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Of the thousands of News "Nuggets" that are added to our databases each day, we try to select weekly a few that we feel challenge and inform our viewers/readers the most.

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Let it snow, Let it snow

SnowWednesday we had a snowfall of 10 inches and it was still snowing, 12 inches when it finally stopped.

My Mentor for many years was a wonderful man named Herb True, Ph.D.  and Herb was becoming bald. He used to point to his balding head and say to audiences, "Now this might not look like a lot of hair to you but in a salad this is a lot of hair."  Likewise, to folks in Michigan or Minnesota 12 plus inches is not a lot of snow but to a fellow without a snow shovel in North Carolina at the bottom of a big steep hill, twelve inches looks like a mountain.

Here on Friday the sun is shining and we have temperatures expected to reach 48 degrees, and by Sunday to reach 61 degrees.  So I am now singing the hit song from that great Broadway Musical Gypsy, "Everything's Coming Up Roses."

A Heart-Warming Holiday Football Story

TubaThis past December 27, the University of Arizona played Purdue University in the Foster Farms Bowl in Santa Clara, California. My nephew, Chris, plays tuba in the University of Arizona marching band. About 50 of the band members including Chris departed from Phoenix for Santa Clara on Christmas Day. They needed to play at a pep rally on the next morning at 11:00am. The other 150-175 members of the band were to depart from Tucson around 5:00 am so they could arrive at Santa Clara in time for the pep rally. All the band staff and the large instruments such as tubas and drumline were on this flight as well. Unfortunately, there were technical issues with the flight which meant that this group would not make it to the pep rally. Not having a drumline is a huge problem for a marching band because they're one of the ways that the band keeps the tempo and they also start off all the tunes with a roll-off. So, not having a drumline caused quite a panic among the band members who were there. According to Chris, here’s what happened next: “Fortunately, members of the Purdue ‘All American Marching Band’ drumline came to our aid and played with us so that we weren't totally useless at the pep rally. They played our fight songs and some other tunes that we normally do. The cool part was that this was music that they had never even seen or played before, and they didn't have any music to read either. Since our drumline captain was there, he talked them through what to do. All in all, they ended up doing a fantastic job, and we were able to play our stuff and have a blast at the pep rally.” What a wonderful gesture on the part of the Purdue drumline.

Warming Jacket

Shoshone FallsIn this recent Artic Blast our temperature here was low enough for us to take a new look at what we were wearing. I dug into my closet.  I got to wearing a sweat shirt and a hoodie around the house and then before I went outside I dug deep, deep into my closet and discovered  an aqua colored Hellyl Hansen double lined 100% nylon outer shell. It had a zipper in front that went on up on the collar right up to my nose. On the outside  left chest area was embroidered  "Alamgamated Sugar Company, Safety 200 Club, Twin Falls."  What an awesome memory that triggered. In June of 1997 That firm hired me to fly in to Twin Falls, Idaho and together with it's vice president of operations Pete Chertidi we toured together throughout the states of Oregon and Idaho visiting their sugar factories. I made a two hour safety presentation at each plant. I will never forget the day we visited the Shoshone Falls  and there had been so much rain that the falls had a record setting amount of water going over the falls and instead of just "Twin Falls" like the name of the community nearby, there were a dozen or so roaring water falls. Pete wrote me and described it so well saying, "The Shoshone Falls were definitely breathtaking weren't they? The word magnificent was invented to describe such a force of nature at work. It was a spiritual experience in its own right."

That quality 21 year old jacket still looks like new. It really keeps me warm but the precious memory of that tour, of the wonderful, enthusiastic meetings we shared and the lives we touched with our presentations truly warm the cockles of my heart.

Surviving 2018

New Year's DayI ran into a lady at Walmart's I hadn't seen for a while and she said to me, "What do you think, Art, do you think we will survive 2018?"  Now is that a nice thing to say to a guy who is 88 years old?  She wasn't much over fifty I'd guess, and so I knew she was leading somewhere else.  Turns out she had been listening to the wrong TV stations and reading about nuclear wars and terrorists in the U.S. and fires in California and horrible weather predictions and reading Trump Tweets. I guess any of the above might get a person to ask that question.  Will we survive 2018?  Well, I for one am counting on it.  In fact, I'm looking forward to it. In fact, I just bought some green bananas the other day.  I hope you counting on it too. 

I was born in 1929 in July and just two months later the stock market crashed, banks failed all over this country and and I have felt obliged to cheer people up ever since then. Just to get the record straight, I did not cause the stock market crash.

I can't remember the last time that people in this country needed cheering up so badly.  Have you noticed how nasty people have become in this country?  Talk about bad mouthing, I have never heard so much bad mouthing, criticizing, gloom and doom B.S. in all my life.  On those alleged "news" stations they no longer have a commentator or a news person with a guest. They've got a rabid posse.  Or a seething jury. Or a pissin' contest. They do. 

I'm thinking about installing a huge screen in front of my TV Set.  I will have to get out of my trusty Lazy Boy recliner and stand there peeking around that blank screen to see my TV.  Sort of a test to see if my laziness or my stupidity is the strongest.  I just might cancel all of my disgusting 24 hour news channels.

Do any of you think we will survive 2018?

Excellent Advice for Dealing with Toxic People

Frank Myers Auto MaxxTracy Myers, a friend of mine who owns Frank Myers Auto Maxx in Winston Salem, North Carolina, made this excellent post on Facebook on December 30: “Remember the old saying: "If you lie with the dogs then you'll rise with the fleas”? It’s true. That's why I encourage you to look closely at your relationships going into 2018. Put them into one of two categories: toxic or nourishing. It's easy to spot the difference. Toxic people have a tendency to make you feel inadequate, angry, frustrated, or guilty. On the other hand, nourishing people make it a point to make others feel loved, valued, capable, appreciated and respected. Milton Glaser developed an easy test to determine if someone was toxic or nourishing in your relationship with them: After spending time with someone, observe whether you are more energized or less energized. If you are more tired, then you have been poisoned. If you have more energy you have been nourished. PLEASE take time to detoxify the poisonous relationships in your life as soon as possible. This is one of the easiest ways to move onward and upward in 2018! Accentuate the positive…. Eliminate the negative. It's an easy formula to follow and it works!” Thank you, Tracy!

Performing an Act of Kindness Usually Brings Us Joy and Happiness

FlowerA subscriber shared one of her experiences while shopping at Trader Joe’s: “Before heading to my class at the gym, I stopped by our local Trader Joe's store to buy a few orchid flower pots to give to the teachers at my daughters' school. I found one of them to be especially stunning and beautiful. That specific orchid had white petals with purple edges. When I arrived at the cash register that specific pot caught the attention of the checker.  We started talking about how beautiful and unique the color combination was and the fact that none of us had ever seen such a beautiful pot being carried at Trader Joe's.  It was at that moment that I decided to give that one to her as a gift.  She resisted, but I insisted, and I told her, ‘it's just an act of love; accept it on behalf of a stranger as an act of love.’ The tears of joy started flowing for both of us; we hugged and smiled! After checking out, I had to go back inside Trader Joe's to buy another pot (since I had given one away). That day, I was late for my class at the gym but the amount of joy that I experienced by doing this simple act of kindness was worth everything.”

And The Beat Goes On

As I typed out "January 1st, 2018" I had a sort of historic feeling.  I began my job with the Grand Trunk Western Railroad early in 1948 and worked for them until 1983.  That totaled up to 35 years service.  Then I totaled up the years I have been retired and I came up with 35 years.  That means that I have been retired as long as I worked for the railroad and I've received a small pension from them all those years. Now that sounds really weird to me.  Now it isn't like I have been sitting in a rocking chair all those years.  I have often worked a seven day week and burned the midnight oil running my own business and I have had a seat on one of those red eye flights many times to make it to the next city to give a presentation. But oh the joy I have experienced in these past 35 years.  When you are blessed to find an occupation that you truly love then what you are doing no longer becomes "work." 

At 88 I still come into my office each day and I'm always writing at something.  Occasionally I go out and make a live presentation and I go at it with all the gusto I can muster.  I find that same joy in presenting.

I still can't get over that... 35 years since I packed up my stuff and walked out of my offices at that old Grand Trunk Depot in Battle Creek and moved into that tiny office I'd rented in the basement of a popular local freelance artist's office near my home. It wasn't like I was jumping off a cliff exactly.  I had already lined up a number of bookings and I already had several books published. 

Now I have to figure out what I want to do for the next 35 years.  Our garage needs a good cleaning. There's some dust accumulated on the books covering the walls of my office and upstairs in my music room.  I've got some exercise equipment that I have neglected far too long.  And I need to find more room somewhere to put some of my stuff.  It looks like another good year ahead.

Peace Be With You

Korean War"Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me."  I keep thinking about how I prayed for peace when I was on the front lines in Korea. We knew that there was talk of a cease fire and peace negotiations between the U. N. and North Korea but the fighting continued. Then in November when I was wounded in action I kept on praying for peace. I remember my elation and how I prayed with thanks as that plane took me from Taegu General Hospital to the airport in Kobe, Japan and then I moved on to Kobe General Hospital for some surgery. That was November of 1951 and in early 1953 when I returned home and was discharged from the Army, we were still praying for that cease fire.  Finally, the armistice was signed on July 27, 1953, and was designed to "insure a complete cessation of hostilities and of all acts of armed force in Korea until a final peaceful settlement is achieved." Now as we come to the end of 2017 no "final peaceful settlement" has been achieved.  I'm still praying for peace on earth.  Would you join me?"

Refugee High School Students in Fargo say Thank You by Giving Back

VolunteeringSince 2002, Fargo, North Dakota has become home to more than 4,000 refugees from places like Bhutan, Somalia, Iraq, DRC, Liberia and Sudan. That’s a pretty amazing feat considering that Fargo has a population of only 120,000. According to an article by Dave Kolpack which appeared in a recent issue of The Arizona Republic, a group of high school students from these refugee families decided to give back by initiating public service projects including making and distributing fleece blankets to the homeless, running a school carnival, and volunteering at nursing homes and day care centers. They have also opened a food pantry in a neighborhood that has a lot of low income families and spent the Thursday before the Thanksgiving holiday handing out turkeys and cranberries to people in need. What a wonderful example these people have provided for the rest of us. Congratulations to the fine citizens of Fargo and these refugee high school students for a job very well done.

Bad Weather

Icy RoadAs I look out my office window here in Hillsborough, North Carolina I see a Winter Weather Land. It is beautiful. The news reports say that snow has invaded the south and more is on the way. I received a couple of e-mails cancelling meetings. It reminded me of one cold winter night in Michigan many years ago.  This was long before computers and cell phones invaded our lives.  I was booked for a speech in Marshall, Michigan for the Future Farmers of America. It was an Awards Banquet and we had a bad ice storm in progress. I got my Ford V out of the driveway OK and headed on through the deserted streets of the City of Battle Creek. I did not see a store open. The whole downtown was dark.  I got onto I-94 OK and drove slowly.  The expressway was covered with ice and on the ten mile journey I never saw another car. I drove through downtown Marshall over to the hall where the meeting was scheduled and I didn't see another vehicle.  As I drove up to the hall there were pickup trucks parked everywhere and when I walked into the big hall it was packed with proud kids and their parents.

It was a joyous event. The food was fantastic and watching those young men and women accepting their rewards, so proud and humble about achieving their often difficult goals, made me forget about those icy roads and that bitter cold outside and I just felt good all over, about the youth of America. I felt so proud to be an American living in this land of the free.  As I carefully made my journey home their applause for my speech still rang in my ears, but I had waved it down and redirected that applause back to themselves for it was , hopefully, a night they would all remember long after the ice had melted away. That was over forty years ago and I still remember it well.

Sad But True: Power Corrupts

CorruptionA set of research studies reported in the Wall Street Journal found that nice people–people who are polite, honest, outgoing and compassionate–are more likely to rise to positions of power in the organizations they worked for.  These findings held true for corporations, the military and politics.  It turns out that people bestow authority on people they genuinely like.  That’s the good news; now for the bad news.  According to the article, once these nice people get into positions of power they start to act like fools.  They do things like flirt with interns, solicit bribes and fudge financial data which, in turn, often leads to their downfall.  The article went on to say that even the most virtuous people can be undone once they get a taste of power.  The lesson here is that if you ever come into a position of power, never forget what got you there–because what got you there will keep you there.

A Writer?

Art FettigDid you ever look back on your life and ask yourself, "What if I had done things differently?"  I just looked at what I had written and started snickering to myself.  What a can of worms that thought could produce. I could play a game of "shoulda, coulda, woulda..."  There is a song that Sammy Davis used to sing and the lyric went, "I've gotta be me."  That is the way I felt when it came to writing and to being a professional speaker too. I always gave myself the freedom to follow my muse. I let my mind, my creative imagination take me to whatever path called me and I would follow it until another voice called. I guess I can stand back and look at what I've written and say "I've done it my own way."  What a rack of books I have written - humor, creativity, speaking, safety, sales, a mess of children's books, music, novels. First a humorous Army adventure, a book on two old coots in search of a hit song, an adventure novel on a Success Rally, and some spiritual books - Platinum Rule, Love is the Target, Mentor: Secrets of the Ages and Serenity! Serenity! Living the Serenity Prayer.

Follow the muse...follow the muse..  What a journey it has been. Yes, what a challenge and what a joy too.

Working on a booklet titled "Stuff I Wrote" I came up with 104 books or booklets I have written in my career since that day early in 1961 when I decided to become a writer.  I remember the day I followed up on a want ad in the Battle Creek Enquirer offering an Upright Underwood Typewriter for sale.  I bought it.  And I bought a ream of paper and I went to a local printer and had 100 business cards printed that read, "Art Fettig, Freelance Writer."

I climbed the narrow stairway to our big 3rd floor attic in the home we had just purchased in Battle Creek, Michigan and insulated the walls and ceiling and put up big florescent lights. A local travel agency gave me some big posters to faraway places with strange sounding names and I covered the walls with them. I picked up an old table and a typewriter stand and when my wife and I got our four little children off to bed I would walk upstairs to the attic and do my writing. And I wrote and I wrote and I wrote and I haven't stopped writing since then.

For me the joy was in the writing.  I often felt as if I could leap over tall buildings.  Most importantly, since that day when I bought that old used Underwood typewriter and had those business cards printed I have lived my life without a bit of alcohol. Writing and speaking has opened so many doors for me and led me to so many amazing adventures in my life that it sometimes almost overwhelms me. All I ever asked from a book or booklet is that it paid its own way.  Bring in enough sales to pay for the next one.  Everything else is an unexpected blessing.  The real joy is in the writing. 

One Thoughtful Person Can Bring Out the Kindness that’s in All of Us

Shopping Carts at CostcoMy wife recently made a trip to Costco on a Sunday afternoon to purchase, among other things, a rotisserie chicken. When she arrived at the counter where the chickens are displayed, she noticed that all the cooked chickens had already been taken. As she looked around, she saw that the rotisserie was full of chickens that were still cooking. She then asked a Costco employee behind the counter how long it would be before the next batch of chickens would be ready. He said, “about four minutes.” She then walked over to the produce area to pick up a few things and when she returned, 11 people were lined up anxiously waiting for this employee to put the newly cooked chickens into their plastic containers and set them on the counter. This could have turned into an “every person for themselves” free-for-all. But, when the first person in line was thoughtful enough to thank the Costco employee for putting more cooked chickens on the counter, the rest of the people in line relaxed and followed suit by saying “thank you” to this employee when it was their turn to pick up their chicken. In fact, one person even invited a mother with several children to go ahead of him in the line. It’s amazing how a single kind act, by one thoughtful person, brought out the best of everyone that was in that line. 

A Bad Example

Jo No NoI guess you could say that Father Skiffington, S.J. was my first Mentor. He was my English teacher in my junior year at the University of Detroit High School.  Somehow I had been named "Staff Poet" on the Cub Newspaper and he had been reading some of my stuff.  One day he called me aside and said, "Art, I do believe God had a plan when He created every living individual and that He gave every one of us a special talent.  If we can just discover our special talent and hone it and find ways to use our talent for the good of all humankind then this could become a world full of love and peace and understanding." Then he looked me straight in the eye and  said, "Art, I do believe that you were put on this earth to serve as a bad example."  I replied, "Yes Father, and look at the great job I am doing with this talent."  I could serve well as a bad example in both my conduct and in my academic achievement there.

Later I taught a course titled "You can sell your writing." It was built around a poem I'd written which was rejected twenty-five times. I sold it the 26th time out. My course gave struggling authors the challenge to carry on and some found success.  At the railroad years later I played the role of Joe No No in our A-V productions on Safety.  Joe No No would break every safety role and we'd show me lying on the ground and we even brought in a stretcher and showed me getting into an ambulance and moaning with great pain. So many times both writers and professional speakers have shared with me how I had inspired them.  Some said to me, "Art, I saw you succeeding and it convinced that I could do better in some way and I did." What is your special talent and what are you doing with it right now?

A Substitute

AudienceOne of my fondest memories as a speaker was the time I was called in by General Foods Management Club to substitute for Euell Gibbons, a natural food TV celebrity.  I lived right there In Battle Creek, Michigan where the meeting was to be held. Euell was forever being shown on TV eating cattails and other weird foods he'd locate out in the woods.  I worked hard on my opening lines for my talks and so I opened with a comment on being the substitute for Euell Gibbons. I said, "Unfortunately, Ewell could not be with you this evening.  I understand he was detained in the Upper Peninsula for violating a virgin pine.(pause)  He said he just couldn't resist those crazy cones." (pause)

Let me digress. Once when the great comic Jonathan Winters  was interviewed on a show about comedy he said that when he was learning comedy he was told to tell a joke, hit the punch line hard and then slowly count to five waiting for the laughter.  Then he said, "I still haven't learned to do it silently.  One, two, three, four, five."

Well when I'd write these new opening lines for a speech I had to practice them in my mind. In my rehearsals I used to hit the punch line hard and then count to five silently and then listen for the laughter. I learned to wait until the laughter built too because some audiences are a little slower catching on. And I learned how to let the laughter begin to ebb before I would continue. (Don't step on the laugh.)  I learned that there were a thousand ways to mess up a joke and so not all of those opening lines worked the way I visualized them in my mind.

That night I got a great laugh on the first line and then greater laughter and applause on the second. I was home free with that audience from there on.  When you are being paid as a professional speaker your job is to win over that audience every time.

Another challenge I faced that evening is best described in this well known quote. "A prophet is without honor in his home town."  I've been told by those who know the Bible much, much more than I do that Jesus could not work miracles in his home town. Well, I knew I certainly wasn't in His league.

Now the reason that presentation sticks out in my mind was that I finally had the courage to open with new material and even though this was a home town group I managed to do a great job.  It was a small booking but a giant step forward in my career.  Most of what I did that evening was my original material.  I'd been gaining confidence, building my repertoire and having enough success on a national basis to feel good about my career.  I didn't work any miracles that evening but I sure came a long way.

Avoiding the Easy Way Out Leads to a Far More Meaningful Life

Raised HandMy wife, who directs a foster care and adoption agency, recently taught a class to would-be foster parents. She was discussing some of the challenges and difficulties that come with being a foster parent when one of the people attending the class raised her hand and said, “We do not want to have our life be as easy as it can be. We are interested more in having a purpose in life than in being comfortable.” What this person was saying that being comfortable does not add meaning to our life, but having a purpose that we’re committed to does. I know far too many people who opt for comfort and take the easy way out and then wonder why their life is boring and without meaning. This is why one of my mantras has always been, “Never take the easy way out because there’s little or no reward (tangible or otherwise) and you miss out on an opportunity to add meaning to your life.”

There are Times when the Kindest Thing You can do is Listen

ListeningA good friend of mine, who is a social worker, made the following touching post on Facebook about the importance of listening. “For the last several months I’ve been working with teenagers who are getting ready to age out of foster care. I’m teaching them life skills such as how to apply for and get a job, how to open a bank account and budget, how to receive their GED or HS diploma. Things that your parents are supposed to help you with. It can be frustrating when I see little progress and even less interest. Today I met with one of my clients who has been in the foster care system for several years...moving from home, to home, to home. He started to show some vulnerability. He wants to give up. He’s lost. He’s confused. He’s losing hope. I closed my laptop and put my papers down and I just listened because I could tell he needed to talk more than anything else. Then he said this: ‘I can tell you this stuff because I know you’re listening to me. You’re the only adult who listens to me. Everyone else brushes me off, my case manager is busy, my friends don’t believe me. You listen, I can tell because you make eye contact and you put everything else aside, you don’t just ignore me.’ He didn’t need to hear about how to save money each month or how to ask for more hours at work...he needed to be heard. Maybe it’s a lesson to have a little more compassion for others. Make conversation with the grocery clerk, the young barista, wave to your neighbor. What if you’re the only one who has shown any type of interest in them in months? You never know what kind of impact you can make by just taking a few minutes to be present with someone.”

My First Car

Ford 1950A 1950 black  Ford Tudor, loaded with extras. A radio, heater and white wall tires. I bought it on my 21st  birthday, July 5, 1950 and paid cash for it, $1,200. Money I’d saved from my job at the railroad. (Those were the days.) Nine months later I was drafted into the U.S. Army and reluctantly kissed my first car goodbye.

How One Man Followed His Passion After Retirement

PizzaThe Wall Street Journal recently carried a story by Glenn Ruffenach about a New Jersey resident named Paul Giannone. Mr. Giannone retired from spending nearly 30 years in the information technology field. He said he picked his career because, “I made good money…but I had absolutely no passion for it.” What he did love was pizza, like the kind serve in the restaurants in Brooklyn, where he grew up. According to the article, during his late 40’s and early 50’s, Mr. Giannone began toying with the idea of opening his own pizzeria. “He became an avid reader of and contributor to pizza blogs, restaurant-review sites and chef forums; he sampled dishes across the country on business trips; he built a pizza oven in his own backyard.” All of this resulted in a restaurant called Paulie Gee’s which opened in Brooklyn in 2010. Today he has franchises in Chicago, Baltimore, Miami and Columbus, Ohio.  As Mr. Giannone put it, “My job is having friends over, making pizza and hanging out…I can’t believe I get paid to do this.” If you would like to read Mr. Ruffenach’s entire article, please click on this link

Location, Location

Cruise Ship"You had to be there." How many times have you heard that expression as an excuse for somebody's strange behavior.  Well, I find myself using that expression when I look at some of the things I have written in my lifetime. For instance, one of my very early attempts at songwriting.  The location was three days out from Yokahama on a liberty ship built to transport troops in World War II. This journey was from Yokahama to San Francisco and we had a full load of troops returning from the Korean conflict.  The first day out there was a call on the P.A. for volunteers-- musicians or entertainers and while I hardly qualified in either category, I had a willing spirit and a strong desire to avoid latrine duty or such. I volunteered to play drums in the band and as it turned out they had a wonderful group of musicians lacking just one instrument and that was drums.  I did a quick audition with them and was accepted. Until I arrived this was an all black band and they sounded much like the Louis Armstrong band.

At the first rehearsal I arrived early and sat down on the ship's steel floor with some other performers waiting for them to open up and there was one fellow there we called Bill Bailey and he played great banjo.  After a while a lyric jumped into my head and I told Bailey about it. It went, "Goodbye Yokahoma, Hello Frisco. We're comin' home again.  Goodbye Yokahome, Hello Frisco, Back where a friend is a friend.  Goodbye Mamason, Goodbye Papason, Hello my Mammy."  To make a long story shorter three of us ended up singing it together in our deck show and the troops loved it.

Like I said, "You had to be there."  We were all headed home.  The  troops had been starved for entertainment and our song went straight into their lives and we did five shows on deck. Our song stopped the show every time and we had to do encores. You had to be there, and thank God, we were there right then. I was sure glad I was.

A Man with Terminal Brain Cancer Finds a Way to Make the World Better

Chris LambKatheryn Robinson posted a story about Chris Lamb, a terminal cancer patient from Tucson, on nbcnews.com. Mr. Lamb is partially blind and has a slightly paralyzed right side and three tumors in his brain. Instead of moping about his condition and feeling sorry for himself, Mr. Lamb stands at an intersection, five days a week, smiling and waving at everyone who drives by.  Each day, he wears one of 150 different signs which convey positive messages such as “Smile” or “Tucson’s Greatest People.” Mr. Lamb says he came up with the idea on his daily walk to the convenience store down the road. One day he started smiling and waving at passing motorists and they started smiling back. Then he came up with the idea to add the signs. Twelve years ago, doctors told his wife that he had only a couple of years to live at best. His wife believes that his spreading happiness to passing motorists is what is keeping him alive. As Mr. Lamb put it, “A smile. That's all it takes to make this world better…That's all it takes." If you would like to read Ms. Robinson’s entire post or see a short video of Mr. Lamb in action, please click on this link

Mentors and such

MentoringHave you ever identified those individuals who had a major influence in your success and progress?

A few years ago I identified the two men who had the most positive impact  on my life. Their framed photos soon found a place on my wall. Seeing them daily I soon developed a nagging feeling that two more men's photos should be up there with the first two. And that had gone on now for years and more photos of men and women who played major or sometimes lessor roles in whatever successes achieved  Perhaps it was their signs of interest or maybe  needed words of encouragement at a given moment.  In some cases it was just an Attaboy from an unexpected source.  One of those old song lyrics that keep popping into my head goes, "Little things mean a lot."  And little things we say and do can help or hurt others, sometimes in a major way.

I have been so blessed, so many times, by the kindness of other professional speakers, or authors, or teachers, or family members, or even the kindness of strangers has influenced my life and my career.  I guess that is it.  Blessings. And they have come at all times and places and often from the least expected source. 

What I have found is that it is critical that we keep our minds and our hearts open for such blessings and we must fight off that cynicism which creeps in.. We must ever renew our trust in others while discovering  opportunities to be of service to others.

When You Observe Kind Acts, Take the Time to Reinforce Them

CashierMy friend Mary was in a checkout line at her neighborhood grocery store. In front of her was an elderly woman who looked frail and was hunched over. When it came time for this woman to pay her bill, she didn’t have enough money. Without hesitation, the checker, who was a young man in his late teens, reached for his wallet, made up the difference, and told the woman to have a nice day. Mary was very impressed with the young man’s kind act and she told him so in a very complimentary manner. She then found the checker’s boss and informed him of the kind act. The boss said that he would nominate this checker for “employee of the month.” When she got home, Mary called the corporate headquarters of this grocery store chain, located the appropriate manager, gave her the young checker’s name, and told her about his kind act. This manager told Mary that she very much appreciated her call and would personally call this young man to thank him for having gone the extra mile on behalf of the store and its customers. The lesson here is that if you want to see kind acts repeated, it helps if you reinforce them. You can bet that when this checker is confronted with another opportunity to be kind, he will seize it without hesitation. Good job Mary!

Being Almost Andy

Almost Andy - Art FettigFor the past eight years, in a variety of situations, I've been performing as a character we named "Almost Andy." For decades people have been remarking on how much I looked like Andy Griffith. On my 80th birthday I took a course on comedy from a wonderful comic and instructor Rog Bates. At the first class all of the students joined with Rog and agreed that I should base my humor somehow on Andy Griffith. I couldn't accept the role of playing a second rate Andy and so I developed a character called Almost Andy. All of his humor was based on adventures encountered because he looked like an older Andy Griffith in his role of Matlock. For eight years now I have had some wonderful times wearing my seersucker jacket.  

Just a week after graduating from the Rog Bates class I had the honor of participating in the Mayberry Days Festival at Mt. Airy and riding in their big parade and then doing a little comedy with many former Mayberry Characters and some great impersonators and the host David Browning, who plays a fantastic Barney and the audience was very kind to me. I've been back to Mt. Airy several times and done a bit in a movie, a marvelous play in Benson North Carolina two seasons with Scott Epperson who died suddenly before we could begin work on the third year. We received some wonderful press coverage from throughout North Carolina. My last function as Almost Andy just three weeks before the Real Andy died was in Raleigh where the soon to be governor of North Carolina mistook me for the real deal. The newspaper banner on the front page the following morning read "Pat McCrory has a Mayberry Moment."

Recently, I donned my Mayberry jacket and Almost Andy appeared in Henderson, NC at their huge car show. I had the honor of working with other Purple Heart Veterans  and we were distributing poppies and raising funds in honor of our fallen warriors. (What a great bunch of dedicated guys they are.)  I managed to sit on my portable stool and greet hundreds of visitors. It was a very generous group visiting the outing and I want to thank every one of them. Gosh life is great sometimes when we get to let that little kid inside us out.  

Taking the Easy Way Out is not a Way of Being Kind to Yourself

Head On

Many people try to avoid difficult situations. They say to themselves, “I think I’ll be kind to myself and take the easy way out. After all, the easy way out involves less effort, less hassle, less stress and it hurts no one.” In reality, taking the easy way out is actually not being kind to yourself because it causes you to miss out on a growth opportunity. Taking advantage of growth opportunities is how we improve our levels of experience, confidence, and self-esteem. Pursuing the easy way out is like betting on a horse to show that’s guaranteed to win.  Yes, you do get your money back, but you’re no smarter or better off after the experience than you were before.  So, if you truly want to be kind to yourself, the next time you’re faced with a difficult situation, confront it head on.  You’ll learn a great deal which will give you the confidence to successfully confront even more difficult situations in the future.

 


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John H. Burdakin and the Grand Trunk Western Railroad

John H. Burdakin and the Grand Trunk Western RailroadJohn H. Burdakin and the Grand Trunk Western Railroad provides a look at the principles and personal values that guided John H. Burdakin through a long, successful career as a top manager at three railroads—the Pennsylvania, the Penn Central, and finally the Grand Trunk Western, where he was president of the regional carrier from 1974 to 1986. The book, written from interviews with Burdakin before his death in 2014, gives real-life examples of how Burdakin’s management principles and personal qualities helped him solve labor- management problems, update railroad technology, protect worker safety, and improve employee morale while managing a four thousand–person workforce. It introduces colorful characters who were involved in American railroads, as well as the serious, life-threatening issues that confronted railroads in the last half of the twentieth century in America. This book will provide insights for managers of any business as well as for those seeking to balance a successful career and a rewarding home life.

Trapped in Shades of Grey

Trapped in Shades of GregDuring the trying days of World War II, everyone was called upon to do their patriotic duty. But what if that duty required you to live, eat, sleep, and fight alongside the enemy? Christoph Ernst, the son of German immigrants, is recruited to become a deep cover agent in the German Wermacht. He excels at his assignment as a soldier and a spy. As the war in Europe heats up, he realizes that he has made a huge error- he has made friends and become a part of the army that he is helping to destroy. When the time comes, he is uncertain if he will betray his country or his friends. When treachery is your mission, where do your loyalties lie?

World War I: The Definitive Visual History

World War IWritten by historian R. G. Grant, and created by DK's award-winning editorial and design team, World War I charts the developments of the war from a global perspective. Using illustrated timelines, detailed maps, and personal accounts, readers will see the oft-studied war in a new light. Key episodes are set clearly in the wider context of the conflict, in-depth profiles look at the key generals and political leaders, and full-color photo galleries showcase the weapons, inventions, and new technologies that altered the course of history.

A vivid portrait of the confrontation on land, sea, and sky, World War I: The Definitive Visual Guide offers readers a bold and thoughtful new look at this complex and explosive moment in history.

The Greatest Salesman in the World

The Greatest Salesman in the WorldWhat you are today is not important... for in this  runaway bestseller you will learn how to change  your life by applying the secrets you are about to  discover in the ancient scrolls.

Mandino's main philosophical message is that every person on earth is a miracle and should choose to direct their life with confidence and congruent to the laws that govern abundance.

The Santa Train by Art Fettig [Kindle]
The Christmas Train by Art FettigOnce upon a time, there was a worn out locomotive that nobody seemed to care about. Except maybe Charlie Weller, who was an old retired railroad engineer. And maybe nobody cared about old Charlie anymore either. At least it often seemed that way to Charlie. He had little to do but sit around and remember the good old days when he would run that ancient train up and down the tracks hauling freight.

The Best Verse of Art Fettig, C.S.P and Friends

The Best Verse of Art Fettig, C.S.P. and FriendsThe entire collection of The Best Verse of Art Fettig, C.S.P. and Friends is now available as a PDF download for $2.

You can visit The Shop at Connert Media for full details.  You can pay by any major credit or through your PalPal account.

The Platinum Rule by Art Fettig [Kindle Edition $2.99]
Platinum Rull by Art Fettig

Thousands have read it.  Thousands of people have been changed by it.  It's now available again as an electronic book.

If you believe that by giving, you also receive, then this is a book that will explain how to "kick it up a notch".  The idea behind the platinum rule is really quite simple, but must be adhered to in the manner described. Try it and see what happens! 

Author's Dedication: To all of the wonderful people I've met who have already discovered the awesome power of The Platinum Rule by practicing it in their lives.  And to all those who will discover The Platinum Rule and have the courage and the heart to practice it.

 

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