44 Life Lessons: #11 to #21

Written by Regina Brett on September 27, 2012

These 44 Life Lessons came through my inbox late last week, and I posted the first 10 Lessons on Monday, September 24.

The Life Lessons were written by 90-year-old Regina Brett, a columnist for the Plain Dealer newspaper in Cleveland , Ohio.

She explained that, to celebrate growing older, she once wrote the 44 lessons that life taught her.

Turns out, it was the most requested column she’d ever written.

Today I am posting the next 10 Life Lessons, many of which contain sage good advice for life/living. Thanks, Regina!

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.

18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It’s never too late to be happy. But its all up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.


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44 Life Lessons: #1 to #10

Written by Regina Brett on September 24, 2012

These 44 Life Lessons came through my inbox late last week, and I thought many of them contained such good advice for life/living, I wanted to share them with my Five More Minutes With readers. 

The Life Lessons were written by 90-year-old  Regina Brett, a columnist for the Plain Dealer newspaper in  Cleveland , Ohio.
She explained that, to celebrate growing older, she once wrote the 44 lessons that  life taught her.
Turns out, it was the most requested column she’d ever written.
Today I am posting the first 10 Lessons; on Thursday, you can read the next 10. We’ll continue the lessons, about 10 at a time, through next Thursday.
For today, here’s what Regina has to tell us:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short enjoy it.

4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.

5.Don’t buy stuff you don’t need.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for things that matter.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.


More stories from: Featured Story

Five More Minutes With Guest Columnist Brad Rex: Ask Questions

Written by Brad Rex on September 20, 2012

Here is the sixth excerpt from our frequent guest columnist, Brad Rex’s new book, “The Surpassing Life!.”

This chapter is entitled Ask Questions, and made me question my own behavior when someone asks me about something I do not know about.

Thanks for such stimulating food for thought, Brad!

Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.


The real object of education is to have a man in the condition of continually asking questions.

Bishop Creighton

Man has made some machines that can answer questions provided the facts are profusely stored in them, but we will never be able to make a machine that will ask questions. The ability to ask the right question is more than half the battle of finding the answer.

Thomas Watson

I reported to my submarine after completing four years at the Naval Academy and another 1½ years of nuclear power training and submarine school. I figured I had all the answers, or at least that I was expected to have all the answers.

All submarine officers have to complete qualifications after they get to their ship. These qualifications are specific to the ship, and require that you learn all the different compartments and operations. You study the material and are then quizzed by Chief Petty Officers (CPO) or Officers, like the Engineer or Navigator, who sign off on your qualifications after you demonstrate adequate knowledge. After you complete all of your qualifications (typically a 1-2 year process), you are allowed to wear the coveted gold dolphins insignia on your uniform.

Early in my time onboard, I was working on qualifying in the torpedo room. The CPO in charge of the torpedo room was very proud of his space and his people. He wanted everyone who qualified in his torpedo room to be well versed. I was struggling with his questions and resorted to making up answers, since I was afraid to display my ignorance. To my relief, he seemed to accept my answers and finally signed my book.

Three years later, as I was leaving the ship, I went to the torpedo room CPO to say goodbye. He said, “Lieutenant Rex, I didn’t respect you very much when you first came to the ship. You pretended to know more than you did. But, during your time onboard, you learned to admit what you didn’t know and ask questions. I respect you for that, and I’m sorry to see you go.”

This was a great learning for me, although I often forgot the lesson and reverted back to my old behavior when I was put in new situations. Over time, I determined a few reasons why other people (and I) often don’t ask questions:

People are afraid to admit that they don’t know something that they are supposed to know.

This was my issue on the submarine. I would like to say that, from that point on, I never tried to fake it and I always asked questions, but I can’t. I’ve had to learn over the last twenty years that it is okay to admit what you don’t know, and people respect you more, not less, when you ask questions. As a leader, the people who follow you particularly like it when you ask them how they do their job. It reverses the power dynamic, with the employee demonstrating his expertise and value.

They don’t have enough knowledge to ask a question.

There are many questions that can be asked in any situation. A great booklet that I have carried and used for years is Asking to Win! by Bobb Biehl. Biehl provides questions for a variety of situations, including getting to know someone better, interviewing, brainstorming, decision-making, organizing, planning and parenting. He presents the most powerful question as Why?. . . Why? . . . Why? . . . Why? and the ideal question as “What is the ideal?” I have particularly used his questions in the section on career change to confirm or reject different job opportunities.

Preparation is also crucial in asking good questions. If you are meeting with someone or interviewing at a company, always do your homework and be prepared to ask specific questions. When I have interviewed with executives at a company, I have prepared one-page sheets for each person that I am meeting. The sheets have specific questions related to their area (e.g., finance, operations, marketing) based on the research I have done on the company. The sheet also has several more general questions that I ask everyone (e.g., “What is the one thing that you would do to make the company better?”). This is an efficient way to capture valuable information and keep everything straight after multiple interviews.

They are hoping someone else will ask the question.

Many people won’t ask questions due to shyness, laziness, insecurity or pride, and are more than happy to “delegate” that responsibility to others. Some are inhibited by childhood memories of parents telling them to “Stop asking so many questions!” Yet, if you can overcome these fears and inhibitions, you can stand out and be remembered as a person who asks great questions and gains useful knowledge.

Surpassing people practice the art of questioning, combining preparation, boldness and humility in a powerful mix to satisfy their curiosity and attain wisdom.

Action Points

• Don’t fake it. Admit what you don’t know and ask questions.

• Learn general questions that apply to many situations.

• Prepare yourself to ask specific questions.

• Recognize and overcome any anxiety you have about asking questions.


Constant learning, greater knowledge, a reputation of curiosity and boldness.

Five More Minutes with Enlightenment Lifestyle Magazine!

Written by Braiden Rex-Johnson on September 17, 2012

My colleague and fellow member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, International (LDEI), Diana Wentworth, and her husband, Ted, just sent word that they have started a new online magazine called Enlightenment Lifestyle Magazine.

The magazine is described as “a virtual magazine featuring the latest cutting-edge technology and inspiring, upbeat articles from some of the finest minds of our time.”

I looked at the lovely premier issue and found lots of interesting articles, many in the Five More Minutes With zeitgeist.

Diana suggests, and I found it to be true, to “look at the magazine in full-screen mode. And be sure to take a close look at the ‘Miracle Rainbow’ evidence.”

If you like this online magazine even half as much as I do, you’ll want to opt-in.

More stories from: Featured Story

Five More Minutes With Poem: Love After Love

Written by Derek Walcott on September 13, 2012

This intriguing poem by Derek Walcott, a Nobel Prize-winning poet, implores us to love ourselves even after we have lost love. 




The time will come

when, with elation

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror

and each will smile at the other’s welcome,


and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart 
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you


all your life, whom you ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,


the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your life.

A Last, Loving Letter to Clio the Cat

Written by Jin Jeon on September 10, 2012

Jin and Clio

This letter comes from Jin Jeon, who says, “My family had to euthanize our beloved cat, Clio, on August 28, 2012. We were blessed and fortunate to have her a part of our family for 13 years.”

This is the letter Jin wrote and read to her at her grave.

Dear Clio,

It has been two days since we decided to put you to sleep. The quality of your life has significantly worsened in the past two weeks.

We did not not know if you were pain or not, but everyone in the family could clearly see that you were not the same Clio-san as you were six months ago.

When I first met you in 2000, I thought you were a stupid cat that destroyed everything.

I liked you but you seemed to do things that bothered me and made me mad. You destroyed all my stuff and I want to say I am sorry for how I reacted. I should have never reacted the way I did at certain moments.

As time grew, my love for you continued to grow. You were there for me all the time, both good and bad.

Now, when I look back, I realize that you were very important to me and the family than we once imagined. The bond between you and the family continued to grow year after year.

Personally, you were very special to me and I am sure I can speak for Mom, Dad, and Moon as well.

I know throughout the years everyone in the family was always busy working and doing something, but I now realize you were never too busy for us. You were the best companion a family could ask for, and we thank you for that.

I want you to know that we loved you and you were, are, and always will be a part of our family.

The family and I all shared our moments and special times with you. Thank you for being a part of our life and for the memories.

I remember the good times that we had. When Moon, Mom, Dad or I would come home you would always run up and greet us.

When we laid on the couch, you would lay by us. We would all watch college football on Saturdays and NFL football on Sundays together.

We didn’t have to call you or invite you over because you were the reason why watching it at home made it that more enjoyable for all of us.

I remember telling Emily multiple times in the past few years that I wanted to go to Mom and Dad’s house just to see you.

Yes, I traveled 30 minutes away just to see you.

When I would walk in you greet me and follow me to the sofa and sit or lay next to me. You would always follow me around.

I will miss moments.You would always chill and be around me when I was visiting.

You were humble and noble to me and everyone else even though I treated you badly at times. You forgave me no matter what, and had unconditional love for me and the whole family.

I terribly miss you Clio. Everyone in the family does.

It is not the same without you being around. We look around the house and see your memories everywhere.

As Moon said, “You owned that house.”

You pee’d everywhere when you were a kitten, threw up everywhere, and destroyed everything (all of our furniture and curtains), but you know what? It was worth it. Those things are replaceable and you are not.

I miss your purrs, petting you, and this upcoming football season will not be the same without you around. The holiday season that is coming up won’t be the same either.

But, I know you would want us to move on. But right now, I personally can’t. We all struggling without you around.

You were my best friend and we were tight. It is really sad to think about how those moments we had together weren’t a big deal at the time, but now they are.

I just want you to know that the day we decided to let you go to heaven was the toughest day for everyone in the family. We are still struggling with that fact you are really gone.

I am sure Rufio is sad that you aren’t around as well. It just sucks that when each of us comes home, we expect to see you and think that you will eventually come by us.

It was seriously hard for us not be selfish and keep you alive. I want you to know that making a decision to keep you alive and being miserable versus dying in peace wasn’t fair to you.

When we made the decision to put you to sleep, the family didn’t want your last living memory freaking out at the vet’s office. So we had a vet come to our home so you could die comfortably without being scared.

We know that you appreciated it and that you aren’t hurting or in pain anymore.

I just want to let you know that no other pet could ever replace you. You were one of a kind, unique in every way, and very special to us.

We miss you and hope that we can meet again someday.

We love you,

Jin and the Family

P.S. I quit smoking today because of you. Since you came into my life and left I was always a smoker. I decided to make this sad situation into something positive. Thanks Clio-san


More stories from: Featured Story,With My Cat

Inspiring Moment: Lily Pads and Green Grasses

Written by Braiden Rex-Johnsonn

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Five More Minutes With Mother

Written by Anonymous on September 6, 2012

If I had five more minutes with my mom, I would tell her how sorry I was every time I rushed her off the phone.

I would tell her how sorry I was that I didn’t help her with my dad.

I would tell her how much I was going to miss her, that she meant so much to me, that she taught me everything, that my life would not be the same without her in it everyday.

And I would touch her. I would hold her hand. I would touch her cheeks with mine. I miss that so much.

I would brush her hair because I know how much she loved that.

And I would thank her for being my mom–mine–who loved me more than anyone in this world.

If I had five more minutes with my mom, I would beg her for five more. And five more after that. Because it’s never enough.

There is never enough time to spend with your mom.




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Inspiring Moment: Florida Pond

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