Saturday, May 21, 2016

More Than a Survivor

Survivor’s season finale aired this week. After watching several episodes, I understand why the show draws large audiences. Beside the exotic locations, the competition, the health challenges, and the gamesmanship, each episode showcases regular people striving to complete extraordinary tasks. Fans relate to the show because the cast, on one level or another, reflects our struggles. Whether it’s at school, work, home, or with family and friends, we’re navigating obstacles and managing responsibilities that shape our views of who we are and what we can do. Watch how these workers let attitude drive outcome:

We don’t have to be confined to a secluded island to find out how far we can push ourselves or unleash our best selves. Life offers that opportunity every day. What’s the one thing that will help you to not just survive, but thrive?  

Saturday, May 14, 2016

One Step Away

The last place you’d expect to fine adorable wildlife is at the mall—the mall parking, to be exact. Earlier this week while exiting the lot, I spotted a trail of birds, a family of about five geese, tottering along the side of the road. An adult goose let the pack, three little ones followed and—here’s what surprised me—another adult brought up the rear. That’s a big job. Those babies weren’t disappearing without the parent goose realizing it, yet every spring the news covers stories of baby geese falling into holes, setting off elaborate rescue missions. Here’s what happens when someone’s watching over you:  

 It feels good having someone watch your back. Who’s watching yours?          

Saturday, May 7, 2016

A Lil’ Bit of You

If you’re like many people, you love emojis. If you’re a serious fan, you created one resembling you that’s sitting in your phone, waiting to enrich your texts. I had planned to make one until the app asked to access to my phone’s contents, and since I’m not sure why it needs that information, I passed up my bitmoji opportunity. Fortunately, friends text me their cute creations. Apparently, they feel weird about “people” borrowing them, even with their permission. I admit their bitmojis’ skin color, features, hair and clothes don’t reflect me, but they still have two eyes, one nose, and a mouth— that’s enough of a resemblance for me. After all, they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery—or is it?

It’s frustrating when someone assumes your identity. I decided bitmojis should only represent the person who created them. You’ve heard that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, not always. We’ll need much more than a cartoon figure to reflect our traits, values, and preferences. What three words capture the full essence of you?        

Friday, April 29, 2016

Costly and Cheap Thrills

Some of the places we visit will either thrill us or chill us. In Baltimore last week, I enjoyed roaming along the Harbor, visiting shops and people-watching. Like any touristy spot featuring food and entertainment, there were a few interesting sights. I was slightly surprised to see the Cat in the Hat holding an umbrella over his head (it wasn’t raining), maneuvering through the crowds like a cat on a mission. But, even more shocking was the man walking a dog—and an alpaca. With no petting zoo in sight, I didn’t expect to see a fluffy alpaca strolling down the city street, looking like a person dressed in a costume. There’s no guessing what we’ll find once we leave home. Check out these urban surprises:

And I thought it was weird seeing an alpaca on the street. Before you consider visiting this area, be familiar with how to stay safe. Public displays of affection, immodest clothing, swearing, and riding in a car with unrelated members of the opposite gender can cost you jail time. Everything that looks spectacular isn’t always the safest, especially if you enjoy your freedom. What are you considering giving up because the thrill costs too much?

Friday, April 22, 2016

There’s More to This

This may come as a bit of a surprise, but I’ve written several picture book manuscripts. One that I recently modified has rhymes and rhythms and specific numbers of beats. After my critique group offered a few areas to edit, I labored over the changes. Which new words could ever replace to the ones I had chosen? They fit perfectly. Of course, given the enormous number of words and ways to rephrase them, there is more than one perfect way to write a story. Here’s a guy who might agree:

Another video on the same story stated that the young man is an orphan who lived with friends. But, his detour worked out since he has a new job, strangers have stepped forward to offer a year’s worth of bus tickets, other people have offered him an apartment, and a cell phone. They say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. If you’re facing a rough patch in life, don’t give up. Just because life’s not going the way we expect, doesn’t mean it won’t turn out well. A wonderful detour may be waiting around the corner. What helps you to navigate life’s surprising detours?   

Friday, April 15, 2016

Stressed Out?

Since experts recommend we minimize our stress levels and treat ourselves to something special once in a while, I obeyed their advice and ordered a piece of jewelry through an Avon-like home-based business. When I held up my arm to display the bracelet, one of the kids asked if I burned myself again. Well, that spoke volumes. First of all, that only happened once. Okay, maybe twice as I rushed to slide food into the oven. Take my advice, that’s not the time to rush. Mistakes happen when we rush. Sometimes they’re painful results that last a brief time, and other times the consequences stick with us like a scar. In either situation, we experience this: 

He said a mouthful. Have you ever been on the road and spotted the driver who tailgates and weaves through traffic like a bully? Invariably, that car ends up at the light alongside everyone else. There’s a lesson there. Most of our rushing causes unnecessary stress, making an awful impact on our mental and physical health. If you’re tired of rushing from point A to point B, what will you do to live stress-free?     

Friday, April 8, 2016

Out of Control

Is there a month-long April Fool’s joke going on? It is officially spring; the daffodils are blooming, the rabbits are hopping, but the weather’s not reflecting the season. When snow flurries landed on our car this week, I told one of our kids that it was unusual to have the bright sunshine along with the snow. A winter-weary voice from the backseat of the car moaned, “Ugh, I feel like the weather is mocking me.” To make matters worse, weather forecasters predict more flurries for the weekend.

Given all the meteorological technology weather people use, we’ve been fooled into thinking that they know what to expect. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, this is the year to expect the unexpected. Let’s be glad we’re not dealing with this:

Imagine if we had to spend a year without summer. People would threaten sit-ins and protests—but against whom, against what? Scientist would appease us by accelerating their weather-controlling experiments. I’m sure some expert is already working on it. Think about the lives saved and the damage avoided if we could prevent storms. We’re such plucky folks, trying to control everything. What have you finally decided not to try to control?