Aristotle | The Purpose of Life

Aristotle | The Purpose of Life


(384 BC – 322 BC)

Aristotle was a Greek philosopher whose ideas have deeply influenced science, philosophy and religion for more than two thousand years. He is known as the father of logical, scientific thinking. Although many of his scientific beliefs were later proved wrong, other of his discoveries in physics, biology and zoology were centuries ahead of their time.

Aristotle was born near modern-day Thessaloniki, Greece. His father was physician to the King of Macedon, so Aristotle was raised as an aristocrat and studied under the greatest thinker of the time, the famous Plato. Aristotle’s theories were the basis of modern science, and his works on philosophy and ethics helped form the teachings of religions and philosophers that are still held in high regard to this day.

Aristotle | The Purpose of Life

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”

When I first read this quotation from Aristotle, I thought it was simplistic. I reasoned that Aristotle had lived a long time ago and perhaps life was less complicated then. After many years of study, however, I have come to the conclusion that Aristotle was correct; the quest for happiness is indeed universal. After all, whose life quest is to be unhappy?

The challenge lies in finding the difference between what we believe will make us happy versus what actually does make us happy.

Discovering where happiness comes from is the process of finding fulfillment. Many people assume that happiness comes from making money, which will allow them to buy things. In my experience and observation, happiness comes from serving other people – and I don’t mean “serving” in the sense of “volunteering,” I mean using our own gifts for the benefit of others in a way that is meaningful to us. (This may, in fact, be the way we earn our living.)

So how do we figure out which of our gifts will allow us to find happiness by serving others? Aristotle talked about that, too, when he said, ”Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” This search can take years. Be patient.

The journey begins with accepting yourself. So many of us are trying to be someone else. So first you have to accept yourself as you are. The next step is to believe in yourself.

From there, your instincts will guide you toward knowledge of what will make you happy, and the ways in which you need to treat others in order to be fulfilled.

We all need to work on “becoming” ourselves. We need to become ourselves more and more every day – and on that journey, we need to be our own best friends.

Aristotle | In His Own Words

Happiness is the settling of the soul into its most appropriate spot.

Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.

Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.

Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.

I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies, for the hardest victory is over self.

For the things we have to learn before we can do, we learn by doing.

To be conscious that we are perceiving or thinking is to be conscious of our own existence.

Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.

The educated differ from the uneducated as much as the living differ from the dead.

He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.

Education is the best provision for old age.

Hope is a waking dream.

Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime.


One of 50 Lessons from Amazing Teachers in my new book Wisdom to Live Your MAGIC!™

“A motivational book of words to live by and how to live by them. A valuable guide that encourages and enables self-actualization.” – Kirkus Reviews

“I heartily endorse this book whose lessons have the power to positively impact the lives of its readers.” – Ralph B. Young, Chancellor, University of Alberta

“This compilation of life’s great teachers and heroes, will inspire youth to take these lessons and connect the dots from where they are now, to their own future dreams and goals.” – Jay Ball, President & CEO, Junior Achievement of Northern Alberta


FREE Ebook Download is available at this FREE ebook link

The Print Book is available from for $14.95 plus shipping. 100% of net proceeds, including author royalties, are donated to charities that support youth.

PRINT Book Link


Anaïs Nin | How We See

Anaïs Nin | How We See

Anaïs Nin

(1903 – 1977)

Anaïs Nin was a French-Cuban author who became famous for her personal diaries, which spanned 60 years and gave fresh insights into the many famous people she knew. Her writing was embraced by early feminists who admired her independent, free-living lifestyle at a time (nearly 100 years ago) when women had their roles limited by society.

Nin was born in France to an artistic family; her father was a composer and pianist living in Cuba and her mother a classically trained singer. Moving to the United States when her parents separated, Nin abandoned formal schooling at age 16 to become a dancer and model. Although mostly self-taught, her writings (ranging from her diaries to analyses of literature and erotic fiction) continue to be widely read and studied.

Anaïs Nin | How We See

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”

“We see things as we are.” What does that mean?

Well, let us start with what we “are.”

What we are is what we believe. Our beliefs interpret things, events and people, and give them meaning. Our interpretations or judgments are driven by our beliefs and, in particular, by our personal values – the things we consider to be important in our lives.

If you believe fashion is the most important thing in life, then you see people from the context of their fashion choices and your beliefs about what constitutes good fashion. If you believe attaining wealth is the most important thing in life, then you look at opportunities in the context of how much money you can “make” from them. If you believe that football is life (and I can hear some of you saying, “Who doesn’t?”), then playing or watching football and cheering for your chosen team is a big part of your life – and doing that, to the exclusion of other activities, is an obvious choice for you.

It is as though you are wearing glasses, where the lenses are your core values through which you see (interpret) the world.

If we understand that each person has a different set of beliefs, and that therefore different people experience the same things and events completely differently, we gain a deeper understanding of other people. In addition, when we understand that how we view things is based on our beliefs, this can open us to examining our core beliefs and, maybe, choosing to adjust our priorities.

Throughout life, our experiences change us, and change our perceptions. Meeting someone and falling in love, the birth of a child or a grandchild, starting a business or connecting to a charity – these and many other things can alter our personal values and our priorities in an instant.

If you want to know what your personal values are, examine where you spend your time and money. You may then wish to examine these choices and see if they serve you well.

We all see the world from our own perspectives, but we have power over those perspectives.

Anaïs Nin | In Her Own Words

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.

The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say.

Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.

We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.

How wrong is it for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself?

Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.

Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.

If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.

Do not seek the because – in love there is no because, no reason, no explanation, no solutions.

You don’t find love, it finds you. It’s got a little bit to do with destiny, fate, and what’s written in the stars.


One of 50 Lessons from Amazing Teachers in my new book Wisdom to Live Your MAGIC!™

“A motivational book of words to live by and how to live by them. A valuable guide that encourages and enables self-actualization.” – Kirkus Reviews

“I heartily endorse this book whose lessons have the power to positively impact the lives of its readers.” – Ralph B. Young, Chancellor, University of Alberta

“This compilation of life’s great teachers and heroes, will inspire youth to take these lessons and connect the dots from where they are now, to their own future dreams and goals.” – Jay Ball, President & CEO, Junior Achievement of Northern Alberta


FREE Ebook Download is available at this FREE ebook link

The Print Book is available from for $14.95 plus shipping. 100% of net proceeds, including author royalties, are donated to charities that support youth.

Print Book Link

Dr. Albert Ellis | The Power of Beliefs

Dr. Albert Ellis | The Power of Beliefs

Albert Ellis


Albert Ellis was an American psychologist who helped revolutionize psychotherapy. In 1955, he developed Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, a new way of helping people understand and change their own behaviors. A 1982 professional survey of U.S. and Canadian psychologists rated Ellis the second most influential psychotherapist in history – after Carl Rogers, and ahead of Sigmund Freud.

Ellis was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1913. His father was a businessman who was often away, and he described his mother as a self-absorbed chatterbox with opinions on most subjects that were rarely supported by facts. He received his PhD in clinical psychology from Columbia University in 1947. His legacies include the Albert Ellis Institute and the many books he wrote for professional and general audiences that still influence psychology today.

Dr. Albert Ellis | The Power of Beliefs

Rational beliefs bring us closer to getting good results in the real world.”

I learned from Albert Ellis that it is not rational thought but our beliefs that interpret events and trigger our emotional and behavioral responses – and that we don’t have to let them do that.

A psychiatric nurse was working with kids with behavioral problems at an elementary school in Edmonton. She was teaching them strategies based on Albert Ellis’s principles of Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy that would help them manage the emotions that were preventing them from learning effectively. One Saturday, I was a guest at a session she held to show parents how they could help their children with these techniques at home.

I watched these parents become overwhelmed – some even burst into tears – as they realized that they could not only help their kids, they could also use the strategies themselves when their own emotions got out of control.

I have since read everything Ellis has written, and his theories have become a core part of my view of the world. He showed me that we are what we believe. Attitude is nothing but beliefs, and the voices of our negative beliefs prevent us from moving forward.

It is a simple but profound model: A leads to B, leads to C.


Here is an example. Let us say that you are cut after the second round of tryouts for a sports team. (This is the activating event, Block A, in the diagram above.)

If one of your beliefs (B) is, “I must make the team to be popular,” or “I am worthless if I don’t make the team,” now you’ll get anxious and depressed. That is called the “consequent emotion” (C).

We tend to “awful”-ize things. But we can change our irrational beliefs by asking questions like: “What is the evidence for my must/should?” (e.g., “Why did I believe that I was worthless if I didn’t make the team?”). We can ask, “Why is this situation terrible? Why is it awful? Why can’t I stand it?”

In Ellis’s view, we just need to add a D and an E to the ABC model to move forward. If we change the wording of our belief only slightly – in this  case from “I must make the team” to “I prefer to make the team” (D), our emotional responses change immediately (E).

Until I read Ellis, I thought that we had to get our self-limiting beliefs right out of our heads in order to avoid negative emotional responses. Now, I realize we just need to change them a little.

Dr. Albert Ellis | In His Own Words

The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.

Acceptance is not love. You love a person because he or she has lovable traits, but you accept everybody just because they’re alive and human.

People have motives and thoughts of which they are unaware.

People don’t just get upset. They contribute to their upsetness.

Happiness is experienced largely in striving towards a goal, not in having attained things, because our nature is always to want to go on to the next endeavor.

There are three musts that hold us back: I must do well. You must treat me well. And the world must be easy.


One of 50 Lessons from Amazing Teachers in my new book Wisdom to Live Your MAGIC!™

“A motivational book of words to live by and how to live by them. A valuable guide that encourages and enables self-actualization.” – Kirkus Reviews

“I heartily endorse this book whose lessons have the power to positively impact the lives of its readers.” – Ralph B. Young, Chancellor, University of Alberta

“This compilation of life’s great teachers and heroes, will inspire youth to take these lessons and connect the dots from where they are now, to their own future dreams and goals.” – Jay Ball, President & CEO, Junior Achievement of Northern Alberta


FREE Ebook Download  is available at this FREE Ebook link

The Print Book is available from for $14.95 plus shipping. 100% of net proceeds, including author royalties, are donated to charities that support youth.

Print book link.


Albert Einstein | My Greatest Gift


Albert Einstein


Albert Einstein is one of the most famous and influential scientists and intellectuals in history. In 1921, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his theory of relativity that revolutionized our understanding of time and space. In 1999, Time Magazine named Einstein the Person of the Century, one hundred top physicists named him the greatest physicist ever, and a Gallup Poll recognized him as the fourth most admired person of the 20th Century.

Einstein was born in Germany; his father was a salesman and engineer. Although intelligent, Einstein had some learning difficulties and rebelled against regimented and rote learning. Still, in 1900, Einstein graduated from the Polytechnic in Zurich with a diploma in mathematics and physics. As a philosopher, Einstein taught us to value curiosity, respect and peace.

Albert Einstein | My Greatest Gift

“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”

I knew Albert Einstein’s name even when I was a child, as everybody does, but it wasn’t until I began to read about his life and what he’d written that I learned what an amazing man he had been. He wasn’t just a brilliant scientist: he understood human nature, too. One quote of his had a particular impact on me. He said, “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” It wasn’t until many years later that I realized how very important that statement was.

The power of that quote led me to read many other things Einstein had written. Another famous quote of his that I love is this one: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

About 14 years ago, I was mulling over a quote by Mother Teresa: “Life is a promise: Fulfill it.” And I asked myself, “What is the promise of my life? Am I fulfilling it?”

That was when I realized that I had gifts that I hadn’t even known about when I was in my twenties. I knew that everyone has gifts, but I had never thought about the different types of gifts we all possess, and the role each gift plays in fulfilling our promise.

Aptitudes – our talents, including our innate performance excellence and abilities, and our innate understanding or sensory skills – are what we innately do well. I was beginning to understand that these gifts will turn into nothing unless we connect them with two other important gifts, our energy drivers: 1) passion, the driver for performance excellence; and 2) curiosity, the driver for knowledge and understanding. That’s when the brilliance of Einstein’s quote became clear to me. Einstein was passionately curious.

Later, I came to appreciate that the gift of dreams is what gives direction to our aptitudes, talents and abilities, supported by our drivers of passion and curiosity, to create the new reality we see in our imagination. To really unleash the power of my dreams, I learned to turn them into goals supported by action plans and deadlines. Your imagination connects your gifts to your curiosity, your passion and your dreams.

Today, when I think of that particular quote by Albert Einstein, I realize that I have adapted the words a bit to fit with other things I’ve learned in my life. So now I think about it this way: “I have no special gifts. I am only passionate and curious.” I’m sure that Einstein wouldn’t mind the minor change I’ve made to his original wording in order to put his brilliance to work in my life.

Albert Einstein | In His Own Words

A happy man is too satisfied with the present to dwell too much on the future.

If A is success in life, then A = x + y + z. Work is x, play is y and z is keeping your mouth shut.

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.

A new idea comes suddenly and in a rather intuitive way. But intuition is nothing but the outcome of earlier intellectual experience.

The important thing is not to stop questioning; curiosity has its own reason for existing.

Try to become not a man of success, but try rather to become a man of value.

If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or objects.

I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.

Man can find meaning in life, short and perilous as it is, only through devoting himself to society.

Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.

Nothing truly valuable arises from ambition or from a mere sense of duty; it stems rather from love and devotion towards men and towards objective things.

As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.


One of 50 Lessons from Amazing Teachers in my book Wisdom to Live Your MAGIC!

“A motivational book of words to live by and how to live by them. A valuable guide that encourages and enables self-actualization.” – Kirkus Reviews

“I heartily endorse this book whose lessons have the power to positively impact the lives of its readers.” – Ralph B. Young, Chancellor, University of Alberta

“This compilation of life’s great teachers and heroes, will inspire youth to take these lessons and connect the dots from where they are now, to their own future dreams and goals.” – Jay Ball, President & CEO, Junior Achievement of Northern Alberta


FREE Ebook Download  is available at this FREE ebook link

The Print Book is available from for $14.95 plus shipping. 100% of net proceeds, including author royalties, are donated to charities that support youth.

Print book link.


Challenging Students to Embrace the Future of Non-Profit Sector

Today I had lunch with two very inspiring University students, Nisha Patel, Co-Chair and Steven Knight, VP Academic of a student conceived and led initiative at the Alberta School of Business, University of Alberta – The Alberta Not-For-Profit Case Competition. The objective is to challenge students to embrace the future of the Not-For-Profit sector.

There will be eight teams, one each from eight post secondary education institutions, that will develop recommendations for a yet-to-be-announced Edmonton based non-profit organization.

As part of the initiative, students will get to experience life, the way the poor do. This will heighten the awareness of not-for-profit client issues. Next, they will be presented with a case about some challenges that affect the selected non-profit. Then, each team will brainstorm ideas to respond the those challenges and create a presentation of their recommendations.

A team of judges will select the winner of the Case Competition, in a public Final Four, Event at the Telus Theatre at the University of Alberta.

As a result, students will understand the issues facing those living in poverty, the challenges facing non-profit managers and will have grappled with finding solutions to those challenges. This is education. The students will be changed by the experience.

The selected non-profit will have  number of ideas to resolve their most pressing issues. This demonstrates that the students have embraced the future of a least one non-profit. That’s fantastic!

At the Larry and Janet Anderson Philanthropies, our mission is To awaken youth to their promise; To empower youth to live their promise; To celebrate people living their promise. We are delighted to be a sponsor of this initiative. Want to know more? Visit the Alberta Not-For-Profit Case Competition  website.


$16,000 Awarded to Edmonton High School Proposals

Larry and Janet Anderson Philanthropies ( ) is pleased to announce the funding awards to student proposals from Edmonton High Schools for the 2013/2014 Empowering Self Talk Initiative ( )

Students at four Edmonton High Schools have been given awards:

Victoria School of the Arts for their proposal Walk the Self Talk whose objective is to improve student mental health has been awarded $4,000 to implement their proposal.

Video Proposal

Archbishop Oscar Romero for their proposal Faces of Canada whose objective is to reduce racism has been awarded $4,000 to implement their proposal.

Video Proposal

Saint Joseph for their proposal Saints Social Justice whose objective is to reduce injustice has been awarded $4,000 to implement their proposal.

Video Proposal

Austin O’Brien for their proposal Life Changer whose objective is to reduce bullying has been awarded $4,000 to implement their proposal.

Video Proposal Not Currently Available

At the Larry and Janet Anderson Philanthropies Our Vision is a world where youth fulfill their promise. Our Mission is To awaken youth to their promise; To empower youth to live their promise; and to celebrate people living their promise.

We achieve our mission through partnerships with select charity, education and arts partners; through the media we create and through the events and initiatives we produce.

Our core belief is that every child is gifted, powerful and important.

The Empowering Self Talk Initiative is designed to engage students and challenge them to discover their gifts, embrace their power by learning to make better choices and to understand their importance by making a difference for others.

You are gifted. You are powerful. You are important.

Why I am a YESS Champion

I’ve been a YESS donor and supporter since shortly after it was founded in 1978. Although I never faced the challenges and crisis the youth who turn to YESS face. I had a really difficult time as a teenager and young adult. I was fortunate that there were people who reached out to me to help. It is something I’ve never forgotten and I’ll never stop being grateful.

I personally know a couple of very successful people, who today are making significant contributions to Edmonton, whose life could have gone a different, very bad direction, except for YESS being there when they were in crisis. Having a place to go when you are alone, frightened, broke and feeling unwanted and unloved can be a life saving intervention. Seriously. YESS is that place and so much more.

I have known Deb Cautley, Executive Director, at Youth Empowerment and Support Services (YESS); formerly Youth Emergency Shelter Society (YESS), for over 40 years. She struggled in her twenties too. She understands the challenges that face these youth. She understand their feelings. She and her team deal with these teens and young adults with compassion but also with a firm believe that they can rise above the crisis of this moment and have happy and productive lives. Today, they provide a host of support services that go far beyond the moment of crisis.

I am a YESS Champion with enthusiasm. A YESS Champion is an advocate for YESS in the community. They raise awareness, encourage engagement and share information. If you can donate, please do. If not, please volunteer, if you are unable, please share the message of YESS.

If you are willing please become a YESS Champion today, register at: When you register please connect to me, my YESS Champion code is BE18.

Here are some of the services provided by Youth Empowerment and Support Services:


Nexus is a rapid referral centre. It provides necessities and beds for youth, with a focus on rapid rehousing and needs assessment for youth who are newly homeless (the first 7-10 days). The aim is to help kids who are new to the streets get back into a stable home as quickly as possible.


Youth become entrenched in street life after only 7-10 days. While a first come, first served model helps to ensure youth on the street always have a place to turn, it is not as effective in helping youth avoid prolonged time on the street. By shifting the model to a rapid referral centre, YESS will be able to help kids back into a supportive home before they accept and become entrenched in a life on the street. 

Graham’s Place: 

This program focuses on preparing youth for adulthood through a supportive and homelike atmosphere for the youth; more nurturing than regimented. Relationships and natural teaching moments are the key to success in developing capacity in our youth.


While teaching skills is an important aspect of youths’ experience at Graham’s Place, the program also works to provide a sense of belonging that our kids have rarely experienced. The structure of Graham’s Place offers a similar experience to life at home, while services are wrapped around youth. 

Shanoa’s Place: 

Shanoa’s Place helps to prepare youth for adulthood, with heavy emphasis on addictions, mental health issues, and mitigating the effects of trauma. Instead of a structured housing model, Shanoa’s place will staffed by houseparents, working to create a supportive and homelike atmosphere for the youth with services provided by YESS and other providers.

Rationale: While teaching skills will still be an important aspect of the youth’s experience at Shanoa’s Place, the name and programs are changing in order to provide those who use the program with more of a sense of belonging. The structure of Shanoa’s Place will now intend to offer a similar experience to life at home. 


ARC is a resource centre for youth offering scheduled appointments with youth-serving professionals and structured activities. Youth can spend up to two hours resting and accessing the necessities of life, or spend the full day in productive activities.

Rationale: YESS’s services require a hub for the resources they offer and a place of refuge for youth facing difficult realities. 

In addition to our residential programs and the Armoury Resource Centre, YESS has undertaken research and training to enable our staff to meet the needs of clients across all YESS programs in some new and effective ways:


Mosaic is a wraparound service model, consisting of staff working closely with the youth in a one-on-one setting, helping them set, achieve, and celebrate their short term goals. The Mosaic team will work with youth to determine the services they need, identify their natural supports, and coordinate the roles of various individuals and agencies in progressing toward their goals.

Rationale: YESS’s restructuring of programs allows additional staffing resources to be placed at the front lines. The Mosaic Team will work with each of YESS’s kids to identify the resources they need. 


Compass is designed to help youth who have suffered trauma to build emotional skills such as the ability to self-regulate emotional responses to anxiety or stress, and the ability to cope with attachment and relationships with peers. The intent is to assist the youth in building trust based relationships.

Rationale: As the needs of Edmonton youth have shifted, YESS has identified a need for programming that helps build emotional skills. Often, for youth who have grown up in difficult realities, many of the emotional coping methods that many of us use in our daily interactions with other people have not been developed. Compass, therefore, focuses on Trust Based Relational Intervention, to help youth learn these important emotional skills. 

John F. Kennedy Personal Mentor

On this 50th Anniversary of his death I am remembering the impact John F. Kennedy had on my life.

When President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963 I had recently turned 16 (Sept. 17th). My life was in turmoil. The situation in my alcoholic home was becoming impossible. I was anxious to take charge of my own life, chart my own course and pursue my own dreams.

President Kennedy was a beacon of hope in a world filled with fear and uncertainty.

The Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, made the prospect of a nuclear war real to me. Our neighbor had built a Fallout Shelter in their home and I wondered what would happen to me, my family and millions of others if there was a nuclear war. I had been told Edmonton would be a prime target because of the oil industry.

Before this, I had been captivated by President Kennedy beginning with the Presidential election in 1960. Kennedy became a personal hero based on two speeches he gave that, even today, deeply move me.

President Kennedy’s Inaugural Address on January 20, 1961 filled me with hope. It is still one of the greatest speeches I have ever heard.

He began by saying “the election was not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom”… I urge you to click the link above and listen to this masterpiece of leadership and oratory.

In the fall of 1962 at Rice University, President Kennedy gave his Moon Speech.

Talk about “shooting for the moon,” literally! This is a powerful example of sharing a vision, a challenge, and calling people to get behind it. If you have the time, click the link and hear another masterpiece of leadership and oratory.

Now, I hope you understand why I was so devastated by the assassination of President Kennedy. It was personal for me, in a way that seems irrational to me now.

I know that history has revealed that Kennedy was a womanizer and that he was chronically ill and suffered with pain. I don’t condone his breech of fidelity but it is not my place to judge him, or anyone else for personal failings. His illness and pain makes me marvel all the more at his vibrance and energy. I wonder at the strength of his calling to serve, his passion to lead and inspire.

I visited Dallas and the School Book Depository. It made me wonder what might have been… I left sad.

In 2007, I made a pilgrimage to John Fitzgerald Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. It is located on a ten-acre park, overlooking the sea that he loved. President Kennedy chose the site himself a month before he was assassinated, planning for years ahead, he thought. It has three parts: a Museum, an Archive and an educational Institute.

The architect was I.M. Pei, selected by Jacqueline Kennedy. The selection was a surprise because he was a young architect and the candidates included some of the best known architects in America. I.M. Pei seemed to Mrs. Kennedy to be filled the promise, imagination and temperament that would reinforce her vision for the library. The building is stunning. Visit the John Fitzgerald Library and Museum online and see for yourself.

The visit was a very personal and emotional experience for me. The multi-media presentation had me relive part of my youth. I spent some time standing quietly in the atrium.

Ultimately, I left home, pursued and realized many of my dreams. Today, fifty years later, I am grateful for John F. Kennedy a man who, as strange as this may seem, was like a personal mentor to me. Thank you.



Give The Gift of An Improved Self Image

Would you like to give a poor or homeless person an incredible gift this Christmas? You can help make them smile and help them improve their self image. It could be a catalyst for change in their life.

How? Volunteer on Dec 7th at Help Portrait, Edmonton. This is part of a global movement, run in Edmonton by my friend and photographer Javier Salazar.

Help a poor single mother and her children have a magical transformation, with new hair styles, make-up and clothing. Captured in their first professional family portrait, ever. It’s all free. See a homeless person amazed at their new appearance and the clothing for a new beginning. An improved self-image can be a life changing gift. This is about more than a photograph. It is about self-image. It is about self-acceptance and self-belief.

This is only possible because of volunteers and donors.

Are you a photographer, photo technician, hair stylist, make-up artist or someone who is good at helping others choose clothing?

Can you greet people and make them feel welcome and safe? Can you help serve food?

Please volunteer December 7th, 2013, either a full or half day.

Mother Teresa said, “We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty.” Help Portrait demonstrates that we care. December 7 may be a very meaningful day in your year.

For details, to volunteer or to donate visit. HELP PORTRAIT EDMONTON



$24,000 In Grants Available For Alberta High Student Leadership Projects

Peer influence is powerful. But, too often it is used negatively and hurtfully. This Fall, after a very successful pilot program in Edmonton last year, the Empowering Self-Talk Initiative is being expanded to include all Alberta High Schools, .

Nobody knows more about what will help students than the students themselves. So we are reaching out to students for the answers and we will award six student proposals with $4000 each to implement their empowering self-talk program at their high school in Spring 2014.

“Twenty-Five per cent of kids who start grade 10 won’t graduate” states Larry Anderson, funder for the Empowering Self-Talk Initiative. “I was one of those kids, and when I learned to change my self talk, I changed my life.” We are reaching out to student leaders in Alberta High Schools. These student leaders are energized and motivated to change lives in their own high schools through developing and implementing innovative programs that improve the self-talk of fellow students.

All Alberta high school students are invited to submit a two-minute video proposal by November 29, 2013 about what they believe will help improve the self talk of other students in their high school and how they will implement the program in their high school. Two Selection Panels, one for the Edmonton Proposal Call, and one for the Alberta Proposal Call (outside Edmonton), will each select three proposals for a $4,000 grant, for a total of six awarded proposals, and a total of $24,000 in grants.  The awarded proposals will be announced on December 6, 2013.

For More information visit the Empowering Self Talk Website.

Inspiration to Live Your MAGIC!™ -- Now available at -