Archive for the 'Stories' Category

Local Authors Speak to Students at Rancho Bernardo High School

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San Diego Authors Address Rancho Bernardo High School Students

On Friday, March 11, 2011, local San Diego authors and poets will visit Rancho Bernardo High School students in San Diego, CA, discuss their books, what inspired them to become writers and their latest publications. Authors’ books will be on sale. Here is the order of appearance.

Judy BernsteinThey Poured Fire on Us from the Sky is three boys’ account of an unimaginable thousand mile journey across Sudan. With the candor and the purity of their child’s-eye-vision, Alephonsion, Benjamin, and Benson recall how they endured hunger and illnesses. How they dodged life-threatening predators-lions, snakes, crocodiles and soldiers-that dogged their footsteps. How they grappled with a war that threatened continually to overwhelm them. Their story is a captivating portrait of a childhood lost to war, and of the perseverance of the human spirit. Now in their mid-twenties, they live in San Diego, work, and speak at schools and universities.  BIO: In her capacity as a mentor with the International Rescue Committee, in 2001 Judy met co-authors, Benson Deng, Alephonsion Deng and Benjamin Ajak. Awed and deeply touched by their tragic childhoods, epic journey, and heroic survival, she turned her attention to helping them develop their poignant stories. "They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky: The True Story of Three Lost Boys of Sudan" was published in June 2005. 
Joan BradyGod on a Harley – This is the story of Christine Moore, a young nurse with a less-than-perfect figure, a disappointing and almost non-existent love life, and a world-class case of burnout. And, oh yes, she now has lost faith in the idea of a loving God. That is, until she meets a handsome stranger on the beach one night – one who rides a Harley Davidson motorcycle and who seems to know every single detail about her life. Christine has no idea who the mysterious man is … or that he is about to change her life in ways she never dreamed possible. BIO: Joan Brady worked as a registered nurse for twenty-two years before publishing her debut novel, "God on a Harley." Having never taken a writing course in her life, "God on a Harley" (the story of a burned-out nurse who does some serious soul-searching) became an international best seller that was translated into seventeen languages. Film rights were sold to Mimi Polk Gitlin, co-producer of the blockbuster hit, "Thelma and Louise." Joan is an internationally recognized speaker whose presentations are informative and humorous, while encouraging introspection and self-growth. She lives here in San Diego with her dog, "Harley." Website:  
Adolph Brostrom One Sailor’s Journey: Tales from WWII – Perspective! This young man is catapulted into the journey of a lifetime and you are there. When Pearl Harbor was attacked, his good life was forever changed — in its place, new excitement and experiences. The Navy turned his world upside down – from boot camp, the Hollywood Canteen, Treasure Island, even a near brush with death, to work and play on a small island in the South Pacific. Written with humor and compassion, join this young sailor in his adventures in New Caledonia and Australia. In a world now passed, meet movie stars, famous musicians, submarines, barracudas, hurricanes, and sabotage. Enjoy the journey! BIO: Dolph Brostrom, if anything, is versatile. After a lifetime of activity and accomplishment, at 88 he decided to write a book, One Sailor’s Journey: Tales from WWII. Two years in the South Pacific, then, Japan and Korea in 1951. He left the Navy on disability as a Chief Aviation Metalsmith, and was then a fire fighter for twenty-seven years in Oakland, California. He was a carpenter, opal importer, and stone yard owner, prospector, skin diver for gold, private detective, realtor, investor, and renovator. Dolph loves his wife, family, music, fishing, and traveling. He was born in 1921, in New Castle, Australia, but is American, through and through.
Charlie Capazzoli Run to Win, Love and Sacrifice is a true story about a young boy who grew up in New York, was inspired by his parents to always do his best, that "love is what really matters." With their encouragement, he became one of America’s greatest distance runners, winning in the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland, at 21 years of age; 57 years later, in April 2009, he was inducted into the NYAC Hall of Fame, along with Teddy Roosevelt and 2008 Beijing Olympians. – "If Only I Had Known"  is about family, love, and forgiveness. – "A Love Story, Patrick and Shannon" – Two neighborhood children grow up in Ireland. Shannon, born blind, inspired Patrick to achieve miraculous things in his lifetime.  
Judy DuarteMulberry Park – When a seven-year-old orphan pens a letter to God and places it in a tree with branches that reach all the way to Heaven, a woman grieving the loss of her son–and her faith–finds it and answers the heartfelt plea. Her response sets motion to a miracle that touches the lives of 9 strangers, offering each of them a second chance at happiness–if they’ll take it. BIO: Judy Duarte always knew there was a book inside her, but since English was her least favorite subject in school, she never considered herself a writer. An avid reader who enjoys a happy ending, Judy couldn’t shake the dream of creating a book of her own. That dream became a reality in 2002, when Silhouette released her first Special Edition. Since then, more than thirty of her books have hit the shelves. Judy, a two-time Rita® finalist with MULBERRY PARK (2009) and ENTERTAINING ANGELS (2010), has won two Maggies and a National Reader’s Choice Award for her heartwarming stories. 
Curt ErlerSouthside Kid – It’s all here, baseball, movie matinees, young love and Friday night dances. You’ll find yourself surrounded by Rock and Roll and the sounds of Chicago’s jazz joints. Music always played a big part in "The Kid’s" life, and he provides an unparalleled written soundtrack that is bound to provoke happy memories. A wonderful and wildly fun journey down a memory lane filled with laughter and high jinks. Everyone should have a childhood that is this much fun and a life that is this rich. For Curt it isn’t a life, it is a celebration and it is what makes this memoir alternately so touching and so hilarious. BIO: – Curt Erler was born and raised on Chicago’s Southside. Curt and his wife Kathleen recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They have three daughters and four grandchildren. As an adventurer and business executive, Curt has traveled extensively. With a career in marketing management with two major corporations and is a veteran, having served in the U.S. Army. Curt’s interests include record collecting, gourmet cooking, writing his stories as well as musical lyrics and is an avid baseball fan. Curt has had three titles published: "Southside Kid" ~ "Mantilla Lady Visits Baseball’s Purgatory" and "Heaven Bound In The Dead Of Winter"   
Marjorie HartSummer at Tiffany – Two college girls arrive in New York City from the University of Iowa hoping to find summer positions. Turned away from every department store, they miraculously find jobs at Tiffany & Co. becoming the first women to be employed on the sales floor as pages. There they rub elbows with the rich and famous, pinch pennies to live, experience nightlife and dance away the weekends with handsome guys. A true story in 1945. BIO: Marjorie Hart is the former chairman of the Fine Arts Department at the University of San Diego and a professional cellist. "Summer at Tiffany" is a New York Times best seller.
Hither & Yahn (aka: Bob Lundy & Elizabeth Yahn Williams) – SUMMATION 2008 & SUMMATION 2009 – An anthology of Ekphrastic Poetry, which is poetry written to or inspired by a work of art in some other medium, such as painting or sculpture.  Robert Lundy (Hither) is a retired Demographer and Software Engineer. He acted in community theater for 20 years, is a volunteer instructor in wilderness survival with the Sierra Club, and has been writing and editing poetry seriously for the last 7 years. Elizabeth Yahn Williams is a former lawyer, judge, and high school English teacher who left the law to concentrate on writing and performing poetry 20 years ago. She and Bob Lundy have been writing and performing as the team of Hither and Yahn for 4 years.
Tom KirkbrideGamadin (Series) – Book I – Word of Honor Sixteen-year-olds Harlowe and Matt ditch school to bodysurf killer waves, when they encounter a yacht capsizing off the coast. After saving movie star Simon Bolt and half-alien socialite Leucadia Mars, Fate sends the boys on the greatest ride of their lives. Book II – Mons – Millawanda has parked Harlowe and his friends on a planet with no life, no breathable atmosphere, no beaches and no In-N-Out Burgers at the edge of the solar system’s largest extinct volcano. Book III – Distant Suns – Homesick and eager to find a date and a few waves, Captain Harlowe Pylott and his new Gamadin crew are minutes from touchdown when their homecoming is interrupted by a distress call that sends them on a perilous journey light-years from home. BIO: Tom Kirkbride grew up on the beaches of Southern California, where his GAMADIN saga begins. Tom was a lifeguard, world traveler and an avid surfer. The artwork on the book website is his. GAMADIN evolved from a love of sci-fi and the desire to write a thrill-packed, character-driven story for young adults.  
Marshall LubinFrom Boys 2 Men – is the audacious tale of two young boys, age seventeen, that leave their parents nest to embark on a surfing safari to Hawaii. Dissatisfied with the poor surfing conditions on Oahu in 1964, they search out better waves in American Samoa, a place they had never before heard of. They leave Samoa on a 78’ inter-island cargo boat and later join a 56’ ketch owned by twenty four year old John. The three youngsters had the sailing adventure that young men only dream of. BIO: Marshall Lubin grew up in the Los Angeles area beginning in water activities as a junior lifeguard at Venice Beach. Later he became a surfer and traveled to Hawaii to live his surf dream. A serendipitous turn of events led to surfing in Samoa, travel to Fiji on an inter-island cargo boat and then sailing on a 56′ ketch half way around the world. Marshall has traveled in South America including the Amazon jungle, Mexico and Canada. He currently lives in Encinitas.     
Linda Thomas SundstromBarbie & the Beast – Dear Reader… To what lengths might a twenty-something, single female high-school teacher go when confronted with the desire for a really good date, and big diamond ring? For Barbie Bradley, the answer might lie somewhere in the dark, creepy pathways of an old graveyard. Named after the Mattel toy, Barbie has spent her entire life trying to live down the name. But after one meeting with a cemetery watchman who is much more than he seems, she is about to end up with something the doll never had a werewolf. BIO: Linda Thomas-Sundstrom is an award-winning author of paranormal romance and urban fantasy novels. Published with major New York publishers, Kensington and Dorchester, Linda is currently writing werewolf and vampire stories for Harlequin Nocturne. She is a teacher at a major California university, and juggles teaching, writing, family, and caring for a big stretch of land. She lectures at several writer’s conferences, speaks at Comic-con International, and is VP of Programming for the Romance Writers of America’s San Diego chapter.   
Erica MinerFourEver Friends – As JFK’s 1960 presidential campaign heralds revolutionary social changes in the American landscape, JESSICA, a talented high school music student, establishes roots of friendship with TOMA, RACHEL, and MARG, who share Jessica’s passion for music and angst over raging hormones. Their inner city Detroit high school is a cultural melting pot of race and ethnicity where students are judged by their intellect and talents, not the color of their skin or religious background. When Jessica’s parents forbid Jessica to date GUNTER, who is five years older, she depends on Toma for an escape and Rachel for advice on sex; but she always looks to Marg for unconditional love. BIO: Former Metropolitan Opera violinist Erica Miner turned to writing as her creative outlet when injuries suffered in a car accident forced her to give up her musical career. She has since won awards for her screenplays, novels and poetry, including the Fiction Prize in the Direct From The Author Book Awards for her romance novel, Travels With My Lovers. Her recently published thriller novel Murder In The Pit has earned rave reviews. Erica has become a household name through radio and online interviews, book signings and speaking engagements, and has been named a ‘top-rated’ lecturer for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.

Sheryl Roush – Author of the Heart Book Series – Quotations, true short stories and poems.  Heart of a Woman (also translated into Spanish: Corazon de Mujer) celebrates the strength, humor, love and intuition–of women of all ages.  Heart of a Military Womanfeatured by Montel Williams on Montel Across America, WINNER: 2009 Best Inspirational Book from the San Diego Book Awards Association – is a keepsake collection of historical and current military honoring our active and retired service members and families.  Heart of a Mother: Tributes to expecting and new mothers, Mothers and Grandmothers.  Sparkle-Tudes!® A-Z Chapters and quotations, inspirational and for reference. BIO: Sheryl Roush is a native San Diegan, an internationally top-rated inspirational female speaker, an 8-time business entrepreneur and a 13-time author. Known as the Sparkle-Tude!® Expert, she speaks to corporations, schools and universities around the globe. Sheryl was twice crowned "Ms. Heart of San Diego" for community service. She was the third female honored by Toastmasters International to earn their Accredited Speaker designation, from 4.3 million members in 113 countries. She also received their International Presidential Citation in 2009, for enhancing global communication and leadership, selected from 253,000 members. and  Email:

Antonio F. ViannaSecond Son – Second Son is a suspenseful thriller that examines the extent of birth order’s role in determining the character of the second boy in a family, how far that influence is taken and whether it is a matter of life or death. The second son seeks love from his parents and older brother, but settles for tolerance. Upon reaching adulthood he continues to seek love, including the priesthood, but finds that to be disappointing as well. Finally, his older brother asks him a favor that would violate his sacred vows. The second son struggles between good and evil.  BIO: Antonio is endowed with the gift of "literary gab"; an adaptation of his talent as a phenomenal storyteller. A graduate of Union College in New York and Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Business, he has published 17 books—both fiction and non-fiction—since 2003. Writing with zest and insight, Antonio sets a quick pace with his dramatic language. A frequent radio and television guest offering strategies about changing careers or becoming a published author, Antonio lives in Carlsbad, CA.
Diane Lee WilsonRaven Speak – Asa is the daughter of a Viking chief whose clan is struggling to survive a never-ending winter. All the able-bodied men head to sea in search of food, leaving behind the children, the elderly, the sick—and Jorgen the skald, the wise man who will stop at nothing to take over the clan. When Asa learns the skald wants to kill and eat her beloved horse, she runs away—but soon realizes she must return and try to save her mother and clan. When she meets a strange, one-eyed woman who talks to her ravens, Asa’s adventures really begin… BIO: Diane Lee Wilson is the author of five award-winning novels, including I Rode a Horse of Milk White Jade (California Book Award for Juvenile Fiction), Black Storm Comin’ (Spur Award, Booklist Editor’s Choice, Top Ten Social Studies book) and Firehorse (Top Ten Mystery/Suspense, Amelia Bloomer Project selection). She has always ridden horses and includes them in her historical fiction novels for young adults. She lives in Escondido, CA
John "Jack" Wolf Benny Plays the Blues – New York City born and bred Benny Hager and his father can’t face each other after the way Benny’s mother died. Benny goes to Las Vegas to make it as a saxophone player. His family roots are in music and clubs. Problem is, Benny gets tangled in a very special robbery and murder, which is really difficult to show he didn’t do it. Benny runs. Police, tough guys, recording moguls, and one curious woman are all tracking him down. The story is about reconciliation with his past, passion for the future, and the love of music. The crime plays out as a surprising sequence of exciting twists. Benny, well, he learns to play the blues. BIO: John Wolf, author of five exciting adventure stories and television producer for the public access series The Writer’s Loft, writes for the enjoyment of the reader. He is also a local musician and is just as comfortable in a coffee bar playing a guitar. 
Bettie B. YoungsTaste Berries Series Taste Berries for Teens #4 – Inspirational Short Stories and Encouragement on Being Cool, Caring and Courageous.  This national best-seller (2 million copies in print!) of inspirational stories BY TEENS for Teen offers encouragement and insight about understanding oneself and friends and parents and teachers, and how to be a part of making good things happen for everyone, every day. 365 Days of Inspiration for Teens – Each page is a Thought for the day. Taste Berries for Teens Journal: My Thoughts for Life, Love and Making a Difference; Taste Berries for Teens #3: Inspirational Short Stories & Encouragement on Life, Love, Friendship & Tough Issues. BIO: Bettie Youngs is a former Teacher of the Year and the author of 36 books published in 28 languages, including the best selling series for teens, "Taste Berries for Teens"…a series of 14 books written for teens. 

Mary Lenore QuigleyIndelible Ink – A journey into the world of adoption from the perspective of the one adopted and from that of the parents who adopt. Your heart will be moved by this story and by the poignancy with which Mary portrays her life and the lives of those whom she cares about. Mary draws you into the events of her life and makes you companions on her journey. BIO: Mary, founder of NCAP-North County Authors & Poets (2004), an organization that promotes San Diego authors and poets, is the author of two novels: God Danced and her memoir Indelible Ink; one book of poetry, By Fools Like Me and several chapbooks. Mary and author/poet Elizabeth Yahn-Williams co-chair two major annual events: National Authors’ Day (NAD) hosted by the Oceanside Public Library each November and National Poetry Month (April) each year with the Escondido Public Library. In both NAD and NCAP events they promote local talent as well as students from nearby Colleges in the departments of: Communication, Language, Drama, English and Creative Writing. and

Reflections on 2010

Book Signings, Speaking Events, Stories| No Comments »

Reflections on 2010
by Sheryl Roush, December 23, 2010

As I look back at this year, I reflect upon the "most interesting" events of this year, both personally and professionally, and share some highlights here. The immediate metaphor that comes to mind is a ROLLER COASTER. There’s been much joy and matching sadness, still with gratitude throughout.

Speaking Engagements:
As an inspirational speaker and business skills trainer it’s a pleasure to be of service for repeat clients (County of Los Angeles, Healthcare Financial Management Association, Lake Elsinore Outlets, Parks & Recreation, Project Management Institute, the Women in Business Symposium, and the World Famous San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal "Safari" Park) as well as new organizations (California Ass’n of School Board Officials, Global Boating Women, National Ass’n of Quick Printers Business Owners, and Welk Resorts).

Emcee for a most unique (and global) event, Del Mar Kiwanis hosts The Ugly Dog Contest in March at the County Fairgrounds (I’m a cat lover). Videos went international and made the news.

I opened the San Diego Summer Pops, for a Lincoln Military Housing sponsored 4th of July Concert for enlisted service members and their families, with the distinct honor of introducing famed conductor and award-winning songwriter Marvin Hamlisch.

While keynote closing the state Dept. of Mental Health in January, I got snowed in with attendees for 3 days at the Embassy Suites in Norman, Oklahoma… and ended up speaking to the hotel staff in the kitchen complimenting their attitude and shining service through it all.

On September 14, I had the pleasure of opening the Central California Womens’ Conference to 3,500 women, delivering the morning keynote on "Sparkle-Tude!®  The Heart of a Woman" on a theatre stage in the Fresno Convention Center.   Marie Osmond (spokeswoman for Jenny Craig, Dancing With the Stars) graciously commented that she was MY closing act! (We also did a live 6am TV interview.)

Locally, this was my tenth consecutive year coaching the San Diego Charger Girls cheerleaders (28 on the squad) in their public speaking and media interviewing skills.

Radio Shows and Interviews:
Still on a high from Montel Williams endorsing my Heart of a Military Woman book on his show in November 2009, I was also interviewed on The Coaching Show, Raven Blair Davis, Skills Radio with Brian Olds, Purpose Guy, Catrice Jackson, Minoshia Gail Humphrey, Army Wives Network, "Bringing Your Heart to Work" on Robin Hardy, Dr. Helena Steiner Hornstyn, Deb Simpson, Red River Writers, Jean Bailey Robor, Angie Strader’s What’s Your Bottom Line?, Fresno KYNO…

While we’re on the topic of books… my Heart of a Military Woman book received the 2009 Best Spiritual & Inspirational Award (nonfiction) from the San Diego Book Awards Association.

Book Signings:
Contributors to the 6-title Heart Book Series signed copies with me in California at BORDERS in Long Beach, and at the Book Warehouse at Lake Elsinore Outlets, including Hollywood Blockbuster recording artists Penka Kouneva and Kirstin Vogelsang, and Charger Girl cheerleader Tonya Helman (Founder of Sweethearts for Soldiers.  My Heart of a Woman book was purchased for international publishing rights in Mexico, fully translated into Spanish, as Corazón de Mujer.

Since active in my 23-year membership and support of Toastmasters International, I spoke at several Districts throughout the US this year, as well as at the International Convention, then was quoted in a couple issues of the Toastmaster Magazine.


Several notable events in this category. My brother Steve rebounded from Stage 4 Melanoma Skin Cancer, at this this writing, scans show no traces whatsoever! (Prayers and Laughter work!) Cousin Janet and Paul Stannard hosted a joyous celebration at their home for 30 relatives to see Steve and his wife Mary from Hawaii.

Mom turned 80 years old in June, with a SURPRISE PARTY — with a SAN DIEGO PADRES Baseball theme!  Keeping the dinner a complete surprise from her was a notable accomplishment for all family and friends present! (Pictured: Hiram, Beverly, and me)

December 11th, we celebrated Dad’s 83rd Birthday… a toasty 80 degrees outside and 20 local family members present, we warmed up my new house, without setting off the new smoke alarms. My oldest brother Rick (a Dean at the University of Melbourne) and his 15-year-old daughter, Ali, came to visit California from Australia for three weeks before Christmas. Ali stayed with me for a lovely ten days, watching every episode I had taped of Stargate SG:1.

Such is the circle of life… after 14 remarkable years, my orange Tabby kitty, Tigger, passed November 17, from a tumor on his brain. This brilliant feline helped me write five books and was the subject of many of my stories and speeches. I cried to the depths of my soul; yet thankful that I recorded his purring on my iPhone months ago.

Dear friend, business adviser and speaking colleague, John Reddish, passed at 64, to Lymphoma cancer. He expanded my thinking, focused my creativity and guided my direction. Mine was only one of thousands he touched in the National Speakers Association.

Uncle Laurence A. Weisser, II, passed on December 9, at 96. He was my school bus driver not retiring until my graduation from high school. His bride, Wardene (my father’s sister), had asked me to officiate the funeral years ago for both of their services, which I was truly honored to do. His favorite upbeat "cowboy" music (Bob Wills, Rex Allen) was played as loved ones entered and left the celebration… with laughter and applause between shared tears and shared stories.

Sci-Fi Fun:
With Comic-Con International San Diego being hosted in my native town, I was asked to "handle" (shuttle, coffee and food needs) Sci-Fi stars again this year, including Stan Lee "Spiderman," James Marsden "Spike" on Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, Kevin Sorbo Hercules and Andromeda… plus Star Trek cast members Brent Spiner "Data," Marina Sirtis "Counselor Troi," Michael Dorn as the Klingon"Worf,"  and LeVar Burton "Geordi LaForge."

New this year, I worked with the Warehouse 13 cast: Eddie McClintock "Pete,"  Saul Rubinek "Artie," and CCH Pounder "Mrs. Fredrick" and the sage village woman in Avatar. (Last year I was personal assistant to "Mr. Spock" Leonard Nimoy for 4 amazing days.) A personal thrilled was meeting the adorable Colin Ferguson "Sheriff Carter" from Eureka backstage before his panel, offering opening jokes for his appearance.

Wedding Celebration:
April 13th, my dear friend, Debbi McGill married Peter Alexis…  Peter’s Greek Orthodox uncle was sick and unable to conduct the services–and with less than 12 hours notice–Debbi asked if I would officiate the ceremonies. What an honor! Overlooking the Pacific Ocean at La Jolla Shores and pelicans flying above head, it was truly a lovely occasion. (Not sticking to the script, I ad-libbed, with the congregation breaking into laughter.) Their surprise gift from me was ELVIS (since Peter had mailed an invite to Graceland), with James Kruk, an award-winning Tribute Artist, performing a private concert for the reception guests. Amazing talent!

Living "Green"
After nine months of looking for a new house (only 4.3 miles from my parents), we finally found it — or it found me!  It’s a completely rebuilt "brand-new 1960" 3-bedroom house with garage (for my new Hybrid car) and yards. All new high-efficiency applicances, tile, cabinets, water heater, toilets, carpet, etc. Adorable, cozy and pristine. Dad has cleaned up the yard, trees and hedges, and we hung gutters to capture rainwater to conserve water. Brother Steve and wife Mary from Hawaii bought and planted five dwarf fruit trees in the backyard. Dad is currently building the frame for my vegetable garden.

What Matters:
Reflecting over this year, it’s indeed been a "Roller Coaster" — up’s and down’s — twists and turns — yet it’s been one exciting "ride."  But I’ve not been alone on this… and cherish dearly each person on the ride with me. Family and Friends, Clients, Audiences… Life is good! Count your blessings. I know I do! Here’s to 2011!

Sheryl Roush

Veterans Day School Lesson

Heart of a Military Woman, Stories| No Comments »

On the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a social studies school teacher at Robinson High School, did something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with the permission of the school superintendent, the principal and the building supervisor, she removed all of the desks out of her classroom. 

When the first period kids entered the room they discovered that there were no desks. 

‘Ms.. Cothren, where are our desks?’ 

She replied, ‘You can’t have a desk until you tell me how you earn the right to sit at a desk.’ 

They thought, ‘Well, maybe it’s our grades.’ 

‘No,’ she said. 

‘Maybe it’s our behavior.’ 

She told them, ‘No, it’s not even your behavior.’ 

And so, they came and went, the first period, second period, third period. Still no desks in the classroom. 

By early afternoon television news crews had started gathering in Ms.Cothren’s classroom to report about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of her room. 

The final period of the day came and as the puzzled students found seats on the floor of the deskless classroom, Martha Cothren said, ‘Throughout the day no one has been able to tell me just what he/she has done to earn the right to sit at the desks that are ordinarily found in this classroom. Now I am going to tell you.’ 

At this point, Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it. 

Twenty-seven (27) War Veterans, all in uniforms, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk. The Vets began placing the school desks in rows, and then they would walk over and stand alongside the wall… By the time the last soldier had set the final desk in place those kids started to understand, perhaps for the first time in their lives, just how the right to sit at those desks had been earned.. 

Martha said, ‘You didn’t earn the right to sit at these desks. These heroes did it for you. They placed the desks here for you. Now, it’s up to you to sit in them. It is your responsibility to learn, to be good students, to be good citizens. They paid the price so that you could have the freedom to get an education. Don’t ever forget it.’ 

By the way, this is a true story. 

Pass this along so others won’t forget that the freedoms we have in this great country were earned by War Veterans.

Submitted by Florence McSween <>



Click on title to view each book.

Heart of a Woman (printed)
Heart of a Military Woman (printed) ….. and on Kindle
Heart of a Mother (printed)
Heart of a Mother (printed with Bonus Music CD)
Heart of a Mother …  Music CD
Heart of the Holidays (printed) ….. and on Kindle
Heart of the Holidays … Music CD
Heart of a Woman in Business (printed)

Corazon de Mujer
(printed) (Heart of a Woman in Spanish)

Corazón de Mujer – “Quiérete a Ti Misma” by Diana Acevedo-Rittenger

Corazón de Mujer, Spanish, Stories| No Comments »

"Quiérete a Ti Misma"

From the book Corazón de Mujer,
by Sheryl Roush,
"Quiérete a Ti Misma" by Diana Acevedo-Rittenger,
Optimum Wellness Coach
at Conscious Brilliance, LLC,
and mother.

Order autographed copies from author here.

Quierete a ti misma primero

Una historia me pides o tal vez un poema…

Y cuando empiezo a pensar, siento que yo no sé escribir…

O que a lo mejor lo que digo no tiene importancia o quizas que lo que quisiera decir no quiere salir ni de mi alma ni de mi corazón.

Entonces realizé que no soy yo la unica que no se siente suficiente,

Que es una condicion humana que nosh ace pensar que no somos lo suficiente,

Al mirar en lo profundo de mi alma, me doy cuenta que tengo mucho, pero mucho que decir:


Quiero hablarte de lo importante que es quererte a ti misma,

Ponerte a ti de primeras antes de darle nada a los demas,

Cuando te quieres a tí misma, te nutres con cariño, al nutrir tu corazón, se hace mas grande y es mas facil dar cariño a los demas.

Cuando nutres tu cuerpo con los alimentos apropriados estas nutriendo tu salud,

La cual te permitirá vivir una vida mas larga y seras testigo de todos aquellos que amas, y serás un ejemplo para la buena salud de los que te rodean.

Cuando te quieres a ti misma, no ves tus defectos cada dia, pero te regocijas en tus cualidades y las celebras por que son un regalo de Dios.


Amate a ti misma asi como amas a tu creador…


Order your copies from at


Alma Bonilla

April 16, 2010
Subject: Corazon de Mujer
I contacted you cause I barely bought your Corazon de Mujer in Spanish version, I started to read it this same week. It’s a very great book. I congratulate you for it!

10.5 Top Tips… for Success in Business (and Life)

Interviews, Stories, Tips & Trivia| No Comments »

10.5 Top Tips… for Success in Business (and Life)

Business Success Skills:
Strategies, practical information, career-bolstering lessons, and insights

Today, I was interviewed by Angie Strader on her BlogTalkRadio show "What’s Your Bottom Line?" today. Each week, Angie has straightforward discussions about what it takes to be successful in your personal and professional life. "I pick the brains of my successful and inspirational guests. It’s like getting a free business success and motivational seminar each week!" she commented.

Catch the entire hour loaded with content here.

10.5 Top Tips for Succcess in Business (and Life).

   1.   Bring your talents with you.
  2.    Share your spirit. (enthusiasm, energy, playfulness, fun)
  3.    Stretch your skills. (continue to grow, attend training)
  4.    Acknowledge your uniqueness. (be authentic)
  5.    Be positive whenever possible; Pragmatic as needed.
  6.    Focus on solutions. (not on problem or blaming)
  7.    Celebrate your successes. (by yourself, and with others)
  8.    Listen to your heart; Be true to yourself. (inner compass)
  9.    Read inspiration that nurtures your soul.
10.    Maintain your balance. (faith, sleep, family, work)
10.5. Keep a good sense of humor.

Sheryl Roush is an entrepreneur to her core, starting 8 businesses since the age of 16. With 35 years in marketing, advertising, graphic design and communication, she is an internationally top-rated trainer. An inspirational speaker, she has 3,000 presentations under her designer belt, in 9 countries. Toastmasters International honored her as the 3rd female to earn their elite Accredited Speaker designation, out of 4 million members in 106 countries. She speaks on conference programs on business and inspirational topics, boosting morale and skills.

Sheryl is the creator of the Heart Book Series, which includes: Heart of a Woman, Heart of a Military Woman, Heart of a Mother, Heart of the Holidays, Corazon de Mujer (Heart of a Woman, in Spanish), Sparkle-Tudes!, and Heart of a Woman in Business.

Heart of a Woman in Business is an inspirational collection celebrating working women and their unique contributions to the global workplace. This here’s how, sisters-sharing-with-sisters book shares their authentic stories, and offers here’s how and I did it, you can too! Selections offer strategies, practical information, career-bolstering lessons, insights, affirmations, poems, prayers and quotations. Whether you already own a business, planning to start one, or working in a job you love.

Contact Sheryl Roush at Sparkle Presentations, Inc. to speak at your event, meeting, conference or retreat. Call Toll Free 1-800-932-0973.

Military Story: “Dead Air” by Shirley Sisko Harkins

Heart of a Military Woman, Stories| No Comments »

Military Story: "Dead Air"
by Shirley Sisko Harkins

When I enlisted in 1976, the Women’s Army Corp (WAC) was in the process of being disestablished as a separate branch of the Army. I’m very proud to have been one of the last WAC’s, serving during this exciting era in military history. Women were being admitted to West Point. Maternity leaves replaced compulsory discharges, and the umbrella, a traditional military taboo was approved for issue in the name of promoting a positive feminine image. The powers that be even retained a designer to fashion a sporty new mint green, wash and wear uniform. The times they were a changin’.

There were those, of course, who weren’t enthusiastic about the trend. I encountered several male soldiers who appeared to be threatened by the growing presence of women in the motor pool, the mess hall, and even in co-ed barracks. Some men attempted to deflate our influence with casual flirtation. Others insisted we carry our weight—equal pay for equal work, by golly. None, however, stood out so predominantly in my memories as a certain surly NCO at Fort Gordon, Georgia.

Even though I’d have to change it here to protect the innocent, I wish I recalled his name. He was a gristly, Old Army type—a field instructor attached to the signal school where I was trained. I was offered only three occupational options; food service, clerkship, or communications. I’d opted be a radio teletype operator—a dinosaur Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), like the WACS that no longer exists. Quaint historical reference makes for great story telling. Ask any veteran, young or old. When two or more gather together, the war stories commence in earnest.

The Old Army NCO taught in the field, training the students to apply classroom academics to the actual equipment we’d use to perform our duties. We knew the basics of setting up and maintaining a radio network, but hadn’t learned a great deal about trouble-shooting. His job was to station himself with one network station each day and teach us how to deal with real life obstacles as they cropped up.

His approach was stoic—stand back and let us flounder, making one frantic mistake after another, until the entire network crashed. Afterwards, he’d explain what went wrong and help us to figure out how we could have responded more effectively. In theory, his methods seemed valid enough, but his criticism was often sarcastic and condescending. Locking us in a poker face look, he’d observe every move without offering the slightest hint as to whether we were right or wrong. We never knew what was coming; reward or reprimand. It was excruciating.

One morning, I was manning the network controlling station. By the time he stuck his head through the door of the rig where I was working, I’d already lost communication with one of my network stations. The others were apparently beginning to panic, thumbing through their ciphering and frequency manuals to determine if their settings were correct. Lack of confidence in their own training may have caused them to fiddle with the dials.

The gristly NCO watched while I performed a network check, hailing the other two stations and getting dead air in response. I feverishly typed in the abbreviated commands again and got nothing. Staring at the teletype for a few seconds, I prayed for inspiration. He was expecting me to do something, so I hopped out of the rig and headed toward a nearby jeep.

I slipped on the Morse code key leg strap and began tapping out the commands. The NCO followed. He rested an elbow on the crash pad, leaning in toward me. He didn’t say a word. When the keypad failed, I sat for awhile staring at the field phone, knowing that any transmission on it would be unsecured. I glanced at the NCO, but received no encouragement either way.

I decided to go for broke, snatching up the handset and cranking the generator. He was going to chew me up and spit me out no matter what I did, so I had nothing to lose. Via landline, I was able to contact each network station. Careful not to reveal any classified information over the airways, I instructed them to consult their manuals so we were all on the same page.

Afterwards, I jumped back in the rig and ran the network test again. Oh, to hear the glorious beeps, clicks, and whirs of life. We operated the rest of that day without incident. The NCO never uttered a word. Later that day, back in the barracks, I was summoned to the pay phone in the foyer. I greeted the caller, hearing tinny juke box music, tinkling glassware, and raucous voices in the background. Because he spoke so few times, I didn’t recognize the NCO’s gravelly voice until he introduced himself.

The hair rose on the back of my neck. I must have really messed up if he was calling from the NCO Club to tell me so. Judging by the way he slurred his words, the lecture probably wasn’t going to be polite.

When I didn’t respond, he continued. “I hate women,” he said. “I especially hate women in the Army, so it really hurts to have to tell you this.” He paused for what sounded like another slug from his cocktail.

“But you did one heck of a job out there this morning getting that network back up and running.” Of course, being Old School, he didn’t say “heck,” but I took the liberty to paraphrase.

When I caught my breath after the initial shock, I thanked him. He promised that if I ever told anyone about our conversation, one-sided as it was, that he would promptly deny it. With that, he hung up, and I was left listening to dead air again.

I would go on to receive promotions and other honors from the United States Army, but none gratified me as much as a phone call from a gristly Old School NCO with a chip on his shoulder for women.

~Shirley (Sisko) Harkins


"I am a believer of thirteen years and spent much of that time absorbed in scripture study and research. I also hold a Masters Degree in Biblical Study and Theology. My ministry extends to my homelife as a wife and mother. My children are grown and I’m very proud of the godly young adults they’ve become, despite being raised in the church only half of their lives. I am priviledged to serve the Father as Artistic Director of Drama Drash Ministries."
PHOTO: Shown here with husband Danny.

"Dead Air" is published in the Heart of a Military Woman book by Sheryl L. Roush and Eldonna Lewis Fernandez

Chapter: A Day in the Life
Book released Veterans Day 2009.
Posted here with permission from Authors.
Contact: for permission to reprint. It will be granted.

Shirley Harkins lost her battle with cancer on December 28, 2009. She did, however, get to see this story in print shortly prior to her passing. Upon receiving acknowledgement that Dead Air would be published, she write this note to the publisher:

Dear Ms. Roush,

I am so delighted to be included on this book. My time in the military was among my prouded.
Warm Regards,
Shirley Harkins

Beloved wife, mother and grandmother, she went to her well-deserved place in Heaven as a Daughter of Israel on Monday, December 28, 2009 after a long courageous battle with cancer. Burial with military honors on January 1, 2010 in the Fort Sill National Cemetery, Elgin.

Shirley was a shining star. Much beloved, greatly admired and well respected by all who knew her. She was a woman of constant positive outlook, great self-determination that enabled her to accomplish any goal she set for herself, great personal strength that she readily shared with all who needed her, and great kindness to all. Shirley loved the Lord with all she was and was a model of great fortitude. She never wavered in her faith and commitment to her path of truth and light.

Shirley Sisko Harkins graduated from Luther L. Wright High School in Michigan, spending her senior year as a foreign exchange student in Brasilia, Brazil, where she became fluent in Portuguese. She then attended Michigan State University in Lansing, Michigan. She was a veteran of the US Army, serving honorably as a member of the Women’s Army Corp (WAC) with the US Army Signal Corps in Bad Kreuznach, Germany from 1976 until 1978.
She married Daniel Harkins, earned her Master’s degree in Business at Cameron University in Lawton, then earned a Master’s degree in Divinity and became an ordained minister, as well as Director of the Drama Drash Ministries of Lawton, Oklahoma.

I discovered that peace doesn’t mean the end to conflict;
it simply demonstrates the love of God.
And we don’t have to wait for a major crisis in our lives;
we can allow the peace of Christ to rule our hearts each day.
Richard Parker, Upper Room Daily Devotional


Click on title to view each book.

Heart of a Woman (printed)
Heart of a Military Woman (printed) ….. and on Kindle
Heart of a Mother (printed)
Heart of a Mother (printed with Bonus Music CD)
Heart of a Mother …  Music CD
Heart of the Holidays (printed) ….. and on Kindle
Heart of the Holidays … Music CD
Heart of a Woman in Business (printed)

Corazon de Mujer
(printed) (Heart of a Woman in Spanish)

Reflections on 2009

Stories| No Comments »

Reflections on 2009
by Sheryl Roush, December 26, 2009

As I look back at this "most interesting" year, insightful during this economically challenging, globally-warming, and emotionally growing year, sitting at the keyboard the day after Christmas, wearing my fluffy Santa socks and Reindeer sweatshirt, and indulging in the best Sweet Potato Yam left-overs I’ve ever made, I reflect upon the "most interesting" events of this year, for me personally and professionally, and share the highlights here.

New Year’s Eve 12/31/2008
Did vision boards with my best friend, Debbi McGill, to attract her perfect mate. She met Peter Alexis in June (even though she’d known of him all her life through her big Greek family), dated, and got engaged in December. Their wedding date set for April 2010.
Insights: YES, we are ALL that powerful of manifesters when we FOCUS on what we want. And that soul mates truly DO exist.

January 13, 2009
While being an audience member at the Dr. Phil show during his taping of the new season, I won a prize for DANCING. Same day, while being an audience member (proudly wearing a San Diego Chargers shirt) at THE PRICE IS RIGHT, I heard hollered those words "Sheryl Roush….Come on Down!" Even though being the last bidder of the show, and the lady next to me won the double grand showcases, I still walked away with $2,000 worth of great prizes! And had a conversation with show host Drew Carey, about the Charger Girls. What a hoot! (Pictured: San Diegan Ester Berry and our signs they make when they call your name in the studio.) The show has aired several times since its original broadcast on February 26.
Insights: It helps to be present to win! Be who you ARE… don’t try to be something–or someone–you’re not.

April 2009:
Spoke in a real Castle. Benedict Castle. Dressed in full costume. Over the years the castle has been used as the setting for several movies such as Hunchback of Notre Dame, Bride of Frankenstein, 1948’s Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein and 1965’s Two On a Guillotine with William Conrad and Connie Stevens. Located in Riverside, CA.
Insights: No matter what age or profession, you can still play "dress-up" and have fun!

Presented at the Bakersfield’s Women’s Business Conference, on the program with hilarious Vicki Lawrence of The Carol Burnett Show and Mama’s Family.

May 7, 2009:
Star Trek, the new movie released! Saw the first showing in San Diego day… on the first day… on the IMAX screen. I’m a Trekkie… need I say more?

Coached the San Diego Charger Girl cheerleaders for my ninth consecutive year, conducting a 7-week training program, boosting self-esteem, public speaking and media interview skills of 28 amazing young and talented women. (I know, tough job, but someone’s got to do it, right?)

July 24-26, 2009:
Comic-Con International San Diego is the largest native event hosted in my home town each year, and 2009 celebrated its 40th annual convention. Originally started in 1970 with a one-day minicon (think of it as "Comic-Con Zero") at the U.S. Grant Hotel in downtown San Diego, it featured comic artists. Today, Sci-Fi stars, authors, producers, galore thrill their costumed fans.

This summer, I was asked to serve as "handler" for Star Trek’s "Mr. Spock" Leonard Nimoy and "Data" Brent Spiner, plus "Hercules" Kevin Sorbo for the 4-day event. <Twist my arm — and pinch me, too!>

What a pleasure to get to know each of these stars, and be of service, by their side, driving them through the city, attending to their needs. Mr. Nimoy impressed me as such a gentle giant, incredibly talented, well beyond his galactic character, but also as a photographer, poet, and gentleman. Great sense of humor too. We laughed over autographing Trouble with Tribbles, and the fun he had with his adoring fans. As I delivered him curbside at the airport on our final day, he embraced me with a most endearing hug, and placed gentle kiss on my cheek. "You are, and will forever be, my friend," rings so true of words in this meeting with this amazing man.

August 14, 2009:
Received the esteemed Presidential Citation from Toastmasters international President Jana Barnhill, in Mashantucket, Connecticut. Selected from 253,000 members in 106 countries. "This award recognizes your outstanding achievements in representing the goals and ideals of Toastmasters International. It is one of Toastmasters’ highest honors. We congratulate you for your outstanding contributions and dedication to the Toastmasters International ideals."
– Toastmasters International headquarters

"Sheryl Roush, a Toastmaster of 22 years and Past District Five Governor, is an Accredited Speaker. A frequent presenter at district training sessions and conferences, regional conferences, and international conventions, Sheryl willingly contributes to the organization at all levels. As a professional speaker, she has and continues to promote Toastmasters in her local community and around the world. Her published works include material for and about Toastmasters. But Sheryl is best, one-on-one as coach and mentor, touching the heart of every Toastmaster with whom she comes in contact."
– Herb Nowlin, DTM, Past International Director, Parliamentarian for Toastmasters International

Insights: It’s easier to be humble when serving others without seeking to receive awards. Do what you know is right in your heart, giving without expectation. Besides, if you’re resting on your laurels, you’re wearing them in the wrong place.

September 25, 2009:
Heard the live, bilingual teachings of the Dalai Lama at the Long Beach Arena. Such a centered and wise old soul, yet young at heart, playful and adorably funny.
Insight: Kindness is the true way to enlightenment.

September 30, 2009:
United Way of Stanislaus County in Modesto, California, hired me to keynote their annual Womens’ Leadership Council fund-raiser Power of the Purse Luncheon, on Sparkle-Tude!® and printed custom copies of my Sparkle-Tudes!® A-Z Quotation books for attendees.
Insights: There are many worthy causes that consistently need financial and energetic support. United Way is an amazing outreach to those charities, changing lives, supporting families and touching hearts. Lend support where you can.

October 4, 2009:
Family Reading, Inc., is a non-profit organization helping families develop a positive home learning environment. Founder Seth Sherwood-Flores asked me to keynote the program, with long-time speaking colleague Marcie Shimoff, author of Happy for No Reason and the woman behind the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, held at the Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, CA. In good form, Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson were present for speaking and photos. (Yes, of course I posed with them! It’s not everyday you see these historic figures.)

October 27, 2009:
Only one month after seeing the Dalai Lama, and on the same stage, at the Governor’s Women’s Conference, heard Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver with Madeline Albright, Geena Davis, Katie Couric, Ashton Kucher, Alicia Keyes, Lisa Ling
Insights: There is still MUCH to be done for the womens’ voice to be heard; for women’s work to be acknowledged; and for women’s pay to equal that of her male counterparts.

Veterans Day:
Released the sixth book in my Heart Book Series, Heart of a Military Woman, co-authored with Eldonna Lewis Fernandez, celebrating all branches of our service, with 100 stories and tributes, 21 poems to those who serve our country. December 2nd, signed books with 20 famous writers of the San Diego Chapter of the Military Writer’s Society of America at the San Diego Veterans Museum and Memorial Center.

Thanksgiving Day:
Hosted two young U.S. Marines from Camp Pendleton, who had only been out of boot camp three weeks, and not off base until this holiday. My parents (Dad on left, Hiram Roush, PFC Martin Abraham (NY), Mom, Beverly Roush) PFC Joseph Davis (TN),  and I enjoyed for 13 hours, 2 meals, 3 pies and Brownies, Ice Skating on the beach at the Hotel del Coronado, sightseeing on San Diego Harbor, and "Old Dogs" with Robin Williams and John Travolta (a funny movie with a family message). The experience profoundly touched each of our lives, and we still stay in touch. At the end of the evening, I signed gift copies of my new Heart of a Military Woman book for each of their mothers, and my Heart of the Holidays books for them. It brought tears to my eyes, and joy to each of our hearts.
Insights: The joy of time together is priceless. Be courageous and step out of your comfort zone – it’s worth it to meet new people.

December 4-5, 2009:
Each year Lightspeed Fine Art hosts their annual Celebrity Charity headlining big-name stars from Sci-Fi to benefit the American Cancer Society. What a thrill to have my photo taken with Jonathan Frakes "Cmd. Riker" from Star Trek: The Next Generation and his soap opera actress wife, Genie Francis.

The highlight for me this year, was meeting Eddie McClintock (and his wife Lynn) from Warehouse 13, and having dinner with Kevin Sorbo, best known as the hunk on Hercules and "Captain Dillon Hunt" on Andromeda. It was great to hang out with him again since Comic-Con this summer.

Speaking Engagements included:
* Keynote opening with Sparkle-Tude!®  for the AADA, the Alliance of the American Dental Association conference in Baltimore, Maryland.
* Keynoted for CASBO, the California Association of School Business Officials, then served on a hosted panel for the AEDG-Affiliate Executive Directors’ Group and ASBO International.
* Keynoted the California’s Convention for Epsilon Sigma Alpha with Sparkle-Tude!®
* The Zoological Society of San Diego (5 years training management) at the "World Famous" San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park on "Creating a Positive Work Environment" and "Basic Supervisory Skills for Managers."
* AICI the annual convention for the Association of Image Consultants International.
* Luncheon presentations for the Women in Transportation International, Women in Leisure Services (Parks & Recreation), MOAA-Military Officers Association of America, and several Chapters of Rotary International in Southern California.
* Annual Tenant Meeting and quarterly Secret Shopping and customer service trainings for Lake Elsinore Outlets.
* Customer Service trainings for
Marriott Hotels, and Shelbyville (Iliinois) School District and Lincoln Military Housing, provide premier homes and outstanding management and maintenance services to military families, who deserve nothing less.
* Keynoted for CalSAE, the California Society Association of Executives, San Diego and Oakland Chapters on different management-enriching programs.
Trained Sparkle When You Speak!™ for HM Engineering, Inc.
* Dinner presentation on Sparkle-Tude®: Women in Business for IAAP-Central Valley Chapter in Modesto, CA.
* SCORE-San Diego’s Womens’ Networking Breakfast on "Solid Gold Marketing Design" to a sold-out audience and standing ovation.
* National Speakers Association/Greater Los Angeles Chapter.

* Speaking and mentoring members of Toastmasters International always warms my heart, and I had the privilege to present at:
District 4’s Fall Conference (Santa Clara, CA) with International President Gary Schmidt
District 9’s
Fall Conference (Moses Lake, WA) with 3rd Vice President John Lau from Malaysia,
and was the headliner at
District 15’s Fall Conference (Salt Lake City, UT).

Accolades include:
* The Hospitality Human Resources Association selected Sparkle Presentations, Inc., my company, as their VENDOR OF THE YEAR.
Army Wife Network, selected Heart of a Military Woman book as their January 2010 Book of the Month choice.

* Published in The Business of Successful Speaking, by Andrea Gold and Gary Yamamoto, Owners of Gold Star Speakers Bureau. My tips are published in the "Best Practices of Professional Speakers" section.

* Mentioned in December 2009 Toastmasters Magazine, for finding the International President Gary Schmidt his new job, thanks for Facebook connectio

* Published in Peter Fogel’s World’s Best Public Speaking Secrets.

* Published in the National Speakers Association Speaker Magazine, April 2009.
* Referenced in Frank Adamo’s 31 Tips to Becoming an Effective Presenter book.
* Interviewed by Johnny Campbell on his "Accredited Speaker Secrets Revealed" audio CD and workbook program for Toastmasters who want to become professional speaker. Our candid, how-to interview is one full CD, of the 7-CD program.

Book Signing Events:

May 9th, Earthblend Tea & Coffee, Tierrasanta (San Diego, CA). Mother’s Day signing event.
May 9th, Borders-Eastlake in Chula Vista.
December 12th Borders-Eastlake in Chula Vista (San Diego County) hosted 17 contributors to the Heart Book Series for a 6-book bilingual reading and autographing… the largest in their history. Contributors came from Canada, and throughout Southern California for the event.
December 20th, Borders-Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga, Inland Empire and Riverside County hosted signing event with six contributors–all Toastmasters–in a packed store and shopping frenzy, four days before Christmas!

Radio Interviews included:
* PurposeTalk Radio
* Mornings with Lorri and Larry (2x)
* The Dr. Bunny Show – "Here’s the Thing" on KKZZ 1400 Listen to the Full Show here.
What’s Your Bottom Line? with Angie Strader

* Army Wife Network, Sheryl Roush and Eldonna Lewis Fernandez were interviewed on the Heart of a Military Woman book. Full Radio Show.

* Montel Williams on Montel Across America (for Mother’s Day on my Heart of a Mother book) and December 4th for our new Heart of a Military Woman book.

On the Home Front:

Every family has their challenges, which brings them closer together in God’s Divine plan, and my family is no different. This June, my middle brother, Steve, was diagnosed with Stage 3-4 metastatic Melanoma, skin cancer. Our family is being of the most support for him and his family, as he continues his treatment, with another spot recently discovered. Following Steve’s lead, I also got my skin checked out, and had six biopsies taken on my skin, with one coming up as pre-melanoma, and had it surgically removed this week.
Insight: We learn along with others in our lives, making notes for how to improve our own lives, and being of support for their lives also enriches our own. "We’re all in this together" and it takes "all" of us.

Looking Ahead:
There’s no time like the present to look ahead with optimism. Having a vision for our lives, setting goals for ourselves, glimpsing into "the bigger picture" and our contribution to it. Regardless of the temporary adversities in our own lives, there are others who also need hope. Regardless of our own economic struggles, there are others less fortunate than ourselves to serve. Regardless of how much we love each other, there are still more people in the world who need to feel loved. And regardless of how "bad" we think things are… Life is still good! Count your blessings. I know I do! Here’s to 2010!

62nd Annual Mother Goose Parade

Christmas, Heart of the Holidays, Stories, Thanksgiving| 1 Comment »

62nd Annual Mother Goose Parade

THEME: "Heroes of Might and Magic"

Sunday, November 23, 2008 at 10:00 a.m.

The Mother Goose Parade is the largest parade in San Diego County and the largest of its type west of the Mississippi. Each year, the parade attracts thousands of spectators to the streets of El Cajon, California to view the parade for free on the "Sunday before Thanksgiving."  CLICK HERE for the Mother Goose official website.

The extravagant Mother Goose Parade is recognized as the official start of the holiday season in San Diego County.

The tradition of the Mother Goose Parade is to unite friends and families on a day of free family entertainment; and to understand the value of unity, family bonding, and social togetherness for all ages, races, and ethnicities that this parade is designed for.


Each year, the Parade entices new elements to insure the highest entertainment value of our partners and sponsors; and the enjoyment of the thousands of spectators that line the streets. Grandstands open at 7:00am. Parade kicks off at 10:00am

Pre-Parade Concert entertianment is MENUDO!











The 2008 Honorary Grand Marshals are Tori Spelling (90210), KayCee Stroh, and the San Diego Padres Adrian Gonzalez.

This year we are proud to present our family-oriented theme, "Heroes of Might and Magic" that will guarantee to bring smiles to children’s faces. "The Hulk" Lou Ferrigno is appearing!

This is more than a parade, it’s an event!

Parade day for a spectacular event of colorful and exciting entries for people of all ages, especially our children, that continues to thrill spectators with the old-fashion spirit of magic and fun that is America.

Volunteer Parade Route Announcers are members of Toastmasters International, the world’s largest non-profit educational organization dedicated to effective communication and leadership. Local Toastmasters are members of District 5.


Prominent El Cajon businessman Thomas Wigton was driving home from Los Angeles one rainy evening and had a brainstorm! The El Cajon business community had to give the children a Christmas present and he hit on the idea of a parade. Everybody loves a parade and El Cajon didn’t have one yet but Tom knew the kids in El Cajon would love it!

Seven of them met in El Cajon accountant David Cathers living room in 1947. Jack Maranda remembers it well. "When Tom Wigton asked you to help, you really didn’t say no to him," Jack chuckled. "We all thought it was a great idea but we really didn’t know how we were going to do it."

They received a $150 donation from the City of El Cajon’s Chamber of Commerce, called meetings and planned the first parade for Friday night, November 28, 1947. The Mayor of El Cajon made a televised announcement the night before the parade. "We’re having a parade tomorrow and want you all to come." Population in El Cajon was approximately 1,500 and parade night was bitterly cold. However, about 25,000 spectators packed the short streets to watch the parade! Three floats were entered and the El Cajon Rotary Club probably got the most attention. A tree was part of the display and the float’s Santa climbed it to give the audience a better view. His costume got stuck and he was suspended from the tree for the duration of the parade. Everyone thought it was planned and loved it.

The parade’s success and reputation spread throughout the country. The third parade drew 100,000 and an ad hoc committee was formed to plan the next parades. In 1950, the non-profit Mother Goose Parade Association was formed. By-laws were created, officers were elected and the Mother Goose Parade Association logo and name were registered as trademarks.

In 1950, the parade expanded to include a parade Queen and Court. Young women in the area were invited to compete in the Queen’s contest to raise funds for the parade and the Rotary Club, El Cajon Lions, Kiwanis Clubs and Chamber of Commerce actively participated to ensure the parade’s success. Decals were sold to raise money and grandstand seats were made available. The growth was visible but Mother Nature stepped in to throw a curve. Rain fell so hard that year a float driver smashed into a light pole because he couldn’t see. The parade was postponed until 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving night and, despite the holiday, the parade still drew over 100,000 spectators. In 1982, a weekend downpour forced cancellation.

In 1963, history stepped in. More than 300,000 spectators and 94 units were in place when word was received President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The parade was postponed to December 1st due to the tragedy.

The parade attracted over 400,000 in 1973 when Mickey and Minnie Mouse were Co-Grand Marshals and brought many Disneyland friends along to delight the spectators. That year, the "Mother Goose Ball" was the event of San Diego County and drew socialites from all over the Southland.

Prominent personalities who have participated in the parade include Juliette Prowse, Barry Sullivan, Barbara Rush, David Niven, Liza Minneli, Will Geer, Glen Ford, Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner and innumerable elected officials and distinguished honorees. The Clydesdale Horses, U. S. Navy and U. S. Marine Corps bands have also performed and thrilled the spectators.

The parade association Board of Directors continues to consist of prominent members of the community who volunteer time and money to keep Tom Wigton’s dream alive and thriving. The association also receives much volunteer support from everyone who cares about supporting an event that honors family values, children and giving back to the community. The Mother Goose Parade Association is part of El Cajon’s fiber, and supporters and sponsors proudly participate in the parade and program and display their membership certificates and decals.

The Queen’s Contest has become a valuable and impressive experience for young women in high school and college. In addition to raising money for the association through sales of decals, memberships in the association, program ads and coronation tickets, they are given lessons in a variety of areas to enhance their personal and professional lives. They attend meetings where guest speakers tutor them about salesmanship, courtesy, family values, wardrobe, hair styling, makeup, walking, public speaking and other topics. They also receive instruction on various skills like karate and the end result is a well-rounded instruction to give them poise and experience to handle real-life situations at school, home and in the work place. Academic achievement is a pre-requisite to acceptance and written essays and response to questions asked by judges are some bases for selection. The winning queen and princesses make appearances at the annual parade and other events throughout the year. Scholarships are also given for college tuitions.

Some annual association fundraisers are the Mother Goose Parade Golf Tournament, and the famous Men’s Banquet. Tickets are also sold for the pageant Coronation where the new queen and princesses are chosen. The Coronation is a celebration that includes a sit-down dinner and recognizes the outgoing Queen and Court for representing the association throughout the year with grace and pride.

Today, spectators line the streets as the parade continues to grow as an extravaganza with different themes each year. Floats may choose a nursery rhyme theme or a display related to the annual theme, which are judged for distinguished awards. Parade entries include marching units, bands, floats, clowns, equestrians, performing artists, beautiful cars, the Queen and Court, other spectacular elements that provide entertainment, and don’t forget, Santa Claus, to ring in the Holiday Season.

The Mother Goose Parade is rich in history and delights children of all ages every "Sunday before Thanksgiving" which signals the beginning of the Christmas season as Santa comes to town at the end of the parade in his sleigh on his own special float pulled by model reindeer that soar through the sky.

The parade has evolved into San Diego’s largest parade and the largest of its kind west of the Mississippi. The event is broadcast on local television for viewers of San Diego County which increases in number each year.

Parade weekend signals the beginning of Christmas festivities and is truly what it was originally intended to be . . . a "Celebration of Children Everywhere" because without the children, there is no future. It’s also a gift to our city and our country. But it’s mainly our gift to children of all ages . . . a day of mystical imagination, unhindered joy and excitement – a day to be remembered the rest of the year and the rest of their lives.

National Speakers Association: Spirit of NSA Day November 14

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National Speakers Association:
Spirit of NSA Day
November 14

November 14 has been designated a national day of advocacy for the National Speakers Association
Posted October 14, 2008

To honor NSA Founder Cavett Robert, CSP, CPAE, and continue NSA’s legacy of sharing and giving, November 14, 2008 will be our 2nd Annual Spirit of NSA Day, a national day of advocacy encouraging NSA members to support one another. This year, and on every November 14 going forward, the day serves as a reminder to NSA members, encouraging them to:

  • Focus on giving back
  • Provide genuine support to speaking colleagues
  • Take time to connect, help, mentor or refer business to other members without any expectation of reciprocation

Many members already follow Cavett’s role model. However, imagine the strength of spirit and growth of our profession if all of our members focus on unconditionally giving of themselves to our community on this day. The NSA community is known for the concept of removing competition by building a bigger market for all speakers.

The strength of NSA is in the education we provide and the strong community we have built. As members, you are asked to support the Spirit of NSA by introducing colleagues to clients, referring business or mentoring emerging speakers.

Help the legacy continue and "build a bigger NSA pie" by participating in Spirit of NSA Day on November 14, 2008!

  • Provide peer to peer encouragement
  • Introduce a colleague to a potential client
  • Refer business to a colleague
  • Mentor an emerging speaker

Professional Member Sheryl Roush, commented, "I would not be where I am in the speaking profession today, had it not been for the overwhelming generosity of colleagues mentoring, coaching and cheering me along the way." Speaker Mary-Ellen Drummond recruited Sheryl to join NSA in 1990, on her board as Newsletter Editor for the San Diego Chapter. Roush then went on to serve another 13 years on the Chapter Board, received the "Member of the Year" award, and holds the Golden Microphone Award designation from the Greater Los Angeles Chapter. To date, she has presented in nine countries, plus addressed seven nations in the Arabian Gulf, and is a 12-time published author.

President of Sparkle Presentations, Inc., she coaches and mentors Toastmasters International members into becoming professional speakers and authors today, as one way of giving back, and supporting the future of the profession. Sheryl was only the third woman in the world (of six) to earn Toastmasters’ Accredited Speaker designation for outstanding professional platform speaking skills, in their global membership of 4 million people in 93 countries. To date only 58 have earned this elite designation.

In honor of Spirit of NSA Day, Roush is donating graphic design work to two of her NSA colleagues on their NSA Fall Conference workshop presentations next weekend. She is also donating an after-dinner church fellowship presentation, "Humor for the Holidays" to senior citizens
in her home town at the Chula Vista Congregational Church, located in San Diego, California.

Workplace News: AARP’s 2008 Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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Workplace News:
AARP’s Best Companies for Those Over 50

Reporting by Audrey Goodson, Posted November 13, 2008

AARP Magazine
Nov/Dec 2008 issue

After eight years of honoring great employers, AARP has become pros at identifying creative workplace practices that benefit 50+ workers. Innovations such as flextime, phased retirement, and tuition reimbursement become mainstays at age-friendly companies place them higher. According to the judges, "These awardees are commitment to the total health and well-being of their workers and families is further evidence that the 50+ employee has become a valuable asset worth nurturing and protecting. Our hope is that more forward-thinking employers will follow their example."

Ratings Guide
AARP evaluated each employer’s performance on a range of workforce practices beneficial to older workers. The five key criteria below are rated from 1 (worst) to 5 (best) in this article. These criteria, along with other criteria, influenced each employer’s overall ranking.

Recruiting Practices
We noted how companies seek older workers. Some measures: Does the company target mature workers in its recruiting efforts? Do recruiting materials reflect the diversity of the people the company hopes to hire, including mature workers?

Training and Development
An important part of any job is keeping skills sharp. AARP evaluated the companies’ skill-enhancing programs as well as how proactive companies were in encouraging employees to take part. Ditto for perks such as tuition assistance. T&D ratings also took into account whether the employer regularly conducts employee-opinion surveys and provides opportunities for new experiences, such as cross-training and temporary assignments.

Health Benefits
We assessed each company’s medical, prescription-drug, vision, and dental insurance coverage, including the percentage of the premium that workers must pay and whether these benefits are offered to part-time workers and retirees. In addition, we looked for extras such as long-term care insurance.

Pension Plans
Key measures: Do the companies offer traditional defined-benefit plans and/or defined contribution plans? Do they have other financial incentives such as stock options, profit sharing, or 401(k) automatic enrollment? Do they offer resources to help workers make informed decisions about retirement savings?

Alternative Work Arrangements
We looked for opportunities such as telecommuting and flextime, which are important to workers with caregiving responsibilities. Another grade booster: phased retirement, in which employees receive benefits while working fewer hours.

Here are the top 2 of the 10:

1. Cornell University
Ithaca, New York
Higher Education
11,302 employees (43% 50+)
A comprehensive approach to caregiving is one reason Cornell advanced to the head of this year’s class. Besides having long-term care insurance for employees and their loved ones, the university now has a consultant to help workers find the right child-care and elder-care facilities for family members. Another benefit is a pre-tax savings account to help employees pay for dependent-care costs. One more reason Cornell makes the grade: its employees and retirees can take several classes a year at the prestigious university—for free.

2. Scripps Health
San Diego, California
Health Care
11,589 employees (32% 50+)
Scripps gives its workers the red carpet treatment, literally. After every five years of service, employees are treated to an Oscars-style dinner celebration, including a nine-piece band and a Joan Rivers impersonator (we’re not kidding). But Scripps is completely serious about protecting its employees and their families. Example: a new elder-care program, which provides employees with professional care managers who conduct in-home assessments of aging family members and recommend and help secure long-term care facilities if needed. A Scripps benefit to love? Six free 30-minute massages a year for interested employees.

Click here for more details on each of these Top 10:

  1. Cornell University (NY)
  2. Scripps Health (CA)
  3. SC Johnson (WI)
  4. Lee Memorial Health System (FL)
  5. Securian (MN)
  6. YMCA of Greater Rochester (NY)
  7. First Horizon National Corporation (TN)
  8. Stanley Consultants (IA)
  9. Bon Secours Richmond Health System (VI)
  10. Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (IL)

Find 40 additional companies honored by AARP for valuing older workers here.
See the full story here.

The Gifts in Each and Every Job

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Story submission for the Heart of a Woman in Business book by Sheryl Roush
releasing October 1, 2008

The Gifts in Each and Every Job

In my work as a career coach, I consistently advise my clients to look for the gifts in every job, especially the current one where they may most feel trapped and miserable. It’s well worth the time to review and identify the very best lesson, experience, or skill picked up from each position in each company. This exercise helps replace feelings of regret or dissatisfaction with gratitude and appreciation which helps a person move on toward success and realizing their full potential.

Being a coach who believes in “walking the talk,” I too have performed this analysis on my own job history. My very first job while in high school as a “kennel girl” at a veterinarian’s office taught me about customer service, the business side of pet care, and showed me the true value of pets in human lives. Summer jobs during college as an office clerk at a copper mine gave me opportunities to learn new skills and understand the operations of a large company. Retail work during the school year provided spending money and a social network.

As my focus on pursuing a career after college increased, I became aware of a different level of gifts and lessons. Working for small, entrepreneurial companies built the desire and experience needed to follow my dream of owning a business. A career in the staffing industry allowed me to hone my operations and supervisory skills and to understand the importance of matching employee talents with the right job. A position as a project manager gave me the appreciation of seemingly minute details required to implement new processes. I can look back at each and every job ever held and clearly see why I was there and how it helped me get to where I am today – the owner of successful career coaching and organizational training company. 

However, there was one job experience that baffled me. About 12 years ago, I spent two years working in a large retail organization moving up through the ranks to Assistant Manager of a multi-million dollar store. The gift of this job continued to elude me during my review over the years of its many components. It was perhaps one of my least gratifying jobs with more negative memories than positive. I could easily identify lessons learned about those things I didn’t want to repeat–the awful hours, a restrictive environment, and poor management practices. I knew there had to be something good there and was determined to pinpoint it. Just recently, I did find that one gift.

Like most of us, the values and priorities I expected from my work life shifted and I moved from being so very work focused to having a more holistic view of all my life’s components. Other facets developed and took precedence: the love of family and friends, the importance of life-work balance, good health, spirituality, and the need for a sense of meaning and purpose in all my activities. As I reviewed that particular job again after having made this mental shift, the gift became very clear–my friend Sharon.

Sharon was my co-assistant manager at the store and we developed a fun working relationship–first based on our mutual discontent and knowing that there was a better way to work–and then from our curiosity and true appreciation of each other’s strengths.  Eventually, we each found different job directions and moved on with our careers outside of that retail experience. Our friendship then really blossomed and became a strong and supportive one. When it’s so easy to stay in touch and get together regularly, even years later, that is a sign to me of something truly meant to be. Through these last dozen years, we have helped each other through life’s ups and downs and share an unbreakable bond–one based on trust, respect, and love. 

Now I look back on that one particular job and see how its gift was the best of all–a constant reminder of what’s truly important, more so than the paycheck, the career path, or any work related lesson – the precious gift of friendship.


Debbie Lousberg
Career Coach and Trainer

My Life at The Pentagon

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Story submission for Heart of a Woman in Business by Sheryl Roush

My Life at The Pentagon

The metal cabinet filled with office supplies rattled under the fierce pounding of the young major’s unrelenting fists. We had just come out of the conference room. The clanging and clacking sent the other officers and civilians scurrying to their cubicles like kids playing hide and seek. The roar hung overhead like a threatening thunderstorm.

While I stood there in disbelief, thinking of my options, the sound floated into the hallway—the primal scream of a mortally wounded dinosaur. Should I meet him on his terms? Should I retaliate? I turned without a word, went into my office, and closed the door. It is better to act than to react.

Major Miller did not agree with a course of action I had laid out for him. We discussed it, but I did not adopt his way of thinking.  He could not contain his anger. In my nine years on the Army Staff in the Pentagon, this was the only incident when someone so strongly and openly disagreed with me.

Coming to work in the Pentagon was distasteful for many officers. There is a popular cliché portrayed on postcards and other memorabilia, “Happiness is the Pentagon in the rear view mirror.” Officers coming into our division usually had been in command of troops. They were accustomed to being the leader in their units. In the Pentagon, they had a desk job in a cubicle, without a secretary or staff of any kind. Yet, a tour of duty in the Pentagon was necessary for moving up in the ranks. There, officers learned things they would never be exposed to in the units, like the culmination of the budget process, force planning data and assumptions, and preparing general officers for their Congressional testimony, among many things. They also had an opportunity to work closely with civilians in the Department of Defense.

Major Miller is a good man, a dedicated soldier with sound values. He had simply encountered a different kind of tension in this job, a civilian woman in authority, and he didn’t know how to handle it. The sound of his pounding floated into the office of the Director, a Major General (two stars insignia). After a short while the general’s executive officer (XO), crossed the hall. He knew that my boss was on Temporary Duty, out of town. The XO opened my office door, stuck his head in and asked “Is everything okay?” I nodded, “Yes.” He closed the door and went back to his office. That sign of affirmation and trust, and others like it, kept me going when otherwise my knees may have buckled.

After some time, Major Miller regained his composure and came in to see me, apologetic and ready to get to work. I was neither vindictive nor angry. His outburst had not diminished my standing or my self-esteem. He soon transferred out of the office.

During times of emergency regular duty hours in our area went out the window. Often it was 7:00 PM or later before we left the building. On one occasion, it was 10:00 PM before I got home. There were no taxis in sight.

Walking from the Metro rail station to my condo took me down a dirt road traveled only by our shuttle bus which had stopped running by the time I arrived. Two parallel ruts, a small clearing, then underbrush and trees—we had been warned of robberies that occurred along this road. This was in the days before cell phones and I was afraid.

My heart pounded—would the gate to the condo complex be chained? How could I get around the enclosure if it were? I nervously fingered my pass card as I neared the gate. The night was dark. God is good, the pass card slipped into the groove on the second try and the gate release clicked. I pushed and the bars began to move. Within seconds I was in the lighted parking lot. My steps quickened and soon I was inside Building 4 where I lived. The upholstered furniture in the foyer was very inviting, but I resisted. Upstairs I had a drink and fell into bed. Knowing that morning was not far away. When we realize the value of what we do, we are inclined to do whatever it takes to get the job done.

It was another exciting day. A unit commander who had served in our office when he was a young major, needed help quickly—desperately. He had orders to move his troops as quickly as possible from the tree-studded hillsides in Germany to the hot desert sands of Saudi Arabia. Saddam Hussein had already invaded Kuwait—no one knew where he would strike next. The adrenaline was pumping! This commander had a serious computer problem. If it didn’t get fixed, troops in the Middle East would not get the supplies they needed. In the fog of war, his regular chain of command was not responsive. He called me.

“I need some help here,” he said and then explained his situation. I called the experts at the Logistics Center in Petersburg, VA. They gave the computer problem the necessary priority and the mission was accomplished. Sounds easy, doesn‘t it? Creative thinking, professionalism and dedication to duty saved the day.

A few years later, as I stood in the line of well wishers at a Change of Command ceremony in Pennsylvania, I spotted that officer in line ahead of me. He was then Chief of Staff of an Army Depot, a colonel with eagle insignia on his uniform. I stepped out of line and tapped him on the shoulder. He turned and in what seemed like slow motion, a huge smile spread across his face as he recognized me. He abruptly stepped out of line, grabbed me around the waist, lifted me off my feet, and began whirling me around! It was surreal! “Here’s a colonel in full uniform with his boss standing nearby,” I thought, “whirling me around and around!” It was like a warrior’s homecoming, our own Times Square celebration. He was very happy! I was embarrassed but very happy, too.

Celebration is good for the soul. Too often we demure, “It was nothing,” and short circuit someone else’s thanksgiving.
Whether on the battlefields of war or the battlefields of business, personal power is important. Be real. Know who you are. Value loyalty to your country and your God. Speak your truths and respect others. You have the power.
The Army is a family. It’s their culture. As a civilian employee, I was family, too.

In our organization departing personnel received a large picture of the Pentagon surrounded by a wide white mat. The print and mat were circulated among the staff for comments, kudos, and farewells, then framed and presented to the departing person.

My father was especially pleased that one of his children was working in the Pentagon. When he was hospitalized in Corpus Christi, Texas, with congestive heart failure, I asked one of the officers if I could get the print matted for my father. He wanted to know more. I explained about my father’s condition and suggested that our Director, Major General Akin, might sign it. The officer said he’d see what he could do.

After a few days he presented me with a framed, matted print for my father.
Our Director was away, so took the picture to the next level. Lieutenant General Ross, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, a three-star general. General Ross personalized it.

Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics
Headquarters Department of the Army, Pentagon, April 1991.
“Mr. Founteno, We share your pride in Jo and the super job she has done for the Army. She is clearly one of our best. Please accept with our compliments this symbol of our nation’s defense.”

One might suggest that the comments about me were exaggerated and I would not argue. My father was so pleased, he had a nurse post the framed print in the hallway outside his room so everyone going by could see it. He died May 9, 1991.

Great people are never too important or too busy to take time for others.

-Jo Condrill, CEO of GoalMinds, Inc.,

What does it take for a woman to successfully lead a diverse group of seasoned personnel? The Secretary of the Army awarded Jo Condrill The Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service. It is the highest award possible for a civilian employee.

Jo Condrill has created an eCourse designed to reveal the secrets of her success. Check out
She is the founder and CEO of GoalMinds, Inc.

08 08 08 – A Day of Prosperity

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08 08 08-A Day of Prosperity

Today is a most unusual day. if you embrace the Gregorian calendar, like we do in the Western World.  Today is the 8th of August, 2008.  We indicated it with 8/8/8 and the multiple 8s mean some interesting things to many people.

The number EIGHT. In many cultures celebrated as a symbol of  "infinity."

For the Chinese, the number 8 holds a special significance.  They believe that it means good fortune coming or prosperity.  In Hong Kong some who would pay extra to have the number 8 on their license plates, and telephone numbers.  They believe in luck in China — a lot.  So, today is a particularly “lucky” day for many Chinese.

The Number Eight

The word for "eight" in Mandarin sounds similar to the word which means "prosper" or "wealth" In regional dialects the words for "eight" and "fortune" are also similar. There is also a resemblance between two digits, "88", and the shuang xi (‘double joy’), a popular decorative design composed of two stylized characters ? (xi, ‘joy’, ‘happiness’).

The Summer Olympics in Beijing open on 8/8/08 at 8:08:08pm.
Of course today also marks the beginning of the Olympic Games, which was carefully selected for these reasons, and just following a full eclipse of the sun a couple of days ago over Russia and China. It is no mere coincidence that the Chinese chose to start the Olympics in Beijing today – and at exactly 8.08pm. The date and time were specially picked in a bid to bring them luck.

Chinese tradition aside, numerologists say eight is known as the ‘great balancer’ or the karmic ‘you reap what you sow.’

A quick glance back at what has happened on previous August 8s may partly back up the notion it is a lucky date. Famous people born on 8/08 include the Duke of York’s daughter Princess Beatrice (and in 1988 too), tennis champion Roger Federer (1981) and former Grand Prix ace Nigel Mansell (1954).

A Time of Reflection toward the Future
Whether you believe in it’s luck or not, one has to stop and think what a powerful day it really is in the way that it has brought so many people together in this time of reflection and continued progress toward prosperity and abundance of everyday life.

Create an abundance day today.  Wherever you are.  Share that love, laughter and joy with others.  Yes, go out and create monetary abundance for yourself and others.  After all, the free market is all about abundance and helping people everywhere to increase their living (see Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations).

May today be a special day for you and bring you lots of happiness, success and much prosperity. 
May you have continued prosperity and abundance however, that would apply to you now.


Learning to Be a Boss

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Submission for the Heart of a Woman in Business book by Sheryl Roush
Learning to Be a Boss

I had finished my residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology two months prior and moved cross-country to start practicing my profession in California. I joined an established practice and a new medical assistant was hired to help care for the patients.  I hoped she would allay my patient’s fears and keep the schedule running on time by anticipating my needs and having the proper equipment ready.

During the four years of medical school and four years of postgraduate training in Ob/Gyn, nobody had taught me to be a boss. My assistants during my residency were registered nurses who had been working at that hospital for years. I swear they knew more about what I was supposed to do than I did. There was no “bossing” to be done by me!

Now in private practice, I was in completely new territory. Because I was 2500 miles away from everyone I knew, my fellow workers became my new family. I befriended this medical assistant and felt very “big sisterly” towards her.
And we seemed to work well together, until that day! On that day, the patient needed a biopsy of her uterus. The instruments for that procedure were in the supply room, not the exam room. My assistant needed to collect a variety of things to allow me to perform this procedure. She had assisted me with this procedure at least three times in the past. I assumed she knew what we needed and would bring everything into the room.

Well, you know what they say about assume! She did not bring everything. I was angry and insulted her in front of the patient by sending her out several times to get more supplies and instruments. We did, at last, accomplish the task and the patient was able to go home.

When I came out of the exam room, the office manager informed me that the medical assistant was so hurt by my treatment of her that she walked out the door and said she would NOT be coming back.

I was stunned! I had not anticipated the effect of my actions.

We were able to hire another medical assistant who continued to work for me for the next seven years. I did not find it difficult to work with her. Had I learned a huge lesson? You bet! The “compliment in public and criticize in private” motto works.
– Carol Grabowski, M.D.

STORY: Losing and Gaining are Two Sides of the Same Coin

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Losing and Gaining are Two Sides of the Same Coin

If I live to be a hundred, I’ll still remember Friday, January 28, 1983. It was a bright sunny day, and I blissfully sang “I’m on the top of the world!” off-key as I dressed for work.  The day before, the company physician had confirmed what I’d suspected for weeks–I was three months pregnant–and after two boys I felt it would be a girl this time.
I had other reasons for feeling like I was on the top of the world…

I’d been promoted three times in the past three years. Regional Training Manager David Keith was now my colleague instead of my boss. We both reported directly to the Human Resources Director, an elderly Englishman named Anthony Kennedy. Great buddies, Dave and I usually traveled together to Singapore and other Timex assembly locations in the Far East. I enjoyed my job with the Regional Human Resources Department so much that I sometimes felt guilty getting paid. (In fact, Mr. Kennedy had been nagging me for months to complete my self-appraisal form so my annual merit increase could be processed, but I kept on putting it off. “What’s the hurry?” I told him. “I’ll get a retroactive increase anyway.”)

Although it wasn’t part of my job, I was often tapped by the Regional Marketing and Sales Group to conduct customer service seminars for Timex watch dealers. I didn’t get any extra pay, and had to stay at my desk after hours to make up for the time I spent doing these seminars, but I tremendously enjoyed helping the Timex dealers and staff understand the unique V-movement in Timex watches and why we didn’t need jewels like other mechanical or analog watches.

I also taught part-time at the National College of Business and Arts (NCBA). To cater to the thousands of young assembly workers pursuing a college degree, NCBA had opened a campus right next door to Timex. Some ingenuous folks had even constructed wooden stairs over the concrete wall that separated Timex and NCBA, shaving off a few minutes from the walk out the Timex front gate, down the block, and into the NCBA campus.

My growing family lived in relative comfort. In fact, we had recently moved into a beautiful bungalow in San Mateo (Rizal), a town outside Metro Manila. The peace and quiet, not to mention breath-taking views of the sunset and the mountains, more than made up for the hour-long commute to/from the Timex watch assembly plant in Cubao, Quezon City.

Life was great, I thought to myself that fateful Friday in January 1983 as I bounded up the steps to the Regional Office, still humming “I’m on the top of the world” under my breath.

Even as the massive frosted glass doors slammed shut behind me, I knew that something was terribly wrong. The office was eerily quiet. There was none of the usual morning chatter as the regional staff got ready for another busy day. What was even more chilling was that the staff desks were all unoccupied, and the directors’ office doors were all closed (a rare sight in the “come-right-in-and-tell-me-what’s-on-your-mind” atmosphere of the regional office).
“Where’s everyone?” I quizzed Dave, glancing at all the empty desks. “In there,” he replied, gesturing towards the closed doors. He paused and then said with an inscrutable expression on his face, “The old man wants to see you.”
My heart pounding in my throat, I tremulously stepped into Mr. Kennedy’s office. There I learned the painful truth. Timex was closing down the Manila facility and consolidating its Philippine assembly operation in Cebu. I’d be losing my job by end of March. “But I’m three months pregnant!” I blurted out. Mr. Kennedy said there was nothing he could do. “Don’t worry, you’ll easily find another job,” he assured me.

I left Mr. Kennedy’s office in a daze and headed for the cafeteria. The hallway was filled with distraught assembly workers. Unlike me, these girls had been handed their final paychecks and asked to leave immediately. Some of them were wailing unabashedly, while others sobbed quietly as they gathered their personal belongings from their lockers. It was surreal. The words “I cried because I had no shoes, until I saw a man who had no feet,” came to my mind, as I forgot my own misery and tried to console the girls as best I could.

That weekend, I started sending out job applications and writing to headhunters. Nancy, a consultant with a leading search firm, echoed Mr. Kennedy’s assurance that I’d easily land another job – until I told her that I was pregnant. She promised to check with her clients and get back to me. I knew the answer even before she called. “I’m really sorry,” she apologized, “but my clients prefer someone who can work uninterrupted during their first year.” It was the same elsewhere. I’d get as far as the interview but the minute I mentioned I was pregnant the door would close. Some well-meaning friends advised me not to disclose that I was pregnant but I didn’t want to start a new job based on deception. I decided to stop wasting time, money, and effort on a futile–and extremely frustrating–job search, and wait until after I gave birth.

When March came and I got my final pay, I realized to my chagrin that through my own fault (neglecting my self-appraisal), my separation pay had been computed on my current (lower) base salary.  To make matters worst, the kids got sick and I needed to spend for lab tests and medicine. My bank account quickly dwindled down to zero. Fortunately, a nearby grocery store allowed me to buy food and other necessities on credit–but for how long?
I sold Avon products and Readers Digest subscriptions to help pay the bills. The only mails I received were window envelopes, some with “FINAL NOTICE” stamped in red. I didn’t have any money for a cake or ice-cream for my son’s fifth birthday, and it broke my heart.

Then, on May 26 (my birthday!), I received unexpected mail. I stared at the Abenson letterhead for some time, racking my brains for anyone I knew in the country’s largest appliance chain, before opening the envelope. The salutation read “To the Baby Maker, from the Profit Taker” and went on to say that Abenson was offering me the position of Human Resources Development Manager. It was a total surprise since I didn’t know anyone in Abenson but I soon learned that the Timex Marketing Director was also Abenson’s consultant, and the Timex watch dealership was owned by the same family.

So, while I waited to give birth to an adorable baby girl, I had a job waiting for me. I realized that I needed to LOSE my job to GAIN this managerial position. God does work in mysterious ways.

-Michelle Alba-Lim

STORY: The Best Business School

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The Best Business School

by Sheryl Roush
Author of Heart of a Woman in Business

Business schools, workshops, seminars and boot camps abound today. Everyone is going off to attend something somewhere. Perhaps what we need most is a retreat—one back to our childhood.

Being an eight-time entrepreneur, I can attest to the best business school courses worthy of consideration, with the lowest tuition yet the highest return. Some of the most valuable ethics were those role modeled by my mother. To support the family income, and to get her out of the house being a young stay-at-home mom, she was the door-to-door Avon lady. Since my two brothers were old enough to attend school, she carted me around on her weekly routes. Believe it or not, I was quite shy, so she made me meet people – which translated later into natural networking skills.

A few years later, to help put my brothers through college, mom starting selling Amway products, and our household was one of the first to use biodegradable products – a truly novel “green” concept at that time. When I was 14, she dragged me to an Amway “Revival” where I heard my first motivational speaker, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones. Today, we are colleagues in the National Speakers Association, and I’M a motivational speaker! From painfully shy to inspirationally high! (We never know where the seeds are going to be planted.)

From mom, I learned Midwestern values, work hard, show respect, do right, have integrity, help others, and what I now know as good old-fashioned customer service skills.

“Know what you want in life—and go for it.” A child of the Depression, at 18, mom moved herself from the farm in Iowa, with only $10, and her best girlfriend to “get a life” in California. She taught me about goal setting and visualization, without ever using the phrases. (I was named after that best girlfriend.)

“Be positive.” Attitude truly does make a difference in our ability to succeed—I’m convinced of that! In challenges where I have not yet developed the skills, it’s been having a positive attitude has catapulted me through the fears. As a speaker on the topic today, I believe that Faith is the “compass” of Attitude. We’ve also got to believe in ourselves.

“You can do anything you put your mind to.” A secret dream of Mom was to compete in the Olympics. At 68, she was selected to carry the Olympic Torch, on its way from San Diego to the 1984 Los Angeles Games. When I started a business at age 16 in the patio of my parents’ home, she encouraged and helped me with the silk-screening of t-shirts and bumper stickers. (My first “client” was the Shriners.)

 “Use what you’ve been given.” We each have skills, talents and unique abilities. As a youth, I was a graphic artist with a typewriter and mimeograph paper. (Remember those?) Mom constantly volunteered me to donate time designing the boating club and church newsletters. Later I earned four international design awards for newsletters (Top Ten in the world), have written five books and have presented seminars in eight countries on the topic. (It’s as if she knew…)

The best business school courses I’ve ever attended have been those in the classroom of life with Mom as my Teacher.

~ Sheryl Roush, Speaker, Author
Proud Daughter of Beverly J. Roush

Independence Day

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Independence Day

In celebration of the United States’ Independence, we bring you this true story of five men who broke through their terror barrier and made a commitment to something huge.

The thirteen colonies (what would become the United States) were being taxed unfairly under Great Britain’s rule. Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert R. Livingston and Roger Sherman were the five men that stood up for the Colonist’s rights. They argued that Great Britain had no jurisdiction to tax the Colonies.

While all of the other Colonists felt that they were being treated unfairly, none of them were willing to say so, as their allegiance was still with the King of Great Britain. It was up to these five men to push for the rights of the Colonists. They met at the Virginia Convention and then again in Williamsburg to declare the Colonies independent. John Adams stood up for the resolution that: "these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

When these five men met to draft the Declaration of Independence, there was no working process. They did not have someone to lead the meeting, take minutes or even guide them as to how the ideas should be presented. They were on their own to take control and put all of their thoughts into an organized form that could be presented to Congress. The committee decided on a general outline that the document needed to follow, and then appointed Thomas Jefferson to write the first draft. The weight of the 13 Colonies’ independence now rested on Jefferson’s shoulders. Jefferson only had 17 days to finish the first draft. He then got comments and revisions from the other committee members and wrote a second draft. The document titled "A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress Assembled" was presented to Congress on June 28, 1776.

These men knew that what was put on this paper could have cost them their lives, did they not receive backup from Congress and the other Colonists. If the King of Great Britain wanted to, he could have had these men executed for encouraging the Colonists to go against his rule. They put themselves on the line in order to gain freedom for the rest of the Colonies.

On July 2, 1776 Congress and 12 of the 13 colonies approved General Lee’s Resolution for Independence, severing ties between the Colonies and Great Britain for good. The next day, John Adams wrote a letter to his wife predicting that July 2nd would soon become a great American holiday. Congress then began to look at the Declaration of Independence. After several days of debating, word changing, and some content adjustment, Congress approved the document on July 4, 1776.

Today America celebrates 232 years of independence and freedom. Because these men did not let fear stand in their way, because they did not hesitate to make the right choice, American Citizens now have the right to vote, the right to free speech, the right to practice any religion, the right to a fair trial, just to name a few.

Paul Martinelli
Imagine what impact you could make, if you broke through your terror barrier. The endless amounts of people you could impact and differences you could make in the world are incredible!

Evaluating What We See and Hear in Today’s Media

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Evaluating What We See and Hear in Today’s Media

There is a lot of information available to us at this time in history, more than ever before, and it travels fast. We are able to learn in the blink of an eye about something that happened halfway around the world, and it’s natural for us to want to know what’s going on.

However, it’s also fair to say that we don’t want to become so caught up in one way of looking at events that we lose perspective. Often, the news comes to us in a very fear-oriented format, and when too many of us get caught up in fear, the balance of the whole is disrupted.

It helps to remember that we have a much greater and more positive impact on the world when we maintain our inner sense of peace and joy.

We are aware enough to know when we are eating something that is not good for us, because we don’t feel well after we’ve eaten it. In the same way, we can determine for ourselves whether the sources in which our information comes are ultimately healthful. News can be presented in a way that inspires us to take positive action to help the world, or it can be presented in a way that leaves us feeling powerless and sad. It is up to us to seek out and support media that empowers and informs us, and to say no to media that drains our energy and our hope.

For a time, it may even be of benefit to commit to a media fast, in which we stop taking information in for a time to give ourselves a rest. When we return to the task of taking in and processing the information all around us, we will come to it with a fresh mind. This will enable us to really notice how we are affected by what we hear and see, and to make conscious choices about the sources of information that we allow into our lives.

VIDEO: Heart of An Athlete–Spirit and Sports

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Heart of An Athlete: Spirit and Sports

Every athlete needs to see THIS clip, from ESPN Sports.

We think of sporting events as ending with one team winning and the other team losing. You may come to a different conclusion when you watch this 5-minute video of an incident that occurred during a women’s championship softball game between Western Oregon University and Central Washington University.

"Touching Them All"

What We Can’t See: The Unseen World

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What We Can’t See: The Unseen World

Just because we can’t see something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, although this is a common way in which people deny the existence of spirit guides, angels, and other unseen helpers in our lives. However, anyone who has encountered such beings can attest to the fact that they do, indeed, exist, just as our breath exists, keeping us alive, even though we can’t see it. The wind exists, too, but we only know this because we feel it on our skin and hear it moving the leaves on the trees. All around us and within us are things we can’t see, and yet we know they are just as real as the grass beneath our feet.

What we see and don’t see may just be a matter of perspective, like the ladybug who sees the leaf on which she sits, but not the tree the leaf grows on, or the person sitting beneath it. And the person beneath the tree may or may not see the ladybug, depending on where he focuses his attention. Still, all of these things, whether seen or not seen by the person or the ladybug, exist in reality. Some people are more gifted at accessing that which we cannot see, but given an open and willing heart, anyone can tune into the invisible realm and begin to find their way.

Human beings have always done this, and it is only recently that we have fallen into distrusting the existence of what we can’t see. If you have lost touch with the unseen world, all you have to do is resolve to open your heart to its existence, and it will make itself known. Closing your eyes in meditation and visualization, or engaging the unseen through the written word, are just two ways to welcome the invisible back into your life. Whatever you choose to do, cultivating a relationship with that which you can’t see is a time-honored human practice that can greatly enhance your life.

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