COLLECTED HUMOR FOR THE JOURNEY
EVERYONE NEEDS A SENSE OF HUMOR, but like all blessings from above, some are born with a bit more and others a lot less. Without humor, life would be far less fun. Humor has a way of bringing people together. You can turn a difficult situation around through laughter. The following is a part of my lifetime collection of humor worth sharing. If you need to boost your sense of the absurd, the silly and the downright craziness of life, read on and enjoy the journey. The names have been changed to tease the innocent.
“This is laugh-out-loud funny and is a constant companion when I travel.”– Al Waddell
COLLECTED WISDOM FOR THE JOURNEY
MY GRANDMOTHER WAS AN INVETERATE READER and could not resist clipping out ideas, inspirations, prayers and quotes. She kept them in scrapbooks with tape and glue. She was in her sixties when I was born and by the time I was old enough to carry on a conversation with her, she was well into her seventies. We grandchildren saw her with fear and awe. She did not tolerate fools or children well but had a wonderfully generous heart. While staying with her one summer, I was searching for a subject for a college homework assignment and asked her for an idea. She wrote out a quote from memory by Calvin Coolidge and told me to memorize it and write my paper. I did as told and received an “A” on the paper. More important than the grade, I learned the following: “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” Calvin Coolidge We all knew Grandmother to be smart and I later figured out that more importantly, she was wise. My request for an idea for a paper turned into a life lesson. Without thinking, I started to save clippings of interesting thoughts, prayers and quotes on faith, wisdom, humor, knowledge, success and anything else worthwhile. I have now been collecting for over fifty years. I recently published Faith for the Journey. This little book is the portion of my collection of wisdom worth sharing. It is my hope that some of this wisdom might stick to you. Enjoy the journey.
AN UNLIKELY JOURNEY
BORN INTO A FAMILY OF WEALTH and privilege during World War II, Mark Erwin’s childhood was less than normal or happy. The son of a free-spirited, socialite mother who was used to getting whatever she desired, he witnessed her decline into depression, alcoholism, and despair, which almost destroyed the family. This could be called a story of “riches to rags and back to riches” with plenty of life lessons between.
As a teen he was headed straight for disaster when he met his Lord while locked up in juvenile hall at age sixteen. A kindly judge, perhaps in response to Mark’s prayers, gave him a chance to redeem himself.
An Unlikely Journey follows his miraculous path from this rocky beginning to the curious and extraordinary places and positions neither Mark nor his family and closest friends could have ever envisioned.
With no financial resources, little education, and few prospects, he overcame many challenges to achieve success in business, philanthropy, politics, diplomacy, and life, developing along the way a credo to “Make a Difference. Do Good. Have Fun.”
Erwin is truly a self-made man, though for all of his accomplishments, he considers his family the greatest achievement. His wife, Joan, and he have been married forty-four years and have reared two wonderful daughters, who in turn have rewarded them with three beautiful granddaughters.
“I THOROUGHLY ENJOYED READING YOUR BOOK. I TRULY COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN. A FASINATING LIFE YOU HAVE LIVED. YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION TO ANYONE OF ANY AGE AS TO THE POSSIBILITIES ONE HAS IF ONE WILL PERSEVERE. I ADMIRE YOU TREMENDOUSLY AND I WILL BE BUYING YOUR BOOK FOR GRADUATION AND OTHER GIFTS — FOR YOUNG PEOPLE— BUT FOR ALL OF MY “OLD“FRIENDS ALSO. YOU CAN QUOTE ME!!! — “A GREAT LIFE!! A GREAT BOOK.””– Ambassador Jeanette Hyde
“I finally had a minute to breathe on a flight to Canada last week. I was pleased to realize I had stashed “An Unlikely Journey” in my carry-on bag. I really enjoyed your book. Imparting wisdom and experience through the written word is a unique talent. I was most fascinated by the stories of your grandparents.” – Judge Casey Visor
“I enjoyed and appreciated your recent book An Unlikely Journey! I found it filled with nuggets of wisdom, humor, authenticity and insight. I especially loved reading all of the “inside” stories of your appointment and relationship with those who serve our great nation. Thanks too, for sharing your faith so openly.” – Rev. Mike Bailey
“Your book is an easy read and, admittedly, I did have trouble putting it down. I enjoyed the part about your time in Africa during the Clinton administration, including your close and valued relationship with President Clinton. However, the compelling part for me centered around your childhood and overcoming the myriad of challenges through hard work, focus and faith. Well done.” -Larry Polsky
“Just finished “AN UNLIKELY JOURNEY” and I agree with Joan, one of the best books I have ever read!!!!!! And I thought I knew the “real” Mark Erwin, though your empathy and vulnerability are truly your greatest strengths. I hope your inspirational story mentors many of our youth in need. As Ben Franklin advised, you have done “things worth the writing” and have now written “something worth reading”!!! – Barry Finch
“I just finished “Unlikely Journey.” Wonderful! Your story is most inspiring, and I salute you for sharing it with others. Many lessons to be learned.” – Michael A. Almond
THE PRACTICAL AMBASSADOR
CONGRATULATIONS! You are about to embark on a great adventure and possibly the best job you will ever hold. You will meet and have access to fascinating people. You will visit with kings and prime ministers; celebrities and eccentrics; the rich and powerful as well as the poor and downtrodden. During your tenure, you will accumulate a lifetime of wonderful memories, and you will no doubt develop a very different perspective on the world. American ambassadors come in all shapes and sizes and from wonderfully varied backgrounds. The process of becoming an ambassador, beginning when you receive the phone call from The White House, to the swearing-in ceremony is a long and arduous one. I was told that I would go through all the different emotions over the several-month period, and that proved correct. During the time before swearing-in, you will have received a number of briefings from different governmental and non-governmental departments and agencies and you will have gone through the Ambassadorial Seminar, better known as “Charm School,” where you will be exposed to the workings and culture of the Department of State. This book will address some of the areas relating to the practical side of the job. I hope it proves to be of particular value to you as you embark on your great new adventure.– Mark W. Erwin U.S. Ambassador (Ret.)
FAITH FOR THE JOURNEY
This book contains my lifetime collection of favorite thoughts, clippings and quotes on the subject of faith. Over the years, my faith beliefs have developed through reading, listening and collecting. The God who has been my personal savior transcends religion and churches. I have learned there is all the difference between faith and religion. As I have traveled the world, I have observed if you mention any specific religious group, you will please some and offend others. True faith is by and about God. Faith transcends all. As you read this volume, it is important to know the word Christ is from the Greek (Khristós) a’nointed’) and is a translation of the Hebrew (Māšîaḥ), ‘the Messiah’, and is used as a title for Jesus of Nazareth in the New Testament. Enjoy the journey.
Bob Timberlake and Mark Erwin collaborated once again in Headed Home. Providences of Laughter, Love and Joy with their customary good humor to explore such themes as personal fulfillment, heritage mortality, faith and the blessings and wonder of dogs, pairing favorite lines of wisdom with fifty seven Timberlake paintings.
“I found your history very interesting as well as somewhat sad. You seem to have overcome a lot. You were wise to have married Joan, don’t you agree! Most fascinating was your description of your years as ambassador. I never knew exactly what an ambassador did nor did I know anything where you were located.” – Marjorie McNeer