This week’s hangout session

Dear Friend,

As I mentioned previously, you don’t have to answer all or any of the the questions at the end of this hangout session. They are just to help you remember important events and stories in your life. Jot down a few notes, and if you like, send us some of your thoughts and memories to

My friend Dr. Kent Harrison, university professor emeritus of physics responded to our last hangout discussion with a list of the most valuable things in his life. Top of his list just under Heavenly Father and Jesus were his wife and family. No surprise there when you know his history and character. But then who wouldn’t prize a spouse who could put his or her hands on a cool million dollars to help get the family through the monthly bills.

“Janyce has a unique ability to often know what will happen in the future,” Kent told me. He added that their family, like most of us, had received over the years invitations by mail to participate in contests and lotteries. Usually they tossed them in the “round file” aka waste basket. But once when their children were teenagers and young adults (generally the most expensive stretch in a family) Janyce just for fun returned an invitation from Reader’s Digest to win a million dollars. They promptly forgot about it, but then letters began arriving informing them that they were still in a shrinking pool of potential winners.

At length they got a letter inviting their last response. From those who replied the winner would be chosen. As she prepared the response Janyce had the strong impression that they would win the million dollars. Then she got another strong message, “If you win this money it will destroy your family.”

That letter didn’t go into the round file. Janyce carefully shredded it into miniscule bits, destroyed it and never entered another contest.

The book of Proverbs in the Bible says of a virtuous woman, “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her.” No wonder Kent loves and trusts Janyce.

Would they have won the million dollars? The answer if not irrelevant is at least tangential to the point of our discussion in this book. Janyce was convinced she had to decide between prosperity and posterity. No contest. Her family was worth more than a million dollars.

 Hangout subject

Here are a few lines describing how I came up with the title of this book. You might want to glance at them for a review, then check the questions at the end to add your memories and observations on these subjects.


“Titles are hard to come by. For one thing, all the good ones have been taken; like Thinner Thighs in Thirty Days, and The Bible.

–Dave Barry

Searching for a title, I wrestled with ideas and language, and came out with three thoughts (three thoughts is a pretty fair accomplishment for me), and six words that started with “L”. They represented what I have tried, and am trying to do with my life.

Looking at the title again, I decided the “Long” needed an asterisk (the asterisk, as you know, is the ancestor of the Hyperlink) so I added one.

Live Long*

*Not long in years necessarily, but long in perspective. Number of years is not an accurate gauge of success. The most important life in the history of the world only lasted 33 years. Planning, managing, and executing a successful life is like succeeding in a career. In a couple of decades, we can have twenty years’ experience on the job, or one year’s experience twenty times.

The difference often lies in our perspective. Generally speaking, the farther ahead we look the better our life plans and performance are. The really successful people stretch their perspective even beyond the veil we call death, and ask themselves, “How can I prepare myself for eternity in heaven?”

When we organize and pursue this endless perspective, our lives are successful no matter how many years we do or don’t accumulate.

Learn a little

Sir Isaac Newton, considered by some the greatest scientific mind in history said, “What we know is a drop. What we don’t know is an ocean.”

We won’t get too far swallowing the ocean with the teaspoon of our mind, but we can enjoy the process of learning, and our lives and those we touch will be richer for it.

Laugh a lot

It takes two muscles to smile, 200 to frown so I read. Laughter helps digestion, and releases in our brain a legal drug named dopamine which helps us relax and lowers our stress. A hearty laugh even tones the muscles. So avoid facial muscle fatigue. Digest, relax, and tone up with a good laugh, or at least a smile.

Thank you

Thanks for opening the book. Reading this far makes you an honorary member of the Triple Double L Club. Welcome fellow pilgrim.

 Now let’s hear from you.

  •  What is one of the favorite cars you’ve ever owned? How did you decide to buy it?
  • Who are some of your most longtime friends? How did you get together?
  • Do you have some favorite keepsakes or souvenirs? How did you acquire them? What makes them valuable to you?
  • What things have you learned to do that make you feel good or successful? Anything from tying your own shoes to riding a bike to earning a PhD in astrophysics.
  • Describe some things that happened in your past that make you laugh or smile to remember. When they happened were they comedies or tragedies at the time?
  • Other memories?