Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pretty Hat Box

I'm in the mood to look at something fun and this qualifies. It's an old hat box I spotted in an upstairs closet at the Thomas Hart Benton home in Kansas City.

One of the things I like about myself is that I find things to love almost everywhere I go, and that I can appreciate little bits of happiness. That's actually a hallmark of happy people - appreciating small things.

I love the illustration, the broken handle with the brads, the wear along the edges of the box, the printing, and the color. Just something to make me smile. Hopefully it did the same for you.

I try to find a little bit of happiness in every day.
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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Precious Real World Connections

“The more connected to the web we are, the more precious the real world is, so it is important to make a connection,” says Richard Morass.

I think we are hungry for connection on multiple levels. I think we want to find ways to interact with our fellow human beings beyond "your kid plays soccer with my kid" and "we work down the hall from each other." The real world is more precious, it seems. If only making real connection was as easy as exchanging cards.

The Morass quote was in a Fast Company article at It's basically a commercial for, which he founded, but I do appreciate some of his sentiments. And I think what he says above is really true. Even at the techiest of events, I find people have and exchange business cards.

MOO cards don't fascinate me the way they do others - mainly because they are not standard size. While that's all well and good for some people, many people still rely on traditional products to maintain and organize their business cards and I'm not ready to jump off that bandwagon quite yet.

That said, I've wanted to order them since I first heard about them years ago - maybe 2005 or so? They were big in artists circles before I saw them popping up anywhere else. They're really nice quality pieces, but I just don't know what I'd do with them. If I'm at an event where I'm handing out cards I will use the ones I already have.

Business card design is something I think about regularly because every time I do one, it's different. I've had my current one for maybe a couple of years. I put a QR code on the back of it as a social experiment and it was curious that for quite a few months only the techiest of people knew what that was, much less what to do with it. Now that they're on ketchup bottles in restaurants they've obviously reached the mainstream. However, the ways I had hoped that technology would go have not developed, so I'm not sure I'll use one again - have to think about that a bit.

I preach consistency in marketing all the time, but it's so difficult to apply all those rules to oneself. But, I must, I must, I must.

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Six Steps to Stop Procrastinating

I used to be a procrastinator. I was very, very good at it. I pulled all-nighters with regularity, and I don't mean the kind you want to brag to your friends about later, but the kind where you're working feverishly to complete a project you could have easily completed weeks earlier.

In fairness to myself, at various times I have had jobs that required other people to meet deadlines in order for me to meet mine. Unfortunately, when other people didn't get the necessary materials to me, then I was in a pickle. So, because I was the "end of the line" before the publication had to go to press, I was the one who had to stay up all night in order to not miss my deadline.

I take deadlines seriously. They're not suggestions. They're deadlines. They exist for a reason. If you can't make one, you better have a good reason.

I was always able to pull off meeting the deadline, but it often required  a very intense day or two. Sometimes, when you work in news, that is required because you can't plan ahead. News doesn't tell you when it's about to happen, so you have to react. And sometimes you work day and night because that's what the story requires.

But, because I used to do that for a living, I adopted that as my norm. And I worked for people who had also done that for a living, and they lived in that chaos as well. In fact, they viewed chaos as a normal way of running a business. It was what they knew. It worked for them. They would occasionally try something new, but there was always the safety net to fall back on of just doing it by the seat of our pants.

Entire businesses are built on this principle. Some of them work quite well. There are some things where this is a fabulous way to be - you can react quickly, you can roll with the punches, and nothing flusters you. I get that. Been there, done that. However, it also means you can't ever move beyond the next crisis, because there's always another one looming as soon as you get this one under control.

In the last few years, I have broken the procrastination habit. I'm not saying I have the next five years of my life planned out or anything crazy like that, but I like to have projects that have deadlines solidly under control. That leaves time for things that pop up unexpectedly. If I get a call from an editor who has a story she needs next week, I can take that on because the story I already have due is underway.

But, you give up some things when you stop procrastinating, too. One that is a huge factor I hadn't identified, was brought up in conversation the other day. A friend mentioned that after you complete a project like that you can sink into a chair, breathe a sigh of relief, and feel like you've really accomplished something. It's not the same rush to complete the project a month early.

However, it is a totally different kind of satisfaction. And, dare I say, a better one. You now have the energy you devoted to being in crisis to do something you want to do. You have time to do fun things. You no longer have to live in fear of what might be coming down the pike that you will have to react to quickly. Because, if it does, you will have the time and energy to handle it. It's so much easier to handle the unexpected when the expected is already under control.

Life comes with surprises. Lots of them. I'm glad I've finally managed to break the habit of procrastinating. And that's what it is - a habit.

If you are a procrastinator, here are some steps to break the habit:

1. Deadline
If you don't have an official deadline, give yourself one. And it's not the morning something is due. It's a week or month before - whatever is reasonable for the task.

2. Decide
People often procrastinate because they don't want to decide what to do. They just keep living in limbo until they HAVE to make a decision. Just decide. Today. And move forward with whatever it is. It's not going to be any easier to decide in a week or month or year. Just do it right now and start putting the energy into accomplishing instead of wallowing.

3. Do
It's easy to get "stuck" when there's a step involved you're not comfortable with. Just do it and get it over with. You will spend more time dreading it than it will actually take to do it.

4. Move ahead
Don't second guess yourself and go backwards. You've made a decision, now stick to it, and start enacting the plan. Obviously, if you have some reason it won't work you have to reevaluate, but it has to be a real reason - not just a feeling you have. People stuck here by going back to step 1 and engaging in a loop. Just keep moving ahead.

5. Finish
Complete the task. It's tempting to stop when your part way through because you can finish it up quickly later on. You'll be in exactly the same predicament as if you hadn't started because if you put it aside and pick it up again later you'll question everything that's been done previously.

6. Celebrate
When you finish your task early, take some time to enjoy the fact that you do not have to waste time and energy being caught up in the drama of a last minute rush to complete. You have earned it!

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Saturday, February 25, 2012


Whatever else is involved in any given act of hospitality, it must always be designed to provide a respite from the impersonal world outside. It must be a parenthesis in the hurry of life. It must make one feel safe. It must nurture the stranger, or the friend, at the gate.

                                  --- Elizabeth R. Skoglund

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Blackberry Cobbler

So, if you want to be eating this blackberry cobbler, you have to start with pie crust. You can use the recipe of your choice.

Pie crust is really far simpler than many people would have you believe. Two things you need to know:
1. Keep it cold
2. Don't overwork it

What makes pie crust flaky are the "layers" of shortening and flour. If you mush it all together by overworking it, you get rid of the layers and the crust is tough. If you let the shortening get warm enough it "melts" into the flour, the same thing happens. Experiment. You'll get it.

Once you have your pie crust rolled out, put it in the fridge while you make the filling.

Many cobbler recipes will suggest you only put crust on top. Ignore them. The best part of this is the blackberry juice soaked crust.

Other cobbler recipes will suggest using a mixture that results in a cake-like topping. Some even, heaven forbid, suggest using cake mix. Do it the old-fashioned way with pie crust - top and bottom - and you will not be sorry.

Blackberry Cobbler 

1 pint blackberries (roughly - more or fewer will work)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup butter, melted

That's it... four ingredients. If you find recipes that call for vanilla, ignore them. It's one of the most over-used things in the American kitchen, especially since most people are using supermarket psuedo-vanilla. Don't do it. You'll just ruin the natural flavor of "real" ingredients by pouring this chemical mixture over them.

Mix together and taste. If your berries need it, add a little more sugar. If you like a more tart pie, add less. This is not chemistry, it's baking, do it to suit yourself!

Put berry mixture into your prepared (raw) crust and bake at 425 degrees for 30-40 minutes. The crust will be golden, the berries will be bubbly, you will be happy.

If you like, you can make a lattice top on the cobbler - just because it's pretty and it reminds you of grandma. Even though my grandma never made pie like this, it still makes me nostalgic. Go figure.

Sprinkle a little sugar on top. Why? Because it's sweet, and it's pretty. (Really, what kind of question is that? I can only assume you are taken aback by the idea of blackberry cobbler and can't think straight right now.)

After it's baked, it will look like this...

... and you will love it. You will probably love it even more warm, with some ice cream on top.

Then you can take photos and put them on Facebook and your blog and love it when your friends say nice things about you. (Yes, I'm somewhat like the SNL skit where the woman is saying, "Please don't make me sing, Please don't make me sing" while inching toward the piano. I know, it's sad, but true.)

Enjoy the fruits of your labors!

(I have to give extra credit to my big brother, Jackie, who picked these blackberries and froze them last summer. The cobbler is a gazillion times better because of that. Thank you, Jackie!)
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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Quote of the Day

I am always doing what I can't do yet, in order to do it.
--- Van Gogh-----
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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Vintage Goodness

This is a little bit of a dresser scarf I bought at the flea market recently. I'm not sure I can ever have enough hand embroidered and crocheted pretties.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Happiness is Yours for the Learning

We are all born with a "set point" of happiness, but we now know that it is also a learned behavior and just because someone isn't born that way, they can be that way if they chose to be. Genetics determine about 50%.

Important in learning to be happy:
1. Meditation
2. Journaling (esp. gratitude)
3. Fake it till you make it. Faking happiness causes the same chemical reactions as BEING happy and eventually will create the happiness. Actions matter - act happy.
4. Surrounding yourself with friends and family is a huge factor in increasing happiness. 
5. Having your own sense of self and no interest in keeping up with the Joneses is helpful.
6. Doing activities that put you in the "flow" where you lose sense of time and enjoy it, increases overall happiness. The more of those you have, the better off you are. Doing what you're best at.
7. Must have a capacity to love and be loved.
8. Altruism
9. Spirituality
10. Creativity

Damaging to happiness:
1. not forgiving - huge - the biggest stumbling block - the single biggest determining factor in someone's happiness level
2. materialism

1. Major health problems, such as loss of mobility, have no long term effect on people's general happiness. After about 90-180 days they return to their pre-incident level of daily happiness.
2. People are very bad at predicting what will make them happy. Better to trust human resilence than human prediction.
3. More choices you have the more likely you are to be unhappy. People feel with so many choices, there's no excuse for failure. Choices also make people question every decision.
4. Happiness comes mostly in daily little bits. People get thrills out of finding a quarter or getting an unexpected gift. The emotion actually makes them more generous, friendlier, flexible, creative and better at solving problems. Small bursts of this feeling caused radiologists to make more accurate diagnoses in one study.


It seems there are some constants in my life, and wanting to share the secrets of happiness is one of them. People often comment that I'm "so happy," and it's true. I've written about it many times. I just ran across this blog post from livejournal that was written Sept. 17, 2004. It's all still true. I thought I'd repost for the fun of it. Or maybe the happiness of it!

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Yet to be discovered...

Interesting little fact:

Ten percent of all the mammals we know about were discovered in the last 20 years. That's about 400 mammals we've learned about in just the last two decades.

Makes one wonder what else is just waiting to be discovered.
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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Big Dreams and Big Chances

I confess I'm a "Johnny come lately" to reality television, particularly "American Idol." This is the first year I've watched from the beginning.

Last year I became interested because of the addition of Steven Tyler. I happened to catch it and was just so impressed with what he had to say to contestants. Later I heard him interviewed and he said he had taken some flack for agreeing to do the show but thought part of entertainment was continuing to do new things. I really appreciate that mentality.

There is something so enthralling about watching people get a shot at their dreams. Of course, sometimes we see them leave the stage without those dreams fulfilled. But, they're getting a chance. And they're such big dreams. Big, big dreams.

How many people ever even get a shot at such big dreams?

No wonder we can't stop watching.
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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Office Shelves

I've been trying to tidy up the shelves in my office a little bit. I suppose some people would think space perhaps shouldn't be devoted to things like Alien Guys. But, those people would not be me. Obviously. -----
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Friday, February 17, 2012

New Glasses

I just got some new glasses. In fact, I have another pair on order that are large cat-eye shaped, purple tiger-striped. I'm hoping they look as cool in person as they do in the photo.

But, I do like these a lot.

Greg took this photo after the Cats performance the other night. As always, it's a wonderful treat to have a photographer on hand!
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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cats, Creative Sisterhood and Considerations

I've been busy the last few days - sometimes with fun stuff, which was great.

Last night my friend, Martha, invited me to join her at the Cats performance in our beautiful restored theatre, the Fox. Martha was instrumental in restoring it and I always enjoy being there with her. She was very generous in inviting me to go along. It was a really, really wonderful evening. I am so fortunate to have such amazing friends who do such fascinating things - like restore historic theatres!

Tonight was Creative Sisterhood. It was a truly incredible evening. I often comment that I want meaning in my world. I got a big dose of that tonight. I'm so thankful for these women. They add to my life in ways that will never be fully measured.

For tonight I made a chocolate cake, with an orange flavored frosting. It was quite tasty. It was a new recipe and it's close to "the" chocolate cake. I haven't yet found that recipe - the one that is the perfect chocolate cake. I'm still on the hunt. This one was close. But, alas, the hunt continues.

Otherwise, I'm involved in some serious thought processes these days. I have been a bit absent here because I'm spending more time with pen and paper. It seems I have a certain amount of writing oomph in me on a daily basis. Sometimes I use it all up on projects, sometimes on the blog, sometimes with pen and paper. I am on Facebook every day, so feel free to connect with me there, too!

But when I'm puzzling over things, I have to go to pen and paper and that's what I've been doing lately. I shall be back here, though! This has become my comfortable place to visit with people, talk about what's on my mind, and generally engage. I'm just in a spot at the moment where I'm trying to figure out "what's next."

I'm wondering if everyone is that way. I sometimes get eager for "the next big wonderful thing." It seems I need to be getting myself ready for it - whatever it is!

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

It's a day to celebrate love. Be thankful for whatever form it has taken in your life!


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Saturday, February 11, 2012


I spent this Saturday making some of my usual Saturday stops. There are three businesses in town that I consider real jewels, and I hit all of them today. Lunch at Roy's Barbecue, then a trip through one of my favorite thrift stores, and wrapping up with a visit to Smith's Market. Smith's has a great selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, and also some cool gifts. Unfortunately, there were no cool thrift finds today. Oh well... there's a flea market tomorrow - perhaps I'll find something wonderful there.

Otherwise I did some chores around the house. So many things I need to do, but at least I did a couple of them. I don't think of myself as lazy at all, but I certainly don't get much housework done. Perhaps I'm lazy about that.

Tonight I did take care of a house chore I've been putting off, and replaced the hose on the hand held shower in the downstairs bathroom. I'm always a bit nervous about starting something like that. But, all went well. It is reassembled and works - without leaks.

Lately I've been spending more and more time on pinterest and one of the things I'm discovering about myself is that I am more drawn to tea, and beautiful things for the home, than almost any other category of photos. It's ironic that I don't keep my own house perfect, given my penchant for those sorts of scenes. I'm not sure what that all means, but it seems important to examine.

The other day I was with a friend and showed her a pretty table set for tea. I said, "You know, that's where I live all the time." She said, "Yes, I know you do. I don't. But I know you do." But in my mind, my expectations, my fantasies about life - that's where I'm at. It seems so simplistic - that a person should want more out of life. But, associated with those things are the connections made with other people and the conversation. If I could just have a beautiful tea experience every few days, and all that goes with it in my mind, it would be amazing.

In the national news today, we learned that singer Whitney Houston was found dead this afternoon. It's very sad. She had an amazing voice, but has struggled with drug abuse. We don't know that's what killed her, but it's what people are speculating. She's a prime example of being affected by those around you. An important lesson for us all to remember.

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Days and Words

Today was a day of busyness. From the time I got up until late today I was busy with one thing or another. Tonight I sort of collapsed into the comfort of the keyboard and did a lot of writing.

I used to be a real procrastinator and I'm not anymore. Now I prefer the more leisurely pace of mulling things over, tossing them around in my brain, before committing to them. This change was something I manifested in the last couple of years and it's certainly a better way to live. It means you can occasionally have a night like tonight where I could let my brain be in neutral to some degree. I needed that.

It seems every day I have a to do list, and tomorrow is no different. And it seems that finally I will need to bundle up because winter is arriving tonight, with very cold temperatures. It will be a shock to our systems after such a mild winter thus far.

As much as I would love to spill a few more words out of the keyboard, I think it's time for some sleep. There's always tomorrow. And there are always more words.

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Thursday, February 09, 2012

Faith, Prayer and Belief

I read "90 Minutes in Heaven" earlier this year. I know, it has been around for awhile and I'm probably the last person to get around to reading it. It was written by a man, Don Piper, who died in a car accident and came back to life 90 minutes later. It is a book about religious faith and the power of prayer. It was a book that was available to me when I was traveling, it's a quick read, and interesting.

There are people in my world who are atheists and agnostics, as well as people of many different faiths. I rarely discuss my religious beliefs. It has nothing to do with being ashamed of them. It has to do with it being private.

It would be shocking to most people in my world how traditional my belief system is. It would also be shocking to people who view me as a Godless-heathen because I do not agree with the political positions their churches tell them are correct. My belief system includes ideas that are not part of the protestant faith I grew up practicing. In my mind and soul, these things live harmoniously, and don't require explanation.

That's always the thing about faith, I suppose: Those that have it don't need any explanation; Those who don't have it can never be satisfied with any amount of proof.

I am very much of the "live and let live" mindset. I never want to be held up as an example to anyone of any particular faith tradition, which is one reason I do not associate with a particular group. I think there are many paths to the divine, and it is not my place to judge someone else's.
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Wednesday, February 08, 2012


I had lunch with a friend today and we were discussing how people often need "permission" to do something they want to do. It's not something I feel very much, but I agreed that it's something many people do feel, and that it's important for people to get that permission if they need it.

During the conversation, it occurred to me that the reason this frustrates me is that we will never "catch up" as long as we keep raising more people who feel they need permission. How long will it take to tell every person who needs permission that they have it? Longer than the time we have available, because we keep making more people who feel they need permission.

We need a much broader, cultural change so people grow up knowing they can do whatever they want to do. (Of course, I mean within the confines of not hurting anyone else, etc. etc. etc.) She asked me the all important question: "How do you do that?" Of course, I had no idea.

But I do know there's something fundamentally wrong people believing they need permission to do what they want to do. Something is horribly amiss. People should naturally want to do what makes them happy.
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Creativity Quote

To be yourself in a world that is doing its best, day and night to make you like everybody else—is to fight the hardest battle any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.  

----- e.e.cummings    

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Cupcakes and a Buttercream Recipe

I blame pinterest.

(It's the newest social network. If you'd like an invite, send me your email and I'll send one your way. You can see my boards at: I resisted it for months, but finally gave in and started a "food" board and a "tea" board almost immediately.

This led to me seeing many photos of cupcakes. Some of them were decorated to look like roses. Like these.

Then I found these pretty cupcake holders at Hobby Lobby. They're so springy. And we seem to be having an eternal spring instead of winter here in Kansas. (While I'm enjoying this, I have begun to have a healthy fear of what August will be like.)

Today I could resist no longer. And made cupcakes. I had a gathering tonight so could take some of them with me to it. One of my friends commented, "Oh, this is real icing." Indeed, it is. Real buttercream. (Recipe below.)

Real buttercream requires two ingredients. Butter. And Cream. Hence the name - buttercream. If it does not include butter and cream, it is not buttercream. It seems this would be obvious, but considering the number of recipes you see for things called "Buttercream" that have neither, it is not. So, I'm stating it.

1 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons cream (you can add more or less, depending on your taste and what you want to do with it - if you want to decorate with it, it will need to hold its shape, of course)

That's all. No vanilla (one of the most over-used things in a baker's arsenal, and generally some disgusting fake vanilla-like substance instead of actual vanilla), no salt, nothing else. When you use good ingredients like real butter and cream you don't need those other things.

If you want to decorate like these, buy an M1 decorator tip. Start in the middle and just swirl.

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Monday, February 06, 2012

Quote of the Day

Trust one who has gone through it.
                      --- Virgil

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Saturday, February 04, 2012

A Public Relations Nightmare - Komen Foundation and Planned Parenthood

Last Tuesday evening, the Komen Foundation announced it would withdraw funding from Planned Parenthood. They offered no explanation at the time, and seemed to expect this to go relatively unnoticed, but it did not. Apparently the Komen Foundation did not understand we live in a world where everyone has a voice through social media. My guess is that they were totally unprepared for what happened next, and I can't blame them for that. The public outrage was beyond what I would have expected.

The next day they announced the funding was withdrawn because Planned Parenthood was under investigation by congress. This sort of investigation has become somewhat routine as a political move because Planned Parenthood does abortions, although they have never been shown to be using any money inappropriately. Regardless, the public did not accept Komen's explanation. The Komen Facebook page was filled with comments - about 90% of them negative.

So, the next day they gave a different reason - that Planned Parenthood did not do mammograms, only screenings.

Then, the following day they announced they were reinstating the funding.

Between Tuesday evening and Friday morning, Planned Parenthood received donations more than the total of what Komen withdrew and then reinstated. They also received some donations from high visibility folks including New York Mayor Bloomberg who gave a quarter million dollars. Komen also lost some top executives who resigned in protest of the decision to withdraw funding.

It is fascinating to watch from a PR perspective.
It boils down to this:
Everyone knew Planned Parenthood performed abortions. 
Until the past week, no one knew the Komen Foundation had a political agenda. 

The Komen foundation can give its money to whoever it wants to give its money to. They are not obligated to support Planned Parenthood or anyone else. There were, no doubt, people who were thrilled Komen withdrew its support from an organization they view as evil. Unfortunately, Komen has now alienated them by reinstating the funding.

You can't say something is not political when it's based on a political decision. That's just untrue and makes you look foolish. If Planned Parenthood had been PROVEN to be using funding inappropriately, then withdrawing funding would not have been political.

In general, if you find yourself in this sort of a situation, the faster you address it, the better. And honesty is always the best policy. If you want to be a political organization, don't pretend you're something else.

What happens next will be interesting to watch. Komen has been the king of the non-profit jungle for a long time. They have been brilliant in fundraising and have raised a generation of women to think it natural to volunteer for them.

I'd love to know what prompted this. Was it their high level executives, who have strong ties to the Republican party? Was it a donor? Until this week, I doubt anyone had paid much attention to the politics of the executives because it had not been an issue. However, when they made a politically motivated decision they opened themselves up to that scrutiny.

What prompted the decision? And what next? Will they see donations decrease? Fundraising relies on trust and regardless of how much good the organization has done, people now believe there is more to those pink ribbons than they knew. It will be interesting to see what happens.

I thought they might pick up donations from folks who disagree with Planned Parenthood, but when they reinstated the funding, they would have lost those folks. Now people who are supporters of Planned Parenthood may well find another group to give to if they want to support cancer research. If the American Cancer Society were smart, they would already be mobilizing. But, alas, it doesn't seem they are.

So, after three and a half days of defending their position, which was more difficult when they changed it, all they've done is tarnish their reputation. They've exposed themselves as a politically motivated group, as opposed to the purely noble organization we believed them to be a week ago.

This whole episode points out a few things organizations and businesses simply have to understand from a PR and social media standpoint:
  • everyone has a voice these days and they can and will use it
  • a group of people who believe the same thing can form quickly and create change
  • things move fast
  • you can't hide behind terse statements these days - people demand more - especially when they are giving you their money
  • you can't change your statements from one day to the next and expect people to not know the difference - we have all that information at hand
They're now going to have to devote large amounts of energy, time and money to brand and PR issues, instead of raising money for breast cancer research. The other thing is that, unfortunately, people never really forget. The United Way scandal was decades ago, but people still mention it. The Red Cross scandal is still fresh. Now we can add the Komen Misstep to the mix.

However, Komen has proven to be brilliant in the past. Perhaps they will show us a new trick or two in the next few weeks. I know I'll be watching.

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Pink Tulips in Soft Light

The other night I was at a restaurant I'd not been to before and they had beautiful pink tulips on each table. I couldn't resist reaching out to touch the blossom, to make sure it was real.

I was surprised by how much beauty was contained in that one pink flower. Even though winter has been very mild, and almost like spring, it was a reminder that the seasons will change in a few weeks.

Recently I was talking with a friend about how much I crave having beauty in my life. He mentioned that beauty is one pathway to the divine, that it draws us in and satisfies something deep within us. I've been thinking about our conversation for the past three weeks. I know there's something in it that resonates  inside me.

The dim, softened light of the room made the tulips seem all the more brilliant. It was an unexpected bit of beauty - so simple and unassuming - yet so powerful.

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Thursday, February 02, 2012

A Vintage Treasure

The rickrack caught my attention first.

Then I noticed the delicate crocheted stitches surrounding it. They were slightly uneven and therefore almost certainly made by hand.

It had been placed to the side, as if unworthy of being in a prime location. It had been covered with some other things as if to camouflage what was perceived as a flaw.

I excitedly moved everything to pick it up. I reached to turn it over and check the hem. It's then that I spotted the best part...

... yes, faded printing - probably once black, now a soft, faded gray.

I wondered if it was from Hudson Cream, a local flour company, because I can make out "cream" clearly. However, the other letters do not fit.

All I do know for sure is that it's a treasure - not every day brings one into your life, but today was a lucky day for me, for this beauty is now in my home.

For a mere fifty cents I have a reminder of another time. A time when fabric was so scarce, and beauty so desired, that a woman used a flour sack, a piece of rickrack and some thread to create something special. Whoever's hands created this may be laid to rest now, but this little bit of what they left behind is living on with me, and its value is far beyond monetary. It's a testament to how we all long for beauty, and find ways to fulfill that need in even the most dire of circumstances.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Jason Falls at SocialIRL in Wichita

Monday night I went to Wichita for a social media event. Jason Falls, one of the thought leaders in social media, was speaking. It was an event put on by SocialIRL - for those of you not into the social media world, that means Social In Real Life. Ben does a fabulous job with all the SocialIRL events, so if you get a chance to go to one, do. You won't be disappointed.

"Social Media" is a blanket term given to the entire class of services like Facebook and Twitter where people connect. I was thinking last night how cool it is that I've gotten to know a number of the people who were there just through social media. It's kind of interesting, really. How we meet people and how we maintain relationships has definitely changed. (My Facebook and Twitter links are below - connect with me!)

The IRL part is one of my favorite things. I like making connections, and love it that things like Facebook keep me connected to people I don't see daily, as well as introduce me to other people I have things in common with that I may not have met in person yet. When you see you have 30 mutual friends, you know you will probably connect.

My friend, Kris, is a great connector. She will just say, "You two need to know each other." I love that. I try to do the same for people, and I love it when someone does it for me.

For years, we've always taken what we call a "cute girl pic" whenever we're together. We haven't seen each other in awhile, so we were behind. We took this one Monday, and got another Tuesday at a different event. We needed to catch up.

The funny part of this photo was that we realized we wanted to take it and I started pulling my camera out. I glanced around to see who was near the take the photo and before I barely had the camera out of my bag, Kris said, "Well, we have two photographers right here." I handed the camera to Cort, who was the closest, and after he got over the shock of holding a little $200 camera he graciously obliged. Professional cameras are so much more sophisticated, and make such beautiful pictures, but I'm just not motivated enough to carry all that around. Regardless, I appreciated him sharing his talent.


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