Common Ground

As a child my family had gone on various vacations. It had probably been twenty-five years or more, since I had taken a trip with either of my parents. Several years ago when my Dad was in his late 70’s we went on a father daughter trip to Utah to enjoy some time together. It was just the two of us; he was going to hunt and I to hike, horseback ride and tour the surrounding area.   

We had researched various locations for many years but could never find a place that was acceptable to both of us. We finally found a location in Utah. When we arrived at Broad Mouth Canyon, we met another father and daughter duo, she was 13 and he in is his late 40’s.  A memory flashed before me, it was around the start of my teen age years, when I turned in my hip boots and pellet gun and my interests turned from outdoor sports to boys. I began to pull away from my father and his hobbies during those years.  At the time of our trip, I was in my 40’s looking to reconnect and find common ground with my dad. It was a precious opportunity and I intended to make the best of it.

We had adjoining cabins in the woods away from the main lodge. He would get up early in the morning and head out with his guide to hunt. I would get up later, take in the mountains, and go for my horseback ride.  We met back for lunch and dinner. He would tell me about his adventures during the day and I would talk about mine and my horseback ride through the canyon. There was something so special about those conversations with my dad they just delighted me. It was the exchange of our stories and the passion we both shared for our hobbies. We would reunite after dinner, play cards together and turn in for the night. I savored every moment with my dad.

My Father taught me many things in life, one of them being a love of nature, and I have a keen appreciation for it to this day. At night in the cabin, I would listen to the sounds of the elk bugling and other creatures stirring and hunting their prey. Dad went out early most days and came back later than the other hunters most nights. A group of us were already at dinner, when my dad and his guide Jaden finally arrived. I watched out for him, stashed a piece of dessert when I saw it might run out, and picked up a paper for him in the morning when I went for a drive. I wanted to protect him, watch his back while he was away from the lodge.

One of the last nights, I looked up at the mountains surrounding our cabin and I could barely make out the peak it was so grand. I realized then, that if I could measure my love for my Father, it would be as high as the mountain top. He is my hero, the strongest man I have ever known and no one other than my God can fill his shoes. I was so proud to be with him, proud to be his daughter. I could only hope that he was proud of me too. All I wanted from our vacation was to reconnect with my Dad and share some common ground.  It was a gift and I have treasured the memories for a lifetime.

You never know how long your parents will be with you, but I know this, I will always cherish the memories of our time together.  As we celebrate Father’s Day, remember those special times with your Dad or create new memories it’s never too late start again.  Happy Father’s Day!

Celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day

February 17th is Random Acts of Kindness Day

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Gandhi

The month of February is notorious for Valentine’s Day and celebrating love. What better way to spread the love than by committing a random act of kindness? February 17th is the day people all around the globe celebrate the unofficial holiday called Random Acts of Kindness Day, also known as RAK Day.
No one knows for sure where RAK Day began but the roots can be traced back to New Zealand in 2005. The RAK Foundation promotes the mission to do something extra special for another person without expecting any payment in return. It makes sense that this little-known holiday would be celebrated in February when our hearts are already focused on love. The concept starts with practicing altruism and taking the focus off ourselves. As we start to think of other’s needs more readily, we become more aware of neighbors, friends or total strangers as you go about your day. RAK can be as simple as complimenting someone or volunteering to mentor a child. Random acts of kindness are something both the giver and the receiver feel good about. I took the opportunity to pay for someone’s coffee and donut order at Dunkin Donuts this week. 
Remember the movie Pay It Forward starring Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment? The premise of the movie was based on a homework assignment to change the world for the better. Osment devises a plan to set up a network of good deeds. Each person must do a favor for someone and in turn, that person is expected to do a favor for three other people.
If you believe in the philosophy of “what comes around goes around”, practicing altruism brings about positive energy and sets an example for others that the world is full of kindness and generosity. Here is my challenge to you; make it your mission to surprise and delight someone this month with a random act of kindness! I would love to hear what creative gestures you come up with. Try to impact as many people as possible. You may be just one person but your gestures can impact many.

Jodi Cross is a marketing consultant, speaker, and writer and can be reached at

Happy National Sibling Day

As the youngest of four I was always getting teased, taunted and told what to do. Somehow as they years went by the roles shifted. Although the personality traits noted by the birth order theorist Alfred Adler don’t mirror my siblings there are some similarities.

The birth order theory began in the late 1920s with Alfred Adler, Sigmund Freud’s friend and colleague. Adler believed that the order in which you are born into a family inherently affects your personality.

The first-born (oldest) child. According to Adler, the oldest child tends to be conservative, power-oriented, and predisposed toward leadership. Because they often take responsibility for their younger siblings, firstborns grow up to be caring, more willing to become parents, and more likely to take initiative.

General traits of the oldest include;

  • Reliable
  • Conscientious
  • Structured
  • Cautious
  • Controlling
  • Over Achievers

The second (middle) child. Since the older brother or sister is a “pace-setter” for the second child, they often struggle to surpass their older sibling. The pace of development is higher. The middle kids in a family often tend to be ambitious, but they are rarely selfish. They are also more likely to set unreasonably high goals for themselves. This increases the number of failures, however knowing how to cope with difficulties in life is what makes them stronger.

Middle children tend to possess the following characteristics;

  • People-pleasers
  • Somewhat Rebellious
  • Peacemakers
  • Wider Social Circle
  • Thrives on friendships

The last-born (youngest) child. As a rule, the youngest child gets a lot of care and attention from parents and even older siblings. That is why they may feel less experienced and independent. However, last-borns are usually highly motivated to surpass their older sisters and brothers. Very often they achieve a big success and earn recognition in their chosen field. They become the fastest athletes, the best musicians, or the most talented artists. The youngest children in a family tend to be very sociable, though they are likely to be more irresponsible and frivolous than older children. Youngest children tend to be the most free-spirited due to their parents’ increasingly laissez-faire attitude towards parenting the second (or third, or fourth, or fifth…) time around.

The baby of the family tends to be;

  • Fun-loving
  • Manipulative
  • Outgoing
  • Attention Seeking
  • Uncomplicated

I would say most of the above does fit my personality. There is another category worth noting for exceptions when age gaps within families exist. In our case, 10-12 years between my older sibling and I, they call these Gap Children.

Gap Children: They consider at least five years in between births a substantial gap in the birth order structure. A 2-year-old boy with an 8-year-old older sister isn’t going adopt middle-child traits, but rather those of a firstborn. This gap can lead to perfectionist traits more like an only child.

The adjectives don’t always fit the personality but it is fun to take a look at what it means to be one of many in a birth order on this April 10th, Sibling Day. As the quote says, we all know blood is thicker than water. We readily pick on each other but heaven help the outsider who comes between you and your sibling.

Foodies Converge At This Year’s FRLA-Palm Beach EATS


2018EATSlogoIn caflightimagese you missed it, this just happened- 12 local restaurants and farms came together to create a culinary showcase all in support of education for the next generation of hospitality and culinary students in Palm Beach County. What does EATS stand for? (Education, Agriculture, Together, Showcase)  0E5A4966

Some of the best restaurants in Palm Beach came out to create and support the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association at the EATS event hosted under the stars at the West Palm Beach Hilton. Chef’s from The Regional, Eau Palm Beach, Harvest Seasonal Grill, The Blend Bistro, Echo at the Breakers and more joined forces to create mini-masterpieces with fresh produce from local farmers.

Cafe Chardonnay paired with Kai Kai Farms to create a Crab Crusted Golden Tilefish with a Vegetable Ragout of Spring Onions, Kale, Yellow Beans, Happy Rich Broccoli and Black Eyed Peas. Okeechobee Steakhouse was alongside Localecopia Marketplace & Monterey Mushrooms with a delicious Grilled Sirloin of Beef, Three Potato Cake and Mixed Mushroom Medley Braised in Cognac.0E5A4820

Pistache French Bistro worked with Spivey Farms/ Roe & Sons to create a Slow Orange & Almond Cake with a Local Berry Compote. Fruit compote

 Over 200 hospitality industry professionals, friends, teachers, students and foodies converged on Friday night in the open air lawn of the West Palm Beach Hilton to enjoy great food, fun and some amazing auction prizes.

The ProStart and HTMP students from Palm Beach area high schools participated by serving, hosting and welcoming guests. FAU professors, students and alumni also took part in the fun by working various stations, assisting with photography and the auction. Florida’s top two industries are Tourism and Agriculture. This powerful collaboration has unlimited potential to grow into a signature event for Palm Beach County. Florida has 112 million visitors a year and in 2016 they spent $111 billion in our state. The Agriculture industry employees over 2 million people and contributes $104 billion to the state’s economy. Look for a bigger and better EATS event next year. We hope to see you there! 

Student Chefs ProStart

Student Chefs ProStart






Mad in America

Mad in America

CoffeeIf we are going to make America great again shouldn’t we figure out what is making us so angry? What is really behind all this anger in America?  When you ask people it varies a great deal by demographic, age and political party. For the last 8 years, Republicans were angry about Obama, now Democrats are angry with Trump. Politics aside, everyone seems angry about government overreach, greed, school shootings, terrorism in America and unfair practices which put hard working Americans at a disadvantage. The problem with all this anger is no one is willing to listen to one another without a shouting match.

When you unpack the emotional side of anger you realize it’s just a mask. Anger is a way of dealing with a situation without addressing the feelings behind the emotion. Anger covers up fear, jealousy, frustration and feelings of powerlessness from a given situation. Angry people tend to be poor communicators and worse listeners.

One of the key storylines of our political culture has been the American Dream — the sense that if you work hard, you will get ahead. I know a lot of people who have worked hard their entire life, myself included. If I ask my husband what angers him, it is the notion that he has played by the rules, paying taxes and giving back while others don’t play by the same rules. Deep down we feel a sense of struggle for trying to live out our own personal version of the American dream. 

When you do a google search you can find angry people in all categories. There are the obvious results, “activists outraged,” or “angry conservatives”. But you may be surprised to find “angry vegans,” who are upset over the owners of a chain of plant-based restaurants who have taken to eating meat—on their own farm and their own time. There is a group blaming coffee called “caffeine rage,” where people are angry about coffee, both not having enough and having too much. And here is a strange one, “Angry Knitters” (something about the U.S. Olympic Committee not letting them use the term “knitters’ Olympics,” but people with large needles that can poke your eyes out should be paid attention to.) If we are looking for a culprit, maybe Starbucks is to blame for providing too much access to caffeine.

As we turn the page on a tumultuous year, let’s all try to unite for a common cause, America the great and powerful nation we call home. I have always found by showing people courtesy, respect and dignity you open the channels of communication. We need open channels if we are going to get things accomplished. There is a quote from Martin Luther King which summarizes our conundrum in a positive way. We are all individuals and we can live, work and play in harmony through respect. “If I wish to compose or write or pray or preach well, I must be angry,” Martin Luther King once said. “Then all the blood in my veins is stirred, and my understanding is sharpened.”

Let us be stirred in a positive way and our senses be sharpened for the common good of all.

Jodi Cross is a marketing strategist, speaker and freelance writer and blogger. She may be reached at or .

Choose Happiness This Holiday Season

Happy Holiday

Choose Happiness This Holiday Season

This year has been a tumultuous year for our country. There have been upsets in elections, hurricanes and protests. As we head into the holiday season, I hope we can all turn a page on the things we don’t have in common and focus on being happy. So many people DREAD the holidays! There are many reasons such as; extra work, shopping, cooking, entertaining, family obligations and let’s not forget strife. Family strife comes in all shapes and sizes just like the ghosts of Christmas’s past and it can rob you of a happy and joyous holiday season.

This year let’s set aside the strife and focus on harmony, happiness and being kinder to one another. The holiday’s are about family, friendship and spending time together. If you’re travelling this year, bring your patience and try smiling at the people you meet. By keeping a positive attitude you can elevate stress and make someone else’s day.

Positivity outweighs negativity five to one, conversely negativity sucks the life out of relationships. Lucky for us we get to choose our attitude. Here are some other notable stress buster to keep you in your happy place;

  • Keep an exercise routine, don’t overeat, and plan ahead. I love to go for a nice walk on Christmas morning once the turkey’s in and cooking. Remember that just because there is a huge meal on the table there is no need to overindulge.
  • If shopping fills you with anxiety try drawing names or giving everyone gift cards. People really like to buy their own gifts anyway.
  • If baking or extra cooking puts you in a bad mood, try a cookie exchange or catering a meal. Last year, I made two-three dozen cookies and I ended up with 6-7 different types with an exchange group.

Let happiness rule your holiday season, trust me it will be contagious. May Peace and Harmony be with you this season and in the New Year!

Jodi Cross is a marketing strategist, writer and blogger. She can be reached at


Give Thanks & Honor to a Veteran This Month

Military Shields

November 11th is Veterans Day, a day when Americans celebrate the brave men and women who have served in our nation’s armed forces. Yet, for many of us, the day passes with little thought or opportunity to honor our veterans.  For many veterans, the most powerful thanks you can give is to simply understand why they served and what this nation stands for because of their service.  

It’s easy to think we know what being in the military is like. My grandson just joined the Army and we couldn’t be prouder of him. My husband served in the Navy and my niece and nephew are both in the Army. We see movies about instilling discipline and teamwork, following orders and being tough. The news shows us all the scary stuff: land mines, gun battles and enemy combatants lurking around every corner. Our soldiers train for those situations. However, sometimes the toughest parts aren’t the life-threatening predicaments, they are the absent from life moments they miss the most. Birthday parties, graduations, baby’s births, illness and so much more. Serving in the military comes with its own set of challenges for both the veteran and their families. Sometimes, those that served us so honorably and made sacrifices, feel abandoned, misunderstood or ignored.

A recent study conducted on behalf of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs looked into suicides of military veterans. In 2014, an average of 22 veterans die from suicide each day. Six out of 20 were users of Veterans Administration services. Veterans accounted for 18 percent of all deaths from suicide among U.S. adults while veterans constituted 8.5 percent of the U.S. population. In addition, there are over 67,000 homeless veterans in the US today.

So what can you do to honor and thank a Veteran this year? Start by showing some appreciation. Fly your flag. Visit a VA Hospital or veteran’s cemetery and decorate a grave. There are many public events and parades for honoring our service men and women. Look for charities to donate to veteran’s causes.

You may have seen the recent #22pushups campaign on social media. This stems from the #22KILL movement started in 2013 after the VA released the staggering statistic that an average of 22 veterans are killed by suicide every day. 22KILL has committed to researching and understanding the genesis of this epidemic, and educating the general public on the issues of suicide and mental health issues that can lead to suicide. These issues can stem from Post-Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury, or the struggles and stresses of transitioning from military to civilian life.

If you can’t afford to make a donation at this time you can go to and send a letter of appreciation to a veteran. This non-profit doesn’t cost you anything but your time.

American’s Veterans have done everything asked of them in their mission to serve our country and it is never too late to give them a hero’s welcome home. I hope you’ll consider showing your appreciation to all of those who have served and are serving our country, no matter how you do it. I like to re-read In Flanders’ Fields which always provides a poignant reminder of our soldier’s brave sacrifices.

Happy Veterans Day!

CT Takes Off -Destination Key Largo

Keys4     Key Largo’s Newest Hotel

It’s just a Flip Flop Away From Miami

Where to Stay

Discover Playa Largo, Key Largo’s newest destination resort perched on the Bay in the Florida Keys. We recently made an impromptu getaway and our GPS was set on Key Largo’s newest resort, Playa Largo. This mini-sanctuary is just a short jog from the mainland but you feel like you’ve left the hustle and bustle behind; the local’s call it Key’s Time. The resort offers a unique vantage point from the lobby with a glimpse of the pool and bay beckoning you in.  Ah, a deep breath and a rush of relaxation flowed over us as we are met with warm hospitality and a resort associate who remotely checks us in with iPads. Libations are offered as we assess our surroundings. Keys6

Playa Largo was once a pineapple plantation and the resort gives a nod to its history with fresh pineapple water in the lobby and bright colors throughout. If you feel the need for some pampering, Ocean Spa offers a citrus twist on services and the therapists couldn’t be more welcoming. The lobby has a swanky feel with a Ceviche Bar, hanging swings and blown glass fixtures, dangling about catching the suns rays.

Playa Largo Pool

Playa Largo Pool

We decided to head to the pool and enjoy a frozen drink and some light cuisine. The pool is a playground for guests in need of relaxation. There are numbers of cabanas and beach side hammocks to help you fully relax, Keys’ style. This Florida paradise atop a vibrant archipelago awakens your senses to become present in the moment. As we sway carelessly in the hammock overlooking the bay we spot jumping fish. The sky turns orange then a deep red as natures masterpiece unfolds before our eyes and we realize why we’ve come to this serene spot in Florida.

Where to Play

Keys7While in Keys, immerse yourself in the local culture, in particular the underwater playground is not to be missed. The Florida Keys offers world-class snorkeling, diving, deep sea fishing and many other water sports all set upon a canopy of a sapphire blue water. Exploring in John Pennekamp State Park reveals the iconic underwater Christ Statue, an awe inspiring moment to be remembered along with more than 23 other man made and artificial reefs. If you feel lazy, which does happen in the Keys, you can opt to just lounge about in a hammock or hang out in a pool cabana. Key Largo is the longest key with 30 + miles to explore. You’ll find kitschy T-shirt shops and restaurants serving all varieties of fresh seafood, along with Artisan Villages selling local bounty.

There is so much more than just T-shirt shops and key lime pie stands. Playa Largo is a much needed haven and an upscale alternative to the sometimes scruffy Keys experience. This is one secret you won’t want to keep to yourself. Learn more

Expert Tip

Take the road less traveled by driving Card Sound instead of US 1. There are only two ways to get in and out of the Keys, the traffic can be brutal especially on holiday weekends.

Jodi Cross is a marketing strategist, travel blogger and speaker and may be reached at or

Show Law Enforcement A little Love Today!

Cop hugThere is a standing saying around our house when someone is feeling blue, we hold our arms open and say “Does someone need a hug?” It seems like the law enforcement folks in our country could use a big hug. In fact, that was what 12 year old Devonte Hart of Portland, Oregon thought when he stood in front of a police blockade holding a sign that read Free Hugs!! Devonte’s message wasn’t directed specifically towards the police as much as it was to the crowd in an attempt to ease tensions. He ended up getting more than he bargained for from his Free Hug sign. The photo went viral on social media and CNN even picked up the story. Turns out, Devonte is not alone, there seems to be a movement afoot to support our men and women in blue. After the recent bad press and hostility directed towards the police I too feel like giving them a hug.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average starting salary for police officers is $33,030. The highest wages are paid in States like New Jersey and California where some police officers make around $42 per hour or $87,000 per year with an average salary coming in at approximately $56,000. When you think about someone making $33,000 a year, you wonder why they would put their life on the line every day. Obviously, it isn’t about the money.

Clearly, it must be a calling of the highest order. The widely used oath embraced by the International Association of Chiefs of Police reads, “On my honor, I will never betray my badge, my integrity, my character or the public trust. I will always have the courage to hold myself and others accountable for our actions. I will always uphold the Constitution, my community, and the agency I serve.” Policebadge

Police officers are dealing with drug overdoses, mental illness, domestic violence, street gangs and a multitude of other crimes all in a day’s work. Add to this the pressure of making a split second decision when you are uncertain what lies behind a closed door. You have to respect them for what they do and appreciate their commitment to our safety and protection. I don’t know about you but I freak out and start swatting when a spider crawls on me let alone someone in a dark alley with his/her hand in their pockets.

So to all you police officers out there, I salute you! Give an Officer a HUG today is a movement and I can get on board with it how about you? #hugacop  Jodi Cross is a marketing strategist, speaker and writer and can be reached at

Have You Lost Your Why?

Have You Lost Your Why?

Are you making a difference in life? What will your legacy be? Living intentionally and with a purpose takes sacrifice and hard work. Recently, a friend of mine was describing a mission trip to Africa and how she spent three months working in a remote village. Her goal was to help the village people by contributing to their vision. Like many why experiences in life, those three months ended up transforming her from the inside out. After my recent birthday, I started thinking about what I wanted for the next half of my life. We are each the navigator of our own destiny and are therefore responsible for what path we take. For me a resounding voice kept repeating a desire to create deeper and more meaningful fulfillment. But how?

Finding your purpose or your why has to do with making an impact, tapping into something deeper inside and recalibrating your passion. Ultimately your why is not about you, it is about making a difference in the world. And no that doesn’t include surfing Facebook and making random comments to distant friends. Think about your life, what does it say about you? By aligning yourself with your passions you will tap into your greater purpose. Passions are the result of taking action and doing something that moves you.

For example, I didn’t know I loved to travel until I took my first trip. Then I was hooked on seeing the world and learning about other cultures. When it comes to finding your purpose you need to get out of your head and into your heart.

There are common themes around finding your why, they include:

  • Contributing to a bigger dream or mission through sacrifice
  • Pushing past fear and allowing yourself to become vulnerable and living outside your comfort zone
  • Finding a greater good beyond your individual selfish interests or limitations
  • Finding a problem and trying to solve it
  • Getting out of your head and turning your passion into action

We only have a set number of days on this planet, what will your epithet be? If we all just take a small step out of our comfort zone and get involved with something we feel passionate about, miracles could happen.

Jodi Cross is a marketing strategist, speaker and writer and can be reached at

Have We Become Comfortably Numb?

Heart In Rocks

As we all watch the news in horror I can’t help but wonder if we are growing numb to the evil in the world. It is easy to change the channel but with 49 dead and 53 wounded in Orlando in June and 84 dead and 202 wounded in Nice in July how can we continue to look away? It seems like every month there is another terrorist attack and they are getting closer and closer. According to Wikipedia, as of July 15, 2016 there have been 922 incidents of terrorism reported in the world.  Many of the attacks don’t make the news in remote places such as the outskirts of Egypt, small towns in Syria or women being stoned to death in Iraq.

June was one of the most deadly months so far this year, with 218 incidents and over 1822 deaths including the attack at the Pulse Night Club in Orlando. So far July has seen over 84 incidents reported including both Dallas and Nice. It was shocking to see not even 24-hours after the Nice attack, Wikipedia chronicled two more incidents, tagging them to the bottom of their ongoing list. Wikipedia notes the type of attack, location, death toll, injury statistics, details and perpetrators. You can see the rankings and incidences by country. Not surprising Iraq ranks number one with over 2,714 incidences of terrorism in 2014, while the USA hoovers at 38 incidents for the same period. While that might sound like good news for us we still hold the number one spot for the worst terrorist attack in history on 911, when we lost 2996 souls.  Unfortunately, our friends in France are ascending the dubious ranks from the middle of the list climbing rapidly up to the top tier. The disturbing facts go on to show everything from car bombings to mass shootings. According to the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism 2014 showed a spike in deaths (43,550) and injuries (40,989).

*National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.

*National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.

On other sites, such as Islam Religion of Peace, there were shocking statistics with eerie benchmarks noting 28,822 attacks since 911. I shudder to think what their ultimate goal might be, mass annihilation or world dominance?  After looking at the statistics you can’t deny the facts. Tensions are rising and we are at a tipping point. We need to wake up, stop changing the channel and figure out what we can all do to diminish the hatred in the world and strive for peace both in our country and in our own communities.

If these statistics aren’t alarming enough, we also appear to be imploding from within. Not only are our enemies out to get us we can’t even seem to get along as a nation. This is an important election year for our country. We need to elect a leader who will address these issues and come up with a plan to keep our country safe and united instead of divided.

Maybe you’re like me, numb to the evil in the world, all the rhetoric and politics. Many of my peers have said they may not even vote this year. The very thought has crossed my mind too. Then I think of the women who were stoned to death or the families suffering with loss after all this senseless violence and I remember how fortunate we are to have the right to vote and make a difference.

Let’s hope it won’t come down to a matter of self-preservation for our way of life, customs and beliefs. I would hate to see a day when we become afraid to travel or have to change the way we live our daily lives as a result of fear. We need all the strength we can muster to defend against the larger threat of terrorism looming at our very doorstep just waiting to claim its next victim. It’s time to take a stand, get out of our comfort zone and come up with real solutions for a broken world.

Jodi Cross is a marketing strategist, speaker and writer and can be reached at



Page 1 of 512345>