My Wish for 2011: A Smile, Freely Given

Well, hi! Long time no chat! I'm still in the midst of my online vacation, but a little birdie told me I have a new article up on AOL Opinion that I wanted to share with you. It's about what I wish for 2011. And yes, the title is a dead giveaway.

I was inspired by the following quote by  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. I hope it inspires you as well.

"I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de- humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming."

Many thanks to AOL and Red Room for giving me the opportunity to smile at you from afar.


And here's wishing you the most spectacular of New Year's Eves. Have fun and be safe!



AOL Opinion: Nashville Flood - Where is President Obama?

Many of you are well aware of the fact that my adopted hometown of Nashville has been devastated by a flood of biblical proportions. I've been tweeting it, blogging it, Facebooking it. But that wasn't enough. I wanted to get the real story out into the world, and my friend Ivory Madison, who runs the awesome site for authors Red Room, offered me a great opportunity. Write it up, and she'd pass it along to a friend she knew.

Well, that friend was the op-ed editor for AOL News. And between the two of them, the opinion piece I've written is up and running on AOL today. I can't thank them both enough for the opportunity to share what's really happening here in Nashville. Despite over $1.5 billion in damage, the President of the United States didn't bother to visit the affected areas. That's virtually unheard of - disasters are, sadly, Presidential bread and butter.

But it's more than that. The spirit of love in Nashville is alive and well. We didn't wait, we all pitched in immediately. We took care of our own. You know why? We Are Nashville. It's become our rallying cry. It is the truth - this is how we do things in the south.

Enjoy the piece, and think about donating if you can. Even five bucks makes a difference. Here's a link to a great list of local charities.