Category Archives: people

i will do it now




I will not wait until I am thinner, richer, have my closets cleaned out or my drawers organized.

I will do it now.

I will not wait for this weekend, or Monday or March or 2016.

I will do it now.

I will not wait for the weather to cool off or warm up, for the stars to align, or the seasons to change.

I will do it now.

Whatever it is that I have put off for the “right time”.

I will do it now.

I have figured out that waiting for this to happen or be completed before I move forward on what I need to do to live a better life, is just procrastination based on fear. It means I am hedging my bets on my life. I have created truly non-existent barriers, huge walls to climb before I get to the “good stuff”.  It means that I have created an excuse long before attempting whatever it is I want to do… because of fear of failure. Today the walls come down, I lay my chips on the table and the excuses and fear stops.

It stops now.

I will no longer waste valuable time.

What starts now are all the things I’ve postponed.

Life it way too short.

It really is.

It’s time to start living.

I will do it now.



a joyful life


 Wow. I can’t believe it has been so long since my last post. Life has been an incredible journey over the last two years. Yes, it has been TWO YEARS since I have posted!

Life is a funny thing.

 In the last two months I have come full circle to things I had left behind during the last two years. I have come back to rediscover things that bring me joy, happiness, creative energy and peace. I have taken a big leap of faith that has brought about a kind of child-like joy that can only be felt and seen, but not described in a way to do it justice.


 I feel more alive than I have felt in several years. My heart is full, I am creating some beautiful wrinkles on my face because I am smiling and laughing more than I have in a very long time. It’s interesting how we can lose ourselves in our lives. How our jobs become our world and how we sacrifice ourselves (our health, relationships, sense of self, etc…) for a paycheck to buy things that we don’t even have time to enjoy. A joyful life is what I have always been working on. I don’t search for it, I have to create it. Sometimes the creating of a joyful life makes many of those who love me a little bit nervous, but I am scrappy. I can figure it out and make ends meet. You see…when I am truly seeking a joyful life, through hard work, kindness and being true to myself; I create a life that is authentic, fulfilling and meaningful. A life worth living.

It is funny how life decides things for you when you can’t decide them for yourself. It is the small voice I have disregarded for a long time that lead to the unimaginable roar that I could no longer ignore. (it can also come in the form of a very knowledgeable and caring doctor showing you that your life is literally killing you quickly and if you (I) don’t get off this road you’re (I’m) on, life is going to end much sooner than you (I) want it to).
What is amazing is that when I finally embraced what that little voice (and my doctor) was telling me,  I had a feeling of relief, wonder and excitement wash over me; all the way down to my bones.  There is no more hesitation, second guessing or fear. There are fewer self-deprecating thoughts, feelings of anxiety or concerns about the future. It’s pretty damn awesome!

I am also aware that some of these feelings will come back at some point, but I am basking in the joy that I feel today. The joy that comes from making hard decisions that lead to a better life. The joy that comes from realizing that our days with those we love are numbered, and that we have more control over how we spend those days than most of us give ourselves credit for. The joy of realizing that I am the only one with the power to make the decisions that I must make to live the best life I can. 

So, going with the theme of this blog, a new phase has started! This isn’t a small phase, such as taking on a new hobby. This is the start of a life-changing phase. So, how big is this new phase? Well…

  •  I quit my job without having another one lined up (I’m scrappy and can figure it out!)
  • I have taken a month off and not looked for a job (I started my job search after my one month of unwinding, regrouping, and relaxing! )
  • I have been swimming laps 4-5 days a week (I have finally found an exercise I LOVE to do!)
  • I have FINALLY been following the expert advice of Marlene Merritt and have been eating healthy foods, given up all fast-foods, sodas and sugar….and that make me feel AWESOME! (she has been waiting for this day to come for over 5 years!)
  • I have made time for friends, family, reading, sleeping and anything else that brings me joy 

It’s a new phase. A big, awesome, exciting, delicious new phase. 


"Enveloped" in Happiness


Have you ever had an envelope bring a HUGE smile to your face?

Over the holidays I received an envelope in the mail from a long-time friend. Her creative, beautiful spirit flowed through the Christmas card that was enclosed in the envelope that had my address written in her signature handwriting. I know it may sound odd, but as long as I have known my friend Dawn, I have been obsessed with her handwriting. She tutored me in Math when I was in middle school and I remember going home after our tutoring sessions and trying copy her handwriting. It was so creative and unique…and my handwriting was atrocious…so I went home and practiced and practiced. I have never been able to write like her, but I have become obsessed with people’s handwriting ever since!

This envelope in my mailbox made me realize that there are so many small things that can bring about large amounts of happiness and joy. It is something I sometimes forget when life gets a little tough, and this sweet card was a gentle nudge to pay attention to things…because there are hidden bits of loveliness all around.

It was also a great start to an AMAZING holiday season! The envelope was a fantastic reminder to pay attention to the little things that bring joy… because the joy I feel can become contagious to those around me. I wanted to spread joy around like the flu…a good flu (if there is such a thing).

By being focused on happiness, my holiday was profoundly affected. It was a peculiar phenomenon. When you focus on joy/happiness you don’t have the time, energy or need to focus on the negative things. I was able to be more engaged in the things I was doing and I was engaged for no other reason than the fact that the activity or conversation I was involved in brought me joy. Whether it was helping out with dinner, reading my book, laughing at the most ridiculous things, or deciding that the 1/2 inch thick bolt that was stuck in the front tire only after the third hour of travel on a 13 hour road-trip…wasn’t going to ruin the fantastic vacation I was driving home from. It helped that my friend and travelling companion, Carolyn, also decided to find the humor in this otherwise complicated “challenge” we were facing…and we turned this “challenge” into a road-trip that will have memories and inside jokes to last a life-time!

The amount of joy and happiness I felt during this time was directly related to my choices. My choices about how I would “spin” something, what I focused on and how much I was willing to stop trying to control. It was awesome. I was “enveloped” in happiness.

So, as this New Year begins… focus will be on finding joy and happiness in the little things. Enveloping myself in the never-ending loveliness that appears each day….and taking the time to search for it on those tough days…when it takes a little more effort. It is worth putting forth the effort because when I don’t take the time to look for the good things, I am really missing out. I am so thankful for the fantastic holiday that I just wrapped up.

A holiday season that started with a sweet Christmas card from a dear friend…who has the coolest handwriting I have ever seen.


happy new year!


200 Mile Radius


Last winter I decided my new phase was going to be all about eating locally grown/raised groceries.  Anyone who knows me knows that dream big and deliver small when it comes to my phases. No, that isn’t a typo.  I generally want to make HUGE changes…..I talk about them and the things I am going to do….and then the reality and size of the undertaking rears it’s lovely head and I am knocked down a couple of notches.

I really don’t mind this process though… because as I am falling down… onto the hard ground of reality, I generally tear away a few nuggets of knowledge that make their way into my daily life, making it better…or at least more interesting.

How was I going to do this? It started with a blog.

200 Mile Radius

Here is the outcome:

The blog lasted about two weeks. The plan was to only purchase foods that were grown/raised within a 200 mile radius of Austin. That meant that my food sources would have to be farmer’s markets or from a delivery service that provided farmer’s market products. It would also mean that I would only be eating produce that was in-season.

 I used Farmhouse Delivery and they were pure AWESOMENESS! I started this venture in the winter. That made it hard for me because I don’t really care too much for many of the winter veggies. Honestly, there were several times when I didn’t even know what some of the produce in my bushel actually was! One of the many genius things Farmhouse does is they send you a picture of the produce in the bushel that has the name of each item. They also provide some killer recipes!

Here is a picture from one of the bushels I received:

 I had them deliver for a few months, but it wasn’t working out for me as I was working an insane number of hours at work and didn’t even have the energy to make myself a PB&J…and the thought of actually cooking wasn’t going to happen. I started giving the produce to a friend of mine so it wouldn’t go to waste. It was too much for me to take on. So I cancelled my deliveries. That was the day the blog died too.

One day I hope to return to Farmhouse Delivery. They are that good!

Since I was working 10,000 hours a week, going to the farmer’s market wasn’t happening either. So I went back to my old ways….Starbucks for breakfast, maybe grabbing some almonds or string cheese for lunch, and dinner was something ordered through a microphone and given to me in a paper bag through a window… or delivered directly to my house by some teenage boy trying to buy new rims for his Kia.

I’ve learned that I am either “all in” or “all out” when it comes to most things. Especially healthy eating and exercise.

I’m either going to see my FANTASTIC acupuncturist/nutritionist  on a regular basis and following all of her advice. (btw….Marlene is the best! Even when I come back after a long time away she is kind, helpful and totally awesome. She is also very real. She “gets” it. She rocks!)…..or the baristas at my Starbucks are creating my beverage of choice before my car even pulls up to the drive-thru speaker-box. (they are nice too…but they aren’t really into helping me get on a road to health…they sell coffee that tastes like ice cream…touche´)

I’m the same with exercise. I’m either working out with a trainer 3 times a week, or you can see the imprint of my butt on my couch and I’m considering the walk up the stairs to bed my “exercise” routine.

My newest phase is to find my place “in the middle”.

It’s harder than you think.

I was raised on casseroles, juice from concentrate… and corn was the top vegetable in our house. The only thing that was green in our kitchen was the apple-green linoleum on the floors and the Formica counter tops. During my childhood I ran around with a permanent purple grape-juice mustache.

I have come a long way from the days of “cream of mushroom soup” being the staple ingredient in my meals but it isn’t hard for me to return to those roots. My generation was the first to have Frakenberries and Fruity Pebbles….many of these sugar-laden cereals came out the year I was born.  Yeah for me! The processing of food hit an all-time high for my generation…and I have the big butt to prove it. I’m not blaming anyone for my challenges with food. The facts are that I love some “foods” that aren’t good for me and it has taken me many years to change some of my bad habits, and some of my bad habits still have a vice-like grip on me.

One of the biggest “nuggets” of information I have learned in the past few years is how delicious real food can be! I know it sounds weird…but until you have eaten the goat-cheese salad from Blue Dahlia, you haven’t lived.

I am going to work on balance in my eating. Farmer’s market foods whenever possible, talking a walk around the block instead of having to have a $60 a month gym membership. I’m going to try to start small. This isn’t usually how I roll….but I think it is what I need to do right now. No crazy stuff. Just getting back to the basics.

The 200 Mile Radius idea didn’t happen as I wanted, but here are some of the “nuggets” I learned:

  1. The seed to healthful eating has been planted in me and will hopefully grow slowly into good choices I will make for myself every day
  2.  I know that it’s worth taking the time to make it happen
  3.  I am much happier when I am eating foods that are good for me
  4. My brain works better when I’m eating healthful foods
  5. Almond butter is awesome
  6. Farm-fresh milk is sent directly from God
  7. I don’t like Cilantro or Anise…even if it comes from the farmer’s market…ick!
  8. Buddha’s Brew is the best Kombucha ever!
  9. There is something called pecan butter by Local Baby out there. Once you try it you will be willing to hurt people to get more of it. (please don’t hurt people…just order it online… it’s easier that way)
  10. The best jams and jellies come from Confituras. There is no reason to argue this point. You won’t win.
So I guess this is the reincarnation of a past phase in smaller more realistic “bites”. We shall see….
Happy eating!

No front tooth required


I’d forgotten about another blog-worthy date I have been on, until talking with my sister last night. I do have to say that I actually have some positive online-dating experiences. They just aren’t as amusing!

(I also promise to find another topic to blog about…but these little nuggets are really fun to share!)

We decided to meet at a coffee shop. Again, he didn’t fit the mold of the type of guy I am usually attracted to, but I figured I’d take a chance. He emailed me the day we were scheduled to meet to tell me he might be a bit late because he had to go to the dentist to get a temporary tooth put in since the cap on one of his teeth had come off. I suggested we postpone the date but he insisted that it wouldn’t be a problem.

He (AKA Toothy) showed up to the coffee shop and looked like he might be in some pain or still feeling the effects of the Nitrous. His mouth was a little swollen.

me: are you sure you are feeling OK? We can reschedule… 

Toothy: no, no…I’m fine (drool leaking out of the side of his mouth)

me: Ok…if you’re sure…

We walk over to the counter to order our coffee. He states to the Barista loudly, “I’m here with the prettiest girl in the room!”. The Barista looks at him strangely. I am the ONLY female in the coffee shop. We are actually the only people in the whole place, besides our male Barista.  The shop is deserted. The Barista gives me a concerned look. I try to signal through eye-contact to keep a close watch on us. He seems to pick up on my telepathic vibe that this isn’t someone I know and that I am not sure if I will make it home alive.

We order our coffee and sit down.
Toothy smiles at me.
He needs to call his dentist and ask for a refund.

 He hadn’t told me that the tooth that had to be repaired was one of his front teeth. The tooth was still bleeding a bit, and the “temporary” tooth looked like the dentist had glued a Lee Press-on Nail in his mouth. Seriously. Now… my two front teeth have bonding on them from a tragic playground accident when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade that resulted in a triangle shaped gap between my front teeth.  I know what it can be like to deal with dental work. I just think I would have waited to meet someone for the 1st time…that’s all.

As he tries to drink his coffee, he has two challenges. The heat of the coffee was painful to the temporary tooth, and the residual numbing of his mouth was causing him to drool the little bit of coffee he is able to actually get into his mouth.

He started telling me about his job, he was a camera operator. He told me about all of the things he had filmed. It was kind of interesting. He told me about his family and some of his hobbies. He talked for about 45 minutes about various things. I was only able to get a head-nod and the occasional “um hum” in. He really thought he was quite interesting.

He did ask me about my work, and as soon as I start talking I am interrupted by another story about him.  I have to say, I knew this wasn’t a “match” when we first met. I do feel like I’m generally a pretty good judge of people….but for some reason I throw that out of the window when agreeing to meet people I’ve met online….oh well.

I tried to politely end the conversation. I was worried the Lee Press-On tooth was going to fall out. It seemed to be precariously holding on.

Before he began his next story, I looked at my phone, pretended to check a text message from a friend in need and told him I needed to go.  He seemed a little shocked by my need to leave, but luckily a friend sent a real text to check in, so I had another “out” if needed. It was needed!

 He wanted to walk me to my car. I didn’t really want him to know what my vehicle looked like. I don’t know why I had this feeling, but I did…he just kind of creeped me out. I told him I had to go to the restroom and that I appreciated him buying me a cup of coffee…and that he shouldn’t wait on me.  He seemed a little upset that I wouldn’t let him walk me out, but I thought all was good.

I hid out in the restroom for about 5 minutes. When I was walking out of the restroom, the Barista saw me and signaled for me to go back in, quick! Toothy was still there. I waited in the restroom for a few more minutes when a woman walked in. She had just arrived for her shift and the male Barista had told her to come get me and let me know that the coast was clear.

It’s good to have people who have your back!

I shared the story with the two Baristas. They thought he was creepy and didn’t want something to happen to me, especially something that started at their little coffee shop. Sure, they needed the press…but not the kind of press associated with an online date gone terribly, terribly wrong.

I thanked my fairy godbaristas for their help. I walked to my car with them watching me from the window, just in-case.

When I arrived home I had an email from Toothy. He LOVED spending time with me, thought I was BEAUTIFUL and interesting (although he knew nothing about me, since he talked about himself the whole time)  and he couldn’t wait to see me again.

 Oh crap!

I emailed him back. I thanked him for the coffee and told him it was nice to meet him but that I didn’t see that it was a “match” for me. I wished him luck in his search. I was nice, polite and brief.

He email me back.

It was a long rant about all that was wrong with me and why I didn’t deserve him. I was no longer beautiful or someone he wanted to spend time with. ever.  It was an email that, had I printed it out, would have been two pages long. Two pages that would have been good evidence as to why I was murdered that night.

 Two pages of all of the things that I am not, and why HE is the one who is breaking this off. Um….we just had coffee Toothy….there was nothing to “break off”….but if it makes you feel better, and keeps you from hunting me down to kill me….then Yes…you broke up with me. I’m OK with that.

So…another one bites the dust. I guess that dust would be the only thing Toothy could bite…. with his Lee Press-on tooth. 🙂


p.s. Thanks to the fairy godbaristas for having my back! I’m happy to report I am still alive!

Tales of a third grade…. identity crisis


In 3rd  grade I changed my name.

It wasn’t a legal name change. It was actually done quite secretly….I didn’t tell anyone.
One day I started writing “Shelley McPherson” on my class-work and homework for school. The genius thing about it was that Shelley was IN my class. Yes, she was one of my classmates. Blonde, cute, smart, popular, freckled and very, very nice. She brought cool stuff to show-and-tell, she was great at sports, great at math, and she was always happy. She was just an all-around great person.

I figured it would be great to “be” her …and all it would take to make that happen was a name-change.
Now, I wasn’t unhappy with who I was, it was just that she was good at things I wasn’t. I was good at a lot of things, but Shelley was really good at a couple of things I wasn’t even remotely skilled in: sports and math.

I hated P.E. and the competitive games they had us play, plus I preferred to wear skirts and dresses to school. Learning the hard way that these two items don’t mix…the day my skirt got caught in the wheel of the stupid little scooters we had to ride; causing my team to lose and me to be forever shamed in the art of scooter racing.  This is just one of many examples of my lack of prowess in sporting activities.
I won’t give you any math examples. I just sucked at math.

So, I figured the powers I would need to become good at sports and math were found in the name “Shelley McPherson”.

I started the transition to my new name slowly. Just writing it on the heading of my papers once or twice the first week. I didn’t see any changes in my athletic ability, so I began writing it on everything I turned in.

Our teacher was Ms. Altenhoff. She had also been my teacher in 1st grade, so she was aware that I was blessed with an active imagination. One day as she was walking us to P.E. she asked me to come back to the classroom with her. I didn’t want to miss P.E., because I wanted to see if the name change powers had taken effect.

I decided it must be important since Ms. Altenhoff wanted to talk to me in private, so I went back to the classroom with her.  I didn’t have ANY idea why she needed to talk to me. Really. I didn’t.
I sat down at one of the desks. She walked over to her desk, grabbed a manila folder and sat down to join me.

Ms. A: How are things going for you Ellen?
me: Great Ms. Altenhoff!
Ms. A.: Are you sure? Is there anything going on….at school or at home that is bothering you?
me: No, (looking at her puzzled)  things are good……. Oh, I have a new sister!
Ms. A.:  I know! Remember, you brought pictures of her for show-and-tell the other day
(a long pause, as Ms. Altenhoff decides how to proceed)
Ms. A: Ellen, I have noticed that you haven’t turned in any work in the last week or so. (waiting for me to respond)
me: (looking puzzled) Ms. A, I have turned in all of my assignments.
Ms. A: (opening the folder) Ellen, I seem to have no assignments for you, but for some reason Shelley has two papers for each assignment.
me:  Oh, yeah! I forgot to tell you that I changed my name to “Shelley McPherson”! That is why. I’m sorry if it confused you.
Ms. A: (looking incredibly confused, and also trying not to laugh)….um….but Ellen, you have such a pretty name. Why would you change your name to “Shelley McPherson”?
me: She is really good at sports and math, and I want to be good at them too.
Ms. A: (Still trying to stifle her laughter) Ellen, you are good at so many things, and not everyone is good at everything they try.  Ellen, do you enjoy sports?
me: No, not really.
Ms. A: What do you enjoy?
me: singing, dancing, playing with my friends.
Ms. A: Then those are the things that make you “Ellen”. Do you want to give all of those away to be “Shelley”?
me:  OH NO! I don’t Ms. A! I don’t! (in a slight panic over what I might have done to myself by changing my name. Did I give up the things I really enjoy? Can I get those “powers” back? Can this be reversed? )
(Ms. Altenhoff  sensing my panic)
Ms. A:  (in the most sweet, calm “teacher voice”) Ellen, honey,  find the assignments you completed in the folder and write your name on those that are yours. That is all that you need to do, and all will be back to normal.

Without wasting a second of my time, I made the corrections to the papers. I handed them to Ms. Althenhoff, hoping that I could regain all that I was as “Ellen”.

me: (with panic in my voice) Ms. A….is it all back to normal? really? I mean, I didn’t want to get rid of the things I like to do…how will I know if it is all O.K???
Ms. A: Ellen, your class still has 15 minutes in P.E. Why don’t you go on over to the gym, you will feel better after you play with your friends.

I head to the gym. In the 15 minutes I was there, I helped my team lose the volleyball game because I tripped and fell. My skirt flew up exposing my underwear.  When I got back to class, Ms. Altenhoff returned my math assignment. I had made a 52.

All was right in the world.

I have to thank Ms. Altenhoff for being so awesome. I know some teachers who would have made me feel like a complete weirdo for doing something like this. She handled it with kid-gloves, and I appreciate her for it.


This post was inspired by the book I am currently reading, The Happiness Project. (this is what also inspired me to begin my blog).  Part of the project is to realize there are some things you will never really enjoy doing, and that it’s OK.  It also talks about that there are some things you can enjoy doing, but might not be so good at… but if they bring you joy, why not do them?

Sure, I’d love to be as hysterical, creative and all-around awesome as  The Bloggess…. or to be able to be a yoga goddess like my friend Jamie …or to have the fashionista/decorator skills of my cousin,  Sheridan French, or to be as brave as  FabuLeslie and join a running group and find her “inner runner”….but I’m not these people and I don’t have their same talents..and that’s just fine with me.
What I DO have is the ability to enjoy their talents, share them with others and to nurture the talents that I DO have. That is what we all should do.

Enjoy who you are, celebrate others for what they are…..
and don’t change your name.