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One Hand Speaks

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Luke Skywalker’s Hand Was Cut Off… I Was Born Like This! – OHS041 - One Hand Speaks

I was born and raised on television. To be more specific I was mostly raised watching science fiction and superheroes on television. There was also a whole lot of Kung Fu Theater in there with what seemed like thousands of hours of television watching that had anything to do with Kung Fu or the martial arts. However, most of my early and most precious memories were being cuddled up on the couch as a family watching Star Trek, The Original Series reruns or going to the opening nights of the...


It’s OK To Stare At My One-Handed Life – OHS040 - One Hand Speaks

In most cases I am telling the parents of children, "It's OK for them to stare at me. They're just curious." Sometimes I find how parents react to their kids looking at me to be both disconcerting yet understandable. It is a lottery pick trying to guess what their reaction to their children staring at me will be or the response to me if I say something about it. There are times I feel some parents are more uncomfortable with themselves when their children are looking at me. Maybe they...


One-Handed Aikido – OHS039 - One Hand Speaks

Earning first degree black belt in the martial art of Aikido was a great accomplishment and milestone in my life. The only thing more fantastic was earning third degree black belt in Aikido. I grew up watching "Kung-Fu Theater" after Saturday morning cartoons would end. It was a four hour block of the most insanely crazy Kung Fu I had ever witnessed. Watching Shaolin Monks flying threw the air and laying down funky techniques with the timing of the voices offset to the movements of the...


Embarrassingly Funny Things People Say About My One-Handed Life – OHS038 - One Hand Speaks

People say the funniest things. And when you have one hand in a two-handed world certain statements can be funny, weird, and at times lean toward the “not-so-cool.” For most people it is a simple slip of the tongue. Living mostly in a two-handed world means there are a lot of statements and expressions that are habitually two-handed in nature. Add this to the tendency of the human condition to ask, say, or respond with conditioned phrases and the world can be an extremely funny place. I...


Seeing My Opposite At The Oregon Country Fair – OHS037 - One Hand Speaks

I am not sure how often, or if ever, people get to meet their "opposite" in life. I have encountered my "opposite' many times. This occurred ever year for about four years while attending the Oregon Country Fair (OCF) in Veneta, Oregon. I started to attend OCF in 1993. For the next twenty years it was part of my yearly schedule. In the later years I was a youth empowerment speaker at The Youth Stage. "The Fair" has been a very large and special part of my life. I have already done one...


One-Handed Boy Goes to the Beach – OHS036 - One Hand Speaks

As a very young one-handed child I was not a fan of going to the beach. I was stared at and pointed at often, subtly teased and slightly bullied. It was something I did not like very much when I was a little kid. Which is interesting because as an adult I simply love being at the beach and hanging out in the sun. However, there is a big difference from being the age I am right now and being a six-year-old boy. My mother could see I was very uncomfortable with my body and how other kids...


Trying To Buy Two Right Hand Gloves For The First Time – OHS035 - One Hand Speaks

"I have more left handed gloves than I know what to do with," I would often say. Other times I might say, "I have a closet full of left handed gloves." Once my room mate mentioned he lost one of his gloves. I knew by the look on his face he did not really want to say that to me. After a somewhat long and awkward moment I asked, "was it the left glove?" He replied with, "I knew you were going to ask that question! I am not ready to give up on the right handed glove just yet. Give me a few...


We Almost Died Driving Across the Country – OHS034 - One Hand Speaks

We did almost died a couple of times on that drive across the state of Kansas. To this day I cannot believe we did not at least fly off the road, slide in a ditch, or hit another car. Overall I do not remember the majority of the drive across the country. But I do vividly recall our drive in a freakishly intense ice storm that came out of nowhere once we entered Kansas. It was there and then my childhood friend and me almost died. It seems like a pretty standard scenario in life to change...


Seeing Myself For The First Time – OHS033 - One Hand Speaks

One of the interesting aspects about being born with one hand is, "this is all I know." What I mean is I have no other reference point. My entire experience is one handed. Despite seeing most of the people around me having two hands, my normal experience is seeing myself in a mirror with one hand. All I have ever seen of myself is one handed. Like I said, it is all I know. People often ask me, "what happened?" My standard response is, "nothing." When people realize I was born like this...


Memories Of A One Handed Life – OHS032 - One Hand Speaks

This is simply a short story about a very early one-handed experience. In fact, it is one of my earliest positive memories of living life with one hand. As much as I love the way I am right now it was not always easy. My childhood was very challenging. My early childhood was extremely difficult. So much of this revolved around not knowing why I was born like this. Not understanding why me and not someone else. At the time this story took place the only one-handed person I had ever seen was...


The $150 Dollar Pool Shot – OHS031 - One Hand Speaks

I grew up with a pool table in our home. I can say it was a family past time. Often my friends would come over and we would stay up all night watching Kung Fu movies, drinking soda pop, and shooting pool downstairs in our basement. As long as I can remember the sound of billiard balls caroming off one other was part of the soundtrack of my life. Not to mention the sound thunderbolt breaks and balls flying off the table pretending to be basketballs on our concrete floor. Despite being born...


Traveling at age 81 – OHS030 - One Hand Speaks

It is interesting where we find our inspiration. Sometimes it is more interesting when inspiration finds me. This is just what happened to me one night sitting at the bar at my local pub drinking a beer. Now it did take a number of years before I was actually able to take the experience, advice, and resulting inspiration to heart. But I did and I still do. I was even able to share this story with my mother who also found great inspiration and motivation. Currently both my mother and myself...


Coffee Shop Kindness – OHS029 - One Hand Speaks

I am a big fan of coffee. Which I can say is related to my love of coffee shops. As a result I do spend a lot of time drinking coffee and hangin' out in coffee shops. Many hilarious, captivating, and unique one-handed experiences have unfolded while I was just "chillin' like Bob Dylan" in a coffee shop. This story is about one of those moments. However, this is not some quirky Q&A conversation with a 5 year old about the ins and outs of a life with one hand. Nor was this an accidental...


Greatest One-Handed Moments #1 – OHS028 - One Hand Speaks

Living this one-handed life has many fun, unique, and funny moments. In fact, the opportunity to lift people up, make people laugh, and to inspire people in the moment arises often. I guess the question to ask is will I utilize the moment or not? A long time ago I made the decision to look at my life as a blessing. To inspire people and bring humor and joy to as many moments as possible as a benefit for them, for, me, and for all the people around us. I decided to use my one handed life as...


Talking TED Talk with an X – OHS027 - One Hand Speaks

This year I delivered my second TEDx talk as part of the TEDxTwinFalls event. In 2015 I was one of the speakers for the TEDxBoise event. Having the fortune of offering and delivering two TEDx Talks has been a true privilege. The experience of formulating, practicing, and sharing my ideas has helped me grow as a speaker. Plus, having been a Toastmaster for the past 7 years it is quite refreshing to speak in an arena so different than the Toastmasters stage. In 2017 I was one of the speech...


The Road to the 2014 Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking – OHS026 - One Hand Speaks

I have been a Toastmaster for the past seven years. This week's podcast will cover my experience, insights, and advice about competing in the 2014 Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. So much of this competition is about practicing and writing a great speech. If I had to say, I will say it is more about the writing of the speech. Delivery is key but I feel it is the better written speech that gives a competitor the advantage. I have heard a great...


The Physics of Storytelling And The Equation of Appreciation – OHS025 - One Hand Speaks

I think most of us as children grew up with our parents reading to us. This was not a huge pastime in my family. My father mostly worked nights and this was something my mother did not often do for us. I was mostly raised on television, Regardless, I believe this to be very common place. And frankly, who does not love a good story? I remember reading to my good friend's child as a "stand-in" parent. I was amazed at how much this child loved listening to me read to her. Story time is a big...


The Difference A Few Kind Words Can Make In A Person’s Life – OHS024 - One Hand Speaks

High School... What a time. For some it was great, for others not so great and for most of us it is something we all experience. This story is about my high school art teacher Mrs. Hendricks. She was a small and delicate elderly women. She taught pottery and ceramics in my first period art class my junior year at Saint Joseph High School in South Bend, Indiana. I took her class for two years and to this day I still have a fond affinity for ceramics. I did it for a number of years in and...


“I Want to Cut Off My Hand To Live A Better Life?” Who asks this question? – OHS023 - One Hand Speaks

Here is a story about an interaction I just had today. Over the course of my life I have been approached by certain individuals with a certain question. Normally when someone asks me, "can I ask you a question?" I have a general idea of what it is. Most people are creating an opening to ask about why I have one hand. But that is not always the case. On very rare occasions the questions goes to a fascinating yet slightly bizarre place. This question has only been asked of me 5 times in my...


Why Did a Homeless Tibetan Beggar in China Want to Give Me Money? – OHS022 - One Hand Speaks

I recently traveled for thirty five days in Tibet and China. I was part of the 2017 One Path Outreach Medical Mission. We did medical support and service for a remote village in Eastern Tibet. Afterwards I spent two and a half weeks traveling in China with 8 full days at the Shaolin Temple in Henan province. I flew into the City of Chengdu in the Sichuan province from the United States. After landing in Chengdu, driving for three days to get into Tibet, returning to Chengdu, traveling to...


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