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It has been said that "birds of a feather flock together," and from personal experience I know this is true. We just love to be around people who talk like us, look like us, believe like us, have the same hobbies, and have a lot of things in common.

When I meet someone new, one of the first things I usually do is ask them where they are from. Because I have made speeches in 72 of the 75 counties in our state, I usually know someone they know, and this makes me feel a little more comfortable around them. To be sure, we are all in the "people" business, and we must be able to relate to them if we are going to achieve success in life.

All during our lifetime, in addition to our family, we meet new people on a regular basis. In most cases, these people will just come and go. We don't spend much time with these people, save for those individuals with whom we work or go to church, play on the same sports team, or become a member of the same civic club and other connections of this nature. In most cases, friendships are formed or made with those whom we are privileged to spend a good deal of time, and we develop a closeness that is often very special. Of course, in a group situation, we don't have much choice but there are other times when we feel led to spend some time with a particular person just because they possess the qualities we admire.

In layman's language, what I am really talking about is that certain qualities a person has caused me to want to be around and spend time with them. The person on top of my list is my beautiful and talented wife, Janis. We both lost our mates several years ago and, as of this writing, we have been married for a little less than five years. I can tell you truthfully that these have been the best five years of my life. She has so many wonderful qualities and there is not a lazy bone in her body. She has a great sense of humor and, most importantly, she is generous. I have never known anyone who spends more time and money giving and taking care of others. Yes, God really blessed me when He gave her to me.

As to those qualities I mentioned a moment ago, I love people who are warm and friendly and have a positive attitude. Character and integrity are also very important to me, and what I love most of all is good people, those that will help you and give you the shirt off of their back. While I don't always succeed, this is the type of person I try to be. Another person who comes to mind here is my good friend Cliff Garrison, retired coach and athletic director for Hendrix College for 31 years. He is the kind of person that you never hear anyone say a bad or negative thing about.

There are many other people who are in the limelight that I don't know personally that have these qualities as well. One that comes to mind is Mary Lou Retton, the Olympic gymnastics gold medal winner, who became known as America's Sweetheart. She just beams and radiates with positivity.

While we may not have the talent and body to achieve greatness, we can all be better than we are and make a difference in the world. As I wind this down, I hope you will give some serious thought to what I have been saying and will take inventory of your own life, as that is what I plan to do. Let's just make a commitment to make this world a better place because we passed this way.

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