The Unique Blogger Award

I appreciate anyone and everyone who takes time to read my work and am especially honored when someone takes time to recognize it.  Thank you Aranab for nominating me for the Unique Blogger Award.

Here’s just a bit about Aranab before I get into answering questions. He has created a positive space where he shares daily gratitude, plans to make self-improvements and quotes of the day. With the world so full of negative situations, I find his posts to be a refreshing reminder that there is always something to be grateful for and always something to improve. If you are looking for a quick shot of positivity, his page is a great one to visit.

Aranab had 3 questions for those he nominated:

What are you working on right now?

Writing more consistently, improving presentation and leadership skills. Balancing hobbies (painting, writing and public speaking practice) with work and family needs.  Additionally, I’m learning to water color in hopes of creating better visuals for my blog and creating meaningful gifts for friends and family.

What’s your end goal with blogging?

I started my blog with hopes that it would help me create more consistently. I’ve always loved stories and I’ve always dreamed of writing books of my own stories.  As I’ve started my blog, I also became more active in a public speaking/leadership club (Toastmasters).  It’s odd but the two activities work well together. I often find myself writing about something I’ve presented, or more often, presenting something I’ve written about. As I get better with both, I have dreams of being a published author, a paid motivational/inspirational speaker and one day a successful life coach.

What is the best advice you’ve have ever received?

 No matter how insignificant you think your experiences are, your story can inspire, teach, encourage, motivate, uplift someone who really needs it. . . you only need to share it.

If it helps just one person, isn’t it all worth it?


 unique blogger award

Here are my nominations for the Unique Blogger Award:

A Glimpse of Darkness

Writer’s Writers Blog

Nicole at Boon Blog

Your Finances

Reginald Garland

My Stories with Music

A Simlish Life

New Moon Plan

Sun & Moon at Eclipse Stories

Unbolt Me

Soul on Rice

Implugged

The Palace

Maritz Nicole

Questions for my nominees are:

  1. What makes you proud?
  2. When was the last time you a good laugh–you know, one of those that come from deep in the belly and makes your sides hurt? Could you share the moment with us?
  3. What one thing have you not done that you REALLY want to do?

Rules 

  • Share the link to the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you.
  • Answer the questions.
  • In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 15 people and notify them.
  • Ask them three questions.

 

 

Keep Language Simple to Reach a Larger Audience


I’m a member of a club that helps develop public speaking and leadership skills. A very small, but fun, part of the meeting is the “Word of the Day” that we are challenged to use during the meeting.

While it’s fun to learn new, complex words and figure out ways to use them in the meeting, I recently admitted to a fellow club member that I rarely use the words again.

I just don’t believe in using many complex, or, as I sometimes call them “highfalutin,” words in my speech or writing.

Great speech and writing, to me, is about conveying a message or story in the simplest way possible that also helps the largest number of people understand and remember it.

Why say effusive when you can say unrestrained gratitude, or heartfelt gratitude?

Why say impetus when you can say force, driving force, inspiration or motivation?

Why say ingeminate when you can say repeat?

Have you ever felt the need to reach for a dictionary while listening to someone speak or when reading their work? Many of us have been there.

When this happens I often wonder if the person really thought about their audience. Who are they trying to reach? Were they focused on sounding smart or on getting the message out to the most people? Even if they speak or write this way on a regular basis, did they attempt to tailor their language to their audience? Did they they consider that their message might get lost in their language?

Consider these points when preparing your next message:

Language can become a distraction.

Reaching for the dictionary once or twice can be fun and educational, but no one wants to look up words every other minute. If the audience has to do that, then the language has become a distraction. The audience is lost in a dictionary not the message. Worse, a portion of the audience won’t even feel like looking it up and will just tune out completely.

Using simple and familiar language helps reach more people.

People prefer to take in information quickly. Readers, especially online readers, appreciate language that is familiar and easy to follow.

Everyone in life is in various stages of education. Do you want people to get your message now, or wait until they are more educated?

Consider that some people are instantly turned off by big/complex words that aren’t normally used in general communication. They assume that the person is trying too hard to appear more educated. They might even believe they are being talked down to.

Simple language does not limit success.

Think about some of the most successful, bestselling authors, speakers, song writers. Think about blog posts you enjoy reading. You’ll find that most of them keep it simple in terms of words. Yet they skillfully use words to drive action and create vivid imagery in their work. The skill is not in using higher level words, but it is in spinning the story and creating a world while using language is familiar to us all.

Here is my favorite example of a successful writer using simple words and sentence structure to create a funny and vivid image:

“Eula-Beulah was prone to farts – the kind that are both loud and smelly. Sometimes when she was so afflicted, she would throw me on the couch, drop her wool-skirted butt on my face, and let loose. “Pow!” she’d cry in high glee. It was like being buried in marsh gas fireworks. I remember the dark, the sense that I was suffocating, and I remember laughing. Because, while what was happening was sort of horrible, it was also sort of funny. In many ways, Eula-Beulah prepared me for literary criticism. After having a two-hundred-pound babysitter fart on your face and yell Pow! The Village Voice holds few terrors.” — From Stephen King’s On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft.

What are your thoughts on word choice in speeches and in writing?

When IS it appropriate to use those more complex words or sentences?

What examples do you have?

Feel free to share in the comments. I look forward to your point of view.

 

 

A Funny Moment with Dry Shampoo

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My blog is about sharing the educational, inspirational and funny moments of life. I enjoy sharing the funny moments most, and while I’ve already shared this story on Facebook, Snap chat, and at work, I feel like I’m leaving my readers out, and I must share.

Before I get started lets talk about what dry shampoo is. It is an aid, or as I call it, a blessing for anyone who has naturally oily hair. It is a powdery substance that absorbs oil in your hair, that adds life and volume back to your hair, without having to actually shampoo it.

I get this question a lot!  It seems that over shampooing is the absolute wrong thing to do because the more we wash the oil out, the more oil our bodies produce to replace the oil that we are stripping out of our hair. Contrary to what we want, our body needs our hair to have some oil and over washing just kicks our oil production into overdrive. A catch 22.

Recently, I discovered, that to slow down the body’s oil production, I needed to wash my hair less. Instead of washing my hair once a day, sometimes twice a day, I needed to wash it every other day and I learned that people use dry shampoo to help keep the hair dry, full of body, and looking fresh between washes.

Last year, I didn’t even know dry shampoo existed. Since then, I’ve had time to test many over the counter brands and decide on my favorite: Batiste. Not only do they have a spray that does not leave your hair looking dusty, they have tinted shampoos too.

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Last Monday, I used my Batiste with a hint of colour: Divine Dark. I’ve used it many times, and I love that it also helps camouflage some of the grays sprouting on my head.

Last Monday, though, we had pizza day at work. Our company provides lunch to all of the employees from time to time.  This day we just finished serving up 100 pizzas, and I went out to take the empty boxes to the dumpster. As I emptied boxes from my SUV, the sky went from gray, but dry, to pouring in just a few minutes. I got soaked through and through.

I did what I could to dry off, went to my desk and tried to get back to work, when an employee walked up. img_7075-1

It took me a minute to figure out what she was talking about, but it seems that my dry shampoo doesn’t do well with rain. I was sitting there looking like a melting hot fudge sundae.

I ran to the bathroom to dry my face, neck and hair. Women were talking to me in there, and I tried to look as normal as possible as I rubbed paper towels in my hair.  I was holding conversation mean while every swath of paper coming away from my hair is coated with  dark brown tint all over it. Yeah . . this is perfectly normal. Nothing to see here.

This experience has given me something to laugh about all week. I will continue using dry shampoo, but the experience gives me incentive to check the weather and make sure I prepare accordingly.

I still suggest dry shampoo to anyone battling the oily hair issue. Just be careful with the tinted stuff.

 

6 Steps to Encourage Goals and Dreams

A father and his 8 yr old son were in the yard throwing a football around.

“I’m gonna be in the NFL one day!” said the boy.

“You can’t even catch the ball, son,” said the dad.

“I’m gonna learn, and then I’ll play NFL,” the boy shot back.

“Son, NFL players start learning when they are 4 or 5, and they practice hours a day,” said his dad. “It’s too late.”

After a few minutes, the little boy put the football down and found something else to do.


 More than a year has passed since I witnessed this conversation, but recently I read a page in a leadership book (I’ll share the book in just a bit) that made me think of this boy and his dad again. See, this man is a leader, whether he knows it or not. His son is looking to him for guidance and for help in achieving his dreams—but for how long?

After experiencing conversations like the one witnessed, if this happens often, how long will the boy continue to take his goals and dreams to his dad. How long before he starts keeping it to himself, finds someone different to confide in, or, worse, stops dreaming of what he can achieve?

Now, before we come down too hard on the dad, let’s think about how many times we’ve experienced something similar. I’m sure almost everyone can think of a time that we were passionate about reaching a lofty goal, shared it, only to have someone tell you all the reasons why the goal or dream is silly, unworthy, or not achievable.

If we honestly reflect, we can probably think of a few times we, ourselves, have been the discourager to someone else. Maybe not intentionally, but we’ve done it. Let’s call this Dream Busting. People rarely continue to share dreams and goals with Dream Busters because can really drain passion and motivation of a person.

The best leaders uplift and empower others, and, if you think about it, we are all leaders. Everyone has someone looking to up them, whether they know it or not, as an example, for guidance, advice, or for inspiration. It could be a son, daughter, niece, nephew, brother, sister, friend, neighbor, employee or coworker. Our words and actions affect them, and to them we are either Dream Boosters or Dream Busters.

In his book “The Maxwell Daily Reader” and in  “25 Ways to Win with People,”  John C Maxwell says one of the greatest gift we can give is helping people turn their dreams into reality. It doesn’t take a grand gesture, Maxwell provides simple 6 steps to encourage and help others with their dreams:

  1. Ask the person to share with you. Everyone has a dream but few people are asked about it.
  2. Affirm the dream as well as the person. Let the person know that you not only value his or her dream, but that you recognize the traits in that individual that can help him or her achieve it.
  3. Ask about the challenges they must overcome to reach their dream. Few people ask others about their dreams; even fewer try to find out what kinds of hurdles the person is up against to pursue them.
  4. Offer your assistance. No one achieves a worthwhile dream alone. You’ll be amazed by how people light up when you offer to help them achieve their dream.
  5. Revisit the dream with them on a consistent basis. If you really want to help others with their dreams, don’t make it a one- time activity you mark off your list. Check in with them to see how they’re doing and lend assistance.
  6. Determine be a Dream Booster, not a Dream Buster. Everyone has a dream, and everyone needs encouragement. Set your mental radar to pick up on other’s dreams and help them along.

Excerpt & Steps from: Maxwell, John C., The Maxwell Daily Reader: 365 days of insight to develop the leader within you and influence those around you, June 26, p. 164.

If you are determined to work on becoming a better leader, or determined to build better relationships with the people that matter in your life the Daily Reader is an excellent book to pick up. It gives a skill or idea to focus on each day that will help in these areas of life.

If you aren’t interested in the book, at least determine to be a Dream Booster. Try these steps out,  and let me know what you think. I have determined to try them and so far it’s helping my relationships.

 

Dog Walking: Why I Stopped Using a Bicycle

Lucky dog walk

Every dog lover knows that dogs like and NEED walks.  Dogs like exploring, and they NEED to expend energy.

Pent up energy is what causes nervous habits for dogs, like chewing shoes, walls, door frames, excessive barking, etc.

While I know Lucky, my hundred pound Lab/bulldog mix, enjoyed and needed the walks, there were days that I just didn’t feel like I had the time or energy for a 30 min to hour long walk.

So, I decided on a quick fix. Use the bicycle to walk the dog. Continue reading