Last month I went to our CEO trip in Cabo San Lucas, the sales achievement award trip of my company. I swam with the dolphins, saw Sammy Hagar perform, played in a golf tournament, ate and drank at The Office, danced the mambo at The Mambo Cafe and in general had an excellent time.

The Guest Speaker for the trip was Andy Andrews, who was marvelous.

What could this one man possibly have to say that is important enough for the Commander of the Allied Air Forces to ask his help? Why did every senior leader the United States Air Force has in Europe and the Middle East recently assemble in one room—at one time—to hear him speak?

Who is this man, that he would walk the golf course with Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez as she played her last tournament as a touring professional? Why was he invited to spend an afternoon with General Norman Schwarzkopf and his son, who was about to depart for college? What would he be asked to discuss with a ninety-one-year-old Bob Hope alone by the swimming pool in the entertainer’s back yard?

Hailed by a New York Times writer as a “modern-day Will Rogers who has quietly become one of the most influential people in America,” Andy Andrews is an internationally known speaker and novelist whose combined works have sold millions of copies worldwide. He has been received at the White House and has spoken at the request of four different United States presidents. His two-hour PBS special is entitled Andy Andrews: The Seven Decisions and is now airing nationally to incredible reviews.

Andrews’s best-selling book, The Traveler’s Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success, is an international sensation, remaining on the New York Times bestseller list for four and a half months and being translated into nearly twenty languages. Featured on ABC’s Good Morning America as a book-of–the-month selection, The Traveler’s Gift is the stunning story of one man’s search for meaning and success in life by traveling back into time and conversing with seven historic individuals. Its message of hope, faith, and perseverance is transforming thousands of lives worldwide every day, spawning a teen version, The Young Traveler’s Gift; The Traveler’s Gift Journal; a home study audio program, Timeless Wisdom from the Traveler; and life-study curriculums in high schools, mental-health organizations, and prisons nationwide.

Andrews lived a relatively normal life until the age of nineteen, when both his parents died—his mother from cancer, his father in an automobile accident. “I took a bad situation and made it much worse,” Andrews says with a rueful smile, referring to choices he made during this tragic period of his life. Within a span of several years, the young man found himself literally homeless (“before that was even a word!” he says), sleeping occasionally under a pier on the gulf coast or in someone’s garage.

It was at that time when Andrews asked the question that would focus his search for what would ultimately affect millions of people. The question? “Is life just a lottery ticket, or are there choices one can make to direct his future?” To find the answer, he first went to the library. There, over time, he read more than two hundred biographies of great men and women. How did they become the people they were? he wondered. Were they simply born this way? Or were there decisions made at critical junctures in their lives that led to such success? The young Andrews finally determined that there were seven characteristics that each person had in common. “What will happen,” he mused, “if I study these seven common denominators and harness them in my own life?”

The rest is history. “The Seven Decisions,” as he calls them, were the engines used to carry Andrews’s life in a different direction. And twenty-plus years later, these same Seven Decisions became the outline around which he built the story of The Traveler’s Gift and the basis of his PBS Special.

Bob laughed at me because I cried through at least half of Andy's presentation. Yes, I am a mushball.

When we got home, we each received an autographed copy of The Traveler's Gift. I've been reading it (repeatedly) at lunch.

The Seven Decisions That Determine Personal Success (the book's subtitle) are:

The buck stops here.
I will seek wisdom.
I am a person of action.
I have a decided heart.
Today I will choose to be happy.
I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit.
I will persist without exception.

Some of these things are easier to commit to then others. For me, the hardest is forgiveness - both forgiving myself and others. But I'm trying.

Mexican Marinade

This is a great marinade and flavor enhancer for tofu and for any vegetables that will be roasted or baked.

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
Juice of 2 limes
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon minced serrano peppers
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a glass or ceramic bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to one month.

--from The Rancho La Puerta Cookbook - 175 Bold Vegetarian Recipes from America's Premier Fitness Spa by Bill Wavrin