“A good half of the art of living is resilience.” Author Unknown

“A good half of the art of living is resilience.” Author Unknown

Fort Worth ISD launched an historic partnership this week in the creation of the Fort Worth ISD Education Foundation.  Ten years in the planning process with many starts and stops but never, not once, did the individuals supporting the work, give up on the idea.  We may have put it on the back burner for several months or years,  and were forced to stall discussion for one pragmatic reason or another, but in the end, when the time was right, it happened. It will be an organization that supports Fort Worth children and youth for years to come.  Well worth the wait, I predict.

With experience, I have come to believe that the most important trait of a person’s happiness and success in life is our individual resiliency factors.   With children living in poverty, developing resiliency is paramount to survival in many cases.

The following items were used in the International Resilience Project as a checklist for perceptions of resilience in children.

  • The child has someone who loves him/her totally (unconditionally).
  • The child has an older person outside the home she/he can tell about problems and feelings.
  • The child is praised for doing things on his/her own.
  • The child can count on her/his family being there when needed.
  • The child knows someone he/she wants to be like.
  • The child believes things will turn out all right.
  • The child does endearing things that make people like her/him.
  • The child believes in a power greater than seen.
  • The child is willing to try new things.
  • The child likes to achieve in what he/she does.
  • The child feels that what she/he does makes a difference in how things come out.
  • The child likes himself/herself.
  • The child can focus on a task and stay with it.
  • The child has a sense of humor.
  • The child makes plans to do things.

Resilience develops as people grow up and gain better thinking and self-management skills and more knowledge. Resilience also comes from supportive relationships with parents, peers and others, as well as cultural beliefs and traditions that help people cope with the inevitable bumps in life.

Psychologist Barbara Fredrickson and her colleagues have found that positive emotions are the “fuel” for resilience. They help people find meaning in ordinary and difficult events. Finding meaning in life events leads to more positive emotions, this in turn leads to a greater ability to find meaning and purpose. Fredrickson calls this an “upward spiral” of greater well-being. They also found that resilient people still felt as many negative emotions as less happy people, often very intense ones. But they felt more positive emotions, and it was the positive emotions that accounted for “their better ability to rebound from adversity and stress, ward off depression, and continue to grow.” Their increase in happiness came from feeling good; not from avoiding feeling bad.

The reason positive emotions predicted resilience and greater happiness is that positive emotions help us build skills and internal resources. Positive emotions like kindness, amusement, creativity, and gratitude put us in a frame of mind to explore the world around us and build a larger repertoire of assets that we can draw on in stressful times. In other words, “Happy people become more satisfied not simply because they feel better, but because they develop resources for living well.”

Maya Angelou – an epitome of resiliency – shares with us a poem from I Know Why the Cage Bird Sings.  Rest in peace, dear Maya, as your words will live on.

“A free bird leaps

on the back of the wind

and floats downstream

till the current ends

and dips his wing

in the orange sun rays

and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks

down his narrow cage

can seldom see through

his bars of rage

his wings are clipped

and his feet are tied

so he opens his throat to sing.”




Hoot! Hoot!

Hoot! Hoot!


I was smitten by a wise old ceramic owl last fall while shopping at Ties to the Past – a fun and quirky antique consignment store on Camp Bowie Blvd in the Fort.  I bought the owl for less than $5 and brought it back to Ashland.  It was used in a Halloween tablescape as well as it sat on our mantle during the fall before it was stowed in the storage closet with all the other cast offs for another time or season.  I found it a month or so ago and decided to repurpose it into a lamp.  Great idea, right?  RM raised his right eyebrow when I mentioned it as we trolled the aisles at Lowe’s. Most likely because he would need to get involved.  I purchased a spray can of white, high gloss paint and a light kit while he searched for that perfect eye bolt to go along with all the other eye bolts he has in his shop out back.  If you ever need a part, shop first at the House of Marshall.

I first painted the brown owl with a  high gloss white paint – it took several coats.  RM drilled a hole in the top and the bottom to accommodate the light kit.  I tried three times to assemble the kit, each time making a critical error, which then required removing all the parts and starting over again.  With the help from a YouTube video and RM’s prior experience wrestling with one, I was successful with assembling the light kit into the owl after only four attempts.  At times, it was like open heart surgery with more lighting brought in and magnifying glass in hand.  When did I lose my ability to read any kind of small print?

Above is a link to one YouTube video that you may find helpful if you elect to try to convert a found object into  a lamp of your own.  Add a light bulb and lamp shade and voila!  Wish it was that simple!






Familects or my families secret language

Familects or my families secret language

Does it sometimes seem that your family has its own language?  Although family words are often funny, they’re also shorthand for moments from a shared past and as such carry an emotional resonance. It gives us a real sense of belonging when we hear it from a family member. When a distant relative shares the same word for ‘poo’ it means something!

Below is a list of some our family language from Kansas:


  • Grinklies – stuff in the bottom of the sink after you washed dishes by hand.  No one wants to touch the grinklies.  Grinklies are also found at the bottom of a glass of milk when we are dunking Oreos.
  • The Head – the toilet.  A long line of navy men are on my husband’s side of the family.
  • Pink Bunny – is Welsh rarebit on toast
  • Dinner is noon, supper is at night
  • Casserole – anything thrown into a dish and heated.  Usually involves canned soup.
  • Screened porch – can be on the back of the house, on the second floor, but the screens are put on in the summer and replaced with glass windows in the winter.
  • Creek not stream, not rivulets, tributary, or brook
  •  Tinkle and Number 2 – no definition needed.
  • Needs fixed or needs cut – kinda of like “fixin to” in Texas
  • For cryin out loud! – no lords name takin in vain.
  • Jayhawker  is a term that came to prominence just before the Civil War.   It was adopted by militant bands affiliated with the free-state cause. These bands, known as Jayhawkers, were guerilla  fighters who often clashed with pro-slavery groups from Missouri known at the time as border ruffians.  After the Civil War, the word Jayhawker became synonymous with the people of Kansas. Today the term is used as a nickname for a native-born Kansan.


Do you have some to share with me, my mid-western, plains friends?






Mamas and Dadas… do let your daughters grow up to be leaders

Mamas and Dadas… do let your daughters grow up to be leaders

As of July 2013, there were only 19 female presidents and prime ministers in power around the world.  Currently, women hold only 4.6% of Fortune 500 CEO positions and the same percentage of Fortune 1000 CEO positions.   As women continue their upward trajectory in the business world, they have yet to be fully appreciated for the unique qualities and abilities they bring to the workplace. (Source: Forbes)

Why do I think women make as good a leader if not better than men?  In order to get the same recognition and rewards as men, women need to do twice as much, rarely make a mistake and constantly demonstrate our competency.  Because of these double standards, women have to work harder at demonstrating outstanding leadership skills through practice, training, feedback and self-assessment.  We get better at it, because we work harder at it and we practice.  When I worked in the aerospace industry, we were raising three young children and my husband was traveling regularly for the same company.  I requested and was granted the option to go from full-time to part-time.  I did so gratefully, but my job duties didn’t get reduced in half.  I was expected to work harder and longer on the three days I was there to get the work accomplished while taking a cut in pay and benefits.  I did it because I wanted to keep the opportunities for advancement and career growth viable while balancing family and my work life.  While I don’t think this is fair, it certainly enhanced my qualities and experiences and made me a better leader today.

The majority of people make the assumption that women will excel at nurturing competencies such as developing others, inspiring and motivating others, relationship building, collaboration and teamwork. But research indicates those competencies with the largest positive differences between men and women are taking initiative, displaying integrity and honesty, and driving for results. These are not nurturing competencies.

These competencies highlight that women are seen as more effective in getting things done, being role models and delivering results. These skills describe leaders who take on difficult challenges, ensure that people act with integrity, and who simply achieve challenging results.

Research also indicates that in the traditional male dominated fields of sales, legal, engineering, IT and the R&D function; women actually received higher effectiveness ratings than males. Many of our stereotypes are obviously incorrect. Again, the concern about women not being able to perform well in those functional areas is resoundingly refuted by the data. (Source:  Business Insider)

At work or at home, women are often the glue that holds things together.  When they sense growing tensions, they are often the first ones to act to correct inefficiencies and collaborate to resolve problems. The most successful women leaders are big believers in team building and the enforcement of mission, goals and values to assure that everyone is on the same page with like intentions.  This secures a sense of continuity making it easier for everyone to have each other’s backs.

Many women leaders find motivation by being creative and resourceful when completing tasks and other duties and responsibilities. Maintaining focus and resiliency are qualities that make women excellent leaders.  Juggling motherhood and work also reinforces the ability to maintain focus.  When we became empty nesters, I told my friends that a whole section of my brain was freed up to reuse for other projects and interests of mine.

But the women’s advantages were not at all confined to traditionally women’s strengths. In fact at every level, more women were rated by their peers, their bosses, their direct reports, and their other associates as better overall leaders than their male counterparts — and the higher the level, the wider that gap grows.  So, ladies, let’s get out there and lead as an example for our daughters and for all the young women in our circle of influence.


Check this link for ways for young women graduates to receive support and learn to be bold.


.be bold












Seattle – Vancouver Vacation Itinerary for August

Seattle – Vancouver Vacation Itinerary for August

Northwest – August vacation from the Texas HEAT!  Vancouver is on RM’s bucket list and I guess I can be talked into tagging along.  If you have suggestions for us, please share.


FRIDAY, August 1st

Fly to Seattle

  • PIKES Market
  • See cousins and family
  • Stay the night in a hotel


SATURDAY, August 2nd

Drive to Vancouver – estimated 3 hours

Check in to hotel

  • Day at Stanley Park, Sunset Beach
  • Vancouver Aquarium

SUNDAY, August 3rd

  • University of British Anthropology
  • Vancouver Maritime Museum
  • Vancouver Art Gallery

Dinner reservations  for 2:  Hawksworth Restaurant, 801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, 604.673.7000 

MONDAY, August 4th


  • Canada Place
  • Granville Market
  • Roedde House


Dinner reservations  for 2:  Provence Marianaside/Crosses with Davie, 1177 Marinaside Crescent Vancouver, BC, (604) 681-4144

TUESDAY, August 5th

  • Drive along North Shore
  • Stops at Capilano Suspension Bridge
  • Hiking, Kai’palano Big House, Totem Poles, Treetops Adventure
  • Drive to Whistler – 75 miles

Drinks at the Mallard Bar at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler

Make reservations at the Rim Rock – call in June to reserve a table.

Check in hotel

WEDNESDAY, August 6th

  • Hiking

Drive to Victoria – not sure how long to estimate for this, maybe for 4 hours with ferry?

Make reservations for car on ferry @ $55

Take the Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay Ferry (Check schedule/fares) (Passing through *United States* Washington, then crossing into *Canada* British Columbia).

Check in to hotel

THURSDAY, August 7th

  • Chinatown, Gate of Harmonious Interest
  • Old Town
  • Lunch at Iris Times Pub, 1200 Government Street
  • Royal British Columbia Museum

Dinner at Red Fish Blue Fish on Broughton St. Pier

FRIDAY, August 8th

Explore Fort Street Antiques

Beacon Hill Park

Make reservations for the ferry

Drive back to Seattle

Check in hotel

SATURDAY, August 9th

Return rental car

Home bound!