Carla’s Cues II

06/07/15 *Carla’s Cue #20  Life’s Short…Make It Memorable


So I’ve been in my mom’s boxes and treasure chests, digging for pictures the last few days.  My 20 year high school reunion is coming up, and I realized I just didn’t have nearly as many photos as I thought I did.  I have some fuzzy memories, but pictures are a funny kind of thing.

They help you summon up scenes and scenarios that may have fizzled out in that aging brain.  I must say, I was incentivized.  With the advent of social media, my savvy friends have been posting pics from the hey-day and I’ve watched all of the emotions bubble up with excitement as people pour over the I-remember-whens, and that-was-so-crazies that go along with wonderful reminiscing.  And I’ve joined in the fun.

As I was looking for my own though, I came across some even deeper throwbacks.  Pictures like this of my mom, my uncle, my grandmother, and great-grandfather and great-uncle.  Sadly, only one of the people in this picture is alive now.  And I miss them…

In hindsight, I considered, as my peers have pointed out, we’ve lost quite a few classmates who are no longer alive, too.  The thing is, had they been here, they would have been in their 30s like us.  #gonetoosoon? When I think about the ones I lost who mean the most to me?  It just hurts…and I wish many days I could just see them, hug them, or talk to them again…

I got the thinking.  1) I need to take more pictures.  Not just for me, but my husband, my kids, with my friends and my family – and for the family that will be here long after I can only be seen in a picture.  But more importantly, we need to treasure the moments we have here and really make them count.  There is a possibility that we could be here today and gone tomorrow.  Let’s live life to the fullest and make it memorable.  #lifestooshort, #lovetheoneswholoveyouthemost, #lovethemotheronestoo, #pursueyourpassion, #catchyourdreams, #bethe1

Picture:  Three of the people I love the most, and three people I wish I could have met.


05/31/15 *Carla’s Cue #19  Seize Opportunities to Enjoy the Unexpected

Michael'l Computer 390

I’ve often been guilty of sticking so closely to a schedule that I’ve gotten frazzled when life goes off the itinerary.  Such was the case a few years ago when I was traveling from Virginia and had a layover in Atlanta in excess of two hours.  I was so irritated!  It wasn’t on my plan.  It was incongruent with my schedule.  Life was obviously over.  Right?  Wrong.  So I went to my first comfort – food (smile).  I found a nice restaurant and had enough time to enjoy my meal.  And then I remembered one of my best friends had told me about an African art exhibit that she’d come across inside of the airport.  I thought – well, why not look for it.

I found myself at the forefront of one of the most masterful collections I’d ever seen.  I was so engrossed by its beauty and sheer magnificence that I forgot I was at an airport.  I was suddenly delighted that I had been delayed.  And a little ashamed of the antics that I’d allowed in my head because I realized it wasn’t that earth-shattering.  There are many times in life when we’re thrown a few unexpected curves.  There are so many ways to handle it.  We can accept it and move on/work with it or pout and have a tantrum.   Let’s keep things in perspective, especially when it may seem on the surface to be a negative.  Let’s not forget about that silver lining.  Try to find the good even in the frustrating.  Sometimes, we really can enjoy the unexpected.  Life’s too short to have a permanent grudge.  #bethe1, #pursueyourpassion, #catchyourdreams

Picture:  One of numerous beautiful pieces from the African art exhibit displayed in an airport in Georgia.


05/24/15 *Carla’s Cue #18  Delve into Different

Chinese Challenge

While I was teaching recently and showing my students how to use a graphic organizer, I happened to mention how a restaurant (Benihana’s) was related to the concept of things that were Japanese.  One of my students said, “Mrs. Brown, why are you talking to us about places we’ve never been?”  Now as it so happens, there were students who had visited, but I remember thinking that this young man had not had as many opportunities to experience different parts of culture, even in the city around him.

My mother told me that despite her family’s financial challenges, her parents always tried to expose them to many different things.  As a young woman, I hope to do the same.  But today was a monumental day for me.  While I’ve been thrilled about my 8 and 2 yr. old being immersed in Spanish and Chinese, I felt disappointed that my 10 yr. old did not meet the age requirement to attend the same school.  So I hired a Chinese tutor – and today was his first lesson.  I was afraid he’d be apprehensive because I knew it would be challenging.  Instead, he embraced it with enthusiasm and followed through with fervor.  Now his little brother is “tutoring” him.  When I got home, the picture above was attached to a link in my e-mail inbox to help him practice.

All of it is foreign to me, but I’m happy about the possibilities that this will provide for all of my boys.  In the meantime, I’m brushing up on my Spanish so we can become fluent together.  So often, we shy away from things that are “foreign” to us.  We can get so comfortable in our own culture, that we don’t want to go outside of the lines.  I say experimenting can be well worth the exploration.  If it won’t compromise your values, don’t run away from things that are different, run to them.  You can broaden your horizons – and opportunities – in ways you never imagined.

#pursueyourpassion, #chaseyourdreams, #bethe1, #delveintodifferent, #nihao (I believe that means “Hello” in Chinese 🙂

05/17/15 *Carla’s Cue #17  Deepen Your Knowledge


Rarely do I see verbiage about a tantalizing item and resist the urge to read more.  While it wasn’t the focus of my visit to the Recipe for Success room with my class this day, I couldn’t help but zoom in on this board, filled with words I knew – and words I didn’t.  I had an immediate reference point for Greek salad, and summoned a host of pleasant memories from my favorite Greek restaurant, Niko Niko’s.  Nevertheless, I was underinformed about Ya sas, frommage, pith, and mise en place.  This left me – intrigued.  I wanted to know what was the class (for which the information was intended) going to learn about Greece.  I wanted to be there and broaden my knowledge about all things Greek!

There are so many things in life that interest us when they cross our paths.  We raise our eyebrows, glance in curiosity, but seldom delve beyond the surface – content with the, “Well, it was nice for the moment.”  Why not deepen our knowledge though?  Especially if it is a precursor to the pursuit of a passion!  Every field has its expert.  Why not join the ranks?  If you’re in love with language, learn everything there is to know about them.  The culture, the food, the places, the people.  Maybe you’re enamored with healthy skin; gluten free cuisine; crafting; snorkeling, or whatever makes your heart sing.  Whatever it is that fuels you beyond measure, explore it to the extent that you could effortlessly share your expertise with people who could put it to great use.  It will be simply satisfying.  #pursueyourpassions, #catchyourdreams, #bethe1, #deepenyourknowledge

05/10/15 *Carla’s Cue #16  Soak up Some Sun


While I consider myself far from a photographer, my recent love affair with blogging leaves me equally smitten with the subtleties I see in picture perfect moments.  I now relish the art of the amateur snapshot.  I If you know me, you know I’m mesmerized by all-things-nature.  I was in one of my favorite havens (the garden), and I couldn’t help but notice the sun drenched petals on this unassuming flower.  If I didn’t know any better, I’d say it was thirsty for rays – and in demonstrating its thirst, was subsequently satisfied with a healthy dose of shine.

I’d like to soak up some rays.  Not just the kind that soothe my skin, but the ones infused with positivity.  Rays of affirming realities that come in the form of encouraging friends; compassionate loved ones; thoughtful memes, and spiritual sustenance.  I spoke with a friend tonight whose voice I hadn’t heard in over 20 years (seems to be a lot of that going on for me lately).  He was most delightful.  After our conversation about an exciting project I’m working on, I was reminded how wonderfully stimulating it can be to engage with those who share your beliefs, convictions, enthusiasm, and passions.

Guys, the world around us is so heavily laden with bitterness, anguish, and dissension…let’s work a little harder at finding the rays.  They’re right under your nose if you just stop and look.  Soak up some sun.  Your body, spirit, and soul will thank you for it.  I smell sunshine…

#pursueyourpassion, #catchyourdreams, #bethe1, #soakupsomesun

05/03/15 *Carla’s Cue #15  Reach for the Stars beyond Your Reach


Are you one of the real boys and girls who actually laid down on the grass or ground outside as a kid and looked up intently at the stars?  Admiring them?  Trying to point out the constellations you reviewed at school?  I remember gazing into the night, mesmerized by the twinkling and sparkling, noting the slight differences in coloration.  I recall contemplating how far they actually were and wondering what it’d be like to be closer…and it reminded me of my grown-up goals.  I soon stopped my childish wishing to visit the stars because I thought it was most unlikely that I’d ever become an astronaut.  But I transferred my silly thinking to which goals I’d shoot for as an adult and was promptly corrected by a thoughtful listener.

“Why are you short-changing yourself on what you can shoot for?” he questioned.  “If you shoot for the sky, you’ll shoot too low.  Shoot for the stars.  You just might get them.”  That gave me pause.  I decided, I was wrong – and he was right.  So I’m shooting a lot higher than I used to.  I admit.  There are many days I feel so out of my league.  On many others I say, “What was I thinking?  I must be crazy.  Will this work?  Can I do this?  Will it come out right?”  Truthfully, I don’t know.  Maybe it won’t…but what if it does?  What if it does…(sigh).  So here’s your tip:  Don’t refrain from relishing the luminescence of the stars because you’re convinced you won’t fly in space.  It might be time to build a rocket.  Assume you’ll be frequenting the upper-echelons soon.  Pursue your passion, and prepare for the journey.

#pursueyourpassion, #catchyourdreams, #bethe1, #thestarsawait

Picture:  The view up above – when you’re not afraid to reach the unreachable.

04/26/15 *Carla’s Cue #14  Remember, Relay, Reinvent

Living Legend

I couldn’t help but notice the familiar face on the patio at a table not far from me during a recent meeting at my favorite place, Lucille’s.  I happened to have my oldest son, Michael with me at the time who turned around, noticing my gaze and said, “Who is that?”  I chuckled at his innocent lack of knowledge, and then let him google the icon.  When he figured out it was Carl Lewis and just how famous he was, he was amazed.  As I did a quick review myself, I was taken aback at how much I’d forgotten about how great his achievements were, particularly his still standing unbroken records.  It was a pleasure to introduce my son, who’s most familiar with contemporary champions, to a classic competitor whose caliber was equally laudable.  Then I realized my own teachable moment.

Sometimes we celebrate history in such restricted ways that we summon the high points at specific times only.  Not just “famous” history, but even our own noteworthy accomplishments from the past.  The problem is, we can forget the finer details that are also instrumental in providing encouragement, insight, and fodder for our current dreams and future goals.  What we remember should be relayed – to ourselves (journaling and positive self-talk), to others (the ones who love us most; the clients who keep us relevant), and to our community (because we don’t ever want to forget).   Then, we can reinvent – not the wheel, but the will…to reform our perspective with such acuity that the upgrade is unforgettable.  Let the race begin (smile).  #pursueyourpassion, #catchyourdreams, #bethe1, #itstimetopullahead

Picture:  An unforgettable Olympian educates my son and shows him old-school awesomeness isn’t outdated.

04/19/15 *Carla’s Cue #13  Treasure Your Natural Resources

Natural Resources

Are you one of the many people unofficially diagnosed with the “I-Know-You-Could-Help-But-I-Really-Need-to-Do-This-(or Most-of-This) Myself” Syndrome?  I must confess.  I’m recovering, but have been doing well after several bouts with this horrible disorder.  If so, let me share a few critical observations.  He or She who must do it all may soon suffer from exhaustion, avoidable colds, low resistance, weakened immunity systems, angst and anxiety, loss of sacred time, please-don’t-talk-to-me-today moments, and a wee bit of “God, how did I get myself into this mess” situations.

Part of the problem is that you may not be treasuring your natural resources.  Not water, air, and land – those resources around you – people in your immediate circle who are gifted in helping you with support.  A dear friend of mind reminded me of this last week while I was racking my brain about a project I’d been contemplating.  I was telling him what I didn’t have and what I couldn’t do, and he reminded me of who I knew that would be willing and able to help.  “Carla, you need to use your resources,” he insisted.  “People don’t mind pouring into you when you pour into them.”  How soon we forget.

Don’t be such a perfectionist or such a control-monger that you can’t let your guard down enough to let people help you who don’t mind.  There’s a beauty in relinquishing control to capable hands other than your own.  It’s called peace of mind.  I’ve been trying it…and (sigh) it feels great. (Thank You, #teamcarla).  Now go thank those people that have been trying to ease your load – and let them know you’re ready!

By the way, this will help you #pursueyourpassion, #catchyourdreams, #bethe1

Picture:  The difference between the still waters of your sole efforts and the ripple effect of letting others help.

04/12/15 *Carla’s Cue #12  Fall in Love (Again) with the Ones Who Love You Most


I’ll first begin by saying that the ones who love you span a broad group of people I’m sure.  Parents, siblings, family, spouses, significant others, children, friends.  Whoever your loved ones are, don’t forget how meaningful they are.  We say we don’t/won’t, but truthfully – it’s so easy to take them for granted, especially when you see them (or maybe don’t) everyday.  Remember that age-old saying, “You never miss the water ’till the well runs dry”?  Well, it’s still accurate.  If you’re not sure, find yourself (or one of those loved ones) on a hospital bed staring at a ceiling and you may think a little differently.  Since I was in one of those beds last Wednesday, it’s still quite fresh in my mind.  I was tremendously touched by a post I read tonight that essentially said, “I took a $1.50 pay cut so that I could have a 9a-5p job, but now I can have dinners with my daughter every night – and that’s worth it.”

What a breath of fresh air.  I’ve decided that I’m going to fall in love with my husband and children all over again…  Even though we’ve been married 14 years, even though every now and then, I want to stamp my children Return-to-Sender (Yeah, I said it!); even though I’m not always terribly interested in everything my siblings or friends want to gush about – I love them all…unconditionally, and I want to love them all over again.  #catchthis:  What we value in life is not nearly as special if we don’t have someone to share it with who values us.  Anybody can listen…it’s who’s listening that matters.  They may not turn cartwheels for every moment we think is indelible, but at the end of the day – they love us for who we are, flaws and all.  Let’s make sure we love them back with twice the effort.  It’s important.

Picture:  The most recent love of my life, just when I thought I was too old to start all over again!  “Isaiah the Invincible 2 yr. old” – #prayforme

Miller Outdoor Theatre

04/05/15 *Carla’s Cue #11 Find Yourself Some Simple Pleasures for Pennies (or Less)!

So, not everyone has the luxury of hopping on the next plane to Belize to soothe their soul, but you don’t have to!  There are plenty of other ways to enjoy yourself that don’t require you to break the bank.  For those of you with children, going to a special event with your loved ones could be a great way to make indelible memories.  If you’ve ever interacted with toddlers you know that watching a furry caterpillar at the park could be scintillating enough.  The Miller Outdoor Theatre could be a great escape with spectacular events at no cost to you or visiting museums on free entry days.  Or you could opt never to leave the house.

Try baking sweet treats – all by yourself or by sharing with others.  A box of decadent brownies is less than five bucks.  Despite the wave of technology, board games can still bring hours of fun.  Another one of my favorites – coloring!  I know it sounds primary, but coloring can be very calming, even for adults.  I know quite a few men that can get into a good coloring book.  Try it before you knock it!  There’s also candlelit baths, home foot spas, gardening, and working with your hands.  You might even try planting some beans in a cup. May sound silly, but watching life happen is amazing all by itself.  Whether you try my pleasures or your own – do something that makes you wildly happy!  You’ll be glad you did.  #pursueyourpassion, #catchyourdreams, #betheone

Picture:  The Miller Outdoor Theatre


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