An Open Apology To Dolly Parton 

What an insightful letter to a woman I greatly admire, and have for more than 45 years. After meeting Dolly the first trip to Nashville when I was just 13 years old, I’ve admired her incredible personal strength and integrity. Now, even moreso. Thank you, Dolly Parton!

Rawe-struck

Dear Dolly,

10040291_300x300I’ll be honest. I used to think you were a bimbo. I used to think you flaunted your big boobs, teased hair, tiny waist, and your syrupy-sweet southern accent just to sell yourself and your brand as a country singer. Granted, I was raised in the Midwest and lived as an adult for many years in the Northeast. I didn’t get you, much less the South.

For example, I’d heard about your origins as a poor girl from the hills of East Tennessee, and when I learned you’d created a theme park in your native Sevier County I rolled my eyes. “Really, a theme park?” I thought. “As if rollercoasters will really help the people of rural Appalachia. Why not create something truly useful to give back to your community, like a library.”

Oh.

You have created a library, actually, and possibly in a bigger and more…

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Finally Relevant…

For many ages, I wanted to be relevant. Finally, at 57, I thought I’d acquired some relevance to life. Then, I realized I’d been relevant all along.

relevance is a ripple in time

In time, you can’t be irrelevant. It’s impossible. Your existence makes a difference. You determine the value of that difference. The impact you have on your surroundings, on the people around you, and on the world are determined by who you are as a person. If you’re going to be a ‘ripple in the water’ be a ripple that changes the world for the better.

You, my dear friend, are relevant.

You make a difference. And you, only you, determine the ultimate value of your difference.

One morning I arrived downtown Denver, to meet a client. As I stepped out of the truck, parked against the curb, I noticed a man sitting against the restaurant where I intended to enter. I didn’t know him. But when he looked up, there was something about his eyes… As if he’d recognized me.

I smiled and spoke to him, just a greeting in passing. Everyone matters in my world, even the man siting against the wall.

During the meeting, I kept remembering his eyes.

As we finished our meeting, I asked the waitress if I could have a cup of coffee and a sandwich to go. She brought it in a white paper bag, and I left the cafe. The man had moved a bit further from the door, and he was knelt down on one knee, instead of seated by the wall, but he was still there. I walked up to him and offered him the bag with the sandwich and the coffee.

He smiled and said, “I thought I recognized you.”

The voice brought back a thousand memories as I sorted through the sudden recognition, trying to remember exactly where I’d known him from. It was there, at the back of my mind, but I still couldn’t place him.

I smiled, “I know the voice, and I recognize you as someone I know, but could you refresh my memory?”

“Mel,” he nodded.

“From the bank?” I asked, still needing confirmation.

“I helped you with a business loan. You had the prettiest little girls…” His voice trailed off and I watched the light disappear from his eyes.

“You had a daughter about the same age?” I asked to confirm.

“Her name was Betsy. She was just seven years old when they had the wreck…” He answered. “My wife and my little girl were killed by a drunk driver.”

I knew I was running out of time, I had another meeting. But his words explained his predicament, and I wanted to help him through the pain.

“Do you live near here?” I asked, hoping this wasn’t his residence. Homelessness was never a benefit, but I suspected he had no where else to go.

“I’m here most days…” He answered.

“I have another meeting near here, and then I’m free for a while this afternoon.” I began an explanation. “Eat your lunch, and I’ll be back here later and buy you dinner?”

He nodded and sat down against the base of the building where the sunlight warmed him.

“I’ll be waiting,” he opened the bag as I turned to leave.

“I’ll be back, Mel.”

As I drove away, I prayed for answers, solutions, and ideas. I wanted to help him. I needed to offer him something. He’d been kind, helpful, and generous, when I needed help. The loan he’d helped me to obtain had made a huge difference in my business back then, and now. It had been the basis for developing the business I had built.

When I returned a few hours later, he looked a bit more put together, perhaps cleaner? I parked the truck again and walked across the sidewalk to where he sat. “Are you hungry?” I asked.

“I am,” his answer was soft. He smiled. He stood up and we walked together into the diner. He nodded politely to the waitress, and she nodded in return before directing us to a table near the front window. We sat down and she brought us coffee and water.

He drank both, then ordered off the all-day breakfast menu. I ordered the same, and he told me about losing his wife and little girl. I asked about his family, and he reminded me that his parents had long since passed, and his in-laws had never been close. Grief had stolen his life from him, and now… he existed as best he could, but he wanted more.

I had little to offer other than encouragement. I gave him a business card, with my number and told him to call me.

It was several months later when I heard from him again.

He had found a place to live, a job, and he was working hard to take back his life. I talked to him a few days back. He’s doing quite well, and he reminded me that seeing me had made a difference. I had reminded him that people do care.

I’m relevant. He’s relevant. YOU are relevant. People do care.

Please visit my site at JanVerhoeff.com and let’s tell your story. Because you matter.

Some of my favorite deals…

RealDealsMagazine.net – a Lamar, Colorado based publication offers Real MomDeals from local business owners. I remember spending days shopping downtown on Main Street. Mom would park the car out in front of Penney’s or Peery Electric, and we’d walk around visiting the shops. Mom would stop and talk to friends. And we’d head home several hours later, after a stop at the Corner Pharmacy for a cherry coke with bags and boxes filled to overloading with goodies from our shopping trip.

I want to do that again.

I really miss my mom.

Write for Profit – Writer Progress

When a writer gets online and starts promoting their work via Internet, writing becomes the only real option. Whether you write for actual publication or for voice over, writing is part of the promotional process.

But does it work?

How much can a book increase your profits? Publishing a book and promoting it on the Internet can give you the competitive edge. In fact, it can make your business profitable online. Simply having a book published gives you credibility. Continue reading “Write for Profit – Writer Progress”

My Utmost for His Highest

Some days you just can’t get everything accomplished, no matter how hard you try. Those are the days when it’s best to step back and realize that time, your chores, your accomplishments, and all are in God’s hands. No matter what you do, you won’t accomplish all that YOU want to accomplish. But, if you put the day and your wishes in God’s hands, you’ll accomplish all that HE wants you to accomplish.

That’s what trusting is all about. Trusting the Lord to order your days and accomplishments according to His Will means doing your best and allowing Him control over the rest. If you’re hoping to accomplish great things…

Try this:

 Give Him your day in your first morning prayers. Invite Him to determine your successes and failures for the day. Ask His guidance for your day.

Give praise and thanks for the miracles of life and wonders of your life experiences.

Bill Clarke Remembers the OJ Connection to Nathan

April 20Th, 1986, 10 PM

I was watching 9 News to see if my lucky Lotto Picks on the Colorado Lottery would bring me a one in a million fortune.  It did not, so I was going to head to bed.

At this very moment my son, Nathan, age 23, was clocking out a Ruth’s Chris, a Denver Lodo restaurant that he had worked at since they opened three years ago.

At this moment Debbie Cameron was picking up food for herself and her daughter, Heather, age 9.

Duncan Cameron,  at this moment was waiting in the Parking Garage that both his estranged wife Debbie and my son Nathan used. It sits in the middle of downtown Denver on 15Th between the old Denver Dry on 16Th and California and Neusteders, two departments stores that had gone condo.

Duncan wanted to beg Debbie to come home with him.  Her six month lease was up and he was tired of the trial separation.  Heather and Debbie were not living with him and Debbie had it in her mind not to return to this controlling environment.

Duncan was a former Prosecuting Attorney in the Denver DA’s office and had a list of upscale clients on his agenda that he could no longer care about.

Heather was a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado and was a successful accountant.  

Nathan was a graduating Senior at the University of Northern Colorado and had plans to move out of the downtown loft after graduation on May 11Th.  Tonight he was headed over to his Mom’s to study all night in peace and quiet.

Before he headed over there he had boxes in his car to take up to his loft since he was moving.  He drove into the parking garage only to witness Duncan stabbing Debbie to death with a knife.  Nathan stopped and got out, and confronted Duncan with pepper spray.

Duncan not only had the knife he had his pistol. He shot Nathan once in the face, the bullet crashing into the C2 C3 vertebrae.  Duncan then turned to his wife and blamed her for what he had done to Nathan and shot her multiple times. 

Debbie and Nathan died that night. 

Duncan died on the following Tuesday 18 miles from Barstow on the Interstate.  He had fled Colorado, stolen plates in New Mexico and was headed to LAX to fly to New Zealand where he knew he would not be extradited because of our death penalty. He was stopped by a California Highway Patrol Officer. His stolen plates were falling off. 

Duncan ate a bullet out of his own gun, rather that go to jail. 

Duncan knew this:   You may not get death for stabbing your wife, but the odds are much higher if you kill the witness.

The city reacted.  This was front page news for a week.  Debbie’s friends knew immediately that Duncan had killed Debbie because Duncan saw OJ get off for killing Nicole and Ron Goldman, and he figured he would get off too.

Debra Norville sent a crew to Denver because of the OJ tie in.  They asked me in an interview what I thought of the Goldman’s lawsuit.  I replied it was a waste of time.  They used my sound clip and mentioned my only comfort is found in the Lord.

Today, September 16Th, 2007,  I see that OJ is in cuffs and he is in Clark (how appropriate) County jail without bail.

Oh, yes, Shall we Dance with Angels?

Shall we rejoice?

Bill Clarke

Impact – Marketing for Traffic Generation

Jan Verhoeff is an Article Marketer, using Information and Content to drive traffic. Her methods work! If you’re interested in knowing the secret of Article Marketing and how to make serious IMPACT on your website traffic patterns, claim your copy of this Dynamic Article Marketing Report at IMPACT right now. You too can maximize traffic on your website with the information out of this report.