Thursday, January 31, 2008

Valentines Day Ideas (Click Here)

Valentines Day is two weeks away. One of my female friends suggested that I share this information with my male readers.

Last year, I wanted to send something special to my girlfriend Kelly. Everyone always does roses. I wanted her to feel special so I went to the website for Hana Fantasy Flowers. The florist is in Hawaii. They grow tropical flowers. When you order the flowers, they are sent via Federal Express in dry ice. When the flowers arrive the last for almost a month.

Kelly was really surprised when she got the flowers. I was surprised because they showed up a day early. She got enough flowers to fill two vases! The flowers were a great price, so I had them add a box of chocolate covered macadamian nuts and tropical flower perfume.

Valentines Day is about doing something special and out of the ordinary for the person you love. If you are looking for something creative and different, click on the link above. The flowers you see will be the "Dating Doctor" special. If you want to order a bigger bouquet, just explore more of the site. For the special price be sure to mention that you would like the Dating Doctor special (a friend of mine).

Skyscrapers (Click Here)

While I was surfing on the net today during my "internet break." I came across a great website. My friend Tony and I have an interest in tall buildings, aka skyscrapers. Click on the link above to go to the skyscrapers site. It has a ton of information on the tallest building in the world. I recommend checking out the posters that are for sale. I also suggest that you click on the link marked diagrams, then click on the link marked "city links" when you get to that page.

Spring Training Public Address Announcer

On Tuesday, I was asked to visit the Peoria Sports Complex for an interview. I dropped off an application looking to do some part-time work in the area. I've always wanted to work for a sports team. I thought I was going to be interviewed for work with the scorekeepers or on field promotions.

When I arrived, I was taken immediately to the Press Box and told I would be auditioning to be a Public Address Announcer. The Peoria Sports Complex is the Spring Training home of the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres. I guess the read my resume and saw that I've done some announcing in the past. So, infront of a huge crowd of 10 people and about 50 workers for the Super Bowl I was given several scripts to read cold. My voice was a little scratchy, so I asked for a bottle of water. I wasn't expecting this.

After warming up a little bit, I was told they were looking for a clear loud voice to read for the games in March. I read a general welcome, I read some between inning promotions and advertisements and I read a line up card. Pretty exciting.

I got the call back today to let me know I didn't get the job. They were looking for someone who sounds more like that the past announcer they had (big radio voice). I was told I did a great job, especially for walking in cold. So, I won't be the Spring Training Announcer for the Padres and Mariners, but how many people can say they had a chance to talk over the loud system at a baseball park........with a HUGE crowd of 60! Just another story to add my list of unique experiences!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

More Super Bowl

This morning I decided to drive to downtown Scottsdale to take in some of the Super Bowl "Experience." ESPN is practically broadcasting from the area 24 hours a day. The Mike and Mike radio/tv show was broadcasting when I arrived. They were interviewing former New York Giants quaterback/CBS broadcaster Phil Simms. Late on they interviewed all pro linebacker Shawn Merriman of the San Diego Chargers. I decided to text my friends to let them know where I was, thats where I became one of the people we all love to make fun of. I became the guy waving in the background of an interview, on my cell phone so my friends could see me. I wasn't jumping up and down like some of the people, but I stood in plain view. My best friend Scott called me to say he saw me standing next to the guy in the beer hat and the guy wearing Redskins clothing head to toe.

Here a a few pictures from this morning.

Jared from the Subway Commercials

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Super Bowl (Click Here)

A little event known as the Super Bowl is in town this week. On my way back from St. Louis, I sat next to a NFL prospect (Joe Flacco) and a FOX Television Cameraman. Both were heading to Phoenix for Super Bowl week activities. The number of events, parties, etc is amazing. The costs of the events, parties, etc. are even more amazing. I'm going to work on making it to several of the affordable events. Keep an eye on the blog for Super Bowl stories and pictures. Click on the link above to see the listings for all the parties and the prices! Sorry, I don't have Super Bowl Tickets. The $800 face value/ $2500 current value is way out of my price range!

Here a picture of one of the millions of banners all around the valley and the airport!

St. Louis Community College (Click Here)

This past weekend, I travelled to St. Louis to work with Rodger and the students of St. Louis Community College. The students and staff were GREAT. Rodger and I were invited to lead a Leadership Retreat for several of the Student Organizations. The retreat was held at the Trout Lode camp grounds 75 miles southwest of St. Louis.

I said the students were great to work with. I have to thank them for the attendance, participation and personalities. I also have to thank the several of the students for comparing Rodger and I to some of the top speakers in the country. Those compliments and smiles really mean a lot.

Enjoy some of the photos from the trip. Click on the link above to find out more about the Lodge and camp ground. I would love to visit in the summer.

The Biggest Gainer?

The Biggest Gainer? That's an interesting title for a blog. Most people know about the show "The Biggest Loser!" When the New Year comes around most people talk about getting in better shape. This usually means loosing weight. For a tall skinny person like me, it means trying to put on weight and muscle. Training for the half marathon didn't help out much. I was able to keep my weight up for most of the training, but the last couple of weeks caught up with me. I dropped about ten pounds by the time the race ended. I put on about 5 pounds since then, but I would like to fill in more.

The gym I belong to is having a contest for it's members. My trainer was talking to me and asked me to sign up for the competition. The competition has two categories. One is for people trying to loose weight and the other is for people looking to gain muscle/ have the most physically dramatic change. The contest begins February 1st and last for 60 days. If I win my division, I can win $500. Did I mention that there aren't a lot of people in my division.

I'm going to be put on a meal plan and a new work out plan. I started this morning and the trainer pushed me so hard I got light headed. I've got to work on the eating part. I'll post my before and after pictures in a little over 60 days! Cross your fingers for me!


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

First Impressions (Click Here)

I'm doing some research for an upcoming presentation. I was looking for some facts to back up my opinions on first impressions and impressions in general. Many of us don't look in a mirror all day, so we don't know the impression we are leaving on people. We could be leaving positive or negative verbal or non-verbal signals to the people around us. I recommended that everyone should take an interpersonal communication class and an acting class when they have the opportunity. You learn so much about body language, voice tone, personality types and how to relate with different personalities. We are always going to interact with people in life. This could be a romantic relationship, relationships with friends and family, relationships with co-workers, or work in general.

So, when you wake up in the morning, think about the interactions and impressions about yourself and life you might be leaving on the people around you. Here are some notes I found:

(In Style Magazine) First Impressions Facts:
1. It only takes seven seconds to make a first impression.
2. Just over 50% of a first impression is based on appearance (wardrobe, hair/makeup, body language, and our facial
3. 40% of our first impressions are based on voice and speech quality.
4. About 5% is based on what we say.
5. A Clairol Corporation salary research study found that companies projected salaries up to 20% higher based on a job
applicant’s appearance.

Positive First Impressions: 83 Ways to Establish Confidence, Competence and Trust.

Here are a few of these tips and techniques that will help you make the first move on your way to creating a positive and lasting impression.

It starts with you

-Raise your awareness about how your communication style affects others. The first step in making any change is taking stock
of what you currently do that works and what does not. Some bad habits can be eliminated just by becoming conscious of
-Take the initiative. Instead of waiting for others to form impressions of you, determine how you want to be perceived. What
three descriptive words do you want others to associate with your name? Behave and speak in ways that are consistent with
those words.
-Share what you can do, not what you cannot. Whatever you focus on tends to expand. When you emphasize your strengths,
they will grow and you will be associated with success.
-Practice the platinum rule. Communicate with other people as they want to be communicated with, not based on your needs.
Some people prefer just the facts, while others prefer more socializing.


-Commit to listening, which is different from hearing. Listening is active and requires intent, focus and energy. Hearing is
passive and requires no special skills.
-Seek to understand first, and then respond. Judgement and criticism act as barriers to effective listening.
-Respond to the speaker’s whole message. Emotions and feelings are most reliably conveyed through nonverbal
communication, such as facial expression, eye contact and posture. If you interpret a person’s message based on his words
alone, you will be missing half the message.
-Develop a sense of empathy. Attempt to understand other people’s perspectives and world views by imagining yourself in
their shoes.

(For more information click on the link above)

Friday, January 18, 2008

More words from Rodger

Here's another good one from Rodger.

Recently, I was taking our dog Remington out for his “personal time” . As I was walking around the house, I happened to look up into the window to my home office. I noticed that the light was creating a shadow of my son looking for something near the window. As I saw him moving back and forth, it dawned on me that I could see his actions and he was unaware that I was observing. It also struck me that through that same window others can see my actions and I would be unaware.

That is the way it is in leadership sometimes. People know who we are by the shadows we cast and our actions or appearance when we are in public. But individuals are also observing us when we are unaware. Can they see what we are looking for? Can they tell our frustration? Do they see us in the proper light?
As you go throughout your day, think about what kind of shadows you cast. Hope fully, they are B.A.D. ones.

Rodger's Post

I get a chance to travel around the country and speak with my friend Rodger. There are points when we are on stage and I catch myself listening to his stories and words. I wish I had a notebook. We are always giving analogies to people about life. Rodger is talking about starting his own blog. He sent this to me last week. I liked it, so I've decided to post his words on the internet.

Creative bug hit me….. Hope it lasts!


I injured my right ankle several months ago at a family wedding ( running man is not what it used to be). I did the manly thing and iced them down and elevated. Several months later, I noticed that I was having significant pain on the right side, starting with ankle and running through the hip and shoulders, even headaches. After checking with the Dr. he referred me to Physical Therapy. At first, I was a bit skeptical because the pain was in several places why start with the ankle. They had me “play “ with a oversized rubber band and thus began the journey. I was in twice a week for an hour and all we did was “workout” my ankle using simple everyday movements with a bit of resistance. Well after a few weeks I noticed that the pain the ankle was going, the pain in the foot was gone, the legs and hip didn’t hurt. I learned some very interesting things. The ankle is critical to balance. Well duh! But when it is damaged or weakened the rest of the muscles over compensate to continue “normalcy” However, when they get used in a way they were not supposed to , significant problems can occur.
Sometimes in life we don’t pay attention to the little things that keep us balanced. Things like, just a little bit of time for ourselves to unwind, taking a moment to look at the beauty of a flower, to have that coffee with a good friend, sending a note to someone of significance. We may overcompensate by working harder and longer, pushing ourselves to get things done. and get tired. And before long, we are out of balance. Everything may appear normal, but "invisible" damage is occurring. The Physical Therapy taught me that with some understanding, some wise counsel, challenge and some focused time and attention we can strengthen the area and get balance back “to normal”. As my right ankle improved, I noticed that my left ankle was not as strong, thus needing some attention. And that is the other lesson, once you start down the road to self improvement you might be surprised by what is revealed and learned.
Have you been” injured” and “weakened”? Are you feeling “pain” in unusual places? Maybe you are out of balance. Take some time to check on your “health”, ( Physical or otherwise). Find some “wise counsel” to aid you. It might be “Simple, little things” with a bit of challenge and focus that help you move further down your road to “success”.

Monday, January 14, 2008

PF Chang's Rock-N-Roll Arizona Half Marathon (click here)

What do you do after flying all the way across the country to see family and speak about motivation? You fly back across the country to run in a half marathon (13.1 miles) with your girlfriend! After speaking with at the Villa Julie Leadership Retreat, my cousin picked my up Saturday afternoon and took me to the Baltimore/Washington International Airport. THANK YOU BERNIE! 5 hours later I was back in Arizona. Kelly was excited because in less than 12 hours we would be hitting the roads of Phoenix and Tempe to achieve the goal Kelly set in the fall........"To run a half marathon."

Kelly made a pre race pasta meal (mmm mmm good). And we got some rest...about 5 hours for me. I was still trying to unfold myself from being on the airplane so long. I think smurfs or the Travelocity gnome help design the seats for airplanes. Anyone taller than those two fictional characters will never have enough leg room on a plane.

We woke up, had a light pre race meal, drank lots of water and drove off to the start. All of this before 6 AM! Kelly, I and all the runners were bussed to the starting area. By this time it was about 7:30 AM and all the water had caught up with us. Off to the long lines at the Port-a-pots. 30 minutes later we were reading to join our starting groups and run our first half marathon. We stretched, took some ibuprofen, drank more water and tried to keep warm. There were over 35,000 people running in the half marathon, so starting area was one huge mass of people. Kelly and I didn't know how they grouped people for the race. They coral you together like animals based on the time you think you can finish the race. There were 29 corals. I was aiming for 2 hours and 20 minutes. Kelly was shooting for 3 hours. I ended up in coral 14 and Kelly in 22.

The Race started at 8:30 AM......for the first coral. My group didn't cross the starting line until 8:50 something. Kelly's coral, 9:15. We were off and running. My Ipod was on and I was carrying my camera! Kelly suggested running with it, so we could take pictures. What a smart idea. At the first mile marker was a band and Kelly's friends! The had pom poms and signs to cheer on Kelly, me, Kelly's sister and all the runners.

There are times in life when you find out how good of friends you have and Kelly found out on Sunday. Not only did her friends show up early on a Sunday morning to support her and her friends, but her friend's husband (Kevin) took in a step further. He wanted to run a mile or two with Kelly to help her stay on pace. At the 3rd mile marker his wife was there to meet him, so he kept running with Kelly. At the 6 mile marker, his wife just missed him again, so he kept running and pushing Kelly. At the 9 mile mark, his wife finally caught up with him and he left Kelly, for a little bit. They were there to cheer again at mile 12 and Kevin jumped in again and finished the race. He ran about 10 miles to support a friend. Holly, Cat and especially Kevin.....THANK YOU!

While all of this was going on, I was running the race and watching/listening to all of the different bands set up every couple of miles playing music for the runners and spectators. People lined the streets to cheer. There were cheerleaders cheering, kids with signs; all I can say is WOW!

I was happy to see the finish line. I got my medal, got some ice on my knees, stretched a little bit and went back to the finish line to find Kelly. She powered her way through the finish line. I was cheering for her when I noticed one of the runners started pointing at me, it was Kevin! Thats when I heard the story.

So, I'm sure you all want to know how we did. If you are ever running in a race, bring your own watch to time yourself. I finished in 2 hours 8 minutes and 26 seconds. They use a chip on your shoe to track your time, but my chip had an error, so my time on the internet is listed at 2 hours and 33 minutes. The chip worked crossing the finish line but not the start. My goal was 2:10

Kelly......WOW 2 hours 29 minutes and 39 seconds. Kelly's goal was 2:45! She blew that away! We are both recovering today. The concrete takes a toll on your body. My achilles is killing me, but I feel really good. We both feel really good about accomplishing our goals. While we were walking back to the car and thanking Kevin, Kelly's says this...."I want to run a marathon later this year or next year!" I guess I have to get some rest and then we'll start working towards our next goal.

Time to buy some new shoes! Enjoy the pictures!

Riding the bus to the starting line!

Frank looks like a dear caught in headlights! Am I nervous about the race?

Pre-race powerbar!


More People!

Get your game face on!

We're finally going to start the race!

1 mile to the finish!

I got my medal and some ice for the knees!

The Finish line

Me and my medal

Kelly and Kevin at the finish line

Kelly crossing the line

The Trojans. Yes they carried the swords and shields the entire race. I didn't get a picture of the gorilla costume chasing the banana costume fro the entire race.

Villa Julie College (Click Here)

This weekend I was in the Baltimore/Washington DC area to visit family and speak at the Villa Julie College Student Leadership Retreat. Working at Villa Julie College gave me an opportunity to see my cousin and his wife. They just welcomed a baby girl into the world a week ago, so I got into the area a day early to visit them. Their daughter is beautiful (Autumn-Simonne). I found out my cousin lives a few miles from where I grew up ( I know, I've lived a lot of places). He took me to see one of my old houses. It's something how houses and neighborhoods from the past look the same and different when you revisit them as an adult.

After spending time with my cousin it was off to work with Villa Julie.Rodger and I were invited to speak and teach student leaders from various campus student organizations. All of the students and staff were great to work with. The students where into every workshop Rodger and I taught. I have to thank the students who have written to us on Facebook and Myspace and I also have to thank the group of ladies in the back of the room who recommended I talk my girlfriend (Kelly) to see the movie "P.S. I love you!" They gave the movie two big thumbs up and recommended that all men should take their significant other to see the movie. I love working on the road, you always learn new things.

One last thing. Rodger and I saw the National Treasure sequel. Two thumbs us. If you liked the first movie, definitely see the second. Also click on the link above to find out more about Villa Julie College.


Me, Sabian and his father (my cousin) Bernie

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Congratulations and Happy Birthday

I have to congratulate my cousin on the birth of his daughter Autumn this weekend. Bernie and Denise, congratulations. I look forward to meeting the new edition to your family later this week.

I also have to congratulate one of my friends/readers. Maribel, congratulations on earning your Masters Degree.

Finally, I would like to wish my friend Brian a Happy Birthday. It's a little early, but I'll be out of town later this week and I don't know when I'll blog next.

Friday, January 04, 2008

How Negative are you?

I consider myself a very positive (glass is always half full) person. I know this annoys certain people, but I've learned over the years that having a negative attitude, doing negative things, or making negative comments is a mental road block. The key to road blocks is to find ways around them. You have to have the mental strength to say "What now?" "What can I do?""What are the possibilities?" That takes action and hard work. For most people it's easier to stay in one spot and complain. Complaining or being negative gets you nowhere. You just stay in one place and don't advance. I heard someone say, "barriers are put into our lives to see how bad we want something?" Negativity is a HUGE barrier for a lot of people.

It's easy to be negative. When someone asks, "tell me something good about about yourself?" It takes work. But if you're asked to think about the negative, POW the list comes easy. Why is that? Some people will say, "That's just the way it is!" I always ask, "does it have to be that way?" "What can be done to change the situation?" Positive people will come up with a list of options or plans to improve things. The negatives will just list all the ways things can't work.

Two things can happen, the negative people can bring the positive people down, or the positive people can help change the attitudes of the negative people. Ultimately it's up to the negative people to look themselves in the mirror and mentally challenge themselves to change their attitude/beliefs. It may take some work, but eventually they will find out, that it's easier to be more positive than it is give-up (create a roadblock). Being negative is a roadblock to us advancing in life.

My friend Michelle found a great article on the subject and posted it on her blog. Here is a copy of the article:

Stop Being So Negative!

Does your disparaging attitude extend beyond your journal and into your life, where the bad is all you seem to have, because it's all you take note of?

by Sharon Naylor

I remember opening up a creaky hope chest in the attic and finding my grandmother's delicate blue journal. My hands lovingly traced the frayed gold edges as her childlike handwriting spoke to me of walks "down the avenue" arm in arm with her six sisters, the smell of her mother's marinara sauce cooking on the stove, and her pure excitement over her younger sister's first "visit" with the man she'd eventually marry. It was just like my grandmother to speak about beauty and hope, even then, at a time when her four brothers were off fighting in World War II.

And, in nostalgic mode, I wondered what my own grandchildren of the future would "read" of my younger days when they too someday found my worn blue journal in a hope chest in the attic. As I read through my entries, I knew what those kids would think: "Wow, Grandma had a miserable life!"

What an eye-opener. I wanted at first to yell, "But I've had a wonderful life! I have a great family, good health, the blessing of loving my life's work! I have great friends, and Oprah Winfrey once hugged me!" Yes, those were true elements of my life ... but they weren't painted into my journal. The words I recorded instead were rambling worries and petty complaints about wrongs I couldn't even remember now.

Do you see yourself in my experience? Are you a negative journaler? Read through some of your own written entries and see if you've established a "complaint journal." Read it aloud, to hear the bitterness and despair in your written words. How would someone else "read" you through these pages? Does your disparaging attitude extend beyond your journal and into your life, where the bad is all you seem to have, because it's all you take note of?

If so, take heart. This discouraging habit can be unlearned, so that you can actively balance the positive and the negative in your journal, and naturally, begin doing the same in your life. Notice the key word, "balance." Life is full of problems, worries and mistakes to work through and learn from, and journaling is one of the best ways to sort through your swirling emotions to unearth the gem, the lesson, contained in each life experience. Indeed, some of the more serious problems and deep grief in your life will require some gut-wrenching journaling that may rightfully be more negative, in order to be true to your emotions. Yet in the average day, the positive and negative co-exist to color our every experience. And a truly useful journal captures that interplay, paints our life more realistically and perhaps changes us for the better.

How do you start striking this balance? Using the "dark filter" is a tough habit to break. But like any other habit, it can be snapped with repeated, dedicated effort. I've collected seven great ways for you to begin your practice of stopping the negativity cycle in your journal ... and hopefully in your life.

1. Assess Where You Are
Select several random pages of your own journal, and photocopy them. Then find two different-colored highlighter pens. Use one color to highlight the positive remarks in your journal, and the other color to highlight the negative. I used pink for positive and green for negative, and believe me, my journal pages looked like a vast football field. Seeing the color differences gave me a visual picture of just how off-balance my journaling had become. As you practice finding balance in your journal through the following exercises, "test" yourself with your highlighter pens to measure your progress.

2. Vent, Then Use "On The Other Hand"
During some difficult trials in her marriage and as a harried mother of two teenagers and a toddler, Janine Musick from Columbia, Mo., complained in her journal a lot. "I realized that my journal made me sound like a miserable person with a terrible life. So I made a change. I decided to write out my complaints as I felt them, but then after venting, I wrote, "But on the other hand, ..." and listed the positives in those same exact observations. I deliberately wrote down all the good things that happened that day, and all of the endearing things my husband did do on a daily basis." Over time, Janine's practice of looking for the positive became a habit that absorbed into her life, and she's much happier now as a result of it.

3. Choose Your Words Carefully
Sometimes, the words you use can carry a weight and a mood all their own. Where you have written, "My life is full of problems," you can cross out the word "problems" and replace it with "challenges." The dark clouds lift a bit with that simple substitution. Where you write the dreaded words "always" and "never," as in "He never does his part around the house," re-phrase that in more realistic terms, such as "Sometimes, I feel like he's not doing enough to help with the housework." You'll be surprised at how easy it is to find a better, more truthful word to use, one that keeps the festering negatives from taking root.

4. State the Facts, Ma'am
Jennifer Louden, life coach and author of The Comfort Queen's Guide to Life (Random House), helps people clarify their intentions and their expressions. "Most of us use journaling as a 'downloading' of all of our frustrations and worries from time to time," says Louden. "But the secret to finding balance is in taking what you've written and then stating the facts about it." Louden offers an example that many of us can relate to: "If I wrote just the facts, I would say that I drove my daughter to day care this morning, I had a brief conversation with my daughter's teacher in the schoolyard, kissed my daughter goodbye and then left for work. In contrast, if I avoided 'just the facts,' I would ramble on and on about how hard it is to leave her at day care, how guilty I feel about not being with her." Louden's example shows a workable process of retraining your brain to avoid the negative and see what's real. From that point, once the purely negative is stopped by the presence of facts, then the positive can begin to work its way in.

5. Ask Yourself a Question
After you vent your daily frustrations, paying attention to the facts of the situation, then ask, "So what?" The question may stun you, because it makes you do the very thing that all of your complaining has kept you from doing: facing why this topic is so difficult for you. The answer to "So what?" may be hard to face, but it's worth considering for a while and answering truthfully. If you're able to ask and answer honestly, you may discover that your chronic journal complaining is the stall-tactic you've used to avoid owning up to a bigger problem—or perhaps a waste of time for a completely imagined problem. "So what?" gets you to face reality more quickly than you'd get there just by complaining.

Another question posed by Louden has done the most for me personally in adding more positive to the pages of my journal: "How is this situation perfect?"

Wow. Until I heard these words, it never occurred to me to look for the perfection in my life's experiences. Even the most mundane of tasks that I hate doing have an element of perfection: "Folding these fitted sheets will eventually give me and my family that great feeling of being in a clean, fresh-smelling bed." "Even the most blood-boiling of arguments with my boyfriend have a level of perfection in that I have finally learned how to stand up for myself." Looking for the positive is one thing, but being asked to look for the "perfection" gets you to think more deeply about what's really important. This one question changed my journaling practice forever. I see and note shades of perfection in the imperfect, on so many levels. And that is the key to this whole balance thing.

6. Find the Solution
Since you know that journaling is one of the best tools for working through the very real concerns of your life, the next step in finding balance is seeking solutions. "One only needs to focus on the problem long enough to realize what it is, and then the focus should turn to solving it," says Tina Tessina, author of The Ten Smartest Decisions a Woman Can Make After Forty (Renaissance Books). "Instead of recycling your anger and fear through worrying and complaining, ask yourself, 'What am I going to do about it?'" Clearly, the next step is using your journal to find constructive solutions to the factual challenges of your life—notice I didn't say "problems." This proactive step returns your journal to the status of helpful tool and helps you get your balance back. Where you once moaned and complained, you're now listing the steps you can take, the courses you can take, or the major points you'll make in a difficult discussion with a loved one.

7. Accentuate the Positive
Sarah Ban Breathnach of the Simple Abundance books is not a best-seller for nothing. For many people, finding balance in their journals lies in the simple practice of listing those things for which they're most grateful. Walking through your day, you may find yourself noticing a rose in full bloom and making a mental note to write that down in your gratitude journal. You may find yourself noticing the goofy grin on your 5-year-old's face as he tries to figure out a new puzzle. With the practice of writing down what you're grateful for, you take more note of these things. And that can change your life's outlook—not just the pink versus green ratio in your journal.

My own journal is now a healthy mix of positive and negative. I'm still an accomplished complainer at times, but I also see more positive where there once was a half-empty glass with a crack and a dead bug. Now, I see a glass that's full ... full of the rich mix of positive and negative that signifies a life well-lived. I live my life looking for the good, even when the bad stuff can be much louder. And I honor the positive by giving it a place in my writing.

Now what will my future grandchildren have to say about me someday? ... "Wow, Grandma had such a full, amazing life!" That is positively the best tribute I could receive.

This article appeared in the April 2002 issue of Personal Journaling.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

2008 Goals

Resolution - a firm decision to do or not to do something

Goals - the object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result

Action Steps - a measure or action, esp. one of a series taken in order to deal with or achieve a particular thing

It's the start of a New Year. People start the year off with a clean slate and make resolutions to have a great year. People always ask me, "What are your resolutions for the New Year? I tell them, "I don't make make resolutions!" Thats when I see a dumfounded look on their faces. I tell them, "I make goals with action steps." This confuses people. They ask, " What's the difference?" Look at the definition above. If you make a resolution, you're only deciding to do something. There really isn't any action there. When you make a goal, you're telling people or putting your ambitions/desires on paper. Goals can be measured. To take it a step further, I write down the steps I need to achieve my goals. My goals and action steps have to be measurable.
A lot of people say they want to loose weight during the new year. Good goal, but if you're 200 lbs. and weigh 199 lbs. at the end of the year, you've met your goal. Instead, give yourself a target weight 175lbs., a date to hit the weight by, and a plan on how you're going to hit that weight. It takes some work, but that work gives you a better chance of meeting your goals.

There's nothing wrong with making a resolution, but people say a lot of things they never do. I talk a lot and dream a lot too. They way I challenge myself is to achieve my dreams is to put a plan together to achieve them. To take is a step further, I send my goals and action steps to my closest friends (My success team). My Success Team is there to offer support, knowledge, experience and friendship. In other words, they are there to kick me in the butt if I slack off!

I would like to wish everyone the best of luck with the achievement of their resolutions and goals for 2008. Just remember this Goal setting is like grocery shopping. You can say you need to go shopping; but if you don't make a list, you always end up forgetting something or not shopping at all!

I leave you with this quote and my goals for the year. Sorry I didn't include my action steps, but there are a lot!

"Set a goal and follow through. The world is full of unachieved yet reachable goals! Never give up! .....Unknown

Frank's Goals for 2008

To review my goals constantly
To increase my net worth/improve personal finances in 2008
To improve my golf game
To maintain constant contact with the people close to me
To travel 1 hour from home once a month
To maintain a healthy lifestyle (physically, mentally and diet)
To continue work in the speaking/entertainment world
To find opportunities to constantly educate, organize and express myself

What steps are you taking to reach your goals?

Upcoming Shows

My 2008 speaking calendar is starting to fill up. Here are some of the upcoming dates over the next two months.

January 12 - Villa Julie College - Baltimore, MD

January 25-26 - St. Louis Community College - St. Louis, MO

February 9 - Our Lady Of The Lakes College - San Antonio, TX

February 16- University of Wisconsin - Madison, WI

February 17-20 - NACA National Conference - St. Louis, MO Training Showcase)

March 12-16 - APCA National Conference - Atlanta, GA (Lecture Showcase)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

My Florist Cafe (CLICK HERE)

Kelly and I looked for a fun way to bring in 2008. Everything cost a TON of money and one of our goals to make smarter financial decisions in 2008. So, what did we do? We went to one of our favorite restaurants in Phoenix. The restaurant is called “My Florist.” The food there is great and there is a piano player there on the weekends. Before you start to think a piano player is boring, wait until you meet Nicole. Nicole will play everything from Rhianna, to Madonna, to Prince, to Billy Joel, to Carlos Santana and last night she pulled out something I’ll remember for a long time. She played the theme song to the video game Super Marion Brothers. She played the theme, the coins being collected, the restart song and the famous plumbers going down the pipes. Too funny!

The restaurant was a lot of fun. There was no extra fee to get in. Kelly and I got dressed up. She looked Really good in her black skirt and blouse. Wine as 50% off. There were dinner specials. Party hats and noise makers were given out to all the guests and when the New Year approached, one of the managers got up on stage near the piano that thank all the guests for attending and started counting down the time to 2008 at 59 seconds. He counted down all the way from the one minute mark. 2008 started off great. I got a kiss from the women I love; there were a lot of Happy people; and we didn’t pay a ton of money. The night ended on a funny note. When I paid for the meal, the server noticed my name. He talked to his co-worker who came over to introduce himself. He wanted to meet me because his last name is Kitchen too. He said he had never met anyone else with that name! David Kitchen, it was great to meet you. Kelly and I will be back to your restaurant in the future.

For anyone planning to visit Phoenix; if you are looking for a good meal, service and atmosphere, be sure to click on the Link above!

Good to have GREAT friends!

Kelly and I returned to Arizona last Wednesday. On Thursday, my best friend Scott came out to visit me for the holidays. Few of us our blessed to have good friends, few of us have GREAT friends. That is the best way to describe Scott. I’ve been living in Arizona a little over 4 months now and I’m loving it, but I do miss my friends. Many have talked about coming out to Arizona to visit, but the first one to visit me has been my best friend of 15 years. Scott was excited to get away from the gray and cold of Ohio, so he came out to sunny Arizona to see me and Kelly and to accomplish one goal……TO PLAY GOLF EVERYDAY! Scott accomplished that goal. He played four straight days; I played for three. We were both rusty, but it was great to be playing golf in December. You can’t do that in Ohio. Before I post some of the photos, I need to give a report of my golf game. 1 pool hit, 2 houses hit, 4 balls lost and my very first 300 yard drive. Things were going bad until I got to my very last hole and sank a 15 foot putt. Wow I love this game! Thanks for coming out to visit Scott! Come back anytime! I plan to have a better golf game when you return!

Christmas in New Mexico

This year I spent Christmas in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Kelly and her family are from New Mexico, so we celebrated the holiday with them. The trip started with me a scenic drive from Phoenix to Albuquerque. Outside of Flagstaff we say six elk on the side of the road. It was my very first time seeing elk and I had no clue how large of an animal they are. I couldn’t get my camera out fast enough to take a picture. But I hope you enjoy some of these photos from the drive.
Michael Jordan Cologne anyone?

After we arrived at Kelly’s sister (she’s the one who introduced us to each other), I was off to the New Mexico Bowl with Kelly’s father, brother-in-law and nephew. The game was my very first Division 1 college football game and my very fist bowl game. The temperatures were in 30’s and very windy. New Mexico was leading 20-0 over Nevada at halftime. With the game secured, free gifts in hand and a very frozen group we headed home to thaw out! New Mexico won 23-0.

The rest of the trip was spent eating lots of food, celebrating Christmas and Kelly showing me around the city and the state. She was really excited to show me her culture, family history and tourists sights. During my personal tour of northern New Mexico, I learned that Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Houser) and Fredie Prince Jr. went to high school with my girlfriend. Kelly also showed off the Santa Fe. Santa Fe is the state capital of New Mexico. The city is also the highest capital in the United States with an altitude of almost 7,000 ft above sea level. The town has a lot of historic Spanish and Native American architecture. Christmas is a huge tourists time in the city. The big event in the Canyon Road walk on Christmas Eve. Canyon Road is about a one mile long tiny street full of historic homes and art galleries. I also got to see the church that was seen in the Arnold Swarzenegar movie "Twins." On Christmas eve; carolers, tourists and musicians line the street. There are holiday lights, vendors, mini bon fires, singing, music and entertainment. It was a lot of fun. Enjoy these pictures from Kelly and my first Christmas together. The dogs name is Bandit!