March 29, 2014

Floor Joy

Floor Joy
By John R. Greenwood

Floor-joy-minutes sooth all pain from the inside out. There is no sunshine whose rays could warm the heart with such connection and calm. A bundle of boy, playful and curious, sitting baby level with the father of his. This scene pulls to the surface a reminder of the days when I would lay eye to eye with my own sons, Matchbox and coloring books scattered across the room of living and life. Time escaped somewhere when my back was turned, only to return with the sound of a babbling baby telling his tales of discovery. My breathing, reduced to a snails pace, turns the moment into a slow-motion movie. 

Hang Up And Drive

Hang Up And Drive
By John R. Greenwood

I listened to a story today. That story inspired me to write this one. It’s about death. It’s about living. It’s about changing our culture one cell phone at a time. It’s about speaking up. It’s about speaking out. It’s about a young woman named Jacy Good. If you read one thing today please read this short but important piece about why you should follow Jacy's plea to, “Hang Up and Drive.” 

I recently attended New York Motor Truck’s Safety and Education Symposium in Albany. It was there that I was fortunate enough to meet Jacy Good. Jacy is one of the bravest women I have ever had the honor to meet. Jacy spoke  to a packed room on the dangers of distracted driving. She called it a global epidemic. When 15 people a day die from things like talking on a cell phone it is indeed an epidemic. Imagine the public outrage if 15 people a day died on our nations highways from a snipers bullet. Because cell phones are so ingrained in our lives we seem to find these deaths acceptable- they are not. When you listen to Jacy Good’s story you will agree that one death from distracted driving is too many. Both of Jacy’s parents died on the way home from her college graduation. Jacy came as close to death as you can get. She was so badly injured she was given a 10% chance of survival in the weeks after the crash. After a dozen plus days in a coma, months in the hospital, and years in rehabilitation, she emerged as a young woman with no parents, a loving brother, and a supportive boyfriend who is a hero in his own right. This post will include some links to Jacy’s story and her website I encourage all my driving friends, coworkers, and readers to take the time to learn more about this amazingly proud and brave young lady. She is now a wife, and advocate for safe driving. 

Jacy’s story really had an affect on me. I am not what you would call a cell phone junkie. I have a company cell phone and it never leaves my side. I use it sparingly and it has no texting abilities. My job description insures that my phone is just as likely to go off at 2am as it is 2pm. There is a 98% chance that when it rings it will be a problem and not a call from the NYS Lottery. When it comes to distracted driving it’s the people under my supervision that are the ones I want to protect most. I do my very best to keep them safe and encourage them to do everything within their power to keep others safe. The best way for them to stay out of harms way is for them to use their skill, experience, and common sense at every turn. Safe driving has been my life for many years and as Jacy pointed out, the world is suffering from a global epidemic called distracted driving. We have created a dangerous atmosphere out on the blacktop. Simply look around out there and you will see how bad it is. We could all write a book on the insane things we witness on our highways. 

I wrote this piece for a number of reasons; one is fear. I don't want to be involved in an accident. I don't want to see anyone involved in one. It is my job to prevent them and I take it very seriously. One thing is clear. You need to put your full attention into the task of driving. It's not something that should be secondary when behind the wheel. The problem is that we as a society don't take things seriously until they knock at our own front door. Only then do we say,"I should have listened." We wait until the clock strikes to take action. My hope would be for you to check out Jacy's website and do some homework now before something happens. Meeting her face to face really touched a nerve with me. Because she is the age of my own children it made me realize what she must face on a daily basis. I think it is important to listen to a true life and death story to understand the full aftershock a tragedy like Jacy's has. 

I walked away from that two day conference with one thing reverberating through my mind; speak up and speak out. I felt empowered by another person's tragic story. The other point to be made is how her resolve to find out what happened to cause the accident that took her parents resulted in her advocacy. Her loss ignited a mission to save others from the same fate. Her commitment to spreading the word about the dangers of distracted driving is inspiring. I find her strength along with her husbands to be most admirable. 

The problem of distracted driving is not going to be solved easily. Technology and additional laws will swell to mountainous levels trying to smother an issue that you can eliminate today without doing anything more than shutting off your phone. There are many tips and advice out there but the simple answer is to simply hang up and drive. 

I am a Certified NYS Defensive Driving Instructor and I now have two war cries:
  • Keep a Safe Following distance
  • Hang up and Drive
Anyone who knows me and has taken one of my courses knows that my pet peeve is following distance. I now have two. If everyone you encountered on your way to the mall would follow these two simple rules, think about how much safer you would feel. Think about how much safer your friends, family, and neighbors would be. 

You can't control others. You can control yourself, start there. Speak up too. Don't allow someone else to put you at risk. If your friend picks up a phone while they're driving, think about Jacy Good. Think about me. Think about how much you enjoy the love of family and friends. Why would you let someone else put that at risk for you. We can do this. We must do this. Jacy Good and I are counting on it. 

Start by doing your part to end Distracted Driving.

March 16, 2014

"A Writer's Struggle" by Joanne Byron

 "A Writer's Struggle" 
     By Joanne (Greenwood) Byron 

Writers block can happen to the best of the talented individuals who desire to coax and extract the correct combinations of creative phrasing, and poetic, descriptive tales, designed to stimulate, and ultimately capture our readers attention and imagination.

When, on occasion, we find the flow of our creative process become more difficult, and sometimes stagnate, we may need to step back for a time, to be renewed and refreshed. This period of time that we allow ourselves to relax, and be renewed, may"prime our wells", so to speak, and clear the stagnation from our innermost soul. Our renewed energy and inspiration will begin to flow again through our pen and onto our paper. First, we outline the ideas in our minds, then we "flesh out" the work.Then happily, our creative voice begins to emerge again!

We write to express ourselves, which can often be cathartic and self-descriptive. Our expression may also bring with it a touch of melancholy, mixed at times with bursts of joy. A writers' words may be colorful, quick-witted, lighthearted, or filled with sadness, morphing into brightness.

As writers, our words and ideas reside and constantly bubble within us; struggling, and desperately trying to squeeze their way out of our emotion filled, and sometimes troubled souls. We strive to transport the reader into the world our words originate from, which can change from day to day. 

Writers block, as it is called, is the period of time where our words escape us, and, in my opinion, our minds need to rest for a season. A "block" is like a sabbatical, of sorts. The experience and length of this pulling back from our creative passion, is different for each writer.

Our writing often possesses a strange and magical ability to lift up the lonely, and hopefully lighten their otherwise dim days. There are times when our reader may be carrying a heavy burden, and the words given to us to share, may quietly carry a refreshing breeze of sunshine into their deeply painful day.

Those of us are who find ourselves drawn by the passion to put our words on paper, can make a surprising difference in the life of a people with no certain direction in their lives.

When the natural flow of new ideas, stories, poems, books, and the like, stagnate, it is OK to step to back and allow what we feel drawn to do, be expressed. Each writer's personality, and God given talent, allows us many forms of expression, therefore evoking numerous reactions, ideas, emotions, and hopefully, inspiration to our reader.

When we see our readers drawn into our work, enough that they feel moved, to deeper thought, emotion, good works, a more joyful heart and peaceful mind, answers to their problems (whatever they may be), or being thankfully lifted up from a desperate place of suffering, then we will know the purpose we have been created for....  

by Joanne Greenwood Byron
Written 3.15.14

The piece above was written by my sister Joanne. Her support and encouragement of my writing has been a huge reason for my continued pursuit of something more. She sent me this piece the other day and I couldn't wait to tell her how much I liked it and how excited I would be if she let me share it with others. The ever sharing spirit she is, she of course quickly granted my wish. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Jo's little brother,

March 15, 2014

Child of Wonder

Child of Wonder
By John R. Greenwood

Child of wonder, observe without prejudice the world as it opens before your eyes and ears. 

See things as they are, not as they appear. 

Listen carefully to those who are care-full. 

Be cautious in a fearless way. 

Steer clear of the common lane. 

Walk briskly on quiet days and quietly on brisk days. 

Be kind when others are angry with ignorance and be angry when kindness is absent from the crowd. 

Lift spirits with your humor and send them off smiling inside and out. 

The world is yours, believe in it. 

Refuse defeat and embrace uncertainty. 

Most of all, remain a child of wonder, always a child with eyes wide open. 

March 13, 2014


By John R. Greenwood

Farm views sooth the soul like a hug around the waist by loving child. March's moist air rejuvenates the lungs and fills them with the hope and promise of rushing streams and flitting birds. A life's worth of fond memories race across the field like musical notes drifting from angels sitting among the trees. I am frozen with joy and warmed by the sun. March is the last hurrah, winter's exit door to the alley of baseball and family picnics. This *landscape of calm reminds me to pause and reflect on the message I see. 

The idea that a life well spent includes a farm somewhere along the way...

*This wonderful farm scene was taken at my friend Dennis Campbell's family farm. I want to thank his family for allowing me to capture it's beauty.