Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Road Less Traveled

Simple Pleasures ...ah, what a concept!  Even on my worst days, everyone's stories just bring me right back!   Come on along and visit awhile!

So, I'm not unaware of my friends and colleagues' fond(?) ridicule:  "Don't ride with Myra if you want to get there in a hurry!"

No, I'm not a particularly slow driver.  Avoiding the interstate is a conscious decision to arrive at my workplace in a good mood ~ stress-LESS and untroubled by the jostling, defensive posture that permeates I-10's morning rush.

Somedays, the hour-long drive seems a blessing:  Plenty of "me" time to energize -- or, at day's end, to decompress.
Right brain, left brain .... ReeeeeeVERSE!

The first 20 miles or so, there's but a smattering of vehicles, several empty miles between stop signs. Not much thought process required.

Ah, but that final stretch?  You know, when all systems go on alert for the dreaded "Type A"  -- that motorist who darts here n' there, in and out of traffic lanes like a hummingbird on crack.

Ya, I still "sweat the small stuff."   But, once in a while, Life presents an opportunity to smile............

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Wisdom is the quality that keeps you from getting into situations where you need it.
~ Doug Larson

Too often I find myself in "situations" of my own making.   But happily, there's no short supply of Wisdom waiting to be had ... if we only ask with an open heart. 

A dear friend recently shared this little parable.  Please enjoy!  

Time and Wisdom

Once upon a time there was an island where all feelings lived: Happiness, Sadness, Knowledge, and all of the others, including Love. One day it was announced that the island would sink. So all repaired their boats and left.

Love was the only one who stayed. Love wanted to persevere until the last possible moment. When the island was almost sinking, Love decided to ask for help.

Richness was passing by Love in a grand boat. Love said, "Richness, can you take me with you?" Richness answered, "No, I can’t. There is a lot of gold and silver in my boat. There is not place here for you."

Love decided to ask Vanity, who was also passing by in a beautiful vessel. "Vanity, please help me!"

"I can’t help you, Love. You are all wet and might damage my boat." Vanity answered.

Sadness was close by so Love asked for help. "Sadness, let me go with you." Love pleaded.  But she replied, "Oh, Love, I am so sad that I need to be by myself!" Happiness passed by Love, too, but she was so happy that she did not even hear when Love called her!

Suddenly a voice said, "Come, Love, I will take you!"

It was an elder of Love. Love felt so blessed and overjoyed that he even forgot to ask the elder her name. When they arrived on dry land, the elder went her own way.

Love, realizing how much he owed the elder, asked Knowledge, another elder, "Who helped me?"

"It was Time." Knowledge answered.

"Time?" asked Love. "But why did Time help me?"

Knowledge smiled with deep Wisdom and answered. "Because only with Time and Wisdom are you capable of understanding how great Love is."

~ Author Unknown

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hiding in Plain Sight

So, I opened a Facebook account last year ... invited a few friends ... then did nothing else.   The following (fictionalized) account might well be my own:

"Intelligent people she respected were constantly throwing things at her -- were the double entendres intentional? -- and she felt like Tom Hanks in the movie, Big, the part where he keeps raising his hand and saying, I don't get it!"

I've never possessed a knack for small talk.... knowing the right thing to say at the right time.  That, coupled with a reluctance to reveal too much information - one wonders, what am I doing here?  Perhaps it's time to fold my tent and back off stage as unobtrusively as I came?

Still, the little voyeur inside my head wouldn't be stilled.   What fun, plucking names from memory, peeking at their images, their now-day lives.

And then ...  there was a girl.  (Dear Granddaughter, that is.)  
With good humor, she navigates me through the social etiquette: 

"Where's the 'hide' button?
(Those who know me, realize the last thing I want to do at day's end is chat-on-command.)
"You can't hide, Grandma.  If some one's name pops up, and you don't feel like chatting, just log off as quickly as possible"!

And then ... there was a boy. 
An earlier version of myself believed  him, the Love of my Life.   UNrealistic, our so-called romance was doomed by geography, by language.   

My first reaction?  Wow, he looks so old!  (Granted,  I'm no longer a darling delinquent.) 

Time.   Time and circumstance proved great healers.  But, like a ragged cuticle, once in a while I'd allow myself to wonder, is he happy/wealthy/wise?  Or (gulp!), is he still living?

Decades later, continents apart, we're FB "friends" - satisfied to trade the occasional "Have a good day." 

Closure feels sooooo sweet.

Meanwhile?  I've got a lot of living to do .... right here n' now!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A pencil-maker told the pencils 5 important lessons just before putting them in the box:


We all need to be constantly sharpened!
This parable may encourage you to know that you are a special person with unique God-given talents and abilities.

Only YOU can fulfill the purpose which you were born to accomplish.

Never allow yourself to get discouraged and think that your life is insignificant and cannot be changed; and, like the pencil ...

Always remember that the most important part of who you are is what's inside of you.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Camp Hope

(Excerpted from

The folks in Chile are strangers whose language we don’t speak and whom we will never meet. Why does this story have the whole world riveted? Why do we care so intensely about them?

I believe it is because deep down, we all appreciate the tremendous value of life. Each individual is precious and beloved, an incredible reflection of God.

And that is why the Chilean government used every resource to save the miners. Experts came from around the world – survivalists, dieticians, psychologists, specialists from NASA, and drilling experts from a dozen countries. Nobody questions the decision to spend untold millions to rescue the 33 men.

The miners’ rescue is instructive in a very personal way as well, by raising the question: Do we feel enormous joy over the very fact we are alive?

Rabbi Nachum of Horadna, in describing the level of joy any person should feel, presented this scenario:

If God came to a dead man and said, "Rise from the grave and rejoice," imagine the colossal joy he would feel. Every moment with his family, every bird chirping, every breath is another gift!

We should strive for that same feeling all the time, said Rabbi Nachum of Horadna. Every morning when we get out of bed, we should thank the Almighty and feel the spectacular joy of being alive!

In a desolate patch of Chilean desert dubbed Camp Hope, all of humanity was sent a clear message: Human life is infinitely precious. Every life, every moment.

“As he comes out,” the mother of 33-year-old Victor Zamora Bugueno told CNN, “he will be reborn.”

Now let’s take that energy and live.

-- by Rabbi Shraga Simmons

Monday, October 11, 2010


Am I the only one? ... Empathizing, that is, with Bernadette Peters' character in that old movie (the title escapes me!) when Burt Reynolds observes: "Nice hairdo.  Do you ever find spiders in there?".

Ugh.  Haven't we all know that self-involved caricature whose wit comes at another's expense?

Me?  I'm prone to identify with the news anchor whose venomous, "I hate hair!" left me open-mouthed. 
Granted, there was a back story:  When I'd mustered the courage to approach the Great One to compliment her latest "do",  I'd no clue that for too long 'S' had received more viewer feedback on her hairstyle than her craft.
Oh vey!
Were I to identify my own shortcomings, hair would be right up there!
Like "little feathers" one stylist remarked. 

Hours spent praying I'd morph into a Breck girl are long gone.  God doesn't make bargains, does He?  

So, I cope - with a little help from my friends:  Loads of stickum, coupled with a crazy hot blow-dryer. 
Think Woody Woodpecker ... on a good day!

Ironic.  Those days I'm too busy to force my "feathers" to a preconceived mold are times it looks best!  I slap on a smile and step outside my self-conscious.  

If that doesn't work, there's usually a hat nearby.   God bless our lids!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

How do you spell Charisma?

Not that long ago, if were someone to ask me to name somebody who defines charisma, I'd most likely have replied, "Donald Trump." (Well, that's a different sort of chemistry, isn't it!)

These days, it's "an open smile, on a friendly shore." (The Looooove Boat, la-la-la.)
In all seriousness ..... doesn't a sincere smile just speak volumes?

I suppose the best definition I've heard was a story told by my former minister:

One day she asked her little son, "What if, hundreds of years ago, you were living and playing in Nazareth ...... Do you think you could identify which child was Jesus Christ?"

The child thought for a moment, then answered decisively, "Yes!"

"But, how?  How would you know?"

"Because ... of the way He makes me feel."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

And the beat goes on ...

You're right.  I've been reluctant to discuss my workplace in print - particularly since two of our own were discovered making inappropriate comments on Facebook. 

No company is perfect, but we do do a lot that's right.  For example, our uncompromising, aggressive approach to Safety training.   As with any public organization, we've had our fair share of tragedy. But(!) at the same time, lives have been saved by employees' instinctive response.

So we train, and re-train:  from blood-borne pathogens (eeeew!) ... to CPR/AED  -- including monthly emergency reenactments, etc.

And yes.... there's one in every crowd.
A while back, I'd not been told (or, wasn't paying attention) re. an upcoming drill.  Overhearing the "Code 3" radio transmission I summoned the "real" 9-1-1 by mistake.   'Caught a lot of kidding over that little incident!

Honestly, I hope I'll never have to use my training.   Deep down, I'm leery - not about catching some dread disease; rather, of goofing up.

Still, having lost two loved ones to coronary heart disease, I want to urge everyone to become ~ and stay! ~ certified in CPR/AED.  

The Choirboys -- er, Victims
This may sting for just a second .....

Our grown-up "Ken" dolls ... all better now!

  Yes, you can!  

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Humble Spirit

This made me smile ....
Excerpted from

I like the story of a young woman who wanted to go to college. Her heart sank, however, when she read the question on the admission form that asked, "Are you a leader?"

Being both honest and conscientious, she wrote, "No," and returned the application, expecting the worst.

To her surprise, she received this letter from the college:

"Dear applicant:
 A study of the admission forms reveals that this year our school will enroll 1,452 new leaders.
We would like to accept you because we feel it is imperative that they have at least one follower."

Sometimes a little bit of humble pie goes well with a rich meal.

Actually, what passes for conceit in many people is often just a plea for attention. A poor sense of self may cause one to want to be the prominent star in every constellation. Humility, on the other hand, does not require that one shine less brightly than others, simply that all be given opportunity to shine.

That great 19th Century African American educator Booker T. Washington exemplified the power of a simple and modest spirit. A story is told of a day when Washington, then a professor at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, happened to pass the mansion of a wealthy woman as he walked to work.

The woman did not recognize him and called out, "Hey you! Come hereI need some wood chopped!" She was a product of her southern post-Civil War culture and simply perceived him as a black man who was there to do her bidding.

Without a word, Dr. Washington peeled off his jacket, picked up the ax and went to work. He not only cut a large pile of wood, he also carried the firewood into the house and arranged it neatly by the fireplace.

He had scarcely left when a servant said to the woman, "I guess you didn't recognize him, ma'am, but that was Professor Washington!"

Embarrassed and ashamed, the woman hurried over to Tuskegee Institute to apologize. The great educator respectfully replied: "There's no need to apologize, madam. I'm delighted to do favors for my friends."

The professor may have taught one of his greatest lessons that day.

It was a lesson about astronomy: he taught that every star can shine without one out-shining all the others. It was a lesson about peace: he taught how self-interest must often be set aside for the good of the whole. And it was a lesson about spirituality: he taught about the power of a meek and humble spirit in a world where aggression is too-often confused with strength.

It is a lesson we are still learning.
-- Steve Goodier