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Posted on 4.08.2016 by Jody Noland

Really.  Why should anyone care? Why, in this blazing age of all things digital, should anyone bother?
 
Sure, a few are natural born writers. Like walking Hallmark cards, words of encouragement and affirmation seem to pour forth effortlessly from their lips and pens.  (Yes, they are nice to have as friends but easy to “hate.”) But for most of us, words don’t flow like that.
 
If you’re part of the silent majority, here are 10 reasons NOT to  write a letter to someone whom you love:

Posted on 4.01.2016 by Jody Noland

 

This past weekend, I was in my hometown of Annapolis, MD. It had been a few years since I'd been there, as much as I love that charming town. After losing my parents in 2010 and 2011, I decided it was too difficult to visit a place I loved so much without the people I loved being there. 

But this visit was different. I was with a close friend, providing a "highlights" tour of my life. One of the first stops was at the U. S. Naval Academy where my parents cremains reside in the Columbarium.

Posted on 3.25.2016 by Jody Noland

Have you ever thanked a Chick-fil-A employee? If so, you’ve undoubtedly heard the words “my pleasure” as the immediate response. You’ll hear that same consistent reply at every Ritz Carlton. And no two words could better express my heart after helping a humble giant complete letters to loved ones as he neared the end of his earthly journey.
 

Posted on 3.18.2016 by Jody Noland

“Theirs was a love story for the ages.” That’s how Brian Mulroney, Canada’s former Prime Minister, described the relationship between President and Mrs. Reagan at her funeral last week.

Posted on 3.11.2016 by Jody Noland

Do you consider yourself a role model? Well, you are.
 
People are watching, no matter what your age.
 
Young or old, male or female, affluent or struggling. People around you are watching.
 
Maybe you’re in a significant leadership position at work or in your church. Perhaps you have a national platform of some sort.  You might be active in your community. Or maybe you’re “just” a mom or dad. But unless you’re in solitary confinement, the people around you are watching. (Well, even in solitary confinement, hopefully the guards are watching)
 

Posted on 3.04.2016 by Jody Noland

Are you feeling bogged down with the grind of daily life and further discouraged by the constant negatives of this political season?
 
Open the windows of your mind and your heart to the fresh breeze of gratitude.
 

Specifically, gratitude for the gift of eyesight.
 
Perhaps it’s because I witnessed the challenges faced by my own dad as he lost his central vision due to macular degeneration, or experienced daily life with blind friends of different ages. 
 

Posted on 2.26.2016 by Jody Noland

Watch enough TV commercials and sitcoms, and you’ll recognize a pattern of portraying husbands and fathers as mindless fools.  They might be depicted as socially awkward, lazy, weak or crude. But it’s rare that you’ll see a man represented in a positive light in those important roles. 

But how often are fathers and husbands honored in real life, either?

Posted on 2.19.2016 by Jody Noland

Why is the thought of failure so terrifying for most of us?
 
Why does it keep us from launching out into the unknown, from trying new things, from taking risks, from pursuing our dreams?
 
Is it because we have allowed our self-worth to be based on our performance? Do we think the only way we’ll be accepted is if we never fail? Do we communicate that message to our children, too?
 
Has perfectionism or “playing it safe” unintentionally become a god?

Posted on 2.12.2016 by Jody Noland

So much about a wedding is public these days. Social media allows the story of the romance to be shared. Photographers often capture the “private” moment of the proposal. The wedding ceremony takes place in front of family and friends. And wedding photographs and videos provide a lasting and public remembrance of this time of answered prayers and dreams come true. 

But there is also a sacredness about the joining of two lives that provides the perfect reason for the bride or groom to write a letter to their betrothed.

Posted on 2.05.2016 by Jody Noland

The memory is seared into my mind from a trip to Uganda in 2012.
 
I had asked a beautiful group of orphaned students about their dreams.

Actually, what is seared into my brain is not the question.
It is the rapidity, the passion and the strength of their answers.
 
 I heard things like “astronaut,” “doctor,” and “teacher.”
 
The girls’ eyes glistened as they enthusiastically shared their dreams.

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