Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mystery Revealed- Guest Blogger!

Sam Davidson is a writer, entrepreneur, and dreamer who believes that the world needs more passionate people. To help people find and live their passion, he has written 50 Things Your Life Doesn’t Need. He is the co-founder of Cool People Care and Proof Branding, and lives in Nashville with his wife and daughter.

Don't miss his book launch at Landmark Booksellers in Franklin on Dec. 3rd!


One Thing Your Life Doesn't Need: Tax returns older than seven years

The rule of thumb is that there’s no reason to keep tax returns that are older than seven years. Once you hit that magic anniversary, your entire office or family can have a shredding party and commemorate how little money you used to have. The seven-year mark is one that is suggested by the IRS and most state governments, for questions about your earnings or if there is an audit.

Whether or not you actually have a party on your seven-year anniversary, the mark should be recognized as a clear signal: if one of the largest bureaucracies of government isn't interested in it, you needn't hang on to it. Extend the time frame to a decade if you like or if you’re a hopeless romantic for that return you completed with pencils and calculator in only 15 hours way back in 2001.

The seven-year rule can be applied to many of your dreams. Dream all you want, but letting go of that old flame or high school sweetheart could do wonders for your peace of mind. If you haven’t spoken in seven years, forget about it. She has moved on. So should you. After seven years, have you made progress in realizing your dream? If there has been no progress whatsoever, give it up. Spend time on a new dream. Out of the shattered rubble of unfulfilled dreams a beautiful new one can emerge. Failure can be celebrated. It certainly wasn’t your goal, but learning from situations and dreams that didn’t pan is a great silver lining. Some of the best entrepreneurs and inventors didn’t succeed on their first try. Edison's famous efforts to find a workable filament for the incandescent light bulb reportedly required more than a thousand attempts.

The seven-year mark is just a good and convenient rule of thumb; it’s certainly not gospel. It may only take you a year to realize that a relationship is going nowhere. It may take ten years to discover that your business should shut its doors. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself whether or not something is working and what should be eliminated from your life to free you for better and nobler pursuits. Your life doesn’t need stagnant dreams that have produced no value or benefit for seven years.

Getting rid of the many kinds of "tax returns" after seven years takes a bit of faith. The temptation to keep hanging on is very great, and your heart will dare you to hold out hope. But you need to be ruthless. If you keep hanging on, you’ll never have the open hand you need to grasp the next thing. Hold these memories and feelings delicately in the palm of your hand. Don’t grip them tightly. You’ll find out that you can hold much more with an open palm than a closed fist. Let circumstance take away that which you don’t need and give you what you desperately want. Be willing to say goodbye to opportunities that are older than seven years and watch for all the new opportunities you will be able to greet with a hello.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

What? A Guest Blogger?

Next week I'll be featuring a mystery guest blogger here. He's not a grief writer, per se, but I think you'll like his point of view. I do!

Would anyone like a hint? Let the guessing begin......

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful, or Difficult Time of the Year?

It's that time again. The holidays. That time when we are bombarded by images of happy, intact families. Traditional roles are front and center, with Grandma in the kitchen, Grandpa bouncing a child on his knee, and everyone in every ad has the obligatory attractive spouse and 2 children working blissfully together. In their perfect kitchen. Making perfect cookies. No wonder liquor sales spike this time of year! I suspect it's not all celebratory sales. It's alcohol for drowning our feelings of inadequacy, hopelessness, and that familiar monster, grief.

Anyone dealing with loss understands. When it's difficult to get through an ordinary day, high-pressure events can feel like torture. Even years after the loss of a family member, their absence is never so obvious as during a family holiday gathering. Whether it's the man who no longer carves the turkey, the woman who's not there to bake her famous pies, or anyone else, these days can re-open old wounds.

Here's my holiday wish for all of us who are surviving grief-

May we find comfort in our memories, make peace with our loss, and experience joy without guilt.

(And I wouldn't mind a few of those perfect cookies!)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hospital-Tested, Nurse-Approved

I got this message today from Sonia Whitebird, a nurse at Tahoe Forest Hospital in Truckee, CA-

"I bought a couple copies and brought them to work. I actually had a couple of the girls use the book to look at as a tool on how to approach some family members who were in the middle of losing a loved one. They weren't really sure what to say and I thought this would be perfect instead of me telling them what to say. They applied some of these tools in the book to what they were gonna say anyways. It was extremely helpful!! They love it!"

I can't describe how it feels to hear this. The whole point of writing the book was to help people support others through grief. I'm extremely grateful to everyone who contributed. Getting this information together and into the hands of people like these nurses was exactly what I was praying would happen. It's amazing to me how it's all played out.

Thank you.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fun Article, and They Quote Me!!

Thanks to Laura Morris at Turner for making this happen.

Alicia King, author of Sorry For Your Loss: What People Who Are Grieving Wish You Knew, was quoted in an unusual article on “Clever Resting Places” that was distributed by Creators Syndicate in their Fall 2010 Golden Years Supplement.

Only the second major independent syndicate founded since the 1930s, Creators Syndicate distributes a variety of features, including advice, lifestyle and opinion columns, as well as comics and editorial cartoons. Founded in 1987, the service represents more than 200 of the most talented writers and artists in the world, including Robert Novak, Mike Luckovich, Bill O'Reilly, One Big Happy, BC, Wizard of Id, and Speed Bump. Our talent has won countless awards, including Pulitzer prizes, Reuben awards, and many others.


Paginated preview available for download: http://www.creators.com/special-sections.html

Ways to live on long after cremation

Chandra Orr

Why spend eternity in the ground when you could be shot into space, turned into a diamond or swim with the fishes as part of a manmade reef?
With cremation on the rise, companies are offering a surprisingly offbeat array of options for memorializing loved ones, from pressing remains into vinyl records to packing ashes into professional-grade fireworks.
"It's the baby boomer generation putting their individual stamp on end-of-life celebrations, just as they've done with weddings and childbirth," says Gail Rubin, author of "A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don't Plan to Die." "Increasingly, the hobbies, interests, passions and causes embraced by the deceased are reflected in how they dispose of their cremated remains. After making unique statements throughout life, baby boomers are making their idiosyncrasies known in death."
For example, Fredric Baur, the inventor of the Pringles potato chip can, asked that his ashes be buried in his iconic creation.
Marvel Comics editor Mark Gruenwald had his ashes mixed into ink used in a reprint of his "Squadron Supreme" comic book. The man credited with turning the Frisbee into a pop culture phenomenon asked to have his ashes mixed into a batch of plastic for the flying discs. The company obliged, and the Edward Headrick discs are now hot collectors' items.
These unique tributes are a form of immortality, a way for the deceased to "live on" in creative expressions that reflect their lives.

"How we plan our final rest is one of the most personal decisions we will make," says Alicia King, author of "Sorry For Your Loss: What People Who Are Grieving Wish You Knew." "Most business spelled out in a will be resolved in a relatively short time, but our big finish can be the one thing that defines us to future generations. You might not find the details of your patriotic great-great-grandfather's life all that fascinating, but if he had his ashes shot from a cannon on the Fourth of July? Now that's an ending that will stand the test of time."

Some of the more unusual options:

*Hitch a Ride to the Moon
Hitch a ride into outer space on a commercial or scientific satellite. Credited with sending "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry's remains into the final frontier, Celestis has been launching ashes into orbit for more than 10 years, and the pioneer in memorial spaceflight will offer lunar and deep space burials soon. For $2,500, Celestis will launch a "symbolic portion of cremated remains" into Earth's orbit, where they will remain for 10 to 240 years before vaporizing upon re-entry into the atmosphere. A
trip to the moon is a bit pricier; for $9,995, you can book passage to the lunar surface as early as 2012.

*Swim With the Fishes
Transform your remains into an underwater ecosystem. For $2,500 and up, Eternal Reefs will mix your ashes into environmentally safe concrete and cast an
artificial reef formation. The structures -- each weighing up to 4,500 pounds -- are engineered to entice sea life and strengthen natural reef formations. Over the past 12 years, the company has placed more than 1,000 memorial reefs off the coasts of Florida and the eastern United States.

*Go Out With a Bang
Companies such as Heavens Above Fireworks pack cremated remains into professional-grade pyrotechnics to send loved ones out with a bang, literally. Fourth of July-style memorial services start at about $1,600, but do-it-yourselfers can purchase self-firing rockets repacked with ashes for at-home displays. Individual rockets cost about $120 each.

*Be Pressed Into Diamonds
LifeGem creates custom gemstones from cremated remains. Molecularly identical to natural diamonds, LifeGems are made by subjecting the carbon atoms in ashes to intense heat and pressure. It's the same way
Mother Nature makes diamonds -- without the wait. What takes millions of years underground takes just a few months in the lab. A full carat will set you back about $20,000, but smaller gems are available starting at $2,500.

*Spin a Tune on Vinyl
British company And Vinyly will press cremated remains into an old-school vinyl record for a lasting audio homage. Include a personal message; read your last will and testament; preserve your original musical compositions; or offer a moment of silence. Prerecorded tracks and original commissioned compositions are also available. For an additional fee, a professional artist will paint a portrait of the deceased as cover art. Packages start at about $4,700.

*Track the
Passage of Time
It's not your typical urn. The "Lifetime Hourglass Keepsake Urn" collection from
In the Light Urns transforms cremated remains into a functional timepiece that "becomes a family heirloom that can be passed down for generations," according to the company's website. Ashes from two loved ones can be combined in one urn so you and your spouse can spend eternity together, reminding those on earth of the fleeting nature of time. Prices start at $240.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

When someone dies, (other than attending the service), I do this for the family-