Date: Sometime last year

Place: Somewhere on I-80 near Chicago

To: Brian Barlow, B&M Services, Location Update

Long night last night. Didn’t leave the shipper until 2:00 AM.

Later… I was driving along observing all the rules and keeping all the laws (of course), and this unexpected mountain came along and plopped itself on the horizon. My worst fear came to pass, and my brakes went out on a fully loaded trailer, and I went hurtling down the mountain.

As the scenery flashed by, I noticed a large group of veteran truck drivers all gaping at me with their teeth in their mouth. Strangely, some of them did not have teeth. That proved to be my undoing because the sight of toothless truck drivers was rather unnerving because I remembered the dentist telling me last week how important it is to get a check-up every six months.

The steering wheel suddenly morphed into a giant Ferris wheel proving most difficult to grasp. However, I did manage to keep one hand on the wheel while using the other hand to push the flying hair out of my eyes so I could see more clearly. But when I looked again, the gaping men had turned into the rocks of Stonehenge. The stones didn’t have teeth either. Weird.

Luckily, I was able to steer between two of the giant landmarks with only a 3″ scratch along the entire 75 feet of my truck and trailer menagerie. And me and Remington, (he’s my pet goldfish); we just kept on bouncing down that mountain. I slipped him into the radiator for safe keeping.

There were no speed limit signs on the mountain, and it was a serious crisis! I continued to hold on tight while navigating crazily through the rocks, narrowly missing the pigeons and turtles and other sea faring reptiles. In spite of my breath holding and teeth gritting and eye scrunching, I safely careened around a curve, and jolted up the other side of the mountain, and that 80,000 pound bucket of bolts just kept on going.

My GPS kept hollering obscenities at me, but could I help the situation? No, I could not. We plunged up the other side of the next mountain and hurtled over the next ridge. I feared for Remington’s safety getting jostled like that.

Finally, as a last ditch effort, I remembered my air brakes which I engaged by punching a large purple button on my CB mike which resulted in a gigantic pink parachute contraption shooting out from the back of the trailer. However, the parachute proved to be far too flimsy for the velocity, probably because it was just so…so…pink.

To my great alarm, the parachute was soon shredded by the tornado-like activity swirling all around me. I noticed I was being thoroughly scrutinized by a snooping satellite which grinned menacingly from the stratosphere above as the pink parachute streamers billowed behind us shouting, “Look at me, everybody!” The satellite did have teeth.

I wondered where the cops were hiding, as well as the game wardens since the last of the red speckled turtle species were in serious danger of being smashed as we continued to bounce along. I also wondered why in the heck Volvo doesn’t do a better job on their parachutes since they are supposed to be such a high-fallutin’ establishment.

We continued to hurtle, and I saw all nine, plus two, which makes twelve, of my lives flash by in Technicolor as we came to a screeching halt just before going off a seventy-six foot cliff. I scrambled out of my truck with only three broken legs and four bruised cheeks and ran around surveying the damage.

To my great dismay, I found that every single tire on both truck and trailer was ripped to shreds with trails of burnt rubber streaking far behind into the horizon as though the truck had been dipped into an ink bottle the size of New Mexico. That made no sense at all since I was in Illinois.

My entire livelihood, my lovely Volvo Bernice, and my best trailer 1021 (best since it was my only trailer) teetered on the edge of the mountain like a giant see-saw.

I watched in horrified fascination as both truck and trailer, hinged at the king pin, sawed up and down like the motion of a colossal violin bow, creating the same haunting scratchy noise as one might imagine played by Paul Bunyan on his giant fiddle.

Frantically, I ran to the back of the trailer, grabbed the fender, dug my heels into the rocks, and held on with all my might. But alas, in spite of my heroic efforts, both Bernice and 1025 hurtled down Mount Whatsit making a mighty splash into Lake Michigan just one inch from Chicago on the map.

The first thing I thought was, “Uh oh, Brian isn’t going to like this.”

The second thing I thought was, “Cool! I still have teeth.”

Then I woke up.

When I reported this incident to my boss Brian, he replied dryly, “Well, at least you woke up.”

Man, the nightmares I endure trying to be a truck driver and keep the nice equipment nice.

PS. Bernice was the name of the truck I drove before I got Belinda. Bernice didn’t actually get damaged, well…not much, anyway, either by my driving or my nightmares. Bernice went the way of all good trucks and is now resting peacefully in the truck yard of all nice, useful, over-the-hill trucks. May I never go there myself.

PS. PS. Remington is okay.

From Search for the Highroad

Publishing soon

Why are some people never happy?

Since I am a human being, I have experienced emotion. I know happy; I know sad, and I know everything in between.

From what I have gleaned out of life so far, I can say with certainty that the biggest reason a person is unhappy is the direct result of continually pointing the finger and looking for fault in others. They might even be forever searching for error in that rascal in the mirror.

Of course it is a good thing to look within ourselves to see how to improve, but must we be ever complaining against ourselves and others?

Life has taught me an important truth. It isn’t what I can find wrong with a person, an event, or a concept that causes me discontent. The issue is when I allow my opinions about a person, an event, or a concept to steal my focus and rule my emotions.

If I allow outside stimuli to control my emotions, I am weak. Even if I allow my inside emotions to control my emotions, I am weak. Some people feel big and strong and mighty when they throw a fit, scream and yell, or shout profanity to express their disagreement or displeasure. Does it really solve the problem? I have heard many people make a big stir and then claim they feel better from their outburst. I can’t help wonder if they are being honest with themselves. When you allow your emotions to control your behavior, does it actually make you a stronger person?

Years ago I discovered that I was too often sad and unhappy. I began to look deep and found that too often, I was allowing other people’s words and actions to control my life. It wasn’t that other people were actually doing bad things or treating me badly on purpose. They were doing the best they could just like I thought I was. So why was I unhappy, and what could I do about the situation?

Someone I highly respected had enough courage to tell me the truth. He said that my unhappiness was not due to the issues I found in myself and others. My real problem was that I did not have a strong enough testimony of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. At first I was offended? What?!! Me? No testimony of Jesus Christ? I thought I believed in Him as the foundation of my very life.

My friend advised me to read again the New Testament, particularly the four Gospels, with the particular focus to get to know Jesus Christ for real. I took the first step by humbling myself enough to take his advice. I read again Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to better learn who it is I believe in. What did He believe, and what did He teach? How did He behave? How did he speak? How did He feel about people and situations?

That was a turning point in my life. It was as though I had been blind, and now I could see. I had no idea I had been so shackled by selfishness. There was nothing, not one word, not one action, nothing selfish to be found in the life and works of Jesus Christ.

After that great awareness came upon me, I began to live the rest of my life. Easier said than done. It takes a constant effort to discover oneself. It takes learning here a little, there a little, line upon line, precept upon precept. It takes a heap of living to learn to control one’s own thoughts, feelings, and emotions. The biggest challenge I ever found was refraining from reacting negatively to the unkindness of others.

There is nothing quite so frustrating and infuriating about People Police, the name I call the group of folks who might be way too busy when you need a hand, but always make themselves available to point out what’s wrong with everyone and everything.

So often, people police overlook the good part of what others do or say and instantly zoom in on what they think is the bad part. Some people have no sense of humor and cannot take a joke. Some aren’t happy unless they’re unhappy. I guess some people feel smarter and bigger and more important when they identify what’s wrong with everyone else.

Ah hah! Caught myself. I think that’s exactly what I’m doing right this minute. I’m judging others for judging me. Tut, tut, MaGee. Vicious cycle, ain’t it. Grandpa Rich used to say, “There’s two kinds of people who won’t make it to heaven–the criticizers, and the criticizers of the criticizers.”

I believe him. I better watch my step. I find that in order to maintain peace within my heart, I must not concern myself too much with other people’s opinions–even those of my friends. In my present endeavor of blogging, perhaps I would be more bothered by the people police if my motive for writing publicly was to obtain public favor. Truth is I write to please myself. It doesn’t matter if a thousand people read my thoughts or absolutely no one but myself.

That doesn’t mean I can’t learn from others. I am happy to hear constructive ideas. But too often, people just want to blab their opinions and pick a fight. Call me a wimp, doesn’t matter. I don’t fight–at least not by way of public debate. I simply turn off comments and write. Sometimes I succumb to temptation and retort since I am a communicator by nature. But I never like myself when I join a debate. Most people think it’s healthy to debate and try to best others in verbal wars. My conscience says it’s not for me. Trouble is I can usually win a verbal war, but I never feel like a winner. I find no satisfaction in belittling others or stomping on wounded pride to get to the top of the Uppity Ladder. I leave debate to CNN and competition to the NFL.

I love to write. I write to please the good feeling inside. I write to better understand myself and the world I live in. I write to encourage others and generate smiles. I learn day by day. Something I wrote about last week might change this week because I learned something new since then. If we make snapshot judgments and hold them against others, we make someone an offender for a word. From then on, we remember that error, that judgment, as though it was the deciding factor of the whole person.

Makes me grimace when I hear people blabbing about other people’s sins and weaknesses from months and years and decades ago. Why do people persist in finding bad in others and what on earth do they find exhilarating about repeating it to others? Why would someone want to resurrect some hurt or error from long ago? What if the offender had long since repented of the offense? Even if someone did something really stupid just yesterday, why that was a whole entire twenty-four hours ago, for crying out loud!

My conscience would never allow me to hold a grudge. Seems awfully counterproductive to personal growth. My conscience calls the shots, and she is bigger than I am. Smarter too. When she says, “Go”, I go. When she hollers “Stop!” I stop. When she commands, “Jump”, I ask, “How high?” That conscience of mine is so dang bossy. She controls me, and I let her.

I have learned the wisdom of withholding judgment. Even when I hear something someone said or did that seems pretty dumb, I avoid setting it in stone in my mind. Chances are that person will repent of his oversight by tomorrow. He (or she) sure doesn’t need me setting myself up as judge over them.

If I was worried about everybody’s opinions, I’d be spaghetti. If I stress over how my fellow human beaners perceive me, I would hide under my rug and never come out. Wait. I don’t have a rug big enough to hide under. I would hide under my truck and never dare do anything. I would never LEARN anything. And if I hide under Belinda, sure as shootin’, somebody else would come along and take over my truck, feed Remington to the seagulls, drive off, and run over me.

When I feel like singing and want to share the good cheer with others, and all someone can do is find a goat raisin in my bowl of oatmeal, I think of my sister Jane. She was always so funny with her wisecracks when we were kids. She could smart off without cracking a smile. I never could do that. My cheesy grin always escaped me. When people got too opinionated, my little sis used to say dryly, “When I want your opinion, I’ll squish your head.”

I know. It’s rather uncouth. Us kids that grew up FLDS should have learned better manners. We were certainly taught good manners. But we were also taught the importance of a sense of humor. We learned the necessity of backbone. We had to find courage to try new things and face the impossible. We were NEVER popular with the public. Unpopularity is nothing new. If I was popular I’d wonder what was wrong with me. If others gang up against me, doesn’t matter. Whether I’m all alone or surrounded by ten thousand like-minded people, I still have the same responsibility to think good, speak good, and act good.

I know there are many issues in the world, in our country, in our cities, towns, and communities. Many find issues in their families and with each other. So many people are so focused on the faults they find in their neighbors, that they forget to tend themselves. Life is actually so very simple. It is easy to find joy and contentment when we look within and start with yours truly. This is my SOLUTION for all the issues in the world.

Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.

Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be;

With God as our Father, brothers all are we;

Let me walk with my brother in perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me; let this be the moment now;

With every step I take, let this be my silent vow,

To take each moment, and live each moment in peace eternally;

Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.

Holy Cow!

I had no idea that Tony Robbins has been listening to Maggie’s philosophy. Imagine that. Seems Tony and I have much in common and share similar wave lengths. The only difference between me and Tony (besides the language) is that his philosophy is worth 500 million. My philosophy? It buys lunch…if I pay for it.

Well…there is another difference between me and Tony. If Tony calls out a person wallowing in self-pity and that person throws a fit, Tony can take his six foot, seven inch, 265 pounds of solid muscle self and loom over the terrified cream puff and intimidate the heck out of the poor whiner.

Me? If I call out a person wallowing in self-pity, and that person throws a fit, I can take my five foot, three inch, one hundred-and-never-mind self and leap into my Volvo truck with a loaded trailer that weighs 80,000 pounds and I can run over the poor wretch.

Way to go, Tony! Way to go, Maggie! This is a free country and this is free speech.

No worries. I’m just mouthing off. Of course I would never run over anybody on purpose, either literally or theoretically. When I search my heart, I find a greater emotion than the one which enjoys teasing the complainers. That greater emotion is love. I have had enough experience over the decades to convince me that God is Love. I would very much like to be like Him.

It seems like most everyone is following someone. Human beings are a lot like sheep. Most of us blindly follow the majority.

Experience has taught me a few things. As I traverse the land observing myriads of sights and sounds, the cautious side of my brain automatically throws up a red flag when I see a crowd following a particular person or a certain philosophy whether it’s the latest health food craze, a religious jubilee, or a rock star concert. Granted there are individuals worthy of following, but for me, it can’t be just anybody.

Why did I take time today to write about Tony? I noticed an article about him entitled “Tony Robbins is a Major Jerk, and Other Reasons You Should Follow Him”.

I realize you may hoot at my presumption of claiming partnership with Tony Robbins. Makes me laugh too. That’s the main reason I drew the comparison, to make you and me laugh. I am not in Tony’s crowd, but I do recognize the good part of “Tony’s Philosophy”.

It isn’t actually my motive to create “Maggie’s Philosophy”. I have no interest in flattery, either from myself or from others. It is important for my own self-respect to stand for truth even if it makes me unpopular.

Above all, I love to love others and be an encouragement. I feel deeply for the suffering of the sad and lonely, and I earnestly hope they can find HOPE. I know how it feels to be sad and lonely and downtrodden. Who made me feel that way? Not who you might think. Many former FLDS folks claim that our leaders made them feel sad and lonely and downtrodden, and many claim they were abused. I think it might be more accurate to say that it was people’s weaknesses and sins and refusing to change that made them feel sad and lonely and downtrodden.

Where did I find abusive treatment? Mainstream.

I find I can’t get away from myself. My appearance, manner of speech, my behavior, all are indicative of the FLDS culture I grew up in and still embrace in my mind and heart. I recall a time six years ago when I attempted to hide my identity because so many people gave me trouble because of where I came from. I couldn’t even find a job without running into prejudice.

I scrounged up a mainstream garb and combed my hair straight back. To myself, I looked like Alvin, the chipmunk, with a summer hair buzz which seriously accentuated my plumpy cheeks. The rest of me resembled a blubber whale squirked into a slinky knit tubular apparatus built for a porpoise. My disguise didn’t do a thing for me. Within five minutes my potential employer nailed me as FLDS because of my name and my speech.

Busted.

After that humiliation and a few others, I made the choice to embrace who I am and make no apology.

After further experience over the last five years, I learned to discipline my mind to turn off the “bother button” when my identity and my philosophy might bother some people. I am quite comfortable in my own skin, and I avoid negative people and negative philosophy like the plague. Every single thing I hear from outside input, whether it’s from people I meet, media posts, newspapers I might browse, television news I walk past in a truck stop, people’s philosophies, or even my own mental meanderings, I weigh it against the feeling of love in my heart.

Love is the great mediator. If any information, whether pleasant or unpleasant, cannot pass the sentinel of truth and love in my heart, it’s not worth taking into my mind or adopting into my philosophy.

Of course I realize throughout the world there are sad situations and there are mean people who hurt others. Believe me, I know what it’s like to be hurt. What FLDS dissenters and the media and law enforcement have inflicted on the FLDS has done much harm. I absolutely do not agree with bashing others and fabricating evidence and stomping on other people to benefit yourself.

I believe in love and kindness and forgiveness. When I do not understand a situation, I withhold judgment and automatically put it on the shelf until further enlightenment is available. But that further enlightenment absolutely has to come from the right source, the source that speaks to me of honesty and charity and objectivity, or I cannot accept it.

I never form an opinion about anyone or anything based on popular opinion. I automatically look deeper to see what the MINORITY is saying. Who is the underdog? Who is remaining quiet and peaceful without retaliation? Who is yelling the loudest and WHY? Truth can be found in the smallest places from the most seemingly insignificant sources.

I am not the original author of my philosophy. In a prior post, I gave credit where credit is due. But wouldn’t you know it. Many people have professed love and kindness and good will towards me, myself. Okay, fine. I do appreciate it. Some even said how proud they were of me and how much they loved my philosophy UNTIL I mentioned where I learned it. Then it was tar and feathers and a lynching party to boot. Someone I have been acquainted with for thirty-five years even called me a child molester. Interesting.

What if I had said, “I learned my philosophy from Tony Robbins!”

“Oh, Maggie, that is so COOL! You are getting on top of things and learning to be independent so you can get past all the abuse you have endured. Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, how wonderful and wise you are.” Right, right.

I could have said I learned my philosophy from Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, and Jesus Christ. I learned much from each of them, especially our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But the truth is the person who had the most profound influence in my life by teaching the life and works of Jesus Christ is Warren Jeffs. He is a Master Teacher of faith, hope, charity, and love. Another man who has influenced me tremendously by teaching by love and example is my father, Merril Jessop. There are many others I could name whose examples have been worthy enough to follow.

I choose carefully what philosophy to adopt. Blindness has nothing to do with it. If I do not adopt the philosophy of others, that doesn’t mean I don’t love and respect other people. But I am under no obligation to adopt anyone’s philosophy.

When someone persists in trying to sway me to their opinion, my question is this: “Why should I believe you? Where is your proof? No, I am not interested in the “proof” you claim to have against someone you consider to be your enemy. I mean where is your character proof to earn my respect? What have you sacrificed for your religion? Where did you obtain your knowledge and how do you practice it in your life? How do you serve your neighbor, and what have you done lately to improve the lives of others? Where are your works to match your proclamations? Where is your credibility?”

Truth is truth. It doesn’t matter who says it. If truth is truth, I will embrace it. I will definitely prioritize truth. Sometimes truths can seem contradictory. There are greater truths, and there are lesser truths. I avoid paying complete homage to a lesser truth to justify deviation from a higher truth.

Seem like Greek to you? Go pay a thousand dollars to the Greek god, Tony Robbins, who can explain it better than I can. He may yell at you, threaten you, intimidate you, and even push you around to get his point across. Nobody calls that abuse. As long as it’s not in the name of religion, people can stand to hear someone tell the truth of their wimpiness.

HOLY BOVINE! Philosophy IS Tony’s religion.

Everybody has a religion. Whatever you love is your religion. If a god of stone brings you satisfaction, happy religioning!

When Father Abraham broke down Terah’s idols, he did it to get his father to see that his gods of stone were powerless to save him. Be sure to choose an idol that can save you.

Man, if your new Ford truck or your three bedroom flat in Park City can do it, that’s great! If your six figure income or your retirement fund can save your carcass, kudos. If your Louis Vuitton handbag, your Keto diet, your Ralph Lauren suit, the best hemp oil on the market, the new Taylor Swift album, your anti-polygamy crusade, your pro-feminist movement, or your march against breast cancer can save you, hurrah! Whatever makes you feel “saved” might be worth your time whether it’s your girlfriend, your powder puff, or Tony Robbins. Definitely pay homage to the god who can save you.

I choose my idols carefully. I find I’m much happier when I limit my idol to one. Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, is my Idol. He is the only One who can save me. His philosophy is the one one I can completely trust and follow. Jesus Christ and His love is my religion. If I listen very carefully and set aside all prejudice, He tells me which human beings I can trust and follow. I follow a Prophet who has shown the way to find Him.