P5 Productions Helps Fernandina Beach Rock the 4th

P5 Productions Helps Fernandina Beach Rock the 4thAmelia Island, FL – P5 Productions is challenging other Fernandina Beach businesses to donate $250 or more to light up the sky this Fourth of July.

To encourage donations by businesses and individuals, P5 is donating a 150 custom-designed “Rock the 4th 2012” T-shirts.

Proceeds of sales of this limited edition, commemorative T-shirt will go directly to fund the annual Independence Day fireworks display in Fernandina Beach.

The Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber and the Historic Fernandina Business Association are leading efforts by local businesses to raise needed funds for the fireworks.

“We hope this special T-shirt offer will help stimulate and create some enthusiasm and civic pride while helping to accomplish the goal of raising $13,800 so we can have fireworks on July 4th,” said Loren Lum, co-owner of P5 Productions, an apparel and product imprinting company based in Fernandina Beach.

Minimum donation to receive a “Rock the 4th 2012” T-shirt (while supplies last) is $25.00. Donations must be received by Friday, June 22.

The unisex shirts are 100% cotton, pre-shrunk in deep royal blue and will come in sizes Youth Small, Medium and Large, and Adult Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large and 2X. The shirts feature the words “We the People” in the exact style of the U.S. Constitution followed by “of Fernandina Beach” and “Rock the 4th 2012.” There also will be an image of the U.S. flag rippling in a heart-shape.

Shirts will be available for pick-up by June 20, but Chamber President Regina Duncan is urging locals to be sure to purchase the shirts now since the deadline to raise funds for the fireworks is June 22, 2012.

“We need to have the funds in hand by June 22 to ensure we will be able to continue the Fernandina tradition of celebrating our nation’s birthday with fireworks over the Amelia River,” Duncan said.

To purchase a “Rock the 4th” T-shirt via credit card, go to www.companycasuals.com/hfbafireworks. Shirts paid for online will be available for pick-up only at Southern Touch, 301 Centre St. in Fernandina Beach, Florida.

To purchase a “Rock the 4th” T-shirt by cash or check, go to either the Southern Touch, 301 Centre Street, or the AIFBY Chamber, 961687 Gateway Blvd. Suite 101G in the Gateway Center. Checks should be made payable to AIFBY Chamber; HFBA Fireworks must be noted on the memo line.

Shirts paid for by cash or check will be available for pick-up only at the Chamber.

For more information, visit www.companycasuals.com/hfbafireworks.

Mission Statement

The Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce is a membership-based association of Nassau County businesses, professional leaders and individuals working together to provide leadership which will aggressively promote and defend responsible economic growth, employment opportunities, government and excellence in education and quality of life.

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SearchAmelia is Four Years Old

There are still empty seats at the table

Just about exactly four years ago today, we launched SearchAmelia and during that time we wrote and published close to 8,000 articles, stories, essays and weather forecasts. In statistics that breaks down to an average of almost 6 uploads a day, each and every day of those 4 years.

Looking back at this enormous task I got somehow reminded me of a story I once read about Dwight D. Eisenhower who early into his presidency was asked for the name of his favorite author. “Harry Sinclair Drago,” said Eisenhower.
The reporters looked puzzled. They obviously hadn’t heard of Drago and there were no iPhones then to quickly look up the man’s credentials, even though he’d written several classics of western fiction, including Suzanna: A Romance of Early California and Whispering Sage.

So in line with what reporters do when caught in a moment of ignorance, they asked Eisenhower for his second favorite. “Bliss Lomax,” replied Eisenhower, which generated more bewilderment among the media pundits. But if nothing else, this proved that Eisenhower was consistent, because Bliss Lomax was a pen name used by Harry Sinclair Drago.

Drago used at least eight additional pen names. He needed all those names because he wrote a lot and on various topics. Over the course of his career, he wrote short stories, screenplays, articles, and more than a hundred novels. More than three full-length novels a year for 30 years.

When Syracuse University announced that it would be the custodian of Drago’s papers, some 15 linear feet long, the thing that seemed to fascinate reporters the most was the amount he wrote. So one of them asked him: “How did you write over a hundred books?”
Four pages a day,” replied Drago.

Obviously we write a lot too here at SearchAmelia and yes we use a variety of pen names as well. Over the four years of our existence we have offered a line up of several hundred advertisers, artists, professionals, politicians, bankers, musicians, community leaders and contrarians to submit stories for publication, but with little lasting success. Essentially because most people consider it a chore to write down their thoughts, beliefs, opinions or fruits of their professional accomplishments. On a weekly basis we receive requests via the website for article submissions, yet we find it amazing how few people can actually organize themselves to submit something of value and quality on a somewhat regular basis.

Distractions are always around us, ready to take our focus hostage.
On October 3, 2009 I wrote an essay titled The Ballad of the Clock and the Compass about this, in which I tried to explain that it is OK to respect the clock on the short term, as long as as the ultimate direction of where you’re going is guided by the compass of your life.
Be at all times mindful that the clock creates the powerful seduction to Multi Task, often leading to digressions that take you far away from moving steady in the direction you have set on your personal compass.
Many people believe there is a fancy, complex answer for being productive and multi tasking is the way. However, it’s simply “just doing it” and staying focused that really gets things done. Yet Multi-tasking seems so much more fun in today’s society, even though nobody ever gets done with their workload or even enjoys old fashioned satisfaction in accomplishing dreams.

Rhythmic  steady beats multi-tasking every time.

We’ve attracted a nice following over the years, whether it was because of Judie’s daily weather forecast, our “Award Winning” Event Calendars or essays about life, finances, internet marketing, politics or accomplishments. And the reason we keep on writing every day is, because it gives satisfaction. The first time someone leaves a comment or sends an email to react to one of your stories is magical. When someone praises you, you feel good because your brain produces a chemical called dopamine. When you praise yourself by checking off a completed action step, you get the same physiological result. As you achieve one small win after another, you find it easier and easier to take the action steps that generate the wins. Keeping score is a wonderful way of moving things along on your life’s compass.

At the end of every day, Ben Franklin would ask himself: “What good have I done this day?” You can ask the question: “What have I done today to move my life and career forward?”

Remember that success is almost always a process. Most people don’t achieve big things in one quick move, they get there one bite at a time. Quite similar to the little riddle: How do you eat an Elephant? Answer: One bite at a time.
Anyone has stories in them; work stories, travel stories, dining out stories, school stories, sports accomplishments, announcements, requests, entertainment and just life,  and we at SearchAmelia would love to hear them. Stories about how your life went off the compass track or how you got back on.
If you have a story, we have the audience.

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Yulee Elementary Reaches for the Stars

Starlab Planetarium at Yulee Elementary

Starlab Planetarium at Yulee Elementary

On Tuesday morning, May 29, 2012, Yulee Elementary School went to the stars! Science First , a Yulee manufacturer of the world’s first portable planetarium, demonstrated the mystery of the heavens to the winners of the school’s science fair. Thirty students from grades 3 through 5 went on a brief tour of the cosmos. They learned how to use constellations to navigate, how eclipses work, and how to recognize the features of Mars and Jupiter. They even learned a little about the complex orbital dynamics that keep Saturn’s rings stable. They left the earth and came back all in one convenient, half-hour lesson.

“I was greatly impressed with the knowledge of some of the students,” says Nathaniel Bell, Marketing Director at Science First. “Some of them knew more about the sky than many adults I’ve met. One was able to bring astronomy and history together – he gave a brief talk about how important Ursa Minor was to the Underground Railroad. It’s a correlation I would be happy to hear from an adult; out of a fourth grader, it was a marvel.”

The demonstration was coordinated by Joy Huber, third grade teacher and future Chair of the Science Committee at Yulee Elementary School. Ms. Huber intends to invite Starlab (www.starlab.com) back to the school after the summer break. She would like to make the experience available to a wider range of students, because, as she informed Helmut Albrecht, Sales Manager for Science First, she heard “a lot of wows” from the students who had participated.

The Starlab portable planetarium is manufactured at the company’s facility in the Nassau Tradeplex in Yulee FL and sells to schools, school districts and science museums all over the world. The immersive experience was conducted by Nathaniel Bell and Helmut Albrecht, the company’s marketing team.

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Lady Antebellum Plays Henryville, Indiana’s Prom

Lady Antebellum Plays Henryville, Indiana's PromLady Antebellum and thousands of generous fans joined together at Louisville, KY’s KFC Yum! Center to raise more than $285,000 for tornado ravaged, Henryville, IN. All proceeds from the event will be distributed through the New Hope/Indiana Bankers Association for the Disaster Relief Fund.

The country trio hosted a private prom for Henryville High School’s Juniors and Seniors with an acoustic performance, which was followed by an arena concert open to the public.

“This event started as an idea we had in the studio last year to crash someone’s prom we had no idea at the time it would fill such a need. We are amazed by the support we’ve gotten from our fans, sponsors and the press. This is one of the proudest moments in our career!” Said Singer Hillary Scott.

Lady A and ABC’s JuJu Chang visited Henryville High School where they toured the devastated school that is currently under construction and planning to reopen this fall. The community’s inspiring story and highlights from the day will air on Good Morning America, World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer, Nightline, ABC Radio and on ABC affiliates across the country. Additional national and local media supporters will air special content from the event throughout the week.

In March, Lady Antebellum began a contest offering fans a chance to Own The Night with a private concert at their prom. The trio unanimously chose the community of Henryville, IN for their story, resilience and unity following devastating tornadoes. Lipton also came on board to help with the event in the spirit of their Drink Positive and Live Positive message, a campaign that Lady A already supports.

Fans who weren’t able to attend the concert, but would still like to contribute towards the cause can make a donation HERE.

Hillary, Charles and Dave want to thank all those who lent their support, donations, time and energy in making this event such a spectacular night for the community of Henryville!

Like them on Facebook and be sure to thank them for their support Rebuilding Henryville.

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Some of the funniest people in the world today live in Belgium

Taking your guitar to the restroom

Taking your guitar to the restroom

Ever since I posted the the funniest Shrimp Festival Photo Contest yesterday, my inbox has been flooded with pictures – some 70 so far and granted some of them are funnnnyyyy. And while I often find the drama created by my fellow humans to be tiresome and aggravating (as they probably do my own antics), there are few things I love more about humankind than its creativity and humor. It just makes my days better.

Lately I have been getting the impression that some of the funniest people in the world today live in Belgium and the 5 videos I am linking to here are shining examples of creativity at its finest. It starts with the placement of a stand with a red button on it in a quiet town plaza in Belgium, with a sign hanging overhead that says “Push to Add Drama”… what happens next is a creative riot.

And then there are 4 videos from de Lijn, a Tour Bus Company in Belgium that promote the idea that it is smarter to travel in groups. Absolutely hilarious stuff.
I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.





A Human Quality That Is Truly Valuable

The ability to create

The ability to create and execute

The other night I caught a glimpse of one of my wife’s favorite shows, “Survivor”. She actually once auditioned for it. After rearing and raising 6 children I thought she would be uniquely qualified, but apparently not according to the show’s masterminds. Yet I watched one of the contestants, I think her name is Kim, in a crying spell confessing her fear to be seen as a weak player or a follower by the other tribesmen and women.

This got me thinking about real life where arguably 90% of the people are followers and 10% are leaders or pioneers of some sort. Now I’m not implying that followers are weak, because they are NOT. They are operators. And trying to find the why for this automatic assessment, I kind of clearly found what really makes the difference between non-productive attention grabbing and pure value contribution. This girl on Survivor used tears to grab attention and illicit compassion.

In that same context I read the story a couple of weeks ago about a British 4 year old being admitted to MENSA and how that grabbed the headlines. What was even more interesting in my opinion was learning that there is already a 2 year old in this “exclusive” club. A two year old? what would be the purpose of admitting a 2 year old to MENSA, except maybe a boatload of expectations the little tike can never live up to or collect on while it actually might send him to an early grave. Usually parents with an overactive exhibition drive are the root behind the insanity.

It’s a good thing to be smart or intelligent, but there is another more unique human quality that goes far beyond mere perception or test models for IQ evaluation. Think about it: what is that single quality that makes someone precious and yes often, indispensable? Beyond intelligence, loyalty, kindness, respect, discipline, pride, passion and compassion, it’s…

..the ability to create.

Sounds so simple. But truth is, the vast majority of people spend their lives learning how to follow and execute other peoples’ game plans. Fitting their skills, abilities and mindsets into the predefined responsibilities and tasks required by a predefined job. And, that’s fine and needed. We need people like that in the world. Actually we need a lot of people like that, who’s only real creation will be a solid family life and procreation of the human race. It’s often referred to as Salt of the Earth. If that’s you and you work with pride and add value and that makes you happy, rock on.

But, know and more so, accept too that you regardless of how “hard” you work, you will very likely never be toward the top of the “gotta keep ’em” food chain. Not because you’re bad at what you do, not because you don’t add value. Not because those around you don’t like or even love you. But because there will always be a sea of people lined up to take your job and who can do what you do in a similar enough way to make your boss, partner, colleague or collaborator happy.

And for every creator, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of operators.

Which is why, when you’re a creator, everything changes. Rather than being the one people ask to carry out a plan, people look to you to create a plan. To solve a problem, to innovate a new idea, product, service or campaign, to see opportunities where everyone else sees barriers, to blaze a new trail rather than follow a well grooved one.

And here is the thing, it’s, most often not about radical departures from the norm or earth-shattering breakthroughs.

What I’m talking about is the ability to create solutions on a daily basis. To understand we’re at point A and we need to get to point B, then tap your creative/problem-solving juices to conjure the best possible way to get there. As someone who’s steering the ship, that ability is immensely more valuable to me than someone who needs to be told every step from A to B (provided I also have skilled Operators in the pipeline). Because it frees up my own creative juices to focus on other projects, while trusting in another’s ability to figure out how to get done what needs to get done.

But like every gunslinger will find an opponent who’s even better and more accurate, the creator’s value bows down to one person who’s even more valuable than the pure creator/problem-solver.

And, that’s the Creator-Operator–the individual who can not only create anew, solve problems and map out innovative pathways, but also possesses the ability to execute, to bring those plans to life. People who can do both are extraordinarily rare finds, because creation and implementation are very different processes and almost always inhabit different brains and bodies, too. Most peoples’ minds just don’t function well on both levels. Which is why those folks tend to rise quickly up the ranks and often become entrepreneurs of great importance.

A Performance of Handel’s Messiah

A Performance of Handel's Messiah

Click to enlarge photo

Mouth of Amelia invites you to A Performance of Handel’s Messiah, presented by the Community Chorus and instrumentalists at Amelia Baptist Church.

WHEN: Good Friday, April 6th, 2012 at 7:00 PM.

WHERE: Amelia Baptist Church, 961167 Buccaneer Trail, at the intersection of Buccaneer Trail, A1A, and South Fletcher Avenue (at the roundabout).

WHAT: The community is invited to a presentation of the Holy Week portion of Handel’s oratorio Messiah. Messiah was written by George Frideric Handel to be performed in three parts, and although the Lenten portion is not presented as often as the Christmas portion, it contains individual choruses and solos that are often sung as anthems during the Lenten season. These include “Behold the Lamb of God”, “All We Like Sheep”, “Lift Up Your Heads, O Ye Gates”, and the highly recognized “Hallelujah!” chorus.

WHO: A 74-voice community chorus comprising singers from many different local churches will be accompanied by a string quartet of Jacksonville Symphony members led by Carol Whitman and Gail McCamy on piano. The music director is Pam Helton, Minister of Music at Amelia Baptist Church.

COST: There is no charge for this presentation at Amelia Baptist Church. Childcare for ages newborn through four years is available at no cost with reservations.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Please call 904-261-9527 or visit www.ameliabaptist.org/announcements.htm.

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The Philosophy of Ambiguity and the English Language

The beauty of misunderstanding

In a two mother tongue household many hilarious misunderstandings flare up on occasion as a result of the English language being buried in idiosyncrasies. When I was much younger I often blamed the language for the misunderstandings that turned into serious arguments but nowadays I have come to love the philosophy of ambiguity and the fact that the English language was formed on the go. Especially comedian Steven Wright became my favorite language magician. So when my dear friend Ric emailed the following Philosophy of Ambiguity this morning, I felt an instant need to share. Enjoy.



































Lady Antebellum’s Own the Night Contest

Lady Antebellum's Own the Night ContestThe Grammy award-winning trio Lady Antebellum is holding an Own the Night contest. The band will perform a 45 minute concert at the junior, senior or reunion prom of the winning entrant.

Entrants are asked to, “…submit a video explaining why you and your hometown want Lady A. to be a part of your prom event.”

Lady Antebellum had posted ten of the submitted videos on their website and they are amazing and deeply emotional to watch!

Henryville High School has gone from a small Indiana town that no one has ever heard of, to the little town America wants to help rebuild after the devasting tornados on March 2, 2012.

It is no suprise Henryville High School has submitted an entry. It is not a big suprise that there are two Henryville submissions listed on the contest website. However, what is suprising is the submissions from other high schools who want Henryville to “Own the Night”.

Teenagers across the country have taken the time to submit an entry, not for Lady A. to perform at their school, but for Lady A. to perform for the prom of Henryville High School.

There are literally pages and pages of comments for Lady Antebellum to select Henryville High School on the contest page of their website. Even their Facebook page has tons of comments supporting Henryville.

My daughter and grandson were living in Henryville, Indiana when the little town was all but destroyed by tornadoes. As of this posting the kids still have not returned to school and this could be a wonderful memory for a little town that has lost so much.

Take a look at this video submitted by D.C. Everest High School from Schofield, Wisconsin. They show the playful events of a typical high school student, yet throughout their submission they show a variety of students showing support for Henryville. For Henryville, nothing is “normal” or “typical” right now! AND it is not just D.C. Everest High School either, other schools are submitting entries to the contest, too, asking Lady Antebellum if their’s is chosen, to please give the “Own the Night” prom concert to the kids at Henryville.

Teens are often “me” oriented and it is wonderful to see them reaching out to help their peers, lending them a hand to step up from the rubble and build an amazing memory for what has become an unforgettable March for the entire community.

But wait, there’s more… these “can do” teenagers are taking it a step further. The students from D.C. Everest have also set a goal to raise $50,000 by selling “Happy Thoughts for Henryville” for only $5.00 each.

I found the following on their website:

HAPPY THOUGHTS FOR HENRYVILLE… Everest continues to give!

PAY IT FORWARD: You can be a part of PAYING IT FORWARD. D.C. Everest Students are launching a “HAPPY THOUGHTS FOR HENRYVILLE” campaign this week. “Happy thoughts for Henryville” are $5.00 each. With 10,000 happy thoughts at $5.00 a piece we can reach our goal of $50,000.

Purchase your happy thought by going to this website.

For local donations, the Junior class has set up an account at Intercity State Bank.

Donations can be sent to:
Intercity State Bank
Attn: D.C. Everest Henryville, Indiana Relief Fund
P.O. Box 560
Schofield, WI 54476

Check out the WAOW story on DCE’s “Paying it Forward” efforts.

After waiting all day for the announcement, here is the official word from Lady Antebellum’s website:

March 20, 2012Three weeks ago, Lady Antebellum began a contest offering fans a chance to Own The Prom Night with a private concert at their prom this spring. After carefully reviewing each submission, the trio unanimously chose the community of Henryville, IN for their story, resilience and unity following devastating tornadoes earlier this month. Not only was their own submission moving, but schools across the country spontaneously submitted videos campaigning on behalf of Henryville High School in support of Henryville receiving the special concert, including the winning submission from Silver Creek High School.

Here is the winning video:

I feel it is worth mentioning that the contest winner, Silver Creek High School in Sellersburg, Indiana, is the same school that hosted the Tornado Relief Benefit Concert featuring 40 bands on 4 stages just nine days after the devastating storm. The Louisville Crashers headlined the concert that raised over $60,000.00.

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Deb Cottle to Speak in Jacksonville

Deb Cottle to Speak in JacksonvilleAmelia Island Author and Speaker Deb Cottle will be speaking in Jacksonville, Florida on March 22, 2012, from 10:30 AM until noon at the Southeast Branch Public Library.

Sponsored by Professional WORKSource Network, they offer transition assistance to professional job seekers through networking, workships and business partnerships. Meetings are held monthly at the Southease Branch Public Library. Members are professionals with 4-year degrees and/or management level experience seeking full time employment.

Cottle will present “How to Stay Motivated for More Than a Day.”

It can be difficult to stay motivated while looking for work. Deb will help us focus on ways to stay postitive during the job search process.

You will learn techniques to:

    -Enhance your business and personal relationships.
    -Reprogram your thoughts to overcome negativity and unlock blocks.
    -Build confidence by gaining more knowledge and becoming an expert in your field or hobby.
    -Learn to set fulfilling goals and expectations.
    -Create more value in your life by giving to others and supporting causes you believe in.

Deb Cottle is a professional speaker and author. She established herself as one of the highest ranking former executives in teh Chicago television and advertising industry. She lives on Amelia Island with her husband and son and is the Founder and President of World on a String, Inc.

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Suicide is Painless

Suicide is Painless, it brings on many changes....

War is the failure of old men to recognize that their quarrels are killers of young men and innocence, and it represents a total failure of civilized behavior. Herodotus who lived in the 5th century BC said, “In peace, sons bury their fathers. In war, fathers bury their sons.” Dwight D. Eisenhower, opined sadly in 1942, “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.”

As a nation we have come frighteningly close to a hedonistic admiration of war it seems, an affliction that started as movie promoted heroisms of the second World War. Still 67 years after that war ended, Spielberg still produces titles like War Horse, which is sold to the pubic as a tale of incredible loyalty, hope and tenacity. This ‘romantic’ direction was also chosen as the success formula for war movies with the 1970s classic M*A*S*H.

M*A*S*H, was a Robert Altman directed story about doctors and nurses who patch up soldiers just enough for them to be able to go back out in the field and die. The interesting part of the movie and TV series that followed for 11 seasons, besides the tongue in cheek characters, was that it opened with the famous 60s Vietnam  era song Suicide is Painless.

Maybe on first sight a strange song to include into a war movie, but the lyrics in the chorus kind of explain what lots of American kids caught in a war they didn’t understand felt at that time.

‘Cause suicide is painless
it brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.
…and you can do the same thing if you choose.

I make no pretense to know what it is like to want to commit suicide. Never considered it, but recently someone I know was contemplating and of course like most of us, we actually know people who did.

But I’ve always wanted to say to someone who was considering taking their life: why not just take your “life” instead? And what I mean by that is, your situation in life. It obviously is not working, so abandon it. Take a plane to a far flung location on the globe, if you so desire without any money or means of support, change your name, dissolve all ties to your previous existence, preemptively sabotage any way anyone could trace you, and live off garbage, hand-outs, fruit trees or stolen donuts from a grocery store, until something better comes along. Believe me, it does.

Become another person. Someone who could be happy someday.

Effectively “kill” yourself: all the identities you have with your current existence, the sum of all your relationships that aren’t working, the job that fills you with nothing but misery, all of the reality around you that cages you about how you think about yourself. “Kill” all of the signifiers about who you currently are and how you think about your place in life. And maybe the challenge and novelty of that will put you in a new frame of mind. And then you can be happy someday.

Of course, I know, the fear is you carry the seed of your depression around inside you, and even in a new life, the despondency will return. But I think, for many people, it is a combination of nature and nurture, and you, who you are, had your life gone another path, you might not be so depressed. We all are depressed at times, we all carry the seed of depression, and major depression too, were the situations in our life and how we come to think about ourselves had evolved a different way or took a different sliding glass door.
So write a new story. Yes, you carry a seed of it inside you. We all do, and we aren’t committing suicide because our seed never grew. So cut down the tree your seed has grown into, and move to new soil where that seed can’t grow.

Restart the story, maybe on your own terms. A lot of people talk about reinventing themselves, in ways they consider major, but are really minor. Consider the most radical reinvention possible, instead of suicide.

More than 30 years ago I had a decision to make; high on the ladder of a corporate career I knew that if I would continue another 15 years of that career, a suicidal move could have become the answer to what I did not want to do with my life. I made the move and left a cushy, predictable and totally directed life behind and reinvented myself. The “suicide” that took me away from corporate insanity saved my life and made it so much better. The suicide was painless for me, but not for the people who I left behind and never understood. There is a place in my heart for them, but I still am glad I did what I did.

A Inspiring Journey about Investing in Life

Searchamelia.com:Melissa N Kraig Equine Rescue of South Georgia

Inspiring Work with great Satisfaction

I have a soft spot for people with passion and the guts to jump head on into life’s most challenging dreams. So when I heard the story from my wife TJ about this ranch a bit up in White Oaks Georgia, where a couple with a number of volunteers take in rescue horses I knew I wanted to do a story on them. I fight for animals and I’m happy that we live in a community where most of us cherish pets. The are numerous organizations that do their best to care for them and give them a life. But attacking the concept of rescuing horses demands very special people. Which is why I asked Kraig of the Melissa N Kraig Anthony’s Equine Rescue of South Georgia to send me a story about their 8 months old journey into an inspiring new life chapter. Here is their story.

It was a Tuesday, about 11:30 am. I am sitting at my desk, working, at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base, when the phone rings. I pick it up and go through the normal routine of who I am and what shop I work for, only to be answered by my wife, Melissa, sobbing, “Georgia Department of Agriculture is here, he is looking at our horses, someone called them and told them we don’t feed them, they are all starving to death, and we leave them standing in their feces all day long in the barn.”

“Okay, okay,” I say, trying to process it all. “Well, do we feed our horses?” I ask, trying to sound curious.“Yes!” She replies, slightly louder than I wished.“Do we leave them standing in their feces all day, in the barn?” I ask, again trying to sound curious.“No!” She yells once more.“Then let the man look around, he will tell you if he has any issues and that will be done.” I reply, trying to encourage her.

“Okay.” She says meekly, “I just don’t want them to take our horse.”

“They are not going to take our horses. They have no valid reason to take them. Answer the man’s questions and show him around. Listen to what he has to say and we will go from there.” I say reassuringly.
We hang up the phone and I return to work, wondering at the weird train of events that would lead to this happening and how it is that my life sometimes seems like a tweener novel.

An hour later, sitting at the same desk, my phone rings again, the caller ID shows my wife’s cell phone number, well here we go, “Hello beautiful, how are you.” I ask, waiting as any man would, for the tone of the first word because that is the indicator that tells us what the conversation that follows is going to be like. “They want us to be a rescue, can you believe that?” She says, I can see the smile on her face though I am sitting some 40 minutes by car away from her.

Now my mind is racing once more, this time for a different reason; an actual reason. A rescue, that sounds like a lot of horses. I feel like one of those guys in the Twix commercials. “Need a break?” Yes please, I reply, “Let’s talk about it when I get home.” Sigh of relief.Needless to say we talked about it, we prayed about it, we researched it, and here we are now, seven months later.

Cletus is no mule's fool

We got much more than I thought I would

I remember thinking about all the lucky horses that would come to us to be rescued. They would love us and be so grateful that we had “rescued” them. Now I know that it was not only them that were in need of the rescue. God has a plan for all that He does. I don’t know who it was that made the call that sent Georgia’s Agricultural Department to us, but if you are reading this I would like to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart and with my deepest gratitude.

Since we have started to work with these beautiful spirits, a change has come over us. They have warmed the deepest parts of our very lives and taught us what it means to be human again. The entire time that we think that we are teaching them and helping them work out their knots and kinks, they are doing the same for us. They have brought the most amazing people into our lives, those that understand what in life truly matters.

For this reason, when we were looking for a theme for the rescue, a short summary of what we are about, we decided on “Investing In Life”. Not just the life of the horses, but in people as well. We found that where we had a small dream, owning and working with horses, God had a much bigger one, one that involved the healing of broken hearts not just in the horses, but as much in the people that take the time to interact with them, as well.

Over the past week I have been reflecting on our journey thus far. Many of the horses that we get in here come to us starved, neglected, abused, hurting, lost, confused and ready to give up. Many of them have forgotten how to act and what it means to be a horse. Many times they are weak and unable to walk across the pasture more than once or twice during the day. They don’t kick their heels up or throw their heads, they just kinda stand and watch and wait for the next thing to hit them. When you look in their eyes you see that they have almost given up, not on life, on people. They don’t trust us, they are waiting for us to do to them what the one before may have done. Let’s look at Tatum for example. Poor guy was so tied in knots. I spent four months working with him and we couldn’t get him to move, unless someone walked in the pasture/paddock with a pitch fork or poop fork; then he would run. If on the lead rope he would just stand there, as if waiting for you to hit him.  I don’t know his back ground. I just know what I see. Then one Saturday Michael Boyd comes out and I see him work with Tatum, with love and pure spirit and the horse responds. I am not going to lie, I still get an emotional chill when i think about it. (Mike, you are amazing and we are so thankful and blessed to have you come out here and work with us.) I could say the same of every one of our volunteers.

And then over time and with patience it slowly happens….


Michael the Magician at work

Because of  this wonderful interaction between horse and man, over time you begin to see those beautiful animals run again and kick up their heels. It doesn’t happen over night, but then you recognize the small changes and you see them begin to be a horse again and remember that beautiful freedom as they slowly return to become once again the kindred spirits that we all love.And that’s when it hit me with great force, and I begin to realize that for all that I thought I was giving them, they have been giving more to me. They have been teaching me to return to what it means to be a man, a father, a husband, a friend, and a Christian.

I suddenly realized how easily Melissa and I could have chosen the expected road to materialism that is so prevalent today. Work hard and save for the rest of our lives, and then at the end we would have looked back and wondered about all the dreams we once wanted to go after, but then never did. We are fortunate to have taken the leap into the unknown when the chance came along and stepped out on that ledge and leapt forward with faith.

Let me share my passion with you right now and take that leap when the opportunity comes along. It may not be easy, actually it may seen is terrifying at times. But once you are committed and you look out and distinguish the faint outline of the road before you, you realize that it is worth every step, the valleys and the mountains, the storms and the calm waters.

Now eight months into the dream

searchamelia.com: Equine Rescue of South Georgia

The give back more than we can ever give them

Currently we have fourteen horses and a mule on the property. We just bought another eight acres of land, ready to be cleared and set up for future rescues. There is also a list of 27 horses eagerly waiting for the moment that new slots become available.
The need is great, but we know that our community and our God is greater. So we commit ourselves to the task at hand, loving the work and struggle that comes with living out our dream.

On days when the kids come out we often find ourselves watching them interact with the horses, so full of questions and curiosity. Amazed that this animal, as large as it is will do as they ask it too, eyes wide with wonder at the design of the hoof, laughing at the “frog” in the center of the hoof, while making “ribbitt” sounds, as one of the volunteers explains each part of the foot.

They wonder in wide eyed amazement as they wait in anticipation of the moment they get hoisted onto the saddle and being lead around the corral. The expression of joy as one of the horses nuzzles them, breathing hot air in their hair. The amazement as they watch another volunteer work with a horse that has not had much human interaction, their breath catches as the horse rears up on his hind legs, then releases as he starts to do as he was asked and lunge around the trainer. All this we watch and smile with wonder at the gift that these horses bring to us each and every day.

But the dream does not stop there. Melissa has plans to take the Certified Horsemanship Association Disabled Rider Certification Course and begin to work with individuals with special needs with the horses. Imagine the joy when a child who has lost his legs mounts up and rides around, feeling true freedom. Or an autistic child interacting with a gentle horse, touching, petting, understanding, and healing not just for the horse and the child, but for the parents and for us as well.

I cherish the dream of working with youth who have run into some trouble, self or life inflicted. Help them learn to control and work through their emotions. Horses are the perfect environment for this, as they sense us better than we could ever hope to.

If you are interested in what we do, please, take some time, give us a call and set up a visit. Come out and see firsthand what we do. We are a non-profit organization based on community support; all donations are welcome and are tax-deductible .

So if you are looking for something to get involved in, we are here and always looking for people who are interested in investing in life.

Melissa and Kraig AnthonyEquine Rescue of South GA Inc.


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GUTS in 2012

GUTS in 2012By: Coach, Speaker, Seminar Leader and Author Deb Cottle

Do you have the GUTS to move forward this year? It’s the beginning of February, and this will be a magnificent new year. A time for pressing the restart button, creating a clean slate, and deciding what activities you want to continue into this exciting new year. Not to mention what activities you want to discard or change!

We all have the opportunity to create our environment, and experiences. And to be able to change what we can change, in order to make our lives just work better! Some experiences can’t be changed, but most can be adjusted, or enhanced with either the power of the mind, and how we look at our situation. We also can ask more questions that would provide answers to lead to solutions!

The first step in the GUTS formula is GAIN KNOWLEDGE – representing the “G” in my proven 4Step GUTS FORMULA.

Each of us can take responsibility for deepening our knowledge in our jobs, hobbies, or personal life in order to learn and grow. In our chosen field of work it’s extremely important that we find ways to become an expert in our field, or at least become more knowledgeable.

This is good for two reasons: First, it boosts our own confidence level when we know more about a particular subject or profession. Second, it gives us a competitive edge. When prospects are making a choice among various vendors and salespeople, they typically choose to do business with those who are leaders in their field. Anyone can become a leader by earning additional credentials and/or designations and taking more classes or seminars in his or her industry.

Make a plan in 2012 to GAIN KNOWLEDGE and you will realize positive results and a huge boost in your confidence level!

Stay tuned to learn about the rest of the GUTS FORMULA techniques that will help you move forward this year!

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Six Degrees of Free Rice

searchamelia.com: 6 degrees of free rice

Play a game and feed the hungry

The United Nations World Food Programme came up with a creative way to fight hunger and A Fun Way to Teach children (and immigrants) vocabulary. Every homeschooling parent in the United States should use the 6th Degrees of Free Rice game between February 6 and 11th to teach their children the meaning of words  while feeding hungry children.

The concept is quite simple. Go to the Free Rice website and think of 6 of your closest friends. The proven theory is that you are connected to 6 people who are connected to 6 people, who in turn are connected to 6 people… up to 6 times and realize that you are connected in this manner to every person on earth.

There are only 6 degrees of separation.

Freerice is an online trivia game where each correct answer earns 10 grains of rice for the world’s hungriest – it’s an addictive online game with a real-world impact. Those grains of rice will go to a hungry child who is only six degrees away from you and me.
Between February 6 and 12 Free Rice wants you to invite 6 people in your circle to play “6 Degrees of Free Rice.”

The idea is simple. When you sign up, you commit to recruiting six people, then your friends will recruit another six, and so on… our online movement to fight hunger could exponentially explode! And many more people will discover Freerice.

The WFP feeds 90 million people every year

searchamelia.com: world hunger map

The World Food Progamme is impressive in its logistics and results. From Africa and Asia to Latin America and the Near East, there are some 925 million people in the world, who do not get enough food to lead a normal, active life. And even after 50 years of being on the frontline of the fight against hunger and thousands of political pledges, the WFP can “only” get to about 90 million or about 10% of them. Yet we are all just 6 people removed from being connected to all of them.

And even though it is truly impressive what is being done every year, the World Food Program needs our help. No..it’s not knocking on your door for money pledges. It’s inviting you to join in a fun and educational game called Six Degrees of Free Rice.

In just about 10 minutes I collected 5,000 grains of rice for a hungry person. We need you to help get your friends, family and community involved too. Are you up to the challenge? If you are, just click here to participate.
I hope you do.

Here is another link you may want to hit to learn how important the WFP’s work is.

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Promote Yourself

Promote YourselfWhether you are looking for a new job, a new direction for your career, or to be recognized as a subject matter expert, you need to promote yourself.

The government offered fresh data this month showing that the job market is gradually improving, but there still aren’t enough jobs to go around. To set yourself apart from the many other applicants, you must not only be the best at what you do, but you must also engage in self-promotion so that potential employers will recognize your strengths, interests, experience, and expertise.

Self promotion includes the things you say or do to make people notice you and become aware of your abilities and value. Think about self promotion as if you were a new product coming to market with no promotion in the mass media. Since no one knows about this new product, it disappears from the market. Failure to promote the product resulted in its failure. The importance of self-promotion is brought home when you consider that 55-80 percent of all jobs are filled through social connections, not “help wanted” advertisements.

Fortunately, social media on the internet is a simple and free resource you can use for self-promotion. You can make contacts, build your reputation, and even be seen as a subject matter expert in your particular area of expertise in a relatively short time. The sheer magnitude of the numbers of people using social media demonstrates its importance. Consider the “top three”:

    Facebook – With more than 500 million users, Facebook is now used by 1 in every 13 people on earth, with more than 250 million logging in every day. Nearly 72 percent of all US internet users are on Facebook.
    Twitter – Twitter recently announce it has over 100 million active users worldwide. Twitter also revealed that is now processing 230 million tweets a day, a number that has increased 110% since the start of 2011.
    LinkedIn – LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the internet with more than 120 million members in more than 200 countries and territories. Professionals are joining LinkedIn at a rate faster than two new members per second. There were nearly 2 billion people searches on LinkedIn in 2010.

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have proven to be viable avenues for making contacts and connections that are vital to career success. In addition to these sites, you may choose to create your own blog or comment on blogs maintained by others, and participate in forums. Rather than jumping into every social media option at once, think about your goals and evaluate the various social media sites. Make your selection based upon what works best for you. For instance, if you are seeking employment, then you will want to start with LinkedIn so that your professional profile will be found by other professionals who may be searching for someone with just your talents.

Twitter is a microblogging site where posts are limited to 140 characters. There are many reasons to use Twitter. You can locate people, as quick questions and receive answers in an instant, learn about new trends in the industry, find articles posted on others’ blogs, and more.

Facebook is by far the most “fun” of the three. It is great for meeting people, tracing people from your past, playing games, and posting pictures.

The first secret to self-promotion is that what you do is not actually about you, but about the people with whom you are communicating. You may think this is opposite to your goal, but it is not. Your purpose for participating in social media is to attract followers, friends, and connections. You do that by being interested in, and helping, other people.

In addition, be personal and demonstrate that you are human. Post photos of yourself to show your personality, but not photos of you drinking, partying “hearty”, or doing something that would make your mother blush. You want your online story to promote your best attributes. Remember that future employers are searching social networking sites for information before they make a hiring decision.

The importance of self-promotion cannot be underestimated when your goal is career success. Social media sites are a perfect avenue for self-promotion and there is no denying they are now a major part of our lives. If you have not already done so, it is time to explore social media to learn what it can do for your future. Get out there and promote yourself!

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