Monday, August 30, 2010



     Many a good idea longs to be brought to fruition, but does not manifest as fruit because its owner does not take the risk to take actions to bring it into manifestation.  Or, its owner does not stand the test of time to weather the set-backs and delays in having it come to fruition.  I have come to learn that it takes a vision with action, along with tenacity, to see a goal through to its end.  In addition, it takes an abiding faith in God to weather the process. 
     I have seen people give up on dreams just short of their realization, sometimes never realizing how close they were.  The hardest part can be near the end.  It can also be at the beginning or in the middle.  There are also times, when the entire journey to create something is one struggle after another and there are no easier periods in the process.

     During my walk today, I remembered a journey I took to France many years ago and how incredibly hard the first day of my adventure had been from the time I arrived.  The playback in my mind’s eye this morning was of me at my wit’s end late that afternoon driving to a particular location.  With everything going wrong, especially with my vehicle, I was contemplating throwing in the towel and aborting the journey.  As I sat in the center of what seemed like the biggest gridlock I had ever seen (caused by my lifeless car in the middle of the intersection), I just wanted to give up.  At that time, images ran in my mind about how to leave the vehicle with the keys right there and walk away.  Then something came over me and I breathed deeply with a momentary sense that I should try again to get the vehicle to start.  I tried, and this time it did.  As the traffic began to flow again, I found that the very next intersection was the street I had been seeking the entire drive.  I was one street away from my destination when I contemplated giving up.  I truly came so close to where I needed to be, yet, in my mind I was so far away that I was ready to give up.


     The process of awaiting the release of my book, Stepping Stones To Success, was also a challenge.  While things had progressed nicely all along, near the end of the process there were delays upon delays.  I had signing events scheduled since May but as we approached May, then June, week after week, I had to cancel these events and wait.  It was literally out of my hands, so there was nothing physically that I could do to make things happen.  It took my steadfast faith that God is in charge and things materialize on His schedule, not mine.  Things finally did work out and I am happy to announce my book signing tour:  Click here for the schedule

     I am required to have the vision, take the actions to create it, keep the faith, and wait patiently for the Harvest.  God brings forth His fruit in His season.

© Dr. Drayton-Craig, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010


     The figure stooped to wipe the baseboard and get the dirt out of its crevices.  This was not some figment of my imagination, but rather my son trying to clean the vestiges of previous semesters of students who had inhabited the room he was now renting in this house containing ten males.  Yet, he wanted his mom there to supervise how he should order his room.

     It amazed me to see this young man seeking, on his own, to clear soot from the window sill, remove the soot laden drapes, and vacuum the rug.  I was amazed because I had not gotten a glimpse of this behavior in my house.  He escaped many such tasks by spending the weekends of his youth at his father’s home.  I never got to see him climb up and replace new curtains on a rod.  Nor had I seen this young man voluntarily wash surfaces of bookcases and desktops like he was doing in this room.  I stood back and admired how he washed the inside drawers of the dresser without any prompting from me.

     He is an expert at cleaning a bathroom, for that was his job at home since he was about eight years old.  As he was cleaning his room, he actually said, “Mom, wait until next week.  I’m going in the bathroom and really do a job on it. Then I’m going to have these guys follow guidelines for how to maintain it.”  This child of mine even picked out new shower curtains and rings at Target earlier that day, saying, “This is my gift to the house.”  When we returned to the house I checked out the existing curtains in the bathroom.  Sure enough, “My son is honing a discerning eye,” I thought. Good for him!  As I suggested how he could remove the mold collecting over the bath tiles – semesters of neglect by students and a landlord, my son had us return to Target for a bucket, rubber gloves, and cleaning supplies.

     The thing is, as he was going around the baseboard, he mumbled, “This is the second time in two days that I’ve said I know how to do something because my mom prepared me for it since I was a child.  Remember when you had me crawling around the living room and dining room baseboard and up the staircase?” he said.  It suddenly dawned on him that many of the tasks I required of him did have a place and value.  He actually said to me, “Why don’t you write a book about parenting?”  I hit the jackpot!

     Somewhere along the way from childhood until senior year, they grow up, mothers

© Dr. Drayton-Craig, 2010

Mother and Son

Monday, August 16, 2010


     The day has begun with the alarm clock announcing the day’s start.  The coffee machine is making a favorite brew, and the TV is on with the daily morning hosts and their lineup of guests, weather, and news.  Then it is off to work with meetings, phone calls, emails, and assignments or tasks.  We start the cycle of running and multi-tasking once that alarm clock gives the signal until we put our heads on the pillow in the evening.

     In the early years of raising my son, we would rise and use quiet time to get centered, pray, read the Bible, and meditate.  I began that with him when he was five years old so that he did not leave the house scattered and unprotected, and that he learned to put God first in his Life.  After the quiet time, I would turn on the local radio station as we got ready for school and work.  Over time, I stopped turning on the radio (I never turned on the TV in the morning except for winter storm related reports and school closings). 

     For more than a decade I have started my day in quiet, with prayer time and quiet as I move about.  Quiet.  I use to rise an hour or one and a half hours before my son awakened just for my private quiet time.  Now, quiet time has become a necessary component of the start of my day, especially for the work that I do.  It is absolutely necessary that I align my day with God, and in the silence, I receive the material that I need to do my work, and I hear the actions, and tasks that are required of me to complete this work without hindrance so that I maximize my output.  In the past year, I have dedicated several hours each morning to this essential period of time.  If I don’t have it, I feel scattered and my output is lessened. 

     I attended a conference in Washington, DC this past weekend and it was interesting to hear several people mention that “multitasking” is not the way to go.  Rather, one speaker recommended that we have focused intention in our work day in the form of 90 minute segments.  In other words, he suggested that we do not do the following at the same time:  read emails while glancing at a document on the desk, while talking on the telephone, while eating lunch.  That is multi-tasking.  Instead, do each thing with focused intention…90 minutes segment after 90 minutes segment, all day.

     These are two suggestions to help make your day more meaningful, fruitful, and aligned with your purpose for being:  Practice quiet in the morning, with intentional focus during the day.

© Dr. Ethel Drayton-Craig, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010


     It was a lovely afternoon and I decided to take a drive in the country and stop in a town that I enjoy visiting every now and then.  Coming upon a restaurant I always wanted to try, I decided to relax and dine al fresco in the shaded backyard of the restaurant. 

     I was reminded of people’s lack of social graces, for shortly after my waitress greeted me and brought me water, a young man left his group, came to my table, proceeded to pull out a chair and sit down to start a conversation.  About one year ago a woman did the same thing.  Whatever happened to the politeness of greeting someone, introducing yourself and asking if you may join someone at his/her table for a few moments?

     I am glad it happened because right then and there I knew I had the subject for this week’s blog.  For next, my attention was directed to the young woman, standing with a group.  She laughed loudly – very loudly, like a donkey, for all on the patio to hear.  Before I knew it, she was at a table of different friends at the other end of the patio where she would occasionally rise, walk a few steps, light a cigarette and “hold court” from her standing position.

     It was quite amusing to watch a foursome of newly seated, middle-aged people all turn at once to look at her at the table when she belted out a series of laughs.  Yep!  Sounds like a donkey, I thought.

     Last week it was the young waitress in a restaurant who called me, a person about three times her senior, “sweetie” every time she asked me something, brought me something, or took away something.  Don’t restaurateurs monitor their staff and give them pointers?  I wondered this as I reached the last “sweetie” I was going to take.

     Then, of course, is my pet peeve which my friends know just sets me off:  watching people, especially women, drinking beer out of bottles.  This is the new chic: NYC restaurants, wedding receptions, dinners, and hosted gatherings.  I told my friends that in June I watched a bride holding a beer bottle exit the front entrance of a ritzy hotel in a town next to mine, with her bridal party and photographer.  As he was getting them arranged, she was taking swigs from the bottle and passing it around on the front steps.  About one hour earlier, she arrived to those same front steps in a horse drawn carriage – with all the trappings of elegance.  After watching her, I shook my head, and talked to myself all the way to my car, wondering, “Where is her mother?”

     Let me not forget those college tours I went on with my son, in which tour guides and Admission staff frequently referred to the group as “you guys”.  I am not a guy!  I am a woman.  Further, I am a parent.  You are asking me to finance an education in excess of $50K a year.  It is inappropriate to call me a guy!  Even if you are trying to relate to the applicant, why is it appropriate to refer to your female students and applicants as “guys”?

     It amazes me, also, the number of “educated” young people who eat as if they are still holding their baby spoons – the ones with the loop.  Who tells people about protocol anymore?  When I grew up, class transcended socio-economic level.  It was expected of everyone.

     In case you are thinking that it does not matter, I am also reminded of my client some years back.  I always thought of that company as the “gentleman’s gentlemen”.  They pursued everything with the rigor of excellence.  I sat in the senior partner’s dining room next to the senior vice-president on one side and a young man whom I surmised, was their “best” and “brightest”, on the other side.  We sat amid original paintings of the masters, and a tuxedo clad waiter replete with a humidor, after dinner, when the senior VP leaned over and whispered in my ear.  He said, “That young man was supposed to leave in two days to open and head up the new Paris office.  It was called off after the President of the company took him to a “farewell” dinner earlier that week and observed his manners.”  The VP said, “He is our best, and he would have had a great career there, but the company cannot afford to have him alienate and offend potential French clients.  You see, so much of the business is done over meals.”

© Dr. Drayton-Craig, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010


          A few days ago I was in a store trying on clothes.  I found an outfit that I and my sales representative liked.  The curtain of the next dressing room opened to the common mirrored area and the woman was wearing the same outfit.  I liked it on me and it was perfect on her:  Absolutely perfect in fit, color, and tasteful style for her.  It fit her like she was a model.  Yet she took one look at herself and said that she would never wear anything like that as she pointed to a small (tiny tiny) low abdominal bulge.  She verbalized her dislike of it (most women I know would gladly trade theirs for her almost non-existent bulge).

     The sales representative let her know how wonderful she looked in it and how perfect the fit was.  I told her that she looked exquisite.  She didn’t believe it.  I reassured her that I have a critical eye and followed it up with my credentials: I was a former New Yorker and I know style (smile).  She still wasn’t having it.  Then I got next to her in the mirror to reassure her that she had no bulge to warrant concern – we shared frontal and side views standing side by side.  Clearly, she could see how much fuller I was than she.  The sales representative then brought her a caftan shawl that would add coverage and a striking dimensionality to the ensemble.  I liked the look so much, I decided to add that to my purchases.  Then the sales representative brought her a belt and showed her how to wear it so that there would be no perception of a bulge.  The lady still could not see how fabulous she looked.

     She went back into her stall and came out later with a dark casual frumpy jean and top (at considerably more money).  My jaw dropped open as my head and body slumped in disbelief!  I took one look at the sales representative, looked back at the lady, and I could not contain myself.  I said, “And you’re going to pass up that outfit for this!?”

     I gave up.  All afternoon I thought about my dressing room friend.  It seemed so tragic to see a mature woman, in a store catering to styles for the mature woman, idealizing a body type that I and most of us might not have had even in our 20s – unable to see her own beauty at 40..something, 50..something, or 60..something.  Why it seemed so tragic to me is that as I get older, I realize more and more that each day might be the last day in this body.  I am going to love it and thank God that I’ve had all of these years in this body. 

     Thank God I don’t have a body or a mind of a teen or 20 year old.  My body is rich with stories and lessons of a Life spanning decades.  That is my blessing today.
© Dr. Drayton-Craig, 2010