tractor when my Dad was plowing and he ran over me – and it broke my pelvic bone. I didn't walk for a long time and was lucky to be alive. My friend Pat said she went to see me and I was all blue and my eyes were bulged out. That happened in 7th or 8th grade.

Milking

The cow had 4 teats and you pulled on two at a time. When you are done you go to the next one. You would take the bucket out from between the cows back legs. It was my job to milk the cows.

Dad didn't care if I went out at night – just as long as I was there to milk in the morning. We had 32 cows. Dad fed the hogs, Mom feed the calves.

It took me a little more than an hour to milk the cows. I started about 4 a.m. They all had to have feed too – ground corn. I milked again at night.

Chickens and Pigs

My Mom was a good chicken lady. She had around 1000 little chicks that were raised and brought into production – they were good egg layers. She would gather eggs two or three times a day.. they had several roosters with the hens and the roosters would mate with the female and then the egg the female laid would be fertile. The fertile eggs would be hatched. A hen would lay one egg a day, and rarely after 4 p.m. If the hen clucked, it was fertile! My brother in law Leonard picked up the eggs and they were taken to Austinville. My folks bought groceries with her egg money. He would come every Wed and they would have 30 cases (144 eggs in a case) for him. They would get paid 20 cents, maybe a little more for each case. Her check each week might be $30.

When the hogs farrowed (went into labor), nobody got in the barns but her. She would sit up nights with them when they farrowed. She would sit on a bale of hay or stray and just wait til they started. If they had trouble she could help. She might have to pull the babies out. Dad was in the house, probably sleeping!

Food

Mom's main meal was: meat, potatoes, gravy, green beans and applesauce. She never made salads – maybe coleslaw or cooked cabbage once in a while. You eat cabbage and poop kale – that was one of Mom's sayings. She made kale, turnips too. She brought the seed from Germany to plant German beans. Every year she would put back enough seed to plant the next year. It was the size of a lima bean and tasted like that too – they were a big round brown bean. They grow in a row. The plant grew straight up like a green bean, except they were taller. Mom and Dad loved German beans and kale!

Dad would eat the fat off of meat – it was really good to him. Mom would make navy beans and cook them with fat. Bean soup was kidney beans, onion, potatoes and meat. You ate it on a plate. Mmmm. Mom made rutabagas and would smash them like potatoes. She also smashed carrots and potatoes together.

After Shirley and I were married, Mom had fruit for dessert. Jean would come over in the summer and help her can peaches and pears. They bought the peaches at the store- Colorado peaches. Mom would make lemon meringue pie – that was the only dessert she made. It was made from real lemons, not pudding.

Mom would have capons (castrated rooster). That was one of my jobs, castrating the roosters – you don't want to know any more than that! They would grow up to be 9 or 10 pounds. They were really good.

Groceries they had to buy were: meat, bread, sugar, butter, flour. We used to make butter in a churn.

Dad never got out of bed until Mom brought him tea. He would drink it in bed and then get up. In the winter he wore a night hat. They would then go out and do chores and then come back in and have breakfast.

Shopping

Mom had a habit of hiding money. She would hide it in dresser drawers, in her purse, in a container on a shelf. She would shop from the catalog every fall and spring. She bought all clothes from mostly Montgomery Ward. Sears later on. We never bought our clothes in town – only from the catalog. 

Monday, November 3, 2008

November - Pet Cancer Awareness Month

One in four dogs die of cancer. It's the number one disease related death in pets and cancer accounts for almost half the deaths of pets over 10 years of age. Dogs get cancer at about the same rate as humans, while cats get fewer cancers.

American Veterinarian Medical Association's 10 Warning Signs of Canine Cancer
-Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow
-Sores that do not heal
-Weight loss
-Loss of appetite
-Bleeding or discharge from any body opening
-Offensive odor
-Difficulty eating or swallowing
-Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina
-Persistent lameness or stiffness
-Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating


The AVMA explains neoplasia, cancer and tumors as such:
Neoplasia is the uncontrolled, abnormal growth of cells or tissues in the body, and the abnormal growth itself is called a neoplasm or tumor. It can be benign or malignant. Benign neoplasms do not grow aggressively, do not invade the surrounding body tissues, and do not spread throughout the body. Malignant neoplasms, on the other hand, tend to grow rapidly, invade the tissues around them, and spread, or metastasize to other parts of the body.


The word "tumor" or "mass" is often used to describe the actual swelling or other physical appearance of a neoplasm. The word "cancer" is often confused with neoplasia, but only malignant neoplasms are truly cancers.


Common Types of Neoplasia In Pets:
Skin
– skin tumors are more common in dogs than cats. However in cats they are often malignant.
Mammary Gland - ½ of all breast tumors in dogs and over 85% in cats are malignant. Spay your female cat before she's a year old and help reduce her risk.
Head and Neck – More common in dogs than cats – look for mass or tumor on the gums, bleeding, odor, or difficulty eating.
Lymphoma – this is a common form in both dogs and cats. Look for an enlargement of the lymph node. A contagious feline leukemia virus can be the cause of lymphoma in cats.
Abdominal – weight loss or swelling are the signs here. This Neoplasia is common, but hard to detect early.
Bone – more common in large breed dogs and dogs older than 7 years and rarely in cats. The leg bones near the joints are the most common spot. Look for lameness, persistent pain, and swelling.


Neoplasia is frequently treatable. Early diagnosis will aid your vet in giving the best care possible.


If your vet determines your pet has cancer, send him to http://www.petcancerfoundation.org/ The Pet Cancer Foundation is an independent, non-profit effort established to provide you, as a dog or cat owner, with a resource for learning about your pet’s cancer, receiving a free consultation with a cancer specialist and being informed of the available treatment options in partnership with your veterinarian. The foundation is sponsored by Pets Best Insurance, working to better the lives of pets and pet owners.


I want to thank Michelle Trent from twitter who pointed me in this direction. Johann the dog is a great blogger and deserves all the kudos! Visit his blog (see below) and vote for him for best animal blog. My three cats; Twin, Bandit and Stutz Bearcat thank you!


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Child As The Caregiver



Who ever thought I'd be the one taking care of my parents? I know I didn't think so. Yet, here I am – in my 50's and I'm the mom now. My dad has a bad heart, it only works at 20%. On top of that he is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's. My mom just recovered from kidney failure, is hard of hearing and can't take care of my dad all by herself. I have a brother who lives right across the street from them, but he's got his own family to take care – kids and grandkids. He works all day in a factory and frankly, he's shot by the end of the day. I live two miles away on the farm. My husband works in Chicago and gets home when he can – not often enough.


I work from home. It is often misconstrued that I don't work at all. How can sitting on the computer and on the phone in the comfort of your living room be considered working? This is the discussion I used to have with my father. He's a retired farmer. Work involves leaving your house. He just couldn't understand what it was that I did.
Then my internet service went out. I had to work from their house for a week. One week solid of the phone calls that start at 7 a.m. and go until 10 at night. I wear a headset and walk around the house talking – often appearing as I'm talking to myself. By Thursday my dad said I couldn't work at his house anymore. I was making him crazy! All I did was talk and type, talk and type. Half the time he didn't know if I was talking to him or not. It was an enlightening experience for him – he finally 'got' what I did.


Often my work can be done anywhere – as long as I have my phone and my laptop. That's why I'm the designated one to take my folks on their myriad of doctors appointments. I'm also the designated driver for long trips. This week we go to South Dakota for a funeral. I make the hotel arrangements, doctors appointments, follow up calls, calls to church members for events my mom is involved in, calls to family members for updates – I do all the calling. Both mom and dad wear hearing aids and the telephone is no longer their friend.


I take mom and dad on working trips with me. I recruit and set up accounts for an Inc. 500 company that provides non-toxic products to consumers. It often involves traveling to make presentations. It's good for them to be involved in what I do. I'm able to pay my mom for her time. She feels useful. Any day spent walking in any way is good for my dad.


I'm also the ears when they need someone to listen to the experts. We have farm business, house business and church business where my hearing is needed. I also help fill out legal paperwork, conduct banking business and ensure their doctors are kept abreast of what is going on.


I don't know what the future will hold. I do know I read a lot about how to take care of the caregiver. Apparently, depression and isolation are two things that happen often when the child becomes the caregiver. It's very important that I do have a life of my own, outside of their care. I volunteer with the Democratic party and the Historical Society. I write – my blog, for a newsletter and personal projects.
My business pays me to do what I am passionate about – helping people become green. I work with consumers who want to make a change in their lives – for the better. That's rewarding! I am also becoming involved with social media – hooray! Who knew that this place we call the internet would grow into the animal that it is? Who knew that one day it might very literally save my life?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Death

Today I went to a memorial service. Doug was 57 when he died, he had adult children and several grand babies. He was known as Papa. Doug was 5 years older than me and died of cancer. He lost a lot of blood, too much, and in the end – the chemo that was supposed to stop the cancer from spreading to his brain, bled him to death. He was on a bone marrow list – and he didn't make it.

His wife said the thought that keeps her going when the times are tough is this: if we have a strong spirit, we are given the challenges in our life that God knows we can handle. When we can no longer hold on, God takes us into His open arms – where our spirit can once again run free.

My father's first cousin died this week of a heart attack. Don was in his late 70's and had suffered with his heart for many years. He didn't let it stop him. He and his wife traveled a lot to see their kids. He gave up farming and moved into town – where he planted a huge garden and still helped his cousins farm. He was out on a tractor when he died – and how fitting was that? Don farmed all his life – he truly loved it – and God took him home while he was out in the country. His life wasn't always easy, but it was good. He lived a long and joyful life. Who can ask for more?
My cousin will be remembered by all of us. There are lots of stories to tell and retell. The story telling is what keeps our memories alive. Pictures are wonderful, but they don't always tell the story. We will be looking at the pictures this week when we gather as a family. It will be the stories that will keep the pictures alive.

There were several hundred people there today at Doug's service. At least 30 small children attended. It was informal, out in the country. I pray that those adults today will share with Doug's grandchildren about their beloved papa. Let those people be the story tellers. His wife will I'm sure. Maybe, just maybe, those kids will get to hear over and over how lucky they were to have a papa like theirs. They will be able to look at the pictures and know the story – and say “there's my papa. He was great man!”

Doug and Don may not be here physically, but they are here. As long as we share the stories, spread the love and have our memories, they are here. Love doesn't die you know.