Motivational…The Optimist

(although a similar one has gone viral recently and credited to a retired teacher…this is the original, written by Irish author Kathleen O’Meara back in 1869, appearing in her book Iza’s Story)

And people stayed home
and read books and listened
and rested and exercised
and made art and played
and learned new ways of being
and stopped
and listened deeper
someone meditated
someone prayed
someone danced
someone met their shadow
and people began to think differently
and people healed
and in the absence of people who lived in ignorant ways,
dangerous, meaningless and heartless,
even the earth began to heal
and when the danger ended
and people found each other
grieved for the dead people
and they made new choices
and dreamed of new visions
and created new ways of life
and healed the earth completely
just as they were healed themselves.

Thanks to my cousin, Padraig, who lives in Galway for this one.

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday…crazy times!

A couple of Séamus Heaney quotes that my friend, Gina from Dublin, sent this past week….appropriate in these crazy times. Hang in there everyone!

“Hope is not optimism, which expects things to turn out well, but something rooted in the conviction that there is good worth working for.”

“If we can winter this one out, we can summer anywhere”

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday….Resilience in the face of fear

I follow this adorable, positive, 90 year old Italian Nonna on Instragram @liciafertz

...your grandparents were called to war…you’re being called to sit on the couch! You can do this!

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you stop to really look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along’…Eleanor Roosevelt

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday…Comeback!

Setback just gets you ready for your comeback…don’t stumble on something behind you!

Ruin is sometimes the road to transformation!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

FROM THE ARCHIVES….The Attitude of Gratitude & the Thank You Project

I posted this back in May of 2015…
and thought I’d repost…with some “tweaks.” Enjoy!

“If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”
– Meister Eckhart


Gratitude is something that needs to be practiced.  Yes, I’m a grateful person most of the time, and maybe you are too, but we all have times where we lapse into feelings of “oh, poor me!”  The great thing is that it’s so easy to turn that frown upside down…silly, but it just came to me & I had to write it!  Robert A. Emmons, Professor of Psychology at UC Davis, is an expert on gratitude and has done extensive studies, along with some colleagues, on the subject.  He says there is a difference between feeling grateful and the conscious choice of being grateful.  In other words, illness, death, divorce, joblessness are all very stressful events in one’s life and you can acknowledge that they suck, but still cultivate gratefulness and in doing so, help the situation and your feelings about it.  He continues that an attitude of gratitude is essential in getting through tough times and has the power to heal.  “To say we feel grateful is not to say that everything in our lives is necessarily great. It just means we are aware of our blessings.”  He offers these suggestions….

  • Remember the bad: Think back to when you were at a low point and remember how far you’ve come since then.
  • Re-frame the present: Don’t ignore the negativity of a painful event. Instead, find moments of gratitude — small glimmers of hope — that grew from the experience. This will help you gain perspective and encourage positivity where you least expect it.

….or maybe you’re just going about your daily life, without any turmoil or difficult event, but it’s still important to practice gratitude.  Here are some suggestions that I’ve gleaned from multiple websites (and my own practice)…just doing one will be a positive experience, I promise!

  • Write in a gratitude journal.  Studies have shown that doing this for just 3 weeks can increase happiness by 25%
  • Use a gratitude jar if you’re more of a visual person.  It can be as easy as writing one word or sentence on a little slip of paper and throwing them in a mason jar (read them whenever you need a little boost)….. or throwing your lose change in a jar while thinking about something your grateful for and then donating the money to charity when the jar is full.
  • Practice grateful thinking…maybe while meditating…or just while lying in bed before you start your day…or on your morning walk.  You’d be amazed that by doing this simple thing, consistently, your whole outlook on life will change.

Emmons also notes that practicing gratitude directly correlates with better functioning in life by taking control of happiness.  It also seems to compel people to give back to society, because they are so grateful for what they have.  Basically it’s a win, win for the world in general!

…here’s an old Ted Talk about happiness and gratitude…Enjoy!

I’m somewhat of a newbie when it comes to podcasts, and one of my favorites is called A Kind World. I recently listened to an episode called  The Thank You Project. about a woman, Nancy Davis Ko, who took a year and sent handwritten thank you notes. What a great, positive, easy thing to do, that in the end helped her and made her more grateful. As my daughter-in-law, Kate, taught me years ago, everybody loves to get snail-mail in this highly digital age. Listen to the podcast and start your own Thank You Project!


Are you unplugging for 24 hours??

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

A Fun Book Club…Finding Mrs. Ford

A few weeks back my sister, Mariellen, had a fun, delicious, interesting book club gathering with her bunco friends; our younger sister, JoAnn; and me…discussing the book Finding Mrs. Ford by Deborah Goodrich Royce. She met the author at the wedding of a friend’s son to Mrs. Royce’s daughter. After meeting at the wedding they followed each other on Instagram. Mariellen congratulated her on the July 2019 publication of her first book and Mrs. Royce messaged Mariellen, asking if she had a book club and, if so, would she be interested in having her come and speak….she would be in LA in January 2020.  Mariellen didn’t have a book club, but thought her bunco group would be interested in reading the book and also meeting & discussing it with the author. That’s how the Finding Mrs. Ford book party was born!

The picturesque setting for the book is set in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, where Mrs. Royce has a summer home and connections in the community….juxtaposed against the locale of Detroit, MI, also in the book. Kirkus Reviews calls Finding Mrs. Ford “A compelling, well-written thriller with an effective, twisty plot.” …and I couldn’t agree more. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s got intrigue and suspense…and it’s a fast read. Like any good book, I learned a few things. Have you ever heard of Chaldeans?

As is the case with all of Mariellen’s gathering of friends & family, it was warm and inviting. The attention to detail, from the invitations to the clever food choices to the parting gifts, was second to none. The book cover is of beautiful, white hydrangea, set on a blue background…and that was the launching point for the evening’s theme. Here’s a little pictorial journey of our evening with the author…

It was so interesting meeting & chatting with Deborah, hearing about how a book is born, the 5 year process and painstaking details & research she had to go through to bring her book to fruition. It always makes a book party more interesting when you hear about the process and background of how a novel comes to life. Thanks to Deborah and Mariellen for an interesting, engaging evening. A great time was had by all!!

Friday night to Saturday night is the 24-hour National Day of Unplugging! Buy the book today and have it delivered by Friday so you can unplug and read!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday….Today…and Tomorrow

This is a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this before!…Maya Angelou

Ellen DeGeneres recently asked her guests Pete Buttigieg and Trevor Noah (on different esisodes, not together), something to the effect “How do you stay positive in the present political climate? I loved both of their resposives..and it gives me hope.
“They call candidates “Presidential hopefuls” which just says that we’re hopeful it will get better and it’s up to all of us to vote in order to determine the outcome we’re hoping for.”…Pete Buttigieg
“When processing politics…remember, there was a time before & there will always be a time after. People tell us to live in the present, but if you’re not careful you only live in the present and then you act as if the present will be forever, and that’s not the case”…Trevor Noah

Tomorrow is voting day here in California….get out there…
you can’t complain if you don’t vote!!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday….Solitude

Never stop mastering the art of enjoying your own company.

…and if you happen to be talking to yourself,
I always say, “Well, you’re in good company!”

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday…Greener Grass??

Be so busy watering your own grass,
that you don’t notice if someone else’s is greener.

“If the grass looks greener on the other side, it might just be life reminding you to water the grass you’re standing on”…marcandangel


You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Foodie Friday…Chinese New Year Eggroll

A week ago one of my co-workers brought in some home-made Chinese dumplings and they were so delish! It brought back memories of my mom’s eggroll recipe, that I loved but hadn’t made in over 10 years. Saturday was the official start of Chinese New Year and I was born in the year of the rat, so what better time to make that eggroll again! It’s super easy, makes a lot, and they freeze nicely too.

Mom’s Eggroll
(her basic recipe with some tweaks from me)

vegetable/canola oil
1 lb Jimmy Dean regular sausage
2 frozen cubes crushed ginger
3 frozen cubes crushed garlic (obviously you can use fresh ginger & garlic, but I just use the Dorot frozen from TJ’s…so much easier)
1 tsp sesame oil
1/8 cup soy sauce (less or more to your taste)
1 tsp sugar
pinch of salt & pepper
1 TBS cornstarch
1/2 pkg tri color bag coleslaw
4 or 5 stalks celery…diced into small pieces
3 to 4 green onions, chopped
1 pkg large wontons (they come in packs of 20)
1 egg and a little water combined for an eggwash
optional: my mom always added bean sprouts, but I didn’t feel like it for this recipe

Put a little oil in a pan. Add garlic and ginger and cook for about a minute. Add sausage, breaking it up, and brown until it’s not pink anymore. Mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, S&P…add to pork mixture. Heat for a few minutes to combine. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the pork and mix together to thicken the sauce (add more cornstarch if necessary so it’s not too liquidy…too much liquid will F-up your finished eggroll).

Put the coleslaw, celery and onions in a large bowl. Pour the hot sausage over the vegies and mix it all together thoroughly (this helps wilt the vegies, but the celery still has some crunch).

Line one cookie sheet with parchment paper & have another ready with a wire rack on top. Take one eggroll/wonton wrapper and place it on the counter with one of the corners facing you. Add about 3 TBS of the sausage filling. Brush the outside edges with the egg wash. Fold up the corner near you, then fold in the sides, and finally roll it tightly like a little burritto, sealing the final corner. (you can look at youtube videos to see how to roll up eggrolls tightly) Line them up on the parchment cookie sheet until done with filling. Mine made about 17, so I had some extra wrappers to just cut up and make some wonton chips.

My mom always deep fried the eggroll, which were delicious, but so greasy. I looked up different methods of cooking eggroll and did a hybrid of sorts. Preheat oven to 425F. Pour about 1/2 inch oil in pan and get it pretty hot, but not smoking (some websites say 350F, but I just used a couple of the extra won ton triangles and threw them in to test) When it seemed the perfect temp I started adding the eggroll. I could get about 6 in my cast iron pan at a time. Fry each side for a minute or so, or until crispy and golden…flip and do the same on the other side. Transfer to the wire rack on the cookie sheet. When all of the eggroll are done, put them in the oven for about 10 minutes or so, which crisps them up even more.

That’s it! They’ll be hot, so be careful and let them sit out a bit. I froze a bunch and will recrisp in the oven when I’m ready to eat them. Had one the next day for lunch and it was as good as the day I made them! I just ate them as is, but you can also dip them in your favorite sauce.

I brought a couple over to my sister’s and she reminded me that the day I made them (Jan 25th) would have been my mom’s 90th birthday. Coincidence? I think NOT!!

Gung hay fat choy

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!