Friday, December 30, 2016

Wishing You Happy New Mistakes!

In my final post of the year, I wanted to share a couple of more thoughts on the importance of mistakes.

To quote Samuel Beckett again:  
Ever tried. Every failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

Another way to look at it is John C. Maxwell's lesson on "mistakes."  Growth is a process of trial and error, experimentation and improvement.  But every time you win or lose — especially when you lose— you will have the opportunity to ask yourself, “What did I learn?”  If you ask that question and discover the answer to that question, then you will go far in 2017 and always.  And you will enjoy the journey.

Perhaps English author Neil Gaiman puts it best:

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something.

So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”

So, my wish for us in 2017 is to ever try new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing the world.  Fail?  Don’t freeze, don’t stop.  Ask, “What have I learned?”  Don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or isn’t perfect.  Whatever you’re scared of doing, Do it!

Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn. 

Happy Glorious Mistake-ridden New Year.
Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn


Thursday, December 29, 2016

A Place For Everything . . .

It’s the time of year — between Christmas and New Year — when I start to re-organize my goals list.  I say “re-organize” because it’s basically the same undone list, just organized in a different format.

This year's goals include gaining twenty pounds, never exercising, eating more junk food, working twice as much for less pay . . . (we'll see if reverse psychology works).  

Seriously, this year, one of my top goals is the old proverb: “A place for everything, everything is its place.” 

The notion that everything should have a place to be stored and that it should be tidily returned there when not in use.

This proverb is most commonly associated with Benjamin Franklin in the U.S.

Not surprisingly, several other early citations are from nautical contexts (considering the need to conserve space and promote tidiness aboard ship).

"In a well-conducted man-of-war everything is in its place, and there is a place for everything.”
Frederick Marryat's Masterman Ready; or the Wreck of the Pacific, 1842

My 2017 Challenge #1)  Finding a “place” for everything – shelves, drawers, closets, cabinets . . .

Challenge #2) How much of “Everything” do I keep and choosing what to jettison.

I’ve set this goal for several years now; only time will tell how well I do this year.

The first thing I’ll organize?  The over three decades of “How To Organize Your Life” books that adorn my shelves!

And all the rest?  I’m wondering if a rented storage shed counts as a “place”?

Wish me luck.  Carpe Diem Life,

David Kuhn

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Ever Tried? Ever Failed? Read on . . .

I’ve been reading One Continuous Mistake by Gail Sher.  In it, she writes about your working wholeheartedly (on whatever it is you’re passionate about) will involve mistake after mistake in order to master your craft.  The secret to success is to not only keep working on what you’re already good at but to be courageous enough to go in the darkness. 

Practice = One Contentious Mistake.  We learn so much from our mistakes because they require us to analyse where we went wrong and invent fresh strategies. 

At one point she quotes Samuel Beckett, the Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet, who lived in Paris for most of his adult life and wrote in both English and French (thank you Wikipedia):

It’s even a very popular tattoo for many people

including tennis star Stan Wawrinka's.

What are you working on?  Ever tried.  Ever failed.  No matter.  Try again.  Fail again.  Fail Better.

Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Many Happy Returns and . . .

While yesterday was officially my Merry Decompression Day, I did have to get out and run a few errands.  One trip to Rural King reminded me of something else the 26th of December is:  DREADED RETURNS DAY!

According to market research firm IHL there are an estimated $642.6 billion in annual returns from consumers globally, while a study from Shorr Packaging suggests eCommerce return rates account for more than 30% of total eCommerce sales.

Some leading causes of these returns include unwanted gifts, defective merchandise, wrong sizes/items, return fraud, and buyer’s remorse.

Of course, that's a lot of "stuff" kept, too.  A lot.  So, what do do with all the boxes the stuff came in and what do do with all the old stuff that the new stuff is replacing?

Here's one interesting solution;  Goodwill offers donors a convenient method for donating clothing and household items using participating retailers' boxes and free shipping via the Give Back Box.

How The Give Back Box Works

1) Open Your Box

Goodwill Industries International partners with a number of leading online retailers to offer the Give Back Box and strengthen our mission of creating jobs in communities across North America.

[Goodwill’s site list retailers that are participating]

2) Pack Your Box
Gather the clothing and small household items in your household and pack them securely in your box.

3) Send Your Box

Visit to generate and print a label to mail your donations to Goodwill for free. You can drop off your package at a local UPS store or notify your local United States Postal Service representative of your parcel.

Check out for their unique and inspiring story.

Many Happy Returns and Many Happy Donations!

Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn


Monday, December 26, 2016

When is Christmas Like Deep Sea Diving?

Spending a couple of days celebrating Christmas with family (both sides across two states) is like deep sea diving:  You never know what treasure you’re going to uncover or what wrecks you’re going to encounter.

I’ve read where deep sea divers sometimes need a hyperbaric chamber to treat or prevent  decompression sickness after coming back to the surface (a.k.a. reality) too fast.

That’s why I’m officially naming today "Decompression Day"

Unfortunately, I don’t have access to a hyperbaric chamber.  So, my treatment will included:

Talking the day off from work
Sleeping in late and waking up without an alarm
Disconnecting from the phone and outside world
Taking in oxygen in the form of a deep breathing
Taking a walk or hike outdoors
Putting things away and getting the house in order
Taking a nap

How are you spending your day?

Merry Decompression Day!

Carpe Diem Life.
David Kuhn

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Spirits of Christmas . . .

This is my 57th Christmas Season.  And this morning, as I’ve often done on Christmas Eve, I stopped by St. Joseph Cemetery to visit my Parents and Grandparents.

Spirits of Christmas . . .

Past:  It’s enlightening to me how just one or two arbitrary dates on a calendar can inspire our body (sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touch), our mind (memories), and our spirit (emotions and feelings). 
As I look at the dates on the gravestones, I’m reminded how few Christmas I actually spent with . . .

Grandpa Kuhn, 3
Grandma “Louie” Riley, 25
Granny Kuhn, 30
Grandpa “Louie” Riley, 33
Dad, 47
Mom, 53

Present:  This morning they taught me to never take Christmas with friends and family for granted.

Yet to Come:  They also reminded me that each and every “present” that is the dash between “Born - Death” is a special gift. 

“Lead on! Lead! The night is waning fast, and it is precious time to me.  I know. Lead on, Spirit[s]!”
        — Scrooge, Charles Dickens' “A Christmas Carol”

Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn

Friday, December 23, 2016

Are You Ready for Christmas?

This writer’s gift to you this Christmas Season is something written long ago by Henry Jackson van Dyke (November 10, 1852 – April 10, 1933). He was a prolific American author, educator, and clergyman.

Are You Ready for Christmas?
Are you willing to stoop down
and consider the needs and desires of little children;

to remember the weaknesses and loneliness of people
 who are growing old;

to stop asking how much your friends love you,
and to ask yourself whether you love them enough;

to bear in mind the things that other people have to bear on their hearts; trim your lamp so that it will give more light and less smoke,

and to carry it in front so that your shadow will fall behind you;

to make a grave for your ugly thoughts
and a garden for your kindly feelings, with the gate open?

Are you willing to do these things for a day?

Then you are ready for Christmas!

– Henry Van Dyke

Carpe Diem Life,
Merry Christmas,
David Kuhn

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Are You Nuts?

Headline in the paper the other day: “Find your soul’s harbor this season, try going nuts by writing in a journal”

What’s so nuts about journal writing?  I’ve done it for over 40 years now!

Upon closer inspection, I quickly realized that I had combined headlines from two different stories that were side-by-side:  “Find your soul’s harbor by writing in a journal” & “This season, try going nuts”

Of course, I had to log that gaff in my journal.

Barbara Stahura, a certified journal facilitator who guides people in harnessing the power of journaling, wrote about journals being your soul’s harbor.  Betsy Nearing, Evansville’s Dr. Betsy, wrote about the health benefits of snacking on nuts. 

Journals are perfect for logging observations, ideas, to-do lists, and expressing thoughts and feeling about any aspect of life. Good for the mind and spirit.

Nuts are high in fiber, protein, magnesium, antioxidants, etc. Good for the body. 
If you’re looking for a couple of positive gifts to give yourself this Christmas, find your soul’s harbor this season, try going nuts by writing in a journal! 

Good for the body, mind, and spirit.

Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Surreal News

Was 2016 a dream or a nightmare?

Try something in between: “surreal,” which is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year, unveiled Monday.

Meaning “unbelievable, fantastic,” the word joins Oxford’s “post-truth” as the year’s top choices.
“It just seems like one of those years,” said Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster’s editor at large.
The company tracks year-over-year growth and spikes in lookups of words on its website to come up with the top choice. This time around, there were many periods of interest in “surreal” throughout the year, often after a tragedy, Sokolowski said.

Major spikes came after the Brussels terrorist attack in March and again in July, after the Bastille Day massacre in Nice. Both received huge attention around the globe and had many in the media reaching for “surreal” to describe both the physical scenes and the “mental landscapes,” Sokolowski said.
The single biggest spike in lookups came in November, he said, specifically November 9, the day Donald Trump went from candidate to president-elect.

The word “surreal” didn’t exist until around 1924, after a group of European poets, painters and filmmakers founded a movement they called Surrealism. They sought to access the truths of the unconscious mind by breaking down rational thought (it came into its own in 1937).

Carpe Diem Surreal Life,
David Kuhn

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

A Couple Of Shopping Lessons

 Took some time yesterday to do some Christmas shopping.
Or, as I like to call it with only 6 days till Christmas: WAITING IN CHRISTMAS LINES! 

First stop was the post office.  Just needed a roll of stamps (non-Christmas for a non-Christmas mailing).
Bad news: The line was out the door.
Good news: Had a nice conversation with an older woman who was needing stamps to mail her Christmas cards and letters.  A widow; children moved far away.  She said that she knows that Christmas cards and letters are old-fashioned, but it’s her way of staying connected with distant relatives and old friends.   Says that it’s worth patiently waiting in line to make sure that her “2016 Story” gets to them in time for Christmas. 

Next stop was a store where every register line was way backed up.  One woman in front of me was rather rude and boisterous.  Kept making snide remarks about the woman at the head of the line using coupons and making an even slower go of it.  Finally, a line opened up to our left and the impatient woman bolted to that one.  She actually told the rest of us that she felt sorry for our for having to wait in our line behind the coupon lady.

A shopper behind me tapped me on the shoulder and asked, “Isn’t that the . . . ?“  We smiled.  Sign over the register clearly read:  REFUNDS AND RETURNS.

Christmas Shopping Karma can be a b#$@%, well, you know.

Driving to my next stop, I  got stuck in traffic.  A LONG traffic line where there really shouldn’t be one. I could see the man up ahead impatiently throwing up his arms and shaking his head.  As we inched forward and around the bend, I could finally see the cause:  emergency personnel cleaning up the last of an accident.

I’m thankful that we have dedicated men and women who rush in to help others in need. Worth being patient for!

Finally, I crossed paths with an old co-worker and friend (If you’re reading this, good morning Char).  We spent a little time catching up.  Not a lot of detail, just enough to know that we were once connected in this world and, somehow, still are and always will be.

Which leads be back that woman at the post office, patiently waiting to deliver her Christmas letters.
Her gift to me this Christmas was showing me patience in the long line of adversity.  And, that staying connected is important, if even if it's just once a year. 

Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn

Monday, December 19, 2016

Star Gazing

What’s your favorite Christmas decoration?

This weekend we did a little Christmas decorating—very little.  This year we have our 5-year-old granddaughter and our 18-month-old grandson who, as reported by our daughter, is at that age where he's on a constant “seek-and-destroy” mission.  So, we did the minimum— and most of that was up high.

One of the things I did hang up is my favorite ornaments in the whole world.  You couldn’t tell that just by looking at them. They’re faded, curling over, brittle:  Paper stars. 

They’re from a tradition that started when our older daughter was very young.  We decorated homemade paper stars that adorned the top of our tree each year.  When daughter number two came along, we had two stars. 

Some are close to perfect 5-point stars; most are a little asymmetrical.  There are the toddler years with just scribbles; pre-school years with some added glitter; middle school years are more complex and thoughtful; then we move to the teenage, “Dad, do I have to? Let’s just hurry and get this over with!” stars.

Then there were no more stars.

Kids grow up and grow out of traditions.  I was a kid once.  I understand. 

But, that didn’t stop me from saving the stars and hanging them up every Christmas.  One year, seeing that they were starting to fade and deteriorate in the 11-months of attic heat, I attempted to laminate them.  I guess I was thinking I could stop their inevitable demise.  I can’t of course.

Curling over.
I stand reflecting on those stars while I am able— reflecting on the things that are important to me this Christmas.

And a Christmas Hope:   That I can slow down my grandkids long enough to have them craft new stars for me.  Whether that happens our not, I’ll be with my family . . . counting my lucky stars.

Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn

Friday, December 16, 2016

Ever Played Pinball?

Big flippin' news in Indiana yesterday:  Kokomo, Indiana, has finally reversed its 61-year-old pinball ban.

According to George Myers of The Kokomo Times, the ban was originally put in place following a unanimous decision by the Kokomo City Council in 1955. The mayor and the council decided that the machines were games of chance and technically could be considered gambling devices that threatened "peace and good order."

Peace and good order?

In my first video editing suite/office, I had brought in an “Abracadabra” machine in the corner for clients to play.  A couple of the partners in the building told me to remove it because it wasn't "professional."  But, before I could move it out,  the marketing director of a major bank came in for an all-day edit.  He walked in, looked at the machine and his eyes lit up like a pinball machine.  I edited the project; he played pinball and totally enjoyed the process.  Everyone was happy— except the partners who shot me one of those "don't say anything" looks.

My favorite pinball machine was a Gottlieb “Countdown” machine at The Duck Inn.  I first played it when I was only . . .  well, let's just say when I was a "young boy."  A few years later, I asked my wife to marry me while playing that pinball machine.

After we were married, I went back to The Duck Inn to see if they'd sell the machine, only to discover it had been taken out by the vending company.  A call to them revealed that it had been sold.  After being bounced around like a, well, you know what, I eventually tracked down the new owners and bought the machine as an Anniversary Gift.

For over three decades now we've played it, our family and friends have played it,  our two girls and their friends have played it,  and now our grandkids play a mean pinball (sorry, I couldn't resist).

Congratulations Kokomo for bringing back pinball.

Who knows, perhaps 30 years from now some old pinball wizard from Kokomo will write his story about his favorite pinball machine! 

Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Plod On!

The letter P in my Carpe Diem Life acronym means, to me, Persistence.  I heard a phrase today that might fit even better:  Plod On.

The actual quote from a book by Gail Sher, “Plod on.  Plodding onward— even when you’re in the wrong mood— plod on.”

I’m not sure that I’ve ever heard the phrase; I know I’ve never used it.  However, I love the descriptively blunt tone of plod on.  For me, it conjures up an image of an old workhorse plowing a field.  Laboriously trudging along under the weight of his burden, he glances up at the horizon and sees no end to the row he’s working.  He puts his head down and focuses just in front of him and plods on doggedly and slowly with heavy steps.  Plods on until the job is done.

Look up the work persistence and you’ll find thousands of intellectual quotes.  Look up plod on and you’ll find but a few.  The most quoted is by William Carey, an English Protestant missionary and Baptist minister, known as the "father of modern missions."

“I can plod. I can persevere in any definite pursuit. To this I owe everything.”
The next time you’re trudging along under the heavy burden of a project, look down and focus on the next step.  Then plod on!

C = Choose
A = Action List
R = Resources
P = Plod On
E = Evaluate your progress

D = Direction, change if necessary
I = Improve along the way
E = Enjoy the process, knowing that it’s
M = My responsibility.  My . . .


Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Superheroes II

When I wrote yesterday’s post on Superheroes, I was totally unaware that my 5-year-old granddaughter has been wearing a Superman costume around the house the past several days.  Says Annabeth, “I am Wonder Woman, and Owen is Super Baby. We've been saving our Carebears from evil fox critters.”

Classic superhero stuff:  Good vs. Evil!

If I could sit down and teach my grandkids a few things about superheroes, I'd include the following information:
  • Every superhero is unique.  The same is true of us.
  • Being different can give you super power.  Use your unique gifts to good use by serving others.
  • Even superheroes experience adversity.  “Why do was fall? So we can pick ourselves back up.” —  Batman
  • Life, even for superheroes, gets frustrating.  Perseverance is a superpower.
  • Superheroes (including police officers, firefighters, EMT’s, military, Annabeth’s dad) overcome their fears and run toward danger to help.
  • “You’re much stronger than you think you are. Trust me.” — Superman
  • “Life doesn’t give us purpose.  We give life purpose” — The Flash
  • “Someone must have ripped the ‘Q’ our of my dictionary, ‘cause I don’t know the meaning of the word ‘suit’.” — Mr. Furious

Finally, you don’t have to have superpowers to be a superhero.  You’ll be amazed at all the superhero things you can accomplish with a powerful mind, ambition, compassion, humility, etc.

Oh, and remember, you don’t have to try to save the world alone.  Batman has Robin, Sherlock Holmes has Dr. Watson, The Green Hornet has Kato, and . . .

Annabeth The Wonder Woman has her faithful sidekick, Owen The Super Baby. 

I can't wait to see their next adventure. 

What’s your next action adventure? 

Carpe Diem Life
David Kuhn

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


While Christmas shopping this weekend I saw a couple of small children dressed as superheroes, complete with cape.  The only thing missing was the superhero music.  Made me smile.

I imagined their parents fighting with them to get them dressed in what the parents had picked out to wear.  I could see the kids stomping their little feet and yelling, “No! We’re superheroes!”  Parents must have agreed.

National Public Radio ran a story this weekend on superheroes of sorts.  The story was about how one small company fought the evil forces of “employee burnout!” It focused on its call center and the long hours, repetitive work, young people in headsets hunched over long tables, talking eight to nine hours straight with customers.  Customers calling with problems. Customers demanding solutions. 

I can very much relate.

It’s not that such frontline jobs are “hard” that causes burnout.   And it’s not the makeup of the employee.  Research is pointing to the fact it's something about the situation, the social relationships, the makeup of job itself.

This company’s solution?  First, hire a couple more people to reduce the workload.  Seems obvious, right?  But it took a while for company managers to believe that the added salary would pay for itself in NOT having to spend so much money in constantly training new employees.  The second thing they did was start calling their customer service / call center workers “HEROES.”  They even went as far as to have a hero-appreciation day.  Everyone wore capes and, surprisingly, everyone go into it. After all, they are heroes to customers.

Sound juvenile and gimmicky?  Sure.  But today, that company’s call center, a classic burnout job, has zero turnover. 

What about you?  I know we all don’t work for companies that see us as heroes.  But, that shouldn't stop us from stomping our feet and yelling, “No!  We’re superheroes!”   Yesterday, I picked up some superhero tv/movie theme music to listen to on the way to work.  Why don't you try it? Cape optional.

Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn

Monday, December 12, 2016

Patina of Old Things

Went to a muzzleloading shooting contest Saturday.  Very traditional guns, loaded by pouring black powder down the barrel, wrapping a round ball with a patch, and ramming it down.  Very slow process. Especially in the COLD.

To explain how I got there Saturday, I have travel back nearly 40 years ago, back when I was a teenager.  My brother-in-law, a real history buff, was talking about shooting muzzleloaders with my dad (ex-army), and Dad seemed interested in it.  All that was in the back of my mind when I happened to run across a muzzleloader kit at a store one night.  So I bought it.  Didn’t wait for a birthday, or father’s day, or Christmas— just came home and gave it to him.  (I’m sure that he thought I just wanted him to put it together for me!)

He spent a lot of spare time on it.  Very meticulous.  I know that he was very proud of the way it turned out and seemed excited to want to go shoot.  And he did once or twice.  But then . . .

Work, family, grandkids, church, volunteering for multiple organizations . . .

Turn the page 30 years.  I received a phone call from my dad. Wanted me to come over to the house because he had something he wanted me to have.  This was shortly after Dad had been diagnosed with cancer; he was literally “putting his house in order.”

There, on the kitchen table, was the rifle which he had kept all those years in the back of a closet.

“David, I still don’t know exactly why you gave this gift to me, but . . . I just never . . .  took the time to shoot it and enjoy it.  I want you to have it . . .  IF (the words were coming painful slow) you promise to take the time to enjoy it!”

So, I contacted the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association and they introduced me to a couple who invited me to their farm near Friendship, Indiana, for a day of lessons and shooting.  Here is the first target I shot wth my Dad’s kit gun.  The first shot is the one lower right (I was pretty nervous).  The grouping at 6 O’Clock is the next three.  Adjusting my elevation, the fifth is the near 10X.

When I got home, Dad was eager to hear the story of the day.  I can still remember his smile when I showed him the target.

“We’ll go shooting when you get better,”  I promised.

He just smiled and nodded, knowing that we’d never get the chance.   We said goodbye to him the following October.

So turn the page 10 more years to this past Saturday.  With temperatures only in the 20s, I went shooting.  And, like I do every time I shoot, I took the gun Dad built 40 years ago. Funny, there’s usually one guy at these events who looks at my gun and says something like, “You gonna try to compete with that old cheap kit gun?”   I just smile and nod. (I know that when I don’t do well it’s always operator error.)

Not that the results are important to me, but I can report that my Dad and I won the match Saturday with that old cheap kit gun.  Thank you, Dad.

Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn

Friday, December 9, 2016

Trump, Hitler, and You!

Since 1927, Time magazine has named a Person of the Year (Man of the Year until 1999).  This  annual issue features and profiles a person, a group, an idea, or an object that "for better or for worse...has done the most to influence the events of the year”.

Charles Lindberg was selected as the first Man of the Year (a great trivia question). The list contains   business tycoons, a couple Popes, Martin Luther King, Jr., most U.S. Presidents, world leaders including Queen Elizabeth II, Winston Churchill, and even Adolf Hitler (remember, the list is for better or for worse). 

This year’s winner is none other than President-elect Donald Trump. 

That’s a pretty big honor, right? But here’s the thing, Lindbergh, Mahatma Gandhi, Hitler, Mark Zuckerburgh, Trump, et al. have nothing on you.  Literally!  The fact is, you, yes you, can list “Time magazine’s Person of the Year, 2006” on your personal resume.  Because in 2006, You (representing individual content creators on the World Wide Web) were named Person of the Year. 

As Time magazine editor Lev Grossman described it, "It's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes."

So, congratulation Donald J. Trump.  Welcome to our club!

Carpe Diem Life,

David Kuhn

P.S. Thanks to my brother-in-law Lance for educating me on this!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Let The COLD Adventure Begin!

I  love cold weather.  And it’s finally here where I live.

The first arctic blast of the year always has me scrambling. Scrambling to awaken winter hats and winter glove that have been hibernating in dark recesses of my closet.  Time to pull my favorite quilts, handed down from generation to generation, off of the quilt racks.

Time to step outside and reintroduce my lungs to the season's maiden deep breath of raw icy air.

One thing is for sure, it’s impossible to take anything for granted when you step out into sub-freezing temperatures.  In How to Be Happier Day by Day: A Year of Mindful Actions, Alan Epstein writes about the spiritual practice of being grateful for all kinds of weather.

"All phenomena — including bad weather — contribute to our experience of life. Don't discriminate. Enjoy the adventure." 

October and November have been swept away by rain and wind.  December has brought with her lows tonight in the teens and highs barely topping freezing.

Take a deep breath; Let the adventure begin!

Carpe Diem Life,

David Kuhn

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


I HAD A LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE YESTERDAY:  I choose to eat my morning oatmeal with the wooden spoon I stirred the pot.  You know the kind, a little too big for the mouth.  Perfect for stirring and tasting but wouldn’t actually think of actually eating a meal with.
There certainly seems to be an emotional and visceral reason to use this ancient and basic wooden spoon.  They’re organic and light.  Wood feels, well, just natural.

I’m not the first to re-discover the joy of cooking with a wooden spoon.  I found in an article “In Praise of Wooden Spoons” by Lee Havlicek:

(Wood is)  — not cold like stainless steel, or dull and characterless like plastic. Wood retains memories in a way that metal and plastic cannot. It shows signs of use. It changes color and texture, wears and ages, even changes shape. I can look at one of my wooden spoons and see a dent from harried Thanksgiving cooking, or a dark spot from summer blueberry pie. And when I use the wooden spoon that belonged first to my grandmother, then to my mother, and now to me, I cannot help but feel that I am cooking in the company of all past meals that the spoon has stirred and with the help of all the hands that have done the stirring.

But, what about eating with a wooden spoon?  I encourage you to try using one today when you eat your oatmeal, cereal, soup, or whatever.  I can’t guarantee that it will change your life, but please try it and see what happens.

Okay, truth be told, I can’t say that eating my oatmeal with a wooden spoon exactly changed my life.  But, maybe a moment?  You see, for the first time in my life, I was mindful of eating my simple oatmeal (with apples and cinnamon).  Thanks to a simple wooden spoon. 

Mindful of the moment.  After all, isn’t that what life is?

Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A Bright Hobby: Collecting Glows

 Yesterday I wrote about the gift of light.  Which got me thinking about flashlights. Did you know collecting flashlights is very popular?  There are even flashlight museums and conventions.  What an illuminating hobby (sorry, just had to lighten this up with a pun). 

Anyway, giving light, flashlights and hobbies got me thinking about an old, old book, Try Giving Yourself Away (1923) by David Dunn.  In it, he writes about his unique hobby— the hobby of giving himself away. 

“Fortunately,” Dunn writes, “each of us has a different assortment of gifts, so there could never be anything standardized about giving away, even though every one of us were to take up the hobby.”

In general, here are a few things we can each give our families, daily work contacts, even fleeting contacts with strangers:
Spare time
Spare money
Mental or physical energy
Special art, skill, or talent
The ability to organize
The gift of ideas, imagination, leadership

And all of us can give a spark of:

Everyone we meet can use a little spark to help light his or her path.  And here’s an added benefit to this hobby:  We get to “collect” the warm glow that fills our hearts each time we give these gifts.  As author Ben Sweetland wrote, “We cannot hold a torch to light another’s path without brightening our own.” 

Besides, the glows that we collect from our new hobby won’t take up any shelf space in our home and never need dusting.

Carpe Diem Life,

David Kuhn

Monday, December 5, 2016

Christmas Catalogs

 I received a Christmas catalog the other day from a military supply store.  I know, nothing says, “Merry Christmas; I love you” like a gift from a military supply store, right? 

Yet, there was one gift I thought would be perfect for just about everyone on my list:  120 Hour Emergency Candles.  As the copy states: These are the candles that may put a little comfort in the darkness when you are faced with a sudden disaster.

Who has not found themselves in a dark place, only to find solace in a warm glow of a candle or the illumination of a flashlight? The gift of light.  Perfect!

I've never given candles as gifts before;  however, I have given lots of flashlights.  They make great stocking stuffers.  I’ve even given a couple of animal shaped flashlights (iguana and an owl) to my little granddaughter, just for the fun of it.  Little kids love flashlights.  Give a child a flashlight (safer than candles) and watch their imaginations turn on.  Light to shine in dark places.

Remember playing with flashlights when you were a kid?  Flashlight tag in the neighborhood, shadow figures on the walls, using one to read comic books under the covers when you were supposed to be asleep? 

The gift of light.  Sure, for safety.   But also to help light up the way to sharing of joy.

“Unshared joy is an unlighted candle.”  —Spanish proverb

Now, I realize that candles, especially those over-priced scented ones, are, next to fruitcakes, the most common re-gifted item in the history of desperate last-minute gift giving.  However, if (more like when) you do get one, or two, or three dozen this year, be grateful.  They are still perfect for lighting up dark places and, of course, make perfect re-gifts when you’re in the dark about what to give that “oops, I forgot about . . .” someone.

Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Two Toughest Choices . . .

Was doing some research on my Carpe Diem Life system when I ran across this quote  (unfortunately, I don’t remember where it came from or who originally said it):

When I started this little experiment called Carpe Diem Life, I promised myself that I’d write a little something most every day.  Then do it again tomorrow.  Far from perfect, far from entertaining, far from valuable, but . . .

I write a little today.  I’ll do it again tomorrow.  And every day I’ll be grateful if anyone takes the time out of their busy lives to actually read it. 

What positive change will you make today in your profession or craft?  Will you do it again tomorrow?

C = Choose (Make a positive change today)
A = Action List
R = Resources
P = Persistence (Do it again tomorrow)
E = Evaluate the Progress

D = Direction change if needed
I = Improve
E = Enjoy the process
M = My responsibility, my


Have a great weekend!

David Kuhn

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Busy December Ahead!

Hard to believe, but today is the first day of December (I bet that you knew that).  Did you also know that it is National Pie Day, National Eat a Red Apple Day, Bifocals at the Monitor Liberation Day, and Day With(out) Art Day.

How many national days can there be?

According to the website National Calendar Day, there are over 1,200 national days.
Here’s just a taste of some of the days you can celebrate or observe this month:

December 2nd
    •    National Mutt Day
    •    Special Education Day
    •    Faux Fur Friday – First Friday in December

December 3rd
    •    National Roof Over Your Head Day
    •    National Rhubarb Vodka Day – First Saturday in December
    •    Skywarn Recognition Day – First Saturday in December

December 4th
    •    National Sock Day*
    •    National Cookie Day
    •    National Dice Day

December 5th
    •    National Sacher Torte Day
    •    Bathtub Party Day
    •    International Ninja Day

December 6th
    •    World Trick Shot Day*- First Tuesday in December
    •    National Pawnbrokers Day
    •    National Microwave Oven Day
    •    St. Nicholas Day

December 7th
    •    National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
    •    National Cotton Candy Day

December 8th
    •    National Brownie Day
    •    Pretend To Be A Time Traveler Day

December 9th
    •    National Pastry Day
    •    Weary Willie Day

December 10th
    •    Dewey Decimal System Day
    •    Human Rights Day
    •    Nobel Prize Day

December 11th
    •    National Noodle Ring Day
    •    UNICEF Birthday

December 12th
    •    National Ding-a-Ling Day
    •    Gingerbread House Day
    •    Poinsettia Day

December 13th
    •    National Cocoa Day
    •    National Day Of The Horse  (Senate Res. 452)
    •    Pick A Pathologist Pal Day

December 14th
    •    National Bouillabaisse Day

December 15th
    •    National Wear Your Pearls Day *
    •    National Cupcake/ Lemon Cupcake Day
    •    Bill of Rights Day
    •    Cat Herders Day

December 16th
    •    National Chocolate-covered Anything Day
    •    Barbie and Barney Backlash Day
    •    Free Shipping Day – Changes Annually
    •    National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day – Third Friday in December
    •    Underdog Day– Third Friday in December

December 17th
    •    National Maple Syrup Day
    •    Wright Brothers Day
    •    National Wreaths Across America Day – Third Saturday in December

December 18th
    •    National Roast Suckling Pig Day
    •    Answer The Telephone Like Buddy The Elf Day

December 19th
    •    National Hard Candy Day
    •    National Oatmeal Muffin Day

December 20th
    •    National Sangria Day
    •    Mudd Day

December 21st
    •    Crossword Puzzle Day
    •    Humbug Day
    •    Winter Solstice – Day Between December 20 and 23
    •    National Flashlight Day – Day of Winter Solstice
    •    National Homeless Persons’ Remembrance Day – First Day of Winter

December 22nd
    •    National Date Nut Bread Day
    •    Forefathers Day – December 22 (Unless on Sunday, Then Following Monday)
    •    National Re-Gifting Day – Thursday before Christmas

December 23rd
    •    National Pfeffernusse Day
    •    National Roots Day
    •    Festivus

December 24th
    •    National Eggnog Day
    •    Christmas Eve
    •    Chanukah Begins – Changes Annually December 24, 2016

December 25th
    •    National Pumpkin Pie Day
    •    A’Phabet Day or No “L” Day
    •    Christmas

December 26th
    •    National Candy Cane Day
    •    National Thank-you Note Day
    •    National Whiner’s Day

December 27th
    •    National Fruitcake Day

December 28th
    •    National Chocolate Candy Day
    •    National Card Playing Day
    •    Holy Innocents Day
    •    Pledge of Allegiance Day

December 29th
    •    National Pepper Pot Day
    •    Tick Tock Day

December 30th
    •    National Bicarbonate of Soda Day
    •    Falling Needles Family Fest Day
    •    Bacon Day
    •    No Interruptions Day – Last Work Day of the Year

December 31st
    •    National Champagne Day
    •    Leap Second Time Adjustment Day(Note: This is listed as an observance title only. Some years scientists do not make adjustments.But, if they do, then it’s done on either June 30 or December 31.)
    •    Make Up Your Mind Day
    •    New Years Eve
    •    Universal Hour of Peace

Click on National Day Calendar for links to most of these days.

Here’s hoping you have a  wonderful Rosa Parks Day today and a better National Mutt Day tomorrow.

Enjoy the process.
Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn