Blog Post #308 Smiles

Here are some quotes about smiling:

Dr Seuss:  “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

Mother Teresa: “Peace begins with a smile..”

Roy Bennett: “More smiling, less worrying. More compassion, less judgment. More blessed, less stressed. More love, less hate.”

Roy Bennett: “Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people.”

I was in a service club (Kiwanis) and at the end of our luncheons we sang:

Smile and the World smiles with you; sing a song;

Don’t be weary just be cheery all day long

When ever your trials, you troubles and your cares

Seem to be more than you can really bear

Just smile and the world smiles with you, sing a song.

I was just reading an article about frowning – and how that takes both you and the other person down.  Be upbeat, smile. The old 1950’s song “Let a smile be your umbrella on a rainy day” (Perry Como) is true.  That song has lyrics of “A smile will bring the sunshine and you’ll never get wet”

It is all about attitude – smile, be happy – OR – frown and be sad


What do you think?  

Have a great day!!



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Blog Post #307 Carrying a grudge Part III

Do you have something against somebody?  Do you carry a grudge? Today I tell a story about carrying a grudge too many years.

Forty years ago our daughter was born!!  It was a standard birth, good healthy girl, good maternal care, good delivery – and NO insurance!!!

I was teaching high school in Keokuk Iowa and as I’ve mentioned before we ran out of money before we ran out of month (as I got paid monthly).  Somehow to economize, I had changed our health insurance to a cheaper version. While I don’t remember the conversation, seemingly the insurance agent had asked if we were going to have more children (after the birth of our son two years prior).  Maybe I misunderstood as if my wife was pregnant now (which she wasn’t when we changed the insurance). So after the birth, I submitted the bills to the insurance agent – who informed me that child birth was NOT covered in our policy!! I was dismayed (maybe not quite irate)!!  As a young couple who loved our first child and who (at least to ourselves) had planned for more children – of course we were going to have more children. The agent patiently said “No, you are not covered. You changed your plan and your coverage and that is not covered.” I was mad at the agent (and, of course mad at myself – even though I couldn’t remember making that change).  

Fortunately friends helped us pay for the delivery and financially it came out okay, but I harbored a grudge against my insurance agent for failing to make this clear to me – for years – even after leaving Keokuk.  

But, a few years ago, I went back over some grudges I had carried and carefully dismissed this one (and others).  What was done could not be undone. While I maybe was upset, the agent wasn’t. I seemingly had picked this cheaper coverage.  Even with miscommunication possibilities, I was wrong – I should have read the small print.

I prayed for forgiveness and I prayed for the insurance agent and agency.  

Folks, life is too short; we all make mistakes – and I make a lot of mistakes.  Learning to forgive myself is something the hardest.


What do you think?  

Have a great day!!



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Blog Post #306 Carrying a grudge Part II

Do you have something against somebody?  Do you carry a grudge?

Psychologists tell us that having a grudge can really affect us – we start to dislike the other persons involved in the situation.  “If that person is in charge, I’m going the other way!!” Our body language can be affected, we can be ‘stiff’ or ‘formal’ to the other person.

The Bible has this about grudges (Matthew 5:23) “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”

This suggests we are to be reconciled to the person – make-up.  This implies that they have something against you – but “go and be reconciled” anyway.

I have a friend whose father was an alcoholic and (as I understand it) wanted a boy but got a girl.  He rarely complimented her growing up and his alcoholism hurt his communication with her.

She eventually had to come to terms with him.  She had to forgive him – even though he had been nasty to her.  

I’ve seen people who have been separated from their family for some reason.  Maybe the son was gay and the parents were opposed to homosexuality. Maybe the son became a drug abuser; maybe the ‘son’ become a ‘daughter’ by being transgender.  Whatever the reason, at some point the parties need to make up.

Maybe the son or daughter need to forgive the parents and even if the parents do not forgive the child back, at least it gets off the back of the one who was grieved.  I’ve also seen people on their death bed who have forgiven those in their lives that they had something against them.

The general concept is to get over it, forgive and forget.  At least get to peace for yourself – and move on. If they accept and forgive you – great; and if they continue to harbor the grudge, that becomes their problem not yours.

What’s done cannot be undone.  But, with forgiveness and facing the situation in an adult manner, reconciliation can happen.

What do you think?  

Have a great day!!



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Blog Post #305 Carrying a Grudge

Carrying a grudge

Do you have something against somebody?  Do you carry a grudge?

A grudge is: “: a feeling of deep-seated resentment or ill will:

Maybe something like “Five years ago I should have been named Dean of the College of Business, but somehow they named Susan Wright as the dean.  

“I bet it was only politics and they wanted to look politically correct to have picked a woman as the dean.  It wasn’t fair. I had been the associate dean for six years, I had been at that university for twenty years, I had ‘worked my way up’, I was a team player, I knew the people, I knew the finances, I was involved with AACSB and went to the AACSB conferences on accreditation, I did most of the work on the last AACSB accreditation visit plus all the work on the curriculum changes that NEASC asked for.  I should have been dean. She is petty and hard to deal with. I think she has permanent PMS”

Or “I should have gotten an “A” in that class.  I did all the work – on time and expertly. Yes, I know the professor is required to have no higher than four A’s in a class of that size, but she should have made an exception in my case.  I’m as good if not better than the other four that did get the A grades.”

“That person cheated me”

“They went over my head and got me fired”

And more in that vein.

The situation may or may not be as the person thought.  Maybe the Academic Vice President wanted Susan Wright over me because I can be petty (like carrying a grudge).  Maybe the committee was split in the decision – and maybe the aspect of having a female dean did help Susan Wright get the position.

Guess what, the only person who feels this is YOU (that is, the person carrying the grudge.  How ever the situation happened – no one cares anymore about it. It was five years ago. Get over it!!

Psychology Today has this:

“The problem with grudges, besides the fact that they are a drag to carry around (like a bag of sedimentized toxic waste that keeps us stuck in anger) is that they don’t serve the purpose that they are there to serve. They don’t make us feel better or heal our hurt. At the end of the day, we end up as proud owners of our grudges but still without the experience of comfort that we ultimately crave, that we have craved since the original wounding. We turn our grudge into an object and hold it out at arm’s length—proof of what we have suffered, a badge of honor, a way to remind others and ourselves of our pain and deservingness. But in fact our grudge is disconnected from our own heart; while born out of our pain, it becomes a construction of the mind, a story of what happened to us. Our grudge morphs into a boulder that blocks the light of kindness from reaching our heart, and thus is an obstacle to true healing. Sadly, in its effort to garner us empathy, our grudge ends up depriving us of the very empathy that we need to release it.

It is like the grief I have written about in the past few days.  Eventually you have to get to acceptance.

I know people who currently are carrying grudges related to the last Presidential election “It was unfair.  My candidate should have won”. Guess what, that is now two years ago – get over it (and get ready to vote in the mid session elections in November and in the next Presidential election in 2020).  

What’s done cannot be undone.  (Although in the past some have decided they CAN undo something by assassinating the President.  Thank goodness that hasn’t happened since President Kennedy was killed in 1963!

Tomorrow we will look at ways to get over the grudge and get back to psychic happiness!!!

What do you think?  

Have a great day!!



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Blog post 304

I have written about grief in my last posts.  Yesterday i talked about the five stages of grief.  Today looking at depression and acceptance.

Depression happens when the person accepts that the situation happened – the son committed suicide and isn’t coming back – or the child that was run over is dead and not coming back – or that the spouse died and is gone.

Depression can be debiliating – one can wallow in the grief and depression.  Some people cannot get past depression.  It is like a quicksand dragging a person deeper and deeper into a pit of misery.  Sometimes the person goes back into anger or into denial.  A relationship has been broken    and probably cannot be fixed (or fixed easily).

To me the best way is to get to accepance.  Again Shakespeare calls out “what’s done cannot be undone”.  It is the way that it is.  You must move on.  You come to accept that the situation has changed.  Adapt /change -or be miserable.

What do you think?


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Blog post 303

five stages of grief

I have written about some tragic events in the past two blog posts.

Today I’m going to look at the five stages of Gried

1- Denial

2- Anger

3- Bargaining

4- Depression

5- Acceptance

lets look at those stages

some tragic has happened- like you backed up and ran over a person (two days ago).  Generally the first stage might be denial.  “NO – that can’t be true – NO”.  You just cannot believe that it happened.

Let’s say you heard that a close friend that you saw two days ago died of a heart attack.  Two days ago you were talking and laughing – no she couldn’t be dead!!

Maybe you got a phone call from a law enforcement officer saying your daughter is dead from a car crash.  Again -denial that cannot be true

Then anger – you can be angry at yourself for failing to act, to show love.  In the case of the young man who committed suicide, the parents were both angry at themselves.  Thoughts like “We should have loved him more, we should have talked to him more, we should have seen that he was depressed”.  You might also be angry with him – why didn’t he communicate better?

For your friend who dead of a heart attack you might be angry with yourself-you could see he was overweight and needing exercise- you should have invited him to walk with you.

Of maybe angry with him for not taking care of himself better.

Grief is a natural thing.  More tomorrow about overcoming grief.

what do you think?  Let me know at

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Blog post 302 another tragic story

yesterday we had a tragic story of a good backing up and killing a mentally handicapped girl.

Today a story of family friends

(Names changed)

Mike was a nineteen year old young man.  He was in the Army Reserves- and committed suicide.  It was a deep shock to his family.  They did a lot of introspection- what went wrong; why didn’t they see his symptoms and problems.

This caused a great deal of angst for James and Tara his parents.  Eventually James and Tara separated and divorced.  Subjectively Tara both blamed herself and James for Mike’s death.  It was very hard on them.

While death of a child is tragic enough death of a child who seemed to he normal can be even more tragic.

while one cannot understand fully what is going on in a troubled child’s mind these parents ended up blaming themselves and the other spouse.

the lesson I got out of this is that life goes on.  While grieving is normal at some point you have to reach the last stage in the grieving process – which is acceptance.In there grief they neglected their other children and built a wall between each spouse.

Maybe Shakespeare said it best as what is done cannot be undone. You cannot dwell on an event to the exclusion of the rest of life.

what do you think?

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Blog post 301 Tragic Mistakes

Tragic Mistakes

i was reminded the other day of Tragic Mistakes.  In particular for one of those mistakes a man in our small South Dakota town accidentally ran over a mentally restarted girl.

This man was well known in town – pillar of the community of you will.  He WAS the town Santa Claus.  He was a business owner and a fine Christian.  Backing out of the Dairy Queen, somehow this girl was behind his car and didn’t move out of the way.  He didn’t realize he had hit her until it was too late.

He was devastated.  The mother of the girl did understand and the man compensated the mother and family “over and above”.

But for the rest of his days he carried this burden.  I’m sure that a Day didn’t go by without thinking about it.

Im not sure I can add much that I would have said to him.  The accident happened; the girl died; it was an accident – not intentional.

Im not sure if we have things like this in our lives – where a tragic event occurred.  At some point with God’s help we somehow have to get over it.

what do you think?


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Blog Post #300 Changing your mind and ambition

A William James quote:  “The greatest discovery of my age is that men can change their circumstances by changing the attitude of their mind.”

And a quote from Donald Mitchell: “Ambition is the spur that makes man struggle with destiny.  It is heaven’s own incentive to make purpose great and achievement greater.

Let’s think about ambition and changing our minds together today.

We can be complacent – going day-after-day in the same fashion.  One foot in front of the other. Or we can be ambitious. We can look for opportunities and see where we might fit in.  

But, ambition requires us to change our minds to match the opportunities.

I was teaching high school math in Keokuk Iowa.  We had two children. My ambition came mostly from needs than just ambition.  We ran out of money before we ran out of the month. The last week of the month was “hold on, payday is coming”!!!  

So, how could a high school teacher make more money?  I could moonlight – take a second job. I could work in the summers.  I did like having my evenings at home with my family (Steve was two years old when I left Keokuk, and Becky was a baby).  

With my education, I (probably incorrectly) figured the next move on the education payroll was to be a principal (or, as assistant principal).  We saved and I started a master’s program in educational administration. I remember taking school law, school finance and a school psychology classes.  With this limited background, I opened my placement file and started to look for openings for assistant principals that might left me by without a full degree.  I found and applied for a position in Emmons MN – a small town near Albert Lea. I even got an interview – but no job. But, in that looking around, others found me in the placement files – most notably my undergraduate and master’s institution, Winona State University.  The chair of math called me in early August and ask if I would be interested in a one-year collegiate teaching position. I said ‘yes’.

I could have stayed a high school math teacher the rest of my life, but I have ambition (and financial need) to find something else that could make our lives better.  I changed my mind and focused on higher paying jobs and was ambitious to start a master’s program in educational administration.

Then more ambition, apply for a position in computing education – without a computing major?  Sure!! Move across the country to Oregon for a position? Sure!! Move back to the midwest for another position? Sure!!!  I kept moving up. Would I serve as acting Dean? Sure!!! Would I go back to school for a doctorate? Sure!!

Yes, I had to change my attitude many times and my ambition seemed to grow each time I moved up.  Where the promotion from instructor to assistant professor to associate professor to full professor would generally take 15 to 21 years (seven years at each step along the way), I went to full professor in 12 years (through the grateful patronage of a mentor).  I moved to a private institution, got great experiences (and a lot of money) and now am retired (with a great financial plan).

Where can changing YOUR attitude and having ambition get you to?  Do you have plans? Do you have a vision? Where can you go? How can you get there?

What do you think?  Can you do that? What do you want to do today?  Can you approach it with gusto and make it happen?  YES YOU CAN!!!

Have a great day!!



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Blog Post #299 Build that runway!!

Build that Runway!!!

A quote attributed to Amelia Earhart: “Some of us have great runways already built for us.  If you have one – take off! But if you don’t have one, realize it is your responsibility to grab a shovel and build one for yourself and for those who will follow after you.”

Most of you know that Amelia Earhart was a pioneer in aviation – and a great pioneer in women in aviation.  She never returned from a flight around the world. Some have speculated that her plane landed in some island and either crashed, the natives kept her there, or she decided to stay there.

But, back to her quote:

In my life, I had a runway that existed for me.  I got a great education, went to an existing university (University of Nebraska) and got a doctorate (PhD); got great positions and excelled.  The important part of my life – was not just having the runway, but TAKING OFF on the runway. I had opportunities and tried to make the most of my God given talents and the situation I was in.  

In today’s blog, I want to talk about building a runway.

At Dakota State University in 1984, the South Dakota Board of Regents changed the mission of Dakota State to be one of information systems and technology.  Yes, I was in the right place at the right time, and yes, I had some of the skills. I remember being at a working lunch with about five people (including the acting president of the university) and crafting a curriculum.  And, yes, I do fondly remember actually writing the curriculum on the back of napkins!!! It was truly from scratch – but based on knowledge and experience. While that current has been modified since then, many parts still exist.  We set up courses in programming, systems analysis, databases, project management, management information systems in businesses, and a capstone ‘put-it-all-together’ course. That with a solid business core and a solid general education core become one of the premier programs in the United States.  It also gave me an impetus to move out to stretch, to grow outside of my comfort zone.

This was building a runway that many have followed.  With my Facebook friends, I count many that are very successful.  At least four of my former students have gone on for doctorate degrees and are teaching at various institutions around the United States.  (If you will, the many graduates and students that I interacted with are kicking back into the system huge tax amounts – for schools, for governments.  But, beyond that they are kicking back into the community as boy and girl scout leaders, even politicians, a few judges, attorneys, CIO (Chief Information Officers) and more.  If you will, I might be at the tip of an iceberg with thousands that benefitted from my teaching. Now, understand that I am not bragging – these students did it themselves – with their God given talents too.  They got up in the morning, faced the day and achieved. But, I had at least a small part in motivating and encouraging them.

I hope my efforts will continue for many years to come, even though many will not know my name – but the leaders that these former students have become will touch the next generations, who will impact generations after them.

So a sleepy, teacher education institution became a high tech campus with great success – and I was part of that.

So, what do you think?  Can you picture yourself on the tip of an iceberg – encouraging others to reach out, build their own runways and make this world a better place?  I encourage you to invest in others!!

What do you think?  Can you do that? What do you want to do today?  Can you approach it with gusto and make it happen?  YES YOU CAN!!!

Have a great day!!



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