Accentuate the Positive

When I decided what I was writing about today, I started looking for a clip of Bing Crosby singing “Accentuate the Positive.”  Soon, to my complete surprise, I discover Sir Paul singing Paul’s version.   If accentuating the positive is good enough for Sir Paul, it’s certainly good enough for me.

This morning I made a conscious decision to focus on the positive, to reframe my negative thoughts and to acknowledge all the good things within and without. It hasn’t been completely smooth sailing.  Hearing that the book of Revelation when speaking of the beast was speaking of the papacy and that any rational human would believe this to be the truth was a bit of a challenge to my cheery, open-minded self, yet all-in-all, I’m actually doing a pretty good job.

Just now, I had to break to wait for my son’s school bus.  I turned on the TV.  There is Dr. Phil with the requisite troubled family broken by conflict.  The bus comes.  I consider watching Dr. Phil sort out the collective heartache but soon dismiss the thought, turn off the TV and return to writing about the positive.   I know a lot about heartache, conflict, depravation, white-hot need.  I’m just beginning to allow myself to really explore the other end of the spectrum.  I have my quest, my Holy Grail.  I’m determined and committed.  Life is good.

When a friend challenged the fact that I am looking forward to summer, a summer without a secure income, I really had to think.  Do I have reason for concern?  Indeed.  Objectively, looking forward to not having definite work for a few months would seem ill advised, at least for an adult with adult responsibilities.  The child in me insists on enjoying the time.  I’ll continue to work my own business and keep my eyes open for opportunities.  Looking for opportunity excites me and leaves me feeling hopeful.  I’ll trade despair for hope any day.

Trading despair for hope often takes work. . . hard work.  Thoughts wear pathways in our brains just as if we spent hours wearing our carpets thin with our pacing, our brains get used to thoughts that are familiar.  It’s so easy to walk that same path, think those same thoughts.

The other day, after choosing to read something inspirational versus a true crime book full of corruption, sex and intrigue, I came across Albert Einstein sitting there amongst the words.

He reminded me that  “The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.”

Then I stumbled into Helen Keller who said, “Not knowing when the dawn will come I open every door.”

Concentration camp survivor, Victor Frankl took my hands into his own and looking into my eyes said with great solemnity, “There is no meaning to life except the meaning a man [sic] gives to his life by the unfolding of his powers.”

Then William Faulkner told me to “kill the little darlings.”

(Ok, so this last quote needs a bit of explanation.  The author of the book I was reading used to be an editor who was told that writers needed to “kill the little darlings.”  M.C. Ryan explains in Adaptability that sometimes we have to be willing to let go of our own ideas and our attachment to them in order for inspiration to really enter into our work.  It’s sometimes the only way to make room for something better.)

So, just for today, I inflate a big black balloon with all the garbage, all the what ifs, and  all the fear and sadness and let it fly into the stratosphere. As I plan the demise of “my little darlings,”  I remind myself of what Booker T. said to me under a hot Alabama summer sun just before I pulled my head out of this inspiring book:

Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. — Booker T. Washington

With good uplifting company such as this, the work of accentuating the positive has gotten a little easier.


Cover Shot Courtesy of Amazon

It Was the Strawberries

(Humphrey Bogart as Captain Queeg uncovers the dastardly plot of the missing strawberries, in the 1954 Edward Demytryk movie, The Caine Mutiny.) 

This is a scene from the Caine Mutiny when the Humphrey Bogart character is making a federal case out of  “no more strawberries.”  Captain Queeg shows just how incompetent he is when he rambles on about the strawberries.

When the men take over the ship they eventually find themselves in a court martial trial where Captain Queeg proves that mutiny was justified when he rattles on during his testimony. . . once again focusing on the strawberries.  Maybe it’s the way Bogie says “strawberries.”  Maybe the fact that this movie has Van Johnson and Fred MacMurray in it. . . in any case,  I often think of the line. . .

“Ah, the strawberries.”

This morning I sliced strawberries.  After starting the morning coffee, I washed them.  Some of them were almost as large as the palm of my hand.  They looked beautiful as they glistened in a large glass bowl.

They lie in the bowl, scenting the air with their sweet fragrance.  Both children walked through the kitchen to inhale  the smell of them and steal slices out of the bowl.  I chase them away with a fake annoyance.  Their dipping into the strawberries is precisely the thing I expect children to do.  Enjoying a slice of fresh cut fruit just after it’s been sliced, when all the juice and fragrance presents itself to the world is the perfect time to enjoy the taste of it.

I can’t forget the color. . .  a beautiful bright shade of red, strawberry red.

This simple bowl of strawberries is a feast for the senses.  Soon, they sat in happy bunches atop Belgian waffles.  We eat them as if it were the first time we’ve tasted such a thing.

This morning I’d be lost without the strawberries.  Maybe old Bogie as Capt. Queeg wasn’t so crazy after all.  Maybe he knew the secret of the strawberries and why they were so important.  May your lives be filled with strawberries.  They may be more important than any of us imagined.



I am the person behind the words printed here. I write because my heart will not allow me the option of NOT writing. It has taken me half a life time to discover this basic truth, but now that I have, writing is as natural as breathing. This is where my breath takes the form of words.


I am reading

The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM)
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