Friday, December 25, 2009

My Annual Christmas Wish

This Christmas mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Write a love letter. Share some treasure. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Keep a promise. Find the time. Forgive an enemy. Listen. Apologize if you were wrong. Think first of someone else. Be kind and gentle. Laugh a little. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love. Speak it again. Speak it still once again.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry! Merry!

It's just a few days before Christmas and I can't wait for it to come and go. I'm not usually such a Scrooge, it's just that this has been a difficult holiday season. I do love that my tree is up and all my Christmas's past are before me. Ornaments that take me back to the second grade, high school, old boyfriends, Dave and I dating and marrying, and Mason's birth. All of this makes me smile so much more than gifts. I do love Christmas, but I'm thinking next year may be more festive.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Week Before Christmas

Have you managed to keep the stress of Christmas at bay? I have, well, with one exception. I have a young man in my life that I have yet to reach out to. His birthday was in October and now I'm a week away from Christmas and he still doesn't know I exist. I digress, what I'm really looking for is I want to know if you have been able to unplug the Christmas machine? The part of this time of year that has you pulling your hair out and wishing you had more than just a week to finish all those things you think you need to do.

I haven't let all the commercial nonsense get to me. I'm mailing certain gifts after Christmas because I don't want to fight the crowds at the post office. The way I see it, a gift will be welcome no matter what day it arrives and might even be more appreciated if it's not one of many in the overwhelm of that one day. I hope you can take some time and not be taken over by perceptions that you have to meet a certain deadline and give something to everyone. As it goes with love and giving, the season is all year long and when it's truly from your heart, it will be appreciated. Even if it arrives on December 28th!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's My Birthday! Well, Almost.

Tomorrow is my birthday and it's safe to say that as I turn 43, I've changed. For me to simply say I've grown up or matured would be expected. It's true that I've certainly matured, but there have been other noticeable changes. I'm so much more grateful for the little miracles in my life, and I've also become acutely aware of how fragile love and life are. I have more compassion and understanding than I can remember feeling in my life and even specific examples of times I was less than humble or loving toward others. Those fleeting thoughts make me feel ashamed, even just for a moment, I'm sorry I behaved badly.

Many of you are probably thinking, all this sounds like growing up. Yes, it is growing up, but I feel in the core of who I am that it's more than simply living to be 43, I feel like it's much more of an evolution, a place in my being that is deserving of great respect yet not expecting it. I feel a sense of enlightenment that makes me want to be more careful when I choose my words and pause longer when someone is hurting. Call it what you will, I've changed. It's change for the good of all and that's a good thing!

Monday, December 14, 2009


All of you know by now that I love to make Christmas cookies. I'm a retired cake decorator and to keep me creatively stimulated, I decorate beautiful gingerbread cookies during the holidays. I can remember my granny and my mom making dozens of different kinds of cookies, and though I love the little spritz cookies, nothing enchants me like a beautifully decorated cut-out cookie!

Do you have cookie traditions in your family? Most people I know bake for the holidays and it's clearly why we all resolve to lose some weight come January 1st. If not all the weight we vow to lose each day, just the weight we gained from all the Christmas cookies!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Cards

Some people are not sending Christmas cards because of the cost and the time it takes to prepare and mail them. I am. I love getting cards in the mail, especially when it seems like the only other mail we get is bills! Since I love getting Christmas cards, I can only assume that you do, too. Some of the cards I get come from friends that this is the only time of year we connect, but I'm so glad we do! We don't have to talk frequently to still care about each other, and just because we only send a card with a note once a year doesn't mean we don't think about each other more often. This is just one more way I think Christmas is more personal.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


This year decorating our tree was really special because this is the first year Mason recognized his ornaments as his special treasures. He picked each one up, looked at it and shared with me, "I remember this one! I got this when I was really little." Dave and I shared with him some of ours from when we were little, some we made as teenagers, and the ones we've acquired over the years as a couple. This to me is what Christmas is really about, "rememberies" as Mason calls them. I hope you make lots of rememberies this year, I know we will.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Simplify Getting a Tree

In years past, Dave and I have picked a day we will go get our tree, made the 30+ minute drive to a tree farm, spent hours hiking and searching for the perfect, very tall tree. All the while, Mason may or may not be enjoying himself as every tree is perfect to him. By the time we got home, half the day was gone and we were not always in the cheeriest of spirits to get the tree trunk cut, the tree in the stand, making sure it was strait, stringing lights, and finally ornaments. Getting the tree and putting it up was easily an all-day event and sometimes moved into day two, not to mention the $100 price tag that comes with most trees that you choose and cut.

Last year we did all of the above except after hours of searching at several locations, we did not come home with a tree at all! We ended up at SaveMart (a local grocery store) where we purchased a tree for $39.99 after just minutes of looking. This is exactly what we did this year, and Dave and I picked it up without Mason. Mason is excited about decorating the tree, not all the stuff that comes with bringing it home. The tree we bought last year as with the one in the living room right now is gorgeous! After all, once you get your tree home and love it with your history in pretty ornaments, how can it be anything but beautiful?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Review from

ZipperBack Gloves were included in the Top 50 Holiday Gifts!

ZipperBack Gloves were designed with children in mind; unlike other children's gloves on the market, there's a zipper closure on the back instead of Velcro, and the thumb opening is much closer to the other finger openings.

ZipperBack Gloves are easier for children to pull on and off, and because they can fully open, they can be washed and dried - making them much more sanitary.

The gloves are snug fitting thanks to a heavy duty elastic gather on the inside of the wrist. They also feature a soft fleece "nose wipe" on the forefinger, sewn over the water-resistant shell of the glove.

$24.99 from ZipperBack Gloves {shop now}

Click here to see more wonderful things at

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

MomCentral's Holiday Gift Guide

Has gifts for you! I told you all I was going to spend the month of December sharing ways to enjoy the holiday season, get back to basics, and stress less. has gifts for you! How nice is that? Not only can you read their reviews about the products, but if you leave a comment on the product page, you are entered to win that product! You can win all of them if your lucky stars line up!

Check this out, visit The Holiday Gift Guide at each week to check out what’s new and leave your comments to win the swag! It’s good stuff, do you know how I know? This week ZipperBack Gloves are included! YES!

Click here to visit and check out week one. Be sure to book mark the page or make it your favorite and go back each week for more great give aways! Week one ends on December 8th, so go now!

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central. Mom Central entered my name in a random drawing to win a gift to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Monday, November 30, 2009

Hickory Farms For Our Troops!

Dave LOVES Hickory Farms meats and cheeses. Our holidays are not complete without these delicious snacks. When Dave was deployed, I sent him Hickory Farms products all year long. The products come ready to ship and with a little of everything in a box. I asked Dave if getting meats and cheeses all year long made them less special at Christmas, "Heck no!" was his reply.

Dave will be the first to tell you beef jerky and baby wipes are okay, but there are so many other things that make a Soldier smile! Send Hickory farms to service men and women by visiting If you find a local store or kiosk, pick up an extra box and you'll be ready when you have guests drop by...either for a snack or a gift!

"I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Hickory Farms and received a Hickory Farms gift basket to facilitate my review."

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday Or Not?

Do you get up in the wee hours of the morning to save a few dollars? I don't but my hubby does, every year! He doesn't just do it to save money, for him it's more about the energy that comes from the retail experience. He has a long history in the retail industry, primarily being the one preparing all the treasures you are getting there so early to gobble up.

I'm not big on the material part of Christmas. I love baking cookies, decorating the house, sending and receiving Christmas cards, and gathering with friends. Of course, I love getting Mason the thing he's pining for that shows up under the tree from Santa, but I'm not big on so many gifts he can't tell you what he actually got.

Here's what I'm proposing; why don't we all spend this holiday season simplifying our idea of Christmas? I'm going to spend all of December sharing ideas on how you can get back to basics, enjoy this season with little or no money, and most importantly, show the people you love how you feel without a box of candles, shower gel, or a campy make-up set. Join me and share your ideas for feeling more this holiday and ringing in the new year on a high note!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's the day before Thanksgiving and I'm not stressed at all. I have to work today and tomorrow is the big day, but not for us. We celebrate Thanksgiving on the following Saturday, that is of course unless we go to visit with Dave's family. This year we are staying home and using tomorrow and Friday to get ready for our house full on Saturday. It works out really well because we are able to get ready, clean, prep the food and even read a magazine or two because we can use the two full days.

I expect that your big Thanksgiving meal is tomorrow so let me wish you big breasts and tender thighs! We all have so much to be grateful for tomorrow and everyday!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Natura Pillow Review - Week Four

It's been a month for Dave and I on our new Natura pillows. I didn't expect to go through a major loss during this review, but when I did, it brought to light how important sleep really is. It's even more important when you not getting it, much like breathing! Part of good sleep is quality sleeping arrangements including you bedroom, bedding, mattress, and pillow.

I shared last week that Dave absolutely loves his pillow. Several of you asked me what I thought about mine. I like my new pillow, but as Julia with NaturaWorld pointed out, your pillow has to fit you. The measurement between your ear and shoulder is how you determine how thick your pillow needs to be. Neither Dave or I were measured and this review started when Julia assured me she could find a pillow Dave loved. She did. She through in a pillow for me and that's when the conversation about good sleep and couples getting good sleep together came about. I plan to purchase a pillow that is similar to my old favorite pillow, which I'm still using. My Natura pillow is wonderful, it's just too thin.

If you haven't already, visit the Naturaworld web site and browse all of their incredible products. There is something there for everyone, even the dog and every price range. This Christmas, you can buy a pillow for a Soldier for only $5.00! For a mere $20.00, you can change the lives of four people! Visit

Friday, November 20, 2009

Rekindling My Inspiration

Since Riley died, I've been completely uninspired. I know this is part of the grieving process but I miss the light I normally feel. I want to feel excited about the holidays and I'm working on little things that I can see through to completion, like making cookies with Mason or decorating the house for Thanksgiving. I realize my blog is not nearly as fun to read and may even seem superficial, but I appreciate you being with me during this difficult time and more importantly, my lifelong journey.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad

Tomorrow is my mom and dads wedding anniversary. If my dad were still alive, they would have been married 56 years. No matter that dad is gone, I know we will always celebrate this day. Happy Anniversary!

Monday, November 16, 2009

It's Been A While!

I was feeling that a win was needed, after all, it's been a while and in light of my recent loss, I decided a little pampering was in order. KNCI FM in Sacramento ( was giving away a massage, acupuncture, and several other spa services. As soon as I heard what the prize package entailed, I set my intention to win. I tried calling only twice and one on round two! I'm telling you, it's not that hard if you really believe you can win! Set your intention and play! I'm proof it works!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Natura Pillow Review - Week Three

We have been sleeping on our new Natura pillows for three weeks already, well, almost. Last week we were in Palm Springs and I'm going to say something I never thought I would say, "Dave likes his pillow at home more than he liked the pillow at the high end resort!" This has always been exactly the opposite...Dave goes away on business, comes home to punch, fluff, and roll his pillow. With a humph and a big sigh he grumbles about how he needs a new pillow and how great the pillow was in the hotel. Not this time. Last night, Dave slept like a log and anyone who sleeps with another knows, if he's sleeping well, you likely are, too! Dave has the Dream Mate Pillow and he loves it.

On another note, Natura is starting a wonderful campaign to send pillows to Canadian Troops. Please visit their web site and learn how you can help. For only $5.00, you can send a pillow to a soldier! I'm thinking we could each buy four...a mere $20.00 from each one of us will change the life of four people. I'll post this again when the program starts, sharing the whole story and how you can help.

Oh, and did I mention, there is a contest to win $1000 worth of eco friendly bedding! YES! One-thousand-dollars! Check it out...or maybe not, better odds for me if you don't! (wink)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


"Success is almost totally dependent upon drive and persistence. The extra energy required to make another effort or try another approach is the secret of winning." Denis Waitley

Monday, November 9, 2009

Happily Married

Today is our anniversary, Dave and I have been married eight years. We are truly happily married. I know this now more than ever because in this time of deep sorrow, we have come together and bonded in a way I've never known with another person. Dave gave me a beautiful card today, like he does every year, but it's what he added to this one that was so special, "Never forget who we are together." I won't, I'm grateful everyday.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Learning To Grieve

Who knew one has to learn to grieve? I didn't. Maybe learning is not the right word, it could be that we need to unlearn the way we were taught not to grieve. "Buck up!" I was told. "You don't have time to cry, you have a job to do." I heard other's be told. Here I am now deeply mourning the loss of my beloved Riley and I feel like I need to apologize for having a broken heart. I don't know a single person who would expect me to down play the loss of Dave or Mason.

Part of grieving is being angry, heck, it's part of life. I know how the emotional tones play and though anger is not pretty, it's up from grief. Anger is a good sign that you're not stuck, you are healing and the acceptiance of your loss is coming. I'm learning to grieve and I will not express remorse for the immense sadness I feel in Riley's death. I understand that not everyone will know what I'm feeling and that's okay, but I will feel it nonetheless.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together.

Author unknown.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Natura Pillow Review - Week Two

This is an interesting but important week to write about. We all know our bed and pillow needs to be a good quality and suited to our individual bodies during normal times, but what about when life circumstances are not normal?

We think about what we need in our day-to-day lives, but what about the times you are sick, injured, or grief stricken? It has become apparent to me that these are the times we need to have the proper sleeping accommodations more than ever.

Dave and I have spent the last week grieving the loss of our beloved dog Riley (see the picture of Riley sleeping on my pillow before I ever got to). I've done lots and lots of crying while Dave has been struggling to sleep through the night. Tossing and turning would be the norm, but that hasn't been the case. What's been happening for Dave is that he is simply not sleeping. He got up and went to work at 3 AM one morning, and found himself on the couch watching television while he couldn't sleep on another. By Thursday, I can only surmise that he was completely exhausted and finally slept. Again, no tossing and turning, just good, sound sleep on a pillow that fits him. This is true for me, too. I wasn't sleeping either, but I was comfortable on my skinny pillow. My head rested comfortably and when I did doze off, I really rested.

Other times I've needed to be comfortable was after knee surgery and when I was thrown from a horse last year. I came home with a concussion, bruised kidneys, a cracked vertebrae in my spine, and a finger that needed two surgeries (in just 3 weeks) to be reconstructed. Being comfortable in bed was paramount! You may not think about these times when you are shopping for a bed or pillows. Think about it because even if being tossed off a horse in not in your future, an auto accident, a slip and fall, or any other number of things very well could be.

Sleep is the one thing we all need to think clearly and function in our daily life. Make sure you are equipped with a mattress, pillow, and bedding that fits you, and if you have a spouse, the two of you together. Dave loves his pillow and I'm loving mine more each week. For more information, visit These guys know good sleep!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fewer Tears, Sadness Still

I struggle with writing today as I'm still so sad. I'm crying less but just because the tears aren't falling doesn't mean I'm done grieving.

Here's why I'm struggling; I don't want to be writing about my heart break and sadness incessantly, it's so personal and though you all love me, you're not feeling the loss like I am. I can hear you all telling me it's okay, that you understand, but do you really want to keep reading how sad I feel? I don't think so.

The flip side is that I am real, and that means real in joy and in grief. Many of you have commented over the years about how I paint my life picture so rosy and there's a hint of can it really be that good all the time? in your voice. My answer is, "Yes, it really is that good." Sure, I see the bright side so I don't always acknowledge the hiccups and when I do, I make light of them. I decided to write this because I am real, and I'm really soaked with sadness right now. I'm still crying, my chin quivers when I talk, my voice all but disappears when someone asks me how I am, and I miss biting my Riley every morning. I can't help but think this would be easier if he were 15 years old and his time had come. 7 was just too young.

With all that said, life is made up of so many things, one of them being sadness. The cutting, uncontrollable emotions will get easier and the good will soon outweigh the sadness. Bear with me while I get through this. With love.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

When There's Loss

Many of you know that I lost my beloved Riley last weekend. Riley was not just our family pet, he was my closest companion. Closer than Dave and Mason if you count the physical contact we made every day. If I was home, he was with me; at my feet in the kitchen, on my lap on the couch, within arms reach sitting at my desk, or sleeping in my legs or spooning with me in bed at night. He even slept on my new pillow before I did! Please don't misunderstand, I am acutely aware how fortunate I am to have Dave and Mason safe and sound, I just don't know how I would cope if I were to lose either of them. Nonetheless, Riley was a bright light in my life, one of the brightest I have ever known. That light is dimmed right now with my grief and sadness. I didn't know my body could produce this many tears and this kind of heart break. Any break up with a man in my past doesn't hold a candle to the way I feel today.

The up-side is this; I would rather have seven years of pure joy with Riley than a lifetime of nothing special. If this heart break and pain is the price I have to pay for the seven years Riley loved me, and was there for me to love, I'll take it. Having Riley in my life and my heart has changed who I am and makes me a better person.

When there's loss, the only thing I know how to do is feel what I feel. I mostly feel heart broken. I'm crying in waves as the emotions overtake me and I know there will be a hole in my heart for a very long time, maybe until the day I die. You can't pretend you don't hurt, and not crying when you need to, is never the right thing to do. I believe the pain will subside and I will be able to remember the happy times with Riley without realizing the pain that comes with knowing he is not here anymore. Until then, Intentional Winning when there's loss is all about authenticity. Feel what you feel, let it be, and get through. There is no around, under, over...just through. I will get through this, with Dave and we will have another puppy to love. When we do, you'll be the first to know!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Natura Pillow Review - Week One

The big box arrived with two brand new, very different pillows in it. Julia also added a wonderful pillow-blanket and a bottle of Re-Groove-N-8 Mist. The pillows we received were a large, heavy pillow called the Dream Mate, and a smaller, lighter pillow called the Perfect Pillow. Dave immediately grabbed the big Dream Mate and though I would have likely given it to him, it made me want it, too! I put fresh pillow cases on our new pillows and found that I had a difficult time putting my favorite pillow aside.

When we got into bed, we looked like a couple of puppies fluffing our bed. Pushing, squeezing, and fluffing new pillows that clearly didn't need it. As we both lay our heads down we started to giggle. What now? My Perfect Pillow seemed too low, like I wanted to fold it over and make it taller. That right away got me thinking I should have fought harder for the Dream Mate. We both noted that the pillows smelled new, maybe like the plastic they came wrapped in. That's where the bottle of Re-Groove-N-8 came in, it's a lovely green tea and aloe fragranced spray that you can use on pillows, linens, and even your body! A few spritzes and the new pillow smell was gone.

I woke up after the first night and found that I had slept on my back most of the night. That's not normal for me. I was well rested and comfortable but I still wasn't sure what I thought. The next night we switched pillows. Big mistake! The Dream Mate was way too big for me. I woke up in the middle of the night with a stiff neck and grabbed my old pillow for the remainder of the night. We switched back for night number three. Dave was really unhappy with the thinner Perfect Pillow, as much as I was with the bigger one. Clearly, the differences in the pillows and our bodies matter!

After the first week, I'm liking my new pillow but I'm still not sure it's perfect for me. Dave however, loves his new pillow! He said that it's longer than most pillows, is big enough around that he only needs one pillow, and it has the right amount of fluff so it's supportive, but also gives so he feels like his head rests comfortably on/in it. Julia, you might be right, you just may have set us up with a pillow Dave loves! I'm going for week two to see if the solid pillow can make me as happy as my old trusty broken foam pillow did.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy Friday!

Not much to say today but Happy Friday! Have a wonderful weekend, do something fun and come back and share with me next week.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Happy Birthday Mason!

It was yesterday but we celebrated on Saturday, again yesterday, and hopefully for many more days to come! Why not? After all, I am so very grateful to have him in my life. He's a beautiful combination of Dave and I, the best of the best I hope!

Mason teaches me that I still have so much to learn, that sometimes I sweat the small stuff, but mostly, he reminds me to be the human "being" that I really want to be. A human being present to notice how intently he does a puzzle, or how he can play by himself in the lot for hours. I want to always be present to notice when he's trying to fib, or clean his room by throwing all of his clean clothes in the laundry. And most of all, I want to be present when he wants to cuddle or share what he feels with me. I know there is a teenager on his way who may not want to be so close to his mom, but I'll always know my little boy loves me and our time.

Happy Birthday Mason! You light up our lives like the sun on a summer day and the moon on a harvest night. You are pure light my sweet, sweet boy.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Birthday Cake Adventures!

Mason wanted a Star Wars birthday party and being a professional cake decorator in my younger days, I thought, Why not? How hard can it be? From the looks of R2D2 in the picture, all was coming along beautifully. The next morning, I woke up to a pile of cake on the platter. I'm not going to bore you with the details but the cake fell to pieces. I thought I could pull it apart and put it back together. After more than 3 hours and still no structural stability, I let Mason do it himself.

Mason used our cookie icings and some Star Wars figures and Viola! The birthday was saved!

We are a family of Intentional Winning thinkers, whether it's good communication, bringing a product to market, or birthday cake. We keep looking for the bright side or the lesson and make the best of all situations. In the end, it's a great story and a fun memory!

Now all I have to do is reconcile that he's really six! Where did that time go?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Good Sleep

Dave and I have had an ongoing battle to find a pillow that Dave will sleep on through the whole night. I've purchased dozens of them and frankly, there hasn't been a single one that he's loved. From cheap to rather pricey, he's not easy to please in the pillow department. I have the same pillow I've had for years and I love it still. It's filled with broken chunks of foam and it's my favorite.

While we were in Las Vegas I met Julia from Naturaworld ( The plan is to write a review over four weeks, one a week starting next Monday (10/26). Tell me, do you have a favorite pillow? What makes a pillow comfortable and perfect for you? I'd love to know what your experiences are and if you think your pillow is important.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Responsibility and Consequences

“It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.” Josiah Charles Stump

Monday, October 12, 2009


We all make them, but how do you fix a mistake. There are certainly different answers for different situations, but taking responsibility has to be the first step to changing anything. If you don't take ownership for what went wrong, you then have no power to make it right. Stay in control, take responsibility and you'll see that solutions come so much easier! What do you think?

Friday, October 9, 2009

What Would You Do?

We all make agreements with the full intention of keeping our end of the bargain. What would you do if the company you made an agreement with kept changing the terms, in their favor to cost you hundreds of dollars a month? Credit card companies are doing just that!

I have a credit card with Citibank and they are really pushing me to the edge of my financial ethics. I know the economy has everyone struggling and I know in the fine print of all credit card agreements it says they can change terms anytime, just because. That doesn't mean that I can meet the new terms of the agreement. If you can't meet it, what choice do you have? I've called to talk, tried to reason, and flat out explained that the additional $250 a month with the 29.99% interest rate is just not something I can afford to pay in addition to the $330 I'm already paying as per the 14.99% interest rate I already had (didn't like, but could make the payment).

So what do I do? If I don't make the full $530 payment, I'm in default and fees pile up. If I don't make a payment at all, I'm feeling terrible about defaulting and my credit is being marred. Dave called one more time and was told every one's rates went to 29.99%. Interesting that the new credit card reform takes effect in January. Do you think there's a connection? I do. We don't have the resources to pay the balance off so we either work with them, pay what they want, or we don't. I know what we are going to do, but I'm interested to know what you would do?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Great Quote

"If necessity is the mother of invention, then frustration must surely be the father!" As muttered by Dave Partak while trying to put snow gloves on Mason's hands. Hence, ZipperBack Gloves were born.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Happy Fall!

I love, love, love this time of year! Here are a few of my favorite things that fall brings:

  • Shorter days. I love the way it gets dark earlier. It makes dinner around the table as a family more inviting.
  • The colors of the season. I've never met a single person who doesn't appreciate the wonder of Mother Nature's paint brush.
  • Apples. I love our annual trip to Apple Hill. Everything apple is part of the fun, but the day together with Dave and Mason is the best. We walk through the orchards choosing the perfect apples to pick and then we (really "I" because Dave and Mason think it's silly) take a moment to give thanks to the Harvest Gods. I take a bite of a fresh apple and give thanks for warm sunshine, plenty of water, and a bountiful harvest. Though my boys think this ritual is silly, they make sure it happens. Smiling.
  • Boots and coats. My hiking boots and my green wool hooded coat are my favorite things to wear. For some it's knit sweaters or heavy socks, no matter what, there is something comfortable about winter clothes.
  • Flannel Sheets and down comforters. "Nuff said!
  • And my favorite thing about the fall season is how we all come home. The summer months have us all over the place, up late, and away from home. September brings back the routine of school, early nights, hot meals, and a sincere sense of family.

Friday, October 2, 2009

It's going to be snowing in Lake Tahoe....snowing,, la, la, la, la, it's going to be snooowwwweeeeiiinnnnggggg.....I'm singing, it's going to be snowing!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Encourage Each Other

My final thoughts on encouragement is it works best when it's give-and-take. I love to help you see the ways you can achieve your dreams and goals and I look forward to your ideas on how I can move my life forward.

If we step out of our own plans and schemes and think about someone elses grand plan, we get an infusion of the good energy that comes from helping another. Let me encourage you by saying all the things you know I believe; "Whatever you think, you're right!" "There isn't a single thing you can't do if you really want to do it and you are willing to do the work." What will you say to me to help me realize my dreams? Let me help you and I would love for you to help me, too!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Does Encouragement Help?

I believe encouragement is good, but I also think if you're really inclined to make something happen, you will do it with or without a push from another. I'm a doer and I don't need anyone prodding me to get going. On the other hand, I do appreciate knowledge and ideas for my project that I may not know I don't know! That could certainly be considered encouragement.

Any positive energy that's coming to you is good. It's good if it simply validates your idea, compliments you in your ability, and especially if it gets you moving in the direction of making your dreams come true!

Friday, September 25, 2009

You Can Do It!

Whatever it is you want to do, you can! Take action, any little thing that will start the process is as important and the big jobs that will come, too. It's the little things, starting with the decision to actually do it that make the dream come true. Things like writing a plan, making a phone call, buying a book, asking for advice and help from someone who can help you are all little things that make a big impact. Start!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Will You Be Ready When Success Comes?

"Yes!" is the answer we will all shout without thinking about the question at all. What does success mean to you? Is it just money? For me, success is about thinking creatively, bringing talented people together and building something that many will benefit from. I want to make money, but am I ready for great wealth? I can't say yes, I've not always been a good steward of the money I've earned but I'm learning. I still struggle making wise money decisions every time, but I make good decisions most of the time. Every time I stay in control of our finances, I feel like I am closer to being ready for great wealth.

My point is this; are you right with yourself, your life, your choices, and all that you need to be happy and content right now, the way things are? If your answer is yes, then you very well may be ready for life and financial success on a grand scale. This is just my viewpoint and the barometer that I use to gauge where I am and where I want to go! What do you think? Agree or not, I would love to know.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Doing Nothing Is Something

I'm big on taking action to really make changes in your life. I do however, want to mention that there are times when doing nothing is the right move. I learned this lesson while running my recruiting firm years ago, and it also proved to be a good move while dating, too!

What I've learned is that there is a time to take action, to act fast, take the bull by the horns, but there is also an equal and appropriate time to sit still. A great example was while I was working on my biggest deal ever as a recruiter. I had submitted a dynamite lady to a large credit union for their CFO position. This placement meant a great job for my candidate and almost a years worth of pay in one paycheck to me. I was very good at what I was doing, always very professional, but I was usually the one that kept the cycle moving with regular phone calls, e-mails, and meetings. At one point in the interview/hiring process we hit a dead zone, no calls or e-mails were being returned and I became concerned. My candidate was calling me and asking if she should call or e-mail and even contemplated "dropping in." "No." I told her, let's do nothing. If you've ever been in a negotiation where you felt as though your life depended on winning the prize, you know how this woman felt. I advised her that we wait a full two weeks to let them respond to our already numerous attempts to know what was happening in the process. It was a very long two weeks but just as Friday of the second week loomed, my phone rang. It was the CEO of the credit union with an offer for my client. I played it cool and hammered out the details but before we hung up, I asked him why the talks had stalled. He replied that they had another client they were considering and they were actually leaning toward hiring him but he had revealed something in a casual e-mail that raised a red flag. They slowed the process to investigate and decided my lady was the better choice for them. What this long story does is speak to the old adage of, "Don't talk yourself out of the sale." In being overly proactive, the other candidate talked himself out of a great job.

There are many examples of when doing nothing turns out to be very profitable, but be sure the time is right and nothing really will be something.

Friday, September 18, 2009

I'm Exhaused And So Proud

I have deemed myself the person who asks you what you want in life and encourages you to make it happen. My only real qualification is that I believe you can have anything you want if you are willing to take the action to have it. I really do believe anything is possible and it's quite possible that I am more exhausted than I have ever been. I'm proud that we made it through the ABC Kids show, introduced our product to the world, and the sales are trickling in.

This post makes no sense what-so-ever. Did I say I was exhausted? Laughing! I'm inclined to delete it, but it just speaks to the reality of someone who is so dang tired, she can't make heads nor tails of what it is she wants to say! Good night!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

So What Happened?

It's Wednesday and our final day at the ABC Kids Expo. What is really apparent is that this is not our show. Most of the products here are for expecting women and infants, along with furniture. Our product is for toddlers up to ten year olds. That said, we are getting an amazing response to ZipperBack Gloves. Retailers in the north-east, mid-west and Canada love what we have and they want it now, for this season. It was our intention to take orders for the following year and they all said, "Fine, but I want X amount for this season, now." At first blush that sounds fantastic, but as you learn in business, selling all of your inventory for your first season to retailers may not be the smartest move. With that, I'll just say that it was a huge success and a wonderful prelude to the SIA (Snow Sports Industry Assn) show in January.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Taking Action

If you want something to happen, you have to take action. Just thinking or talking abut what you want is not enough to see it come to life. I'll be the first one to say that thinking and talking about your desires can open doors to opportunities to take that next step, but you have to DO just that, step, move, walk, follow up, take action. If you do just one little thing a day, you will find the thing you have only thought about is now a real part of your daily life!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering 9/11

To everyone who experienced the events of September 11, 2001 I want to tell you, "I remember."
Every American felt the effects of that tragic day, but certainly there were families who were forever changed in ways many of us will never know. As a military family, we remember everyday, but today is special. Know you are loved and you are remembered.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Does this mean anything? I don't know, but days like this are kind of fun. They are memorable and conger up conspiracy theories about the end of the world or better yet, it makes a great wedding date.

Numerology experts - who operate outside the realm of real science - believe that mystical significance or vibrations can be assigned to each numeral one through nine, and different combinations of the digits produce tangible results in life depending on their application.

As the final numeral, the number nine holds special rank. It is associated with forgiveness, compassion and success on the positive side as well as arrogance and self-righteousness on the negative, according to numerologists.

I don't know about all of that, but I can agree that it's a fun series of numbers!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Is It Ever Okay?

Is it ever okay to impose your belief system on another person? I struggle with this especially when it seems like the situation is black and white. Julie is a paramedic and works in one of the toughest areas in N. CA. When she is called to save the life of someone who appears to be a drug user, physically a mess, and not pleasant in any way shape or form, she treats that person the same way she would an affluent soccer mom living in a gated community. I've asked Julie how she doesn't judge and her answer was beautiful, she said, "It's not my place to determine who lives and dies. I don't know why they are dirty or how they came to be living such a life, all I know is that it's my job to do everything in my power to save that life." Nice. She went on to say that she feels she can make a positive impact on someone who may have lost their way by being kind and doing her best. Next time I find myself judging another, I'm going to hear Julie's voice in my head reminding me it's not my place to determine who lives and dies. Thank you Julie!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Time With Mason

Mason is growing up so fast. I can remember him toddling, oohing, and drooling. Now he only drools when he sleeps.

Kindergarten is going really well, a far cry from last year. I keep looking at him and seeing all these big boy qualities, like his legs are getting really strong and not so skinny. And he has really intelligent questions and answers. Just when I start to adjust to this little boy who is less little and more boy, he does something really silly like pretend he is Riley (the dog) and wants me to throw a toy for him to fetch. It's in those moments when I realize I can't be so busy that I let these moments pass us by. It won't matter if I miss 30 minutes of trade show preparation, but Mason will remember those 30 minutes I played with him pretending he was my dog.

I know the days of offered kisses, wanting me to fall asleep with him in his bed, and him thinking I know the answers to everything are fleeting. Heck, once the thinking I know everything days are gone, they are gone forever. It's now that I need to listen and value his opinions. I want to share good lessons of manners, values, right & wrong, and kindness while he's still impressionable enough to consider that these things are not only a good way of life, but the only way of life. I have no doubt we will have our challenges while Mason grows up, but I will know that I spent time, stayed plugged in, and truly did my best to be not just a good mom, but a great mom!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Recession Proof Your Mood

If you're like me, you have worries about the economy, jobs, reduced hours at work and any number of other things. Since it's known that chronic stress increases your risk for illness, here's a few things to think about how to lower those anxiety levels.

Make a plan. Think about the one thing that is stressing you out the most and devise a plan to handle it. If it's credit card debt, talk to your creditors about lowering interest rates. If your mortgage is adjusting or you simply can't make ends meet because of a wage loss, definitely call your lender. Almost all lenders are doing modifications and you can work with them directly for free. I can answers questions for you on this if you have them. Just comment here on my blog.

Get help if you need it. A financial planner of credit consultant can often help you see solutions you may not realize are available to you.

Finally, focus on the positive. Be grateful for all you do have. A roof over your head, family and friends who love you and make you laugh, even just watching a movie you have in your collection of VHS tapes. All these things can help you see that even in these trying times, there is still so much more to be happy about!

Monday, August 31, 2009

A New Day Always Dawns

Yesterday, our quiet little town was on fire. More than 500 acres and 60 homes burned flat to the ground. As we all struggle to get by in this economy with reduced hours, job losses, mortgage issues, and any number of other life challenges, those issues are nothing compared to being run out of your home with little more than the clothes on your back.

Today things seem to be contained, but we have a hot and possibly windy day on schedule for today. I'm going to see what I can do even if it's donating some of our clothes to the Red Cross. If we can help one family, or feed animals that have been safely recovered at the shelters, we will. Give to your local Red Cross, Salvation Army, and other local charities that help people in desperate times of need. Even $1.00 adds up if we all give just a little.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

State Fair Savings

Here's a success story right from my own family! When we went to the California State fair in 2005, we purchased two of the large plastic cups that are really expensive if you only have the drink they come with. The deal is that after you buy the cup for $6.00, each refill there after is only $2.00. Now don't get me wrong, both of these numbers are high for a soda, but I've managed to out smart the program.

I still have those two cups from 2005 and we have used them each year since. Let's do a little math and assume that we get three drinks over the course of the time we are at the fair. $6.00 each initial investment equals $12.00. Two more drinks each equals $8.00 for a total of $20.00. In 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009, we took the same cups and had our three drinks, but this time all six drinks (three drinks, two cups) only cost $12.00. Keeping in mind that a single drink costs from $3.50-$8.00, over four years, that's a savings of $68.00! The savings not only adds up for fair-going, but we use the cups during our everyday life, too. This is a win-win-win situation!

Next time you have an opportunity to spend a little more up front to save a little on the backside, think about it for the long run, not for the few hours you are at the fair or amusement park.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Social Media. Do You?

Do you twitter? I bet you at least have a page on facebook. If not, why?

Facebook has been a great place to reconnect with friends from high school, former jobs, and other cities you may have lived in. You can simply post bits and pieces of your life and interact with people via e-mail updates on your facebook wall. You wall is the place people post notes and messages that all your friends can see. There is also a message feature that works much like e-mail and it's private. Facebook has so many other things to do, I won't even go into all of that. If you're so inclined, you'll snoop around and see the virtual world you're missing out on! Search me and add me as a friend!

Twitter is a little different. It's what's known as micro-blogging, so you can only tweet 140 characters at a time. Twitter is much more like the old fashioned aol chat box...remember those? The difference is that the culture has changed and it seems that more professionals are using social media to connect with clients and potential customers. You can find me on twitter by searching @Zbgloves and @Kdpartak.

Check it out and see what you think. You don't need to spend hours on the computer, 15-30 minutes a day can bring many new, wonderful friends into your life!

Friday, August 21, 2009

I'm Not MIA

Hey friends, I'm up to my eyeballs in details for the upcoming ABC show in Las Vegas. We are only just over two weeks away from packing up the car and the list of things to do is growing by the moment! I have some exciting news and updates, but I have to be in a place where I can sit quietly and write. I'll get everything updated before the end of this week!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Say Something Original

I'm loving my friends on twitter. If you don't engage in the social media circles like twitter, facebook, and myspace, let me invite you to join us. For the most part, we all just your average Joe's (except for the celebrities), and we are building real relationships. My only complaint is when some people on twitter have nothing to say. They follow thousands of people and Re-tweet those people all day long. Re-tweeting or RTing is when you send along to your followers what other people you follow have said. It's certainly fine when someone says something obviously funny, or poignant, but every little thing? Not so much.

For me, it's so much more fun to have real conversations and share our lives than it is to quote Henry Ford, Zig Ziglar, or any number of other over-quoted successful people. Aren't we all successful in our own rights? I think yes! Say something original and make my day. Heck, I might even RT you! Smiling!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Happy Monday!

It's a new week and like the new year, nothing but opportunity for success awaits you! It's all in how you think about it, every new year people make resolutions, set goals, and in essence, feel the sense of a new beginning. Why not see the start of a new week the same way we see the start of a new year?

Today, just for grins, take a moment and jot down some goals for the week. Maybe look back at your new year list and revive something that's fallen to the bottom of your list, and find a single action you can take on that item. It's possible that one single action on that item can being it back to life and move it forward significantly. I would love to know what you think of this and if you actually follow through. Share your wins, I can't wait to hear!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Is It Good Or Is It Bad?

Perspective. It's a simple answer to almost any question. It's all in how you see it. There are many influences that shape how we see things, but if you can embrace the idea that you have a choice, you can change your life. Let me give you an example. I grew up with a dad who didn't know a thing about showing love to his kids. He had a very difficult childhood, to say the least, and without any idea of what loving parents were, how could he parent any differently? All through my childhood years, I thought I had the worst dad ever. It wasn't' until I grew up that I could see that despite his difficult life, he did love me and he did show me that love, in his own way. He didn't speak kindly and visit with my friends like some dads did, but he would leave a candy on the kitchen table for me when I woke up for school. He didn't take me on father-daughter outings, but he did come to one of my little league games. He sat in his truck the whole time, but I could see he was there. My dad wasn't good or bad, he was just trying to be the best dad he knew how. I choose to see him as a loving father despite how the textbooks portray what a good father is. Would I have liked a few father-daughter outings, not really. He just wasn't that kind of dad! Smiling!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mad Housewife Wine - Winning Story

I have a friend in Minnesota. She is a mulit-business owner who also has five kids all under the age of 10! I carefully packed my bags for the trip to visit and brought her a bottle of Mad Housewife Merlot. As soon as I landed in MN, I opened my suitcase at the airport to present her with my offering, she practically rolled on the floor laughing and crying at the same time. I understood why she was laughing, but I asked her why she was crying. She replied through her tears, I never understood how insane my life is until you gave me this bottle of wine that says it all! We are still laughing and tweeting about Mad Housewife!

Thank you for the great entry! Please email with your shirt size, color selection, and shipping address so we can get your super stylish MH tee out to you right away!

New promotion: Buy six bottles of The Mad Housewife and get a free T-shirt! See

Cheers all!
On Facebook at

Monday, August 10, 2009

I'm A Winner!

Many of you know I win things. Everything from a CD, to movie tickets, to trips around the world. People ask me, "How do you do that?" And my reply is always the same, "I intend to." This subject is actually what launched Intentional Winning in Life. The other answer to the same question is, "I play." You can't win if you don't play. Combine my beliefs, I play and I intend to win, and you have Intentional Winning at Winning!

Three weeks ago I put ZipperBack Gloves ( in the running for a $1000 grant through the Intuit's Love A Local Business contest. Once I entered the contest, I had to rally my network of friends to nominate ZBG to be one of five weekly winners of the grants. Today we learned we won!

When I spoke with the woman from Intuit, she said that two of the other companies who won this week were in it from the beginning and were just a few nominations away from winning in the previous two weeks. Persistence pays off and today that's to the tune of $500 cash and another $500 in business services! You can't win if you don't play and when you do play, you have to believe you can win!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Happy Friday, No Worries!

I asked the question about worrying as it seems we all have our bouts. I think the trick is to recognize what you can change and the things you can't. If you can see the overall picture from that perspective, you can easily see that some things simply won't benefit from the energy you spend worrying about them. The next logical step is to find ways to use your energy to take care of the things you can influence.

I know there are those times when the outcome of a troubling situation affects your next step and in those times, the best you can do is have a plan for all possible outcomes. I can do this if that happens, and that if this happens. To that end, that's the best you have. Do the best you can with what you have today, make a positive impact and in the end, you will be left with a feeling of satisfaction knowing you took action.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Can You Not Worry?

I'm not typically a worrier, but I do find myself in situations where I'm genuinely worried. Most notably, it's been in the areas of personal finance or relationships. Do you worry?

My mom is a worry-wart in the truest sense of the word. It used to drive me crazy that she would worry about EVERYTHING! Now that I'm grown up with all of life's responsibilities, I understand her worry. However, even though I understand it, I find that worry is just more exhausting than either dealing with my issue, or letting it be what it will be. Can you not worry?

One of the things that works for me is distraction. When I'm finding that I'm focusing on something that's uncertain and upsetting, I put my mind to something else, something mindless or enjoyable. In fact, the best distraction for anything that's troubling me is to spend time with Mason. Mason reminds me that I have so much to be grateful for and as long as I have my happy, healthy family, I have all I need. No worries!

Monday, August 3, 2009

How Do You Motivate Somebody?

The truth is, you can only motivate someone who wants to be motivated. I'm told on a daily basis that I make a difference in people's lives, and that I inspire people to take action. I love that! I now know that my mission in life to use my ability to communicate and my bright outlook on life to motivate people to make their lives better.

I've met people who simply love to be in my company, but have no desire to do a single thing different in their lives. One person in particular stands out in my memory. A woman called me with a really serious issue. I listened to her tale, felt like I was being sympathetic, and gently offered up a solution. She didn't like that, she had three problems with my one solution. we talked a little more and again, I offered up an idea. No, not that one either. This went on for more than a 1/2 hour. At one point I asked her if what she wanted was for me to just listen or did she want help solving this problem. She assured me that she definitely wanted an answer, and that she appreciated my willingness to help. We went like this a little longer, I'd offer a solution and she would offer 3-5 problems with my solution. She didn't want to resolve this issue at all, she just wanted to spend time being cared for by me. She was caring for her "baby" (I call these problems with no solutions someones baby. They just want to keep it and care for it.) and wanted me to care for her.

It took me a long time to recognize that what makes some people happy is being unhappy. That's a choice but it's not my choice. Unfortunately, people like this don't make good company for those of us taking action, making things happen, and living a happy life. In fact, in my experience, these kinds of people draw from my energy source limiting my ability to motivate those of you who really want to be lifted up and cheered on. In the end, you can't move someone forward who is happy right where they are. My suggestion is to move on and continue to be happy where you are and where you're going, because I know you are on your way to somewhere really wonderful!

Friday, July 31, 2009

How Do You Treat An Owie?

Mason is always getting bruised, bumped, cut, and scraped. I got the skinny from an RN friend of mine on the right and wrong things to do.

  • Clean with warm soapy water to remove dirt, germs, and "stuff" that sticks to the scrape.
  • Keep the cut moist because that's important to promoting rapid growth of new skin cells. Apply a thin layer of an antibiotic ointment and if the cut is in a place that the medication can rub off or get dirty, cover it with a bandage.


  • Use peroxide or alcohol, which dries the skin and slows the healing process.
  • Pick at a cut or scab. Picking only causes irritation and can introduce bacteria into the wound.

Call your doctor if...

  • You see any discharge or redness around the cut.
  • The cut is really deep, it may need stitches.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The 10 Changes To Credit Card Laws

Finally, the government has decided to do something to stop credit card issuers from taking advantage of consumers. On December 18, 2008, the Federal Reserve approved a series of rules that make major changes to practices within the credit card industry. Here is a list of the 10 main changes of the new credit card rules. Note: the rules listed won't take effect until February 1 or July 1, 2010, I've seen both dates published. We'll know on February 1st which it is.

1. No interest rate increases for the first 12 months of your credit card.
You can enjoy your interest rate for at least the first year after opening your new account with two exceptions. First, your rate could increase in the first year if the creditor disclosed a rate increase when you opened the account. Second, if you don't make the minimum payment within 30 days of the due date you'll be subject to a penalty rate increase.

2. No interest rate increases on pre-existing balances.
If and when your interest rate does increase, the credit card issuer can't retroactively apply the increased rate to existing balances. Only purchases made after the increase goes into effect will be subject to the new interest rate.

3. Rate increases require 45-day advanced notice, even penalty rate increases.
Banks currently get 15 days to notify you of an interest rate increase and they don't have to notify you at all for penalty rate increases. The increased time for an advanced notice will give you more time to respond to an interest rate increase.

4. No more double billing cycle finance charges.
The double billing cycle method of calculating finance charges allows credit card issuers to charge interest on balances you've already paid. The Federal Reserve has outlawed this expensive practice.

5. Limited fees for subprime credit cards.
Subprime credit cards can no longer charge up the cardholder's credit limit with fees. Now, fees are limited to 50% of the credit limit, but only 25% of those can be charged when the account is opened. The remaining fees must be spread over at least five billing cycles.

6. Billing statements must be sent 21 days before payment due date.
The current rule requires billing statements to be sent within a reasonable time for the consumer to make payment. The new rule puts a time period on that "reasonable time.

7. Payments received by 5:00 pm on the due date are on time.
The Federal Reserve recognizes that banks must have a cut-off time for accepting payments and sets that time to 5:00 pm. The didn't specify a time zone, so, sending your payment early is still a good practice.

8. Payments received the next business day after a weekend or holiday are on time.
If your due date falls on a weekend or holiday and your credit card issuer doesn't process payments on that day, your payment is still considered on time if it's received by the next business day. For example, that means the Monday after a weekend or December 26 during the holidays.

9. Payments above the minimum are applied to highest interest rate balances.
The minimum payment would go toward your low-rate balance, while the remainder of your payment must be applied to the balance with the highest interest rate. This reduces your interest cost over the life of the credit card versus the alternative of applying the complete payment to the low rate balance.

10. Billing statements must include year-to-date total of interest and fees.
Now, you'll be able to see just how much interest charges and fees you pay on your credit card. When the rules take effect, your billing statement will have to list the current month's interest charges and fees along with the total amount you paid during the year.

The bulk of this report is from at

Monday, July 27, 2009

My Ice Breaker Speech.

Talks too much. Gabby. Chatty. Loquacious. These are all words and expressions that have been used to describe me from the very young age of four. My mom boasts that I was talking in three and four word sentences before I was ten months old. Some say it’s the gift of gab while others simply think I talk too much. It’s no surprise then that I stand before you at a Toastmasters meeting.

I’m the wife of a Soldier, a winner, an author, and a baker. I’ve been in the military my whole life, I was born in and now I’m married in. Dave and I moved to Auburn in 2003 and we love it here. Shortly after we got settled in, I had Mason and in the same month, Dave got the call that he was being deployed to Iraq. To say it was a tough time would be putting it mildly. But being the optimistic sort, I put my sights on Dave’s homecoming and thought about what I could do with him while he was deployed. In our early telephone calls, Dave asked me to send him new release movies. “Are you crazy?” I asked him. I couldn’t afford to spend $24.99 every Tuesday on a new movie. The problem, Dave explained was that the movies that were available to him to watch, had to be viewed in the MWR (Morale, Welfare & Recreation) tent. He couldn’t take a movie back to his bunk and relax. I contacted Pat and Tom at KNCI country radio station and with News 10, Starbucks and Tower Records we launched Operation New Release, sending thousands of DVD’s, CD’s, and video games to Dave’s unit in Iraq. As the media was collected and sent over, Dave worked with his Battalion to put up a tent and build some shelves to create a rental station for Soldiers to check out a movie or CD, take it to their bunk to watch it, and return it to check out another. It was operated using the honor system and it worked! It worked so well, that the MWR facility at the nearby larger base, asked if they could take control and operate the shop. The answer was yes as long as they let the Soldiers take the media back to their bunk. What started out as a grass roots movement to get new movies and music to Dave, turned into a media library for all branches of the service from all over the world to use.

Having worked on ONR and knowing how important getting mail was to Dave, I realized that the time had come to resurrect a project I worked on nearly ten years ago. I’ve always been a talker, story teller and writer and I wrote a book called Creative and Memorable Ways to Keep in Touch. I’m the kind of person that sends little gifts through the mail. A few of my favorites are the classic care package, the “what if I won the lottery” letter, and even a comic each day for an entire week ending with the full color Sunday strip. We live in a world of instant this and immediate that and it seems to me that we need to touch each other more. When you send something through the mail, it has “you” on it. When it arrives, you arrive, too! I’ve written other things as well, like industry columns, company policy and procedure manuals, a weekly e-mail column for the last 10 years called The Monday Motivator, I manage multiple blogs, and many stories for Chicken Soup for the Soul. Speaking of chicken soup, I think what’s better for a cold is cookies!

I’m a baker but not so much with bread, I bake cookies and cakes. I worked as a cake decorator for years when I was first out of high school. I loved learning the tricks of the trade like freezing cake before you ice it. It makes it nice and firm so it’s easier to slice, fill, and ice and it actually makes your cake moister when it thaws out. Decorating cakes was a great way to feed my creative urges in addition to making a living. As I moved on in my life and on to other careers, I’ve found that my baking and decorating skills have served me in other ways, most notably as a mom. My mom always made lots and lots of Christmas cookies. When I was old enough to help her, my favorites were the kinds we cut out with cookie-cutters and then decorated with colored icing. It’s no surprise that now Mason loves to decorate cookies with me, the big difference is in our tool and techniques. My mom made basic butter cream icing and we would spread it on the cookies with a butter knife. The icing never got hard so you couldn’t stack the cookies or even let them touch each other. The butter knife didn’t allow much in the way of detail, either. Mason knows how to drive a pastry bag, when to use dragees and when simple sprinkles are better, and he knows that a little meringue powder in our icing makes it “set” so we can wrap, stack, or pack our cookie masterpieces for gifts. All of this information is really great, but nothing is as good as winning the praise of a 5 year old who boasts to all who will listen that his mom makes the prettiest cookies on our street! Has he seen anyone else’s cookies? I don’t know but winning Mason’s praise is right on target with the last 25 years of winning I’ve come to know. I win things.

I have an incredible history of winning things, primarily on the radio, but in drawings, all kinds of contests, and I even won a winning lottery ticket. People who know this about me often ask me how I do it. I tell them I win because I intend to win. I know I can, I play, I see myself being the right caller, or ticket number and I win. But don’t misunderstand, winning is like success, you don’t win every time and you have to play to even have a chance. You can’t succeed in business if you don’t set up shop or open your doors. Same same with winning. You can’t win that CD or those concert tickets if you are not listening and calling in when it’s time. I’ve won many things through the years that include trips to Hawaii, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Mexico. I’ve won skis, dinners, expensive hand bags, backstage Meet & Greet passes with many artists, special events, and the list goes on and on. I’ve met Don Cheadle and had lunch with George Clooney, and one of my favorites, I was in studio with Sammy Hagar. That one took 10 years to pull off! I even won in my sleep once! Honest to goodness, I did! By far my biggest and best prize, the one that can never be beat is the day I won my husband on the radio. Dave called the radio station with an extra concert ticket and no date. He thought he was going to get to play a dating game and instead, he got me! That was in April of 1996, one of my luckiest days. I’ve been telling that story and talking about it ever since, lots of other things, too, but that one is a repeater…like me, it keeps going, and going, and going! Talks too much? Maybe. Has something to say? Definitely!

Friday, July 24, 2009

It's Friday!

I love Friday! It's the only day of the week that has a buzz about it like no other day. Saturday and Sunday mean different things to all of us, but it all seems to be good. The general consensus is that Monday the least favorite day, Tuesday is almost a non-day, Wednesday is hump-day, meaning we're over the hump and almost to Friday. Thursday is that day that excites you because you have just "one more day!" and then it's here! Friday is the day that holds hope, hope for a fun night out, dinner with friends, if your five, no bed time. No matter what it is, Fridays feel good. I hope you are excited about today, this weekend, and dare I say even Monday! No matter what Have a great day, it's Friday!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


When was the last time you laughed? I mean really laughed. The last time I really laughed was last night when Julianne and I were tweeting (yes, I twitter! @Kdpartak), and she told me a story about her family. I could share the story with you but frankly, you won't find it a stitch humorous. Never mind that, my point is that laughter feels so good! Why do we laugh less as we get older? I don't laugh as often as I might like to.

I see Mason laughing everyday. He will have conversations with pretend people and laugh out loud. He plays all the parts as he sees fit and laughs for everyone! He will make up jokes that have nothing to them, they make absolutely no sense, but he will finish with a big belly laugh. I'm thankful for Mason's joy, because he laughs so often, so do I. I don't find his jokes funny at all, but his happiness is contagious.

Find something today to laugh about. Make up a joke and then laugh. It will sound so canned and fake, that in and of itself will make you laugh for real. Try it and let me know!

Monday, July 20, 2009

When Your Hands Are Tied

I consult with individuals who are facing financial difficulties. Many call me with regard to mortgages that are adjusting or credit card companies who are not working with them. It's heartbreaking when I hear one of my clients tried on numerous occasions to work out a payment plan when they had fallen behind due to their hours at work being cut, only to be told that they now don't make enough money to qualify for a hardship repayment plan! Does that make any sense? After three months of no payments, still making the same lower income, the big bank calls her back to offer her a 0% interest plan and offers to match every payment she makes toward helping her pay down her balance! Why wouldn't they help her when she asked for help instead of forcing her hand to fall 90 days past due on the account? She felt like her hands were tied. She couldn't make the payment, they wouldn't work with her and even if she made a lesser payment, her account would still be reported as delinquent, late fees charged, and credit tarnished.

This is my area of expertise so I know what I would do. With the information you have, what would you do if you felt like your hands were tied when trying to get a credit card company to work with you? Share with me what you think they can do to you if you don't pay. I'll be sure to comment and share with you what I know to be true.

Friday, July 17, 2009

How Do They Get The Whole Pear In The Bottle?

Do you know how one would get a whole piece of fruit in a bottle? I came across this French liqueur, with the pear in the bottle and it made me wonder. Here's how they do it:

Poire, which is pear in French and Pear William is an old fashioned liqueur in France known for it's very sweet flavor. The French enjoy this as a dessert drink, for cleansing their palate, and it goes well with cheese and grapes. But just how do they get the whole pear in the bottle

The French actually attach the bottle to the tree covering the blossom. The pear grows in the bottle and when it's grown to size, the pear is nipped and the pear in the the bottle is removed. Before filling the bottle with liqueur, the pear is pricked to release it's natural sweet juice.

I love to know stuff that is nothing more than fun conversation. What do you know that would make me smile and say, "Really, I never thought of that!"?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Do you have a difficult time accepting a compliment? Most people do. As I've gotten a little older, I'm better at graciously accepting the praise of others for one reason; I know how good it feels when I give it.

I realized that when I discount someone who genuinely wants me to know they like or appreciate something about me, I'm in essence telling them I don't think what they have to say is real or valuable. My insecurity, or that little voice that says, "Oh, no. My hair is a mess" is just that, MY insecurity. It has nothing at all to do with the kindness of the other person and may not be based in truth at all.

Next time someone pays you a compliment, pay them one right back and simply say, "Thank you." You will feel good, they will feel good, and this world will be a better place! Smiling!

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Letter To My Husband

Dear Dave,

Have I told you lately how happy you make me? You do. I count my blessings every single day that you love me. I've known for many years that you are an exceptional man, but there are still things you do that surprise me.

You bought me a new outfit to go out for your birthday. I love that you picked out clothes that you thought would make me feel pretty. They did.

You embrace being a dad and when I notice your patience is running short, I can say a simple sentence and you let go a smile. It's so clear that you love your family. Your love of family starts with your parents, especially your mom. You make time to see her, spending time and calling her just to talk.

You volunteer your time in our community and practice random acts of kindness on a regular basis. Whether it's helping someone push their stalled car out of an intersection or searching for a dog on a leash without it's person, you take the time to do the right thing.

There are so many things I can write on and on about. The consideration you express for your coworkers when in social situations, the way you think to arrange play dates for Mason, how you stop along the side of the road to cut wild sweet peas for me, and one of my favorites, the way other people see you look at me. I've been told on numerous occasions that people can see how much you love me.

Today, I want to say that I love you, too. More than I love you, I respect you. It sounds so cliche to say, "I married my best friend." But sometimes, cliche is simply the truth.

With all my love,

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

America Is Alive And Well - By Guest Writer Jay Kliewer

America is alive and well. I was awakened last night from a late nap, approximately 8:00 PM, by a helicopter flying overhead in a large circular pattern and repeatedly saying something. After six passes and with the help of my roommate, I finally made out the message, “There is a 3 year old child missing wearing a green shirt with red and white stripes. He is wearing a diaper and his name is Daniel.”

What I saw as I came out to the front yard and as I walked down my road was the most incredible thing. People had come out of their houses and were walking, running, driving, and I even saw one guy on roller skates looking for Daniel. Moms with young kids, families, teenagers, and single people were all looking for Daniel.

So why were we out there? Honestly . . . I was out there because if I could help those parents look for Daniel then that is what I wanted to do. I know that if that had been a three year old Jhasamin or Jeremiah, I would want other people looking for them. I also think I wanted to partake in something larger. Be a part of something bigger than myself. I didn’t want to sit home when I was needed and there was something I could give. Maybe in a strange way I also wanted to be seen, as if to say, "Look at me, I am helping too."

By 8:40 pm just as abruptly as it started the helicopter made two big circles and said, “Thank you for your help. The child has been found.”

Recently I had an opportunity to take a four man delegation of Nigerian FEMA leaders around to various organizations in the Sacramento and San Francisco areas to show them how Californians respond to disasters. They said their overall problem in Nigeria with regards to disasters is APATHY. What an awesome thought to know that America is not a Country of Apathy. And just like our fore fathers, those many years ago, whom were willing to make a difference with their fellow man to fight for independence, that same spirit still flows through our veins today as we came together to look for a child that no one knew. Daniel’s parents will never know that a 40 year old man got up from his nap and spent a half hour looking for their child.

As Vincent, one of the Nigerian delegates was being dropped off at the San Francisco Airport he told me that people in Nigeria were praying for America. Well Vincent your prayers are being heard and thank you.

God has Blessed the USA with the men, women, and children who live here!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Join Me And Win!

Celebrate the arrival of summer with the Mom Central Summer Giveaway Bonanza! Each week, Mom Central will post new giveaways just for Moms and their families on We'll have tons of great prizes throughout the summer for you and all members of your family. Some of our giveaways include:

• Hoover Cyclonic Bagless Upright Vacuum: This new vacuum from Hoover removes more dirt than other cyclonic bagless vacuums due to its patented wind tunnel technology and embedded dirt finder. With power controls on the handle, it reduces bending to get to those hard-to-reach places and easily moves from hard floor to carpet.

• Crayola Play Sand: Transform an ordinary sandbox with a splash of color or design colorful art projects with a 20 lb. bag of Crayola Play Sand. The sand doesn't stain hands and features an easy-to-carry handle to make transporting easy on Moms.

• Jeep Tandem Stroller: Built to accommodate your growing family, the Tandem Traveler Stroller features sun canopies, reclining seat backs, car-seat adaptors, and cup holders that will leave you feeling like the coolest mommy on the block.

• Razor Jr. Electric Wagon: Put a modern spin on the classic wagon with the Razor Jr. Electric Wagon. Traveling safely at 2-3 miles per hour, parents have assistance while cruising the block.

Visit Mom Central, check out all the prizes, register and win!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happily Married

As you all know by now, Dave and I are very happily married. I know several other couples that are also very happy and they express their affection openly and abundantly. I asked Dave if he thought we were happy because we tell each other how we feel, and generally focus on being so.

We agreed that being happy is a choice. There are certainly things about each other that are mildly annoying, but it just seems that those things come along with a really great package, thus making them insignificant.

Here again, is evidence that those things you choose to focus on, grow. We focus on the things about each other that we first loved, learned about later and loved, and still have to find out about and expect to love. What about you? What do you choose to focus on in your marriage? I wish for you love and happiness!

Friday, June 26, 2009

The All American "Staycation"

Finally! They have created a name for how average folks spend their time off. I have to chuckle because Dave and I seem to be on the go a lot, but we're rarely far from home. We may be in Sonora, San Francisco, Truckee, Reno, maybe Las Vegas or Anaheim, and anyone I know would consider these trips vacations. I think the people who live in higher income brackets tend to really vacation, like in the form of a week or more at a time, getting on an airplane, needing a passport, and plenty of spending money along the way. We find so much joy in our little jaunts near home.

Not long ago, Dave had to leave for Millbrae, CA for a retention seminar for work. Since Mason is between preschool and kindergarten, we decided to tag along. For Mason, the hotel is the vacation! When I told him we were going with Dave, he immediately got excited, "Ma-ma, ma-ma, are we going to stay in a hotel?"
I nodded.
"Will the hotel have movies on the TV?" he went on.
"Yep." I replied.
"Will there be a bath tub in the bathroom?" He looked at me with big hopeful eyes.
"Ah, yeah..." That one was odd, we have two bath tubs at home.
"Yay!" he danced around the kitchen into the living room. "A bath tub! A bath tub!"
Whatever! I thought.
"Ma-ma, ma-ma, will there be a swimming pool at the hotel?" Mason continued.
"Yes." I answered.
"A bath tub and a swimming pool! Hooray! I love you ma-ma!" Mason crooned as he wrapped himself around my legs and squeezed and kissed with all his might. Yes, he kissed my legs. After all, why wouldn't he? We're treating him to a bath tub and a swimming pool!

What do you have in your life that you take for granted? I clearly have two bath tubs that seem like everyday fare. When in fact, from a child's point of view, a bath tub away from home ranks right up there with a swimming pool! I have to say, I agree with Mason, when I'm away from home, I like to have a bath tub, I don't have to clean before I use it!

For more really fun stuff, check out (@momcentral on twitter). Also visit for information on getting the cleanest bath tub possible at home!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"I'm A Yes Man!" - Guest Writer Amie Chilson

On my 32nd birthday I found myself stuck on the JFK tarmac for two extra hours due to a weather delay, en route to Madrid. After playing the, “It’s my birthday” card with the flight attendants, scoring a few free mini bottles of wine, I sat back and started the solo movie marathon on my way over the Atlantic: it was “Yes Man” starring Jim Carrey.

If you haven’t seen it yet…go rent it today! Through its silliness and moments of expected Jim Carey hilarity, the underlying message struck a chord with me. Carey plays a middle-aged, loan officer who leads an unextraordinary life and is accustomed to saying “no” to everything. He’s begun to alienate friends, never moves ahead in his career, and has developed a bad habit of closing himself off to life and all its opportunities. After attending a self-help seminar where attendees make a covenant to say “Yes” to everything…and anything, his life begins to transform in amazing and unexpected ways.

At face value, this flick is a predictably fun, brand of 90-minute, Jim Carey comedy. (And anyone who knows me knows I shy away from the Hollywood drool of endless, formulaic films!) Yet, I chose to watch the film 2.5 times and laughed like an idiot throughout–but why? Because I am “Yes Man” and have recently built my lifestyle around this value system.

2008 was a tough year for me in several ways; I buried two grandmothers, closed both my companies down, and nearly went bankrupt. I retreated into my metaphorical cave and shut down to most of the world. At the end of the year I vowed to make 2009 incredible and milk the most out of every day, while being open to the universe and all it had to offer. I created a “101 Things To Do in 2009” list, naming items as simple as: sampling more international cheeses, indulging in a house cleaner, and reading the Declaration of Independence, to more loftier goals such as visiting Thailand, completing my scuba certification and hiking the Grand Canyon. (The list was easier to develop than I thought…which means subconsciously lurking were all these things I’ve always wanted to experience, learn, and try!) Never again did I want to waste a year, and look back regretfully to say, “Damn, I didn’t do any of the things I wanted to accomplish! Where did the year go? And how utterly unremarkable it was…”

Since I made that covenant with myself at the end of 2008, my life has been purely magical! I recently took my husband on a wonderful month-long vacation to Spain where most of our lodging across the country was free; I’ve been invited to vacation in Fiji , Mexico , and India to study with a renowned Guru. Business opportunities have flooded my gates, I’ve met many new people and made wonderful friends, I find myself in great health and training for one of the hardest Triathlons nationwide, and I live each day with such zest and fascination. Sometimes it feels as if I’ve lived 3 days to the actual 1. As for the 101 List of To Do Items… I’ve been happily knocking them down by the dozens, and even created an ancillary 101 List!

What I’ve learned about myself during this 6-month experiment of saying “Yes to Life” is when I embrace being ‘open’, I expect something good to happen every time and it does. Being authentically ‘open’ also has forced me to become more empathic, less selfish, and more compassionate to others. It’s removed the ability to go through life ‘half-ass’ which is an easy to rut to fall into. We become busy, get comfortable, and even ease into laziness. (I know I did!) The good news is it is simple to pull ourselves out of the “No” coma. It’s as easy as saying “Yes” to little things, like smiling back at a stranger, answering an Unknown Caller ID phone call, or meeting your inbox of Evites with hopefulness vs. impatience.

In the movie, “Yes Man”, Carey changes his life in a matter of weeks and welcomes many new life experiences, people, and opportunities. In addition to falling in love, he gets promoted in his career, reconnects with his friends and inspires many different individuals. His unremarkable life has radically transformed, and he is a happier man for it. Carey also learns there is such a thing as ‘balance’ to strike in life with being constantly open to life and opportunities.

And that balance is important to keep in mind, as agreeing to all things is unreasonable and potentially dangerous. As I find myself mentally and verbally saying, “Yes” to most opportunities that flow my way, I still exercise instinct, fiscal prudence and my own version of life harmony. I will ignore the invite to pierce my nipples, not join a cult, and not invest all my money in what resembles a Ponzi scheme.

What I will do, is wake up tomorrow morning and breathe in the delicious moment of NOW, and energetically say “Yes” to what life has to offer me because I know it will be fantastic! I suggest you try it: who knows, the next “Yes” you say could lead to meeting the person of your dreams, making a new best friend, drop the next incredible business opportunity in your lap, or inspire your biggest idea ever.

Be a “Yes Man” with me.

Much Gratitude,
Amie Chilson

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

I know it's a day late, but Dad can use an extra day of appreciation. What did you do for your dad over the weekend? My dad passed a few years ago, but I have Dave's dad to honor. I don't know if he knows how much I appreciate him. He's been more like a father to me in the last eight years than my own dad was my whole life. I'm not putting my dad down, he did the best he could. He just didn't have great people skills and the best he had, he used on people who were not his family.

Dave's Dad has been a wonderful friend. We've talked about issues Dave and I went through, he was very supportive while Dave was in Iraq, and he's always putting forth a little extra effort when it comes to keeping in touch with Mason. I'm so lucky to have a father-in-law like Emil Partak. Happy Father's Day!

And for those of you who plan to comment, I know there's a boob-shot here. What better gift can we give the men in our lives? Laughing!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Look Good Feel Better

Look Good…Feel Better is a free, non-medical, brand-neutral, national public service program created to help individuals with cancer look good, improve their self-esteem, and manage their treatment and recovery with greater confidence.

Can you think of a better organization to align yourself with? When I learned about Look Good...Feel Better, I wanted to be a part of spreading the word to those I know who are currently battling this horrible illness. The good news is, as bad as cancer is, there are programs such as this one reaching out to help.

Look Good...Feel Better and the "Women of Hope is Beautiful" contest information is found on page:

Check out Look Good...Feel Better for yourself. See how you can get involved by donating or volunteering. Nothing feels as good as giving of yourself!

For more really great information, check out

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Don't Forget Dad!

Mom Central has their annual Father's Day Gift Guide out and wait until you see what they have! Great gifts under $25, $50, and over $100. There is something here for every budget!

What's especially cool is that you can click on each link and you are right there, shopping in the "Dad" section of the store! All the great things that guys like, are in one place and in your price range. Check it out and get dad something he's gonna really love!

Go to: Everything you need is right at your fingertips!

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