Friday, November 14, 2008


Before I begin, please join me in wishing Condolezza Rice a very happy birthday. As a special little gift, I am offering my services, packing her belongings up and shipping her out of our nation's capital. I am looking forward to being in her rear-view mirror.


I belong to a book club. Now, I am not bragging that I can read or anything like that. Those of you who know me well might think me guilty of boasting; but rather I am setting the rationale for this blog message. Tomorrow morning a group of really great women are meeting to discuss "THIS I BELIEVE." It is a collection of personal philosophies of remarkable men and women. Some of them are notables enjoying celebrity or hero status. Some were written by more common, every day people. It is a wonderful read.

NPR started collecting these philosophies back in the 1950s. One of the early editors was the journalistic powerhouse Edward R. Murrow. NPR continues collecting these essays today through the mail or at

There are writing guidelines offered. A bonus is these essays don't need to be lengthy. Usually 350-500words should do it. You can find more details at if you are interested. I hope you are.
Once you write it, you can submit it to NPR or you can fold it up and store it in your sock drawer, check it next year and see if you still feel the same way. What ever works for you is good.

The central theme is expressing your personal core values on some level. It must be real. It needs to be about you.

There were many ways I could have taken my writing for the book group; however, this is what I've prepared. Think about yours. I challenge you to engage in the exercise, even if you don't show it to anyone else in your lifetime. It is one of those internal dialogs that is just healthy to have with yourself. Being reflective can keep you as regular as that mild analgesic, Doan's Pills. As for me, I have a Board of Directors in my head, and here is what they have approved for your reading pleasure:
----on with the show:

This I believe: that writing lists makes for a fuller life for me.

For personal email, I have a gmail account. One of the value added features is the “igoogle” homepage where a user pulls together internet gizmos and gadgets summarizing and distilling information at a glance. One feature I love is my digital “to do” list. It is there like a constant surveillance camera reminding me to behave and complete some item on the punch list. It even gives me the ability to prioritize each item as low, medium or high. It is one of the elements that shores me up to remember things I’d probably let slide longer than I should.

I love lists. More than creating them, I love crossing off completed tasks so I can gloat to myself that I am one sanctimonious creature. Lists also have the power of nagging me into the realization that I am a simple slug and need to get (what my grandmother called) "my arse" into gear.

In thinking through what "I believe" I finally landed on the topic of lists as I had constructed so many in attempting to formulate this very response. So, without further ado, here is a list of some of what I believe:

1. The love I have from and for my granddaughter is unbelievably delicious.
2. My daughter is my best friend.
3. My son-in-law is a fun and loving man.
4. Morgan and Mary Louise Brannigan are up for sainthood.
5. I still miss my sister and Dad horribly.(Gone 11 and 19 years, respectively.)
6. God has gifted me with family & friendships that are worth more than gold.
7. I am one of the most fortunate people I know.
8. Nobody should ever have to eat liver.
9. Pittsburgh is a great place to be from.
10. Al Gore did not invent the internet; but he is the actual 43rd US president.
11. WordPerfect is much better than Word.
12. I consume more coffee than I should.
13. The Tudors Showtime series is the best television viewing I’ve seen in many years.
14. Some live concerts should be skipped in favor of buying the CD. A related axiom to this is: Don’t waste your money on a “live” recording of anything but your child’s concert.
15. Stick-shift cars handle much better than automatics.
16. I want a scooter.
17. People come into your life to teach you a valued lesson and sometimes they fail.
18. Retreats save my sanity and spare my soul.
19. Showers are usually better than baths.
20 Champagne wins over regular wine every time.
21. When in doubt, chicken out.
22. It is far less taxing to step up to the plate.
23. Everyone should attend their family and school reunions if only for spite.
24. If I don't have to drive, I will usually believe that I'll have another.
25. I want to dance with John Travolta.
26. Writing a list can be a good reflective exercise.
27. This one is too long but still growing. (Thanks for reading.)

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