Saturday, February 28, 2009

Working with your Genius

I am a big fan of Elizabeth Gilbert.
Watch her lecture at TED.
You will be inspired.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Party Loyalty

I received a call from the Democratic Party in Idaho yesterday...

Would I be willing to give $100?

Me: Really, why?

Caller: Because the Republicans of Idaho are trying to eliminate healthcare and education.

Me: Really?

Caller: Yes. (pause, then back to script) It's because of Democrats like you that we were so successful in electing Idaho Democrat Walt Minnick to congress in 2008.

Me: Didn't Walt Minnick just vote against the President's stimulus bill? Didn't Democrat Walt Minnick just vote against federal funds to Idaho for healthcare and education?

Caller: (pause) I realize $100 is a large donation. Would you consider $50?

Me: ??

Fear based, us vs them politics is so ... last year. We're more alike than not, regardless of what the media or your party try to tell you.

"You can stand tall without standing on someone. You can be a victor without having victims." -- Harriet Woods

Thursday, February 26, 2009


"I wondered what would be the worth of my words in the world....
And I think of the significance of my opinions here. Is it significant to be giving them, does anybody care?"

I love, love, love this!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Carry On

This poster was first commissioned by the British Government's Ministry of Information in the spring of 1939, and was intended to offer the public reassurance as war approached.  The red and white posters were printed but never officially issued. The British Government reconsidered releasing the poster and pulped the original print run.

I love this stoic English slogan. Keep Calm And Carry On

During our current global economic crisis, I would love to have one of these posters on my office wall. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Potential Energy

For some reason today, I found myself thinking about Potential Energy. Not the big grand idea of Potential Energy represented in physics by  U ...
But more like the middle school version of Potential Energy, where potential energy is the ability to do work.

I was listening to several governors discuss the the stimulus bill and why they were or were not for it; and why they were or were not going to take the money designated for their states. 

To me, the stimulus bill is a big boulder of middle school-defined potential energy. It's sitting up on a hill waiting to be rolled down. 

One or two of us pushing won't get this big boulder rolling. But if we were to all come together with a unified push ... oh, the amount of work we could get done!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Dambisa Moyo

Check out the Questions For article in the 2/22 New York Times Sunday Magazine.

Dambisa Moyo is an economist formerly with Goldman Sachs as Head of Economic Research and Strategy for Sub-Saharan Africa. She also worked at the World Bank in Washington D.C., as a co-author to its annual World Development Report. And, she is the author of the new book, Dead Aid: Why Aid is not Working and How There is a Better Way for Africa. 

Dambisa, an African woman from Zambia, argues that aid to Africa has not only failed but has compounded Africa's problems. Her arguments are articulate, brazen, and smart. She has me looking at Africa through a completely different looking glass. And I love it when that happens.

Be sure to read the above article.

I just pre-ordered her book and will keep you posted!

Friday, February 20, 2009

What do you want?

Who do you want to be?

What's important to you?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Yesterday in Arizona, President Obama announced his plan to reduce foreclosures. The $75 billion plan could prevent up to 9 million Americans from losing their homes.

Below are my favorite excerpts from his speech:

..."You can't afford to leave and you can't afford to stay. So you cut back on luxuries. Then you cut back on necessities. You spend down your savings to keep up with your payments. Then you open the retirement fund. Then you use the credit cards. And when you've gone through everything you have, and done everything you can, you have no choice but to default on your loan. And so your home joins the nearly six million others in foreclosure or at risk of foreclosure across the country."

..."So solving this crisis will require more than resources - it will require all of us to take responsibility. Government must take responsibility for setting rules of the road that are fair and fairly enforced. Banks and lenders must be held accountable for ending the practices that got us into this crisis in the first place. Individuals must take responsibility for their own actions. And all of us must learn to live within our means again."  -- President Barack Obama

Or, like the poem in my kids' picture book says,
There's an important lesson about money that you should know.
You'll hear it over and over as you grow.
That lesson is: Don't spend more than you make.
Using money that's not yours is a big mistake. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Thursday night Continental Express Flight 3407 crashed in Buffalo as it approached the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Fifty people were killed, all 49 onboard and one man on the ground. The victims of the tragic plane crash included fathers, mothers, friends, spouses, sons and daughters...

Earlier in the week, US Airways announced that passengers of flight 1549 (the US Airways flight forced to make an incredible emergency landing in the Hudson River after a double bird strike... all 150 aboard survived) would receive $5000  to cover the cost of lost luggage and other belongings as well as additional reimbursement for ticket costs. The internet and talk radio were abuzz with complaints after the announcement was made. People complained that they wanted to be "made whole" and wanted compensation for what they claimed would be lifelong distress.

I tried to see their point. It would be a huge hassle to lose your laptop, or Blackberry, or wallet, or business documents to the Hudson. It could take weeks to get your personal and business affairs back in order. And a brush with death could definitely have lifelong consequences.

But I still kept going back to the fact that they were alive... And by all odds given to water landings, no one on US Airways flight 1549 should be. In my mind, 150 people got a second chance.  If you spend your second chance complaining about what is "due you", I think you missed the wake up call.

Since the news on Thursday night, the news that all souls aboard Continental flight 3407 perished, I have not heard or read of any more complaints.

The veil lifts, and life once again becomes priceless.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Today the President travels to Denver to sign into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Hopefully the insanity of spending $787 billion will pay off.

Monday, February 16, 2009


On this President's Day, I look to our current President's weekly address to the nation. President Obama was able to pass a recovery bill this week (Frank Rich op-ed) and encouraged us to hold those in charge accountable by going to

He also quoted President Kennedy, "This morning, I'm reminded of words President Kennedy spoke in another time of uncertainty. 'Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks.'"

Do your part in this task. Be involved in America's Great Recovery.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday Children's Book

So You Want to be President?

This is a great book for President's Day weekend.

Let your child read the Oath of Office and tell you what it means to them.
Have your child tell you what characteristics or virtues a president should have.

Have a great weekend.
Sunday is a wonderful day to read with a child!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Jai ho

I finally went to see Slumdog Millionaire.
It broke my heart in so many ways.

Luckily my husband had already seen it and told me, "hold on... it's a rough ride... but worth it." I'm glad I had an insider with me, or I think I would have walked out of the theater early on in the film. I cannot tolerate torture or violence toward children.

If you can stomach the injustice and the brutality ... what you will learn is well worth the rough ride.

The Dharavi slum, where much of the movie takes place is the largest slum in India. Dharavi has a population of one million and is right in the middle of India's financial capital, Mumbai (formerly Bombay).

I heard that a friend of mine upon leaving the movie had said, "Well, that's it; I'm never going to India." That gave me pause because all I could think was, "I need to get to India."

After seeing the movie, what did you think?

If nothing else, the elaborate Bollywood style dance routine at the end of the movie is like a blessing. 
 "Jai Ho"  (be victorious)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Power of The Comma

I'm not sure if you've noticed, but President Obama has a distinct way of talking. I have found it wonderfully refreshing to hear someone speak who enjoys writing. But it is with his style of speech that I am so enamored.

He often begins his sentences with "listen" or "look".

During the President's recent town hall meetings he has said, "Look, I would love not to spend money right now." and "Look, we've got to get this bill passed."

It's not so much the word "look" that I am fixated upon. It is that lovely comma that follows. He doesn't say, "Look we've got to get this bill passed." all in one hurried breath.  What I hear is, "Look (whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, whether you voted for me or not, whether you've lost your job and your health care or not) we've got to get this bill passed."

It is the pause of that comma; the beauty of a breath taken that gives me hope.

I read somewhere (I think it was Bird-by-Bird by Anne Lamott) about a large gathering around a dining room table... it went something like this: "The men rose from the table, and retired to the living room." We can debate the placement of that comma... But I say it gives the men time to rise and push in their chairs.

Today, let's celebrate the comma. The spaces we leave unfilled; the breath in and the breath out.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Henrietta Hughes

There's a line in a song I love that says,
"Yesterday I heard you say that there was nothing you could do. 
I wonder if you'd feel the same if it was happening to you?"

If you saw President Obama's town hall meeting in Florida, then you saw Henrietta Hughes. If you missed it, please watch the VIDEO

If you have been insulated from the economic downturn, then you should consider yourself quite fortunate. If you need to put a face to the recession, think of Henrietta Hughes. 

What can you do today for the Henriettas in your community?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Be Brave

The Special Olympic World Winter Games are being held this year in Idaho. I was lucky enough to go to the Opening Ceremonies. The spirit of the Special Olympics is inspiring to say the least.

I was extremely taken with the Oath each athlete takes to participate in the games:

Let me win.
But if I cannot win,
let me be brave in the attempt.

Prior to the first-ever International Special Olympics Summer Games, Eunice Kennedy Shriver discussed the idea of a Special Olympics oath with Dr. Herb Kramer, then Public Relations Advisor to the Kennedy Foundation. "I asked Herb to draft something so that the athletes would feel good about trying, and if they were not successful, they wouldn't feel they had failed."

I think there have been many times in my life that I could have used the Special Olympic oath. I plan to keep it close at hand as a reminder that being brave in the attempt is what really matters.

Be a fan!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Slumdogs Unite

For full disclosure, I am a big fan of Frank Rich. I especially loved his op ed in the Sunday NY Times yesterday, Slumdogs Unite

To quote Rich, "The public's revulsion isn't mindless class hatred. As Obama said on Wednesday of his fellow citizens, 'We don't disparage wealth. We don't begrudge anybody for achieving success.' But we do know that the system has been fixed for too long."

I don't know anyone who begrudges success or the wealth that can accompany it. That's the American Dream... that anything is possible for everyone.

If you happen to be in your garage right now developing a personal wind turbine the size of a small garbage can that I can soon buy at Home Depot, my hat is off to you. In five years time you'll be the new Bill Gates. We will all be laughing at the way we use to pay per kilowatt for electricity like we joke now about how we use to pay per minute to use the internet.

And everyone with the foresight to buy stock in your "garbage can/wind turbine"  company when it goes public, again I say congratulations. Reward for innovation and betting on our future success is as American as capitalism and free markets.

My populist outrage swells when I see financial reward for failure, and financial reward for insider connections, and financial reward for class.

Lets take this swell of outrage, this swell of energy and turn it into a march for fairness. Instead of pushing against those who have arrogantly taken advantage of an unjust system, let's  work together to lay claim to something new: opportunity for all.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday Children's Book

The Peace Book

"People have called my books, 'cheerful, kind hearted, refreshing and reassuring'. I hope you like them." -Todd Parr

Sunday is a wonderful day to read with a child.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

According to Wikipedia: The Hammer and Sickle is a part of communist symbolism and its usage indicates an association with Communism, Communist Party, or Communist State.

I saw this sticker yesterday. I suppose the statement is that President Obama is a communist. 

I find joy in contrast. I love when ideas run head-on into each other. The ideas of freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of the press all heading full steam into the ideas of Communism, the Communist Party, and a Communist State. It always makes me smile!

Trying to Aspire

My daughter joined Brownies, the precursor to Girl Scouts.

I have to admit that it is not really my thing. The idea of the rules and the codes and the pledges was a little worrisome to me. For me, it had the feeling of a secret society. I am more for the free thinking, civil disobedience, standing on a street corner for a cause sort of thing. But I went along with it because it seemed important to her.

So far we have sold cookies together, learned first aid, helped the food bank, and experienced the Special Olympic World Games. It has been a wonderful experience for us and my daughter is enjoying the process of it all.

And I have to admit, I am definitely warming up to the Girl Scout ways. The Girl Scout Law is something even I am trying to aspire to:

I will do my best to be 
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
And to respect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.

And, I'm a sucker for Thin Mints

Friday, February 6, 2009

This is my hope. This is my prayer.

 National Prayer Breakfast

The National Prayer Breakfast was held yesterday in Washington D.C.
I have posted my favorite passages from President Obama's remarks.
Please go to to read his speech as prepared.

"The particular faith that motivates each of us can promote the greater good for all of us. Instead of driving us apart, our varied beliefs can bring us together to feed the hungry and comfort the afflicted; to make peace where there is strife and rebuild what has broken; to lift up those who have fallen on hard times."

"But no matter what we choose to believe, let us remember that there is no religion whose central tenet is hate. There is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being. This much we know."

"We come to break bread and give thanks and seek guidance, but also to rededicate ourselves to the mission of love and service that lies at the heart of all humanity. As St. Augustine once said, 'Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.'"

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I have had these words in my head the past few days:

"Let all those who do justice and love mercy say amen.
Say Amen,
and amen."

Like a song on a continuous loop, I hear the words and the audience response.

And it fills my heart, and lifts my spirits!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wake Up

Two YouTube videos I love:

What can you do today to Wake Someone Up?

Say "Hello" to a stranger.
Open a door or carry a package for someone.
Give up a parking spot for someone else.
Pay someone's bus fare.
Buy someone's coffee.

If you can break the routine... even for yourself... you can be present in the Now.
Pull someone back from mulling on past regrets or future anxieties.
Remind them that it is perfect right here, in the now.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Business As Usual

When will this financial crisis be over?
Are we through the worst of it?
Is the worst yet to come?
Are we ever going to get back to business as usual?

Remember the post I did at the end of December? 

Well it looks as if I've forgotten my own advice when it comes to our current financial crisis. So let me take a deep breath (inhale - exhale) and begin again:

How will this crisis change us as Americans?
How will it change the way we think, act, and decide things?
How will we choose to live and do business?

What will we learn from this crisis?
Can we learn new habits, new self-regulation?

Maybe, with a little luck, we will never return to "business as usual".
Maybe the common good will become more common.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Gratitude for Sanctuary

Statements of gratitude from those at the Interfaith Sanctuary in Boise, Idaho:

"To the supporters and volunteers. I am so thankful for your efforts and concern you have for your fellow man. I am thankful for a warm bed in a cold world." -Stephan H.

"Thank you for keeping the sanctuary open or I wouldn't have a place to go." 

"This shelter has been a great service to me."

"I am so grateful to the hospitality and kindness of the staff and this shelter. I was really nervous about being at a shelter but the staff made me feel at home. God Bless and Thanks." -Pam K.

"I am grateful that the sanctuary exists. It provides a safe place to lay my head. Thanks for your support." -Carey S.

"I lost my place to live and if it wasn't for the sanctuary, I would be sleeping in the cold." -Sara S.

To see more, visit the Interfaith Sanctuary web site.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sunday Children's Book

Ruby and Bubbles

This is a great story about friendship.
There will always be Bratty Hattys and Mean Maureens in the world.
But if you have a best friend, it just doesn't matter.

Sunday is a wonderful day to read with a child.