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)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Momma's Words

“The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave…”

My Ma doesn't know this, but I decided that SHE is gonna write my blog today. Rosie (as we call her, nicknamed that because she is SOOOO the Golden Girls character, Rose Nyland, played by Betty White) is a fiercely passionate person about our US military.

Fierce, unyielding, passion.

My brother in law, Big Joel (well what do you call a man that is 6'8" and 275 pounds of solid muscle -- and a little beer, he'll tell ya') has been in Kuwait for almost a year for this most recent tour. He was also promoted to Major this past year and my two nephews and my (baby) :o) sister are all holding down the fort w/ my Momma until Big Daddy comes home in three weeks!

So there's the background on my military family, that I am soooo proud of, and here are the words of my Ma from her email to me/us today (seriously, can't you just feel the tears of pride welling up as you read her words!!??!)...

Just a note to let ya all know that Joel received the Bronze Medal two days ago for his service in Iraq. Not that you will hear this news from Joel or Taryn, especially Joel, but allow me to toot that horn. Joel of course feels he did not sacrifice enough to earn this medal of merit and honor, but that's Joel. Even though he was selected to do a report that went to the Pentagon and on to the Sec. of Def. that has nothing to do with his service, the man is way too humble. Which all our service men and women are, I wish that they were appreciated more and people would thank them for their service. When I worked at Home Depot, any person whether in uniform or not (once I found out they were in the service) I said Thank You to them!

Thanks to PAPA for his service, thanks to my stepfather for his service, my brothers for their service in NAM, to Uncle Mick, to grandpa Gee, and grandpa Sam, and Joel's great great great grandfather who fought in the civil war. Just say THANK YOU!

Ya gotta appreciate what these people give to this country. I have seen the sacrifice that these people go through, just these kids being without their father for a year is tough, don't kid yourself. Taryn and her duties are endless and yet she, like so many other service wives keeps it together and keeps the home front safe. In Taryn's case, she builds on to the home front. Love you all! Dot

You go Ma! You stand on that hill I am convinced you will die on! For your pride and love is contagious and beautiful!!
OH, and, congratulations my baby brother-in-law...hope you don't mind that we tooted your horn for your -- on behalf of ALL of our service men and women! You totally rock our world!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Isn't she cute...

OH MY! Isn't she just the cutest?! I love her, and I shall squeeze her and call her Sally. After all, she IS my new logo and I couldn't be more pleased. Now, where ever will I get shoes like that and how will I ever be able to wear them all day in the Sweet Shoppe? Then again, who cares if I'm THAT skinny and have legs that look like that!! :o)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Steady on the Path

"If we stay steady on the path and don’t lose heart. If we open ourselves up to the whispers of our soul and listen in faith rather than fear." ~ Dani Sutliff

I had a lot to say today, a lot of things I wanted to blog about. It's very peaceful in the morning when you start your day out with a hot cup of lemon tea and check all of your favorite blogs to see what's true for so many terrific people that day.

I had a lot to say today. I don't anymore. As I was reading all of these fantastic insights into the world around us as seen by all of these women, most of whom I don't even know, the words, my words, seemed to leave me. It was as if a stillness came in and quieted all the chatter. It's almost like therapy some days - both the reading and the writing.

I had a lot to say today. But today, the words of my friend (above) seem to be all that I want to say. For today, I am steady on my path to open my bakery, be a contributor to CityGal Magazine, and still be the mother, sister, friend, wife and daughter that I want to be. I think fear has left me entirely about so many things and I truly believe that I am "listening in faith". These words resognated so loudly in me today, that I feel like I could conquer the world, and based on the results of this morning's actions, phone calls, emails -- I AM!

I had a lot to say today. But it sure is quiet when I don't.

Monday, July 26, 2010


"Progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be." ~ Kahlil Gibran

Trying to do anything that requires one to have a permit or a license is much akin to watching maple drip from a tree in January. It makes you want to say - Get Out of My Way, PUHLEASE. Sometimes I don't even want to use manners when saying it!

Because I was in construction for so many years, I at least know what I can and can't do, so I am not sitting idol waiting for all the blessings of others to be bequeathed upon me. With so much to do to open a fabulous, indulgent little bakery, one can not say that there is nuthin' to do while waiting!

I thought I would post some pictures that I took yesterday of the fun color we picked out. It's bold, playful, bright, retro, and very Aqua-Mint-Teal-y. Very appropriate, I think! :o) The girls helped John and I this weekend to remove wallpaper (a LOT of wallpaper) and to start painting in the areas where construction will be minimal. My favorite part of the weekend? When Gracie (Annie) told me to go work on something else "cuz she's got this"! Music to my ears!

Lisa wants to stencil a fun starburst throughout the walls that matches the retro font we will be using. I think that will look so fantastic!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Girl Effect

When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90% of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40% percent for a man. ~ (Chris Fortson, “Women’s Rights Vital for Developing World,” Yale News Daily 2003.)

I've seen these Girl Effect ads everywhere lately. I'm sure it's because God wanted me to notice them, but I've not trusted that it was a real "thing". So, I decided to see why God keeps whispering to me about this and I clicked. And I cried. And I felt empowered and I feel like you should know too. (video above)

For as long as I can remember -- no really, even back to my teenage years!! -- I have been a stand for young women (girls) finding their courage and finding their strength. I'm still not sure why God doesn't have me working with Oprah, but I am starting to get it. The work that I have done with Children's Hospital, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and now, as a Girl Scout leader for a troop of 12 AMAZING teenage girls is why. You see, I'm starting to understand that these young woman, who I believe so strongly in, are already making a difference in our communities and will continue to do so long after I'm not a part of their daily lives. They already feel and think and want to move the world. They already want to lead with their hearts and show the world what they are made of. I was/am just the vehicle by which to help them.

I do believe that girls have the power to change the world. For they already have.

Monday, July 19, 2010

About a Year or So

"Perseve(RED): It takes a glacier about a year to move as far as you can walk in a few minutes. Eventually it carves out canyons and slaps up mountains. It permanently changes the world. So can you." ~ Be Inspir(RED) book

It's been one year since that fateful day that I quit my perfectly good job. Not sure how that can be since I would be willing to swear that it was just last month. In this past year, I have learned many new lessons in life, the least of which being patience -- the most of which being humility and creativeness. It's been a most productive year too. I was able to get so many things done that I only wished I had the time to do (no, I did not put a single picture in a photo album...I'm guessing it's just not my thing). Time was definitely on my side and my friend.

And then...not so much. Time became the enemy. Time became all it felt like I had. And that was frustrating. It was hard to "Shine" some days. But in that "time", I was learning lessons and creating new possibilities, and expanding my energy, and growing, and I persevered. And what I have discovered on my quest is exactly what today's quote is -- that like the glacier, it took a year to carve out this new path, and like the glacier, my life has been permanently changed.

I did that. I permanently changed my world. Now who could sit around feeling sorry for themselves when, if you think about it, you are doing something as significant as that? Granted I didn't know it at the time, but it was all part of the REDiscovery of myself. Fascinating.

I've made some good progress this week getting the bakery going and that's good. It will never be fast or enough for me, but appeasing all the departments, and officials, and rules, and regulations isn't a fast process -- no matter who wants to do something. So, I just keep pluggin' away at it crossing each thing off the list as I accomplish it.

And then something unexpected and exciting happened out of the blue today. I was on the computer, making arrangements with the folks who are taking the carpet out of the bakery, and I got an email from one of the other people also interested in it. Rewind one week ago, and one of the interested parties just happens to the owner of a publishing company and owns CityGal Magazine (online mag). We had chatted via email and I politely told her and the other people who were interested that I already had the takers, but should something fall through...well you get it. She sent me an email thanking me anyway and telling me that she checked out my blog and really enjoyed.

Fast Forward one week to today and this kind lady, Melanie, sent me an email today asking me (you should really be sitting for this) if I would be interested in having my own blog for CityGal!! OK, first of all, WHAT?! Secondly, is this a joke? And thirdly, REALLY?!?! And fourthly (that is SO not a word and I don't care)...HELL YAH!!! Sorry...heck yes!!!

It is not a joke and I am SO excited and honored and touched and excited and excited! :o) I researched the publication and love what it is a stand for! It's a publication devoted to "educating, uniting and empowering our community". No...seriously! I did not make that up! But how fast can I SIGN UP!!! I am besides myself with creative energy right now. I actually have a buzz headache because my mind won't calm down. I will of course keep you informed of what happens, but I did call them back and let them know that I think I would love to do this. I can't say for positive sure as I am not sure how big of a commitment it would be and since I'm opening a little thing called my bakery, I have to make sure that I can do both, and do them both GREAT!

So that is what this year has brought for me. It's almost as if I have carved out a path in the landscape just for little ol' me to shine down the path of! Who knew?! And I can only stop and wonder now how the landscape will shape itself in the coming year!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Stronger than you Seem

"Promise me you will always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." ~ Christopher Robin

This is one of my all time favorite quotes but I didn't really notice until my girls started growing up. Now I find myself thinking about it all the time. I hope that I have taught them courage and I hope that I have taught them bravery and more than anything I hope I have taught them strength as women.

My mother is the strongest woman I know. She had a horrific childhood including loosing her parents before she was even an adult, got pregnant much too early for a young woman (with me!!), divorced a husband and lost another, does not have any contact with her siblings (part of the horrific childhood), and has a daughter who has been suffering terminal cancer for the last 15 years with the most valiant effort of any human being (dare I say) EVER. I know my sister learned to fight her cancer from my Momma. And I too learned that strength as did my other sisters. We are blessed because of her suffering.

And relatively speaking, I have suffered very little in this life. In fact, I have led a pretty sunshiney life. I am convinced that is because my Ma showed me how to be tough. How not to be a victim. How to take charge of the world and make my way without fear. I hope that I have, and am, teaching that to my girls.

John and I are starting to "let go" as they say as Annie has 4 years left until college. We are starting to teach our girls life lessons that have direct consequence and reward in life. Like making their own decisions - not us making it for them. Not giving our opinions about things that we shouldn't as it should be theirs to choose or decide as they feel so. For instance, next weekend, Annie leaves for band camp (I know, I know...this one time, at band camp....) and I told her that I was not going to help her with her packing but that I would simply check over her stuff before the final put away to see if I may think of something she may have forgotten. She said that she's happy about that, but in a way, not. She wants to do it, but it doesn't feel entirely safe I bet. It also can not feel like your success if you don't do it yourself, nor do I think one learns a lesson unless having suffered the consequence of that lesson.

I'm glad she's happy about it. I think it shows that she is building courage and belief in herself. And I'm glad she's "scared" of it too because I think it shows her respect for me/us and that she trusts in us. Caroline said she is happy at times and at other times not (like she will be soon because she forgot the book she was reading at this house when she left to go to her other one this morning -- I saw it, but what would I be teaching her if I once AGAIN reminded her of it). She's 12, so the lessons are smaller, like forgetting your reading book, but I think children will rise up to the expectations you set for them and become better for having them. That's what I think was key to my success. My mom had a lot of expectations for me and rising to meet those expectations has taught me so much!!

I like the direction that John and I are going in our parenting. I think it is really important for the girls and I wish my generation of parents would stop doing so much for their kids. We do so much for them that we are raising children who can't. I want to raise children who can, will and DO!! And I think that John and I are doing that. They are such little "mules" when it comes to helping us (or anybody) out. They would rather give than receive, of that I am sure and they don't want for much (other than traveling to Mexico to see their "sister" Stefi) and I think they MAY want their whole family to live in one house too -- as long as they still got their own rooms!

I think my children have learned value and I think in a round about way, they can thank Gramma Goo for that for she still struggles with her own worth and value. But I value her more and more every day. And she taught me everyday that I am valuable.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mole Lake Family Fun

"It's just down-home fun. It's good family fun, and it gets you away from the city. It's my favorite place to be." ~ Brenda Morris
This past weekend was our annual family mini-vacation to "Mole Lake", Wisconsin. It's really Bishop's Lake or Buffalo Lake or something like that, but I didn't know that and for years I called it that. Come to find out last year, my sister in law, Lisa, informs me of this world altering information! How can it be? It's NOT Mole Lake? What? We drive THROUGH Mole Lake? I can't take it. Nor can I change it (nor does she expect me too). :o)
So each year, John's family gathers at James and Lisa's cabin on Mole Lake (Ha) for a long weekend of family fun. We've been doing this for at least 7 or 8 years now. By year two, Lisa decided to give this weekend a theme -- and a carnival was born. James built booths for the carnival games, we had a clown, candy, fair food, etc. It was a hoot and my daughters thought they died and went to heaven (as I'm sure did all of the grandkids). And it snowballed from there. Each year I swear gets better, though I don't know how that could be?!

To date, we have had Summer Family Fun weekend, Around the World weekend, State Fair weekend, Adventurer weekend, Craft weekend, etc. etc. etc. This year our theme was "Game Show" and I think it was the best yet! Each family (5) had to entirely host a game show of their choosing. And let me tell you, these people came out to play!

We had Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader, The Price is Right, Family Feud, Minute to Win It, and Match Game. It was so fun (say it with me -- How fun was it?!) that at points in the day, I was crying from laughing so hard! These families did not take this year's theme lightly. We had a homemade chalkboard of sorts, a showcase showdown $1.00 wheel, a panel FULL of celebrities, and on and on. And we did this all outside, in the sun, having fun with 20 other family members that we don't get to see very often. I mean really people...this is the good stuff! We even had commercial breaks, prizes galore, theme songs, and great hosts like Micky Foxvalley since Jeff Foxworthy wasn't available (or from the Fox Valley)!! It was the "best day evvveerrrr"! :o)
I thought I would add a few pictures of the family fun and hope that you find ways to still have fun with your family(s)! If not, just keep reading my blog...I think next year's theme is gonna be............ :o)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Follow Up to Never Enough

So, Annie went to the volleyball open gym again -- to try it again and see if it was any more time.

She liked it better.
She said "HI".

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Never Enough

"Never Enough"

I often ask myself, how much love do you think you can cram into this life? The answer always seems to be "never enough". When my step father was diagnosed with brain cancer, we were in denial that he had only so long to live. I was SOOO in denial that I didn't even read the Christmas card he and my mom gave me that year because he wrote heartfelt words in the card and I was convinced somehow that if I didn't read it, and how he felt about me, that all the "drama" would go away. He died May 13th, 1993. I have only read the card once but still hold it as a treasured possession to this day.

I realized that while I had spent a lot of time with my mom, step-dad, and my sisters when they came up, I had let my friendships drift. I'm not sure if that was simply a matter of the distance (as we lived and hour plus north of them now) or just how life tends to go. Or both. Or maybe, I thought, neither. Maybe it was due to lack of effort. I started to look at that as the answer.

When Dave died, I was 26. Not really well versed in the whole funeral protocol and in fact, Dave is STILL the only person in my life/family that has died (not including my spouses' family or my friends' families)...other than the occasional great uncle that I didn't know very well. My best friends didn't really even know of the funeral and they were not pleased with me and in fact one of them said, just because we don't see you often doesn't mean we don't love you.

That's funny cuz that's kinda exactly what I thought, sorta. I mean, I didn't blame them or myself, I just thought this is what people do in life. It's not. As a possibility, people love and it is endless and infinite and you can NEVER get, give, or have enough. They were right...they wanted to be there for me and my family who they loved so much and had most of their lives (after all, they had been around since Jr. High!!). And I essentially took that gift from them because of my thinking, or rather, lack thereof.

I've learned from this lesson and believe very strongly that life must be lived outloud with as much love as you can possibly fit in it. Keep asking for more cuz it will keep giving! And I do. I have earned the title of "Sally the Cruise Director" because I think it is one of the most important things I/we do -- plan for the next luvin', as we call it. Not like I'm looking for the next best thing -- but instead, like it was soooo good, I can't wait to have more.

This past weekend was filled with just about as much love as I could possibly fit into one space. James and Lisa came to play on Friday afternoon and stayed for luvin' until the next morning. We talked, swam (floated really), drank festive beverages, talked, played, shopped, golfed, get it. And my sister-in-law, Julianne joined us for even more luvin' on Friday night! The next day, Keith and Randy came up from Chicago for more floating, eating, drinking, talkin', plannin', luvin'. Then on Sunday, we went and played at Rhonda and Michele's and Chelley's family was there and Momma Ev, and Chelley's parents, and there was old friends from HS I never see, and there was love everywhere! On Monday, I was a bit pooped, but did miss that I didn't go see the fireworks with my sister and dad/mom....after all, there was more love to have, right?!

The other day, Annie went to an open gym in Mukwonago (not where she goes to school, but ironically where I went to school and where my sister's kids do/will go). I asked her how it was and while she didn't like the structure of the program (which I totally get) she also commented that not one girl even said HI to her. I asked if she said HI to any of them, which you know the answer to. I don't believe in waiting for someone to say HI to me first, or to get around to planning the lunch we "should do". Just grab life's reigns and giddy-up people! People simply don't say HI, because they haven't been taught that people don't inherently dislike them, or that they are worthy or valued, or that if nothing else, it's just good manners. Insecurities suck and they keep people from experience love -- a lot of love.

It has been 17 years since my step-father's death. The people I love will be the first people I call should anything tragic happen again in my life. They will also be the first people I call to play with, to laugh with, to tell stories to, to share joy with and possibly the only person who said "HI" to them today.