Monthly Archives: May 2012

The Pamela Positive: Teachers Are Dearly Loved by Grateful Citizens

“…I always come back to the fact that being a teacher is one of the greatest jobs in the world, and sometimes the people who have chosen to walk that noble path simply need to be reminded that there is a vast army of educated and grateful citizens who has their backs.  Someone needs to remind the teachers that they are dearly loved.  I’m that guy.”  — Taylor Mali

Every profession needs an advocate such as Taylor Mali, who makes them feel honored, and appreciated for all that they do!  Are you an advocate for your fellow colleagues? 🙂  You can begin supporting each other today.

Taylor Mali is a slam poet who uses his poetry to advocate for teachers.  He was a teacher himself for nine years and a former president of Slam Poetry, Inc.  He is the author of two books of poetry, The Last Time As We Are and What Learning Leaves.  Through his “New Teacher Project,” he has created a list of 1,000 people he inspired to become teachers through his poetry and speaking.  He is currently a full-time poet and speaker.  Read more about Taylor in The Christian Science Monitor.

Did You Lose an Important Opportunity That You Think Won’t Come Back? Don’t Believe It. Walt Disney and Oswald Didn’t

Did you ever lose an important opportunity, and think it couldn’t come back?  I don’t recommend that we buy into this type of thinking.   My Oma didn’t, and neither did Walt Disney.

At times, there may seem to be an injustice.  But we can hold to the fact that it is temporary.   We don’t have to accept that any injustice is permanent.  If the motive is pure, then a principle of being in the universe kicks in to help us.

I know this to be true about my Oma, my beloved grandmother and the first woman woodwind at the Julliard School of Music. In 1937, she was refused an audition with the Philharmonic, being told that women didn’t play there.  But 25 years later, she tried again.  And she made it. She persevered, and the block on her progress was eventually null.

In the first quarter of the 1900s, a beautifully funny character from Walt Disney, named Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, graced our movies and comics.  Yet Walt Disney didn’t own the rights to the character; when a contract re-negotiation offered him only 20% of the royalties, he decided to leave his position, and character, behind.

Yet nearly 80 years later, what Walt Disney had to give up was restored. Oswald was reacquired by the Disney Corporation, and is now featured in modern-day Disney video games.  The right idea was restored to its right place and right owner.

And in no small side benefit, Disney had also created the famous Mickey Mouse character – on the trainride back from losing the rights to Oswald!   Without having to give up Oswald, Walt Disney might never have created Mickey. So it’s a double positive, and, he didn’t have to wait.  A new character, our beloved Mickey, was immediately brought to inspired thought.

A setback is an opportunity. A seeming injustice will not last.  Stay calm, firm and true in doing the right thing.  Kindly pursue your vision, producing something that is good and helpful to the world.   The seeming injustice will be arighted, and in the meantime, you haven’t “sat on your hands” as my Oma used to say.  🙂  You’ve used this time to bring in more good, creativity and joy to the world.

Enjoy the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit story below.  Now, let’s go about cherishing the Oswalds of our lives, knowing they will find their right place; at the same time, let’s move forward to create our unique Mickeys.

Warmly, Pamela


Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was a character created by Walt Disney in 1927, as part of a contract for Universal Studios, through distributor Charles Mintz.  Disney created a series of short cartoons starring Oswald, who became his most successful character up to that point.  In 1928, Disney went to New York to re-negotiate his contract with Mintz.  He was offered only a 20% cut, and decided to end his work with Mintz.  He didn’t have any personal rights to Oswald, so this meant giving up the character.  However, famously, he came up with the idea for Mickey Mouse on the train ride back from New York.

Oswald was one of the first cartoon characters with a striking personality, using humor and ingenuity to get what he wanted.  He was inspired in part by Douglas Fairbanks’ character’s courage and sense of adventure.

Mintz continued producing Oswald cartoons for the next two years, before being replaced by Walter Lantz.  Lantz spoke to Disney at this point; Mickey Mouse was already more popular than Oswald, and Disney gave Lantz his blessing to use Oswald.  Lantz continued creating Oswald cartoons over the next decade.  The character stars in 194 films total.  Mickey appears in 130 films, nine of which were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, as well as appearing in comic strips, comic books, video games, and of course as the major brand of Disney.

Oswald also appeared in comic books in the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s, with international comics continuing through the end of the 20th century.

In 2006, the Walt Disney Company acquired the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit as part of a series of deals with Universal.  Oswald recently appeared in a video game franchise called Epic Mickey, where he rules over a Disneyland-parody called Wasteland, the land of forgotten cartoon characters.

The Pamela Positive: “I want the whole person.” – D. J. DePree, founder of Herman Miller

“Henry Ford said, ‘bring us your hands, and you can leave everything else at home.’  D.J. rejected that idea and said completely the opposite: ‘I want all of you here.  I want the whole person.'”

 — J. Kermit Campbell, Former CEO of Herman Miller


Campbell continues, “If I can have 5,000 or 6,000 people who are passionate about what they do…solving problems and finding solutions to our customers’ problems, I’m going to be much better off than if I leave that to 10% of that population, who tell the other people what to do.  It’s like a sports team: you can have one or two guys who play well, but if you can get 50 guys on a team all playing at a very high level, you’re very tough to beat.  That’s always been our philosophy.”

D. J. DePree (1891–1990) began work as a clerk for the Michigan Star Furniture Company.  In 1914 he married Nellie Miller; they had seven children.  In 1923, D. J. bought the Michigan Star Furniture Company with help from a loan from his father-in-law.  D. J. renamed the company “Herman Miller” in his honor.  D. J. was CEO until 1961; after he stepped down, his two sons took over management of the company.  D. J. was also lay pastor of Ventura Baptist Church for eleven years.

My Advice to Someone with Just a Few Years Experience, on the Cusp of Breaking into Strategic Consulting for Nonprofits

Dear Chloe, you are on your way… and it is beautiful to see.  Please call me anytime!  I can’t wait to hear the progress…


your talent,
and smarts

balanced with

and gratitude

ensure success.

All my best 🙂

But! Must Keep Working and Dwell on the Good

But!  Must keep working and dwell on the good.

This is from a very wise attorney who faces challenging situations every day.   The other day, she wrote to me about a challenge she was thoughtfully and kindly addressing.  After describing it, she said:

“But!  Must continue to focus on the good!”

What a joyful, clear, practical way for all of us to work through issues in our lives.

If you are facing a challenge — what is still “good” in your life?

What can you point to that is going well? Can you focus on that, rather than giving more power to a challenge?

Sometimes I ask myself why my mind dwells more on the challenge, rather than all the divinely beautiful gifts, all the good, I am provided with each moment.

I hope you will join me in focusing on the good.

Have a great day, Pamela


This is an unedited personal reflection —  my account of running a marathon in Los Angeles in 1993, without training.

I was facing a deep challenge in life, at the time.  I knew if I could make it through this marathon, relying on a convenant, or promise to rely on God, Love — I could persevere through what I was facing in my life.   Step by step. And sometimes, just one step.

Bent down.  Wrists are hanging by my knees, dangling, brushing my toes.  I just saw hot; palm trees, many people—my sense of L.A.  Bent down I don’t see anything.  I know there are almost 20,000 around me but I choose not to be conscious of them.

Today I have made a covenant with God.  I’m going to run a marathon.

Actually I’m not going to do it.  God is going to lead me through it if I am supposed to run this thing.

Two weeks ago I decided to sign up.  I did not train.  I did not one thing to humanly prepare.  I don’t remember what I ran the week before—maybe 2 or 3 times from 3-4 miles each?  I chose not to think about it.  I didn’t even get great sleep the night before, less than 6 hours.  It is not of consequence.

I’m usually not able to contain.  What I mean is that I usually have to tell someone about what I am planning to do!  But not this.  Now I realize how special this “secret” with God is.  I’m going to have to make covenants with God more often.  It’s a promise between you and God, that He will sustain you through anything as long as your purpose is to express Him, your reliance is entirely on Him, and your motives are wholly spiritual.  A fulfilled covenant is a blessing; yet it is natural.

This was a complete reliance on spiritual motive, strength and endurance.  It had nothing to do with my body.

The first mile took me about 14 or 15 minutes because hardly anyone is moving.  I ran I didn’t think.  I was caught off guard by the water and Gatorade stations.  Everyone bursts toward them cramming the tables, grabbing fistfuls of water then Gatorade then slam the cup down “clatter!” barely a pause and off to run again.  The thunder of the cups hitting the ground is tremendous, nearly deafening.  This is what I do.  I throw down my cup I do not stop to walk and rest it is not in my covenant with God.

Mile 6 my heart races and I am fine.  I have found an elderly man who is steadfastly pushing on.  I speed up and follow behind him for 2 miles, feeling his pace.

My head is down now I watch the ground.  Every mile now they call out times.  Oh my goodness—can it be true?  I try to figure the math out.  Am I running under a 10 minute mile?

Stop it.  If you are running for a mile time you can stop right now.  That is not why you are running.

I watch the pavement go by and I think of the flag, the flag of the Spirit that I am running for.  It’s from a story about a 5 year old girl who is about to run a race on the beach.  Her father says to her before she runs: I just want you to remember 4 things.

Keep your eye on the flag which is the finish line.

Don’t compare yourself to the others.

Don’t listen to the applause.

Whatever happens, don’t stop running.

She ran the race.  Many stumbled or fell because they waved at the cheering onlookers.  Some turned around to see how close the others were and ended up falling behind.  She never stopped running.  She kept her eye on the flag.

She won the race.  Finishing with jubilance she ran into her father’s arms.  “I remembered!” she smiled with purity and joy.  She was unconcerned about winning, but rather focused on remembering.

My white flag was Spirit.  And do not compare yourself to others or listen to the applause.  Whatever happens, Pamela, do not stop running.

I went over that statement in my mind over and over and over again.  Very simple.  No “fancy” mental work.  Again and again and again.  And I caught the thoughts that did not serve God or our covenant.

“May be I can pass that person up ahead.”  Get out error.  That’s not why I am running.

Someone limping in agony.  Unity.  Unity will carry everyone through.

“My legs feel tired.  Do you want me to stop?  To slow down?  You tell me, Lord.”  Press on.  Then I will.

“Speed up” comes the suggestion.  Is this thought from God?  Yes.  So I do.

It’s mile 19.  I’ve been in a spiritual world and lost track of the human measurements.  Almost caught off guard by being oblivious to it all, I realize that I have only been absorbed where I should have been—in the spiritual realm.

I can do 7 miles, I tell myself.  No, that’s a human thought.  Don’t think on it.

I can take one step after the next after the next all relying on God after the next Love after the next Spirit after the next Truth…

It’s all I can concentrate on now, step by step.  God if you want me to finish this it won’t be me.  I am only willing to run so long as it is Your plan.

“And it is 86 degrees, the hottest of L.A. marathons, will they make it…” the announcer blares.

I will not listen throw it out

My shirt is heavy, soaked with water and gatorade

my legs are heavy/my shoulders are heavy/ my head is heavy

I will not listen to you error.  Get out.

Again and again I tell error to get out.  Sometimes I have to say it out loud.  “Get out.”

I hear murmurings of “the wall.”  The block runners are supposed to hit.  It is now mile 22.

No wall for me I will not listen.

God if You want me to finish, I will.  I will not do this by myself.

24 and 25.  The hardest.  Step.  Step.  Step.  Step.  I can do nothing else but think Unity, Unity.  I pray for everyone in the race to make it.  To suffer no pain; to press on; I look it up later- it turns out to be the lesson for next week- Unity of Good.

One leg after the other.  How is one minute different than the next I tell myself.  Time is all the same.  So if you can persevere this minute, you can persevere the next minute.  God does not give you strength for one minute and not the next.  It just doesn’t make sense to me.

Last mile and I begin to speed up.  It’s the last mile, and humanly this will be over soon so I know it is time to run my hardest.  Run I am.  I feel strong and peaceful.  I cross knowing I could run further.

My covenant with God.  It all began, 4 hours and 14 minutes ago when my wrists dangled by my ankles, and I took a step out of this human world and made a covenant with God.  Our secret; His promise.  So if I can do this for a race- how about in other areas of my life?

Covenants, pure, simple and unadulterated lien to God.  I hold this race dear to me heart.  Others called me crazy; some unwise; some just “why?”  I know and that is all that is important.  I ran for God.  I kept my eye on the white flag, Spirit.  I didn’t listen to the applause.  I prayed for those I passed, for Unity, rather than comparing.

And I never stopped running.

The Pamela Positive: “We Have Only This Moment, Sparkling Like a Star in Our Hand”

This is one of my favorite quotes…that “this moment…[is] sparkling like a star in our hand…and melting like a snowflake.”

Any moment that is sparkling like a star in our hand means it is precious. And every moment is…  Find the joy, the sparkle, the love, the warmth of the moment…

And then… make sure you know it is precious, for Paula goes on to state that each moment is “melting like a snowflake.”  That means it’s gone.

So was your last moment spent in joy or frustration? In gratitude or upset?  Did it help resolve or move forward or cause more consternation?  Even in the challenges, our moments can still be constructive. How I learn from this, striving to appreciate the “star and melting snow” of each moment myself.

“Begin now.  We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand and melting like a snowflake.” —Paula Best

Paula Best is a mixed-media artist.  She creates fun and whimsical designs, and sells art tools to others.