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Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Rapper and the MRI

Isn't life a kick?  It astounds me the twists and turns it takes.  

For instance my rapper friend.  What?

It was last christmas and I received a text...just a simple greeting, "Merry Christmas"  I didn't recognize the number but I responded back, "Merry Christmas, I hope Santa was good to you."  The texter sounded a bit sad and said something like his music was going better not great, and hoped 2014 would be a better year.  Money was bad, no gigs.....So I told him to expect miracles and they would happen and didn't think another thing about it.  He sent another text at New Years, just sweet "gangsta" love.   Since then he will text to tell me all the places he is performing, the record contract he signed and when his record would "drop".

Then he said, "Thank you Yoshi, you have been such a good friend.  Everything you said would happen did...thank you, I believe in miracles!"

uh oh......

I felt so guilty I came clean immediately.  I explained I wasn't Yoshi but was very excited for his success and that I meant everything I said about miracles.  I told him I loved hearing about his career and music (how else would I ever know about rappers?)  He was so confused, but then he just said,

"It's all good, who is this anyway?"

I told him I was just a random wrong number that must have been put in his life to remind him miracles occur.  Since then he has sent the link to his concert, showed me the jacket cover for his record and shared his girlfriend problems.  He believes in miracles....and all I did was wish someone a Merry Christmas.....

Which brings me to last Friday when I finally went in for my MRI.  Did I tell you I hurt my knee?  How could you miss that information, I suffer by committee.  If I am in pain everyone is in pain with me.  My threshold for pain is right about here......want to guess how high my hand is above the ground?

The most adorable woman is my MRI master.  Her name is Carla and I liked her immediately.  She explained the procedure and gave me some great earphones.  I requested Billy Joel, she didn't even blink and said she would do her best.  The next 20 minutes sailed by as I rocked out to Billy Joel, Three Dog Night, James Taylor and Fleetwood Mac in my MRI machine!  Fabulous.
When it was over I asked her a million questions about MRI's and  how she came to be the Jedi Master of the radiology department.  Evidently the machine costs 3 million dollars and it takes a long time to learn everything.  The MRI I received was a level 3 so they will be able to tell all my secrets from that scan.  I so hope whatever is wrong with my knee will be easy to fix.  Carla asked me how I hurt my knee and I am embarrassed that I do not have a fun story.  It just hurt, and then it hurt a little more and then a little more and when it got to "Oh s**t" I decided to go to the doctor...she said that was probable a good barometer for seeking medical help.  When you get to "oh s**t" you should go the doctor.


The best part of the whole adventure was after I changed and came back to get a picture with Carla and her magical machine.  We traded some life stories and she told me about a business she had recently started in her spare time.  The total purpose was to make as much money as she could to help her family...especially her mother.  They were financially struggling and she just wanted to help them.  This woman, this adorable woman, was doing everything she could to help other people all the time.  Carla said her favorite thing was buying pancakes at McDonald's in the morning and then buying breakfast for the car behind her!  We found out tons about each other in about 5 minutes, chatted as though we were long lost friends and exchanged phone numbers.  

I left there a better person for having spent time with her.  Inspired to live life better, and grateful to have met her.  

Thanks, life...that one is on you.


Monday, April 14, 2014

You Cannot Get There From Here..... or Can We?

This morning I was faced with a banking/health insurance dilemma.  Just one of those problems would have me running into the dark Nevada night...but both of them?  I wanted to approach my computer with camouflage fatigues ready for battle.  But then I spent a few moments trying to finding a calm and peaceful place to deal with a pretty big problem. Our world can be a loud and rancorous place making peace hard to come by.  We can't just opt out, we have to deal with the world. And that is where the choice comes.  Do we stay in the light where we can see solutions, or do we let go of all control and just let the world have it?

Long, long story short.  My health insurance premium automatically came out of my bank account on the tenth of every month.  Two different policies, two different accounts.  Starting April 1 I have a new health insurance policy and the others were cancelled along with the automatic withdrawal.  Or so I thought.

But only one policy was cancelled.  Which means the other policy, the really costly one, was automatically withdrawn.

Oh no....

I called the bank immediately and opened a dispute.  They said it will take at least 10 business days for them to resolve it.  In the mean time fees are mounting and our money is floating around somewhere....somewhere in the nether world.

I spoke with my insurance broker and they assured me it had been cancelled.

I called the health insurance company and they said it will take 30 days to resolve it.  I was only allowed to speak with a note taker, no one with any authority and no information really given.  After an hour and half on the phone, some of that time just on hold, and no real information or direction given, the note taker asked if there was anything else she could help me with.

What?

Maybe help get my money back before 30 days which was the reason for my call.....

We have created a world of confusion that no one really understands, a land of "you cannot get there from here".  A place where folks calmly tell you they cannot help you and there is no solution.  They firmly believe and accept you cannot get there from here.

I refuse to accept that.  Simply stop trying when people tell us to stop trying? There is always a solution if we peacefully search for it.  We can do what appears to be impossible.....I know we can.

I know because of something I saw this morning.  A woman stood in front of a group of people from her church and thanked them for praying for her family.  She calmly said that two of the people shot and killed outside a Jewish Community Center in Kansas City were her father and son.
They were just living life when it happened.   She was at a lacrosse game with one son so her father agreed to drive her other son to a singing competition try out.  That's all, just living normal life.....maybe innocently dealing with insurance companies or cholesterol one minute and gone the next.

The mother standing in front of her congregants was peaceful and obviously it was the peace  sustaining her.  When we choose to hate and use anger we are left on our own to deal with problems.  Which fills us with darkness and that leads to hopelessness.  When we chose peace we are filled with light and can "see" solutions we never would have before.

My bank/insurance problem, while annoying, will be resolved.  In 30 days or 10 days or 10 minutes...but they will find the problem and fix it.

The mother in Kansas City reminded me to honor peace under all circumstances and I am grateful for that.  I have seen grace under pressure before and it always inspires me to do better, be better. While hatred and anger, even seemingly justified, only leaves me sad and confused and certainly without peace.  There is something to light and darkness, no matter what your belief system is.





Sunday, April 6, 2014

Waiting for Stevie Nicks and my secret tennis life

I was just waiting for Stevie Nicks to come on the American Country Awards and started thinking about life a long time ago.  I wore out the album Rumours when I was in my early twenties.  All I did was listen to Fleetwood Mac and play tennis.
The other day my daughter told me she had a tennis match.  I am thrilled for her because I used to love to play tennis, it is so much fun.  I was dang good at it....but I stopped playing when I had my first child and never went back.

Mistake?

Maybe, but there is a back story to the abdication of my tennis shoes....tennis really got me in trouble....  When I played tennis I didn't just play tennis, I played all the time.  I got up in the morning and cleaned tennis courts at Caesar's in exchange for lessons.  And played tennis,  I did anything I could to just stay around tennis.  I hit with hotel guests and helped out with filling the drink machines, stocking shelves and pretending to string rackets.  I stayed there until I had to go to work at an indoor tennis facility where I scheduled court times and separated warring housewives playing on doubles teams.  They were nuts...

When the Alan King Tournament came to town the last week of every April I did everything to help.  Including watching incredible tennis from the best players in the world at the time.


I still cannot believe the carefree life I led, we went from the Frontier to the Stardust to the Riviera to the Desert Inn back to Caesar's and then over to the MGM just playing and playing.  I had tennis friends from bellhops to show girls....dealers and bosses, a crazy neurosurgeon and lots of regular people too.  The tennis world revolved around how good you were.  If you were good at the game you could move in any circle, with anyone.  I hit often with a woman named Mirha from yugoslavia who was the principle dancer for the Folies Bergere at the Tropicana.  She was a great tennis player, very strong with great strokes and because she was so beautiful she always attracted a crowd.  Court one at the Tropicana every Monday.

Every once in a while the traveling pro from Caesar's would stop by.  Everyone was terrified of him.  I didn't know better so I tried to learn everything I could from him.  I knew 2 people in my life that were the absolute best at what they did.  Charles Miller and Pancho Gonzales.
Pancho grew up in East Los Angeles, he wasn't allowed on the regular tennis courts because he was hispanic so he would climb over the fence to practice.  He overcame almost insurmountable discrimination to become one of the greatest tennis players to ever play.  He was also one of the most mercurial people to ever live.  A story that followed him everywhere was when he was playing at Wimbledon and threw his racket.  One you don't throw your racket at Wimbledon and if you play with steel rackets and throw your racket it could be deadly.  He missed the net judge (there was a time someone sat on the side of court with their hand on the net to check to see if it was hit during the serve) by inches....they said he would have decapitated her.  One of my worst afternoons was on a court at Caesar's.  I was hitting with a friend and since I considered myself all that as a tennis player I felt I could act like a spoiled child.  I missed a shot and threw my racket....since I got rackets for free ruining them wasn't on my mind, however where my racket landed gives me chills to this day.  Right at Pancho's feet.  I didn't know he was in town, didn't know he was there and certainly didn't know he had come looking for me.  There was the racket, there I was and there was his temper.  He was basically charm free when provoked and throwing a racket on his tennis courts was beyond unacceptable.  I was terrified, I could see him banishing me forever.  But he didn't, we had a very long conversation about tempers and how destructive they were, how unattractive they were and how that was never going to happen again.  I picked up balls for the rest of the day from lessons the pros gave and didn't say a word for hours.  Needless to say I never threw my racket again.

I never put tennis in perspective, I just played all the time to the detriment of everything else.  It was a lot of fun and I met a lot of very famous people.  I found out most of them had clay feet (never get me started on Bill Cosby - I played with him every time he came to town which was very often)  But it wasn't a real life.  I eventually got a job, met my husband and tennis was just a fond memory. But while I played it was a trip.  I had an enormous crush on Guillermo Vilas who was from Argentina, he was a great tennis player but considered himself a poet first.  Women considered him the best looking man in the world.  He would go on a back court and take off his shirt to practice.  His fans would be 12 deep.  And then of course what life with tennis would be complete without an Ilie Nastase story?  He needed a ride to the MGM so we piled into my ridiculous Datsun B210.  I listened to him for 20 minutes tell me what a piece of crap my car was.  With that accent it didn't seem as insulting as it really was.  He was playing Rod Laver the next day and I secretly hoped he would be wiped off the court but he wasn't.  The most elegant tennis player I ever watched was from Ensenada Mexico, his name was Raul Ramirez...he attended USC and eventually married Miss Universe.  Everyone talked about him in hushed tones, his family had huge money and he was just simply elegant and kind.  Then there was Peter Fleming who was doubles partner with John McEnroe.  Peter was a great friend and we had a lot of fun, but McEnroe was just quiet, a complete conundrum, because he was a horse's ass on the court.  Jimmy Conners was a happy, nice guy.  His best friend was the pro at the MGM so we saw him a lot, I remember running into him at the airport.  He was getting on a plane with just his racket, not another thing...not a bag, not a cover for his racket...just a racket.  I asked him what he was doing because it was just so odd...he just stared at me and said, "I'm going to LA, play a match and go home." and off he went.  He thought it was all completely normal.  I watched Andre Agassi play on center court as a 5 year old.....5 years old.  Amazing.
 I had the experience of getting to know the Amritraj brothers, Anand, Vijay and Ashok.  They were the first top flight tennis players from India.  Anand was my friend and the first thing I noticed about him was a 5 carat diamond ring he wore.  I don't know what his family really did in India, but he grew up with incredible wealth, even when he practiced he had ball boys.  After tennis one of his brothers Vijay was in several movies from Star Trek to Octopussy, his other brother Ashook was a producer making movies from Walking Tall to Bringing Down The House
Another great part of the time were the fights at Caesar's.  We would be playing tennis and here would come the fighter and his entourage.  One guy in the front with the boom box and then about 30 people after that.  Beautiful women, sparring partners, trainers, childhood friends, relatives, promoters and then the fighter.  It was the best!!  It was mostly Larry Holmes who trained there all the time.  I would go and watch him train because fighters truly fascinated me....who would do that?  All fighters were great at jumping rope and Holmes was no exception, he taught me how to jump rope and it was the best shape I was ever in.  Going to the fights was an experience in and of itself.  You dressed up in your best and just counted the celebrities.  Everyone who was anyone went to the fights.  I will never forget one night the whole place just stood up, it took me a minute to realize Mohammed Ali had arrived.  I don't think I saw another celebrity treated the way he was.  It was beyond awe...


So that was my little trip down memory lane....it was a lot of fun, but not real life.  I found out that folks can be amazing and difficult but mostly just regular people trying to be happy.  Meeting people from so many different places was what started me on a lifelong fascination with the nuts and bolts of people.   Now that my daughter is playing I really wish I had kept playing.  But I didn't  After my knee stops hurting I might be able to get a ball over the net.

No one will know but me that I really could play at one time in my life.

Except Bill Cosby, he knew I could play.....but that is a whole other story.













Thursday, February 20, 2014

Christie Brinkley at 60

I am as shocked as you are that Christie Brinkley is 60...because that means I am too.  I have had the frightening honor of being the same age as Christie for a long, long time...so when she turned 40 and looked fabulous, I turned 40 and looked like me, and then 50 and now 60.  I liken her to those 4 year olds that can play the entire Bach Concerto in f minor, there is no real explanation it just is.  She's 60 and looks 30.  And not just any 30, a dang good 30.  Money has something to do with it, but that's not completely it....she just is an aging anomaly.



So instead of feeling like "Olga with big hands", (No offense to the Olga's out there.  I just knew a woman one time who had enormous hands with no delusions she was an attractive woman, so when I am feeling less than fabulous I refer to myself as "Olga with big hands"...there, another window into my soul.)  I try to focus on what I have control over.  There aren't many 4 year olds playing concertos and probably even fewer 60 year old women looking like Christie.

There are a few things in my life that work, or let me qualify that...there are a few things in my life that have worked for me.  I am not an expert on anything and I am offering no advice...but some things are worth sharing.  We all need to share what works for us...it's just collective brain storming.

For instance, are you as confused as I am over every new diet or nutritional news?  I had to start paying attention to what makes me feel good and forget the rest.  Case in point, I was told that oatmeal was the end all, so I ate oatmeal...guess what? It kills my stomach.  So like the patient who says, "it hurts when I do this," and the doctor who says. "stop doing that then"  I substituted green smoothies with protein powder.  The spinach helps with fiber and all the other Popeye magic and the protein helps my hunger pains....remember I don't even play a doctor on TV.  I certainly don't have all the answers, I don't even know how Darth Vader can breath and talk at the same time.

I also know to use a great cleanser, exfoliate, moisturize, sunscreen and find the retinol!!  When I was in my 20's I played tennis for hours and hours each day.  Luckily a woman at the Estee Lauder counter introduced me to sunscreen, I think her exact words were, "do you want to look like a shoe when you are older?"  So as I got older I made sure I used as quality a moisturizer as I could afford.  For awhile I used Chanel....I loved it, loved those little black and white bottles.  But life got in the way of those indulgences...$85 eye cream just wasn't in the budget.  So I used a little of this and a little of that..but always with the mantra of Cleanser, exfoliate, moisturize, sunscreen
and retinol.  I don't think you need to use a lot of products (face it, if it's complicated we won't do it) but find ones you like.

A few years ago I started selling Mary Kay (dtagliaferri@marykay.com) because they have the basic products I have to have, and an affordable retinol night cream. (For the record, I have never signed anyone up and I sell the minimum for each month, refer to me as a low maintenance sales person, but I do love the products)  Whatever you use, make sure you use it.  Clean your face, exfoliate, moisturize, use suncreen and find the retinol.  


I seriously love this stuff....if you want to try it let me know, I can send it anywhere, no delivery fee.  Shameless I know...


















The next thing I am working on is procrastination...get excited, it is going to be fabulous!!








Monday, February 10, 2014

Just another regular day in Las Vegas at the Linq



I live in a place where unusual things are commonplace.  For instance we were recently having lunch at the Sugar Factory inside the Paris when across the street .....

 The water show started at the Bellagio....just another lunch....just another day.








When I was invited to tour "The Linq" I couldn't wait to go.  The fabulous Tabitha Fiddyment counsel for the Linq has been working on this project for a long, long time.  Love her, love her project.  Don't you love the hats?

It is quite an amazing place, one road (formerly an alley) Filled with shops from everywhere.  From Sprinkles to Hat shops, candy shops, restaurants a bowling alley and every other unusual and fun shop you could imagine.  All on this redesigned, saved from ugly, space. It was a delivery alley between 2 hotels...genius!!



Ray Ray loves construction sights!!


And it all leads to the largest ferris wheel in the world. In the world!!   Look at that pod!!  Each pod holds 40 people and there are 22 pods. (how many times can you say pod in one sentence?) The ride lasts 30 about minutes and will run 16 hours a day.  About $30 a ride they are secure their investment will work out....





Back to the car past the Flamingos....at the Flamingo....

Friday, January 24, 2014

I think it is Paris...well, almost

This is where I am supposed to go in my head when I get nuts...just saying.



So the news is good...Jane Davis my organizing guru returned today.  And lets just say she was thrilled.  May I repeat that?  Thrilled.  

I don't think you are grasping the enormity of this....a woman who understands organizing, considered my efforts and deemed me a success.  Gasp!!

She confided that she didn't think I would do it...or could do it.    Not sure which one she chose.  Any way I cleaned out 5 drawers of stuff....going through it was like rings on a tree. I found things I hadn't even thought about for years.  It was interesting and it took 3 days.  I am not happy with how slowly I churned through it, but slow and steady wins the race, right?  I threw out tons of written things that are easily found on the computer and realized no one needs that many pencils. I discovered tape, paste and dry erase markers have a shelf life and I spent half a day looking at ancient pictures.

I also found 13 cents.

Then I tackled the book shelves.  They really are just a big scrap book.  Besides my books, which take up a lot of room, I have all my families pictures on top of them to the side of them and in front of them.   

It's a good room. 

I only got rid of books I had already read or just didn't need, for instance why do I have a 1984 writers manual?

My desk was heaped....and for some reason that took forever.  Getting organized has it's hiccups.  I would walk around it, like it was a waste dump.  It felt toxic.  That took forever. But then I found some ways to have some fun with it, I cleared off several shelves next to my desk, and then just sat there.  What do I need?  That has been my problem, if I need scissors I have to hunt for them....and stamps....post its...the only thing that was right where it always is is the scotch tape.  So I put everything next to the scotch tape and promised myself I would put everything back where I found it.  Maybe I could velcro it to the shelf.  




This is right next to my chair...it is still intense, but handy.  The printer is on the bottom, above that a 3 tier paper organizer thing, my calendar, all the office supplies I need.  And they won't move from this spot.  I found a small silver cup to put stamps in.  A basket for the post it notes, a container for all the computer things... a shelf for the calculator, pictures of my kids, and a magnifying glass.  And it was my goal to find the most unusual containers I could find...all around my house.

  

My pens are in one place, my calendar.....a fun little desk container for my notes.  I feel so much more confident and capable.  I have a stack of books to trade or give away and 4 count them 4 empty drawers.

Jane gave me my next assignment, separating bills.  I told her my avoidance problem, my finances are weak so bills make me apprehensive...but if I incorporate the wisdom of my dear friend Valerie, we attract what we fear.  Attracting poverty seems counterintuitive, so I plunge ahead.

She is going to find a form for mileage...caterers drive a lot

Date the receipts.

Clear out the file cabinet, since it is filled with files 5 years old it is as helpful as the 4 huge drawers of "stuff".

Now I have room....

I really don't want to be like those people on hoarders, they get their homes organized and then they go right back to how they were before.

So I have the queen to watch over me and make sure I don't slide.



She is a gift from my friend Betsey who knows I need someone with authority to keep me in line.  So she stands next to my computer and waves at me.  Her purse has a solar power thing on it.

The Queen would never tolerate clutter.

I will be good.....









Thursday, January 16, 2014

It Should Be Paris

It should be Paris but it isn't....It is clutter 1,2,3 and 4.





No this isn't a resolution, this is reality....fixing my unorganized mess. It has been impossible to find anything and very hard to do business.  I do everything at this desk and it has been a frustrating ball of tangled yarn getting anything accomplished.

When I realized I needed an intervention I called Jane Davis, who is to organization what Philo Farnsworth is to television.  Jane came over and surveyed the whole situation, because I really wanted help I remained ego-less and simply hopeful there was a solution.  I didn't cringe when she saw just how overwhelmed I was with paper and stuff, I just wanted a road map.

First she told me I wasn't a hoarder and she had seen much, much worse.  Jane is an extremely patient person and wasn't critical.  She explained to me how many offices and homes she had organized and how much better they ran after a few simple steps.  Easy Peasey.

Then she said something I had to hear in order to go forward....."Time is money".  Jane told me about a law firm she started with that basically operated out of a bedroom and is now 18 attorneys.  She attributes a great deal of their success with the organization she instituted in their office.  As she surveyed my mess she told me the hard truth, it is impossible to do business when you don't know where anything is.  Time is wasted looking for things that should be within an arm's reach.  I know this is true when I would think about all the times I wrote notes on anything I could, envelopes, scraps of paper and open books when I couldn't find my note pad.  I would search endlessly for my calendar which would be at the bottom of the bills, or in the kitchen, dining room or even one time my car.  I know I lost business just because I was so unorganized.

Here are the simple steps she asked me to do this week.

1.) Accept change.  That is actually the hardest part, but I have to make our business work, so I will change.  Done

2.) Clear off the desk....of everything....some things can be added back, but for now a clear surface

3.) Clear out the bookshelves next to my desk, I can put files there....or things that have something to do with work and not art books, unfiled papers and broken scot tape containers

4.) Get containers...the chest above was filled with papers I hadn't looked at in 5 years, and that chest can be used for the business files.  Space is important, stuff isn't.
Stuff falls into 3 categories, possessions (accumulated stuff) Treasures (things you love that cannot be replaced) Keepsakes (things people have given you that you really don't care about but you keep them in case your Aunt comes by and looks for lamp she gave you).  So I went through the chest and didn't have to decide about a lot of things, I could just put them in the clear container - has to be clear so that you see what it is right away.  And I could go through it on a Sunday afternoon, no pressure.  It actually took away some angst I would experience when trying to decide to keep something or not.

She also told me to get rid of anything that can be replaced for less than $50.  You know what you say, "I might need this one day"  And maybe you will, but when a whole cupboard is filled with things you might use, then it is just clutter.

I have one week to get this done and she is coming back to help me with the next step.  She isn't coming to check on me, she is coming to implement the next step.  No pressure, nothing hanging over my head.  She was very persuasive in her approach in helping me understand what I will gain from organization.

Control....Ease....Satisfaction....Comfort

I don't believe in complete control, things always occur, but I will have a much better picture of what needs to be done.  And I will be able to find it.  I have to put things I use in the same place every time.  Every time.  Just a few steps will give me the tools I need.  One thing Martha Stewart always says, use the best tool for the job.


Back to work, Paris is under here somewhere...

Monday, January 13, 2014

"I am too old for this!!"

So how many times have you heard this?

"I am too old for this"

I have heard it a lot, mostly in my head.  When I started this journey I began to ponder the words I used.  The catastrophic things I say are just empty words with little or no worth, said out of frustration. And besides, what am I too old for, other than being Miss Texas?  I really wanted to be miss Texas when I was little with big hair and a fabulous accent.  I was even the crown bearer for the Miss Water Festival pageant.  I wore a cute little bathing suit with a sash that said "Miss Water Festival 1971".  The winner went on to the Miss Houston pageant which feeds right into the Miss Texas pageant.  I was 8.  I was never even a real Miss Water Festival much less Miss Texas, so today I am too old for that.  Nuts.


Too old for Astronaut, Swat and Seal teams too.

When do you hear "I am too old for this, or I don't deserve this" the most?  You know when, when you are ticked and don't want to do whatever it is you are doing that you think you are too old for.
It's not like age is some line on a wall like a height requirement at Disneyland.  You really aren't too old if truth be told, you just don't want to be doing whatever it is you are doing.
Right?
Examples.....
I am too old to be raising children - a friend who is raising her grandchildren is chasing toddlers at 60.
I am too old to take care of my elderly parents in their dotage....I am a almost senior citizen, right?
I am too old to be taking care of my husband/wife who is sick.
I am too old to be working full time with no retirement in sight.
I am too old to get divorced.

Granted none of those things sound fun, mostly because we want Nirvana.  We want to be planning endless delightful trips, getting our nails done, eating food with no possible chance of gaining weight, and spending an afternoon a week with spotless grandchildren.  No shame here, it's what's called the natural man syndrome.  The natural man is always looking for the easy way out....let's find the easy button!  But since life doesn't have an easy button, how do we handle the disappointment of the reality of life?
Or better yet how do we answer the age old question...

"I don't deserve this."

No worries, you don't have to confess that you have at least thought that a few hundred times...after all we live in a world with a bunch of air brushed women and blue pilled men all youth worshipping.  It's easy to  measure your life against the make believe lives and come up wanting.  But it isn't real.  Stop comparing your life with a shadow on the wall that is taller and thinner than you.  It isn't real.
The home magazines?  Staged.  Women magazines?  Vogue, 17, Allure, Mademoiselle, Glamour...all air brushed and staged.
Here's another, Martha Stewart has a staff.  She doesn't do everything on that dumb calendar in the front of her magazine alone....she staffs it out.  She wants you to do that crap alone while she pulls on her waders and strolls down a beach in the Hamptons.  Read it all if you want, take an idea or two from them, but don't buy into their definition of beauty or success.  It isn't real....

And get rich quick schemes, anything done too quickly, doesn't work.  Slow and steady wins the race.  The turtle not the rabbit...If there is something you really want you are going to have to tough it out, put in the time and be patient. The adversary (whatever that is for you) wants you to buy into thinking everything has to be done quickly because then you will be disappointed when quick doesn't work and he wins by making you miserable.  Did you see Saving Mr.Banks?  Walt Disney tried for 20 years to get permission from the lovable P.L. Travers to make Mary Poppins into a movie.  20 years!!  Slow and steady won that race for sure!!



Here is the truth...listen up.  Everyone has a problem, everyone.  A wise man once said, "treat everyone as though they have had the worst day of their life and you will be right 50% of the time."  The worst thing is thinking, "I am the only one this has happened to, everyone else in the world has life wired and I am the only one with financial problems, the only one with marriage problems, children problems.  The adversary wants to single you out as the only one.  It makes it easy for him to get you to feel like a failure if you think you are the only one with the problem, right?  Reality is you aren't the best little kid on the block, but you aren't the worst either.  The best way to be unhappy is to think about yourself too much.  Do you see how many times I have used the letter "I"?  I am too old, I don't deserve this....I need better boobs, I need less lines on my face, I need to be in love, I need to be alone, I need, I need, I need......I I I I I.

Stop it...that's right, stop it.  it is as easy as that....trust me and realize that happiness is a choice.
So make a better choice.  It's a choice to save the china instead of using it.  It is a choice to write the book or the poem, to paint or run for office.  It is also a choice to watch Netflix all day every day.  Think ahead one month, just one month, what could you do that would make you feel really accomplished about your life?  It doesn't have to be enormous.  Maybe you did the elliptical for 10 minutes a day, or read a classic, maybe you began yoga.  What do you want to do?  When you thought about your dotage did you envision sitting on the couch watching TV just because you can?  Or did you imagine all the time you would have to learn another language, crochet, do genealogy or have an ant farm?  Did you want to direct a play, sail a ship or write a book?  If you are going to dream, dream big, you aren't too old for any of your dreams (unless you want to be Miss Texas).




Do you spend so much time counting your problems that you have lost the ability to count your blessings?  No matter what your circumstances are you can still do things to help you feel accomplished.  I know the closer I am to God the clearer the answers are....that is where the energy is, and that is where the peace is.  I know the further I am from Him the more I experience fear.  I don't like the feeling of being afraid.  Even if you are fighting oil rig fires you don't have to be afraid.
Remember you are a mammal with opposable thumbs so you can reason and you can choose.  It might take a lot of practice but as soon as you feel those negative feelings, the ones that tell you you aren't good enough, tall enough, lovable enough, stop...breathe...chase them away.  Hand those negative thoughts over to whatever higher power you subscribe too and feel peace.  Really do it, don't just say you will.

This is what I am going to do for one month 10 minutes of some kind of activity...I might dance for 10 minutes, or do yoga....I might do the elliptical, or remember cheers from high school.  I am going to do something and have fun doing it.  Then after a month I am going to look backward with a big 'ole smile!!



How about you?















Tuesday, January 7, 2014

All The Possibilities

I used to do all the things people do this time of year.  Wonder how I gained so much weight, cried when my children went back to college, tried to organize my Christmas decorations so they would be easier to assemble next year....typical stuff.

But this year is different.  2014 is my year, the year of Jubilee plus 10, the year I turn 60.  That number caused me to do a lot of thinking.  Sometimes pivotal birthdays come and go with a little fanfare, but not much more.  When I turned 30 I was pregnant, we went golfing and my husband wisely gave me a beautiful gold bracelet.  When I turned 40 we went out to dinner with friends and I remember feeling  everything was where it should be, I was married and had wonderful children, we were building a house..nothing to complain about, 40 was fine.  When I turned 50 my children and Raymond gave me an amazing party...They invited every one of my dear friends and asked them to bring their favorite memory of me! You know how we say at funerals that we should have said all those nice things to the guy when he was alive?  Well I had a "live" funeral and it was fabulous!  And I decided 50 was the new 30 anyway.

Turning 60 is another milestone....except this one is different.  Instead of just thinking about the things I want to change or just dreaming about the things I want to do, I   am   going    to     do     them.  I am not setting goals or making resolutions, this isn't about that.  I am going to do the things I have been wanting to do for a long time.  The last couple of years have been something of a personal challenge.  The recession (hell, it was a depression, wasn't it?) kicked our butts and put us in a place where we had to completely financially start over.  Maybe that would have been exhilarating at 30, but at almost 60 it was ghastly.  I didn't react as well as you might think, in fact I reacted rather badly.  I felt sorry for myself, I began to envy other people, I felt hopeless and became increasingly pessimistic about the future.  To say this was a bad time for me and that the minions were winning would be an understatement.

In the worst of it I knew 2 things, I knew I just needed to change my thinking (but I couldn't figure out how) And I knew I would never forget how badly I felt, and that I would use everything going forward for anyone going through the same thing.  It took me a while to get out of the "worst of it", knowing you need to change your thinking and actually doing it is a real challenge.  I started working with a woman who was able to help me change my attitude of things will never work out, to I know it will work, I know I will be successful.  I found tools to use, and I put them into practice.  It has not been easy, I slip back into negativity sometimes, but now I know how to erase those negative thoughts.  I remind myself, they are just thoughts, they aren't real.   My catastrophic thoughts aren't real, they are just thoughts.

This experience was eye opening for me I wasn't just getting mentally better  I saw that I could change!   If I could change something in my life that had literally paralyzed me  I had the power to change other things in my life too.  I saw potential I had never seen before.

God wants a powerful people and I am starting to flex my muscles.

As I said I am not setting goals or resolutions, I stink at goals and I never follow through on resolutions.  I am simply going to change the things that have kept me from really enjoying life.

I am going to take this in stages.  When my children were little they would often sit in the ruins of their room not having a clue how to clean up such a huge mess,  I would tell them to eat the elephant and in order to eat the elephant you do it one bite at a time.

Where to start?  One answer, at the beginning.  I am not a professional in change, I am not a life coach, I don't have a degree in psychology but I am well read and I know where to go to find the answers I need.  I went to my friends first.  I asked them to tell me where they get inspiration, what affirmations work for them, and how do they handle the nonsense that life can throw at us.

I read everything they recommended, a lot that was very helpful and a lot that was very motivational.  Then  I did a mental inventory.  Sort of like the scene in Apollo 13 when after everyone realizes there is a huge problem the first thing the scientists do is find out what is actually on the space ship. They can only find a solution with what the astronauts actually have to work with.

So what do I have to work with?  I have a healthy body that has gotten me through almost 60 years of life (thank you!) I have a curious mind....sometimes too curious.  I have a supportive family, I have a computer (thank you Ashleigh) and I have the will to make the changes I want to make.

The next part of my plan is to pin point exactly what I want to change.

If this project sounds appealing to you, join me.  If you want to join me don't think small, think big, dare yourself to let go of the side of the pool and dive in!!

My friend Mark Andrews recommendation was by the creator of Dilbert - Scott Adams In his Nov. Blog called Systems vs Goals(http://www.dilbert.com/blog/entry/goals_vs_systems/) he writes about how his tiny little blog led to more writing and more writing led to more readers which led to more exposure which led to guest blogs on the Wall Street Journal, which led to where he is now.  That is the pattern my life has followed.  Everything has come though a series of stops and starts.  All the good things have taken time and evolution...as my dear friend (and wildly successful businessman) Charles Miller always said, "Slow and steady wins the race."

This is what I am going to do this year.  I am going to chronicle my journey to 60 through writing.  And writing is coincidently something that is on my list.  See how it works?  One thing turns another.

I am letting go of the side of the pool and diving in.....



















Friday, October 18, 2013

Seriously?

Some days......some days...you know what I mean?   It starts out the same way, full of promise . Yes I'm going to exercise, eat lots of fruit and high fiber.....and then I get out of bed and insanity ensues.

On the way to get my running shoes ( I only walk but walking shoes sounds old) I check my emails, which leads to my husband having enough time to catch up with me and ask again for the bank printout.

Crap....

Have you ever done something on the computer that you have done a hundred times only to have it freeze and won't even close?  Or anything else?  I managed to google the solution...but it took forever.

An hour later he walks by and says, "no problem, I'll just get it off my iPad"  What? ....seriously?

No time to walk, wasted that hour pounding my thumb with a hammer.

Next?

Errands to run.....off to the post office to fetch my mail that is being held hostage by the post office because my carrier doesn't care for the bush that is next to my mailbox.  They decided to suspend delivery while the government was shut down which made it impossible to find my mail because no one would answer the phone.  Obviously the person in charge of answering the phones was celebrating the furlough.

We move on to the next errand, Costco.  When I got out of the car I decided to go through the enormous pile of mail to see if a certain check had arrived.  We were contracted out to cater a lunch for a man who worked at a large bank.  He was having a seminar for small business people, ooooh like me! And he wanted lunch for the attendees.  It's been 2 weeks and still no check. He had promised it that night....so I contacted a woman named Olga to find out where the check could be.  She proved to be most unpleasant. During our conversation I asked her if on her way home from work today if she could go grocery shopping but tell them she would be paying for them next week or the week after...hmmm. And I told her how ironic it was that I had been late with a bill to the same bank, 10 seconds late,  and 2 different fees were assessed to my account. I was a bit cranky.  And Olga did not care.

We weren't able to find what we needed at Costco so back out to the car with a lowly case of water.  Checked my purse......and then that dreaded moment when you realize you have locked the keys in the car.

Crap.

While trying to call the roadside service my phone died - by the way it died just as I had worked through the automated hell of,  press 1 press 2 etc.....the annoyance was reaching critical mass.  I found Raymond and used his phone...30 minutes later Pop a Lock was on their way.  ETA?  45 minutes.  Doesn't Pop a Lock sound like Greek food?

We went back inside Costco and decided enough time had passed to qualify for another round of samples.

50 minutes later Redondo from Pop a Lock arrived.  He took one look at my license plate ( longhrn)
And decided it might take longer since I was a Texas fan.  Seriously?  I thought he was from Oklahoma, that's right we whipped their butts last Saturday, but he was from LSU.  What did we ever do to LSU?  

He turned out to be a really nice guy, he even showed us all his tattoos.  When he got to the New Orleans Saints tattoo he proudly told us every member of his family had the same tattoo, all 8 sisters and his mom.  

Somehow he managed to get the lock popped and off we went.  

Some days our angels just have better things to do than watch over us.












Sunday, October 13, 2013

I am a Raven!!

So tonight my friends and I are hanging around the nest watching Sunday Night Football when Bob Costas comes on and decides to editorialize his portion of half time.  He drones on and on about the name Red Skins and how we should all be ashamed that a football team would dare use the likeness, image or essence of an Indian to depict the inner workings of their team.  What made sense to me that if I was a football team I would want to hitch my wagon to a group that would signify my toughness, my warrior like demeanor....But not Bob, Dan Snyder should be ashamed of owning a team that would demean a group of people by calling his football team Redskins.  I am a Raven....and as far as I am concerned Baltimore has done all of us Ravens a favor

Up until 1996 Ravens had an image problem.  We had a scary poem and a scary movie moving our trend.  My great-great-great-great Grandfather was the inspiration behind the Edgar Allen Poe poem (say that 3 times) "The Raven".  We are a proud group of interesting looking Birds with a purpose and a presence, we clean up road kill and obviously pose for postcards around the castle.




This is a causal picture of my English cousin Ricky with his intended right before their wedding.



This is my brother-in-laws grandfather who was the inspiration for Alfred Hitchcock's movie, "The Birds".  That movie kind of scared me to death when I saw it, but I liked the recognition. Ravens don't lead the most glamorous life, we eat road kill for heaven's sake...  But then as fate would have it, our lives kind of picked up when Baltimore got a new football team and decided on Ravens to be their mascot.  We were so excited!  A real touch of glamor, people everywhere with T-Shirts on with our likeness.  Instead of being kind of a thug bird, we are now depicted as fierce and a symbol of winning.  From a marketing standpoint I was the Old Spice guy times 10, it was right up there with, "why don't we slice the bread?" It was Nike's "just do it" and "diamonds are forever"  Baltimore did for us Ravens what Bert did for Ernie.  We had arrived, we were no longer just a scary poem at Halloween.

But then there was Bob Costas telling the world that using the name Redskins is demeaning, racially charged and if we are a thinking people we will admit it is wrong.  Maybe that is the rub, I am a bird and I don't think like that.  I guess only humans look for reasons to be contentious.  I may not have opposable thumbs but I know contention has to be searched for because it doesn't come naturally.  It is sort of like pounding your thumb with a hammer.  Who does that?  

Halloween is coming up, my favorite holiday and I have events to attend.  You would be surprised how many people love having a Raven personally attend a Halloween party.  And it's football season...this is my time to shine and no time for contention.

So leave the Baltimore Ravens alone.  I rock that Casbah.  


Just for fun I added our little poem so you can read it to your children, just in time for Halloween..
Wasn't Edgar awesome?

Edgar Allan Poe

The Raven

[First published in 1845]
horizontal spaceOnce upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore -
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
This it is, and nothing more,'

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
`Sir,' said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you' - here I opened wide the door; -
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Lenore!'
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Lenore!'
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
`Surely,' said I, `surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -
'Tis the wind and nothing more!'

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning - little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door -
Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as `Nevermore.'

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before -
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.'
Then the bird said, `Nevermore.'

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
`Doubtless,' said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of "Never-nevermore."'

But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking `Nevermore.'

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
`Wretch,' I cried, `thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he has sent thee
Respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore -
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels name Lenore?'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting -
`Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!
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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Problem of Tall Wheat.



I have lived a good amount of time, enough time to see a few things that were predicted come to pass and a great many things predicted that did not come to pass.  In my teenage years I was told the oceans were doomed, the rain forests were being destroyed and we wouldn't be able to breathe again.  Zero population growth or ZPG was preached high and low.  Vitamin C is good, Vitamin C is bad.  Salt is terrible, Salt is not so bad.  Science, it seems is never settled.  Today we are told we are destroying the world with carbon emissions and the ice caps will melt and flood the earth.   Except now the earth isn't getting warmer, so its just climate change.  
Paul Ehrlich wrote a book in 1968 called the Population Bomb.  I will give you my synopsis of the book.  Ready?  Our earth cannot possibly sustain the amount of people on it.  India will never be able to feed  itself.  Have less children or we are all going to die.  
Yikes!
That probably won't make the recommendations on Amazon but that's as short and succinct as I can make it.

The message from the world is this, there is no solution.  It seems the world wants you to feel hopelessness.  The frustration we feel comes from the fact that we inherently know there is truth and we yearn to find it.  Adversarial forces count on you not finding truth, always trying to keep you off balance, out of alignment, off kilter by constantly trying to convince you there is no solution.  And that means no real truth which leaves you with no real hope.
Little children are always asking, "why?" because they are instinctively searching for the truth.  Our souls need truth, truth is peace... (Another instinct of course is the urge to suck but that is another blog for another day.)

I want to get back to Paul Ehrlich who said India could not possibly feed itself.  Couldn't you make a case easily for that?  How do you feed 1.2 billion people?  Paul Ehrllich felt it couldn't be done and could not even conceive of a solution for it except to have less children (bad pun, sorry)  But then alongs comes an agronomist named Norman Ernest Borlaug.  He invented dwarf wheat that was disease resistant and well, short.  Taller wheat took up more room in the field because as it got taller the wheat would fall over from its own weight. Dwarf wheat takes up less room because it didn't fall over and they could double the yield.  By doubling the yield Borlaug saved the lives of a billion people. Think of that.  



As an aside, Borlaug was one of seven people to have won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.  He was also awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian honor.  That's a good days work.

So Paul Ehrlich a PhD wrote a book predicting the end of the world and scared people to death, because he lived and thought small.  Norman Borlaug, also a PhD looked at tall wheat falling over in a field taking up a lot of room and  simply invented something that would take up less room.  He fed the world because he saw possibilities which led him to a solution.

My message is simple, there is always a solution.  Doesn't that bring you more peace than, "You can't get there from here?"  

Here is your first step, start believing it.  Think of Norman Borlaug and the solution he found.  It wasn't just because he had a PhD that he was able to develop dwarf wheat, Paul Ehrlich has a PhD and all he has been able to do is frighten people.  You don't need a PhD to solve your problems.  But you do need to believe you can.

What tall wheat is getting in the way for you?  

Take that first step in believing you can solve your problem, and then watch doors open.  

Remember God is a very big God who can help you develop your own dwarf wheat. You can't do it alone, but with Him you can do all things.  And if you don't believe that, I bet you would like to believe it.  

Wouldn't you?
xxoo


Monday, September 16, 2013

Leaping off Cliffs... Are you game?



I read a woman's blog today and under her byline was written.....Author, Blogger, Motivational Speaker.   I googled her and found that her field of concentration was...wait for it...Happiness.

Isn't that the best?  If you are going to speak or write about something wouldn't you chose the Happiest thing available?   And what if the happiest thing there was happened to be happiness?

Are we not happy because we aren't happy?  Could it be a choice?

OK, sometimes I have chosen to not be happy...

Anytime the conversation begins with, "You can't....."  fill in the blank with anything, anything at all.  Starting with, you can't park there, you can't stand here, you can't have that, you can't do that...My husband believes that I could move a mountain by sheer force of will if I am told "I can't."

When I have to say good-bye, which is why I gave up AOL.  "Good-bye"

When people underestimate me.  (on the other hand I love it when people underestimate me.)

That they swapped out Faith Hill for Carrie Underwood.

Anytime I call Sam's Club Discover.  If we fought a war and our only weapon was the automated system at Sam's Club Discover, the enemy would surrender without a whimper.


I don't like feeling fearful.  It is my struggle, my stumbling block...Fear keeps me from peace, it keeps me from having the kind of faith that fills us with the notion we can do anything.  

Being unhappy is a choice.  Often we lose sight of the fact that we have the agency to choose.  We can choose to be happy.  It's hard to be happy in the face of turmoil, strife or even habit, but it is completely possible.  I think of the book "The Hiding Place" and how they were able to find a blessing in the face of evil.  I admire that choice but I am also baffled by it.  How could anyone see lice as a blessing?  But they can see that the lice keeps the sadistic guards away because they are repulsed by bugs.  How were they able to discern that?  Because their attitude kept them in the light and they were able to see the positive side of a seemingly hopeless situation.  When you spend your time in the dark you aren't able to see solutions.  And all you can feel is negativity, failure, and fear.

So how do we do it...be happy?   How do we retrain ourselves when we are so entrenched in fear, or in the mindset that we cannot succeed?  Is there a map that leads us to faith and then finding happiness? 

I am going to do yoga
 

Have you ever thought to yourself, my prayers will be answered, but maybe not how I have envisioned.  Are there things you really want, but feel you don't deserve them.  Do you set yourself up for disappointment before you have even tried?  Do you say, I am just being realistic, the worst usually happens.  Is it realistic to assume we will fail, or fall short?  Do we limit God?  Wow, aren't you glad George Washington didn't feel that way?  Or the Wright Brothers?  How about Henry Ford who changed the face of industrialism, or Steve Jobs?   From the television to the microwave to the integrated circuit, which is how I am writing this blog...none of those inventors thought they would fail.  What is the difference between me and the guy who invented the vacuum cleaner?  He saw a machine that blew the dust off of things and thought it would be better if it sucked up the dust instead.  So with that idea he invented the vacuum cleaner.  What is the difference between us?  He acted on his good idea.  I haven't.

That incredible quote from Marianne Williamson...remember it?  It is brilliant,

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Seriously, isn't that brilliant?  It begs the question, why are we willing to be content with so little?  I was throwing the word "deserve" around a lot.  Either I thought I deserved more or less than what was occurring.  Now with some introspection, I hope I never get what I deserve, I want rather receive what a loving God is anxious to give me.  Most folks settle, they make safe choices that only allow half the life experience.  Maybe they know a book is in them, or a sonnet, or an opera.  But they are afraid to fail...afraid they will look foolish.  But how will you look to yourself?   And how do you explain to God you refused the gifts He was offering you?

I am going to get a chicken coop just like this


Want to feel alive?  Leap off a cliff.  

You know the woman who wrote the blog that started the idea for this post?  I sent her a friend request on facebook, assured her I wasn't a stalker and then asked if I could talk to her.  She wrote back and sent her cell number and we have a phone appointment tomorrow morning.  I want to know as much about being happy from her that 20 minutes can give me.  

I am tired of being afraid.

I am leaping off cliffs.  

There is a life out there that I want to live.  It isn't the one I have lived in my head lately...I have been given amazing blessings, incredible family and friends and one opportunity after another.  But I have been playing small and minimizing my life.  I have been assuming I don't deserve all the great things I have so there is no reason to fight to keep them.   And I have stopped dreaming.  After all, I am older, too old to start a new career, and certainly too old to make it a success.  You know that adage....It would take a miracle.  Well, miracles don't occur when your butt is chilling at the beach.  It takes a crisis or a disaster to produce a miracle.  I qualify on that front.



I spoke to a woman the other day who is getting married soon who just happens to be 60.  She is happy, really happy, because she is leaping off cliffs.

I have a friend who introduced me to the concept of leaping off cliffs years and years ago.  She is 30 years my senior and spent all of her time lighting fires under people.  She subsidized several tennis players to give them a chance to make it.  She was my mentor reminding me, and not always in the kindest way, that I was more than I thought and I could do anything.  Together we built a wetlands in my front yard.  Completely permitted by the state, it was an extraordinarily difficult experience.  Because it had not been done before I had no hope we could do it.  But Beth had no doubt we would do it.  No surprise, we did it.  Our wetlands led to a PBS documentary on water conservation that went all over the country.  She was leaping off cliffs and pulled me with her.  

Our country has gone through a horrific financial malaise.  Millions of people have lost their entire life savings.....and a huge proportion of them are my age.  Unemployable because we aren't thirty.  Maybe a few aches and pains....maybe poor eyesight, a little memory loss....a nap would be nice.  How easy it is to convince yourself you have earned the right to quit, all the evidence is there.  Giving up is easy in the face of 90 million people out of work.  But my husband and I couldn't give up... we are starting over, with a brand new business. 

We are leaping off cliffs.


And I want a greenhouse.... 
  

This was this ugly voice in my head, "Who are you to start a business?  What are you thinking ?  Just take your lumps, accept the tragedy of financial ruin, sell everything, get an apartment and a minimum wage job.  Just exist."  Those thoughts did not give me peace and giving up gave me huge anxiety.  Would I spend the rest of my wondering if we could have made it work if we had just tried?  No...I....will....not. 

Because I am leaping off cliffs.  

We are going to be a success, I don't want to play small.   Remember that great line from Apollo 13?  The one where everyone is discouraged thinking the Astronauts were doomed?

NASA Director: This could be the worst disaster NASA's ever faced.
Gene Kranz: With all due respect, sir, I believe this is gonna be our finest hour.

I am going to let my light shine, just like Marianne said.  Because when I do, I give everyone permission to start over if they have to.  Or write a book, give a speech, start an orphanage, design dresses, invent something, run a marathon, be a teacher, go back to college, fight cancer, survive divorce.....or start a business when all of your friends are retiring.  This is a time for courage, not worry.

Let's leap off a cliff.  OK?

And I want bees and sell honey