Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday – A la carte

1. One of my best friends sent me this text message this week:

“A friend knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you
when you’ve forgotten the words.”

2. I'm amazed at my good fortune at the wonderful friends that came into my life when Fireman married last August. Daughter-in-love is fabulous and her mom and I have so much in common it’s amazing. This week she was up visiting and we walked on the beach, laughed and shared thankful hearts. She recently took a trip to Dubai and it was fascinating to hear all about that. I love her!! (We even selected dresses for the wedding that were almost exactly the same style but in colors that suited each of us. Perfect!)

3. Cupcake has a mouse at her house. She was certain that it was going to come out and bite her while she slept but I assured her that it’s more scared of her than she is of it. Makes me extra-thankful that Builderman deals with any such issues around our house. I’m spoiled.

4. For several years, I have yearned for a small group of women that I could grow with and be challenged by. I recently stepped onto the Area Board of a women’s ministry that has filled that bill so well that I am in awe.

5. I’m headed to Alabama to see LouLou tomorrow. She is getting tired at 102 ½. When I hear this awesome song “Finally Home” by Mercy Me, I’m reminded that we’re pilgrims here. She’s almost home.

Enjoy the journey this weekend!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ingenious Invention - It Works for Me!

The cleaning gene skipped a generation in my family. Cleaning house is not on my list of things I like to do, so when I got excited this weekend about cleaning with Uncommon Blonde’s new SteamFast machine, it was an unprecedented occasion. The fact that I’m blogging about anything related to cleaning house is nothing short of astonishing.

I actually couldn’t wait to see what it would do, so I started with the dirtiest thing I could find; the exhaust vent in the kitchen. I was happy with the minor effort it took to take care of my least-favorite cleaning task so I proceeded to clean all the appliances in the kitchen and then moved to my shower. I appreciate my oversized tile shower until it’s time to clean it. It’s going to take more than one steam cleaning to get it up to par, but I was very pleased with the results of the first “treatment”.

The greatest benefit is that there are NO CHEMICALS when cleaning with this product, just steam! Most effective cleaning product products produce killer fumes (no kidding), so this is a vast improvement and requires very little “elbow grease” as well.

I’m sold. This particular SteamFast unit costs about $100. One review at Amazon states that the Italian (more expensive) units are much more powerful. In my cleaning frenzy I took some paint off the wall by my shower, so I really don’t think I need more power.

Since you wouldn’t use this machine all the time, if my best friend lived nearby (which sadly she doesn’t), I would split the cost and take turns keeping this at my house.You can go on over to Shannon’s Works For Me Wednesday for hundreds of ideas to make you smart & efficient. Sounds exhausting doesn’t it?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Plump & Sweet - A Favorite Treat

Memorial Day weekend became super-special to our family 19 years ago when our youngest daughter was born in the middle of the holiday weekend.

She’s taking summer classes in college, but came home to celebrate her birthday with us. Her brother and sister were able to both be here on Sunday for a very special time together.

It rained most of the weekend, but that didn’t deter any of our fun. Blueberries are just coming into season and there’s no one in the world who loves blueberries more than my daughters. When they were growing up, we lived 10 minutes from a Blueberry U-Pick farm and they became accustomed to eating as many as they wanted. The rain stopped long enough for us to pick blueberries at this beautiful farm that just opened last year. It’s only about 25 minutes from my house. Wish I could send you some via email. They are plump and sweet and a wonderful treat.
P.S. I’ve learned how to work many of the features of my new Blackberry phone which I fondly refer to as my “Blueberry”.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Two Heads are Better than One

I’m calling on Team Brain. Since you’re reading this, you’re on the team! Most of you know that my speaking/training business is accelerating and I’m working on improving many aspects of my communication. I want to give a shout out to Wendi McNeil of Charli Jane Speaker Services. She's a terrific coach and is really emphasizing the importance of developing a strong online presence. As part of that, I am brainstorming 2 items today.

I need a “tag line”; a one sentence synopsis of my message. One. Sentence.

One of my speaker friends uses “Making the complicated simple.”
Charli Jane uses “Opening doors of opportunity”. The name of my business is LifePoint.
So far, I’ve come up with “Inspiration to live the life you’ve imagined”.

The other thing I’m brainstorming is the title for my e-Newsletter. I'll be publishing twice a month. “Life Notes” is not very original but I like it because it makes me think of musical notes as well as Cliff Notes.

I’d like to tell you your ideas will be entered in a contest with an amazing award. So I’ll tell you that. The reward is my undying friendship and gratitude. The rule on brainstorming is there are no rules – no idea is dumb. I'm thankful to have such smart & creative friends! Quit looking over your shoulder- I'm talking to you. : )

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sugar, Spice & Everything Nice

I’ve never been to a more lovely party than the one I attended Saturday. The fact that it was in honor of Addison Rose, my first grandchild, made it oh-so-fabulous! This is my mom and me with our 2 daughters.
Uncommon Blonde’s friends displayed an amazingly generous outpouring of love. The pictures tell the story.
The hostesses with Uncommon Blonde.
The brunch served at 5 One 6 Burns included
Cinnamon French Toast
carmelized bananas and whipped cream
Eggs Benedict
spinach, tomato, hollandaise & home fries
Fresh Fruit Salad
melon, cantaloupe, strawberries & grapes

I enjoyed every morsel. I’ve always loved the eggs benedict served on cruise ships but this was the best I’d ever had.

We had so much fun setting up the nursery that afternoon! This precious baby is already so well-loved!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Rainforest Adventure

My plane ticket is purchased, my passport is ready and my reservation is confirmed as I prepare to travel to the Rainforest of Panama on June 26th for training as a success coach with the Rainforest Institute.

As I’ve pondered this decision over the last several months, I’ve become excited and energized by the possibilities. When I read “The Rainforest Strategy” in January, it immediately went to the top of my list as one of my favorite business books. You can actually order this book for the cost of shipping ($6.95). Click Here

The mission of the Raniforest Institute is this:

“To distill and pass on life and business principles embedded in nature
helping people succeed in life as they reach for their dreams.”

As coaches, we will be working with the following market niches: (1) self employed, business owners and entrepreneurs, (2) managers within those enterprises (3) those employed in sales and marketing related positions and (4) those who aspire to any of the preceding.

Michael Pink is the gifted author and visionary behind the Rainforest Instsitute. His blog has been on my favorites list ever since I started reading blogs.

This is such an amazing fit for me in so many ways. One of my first jobs was at Selby Botanical Gardens, which influenced my decision to major in ornamental horticulture in college. After college, I became an entrepreneur and have never applied that information and passion. Taking the lessons from the most complex ecosystem on earth and applying them into business makes perfect sense to me.

To top it off, of all the places that Michael’s offices could be located, I was astonished to find that they are in Sarasota! How very convenient.

You can count on reading my diary of my Rainforest adventure as the time comes. I’m already lovin’ the journey.

Friday, May 15, 2009

It's a Wrap!

I'm wrapping up the week a day early to head south for a baby shower! Uncommon Blonde gave me this beautiful photo of a Sarasota sunset developed on canvas for Mother's Day. It's lovely and unique and even more special because she took it. I didn't even know you could get a photo transferred to canvas.

My children know me so well. Fireman and Daughter-in-love brought me some bromeliads with showy red blooms for my patio. Cupcake gave me Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music on DVD. And flowers! I hadn't watched Mary Poppins in quite some time and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Of course the best gift of all is our close relationships. I love hanging out with our family. Which is what I need to go get ready to do SpitSpot!

I'll be back with all kinds of news and photos. Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cheerios: America’s Drug of Choice

I haven’t posted a Squall Line in quite some time but when the FDA starts telling Cheerios that they’re making claims only approved for prescription drugs, I’ve got to say something.

I don’t think there’s anyone who hasn’t shaken their heads at the numerous ridiculous ways our government has spent our tax dollars in the last year.

Health is a subject that is near and dear to my heart and you can believe that I've observed the direction of the FDA in the last number of years with alarm that has grown to horror. If the direction doesn't change, your right to buy vitamins and choose complimemtary health could vanish. I won’t belabor the point today, but here are excerpts from an article at You can read the brief article HERE.

The FDA has issued an official warning letter to General Mills Inc. last week ordering it to modify how it markets the health benefits of Cheerios.

The particulars of the Food and Drug Administration findings are in a letter dated May 5th. The Cheerios ads claim in six weeks “Cheerios could help lower your cholesterol 4%,” but in making that claim, the FDA says Cheerios becomes a drug, which can’t be commercialized for its benefits without approval.

That claim, along with similar assertions about Cheerios’ cancer-fighting and heart-healthy qualities, amount to “unauthorized health claims” and violate the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the agency said.

The FDA letter told General Mills that it was “your responsibility to ensure that all of your products are in compliance with the Act and its implementing regulations.” And if the company failed to “promptly correct the violations” then the government may have to take “enforcement action without further notice.”

General Mills argues that the Cheerios health claims have been approved for 12 years, and the FDA’s complaints deal with the language on the box.

"It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from the government."
--Thomas Paine 'The Rights of Man' c.1792.

As one of America’s Founding Fathers, Paine also penned a widely popular booklet called “Common Sense”. Seems to me that our government could use a strong dose of common sense. Oooops – I said “dose”. Does that mean I’m prescribing?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What Doesn't Work For Me Wednesday

I know, I know, it’s supposed to be “Works for Me Wednesday”. But it’s not.
I’m surrounded by boxes, installation instructions and all things technological to conquer. Doesn’t technical support make house calls?

It all started when I dropped my cell phone in my big cup of water in the center console of my car. Which reminds me, I need to buy one of those BPA-free water bottles that has a LID on it since I’m participating in Lid’s 3rd 30 x 5 Challenge.

But I digress. I had to get a new cell phone and I agonized over whether to go for it and get a Blackberry. Since my travel schedule is increasing, I decided if I also opted for their data card for high speed internet instead of my current satellite service, the total monthly bill wouldn’t be that much more.

So I came home Saturday with new equipment. I think I am getting some serious error messages with the code ID Ten T. In other words ID10T errors. Get it? I don’t either.
Not much is working with my best-laid plans of being more efficient with time and money.

On top of this, I have caved in about adding morĂ© “social networking” to my schedule. With the goal of creating a “strong online presence” for my business, I’ve opened Facebook & Twitter accounts and am supposed to be learning those. In case you want to be my friend, I’m Beverly Lewis on Facebook and BeverlySpeaks is my name on Twitter.

Makes me want to grab a book and go sit in a corner and read… no electricity or technical expertise necessary. Oh- with my big glass of water by my side of course. Because Linda’s 30 x 5 Fitness Challenges are really working for me!
If you want to meet lots of people who have lots of things working for them, check out Shannon's WFMW.

Monday, May 11, 2009

If I Only Had a (Whole) Brain

It pays to remind myself daily that being fascinated with people is more productive than being frustrated by them. That’s one reason why studying personality types, learning styles and brain dominance has always held great interest for me.

I’ve been reflecting for the past few days on a communication problem/personality conflict I’ve been experiencing with a business associate. She has left brain dominance and I have right brain dominance. How this translates is she is very logical and relies on data and facts in making decisions. Everything has to be according to the “rules” and all probabilities must be understood before action can be taken.

As for me and my right-brain thinking, I’m not constrained by logic and facts if there’s a vision and a dream that’s powerful enough to press through the obstacles that inevitably lie ahead. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, is what I’m thinking.

The exciting thing is when you put the left brain together with the right brain, you get a whole brain perspective; the ideal scenario.

I saw this powerful example of the brain’s ability to process information the other day:


Cna yuo raed tihs? I cdn’uolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonemnel pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rsereeachr at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteers be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig, huh? Yaeh, and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

Isn’t it astounding how easily we can decipher words with information that is ambiguous, garbled, or less than complete? We are wired to see underlying patterns, fill in the gaps, straighten out the miscues, and discover the hidden meanings. The same is true of our innate ability to make decisions.

Excerpt from Lee J. Colan, Winner's Always Quit

Our brain has astonishing capabilities. Here's hoping for a week working with a whole brain.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Take a Deep Breath - We're Going for a Run

Motivation is like eating sugar in order to get moving. In the short run it produces instant energy but it doesn’t sustain – if you don’t get more you’ll crash & burn. Inspiration is like eating a balanced diet and exercising – it takes longer to produce results but they are sustained and lifelong. I’m INSPIRED!

I’ve had some doors of opportunity open to me that have my heart pounding and pulse racing with expectancy and excitement. I’ve been in the “waiting room” for some time and my name has just been called.

I’m travelling to a meeting today so only have time for a quick post at this post. I’ll tell all soon.

Last week, I heard Zig Ziglar say “Encouragement is the oxygen of the soul.” How true!

Take a deep breath and go for it.

What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Child’s Play

I imagine that I was as easily entertained as a child as I am to this day. Thinking about the grandbaby that’s on the way has caused me to consider the toys that I love. I think one reason we have “classic toys” is that every parent likes to buy what they loved as children for their children. So from one generation to the next, certain toys endure.

I had my share of baby dolls. My favorite was one I named “Shirley”. She was made of hard plastic so she go could go anywhere. She had been the victim for all my games of beauty shop so she had only an extremely short spiky look when it was all said and done. She had a well-loved look. There’s a new definition for you – aging just causes us to look well-loved. ; )
Just looking at a sock monkey makes me happy. I bought a sock monkey as soon as I found out I was pregnant with Uncommon Blonde. My sister beat me to it on this one; she already bought one for Uncommon Blonde’s little girl.

Everybody’s gotta love Bozo. You can take out all your frustrations on him and he bounces right back, smiling all the time. I think I liked him so much because I could distract my sister with Bozo and avoid being the human bop bag. There’s a lesson in that – maybe I should get one as an office companion. I may be serious. : )

What was your favorite toy? Happy reflections to you!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sitting Down on the Inside

A number of years ago, I selected an audio recording to take on a trip and I didn’t get what I paid for. I got much more.

I thought “Sitting Down on the Inside” would be about stress management and learning to relax. What I got instead was a lesson on pride. As I listened to the speaker, it was if a flashlight was shining on a piece of wood infested with termites. The infected piece was an attitude that had taken up residence in me; a spirit of being right.

It’s stressful to have to be right all the time. It’s a sure deterrent to effective communications with others. Maybe you’re too young to remember Archie Bunker, but his know-it-all attitude was ridiculous. Granted, my attitude was much more “polite and sophisticated” than his. Yeah, right. Wrong is wrong, no matter how you dress it or what tone of voice you give it.

The conviction I felt when I realized the damage I was doing to people I care about through my attitude of superiority is a lesson that is still fresh. That still doesn't make it easy or natural to sit down on the inside. But experience has taught me that things work out faster if I relenquish my need to be responsible for everybody. (In other words, my need to be in control!)

Sitting Down on the Inside set me free. Here’s what this phrase means to me:

  • Forgive, even if the other person is wrong.

  • Say “I’m sorry” first, even if I’m not the cause of a breach in communication.

  • Walking in love is a far more valuable than being right.

  • I don’t have to defend myself. It’s not about me.

  • What’s especially intriguing about this lesson is that a year later, when I re-listened to the same recorded message, I didn’t hear what I've just outlined! It was as if it was a different recording. That’s when I knew that God had used that time when I was listening and “tuned in” to get a message to me that would be an anchor to my soul and a life raft to relationships. That was a bigger Stress Management tip than I had bargained for.

    Friday, May 1, 2009

    Family Business

    Hsssssssss chk chk chk chk chk chk hsssssssssss chk chk chk chk chk chk.

    I hear the sprinkler as if it’s oscillating white noise. It sounds like my great great aunts whispering about “family business.” They're the poster girls for the saying,” I don’t repeat gossip so listen carefully.”

    You would never hear their generation talk about money, sex, death or health problems- especially the “C” word” (cancer). There were so many topics that were absolutely off-limits for discussion, my young mind was left to wonder about many things. One unlikely story about death I recall being retold many times is the tale of the great great uncle who was killed while riding behind a log truck in the Carolina mountains when impaled by a runaway log. Do you think that could be why to this day I’m fearful of driving near a log truck?

    Of the five sisters, Minnie, Gypsy, Ruth, Frances and Bill, Gypsy was the most animated storyteller. They all built beach houses in the 1930’s, lined up next to each other like a flock of geese by the bay. For most of my life, we filled Mama Frankie’s house every summer with pallets thrown on the floor and family in every bit of space.

    Mornings began with LouLou at the grits pot stirring and stirring; that’s her secret to the best grits in the south. In the late afternoon, everyone in the neighborhood congregated under the canopy of oaks by the bay for extended “visiting”… hours on end of conversation & laughter. Evenings were filled with games and reading if you were lucky enough to land a spot near a lamp. Skinny-dipping in the phosphorescent water was also a favored activity. The small black and white TV was turned on only for occasional news reports.

    The blades of grass that managed to poke through from the coaxing of the sprinkler never overtook the dirt paths worn by many little feet.

    When I smell the fragrance of salt water and pine trees and hear the sound of crickets, I'm transported to that place and that time.

    Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads. - Thoreau

    Cracker Chronicle Observation: This set of great great aunts included a girl named Bill and on my father's side there was a girl named Noah. (Pronounced N0-eee) I guess when they didn't have boys they settled for using a boy's name. Funny in a sad sort of way.