I’ve mentioned before that I have a copy of “Here’s to You With Poise”, published by the Cooperative Extension Service, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, January 1971. It was created by Naomi Johnson, extension clothing and textiles specialist at Kansas State University so that women could teach themselves to be poised and graceful. Here is her clever little mantra that was to be repeated daily:
“I know I have the ability to walk, stand, and sit gracefully. I know I can do these things, and I promise myself here and now to begin doing some of them at once. There can be no results without desire. I must guard my thoughts. Each one is a seed which will bring forth fruit after its own kind: Action and results of action.”
Naomi gave us specific instructions for how to walk into a room, how to sit down, and how to generally make a great first impression.
I’ll get back to Naomi in a moment.
In preparation for Easter I am reading the gospel of Luke. I chose Luke because I like his narrative style and because his version of the life of Christ is the only one that mentions much of the childhood of Jesus. I was intent on carefully reading those passages because of the release yesterday of “The Young Messiah”, a movie that presents the “speculative story” of Jesus’ childhood created by Anne Rice. Yes, Anne Rice, originator of the classic vampire tales. The moment I read her name I recalled chatting with her at lunch and listening to her explain why she wrote her vampire story during the middle of the night. My encounter with her haunted me for weeks and I refused to read her book. Never have. So I will probably skip her movie, especially after reading a detailed review of it. I know I’m probably wrong to judge her current work by a thirty-minute encounter with her as a young woman, but I’m still baffled by Hollywood’s complete failure to recreate an accurate story of Noah. The Bible provided them with much more information and details about him and they couldn’t get it right, so I don’t have high hopes for this movie.
The two passages that have stayed with me this week and prompted this post are these from chapter two:
17 When they (the Shepherds) had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
(After the visit to the temple.) 51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.
Mary was a thinker. She didn’t run out and talk about things until she had pondered them and made up her mind. I like to think that God chose her to watch over Jesus because he knew she would be thoughtful and calm.
Back to Naomi.
At first glance her fashion model guidance seems trivial and amusing. But replace her goals with more serious ones and the wisdom of her words becomes obvious.
“I know I have the ability to become healthy by exercising, eating wisely, and abstaining from drugs and alcohol. I know I can do these things, and I promise myself here and now to begin doing some of them at once. There can be no results without desire. I must guard my thoughts. Each one is a seed which will bring forth fruit after its own kind: Action and results of action.”
I know I have the ability to become a wiser person by going to school, reading, thinking…
I know I have the ability to become a kinder person by listening to others, reading my Bible…
You can fill in the blanks with your own goals, but the key to achieving them is to begin now and to keep your mind focused on success, not failure. Action and results. Naomi makes perfect sense. And I think Mary would ponder and approve.