Monday, September 1, 2008

It's Not Always Rainbows and Butterflies

My kids and I love the band Maroon 5. They had it blaring in the living room yesterday on Maggie's American Idol karaoke machine and I could hear them singing loudly as they played and danced. I have heard the song countless times but for some reason the following lyrics jumped out at me yesterday:

"It's not always rainbows and butterflies/It's compromising moves us along"

While I don't think life is always rainbows and butterflies, I do like to look on the brighter side. I love the second line about compromise. Compromise can be the key to living a bolder, brighter life whether at home or at work. I like to be in control in most situations and I have had to learn to be better at giving way, at making concessions and compromising. Doing so makes life brighter and easier.

Example of compromise at home: Not fighting with my daughter over hair and clothes. I let her choose what she wants to wear (she is 6 and her choices can be very interesting). She will reach a stage when her hair is important to her and looking neat has value. I can wait.

Example of compromise at work: Not making decisions alone. I don't always know best just because I own the business. I have worked hard to put the right players on the bus (if you own a business and haven't read From Good to Great, buy it today!) and I have had to learn to listen to my staff's opinions and ideas. They are usually good ones!

None of us lives in a vacuum. Only through our awareness of others and our willingness to compromise and be a part of the process can be we be truly successful and move towards a brighter, bolder life. Watch Maroon 5 on You Tube and be inspired to compromise and know that you are beautiful, too!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Joe Biden and the American Way

I watched Joe Biden's acceptance speech last night. It was easy to get caught up in the passion and the excitement of the moment. He wasn't the best speaker I have ever seen but he was sincere and the speech was well written. His son's introduction of him was eloquent and heartfelt. Joe Biden said something that caught my attention and struck me personally about Americans and how we understand that if we don't like the way things are, there is always the opportunity to make a change. There is so much poverty and violence around the world and in our backyards. There is so much sadness in so many homes and lives. Biden talked about trying to bring back the middle class, trying to create the opportunity for his children to live a better life than he lived. That is the American Dream isn't it, that anyone in this county can achieve success, can change her life for the better? What a luxury and a gift to have that as an integral part of our national subconscious. When I think about all of things I want to be different with my life, my weight, my company, my family...I know I have the power to change it if I put my mind to it. I know the opportunities are there. If we all put our minds to work together and if Obama/Biden are able to make the changes they are so committed to once in office, maybe my children and grandchildren will be able to live a better life than we do today.

For today, I am inspired to live a bolder, brighter life by embracing what I really want for myself and my family and being committed to making a difference. It is easy to be complacent with what we have, but I want something better for all of us and I am willing to work for it. Are you?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Proverbs 4 - King James Version

1 Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.

2 For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.

3 For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother.

4 He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.

5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.

6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.

7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

8 Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.

9 She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.

10 Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many.

11 I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths.

12 When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble.

13 Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.

14 Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.

15 Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.

16 For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.

17 For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.

18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

19 The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.

20 My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.

21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.

22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.

23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

24 Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.

25 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.

26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.

27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

What a Girl Would Do for a Chanterelle

The mushroom on the left is a poisonous amanita, pictured here with my son's hand to show how large it is! The bowls on the right are full of all the wonderful chanterelles we picked yesterday.

I love mushrooms, any and all kinds of mushrooms. They are beautiful to look at and pop up everywhere after a little rain. I would not trust myself to pick them for the most part, unless I am in Nova Scotia with my in-laws who are mushroom picking experts and unless it is a gorgeous, stunning, golden colored chanterelle. There is nothing bolder and brighter than a fresh chanterelle, lightly sauteed in olive oil, not over cooked...

I could rhapsodize all day about the color, the taste, yummy! But let me tell you about picking them. My in-laws and I walked up the road and started poking under spruce trees, plants and grass along the edge of the road. I found myself diving head first through spruce branches, covered in dirt, butt in the air, not my usual preferred position of being butt down in a chair with a good book. You have to understand that I am a city girl, I like the occasional hike and digging in the garden but diving belly first under trees is not something I do often, especially with a knife in hand, a bowl beside me and hands digging in the dirt and pine needles.

It was worth it, we came home with two large bowls of pure golden delight. My pants were muddy, my arms scratched by berry branches (a picking story for another day) and I was wet from the rain that started as we walked home, but I didn't care. Picking chanterelles is not something I could do in Dallas even if I wanted to! It's part of my bolder, brighter days in Nova Scotia, well worth the loss of a fingernail and bruise or two. Sometimes life's delights come in unusual packages.

What have you done lately to experience a bolder, brighter moment?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Inspiration from Women of Wisdom

I went to the EWomen Network conference last month and spent four days living a brighter, bolder life. It was an outstanding experience for any woman who owns her own business, is considering starting a business or any woman just wanting to meet lots of really, amazing women from all over the country doing a million different things. I don't think I met anyone who only did 1 something, we all wear so many different hats. I love all of the different things that I do and having variety in my life gives me great pleasure, joy and satisfaction. EWomen Network is a phenomenal networking organization for women. Click here for more details.

At the conference, there was a table of books for sale and I picked up Women of Wisdom: Empowering the Dreams and Spirit of Women. It had a beautiful cover and appealing title but I didn't look past the cover at that moment. Over the past week, I have read the series of essays, songs and poems by women who have participated in the Women of Wisdom conference in Seattle. Sounds like an amazing experience. Click here for more information about this phenomenal organization and their conference.

One of the essays by Riane Eisler, sparked a moment of intense hope and joy. Over the years, I have struggled to define what "spirituality" means to me. I believe in a great spirit and in the connectedness of all things, I believe that God resides in all of us. In her essay, Eisler says that "spirituality is putting love into action." (p. 200) I love this definition. I believe that we all carry God's grace and love into the world and that it is our connection to each other that will ultimately save us. She goes on to say that "We (women) must reclaim our heritage as spiritual leaders. This is our great challenge and opportunity: to join with one another and with enlightened men to build the foundations for a more equitable, peaceful, and joyful world."

What a powerful vision, I thought as I read this. How do I put this into action in my every day life? I realize that I can work towards a more peaceful, equitable, and joyful world in my own home, in my relationships with my spouse and children. I can make this vision a reality in my company, where we strive to put family first while building a profitable company. I cannot create peace unless I am at peace, unless I am doing all of things that keep me happy, calm, faithful and involved. If I can hold a vision for peace, for compassion and love then hopefully that vision will spread organically from me to all the other's whose lives I touch.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Living a Brighter Life in Nova Scotia

There are some things in life that definitely get better with age, like my appreciation for small details. There are others that I knew as a child and forgot along the path only to rediscover as an adult, like the joy of sand between my toes and the wind in my hair. We are vacationing on the coast of Nova Scotia in our family cottages (some things that come with marriage are a tremendous bonus and this was one of mine.) I am practicing living a brighter life this holiday. My children are running free and wild and I laugh hearing them laugh. They enjoy a freedom here that they cannot in Dallas. I let two little girls bury me in the sand a few days ago. Today we walked miles along an old coast road through sun, rain, fog, sun, sand, rocks and laughter. We saw an otter and two bald eagles, a few seals and lots of ducks and shore birds. Living in the haze and pollution of Dallas, I realize that I don't get outside enough. I don't laugh enough, I don't relax enough and just be silly with my kids for the sake of being silly! My lesson this holiday is to spend more time laughing and be silly, letting kids climb all over me and bury me in the sand. They seem to think this is hysterical. We are painting rocks, climbing rocks, making rock gardens and instruments with rocks. I didn't know rocks could be so entertaining! My life is very bright this week!