A DEDICATION TO AMY

I realize reading a blog post on a Sunday here is most unusual. We are going to take a break from our gratitude list to discuss a very special friend of mine – Amy. I had met Amy through my lovely lady, Margie. Right from the beginning, Amy and I clicked. We had many conversations  about life, friendship and philosophy. Throughout it all, Amy was always grateful and kind. You can see this in the picture of our messages above.

Amy had a host of health issues she battled. These both restricted her movement and caused her a great deal of pain. She never let that stop her from fulfilling her passion of creating hand-made stuffed animals. Margie purchased a penguin for me that she had made. The quality was amazing. Amy created every animal conceivable from buffalo to mythical creatures such as dragons. In doing so, she brought joy into so many people’s lives. One of the many great things about

Amy is she was always open about her struggles and how she was facing them. I have a Facebook group where people come to share what inspires them and the struggles they may be facing getting there. It is a great online community that helps everyone who is a part of it. When Amy joined she gave herself over completely. She not only shared her struggles so that others may learn from her, but she listened and did her best to help others with their struggles as well. In doing this she became friends with many of the members including my frind Cari, another amazing caring soul. I can only imagine how difficult it may have been for Amy to do this while she was going through her own struggles but she did. Many people would be focused on  and consumed by their own pain and unwilling or unable to comfort others, not Amy.

It made me proud to have a friend that was so giving in a time where she had the right to be a little selfish. She made all of us proud with her creations that will give joy to the lives of all of them who have the privilege to have one. I am sure everyone who recieved one, much like myself, had an additional bit of happiness in their lives.

Amy also was kind enough to let me know how much my work affected her and how grateful she was for that. Many of my readers never say a single thing in regards to how my work may play a part in their lives. That is ok as long as they are reading and it is offering something to make their lives better. Amy, however, would take the time out of her busy day to let me know how she was usuing what I wrote about and how it both worked, and what did not work for her. I was always so grateful to her for hearing this and told her so. It makes what I do fulfilling. It is also my inspiration to keep writing and bringing all the material to the world that I do. It is people like Amy who keep me inspired to do so.

Sadly, last week we lost Amy. She passed away unexpectedly. While she was here she made a great difference in many people’s lives. She brought joy and happiness with her creative creations she shared with the world. She brought feelings of empathy, love and compassion to all of those she touched in our online community. She also brought a great feeling of value and appreciation to this writer. Amy will be missed greatly. It is my sincere hope that she knew how much she brought to the world and how much she helped every life she touched.

With the loss of those who know and care about, I find there is always a lesson. In Amy’s case I feel there are a few. First, use the gifts you have to bring joy to others. Whether that is sewing amazing animals, baking a great cake, singing a song or any other talent you may have. Second, is to offer those you meet who are struggling with a sense of understanding and compassion. Lastly, is to let those around you who affect you positively know. In expressing your gratitude you offer a great gift that means the world to the other person. I know I will miss these gifts Amy brought to the world but will do my best to instill them myself. I encourage you to do the same as a dedication to Amy.

30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #6)

Welcome back to our celebration of 30 days of gratitude. Each day we will focus on one area of our life to be grateful for. If this is your first day doing this I invite you to go back and do the days before this. You can do them in your head, write them down and home, but it is my hope you decide to share what you are grateful for with our community here on Secret2anamazinglife.com. There are no rules. Do one day or do all 30. Let us now look at today’s area of gratitude.

This is a bit tricky for me as I love nature in general. I will try to narrow down some of my favorite aspects for sake of this post. Without a doubt, sunshine leads the way here. I love the feel of sun on my skin. I find it both relaxing and energizing at the same time. The fact that I live in a city that was recently named one of the 10 gloomiest cities in the United States, means it is also rare here. That makes me even more grateful when it does arrive. I really enjoying seeing deer grazing along the side of the road as Margie and I drive through the park. I love green, which again is rare this time of year. I like watching fish in fish tanks. I find it kind of sounding and hypnotic. I love a good summer thunderstorm. I find it so primal and moving. The smell of the earth after a spring rain is amazing. The sound of leaves rustling in the breeze.

Nature, like so many of these topics we are highlighting in these 30 days, has so many things to be grateful for. We are only on day #6 and I have already learned something and had a profound insight. Once we begin to focus on being grateful for a certain subject, it seems to expand. You may try to pick your favorite thing in nature to be grateful for, and then one thing leads to another and then another. I could literally spend an afternoon thinking of things I am grateful for in nature.

How about you? What in nature inspires you to feel gratitude? I have friends that are runners, cyclists, campers, hunters and fisherman. I am sure they all love nature and would probably have a different thing they are most thankful for. I look forward to hearing yours. Whether you live near the redwoods, the Amazon or even on the coast of Greenland, nature is all around us and very beautiful.

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30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #5)

Welcome back to our celebration of 30 days of gratitude. Each day we will focus on one area of our life to be grateful for. If this is your first day doing this I invite you to go back and do the days before this. You can do them in your head, write them down and home, but it is my hope you decide to share what you are grateful for with our community here on Secret2anamazinglife.com. There are no rules. Do one day or do all 30. Let us now look at today’s area of gratitude.

Sound, like smell we covered earlier can connect with such emotion. For the sake of clarity, I am going to separate sounds from music. One of my favorite sounds is birds chirping as I make my way to my car in the morning. A voice coming over an intercom saying, “Welcome to Montego Bay Jamaica.” is always a great sound to hear. I love to hear Margie laugh and say I love you. I love the noise she makes when she yawns and stretches. I love the sound of trains in the distance. I love the sounds of crickets on a summer night. There are so many sounds I am grateful for. Ocean waves are relaxing. People cheering as I hyperventilate my way through a 5K is always inspiring.

How about you? Do any of these sounds resonate with you? Do you have some other sounds that you are grateful for? I would love to hear all about them. 

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30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #4)

Welcome back to our celebration of 30 days of gratitude. Each day we will focus on one area of our life to be grateful for. If this is your first day doing this I invite you to go back and do the days before this. You can do them in your head, write them down and home, but it is my hope you decide to share what you are grateful for with our community here on Secret2anamazinglife.com. There are no rules. Do one day or do all 30. Let us now look at today’s area of gratitude.

This is a really tricky one for me. I grew up surrounded by great cooks. Now I live with one amazing cook. They all have their special dishes they create and depending on the mood, a different one will sound perfect on a different day. Recently, my mother recalled a recipe from my grandmother called “Wash-day quickie”. Named, I would presume, for something prepared with haste on a day you are doing laundry. There is this basic casserole of hamburger, mac-n-cheese and onion I am quite found of. I love everything with basil. There are quite a few dishes Margie makes that I could eat vast amounts of.

After much thinking on the subject, none of these are my favorite. My favorite food is the one that is in front of me. The thought never escapes me that no matter how many other challenges I may have in my life, I have never had to go without food. Living in a society where a meal is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, I would have to consider myself very blessed. I never have to hunt for my dinner or go out into the field to pick it. That is unless of course I am in the garden. Being able to afford and have access to a wide variety of food would be unheard of even a few generations ago.

What is your favorite meal? Is there one that has a special memory attached to it? Is there one whose flavor you just happen to like? Food has such a wonderful place in culture. I have learned doing my food reviews how important the enviroment in which food is served plays a big part in how much you enjoy it. I would love to hear about your favorite dish.

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30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #3)

Welcome back to our celebration of 30 days of gratitude. Each day we will focus on one area of our life to be grateful for. If this is your first day doing this I invite you to go back and do the days before this. You can do them in your head, write them down and home, but it is my hope you decide to share what you are grateful for with our community here on Secret2anamazinglife.com. There are no rules. Do one day or do all 30. Let us now look at today’s area of gratitude.

Colors can make such a huge difference in our lives. There is the complex psychological reason that this is so. How colors make us feel hungry or full, angry or calm. In the simplest of terms, however, they either make us feel good or not feel good. On a personal level I am a fan of the combination of teal/turquoise and yellow. It makes me feel the tropical sun on my shoulders and refreshes my recent trip to Jamaica with Margie. We made a lot of great friends and even better memories. In the winter time here in Wisconsin I love the color green. It becomes a rare and precious site.

How about you? What is your favorite color? What does it make you think of? I would love to hear your answers in the comments below. 

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30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #2)


Welcome back to our celebration of 30 days of gratitude. Each day we will focus on one area of our life to be grateful for. If this is your first day doing this I invite you to go back and do the days before this. You can do them in your head, write them down and home, but it is my hope you decide to share what you are grateful for with our community here on Secret2anamazinglife.com. There are no rules. Do one day or do all 30. Let us now look at today’s area of gratitude.


Ah…technology. It seems today technology can be a love it or hate proposition. There is no arguing that certain technology may have compromised our ability to interact on a personal level. It can lead to distracted driving and make being in the present moment a lot more difficult. There are, however, many reasons to love technology. It helps to save lives in the medical field. It can help us treat and diagnose disease even before we are born. It can help us see and hear when those senses have been compromised.
Personally, I am grateful for the technology that allows me to write and share all of my thoughts and knowledge with all of you. As I have mentioned before, this blog is followed in over 100 countries. Just a few years ago an Author from the somewhat small city of West Allis Wisconsin being able to share daily with wonderful individuals across the globe would have been unheard of. It makes me feel so good to hear that the knowledge we share on this website has reached and helped someone. It makes no difference if that person is down the block, in Greenland, or a country in Africa. What matters is the online community we are creating. This is all thanks to a host of different technologies.
How about you? What is your favorite technology and why? Has there been something that has helped you or a loved one? Are you in business for yourself and using what the world has to offer to succeed? I would love to hear what technology is your favorite.

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A CELEBRATION OF MANY THINGS!


It still seems hard for me to imagine that 7 years ago I sat at my computer on Thanksgiving day to begin sharing my thoughts with the world. I never would have imagined it would lead me where I am today. This blog is followed in over 100 countries by thousands of people. I am beyond blessed, and beyond thankful to have both the privilege and the responsibility to be the one on the other side of the keyboard sharing with you.
Today in the United Stated we celebrate Thanksgiving. It is a holiday dedicated to focusing on all that we have to be grateful for. For that reason alone it is my favorite holiday. Add to that I now share my life with a woman who can cook better than you can even conceive and you can see why this time of year is so special to me. The truth is, if we knew how powerful gratitude is, this time of year would be special to all of us. Gratitude can change your life for the better quicker and more powerfully than anything I know. In my books I have lots of tips for both changing your attitude to one of gratitude and increasing the level of gratitude you have.
While you wait for your copy of my book to arrive, or perhaps someone is buying you one for a Christmas gift, we are going to engage in a fun 30 day event right here on this website! It is going to be fun. You can join in whenever you feel like it. All it will entail is focusing on one thing you are grateful for each day. By the end of 30 days we will have thought of 30 things that we are grateful for and enter the new year with a grateful and loving heart. This will set us up for a successful 2020!
Whether you answer 1 day, all 30 or somewhere in between, I encourage you to take part in this. Invite your friends to join along, or simply ask the question of the day to friends, family and coworkers. I cannot wait to read all of your insightful answers. You certainly don’t have to share them in the comments below, but why not let us all know the amazing things you are grateful for?
In closing, I would like to again say how grateful I am to all of you who read and follow this blog. I invite you to tell others about it as well. It humbles me and fills me with a great deal of thanksgiving to be able to share all of these thoughts with you. Thank everyone so much for that honor. Come back tomorrow and let us get this gratitude party started! I promise it will be fun!

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AN EXAMPLE WE CAN ALL FOLLOW

As I so often do here on this blog, I am going to share a compelling and inspiring conversation I had tonight with you. A few posts ago, I detailed how you can change the world by being nice to one person at a time. A gentleman who reads my blog on occasion gave a great example of how this works. I think once you read it you will be able to see not only how easy this is to do, but what a great impact it can have. I hope you will also be inspired to follow in his footsteps.

While writing this evening, I ran into my friend Scott. He and I share some of the same destinations for inspiriation. One of which is the public library here in the great city of West Allis Wisconsin where I live. Before I get to our conversation, I want to say that the library in this city is really one to be proud of. I am constantly informing people not only of the great selection of materials and media they offer, but access to the internet, private work spaces and amazing events. The library is a place I feel not enough of the community makes full use of.

As Scott told me his story, he made me aware of another great aspect of our library. Scott informed me he crossed paths with the janitor of the library. He told him, “I just wanted to thank you for doing such a great job at keeping the library so clean.” This was a point I had not thought of. He was correct. The West Allis Public Library is one of the cleanest and best organized libraries I have ever been in. The chairs are always tucked in, the tables are always clean and everything seems to be as it should. This is something that can easily be taken for granted and I guess that is exactly what I had done.

The more he spoke, the more I thought about how different of a place it would be had this man not done his job so well. (Yes, the picture above is of Rihanna playing the role of a janitor, not the actual janitor) Being in a place that is dirty and unkept would not only be unpleasant, it would also drive people away from using the services. This man’s job may have gone unappreciated, but it was vital to the working of the institution.

There is a second part to Scott’s story. That is the reaction of the gentleman he complimented. I guess the employee in question had grown used to having his work go unacknowledged. Scott informed me he was almost shocked that someone had stopped to not only notice, but voice their appreciation for the great job he did. After finishing the business he came to do and a quick visit to the gents, Scott crossed paths with this man again. Scott informed me he was greeted with a “Have a great day sir!” from the man he complimented. It would appear the good feelings continued to flow in this man long after the compliment was payed. In addition, it had given him a spring in his step and the desire to return the compliment.

I got quite a bit out of this great story that this reader had shared with me. First, was an appreciation for how clean the library in West Allis is. Every time that I go there from now on I will be sure to stop and notice. Second was the importance of complimenting people for the great job that they do. Especially ones that may often go unnoticed or unappreciated. The effect it had on this gentleman was significant. Next, how doing good always comes back to you. Having this man return the compliment and seeing how much it brightened his day only made Scott’s day better. As a side note, I knew Scott’s father before I met Scott. He also was a great man with a kind heart. Proof some of the greatest things we leave our children are not material.

Lastly, I am very grateful for my readers sharing inspirational stories. Not only am I able to pass them along to all of you, but it gives a certain validity to the points we share and learn here. I always invite each and every one of you who read this blog to share any thoughts or stories with me at any time. That is the purpose of this community – to encourage and inspire each other. I hope this story has inspired you to think of those you can compliment on job well done.

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56 YEAR-OLD ADVICE THAT IS PERFECT FOR TODAY


I am about to share words with you from a speech that was written exactly 56 years before this post. The crazy thing about these words is they are just what I believe the world needs to hear today. According to a recent survey, 91% of Americans feel we are polarized. 74% say we are extremely so. I believe this holds true not just in the country of the United States, but across the globe. Combine this with studies that say the level of anger people feel is also on the rise. I am not sure if the two are connected, but divided people often lead to angry and sometimes violent confrontation.

Back to the words of this speech. Exactly 56 years ago this speech was written with the intent of it being read at the Municipal Auditorium in Austin Texas. It was to be given to the Democratic State Committee. Let me share an excerpt from that speech with you now.

“Let us not quarrel amongst ourselves when our Nation’s future is at stake. Let us stand together with renewed confidence in our cause — united in our heritage of the past and our hopes for the future — and determined that this land we love shall lead all mankind into new frontiers of peace and abundance.”

Pretty powerful words and a call for unity with a powerful view for a positive future. The reason you have never heard about this speech? It was never given. The man who was to read it, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on his way to deliver it. It is with a sad bit of irony that I wish to include another line from his undelivered speech.

“In today’s world, freedom can be lost without a shot being fired, by ballots as well as bullets.”

Sadly, the killer chose the latter in his quest to bring chaos to freedom. In the coming months we are set to celebrate many holidays both religious and secular. We will gather with friends and family. I want to encourage all of us to take this time to use a power greater than bullets or even ballots, that of love. This may sound a bit silly to some, but there is no greater power than love.

If we want our tomorrows, the next year and the next decade to be filled with more unity and less anger we need to use this power. It all starts with our interactions with each other. If you encounter someone who has an opinion different than yours, no matter how passionate both of you are, do your best to be compassionate and understanding. Agree to disagree as the old cliché goes. Share smiles and good news with those you work with. Join a group…any group. Maybe it is one that shares your hobby? Maybe a book club?

While we are focused on spreading love on a personal level, I would also advocate using the power of the ballot. Vote for those who encourage peace, unity and acceptance. The ability to choose those who hold power is not only a great privilege, it is also a great responsibility. Do not let your emotions and treatment of others be swayed by the media or political climate. Show that your love is stronger than any force doing their best to divide us.

CLICK HERE TO GET NEIL’S BOOK FULL OF IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE AMAZING!!!

HOW TO HAVE A BEAUTIFUL DAY…

This picture gives us some great ideas. I don’t think I would trust myself to raise a cup of steaming coffee above my head while laying in bed. That may start the morning out in a not so inspiring fashion. The overall premise here is an important one. As we begin this week, many of us have a feeling of dread over Monday. For many of us it is the first day back to work. It means getting up earlier. It may mean getting children ready for school. It may mean either leaving our loving spouse or having them leave us to head to work. We may not have the income, car or house we want but life still is quite a blessing.

Yes, we may not love our jobs, but we still have one. Imagine how we would feel if we lost that job and were unable to obtain a source of income for several months? How would we feel if we then got that job back? Getting children ready for school may seem like a chore most days, but that means we have healthy children who are recieving a good education and bettering themselves. We are playing an important part in that process. Leaving our loving spouses or watching them leave us to go to work may seem heartbreaking, but that is only because we have someone in our life worth loving.
Even not having the house, car and income we want can be a blessing. First of all, we have a place to live, for most of us some form of transportaion and a source of income. That is a blessing in its own right. Knowing that we could have more and desiring such shows that we would like to better ourselves. That is a healthy sign.

Speaking of health, that is perhaps the greatest blessing. When we wake up healthy we can pretty much do anything we desire. Even if our health is somewhat down due to a cold, flu or some other sickness we should be grateful for all of the conditions we do not have as well as the medicines that can cure the ones we do have. Our body itself is an amazing healer and is something to be grateful for.

What about all of the problems we do have? There are two ways to appreciate them as well. How can you possibly appreciate an unexpected medical bills? How can you appreciate the car troubles you have? In two different ways. First, apprecaite all of the growth and strength you will develop facing and rising to meet those challenges. Some growth can be had no other way. Lastly, let us all be grateful for the problems we don’t have. I remember this quote every time I have the urge to complain.

“I cried because I had no shoes, then I met a man who had no feet.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

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