Thinking Of You On Friendship Day

In 1967, sound engineer Geoff Emerick was working with a band to finish up recording the last bits of an upcoming album. It was so late at night that it was practically the next morning by the time the band got around to the last track. They had worked out a rough version of the song, but the song was still more of a loose idea with some lyrics to connect it all together.

While one member of the band said that it was time to call it a night and began to pack up and head out, the others kept on working. When they saw that their friend was almost out the door, they called him back down the steps and asked if he’d just take a stab at recording the lyrics for the last song.

The tired musician balked a little bit, but finally agreed to record a few takes. After a short time, the tired musician suggested that heavy sound editing could correct most of the problems and tried again to leave for the night.

Once again, the guys pulled their friend back in with warm encouragement and let him know that no amount of studio manipulation with equipment would come close to his voice. They insisted that they needed him to stick around and finish it up because he was so important to the album, and to them. He later said that it was only because they were his friends that he felt like he could go on and finish the album that night.

The song that was such a challenge? “With a Little Help From My Friends”. The musician who was struggling? Ringo Starr. Rumour has it that the song was deliberately released to coincide with the 10th anniversary of International Friendship Day. Whether or not that bit of trivia holds water, the fact remains that an iconic song would not have existed without friendship to drive the project forward into greatness.

Perhaps your friends could use a reminder this month of how important they are to you. Time marches by at a steady rhythm and it goes by ever so quickly— connect with your friends on National Friendship Day by phone or in person. If you have a knack for modern technology, post your photos together online to access the images when you need a smile. Or, if you’re more traditional, establish a regular meeting time and place.

No matter what, hang on to your friends, sing with them when they’re out of tune, and remind them that you will always help them get by.

Happy Friendship Day!

An Irreplaceable Summer

Daniel was a very clever boy who liked school well enough but was happy to be on summer vacation. With July half over, his mom reminded him that he was supposed to be reading every day. She suggested that he take the assigned summer book over to his Grandma’s house and read to her, thinking that it would benefit both of them.

A week later, Daniel still had not started his reading. That night, at bedtime, his mother sat on the edge of his bed and asked him three questions:  Who won the World Series thirteen years ago? Who is the wealthiest person in the world? Who has been given the Pulitzer Prize in the last five years? Daniel could not answer her.

She then asked him a second set of questions:  Who is your favorite teacher? What makes Ryan your best friend? What is the best thing about Dad? In answering those questions, Daniel ended up talking with his mom for almost an hour.

As she finally tucked her son into bed, Daniel’s mom told him: “Applause dies, awards tarnish and celebrities come and go. However, the people who matter stay with us forever. Appreciate your teachers, love your friends, and enjoy spending time with family while they are still around because those are the people who make you who and what you are— they are irreplaceable.”

The next morning, Daniel grabbed his bike helmet and practically flew out of the driveway. That fall, when he was inevitably asked to write an essay about what he did on his summer vacation, he wrote about how he spent all of August talking with his Grandma. It was the best vacation of his life.

Would You Rather Be A Peacock Or A Pigeon

Once, there was a happy little pigeon who lived at the edge of a forest. He spent his days in happiness and was generally satisfied with life. Then, one day he saw a beautiful swan.

“That swan is so white,” he noticed, “and I am more of a dull grey. That swan must be the happiest bird in the world.” He confessed his thoughts to the swan. “Actually,” the swan replied, “I used to think that I was the happiest bird around until I saw a green and yellow parrot. He has two colors where I am just plain white— I think that the parrot must be the happiest bird.”

Hearing that, the pigeon decided to go talk to the parrot. However, what the parrot told him confused him even more. “I lived a very happy life until I saw a peacock. Have you ever seen one up close? The peacock has multiple colors and is truly beautiful,” said the parrot.

In order to see a peacock, the pigeon had to visit a zoo and indeed, hundreds of people had gathered to see the peacock’s colorful feathers. After the people had left, the little pigeon approached the peacock.

“Dear peacock,” the pigeon said, bowing respectfully, “You are so beautiful. Every day thousands of people come to see you. When people see me, they immediately shoo me away. Surely you must be the happiest bird on the planet?”

The peacock replied, “I always thought that I was the most beautiful and happiest bird on the planet because people come from all over to see me. But because of my beauty, I am trapped in a display. I’ve watched the world around me and over the years, I have come to realize that the pigeon is the only bird allowed to fly free. Quite honestly, I envy you and think you must have the happiest life.”

Imagine the shock that the pigeon felt at that statement! We are not unlike the pigeon, however. We make unnecessary comparisons with others, overlooking our innate gifts. We let ourselves be saddened by what we don’t have, and it can lead to a vicious cycle of unhappiness.

There will always be someone who will have more or less than you; that is part of the hierarchy of blessings. Learn to be happy in what you have instead of looking at what you don’t have. The person who is satisfied with their own gifts is the happiest person in the world.

Dream On

Do you dream of starting your own business? It’s not easy, but you can succeed if you follow this advice from the Entrepreneur magazine website:

• Keep your vision in sight. Most great businesses start with an ambitious vision. Decide what you want to create in clear, concrete terms, and keep your focus on your vision as you move forward.

• Be prepared to persevere. Establishing your business will take time and effort. Know that going in, and you’ll be ready to persist in the face of obstacles.

• Plan, but adapt. A good plan is essential, but don’t lock yourself into it so tightly that you can’t make changes along the way. Be flexible in how you achieve your goals, and you’ll move forward more smoothly.

• Know and use your talents. Take inventory of your skills so you can put them to good use. For whatever you don’t do well, delegate it or hire someone to do it for you.

• Don’t reinvent the wheel. Find out what others are doing in your industry, and copy their tactics and strategies. Don’t waste time developing something new when the real-world solution is right out there.

• Keep laughing. Times will sometimes be tough, but the ability to laugh at your mistakes and your luck (both good and bad) will keep you sane as you progress toward success.

The Longest Day

The summer solstice marks the official start of summer. It brings the longest day and
shortest night of the year for the 88% of Earth’s people who live in the Northern
Hemisphere.

Astronomers can calculate an exact moment for the solstice, when Earth reaches the
point in its orbit where the North Pole is angled closest to the sun. That moment will
be at 15:54 UTC on June 21. Six months from now, the sun will reach its southern
extreme and northerners will experience their shortest day of the year, at the winter
solstice.

The angle of the sun around the time of the solstice changes so gradually in relation to
the equator that the everyday observer almost can’t tell it is changing. Without
instruments, the sun appears to be in the same place for about 10 days. This is the
origin of the word solstice, which means “solar standstill.”

This slow shift means that June 21 is only about 1 second longer than June 20 at midnorthern
latitudes. It will be about a week before there’s more than a minute change to
the calculated amount of daylight. Even that’s an approximation – Earth’s atmosphere bends light over the horizon by different amounts depending on weather, which can introduce
changes of more than a minute to sunrise and sunset times.