A few years ago, I wanted a way to introduce ordinary greatness to the world. My idea was to start a podcast where I talk with regular people I had the good fortune of meeting, who I'd discovered in the course of a conversation, had actually done some pretty amazing things.
Then I went on the road with my husband. Instead of putting my intent on hold, I figured out how to record from the comfort of my very boisterous hotel. The biggest surprise was how many awesome people I would meet simply by starting a conversation in the laundry room or by asking someone who worked there a few questions.
Recently, I read an article at NPR.org called, “Want To Feel Happier Today? Try Talking To A Stranger.” There are times when I felt very alone in that hotel. But I can attest that NPR is definitely onto something.
These are stories.
Told by the people who lived them.
But ordinary people aren't always comfortable having their story recorded, especially when it could be shared with the world. In Common Luminaries, you'll hear from those who, in spite of their reservations, were generous with their time and decided to embrace the wonderful quote from Neale Donald Walsh that states:
"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."
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Submariner for 9 tours
My first guest is a Dave Morton. Dave is a guy who at 19 years of age, joined the Navy and became a submariner. We talked about what life was like on a nuclear submarine, which includes a thorough discussion of:
The difference between European and American dirty magazines
What he calls a horizontal masturbation chamber
The worst job on a sub
What it sounds like when a sub sinks
What it means to be a part of the brotherhood of submariners
We’ll find out where Dave’s opinion gets him in trouble
We also talked about more serious subjects like why 17 young men were left to die on the Russian sub, the Kursk, and what it was like to lose a friend in an underwater tragedy. We talk about his humble beginnings and the love of his life, and finish with what Dave calls the “Forrest Gump” journey that led to his professional success. Dave and I also have a personal connection that you’ll discover on this episode of Common Luminaries.
Dave has also generously contributed photos from his tours to this picture gallery.
Former firefighter who overcame drug and alcohol addiction as well as PTSD
This podcast is about a man named Raymond who prefers to limit his identity to his first name. He was the youngest in his family of six--a cute little boy beloved by his siblings who grew up to do many things you would hope a cute, beloved brother would not do:
Find himself homeless
Become a felon
The intricacies of his story are numerous, far more than we could dive into on a one-hour podcast. However, my hope is that Raymond and I will continue to find ways to share the specifics of some of the topics we spoke about. For now, here’s your introduction to a guy who always believed he was a kind, generous soul, but discovered his actions didn’t represent that truth. This is the inspirational story of how one man found his way back from a very dark place.
Born with a debilitating birth defect but never knew it
On a hot North Florida day, my husband and I took out his motorcycle, a 2008 Honda Gold Wing--an 800 pound marvel of engineering complete with a throne for a back seat. Which is naturally where I sit. We were in the market for an RV and that day we came across Campers Inn in North Jacksonville. We were quickly assigned a random sales rep and thoroughly covered the bases on RVs. Then, for some reason, we just kept talking. It’s amazing what you can find out about people in a cool office on a hot summer day.
That brings us to Creg Richards. The funny thing about Creg is, he never should have been able to physically do what he’s done. He was generous with his time that afternoon and, as a result, three people who would have normally never spoke again, spent a few hours becoming friends. We had the good fortune of hearing Creg's story or, I should say, stories. He's not only a medical marvel, he's also a handy inventor.
Don't miss an episode
For more media, check out my video series, "What Was I Thinking! In life, I believe we are given challenges and opportunities, not to take the easy way out but to be pushed to make difficult decisions. Sometimes those decisions require you to represent your truth in spite of adversity. These are my stories of living life outside my comfort zone.