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Welcome 2011: We have 365 Days to Make a Difference…

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” Edith Lovejoy Pierce ♥ Happy New Year: May your year be bright, rich and colorful... HAPPY NEW YEAR’S DAY!!! What a gift to be alive in 2011… Resolutions, celebrations, invocations and more, won’t change the fact that we are blessed to be here, and must make the best of this new year. I’m not ...

Cool Places to See Flowers: The Wisteria Tunnel in Japan

photo via land8.net Isn’t that breathtakingly beautiful? It looks like something out of a fairy tale or some sci-fi fantasy movie, but the Wisteria Tunnel at Japan’s Kawachi Fuji Gardens is not a made-up place. It’s a place that you can actually experience for yourself. The garden is located in the city of Kitakyushu, which is a 4 hour drive from Tokyo. One walk through the tunnel and you will understand why this magical place is such a popular tourist attraction. From ...

The Blue Marble: What We Know For Sure…

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin The Blue Marble: What We Know for Sure... The Noblest Death… When we think of earth, most of us don’t imagine the magnificent vision of the blue marble; a picture of our earth taken by the crew of Apollo 17 in 1972. By the same token, when we think of life, we rarely add its definitive companion – death. What we ...

2013 Jersey Battle of Flowers

The annual Jersey Battle of Flowers, which takes place on the Island of Jersey (located between the south coast of the UK & northern France) on the second Thursday and Friday of August, is one of the best places to see a parade or two!  Elaborate, brightly-coloured flower-decorated floats are displayed at a parade on the Thursday afternoon and once again on Friday evening at the Midnight Parade. Thousands of fresh chrysanthemums and asters, which are shipped from the UK ...

Inspiration: A Few Favorite Things…

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” Robert Brault Inspiration: A Few Favorite Things… Orange silk cat – not entirely but read the post The orange silk cat was a gift from my sister, way back in grade school. It now occupies a shelf in one of my twins rooms. Inspiration: A Few Favorite Things… Virgin Mary with child The plastic Virgin Mary with child was bought at a flea market when I ...

Traveling the Back Roads

In yesterday's post, you had to listen to me whine about the lack of Internet access and the inability to have a working cell phone but still...I did enjoy my trip to Nebraska. My husband's company requires that he travel throughout the country so I have had a lot of opportunities to  "go  along for the ride". The big cities are always fun to visit as they offer a lot of things to do but there is a certain charm to the ...

DIY Flower Arranging Videos

Do you love creating flower arrangements as much as I do?If so this is one post your not going to want to miss out on! Did you know we have our own YouTube channel? Well we do! It’s full of videos designed to teach you different designs & florists tips & tricks. Our videos feature Deborah De Laflor & Heather de Kok, 2 very talented AIFD certified designers. I’ve put a few of my favourites in this post, feel free to visit our ...

An Unexpected e-Mail of Encouragement

A few weeks ago I wrote here about some of the health issues I’ve been dealing with lately. As a general update, every week I’m feeling better and getting healthier. I plan to provide more specific results after the New Year. Since my first post on these health issues, I’ve received many well wishes of encouragement. Below is an e-mail that stood out because it came from a blogger buddy of mine who’s living in Paraguay with his family. His name is Ken Hagerman. He’s ...

A Lesson From Dad

When I graduated from high school I needed a car to drive to college. My older brother had faced this dilemma before and had demanded my parents buy him a car. My mother laughed and told him to get a job and buy his own car, which he eventually did. So when my turn came I chose a different strategy. When asked about college I told my folks, “I don’t think I’ll go to college.” My mother was appalled. “I thought you ...

Advice From a Clutter Cutter

Michael Hyatt is the consummate “Clutter Cutter” – in other words he knows how to deliver a message that cuts through the clutter to reach a desired audience. I believe all of us have a message and an audience who wants to hear it. To accomplish that goal, I recommend Michael’s brand new book titled Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. I received an advance copy of this book for review and believe so strongly in its message that I’m giving away ...

Soon at a Grocer Near You: $0.05 Bag Tax...

Plastic Bag in Creek One of the cool things about living near Washington, DC is that we’re so close to a cultural mecca that contains dozens of museums, historical landmarks and monuments which really add to the quality of life. However, one of the crummy things is that we’re also trapped in the vortex of a tax-and-spend polity that tends to test certain taxation ideas here before they spread to a larger scale, which really subtracts from the quality of life. The latest example ...

No Lie – Truth Telling Improves Your Health

“It’s not a lie, I crossed my fingers…” It’s something we all do and, according to recent studies, most of us do it 11 times a week. This frequently practiced act is the act of lying. Lying is almost universally unavoidable as humans living within close proximity and contact with others. While we all do it, we rationalize away our own personal pack of lies we peddle to others, yet lose all semblance of civility if someone lies to us. Some researchers at Notre Dame ...

Downton Abbey Parody: Downton Arby’s

This past weekend, my wife and I started watching the first season of the popular PBS series Downton Abbey via Netflix. I was a bit skeptical at first because I’ve never been a big fan of the idea of government subsidized television. But the pilot episode made me a believer. The program is set in 1912 Britian and the underlying premise is that the sinking of the Titanic has taken the lives of the two heirs of the aristocratic estate of the Earl and ...

Fabulous Finds: Amazing Sisal

What could tequila and a sisal floor rug possibly have in common? I know. There are so many great punch lines that could follow, but there’s actually a legitimate answer. They both have the same origin: the Agave plant. Tigridia, also known as tiger flower or shell flower, is a genus of about 30 bulbous plants that belong to the Iridaceae family, which includes the iris, crocosmia, crocus, and freesia. Sisal is highly durable and strong, and has been used in the making of twine ...

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Cheryl - The Art of Being Conflicted

The New Improved You

A very interesting blogger over at Older Eyes  has had a couple of posts in which the subject of self-help books were mentioned.   From reading Bud’s blog, I can tell you he is not only a really good writer but a talented artist as well.

I used to be more of an “avid” reader but that has greatly decreased as my preponderance to sit my butt in front of a computer screen the better part of any given day has somewhat diminished the amount of actual “books” I read.  Don’t get me wrong, I still buy a gazillion books with many of them being those that would be listed under the “self-help” genre.

First of all, the category of “self-help” books needs to be divided into two distinctive categories.

The first category is the INSTRUCTIONAL books.  You know….books that are going to teach you something TANGIBLE.  A lot of these books look like this. I buy these books by the dozens.  I kid you not.  At any given time, I have 3 or 4 or more of them on my desk.  I devour these on all manner of topics.  These books are like popcorn that needs to be eaten.

This by the way, leads me to two major conclusions about my life.
 A. I am a Dummy
 B. I am a Complete IdiotIt, also, by the way, has me questioning my total lack of ability on all manner of subjects, or really…why would I need to be constantly reading books telling me that I am both a dummy and an idiot.  I don’t find this helpful.  Kinda counter intuative to the genre, SELF-HELP.The second type of self-help book deals with “INTANGIBLE” instruction such as improving your attitude, alleviating your worries and generally working on your psyche. These are the type of self-help books that I was commenting on over at Older Eyes.  These are, also, the books, that I am suspicious of.

My tendency to not “buy into” the mass produced self-help book  of the intangible sort, became apparent a few years ago when the book Who Moved the Cheese came out.  It’s not that I dont’ think the book’s parable with Sniff and Scurry and Hem and Haw wasn’t clever enough but there was the niggling little thought that kept saying the people were over-reacting a bit.  I mean…REALLY…every corporation in America was having corporate seminars about little mice nibbling on cheese.

At that time, I owned a corporate training company and one of the big communications firms, hired me for 8 weeks to develop seminars that ALL of their employees would be mandated to take on the subject of  “ACCEPTING CHANGE”.  In their case, the seminars were a precursor to a giant layoff that was about to befall them.  I guess you can call losing your job a form of change, but even as great of trainer (**crickets**) as I am, it it hard to spin that as a positive.

This “lack of enthusiasm” on my part,  continued when the company I worked for during the release of The Secret started having seminars where we were to work on our visualization of what we wanted in life.  Somehow it just didn’t seem right that I was visualizing “not having to work there.” Not to diminish thinking good thoughts,  I do believe in the power of positive thinking…I sense that some of you are surprised by this, and yes, I know that is not always evident.

As I am more than willing to try anything once, especially if thinking about it is easier than actually doing anything about it, I did in fact try thinking my way into being rich.  So far I have had minimal success.  According to the film, for those of you that haven’t had the privilege, there is a guy that sits in his recliner and thinks great wonderful thoughts about getting a new car and low and behold he gets one.  As I recall the guy was unemployed at the time, which begs the question,  is he able to afford this car… but leave it to me to question the Law of Attraction.  It is a LAW after all.

So, to summarize:

I do think there are bits and pieces in self-help books that may be motivational BUT ( ya’ saw that “but” coming, huh?) it is a bit of a challenge for an author to write a book in the genre of self-help unless he truly would have knowledge of the “self” that is reading it.

IN OTHER WORDS…I could (if I had any ability what-so-ever) write a book that would tell you that I can improve your happiness level by 100 percent by the end of business today.  That’s right…I have the magic formula to  improve your self-esteem  by 100 percent.  Money Back guarantee!!!!

In my opinion (in most circles “my opinion” is rated  on par at the same level as dog poo) the major hurdle here with my upcoming book and those that are already mass marketed is….we aren’t exactly sure of your level of [whatever the author is pushing].  As we/I don’t know a damn thing about you, it is a little brazen of me to say I can improve, modify, enlighten any of your emotions.  Still, feel free to buy my book and I will give it a try. At least with my book the price is in direct proportion to the quality. Free…which is also, how I can offer the 100 percent money-back guarantee.

Sooooo….for the sake of trying to be a team player here, I am going to write a self-help post.  Well, actually, I am just going to give you a teaser of a self-help post.  For the rest of my wisdom, you will have to buy the book.

So here goes…two things you can do to improve your self-esteem by 5:00.  You will look cooler and feel more self assured.
Number 1…Swimwear for winners.

For those of you that are ill at ease at the beach or pool…I am here to help.

For those of you out there that just are uncomfortable with modern swimwear, there is an alternative.   I know, I know, swimming suits can be  the single most crushing of the ego deflaters.   Clearly, even the most awesome bodies have a little jiggle here and there.

The solution…a wetsuit.  Why wear a revealing suit, when you can look super cool in a wetsuit?  Anyone that is questioning this fashion choice is quickly silenced with the ever useful line:

I AM IN TRAINING…this line is sure to impress and assuage any lingering doubts they might have.

Oh, you think wetsuits are too pricey…no problem.

Cheaper fix…. SPANX.  Say it with me, people…spandex is our friend!!!!  That’s right.  I know you think that Spanx is under-garment shaping but hey…buy the black separates.  Together it will look like a wetsuit.  (Men, you can do this as well, just be careful not to get a top with a built in bra…well unless you need that)

To further authenticate the look be sure to find you old YMCA swimming patch or wear a gold medal around your neck.

Hey, are you in training????

You are now rockin’ the beach!

Another tip that is sure to make you feel good about yourself.   Sunglasses!! Simple fix.  Everyone looks better in sunglasses.

After reading a rather interesting article over at Newsvine, where someone going by the name of Werdoomed made the comment that people’s attractiveness level drops between 10-70 percent when they take their sunglasses off. Frankly, I think Werdoomed is a genius. Truly, everyone looks way more attractive with sunglasses on. I do draw the line when people keep their shades on in dark rooms and at night as that is something else entirely. It’s not about looking good as much as not looking like you are “under the influence” of something.

See, Joe COOL

Even non-cartoon dogs look cool in sunglasses

What's Up

Little grandbabies look great in sunglasses



Maybe the pacifier with the Mr. Potato Head glasses isn’t cool

but it is very cute from a grandparent’s point of view.


OK, I am visualizing him in sunglasses.  See

I can visualize and he is still very cute.

Cheryl - The Art of Being Conflicted

A veteran of corporate moves from which I survived moving 21 times for my husband's job. I currently am a married, middle-aged (if I make it to 116) middle income, mom living in the very middle of the country, with time on her hands to jot down observations, judgements, and musings about past and current events.

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