Golden Eggs (2) ~ Early Morning Thoughts`

Last night I recounted a fable about the golden goose that laid golden eggs.

[While many people see the story as a warning against greed or even the more you produce, the more you do, the more effective you will be.] . . . I suggest that within this fable is a natural law, a principle – the basic definition of effectiveness True effectiveness is a function of two things: what is produced (the golden eggs) and the producing asset or capacity to produce (the goose).

If you adopt a pattern of life that focuses on golden eggs and neglects the goose, you will soon be without the asset that produces golden eggs. On the other hand, if you only take care of the goose with no aim toward the golden eggs, you soon won’t have the wherewithal to feed yourself or the goose.1

At this point, I basically had an epiphany about some of what I had been doing in the past and even recently. (Epiphany can be a “nice” word for getting smacked in the back of the head with a 2×4)

I learned there are three kinds of assets – physical, financial and human.
Three years ago, I purchased a good computer. Later I purchased a very good monitor…(not to play World of Warcraft, of course) And over time, I’ve given some thought to their maintenance and upkeep – but not as much as I should have. Now, the computer is in need of some attention, by someone that is a little more knowledgeable than I am about serious maintenance. I was actually looking at the short-term and had started to run this asset down. Of course, I can say the same about my body – and trust me there is a LOT of work to be done there. (major overhaul for 600, Alex)

The next asset is financial. And I’ve had to make some changes there as well. Not that I, at this point, have to worry – but if I were to continue living my life as if tomorrow didn’t matter, I would soon be having to worry about tomorrow. Of course, our ability to earn and manage money is a financial asset as well. But, there will come a time when perhaps I won’t be able to earn money and I don’t want to do things that will get in the way of the now.

A year and a half ago, I took a job as a by-the-week apartment manager 1) because it was supposedly right up my alley and 2) it was going to pay me a salary that was much higher than the level of the job seemed to be. It was what seemed to be a good opportunity. Lots of promises were made and I signed on at the interview. The fact also that I had been without work for sometime might have played a part in it as well.

Now that I look back – especially with the golden goose in mind – I realize that this fable DOES contain principles. The properties were owned by a slumlord less than honorable group of people. There were serious maintenance issues, etc. I thought at the time, if I can only get the rents collected, keep the tenants happy keep moving people into empty apartments and get whatever maintenance needs accomplished I can within the system that I would be fine.

Right at the start what was being produced (the rents) was getting much more attention than the capacity to produce (the apartments). And as I look back over some of my posts about the place, I knew what was going to happen much earlier then I admitted it to myself. And now, I’m doing in six days what “normal” apartment managers do in four weeks. And each week I got the privilege of starting all over again.

So now, I’m fighting my ability to collect rents/fill apartments/evict those who don’t pay/keep the central family office happy (what is being produced) by my constant frustration over what isn’t happening and my feelings of sheer terror at losing the job and not having an income (producing capacity) as well as being determined to please the “boss.”.

Up until the last several weeks (the change due to a lost lawsuit about overtime) managers were basically on-call 24/7 and worked seven days a week. Something was going to give, and I can tell you – as far as the family was concerned – it wasn’t going to be what was being produced.

As I began to spiral downward from all that was going on – to say nothing of what I was fighting mentally that I didn’t even realize – I have to say that my rent collections were the best in the entire system of apartments (in three states). I had a positive balance on the spreadsheets – the bible of the owning family – and everyone had basically paid all that was owed and some were even ahead.

–more on this tomorrow
1. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey pg. 56

Golden Eggs ~ Late Evening Thoughts

With tropical storm Eduard bearing down, people are beginning preparations for what may/might happen … where I live in Houston, we will probably have plenty of rain and some wind. As with tropical storms/hurricanes they have a tendency to keep their intentions fairly close to the chest and don’t play their cards until the last possible moment.

Lat week I finally got a copy of a book that has been available for a number of years. I have e-mailed the author for permission to do some quotes from the book, but tonight I wanted to start with a story the author tells. It was a story I’d heard a number (?!) of times before – but where I am on this journey now – this time it really spoke to me on a number of different levels. (with apologies to Aesop and others)

There once was a man who by being blessed with good fortune was given a goose in exchange for some work that he did. While he was not happy with only getting a goose, he thought it would at least make a good dinner as it seemed very fat and actually quite content.

He took it home and placed the goose in a box by the fireplace so that it could stay warm and stay within sight.

In the morning when he looked in the box the goose had been in – he was astonished to see a golden egg. One golden egg. Knowing this was quite valuable, he took it into market and sold it for quite a good sum of money. He was pleased.

Each morning he checked the goose’s box and each morning there was yet another golden egg – each as valuable as the first one.

This went on for sometime and eventually the man became somewhat impatient. Rather than having just one egg a day, he began to wonder why they goose didn’t lay two or three. . . or even more.

He began to realize that the goose must have either gold inside or a lot of golden eggs. So, early one morning – right after the goose had laid yet another golden treasure, the man killed it.

He quickly cut it open expecting to find a treasure that would make him rich and powerful for his entire life. He was to find nothing other than what any goose or living creature would have inside.

And now, he was left with a hacked up goose not fit for cooking and no goose to lay golden eggs.

For years I’ve heard the “moral” of the story as “greed can overreach itself” or “haste makes waste” or “what some people have is never enough.” But there is a very different approach to the story that really had me evaluating my life and somethings that I’ve done. Not that they were “bad”, so to speak – but perhaps there might have been a better way…

–more tomorrow

By the way – I thought you might enjoy the Indian version of the story – this was translated and published in 1895.

The Golden Mallard
from The Jataka

Once upon a time when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisatta was born a Brahmin, and growing up was married to a bride of his own rank, who bore him three daughters named Nanda, Nanda-vati, and Sundari-nanda. The Bodhisatta dying, they were taken in by neighbors and friends, whilst he was born again into the world as a golden mallard endowed with consciousness of its former existences.

Growing up, the bird viewed its own magnificent size and golden plumage, and remembered that previously it had been a human being. Discovering that his wife and daughters were living on the charity of others, the mallard bethought him of his plumage like hammered and beaten gold and how by giving them a golden feather at a time he could enable his wife and daughters to live in comfort. So away he flew to where they dwelt and alighted on the top of the central beam of the roof. Seeing the Bodhisatta, the wife and girls asked where he had come from; and he told them that he was their father who had died and been born a golden mallard, and that he had come to visit them and put an end to their miserable necessity of working for hire.

“You shall have my feathers,” said he, “one by one, and they will sell for enough to keep you all in ease and comfort.”

So saying, he gave them one of his feathers and departed. And from time to time he returned to give them another feather, and with the proceeds of their sale these Brahmin women grew prosperous and quite well to do.

But one day the mother said to her daughters, “There’s no trusting animals, my children. Who’s to say your father might not go away one of these days and never come back again? Let us use our time and pluck him clean next time he comes, so as to make sure of all his feathers.”

Thinking this would pain him, the daughters refused.

The mother in her greed called the golden mallard to her one day when he came, and then took him with both hands and plucked him.

Now the Bodhisatta’s feathers had this property that if they were plucked out against his wish, they ceased to be golden and became like a crane’s feathers. And now the poor bird, though he stretched his wings, could not fly, and the woman flung him into a barrel and gave him food there. As time went on his feathers grew again (though they were plain white ones now), and he flew away to his own abode and never came back again.

And The Beat Goes On ~ Early Afternoon Thoughts

Normally I use early afternoon thoughts for elegant time wasters, I found there actually were legitimate times wasters in the real world over the last several weeks. In the recent spate of headlines there were several news stories about a councilwoman who objected to another councilman saying that the “paperwork would disappear into a black hole. . . ” I always thought that astronomical term was perfectly respectable, and could be used to describe the mythological place where things (even the socks from the dryer) could be described as disappearing.

Evidently the PC Police feel otherwise. Now, had the man said “black Ho” I might have understood – but black hole? What is this woman going to demand – that Astronomy change its term? That the Black Hole of Calcutta of history be renamed? Hold up on the cards the letters, I DO know that the Calcutta story has been debunked . . .

By this point I was ready to get on a roll of time wasters, and was perusing the blogs I follow on a regular basis when I was literally knocked off my soap box (which was pretty large by-the-way) by the following from the blog Joe.My.God . . .

For some time I had followed a blog called Coopers Corrider where a gay man adopted two children and aside from being an incredible writer allowed us inside his life and feelings.

Joe titled his post:

Apology Revoked
(And Munchausen-By-Blog Syndrome)

And then the OMG portion of my day began –

“Oh, gentle readers, what a twisted, fascinating, maddening, saddening place is this thing called The Internets.

Remember Cooper? The firefighter gay dad of two adopted boys who pulled his widely-loved blog after an “attack” of malicious comments and emails from the readers of this blog? Causing me to get extremely bent of out shape and offer Cooper a heartfelt (really) public apology? Over the last few days our little blogosphere has retched forth some unpleasant, uncomfortable revelations about Cooper.

The short version:
He is not a firefighter.
He is not an adoptive father.
He is not gay.
He is not, in fact, a he. “

(OK ~ now I’m really intrigued.)

“Intrigued? The long version:

The story began to unfold at Sweet/Salty, the blog of a woman named Kate, a young mother dealing with the death of her infant son. On the day of the supposed attack on Cooper’s blog by JMG readers, Kate had emailed him, extremely distressed to have discovered that Cooper had lifted many of her gorgeously written posts verbatim, including photographs of her husband.

Upon receipt of Kate’s surprisingly kind request to remove her plagiarized material, Cooper deleted his blog and apparently then concocted the JMG attack story to placate his legion of starry-eyed readers, people who avidly followed Cooper’s Corridor as a place where they saw their most earnest ideals about gay parenting realized.

Shortly afterwards, Cooper’s Corridor resumed as Nico’s Niche, a private blog where Kate’s material continued to appear. Kate found my public apology to Cooper and emailed me about the situation. Knowing that Father Tony has had a longtime internet friendship with Cooper, I put him on the case. What he uncovered may blow your mind.

According to the bizarre confession wrangled by Father Tony, Cooper’s Corridor/Nico’s Niche was written by a woman, a 52-year-old British Columbia grandmother named Jo, who says that ever since she was a little girl she has felt that she is a gay man trapped in a woman’s body. Cooper/Nico (Jo claims) was a concoction created in order to deal with her lifelong gender identity disorder. She says she calls her inner gay man “Nicky”.

Oh, but hang on a minute, it gets curiouser still. Turns out that there are extremely similar aspects between the Cooper/Nico story and another infamous case of blog imposterism. Years ago there was the (now-infamous in the gay blogosphere) case of A Priori Ad Lib, a blog supposedly written by a gay Canadian grade school teacher slowly dying from leukemia. The dying gay teacher’s name? Nicky. Who lived in British Columbia. Who turned out to be a woman, exposed when a blog pal of mine attempted to actually visit “him” in the hospital only to find no such person existed.

As the initial outrage and sense of betrayal about Cooper died down a bit, there have been some rather generous expressions of pity towards Jo/Cooper/Nicky. Kate (the blogger whose occasionally tortured, but always lovely prose was stolen) has been by turns baffled, angry, stunned…but most of all, kind. (Her readers, understandably, not so much.) Even as evidence was put forward that Jo had plagiarized other blogs, the conversation turned to pleas for understanding for the mentally ill.

Go read Kate’s initial angry post, then you absolutely must delve into Father Tony’s post, where in addition to publishing Jo’s emailed “confession”, he muses in his typically artful way about the anonymous nature of the internet and how much we can ever really know about people, even when we think we have an insider’s view of their day-to-day lives.

To my readers who leapt to defend “Cooper”, I thank you for your kind words to him, however misguided we all were. I know some of you had even sent Christmas presents for “Cooper’s” nonexistent children, so I can only imagine how incredibly betrayed you feel. Jo has told Father Tony that she’s been suicidal over being exposed, but has found a mental health counselor and is considering gender reassignment surgery. Color me extremely skeptical on that, but at the end of day what we have here is a very troubled person who needs help of some kind.

Even this post may please the sort of person who engages in what I call “Munchausen-by-blog syndrome”, but consider this yet another unhappy lesson about trust, gullibility, and how we as gay people are sometimes overeager to find our heroes.”

Aside from leaving me speechless ~ A difficult feat in itself ~ I was struck by the last paragraph (as in the solar plexus). I have to take a little issue with Joe on the last line, I don’t think it’s only gays that are overeager to find heroes ~ I think many people have fallen into the “Hero de Jour” trap.

Post-Valentine’s-Mortum ~ Early Evening Thoughts

Let me say up front, there were a couple of people that thought I was little (!?!) cynical about Valentine’s Day. I will reply in honesty … Yes, I probably was. However – let me explain.

(Assuming best Masterpiece Theater voice)

My week of working in the florist shop began on Tuesday … the calm calm before the storm. It was a long day, but fairly uneventful. By the afternoon, the temperature had begun to rise in the clients calling in for orders. Still, no one appeared to have “lost it” at this point.

Wednesday the floodgates opened at 8:30am and the phone did not stop ringing until 5pm that night. There were 120 orders and walk-ins that went out the door that day … some were called in, some were web orders from Telefloral and FTD. Still, the day went smoothly and people seemed pleased. By the end of the day – there appeared to be over 230 orders that were going to have to be delivered on Thursday.

Thursday (the actual day of Valentine) the phones started ringing at 7am … they were not answered until 9am. From that point on it was non-stop. We actually had people calling in at 10am wanting to know why the arrangements they had ordered had not been delivered yet.

Finally all the drivers had loaded their vans and headed out to all points of delivery. At this point, we are keeping tabs on inventory AND zip codes. There were several people who had not listened when they were told there were no guaranteed delivery times for that day … it would get there, we just couldn’t say when.

The day was moving forward (cue sound track from Jaws here). At this point the calls were being balanced between people wanting to know when, people wanting deliveries to areas we didn’t and people wanting the impossible. “I’m sorry sir, we don’t sell carnations — of any color and we would be unable to deliver them to Clutch, TX even if we did. (actual name of town).

There was only one complaint at that point – she didn’t think her arrangement was “perfection” and wanted another. Fortunately, she was in the building so a new one was walked up to her – and the “imperfect” one brought back to the shop. As it was sitting on the counter ready to be put back in the cooler, someone walked in and bought it. The front of the store was beginning to resemble a bargain basement – people trying to wheel and deal.

Technically there is no smoking in the building, but as I was not going to be able to leave to go outside, I was given an ashtray and I took two smoke breaks the entire day. Lunch was at the desk … the work must go on.

At this point I was dealing with people who forgot it was Valentine’s Day — or just waited until the last minute…not a good idea on this holiday ~ trust me on that one!! There is a certain 800/internet outfit that takes any order that comes in and then tries to farm them out to local florists at the last minute. I had to deal with about 10 phone calls from them and ended spending quite a bit of time explaining each time why we couldn’t/wouldn’t be able to help.

The wire brought in 3 orders for funerals in town and I ended up wiring out several funeral orders for out of town. And the phones kept ringing. The system that the shop uses allows us to look up florists in a specific zip code – I was using that a lot to tell people who to call that might be able to deliver. Also, we have a similar name to another florist close by … several calls from people who were unhappy with the arrangement only to be told that they had called the wrong shop …

Four O’clock came and thought we were surely through with all the last minute orders – when this gentleman(?) called in to demand that a dozen roses be delivered to an address forty-five miles away in rush hour traffic. He became highly incensed that had to tell him that we were not going to be able to do that. I was going to offer to deliver it for a $100 delivery charge, but thought better of it.

Why the chaos? It can be summed up, I think, by saying that of all the holidays Valentine’s Day is the most personal. People do remember their friends (thank you DB, EM for your ecards!!) But by and large this is a time that seems to be for those who are in a relationship, want to be in a relationship or need to be in a relationship. And, they get crazy and somewhat stupid illogical. For example … I got a call (on Thursday) from a gentleman who wanted to recognize that he had been with this person for two Valentine’s Days. He was insistent that there be only two roses in a vase … no greenery, etc. AND that it be delivered. This delivery was going only a few blocks from where we were ~ and not much further than from where he was. No, it had to be delivered and as soon as possible. This arrangement probably would have cost him at the most $12 using premium rose buds. We have a $35 minimum delivery AND a $15 holiday delivery fee. He spent $50 to have it delivered.

Ah yes, the wonders of the holiday…I’m glad I only do this once a year to help out. There was talk about having me work Christmas week, but I think I’m going to be very “busy” that week. I think I’ll be able to appreciate the season more!!!

He loved her very much.

He wanted this Valentine’s day to be special, so he had ordered a bottle of her favorite liquor imported from France and it had arrived in time for the occasion.

On his way home, he stopped at the local florist. He had planned to have a bouquet made with her favorite flower, white anemones. But to his dismay, he found that the florist had sold all her flowers and had only a few sterns of feathery ferns left for decoration.

In a moment of inspiration, he had the answer.

He asked the florist to make a bouquet using the flask of liquor instead of flowers and what she produced was magnificent well beyond his expectations. He added a card, and proceeded home.

When he arrived, his wife was beautiful in her most elegant gown, and it was apparent that she had spent much of the day preparing a romantic candlelight dinner for the two of them.

He presented her with his gift, and she opened the card to read, “Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder.”

With a tear in her eye, she whispered to him lovingly, “Yes, and with fronds like these, who needs anemones.”
—Stan Kegel

And For What Might Seem To Be Small Change ~ Early Evening Thoughts.

Several months ago (has it really been that long?), I wrote –>about<– ~ a micro-lending organization that makes loans possible to people who would never otherwise qualify for loans.

For as little as $25 ($27.50 actually if you add $2.50 to help defray operating expenses!) you can reach someone and help turn their lives around in a way that helps them operate as a business should. These people are not the recipients of a grant or gift (although there is nothing wrong with that) but rather they have to go through a loan process and then when enough people have loaned them money to reach their goal, the money is made available to them. The best part, is that they are expected to pay the loan back.

When the loan is paid back, the original investment made is returned to the lender … who can take the money or reinvest it in someone else.

One of the investments I made was with a woman by the name of –>Selima<–. Her business required expansion and she needed ten sheep and sixty chickens. I want to report (proudly I might add) that she has begun to repay the loan. She has 14 months to repay the investment a number of people made, but I have a feeling she will repay it much earlier than 14 months.

I was reminded of a story about a very wealthy businessman during the depression. He passed by what we would call a beggar with a tin cup and a few pencils in the cup ~ if someone wanted to take them. The businessman reached in his pocket and threw two nickles in the cup and started to walk away…he stopped, turned around and went back.

He said to the beggar, “I’m sorry, I treated you unfairly. It is obvious you are businessman, and that you have pencils for sale. I would like my pencils, please.” He held out his hand, and the rather startled beggar put two pencils in the mans hand.

Sometime later, the businessman needed some stationary for his office and while returning from lunch, he noticed a small shop. He went in, and picked out what he needed and went to the register to pay. The man behind the register called him by name, and then said:

“You won’t remember me, but sometime ago I had no belief in anything as I had lost everything. I was reduced to begging in the train station. You walked by and believed in me enough to call me a businessman and to make me complete a business transaction. I started believing in myself again. This shop is a result, and my stationary business has been good enough that I’m going to move to a different, larger location in the next few months.”

The point being, we can make changes in peoples lives and help them become businessmen and women.

Several blogs have done articles about micro-lending overseas, and it’s something worth looking into and you can make a difference for what might seem to be small change.

I hope you will seriously consider becoming a lender to the poor. Here’s the –>link to the website<– where you can learn much more!

What Is Your Internal? ~ Early Evening Thoughts

Today was an interesting day. While not full of great insights, I did gain insight into some of the people I work with.

Ninety percent of who we are is internal, and only ten percent is outside of us.
— Anonymous

As often happens when I need to think through issues and complex problems, I turn to what others have written or said that links into what I’m dealing with. Hopefully, these will touch your lives as well.

Think of Honesty and Integrity as sisters. Honesty is truthful and is well respected because she lives truth in her heart and offers it to others
without compromise. Integrity believes in wholeness, goodness, and excellence, and is willing to serve as a praiseworthy example for others. Both are held in high regard. Practicing honesty and integrity is a two-fold gift. The first gift is seeing yourself as honest and having a high level of integrity. The second gift is offering your honesty and integrity to others. You become a respected person of integrity when you are unwilling to compromise your values.

I’ve done a number of posts about integrity and honesty, but these reached into where I was standing today ~ and helped to “sooth the savage beast” that seemed to want to tear up what I was thinking, believing about people and hoping about people.

To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.
–Douglas Adams

Integrity has no need of rules.
–Albert Camus

Honesty is the cornerstone of all success, without which confidence and ability to perform shall cease to exist.
–Mary Kay Ash

The greatest homage we can pay to truth is to use it.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

A life lived with integrity – even if it lacks the trappings of fame and fortune is a shining star in whose light others may follow in the years to come.
–Denis Waitley

The highest compact we can make with our fellow is, – ‘Let there be truth between us two forever more.’
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.
–Thomas Jefferson

The glue that holds all relationships together — including the relationship between the leader and the led is trust, and trust is based on integrity.
–Brian Tracy

Integrity is the first step to true greatness. Men love to praise, but are slow to practice it. To maintain it in high places costs self-denial; in all places it is liable to opposition, but its end is glorious, and the universe will yet do it homage.
–Charles Simmons

Our lives improve only when we take chances – and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves.
–Walter Anderson

Integrity is not a conditional word. It doesn’t blow in the wind or change with the weather. It is your inner image of yourself, and if you look in there and see a man who won’t cheat, then you know he never will.
–John D. MacDonald

Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values.
–Ayn Rand

He that loseth his honesty, has nothing else to lose.
–John Lyly

(Again, forgive the lack of images, I as still using a computer that makes it so I really can’t place images in the blog. Hopefully, Comcast will solve that problem shortly.)

–more tomorrow

You Too Can Be A Lender To The Poor (news) ~ Thoughts

Several weeks ago, I wrote about becoming a micro-lender to people overseas who would not qualify for loans through normal channels. Yesterday, a major blog site (other than mine ~ of course!) Trend Hunter did an article on micro-lending in general in Kiva specifically. (full article –>here<–)

Why donate when you can empower? lets you loan money directly to an entrepreneur in the developing world. Specifically, the online site connects you to a network of entrepreneurs through local microfinance organizations. So far, Kiva has hooked up over $6 million in loans to more than 60,000 entrepreneurs.

For example, Agnes Lawer (shown) is an entrepreneur in Ghana seeking a $900 loan to develop her bead manufacturing business. She plans to repay her loan in 9-12 months. You could loan her the $900 directly, or a portion.

The Kiva site describes, “Kiva lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world. By choosing a business on, you can “sponsor a business” and help the world’s working poor make great strides towards economic independence. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates from the business you’ve sponsored. As loans are repaid, you get your loan money back.
We partner with organizations all over the world.”


I also understand (although I’m still trying to confirm this) that Charles Gibson also did a piece on the news tonight on the subject.

But – remember, you saw it here before they did!!!!

The Ass Of Assumptions (end) ~ Early Morning Thoughts

A very dear friend of mine (SGB) has a wonderful saying:

“words written can not be unread and
words spoken can not be unheard.”

As D&D would not listen let alone ask, their reactions became more and more pronounced – to me and toward Toby. I was walking a fine line that was no longer a balancing act but a high wire act without a net.

Eventually when walking a high wire while trying to balance any number of things, something is going to fall – and usually the person on the wire is the one that falls. I had been trying to keep everyone at peace and trying to compartmentalize what was going on in my life. While that can be a valid and valuable contribution of life – it can also be a major trap with no escape.

I’ve written before that I have a tendency toward “peace at any cost.” Sometimes there is no peace, and the end cost can turn out to be quite expensive. In this case, with D&D it had several unintended results. The friendship with both came to an immediate end. It wasn’t just that one single comment, but rather a gathering of a number of comments – not just about Toby – that led further and further down the road of erroneous assumptions.

And because they had built themselves a “construct” out of their assumptions, there was no way I could see that would change anything in either their maps or territories.

A construct is any idea that people invent in order to accomplish some particular end. And a construct, while not an absolute truth becomes something people assume to be an absolute.

I finally realized that I was not just walking the high wire around D&D, but I was also being untrue to myself by allowing the comments and assumptions to basically be unchallenged and/or unchecked. I had added false luggage tags and added baggage to my train – and it really was slowing the engine down. It actually spurred me even further to look even more into my life and the assumptions I’ve held onto, and which ones I’ve – perhaps – turned into constructs that need to be de-constructed.

In Wait
There are waves of emotions
that travel on land,
there’s beauty in silence
when you cradle the sun;
there are channels of thought
that use sweat when they paint pores,
there are smiles in drawers
that wait to be released . . .

There is a hidden power within us,
just lying around, waiting to be seen.
—Alex Luna
(copyright 2005)

The ending of a friendship
is a painful
as the click
of a coffin lid.

Letting go
Of assumptions
That don’t fit
This emerging life
Of a planetary
Unjust claims
That hold us hostage
To outworn mindsets,
Which drive us
To destroy ourselves
And others,
As penitence
For our power.

Releasing our minds
From the slavery of violence,
Freedom rushes in,
Flying to
Animate fresh visions
Of who we are
And what we can do,
Enwilling us with
Power over ourselves,
To choose
To be and do
With others.

Discovering love
Encoded in our genes
And compassion
That has been building
Through eons of change.
We find
Revived meaning,
A common purpose,
Shared action,
Different ways
Of seeing life,
New learnings,
A whole-some mix,
A holy diversity
To empassion compassion
And stride forward
In myriad modes
Of Peace.

This is our time,
Our chance,
To rally Peace
Into the world.
—Verie Sandborg

You, Too, Can Be A Banker To The Poor ~ An Update

On March 28th I wrote about Kiva, an organization that makes micro loans to ordinary people overseas that needed small loans for their businesses. I had decided that I would do three loans of $25 each. The first loan has been paid out to:

I apologize for the quality of the screen shot – I’ll try to get a better one.

Basically, she has had this business for 10 years. She breeds chickens, ducks and turkeys. She needed to buy 10 sheep and 60 chickens.

With a number of other investors she now has received the funds to expand her business.

For more information visit

When You Least Expect It (1) ~ Early Morning Thoughts

This post has had a number of titles over the last three days. The Luggage Tag Says – (4), Surprised With Joy or even Little Did I Knowin other words, this has been a very difficult post to put into words (in a good way) – let alone title. Over a month ago, I introduced a person I called Toby (not his name or initial). It was in the post titled Surprised But Not By Joy. I had talked about a deep rooted cynicism I discovered concerning people and was working on getting weeded out of my personal garden.

A several weeks ago, we met Toby again at the same place – and I had a delightful time chatting and getting to know him even better. It was then I realized that D&D were having some serious problems with this. It was that night that D decided to drop the comment to me that I “had more patience that he did what ‘those’ kind of people.” He had put Toby in a very specific category and therefore was not to be trusted or even conversed with beyond minor pleasantries. And there is a HUGE difference between being a cynic and being cautious.

A cynic is a man who,
when he smells flowers,
looks around for a coffin.
–H. L. Mencken (1880 – 1956)

Toby and I met for coffee the next day – and embarked on a series of conversations/meetings that were honest, truthful and enlightening.

The Luggage Tag Says – (4)

I had started the series on removing false luggage tags on life’s journey and thought it was almost complete for the time being, when I discovered this tag hidden behind the bright red yarn ball on the handle of my luggage so I can spot it in the midst of others at the airport. I had talked about the false luggage tag of expecting every answer to be according to my expectations.

THIS luggage tag,however, is the tag of expecting every answer to be according to OTHER people’s expectations – sometimes at the expense of my own. And for a “fixer” personality such as I have been dealing with, that can be a real trap. The fixer tends to pour a LOT of personal oil over other people’s troubled waters, to the point their car can run out of oil – and burn out. This doesn’t mean I shouldn’t listen and evaluate others people’s opinions when necessary. It does mean that I can’t base my personal life expectations on the expectations of other people. Before it comes up, I’m not talking about a job where obviously the expectations are going to be based on other people. After all, a job – as a very interesting consultant once said – requires that you rent your behavior for a period of time, based on the expectations of others.

Of course, D&D were merely (in their minds) trying to be protective, attentive, etc.. Based on further comments and conversations that were had – they also had a mindset that was not going to change (easily), and were expecting me to follow in that. They have been unable to share in the fact that within the last week I have been:

Surprised With Joy –
(apologies or thank you to C. S. Lewis)

Toby and I went for lunch and a movie. Trying to find the small Greek restaurant that I knew exactly where it was – proved that I didn’t know where it was. We eventually found it – after quite a search on foot. When we sat down, I was struck by the fact we both had been laughing about the situation and enjoying our surroundings. We even took time to stop at an enormous waterfall fountain that is a Houston landmark. We took a great deal of time over lunch and put off the movie until the next day. On my way home I was still chuckling over the excursion to the wilds of “getting lost” in the general vicinity, and was also struck by the ease of the conversation and sharing that occurred.

We met for an early light dinner the next day, and as we were going into the theater – I turned to Toby asked, “Are we dating?” I was horrified that sentence had come out of my mouth. There had been nothing on either side that obviously indicated such a thought was correct. But, being the terminal romantic that I am – (remember, we’re the ones that pat the sandwich after we make them)- my life is colored by many small things as well as the huge brick walls that I occasionally run headlong into.

What is a small thing? As I’ve mentioned before, I have very bad knees and am working toward getting them operated on and repaired. I was struck by the fact that at curbs – without being asked – Toby would pause and wait for me to step down offering his shoulder as balance. A little thing. We visited a couple of friends today, and they had one of those lovely, delightful overstuffed LOW leather couches that even people with great legs have some trouble getting up from. Without a word, or even a glance – there was an arm right in my peripheral vision to hold onto and get up. A little thing. “Oh well,” someone might say – “He’s just being polite, kind or helpful.” To which I reply: “And your point?” The fact is – I’ve never had any of my friends over the last several years do that.

February 17th I posted about who are you looking for not what are you looking for – but who. I included some short descriptions of incidents that in my mind helped me with the “who.”

The dramatist in me realizes that I have not given Toby’s answer to my question along with several other questions people might have. This is, however, a good time for an intermission.
–More Tomorrow