Amok, Amok, Amok, Amok!

It’s almost Halloween – “a night of frolic where children wear costumes and run amok!” At least that’s the way Winifred Sanderson in the movie Hocus Pocus sees it. And in some ways, she’s not far off in her assessment. It’s a night of costumes, candy, parties, ghosts and goblins, haunted houses and magical fun. It’s also a night where safety should be top of mind.

Did you know that Halloween is one of the deadliest days of the year for child pedestrian accidents? Sadly, it’s true and per one report, over 60% of the accidents occurred between 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. – prime time for trick-or-treaters. Think about it. It’s dark, the kids are excited, they’re quick and can dart in and out of traffic if not supervised. Basically, the children’s presence on the road and even around houses requires extra caution. It’s important for motorists to be on the lookout for children on roadways, medians and curbs: remember that they don’t always wait to get to the intersection before crossing. Always enter and exit driveways and parking lots with caution. Go slow.

Do not let young children go unsupervised and only go to houses with porch lights lit. Do not let them eat any of their candy until they get home and then make sure you check it carefully for any irregularities. Reflective tape is a great way to “light up” costumes for high visibility.

If you are someone who loves to decorate for the holiday, make sure you keep safety in mind as well. It seems like burning candles are a mainstay for Halloween décor. They can also be extremely dangerous and can lead to unexpected damage to your home or worse. Battery-operated candles are a great alternative. Make sure the placement of your holiday decor doesn’t lend itself to being knocked over, tripped over or otherwise causing damage or injury.

Keep your pets safe too. Candy is for the kids, not for your pets. In fact, candy can be toxic to your pets so make sure it is out of reach. The constant arrivals at the front door can be scary for them too. Keep them calm and always keep pets inside. If you are absolutely compelled to dress up your pet for Halloween, make sure it doesn’t stress them out; make sure the costume fits properly and doesn’t restrict their movement or breathing.

Seems like a lot to think about to keep Halloween safe. It’s not; just a little extra caution and a lot of common sense. And remember…

“When cats prowl and pumpkins gleam, may luck and safety be yours on Halloween.”

Posted by MJ Thomas

You make a difference!

Tomorrow, October 22 is Make a Difference Day – one of the largest national days of community service. For more than twenty years on this day, volunteers and communities have united in a common mission to improve the lives of others.

It’s a day where individuals, corporations, community organizations and others participate in projects and events across the country; events that make an impact for the good. Whether it’s a community clean-up, building and repairing housing facilities, donating goods and services to the less fortunate, staging marathons or other fundraisers for a worthy cause or just buying lunch or a cup of coffee for someone just trying to get through another day, we can all find a way to make a difference. Make a Difference Day draws attention to that and puts it “up close and personal” on our radar. And that’s a great thing.

I would challenge that for each of us Make a Difference Day should be every day. A kind word, a helping hand, a note of encouragement, a moment to listen, a nod of understanding or even just a smile can make all the difference in the world for someone in need. That means it’s not all about “us”, it’s about “them”. It means we need to look outside ourselves, past our own circumstances, our own world and reach out. Pay it forward and make it happen.

There's a quote that says, "Never doubt that one person can make a difference.” Be that person.

Posted by MJ Thomas

Don’t let them count you out!

If you ‘re any kind of sports fan at all –  especially one in Cleveland – you know that tonight starts the American League Championship series in major league baseball. You also know that the Cleveland Indians, after sweeping the Boston Red Sox in the division series, are in the hunt. Go Tribe!

This also marks yet another instance where a Cleveland sports team is considered “the underdog.”  The underdog – the team expected to lose, the one less powerful, the one thought to not have much chance at winning it all. Humbug, I say. Well, look at the statistics, you might say; look at the talent; look at the bench strength; look at the past records. Phooey. On any given day, in any given circumstance, underdogs are beating the odds. Why? Because they believe they can and they don’t let others count them out. Can anybody say 2016 NBA Champions – the Cleveland Cavaliers? How about the 2016 Caulder Cup Champions – the Cleveland Monsters? About now you may want to call my attention to the Cleveland Browns. Okay, fine. But even with all the doom and gloom predictions for the team, there are still signs that this team hasn’t given up on itself.

Here’s the point. Don’t let anyone count you out – personally or in business. When people doubt your ability or your skills, prove them wrong. Stay determined. Play to your strengths. Your best skill – that thing that you do best – can give you that needed edge. Take things one step at a time. Instead of telling yourself you need five big sales to make your quota, focus on one sale at a time. And celebrate each success. Surround yourself with the right people; people who support you and believe in you. In tough situations focus on what you CAN do, not what you can’t do. Let’s be honest, there WILL be tough times.

When it comes to sports here in Believeland, we know tough times – things like “Red Right 88”, “The Drive”, “The Shot”, “The Decision”, and the 1997 World Series ninth inning meltdown have become staples of our vocabulary. No more. The Cavaliers changed that earlier this year. Now the Indians are on deck. It’s their turn and you can bet they won’t let anyone count them out.

Go Tribe!

Posted by MJ Thomas


Did you know that today is World Smile Day?  It sure is. In fact, the first Friday of October each year marks World Smile Day, a day to do an act of kindness and make someone smile. With everything going on in the world today, the timing is perfect for taking a day to share good thoughts and goodwill.

Harvey Ball might not be a household name but what he created is internationally recognized and it’s the basis of how World Smile Day actually came to be. Who doesn’t recognize the smiley face?  It’s a circle with two dots for eyes and an upturned curve for a mouth. Ball created it in 1963 only to see it become increasingly commercialized; something that concerned him greatly.  So, in 1999, he founded World Smile Day to remind people of the symbolic icon’s original meaning – spreading joy and love to everyone, regardless of race, gender or geographic location.  Ball believed that everyone has the ability to make a positive difference; that every effort was worthwhile; and he believed in the power of a smile. His motto for World Smile day is “Do an act of kindness. Help one person smile.”
Smiling is a good thing; not only for the person smiling but for the person receiving the smile. Among other things, it can reduce stress, lower your heart rate, improve your mood, increase productivity; it’s contagious, it only takes a minute and it doesn’t cost a thing. Yet, that smile or that simple act of kindness can make a big difference in someone’s life at that very moment. That’s something we can all use.

Be the reason that someone smiles today.

Posted by MJ Thomas