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“Let’s Head to the Barn”

The first seven years of my life were spent on the farm… literally on the farm. It would not surprise me to look out the window and see the cows wandering around in the pasture with just a fence separating them from my home.

That meant that I learned to drive a tractor and I also went out and helped haul the hay on to the wagon. Admittedly, I wasn’t really much help. Still, these days of July heat do bring back memories of doing some work in the hot sun. Plus, in consective summers I somehow first got chicken pox and then the measles. I always felt that it was somehow connected to all that heat and hay.

That’s the negative part. The positive part was at the end of those hot days. My grandfather would say, “let’s head for the barn”. That meant that we were done and that we would go right for the pump, for cold water. I was so thirsty; I could hardly wait. At that moment, gold and silver meant nothing. Water was everything; I was just so hot and thirsty.

That also reminds me of the Bible story of the competitive twins. I almost typed “the story of two twins” but that’s one of those obvious statements.

In Genesis 25, the older brother (Esau), “a skillful hunter, a man of the open country”, had returned from hunting. He was absolutely famished. His younger brother twin, Jacob, was cooking, He is described as “a quiet man among the tents”. Today, the one brother would be the one always playing outside while the other one was inside probably just playing video games and baking cookies.

Esau was so hungry that he agreed to give his birthright to Jacob for some lentil stew. That was giving his special honor that he was entitled to as the older brother; the right to a double portion of his father’s inheritance.

The story almost sounds like a Lifetime movie. It includes deceit and a threat to kill. For the purposes of this blog, it is also a reminder of the power of hunger. The simple things in life that have significant value when we are without.

The basics in life sometimes come up when I am discussing a client’s losses to an adjuster. I sometimes start to believe that the adjuster forgets what loss feels like. It feels like they have no understanding of what a person is facing after getting hit.

It seems that many of them sit in their air conditioned cubicle or office and just punch numbers in a computer, to arrive at a value on the case. “I just don’t think that your client has much of a loss” or “it’s just not documented in the medical records as to why they had to miss work”.

Almost every day, I face those adjuster arguments when I am in the office. Maybe that’s why I sometimes sound harsh when descibing my interaction in negotiations.

I guess the ending to the blog is a description of what it feels like when the jury comes back with a significant verdict that recognizes a client’s losses. Come to think of it, it has some of the same feeling of joy; like I felt as a kid, when my grandfather was telling me that we were finished for the day, and that we were headed for the barn. It’s fun to travel down memory lane.

Here’s an astronaut texting pic o’ day that makes me smile:



Sally Field’s Life Reminders

     I enjoy reading “How To” books that tell me to plan, stay positive, learn, grasp, study, work, read and many other action words. I am also reminded to keep a smile on my face.


     All those action words that are written by authors that include psychologists or former CEO’s can’t be discounted. Many of those books have helpful reminders. Still, every now and then some real life advice comes from real life. That’s the nature of Sally Fields’ advice.

     From 1967-1970, Sally Field starred as Sister Bertrille in The Flying Nun. The show made her famous, but it also served to typecast her as a lightweight actor “girl-next-door” and made it difficult  to shake the image. In later interviews, she noted that even the show’s directors failed to treat her with respect. Maybe seeing her “fly around” in a nun’s outfit made it difficult!flying nun

     She also felt challenged during the first season of the show, because she was pregnant with her first child. Of course, that would be a problem for a nun… a flying nun.

     There were times that she felt like quitting. Instead, she took a co-star’s recommendation and enrolled in acting classes during her evenings and weekends.     

      After her acting classes, she decided to work on challenging projects. First, she tackled the mini series Sybil. She won an Emmy for her portrayal of a woman who exhibited three personalities, after severe childhood abuse.  Three years later she played the role of Norma Rae; which told the true life story of a single mother who helped to unionize a cotton mill because of the harsh working conditions and poor worker pay. 

     For that role, she won her first Academy Award. This role was a long way from her earlier flying comedic role. Thereafter, she tackled the “normal” to counter Robin Williams’ “abnormal” Mrs. Doubtfire.

     Most recently, she was in Richmond shooting Lincoln, as Mary Todd Lincoln; for which she received a nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Plus, I heard that several “Richmonders” interacted with her at the Jefferson Hotel and said that she was extremely “down to earth”. (yes, unlike a flying nun) 

     I selectively picked parts along the way to circle back to a book that I recently read titled “Admired: 21 Ways to Double Your Value“. In the book, they interview Fields about her life’s journey. Here are some of the things that she said that she has learned.

     “The only thing you have power over is to get good at what you do”. She also noted that,  “The only way to become a leader is to have something to give back… get off your rear end and do something”.  She adds about leadership that it sometimes happens, “by accident after you’ve pursued and struggled and kicked yourself around the block a zillion times. One day you look out and see what you’ve done in your life and suddenly people begin turning to you and saying, ‘Lead us.'”

     In blogging, I especially enjoy reading life lessons from others. Usually, I can find some tidbit for my journey. I enjoyed reading her action words because they are a reminder of the Nike saying of “Just Do It”.

     And for pic o’ day, here is some congratulations for “trying”

you tried

Retirement or Just Plain Tired

     “Don’t be pushed by your problems, be led by your dreams”. (Ralph Waldo Emerson) I was reminded of that quote in an article from Intentional titled “8 Habits of Successful Retirees“. It really provides some good reminders on living life:

     1. Live with a sense of urgency. Life is limited; Live each day with meaning.

     2. Take Risks. We all should have insurance and wear seat belts. Still, to pursue goals means taking some risk to attain.

     3. Be healthy. In 1900, the three leading causes of death were flu, diarrhea and tuberculosis. Today, the three leading causes of death are stroke, heart attack and cancer. The article reminds that stress and diet are part of these causes.

     4. Retire to something, not from something. The article discusses pursuing not escaping.

     5. Retire based on your bank account, not your birthday.

     6. Choose yes over no; active over passive; adventure over inertia. Mark Twain said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed over the things that you didn’t do, rather than the things that you did”.

     7. Do Important Work. All of us are created to do something meaningful and productive.

     8. Foster meaningful relationships. “If a man (or woman) does not make new acquaintances through life, he will soon find himself alone. Keep friendships in constant repair”. (Samuel Johnson)

     The article attached above has many more nuggets on life. It seemed applicable in the blog because I had just sat down with someone to discuss value for their case. Many of the things above had been impacted by the crash.

     For instance, she couldn’t hang out with her friends; was not able to work and save money; was fearful for her health; and felt like the crash had caused her to be a couch potato. When the accident happened, she was a teenager. These principles of a good retirement were reminders for a teenager. 

     A reminder that no matter where we are in life, we all need purpose. Plus, we need to be able to have the physical capability to carry out that purpose. Without your health, it is hard to enjoy anything.

     And from Mom’s archives for pic o’:



George Turklebaum…


Yep, for the end of week, I thought I’d post this as a reminder. The story of poor George Turkelbaum was passed around in 2011 as a lesson about remembering to stop working so hard. said that several news sources picked up this item in 2004 as well, as though it were true. What’s a couple of years among news coverage friends.

In fact, the story lacked detail; the science of decomposition of the body not being noticed is not realistic (that’s all I’m going to say about that); and no social security number to confirm the life of George, much less the New York Medical Examiner records to confirm the death, makes us know that George may not live in fact; but his story will continue to live and probably come back as another story in a few years.

It is a good lesson… just not a true story. Don’t work too hard. The true lesson is maybe to only believe what you read in this blog!!!

Also, remember to pursue your passion:


And play more games:

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