People as Transition | Social Justice and Bridging Communities One Year Later

After Philando Castile was killed in Saint Paul, Minnesota, many people were called to action because they saw no other option. It was the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Who said; “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”

We can agree that where there is no justice, it is just us,” people coming together in a grassroots effort for a greater good, one person at a time is just part of the solution. Often, we feel a call to action, but aren’t sure where to start. Conversations can be one area of focus, but with so many varying points of view, many may not be willing to engage.

I came across a source published in The Harvard Business Review called How to Have Difficult Conversations When You Don’t Like Conflict, which seems to offer some good suggestions.

Learning how to have civil conversations when there are differing viewpoints is a step towards the call. Curiosity combined with active listening are important skills. Seeking to understand how people come to conclusions about these types of occurrences is a great start. We also have to learn to accept others where they are without casting judgment.

Imagine all the possibilities if each of us did a few things to get involved. What can you do to play your part? Below are a few examples to consider that might help pave a path forward.

Ways to support social justice initiatives in meaningful ways:
  1. Educate yourself about a specific movements, or for words you aren’t clear about
  2. Visit the Social Justice Resource Center website
  3. Community action: be a volunteer or join a nonprofit board
  4. Seek to understand. Listen to alternative points of view
  5. Visit to see if there are petitions to sign that support your principles and values
  6. Seek the information about the generational trauma that exists in the lives of the Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC)  communities.
  7. Call government representatives, ask them where they stand on these issues
  8. What questions can you ask others to engage in dialogue if they are open?

No matter how big or small, these are the things that could be done collectively to make a difference. That is how we bridge communities. It’s all about fellowship and remember that we can’t do it alone. Let us forge ahead with these thoughts and continue to lift the family of #PhilandoCastile and others like his, like ours, up in prayer.

Thank you for visiting my blog, please feel free to leave a comment below, or, if you prefer to ask some questions confidentially, let me know and I will be happy to respect your privacy and respond one to one.

The Road – Our path to….

Unconditional Love

There are people who will say Valentines’ Day is a novelty, but I think it’s an opportunity to reflect, create a memory or perform a random act of kindness because sometimes even the smallest gesture can go a long way.

My mom never forgets a Valentines’ Day. Last night she came over with the tulips you see in the background of the picture, made dinner and then did some religion homework with my son.

She gave me the red heart ornament in the picture years ago on a February 14th. It says “Kakie” and on the back Love, Mom.  Time has worn the ink from changing the oil in the decanter.

The faded letters on the ornament and the flowers are both signals for me. One, a gentle reminder about being present, new life, spring and what lies ahead. The other is to pause, step back, appreciate those around me and celebrate the journey. We didn’t get here alone and couldn’t have accomplished all that has been without others. Look how far we’ve come. For many of us, it can seem quite remarkable.

Life puts gifts at our feet which we don’t recognize at first. Sometimes we stumble over them or we get in our own way. It’s okay because we are all flawed and I think there is beauty in that. Somehow we always manage to get back up, brush ourselves off and move ahead.

We are exactly where we are meant to be at any given moment and we have all of the tools we need. Today, give yourself permission to slow down, take a deep breath, find gratitude and share it with someone.

I would love to hear stories about small gestures that meant a great deal to you  Share them below and thanks for stopping by. Happy Valentines Day.

Discussing Race and Tolerance : Black History Month

#Hoodiesup #Millionhoodies

February is Black History month and each year as a family, we look for historical documentaries to watch and seek out biographies of people who have played important roles in our evolution as a country. When I was young, information was limited and we didn’t learn much about it in school. I want to be sure we honor those who went before us because it is OUR history.

A few years back, instead of viewing the Super Bowl, we watched the movie “Boycott,” which is about the events which occurred in Montgomery Alabama after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in the “Whites Only” section of the bus. Black Americans pulled together to demonstrate their economic power by refusing to use public transportation. The program is good and sends a compelling message about the impact peace and non-violence can have.

In the movie, there is a scene where the fire department sits across the street and watches the home of an African-American man burn to the ground. My son, who was eight years old, looked at me with puzzled eyes. He asked why the firemen were not helping put out the flames.  I explained what life for black and white people in America was like during that time. Then, he turned to me and asked;

“Mom, am I black?” Read more of this post

Learn, Unlearn, Rethink, Relearn, Innovate and Survive

 “Leadership should be born out of understanding the needs of those who would be affected by it.”

– Marian Anderson

In my past roles as a senior project manager, management and change consultant, Adult Learning Theory Learners Wantmarketing leader, coach, and mentor, I use something called andragogy (adult learning theory) to manage and lead because I have seen its effectiveness. I thought it would be a great blog topic, so please, read on!

Throughout my professional life, I spent time designing various formats of training about topics that included marketing, identifying and adapting to social styles, emotional intelligence, repackaging a new improved client service model, how to ask for referrals, business, and marketing planning, new customer acquisition, retention, social media and more.

The process of designing training modules is about working to ensure the content is engaging and adding value for the intended audience and providing them with what they need so they will adopt the new change program. When classes are written and created, the blended approaches are different for each medium. For example, the content will be written differently for an e-learning self-study, vs. classroom or live web-ex conferencing. Read more of this post

Grandma’s Legacy and Acts of Love – Happy Holidays

Grandmas Treasure Kakie FitzsimmonsThese Christmas ornaments, containers and vases are my treasures. For over twenty years, Dode Jandric, my grandma, made at least one for each of her 23 grandchildren and no two adornments are alike.

In earlier days of her ceramic ornament painting, Grandma Dode had the dexterity to write messages, bible verses, our names, her signature and the year each one was made.  As time went on, macular degeneration set in, her vision deteriorated and she became unable to continue.

I once heard Oprah Winfrey say that art can be a form of prayer and I think that is an interesting concept. The thing I love and appreciate most about the legacy of grandma’s ornaments is time and creativity she spent paying attention to detail, expressing her faith and love through art. She selected specific colors, styles, and designs customized for each of us, painted them, then fired them up in the kiln so they were just right.

As I reflect on the holiday season and my family, I am proud to say I am a 4th  generation of oldest daughters. Grandma Dode was born on April 8, 1921, and had 9 children, which is almost seven years of being pregnant. Sometimes it is hard for me to fathom that by the time my mother was 14 years old, she had 8 younger brothers and sisters, all of whom she and the other oldest siblings nurtured and cared for because that was part of the norm. In large families, that is part of the bonding process for everyone.

Grandma Dode, now 91 and legally blind, her hearing and memory fading, yet her demeanor is sweet and gentle.

During our family Christmas party last year, I watched her place both of her hands on the cheeks of one great-grandchild.  She said in a thoughtful, kind manner; “I’m sorry dear, I can get a little confused, you will have to remind your name and whose you are.” Then after a response, she followed up with; “Oh yes, of course, that’s right. So how old are you now?” It makes me wonder; can we choose to age with grace if we think about it in advance? My family history is rich and filled with love and legacy. For that I am grateful.

May you have a holiday filled with peace, happiness, and joy.

Stuck in Spin: Stopping the Glorification of ‘Busy’

There are times I find myself off in my own personal “never-never” land. It is a place I refer to as “stuck in spin” and it’s where many of us wander off to once in a while. The first time I came up with the name for it was when my son was in second grade. I had just picked him up from school and as I drove down the road my brain was in full self-chatter mode. Something brought me back into the moment when I realized that he was sharing the exciting things like what he learned in school, what they played in the gym, who made him laugh, etc. I thought:   Am I going to blink and miss my son’s childhood because I was not paying attention? This time is going so fast.  

I could say I wrote the book when it comes to being busy, but then again, couldn’t we all? Me: Full-time Executive MBA Student in a one parent household who has been working as a contract project manager off and on for the past few years to diversify my resume. I have wondered about my future and this process of reinvention all while being the Cub Scout and soccer mom, Catechist, the blogger, MBA candidate, writer, author, speaker, job seeker, and social media marketing consultant and strategist.

I recently found a quote on Pinterest that said; “Stop the Glorification of ‘Busy‘ ,” which came to me through Robyn Flach. Robyn is a person I know through the social media community here in the Twin Cities. The quote got me wondering how to get out of my “stuck in spin” space when it happens?

At the end of the day, we all have a lot going on as we create our futures. While that is exciting, what really counts is that we are of service to others and fully present for the people in our lives, including ourselves. I talked with a good friend about this and he shared something he pulled from storage in his garage. Notes from a seminar he attended with renowned psychologist, John Selby many years ago. I closed my eyes and my compadre read each statement below three times.

  1. I choose to enjoy this moment
  2. I feel the air flowing in and out of my nose
  3. I also feel the movement in my chest and belly as I breathe
  4. I am aware of my whole body at once, here, in this present moment

That’s it. I don’t have to say all four of them every time, but I can practice. All I have to do is 1. say it 2. do it. Any place, any time.  I can even do it with family and friends to model the behavior because when we teach, we learn. After completing this meditation, I felt centered, present and whole. It is a choice but also takes practice. One of my favorite quotes of all time:

What we learn, we practice. What we practice, we become. What we become, has consequences.” -Earnie Larsen

Please share below, what helps you get grounded and at the moment? How do you work to stay fully present in the lives of those around you? Thanks for joining the conversation!

Imagination, Innovation, Knowledge and the Future

I remember elementary school days and the competitive nature of being the first to raise our hands or be chosen to answer a question, push a button, stand in line, answer the phone. In our culture, kids are rewarded for having the correct answers and being right, which sets the stage for absolutes.

In the United States, the tendency for people to be monocratic stems from a justice system based off of win or lose causing many people to think about life in terms of being right vs being wrong. On the one hand, we have success, and on the other failure. We have different kinds of knowledge, which comes from numerous sources. For example, we have knowledge that comes from education, the knowledge that comes from wisdom, the knowledge that comes from doing, the knowledge that comes from technology, knowledge of self, etc.  This world is so full of possibilities, there is no way we can comprehend all there is to know and understand. It makes me wonder; “what if every idea we have ever known, was wrong?” Even Einstein believed imagination is more important than knowledge.

Kiplinger a has an article called; The Top 10 Jobs That Didn’t Exist 10 Years ago. Imagine for a moment what the world will be like 10-15 years from now. What new jobs, technologies, and lifestyles will be created? Consider what kind of challenges/opportunities that will present. How could that impact your future? There are complicated issues we will need to address. Some examples could include:

  • Making the internet safe to use, while keeping it open so people can innovate
  • How we communicate with people
  • Ways government will capture taxes and solve a crime
  • How we connect with things
  • Potential E-commerce and marketing dilemmas
  • New consumer and employment markets
  • Moving economies
  • We will need longer IP addresses (more people)

Recently in one of my classes, we had a conversation about this concept of our culture, the idea of random variables and the evolution of knowledge. I took notes as the professor spoke. He said;

Knowledge can be explained as independent variables that exist between two things and how they relate. It has been defined from perspectives that have been brought to the table. Intervening variables create unintended outcomes, creating more knowledge. Being right is not as important as realizing or admitting what we do not know because all knowledge is subject to doubt. We have to acknowledge there is unlimited uncertainty no matter how much we know.

-Dr. Heino A. Beckman

In leadership, some of the best people I have worked have been open to possibilities. What do you think, about knowledge coupled with innovation? Please share below.

Never Forget – A Letter Written to My Son on September 11, 2001

“That’s what it takes to be a hero, a little gem of innocence inside you that makes you want to believe that there still exists a right and wrong. That decency will somehow triumph in the end.  -Lisa Hand

 At the time, we had no idea how the events of that day would change our lives forever. I worked at American Express Financial Advisors downtown Minneapolis, and the corporate headquarters of American Express was right across the plaza from the towers in New York. We lost 11 employees that day. For weeks the company had internal message boards, where workers could go to read and write their accounts of what they witnessed on that day. Those of us who worked in other locations could share our condolences.  The company put up a memorial in their honor called “Eleven Tears‘.

Since my son was a baby I have kept journals where I write letters to him. Below is my note from September 11, 2001.

 09-11-01 “Today was a day that will change how we do things in America. I was on a conference call at work with some field leaders who work in the Carolinas and one of them told me what happened. I could hardly believe it and went to to see what I could find. The World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon had been attacked by some people who were not nice at all. My employer told us if we didn’t feel safe we should go home and we all left. 

People began evacuating downtown Minneapolis and it was so crazy we could not even get a taxi out of the city and the whole nation is stunned.  They closed down businesses, the stock exchange, the airlines, etc., all across the country for the first time in history. Locally they reported prayer vigils at churches all over the Twin Cities and the globe. It was an emotional day for everyone.

When I finally did get home, we spent the day together with the television and non-stop special reports all day as everyone was trying to make sense of the chaos. I remember sitting on the rocking chair in the living room watching the news in disbelief as your little ten-month-old body was sleeping so peacefully on my chest and I was praying as the tears fell quietly down my face. I felt so numb I could barely speak today. 

Son, the message I want you to take from all of this is that freedom is not something we take lightly. Those who went before us fought and died for our freedom and there are people now still doing the same thing. We need to never forget what happened and to remember those people and their families in our thoughts daily. The opposite of love is fear and the opposite of hate is compassion.  May you always walk in love and compassion. ILY – Mom

Please share your comments below, thoughts and experiences below.

Day 17: Multiple Paths and Convergence of Knowledge

In Buddhism, the tradition of chanting is a method for preparing the mind to meditate. A few months back we toured The Tooth Relic Temple and Museum in Singapore and as we heard this chanting in the background we gathered around our tour guide. “Now we are going to walk now into the hall of the creator of my future The Buddha,” she said. I thought that her words were such a fascinating way to explain a power greater than ourselves.

We proceeded to the garden on the roof where she explained the core principles of the faith and that in Buddhism there is not belief in one supreme-being, but that the universe is The Supreme Being. It is not male or female, good or bad because there is no name that can explain that kind of omnipotence. Its essence is everywhere. We walked clockwise around the prayer wheel three times, expressing thanks and asking for special intentions. While exiting the prayer wheel she went on to say;

“It’s the destination it’s not the road. Religions are just roads that lead us to the destination, so whichever road you take it still leads you there & it doesn’t matter what you believe in. The path is not constant or persistent, so that which is “the way” which can be described as not the true way” -Lim Lin

In our Executive MBA program, the concept of consilience is brought up often. One of my professors explains it as different ideas jumping around together to form a comprehensive theory based on facts. This concept demonstrates there are multiple ways to come to the same answer and as leaders, we strive for consilient thinking. It isn’t about being right or wrong, but rather being open to possibilities because often, there are many.

In Taoism, the word “way,” also means path or principle. The belief is “the way is not the true way” which is the idea that we don’t need to search outside of ourselves for truth or meaning because it is right in front of us and within us. It always has been.

Please share your thoughts below.

Three things I am grateful for:

  1. Freedom
  2.  Faith and spirituality
  3. This journey that helps me strive for consilient thinking

Day 13: Excercise Freedom of Expression Today: #Hoodiesup Movement

21 days to happiness: My story and 3 things I am thankful for:

Today the NAACP, Move-On.Org and Changeforcolor.Org have teamed up to declare social media #Millionhoodies #Hoodiesup day, an online demonstration to encourage people in to post a million pictures wearing a hoodie to honor  Trayvon Martin, the unarmed Florida teen killed by a neighborhood watch man George Zimmerman, after he was told by a 911 operator, to stop following Trayvon.

The dialogue in the media and online is controversial. Some have mistakenly categorized Trayvon’s death as an issue about black and white, but I assure you it has to do with far more. This tragic event, for many people in this country, is about perception, bias, race, judgement, assumptions, our history as a country, a flawed legal system, the media and more.

In 1983, one of my best friends was brutally murdered and her killer served just 5 years. It left us all asking; “Why?” So  many years later I think of her regularly and the death of Trayvon Martin last month has stirred emotions for me as a result of that loss. But also because I am a parent of a kid just like Trayvon. Yes, I will repeat. I am a parent of a child just like Trayvon.

Think about that for a minute and let it soak in and then put yourself in my shoes for just ten seconds. I must have productive and honest conversations about the ugly realities of race and judgement with my son because of the color of his skin and I want him to embrace all facets of his multiculturalism.  I also think it is important he is aware that there are some people who are not color-blind and there are logical arguments that the best approach is to have dialogue about it. The sad and ugly truth is that in our country social and racial injustice happen every day.

Think about the sound of anxiety in your child’s voice when an issue about race suddenly becomes real for them. And then at another time, how would you respond when your child shares fear of getting shot because of their skin color and what they have seen in the media?

I reach out to communities who understand my reality. They provide insight about having these conversations regarding perception and judgement in teachable, healthy and productive ways. I would be lying if I told you I didn’t get angry, sad or frustrated sometimes. What we live, we teach, so I focus on what I can control, which are my responses and faith that integrity wins out every time. I try to keep the following speech front of mind, because it’s how I want to interact with every person I meet.

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar,
but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater,
but you do not murder hate.
In fact, violence merely increases hate.
So it goes.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

                                                                      -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

There are people who don’t know how to have complicated conversations like the one I am discussing. As you can see from an interview I gave a while back with my friend Amy Bowllan, a blogger at The School Library Journal in a series called; “Writers Against Racism,” there is a dysfunctional old school of thought that implies “If we don’t name it, it can’t exist.”  It is unjust, but it happens and every day the social undertones that go unspoken and are often misunderstood. As a parent and a compassionate human being, I am sad and shaken to the core about what happened to Trayvon.

We have had ongoing, complicated conversations in our family about the ugly realities of prejudice and racism. Through those discussions and having a strong support network, I emphasize that there is power in choices. We work towards being living examples of what is right and what is possible. The only way to plant seeds of hope and peace is to open conversation.

I believe that silence condones approval, which is what drove me to write this post. As part of this movement, they are asking we change our profile pictures on Twitter and Facebook using description  hashtags #hoodiesup and #millionhoodies (instructions below) so it can be tracked via social media monitoring tools. Here is how you can make a difference. 

  • Talk to kids about it to give them assurance and guidance. Use the Huffington Post article How To Talk To Your Child About Trayvon Martin’s Death to have productive dialogue
  • Join the conversation and tell me your thoughts and comments below.
  • Tweet, blog, comment on various social media forums using hashtags #hoodiesup and #millionhoodies
  • “Like” the Facebook Group A Million Hoodies For Trayvon Martin
  • Change your profile pictures on Twitter and Facebook using description  hashtags #hoodiesup and #millionhoodies so it can be tracked via social media monitoring tools.

Four things I am grateful for:

  1. In this country we have freedom of expression. I recently spent time in South East Asia where this is often not an option.
  2. Adversity pulls us together as communities and individuals. It takes one person to make a difference. Will you make yours today?
  3. We have access to tools and resources to facilitate conversation about challenging situations like this
  4.  Being a parent of a terrific kid

Day 12: Permission to Relax, Play, Have Fun and Trust

21 days to happiness: My story and 3 things I am thankful for: 

Life gets complicated and sometimes we need to give ourselves a break so recently I decided to saunter out to Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America for a day of family fun.  We were waiting in line to get on the bumper cars and my mind was wandering. As I stood there looking at my child, I was pulled into the present moment and thought about how life can pass us by so quickly because there is always so much to do.  I was flooded with memories about the childhood adrenaline that would rush through my body waiting in line for rides as a youngster myself.

When I was 11, a new amusement park opened up about 15 miles from our house and it was one admission (probably $9-10 per person) and free rides all day kind of place.

There was a dad in the neighborhood, who planted seeds of work ethic, fun and pay-off by striking up a deal with all of us (10-15 kids who lived on the block.)  If we could save up enough money to pay admission price over the summer, he would take all of us to Valley Fair. We accepted and could not wait to go.

It was a group effort and there was no “score-keeping’ about who raised parts of which money. From early spring to summer, we would babysit, collect aluminum cans for recycling (at a penny a can), sell our old toys and set up lemonade stands constantly. For a few years, we consistently met our goals and had some extra spending money for food and games. It was a blast and in addition to teaching us some important values, the reminiscence helped me create the memory of that same kind of fun with my own kid at Nickelodeon Universe.


So the point of this post is that more often than not, we need to not take ourselves too seriously. Give yourself permission to have fun. How are you going to relax, play, laugh and trust good things will come from it today?

Three things I am grateful for today:

  1. That I get to have fun, be spontaneous, reach into obscurity, grab hold of new ideas and discover something better
  2. The gift of parenthood, the insight it provides and that it makes me a better human being
  3. Mr. H, the lessons he taught and the gifts it gave us   

Day 9: Then is Now: Letting Go of Resentment

21 days to happiness: My story and 3 things I am thankful for: 

Years ago I attended personal growth and leadership seminars by Earnie Larsen, who used the analogy of “Who is driving your bus?” to illustrate how people hold on to resentments and that often, “then is now.” So let me give you an example of what he meant by that.

When Johnny was 7 years old, his parents were constantly at odds and one day, while they were fighting, he began screaming at them to stop, started sobbing and ran outside. No one came to console him, apologize or explain the argument was not about him.

It broke a part of his spirit and sample messages he could have carried from that might be “love hurts, nobody listens to me anyway, I will never allow others to be that much in control again,” etc.

Now, what if we put that seven-year old’s outdated lie in charge of driving his life (aka bus) for 50 years? Who is behind the wheel? That is an awful lot of years of pain and false data from which he establishes his viewpoint. The reality is, his parents were probably young and just trying to figure things out themselves, but that was not what he took from the experience.

Examples like this play out every day at home and at work. As leaders, we manage people with various backgrounds and social styles. Perhaps if we keep stories like the one above in mind, it can help us incorporate emotional intelligence and compassion into our professional environments in ways that are healthy. The intent usually comes from the right place and situations are not always as they seem at first glance.

Hanging on to resentment is a painful form of abuse that prevents us from having self-compassion, but all too often, we may not even realize we are clinging to a given injustice. That resistance gets us emotionally jammed and a majority of people do not have any idea how to get unstuck.

One solution? “And acceptance is the answer to all of my problems today.”  Someone once told me there are four stages that shine in the face of love. They are:

  1. Allowing
  2. Acceptance
  3. Approval
  4. Appreciation

These four things are at the core of who we are when we are born. What if we made it our goal to live these principles in every aspect of our lives daily as a way to get back to our core being? Including loving all of our resentments and saying yes, accepting the things we can’t control. What if this was your personal growth homework? What have you got to lose? Try it for a few days and let me know how it works for you. Who is driving your bus today?

Three things I am grateful for today:

  1. The process of allowing, acceptance, approval, and appreciation.
  2. The idea that “If you don’t give yourself any options, you don’t have any choices.” There is always another way, we get to seek the counsel of others to help us with that.
  3. That I have learned how to give myself permission to let go of old resentments and lies

Day 8: Inclusiveness and The Gift of Friendship

21 days to happiness: My story and 3 things I am thankful for: 

When I was a freshman in high school I met Annette. She was new to the school district and came along at a time when I was lonely the shy, (yes me, shy), often teased, overweight girl who was usually chosen last for teams in Phy-Ed classes. Her personality was magnetic. She was funny and adventurous and always first to say, “Come sit by me.” We quickly became besties.

Because of her, it didn’t take long before we had a group of friends and it was good to feel part of a community. The summer between 9th and 10th grade I rode my bike 2 miles each way to and from her house nearly every day because she baby-sat her little brother. Without realizing it, I lost 40 pounds in just three months.

When we started high school, she said; “Let’s join things and be great leaders.”‘ We became active in Junior Achievement (my first role was VP of Marketing. 😀 AND eventually, I ranked in the top 1% nationally of kids in the program ). We signed up to be leaders of the school “Pep Club” (We were the mascot at many school games.) There were other sports/organizations, etc.

She brought me out of my shell and influenced my life more than she would ever know. The kind of friend she was to me is the kind of friend I strive to be for others.

Tragically, she was unjustly taken from us shortly after high school and it wasn’t fair. One of the people responsible for her death only served 5 years in prison. The others were never found or convicted. To this day I wonder, where is the justice in that?

As a result of losing someone so close to me, I learned a few important, powerful lessons at a young age.

Life is short and can be taken in the blink of an eye. Friendship is a priceless TREASURE. Love the people in your life, NOW. Be present for them, while they are here. Give them the GIFT of your time. Words are powerful, be authentic, kind and inclusive. Tell people you see them by saying; “You matter.”  Bring out the very best in others and they will never forget you.

Three things I am grateful for today:

  1. Annette, DJW, and Cheryl
  2. The people who have stepped forward, supporting me in challenging times. Their generosity means so much.
  3. The community of people who surround me and the GIFT of friendship

Day 7: The Answer to All of My Problems Today

21 days to happiness: My story and 3 things I am thankful for: 

Sometimes my tank feels a little empty and I get discouraged. Everyone does, it is part of the human experience. Despite the frustration, I forge ahead with my chin up high, trusting that there is more because I have faith.

So the other day, in the midst of my 21-day journey to happiness, a guy by the name of Troy, liked one of my blog posts. He is author over at Life Aisle. I was honored, stumbled over to his site and this was what I found:

And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation – some fact of my life  – unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake.”

                                                                                                                                                                           – Dr. Paul Ohliger

WOW. Talk about timing.

Three things I am grateful for today:

  1. We don’t always have what we want but somehow find just what we need
  2. A home filled with love, acceptance, and gratitude
  3. The compassion that comes from those who remind me about the things I already know but need to hear again

Day 5: Because Creating Memories are Forever

21 days to happiness: My story and 3 things I am thankful for: 

I love the way a variety of mismatched picture frames can give personality and warmth to a room. Today I counted 17 that I can see while sitting on my couch.

The lemonade stands, running through sprinklers at water parks, the first official family picture with our new puppy. Silly faces and parades with cousins, sunset on the beach on The Fourth of July and my grandparent’s 68th wedding anniversary. Our National Product Launch at the Mall of America for our Children’s Books, Bur Bur and Friends, one character poses with our favorite Sports Mascots. Crunch and TC Bear.Special Appearances - Crunch and TC Bear pick up Mateo MOA Launch


My sisters would tell you I am always the one who says, “Come on everyone, let’s get a picture!” But what they don’t know if there is a method to my madness. Time flies by so quickly and it’s up to us to create memories.

Pictures are a collection of moments that are imprinted on our hearts forever and if you ask me, it doesn’t get any better than that.

Three things I am grateful for today:

  1. The spontaneous laughter of a child
  2. Knowing I have the power to make a difference in someone’s life today
  3. That I am a creative and innovative thinker