Focus on Positive Energy …. What We CAN Control
Karen and Jay explain why ‘now’ is the moment for positive energy and even share a favorite song.
If there ever was a time for POSITIVE ENERGY – now is the moment! After a long hard-fought election season, with continued counting and uncertainty still in the air – there is an understandable tiredness, fatigue and even exhaustion on the part of many. Which means that now is precisely the moment to reach down deep, draw strength and have faith in the future. No matter the results today – whatever way, whichever race, goes or has gone – we as a nation will be strong and our path forward will be bright.
So, let’s let go of the many events that lie beyond our immediate control, and let’s resolve instead to have a positive impact right now, right today – and support causes and campaigns that will help others in so very many ways. In this Sunshine Report, we highlight a number of those positive initiatives and celebrate efforts to support those important causes.
This week, we mark the end of what has been a long and divisive election season in a year that has been anything but normal. While we’ve cast our ballot and put our faith in the institutions, systems, and elected leaders that are meant to both represent us and preserve our democracy, this process can at times leave us feeling like we have little control after the fact. I’m sure many of us are saying to ourselves, ‘well, I voted, what now?’
I think we can all agree that regardless of the outcome of this year's election or what side you're on, this country is in need of healing. As we look ahead, it is up to each of us as individual actors who believe in the common good to begin this process. It is our responsibility to each other as Americans to find common ground, a path forward, and begin taking positive actions in order to create the positive changes we seek in our communities, and ultimately, our nation. With our vote, we choose our leaders, but with our actions, we create the tools necessary for mending the divisions that threaten our unity that makes this nation so exceptional.
As we have noted many times in this Sunshine Report, I am a firm believer in trusting the process, in accumulating small wins, focusing on the task at hand. The current task at hand is healing this nation, which can feel daunting when we feel so far removed from the national conversation. Yet when we narrow our focus to our own communities, come up with a plan of action, something as simple as starting a weekly state of the nation discussion in your town as I’ve seen done on a few occasions, we give ourselves more agency to start the process little by little. It may not be easy, and at times uncomfortable, but it’s a process necessary for creating unity. It is my belief that this country isn’t as divided as some may want us to believe and that bright days lie ahead. Yet it’s up to each of us to instill that positivity in our own communities and go forward ‘step by step.’
Veterans Day – Around the Corner
The state of New Hampshire has one of the highest veteran populations in the country. Karen and I are honored and thankful for those who have served and those who continue to serve and defend our freedoms, our democracy, and our way of life. It’s why we’ve become involved in veterans support groups such as Children of Fallen Patriots. Each time I cross our beautiful state, or travel this country, it’s truly a privilege whenever I have the opportunity to shake the hand of someone who has served in our Armed Forces. Today, our son Lincoln is an officer in the U.S. Navy, flying the F-18 Super Hornet and is doing his part along with many other brave Americans to protect and defend the United States of America.
Following World War I, President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11th, Armistice Day, as a day to honor and celebrate those who served in the Great War. Today, while Memorial Day honors and recognizes those who gave their life to defend our nation, Veterans Day has its own unique significance by recognizing the service of all those who have worn the uniform.
In fact, it’s wonderful to see just how many of our fellow citizens who once served in the military – then continue to serve in other ways. For instance, in our New Hampshire state government, there are a number of our leaders with distinguished military backgrounds. At the obvious risk of omitting many, I couldn’t be prouder of individuals like Representatives Jess Edwards, Mike Moffett, and Al Baldasaro, who are just a few of those who have both served our country with honor and are today serving the people of New Hampshire in the State House. And how bout State Senator Regina Birdsell, just recently re-elected and with service in the U.S. Coast Guard. Then there are people like Eddie Edwards, who served our country proudly and went on to serve and defend his community as police chief and, as well, serve as a senior official in our state government. And last, but certainly not least there are individuals like Dan Beliveau. Dan dedicated his career to military service and upon retirement, took it upon himself to support veterans through his local VFW, ensuring that his fellow veterans have services and receive the support they need.
Election day is behind us. In some states, Blue won, in others Red, but on Veterans Day, we come together to honor the sacrifices made by our veterans. We are all Americans.
High School Sports Are Back!
Newport High School Football Tigers in Action. Celebrating Positive Impact of High School Sports
High school sports are one of the most important parts of growing up in a small town. So, it’s great to see athletics back in our schools and our youths active again – despite the pandemic. On a student level, student athletes are taught discipline and hard work but perhaps most importantly, it’s one of the key areas where we learn to compete. Where we develop self-discipline, self-confidence, the competitive spirit and importantly, the rules of fairness and integrity. There are winners, and there are losers. These are life lessons.
High school athletics, much like life, provide important lessons where we are taught that someone might be willing to go a little bit harder than you, work just a little more, and thereby perhaps prevail over you. This leads you to work harder and never stop moving forward. These are lessons not only for sports but for life. Student athletes are imbued with a sense of drive and purpose – that hopefully also carries over into their academic activities as well. They are at the forefront of a real-life lesson that hard work will pay off well into adulthood.
On a larger scale, high school athletics provide a focal point for communities and small towns. They offer a unifying source of pride for people and something to rally around. In my hometown of Newport, I played for the Newport Tigers football team. (State Champions, my senior year, I mention with pride. GOAT.) Huge numbers of Newporter’s, many of whom were parents and family members of players – but even more, who were just proud members of our community came to every home game. And, incredibly, nearly as many would get in their cars and travel to watch our away games against rival schools – sometimes many miles away. I know that these experiences – as a player – but also later as a fan, were some of the most impactful opportunities for me to feel a warmth and sense of community in my hometown of Newport. The games transcended just a number on the scoreboard and epitomized the feeling that our hometown was united and supported everyone. We all cheer for the hometown, regardless of who is playing, what year it is, or how they are doing that year!
Positive Profile of the Week – New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner
Bill Gardner and Jay, in the Secretary of State’s office, shortly after Bill’s most recent re-election victory.
This election in New Hampshire, like so many other states, posed unique and daunting challenges. And, I am proud to say that we were able to navigate through it with extraordinary success in the Granite State – thanks largely to the time tested and trusted leadership of our Secretary of State. This week, we are delighted to highlight my dear friend, New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner as our Profile of the Week.
William Gardner is the longest serving Secretary of State in the United States of America. Fun fact, I proudly served with Bill in the New Hampshire House of Representatives many years ago and when he first decided to run for Secretary of State, and I along with a few fellow young state representatives provided a strong core of his campaign support. Fast forward many years later, Bill Gardner has done us all proud!
As Granite Stater’s, we are all thankful that Bill Gardner has been and continues to be a strong defender of our ‘First in the Nation Primary.’ This is such a vital institution – not only for New Hampshire, but even more so for the nation. It provides that unique opportunity for voters to see Presidential candidates – up close, in person, literally in many cases, in their living rooms – and get a true sense of who they are. Those men and women who wish to serve in the greatest office of the land; to occupy the post powerful position in the world.
But it’s not just Bill’s ability to defend our primary, it’s his commitment to upholding voter integrity and participation in the process. Bill is known far and wide for his honesty and his longstanding level-handed fairness. He honors the traditions of our state and the founding of our nation. Bill Gardner, never wavers.
We are truly blessed to have Bill as our Secretary of State, guiding our election process and to continue to have his leadership in these challenging times.
Positive Quotes of the Week: Focus
“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus.”
Alexander Graham Bell
“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”
“When you focus on being a blessing, God makes sure that you are always blessed in abundance.”
“Give yourself a gift of five minutes of contemplation in awe of everything you see around you. Go outside and turn your attention to the many miracles around you. This five-minute-a-day regimen of appreciation and gratitude will help you to focus your life in awe.”
“Choose to focus your time, energy and conversation around people who inspire you, support you and help you to grow you into your happiest, strongest, wisest self.”