Archive for the ‘speeches’ Category

Places in the Heart

Monday, March 19th, 2018

Blackie with her rabbit toy

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt in the heart.” Helen Keller

Let me tell you about my Black Lab dog, Blackie. She is much more than just a dog.

Blackie is my walking companion and she is my best friend.

When I come home from work Blackie runs circles around me like a toupee in a tornado! Wagging her tail with her favorite toy rabbit in her mouth. All the stress from my job melts away.

A few years ago, my mother was in a nursing home, shortly before she passed away. I would take Blackie to visit her. It revitalized her like a shot of adrenalin in the arm.

Blackie would put her head on my mom’s leg and wag her tail as my mom petted her head. My mom’s face glowed with serenity. Blackie was completely absorbed in her dog duty to provide companionship to my mom.

I learned a lot about compassion from Blackie. Compassion was not something she turned on and off like a water faucet. For her, it was a way of life.

The other day, Blackie and I began our usual morning walk around the neighborhood, a ritual that we had done a hundred times. We knew every step of the way. What could possibly go wrong?

Crazy Driver

As we approached the church, I heard a car revving its motor. Rrrrrrrrr.Rrrrrrrrrr.

Suddenly, a pickup truck barreled around the corner like a runaway freight train. We jumped back.

The driver stopped and yelled out the window, “Stay off the road, eh!” He must be Canadian.

I saw the hair on Blackie’s back rise up.

Blackie is a big and intimidating dog, but, on the inside she is a little tiny Chihuahua. She instinctively runs from danger, just like my wife instinctively runs when she sees a mouse.

I said to the driver, “Hey Speedy Gonzales? I have an idea. How about sharing the road with pedestrians, eh!”

The driver stared at Blackie. Blackie stared back. I tightened my grip on Blackie’s collar. Blackie appeared to be preparing to attack the driver, but I know she was actually planning to run away in the opposite direction.

Finally, the driver gave us the one finger salute and screeched away.

I looked at Blackie with appreciation. Even though she was no great guard dog, I felt safer when Blackie was with me.

Blackie and I continued our solitary trek with a little less spring in our step.

A few blocks later I saw someone walking two dogs. One was a big brown dog. The other was a short white dog with a long tail. My heart pounded with excitement.

Memories of Spot, My Childhood Pet

The white dog reminded me of Spot, the pet dog I had as a child. I have fond memories of Spot.

My parents did not like Spot in my room. Some nights I was terrified that somebody was hiding in my closet. I’d wake up my dad and say, “I heard something in my closet.”

Dad came in my room, opened the closet and looked around, a ritual he had done hundreds of times in the past.

“Nope. No one in there,” Dad said.

“But, I heard something.”


“Go … to … sleep.” “S-L-E-E-E-P” my dad said in a deep hypnotist voice while slowly waving his fingers.

My dad left the room.

My father’s attempt to put me to sleep with a hypnotic trance failed miserably. I had no alternative but to secretly let Spot into my room and sleep on my bed. I felt safer when Spot was with me, like I did with Blackie.

Blackie Remembers Mom

As Blackie and I got close to our house, an elderly lady walking a little poodle approached us going the opposite way. As soon as Blackie spotted the lady, her tail started furiously wagging. The lady had white hair and walked very slowly. Blackie thought it was my mom.

Blackie still carries my mother in her heart. As long as Blackie lives on this earth, a part of my mother will still be alive.

At the very core of her being, Blackie knows that the most beautiful things in the world are only felt in the heart.

If you own a dog, I challenge you. Treat her like the noble and kindhearted creation she is.

You will never find a more faithful friend.


Upcoming Pesentations:

April 14, 2018. “Publish or Perish.” Pen to Podium Toastmasters. Hardesty Center, 1100 S. Alvernon. Tucson, AZ, 9:00 am.

June 5, 2018. “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny Bones.” Arizona Society for Professional Hypnosis. Scottsdale Senior Community Center,1700 North Granite Reef Road, Meeting Room 7, Scottsdale, AZ, 6:30 pm.

October 20, 2018. How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny BonesPrescott Valley Public Library (7401 E. Civic Circle), 1:00 – 2:00 pm. Prescott, AZ.



Amazon Link


Related Links

Like Abe Lincoln, Be Prepared with a “Quip” or a Bit of Humor

Emulate Abraham Lincoln: Make Each Day Count

The “Secret” Daily Affirmations of Abraham Lincoln

Always greet everyone, no matter what they look like

Employ an Affable Lincolnesque Persona

Be a Generous Listener, as Abe Lincoln Was

Deflect Criticism with Self-deprecating Humor

Always Say “Yes”

Be a Master of Disaster – Ponder the big picture



Volunteering at Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy Job Fair

Monday, June 8th, 2015

“Careers in Writing and Public Speaking” Booth


On June 5th I was a volunteer at the Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy Mock Job Fair, in Tucson, Arizona, a yearly event that benefit tribal high school juniors and seniors.

The students profit from the job fair by:

1) Obtaining real world advice on successful interviewing;

2) Expanding horizons and knowledge of career options;

3) Networking with business community members and leaders; and

4) Learning how to get hired for future jobs.


In the morning, I conducted practice interviews with the students and provided feedback and critiques of their interview responses and resumes. A common error in the interviews occurred when they answered the question, “What is one weakness that you have?” Many students answered “I have trouble getting up in the morning.”

I responded, “That is not a good answer. You can talk about a weakness, but you must also add something positive too. For example, “I have trouble getting up in the morning, but I am getting better because now I go to bed earlier and set my alarm clock to make sure that I get up.” This way, the interviewer is left with a positive, rather than a negative impression of the applicant.

Job Fair Booth

In the afternoon, I manned a booth in the Job Fair where I talked to students about careers in writing and public speaking. I had copies of each of my four books for them to look at and I had a stack of free Toastmasters Magazine, for those interested in learning about public speaking.

To each group that visited my table, I emphasized that operating your own business, be it authoring books/speaking, or any other business, requires fortitude. With tongue in cheek, I said, “three-and-a-half-titude is not enough. It has to be fortitude!”

The unvarnished truth is that if you don’t write books or make speeches, you don’t get paid. It’s up to you to light a fire under yourself and take the initiative.

An Illustrative Story

In the spirit of Abraham Lincoln, the master storyteller himself, I told each group a story to illustrate my point. I said:

A man was praying to God one day. He said, “God, let me win the lottery. I need the money.”

A week passed and no response came. The man prayed again, “God, I really need some money. Please, help me win the lottery.”

Another week passes and still no response. The man said, “God, what’s going on up there? Why aren’t you helping me?”

A booming voice came down from heaven and said, “Work with me. Buy a lottery ticket.”

Overall, I was greatly inspired by the students’ preparation for the event and their professional behavior. Each student shook my hand, asked intelligent questions and thanked me for participating. Many of them had high aspirations.  I was pleased to be able to play at least a small part in helping them to reach their goals.

Upcoming Presentations

Sept. 8, 2015, 12:40 to 1:00 pm. Old Pueblo Rotary Club. Hotel Tucson. Tucson, Arizona.

 Related Articles:

Follow Abe Lincoln’s Storytelling Example

Lincoln and Storytelling – Morning Blend Interview (video)

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Connect with People

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Win the Presidential Nomination (a lesson for the 2016 Candidates for President)

Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling – The Story Behind the Book

What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me About the Power of Stories

7 Book Promotion Tips by Radio Host Bob Schmidt

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

Lincoln Storytelling at AZ Senior Academy and Aztec Toastmasters (Video)

Abraham Lincoln and Leadership through Storytelling

Review of “The Hour of Peril” – 5 Abe Lincoln Anecdotes

Abraham Lincoln and the Kindergarten Class

Feb. 4: “Abraham Lincoln and the Power of a Story” at AZ Senior Academy

Saturday, January 31st, 2015


Abraham Lincoln said, “Stories are the shortest distance between a stranger and a friend.” Lincoln understood the power of a story.  It was a tool that allowed him to quickly and dramatically connect with people.

I will share the techniques Lincoln used to tell a story in my presentation on Wednesday (Feb. 4) at 3:30 p.m. at the Arizona Senior Academy.

Based on my newest book, “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds, and Funny Bones,” I will illustrate Lincoln’s methods of mimicry, self-effacing humor, and adding a moral or surprise twist to a story.

I will also discuss the following five examples of why Lincoln told stories.

 1) To replace depression with an anecdote

Friends of Lincoln commented that he was able to snap himself out of a seemingly deep depression by telling a funny story.

Judge David Davis (of the Eighth Circuit Court in Illinois, the Court where Lincoln practiced law), said that after long days in court,

“If Lincoln was oppressed, the feeling was soon relieved by the narration of a story. The tavern loungers enjoyed it, and his melancholy, taking to itself wings, seemed to fly away.”

2) As safety-valve to relieve stress

Do you think that your life is stressful because you have a raving boss and a dysfunctional family life, while at the same time trying to find enough money to make ends meet?

Consider for a moment how stressful Lincoln’s life was. He was President during an unpopular war that he seemed to be losing; the majority of his Cabinet members thought that he was an ignoramus and they all could do a better job as President; and, a hysterical wife made his home life seem like A Nightmare on Elm Street. If Lincoln had been under any more pressure he would have turned into a diamond.

Given the situation that he found himself, it’s only natural that he needed some way to blow off steam and relieve the pressure. He did that though storytelling.

It was common for Lincoln to liven up a Cabinet meeting by telling a story or by reading some humorous quotes from his favorite authors Artemus Ward and Robert Newell (both genial newspaper critics who supported Lincoln’s policies.)  When nit-picky Cabinet members failed to appreciate the humor as he did, Lincoln reproached them by saying,

“Gentlemen, why don’t you laugh? With the fearful strain that is upon me night and day, if I did not laugh occasionally I should die, and you need this medicine as much as I do.”

3) To avoid making a commitment

 It seemed that nearly everyone (in addition to the aforementioned salted mixed-nuts in the President’s Cabinet) thought they could run the county better than Lincoln, and they were not shy about coming to the White House to tell him so.

Lincoln often used stories as a sort of insect repellant against the army ant horde of know-it-alls who came to his office with their harebrained schemes. Law partner, William Herndon, observed Lincoln’s methods as,

“. . .  Swinging around what he suspected was the vital point, but never nearing it, interlacing his answers with a seemingly endless supply of stories and jokes.”

Visitors would leave his office feeling they had persuaded the president to their way of thinking, but once having walked only a few blocks they realized they had been bamboozled by Lincoln’s tricky verbal manipulations, or as Herndon put it,

“[After] blowing away the froth of Lincoln’s humorous narratives, they would find nothing left.”

 4) To soften the blow of having to tell someone “no”

 Lincoln received many “favor seekers” to his office. Often they were upset because he had fired a relative who was in line to become a general, or because he backed a program that ran against their interest, or he failed to give a job to a “qualified” candidate.  Lincoln politely welcomed them all and immediately waylaid them with a story.  These visitors left his company without what they came for but with only with what they were given: a story with a message for them to think about.

One example of how Lincoln used stories to soften a refusal was when Senator John Creswell (a loyal Republican supporter of Lincoln) came to Lincoln to request the release of an old friend who had been captured and imprisoned.

Creswell admitted,

“I know the man has acted like a fool, but he is my friend, and a good fellow; let him out; give him to me, and I will be responsible that he will have nothing further to do with the rebels.”

Lincoln contemplated the request. It reminded him of a group of young people who went on a little country excursion. They crossed a shallow stream in a flatboat, but on their way back they found that the boat had disappeared. So each boy picked up a girl and carried her across, until the only ones remaining were a little short chap and a great “Gothic-built” old maid. Lincoln complained,

Jefferson Davis

“Now Creswell, you are trying to leave me in the same predicament. You fellows are all getting your friends out of this scrape; and you will succeed in carrying off one after another, until nobody but Jeff Davis [President of the Confederate States] and myself will be left, and then I won’t know what to do. How should I feel? How should I look, lugging him over?”

5) To point out flaws in logic

 Combined with his rapier wit, Lincoln’s proclivity for logic enabled him to point out the absurdity of an argument with a casual jest.

Supporters of an applicant for the position of Commissioner of the Hawaiian Islands tried to convince Lincoln that their man was both competent for the post but also in dire need it because the climate was good his health.

Lincoln responded:

“Gentlemen, there are eight other applicants for that position, and they are all sicker’n your man.”

 Upcoming Presentation:

Feb. 4, 2015, 3:30 to 4:30 pm (Mtn. time). Presentation to the Arizona Senior Academy. Tucson, Arizona.












Related Posts:

Lincoln and Storytelling – Morning Blend Interview (video)

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Connect with People

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Win the Presidential Nomination (a lesson for the 2016 Candidates for President)

Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling – The Story Behind the Book

What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me About the Power of Stories

7 Book Promotion Tips by Radio Host Bob Schmidt

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

Lincoln Storytelling at AZ Senior Academy and Aztec Toastmasters (Video)

Following in Lincoln’s Footsteps: My presentation to the ALP Convention (video)

Abraham Lincoln and Leadership through Storytelling

Volunteering at Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy Job Fair

Review of “The Hour of Peril” – 5 Abe Lincoln Anecdotes

What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me about the Power of Stories

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

While defending a man against an assault charge, Lincoln claimed it was more like self-defense, as in the case of a man he knew who was walking down the road with a pitchfork and was attacked by a very fierce dog. In trying to ward off the dog’s attacks he stuck the prongs of the pitchfork into the animal and killed him. According to Lincoln, the dialogue that followed went like this:

“What made you kill my dog?” said the farmer.

“What made your dog try to bite me?” the man answered.

“But why didn’t you go after him with the other end of your pitchfork?”

“Why didn’t he come after me with his other end?”

The jury found Lincoln’s client innocent of assault

Lincoln’s Secretary of Treasury said, “Many of Mr. Lincoln’s stories were as apt and instructive as the best of Aesop’s Fables.”

3 Reasons to Use Stories

Lincoln used stories for many different reasons, but here are three reasons that stand out to me.

1.) Stories are tools of persuasion use to avoid provoking people.

Lincoln said, “They say I tell a great many stores and I reckon I do, but I believe that common people, are more easily informed through the medium of a broad illustration than in any other way.”

Studies show that people are more receptive to information presented as a story than if it is merely presented as a dry, unadorned, fact.

2.) Stories are an entertaining and compelling way to connect with people. Lincoln commented, “Stories are the shortest path between strangers and friends.”

Carl Schurz

Carl Schurz, a union general who first met Lincoln on a train described the meeting by saying,

“I soon felt as if I had known him all my life and we had very long been close friends. He interspersed our conversation with all sorts of quaint stories, each of which had a witty point applicable to the subject at hand.”

3.) Stories have the power to bring about change. Our stories we chose communicate a deeper meaning, our values, hopes and ideals in a way that most people can relate. They show us the difference between what is and what could be.

Plato said, “Those who tell stories rule the world.”

“I am not simply a story-teller,” said Lincoln, “It is not the story itself, but its purpose that interests me.” He didn’t force his messages on his audience, he let in unfold in their own imaginations.

Where to Get Stories

Like me, you may not be a natural born storyteller, and you might not have a treasure trove of fascinating stories to draw upon. But Lincoln said that he almost never invented stories. He told stories and jokes he remembered hearing or reading and he adapted them to fit the issue at hand.

Draw upon stories that you have personally experienced, or utilize stories that you have heard or read. Modify these stories to slip in your message instead of hitting people over the head with it.

Opportunities to Tell Stories Present Themselves

Stories proved their value to me when I spent time with my Mother during the last year of her life. She was constantly in and out of hospital and rehabilitation facilities. We were together so much that often the only thing I could think to say was to recall family stories from the past. I realized that the best way to communicate feelings and deep thoughts was through these stories.

Stories are also a useful teaching tool with my two teenage sons. I can no longer use the direct technique with them, and just say “stop doing that or you can’t watch TV!” That approach is a dead end. It would just result in an argument and hard feelings.

If I really want to mold their behavior, I talk to them when they are relaxed, like in the car, and I tell them an interesting story (at least to me) from my past experience that reflects some point that I want to make. Sometimes I wonder if my boys are really paying attention to my “rambling reminisces.” But, when they later ask me for more details about a story that I have told, I realize that maybe my story has struck a chord with them.

Stories Are More Persuasive Than Logic

At a meeting of newspaper editors, where he felt out of place, Lincoln used this story:

“I feel like I did once when I met a woman riding horseback in the woods, As I stopped to let her pass, she also stopped and looking at me intently.

She said, ‘I do believe you are the ugliest man I ever saw.’

Said I: ‘Madam, you are probably right, but I can’t help it.’

‘No, she said, ‘you can’t help it, but you might stay at home.’ ”

And magically, after hearing the story, the reporters who were strangers became Lincoln’s  friends.

Learn from Lincoln. Stop being so logical, fact filled and practical in your communications. Dig deeper, make people laugh, cry and think by wrapping it in a compelling story. Connect to people’s hearts by the stories you tell.

Recommended readings:

Abraham Lincoln and Leadership through Storytelling

Following in Lincoln’s Footsteps: My presentation to the ALP Convention (video)

Follow Abe Lincoln’s Storytelling Example

Lincoln Storytelling at AZ Senior Academy and Aztec Toastmasters (Video)

Feb. 4: “Abraham Lincoln and the Power of a Story” at AZ Senior Academy

Lincoln and Storytelling – Morning Blend Interview

Abraham Lincoln Storytelling Secret – Add Voices

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Connect with People by T. Sprouse

Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling – The Story Behind the Book by T. Sprouse

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Win the Presidential Nomination (a lesson for the 2016 Candidates for President) by T. Sprouse

Volunteering at Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy Job Fair by T. Sprouse

How To Have The Language Intelligence Of Abraham Lincoln: ‘The Greatest Thing By far Is To Be A Master Of Metaphor’ by Joe Romm at ClimateProgress

Mr. Sandburg, speak to us! by Bill Nash at Abe’s Log Cabin.

How Abraham Lincoln mastered the art of storytelling by John Sadowsky

Lesson From Abraham Lincoln On Becoming A Great Storyteller by Jay Oza

The Power of Overlooking an Offense at Kingdom People

John Y. Brown, III: Lincoln and the Power of Story at The Recovering Politician

Is a state pension enough to support you in retirement? at Reach Financial Independence

Does Volunteering And Charitable Giving Lead To Happier Employees And Higher Profits? at Untemplater

The grocery game challenge June 24-30, 2013 #4: Fruit and vegetable preparation at Canadian Budget Binder

Do You Sneak Snacks Into The Movies? at Eyes on the Dollar

 Review of “The Hour of Peril” – 5 Abe Lincoln Anecdotes

Townhouse Offer Details & Presentation to Am. Businesswomen Assoc.

Friday, January 16th, 2009

Update on Investment Property Purchase Offer

Last week I made an offer of $105,000 on a 1100 sq ft townhouse that was being offered in a range of $115,000 to $125,000.

I asked for sellers to pay 2% of the the value of the house to help with closing cost (about $2,000)(see my previous article about a key phrase to include in your purchase offer to reduce closing costs)

The sellers countered with an offer of $112,000. I sent a note to the sellers saying “in order for this to work for us as a rental property, we have to stay pretty close to our original offer.” And I replied that we wanted to stay at $105,000.

After a little more back-and-forth we finally settled on $106,000 and they paid the 2%.

Other townhouses in the complex rent for $775 and my monthly mortgages payments should come in below $600 per month.

Presentation to American Businesswomen Association

Last Tuesday I made a presentation to the ABA about how I got started in the house fixer upper business. I’m trying to get out a little more to make presentations to various groups to promote my book.

It was really a warm and friendly group. They treated me to dinner and asked a lot good questions about the fixer-upper business, and they purchased many copies of my book.

Info on Terry’s Book

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