Sunday, August 22, 2010

Be Kinder than Necessary...

Today's quote is Be kinder than necessary, because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.
And now, since it's Sunday, a quick refresher course on Proverbs and something to make us laugh:
A 1st grade school teacher had twenty-six students in her class. She presented each child in her classroom the 1st half of a well-known proverb and asked them to come up with the remainder of the proverb. It's hard to believe these were actually done by first graders. Their insight may surprise you.
1. Don't change horses Until they stop running.
2. Strike while the Bug is close.
3. It's always darkest before Daylight Saving Time.
4. Never underestimate the power of Termites.
5. You can lead a horse to water but How?
6. Don't bite the hand that Looks dirty.
7. No news is Impossible
8. A miss is as good as a Mr.
9. You can't teach an old dog new Math
10. If you lie down with dogs, you'll Stink in the morning.
11. Love all, trust Me.
12. The pen is mightier than the Pigs.
13. An idle mind is The best way to relax.
14. Where there's smoke there's Pollution.
15. Happy the bride who Gets all the presents.
16. A penny saved is Not much.
17. Two's company, three's The Musketeers.
18. Don't put off till tomorrow what You put on to go to bed.
19. Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and You have to blow your nose.
20. There are none so blind as Stevie Wonder.
21. Children should be seen and not Spanked or grounded.
22. If at first you don't succeed Get new batteries.
23. You get out of something only what you See in the picture on the box
24. When the blind lead the blind Get out of the way.
25. A bird in the hand Is going to poop on you.
26. Better late than Pregnant

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Summer of Reading...and Renewal

All summer long, I’ve been reading about women’s hormones, in an effort to solve my own perplexing health issues and help other women to understand how hormones affect every aspect of our lives. Namely, when our hormones are out of balance, we are out of balance. (For more detailed information on this, see my PMDD blog.) The information I provide in my blogs is not new, but unless you go looking for it, it’s not at the forefront of your awareness. Lots of shows, articles, and advertisements talk about balance these days, but what do they really know or tell you about it? Other than that their product will help you find your balance.

Not. If your hormones aren’t balanced from within, no external product is going to do it for you. No food, no drink, no cream, no supplement, no drug, no weekend away, no meditation, seminar, book, class, exercise program, or visit to your local energy healer is going to put you back in balance. That’s not to say any or all of these things can’t be beneficial in and of themselves, and for other health reasons. But they will not put you back into balance.

Just ask me. I’ve tried them all. I should be the most balanced person on the planet by now. I am not.

Do not take this to mean I am unbalanced :). That is also something I am not :).

Anyway, I’ve been spending the week getting my files and shelves organized with all my health and wellness information. It’s all starting to come together in a really good and positive way, and I am pleased with my progress of late.

But to do that, I pretty much had to give up everything else. In the month since we returned from South Dakota, I haven’t been socializing, either on the loops or in person. I’ve been going to church and that’s about it. In and out. My main source of conversation is my son, which is fine with me, since he will be returning to school in two weeks and then those days of long, lazy conversations will be over until next summer, maybe forever, if he suddenly finds a girlfriend or best friend to confide in.

I’ve also started taking Qigong classes, something I’ve wanted to do for well over 15 years. That, however, takes a big chunk out of my week, as the class is not nearby. I still walk at the Y, but not as much as I did during my 200 miles in 100 days walking challenge. My diet has changed so much over the summer I have no desire to go out to eat any more. The food is way too sweet, salty, and greasy for me. Even the supposedly healthy dishes. I’ll take home half a portion, and the next day see all that hardened fat….

Anyway, I appear to be going through a period of rebirth and renewal, growth and change, and it’s not done yet. But it’s keeping me busy and healthy, and curious to see what treasures each new day will bring.

Back to my cave, now. Much reading to do today….

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Make a Blue Rose Smile Today...

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”~ Maya Angelou

I received the story below in an email from a friend, and so am sharing this here today. May you be blessed enough to encounter many blue roses in your life...

Having four visiting family members, the wife was very busy, so I offered to go to the store for her to get some needed items, which included light bulbs, paper towels, trash bags, detergent, and Clorox. So off I went.

I scurried around the store, gathered up my goodies, and headed for the checkout counter, only to be blocked in the narrow aisle by a young man who appeared to be about sixteen-years-old. I wasn't in a hurry, so I patiently waited for the boy to realize that I was there. This was when he waved his hands excitedly in the air and declared in a loud voice, "Mommy, I'm over here."

It was obvious now, he was mentally challenged, and also startled as he turned and saw me standing so close to him, waiting to squeeze by. His eyes widened and surprise exploded on his face as I said, "Hey Buddy, what's your name?"

"My name is Denny and I'm shopping with my mother," he responded proudly.

"Wow," I said, "that's a cool name; I wish my name was Denny, but my name is Steve."

"Steve, like Stevarino?" he asked.

"Yes," I answered. "How old are you Denny?"

"How old am I now, Mommy?" he asked his mother as she slowly came over from the next aisle.

"You're fifteen-years-old Denny; now be a good boy and let the man pass by."

I acknowledged her and continued to talk to Denny for several more minutes about summer, bicycles, and school. I watched his brown eyes dance with excitement because he was the center of someone's attention. He then abruptly turned and headed toward the toy section.

Denny's mom had a puzzled look on her face and thanked me for taking the time to talk with her son. She told me that most people wouldn't even look at him, much less talk to him. I told her that it was my pleasure and then I said something I have no idea where it came from, other than by the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

I told her that there are plenty of red, yellow, and pink roses in God's Garden; however, "Blue Roses" are very rare and should be appreciated for their beauty and distinctiveness. You see, Denny is a Blue Rose and if someone doesn't stop and smell that rose with their heart and touch that rose with their kindness, then they've missed a blessing from God.

She was silent for a second, then with a tear in her eye she asked, "Who are you?"

Without thinking I said, "Oh, I'm probably just a dandelion but I sure love living in God's garden."

She reached out, squeezed my hand, and said, "God bless you!" and then I had tears in my eyes.

May I suggest that the next time you see a BLUE ROSE, don't turn your head and walk off. Take the time to smile and say Hello. Why? Because, by the grace of GOD, this mother or father could be you. This could be your child, grandchild, niece, or nephew. What a difference a moment can mean to that person or their family.

From an old dandelion!

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Guest Author, Stephanie Burkhart

Today I'd like to welcome fellow Bookspa member and friend Stephanie Burkhart. Stephanie is a prolific writer, with books written in several genres, (check out her website for all the wonderful titles!) but today we're featuring her children's book The Giving Meadow, the story of a very special caterpillar. Stephanie is also participating with me and countless other authors in the Long and Short Reviews Third Anniversary Celebration that gives you a chance to win a Nook and a $50 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble. For more information on that, go here. Good luck and Happy Reading!
I just want to thank Liana for having me today on my blog tour for my children's book, "The Giving Meadow."

Just a little about me: I was born in Manchester, NH but live in Castaic, California with my husband, Brent, and two sons, Andrew and Joseph. I have fond memories of Manchester, but have made California my home. I earned a BS in political science from California Baptist University in 1995.

I have been writing since I was 5, first making homemade comic books. Now, I work on creating short stories and novels. I spent 11 years in the US Army and over 7 years in Germany. Writing is a passion that still challenges me. The Giving Meadow is my first children's book and my first book with 4RV Publishing.


The Giving Meadow is about a caterpillar who hatches from his egg in the middle of a meadow. As he travels through the meadow, he meets new friends who learn the value of sharing.


I go to Blessed Kateri Catholic Church (in Santa Clarita, CA) and I'm involved in our Sunday Preschool program. We call it Little Church. The program works with 3, 4, and 5-year-olds. I help to teach the 3's along with 3 other talented ladies, Shirley Chang, Maureen Dunahoo, and Mary Tesselaar. Every year I help to write the Easter play for the children. In 2009, "The Giving Meadow" was our Easter play.

After I wrote it, I showed Vivian at 4RV. She's also a moderator at and I wanted her feedback on the story. She offered it a contract! I was tickled pink. It was a nice, unexpected surprise. I can't thank Vivian (Gilbert Zabel, publisher, 4RV Publishing) for believing in the story and wanting to bring it to life.

"The Giving Meadow" is wonderfully illustrated by Stephen Macquignon. Stephen primarily works in the medium of pen and ink and color digitally. He has had the privilege to work with Director Michael Sporn of Michael Sporn Animation Inc. He is also a monthly contributor for Stories for Children's magazine.

Stephen's children's books with 4RV Publishing include Angeline Jellybean by Crystalee Calderwood and Colors by Dana Warren.

"The First Flag of New Hampshire," by Stephanie, will be released by 4RV Publishing next year. It is a TW/Young Adult story.

Leave a post here on the blog. I'll pick two lucky winners to receive an autographed postcard of the cover. I'll also be giving out an autographed copy of the book. Winners will be drawn out of a hat, and I'll return on 13 AUG to announce them.












"Romance Under the Moonlight."
4RV Publishing
Desert Breeze Publishing.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wrapping up Our Summer Vacation

So let me finish up with our vacation :). We spent another fun day visiting a quartzite quarry and then a cheesy ghost town. First, the quarry. We took a bus down deep into the quarry, where they were preparing to dynamite that afternoon. The quarry is full of Sioux quartzite, which is what Sioux Falls is built on, so it's plentiful and it's cheap. It’s so cheap there you can get it for around $10 a ton. An hour away, you might pay $20 a ton, and more the farther away you go, but locally this beautiful pink rock is incredibly cheap, so it is used in many building projects, which leaves you with pink buildings, sidewalks, and roads. Some are overtly pink, others simply tinged with pink. But everywhere you look, you see shades of pink.

After we went down into the quarry, we toured the place where all that rock is ground up into smaller and smaller sizes, from 6 inch rocks to 4 inch rocks, to 2-inch rocks and gravel. (They even make pink sand there.) The quarry also does a lot of recycling. We saw huge piles of used concrete and asphalt, along with freshly ground mountains of pink, gray, tan, and black stones. Some people on our bus were locals, who had attended an elementary school nearby, and told of how the children would cover their heads when the quarry dynamited, as the building would shake and dust would filter down from the ceiling. A roller skating rink also used to be in the vicinity, and each time after they dynamited, the quarry would have to send workers over to help put the roller skates back on the shelf, as they would roll off from the vibrations.

The ghost town we saw was just that. A ghost town. At one time it was someone’s great passion, and you could see that he put his heart and soul into it, but that was twenty years ago, and my guess is he grew older and couldn’t keep the place up, and his family doesn't share his passion for western history. So what was designed to be a replica of an old ghost town has indeed become one. It’s sad, as the information there was fascinating, but the displays and mannequins had been exposed to the elements way too long, and things were either rusted, rotting, or falling apart. Clothes were shredded on the mannequins, leaving them looking like zombies. In all, it had a creepy Halloween feel to it, and I was glad we were there during broad daylight :).

After the quarry and before the ghost town, though, my son and I took a trolley ride around town, got off at Sioux Falls park, and had a relaxing cup of coffee at an outdoor cafe overlooking Sioux Falls. (if you click on the link, scroll past the three maps to see the photos of the Falls.)
Afterward we went up into the observation tower overlooking the town and the falls, and could have bought our own piece of Sioux quartzite at the gift shop for a dollar, but we passed. Didn't seem right to pay $1 for one rock, when we knew we could get a ton of them for $10 :).

On a different day we attempted to visit the South Dakota Art Museum, on the campus of South Dakota State University, but when we got there, we discovered only one of the seven galleries was open, due to renovations. One gallery didn’t take long to get through, but they did have a nice gift shop, and I did end up buying some art created by local homeless women as Christmas presents for friends. We then wandered down the street to the nearby SDSU Agricultural Heritage Museum, which once again I found fascinating. Not so much the tractors and farm implements, but they'd apparently commissioned a local artist to draw cartoons about what life was like on the farm, which made reading about it much more interesting than reading a simple plaque.

The highlight of the day, however, was visiting the SDSU Dairy Sales Bar, an ice cream shop in the Dairy Micro building of the SDSU campus. There, students made their own ice cream from cows in the Dairy program on campus. It was, I swear, the best ice cream I have ever tasted. (And I have managed to pass up any and all ice cream since, because it made even my die-hard favorite all-natural brand taste like nothing but sugar.)

This ice cream tasted like the ice cream of my youth. I haven’t had a butter pecan that tasted like that in years. They gave us huge servings, and for very little money. I told my son they have all a college student needs to survive here—lots of calories for cheap, and cheap coffee.

After that, we walked through McCrory Gardens (the horticulture part of the campus) to let our ice cream settle. In all, it was another fine day in South Dakota. We were blessed. Because while everyone was frying back home and out on the east coast, we had the best weather you could imagine for our trips and tours.

Until we tried to come home, and storms in Detroit and mechanical difficulties caused us first to be diverted, then delayed, then cancelled and rescheduled by Delta Air Lines, and in all spend 30 hours getting home for a trip that took us only four hours on the way out there. I was NOT planning on sleeping in my clothes in some strange hotel in Minneapolis, no sir, but that is what happened.

But even that was a learning experience, for my son if not for me. I've been stranded before, a few times. Now he'll know what it feels like, and know there's not a whole lot you can do about it when you're at the mercy of an airline. What I want to know, however, is why when they give you a meal voucher, it never covers the cost of even the simplest meal at the airport. Surely they know what things cost in those terminal shops.

But I'll save my sour grapes for another day. In all, we had a wonderful time in South Dakota, and would go back again in a heartbeat. It's a very beautiful and creative place. I left with a whole new appreciation for life on the prairie, then and now.