My favorite quote (or reminder as I like to think of them)...

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” (Marianne Williamson - A Return to Love)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Once Upon A Time...

"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way!" ~ Babe Ruth

Once Upon A Time...there was this little storefront just "dying" to become something sunny, inviting, exciting, sweet, intoxicating, loved and full of good things and good works!
Then this lady decided to wake up one day and start crying 'cuz she felt sorry for herself that she couldn't find a great job. She remembered going to lunch a couple days earlier with her "oldest" friend in the world and they commented how cute "that little place across the street" is. Her husband told her "enough already" let's do this for goodness sakes!
And suddenly, she found her life filling up with all the things that the little store was waiting for.
The End...or rather...The Beginning.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


"When you cannot make up your mind which of two evenly balanced courses of action you should take, choose the bolder." ~ Gen. WJ Slim

I wasn't angry. It was as if anger had left my body. I was disappointed, hurt, saddened. It felt nothing I can describe, I guess. I was truly at a loss for words, emotions, or experiences to draw from to know what to do or how to feel.

My daughter made a (poor) choice that has left me feeling a bit at a loss. She was caught, has been disciplined, and is now living with the consequence of that (poor) choice. Yet I'm the one still crying!? You know like a sadness with no cure kind of crying. Just simple tears that creep in your heart and then out of your eyes.

We are trying very hard to raise our daughters in a Christian household in honor of a loving God. And I try to remind them (their whole lives really) to take responsibilities for their actions, to own their success and their failures, to know that only Jesus can walk on water, and to learn, above all learn, from their actions. Yet today, it feels, as a parent, I failed. It feels like I did something wrong. Like she made her choice because of something I did, or rather didn't, do something that caused her to make that choice.

But I know that's not right -- or in a way, it is, but like I tell my kids, there was only one who walked on the water. So while I have prayed with my daughter about what has happened, I said my own little prayer too. "Please Lord, help me be a parent who can forgive as you have asked us to with a loving heart, to raise children that you, Lord, would be as proud of as I am. Amen"

Uggh. Sometimes parenting feels like the worst job in the world. But that's probably what all of our great moms and dads thought about their job too!

Monday, May 24, 2010

The House Overflows

"If thou hast two loaves of bread, then sell one and buy flowers...the bread will nourish your body...the flowers will nourish your soul."

I think I shall have to write my post today in Lilac. I could write in Peony, but I don't think there is just one crayon for that! My entire house is fragrant with the smell of lilacs right now. It has even covered the smell of the roast in the slow cooker. Ahhhhh...if only they had smell-a-blog! One bouquet, freshly cut, has simply overwhelmed this house in a most delightful way. More so than anything I could have baked or bought at Bath and Body Works.

The work that my husband and I have done over the past 5 years in this giant 2 acre yard that was once a corn field is starting to really manifest beautifully. Things are growing so wonderfully and filling in all the blank spaces. This is my favorite canvas...well second favorite really -- first is the inside of my house, then the outside.

I am delighted in how the lovely choices of greens, purples, whites and pinks that we have planted against the back-drop of our Olive Green house have turned full and deep and prettier than I could have imagined. I think I shall go sit by the pool for the remaining hour of this afternoon and simply smell and read. Read and smell. I may look up from time to time too just to see where all the pretty smells are coming from. I simply think that God is the most wonderful artist and my soul is renewed again for another season!

Friday, May 21, 2010


"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." ~ Thomas Edison

I've been doing a bunch of recipe testing lately -- so many recipes, so little time!!! At one time in my life, I actually collected recipes! Can you even imagine?!

I think I may have come up with a pretty good chocolate chip cookie dough, but I want it to be great, so back to the drawing board! Then today, I tried a brownie cookie. Not gonna make the cut. See, I don't like when they aren't pretty too and this is a really ugly cookie and quite frankly, I feel sorry for any home cook that tries to make it work, 'cuz ain't no way it's gonna! I had too much fixin' to do to make it even ok for today!

That bothers me a lot actually. I feel sorry for home cooks and bakers who try recipes out and think they failed. Oh no they did not! (Well, maybe they did, but....) So many recipes are just not right, accurate or good, but if you don't have a foundation to know what's wrong with it, and let's face it, how many people do, your product will fail and through no fault of your own. For instance, I tried making the Queen of the Kitchen's Chocolate Chip cookies last week (Martha's) and the recipe called for 1# of butter and 3 1/2 cups of flour. That is about HALF of the actual flour you will need to make the recipe work...well, if you want cookies not chocolate chip cookie soup that is! Hey! There's another idea! ;o)

So I'm going to 3 Sisters' today to plan a really fun "Indulgent Day" with Dani to be held at the shop (hers, not mine, yet!). Picture it -- chocolate, wine, conversation, wonderful women, chocolate, wine, relaxation, chocolate, wine....ok, sorry! Well, I thought I would bring some chocolate treats for our meeting -- you know, to put us in the mood for planning, and I made these chocolate brownie cookies. Let's just say that YES we will be enjoying them with our Starbucks TODAY, but NO they will not be on the menu for this event or any other. And again -- it was another recipe that didn't make sense (scientifically) and I am in no mood to figure it out or reinvent it when there are SO many good ones out there to try! Maybe there's a calling out there for a home cook/baker's hotline?! Maybe a little something like this:

"Hello, this is the Martha sucks and so do all the others, but we'll get you through it 'cuz you don't (suck) and we applaud you for trying Hotline. Now, how can we serve YOU today?" :o)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lessons of the Week

"Your time is now. To be fearlessly resilient. To rebound with purpose and power. To lead with intention. To discover what you want -- and GO GET IT." ~ Katherine Center

So Merry Me sent this video clip to me the other day and I so loved it that I have to share it with you all. I am amazed by people who can put powerful, meaningful words together. I am further amazed when those words reach deep into some one's heart touching, moving and inspiring them with their power. I am touched, moved and inspired by the words in this video (as Mary knew I would be) and they almost feel like bullets in my gun ready to shoot at fear.

Ironically (not!), the day Mary sent this to me our sermon in church was all about recalculating your direction and I was so moved by what Pastor Guy had to say. We were working from the book of Proverbs and during the sermon, Guy said "a wise person sees the future and acts like it is now." I loved that! Then a conversation that Dani and I had a few weeks ago creept into the sermon. On our worksheet, this question: "Is it easier to see your own path or someone else's?" followed by this motivating question: "What will make me happiest now?" At the end of the sermon, Guy asked if we were on the path that will take me/us where I/we want to go? This wasn't a sermon in getting what you want. It was a teaching in your connection to truth, to God, to those that love you -- how you will never reach your full potential without tapping into those truths and faiths.

I'm leading with intention again. I will not be afraid to try and I know that I have God and many people that love me rooting me on! My time is now and I am rebounding from this past year with power and purpose.

Well, and I hope a healthy dash of fun. After all, what's the purpose if there's no fun in the sun!?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monkeys, Meetings, Major Projects

"Step out into the Sunshine, Sally!" ~ Ellie Mixter-Keller

I know, I left you hanging -- RUDENESS! So my meeting went pretty well. The health inspector was very kind to me, informative, suggestive -- positive even. I have to do a few things that I was hoping I wouldn't have to (like put in a 3 compartment commercial sink and buy a commercial frig) but nothing that can't be simplistically overcome and should be items I can find used. What I appreciated most about my meeting was the fact the entire time he was telling me what I would need to do, he understood and aligned himself with MY goal -- "the bare minimum in cost to bring up to commerical use". After all, we're making cookies and cakes, not serving seventeen course dinners! Thankfully I had been a professional baker for so many years prior to this and have worked in all types of kitchens -- from the Hyatt Regency Hotel to a little gourmet restaurant that seated about 60 people -- so I was clear what was really needed to do some great baking. And it's not a lot! Thankfully Vladimir (health inspector) also knew and appreciated this fact. Good meeting.

Then I went across the street to see what the Town of Genesee needed to get this going. OK, so it's a lot, but not compared to many other municipalities, I'm sure, and it will take a bit to get all of the approvals, but again, not anything that couldn't be overcome. Seems like my suns are aligning (I'd say stars, but, well, suns seem more appropriate coming from me doesn't it?).

On Friday, I had the first date. You know, with that lady that I thought dropped me like a bad first date? Oh stop thinking what you are thinking! It took me four months to get this meeting and there was NO way I was going to cancel now (and besides, I scheduled it a full week before my decision to open the Sweet Shoppe). Now, I must admit, the night before I strongly considered cancelling. I was afraid that it would confuse me, derail me, throw me off my new course. But it didn't. I was so pleased to meet her (such a lovely woman!!), honored that she made time for "little ol' me", moved by what I learned, and touched by having known her. She taught me what I was doing wrong in my job hunt (it is SUCH a different world out there now in this economy) and I was happy to have some answers to my burning questions. She also sent me such a lovely email after the meeting, that I feel I must share it with you as I simply adore people who show up like this in life!

I so enjoyed meeting you Tracey. This is a huge leap of faith. You have so very much to offer. It is NOT you but the conditions we are in. It requires you learn some new skills, and I know you will get there. There are wonderful people in this town who could really use someone like you. Your church, chamber of commerce, old school chums are already predisposed to like you and want to help you. Figure out what you want, what you need to take you to the next step on the path and ask them-they won't disappoint. After all, I bet you have been helping them for many years! Feel free to rattle my cage for further help as needed. Happy to Link you up with others who can help. Get away from the computer and step out into the Sunshine Sally! Not so bleak out here in the light! ... you just need to give yourself permission to be open to the NEW and get over the fact that the old way is done. Change is for the good, jump on the wave.

Step out into the Sunshine Sally! I just love that! That is going to have to be my new life motto!! And I'm not confused. I may have a little of my ego back from this meeting (something that has slowly been torn down for the last several months), but it's coming back I tell you! I thought about all the conversations I have had lately about the bakery and about the business world. And while I want to do both, the corporate world isn't calling me but a batch of my homemade Snicker Bars is! (and yes, I DO make them and yes they are unbelievable!!)

Had this cute cake to make for my cousin this weekend. I know, right?! Her son turns one this month and she had my big ol' Italian family over for his special day. In our family, the party goers get one cake and the one-year old gets his/her own to "enjoy". For the record, "enjoy" also rhymes with "destroy", but either way, it's all good! :o)

Also this weekend, we headed into the home stretch of Caroline's Bronze Award Project. Thought I would send some pictures of just SOME of the books we've collected so far. It really is amazing though isn't it? I love when people come together to make a difference. Simply love it. We wrap it up in about two weeks and she still has her school to collect from (about 300 kids), her neighborhood collection at her Waterford house (about 5 times more houses than we have here in Muktown), the bins at our local libraries and at her Daddy's and Uncle's work place(s).

Did I mention I love when people come together to make a difference?

And lastly -- Our Women's project (blog and final report) are complete and I have posted our final paper as our last blog if you are interested in seeing how we wrapped it all up. I feel pretty good about it and am happy to have two weeks off to read what I want to read before my next class starts! Wendy Mass, here I come! ;o) Happy Monday!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Very Important Day

"Don't just consider what's possible...STAND ON what's possible...CELEBRATE what's possible...CLAIM what's possible, for you and others." ~Marianne Williamson

That's really all I am going to post as today I need to be sure my energies are attracting nothing but infinite possibility! I can not let Molly spend a single minute with me today -- not one. I need to believe in this, believe it is all part of God's intention for me to live my grandest life, and believe I can do it.

So today I will STAND ON what's possible...CELEBRATE what's possible... and CLAIM what's possible.

It's a big day. is the day (actually in just a couple hours) that I meet with the Health Inspector to see if I am right that it will take very little to convert my pretty little space into Sally's Sweet Shoppe (we're going with "ppe" because otherwise it looks like Sweatshop and while I am a very hard worker, I don't want OSHA getting any ideas!!). :o) If that is the case, and that is what I strongly believe to be true, we will be going forward and Genesee Depot will soon have the sweetest little bakery it ever did see!

Time to go claim what's possible!

Monday, May 10, 2010

I Hit Delete

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." ~ Jeremiah 29:11

I deleted all of the emails, notifications, etc. Yup, I cut the cord.

My husband and I had a conversation on Saturday morning. Well, he talked, I cried and tried to talk (what's new, right?!) We were both clear that I wasn't doing any one thing well. I wasn't finding a job "well". I wasn't trying to figure out how to make (literally, MAKE) Cookie Concoctions work in a kitchen somewhere (can't be a home kitchen) "well", and I am not OK about being a stay at home (1/2 time) mom, and I can't afford to go to school full-time w/o going in debt which if you haven't notice is a four-letter word and ESPECIALLY to me!

Good times! Thank God I quit my perfectly good job in August! Yes...thank God.

The night before I had talked to a commercial building owner in this sweet little town by us called Genesee Depot. It's as cute as it was when I was a little girl and is the next town over from where we live (7 minutes away). This man, Gary, was one of the nicest gentlemen I've had the pleasure of talking too. Anyway, I told Gary "thanks for the info, this is just a dream...blah blah blah).

The next morning, after my "chat" with my husband, I was also clear that we BOTH felt very strongly that I could run a successful bakery -- that it would be at a minimal risk to our family and that if anyone could do it, I could! We drove to Genesee and he fell in love with the two buildings I had talked to Gary about the night before. We called Gary and asked him if he could drop everything and come right over to show us inside. Far cry from 16 hours earlier when I told him it was just a dream..oh and he'd be there in 20 minutes.

Twenty minutes after he arrived..."Daddy, can you drop everything and come here right now?!"

"But of course I can honey........."

My dad (a general contractor and Master Carpenter my whole life) confirmed my suspicions that I would have minimal construction to make this lovely little spot my bakery. I love when he talks money! ;o) I love minimal even more!

I'm in love. Fully, deeply, dreaming-ly in love. It is the cutest little spot in the cutest little town that gets more than 7,000 cars per day driving right past its doors going a mere 25 mph! Picture it -- parking out front, the bakery open sign flapping in the breeze, the lovely smell of cookies and cakes and cookies and brownies and cookies and caramel corn wafting out of the sun-filled room. Ahhh. Totally in love.

And I shall call it.......Sally's Sweetshoppe or Sally's Sweetshop (haven't decided yet) and run my Cookie Concoctions out of there and all sorts of lovely treats which I have developed the recipes for! And I will build it and they will come.

They will come as they are going in droves past the bakery to get to the major freeway here, as they are going to tour Ten Chimneys Museum (a mere 1/2 mile away), or as they get out of church (less than 1 mile away), or perhaps on their way to Magee Elementary (1/2 mile away) or Kettle Moraine High School (a few miles away), or perhaps just because they heard there was a great, fun, sunny bakeshop in Genesee Depot!

Anyway you look at, it was worth deleting my piles of email notifications about jobs that I wasn't going to get anyway and focusing my energies on Sally's Sweetshoppe (or :o) I have a call into the health department (that will be returned tomorrow at the earliest) and should things go the way I expect them to with the consultation meeting I am trying to set up with them (to see what I would need to do to bring up to code) you will soon be one of the first to learn of the humble beginnings of a beautiful little bakery in a beautiful little town that radiates sunshine and chocolate from its walls.

And I needed to do was hit delete! ;o)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My Many Moms

"All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother." ~ Abraham Lincoln

Today I think I shall honor all the wonderful Moms in my life! So many beautiful women that made me who I am today...

Rosie Goo -- my Ma...she thinks she's insane and I think she may be...after all, she did have FOUR daughters to make her that way! :o) My mom had a crappy example of what a good Momma is. I didn't. No matter what she tells you. She taught me to be a leader, to be responsible, to be hard working, to be creative, to be brave, to be a fighter, to never stand for less than God intended for you, to believe in God, and to love my sisters soo soooo soooo much!

Gramma Sara -- my step mom...supportive, logical, and accepting. Mom has taught me value and fun and my Daddy is lucky to have her. She is peaceful and able to sit in stillness and I relish that in her!

Auntie Val -- my other-mother...has taught me that it's OK to be like my dad and if it's not a right angle it's just wrong! She taught me to have pride in myself, to be dedicated and to not take any crap -- from anyone. She loves all 467 of her nieces, but I'm the only one who was lucky enough to have lived with her during my "I'm an adult but it's too hard stage". She taught me the value of story telling and how important it is to a family's history.

Kathy Roe -- another other-mother, my Driver's Ed teacher in HS...Kathy was my other-mother during a very difficult time in my family's life. She taught me stability, adventure, and authenticity -- above all, authenticity. For the last 30 years she has been my friend, my mentor, and has believed in my abilities to do and achieve anything.

Jeanne, Michelle, Rhonda, Peggy and Kelly's moms -- my best friends in HS and I am lucky to have met them and loved them and their mothers. Our mothers protected us, raised us ALL, treated us with respect and loved each of us like their own.

Phyllis -- my Ex's mom...I miss her terribly as I don't keep in contact with her since my divorce (long story and a request by my ex), but on this earth, I don't think there is another human being that I am not related to that I could have loved or adored more. I miss her all the time and say a prayer for her every Mother's Day.

My Sisters (Toni Lynne, Tam, Doli) -- while not my mothers in this world, they taught me how to be a great mom and I have learned endlessly from each of them -- not only in helping to raise them as kids but also because each of them is a fiercely beautiful mother and their children are the luckiest children on the face of the Earth!

Carol Burdick -- John's mom. I've never met her. But I have to think that I would have liked to as she raised the world's most beautiful husband, father and man I have known. And for that, I am thankful and know that I have too learned from her.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you fiercely beautiful mothers! xxooxxooxxooxxoo

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Some Pictures of Our New Venture

The packaged goods on Saturday morning...
All the cookies I baked (before 1:00 pm) ready to package!! Go Me!!

My first customers...made me cry! They love me...they really love me... :o)

A mountain of Cake Batter cookies with mini chocolate chips -- YUM!!!
Well of course I made crowns for the Queen's store!!

My Crazy Cookies! Ma'an I'm a lucky gal!

Say Cookie Concoctions...or cheese..whatever.... ;o)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Full Story

"Do we dare to be ourselves? That is the question that counts." ~ Pablo Casals

I had a funny conversation today. I (recently) changed my profile wording on this blog to be reflective of this exercise in growth I did a few weeks ago. Short version of that exercise - name 3 women you admire, 3 things about them, and 3 reasons why you do. Then you take that and you can SEE for yourself what others see in you AND what is possible for you to see in yourself. So I decided to take those words and make them my Profile Paragraph.

And it kind of makes me chuckle to read it. For while I do believe that I AM that/those things, I also am so many other things (that didn't make the list). And I am really not ashamed or embarrassed by those things. Now, that's not to say that I don't wish I wasn't this or that or less of this or that, but it is me, all me.

So I thought I would take this opportunity to round out my profile picture - here. 'Cuz it's all me too...

...I'm (also) impatient, quick to react, obsessed with lists and fantastic fine point pens, think way too much about what I do wrong, am too loud, have a whiny voice, paid $10,000 to have a full tummy tuck and then gained 50 pounds in other places, hate loud music IN my ears, am too naive, don't tell my husband, daughters, friends, parents and sisters enough how much I love them, can't jump -- no really, not AT ALL, I can't wear high heels anymore (since the $10,000 surgery) which sucks and makes me look fatter, never really could "play" like a kid, have to do 14 things at one time because I can't sit still, and I hate fruit in anything but my hand.

That was my funny conversation today. No, I didn't tell this person all of that, I just thought of it all while she and I were chatting about profile wording. OH, and sometimes I'm not a good listener and fail to own that and apparently pretend to listen while in reality I was apparently building another list instead of honoring the person speaking to me. Ma'an, I make my own a*& tired!

But what I thought about most was, why don't our profile paragraphs read like this? After all, is it so daring to be our true selves?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Ma-ther's Day

"Honor Yourself" ~ Terri, Bone Sigh Arts

We celebrated "Ma-ther's Day" with my daughters yesterday. That's what we call it since they call me "Ma". And I just thought I would brag a little about what I got! :o) Because...I SO LOVE IT! I am so excited to have it. I am so excited to be reminded by wearing it!
Thanks Daddy and my Sunshine Girls for my special present and thank you Terri for making it for all of us beautiful women to wear! (PS Now, I know you know where to get your own, but just in case...3Sisters) :o)