Jumpstarting my Inspiration

Blogging inspirationWho:      Incredible bloggers from around the country
What:    BlogU14
Where:  Baltimore, Maryland
Why:      Looking to improve my blogging skills
When:     June 6-8, 2014
How:      Attending classes, networking and making new friends

Last weekend I had the privilege of stepping outside my comfort zone and attending Blog University. It was the first time this particular conference had been held and involved over 100 people, some hoping to start a blog and others, published authors.

I was amazed by how supportive and helpful all the bloggers were in sharing their journeys and what actions led to their success. I learned so much. While I was aware how important it is to build relationships with others who write to a similar audience, I never realized how much we can help each other.

Thank you for your support, your courage and most of all, your willingness to share your time and knowledge with me. You have inspired me to keep working away, word by word, in my part of the world. I can’t wait to meet again.

A World Full of Teachers

Asian woman with chalk globe drawn on blackboard.
Here’s where I show my age…again.
I graduated from high school in 1977. I know many of you weren’t even born yet. I loved my high school years. No, I wasn’t the most popular kid, but I had wonderful friends and teachers who inspired me.

I went to college, on and off, over the next twenty-five years and finally got my B.A. in Organizational Management. Most of the teachers were wonderful, but there were a few that pushed their own political agendas or berated students. There are a number of advantages to attending college as a working adult, my favorite was calling BS when needed. After all those years, I happily received my degree and moved on.

While I’m done with formal school, the best part of my education happens everyday. Aren’t we lucky to learn from a world of teachers?

  • This week I met with an estate attorney to get my will in order. He took the time to thoroughly educate me about my options and to help me select the best plan for me and my family.
  • I spoke with my investment advisor just this morning who answered all my questions and helped me confirm my investments are in order.
  • I’ve finished two writing classes since the beginning of the year and start my next one, Travel Writing, in two weeks. The instructors have been amazing.
  • I learn from several of my coworkers, but one, in particular, has such a wonderful attention to detail that results in large complex plans working in difficult situations. She cares about all the moving parts and each person who plays a role. It’s an inspiration.
  • Over the years, I’ve taken classes in stained glass, drawing, history, photography, software, exercise, diet and may even take some video classes soon.
  • I’ve traveled to wonderful places and learned about other areas of the country and the world.
  • Even things as simple as the man showing incredible patience as we wait in line to get served and the next door neighbor watering my flowers during the summer when I’m out of town, teach me something.
  • I’m also learning a lot from my fellow bloggers who help me improve my writing and my blog. They encourage, inspire and push me to play harder.

There are so many people, adults and children alike, who teach me something new nearly every day. And, I hope that in turn, people learn something positive from me, too. So while the formal education is over, at least for now, my life education will never be complete while I live and breathe.

Let’s face it…I LOVE LEARNING!

What have you learned in the last few days?

Message from a Stranger

Yesterday, I received a message from a stranger.

We’ve never looked each other in the eyes or exchanged a word. I’ve seen him twice. Both times he was walking quickly down the sidewalk, instrument in hand, playing music to his heart’s content. It was communicated loud and clear in his movement and his actions. Sometimes we just don’t need words to be inspired.

Message from a Stranger


Non Traditional is in my Genes


I remember a whistle at the back gate of the house. Pictures show a handsome silver haired man with glasses, sometimes in uniform and other times in dress pants and a nice shirt. The pictures are all formal and stiff, and are that of a stranger. I never got to know him because my father died when I was four. And my mother was left alone to raise me and my two sisters.

Before she married, my mom graduated from college and enlisted in the Army, serving as a dietician. Marriage and children ended her career. At the time she left the service, my mom outranked my dad. He was a Master Sergeant and she was a Lieutenant. Those were the days when women weren’t allowed to stay in the military when they had children. On the day my father died, my mother was a stay at home mom.

That’s when she took charge. With the support of friends and my grandmother, who came to live with us, mom dusted off her degree and went back to work. She applied for a job with the local school district so we could all have the summer off together. It was only five years later that my grandmother lost her battle with cancer.

I’m not sure how mom was able to overcome the grief and I remember times when she shut herself in her bedroom to cry. But, she never gave up. I learned about strength and putting one foot in front of the other, moving forward, even through the darkest times.

My mother never remarried. She was the head of our family making all the difficult decisions, encouraging, disciplining and serving as an example to three strong willed girls.

My mother was there when I was going through my divorce and during my struggle as a single mom. She watched when I was sworn in as a police officer. She stood with tears in her eyes years later when I was promoted to Sergeant. She was so proud. I know she was there in spirit when I became a Lieutenant and then a Captain.

My mother was, and continues to be, my inspiration. It seems the women in our family never take what is considered to be the traditional role, but blaze our own trails.

As Robert Frost wrote,

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

I love you, mom!

Don’t Wait for Something to Happen First Before You Fulfill Your Dreams


“After I __________, I’ll ____________.”

Fill in the blanks.

“After I get married, we’ll buy a house.”

“After I retire, I’m going to travel.”

We’ve all done it. But tomorrow is not guaranteed.

My brother-in-law, John, taught me not to wait to fulfill my dreams. John worked out almost every day and had a very physical job. He was one of the healthiest people I knew. Then the headaches started. Like most guys, he didn’t like to visit the doctor, but my sister insisted. The doctor put him on headache medication.

When medication didn’t solve the problem, he went back. The diagnosis? Stage 4 glioblastoma multiforme brain cancer. John was 48 when he was diagnosed and died about 18 months later. That’s when my philosophy changed. I kept putting things I dreamed of doing off until….whatever. That was about 10 years ago. The following year, I traveled to Africa.

The time to live life is now. That doesn’t mean I don’t take care of paying my bills or saving for retirement. It means that if my dream is to travel, I begin going to places I can reasonably afford. The next city, the next state, the next country.

A lot has changed in the last 10 years. My sister is remarried to a wonderful man. John’s grandsons, who he never met, are playing basketball and will soon attend middle school. I’ve traveled to a number of countries and visited several continents, including Antarctica.

I think of him often. John changed my life in a number of ways, but most importantly, inspired me not to put off living my life. I miss you, John.

Are there dreams you are putting off until you can fill in the blanks? In some small way, can you take a few steps forward?