Appreciation. Keep it Simple

Appreciation. While watching the coverage of the bombing that occurred at the Boston Marathon, I felt that the most heart warming part was watching the victims as they met their heroes and thanked them.  Words were spoken, but it was the gestures and looks that silently shouted their thanks. Appreciation. A word I struggle with.

I love to be appreciated, love to show appreciation, love to watch appreciation in action. The act can turn a difficult day into a day to remember. Recently I received a simple handwritten thank-you note from Politico journalist and author Jonathan Martin several weeks after we met, it still makes me smile. I also appreciate his writing style, as he has a great technique that lets you feel as if you are there.
Yet I continue to struggle to accept and give.

Gratefully, I’m getting better at accepting. I realized that if I respond negatively to someone’s appreciation to me, I’m basically calling the giver a liar. Not nice. So, a simple thank you as a response is the best way to go.

On the giving end, I either go overboard or underboard. I struggle with the simple act of appreciation. If I become overwhelmed with work and life, often I neglect to give any appreciation. Or, I wind up sending the appreciation months or years later.

So, to my brothers-in-law Brian and Mike, thank you for all you do for me.  Mike, the free medical advice saved my life and Brian, the free life advice saved my life.You two are the best brothers-in-law, even if you don’t appreciate the classic movie, “Bell, Book, and Candle.”  I am now tempted to go on, but will refrain.

An immediate effect of mulling over a word a week, as requested by John R. Dallas, Jr, author of “We Need To Have A Word,” is my appreciation for words. When I am more thoughtful about words, magic happens.

Let me know what you appreciate and how you express it. I would love to incorporate your skills into my life.


P.S. Jimmy Stewart, for those of you of a certain age and don’t know, was the star of “Bell, Book and Candle.” A truly fabulous movie.

Mercury + Retrograde = Misalignment

When I started mulling this week’s word, alignment, I went directly to misalignment. I experienced an unusual amount of snafus in a short period of time. My three-month old MacBook Air died (delaying the start of this blog); the weather wreaked havoc on travel, leaving me without several speakers that were to present at panels I was organizing; and my mis-spellings went up beyond even my tolerance level.

Welcome to mercury in retrograde (MIR), a period when the planet Mercury appears to be in a backwards motion. According to astrologers, it’s also a time when technology and communications are adversely affected. Hence, my three weeks of misalignment.
I had to go to Google to find out more about this planetary phenomenon. I found a great article and a quirky, yet informative website.
The Pottstown Herald‘s great article about this very the busy Roman god Mercury does a great job of explaining this god’s role in the universe. He was a god of trade, commerce, profit, abundance and in his free time he escorted souls to the afterlife. No wonder when his planet looks like it is going backwards, things go haywire. He just has too much on his plate!
Urban Dictionary highlights the astrological effects of MIR and notes several major miscommunications over the years during MIR. One of the more times was when the term “hanging chad” became vogue.

if you read Urban Dictionary’s definition, and find yourself curious to see if a particular incident in your life happened during MIR, here is a link to a helpful table:

MIR is over for now. My computer is fixed, the panels went well and my mis-spellings, well, I’m only human.

Alignment. I’m not sure that Dallas, the author of the book “We Need to Have A Word” and the basis for this blog, had MIR in mind when he chose Alignment as his third word. But, he did stimulate my curiosity and I now have a good cocktail party story about the god, the planet and an optical illusion.

This week’s question about Alignment is: How can our government be better aligned?
Until the next word.  Enjoy.

p.s. SNAFU stands for: Situation normal, all fouled up.

A Fish Tale That’s True


I dare you to say that word

and not smile. Until I started this blog, I believed it was a feel-good word that you screamed out when something went extremely well. Actually, it’s a fish, a highly prized catch among fishermen with great Acumen.*

Acumen? Hm, let’s make it this week’s word.

Harrison Rogers has combined his fishing acumen with business and created something quite fun.

Before I get to that part of the story, I want to congratulate him on catching the prized Wahoo in Palm Beach. Isn’t it great to see how the pure joy on his face?

He told me he likes the excitement of never knowing what is on the other end of his reel. Remember that feeling? Doing something for the sheer excitement and not knowing the outcome?
What better way to to enjoy your passion than to share it? And that is exactly what Harrison is doing.

Last summer, at the patient age of 13, Harrison did just that by launching a fishing camp business called: Camp Big Ten. Catching Your Big Ten.

He learned many business lessons. The top two? People and commitment. Ten young fishermen signed up for camp only 6 showed up. And, budgeting 101. He didn’t calculate the cost of gas to-and-from the fishing sites. Even with these set backs he came out even.

Factoring these key lessons to improve his business, he immediately began planning for 2013 summer.

I think Harrison’s acumen will only grow. Of course, it may be in his DNA as his mother Caroline, and father Geoff are successful business owners themselves.

I look forward to improving my blog acumen and perhaps make some money to take Harrison to Cabo to catch the next fish on his list the Blue Marlin.

The words passion, support and perseverance should also be included in’s definition: a·cu·men [uh-kyoo-muhn, ak-yuh-] noun: keen insight; shrewdness: remarkable acumen in business matters. As for author John R. Dallas, Jr., he says that acumen is Wisdom, Courage and Patience Applied. Harrison exemplifies all of these.
Acumen, is there any politician out there that defines this word?  Comments please.

Acronym Yourself

LOL, an acronym and the first word in the book, confounded me for a long time. When I started seeing colleagues and friends ending emails with LOL, I wondered, why is a colleague signing off with such an intimate emoticon? When I realized, LOL meant laugh out loud, not lots of love, I laughed. And, then I knew that I needed to pay more attention to acronyms.

In the book, (We Need to Have a Word), Dallas recalls a meeting where he lost a potential client when he didn’t know the meaning of HELOC.  Quite arrogant in their dismissal of his services over an acronym. His story reminded me of a colleague using an acronym to sound more in the know then the rest of us.  He talked about SEO and how it was the core to a successful marketing program. I was embarrassed that I didn’t know this “new” technique.  When I finally Googled it, and saw it meant Search Engine Optimization, something I’d been using for years. I felt a bit stupid I didn’t know the acronym, but smart that I had discovered this “hot” marketing technique many years before.

I know acronyms are used for good.  Such as the medical field to save lives in an emergency.  In my world, they are used to be quicker in writing or conversation. However, what ends up happening is that conversations have to be interrupted to explain the acronym thus losing all of the time it took to us the acronym.
In a nutshell, acronyms frustrate me.

At the same time, I had fun with the exercise in the book to make your name an acronym.  This lead to way to much time on the web. My first site was to, a good general resource. I was then delighted to find Scary that I could spend an hour entering my name just to see what the site could create.

I found some great acronyms for my name, but none came close to the one my dear friend Catherine created many years ago.  When I’m feeling a bit low, instead of singing “These Are  Few Of My Favorite Things,” I read what Catherine wrote:

J is for the jewels which you so richly deserve. It also stands for jubilant, jazzy, just, jolly and jaunty.

A is because you’re almost always active. You are also astute, affable appreciative of art, angelic, aesthetically attuned, able ardently admired by all.

N is for your nimble, noble natural self. You are also nice, nifty, neato, not at all narcissistic, but you are just a bit nutty.

It does go on with my last name, but I thought that it would overkill.

Catherine, thank you for such great praise. And, thank you for telling me to get on with this blog and publish.

I would love for you to create and share an acronym that best describes the state of the U.S.  An existing one, FUBAR, comes quickly to my mind.  I will share them in a later blog.
Oh, HELOC means Home Equity Line of Credit. Enjoy.

Introduction to My Blog

We Need To Have A Word. A statement that ca evoke fear of a pending uncomfortable conversation. Through this blog, I hope that the meaning shifts and when you hear We Need To have A Word, you think of the beauty of the word.
How will I work to accomplish this lofty goal? By learning or re-learning 52 words that were picked by John R. Dallas, Jr., the author of “We Need To Have A  Word.” Seeing the demise of language, due to exploding technology, Dallas asks us to slow down and spend time with words. Additionally, the author hopes we reacquaint ourselves with their meanings, uses and misuses, so that we’re more conscious of words.
Dallas breaks the book down to a word-a-week. During the week, he suggests that the reader focus on how the word is used, misused, and even at times misleading.
For the next 52 weeks, I’m going post a blog about each word and how that particular word impacts my life. Why?  Because Dallas says in his preface that after the 52 weeks, the practice “will improve results at work, home and everywhere.”
I’m very interested at improving my life. When I’ve tried in the past, by reading many self help books that made the promise, sadly, I’ve had minimal results.
I’m scared. Scared of typos, grammatical errors, comments. Mostly, that I won’t see any improvement. In the past, I’ve stopped many projects because of fear. This blog offers me an accountable way to read a chapter a week and write a post. So, if no one reads this but me and I’m able to see the changes Dallas says, this project will be a success. Even if I don’t see the profound changes, I will have seen a project to its conclusion.
I invite you to purchase his book and read along. Or, just read the blog. I’d be pleased to hear from you, and learn how the words are impacting or not impacting your life
I welcome criticism. I do ask that you please make it constructive.
Enjoy the week.