Category Archives: Coping

A word to my staff

I’ve been richly blessed with wonderful friends who have been very quick to hand me leads on job opportunities since last Tuesday’s bloodletting. Having lined up something for myself, I am now collecting leads and passing them along to former CW staffers who might want to put in applications.

If all of the folks who worked at Community World would be so kind as to e-mail me their resumes and a list of things they might be interested in doing, I will be happy to play matchmaker by forwarding information about possible job opportunities to those who are qualified for the positions I hear about. Just e-mail me at sundayjohn66 (at) mac (dot) com, and I’ll make sure to connect you with anything I hear about that sounds like it might be up your alley. Once you find something, you can pay it forward by doing the same for the ones who haven’t found anything.

I will, of course, be happy to write letters of recommendation for anyone who needs them, too.

And if any of my readers in the Tulsa area are aware of job openings that might be a good fit for some very bright, talented reporters, editors, and proofreaders whose integrity and work ethic I can absolutely vouch for, please let me know so I can put you in touch with them.

Thanks a bunch,



Every human need

“Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need.”
— Mary Baker Eddy

My department at the Tulsa World was eliminated Tuesday, and all of the employees were terminated with no warning.

There’s no good way to lay people off, but there are approaches that are more compassionate, thoughtful, and gentle than others. Unfortunately, our company’s leadership didn’t choose any of those approaches — which made my job as an editor that much more challenging as my close-knit staff and I struggled to make sense of the situation.

At a moment like this, the idea of supply becomes very important.

Two thousand years ago, Christ Jesus admonished his followers to “take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on” (Matt. 6:25) and to “take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.” (Matt. 6:34)

Over the years, I’ve gotten pretty good at “taking no thought” for where my next meal, my next car payment, or my next paycheck is going to come from. I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about finances. Mrs. Eddy’s assertion about divine Love meeting every need is so firmly embedded in my consciousness — and has been demonstrated so many times in my life — that nothing the human experience can throw at me is likely to shake it loose.

For me, then, the challenge Tuesday was not in figuring out what to do next. I already know my needs will be met; in fact, by the time I pulled into the driveway Tuesday afternoon, I’d already landed a gig making alligator burgers and chicken-fried steak at the Rock Cafe on Route 66 in Stroud.

The big challenge for me Tuesday was in controlling my mama-bear streak.

As the situation unfolded, I had some good intentions about getting through it without anger or profanity, but the publisher’s cavalier treatment of those who live paycheck to paycheck left a pretty foul taste in my mouth, and when I saw the effect his actions seemed to be having on my staff, whom I love dearly … well, I’m afraid Mama Bear roared. And growled. And snarled. And cussed like a gangster in a Quentin Tarantino movie.

But here’s the thing: All that roaring and growling and snarling and cussing didn’t help Mama Bear’s cubs one little bit. It didn’t bring back their jobs. It didn’t elevate their thought. It didn’t show them what they needed to do next. It just reinforced the anger and fear and frustration we all felt when the announcement was made.

I’m still pretty mad at Yoko the publisher for breaking up the band my staff. But now that the initial shock is behind me and I’m not looking at a roomful of stricken faces and teary eyes, I know what I need to do:

I need to keep knowing that we all have the same Father and that divine Love meets every human need (and not just mine), and I need to dig in my heels and refuse to accept this false suggestion that the actions of another human, however callous, could somehow keep any of us from seeing the blessings that the Father is pouring out on us every minute of every day.

Every human need, guys. Always. I promise. And I can’t wait to see what amazing adventures the Father has in store for all of us in the coming weeks.

With much love,

Changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes

It’s a glorious day in Red Fork — dazzling blue skies, blazing sunshine, and warm temperatures. I’ve got Jimmy Buffett on iTunes, an afternoon off, a head full of dreams, and a grand old road calling my name. I’ll have some deep thoughts to share later today, but for the moment, I’m just going to get on my road and have a marvelous day, and I defy anybody to stop me.

(That’s right, Eye Candy — I’m talkin’ to you.)

Film at 11, kids. In the meantime … enjoy your afternoon, wherever you are.


It is done.

The skies were gray and oppressive this evening as I changed from khakis into work jeans, pulled on my battered old Birkenstocks with the hole in the bottom, and headed outside to find out whether I had enough love to sacrifice one hen for the safety of the rest of the flock.

Ron moved the work table from the deck to the yard while I went back to the garden to collect our little inmate from our avian version of Ellis Unit One, where she’d been serving two days in solitary confinement for attacking another hen and attempting to instigate a riot in the chicken tractor. I felt a little pang of guilt when I saw that for the second day in a row, she’d laid an egg in her lonely prison cell.

I’d modified an old pair of pantyhose to serve as a sort of makeshift straitjacket to keep Honey from beating her wings and flailing about in panic as she finished this phase of her journey. The restraint seemed to calm her, and I held her as gently as I could and spoke to her softly as I took her to the table, trying to keep the experience from being more traumatic for her than it had to be.

Tiny pellets of ice bounced off my jacket as I began dressing the bird, with Ron reading step-by-step instructions from a book on farming while I worked.

The kill itself was neither as clean nor as quick as I’d intended — certainly Honey knew what was going on, which I didn’t want, and I’m afraid she may have felt pain for a few seconds — but I daresay I did a better job than the mass-scale processors sometimes do, and I know my hen had a longer and much happier life here than she would have on a factory farm, which I hope makes up for my clumsiness at the very end.

The whole experience was much less disturbing than I expected. I don’t know whether that’s a good thing, but at least I know now that I can kill my own supper, and I know I can do whatever it takes to protect my animals from harm. And that, I think, is valuable.


Weathering the storm

I left my parents’ house at 10 a.m. Monday and got home roughly 11 hours later, after dipping south through Arkansas to avoid the ice storms and downed power lines along the I-44 corridor.

I came into a dark house, put the dogs out, and wandered out to the backyard to find icicles hanging from every imaginable surface. Amazing how an ice storm can turn ordinary objects into something extraordinary:









When I rolled into town around 9:30 p.m. Monday, the only spot in Red Fork with any lights on was Ollie’s Station Restaurant. My neighborhood was dark and silent, and broken branches littered the streets, some still clinging to trees and scraping the windshield as I passed. The roads themselves were clear, making it hard for me to grasp the magnitude of the storm.

Here at the House of the Lifted Lorax, our woodstove and gas water heater kept us warm and comfortable despite recordbreaking power outages. I got a lot of reading done by the light of an LED headlamp and learned a few things that will help the next time we have an outage.

I’ve got tons of photos of Jamie from my trip home, but Ron just got home from work, and we need to clean the refrigerator and head to the grocery store so we can replace the stuff that got too warm on the deck today, so I guess I’ll get offline now.

Hope you’re warm and comfortable, wherever you are.