Friday, February 2, 2018


With each snowfall, Kim and I cringe a little. Probably me more than her. I mean besides the cold and wet and inconvenience associated with all of it, snow is a nuisance. It’s why we left Wisconsin- to get away from it.

But beyond all of that, we have these really nice boxwoods in the front of our house. Kim keeps them trimmed and nice and round, but winter and snow doesn’t help. Our roof is slanted just enough that when the western sun melts it, the snow drops in huge clumps indiscriminately and directly on top of those boxwoods. As a result, those nicely trimmed, nicely rounded bushes have broken branches and holes where there shouldn’t be.

Frustrating to say the least.

Do you remember years ago the green rubbery toy figure, Gumby? My kids never played with him or it and I could never quite figure out the attraction. Yes, you could bend it this way and that way and it wouldn’t break. His sidekick, Pokey, was the same way.

Still, what could you do with either of them? Give me little green army men and some firecrackers . . . that was fun! (Not that I would ever suggest this to my own kids- at least not while they were young. Perish the thought. My grand kids, should they ever arrive before I’m pushing up daisies are fair game, though.)

A thoughtful teacher reminded this week of the difference between Brittle and Gumby. How sometimes, we can be so set in our ways . . . in our thinking that when change occurs against our normal routine and what we are used to, we break instead of bend.

I’m not talking about being so bendable that with even the most gentle of breeze, we bend this way or that. I mean, in Wyoming I helped harvest wheat. If wheat didn’t bend and if wheat was so Brittle it broke, it wouldn’t be much good for anything.

In the same way, if we bend indiscriminately to every puff of wind of change, we might never grow or become what we are capable of becoming. We lose our sense of being, our sense of self. If we are so rigid in thought and action and routine that when change blows, like our boxwoods, we will break if we are so Brittle. And in the same way that we aren’t much good if we bend too much, we’re no good if we break.

I think there needs to be some balance between Brittle and Gumby.

Steve Adubato wrote a nice piece titled, If You Can’t Change Your Situation, Change Your Attitude. There’s a lot of truth just in the title and so much logic in his post. The link to it is

For example, there are many rules and policies and regulations that simply must be accepted. Try as we might to change them, sometimes we are stuck with them. We follow orders . . . you and I. Some we like, and some, well, not so much.

There are three things we can do if we don’t like our situation. We can either fight it and resist it and be miserable. We can change our situation and find a new one where we might be happier and more at peace. We can change our attitude.

Of the three, the latter is the one we sometimes forget. That’s where our real power is anyway.

We may or may not have the power to change the rule or policy. We can provide input and logic and reason, but in the end that’s all we might be able to do. We can always see if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence . . . country . . . whatever . . . but having lived in five states and having worked in at least eight different school districts, green is green with patches of dirt and a few weeds thrown in. Nothing is perfect, but there is much good in each.

Simply put, the only thing we can do sometimes . . . perhaps most of the time . . . is to change our attitude. It isn’t giving in and it isn’t giving up. It’s changing the way we look at something. It isn’t compromising our beliefs or giving up. It’s changing our perception and our focus. I think it’s a lot better and more satisfying than breaking because we’re too Brittle to bend a little. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

My fifth work of thriller/suspense fiction Caught in a Web is now available for preorder at  . If you purchase your book prior to the publication date of April 26, 2018, you may use the promo code: PREORDER2018 to receive a 10% discount.

You might ask, what is it about? Here is the jacket blurb:

The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer.

Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. The three detectives discover the ring has its roots in a high school among the students and staff.

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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe