Tag Archives: family

The Pamela Positive: Start Your Life Out With Sugar

According to a Persian tradition, wedding guests sprinkle the new bride and groom with sugar.  It means that everyone is wishing them sweetness in life as they start out on their journey together.

Here is more background on beautiful Persian wedding traditions.

Whether we are married, single, have wonderful friends, are in college or retired, may we all “sprinkle sugar” on each other each day.  Let’s encourage that sweetness to reign in our daily lives, every day!

The Pamela Positive: “If It Is Right, It Happens…Nothing Good Gets Away”

Heartfelt advice is such wonderful wealth.   And it’s even more meaningful when it’s in a letter, which someone took the time to write, and shape with their own beautiful language, handwriting and style.

This is one of my favorites, between a father and a son. John Steinbeck wrote to his son about the meaning of love.  I really don’t need to say anything else.

Enjoy this sincere, kind wisdom. I almost feel its warmth emanating from the page…of care, of experience, of hope, of trust.  May we all trust love.

“Love…is an outpouring of everything good in you–of kindness, and consideration and respect–not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable…[This] can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had…And don’t worry about losing.  If it is right, it happens–the main this is not to hurry.  Nothing good gets away.”  — John Steinbeck, to his son Thom

John Steinbeck was a Nobel Prize-winning author, whose most famous works include The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, and Of Mice and Men.  Steinbeck’s works often address social issues such as ecology, cultural standards and the condition of laborers.

“Not as an emblem of suffering…but as an example of faithfulness” -Mennonite Phrase

“Not as an emblem of suffering, but as an example of faithfulness in the midst of suffering. Job never doubted God.”

-Mennonite Phrase

We are faithful in anything in life — our work, our family, our duties, not simply to do it.  We do it because we cherish the values they represent, or, it supports the people we love.

We go to work because we are impassioned by it and how we can make the world better, whether you are an international diplomat or a garbage man who helps keep our streets and health safe.   We are faithful to cherish others, such as showing up for our grandson’s game or niece’s game, because we love them and want to nurture that love.    Most importantly, we have faith in God because we trust that He/She has the best plan for us.  So if we love our work and love our families, shouldn’t we love an all Powerful God the most?

 

The Mennonites are a group of Christian Anabaptists named after Menno Simons (1496–1561). His teachings were a relatively minor influence on the group, though. They are of the historic peace churches. Mennonites are committed to nonviolence, nonviolent resistance/reconciliation, and pacifism.  There are about 1.5 million Mennonites worldwide as of 2006. There are many different types of mennonite communities in the world. There are those that dress in old-fashioned ways, and others which are hard to tell apart from other people leading a modern lifestyle. Most Mennonites are in the United States and Democratic Republic of Congo, but Mennonites can also be found in tight-knit communities in at least 51 countries on six continents or scattered amongst the populace of those countries.

Mennonites have an international distinction among Christian denominations in disaster relief. They also place a strong theological emphasis on voluntary service. Mennonite Disaster Service, based in North America, provides both immediate and long-term responses to hurricanes, floods, and other disasters. Mennonite Central Committee provides disaster relief around the world alongside their long-term international development programs. Other programs offer a variety of relief efforts and services throughout the world.  In the last few decades some Mennonite groups have also become more actively involved with peace and social justice issues, helping to found Christian Peacemaker Teams and Mennonite Conciliation Service.

The Pamela Positive: Why Do We Live Apart from the Family We Love?

What We Can Learn from Asia

I am one of those fortunate people who did not need to board a flight this past holiday. My family is local: My parents live 45 minutes away on the Peninsula, and my sister, brother-in-law and three nephews and niece live about 1 mile from my parents.

That’s truly been a joy for me, the simple presence of family.   Being able to babysit last minute; experiencing the chaos of taking care of kids during ‘meltdown time’ at 5 pm with a 6, 4 and 1 year old when they were growing up ; celebrating their progress on their soccer field; scootering with them to ice cream on a warm summer night, after dinner.

Why do we allow ourselves to live apart? Why is it so accepted?

I know I am fortunate.  Sometimes people have to move because of marriage. A new job. Taking care of an elderly parent.  All very legitimate reasons which contribute to family, and yet, also separate…

In a recent Gallup Poll, 16% of the world said they would like to move to another country.  This comes from both dire situations (such as Somalia) to the desire for luxury or adventure.  But in one region the rates are lower than Europe and America: Asia.  Due to progress in political freedoms and enhanced economic opportunities, many Asians are staying put: Only 10% desire to move. But there’s another factor as well: Close family ties, and a cultural commitment to taking care of family, keeps the desire to move low.

Let’s learn, if we are so fortunate, from this cultural and familial commitment to keep family close…

The Pamela Positive: “When the Child Welcomes the Mother, the Mother Rushes Off to Her”

“When the child welcomes the mother, the mother rushes off to her”  – Deborah Santana

I am not someone who cancels meetings or dinners very often, simply because it’s something to reschedule and I like to stay committed.  And yet the main reason I will cancel – as would one of my cherished friends, Deborah Santana – is for family.

Deborah emailed me this morning that she needed to move our dinner because her daughter invited her to a weekend together in Seattle.  I love what she said, and it warmed my heart… “When the child welcomes the mother, the mother rushes off to her.”  A mother should go to her child first.

There is no more important reason in the world.

I Envision a World Without Salt Packets

benefits-of-banyan-tree

There are so many things that are packaged within paper, and the waste can be enormous.  I think about the time, manufacturing costs, the transport, and the packaging when I look at individual salt packets.  My guess is, forty granules of salt are contained within a tiny salt packet.  And we’ve got to enclose it with paper, and then put it in another big package to transport it.  There are so many ways that we use paper that are not allowing us to be effective stewards of our environment.

There was an interesting write-up of editorial letters in the Chronicle the other day.  In it, one might think people were against plastic bags, and they were.  But they were also against paper bags.  All of the letters pointed towards using canvas.  And many of them even stated we should feel guilty for using trees to transport our lunches, groceries, or other sundries.  We’re facing quite a revolution here in being thoughtful about how and when we use our natural resources.

We can live consciously and thoughtfully about how we use paper.  When you write a note, could you also reuse it again, and use the other side?  When you receive a card, is there a portion of it that’s not written on, that could be used for a casual note to a roommate, spouse or friend?  Or perhaps you could even use it for a to-do list.  When you receive a box containing a recent book or item of clothing, you can save it for holiday gifts.  Let’s think creatively about our trees.

I remember my very astute four year old niece, when I took her to the restroom, after we had gotten brunch.  With two young nephews waiting in the restaurant, age 8 and 10, and as the sole aunt caretaker, I hurriedly pulled out two paper towels and dried my hands.  “Shame on you, Aunt Pamela.  They teach us in school that that’s a tree.  You’re not supposed to do that.”  Lindsey was absolutely right.

What if every time you picked up, or used a piece of paper, you envisioned a beautiful evergreen, redwood, or eucalyptus tree?  Would we then be so quick to crumple it up?  Would you crumple up a cherry blossom tree?

We’re Going in Different Directions: No, We’re Not

One morning as I was leaving for work, my mom and I had a very special interchange.

We live in Menlo Park, and I was headed north to San Francisco.  My parents were headed south to Carmel for a bit of rest.  “Have a great day, Mom!  Thank you for having me… and now we’re going in different directions!”

“No, we’re not,” she said immediately.

I knew exactly what she meant.  Our minds and hearts are going in the same direction. She’s taught me to be loving and kind. To follow my heart, and to do what I love to do. And to live rightly. And that is what she does with her life.  She is so consistently, joyously serving others.  I’ve never seen a better model of this.

And so, as we parted that morning, we went in the same direction.