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Late Spring 2008

Dear Friends

It's easy to be a Monday morning quarterback when it comes to the handling of natural disasters. Take last week, for example. Folks within a mile from my home were being evacuated due to the wildfires raging around us, so I knew it was just a matter of time before I also got the call. Any rational, cool-headed adult would have begun gathering important documents, family heirlooms, and packing the essentials. One isn't always the epitome of rational at such times, though. I decided to bake banana bread.

Without getting psychoanalytical here, the long and short of it is that to me, nothing says ''Fire? What fire?'' like making a big mess in the kitchen. It's easy to be the mistress of your own universe when you're following a proven recipe and producing something as predictably yummy as banana bread.

Of course I knew my actions were a little off-kilter at the time (an understatement, perhaps!), and I wouldn't be sharing this with you if I didn't think there was an important message in it for us all! For me, the message began with my 24-year-old daughter’s response. Unlike her mother, she is one of the least judgmental, most forgiving and accepting human beings on the planet. When she stopped by to tell me to ''leave now,'' I was met with eyes of compassion and a knowing smile when my reply was, ''In a little bit, honey. I've got bread in the oven.'' In her innate wisdom, she knew I was coping in my own unique way. Had I been in her shoes, I would have taken more of an incredulous, ''ARE YOU CRAZY?'' approach.

I didn't think much about any of this until our first day back in the office. There I was, barely awake and still a little shell-shocked from the evacuation, reading an early morning email from a colleague asking me about a particular deadline. ''IS SHE crazy? How can she be asking such a trivial question at a time like this!'' I moaned. Our open-minded editor told me in a compassionate tone that this particular colleague had been very stressed by the fires, and diving into work was her way of coping. Aha! ''It's her banana bread!'' I proclaimed!

I thought back to at least half a dozen scenarios when people appeared to respond really oddly in the moment, and I had either taken their actions personally or judged them to be nut cases. It turns out that my friends' and family's responses to the wildfires ran the gamut from overdosing on okra martinis and CNN to stockpiling flashlights and first aid kits. In short, sometimes we humans are rational and cool-headed, and sometimes we're not -- in disasters and in our everyday lives. My new goal is to cut people some slack, knowing that we're all coping in our own unique ways. And the next time I find myself feeling irritated by another's actions, I'll silently say ''banana bread'' as my new mantra of compassionate understanding.




Other Issues:
From our archives -- Saddle Up

From our archives -- Taking Ourselves Off Automatic

Early Summer 2014 -- Embracing our Dormant Times

From our archives -- Taking Time to Listen

Late Spring 2014 -- Seeing More Clearly

Spring 2014 -- Savor What Makes Your Heart Sing

Early Spring 2014 -- The Power of Quotes

Holiday 2013 -- Taking the Time to Listen

Holiday 2013 -- Open our Hearts to the Good Around Us

Fall 2013 -- How to Cope in Tough Times

Late Summer 2013 - The Priceless Gift of Friendship

Midsummer 2013 -- My Luck is Pretty Good Luck

Early Summer 2013 -- Slow Down Enough to Smile

Late Spring 2013 -- Recognizing Gifts

Spring 2013 -- Doing the Best We Can

Early Spring 2013 -- Know Where You're Going

Holiday 2012 -- Our Power to Adapt

Fall 2012 -- Gratitude for What We Have

Early Fall 2012 -- See the Beauty in Front of Us

Late Summer 2012 -- Modify So It Works for You

Summer 2012 -- Finding Balance

Early Summer 2012 -- Go Ahead and Take that Risk!

Late Spring 2012 - Trusting Your Gut

Spring 2012 - Living Life to the Fullest

Early Spring 2012 - New Year, No Excuses

Winter 2011 - A Thoughtful Tip

Holiday 2011 - How Did I Get Here?

Fall 2011 - Giving Thanks for What We Already Have

Late Summer 2011 - Taking Ourselves Off Automatic

Midsummer 2011 - Friends Through Thick and Thin

Early Summer 2011 - The Power of Nice

Late Spring 2011 - The Gifts of Spring

Spring 2011 - Worst Case Scenario

Early Spring 2011 - Break Away From the Herd

Winter 2010 - Lessons From Feral Kitty

Holiday 2010 - The Art of Imperfection

Fall 2010 - When the Student is Ready...

Late Summer 2010 - Saddle Up

Midsummer 2010 - Hurry Up and Wait

Early Summer 2010 - Don't Just Stand There. Do Something!

Late Spring 2010 - Gifts From My Mother

Spring 2010 - Taking That First Step

Early Spring 2010 - I Think it's Time

Winter 2009 - Choose Love, Not Fear

Holiday 2009 - Paying it Forward

Fall 2009 - You're Not Alone

Late Summer 2009 - "Searching" for Peace

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