Red Tulip

In memoriam,  Scott Svetly 1969 - 2014

In memoriam,
Scott Svetly 1969 – 2014

When the tulip bulb emerges,
from it’s winter sleep, and pokes it’s head
above the frozen earth, we welcome it.
The warm gesture of Spring.

But deep in our hearts,
we know that it’s red vibrance will soon fade;
the once-lustrous petals falling quietly.
Through our fingers.

So too is it true that all beauty is fleeting,
that our youth, and even our being,
will also pass back into the earth.
Like old petals.

But looking up from the fallen, our grief,
we can feel that the warmth of Spring is still here,
made all the better by that one little red tulip.
So fragile, yet so enduring.

And so too may we endure
knowing that the tulip which brought so much joy
isn’t really gone, it’s just sleeping.
In our hearts.

Posted in In memoriam | 2 Comments

11 Seemingly Random Thoughts

Here are 11 seemingly random thoughts on a Sunday night. *

photo credit: markchadwickart via photopin cc

  1. That unbearable feeling we get when waiting for something good to happen could be Nature’s way of telling us to savor the moment.
  2. What you say is not as interesting as what it says about you.
  3. The amount of time you spend with your children is directly proportional to the amount of time your children spend with a good role model.
  4. If you can’t remember someone’s name, there’s a good chance they won’t remember yours.
  5. Sleep is a sure-fire cure for insomnia.
  6. Wisdom is what you breathe in when your mouth is closed.
  7. It’s hard to imagine a peaceful society with everyone pointing a gun at one another. Unless you define peace differently than me.
  8. If people aren’t talking to you, you’re probably not saying anything worth hearing.
  9. Listening closely is difficult with a closed mind.
  10. People who like to use the expression “kids today” were kids yesterday.
  11. Nobody reads long lists.

* If any of these thoughts sounds remotely wise, I’m sure it was already said by someone famous.

photo credit: markchadwickart via photopin cc

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“Let none find fault with others; let none see the omissions and commissions of others. But let one see one’s own acts, done and undone.”

— Buddha

A fault line is a break in the earth’s crust between two geologic plates moving in different directions. The slow buildup of tension eventually causes one plate or the other to give. When that happens it’s called an earthquake, and all to often an earthquake is the scene of massive devastation.

photo credit: _namtaf_ via photopin cc

photo credit: _namtaf_ via photopin cc

When we point our fingers in blame a fault line is created. It builds tension that is as unseen as the movement of geologic plates but just as real. Eventually, something’s got to give.

Ironically, one of the ways to avoid creating that tension is to give – to give a little in your position, give time, give an inch, give back, or give your full attention to another’s thoughts and feelings.

If something’s going to give eventually anyway, why bother finding the fault.

Today’s gift of time … Hosted a marvelous open house for our Toastmasters club (marvelous because of our guest speakers, and our excellent members) … Brought supper to my son’s Robotics team. 

Posted in In the community | Tagged

New Day’s Eve

“Approach the New Year with resolve to find the opportunities hidden in each new day.”

— Michael Josephson

Is a new year really that much better than a new day?

photo credit: sunface13 via photopin cc

photo credit: sunface13 via photopin cc

For all the pomp and circumstance that surrounds the new year, one might be tempted to conclude that something significant was going to happen on January 1st instead of the significant amount of time we spend laying on the couch recovering.

Maybe it would be better to celebrate the start of each day with the vivacity that we exude on New Year’s Eve. After all, every morning is a chance to … well, live.

If your New Year’s resolve has already dissolved, try getting out of bed tomorrow morning with a New Year’s Eve verve.

But please do it slowly. Your zeal muscle may need a little stretching first.

Today’s gift of time … Cooked breakfast and dinner for the family, and hosted an additional exchange student last night on New Year’s Eve.

Posted in Around the House | 6 Comments


“Improvement begins with I.”

— Arnold Glasow

photo credit: chrisinplymouth via photopin cc

photo credit: chrisinplymouth via photopin cc

I wonder sometimes if my generosity stops at the end of my pen.

When the ink hits the check and a little bit of money flows out of my account into the hands of a charity, do I bother to think about where it goes? Do I know the name of anyone I helped when I wrote that check?

I wonder sometimes if the gifts I give aren’t really gifts at all.

Is the five minutes I spend in the store enough to really find something someone wants? How many times have I bought a present for someone because I liked it, without giving much regard to what that person needs or wants? Do I expect a thanks or appreciation for my gifts?

I wonder sometimes if I’m missing the point.

Isn’t the point of Christmas to not think of myself? Are other people worth the time to pick out a gift that shows that they matter? Are they worth more than a gift?

Whatever the answers, it’s worth trying to remove the “I” from generos_ty and see what happens.

Today’s gift of time … Mailed a card to a friend in rehab. 

Posted in In the community | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Feeling Generous

photo credit: Gayle Nicholson via photopin cc

photo credit: Gayle Nicholson via photopin cc

When I am greedy, I feel poor.
When I am generous, I feel rich.

When I am greedy, I am poor.
When I am generous, I am rich.

But I repeat myself.

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Imagine Something Better

“Trapped by reality, freed by imagination.”

— Nicolas Manetta

Tragedy can consume us; tragedy can overwhelm us; and tragedy can become us. But there are those among us who, when faced with tragedy, overcome it – using a little imagination.

Jacob. Founder of Imagine Balloons

Jacob. Founder of Imagine Balloons

Earlier this year, Jacob lost his grandfather to cancer. Then, not long after, their family’s past exchange student from Japan told Jacob that he had been diagnosed with blood cancer. Tragedy times two.

It was a cruel twist of fate that would have been difficult for an adult, but doubly hard for an eighth grader.

Yet, with a resiliency that belies his age and using an imagination beyond his years, Jacob set out to overcome tragedy. Taking the skill that he knew, and with his mother’s help,  he setup a booth at one of the local Saturday markets here in the Portland area to make balloons for kids and raise money for a very important project. His goal was to earn enough money to travel to Japan to visit his sick friend.

But working at one farmer’s market wasn’t enough for this ambitious young man. He also setup a booth at the Oregon State Fair where he twisted balloons to raise money for his goal. It would have been enough to just make balloons that he knew how to make. But it takes that extra bit of imagination to do a little bit extra for a customer. Here’s Jacob’s take,

“I got a lot of practice twisting for kids when I was younger. I’ve taught myself how make a lot of new unique balloons this summer. If a child has a request for an unusual balloon, I can try to imagine it and make it! This is why I call my company Imagine Balloons.”

And there you have it. Imagine Balloons. Jacob’s company. Founded by an eighth grader who used his imagination to overcome tragedy.

We can’t avoid tragedy. Whether it is the passing of a beloved family member, a severe illness, job loss, or disaster, we must face the reality we’re dealt. But we don’t need to wrap the blanket of self pity around ourselves and hide.

Instead we can find inspiration in Jacob’s words,

 “If you have a difficult situation in your life, you can always find a way to inspire!”

— Jacob

And it starts when we imagine something better.

I met Jacob last week at Future Stars, a Toastmasters club for middle and high school students, where he spoke about his experiences and his goals. And as far as I know, he met his goal.

Gifts of time this week … Hosted a Toastmasters division contest, replaced light fixtures in our martial arts studio, ran our Feedbackers Toastmasters meeting providing a forum to teach the power of positive evaluation, volunteered as line judge for my daughters’ volleyball games, many drives to the school bus, many dishes washed so my wife didn’t have to do them.

Posted in In the community, Toastmasters | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments