Commencement 2017 – 3 simple things

What a wonderful time of year.

The grass is green, the sun is shining and the days are getting longer! And, oh yeah, how could I forget graduations are in full swing. Good ole graduation, the ceremony of two tales:

● The Graduate – Give me my diploma and let me get out of this place.

● The Parent – The memories, the future, so much of life left to taste.

Unfortunately, it seems that most commencement speeches are geared more to the parent than the graduate. Long speeches about what the future holds in store. Praise given to the parent, family members, teachers and friends. All the while, the graduate may briefly reminisce about the long nights, the awful tests, but mostly thinks, when will the ceremony end so I can get out of this place.

Well this commencement is for the graduate. For it is my belief, you are the ones that deserves it. You are the ones who persevered, you are the ones who stuck with it, you are the ones who put in those long nights. Everyone else was simply doing their jobs. And, actually by you persevering and graduating, you made their jobs easier. So here is to you Graduate, short and sweet! Three simple things:


This is yours. It is the one thing you have that you have total control over. That is, unless you hand control over to someone else. I implore you to never allow your attitude to be controlled by others. You have heard that Perception is Reality. Your perception stems from your attitude; therefore, if your attitude is good your perception will be good and your reality will be great! For, you see, Good + Good = Great!

Attitude. Never ever forget that yours is yours and yours alone!


Picture yourself as the only human being left on earth. Even for an introvert such as myself, being totally alone forever is a depressing thought. My point is that people are necessary, and yes, all people. They may not all agree with you, or like doing the things you like to do, but believe it or not they are all necessary. In the Big Picture of everybody in the world, where do you fit in? What can you contribute to the greater good of everybody? You have a talent that is unique to only you. Discovering that talent and putting it to use for the greater good will far outpace putting your talents to use for selfish pursuits over the long run.

The Big Picture. You are not the sole person in this world, nor want to be, remember that!


You all, I’m sure, have heard of the following two phrases:

You are what you eat

No pain, no gain

Food fuels our bodies, and we all have different fuel requirements. Jets use one type of fuel, tractors another type and cars one type and race cars even another type. There is no one set of fuel for all.

Exercise compensates our bodies for the mostly sedentary lifestyles we live today. But like different fuel requirements, we all have different exercise requirements. Some need to put themselves through excruciating pain to feel as if they have accomplished something whereas others can simply go for a nice stroll through the park.

HOUSING. Our bodies are where we house Attitudes, and our Big Picture, so as long as our housing unit does not take away from those two things all is good. We were not all meant to be Barbie and Ken.

I congratulate you and you alone for this is your accomplishment. You, too, should congratulate yourself on a job well done, It’s Over!

I hope you will always remember:

the mind – attitude – is yours to control

the soul – the big picture – your heart

the body – housing – simply holds the other two while you are on earth

Keep all three in proportion, for these are you and you alone!

The Rock and the Odds

A friend, one of the first people to read Don’t Be A Cow!, was recently taking a walk on RiverWalk in Columbus, GA. She looked down and something caught her eye. It was a rock with something on it; taking a closer look, painted on the rock was … a cow!

Imagine. What are the odds? Especially the odds of an early reader of Don’t Be A Cow! finding an otherwise unassuming rock with a cow painted on it?

She couldn’t believe it either, so she snapped the photo and sent it to Jane and me. All three of us had the same thoughts: What are the odds? Isn’t this odd? And, of course, was it just a coincidence or a sign? You know, a destiny kind of thing.

Maybe it was telling her that she’s is on the right path. Maybe she was on the wrong path – meaning it wasn’t really her path – and she was simply the messenger – and the real message was meant for Jane and me. One thing for certain: it brought a smile and a laugh to us all.

Although we can use such occasions to mean almost anything we want to believe, a couple things are certain about finding this rock. First, when we are out in nature, out enjoying the great “out of doors” (Day 7), there are limitless treasures just waiting to be found. Secondly, we can find happiness in the oddest of places, under the oddest of circumstances with the oddest odds – a lot of odds – all which may not seem all that odd when we are willing to “Try Something New” (Day 25).

As our friend picked up the rock, she noticed something painted on the back. (No, it wasn’t Don’t Be A Cow! as that would have been mind-blowing), but what she was halfway expecting. No, painted on the back was the following: “Smile SPARK Art.” SPARK Art is an organization established to spread art and kindness into the community. The organization encourages people to paint rocks, placing them in different places around the city, with the idea being they will bring a smile to someone when found.

If such an effort was to bring a smile to someone’s face, it certainly worked. And, maybe it wasn’t coincidence after all; maybe it is a sign, that our destiny is continuing to share with others about living a life that will bring a permanent smile to your face! That happens by living your life and not the life where the herd directs you.

What’s your Destiny? BELIEVE!

– Joe

PS Check out this related article and video from the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer about SPARK! 


Rock painting groups connecting families

Check out this recent story on “The Today Show” that relates to the COW ROCK …

Nature – in the Backyard

Nature’s way to speak to us all
If only we stop, to absorb it’s awe!

The vibrant red of a cardinal on a gray and gloomy winters day
The soaring of an eagle in what appears to be an endless sky
The sounds of water as it travels after a torrent rain
It’s there for all to see, it’s there for all to hear, for you see, it is…

Nature’s way to speak to us all,
If only we stop, to absorb it’s awe!

 The swaying of a tree, in a Summer’s warm sultry breeze
The weaving of a web from a spider from tree to tree to tree
The symphony of crickets and frogs, as I sit upon my deck
It’s there for all to see, it’s there for all to hear, for you see, it is…

Nature’s way to speak to us all,
If only we stop, to absorb it’s awe!

 The power of an ant moving a beetle ten times its size
The revolving carousel of birds around a feeder hung near by
The rapid flittering of the hummingbird’s wings,
Is always a wonder
It’s there for all to see, it’s there for all to hear, for you see, it is…

Nature’s way to speak to us all,
If only we stop, to absorb it’s awe!

The warmth of the sun, on a brisk fall day
The harvest moon, or any that is amongst a star lit sky
The emergence of new leaves, ready to spring forth all life, a fresh breath
It’s there for all to see, it’s there for all to hear, for you see, it is…

 Nature’s way to speak to us all,
If only we stop, to absorb it’s awe!

You need not travel far, you need not travel wide
You need not procure additional clothing and wares
All you need, is to be aware, for you see, it is…

Nature’s way to speak to us all
If only we stop, to absorb it’s awe!

Something for everyone, just waiting to please
You need not fret, if you are prone to sneeze
For even an open curtain, may bring you to your knees
For I wish, that all would see, it is…

Always a wonder,

Nature’s way to speak to us all
If only we stop, to absorb it’s awe!


Wasting Time! Research I Can Truly Relate To!

“The psychological importance of wasting time,” by Olivia Goldhill

I got this article from a friend the other day, which got me thinking! Of course, I think that was the intent of my friend. Unless, of course, they were just trying to drop me a hint to make me feel better. Because I think I am really great at wasting time, so I’m happy to know there is an Up side! Read more