Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Moment of Silence

Usually we stop and think about veterans on Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day but this week on a work trip to D.C. I was moved by something that happened on my flight. 

The flight was boarding as usual and once I was seated and situated I looked out of the window to see a soldier holding a POW flag standing out on the tarmac.  Beside him was a white military carriage with a flag on top and the emblems of all of the branches of service. 

As one of the flight attendants passed by I stopped her and asked why there was a soldier on the tarmac and she confirmed that we were transporting the remains of a soldier. 

Nothing was mentioned as the flight attendants hustled about trying to get passengers seated and carry-on items placed in the overhead storage.  I was bothered that something deserving respect or a moment of quiet reflection was taking place and yet no one seemed to stop to notice. 

The flight took off and it was a normal flight until we landed.  Just after we touched down the pilot made an announcement, naming the soldier and letting us know that we were in fact delivering the fallen to his final resting place.  He went on to announce the name and rank of the Marine who was on board with us accompanying the body.  We were asked to remain seated once we arrived at our gate to allow the Marine to exit the plane first.  You could've heard a pin drop.  No one rushed, and in fact, no one moved.  Quietly and solemnly the Marine, holding his hat, made the walk to the front of the aircraft and off the plane.

Even when he was out of sight, no one moved for a matter of seconds.  Then someone began clapping and suddenly the plane was full of sound and emotion as all of us clapped for the fallen. No one was sure what to do but for a few minutes, a plane full of very busy people who were all in a hurry stopped to pay tribute to someone who gave his life for our country. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Debbie Macomber Was a Life Saver

I'd never read a book written by Debbie Macomber when I bought a ticket to attend her lecture and book signing.  I had seen Mrs. Miracle on the Hallmark Channel and remembered it as being a very sweet movie but after having gotten my feelings hurt at the blog seminar, I thought something sweet might be good therapy. 

It just so happened Debbie's event was the next evening and in all truthfulness I almost didn't attend.  I was still struggling with the question of what contributions I make to the world.  I was feeling blue.  

Debbie Macomber was lecturing at the Margaret Mitchell house and it's on my way home from work so I stopped in.  I was late and ended up being one of the last people seated.  I didn't have a good view but it didn't take a perfect seat to hear what Debbie had to say.  

Debbie arrived just a few minutes after I got seated and she shared how she was dyslexic and didn't learn to read until she was ten years old.  In dealing with a lifetime of negativity from her teachers and her parents, somehow she knew deep inside that she wanted to be a writer.   She shared her poignant story about how she had submitted stories for publication multiple times only to get rejection letters.  She spoke about how she had written a letter to Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking.  He wrote her back.  His letter of encouragement helped her persevere.   

There were more rejections but because of a letter from Norman Vincent Peale and a family who believed in her, Debbie Macomber continued to try to get a book published and it worked!   Just take a look at her book list.  And guess what...Debbie's snail mail address is inside the front cover of all of her books.  If you write her a letter, she will write you back.  She shares in the same way that Norman Vincent Peale shared with her many years ago.  

I was so moved by the whole event.  I cried.  Just 48 hours before this event I'd been singled out of a crowd and confronted with the question of what I was contributing to mankind.  I'm still trying to answer that question but after meeting Debbie, what I realized is that the small things matter.  Kindness matters. I might not be able to quantify what I'm adding to the world but I can tell you that encouraging other people, saying positive things and being a positive influence does make a difference in the world. 

When we all lined up to get our books signed, Debbie took time with each of us to hear what we had to say and to take photos.  I aspire to be an example of graciousness, goodness and positive influence, sharing my gifts with others in need.  This is what I hope to add to the world, on my blog, with my family and in my community.  

From the heart.  Jojo

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I Had the Blog Kicked Out of Me!


Nearly a month ago I decided to take a blogging class.  It was offered by two local personalities who are both very successful in their fields and my hope was that I would get some great tips for blog layout and design and also some suggestions on the written material. 

Something happened during the class.  We went around the room and each of us were supposed to introduce ourselves, share our names, why we blog and something about our objectives.   

When it was my turn to speak I shared my blog title which was quickly projected on a big screen.  I tried to be as clear and concise as possible but frankly the day is now so blurry in my mind because of what happened. The presenter at the front of the room began describing the funnel concept (and at least I still remember that).  Then somehow the other instructor was by my side, standing a couple of feet away asking me what would the world be missing without me in it.  As a blogger, can you answer that question? 

I heard myself stammer and fumble on words without being able to answer the question and for the rest of the afternoon session I was so upset. Why was that question directed to me?   I felt scalded by the question and frankly it has taken me some time away from posting in order to muster the courage to blog once more since that awful moment.

Initially I was disturbed and hurt by what happened though I kept trying to understand why the instructor came to ask only me, "What would the world be missing without you in it?"  

I still can't answer that question but the next week I experienced a small miracle.  I got to meet Debbie Macomber! So later this week I'll be back to tell you how she made me cry and cheered me up, at the same time.