Found the One


I found hay in a stack of needles
Four-leaf clover in a mile of weeds

Found the one
Understands my downs

Found the one
Puts up with my needs
Of everybody under the sun
I found the one
If you’re gonna gamble
May as well be on love

Found the one
May have had some before

Found the one
But now you can’t get enough
Before it’s all said and done
I found the one
Found myself in trouble
Found myself waiting in line

Found the one
Found so many ways
Of wasting my time
No more races to run
I found the one
Now I follow my heart
Wherever the road ends

Found the one
Most people you see every day
You’ll never see them again
Come rain come sun
Found the one




10 Tips for Effective Communication

Words are windows, or they’re walls,
They sentence us, or set us free.
When I speak and when I hear,
Let the love light shine through me. –Ruth Bebermeyer


1 An intention for connection.

Aim for a respectful and compassionate quality of connection, so that everyone can express themselves, be heard and understood. Trust that the connection is more important and more nourishing than being right, or even just having your say. Connection means to try to be open and stay in touch with what matters to the other person – and to yourself – in each present moment.

  1. Listen more than you speak.

We have two ears and one mouth – a reminder of what is important! Listening is key to a healthy relationship. Often we are only half listening, waiting for our chance to speak, wanting to make our point. When our attention is with our own thoughts, we are not listening. Listening means to enter into the world of the other person, to intend to understand them, even if we disagree with what they are saying.

  1. Understand the other person first.

When another person feels you understand them, they are far more likely to be open to understanding you. Willingness to understand involves generosity, respect, self-control, compassion and patience. Be ‘curious instead of furious’ about how others are different from you.

  1. Understand needs, wishes and values.

Everything people say and do expresses an underlying need, longing or value. We can learn to identify and ‘hear’ these needs, even when they are not expressed explicitly. Because all human beings share these needs, they are our magic key to unlocking mutual understanding. For example, if someone says, “You are so selfish, you never do anything to help at home,” they are indirectly expressing a longing for consideration and support, but it is coming out as blame and judgment. If we can empathise rather than react, we will connect and the person will feel understood.

  1. Begin with empathy.

Refrain from:

Immediately telling your own similar story

Interrogating with lots of data-type questions

Interpreting the other’s experience

Giving advice

One-upping e.g. “if you think that’s bad wait till you hear about what happened to me!”

Dismissing the person’s feelings e.g. “Oh don’t be angry.”

Dismissing the person’s experience, or telling the person that this experience is actually good for them!

Generally people appreciate receiving empathy more than anything else.

  1. Take responsibility for your  feelings.

What someone else says or does is not the cause for how we feel, it is the trigger. Our feelings are stimulated by what’s happening. For example, if someone does not do what they say they will do, we might tell them, “You make me so angry, you are so unreliable!” This inflammatory accusation could be rephrased as, “I feel frustrated because it’s important to me that we keep to agreements we have made.”

  1. Make requests that are practical, specific and positive.

Make requests that will help fulfil our needs. This stops us just complaining, and allows the situation to change. Don’t ask things of others that are too vague or too big, or are expressed as a negative request, e.g. “Stop making so much noise.” Be positive and specific, e.g. “I am working. Can you please use the headphones while playing video games?”

  1. Use accurate, neutral descriptions.

When we are upset, we often interpret what has happened, using judgmental language, rather than accurately describing what has triggered us. This can get us into a fight immediately! For example, instead of simply stating, “You didn’t call me,” we might interpret and then accuse, “You don’t care about me!” First describe the situation in a neutral, accurate way, free of judgments or blame. Then the communication can continue with sharing feelings, needs and requests. For example, instead of saying, “That’s a really stupid idea!” you might say, “If we all go to a movie which ends at midnight [neutral description], I’m worried [feeling], because the children need to get a full night’s sleep [need]. Can we go to the 2 p.m. show instead [specific request]?”

  1. Be willing to hear “No”.

Even with these guidelines, our carefully expressed requests might still elicit a “No” from the other person. Why would this upset us? Is it that our request was actually a demand that we expect the other person to fulfil? We have a choice in how we hear that “No”. It could be that something else is important to the other person; that they had a different need or value alive in that moment. Maybe the “No” is their request for something else to happen. And then we are into the dance of giving and bending! “No” is not as threatening as we might imagine.

  1. Ways we communicate other than words.

Everything that is in our heart and mind is expressed through our body, our facial expressions, the tone of our voice, and the vibrations that emanate from us. All these are intuitively picked up and understood by others. Are our words in harmony with these subtler elements? We are manifesting our consciousness at every moment. To have connection, understanding and harmony in our relationships, we need to nourish those aspects deeply within ourselves.

-by Liz Kingsnorth, syndicated from, Aug 20, 2016

Useful references:
Nonviolent Communication – a Language of Life, by Marshall Rosenberg




The 7 Thought-Habits of Highly Self-Confident People

To gain self-confidence, practice these 7 research-based thinking habits.

By Meg Selig

  1. Don’t worry if you don’t feel confident all the time.
  2. Show compassion toward your Future Self.
  3. Practice compassionate and realistic self-talk.
  4. Relabel “failures” as setbacks, challenges, opportunities, or learning experiences.
  5. Don’t assume that other people know what you know.Own your expertise!
  6. Know your strengths.
  7. Remember your higher purpose and your meaningful values and goals.

5 Tips for Better Doubt and Regret Management

How to feel good about your big decisions however they turn out.  By Jeremy E. Sherman Ph.D.

Doubt when deciding, regret when a decision has gone wrong – these are not fun feelings. They make us feel incompetent.

They can be avoided through bluster. Some people seem to get through life without doubt or regret. There’s this US president I’ve heard about…

Still, life with no doubts or regrets is a risky and annoying way to live. I’m sure you know plenty of people who bug the heck out of you because they never seem to doubt or regret. Indeed, psychopaths have no doubts or regrets. We don’t consider them model humans.

Don’t want to be an idiot know-it-all? Expect some doubt and regret. Here are some techniques for managing doubt and regret – those two healthy human responses – for minimal pain and maximum gain when making big decisions.

1. Visualize failure

When making a big decision, minimaxing is a technique for minimizing the maximum cost of each option’s worst-case scenario.

Say you’re choosing between two options. Stay in your partnership or leave? Have kids or don’t? Switch jobs or stay? Stick with, or change careers?

You’ll probably have some gut preference based on picturing the best immediate and/or long-term consequence of one option as better than the other. For example, “Leaving this marriage will feel like taking off tight shoes and I’m bound to end up with the partner of my dreams.” Or the obverse, “Staying in this marriage is going to make my partner so much happier today and I can picture us dancing on our 60th anniversary.”

Those are nice upsides and maybe they’ll pan out. But maybe not. In addition, visit the worst middle-range downsides of both options. For example, you’ll leave the marriage, feel immediate relief and then profound disappointment at what you get, maybe never partnering again before you finally adjust to a partner-less life. Conversely, you’ll stay in the marriage much to the relief of your partner but the problems will continue to fester. You’ll end up regretting that you failed to get out when you first thought you should.

To make a big decision more realistically, imagine yourself living with the downside of each option. Spending some time with each worst-case scenario will make for a more thorough decision, and maybe in the process, you’ll come up with ways to minimize the costs.

2. Floodlight

Big decisions are big because the consequences matter and it’s not obvious what to do – there are benefits and costs to each option. We often make big decisions rashly by spotlighting just some of the benefits or costs. It’s best to leave such spotlighting for after you’ve made the decision. It’s how you’ll motivate yourself to stick with a decision you’ve already made. But for deciding, it’s the rash way to go.

Instead, floodlight the costs and benefits of all the options. And don’t just shine light on them. Imagine being strapped with the costs. Pre-grieve them for each option. Project yourself into that middle-range future. Talk in the past tense about the decision you’re about to make, for example, “I bet that I should leave (or stay in) the marriage, and it didn’t work out well for me.” Picture in detail why it didn’t work out well. Do that for each option.

Picturing it won’t make it come true. That’s superstitious nonsense, like saying “I don’t drive defensively because, if I imagine distracted drivers, I’ll magically draw them to me.”

Why visualize your bets failing? If they do fail you won’t have to add self-insult to injury. You won’t feel like a naïve chump for ignoring downsides up front. You’ll have the consolation of thoroughness. You’ll know that at least you made a careful, not a naïve decision.

About bets, there’s an obvious truth that’s hard for us to wrap our minds around:  You can bet right and still have it turn out wrong. You can bet on the 75% chance and end up losing with the 25% outcome. You can bet on the 75%-chance cancer cure and still have it fail. There’s no escaping such odds, but there is escaping the gnawing exaggerated regret that if it turns out wrong you must have bet wrong. You escape that by being thorough up front.

3. Pre-finesse a rationalization for each option

Big decisions are often big because they affect others immediately. To decide carefully, you have to figure out how you would break the news to others in a way that wouldn’t erode your resolve.

You’re deciding whether to change careers? Some friends may be rooting for the change. Some colleagues may think you’d be out of your mind to leave. To avoid making a decision based just on peer reaction, think up how you could report your decision in a way that’s at least convincing to you, a way that you could declare what you’ve decided such that they respect it enough to not badger you into re-opening the decision.

Finesse an explanation for each option – that way you level the decision-making field. And do it without pretending the decision was obvious, because with big decisions, it isn’t.

See, we tend to rationalize decisions as though we made the obvious choice. But that’s a devil’s bargain. Your choice isn’t obvious, and you’ll look naïve if you pretend that it is. Instead, having thought through the worst-case scenario of the option chosen, finesse an explanation for your decision that admits that the worst-case is a possibility you recognize.

Figure out how to declare the decision confidently, saying something convincing enough to you and solid enough that in polite society people will at least humor you about it. It will give you peace of mind.

4. Don’t take the omniscient devil’s bargain.

All big decisions are bets, gambles on how things will turn out. We’d like to think that with bigger decisions we could remove all uncertainty but actually, the uncertainties grow with the size and influence. There are more consequences, more of them unforeseen, unintended and paradoxical ­– the opposite of what you were aiming for.

With big decisions, we often hunger for an infallible formula. Thinking we’ve found one is a devil’s bargain. “I did the obvious right thing” has immediate benefits, but pretending that you’re not gambling, that you’ve chosen right makes you feel better up front but at a sacrifice to the consolation of thoroughness if your bet turns out badly.

Armed with the consolation of thoroughness, you’ll be able to stand corrected more correctly, your dignity intact as you learn what you can from your bet going badly. If your bet doesn’t work out, you won’t think you were naïve, that you must have bet wrong. You’ll have regrets you can live with because you’ve been realistic throughout, from deciding through decided, to living with the consequences of your bet.

5. When regretting, remember the good and bad

Very few bets turn out all good or all bad. Did your bet turn out badly? Probably not completely, and don’t forget it. Regret motivates learning. Too much regret distorts learning. It too can make us lurch toward black-and-white thinking, all good or all bad and all obvious. You want to avoid that by learning carefully, not over-reacting, overcorrecting, taking oversteps in the right direction.

So when something doesn’t turn out well, remember this: Life is trial and error. We are all part of a great search party and our place in it has value even if we didn’t end up finding what we were searching for.

We root for ourselves of course, but we also root for the search party. We have split allegiances, to ourselves and to the search. We’ll tend to say “let the best plan win and it damned well better be mine,” but when it isn’t, remember that there are no sure-fire formulas. We’re all guessing. Chance matters.

Keeping this in mind, you’ll be less prone to stubborn insistence as a way to avoid the pain of doubt and regret. You’ll be more willing to live like a human, not pretending to be or be associated with an omniscient god. You’ll be more flexible in your commitments. Flexible commitment is a fundamental, inescapable paradox of life.

Doubt and regret – now that’s quite the pair
Both of them laced with dreaded despair.

No wonder we skirt them whenever we can
through stubborn self-certainty – just stick with the plan.

And if the plan fails, forget that it did.
“Nothing to learn here,” just snap on the lid.

For feigning control that practice will work
though it’s sure to make many decide you’re a jerk.

Both are emotions that eat at your clout.
Should you be in or should you be out?

Doubt about whether to invest in a bet
and, “there’s something to learn here” when filled with regret.

Doubt and regret – that healthy-dread pair.
They’re better embraced and managed with care.





Life, a new day is beginning

It’s time to start living

Come on, be happy


Life, starts with a feeling

It’s part of believing

In each other


Life, live it completely

Living is easy

If you find it


Time, come on in

I see you back again

Where you going now

I thought you’d know somehow


Life, it’s just what you make it

You can’t just take it

Without giving


You see now life

Life is within you

So live each day

And then you begin to


Live your life

Cause life is within you


Written and sung by Rick Nelson


Interesting to this Rick Nelson fan is that this version of the song is not the official version recorded on his album. The above was changed by him for his 1972 TV appearance and I find it to be more optimistic. is the official recording and are the related words supposedly written as he was considering suicide.


“War” Memorials




I visited Hillsboro, Texas in September to play in the 2018 Texas Armed Forces and Military Veterans Open Chess Tournament. In the old town on the courthouse lawn is a memorial statue to honor the confederate veterans “in grateful and loving memory of the soldiers of the southern confederacy” erected in 1925.

I am not in favor of removing, destroying, vandalizing, or tearing down the statues erected to honor or acknowledge the many dead and those who served in the American Civil War. An estimated 620,000 men lost their lives in the line of duty (over 7 million in today’s population), more than died in World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam combined.

While visiting East Germany I saw a number of graveyards with German and Russian dead and memorials to both. It could be stated that all of them died fighting for evil; be it Hitler or Stalin. They died for their country and fighting against what they viewed as an enemy or greater evil. Few, if any, contributed to setting the policies or making the decision for war. Germany has memorials and statues honoring the dead of both world wars and they rightfully have none honoring Hitler or the Nazis.

The statues honoring the confederate dead and veterans honor the men not the war. They honor comrades not the cause. In the futility of war, men fight and die for their buddies and their loved ones. They may actually die due to government policy and decisions but in heart and spirit they die for others.

I will not dispute that the Civil War was about slavery – .

No one today doubts that the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (the Wall in DC) honors service members who fought in the Vietnam War and died in service.
In 150 years will our descendants may be wanting to bury The Vietnam Memorial because they view it as a “war” memorial to an unwarranted war?


What Most Americans Fear About Retiring



Have you ever lied about your age? Wished you could stay 30 forever? Spent too much time looking in the mirror, agonizing over new wrinkles? Been upset because you’re having trouble keeping up with your kids and grandkids?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you have gerascophobia.  That’s the fear of getting old. And most of us experience it at some point or another.
But what scares us the most about aging?

According to our survey, the biggest fear among Americans is that we’ll suffer from Alzheimer’s, dementia or another age-related mental illness. That’s completely valid, seeing as Alzheimer’s (the most common form of dementia) affects between 2.6 million and 4.5 million adults ages 65 and older. Yikes.
The second most pressing concern is that we’ll run out of money. That too is understandable given that 1 in 3 Americans have nothing saved for retirement. In fact, 42% of Americans have less than $10,000 in savings. And we’re living longer than ever… so how are we supposed to afford our golden years?
While both of these fears are very real and sometimes unpreventable, there ARE ways to reduce the chances that they’ll actually occur.
If you’re afraid of losing your mental health, make a healthy lifestyle a priority. Eat well. Exercise. Socialize often. Stimulate your brain by learning new things, reading or doing crossword puzzles.
And if you’re worried about not having enough money, it’s never too early (or late) to start saving more. With a few simple strategies (like the ones outlined in Marc Lichtenfeld’s new book) and cost-cutting hacks, you can build up your nest egg.
Do what you can to be prepared.

By Amanda Tarlton
Assistant Managing Editor, The Oxford Club Saturday, April 28, 2018

You Don’t Have to Drive an Uber in Retirement: How to Maintain Your Lifestyle without Getting a Job or Cutting Corners Hardcover by Marc Lichtenfeld  (Author)




Planning for Future Health Care Expenses

Excerpted from article by Bob Cochran

Now I come to health care – what might future costs be, how to survive the gauntlet of Medicare, Medicare Supplement Insurance, Prescription Drug Insurance, and other pieces of this constantly changing puzzle.

For a number of years, I have recommended clients reaching age 65 work with a person who specializes in Medicare, Medicare Supplement, Prescription Drug, and other areas of health insurance. For an annual fee, she gathers personal information, including health status and current prescription drugs, then finds the insurance companies and plans that best match each person for the lowest cost. But just as important, she helps complete enrollment and claim forms and helps resolve all medical claims issues.

For my wife and me, doing this was a no brainer. We have worked with her for two years, and we both had changes to our Supplement and Prescription Drug plan in our second year. We would not have done nearly as well left to our own devices. For us, it is money well spent. Since she does not sell anything but her services, if we decide to move to another state, we can continue to work with her. She can work with people in any state.

It is important to know that when you turn 65, you must enroll in Medicare. There is a seven-month window beginning three months before the month you turn 65. To avoid a potential gap in coverage, it is important to know that Medicare benefits begin the month following the month you enroll. The official U.S. government site ( is quite good and full of information. It details what services Parts A and B cover, as well as what Medicare does not cover. For people who work past age 65 and work for a small company (fewer than 20 employees), you should know that Medicare will be your primary insurer, with your company plan (if there is one) as secondary. For larger companies (20 or more employees), your group coverage is the primary insurance, while Medicare is secondary. If you miscommunicate this to health care providers, it could cost you denials for claims. Trust me on this. Part B enrollment can be delayed if you are still covered by a health plan with an employer that has more than 20 workers.

If you work for an employer with fewer than 20 employees, your employer may opt out of providing you with primary coverage when you turn 65. In that case, you must sign up for Medicare as your primary insurance. You’ll also want to ask your employer what happens to any coverage for your dependents — spouse or children.

It may not be cost effective for people to pay for both Medicare and their group plan, since the cost of Medicare (A & B, plus supplemental insurance, plus prescription drug coverage) could be less than a group plan. But you (or the insurance specialist you hire) should run the numbers. I dropped my expensive small company group plan because of the small number of enrollees and my age.

You should know that Medicare Parts A & B do not cover most dental care, as well as eye exams and prescription eyewear or contact lenses. I have had many clients and their spouses get a lot done while they were still on their company eye and dental plans. My wife and I are already scheduling appointments prior to my retirement. I am fortunate that my company plan allows us to remain in the dental and vision options on a stand-alone basis.

Medicare also does not pay for long-term care (also called custodial care). We purchased insurance for this a number of years ago. It is a traditional policy, and we elected a daily benefit that will pay approximately one-half of the expected costs. Our thought is that our sources of income will continue, allowing us to make up the difference from cash flow. We don’t know what the future of this insurance is, and the current premiums are not inexpensive. Products are coming and going at a fairly rapid pace. We hope our decision will allow us to tackle these expenses, if they occur, and still be able to realize our designated charitable gifts when we pass. Yes, it is a crap shoot. But we will probably never collect on our homeowner’s insurance, either.

In summary, health insurance costs will go up. There is no doubt about that. I would suggest having a separate expense item for health care expenses in your retirement cash flow projection, and use a significantly higher inflation factor than the CPI. And consider the services of a health care insurance specialist (not an insurance agent), who can sort through the maze of options and find the best option for your unique situation. The person I used for clients, and the person my wife and I use is:

Leanna Hite
Claim Care, Ltd.

This entry was posted in BobC on May 1, 2017 by Robert Cochran.

I Hope to Find Something to Love

I hope you find something to love
Something to do when you feel like giving up
A song to sing or a tale to tell
Something to love, it’ll serve you well

I was born in a tiny southern town
I grew up with all my family around
We made music on the porch on Sunday nights
Old man with an old guitar smoking Winston Lights

Old women harmonizing with the wind
Singing softly to the savior like a friend
They taught me how to make the chords and sing the words
I’m still singing like that great speckled bird

I hope you find something to love
Something to do when you feel like giving up
A song to sing or a tale to tell
Something to love, it’ll serve you well

Tonight we’re lying on a blanket in the yard
The wind is cold the sky is dark and the ground is hard
But your momma loves to count the stars at night
So if I get a little chill that’s alright

I hope you find something to love
Something to do when you feel like giving up
A song to sing or a tale to tell
Something to love, it’ll serve you well

You were born on a hot late summer day
We turned you loose and tried to stay out of your way
Don’t quite recognize the world you call home
Just find what makes you happy girl and do it ’til you’re gone

I hope you find something to love
Something to do when you feel like giving up
A song to sing or a tale to tell
Something to love, it’ll serve you well

Peer Review

I have always wanted to be the best at what I was doing, if it interested me. Otherwise I did not care about it. This could help explain why I got Top Honors for 7th grade Algebra while getting an F in 7th grade English (life may have been better if other way around, my spelling has not improved).

When I started at Blue Cross in 1977 my goal was to be the best auditor there. I vowed that when I knew more than the approximately 120 people in the department and had learned all I could from them I would consider another job. By the early 1980s that goal was accomplished but other reasons kept me at Blue Cross until January 1989.

At Blue Cross we had periodic meetings of the senior auditors and supervisors to discuss Medicare audit issues in our auditing of Hospital Medicare cost reports. At one of the meetings I suggested that we conduct internal peer reviews. All audits were reviewed by supervisors who varied in their approach and findings but that was not my issue. I was advocating that senior auditors could learn from each other and we would all improve by peer reviews. If Walt’s audit was reviewed by Mitch, it would help one or both of them. Likewise, if my audit was reviewed by Stan and I reviewed Mitch’s, etc. The other senior auditors “shouted” me down in horror at the idea.

In the early 1990s the National Association of Home Care (NAHC) had an advisory committee, mostly of consultants, that reviewed issues for discussion and research. This committee would eventually become the core of the Home Care & Hospice Financial Managers Association (HHFMA). I am proud to have been a member of both the committee and HHFMA since 1994. At a meeting of the committee, about 1995, I suggested, unsuccessfully, to the members that we consider doing peer reviews. Cost reports prepared by me could be reviewed by Jim, and so forth as similar to my proposal at Blue Cross. The problem here, of course, is that the consultants are all from different firms and no one wanted to have their work looked at by competitors. My effort to improve the body and standard of work did get me on the NAHC subcommittee to create a certification for home care financial people. The effort collapsed by 1998 due to the industry’s problems with the major and disastrous Medicare reimbursement change called the Interim Payment System (IPS).

Today neither peer review nor a certification program for home health care financial people is on the horizon. Times change and perhaps neither is needed today and certainly other issues are more pressing for the home health care community.

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