Seven life lessons from Michael J. Fox

PREVIEW Columnist, and the Library Staff

As we celebrate the holidays, and wish each other health and happiness in the New Year, it seems appropriate to listen to words of experience from Canadian-born actor Michael J. Fox.

He is well known as an award-winning film and TV actor, author, producer and activist for Parkinson’s disease research. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1991, disclosed his condition to the public in 1999, and then established the Michael J. Fox Foundation to fund research for a cure. He has been married to his wife Tracy since 1988. They have four children.

Here are Michael’s seven life lessons, as shared with Good Housekeeping magazine:

1. Don’t let an opportunity pass you by. Once I couldn’t afford a phone, so I negotiated the deal for “Family Ties” from a phone booth.

2. Marry the right person. Tracy is the right person for me. When we were married, that was it. We were in love then, as now, and we plan to stay married.

3. Keep your head up. You hear people say, “Keep your head down” [when times are tough]. But I find the opposite is true.

4. Listen to your loved ones. For a time I dealt with my diagnosis with alcohol, which was a disaster. I woke up one morning and Tracy said, “Is this what you want?” I recognized I had choices about drinking – and about Parkinson’s.

5. Teach your children well. What I want my kids to understand [about life] is, put in more than is expected, and take out less than you want. And enjoy life as much as I do!

6. Fight the good fight. I look at my foundation and think, Look at what we’ve wrought. It’s like an out-of-body experience.

7. Never give up. Look at the choices you have, not the choices that have been taken away from you. In them, there are whole worlds of strength and new ways to look at things.

Tweens gaming 

We’ll have the Wii and Xbox out, along with board games and cards, just for tweens in the fourth-sixth grades tomorrow (Friday, Dec. 27) from 2–-3:15 p.m.

Holiday games for teens

There will be two more special holiday gaming and card battles for teens over the school break — from noon to 1:30 p.m. tomorrow (Friday, Dec. 27) and on Monday, Dec. 30. Enjoy X-box, Wii, board games and Pokemon card battles, and you are welcome to bring other trading card battle games. Snacks provided.

Movie for adults

Every Friday at 10 a.m., you are invited for coffee, donuts and a movie for adults from the 1950s or 1960s. The movie for tomorrow (Friday, Dec. 27) is “12 Angry Men.”

Free technology classes

Meg Wempe is available for the highly popular Tech Tuesdays and Thursdays sessions 10 a.m.-noon Tuesdays and 3-5 p.m. Thursdays. Join her for one-on-one informal help with your computer or tablet issues.

Memoirs and biographies

“I am Malala” by Malala Yousafzai is the story of the Pakistan teen shot by the Taliban for promoting education for girls, the young lady who became the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize. “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth” by Col. Chris Hadfield uses entertaining stories to show how conventional wisdom can get in the way of achievement — and happiness. “Hatching Twitter” by Nick Bilton takes readers behind the scenes at the launch and growth of this social networking and microblogging company.

Other nonfiction

“Mothers Who Can’t Love” by Dr. Susan Forward offers daughters techniques for overcoming that painful legacy.

“Double Down: Game Change 2012” by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann follows President Obama and the GOP deal with the crises and opportunities after the election. “George Washington’s Secret Six” by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger explores the top-secret spy ring that saved the American Revolution. “Good Tidings and Great Joy” by Sarah Palin asks readers to openly celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and the joys of Christianity. “Talk with Your Kids” by Michael Parker helps parents start conversations with their children on ethics, honesty, friendship, fairness and other important topics.

Music on CDs

For your musical enjoyment, we now have the Tchaikovsky Timeless Classics album, David Grisman’s Acoustic Christmas, The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s Time Out album, Traditional Songs for Christmas from Martha Stewart Living, and CDs by Josh Groban, Brad Paisley and Mark Wills.

Stories on CDs

“Stella Bain” by Anita Shreve is the story of a wartime nurse’s aid trying to regain her memory. “Winners” by Danielle Steel follows the lives affected by an Olympic hopeful involved in a tragic accident. “Sycamore Row” by John Grisham returns readers to the courthouse of his first legal mystery. “Fingal O’Reilly, Irish Doctor” by Patrick Taylor is the latest in the Irish Country series. “The Quest” by Nelson DeMille centers on the search for Christ’s cup from the Last Supper. “Dead Shot” by William W. and J.A. Johnstone is the latest in the Luke Jensen, bounty hunter, series. “Valley of the Gun” by Ralph Cotton is a western. “The Valley of Amazement” by Amy Tan is the latest of her novels about mothers and daughters. “Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt follows a young teen who miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. “The First Phone Call from Heaven” by Mitch Albom tells of magical phone calls apparently coming from Heaven. “We are Water” by Wally Lamb follows an artist who leaves her family to marry her gay art dealer.

Mysteries and thrillers

“Tatiana” by Martin Cruz Smith is the latest in the Arkady Renko mystery series set in Moscow. “White Fire” is a thriller by Preston & Child set in an exclusive Colorado ski resort. “Takedown Twenty” by Janet Evanovich is the latest in the Stephanie Plum mystery series. “King and Maxwell” by David Baldacci is a new case featuring Secret Service agents Sean King and Michelle Maxwell. “The Missing Dough” by Chris Cavender is a mystery that also includes a pizza recipe. “The Gods of Guilt” by Michael Connelly is the latest in the Lincoln Lawyer crime thriller series.

Large print Christmas

“Christmas Carol Murder” by Leslie Meier is the latest in the Lucy Stone mystery series. “Duck the Halls” by Donna Andrews is the latest in the Meg Langslow mystery series. “Merry Christmas, Cowboy” by Janet Dailey is a romance set in Denver. “A Christmas Hope” by Anne Perry is a mystery. “A Catered Christmas Cookie Exchange” by Iris Crawford is a mystery with recipes. “Candlelight Christmas” by Susan Wiggs is the latest in the Lakeshore Chronicles series.

Other large print

“Willowleaf Lane” by RaeAnne Thayne is the latest in the Hope’s Crossing series. “Ready to Die” by Lisa Jackson is the latest in the Selena Alverez/Regan Pescoli mystery series. “Storm Front” by John Sanford is the latest in the Virgil Flowers mystery series. “The Perfect Match” by Kristan Higgins is a Blue Heron romance.

Other new fiction

“Hild” by Nicola Griffith is an historical novel about Saint Hilda set in seventh-century Britain. “Death of the Black-Haired Girl” by Robert Stone is set in a New England college town. “Stella Bain” by Anita Shreve is the story of a wartime nurse’s aid trying to regain her memory. “Betwixt and Between” is a fantasy adventure story by Jessica Stilling.


“Sweet Dreams” is the story of country music star Patsy Cline. “The Shadow Riders” is a timeless western tale by Louis L’Amour. “J. Edgar” stars Leonardo DiCaprio as FBI head J. Edgar Hoover. “The Fighter” is based on a true story about two brothers.

Crafts how-to

“The Art of Beadwork” by Jane Lock is a practical guidebook dedicated to all things bead, with projects for beginners and advanced beaders. “Scarf Style” by Ann Budd gives you 28 fresh designs to knit.

Thanks to our donors

For generous donations, we thank Elaine Lundergan as well as Donald Logan and Patricia Howard for their gift in honor of Bob and Carole Howard. For books and materials this week, we thank Jon and Diane Bower, Biz Greene, Bamma Laizure and Julie Simmons.

Quotable Quote

“Find out who you are and be that person.” — Ellen DeGeneres, contemporary American stand-up comedian, talk show host and actress.


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This story was posted on December 26, 2013.