Friday, February 17, 2017

Making the World a Kinder Place Starts at Home

I bet there are many times in our lives when we would love to be a fly on the wall and know what goes on behind closed doors of our friends' homes.  This monthly blogging challenge gives us that opportunity each month and I thoroughly enjoy hearing my friends share their stories.

This past month, although busy as always, was rather uneventful.  I know that much of the country was hit with unusually severe snowstorms.  Living in the Pacific North West in an area that rarely sees snow, Mother Nature gave quite the performance.

In our area, we do not even have snow removal equipment. Normally, we don't need it. However, this year we broke all records for snowfall. It certainly was beautiful but our town, our highways, schools, businesses, banks, basically everything shut down for a few days.  

Here is a picture of the first day's snow and by the time it stopped snowing we had over three feet.  There were no tire tracks on our roads -- only footprints.  It was so beautiful.  

2017 snowstorm

My daughter called me a week before the snowstorm as she and her little ones were struck with that terrible flu that put many people flat on their backs for more than a couple weeks. She would not have asked me to help her unless it was serious.  When she called at 5 A. M. on a Sunday morning, I knew it was serious.  

There were no flights available so I had to make the seven-hour car trip to find all three of them terribly sick.  I was so happy to have the time and the opportunity to be there and lend a hand.
kind children
One thing that will stick in my mind forever is watching my five-year-old grandson, who never got off the sofa for a week, be considerate and kind to his one-year-old sister when she wanted his attention.  He would gently tell her that big brother was too sick to play but that he loved her very much.  

When he needed a glass of water he would ask using his best manners - please and thank yous.  It's great to be proud of your kids and grand-kids, but when you see them behave in such a manner, it is button-busting. He had bouts of throwing up regularly, and yet he never whined or cried.  He apologized for doing it and was sorry Gramma and Mama had to clean it up.

Once again, my hat is off to his mama for raising thoughtful, kind and polite children. People, even strangers, often ask her what her secret is to having such courteous and mannerly kids.  
precious granddaughter

Getting up one morning, my daughter strongly suggested I head home as a storm was approaching.  I didn't believe her because we don't get snowstorms!  But I am certainly glad I listened because I made it home a few hours before the storm hit.

snowstorm 2017

It was awesome to be housebound for almost a week.  I wrote articles, met deadlines, and got caught up with interviews and work I had to postpone the previous week while tending my family.  Crazy how things work out!

Hope you had a great month and I also hope you take a moment to check out some of the other stories here:

Baking In A Tornado                   
Menopausal Mother                     
Spatulas on Parade                   
A Little Piece of Peace                 
Cluttered Genius                 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Who Wants to Know How to Create a Great Profile Picture?

How important is your profile picture?   There are many people who post profile pictures that are not pictures of themselves at all. You may choose to do this for various reasons.  Some people may be more interested in sharing their brand instead of a photo of themselves.  Some may want to post a family picture (which tells a story about who they are).  Some may post a picture of their furry friend.

What I want to address here is what a potential client may see when they look at your profile picture. No matter how often we may say that we don't judge a book by the cover, it is human nature to do just that.
Be careful not to judge too quickly

If we see someone in tattered clothes staggering down the street, we may jump to the conclusion that he is a good-for-nothing drunk.  In reality, he may be someone who was in business and lost everything, even his family.  Most of us know someone like this and our heart goes out to them when we realize that, but for the grace of God, it could be me.

Or we may see an executive wearing expensive clothes, driving a new car and think they have it all together.  What we may not realize is that he could be one step away from losing it all.  We really never know unless we know them personally.  For a heart-warming shocking story that is an example of this, please check out what happened when I paid for a woman's coffee at the drive through window.  It was published in the recent release by Chicken Soup for the Soul, Random Acts of Kindness.
Even though we may try hard not to prejudge people before we speak to them, we are all a little guilty of it.

Back to profile pictures.  On my talk show, Never Ever Give Up Hope.  I interview guests who have remarkable stories of how they conquered overwhelming obstacles and achieved success.  When I choose a guest and ask them to send their picture to me for posting on my website, I want to be sure they reflect a positive image.  This is the first thing people see on the internet.  They see it before they hear a story or read a bio.  It must show confidence and strength.

Here are some tips I have given to my guests and certainly can be used wherever you post your profile picture.

1. The best profile picture is of your head and shoulders only -- not full body.  The closer the picture of your face, the better to show that you are genuine, honest and really do want to help others.

2. Look INTO the camera - not off in the distance or up in the air.  Give eye contact. Believe it or not, this is extremely important.

3.  Show good posture.  It is okay to lean into the camera a bit but do not overdo it. Don't try to look sexy.  It just doesn't work for a profile picture.

4.  Smile with teeth.  This is welcoming and
shows warmth.

5.  Wear dark-colored clothes with lighter accents.  Don't wear light colors that may blend you into the background. Don't wear big bulky jewelry as that is where the eye will be drawn to and your face will be secondary.

Profile pictures say a lot about us -- you know what 'they' say about first impressions.  Put your best face forward!

If you have a story you want to share with the world about your own experience of turning your hopelessness around, please contact me with the name of this post.  I'd love to have you on the show.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Have You Ever Been a Fly on the Wall?

2017!  It can't be!  Didn't we just turn the calendar into a new century?  How could that possibly be SEVENTEEN years ago?  So many people have shared that they are hoping for a better year as 2016 was a major struggle.  

I am sure you will agree with me how much more fun it is to give gifts at Christmas time than top open them.  I always do my Christmas shopping throughout the year and wrap them immediately. Often I forget what I wrapped by the time Christmas rolls around, which makes it even more fun.

I know my family loves to give me gifts as well so I keep a list during the year for them.  Once you reach a 'certain' age, you may become difficult to buy for because there is little you want that you don't already have.

But there was one thing that I have been asking for the past couple years and when I opened this gift I started to cry.  I absolutely loved it.  It was an oil painting by one of my favorite abstract artists - the only type of art that I truly enjoy.  I have hung it where I can see it every day and appreciate the love behind the gift.

What do you think?  Do you have any idea who the artist is?  Would love your input!

Making people happy at Christmas!

We made some awesome pieces for clients this Christmas.  Hubby has the unique ability to design around the client's personality and what they are visualizing in their mind's eye.  Here is just a sample

Nitestar Galleries

Nitestar Galleries

Nitestar Galleries

Nitestar Galleries
Family Ring

Natural Imperial Pink TopazThe pictures are from my phone and certainly don't do these pieces justice but this ring is what he made me and it is as rare as it can be.  After decades in the gemstone business, hubby has never seen another stone like this -- before or since he had it cut thirty years ago.  He had forgotten that he had it until a few months ago and designed a ring around it for me.  The center stone is a one-of-a-kind, totally natural, untreated Imperial Pink Topaz
Nitestar GalleriesOne of our clients asked hubby to design a pendant to put into the center of her grandmother's pearls to make them more modern. This is what he came up with and it is exquisite.  A blue sapphire and diamond pendant in white gold. 

Christmas and pups

Rescue dogs
Rescue dogs
Certainly isn't Christmas without our little rescues -- they get sweeter all the time.

Charlie is saying goodbye to her babies.  Of all the dogs we have had, we have never had sweeter or softer pups.  They are unique in that they are so cuddly and content -- almost never cried and now they are gone.  They were also the biggest dogs we have ever had - Bernese and Great Pyrenees mix.  William certainly enjoyed his time with them and they will make great family dogs.  But H U G E TWENTY-pound pups!
Bernese pups

They even started out BIG -- 

Bernese pups

Bernese pups

And here is your smile for the day:

Aubrie is 11 months old but she has figured out how to play hide and seek -- she INITIATES it. She will go into a dark room, behind the door and wait quietly until someone figures out she is not around.  When they find her she screams with delight and scares the pants off of us.


I hope that 2017 is your best year yet and that your dreams and goals will be met.  Thank you for sharing my blog posts along with your encouraging words and smiles.

Let's be honest!  Wouldn't you love to know what goes on in some homes?  Wouldn't you enjoy being a fly on the wall and watch? Being part of this blogging community you can do just that! Each month it is such fun to get a glimpse of how other people live, how they handle stressful situations and even better, to laugh with them at the crazy antics of their partners, kids, and pets!  I hope you can check out some of my fellow blogger's posts this month as they give you a peek.

Baking In A Tornado                   
Searching for Sanity                 
Eileen’s Perpetually Busy            
Go Mama O                            
Spatulas on Parade                    
A Little Piece of Peace                 
Dinosaur Superhero Mommy                                           
Cluttered Genius             

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

12 of the Best Persuasive Words to Use

Want to make an impact?  Choosing words carefully when you speak or write make people take notice and listen.

My brother is one of the greatest salesmen I have ever known and he is not in the 'selling' business.  He sells himself and consequently, people trust him.   He gave me this list of persuasive words that he compiled from his experiences in business over six decades.  His training comes from experience - tried and proven.

These are words we can use in conversations that trigger a positive response from the listener.  Try using them and see what a difference it makes when you input positive, rather than negative or passive words.

Discovery  implies something new as a detection, revelation or analysis.

Guarantee  gives assurance, certainty, or agreement that what you are saying is true.  Be careful not to overuse it, however.

Friday, January 6, 2017

What Are the Different Types of Friends You Should Have?

The subject of friends is a broad one. There are many different types of friends. To a close, intimate friend you can say anything without feeling judged. You can tell your deepest secrets or desires. You can cry or laugh or get angry and you know it will not change how they feel about you.

Some of my greatest friends have been the four-legged furry ones. I have rescued over 30 dogs and have grieved deeply when they passed. They took with them many of the secrets I shared and the tears I cried - when only my dog would understand.

This is one friend I have not met but would like to know -- just by looking at his picture!