There is No One Right Answer, but Decision Determines Everything

 

It does not take much strength to do things, but it requires a great deal of strength to decide what to do.
― Elbert Hubbard

decision boggle _opt

It’s called BOGGLE for a reason.

 

Have you ever played the game WOULD YOU RATHER?

Would you rather drive a moped across a tight rope OR go over Niagara Falls in a barrel?

Would you rather drink black coffee OR eat dry cereal?

It’s almost always funny or absurd scenarios, for which there is no right answer.

Because it’s just a game.  Real life however, requires decisions all the time. Some of course, require little effort.

Paper or plastic?  Do you want butter on your popcorn? Would you like to try the smoothie of the week?

But some decisions feel HUGE and require research and thought.

 brochures mail college decisions_opt

Some of the mail my kids have been getting from colleges. 

 

It’s easy to feel buried under the brochures of possibilities and decisions.  I feel like that when it comes to my writing–the decisions that need to be made in editing and publishing.

Or what about the tricky decisions that impact family or friends?  Or decisions about health?

Recently I’ve been grappling with the issue of a new medication.  Do I want to deal with the crappy side effects or the crappy symptoms for which I’m on it in the first place?

It feels like someone is asking me if I want to eat squid or  snails.

Honestly, I don’t want to eat either.

 

 Decisions, decisions. 

When it comes to decision-making, we hear go with your gut, but then are advised to be careful of emotion.  Some say take your time and others say make the leap.  We need to check our history, but stay in the present and oh wait, don’t forget the future!

What do you do?

 

I guess it’s a little of everything–our gut, our emotion, revisiting the past, thinking it through (a pros and cons list can help here) and even taking the leap, because eventually we have to decide.

 

It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you get off on sometimes. What matters most is getting off. You cannot make progress without making decisions.

~Jim Rohn

Progress is good  (even baby steps).  

But, okay, not ALL decision-making turns out stellar.  Like the time my husband decided, yes, he DID want to try the smoothie of the week.  The flavor?  Peanut butter and jelly.

My hubby now has strong opinions about PB & J belonging between two slices of bread.

Progress, right?

bad decisions funny story

How do you make decisions?  Playing the game–if you had to choose, would you rather be PARANOID for the rest of your life or NAIVE?

I love it when you comment!

Have a GREAT week.

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The Freedom to Express Our Frolicking Energy

 

I want freedom for the full expression of my personality.

― Mahatma Gandhi

first amendment freedom of expression wall_opt

The First Amendment Monument in Charlottesville, Virginia

 

What would you write on this monument?

Me?  I got creative and wrote my name.

And continuing the theme of relaying the obvious, I wrote:

 freedom slate monument_opt

 

Maybe it wasn’t as colorful (or cathartic) as the citizen who wrote RYAN IS A TOOL, but that’s okay.  The 108 feet of slate writing space exists to express our views on well, whatever.

 

I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to make an ass of yourself.

― Oscar Wilde

 

 Because freedom of expression is one of our rights in America.

art on first amendment monument_opt

This one makes me smile.

 

Whether we doodle on slate, express our political or religious views or write best-selling books, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall said that part of the significance of our freedom of expression is to “assure self-fulfillment for each individual.”

Expression = Self-fulfillment

Maybe not right away, but having the ability to express yourself can help you find purpose, passion and meaning in your life.  And there are so many ways to do it.

For example,I express myself in this blog, in my fiction writing and by wearing sparkly shoes.

 converse sequin

 

Maybe I color my hair blue, paint, or do DIY projects. .

 

 

Even my lunch tells a story about me and what I want for myself.

grilled tofu salad_opt

This is a very delicious grilled tofu salad. Not that I’m trying to convince anyone (because of freedom and all that).

 

Plus I like to bake and experiment with recipes.  I planned on showing you a picture of the gluten-free spice cupcakes I made for this weekend.  But sadly, they are all gone.

 

empty platter_opt

 

But cupcake or no cupcake, every day is another opportunity to show the world an expression that is uniquely our own.  Because each of us have a JOY looking for a voice.

 

You are joy, looking for a way to express.  

It’s not just that your purpose is joy, it is that you are joy. You are love and joy and freedom and clarity expressing. Energy-frolicking and eager.

That’s who you are.

― Esther Hicks

 

So, here’s to FROLICKING ENERGY and the unfettered freedom to find meaning.

What would you write on the Freedom of Expression monument?  How do you express yourself?  

I love it when you comment 🙂

Have an awesome week!

Looking for Signs of Life vs. Road Kill Theory

 

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” 
―Albert Einstein

Back in college I met a guy who I ended up talking to for hours on the subject of what happens after you die.  I have no idea how we got on the subject.  Sure I always enjoyed a good DMC (deep meaningful conversation), but I’m sure death and the afterlife were not typically on my rotating list of topics.

But he may have been cute, so there was that.

Anyway, his arguments got me curious.  He insisted that the end of life was akin to a flame blowing out, that once we die we no longer exist in any form.

And he believed that there was no use assigning any true meaning to signs (miracles) because in the end we were all “road kill.”

Whack. Game over.

I’m thinking he probably did not go on to make a career writing greeting cards.

Me?  I was adamant that there’s more to the afterlife then nothing.  Where was the hope?  It was just too depressing for me to think otherwise.

And roadkill?  On some level, I think animals must possess a spark of soul. Have you ever looked into the eyes of a cat? It’s like thousands of years of wisdom wrapped into a fur covered hipster attitude.

Cattitude Charlie the cat _opt

Meet my feline nephew Charlie.  He’s seen it all I’m sure.

 

But everything I knew at the point of that argument was from what I learned when I was a kid.  Heaven was firmly centered in a cloud filled land of angels and quite possibly a Willy Wonka factory (um, it was called everlasting Gobstopper, right?).

Part of those images in my head were drawn from Sunday school, but some I think I got from the movie The Blue Bird, with Shirley Temple.

heaven and signs of life

 In this movie, there was a “Before Life” scene where children danced bare footed while waiting to be born.

 

For a kid, eating candy and not having to wear shoes were an easy sell, but even as a teenager I wanted to believe in something positive, something to look forward to. Road kill theory did not work for me.

Instead when I was lost in school, my relationships and life in general, I relied on hope, faith and occasionally the Magic 8 ball. And I believed in the power of signs.

power of signs ireland _opt

 Signs guide us, point us in the right direction.

 

And signs took on a whole new meaning a few years ago when my brother died.  Mostly because I struggled with how he once fit in my life and how he still could.

And this is where faith and hope and signs came into play.  I’ve heard many stories of how people see signs that remind them that their loved ones still play a role in their life–dimes, feathers, music, animals.  But no matter what it is that gets us to remember, it’s the power behind it that puts hope back in our grasp.

Because sometimes in this shoe wearing place called Earth, we need a little something tangible.

For me that was the day of my brother’s funeral.  A few hours before the service, I was in a hotel room, on the third floor, with no windows that could open–and there was a ladybug in the room with me.

 

 ladybug sign_opt

One of my nephews with the ladybugs that like to follow us around.

 

I can’t remember if I thought too much about it at the time. Other than it was a little strange to see the ladybug there.

But since then, I’ve noticed more ladybugs. Sometimes I see them where they should be, and sometimes it feels far from coincidental. Like the time I went to visit one of my sisters and we were drinking coffee outside of a busy shopping center and a ladybug landed right between us, next to the brownie we were sharing.

Sure there may be other explanations for this. Maybe ladybugs love chocolate.  Maybe I see them because in some way I am looking for them.

Or maybe it’s more.  Like when the Elton John song Daniel comes on the radio, I feel like he is with me. Mostly it’s because that’s his name, but also because my sisters and I once joked with him that we were going to sing that song for him. It was a humorous threat—something he got very used to growing up with 3 sisters.

 

annoying sisters dan little brother_opt

 Annoying older sisters dressing their little brother like a doll.

So I like to hold onto the ladybug–and anything that reminds me of my brother–as a sign.  Even though I carry my memories of him with me, it feels like a reminder that on some level he is still here, that there is more to our existence.

More than just Wile E. Coyote flattened on the ground after an incident with an Acme Anvil, right?

Because there will be days when we question our work, our relationships–the overall meaning of our lives.  It might help to have a little sign.

 

 

“There are days when I think I don’t believe anymore. When I think I’ve grown too old for miracles. And that’s right when another seems to happen.”

~Dana Reinhardt, The Summer I Learned to Fly

 

And signs have the power to remind us to keep moving forward–and that we are not alone.

 

“Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told:  “I am with you kid.  Let’s go.” 

~Maya Angelou

I am with you.  Let’s go.  

Maybe instead of the flame blowing out, it lights your way.

 

What signs have offered you hope?  

Looking for a Sign That He Loves You

 

Have you ever found yourself looking for a sign?

 

Sometimes we look for signs anywhere– horoscopes, the weather, dreams.  When I was younger I remember consulting the Magic 8 ball when it came to matters of boys great import.

Did you know that Google is also on that list?  I realized that last week when I looked at the list of search engine words that led internet surfers to my site.

High on that list was one of the great philosophical questions, Where’s Waldo? (because of this post), but a very close second was Liam Payne, member of the crazy popular British boy band One Direction.  Thanks to my YA reader friend Lydia, fans have been stopping by after Google searching for All Things Liam.

 

sign one direction

 

But by far the most interesting search phrase that landed one of those fans on my blog (and got me seeing Google as this generation’s Magic 8 ball), was this:

 

A sign that Liam Payne loves me.

 

Now I don’t believe I have any sort of psychic powers, BUT I do believe in the power of hope.

Hope got me through many crushes in high school.

Oh and believe me, I looked for signs that me and my crush were meant to be EVERYWHERE.

Like seeing his initials.

Or looking at the clock just when it showed his birthday.

Or turning on the car to hear his song on the radio.

My BF and I even hung out outside of Chrysler Hall simply because our boy band crush sang there once upon a time.  I think we thought we could still breathe some of his air there.

Hope had us open for any sort of sign.

So I get the massive internet searches.  And who knows?  Maybe landing here on my blog is all kinds of meant to be–and I don’t want to disappoint.

In fact I love to make people smile, so I went on a search of all the things Google listed that people were looking for here (but couldn’t find).

liam payne freckle

Is that Liam’s mole/freckle?

 

 

liam payne lips

Are these the lovely teeth you were looking for?

 

liam payne feet

 And the shoes only Liam could fill?

 

liam payne hat

Oh and is this the hat you were looking for???

 

 

Nowadays I might see signs of love a little differently (like bringing me a cup of tea or washing the dishes), but my favorite part of looking for a sign?

Being open to hope.

 

Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at it destination full of hope.

~Maya Angelou

 

When it comes to love, have you ever looked for signs?

The Courage to Try Something New

 

“Never be afraid to try something new.  
Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark.  A large group of professionals built the Titanic.”

~Dave Barry

 

Over the years there have been many times I jumped right into trying something new.  Sewing, rock climbing, blogging, selling makeup, quilting, flower arranging, painting–

 try something new elmo overalls _opt

Elmo overalls I made for my niece.  My wall mural is the background.

 

Even if I didn’t take to something, at least I learned from it (like that I really don’t like selling makeup and I really can’t sew in a zipper).

But I don’t always try new things.  Habit tends to get in the way.  I get used to my routine.  I like my To Do lists and that satisfied feeling I get at the end of a productive day.

Habit makes it so easy to resist the new.

So does fear.  Maybe you never sign up for those dance classes because you think you will look silly doing the Argentine Tango.  Or stay quiet about that new project idea you had for work because it’s not what you usually do.

Trying something new often takes courage.

And sometimes I think we just plain forget the thrill that often accompanies something new.

 converse sequin

And it’s not only about creating or wearing something new.  It can be trying new foods.  I tried  Vietnamese food for the first time a couple of years ago and I love it.  But most of the time I stick with the same meals because it’s easier, one less thing to consider in regard to taste or nutrition.

But it’s definitely fun to try new food, experience a taste sensation–both good and not so good.  Like last week when I tried gluten free oat matzoh.

Now I can now officially say I’ve eaten cardboard.

Still it’s amazing how many sensory details I eked out of that experience.  Trying something new can get your neurons sparking again.  Sort of like what happens when you put oat matzoh in the oven–it spontaneously smokes at the slightest hint of warmth.  Your brain can get all warm and smoky too, but in a good way.

Plus trying something new can lift your mood.  This weekend my son was in a Spring-Break-is-Over-Funk and I knew I needed to nudge him.   So we all got up early and headed to the batting cages.  It was something neither of us had ever done.

 Try something new batting cage_opt

 

Funk dispelled.

Sometimes new things have the power to do that.

Tell me! Have you tried something new lately?  I would love to know.

On Getting Unsquished and Seeing the Bigger Picture

 

Do you ever get so focused on your goals that you suddenly have no idea what you are looking at anymore?

 

 

You dream and hope and plan and then work hard, but sometimes you still end up careening right into your own viewfinder.  Face squished up, focus distorted.

 

What I need is perspective. The illusion of depth, created by a frame, the arrangement of shapes on a flat surface. Perspective is necessary. Otherwise there are only two dimensions. Otherwise you live with your face squashed up against a wall, everything a huge foreground, of details, close-ups . 

~Margaret Atwood

 

Squished up doesn’t leave much room for growth, or seeing our ideas through to completion–and I think it might even cause wrinkles.

But take a step back.  Take a little time to discover the big picture once again.

Then breathe in deep.

 The bigger picture rock climb maine_opt

Better keep yourself bright and clean. You are the window through which you must see the world.
~George Bernard Shaw

 

How do you get unsquished?

 

 

Putting a Little Spring in Your Step

 

It’s springtime and I’m thinking about sunny days, vacation, gardens, going for walks outside and okay cleaning out the fridge.

But even spring cleaning somehow feels  . . . liberating.

Have I lost you?

I don’t particularly like to clean.  If there was an easy way to turn my house upside down and shake out all the dust and crumbs, I would be doing it.

But what I do like is the clean slate.  Spring brings another chance to start anew.

There’s hope in spring–and not just the season.  The word alone brings to mind words like:

Rise.

Leap.

Move.

Skip.

Bounce.

Hop.

Vault.

Grow.

Release.

wide open _opt

 Spring can make you feel like your life is wide open.

 

It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want —oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!
~Mark Twain

What does Spring mean to you?  What are you looking forward to?


Life is Better When You Share It

life is better when you share it_opt

 

To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.
― Mark Twain

 

Laughter, books, smiles, knowledge–these are just some of the things that have the potential to take on a whole new level of awesomeness when you get to share them.

That’s what these amazing friends did when they shared their awards with me:

Amanda over at BornBookish.  She is a college student sharing breathtaking book covers and reviews.  Plus she has the scoop on intriguing words like xanthophobia on Word Lover Wednesdays.

Sophia Chang says she’s Tiger mom tested and approved–and I believe it since she’s a YA writer who has found success in acting, modeling, and singing (and graduating from Harvard), but underneath all of that is a sparkly, kind heart.

Tameri Etherton is a writer who says she wishes she was born a fairie princess.  Well, if sweet and generous are the criteria, then she already is one!

The first words that come to mind when I hear Prudence MacLeod‘s name?  Strength of spirit!  Read her posts over at her Valkyrie Rising blog and you will think so too.

Debra Kristi says she is just a girl with a story or two to tell, but take the time to read one of her Immortal Monday posts and you will see the amount of time she puts into entertaining and informing–and all with a smile.

Stop by their blogs and say Hi!

 

If YOU have something to share, please tell us in the comments!

Got a book or a blog you want to talk about?  Or maybe someone did something awesome for you that you want to share?

I would love to hear it.

Oh and please stop by Catherine Johnson‘s site on Tuesday–she has a special Valentine’s surprise to reveal tomorrow!

Have a happy one!

Beauty of a Woman Blogfest

 

Beauty.

 

Is it in the eye of the beholder?

 

After all, what we like is subjective.  We’ve got those complicated noggins storing a lifetime of experiences, passions and beliefs, all of which color what we find beautiful.

My head shot

 

 

Of course, shiny things distract and sparkly things can be fun(ny) . . .

 

coleen patrick glamour shot _opt
That’s a lot of hair for one noggin to hold.

 

 

And beauty can get tangled up with things like botox, Spanx or Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues (pun intended).
It really is more about what we find at the core of one another.

 

Beautiful people do not just happen,”  said Elizabeth Kubler Ross.  “These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness and a deep loving concern.”

 

It’s true.  When you experience someone’s true character–compassion, kindness, smarts, empathy, humor, genuineness, love, etc, it’s like their soul is glowing right through their skin.

And that’s beautiful.

 

How do you define beauty?

Beauty of a Woman Blogfest by August McLaughlin

Be sure to visit August’s blog on Friday, February 10th, to read inspiring stories and for chances to win awesome prizes, including a Kindle Touch or $99 Amazon gift card, body image coaching, BOAW mugs and more.