Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Night in the Mountains

It was 8.20 pm, one summer day in Wyoming, The United States. My family had just had one of the most wondrous holiday driving experience. We went up to a snow-capped mountain unknowingly and it was summer! At several thousand feet above sea level, the weather up at the mountains in Wyoming was perpetually cold with snow always dominating the landscape.
That was only one to two hours ago. And we were still on the road on the lookout for a lodging place to put up for the night. Now as the curtains of the night were drawing down, we were stuck in the middle of nowhere! There was no town, no petrol kiosk, not a single soul. Instead, we were surrounded by an expanse of wilderness and the road sign read “Big Horn National Forest”. There was another not so helpful signboard that indicated one would have to U-turn back as the road ahead would be closed if the weather turned inclement. There was no reception for our hand-phones. There was no street lights. The saving grace were the light reflectors which bounced the light from our car, guiding us up the mountain road. And yes, our GPS which was cranky just now, was working fine. We were all praying that it would remain so.
The elements of nature could be highly unpredictable and anxiety was running high in me. I looked at my husband who was taking the driver seat. He replied with a reassuringly tone “I guess we would just press on.” Along the way, our car was crawling as my husband was unfamiliar with the terrain. He stopped once to avoid a mule deer dashing across the road. We also chanced upon a dead mule deer in the middle of the road. It was knocked down by a passing vehicle and we felt sad for a life lost.
“Mama, you see outside, you see, you see.” My elder boy shouted excitedly with his finger pointing towards the side window of the car. “It is snowing!”
My younger boy who was until now fast asleep, stirred and opened his bleary eyes. His eyes instantaneously widened and he was fully awaken to take in sight of the falling white snow draped the surrounding landscape.
“Daddy, can we go out and play.” He asked innocently.
“No, sweetheart.” My husband replied gently. “Look the temperature outside is subzero.” He pointed to the thermometer indicator in the car.
“We are not dressed for the occasion.” He smiled and stopped the car. “Let’s just take in the sight.”
It was then snowing intensely and my husband decided to stop and wait out for the storm to be over.
“Country road take me home, to the place I belong....” I began to sing and smiled encouraging at my two children to join me to keep our spirits high.
Snowstorm cleared shortly. Somehow up at mountains it was not as dark as I initially feared. There was still moonlight and it also lit up our moods somehow.
Just then, we saw a pair of red eyes staring at us straight in the face. It was the rear light of another car. Somehow, we were glad that to know that there was another human being in this place. We then tailed it as closely as possible and it led us out of the mountains before turning into a farm. We felt a strange swirl of relieved that we were out of the mountain but sad that while the driver in front was home, we were still in search of the next town, where the modern day comfort beckoned.
We passed by two small towns with a population of 500 to 800 before we reached the next bigger town and called it a day. For all that we have gone through, it has taught a very invaluable life lesson.
“While we can be prepared, unexpected events can still happen. Persevere and believe that good things will come.”
We went up the Big Horn Forest by accident. Yet, it gave us the unique opportunity to test our strength of our nerves and our ability to remain calm in adversity. This will help us through to face with the toughest challenge in our life. After all, we have done in when our lives were at stake.
It is the same thing for us toastmasters. We need to prepare for our speeches but sometimes the unexpected can still happen. Perseverance and belief is our ticket out of the situation.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

We can make a difference!

I got this beautiful article from Drs Philip and Jane Mountrose. Enjoy!

Most want to make a difference. But how do you actually do it?

First, feel good by acknowledging what you have already accomplished: goals you have reached, people you have helped.

Then remember that making a difference starts from within. To succeed, it's essential to develop and ongoing success mindset. As your vibration stays stronger longer,  it naturally translates into action. Then you manifest success.


So what gets in the way? It's not about comparing yourself to others, which is a common showstopper. Yes, learn and be inspired by others; just remember that you are unique. It's about pursuing your own self-actualizing path.

Also, it’s not about being perfect,  getting those imaginary ducks in a row. Waiting for the perfect time - another common obstacle - is just as self-defeating.  


1. Have a vision. Intend for your picture of how your individual talents and skills can help others make a better world to come into view. Then develop a mission to carry your own personal crusade to better yourself and others.

"I use my ______[talents/skills] to help people __________."

2.  Use strategies. These approaches will then actualize your dreams and goals that emerge from your vision. For example, develop your own business, or give 110% at your job to attract greater possibilities.

You can also help solve people's problems. If you want to make a living from helping others, choose those who are willing and able to pay for your products/services.

To succeed, find the best practices in your chosen area for success.

3. Have a daily success routine. Successful people regulate their lives so they are "fit for success."

Practices we and others use include:

eating and sleeping well
exercising regularly
reading positive books; listening to success audios
associating with upbeat, successful people
meditating and affirming expansive  ideas

As  a note, the above takes self-discipline, to which you want to dedicate yourself for your own success and self-actualization. 


One of our taglines is that "we help people step up and make a difference." You must be willing to "step up" to make a difference.

This may even include getting so frustrated  that you no longer can tolerate staying where you are.

Find a way to step up today (the best time to do it).

Stay with it. Never, ever give up; simply learn and grow from the challenges. Then you will be proud of your legacy: "I made a difference."

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Yosemite National Park - Field or Meadow?

This is one of the series of blog posts whose intent is to document what we have seen and learnt in our vacation:

Long before Euro-Americans arrived in Yosemite (pronounces as "yoh-sem-i-tee) Valley, the Ahwahneechee kept the meadow open by periodicaly burning them, eradicating the undergrowth and most young seedlings. This encouraged the growth of desirable plants, such as deer greass, which was used in basketmaking.

Unlike the single-species sameness of a lawn or a planted field, a meadow is a place of amazing diversity, home to many species of plants and animals.

In the Sierra Nevada, meadows are low at lower elevations, like Yosemite Valley (elevation 4000 feet). Only a few places in the entire park have the right miz of soil, fire frequency and water to sustain a medow. Many of Yosemite's meadows have been gradually isappearing, lowsing ground to the encircling forest.

Some meadow residents: Coyote, Mule deer