A Tribute To Al Best!

A good friend and co-worker of mine lost his battle to cancer in the early hours of Tuesday morning.  Al Best!  He didn’t garner national media attention trying to save the world like Bono of U2, but he made the world a better place for the people who were priviledged enough to know and love him.

I don’t know if I have ever met anyone with a sense of humor like Al Best!  Some Al-isms… “I’m so hungry, my gut thinks my throat is cut” is the first one that comes to my mind;  And on Tuesday when I didn’t think it was possible to smile, his good friend Todd Goodyear texted me with that saying, and Todd, you made me smile.  Thank you.  Another one of my favorites “There’s a big difference between scratching your ass and tearing a piece out of it”.   Al put everything into perspective very simply, and didn’t stress about too much.

He was a man who loved his family so much and they came first.  That was one of the great qualities about this human being.  One of them… Because there were many more.  One of the greatest gifts he gave the world is that everyone who came in contact with Al, left with a smile on their face.  How many people can say that about another person.

My thoughts and prayers and love go out to all his family and friends.  Al Best, it was an honour to know you.


The Audacity of Hope

With 12 days left before the American election, I thought I would share my insights into this powerful book.   In 2004 when John Kerry and John Edwards was running on the Democratic ticket, a young Illinois Senator was asked to give the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention that year.  If you want to be moved, go to Youtube.com and watch the 17 minute address.  The Audacity of Hope was the title of that speech, and went on to become the title of his second book, which became a best seller on the New York Times non-fiction list.

I would like to take an excerpt from that speech, which I believe gives us all reason to dream and hope.

I’m not talking about blind optimism here — the almost willful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don’t talk about it, or the health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it. No, I’m talking about something more substantial. It’s the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a millworker’s son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too. Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope!”

A man who is says he is inspired by the people he meets on his travels, Barack Obama talks about many of the topics that have become instrumental in his run for the United States Presidency. 

If you look up the word ‘Audacity’ in the dictionary, it is defined as “fearless, daring, and a bold heedlessness of restraints”.  Isn’t that synonymous with the man running for the position of Commander in Chief of the United States?   The Audacity of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes he has a place in America.  The Audacity of a man born of a Kenyan Father and a Kansas Mother to believe he could be President of the United States… the Audacity of Hope!  Isn’t that what dreams are made of…  To teach our children that they can be anything they want to be if they work hard and believe!

A great book about change, from what I believe is a great man who inspires change.  The Audacity of Hope is a must read.


Thanksgiving Day In Canada

Today is Thanksgiving Day here in Canada.  It is one of my favorite times of the year.  So many things to be thankful for and so many ways to say it.

For my family, there is too much to say!  Muchos gracias! (Spanish)

For the variety of fantastic friends, who bring different things to the table, Jag Tackar!  (swedish)

For my pet cat of 13 years, Tigger, who is ‘instant stress relief’ everytime I open that door to come home, Arigato!  (japanese)

Those are the things you almost expect to hear at Thanksgiving, but this beautiful day has also made me grateful for things you may not expect.

I am grateful for my home.  At times I struggle being a single person with a mortgage, which makes me appreciate it all the more.  I live outside of the city with a deck that overlooks the beautiful Humber River and after almost two years, I still am grateful every day.  I know that there are many people in the world without a home, so I am very grateful for mine.  Merci Beaucoup!

Reading is one of the joys in my life, and I realize that there are many who aren’t able to read and write, so I am grateful for those gifts in my life.  Also, the people who live without sight inspire me with their courage.  For all of you I am thankful.  Danke!  (german)Continue reading “Thanksgiving Day In Canada”

Something to Think About!

Although George Carlin has been credited with the following passage, apparently he did not write this.  However, whoever did write it, I think, hit the nail on the head, and it may just help us take a moment to slow down and think about the message.  Hats off to whoever did write these words of wisdom.

The Paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints.  We spend more but in many ways have less; we buy more but enjoy less.  We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time.  We have more degress, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgement; more experts, yet more problems; more medicines but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get too tired, read too little, watch too much television, and pray too seldom.  We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.  We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too easily.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life.  We’ve added years to live, but not life to years.  We’ve been to the moon and back but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbour.  We’ve conquered outer space, but not our inner space. 

We’ve done large things, but not always better things.  We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejiduce.  We write more, but learn less.  We plan more but accomplish less.  We’ve learned to rush but not to wait.  We build more computers to store more information, we produce more copies, but communicate less. 

These are times of fast food and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profit but shallow relationships.  These are the days of two incomes, but more divorces, fancier houses and broken homes.  These are the days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality and one night stands.  Overweight bodies and pills that do everything from cheer to quiet to kill.

Remember, spend some time with loved ones, as they will not be around for ever.  Remember to say a kind word to someone to looks at you with awe, because that little person will soon grow up and leave your side.  Remember to give warm hugs.  Remember to say “I Love You” to your partner and loved ones, but most of all, mean it! 

Give time to love, give time to speak and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind!

Eat Pray Love

I just finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling book “Eat, Love Pray”, and it was FANTASTIC!  The book is an adventure into one woman’s incredible journey to find herself. 

Here was a woman, who from the outside looking in, have the ‘perfect life’.  She had a successful career, the big house in the suburbs and a handsome husband.  Yet, she found herself crying on the bathroom floor every night, miserable.  It is the story of the courage it took to walk away from a life everyone else deemed ‘perfect’, and it portrays her year long journey to Italy, India and Bali – to find herself.

In Italy, she spends 4 months divulging in pleasure (mostly from eating!).  In India she spends 4 months at an Ashram, learning how to meditate and pray.  And in Bali, her 4 months are to try and find a way to balance the two… and in the process, she finds love.

There is something in this book for everyone.  A great read, I recommend it whole-heartedly.

Good reading!