November 17, 2015

“When the Table Turns” – Legally Speaking” w/ Attorney Ewing Carter III

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 12:34 am

All Aboard!  Welcome aboard…Glad to see you on board.  As is customary as I help you up onto the Train I hand you a white business card with black raised lettering.  On the front it reads:

“Care giving often calls us to lean into love we didn’t know possible.”

and on the back it reads:

“Care-giving will never be one-size-fits-all.”

I’m advising you to go back to the legal car here on the train for another session with The Attorney, Ewing Carter III.  Also, hit the radio button in the upper right portion of the train to enjoy some music as you  ride (read this article).

Can you believe that Thanksgiving and the holiday season is upon us?  I pray that we will have the opportunity to get together again. While we are all in one place this might be a good time to

Legally Speaking: Elder care...

Legally Speaking: Elder care…

have that tough conversation many of us are facing.  Those of you facing elder care issues will be especially interested in today’s conversation   So, with no further ado let’s head back to the Law car and pick Mr. Carter’s brain.

Enjoy the LifeTrain Radio while you peruse this and other “blog” articles!

Chuckie:  Attorney Carter!  Greetings Sir!
EC III:  Hey Chuckie, come on in and sit a spell.

Chuckie:  Sir, our passengers really want to know, who was one of the baddest football players ever to come out of Springfield South High School?

EC III:  Me.

Chuckie:  GONG!  Wrong answer.  I’ll give you another try.  Who was the Captain of your senior year football team.
EC II:  Look man, “you” …Ok?  Now what is the question, I’m sure the passenger’s time is just as valuable as mine.


Chuckie:  Ok, OK, you lawyers and money.

Chuckie:  Today’s question chosen of a great many good questions from our loyal passengers is this:  My elderly mother is confined to a wheelchair and can’t get around. I’m

the only one who helps her. My brothers live in another state and have their own lives with their families.  Can I get something from the court that allows me to take care of her daily needs?  I’m fearful that she’s beginning to lose her memory.  What can I do?

EC III:  If your mother is of “sound mind” which means that her faculties of perception and judgment are not impaired by any mental disorder, then, executing a Power of Attorney would be

helpful in this situation.  Because your mother’s mobility is limited, your acting as her attorney- in- fact will enable her to transact her business by and through you.  In most cases a General

Durable Power of Attorney is preferred because it remains in effect until revoked and canceled by a subsequent instrument in writing.  Also, this power of attorney does not terminate upon disability, incompetence, or incapacity.  Basically, your mother’s power of attorney giving you authority to act in her stead is enforceable until her death, or until she revokes it.

However, if your mother now suffers from Alzheimer’s disease or any associated form of dementia, then she Does not possess the capacity to give power of attorney.  Your mother’s primary physician can provide you an Opinion Letter concerning her mental capacity.  Once you have the letter, you should file a petition to find her incompetent by the Courts.  Once the Petition is filed and a Hearing scheduled, a determination of competency will be made by the Clerk of Courts.  If and when, she is adjudicated incompetent, the Courts will: 1) appoint someone as Guardian of her Person, and 2) appoint someone Guardian of her Estate.  This can be the same person or entity, or two different persons or entities.  The Guardian of the Person makes decisions concerning health care, housing, daily activities, etc. The Guardian of the Estate makes all financial decisions concerning the person.  As always mentioned, consult with an attorney in your locale for specific advice.   I hope that helps.

Chuckie:  Thanks Attorney Carter, good stuff…as usual.  Passengers, for more on this debilitating disease check out my upcoming article with Dr. Dee PhD.
Chuckie:  You know Mr. Carter, this was another great session.  I’ve now figured out that you are a much better lawyer than a football player.
EC III:  Yep…and you are a much better water boy than golfer.

Chuckie:  See you on the links dude!  And now passengers, for your favorite part of “Legally Speaking!”

You can learn more about Attorney Carter at the:


November 6, 2015

Alzheimer’s, a discussion with Dr. Diedra Hayman Ph.D

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 12:15 am

Hey Passengers welcome aboard and back for another session on the good Doc’s couch.   I really believe this was one of our better sessions.  I would humbly encourage you to invite anyone you know to the train to review this interview.   I found the information to be incredibly enlightening.   So, let’s mozey on back to the Doctor’s car, oh and stop by the cafe car and bring me some salted peanuts in the shell and a diet coke please…

Kick off the music (See radio Broadcast Button upper right), I hope this helps

Dr. Dee: So, Chuckie, one of the passengers has made a special request to discuss coping with a family member who has Alzheimer’s disease. Are you game?

Chuckie: “CALL THE POLICE!”, not only is this woman a brilliant Doctor but, she reads minds as well!   Come mere gurl!  Gimmie a hug!
Dr.Dee: “Security!”

Chuckie: Yes, it seems that this topic has been a theme in my life in terms of coming in contact with friends dealing with this.   How shall we begin?
Dr Dee: First of all I think we ought to talk a little bit about what exactly Alzheimer’s disease is. Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia. Not all dementia is Alzheimer’s but Alzheimer’s is characterized by dementia. This is a disease where a person gradually develops memory problems which are more and more severe. They begin by forgetting little things, and as the disease develops, they forget procedures we take for granted such as brushing their teeth getting dressed, and they forget people close to them and even their own name, as well as other personal bits of information. Usually the disease takes a slow course, and develops over several years.

Chuckie: I can see how this would be really sad, and frustrating for a family member.
Dr. Dee: Yes this can be very, very frustrating. In fact, the passenger who suggested this topic mentioned that from her perspective, dealing with a family member with Alzheimer’s is even more difficult to cope with than dealing with someone with a terminal disease.

Chuckie: Wow. That’s pretty heavy stuff. Why do think that might be?
Dr. Dee: Well, as with other situations, Alzheimer’s disease involves coping with a great deal of loss.   But unlike divorce, where that person is still the same person you were married to, only they’re just not there anymore, and unlike most terminal diseases where that person may have physical decline, but is still essentially the same person, Alzheimer’s disease involves a relatively physically healthy individual, who looks the same as you’ve always known in most cases, except that they’re getting older. When you look at this person who looks the same as they’ve always looked, you expect them to know you as they’ve always known you, and behave, as they’ve always behaved. But they don’t.   And they don’t because they are losing their memory and memory forms the basis of who we are.  Not only that, Alzheimer’s is a slow moving disease.  So, just as you get to the point where you feel you have accepted some loss of who that person was, something else of that person you know and love, fades away, and you are right back at the beginning again, having to mourn the loss of something new, that is now no longer there.

Chuckie: So, what can a person who has a family member who is suffering with Alzheimer’s do? How can they cope with this constant series of losses that can apparently go on for a number of years?
Dr. Dee: Chuckie, this is one of those cases where a really good support group can be a life line.  In a support group for Alzheimer’s caregivers, a family member can meet with others who know exactly what the family member is going through. They can also offer helpful tips for coping with the little changes.

Chuckie: What kind of changes are common  for family members of patients with Alzheimer’s?
Dr. Dee: Two major kinds of changes have to be dealt with. On the one hand, dealing with a family member who has Alzheimer’s requires changes in role and relationships.   For instance, the Alzheimer’s patient may have been the one who handled the finances or the taxes or the cooking or the housekeeping.   But gradually they become unable to carry out those roles, and someone else has to step in and begin to do them.   This can be overwhelming and frustrating for the family member.   Sometimes they have to learn completely new skills, such as in the case of dealing with finances. Sometimes it involves leaving their own job to devote themselves to full-time care of the Alzheimer’s patient.   This can also be quite frustrating because jobs can define people in many ways, and to have to give that up can affect a caregivers self-esteem.   Sometimes caregivers feel guilty about these shifts in roles.   At other times, the may feel angry and resentful, that they now have to give up significant portions of their lives to become a caregiver.   The other major change that goes along with that, is the process of letting go of the person you once knew and loved, and beginning to accept the person who is evolving before you.   And that person changes from day to day and year to year,  so again, this process of letting go and accepting can go on for years.

Chuckie: Is there any cure for Alzheimer’s disease? Can anything be done to help patients with Alzheimer’s?
Dr. Dee: Unfortunately, no, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. But there are a few treatments that are available.   However, the treatments, only appear to slow the progress of the disease. There are lifestyle modifications that can help in the earlier stages of Alzheimer’s.   As a person becomes more and more forgetful, it may be helpful for family members to create simple scrapbooks including pictures of loved ones with a few words, describing who they are, such as a picture of a daughter, with the words, “your oldest daughter” underneath.   Or even a picture list in the bathroom, describing what needs to happen in there, such as brushing teeth, bathing, toileting.   Of course, as the dementia, increases, they may likely forget exactly how to brush teeth, or bathe, or toilet appropriately. Simplifying the choices that an Alzheimer’s patient has available to them can also be very helpful.   For instance, if they have trouble deciding what to wear, cleaning out the closet of everything but 3 or 4 pairs of pants, 3 or 4 tops, 3 or 4 dresses, and a couple pairs of shoes, may be just what the doctor ordered.

Chuckie: What do you advise family members to keep in mind as they deal with loved ones who are gradually forgetting everything about who they are and what their lives have been like?
Dr. Dee: We need to always keep in mind that Alzheimer’s disease is no picnic for the patient either. They don’t suddenly wake up with dementia. It’s a gradual process where they often recognize that they are becoming more and more forgetful, and the world is gradually becoming more and more confusing for them. So, when they become angry or react in ways that don’t make sense, its helpful for family members to remember that the patient is often confused and frightened, and the world no longer makes much sense to them either. They are not intentionally trying to be hurtful and difficult, they simply can’t help what is happening to them. And, unfortunately neither can anyone else.   If family members can find a way to reframe the behaviors of the Alzheimer’s patient in a way that takes into account their own confusion, helplessness, and fear of this strange world developing around themselves, it can not only change the way a family member behaves toward the patient, but it is often helpful for the family member as a means of coping, as well.

Chuckie: Thanks for addressing this impromptu topic. Any parting words?
Dr. Dee: Sure. I can’t stress enough how important it is to get connected to an Alzheimer’s support group. There are major changes that have to come, over the course of dealing with the family member with Alzheimer’s, including eventually placing them in residential care. This can bring about all kinds of feelings in family members, including guilt, anger, and fear. Having the support of others who have been through that fire, or are going through it themselves, can be a major means of coping.

Chuckie: Doc, as far as I’m concerned you knocked this one out the park.   I know that many will be blessed by your willingness to let us partake of your knowledge.   May your rewards be many in Heaven.
Dr.Dee: Thanks Chuckie, my pleasure.

Chuckie: Oh, Doc…one last question.
Dr.Dee: Yes?

Chuckie: Knock, Knock…
Dr.Dee: What?

Chuckie: Knock, Knock
Dr.Dee: “SIGH!” “…ok who’s there”

Chuckie: DOC!  We need to get you some help!   You are sitting here looking right at me and you axe,  “WHO’S THERE?”
Dr.Dee: BOY BYE!  GET OUT!!!

Roll credits…


November 4, 2015

Talking Anxiety with Dr. Emily Hath PhD.

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 12:05 am

All aboard for day 3 of Mental Health week on the LifeTrain.  Today we mosey on back to the clinic car and sit for a spell with my good friend, Dr. Emily Hath PhD. (Dr. E).  Today’s topic of discussion is again…”Anxiety”.  In this interview, we hope to give you some understanding about the nature of anxiety and what you might do to help yourself.

Reminder:  You can listen to LifeTrain Radio while you surf our site…see button upper right…

Chuckie:  Dr. E!
Dr. E:  Chuckie!

Chuckie: We’ve missed you!  I thought you had forgotten about us.
Dr. E:  No my dear friend, I’ve had an extremely high case load lately but, no…I look forward to my rides with you on the Train, having some anxiety?


Chuckie:  Well I did start a new position but, overall I’m not ready for meds yet.

[more laughter]

Chuckie:  Dr. E, give us a little initial insight on Anxiety.

The only shame is not getting help...

The only shame is not getting help…

Dr.E:  Well Chuckie, the chances are fairly high that either you or a loved one has had a history of anxiety. In any given year about 17% of us will have an anxiety disorder—and over our lives, about 28 % of us will have an anxiety disorder.  And, if you have one anxiety disorder, then you probably have two or three anxiety disorders—and, possibly, depression.  The most common anxiety disorders are panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and specific phobia. 49% of the general population has a history of anxiety, depression, substance abuse or some of all three major problems.

Chuckie:  In doing my homework for today I found that Anxiety disorders have effects on your health.  Your thoughts?

Dr E: People with panic disorder are more likely to have mitral valve prolapse, hypertension, peptic ulcer, diabetes, angina or thyroid disease. In fact, men who have anxiety disorders are also at greater risk for cardiac disorders, hypertension, gastrointestinal disorders, respiratory illness, asthma, and back pain. Women with anxiety disorders are more likely to have a history of cardiac problems, hypertension, metabolic, gastrointestinal, dermatological, respiratory disorders and arthritis.

Chuckie:  I also read that anxiety has been increasing.
Dr.E:  Yes…The average high school kid today has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950’s.  We are getting more anxious every decade.
Psychologists have speculated about the possible reasons for this increase in both anxiety and depression over the last fifty years. Some of the reasons may be a decrease in “social connectedness”—we tend to move more, change jobs, participate less in civic organizations, and we are less likely to participate in religious communities. People are far less likely to get married, more likely to delay getting married, and more likely to live alone. All of these factors can contribute to worry, uncertainty, anxiety and depression.

Chuckie:  I was thinking, with all of technology and societal pressures do you think tha our “life” expectations have changed over the years?
Dr.E:  Yes, excellent observation.  We expect to have a more affluent life-style now then in say the 50s and 60s.  We are driven by unrealistic ideas of what we need (“I need the latest ipod!!”), and we have unrealistic ideas about relationships and appearance.  In the 1950’s sociologists would write about “The Organization Man” who worked for the corporation for his or her entire career. Today many people would love to have a job that had that kind of stability. And our expectations about retirement also lead us to feel anxious. We now have to rely on our own savings—rather than a company pension plan—to help us survive during retirement.


There is help...

There is help…

And anxiety isn’t helped by the fact that we have all the bad news all the time. Turn on your cable stations and you can immediately see the latest catastrophe—sometimes as it is actually happening in “real time”. Bad news sells—and reminds us— that we can all be in danger. Even though we live longer, have better health care, travel is safer, we are richer, and we have safer cars— we now think that there is a disaster on the horizon. Because we are constantly bombarded with bad news, we think that we are in greater danger. We may not be in greater danger—but it’s what we think that counts in the way we feel.  No wonder we are nervous wrecks.
Chuckie:  Dr. E that’s about enough for this session although we could go much longer on this topic.  When you return can we talk about some remedies?
Dr.E:  Sounds like a plan my good man.

Well Fellow passengers, another therapy session in the can.  Hope this helps.

All Aboard!  The LifeTrain!!!


November 3, 2015

Mental Health Awareness Week – Day 2: ANXIETY

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 12:43 am

All Aboard!

Hey passengers, in support of  mental awareness week (with an emphasis on anxiety) I decided we should visit the good Doc (Doctor Diedra Hayman Ph.D) again to make sure we have a firm understanding of the A word:


Regular passengers here on the LifeTrain know that we often visit with one of my Psych Doctor friends to discuss issues of the mind,  back in the medical car of the LifeTrain.   I sat down awhile back with Doctor Diedra Hayman to discuss anxiety disorders.  With all the stresses of today’s world I thought it might be helpful to periodically look at how we could manage this type of condition or perhaps offer help to a friend or family member who might be…a tad worried over things.  So without further a due, lets knock on the good doc’s door and see what we can find out.  But first, let’s set the music for the background read:

YouTube Preview Image

Chuckie: Hey Doc Doc!  Before we get started with today’s topic, tell us, whats going on in your world…how are you?
Dr.Dee: Well, life is moving quickly. I am just about to send the puppy I’m fostering to her forever home, so hopefully my life will get back to normal soon. I am SO glad my kids are past the diapers and 2am feedings, stage. Nursing puppies takes you right back to those days!

Chuckie: Doc, today let’s talk about Anxiety.   Just what is Anxiety disorder?x1
Dr.Dee: Well, an anxiety disorder is really when we take worrying, and raise it to the level of art!   lol! Everyone experiences anxiety. Its that feeling of nervousness, or worrying a bit about something that is new, something that is old and bothersome, something that is out of the ordinary for our lives. But when we worry and stress to the point where it interferes with our daily lives…we cant sleep, we cant eat normally, we are having bad dreams or nightmares, we are worrying about any and everything, we dont want to go outside our homes, we panic…then it becomes disorder.

Chuckie: Is this your area of expertise?
Dr.Dee: As  a generalist, I do have some experience working with anxiety. After major depression, it is probably one of the  most common mental disorders.

Chuckie: As I understand it there are types of anxiety disorder, correct?
Dr.Dee: Yes, there is an anxiety disorder for every day of the week! Not really, but there are several anxiety-based disorders. Interested readers can do a google search for the details, but briefly, there is Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder with or without Agoraphobia, Phobias, Social Anxiety, Separation Anxiety, Tic Disorder, and Dissociative Disorders, Somato form Disorders, Anxiety Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified. I may have missed a couple others, but those are the most common.

anxietyChuckie: How do you treat anxiety disorders?
Dr.Dee: There are a variety of techniques for treating anxiety disorder. Systematic Desensitization is where a person is taught relaxation techniques, and then gradually exposed to the thing that causes them stress, while being asked to practice the relaxation. This can be done either through images created in the mind, or else, “in vitro”, or live, with an actual example of the anxiety provoking situation. Many cognitive-behavioral approaches are effective as well, and they tend to vary according to the type of anxiety. But essentially they teach the client to become aware of their thoughts, and then rather than accepting their thinking about an issue face value, they learn to question the validity of their thinking, and to replace faulty thoughts with more reasonable and helpful ones. I mentioned relaxation techniques as part of Systematic Desensitization, but those techniques alone can be taught as an effective means of coping with anxiety. Biofeedback is another means of treating anxiety. Here, the person is taught, through the use of a machine that monitors heart rate and blood pressure, to reduce the physical response to anxiety by slowing the heart rate and lowering the blood pressure. Lifestyle changes are very important. Often we are living in such a way, and at such a pace, that we may be unwittingly contributing to our own anxiety. And of course, there is medication management. There are a variety of medications available for the treatment of various anxiety disorders.

Chuckie: How do I know if the medication is working?
Dr.Dee: If there is significant reduction in anxiety symptoms, and the side effects are not intolerable, then you can assume the medication is having some impact. Its important to be alert to the medications, though. In the case of anxiety, some of the medications are actually addictive, such as the benzodiazepines (Klonipin, Xanax). If you dont want to risk addiction and withdrawal, request something other than a benzo, if at all possible. Some antidepressants are effective against anxiety symptoms, at different doses.

Chuckie: Any parting thoughts to leave us with on this subject?
Dr.Dee: Yes, anxiety can be a crippling disorder. It can make it difficult to impossible to get a job, keep a job, or even leave the house, for some people. Often, people become anxious because they attribute all kinds of faulty meanings to events that occur in their lives. One of the most effective treatments I know of for anxiety is trust in God. Knowing that ultimately, God is in control, makes it possible to manage even the most distressing anxiety, and even reducing it to zero. I encourage all who desire, to seek a knowledge of God, and to rely on Him for the solution to our deepest worries. God says “casting all your cares on Him, for He cares for you.”

Chuckie: Do you think we’ll ever get our own syndicated show?
Dr. Dee: Uhhh…no, Chuckie, I work on the “brief therapy” model. You are almost out of sessions for this treatment episode!

November 2, 2015

Mental Health Awareness Week on The LifeTrain…

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 12:02 am

ALL ABOARD!!!  Good day passengers!  As you board the train I give you the customary business card.  This one states:

There’s No Shame in Asking for Help

There is NO shame in asking for help yet, so many people are afraid to seek out counseling or therapy when they find themselves facing genuine crisis in their lives. It’s a stigma against mental

Mental Health Awareness week on the LifeTrain...

Mental Health Awareness week on the LifeTrain…

illness which has been holding fast for decades, and it’s doing the current population no favors to hold onto it. Nearly 20% of Americans are diagnosed with mental illnesses every year, but less than half of them actually seek professional help. What about those individuals who just need counseling to overcome a stressful point in their lives? What are therapy and counseling, anyway? Does having no diagnosed mental illness make it easier to seek help?

Therefore, I’m designating this week as Mental Awareness week here on the LifeTrain.

Counseling? Therapy? What Are They?

Counseling can be done by a counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist while therapy usually requires a psychologist or psychiatrist. The difference is that counseling is designed to address short-term goals or a single issue/situation where the individual needs help examining their motivations, their options and making a healthy decision. Therapy is more far-sighted and can involve everything from psychotherapy to behavioral therapy. Psychiatrists can even prescribe medication to help individuals handle anxiety, depression and other expressions of psychological distress.

In essence, counseling and therapy are both methods of one professionally trained individual helping another person understand themselves and their choices in life while offering support and a listening ear. Most people who initiate counseling are going through life stress, such as a divorce, loss of a job, the death of a family member or a career change. Any type of change, positive or negative, creates stress and that leaves individuals at a loss. Therapy offers a chance to speak to a sympathetic, objective individual who can use knowledge and experience to provide plausible options.

Why Is There Such a Stigma?

Although people are quick to say that there’s no shame in getting help when it’s needed, the overwhelming majority do not understand the purpose of counseling. One of the largest misconceptions is that behavioral therapy is to ‘fix’ someone who is ‘broken.’ It could be that a person has a phobia or an obsession which is interfering with their daily life. Behavioral therapy, counseling and even medication can help a person find a new lease on life.

Just imagine...

Just imagine…

The stigma goes hand in hand with ignorance. As mental illness is considered frightening by the public, very few people actively seek to learn more. The idea of someone being ‘crazy’ is used to dismiss behavior that we find either frightening, unpleasant or offensive. With the association between psychology, psychiatry and counseling and mental illness, the uneducated public feels it’s admitting to a ‘failure’ by seeking out professional help for life stress.

There is nothing further from the truth. Counseling, behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis and other therapy techniques are meant to help everyone. Life stress is something that all of us can understand; after all, regardless of circumstances, unexpected things happen to everyone. Just as we have come to understand that stress is as common as sunburn, so must we now educate ourselves and each other to know that all forms of therapy are merely medical treatment for the side effects of stress.

This week I will be sharing information from professionals on depression and other mental health issues so…

All Aboard!  The LifeTrain!

October 19, 2015

Merry Monday…”Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Taken!”

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 12:20 am

All Aboard!!! And Merry Monday as we say at the start of the week here on the LifeTrain.  Here’s today’s song to go with the post and to start your week, KICK IT!

 Dear Passengers…The fact that you hopped the train to ride with me makes me owe you a debt of gratitude.  So, here’s a lesson for us all.  And if you like this please tell your peeps to hop the Train and check it out.

The lesson:

This Merry Monday I am publishing something I got from a friend in email.  It was one of those forwarded things everyone gets.  I usually read them quickly and delete them.  This one had a message that resonated with me so I thought I would share it in case you had not received it.mm3

When she sent it to me it came with the heading Charles Schultz Philosophy.  Before Iposted  it I Googled Charles Schultz Philosophy and found this on Snopes.   This was not written by Charles Schulz (this is the correct spelling of the Peanutscomic strip author) but by Dennis Fakes instead.  As my friend said when I wrote her this finding, “What can you believe any more?”  My answer to her was: definitely not email.  Still no matter who wrote it the message provides a reminder of who is important in your life. Here is the message:

You don’t have to actually answer the questions. Just ponder on them.

Just read the e-mail straight through and you’ll get the point.

  1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
  2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
  3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.
  4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
  5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
  6. Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is none of us remember the head liners of yesterday.

These are no second-rate achievers.
They are the best in their fields.
But the applause dies..
Awards tarnish..
Achievements are forgotten.
Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here’s another quiz. See how you do on this one:

  1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
  2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
  3. Name four people who have taught you something worthwhile.
  4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special!!
  5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.


The lesson:
The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials the most money…or the most awards.  They simply are the ones who care the most

Merry Monday…

All Aboard!  The LifeTrain!


October 17, 2015

“Legally Speaking” with Attorney Ewing Carter III…

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 12:45 am

Hey Passengers, Here’s a  tip offering we have a periodic visit from the LifeTrain Attorney, Ewing Carter III.  His website: will give you a complete background of his credentials and service offerings.


Chuckie:  Good day Sir, welcome back aboard!
EC III:  Conductor!  Glad to be back, thanks for having me.

Chuckie:  Well Sir, let’s get right to it.  A Passenger sent me the following for us to discuss.

I was in a car wreck last week.  I thought I was okay; however, my back is still hurting from the other driver hitting my car in the rear.  The insurance company has been calling but I haven’t spoken with them yet. I’m driving around with a smashed bumper. What should I do?

EC III:  Well, first things first.   Return the insurance company’s phone call.  Most likely, a claims adjuster has been assigned to investigate this matter and to assist all parties involved in this collision.  The person who hit you from behind is considered the Tort-Feasor or negligent driver.  The insurance company that provided coverage to the tort-feasor’s vehicle is responsible for paying out on any valid claims up to the policy limits.  First, the adjuster is going to want a recorded statement from all parties involved in the accident.  Secondly, after assigning negligence to their driver, the insurance company will attempt to persuade you into a quick, cheap settlement.  Thirdly, that settlement involves you signing a Release of Claims giving up your right to any future remedies you may be entitled to.  My advice is to consult with a personal injury attorney at your earliest convenience.  The consultation is free and should be informative.

Chuckie:  Are there different types of claims in the area of car accidents or is it one size fits all?
EC III:  Good question.  Typically there are two types of claims involved in a car wreck:  Property damage and Bodily Injury

1) The property damage claim –deals with providing you with a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired, or providing you monies for your “totaled” or totally lost vehicle as a result of the accident.  Generally, your vehicle is considered totaled, when the repair cost exceeds 75% of the fair market value of the vehicle.  In most cases, insurance adjusters are accommodating during this phase.  Consulting Kelly Blue Book or any of the vehicle valuation services can insure you that you’re being treated fairly.

2) The bodily injury claim(s) – deals with actual injury to your body, the corresponding medical treatment, medical bills, lost wages incurred, as well as pain and suffering.  With respect to bodily injury claims, the insurance company’s goal is to save money.  Most attorneys that practice in this area are aware of the pitfalls awaiting unsuspecting, injured persons.   Most if not all attorneys handle these matters on a contingent fee arrangement which means no out-of-pocket money on your part.    Although the general statute of limitations or “time frame” for filing a claim with the Court is 3 years, my suggestion is to seek advice as soon as possible.

EC III:  Within the topics of property damage and bodily injury are corresponding sub-topics which will be addressed in more depth, in future interviews with you Sir.  But, for now that should give the passengers some initial considerations.


October 5, 2015

Your voice matters…

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 9:42 am

Hey passengers, I hope your week is progessing in a “SUPER FANTASTIC” way!  Continue to join me in making sure we always see the glass as half full this week.  And then, let’s work to fill the rest.  As you board today I hand you a white business card with black raised lettering.  It reads:

“Our story and loving ourselves through that process is one of the bravest thing that we will ever do.” 

Fill the rest...

Fill the rest…

When it comes to taking on a creative endeavor—or even just putting ourselves out there in ways large and small—one of the (many) ways we get ourselves stuck is by saying we don’t have anything new to offer.

What am I adding to the conversation that hasn’t already been said, we ask. This has been done to death, we worry.

Such a disservice to our own unique voices, I say. Not to mention the people who need to hear them.

Your experience matters more than you know, and sharing it could create the permission someone else needs to do the same.

It’s true: there’s a whole lot of similar content out there. We want to learn something new, be inspired, feel something special, be moved—and so we judge, because we feel cheated when we don’t get that.

We have all sorts of ways of writing off “derivative” work. And if we happen to have already started telling our stories publicly (as I have recently, finally!), the internal pressure to keep it fresh can threaten to stifle us further.

Gradually, I’ve learned that what we’re really seeking is integrity—the spark that comes from getting fired up about something and letting people see us there.

No one’s gotten your perspective on a topic yet. No one’s heard it the way you’d say it.

Even the most done-to-death idea might be waiting for you to breathe new life into it, because you approach a subject with your one-of-a-kind combination of life experience, personality traits, and philosophical leanings.

Your worldview, and your work, is yours alone. But your vitality is contagious, as is the courage you demonstrate when you bring it.

In reality, you don’t know what others have seen or heard or experienced. Your audience is largely unknown—particularly if your goal is to connect beyond your immediate circles.

If you’re bored by your work, that’s one thing; if you stall because you’re concerned about others’ judgment, understand that judging yourself first doesn’t serve you (as protective as this may feel).

Yes, we want a positive response; but releasing your honest work into the world is gratifying for its own sake. If your inner critic prevents you from doing even that, you’ll never get to know the positive impact you might make.

You’ll never feel the joy of hearing how your work has led someone to think of something in a new way; the warmth of learning that your work has come into someone’s life at just the right time; or the thrill of seeing how your ideas have inspired people to do something similar!

Share your tree of knowledge...we need to hear it...

Share your tree of knowledge…we need to hear it…

Creating, self-promoting, or speaking up might take time, but it’s worth it.

So, shy folks, if you feel moved to comment on something, go for it, because the passion that’s prompted your voice—and the vulnerability it takes to offer it—is what people want to feel.

Speaking your heartfelt truth is deeply satisfying, both to do and to witness. And, paradoxically, it’s that sharing of yourself that lets us all feel more connected.

So passengers, share your truths.  Share your experiences….

Your voice needs to heard.

All Aboard!  The LifeTrain….

And one last thing…This week…well listen to the words of this song:
YouTube Preview Image



September 28, 2015

No Regrets, Just Lessons learned…

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 12:06 pm

All aboard and Merry Monday! Welcome back aboard the LifeTrain!

As you board the train the conductors handing you a white business card with black lettering. It reads:

“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.” ~Theodore Roosevelt

Dear passengers, in a way I guess you could call today’s post “The Final Word” of the series I did last week on failing well.

The year was 1999 and I had been working as a senior manager for a major telecom carrier for several years. It was crisis management for the entire corporation. I managed communications for everything from IT, cable cuts,

Crisis management can be challenging...

Crisis management can be challenging…

risk management issues, training, internal and extra communications with all the major media networks, to corporate jet fleet communications and operations. The group was the NMCCC (Network Management Command and Control Center).  My group was the pulse point of this major telecom corporation. Seriously, I could write a book about that experience.  It was so demanding that a corporate psychologist was hired to see if one person should be in that position for more than 18 months.  I was able to sustain though without becoming and alcoholic even!  But Y2K was upon us and the entrepreneurial opportunity beckoned.

I imagined that on the final day I’d exit the office for the last time in a blaze of happiness and jubilation, thrilled that I’d finally taken the plunge. In reality, as soon as I walked out and the summer breeze hit my skin, I got an instant rush of sweaty palms and an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach.

“Have I done the right thing? Am I making a massive mistake here?”

The momentum into self-employment had been planned for up to the month before. I’d go into local businesses and offer free sessions thinking that some would convert into paying clients.

It had worked for other IT MAVERICKS that I knew. By the time I left my job I had fourteen big businesses lined up to visit with my service offerings.

At the start of the week I was confident I was hitting the world of self-employment running. At the end of the week I was staring into the abyss;

fourteen businesses visited— four sign-ups.

I knew I was in a challenging situation when I was sat in my incubator office on a Tuesday morning, rain pouring down outside without the comfort of a large staff and support group.

In resilience science there is a concept called “critical slowing,” which states that a system is most vulnerable after a period of trauma with little time to recover.

I had a small staff but nothing like what I was used to in the comfort and

Human Resources...

Human Resources…

umbrella of big telecom. I was the bottom line. I say this laughingly, but I was the CEO without the golden parachute. Even though I had tons of things to get going I often felt like everyone else was at work, and I was spinning my wheels and in isolation. I was experiencing my critical slowing and facing a choice. Do I persevere forward or do I bathe in familiarity (aka – get a job)?

I frequently think back to that moment, the fear I felt, the uncertainty that suffocated every part of me. I think about where I’d be right now if, instead of brushing up on my marketing, I went straight to the job searching sites.

What helped me get through until ultimately I decided to return back to corporate America? Having 25 people looking at you for healthcare, vacation time, payroll taxes, hiring, firings and all the things that come with being a little Microsoft can be very challenging. But here are some lessons that I learned:

  1. Burning the boats.

In 1519 AD Spanish commander Hernan Cortes led his army to invade what is now known as Mexico. As he led his men to land, he instructed one of his officers to burn the boats behind them so they would have no choice but to fight forward.

While I was in no mood to invade anything, I took a cue from Cortes and made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t go back to the job I’d just left until I gave it my 100% best.

I knew if I gave myself the option of going back, there would be a chance I’d choose it because it was familiar, it was a regular income again, and I would have certainty again.

I put myself on a timeline. Set up the key indicators that would help me make my decision to return back to corporate America based on data and not emotions.

This meant contacting more companies and refining my message about what I was offering.

Lesson: In the height of emotion it is easy to choose the perceived easiest option. This tends to be what’s most familiar. Hold off on this option, as it could be leading you back to what you don’t want without really giving it your best shot and therefore leading to future regrets.

  1. Refining expectations.

It’s very easy when starting out in anything to compare yourself to people who’ve ‘made’ it—become a millionaire, gotten the body people desire, the fun experiences shown across their social media. Their success becomes your expectation.

Hummm...novel idea!

Hummm…novel idea!

I was the same, and it became incredibly draining, especially after my first week of what I call the tyranny of the urgency!

I found it important to reassess my expectations. Based on this new feedback of zero sign-ups after the financial windfall wave I rode during the Y2K scare, I had to reassess what it would be beneficial for me to focus on.

Lesson: Beware of what you’re comparing your reality with. Look at what you think should be happening and decide whether that’s actually helping you or hindering you. Failing is inevitable at some point; if your expectations are blind to this, it’s going to be a big shock.

  1. Keeping self-talk in check.

This is where knowing about psychology saved my skin. I knew that, just because I was thinking in a certain way that didn’t mean I had to take it as truth.

Let me tell you, when I was sitting in my office during that first week, people at work earning sure money, me being the bottom line on where the revenue would come from, I was not thinking, “Charles, you are on fire, you are doing well, this was a great decision!”

maxresdefaultBut I knew that thoughts tend to be mood-dependent, so I had the awareness to allow them to pass instead of letting them guide any decisions I needed to make right then.

As I moved around in different environments and my mood changed, my thoughts became more rational about what I needed to do. I began to think clearly again and developed new ideas on how to proceed.

Lesson: Just because you’re thinking it, that doesn’t mean it’s true. How you think in a happy mood will be completely different to how you think in a low mood. Recognize what’s the best mood to make a decision in and the moods in which it’s a terrible idea to make a decision.

Over the years, as I reflected on these three factors that helped me carry on, I noticed they were coping strategies that people chose in others areas as well.

For me, it was my uncertain first week of self-employment, but I saw it in people experiencing trouble in dieting, having trouble in their relationships, or simply going through a troubling period of their life.

The path back to control began in their head. The same is true for me.

The funny thing is I used to tell myself I was not a salesman. I soon found out that if I wanted to continue to eat and put gas in my car I would very quickly embrace salesmanship.

Being self-employed has its pros and cons, especially if your last name is Gates, Jobs, or Ford. Ultimately though my business card said Daniel.  So I decided to return to the classroom of one of the colleges that had been a really good paying client. That was the proof of not burning boats or bridges.

Silhouette of hiking man jumping over the mountains

Silhouette of hiking man jumping over the mountains

As I look back I’m glad I did it. And in retrospect it has actually made me a better employee and  more appreciative employee. I’m not saying if someone came along again with the gazillion dollars worth of seed money that I wouldn’t take the plunge again. But, for now I can look back and say I gave it the old college try!

And!  I came away with experiences for at least three books!  Now if I could just find a ghost writer wiling to work on a contingency basis…Ha ha…

Hey passengers, Have a great week.  Go forth and do great things!

All Aboard, The LifeTrain!

September 25, 2015

Learning to “Fail Well” – Part 3

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 12:01 am


Hey Passengers, welcome back aboard the Train.

Today’s ride is part III of our look at how to “Fail Well”.  I hope this series is of some help to you.  I could actually keep parsing out many parts to this series but, unless you my fellow passengers say other wise, I will pause this series and move on to another station.  Not to fret though, we shall return.  In closing out for now I want to leave you with a collection of tips that I picked from my failing well archive.  Read (Ride) on…

  • If millions of others have gotten through failure, so will you. Don’t let ideals of perfectionism stunt your growth and do not compare yourself to success stories; those success stories contain many failures that never get spoken about.
  • Don’t let failing bring you down. If you were determined and you failed, try again. A man who fought failure all his life but will always be remembered for his tenacity and endurance is Winston Churchill. He once said, “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm”. And he lived out that belief despite tremendous odds.
  • Don’t expect overnight miracles to occur. You can’t get over a huge setback fast but you can care for yourself while you mend and not dive deeper into despair. Remember that you’re not the first to fail, you won’t be the last, and you will bounce back again if you allow yourself. Yes, it is a choice to make, so choose to come back stronger.
  • Count every trial as an act of courage, a small success in itself. Building persistence can accomplish enormous things and turn all the failed trials along the way into minor successes. A writer seeking to get published could pin up every rejection slip as proof that they’re a real writer, doing the job the way the job really works. A successful sales representative looks at the proportion of successes to failures and gets used to “No” most of the time as just part of the job.

    The # one LifeTrain rule: NEVER GIVE UP!!!

    The # one LifeTrain rule:

  • Don’t take it as your failure if something was dependent on other people’s decisions and actions. If your project didn’t get accepted and was a good project, it still is a success. Many people fear “failure” in situations that are so unpredictable success and failure don’t apply to them at all.
  • Lists and goal journals are really helpful for some people when failure seems to happen often. If failure derails your thinking processes and leaves you feeling anxious, use such props to steer you back on course again. There is no shame in using them, nobody expects fast and organized thinking to happen all of the time, and for some people it’s overwhelming to be expected to always think like that. Organize yourself well and things will seem less arduous to tackle when you get back on your feet.
  • And if ever you find yourself thinking self-piteously: “I wish I were as lucky as X”, remember that luck is for leprechauns. Life is about good management, not luck.
  • Step back a bit, give yourself some breathing room. One thing that can help cushion failure at something large is to do some small, easy things that you know you’ll succeed in, whatever they are. Steady, slow progressive success at something else, like learning to draw and not expecting a masterpiece but just to succeed at “draw something every day” or an easy exercise regimen like “walk daily at the most convenient time” can help to cushion the failure of a large project.

All Aboard!  The LifeTrain!!!