Friday, April 30

What Surrounds You?

Do you ever go through your day feeling like this man? Wading through a sea of mental and emotional filth, trying to pick out little fragments of faded hope to sustain you?

I'll be honest and say that I do. I look at the children neglected and abused by parents too addicted or warped or crass to care. I look at the families broken by shallow, selfish choices and the world that affirms those choices as alternative lifestyles, pursuit of happiness or "irronconcible differences". I watch good people who've never been taught any better get caught up in the drama and bad choices that will devastate them in the future.

It's easy to get depressed and frustrated when this is all you see. Easy to look at the wide world with all its evils and wonder how anyone can make an impact on such a train wreck.

In Sunday school as children we learn Phillipians 4:8:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Growing up, I always thought that was a strange instruction. Ignoring bad things doesn't make them go away, after all. Walking around with my head in the clouds doesn't improve anyone's situation - or does it?

The last few years have taught me principle that is so simple it should perhaps have sunk into my spirit long ago: from the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. If there is nothing good in my heart, I will have no life, hope, wisdom or joy to speak into the darkness that I walk through or to those lost in it. Choosing to focus my heart on good things does not mean that I don't see the garbage around me, only that I do not dwell on it. When I choose to seek higher things, and surround myself with positive, uplifting people and ideas I will have more to give. I can make an impact on the sea of garbage that is the modern world - one kind word or little act of compassion at a time.

If this is something you've already mastered, keep modeling it for those of us still working it out! If it's a new idea for you, I encourage you to check out Jumping Tandem's The Oath. It will be a good place to start.

(Or attend a Mary Kay event - there's nothing like spending time in a mutual appreciation society to jump start your positive outlook on life! I know... shameless promotion... but MK been such a tremendous blessing to me that I can't not share - you can skip this paragraph if you're not an MK fan; I'll understand.)

Whatever you choose to do, try listening to the words that come out of your mouth today and asking yourself if they promote life and joy in yourself and others.

If this excersize depresses you as it used to depress me, go to the library and pick up the most positive cd, dvd or audio book you can find (or for the techies, download it to your iPod) and plug into something good. Feed your spirit some beautiful things. Keep doing it until you get something good out. Then do it again tomorrow, and the next day and the next day! Life is shorter than we think - don't waste your chance to live beautifully by wallowing in the dark.

Monday, April 26


There are some insane things running around out there in the marketplace... the top of list today is this:

I either have to rant about this or just say that while knee-mounts are fantastic for pilot charts, maps and checklists it is LUDICROUS to have one for an iPhone! Seriously?!

On a more positive note, there are some fantasticly adorable things running around the market too. Like in-flight headsets for your furry flight engineer:

Really cannot wait to buy Arthas one of these!! Okay... done now...

Sunday, April 25

Romeo Alpha Revisited

Hello, everyone! It has been a while since my last post, but Jamie does a wonderful job with this blog, and it allows me to be antisocial.

Yesterday, I took Jamie up in 552RA again, this time flying north. Cloud coverage was reported as "Broken at 20,000 feet," so I figured it was going to be a wonderfully clear day. Plus, I needed to make ammends from that nightmare in the Piper Arrow. We flew out of Rochester westward, and I did a couple steep turns, followed by playing around with the controls, taking advantage of that third dimension for some fun. Maybe I had too much fun with my 20 degree dives and climbs, because the local radar service inquired what my current altitude was, since their reading from my transponder was apparently fluctuating. We then flew over Hamlin beach, then cruised eastward along the shoreline to Irondequoit Bay. Lake Ontario was so blue, and Charlotte Pier was speckled with countless little boats also enjoying the bright, warm, sunny Spring day; you know, the kind of day that really never happens in Rochester. It was the smoothest flight I ever had, and that is saying something, because the Cessna 150, along with its slightly bigger engined counterpart, the 152, are known for being very susceptible to turbulence, due to their light weight, large wings, and completely inherent desire to fly. The only spot of turbulence lasted 2 seconds while I was flying over the smoke stacks at the U of R on final approach. I really love that about the C-150. That tiny little airplane wants to fly so much, and you can all but tell the plane is smiling while it trucks along at a modest 105 mph. That was a fun flight, and my beautiful passenger, who never cared for roller coasters or anything of the sort, was rock solid, and not the least bit queasy.


Now for part two of this posting. Two weeks ago, I took Jamie with me to flight school to ride in my first flight as Pilot in a Piper Arrow, which has 200 hp, retractable gear, and a solid frame structure second only to a Mooney. What I first noticed was the inhibited ground reference ability of the low wing aircraft. Oh well, I'm learning to fly solely by radio and GPS, so this is a non-issue. Pipers are ALLEGEDLY known for being a smoother, faster flight in comparison to a Cessna, but that 10 mph wind threw that four passenger airplane all over the place. I had the worst time trying to get that airplane centered on the runway when I was practicing landing. Flare back for a Main Gear landing, and you can't see a blessed thing on the ground for reference. And that was the worst part. Granted, it was my first flight in a Piper, but that gear is junk. Out of four landings, I only had one good one that was nice and smooth . . . until touchdown. Then it was "THUD THUD THUD!" What an awful sound when I'm used to just hearing the tires lightly chirp as they make contact with the earth. These low-wing aircraft are reportedly easier in crosswind landings, but I didn't see it. To make matters worse, my poor Wife got so sick that day, and I wasn't enjoying myself much at all . . . mostly because I was trying to impress my Flight Instructor, but got zero affirmation on that flight. This is what they call a more tasteful and enjoyable airplane? Not only does the Pilot have to get in first, there is no cabin space increase aside a comparable Cessna. I don't think they're easier to get in and out of at all. Seriously, one door? I know it makes for a stronger airframe, but NASCAR racers have more points of egress than a Piper. The only thing I did enjoy in that 2 hour period of stuffy cabin and miserable landing sound effects was the speed. We were cutting through the air at 160 mph! That Piper, with all that horsepower, sleek fuselage design, and short, stall-prone wings, sure does make for a fast mover, though an equally powered Cessna, like a 177 Cardinal RG, boasts the same numbers. So in conclusion, I will take the wider, more stable, more visual, better postured, and slightly slower Cessna over the NOT "smoother in turbulence" Piper. I know it was just one bad experience, and a rotten apple shouldn't spoil the bushel, but my introduction was far from impressive.

Tuesday, April 20

Good Marketing

Sent to me by my aunt... so funny!

"A little old lady from Wisconsin had worked in and around her family dairy farms since she was old enough to walk, with hours of hard work and little compensation. W hen canned Carnation Milk became available in grocery stores in approximately the 1940's, she read an advertisement offering $5,000 for the best slogan. The producers wanted a rhyme beginning With 'Carnation Milk is best of all.' She thought to herself, I know all about milk and dairy farms. I can do this! She sent in her entry, and several weeks later, a black limo pulled up in front of her house. A man got out and said, 'Carnation LOVED your entry so much, We are here to award you $2,000 even though we will not be able to use it!'

Antique Books

It's probably a good thing right now that I don't have a house. If I did, I'd be collecting antique books, and that would be an expensive hobby! Yesterday, Mom and I had a Girls Day Out. We went to a wonderful store in Cooperstown: Rick Worden's Antiques. Mom says walking around the lower level there is like being in her mother's basement - her aunt had those dishes, that china cabinet is just the same as her mother's, her sister had that toy... she's a bit depressed to find all those things labeled antiques now, but it opens great doors for me to learn things I didn't know about my relatives.

The upper level of said store is the part I had a hard time with. So many beautiful books! In the days before paperbacks, it seems every book was beautifully bound with leather or board and the insides lovingly lined with floral paper. Edification and instruction abounded, eloquent words looping and swirling along the pages, each one inviting the reader further along in his journey. Tucked in among the words are lithographs and richly tinted prints of idyllic scenes to tug on the reader's heart strings. Such treasures!

But dear God are they expensive!!

Here-in lies the mystery. Take two of the ones at the top of my list: Mrs. Beaton's and Happy Homes and the Hearts that Make Them. I can't show them to you because I can't find good links for them at the moment - don't look at the amazon ones because they're revised reprints (read: no longer anything like the orginals and therefore worthless). Now both of these books were huge sellers in their day. (Seriously, every married woman of middle class or above got a copy of Mrs. Beaton's and a Bible at her wedding, since it was commonly assumed there was nothing could possibly need to know to be a successful wife, mother and citizen that wasn't covered in one of the two.) Yet it is nearly impossible to find either of these books in their original or early printings anywhere. What copies there are tend to be madly expensive, which begs the question:

Where did they all go??

What did we, as a nation, do with hundreds of thousands of copies of these books? They're not being treasured heirlooms, because no one's ever heard of them. They're not clogging used bookstores anywhere, since I'm in those all the time and have yet to lay my hands on one. Were the collected and burned en masse by liberal feminists of the sixities and seventies? Were they buried with their owners, too precious to part with?

Whatever the answer, it makes me want to be a little more purposeful with the things in my life. I get into cleaning fits where I'm ready to toss everything out - maybe I need to think first about the next generation in my life will look for in another 20 or 30 years and ask "where did it all go?"

Friday, April 16


Sometimes it's nice to know we all struggle with the same things on a daily basis.

Thursday, April 15

The Simple Woman's Daybook

I stole this phrase from the wonderful Marybeth Whalen, because I love when her posts are framed that way. I feel it fits the mood and day of a multifaceted woman.

Outside my window... sunshine! The flowers are being painfully slow to bloom, but the sunshine and green grass goes a long way towards lifting my spirits.

Around the web... I found this hysterical video. (Thanks to Beau for posting it first.)

On my desk... pretty glass hurricanes and three shades of ribbon that I am going to put together today in feminine displays, tag with my business card, and place around town to attract more Mary Kay business.

In my head... big plans. I'm learning the truth of the statement "When you think small, you're only thinking of yourself. When you think big, you're thinking of others!"

I am going... to the warehouse with Grant today.

I am hoping... the weather is better than they expect it to be this weekend. Don't they realize Eric has a flying lesson Saturday?!

I am looking forward to... going antiquing with Mom on Monday. We're long overdue for a girls' day out!

I am wearing... one of my new shirts to the studio tonight. I love getting Express tops for $1.50 at Goodwill.

I can't wait... to see Eric again on Friday. :0)

Wednesday, April 14


I know that the blogging world can be a slippery slope. Innocent poking about for inspiration and good ideas can quickly lead to deep indulgences in food porn, house porn and feelings of inadequacy or discontent.

That's why I am so grateful when I find balanced sites where the poster is not afraid to take pictures of their home or kitchen as is - dirty dishes in the sink behind their prize cake and muddy puppy feet on the featured white slipcovers. Ditto for the devotionals in which real women admit the times they've failed (or learned the hard way) to be a good friend, daughter, wife and mother.

So today, I share with you my favored sites. The ones that bless me and let me revel in encouragement and beautiful things without sliding down the slick slope discussed above.

The Inspired Room:
Proverbs 31:
The Nester:


Tuesday, April 13


Someone asked for a brief version of my infamous anti-soy rant... Since I sent it to them, I thought I would post it here as well. (Can we tell that if I wasn't a Barbie doll for a living I'd be a dietician?)


1. Soy is naturally indigestible by humans.
Unless soy has been properly fermented for an extended period of time, it contains nothing of use for our bodies. If we eat it anyway, our body will strip itself of nutrients we already possess in an attempt to process it; we will then excrete both the soy and those nutrients and end up with a negative nutrient balance – not what we’re looking for when we eat! (Incidentally, no one in the world is currently properly fermenting soy, regardless of what the labels say.) This includes ALL forms of soy – soy protein, soy isolates, etc. Although a label may claim the soy ingredients add nutrients or protein to a food item, the fact that those things show up a certain level in a lab test does not translate into those same things being available to our bodies. Example: the label says six grams of protein, but if four of them come from soy and are indigestible, only 2 grams of protein are available to me when I eat that product. Producers, of course, are not required to make that distinction. In addition, I will lose nutrients attempting to digest those other four grams of soy protein, thus ending up worse off than if I’d just skipped the whole thing altogether.

2. Soy contains phyto-estrogens.
These are the plant version of estrogen, the female hormone. Eating or drinking soy is the equivalent of taking estrogen pills! Obviously, dosing your body with hormone pills is not a healthy idea. It causes serious hormone and chemical imbalances which lead to a wide variety of physical, emotional and mental illnesses. (Reference material available for all of this if you think I’m exaggerating.) Again, regardless of what the label says this is inherently true of ALL soy products. (The ramifications here are staggering, but since there’s no short version we’ll just stick with this.)

3. Soy’s popularity as a “wonder drug” is the direct result of an intensive, expensive and targeted marketing campaign.
Twenty years ago, no one ate soy except for a handful of oriental/asian cultures – and even they used much smaller amounts that we are led to believe. When food producers were looking for cheap “filler” to artificially inflate the protein content numbers in food they discovered soy protein. Extracting only what they needed left tons and tons of unusable soy waste that they then had to pay to get rid of. Resenting that cost, they hired top shelf marketing companies to create an artificial demand for soy that would allow them to recycle that useless scrap into other products they could brand as healthy and sell for profit. Hence, the modern positioning of soy as a “health food”, despite extensive proof to the contrary. If we all realized that we were being lied to because companies want us to buy the dregs of their production process so they can save money, wouldn’t that alone be insult enough to make us stop?

4. Most soy products require large amounts of sugar, artificial sweeteners and chemicals to make them palatable.
Stuffing your body full of sugars and chemicals is never a good idea. Period.

5. Soy is completely unnecessary.
Soy is often touted by pseudo-nutrition groups campaigning against other foods for one reason or another. Almost every food on the market has a healthy, natural alternative other than soy. For example, people who claim to need soy due to dairy allergies typically consume highly processed, hormone-filled commercial milk. In most cases, raw organic milk will not produce any allergic reaction in those same individuals. Ditto for goats’ milk or rice milk. Vegetarians who want soy’s supposed protein content can, with a little research and awareness, supply their bodies’ entire protein needs from other all natural sources – raw seeds/nuts, beans, etc. Soy’s primary appeal is that it allows for a lot of imitation and convenience foods; it is thoroughly proven that cheap and fast foods are never going to provide the kind of real nutrition our bodies need to stay well.

That’s the end of my rant, though I have an entire reading list of suggestions for anyone who questions my facts or wants more information. There’s also for the internet – inclined. :0)

Monday, April 12

Crazy Makers

This book review is easy, short and sweet: read this book! Written in easy to understand language by an honest nutrition counselor, wife and mother, it will explain how the modern food supply is killing us from conception through adulthood by poisoning our bodies and literally destroying our brains. Did you know that autism, ADHD, schizophrenia, bulimia and a dozen other things considered the purview of the medical industry and pharmacology are actually driven by poor nutrition and largely preventable/treatable through diet? I've read a lot about food and some of this stuff still blew my mind. Check it out!

Also due here is an honorable mention for Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. I haven't read it, and disagree on some aspects with their go-totally-vegan perspective (watch for my anti-soy rant to hit these pages in the near future), but kudos to them for making an impact on the next generation! Girls I couldn't make a dent with despite everything I'd read are responding to this book, so my congrats to them!


I have to start this post by saying that I am honored that both JD Mann and Melanie Chitwood commented on my last post! What a totally unexpected and marvelous suprise! :0)

While we're on the subject of comments, I am giving my comment of the year award to "Nathan K" for his comment on the RisingUp online pilot's forum. Although I'm a pilot's wife, rather than a pilot myself, and new to the world of aviation, I have decided to jump into the age-old debate that causes (I am told) blood feuds in the flying world: Ruler of the sky = Pipers or Cessnas?

After flying in one of the the monsters pictured here - a Piper Arrow - for the first time this weekend, my mind is solidly made up - sign me up on the the Cessna side!!

In all the times my wonderful husband has taken me flying, I have never been airsick! Okay, I might have been green around the gills a couple times, but that's all. So last weekend, when Eric invited me to come along for his flying lesson, I was excited! I wasn't even concerned when the flight instructor forewarned me that we were going to stall the aircraft - I've never been afraid in any vehicle directed by Eric's sure hands.

I don't know what's wrong with that plane, but I was so horrifically airsick! It was awful. And, in case you're doubting, it's not me - it's definitely the plane! When Eric tried to take it up the next day (minus me), the radios shorted out! It's just possessed. *scowls*

That being the case, my newly created Comment of the Year Award goes to Nathan K. for his astute assessment of the many reasons why Cessnas are better than Pipers:

Nathen K
Are you people mad, how possibley can low wing be better, you get no view below which is more important, you have to walk over your wing to get out, if you slip you damage the plane, yourself, and look like a pleb. plus you don't need any fuel pump on a high wing, you can inspect the aileron bolts while standing, and on cessnas there is electric flaps not a handbrake style thing and TWO doors!!! Mister Cessna had a clue what he was doing, Mister piper had an epileptic fit with a glue gun in hand.

Now you know... and those of you who were 80's children with me are already aware that "knowing is half the battle!" :0)

Tuesday, April 6

Book Reviews

If it seems like there's suddenly a lot of book reviews on this blog, it's because I've hit one of those book gluts. As author Marybeth Whalen says, "[authors/readers] go through spells with [their] reading-- dry spells where [they] have nothing to read... and [they] get quite sulky about it too... or deluge seasons where [they] don't have time to read everything [they] want to read."

When you're in a dry spell, you ask everyone you can find what they're reading - or what they've finished reading and can lend you! In a deluge, you share what you're reading because it speaks to you and you can't help but want to tell everyone else about it!

So I'll try to keep it brief. The Go-Giver is the prequel to the previous mentioned Go-Givers Sell More. I am pleased to announce it is every bit as wonderful as it's sequel and I highly recommend it. It may change how you look at life.

Also up for review today was Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi. This one I honestly didn't finish, but started reading and then enjoyed an excellent discussion on at Barnes & Noble's Moving Beyond Racism Book Group last night. It was a complex book; stylisticly it could be described as an elitist version of Kabul Beauty School. I appreciated that the author purposely made her characters composites of several people rather than identifiable references to the individuals involved; I believe in such situations that basic courtesy cannot be over- applauded. Although there were some excellent themes and threads throughout the work that I would like to explore further (e.g. how human beings respond to/cope with extreme repression), I didn't feel that this was necessarily the best avenue for pursuing them. I much preferred Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Infidel, as it observed a much broader spectrum of the width and depth of human interaction in circumstances similar to those in RLIT rather than focusing in detail on one form of response as did the latter. Still, it was a well written book and certainly a good option for anyone looking for a change of pace, a unique perspective or a window into other world views.

Five Five Two Romeo Alpha

Meet N552RA - or "Five Five Two Romeo Alpha" as she's introduced over the air. I had the priviledge of a private flight in this beautiful little plane with a very hot pilot through the sunny skies of our flawless Easter morning. I wish I could tell you that I took photos of the Genessee River as it wound along below us, ribboning its way among the golden patchwork quilt of fields and trees. Or that I had neatly snapped some pictures of Letchworth's deep gorges and the incredibly perspective we got of the trestle bridge as we circled above it. Alas, I cannot. Between sweet memories of previous flights with my beloved pilot and the distracting knot my stomach twisted into (I'm a little out of practice with my cessna riding), I failed to take a single picture. I guess you'll just have to take my word for the fact that it was literally a perfect day for flying, and a delightful trip.

I will save the various rants that come up when I think about planes (how the FAA is equivalent to the FDA in relevance and usefulness, how much safer we would all be if people put a fraction of the effort into maintaining their cars that pilots put into their planes, why we never learned anything useful in school (did you know there's a civilian air patrol?) for another day and instead tell you about what we did after we flew. When 552RA was safely tucked back in the hangar, Eric and I headed to the shores of Seneca Lake to have Easter brunch at one of our favorite pieces of heaven on earth.

Again, distracted = no camera. Borrowing official pics istead... sorry...

Wagner Winery's restaurant, the Ginny Lee, had a festive Easter brunch and were kind enough to let us sit outside on their sunny deck. The pungent smell of grapes on a sweet spring breeze is like music for the soul. Delicate and fragile, but able to permeate to one's core. Where better to reflect on the amazing richness of God's love and the power of His hands, than taking in his creations from a new perspective and embracing the sights and scents of spring at their lushest. This was a new way to celebrate Easter for us and, I hope, the beginning of new traditions.

Thursday, April 1


In my experience, good books are referred to us by friends... the best books are usually found by accident. Take Go-Givers Sell More for example. I was at the library to pick up something else, and this jumped off the shelf at me. "Go-Give" is a Mary Kay phrase and of course once I'd seen it I had to find out how other people were using it.

This book spoke deeply to my heart about where I am in all aspects of life right now. It outlines the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success and then makes them real and applicable to life.

The Law of Value
Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.
The Law of Compensation

Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.
The Law of Influence
Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people's interests first.
The Law of Authenticity
The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.
The Law of Receptivity
The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.

I won't say any more here except that regardless of what you do and where you are in life, you owe it to yourself to read this book. It will bless you.