Month: December 2014

The City at the Summit

“You cannot put the same shoe on every foot.”—Publilius Syrus

The white-washed walls of the city of Santorini sparkle atop the steep cliffs that rise majestically from the cerulean blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Ships nestle in the harbor, surrounded by three islands that some say are the remains of the mythical city of Atlantis.

Among the visitors, there are sometimes arguments about which is the better way to get to the summit. “The cable car is faster!” some claim. “But it’s more fun to ride the donkeys!” others retort. Those on the tour busses say, “Why go directly to the top? Enjoy the rest of the island first.” “Climbing is good for your health!” say the rest. But no one says you won’t get to the summit unless you take their route.

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“The life of man is a journey, a journey that must be traveled, however bad the roads or the accommodations.”—Oliver Goldsmith

As a teacher, I try to act as a signpost to others, pointing the way down the road to success. But sometimes as I lecture, I know I’m the one I’m talking to. “Oh yeah, that’s a good idea, Chellie; why aren’t you doing that?!” says the voice in my head.

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We Are Not Alone

Home and family – either your family or origin or the family you’ve chosen – that’s the real celebration of the Holidays. You are never alone when you have family. As Leo Buscalia once said, “Where love is concerned, too much isn’t even enough.”

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“The smallest effort is not lost. Each wavelet on the ocean tossed aids the ebb-tide or the flow; Each rain-drop makes some floweret blow; Each struggle lessens human woe.”—Charles Mackay

My friend, Karen, was an artist with makeup. She believed every woman was beautiful, and helped many to discover their own unique beauty. I had been buying her products for four years.

I saw her at a networking luncheon: “Hi, Karen!” I said. “You look gorgeous, as always, you tiny thing!”

“Oh,” she said self-deprecatingly, “My friends tell me I look anorexic.”

“Hah,” I scoffed. “You’re naturally thin—they’re just jealous.”

She gave me a big hug, and suggested some new makeup I might try. I said sure and ordered a few items. She called me the next week to say that she had ordered my makeup and it would be delivered in a day or two. I thanked her. I didn’t know that was to be our last conversation, mundane and ordinary.

Six days later, she took her life.

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Last night in my class, we were playing “The Glad Game” and listing all of the things we are grateful for. We talked about maintaining an attitude of gratitude and I said that one of the things that always gets me back to center, being appreciative of what I have instead of what I don’t have is to think about Christopher Reeve. There was a pause as I contemplated his tragic accident, then I mentioned how awful I thought life would be if I was paralyzed. Jennifer, a young saleswoman, looked at me in surprise, then laughed. She said that wasn’t what she thought I meant. She thought I liked to think about “cute boys!”

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Terry the Terror Temp

When I was the bookkeeper at an employment agency, one of my duties was to prepare the weekly payroll for all the temporary employees the company had sent out on assignments. This was a simple task and for the most part enjoyable, as I got the pleasure of handing out paychecks to happy recipients each week. It was fun to give people money!

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Joe To Go Coffee

“The only person who never makes a mistake is the one who never does anything.”—Theodore Roosevelt

My friend, Erik, gave me a pound of Joe To Go Coffee. It was a delicious blend called “Chocolate Hazelnut.” I thoroughly enjoyed it, and when it was gone, I wanted more. So I called Erik to find out where to get some, and he offered to order a five pound bag for me. Delighted, I said, “Great!” and waited for the delivery of my yummy coffee.

And waited…

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Storage Lockers—The Sequel

“Isn’t it frightening how soon later comes, after you buy now?”—Earl Wilson

After the “The World’s Largest Writing Workshop” at the Barnes and Noble bookstore, I wrote to Billy Mernit, thanking him for his time, his expertise, and his relaxed and friendly teaching style. I enclosed a copy of the “Storage Lockers” page and asked if he would allow me to print it and use his name. I also mentioned that if he had any changes he would like to suggest, I would be happy to make them.

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Storage Lockers

One Saturday, I went to a local bookstore for “The Largest Writing Workshop in the World,” which hosted local authors to speak on the craft of writing. As I had just signed the contract for my first book, I had several agendas: 1) I wanted to participate and learn something new about the craft of writing; 2) I wanted to find out how events like this were done; and 3) I wanted to introduce myself to the store manager, let him know of my upcoming publication and see if I could arrange to speak and do a book signing at his store (sending out ships early!).

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Today’s Affirmation: “I am loved and acknowledged for my unique and wonderful talents!” This interview was amazing to me. Here they were, two wonderful, brilliantly talented, successful musicians—and they were talking about their feelings of inadequacy! I had forgotten that incredible people have doubts, too. Sometimes I think I’m the only one who thinks like that. Who do I think I am to be writing a book?

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