The Power of Reminiscing

I am the current club president of “Sunrise Toastmasters”, a club in Fort Collins, Colorado — one of many clubs worldwide that are part of Toastmasters International. Club members practice principles of leadership and learn a range of communication skills. In effect, Toastmasters are students of “Oratory” — the art and rationale of public speaking. Sunrise Toastmasters is a “morning club” that meets weekly at 6:30-7:45am.

My experience with Toastmasters goes back eight years. During that time, I have continued to find in myself fresh new ways to communicate and lead. Core to that work is a deep desire to see the best in others, to the end that I clearly see the best in myself.   

In that wise, I want to share my experience of a Toastmasters meeting that had a particular impact on me, because I came to know the essence of a man whom I had never met through the expression of those who spoke at our club meeting.

The theme of the meeting was in tribute to a longtime, now dearly departed Sunrise Toastmaster, Mr. Alan Beatty. Several members who knew Alan reminisced about him in ways that brought Alan’s spirit, atmosphere, and attributes to fine focus. 

Words are powerful, and Reminiscing is a powerful way to use words which flow from positive thought and loving feelings.

Reminiscing with uplifting memories of the dearly departed brings soothing comfort to the hearts of those grieving their loss. It also provides a safe medium of support for the journey of the one who is in the midst of a final ascension to the most profound state of “New Normals” there is!

Alan Beatty was known far and wide as a happy, fun-loving, and often flamboyantly-dressed source of energy and enthusiasm, as well as a brilliant (yet mild-mannered) inventor whose curiosity was conversant with multiple fields of mastery. 

In this tribute to Alan, my role called for the delivery of a “Thought of the Day”. Typically, it would be a 1 to 2-minute presentation of a quote, a joke, poetry or a (very short) story — Whatever might induce entertaining or inspiring thoughts in the listener.

Having a lyrical piece by an unknown author, I prefaced it for the occasion as follows: 

“This set of verses is titled ‘AfterGlow’. As I read this, please close your eyes, take a deep breath, and, in your imagination, hear Alan’s voice speaking these words to you:

“I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one.
I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done.

I’d like to hear an echo whispering softly down the ways of
Happy times and laughing times — with bright and sunny days.

I’d like the tears of those who grieve to dry before the sun of
Happy memories I leave, when life is done.
My last few words to you are spun,
“Go out there now, and have some fun!”

My life has been enriched through the reminiscing of those whose lives were touched by this man. My point in sharing this experience with you here, is to epitomize the power of connection, spoken tribute, and living life to the fullest (as Alan most certainly did)!

(Rest Softly, Alan, in the Delight of Sublime Peace)

Why Not Me?

“Live life to express, not to impress”

I am unable to tell you the details of the entire story that I might share. However, my wife, Melanie, tells me that when we arrived at home after four months of being in hospitals and rehab, that I was like a new baby in a full-grown body. Apparently, I was full of wonder in the discovery of who I am in the world and in my precious family.

As I have come to understand some of what happened, I have learned that I was faced with a little-known autoimmune disease that beset my brain and central nervous system. Evidently, “only ONE person in 10 Million” experiences this particular malady. That ONE person is ME.

On August 19, 2016, I was “not myself” — growing increasingly incoherent with garbled speech, until Melanie raced me to the hospital where I was taken directly to the Emergency Room. 

However, notwithstanding my substantial memory losses, I do vividly recollect an hour-long, in-depth conversation that I shared. It took place some time later, when I was recuperating for several weeks at a local rehab hospital.

I and a fellow patient (I’ll name him “Sam” for now!) found ourselves talking about why each of us was here and about why I myself was abiding for weeks in a rehabilitation hospital.

Upon hearing that “1-in-10-Million” statistic, Sam asked if I had ever wondered ‘Why Me?’.  “Humm, Why Me?” I answered, “No, that notion has never occurred to me”.

Sam then remarked, “PenDell, I see your beautiful, loving wife staying with you here in the Rehab Hospital, day in and day out; and your grown children calling regularly. You have many friends who come and visit you here, as well as people sending you cards, donating in your honor.

After a moment’s poignant silence, Sam lamented, “I wish I had that much love around me. Fact is, I just don’t know — nor do You, my friend — what day will be the last … for anybody …”

For a fleeting moment, I thought,”My brain might be in scary, uncharted territory, health-wise”. Then, upon releasing that conundrum and taking a long, deep breath, I became quietly aware in the moment (as if being imbued with a higher knowing) of a new mission & purpose for me now.

“Sam, my friend,” I replied, “What I do know is that I am here and I have a story to tell! I will do all that I can for others to uplift, to inspire, and to make as much of the life that is mine to live now. So, Indeed — Why NOT Me?

What any one of us can do, in fact, is to stay steady when facing life-changing circumstances. And, while doing so, we discover an ocean of blessings flowing in.

I was, and continue to be, so deeply grateful for each and every one; my faith in Mankind (and Womankind) continues to grow greatly — Again & again, with each glorious day granted.

From Our Children

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children.”
(Chief Seattle)

Interesting, the insight that this proverb provides —

A humble and kind outlook that includes giving credit to each of the younger of us for their unique and unprecedented contributions to the living of us all here on earth.


These wonderful younger generations will be obliged to grow up now in these modern times of constant change and global complexities, yet amidst a world where they can exude fresh energies that — when maturely guided and nurtured in a surround of upright character– can and will manifest vigor, freshly self-governed thought, and powerful innovations anew!

Well, lo and behold — as the proverb states — I, for one, find myself borrowing from my own (now-grown) children a palpable boost of vim, vigor, and vitality; a deepened sense of Destiny for us all, and an amplified awareness of mission and purpose on Earth.

SO, given that blessed reality in this present day, I am now aware that:    
We DID Inherit the Earth left from our ancestors.
And, as a matter of course, We in turn will return the borrowing of it to our children.
Let Us — For Earth’s Sake
Commit to Return It Far Better than We Were Blessed to Find It.

Give a Woman

“If you give a woman …

You may well remember me mentioning my wife, Melanie, in the last entry, ”Home Again”. The following entry today serves as my tribute to her.

In 1954, William Golding, author of Lord of the Flies, made this comment: “A woman multiplies and enlarges whatever is given to her. So if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of sxxt”!

Author, Carrie West, wrote her own quite similar poem intended to capture the spirit of Mr. Golding’s words, updated for the 21st century. Here follows selected lines from her poem:

Give a Woman

If you give a woman your pain, she will give you compassion,

If you give a woman a voice, she will sing you a song of hope,

If you give a woman an idea, she will build it with a community,

If you give a woman hope, she will give you transcendence,

If you give a woman your story, she will give you trust,

If you give a woman a goal, she will achieve it with grace and joy,

If you give a woman a dream, she will build you a reality,

If you give a woman freedom, she will give you wings,

If you give a woman voice, she will give you the truth.

I was inspired to share this of my personal experience with Melanie:

If you give a woman yourself in assurance, she will give you the truth.

If you live your true longing to love and be loved, she will actuate it with you.

If you share your vision with her, she will share with you in a mutual Life Purpose.

If you give that woman your unfettered love, she will fill your lifetime with joy!