As you can see, I’m not at my desk right now. I’m up in the tree (house). It’s where I do my best thinking—where ideas take root and branch out before I know it. It is here where the magic happens. Who knows what my imagination will come up with next. What little thought will get my attention and become worthy of words to express it. Thank you for going “out on a limb” with me to share the adventure of yet-to-be-determined motivating messages. Ta-da!
P.S. For those curious whether ta-da is a word, indeed it is according to Webster’s Dictionary. In the formal sense it means an imitative sound of the musical flourish or fanfare of a French Horn. In the more urban usage, it means a final proclamation, an exclamation to substitute a lot of words, especially when excited, happy, surprised. One source claims it was first used in 1926 although it doesn’t state how, and other info states its origins go further back with a connection to yoga and a certain pose called Ta-da-sana. Some consider it slang. I consider it the most magical verbal punctuation. On a grander scale, I like to think of life as one big ta-da.
It’s that time of year when our attention turns to letting others know what’s in our heart with cards and other Valentine-related gifts. It’s also a perfect opportunity to get to the a’hearta’ of the matter about one of the most popular holidays of the year with some fun facts. The iconic heart shape as a symbol of love is traditionally thought to come from the silphium plant discovered in ancient times. However, it was Plato’s idea that the brain was responsible for reasoning and the heart responsible for passions. Modern-day researchers...read more
My friend Lisa gifted me a beautiful crystal ornament this year. Its dazzling sparkle was one of the magical delights on my tree. She mentioned a word of caution about how easily it breaks since one of hers did last year. A few nights later while on the phone with her, I was fussing with the ornament when it slipped through my fingers, hit a box below and broke. My heart sank. Of course the ornament could be replaced; it was the joy of receiving such a special present that shattered more than anything. My initial reaction was to throw away...read more
Decorated trees are everywhere during the holidays. While it seems that Christmas trees might be a more recent custom, for thousands of years they were used to celebrate winter festivals (pagan and Christian). People adorned their homes with branches during the winter solstice in anticipation of the spring to come. The Scandinavian Vikings thought that evergreens were the special plant of the sun god, Balder. The first written record of a decorated Christmas tree comes from Riga, Latvia in 1510. Men of the local merchants’ guild...read more
Thanksgiving has always been more about celebrating gratitude than a big meal for me. This year I find myself focused even more on what I do that day rather than what I eat. Given the number of weather-related catastrophes in recent months, I want to express my gratitude for what I have by volunteering for Operation Warm Wishes, a nonprofit that began with its first Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless in 2008. Established by community activist Tyron Jackson, his passion for helping others and making a difference is the reason why the...read more
Have you ever wondered what it takes to be the chef of a major league team? Probably not. It wasn’t on my radar either until I read a fascinating article about Chef Morgan Bunnell who orchestrates the daily meals for the L.A. Galaxy soccer team. Since today’s professional athletes no longer carbo load, it’s his job to create healthful yet delicious meals using seasonal ingredients to satisfy a range of dietary needs. To achieve these results Bunnell enjoys using fresh produce harvested from a garden nestled beyond some concession stands...read more
I have an idea. How about initiating a kindness campaign? It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or formal, universal or worldwide. What does work is intention. To help amp that up a bit, here’s a few ideas others have done that might inspire something that works for yourself, family, community or beyond. Zachary Gibson decided earlier this year that he wanted to pass along a smile to strangers who may need one. Thus, the Tiny Mailbox Project was launched with a goal to set up 100 miniature mailboxes in public places around Los Angeles. In...read more
Paraprosdokians. What in the world are they? They’re not the latest in foodie fashion nor are they some strange being from a Star Wars film. It’s definitely hard to spell and even more difficult to pronounce. So why bother, right? Actually, they are more common than we realize because paraprosdokians are a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected, and is frequently humorous. For example, “Where there is a will, I want to be in it.” Or, “I used to be indecisive but now I’m not so sure.”...read more
I was having quite a week with techno stuff—TV, phone, and laptop were each doing quirky things. I’m sure most everyone can relate to the feeling of “when it rains, it pours” especially with electronics. Some glitches worked themselves out while others had me trotting off to Microsoft and Apple stores. During a moment of frustration, I shared my feelings in a text exchange with a friend. However, I also knew it was best to “go with the flow,” which I stated in one of my comments. At least I thought that’s what I said. Thankfully she’s a...read more
In my Mother’s Day post last month, the intent was to broaden the characterization of “mother” to offer a more universal perspective. Well, it’s only fair to explore Father’s Day and see whether the traditional definition of this holiday fits today’s 21st century dad. My sense is that it doesn’t in some ways. A number of factors are forcing modern parents to redefine gender roles and determine their own definitions of mother and father. Specifically, a growing population of women in the workforce, an unsteady economy and stale cultural...read more
As a child, Mother’s Day meant a gorgeous, ever-fragrant, single gardenia corsage for my mom—a tradition I frequently continued as an adult for my late mother. In more recent years, in addition to honoring the mothers in my life, I’ve expanded my appreciation to include Mother Earth, Mother Nature, and even the mother of invention. Like my mother, they’ve taught me a lot over the years for which I am very grateful. My mother didn’t tell me what to do very often. Rather, she would say, “Use wisdom, Cheryl.” Looking back, that is the wisest...read more