A few years back, right about this time of year, I made a phone call to a local landscape company to order mulch for the flower beds around the house.  I left a detailed message of why I was calling and what I wanted, probably something like, 

    “Hi, I am in need of 212 yards of your brown mulch, we have not ordered from you in the past, but I hear good things about your service. If you could please give me a price and when you could deliver to our neighborhood I would really appreciate it.  Thanks, Mary Yana Burau.”

There may have been more to the message, I don’t remember.  The owner called later that afternoon and told me who he was, gave me a reasonable price and said that they could accommodate us within the week and then he said, “Hey what is it you do?”  I didn’t know what meant and probably said something like, “What I DO?”  Yeah, you left a really detailed message you sounded so nice, people just don’t call here like that. I looked you up and what is It’s a Great Day To?”  I explained that I am a writer and a very short description my book, what I write about and said something like, I really don’t offend anyone, I focus on the things we have in common. “ “Oh.  Well you must not say much then, but you do seem like a very nice person.  Thanks for calling us.”  From there I paid and mulch was delivered later that week.

The house looked pretty good after the mulch was refreshed.

  I didn’t think much of that phone call after that. I may have told my husband and maybe the kids about it, yet this week, it came back to me after I heard a recording of the the commencement address from Saturday at the University of Michigan given by Brad Meltzer.  Meltzer is a ‘92 grad of U of M, and then went on to Columbia Law.  He is also the author of several best selling books for adults and children.  His message, titled, “Make Magic” left graduates and those celebrating alongside, with a positive message they will remember long after the tassels were turned. The essay was upbeat, insulted no one and inspired graduates to go out and make a difference with “Magic.”  The speaker went on to discuss the four types of magic and how they applied to life. He added, when applicable, some examples from his life, but there was no doubt that this message was NOT about Brad, it was about and those in his audience.  Like any great magician, he had some surprises near the end of his ‘performance,’ and I have to say, he brought tears to my eyes.

And it WAS magical. One of those surprises-an example of one type of magic, making something/someone appear, Desmond Howard. Thanks Brad …Go Blue💙

As we go through life, we all experience ups and downs.  We trust, sometimes get let down and as we get older it is easy to become skeptical of schemes and people we may or may not be able to trust.  A friend of mine, refers to their ‘bubble’ of friends and trusted individuals.  This refers to their faith community, their friends, their family and those people from their plumber to their family doctor to anyone else they have developed a long relationship with, who they know they can trust. My friend is a little older than myself and I used to sort of chuckle about “Their Bubble.” However, the older I get, “The Bubble“ makes more sense to me.  The more you get along in like, the more you see the value of those trusted people in your life, the friends you know who will be there for you, the hairdresser who fits you in when an unexpected event comes up and you need a little help, the lawn guy who agrees to do your lawn on a different day because he knows you are having a party, the car dealer who helps you out when your car is hit and you need help navigating the insurance, etc.  When I look at my life, although I have not intentionally created a “Bubble,” I have a community of very kind people in my life.  The people in my life are so good to me and I try to reciprocate in kindness to them, although, not intended whatsoever as ‘repayment’ but rather just as a MO of how you treat people. No one is perfect, but the intent with these people I am talking about, is that they really seem to get up in the morning with the attitude of “I am going to be kind“ or “that’s just the way they are.“ REALLY!! We keep in touch, and even if it’s a while since the last call, conversation or dinner around a table, we pick up just where we left off and we always think the best of one another.  All of us ‘have one another’s back.’ We are just there for one another in celebratory times and in the tough times, willing to be there and roll up our sleeves to solve a problem or lend a listening ear. 

     So with all that in mind, when I run into, experience or come across someone who is not honest or decent, or takes advantage of me or my family, it does catch me off my game.  When I see it in the news, going on in the world around us, it makes me sad.  It’s sad to see a decline across the board in our society in all the areas of concern we read about it and no matter who you are or where one stands, there are a myriad of problems.  We see institutions we used to have respect for and we question what has happened to common sense, living by The Golden Rule and we wonder where we are going as a country and society.  It is very easy to get disillusioned and discouraged .We may think, “what can I do? The problems are just so big, there’s nothing I can do.”  Safety, the law, lack of respect for public or private property, lying, public/figures political figures who lie, misbehave, children being introduced to subjects before they can understand and introduced to topics that should be left up to parents. This all can get one feeling that they want to venture very little from ‘Their Bubble.” So much has changed, it has seemed since I became an adult. At times, it seems as if good is bad and bad is good. Excellence, hard work and academic performance used to mean entrance to highly lauded programs. Not necessarily as of late. College life seems so different since my undergraduate days when the Wolverines were known as “The Leaders and the Best,” that is touted in the school song, “Hail to the Victors.” We LOVED that!

     Sometimes, it can be one interaction, one chapter of a book, one lecture or podcast that can cause us to think differently about a topic or at least spark our interest to be hungry for more knowledge or inspiration.  I have to say, that’s what happened this week, after hearing Brad’s address, as I ventured from my Bubble.  After hearing a short clip from Brad Meltzer’s commencement address, I searched for the entire presentation. Here is the You Tube Link:    https://youtu.be/D1c_UCoRV7Q?si=D-UWh4dvbTJHrLMI  I sat down and watched it.  It was so good that I watched it again and once again.  His challenge to “unleash your kindness,” jus to bring up one of several very good points in the message.

My book, It’s a Great Day To…Gather Around a Table in our kitchen.

     When my book came out, I was proud of the outcome and mostly the message, that the people around the table are more important than the food. It‘s a simple message, it really doesn’t offend anyone, and it’s a message of goodness.  I know that gathering around a table with those we love has nothing but a positive outcome.  I took my book to two local television stations and they were not interested.  I wrote to a Detroit magazine, sending a copy, I heard nothing. They didn’t respond to my follow up emails. These events could have discouraged me and could have led me to throwing in the towel of goodness and writing, yet they did not, I knew that my idea of gathering around a table had helped nurture a husband to have a successful career to have a good meal and good conversation to come home to and three children had been raised on that philosophy and they now are very successful in their own fields, two with families of their own and one with his own company.  There was nothing needed to prove.  I had lived it, it worked and I was and still am willing to share my experience and wisdom. The local Barnes and Noble heard of my book publication and contacted me to arrange a book signing. There were people interested. Other opportunities soon followed. What was determined was it was the writing, teaching and inspiring that was the most fun.  Yes, it was a good thing to write a book and it is something to be so proud of. I look at it everyday and refer to it several times a week to confirm a recipe and the message is paramount. Yet to have an opportunity to write essays to inspire, entertain and teach, that is rewarding to me. Why would I not want to use my talents and gifts I have been given to help make the world a better place? There will always be nay sayers or those who aren’t on the same page as we are, that’s as expected as the sun coming up in the morning, but there also people willing to look at the cup half full, who will search out others who have the same attitude.

Congratulations to Brad on all of his successes and to his son who graduated on Saturday. Here are some photos with others celebrating, including his son who graduated on Saturday. Also included are some of Brad Meltzer’s books💙

     What Brad’s Meltzer’s message said to me was that there are good people in this world who are willing to share their talents to inspire without dividing or offending.  There were no boos during the address in the BIG HOUSE and there were cheers when he challenged the graduates to “Unleash your kindness.”  The guy at the lawn care place a few years ago was wrong.  Someone can speak or write without offending others.  We all have people we love in our life and want the best for them and ourselves. We want to be safe, loved, able to take care of ourselves (and those we love) and to be able to pursue happiness.    

     I was inspired to go to Brad’s website and read more about his books and projects. He has used his success to inspire others in a very positive way. He was able to find the American Flag that was at Ground Zero after September 11, 2001.  He has a big audience on social media and put out a message inquiring about the flag.  Well, it was found.  His children’s books teach kids about memorable people who made a difference throughout history. Even his website sends out nice vibes.  I was able to send a message of how much I enjoyed his address Saturday and the highlights most memorable.  I received an email that he will get back to me that it might take a week or two but HE will get back to me. Not many best selling authors are that accessible.  Not surprised though after hearing his moving words. 

  And I thought goodness was gone…maybe there‘s a change coming.   So maybe that means that there could be more Great Days ahead…I think so ❤️

Author, Mary Yana Burau 💙