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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Gluten Free at Princeton

Trying to plan ahead to stay on a gluten free diet while attending Princeton?

There appears to be a good effort being made by the Princeton Residential Dining Halls to accommodate gluten free diets . There are also local eateries that are more than happy to help you out in your search. Check out this helpful listing of local gluten free menu offerings created by university students! What a cool site....it's called Spoon University !

May God bless your educational path and may it be super easy for you to find gluten free foods all the while gaining a stellar ivy league ed!


Btw, thanks for buying my new book Life in the Gluten Free Zone on Amazon today!

RELATED: Gluten Free at Harvard

Disclaimer: This blog post is intended for conversational purposes only. The blog's author and publisher does not accept any liability for any of the ideas discussed in this post or any other post on this blog. Always obtain medical advice from a licensed medical practitioner.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Gluten Free at Harvard University

Considering attending Harvard? Trying to figure out if you can stay on a Gluten Free Diet while you are seeking a stellar education can be daunting.

I was relieved to find out that the section of town where Harvard is located also includes an area known as "Harvard Square".   Harvard Square has quite a lengthy list of gluten free options, from a wide variety of restaurants. Take a gander HERE!

Buy my new book Life in the Gluten Free Zone on Amazon today!

Disclaimer: This blog post is intended for conversational purposes only. The blog's author and publisher does not accept any liability for any of the ideas discussed in this post or any other post on this blog. Always obtain medical advice from a licensed medical practitioner.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Gluten Free at Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons is such a fast food powerhouse.  There must be something there that is gluten free! You can read up by using their pretty user-friendly chart here

If you want to have the most current information, please remember that restaurants can change the ingredients in their menu items as often and as spontaneously as they wish. So be sure to do your due diligence before consuming fast food items if you have gluten allergies, gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Always obtain medical advice from a licensed medical practitioner.

If you want speak with someone from their head office just fill in their "contact us " form
and see what happens ") See the link here : Contact Tim Hortons
  It is really good, I have discovered from experience to let corporations know what kind of products you really want and need. Also, from a personal perspective....it is quite empowering to call or write to a large corporate entity and discover that your questions are valid and respected. The best part is actually finding an accurate and up to date answer for all your
 "glutenfree-ish" questions.

Be well and may your search for gluten free foods be successful!


Buy my new book Life in the Gluten Free Zone on Amazon today!

Disclaimer: This blog post is intended for conversational purposes only. The blog's author and publisher does not accept any liability for any of the ideas discussed in this post or any other post on this blog. Always obtain medical advice from a licensed medical practitioner.

Gluten Free At Country Style

Country Style   has quite a history in Canada, so I thought I would share their nutritional information for those who are trying to exclude wheat from their diet.

Always do your due diligence and research before you eat fast foods, so that you can ensure you are doing your best to exclude ingredients that you are sensitive or have allergies to.
(Always get medical advice from a licensed medical practitioner, and yes, gluten intolerance and celiac disease or wheat allergies are issues that need to be addressed by licensed medical practitioners.)

For the most current listing I could find of their menu's ingredients click here: Country Style

And don't be shy, if you want to get information "straight from the horse's mouth", you can always contact the head offices of your preferred fast food shop. Country style's Canadian contact information can be found here  (note that their page also includes a handy toll free number)

Best wishes for you and your family as you source out those items that bring health and wellness.



RELATED: Gluten Free at Tim Hortons

Buy my new book Life in the Gluten Free Zone on Amazon today!

Disclaimer: This blog post is intended for conversational purposes only. The blog's author and publisher does not accept any liability for any of the ideas discussed in this post or any other post on this blog. Always obtain medical advice from a licensed medical practitioner.

Gluten Free At Popeyes

Popeyes has set up a couple of shops in our city over the past few years, and the scent emanating from their restaurants is most enticing! So i have discovered from their American website that they do have some gluten free items. Always be sure to double check as restaurants can change the ingredients in their menu's whenever they wish. But it's nice that Popeyes  already has a list of some gluten free  items on their website. Always helpful to have at least a few items in mind that you can inquire about.

Be sure to read the fine print and do your due diligence!
( always consult a licensed medical practitioner for medical advice)

If you want to view their current list from the Popeyes USA just click on the Popeyes

May you always be able to find something delish to eat that will be a blessing to your health :)



RELATED: Gluten Free At Swiss Chalet

Buy my new book Life in the Gluten Free Zone

Disclaimer: This blog post is intended for conversational purposes only. The blog's author and publisher does not accept any liability for any of the ideas discussed in this post or any other post on this blog. Always obtain medical advice from a licensed medical practitioner.

Gluten Free At Starbucks

I must admit, I do like the occasional cafe from Starbucks. Yup, the prices are high, but the ambience, not to mention the unlimited wifi, are great perks. We have a couple of Starbucks that have been built in my city over the past couple years and I couldn't be happier.

So, back to gluten free items at Starbucks. So far, I have discovered two items which are usually in stock at Starbucks which are gluten free: Peanut butter cups and Kind Bars. Make sure to verify that these are the 100% gluten free ones. I do so enjoy the really dark chocolate peanut butter cups. Rich and delish!

I also just discovered today that Starbucks is rolling out a new gluten free breakfast sandwich, which I don't know if they are rolling it out to all their locations, but I certainly hope so!
Here's a description of it's unveiling :Starbucks new Gluten Free Breakfast Sandwich

Bon Appetito, my gluten free friends!


Ps, If you want to contact Starbucks directly to verify which gluten free items are available in your area....here is their  Canadian website:  Starbucks Canada

On their USA website there is a toll free customer service number
displayed on the right hand side of their website: Starbucks USA



RELATED: Gluten Free at the Mandarin

Buy my new book Life in the Gluten Free Zone on Amazon today!

Disclaimer: This blog post is intended for conversational purposes only. The blog's author and publisher does not accept any liability for any of the ideas discussed in this post or any other post on this blog. Always obtain medical advice from a licensed medical practitioner.

Gluten Free at Swiss Chalet

Just discovered that Swiss Chalet has a great way to help folks figure out if they can eat at Swiss Chalet if they have food allergies or food sensitivities.  Check out their website and you will see how fun the functionality is. You get to put check marks on the allergies you have and the website will detail which foods you can still eat.

Note, as a word of caution, please do read the fine print on their website. Restaurants usually have a high risk of cross contamination of gluten free foods with gluten containing foods. Do you due diligence and always obtain medical advice from a licensed medical practitioner. Also, note that restaurants often post changed to their menu ingredients, so make sure you obtain up to date information from their website or by contacting their head office directly at here...

Thank you Swiss Chalet, for your very user-friendly website to help us eat better !


RELATEDGluten Free at McDonalds

Buy my new book Life in the Gluten Free Zone on Amazon today!

Disclaimer: This blog post is intended for conversational purposes only. The blog's author and publisher does not accept any liability for any of the ideas discussed in this post or any other post on this blog. Always obtain medical advice from a licensed medical practitioner.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Gluten Free At McDonald's 2018

So, I've been checking again, to see if there have been any changes to the listings of gluten free items on the McDonald's menu.

Phew, big relief.....their fries are still listed as gluten free in Canada.
Check for yourself here on McDonalds Canada  .

However, there are some websites for the USA McDonalds that state that their fries have a beef flavoring which contains gluten. So when I try to go direct to the source and go visit           McDonalds USA   on their website, it does state that their fries contain a beef flavoring that contains gluten.

So that is quite an interesting conundrum, because it is unexpected to discover different statements for Canadian McDonalds fries versus USA McDonalds' fries.

I would therefore, as usual, encourage you to practice caution and do your own research. Always be sure to get licensed medical advice if you have a gluten allergy.

You can call the McDonalds head offices too to get the information "straight from the horse's mouth"

Canada's toll free McDonalds Canada . If you scroll down to the bottom of their "contact us" page, you will find their toll free number listed on the left side.

USA McDonald's can be contacted at their Illinois office by looking at their contact info Here .
If you scroll to the bottom of the web page and in the right hand corner you will see the words "Get in touch with us" under the Customer Service Tab and if you click on the "Get in touch with us" words, it will display their toll free number which states that it is available 7 days per week.

Always be aware that restaurants and their suppliers can change their food ingredients whenever they wish, so always use caution if you have a food allergy. You can call or write for up to date information by contacting these restaurants directly.

Wishing you wellness and happy trails.

RELATED: Gluten Free At Subway

Buy my new book Life in the Gluten Free Zone on Amazon today!

Disclaimer: This blog post is intended for conversational purposes only. The blog's author and publisher does not accept any liability for any of the ideas discussed in this post or any other post on this blog. Always obtain medical advice from a licensed medical practitioner.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

One Click Book Publishing

 One Click book publishing ....."business at the speed of thought' a la Bill Gates?
With machine learning, I won't have to worry about formatting my books anymore.....I will simply upload a VERY rough draft, and poof, the software, as cunning as it has become, will correct my grammar, spelling, format my scribbles into  a "bookish" looking type of style, add a trendy and attractive cover page and bam boom! I have suddenly published a brand new book that is ready for sale online worldwide within one hour.

Someone could foresee being able to write a book a day, if this were real. But it really is feasible and possibly already occurring....it's just that I don't have that miracle software in my little hands yet.

But it is coming...I feel it. I see it. Some folks on Kindle or other self publishing sites are already cranking out at least one new book per week. And yes yes, these books are admittedly NOT literary masterpieces, but at least these writers just might be earning a "legit" income instead of suffering in poverty and creative inertia..

Who said it had to be really hard to survive as a writer? It is possible to make a decent living writing online. Being a "starving artist" is really quite overrated don't ya think?

But tell me honestly now, is it "selling out" to give in to the temptation to produce books in volume instead of following your heart? Or is it just a matter of supply and demand, producing what the market demands...so that you will be supplied.

I suppose sometimes it's also about the practical versus the dreamy. Perhaps one can do both. One can keep writing the great American novel and yes, have the courage to submit it to publishers. But at the same time, one must do what one must do to keep bread on the table, and if that includes writing the obituary column for your local newspaper....then so be it.

The Oil Rally Ain't Over Yet Baby

Yes, yes, I know folks will be poo pooing any oil and gas investments for the next 50 years....but it ain't over yet!

It is a myth that electric vehicles DON'T run on oil and gas. They still use oil and gas BECAUSE Canada's electricity grid is still being fueled by OIL AND GAS to the extent of 8.7% of total Ontario energy!

Using intel from 2014, Ontario was feeding it's energy grid with 8.7% provided by oil and gas! Don't believe me? Check out this factual report Ontario Energy Board:

So many many folks simply refuse to comprehend this concept. They believe as soon as they spin off in their brand new Tesla, that all their fuel is simply floating down from windfarms and solar panels...

Now, for the record, I am not against buying electric vehicles. However, I want peeps to realize that you are simply transitioning your "power of choice" over to the managers of our energy grid.
And using the report I wrote about above, you can clearly see that Ontario's energy grid is provided by in large part nuclear, then comes water power, and then oil and gas, and then "alternative"sources, and finally comes coal.

If we really want to go whole hog on "clean" energies, other than nuclear ( btw.... I'm not entirely convinced yet that it is fair to leave an inheritance of high maintenance nuclear waste to my children's children) perhaps we need to be focusing less on the "end users" like Teslas or Toyota Prius's...

Perhaps we need to refocus our hard working clever Canadian heads and hands to rejigg this Ontario's energy mix, until the Alternative Power Sources become the Majority of the energy mix instead of  a mere 7.1% . Do you agree?



Sunday, February 25, 2018

Loaning $ to Others

Hetty Green, has long been passed, but her legend lives on. She was one of the first kick a$$ women to rock it in the male dominated world of investing and business. She was ruthlessly frugal, scouring the places she stayed for the absolute rock bottom places to buy breakfast or a bowl of soup.

She didn't see the need to spend recklessly....on anything. What was the result of her frugality and steel will? She had funds available to lend out at a modest profit to friends or others in the business or political community who found themselves strapped for cash.

One of Hetty Green's investment strategies was stunningly simple:
"conservative buying backed by substantial cash reserves" and her children carried on her strategy after her passing.

My question today is this. If you are lending money to people or businesses, what interest are your charging them? Hetty could well have charged exorbitant interest rates, but she resisted the temptation. She stated that she never charged people more than 6% in interest on loans.

I am quite impressed with that figure. 6% is quite modest and reasonable, especially when she was dealing with those who could well have afforded to pay higher interest rates. But Hetty Green did not believe in usury, and although folks made fun of her extreme frugality, they stopped laughing when they found themselves knocking at her door looking for a loan. I think she set a wonderful example.

Thank you Hetty for being a leader and using your skills to succeed and provide for others in a jam.
May God bless your legend forever.

In peaceful productivity,

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Self Care Starts in a Simple Place

Don't roll your eyes just yet.... I know I know...some of us cringe to hear the term "self care"...but I think I am starting to clue in on the concept.

I have a little habit that I would label "self care" in the middle of a busy hectic day. I stop whatever busy work I am doing, and even if I am around other folks, I  grab a tube of hand cream and with a dab I massage my hands and nails with the thick fragrant hand cream until my hands glow. I massage the nail beds, and even in between my fingers. I make sure I massage the cream into the back of my hands where some freckles grow.

After two minutes of calmly applying cream to my own hands, taking the time and peaceful state to nourish the skin I use so ambitiously to accomplish my goals, I smile and realize I am happy. I am happy because I took the time to take a short break and take care of myself. I took the time required to value the skin I live in,  to love myself in some small and tangible way...in the same gracious spirit that God loves me.

                                                      Photo by AsliKaplan at Morguefile.com

You may roll your eyes now, or perhaps you just may dare to do the same one day.....in the middle of a really busy frazzled frizzy haired ambitious day. You rummage in your purse and find your favorite hand cream and begin your calming hand massage from thumb to pinky and don't forget the tops of your hands and between the fingers too. Are your hands glowing now?                                            And don't you just feel special ?


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

I Want to Know as Much about Google as it Knows about Me.

Not to be too dramatic...but have ya thought recently about how many pieces of you that Google currently owns...?

If you have a Blogger blog... ....yes that is owned by Google as of 2003.

If you have Google Home" as the home control system in your home.......you have basically given the keys to your entire home life to Google.

If you store your photos in Google Photos.....snap on.

If you do all your daily searches online using Google's search engine.... search on. ( who searches better than Google?) Btw.....do you remember when we DIDN'T get requests to "sign-in" to do a search in a Google search engine? It wasn't that long ago.

If you write and store your documents in Google Docs.......write on.

If you plan to buy a Google Pixel camera phone....again....snap on and chat on.

If you use Google maps....they know where you want to go and how and when you got there.

How many of my electronics use Google's Android Mobile Operating System ? Even if my phone is not a Google Pixel phone...it can still be "controlled and/or monitored" by Google if it has an Android operating system within it. ( some Samsung, Sony and LG phones do)

Google's expansion into our lives is not limited greatly by the general population because most of us simply do not have the knowledge or desire to stop it. We aren't plotting to  "De-Google" our lives. We aren't trying to prevent Google from gathering unlimited data about every single aspect of our lives. We aren't really afraid of Google.....yet. We haven't started forming "Google recovery support groups".

Do we care? Hmmm..... sometimes. Should we care....Hmmm...I still don't know.

Remember that phrase about "Absolute power corrupts.....absolutely"? If Google has as much social and technological power as I feel they do.....what are they doing with that power? Is that power going to be used to bless humanity or simply to profit from it? Will the folks who control Google's corporate future be able to resist the temptation to manipulate humanity?

Maybe Google itself has not yet come into a full "self consciousness"  about the "absolute" power it holds in it's smart little hands. Perhaps Google is an "accidental" power drone? May I still please stay naive? I prefer the peace of ignorance. I really do.

Maybe once we review and add a few more "Googlified platforms" to the list from the beginning of this post...maybe we will start to feel a little woozy..... a little weak in the knees perhaps.

I am little bit more pragmatic. I simply seek equality
I want to know as much about Google as it knows about me.

End point.

I know that certain levels of privacy (thanks in part to common courtesy) that we once took for granted, are gone forever ....never to return.

But are there some ways that we just really SHOULD be a wee bit more proactive in keeping some of "who we are and what we do" away from Google's all seeing EYE?

Would it make sense for me to simply start blogging in a non-Google blog hosting service?
Hmmm....maybe I could start using the same blogging site that Seth Godin uses...Typepad.

Would it make sense for me to limit the photos I store in Google Photos ? Maybe.

Should I stop using Google Chrome as my web browser? Am I willing to use a slower browser?

Am I willing to give up my searches in Google to start using Bing ( oh the horror)

Time will tell. But I would encourage you to join me....in my quest to at least attempt to
 balance the data imbalance.....Try to find out a little more about Google. Find out where she hides. Find out what she/he is doing with your data....and where and how it is storing it and selling it.
Find out more about the decision makers at Google forming the strategies for "playing" with all that masterful data we have "sent"or permitted them to freely glean from us and our devices for decades. I want to know. I need to know.... and maybe you do too..

Still peaceful,


I'm Not Lazy...I'm Managing My Cognitive Load

It is a wonderfully descriptive concept I have gleaned from the lovely Seth Godin. .....
"Cognitive Load".

"Cognitive Load" entails whatever your brain is required to do to complete a certain task.

My late brother was the creator of several "made for cable tv" tv shows in Canada. After each episode, he was physically, mentally and especially emotionally drained. He didn't always know how to put that experience into words, but I think he would have identified deeply with the idea of managing his cognitive load. Guys are not always that proficient at expressing their feelings...lol
But a solid phrase like "Cognitive load" is perhaps more tangible for some dudes to help them manage the struggle.

Tim Ferriss has also been helpful for "maledom" in putting into words the struggles of the modern male. Figuring out what tea is best served to "waking him up enough to get some work done and stay focused... along with "hacking" what sources of protein help him operate at peak functionality....like spinach, sardines...and boiled eggs ( manly yes, but I like it too")

Creative people are often misunderstood because the work they do is invisible and the majority of the burden or "work" is done within the brain and heart of the artist. Nobody sees their muses, nobody seems to be able to measure what great hidden effort it takes to create a thing of beauty. ( or at least something beautiful enough to pay the bills) Seth Godin and the frank dude/podcaster/human guinea pig Tim Ferriss have done their due diligence in bringing attention to this concept.

Mike Murdock teaches about limiting the number of daily decisions we make in order to preserve our mental and emotional energy. For example, if we choose the same hair dresser every time we get a hair cut, we have just "managed" our cognitive load and reduced the number of decisions we need to make on a regular basis. Limit the number of decisions you make in a day for personal care and Voila! you have granted yourself more free creative mental energy.
 ( btw... if you do happen to check out Mike Murdock's ministry you have to overcome the cringy hyper sales pitch...but if you can overcome that...there are some real gems to be discovered in his writings)

Putting some decisions on "repeat" will free up valuable energy to focus and complete more of your goals, whether in business or in your personal life.

Peace on,

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Life Hack on Reading Boring Non Fiction

Have you ever purchased or borrowed a very valuable non fiction book and got it home in your hot little hands, only to realize that it's going to take MAMMOTH will power to force yourself to read it?

Well, a little LIFE HACK, that works for me sometimes is simply this tool:

I go to one page of text in said book and determine which page is most personally valuable for me to input into my brain, and then I simply record myself reading it aloud into the "easy self recording"
microphone on my Samsung Galaxy cell phone. This particular method allows me to process the information orally instead of simply visually and overcomes my instinctive objections to forcing my "monkey brain" to read something that it doesn't "feel like" reading.

I then hang onto that recording for however long it takes for me to absorb the material by listening to it over and over and over until I feel  it is "done". Monkey brain conquered!

How do you overcome your natural inclination NOT to read the things you know you need to?

Peacefully productive,

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Hating those Recipe Cards

I am not known for domestic uber organizational glee. But I found I resent little things that used to be a "standby" for most moms and their family homes..... such as REcipe cards kept in some kind of hard plastic file box. Also there are the Knitting or Sewing Patterns ladies keep in a dishevelled folded mess....where? There must be a better way..... no more dust collectors for me.

I have often struggled with keeping things organized partly because I hate being forced to put
random items in a really rigid space....(think Church Lady mixed with nervous librarian mixed with overbearing grandma combined...lol)

But there comes a point, when if you really want to move forward in your home crafts that you need to be able to find your "strategies" or "crafting formulas" in an organized space....for safe keeping and easy retrieval at a later date.

Enter....The CLoud! Such an AHA moment...perhaps I am a tad late on this revelation.
But I really DON"T have to keep folded copies of my old fave recipes in little boxes in my cupboard anymore.

I can simply scan then into my google docs or photos and babammmm! Saved forever :)

Or I can keep it a little bit more ole school and simply make files in my free hotmail account that can hold copies of these scanned items.

So, I really do hope that Google honors it's statement to provide "unlimited" free photo storage in it's Google photos offer. I also hope that Hotmail email accounts remain forever free . I don't mind if they put reasonable limits on the size of the files stored there....because at the end of the day, I am not a data hoarder.

So that's all for now. Mama Carla has arrived in the Cloud. Make room.


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Can You Google Google?

I am alarmed. I am alarmed because of a couple of reasons.
The Trump administration has broken down "Net Neutrality"....so the internet will not be compelled to be fair or spooned out equally world wide.  The internet is just another commercial entity now, with it's own mission statement and profit margin. It's just that there is no limit to it's market place.
We are the product, and the consumer...AND we also do the work. We provide the data,through our every click and Facebook post..... from our lives and emails and blogs and skype calls and youtube videos. We don't just consume the net....we ARE the net and the NET has become us. We no longer know where we begin and where the net begins. We just know we want to be in it.

Is this the singularity?

Google offers Camera Phones called Google Pixel XL. They "offer" unlimited photo storage why? Because they are simply loading your photos to your google account in the sky....and adding your personal photo and phone data to their Big Brother files. Except here's the catch ......here's the meme. You pay them almost $1300 for the privilege of sending Google your personal files....all you do on your phone belongs to Google....if you buy their phone.You pay Google to spy on you. You pay Google to know everything about you.

It's like  the points cards that the cashiers keep asking me for when I checkout at the local pharmacy. They want me to use my "points card" as often as possible? Why? Because the data provided is valuable and important. Sure they may offer me a couple of freebies once a year in exchange for this powerful data, but the data gathering is prevalent and persistent....seemingly more important than the cash they exchange for the toothpaste I just bought there.

Don't just blindly chat on..... Think about the movers and the shakers. Think about Google.

Google Google, and learn something about this larger than life virtual giant. He isn't that "virtual" anymore.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

You Can Tell a Mastercraftsman by What?

The question I have been playing with lately....is how does one identify someone who is at the top of their game? 

You can tell a Mastercraftsman by what? By how he/she treats their tools.

Today, I just want to talk about our tools of MASTERY....yours and mine.

How to focus 101.
  Isolate your tools.

A writer knows which format they prefer to write it...which keyboard clicks more smoothly and which room they prefer to be in when they write. Tim Ferriss (  ya ya.... I know I quote him so very often)  likes to be very specific about how he orders his writing posture, his beverages, his background visuals, his audio background, and his computer system set up. He knows that his mind is prone to wander, just like the rest of us....but he has "mastered" his "monkey brain" to a certain degree to know how to get himself into the "zone" that is optimal for his writings to flow most freely.

As a teen, I recall visiting an artist in her residence. She had carved out a lifestyle that was quickening and pioneering in the small community in which I grew up. Being a somewhat abstract painter in a conservation dutch community is no task for the faint of heart. But not only was this classy lady rising, she was doing so in what appeared to be a most peaceful and gracious flow.

Anyway, back to her tools. I recall how she showed us her paintbrushes.....which ones were made from horse hair etc. These tools were handled gently and with great respect. If my memory serves, her home was designed in such a way as to allow her ample lighted space pouring into her studio from which she produced her masterpieces. She and her family members revered her work space and yes....her tools.

I have never seen a Master at work who was careless with his or her tools. A shirtmaker I once worked for kept his tools stored with precision. He guarded his tools like a bulldog defends a raw steak, fiercely and without question. Anyone brave enough to borrow a tool from this particular Master knew that he/she had to put it precisely back into the exact same space and position it was in when he/she first touched it. He was known internationally for his skill and precision. A MASTER must always know exactly WHERE his tools are.

So, instead of rambling on about a plethora of Masters I have studied and try to learn from.. I want to challenge you today with the following three very blunt questions:

Number 1: What are you aiming to MASTER? Write it here: .......................

Number 2: What are your top five tools required for mastery? What could those tools be or what are they now?1....................
                2 ...................
                5 ..................

Number 3. Where do you keep those top 5 tools? Are they secure? Consistently in the same spot?
The answers to those questions will help you understand your own path to Mastery a wee bit better.
If your "tools" of choice, are scattered all over your home, in hard to find or dusty places.... how focused are you really on becoming a Master?

Or perhaps, in thinking through your list of fave tools ...you begin to remember how you loaned your favorite tool to your cousin or an old friend. Maybe it's time to get it back where it belongs. Maybe it's time to re-build your MASTERY tool chest.

Your tool of choice, may be a laptop that has a virus plaguing it....and is, therefore, lying dormant under your bed. It's time to get that laptop de-bugged. Your tool of choice may be a set of knitting needles ...one of a pair which has gone M.I.A. Time to visit yur fave knitting needle shop....or shop online to replace one.

Maybe the weights you use to carve out those athlete level muscles have rolled under the couch....roll them back out. They are your tools.
Your path to Mastery has  a path and on that path are quality tools.

A Chest of tools. Respect the tools, Respect the chest, the place to rest and protect your tools. Maybe your chest of tools needs a new lock to "seal the deal"  to your revitalized commitment to Mastery.

The path to Mastery is not a static line..... It ebbs and flows. There will be times when you need to remind yourself of what you are aiming for.....and aim again.Aim Again today and empower yourself with quality tools that you keep close and secure.

May God bless you as you move towards your goals.

In peaceful productivity,

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Thought Life....book life

One can not talk anything meaningful about one's thought life without discussing their
book life.

What is a book life? Well, the books you surround yourself with have lives of their own.

I am not even speaking about the book that you are currently immersed in . I am speaking even of the books that sit idly on your night stand or dusty piano, or atop on ole book shelf. I am talking about the text books from the college you dropped out of, that you keep in storage in the attic. Their words still speak. The fact that you haven't disposed of these books, is a testament in and of itself.
Your recycling bin has been seeking to recycle your books, but you have resisted. You have hung onto certain books because they were markers in shifts in your thinking, in your thought life, in your formal education or in your  self led self taught "home" school.

Your books have been markers of your paths of discovery. They reflect that journey to maturity...or painfully show us how far we still have to go....

I think it was Napoleon Hill, who stated that "thoughts are things".

Therefore when we surround ourselves with certain books, we are surrounding ourselves with many millions of "things" belonging to the authors of those books. Their words fill our minds, our space, our ideals. We argue with their thoughts, we discuss and dismiss or else contradict completely what we read. But we always respond to whatever we read. It is merely human nature.

 I have always resented it when someone tried to tell me what I should and shouldn't read....It felt so controlling and intrusive. I have also resented it when electronic book readers try to shove their way into my consciousness. Blogs I have embraced. Twitter too.....but reading the books I am passionate about, I want to hold in my grubby hands myself....in paper format. They may be printed on the cheapest newsprint, or the crispest leather bound hard cover, or they may be pages I've printed off and stapled together in an attempt to produce a "real" book. But it must be old school. It is a book.

 I want to bend the corners back on the pages I visit often. I want to scribble in the margins. I want to Tweet some of their quotable quotes. I continue to become delighted to uncover how great an ocean of knowledge is awaiting me in the land of books. This land beckons me still.

What mankind writes about is a reflection of what it finds important or profitable to repeat.

Soon it will be spring time in this beautiful land of Canada....and with it will come the inevitable urge to purge. Muted books will stumble into my hands and leap toward the recycling bin with reckless abandon. But I must resist. I will attempt to keep at least one book from each of my fave influential authors. Many of their thoughts I have already committed to memory. But I must keep a momento of their position of power in my life. The authors have earned a trophy. That trophy is a space on my book case.

in peace,


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A Hodge Podge of Mad Methods to Prosperity

Some folks use "cheapskating"....to coin a new verb, to "MacGyver" their way into a lifestyle that they feel is "successful" and sustainable. The family that comes to mind was dubbed
"America's Cheapest Family". Click on that name to see their website and books.

What was their method in a nutshell? To refuse to use debt to fund an unsustainable level of consumerism, and to intentionally get out of mortgage debt as quickly as possible. They have paid cash for cars and college and have intentionally crafted a simple lifestyle that they find to be fulfilling and teachable. They have written books and gone on various tv shows to document how to live a more thrifty and debt free lifestyle.

Then  there are those who cut their WANTS down to only NEEDS and postpone major spending until they have enough savings and investments that can carry them comfortably through their retirement years....with lots left over to pass onto their heirs. 

The gent that I think of that utilizes this strategy is none other than "Bernard Kelly " who
wrote quite a stunning compelling "how to " book about persona finance.( click on his name to view his book)
He suggests radical choices early on in life can have a huge impact on your ability to one day have the life of your dreams. One of his own personal fave choices was to defer car ownership until he turned 30. This one choice, in and of itself allowed him to put away a higher percentage of employment income into his choices of investments. This empowered him to have vastly more financial freedom later in life to pursue his lifestyle of choice.
The only thing I find irritating about his written tale, is that I can't seem to figure out what has happened to Mr. Bernard Kelly.... did he disappear? Is he still teaching and writing? Does anyone know?

Then there is the wonderful spendthrift and millionaire, the late Verna Oller,( click on her name to read about success of her estate)  whose thrifty ways included cutting her own hair and using an old zipper to tie her boots up so that she wouldn't have to spend any money to buy new boot laces. Her savvy investing granted her the joy of leaving her millions of dollars for the community she lived in to one day have their own community pool.

She is a literal inspiration especially for women like myself, because she taught herself how to invest by going to the library and borrowing copies of Barron's wherever she could. She hated the thought of spending good money to go buy her own books and magazines, but would travel around town to gain access to free copies of the best books and investing/business magazines in order to empower her investing.

Some folks take great risks and win big..... The Canadian Singer Alanis Morrissette made a killing when some stock she owned in a small company went public..... from stock worth less than half a million dollars to over 40 million dollars overnight in the year 2000. It always does the heart good to hear these stirring stories.

Do you know someone who has, through persistent creative thinking, carved out a beautiful and prosperous life? Do you find their style to be "replicable"? Do they teach others their hard won strategies?

When we, as fellow humans on this adventurous  journey called "life", discover ways and means to empower ourselves forward to achieve noteworthy success, I believe we are compelled to share our discoveries so that the rest of us can learn. Do you agree?

In peaceful productivity,

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Let the Stitches Show....

I love van Gogh ....gazing intently at his self portrait...one can see each individual brush stroke.
It is a thing of  earnest detail, intensity and beauty.

So, why do some artists insist on doing their art in such a way as to pretend that all their minute
and very detailed work is invisible? Why do some consider it so brutally important to hide the raw materials of their work?

My song is : Let the brush strokes show, let the stitches show....let the yarn ends show in all their ugly glory....because you're being honest about all the different threads that make up your work of art.

Seamstresses do their best to hide the ends of threads so that no one can see when/where they started or finished their work.

Knitters  or folks who crochet seem to have each their own little tricks and customs to be able to
deftly hide the tail ends of each piece of yarn/wool they weave into their masterpieces.

Perhaps I hit my head too many times water skiing as a kid....but I seem to fall on the
 OPPOSITE side of the fence on this one.

I believe in letting it all show. Let your stitches show. Let the tail ends show in an awkward knotted lump in the middle of a knit hat. Why should I pretend as if such an earnest work of my own hands was magically woven together with only one magical piece of thread whose beginnings and ends are never to be seen again? Why should I pretend that the works of my hands are perfect?....when a certain amount of rustic playful rawness has a certain attractive quality all it's own.

To give a financial example of this idea...permit me to mention the film that is based on a true story entitled "The pursuit of Happyness" that starred Will Smith. It showed the gritty underbelly of what it took for a single dad down-on-his-luck to start from nothing and make it into the upper reaches of success on Wall Street. The film was not "soaring violyn solos playing gently on Prozac breeze..." but it had a certain charm none the less. Honesty can be a beautiful thing in certain doses.

It's like walking on the beach in bare feet after the waves have cooled the sand.....simply incomparable....and doesn't have a dollar figure either...if you don't mind me saying so.

Perhaps it is because i am not always the most dainty gal....I prefer to work with "less than dainty" chunky yarns and some of the fattest chrome metal circular knitting needles that I can find. I prefer to use tapestry needles too ...which are metal needles with eyes so wide, that they barely qualify for the term "needle". My muscley fingers work well with them.

 I get irritated with my cell phone keyboard because the keys are simply too "dainty" for my non-dainty piano hands.

I have a store bought knit poncho that shows the stitches in all their glory up and down the seam. I proudly wear it..... and call it my "Harvest Sweater". It probably would look more suitable for a long walk on a dirt country road, than on a slick city street...but I wear it proudly none the less.

Perhaps it's because i see a symbolic gesture in these customary artistic preferences.
How honest can we be with the work that we do? Can we show, visibly and publicly, like van Gogh
how much work it takes to make the art we make?

Do we pretend that the works of our hands flow effortlessly from our beings like ghosts in a fog?
Or can we "let it all hang out" so to speak..... and be forthright about what it really takes to make what we make?

They have said for the past 10 years in the business community that the "new" trend is toward
TRANSPARENCY..... So....my friends, what does that mean to all us artists and crafters?

Can we be a little more frank about the time, materials and sheer gritty hard work that it takes to make the things we brag about and try to sell for thousands of bucks?

You may be surprised how folks will react to your bold display of frankness. Instead of showing contempt for a visible reminder of your own raw materials... you may find that folks find it endearing and personally empowering. Baring your own humanity and scruffiness may encourage other humans
to stop hiding their own vulnerability ....and feel good about it.

van Gogh is applauded as a a MASTER, a genius and one to be emulated. He laid it all out there in all it's raw and "ugly" obvious splendor. But we do not call his works of art "ugly".

We call them ..........spectacular.

Peacefully productive,

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Nobody Cares What You Think?

I was once told "Nobody Cares What You Think!" by an elder in my former church....yes
.... I kid you not.

And no, I never got an apology....but hey there's still eternity....perhaps i'll hear it in the beautiful blue beyond.

 And yes, for the record....I did "get over it".....and when/if I see that gent again, I will greet him politely with a smile...just in case you're worried that I will make a scene...again.

Which brings me to the reason for my post today. I want to remind every church going christian today to realize that the future and present state of the modern church is in their own hands. The doctrines that will be taught to our children's children and on and on will depend on what we,
 that means YOU AND ME... choose to preserve and protect and what we dispose of today in our modern churches.

I recall, in my childhood, growing up in a quite religious home, that the doctrinal books that supported my parent's church denomination were held very high....so high in fact, that few of my peers even dared to open them. It seemed to be that the doctrinal books that had been published by that particular denomination were regarded as being " on the same level" as the Holy Bible itself.

In my childhood, I never met anyone, not even once, who acknowledged that these doctrinal books were written by mere men/women.  It was inferred that said books were therefore infallible and beyond requiring "editing", beyond needing improvement, and beyond and far above us
mere laymen, mere church goers. It was many many years later that I came into a sense of my own voice and the desperate need that there was for my wee voice to be heard along with the voices of all of my generation. There was a keen sense that our voices were ready to be heard....but there was an uncertainty as to whether they would be respected and valued. The jury is still out on that question.

You see....it is certain that religious "Traditions" just do not carry the weight that they once did.
I am in my late 40's and I feel how important it is for Christians to acknowledge that "how we do the "thing" called "Church"" over the next decade, is up to us.....and it isn't written in stone. It is malleable. It is vulnerable. It will change. We will decide how scriptures are interpreted and how they are taught and applied to our modern living situations. Our decisions will have a lasting effect on several generations to come.

It is a very scary thing indeed to become awake to the power and incredible responsibility that we  hold. It is not something to be touted as a puffed up arrogant person might, but rather as an awesome opportunity to take what we know and love about God and His Word and incorporate "that" into our daily living. It is a creative and dynamic process to decide how we do "church".

Doctrinal books have to taken from their dusty shelves and "updated" even if we still feel very under qualified. We need, as a generation of christian believers, to continue to educate ourselves in the foundations of our faith.....the history of the bible and why we believe what we believe. Theology is not a scary or "untouchable" realm. Doctrine matters... It is important and vital and current.

....Doctrinal books are constant "works in progress" and they need to be "updated and upgraded" often enough to reflect our current thoughts on worship and christian living. To neglect doctrinal books because we are afraid of offending other christians is not a good enough excuse. We are called to fill the earth and subdue it. We are called to make these books "ours" ....to claim them for our generation. so that we our faiths become truly "ours". Our children must feel empowered in today's churches, so that their faiths become truly theirs.

And so in closing.....so I don't belabor the point.....I want to state for the record...... just in case someone in authority ever said "Nobody Cares What You Think" to you in a church setting, permit me to set you straight:

   I do solemnly declare that "God Himself cares deeply about what you think. Lovers of Jesus all around the world care deeply what you think......and lastly....little ole me cares what you think."
You are important. Your voice is important.  It is Your thoughts and Your actions that will shape the modern church that goes beyond us into the future.

Now what are you going to do with your powerful voice?

In peaceful productivity,