In The Presence of Excellence


October 6, 2022- The little guy was too put off by a work page that was way too crowded and busy for a person with his special needs, so he got under his desk. A classmate said that was where B went, when he got rattled or scared.

The lead teacher has known these students for six weeks, and directed the child and his paraprofessional to a much easier page. Fortunately, the children have alphabet charts and number lines, to back them up, when working on such pages.

The class has the benefit of being led by the above-mentioned teacher, who has a unique blend of intellectual skills, flexible mindset and a keen sense of when to show gentleness or firmness. He has four paraprofessionals working with him: One who has been in the class for over twenty years. One, who recently came on board, has strong native intelligence, as to devising activities that challenge the students at a very basic level, along with an entertaining mode of delivery, after years in the sales profession. The other two are gentle, personable and confident.

All in all, the atmosphere has evolved into one of excellence, appealing to the students’ own sense of self-worth, which is not always a given, in a special needs class. This, in turn, leads to the students wanting to do things on their own and refusing any situation that would contribute to a sense of helplessness. I can think of two kids who sorely needed that change of situation. The teacher will not cater to them, when they do lapse into a mindset of helplessness, though he does not push them beyond their emotional state. The bar remains high, and when they have returned to recovery mode, he gets them to finish their tasks.

It was a fine thing to see a classroom of this magnitude, having been in others where the student/teacher ratio is too high, the structural and expectation levels low and/or at least one staff member is disgruntled, either with the children or with co-workers.

Three Comforts


November 6, 2020-

My faith in the Divine has brought me three consistent comforts, over the decades. As I sat in the second night of a four-night evening retreat, focusing on Divine Light, I saw an emanation of the first of these: The golden light in a neighbour’s window.

The glow of amber light, often lighting my way in a dark night, has reassured me-whether the street lights of my childhood-saying it was time to go home or the light in a window of a house in a forest, saying that in a time of need, there would be another human soul who might be of aid.

I have spent the past three days working with students in need of self-sufficiency enhancement. The second comfort to me has ever been the voice of a child asking: “May I do this myself?” My answer is always the same: “Go for the gold!” Whether it was a young girl tying her own shoes for the first time, or a little boy writing his own letters and numbers on a page, being present when independence results in genuine strength is a true honour.

The third comfort is the joy of being with others in a gathering, in whatever form the needs of the time provide. In many cases, electronic gatherings are the only way, either because of public health issues or because of the need to communicate with those who live far afield. I have carefully participated in physical gatherings, and as long as precautions are taken by one and all, I will continue to do so, in a limited manner, until the global health emergency is brought under control-in a real sense.

There are many comforts in my life. These are three of the most enduring.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 41: They, Too, Will Walk Tall


July 11, 2020-

Every people has its heroes.

One of the great revelations that has come out of COVID19 is the resurgence of Dineh (Navajo) and Hopi people, who are standing up and taking responsibility in providing for their fellows-especially for the elders. There are those who go out each day, without much rest, and tend to the needs of those in remote parts of the Navajo Nation, bringing critical clean water and other items that are necessary, in fighting the virus. There are those, in the Hopi villages, who bring key items to thei elders, as well, and who watch out for people from outside, who may bring the dreaded pandemic.

These are people with a courageous warrior past, who know how to face even an invisible enemy. They have been hit hard, both by the virus and by the infighting between people inside their respective tribal governments. The people, though, are collectively noticing, and will face down those who are not putting their needs first. They will honour the pandemic warriors, who have swept beyond tribal politics.

There is another part of the world, also with several strong warrior traditions, where people are facing both types of plagues: Africa. I have had several people from that continent approach me as friends-most genuinely, some as mendicants. I have chosen to assist two of the genuine friends, in a concrete and limited manner. Others, as I have anticipated, are emerging-dropping subtle hints that they, too, would like specific assistance.

I am not taking on these additional cases; indeed, as an individual, whose resources are not unlimited, aiding the entire continent-or even more than those with whom I am already involved, is not practical. As a researcher, though, I will post links to organizations which could be contacted by anyone who wishes to rise as a warrior for peace, and assist the people of his/her nation.

Here are several; so my Facebook friends who see this, please take note. I am only one person, and am in late middle age, at that. These organizations, though, are likely to address your personal or communal concerns and issues:

I believe that many of those who are approaching people in the West, in a sincere belief that we have individual fortunes, which can be tapped to the advantage of African peasants, will find it far more advantageous to follow the lead of the continent’s many rising entrepreneurs, several of whom may be found in the organizations listed above.

May every nation find its path to prosperity.

The Sheer Essentials: A Journey to Salt Lake City, Part II


September 18-20, 2014-  The Salt Palace, and Energy Solutions Arena (home of the Utah Jazz, are imposing, spacious edifices.  We were able to switch from one venue to the other, on alternating days, this year.  Next year, both structures will be used simultaneously, for each day of the Convention.



I started off the day with a lovely breakfast of Swedish pancakes, stuffed with lingonberries, and sausage patties.  Coffee was bracing and delicious.  Though Utah is not known as a haven for coffee drinkers, or alcoholic beverage drinkers, for that matter, I had no trouble getting a satisfying cup of joe, nor did anyone desiring a nip or three seem to have to go without.  Coachmans Diner and Pancake House is a large, clean establishment, with hearty meals throughout the day and evening.

The sessions on Days 1 &2 stressed the importance this company attaches to our voluntary adherence to safe preparation and use of essential oils.  What makes these products Certified Therapeutic Grade is the total lack of additives in all our offerings.  Here are some caveats:  Parents using the oils on their children need to exercise common sense.  Oils like oregano and peppermint, being harsh, need to be cut with coconut oil, before being given to people, such as children and seniors, with sensitive constitutions.  Check the label, and if the oil is supposed to be used TOPICALLY, do NOT take  it ORALLY.  More is not better; too much of an oil will counteract the desired effect.  

The free market is a good thing, for essential oils, as well as most other products.  No matter what brand you use, do exercise due diligence in your purchase.  I, for one, will always vet my product, to make sure it’s worthwhile for the customer.  Our mantra is:  The long-term goal of essential oils use is WELLNESS. Essential oils are not snake oils.

Coming back from lunch on Thursday, I spotted a robotic plane (not a drone), controlled by a hand-held remote, coming in for a landing outside Salt Palace.  No innocent bystanders were either scared or hurt in the lunch-time festivities.SAM_2831 Nearby, there is also the pleasant-looking Maurice Abravenel Music Hall.


Salt Lake City spares no expense in providing cultural enrichment to the citizenry.  In 1857, Devereaux House was built, as a literary salon and public meeting place.  It remains an historic site, open to reserved, guided tours.


Day 3 was another series of product demonstrations and celebrations of individual and collective personal achievements. This is as good a place as any to hone one’s self-sufficiency and health & wellness skills.

Here are a supply of prizes, a parade of hard working oils consultants, and a Youth Choir providing the closing songs.  It was a solid three days of instruction for those like me, who are not always brimming with good business sense.




Next, I will close with scenes from visits to Temple Square and Utah’s own Capitol Hill.