First Dance of Fall…

Welcome Fall! I have missed you my dearest friend.  It’s not so much as I wake up everyday thinking how much I miss you, as it is the moment you return I remember there was something missing.

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It’s Fall, y’all….

Yesterday, I could feel you were on your way. There was something distinct in the air…it was the slightest hint of falling leaves, freshly stacked hay bales, warm pumpkin bread smeared with soft cream cheese, the smokey remnants of a wood fire and a lift of my spirits.

This morning, the air is again filled with summer sounds and the coolness of yesterday has been replaced by the heat and humidity that has weighed me down for what always feels like an eternity by the end of the summer.

However, as I sit here this morning looking out into the lush landscape that the warm and wet summer has produced I can see you circling through the trees calling the bravest of the leaves to come and join you in the first dance of Fall.

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Mothers…

My mom has been called names all of her life…

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A daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt, grandmother, chef, baker, seamstress, artist, friend…

But her legacy is not so much in who she is as it is in who she has inspired. Her legacy is here…

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All of who she is, is spread out among her girls. Each of us shares one or more of the names she has been known as in her life. We are each one our mother made over into a new version meant to carry on her legacy and hopefully leave a legacy of our own.  Thank you mom for inspiring each of us to be the best daughters, sisters, wives, aunts, grandmothers, chef’s, bakers, seamstresses, artists and friends we can be.

Happy Mothers Day !

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Speed of the leader…

20160413_113933If there is one life lesson I have learned…it would be “speed of the leader, speed of the team“.  I learned this from a wise man who leads by example, living his life striving for excellence. He is a quiet leader, practicing what he preaches. But, not all leaders live or act in a way that makes a positive impact on their team…Sometimes a team is made up of more than one type of leader.

I have worked for individuals who found fault at every turn.  There was never room at the table for an exchange of ideas. There was never room in the conversation for constructive criticism.  And there was absolutely never room for encouragement. Their leadership style is dictatorial.

I have worked with individuals who  looked for opportunities to share wisdom and encourage team members.   They were open to new ideas. They offered constructive criticism looking at each situation from all points of view.  They always offered encouragement. Their leadership style was that of a teacher. DSC04761

Who do you think I learned more from, the person I worked for or the person I worked with… I learned from both. The critical leader bullied his team into producing results. The encouraging leader recognized team weaknesses and took the time to teach new skills which produced results.  Both leaders achieved results…both made an impact on my life.

I am still learning…I recently left a job where I hired and raised up a team of leaders. I was the same type of leader with each of the individuals on my team. Most of my team members became leaders who lead with compassion, enthusiasm and encouragement. The members of their teams produced incredible results week in and week out.  Their team members are thriving and productive. Speed of the leader…speed of the team.

However, not all of them responded in kind to my leadership style. One in particular turned out to be the polar opposite of me; always critical, accusatory and rarely encouraging. This leader is struggling to maintain an effective team. Speed of the leader…speed of the team.

DSC04819I do not take credit or responsibility for the type of leaders the people I hired have become..We are all products of our environment….we are each responsible for the choices we make and what we do with those decisions. We become who we choose to become…

I choose to be a leader who leads with enthusiasm, compassion and encouragement.  I will help my team achieve their goals and dreams. In turn I will achieve my dreams and goals.  I will be able to look people in the eye knowing I have done my very best for everyone involved.  I will be able to lay my head down on my pillow at night without a single regret.

Speed of the leader…

 

 

 

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Classic Restoration…

I can’t even believe that I am going to say this publicly…

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If you knew you would only ever have one car for your entire life you would probably take really good care of it…you would make sure you took it in for its regular scheduled maintenance and you would give it a tune up from time to time. You would buy the best oil and gas you could afford…you would avoid hitting the pot holes in the road, you wouldn’t ignore the check engine light or forget to have the oil changed. Well…folks we only get one body…and for years I have treated mine with total disregard, no maintenance, no check ups and now at 54 I am trying to change my ways. Classic cars can be restored and can be made to look almost new again…I guess you could say I am attempting a restoration of this old classic. Melissa thanks for being an inspiration!!!!

Disclaimer: This is not my car or photo…Photo credit belongs to my Pastor Tim Liston. He and his son restored this beauty.  FYI…I did own a 66 Chevelle when I was in college…I loved that car!

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Balmorhea…

a cool oasis in the high desert

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Seasonal Colors…Mardi Gras

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During the heart of the winter when the landscape is greyed out and white washed with snow and ice, you are hard pressed to find color of any kind.  That may be why we find ourselves mesmerized by a clear blue sky or the stark contrast of a red cardinal against the bare branches of a tree.

But if you hold on to hope as I do, a day will come between late January and mid March…a day splashed with the colors of the season. Colors that will bring a smile to your face and put a song in your heart. The season I know as Mardi Gras! The colors are found in the decorations, trinkets, food and jewelry.  The colors are always the same…Purple! Gold! Green!

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If you are not from the city of New Orleans you may find yourself a little put off by the brash color combination…but the colors are symbolic and are embedded in the tradition of Mardi Gras.  Have you ever wondered what the colors represent? The color purple represents Justice.  The color green represents Faith. The color Gold represents Power.

If I were home in the Crescent City, I would be attending an afternoon party enjoying a King Cake from one of the local bakeries.  Friends and family would be gathered around the kitchen table enjoying a cup of coffee and a slice of cake waiting to see who will get the surprise hidden inside. Yes every King cake made in the traditional fashion will have a plastic baby hidden in the cake.

Today, the baby symbolizes luck and prosperity to whoever finds it in his/her slice of cake. In some traditions, the finder of the baby is designated “king” or “queen” for the evening. That person is also responsible for purchasing next year’s cake, or for throwing the next Mardi Gras party. 20160130_134258.jpg

However, I do not live in the Crescent City. I live H-Town! So this year I am enjoying sweets made by my own personal baker Sweet n Lowe…Ms. D. has a way of capturing special moments in the form of cookies, cakes and sweet treats. I have to say that Devon’s cookies capture the spirit of Mardi Gras better than any I have seen.

 

The colors are spot on…the Mardi Gras mask and the Fluer de Lis capture the spirit of New Orleans.

 

20160130_134303.jpgThank you Sweet n Lowe for helping this Nolagirl enjoy the colors of the season.

Laissez les bon temps rouller!!!

Do you have a colorful tradition you enjoy?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Escape…

How do you escape from your everyday responsibilities…

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Most people get one weeks vacation a year, if they’re lucky. So how do you escape from the demands of work and family responsibilities…I suggest you pour yourself a glass of whatever makes you happy. I prefer a glass of Malbec. Grab a good book and do a little traveling.
Lately, I have traveled to Nantucket, the Italian Coastline and 1912 Shanghai…next up I’ll be traveling back in time to the fall of Jerusalem.
Where will you travel this year?

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