Friday, February 29, 2008

The Eensy Weensy Spider

You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. Yesterday morning our well quit working. I had tried to start laundry, needed a shower, the dishwasher was loaded and ready to go and zero pressure. No water.

Who ya gonna call? Builderman of course. He talked me through some basic things to check and nothing happened. He said he would come home in a few hours to determine what our next step should be. After doing the rest of the things he knew to do, he called the well company. The owner coached him to carefully look in the electrical housing of the tank and see if there could be a critter in the works. He said it happens a lot. He said a bug could deprive a whole house of water. Bingo. A spider had made a home in the electrical housing. Builderman showed me that this simple clean out could electrocute you, so this is not something for the inexperienced to stick their finger into. (The well man knows builderman is a licensed contractor – I’m sure he would not have advised the average customer to do this.) So something very simple could have cost us a lot. I was especially grateful for a warm shower when I got there.

I’ll refrain from going into a whole parable and just say I thought about how the little things can make a big difference.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


May I have a drum roll, please?
Now Introducing….. LifePoint, Inc.

I have been remodeling my Speaking Business. My business name and logo was “Success International” for years. I was often asked if I was affiliated with Success Motivation International (SMI), the well-known organization founded by Paul Myer. No question that is a great organization, but I have no affiliation. I have concluded that Success International is a name that doesn’t mean a lot to me. So it’s not likely that it means much to others. Since I am updating all of my materials at this point, if I want to change, the time is now.

So now you have it - LifePoint, Inc.

I feel the name is broad enough to encompass the diversity of audiences I address (from corporate conventions to women’s retreats), yet not too generic. My messages are designed to bring inspiration and motivation to life, pointing people in the direction to realize their potential. Now I need a logo. Working on it!
I am also re-working my Topics and Outlines:

Getting the Best of Stress (Before It Gets the Best of You)

Facing the Giants - Motivation for Moving to the Next Level

Great Expectations – Goal Setting, Strategizing and Mapping Success

Head First – Strategies for Dealing With Difficult People

A Legendary Life - Living With Passion

Your comments and suggestions (all 10 of you! LOL) are welcome.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Lesson of the Square Watermelon

I read an article today about the power of persistence and undertaking tasks that are considered “impossible”. The Japanese have cultivated a square watermelon. They have small grocery stores and small refrigerators and little room for storing a standard watermelon. Thus, they set their minds to develop a square watermelon. Through the use of boxes for each watermelon to conform its growth in the field, they accomplished the remarkable feat of growing a square watermelon. The lesson conveyed is that if you will think outside the box, (in this case – think inside the box) you can achieve amazing things.

My question is “What’s the cost?” I am a real cost vs. value person. I have refused to ever entertain the notion of “We can’t afford it.” After all, we have the awesome privilege to live in America. Seriously, don’t you notice the people that live in trailers, and I mean trailers, not mobile homes, that have cars parked in front that are worth far more than the “house”? Of course, that may just be a southern phenomenon, but I doubt it. That’s a matter of choice and priorities.

So now for the rest of the story. In Japan, a regular watermelon costs the equivalent of $15 in U.S. money. But the SQUARE watermelon costs $85.00!! Yes, you heard me. How many of you would pay $85 for a watermelon?? It’s mighty quiet. Not so compelling! Definitely NOT on my grocery list!!

Positive thinking is a powerful force, but to me, the bottom line is, does cost equal value? The real lesson here is not about thinking outside the box. It’s about weighing what is truly important against what appeals to the senses. Just because we can conceive and achieve it doesn't make it the best thing. So there you have the rest of the story.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tea at Two

Cupcake and I went to a “George Washington’s Day” Tea at 2 yesterday. The local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution invited us to the country club to honor the high school seniors who wrote winning essays on patriotism. The ladies were sweet. There was no concern with political correctness as they recited portions of the constitution, prayed and sang the Star Spangled Banner. (Sorry for noticing that they spontaneously changed keys three times in the acapella rendition that was started too high for anyone other than Mariah Carey.) I couldn't help but notice that those concerned about political correctness would even have to take issue with our constitution. But George would have been proud. Before going, I tried to "Google" the local DAR to find out if we were going to accept a scholarship or what (I wish), but there was absolutely nothing to be found online. I know now it’s because they need to do some serious recruiting to not be extinct within 10 years. But after all, aren’t all American women really Daughters of the American Revolution? Pedigree and papers notwithstanding, it’s our heritage.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Procrastination & Exacerbation

My mom thought about legally changing my middle name to procrastination, but fortunately it didn’t happen. I like Dru better. I could write a book on procrastination. The only problem is that I would have to write about how to procrastinate with excellence and flair. Couldn’t do much to help you overcome it.

A prime example of a task that exacerbates* this problem is tax preparation. Uggh. I have a short list of things that put me in a bad mood fast. Tax preparation tops the list. I have an accountant. I use Quick Books. Yet there still seems to be way too much to do on my part. I had 3 more paragraphs of rant going about taxes and was depressing myself and could have pulled you right into the pit with me.

To change direction, I got up and used a few of my favorite stress-busting techniques. Here are some things that top my list for tension-relief:
1) Take B-Complex vitamins. B vitamins are depleted by stress, sugar, caffeine, estrogen, exercise, breathing, etc. Deficiency symptoms are irritability, fatigue and mood-swings to name a few. I figure I need more B than the average person. : )

2) Sing or put on some music. (The choice depends on if anyone else wants to hear me sing.) A few rounds of “Just a Spoonful of Sugar Makes the Medicine Go Down” just perked me up. Good old Mary Poppins always had a remedy.

3) A hot shower or a run, depending on the time of day. A hot shower just did wonders.

4) Working on my gratitude list. Yep, I’m super thankful to live in America. Even if we have the IRS here.

5) I'm exiting to go read now. Reading is really relaxing to me! (Blogs count)

*Word for the day:
Exacerbates – (ex·ac·er·bates) Makes a bad or problematic situation worse.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Your Do is Not Your Who

I did it again. I went to one of my favorite places and had an amazing day. I’ve already noted that Destin is one of my favorite shopping meccas. Saturday’s trip to Destin didn’t involve shopping, but a women’s conference hosted by our area Aglow International. The speaker, Mary Forsythe, of Dallas, had an awesome message. I’m sure I have more to share than you have time to read, so I’ll just hit a few highlights.

Performance mentality is something I am all too familiar with. In the business world, we are taught that results are the measuring stick and dollars are the scorecard for success. God’s economy is so very different. He cares about character, relationships, love, joy, peace…an entirely different system! I learned years ago that who we really are is not determined by what we do. Mary stated it very simply: “Your Do is not Your Who and Your Who is Not Your Do!” Got that? So simple yet so profound.

Mary exhorted me to awaken to my strength. (Yes- she was addressing the group but it was delivered so personally that I took notes in first person.) That entails being confident in my God-given purpose and embracing an understanding of my appointed position. We all have many positions; I am a wife, mother, businesswoman, friend, volunteer, bookeeper, cook, musician, etc. Success in any and all of these areas requires knowing my position in the Kingdom of God for such a time as this.

Our lives are both vertical and horizontal. We are designed to need wholeness in both aspects of living. My time is as valuable as gold and I need to schedule it accordingly. Investing in the truly important things.

The profound truths flowed that day. Straight into my heart. What a gift.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Who me?

I have always loved Gideon. I'm sure you remember the story. He’s the guy who was hiding in the winepress to thresh wheat because the land was full of enemies. An angel showed up and said to Gideon, “Hey you! Mighty Man of Valor!” Gideon looked around wondering,”Who me? Who are you talking to?” And the angel warrior points at him. This has always made me laugh. Who hasn’t felt inadequate and fearful and thought “moi?!” Who hasn’t been found hiding behind walls (often of our own making) that offer perceived protection against our enemies?

I find myself constantly needing to move out in courage that I don’t feel to conquer enemies with names like doubt, fear and comfort. How can comfort be an enemy? Ahh- comfort zones can certainly keep us in the land of safety, security and the status quo. I’m pretty sure we aren’t designed to stay the same.

Enough about me, let’s get back to Gideon. The angel of the Lord told Gideon to “Go in the strength that you have and I will be with you.” What a great thing to know! But he was still afraid. (You see why I relate to this guy?) So he snuck out at night to do the first part of what he was supposed to do. He still got the job done and wasn’t penalized for being a chicken. The next chapter in Judges tells the fascinating story of the victory of Gideon’s army. But once again, Gideon has to be reassured beyond what would even seem reasonable. But God was patient with him and an awesome victory resulted.What seems small and inadequate in our sight can be mighty if God is with us. Is that good news or what?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Love Story

The 15 year old heart recognized him the moment she saw him and her heart sang. Some say that a 15 year old is too young to know what true love is. Truth is, a heart is made to recognize a soul mate. Young love grew. Tumultuous years followed as they grew up and the two hearts faced storms that broke them apart. The pain of separation was great and they reunited to plan a wedding. Her daddy’s heart, said “Are you sure little girl? How are you sure?” She replied, “It’s a matter of the heart.” And daddy-heart was comforted.

When you can see the best in another, believe in them, hope in them; when you can leap into thin air and trust you’ll be given wings to fly – this is love.

Wedding bells led to lullabies. Their family experienced birth, death, sheer joy, strife, turmoil and refreshing winds of peace. Woman-heart grew to know the God-heart that had created her and loved her with an everlasting love. Man-heart resisted that God-love for 15 long years. God-heart never gives up, and after many prayers, many tears and many years, Man-heart recognized the Great God-Hearts’ call. A new song in heaven was heard as they began a new journey and learned to dance a new dance of love. The 50 year old hearts stand amazed at what God saw, at what God knew, before they had eyes to see or ears to hear. God takes 2 people and unites them to share 1 heart. It’s a miracle of marriage

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sew What?

I was contacted Friday to help with the costumes for Cupcake’s high school production of “Grease”. My response was, “I’ll run errands and contact people, but I don’t sew!I have always believed I can do almost anything I set my mind to (except draw or paint where I clearly have absolutely no talent) so I wondered, “why can’t I sew?” We even own a sewing machine which I have never touched.

It’s said we learn by repetition and emotion. Well, emotional lessons apparently stay with us for a long time. I'm sure the reason I hate sewing goes all the way back to 7th grade Home Economics at Brookside Jr. High School. I remember we had to sew an item of clothing as a project. I suppose to make us take this seriously; our teacher mandated that on completion, we had to wear the garment to school. I had never been more embarrassed than when I had to wear that hideous orange dress made by my own hands. I had naively thought it would be cute. It was made of orange kettle cloth. What was I thinking? So I have never sewed anything since then and I have also never worn anything orange again. I hate orange. Now that I’ve unearthed the source of my loathing for sewing & orange clothes, do you think I need therapy? I think I’ll just go play the piano instead. Anyone know a seamstress?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Song of the South

It’s a gourgeous day in the south. Sunny and looks like we'll hit 70 today. I love spring- even if it's just a tease for now.

I’m getting ready to drive into L.A. again this morning. (Lower Alabama of course)
I’ve read a lot of posts this week about the differences between the north and the south. My favorite comment regarding why the humor is different said that it’s the humidity down here. Northern humor is drier. One phrase that has always tickled me in the South is “Bless your heart”. I think it has two meanings. It can mean “I’m so sorry” or “You’re so stupid”, depending on the sincerity of the person speaking. Think about that. You’re so stupid with sugar on top.

And incidentally, even Southern babies know that"Gimme some sugar" is not a request for the white, granular sweet substance that sits in a pretty little bowl in the middle of the table.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Daffodil Principle

I've given you Wordsworth's Daffodils as one explanation for my blog theme. Below is another story that has inspired me. If you are short on reading time, the point of the story is,"When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world."

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must come see the daffodils before they are over." I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead. "I will come next Tuesday, " I promised, a little reluctantly, on her third call.

Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and so I drove there. When I finally walked into Carolyn's house and hugged and greeted my grandchildren, I said, "Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in the clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see bad enough to drive another inch!"

My daughter smiled calmly and said, "We drive in this all the time, Mother." "Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears, and then I'm heading for home!" I assured her. "I was hoping you'd take me over to the garage to pick up my car." "How far will we have to drive?" "Just a few blocks," Carolyn said. "I'll drive. I'm used to this." After several minutes, I had to ask, "Where are we going? This isn't the way to the garage!""We're going to my garage the long way," Carolyn smiled, "by way of the daffodils." "Carolyn," I said sternly, "please turn around.""It's all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience."

After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand-lettered sign that read, "Daffodil Garden." We got out of the car and each took a child's hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path. Then, we turned a corner of the path, and I looked up and gasped.

Before me lay the most glorious sight. It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it down over the mountain peak and slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns-great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, saffron, and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety was planted as a group so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue.

There were five acres of flowers. "But who has done this?" I asked Carolyn. "It's just one woman," Carolyn answered. "She lives on the property. That's her home." Carolyn pointed to a well kept A frame house that looked small and modest in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house. On the patio, we saw a poster. "Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking" was the headline.
The first answer was a simple one. "50,000 bulbs," it read. The second answer was, "One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and very little brain."The third answer was, "Began in 1958."

There it was, The Daffodil Principle. For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than forty years before, had begun-one bulb at a time-to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop. Still, just planting one bulb at a time, year after year, had changed the world. This unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. She had created something of ineffable (indescribable) magnificence, beauty, and inspiration.

The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration. That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time-often just one baby-step at a time- and learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time.When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world.

"It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Carolyn. "What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or forty years ago and had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all those years. Just think what I might have been able to achieve!" My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual direct way."Start tomorrow," she said. It's so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson of celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, "How can I put this to use today?"

Author Unknown
(I bet it was one of our blog sisters!)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Whatever It Takes

I started my own business fresh out of college when I couldn’t get a job getting paid what I felt I was worth. (There’s much to be said for the optimism of those in their early 20’s!)
Since then, I have owned several businesses, sometimes more than one at a time. I prefer working from home, though not all have been home-based. I think I've learned enough to write a book about entrepreneurship, but today I simply want to share a few thoughts.

Home-Based Business Benefits
Freedom – Flexible schedule
Easy commute – saves money on gas
Wear what you want – save money on clothes

Home-based Business Drawbacks
Feeling Like You Never Leave Work (you don’t!)
Too close to the refrigerator/snack cabinet

The Truth of the Matter
1. If you are starting your own business it takes time to turn a profit. Possibly a lot of time. I have started numerous businesses and I have never gotten paid for at least a year – sometimes two. Money was being earned but it is wise to reinvest in your own business to keep it growing. Be prepared for that.
2. Love what you do. If you are not totally interested in it, you may tire before you get to the rewards.
3. Be willing to do whatever it takes until you get to the point that you can hire out what you don’t like. As soon as you get to that point – delegate!
4. When you do hire people, pay well. A good team is essential for growth. Don’t get cheap with people.
5. If you form partnerships, do so with your eyes wide open. All the warnings you have heard are for a good reason. Partnerships are intense relationships.
6. Be ready to be fully accountable. You can celebrate successes but there is no one to blame for mistakes. You are responsible – own up to it.
7. Keep a good attitude. Keep your eyes fixed on the goal.
8. Take care of yourself. There is no one to replace you!

I have no regrets about the businesses I have built over the years. What I have learned has been even more valuable than what I have earned. I have embraced the following Words of Wisdom by an unknown author:

Whatever It Takes

I am committed to doing
Whatever it takes.
The die has been cast, I’ve stepped over the line,
I’m out of the comfort zone. The decision has been made.
I won’t look back, let up, slow down or back away.
I am finished and done with low living, sight-walking,
small planning, smooth knees,
colorless dreams, tame vision,
mundane talking, chintzy giving and dwarf goals.

I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away,
turned back, deluded or delayed.
I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice,
hesitate in the presence of adversity,
negotiate at the table of the enemy,
ponder at the pool of popularity,
or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I’ve committed to doing Whatever It Takes!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Junkyard Dogs

I’m one of those people who doesn’t exercise by choice. Granted, I’ve always done it, but for me, it’s like brushing my teeth. Do it because you have to or you’ll pay a terrible price. With the marvelous invention of the iPod, I had actually come to enjoy my somewhat daily run. Okay - I walk as much I run, but I’m out there, so what’s the diff. That is, until my neighbor started keeping his dogs outside. There are 3 rat terrors (is that supposed to be terrier?) that come after me daily. These little monsters are junkyard dogs. (They are mean and they live in what has come to be a junkyard, but that’s a story for another day.) They are little, but vicious. Now it’s interesting to note that I run with 3 big dogs that do not serve as any deterrent at all. Builderman and I have 2 black labs that could not terrorize a flea. I am also accompanied by a boxer who has adopted me. He is muscular and keeps grown men trembling in their trucks and using their cell phones to call for assistance when thy come to our house - and he’s not my dog! (Belongs to yet another neighbor.) For some reason, he's also afraid of these junkyard dogs. They nip and yip and gnash their teeth and carry on like nobody’s business. They definitely bite, as Cupcake lost a chunk of her shoe one day.

Now I usually like dogs just fine. But these dogs are asking for it. Builderman gave me some pepper spray for Christmas. (He’s the ever-practical gift buyer.) I now run prepared for battle. I have yet to spray one of the suckers as they are so fast. I think I need the kind of spray that shoots like a firehose. I now have great sympathy for all of the mailmen, meter readers and other friendly folks who would rather keep the flesh on their legs intact than pretend like they like your dog. A few bad ones can make all the rest look really bad. Kinda like people. I’m going to keep on running.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Our Favorite Son

I’ve always enjoyed the name “favorite son”.
A safe designation since he is our only son. (He has 2 sisters!) Today is his
23rd birthday. Wow- look what has transpired in that time:

We have always loved the picture of his early weight-lifting days. The second photo is taken in our "back yard" with “The One”. We love her. He completed his first 2 years of college and proceeded into the EMT program and then Fire Academy in college. He just completed Fire School and is currently applying all around Florida for a job. He has finished college just in time for us to send child #3 to school. A wonderful benefit of them all being spaced 5 years apart is we’ve only had 1 in college at a time. I never could have planned that so well! Here’s a recent photo from Fire School.

“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and you will find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jer. 29: 11-13

Friday, February 1, 2008

She Speaks

I learned about the She Speaks Conference through reading other people’s blog posts. I am new to the blog world - just started reading and blogging a month ago. I have been greatly refreshed and encouraged by the transparency (and vulnerability) of the women I have met. I wonder if the perceived anonymity of the web gives us more freedom to be honest. At any rate, we need more of that in our relationships and I’m loving this new way to connect with others.

When I first read about the conference offered by Proverbs 31 Ministries, I closed the webpage and determined not to think about it. I find the Proverbs 31 woman very intimidating. She is good at everything and it makes me tired just to think of being around women like that. But then I was reminded that she laughs and she is not idle… so I do have some things in common with her. I’ve been moved by the musings of the women who blog about the conference and note they are women who are real. They freely express their joys and fears, their blunders and victories, the mundane, the insane, the silly and the serious. Thus my genuine interest in this conference has been growing by leaps and bounds.

I definitely want to be a better speaker. Hey, at this point in time, I just want to speak. Are you really a singer if you don’t sing? A runner if you don’t run? A dancer if you don’t dance? I’m a speaker but I’m not speaking. That has to change. I long for the company of people. I long to fully express the gifts that God has given me.

Here’s the update on why I’m a speaker but not speaking. We moved to the boondocks 7 years ago. New town, new church, new hairdresser, new dentist, new everything. A big challenge, in that not even the grocery store is close. I found myself in totally unfamiliar territory, in every way. I had been a speaker when we lived in a city. There, I had contacts and memberships in many organizations that kept networking alive and well in my life. I spoke for businesses, retreats, a great variety of settings. I love being a Christian in marketplace ministry. When we moved here, I made the decision to start a business that would keep me at home while our children were still growing up. I have adjusted to country living and the peace it offers. Now, our “baby” graduates from high school in May. I have been soul-searching about what I want to be when I grow up. How do I “start over”? What am I called, a “Returning Woman”? I have a business that I work from home, but it leaves me unfulfilled in many ways, primarily because I’m not around people. Email can only take you so far in communication.

I have always had a burning desire to move people and touch their lives in a meaningful way through the spoken and written word and music. I have always wanted to write a book. I know there are songs within me that have never been sung and messages that have never been expressed. Some women grieve over an empty nest, and I’m sure I will experience my share of that sweet sorrow. But I have determined I want to expand my “tent stakes” (build a bigger nest) and love on more people.

The only thing I’m clear on is that God is going to accomplish this in a way that I have not figured out yet. I am waiting, learning, reaching, pondering and hoping. I have my ears attuned and my eyes wide open for what’s next. The conference information says it will help women build a dream. (At least that’s what I read.) I want to build a dream. It could be that this conference is the next step. Winning the scholarship to attend would be an amazing affirmation of the future that beckons & draws me each day. I’m listening, Father.