Blowin’ in the Wind

Today’s “word prompt” took me back in time to 1963 when Bob Dylan released “Blowin’ in the Wind.”

It is amazing how some of the lyrics fit right in with today’s world.

For instance, let’s look at lines one and two:

How many roads must a man walk down

Before you call him a man

When does a man become a man? When we graduate high school? College? When we marry? So many questions – who do we look to for answers?

And then there are lines thirteen and fourteen:

Yes and how many times can a man turn his head

And pretend that he just doesn’t see

With all that is going on in the world today, are we truly looking at what is happening, or are we merely looking past the facade of others and accepting life as it is and not for what it truly is and can be?

Lines seventeen and eighteen also reveal that sometimes we must just look beyond our nose:

Yes and how many times must a man look up

Before he can see the sky

Looking closer at what is right in front of us may reveal something more beautiful than what we first thought we seen.

And then there were lines nineteen and twenty

Yes, and how many ears must one man have

Before he can hear people cry

Do we truly stop and listen to what others are trying to say to us or are we too wrapped up in our own little world.

Finally, lines 21 and 22 sort of brings everything full circle:

Yes, and how many deaths will it take ‘til he knows

That too many people have died

In conclusion, allow me to end this article with a quote by Roger Bannister who said: “The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win.”

We need to open our eyes, listen with our ears, forge forward and make every effort towards making the world a better place. It is time!







Pushing the Envelope!

Ah, to be young again, full of life and ready to face the world. While growing up we considered ourselves to be unstoppable! In our younger years, we looked upon each day as a new challenge. We paid attention to what our peers as well as our parents did on a daily basis and aspired to do better once we were of an age to do so.

But dreams tend to be just that, dreams until action is taken to make them reality. Over the years, I can truthfully say that I bounced from one job to another with no real true goal or objective. I mean, let me ask you, what twenty-one year old aspires to be a grocery stock clerk all his life or work in an upholstery factory. And these were only several of the jobs I held prior to entering the insurance industry.

If memory serves me well (not sure at my age), I commented previously about my CPCU ® designation. Allow me to share some information about this program. When I first became involved with insurance many, many years ago (70’s), I didn’t even know what CPCU (Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter) meant.

As a matter of fact, over the years  I learned a lot about the CPCU program as well as many other insurance programs. But another thing I learned was that it pays to have a good mentor. When I took my first shot at a CPCU exam, I was ready to not only toss my books out the window, but to change vocations as well. But, my supervisor, who was a CPCU himself, took me under his wing and devised a plan for me to follow.

First, it was suggested that I put the CPCU program on hold and instead divert my attention to another insurance program, one known as the IIA (Insurance Institute of America) Program in General Insurance. By doing this, I would be learning not only how to study again (I had been out of school since 1958), but the three courses that made up this program would also be an entrée to Part I of the then five-part CPCU program (eventually it became ten parts and then eight).

A little more history is needed here to make my point regarding today’s word prompt. When I was taking this program, the program was five parts, you began studying in September, sat for the exam the following June, and only learned if you passed in August, many times after you had already signed up for the next part which in some cases meant there was the possibility one might be studying for two parts during the same nine months.

Such was the case with me in that I failed both the Accounting and Finance part as well as the Economic part (after all I was only a high-school graduate – never attended college), several times. As a matter-of-fact, I even took a 75-hour Economics course at the University of North Florida – passed that course – and failed the CPCU exam. Bottom line is that I failed both these two courses several times before finally passing the exam.

By now you are probably wondering what my rambling has to do with the word unstoppable, just this – as I said, some individuals complete the program in a ridiculously short period of time. But me, it took me thirteen years! There were cross-country moves, birth of a baby, and various other “life” events. Life is funny that way.

But, once hooked – I was unstoppable in my effort to achieve the coveted CPCU® designation.




Safe Haven

What is it we are looking for from the time we are little children? Whether it is during our adolescent years, teenage years, college years, adult years and on into our senior and retirement years – all we seem to want is happiness and sanctuary with emphasis on the word “sanctuary.”

I have discussed happiness in previous posts on another website and so I will pass talking about that here because what I would really like to discuss here is the other goal/objective we all seek at one time or another in our lives – “Sanctuary!”

What is “sanctuary?” Sanctuary is a place of refuge or safety. In today’s most violent times, we tend to think there are no truly “safe” places. I would hope that for the most of us, our homes and communities we live in are safe.

However, sanctuary as it relates to being safe from the craziness happening in the world today is but one of the many types of sanctuary we seek today. Too often today, I either read about or come in contact with individuals that are going through hard times and as a result are coping as best they can. Coping with life in general and all the little nuances that come with attempting to live the so-called American Dream.

For some time now I have had the urge to take up “meditation” as a form of relaxation and a means, so to speak, to get away from it all. While I have tried many times in the past, I am happy to say that my recent attempt has proven to be more fruitful as I am and have been doing so for almost two weeks now without missing a day.

What has this to do with today’s word prompt “sanctuary” you might be asking yourself. Just this – while I have only been meditating a few weeks now, I find that when I spend this time with just myself – these few solitary minutes (which will eventually be longer) is my sanctuary.

Furthermore, strange as it may sound, finding sanctuary within one’s own mind goes a long way towards providing not only inner peace but the feeling of safety within one’s own skin so to speak. And what better way to feel that we have found a place of refuge or safety than to experience it within our own body.

I look forward to each morning as I know that no matter how bad the previous day might have been, those few minutes by myself meditating provides me with a safe haven (sanctuary) and thus provides me with the means of facing whatever is tossed my way not only today  but in days to come as well.

How about you – where is your sanctuary?


Am I Having a Bad Day or What?

A little guy is sitting at the bar staring at his drink when a large threateningly leering biker steps up next to him, grabs his drink and gulps it down in one swig.

“Well, whatcha’ gonna do about it?” he says menacingly, as the little guy bursts into tears.

“Come on, man,” the biker says, “I didn’t think you’d CRY. I can’t stand to see a man crying.”

“This is the worst day of my life,” says the little guy.

“I’m a complete failure. I was late to a meeting, and my Boss fired me. When I went to the parking lot, I found my car stolen and I don’t have any insurance.

I left my wallet in the cab I took home. I found my wife in bed with the gardener and then to top that my dog bit me.

“So I came into this bar to work up the courage to put an end to it all. I buy a drink, I drop a capsule in, and sit here watching the poison dissolve. Then a wise-person like you shows up and drinks the whole thing!”

“Am I being punished or what? What type of punishment is that?”



Carefree trip of a lifetime

Several years ago, on a whim, we asked our neighbors who had planned a trip to Paris, France whether or not we could join them. Our reasoning was fairly simple, other than visiting Mexico and Canada on our own in our lifetime, we had never been out of the country but had the desire to go. Problem was that we weren’t as carefree as we had thought we were.

We wanted go visit other countries to see other places but were hesitant to go alone. So, the couple invited us to join them. One thing led to another and the comment was made that they had always wanted to cruise to England on the Queen Mary II but the timing was never right for this particular trip.

Allow me to back up a minute here. Their trip had been planned for some time in November, 2012 and was to be a nineteen day trip. Flying to Paris and subsequently ending up in Barcelona, Spain where they would return to the states via Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.

One thing led to another and it was suggested that we find out when the Queen Mary II was going across as perhaps we could make some minor travel alterations but still accomplish the overall goal. Unfortunately, the only crossing at the time by the QM II was in early October. And our friends had informed us – not being the world travelers they were – that neither they nor we could afford the cost of hotels in Europe for such a long span of time.

My lovely wife, who believes there is no such word as: “no” or “can’t,” said “Let me look into that. We have used our “time share” program over the years to book hotels and condominiums in the states but never in Europe. To say what happened next – some might say was wild and crazy – but having lived the experience – prefer to look at it as our being totally “Carefree.”

In one short weekend, we went from planning a 19 day trip to Paris (4 days in Paris) and a two week cruise home from Spain to planning a 50 day whirlwind trip to Europe flying from Florida to New York; a one-week cruise on the QM II to Southhampton, England spending a week in England before taking the Chunnel to France, spending time in France and Germany and overall visiting a total of eleven countries before ending up in a timeshare in Barcelona prior to  boarding Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines for our trip home.

Now while this trip only began in October of 2012, we changed the format of it from being a 19 day trip to a 50 day trip celebrating our (at the time) upcoming 50th wedding anniversary.

What an experience! Also, being crazy about line dancing, we made it a point to line dance in every country we visited – sometimes just stopping by the side of the road and dancing to the music of the car radio. We even line danced on the train crossing the English Channel. As a matter of fact, upon dancing at one particular rest stop, we had an audience of about 10 or 12 school age children who immediately applauded upon the completion of our dance.  Needless to say, we line danced on the cruise back from Spain and even talked the flight attendant into allowing us to briefly line dance on our flight back home from Miami to Lakeland.

A trip of a lifetime to be sure and at ages 72 and 74 at the time, definitely a wonderful, carefree adventure. This trip provided so many wonderful memories as well as some interesting stories I can share in future posts.