Monthly Archives: April 2012




Today is a celebration.  My finished book written with co-author Marky Olson is now officially on  Hooray!  I have written one book (Teachers Touch Eternity) previously, but have never had a book marketed through Amazon. I’m excited about the possibilities of people being able to access the book worldwide.  It is offered in print format and also as an ebook.

The title of the book is Caregiving Elderly Parents.  It is a book of personal stories about helping our elderly parents through the aging process.  My co-author, Marky, is a long time friend who lives two thousand miles away in Seattle.  We have written the entire book collaborating through phone conferences and webinars.  I’ve never written with a partner before and found the experience quite wonderful.  Marky and I took turns encouraging one another.  We bounced ideas around until we came up with a format which we believe will be a wonderful benefit to all readers.

We discovered that all four of our parents faced the challenges of aging in different ways.  We appoached each aspect of aging with personal stories so that I believe the final product is infomative, inspiring, encouraging and even entertaining.  I’m including a link to my other blog site which provides a way to link to Amazon to see the book and ebook version.  The ebook version will also soon be available for nook and ipads.   I hope you’ll take a look at it and recommend it to your friends.

Setting Goals

One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I possess quite a bit of initiative.  I’m a goal setter. I’m a self starter who won’t quit.   I can break down the steps to a goal.  I am more than willing to climb those steps one at a time.  No one has to encourage me.  I make my list, sometimes with a timeline and I’m completely self-driven.

However, I’m guilty of a big mistake. I don’t celebrate when I achieve an accomplishment.  Isn’t that something of a sad admission?  But it’s true.  I’m a worker bee.  Every day I have a list.  My list today includes ten pretty ambitious items.  Writing this blog is only one of them today.  But then when I accomplish something big…like actually seeing my book complete and listed on Amazon, I’m too frequently just right onto the next task.

So today I’m asking all of you to celebrate with me.  Make me party a little. Pop a cork!  Blow up balloons.  Throw some confetti.  Jump up and down.  Your blog friend, Dauna Easley, has a book on  Yippee  !!   Woo-hoo !!  We did it !!

How It Used to Be


The Good Old Days

how things used to beA confession.  I’ve reached that age at which I have to guard myself against talking too much about the ‘Good ‘Ol Days’.  I remember when I was much younger, how we used to feel about the old geezers who would talk too much about just how great things ‘used to be’.  We’d roll our eyes and promise ourselves we would never bore the world with talking on and on about how much better things were back then.

But be patient with me for just a moment.  Remember when we could pay just a couple of dollars and pile a big family or a whole group of kids into one car and go to the Drive-In movie?  Ahhhh, those really were some good old days.  There was a playground up front to play on before the movie.  We’d see at least two full features with some cartoons in between.  You could bring your popcorn or buy a bucket of it buttered in the concession stand.  All this fun with nothing but the stars for our ceiling…fabulous memory.

The Good New Days

BUT wait a minute.  Were the good old days really as great as we remember?  Let me think back just a little.  I remember some things not so fondly.  I remember…

  • Having to hang all the clothes, sheets, towels and cloth diapers on a clothesline outside, even in the winter time.  Today I press a button to dry.
  • Spending all day Saturday defrosting the refrigerator while water dripped on the kitchen floor before you could put the groceries away.
  • Paying a long distance phone charge to call someone who lived ten miles down the road.  Now I can call them from my purse to their pocket all the way across the United States and beyond.
  • Why DID we pay all those long distance charges for all those years?  No wonder AT&T was always considered a great stock to buy back in the good old days.
  • Sleeping all night long with orange juice cans all over my head in order to make my hair look good for a couple of hours.
  • Buying an airmail stamp to send a letter across a couple of states to arrive several days later,  instead of emailing or texting, for an immediate response.
  • If you were dating a soldier, he was truly out of contact for weeks or months.  No daily skype messages then.
  • Your boyfriend couldn’t afford to call you.  We had to write letters.
  • Using carbon paper and a tedious process to correct a mistake made on a typewriter, rather than just tapping the ‘delete’ button.
  • Watching three television stations instead of having a choice of hundreds.
  • Three or four static filled radio stations that had to be changed routinely as you traveled.  Oh, how I love my satellite radio where I control what I want to hear. Oh how I love my CD player in my car.
  • Publishers who used to decide all the reading material that would be available for everyone.   How I would miss my blog, my email friends, and the ability to publish independently.

Occasionally it IS still fun to talk about the good old days, when everyone knew everybody else who lived in our town.  But I have to admit I’m glad that I’ve reached this particular age I’ve reached, at a time when I can easily stay connected with my friends through my computer or cell phone.  I’m chatting online routinely with people I haven’t seen in years.  And I’ve just written an e-book with a friend who lives 2,000 miles away.  I love it.

I’m glad my elderly mother has handicapped access to most stores and businesses where they provide her a close parking spot and an electric cart for shopping.  She’s not cooped up in the house like my great-grandmother was back in the good old days.  Yeah, Mom still talks about The Good Old Days, but you and I just roll our eyes and know the truth.  These are some pretty great New Days too.

Baseball: The Game of Life


Baseball Mirrors Life

Road trip!  Is there anything better?  I love to just get in my car and drive out-of-town for a few days.  But…

Yes!  There is something better than just a road trip.  You can have the opportunity to take a road trip to beautiful Tennessee in the spring.  Green rolling hills and blooming trees will treat your eyes. Flowers everywhere and southern hospitality abound.

But it gets even better than that.  My road trip involved watching my grandson play baseball with his high school team.  My car included a granddaughter who was a great companion as we spent more than ten hours on the road together.  Bliss.

Life is a Baseball Game

Sometime during this wonderful three days of watching an exciting baseball tournament, it occurred to me how much baseball mirrors our lives.  In fact, our lives, if we live them fully, have all the elements of the great American pastime.

How so?  In every life there are those times we are forced to sit the bench.  It’s frustrating.  We’re aching to get in the game.  Can’t ‘they’ see our talents? We want to play, but for a while our role is to sit the bench and cheer the team on.

That happens in life too.  We see a position we want, but someone else is chosen for the job.  It hurts.  What’s important about bench time is our attitude.  Do we spend time preparing for our next opportunity?  Are we watching the game to check out the pitches?  In the work place are we checking out the climate and learning how to become more effective?  Or are we just sulking and having a pity party?  If we’re honest with ourselves, I think we’d have to admit, that we’ve all done a little bit of both.

In the Batter’s Box

Finally, we get our chance.  Someone gives us a nod and we step up to it.   Is there any place more frightening than the batter’s box?  There you are, all alone, every eye in the stadium is focused on you.  Half are cheering, the other half jeering.  The batter’s box is fraught with opportunity and humiliation in equal parts.  You’re armed with nothing but a stick, your confidence, and preparation.

Life is the same.  We train and wait our turn.  When our chance comes it always takes a lot of courage to step up to the plate.  It’s one thing to think and even boast that we have the skills.  It’s quite another to step up and make decisions, take the reins, and hope your ideas will work.  Always there will be people wishing you success but others waiting and ready to point out your shortcomings.  The only ‘safe’ place is the bench.  But we’ve been on the bench and it doesn’t feel good there.

In the batter’s box we have to DO something.  Sure we can wait and hope the pitch will be off target and the umpire will actually see the miss and call it a ball.  But nothing is worse than standing there and having the guy behind the plate call it a strike.  Nothing is worse than a missed opportunity.  If you swing and miss, sure everyone will know you tried and failed.  But if you don’t swing, they’ll know you didn’t even try.  What is worse than not even having the guts to try?

Is there anyone who can look back on life and not recognize and regret a missed opportunity?  Not me.  In retrospect, they glare at you.  Yes, swinging and missing is embarrassing.  But only not swinging at all is humiliating.  Long lives teach you that.

I have two granddaughters who tried out for something once and didn’t get picked.  They swear they will never try out again.  That’s when parents and grandparents have to become coaches and help them understand the honor and possibilities of taking risks.  We have to explain that growth and triumphs only follow failures and the courage to try again.  They won’t believe you the first time.  Be willing to share stories of your failures and watch them grin as you sprinkle a little courage back into them.

Nine innings of baseball mimics most of life. You hit a foul ball?  It’s the opportunity to adjust and try again.  You’re off course, but still in the game.  The pitch hits you?  Ouch.  But it works in favor of the team.

An injury takes you out of the game?  At some point life will do the same to you.  You’ll lose a job unfairly.  Someone you love will disappear. It’s what we do after the heartbreak that reveals who we really are.  We can become an inspiration to all as we fight our way back. Only people who have been through tough situations can inspire others.  We can return better than ever.  Or we can find a better job or someone to love who is more loyal.  A chunk of coal becomes a diamond only under pressure.

But in almost every game there are the opportunities for greatness.  Someone on the other team hits a ball no one expects anyone to catch.  Even you know it is way too high or too far to retrieve, but you run all out and jump and stretch as far as you can and then feel it in your glove.  It’s your ESPN moment.

Life gives all of us ESPN opportunities, but we won’t get there without stretching. Life is hard work.  You have to pursue something even when it seems an impossibility.

My parents always told me I was going to college.  But when the time came the money wasn’t there.  I was very aware my mom could borrow money (which I would pay back) for only two years of college.  Even this was a sacrifice for my mom who was earning a secretary’s pay and would be paying the interest on the loan for those two years.   But I wanted to teach which required a four-year degree.  What were my choices?  I earned a four-year degree in two years.  The question always becomes, “How much do you want it?”

Baseball IS Life

baseball is lifeFinally it all comes together.  The months of practice before and after school click.  Your bat hits the ball in the sweet spot and as you hear the contact you know it has the possibility to go over the wall.  Even if it doesn’t soar out of the park,  it will give your teammates who are standing on base the chance to score.  You are a contributor.  You’ve made a difference.  You… in that moment… understand that all the self discipline served a purpose.

Life is the same.  The harder we work the greater our chances of success.  The more setbacks we overcome, the more we grow into and stronger than our next challenge.  And believe me, in life, challenges are always coming. We have to be courageous enough to take the risk of failure to accomplish great things.

Good luck, Lakota East Thunderhawks!  Your fans will be cheering you on from the sidelines.

Breakthrough Update



                                                        Update for March

Loyal readers (thank you!) are aware that I have made a resolution to make 2012 a year in which I actually confront some of the areas in my life which have been evading long term success.

Sure, I’ve made many attempts on them before, and some minor progress, but they still stymied me.  Progress has always been slight or when progress was great in these areas, an almost immediate downward spiral would follow.

My three areas of long term concern are technology phobia, much needed significant weight loss,  and a regular exercise regimen.  These are three VERY challenging issues for me.  Many days I think I was nuts to try and tackle all three at the same time.

What was even more reckless?  I decided to make this battle public (well at least to my blog world).  What was I thinking when I made this decision?  A confession.  Lots of times I have wished I had kept my big mouth shut and my fingers off the keyboard.  BUT now a second confession.  Putting these goals “out there” into cyberland has forced me to make better choices for myself in some of my darker moments.  In other words, I’ve behaved better because I knew I would have to confess my setbacks to people who are listening in and hopefully cheering me on.

 March Progress Report


This has been consistently the area in which I believe I have made the greatest progress.  Yay me!

  •  I’m working out 5 to 6 days a week.
  •  I love going to my local Curves work out facility.  I enjoy the people there.  I don’t dread it.
  • I’m a morning person and I go first thing in the morning.  When they open I am there.
  •  When they open later in the mid-morning, I’m generally already doing something else.

I have more energy and stamina.  Muscles are slowly appearing.  My body is gradually changing.  My breathing and stamina are much improved.  I feel better all day long every time I exercise.

Weight Loss

This is consistently my most challenging area.

  • Last month I had hit a plateau and since I wasn’t losing I felt myself eating a little more using the thought rationale, “I’m not losing anyway.  What the heck!”
  • Only ten days ago I was still stuck in the same spot.  Because I knew my ‘report date’ loomed, I stopped eating.
  • I’ve cut too far back and I know it.
  • The good news is, I’ve broken through the plateau.
  • The bad news is I know that will shut my metabolism down and I will cease to lose weight.
  • I know that is not optimum.  However, for right now if feels like a relief to breakthrough a plateau.
  • I think I admitted early in my confessions that it is easier for me to not eat, than to eat reasonably. Many overeaters won’t understand that, but that has always been the case with me.
  •  That is a sad commentary, but is probably true of anyone fighting an addiction.
  • I haven’t talk actual pounds, because I don’t want to share that yet.  But someday I will.  The number of pounds I want to lose seems overwhelming to me.
  • One more thing.  Yesterday was my birthday.  I was under control food wise all day.  Then at about 8:00 pm I started feeling sorry for myself that I hadn’t had birthday cake.  Cake is not something I crave.  Even when I have cake it is all about the icing for me.  I wasn’t hungry but I was pretty crazed about cake until after 11:00 pm.  Kept thinking I would go out and buy myself something sweet.  But I resisted it.  It took more effort than I care to admit to not go for a late night run to the store.

Technology Progress

This is an area in which I continue to feel weak.  But I am definitely making strides.

  •  I have completed an ebook with a writing partner.  Every step of the way I have been forced to step up to technology challenges that frightened me.
  • Just this weekend I had to download and edit an epub file.  I had to call for help.  But I was able to mauever through the explanation and complete the task.
  • My internet server also went down yesterday.  I spent hours on the phone trying to get it fixed.  But I did it all by myself.
  • I will soon publish my second ebook.  It will be a valuable book for teachers and future teachers.  I’ve had parts of it in my computer for years, but was frightened of stepping up to the publishing process. My improved (but still limited) understanding of the technology process has helped give me the courage to take that step.
  • My writing partner is encouraging me to understand each step I take using technology instead of just memorizing the steps of the process.  She has me “teach’ my understanding of the steps back to her.  That helps.  We can’t teach something unless we understand it somewhat.
  • We have written this entire ebook living two thousand miles apart.  We’ve used email, conference calls, webinars,dropbox, ebook publishers and much more.
  • Here’s a confession.  In November, when I started writing a blog, I had never even read a single blog post.
  • Now I’m on facebook, write two blogs and am finishing the writing on my second ebook.
  • I give myself a gold star in this category.

Sorry I didn’t post my progress on the last day of the month.  My internet break down was preventing my breakthrough update.  😉