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.
How did we get to the month of May already? That means Mother’s Day is just around the corner. The commercial success of this holiday is impressive–Americans spend $14.6 billion on gifts including $671 million on cards and $1.9 billion on flowers. There are about 122.5 million phone calls on the second Sunday of the month and about 152 million Mother’s Day cards are sent every year. Beyond the business side, Mother’s Day has some unique footnotes that add to the special recognition it deserves. Did you know that every sweater worn by...read more
After intently watching a bird poking around in my flower garden, several questions came to mind. What does a bird see from that point of view? What is it like to be that close to the ground? How does it feel to be a tiny creature and someone like me is standing nearby? At what point does a bird feel the need to fly off? I was equally curious to see if my curiosity about what I would call a microscopic definition of a “bird’s eye view” would be shared by any writers on the internet since the phrase is typically referring to an aerial view of...read more
I want to be a tree when I grow up. Or at least personify the magical qualities of trees. Just like people, trees come in all shapes and sizes. They have many different colors and like people, offer a bounty of gifts—flowers, fruits, leaves and more. As I write this, I’m reflecting on how trees have come and gone in my life. During my childhood years, I spent hours up in the walnut tree just outside my bedroom. I told that tree everything and then some. When we moved across the freeway to a home without trees to climb, I turned into a beach...read more
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