Sunday, June 24, 2007

Be the Presence of Amazing Grace

Be the Presence of Amazing Grace
  • What makes you want to rise above mediocrity?
  • Where do you go to find inspiration? Who supports you to achieve your best?
  • What is your amazing grace? What is the gift that you came into this world to share?

Boy, these are tough questions, but questions I have been asking myself nevertheless. I have been challenged in my lifetime to have the motivation and tenacity to be great. I mean really great. Oh, I’ve learned a lot … in fact, I am a perpetual student of life learning. I don’t like not knowing things so I spend hours delving into the whys and wherefores. I’ve learned how to create my own website, develop blogs and forums, set up and utilize PayPal accounts, make hand bound books, turn simple photographs into dynamic video presentations with effective transitions, background music, and voiceover. With that said, I am still searching for my amazing grace.

  • What have you taken time to push the envelope to learn?
  • Take some time to reflect and really pay attention to what you bring to this world that no one else can bring. This is not an easy exercise.
  • Write your list: The Things that Make Me the Most Amazing Me!
  • Elaborate on at least one item on your list. Don’t stop until the pen is dry.


Work like you don't need the money,
dance like no one is looking,
and love like you've never been hurt.

—Satchel Paige


Awestruck In the Presence of Amazing Grace

by Lissa Ann Forbes

Have you ever been in the presence of someone who captured your heart? Who threatened to change your life forever? Who made you feel so comfortable in his or her presence that any awkwardness just melted away?

It was Saturday, 8:15 in morning. I arrived at the National Speakers Association (NSA) meeting right on time. People were mingling in pockets of two, three, four. A buffet of exquisite breakfast foods was set up. Different than the usual fare of croissants, fruit, cheeses, coffee, and juice. That day, in addition to the usual coffee and juice, there was quiche, bacon, fruit & yogurt parfaits.

I saw a familiar face. Karen asked if I’d like to find a seat next to her as she walked to the back of the room. Without intending to be rude, I said I’d love to, but I preferred to sit at the front of the room because I knew, I just knew, that the feature speaker was going to be something special. I ambled to the front of the room and found a spot that hadn’t been spoken for already. My “table-mates” were engaged in their own conversations, so I went to get some breakfast before I settled in at my table of eight, all facing the stage.

Upon returning I took my seat next to a gentleman with a kindly face, a bright smile, and tiny gold hoop earring in his left ear. He was wearing a black and brown houndstooth jacket with the sleeves tucked into the pockets, black pants, and loafers. He introduced himself as Alvin Law. As I introduced myself, I registered that he was the keynote speaker for the day. How providential that I should sit next to him. For a fleeting moment I thought … handshake. Having already read and now seeing that Alvin had no arms, I immediately, without losing a beat, asked for a hug. Warmly, he said, “oh, I love hugs.” We hugged. I smiled and said it was a real pleasure to meet him.

We settled in as we listened to the first speaker. Alvin rustled a bit next to me, taking papers out of his leather briefcase on the floor … with his feet. He’d taken off his shoes. He reached for his cup of coffee on the table top … with his foot. I wanted to observe, but didn’t want to stare. I looked his way briefly a couple of times to catch a glimpse. I was simply curious to watch this man function completely independently in unconventional ways. But I didn’t want to be a “gawker,” not that he hadn’t experienced that many times in his life, I was certain.
Then it was time. It was his turn to grace the stage.

He talked about thalidomide and the birth defects it caused. He talked about his birth parents who gave him up at only a week old because they couldn’t cope. He talked about the angels, Hilda and Jack Law, who took him in as their foster child at three weeks … for a temporary stay that lasted the rest of their lives. He referenced them as his only parents, the one’s who nurtured him back to health, who had an awakening that everyone was looking at the wrong thing. They were looking at what he didn’t have, couldn’t do, rather than at what he did have and could do. They were his hope and his light.

Everything this vibrant soul had to say hit a chord for me. I was surprised when he said, “I was an ugly baby.” He was an adorable baby. I listened as he told the story of starting school across the street from his home, when he was told he couldn’t go there, that he had to go to the school for crippled kids. I laughed at his mother’s response to the principal’s retort, “He has no arms, what do you call that?” when she said very matter-of-factly, “Alvin!” I cried as he gave his parents so much credit for his accomplishments, not letting him off the hook just because he had to improvise to do a task including mowing the grass and shoveling snow. I laughed some more when he said the speaker who changed his life was “too happy,” reminding me of Patch Adams' nemesis superior who noted in his student medical file that he was “excessively happy.” I cried when I thought of what I hadn’t done in my life because I didn’t know how or thought I couldn’t do it.

He closed his program by playing a piece he wrote on the grand piano that had been wheeled into the room. He talked about the importance of what’s on the inside, not what’s on the outside. He ended with a signature story about the piano teacher who said he'd never play piano because his toes were too short.

Applause filled the room, a room filled with more than a 100 people. This man had touched the hearts and souls of everyone there. He touched my heart and inspired me to exclaim, I have no excuses, absolutely no excuses, for not doing everything I can dream of! This man has inspired me to think differently.

How could you ever doubt what you were capable of after being in the presence of amazing grace? After being in the presence of one who puts you at ease with his differences?
What are your obstacles? How can you adapt in order to accomplish more?


Alvin’s Laws of Life: 5 Steps To Successfully Overcome Anything
by Alvin Law

Alvin Law’s book is a reflection of his talks, or maybe vice versa. Nevertheless, reading his book after hearing him speak reinforced his message. Anyone can do anything if he wants to badly enough. The secret is in using what you have, not focusing on what you don’t have. Alvin has first-hand experience. Having been born without arms, over time he learned to do everything with his feet: Walk, of course, but in addition he writes, eats, throws a Frisbee®, plays basketball, types, drives, and plays not one, but at least three musical instruments: piano, trombone, and drums, and much more.

I was as captivated by Law’s book as I was his talk. I could hear his voice all over again as I read. Two weeks after hearing him speak, one week after finishing his book, I can't stop talking about him and how he's inspired me, how I was in the presence of amazing grace, and I suggest that you too can learn something from this man.

Book available on Alvin's website
** Don't miss the video**

Monday, June 4, 2007

The Brain: Engine or Caboose?

The Brain: Engine or Caboose?

  • Is your brain the engine or caboose?
  • When you think you're in charge do you find you're really following?
  • How might you learn to play both roles?

Just when I thought I had everything in order; bought a new iMac, climbed the steep learning curve getting closer to the summit, become well versed in the different native software programs, and developed a new product with ease using what I'd learned, I was ready to add one more thing to the mix and suddenly found myself following the lead of some sort of glitch. I went to install a new program, Filemaker Pro, because it came so highly recommended. I couldn't install it. I spent the next two-plus days at the Apple doctor. These folks are fabulous. With a smile, they greeted me three days in a row, and took the steps to get me back up and running which entailed wiping my hard drive clean and starting anew. I was in the process of moving my backed-up files onto the fresh drive and I did something that took me back to square one. Don't ask ... all I can say is I found myself once again at the Apple doctor just when I had deadlines to meet. On the fourth visit, all was resolved successfully and I was back on track. Hallelujah! Trust me I will be doing system backups on a REGULAR basis from now on!!
  • Consider a time when you thought you had everything under control, but each step along the way felt like a setback.
  • Did you totally lose it and find things spiraling? Or did you take it all in stride knowing the right person with the right answer would appear?
  • Go to a quiet place and write down the steps you took. If you spiraled, consider another way and re-write the script so you can do it differently the next time. Celebrate the solution.


The brain is a wonderful organ.
It starts working the moment you get up in the morning
and does not stop until you get into the office.

—Robert Frost
(1874 - 1963)


My Mind as an Unruly Child

by Lissa Ann Forbes

My mind can be an unruly child. Sometimes it wants to shut down and take a perpetual vacation, lounge beside gurgling water with songbirds playing their tunes, or just nap. Then sometimes it simply won't stop chattering and it wants to get into everyone's business, be the fix-it lady, and actually go out and find the solutions for everyone except me. Being helpful mixed with "look at me, look at me." Yes, I'm truly aware of what's going on.

It rarely finds an even pace: work—rest—work—rest. When resting, it's angelic, like a small child napping, eyes tracking slowly from side to side beneath translucent eyelids, limp with flaccid limbs, and slow rhythmic breathing. Thoughts float like big puffy cumulus clouds blowing across a clear blue sky. Then the breeze stops and a gentle thought cradles itself against the skull wall.

Occasionally the unruly mind wakes with a start and a critical voice, "Where have you been? You should be working. You must write. You must market. You must ... you must.

She wants to run away and focus on the endless sky with possibilities yet dreamt. New friends, new stories, new angles, new landscape.

There is a different aspect of the unruly brain child as well—the one that is so full of energy and so full of questions. The one that wants to drink up all the learning the world has to offer. Running in circles, twirling, jumping with raucous laughter.

Oh yes, this unruly child often runs rampant in my head. With the slightest suggestion of an idea she gallops off in all directions to gather seeds, and flowers, and leaves. To put together the puzzle pieces of life.

My favorite time of all is when she goes on a creative jaunt collecting the bits and pieces of a project. Often what she comes back with are things I never would have thought of--ways of saying things, ideas to make a presentation pretty or captivating, and bringing in an unusual, unique aspect that makes folks stand up and notice.

Lastly, there are occasions my mind has temper tantrums. Requests are made and my brain stands with hands on hips and either suggests nothing at all refusing to answer questions, or screams "no" relentlessly, "I don't want to do that, no ... no .... no." Sometimes I try to coax her, sometimes I tell her to stop being so stubborn, but mostly I find that if I allow her the tantrum or the time to dream, we get back to work, on track, more quickly.

Is your mind an unruly child too? I'd love to hear your successes and solutions.


Off the Shelf
Reading Resource:

Priestess Entrepreneur: Simple Truths for Creating Success in Your Business
by Cindy Morris, MSW

Cindy Morris' book is just what I needed to make sense of the entrepreneurial life. It can be exhilarating, adventurous, frustrating, challenging, and downright crazy-making. Reading Priestess Entrepreneur was like having a good friend take me by the hand, listen to my own story, and tell me it's all going to be okay. Cindy helps you understand not only the glories, but the pitfalls for running your own business and in the end shares why it's a journey worth traveling.

Whenever I feel discouraged, I open Cindy's book and find just what I'm looking for to spur me on. Encouragement, empathy, strength, and sheer joy and love of the process. This book is a companion worth holding hands with.

Available directly from Cindy Morris at or


To view DVD montage projects by Sacred Heartfelt Moments,
go to

From Write from the Inside: The Ezine, Issue #59, ISSN 1937-2574