by Greg Meakin

Rules To Live By

Sheriff Mark Lamb
Self-Published: 2nd book of American Sheriff series, 140 pages
$20.00 US (including free shipping and personal note from the author)

This book needs to be required reading for all high school and college students in the United States – and every civilized nation for that matter! It is that urgent a document, especially in a chaotic world that is spiraling out of control every day.

For my 14th birthday (back in olden days Montreal!) my school teacher mom gifted me a beautiful birthday card with the poem “IF” by Rudyard Kipling. It deeply moved me at the time, even as a wild teenager! 

But after carefully reading Sheriff Lamb’s second book, I realize the poem silently dwelled within me through all these years. The timeless poem sprang to life, and the priceless life-messages leapt off the pages. Historical anecdotes were woven beautifully into each chapter, and the lessons were followed by clear summaries and instructions for the reader moving forward.

What I like about this book is the clear and crisp structure. Each chapter discusses a stanza of the poem. This is not a rambling memoir or wordy tribute to the author, as are so many these days. You can read just the Table of Contents and get a crystal clear picture of what is coming. You can read just the last chapter and get a snapshot of the entire book and its messages. 

The book is as much a Checklist as it is a Dialogue. The clarity and simplicity of each chapter – with its thoroughly entertaining historical anecdotes and a concise review of each “lesson”– keeps the reader “organized” and excited for the next chapter.

Mirroring the poem, there are 12 short chapters (much like months in a year, or the number of Disciples!). Punchy chapter titles abound.

And, I just can’t do a clickbait partial list. Here are all 12:

    1. Keep Your Head
    2. Trust Yourself
    3. Waiting, Lies and Hate
    4. Dreaming and Thinking
    5. Triumph and Disaster
    6. Twisted Truths: Don’t Look Back
    7. Take Risks
    8. Strength and Determination
    9. Virtue and Humility
    10. Tough and Dependable
    11. One Bite at a Time
    12. You’ll be a Man My Son

Each chapter begins with the applicable stanza from Kiplings’s poem. Then, an entertaining story from American history; the Sheriff’s personal life or experiences; and a wrap-up up and call-to-action. Because of this crisp and organized structure, It is very easy to read and understand.

I knew many of the stories, having read Lamb’s first book (American Sheriff, Traditional Values in a Modern World) and knowing him personally for almost two years. Full disclosure here, I feel blessed that Mark has become a dear friend and mutual confidante. 

But friend or not, what entertained me the most were the cool American History lessons, many of which were new to me…

We’ve all heard of George Washington, but how about Robert Morris? Benjamin Franklin, sure, but how about Sybil Ludington (who put Paul Revere to shame). John Hancock, ok, but how about “Mad Anthony” Wayne? Daniel Boone? Of course! But how about Dr. Joseph Warren? John Hancock, fine, but how about Chief Blackfish?

Rules to Live By has you sitting in the bleachers of life, watching a three circus of timeless, priceless knowledge and self-help:

  1. American History – especially the Founding Fathers and the Revolutionary War.

  2. Law Enforcement and Politics – and the Sheriff’s amazing public and private world.

  3. A Mentorship and Deeply Spiritual Retreat – teaching young people (and old like me!) step by step, lesson by lesson, how to survive and thrive in today’s crazy and morally rapacious world. The book could sit in your back pocket 24/7 as a reference book for tackling and overcoming life’s daily challenges and obstacles.

As a humble wordsmith and political wonk, it was fascinating to hear bygone words like “KNAVE”, but also tragic 2022 anecdotes, including 100,000 of our young people dying of Fentanyl right before our eyes. Lamb always tells it like it is, good or bad news. 

The reader will always walk away from a Lamb book with a stack of memorable sayings and expressions.

“Don’t be afraid to do the uncomfortable work”
“You want to be a better version of you? Get intimate with discipline”
“Make sure to share yourself with those around you”

“Surrender the outcome”

There are so many other powerful expressions, it is a challenge to choose which ones for a Book Review summary. You have to read them to appreciate them all, seriously.

As a final practical note, of all the thoughts and concepts Sheriff Lamb proffers throughout this delightful book, I can personally attest that he is a Man of Action, and DEMONSTRATES to all of us how it’s done in real life.

Sheriff Mark Lamb is not a Talker, he is a Doer.

And in this vein, I was deeply impressed with his Sheriff’s Youth Redirection Program. At-Risk Kids 10-17 are welcomed into this educational mentorship program. It is designed to help kids and their concerned parents how to overcome being swallowed into the dark hole of criminal behavior, and future unscrupulousness and immorality. 

What I love is the Redirection program is multi-dimensional – classroom work, digital media, drug education, and community service. Here, students are assigned Horse Therapy, where they clean stalls, “shovel some crap” and interact with the horses. I guess the kids LOVE it, and often spend extra time in community service!

And the great news is 150 students have graduated, with a 97% success rate! (Only 5 students to-date have reoffended). Wow.

The Sheriff’s Youth Redirection program is a shining example of community success, and I hope will be the wave of the future for the millions of at-risk youth throughout America today.

As I said to open this review, American Sheriff: Rules to Live by should be REQUIRED reading for all high school and college students – and anyone really, who cares about our country, our young people, and our future.

I highly recommend this book to all Americans, of all political persuasions, and of all age groups.

It is a moral Game Changer.

Greg Meakin is a retired Seattle businessman, now author and publisher living in Arizona. His website is, and he can be reached by email at





by Kevin D. Dunn

“One man’s attitudes, feelings, and experiences of fatherhood & becoming an old kid!!!”

Available on Amazon

When I heard my old friend, Kevin Dunn, had published a book about family and fatherhood, I could have jumped for joy. I have known Kevin for decades, and he is a one-in-a-million guy – as a co-worker, a friend, and as a husband and father. We worked together as finance managers in the auto business for years, and indeed became fast friends to this day.

My joy for Kevin here, is for two main reasons:

One, my friend has a highly ambitious, entrepreneurial spirit. He is one of the hardest working and dedicated guys I’ve ever known. To publish a book is a true milestone for any ambitious person, and I was so happy to hear he had accomplished just that.   

Second, he’s one of the most amazing fathers I’ve encountered. He clearly took this book as an opportunity – a golden opportunity to finally lift three decades of marriage and chasing kids off his chest!  

But perhaps most importantly to the reader, Kevin Dunn doesn’t just tell fabulous fatherhood stories (which he does at every turn). He also provides reflection, insight, valuable lessons, and inspiration along the way.

Any new father (or old one for that matter!) needs to read this book.

Not only does Dunn tells endless, entertaining stories about everything from changing diapers to dealing with unruly teenagers, he goes a step further than most anecdotal memoirs. He reflects on each instance, relays his innermost feelings and emotions to the reader – and then offers guidance and practical solutions for dads, or would-be dads.

This is a book that could quietly sit on your coffee table. Whenever you need a break from the craziness of life, you could just pick it up, glance at a page, a chapter, an anecdote. It’s one of those books that you don’t need to plunge in cover-to-cover – you can sit back, enjoy, and remember that you’re not a bad parent after all!

What surprised me the most about Dunn’s work, is its feisty and competitive bent. Having known Kevin all these years, he is a deeply spiritual guy, and, as someone just meeting him would think, he’s pretty straight-laced. But goodness, you might see him differently when reading an account of a crazy kid jumping off his garage roof using a bed sheet parachute, which of course didn’t work. Or the college dorm boxing match where the author bloodied himself in an underdog slug fest against a fierce opponent.

The book had moments where I was glued to the pages – a dramatic, emergency C-Section with his first son, a brutal Triathalon competition where I didn’t know if the author could finish or not, and other struggles of daily life.

Although the book deals with family, and family members, it talks directly to fathers throughout. As lighthearted and inspirational as the pages can be, there is a clear message to fathers. It is a message inspiring strength, patience, understanding, and most of all, belief and hope for a vanishing breed – the traditional father.

In the exhausting, frustrating, and stressful world of fatherhood today, DAD-ITUDES breathes fresh hope. The book whispers words of encouragement to the oft-forgotten head of household in today’s scattered world.  

It whispers, “Keep going. You are awesome.”

Copyright © 2018 by Greg Meakin


Kevin, Darla, four babies and counting!

Kevin and Darla

Kevin Dunn Triathlon Guy


A Mom’s Story About Illness, Courage, and Love


The rewarding part of publishing is the feedback from readers. The Comedy section has received enthusiastic response, but a letter I received from a mom in Ottawa deeply moved me. Kristen Thompson sent a letter after reading my story about Jungle Jim Jerome, comedian extraordinaire.

I will let the letter speak for itself. I deeply thank Kristin for this moving story about her wonderful kids, and her feelings about a certain comedian named Jim Jerome.



Loved loved loved your story about the indomitable Jungle Jim Jerome. Although you know Jim as a funny man…I happen to know a much different side of him.

But first, I’ll have to tell you about me and my family, before I can tell you about our relationship with Jim.

My name is Kristen Thompson. I am the wife of one. The mom of two. Our son, Kieran was born with a profoundly rare condition called Bladder and Cloacal Extrophy. This literally means his bladder and part of his bowels were on the outside of his body. It’s a medically complex defect and Kieran has, thus far required 46 trips to the operating room to repair this. Some of those surgeries have lasted more than 24 hours!

To add to this, our only other child, our daughter Merighan, is terminally ill with a very rare metabolic disease called San Filippo syndrome (completely unrelated to what Kieran has). Sadly, this disease is 100% fatal. Merighan is now palliative and requires around the clock care.

To say I’ve spent the greater part of my parenting life, living in and out of a hospital…would perhaps be an understatement. And although we call Ottawa home, our children are treated and cared for at The Hospital for Sick Children, in Toronto.

When Kieran was 11 years old. He was granted a wish. You know the kind…where kids get to choose whatever it is their hearts desire? But Kieran..was different. He chose to DECLINE the wish. When we asked him why…he told us he’d rather “be a giver, instead of a taker”. In his 11 year old mind, he felt it was better to be giving back.

Giving back to the Hospital for Sick Children. Giving back so his surgeon could create a research endowment fund supporting pediatric urology. Because really?? Who EVER cared about pediatric urology? Kieran, that’s who.

Kieran decided he’d like to organize a golf tournament. He’d already played in a few. And Kieran knew exactly who he needed to MC the tournament – a local radio personality named Jim Jerome.

Thus began a prolific relationship between Jungle and Kieran. With Jungle’s help….Kieran has raised nearly $200,000 for urology research. Research that has, in turn, helped to keep Kieran alive.

We are forever indebted to Jim Jerome. He helped to change the arc of a young boy’s future. How many people own that badge of honor? Well…Jim Jerome does.

With kindest regards,

Kristen Thompson
March 2018


Jim Jerome
Screenshot 2018-02-16 at 11.19.05 AM

Families Need to Stick Together More Than Ever

Screenshot 2018-02-16 at 10.45.28 AM


I have had the joy of knowing Denise Moreno since the 1990s, when our boys were Boy Scouts together. Denise and my wife Deborah were Den Mothers extraordinaire. In addition to her devotion to family and friends, I have witnessed her leadership and compassion in the workplace — I hired her to serve as my Chief Financial Officer when launching a multi-million dollar ice arena in my community.


Inaugural Issue Exclusive

First a word of thanks. For those of you who haven’t had the up close and personal experience of working with Greg Meakin, take it from me, he is without question one of the ‘Good Guys’ — albeit a bit quirky at times!  He is someone I call a friend and am honored to do so. If I had to pick one thing that my decades long relationship with Greg has taught me it is to always DREAM BIG….and  THERE’S NEVER A BAD DAY FOR HUMOR. Well that’s two things really, but they’re both representative of what life can and should be, and I am eternally grateful to Greg for the lessons.

2017 was a bit of a rough year for a lot of families. Not necessarily financially, although I’m sure that was the case for some, but I mean emotionally, where family relationships were cracked or even shattered under the new political climate. I’ve seen it in my own family, when differences of political opinion that previously had been understood but disregarded in favor of familial harmony have, over the past 12 months, been the impediment to that harmony. Members of our tribe separated themselves from the whole in reaction to the outcome of the last election and what they believe are/were personal slights inflicted upon them by those tribe members who did not share their opinion about the election.  

I don’t believe my family is all that unique in this regard, I’ve heard similar tales from friends all over the country.  It’s unfortunate, really, but I get it. The older I get though, the more I understand that ‘Everybody gets to be who they are’. I’m reminded of an expression used by Dr. Laura in the 80’s, “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be loved?” If we’re honest, when asked that question about our own family, the answer would undoubtedly be the later. So when it comes to family members, love should always take precedence.  Any expectations we might have about who someone (other than ourselves) should be, or what they should believe are totally irrelevant and a complete waste of energy.

Instead, holding a good place for those we disagree with allows everyone room to shift, if you know what I mean. It’s like the Bees/Honey/Vinegar thing; if you want to change someone’s mind smother them with kindness and love, eventually they’ll come around. It’s all about the energy you create around you.

So here’s to a peaceful happy 2018.  Thoughts are Things, my friends.

Denise Moreno Intro

I have had the joy of knowing Denise Moreno since the 1990s, when our boys were Boy Scouts together. Denise and my wife Deborah were Den Mothers extraordinaire. In addition to her devotion to family and friends, I have witnessed her leadership and compassion in the workplace — I hired her to serve as my Chief Financial Officer when launching a multi-million dollar ice arena in my community.

Chef Tanner

… A tribute to a Miraculous son


by Greg Meakin

March 20, 2018

I have always believed in miracles. In February, I was witness to one. A big one. A real one.

Tanner is my 38 year-old son. He died in February, in flight to a Seattle hospital, after suffering a horrific pancreatic “attack.” He was revived by an angel – an Emergency Medical Technician – who brought him back to life en route to the hospital.

Only by this angel EMT’s efforts – and with the Grace of God watching over – was Tanner able to experience his 38th birthday on March 9.

It was one of those phone calls that parents dread. My daughter-in-law Catherine on the other end of the line, a critical inflection in her tone. The day before, her husband had wisely checked himself in to a local hospital, concerned about unexplained pain, and feeling very sick.

A few days later, Tanner was being airlifted to Virginia Mason Intensive Care Unit in Seattle.

During the alarming cell phone conversation, Caty was clear and clinical, even under duress. At her home in Bremerton, she was discreetly shielding the boys – my two grandsons – from the emergency. But what she quietly had to say was grave.

“His organs are on the verge of shutting down completely – only a miracle will save him, Greg.”

As I write this, or share the story with close friends, I still shudder. Living two hours south of Seattle, my wife Deborah looked me in the eyes before hitting the road northbound.

“Please tell me we’re not going to be attending a funeral for our son next week, Greg.”

After being revived in flight, Tanner’s next few days were critical. I had never seen a family member hooked up to breathing apparatus. I had never seen doctors prepare for the possible loss of a patient, asking questions about his Next of Kin, Will and Testament, and Living Will instructions.

Seemingly out of nowhere, Tanner started to stabilize. In less than a week, he walked out of Virginia Mason, and went home to recuperate. He is slowly re-entering daily life, but his long-term prognosis will always remain guarded.

It’s funny how life often deals us the biggest blows when we’re right in the middle of something good, something important, or something planned.

I had just released my most important project as a writer – a new online eMagazine, It was going to be so much fun, and a key part of the retirement strategy I was working on for me and my wife.

I had it all figured out, and by producing and delivering the eMagazine to my readers, by March or April, life would settle nicely with my rocking new publication, and everything would be happy.

In my mind, at least. That was my plan.

I once read about the best laid schemes o’ mice and men, and now I deeply appreciate what Scottish poet Robbie Burns was trying to tell us in 1786. John Steinbeck re-tooled the famous human condition message in 1937, but it never punched me in the face as it does in 2018.

To put it theologically – If you want to hear God laugh…tell Him your plans!”.

I first laid eyes on Tanner in the summer of 1984, on the outdoor basketball court of my apartment complex near Seattle. He was only four, a little blond kid and cute as a button, and I was falling in love with his mother.

On 8-8-87, Deborah became my wife, Tanner became my son, and I became Tanner’s dad.

A year before Deb and I decided to get married, Tanner (at the ripe old age of six) spoke what I now believe was prophecy. As a child, Tanner had deep intuition and spiritual sensitivity, and does to this day. When I invited his mom to move in with me, Tanner walked in the front door of my new duplex, even before the movers, or his mom.

Carrying a little back pack, he walked up to me and declared, “Greg, where you go, we go”.

For more than three decades, I have had the joy of watching a cute little bugger grow up to be a husband and father, Executive Chef, and innovative leader in his field.

I never pictured life without him. Never even occurred to me.

During Tanner’s scary episode, and in the critical weeks that followed, I was unable to tend to the daily work I planned for my eMagazine rollout. Smarty Pants Greg’s plan was to have fun coordinating guest columnists, writing new articles, chatting up sponsors and investors, and watching the eMag take off!

But everything changed from the very beginning. If there is a silver lining in tragedy, my whole family seems to have been touched. We all experienced – even for a moment in our minds – life without Tanner.

But Tanner, as well as his entire family and network of loving friends, was given a second chance. Every last one of us was given a second chance.

Much like my favorite movie It’s a Wonderful Life, in order to appreciate the ones we love, perhaps a moment to actually experience life without them … is a priceless blessing.

As Tanner continues to improve, and as life returns to normal, I have decided to take a different approach to my eMagazine. I will continue the original plan, sharing stories of interesting people and fun subjects, but I have changed my approach. My vision, and whole outlook really, has changed.

I was very close to scrapping the entire eMagazine, and focus on “more important” things, maybe getting a regular, low stress job to “normalize” life for my wife. As a few close friends will attest, as recently as last week, I was uncertain whether I would move forward.

I talked to Tanner about it, and he scolded me for even thinking about scrapping the project. He directed me to steamroll forward with I owed it to my readers, if anything.

I am indeed going to take the road less travelled of e-publishing, and am dedicating this eMagazine, and its mission, to my son Tanner.

I will not worry about enrolling tens of thousands of anonymous subscribers. I will be inviting a smaller group of smart, passionate people to become members, and look forward to staying in touch with them every week. I hope to personally interact with this smaller community, because I want to know every one of my readers, and hear their amazing stories too.

Tanner was to be a Guest Writer for the inaugural edition of Secrets from the Inside in February. Just days before his emergency, he expressed excitement to be writing a Sneak Preview article for Secret Members, then see it published in the Family section of the eMagazine a few days later.

I can joyfully announce there will be a story in this eMagazine in the weeks to come, written by the chef himself.

In the flesh.

When visiting Tanner for his birthday a few weeks ago, I hugged him tight, and whispered in his ear that this was the most important birthday of his life.

Because he was alive to see it.

And, thank God, that’s all that matters in life.

Copyright © 2018 Greg Meakin