August 21, 2012

American Pride

READY “We did a recent survey and two out of three Americans don’t know the words to the National Anthem.” ~ Vanessa Mason

AIM… The summer Olympics are over for another four years.  Certainly, most of you watched at least some of the highlights either on television or the internet.  America can be proud of the incredible athletes who represented our country and gave every ounce of their best effort to showcase their God-given talents to the world.  My simple question is this: “Why don’t the American athletes, at least the majority of them, put their hand over their heart and sing our National Anthem as our flag is being raised in honor of their success?”  One must ask oneself, do those athletes not know the words to our country’s beloved song?  Does it not have meaning deep down in their hearts?  Perhaps each one is so overcome with emotion that simply singing the words would invoke a teary breakdown?  I know I got choked up myself watching the Americans win gold medals in several events and I was simply at home, on my couch, watching the televised rebroadcast.  Later I thought, maybe it’s disrespectful to sing the anthem out loud at an event of such prestige.  But that theory was busted this past week at my son’s 7th grade football “Meet the Team Night”. No one in the stands sang the national anthem as the American flag was raised to a place of honor before the event and very few people had hands over their hearts. Pitiful.  Yes, gentlemen did remove their hats, but it was still pitiful.  Sadly, I must admit, as I began to sing and realized that no one else was singing, I quietly lowered my voice to a mere whisper and felt guilty that I didn’t have the courage to sing out loud and proud.  I AM proud to be an American and I KNOW we are free as a direct result of the strength of the men and women who fought through the “bombs bursting in air that our flag might still wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

So please, if there is anyone out there who just might have an answer as to why Americans are thrilled to stand up for our country at athletic events as a spectator or a participant but just can’t bring themselves to sing our anthem on the podium or in the stands, I would really love to know.

FIRE!   Fall sports have begun.  Many of you will attend a sporting event either through a local school or for a professional team.  When the American flag is raised and you are called to your feet to stand in respect, don’t be ashamed to put your hand over your heart and sing the words that represent true American pride.  Perhaps the person next to you just needs a singing partner to pay homage to our great country as well.

Be Excellent!

August 7, 2012

The Mess Of Stress

READY “Stressed spelled backwards is desserts.  Coincidence??  I think not!” ~ Author Unknown

AIM… Stress comes in many forms.  While you may feel stressed about a situation in your life, the person standing beside you may feel stressed for another reason.  There’s job stress, family stress, financial stress, relationship stress, health and wellness stress, educational stress and those are just the big categories.  Stress is wrecking havoc on our bodies, physically and emotionally.  Overall, the expectations we put on ourselves and that we allow others to lay upon us are often unrealistic and because of this, the only outcome is anxiety and stress.  We can do ourselves a favor and put our stresses in proper perspective.  Each one of us needs to re-evaluate our expectations and commitments so we can better manage our lives and the outside influences that add to our stress levels.  While our family was on vacation this summer, one of the restaurants we ate in had a list of 35 Sure Fire Stress Reducers posted in their establishment.  What great advice it shares for all of us to follow.  Here are a few of my favorites:

“Simplify and unclutter your life.”

“Say ‘no’ to projects that won’t fit into your time schedule, or that will compromise your mental health.”

“Separate worries from concerns.  If a situation is a concern, do what you can do and let go of the anxiety.  If you can’t do anything about a situation, forget it.”

“K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut.)  This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.”

“Everyday find time to be alone.”

“Make friends with happy, non-stressed people.”


“Laugh some more!”

“You no longer have to keep up with the Joneses…They’ve died of exhaustion.”

“Talk less and listen more.”

FIRE!   Instead of grabbing a high fat, late night snack or piece of chocolate to deal with your stress, try going to bed a little earlier.  Remember, the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good night’s sleep. 

Be Excellent!