54.5 F
Saturday, May 21, 2022
Home Blog

When will the owls cease to be Watchers?


Owls have been known to perch among the branches—and have been accused of watching the world go by. While Truth has it that owls have been long sought out as birds of wisdom, so too does it tell that owls are tremendous observers.

And that the watchers of society need to heed the wisdom inherent in owls. For, although it is granted that owls do indeed see everything, they tend to be pictured as aloof—above the fray. And yet, in a turmoil-boiled world, comfort can be derived from the fact that owls are designated to observe, comment, and inspire.

Maybe, it’s not the owls’ aloofness that bothers watchers. But rather the owls’ ability to transform a moment of silence to a flutter of activity within a once tranquil sea of conformity.

Or maybe, it is the unknown quality behind those pictures of owls that seem to frighten people.

There seems to be a power gathering beneath the owls’ surface which will eventually be released—when the owls cease to be Watchers.

We are all Entrepreneurs

Work vs Life
Work vs Life

Whether you are a stay-at-home parent or a business executive, we are all running a small business, which is called our life.

Oprah Winfrey to be Keynote Speaker at U.S. Book Show

Oprah Winfrey
Photo Credit: Harpo, Inc. Chris Craymer

Oprah Winfrey will be the opening keynote speaker at the U.S. Book Show, the virtual book publishing trade show presented by Publishers Weekly.

Oprah Winfrey will give the opening keynote speech on May 25, 2021 at 10:45 a.m. EDT. She will discuss her newest book, What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience and Healing, co-written with Bruce D. Perry, a child psychiatrist and neuroscientist. The book, released by Flatiron on April 27, discusses how people’s earliest personal experiences shape their entire lives. The book offers a new way to understand the way people behave. Winfrey, one of the biggest supporters of all members of the book industry, will also offer comments on her love for books and authors and offer her appreciation and encouragement for all those who support them.

Defining Great Service

Defining Great Service

What is good service? When guest expectations are low, and we exceed them … not too exciting. But when guest expectations are high, and we manage to do even better, then we have accomplished something. In order to be able to seize every opportunity to do the things that help to create guests for life, we first must be able to identify those opportunities. Being aware of what is going on around us at the moment—and knowing what is going to happen in the future—helps.

A guest may refuse assistance with their luggage as they struggle to carry their bags up the stairs, but this does not mean we can’t run up the stairs ahead of the guests to open the door for them. What is the alternative? Watch the guest carry their bags and then open the door for themselves.

Our focus and mindset must be “What can I do to make a positive impression on every guest that I come in contact with?” It takes initiative, anticipation, caring, and sometimes a little hustle.

When you recall your most memorable hotel, dining, or other hospitality-related experience, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it the room, the view, or the food?

When I think of memorable all-around top service experiences, the first one that I can recall happened soon after I was promoted to general manager. I was headed on a vacation to Florida with a buddy. The owner of the hotel arranged for us to play golf at The Jupiter Hills Club. Knowing it was ranked in Golf Magazine’s top 100 courses, I had high expectations and was looking forward to playing.

You only have one chance to make a first impression, and boy, did the Jupiter Hills Club get off to a great start. To this day I am not entirely sure how they pulled it off, but when we arrived at the security guard station and I rolled down the window of the rented minivan, I was immediately made to feel important when the guard said, “Welcome, Mr. Ruby, to Jupiter Hills,” as if he had been anxiously waiting to meet a celebrity. My buddy and I shrugged our shoulders and without saying a word we both knew that this was going to be an excellent day.

The staff seemed to sense we were out of our element and anticipated our every need. We were then escorted to the bag drop where an attendant opened my door and again greeted me by name. The attendant took our bags, the valet took care of the van, and a locker room attendant said, “Please follow me, Mr. Ruby,” and brought us to our lockers, which of course had our names on them. We were then escorted up to the pro shop, greeted by name by one of the golf pros and then introduced to our fore caddie who took us to the first tee.

We finished playing the front-nine, and we were just starting to get used to our caddies doing everything except actually hitting our balls for us …  (However, out of mercy, I think my caddie used a wedge when he thought no one was looking so I would avoid an impossible shot). We were instructed that it was time for lunch.

A table was already reserved for Mr. Ruby, and the hostess acted like she had known me for years. Every staff person I encountered was not only polite and proactive; they also seemed to genuinely enjoy making two twenty-something average Joes from Chicago, who were not members, feel special.

The service afforded us was unforced, and providing hospitality, was clearly more than just part of their job. Every staff member seemed to have put themselves in our golf shoes and knew how to make two regular guys feel like rock stars for a day. The bottom line is I have no idea what my score was that day, or if played well or poorly. I can’t even remember anything about the course aside from I am pretty sure there were more hills than usual in Florida—and I have no idea what I had for lunch.

But the one thing I will never forget about that day was how the staff made me feel. Almost thirty years later, I can think back to my day at The Jupiter Hills Club when I need an example of what I consider to be great service.

Attitude is Everything

Attitude is Everything

Have you ever imagined being the hero of the day? Imagined yourself being one day rich and famous? We all have. Whether it is the flash of us crossing the finishing line first. Or being a movie star with fame and fortune. Or a famous businessperson featured in national magazines. We all have imagined how our lives might be one day when our dreams turn into reality. It is these moments of inspiration that drive Entrepreneurs to their goal.

Courage: Taking the First Step


The power to make your own decisions. The ability to act despite all odds when you know you are right. The ability to stand apart from others when your convictions are more important than your popularity.
The knowing that comes when you are connected to God and are willing to speak the Truth no matter what the consequences.
The ability to act despite the pressure to remain inanimate, passive when you see wrongs that are being committed.
The ability to perceive what needs to be done and the power within to act on that knowledge.
The ability to allow yourself the freedom to think about things and determine what is best…and act on that feeling.
The ability to look within

Patricia Ploss talks about her book “Letting Go” on Charlie Adams Show


Patricia Ploss talks about her new book Letting Go on the Charlie Adams Show.

“Letting Go is close to home for me. As someone who was adopted as an infant in 1963, I know nearly nothing about my birth mother and her journey. Although I’ve searched for years, I’ve never been able to find her. This book is what I’d like to imagine her story was. My real parents are the ones who raised me. They’ve both been gone for many years now, but they will always and forever be my parents.”

The book takes place in 1962, when seventeen-year-old Judy Bonner finds herself in love with twenty-year-old Curtis Murphy. She also learns that she is pregnant with his baby and due in June 1963!

Filled with fear, shame, and secrecy, Judy hides her pregnancy from her family for as long as she can! With no mother to turn to and only an angry, widowed father and an overbearing sister, Judy makes choices and decisions that only adults should have to make.
Follow her story of love, trauma and letting go, in the early 1960s, where choices were few for girls who, “got in trouble!”

Master or Slave? The Choice is Yours!

Insight Master or Slave

Across the world, there is mounting chaos. With recent ostentatious displays of disharmony, greed, and war, we see a world in turmoil. I wonder what lies ahead for mankind…and this planet we call Earth.

Will technology greet us with a new enlightenment…or will we actually find ourselves further enslaved to our own technology? Will the computer’s drive for us to be more efficient and productive be the vehicle to our freedom…or our enslavement? Enslaved to a mechanism which takes no breaks…a mechanism which does not take the time to share the humanness we all share with one another.

Will we master this new technology…or will it master us? The answer waits in the future. But our actions today will determine the future we bring.

Slavery or Salvation. Masters or Slaves. Freedom or Constriction

Each day we choose our Path. We make decisions which affect our own lives…and the lives of others…with the choices we make.

What will be your choice today? Will you empower yourself…and those with whom you work? Or will you continue to exploit a hierarchical scheme in which empowerment has a much different meaning?

We are the Masters of our Future. Will you be your own master…or have you given your power to another? So they may rule your future. Be aware of the gifts the future brings…and be wary of those bearing gifts. For you may be a pawn in a larger Scheme. You…through your actions…must decide whose Scheme you will participate in.

For there are many houses in My Mansion. It is up to you to decide which room you will occupy. Will it be the servants’ quarters…or will it be as the Master of the House? And, if it is as Master of the House, how will you rule? How will you guide others so they too may advance to become the Master of the House? Or will you use your position to keep them in their place…so you can remain their Master.

And yet, life is so fleeting. It quickly moves on…ever changing…constantly flowing…never waiting…while you decide what type of Master you will be. Choose now…but being ever so careful. For the world is filled with many people who believe they are Masters…only to discover they are really Servants to the Chosen. So choose wisely…but choose.

For the river flows on endlessly…always picking up the drops and carrying them downstream. Never wary…never hesitant…for the river knows it must flow. That it must keep moving…lest it evaporate into thin air. Only to start the cycle again…when it will become a drop again…in the endless flow…of the river we call Life. Don’t stop the river by not choosing the right path.

Rather join the flow…and return to the Source of all that ever was.

Are you willing to stand up for Truth?

Are you willing to stand up for truth?

So far, the answer appears to be a resounding “No!” for the majority of us.

A friend of mine called me today and asked what she should do. A neighbor had openly told her that her teenage son had tested positive for COVID-19 and was having systems which the doctors had decided did not warrant hospitalization (yet) but that he needed to be quarantined. She took him home and put him in one of the rooms of her house although everyone shared the house as if nothing had happened. Soon, the neighbor’s youngest daughter was experiencing symptoms. However, the mother refused to allow her young daughter to be tested for COVID because she said the cotton swab used for testing was infected with the disease.

Meanwhile, the mother continued to go to the store everyday for her latte and groceries unmasked. Her other daughter continued to work in the local restaurant. The daughter with symptoms continued to go to elementary school, unmasked.

No one in the neighborhood knew that the son had tested positive, that the young daughter was symptomatic, and they were all living in the same house with no masks or precautions. Instead, they continued their lives oblivious to the fact they were spreading the virus throughout the town without anyone’s knowledge.

Until that point, my friend had no idea that the family was against the vaccines, and even though her son tested positive and the young daughter was symptomatic, the neighbor insisted COVID-19 was all a HOAX. A conspiracy. Fake News.

My friend was asking me what she should do. Who should she tell? Should she remain silent? Afterall, the neighbor told her as if it was nothing. There was no issue of personal privacy. The neighbor didn’t say, “Please don’t tell anyone?” Nope, instead, she was quite proud of her inaction and of herself.

I asked my friend what she knew she should do. You know, that feeling you get when you know God is telling you to act, and instead, you want to try and hide, hoping it will pass. She had very deep concerns about the neighbor next door who was 85 and in failing health…and all the other unsuspecting neighbors with health problems.

And then, I asked the question:

How will you feel if your dear neighbor of 85 dies when you could have done something?

So, I ask you, “What would you do?”

An Immigrant Nation

Nation of Immigrants

Living in the Chicago area, I am reminded daily that we are a nation of immigrants and migrants. They are the ones that know what hard work is and how to make a life here in the United States. They are ambitious and do those things that seem to be unsuitable occupations for many Americans that have been here for a much longer time. In this country, they are the roofers, landscapers, custodians, and farm laborers working in 95 degree heat without complaint.

I am also reminded of my grandparents who came to America with nothing and managed to create a living and raise their families quietly teaching them the value of hard work like so many immigrants have done in our country’s history. My father’s parents, Elias and Julia Kamar, were peddlers when they got off the boat in New York City. They passed by the Statue of Liberty when they arrived seeing the lady with her torch raised arm welcoming them to their new homeland. Since my grandmother, Julia, had lived in Majorca, Spain, she could understand Italian in those areas of the city because the language is so similar to Spanish. In those neighborhoods in New York, they were selling goods in their push carts and they were able to save money. My grandfather Elias spoke perfect English and had been a tour guide in the Holy Land before immigrating. They ended up eventually traveling to Michigan City, Indiana and then to Michigan so my grandfather could work in the factories. They stayed near their relatives in Flint, Michigan and then in Detroit where they bought a grocery store.

My other grandmother, Nora Rashid, wrote much of her history in a manuscript although she only received a fourth grade education. She traveled much in her life time from northern Lebanon where she was born, to Sierra Leone, Africa, and Barcelona, Spain where her mother died and then to Casablanca, Morocco before also coming to Michigan with her father.

Nora had a difficult time as a child. She went to an orphanage for a while and then when her father remarried, she was treated poorly by her stepmother. She lived with relatives nearby in Lansing, Michigan. Soon she met my grandfather, Peter, and they were married at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Lansing. Grandma Nora was only 15 but very mature for her age. They worked hard, saved money, and also bought a grocery store. Both of my grandmothers and my mother Mary always kept a spotless home. They knew that cleanliness keeps away germs and illness. They all had family members that died from disease in their lifetime. With our current Covid Variant, we have learned that simple things such as good hand washing help to keep us safe.

During the Great Depression, Nora put together packages of vegetables and meat for her customers as she also knew what it was like to be hungry. My grandparents always had a huge garden. They worked so diligently and were glad to have the opportunity of work. During World War II, she crocheted an American Flag for President Roosevelt which is on display in his library in Hyde Park, New York. All my uncles on both sides of the family who were of age to go to the service, including my father Nicholas Kamar, went to war and all returned healthy, thankfully.

Nora and Peter worked very diligently with the help of my uncles and my parents to make a thriving bowling business in Lansing. In the past, we see those who didn’t feel they were owed anything in this country and enjoyed the challenge of making a good life.

In my historical novel, THE ADVENTURES OF FRANCIE FITZGERALD by Victoria Kamar Olivett, we learn of an Irish immigrant family who came here during the great famine in Ireland. They came for economic and religious freedom as did countless of millions of others. They came for opportunities that they didn’t have so their children might have a better life. In the book, Francie and her friend Sean, watch the Statue of Liberty being placed on a pedestal in New York Harbor. They were amazed that $100,000 was collected for the stand and it was Joseph Pulitzer who encouraged donations by printing all the donors’ names in his newspaper, The New York World. It was the working people in America that gave money for her foundation in the harbor. As the French called her, “Liberty Enlightening the World,” all newcomers could now be greeted as they come to our shores. Francie and Sean also remember the words of Emma Lazarus, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, the tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

What is your family back round? What memories do you have about your family? They may have moved from the south or immigrated from a different country. We all have personal stories such as this one. Please comment!

Joshua Tree Publishing’s New Book Release by Donal McCarthy

Donal McCarthy and Ruchel Louis Coetzee

Joshua Tree Publishing’s Donal McCarthy, author of the just released book Dònal Òg Series, with Ruchel Louis Coetzee, author of PULANI: A memoir of a young woman in apartheid South Africa, share their thoughts about being published authors.

Donal McCarthy’s Dònal Òg Series

Meeting the Challenges of an Unexpected Family Trauma

Meeting the Challenges of an Unexpected Family Trauma

There are so many types of traumas. I believe that everyone experiences trauma of one kind or another many times throughout life. We learn to pick up the pieces and move on. We have to, as life continues to move forward. Circumstances change and evolve. With that, our attitudes, beliefs, and even values can change.

Things we think are concrete, dependable, and predictable can change in an instant, throwing our lives into chaos that we don’t necessarily know how to process and cope with.

Trauma has many forms. The small things we think don’t affect us, really do in little ways. We take a small detour. We may not even notice it, but it’s there. The bigger ones force us to realign, navigate unfamiliar territory. I have found that I must be open to processes that I never dreamed I would find myself involved in.

Being a parent, as parents find out, changes your life completely. Is it a trauma to become a parent? Maybe. Is it rewarding? Absolutely. Is it painful? Yes, yes it is! Can’t avoid the pain of becoming a mom physically! When I was pregnant, the physical pain was the biggest thing I was worried about! Little did I know, emotional pain would eclipse what my body went through for just one day.

New parents navigate being new parents by trial and error. You learn as you go. Just as your children form their own thoughts and grow into the family. We thought we did alright with our two. First a son, followed fourteen months later by a daughter. I must also state that I was an older mom, having my son at age thirty-five and daughter at thirty-six.

Maybe we were behind the times a little bit, not as up on things as younger parents. Maybe that’s when we didn’t recognize that our son was experimenting with marijuana. I promise you I had no idea whatsoever that my son was using pot, dabbling with other drugs, and drinking! He came out as gay when he was thirteen, and we were navigating that change in his life and ours as well.

Small town life can be much harder on kids when you’re different than everyone else around you. I look back and recall fighting battles for my son. Protecting him as best I could from the bullies and from feeling so alone. My husband and I both encouraged him to come to us with any problem. We promised we would not be angry with him. We’d listen and help. We had many conversations, and we both thought things were ok with our son. We moved forward, facing each challenge, working through those teenage years with him.

As I tried my best to roll with the punches for Dawson, I dealt with being the mom of a gay son in the best way I knew how. I was so proud of him for being true to who he was. I also would wonder what his life would have been like if he wasn’t gay. I silently pondered what other moms felt. Moms who sons weren’t gay. But rather football stars, or scholars, or popular. Did they take it for granted when they’d have a weekend with a houseful of rowdy boys, playing sports or hanging out. Dawson never experienced friendship with any boys. Not ever. Another trauma as my heart broke for my son. I would try to help him not notice that he was alone most of the time. I know he did notice though—and he did something about it.

Instead of coming to us and talking about how he felt, he gravitated toward other misfit kids and started smoking pot, cigarettes, using alcohol and who knows what else. We had no idea.

Finally, it was time to send him off to college. We had hopes that he’d find his way there. Be ok, make friends in a bigger town and be alright. We had no way to know just how deep his trauma was from all he’d experienced as a child. His traumas were mounting, and all of our lives were about to change.

Fast forward a year and a half. Dawson had flunked out of college, become a major pot smoker, and was back here at home. Traumas right and left, trying to figure him out keep us afloat, and encourage our daughter who was more determined than ever to accomplish every goal she ever set and go to college herself and away from here.

Dawson had a car accident in late December of 2018. He nearly died. He had a brain injury that left him in a coma for nearly two weeks. This happened the day after he turned twenty. He was on his way here to get birthday money, which he would have spent on marijuana immediately. Our lives were turned upside down in a split second. We thought we had experienced major trauma with him already. But we had no idea up until this point, how much trauma we would actually face.

Months of hospitalization and a rehab facility out of state nearly brought our family to its collective knees. Dawson has some permanent brain damage from the choices and decisions he made. Coping with daily life for all of us was all we could manage to do. We thought we were ok. Then we were thrown for a loop again when Dawson made the decision to use marijuana again.

The day I caught him in his room smoking pot came about three days after he’d returned from the out of state neuro rehab facility. The sight of him on his bed, pipe in hand, sent me into a fury I’d never felt before. I think this has remained the biggest trauma of my life to this day.

Like each one of us, I have had many traumas in my life to sort through. I was adopted, big trauma there; raped at thirteen, huge trauma; abused by my ex-husband, horrible trauma. So many things. But until I found my son, recovering from a horrific accident, smoking pot, which is what caused him to wreck his car in the first place, I have never felt the anger and frustration explode like that before.

After that day, we navigated next steps and sent him to a rehab for drug use for ninety days out of state. We spent a week there for family therapy as part of the rehab program. We discussed traumas at length in group and individual therapy. There was a lot of ugliness. Tears, yelling, hugging. Purging of all the traumas we could recall and regrouping as individuals and as a family.

It was cathartic, but not permanent. Which brings me to my questions to all of you.

What do you do to help yourself deal with trauma? With anxiety? Depression? Are drugs the answer? I don’t want that to be the answer. I want to be involved with others, to learn, focus, and lift one another up out of the ramifications of traumas. We all deserve to be healthy and happy. Life is hard enough.

Next time I’d like to discuss what people do to help themselves move forward. Is it medication? Is it religion? Therapy? Maybe education? Maybe all of these things? What’s healthy, and what isn’t?

Until next time.