Thursday, April 26, 2007

Gratitude:My Week in Review 4/15-4/21/2007

Sunday, April 15: My excursion to Meijer Gardens with Jay Baby. What a great way to start the week! See earlier post. We had a blast. I smile every time I think about it!
Monday, April 16:Work. I am one of the lucky ones who goes to a job each week that I love. I feel that every client that comes under my hands is there by Divine appointment and I feel blessed that God would choose to use my talents in this way. After work I had my small group meeting from church. We are reading the Joel Osteen book,Your Best Life Now, in our Bible study. This is the second time through this book for me. I am still getting new things out of it. This week we talked about extending kindness and mercy to others. The emphasis was on doing this especially for those who are not treating us that way. Easy to talk about but hard to do in real life. This is God's call for us to live by higher standards. We are also to be on the lookout for ways to contribute to others. Even if/especially if it inconveniences us in some way. When I got home, I knew I was meeting Beth for lunch the next day so I spent some time at her website so I could get a feel for what she's doing in her coaching practice. All I can say is how impressed I am with what I see her trying to do for people. If you take her coaching to heart, life is bound to improve!She has very sound principals to offer people who are looking for a better way of doing things.
Tuesday, April 17: I worked my "usual" shift at Body. As I said, it's never just "usual" but always an experience. I love working with people. It's always different every day. Keeps life interesting. I had lunch with Beth. You can check that post and her website for more info if you haven't already. Between the end of work and my cooking class in Grand Haven, I went to look at a house in Zeeland. I am starting to put action into creating a future for myself. I don't have a definite feeling about this house I looked at but I do know that there are a lot of places I could be happy and many possibilities on the road ahead. When I start to envision things like this for myself, it is exciting to fantasize about how my new life might look. Then off to Grand Haven for a riot of a time at my cooking lesson. These are getting to be an obsession! I can hardly wait for the next one! This was a nice, full, stimulating day. I am grateful that I have access to so many quality things in my life. Went to bed happy!
Wednesday, April 18:Did work. Spent most of the morning praying for Tyler since he had his sentencing for the earlier DV charge. This had been dropped to a lesser charge and Judge Post ended up giving Tyler a minimal fine, a 90-day suspended sentence that hinges on him not violating his probation, which will be about a year long and the drug testing will continue every 2-3 weeks during that time. Tyler also has to attend anger management classes for 12 weeks and he has to go to AA three times a week for a year. I felt like justice had been served. Tyler now bears all the accountability for his actions. Everyone involved has done their best for him and now the ball is in his court. As his mom, I pray that he has learned his lesson and will hopefully use this experience as a catalyst for better things in his life. Either he will or he won't but it is now clearly his choice and his choice alone. Those of you inclined to do so, please remember Tyler in your prayers. He has a long road ahead. When I got off of work, Tyler and I went out for dinner at Brann's. I've been trying to have a little "date" with each of the boys at least once a week to keep the connection. At ages 19 and 22, time with Tyler and Trevor is at a premium. They have bigger fish to fry most days. At home, I received a call from Michelle Knight at the IPEC Coaching center in Chicago. This is one of the coaching programs I am looking into. Their program seems to be the most comprehensive and best suited to my needs but I want to look at everything since the one thing all these schools seem to have in common is that they are very expensive! I am trying to figure out how to get the money I need to get started-Oh, yes, that money thing again! How annoying...I have decided that I am not going to allow money to be an issue. This is something I really want to do and I will find a way to access this and move forward. After the call I got busy working on my blog. I have found myself being consumed by it! I spent several hours last night trying to figure out how to tweak my header, add a footer, add a live feed segment, add a slideshow, some audio clips and other interesting stuff to the blog. I wasn't successful with that so I decided to start in again. I wasn't about to be defeated by the blog! I went to the blogger help center. Not very helpful-I couldn't even understand the questions people were asking! That's how far over my head it was! I tried following some seemingly complicated directions on how to edit the html-what the heck?! I was lost as last year's Easter eggs. After several near fatal attempts at editing the html, I gave up and decided to add a YouTube widget. Easy enough. Just click. Ooops! I put in dog and cat funnies and ended up with some guy who wouldn't quit farting in bed! Well, I can't have that on my blog. So I fool around with it another couple hours trying to keep the YouTube spots I like and edit the others out. I'd think I had it-then NO! The fart guy would come back somehow. HOW?! Just when I got rid of him some awful kid with a potty mouth does a gig about runescape. What does runescape have to do with dog and cat funnies? I am so unhappy. I can't even tell you how many times I deleted the bleep-bleep thing only to find that it came back or something worse showed up in it's place. OK-I love the all the YouTube clips of the animals so just stick with those. DO NOT CLICK ON THE FARTING GUY! DO NOT CLICK ON THE RUNESCAPE KID! DO NOT CLICK ON ANYTHING THAT SAYS CHINESE DOG AND CAT MARKET! Just stick with the cute fuzzy ones and we'll all be happy...Meanwhile, I did manage to make a links list that works-oh, happiness. I did start my blog buddy list. That's fabulous. I was thrilled. Then the big one-I managed to get the pictures to load.Instantly it became apparent that I should be taking photography lessons instead of cooking lessons!I still am not able to manipulate those around the text the way I envisioned but I am thankful for even the most limited success, seeing as I have been at this since about 8pm. It was 3 am on Thursday morning before I finally called it quits. At this point, I am thinking that I now know why Elvis shot at TV's. I was feeling exactly the same way about my computer and my blog! By then, it was a full-blown case of BLOG RAGE! I fell asleep feeling conflicted about my blog...
Thursday, April 19 & Friday, April 20: These are my 12 and 10 hour days. Let me clue you, when I get home, I am pretty well whipped. Not much else gets done.Except for the fact that I couldn't let the blog thing go and I was mentally processing it all day-thinking of possible ways to do what I wanted to do creatively with my blog. At some point I considered looking for a 12-step program for bloggers. I need a higher power. It was then that I realized that I should seek professional help. Note to self: Call Aaron Schaap at ElevatorUp. What was I thinking? I Left Aaron a desperate message begging him to pimp my blog! Coming soon...BLOG BEAUTIFUL!
Saturday, April 21: Six hours of intense fellowship at Body Perfections. Got home just in time to do the First Impressions Team at church. I am still amazed every time I think about the fact that they actually put me in charge of something...these are brave souls! Again, I feel gratitude. My church family has been such a blessing and comfort ever since I came to VPM(Dec. 2000) but never more than during the past year. The message always strengthens and encourages me. Even when it's about stuff that is hard to deal with. This week, Pastor Steve shared about how our response to temptation correlates to our faith in God and not just our self-control. When you think about it that way, our choices take on a deeper meaning. Pastor Steve said this: When we don't trust God to meet a need, we stop obeying God's guidelines. When we stop obeying God's guidelines, we stop believing in God. Many of our needs are legitimate. The problem comes when we don't trust God to meet them His way and we substitute something other than what God has for us. Steve said to start your day with God. Talk to God every day. Trust God daily to meet your needs. I am so blessed to hear such great teaching every week.God knows I need every bit of it!!
I go now...have a great week!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Lunch Date with Beth Dargis-Life Coach

Last month, during my coaching call with Keith Ferrazzi, one of the suggestions he made was that I find someone in this area who is doing what I want to do and work with them. At the time, I wasn't aware of anyone in this area who was doing coaching. Then, it came to my attention that one of my clients, Beth Dargis, is a Life Coach. I asked her to have lunch with me this past Tuesday to discuss what her business is like and about the choice of a coaching academy and the possibility of having her serve as my coach in the process.
Beth has actually been coaching since the mid-90's, long before much was known of coaching. Her background has been in communication, graphic design, and publishing. Beth is also a self-taught web designer. Beth has been steadily building her coaching business at home while raising her family. Since most people in this area have never heard of coaching or the term Life Coach, when asked about her services, Beth just tells people she helps others simplify their lives. Her focus is in the area of decluttering, time management, organizational skills, and simplification techniques.
If you click on my links under Beth Dargis-Life Coach you will find all the information about her business and the opportunity to sign up for her free tips on simplifying your life. Beth also offers an online 30-day course for a one time fee of $9.95 aimed at teaching these life simplifying skills. Personally, I have signed up for this and I am looking forward to working with Beth towards getting my life into a more even pace. Those of you who know me know that I do not like it when life is boring, when I'm not learning things, or doing things. So, I tend to get a lot of irons in the fire at once. Usually at some point I end up getting over scheduled and overwhelmed and then I have to go through the process of weeding things out again to maintain sanity. This is a cycle that I am hoping Beth can give me clarity about and a more effective way of managing myself. Having said that, I bet a lot of you will be praying for Beth since she has her work cut out for her trying to get me simplified! Good luck Beth! This will be a real test of your coaching abilities!
Beth was very encouraging as I told her about my future plans for career development. Beth gave me a book as a gift. The book was called CoachStart and it is all about how to start and build a coaching business. This book was written by David Wood, a pioneer in the field of coaching, who owned a coaching school and now is the CEO of a company that provides coaching resource materials. On top of everything else Beth does for her own business, she also works with David Wood at his company, SolutionBox. She was generous enough to invite me to call her anytime for advice and she invited me to a presentation she is making this coming week in Zeeland. Beth will be giving a presentation on time management at the Howard Miller Public Library on Tuesday, April 24 at 6pm. It is her desire to make more connections locally since her business up to this point has been web-based, meaning on a more global scale. Beth would like to start contributing of her services locally and one way she is making others aware of her coaching is by doing these informational meetings. I will be posting those to this blog whenever they come up. I will be going to the time management presentation this Tuesday and I hope some of you will join me. This is information we can all use! As John Tesh would say, "Intelligence for your life."
I want to thank Beth Dargis for her help and support. and all the useful coaching she gave me about coach training and how to get started.I am looking forward to working with her as my coach and also in supporting her efforts to get out there in our own community and make a difference for people by assisting them in improving their lives! Go, Beth! Be sure to check out her website. She has done a beautiful job creating a site that is understandable and yes, decluttered and simplified!
Here's to simple pleasures!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Artisan Cooking School: Tuesday, April 17, Asian Cuisine

Here's just a couple photos from my last cooking lesson at Artisan Cooking School in Grand Haven. It is always such fun there! It is a very cozy and quaint place and I feel like I'm at my Mamaw's house!This is an old Victorian style house that has been redone to accommodate the school and catering business. Howard and his staff and chefs are conversational, charming and witty! I learn a lot and have a great time doing it-but the best part, of course, is eating the finished product! YUM! I always say that the most passionate people on the planet are those who have a passion for food and cooking! This particular class was on Asian Cooking and I learned a lot about the ingredients that you can only get in an Asian market. Chef Howard Norris was telling us about the market on Douglas Street in Holland. Apparently, most of the products are not labeled in English so he had to take in his recipes and explain what he was trying to do and make and the lady there would help him find what was needed. Howard said that she was delighted to take the time to explain things about the ingredients and it was a very enjoyable and educational couple hours he spent there. When Howard talks about food and ingredients and preparation and serving tips, etc. you can certainly tell this is his niche in life. Getting just the right ingredients makes such a difference in how the dishes taste. The freshness of each dish was noticeable.
Chef Doug McConnell was actually the one doing the demonstration on this night. This is the first time I have met him but he has been actively involved in some of the more prestigious restaurants in our area in the past and is now in charge of the dining facility at the Maranatha Conference Grounds in Norton Shores. Doug is a very experienced and knowledgeable chef who also likes to add little flairs and tell you about variations that you can do with recipes. He was using two cookbooks as his references this evening: Terrific Pacific and Essentials of Asian Cuisine. On the menu for this class was: Ayam Goreng World's Best Fried Chicken (and it was!), Goi Cuon Summer Rolls with a Nuoc Cham(spicy sweet and sour fish sauce dip), LemonGrass Shrimp, several types of Asian rice, and a spicy pork with Shitake mushroom stir-fry. We ended with a raspberry sorbet drizzled with an aged balsamic vinegar. Everything was exquisite! The fees there are very reasonable. The typical class is only $50 for several hours of instruction and the privilege of eating whatever was prepared. This is my favorite new hobby!
In an earlier post I shared with you the classes I'm signed up for but I am going to reiterate them again and invite you to experience this for yourself. You can get to Artisan Cooking School's website by clicking on my blog links. The classes I am signed up for are May 1, May 8, and May 15th. Remember, on May 8th my sister Marcee will be here visiting from Oregon so if you sign up for that one, expect a lively night!
See you in the kitchen,


Here's the next generation Indiana Jones! This little guy just ran himself ragged in the children's garden-especially fascinated with the fort-type lookout tower and the tree house. This is such a cool place for kids! And for Granny's...
Jayden loved going in and out this little gate! He was so focused on what he was doing that he kept running into people! People who thought he was the cutest thing on two feet-I had to agree!

Jayden was fascinated with these little butterfly puzzles. We played there for a really long time....

Here Jayden is at the Meijer Gardens. As you can see, I haven't learned how to use my camera very well yet but ya' gotta start somewhere and I know I'll get better as I go along-look how far I've come in this blog in just 3 weeks!

If you want to see more of the Meijer Gardens click on my blog link to the Frederik Meijer Gardens.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Regroup, refocus, redirect : My Week In Review

The food orgy took place on Easter at O'Charley's with Trevor and Courtney, I decided that this next week needed to be about the 3 R's of recovering from a setback : regrouping, refocus, and redirecting my energy and actions.
A big part of regrouping was to make getting sleep a priority. I am crabby and goofy when I'm tired and that's a dangerous combination! I have come to value my rest since it can be a scarce resource at times.The Today show did a segment on sleep being the new sex-it's what none of us are getting enough of! Sleep, that is...So, I made it a point to come home from work and get into my jammies as early as possible and just do relaxing things around my house. I was only able to do that three nights this week past, but it was enough to get me feeling right again and it's worth the reminder that home should be a peaceful haven.There's a lot to be said for slowing down and enjoying your home.
Whatever you focus your attention on gets stronger in your life.What needs my attention now ? Refocus. Taking time for God is a huge factor in my staying grounded and centered.Getting back on track with Weight Watchers makes me feel so much better physically. I wanted to work on my many writing projects. Reading every day is a necessity. Figuring out how to work my new digital camera is a priority.Scheduling fun things into my life so work doesn't completely take over. I wanted to do something with Tyler and Trevor this week and Jayden-if possible-and spend at least two days of the week socializing with friends. There's my plan.
Now, take action. That which is not acted upon is not learned. The universe responds to action and not just to thinking. I got myself back into a routine-boring-but a useful tool to keep forward momentum.I made sure to be accountable with my weigh in(even though I knew I would show a gain)and food journaling (which is my reality check). I reminded myself that this is a process and I can take my time. Whatever I took off once, I can take off again. I will get there eventually. I made a list of everything fun I hope to do this summer and actually plugged those things into dates on my palm pilot. The mundane things like laundry, grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning seem to push themselves to the forefront out of sheer necessity. Ditto, work! That seems to be a naturally occurring phenomenon in my world.
That just left fun and socializing! My two best days of this week were Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday was a three-ring circus. It started out with my annual pilgrimage to the vet's office. It takes me three trips in my little Huyndai to take my two dogs and eight cats to see Dr. Wilson at the Ark Animal Hospital and Ark Cat Clinic in Holland.This is always an adventure and where there are 2 dogs and 8 cats involved, you know it isn't going to go smoothly! The night before the doctor visit, Blue escaped outside and didn't come back until morning-I'm sure he thought the trip to the vet's was his punishment for running off! Sanchez, who was supposed to be in the first installment of cats, took one look at the cat carriers and went MIA. It took me two more trips before I found his hiding place in the lining of the love seat in my front room! We turned the couches over to see if Sanchez was hiding underneath and noticed a big bump in the fabric that was moving! Somehow he shot out of there like lightning and Tyler had to chase him upstairs to Trev's room. I've never seen Tyler move so fast! I was rather comical to watch. Gunther and Lucy were the two this trip who misbehaved enough to warrant a sedative. I think they did it on purpose-sorta like I do when I go to the dentists office and convince them to give me the gas! Then on the way home Gunther kept leaning on me and staring blankly. I think this is the canine equivalent of a stoney cruise. When he got out of the car, Gunther was walking sideways with a grin on his face.He was happier the rest of the day than any dog has a right to be! Boy did he ever nap after that! Everyone else had varying levels of cooperativeness. By the time we are all done there, I am exhausted, the animals are pooped, and I detect a sense of relief on the part of Dr. Wilson and staff-safely through another year! The other patients in the waiting room always seem so amused by us. We provide the entertainment for the day! Never mind the ride've never heard such a Hallelujah chorus as when cats who are annoyed, riding in a car, in their carriers, decide to serenade you! No other sound like that on earth!I could have easily qualified for the Indy 500 on that ride home. The facility there at Ark Animal Hospital is incredible and Dr. Wilson has done a stellar job caring for all my beloved pets. In December when I had to put Baby Dee to sleep, I was thankful to have such a compassionate person as Dr. Wilson working with me to provide her with the best care possible right up until the end. I highly recommend him to anyone who is looking for a new vet. Dr. Wilson is extremely conscientious and complete in his exams and he is always going to seminars and conferences to keep his education and skills on the cutting edge of veterinary medicine. I have the utmost confidence in his abilities.Take a virtual tour of Dr. Wilson's beautiful clinic by clicking on my links (aka i likes it- i likes it a lot!).
Later, I had nursery duty at church. The best thing about that was getting to take my little grandson, Jayden. I don't believe he's ever been in a large group before to socialize with other kids his age. There were so many great toys. His favorite toy was the fake vacuum cleaner. Since I didn't get to see him at Christmas time or Easter, I decided to go to the store after church and pick up one of those phony vacuums and a couple other toys he had favored in the church toddler room. He had a blast playing at Granny's house. Jayden loved his new toys.I also let him take all my pots and pans out of the cupboards and basically string stuff from hell to breakfast. I had junk everywhere by the time he got done. He enjoyed that so much. Funny how just making a mess can be entertaining sometimes.Seeing him so happy made me not care about having to clean it all up later. When I'm around Jayden it sort of reminds me of how you feel when you fall in love. You can't wait to see the person you love and nothing else in the world matters when you are with that person. I'm in my own little world when I get with him. Being with small children like that brings you back to your own magical child. It is wonderful!
On Sunday, my friend Michelle and I went to Fredrick Meijer Gardens to take Jayden to see the butterfly exhibit. Again, that was just heartwarming to see the joy and wonder that a little one has for even the simplest things in life. Jayden ran all over the sculpture garden checking everything out.He was a real hambone-entertaining the crowd! If you've not been there before, you're really missing something cool. You can view the Frederik Meijer Gardens website on my links.
I did get some pictures of Jayden both at church and at the butterfly exhibit. I will post them as soon as I get my camera figured out and the interface with Blogger/Picasa figured out...I need remedial blogging help ASAP! Hey, I almost have my palm pilot mastered so I'm getting there.
It feels good to be regrouped, refocused and redirected. I am once again moving forward!
Thanks for listening!
All is well,

Monday, April 16, 2007

FYI-Let's get cooking!

Hey, everybody out in Lana Land! I had promised a bunch of you that I would let you know about the cooking classes again. Artisan Cooking School has posted a new calendar of classes for April and May. I have signed up for the following:April 17-Asian cooking, May 1-Salads and Vinnagrettes, May8-Horsie Dervies(my spelling!) also, my sister Marcee will be here from Oregon and we're doing this one together so it will be most lively!! May 15-Grilling. There are more classes offered but these are the only ones that fit my schedule. Some of you have tried to catch up with me and that can be hard to do! Here's a fun way we could get some face time! Hope you can do some of these classes with me!

Artisan Cooking School and Catering
1322 Washington Street
Grand Haven, MI 49417


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Balance: My Week in Review

My issue this week with balance was not being in it! The main problem seemed to be working too many hours-nearly an 80-hour work week between my two jobs-and becoming very sleep deprived. I found that being out of balance with work led to being out of balance with my sleep which led to being out of balance with my eating since I found myself eating more for energy and to stay awake(like the caffeine in chocolate Easter candy!). I also felt out of balance emotionally because I wasn't sleeping or eating right and hadn't factored in a high enough fun/work ratio. Not enough social interaction.Everyone knows I'm the Queen of Fun. So, not having enough of it put me out of sorts.I had planned to go see Jesus Christ Superstar for the past three months but when it came right down to getting tickets for either Saturday or Sunday, I found that I had overscheduled myself to the point where none of the performance times worked for me. Plus, let's just throw in the weather! Who was prepared for that much snow during Easter week? Certainly not I! That did not contribute favorably to a festive holiday mood.Especially since we had already tasted the beginnings of spring on the lakeshore and that's a hard thing to let go of once it gets here because it takes so long to make it through winter some years. I am sick and tired of shoveling Lake Michigan! Speaking of balance....holidays seem to be a naturally unbalanced time. So many expectations. There can be a lot of extra work involved if you are hosting a meal and/or events like Easter egg hunts for the kids. There's church. There's the family dynamic. My family lives about 3,000 miles away and at this point in life I actually look forward to the times I get to see them.That eliminates the stress of a lot of preparation and hoopla-but there are times I wish I had some hoopla to worry over.Thank goodness(inject sarcasm here) my kids are older and only want me to take them out to a nice restaurant and/or give them money instead of an Easter basket! I think the expanded holiday schedule will return once my kids are married and have children of their own. I have actually learned to enjoy and appreciate a quieter holiday-but I still think holidays have a lot of potential for unbalance.
Just exactly what are we talking about here when we say balance? I think of not going to extremes, regulating excesses, and maintaining equilibrium. In the past, I have had a lot more struggle with all these aspects of balance. I think one of the major factors in achieving balance just has to do with growing up and maturity.I have healthier boundaries with people because I have gotten a better sense of myself over the years. I am not so thrown by the behaviors of others. I can maintain my equilibrium in situations better now that I have a few years on me.Even in relationships where boundaries were a huge issue, I find that I can get along with people and be nice and be respectful and still not allow myself to be run over or treated like a doormat.I notice that education and experience can also help in the balance department. This has been especially true in the area of learning how to handle money and eating habits.Both of these areas have been troublesome in the past but I have spent some time reading and learning and then have put this knowledge into practice. God Bless people like Suze Orman who write books about finances that even people like me can understand! I recently received a nice tax refund. In times past, that would have gone into a trip or new clothes. This time around, I paid off my car and several other bills that needed to get cleaned up and then I bought myself one new thing I really wanted-a nice digital camera-so I can take pictures everywhere and perhaps even spice up my blog! I have been going to Weight Watchers and also reading Bob Greene's book Best Life Diet. I have lost about 20 pounds since the beginning of the year. The key to balance there seems to be in making gradual and sustainable habit changes in eating and exercise that slowly alter your body over time and become lifelong health habits. Way back in the day I used to go for the quick fix and now I'm finding that slow and steady wins every time. I remind myself that Rome wasn't carved in a day. Good things often take a period of time, some patience and definitely perseverance.
Here's my week in review:
Sunday, April 1, 2007: Tyler and I were looking forward to having Jayden and going to Frederick Meijer Gardens to show him the butterfly exhibit.Tyler and Linda got into one of their famous brouhaha's and that ended that.It had started to rain and it was dark and dreary.Seeing as we were already depressed, we decided to take our depression to the next level and watch the Al Gore movie, An Inconvenient Truth. For those of you who may not be familiar with this movie, the theme of it is global warming and how the earth is going to hell in a hand basket because we are not being accountable in our use of natural resources. There was a lot of thought-provoking information in this movie. The thing I enjoyed most was experiencing how dedicated Al Gore has been in his pursuit to call attention to this problem. It is inspiring to see that one person who is really passionate and focused about something can make such a huge impact. I felt a lot more enlightened on the subject afterwards and I have to admit to paying more attention to information about global warming when it comes up. On the down side, the problem of global pollution in general is very overwhelming. I feel compelled to see what I can do individually and to influence others in my sphere to be conservationists. We all need to do our part. After all, where else can we live? I had to go to shelter at 8:45pm and work until 8:45am when I went to work@Body.
Monday, April 2, 2007: Worked at Body Perfections from 9-4:30. Then I quick changed clothes and met my friend Sandy in Grand Rapids for dinner. She lives in Holt so GR is about half way for both of us. We try to do this about once a month but circumstances on both ends have gotten in our way lately so it's been several months since we've seen each other. I was so glad to have a fun little break. We behaved ourselves especially well by sharing an appetizer and an entree and skipping desert. We did have a couple margaritas for medicinal purposes only, of course.It is our custom to go across the street to Centerpointe Mall and first, bum ourselves out by going through Klingman's (high dollar furniture store) and then we cheer ourselves back up by going to TJ Max! I had bought dinner so Sandy was going to get us desert and coffee but we opted for something healthier. She bought us each a box of Mentos and took the rest of the money she was going to spend on desert and we both sat down in those massage chairs in the mall and had about 20 minute massages instead of desert, all the while doing our usual people-watching and laughing about absolutely nothing and everything! We walk the mall a couple times to feel better about our calorie consumption. Talking a mile a minute as usual.Friends are such gifts! We left feeling very empowered by our self-control over the desert thing and vowed to get together again much sooner-no matter what.
Tuesday, April 3, 2007: Worked from 9am-3pm. Had to go to the library for some research. Made note to self: do not go into field of research as a job! Do not pursue grant writing! Not your bag,Lana! The library people were very helpful and seemed to enjoy their work but the whole experience made me nervous.Meanwhile, flashback to my work day, I had one client put me onto a website for aspiring writers, musicians and artists. Come to find out, she is herself a published writer and just finished a ghostwriting job for another person. She is a very generous soul and offered to participate with me in my writing endeavors, namely feedback and coaching.The website she referred me to was: I found out that another one of my clients is a life coach( I didn't think there were any around here!) and is working in the areas of organization for spaces like home and office and the management of time. She will be giving some mini-seminars in the area and I am going to go to those.When I get her website I will post it for you.Then, same day, I hear from my ex, Lew, who knows I have been looking into coaching education programs. He puts me onto a coaching academy that has an office in Chicago. That site is : The program appears to be exactly what I'm looking for.I am going to attend one of their informational sessions in the near future.Lewis also offered to mentor me this fall by allowing me to co-coach some experiential learning seminars he has developed for his company in California.They are very much like the seminars we attended when Tyler was in "the program" and are very much like the sort of trainings I would like to offer some day in my own business, Baker Life Services, which hasn't been born yet but is in the gestational phases as we speak.I am happy that even though the marriage was a train wreck, Lewis still respects me and believes in my abilities professionally and is willing to continue our relationship in a different venue.That is balance in action! How many ex-spouses can actually work together?! He also confided that even though he is a corporate coach, he still considers me to be his coach.Go figure! This day had the feel to it that everyone, everywhere was coming out to the woodwork to give me the information and support I need to go on to the next level. Ever since my coaching call with Keith Ferrazzi I have been feeling very energized about pushing ahead.It's that law of attraction thing. When you are vibrating at a higher frequency you pull in people and information that is just what you needed.I have decided to become involved once again with Landmark Education, get going on these writing sites and my new hobby-blogging, and get involved with the lifecoach I know and the other organizations in town that are doing the kind of work I aspire to. I just became aware of a ministry in this area called City on a Hill. I am going to find out all I can about what is going on there...I feel a blog coming on about that! Things are beginning to move and I am excited about the possibilities that the future holds.
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday April 4,5, 6, and 7: Here's where it got all out of control! On Wednesday I worked until 4:30, then went to my Weight Watchers meeting and got home about 6:30. I did dinner, cleaned up the house a little, and packed for the shelter. I had shelter duty from 9:45 pm until 9am on Thursday. I worked at Body from 9am on Thursday until 9pm. Went home. Crashed . Got up and went to work 9am-7pm at Body. Then had shelter again overnight from 10:45pm until I went to work at Body at 9am. I worked at Body until 3pm. Went home and ate. Laid down for a quick nap. So exhausted I missed church! I was really out of balance then!!! I wait all year for Easter service and then get myself so twitterpated about working that I miss the whole point.As Dr. Phil would say, " How's that workin' for ya'?" Yeah. I was so wrapped around the axle this week that I forgot completely about Lent being over and STILL haven't gone to Starbucks for a latte!
That about does it for my week in review. This next week has already been more balanced.I got some sleep.I have decided to make a more conscious effort to balance work and play and solitude and socializing and money and eating and boundaries and relationships.
Thanks for all the emails! I have the best friends and family anyone could ever want.I know that for many of you this is your first exposure to a blog.I'm not much further ahead but let me just encourage you to not be so shy. It's ok if you post your comments to the blog.Really.Better yet, why not start your own? Go ahead... be brave...get out there! I love you all. God Bless.
Peace out, Lana!

Monday, April 2, 2007

My Power Hour with Keith Ferrazzi

Keith Ferrazzi first entered my consciousness several years ago when I saw him on the Today show promoting his book, Never Eat Alone. I was searching for ways to improve the quality of my own relationships. Keith's interview was so down-to-earth and compelling that I went right out and purchased the book. I read it cover to cover in three days! Immediately, I began putting Keith's suggestions into practice. Within a short amount of time I noticed that my social sphere had widened and my client base had grown.I was feeling happier, more connected, and had more confidence. Keith encourages his readers to have honest communication with others. He stresses the value of being yourself. Most of what you read in Never Eat Alone boils down to The Golden Rule, common-sense, old-fashioned manners, and the concept of having integrity in your dealings with the people who cross your path. Refreshing! A radical departure from the old claw your way to the top theory! Keith also operates from the premise that the more you invest in the success and happiness of others, the more success and happiness will come your way. This is a point of view I can fully embrace and have found to be true in my own life experience.
Being somewhat of a cyber-stalker, I frequently check the websites of all my favorite writers and celebrities. I noticed one day on Keith's blog an invitation to use his coaching tool, Lifecoach 1.0. I filled out all the information and saw that Keith was offering an opportunity to win a one-hour coaching call with him. I was on it! I requested that everyone in my network fill out the coaching tool. At the end of the contest, I was thrilled to find that I was in the top three and I would be talking to Keith for an entire hour!
The coaching call came on Monday, March 26th at 3:30 pm. I have never experienced an hour flying by so quickly! Not a moment was wasted. Keith is very efficient in keeping focus.
We targeted the goals I had specified on the Lifecoach 1.0 tool. My first goal is to achieve my doctoral degree. I have just finished my bachelors degree in Family Life Education. I applied to grad school for my masters degree in Counseling. Keith discussed with me the reasons why I want to earn a doctorate. Even though my reasons for pursuing a doctoral degree are in alignment with my mission to contribute to others through teaching, speaking, writing, coaching and counseling, Keith advised me to get my career path more in the now, since my doctoral degree will be a number of years in the making. He asked me to find others in my area who are doing what I envision myself doing in the future and to create ways to connect with those people to learn from them and to also contribute something of value to their endeavors-possibly in the area of internship or volunteer work.
My second goal is to write a book. Keith coached me to start my own blog so that I could get in the habit of writing routinely. This would provide practice and discipline, but also give me the opportunity to get feedback from others and an idea about what topics could generate interest. Keith also suggested that I get around to reading the blogs that are out there and posting comments to those blogs as a way to start building community and meeting people of similar interest for peer-review. The final writing assignment Keith gave me involves the development of a tip for possible use on his blog. I am still chewing on that one! It better be good is all I can say!
The third and final goal we discussed was in the area of meaningful work that improves the world around me. Keith reiterated the idea of finding others who are doing what I want to do and being in relationship with them. I am going to work on finding appropriate mentors in the area of life coaching even though this concept is very new to West Michigan. There may be an opportunity for me to create this from the beginning stages. The idea of being a pioneer and innovator for this part of the country is an exciting challenge that I may decide to take on.
Keith proposed one additional project based on my interest in weight loss, self-esteem building and goal-setting for women in a support group format. I am working on bringing this program into reality. I currently have the "skeleton" of the program and eight willing women for my initial test group. Keith graciously offered to help coach me through to completion. This is the type of project that I am most passionate about and energized by. I love the creative aspect.
At the end of the coaching call, Keith gave me an admonition to be patient with myself and accept that I will encounter the inevitable pitfalls of being human from time to time but that hard work and perseverance will pay off. I cannot possibly convey to you what a genuinely nice and warm person Keith is. Then...he gives you the good-natured boot! To quote Keith, " Get going!"

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Polarity:My Week in Review

I feel a little like Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City sitting here thinking out loud! This blog business still feels a little like getting undressed in public! However, I have been going around and looking at other people's blogs this week and have learned an awful lot!Thank-you again, Keith Ferrazzi, for getting me out of the dark ages.
Well, this week past was a mixed bag! My sister, Marcee and I have talked often and at length about the polarity of everything. The good and bad, the happy and sad, the yin and yang that constantly coexists in life. Sometimes the overall tone seems either positive or negative but there is always the presence of the opposite or shadow side.
SUNDAY, MARCH 25, 2007: My friend Michelle and I went to see the Blue Man Group at the VanAndel in Grand Rapids. I have been wanting to see them for years! I was SO excited about this finally happening. Michelle and I met downtown for dinner since the show was at 7:30 and we got there early to people watch-the best part. It was a nearly sold-out event. Before the show, they had a lot of amusing things running across the screens by the stage which called for a response from the audience and so that was fun seeing how everyone was reacting. We speculated from the responses that a majority of the audience had either had a substantial amount of alcohol beforehand or possibly had fired up a big fattie before arriving for the show! In retrospect, we concluded that we might have enjoyed the performance more had we done that ourselves. Hindsight is always 20/20. Not to say that parts of the show were not entertaining-there were real moments of genius and humor and the stage effects such as the lights and choreography and unique mix of music, video and special sound effects. Many times during the performance Michelle and I made these weird wrinkely faces at each other and said, "WHAT??". Another friend who was there said that she had seen them in Vegas and it was a different and much better show. If I ever make it to Vegas I will probably pay the obscene price of a ticket to see the Blue Man Group again just to determine how I really feel about them. I'd love to hear from anyone else out there who has an opinion about the Blue Man Group....
Monday, March 26, 2007: This was a red letter day! I had my coaching call with Keith Ferrazzi-OMG!! I spent an entire hour on the phone with a man who sat next to Goldie Hawn at a party-I could just obsess about that for days...He turned out to be the nicest person ever and was very generous with his knowledge and help. I am going to devote an entire blog session to this coaching call.There's too much to write about to include here. It was so amazing. I was in bliss for the rest of the day and off and on all week! I get so excited and energized when I get the chance to brainstorm with such a creative and high-energy person as Keith. He just made my brain go into overdrive imagining all the creative directions I could go with some of his suggestions.Thanks so much to everyone who helped me win that call. I hope the coaching tool that you filled out is helping you focus on at least 3 things that you want to accomplish in your own lives.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007: Had to go to court. Those of you who know me and my family remember the incident that happened last October. For the rest of you out there, here's the Readers Digest version. Tyler had been drinking, got into an argument at home with me and Trevor. Trevor tried to stop his brother from leaving because he didn't want him to drive drunk. A physical fight occurred. Things got out of hand. I called 9-1-1. Tyler ended up going to jail for Domestic Violence.It is a sad day when a mother and brother have to go to court and testify against one of their own. On the way there, Tyler made the comment that none of us would be speaking to one another by the end of the day. I had been praying about this and had asked a lot of others to pray as well for an outcome that would teach a lesson, not destroy a family.
We got off to a rocky start but throughout the experience it became obvious to me that everyone involved: the judge, the prosecuting attorney, the defense attorney, the arresting officer and our family, were all trying their best to have this situation be a catalyst for change in Tyler's life. It was a long and drawn-out process but Tyler was able to be corrected gently and our family left intact. The three of us have experienced a stronger sense of unity lately and went out to dinner that night together and went to see 300 at the Imax. Emotional day but it ended wonderfully! Thanks to all of you who have been holding us up in your prayers! It really does change things.
Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, March 28,29,30, 2007: Work, work , and more work! I had a bit extra to do this week due to some staffing shortages at my second job. Some of my shifts were back to back. No time to do anything else.I was glad to help my team though and I know that they will be there when I need help.My clients are always so appreciative. I was able to set a communication issue right with one of my co-workers on Friday. I always feel better when I am at peace with everyone.So many people are out of work in West Michigan that even when I am feeling overwhelmed with work, I remind myself that I am very blessed. I am lucky to have a job-two, even!I never forget to be grateful. I am noticing lately that I do get tired sometimes-didn't used to happen!Getting older maybe? No way!
Saturday, March 31, 2007: I had the most delightful experience attending a cooking class at Artisan Cooking School & Catering Company in Grand Haven, MI. The school is owned by my friends/clients Howard and Kathy Norris. The class was all about deserts. We learned how to make a creme brulee, a caramel flan, ice cream, a chocolate mousse, a chocolate volcano cake, and fruit coulis. Chef Howard is passionate about what he's doing and takes a lot of time to explain things fully. He also has a wicked sense of humor which makes the process even more fun! The best part was the sampling, of course! There goes all my weight watcher's points for the day! It was well worth it...check out their website: I am planning to take as many classes here as I can fit into my schedule before grad school begins. When my sister is here in May I'm going to have my dream team meet here for food and fellowship. Chef Howard does catered dinner parties there at the school for groups. Give him a try next time you have a special occasion and don't feel like cooking.
I went to church at 6pm. I am still getting used to going on Saturday nights. I feel like a recovering Catholic. It was especially strange since this would qualify as my Palm Sunday. Only on Saturday...hmmm.Pastor Steve preached the traditional message for Palm Sunday-The Triumphant Entry. One portion of scripture stood out to me: Luke 19:41-44. Jesus was giving a dire prediction over Jerusalem because they had failed to recognize that God had come. I just want to say that I am thankful that I recognized the time of God's coming to me. I am thankful for my parents and my Christian heritage. Holy week is the most significant time of the year for those of us who are Christians. We are reminded of the sufferings of our Lord and the incredible gift God gave to us through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son. God bless you all this week! Lana

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