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Friendly and Nice!

Upbeat, Joyous Spirit – Delivered With A Smile

Karen and Jay share the virtues of being friendly and nice – while enjoying the first real snowstorm of the season.

Being friendly. Being nice. Two qualities that are so easy to overlook. But, so very important to our own well-being as well as for all the people around us. An upbeat, joyous spirit – especially when delivered with a smile – can radiate warmth and set a tone of positivity. What if we could start every interaction with a pause – and remind ourselves of the power of being friendly, being nice – and practice these qualities on a daily basis? What if we could all weave ‘friendly and nice’ into the fabric of our being?

To illustrate, a few years ago, during the Christmas season, a young woman named Megan Nierman was driving in Hendricks County, Indiana when she was pulled over for speeding and an expired registration on her car. When Sgt. Evan Love, the officer that pulled her over, walked up to her car and asked if she knew why he’d pulled her over, Megan, understandably distraught, explained that she was a young, single mother who was having a difficult time trying to provide for her kids while also making sure they didn’t miss out on Christmas. Sgt. Love could see that Megan was struggling and made a deal with her that if she got her registration up to date within the week, he’d rip up the ticket.

Megan held up her end of the bargain, but little did she know, Sgt. Love had even more in store for her. Being the Christmas season, he shared Megan’s story with family and friends, who pulled together and donated $300 for a Target gift card. A week later, Sgt. Love surprised Megan at her job with a Christmas card and the donations, which she was able to use to buy her kids Christmas presents.

“Let us be kind to one another, for most of us are fighting a hard battle.” This quote, and one that I try my best to live by, is from a rather obscure Scottish writer by the name of Rev. John Watson. It not only epitomizes the spirit of stories like those of Megan and Sgt. Love, but above all, especially in this Christmas season, reminds us of the virtue of kindness. In a year that has strained resources for some and tested us all, one thing that we can give to others this season which costs nothing is kindness.

The great thing, too, is that being kind benefits everyone, and there’s science to support it. In a recent study, it was observed that people who witnessed or carried out an act of kindness for 7 days in a row increased not only the overall happiness of the person who received the act of kindness, but also their own. It goes to show that through kindness, we can not only bring happiness to our own lives, but to those around us. With Christmas just a week away and 2020 being as it has been, kindness in this season can go a long way. Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas.

A Special ‘Local’ Christmas

As we begin to celebrate Christmas with our families in the coming week, if you’re like me, there’s still a pretty good chunk of Christmas shopping still on my list to wrap up. And, this Christmas more than ever – it really does matter where we choose to buy our gifts and spend our money. The pandemic – and the related ‘close down’ decisions – have had a devastating impact on small business. So, this year, please consider joining me to make this the Christmas where we all go out and support our local small business community. Let’s buy local. Let’s support those entrepreneurs and families that make our communities the special places that they are.

To put the importance of this effort into perspective: Did you know that 95 percent of US companies are considered small businesses? Did you know that approximately two-thirds of all new jobs created in our country are the result of small business owners, who take risks, start a company, expand and create opportunity? What’s even more impressive is that according to a SCORE report, small businesses donate 250 percent more to charities and non-profits than big companies. In fact, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance reports that small businesses donate 4 times more than Walmart.

These small businesses are members of our community. When they suffer, we suffer. When they thrive, so do our communities. Supporting small business isn’t just good for business, it’s good for our communities.

And while many small towns have a long way still to go, we are beginning the fight to bring them back. And the success of this effort will be in large part due to work of small business as well as the support we can give them. So, this Christmas, as you finalize your holiday shopping, or even when you’re simply out running errands, consider your options and try to support small businesses whenever you can. It will strengthen our communities – which in turn, will strengthen America!

Trucking Through The Pandemic!

Throughout this year, countless ‘ordinary’ Americans have stepped up in extraordinary ways that have helped us not just endure, but to move forward with a sense of ‘can do’ spirit and hope. As we’ve honored the essential workers on the frontlines of this pandemic, there’s one group who are often overlooked yet so very essential to our everyday lives and maintaining a sense of normalcy. Let’s celebrate and thank the truck drivers and other delivery people who brave the weather, the long hours and all the dangers – and in so doing, keep America moving.

Over this past weekend, I felt a great sense of American pride – as I watched the trucks get ready to roll out from the Pfizer plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan – with the first deliveries of the miracle vaccine. I couldn’t help but feel a tingle up my spine, a tug of emotion and a sense of gratitude – not only for those who had led the effort and developed the vaccine, but for the truck drivers – the everyday Americans, right there on a Sunday morning, doing their job and helping to sustain our American way of life.

Day in and day out, these individuals haul and deliver critical goods across the country and have consistently done so throughout the pandemic. They’re an essential part of our economy, and oftentimes, work through sleepless nights and long days, testing their limits, all while ensuring things are safely delivered to their final destination. While the guy in the red suit delivers on the 25th of December every year, these gentle giants play Santa Claus throughout the entire year.

During these unprecedented times the trucking industry has answered the call in unimaginable and selfless ways. When stores needed to restock to ensure essential items were available, truckers had to work double time to make it happen. When hospitals were in need of critical medical supplies, truck drivers and the trucking industry stepped up to ensure our frontline workers had the supplies they needed. For instance, Carter Express, a small midwestern based trucking company. When frontline workers in Nebraska were critically low on PPE supplies, Carter Express dispatched their drivers to nearby states in order to pick up available PPE. They collected and delivered over 500,000 PPE units to hospitals and healthcare clinics in need across the state. And, this example has been repeated hundreds, if not thousands, of times by trucking services and delivery people across our great nation during the past year.

Think back to a recent drive you took. While on the highway you passed an 18-wheeler. What were they hauling? Medical equipment, food, supplies, critical infrastructure materials?

The next time you’re on the road, and you pass a truck, give a wave, a thumbs up, and a smile. Now, more than ever, these drivers deserve it. Not only because it's the holiday season, but because they’re helping save lives and keeping our economy moving, preserving our cherished American way of life!

Positive Profile of the Week: Dick Hinch

Last week, the state of New Hampshire lost a great leader when the Speaker of the House, Dick Hinch, sadly passed away. Dick was the embodiment of the phrase ‘positive politics.’ He understood how to disagree while not being disagreeable and because of it, he was able to bring people together in unimaginable ways. The evidence of his unifying positive nature can be seen in that he was unanimously nominated out of his caucus to be Speaker of the House here in New Hampshire and then unanimously elected by the body of both Republicans and Democrats.

Dick was a Navy veteran from the Vietnam era who never stopped serving. A staple in Merrimack and New Hampshire politics for nearly 20 years, he had an infectious smile that lit up the room and a laugh to boot. One of the best descriptions I heard about Dick was that he was Santa Claus without the beard. His sudden and tragic death has left a void that will be so very difficult to fill. Dick constantly preached unity and working together in a positive and cooperative way.

While we will mourn the loss of this great man, I think it is important that we all take stock of his life and personality and try to incorporate those wonderful attributes that made him great into how we live our own lives. In good times and bad, he charged ahead, ever the happy warrior and his selfless nature is what allowed him to accomplish so much for so many. We will miss you Dick!

Quotes of the Week: Friendly and Nice

“It's very important that people know that I really enjoy everything that has happened to me. And I tell my kids... you're not going to be the tallest, fastest, prettiest, the best track runner, but you can be the nicest human being that someone has ever met in their life. And I just want to leave that legacy that being nice is a true treasure.”

George Foreman

“It is nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.”

John Templeton

“Nice guys finish first. If you don't know that, then you don't know where the finish line is.”

Garry Shandling

“Sometimes people aren't nice,' I began. 'Then why are you always telling me to be nice?' Because someone has to break the cycle. Kindness can be contagious. And it has to start somewhere, right?”

Heidi Pitlor, Impersonation

“Be nice to everyone, always smile and appreciate things because it could all be gone tomorrow.”

Ed Sheeran


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