Wednesday, August 26, 2009

- - With a Little Help from My Friends

Ahhhh, late August - - and the days go by, one very much like the last. Fall is coming (and though I don’t want to rush it), the “dog days” of summer are still holding on with a 100 degree death grip, and one’s enthusiasm level for projects of any kind starts to wane.

That was kind of the way my August was rock’n on. Then one morning I was in kind of a three-way chat with a couple of my “closest and dearest”, and a new idea took root for one of them that has added a lot of pleasure, by proximity, to my life. (We’re all cheerleaders for one another, so one’s enthusiasm for a project soon becomes infectious!)

Having been involved in Etsy shops since February, and being very enthusiastic about the opportunities there, I have been trying to encourage my buddy, the real estate broker, to somehow get involved. (Re-plowing the same ground, i.e. real estate in this market, can start to be a downer no matter how good you are, and she’s better than good).

On the morning I’m speaking of, our Realty “bud” was in her glory in her kitchen, making up a new recipe for an amazing dessert - - happier than we’d heard her in a long time. “V”, the third in our group commented on this and said "If cooking is your bliss, why don’t you follow it? You could combine what you love with the possibility of “ka-ching”, and have fun doing it!"

To make a long story shorter, “A” the realtor, has been researching, cooking, writing and working on graphics ever since with an eye towards opening her own shop on Etsy highlighting what she loves - - and she has been such a delight, and her enthusiasm is so great that I am viewing my own projects with a less jaundiced eye.

“V”, the photographer for our Etsy shop with product shots, note cards,and photographic art, and the Flickr site, has also been re-energized and has entered her photos on “”, and National Geographic.

I’m trying to re-focus energy into our shops by buckling down and making new items to list, and re-working “tags”, descriptions, and sometimes pricing. And I’m having fun again !

----All it took was a little help from my friends !

Monday, August 17, 2009

Vision Quest '09

“Don’t be trapped by dogma -- which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
These words were spoken by Steve Jobs at Stanford University.

Recently, I have had reason to recall these words after coming up against a person whom I both love and respect - - but is now espousing such vitriolic narrow ideas that I am both confounded and saddened by their choices.

Tolerance is a word widely bandied about, but not often broadly defined. I believe that to be tolerant, one must be open to all viewpoints, religions, races, and thoughts in general. This doesn’t mean we must abandon our own truths, but that we make room to listen and accept that others have an honest right to own their truths too.

We are not all alike, but we are all on the same journey. I believe that our journey is progressive and needs to encompass the study of our deeper nature and the natural laws and principles that apply to man and all living creation.

There are two kinds of thought, the first is more fluid in form. It encompasses those that support the limitless possibilities of growth and expansion that lie within each one of us. People who are fluid in their intelligence are attracted to studies that aren’t limited to the current paradigm.

The second type of intelligence is more static. People unwilling to consider information or experiences that challenge their established beliefs fall into this category. Unfortunately, these people often use an attack mode when they hear something that is outside “their box”. Is it fear or jealousy that motivates someone to attempt to discredit anything that is outside their sphere of influence?

My choice is to be open to all ideas, incorporating those that resonate with my own deeper nature, and letting go of those that don’t. My daily choice is love over hate, and consideration for those that choose to isolate themselves within a box of someone else’s rationale.

It is our emotional attachment to certain beliefs that limit our ability to see the greater realities.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Flower Power

When I wakened the other day and looked out at the morning, I was greeted by such a wonderful array of colors in my gardens, bright and opened new to a new day. I couldn’t help but think how brave all those flowers were, here in the midst of a Texas summer, knowing they’d be blasted by over 100 degrees and drying winds before the day was very old, they still blossomed fresh and bright to greet the new day.

Later in the morning I was going through some paperwork and happened on a quote from Oprah (not always a favorite of mine, but I give her kudos for having the right attitude!), - - “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

Now the Universe had my attention. Was there something missing in me or my day? Did even the smallest flowers have a secret I wasn’t paying attention to?
I decided to put my paper work aside for a while and meditate and just to be open to possibilities.

I wish I could say I became enlightened, that everything stressful magically disappeared (my bills were still where I’d left them, and still needed paying). However, before I started my next round of tasks and work for the day, I took some time to look around me and made a list of all the things I am truly grateful for and all the things I enjoy. After looking over what had become a fairly lengthy list I realized one more time how really blessed I am, and the rest of that day went by with more ease and more smiles than it had begun with.

Since this small epiphany, I try and lighten each day going into it with a glance at my (ever-growing) list of “thankfuls”. My flowers still greet me with newly bright little “faces”, and I smile back - - knowing each day is new, each moment is filled with possibilities, and the crystal moment that exists with each breath is one to enjoy right now, because each and every moment is precious.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Pay it Forward More!

Critters have been a big part of my life for most of my adult life. The joy of having animals in my life has always made the good times better and the bad times less bad.

Now that I am semi-retired, I am a dog owner, birdwatcher, nature lover and consummate tree hugger. My partner and I take part in the National Wildlife Federation’s program for wildlife habitat, and our property has been a “Certified Wildlife Habitat” for several years now, providing the four basic habitat elements needed for wildlife to thrive : food, water, cover, and safe places to raise young.

Because I care about wildlife and nature, I am a contributor to several organizations that are working to protect wildlife and our fragile eco-systems. Wanting to do more, I started brainstorming ideas that might benefit at least one of my charities.

A few months ago, my partner and I opened an online shop with Etsy. We have begun to have some success, so we started kicking around the idea of “why not a critter site”? After much thought and looking through my many animal related collectibles that I’ve collected for decades (yikes - - that’s starting to sound like a long time!), we decided that putting up a sale site that was geared towards our love of nature and all the critters that share this world with us was a good idea.

So in July, dead in the doldrums of summer, we set up the new online shop and we are donating a portion of every sale to Defenders of Wildlife ( ).

Hopefully this will be a successful enterprise, both for us clearing out a bit to allow for a more Zen lifestyle, and for “Defenders”, who are in the trenches daily defending that which we love so much - - all those things that are so easily taken for granted until they’re gone !

“Pay it forward” has been a credo we try and live by, this is just a little added effort that we hope will contribute towards making a difference.