Saturday, July 21, 2018

Bisbee Life Coach

Hey there! Well, here I am saying one thing and doing another. I promised more blog posts and we’re half-way through 2018 and I’m already up to #2. Woo Hoo!!

Procrastination is one of my biggest enemies. Habits die hard, and for me this is probably the worst. It’s not that I don’t have great intentions, it’s that I don’t intend to do it right now. OK, well…I’ll work on fixing that. Later, perhaps.

So, Miss Debbie and I were talking about how we might contribute to our new community and as we looked around we saw a need for basic life skills.  You know, cooking, cleaning, applying for a job, being nice to your neighbors, changing a tire, balancing a checkbook, maintaining positive relationships, not ending up in prison…the sort of thing every Mom and Dad worries about.

Look at us…married for 40+ years, a 30-year military career, four kids of our own. Why can’t we help folks that need to learn a few basics about life, right? We’ve been there, done that, and got lots of t-shirts.

After a little research on-line, I found a Master’s Certificate Program on Life Coaching through Grand Canyon University (GCU)…the Lopes, with a campus in the Phoenix metro area. They have an on-line program so no classroom commutes.  I still have some VA education benefits left to use and, BAMM…just like that, I’m a student again. And to top it off…PURPLE is their color, and so is mine!

I’ve completed about 75% of the course now with one class to go. Yay, me!  I’ve learned some pretty valuable things about how to give people a hand up instead of just a hand out. With the help of a generous fellow student, I started a business called “Bisbee Life Coach”, designed to help anyone who has the motivation to better their life by utilizing three principles that I put together.

DISCOVER – discover where you are today, how you got here, and where you want to be in the future.

FOCUS – focus on creating a road map that you can use to reach your goals in life.

SUCCEED – reach the destination that you’ve always wanted to, but never had been able to achieve, and celebrate your success.

As a first-step, we started teaching Basic Life Skills using a workbook written by Nancy Harper as our guide. It’s called, “Life Skills Essential for Personal Growth on the Ever Changing Road of Life”. I found the subject matter to be pertinent and presented simply. In June we started our first-ever Basic Life Skills class with four students.

So far, so good…but I’m quickly discovering the first real battle is finding folks who not only NEED this information, but who are COMMITTED to actually doing something on their own behalf. As I talk with various people around town, it becomes apparent that there is a certain lack of motivation. Seems that many say they want to improve their lives, but just aren’t willing to do what it takes to change their behavior to do so. It’s a real quandary.
This quote may or may not have been said by Einstein, but the point is nonetheless true. I’ll use myself as an example. Remember that problem I have with procrastination? Well, occasionally it gets me into trouble. I know I’ve got to get a paper done for my school by midnight. In fact, I’ve known about it for a week. And yet here I am once again, an hour before midnight, working feverishly to get that paper done and submitted before the deadline. I’ve done it my whole adult life. In fact, I likely learned it as a kid in grade school. It’s INSANE!

The results are always the same…adrenaline rush, fatigue, sweaty palms, stress, and promises to myself that it’ll never happen again. Personally, I blame the instructors for my problem (shifting blame). I often do some of my best work when under the gun. I rationalize my procrastination because I “always get a good grade” in the end.
But that’s what we all do when it comes to making changes in our lives. We fall back on our old routines. We stay in our comfort zone. We don’t rock the boat. If it works, don’t fix it. But if we’re honest with ourselves (and too often we aren’t) we need to admit that although old habits die hard, new habits can take us to new heights of success.

Now I’m starting to sound like some of my professors, so I’ll quit now. I hope that you, like me, will be able to make improvements to your behavior that will make a positive change in your day-to-day life. I’m still a work in progress…so don’t give up on me yet.

Find me on Facebook by searching for Bisbee Life Coach, or on the web at 


-  Papa Chief


Monday, February 19, 2018

Life Changing Moments
I’ll admit…I’ve been lax in pumping out regular blogs to Core Crow.  I plan to rectify that deficiency.  Perhaps it can be construed as a New Years resolution.  But really, it’s just that I enjoy writing and want to do so more often.
Since writing my last blog a year ago, a LOT has changed.  My life is completely different than it was just 6-months ago.  It’s been a bit of an adjustment, but…so far…a welcome one.  Let me tell you about it with a little background info to set the stage.
On 30 May 2017, my wife and I celebrated 40-years of knowing each other.  I met my soon-to-be child bride on Monday, 30 May 1977, in Weingarten, Missouri at the home of her parents.  I was 17-years old, and she looked to be all of about 14 at the most.  Unlike the ‘Once Upon a Time’ stories, I didn’t ride in on a white stallion ready to slay the dragon and free her from her castle prison.  And likewise, she wasn’t in her finest silk and lace gown crying for help to the first handsome prince that happened to come along.  No, it was a little less dramatic than that, or more so depending on your seat in the gallery.
I’m not sure what I was wearing; probably bell bottom blue jeans and a button-down shirt of some kind.  This dude on the left was probably pretty close.  But my hair was definitely at least 6-inches above the top of my head, and around the sides, and back, in the most perfect of afro’s a 70’s guy could hope for.  I guess you could say it was my crown of glory here on earth.  I had a bigger fro than any of the black guys I knew.  It was a work of art.  I was a babe magnet.  Don’t be jealous.  I’m just stating the facts as I remember them.
I was with my Dad when I walked into her parent’s house that day.  Our parents were old friends from years before we were both born.  I suppose for Dad it was a reunion of sorts.  17-year old kids don’t really care about old people’s relationships, so I’m just guessing.  As I stood in the living room watching them greet each other like old pals at a high school reunion, around the corner was peeking this young lass who looked all of 13 or 14 at the most.  I had previously been told she would be headed off to summer camp the following week.  As Ray Stevens once sang, “There she stood in all her radiant beauty”, wearing an old t-shirt above Daisy Duke shorts, barefooted, and her hair up in rollers.  Marty McFly said it best; “You are my density”.
After some courteous hellos she disappeared, only to reappear some time later looking like she must have sent out her older sister; wearing a strappy little sun dress, platform heels, long brunette curls hanging down a little brown face, but with that same shy smile beneath the chocolate brown eyes.  At the behest of her parents later that night, she sat down at the piano and it happened.  The cygnet I had seen only a few hours before began playing and singing like the graceful lead in a ballet performance of Swan Lake.  Being from a musical family myself, interest was inserted into my youthful head.  The story was beginning. 
At some point she went into the kitchen to fix us something to eat and I followed.  It was the first time we had a chance to speak without the hovering parents around.  Somewhere in our conversation I discovered she was not 14…rather, she was 18.  Huh???  A year OLDER than me? And how about that summer camp trip next week?  She wasn’t a kid looking forward to making a macramé coin purse.  She was one of the counselors.  My pulse increased…but I remained cool, calm and collected…like Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood or 0-0-7.  My casual reply?  “You know…you’re going to make someone a good wife someday”.  That’s it?  That was the Rhett Butler to Scarlet O’Hara line that you chose Billy Boy?  <insert eye roll here>  I’m an idiot!  She politely giggled like good little school girls are supposed to do while twirling her hair.  I was moronic at best.  She was intoxicating!
The Shady Dell - 1957 Airfloat
Fast forward 40 years later and that same little grown up girl and I found ourselves in the little town of Bisbee, Arizona.  We were renovating a 1957 camping trailer and I had found a campground with all vintage trailers you could rent like a motel room called The Shady Dell.  We went there to celebrate that day we met and spent the weekend in a 1957 Airfloat camper.  We had a blast! 
For those who’ve never been to Bisbee, or even heard of it, it’s an old copper mining camp that has since flourished into a sort of hippie enclave mixed with more traditional free spirits located a mile up in the Mule Mountains in southeastern Arizona only 5-6 miles from the Mexican border.  It’s about as diverse a group of people as you’ll find; rich in history but with a laid-back vibe, now that the mines are closed.  Old Bisbee reminds us of Europe with it’s winding little streets, hillside homes, and various collections of mom-and-pop businesses.  The Warren district (where we live) was the first planned residential community in Arizona and was established several years before Arizona became a state in 1912.  Like our experiences living in the Azorean island of Terceira or what you might find in Hawaii where we discovered the concept of “island time”, we also found the same philosophy known as “Bisbee time”.  When planning anything you must consider the fact that most time stamps end in “-ish”.  The unofficial town motto: “Bisbee: Like Mayberry on Acid”.    

Lavender Jeep Tours
With no industry to speak of anymore, Bisbee caters to tourists who fill the streets, especially during summer months and weekends when the temperature is 15-20 degrees lower than in the Tucson or Phoenix valleys.  They offer a Lavender Jeep Tour, and we chose to take a ride in the open-air Jeep to see what Bisbee had to offer.  After seeing Old Bisbee’s unique houses, the Copper Queen Hotel, mercantile, Brewery Gulch and learning about its western cowboy and mining roots, we headed past the open pit mine down to Warren along a wide stretch of grass called Vista Park where folks have a picnic, play with their dogs, throw footballs to the kids, enjoy a game of tennis or visit the Farmer’s Market each Saturday. 
Across from the market is the oldest continuously used baseball field in America. Warren Ballpark was built in 1909; 5-years before Wrigley Field. Through its long history it saw the likes of such baseball legends as Babe Ruth, Jim Thorpe and Hal Chase.  The New York Giants and Chicago White Sox were the first major league teams to play there in 1913.  Along with many major and minor league teams, local teams beat up the turf as well.  Today it’s the home of the Bisbee High School Puma’s who play both baseball and football on the field and is host to a variety of other events such as the annual Mariachi Festival and car show.  It was also the site of the forced gathering of striking mine workers in the infamous "Bisbee Deportation" of 1917.
Warren Ballpark
Along the Vista and a stone’s throw from the farmer’s market and ballpark, our Jeep tour stopped in front of a lovely old craftsman style home that the driver told us was the John Treu Home, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  John Treu was a butcher who owned a meat market in Old Bisbee in the early 20th century.  He had lived there with his wife and three children after it was built in 1919. Several years later it was sold to a local legend in mining and banking, Lemuel C. Shattuck after marrying his new bride, Mary. Along the wrought iron fence in front was a nice big sign.  For Sale!

The John Treu House - National Register of Historic Places
Without boring you with details…we sold our house in the Phoenix valley and bought the John Treu house, moving to Bisbee within 2-months.  It was in this home that we celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary on 26 November 2017.  To our friends it seemed like a sudden and snap decision.  But after 30-years of military life, it seemed like just another move.  But this time, to a cooler (literally) and quaint small town where we could enjoy life at a slower pace and actually get to know our neighbors again.
So, I offer my advice to my grandchildren and great-grandchildren who are bound to come along.  Be very very careful who you make a corny one-liner to in your youth.  It may just come back and cause you to live happily ever after.
Come visit!
-          Papa Chief

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Selection – Integrity

I recently watched an episode of the History Channel's newest show, “The Selection” entitled “Humility”.  If you’ve not seen the show, it’s a reality-based TV show where 30 candidates volunteer to enter into a selection process very similar to that of military special operations recruits…(think, Navy Seals, Green Berets, Army Rangers, etc).  I’ve watch each and every episode; sometimes cringing at the difficult tasks that each candidate is put through.  Many of the tasks are physical…many are mental…and all will test the strongest person you could find in body or psyche.  From 30 candidates…they were down to 5 remaining.

Here's a taste of the show; talking with an instructor about "perspective".  Check it out...

The Selection: Bonus - Have Perspective:
In the “Humility” episode, the theme of the exercises they participated in was a focus on ‘integrity’.  They were given a serious of ‘integrity stations’ where they had to perform a variety of physical tasks and do them exactly as expected to perfection, with no mistakes.  Unlike other tasks they had done in the past, this time they were not being watch by the instructors and so in lies the requirement to be honest with themselves and demonstrate integrity when no one is watching.

I like Webster’s definition for kids of the word ‘integrity’: “total honesty and sincerity”.  That’s pretty simple and easy to understand. 

C.S. Lewis put it another way…”Doing the right thing even when no one is watching”. 

Life is fraught with opportunities to put integrity to the test.  The sign at the stoplight might say, “No Right On Red”…and yet people do it anyway.  The boss might have a rule, “Using social media accounts during work time is prohibited”.  And still, people post on Facebook or Snapchat when the door to the office is closed.  And like the picture below, it usually doesn’t take much intelligence to figure out who is doing their part in holding up the log…and who isn’t.

No matter the situation, place or time, human nature proves time and again that a person’s integrity is a really hard thing to maintain.  Social status, wealth or position don’t seem to matter.  We can all cite examples of politicians, celebrities, pastors, teachers, police officers, or just the average ‘Joe’ on the street that can’t seem to maintain their integrity.  Religious affiliation doesn’t seem to matter either…Christian, Jew, Muslim, Bahá’í, Buddist, Hindu, or any other kind of religious order or cult.  They all have those who fail their own integrity station. 

But back to “The Selection” episode I referred to.  What the candidates didn’t know was that there were hidden cameras all along the trail and at each station, watching to see if they did each task correctly to perfection…and didn’t cheat. 
A couple of the instructors put the importance of integrity into perspective in a narrative form for those watching the show…and I really liked how the point was made.  Here’s part of what they said.

“Integrity is a dangerous thing, and I’ll put it in perspective.  Everybody wants to be on top of the mountain, but the problem now days is people want to get dropped off at the top of the hill and look down. You see the way we’re (Special Ops) taught is, you’re gonna claw, you’re gonna scratch, you’re gonna bite, you’re gonna dig, you’re gonna do whatever it takes to get to the top of that mountain.  And if somebody or something says you need to do 50 burpees (type of exercise) that’s just an obstruction in life.  That’s the symbolism.  The exercise means nothing.  You wanna climb up that mountain?   Integrity is key.

You know…imagine what you can get done in this world if nobody cares who gets the credit for it.  If there was any mindset that special operations has, it is selflessness.  It makes you feel liberated.  Anything that you do, as long as it’s for something that you believe in, there’s no effort, there’s no pride, there’s no ego…there’s just straight happiness. 

What’s so important about integrity and why hit it so much?  It’s not just about being in the military, it’s about life.  Why on earth would you want to short change something?  You lead by example.  And the reason why that integrity station is so key and so vital is that myself and every other instructor lead by example. 

Again, integrity can be contagious, and it’s a good thing.  So when we tell people, ‘hey…get from point A to point B and whatever the hell gets in your way, do it’, we want it done.  And what’s the end result by the time we get there?  Perfection.

I wanted to see if the team, even though they had been broken off as individuals would still work as one, right?  Because if everybody does 100 percent then it’s complete. 

People can see through bullshit.  And people can tell when people don’t have integrity.  It’s something that would not, and will not, be tolerated.”

Of course, as you might guess, one candidate failed the integrity test.  I found it humorous that the instructors used the same words I used to say to my girls growing up.  “I want you to tell me what you did wrong…and don’t lie to me, because I already know the answer.”  One candidate almost immediately stood up and admitted that he may have failed to count all the reps for one exercise and thinks he might have missed one or two.  The video proved him right.  Instead of 50…he only did 48. 

There was hell to pay, for sure.  The instructor looked him dead in the eye…read him the riot act…dressed him down…and then paused to stare him in the face.  What he discovered was true remorse for having failed.  The instructor, believing there was no ill intent, allowed the candidate to ‘think about what he’d done’ and stew on it for awhile…fearing he was about to be eliminated from the program. 

After some time the instructor announced the candidate would be allowed to repeat the exercise in its entirety and remain in the program.  But you want to know what was truly inspiring?  After getting chewed out and apologizing to his fellow candidates for failing the team, each of them tried to encourage him…admitting that any one of them might have accidently done the same.  They rallied around him in support.  And then…once it was announced he would have to repeat the exercise, all four of the remaining candidates said, “We’ll do it over with you”.  And they did. 

That, my friend, is comradery, teamwork, friendship, honesty, and integrity.  Those five candidates had been to hell and back…and they did it together.  What started as an individual quest, turned into a group effort.  They no longer did it for selfish reasons.  They did it for someone else.
Jesus Christ put it this way to his disciples: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Integrity – it’s a character trait worth dying for. 

- Papa Chief

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Post-POTUS Election Thoughts

As there has been some confusion concerning my political stance the last few days, I thought it prudent to clarify a few things.  These are MY views and do not necessarily reflect the views of other family members, friends, colleagues, neighbors, pastors, teachers, military members or the ice cream man down the road.  After this...I will shut up and attempt to steer clear of further politics about this election cycle!
First, I have no great love for Donald Trump. I did not vote for him. I think he was a lousy choice for POTUS, and I still think he is/was a pompous narcissist with some nutty ideas. I don't know if he is a Christian as he claims...that's between him and God. But he sure doesn't act like one. He's flipflopped on so many issues over the years that it's hard to keep up. And the outright lies, mockery and mischaracterizations about individuals is appalling. I blame the GOP for not coming together early on to put forward a much better candidate to rally behind. I think we had some decent choices. I pray that he does get some smart people to advise him...and that he listens to them very closely before making a knee jerk decision.

Second, I have no great love for Hillary Clinton. I did not vote for her. I think she would have been a lousy choice for POTUS, and I still think she is/was a politically self-centered and motivated individual who enjoyed the spotlight and position more than the country. I don't know if she is a Christian as she claims...that's between her and God. But she sure doesn't act like it. She's flipflopped on so many issues over the years that I need a hand brake to slow down my spinning head. She's not sorry about the e-mail debacle...she's sorry she got caught. She knew exactly what she was doing and what 'classified' meant. Every person who has ever had a role in government service knows what 'classified' means because it's drilled into your head every year, and you sign paperwork to acknowledge you know. Her role in Benghazi was a travesty of epic proportions. And when it comes to demonizing a womanizer...well, she should know. She lives with one.

Having said that, I understand why people voted for Trump over Hillary. Folks were tired of having liberal progressive ideas being crammed fist-first down their throats by the Obama administration and the DNC. Half the people in this country live in rural areas...not cities. What liberals see as progressive, positive change which brings us up out of the dark ages...much of the rest of the country sees as mind-numbing, negative destruction of the fabric of society as we know it. The majority of 'us' (including myself here) come from places with conservative values and strong patriotic beliefs. We believe in God, Country, Family, working hard for your apple pie and an expectation that charity is for those in need and not designed to be a way of life. We believe there is evil in the world and that putting lipstick on a pig doesn't change the fact that it's still a pig. There are bigots, racists and all other sorts of miscreants among us...but the vast majority of us are not like that and to put us in the same melting pot is just ignorant. For those who live in urban areas I'd recommend getting out of the city and find out more about your fellow Americans elsewhere.

I'm not an urbanite, so I'm not really qualified to describe who 'they' are. But this I do know. There are also liberal minded bigots, racists and all other sorts of miscreants among 'them'...but the vast majority of them are not like that and to put them in the same melting pot is just ignorant. I empathize with your devastation over your loss in the election. I felt the same way when I felt my country going down the tubes 8-years ago when Obama was elected. Much of what he promised to do, he actually did (or tried), and it's my belief our country is worse off for it. I'm sure he's a nice guy with a nice family, but I also believe he has single-handedly done more to destroy unity in our country than we have seen since the 1960's. I look forward to his exit, and wish him well in the next chapter of his life.

In conclusion, I want a sense of unity again in my country. The kind of unity we had right after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, or the radical Islamic terrorist attack of 9/11. I want to see the streets lined again with the red, white and blue. And I want us to revel in our diversity instead of being divided by it. In fact, I long for it. I will pray for our new POTUS just as I did for the one still in office today. I don't have all the answers. I'm sometimes wrong (like who will be the next POTUS), and so are you, my friends. My challenge is for us to quit boasting...and quit crying...and get back to living. Get out there and get on with...
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness!
Papa Chief

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Graduation Dreams - Worry Not

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the high school graduation of my great niece. I was so very proud of her! Graduations are a time of excitement, anticipation and encouragement mixed with a healthy dose of fear. What lies ahead? What will become of my friends? What events will change my life? The unknown is always mysterious.

These are good times, and as I reflected on this class of 2016 my thoughts raced back to my own daughter’s graduations and that of myself and even my siblings and parents. My…how things change from what we thought we would experience.  It’s just a guess, but I suppose most of us do not follow a given path, outlined as we would have imagined at the age of 18.  

My Mom and Dad both graduated high school after World War II.  Dad was from a small town in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas called Witts Springs.  These were country folks…backwoods…poor.  City folks would consider them hillbillies with their simple ways, southern drawls, lack of indoor plumbing, toilets or, in some cases, still washing their clothes on a washboard down at the crick.  As I recall, Dad graduated high school with about 8 or 10 other students, and he was at the top of the class!  

Mom was raised on an island in the middle of the Mississippi River south of St. Louis called Kaskaskia, IL.  It’s a farming community although many residents took odd jobs or worked for Mississippi Lime Company across the bridge in Missouri.  They were also considered mostly poor but, in my estimation, a bit more refined than my Arkansas relatives.  Mom went to school on the island in the early years and then in nearby St. Genevieve, MO where she graduated as valedictorian of her class.  
I graduated high school in Jonesboro, AR…wife Debbie in Farmington, MO.  Due to my 30-year Air Force career, my daughters ended up in various schools far from our roots; my eldest graduating in Niceville, FL and our three youngest from Lajes Field, Azores, Portugal.  

But back to my original thoughts on graduation.  

As I scanned the most recent class of 297 students I couldn’t help but think about their futures.  Some were destined for Ivy League colleges, some for engineering schools, and others for regional or community colleges.  A couple were heading to military academies while others most likely would attend trade schools or never attend college at all. 

There were notable differences in ethnicity….Anglo, African-American, Latino, Pakistani, Indian, Native American, Polynesian, Chinese, etc.  Yet each of them and their families had similar dreams and hopes for their sons and daughters.  

Some will be very successful in business; a few will become wealthy beyond our imagination and perhaps even famous.  There will be doctors, lawyers, politicians, teachers, engineers, business owners and corporate executives.  Some will become full time Mom’s and homemakers, entrepreneurs, or become experts in their chosen fields of automotive or computer trades.  Some may become military leaders (yay!) or politicians (shudder).  The sky is literally the limit!

But there’s the downside to life beyond graduation too.  Some will ultimately become drug addicts and prison inmates.  Others may live a life based on government assistance.  Still others will become homeless. Some will be victims of terrible crime, and a few will likely be dead before reaching the age of 30.  

Life is precious.  Life is unpredictable.  Life is…well…life.  

So, hold on to your dreams…work hard…play hard…but try to be safe.  Find love, laughter, and in all things I pray that you find God along the way.  For when HE is the central core of your goals and dreams, then I’ve discovered most everything else will fall into place, and there is very little to worry about.  


Papa Chief