The Tree of Life

During a past visit to Disney World, after exploring the traditional theme parks of Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and the Water Parks, we made our way to the Animal Kingdom. It is a theme park set into a large zoo within a forest. One of the most fascinating features you see as soon as you enter is the “Tree of Life”. It's purpose is to illustrate the interrelationship and interdependency of all aspects of life. Many of these characteristics were carved into its trunk and branches. It was exceptional in its intended reality. But it was clear that it was man made, constructed out of concrete and paint. There was no life in Disney’s tree of life. 

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Leadership 101: Standing Alone

Our company had enjoyed a consistent stream of revenue from a long standing customer for over 20 years.  While we were not a single sourced supplier, we were a preferred one, being highly trusted and favoured. I was reminded of that special relationship when I assumed the role of President. To the shareholders and management, the margins we collected on the products we sold to this one specific customer provided significant bonuses and dividends, increasing our company’s and individual standard of living considerably.

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The story is told of a group of 12 members of a support group who were all suffering from the same life-threatening health issue. Conventional treatments were failing, so they decided to follow the advice of a friend to visit a doctor who used unconventional methods to heal incurable diseases. To their surprise, the doctor’s unusual treatment was successful. After travelling some distance, two of the groups’ members realized they had not thanked the doctor for his help and for saving their lives.  The two decided to travel back and see the doctor who upon their arrival was not only shocked, but also thrilled because these two were humble and honest enough to say “thank you.”

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In the Strangest of Places!

We sat in the hospital room waiting for my son to wake up from his four-hour surgery. It was a family gathering. The surgery had a fifty per cent chance of success and, if the outcome was  negative, he would require a major change in lifestyle and activities. The doctor finally arrived and informed us everything went much better than expected; the odds worked in my son’s favour. As he began to wake, though still under a good dose of morphine and in quite a trance of tranquility, we told him the good news.

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Where Are You Going?

For many years, I have kept a photograph that was taken of my father and me back in 1958. I was only two years old. My Dad is dressed in a suit and tie, looking very dapper. This was unusual attire for him, since he was a cabinet maker by trade and I can only remember him in overalls covered with wood dust. I was also dressed in a formal outfit that made me look like a miniature Sherlock Homes (a very English looking coat and hat). It’s no wonder I have taken such a liking to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s mystery writings. My Dad was holding my hand and we were walking away from an airplane that had its single main engine exposed. I later learned that the picture was taken at the then-existing USA Air Force Base in Stephenville, Newfoundland.

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Valuing our Differences - Celebrating Diversity

There are a number of various cultural, religious and secular celebrations at this time of the year. Some of these include:


National American Indian Heritage Month – November
All Saints' Day (Christian, Roman Catholic) – November 2
Dia de los Muertos "Day of the Dead" (Mexico, Latin America) – October 31-November 2
All Souls' Day (Roman Catholic) – November 2
Birthday of Baha'u'llah (Baha'i) – November 12
Diwali (Buddhist, Hindu) – November 3 
Hijri New Year – November 4-5 
Day of Ashura (Islamic, Muslim) – November 10

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Oops! I Forgot

For most babies, the first two words out of their mouths are “Mama, Dada.” I believe for me it was “I forgot.” 

Merv, did you pick up your toys? I forgot. Merv, did you brush your teeth? I forgot. Did you make your bed? I forgot. Merv, did you have your parents sign your grade report? I forgot.

As I got older, matters didn’t improve. Merv, did you call your mother? I forgot. Merv, did you pick up the laundry? I forgot. Did you put out the garbage? I forgot. Did you buy milk? I forgot. Did you sign those cheques? I forgot. Do you know what day it is today? It’s our anniversary. Oops . . . I forgot.

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