School Prayer

In the name of daybreak
and the eyelids of morning
and the wayfaring moon
and the night when it departs,

I swear I will not dishonor
my soul with hatred
but offer myself humbly
as a guardian of nature,
as a healer of misery,
as a messenger of wonder
as an architect of peace.

In the name of the sun and its minors
and the day that embraces it
and the cloud veils drawn over it
and the uttermost night
and the male and the female
and the plants bursting with seed
and the crowning seasons of the firefly
and the apple, I will honor all life

—wherever and in whatever form
it may dwell—on Earth my home,
and in the mansions of the stars.

Diane Ackerman


Sexual Harassment

Most of my life I have been oblivious to sexual harassment going on around me or within my environments. The following events are my sum total of direct knowledge in this area.


  1. The army sent me to Germany after Vietnam where I drank and ate way too much. At one party a fellow soldier, Roger, made a rather direct pass at me while we both drank. I was shocked, surprised and stunned. Did I look gay?  It hurt my feelings as I thought he was a friend and I had so few friends.  I ran out of the club and got a cab back to the barracks.  He followed me into the barracks and up four flights of stairs. My saying NO was apparently was not loud and clear enough.  I kept running and lost him that night.  The next day he approached me and said he could recall nothing from the night before.  I left it at that.  Shortly thereafter he approached the wrong guy and that dude and his friends put him in the hospital.  After he recovered he was discharged from the army.  I felt guilty for not warning or reminding him that our fellow soldiers would do that to him and that the army would discharge him for being homosexual.  I wondered if I had punched him would that have gotten the message across with less severe consequences to him. (1960s)


  1. I went on a date with Charlene and we both got smashed at dinner. I drove us to her place and we should have taken a cab.  Once there we started kissing on her bed and she suddenly became semi-conscious.  She was a looker and had a reputation of being a “free spirt”.  For a few seconds I considered pursing the intended course of action as her “no” was not very forceful.  Instead I took off her shoes and pulled the bed cover over her.  I drove home drunk which was stupid and scary, should have crashed on her couch.  She never said a word about our date to me or as far as I know to our mutual friends.  We also never had another date or talked about our one date.  I wish I had warned her to be more aware but it did not occur to me. (1970s)


  1. When I was working at Blue Cross this very attractive young lady started there as an Auditor I. Pam was also smart and she left her job as a cocktail witness (took a pay cut in changing careers) to go back to St. Mary’s College to get her degree.  She had been working at Blue Cross for about six months when she was assigned to Stan and me for her first Medicare audit of a big hospital.  We were surprised to discover how little she had learned in six months of training and working in the office.  She told us that she had no training but that the supervisor kept her in his office and spent his time (and hers) talking about work, his bad marriage and asking her to have sex, which she said she refused.  She said this often happened at the bars where she had worked but she did not know how to handle this with a professional person who was also her supervisor.  We told her she should tell Human Resources or the Director of the Audit Department about the sexual harassment.  She did not want to and would not because she felt it would hurt her while she was at Blue Cross and after.  Stan and I should have informed HR or the Director of the situation.  Pam stayed at Blue Cross three or four years and left for a hospital job.  The last I heard she was a CFO at a hospital in Washington State. (1980s)


I never had an awareness, training or education about sexual harassment. It would have helped me and others if I had.




Wednesday March 7th is my 50th anniversary of leaving Vietnam. I never thought I would see this day. 


Vietnam and Me Blog (8/22/12)

 I joined the army at age 17 in July 1966. I was certainly young, stupid, and innocent. When I got out in 1969 I was not old enough to drink and got kicked out of Caesar’s in Reno. I had certainly changed and was also perhaps a little less stupid.

 I went to Vietnam March 9, 1967 and returned March 7, 1968, a long 363 days. The Tet Offensive of 1968 was a terrible surprise for which I still blame General Westmoreland. I was not a hero or a leader. I was often afraid and just a common GI of the 199th Light Infantry Brigade. While in Vietnam I spent a week in a military hospital, not for wounds but for food poisoning (figures, the army cooks gave me bad canned tuna). I went and came back as a private (E4).

Being a Vietnam Vet in 1969 was not politically correct. At junior college one young lady spit at me and called me a baby killer. At least one other declined to go have a soda because I had not gone to Canada to avoid the war. And no one thanked me for my service or going to war. Two years ago Heather Rooney and Laura Neisius thanked me (thank you again ladies) and they were the first and only to do so.

 Sometimes when I am in DC I stop by “The Wall” and say hello to friends and former colleagues. I never have understood why my name is not on the wall when so many smarter people are listed. Some of them could have been the Abe Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela, or Albert Einstein of my generation. With all respect the Vietnam vets Senators Kerry and Gore are not of the same caliber but then few are. As Joel Osteen says, “if God has put a period on it then don’t make it a question mark.” I have finally quit asking why.


War Days  (blog 7/29/14)

The picture and the YouTube, neither of me, shows most of what I did while in Vietnam with the 199th light Infantry brigade when not filling sandbags or literally burning shit (true, we burned it to get rid of it). Most of the time we traveled by helicopter with the 106 on a sling under the helicopter to be dumped in the jungle, swamp, or rice fields; or secondary (with much personal preference) we rode in a jeep with the gun mounted on the jeep too.

 The funny part, I was not trained to be a grunt (infantry) nor a gun bunny (artillery). I was trained to be an artillery surveyor (graduated 3rd in class of about 80). HQS decided they did not need my skills and assigned me to the 106 platoon. I blame Mickey Mouse as I was reading a comic book when the Sargent arrived to pick a volunteer and Tompkins was writing a letter to his wife, I got the pick. (Tompkins, who barely graduated in the same surveyor class, spent a lazy safe year at HQS shuffling papers, good for him).

 Life is funny. I did not serve in my trained job but I was better off than many others. While in Vietnam I spent a week in the hospital but it was for food poisoning. I had a battle field operation but it was for an ingrown toenail. I went thru the Tet Offensive of 1968 but was protecting base camp and not looking for the Viet Cong as they came storming at us (bad call there). Two bee hive rounds from the 106 by another outfit killed 67 Viet Cong.

 I did not like Vietnam and have no plans for visiting.  I would have to be 165 years old before it got on my bucket list.  It took until about 1979 before fireworks did not cause me anxiety, or jumping and it took until about 1999 to stop being prejudice against Vietnamese.

  Vietnam Related Blogs

My 18th Birthday 9/5/17

Degrees of Hell  4/15/14

Twice a Hero       5/9/17

POW-MIA          1/17/17

The Wall             3/6/16




Relish is the name of a small café in Fort Bragg California.

It is open “Monday-Sunday from 1130 am -5 pm” and their business card states they serve “Hot Dogs/ Salads & Wrap” while their menu had more listed.

They do not have a website but are on Facebook. They could use some marketing help.

Their business card also has the following:


Enjoy, Savor, Delight, Taste, Fancy,

Favor, Like, Shine,  Love “

I like to think their description is appropriate for life as it is for food. I hope and suspect they know that.


Never Stop Learning

I think it’s an appropriate time to talk about the importance of being a lifelong student. If you want to stay ahead of your competition you have to ALWAYS be learning something new in your field.

The reason that many people underachieve in their careers is that they become complacent with what they’ve learned to get where they’re at. But you can’t do that!

Learning is the minimum requirement for success.

Like I said, every industry is constantly growing; tactics are always changing, the amount of data to analyze is expanding, and competition is getting more fierce. This means that your knowledge must also continually increase to keep up. Your ability to expand your mind and strive for lifelong learning is critical to your success. By dedicating yourself to learning, you can get ahead in every aspect of your life. All it takes is commitment.

There are three kinds of learning that you can acquire to help you become a student of life:

  1. Maintenance Learning

This kind of learning keeps you up-to-date within your field. Many people think that reading an occasional book and keeping current with blogs and newsletters is the equivalent of adding to their education.

Maintenance learning is the same as checking the stock market reports each day to find out the sales prices of various stocks and securities. This information does not add to your knowledge of the companies, the market, or the investment potential of a particular stock, but it keeps you up to speed.

Doing this type of learning is similar to light physical exercise. It won’t increase your level of fitness, but it will keep you in shape.

  1. Growth Learning

This kind of learning adds knowledge and skills to your repertoire that you did not have that enables you to do things that you could not do previously. We’re blessed to live in a time with so many innovative thought leaders, so incredible continuous learning material is never too far out of reach.

You can find this information by doing a quick search online and discovering podcasts, blogs, books, online courses, etc. that can give you great ideas. (Hint: my blog is one of them)

  1. Shock Learning

This kind of learning contradicts or reverses a piece of knowledge or understanding that you already have. It can be extremely valuable if you act upon it. The “shock” can give you insights that can enable you to either take advantage of a major change in the marketplace or guard against a serious reversal.

Unfortunately, most people are creatures of habit. When something happens that is completely unexpected, they choose to ignore it in favor of the old information with which they are comfortable. Don’t be afraid of change. Always change and adapt.

Class is in session:

  1. Read at least one hour per day in your chosen field. One hour a day will translate into approximately one book a week which is approximately fifty books over the next twelve months.
  2. Read and subscribe to the trade publications that contain articles and stories relevant to your field, such as Forbes, Fortune, BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal. One good idea is all you need to gain a competitive advantage.
  3. Invest 3% of your income back to yourself for upgrading your knowledge and moving towards personal development. 3% does not seem like a lot, but the impact on your life and career will be so extraordinary.
  4. Read books written by experts in your field. You should only read books written by people who are active practitioners of their craft.
  5. Take a speed-reading course to learn how to accelerate the amount that you read and retain. You will learn how to get through more reading material in two hours a day than many people get through in a week.

Remember when we were in school and our teachers would ask us what we want to be when we grow up? Well, now I’m asking you, as a lifelong student: how do you see your life changing after you commit to a life of continuous learning?

Brian Tracy

Oak Tree


Oak Tree

If you wait for me by the old oak tree

I’ll carve my name next to yours

Cross my heart, hope to never die

Because a love like you just can’t be mine

Are you the shooting star I went looking for


Will you wait for me, Will you wait for me

Time stops when I’m with you

Will you wait for me, Will you wait for me

It’s many miles but I’ll be running home to you


So many colors in your eyes

Is it love or is it lies

I don’t know but god it’s so damn beautiful

You hold my hand when it gets dark

Every kiss there is a spark that lights the night

We all surrender too


Will you wait for me, Will you wait for me

Time stops when I’m with you

Will you wait for me, Will you wait for me

It’s many miles but I’ll be running home to you


And I know that the leaves are going to change

Know it won’t all stay the same

But it’s better than goodbye

It’s better than goodbye

It’s better than goodbye


And if you wait for me by the old oak tree

I’ll carve my name next to yours

Lorelei Lea

My heart has been ripped out,

With only remnants left behind.

I hold on to life,

Holding on to what’s kind.


I pray for the pain to end,

Waiting for my sweet memories

To begin, closing my eyes,

I find her inside, the love

Of my ‘Sweet Pea’ will

Never End.


The sunshine I feel is

The warmth of her hug,

Secure in my arms,

My little ‘Boo Bug’.


The gentle breeze I feel is

The soft touch of her hand,

Caressing my arms,

Without a demand.


The birds sing and it’s

her laughter I hear,

Closing my eyes

I know she is near.


The starlight above is

The twinkle in her eyes,

Looking down at me,

Saying goodnight.

Written by Cynthia Ann Boyd for her Daughter Lorelei Lea’s ‘Celebration of Life’,   2/05/2008 – 9/27/2008.


Counting the Mad


Counting the Mad

This one was put in a jacket,
This one was sent home,
This one was given bread and meat
But would eat none,
And this one cried No No No No
All day long.

This one looked at the window
As though it were a wall,
This one saw things that were not there,
This one things that were,
And this one cried No No No No
All day long.

This one thought himself a bird,
This one a dog,
And this one thought himself a man,
An ordinary man,
And cried and cried No No No No
All day long.


Donal Justice

Should Auld Acquaintance…

Be forgot, I believe is the next line. That always bothered me as it is always hard to say goodbye, and impossible to forget the faces etched in the memory of our heart. I think of the families that have lost loved ones this past year. I think back to January particularly as that was the month my daughter died and I shared a kinship with the other families who were standing where I stood. I think of those same families now and wonder what growth and what good they may have learned through loss.

So many times people would say when speaking of their own loss that the death of a child would be the most difficult. I turned this over and over again in my mind as for years my professional system would say that all loss is equal and subjective, unquantifiable. I can say that the loss of my daughter is the most difficult compared to the loss of my mother, grandparents, and close friends. Compared to those other this loss is the greatest. I can say with the greatest truth that I am not the same person today that I was one year ago. I walk gently, speak softly and find myself standing in a deeper truth.

When you give birth, a piece of your heart walks forever outside your body in the shape of that child. I’ve found that retrieving that piece after Ali died took me into places, experiences, and relationships, particularly with other parents who have lost a child that allowed me to see not only my grief, but our collective grief in a new way. A way where we don’t have to say goodbye.

I wrote this after reflecting at this same point in time one year after my daughter’s death. This is my first submission since I wrote the above. Now seven years later, as I was walking decided that I wanted to research the history of this song. It was written by Robert Burns in 1788. It began as a Scottish tradition to sing this ballad at the point of the year where father time walks away and baby new year arrives. It asks the same question that it had a year ago. The question of should we really bid farewell to days gone by? This universal question has a universal answer. Just as light overcomes darkness, love overcomes suffering. It’s not possible to ever forget the loss of a loved one. Why would we want to?

Deb Girard
Circle of Life Community Hospice
Senior Spectrum Newspaper
January 27, 2017

Sharing this a year after it was written

Lord, I hate Buttermilk

A visiting Priest was attending a men’s breakfast in Ohio farm country. He asked one of the impressive older farmers in attendance to say grace that morning. After all were seated, the older farmer began …

“Lord, I hate buttermilk.”

The Priest opened one eye and wondered to himself where this was going.

Then the farmer loudly proclaimed, “Lord, I hate lard.”

Now the Priest was overly worried.

However without missing a beat, the farmer prayed on, “And Lord, you know I don’t care much for raw white flour.”

Just as the Priest was ready to  stand and stop everything, the farmer continued,

“But Lord, when you mix ’em all together and bake ’em up, I do love fresh biscuits.

“So Lord, when things come up we don’t like, when life gets hard, when we just don’t understand what you are sayin’ to us, we just need to relax and wait ’till You are done mixin’, and probably it will be somethin’ even better than biscuits.”


Taken from “Points of Light” every Friday newsletter. Contact Selise at to sign up or see past issues.

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