Saturday, August 12, 2017

He Is Talking About Me!

By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, August 10, 2017

I have become a reader/lover of all things written by Orison Swett Marden who wrote his books in the late 1890s early 1900s.  Most of his books deal with how to become successful and what holds most people back from achieving that objective. 

This book, Why Grow Old? is different.  As I began reading it I felt like Marden and I were sitting at a coffee shop enjoying a cup of coffee and then it his me – Oh My God (OMG), he is talking about and to me!  I am at a point in my life where he has described some of my thoughts.

Let’s first set the stage.  I am 72 years old.  I have a lot of physical issues that were created many years ago through my involvement in sporting activities.  I have had 9 surgeries just on my left knee.  I have had both shoulders repaired.  I have had cateract surgeries on both eyes.  Plus several other issues the latest of which is spinal stenosis of the lower back making it difficult to walk any distance without experience pain in my lower back and lower legs.  I have a lot of reasons to think about how I have grown old as Marden writes about in his book.

From the book on the opening pages, emphasis is mine:

“The face cannot betray the years until the mind has given its consent. The mind is the sculptor," "We renew our bodies by renewing our thoughts; change our bodies, our habits, by changing our thoughts." In those phrases, the author summarizes a way of living, full of self-healing and vitality.  In the end, we don’t need all the money in the world, if we lose our health and the joy of living.

Most of Marden’s books are about how to become successful through character building and thinking in a certain way.  As the above excerpt indicates, all the success in the world won’t mean very much if we lose our health and subsequently our capacity for enjoying our success and wealth or even prematurely die all due to ill health.  More importantly he talks about that when we think about growing old we then begin to act old in the way we dress and the activities we engage in or not engage in.  In other words we become the mental picture we have created of what an older person looks like and acts like.  But it need not be so!

Marden’s advice on growing old is quite simple and is in keeping with what a lot of other people have already said.  We become more of whatever it is we think about most.  Therefore if we think about growing old, we grow old.  If we think about sickness and ill health, we experience sickness and ill health.  On the reverse side of that thought process; if we think about success, we become successful.  If we think about great health and staying young we experience great health and we stay young.  BUT HE DOES NOT STOP WITH JUST THE THOUGHT.  He goes on to explain HOW science supports his believe in how to stay young in our looks, in how we act and the activities we engage in.  Young people reading this may think the book is not for them but they would be wrong.  Marden further explains that to be able to think in a certain way first requires  the knowledge behind the why that our thoughts are important and then suggests that we create the habit of thinking in a certain way.  The best time to begin this process is when we are young, not wait until we begin to grow older physically and mentally before we begin work on creating the correct mental thoughts.

It’s a short book, it’s a great book and best of all it costs only 99 cents on as a Kindle read.  In my opinion, the book is priceless!  For just 99 cents, what have you got to lose?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

To Help People Do What They Do

To Help People Do What They Do
To Do It Better!
By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, August 10, 2017

Do you have a Life Mission Statement?  If not why not?  What do you do?  Why do you do it?  If you can’t answer these basic questions, do you really know what you are doing and what your future holds; or not?  If you don’t know where you are going, without a plan you can get to a whole of places you may not want to go!

Several years ago I created a Life Mission Statement for me.  It is “To Help People Do What They Do, To Do It Better!”  It is that simple.  I felt my calling was to first learn things and then to take the things I have learned and offer that knowledge to others to help them “do what they do, to do it better.”  This Mission Statement has served me well over the years.

One of the “things” I discovered came from Joe Tye, my friend, teacher and mentor.  He calls it the Direction-Deflection-Questin or DDQ.  I have talked about it in several of the Nuggets for the Noggin I have written.  It is so simple to use but is one of the most effective tools you could ever have to achieve whatever it is you want to achieve.  You ask AND answer yourself a question.  In my case, it works like this:

Is what I am about to say, do or write
consistent with my desire to help people
to do what they do to do it better?

Then is becomes a matter of YES or NO.  If YES, I say, do or write it.  If NO, I don’t!

Look at another example - losing weight.  What would happen if your desire was to weigh 150 pounds but you currently weigh 180 pounds.  Meaning you have to lose 30 pounds to hit your goal.  What are you doing now to make that happen?  Is it working?  Try this question:

Is what I am about to eat or drink taking me to my ideal weight of 150 pounds?

If YES, eat or drink it.  If NO, don’t.  You will know if it is in your best interest.  If you want to lose 30 pounds, would you consider drinking a sugar infested soft drink as being in your best interest to hit your goal?  You know it is not so why drink it?  The trick is to keep the DDQ in front of you at all times so as not to forget when it matters most.

With that in mind, I write Nuggets for the Noggin.  For the most part they are one to three typed pages of information that people could use or at least think about.  Initially they were almost all related to sales and motivation.  After I retired in 2012, some of the Nuggets were more about whatever I was thinking at the time.

What am I think about today?  I am almost finished reading Orison Swett Marden’s book, Prosperity: How to Attract It.  What is so special about this book?  Thought you would never ask.

I have read a lot of books, well over 1000.  I do not tell you that to impress you but to emphasize that out of all the books I have read, Marden’s books are very special and therefore I want to tell you about them.  I have to keep reminding myself that Marden wrote his books back in the late 1890s through 1911.  What is so shocking to me is that as I read them, I can see the exact same subject matter in other books I have read over the years.  Occasionally these later books would make reference to Orison Swett Marden but not that much.  I looked him up by searching on Amazon and was shocked at the number of books he wrote.

I don’t recall which of the many books I read first but I can tell you that I was so impressed with one overriding thought that appeared in all of his books.  He wrote about events throughout history and how they related to the life and times of the 1890 – 1911.  I was shocked to discover that what he wrote about then, what he tried to teach was no different in his time than they are today.  All of his books talk about men and women becoming a success and just how that happens and more importantly how it affects the world for the good when people become self-sufficient and successful.  He also describes how the opposite of that is also true, how it adversely affects the lives and futures of those people who lie in wait of something better to happen to them and it rarely if ever does.

How is reading Marden’s books in keeping with my Mission Statement of helping people to do what they do, to do it better?  I can assure you that IF you or your children or their children want to be successful in life, they need to read what I have read – Orison Swett Marden’s books.  If you read one, you should be caught up in his writings and want to read more.  You can open any one of his many books to any page and you will see a paragraph, paragraphs, sentences or simple phrases that could be used as a quote that people would want to hear and remember.

If you take nothing else away from this Nugget, I want you to take away the thought of encouraging your children and by extension their children to read Marden but not only just read it, actually study it.  What are they doing right now in their early years that would set them up for a successful future and ultimately retirement in their later years.  I can honestly say that growing up in the 1950s no one ever talked to me about becoming a success.  About finding my passion.  About finding my vocation.  About setting out a course of action, a plan, to achieve whatever it was that I wanted to achieve.  Then in the 1960s as I graduated from High School and attended College, still no one came forth with suggestions or recommendations on a career path or planning for my future or how whatever I did could eventually change the world.

The lesson I learned late in life was that your children and their children “may” find that special person that will help them identify their passion and future career path but I am both afraid and certain that those mentors are few and far between.  If your children happen upon one they are indeed fortunate provided they learn to value what they have happened upon.  It has been my experience that most parents and their children fail to look upon people who have already done what they want to do as a source of tremendous value and expertise.  In fact that is one thing in my life that concerns me deeply.  It is impossible to read as much as I have read without acquiring a great deal of knowledge.  When I die, that knowledge dies with me except for the over 400 Nuggets for the Noggin like this one that will live on forever.  The Nuggets and the 3 books I have drafted will become my legacy but a legacy unto itself is useless unless people discover what I will be leaving behind and find some use for the Nuggets/Books.

The Lesson of THIS Nugget is to read Marden’s books and then get your children and their children to also read them.  They contain a tremendous amount of information on becoming a success where others have failed.  Time apparently has shown us nothing as his books have been around for over 100 years and his lessons are more true today than in his time.  It makes me ask the question, exactly what are our schools teaching our children if they are not teaching them how to become successful?

The following is a list of Marden’s book I have read.  I will continue to read the remainder of his books because they are hard to put down.  My biggest regret?  Finding them as I turned 70 years old.  They could have and most likely would have opened my mind and my future had I read them when I was 12 to 18 years old.  They are like a GPS system showing you where the next turn in your life is and that will eventually lead you to the destination you have chosen.  What more could you possibly ask for?  The list is in no specific order except for the first two.  Pushing to the Front is truly exceptional but long; as such unless you create a plan for your children to tackle the book just one chapter at a time, they may not want to read it all.  The second book may be the best book on which to start – Self Investment.  This is the book the emphasizes that everyone should create their own educational plan for success or in other words, Self-Help.  No one is going to do it for them, they MUST learn to create a plan for themselves.  First identify a long-range target for your life and then create a plan on just how you intend to get there.  It is no different than taking a trip where you plug in your final destination into your GPS system – your goal.  Then you fill up your gasoline tank (education) that will take you to your goal.  But just like the tank of gas in your car, you have to continually replenish the gas (education) otherwise you will stop dead in your tracks and your destination will never be achieved.  So here is the list of books available on the site where they can be found.  But wait…here is the best part.  Several of his books are FREE as a Kindle read and you can download Kindle to your smart phone, tablet, notebook, desktop or Kindle Reader for FREE as well.  The remainder of Marden’s books as Kindle reads are just 99 cents each.  They are worth far more than FREE or 99 cents but at that price there is no excuse for not looking into them – NONE!

Pushing to the Front
Self Investment
Cheerfulness as a Life Power
Eclectic School Readings; Stories from Life
Every Man a King
He Can Who Thinks He Can; How To Succeed
Hints for Young Writers
How They Succeeded; Life Stories of Successful Men Told by Themselves
How to Succeed, or Stepping Stones to Fame and Fortune
An Iron Will
The Joys of Living
The Miracle of Right Thought
Out of the Ashes; The Story of Orison Swett Marden
Selling Things
Prosperity; How to Attract It
The Victorious Attitude
The Wisdom of Orison Swett Marden


Wisdom and Empowerment
Be Good to Yourself
Masterful Personality
Character; the Greatest Thing in the World
How to Speak in Public
Thrift; How to Cultivate Self-Control and Achieve Strength of Character
Keeping Fit
Peace, Power and Plenty
The Secret of Achievement
Why Grow Old (I need this one!)
Not the Salary but the Opportunity
Making of a Man (Woman)
How To Get What You Want
The Crime of Silence
The Young Man Entering Business
Success Nuggets
The Hour of Opportunity
Making Life a Masterpiece
Rising in the World; or Architects of Faith
Ambition of Success
(There are even more)

SPECIAL NOTE:  Given the time in which these books were written, it was commonplace for speakers and writers to use the terms “man”, “men”, “boys” but they were used to reflect both men and women, boys and girls. For example, Making of a Man also refers to Making of a Woman.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Welcome Home!

Welcome Home!
By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, July 3, 2017

I have a story that may sound unbelievable yet I believe it to be true.  The story goes hand-in-hand with building a brand that people will remember.  So here goes, believe it or not; your call.

I have always taught that when marketing yourself in sales SHELF LIFE is critical.  For example, I see a lot of people not just in sales but in almost any business buy things like calendars (good for only 12 months); Mardi Gras Parade Schedules (good for only about 4 months); sporting scheduled (good for about 4 months); pens (good for only as long as it writes well and there is ink in the cartridge; most are simply put in a drawer never to see the light of day); kitchen utensils (what are you selling?  Real estate, cars, insurance, or cooking receipts?) Again they go into the drawer and maybe used but usually when the drawer becomes full, those things are typically the first thing to be trashed.  Meals!  Glad I did not forget meals as they are routinely given.  Do meals contain your name?  Do they scream that you are in the widget business?  What if the customer gets a bad meal?  It happens.  What will they remember as they hover over the thunder jug giving up what they just ate on your dime? I hope you get the point.  What do you intend your marketing products to do for you?  Hopefully you want them the recipient not only keep them but to also to think of you and WHAT YOU DO – FOREVER.

So I am on the prowl looking for something that screams real estate and when someone sees it they think of who gave it to them – ME!  But here is the rub.  The Internal Revenue Service rules and regulations written I think before George Washington, limited me at that time (about 20 years ago) to be able to deduct as a business expense of only $25.00 per customer.  To the IRS at that time the singular customer meant family not individual members in the family.  So what on Earth could I give to a customer that they would want to keep?  One that was not all that expensive to buy even if it was slightly over $25.00.  We are talking about making a large commission on the sale of their new home.  $25.00 does not sound like much and today it is peanuts.  I don’t know what the IRS limit is in 2017.

I’ll know it when I see it.  See it I did.  A local picture framing/sales store only a block from my house bought a large number of thank you cards that featured pen and ink drawings of sights peculiar to our town where most if not all of my sales occurred.  Thank you cards by themselves would make a great gift but once gone; then what?  The owners were creative.  They cut the cards in two where they had a card that was about 4” x 6”.  Then they set them on a colored background in groups of three cards one above the other.  I was able to get creative when I ordered the product because I knew what the dominant color in the home was and could change the background accordingly.  Brilliant; right?  Then they framed them.  The finished product was beautiful and here comes the good part, they sold them for only $29.95.  What a deal.  But will a customer remember me if they keep the framed cards?  Maybe but then maybe not.  So what could I do to remind them of me every time they see the framed cards hanging on their wall?  Go it.  I will write something on the back.  The frame shop used the brown heavy paper you see on the back of framed prints and I could write on that.  But what could I write that would be worth keeping and remembering?  What would you write?  Thank you for the business?  Nope; not my style.  Call it corny if you want but I wrote a poem and then signed the bottom.  The poem…….

Welcome Home

Shutters, shingles, wood and boards,
In themselves they are nothing,
Yet when combined with love,
They form the essence of a house.

A house so proudly standing empty and alone.
It protects, it shelters,
Sometimes it looks good,
Sometimes it looks bad,
Yet through the years, it remains a house.

Not until you add the people, families, friends and events;
And all the furnishings, special moments and personal touches;
Then add all the good times and even the bad;
Suddenly the house has become your home.

Move away and the home once again becomes a house.
And your NEW house has become your HOME.
Although time tends to widen the two;
Memories will forever keep your old house a home.

Welcome Home!

Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown

I have been in homes that I have sold years earlier and there it is, hanging proudly on their wall; my three Slidell, Louisiana pen and ink cards and you guess it, my poem on the back.  What would you do with a gift like this?  Throw it out?  I seriously doubt it.  Would you remember it and hopefully me whenever you see it?  Probably and that’s my point.  It is all about the shelf-life of the item you are giving as a gift.  This one lasts years and years and I’ll take that every time.

But as Paul Harvey use to say, now for the rest of the story.  One family I gave the frame to proudly hung it on their wall.  Years later they moved out of the area.  It was then I received a call that asked if I remember giving it to her and I said absolutely I did.  Then she told me the most remarkable story.  She was touched by the poem and wanted to frame it separately from the three card prints.  She cut it out and took it to a local framer and this is where the story gets really weird.  She said the framer was working with it and she was so touched she began to cry and her tears dropped onto the brown paper staining it.  So they got creative and burnt the edges and then framed it.  I have not seen it but I bet it looks good.

For the record, the poem was written with a magic marker in long hand or if you prefer cursive (sadly some schools don’t even teach it any more).  And there you have it – one for the book of life.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

It COULD Happen to You!

It COULD Happen to YOU!
I Hope NOT!
By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, June 24, 2017

Background.  I tell this story not to seek sympathy but to give credence to this Nugget based upon actual experience. Until March 2016 I had experienced 5 left knee surgeries with the 5th being a total left knee replacement in 1998.  The knee was so bad that I was permanently retired from the U. S. Coast Guard in 1985 because of it.  Then in March 2016 the knee replacement just quit working properly – it had totally worn out (doctor’s words).  The knee was replaced again in March 2016.

All went well for about 6 months.  Then I noticed that the knee felt like it was giving way; not often, but often enough to cause me to constantly be aware of it.  Then in March 2017 I met with my surgeon and demonstrated how much the knee was giving way and how I could make it “click” in and out of its proper position.  The diagnosis – it needed a larger spacer inserted between the two major replacement parts of the knee.  The surgery was done in March 2017.

As always, I signed all the documents put in front of me without reading them because I pretty much knew what they said and I also knew I needed the surgery.  If I elected NOT to sign the documents, I would NOT have the surgery and the knee would gradually become worse and eventually adversely affect my qualify of life far worse than it already had.  I signed the documents one of which laid out all the various possibilities that could go wrong with the surgery including having the surgical site becoming infected.

To me, having surgery was similar in results to driving a car, flying in a plane, bungie jumping, sky diving, etc.  Accidents always happened to other people, surely they would not happen to me.  (I did not bungie jump or sky dive.)  Signing the papers was a mere formality to achieve a certain result; a better knee.

I had the surgery to insert the larger spacer and at first all seemed to have gone well.  The first indication that something wasn’t quite right was that the incision would not stop bleeding.  At first it was obviously blood but as the leakage continued, the discharge turned pink then clear and would not stop.  The surgeon became very concerned and re-admitted me for a second surgery, this one to “wash” out the left knee and that was done.  But while in the wound area the surgeon took cultures and they came back positive for infection.

Back into surgery I went for a third time in about 3 weeks.  This time the surgeon removed the enlarged spacer and inserted a spacer that contained antibiotics to fight the infection PLUS a new procedure where he literally packed the knee cavity with “beads” that contained antibiotics.  He later told me that it took special approval by the hospital because it was a very new and expensive procedure. 

I was then seen by an Infectious Disease Doctor.  Just the title, Infectious Disease Doctor, is discomforting.  She said she was putting me on a daily drip of antibiotics for the next 6 weeks.  I could not imagine having an IV inserted every day for 6 weeks and that is when I was introduced to a PICC Line.  Instead of explaining it, here is how the Internet describes it:

A PICC line is a thin, soft, long catheter (tube) that is inserted into a vein in the patient’s arm, leg or neck. The tip of the catheter is positioned in a large vein that carries blood into the heart. The PICC line is used for long-term intravenous (IV) antibiotics, nutrition or medications, and for blood draws.

The PICC Line was inserted into my left bicep and has two protruding extensions that hang from my arm.  While I am constantly aware they exist, they really present no problem other than the nuisance factor – plus I could NOT get them wet meaning no showers for six weeks.  Every day I would go to the Infusion Center at the hospital and sit while an antibiotic drip was downloaded into my body.  When the PICC Line is removed next week, I will go on a very strong oral antibiotic medication taken twice a day for 3 to 6 months.  During that time I will also be giving blood samples from which they can monitor the infection or in my case, I hope the lack of infection.

How did all this infection happen?  No one knows for certain.  The surgeon explained that he took extra precautions for all his surgeries including taping the door to the operating room to prevent contaminated air from entering the room.

What I discovered is that the number of patients acquiring infections after surgeries is not all that uncommon.  The remedies for contracting an infection is time consuming, costly and some have adverse reactions to the strong antibiotics given to fight the infections.


First, take the warnings given prior to surgery very seriously.  Weigh the adverse possibilities against the need for the surgical procedure.  For example, I see people having surgeries to improve their looks.  Is that a procedure that is needed or one that is simply desired; there is a significant difference.  All surgeries no matter how slight or how severe all carry the same adverse possibilities.  Just be aware of these possibilities and choose wisely.

Second, I was surprised when I entered the Infusion Center for my daily antibiotic drip.  The area was huge with several rows of recliner type chairs and on any given day at least 12 or more nurses who specialize in drips of all kinds.  I say all kinds because this is the area where people with cancers receive their chemo therapy drips.  Some of those drips take hours to administer.  In my case the antibiotic drip last only 30 minutes at each daily sitting.  Think about this for a moment.  This is more about gratitude and giving thanks for what you have.  As I see the patients of all ages receiving their “drips”, I could not help but think of my own ignorance as to the number of people who are experiencing health issues EVERY DAY and how serious those issues actually are including my own knee infection.  An infection of any kind can prove to be devastating if not properly taken care of.  In my case, the infection can actually eat away at the metal parts of my knee replacement and that would or could result in having another total knee replacement (#3) done on the same knee.  Then you open yourself up to the same serious issues including infections you expose yourself to with any surgery.

The town where I live is a small town by most standards; less than 30,000 living within its city limits.  There may be 60,000 within a 25 mile radius.  When you see the number of people having procedures done just within the Infusion Center, it is shocking, at least to me.  Remember, I was there only 30 minutes a day.  The Center is open 8 hours a day 5 days a week (the hospital does the work on weekends).  I have seen as many as 25 people waiting to be seen at the Center.


Be grateful for your health and take steps to do your best to insure you keep your health.  In that regard I am very saddened when I see the number of people being treated at the Infusion Center and while I did not specifically ask the question, I am certain that a lot of those patients were smokers.  The dangers of smoking are well known and well advertised yet people still smoke.  Now in addition to smoking cigarettes we have more and more people smoking pot and the results of either or both types of smoking will most assuredly lead to those smokers experiencing the treatment at Centers like the one I frequented for a knee infection.

Here is the most important fact of this Nugget.  I witnessed many healthcare professionals and they all showed that they deeply cared about not only my condition and treatment but the care and treatment for everyone in the Center.  For the most part these professionals go about their daily work with little praise or even recognition.  The next time you see a nurse, doctor, or medical technician, express your gratitude by appreciating what they do and how well they do it.

Suggestion.  Whenever a friend or family member is admitted inpatient to a hospital the natural tendency is to go to the hospital to see them and wish them well.  Given my story about the infected knee, think about what you are doing.  While I was inpatient, there were numerous nurses, doctors, technicians, food service people, janitorial service people, and people from local churches who wanted to say a prayer for or with me.  Then there are your family members and friends who come to visit.  Every one of these people have the ability to bring bacteria into your hospital room; everyone!  Granted some of these people take extra efforts to properly clean their hands each time they enter your room.  But what do family and friends do to insure they do not bring the unwanted bacteria guest into your hospital room?  Plus they naturally want to give you a hug, shake your hand and/or kiss you.  I cannot speak for you but these are the thoughts of someone sitting in an Infusion Center watching the slow drip of an antibiotic into my body and the same for the numerous other patients receiving drips as I sat there.  It is definitely something to think about is it not?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Hospital Care and Buying a Home

Hospital Care and Buying a Home
By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, June 20, 2017

What is so similar between receiving Hospital Care and Buying a Home?  So glad you asked.

Based upon my over 30 years in the real estate business, I can assure you that most, probably in the 99% range, of home buyers sit at the closing table and simply sign their name to the volumes of paperwork that the closing attorney puts in front of them.  In fact in all those years, I had only one buyer ever take the time to actually read the documents.  The result of that?  The closing, which usually takes less than 1 hour, took over 6 hours to complete.  Now for the rest of that story.

In sales you are suppose to create relationships that hopefully will help you with future sales regarding their friends and family.  After that one closing I swore I would not keep in touch with the buyers as I never wanted to see them again.  Then about 2 years later I get a call from the wife and she said the home across the street from their home was up for sale and that her husband, who read all the forms, said he would never do a real estate transaction without me.  Go figure.  I must have done something right.

One closing attorney put it best to the home buyers:  “You will be asked to sign a lot of paperwork.  If any of the terms and conditions turn out to be in your favor, you can consider that a mistake.  If you want the home, signature on the paperwork is required and there are rarely if any alternatives to signing all of the paperwork.  Do you want the home?”

Can’t get any more clear than that.  If you want the home, sign the papers!  And the attorney was absolutely correct.  Rarely if ever are any of the terms and conditions going to be in the home buyer’s best interest, it just does not happen.  Again, if you want the home, you sign the papers.

I have recently had some issues that required surgery, 3 surgeries in about 3 weeks to be exact.  It involved a knee replacement I had done in March 2016 that needed adjustment.  The adjustment became infected and two more surgeries were required plus 6 weeks of antibiotic daily drips plus a visit to the Wound Doctor because the incision was not healing properly. 

Before any doctor and even some nurses would see me and/or work on me, they would ask me to sign documents, lots of documents; sound familiar?  Was I actually going to read all the documents I signed?  The question is also the same as buying a home, do you want the treatment or not.  If you do, sign the papers.  If you do not, thank you very much, NEXT!

The papers that were presented to me before each surgery had all types of conditions and concerns.  One such paper was a warning of all the things that could go wrong during or immediately after surgery.  One of which was that the area of the surgery, my left knee, could become infected; infections happen and they happen more than anyone is probably willing to tell you.  So when a friend asked if I was going to sue anyone because of the infection, I responded, what good would it do?  I signed a paper acknowledging that an infection at the site was quite possible.  The surgeon explained all the precautions he took including taping the door to the surgery room to prevent outside air from contaminating the area.

At the end of the day (I hate that phrase but it fits) if you want the home or if you want the surgical procedure whatever that may be, you must sign the papers.  Should you read them all?  Probably.  Will you, absolutely not!  In buying a home you probably do have a choice like buying it or walking away from the deal when you don’t like the terms and conditions provided your Agreement to Purchase permits that to happen.  But when it comes to your health, what options do you really have?  You either have the procedure and hopefully get better or you learn to live with whatever the problem is.  It truly comes down to sign the papers or not; receive the procedure or not.  Buying a home, having a procedure, it is your call, choose wisely.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Mother's Day May 2017

On this Mother's Day 2017, I thought it very fitting to post a chapter from Orison Swett Marden's book, Pushing to the Front where he wrote on the importance of mothers.  Additional words are simply not necessary except that keep in mind this was written in the late 1890s, early 1900s and the reference to "man" is gender neutral as it was in language and writing of that period in our history.

Pushing to the Front
Orison Swett Marden

"All that I am or hope to be," said Lincoln, after he had become President, "I owe to my angel mother." "My mother was the making of me," said Thomas Edison, recently. "She was so true, so sure of me; and I felt that I had someone to live for; someone I must not disappoint." "All that I have ever accomplished in life," declared Dwight L. Moody, the great evangelist, "I owe to my mother." "To the man who has had a good mother, all women are sacred for her sake," said Jean Paul Richter.

The testimony of great men in acknowledgment of the boundless debt they owe to their mothers would make a record stretching from the dawn of history to today. Few men, indeed, become great who do not owe their greatness to a mother's love and inspiration. How often we hear people in every walk of life say, "I never could have done this thing but for my mother. She believed in me, encouraged me when others saw nothing in me." "A kiss from my mother made me a painter," said Benjamin West. A distinguished man of today says: "I never could have reached my present position had I not known that my mother expected me to reach it. From a child she made me feel that this was the position she expected me to fill; and her faith spurred me on and gave me the power to attain it."

Everything that a man has and is he owes to his mother. From her he gets health, brain, encouragement, moral character, and all his chances of success. "In the shadow of every great man's fame walks his mother," says Dorothy Dix. "She has paid the price of his success. She went down into the Valley of the Shadow to give him life, and every day for years and years thereafter she toiled incessantly to push him on toward his goal. "She gave the labor of her hands for his support; she poured into him ambition when he grew discouraged; she supplemented his weakness with her strength; she filled him with her hope and faith when his own failed. "At last he did the Big Thing, and people praised him, and acclaimed him, and nobody thought of the quiet, insignificant little woman in the background, who had been the real power behind the throne. Sometimes even the king himself forgets who was the kingmaker."

Many a man is enjoying a fame which is really due to a self-effacing, sacrificing mother. People hurrah for the governor, or mayor, or congressman, but the real secret of his success is often tucked away in that little unknown, unappreciated, unheralded mother. His education and his chance to rise may have been due to her sacrifices. It is a strange fact that our mothers, the molders of the world, should get so little credit and should be so seldom mentioned among the world's achievers. The world sees only the successful son; the mother is but a round in the ladder upon which he has climbed. Her name or face is seldom seen in the papers; only her son is lauded and held up to our admiration. Yet it was that sweet, pathetic figure in the background that made his success possible. The woman who merits the greatest fame is the woman who gives a brilliant mind to the world. The mothers of great men and women deserve just as much honor as the great men and women themselves, and they will receive it from the better understanding of the coming days. "A wife may do much toward polishing up a man and boosting him up the ladder, but unless his mother first gave him the intellect to scintillate and the muscles to climb with, the wife labors in vain," continues Dorothy Dix, in the Evening Journal. "You cannot make a clod shine. You cannot make a mollusk aspire. You must have the material to work with, to produce results.

"By the time a man is married his character is formed, and he changes very little. His mother has made him; and no matter how hard she tries, there is very little that his wife can do toward altering him. "It is not the philosophies, the theories, the code of ethics that a man acquires in his older years that really influence him. It is the things that he learned at his mother's knee, the principles that she instilled in him in his very cradle, the taste and habits that she formed, the strength and courage that she breathed into him. "It is the childish impressions that count. It is the memory of whispered prayers, of bedtime stories, of old ideals held unfalteringly before a boy's gaze; it is half-forgotten songs, and dim visions of heroes that a mother taught her child to worship, that make the very warp and woof of the soul. "It is the pennies, that a mother teaches a boy to save and the self-denial that she inculcates in doing it, that form the real foundation of the fortune of the millionaire. "It is the mother that loves books, and who gives her sons her love of learning, who bestows the great scholars, the writers, and orators, on the world. "It is the mother that worships science, who turns the eyes of the child upon her breast up to the wonder of the stars, and who teaches the little toddler at her side to observe the marvel of beast, and bird, and flower, and all created things, whose sons become the great astronomers and naturalists, and biologists."

The very atmosphere that radiates from and surrounds the mother is the inspiration and constitutes the holy of holies of family life. "In my mother's presence," said a prominent man, "I become for the time transformed into another person." How many of us have felt the truth of this statement! How ashamed we feel when we meet her eyes, that we have ever harbored an unholy thought, or dishonorable suggestion! It seems impossible to do wrong while under that magic influence. What revengeful plans, what thoughts of hatred and jealousy, have been scattered to the four winds while in the mother's presence! Her children go out from communion with her resolved to be better men, nobler women, truer citizens. "How many of us have stood and watched with admiration the returning victor of some petty battle, cheering until we were hoarse, exhausting ourselves with the vehemence of our enthusiasm," says a writer, "when right beside us, possibly touching our hand, was one greater than he? One whose battle has not been petty—whose conflict has not been of short duration, but has for us fought many a severe fight. "When we had the scarlet fever or diphtheria and not one would come near us, who held the cup of cold water to our fever-parched lips? Who bent over us day and night and fought away with almost supernatural strength the greatest of all enemies—death? The world's greatest heroine—Mother! Who is it that each Sunday dinner-time chose the neck of the chicken that we might have the juicy wing or breast or leg? Who is it stays home from the concert, the social, the play, that we may go with the others and not be stinted for small change? Who is it crucifies her love of pretty clothes, her desire for good things, her longing for pleasure that we may have all these? Who is it? Mother!"

The greatest heroine in the world is the mother. No one else makes such sacrifices, or endures anything like the suffering that she uncomplainingly endures for her children. What is the giving of one's life in battle or in a wreck at sea to save another, in comparison with the perpetual sacrifice of many mothers of a living death lasting for half a century or more? How the world's heroes dwindle in comparison with the mother heroine! There is no one in the average family, the value of whose services begins to compare with those of the mother, and yet there is no one who is more generally neglected or taken advantage of. She must remain at home evenings, and look after the children, when the others are out having a good time. Her cares never cease. She is responsible for the housework, for the preparation of meals; she has the children's clothes to make or mend, there is company to be entertained, darning to be done, and a score of little duties which must often be attended to at odd moments, snatched from her busy days, and she is often up working at night, long after everyone else in the house is asleep. No matter how loving or thoughtful the father may be, the heavier burdens, the greater anxieties, the weightier responsibilities of the home, of the children, usually fall on the mother. Indeed, the very virtues of the good mother are a constant temptation to the other members of the family, especially the selfish ones, to take advantage of her. They seem to take it for granted that they can put all their burdens on the patient, uncomplaining mother; that she will always do anything to help out, and to enable the children to have a good time; and in many homes, sad to say, the mother, just because of her goodness, is shamefully imposed upon and neglected. "Oh, mother won't mind, mother will stay at home." How often we hear remarks like this from thoughtless children! It is always the poor mother on whom the burden falls; and the pathetic thing is that she rarely gets much credit or praise. Many mothers in the poor and working classes practically sacrifice all that most people hold dearest in life for their children. They deliberately impair their health, wear themselves out, make all sorts of sacrifices, to send a worthless boy to college. They take in washing, go out house-cleaning, do the hardest and most menial work, in order to give their boys and girls an education and the benefit of priceless opportunities that they never had; yet, how often, they are rewarded only with total indifference and neglect!

Some time ago I heard of a young girl, beautiful, gay, full of spirit and vigor, who married and had four children. Her husband died penniless, and the mother made the most heroic efforts to educate the children. By dint of unremitting toil and unheard of sacrifices and privations she succeeded in sending the boys to college and the girls to a boarding-school. When they came home, pretty, refined girls and strong young men, abreast with all the new ideas and tastes of their times, she was a worn-out, commonplace old woman. They had their own pursuits and companions. She lingered unappreciated among them for two or three years, and then died, of some sudden failure of the brain. The shock of her fatal illness woke them to consciousness of the truth. They hung over her, as she lay prostrate, in an agony of grief. The oldest son, as he held her in his arms, cried: "You have been a good mother to us!" Her face brightened, her eyes kindled into a smile, and she whispered: "You never said so before, John." Then the light died out, and she was gone.

Many men spend more money on expensive caskets, flowers, and emblems of mourning than they ever spent on their poor, loving, self-sacrificing mothers for many years while alive. Men who, perhaps, never thought of carrying flowers to their mothers in life, pile them high on their coffins. Who can ever depict the tragedies that have been enacted in the hearts of American mothers, who have suffered untold tortures from neglect, indifference, and lack of appreciation? What a pathetic story of neglect many a mother's letters from her grown-up children could tell! A few scraggy lines, a few sentences now and then, hurriedly written and mailed—often to ease a troubled conscience—mere apologies for letters, which chill the mother heart.

I know men who owe their success in life to their mother; who have become prosperous and influential, because of the splendid training of the self-sacrificing mother, and whose education was secured at an inestimable cost to her, and yet they seldom think of carrying to her flowers, confectionery, or little delicacies, or of taking her to a place of amusement, or of giving her a vacation or bestowing upon her any of the little attentions and favors so dear to a woman's heart. They seem to think she is past the age for these things, that she no longer cares for them, that about all she expects is enough to eat and drink, and the simplest kind of raiment. These men do not know the feminine heart which never changes in these respects, except to grow more appreciative of the little attentions, the little considerations, and thoughtful acts which meant so much to them in their younger days.

Not long ago I heard a mother, whose sufferings and sacrifices for her children during a long and trying struggle with poverty should have given her a monument, say, that she guessed she'd better go to an old ladies' home and end her days there. What a picture that was! An aged woman with white hair and a sweet, beautiful face; with a wonderful light in her eye; calm, serene, and patient, yet dignified, whose children, all of whom are married and successful, made her feel as if she were a burden! They live in luxurious homes, but have never offered to provide a home for the poor, old rheumatic mother, who for so many years slaved for them. They put their own homes, stocks, and other property in their wives' names, and while they pay the rent of their mother's meagerly furnished rooms and provide for her actual needs, they apparently never think what joy it would give her to own her own home, and to possess some pretty furnishings, and a few pictures.

In many cases men through thoughtlessness do not provide generously for their mothers even when well able to. They seem to think that a mother can live most anywhere, and most anyway; that if she has enough to supply her necessities she is satisfied. Just think, you prosperous business men, how you would feel if the conditions were reversed, if you were obliged to take the dependent, humiliating position of your mother! Whatever else you are obliged to neglect, take no chances of giving your mother pain by neglecting her, and of thus making yourself miserable in the future. The time may come when you will stand by her bedside, in her last sickness, or by her coffin, and wish that you had exchanged a little of your money for more visits and more attentions and more little presents to your mother; when you will wish that you had cultivated her more, even at the cost of making a little less money.
There is no one else in this world who can take your mother's place in your life. And there is no remorse like that which comes from the remembrance of ill-treating, abusing, or being unkind to one's mother. These things stand out with awful vividness and terrible clearness when the mother is gone forever from sight, and you have time to contrast your treatment with her long suffering, tenderness, and love, and her years of sacrifice for you.

One of the most painful things I have ever witnessed was the anguish of a son who had become wealthy and in his prosperity neglected the mother, whose sacrifices alone had made his success possible. He did not take the time to write to her more than twice a year, and then only brief letters. He was too busy to send a good long letter to the poor old lonely mother back in the country, who had risked her life and toiled and sacrificed for years for him! Finally, when he was summoned to her bedside in the country, in her last sickness, and realized that his mother had been for years without the ordinary comforts of life, while he had been living in luxury, he broke down completely. And while he did everything possible to alleviate her suffering, in the few last days that remained to her on earth, and gave her an imposing burial, what torture he must have suffered, at this pitiful picture of his mother who had sacrificed everything for him! "The regrets for thoughtless acts and indifference to admonitions now felt and expressed by many living sons of dead mothers will, in time, be felt and expressed by the living sons of living mothers," says Richard L. Metcalfe, in the "Commoner." "The boys of to-day who do not understand the value of the mother's companionship will yet sing—with those who already know—this song of tribute and regret: "'The hours I spent with thee, dear heart, Are as a string of pearls to me; I count them over, every one apart, My rosary. "'Each hour a pearl, each pearl a prayer, To still a heart in absence wrung; I tell each bead unto the end, and there A cross is hung. "'O memories that bless—and burn! Oh mighty gain and bitter loss! I kiss each bead and strive at last to learn To kiss the cross, Sweet heart, To kiss the cross.'"

No man worthy of the name ever neglects or forgets his mother. I have an acquaintance, of very poor parentage, who had a hard struggle to get a start in the world; but when he became prosperous and built his beautiful home, he finished a suite of rooms in it especially for his mother, furnished them with all conveniences and comforts possible, and insisted upon keeping a maid specially for her. Although she lives with her son's family, she is made to feel that this part of the great home is her own, and that she is as independent as though she lived in her own house. Every son should be ambitious to see his mother as well provided for as his wife. Really great men have always reverenced and cared tenderly for their mothers. President McKinley provided in his will that, first of all, his mother should be made comfortable for life. The first act of Garfield, after he was inaugurated President, was to kiss his aged mother, who sat near him, and who said this was the proudest and happiest moment of her life. Ex-President Loubet of France, even after his elevation to the presidency, took great pride in visiting his mother, who was a humble market gardener in a little French village. A writer on one occasion, describing a meeting between this mother and her son, says: "Her noted son awaited her in the market-place, as she drove up in her little cart loaded with vegetables. Assisting his mother to alight, the French President gave her his arm and escorted her to her accustomed seat. Then holding over her a large umbrella, to shield her from the threatening weather, he seated himself at her side, and mother and son enjoyed a long talk together."

I once saw a splendid young college graduate introduce his poor, plainly dressed old mother to his classmates with as much pride and dignity as though she was a queen. Her form was bent, her hands were calloused, she was prematurely old, and much of this deterioration was caused by all sorts of drudgery to help her boy to pay his college expenses. I have seen other college men whose mothers had made similar sacrifices, and who were ashamed to have them attend their graduating exercises, ashamed to introduce them to their classmates. Think of the humiliation and suffering of the slave mother, who has given all the best of her life to a large family, battling with poverty in her efforts to dignify her little home, and to give her children an education, when she realizes that she is losing ground intellectually, yet has no time or strength for reading, or self-culture, no opportunity for broadening her mental outlook by traveling or mingling with the world! But this is nothing compared to the anguish she endures, when, after the flower of her youth is gone and there is nothing left of her but the ashes of a burned-out existence, the shreds of a former superb womanhood, she awakes to the consciousness that her children are ashamed of her ignorance and desire to keep her in the background.

From babyhood children should be taught to look up to, not down on their mother. For that reason she should never appear before them in slovenly raiment, nor conduct herself in any way that would lessen their respect. She should keep up her intellectual culture that they may not advance beyond her understanding and sympathies. No matter how callous or ungrateful a son may be, no matter how low he may sink in vice or crime, he is always sure of his mother's love, always sure of one who will follow him even to his grave, if she is alive and can get there; of one who will cling to him when all others have fled.

It is forever true, as Kipling poignantly expresses it in his beautiful verses on "Mother Love":

"If I were hanged on highest hill,
Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!
I know whose love would follow still,
Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!
If I were drowned in the deepest sea,
Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!
I know whose tears would come down to me,
Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!
If I were cursed of body and soul,
Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!
I know whose prayer's would make me whole!
Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!"

One of the saddest sights I have ever seen was that of a poor, old, broken-down mother, whose life had been poured into her children, making a long journey to the penitentiary to visit her boy, who had been abandoned by everybody but herself. Poor old mother! It did not matter that he was a criminal, that he had disgraced his family, that everybody else had forsaken him, that he had been unkind to her—the mother's heart went out to him just the same. She did not see the hideous human wreck that crime had made. She saw only her darling boy, the child that God had given her, pure and innocent as in his childhood. Oh, there is no other human love like this, which follows the child from the cradle to the grave, never once abandons, never once forsakes him, no matter how unfortunate or degenerate he may become.

"So your best girl is dead," sneeringly said a New York magistrate to a young man who was arrested for attempting suicide. "Who was she?" Without raising his eyes, the unfortunate victim burst into tears and replied, "She was my mother!" The smile vanished from the magistrate's face and, with tears in his eyes, he said, "Young man, go and try to be a good man, for your mother's sake." How little we realize what tragedy may be going on in the hearts of those whom we sneeringly condemn!

What movement set on foot in recent years, deserves heartier support than that for the establishment of a national Mothers' Day? The day set apart as Mothers' Day by those who have inaugurated this movement is the second Sunday in May. Let us unite in doing all we can to make it a real Mothers' Day, by especially honoring our mothers; in the flesh, those of us who are so fortunate as to have our mothers with us; in the spirit, those who are not so fortunate. If away from her, write a good, loving letter, or telephone or telegraph to the best mother who ever lived—your mother. Send her some flowers, an appropriate present; go and spend the day with her, or in some other way make her heart glad. Show her that you appreciate her, and that you give her credit for a large part of your success. Let us do all we can to make up for past neglect of the little-known, half-appreciated, unheralded mothers who have had so little credit in the past, and are so seldom mentioned among the world's achievers, by openly, and especially in our hearts, paying our own mothers every tribute of honor, respect, devotion, and gratitude that love and a sense of duty can suggest. Let us acknowledge to the world the great debt we owe them by wearing, every one of us, boy and girl, man and woman, on Mothers' Day, a white carnation—the flower chosen as the symbol and emblem of motherhood. Happily chosen emblem! What could more fittingly represent motherhood with its whiteness symbolizing purity; its lasting qualities, faithfulness; its fragrance, love; its wide field of growth, charity; its form, beauty! What an impressive and beautiful tribute to motherhood it would be for a whole nation to unite one day in wearing its chosen emblem, and in song and speech, and other appropriate exercises, to honor its mothers!