Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Creatures are Stirring in this House!

I am so excited! I have some more presents to wrap and the grocery shopping to do tomorrow and then everyone starts arriving tomorrow night and Thursday! The best part of all the celebrating is being with family. I am so grateful.

Cupcake came home last weekend (she had to go back to work a few more days) and she scurried around cleaning out closets and such. So funny to me... I wasn't even considering that and she quipped, "you're just out of control with saving things." Ha- she sounds like my mom. And like I do with my mom, I said "have at it, I'll provide the bags for trash and one for Goodwill." It took more than one, trust me.

I doubt if I'll make it back here before Christmas, so just want to share this favorite poem...

'Twas the night before Jesus came and all through the house
Not a creature was praying, not one in the house.
Their Bibles were lain on the shelf without care
In hopes that Jesus would not come there.

The children were dressing to crawl into bed,
Not once ever kneeling or bowing a head.
And Mom in her rocker with baby on her lap
Was watching the Late Show while I took a nap.

When out of the East there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash!

When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But angels proclaiming that Jesus was here.
With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray
I knew in a moment this must be The Day!

The light of His face made me cover my head
It was Jesus! returning just like He had said.
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.

In the Book of Life which He held in His hand
Was written the name of every saved man.
He spoke not a word as He searched for my name;
When He said "It's not here" my head hung in shame.

The people whose names had been written with love
He gathered to take to His Father above.
With those who were ready He rose without a sound
While all the rest were left standing around.

I fell to my knees, but it was too late;
I had waited too long and this sealed my fate.
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight;
Oh, if only I had been ready tonight.

In the words of this poem the meaning is clear;
The coming of Jesus is drawing near.
There's only one life and when comes the last call
We'll find that the Bible was true after all!

1993 Bethany Farms, Carrollton, IL
Merry Christmas to All! Love you much.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

People are Crazy

I logged onto our local paper's website yesterday afternoon to get an email address to send a community announcement and was stunned to see breaking news that moments before, a gunman had opened fire at a school board meeting and someone was dead.

I'm watching the Today show right now and it's bizarre to see the tape of the incident. It's truly a miracle that none of the board members were shot as the cRaZy opened fire. I have tremendous respect for our superintendent (he was our son's high school principal). I'm simply appalled that it has become commonplace to see this kind of headline in the news. It's surreal for it to happen to people I know, right where I live.

I'm thankful that there's always good news. So I just clicked off the TV and turned my mind to this:

"If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there Your Hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast."
Psalm 139: 9,10

People are cRaZy but God is good.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cookie Recipe Exchange Party

Welcome to the Christmas Cookie Exchange... the only one you'll attend that you won't consume too many sweets...yet. Who could look at all these yummy delights in Sara's link-up and not actually make the cookies? Not me. Let me tell you, the smell of these Ginger cookies baking is almost as good as the taste.

Ginger Chewies

- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- NOTE – I take the spices as an advisement and use whatever I want and I don't like cloves so none of that for me.
- 3/4 cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup molasses
- About ¼ cup granulated sugar (regular sugar)

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper
2. Recipe says to sift flour, baking soda and spices into a bowl and set aside. I don't do this, I just dump them all in together later.
3. In a large bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and brown sugar until smoothly blended, about 1 minute.
4. Add the egg and molasses and mix until blended and an even light brown color.
5. Mix in flour mixture on low speed just to incorporate.
6. Roll ¼ cup of dough between the palms of your hands into a 2” ball then roll the ball in granulated sugar (the ones I just made I forgot to roll in sugar).
NOTE – Using ¼ cup of dough is great and gives you perfect giant cookies, but I normally use a small ice cream scoop, this makes reasonably sized cookies that still use the same baking time. They are also more uniform because the scoop is exact and makes a rounded ball with less rolling. Once you have the balls rolled in sugar, freeze them if you want to. If you want to freeze them, do it in a single layer where they aren’t touching until they are quite solid, then you can put them in a bag or Tupperware or whatever and they won’t all mush together. I use the same baking temp and time for frozen ones as for fresh.
7. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the tops feel firm but they are still soft in the center and there are cracks on top, about 14 minutes.
8. Devour and enjoy!

Head on over to Sara's for more recipes.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Goose is Getting Fat!

No, I'm not raising geese now. The last thing I need to accompany the rooster is a bunch of honkers!

But I'm singing, "Christmas is coming the goose is getting fat... please put a penny in the old man's hat." Does the calendar really say it's the 6th, or am I imagining things? I ventured into the mall Saturday and reality hit. I had fun moseying around but it hit me when I got home that I'd better get serious about my Christmas list.

I might be overdue in ordering my cards too... thankfully Shutterfly has always impressed me with their service and quality so I'm on this today. They're having a blog promotion for 50 free cards and that floats my boat!

I was debating about sending cards this year but I love getting them. And looking at last year's card from Shutterfly makes me smile. So I'm shopping HERE for cards and also think I'll order a calendar for Jim's mom. I've already ordered a photo book for his dad. I adore photo books! I've got my lovely Christmas music on from Pandora's peaceful holiday station and I'm feeling the Christmas cheer.

This is the design I'm leaning toward. And that's FIFTY DOLLARS in free cards if you jump on this Christmas deal. Hurry...the goose is getting fat!

Thank you, Lord, for online shopping.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I Smell Cookies

I love cookies. Especially fresh from the oven, gooey warm cookies. So Sara's Cookie Recipe Exchange is calling my name. I'm participating this Wednesday, Dec. 8th. Join the fun by posting your recipe with a photo on Dec. 8th and then link up at her place. I've been baking cookies this morning so I can't wait to share the deliciousness.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Finely Tuned

I found a tuning fork when I was hunting through a drawer looking for something this week. I got it from my dad's stuff when we were cleaning out after he died - in December twenty years ago to be exact. My memories of the pain he suffered have faded but my memories of the smiles, glances, wisdom and words are as fresh as the frost was this morning.

I wonder how many instruments he tuned by the tone produced from this tuning fork. He could not only tune any instrument, he could play almost every instrument. But that's not what made him unique. He dedicated his gift to bringing out the talent and gifts in his students.

My sister shared an email this week that a guy wrote her... he took the time to share that dad was someone who made a lasting impression on his life. He recalled dad giving him rides home with his cello in a car that was so rusted out that you could see the pavement whizzing by beneath your feet. He recalled his fascination with that, but more important, he remembers the kindness.

Dad was the king of the land of frugal and always said a car is meant to get you from point A to point B and style wasn't a part of the equation. As I teenager, I remember being embarrassed by his cars. I also remember how hard my sister and I laughed when the "hearse" that came as we dealt with his death was an older station wagon. Obscure, unobtrusive but effective. How perfect.

His life still resounds in my heart and provides the tuning fork for so many of my decisions. The tone is true. And is unchanged by the passing of time. His love endures - what a gift.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Full to the Brim and Spilling Over

What a week it was. I was “disconnected” for the most part because of the presence of those nearest and dearest to my heart. Here are some of the highlights, blinking through my mind like directional lights leading to supreme joy….

1) Rosebud is speaking in understandable sentences at 16 months, which totally floors and entertains me.

2) Uncommon Blonde gave me a blog book of all my 2009 posts for my birthday and that was a really neat gift that keeps on giving for several reasons. It gave me fresh inspiration to keep on blogging, no matter what. I also was encouraged by Builderman who very rarely looks at my blog as he read through pages and pages of posts and commented on how much he enjoyed it.

3) With three adult children living out of town with diverse schedules, we all managed to convene on Friday for the full Thanksgiving festivities. We just changed the day since Luke was on duty at the fire station on Thursday and it worked just great.

4) We got our Christmas tree up on Thursday (usually decorating happens on Friday) and it was super fun to see Rosebud’s delight all weekend.

5) We usually shop on Sat. morning but we pulled that off on Wednesday and discovered that all the Black Friday sales were already posted and we didn’t fight any crowds. Who knew??

6) Sesame Street is teaching and entertaining another generation of children. Addison loves it and I do too! Did you know Elmo gets email now? So funny.

7) My hands are shriveled up from all the dishwater they swam in. I only made one new recipe that bombed (Butterscotch Cashew bars were nothing like the ones I’d tasted) but we had so much food that was no big deal. Here’s the fact of the day: Heat makes objects expand. So there you have it, I haven't gained weight, I'm just overheated!

I have to be honest and say I cried tonight with missing my children and the sweet, sweet kisses of Addison who says, “Nana, I wu wou.” My heart is at least two sizes bigger.

Friday, November 19, 2010

More is Better but Less will Have to Do

Remember I mentioned I'm participating in NaBloPoMo over at my business blog? It's challenging and I'm glad I'm doing it but I'm positive that I won't keep it up after November. I can tell you that the more often you post, the more traffic you get. I know that's logical, but my statistics show traffic is up 62% this month over October. Is it worth the brain drain and extra writing? I'm not sure.

Obviously, I've had less time to Dance in the Daffodils. I appreciate friends who love me when I'm good and love me when I'm not so good. : )

In case you've been wondering what's on my mind, I like yesterday's post about the Rich Rewards of Respect, which should have been titled, "You Get What You Give".

A few random Friday thoughts.... did you know that there are statistics that reveal that you need at least 12 laughs a day to stay healthy? Yep, it's true.

And I'm covered x 2 today because Guess who's Coming to Dinner???
If you guessed this little girl you guessed it. I'll be in heaven for the next week. I plan to drop back in to say "Happy Thanksgiving", but I might be busy playing.

You all are treasures in my life. Have a terrific weekend!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Prescription

It's been one of those days. If it wasn't one thing, it was another. Sigh. One of those days that just needs to be cancelled.

However, we have a no-fail prescription we keep on our refrigerator that works every time I need a pick-me-up.

There now, don't you feel better?

I definitely do. The icing on the cake is she's coming for a whole week at Thanksgiving.

Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.~ Victor Hugo

Monday, November 8, 2010

Random Act of Culture

I have a "Hallelujah" for you on this beautiful Monday. This is so cool. Just 2 weeks ago, the Opera Company of Philadelphia burst into song at Macy's at noon. It's worth watching for lots of reasons, including the crowd's response at the end.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Apple of His Eye

I just finished reading a book that messed with my head - in a good way. I have to admit I've never really understood much about the divine connection that Christians share with Jews outside of the obvious. The Messianic Church Arising is a real eye-opener and I'll be pondering the message for quite some time.

In the meantime, I saw the statistics below and find them astonishing.

The Global Islamic population is approximately 1,200,000,000; that is
ONE BILLION TWO HUNDRED MILLION or 20% of the world's population.
They have received the following Nobel Prizes:

1988 - Najib Mahfooz

1978 - Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat
1990 - Elias James Corey
1994 - Yaser Arafat:
1999 - Ahmed Zewai



1960 - Peter Brian Medawar
1998 - Ferid Mourad


The Global Jewish population is approximately 14,000,000; that is FOURTEEN MILLION or about 0.02% of the world's population.
They have received the following Nobel Prizes:

1910 - Paul Heyse
1927 - Henri Bergson
1958 - Boris Pasternak
1966 - Shmuel Yosef Agnon
1966 - Nelly Sachs
1976 - Saul Bellow
1978 - Isaac Bashevis Singer
1981 - Elias Canetti
1987 - Joseph Brodsky
1991 - Nadine Gordimer

World Peace:
1911 - Alfred Fried
1911 - Tobias Michael Carel Asser
1968 - Rene Cassin
1973 - Henry Kissinger
1978 - Menachem Begin
1986 - Elie Wiesel
1994 - Shimon Peres
1994 - Yitzhak Rabin

1905 - Adolph Von Baeyer
1906 - Henri Moissan
1907 - Albert Abraham Michelson
1908 - Gabriel Lippmann
1910 - Otto Wallach
1915 - Richard Willstaetter
1918 - Fritz Haber
1921 - Albert Einstein
1922 - Niels Bohr
1925 - James Franck
1925 - Gustav Hertz
1943 - Gustav Stern
1943 - George Charles de Hevesy
1944 - Isidor Issac Rabi
1952 - Felix Bloch
1954 - Max Born
1958 - Igor Tamm
1959 - Emilio Segre
1960 - Donald A. Glaser
1961 - Robert Hofstadter
1961 - Melvin Calvin
1962 - Lev Davidovich Landau
1962 - Max Ferdinand Perutz
1965 - Richard Phillips Feynman
1965 - Julian Schwinger
1969 - Murray Gell-Mann
1971 - Dennis Gabor
1972 - William Howard Stein
1973 - Brian David Josephson
1975 - Ben jamin Mottleson
1976 - Burton Richter
1977 - Ilya Prigogine
1978 - Arno Allan Penzias
1978 - Peter L Kapitza
1979 - Stephen Weinberg
1979 - Sheldon Glashow
1979 - Herbert Charles Brown
1980 - Paul Berg
1980 - Walter Gilbert
1981 - Roald Hoffmann
1982 - Aaron Klug
1985 - Albert A. Hauptman
1985 - Jerome Karle
1986 - Dudley R. Herschbach
1988 - Robert Huber
1988 - Leon Lederman
1988 - Melvin Schwartz
1988 - Jack Steinberger
1989 - Si dney Altman
1990 - Jerome Friedman
1992 - Rudolph Marc us
1995 - Martin Perl
2000 - Alan J. Heeger

1970 - Paul Anthony Samuelson
1971 - Simon Kuznets
1972 - Kenneth Joseph Arrow
1975 - Leonid Kantorovich
1976 - Milton Friedman
1978 - Herbert A. Simon
1980 - Lawrence Robert Klein
1985 - Franco Modigliani
1987 - Robert M. Solow
1990 - Harry Mark owitz
1990 - Merton Miller
1992 - Gary Becker
1993 - Robert Fogel

1908 - Elie Metchnikoff
1908 - Paul Erlich
1914 - Robert Barany
1922 - Otto Meyerhof
1930 - Karl Landsteiner
1931 - Otto Warburg
1936 - Otto Loewi
1944 - Joseph Erlanger
1944 - Herbert Spencer Gasser
1945 - Ernst Boris Chain
1946 - Hermann Joseph Muller
1950 - Tadeus Reichstein
1952 - Selman Abraham Waksman
1953 - Hans Krebs
1953 - Fritz Albert Lipmann
1958 - Joshua Lederberg
1959 - Arthur Kornberg
1964 - Konrad Bloch
1965 - Francois Jacob
1965 - Andre Lwoff
1967 - George Wald
1968 - Marshall W. Nirenberg
1969 - Salvador Luria
1970 - Julius Axelrod
1970 - Sir Bernard Katz
1972 - Gerald Maurice Edelman
1975 - Howard Martin Temin
1976 - Baruch S. Blumberg
1977 - Roselyn Sussman Yalow
1978 - Daniel Nathans
1980 - Baruj Ben cerraf
1984 - Cesar Milstein
1985 - Michael Stuart Brown
1985 - Joseph L. Goldstein
1986 - Stanley Cohen [& Rita Levi-Montalcini]
1988 - Gertrude Elion
1989 - Harold Varmus
1991 - Erwin Neher
1991 - Bert Sakmann
1993 - Richard J. Roberts
1993 - Phillip Sharp
1994 - Alfred Gilman
1995 - Edward B. Lewis
1996- Lu Rose Iacovino
TOTAL: 129!

The Jews are NOT promoting brain washing children in military training camps, teaching them how to blow themselves up and cause maximum deaths of Jews and other non Muslims. The Jews don't hijack planes, nor kill athletes at the Olympics, or blow themselves up in German restaurants.

The Jews don't traffic slaves, nor have leaders calling for Jihad and death to all the Infidels.

Perhaps the world's Muslims should consider investing more in standard education and less in blaming the Jews for all their problems.

Muslims must ask 'what can they do for humankind' before they demand that humankind respects them.

Regardless of your feelings about the crisis between Israel and the Palestinians and Arab neighbors, even if you believe there is more culpability on Israel 's part, the following two sentences really say it all:

'If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel ." Benjamin Netanyahu

General Eisenhower Warned Us - It's a matter of history that when the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, General Dwight Eisenhower, found the victims of the death camps he ordered all possible photographs to be taken, and for the German people from surrounding villages to be ushered through the camps and even made to bury the dead.

He did this because he said in words to this effect: "Get it all on record now - get the films - get the witnesses because somewhere down the road of history some bastard will get up and say that this never happened."

Recently, the UK debated whether to remove The Holocaust from its school curriculum because it 'offends' the Muslim population which claims it never occurred. It is not removed as yet. However, this is a frightening portent of the fear that is gripping the world and how easily each country is giving into it.

Something to think about!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's About Time!

I gasped Monday when I turned the calendar to November. The holidays are almost upon us! The end of the year is staring me in the face! How can that be? Then the words of a song popped into my head, “If I could save time in a bottle, The first thing that I’d like to do, Is to save every day, Till Eternity passes away…” Only I rewrote it in my mind to say, ” If we could save time in a bottle, we’d create a whole new addiction and people would be totally discombobulated and running frantically in a marathon until they can’t move…”

I figure time can be my friend or my enemy so we might as well be friends. Things sure flow better that way. In business, you will be effective to the extent to which you jealously guard your time. In your personal life, you will be effective to the extent to which you jealously guard your time. The key is deciding what you want. You can have it all, but you can’t have it all at one time.

Work ethic has never been an issue for me. I come from a long line of passionately hard workers. I recall when I called my grandmother on the occasion of her 90th birthday and inquired “How are you?” Her response was, “I’m just TOO busy!” What a legacy. The issue for me has been one of pacing and focus. Learning how to be completely present at whatever I have chosen to be doing at the time is the key to enjoying the rhythm of the day. Focusing on the truly important things is my other guiding star. I’m sad for people who make short term problems a lifestyle. I’ll not fall into the trap of letting the craziness of the world steal my joy.

With those thoughts in mind, I welcome November. Bring it on and finish strong.

To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.”~ Leonard Bernstein

Note: This month is NaBloPoMo and with insanity gripping me, I committed to participating over at my LifePoint Blog. Forgive me for a duplicate post today. I'll be around here with family news. I consider that blog my office -sometimes living room. This is my family room. Thanks for coming by to hang out when you can.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Battle is Not Yours

While dancing down the road this morning to some lively music (exercise has to be fun or I'm not in), I sang along to the words, "the battle is not yours, God said it's mine..."

I've been meditating on the life of David lately, the King who went down in history as a man after God's own heart. His fame began on a battlefield with his astonishment at the audacity of Goliath to mock the army of the Living God. He came along as a "nobody" and left the battlefield as a "somebody." Not because he thought he was tough stuff, but his faith was in a God who's tough stuff. He knew that if God's on your side, you're going to win.

Then it occurred to me that I'm in trouble if I enter any battle in my own strength. I don't need gizmos and widgets, degrees, endorsements or my own well thought-out justification. What I need is the presence of God. Only then is the outcome certain.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Two Sizes Bigger

My heart is two sizes bigger. Last month when our family all gathered for a weekend of laughter and love, I was surprised with happy news when Addison came out dressed in this shirt: If you can't read it, it says, "I'm the Big Sister."

I was momentarily confused, as I knew that our son and his wife had brought the shirt when they came and we had known for 2 months that they are expecting their first baby in March. So when I read the shirt, I was thinking, "they must not have had a "cousins" shirt." They laughed at me and said, "No, the shirt is correct, Mom". And immediately my heart grew another size bigger.

Joy. Thanksgiving. So much to be thankful for. I had to wait to share until Uncommon Blonde had announced it.

Now our little pumpkin will have company.
2011 already holds so much promise, my heart is growing every day.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Walking on Sunshine

October gave us an absolutely beautiful weekend for Parent's weekend festivities at FSU. I don't attend many football games, so it was a fun experience to do the whole football scene on Saturday, made even sweeter by a win.

Enjoyed the grand tour of Cupcake's new home away from home. Very traditional Southern manor and quite lovely and full of life.

Some of her new sisters. I'm learning a new language... they call Big Sisters just "Bigs" now. And the girl on the left is her "grand big." Fun.

Of course, the best part was just hugging and hanging out with our girl! It's good for a mom's heart to see your heart's delight doing well.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Do you Hear What I Hear?

The joyous cheers from Chile echoed around the world this week as the miners were rescued from the tons of rock that entrapped them for months, half a mile underground. In August, when the earth caved in on them, it was sound that was used to determine there were survivors. Tap, tap, tap.... and then the responding tap, tap, tap. How sweet the sound of life.

In my studies of Neurolinguistics, I've not been surprised to learn that sound is especially important to me since I am an auditory (and kinisthetic) learner. I've often told people that I'm bilingual; music is my first language and English is my second. For the record, did you know that our DNA is actually a musical coding? That each of us vibrates at a certain frequency and that even the stones in the earth are vibrating? No, this is not some weird philosophy I've bought into, this is science (and art and music).

The word personality has its origin in the Latin word per which means "passes through" and sonant which means "sound." Sound passes through you - your life is a song! You have a unique sound that is meant to be heard in the earth. No one else has the same message you have. Your voice is important.

I give a lot of attention to the need for innovation in business, sales and marketing and have come to the conclusion that so much creativity is squelched by our inability to recognize our own unique gifts and the important contribution we can make. We each have dreams that we discount and bright ideas that we dismiss. The greatest waste of natural resources is in the failure to develop human potential.

You could be on the very edge of breakthrough if you pause in the midst of the noise and listen. (easier siad than done, right?) Give ear to your own originality. What if you decide to act on just a fraction of the ideas you have? Creativity is part of our inheritance, regardless of whether we've recognized it. I'm certain that most of us have treasure that is yet to be discovered. What if we drill down and recover that which has been buried within each of us? The best is yet to come.

These thoughts were inspired by a message that Ray Hughes gave at the Aglow International Conference in San Jose, CA. This You Tube video of an older message in a different place is an hour and 10 minutes, but I promise, if you watch it. you will love every minute and thank me for telling you about it. (It inspired me to fly to Califfirnia for more!)A fascinating teaching on SOUND. Profound.

Monday, October 11, 2010

All the Trees of the Field Clapped Their Hands

The Econfina Creek is a gem of Northwest Florida and it's only a few miles from us. I really enjoy the day canoe trip that is available through the nearby canoe livery- they'll pick you up at the end and transport you back to your car for a reasonable fee.

On a recent weekend, I mentioned to Builderman that I missed doing that this year and we should go. The creek is spring-fed so the clear water is ice cold and refreshing on a hot day. After some discussion, he determined that the all-day trip was more than he was in the mood for and that we would create a shorter trip ourselves. After all, he knows those woods quite well, being the adventurer that he is, so off we went.

It was a beautiful day and it was a good thing I was in the hands of a capable guide. The portion of the river we were on and had not been cleared of downed trees and it took skillful steering and actually hauling the canoe across several obstacles. The reward was we didn't see anyone else for hours. The sound of the wind in the trees accompanied us. We saw a kingfisher (bird) that that was quite beautiful as we quietly made our way.

A change of pace brings refreshing. This past week, the weather changed and we welcomed fall. I'm thankful the sun kissed us for our last day of summer...and all the trees of the field clapped their hands for us.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Returning with a Roar

As many of you know (sounds like I'm pretending to have LOTS of readers!), I've been in the role of a "Returning" woman. When Cupcake graduated 2 years ago, I thought "Okay, now what do I want to be when I grow up?" I've owned a number of businesses over the years (I call myself a serial entrepreneur), but I embraced a term called career convergence and decided that it's time that my passion, gifts, talents, experience and assignment all converge for my glorious fifties.

The result is I've been building my client base with LifePoint as a Merchant of Hope & Executive Business Trainer. I'm loving it. One thing I've done this year is teamed up with Becky Harmon of Success Not Sabotage Coaching. We're doing team-building in Tele-Classes, Workshops, Retreats and such. Right now, we're working with a team of 10 Christian Businesswomen & Ministry Leaders who've dubbed themselves the Grace Girls. This has been an amazing experience and of course I've learned more from them than they could have possibly learned from me. I just want to let you know Becky and I are organizing our last Tele-team (location doesn't matter) of 2010 on October 13 on Creating a Team that Roars: Magnetizing and Cultivating a Team that Gets Results. If you want to know more, details are HERE .

One of the Grace Girls, Jane Falter, is an Encore Coach that I'm joining with next week to present a Free Tele-Seminar called Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life.
A survey I participated in as a blogger about a year ago revealed that 80% of women over 40 live with a sense of disappointment. (And you thought you were alone.) Consider joining us next Weds. Oct 6th. Details Here

So now you know where I've been and what I've been doing! I've got more to tell you and am excited about a trip to California later this week. Catch you soon!

Monday, September 20, 2010

House of Tomorrow

I've been reflecting on the gifts that the generations hold, both young and old. My dad treasured the words of Kahlil Gibran and when I was a teenager, often comforted both of us with the image of himself as the archer me as the arrow.

"Your children are the sons and daughter of Life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you...You may give them your love but not your thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth..." ~Kahlil Gibran

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Friends

I met Shelly of Chicago a couple of years ago when she helped me with ideas for a trip we were planning. We share a love for travel, food, Jesus and blogging, for starters. She's started a Friday Favorite Food meme and I decided it's the perfect time to point you in the direction of Amanda's new WTFrills Blog. She is an amazing cook. Simply amazing. For recipes, themed party ideas, crafts and endless creativity, she's the go-to girl.

To digress from food for a sec, I have a confession. Some days I'm told I'm brilliant. And that's good to hear because other days I'm exceptionally slow. For example, Shelly's blog is called Life on the Wild Side. That puzzled me for years with it's incongruence to her quiet nature and distinctly not wild lifestyle. JUST last month I realized her last name is Wildman. Ding! That's the Wild side of her! And then there's Amanda's "WTFrills". I saw her recently and said, "Do tell what the WT stands for!" With the Frills. Duh.

Just knock me in the head- I'll be okay.

Since everybody is watching football these days, I'm sharing this fabulous Spinach Artichoke Dip recipe that Uncommon Blonde served recently when I was there. Oh. My. Goodness.
This came from Amanda's keyboard, to Uncommon Blonde's kitchen, to my hips. These calories come under the category of "worth every bite."

Spinach Artichoke Dip
2 pkgs. frozen creamed spinach, thawed
1 can artichoke hearts, quartered, drained
1 small carton heavy whipping cream
1 pkg. shredded parmesan cheese
1 pkg. shredded monterey jack cheese
1 pkg. cream cheese, room temperature
garlic powder to taste
tortilla chips for dipping

Add all ingredients (less chips) in a crock pot and heat thoroughly. Serve with chips and enjoy!

Be sure to do something this weekend just because you want to. Not because you have to.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Sound of Joy

We had a marvelous long weekend with a houseful of laughter. Enjoy this short clip of the sound of joy. The message you can't see is that our son and daughter-in-love (pictured below) are expecting in March. I am deliriously happy.

Monday, August 30, 2010

It's Greek to me

I'm learning Greek. Kind of. Cupcake is now in her junior year at FSU. (Wow- time flies!) It so happens that all the girls she "hung out" with for the last two years graduated in May and moved away. She stayed in Tallahassee over the summer and she was extremely lonely. Going to a school of 40,000 students requires finding a nest in a smaller group, so she decided to participate in fall recruitment for sororities. Some family members were cheering her on and others were skeptical, saying "it's a set-up for hurt and rejection." The outcome has been terrific and she's having a blast, but that's not the point of this post.

I've been thinking about life lessons and I've come to the conclusion that if we're truly alive, we put ourselves at risk for rejection every day. When we're rejected, it stinks and it hurts but it's such a necessary part of giving, living and loving. The only way to avoid rejection is to not try anything new. Not an option, in my book.

I just read an interview of tennis champion, Martina Navratilova and she was asked, "What quality do you have that champions need?" Her answer was, I think the ability to fail. Not being afraid to put it all on the line and come up short. Most people don't have that."

So there you have it. Our children are champions because we've taught them that failure is just feedback. May you have the courage today to try something new and go somewhere you've never been. Now, how do you say that in Greek?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Silent but Deadly

My main computer died a silent death last week. People blue-line when their heart stops and computers blue-screen when they expire. There was no warning. My solution was to put it in the car and drive to my favorite MicroSoft engineer's place. The bad news is he's 6 1/2 hours away. The good news is he's Addison's dad and he can fix any computer and retrieve files that others might declare as lost. I had a delightful time playing with the baby while he operated.

I got a brand new computer as the other one could not be rescusitated. He recovered all my files and settings, but since it's a new version of Windows and everything is the latest version, I am still finding my way around. For example, I took a picture this morning and thought I saved it to my blog folder and yet it is not to be found. So here's a file photo of what was in our garage this morning:

Ever heard the little rhyme, "red and yellow kill a fellow, red and black are friend to Jack?" Coral snakes have the red coloration next to the yellow and they happen to possess the most potent venom of any North American snake. Great. Once again, a knight came to the rescue (that would be builderman sans the armor) and the snake is truly dead. He's a skinny looking fellow which seems to be the norm. And thus my title; silent but deadly.

I'm not just a survivor though... the Word I read today says I'm "more than a conqueror!" Awesome. I still might be in the market for some snake boots.

Monday, August 16, 2010

She Put All Her Eggs in One Basket

I never thought I'd be blogging about chickens and egg-laying. Seriously.

But I'm easily entertained and the real-life illustration of the common metaphor, "don't put all your eggs in one basket", gave me a good laugh. Well, technically, our chicken didn't put hers in a basket - it was a box.

Egg production at the on-site cackle house has dropped significantly in the last couple of weeks but we attributed it to the heat. I mean, who feels like being productive when sitting in a 100 degree house? In addition, there was one chicken that started brooding over her eggs. We could use a few more hens, so Builderman figured he'd leave her alone and let her sit on her eggs. She had one false start when she moved off the 4 eggs she'd been sitting on after about 2 weeks. (It takes 3 weeks to hatch eggs).

Well, 3 weeks came & went and she was still brooding so Jim decided to check under her and see what was going on. To his surprise, she was sitting on 31 eggs. Thirty One. Apparently, whenever she would leave the nest to get water or something, another chicken would sit down and lay an egg. The whole pile was a mess as there was a broken egg in the mix so Builderman disposed of all of them.

I think chickens are really dumb, so I don't suppose broody hen will learn a lesson. But it was a good reminder for me and gave me a good laugh. And there are actually two morals to this story, the second one being ... Don't count your chickens before they hatch.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Ice Cream of Our Learning

“If you’re like me, you’ll jump at the chance to bypass all the churning and scoop the cream right off the top. And that’s what quotes are…the cream of our learning.” ~Zig Ziglar

I’ve made a hobby of collecting quotes since I was in high school. With the rise of Social Media, I feel like a glutton at an endless buffet table – it can be distracting. I grab them and horde them and sometimes I feel like a walking book. I guess there’s worse things.
Since, it's Friday, I feel like having an ice cream party of words, so enjoy some of these flavor bites with me:

Even if you're on the right track you'll get run over if you just sit there. ~Will Rogers
(filed under "motivation")
“He who walks in the middle of the road gets hit from both sides.” -- George P. Schultz
(filed under "politics")
You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end, with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts ofyour current reality, whatever they might be." ~ Admiral James Stockdale
(filed under "contemplation")
God's will is not an itinerary, but an attitude. ~Andrew Dhuse
( filed under "faith")

“If you treat your wife like a thoroughbred, you'll never end up with a nag.” ~ Zig Ziglar
(filed under "marriage")
"My fashion sense is dictated by what doesn't itch. " ~Gilda Radnor
(filed under "humor")

As you enjoy your weekend, try something brand new along the way. I love to fill my life with “firsts”. The stimulation, wonder and delight tends to ignite passion! And you can quote me on that. (With nuts and cherries on top.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

7 Little Rules to Guide Your Work & Play

1. Ask for what you want.

2. Do what you love and love what you do.

3. Have the courage to “do it scared”.

4. If you don’t like it, fix it.

5. You’re not perfect, get used to it.

6. Dare to be yourself.

7. Measure your success by your joy.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Sparks & All Stars

I have a friend who says that God created night and day so we can have a chance to start over every 24 hours. I agree, but I also reason that each day is divided into just 24 hours so we have limits; I think without constraint I would burn myself up like a shooting star. There’s so much I want to do!!

I bring you the quick version of what I’ve been up to… Last weekend I went to Atlanta to “Spark & Hustle”, a conference for women entrepreneurs. (Details Here)

The women I met there were nothing short of totally amazing. It’s impossible to introduce all of them at once (there were 200+!), but I must mention Shameeka, aka The Broke Socialite, who launched what has grown into a very successful business with her blog in 2005. She is a hoot and a half – had so much fun with her. Then there’s my courageous friend, Alyssa, of VintageBodySpa who flew to the conference by herself at 8 months pregnant because she is so determined to stay home with her new baby. Leeann Staples of MaddyMoo custom handbags gave us awesome gifts in our goodybags and the list goes on... Joyce Bone of MillionareMoms blew me away with her story of mom blogger to owning a 150 million dollar company. Huh? Yep- you heard that right. Phenomenal.

The message that was engraved on my heart is: pursue your passion and believe in the power of your dreams!!
I’ll leave you with another star that made her debut on the cover of Sarasota’s Style magazine this week. Her mother is my favorite blogger, (You've got to read this post titled "Emily Post Would Hate Facebook") Uncommmon Blonde is the most sylish of all because of this accessory on her hip! I know you recognize my favorite baby:

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Haste Makes Waste

When I was writing the article below, I was searching my memory for occasions when I've mistakenly grabbed the wrong product in haste and suffered the results. My personal recollection was of mixing up my contact lens solutions. That's bad - but I figured no one could relate. One solution is for soaking & cleansing and you're warned NEVER to put it in your eyes. The wetting solution is used to douse the lens right before you insert it directly into your eye. Mixing the solutions means major pain, all your make-up comes off and your eye is bloodshot ALL day. If you have a story like this, please leave it in the comments. I want to hear. (Fodder for my writing too- thank you very much. Though I promise you anonymity.)

It’s dark-thirty and you’re at your bathroom counter hastily going through your morning routine, getting ready for the day. You grab a tube, squeeze out a line of gel and start brushing your teeth. You gag as it hits you that the tube on your counter is NOT toothpaste. The right product, applied the wrong way has tainted your day before it even got started.

Congratulations if you don’t have any memories of an experience similar to the one here. But wait – have you ever gotten an email that left a bad taste in your mouth? How about one that twists your gut or makes you feel like the room just got hotter?

Without a doubt, email is a convenient and time-saving tool. But it becomes a liability when used for the wrong type of communications. I’ve found myself wearing the hat of a mediator more times than I can recount as a result of faulty communications that often started with an email.

When there’s a subject that is personal enough to engage emotions, sometimes a simple phone call can circumvent misunderstandings. The real time-savings is in avoiding a mess that has the potential to drain far more time than it takes to make a phone call.

The problem with email is that non-verbal communication is eliminated. Considering the following statistics from Professor Albert Mehrabian of UCLA who is recognized as an expert in the science of communication, it is no surprise that email messages can be the vehicle for misunderstandings.

Professor Mehrabian states that :
• 7% of message pertaining to feelings and attitudes is in the words that are spoken.
• 38% of message pertaining to feelings and attitudes is paralinguistic (the way that the words are said).
• 55% of message pertaining to feelings and attitudes is in facial expression.

Next time you have a message to deliver that affects feeling and attitudes, consider that your intent has a 7% chance of being interpreted as you intended. Even if the statistic were as high as 50%, you would still be better served to pick up the phone. These statistics also drive home the fact that if the message is weighty, a face-to-face meeting is the best choice. Technology is a wonderful thing, but don’t let convenience make you lazy when it comes to good relationships.

No one wants to be an example of the saying, “I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you read is not what I meant.”

The right message, delivered in the right way, can bring clarity and strength to relationships. Choose well.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Cutest Little Tea Pot

My mom hosted a Tea Party in honor of Addison's first birthday. You're just in time to join in! (I'm SO grateful my sister captured the whole thing on camera.)

The teacups say "And her eyes went twinkle, twinkle"... and they did.

Wishing you a weekend be filled with sweetness and delight.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Unmerited Favor

Some experiences leave indelible memories; moments in time that explode into our lives with color, vibrancy and rich tones that leave us forever changed.

This week I’ve been reminiscing about the awesomeness of singing the Hallelujah chorus with a 350 voice choir in Vienna’s Musikverein. It was these lyrics that started my memory channel…

“The kingdom of this world
Is become the kingdom of our Lord,
And of His Christ, and of His Christ;
And He shall reign for ever and ever”

It was by the grace of God that I got to be in such an amazing, life-changing, unforgettable place.

Grace. Unmerited favor – from another kingdom - of another time and another place – a gift that transforms and is freely given. It cost our Father everything and costs us nothing. The kingdom of this world is not the kingdom of our Lord. Yet we can live under the new government; enjoying a freedom, hope and joy that is totally unnatural – because it’s supernatural.

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through his Spirit.” I want to KNOW NOW about these fantastic things that are yet unexplored and untapped, don’t you?! These things are not just for the “sweet by and by” but for the present, here and now. These things are meant to bring light and clarity to your business, your relationships, your finances and your emotions.

I've been soaking in the truths of unmerited favor in preparation for a Tele-Seminar I'm doing next week and as a result feel refreshed and energized. That thought made me realize I haven't invited YOU to attend. Weds. July 21 at 1 PM Eastern Time, 12 Central and it's free! You do need to register and the details are HERE.

Friday, July 9, 2010

To Tell the Truth

Yesterday, I attended a local Business Women’s Meeting and it was fun and fascinating. We usually have a speaker at the monthly luncheon, but this month we wanted to do something to get to know each other better. What we did was a sort of mixer called “2 Truths and a Lie”. I’ve seen it on blogs - in fact I’ve done it myself - but for the life of me can’t find that post. We learned some very obscure and fun facts about each other (a form of verbal blogging) and laughed more than a little.

Here are the three things I told about myself. You decide which one is a fib (the southern name for a lie).

1. I once was recorded doing a yodeling duet in a beautiful Alpine village in Switzerland.

2. I travelled by dugout canoe to visit the village of an indigenous Indian tribe deep in the rainforest. The gentle natives in their attire of loin cloths for men and skirts with a la naturale tops for the women served us lunch wrapped in banana leaves – their version of china.

3. My most memorable speaking engagement was in 1995 when I shared the platform in Tampa, FL with Zig Ziglar and General Schwarzkopf at a Get Motivated Seminar.

Now, if I posted photos, it would be a total give-away, wouldn't it?

So what do you think? Which is the fib? Click to view the comments and I'll tell you.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My Toy Story

I’m feeling a little blue, except I have so much to do I can’t live in the land of sadness. I’ve been unplugged for days and enjoying every moment of time with Rosebud.

Last week, I meant to blog about my mad dash to inhabit our home with toys. Cupcake had commented about 10 days before the arrival of our tribe for the holiday that “Rosebud is going to be bored here. You know, she’s VERY active now." Oh me, oh my! My home needs to be the most magical place on earth to our grandchildren so I becamse a woman on a mission. I've never been one to do the garage sale trail, but since we’d already ordered a baby SUV (just kidding – see photo below), I mapped out a plan and went toy shopping. Oh the fun I had! These toys now make me sad as I look out how they were abandoned this very morning…

She enjoyed a water play table on the porch...

We gave her a wagon for her birthday. When papa went shopping for a wagon, he got her the baby SUV variety. She LOVES it and prefers going fast. Hmmm - I think that's a genetic thing.

She helped papa get the corn for dinner.Of course it had to be tested for sweetness.
And isn't this the sweetest image?

Love is splendid. Goodbyes - not so much.
Hope you had a fabulous weekend.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Light Dawned & Broke Through The Boundaries of Time

This Video makes me grin. Then I have to dance around a bit. Celebrate!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Her Joy is Contagious

So glad you stopped by today for some happiness and grins. Our cuddlemuffin is coming next week and I'm more than ready. We'll be celebrating her birthday... hard to believe it's already been a year since she entered this world and brought SO much joy to all of us. I have a gallery of photos that I look at daily - so here's some updates for you:

The beaches in Sarasota are still clean. We treasure every day of oil-free waters. I have to sneak this one in... My beautiful girls!
All of our children and Miss A.