Giving Thanks

Giving thanks to all my family and friends. Cheers to all.

Morning Prayer

Let me awaken every morning and be thankful for what God has brought me.

Let me awaken every morning knowing things are as they are meant to be.

Let me awaken every morning knowing life is a journey and I am just a part.

Let me awaken every morning knowing the day will
bring challenges, opportunities and learning experiences.

Let me awaken every morning with self-love and self-acceptance, so I may be more tolerant of myself and others.

Let me awaken every morning with an open heart, so love may rush in and out like the tide of the mighty ocean.

Giving Memorial Day Thanks – “Build Me A Son”

Giving Memorial Day Thanks – “Build Me A Son”

Giving Thanks - Memorial Day 2015

On this Memorial Day weekend I am thinking about all those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of Freedom. The world we live in is a dangerous one, fraught with men with evil intentions. But for the sacrifice of a brave few, those men would have their way on all. We can see it in places near and far, from the evil men who brutally tortured and killed a YPO family in Washington DC (Savvas Savopoulos) to the evil being inflicted on whole countries in the Middle East. Left unchecked evil prevails. We live in a the greatest country, a place where an individual, no matter if they were born into poverty and extreme disadvantage can do and be anything they set out to achieve. A country where the world’s people, seek out more than any other, to take refuge from evil, to build a better life for their family, to live free. We are all privileged and I give thanks to those who have made it possible.

This poem, by General Douglas MacArthur, commander of the Allied Forces in the Pacific during the great struggle against evil in World War II, has hung on my wall for 26 years. I can think of no better message to all of my children (sons and daughters) than that contained herein.MacArthur on Time

“Build me a son, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, brave enough to face himself when he is afraid, one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.

Build me a son whose wishes will not take the place of deeds; a son who will know Thee-and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.

Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.

Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.

After all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, and the meekness of true strength. Then, I, his father, will dare to whisper, ‘I have not lived in vain.’”

– General Douglas MacArthur

 

As we all enjoy the holiday weekend, including the many who come to town for the Indy 500 Sunday, let’s all take a moment and reflect on these words. Happy Memorial Day Weekend.

With Gratitude,

Smoke

May 23, 2015

Savvas Savopoulos YPO Member

Savvas Savopoulos YPO Member

On my wall since 1989

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The Wallin Children May 2015

My Appreciation for Joel Covington and my Vanderbilt Journey

My Appreciation for Joel Covington and my Vanderbilt Journey

The world lost a good man this week. I did not I stay in touch with Joel frequently after attending Vanderbilt Owen Business School in the early 1990s. I do, however, remember him well. Joel with a wry humorous wit, always had a comment when I’d see him in passing on my visits back to school. He seemed to be on the inside of a joke, that one was never sure if it was about you, but it didn’t matter, as he said it with a smile.   But most of all for me, Joel, who was Director of Admissions at the time, had the wisdom to look beyond a checkered undergraduate academic career, and understand a young aspiring business person who demonstrated his passion but little else. When others looked only at the black and white on paper, Joel met with me in person and consulted with Nick Whitcombe, my Cornell wrestling pal who was already at Vandy, and was able to see my potential and gave me a chance when it mattered. For this I am grateful.

“At twenty years of age the will reigns; at thirty, the wit; and at forty, the judgment.” – Benjamin Franklin.  Joel, thanks for having the judgement to recognize my will would turn into something.

Here is a nice story remembering Joel in Vanderbilt News

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Rules to Live By and Hills to Climb

Rules to Live By and Hills to Climb

Two recent things friends have shared with me, some changes on the business front and spending time with my family this week have given me cause to reflect on what is important.  In my posts on Being Grateful earlier this year, I address many things for which I am immensely thankful. [ Being Grateful  & On Being Grateful II ]  Here, I’m thinking about the many challenges we all face from time to time or more frequently.  These can be considered road blocks to one’s path forward, things that get in the way and stop us.  I prefer to consider them “Hills to Climb” as Charles M. Blow put so well in his New York Times piece today. Thanks to my friend Michael R. Burcham for sharing.

What Charles does not address is the HOW, although he touches on it.  The HOW is really important to understand.  Just deciding to overcome an obstacle and to climb that hill is essential but inadequate.  Many may decide but upon encountering further impediments, delays or little progress become discouraged.  Nothing ever goes according to “Plan”.  There will be setbacks, naysayers and failures along the way.  Growing up in a family of educators, musicians and self made individuals, I learned early on how important hard work is to achieving anything worthwhile.  But hard work, coupled with incredible never ending PERSISTENCE is what determines success.  My Cornell classmate and fellow wrestler, Nick Whitcombe shared this inspiring video highlighting Kyle Dake’s incredible 4 NCAA National Championships at 4 DIFFERENT weight classes – a feat never before accomplished making Kyle the Sports Illustrated College Athlete of the Year.  It is narrated by The Arnold, who despite his flaws (as all of us have), has always be an inspiration to me.  I don’t think there are a better set of Rules to Live By if one wants to achieve a goal, attain greatness, or Climb a Hill.

1. Trust Yourself

2. Break Some Rules

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

4. Ignore the Naysayers

5. Work like Hell

6. Give something Back

I’m interested in your thoughts on this or anything you might like to add. Post here or send me a note.

Cheers and Happy Holidays!

Smoke

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