<![CDATA[Margie Harding - Home]]>Tue, 17 Oct 2017 14:57:54 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Burned Biscuits]]>Tue, 10 Oct 2017 15:41:11 GMThttp://margieharding.com/home/burned-biscuitsPicture
            I heard the story recently about a woman who liked to make breakfast food for dinner on occasion.  I admit, I enjoy pancakes and eggs, along with any breakfast meat, any time of the day! The story, however, tells about an evening when the woman, after a long day, made “breakfast,” but had the unfortunate occurrence of burning the biscuits.  Regardless, she served her meal. The husband picked up a badly burned biscuit, smiled at his wife, and spread a thick layer of jelly and butter on it, while making conversation with his son, also at the table. After dinner, the wife apologized for the burned food, but the husband assured her, everyone needs burned food occasionally.  Later the son asked his dad if he really enjoyed the burned biscuits like he implied.  The dad confirmed his earlier statement, explaining his wife had a long day, she was tired, and besides that, it really didn’t hurt to eat burned food now and then!

            I loved the story and the lesson it gives.  People, like our lives, are not perfect.  It doesn’t seem to matter how much we try, there are days when things just don’t go right!  It’s when we can look past, not only our own faults and shortcomings, but those of others, who, like ourselves, are also not perfect!

            We all struggle in different areas.  It’s in this place we can celebrate our differences, because someone else’s weakness, is another’s strength.  It keeps things balanced, proving that we are all human and occasionally “we burn the biscuits!”  It takes some effort from time to time to look past the “imperfections” of others.  That, too, proves we are human!  But meaningful, lasting, relationships are forged in finding the best in those around us. 

            Besides our “lives” filled with daily imperfections, there are those around us with special needs, who are considered “imperfect” by the general population.  These special needs can be dyslexia, to ADHD, Down’s Syndrome, asthma, or Muscular Dystrophy, to dozens more.  Each of these special people, seem to some, to be a “burned biscuit.”  They are “left on the plate,” or pushed aside for others, who seem perfect and balanced. Very often, it’s these very special people, who have the biggest heart and the ability to show us different or “less than the accepted perfect” is just what the world needs.

            Sadly, some people have a difficult time looking past these “special” people.  Recently in a department store, one young woman became impatient with a young man in a wheel chair, with crippled hands doing his job of greeting and placing the required stickers on returns.  He could completely do the required task, but he took a bit longer than she or someone without a “special need” might have.  She shook her head and walked away. 

            Rather than excluding, rejecting or looking at a person with a special need as less than perfect, I encourage you to reach out, look beyond the “burned biscuit factor” and see them as a unique individual who has much to offer.  You will be amazed at the genuine affection, kindness and compassion with which you will be blessed.

]]>
<![CDATA[Lessons Learned The Hard Way]]>Mon, 25 Sep 2017 18:00:46 GMThttp://margieharding.com/home/lessons-learned-the-hard-wayPicture
​I was reading an article about how we learn lessons.  It seems, by nature, we choose to learn them the hard way.  As parents, we strive to teach our children by our mistakes, and say to them, “If you do as I’m telling you, I can save you from having to learn this lesson the hard way.”  Often, however, our children, like ourselves, choose to take the road that reveals the lessons….  “the hard way!”
 
The article, however, had forty ideas on lessons that can be learned, through someone else’s experiences, without all the trials and hurt that can occur, otherwise.  I chose to write about just a few. 
 
One way the author mentions is “people matter most.”  I agree completely!  It’s ironic, how hard we work to get where we believe we need to be.  We focus on our education, followed by our career, giving it everything we’ve got to be successful.  When we finally reach our “destination,” we find ourselves void of close friends and meaningful relationships.  Oh sure, we have co-workers, who are traveling on the same journey.  They have been an important part of our lives, but not necessarily the ones we choose to have a deep, close relationship.  It’s vital for our emotional health to remember, ultimately, our success is not about how much money or material things we can acquire, but about the relationships that make us whole, including family and friends.
 
Following this train of thought, the idea of creating goals, are ultimately the secret to success.  And while I don’t believe our lives should revolve around money and being materialistic, it important to have goals.  Without them, we flounder without direction and therefore, cannot really make any forward progress.  It’s been suggested to make a list of goals worth accomplishing in the next year, then three and five years….and finally tens years.  If you’re adventurous, even goals for 20 years out.  It’s important to remember, however, goals change--- for a variety of reasons.  Interests, circumstances, financial situations and a whole host of other things, alter plans.  Don’t be afraid to adjust your goals.  Just be sure to have something in front of you to work toward.
 
Even as you plan for tomorrow with goals and ideas, don’t forget to live for today.  We get so caught up in our work plans, we forget that today is all we can claim.  We are not promised another moment, besides our last breath.  So while we plan and set our goals in motion, it’s important to live today like it could be the last.  This idea includes letting those you care about, know how you feel.  Sometimes, life ends tragically or abruptly and we lose those precious moments forever.  Don’t forget to let your children, spouse, parents or friends know they are an important part of your life.  Once they (or you) are gone, that time can’t be reclaimed.
 
Lastly, don’t waste time.  We are each given a 24 hour day.  It’s important to take time for ourselves to be renewed or rest.  But, when we spend hours and hours doing “absolutely nothing,” (like watching hours and hours of TV --- and yes, that is ONLY MY opinion) we’ve lost moments that could be spent doing something productive and positive for ourselves, our neighbors, family or even our world.  It gives meaning to our lives. 
 
I’m curious.  If you could add something to these items of lessons learned, what would you add?

]]>
<![CDATA[Using The Dictionary and Life Choices]]>Tue, 19 Sep 2017 20:15:20 GMThttp://margieharding.com/home/using-the-dictionary-and-life-choicesPicture
​         One of my granddaughter’s hates the dictionary!  For her, looking up words is a total trial and one she is loathe to have to do!  So recently during one of those “trials,” I set out to give her aid.  The assignment, “Locate in the dictionary:  Strategy.”
 
          Grumbling the entire time, my granddaughter turns to the s’s.  “You need to find “st’s,” I encourage.  “Got it,” she replies.  “Okay, now look for “str,” I direct.  “That’s hard, she says, as her finger scrolls down the page. “Found it,” she says.  “Well, next you need to find “stra.”  “That one’s easy,” she comments, “cause it’s “a” and it’s going to be first.  “Next you need to find “strat.”  “That one is hard again, she murmurs.  “Just keep looking until you find the “t.”  That’s the next letter.”   “Shew.  Found it.”    “Good,” I encourage again.  “Now the next letter in line "strat-e.”  “Why do I need to do this anyway?  It’s hard and boring.”  “I’ll explain why it’s important, as soon as we finish finding this word,” I respond, chuckling.   “Okay, I have “strate.”
“Next add the “g.”  “Strateg,” she repeated.  “Got it.”  Now find the “y.”  “I found it!  I found 'strategy'!” she said with a fair amount of excitement.  “Tell me the definition,” I instruct.  “What?” she asked.  “Tell me what strategy means.” 
 
            Why do our children need to learn how to use a dictionary?  There is some debate about the need, given how easy it is to “google” words on the computer.  Some contend it makes no sense. It’s like learning cursive.  It’s not needed!  Our world is all about technology.  A dictionary is almost worthless!
 
            Our lives are a little like the process of looking up words in the dictionary.  And it’s interesting to note how many of us hate the process, much like my granddaughter hates using the dictionary.  It takes time, along with a specific thinking process, to make the right decisions! 
 
            We must take one step at a time, just like looking for the next letter in the word.  If you miss a letter, the word will be impossible to find, and ultimately spelled wrong.  The words have a varied amount of definitions and sometimes the same action (or decision) by two different people, even with similar circumstances, consequences (good or bad) are going to be different.  How we view the word within given context can change the meaning.  We must make choices and apply the meanings to our lives.
 
            It’s also interesting to note, learning the process of finding words in the dictionary, teaches a child they can have autonomy over their learning, even at a very young age.  That can be a very powerful attitude to nurture.  Additionally, just as a parent wants a child to learn to “earn” some of the things they want, learning on their own, teaches a child the value of learning and understanding a language, as well as, developing a curiosity about the world around them using words.
 
            I encourage you to evaluate your perspective, first on a dictionary.  Do you find them useful or just another archaic element of learning?  Secondly, can you see how the relationship between searching for a word in the dictionary, one letter at a time, is like growing patterns and life choices?  Share your thoughts! 

]]>
<![CDATA[Agree To Disagree]]>Tue, 29 Aug 2017 23:44:53 GMThttp://margieharding.com/home/agree-to-disagreePicture
    While traveling recently, my husband had a conversation with a stranger, while pumping gas.  Noting license plates, my husband said, “I see you are from a ‘blue state.’”   “Oh that just is around the big cities,” the man replied.  “It looks like you are, too,” the man added, with a chuckle.  “Yeah,” my husband said, “The liberals run right down the middle of the state.  Out in the western part of the state and on the eastern side of the state, those of us on the outer edges don’t seem to have much voice!”

    The conversation caused me to reflect on an article I read some weeks ago.  It was written by a columnist, David French, who said, “In the real world, not Hollywood, the Left is close-minded.”  Born in the South, but attending a conservative, Christian College, followed by a very liberal law school, his article asserts that our country is divided in two:  blue and red. Additionally, he maintains that the south is usually more tolerant, and open to discussion on points of disagreement than those who call themselves “liberals who want tolerance of everyone and everything!”  It seems the “liberals” are the ones least tolerant, despite their rhetoric.  He sited all kinds of personally experienced evidence.  

    He shared the story of a college experience in the South where dissension was encouraged.  The discussion was soundly debated, with differing opinions holding strong.  Those involved in the debate could walk away with at least a sense of “the other side,” even if they didn’t agree.   Yet no one screamed out in outrage, degrading material and pictures weren’t posted throughout the  campus on dissenting students, no jobs offers were canceled, and in general after the discussion, students treated each other with respect.  In the North, however, when dissension was conveyed in a college classroom, conservative students experienced the horrible displays of anger mentioned earlier!  It struck the author as odd, since those behaviors, were not demonstrated in the exact same circumstance in the South!

    What does this say about our culture?  It shows a world who is divided into “my way, or the highway!”  There doesn’t seem to be an area of middle ground.  The idea of discussion, without total agreement, isn’t possible——at least in some areas of the country—- or with some mindsets!

    I remember during the latest Presidential election, where it caused trepidation to even share your opinions about the candidates unless you were talking positive in public, about the Democratic party!  Why????  I don’t get it!  We are supposed to be a nation of differing opinions encouraged...... of discussion and mediation, not hostility and nastiness

    I encourage you to reflect on your feelings when someone disagrees with your opinions.  Do you immediately become defensive, and counter offensively?  Can you listen, not only with your ears but with your heart, to try to gain understanding (even if you still do not agree) to the opposing view?  Opinions voiced with hostility have a way of destroying relationships and trust.  Understanding —and agreeing to disagree — without reprisal is the way keep our personal relationships in tact, as well as, within our community, state…..and even within our nation.

]]>
<![CDATA["I Like When People Die"]]>Tue, 15 Aug 2017 18:43:18 GMThttp://margieharding.com/home/i-like-when-people-diePicture
​            I heard the most peculiar comment recently, and I can’t get it out of my mind!  “I like when people die,” said an acquaintance, after attending a funeral.  “That’s the time when their virtues, kindness, personality and anything of worth is extolled and lauded.”
 
            The comment caught me off guard, but I remember watching a TV show recently, where this kind of thing happened.  The patriarch died, but during his fairly short lifetime, he was regarded with disdain, contempt and even condescension.  His wealth was discovered after he passed away, and suddenly all his “failings” were forgotten and forgiven!
 
            But even when no “material reason” is noted by the grieving community, people are often much more generous with their kind thoughts and comments, while petty quarrels, disagreements and even flaws are defended.  Odd behavior or even peculiar habits are brushed off, while humor is found in their unique personalities.
 
            As I considered the statement further, I found in an odd kind of way, she was right.  Funerals bring people together to grieve.  Love for one another overflows, differences between siblings or other family members are often set to rest (at least temporarily), and the best part about the person who has passed, is remembered.
 
            I’m not sure I’d go so far to say, “I like when people die,” but I do enjoy the much more pleasant behavior of those who attend the funeral.  The sad thing is, however, that rather than waiting until a person has passed to extend kindness and love to him/her or others, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could see past our personal smoke screens and extend the kind words and feelings when the person is with us?
 
            I’ve seen people with huge regrets when a death comes suddenly and they are unable to share with the person lost how much they cared about them.  Sometimes words are spoken in anger and there is never the opportunity to apologize, because life was snatched away without warning.
 
            I can’t help but think about children/teens who are angry with their parents and say awful things to them before stomping out of the house.  Life has a way of ending on short notice—on both sides – the parent or the teen.  Or the reverse, where an angry, broken parent says words they later regret, but due to circumstances they could never have imagined, they can never ask forgiveness.
 
            This scenario is not limited to parents and children, but spouses and friends.  We are none promised one more single breath.   Therefore, each word spoken, behavior exhibited or comment thought should be with the expectation, it could be the last time we are able to share our heart. 
 
            How would your world change if you were denied the chance to ask forgiveness, share your heart, a hug, kindness, love, pride, or any other unique pleasantry with someone you love?  Would it grieve your heart, for the rest of your life, if the one you love was snatched away without a moment’s notice and you were left with the reality forgiveness was needed or a relationship in some way needed mending?

]]>
<![CDATA[A Porch Perspective]]>Tue, 01 Aug 2017 18:25:13 GMThttp://margieharding.com/home/a-porch-perspectivePicture
    “I love that porch,” I tell my husband for the hundredth time, as we pass by a house we see often.

     “I know! I know!” he responds laughing at me.  

      And then I’ll see another and then repeat myself.  Or the opposite and comment with, “That house would look so much better with a porch!”

      I remember as a child, being at the house of one of my aunt’s, who had a screened in porch across the front.  There were several rockers, along with several hard backed chairs.  One of the chairs was reserved for her father-in-law who lived with them.  He’d spend hours in his chair reading his newspaper while having a fly swatter handy, to swat any flying critters that came along to pester him.  

    We children would play or follow this revered man’s lead, and sit and read.  What was even more fun was on those days when it rained — or better yet — stormed!  What joy of being “out in the rain” but safely away from getting wet!   I loved the sound of the crickets nearby or the croaking of the frogs from the pond down the way, or the lightening bugs that blinked brightly, as dusk fell on the area.  

    I haven’t spent much time on a porch like that since my childhood, but those memories remain….  and I dream!  We’ve had porches, certainly, but they were much smaller than the one at my aunt’s house and weren’t screened.  This allowed for those pesky flies, or mosquitoes, in the evening, to spoil time spent outdoors.  

    Still there’s another story, I can’t claim as mine, but fits well here.  It’s about a little boy who had a bad temper.  Little things would make him angry and he was quick to “vent.”  Finally the little boy’s dad gave him a bag of nails and told him whenever he lost his temper, to take one of the nails and hammer it in a board at the end and bottom of the porch.  

    The very first day the little boy had driven 28 nails into the porch!  As time passed, the number of nails being hammered into the board every day decreased.  The day came when they boy never once lost his temper!  The father instructed the boy to remove all the nails he had hammered in.  After finishing, the boy reflected on how different the board looked with all the nail holes.  The wise father agreed and said, "this board will never be the same.  Each nail left a scar.  The same is true when words are spoken in anger.  Those words leave a scar that can never be removed." 

    This story gives a whole new meaning to porches!  I am reminded how important it is to feel and accept the tranquility, and safety of sitting on a porch during a thunderstorm, or even protection from the hot summer sun.  But it is also a reminder that our behaviors, whether on a porch, in our homes, in our workplace or visiting with friends, neighbors or strangers, has the potential to build up or tear down and leave scars.  

    I encourage you to reflect on your perspective of porches.  Share a memory of a special time, or something that makes porches unique.

]]>
<![CDATA[A Balanced Life]]>Wed, 26 Jul 2017 02:00:06 GMThttp://margieharding.com/home/a-balanced-lifePicture
          I was talking with a friend recently about how, we as a culture, have the mentality that we have to have ‘more’ of everything!  Most families have a minimum of two cars, closets full of clothes, dozens of pairs of shoes, all the latest appliances and newest gadgets, every new video game (and the apparatus needed to operate it), all the newest videos and books, new cell phones as trends demand, and new furniture along with a garage full, to over flowing, of other ‘stuff’!  So massive are the ‘things’ we accumulate, we have to store part of it in storage units.  Studies indicate self-storage facilities have become a $22-billion dollar a year enterprise.

            We are driven to work as many hours as possible to have the money to buy all these “things,” along with bigger houses and even more things!  All this work is to attain what is known as “the good life.”  But I wonder, are we really?

            When we work ourselves into oblivion, is that good?  We are so caught up in making the next sale, getting more hours or making the biggest deal, we lose sight of what is important.  My friend and I were discussing a documentary called “The Minimalist” which he had watched.  He explained the concept is to live on the least possible, while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  The documentary even includes topics like personal growth and relationships.

           We all face triumphs and tragedies, and the pioneers across the country were no different.  Generations past lived as indentured servants, felt great worry and fear as their loved ones left another country to come to the US, or sons left for a great Civil War that nearly ripped our nation apart.  Each of these actions was to further the “good life” for the generations to come.  Yet, history shows generations past and even our founding fathers relied heavily on their faith.  Documents indicate their fundamental belief in God.   

            Before the culture of enormous technology, most people read the Bible, largely because it was the ‘Literature’ available.  Video games, TV shows, internet and other such diversions were not yet invented, so they didn’t have those kinds of distractions.

            It’s all about having a balanced life.  When we get so involved in ‘getting to the top’ and focusing on how many material ‘things’ we can accumulate, we lose sight of what is important.  We risk our relationships with our families and ourselves, which includes quiet time and activities for our personal well-being; and strengthening our faith.

            There are times we are so focused on getting out of the house on time in the morning, we put off quiet time to grow and build our belief system.  When we are finally back home, domestic duties or other responsibilities press in and we put off stopping to take time for renewal again.  When we finally make it to bed at night, we are so tired, we are asleep as soon as our head hits the pillow!  This suggests our life may not be balanced. 

            I encourage you to re-evaluate your life.  Is it time to consider a less cluttered life that will likely offer more balance and happiness?

]]>
<![CDATA[Music, Music, Music!]]>Tue, 18 Jul 2017 20:28:22 GMThttp://margieharding.com/home/music-music-musicPicture
​            Music plays an important role in our lives.  This is undeniable considering the amount of music performers around the country (or world!), radio stations available, CD's that can be purchased or even the existing number of satellite stations that carry specific music genres, as well.  As I reflected on the different kinds of music over the last five decades or so, I was hit with some nostalgia, as I found myself missing some of the music that fed my formative years!
 
            If a person reflects on ‘50’s music, most will gravitate to stars like Frankie Avalon, The Big Bopper, The Platters, or Bobby Darin.  But it was Elvis who often tops the list, which is noted by the single use of his first name.  Of course, no one can forget Dick Clark and the American Bandstand show, that charted the rise and fall of all the popular songs of the era.  These were feel good, dancing songs, sad ballads or tender love songs.
 
            The 60’s brought in pop, ---even “bubblegum rock”-- as the rock and roll sounds of the 50's continued.  It was a time of rebellion in the United States, and around the world as the Viet Nam war drug on.  The Beatles and Rolling Stones emerged and rocked our world!  Music was changing.  Lyrics voiced opinions of what was happening in our world, but on the flip side, there were those who sang songs without any heavy message like the Beach Boys and The Monkees.
 
            During the 70’s, hard rock, and heavy metal took the front seat of the music world, which veered me into the direction of Country music, with a touch of Southern Rock and an even gentler touch of what was known as “soft rock.”  Dolly Parton, Ronnie Milsap, Loretta Lynn, George Jones and Tammy Wynette became the staple of my musical interest.  Later it was Alan Jackson and Vince Gill among others.  The lyrics told stories I could sing along with, while the melody delighted my ears.
 
            Along with country music, my other favorites included classical music which is great study and writing music, or even Christmas songs, which are my favorite any time of year!  These are the sounds which drew me into their world, keeping me spellbound and entertained for hours.
 
            Music continued to change as hard rock and heavy metal surged upward to become more and more dark with lyrics that chilled to the bone.  Changes continued even in the Country world, to where “Country” as we knew it in the ‘70’s is nearly unrecognizable in our music today.  The “stars” keep changing as they desire to stay “fresh” and “new,” changing the dynamics in every genre.
 
            Despite the various musical revolutions, clearly, music is still important, even when we don’t agree with the changes.  It defines us; our attitudes, perspective on our lives and the people who fill our world.  It molds our opinions, while we are entertained by the sounds that work around the lyrics. My favorite now, is Southern Gospel.  It is here I find inspiration, determination and courage to do things right, and deal with a world lost in the desire for more money and material goods with an economic crash that is sure to happen.

           I still enjoy classical, the '50's, occasional '60s, and a few '70's songs, as I have grown into the woman I have become.  Music makes a difference.  No doubt, I've missed a genre or two of music of which I wasn't enamored, or just not as familiar.  As you reflect on your personal preferences, have they changed from when you were young?  How are they different from those of your children?  Do you believe music changes our perspective of how we see the world?  Share your thoughts.
 
            

]]>
<![CDATA[Not Always Used For Good]]>Sun, 02 Jul 2017 20:12:32 GMThttp://margieharding.com/home/not-always-used-for-goodPicture
​ 
            As I reflect on our news media and culture of our world I am amazed at how we, here in the United States, seem to push the letter of the law regarding our “freedoms” to the utmost corners of the envelope.  There are all kinds of stories in the news about the rights of people to be able to say what they want, to whomever they want and even to the slant they want, to make a point.
 
            I’m not opposed to this. It’s a good thing and our Founding Fathers included this right as a law within the Bill of Rights.  I wonder, however, if they realized the depth and length people would take this gift.  It isn’t always done to the people’s good.
 
            Delaware recently voted to allow for abortions to be carried out legally.  While it’s legal to abort a perfectly viable unborn child, I also have the right to say how absolutely horrible I believe this law is.  I am a woman and value my rights, but for me, in this case, it’s not about me and my rights…..it’s about the little person who has no voice.  This small, live baby doesn’t get the chance to be born and grow into the person he was meant to be.  His life was stolen because the law says it’s okay.
 
            There are plenty of other points within our media and political system with which I completely disagree, and I can use my ‘political voice’ to share just how I feel about it.  Usually I stand quiet, but my point is, I have the right to voice my opinion.
 
            This is not true throughout our world.  We are a unique nation where the people have a voice (at least in theory) who can share that voice with those in leadership roles.  This is a remarkable gift many who choose to decry the wonders of our country, forget about. 
 
            We are far from perfect.  We make mistakes; and that includes everyone!  Each person in leadership roles, as well as, those who don’t, have an opinion about what is going on around them.  We are given the right to voice those opinions, even if they aren’t the same as our neighbor.  Are they right?  Maybe; maybe not.  But it’s our opinion!  Sharing that opinion without fear is a gift!  It is a freedom we often forget we have because it’s our lifestyle! 
 
            Those in leadership positions, however, do carry a heavier burden than those who are not in office.  Their decisions, based on their opinions (and in theory, their constituents) affect not only themselves but other people, whether we agree or not.  Even if it’s a bad decision (and sometimes it is), if it goes into law, we must obey.  But, we have the right to say it’s a bad choice and then use the legal means available, to try to change the vote.
 
            Are we always successful?  No.  Not even close!  But we have to try.  That’s my point.  When we disagree with a law that’s been enacted, we have the right and the freedom to attempt to change things.  I encourage you to search your conscience and your heart.  Do you see laws being enacted with which you disagree?  How do you respond?  Do you use your “freedom” as a Unites States citizen, to voice your opinion and then attempt to change something, if it’s not a good policy?
 


]]>
<![CDATA[Against Amazing Odds]]>Tue, 27 Jun 2017 19:23:05 GMThttp://margieharding.com/home/against-amazing-oddsPicture
​            I was reading recently, the story of Adolf Marx (also known as Arthur Marx), but greater known as Harpo Marx.  I was struck by how he rose above the bullying he endured as a child because he was Jew, had hardly any formal education, worked as a very young man to help his family, and finally rising above all the adversity, to find a unique place for himself within the family’s theater performances.  The story goes that during a production in Illinois, which was largely performed “ad-lib,” Harpo pantomimed his part.  A critic who reviewed the show commented the pantomime was awesome which was “ruined” whenever the young man spoke!  The silent routine was born!
 
            But this isn’t the only thing that formed and molded him into the person he would become.  Receiving a harp from his mother, Harpo set about learning how to play.  No one he knew, knew how to play the instrument, so after observing a picture of an angel holding one, he attempted to tune it himself, using a single basic note and working from there.  Years later he discovered he had not tuned it correctly.  He hired experienced musicians to teach him how to play the harp accurately, but instead of perfecting his craft in the accepted way, his style and music fascinated his teachers.  His approach, elegance and personal manner was actually preferred in movie performances when he played the harp.
 
            This story is remarkable. How many of us give up when we are up against insurmountable odds----  or even lightly challenging obstacles?  We choose to get angry, kick and scream, pound our fists and then walk away defeated!
 
            Life is full of challenges.  We all have them, that’s why there are experts!  People are trained in all sorts of professions, from financial, automotive, sewing, cooking, bookkeeping, farming, engineering, medicine, teaching and on and on with a nearly inexhaustible list!  Still, we are left to face tough challenges, those outside our home or immediate circle, don’t necessarily know anything about.
 
            As Harpo experienced in elementary school, there is bullying and that problem seems no better today than it was decades ago.  The only criteria is hatred toward someone’s size, faith, financial status, ethnicity, race or even intelligence (or lack of!)  The hatred boils over into meanness and aggression, causing some children to give up and commit suicide!  How positively tragic!  Other family’s hide secrets of abuse, or molestation; a family member in jail, huge medical issues, or a hundred other things!
 
            It’s how we deal with all these ‘challenges’ that matter.  I’m not suggesting we need to shrug them off and ignore what life throws at us.  But be inspired by the ‘Harpo Marx’s’ of the world.  We can't give up or give in when we are passionate about what we believe.  Sometimes it requires taking an alternate route to get where we are going, acquiring a new degree, learning a new trade, asking for help, walking away from a bad situation, taking the road less traveled, or other creative options, while stepping away from ourselves and seeing the whole picture.
 
            It’s not easy.  But it can be done and we can play “our” harp and make unique beautiful music right where we are.  Fascinate those around you with your resiliency.  Make your mark and follow your path, despite the odds.  You can do it!  I believe in you!
 

]]>