Little Lessons

A Taste of the Past

Posted by Mark Fallon

Jul 24, 2020 4:30:00 AM

teacup
“The past is really almost as much a work of the imagination as the future.” – Jessamyn West

Anyone who knows me knows my love of coffee. Whether it’s from my favorite coffee shop, or Dunkin Donuts, or instant coffee heated over an open fire. No sugar or cream, just hot, black coffee. It’s the perfect way to start the day or end a meal.

Then there are afternoons when my cravings take me elsewhere. To a cup of tea. Now in my favorite teacup, featuring a “Penny Black” stamp. Printed in England in 1840, the Penny Black was the first adhesive postage stamp.

Whenever I drink tea, the flavor pulls memories from hidden corners of my mind. My father and uncle having tea on Sunday afternoons after dinner. My mother making the tea, even though she preferred coffee. My mother-in-law enjoying her cup with a spot of honey. A visit to the Bath Postal Museum to see an actual Penny Black.

The gift of this cup.

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Topics: inspiration, love, memories, mother, story, listen, moment, joy, little lessons, time, father, parents

A Single Strawberry

Posted by Mark Fallon

Jul 3, 2020 4:30:00 AM

new pot bench
“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” – Omar Khayyam

Last fall, I began clearing out the overgrown shrubs and bushes around the house. The sandy soil made the digging easy, but it was a lot of hard work. It was also many trips to the local landfill and compost yard.

Faced with a clean slate, we started planning. We toured some local gardens to get ideas of what we might like. On daily walks, I photographed interesting landscape ideas for inspiration. I bought several books on gardening, including ones that had information on plants native to Cape Cod.

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Topics: hard work, persistence, love, memories, happiness, joy, little lessons, garden

What We Will Build

Posted by Mark Fallon

Jun 12, 2020 4:30:00 AM

toolbelt
"Do not wait; the time will never be "just right." Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along." - Napoleon Hill

During the shutdown, people have turned to working with their hands as a coping mechanism. Baking bread was popular for several weeks, with people posting photos of their beautiful creations. Several of my friends are using their sewing skills to fabricate clothing and accessories. I’ve returned to my workshop.

My woodworking journey began about 30 years ago when I refinished my mother’s sewing table. It had been covered in soot due to a furnace malfunction. Using hand tools and an old belt sander, I was able to restore it. The best part of the project was the smile on my mother’s face when I delivered it to her house. Her father had been a cabinetmaker and my work brought back happy memories.

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Topics: leadership, love, mother, gift, listen, little lessons, social media, parents

What We Do Next

Posted by Mark Fallon

May 29, 2020 4:45:00 AM

Door keys
“Our thought is the key which unlocks the doors of the world.” – Samuel McChord Crothers

No matter where you live, or what you do, the last few months have been a challenge. Clearly, the people on the front lines of the pandemic have given more than others. Others have lost their jobs or their businesses. Tragically, too many have lost their lives.

The drastic and significant shift to how we live our lives has impacted everyone. For many, that change has felt like a heavy weight crushing their spirit. Not knowing when things will improve has added painful stress to already difficult lives. The restrictions designed to preserve the health of our bodies test the limit of our inner-selves.

There are signs of hope on the horizon. No clear victory yet, but small steps forward in a positive direction. Businesses are cautiously reopening, implementing changes to protect their employees and their customers. There is no “new normal”, there is only a changed world. And our world will continue to change – in ways we don’t yet know.

So, what will we do? What actions will we take tomorrow that are different than what we did a year ago?

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Topics: improvement, love, support, attitude, positive, mentor, thoughtfulness, challenge, little lessons, kindness, empathy, compassion

Memorial Day Will Be Different This Year

Posted by Mark Fallon

May 22, 2020 4:45:00 AM

Flag and marker
“Green sods are all their monuments; and yet it tells a nobler history than pillared piles, or the eternal pyramids.” - James Gates Percival

My earliest memories of Memorial Day are watching my father march in a parade with the American Legion. He looked very sharp in his uniform.

When I was a teenager, I marched in Memorial Day parades as a member of two drum corps – the Immaculate Conception Queensmen and the Middlesex County Guardsmen. I remember how silent it became when we entered the cemeteries – just the beat of a single bass drum to keep the entire corps in step.

After my father died, I began marching on Memorial Day again. This time, as a member of the American Legion – a long circle completed.

This year will be different. No parades. No large gatherings at monuments. No readings of veterans’ names at cemeteries.

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Topics: reflection, inspiration, love, values, veteran, family, memories, people, little lessons, emotions, father, parents, honor, service, compassion

Time to Change the Station

Posted by Mark Fallon

May 1, 2020 4:45:00 AM

car radio
“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” – Berthold Auerbach

When I'm driving my car alone, I listen to mellow music. When I was in college, my friends would give me a hard time, because my radio was always tuned to the “soft rock” station. I haven’t changed all that much in 40 years.

Occasionally, I'll change the station and listen to something new.

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Topics: love, learning, people, happiness, little lessons, expectations, music

The Unseen Strength of Beauty

Posted by Mark Fallon

Apr 24, 2020 4:45:00 AM

tulip in snow

“Courage is not the towering oak that sees storms come and go; it is the fragile blossom that opens in the snow.” – Alice Mackenzie Swaim

I love watching the first blooms of early spring. Tulips, daffodils, and crocus have been lying dormant for almost a year. When they make their appearance each April, it reminds me that warmer weather is on the horizon. The promise of more daylight, more time outdoors and even more flowers.

Every so often, winter ignores the calendar. We wake up to find that the grass has disappeared under a fresh coat of snow. The temperature has dropped below freezing. The daffodil stems are bowed down in submission. A lone tulip stands defiant.

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Topics: love, fear, growth, moment, challenge, little lessons, rest, beauty, nature

What To Do Now

Posted by Mark Fallon

Apr 3, 2020 4:45:00 AM

Sunset1
“No matter how bad a situation, you have to ask yourself, ‘What do I do now?’” – Bob Howard, Medal of Honor Recipient

As we enter a new phase of the current crisis, our concerns continue to grow. While we adapt to new routines, the future remains uncertain. There’s no part of our lives that aren’t impacted by the virus.

The internet has become of source of both connectivity and divisiveness. We’ve watched videos of generations using webcams and software to close the “social distancing” gap. People offering suggestions and humor to cope with the boredom and exasperation. Others expressing their concerns and frustration, which have unintended consequences of provoking backlash and arguments.

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Topics: strength, love, challenge, little lessons, kindness, mail, help, service, volunteer

A Trip to Coney Island

Posted by Mark Fallon

Feb 21, 2020 5:00:00 AM

cyclone
"A day without laughter is a day wasted." - Charlie Chaplin

PS – There’s a bonus “little lesson” at the end of this post.

After finishing a productive day at a client in Brooklyn, New York, I needed to decompress. I took off my tie, hung the suitcoat in the back seat, and pointed the car due south. To the tip of the island – to Coney Island.

In the late 19th century, an amusement park opened in this seaside resort. There were rides, food stands and sideshows. The Coney Island boardwalk and beaches transformed the peninsula. Every weekend, throngs of people rode the trains from New York City to escape the confines of the tenements.

This was Thursday, not the weekend, so I didn’t expect any crowds. In fact, that was essential to my plan. I was going to ride the world’s oldest wooden roller coaster – The Cyclone.

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Topics: dreams, inspiration, love, story, happiness, joy, little lessons, emotions, wonder, balance

Our Shared Identity

Posted by Mark Fallon

Feb 14, 2020 5:01:00 AM

beach_heart
“I think there is just one kind of folks. Folks.” – Scout Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee)

It’s common to seek out our “tribe”. Perhaps it’s family, religion, ethnicity or birthplace. We want to belong to a group with a shared identity – the same values, backgrounds and beliefs. We want to feel comfortable and safe.

This natural tendency has been part of our biological and cultural evolution. Our ancestors protected each other from predators. They joined forces to hunt prey and gather resources. Together, they faced down competing groups, attacked other tribes to expand territory, and defeated enemy forces.

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Topics: love, attitude, positive, people, little lessons, kindness

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Our blog helps the reader focus on the little lessons - taking place every day - that will lead to sustainable, long-term success.

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