Word with the Wise Wednesday: Brenda Puckett

1. What important life lessons have you learned so far?
Seek first to understand and not to be understood.  Living by this principle makes life an exciting and inspirational journey.  Also, I have learned the importance of focusing my energy into the aspects of life that I am responsible for... I don't waste time worrying about things I cannot control.  

2. How is the world today different or similar to what it was like when you were a child?
I wish video cameras were as prevalent then as they are now.  It would be really nice to view video footage of myself as a child.  Also, I notice the dynamic of some parents today who refuse to allow children to experience life's consequences and fail forward. I see that and my heart goes out to the children because they are missing out on learning valuable life lessons when the cost per lesson is relatively low.  Regarding my hometown, Tulsa, things and people are pretty similar to what they were when I was a child.  

3. What has been your hardest lesson to date?
That you cannot make someone love you.  I learned this at an early age--early 20's-- and this revelation was and has been very enlightening: "It is ok, this person cannot be made to love me... and I can let them go."

4.  What is the one thing you want people to remember about you?
That I stay optimistic, evolve with the times and inspire others to do better, be their best self.

As you can tell, Brenda is a rockstar!!! We met back in the day when I was teaching and coaching in the public school system.  She is a go-getter who is dynamic, fabulous and fun!  Whenever we're together, we laugh hysterically and have authentic conversation.  Brenda is the type of person who makes a positive impact in whatever space she occupies.  Whenever I leave her presence, I feel encouraged, inspired and invigorated.  Brenda has many talents... I appreciate her love for and knowledge of dance.  She is a dance coach extraordinaire who has nurtured MANY accomplished collegiate and professional dancers.  She is also a dynamic, savvy and trustworthy Realtor who has assisted close friends (and me too!) with buying/selling a home.  If you or anyone you know needs help with house huntin' or sellin',  send em her way.  She's the bomb.com...  Pinky Promise!                 


In honor of teachers everywhere-- Secondary Edition

In order according to appearance, here are my favorite Secondary teachers:

1. Pam Rector-- high school... cannot remember what grade now (9th maybe?)
She showed up everyday with a happy heart and a genuine smile in my first hour class. Everyday. First hour. I am not exaggerating. I thought she was the happiest woman on Earth. I knew that her happiness was sincere so I cherished the expression and appreciated it tremendously. Even one time I can clearly remember that she was having a bad day and she said (holding back tears) that she was going to be optimistic even in the face of adversity. I've never forgotten that day because her words literally infused me with hope. Her strength gave me strength and in that moment I knew that I too would choose optimism. Always. In addition to her contagiously awesome personality, she nourished my thirst for literature with remarkable reads like Rebecca by Daphne duMaurier and Hamlet. Her love for the stories compelled me to read and now that I think about her happy heart and brilliant smile, I realize that she was a tremendous influence on my classroom demeanor back in the day when I was a teacher.

2. Michelle Shepard-- high school Marketing teacher and DECA sponsor
Affectionately called "Mama Shep," she was (and probably still is) equal parts Golden Retriever, Cocker Spaniel ...and Pit Bull. I mean that in a good way. Really. Golden Retriever: she thoroughly enjoyed life, loved to laugh and have fun. Cocker Spaniel: she was (and still is) the reason the phrase cute as a button was coined. Pit Bull: she had no problem letting you know who was running the show should you experience a momentary lapse of sanity.  In her classroom, we worked hard, played hard and were essentially a family. She was always tough but loving, honest and sincere. The love was truly palpable. I took my first plane ride across the country with her and enjoyed DECA competitions at the regional and national level. We cleaned up with awards too, which had much to do with the whole working hard mantra. At an early age, I learned the art, psychology and purpose of marketing. I still believe that I can sell a ketchup popsicle to a lady wearing white gloves because of the marketing expertise I was so fortunate to receive. And even though I don't sell a thing as far as a professional career is concerned, I cannot emphasize how those years of Marketing have made me a savvy consumer with Jedi-like critical thinking skills.  I owe it all to Mama Shep.

3. Bumper Reese-- high school
I honestly do not remember the name of the class though I am pretty sure it was an elective. I do however remember his wonderful stories and life lessons that he taught us. He was a cool teacher who wasn't afraid to buck the system. He never gave us busy work. We had to complete our assignments, take our test and then we could do whatever we wanted to (within reason, of course) at our desk. This was a mid-day class for me and it was nice to have some time to talk and laugh with friends, get an assignment done for a later class or start on my homework. His attitude was get your work done first and foremost, then play. He was a football coach with loads of real life wisdom that he shared often. He was rather muscular and handsome so all of us girls were goo-goo eyed over him. He never let it go to his head and really didn't seem to care because he was head over heels in love with his wife. I can still remember his expressions whenever he spoke about her. It was obvious that he adored her, which of course made us girls all the more goo-goo eyed, but like I said, he didn't care.  Just the thought of his faithful devotion still makes me smile. I also remember when he had a child and it was very cool to see a different kind of twinkle in his eye all of a sudden.

4. Trice Butler-- college professor
She was like a mom away from home + a loving teacher who pushed me to always do my absolute best. I admired her strength, wealth of knowledge and honesty. Still do. She was also my Academic Advisor so she counseled me through many pivotal college and career decisions. I didn't always listen to her sage advice, but she loved me anyway and even though she always turned out to be right, she never rubbed it in my face. I still keep in touch with her and always will.

5. Kay Meyers-- college professor
Hilarious tell it like it is professor who modeled, welcomed and encouraged innovative thinking.  I thrived in her classroom.  Another mom away from home who nurtured me mentally and emotionally. She always used real life application in addition to the course material during lecture and discussion. I truly appreciated the lively debate and discussion that took place within her classroom because it taught me the art of conversation.

Honorable Mentions:

Linda Gray-- college professor/English Gangsta
Old English, conjugation, etymology, passage analysis, history of the English language, copywriting, technical writing, anything to do with writing... She taught me how to do it all. She is the Godfather mother of the English language, which makes me the Goddaughter, I guess ;D

Garnell Riddle & Ayn Grubb-- these ladies were my dynamic duo regarding student teaching and real classroom application. I seriously gained (at the very least) a decade of teaching experience sitting under these two. From seeing Harry Wong's book, First Days of School played out in real time to running a classroom with high academic standards where true learning takes place, these two seasoned veterans showed me how to walk the ropes and then gave me wings. These ladies are/were Master Teachers who were passionate, knowledgeable and relevant.  I cherish the time that I spent with them and now I realize it is one thing to study under a Master and another to have a Master willingly pour into your life while you study. They were both Master Teachers who willingly poured into me. I am grateful for the lessons, the laughter and the enduring love.

These awesome educators positively impacted my life.  
You can check out In honor of teachers everywhere-- Primary Edition here.

Who are your favorite teachers?

In honor of school teachers everywhere--Primary Edition

Here are my favorite teachers from Pre-K through middle school: 

1. My Granny-- She taught me my ABCs and 123s.  I stayed with her while my mom was at work and she taught me how to cook, clean, sing, play piano, and read.  We went to the store together, ate french fries at Central Park together, laughed together, talked, and watched Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy... together.  We played Bible Lotto and she taught me songs like "Amazing Grace" and "Jesus Loves Me." When I did start public school, she was the one who helped me get out the door and on the bus in time.  When I came home from school every day, her face greeted me as she opened the door.  She was and still is like a second mother to me.  

2. Bettye Johnson -- My kindergarten teacher
Love love love her.  She has a special place in my heart because she was a very sweet-spirited lady who loved us all as if she were our mother.  Truly everything I needed to know I learned in kindergarten from her.  I found her on Facebook just the other day and sent her a sincerely sappy and sweet message straight from my heart.  Love eternal for Bettye Johnson... and "love" here is such an understatement.

3. Cerita Glenn -- 2nd grade 
Initially, she had me at the fact that our first names were somewhat similar.   I had just moved to a new state and was therefore in a brand new school.  Potentially this could have been a vulnerable time; however, I remember this awesome teacher loved on and nurtured me bigtime.  She definitely helped to make my transition fun, simplistic and sweet.   Life in her classroom produced a wonderful school year which included tremendous learning, new friendships and playing the handbells during music class.  (Yes, you just read handbells... and I *seriously* enjoyed playing them.)  I don't know where she is, which makes me a teensy bit sad because I would love for her to know just how I adore her and what a major impact she made on my life.  Holler if you know her, mk?

4. Eleanor Calloway--4th grade
(ha and I didn't do that on purpose... #4, 4th grade teacher)
Classy, intelligent, sophisticated-yet-down-to-Earth lady.  I admired her tremendously.  She was sharp, sassy, fun and unforgettable.  When she made a point, it was crystal clear and the memory stuck.  She treated all of us as if we were gifted and required our best effort.  She set high standards of excellence for us and didn't take no mess!  Encouragement, laughter and learning were the triad of her classroom.  I don't know where Ms. Eleanor Calloway is either, but I hope one day I can tell her how she was a bright star in my sky.  

5. Jeraldine Sims--6th grade
Tough love.  Focus.  Discipline.  Hard work.  Jeraldine Sims was no joke.  Doesn't her name just sound like she don't play around?  I can still remember the first day of class with her because I was scared.  Talking during class?  One look from her could make you shut your mouth, squeeze your sphincter muscles and get back on task simultaneously.  Even though she sorta scared me, I loved her old school values and her tough love.  She talked to us about staying focused on our studies rather than knuckleheads of the opposite sex.  Several times when I was on the cusp of what could have quickly turned into a shady situation, she appeared (seemingly out of thin air...) and told me to get to where ever I was supposed to be in a tone that closely resembled a combination of both my Mom and my Granny.  *Cue sphincter muscles and exit stage right.*   

Honorable Mentions:

Linda Correy (sp?)-- elementary school music teacher extraordinaire. I have always loved music and she nurtured my love for music so tenderly. I ALWAYS looked forward to music class... the songs, the instruments, the music theory and choir performances. I can still remember singing this song at the start of class, "Follow follow me in a line in a line. Follow follow me we will go this way...Follow follow me we will stop our feet, look into the circle, it looks so neat." And, I still remember singing our school song, "Lakeside Lucky" ... which I believe she wrote.  The singer in me simply adored this music teacher. 

Librarian @Lakeside Elementary--cannot remember her name :( but I do remember that she wore braces on both legs. She regularly read aloud to my class and as a result we were a completely captivated audience. Her reading nurtured my love of books and reading. I can still see her lovely face and hear her voice reading with emotion, emphasis and exceptional character expression.

Click here for the Secondary Edition :)

These are a few of my favorite reads

photograph courtesy of Jadyn Noelle Photography

I am a voracious reader.  Always have been.  Always will be.  I have hundreds *seriously* of favorite books, but since that's probably a bit much for one list, I decided to share ten.  In no particular order, here are some of my fav reads: 

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
2. Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne
3. Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge
4. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
5. (ALL the) Boundaries (books) by Dr.  Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend
6. Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey
7. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
8. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
9. The Shack by William P. Young
10. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

plus a few Honorable Mentions: 
The Art of Extreme Self-Care by Cheryl Richardson
So Long, Insecurity by Beth Moore
The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

What are some of your favorite reads?

I am a Worshipper

photograph courtesy of Jadyn Noelle Photography

In recent years, I have come to realize and truly embrace the depth of my desire to worship someone or something.  I don't literally mean bowing down to when I use the word worship here.  Worship means my thoughts, feelings and emotions revolve around or figuratively bow down to ____.  Just want you to have the context of what I mean when I say worship... 

Initially, I attempted to worship some things like achievements, clothes, make-up, feelings, knowledge, fitness, and various trends.  After that didn't work so well, I focused more on people worship: friends, family, approval of others and "celebrities."  That was a hotmessfail too.  

So finally, I have realized and accepted this fact: I am a Worshipper.  In fact, I was created to worship.  For me that means writing, singing, loving my friends and fam, appreciating the beauty of a flower, the full moon (insert howl here) or a sunset.  It means that I help others, give generously, let go when necessary and forgive time and time again. I smile real big, laugh real hard, encourage others, love and accept people for who they are and live my life according to my beliefs and standards.  I try new things, make mistakes and keep moving forward with  a smile on my face and a grateful heart.  I hope that my life and my actions will ultimately express divine light and love.  For a few years there, I attempted to squelch my desire to worship because when I could not find fullness in people and things, I figured my need was incorrect.  Hogwash!  The need to worship is deep within us all.  We desire an unshakable bond of unconditional love to anchor us.  We are looking for someone or something to love and revere (read: worship).  The voyage is fundamentally about love, hope and redemption; all the stops on the road to acceptance are necessary checkpoints.  The journey is meant to bring us back home to a heart of worship that is anchored solely in the infallible, immovable, righteous and loving Creator.  For once in my life, I know who and what to worship.  God.  It's simply profound, really.  Unlike my previous mediocre attempts to deify common nouns, this worship always feels rooted, grounded and centered.  Even during the storms of life I'm anchored.  And I can shout* about it right now.  I am a Worshipper.  You are too. 

What will you choose to worship and adore?

p.s. shout here means get ya dance on because you're feeling the depth of the message.  You know it's real because you've lived it and you just might throw your back out to prove it.  This is not so much gyrating for Jesus ... well, maybe it is... First, you get goose bumps or your back arches involuntarily and next thing you know, you're getting your shout on...  Here shout means an instinctive (yet rhythmic) expression of gratitude and thanksgiving.  Just want you to know it has nothing to do with speaking loudly to another person.  ;D 

Foolywank Friday: Acting like Democrats or Republicans can really fix all our problems.

Let me begin this post by saying that I believe in the idea of democracy and I am truly grateful for my country and the quality of life that I experience here.  I exercise and appreciate my right to vote; however, I have noticed this simple pattern that the majority of politicians seem to follow:  

Promises Made --> Promises Broken --> Blame Game Begins  *repeat*

I have watched this cycle more times than I can count and I'm pretty much over it.  Polarizing, extremist diatribes and the vitriolic speech I am hearing from both (Democrat and Republican) camps is no longer acceptable.  For years (YEARS) candidates from both sides of the fence have failed to deliver.  In theory, politics should be simple; however, with lobbyists, agendas, affiliations and special interest groups, things get really complicated rather quickly.  All these complications seem to cause a chasm between our elected officials and we the people.  

I am often flabbergasted by the faith that people place in mere men and women.  Flabbergasted.  All of our hopes and dreams were never meant to be placed in the hands of man.  Never.  Man* (including Democrats and Republicans) cannot fix all of man's problems.  The power of man alone is simply not enough because our problems run deep.  Way deep.  Most of the issues we are facing as a country center around matters of the heart: lust, greed, envy, pride, selfishness, gluttony, and anger.  And hate it or love it, it is impossible to legislate morality (matters of the heart).  I'm not saying give up and have no laws, either.  Obviously laws are necessary; however, matters of the heart are are meant to be governed by an inner standard of character, community standards, discipleship and ultimately a personal and life changing encounter with God.

Today I am wondering what happened to WE the people facing these issues TOGETHER as a country?  I believe in debate and lively discussion.  We are supposed to rally and champion for beliefs and causes near and dear to our heart; however, I do not believe in an US vs. THEM mentality nor do I believe name-calling, personal insults, attacks or blaming ONE person (which could be any of the following: H.W. Bush, Clinton, W. or Obama, depending upon your political affiliation) for ALL the problems we are facing and experiencing today.    

We are facing problems that have been years in the making.  Years... as in decades.  So again, blaming our President or any other individual is ludicrous.  

Seriously, what is it with the blame game?  It's old as the Garden of Eden... 
Is that the reason why we have allowed Blame to hang around so long when it does not accomplish anything?  We do not allow our children to do it, so why give ourselves or politicians a pass?  It is past time to stop and now seems like as good a time as any to give the blame game eternal rest.

Complaining, blaming, venting, spewing hot air... it's like sharing your cold with someone in the hopes that it will make you feel better.  Foolwanky, right?  Right.  Because at the end of it all, you still have the cold and now you've given someone else a cold too.  Engaging in divisive, blame-laden behavior accomplishes absolutely nothing.  It seems as if we have mistaken bashing and blaming someone with discussing and discovering real solutions, which is a FAIL of epic proportions.  

What if we agreed to discuss the issues (sans name calling, blame, personal attacks and anger) and treat one another with love and respect?  Imagine what would happen if we crossed political lines to pool our energy, ideas and resources to come up with viable solutions?  What if WE the people actually became the change that we so strongly wish to see?  
Even if I disagree with you, I don't have to berate you as a fellow human being because we are both worthy of love of respect.  I am not better than you and you are not better than me.  We are all the same in God's eyes.  Once upon a time, people did not agree on everything politically speaking and they still showed one another decency, courtesy and (adhered to the basic principles of) respect.  I saw this with my own eyes growing up.  

If you are one of those people who refer to someone as an "idiot" (or any other name) just because they do not agree with you, it's really time to re-think that.  What happened to caring about, finding out about that person's background, knowing their story and sharing yours so you both can discuss the issues and find solutions rather than resort to name calling a la 2nd grade?  Has our fast paced, technology obsessed, social media driven culture eradicated time to care about and truly engage with another human being?  If so, we're on the highway to hell.  Let's turn this car around, shall we? 

Whenever we (Americans) come together, whomever we're against KNOWS they're in trouble.  Lately though, it seems like we (Americans) are against each other.  We the people are better than this.  I am waiting for us to come together and work towards viable solutions.  Unity towards a common goal is one of the things that has always made America great.

I'm not sold out to any one political party or particular candidate because I'm not one to put my faith and hope in people or organizations.  I appreciate and exercise my right to vote; however, I have come to realize that you simply cannot legislate morality.  If you could, we would have no speeding, murders, or stealing because there are laws against all of that.  Matters of the heart require true change and true change comes through Christ.  

This post has been a few weeks in the making so no one thing has set it off.  I have thought like this and about this for quite some time now.  This post is not about bashing President Barack Obama or ANY other President, so don't go there.  This is about our political system which we have (sadly) allowed to become a well oiled, hypocritically malfunctioning machine.  

Comment if you dare, but leave the partisan foolywank and drama out of it.  If you haven't already, please read the comment policy (especially if this post has somehow ticked you off).  I love and I am friends with a variety of people: politically astute folks, politically ignorant folks, zealots, liberals, independents, and conservatives alike.  I genuinely love people and their opinions don't particularly bother me.  I can respect you (even if I don't agree with) your  position.  Today I am curious about lack of respect for each other, name calling, issuing blame and misplaced faith in the political arena.  

People over politics is how I roll.  How about you?

*you know, people... all huMANs 

p.s. Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne is a must read.  It is an unexpected storyline that is equal parts engaging, challenging and fabbbb.  If you are interested, check it out here.  It is soooo NOT what you think.  (That's how it was for me anyway).  

Be sweet.  

Reflections of Summertime

photograph courtesy of Jadyn Noelle Photography

catching lightning bugs
playing outside all day long (mostly by order of my Granny, but we learned to love it)
imaginary missions to outer space
riding bikes
pretending like we were in the olympics
chasing frogs
playing in the ditch
homemade frozens (freeze koolaid in a dixie cup, pop it out, turn it upside down then eat it)
riding bikes
family reunions (in the hottest month of the year...why? lol)
Granny's homemade ice cream
shucking corn
making up games and changing the rules as you go along
racing and running as fast as possible
jumping over the hen house
walking to the candylady's house
kicking my shoes (jelly sandals) up into the sky as high as possible until 1 shoe landed on the roof

As a child, I remember never wanting summertime to end... 

...but I'm over that now.  The heat has long since cured me of that longing lol!  
These days I'm more into embracing the season that I'm in...

What do you love and remember most about summertime?


photograph courtesy of Jadyn Noelle Photography

"Forgiveness means giving up the hope that the past could have been any different."  

A good friend posted this quote on Facebook the other day and it totally resonated with me.  It was a timely reminder to forgive and let go of wishing that the other person would have:

been honest 
appreciated my honesty
acted mature
respected my boundaries
included me
been nice
brought their beef with me to me
stopped criticizing
quit lying, manipulating and attempting to control me
been sincere
accepted me
and the list could go on and on...

It was also a timely reminder to forgive myself for: 
trying my best but still not getting it quite right
talking too much
exposing my heart to people who were not safe
trying to be whatever he/she wanted me to be
making the same mistake over and over 
again the list could go on and on, but you get the gist...

So today I am making a Public Service Announcement: 
It is time.  Time to forgive everyone else and yourself.  For everything.  
Today may you walk in the power and freedom of forgiveness. 

On Waxing Nostalgic

I'm in a sentimental mood.  Many young people I know are venturing off to college starting tomorrow.  It is such a beautiful thing that makes me laugh, cry and contemplate rolling up into the fetal position in that corner over there... all at the same time.  The time passes so slowly and yet so quickly all at the same time, which makes no sense. How can something pass slowly and quickly simultaneously?  I don't know, folks.  That's just the way time rolls, I guess.  

Nevertheless, I am so proud of these young whipper-snapper world changers because they've  worked so hard to get here and I know that their future is bright and powerful like lightning.  These parents who are so brave inspire me as they launch their arrows into the bright blue sky and boldly move forward to embrace the next chapter and season of life.  Change is a lovely and beautifully awkward experience, isn't it?

My awesome auntie says, "Senior year is the long goodbye."  

This post goes out to all of you who have said or are in the process of saying the long goodbye.  My heart is right there with ya and to take the melodrama over the top, I want to share a lovely site with you that brilliantly captures the reality of change through the perspective of photography then and now.  It's a really beautiful and amazing site called dearphotograph.com.  It is a bit of a tearjerker so don't say I didn't warn ya...  Click on the link if you dare...  

I love you all dearly.  

Word with the Wise Wednesday: Vanessa Clark

1. What important life lessons have you learned so far?
I would say the most important thing has been that everything comes forth from your purpose in life.  Every decision, relationship and connection is tied to the plan for your life...  It is important to flow with and embrace the stages and seasons of change that come with life.  Once I was operating in my purpose as an individual and now I am in a season of purpose that includes my family.  

2. How is the world today different or similar to what it was like when you were a child?
The major change is not so much in the world as it is in me.  I have a different awareness.  There is an awakening that has occurred as I've matured and my outlook filters the way I see the world.  For me, it is all about my eyes being opened to God's plan and the depth of purpose in my life.  I was not aware of this as a child as much as I am now.  Regarding the world, what has been has always been.  There were bad things then and bad things now... good things and good things now.

3. What has been your hardest lesson to date?
To let go of things.  In order to attain serenity and peace, I have to give whatever "it" is up and trust that all will be taken care of.

4.  What is the one thing you want people to remember about you?
I was an example of light in the world.

Vanessa, affectionately called Vanes, is my home slice.  She's sweet like sugar...  Seriously, one of the sweetest and most genuine people I know.  We cheered together in college, traveled and worked together doing coaching and choreography and never got on each other's nerves.  (Call me on it if I'm lying, Vanes!) :)  Working with her was ideal because we balanced each other out so well.  We have many laughs and fun memories together.  She is one of the amigas who inspired my how to be a fab friend post.  We have laughed, cried and prayed together... still do!  We share our hopes, dreams, fears and encourage each other to overcome, let go, have faith, and keep moving forward.  She is a very loving and dedicated wife and mother.  You met her hubby last week in word with the wise wednesday.  Now you get to meet the awesomeness that is Vanes!  If you can't tell already, I think she's pretty darn fantastic.   

Let your light shine today and always.

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

The country girl in me loves homemade goodies, especially if they're easy, affordable and effective.  So when my friend, Jennifer over at Jenerally Speaking, posted a recipe for homemade dishwasher detergent, I just had to try it.  It was easy peasy, super cheap and best of all, the homemade detergent worked better than any brand I have ever purchased at the store.  Ever.  I literally dumped the ingredients in a bucket, gave it a good stir and used a tablespoon of the detergent with a load of dirty dishes.  I have enough to wash hundreds of loads.  Hundreds.  Literally.  This recipe is the bomb.com so if you'd like to get your homemade on, click here for the recipe.  Hollaback and let me know how much you like it!

p.s. Jennifer did not ask or pay me to say any of this.  The recipe is fabulous and I genuinely love to share a fab find!

Hugs & Love!

Sunflowers and Tim Sanders

Today I looked out of my window and squealed with glee because I saw this:

After several weeks of triple digit temperatures, watering, hoping and praying that my sunflowers would bloom, they did!  Yay!!! I have loved sunflowers since I was a little girl.  They make me smile.  Always have.  Always will.  Sunflowers make my heart happy so seeing this out my window was a fabulous way to start today.  BTdub: Ignore the sun scorched dead grass in the background.  In my neck of the woods, we are currently on day 61 of 1000 days of sunshine. And at this point, saying, "It's hot!" is such an understatement.  I'll spare you the sunshine sucks soliloquy because at least we don't have to mow.  That counts for something, right?  

Not really, but that's ok.

Having so much time near the pool and inside (Hallelujah, AC!) makes for great reading time.  Here is the book I am about to finish reading this week: Today We Are Rich by Tim Sanders.  This gem of a book is rocking my world in a really good way.  Here are some reviews from Amazon.com: 

In Today We Are Rich, Tim Sanders shows you how to unleash winning behaviors, like gratitude and persistence, to achieve the one thing we all need in order to win: confidence. You can do it, and this book can help. --Dave Ramsey, The Dave Ramsey Show

Tim reminds us that riches are never on the outside, but always on the inside. And he helps to order our hearts accordingly. --Dr. Henry Cloud, best-selling coauthor of Boundaries

This is a book for the ages, a new classic, one that rewards anyone with the guts to read it. A page-turner that pays big dividends. --Seth Godin, best-selling author of Tribes, Poke the Box and Linchpin

Here is what I say: Read the books, folks.  It's a perfect summer read, an easy page turner with loads of substance.  The material is powerfully uplifting and inspirational.  There is so much to ponder and as a result, this book has become of my favs.  Seriously, it's right up there in my top ten.  Here are a few Tim Sanders jewels I have gathered thus far:

"Anybody's story can start over again, and through the love of others, have a happy ending."

"You think, you act and your actions create a series of events that shape your day to day life."

"Other people's misfortunes should never be a source of entertainment."

"Learn a lesson from what happened.  Delete the negative memory and hold on to the lesson."

"It's ok to make mistakes; just make new ones!"

See... isn't that rich?  

The best thing about the book is that Tim Sanders is not writing as if he is some condescending guru from the mountain of all knowledge.  He is sharing his story.  The ups, the downs, and ultimately principles to live by that will stand the test of time.  His account is so honest and sincere that you can't help but be drawn in, encouraged and inspired.  In some way, this book is the plot of the human experience.  I adore this book and I believe you will too if you'll give it a try.

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