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Make a Fresh Start Playing by Your Rules PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 02 April 2012 07:55
Expert Offers Tips for Living True to Yourself

What is the No. 1 regret of hospice patients in their dying days?

“They wished they would have lived life the way they wanted to, not the way others wanted them to,” says Kathie Truitt, author of The Hillbilly Debutante Café (, quoting an article by former palliative care worker Bronnie Ware.

Truitt changed her life by necessity after a devastating series of events led to the loss of her home and career. Like many Americans who lost it all in the recent recession, Truitt decided to go about things differently the second time around.

“I got rid of the socialite sweater sets, the business suits and pumps, which were not me, and went to what is me – vintage dresses and cowboy boots,” she says. “I live in the Washington, D.C., area because I have too. But I don’t have to conform to how other people look, dress and behave here. I surround myself with the things I like; I have a country-style house, I drive a pickup, and, once a month, I take a ride out to one of the places featured in Southern Living magazine.”

You don’t have to have a lot of money to live a life truer to your spirit. Truitt offers some suggestions:

• Make location a state of mind. Does your heart yearn to be somewhere else? You’re in Kansas, but you long to live on the beach, or you’re in the city but you’re a country person, like Truitt. If you can’t follow your heart, bring that place to you. If you love all things Paris, for instance, decorate a room or your whole home Parisian style. Instead of going to the grocery store once a week, find a market and stop in every day for fresh food, the way the French do. Ride a bicycle; put a picture of the Eiffel Tower on your desk at work; eat lunch al fresco. Take a French class and maybe you’ll meet some like-minded friends.

• Turn your passion into a career. You don’t have to give up your day job to pursue a career doing what gratifies and satisfies you. If you love playing music, set aside time to practice and write songs. Pursue opportunities to play at local events; create video recordings and upload them to YouTube (it worked for Justin Bieber!); offer to perform at your place of worship. Whether you dream of writing a novel, designing jewelry or being a race car driver, working at it even part-time will help you feel fulfilled.

• Take the plunge and start your own business. In 2011, entrepreneurs started 543,000 new businesses each month, on average, among the highest startup rates in 16 years, according to the most recent Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity. With all the tax breaks and incentives being offered to small businesses now, it’s a good time to open that restaurant you always wanted, or launch that graphics design studio. You’ll never know until you try!

As for Truitt, she would love to be back home in El Dorado Springs, Mo. Since she can’t be there, she wrote a novel set in the small, southern town, which is struggling financially. She hopes to fan interest in tourists visiting the town to meet the business owners described in her book, and see the sights. To that end, she’s also organizing an Antique & Book Festival there on April 14, preceded by a Hillbilly Debutante ball – featuring vintage prom dresses and plaid tuxes – the night before.

“There are many ways to live your dreams,” Truitt says. “You’re limited only by your imagination. I don’t want to be that person looking back on my life and regretting that I lived it by someone else’s rules.”

About Kathie Truitt

Kathie Truitt is a former radio personality and speaker in the South, where she was crowned Mrs. Missouri America. She’s the author of False Victim, a memoir about the nightmare of events that forced her from her home. She sells vintage-style clothing, accessories and jewelry at

Chase Your Dreams By Taking A Swing At A Second Career PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 02 April 2012 07:53
Author Applies Lessons Learned Pursuing Pro Golf Dream

With about 12 million Americans out of work and another 2.5 million working less than they want, it’s surprising that we could be facing a labor shortage in the near future. In just six years,  there could be more jobs than people to fill them, according to recent research funded by MetLife Foundation and Civic Ventures.

In addition, as many as 8 million people in this country have finished one career and started a second, says Keith Gockenbach, a chemical engineer who retired to pursue dual second careers as a professional golfer and author.

In his book, Inside, Outside, and On the Ropes: Life Lessons from Q-School and The Majors (, Gockenbach writes about the lessons he learned while trying to make the PGA’s Champions Tour. They’re lessons that also apply to job hunters and those seeking a new, perhaps more gratifying career.

“I was able to pursue my dream but the odds were long. Looking back, I saw much of what I learned could easily apply to other professions. I learned these things on a golf course but they can work anywhere,” Gockenbach says. “Don’t sell yourself short in golf or in life.”

One he found most personally useful emerged as he battled the frustration and disappointment that come with weekly battles just to make the next tournament.

“You have to fight your way back the same way you’d eat an elephant,” he writes. “A little at a time. Patiently. Calmly. Pace yourself. One shot at a time.”

Some others:

• Know the rules. Breaking a rule, even inadvertently, can cost you the game -- or the job. And in real life, as in golf, ignorance is no defense. Don’t break the basic, common-sense rules associated with integrity – for instance, don’t lie on your resume. And do take time to learn the rules and expectations relevant to the job you want and the field you want to work in.

• You can only take what the course gives you. You can’t live your life looking backward. If you make a misstep during an interview, don’t agitate about it all night. Get up the next morning and do something positive for someone.

• Don’t scrimp on the important stuff. Buying a high-quality suit and new shoes before an important interview or presentation might cost $1,500, but it could earn you a better job or promotion. Invest your money where it pays off.

Gockenbach’s book chronicles his quest to play in professional golf’s Champion’s Tour for players 50 and older. It’s the story of a day-to-day struggle for someone reviving the dream of his adolescence fairly late in life.

His efforts crystallized in his final lesson: “Chasing a dream is a job, not a hobby."

“It’s the extra two or three hours every day that the professionals put into practice (both physical and mental) that make a difference, even when they’re playing in a tournament,” he writes.

About Keith Gockenbach

Keith Gockenbach grew up in Robinson, Ill., and caddied for pros during tournaments there. The top graduate in chemical engineering at Clemson University in 1977, he started a successful career at Eastman Chemical Co. He retired in 2004 from his first career to pursue his dream of professional golf. He played in the 2006 U.S. Senior Open and 2007 (British) Senior Open as well as six Champions Tour Q-Schools.

Braley Criticizes Both Parties for Not Including “No Budget, No Pay” in Budget Proposals PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jeff Giertz   
Monday, 02 April 2012 07:47

Provision would withhold pay for Congress if they fail to pass spending/budget bills on time each year

Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) criticized Democratic and Republican leaders for not including “No Budget, No Pay” provisions in budget bills considered by the House today.

In February, Braley signed on to “No Budget, No Pay” legislation that would block pay for members of Congress if they’re unable to make spending and budget decisions by the September 30th deadline each year.  The most basic responsibility Congress has is deciding how much money the government takes in and how much it spends.  In the last 14 years, annual spending bills have been submitted by Congress an average of 14 months late.

The House voted on competing Republican and Democratic budget proposals today.  But neither bill included “No Budget, No Pay” provisions.

“There are consequences for missing deadlines in the real world, and there should be consequences if Congress misses its deadlines,” Braley said.  “There are few better ways to motivate politicians than cutting off their pay if they don’t do their job.


“Neither party showed the political courage necessary to include the No Budget, No Pay reform in their budget bills today, and that’s disappointing.  The time is now to make this change and restore a little common sense to a Congress that doesn’t have any.”


Every government fiscal year ends on September 30th.  Under the “No Budget, No Pay” proposal, if the congressional spending process is not completed by that date each year, congressional pay ceases and isn’t restored until it is completed.


The “No Budget, No Pay” legislation is a key component of the “Make Congress Work” reform plan of the No Labels organization, a group of Republicans, Democrats, and independents dedicated to bringing people together and making government function again.  In December, Braley joined No Labels to unveil the plan.

For more information on No Budget, No Pay visit the following link:

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Morthland Passes Bill to Toughen laws against Human Trafficking PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Rep. Rich Morthland   
Monday, 02 April 2012 07:41
Springfield, IL…Yesterday, State Representative Rich Morthland’s (R-Cordova) bill on Human Trafficking passed the Illinois House on a vote of 82-32.

House Bill 5482 would make Class 1 felony of human trafficking or involuntary servitude convictions a non-probationary offense.  In metropolitan Chicago, 16,000 to 25,000 women and girls are involved in the commercial sex trade annually. Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, because of its strategic location and importance, is considered a highly used transit location by traffickers to transport victims and disperse them as needed to other cities and states.

“We must be tough on crime,” Morthland stated. “Illinois remains a hub for human trafficking, especially in the Chicago area. With this bill we toughen our laws against human trafficking criminals.“

Currently, only Human Traffickers who are convicted of Class X Human Trafficking felonies are denied the possibility of parole. Because of the centrality and importance as a regional transportation hub, victims in many surrounding states are trafficked through Illinois. Apart from sexual exploitation, victims in Chicago are also trafficked for forced begging, domestic servitude, and forced labor.

Niabi Zoo Tiger Found Dead PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Marc Heinzman   
Monday, 02 April 2012 07:31
Coal Valley, IL – March 29, 2012 - Niabi Zoo was saddened to discover their Bengal tiger had died this morning.

The tiger, a 12 year old female named Asia, was found dead in her exhibit this morning while a zookeeper was doing a regular morning check on the zoo’s animals. The tiger’s death was unexpected to Niabi Zoo staff.

“We are all very saddened and shocked by Asia’s sudden death,” said Interim Zoo Director Marc Heinzman. “Asia was beloved by the entire Niabi Zoo staff, zoo volunteers, and countless zoo visitors. Her charming personality and friendly demeanor quickly charmed any person she met. Asia will be missed.”

A necropsy and pathology report will be conducted to determine the cause of death.


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