Friday, March 22, 2019

Have You Considered a Cruise to the Bahamas?

From snow to sunshine

Two days before heading to the Bahamas, the ferries leaving our coast were canceled due to bad weather.  It was our only means to get to the airport and I was definitely concerned.  The next day there was a window of escape, and we rushed to the mainland to spend the night at the airport.  

If you have ever been to a conference of any description, you usually have great anticipations of gaining knowledge and having fun.  I have been to a few writers' conferences and thought I knew what to expect.  I was elated when the Seymour Agency's Winter Escape Cruise far exceeded my expectations.  The editors, film producers, publishers, and other representatives promised to make this cruise a significant one.  It did not disappoint.

It was my first cruise and considering I don't tolerate temperatures above 70 degrees very well, I was concerned.  It was confirmed many times that I would need a sweater to handle the AC in the meeting rooms.  What a waste of suitcase space.  I was uncomfortably hot from the moment I landed in Miami until I got home. 

Here's the good news:  that was my only complaint.  The cruise, the staff, the speakers, the FOOD, the opportunities, were beyond my dreams.  

Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Sea

Cruise dinner
We had two entrees at each meal

Dining room on Mariner of the Sea
Dining room

Each author was given the opportunity to pitch to as many agents as they wanted.  I walked away from each agent encouraged, challenged, and excited.  Now, the homework begins by preparing for the next steps to bring my memoir, Battered Hope, to the big screen.

I attended the conference with two author friends.  We bonded even closer and laughed harder than I can remember.   We spent two days in port in Nassau walking seven miles through the streets of endless shops.  I love to barter and got a few trinkets to bring home to the grands.  

Cruise staterooms
The room was small but adequate

Beach at Nassau
Sinking my toes in the sand and wading in the warm water

Streets of Nassau
Endless shops

Being in the jewelry business I wandered into a few jewelry stores to confirm for our customers back home just how much these vendors take advantage of people.  The merchandise was atrocious quality with inflated prices.  I pretended to be dumb (easy to do) and asked questions like, "Could I see your best emeralds?"  They would bring out some rings priced in the tens of thousands of dollars that we would not sell in our stores -- they were heavily included (flaws and imperfections) and some not even genuine.  It is sad to see how many people believe they are getting an incredible deal to find out later they were royally ripped off.  

My ego was inflated when a woman vendor pulled me off the street to sell me a skincare line that was 'second to none.'  I told her I wasn't interested because I have been using a line of natural products for decades that are chemical free, vegan and guaranteed to make you look younger by ten years.  There is zero competition in the market place.  She became adamant and I enjoyed the discourse.  Frustrated, she said that if she could guess my age, would I be willing to try her products.  I agreed.  Her first guess was 16 years younger than what I am and I laughed assuming she was trying to flatter me.  I told her to look closer and she apologized by saying "I should have looked closer the first time."

She then guessed me ten years less than I am and I laughed and tried walking away.  She asked me to prove my age but I didn't have any more to say.  A couple of hours later when we walked past the shop again, the same woman was standing outside.  She shouted to her staff "She's here.  She's here."  Four men came out and asked if they could guess my age would I buy their products.  I agreed.  Again, they didn't come close and one of the men had a dispenser of eye cream in his hand that he tried to 'shoot' onto my face, which I was able to dodge.  The whole thing was a bit weird.

100% of people who used these YOUTH products get incredible results.  Of course, I sell them -- wouldn't you?  
Shaklee YOUTH skin care

Back to Reality

It was sad to leave and I wanted to cruise forever.  Going back to reality can sometimes be scary after a week of ignoring any problems back home. awaits.  I knew the workload would be huge, but I was rested and invigorated to start my new venture.

I arrived at the Orlando airport at 3:30 in the morning with only two hours of sleep and encountered a nightmare.  I had checked in the night before but needed to print out my baggage tags.  Several people were having difficulty at the kiosks so I wasn't surprised when my seat selection had changed.  On my third attempt, I asked for help.  I asked the nearest agent for help and she said, "If you don't like the seat it gave you, I suggest you book a different flight."  Anyone within hearing distance looked surprised and upset.  I asked a different agent who helped me immediately.

airport kiosk

After checking my bag, I decided to get the name of the agent to register a complaint.  I walked past her and glanced at her name tag.  I did not say one word.  When she saw me look at her name tag, she immediately started to yell at me.  There were several witnesses to what she said and everyone was stunned.  In a loud, stern voice with her fist in my face, she yelled, "You are a bully.  I am going to call security.  That is what I am going to do."  She raised her arm as if to summon someone and then turned back towards me and in a louder voice, "You are a bully -- that is what you are.  I will go to jail for what I would like to do to you!"

At this point, I almost passed out in fear she would hit me.  Everyone in the area looked shaken at this outburst.  I immediately contacted a supervisor, got names of witnesses and filed a complaint.  The airline has been supportive and has compensated me for my negative experience.

Frosting on the Cake

After hubby picked me up from the airport, we met our daughter and family for lunch at the ferry terminal and celebrated my hubby's birthday. Seeing the grands was a wonderful way to end my vacation. With only two hours of sleep the night before and nine hours of travel, I collapsed when arriving home that evening.  

Dozens of birds woke me the next morning waiting to be fed --  it was Spring!


Baking In A Tornado        
Never Ever Give Up Hope   
Menopausal Mother           
Spatulas on Parade           
The Crazy Mama Llama            
Go Mama O.                   
Follow Me Home              

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Be What You Want Your Kids to Be

A story worth remembering and thinking about......  

A successful businessman was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business.  Instead of choosing one of his directors or his children, he decided to do something different and called all the young executives in his company together.

He said "It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO.  I have decided to choose one of you."  The young executives were shocked as the boss continued.  "I am going to give each one of you a seed today.  This is one very SPECIAL seed.  I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from this seed.  I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO."

Planting a seed

Jim, one of the executives, went home and excitedly told his wife the story.  Together they got the pot, compost and soil to plant the seed.  Every day, he watered it and watched it closely to see the progress.

Three weeks went by and the other executives were bragging how well their seeds were growing. Every day, when Jim checked his pot, there was no sign of growth.  After five weeks of this, Jim was pretty discouraged.

At the end of six months, Jim's pot still remained empty - no sign of growth.  He imagined he had over watered it or got the wrong kind of fertilizer as his colleagues continued to brag about how tall their plants were growing; some of them were now trees.


Absolutely NO growth after one full year

The year was up and they were instructed to bring their plants into the office for the CEO to inspect them.  Jim told his wife how embarrassed he was to bring in an empty pot to the office, but she encouraged him to be honest.  Jim brought the pot to the board room and heard the snickers of the other executives.  Their plants were a variety of shapes and sizes.

When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives.  Jim tried to hide in the back, totally embarrassed.  The CEO was praising the executives on the growth and beauty of their plants.


"Today, I am pleased to announce that one of you will be my new CEO!"

From the front of the room, the CEO asked Jim to come up and Jim froze in fear that he was about to lose his job.  Walking slowly to the front of the room, there was pity on the faces of the other executives as they imagined Jim was going to be fired.

Seed are planted every dayThe boss asked Jim what happened to his seed and Jim told the story of how he nurtured and cared for the seed but it never grew.  The CEO then asked every one to be seated except Jim as he announced, "I would like to introduce you all to your new Chief Executive Officer."

There were gasps and questions "How can he be the new boss when his plant didn't even grow?"

The CEO explained, "One year ago, I gave every one in this room a seed.  What you did not know was that each seed had been boiled and was a dead seed.  It was absolutely impossible for any of them to grow."

Honesty is the best policy

Jim was the only one in this room with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. He did not substitute it with another seed like the rest of you did.  Therefore, he has shown courage, honesty and integrity and I know he will run this company with conscience."

If you plant honesty, you will reap trust
If you plant goodness, you will reap friends
If you plant humility, you will reap greatness
If you plant perseverance , you will reap contentment
If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective
If you plant hard work,you will reap success
If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Knocking Yourself Out About Mistakes Makes it Worse

How many 'if only' moments do we get?  If only I had not said that.  If only I had not gone there.  If only I had made a better choice.  If only I had called them.  If only I had made the effort to see them one last time.  If only.......

@BatteredHope   if only I had

Once we have said it..... it is spoken.
Once we have done is done.
Can we take back the words, undo the deed?  No.

@BatteredHope   if only I had

How much pain have we endured because of the choices we have made?  I lived a good portion of my life in IF ONLY moments. At the time, I did not see any options and made choices which turned out to be devastating.  Often, we are in a situation where we do not see any choice except for the obvious one. When we make that choice and realize it was the wrong one, what do we do?

We make choices every single day of our lives.  Some choices seem very insignificant and we don't think about them; some can change our lives in a moment. If only we had a magic wand to change those moments.
@BatteredHope   if only I had

Did you speak too soon?
Did you not speak soon enough?
Did you marry the wrong person?
Did you choose the wrong business partner?
Did you trust the wrong people?
Did you take a trip you knew you should not have?
Did you spend money you did not have?

YET.......We can make the choice to change our 'if only' moments

See yourself as a victor, more than just a survivor.  You can take the pain, the mistakes, the bad choices and turn them around for good. Chose to laugh in spite of the pain and encourage those around you in similar circumstances.  You can empathize and sympathize from a place that would not have been possible, if you had not experienced the losses.

We can't change what happened to us, but we can change our attitude.  We can learn from our mistakes.  We can choose to forgive those who have hurt us, abused us, robbed from us or.....we can choose to dwell on it, let it fester and destroy our world, our relationships, our health.  What is done, is done. Dwelling on it or worrying about it changes nothing, except makes us bitter, angry or sad.

The flip side is we can move forward instead of living in the past. We cannot change the past but our attitude can affect our future.

@BatteredHope   if only I had

Have you made some choices that you would give almost anything to undo?  Or have you come to terms with those choices and forgiven not just those who hurt you but...... also forgiven yourself?

Friday, March 8, 2019

Nothing Can Stop You - No Matter How Old You Are

 Nothing can stop you - no matter how old you are

How many times have you awakened in the morning and wondered what happened with the past three, four, five, six or seven decades?  Or have you looked into the mirror and felt it was unfair that life passed you by without giving you a chance to pursue the career you always wanted?  As much as some people look forward to retirement, what if you don’t have the income to maintain the lifestyle you have grown accustomed to?  Then there is the backdoor threat of Alzheimer’s.  You may wonder how you are going to stay alert and focused when your days may only be filled with volunteer community work or gardening.  Is your only option being a Walmart greeter?

Friday, February 15, 2019

Moving Twice in One Year -- Are You Insane?

Moving twice in one year is not something I would recommend.  Every move is major but some more major than others!  Although I purged when we moved last year, I was able to take a good look at what I was saving and purged even more this move.  

Christmas concert

It has been a whirlwind experience and took a few days to recover from.  While we were at my daughter's for a week at Christmas we got the call.  "There is an offer on your house and the sooner you can move out, the more it will be worth your while!"  In other words, an offer we couldn't refuse.  

Friday, February 1, 2019

What Would You Sacrifice for a Huge Reward?

The question posed for this month's challenge was:  

You have been offered the following challenge - to live in a tiny house, off grid, for a year and you will be rewarded with $100,000.  Will you do it?  Why or why not?

When I read this, I laughed out loud.  Not only would I do it -- but I already had.  When my hubby suggested we purchase property to build our dream home I was hesitant because it was far from the lifestyle I had grown accustomed to.  However, the potential of turning this into something far beyond that dream was exciting.  

We got up early to catch a ferry to a place I never heard of before.  Finding out that this was only the first of two ferries, each a 40 minute mini-cruise, with a long drive in between, was not a pleasant memory.  My doubts were building but I convinced myself to "Look first; then decide."

Friday, January 4, 2019

Do You Believe New Year's Resolutions Work?

new year's resolutions
When asked what my realistic
goals were for the new year, 
it brought up my dislike for 
New Year's resolutions.  

Even though I may have good
intentions, making a New Year's 
resolution rarely  works. 
The stats prove it.

I am a driven, motivated, hard-working woman who has daily, weekly, and monthly 
goals.  And I beat myself up severely if I don't attain those goals.  I am known to push 
myself to the limit to complete a task.  I run a few businesses and also travel
as a speaker which leaves me no choice but to be organized and focused.  In addition, 
my talk show and book tours are founded on the concept of never ever giving up.  
This is why I only make realistic goals that I know I can attain.

Friday, December 7, 2018

What is a Gift from the Heart?

toilet tissue
Standing in line at the post office with over a dozen parcels in my hands, someone tapped my shoulder gently.  When I turned, she said in a quiet tone, "You have a long line of toilet paper behind you."  Mmmmm.... I wonder how many people had a smile when they saw that; yet one woman was kind enough to let me know.
pantie hose falling down

My birthday party last month was at a swanky Italian restaurant and I was surrounded by family and friends.  I dressed up for the affair and found the perfect pair of (brand new, of course) pantie hose to match my black and white polka dot top.  When it was time to hug everyone goodbye at the door, I stood up and my pantie hose fell down.   I immediately sat down, motioned for a close friend to loan me her wrap and continued to hug everyone from that position.  Husbands of friends have had a field day with this and love teasing me mercilessly.

These are memories we won't soon forget but they always bring a smile even though they were embarrassing at the time.

In this month's blogging challenge I was asked "What is your very best Christmas memory?"  I don't have to dig very deep to respond quickly.