Lessons from my Bird Feeder

January 22, 2016

The snow, ice and sleet are blessing us with their presence. Trading off one to the other. The world is a calm snow white. My little birds are on the feeders. I don’t know, 30  or 40 finches, sparrows, cardinals, chickadees, dove, juncos. On a near tree limb sat a male cardinal, a rufus-sided towhee and male bluebird. They were there for only a few seconds. You couldn’t script anything that pretty.

And I can see the reddish-purple of the house finches more brilliantly. And the yellow-rumped warbler shows off, the junco’s dark body with a white stomach looks like he sat in white paint. The cardinal is a deeper red than I recall. The bluebird!? Well, he’s a majestic sight.

They flit, chirp, fly off and come back, jump up to the feeder, fly away. Constant motion….then I saw it! How could I have missed it all this time? It’s always been there. Waiting for me to see it I guess. It’s the contrast.

Against the snow each of the birds is more brilliant. They stand out just a little more. Sometimes people and events need a contrasting backdrop. Something to help us see clearly. Learn the lesson. And there are some things that just take a while to see. Maybe if we work at finding that contrast it’ll help. Maybe it’s not always black or white, on or off. Maybe we just need to look a little longer. I’m sure  it’s there.

They’re back now. I better go feed them.

A Life Interrupted

January 12, 2016

He  lied about his age at 16 so he could join  in the fight.

He was captured by the enemy, subjected to and withstood the most horrendous treatment ever given to prisoners.

He buried his fellow soldiers whose bodies could not withstand the torture.

He died on Sunday, 1/10/16. Mr. A was a member of The Generation. He was a victim and survivor of the Bataan Death March. Unspeakable, demonic treatment was the order of the day for those prisoners. But he came home, settled into his life, raised his family. He didn’t ask for more. Just came back from war and went on with Living.

A survivor of Bataan was a family friend when I was growing up. He wrote me a thank you note when I was commissioned into the Army in 1972. He was glad to see someone joining vs. protesting. That wasn’t exactly de rigueur for the time. Here was a man who had been through what he experienced, yet he took the time to write me. I guess that’s just the way they were.

Like our soldiers today, and of all time, Mr. A simply wanted others to know why they can enjoy the freedoms we have. And like other veterans, their passions are deep. They don’t dwell on their story too much. Something like Mr. A’s experience is too painful. Just better left as is.

Mr. A was 91 years young. A 16 year old boy with life interrupted. But he put in another 75 years. Appreciative of his freedoms. Freedoms he had won for himself. And for us.

Rest in peace our good and faithful soldier. Thank you for a job well done.

Signed, The USA


They Gave

January 5, 2016

“No person was ever honored for what  he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” Calvin Coolidge

The direction of my first thought on this was to our soldiers. Our Vietnam vets earned our honor based on what they gave. Give them a nod, a pat on the shoulder.

The righteous giveth and spareth not. Proverbs 21:26

There, in the Sunshine

December 29, 2015

“Far away, there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up  and see their beauty, believe in them and try to follow where they lead.”   Louisa May Alcott

Every year is a new opportunity. Really, every day is. Hope lifts us up to our expectations. And the greatest news?…everything is achievable.

Thanksgiving Wish For You

November 20, 2015

Family and Friends. Turkey and football. Jingle Bells and Oh Holy Night. The scent of a Christmas tree. Smiles and laughter.

I hope I am the first to wish you a Happy Holiday Season! Starting with

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here are some thoughts I’d like to share with you as we begin the season.

I am thankful for My Marilyn and our boys and their wives; My brother & sister and their families. We need to tell our families how much we love them.

I asked God to give a kiss to the loved ones we no longer see. I am grateful I have a spiritual life.

I am thankful for my friends. There aren’t enough words to express my love and devotion to the true friends in my life. I wish health for you in our journey through time.

I am grateful for the opportunity to work. I cannot imagine sitting down. There are just too many people yet to meet; too many things to do.

I am thankful for my clients and business associates. I see you more than my family.

I am thankful that I need a moment when they play TAPS for a soldier. Please say “thank you” to our older veterans too.

I am thankful I can vote.

I am grateful for the people who believe in me and for those who along the way gave me a chance with their confidence and trust.

I’m glad there are those of us who still believe we should say “Merry Christmas”.

I am grateful for those who stand up for what is right. Not just soldiers and first responders. Ordinary folks like us who will not allow an injustice to go unchecked.

Most of all, I am thankful for you. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season.


Ed Gideon

My Old Friend, Now Gone

November 10, 2015

In the morning it will be Veterans Day and I will wish my fellow Veterans a good day. We will remember family and friends. My Dad and uncles fought World War II and Korea. Part of the Great Generation. Friends too many to count fought in Vietnam. And, of course, our current Iraq/Afgan Veterans.

It will also be a great honor to remember an old friend, now gone. Nelson Greene. We lost him last year. He was 90+ years old, WWII veteran, tail gunner on bombers over Germany. He told stories and jokes all day long. Loved to hunt. That’s where I first met him, on a hunting trip. He loved bird dogs. His Brittany Spaniel was of course named…Nellie. Both loved to hunt ruffed grouse, especially in his native West Virginia. He really enjoyed being with people.

I truly don’t think I ever heard him say a negative thing about another person. He might cuss the weather for messing up his bird hunt. He didn’t have material wealth, but man was he deep in people that loved him.

It would take considerable more space to list the lessons I learned from him from a few hunting trips. Too few.  Lessons in caring for others, humility, humanity and so much more. He was a gentle man and a gentleman. He was short in stature, but he looms large in my life and always will. Take good care Nelson Greene. The hunting grounds are a lesser place for your absence. My heart aches tonight. In your honor I will go out soon and walk a long time. And think of you and thank you and look around the corner for a bird dog on point, or a cover that looks ‘birdy’. Thanks Nelson.

It’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.  A. Lincoln

(I wrote most of this a year ago (March 2014)when Nelson passed away and wanted to remember him again today.)

Skinny, Smart & Rich?

November 3, 2015

If information could change people, then everyone would be skinny, smart and rich. Books have been out there for multiple decades, but people don’t go to the information. If you want to move people you have to be strategic and experiential.Tell a story.

Aim for the mind, but go through the heart. People change minds and actions when you touch their heart vs. just give them information.

This was sent to me and I do not know the source or I would give them credit. More executives are steering away from ponderous powerpoint logic and lists of numerical performance data. The story attached to other information is getting their message across.

Trust, in a Fishing Story?

October 21, 2015


For this fishing team, $1-million prize is the one that got away


If a person gets caught fishing without a license, in most cases, it results in a fine of perhaps a few hundred dollars.

For those aboard Citation, however, the infraction represents a setback of nearly $1 million.

The vessel’s anglers had been participating in the 52nd annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament, June 11-19 off North Carolina. Smith landed what was by far the biggest fish: an 883-pound marlin, a tournament record.

The team on Saturday was declared winner of the prestigious competition, and there was plenty of celebration.

However, there also was a post-event lie-detector test, after which it was revealed that one of the hired crew did not possess a valid fishing license, available in North Carolina for only $15, or $30 for non-residents.

That was a violation of tournament rules and after lengthy deliberation, according to Evans Kistler of the Carteret County News-Times, tournament officials late Tuesday disqualified the catch and and denied the Citation team the winning purse.

End of celebration.

“No record. No money. No fish. No nothing. Yep, it’s a nice ending to the story isn’t it?” Smith told the Jacksonville Daily News. “He failed to get a fishing license, but we didn’t know it. He told us he had it. He didn’t. So you take a man at his word, you know?”

That man is Jones. According to the state’s fisheries division, he went out and bought a license after the catch of the monster marlin, bringing more shame to his team. He’ll be fined $35 and ordered to pay court costs totaling $125.

The new winners are those who fished aboard the vessel Carnivore and caught the second-largest marlin, weighing 528.3 pounds. They net a grand total of $999,453.

Johnson, one of Citation’s owners, figured the tournament board would not rule in Citation’s favor.

“I think the Big Rock committee is doing what they have to do,” he said. “I understand that. I’m a retired colonel. I know about rules.”

A Little Help

October 20, 2015

I find that the more I know about Change, the more chances I have for Success.

And I find that the more Chances I take to have Success, the more I have to know about Change……..

Motivate Your Employees, Peers, Board, Investors, Audiences

October 1, 2015

This is adapted from a blog by Gary Genard, July 2013. The message to you as a leader is inescapable. When we address our team we are giving a speech, motivating people. Improve your message with a story that connects to the emotion you seek to move.

Most managers/leaders feel that when they address their employees their job is “to convey facts and figures.” That’s not it. More accurately their job is meeting the needs of the listeners and achieving a lasting influence. This applies if you are delivering a speech to a general audience or delivering a message to your employees.

Employees and audiences will remember their emotional response to you long after the information you deliver has faded from memory. The retention skills of audiences are notoriously shaky, and within a week, listeners will remember as little as 10% of the “critical” data you presented to them. Yet if you touched them emotionally, they may remember you for a lifetime. Consider these examples:

  • JFK’s inauguration speech
  • MLK’s “I have a dream speech”
  • FDR’s address to congress to declare war on Japan… “A day which will live in infamy”

Don’t just educate; move your audience. Don’t inform listeners; inspire them. To do so means creating an emotional connection. Even CFOs must put financial information into context for the C-suite, to help these executives process the information in terms of company goals and initiatives.

No leader succeeds merely by possessing the best information. True leaders use that information to motivate and activate employees and followers.

There is only one tool that allows you as speaker to accomplish this task: It is you—physically, emotionally, and in the ways you demonstrate leadership when you speak. In tough times or good times, you are the message. It’s a formula for succeeding as a speaker that goes far beyond “conveying facts and figures.”

Give your audiences the emotional connection and leadership they crave, and you’ll be delivering a powerful message indeed.214


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