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Reading and wRiting

Back-to-School on chalkboardIt’s Back-to-School and we’re doing a ten-part series on lifelong learning. We’re kicking it off with three shows on the 3 R’s – Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic.

Last time, we talked about reading. Today we’re going to get into the second R – writing.

A note on note-taking

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Unwrapping Special Gifts

gifts The other night we saw an episode of According to Jim. Jim (played by Jim Belushi) was stressing because he had not had a good year – money was tight and it was Christmas time. He was afraid he wouldn’t be able to buy his kids the gifts they wanted.

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His wife, Cheryl (Courtney Thorne-Smith) pointed out to him that the kids had barely looked at the presents they got the year before. In fact, one was still in its original package – it had been unwrapped but never opened and played with!

Maybe that kid was just a collector at heart!

But this show made us think … sometimes we get caught up on getting something new and not reflecting on the gifts we already have. So today we want to unwrap some of our most special gifts.

If you want to listen to us open these gifts, just click the “play” button above. Otherwise, picture each package being opened …

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george
Why don’t you kick it off, Mary-Lynn?

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marylynnThis one is a real, real special one. It’s the gift of my Dad. He had a bit of a health scare going into the holidays. He’s fine – clean bill of health. So thank you, God. I love my gift this year! Alright George, it’s your turn.

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georgeMy gift is memories of Mom and Dad. Mom’s been gone a couple of years now so it’s still somewhat fresh, I guess. I think about the things I learned from them, the things that helped make me who I am, for better or worse – I can blame them! I had a very special Mom and Dad and I’m very thankful for that. Now, you’re up Mary-Lynn.

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marylynnOh, yes … we’ve had a cold winter here in Illinois. There have been nights when you just hear that wind outside howling and I am inside and toasty warm! So the gift of a nice warm house is something I’m very, very grateful for this year.

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georgeWe often don’t stop to think about the basics and how many people there are who don’t even have something as simple as that.

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marylynn
Exactly. Alright, George, tear into the next one.

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georgeOne of the features of our car is remote unlock. Man, as we’ve been out shopping in the cold, it’s really nice to be able to find your car quickly because it winks at us. And of course, to be able to get right in once you’re to it.

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marylynnThat’s a good one. Okay, I’ll open the next one. Ah, the gifts of our kitty cats – Fifi and Fraidy. We have original cat names, don’t we? Boy, they just give us gifts all year long … loving and purring.

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george
Yeah, and sometimes they leave us a little something on the floor!

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marylynn
We don’t like those gifts at all!

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georgeOkay, let’s open the next one. It’s for both of us, Mary-Lynn. Let’s see what it is … ah, it’s our families. You have a great family, Mary-Lynn. Love your dad and your sister.

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marylynnYou have a great family, too. Your sisters are all so fun – listening to all of the siblings laughing together. It’s just so nice!

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georgeYes, and the in-laws aren’t so bad either. A cool group of nephews and now, one little niece. And Mary-Lynn, while we’re on family, I have to say that I’m also very thankful for you.

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marylynn
Ah, that’s so sweet. I’m thankful for you too. You’re a special man!

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georgeIt brings up the point, though. I think sometimes those closest to us are the people we most take for granted. We often don’t show them the appreciation we should.

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marylynn
Yeah, I forget about you all the time, George.

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george
I know you do!

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marylynn
George, I’ve got to tell you … I think we scored this Christmas.

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georgeI’m with you on that – but Mary-Lynn, I just noticed something … over there in the corner, it looks like there’s another bigg present for us.

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marylynn
Alright, let’s open it up … ah yes, of course. This is something we’re really grateful for.

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georgeWe’re grateful for you! The fact that you spend time with us like you do – you share your insights, you listen to our show, you read our blog posts. However you spend time with us, we’re just so thankful.

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marylynnYou are the reason that we get to do what we love to do! That is such an amazing gift and we thank you so much.

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So to you we say, whatever your chosen holiday at this time of year, we wish you and yours the very best. For us, it’s Christmas … so Merry Christmas!

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(Image in today's post by orangeNess)

Mom’s Lasting Legacy

Mother’s Day is bittersweet both for us since our moms have passed on. But their memories are always with us along with the lessons that we learned from them. That’s the lasting legacy of all of our moms.

Here are three lessons we each learned from our moms:

Mary-Lynn

Be confident in who you are.
I remember coming home from school one day in tears because some girls on the bus had made fun of me. Mom told me it doesn’t matter what other people say. She told me to walk away and ignore them. Don’t stoop down to their level because two wrongs don’t make a right. Then she hugged me and told me how special I was and how much she loved me.

Be willing to sacrifice.
Mom encouraged my sister and me to be in any extracurricular activities in which we were interested. She provided the rides – dropping us off and picking us up. She willingly gave of herself for us.

Think rainbows and butterflies, not gloom and doom.
This was one of mom’s sayings. She encouraged me to get in touch with my creative side and imagine the possibilities. She wanted me to feel free in that happy place. You can’t achieve your dreams if you’re in a gray, stormy place hiding under cover. I use this to this day when I’m having a down day.

George

It’s better to give than receive.

Mom always had this desire to help anyone in need. Even towards the end, as long as she was able, she would do anything to serve others. I remember one time she said that she had driven this “little old lady” to the doctor. Knowing that mom was about 85 at the time, I asked how old this woman was. “Oh, she’s about 87, I suppose.”

Make the most of your money.
Mom was a prodigious saver. She could stretch a penny further than anyone I’ve ever seen.  One way she did this was to make ordinary things extraordinary. There were a number of meals that I thought were something special as a kid. It turned out they were leftovers or made with food that was going to go bad if she didn’t do something with it.

Don’t act your age.
I alluded to this earlier with the “little old lady” story. You’re only as old as you feel. Mom was 43 when I was born. I remember one of my friends coming over when I was a teenager. Mom got out and shot baskets with us. My friend commented on how cool my mom was because his mom would never do anything like that. Just so you know, his mom was at least 20 years younger than mine!

Turning memories into a gift for your mom
On the show, George shared a fantastic gift idea that was his sister Pat’s idea. Along with their two other sisters, they each wrote roughly 90 memories and gave it to their mom so she had a memory to read each day of the year. George said he doesn’t think his mom ever got a gift that made her so happy.

Obviously, it’s too late to do something like this Mother’s Day. But you could give your mom the gift of a memory e-mailed to her every day for the next year. It’s an amazing idea that’s very inexpensive yet very personal. 

Tell us about the lessons you learned from your mom!
Leave us a Comment below!

Our bigg quote today is by Nancy Friday, who said:

“When I stopped seeing my mother with the eyes of a child,
I saw the woman who helped me give birth to myself.”

So thanks, Mom … and Happy Mother’s Day!

Next time, we’ll discuss why you should quit jumping on me like a dog. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Pages

The Fastest Way to Learn (Re-learn)

By Bigg Success Staff
06-05-08

Leading-Edge Application

cliffs_notes

You may be surprised at this week’s feature. This is a leading-edge application that’s been around for a long time.

Do you remember CliffsNotes

It’s what students would use who hadn’t actually studied the material. But CliffsNotes would save the day!

Some people thought it was cheating. For others, it was a life saver!

Now CliffsNotes is available online. For FREE.

And if you visit their site, you’ll realize that it’s a great way to refresh your memory quickly. For example, you can do a quick review of history. It’s all right there on the CliffsNotes site.

So the next time you have a little down time, bone up on some useful trivia quickly. Go to CliffsNotes!

More Leading-Edge Applications

A Great Way to Track Your Goals

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Read a Business Book Every Week

A Mother’s Day Letter: What I Wish I Could Say to Mom Today

By Bigg Success Staff
05-07-08

Life Changes

letter 

Dear Mom,

It’s another Mother’s Day so I wanted to write you this letter. I wanted you to know that, if you were still here, I would spend the entire day with you. I can’t imagine anything else that could be more important today. We’d talk and laugh and just bask in the joy of being together.

I would tell you …

… how special you always made me feel.

… how much I love to see you smile.

… how you helped me become who I am.

… how much I enjoy talking with you.

… how happy it makes me when I think of our times together.

… that you are the best mom anyone could ever have.

… how lucky I feel to be your child.

… that I love you.

I would thank you …

… for teaching me right from wrong.

… for being so patient when I was so impatient.

… for standing up to me when you thought I was making a mistake.

… for being a role model to me.

… for being so giving, not just to me but to everyone you cared about.

… for showing me what it means to be a good person.

… for preparing me for life.

… for loving me no matter what.

I would ask you …

… how you could be so tough and yet so loving at the same time.

… if there is anything you need, because I know you won’t tell me otherwise.

… to tell me stories of your life, even ones I’ve heard before so I never forget them.

… to tell me more about our family, so I always remember my heritage.

… for advice on anything and everything, but especially for raising your grandchildren.

I would take you …

… to your favorite place so we could just hang out.

… for a drive just so we could spend time together.

… to the park so we could enjoy the beauty of nature.

… for a walk so we could talk alone.

… in my arms and give you a big hug and a kiss.

Mom, if you were still here, I would linger with you … wishing that I never had to leave. I miss you, but I want you to know that your memory will always be with me, and …

… most of all, I’ll always wish we had just one more moment to spend together.

With much love,

Your “Kid”

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