Friday, April 29, 2011

Ohhhh, the hats.... :)

My daughter's name is Kate.  My one, my only.  We chose the name simply because we liked it.  Little did I know when we chose that name how famous it would be one day... today.

Today was the day for a royal wedding.  People all over our area turned on their TVs, streaming media, and networking devices at 4am to watch a one-in-a-lifetime event: the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate, now known as Duchess Katherine.  No.  I wasn't one of those.  My preferred activity at that hour is sleeping, which I actively pursued this morning at that time.  But, after I got up and had a cup of fresh coffee in my hand, I flipped on the TV to watch... The Weather Channel, just like I do every morning...

but only long enough to see what my day was going to be like (sunny & cool), because I was as curious as everyone else about what this extravaganza media event was going to look like.

The dress - NICE.  Sleeves - FULL sleeves, which I really like...

There'll be a lot of girls wearing that style during the next few years, for sure.  What a long aisle to walk - WOOT!!  I'd want my Nikes or New Balance on to really enjoy it.  High heels + that distance = OUCH OUCH OUCH...

The best part of the show?? Ohhh, hands down and heads up - the HATS!!!  Even in the beautiful photo above, the plethora of interesting headgear abounds.... Oh boy oh boy oh boy - I'm looking forward to late-night commentary just to hear if anyone says anything about the heads in Westminster Abbey today.

The winner??? Well, it looks like Princess Beatrice and her bizarre headress take the award for that category, although there were some close runners-up.  Okay, as one who avoids hats as much as possible, I have to ask: What WAS she... thinking????  Where and how do you store something like that... hat...

but there were plenty of very beautiful and very interesting headdresses - in abundance - for this very elegant affair.  Very scenic at the top level, for sure...

Once in a very great while there's an occasion where an event has something interesting and novel to view, and today's event was certainly worth looking up above eye level to see how people chose to top off their outfits...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The gift :)


What do you think of when you hear the word?
Camping trips?  Beautiful pictures?
Not seeing it because you like to sleep in?   
I love sunrise.  I actually love dark & early, then...

An old saying goes something like this:
"The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. 
That's why it's called the present."
God's gift.  Our present.

Like a shade rises from covering a window, seeing the sun come up over the horizon - growing, shining, with an ever-increasing amount of light - brings forth a whole new beginning….
I can't help but think that God designed the beauty of sunrise for a number of specific reasons.  It’s a splendor enjoyed by those who make the intentional decision to get up before dawn to watch the display of God's unwrapping of the gift of a new day through the unveiling of a sunrise.  A proverbial paintbrush and palette, producing a masterpiece of unique color and display that cannot be imagined, predicted, or repeated. 

Dawn’s production.
Displayed in majesty. 
A new day arises, yawns, stretches, and begins.
“Yesterday is a canceled check; tomorrow is a promissory note; 
today is the only cash you have - so spend it wisely” 
Kay Lyons

Saturday, April 23, 2011


People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character. 
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Character is what you are in the dark.

Dwight L. Moody

You can tell a lot about a person's insides - their heart - by what they write, what they say, and how they react.  You can tell a lot more about your own character by how you do the above - when alone, where no one is watching.  

As you sit alone - or when surrounded by the crowd - consider...
If people could see my insides, read my mind, broadcast how I feel... 
would that be a good thing?  
Am I content - "proud" - of who I am, for real?

What am I doing about the real me -
the me that lives in the dark, away from human view?

I want to be as transparent in the dark as I am in the light.  
Above reproach is a worthy goal. :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Life is just TOO SHORT to be anything but... :)

A wise person once said... 

There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it.  You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good.  So, love the people who treat you right; pray for the ones who don't.  Life is too short to be anything but content.  Falling down is a part of life; getting back up is living.

I love social media for all the profound insights that land in my lap... top.  Yes, there are a lot of messages and information to skim through, or save 'til later, but that statement made me 
That was posted by a friend as their Facebook profile statement with the words "~repost if you agree" at the end.  YEAH.  I like that quote.


Life is too short to be anything but content.  
When I saw the quote, the last word of that sentence was happyLife is too short to be anything but happy.   Not a bad goal at all.  Happy is a good thing.  I like happy.  I really like BEING happyJ  I want everyone around me to be happyJ  

While I enjoy being happy and enjoying the whole context of the word happy, being happy can also be so fleeting.  Life dishes out 'way too many surprises without notice, which are real happy-robbers.  It’s kind of like riding a roller coaster up the happy-hill to the top, then whoosh – down you go back into reality.   The whole context of happy just seems to move on too quickly - unfortunately.  The context of joy wasn't exactly the word that fit for me there either.  While joy is long-lasting, it too can be robbed quickly by well- and not-so-well-meaning folks around me.

So I go back to a personal goal of life that I wrote about in a previous blog
Whatever life throws at me, be it mud or whatever, I really want to rise above getting the muck of life stuck on me to a level that I can dwell at. For me, that level is contentment.  Contentment is a bit tougher to steal and easier to rest in once you’ve found it.

 Life is too short to be anything but content.   It sure is… J

Saturday, April 16, 2011

♥ Compassion ♥

I was introduced to Compassion International by a friend who had been sponsoring a child for years.  She shared with our church how Compassion works with kids and, after that service, a number of us began looking through pictures and descriptions of kids from around the world.  My own daughter was out of college and on her own, and grandkids are… well… not on the way yet, so looking at so many beautiful faces from all over the world tugged fiercely at my heart.  Like a kid in a candy store, I touched picture after picture, face after face, bio after bio.  Looking.  Gazing.  Holding them close and wondering – which one?  Which one to call – mine?  Columbia.  Ecuador.  Indonesia.  Ethiopia Girls, boys, very young to almost grown.  So many.  Each so beautiful.  Large sad eyes.  Some smiling; others who had no smile to give.

A little boy’s face caught my eye.  He wasn’t smiling; emotion came from within that I couldn’t put words on.  He was beautiful.  A little boy that I could picture with a soccer ball, crayons, snips and snails and puppy dog tails…  I gazed at his picture and smiled.   His hair was neat and brown, matching his dark eyes, which reflected a depth too deep for such a young life.  His face spoke to me:     I have potential.  His bright yellow shirt looked clean and neatly pressed.  Whoever got him ready for the picture did well!  His name: Felix.  Felix Bladdimir Escoto Morazon.  Wow, I thought, what a long name for a very little boy!  Country: Nicaragua.  I’ve read so many books and stories of people from that poor, yet beautiful country bordering Costa Rica, where my daughter stayed for 6 months while in college.  Such a beautiful child...

“Running errands is his household duty.”  Hmmm.  Six years old.  Industrious.  I like that.  I smiled.  The tugging was turning to gnawing...  The clincher that pulled my heart out from captivity: “In kindergarten his performance is above average and he regularly attends Bible class.”   Right then I knew: He’s mine.  The sponsorship package stayed in my hands, and his face stays with me at my desk, in my phone, in my planner – in my heart. ♥

I treasure the letters he’s written to me.  His birthday is ingrained in my brain: May 30th.  I have an icon for him on my Google Chrome dashboard: Felix.  From time to time I pop it open and type a quick e-mail to let him know I’m thinking of him and share what’s going on in my world.  Felix.  A child.  One child in the world that I want to make a difference in.

I recommend Compassion International to everyone I can.  I love writing to Felix, sending small gifts to him, and encouraging him along the difficult roads that he has to travel.  He writes to me and does likewise. 

♥Love in your heart wasn't put there to stay.
Love isn't love 'til you give it away.
Oscar Hammerstein

Please check out the Compassion International website.  It may be one of the best investments of love, time and money you will ever make. 

Why you shouldn't blog when you're hungry...


My favorite food. And since this type of food is usually preceeded by the word "junk", maybe I should rethink my choice...

As a sinkeater from time to time, Doritos® are just the right size, right shape, right crunch, right flavor to satisfy my on-the-go cravings for not-sweet, not-messy, not-complicated yummies for my tummy. Not too hot, not too cold, this red bag of enticement is always - yes always - just right for a quick grab by this gal on the go.

Unlike many foods that I happily pick at, or take a spoonful of this and that to taste, when my red Doritos® bag is opened it's my bag to finish with great gusto and PLEASE... keep your hands off my Doritos!! I've been known to provide a big 'ol frowny face for those who can't keep their hands to themselves. grrrrrrrrr... :)

I have so many fond memories of Nacho Cheese Doritos®. Their history is part of my own heritage. I was a teenager when they were introduced and, for a kid raised on basic potato chips, THIS was a novelty to be embraced and chewed on. As a free-thinkingly independent teen (as the vast majority are), I loved to be identified with a bright red bag of not just p.chips, but NACHO chips. Spicy... Yeaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh.

I remember long walks with friends as we each munched our crunchiness of choice. Road trips in the back seat of the car - watching out the window and happily munching as the world sped by. Times with kids and evenings with friends always look and taste better with that red bag of spicy delights on the table (or in my lap, with my hand going in and out with refills for my eagerly-awaiting mouth).  

Doritos® are great in recipes and fit right in with any occasion - any time - any mouth. Social media likes them on Facebook and tweets to peeps about them on Twitter

All this talk about Doritos® is really working on my tummy...  

Think I'll find myself a nice red bagful of pleasure and create some more good memories with the contents... nom nom nom...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sometimes the good isn't always the best...

I live life in a constant state of re-focus. The barrage of new techno-tools and info-sources makes every day an absolutely exciting day to pick up new ideas - new apps - new icons - new sites to see. The laptop screen in front of me looks NOTHING like it did a few short months ago (I thank you, Chrome!) and multi-tasking has taken on a whole new meaning thanks to wonderful info-tools such as RSS feedsHootSuite - and so many more.

New day? O-kay! What new cyberplace will I discover today, and how will affect my world?

Life isn't static  It dynamically shifts - evolves - changes - and I move with it. There are so many constantly new ways of doing life, and doing it well. 
So many new things to learn!
So many new things to adapt to and adopt.
So many things that I already have responsibility for…

The consequence?
I face an incessantly beleaguering battle for balance
in being effective vs. being efficient;
getting it all done well vs. trying to do it all - quickly.
There's something about trying to bolt through everything, and accomplishing...
not so much, very well…
that fries my brain and makes me recoil inside,
much like experiencing fingernails running down an old chalkboard.  

It IS a battle. I enjoy being busy. My mind joyfully fills and flies, skipping happily forward, but it sometimes gets to be like too much water continuing to pour into an already-filled bathtub.   There’s a point where too much of a good thing is just that: too much.

A wise man once singled me out from within an audience to say: This is for you, because I know how much you like quotes...
‘Sometimes the good isn’t always the best.'
Thank you, wise one.

I'm also a focused person. I want to do, what I do, well. I love projects. I enjoy learning new things - new ways - innovating.  I love to explore – to go into new realms that stretch and challenge me.  I also aim for quality results. I have a passion for excellence. I focus on the bull’s-eye of creating “outstanding” when it seems that so many around me are content to aim for the target, an entire shooting range, even the entire planet and beyond. When I get sucked into the realm of meeting a plethora of multi-faceted expectations from the world around me, with a personal desire to fulfill them according to my standards, a huge disconnect begins to emerge. Sanity is a terrible thing to waste...  When I get too close to exploding from within because of too many expectations erupting from too many directions way too fast with too many deadlines to deal with, I have to...
I can't do everything, so where do I focus?  

What are my passions?  
What do I do I do well?
What can really I sink my teeth into – with glee?
What do I like to pick up & run with?

What fulfils me? 
What gets me up in the morning - smiling?
What is my purpose in and for life?
What do I grow and thrive on?

What are my short- and long-term goals?

What responsibilities am I already accountable for that I need to do well?

What things am I doing - am I not doing - that are part of the above? 
What things are not part of the above, yet lie piled in front of me?

What is sucking energy from me instead of filling me with energy?

When I feel more sucked than energized, I ask those questions. It’s the time to weed the dandelions out from my own garden of life:
the time-suckers
and pursue the beautiful flowers that want to bloom brightly:
the energizers.  
It’s time to stop and smell the roses, clear out my brain, and refocus. It’s time to rejuice, rejoice and refill the life-tank.

As I weed out the time-chokers that sometimes run amuck in my realm, I have to put on my determined face and resist any urge to justify – defend – apologize. Yes, I’m sure you may think this IS the best. While it may be good, it's really not for my best. I am solely accountable for my own sanity. No one else is.  

Refocus. Regroup.
Just do it.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Confessions of a neighborhood power walker... :)

I am vertically challenged.  Okay... short.  My Dad, Mom, brothers - we were all short.  I have short legs, but I like to move them and move them fast.  I like to walk fast and walk far.  For me, mind therapy is a solid power walk.

I enjoy looking for dogs - cats - kids. I enjoy counting them as I walk - I enjoy breaking my own records for sightings.  I enjoy seeing the same people over and over and waving at new ones.  I enjoy watching people enjoying the outdoors as I walk by.  There's nothing like feeling the breeze - feeling the sun - feeling the outside against my face, and I relish that adrenalin rush as I walk out the work out.

Pump it up - pump it up...
up up UP...

I twisted my foot in a direction it wasn't meant to go late last summer and I couldn't walk right for a month.  I have vivid memories of wishing for a handicap cart at the grocery store, as I painfully hobbled up and down aisles.  I still remember the first time I actually used both feet to walk - it was though a gift had been given to me: the gift of TWO functioning feet!

I've always enjoyed walking and I've always been a fast walker, but now I pursue it as a focused passion.  I'm not doing it to race or even to do "it" right.  I'm not fixed on the moves. I'm doing it because it feels GOOOOOOD - it feels right - it makes me feel better.

Here are a few basics that I've learned.  Number one: It's POWER walking, not casual strolling.  Power walking requires an athelete's pace - it IS a workout.  Number two: You need to have a good pair of WALKING shoes, not running shoes.  Your feet move differently when  power walking than running.  When you run, the heel of the foot takes the brunt of the force.  The ball of the foot takes the force when power walking.

A good power walking speed is 4-5 mph.  To figure out your speed, measure a mile, then walk it and time yourself.  If it takes 20 minutes, that's about 3 mph (20 minutes = 1/3 of an hour); 15 minutes is 4 mph; 13 minutes is 4.5 mph; and 12 minutes is 5 mph.  Another way to get to a good pace is to work up to a level where you're just about ready to break into a jog - and keep it up.  THAT'S power walking.   

ALWAYS take a few minutes to warm up, cool down and stretch before you go.  PAIN is the consequence of not stretching and warming up before a workout!  Start off with several 10 to 30-minute power walks a week and try to add a couple of minutes to your sessions each week.  Even if you start with just a10-minute walk at first, your endurance will increase the more you walk.

Long strides don't work as well and are more tiring than quick heel-ball-toe steps.  Focus on landing on your heels, rolling through your instep, then propelling yourself with a push off your toes.  Walk with your chin up and look about 10 feet ahead, which is good posture for your head and neck.  Bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle.  Close your hands so they make fists, but keep them relaxed (you're not out for a boxing match!).  Swing them in an arc from your waist to your chest, keeping them close to your body.  This helps you walk faster and builds upper-body strength.  It's also great for toning your arms.

Power walking is a GREAT toning workout.  It's a terrific way to enjoy the outdoors while doing good things for your body.  Once you've built up some endurance, you'll notice how much better you feel AND look, so consider getting yourself some walking shoes to ENJOY in your own neighborhood!  

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Musings about the black screen of death

The other night my cell phone checked out permanently and without warning.  It was as though it suffered sudden and major cardiac arrest, leaving me abandoned - alone - isolated...
One moment I was using it and, the next...

the black screen of death.

I was in a store and, in an instant, I  was unconnected.

no phone
no laptop
no one with me.

I was alone, no one could contact me, and I couldn't contact anyone.

Why did I feel so weird - so strange - so almost... insecure?  A*L*O*N*E.  Maybe because in this day and age of techno-connection, I am NEVER alone?  Am I that used to having instant availability of someone with me - someone I can reach - and who can reach me - anytime - anyplace - anywhere?  Yes.  I am.  My mind grasped for - someone.  There weren't even any pay phones anywhere because... one needs them anymore!  We're ALL techno-connected.
Except for me - I had been techno-abandoned.

I thought quickly: What if someone wants me?  Is looking for me?  Needs me?  What if I want or need someone?  I have no way to reach out and touch, because technology just became the victim of
 - the black screen of death.

I grieved temporarily over the loss, yet felt a twinge of sweet liberty - release - deliverance.  There was a sense of freedom in being alone, a peace in being unconnected.  There's a depth to my soul that doesn't get tapped through the noise of the everyday, which I felt opening.  I wasn't alone.  I wasn't abandoned.  For a change, I could embrance a connection with my own inner-self and enjoy the solitude of no techno-encumbrances.

Unconnected was good for a change.
For a brief time, I enjoyed the blackness.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


‎"If I could leave a legacy, it would be to have taught a child 
and to have made a difference in his life; 
to rescue a student from hopelessness 
and guide him to a life that includes a love of learning."
 - Thomas Escott (6/17/1949 - 3/21/2010)

Legacy. defines the term legacy as, "Something handed down from an ancestor or a predecessor or from the past."

As I look back, I ask myself...
  • What do I want to leave behind?  
  • What insights and motivations do I want to instill in others? 
  • What dust do I want my followers to walk in?
As I pour what I've learned into others, what do I want to be SURE they get from me? What heritage am I building?  What inheritance will I leave behind?  How will I be sure that I accomplish leaving a legacy before... I leave?

Tom Escott did. 

I became acquainted with Tom through Facebook, and quickly grew to appreciate his sharp wit, his intoxicating joy of life, and his badge of honor that was passed on to his sons.  Cyberspace was the only place I ever got to see Tom.  I truly regret not being able to meet him in person, which I was supposed to do on his 61st birthday: June 17, 2010.  Unfortunately, cancer took him from this life before our planned meeting at the wedding of his son to my daughter.  Although he had departed physically, he was still an integral part of that event, and...

his legacy lives on. 

It lives on through his sons, his former students, and those who loved him dearly.  It lives on in his wisdom.  It will continue to live on through his sons and their children, as they learn of and follow his legacy.

I trust, as I continue to consider what legacy I want to leave, I will consciously and consistently live the legacy I want to leave so that, when I've left...

the legacy that I want to leave will live on....

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The end... and the beginning... Saturday ponderings of life ...

This morning I woke up to my cat’s backside in my face. 
Happy Saturday!
This is the side I’ve always adored.  
His face.  
His beautiful fuzzy face.

For those who don’t like cats, insert your own face of love – your pet, your friend, your spouse, your child - and consider a time that – together – you faced a challenge, were able to overcome it, and grew closer through it.  

Was there a time you almost lost that special face in your life… forever? 

I’ve gotten to love his walk-away.  My cat’s backside is now a special place to me.  I spent most of February with a cat that repeatedly blocked so he could not pee.  Ouch...  It started one Wednesday morning when he wandered through the house, crying and squatting and pretty much pointing to his crotch as if to say HELP!!!  We made a beeline to the vet, he was cleaned out and came home – and blocked again.  We did this frustrating roto-rooter adventure several times within a couple of weeks.  Over and over the decision back-handed me: Is it time to release this cat from suffering and let him go or is there a chance – a hope – a way to get through and over this?  Is it time to say goodbye... or...

We came to a fork in the road and took the big risk: surgery.   After having his “exit ramp” opened and two weeks of fairly intense recovery (during which he was nick-named Franken-butt because his shaved back end was a nasty mass of stitches), healing has come and his pee flows freely into the litter box again.  Yay!  Pee!  The stitches are now gone, peachfuzz has covered the former blaze of white skin, and we have our furry friend back: healthy. 

I smile...  There could've been a different start to my morning.  I could've woke up quietly - alone.  Instead, the backside was there - in my face - to begin my day.

As I consider my awakening moment earlier today, I am reminded that sometimes taking a risk that’s planted in love and hope can truly result in far better pleasures of life, even in the form of a fuzzy friend’s back end in my face.  It really was a wonderful way to start the morning. :)

Friday, April 1, 2011

So let's see how many dumb things I can do...

...before I get it right!

Ahhhh - I know.... life!  *ARGH!*

Discovering new Social Media tools is exciting, and learning to use them, one by one, is... *HUMBLING*...  

Do I hear a "*DOH!!*" echoing out there in cyberspace? 

How *HISS!!* frustrating it was to post a tweet, just to see it pop up as my LinkedIn statement - again - and again - and not know HOW to stop it!!  WRONG AUDIENCE!!!  *STOP!!!*

While this adventure into new horizons of Social Media is laden with potholes, speed bumps and land mines just waiting to explode, it's worth the hazards of the journey.  Fortunately, once they're hit and you figure out how to dodge them the next time, the trip gets more exciting - more scenic - and more enjoyable. J

Seriously – no "April Fool!" on this April 1st morning!  I love dark & early, when I can seize the day before it dawns.  This morning the day was seized early, the sun rose brightly, and it was a beautiful start to a brand new month.

How about you?

Mornings... not something to smile about? 
Okay.  I understand.

Maybe... how about...
Seize your day, relax, smile, and...

Join me for a Cha-Cha Slide!

*Everybody clap your hands!!  Reverse - reverse!*
...because life's too short to not have fun on the journey. J