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An Open Letter to #Hallmark

Dear Hallmark:


Thank you for your wide and creative selection of cards. As a man, it is most helpful that you provide me with cards that speak of love, commitment, passion and adoration between a husband and wife. At each season and holiday, when I reach to purchase a card – I am glad you have thought through these details for me.

I would like to make one request, however. Can you please not design these cards to appeal to me just in order to sell them? Yes, I like brown, tan and other earth tone colors. I am a bit uncomfortable holding flowery, glitter laden and sparkling cards that sing love songs. And yet, even at the risk of making me uncomfortable can you NOT design any cards that will result in my wife saying – “How nice. You picked this one because you like the colors – didn’t you?” I promise I will buy whatever you sell, just help me out, will you?



Guy that Likes Earth Tones…

5 Tricks To Connect With Others, #Intimacy

Truth. We all need human intimacy. Anyone here struggling with the need for balance between quality human connection and fast paced, technology driven day-to-day, get-it-done, one-more world?

What's a human to do?  


I've been reminded, of late, of the importance of meaningful human connection. I live with this need everyday. I'm good at that. I tend to connect deeply and meaningfully with others. How do I do it, you might ask? Well, here's 5 tips for making deeper connections with others. Take them. They're free.


  1. Set aside technology for the duration of the conversation. Don't allow the distraction of other 'conversations' to insert themselves into your face-to-face time with others. One of my new games is to get all the people present at the lunch, dinner or coffee table to stack their phone face-down in the middle of the table. First one to check the device, buys. 
  2. Look at people's eyes. There is a world in the eye.  It seems that if anyone takes time to look at that particular place on a person's face, they instinctively are more intimately connected.
  3. If you think of someone, reach out to them. Our minds are amazing machines. More than we commonly understand, the mind thinks beyond our consciousnesses. If you find yourself having a thought glimpse on a friend, take it as a cue. Pick up the phone (not email of Facebook) and talk to them. Better yet, set up a time to meet and visit while seeing #1 and #2 above.
  4. Prior to a visit with a friend, ask yourself, "What do I not know about this person?" Make a list of 2-3 things you want to ask them. Of course, then actually ask them.
  5. Write a note...with paper...and pen...and snail-mail it or hand deliver it. There is something substantial and lasting about written on paper communication. the act of inscribing the letters, thinking through your choice of words without the benefit of the backspace key, and holding that complete message in your hands that adds intimacy to the communication. 

Do you have other tips for connecting deeper with people? Are there rituals that dot the landscape of your meaningful relationships that you can share. Please do! 

Let The Magic Loose - @CompassionateWS

A couple of months ago my friend, Cyndi Briggs, introduced me to the concept of Social Capital. Tonight the magic of Social Capital changed me. (Tweet THIS!)

Social Capital has to do with the people, actions, attitudes, environments and processes that make up our community. In varied ways, the contributions of individuals aggregate to create this Social Capital.

Magically, when it all gets together the whole is more than the sum of the parts. It’s magic, really.  

Real. Everyday. Magic

.Just like fantasy magic there is good magic and bad magic with Social Capital – depending on the parts. Sometimes communities get capitalized (Socially) in a way that makes for nasty places to live. Fortunately, I’m living in a place where magic is good – not perfect but perfect might just be coming closer.

Enter Compassionate Winston-Salem. 

I was invited to a gathering tonight of @CompassionateWS where some individuals (a pretty diverse group of people) sat around a table and wrote love letters – to unknown, unidentified strangers. The letters will be used next month during a Compassionate Cities emphasis. Good idea. Yet, tonight was very personal. 

I spent about an hour hand writing love notes for random people. I wrote poetry, pithy sayings, reminders for self-care and self-acceptance – all targeted at imagined people. I wrote each note, casually imagining the manner of person that might find the note or the situation in which it would be read. Would a homeless person stumble upon it and find the energy to try one more day? Could a stressed-out business executive find it and in reading it receive a small reprieve? Would a worried mother or challenged dad get a leg-up from the pause and reflection the note offered them? As I imagined these possibilities a strange, magical thing happened. I felt better. I connected with a larger hope. The love letters, yet ungiven and unfound, became love letters for me. 

I laughed. I joked. I smiled big goofy smiles and made heart shapes with my fingers. I drew love hearts and overused exclamation marks!!!! 

One person there said, “I feel like I’ve bonded with you people and I don’t even know you.” 

I left with some new friendships, a renewed spring in my step and delightful anticipation of the times when these notes will be read…which I can’t tell you about. It’s a secret. All magic is.


Say It! Let the Fairy Tale OUT!

Sometimes, you just have to say Rumpelstiltskin! Dare you...say it right now...and...comment about it.