Showing posts from January, 2012

Stand by Me

Stand by Me (Image via Not sure why it is, but I always seem to favor the underdog.  Since I was a kid, I felt drawn to those who were marginalized in one way or another. Perhaps, that is why I like the song, Stand by Me, so much.  I see it as the anthem for the underdog.
In the Paradoxical Commandments by Kent Keith, he says "People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.  Fight for a few underdogs anyway."  
Who might the underdogs be?  To me, they are those among us that are marginalized, who exist on the edges of our society.  They come from all walks of life, all economic, social, religious and cultural backgrounds.  Often, they have developed an abrasive personality because they have been mistreated by the world around them for too long. Sometimes they are so sweet and unassuming that they simply disappear even when they are only with us.
As a teacher, I fight for the underdogs, often.  These are the students who don't have the privilege of parent…

Living Without Clutter: No Place to Hide

Today, I am delighted to share the wit and wisdom of Pesi Dinnerstein (a.k.a. Paulette Plonchak), who has written selections for the best-selling series, Small Miracles, by Yitta Halberstam and Judith Leventhal, and has contributed to several textbooks and an anthology of short stories. Pesi is a retired faculty member of the City University of New York, where she taught language skills for close to thirty years.
Pesi's new book, A Cluttered Life: Searching for God, Serenity and My Missing Keyshas just been released. In it she shares that she is a "self-acknowledged clutterer" who "has spent the better part of her life trying to get organized and out from under. Despite heroic efforts, she has not yet succeeded; but she continues to push onward, and hopes that her journey will inspire others to keep trying as well."

Here are Pesi's thoughts on living without clutter ~~
I’ve always had a complicated and ambivalent relationship with my clutter, but it’s reached…

In All Honesty

The next Paradoxical Commandment on the list ~~ Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway. ~~ is exemplified perfectly in what author, Elizabeth Ann West, shares today.
You Can't Shake Me by: Elizabeth Ann West
I am a last wife. Not a second wife. Not a new wife. The last wife. There is only one way my husband and I are getting out of this marriage and it involves a funeral director. Cheating? I know my values and his, and even should he falter, I'd make him miserable before I'd give him to the hussy! Abuse? Therapy or jail time would be my first solution.  Anyway, it's not easy to be a last wife and, in my case, a stepmother to such a wonderful young man with a birth mother, who drives me crazy. Polar opposites still have too much in common to describe how I compare to my husband's ex-wife. Yet, I have compassion for her. All those years she tried her absolute worst to get rid of me made me want to stay that much more. Plus, she contributed…

Lest We Forget

The fourth Paradoxical Commandment states:  The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.  Do good anyway.
How true!  There seems to be something in the human psyche that compels us to remember all the horrid, awful, sad, bad things in life, while forgetting the wonderful, amazing, inspirational and just plain, good!  
Interestingly, I had this demonstrated to my in my class the other day. (I learn so much from my students!)  I had asked them to think of events that occurred during 2011.  They came up with a long list of every trauma, tragedy, earthquake, tornado and freak storm.  Not until I called their attention to it, did they think of anything positive, which for all of them was personal.  They admitted that they could not think of any good in the community or world.  How sad!
The media gives 24/7 coverage to every horrific event, from volcanic eruptions to murders; they provide voyeuristic programming for those who want to watch the trials and tribulations of large families, dy…

New Beginnings

Today we have a wonderful guest, Christine Cunningham, who is sharing her thoughts on New Beginnings.  Christine writes fictional stories to uplift and inspire. She is a life-long student of happiness and how to attract it. She compiles what she learns and weaves it into an understandable, enjoyable story. 
She is the author of Eternal Beginning (non-fiction); Amazon bestseller, First Snow (romantic fiction); and 30 Day Guide to apply Eternal Beginning (non-fiction)- click on the picture above to view Christine's trailer.

Life has a distinctly funny way of changing me. I get what I call “itchy feet.” Now, bypassing the silly remarks about athlete’s foot and better hygiene, let me tell you what I mean. 
I’m in the enviable and sometimes not so enviable position of wanting everything to change and everything to remain the same. I’m not quite sure when this dichotomy began, but it continues to plague and pleasure my life. 
Nearly a year ago, I was working at a pharmacy and paid a ve…

On Good Deeds and Success

Image by Quasifly via FlickrA situation happened recently that has made my heart break.  Out of nowhere, it seems, I learned that someone bore false witness against me.  After sitting with what was said about me for a few days, I have come to realize that the next two Paradoxical Commandments speak directly to this situation.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.  Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
How many times have you heard about someone who has done something good for others, only to have someone else say, "Ya, well, I heard that person did such and such awful thing," effectively killing the positive energy of the good deed?  Or, have you ever heard of someone succeeding, for instance, getting a new position in work, only to hear coworkers, people that, to this person's face, are all smiles and congratulations, whispering about how the person who got the new position leaves e…

Do It Anyway!

Cover of Anyway: the Paradoxical CommandmentsSeveral years ago, I came across a little book by Dr. Kent Keith called, Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments.  For me, these ten short principles became my resolutions for the years ahead. If you don't know the story of Dr. Keith and Anyway, allow me to share it with you.
Back in the 60's, Kent Keith wrote the ten principles found in Anyway as a part of a booklet created for high school student leaders.  The commandments were a challenge to students, who were finding excuses to dropout and give up when things got tough.
Time past, until one day, Dr. Keith learned that eight of the ten principles were hanging on the the wall of the children's home in Calcutta run be Mother Teresa.  His words had found their way around the world!  
So, what are these principles that have traveled the world?  I plan to look at them singularly over the next month, renewing my commitment to them and, hopefully, inspiring others to join me on this journ…

We Are the Change

Image via Wikipedia
Every January 1st, millions of people around the world make resolutions to give up, do without, change, recreate, and/or begin something. They look back on the past year, see the areas in their lives that could have been better, could have been more, could have been happier and resolve to make it so in the year ahead.

One problem, almost always, most of these resolutions suddenly fizzle out around mid-February. Why?

I believe it is because they are made without the recognition that in order to bring about true change, one must remove the root of whatever it is that is causing the problem. For instance, we can try to lose weight, but, if we don't recognize and change our behavior - i.e., realize that we eat when stressed - then we will only resort back to that behavior.

After fifty some odd years of resolutions, I have decided to approach resolutions from a different angle this year. Instead of changing something about me - weight, attitude, etc. - I would begin …