Clarity in 2016

This week I noticed a lot of postings on social media about the 365 days ahead of us and how we should make it great, better than last year, write a new chapter and accomplish all of the things we didn’t due to lack of focus for the past 365 days. As we progress into the first week of 2016 there’s usually a great deal of clarity for me starting out but then once the chaos

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of work, school, and activities that accompany these are in full swing again, the clarity slowly diminishes and I’m back to the “take one day at a time” mode on Monday and “Thank God Friday is just around the corner” mode by Wednesday.

I know many of you refuse to make formal New Year’s resolutions and while no one likes to set themselves up for failure, I still enjoy making my new year’s bucket list so here it is:

I vow to complete at least 3 writing and several painting projects that I started and didn’t complete no matter how awful I may think it is. I’ll allow others to be the judge.

I plan to take more family photos this year regardless of how much kicking and screaming I receive in return from my pack.

I will focus more on my career goals this year.

On a daily note, I will plan out meals so we don’t eat out during the week at all saving us both money and added calories.

I will focus on one of my bucket list items made years ago and take my written pilot exam and devote more time to learning how to fly-One of my lifelong dreams.

I will make the world a better place for others in some way.

Above it all, I will enjoy the gift of family and friendships we’ve been blessed to have through the years and make plans more often with those we only saw once or less in 2015.

So, there it is. Yes, my list is always longer than it should be with only 365 days to achieve all of the above so with that said, time management will be my challenge-something we can all improve. This is my first blog entry in quite some time so I’m off to a great start on this 4th day of 2016.  Cheers to all of you in 2016 and hoping each of you find clarity in your list of resolutions not only this week but throughout the year!

The other side of fear

A great read to start off in 2015–Embrace those dreams you’ve had for so long-stop allowing fear to prevent you from achieving them and let the best journey of your life begin…

Cristian Mihai

fear“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”Jack Canfield

Let me tell you about fear. It’s poison. It’s poison for your mind. It makes you lose control, it makes you freeze, it makes you take the wrong decision. When you let fear take over, you’re just an echo of your former self. An empty shadow and nothing more.

But we’re all afraid, aren’t we? Even the brave are afraid. There’s no such thing as fearless. There’s always something to be afraid of. What will happen, what might happen, what we might lose, what we might never gain.

So… what is there to be had on the other side of fear?

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It’s been a very long time since my last post. I could tell you I’ve just been “busy” but I’m told using the term “busy” is not an acceptable insert or excuse so I’ll simply state that I needed to step away from my blog and think about the direction I should travel with it over the next year. Since I don’t believe in setting New Year’s Resolutions, I’ll simply state that I’m focusing more on my fiction writing than on blogging. I am, however, going to be sharing a few of my story ideas throughout this year and hope you, the reader, will help provide character and storyline feedback for one or two ideas along the way.  I may even experiment on the direction of the story based on your responses. Before I close out my 2013 blog, I would like to share an update on a story I wrote about Peter, one of the ‘Lost Boys’ of the Sudan. Many of you were interested in his story and have since asked how he’s doing. The news is bittersweet. Peter proudly graduated with his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Texas on December 15th! He is currently applying to clinical nursing programs with hopes of completing a nursing degree in the near future. This makes Peter the very first member of his family to ever graduate from college. Sadly, this accompanies tragic news of Peter’s family living under attack in his home country. While we were preparing to celebrate Christmas, violent attacks broke out between ethnic groups in South Sudan. Thousands have been killed and more than 200,000 have been displaced from their homes. The displaced include Peter’s parents and other relatives. They went into hiding and Peter now fears they will not survive without clean water and food. Americans working in the U.S. Embassy have been under evacuation since the fighting broke out. We hope and pray for Peter, his family, and our U.S. military rescue teams to remain safe and for a peaceful resolve in his country. Peter, once again, reminds me of how fortunate and blessed we are to live in the United States. I wish you all Peace in 2014.

Dumpster Diving

It was a Thanksgiving I spent alone many years ago. I had just moved from California to Texas and didn’t have very many friends in the area yet. I had to work over the holiday week both the day prior and day after Thanksgiving so there wasn’t enough time to leave town and visit family. I was sitting around feeling a bit deflated when I looked out of my apartment window. There were two ladies digging through the dumpster. I realized in that moment how blessed I was and sitting around feeling sorry for myself was incredibly ridiculous. It was a call for me to do something for others going through tougher times than I could imagine. I had a job, a decent roof over my head and food in my kitchen.

This morning, my son asked me, “Mom, what is ‘Dumpster Diving’”? I wondered where he heard the term. Evidently one of the cartoons included this in an episode but on a comical note. I explained that some people do that for fun to find treasures while others do this out of necessity. My son’s question took me back in time remembering that depressing Thanksgiving Day when I transitioned from drowning in my own negative circumstances to becoming more aware of what was happening in my own backyard. I learned those two ladies made a routine out of visiting the dumpster for leftover food. I gathered canned items and set them out there the next day where they could be easily found.

How observant are we during the holidays while rushing around to find the next gift on our list and next “do” on our “To Do” list? Have you noticed anyone sleeping in a car in the local grocery store parking lot? Have you seen the homeless person sleeping at a nearby park or under the bridge of the highway? What about the families that are living in a homeless shelter for the first time in their lives?

Remember those who are wandering around lost /alone and hungry this Christmas season. You may have just passed by them while in a rush to stash away your shopping bags!


Today We Pray

"Never Forget"We can all recall where we were that day. You can probably still recall every sight, feeling and thought you experienced. You probably thought of a spouse, mother, father, brother, sister or friend that morning. For me, September 11th still seems like a snapshot ago. I was working for one of the major airlines that went down that day. I stayed in NYC the night prior. It was a gorgeous, sunny morning. We had a spectacular view of the city as we took off and headed west. We didn’t make it to our intended destination. Instead, we were directed to land in Little Rock, Arkansas, along with more than 75 other aircraft ranging from FedEx to Southwest, Delta to Northwest, American to United. There we sat on the tarmac, waiting in apprehensive silence. We were told to observe all passengers and determine if anything seemed “suspicious”. We had no idea what that meant or the magnitude of the horrifying tragedy in progress. Then, slowly, the news filtered in. Like everyone else, we were in shock. The news media arrived at the airport as we were taken into private employee areas and debriefed. We weren’t going home that day. Not a single airplane could be heard around or above us. I couldn’t get a cell call out for what seemed like hours at first. Finally, my phone lit up. The first was a call from my Dad who had awakened early on the west coast to witness the beginnings of 9/11. My parents knew I was in NYC so the time between breaking news and hearing my voice on the phone was terrifying. Every thirty minutes afterwards calls from family and friends filtered in. I felt sick to my stomach. None of us knew how to cope with such devastating news. The same feelings return every year on this date. The sights, sounds, emotions, and the memories of so many empty facial expressions.

Today We Remember. Today We Never Forget. Today we Vow to Never again allow our GREAT country to become complacent. Today, we are thankful for the men and women who perished trying to save others. Today we bow our heads and PRAY that we never experience another 9/11.

Peter’s Journey Published for the World to Read

The article I wrote about Peter Deng and his journey living as a ‘Lost Boy’ is now available for the world to read! If you have not read it yet, you can now view it at the link below. Thanks to all my loyal readers! My inspiration to write has always been there but my courage to publish is continuing to grow. I appreciate all of the encouragement and support!

Peter’s Journey on Yahoo News

Do You Have “Limitless” Potential?

I watched an interesting movie the other night entitled, “Limitless”, about a writer (starring Bradley Cooper) struggling with years of writer’s block who stumbles upon a wonder pill allowing him to unlock ALL of his brain’s potential, not just the ceiling of 20% that a majority of the human race supposedly utilizes. I won’t give the entire story line away in case some of you are planning on watching it, but by the end of the movie, his future supplier (played by Robert DeNiro), owns the key to this writer’s future (or so you are led to believe), however the movie may leave you wondering if he had the ability to unlock his brain’s potential all along without the assistance of the little clear pill. It left me wondering what we are all missing out on within ourselves. I’m quite certain that if in our lifetime most of us only access 20% of our brain’s potential then I was most likely accessing only about 2-3% during high school and maybe 4% during my early college career. I may have spiked at about 15% during my latter college days while making the dean’s list. I’m sure my capacity has dwindled over the years. As a writer, I’m curious about the other 80%. I wonder if the secret is simply sparked by pushing and motivating ourselves beyond what we typically believe we are capable of achieving. Like the writer in the movie, I store all sorts of great story ideas but channeling it all onto paper must take at least another 30% of my unlocked potential. I wonder what my other friends and family are storing away, having yet to let the rest of us in on their internal greatness? I have a friend who has challenged herself over the past few years to run her first races leading up to some pretty intimidating triathlons.  Maybe all of that negative talk in our minds is part of our inability to open and express our most treasured gifts. So as you embark on your next goal, I wonder what your key will be to unlocking some of that hidden potential. Remember, there’s at least 80% of your brain just waiting to be unleashed!