Be the Tree

The stream of fresh water, found somewhere in Norway, flows ever so gently, causing only mild movement, barely rippling, as it flows past the tree on its journey.

The beautiful Norwegian sunlight shining down from above has a mirroring effect on the water’s surface. The tree itself, whether by nature or man’s intention, has homesteaded in a perfect location for optimal growth and nourishment. Roots from its early days now deeply imbedded in the soil draw in life in the form of nutrients from the good earth below and liquid refreshment from the stream.

My thoughts today are of the reflected image as much as of the tree itself. When gazing at the water’s surface the trunk and branch are clearly visible as a reflection of the original— a mirror image until the movement reveals that this isn’t the tree after all but a nearly perfect replication. The longer I gaze the more I observe how similar the image is to the original. Almost exact. However, the movement of the life-giving river causes ripples in the image, bringing me back to the reality that what my eye sees is indeed not the genuine article.

Reflections of an original are like that. Reflections have ripples. Reflections don’t possess the deep roots of the authentic. Reflections are not capable of true growth, only displaying what the eye can observe on a surface level but not in reality where growth and life and substance all mean something.

In human life we have, most of us, been at the stage where we were reflecting someone else’s greatness, growth, and accomplishment and that’s the way of human development. But we can’t set up shop there and expect to make true impact and ourselves experience honest growth and, most of all, experience “true” life.

The reflecting water, even with the assistance of the all powerful sun cannot turn itself into a real tree. We on the other hand must choose to be the tree and not merely a reflection of it.

Something to think about.

Crown Her

I watched the first episode of The Spanish Princess with a friend and was blown away by this period piece for its visuals alone. Set in the early 1500s the costumes were incredible. The interiors and exterior’s were lush and beautiful. There was a scene in the first nine minutes of this production that captured my attention though. Queen Isabella, wearing her golden suit of armor mounts her horse, putting on her crowned helmet then charges into battle with sword raised high. Wow, what an image of a powerful woman! She emerged from the fray covered in the blood of the enemies she had slain, both sword and crowned head held high. She possessed confidence, skill in battle, and authority.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A dear friend and colleague of mine has decided to retire from her career in higher education to spend time with her long since retired husband. She has served our university faithfully and well as the only woman dean of one of our five colleges. She will be celebrated today and in doing so we’ll take a brief bit of time to reflect upon her valiant leadership, unfailing compassion for others, and mentorship of those in her circles high and low.

Now THAT is a leader. She has worn an invisible crown with head and sword held high through battles and victories as well. Today she lays them down and proceeds to the next chapter in her story.

You will be deeply missed and we, your faithful friends and subjects will console ourselves knowing you’re headed off to reign well in other lands.

March On

Tick Tock

Hickory dickory dock

How is it seven o’clock?

I’m running behind

and more time I must find

Won’t somebody stop this clock?

Well darn, the answer is no. Time waits for no man or woman and we must keep marching along with it or otherwise take a comfortable seat and watch it march by us. I don’t know about you but I’m not there yet. Though I’m all for lazy three day weekends my world still involves the steady beat of a drum that dictates my pace and I’m OK with that.

Some day the drum beat will stop and there will be an amazing silence. I quote again a very famous line of poetry, “gather ye rosebuds while you may, old Time is still a-flying, and this same flower that blooms today tomorrow will be dying.“ I occasionally hear the voice of a friend, when on a fun weekend together I commented that I just wanted to lie down and take a nap and she responded, “you can sleep when you’re dead!“ And I suppose so. But today Time marches on and so must I.

My drummer does have a different beat though and that means I might have a little hop to my march instead of a lockstep and I will get where I need to go happily and without regrets.

Whether marching or the alternative, Have a great day no matter what. Gotta run now . . . I mean march. And fast!

Life is Like A Box of Cronuts

This is what a $4.50 cronut looks like. Perfectly crisp bacon crumbles atop a maple glaze embellishment, adorning a croissant/donut mashup that was executed with flawless perfection.

Sometimes you don’t know that a thing is on your bucket list (or that you actually even have one) until you’ve checked it off. Cronut—check! It was a sinful moment of refined white flour, sugar, and pork fat perfection.

And sometimes we have that moment of truth when we realize that a thing we’ve wanted and thought about and dreamt of wasn’t all it was cracked up to be after all. Or healthy for us either. The experience or relationship or dream that held promise of being so much better than our current reality didn’t match up with our expectations of something that felt like it should be perfect.

Life itself isn’t perfect. Our cookies will crumble. Plans will go awry. People may disappoint and disapprove. It’s okay! Life Is beautiful and imperfect at the same time with its cronuts and crumbles and left turns and amazing discoveries of everyday people and things that were never even on our bucket list but were meant to be part of our story. Savor the crumbles!

Best Wishes

My father’s name was Robert Henry but he always went by Bob. He earned his engineering degree from USC a long, long time ago but before he attained his degree he was an earnest student, running to class, writing papers, cramming for exams, and praying he’d pass just like any other college kid trying to make the grade.

How I wish that he were still alive to attend our nephew’s commencement ceremony to be held at UCI today. Dad died too soon from a painful bone cancer as did his mother. But reflecting on happier days, oh how “Bob” loved a good football game and had a colorful story or two that he used to like to tell. Today as our family gathers to acknowledge and herald the four years of academic preparation that my nephew has completed, I will imagine my dad, there in the crowd, cheering him on. And who knows? Perhaps he will be cheering, “Way to go Morgan!” from the best seat in the house.

Morgan, this post is for you, on this day that celebrates your hard work and achievement. With lots of love from all of us and Best Wishes from Bob.

Concordia University Irvine

School of Business

One of These Things

One of these things is not like the other.

I once read some interesting thoughts on how men and women are much more alike than different. Dr. Henry Cloud broke it down to the most basic of human traits and characteristics. Forget testosterone levels and muscle mass and pre-frontal cortex jazz. How are we more alike than different? According to his research we are very much more alike.

Oh, my love for Sesame Street runs deep. Along with the alphabet and numbers and happy songs, they taught both parents and children to look at the DIFFERENCES in everyday objects. Not harmful but helpful in developing critical thinking skills and the ability to be analytical, but, this fun segment of the tv show also shaped our thinking and narrowed our focus in terms of how a thing was different.

There’s definitely a fine balance here. Differences are vitally important. We will always need to determine the difference between good and evil and between a poisonous mushroom and an edible one and so on. At the same time, when it comes to people, we need to open our hearts and minds to the similarities of others as well. Sometimes we’ll see that “many” of of these things are QUITE LIKE the other. One beating heart, two listening ears, two observant sets of eyes. Both love carrots . . .

Whatsoever Things

Where will you place your attention today? What will you focus on?

Bills are due, reports need to be finalized. The back tire needs air and the dog food is almost gone.

Still the air outside is clear, the sky is blue, the bougainvillea is in bloom and so is the snowflake geranium just outside my door.

Whatever is lovely, whatever is true and good and pure; think on these things. Focus on what elevates your spirit —it will give you the lift you need to tackle the demands of the day.

HAGDNMW-Have A Great Day No Matter What. 🍃🌸♥️🌸🍃

Cronuts and Coffee and Kale, oh my . . .

Cronuts and Coffee and Kale,

oh my . . .

That’s just what we had at Ellie’s Table when we met to enjoy some time together recently. Getting to know someone involves a lot of listening and absorbing the content of the other person’s story. And coffee. There needs to be good coffee or perhaps the relationship will be doomed from the start!

We both shared stories while sipping on a pretty decent macchiato, slowly sampling a nutritious kale salad and devouring a maple bacon cronut. Sipping, sampling, savoring—that’s what we do when we’re exploring a new relationship. Time is involved and really quite necessary if we’re to understand and enjoy the qualities and characteristics of someone new to us.

Wolfing down a fine meal (or cronut & coffee) doesn’t allow space and time for savoring. We would do well to slow things down and finesse the art of savoring. Whether kale, coffee, or cronut; whether a story of a time gone by or a sad tale of a broken heart, or the exhilaration experienced when jumping out of a plane. One sip, one taste, one bite at a time . . .

This Little Light

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

Light and joy. There’s an amazing connection that isn’t always obvious. While joy can be experienced in the dark it doesn’t grow there. When a child is born it emerges from darkness into light; lungs filled with oxygen for the very first time. Eyes wide open, heart beating wildly, new life begins! The simplicity and complexity of light and new life and joy.

Step into the light, experience fully this wonderful crazy life we’ve been given. Joy is waiting in the light. Joy will take your hand and pull you in. It takes a step “out of” where you are though. Will you take it?

It is a new birth.

It Takes Two

It takes two to make a thing go right. Actually in this case three. When we see a limey green lichen growing on a rock in a mountain stream we’re seeing an oxygen producing, pollutant absorbing symbiotic relationship at its finest. We may want to curse it for causing our foot to slip into the rushing stream water yet it’s at the very center of our existence. No oxygen, no life. Algae, fungi, and a third algae partnership, silently doing their thing and through photosynthesis converting carbon dioxide into life-sustaining oxygen.

Consider what efforts you’re currently engaged in that just might create something more meaningful, perhaps more dynamic if partnered with the ideas and contributions of one or two others. Being in community doesn’t simply mean a potluck at the Elks club, or an ice cream social at the church. Maybe it’s a Cleanup day down at the beach picking up bits of plastic trash side-by-side with people you’ve never met. Maybe it’s an academic project that you’ve turned over and over in your mind. It might be a fantastic time to bring in other minds that don’t think exactly the way we ourselves do. Yeah, I enjoy solitude as much as the next introvert but it’s helpful and constructive and useful and glorious the day you wake up and say, “ hey, it does take two (or more) to make a thing go right.

Lyric snippet by Rob Base and D J E-Z Rock