Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Meaningful Experiences

I had a lovely “Walk About” with a colleague. Despite the sounds of traffic over the phone, we were able to have a conversation about meaningful experiences. I asked him to think of a time when he had done something that made him feel really good about himself. He recounted the trips he had taken overseas years ago to entertain the troops in Viet Nam, Thailand, and other countries. As a ventriloquist, he was able to create and entertain which brought him great joy.

Think of a time when you did something that made you feel really good. Something you would love to do whether you got paid for it or not. Remember where you were, what talents you used, and who if anyone you were with. We can’t go back and recapture previous experiences, but we can determine what made them meaningful and create the essence of the experience in something new.

50 minutes walking

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Power of Beauty

"Our world is filled with breathtaking structures of incredible beauty, but mostly, our eyes are closed to them. I suppose it's like the old saying, the fish can't see the water it is in. Today, you will be surrounded by gorgeous, stunning, exquisite, magnificent structures. If you begin to look, your eyes will become open to an aspect of the world most people miss seeing. Something wonderful can happen as this universe within the world opens to you." Robert Fritz

It was time for a walk, so we bundled up and went out. I said I would walk everyday, so I will. I walk the same path several times a week, and occasionally very my destination. It's easy to see the same neighborhood, park, benches, and trees without marveling at their wonders. But then I look again and see a tree that is a brighter shade of red, sunlight sparkling on the grass, or clouds passing over. A smiling face or a dog barking as he enjoys a frolic in the park. Everyday is different even if it is the same. A new adventure is waiting to see what you bring to your day.

45 minutes walking

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Cans, bags and bottles discarded on the sidewalk or the side of the road. How can people be so thoughtless that they can just leave trash for others to pick up? There always seem to be a few people who let their dogs loose, drop papers, and fail to pick up after their pets. They expect someone else to take care of their responsibilities. I don’t understand how a person can walk past a trash can and then dump their trash on the ground.

Our neighborhood is blessed to have a couple who pick up the trash others have left behind. It’s unfortunate that people need to take on the job of picking up after others, but I’m very glad to have them.

45 minutes

Saturday, November 27, 2010


What a surprise to see a bright orange pepper growing in the garden. All types of peppers need sunshine and warm weather. They thrive in the summer months. After having rain, frosty mornings and cold afternoons this week I expected to see the peppers wilted and barren, but orange, green, and yellow peppers survived. 

As I took a nice cold walk today, I wondered what it takes to be resilient and survive adverse conditions. I listened to a TED video  of Zainab Salbi on "Women, wartime and the dream of peace." What was it that allowed these women and children to survive crises, abuse, and war? There were mothers who put on puppet shows as missiles sailed across their homes so the children would be less afraid. Teachers kept schools open in war areas so children would have a future.

What keeps us going when we are out of our element, being challenged, or asked to be heroes? Maybe it's like the heat of a pepper that clears the sinuses in small doses, but causes discomfort, blisters, and scarring when used in excess. As Ms. Salbi describes so well, it is important to bring in the flavor and influence of women and children young and old as well as the politics of  domination. We who have so much can make the world a better place for those who are surviving extreme challenges.

20 minutes walking

Friday, November 26, 2010


 Nature always tends to act in the simplest way. Bernoulli 

I find ways to complicate things
to find another way
to do it different
and see what has been done.

I look things up
and find what someone else says
no research is good enough
without further study.

I end up with a jumbled mess 
of facts and information
Now to find a simpler way
To write it in a book.

40 minutes walking


Thursday, November 25, 2010


Frost on the grass and the temperature is 43 degrees. Warm compared to some parts of the country, but chilly for our neck of the woods. What started out as a cold morning got warmer as I stepped up my pace and got my oxygen and circulation flowing.

I’m thankful that I can get out and walk on Thanksgiving Day before gathering for a nice meal with family. Say a prayer for those who must be away from their families over the holidays.

Count your blessings and have a great day with family and friends.

30 minutes walking

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fuzzy Warm

Black leather gloves, a fuzzy warm scarf, a jacket, and warm shoes. I’m protected from the weather and ready for a nice walk on a cold day. Storms may pass through my life, but I have the support of family, friends, and colleagues. I have a network of people I can call for warmth and support. I am thankful for having warmth from the outside in.

Being out on a freezing cold day without a sweater and gloves is similar to managing your life without support. There are so many people in the world who have had their family systems shattered. My prayers go out to them that they will find warmth and peace this holiday season.

25 minutes walking

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I’m thankful for the warmth of my home with candles burning, familiar pictures of my family and the sea, and a warm cup of tea. After a chilly walk on a late fall day, I am thankful for warmth.

Not everyone is blessed with a place to call home this holiday season. We find ways to give a can of soup or turkey dinner which is much appreciated I’m sure, but hope comes to people who are valued for their talents, challenges, and needs and have an opportunity to work and support themselves.

20 minutes walking

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Week of Thanksgiving

This is a great week to say thanks. Being thankful, saying thanks, and smiling all reduce stress, increase optimism, and improve health.

I’m thankful for
The warm pot of coffee
Brewing in the morning

I’m thankful for
The walk around the corner
Greeted by smiles

I’m thankful for
Family near and far
Gathering and sharing blessings

25 minutes walking

Sunday, November 21, 2010


It was a beautiful day today. Yesterday’s rains left blue skies and clouds in shades of white and gray. Yet, I didn’t want to take a walk. I could have come up with many excuses, but I made a commitment. I set a goal to walk and blog everyday whether I wanted to or not. My daily discipline of writing is helping me build the skills I need to meet my daily, yearly, and five-year goals.

I want to master the ability to write a book. It is slow going and frustrating, but if it were easy everyone would be doing it. In his book, Drive: The surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel H. Pink says that the best predictor of success is something called “grit”—the persistence or passion for meeting long-term goals.

I set a goal to write 2 books and publish 5 in the next year. This seems optimistic since I have yet to finish one of the 3 books I have been working on. The purpose of a goal is to stretch. It’s like doing exercises. If you never stretch your muscles and reach higher than you think you can, you will never build any strength. Julius Irving, the fifth-highest scorer in professional basketball history said:

“Being professional is doing the things you love to do on the days you don’t feel like doing them.”

I set a goal to write a book and blog because I finally had the freedom to do what I really wanted to do. Then I found out that I don’t always love to do what I wanted to do. So I’m stretching and reaching to see how far I can go.

50 minutes walking

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Carpet of Color

A carpet of color made especially for me as if elves in the night had been decorating my path.  Walking in the rain, I saw leaves stuck to the sidewalk turning shades of pink, yellow, and orange. Cold, rain, and colors made for an exhilarating walk.

The purpose of this blog is to find joy in every day and every season. Today the weather service said it would be rainy with possible storms. A rainy day clears the air, a storm leaves a mess in its path, and a tsunami brings disaster and loss. Enjoy the rain and storms, clean up when life gets a little messy, and you will build the resilience you need to endure the tsunamis of life.

30 minutes walking 

Friday, November 19, 2010


A small paddle-wheeler was scraping algae from the surface of the pond. Under a blanket of clouds and a heavy jacket the navigator swept the surface of the water. It looked like fun to tool around the little lake in a boat on a cool morning.  Then I noticed the boat full of algae banked on the edge of the water. Removing the algae and disposing of it didn’t look like fun. So I just went on imagining I had a job driving a paddle boat around the lake on a cold fall morning.

60 minutes walking

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Full Moon

I love to walk in the evening. The only problem is that evening doesn't last long enough. I cherish every minute of it. The pink sunset glows in the west while the round moon shines faintly above. It is the time between day and night. The magical hour that the sunset shifts to an earlier time during the winter and then procrastinates on the warm summer nights. Evening is not a set time or temperature, it is that illusive interval for relaxing meditation.

20 minutes walking

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


The scent of cinnamon apples filled the house all day. Apples from Apple Hill were baking in the crock pot. The smell of cinnamon was warm, relaxing, and welcoming. Noticing the pleasantness of the cinnamon scent, I thought about how good cinnamon makes me feel. Recent Research by Dr. P. Zoladz found that just smelling cinnamon improved memory and thinking. Must be why I felt very productive today. I even went for a second walk.

In her book, Healing Spaces, Dr. Sternberg says that sounds and smells from nature and fond memories are very healing. The results of studies on pleasant smells may lead to hospitals piping pleasant smells into the ventilation systems in hospitals. Outdoor scenes and pleasant smells had a positive healing affect on patients. I can just bake with cinnamon, notice all of the wonderful fall smells, and find healing in my own home and neighborhood.

90 minutes walking

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Rustling, winding, swaying on the branches,
A symphony of leaves singing in the breeze.
The music played as I moved on,
Waited too late and missed the finale.
Had I known what awaited me,
I would have quickened my pace.

30 minutes walking

Monday, November 15, 2010

What Are You Saying?

What are you saying about yourself on the internet? I used to hide away my journals, poems, and notes. Some of us even put password protection on our personal thoughts. Now we write, blog, journal and discuss our breakfast choices as we transmit our messages all over the web.

It’s a nice idea to do a search on your name and business to check what is out there about you. Sometimes blogs or comments you made years ago will show up through Google Maps or some other search engine.

Know what your online impression is saying about you. Research yourself and your business online.

This kind of transparency can be very effective in showing us loud and clear where are activities and values are. It also lets everyone else know.

It pays to be tactful, honest and ethical in our communication online in and person. In the show “The Human Face” researchers showed that people are more likely to be courteous when they see someone face-to-face than they are in a car or online. There is something about seeing someone’s face, body language, and reactions that make us more polite.

As an employer, consultant or job seeker, do you check prospective employees or businesses on social networking sites? I check professionals that I may want to work or collaborate with. I want to see how they write and what their writing style is. I check to see if a site is all marketing or if I can get a glimpse of their product and expertise.

The Human Face


20 minutes walking

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Handful of Grass

We see it everyday in parks and front yards. In fact, I don't notice the grass very often unless it is immaculate or brown. It's just normal grass. But when a 7-month old baby touches the grass like it is gold it suddenly seems a bit magical. Chubby little fingers grasping a few blades and looking at them with fascination. It's amazing to see something that I take for granted everyday become a source of interest and amusement. Grab a little green & enjoy the simple pleasures.

50 minutes walking

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Eating in Season

Zucchini, basil, lemon balm, garlic chive, red & green peppers plucked straight from the garden mixed with brown rice, cabbage, onion, garlic and carrot mixed with cream of chicken soup and soy sauce made a delicious dinner rice dish.

Wow! I couldn’t believe I ate all of those vegetables. They were colorful and delicious. I used to just eat green beans, now I am aware of the vegetables that are in season. As much as I can, I like to eat locally grown vegetables from our backyard garden or the farmer’s market. They are fresher, healthier, and less travel creates less impact on the environment. Eating in fresh vegetables in season also means eating a variety of vegetables.

I supplement the fresh fruit and vegetables with frozen blueberries and avocados which are my favorite. But fresh produce in season provides the more vitamins and flavor.

30 minutes walking

Friday, November 12, 2010

Work That Needs Doing

A counselor, a teacher, a personal career coach... My list of possible careers was much longer. When I went to graduate school and studied career theories, I thought about my natural strengths, experiences, and interests and imagined all of the things I would like to do. The opportunities for an idealistic graduate student seemed limitless.

After graduating my life quickly changed, the economy sank, and my career options seemed to shrink. After years thinking about what I really wanted to do, where I wanted to work, and who I would like to work with, I found that the opportunities were not as I had expected. Instead of working at a university, I started a career center at a nonprofit. I worked with people in crisis, transition, and recovery. After months of helping people find training and employment opportunities, I found that my heart went out to people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. Everyone has unique challenges, and everyone has a story.

I recently decided to start a publishing business to help people tell their stories, share information, and promote their businesses. The work I am doing did not show up on any of my "personality type" or "interest inventories". I am not even necessarily in the "flow" while I am working on these projects. It's work! But it's work that needs to be done. I have developed a positive attitude over the years toward the work I need to do. I am sometimes even in the "zone" for part of the work. But my purpose for work is not just to satisfy myself, but as Sunny Hansen says in her Integrative Life Planning Theory to ask myself, “How will what I do in my life contribute to community?” How will it affect my family and make the world a better place to live?

As I watch the birds and geese busily working on feeding, grooming, and cleaning the water, I don't see them contemplating about what they most want to do that day. (Although that could be what they are chattering about.) I think they are looking for work that needs to be done. In all of our efforts to find the "stuff" we love to have, and the work we want to do, it's worth considering the "work that needs doing."

40 minutes walking

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

The park is familiar. I pass the same houses often and say hello to the neighbors. After a nice long walk, I came home and fixed a lovely breakfast of apple-cinnamon pancakes and eggs for the family. The dining room is filled with pictures that remind me of trips to the beach, family visits, the zoo, and Apple Hill.

On Veteran's Day we remember the sacrifices the military families are making.  Sacrifices the families have made since the first person went off to fight in a war. Families are separated. The familiar sight, smells, and hugs are missing for sometimes long periods of time. The comforts of home and family are gone. Today we are thankful to the military families and individuals for all they are doing for their country.

45 minutes walking

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I was so happy to get my new Earth Exer-walk shoes from Zappos. My shoes are the most important part of my wardrobe. A good pair of shoes puts a bounce in my step and propels me along. Zappos.com claims they are "powered by service." It is possible for a business to make a profit and put the customer first. With free shipping both ways I was able to keep two pair of shoes and send one back with no shipping cost. Whether the shoes work or not, they just want the customer to be happy. That's my plug for Zappos. I want to run my business in the same way. Making the customer happier than they were when they started working with me.

I walked in the wind as the leaves were cascading from the trees. The branches were blowing and the leaves were flying everywhere. I felt like I could just let go and fly.

Structure and discipline keep me productive, but sometimes I just want to blow with the wind and see where it takes me.
30 minutes walking

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Time Change

This is the third day since we changed the clocks. The days seem longer and I feel like it is later than it is. I somehow feel like I’ve gained an hour. My internal clock is trying to catch up with changing of clocks.

Despite the seemingly longer day, I didn’t reach my goals for writing. I wrote and lost what I wrote, I loaded pictures on my computer and they are a mess. It was just one of those days. I felt discouraged. Then I realized that if I had something to say, I needed to just say it again. Nothing is lost. Just as the birds migrate and come back, the leaves fall and grow back, and my thoughts come back in a slightly different form if I let them. Instead of trying to capture what is past, I moved forward, and I was quite pleased with the result.

20 minutes walking

Monday, November 8, 2010

Winter Sun

I stood at the edge of the park and smelled the musty damp grass basking in the sunshine. The wet leaves stuck to the sidewalk from yesterday’s rain, and everything smelled fresh and crisp. The warm sun on my back was soothing and relaxing. I drank in the sounds of birds, the cool breeze, and the bright green grass. I love the warm sun on a cold day. I call it “winter sun” because the warmth is unexpected and such a contrast to the cold shade. I stopped and captured the sounds, smells, and sights.

Tonight I can visualize my picture of the park. Not everyone can walk in the park everyday, but most of us can capture a picture, sound, or feeling. I have a colleague who had to cancel his “Walk About” last week because he was feeling dizzy. You may not be able to go out for a walk everyday, but you can usually find some “winter sun,” a splash of rain, or the sounds of the outdoors. It’s easy to stretch, walk around, and step outside when you can. Bring a little of nature indoors with pictures, misters, and pleasant sounds.

20 minutes walking

A Pleasantly Rainy Day

It is lovely to have a pleasantly rainy day when you are prepared for it. I had my raincoat, umbrella, and a good pair of shoes for the rain. The dogs loved getting out, and my husband and I had a nice conversation. Getting out in a nice fall rain is like having a mini crisis in your life. You can feel grumpy, agitated, or just plain annoyed. If the feelings build, then a big storm will come up and make a big mess. That's how I used to feel when I walked in the rain without an umbrella or warm shoes--wet and soggy. I was unprepared for the rain that comes every year. We know that misunderstandings happen. It's as if we communicate in different languages at times. The pressure can easily build up without realizing it. If you are prepared with a little protective gear, then every situation isn't personal or disruptive.

Expressing your feelings in a positive way, walking, getting outdoors, and learning good communication skills helps prepare you for the normal storms that come up. Just don't let your feelings build up to the level of a full blown tornado. Taking time to build relationships with your kids, your partner, friends, and colleagues will create a strong foundation for weathering the winter storms.

30 minutes walking

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sand Hill Crane Festival

Today on our walk we talked about the Lodi Sand Hill Crane Festival. There will be artists, speakers, and a bus tour to Stanton Island for the Sand Hill Crane fly over. Bruce will be the Volunteer Naturalist representative from the Cosumnes River Preserve. The festival runs from November 5-7.

40 minutes walking

Friday, November 5, 2010

Apple Hill

Gold, red, bronze and brown leaves flying in every direction. It was a perfect fall day at Apple Hill. A family day in the beautiful California hills with sunshine and a 7-month old’s first trip on a kid’s train, bare toes in the green grass, pumpkins, hugs, and lots of smiles.

Walking through the apple ranches we were met with the smell of fresh apples, the aroma of cinnamon apple pies baking in the ovens, and rich pine trees. The air was fresh and clean. Then coming down the hill we could see the haze hovering over the city. Back home, walking through the neighborhood, I could only reminisce about the cool clear mountain air.

30 minutes walking

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sparks of Light

Bright spots of light
in the shadows.
Sparkling grass,
long shadows, and
random sunbeams.

Walking through the park, I thought about how my ideas seem like bright sparks of thought that shine through the dark. Then a shadow passes over me and the thought is gone. I try to capture the light, write the idea and organize my thoughts before they disappear into the shadows.

30 minutes walking

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Everyday is new and different when I walk outdoors. Each day is a new story in the evolving seasons. Next week it will start getting dark earlier in the day. Birds will migrate, the air will get cooler (I'm hoping.) The days and nights reinvent themselves.

As I work in my office at my computer, it's easy to feel like things are staying the same. There is a certain sense of peace that comes with knowing what to expect, but I also begin to put myself in a box expecting the same thing of myself everyday.

It's great to know what my strengths are and build on them, but it is also exciting to challenge myself in new ways. When one door closes, find another door. I can reinvent myself through the stories I tell about myself and the directions I choose to walk.

I'm excited about the upcoming Reinvention Summit: The World's First Virtual Conference on the Future of Storytelling, Nov 11-22, 2010. "We are gathering a new tribe of storytellers: change-makers, marketers, entrepreneurs, and creatives..." I'm not sure what it is all about, but it sounds interesting. I found Michael Margolis' podcast on storytelling inspiring while taking a walk. I'm always looking for a new story.

Join Nancy J. Miller, LifeworkCoach, for a Walk About U! Tell your story in a new and unique way.

30 minutes walking

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Opportunities in the Air

It is the first day of November and a beautiful day for a walk. The windless blue skies are giving us a break in the weather before winter sinks in it’s cold damp teeth. With the holidays approaching this month and next, job seekers often say it’s a bad time to look for a job. Some employers are willing to wait until the new year to begin hiring, while others are busier than ever this time of year.

Shopping, cooking, eating out, and movies are popular in November and December. If you think about all of the different work that goes into entertainment, you will find where the employment is. People often put off elective surgery, glasses, dental work and other necessary but non-urgent needs.

You want to think like an entrepreneur if you want to find a job or business opportunity in uncertain times. As an entrepreneur, think about the products or services that would be popular this time of year. If your field of expertise is in an area other than the thriving businesses, then think about what you would do if you were the employer. If you had work that needed to be done and didn’t want to go through a permanent hiring process right now, you might think about hiring someone temporary. The right temporary person could turn out to be an easy hire in January.

If you own your own business, think about what people need or want during the winter months. Is there something you could add to your portfolio to meet an off season need? There are always opportunities for those of us who have an entrepreneurial spirit.

20 minutes walking
112 days

Monday, November 1, 2010

Entrepreneurial Spirit

November is National Career Development Month. With winter coming, and longer evening hours, it’s the perfect time to think about your career planning and job search skills. Quintessential Careers published their Job Action Day 2010 articles with a wealth of information for job seekers and entrepreneurs. Catch the buzz from the Quintzine “Create Opportunity: Job Action Day 2010!”

Don’t miss my Job Action Day article, “Creating Opportunity Through Your Entrepreneurial Spirit.

“An entrepreneurial mindset will give you the adaptability and resilience to thrive in a changing workplace. As an entrepreneur, you need to:
  • know why you are working,
  • research Models of Work, and
  • understand your choices.”

Take charge of your career whether you are currently working, own a business, or you are conducting a job search. Be sure to get outside and walk to maintain health and vitality for whatever work you are doing.

20 minutes walking
110 days