Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I heard this today. And it seemed to fit what I've been feeling:

I don't want you to walk in front of me so I have to follow;
Or behind me so I can't share the journey with you;
I need you to walk along side me and hold my hand so we can travel the road together.

If you have a friend that does this with you, they are worth their weight in gold. Friendship never really can be over or underestimated.

Walden Fan

Monday, January 26, 2009

Mothers and Sons

This week has started off rather odd for me. For some reason I woke up feeling a bit sad. Everything all day was bothering me. Then I suddenly realize what might be wrong--I miss my son. This week he will turn 30 and while it might be a milestone for him, it feels like a milestone for me as well.

Sons are a unique breed. From the time they are born they are moving toward independence. And while every parent wants their children to grow and move forward, it's hard with each life passage: school, graduation, the military, moving away from home, college and final independence. Even while he was in the Marines he phoned home periodically and checked in with us on a regular basis. At several points throughout his quest for independence he moved back home and I grew accustomed to having him around.

This last phase of complete independence (and much needed on his part) has been the hardest of all for me. I miss our chats, and debates. I miss cooking together and talking about life during the process. I'm sure there are many reasons why I rarely see him any more. He has his friends and his life and works more than 40 hours a week. His life is busy and there's little time for much else.

It's hard to believe that 30 years have flown by this fast. It was only yesterday he was playing wi
th GI Joes in his bedroom and dreaming of being in the military one day. It was only yesterday that he talked about going to college in Boston. Both dreams came true for him and I'm sure he has even more he has yet to see fulfilled.

So even though I might be sad today and miss having him in my daily life, I'm also proud of what he has accomplished and pray for him to find his place in this life and have all his future dreams, goals and aspirations come true.

Happy Birthday Ryan,
Mom (Walden Fan)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Future of America

The past few days I have watched with mixed emotions the events that have unfolded in Washington. I understand that it was a very proud day for African Americans. As well it should have been. I understand that so many people were tired of the current administration and just wanted a change. I get it. I really do. But it just bothers me that so many of the proposed policies of President Obama and the democratic party are pulling this country further and further away from God and into the hands of big government.

A few months ago I was reminded of these verses:

I Samuel 8:4-10, 19-21
So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, "You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have." But when they said, "Give us a king to lead us," this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up over Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do." Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king...But the people refused to listen to Samuel. "No!" they said. "We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles." When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord. The Lord answered, "Listen to them and give them a king."

When Saul became king he did exactly what God told Israel he would do. He took away their land. Put their children to work and into military service. Used all the country's resources to wage his own personal battles. The nation of Israel suffered greatly at the hands of Saul until Israel realized they made a terrible mistake and pleaded for God to intervene.

I fear our country got exactly what they asked for: a king. Not in the literal sense, but in the figurative sense as it relates to these verses.

Praying for President Obama and America,
Walden Fan

Friday, January 16, 2009


I've been rereading Walden by Thoreau. The man was a considered a simpleton in his time. And if you read this book, you'll understand why. However, in the midst of his simple ramblings about life, there is great wisdom and truth. He gets to the bare bones of what life is about and finds the words to simply state what we can all easily understand. One of them, has definitely sparked my thought process over the last few days:

Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion. What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates his fate.

We all define and determine our paths in life by the the opinion we have of ourselves. Can we succeed? Are we capable of overcoming? Are we good enough? Do we have what it takes to start over? Is it possible to be a winner? There is great truth in Thoreau's observation.

Those opinions drive us to succeed or fail. They make us keep trying or they cause us to give up. They mold and shape our futures based on what we believe we are capable of pursuing. The question is and always has been, can we change how we feel about ourselves?

Pondering the question,
Walden Fan

Monday, January 12, 2009


I just received the news today that my last living aunt passed away. It hit me hard because of two things: she was the last living relative on my mother's side of the family other than my generation, and it made me aware of my own mortality.

I guess I've been aware of it for quite a long time. I was fairly young when my mother passed away and that began the realization that we are all here on this earth for a short time. When my great aunt passed away a few years ago at 96, we all stood at her graveside and recalled all the great memories we had of our lives with her. She was the matriarch of our family. The solid rock that kept all of us together and afloat. Her passing was a tremendous loss in the family. And today my aunt's passing is as well.

Thoreau says, "most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them". The lesson in death, is to live. Live your life to the fullest so that when your day comes, you have "lived deliberately". Live your life so that those you leave behind are left with your legacy and the memories that help them through the grief.

I wrote about my aunt months ago in a book I am writing. Here's the excerpt:

One particular day we had all gone to the beach, as was our usual practice in the summers. I had just been given one of the newest types of Polaroid black and white cameras: you could develop the picture immediately after it was taken. I was making my way around the beach, taking photos of all my aunts, uncles and cousins. One of my aunts was particularly camera shy. She kept running from me, avoiding the inevitable. I was a persistent little kid. I was determined to get a photo of my aunt with my new camera. After thinking I had given up, she walked away from me, confident that she had won the battle. I quickly snapped my camera, getting a lovely picture of her backside. Once the picture was developed, we all laughed and laughed about the “family photo” of my aunt’s posterior. I know she laughed so hard she peed in her pants that day. I still have that photo and smile every time I remember her laughing as I developed it.

I have wonderful memories of my aunt as a child. And I will keep those memories with me forever. Her legacy? She always made me laugh. What a GREAT legacy!

Rest in Peace Jodee...I will miss you,

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Road Less Traveled

I've never been much of a follower. Or one who conforms to the crowd. I've always taken the road less traveled, not the path of least resistance. Many times I throw away reason to follow my convictions. This path is never popular or well-liked. I've been given all kinds of labels because of it: rebel, trouble maker, infidel, jealous name it. It's hard standing on principle and even harder when you get personally attacked.

Sometimes the road less traveled can be lonely as well. Those around you get gun shy because they don't want to get caught in the crossfire. So you stand on the mountain with your convictions and brace yourself for the onslaught. It always comes. But no matter how much attack or verbal abuse, I won't veer off that road or take the easiest way. Because there are battles to be fought, principles to stand on and values to be held up.

Two roads diverged in a wood
And I took the one less traveled by

And that has made all the difference

Robert Frost

Traveling that road less traveled,
Walden Fan

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

My List

I'm not big into lists. But today I had a million things running around in my head and I had to put them down on paper. I was hoping that once I did I wouldn't feel quite as overwhelmed and be able to make some sort of order out of it. Once I made the list, I thought I'd label each to do item in the list: daily, weekly, monthly, and big project.

When my son was in the first grade, we determined that he had a learning disability. I think he must have gotten it from me. He used to get overwhelmed with his assignments. So much so he couldn't complete any of them because seeing the entire list of them on the chalkboard overwhelmed him so much he just gave up before he started. I sat there and looked at my list and I just wanted to give up.

But...there is a solution. Cover all but one item and focus on that one item until you get it completed. Then uncover the next. It was a lifesaver for my son and it may be the lifesaver I need as well. It might just be why I can't seem to finish one thing because I "multi-task". I do 100 different things all at the same time and can't focus on any of them.

Having an epiphany,
Walden Fan

Friday, January 2, 2009


I was sitting in the drive-thru line at the bank this morning and I realized just how inconsiderate most people have become. They rarely put anyone else first or let someone go ahead of them at the grocery store if they only have a few items. I have to say that lately I've been shocked when someone actually offers me some courtesy. It's a sad state of affairs when it's an abnormality and not a common occurrence. Lately it seems it's gotten worse and that our world has become a "me" place and not a place where we care about others. Here are some of my observations:

The Bank Drive-Thru
Here's a place where people have absolutely no consideration for anyone else's time constraints. It's a drive-thru. Not a teller to transact numerous bank transactions. Inevitably there is someone in line that a/doesn't have a deposit slip, b/doesn't have a pen, c/wants to ask umpteen questions d/has to send the request back and forth 3 or 4 times to the teller before it's complete. These type of transactions should be handled INSIDE. But...why do they care? They are being helped. It's not their problem.

The Toll Booth
Here's the place where people find it necessary to fumble around in their pockets, purses, change cady and even on the floor of the car to find the appropriate toll. If you know you're going to be going on a toll road, why is it so hard to have that change ready when the toll booth appears? It's a simple act of consideration for the cars in line behind you and the toll person.

The Movies
This is where inconsideration abounds. Why is that people can't get there on time? They arrive when the movie starts and cause all kinds of havoc trying to find 5 seats together. Then they proceed to ask people to move to accommodate them. Not to mention the lack of consideration with the noise level they make eating, drinking, talking, texting, answering cellphones, etc. I do not understand why it is so hard to consider there is a theater of people around you trying to enjoy the movie.

The Highways, Streets, and Parking Lots
Why is it necessary to be first? I don't get it. Is it so difficult to let someone in when you're in line for a light, a freeway entrance, or a parking space? This is one of the easiest and courteous things we can do while driving. And yet, people refuse to budge most of the time. When they do, the other cars honk and complain. Honestly...this one just goes beyond all understanding with me.

The Stores
Lack of consideration abounds in the grocery store. People stop in the middle of aisles to do all sorts of things, blocking cart traffic and making it difficult to get to the shelves you are seeking. How hard would it be to find a non-traffic area and have a conversation? Or move the cart to the side to let someone pass? It's just a simple question: am I in the way? If you are, move.

The Airports
I used to call Southwest the cattle plane. It was always a made rush to be number one in line since they didn't have assigned seating. Now, it's improved somewhat with their numbering boarding pass system. However it still amazes me how people will get so angry because they are number 12 and you are 13 and you are NOT standing behind them in line. It happens with other airlines as well. People push and shove to be at the front of their boarding groups. Get out of the way or you will be plowed down.

I don't know what has happened to this world of ours. People used to say "please" and "thank you". People used to hold the doors open for others. People used to let someone in front of them in line if they saw they were in a hurry or had fewer items. Not any more. It's all about "me" and what do I get out of it and am I going to be inconvenienced because I show a little consideration.

Try something in 2009. Let someone in front of you in line at the store. Just do it because you can. Be considerate at the movies, when you're driving, when you're flying, when you're shopping or when you're out in public. People might look at you like you're a zombie, but who knows, maybe your act of consideration will cause someone else to do the same.

Think about it,
Walden Fan

Thursday, January 1, 2009

My 2009 Not-to-do List

It's that time of year--the infamous New Year's resolution lists: lose weight, exercise, stop smoking, diet, learn a foreign language, finish that book. We've all made them. Every year we pull out the pencil and paper and we make a list. And by about January 20th we realize we have no intention of doing any of it and that list has become nothing more than a reminder of how we fail.

So this year, after reading an article in Real Simple magazine, I've decided to make a Not-to-do List instead. I challenge you to do the same. Break the pattern of frustration and failure!

1. I won't let myself be caught up in things I have no control over.
I've realized that most of the things I get stressed out about never happen.

2. I'm not going to worry.
It may give you something to do but it doesn't get you anywhere.

3. I will not try to please everyone.
I've finally realized it's impossible to make everyone happy.

4. I will not save things for "special" occasions.
Every day is a special day and those things can make a routine day more joyful.

5. I will not give in to peer pressure to die my hair.
I've earned every last one of my gray hairs!

6. I won't waste my time with negative people.
It's time to surround myself with people who see the glass half full.

7. I won't over commit.
I'm going to weed out things in my life that are only obligations.

8. I won't say "someday" any more.
Today is the day...carpe diem!

9. I will not take the blame for things that aren't my fault.
Heaven knows there are plenty of things that are.

10. I'm not going to freak out about the economy.
I'll use this time to be more frugal and get back to the basics.

Happy New Year!
Walden Fan