Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Always an Ally, Never an Adversary

Regarding my book, Always an Ally, Never an Adversary...Several people have recently mentioned that there is SO MUCH information in the book that it tends to be overwhelming at times. I can understand their feelings. Most of the books on the market dealing with relationships and raising children have one or two main ideas, strategies or principles and it takes reading pages and pages to get to the point. In the end, you may be disappointed by the expected promise of the book title.

By contrast, Always an Ally should be considered more of a reference book as it contains 50 principles and strategies for dealing with human relationships. There is no way one reading can answer all your questions; you may need to go back and read it again and again as I do (and I'm the one who wrote it!) for reminders about which principle applies in a given circumstance. The strategies and stories hit squarely on the points they illustrate.

Years ago, for example, when I talked to Dr. Schofield about how to help one of my friends with a particular problem situation, he resonded with, "They need to see the whole picture." Always an Ally lays out the whole picture for you. You must study it out in your own mind to see what applies.

It's my sincere hope that you will benefit from the many years I spent learning Dr. Schofield's principles for happy living and taking copious notes of the stories and strategies he gave the world. We are indeed blessed by the legacy of wonderful experiences and information he left us.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Benjamin Franklin Quote

"I will speak ill of no one, not even in matters of truth; but rather excuse the faults I hear charged upon others, and on proper occasions speak all the good I know of everyone."

Muriel's comment: This is a most worthy goal and one I try to follow. Sometimes it's challenging, but I keep trying...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Real Parent Trap

Kids are so smart. They have to be since they must deal with bigger and more powerful human beings—their parents! They learn very quickly that their parents usually rely on the undisputed power of authority. You know, the old “Do it because I said so” mentality. In other words, “you have to obey me because I’m your parent and that’s what you should (or have to) do.” (Might makes right)

Sometimes children want to do something different, and the best way for them to get the upper hand is to use their clever, cunning and wily ways, or to even throw out and out temper tantrums (no matter what their ages) or better still, to beg, plead and nag until the parent gets tired of it and gives in. (bad idea)

Often without realizing it, parents allow themselves to be trapped by their children. One very common trick is the “You don’t trust me” declaration. It’s comical to see what lengths a parent will go to “prove” that isn’t so. Here’s one not-so-wise example:

“Of course I trust you, honey.”
“Then why can’t I go to the party?”
“I just don’t feel good about it.”
“See. You DON’T trust me!”
“Oh, yes I do!”
“No, you don’t. If you trusted me, you’d let me go.”
“Well, okay let’s try it this time and see how you do.”

Why are they having that conversation in the first place? Parents should use strategy and not rely solely on their authority and they should never give in, against their better judgment. They can circumvent this particular trap by light-heartedly agreeing, “You may be right, honey. I was 13 once myself.” Or, by not even responding to the “you-don’t-trust-me-bait” and saying something like,

“I think it would be fine for you to go to the party, honey. I’ll tell you what, I’ll take you to the party and wait outside in the car until it’s over and then I’ll drive you home.” Or even better, “Sure you can go and I’ll be happy to go with you.”

Even better yet, the wise parent will have some family rules in place well before the issue even comes up, such as:
• No dating until you’re 16, and then it’s group dating until you’re 18
• If you ask me to do or have something in front of a friend, the answer will be an automatic “NO”.
• If you ask more than one time, the answer will be an automatic “NO”.

Stick to your guns and remember that it’s okay if your children don’t like it. They have a right to feel upset, even angry and resentful if they don’t get what they want. If you hold to the rules, you will actually be helping your children to discipline themselves because they know you will hold firm each and every time. Perhaps the best advice is, “Be tough minded and don’t allow your children to trap you in a negative way.” You can be both firm AND loving at the same time.

(Use “subtle, silent supervision” from Always An Ally; Never An Adversary)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Some Secrets to Influencing

Have you ever wanted so badly to tell somebody something about themselves that it almost hurt? Even though you think to yourself that "it's for their own good," you probably hesitate because you've tried to be "helpful" before and it backfired. The person you sincerely tried to help didn't appreciate your efforts and responded negatively to you. So now you think you should just keep your mouth shut.

From Dr. Schofield I learned a valuable secret to influencing that I'll share with you. The secret is this: you get the person's PERMISSION before you suggest, teach, preach or try to be helpful. It takes practice because most of us just want to tell, tell, tell.

Before you begin, you actively LISTEN and then ASK QUESTIONS. As an example, a friend might be telling you about a health problem that you feel you have a solution for. After hearing what he/she has to say, ask something like, "What are your concerns about this?" Listen, then ask, "Is what you're doing working for you?" If the answer is "no," then you can ask, "Would you be interested in hearing about another possible solution?"

Or you can initiate a conversation by saying, "Would you be interested in hearing something I've observed about you?" If the answer is "no" then drop it. If yes, which it usually is because people are generally curious, then you can go on to tell them what you have observed. If you have a suggestion to make, ask if he/she is interested in hearing about a solution you have.

From another wise man, Bill Firth, I learned that it's important to show respect for others by not having our own hidden agenda. He suggests three vital steps to influencing:
  1. Share value
  2. Offer a choice
  3. Remain unattached

Whatever a person decides to do or not to do about what you offer or suggest is totally up to them and it's okay whatever choice that is.

So there you have of the greatest secrets to influencing another person is by showing great honor and respect.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Goals and Dreams

I've always loved the words from the song, "A dream is a wish your heart makes..." So, if you really COULD have your heart's desire, what would you wish for? I don't know about you, but whenever I bring up a dream into my thinking, the first things that come to mind are the roadblocks!

That's just human nature, I guess, but (and I know this is rather late) I've decided to work on a new year's resolution to get rid of the roadblocks as soon as they pop up and replace them with a "why not?"

Why not hold on to a dream? Why not start setting some goals to get to the dream? So what if I don't make it all the way to the moon. At least I'll have fun tryin'

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Making the Dollar S T R E T C H

This year, in an attempt at frugal living and paying off debts, I planted a 4 x 4 square foot garden and have enjoyed fresh produce from it for months. As part of my plan, I will not charge anything to credit cards and only carry a small amount of cash with me.

One day at work, I was asked to pick up sandwiches for three members of the upper management team so they could have a working meeting through the lunch hour. I thought that while I was going to pick them up anyway, I'd like to buy one of the delicious chicken hoagies for myself. I looked in my wallet and saw only three measly dollars. I was really disappointed, but I went downstairs to ask the CFO if she would prefer to have a chicken salad instead. "No," she said. "I'd like the sandwich but they are so big that I can only eat half."

"Well, I'd be happy to eat the other half for you." I said. She enthusiastically invited me to do so and I got what I was really wishing for.

A little while later a friend called me to ask if I was planning to go over to the Restaurant Depot where I have a membership. I hadn't planned to go that day but agreed to meet her there during my lunch hour as she wanted to get some watermelons at a good price ($3.75 each). I met her, helped her pick out the melons, all the while wistfully thinking that it sure would be great to have one for myself.

When she finished, my friend handed me a dollar bill. "What's that for?" I asked. "For your trouble," she replied. "Oh, a tip. Thank you!" I said. Now I could get a melon for myself with the three dollars I had in my wallet and I'd even have 25 cents left over. God is good! He knows our hearts!

Humble Pie

A friend and her sister asked me to help print some postcards for their pet sitting business. While I don't do this kind of work for a living, they were friends and I wanted to help them out. The sister sent me what she had created and asked me to make four cards fit on a sheet. I took a look and thought, "This is too wordy and the font is very old fashioned and amateurish-looking. I'll just fix it up."

Nearly two hours (!) later, after I had added graphics, edited, and re-positioned, I had what I thought was an eye-catching, professional card. I thought my friends would really like it. Oh, was I in for a surprise--it wasn't at all what they wanted. The font they had used wasn't in my computer, so my computer's substitution really did look bad. When I got that straightened out and made some more adjustments they requested, I finally gave them WHAT THEY WANTED, not what I (in my vast wisdom and experience--hehe!) THOUGHT THEY NEEDED.

This was a humbling experience for me and I learned a good lesson from it. One of the things Dr. Schofield taught (see was that if we want to influence someone, we must "begin where they are" and it's "not about us, it's about them." Also as he would remind me, "all experience is good experience."

I have eaten my humble pie.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Times "Has Changed"

Every evening around dinner time my phone rings. Telemarketers are desparate for sales. Robert Kyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, says we must expect the best but prepare for the worst. Current state of affairs are emblazoned across today's Wall Street Journal headlines:

US Banking Industry Continues to Deteriorate
Industry's Health Slides as Bad Loans Pile Up
Recession Finally Hits Down on the Farm

No doubt about it, the economic outlook is pretty grim. Who would have expected things to be so bleak five years ago?

Today, more than ever before, is the time for good news and positive thoughts. The real work we have to do must be in our heads as we go about our daily routines. It's as if we have a devil on one shoulder shouting into our ear and an angel on the other shoulder whispering good thoughts. Which will you choose? No matter how difficult it might be, I intend to continue holding to faith, good works, and productive activity. I hope you will do the same.

As the good doctor used to say, "Learn to enjoy the moment!"

XXOO from Muriel

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Penny Project

It was quite by accident that I found a way to make pennies more valuable. I was pulling out of my driveway one day when I noticed a large fluted pastel vase that my neighbor left on the sidewalk for anyone passing by who wanted it. I certainly didn’t need it, but because it was so lovely, I picked it up, carried it into the house and put it in a prominent place on top of my microwave. I set two smaller vases beside it to make a pretty display and there it sat gathering dust for several months.

After committing myself to get my finances under control, I figured out a plan to be free from debt within a few years. As part of the plan I began a habit of saving loose change until it became somewhat of a substantial amount so I could use it as part of my contribution to worthy causes and church offerings. Nickels, dimes and quarters were fun to save, but pennies? They seemed hardly worth the bother. Even the government is considering eliminating them because they cost more to make than they’re worth.

Then it occurred to me that I could increase the value of my lowly pennies by offering up a prayer for someone every time I collected one. I looked around for something worthy of this project and my eyes rested upon the pastel vase. “Perfect,” I thought. I took the vase down from its perch and put it in a place where I see it often and more easily drop in the pennies.

I have only one rule about the project and it is that the prayers MUST only be about others. (It’s not about’s about them!)

It’s been over a year since I started my penny prayers and the vase is half filled with hundreds of pennies. The wonderful thing is that the pennies represent many miracles: a new home for my son and his family, a new home for my daughter and her family, healing for friends and family members, safety and protection, consolation at the loss of a loved one, and the personal growth and development of children and grandchildren.

It’s fun to share my idea for this project with others. Often someone will hand me some pennies and ask me to say some prayers for them and I’m happy to oblige. Because they know about my penny project, my children and a few friends have started asking me to say special prayers for them. Any time I hear of someone who is sick or having a difficult time or even rejoicing over a recent blessing, I toss a penny in the vase and say a prayer.

I recently found that the pennies weren’t coming into my hands fast enough for all the prayers I had in mind so I bought a couple rolls of pennies from the bank the other day. Now I don’t have to wait for a new penny to appear. I’m ready to say a prayer any time.

As I contemplate and give thanks for the wonderful results of my project, I’m enjoying the good feeling of helping others with my prayers. A side benefit is that the penny project is helping me stay focused on following my committment to be debt free. I have found a way to make pennies more precious than gold!

Muriel Donaldson
March 17, 2008

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Good-Bye, Doctor!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Dear Friends, It is with heavy, heavy heart that I write to let you know that Dr. Robert Schofield, long-time family friend and my Shaklee business partner, passed away last Sunday evening, December 2, 2007.

He went into the hospital the previous Monday for tests after experiencing shortness of breath and a few other symptoms. On Saturday night I brought him one of his favorite Cinch protein drinks and we visited a couple of hours. He looked quite good and said he was figuring how to get well.

But Sunday morning I received a call from his wife of 61 years, Norma, telling me the hospital called to say he probably would not last the day. He passed away at 4:50 p.m.

Dr. Schofield grew to love the Shaklee philosophy, Roger Barnett and the company's wonderful products. He was planning to be the next Master who is also an MD. Dr. Schofield was the best business partner anyone could have!

I will miss him and Shaklee people everywhere will miss him. As a continuing tribute to the Doctor and in an effort to be most helpful to others, I will be publishing some of his teachings and quotes on this site. They will include such titles as Peace and Harmony at Home and Enjoy Every Moment.

To my great mentor, business partner and friend, I say a hearty and loving "Good-bye." May I live the rest of my life worthy of all that you have taught me!


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Parable of the Crock Pot

Once upon a time a lonely little Crock Pot sat in the furthermost corner of a lower shelf, next to discarded bowls, chipped plates and other little-used kitchenware. Although at one time, Crock was the star of the kitchen, she now sat pining away in her dark and dusty corner dreaming of better days and wishing things were different, “If only I could have things the way they used to be!” she mourned.

Crock had contributed so nicely to the Clark household, gently heating Sunday’s chicken dinner and simmering stew on cold winter days. The family would come into the house and take deep breaths to suck in the seasoned aromas and exclaim, “Mmmmmmm! Dinner smells good!”

But those days were gone. Everyone was in a hurry now. The kids were all in school and on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays Mrs. Clark could be heard to say repeatedly, “Hurry, children, we’ll be late for soccer!” On Tuesdays the girls went to piano lessons and on Thursdays the boys went to gymnastics. Fridays were also challenging with sleepovers, movie nights, dances, bowling. And, of course, Saturday was mom and dad’s “date night.” There seemed to be no end to the frenzied existence of the Clark household.

Day after day as Crock sat in her corner she thought about her days of stardom. She remembered how great it felt to sparkle next to her friend Toaster. But now the Clarks seemed to prefer fast food and the microwave. Toaster was still in his place but Crock, the slow cooker, was a relic of the past.

One morning, Crock heard a terrible hacking sound coming from one of the girls and wondered what it was. The next day, her older brother was making the same sound. One by one, the Clark family seemed to be stricken with the same malady that finally became less noticeable. However, about 10 days later, Mr. Clark didn’t go to work, saying he had a terrible stomachache and his head felt awful. Mrs. Clark said she didn’t feel well either and went to take a nap.

A few days later Crock heard a strange voice in the kitchen. She gathered that it was a friend of Mrs. Clark and wondered what was happening. Someone opened the dark cupboard’s door and reached in. Crock’s heart began to beat wildly as she hoped against hope that the hand was reaching for her. But, alas, the hand moved some of the plates and a rusty grater and settled on old Blender. “Lucky her!” thought Crock. Pretty soon she heard a loud whirring and then something being poured into glasses. Mrs. Clark exclaimed, “Why, this is delicious! You know, our family has not been well since we’ve been eating fast food and micro waved meals! Things have got to change!”

Change they did! Later that day, Crock felt a hand grab her around the middle, carry her to the sink where she delighted in a thorough scrub. The hands placed her up on the counter, between old Blender and her friend, Toaster. She beamed and sparkled and began again to produce delicious and nutritious meals for the Clark household. She enjoyed listening to the unhurried conversation at the dinner table and especially Mr. Clark saying that the meal was the juiciest and tastiest he could ever remember.

Every morning and mid-afternoon Crock observed Mrs. Clark whirring old Blender with a delicious concoction of fruit, juice or milk and some kind of powder that Mrs. Clark’s friend brought over from time to time. And every Sunday, Crock was the proud producer of a tasty meal—just like old times. One evening Mrs. Clark was heard to say,

“You know, honey, I used to take our family’s health for granted. The microwave seemed like such a great idea, but there is nothing like a good protein drink along with a slow cooked meal! Our family is so much healthier and happier now that we’re taking time for the really important things!”

It’s folly to think that we can have good health or grow healthy businesses with microwave treatments. Slow, consistent “cooking” (or effort) will bring eventual success if done with the right ingredients

The Doctor's Comments:
This reminds me of 100 year-old Eubie Blake who said, "If I'd known I was gonna live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself!"

Monday, May 28, 2007

An Open Letter to My Neice about "Will"

Dear Jill,

"Will" alone produces nothing just like "Faith without works is dead." But if you define will as "the power by which the mind makes choices and acts to carry out those choices" then it is a powerful thing. By "willing" you arouse the creative aspect that is present in all human beings. The willing is just the beginning.

We get the impression in the movie, THE SECRET, that things just "appear" instantaneously. This may happen occasionally, but everything we do of a creative nature goes in a step-wise manner and "will" helps create those steps. The point is to start making the steps, even baby ones, in the right direction. It will take time, sometimes a short time and sometimes a long time.

We can have "things" if we are open to new possibilities and if we hold the vision of them in our hearts and keep them there. And those "things" can bring us either happiness or misery, depending on our choices.

The "Godly" part is the important thing. In the scriptures we are told that after we have a "hope in Christ" we can obtain riches if we seek them for the intent to do good.

Wouldn't you just LOVE to be in a position to do good with riches? I sure would and I do!

Many church leaders are independently wealthy. How do you suppose they got that way? It's not IF the principles of faith work. They DO work! We are told that we can move mountains if we have faith strong enough. The question is what we set our hearts upon.

As you mentioned, the "power of discernment" is given to all of us through the gift of the Holy Ghost. It is not something that we get in our "head" but something we get in our "heart."

Listen to your own words and you will know that you were on the right track in believing that many things are possible to you: "But for a brief while I felt ALIVE!"

I would say to you, DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN TO GET THAT FEELING BACK AND KEEP IT ALIVE FOR YOU AND FOR YOUR FAMILY! The Lord needs mothers who have the kind of faith you are seeking! The real challenge for us all is to make our visions STICK!

Love to you on this beautiful Day!
Aunt M

Thursday, April 12, 2007

How To Get Ideas and Inspiration

People often tell me, “You’re so creative!” as if they are not. But EVERYONE can use this simple technique. In fact, try it out and let me know what happens...

  1. Set TIME (at least 15 minutes) to be still and quiet
  2. Write down EVERY idea that comes to mind
  3. ACT on the ideas, one by one
  4. Remove worry and doubt—concentrate on the FINAL outcome of what you desire
  5. Remember to GIVE THANKS for every idea that comes to you!

    I have noticed one more element not on the list above. It’s this:

Once you decide what it is you want or how to do something, you simply put it out “there” (into the universe, space, or whatever you want to call it) and then gently let it go.

The answer or idea may come to you in a split second or it may take longer, even a day or two or more. But the idea will come. Recognize it when it comes and give thanks for it!

Happy creating!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Peas and Hominy for Dinner

As a young child in an active family of eight, I often heard my mother plead, "Let's have peas and hominy!" Peas we had quite often but hominy--I wasn't sure what that was...until I had a family of my own.

Two very active, playful boys with one girl in the middle often produced squabbles and "dis-harmony." I longed for total happy, peaceful, quiet, pleasant times. I discovered that my mother had really meant "peace and harmony" and I also knew my little family didn't have it, particularly at the table during mealtimes. It was a matter that often frustrated me.

My twelve-year-old son, Kevin, could hardly tolerate his younger sister at the dinner table. One evening a kick under the table, an angry look, an elbow and a squeal punctuated the dinner hour and stimulated a sudden thought in my head,

"Why not seat the two boys next to each other and my daughter next to me?" Yes! that was the simple solution. As soon as I expressed the idea my husband picked up on it and wanted to make the switch right then and there.

What we hadn't counted on was the shock to our son, Klint. As the youngest child, his "place" at the table had always been next to me. He wasn't ready to move and I could immediately see that I would need to make it worth his while. Quickly I responded with, "We'll work something out a little later."

After dinner I took Klint aside and said,
"Kevin is having a real hard time with your sister right now. What could I do to make it worth your while to switch places with her?" A pout and no answer.

"I know you like money. How about a dollar?" Still no answer.

"How about three dollars?" A look of interest began to form on his little face.

"Four?" At that point, Klint smiled and said, "Well, I'll try it for two days."

He tried the switch, decided that it was okay and happily collected his four dollars. For me, that was the best four dollars I ever spent! It worked like a charm and was a beginning step on our children's road to "peas and hominy" between them.

The Doctor's Comments
Parents fail to recognize the wisdom and the power of making it worth while to their children to respond to the requests they make of them. They often interpret this as bribery but in reality, it's recognizing that besides being our children, they are also fellow human beings deserving of respect.

It shows a tremendous amount of respect for children when parents make something worth while to them. And a child is more than worthy of this kind of respect. The more respect we show our children, the more respect they give us.

All children, in any circumstance, have a choice whether we give it to them or not. It is a wise parent who provides circumstances whereby children are able to make wise choices.

Thursday, March 8, 2007


Since I have had many years of experience with this emotion and how it relates to the network marketing business, I feel that I have a solid basis for sharing with you what I have learned. Here’s what seems to be the “Excitement Cycle.”

  1. Something happens, such as a new product introduction, a positive personal experience with a product, or a company incentive and you are EXCITED!
  2. You want to go out and shout to the world about it. So you do...
  3. Most of the time your excitement bubble gets shot down, especially by those who are closest to you—your family and friends.
  4. You feel hurt and disappointed and ask yourself, “Why can’t they see it like I do?”
  5. If you believe in the product and determine that you’re going to stick with it and build your income no matter what, you might decide NOT to talk to your family and friends (i.e., your “warm market”).
  6. You might decided that you’re going to “play it safe” and only talk to people you don’t know.
  7. The same cycle often happens when you find a “golden nugget distributor” who SAYS he is going to build a business or follow the system you outline or buy a bunch of products when...And you believe him. You get excited and anticipate great things happening, including high purchase volume, only to realize in time that it’s NOT happening. Again, disappointment.

It took me a long time to really understand what a master networker meant when he said, “It’s my job NOT to get excited.” And it took me a long time to learn that my excitement frequently turned people off! That was a difficult thing to learn, but I’m glad I did because it’s na├»ve to think that my excitement will “rub off” on others and motivate them to “do something”.

Motivation is a personal thing and stimulated by very personal beliefs, wishes and desires. The time has to be right for each person to take a particular action.

This is why I want to “be there” every month with a flyer, a smile and friendly word—steady as she goes—and wait and watch for the opportunity to respond in the best way to (yes!) my family and friends when they express an interest in the products or in following a simple “system.”

When I have “consent to present,” I’ll tell them that this is a “smart thing to be involved in” and help them take that first step. It happens naturally and not forced, just as in nature. You cannot make a flower, tree or your network marketing business grow any faster than it naturally takes.

Please don’t misunderstand and think that I feel negative about great products or wonderful opportunities that help us grow and prosper. I have a powerful and positive expectation that, over time, you and I will achieve even beyond what we originally thought possible. But I also believe that the excitement of another person’s action should come AFTER the fact, not in anticipation of it.

The Doctor's Comments
It's not about US, it's about THEM! It's about correctly communicating with people. We think we're communicating when we send out our excitement. But if we're excited about something that someone has a pre-conceived idea about and we don't have permission to share our excitement, then we're sending the message to that person of "You are dumb! You are wrong!" if he/she doesn't have the same excitement that we have.

This is why so many people do not like the "Rah, Rah" aspects of meetings. If the people in charge don't feel that the crowd is responding enthusiastically enough, they'll often ask for fake enthusiasm. This makes people feel very uncomfortable.

We have to discover what a person's dissatisfactions are as well as their desires for change, instead of trying to change them with our excitement. The more we try to get somebody to do something, the more it tends to push them away. That's why most people cannot influence their warm market. They no longer treat them as friends. They treat them as targets, which in turn tends to alienate them.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Cat Fights

During my growing up years, our family had a number of pets. Two of them especially stick out in my mind. The first was a darling puppy, a mixed breed, mostly Labrador, that dad declared to be a "boy" after taking a quick look at his underside. For some reason, I had the pleasure of naming the wiggly, tongue-licking pooch.

We soon discovered that Figaro was a female so I adjusted her name to Figarina. When we took her in for her shots, the veterinarian's office declared that they had never had a dog in there with that name!

Frosty the cat is the other pet I vividly recall, probably because she was so beautiful. As dramatically white as Figarina was black, her fur was long, soft to the touch and pristine, as she was always manicuring it with her tongue. But she was quite the independent one, going out at night to who knows where, doing the things that cats do--and sometimes coming back with bloody scratches on her lovely face and sorry-looking chunks out of her gorgeous fur.

We moved to Delaware Street when I was in the fourth grade. Of course we took Frosty with us, but somehow she got out the second day we were in the new neighborhood and we never saw her again. I was incredibly sad to think that the pull of her wild side was stronger than her attachment to our family. I guessed that the affection I felt for her was one-sided.

There were plenty of other cats in the new neighborhood, as evidenced by the nightly noises coming from the wood fence catwalks. At first I thought the sounds were from humans; they were so loud and agonizing. I could relate to the television cartoons of the time showing angry folks throwing shoes and boots at the felines, just to shut them up.

I couldn't understand what the commotion was all about, though. It was incomprehensible that cats could be in such pain just from being hot, particularly in the middle of winter. I asked my mother about it but she acted like she didn't know how to answer me. In fact, a daughter of the Elizabethan era, mother seemed uncomfortable communicating any information about male/female relationships, even though she was a nurse.

With the exception of a Walt Disney teaching movie about menstruation when I was 11 years old, most of the information I gleaned about sex came from my friends and my cousins. I learned that what went on with birds and bees also went on with cats, dogs, horses and cows. I had lots of cousins who lived in the country on farms in Oregon, so even though a city girl, I could also observe nature firsthand.

The most memorable cat fight I ever saw was the one I witnessed while walking home from junior high school when I was 14. A crowd of students quickly formed to watch as shrieks filled the air and flexed claws gouged skin, hair, and eyes--nothing was sacred. The two were out for the kill.

Not being able to stand the bloodbath and butchery, I yelled for a couple of the bigger boys to stop the fight, but they thought it was great sport. I've never seen anything like it since, except in movies. Until then, I didn't know that pony-tailed girls were capable of such aggression and terror. I remembered my own cat fights with my younger sister, but even though we slugged it out when we were young children, we seemed to have had a line over which we wouldn't cross.

These girls, however, even grabbed each other by their blood-spattered hair and jackhammered each other's heads against the rough cement sidewalk. The fight was so out of control and gruesome that it left an indelible mark in my mind's eye.

The recollection returned like a barrage of pounding rain in May 2003 as I read about an incident in Chicago where some high school upper class girls were horribly beating younger girls in a supposedly adult-supervised invitation. Reason vanished as the older girls got into the razing and turned reptilian in the process. The younger girls weren't even battling back in that cat fight!

The Doctor's Comments:
All reason vanishes when anger is the motivating force. One of my favorite quotes about anger is this: "Agree with thine adversary quickly...lest he esteem thee to be thine enemy."

It's always best to never start a battle you cannot win.

Draining the Girls

My parents’ six children came in sets of twos during the 40’s and 50’s. I’m not sure what potty training method they used on the oldest set, but on my set and the younger set, they called it “draining the girls. At least that’s what my father called it.

Before we all piled into the car to go on any trip or excursion, daddy would loudly proclaim, “It’s time to drain the girls!” Like a drill sergeant, he’d march us into the potty and we had to “go” before we could get into the car.

My own drainage challenges were exquisitely painful because I still wet the bed at age eight. My mother held me responsible for causing her extra work and successfully inoculated me with horrible guilt by complaining,” I have to work all night long at the hospital and then come home and wash your wet sheets!” And in a tone full of hurt, she’d add, “You should be more considerate!”

I tried to be more considerate but I just couldn’t seem to wake myself up during the night. Even though my father would get me up at 10:00 o’clock, after I was in a deep sleep, it still didn’t help. I’d be wet again before morning.

One night my dear older cousin Peggy took me to stay with her at a friend’s house and we had a special prayer, asking Father in heaven to “please help me not to wet the Hoit’s bed.” It worked that time! But nothing else worked until mother and daddy heard about a special electronic bedwetting device that my aunt had successfully used.

The machine scared me to death! It consisted of a metallic-like pad, connected by several clamps to a loud, ear-splitting alarm. Whenever the sensor detected fluid, it was supposed to sound the alarm.

The first night I lay awake terrified that this metallic monster was going to go off. The whole household would know! The whole neighborhood would know! I might have been lying on the proverbial pins and needles for the horror that I felt.

Finally, I could stay awake no longer and drifted off to sleep, only to be awakened by the screaming alarm. Dad rushed in, wearing his white winter long johns, jerked me out of bed and plunked me down on the potty. For the life of me, I couldn’t go.

It was a false alarm. Seems I had just turned over and leaned on one of the clamps, causing the alarm to go off. That incident was enough to shock me into sleeping lighter from then on and I never wet the bed again. I had learned the fine art of draining and my parents had a reprieve until the last set of children came along.

Fortunately for my own four children, I learned what not to do as a parent from my own experiences. When my daughter was four years old and immersed in play, she’d wait until the very last minute before making the long trek to the bathroom. She’d cross her legs and sort of bend in half and say, “Oh, mommy, I have to go to the bathroom but I don’t want to!” I could thoroughly understand her feelings of not wanting to interrupt her playtime.

My son was still wetting the bed at age seven but I resisted purchasing a metallic monster for him. It seemed like there must be a better way and I was going to do my best to find one that suited him. At the very least, I worked at not putting any guilt on him because I knew he didn’t like wetting even more that I didn’t like the extra washing chore.

One morning I had a golden opportunity when my son exclaimed, “Mom, God is not answering my prayers.” When I asked why he thought that, he knowingly replied, “Because I prayed last night that God would help me not to wet the bed and it didn’t work. I wet again!”

“Have you considered asking a different prayer?” I asked.
“What do you mean?” he responded.
“Well, instead of asking Him to help you not to wet the bed, what about asking him to help you wake up when you have to go? And tell you what…as soon as you wake up, just call out to me and I’ll be ready to jump right up and help you down from your bunk. I’ll wait for you to go and then help you back up.”
“Okay, let’s try it,” he agreed.

That night my son called about 2:00 a.m. and I jumped right up and did just as I promised. The next morning he came running into my bedroom to excitedly announce, “Mom, it worked! God answered my prayer!”

The next night we repeated the same procedure, with me jumping up to help him. He was again successful. By the third night, he whispered to me, “I think I can do it by myself now, mom.” And he did.

The Doctor's Comments:
It's best to teach correct principles and our children will learn to govern themselves. The word "discipline" really means providing an experience that results in a worthwhile change in behavior.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Give Away!

As a young child attending Sunday school, I learned a little song that became my mantra. While skating down the street with pigtails flying, I’d belt out the words to the chorus,

“Singing, singing all the day, give away, oh, give away.
Singing, singing all the day, give, oh, give away!”

It’s no wonder that I grew up never having any money. My younger sister was a saver, but whenever I’d get an allowance or babysitting money, I’d take a friend out for a hamburger or a soda.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED giving. I became very, very good at it. After all, that was the charitable thing to do, wasn’t it?

While reading “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind” by T. Harv Eker, I learned that giving is great—in its place, of course. We must pay ourselves first and manage the rest of the money so we’ll have all the more to give!

So I made up a new chorus to the song I learned as a child. It goes like this:

“Singing, singing all the day, give, receive and save and play.
Singing, singing all the day, give and save and play!”

I feel much better about this more balanced approach. I’ve learned that by managing my money correctly, I can do it all!

The Doctor's Comments:
Money is a good gift when in need, but the gift of love and time are better indeed! I love the words from the song called Nature Boy, "The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return."

Learning from a Bushel of Oranges

Some time in the ‘70s I read the magnificent book, “The Magic of Believing” by Claude M. Bristol. I read it again in 2006 and while it was inspiring and thought provoking, I just couldn’t seem to be able to believe big enough to have, do and be what I really wanted. But yesterday, I learned a powerful lesson from some oranges.

Nearly every day my friend and I go on a walk, taking the same route past a house with a big orange tree loaded with fruit. As I would pass the tree, I’d casually think about how luscious the oranges looked and how delicious and juicy they must taste.

Yesterday on our walk, the whole world seemed especially beautiful with a bright, blue sky; splendidly tall trees in a number of varieties; hills on the north side of the city providing a majestic backdrop to it all. My friend and I were reveling in the beauties surrounding us as we came to the house with the loaded orange tree.

A few feet before the tree I stopped and held up my arms in a sort of receiving gesture and exclaimed to my friend, “Wouldn’t it be grand to have a bushel of these oranges that we could squeeze into some fresh juice?” I could imagine the sweet, tangy taste of it!

As we continued walking past the tree, the lady of the house burst out of the door and said, “Would you ladies like some of these oranges? I’ve been watching you walk past my house for days now as I work in my office, and today I saw you looking up into the tree.”

I told her we’d LOVE some oranges and did she have a sack? She went into the house and brought us back two large grocery bags and a pair of clippers. We found out her name was Laura and she invited us to come and make ourselves at home and pick oranges, and even tangerines from her side yard, any time we wanted, even if she wasn’t there. Not only did we get a bushel of oranges, but we also made a new friend!

What I learned from the oranges experience was that before I could believe something, I needed to actually FEEL it and IMAGINE it first! I finally understood what I’ve been learning from the movie, The Secret, that we can have, and do, and be anything we want if we can imagine ourselves as already having, doing and being it. The key is to FEEL it!

I hadn’t tried hard to believe in having the oranges. I didn’t question whether or not I was going to get them, or when I was going to get them. I simply and naturally, without force, imagined what it would FEEL like having them—juicy, tangy, delicious—and there they were, attracted right to me!

So I think that the magic of FEELING is the first logical step to the magic of believing. When the bible says, “…as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he…” (Proverbs 23:7, para) I believe the key words “in his heart” refers to thinking with our feelings, not just with our intellect.

Now, having learned a great lesson from the oranges, I’m having fun FEELING what it’s like to have, do and be what I really want. I’m also believing it and I know that in the right time, all that I desire will be manifested into my life just as the oranges were!

Muriel Donaldson
February 17, 2007

The Doctor's Comments:
Attitude is EVERYTHING!

The Accident

Written in October 2005, upon breaking my hip. It kept me occupied and made everyone chuckle!

Comfy little socks
Pretty little throw rug
Ring! Ring! Ring! Get it quick!
Around the chair…
Slips and slides
The comfy little socks and pretty little throw rug
Feet a flying,

Oh! Oh! Oh! Writhing pain!
Now I’ve fallen, seeing stars
Can’t get up—afraid to move…

The cell phone’s near, imagine that!
A GREAT thing to have when your
Hip goes splat!

The ER
Ouch! Don’t move me!
Swirling, twirling, spinning.
Feeling yucky, passing out,
Falling down,
CAT Scan
Ouch! Don’t move me!

The Operation
Smiling, dimpled Dr. Smith
Here to turn out my lights.
Shifted with a sheet from bed to table,
I see the backs of two blue, bedecked doctors preparing their tools.

Looking and looking,
wondering and wondering,
What does it take to anchor
three pins?

That’s all I remember till awake I became.
Oh! Oh! Oh! Give me something for pain!!

So…what does it take to anchor the pins?
A great big hammer is where it begins!

Bang! Bang! Bang! Goes the doctor in blue.
My sister, a nurse, told me
So I know it is true!

Wheeled into my room
My heart leaps with joy
Flowers await, what a beautiful site!

The troops assemble, not just a few:
Doctors, technicians, nurses, and therapists too.
I welcome them all with thanks and a smile
Grateful for the care they give all the while.

Now the visitors are coming
To give me some cheer.
I can’t run for my makeup—Oh golly! Oh dear!
They’ll see me as I am—what a horrible site,
Worse in my mind than Halloween night!

Physical Therapy
Ankle up, Ankle down
Side to side
And around

Press in with the butts,
Count to five and AGAIN
Until we do it over and over times 10.

Press in with the knees
Just like with the butts
No cheating! She’s counting.
This really takes guts!

And now the finale, the end of the train,
She bends the left knee to my shouting refrain:
(while the nurses laughed…)

Hairy, hairy legs
Walker and a pot
A pile of pillows, cheery calls
Friends a-visiting, well wishes galore.

And bills

And calcium pills

But, oh that first shower, heaven divine!
Life’s simple pleasures truly are mine!!

The Doctor's Comments:
This is an excellent example of "you don't cry over spilled milk." Another great quote from Proverbs is this: "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine."