Friday, April 30, 2010

Right Turns

One rule we can highlight for our maturing children (and ourselves and our parents) is to make right turns.
  • Every parent wants our child(ren) to make the right choices and choose friends with high standards.  Each right action has the potential for enormous positive impact and can be categorized as a right turn. 
  • Learning to drive safely as a teenager and preserving the option to drive safely as we age also involves making right turns whenever possible.   

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Reading Upside Down

Reading upside down challenges us to do something in an unnatural way.  I'm reading a book that posts answers to questions upside down.  As easy as it would be to turn the book around, I've chosen to challenge myself to read the answers as presented.  Afterall, we're constantly reminded that we need to exercise our brains. We can all read upside down, it just takes a little longer.  This reminds us to cover information on our desks that we don't want the party sitting across from us to access.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What Happy Working Mothers Know

In What Happy Working Mothers Know by Cathy L. Greenberg and Barrett S. Avigdor, the authors show that happiness makes a positive difference in the lives of mothers, children, the workplace and in careers. Choosing a positive approach to life and embracing all that's possible is the starting point.  True happiness is not about instant gratification.  It is a state of being focused on an abundance versus scarcity mentality.

Though we all do things out of love for our children and our desire to help them succeed, the statistics reveal that the best thing we can do for them is to find our own happiness and peace and share that sense of calm and joy with them. 

According to Barbara L. Frederickson's research, when we experience three positive emotions for every one negative emotion, we become more creative and a better version of ourselves.

Knowing when and how to say no without feeling guilty increases life satisfaction and, therefore, happiness.

The happiest people are those who feel integrated - their work and personal lives are separate but connected by a common thread of values and priorities.  Happiness is within the grasp of each of us if we learn to love ourselves, appreciate the beauty of life around us, and use our strengths to make our mark on the world.

The elements of a happy working mother are:

H - Healthy physically and emotionally
A - Adaptive to changes in circumstances
P - Proud of her family just as they are
P - Proud of her work
Y - Young at heart

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

upGrading Texas Classrooms

Sterling Bank realizes how hard classroom teachers work to make a difference in the lives of their students. In appreciation for the impact teachers have on our area’s future, we are inviting Mainland Galveston County residents to help upgrade a Texas classroom by voting for their favorite teacher to receive one of ten $500 grants being given by Sterling Bank.

Voting will take place from Saturday, May 1 through Saturday, May 8 at Sterling’s new League City Banking Center at 1720 West FM 646 at the Gulf Freeway. Children and adults may cast one vote each for any K-12th grade teacher in the public or private schools in Mainland Galveston County. The ten teachers receiving the highest number of votes will receive upGrading Texas Classrooms grants. Grant recipients will be announced on May 13 at 4:30 p.m. at the Banking Center.

We’ve established an upGrading Texas Classrooms fan page on Facebook to encourage voting for the many deserving teachers.


When we're mad we sometimes accuse the target of our anger of things that they may or may not be guilty of.  In our rational moments we owe it to ourselves and to those we care about to accurately assess where blame for our anger should lie.  And, of course, apologize as circumstances indicate.

Monday, April 26, 2010

What's Your Line?

Everyone has a script.

As friends, loved ones, neighbors, colleagues, classmates, parishioners or "friends-yet-to-be-met" we need to be aware that we each have a script for our lives.  The varied scripts include:
  • Academy award nominee or winner
  • Great but not nominated
  • Not yet ready for prime time
  • Work in progress
  • Jack or Jill of all trades
  • Character actor
  • Bit player
  • Supporting cast
  • Walk-on
  • Waiting to be discovered
  • Member of the crowd
  • Specialist
  • Director
  • Producer
  • Family member or friend of any of the players listed above
Ideally, if one of the scripts above doesn't fit, we'll create a unique role for ourselves.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Incredible Fun and Impact for $25

Though we've never met, I've connected with 12 special women across the globe during the last 13 months:
  • Ernestina from Nicaragua
  • Norma from Mexico
  • Maria from Bolivia
  • Esther from Ghana
  • Janet from Nigeria
  • Dolores from Peru
  • Elma from Philippines
  • Inocensia from Philippines
  • Augustina from Ghana
  • Faatali from Somoa
  • Marina from Philippines
  • Valentina from Ukraine
These 12 female entrepreneurs are working to improve their own lives and provide opportunities for their families. Who would ever imagine that 13 lives (theirs and mine) could be touched by investing $100 ($25 per entrepreneur)? 

My precious daughter wisely knew that I'd become intrigued with Kiva, a wonderful micro-lending organization.  Her cherished gift certificate caused me to become an avid Kiva lender and advocate.

The beauty of Kiva is that each loan amount is $25 per lender.  So, my 4 initial loans have now mushroomed to 12 because, though it's not required, I've chosen to re-lend funds each time my hard-working entrepreneurs repay.  And, because I value what this non-profit is doing, I've made small donations to cover their operating expenses.  Donating, though appreciated, is not required.

I've chosen to focus on female entrepreneurs, but want to emphasize that Kiva provides loans to women and men across the globe.

I can't imagine a more interactive, impactful $25 investment opportunity!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Broken Eggshell

It's amazing how many birds, squirrels, rabbits and raccoons we see in urban settings.  Growing up in Arkansas, I took these and many other creatures for granted.  Though I could do without the raccoons, even they are interesting to observe.  Most often, I'm delighted to see our furry and feathered neighbors scurrying about busily tending to their duties.  The rare sight of a broken eggshell on the pavement vividly reminds me that even with our best laid plans, tragedy can strike unexpectedly.  As far as we know, our furry and feathered friends just move on.  However, with our appreciation for life, we only slowly move on with the loving support of family and friends.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Family Circus Cartoon

I've often joked that I sometimes feel like one of Bil Keane's Family Circus cartoons where one of the children goes all around the yard doing countless activities on the way inside.  It's easy to see where we need to go, but there are a million distractions along the way.  Some distractions are useful and fun.  Others are irritating and a waste of time.  The challenge is choosing the distractions that make the journey better.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Sandler Rules

I just finished reading The Sandler Rules - 49 Timeless Selling Principles and How to Apply Them adapted by David Mattson. Reading the book is like spending self-paced time with a personal sales coach. Each 4 page chapter offers practical advice and questions to apply to your own selling experience. The author beautifully illustrates the power of listening, questioning, prospecting, taking responsibility and getting decisions.  He reminds us that when the outcome is important, we don't try to do something, we do it.  And he emphasizes that a life without risk is a life without growth.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

sdrawkcaB gnitirW

I know it looks like I typed the title in the dark with my fingers on the wrong keys.  Writing Backwards challenges us do something that feels very unnatural.  We have to consciously reverse the way we know to do something that has become simple.  Though I don't have a practical application for becoming proficient at writing backwards, the exercise reminds me that learning anything new is ackward at first and that changing direction may not be as simple as it sounds.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rivalry or Revelry

Though I've unconsciously observed these two extremes with my own siblings and children, the reality of this range of sentiments struck me last week as I joked with two dear colleagues who work closely with one another.  They clearly enjoy working together.  And they cover for one another.  I've often heard them tease about sibling rivalry.  They are in the same position and each wants to exceed performance measurements.  It appears that they clearly realize that they can both excel.  However, just as each child secretly wants to be his or her parent's favorite, they probably each want to be their manager's favorite.  Though they tease about rivalry, what I frequently observe is revelry.  They celebrate each other's successes and enjoy a warm working relationship.  Revelry trumps!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Linking, Tweeting and Friending with the Pros

Three social media pros shared their advice for effectively using LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter at Sterling Bank's April Women's Business Initiative luncheon:

Denise Patrick, Vice President, Marketing and Creative Services, Pierpont Communications
Steve Latham, Founder and CEO, Spur Interactive
Christine Pechayco, New Media Editor, Sterling Bank

This group of experts was quick to categorize social media as additional cost effective marketing tools to supplement what we are already doing to grow our businesses. 

Facebook was presented as a communication tool ideally suited for personal and business to consumer relationships.  LinkedIn was categorized as a business development tool.  And Twitter was described as a tool to amplify messages.

Denise, Steve and Christine agreed that social media communication must be relevant, educational and informative.  The goal is to increase awareness and ultimately move to a status as a preferred partner or vendor.

They cautioned that these tools were designed for customized two-way communication and won't work well if we try to use them to distribute press releases or overtly push products or services.  The tools will work well to spark interest, establish a reputation as a resource, enhance relationships and broaden reach.  When used effectively social media levels the playing field for small and large companies.

Though each panelist acknowledged the time investment necessary, estimates for effectiveness varied from 15 minutes to an hour per day.  Tips to minimize the time investment and maximize the impact included developing a production schedule, sharing content developed by others and using free tools like those available at

The experts were in broad agreement about the power of social media and each has a special way that they mutually benefit their networks.  Denise uses the business cards she collects during the day to extend invitations to continue the relationships through LinkedIn.  Steve provides a Monday Marketing Tip each week.  Christine is a prolific re-tweeter. 

This terrific trio helped a room full of enthusiastic business women to "Link, Tweet and Friend Like a Pro".

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lessons Learned from Playing in the Rain

A dedicated group of parents sat in the rain for the past two days as we watched our sons play lacrosse.   One lacrosse mom asked her husband if they'd be watching the game if we were back in Houston, rather than on a road trip.  He answered that when the guys are playing, he'll be there.  This sentiment is widely shared by this devoted parent group.  How I wish every child had parent advocates like these!

A few things from this weekend that we could add to the lacrosse manual:
  • It's amazing how quickly fashion takes a backseat to function and practicality when the skies open.
  • Ideal conditions aren't required when we're supporting those we love.
  • Fond memories are made when friends are together.
  • Unless there's lightning, the game will go on.
  • The beautiful rainbow is a reward for time spent in the rain.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I've loved the game of Scrabble from the time I was able to spell.  Though I've played countless games since I last played with my precious paternal grandmother, I think of her every time I play.  Her signature word, jo (sweetheart) has given me many amazing plays.  I'm so pleased that the Scrabble fascination continues with my children's iPhone apps.  What a neat multi-generational way to keep us thinking!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Real People Create Our Opportunities

How many times have you left an event feeling energized and educated?  My guess and hope is many, many times.  And I sincerely hope that most of you who have attended Sterling Bank events have left with news you can use, contacts you will pursue, and a renewed emphasis on productive, self enlightened networking.  How often do you take time to acknowledge the real person who invited you or entertained you? 

When you get an event oriented invitation from Sterling Bank and many other companies, most often, a real person indicated that you might be interested in attending.  Yes, we all get automated invitations to do absolutely everything! But, we all need to acknowledge those who provide appropriate chances to meet, learn and grow.

 I will continue to invite those who might be interested to engage in discussions that I think are productive. And I hope others will continue to include me when they think I can add value or benefit.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Reserve Fuel

It doesn't happen often, but I get very anxious when my car's reserve fuel light comes on. I immediately assess the diagnostics to see my driving range, because invariably it lights when I am time pressed to make an appointment.  Regardless of what else is going on, I know that I have limited range before I must refuel. 

Our own warning signs may be far more subtle, but if we're attentive, we can recognize when we need to stop and refuel.  Just like our cars, we can't go indefinitely without tending to our needs for downtime.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Growing with the Encouragement of Friends

I will forever be grateful to Christine and Janet for encouraging me to blog!   What an exciting journey this has been! I vividly remember their first prompts to post.  As I quickly reported to both of my advocates that I'd posted, my next question was, "Now what?". 

I wanted to know how frequently I "had" to post to be a real blogger.  Once per week was the agreed upon frequency.  That seemed possible.  And, I've definitely exceeded that objective with almost daily posts since the end of May.  I would never have imagined that I'd have anything to post in 300 blog entries.  I still wonder frequently, if I'll have anything more to say.  As I greet each new day with a chance to learn and grow, I think I'll make it to 365.

The discipline and challenge of daily posts have helped me think, observe and grow. 

I encourage you to seriously consider whatever you are being encouraged to do (by well-meaning friends).  Just like my friends, they may prompt you to expand your horizons if you're willing to grow with their encouragement.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Busyness or Business

How often one letter makes a tremendous difference in meaning, approach and impact!  We often equate busyness as a necessity to achieve our business objectives.  And to a large degree this is accurate.  In focusing on the many things required to meet our business goals, we do find ourselves perpetually busy.  However, we need to frequently assess whether our busyness is appropriately focused on our business.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Are You Carrying Too Much?

For many years, I was a terrible packer.  Because I didn't take time to plan what I would actually want and need to wear during a particular trip, I packed far too many items.  In recent years, as I've taken time to anticipate my wardrobe requirements, I've lightened my load and simplified my life. 

Planning streamlines nearly all aspects of our lives.  We can get caught up in such extreme busyness that we don't think we have time to plan.  I find that is when I most need to invest the time to accurately assess all that needs to be done and develop a plan to successfully execute.  When I don't stop to plan, my mind becomes like my formerly over-burdened luggage - full of way too much disorganized stuff.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Weekend Adventures

Our precious lacrosse playing son has created exciting new options for our weekends.  Because our daughter is in college, our only other at home dependent to care for is our furry cat-child Tiger.  And because Tiger is easily accommodated, we cheerily hit the Texas freeways to cheer Gar and the Falcons to victory across the metro areas of Texas.

We would happily endure roadtrips across Texas to support Gar, without additional benefits.  Fortunately, we also have the chance to share meals, games and stories with other lovely parents.  In comparing everyone's other extra-curricular support activities, we realize that we won the lottery with this extraordinary group of parents and players.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Continuous Learning

Continuous learning is critical for relevance.  It's easy to embrace in concept.  What does it look like in daily life?

Obvious ways to embrace continuous learning include formal training programs, college courses and degree programs.

Less obvious, but other very important ways include:
  • active listening sessions with anyone else (regardless of our similarities or differences, we all have tips to share from the different ways that we've succeeded, failed and overcome obstacles)
  • embracing the opportunities that change brings (It's easy to recount how many things will be uncomfortably different from the way they were.  It's more productive, progressive and healthful to focus on the positive options afforded.)
  • reading!
  • speaking
  • coaching
  • mentoring
  • volunteering
  • parenting
  • friending
Should I ever cease to embrace opportunities to experience new things, ideas and experiences, I will begin the journey to insignificance. My goal is to forever remain vibrant in heart, mind and body.

Thankfully, I've continued to learn today!

Friday, April 9, 2010


Everything is blooming!  Flowers are abundantly available at reasonable prices all over town. What a marvelous way to brighten our homes and express our creativity!  I love getting bunches of roses perfectly tinted for our decor and arranging them in a variety of individual and grouped vases throughout our living areas. In addition to our beautiful vases, I love finding unexpected containers and filling them with blooms that we grow and acquire.  Spring vividly reminds us of the beauty of life!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Who's in Charge?

There's nothing like spring cleaning to make us assess our blessings and the required care and feeding of our possessions. I finally understand why some older friends choose to downsize.  The daily, weekly, monthly and annual maintenance required for things we own can feel like these objects own us.  We need to ask ourselves, at least annually, if we still derive enjoyment from high maintenance things in our lives.

We need to keep things that give us pleasure, benefit or positive expectation.  If we can't anticipate any of these positive possibilities, why keep these possessions?

I know that my continual recycling of things I no longer need creates benefits for others who will enjoy them and will give new life to these items.

I choose to be in charge!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


New is something we:
  • have not experienced
  • don't know
  • haven't accepted
New is something that:
  • was just invented
  • we haven't viewed in this way
  • was repurposed
  • was improved
  • was changed
New is:
  • exciting or intimidating
  • welcomed or rejected
  • better or worse
Each day as we awake, we encounter new possibilities. How we embrace each new day is our choice.  Thank goodness I love new opportunities!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Chipped Polish

We always want to put our best (hand and) foot forward. How many women don't polish their nails because they don't have time to deal with chipped polish?  I don't have a statistic to share, but I'll bet the % is high. Kudos to those who don't want to appear in public with chipped polish!  Even when I go to get my paws and claws done, (manicure and pedicure) my fingernail polish doesn't last long.  We may remain healthy from frequent hand-washing and other cleansing routines, but theses activities wreak havoc on nail polish.  Clear polish and polish remover are necessities to always put our best paws forward.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Thankfully, music enriches our lives. My husband, daughter and son have a love for music, hearts for meaning, ears for melodies, and memories for lyrics. Road trips are shorter and cheerier when my crew sings to a wide array of tunes.   Though I lack their musical ability, I believe I added to the importance of music in their lives with my concocted "Angel Song" which I softly sang at bedtime.  Easter, one of the most important days in the Christian calendar, is filled with fabulous music.  The meaning and music make it our family's favorite service.

Music cheers, comforts, sooths, motivates, energizes and entertains.  And music reinforces positive memories.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Green Snow

Houston received a spring snow of pollen.  It's as if the un-jolly green goblin spread a mist of green powder through the region.  Cars, windows, decks, outdoor furniture and anyone who pauses long enough are magnets for this dry, green gunk.

The pink, yellow, purple, peach, white and blue lining to this green cloud is a terrain covered with gorgeous flowers of countless hues.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Edgar and the children had been tossing a lacrosse ball around for years, but I'd never seen a lacrosse game until Gar entered middle school.  Many of my friends were equally unfamiliar with the game and said "that's great, at least it's not football".  "No, I told them, it's football with sticks."  Of course it's not.  It just seemed that way initially. 

Though I'm still very much a rules novice, I've come to appreciate lacrosse on many levels.
  •  It's a fast-paced game where every play and player makes a difference.  Teamwork is a life-long necessity and it's great to see its importance in a setting that my player loves.
  • It requires practice, determination, eye-hand coordination, speed and agility. Each game provides an opportunity to see how well an individual player and the team are mastering these fundamentals.  Life (like lacrosse) is best lived with a desire for continuous learning and receptivity to timely, actionable feedback.  
  • The team changes each season as seniors graduate and younger players are selected to join varsity. Seniority is only a matter of age. In lacrosse and life, respect is earned, not commanded. A high functioning team is one where every player is valued as an individual and as a team contributor, regardless of title or tenure.
The icing on the cake is the chance to frequently strengthen the bonds of fond camaraderie with a delightful, supportive, fun-loving group of lacrosse parents.

Friday, April 2, 2010


Regardless of our knowledge, sensitivity and experience, we sometimes revert to childish behavior.   Why are we doing this? We must honestly assess our actions. Do we need attention or recognition? Are we overly eager to win? Are we feeling territorial or protective? Are we insecure? Did we have a bad day? When we regress, we must be willing to ask others to forgive us.  And we must forgive ourselves.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Great Day!

The day started beautifully with everyone home, (one of the many benefits of Georgetown is Easter Break) cheery and interactive.  I had the chance to advance a charitable cause near and dear to me at a breakfast meeting. And, at work, I was able to creatively and successfully advance three distinct opportunities. At lunch I was able to encourage a friend who is re-entering the workforce. 

Though the day was filled with activity, I left the office energized.  I was vividly reminded that I'm at my best when I can creatively address priorities.

And the day is concluding with my loved ones near.   Start to finish, the day was filled with love, challenge and exhiliration.