Friday, October 30, 2009

Thoughts on Grace....

As the Holiday Season begins, I'm always reminded of the countless Blessings that I have received in my life - many more undeserved than deserved. Remembering those Blessings is a great way to keep my priorities in order as the hustle and bustle begins. What is your definition of Grace? I like this one.


When a person works an eight-hour day and receives a fair day's pay for his time, that is a wage.

When a person competes with an opponent and receives a trophy for his performance, that is a prize.

When a person receives appropriate recognition for his long service or high achievements, that is an award.

But when a person is not capable of earning a wage, can win no prize, and deserves no reward - yet receives such a gift anyway - that is a good picture of God's unmerited favor. This is what a Christian means when we talk about the grace of God.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

From Mannersmith Monthly... Holiday Manners for Minors

Manners are important. They are like your calling card and reflect YOU in so many ways. Teaching your children proper manners is one of the greatest gifts you can give them - and it costs nothing but your time! One of my favorite monthly reads is the Mannersmith Monthly. It's filled with great tips for all types of situations dealing with everyone from infants to CEOs. Take a look. Life is too short to have bad manners.

As the holiday season approaches, Mannersmith's Marianne Cohen shares suggestions to prepare your children for the festivities. Here is her fabulous latest posting.

It is crazy how the calendar says October, and already the end-of-year holiday decorations are out. Children are getting excited about wearing their cool Halloween costumes while parents are fretting about planning the upcoming holiday meals and gatherings. One way to ensure the holidays are smooth sailing for all those involved is to provide your children with the proper tools for polite behavior. Here are some tips and techniques to transition your Halloween monsters into Holiday angels.
  • Review the Basics ~ Of course we recommend working with your children all year long, but now is a perfect time to review the five building blocks of proper manners: please, thank you, you're welcome, sorry, excuse me.
  • Do Your Homework ~ Ask each child to come up with one new thing about themselves to share with relatives and friends they have not seen in a long time. Those involved may be surprised to learn how much they have in common. For instance, if your daughter scored the winning goal in her soccer tournament, she may find that Great Aunt Sophie was also a star soccer player in her day.
  • Act Like a Journalist ~ It is never too early to teach youngsters how to handle an awkward pause in a conversation. Have the child pretend they are a journalist. They can ask a guest questions about their past or their interests, and may find something in common which can lead to an interesting conversation.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice ~ It takes approximately 28 repetitions to make a behavior a habit. If you would like your children to learn how to set the table, have them do it every day and soon it will become second nature. Every time they ask for something without saying "please," have them say the whole sentence again. Soon it will be routine.
  • Be a Model ~ As parents, we are the role models for our children. For example, if you want them to have good table manners, you need to have good table manners; if you want them to set the table correctly, you need to show them how to set the table. Practice a formal dinner at home and make it a game. Using role reversal, pretend to be their age and show them the bad manners they are exhibiting. Ask them what they saw and how it can be corrected.
  • Mail Call ~ Children should learn to write thank you notes as early as they can hold a crayon. There is never a bad time for a thank you note. Toddlers can draw a picture of the gift and once they can write their name, they can sign the cards. As they get older, you can make or purchase fill-in-the-blank cards and have them write the recipient's name and their name, and then keep expanding as they get older. By third grade, they should be able to write a simple thank you note. At Mannersmith, we like to say that an "emailed thank you means you cared enough to send the very least." Handwritten thank you cards are a cheap and effective way to make someone's day.
  • Oscar Award ~ Has your child ever opened a gift, and by the look on their face, thought it was the ugliest sweater they had every seen? Before the holiday season gets underway, review with your children that it is the thought that counts. The giver may not have thought enough about the recipient's interests and likes, but they did give the child a gift nonetheless. You can also teach your children the art of philanthropy. If they really do not want the sweater, you can donate the gift to someone who may need and enjoy it. The holiday season can be very stressful for all those involved but by practicing polite behaviors, it may make it a little less hectic. We wish you and your trick-or-treating monsters a very happy holiday season.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

When insults had class

"I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend ... if you have one." - George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

"Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second ... if there is one." - Winston Churchill, in response.


One of my dear friends, business associates, colleagues, mentors and wanna-be comedians (hee hee), Ron Castle posted this on his blog and I couldn't help but steal it from him. If you ever need to know anything from website production, SEO genius info, how in the heck Google works, how to be #1 on Google, and some great recipes for some good ol' Tennessee cooking, give Ron a call. He picks up his phone 99% of the time on the first ring. So dang impressive.

I love Winston Churchill. This photo was taken from Time magazine where he was named their man of the year both in 1940 and 1949.

As an English statesman, author and prime minister, it would be his masterful speeches that dominate his legacy. Serving as First Lord of the Admiralty from 1939 to 1940, he offered all of himself in his words 'blood, toil, tears, and sweat.'" He rallied his countrymen in their resolve against the Nazis by saying, "For a thousand years, men will still say: 'This was their finest hour.'

Another favorite saying of his that I especially enjoy today: "An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile - hoping it will eat him last."

We need more Winston Churchill's today.