"All of us are watchers of television, of time clocks, of traffic on the freeway, but few are observers.
Everyone is looking not many are seeing." Peter Leschak

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Grandma & Sue

A best friend to me is someone who tells you the truth, and listens and supports you in good times and bad. It's sort of like a marriage, but without the paperwork. As children and teenagers most people have best friends, but as you get older and start a family it can be difficult to maintain ties with friends. I remember my grandmothers best friend Sue. I met her a few times when I was still in my single digits. My grandmother used to talk about her a lot, and I could sense they shared a close bond.  I value my friendships, but find it's as equally important to be a good friend to yourself.  I found the following quote on a greeting card and felt it sums up friendship perfectly.

"When the right friends are near us, we feel that all is well.  Our everyday life blossoms suddenly into bright possibilities."    Helen Keller

Tuesday, February 28, 2012



 beau·ty (byo͞oˈtē)

noun pl. beauties beau·ties

1.The quality that gives pleasure to the mind or senses and is associated with such properties as harmony of form or color, excellence of artistry, truthfulness, and originality.
2.One that is beautiful, especially a beautiful woman.
3.A quality or feature that is most effective, gratifying, or telling.

I know it's a cliche, but beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.  What I find beautiful and what my neighbor finds beautiful can be two different things.  There are certain things I think most people would say are beautiful such as things found in nature- shells, flowers, rainbows, blue skies, mountains, oceans, etc. I think beauty can also be something you can't see, but you can feel it deep in your heart.

Friday, February 24, 2012



Today is my sons 16th birthday.  He has been driving with a restricted license for seven months now, but today marks the beginning of more driving freedom.  More driving freedom = more worry for mother  Actually he is a pretty good driver and although I hate to admit it, he is probably a better driver than me. What he lacks in years as an experienced driver, he makes up for in attentiveness and fresh knowledge of the rules of the road.   As a mother though I still can't help telling him to be careful as he walks out the door.  I recently read an article on worry in O magazine by Life Coach and Columnist Martha Beck.  I love her column and always come away with a few tidbits of wisdom.  Martha says, "People blossom when we love them, not when we worry about them.  Worry just teaches worry."  My son is already a pretty cautious person.  I don't want to teach him to worry.  I want him to know I love him.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


A child thinks of growth in terms of inches or pounds and can't wait to grow physically.  As an adult I want to shed pounds and grow wiser.  A few more inches in height to my 5'4" frame wouldn't hurt either, but I don't think that's going to happen.  Each new year and spring season I tend to do a self-evaluation in terms of my growth.  To me they signify a time of new beginnings and rebirth.  I examine my growth by asking myself the following sorts of questions.

  • Am I growing spiritually?
  • What have I learned from past mistakes?
  • Do I continue to repeat certain mistakes?
  • Am I expanding my horizons by learning new things and challenging myself?
  • Am I making new connections with people?
I love to watch the show Masterclass on the OWN network.  Oprah shares the stories of different celebrities, politicians, entrepreneurs, athletes, etc.   The premise is we all have a story to share and lessons we've learned along the way.  I'm a big fan of Goldie Hawn and I thought she had a great message to share.  "The beauty of getting older is the surprise of what else you can do to make the world a better place with the wisdom you've accrued over those years."

Monday, February 20, 2012


When I initially think of the word adventure it conjures up images of roller coasters, bungee jumping, sky diving, zip lining and para sailing.  Basically any activity that raises your heart rate to where you can hear it pounding  and causes a rush of adrenaline.  An adventure can also be as simple as taking a different route on your way home from work or trying a new restaurant in a different area of your city.  I like to think of my little treks with friends antiquing in downtown Kansas City an adventure.  I never know what new treasure awaits me.  We also like to try restaurants that are different from our usual suburban eateries.  

I've had the opportunity to step out of my box and experience several adrenaline adventures- para sailing, zip lining, backpacking through Europe as a college student, white water rafting and cave tubing.  As much as I like the idea of being a modern day Indiana Jones, the reality is I have a weak stomach.  I get sea sick and motion sickness.  This past summer I rode the Rock N Roll Roller Coaster at Disney's Hollywood Studios and was extremely sick afterward.  I am also prone to an occasional panic attack.  I could let these things hold me back from having more adventures, but I won't.  I may not get on a roller coaster again for awhile, but I feel it's important to get out of your box sometimes and try new things.  Life itself is an adventure waiting to happen.  You never know what the next day will bring.  It could be full of triumphs, tragedies, obstacles, possibilities or the adventure you've hoped for all your life.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Descendants


The movie The Descendants takes place in Hawaii, otherwise known as paradise.  In the beginning of the movie George Clooney goes through a monologue about how people think life is perfect in Hawaii as if cancer, disappointment, pain and tragedies don't exist in Hawaii.  It struck me how true that statement is.  I sometimes think if I were overlooking an ocean how much better life would be.  The ocean makes me feel peaceful and calm.  There is something sacred about the ocean to me.  However, the ocean can't cure cancer, take away pain or disappointment and sometimes even causes destruction.  I still dream about having a beach house one day, but blessed is the man who can find beauty living in a cardboard box.  Beauty comes from a sacred place within you.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


My home is a place where I surround myself with the things and people I love.  It's also a place where I can be myself, sing at the top of my lungs, scream, dream, love and create.  It's also an ever evolving place. I'm constantly thinking of new ways to use my space or the next color I'd like to paint a room.  Even though I've lived in the same house for almost 13 years it has had many different looks.  It's important for me to change my surroundings as I gain new perspectives or ideas.  Call me crazy, but I find if my house is stagnant I become stagnant.  I think when you walk into someone's home it should tell you something about that person.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Must Love Dogs


Animals are reliable, many full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal. Difficult standards for people to live up to.  --Alfred A. Montapert

Since it's Valentine's Day I thought I'd write about the love of a dog.  I love my family first and foremost, but there is nothing like the love of a dog.  After all, it is God spelled backwards.  My dog Fritz gives me unconditional love.  Even though he begs no less than ten times a day for a treat,  it isn't a requirement for his affection.  He also doesn't talk back, listens attentively when I speak and is always genuinely happy to see me.   I wish I could say that about my children.

Monday, February 13, 2012


Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.
C. S. Lewis

Friday, February 10, 2012

Green Monster Spinach Smoothie

For years I have avoided green smoothies.   Smoothies containing a green vegetable mixed with milk have just never sounded too appetizing to me.  That is until the green monster came along.  The website pinterest is my newest obsession.  I discovered this smoothie on pinterest which originated from the blog www.iowagirleats.com .  Iowa girl Kristin just added a new green smoothie which is her healthier version of McDonald's Shamrock Shake.  I haven't tried that one yet, but the green monster smoothie is a favorite.  I love that I'm getting a serving or two of vegetables at breakfast or as a snack. It tastes like a peanut butter and banana smoothie. You don't even taste the spinach!  I like the taste of spinach just not in a smoothie.  Trust me you'll love it and it's healthy.

Green Monster Spinach Smoothie (serves 1)

  • 1 frozen sliced banana (I use an unfrozen one and it turns out fine, you can add a few ice cubes)
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup vanilla Chobani Greek Yogurt, or other greek yogurt
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond breeze or other kind of milk
  • 4 cups baby spinach (or more, or less)

Combine all ingredients in a a blender and blend until smooth.
approx 350 calories, 10g fiber, 21 g protein

Thursday, February 9, 2012


When I think of the word fashion CoCo Chanel comes to mind or Ralph Lauren.  I love a classic look, but with a touch of whimsy.  I love unique accessories or a statement piece like Chanel's pearls.  I also think of fashion as a unique style. I love to see the outfits children put together and I'm inspired by their lack of self consciousness.  When my own daughter wanted to wear something inside out with sparkly red sandals in 30 degree weather I wasn't able to find the humor in it.  Now that she is a young teenager I miss the days when she wanted to dress up as a princess instead of dressing like she's 21.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012



an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.
good fortune; luck: the serendipity of getting the first job she applied for.

There have been many instances of serendipity in my life, but the one which currently comes to mind is learning how to play the drums.  I have always had an interest in playing the drums and when my son decided to quit taking guitar lessons 4 years ago I suggested drums.  At the time I wasn't thinking about the loud tapping of the hi-hat, snare and bass which would emanate throughout the house. He found his niche in drumming and is part of his high school drum line.  In the back of my mind I wished that I had taken drum lessons when I was his age.  Maybe I'd be touring with Rob Thomas or at the very least playing in a band at our local pub.  As chance has it my son's teacher had an opening this summer and we already own a drum set.  I asked if he'd be interest in taking me on as a student and surprisingly he didn't fall over laughing.   The rest is history and the following are some of the lessons I've learned from drumming.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012



My mother Augusta who goes by Gussie was my first source of inspiration as a child and has played a large part in influencing me as a creative person.  My mother used to make ceramics and jewelry, crocheted my Barbie clothes, decorated our kleenex boxes and could turn an old curtain into matching pantsuits for my brother, sister and I.  She did make us matching outfits, but I'm not sure they were from our curtains.  My father added that part.  One of her favorite things to make was our Halloween costumes.  At 72 she still dresses up for Halloween and makes her own costumes.

Although I didn't inherit her love for sewing.  I did acquire her love of Halloween, decorating and creating.  I love accessorizing my home, scrapbooking and crafts in general.  My mother never stops making things and looking at things with a different perspective.  At the rate I like to change my home interior, I would have to say I'm following in her footsteps. 

Raining Umbrellas Assignment Week 1

Saturday, February 4, 2012


I have a fascination with doors, especially colorful ones.  I think they can add a lot of character to a building or home.   I also love when old doors are used an architectural piece in a home.  I have one at the end of my upstairs hallway which has a mirror in it.  My brother-in-law calls it the secret portal. I've been reading The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have by Mark Nepo.  The meditation for this morning had to do with crossing over thresholds and looking at problems or situations in your life that keep arising.  Acting as a messenger, I ask myself what doors do I need to open to get over a recurring problem?  On the flip side, acting true to my questioning sarcastic nature I also thought perhaps there are some doors I need to close.  I think I'll start with my teenage daughters bedroom door.

Friday, February 3, 2012


Muir Woods

My love for trees was formed as a child.  I lived in Pennsylvania up until the 7th grade and our home backed up to the woods.  If you've ever been to Pennsylvania then you know it's full of trees.  I currently live in Kansas and trees just aren't quite as abundant here.   I memorized the poem Trees by Joyce Kilmer when I was in grade school.  It is the only poem I can still recite, and I think it sums up beautifully how I feel about trees.  I have been to Muir Woods and stood among the Redwoods and witnessed the splendor of autumn foliage in the Northeast.  Trees are a great place to start witnessing the extraordinary in the ordinary.


by: Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)

      THINK that I shall never see
      A poem lovely as a tree.
      A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
      Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
      A tree that looks at God all day,
      And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
      A tree that may in Summer wear
      A nest of robins in her hair;
      Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
      Who intimately lives with rain.
      Poems are made by fools like me,
      But only God can make a tree.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Simple Gifts

Routines can be great, but sometimes I feel like they stifle my creativity and ability to think outside the box.    I had planned on going to the gym this morning which I try to do at least four times a week.  However  I decided to take a walk outside on this 66 degree day in February which is almost unheard of for Kansas.  Our mild temperatures have been a gift and I need to use it.  I have so many gifts I don't use, and it becomes more and more evident to me as I declutter my home.  I find when it comes to kitchen items the old 80/20 rule applies.  I use 20% of what I own.

Instead of beating myself up about not going to the gym, I looked at it as an unexpected gift.  A gift of more time to accomplish some things I've been wanting to get done and enjoy the outdoors.  Sometimes changes in plans can be a good thing if I choose to see them that way.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

February starts the countdown to the Oscars.  Who will win best picture for 2011?  I am inspired by good movies and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is one of those movies.  It gives us a glimpse of the aftermath of 911 through the story of a boy whose father was trapped in one of the World Trade Center buildings when it collapsed.  It's not only one boys story, but many stories of loss and love and how we can help one another in small ways.  It is also a story about pushing past your fears and taking small steps every day.  It brought tears to my eyes,  stuffy sinuses and one or two laughs from my friends comments.  A great work of art can move you to tears or cause laughter.  I think we all have the ability to move people. It's just a matter of finding the courage within us sometimes to let it out to shine.