Tuesday, June 29, 2010



     It has always amazed me:  the number of people who work throughout the year in a single job and do not avail themselves of earned vacation time.  Through my years of corporate and other jobs, I had colleagues who would take a few Fridays off during the summer, or add a day or two on to a July 4th or Labor Day holiday, and that was it – leaving sometimes three weeks of vacation days unused and lost when not taken. 

     Summer is not the only time to take a vacation.  Many people prefer fall vacations, and others prefer winter.  However, I advocate taking a length of days away from one’s place of employment for the purpose of renewal and to become refreshed so that one can have a new perspective upon returning.

     Granted, we are in a time when people are working multiple jobs, are covering for positions that have been eliminated, or have limited funds to enable them the luxury of doing much in the way of recreation.  Here are some activities that are simple, inexpensive, and possibly free:

·         Take a long walk in a park or countryside.  Pause to examine the flowers, leaves, trees, and insects, up close.  Take such a walk alone, in silence – without ear buds for music, and without the cell phone on.

·         Create a picnic breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  Have it in a park, yard, or meadow.  Use lovely linens, dishes, glasses, flowers and make it fit for a king or queen.  Do this for a party of 1 or for a friend(s).

·         Open the windows of your house or apartment and listen to the birds chirp, to the sounds of the insects, and feel the breeze.  Play soothing soft music.

·         Begin a journal and make entries about your activities and feelings.  Paste small photos, magazine photos, and memorabilia in it.

·         Spend a morning or afternoon looking through a magazine, old photos, or picture book.

·         Spend time in a library or bookstore browsing through books and magazines.

·         Take a day excursion bus ride to a place of interest.  Bus companies offer packages that include bus fare, entrance fee, meal, and guided tour.  This way, you are carefree and do not have to drive.

·         Spend an hour or more in an art store or hobby store.  Browse and handle the merchandise.

·         Treat yourself to a free afternoon or evening outdoor concert sponsored by your local band or municipal park and recreation department.  Bring a lawn chair.

·         Do something you have never done.  Go somewhere you have never gone.  Cook something you have never cooked.  Eat something you have never eaten.

·         Go to a toy store.  Spend 1 hour browsing and playing with the toys.  Buy yourself one item such as a ball, jacks, bubbles, or whatever strikes your fancy.  Come home and play with it.

·         Spend 1 hour in a fabric store or store where there are samples of textiles for interior decorating or upholstery.  Spend time looking at patterns, feeling the textures between your fingers, and enjoying the colors.

          When you return to work, see what you can retain in how you conduct your day.

©  Dr. Drayton-Craig, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010



The winter was just breaking enough for the children to run about and play outside on the weekends. There were new children joining in with the ones I had come to recognize from last summer. I asked the name of one of the new children and over the weeks we would exchange words as I worked in my yard, or sat outside on those particularly warm March and April days.

Whenever Raul would see me, he found time to fill me in on the latest news about his day. He was in the first grade and he shared that he was living with a foster care mother who had other foster children. Raul, however, was going to return to his original state once the school year ended. It was quite a distance away.

I was always amused when he would greet me because he started each sentence with “Guess what?” Sometimes, I would tease him letting him know he was on his third, “guess what”. Near spring recess he eagerly shouted, “Guess what?” to get my attention. I replied, “What?” He beamed that he had gotten A’s on his report card and the teacher thought he was doing well.

Praising his accomplishment, I told him that if he kept it up and got all A’s on his report card in June, I would buy him an ice cream cone to celebrate. He took me on. From time to time I would ask him how he was coming along in school and he appeared to be confident that he was continuing to do well.

School was out on Thursday and I looked for Raul to hear about his report card – hoping to see him that late afternoon before I left for a speaking engagement. I did not see him. Friday afternoon was busy and as I pulled in the back of the house, Raul was walking in my direction. I motioned for him to come to the car and I asked about the report card. He said, “ All A’s!” with a smile. He added that he had some 4’s and 3’s. I was not sure about what that meant and he assured me that they were good grades for his reading skills.

I praised his accomplishment and asked him what he wanted to be in Life. He said, “a Vet.”

I reassured him how wonderful that was and how possible for him. Upon asking him for his last name, he told me, and I gave him his full name with the “Dr.” added before it, telling him that would be his name once he achieved his goal.

“Guess this means that I owe you an ice cream”, I said, to which he replied, “You sure do!”

Inquiring about his schedule, he was unavailable on Saturday and he indicated that he was leaving for his new home on Sunday and would not be coming back. I looked at my watch and knew that I had to stop and keep my promise because he kept his. He told me the kind of ice cream and sprinkles he wanted, so off I went to get it, returning within 5 minutes.

This would be a farewell to Raul. I told him to promise me that he would always do his very, very best in school and that even if it might be difficult over the years living in different situations, that he would never let anyone take away his education from him, and to remember that he can be Dr. Raul _________. He promised.

Standing by my driver’s door with his ice cream, he looked at me with serious 7- year old eyes and said, “I will never ever forget you.”

It pierced me like an arrow in my gut and my eyes welled up with water.

© Dr. Drayton-Craig, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010



     I am inspired by older individuals who have begun new careers and vocations late in Life and who have a zeal for living, learning and creating well into their 80s and 90s.  With patience and enthusiasm, they hone a new craft and exhibit mastery on hobbies that require skill like art and music.
     I have become enthused by a digital journaling class that has me taking my camera with me daily for practice.  In addition to weekly classes, the small group goes out to various locations for photo shoots together.  As we are beginning to study the styles of renowned photographers to establish our personal preferences, after a shoot this weekend, the group spent time together in the library perusing the oversized photography books by such legends.
     Several of these photographers have carried their passion for creating across fields and across media over a lifetime of hardships, accomplishments, and opportunities while diligently learning how to apply and expand their craft – producing and creating out of their passion well into their late 80s and 90s.
     In sharpening the vision in my mind’s eye to the outward print, I have had several personal “aha” moments regarding my Life by engaging in this process of photographing, making prints, studying the qualities of the print, and journaling with words and pictures - my daily experiences.  I invite you to contemplate two questions I have posed to myself in the process:
1.    My creativity comes from where and goes where?
2.    What is the next stretch – what will personally stretch me to the next level?

© Dr. Drayton-Craig, 2010

Saturday, June 5, 2010



Years ago I took off to spend a considerable length of time in France, exploring the country at my leisure while driving and lingering where I pleased, for as long as I pleased.

I envisioned this trip to be a real adventure of going with the flow and being in the moment. I purposely did not plan hotel reservations and expected to call ahead as I went along. I also took a quick course in driving stick shift for the leased vehicle on order for my arrival.

Little did I know how much of an adventure awaited me: I arrived at the start of a national holiday when most countrymen vacation. It took some doing to find lodging for the first 4 days. My vehicle came with an instruction manual in French and German, and my rusty French was not ready for translating mechanical terminology. My car stalled often because I had not mastered the clutch. I barely knew where I was going because of the language barrier. Smoke and the smell of something electrical emanated from my dashboard on the first afternoon. On the third day, someone pointed out that my gas tank was releasing droplets of gasoline – which scared me sufficiently well after he indicated that the car could explode from a spark. Given this was a long holiday weekend, I could not service my vehicle until I could get to a city on the southern coast several days later.

Need I say that I was a distraught bundle of nerves and full of fear with all of these issues weighing on me? In addition, the exorbitant speed of vehicles on the autoroute was enough to frighten the stripes off a tiger.

I was wrought with worry that a spark might ignite the car. So many days of worry left me with no appetite. I could not take another minute of the stress. While driving, I remember calling out to God and saying aloud, “Maybe this car is going to blow up. Maybe I am going to crash because all of these speeding cars. I cannot stand another minute of this fright. But if this is your plan, so be it! It will happen while I am driving to the Riviera, because that is where I am headed!”

Then something happened. I heard a voice say, “There is that in me that is greater than that in the world.” Also, “God has given me dominion over all things.”

I was shocked to hear it and inspired by these biblical references (1 John 4:4 and Gen. 1:26).  I became new. With this revelation I reminded myself that there was that in me that created the asphalt, the rubber tires, and the metal car! All along I was giving dominion to these things that were created by man and I was letting them run me!

I was new. My spirit was new. No more fear, no more worry. I just let go and knew that God was in charge. From that moment, things got better. I got to each destination with ease. I stopped worrying about the highway signs. I had the best lodging throughout my stay in splendid locations. The trip was so much better after I surrendered to God to take care of things for me. What a lesson.

© Dr. Drayton-Craig, 2010