Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What happened to all the Exhibits?

Well today was the day I attended the Minnesota State Fair. Great event but a little depressing as well this year.

There is a path I take to see all the areas I love; gidgets and gadgets, pet center, 4-H building, Energy Barn, Collosiqum, International Bizzarre, Agriculture Center, DNR Building and of course the animals.

This year was no different, same path, but what happened to all the exhibits? Maybe it felt different as there were not a lot of people in the streets or buildings (nice but weird), maybe Tuesdays are a great day to be at the fair, but still it was weird.

The Grandstand and Collosium both usually have tons of new gidgets and gadgets that of course a real baker should not be without, but this year not much. Nothing new or innovative and very, very spread out. Hum...

The Pet Center is usually active with dogs galore and lots of animal products, this year not so much. The Minneapolis K-9 unit was there so a very nice Police Puppy, but really that was it.

The weirdest feeling was going through the 4-H building. Usually it is pretty full of veggies and quilts and other homemake stuff. This year there for 4 trays of veggies. FOUR! When we use to go there would be a full wall, 30 plus feet full of trays of veggies! The number of quilts and bags and sewn products use to fill the middle area to a point you could barely walk through it, this year maybe 3 quilts and 10 clothes items.

One of the really 'not so good' things of the day was a power outage! For over 2 hours there were no vendors making mini donuts or covering bacon with chocolate or serving ice cream at the Dairy Barn! Crazy year!

As I was driving home I wondered what it says about hometown states that no longer have the 4-H kids of days ago. What does it say that the biggest exhibit at the fair is video game tournaments? Interesting I guess.

Now of course I would go next year and I would enjoy everything I could like the cheese curds, or watching the people, or seeing a demonstration on Hawk Rehab, or hanging out with people for 4 or 5 hours and sharing Fair stories. It is all good.

I think for next year we should get all of our friends and family together and do exhibits (yes, even middle age folks can put in exhibits).

Bring back the Veggies and turn on the generators!

Monday, August 30, 2010


Be the bigger person.
Be a hero to someone who needs one.
Be someone people want to be friends with.
Be yourself.
Be kind to a stranger.
Be a kids idol.
Be the voice of those who have no voice.
Be more to others then you are to yourself.
Be real.
Be someone who gives love with no conditions.
Be enough to make you better tomorrow.
Be the love you want to feel.
Be patient with those who do not understand.
Be caring enough to explain yourself in others words.
Be different.
Be creative.
Be spontaneous.
Be the person that helps someone across the street.
Be ethical.
Be full of good thoughts.
Be Positive.
Be purposeful.
Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Today and tomorrow -- BE!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I am not a Backrest!

This is the saying behind Harley-Davidson's "Rider's Edge" Program.

I am not a Backrest.
I was not born to be an observer, a cheerleader, or a follower.
I have a passion to ride and I will choose my own journey.

I have a T-Shirt with this on and it has not only become my favorite shirt, but my favorite saying. Yes, I ride. Not a Harley yet, but I have been heading out on my little 250 touring around and there is something about it that really makes you want more. Maybe that is why I like the saying as well.

I was not born to be an observer: Indeed I have a hard time sitting back and just watching. I like to be in the action, part of the team, in the lead, talking the issue, and caring through action. I am not an observer. Never have been and never will be!

I was not born to be a cheerleader: Again, just not me. I was a cheerleader for about 3 months during 5th grade for boys basketball. Even though I was able to beat any of the boys in HORSE or 1:1, they didn't have girls basketball teams back then, so if I wanted to participated I had to be a cheerleader.

Thank goodness by the time I got to 6th grade, girls basketball became a sports (thanks to Title 9), and I threw the cheerleader outfit away and never looked back. I am a participant. I am a leader. I was good and I knew it. I still have guys from my high school class that won't talk to me because I beat them at some high school HORSE tournament. No, not a cheerleader.

I was not born to be a follower: For those that know me this is probably the most true statement. I like to be in the lead. I am a perfectionist, a dreamer, a solver, a thinker, an innovator, and a leader. I look for the best way, the best route, the most daring solution, and the most creative idea. I am not a follower.

I have a passion to ride and I will choose my own journey: Every day I take the time to create my own journey. No one else is in charge of where I go or what I do. I am my own director, my own planner, and my journey maker. I choose how I think, act, behave, talk, love, listen, and care. It is my life and my journey.

So now you know why I love this shirt. It is me and every time I wear it I am reminded that my life is my journey and I have complete control over what and where I go.

Life's a Journey, enjoy the ride!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

National Dog Day!

Yes, there is a Santa Claus and Yes, there is a National Dog Day!

August 26th is a day to celebrate the animal we call "Man's Best Friend". This is only the 6th year of the unofficial holiday, but one I hope catches on and grows each year.

So why celebrate the dog? If you have ever had the pleasure of having one in your life, you probably can think of a million reasons to celebrate. Here are a few more.

1. Did you know that every year around 2-3 Million Dogs are up for adoption at a number of animal shelters? 2-3 Million! That would be like finding homes for every person in Minnesota every year!

2. Did you know that there are over 75 Million dogs living with their human friends in the USA?

3. Did you know that each year thousands of dogs are trained to serve as service dogs, police dogs, and rescue dogs?

4. Did you know that the most popular dog names are Lady and Bear?

5. Did you know that there are over 4000 dogs serving with our Armed Forces over seas and trained to do human rescue, bomb sniffing, and other highly dangerous jobs?

6. Did you know that dogs have been recorded and discussed over 40 times in the Bible?

7. Did you know a dog can smell 300 million times better than a human but has less than half the taste buds of a human?

8. Did you know that studies have found that people who have dogs (or cats) live an average of 8 years longer then those without?

9. Did you know that the average cost of owning a dog is around $1400 a year? What would a kid cost per year?

10. Did you know that people who own dogs have less health issues?

Crazy stuff and all worth celebrating! So, happy National Dog Day! If you own a dog you know how much your personal hairy friend means to you.

Check out the National Site for more information: National Dog Day!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Great Minnesota Get Together!

I can't let the year go by without saying something about the Great Minnesota Get Together! You got it; the Minnesota State Fair!

If you have never been, I would say it should be part of your 'must do' list. My brother and sister both long for the opportunity to make it back to the great state of Minnesota just for this event. I have been to other State Fairs, but seriously I really don't think anything compares to this one.

I am fortunate enough to go this year, next Tuesday to be exact, and I am already planning out where I want to go, what I want to see, and of course what I want to eat. I may have to starve myself before and after as the food there is amazing. Anything you can imagine that could be put on a stick, deep fried, covered with chocolate, or drank in large cups is available.

When I told my brother I was going he said "please have some chocolate covered bacon, chocolate chip cookies and a dairy barn ice cream cone for me". My sister wants me to have a dairy barn cone and mini donuts. Others have written and said the same thing "have this or that for me". Gracious! I will have to fast before and after the trip for sure with all the requests.

There is something about a Fair that brings people together. I never knew anyone in the Twin Cities who participated in 4-H growing up until my work decided to go to the fair. All of a sudden everyone I ask at work about the fair seems to have a connection with the Green 4-H building and we begin to swap stories of what we did as kids that won some ribbon at the State Fair!

I guess that is why the tag line of "The Great Minnesota Get Together" is so appropriate. People come together and bond over a memory. A common past experience. A common past love.

So, maybe you can't make it this year to this event, but I have to say that I am totally looking forward to it. Not so much for the food (but yes I will have some of the favorites), or for the rides (not sure what I would do on them), or even the cows (yes I like to look at the cows). I look forward to connecting with people who I spend a third of my life with in a completely open and different environment.

I will definitely take pictures and try something new while seeing all the things I want to see.

So, tell me...if you have been to the fair, what is your best memory?

This is the interactive part of this blog!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What Day is it?

I think I have a complete memory block on what day it is. Seems like Mondays run into Tuesdays and then all of a sudden it is Saturday and before I know it Monday is here again.

I had the realization that my days are running together because my thoughts about the days have no seperation. No end, reflect, start again process. Only end and start.

One of the ways you can really become purposeful is through daily reflection. It clears the mind of the past and gives you a vision for the future. If, like me, your days are running together and you seem to be running the same path or it feels like you are getting no where...try to reflect.

Reflect what worked today. Write it down. What did you accomplish and why do you feel good, bad, or indifferent about the day. This reflection time will allow you to see clearly the madness you live in and yes we all live in madness.

Now, look at your reflection. Really look at it. What do you see? To high of expectations? Wanting others to do something? Unclear goals and objectives? To much time spent on one or another activity? What does your reflective writing or thoughts tell you.

Got a few answers? For me my reflection of the past week (since I haven't taken the time to daily reflect) is that I am moving to fast and trying to accomplish to much without clear and defined goals and objectives. I am playing 'cowboy' - shoot from the hip and hope you hit something before it hits you. Not a great way to purposeful living.

So, today I slowed down. I made small plans. I took time to think through objectives and goals. In return I got more people understanding my vision. More people willing to do more with less. More people to be part of the solution rather than the problem.

I think each of us wants to live with purpose and each of us has the ability to do so. Reflect on your day, what happen and why. Then plan a purposeful tomorrow. It will surprise you how much you can actually achieve by simply stopping and be in a moment of reflection.

So, 10 minutes tonight...reflect...write down three things you did today and why they worked or not. Kids, work, commute, activities..whatever they are - reflect and see your purpose for tomorrow.

Monday, August 23, 2010

God save the Turtle!

The excitement; the excitement!
As I watched my dog "do" her business last night I noticed she went over to the fence and was sniffing around. Now this isn't anything new as she sniffs everything - posts, grass, people, fences, mailboxes, gardens, weeds, mushrooms, her food...you name it Brandy has to sniff it. But last night was different.

She usually sniffs and goes on to her next spot and sniffs some more. Around the yard and back. This time she got to a point in the fence and then jumped about 3 feet back! She slowly approached the area again and jumped back again.

I looked over there and thought I saw what seemed to be a turtle, but we do not live near water (blocks away) and there is no real reason a turtle would be in the yard! Seriously, deer, rabbits, mice and birds--but a turtle?

Well I went to investigate and sure enough there it was. A 5-6 inch turtle hanging out in the grass. How it got there I have no idea, but it was snipping at Brandy. A small snapper right here in the middle of a neighborhood at least a block away from any water.

Of course I had never rescued a turtle before so I wasn't sure what to do, so off I go to get the animal lover Suzan to save the day. She got a box and a pair of gloves, picked it up and said "come on let's get it to water"! Off we went, box in hand to the local pond and as Suzan placed it next to the water off it swam! God Saved the Turtle!

I still question how in the world it got over here. Suzan said it walked, but through a ball field, across a bike path, across a busy street and into a yard? I guess crazier things have happened.

Lesson learned? I learned how to handle a turtle and put it back in the water! What's next? Maybe a Kangeroo!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The impact of others

Throughout my journey to achieve my PhD I concentrated my work on how others happiness, satisfaction, or positive attitude impacts you or those around you.

I did my research on this very topic and for the nearly 5 years of working on this I concluded that indeed peoples personal satisfaction and attitudes do impact others. Now as with any research, I can't go and generalize the findings to everyone, but I still believe that there is a true connection between your circle of friends and family and your personal satisfaction.

This week I have seen this play out in my life. I am usually a very positive person and rarely does anything really hit me that takes me out of this realm. This week it was different.

This week I found myself allowing others attitudes and behaviors negatively impact me. THEIR behavior, THEIR attitudes, THEIR feelings began to pull me down. They didn't like something or another, they thought something was not done right, they made statements that were hurtful without knowing, they didn't care enough about the big picture only their scene.

Each day I found myself getting down. I started getting back into the mind of "what could I have done better", "what could I have done to make them not mad"...blah, blah, blah...

This morning I woke up with a different attitude. An attitude that I found saying "what is positive or purposeful about beating yourself up over others behaviors"? The impact of others is strong and it is real, but we don't have to automatically just take it.

The research I did was on improving positive views and behaviors and in my small study there was improvement on both the participants and their immediate support teams. The same holds true for negative views and behaviors.

I am writing this today not to say that others are wrong or negative...only to say that I have a choice on what do to with what my perception and views are about a situation, especially when I am directly involved.

It is mine to determine what I do with my personal feelings, attitudes and purpose. No one else gets the final say. Today I determine to live with purpose.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


No I didn't go to Hawaii and no I am not in Hawaii and yes I wish I was! So why Aloha? Well today makes the day that Hawaii became the 50th State. Something to celebrate and if you have ever been there you know what a wonderful place it is.

So what can we learn about Hawaii that is positive and purposeful?
Well the first things are a few 'did you know' questions.

Did you know that Hawaii officially became the 50th State nearly 18 years after Pearl Harbor attack? Yep, Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941 and Hawaii became a State in 1959.

Did you know that sugarcane has been imported into the contenential USA since 1876? How in the world did they even know there was a Hawaii out there back then? Think about it. No planes to quickly go and see what is off the coast or a boat that could get you anywhere in less than a month or so. Pretty crazy! Actually the first non native was James Cook who landed there in 1778.

Did you know that there are only three more industrialized islands then Hawaii?

Did you know that the population of Hawaii is less then the population of most midwest State Capitol cities? With a little less than 400,000 people.

Did you know that the Hawaiian alphebet has only 12 letters total? Maybe that explains why Aloha means hello, goodbye, and a number of other greetings.

I guess the point to this post is to remember to learn a little about the world we live in. Today is Hawaii's States day. I hope you have learned something..I know I have.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Remembering your Motivation

It was a little over a year ago that a small villager became on overnight sensation.

I was thinking about this tonight as I struggle with my personal goals and dreams.

Then I watched this video again and I know anything and everything is possible.

I dreamed a dream.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Random Statements to Ponder

I am not sure where the time goes, but all of a sudden it is Thursday and I have missed out on 3 days of posts.

Well, honestly I was going to skip it again but thought I needed a personal pick me up. On my way home I was doing "Dr Suess" statements in my head. No, not red one green one blue one true one...but random statements to ponder.

Just as a background, I like to write poetry. Thoughts with sequence. It calms me. On rides home like today I had poems running through my head. The problem with my poems--okay maybe not problems with them, but certainly the feeling is "Dr. Seussish" so when I write them down I see strange creatures with colorful hair speaking the words and it makes me giggle.

I always said that if I could be someone it would either be Julia Childs or Dr. Seuss. Maybe more of a combination of both. Can you imagine what fun it would be to read a french cooking book written by Dr. Seuss...you see this is how my mind works.

Okay, so back to the random thoughts, maybe someday there will be a book of them.

If you love to see rainbows you must weather the storm.
If you hold on to a beautiful rose you must watch for the thorns.
If you care so much for others you must be willing to let yourself die.
If you only see through your eyes, you truly are blind.
If you live to grow and grow to live you surly will be remembered.
If you take one step forward you have moved your view of the world.
If you can touch a heart today you have looked into your soul.
If you are always so deep in views others may never see you.

Those are my random statements from the ride home. Pretty deep, thus the Dr. Seuss view as. When you read the above statements you probably went 'whoa, deep'...so challenge yourself to think of the oddest Dr. Seuss character possible saying these statements. See the light - be the light.

May Friday be a thoughtful yet Dr. Seussish day for us all.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I think I can, I think I can, I knew I could

Every days seems to bring new meaning to the idea that I still have so much to learn.
It doesn't matter how much I think I can, I need to move towards I knew I could. Thinking and knowing are two totally different attitudes.

Today I thought I could create a presentation that would get people on board and excited about the future. I knew there would be challenges as change is always a challenge for some. I thought that if I shared my ideas and thoughts to peers and leaders that they would be completely supportive and willing to try. Well, maybe not.

What I thought I could do was something I knew would not work right now - today without a plan.

It will eventually work, but I need to move from thinking about it and moving it into the knowing area and that means planning.

The statement around "needing more actions then words" is the first step to moving from thinking to knowing. To know something is to have a plan that takes a number of ideas and thoughts and putting them into action. It is not personal nor is it a one person show.

Move to knowing..create a plan, get others support and move your personal train to I think I can to I knew I could!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Some days Motivation is over rated!

How do you motivate yourself? Really, think about it. Not what motivates you, but how do you motivate yourself?

Today I have completely gone to the depths of lack of motivation. I feel like doing nothing. Seriously nothing. I have been sitting on the couch doing a little work and watching my favorite survival show and being completely unmotivated.

Not right or wrong...just a fact. I did make it to the store to get a few things like eggs and fruit, but otherwise there is nothing that is motivating me to do anything other than this...nothing at all but rest and relax.

It got me thinking about hot what motivates me (there is a lot that motivates me) but how do I motivate myself to do anything? What intrinsic motivation can I find to do something today?

Wait! Why do I have to do anything? Why is it that I feel bad about taking a day off to recharge, to take naps, to relax, to just be? What is it about me that makes me feel guilty for relaxing? I don't need to be motivated to do anything today. I need a day of rest. A day of down time. A day of doing nothing. A day to recharge.

Yes some days motivation to do anything is truly overrated.

Enjoy your day no matter if you motivate yourself or give yourself a break.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Celebrating a Graduation

One of the readers of this blog will be going through her graduation/commencement ceremony tomorrow.

I saw her today with her two adorable kids and she was nothing but smiles.

You see she completed a milestone in her life and through the learning and growing she has done she has moved herself into a role she loves, a life more fulfilling, and a desire, if not a need, to learn more.

I know she reads this blog every morning, so as you get ready for todays events remember to celebrate you! Celebrate your dedication to more! Celebrate your positive and purposeful living today and every day here after!

Congratulations Chris!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Little Prizes of Joy

One thing I love to do is give little prizes and gifts for absolutely no reason. I also like getting them.

For some reason getting some little card or item says so much. I care, I got your back, I like you, I love you, or you looked like you needed a pick up. Whatever the reason it really brings about a good and positive feeling.

Today I was blessed enough to get two little things. The first was a card from a friend at work. She has had a heck of a week and has taken all the work and hours in stride and with an never ending smile. I went to grab a quick salad and got two - giving her one to say 'thanks' and 'I care'.

I didn't do this to get something in return, rather because it felt good to help someone out. This morning she brought me a card with a little face with a big grin on it. I didn't expect anything in return, but it was nice to see a thank you for caring--it made me feel good.

When I got home there was a little package from my brother. Now this can be dangerous as we have an ongoing joke of giving each other odds and ends. When I go on a trip he is blessed to get all the receipts, flyer's, rocks or whatever else I find along the way. He does the same.

The fear this time was that he just had a nose surgery to open up his nose cavity (not sure what else to call it) and I got a wonderful picture on Tuesday of the little plastic splints that where placed up there to help the nose heal. Three days later I get a package...oh dear.

Not I have to say I was very relieved when the nose splints were NOT included in the package and a little ice cream cone fan was accompanied by only a few hospital wrist bands and such.

Neither of these folks needed to think of me or care about me, but they did. It wasn't a million dollars or a large prize, but it was from their heart and soul to just say "I am thinking of you and I care".

Little Prizes of Joy. They are part of positive living. Give them and be joyful at receiving. I know I am.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The next Generation

We all have heard the negative stories about 'the future generations' about lack of respect, lack of work ethic, feeling of entitlement and so forth. It probably describes someone we all know or know of.

Like all stereotypes and statements - they don't talk to all the future generation members. In fact sometimes I wonder if these statements are generalized so much that we do more damage then good in making them.

As a PhD holder I was taught early in my educational career that taking my research findings and generalizing them to a larger group of people is absolutely not acceptable. With this as my background I am very aware of every day statements made about one or two people that are generalized to a larger group.

It doesn't matter what group you belong too; Asian, Gay, Athletic, Single, Black, Technology Suave, young, old, grey hair or no hair you are generalized with others of the same group.

I usually don't use the word hate, but I am close to hating stereotypes made to put people in a group. So, what does this have to do with the next generation?

Well, the statements are out there about the kids in their 20's and 30's. They are lazy, they would rather play video games then work, they expect to be paid very high salaries right out of college, they don't want to learn about the past...the list goes on and on.

Part of my best practice at work is to get to know the people who are hired within my department. Since I am their leader I feel it is respectful as well as appropriate to get to know the people who follow my directions, purpose, and vision.

The past two weeks I have met with 5 new employees. All 5 are between 22-26 so they fall within that group so many like to stereotype as lazy, entitled, or disrespectful. I am here to say that I wish these 5 wonderful young people were what other base their statements on as they were smart, caring, passionate, and respectful.

They came from all sorts of background in education, degrees, family heritages, town size, family size, and areas. All of them came with a commitment to grow, learn, care, and serve. Five people with more passion about the job and their lives than I see in most middle age folks. More service and caring qualities than I see in myself.

The next generation is our future. Maybe instead of labeling and stereotyping them we should sit down for 15 minutes and listen to them. I was amazed and it confirms that me spending 15-30 minutes with someone really is a great thing.

Living positive and purposeful isn't always about what you can get and achieve, it also includes what you can learn from others.

Today was a very positive and purposeful day because of these people!

Monday, August 9, 2010

When it's time to say goodbye

The past week has been tough for a number of friends as they say goodbye to Aunts, friends, Mothers, sisters and other family members. It is a solemn time for many and a learning time for others.

The grief process is never easy to go through and the range of emotions that follow the death of a loved one are true and personal.

I am hoping that in describing this process maybe we can all gain a better understanding not only of how we go through it, but also how to help others as they go through it.

The first stage is sadness. It is a sense of loss like nothing else and all energy and thoughts are on what is missing and it is sad.

The second stage is anger. This comes in many forms and 'at' many areas. Hospice care, family members, God, doctors, or even yourself.

The third stage is frustration as you begin to understand that there is no coming back from death and nothing you do can bring that person back. It is out of your control and that is frustrating.

The next stage is guilt and probably the one most people go to very quickly. It is a time of second guessing what you did or didn't do. I should have been there, If only I would have done something...these self guilt statements are part of the process.

The final stage is shock and no feelings. Nothing seems to invoke a feeling.

There is no way to say "I am all better now" after a loss of a loved one, but understanding that there is a process of grief will help each of us personally and as support folks.

There is NOTHING wrong with any of the stages. It is natural and part of life, embrace it and learn from it.

I am a firm believer that we all are passing through this world. We do all we can every day to make our lives in this world meaningful. I believe the same holds true for the next life - it will hold meaning and it will be an amazing journey.

If you are experience a loss - reach out as you can
If you know of someone who has experienced a loss - reach out as you can

We all get through life together - God Bless.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Be full of Overcoming!

Helen Keller once said "All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming." Now she is a model of overcoming! What she isn't a model for is suffering!

Do you ever wonder how some people you know or have heard about can overcome unbelievable circumstances? The news last night was filled with unbelievable circumstances. Flooding, earthquakes, oil spills, car crashes, and grass fires were all highlighted. Any one of these would be full of suffering, but what I heard through the news reporting the suffering were comments full of overcoming. People coming together to move the suffering to overcoming.

Now we don't all have the Red Cross or other Organizations at our fingertips when our personal sufferings need to be overcome, but we do have family and friends who are there at a moments notice to help.

I have been lucky in life to never have been faced with such a suffering event, but I have had my share of personal disappointments and pain. How you move from suffering to overcoming is part of life. You have a choice on actually moving to overcoming or dwelling in suffering.

Be full of overcoming is about understanding that things don't happen to you but rather happen for you. Even in the worse events you have control. You control how quickly you overcome.

It's Sunday and I hope that none of you are having to overcome great suffering today. If you do have to overcome suffering I have a few thoughts.

First, grieve and morn - it is part of the process of leaving something behind so you can move forward.

Second, use your personal Red Cross. Reach out to others for support and comfort. It may be hard, but in your time to overcome you will need others, so let your personal RC be part of your Overcoming moment.

Finally, learn from your suffering. Own your feelings and your behaviors. Own your overcoming. Big or small- own your overcoming.

Not everything in life is fun or wonderful, so planning now for the sufferings we all face will allow you to be filled with overcoming!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Where do the Days Go!

Whoa..what happen to Thursday and Friday this week? It was so busy and I was so busy that I didn't have the energy to write my blog. Shame on me...or maybe not.

I was thinking this morning, during my power cleaning hour, that I am amazed of all the things I and others accomplished this week. Yes it was crazy but whoa what a purposeful week I know I had.

From productive meetings (yes there are unproductive meetings), to starting to learn French words and phrases, to mowing the lawn, to connecting with old friends, to paying more attention to nose surgery brothers, to cleaning, to washing clothes, to celebrating birthdays, to morn the loss of a friends father, to celebrating a bake sale for Breast Cancer, to getting my 401K situated, to paying bills, to cheering for the boys of summer...the list goes on and on! Purposeful living and living with purpose!

I know many of you look for a post every morning to start your day and for that I am really grateful. This past week I missed a few of those days so I wanted to give just a little advise.

When I have missed an opportunity to share with you my views, thoughts, and life take 10 minutes and write down yours! Write down all that you have accomplished this week on your quest for positive and purposeful living. Spend the 10 minutes celebrating YOU!

One of my conversations this week was with a colleque about commuting. She was reading my blog and we were both 'complaining' about our commutes now that road construction season is hitting. As we were talking I found myself thinking what an amazing person this is. Here is a mother who is putting herself through school, working full time, commuting longer then me, and living with purpose and she is reading my blog? I think maybe I should read hers!

You see all of us have positive and purposeful living in us if we just take the time to pay attention to ourselves as much as we pay attention to others. I would love for read her 10 minute celebration writing on how she has spend the week being positive and purposeful. I am sure it would amaze me.

So, there is the task. Write when I don't write....actually write even if I DO write. Celebrate your life, your positive outlooks and your purposeful living. It will amaze you to find just how much you mean to others, do for others, live for others, believe in yourself, and do for yourself.

Go forth and GIVE every day meaning!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Learning French

One of my goals that I had for myself was that after I completed my PhD I would learn at least one language. I have some Spanish to my name, enough to get me into trouble, but it has been years since I spoke it or at least remember what I said when I did speak it.

All the research says that if you want to learn languages you should begin at a very very young age as that is when you develop your vocal cords and are able to train them to speak the sounds. Makes sense.

Well I am no long very very young, not even very young or young, but I am on a mission.

There are four languages I want to learn: French, Italian, Spanish, and Sign. There is something fasinating to me when someone is speaking English one moment and all of a sudden can go into French or some other language. It is impressive and I want to be one of those people.

The main reason for learning languages now is to travel. NOT that I will ever come off as a French Lady, or Italian Babe, or even a Spanish Senorita, but I think that if you plan on traveling it is respectful to not expect other countries to speak English and at least try to learn some of theirs.

If you read the Sunday paper there were a few news reports about cities and states wanting to make a law that said "English is the official language". I get that and I respect that, but I wonder if these folks who are pushing this ever thought about how they travel?

There seems to be an expectation that since the USA has some magical power everyone should cater to us so a French Restaurant should have their menu in English in case one of us happens to dine there. We all can be a little over the top. I have decided not to be one of those folks.

I want to travel outside of the USA. I want to experience the local nuances of other countries, so I will learn a few languages to at least attempt to be respectful of their "Official" Language.

Our French Tapes came tonight, so let the learning begin!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Creme Brulee and Nose Surgery?

What do Creme Brulee and Nose Surgery have in common? Nothing really except that tonight both are on my mind. Weird huh!

Well like always there are reasons for my random thoughts.

The first is Creme Brulee. I have never had it and as we sat around tonight talking and having a wonderful dinner with good friends, they said "what if we make Creme Brulee for dessert"? Really? People make this stuff at home? Isn't it hard? How in the world does a general public person know how do to this? Do I even have a pan to make it in? So many questions!

After a quick trip to the local big store I now know what Vanilla Beans look like and what creme brulee bowls are AND that there is a torch fire involved in the process! Amazing, Creme Brulee. In about 2 hours we will be having dessert! Amazing!

Okay so that explains the Creme brulee but what about nose surgery? Well, like creme brulee being something that is happening today so is nose surgery for my brother!

He has had a terrible time breathing so finally the doctor got him in to do this nose surgery! I will save you the gory details but in short they 'cleaned' out the nasal cavities...doesn't sound pleasant or fun.

I just got off the phone with him and he said he never knew how stuffed up he was until now. Even with gauze under his nose and splint things in his nose he has taken deeper breathes and he can't believe what he has been missing all his life! A little surgery and he feels like a million bucks.

I didn't have a lot of 365 positive thoughts today and I wasn't planning on writing tonight until I just sat down and thought to myself what a glorious day it has been. A good day of work, good friends, a successful surgery, and creme brulee.

Life is certainly good.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Making Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love to bake...maybe love isn't a strong enough word...I have a passion to bake, I really do. Today we have an old friend visiting from Washington state and I thought to myself "I need to make her and her boyfriend Chocolate Chip Cookies" as I know how much she loves them.

Crazy as it seems I make a darn good CC cookie and when there are visitors or guests I have to make cookies! Wait, I don't have to, I want too!

We all think about and plan on how to make huge differences in peoples lives. Making that impact of life changing events is very rewarding. Have you ever thought that maybe more small acts of impact are just as effective?

Making cookies, playing a round of putt putt golf, sending an email, mailing a card, calling just to say hi...all little daily things, but things that can make a big impact.

There is a line that goes something like you may not change the world, but you may have changed one persons world. Small acts of kindness. One cookie at a time.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Ten Things I have Learned from Suzan

Today Suzan celebrates her 45th birthday and after a morning of birthday clues and an afternoon of Mini Golf I hope she remembers this day for a long time. To celebrate her I wanted to share with you all the Ten things I have learned from Suzan.

1. There is always room for 1 more kitty. When you have the room and ability to have an animal or two there is so much you get in return. You get love, excitement, cuddling time, and purrs.

2. Consider yourself blessed if you can do something for a job that is also your passion. Suzan quit the rat race of office cubes a few years ago and began working a job that is her passion. Day in and day out she cares for animals. Walks them, cleans up after them, and gives them lots of loving. Make your passion your career!

3. Vegetables are good! I have never known someone who loves veggies as much as Suzan. Any kind and any way. I have grown to appreciate (not really like) the fact that it’s okay to eat a little broccoli once in a while without cheese sauce!

4. It’s okay to not be the best at everything, but it helps! Suzan is someone who can pick up a sport in no time. She never played softball in high school and now a natural. Never played tennis but she can hold her own. Maybe it isn’t about being the best as much as embracing your abilities.

5. Never say never when shopping for a motorcycle. Suzan fell in love with riding last year and when she went to try and find a bigger bike to ride it was hard. Not a lot of bikes are made for the petite, but never say never when following a dream. After a few months of looking Piglet was purchased. An 883 Harley Davidson Sportster that fits her alright. Live to ride, ride to live.

6. Remember the importance of family. Suzan isn’t one to get all mushy around family, but there is some real importance of family to her that goes beyond emotions. It’s about learning and loving. She spent two weeks overseas with her brother and sister-in-law, not to just see Europe but to spend quality time with her big brother. It’s not about emotions, it’s about connections.

7. Some people actually love 90 degrees and humid! I am not one of them, but Suzan is. The hotter the better and if there is some humidity to go with it…oh the joy. I never knew someone who appreciated heat more than her. From a year round mattress pad heater to hot and humid weather, she reminds me that others like it hot!

8. Giving to others should also include animal shelters. We need people like Suzan in our lives as they remind us that not only are their human needs, there are humane needs as well. This doesn’t mean having a hundred cats or dogs, but the next time you donate to a cause remember the four legged ones. She reminds me of how many dogs and cats needing love and attention and makes me want to do more.

9. Trying new things won’t kill you! Since meeting Suzan I have tried some things I never would have thought I would. Not so much as experiences but food! Kimshee, Keem, Pagogi, avocado…I never even knew what most of these were before I met her, but I do now.

10. And finally, I have learned that there may be two or three different ways of doing one thing, but all turn out the same in the end. Minds think differently and that is true for Suzan and me. We get to the same result, but the path there is very different…and that is okay.

When the 10 things I have learned come this easy to write I know I have just begun to learn myself.

Happy 45th Birthday Suzan!