motivation, Personal Success, relationships

Faith

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When it seems hopeless, envision this:

A man in his forties, dressed in his best gray suit, sits alone at the table. His eyes are on the door. Gorgeous flowers wrapped in cellophane stand stiffly in a vase of water.  He’s anxiously waiting for her.

Does she show up?

We hope she does…

And if she doesn’t? Imagine him crestfallen. Imagine his disappointment. What would you want to say to him?

***

Next, a young teenage boy is at a fast food restaurant. He orders a #4 (cheeseburger, fries, and a drink) and a #6 (chicken nuggets, fries, and a drink). He takes them to a booth and spreads them out, neatly. He waits, nervously looking at the door every time it opens. People come and go. He checks his watch four times. Thirty minutes later, he realizes she (or he) is not coming. He throws it all in a bag and heads home, dejected.

Wouldn’t you tell him he will find that special someone someday? Wouldn’t you urge him to not give up on the good in life?

Well, we’re all rooting for you, too.

 

Personal Success

Fuego Bistro

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I don’t write restaurant critiques very often, but hubby took me out tonight for an early birthday date and Fuego Bistro was AMAZING!

We live in Mesa, AZ which is basically where fine restaurants come to die. After having lived in San Francisco (food mecca) for fifteen years, it’s been challenging to dine out in a city where McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Burger King monopolize the chow real estate. We have to drive to Scottsdale or Phoenix (or Gilbert or Chandler) for decent dining. (With the exception of Dolce Vita!)

Fuego Bistro

We ate at a table near a small waterfall on the outside patio.  Lit by strands of patio lights, it was romantic. They are a self-styled “urban Latin” establishment. I ordered their seafood kabob with the Fuego house salad and green chile cornbread sides. I also had a cabernet. ALL of it was amazing. Normally, I like cornbread, but I LOVE theirs!

Willey had the chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans. This is his favorite meal and Fuego’s twist on this common comfort food was adding a slightly spicy sauce over the chicken. He had a Malbec and gave it his rare sign of approval.

The service was incredible:  the host, our waitress, the water girl (seriously, I think she was 16?), all the other wait staff and bussers were super positive, energetic and attentive.

It’s obvious the owners fully appreciate the employees. Take a look at their message.

It goes to show you that if you acknowledge and applaud your human capital, you can achieve anything. They’ll love their work and do their best.

If you’re in the Phoenix area, you must check them out!

713 E. Palo Verde Drive

Phoenix, AZ  85014

602-277-1151

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

money, motivation, Personal Success, relationships

Something New

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If you want something different, do something different.

Now.

Don’t wait.

No excuses.

Take baby steps if you need to, but do it.

By the way, you’ll have to make a sacrifice or two.  You’ll probably be a little uncomfortable. This is why most people don’t reach their goals: They don’t want discomfort and they don’t want to give anything up.

Will you stand out?

 

relationships, Personal Success, motivation

No Such Thing as a Problem

 

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Photo by Rob Schreckhise

 

Your car gets towed, you have $21 in your checking account and your spouse left you.

Kick drama to the curb. This is life. No such thing as a problem.

Just handle it: Surrender the car to the towing facility. Or borrow money to get it out. You have minimal funds. Do you need to get a second job? Start a yard sale? Your spouse is leaving. Take care of your own finances, shelter, and food (the basics). And wish him well.

If you see each “difficulty” as a problem, then you will have a life full of problems. If you see each event as an opportunity to practice creative problem-solving (even though it’s not a problem), then you will be more creative than you ever imagined!

 

Health, relationships

 

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Photo by Hailey Kean

 

I was ten and at a slumber party. My parents rarely ever let me spend the night at a friend’s house, so I was thrilled. We had pizza and a pillow fight. As it got late, one of my friends put a large paper boat on top of her head. It looked like a Vietnamese rice paddy farmer hat – a coolie.

coolie hat

She bowed and said,”Ah so!” Everyone laughed. They thought it was funny. I got angry. I was the only Asian girl there.

Now, decades later, I know that anger is a symptom of sadness and pain. I was hurt because what she did made me feel like an outsider, I felt different from them. But did she mean to do that? No. The pain I felt is what I caused because I assumed (at first) that she was being malicious, but she wasn’t. I projected my feelings and beliefs on her.

If you are suffering (worried, angry, sad, insecure, jealous, etc.), you are causing yourself pain. You are choosing it. I know it sounds over-simplified and not entirely true, but it is. Mental illness aside, if you’re wallowing in self-pity or proud to be a road rager, you’re choosing it.

You can choose to be at peace instead.

 

 

motivation, Personal Success, relationships

Don’t Gripe – Get Going

…because what you focus on GROWS!

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Photo by Sushobhan Badhai
It’s easy to complain and not realize it. Some believe that venting is healthy. It can even become a bonding experience: sharing complaints with your co-workers can provide a false sense of camaraderie.  The problem is, it can become a habit and then become a part of your personality.

You don’t want to be that person!

Be firm and let people know your boundaries, but…

Focus, instead, on what you DO want. And get going!

 

 

Health, money, motivation, Personal Success, relationships

Purpose and Passion

Passion* =  a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something

Purpose = the aim or intention of doing something for a higher cause than oneself

According to research, which wins? Which will lead to more success and happiness?

Conducting work with strong purpose will always win over simple passion.

But of course, the ultimate work includes both passion and purpose!

 

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Photo by Rawpixel

 

 

 

*Merriam Webster dictionary definition

Source: Dan Heath, The Power of Moments

Health, motivation, Personal Success

Guilt as Motivation

 

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Photo by Atlas Green

 

I’ve noticed that I have been using guilt to motivate myself to exercise. It didn’t dawn on me until recently that this could be different.

The moment I wake up, I feel a bit of dread and (sub-consciously) give myself permission to feel good only AFTER I work out.  But can I train myself to look forward to working out?

When I spoke about this to friends and family, most responded with, “Of course, that’s the only way it can be when it comes to doing tasks what we don’t enjoy!” However, I suspect it’s not the only way…

Changing my motivation to a more positive approach would also help me with willpower in general. If I positively anticipate training, then I utilize no willpower, which is a limited source. I can then apply willpower to that piece of cake in front of me.

 

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Photo by Taylor Kiser

 

money, motivation, Personal Success, relationships

Producing

Maya says, “Don’t get discouraged!”

You gain a follower. You are so happy! And then you lose one. Or two.

You play in a tennis tournament and make several unforced errors that cost you the match. 

You stutter and stammer during the most important business meeting of the year. You’re sure you didn’t clinch this deal. 

The feeling of disappointment is hard for you to shake. 

Recently, a couple was found guilty of stealing from Amazon.com: $1.2 million! Was Jeff Bezos was up late at night, worrying about it? Was he fixated on this one event, wondering why? No. He’s got the holiday shopping season, Whole Foods and new centers to build and maintain. He’s got “people” (lawyers) to handle the problems. He stays on-task. 

This pertains to work and relationships: focus on progress (which leads to the ultimate goal). The subscriber count, the meeting and the competition are just one metric in each sphere of work. 

Keep on keeping on!

 

Health, motivation, Personal Success

1-2-3

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I was preparing to do a backbend with pushups (yes, it’s just as fun as it sounds!) when I was filled with dread and doubt. But Jillian said, “One, two, three!” and I started bending my arms slowly, until my head touched the ground and then I straightened my arms. I did 15 of those. It was grueling. I hated it. I’m glad it’s over.

There’s something about counting…counting down or counting up, it doesn’t matter. Notice when parents tell their kids to do something and they start counting: “ONE…TWO…!” The kids hup to it before “THREE!” Why? They just know they better get going. It’s a weird motivator.

I love this Ted Talk from Mel Robbins. She says the key to success in anything is to know one thing:”You’re never going to feel like it.” You’re never going to feel excited to do those backbend pushups, you’re not going to feel like jumping out of bed to get to work first (well, probably not…) and you’re not going to feel like eating salad instead of cheesecake.

But in those areas of your life that are working, you are doing the things you don’t necessarily feel like doing. You’re exercising self-discipline. Robbins’ “Five Second Rule” is to take action no longer than five seconds from the moment you have the thought, I should…

I should get out of bed now…

I should go for a run…

I should send that email asking for a favor…

I should clean the fridge…

I should go to bed now…

Try it. The rule is, you have five seconds from the time you have the thought. Or make your own countdown!

 

 

 

relationships

Those Who Help

 

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’  To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.

― Fred Rogers

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Photo by Matheus Ferrero
Health, motivation, Personal Success, poetry, relationships

You Can’t Make Me

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From Kate Rawlings

You can’t make me wake up and prepare for the day,

through threats or rewards or anything you say.

You can’t make me study for the quiz or the test,

you can’t make me pay attention and do my best.

 

 

But you can nicely inquire about the songs I like,

or invite me out to to shop, see a movie or a hike.

Because building a union based on sincerity

will lead to a life full of jocularity

 

for you as well as for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

motivation, Personal Success

To Suck or not to Suck – It Doesn’t Matter

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Photo by BaherKhairy

I volunteered tonight at my daughter’s symphony chair auditions. My task was to walk the children of the cello section from rehearsal to a small private room with a judge and back to rehearsal, one at a time. These kids’ ages ranged from 12 to 14 and there were eight of them.

They were nervous.

Six of them told me they didn’t practice enough. One of them told me he would fail.

I urged them to breathe deeply and think positively. But they weren’t having it!

Their pessimism surprised me. These kids attend rehearsal once a week, most coming from other cities 30 minutes away or more. They take private lessons.

It goes to show that two important factors necessary for confidence in performance: preparation and positivity.

Still, watching young kids work so hard to make beautiful music together warms the heart!

I love my friend’s reaction to her son when his audition was over.

He walked out of his audition, stretched his arms out and shouted, “I sucked!”

She said, “Well, let’s go out for ice cream then.”

And they did.

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Photo by Jared Sluyter

Health, motivation, Personal Success

Consider Other Options

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Photo by Amy

This week, instead of clicking in on the news or net surfing (which always leaves me feeling rather deflated),  I have done the following:

  • given myself a pedicure;
  • jogged with my daughter (twice);
  • worked on my blog;
  • taken a bubble bath;
  • meditated;
  • had brunch with a friend;
  • updated my “goals” list; and
  • started a draft of my mind map

This change made me feel energized and productive, not anxious and deflated.

I wonder…what would happen if I quit the “news/Internet surfing habit” permanently?

 

 

 

Health, poetry

Need for Speed

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Photo by Camilla Coffey

Z is for Zippy*

 

We Americans like things fast

Speed of light, full throttle, move like lightning, fast food

I move quickly by default

preferring to zip about, and get things done

but it’s in the moments when I consciously s-l-o-w d-o-w-n

that I feel the most grounded, relaxed and content

 

 

*part of my alphabiography project

Personal Success, poetry, writing

A Shot in the Arm

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Photo by Katie Remmer

Y is for Yet*

 

I love the word “yet”                                                                  It’s full of promise and optimism

I haven’t learned Python …

I haven’t published my second book…

I haven’t been to England…

I’m not very good at illustrating…

I haven’t produced a short film…

I haven’t been to Korea with my kids…

yet! And until I do, I will enjoy every delicious moment of this great journey.

 

*Part of my alphabiography series

Health, money, motivation, Personal Success

Want to be a Millionaire?

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W is for Wealth and Wisdom*

What I know through years of experience:

 

 

*Part of my alphabiography project

 

 

Health, motivation, Personal Success

Ahhh! Bliss…

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Photo by Andre Mouton

V is for Veracity*

Truth —-> Self-Awareness —> Integrity —> Self-Contentment —> Peace

Which would you prefer: to be happy or to reach xyz goal?

When I find myself starting to worry or getting wrapped up in achieving xyz…The question, Isn’t it important to be happy?  realigns my focus.  The truth is, it’s not what I do that’s important, it’s HOW I do what I do.

 

*Part of my alphabiography project

Personal Success, poetry

You Can Feel This Way All the Time

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Photo by Lawrence Walters

S is for the Sun

When I was four, I stood in the backyard

dotted with dandelions and a baby pool

I looked up – the sun radiated my face

I felt melded with everything and life was so good

 

We were “poor”, but I did not know that

Dad was already worrying about college for his three kids

Mom cried and missed her family back in Korea

But the sun was out and I felt like a flower, blossoming

 

 

 

Health, poetry, writing

Digression

 

Q is for Quiet*

If I could say anything to my students, I’d say:

“Hi, my name is Mrs. Wyatt and I like it very quiet.”

But alas, my last name is Wipff

(origin: Alsace-Lorraine) Yes, Swiss

I chose this name! I married it.

My surname is Chung but not Chinese, Korean

It is pronounced “Jung” – not “yung” like Carl (who was Swiss, by the way)

 

What’s that you say?

Oh yes, I love the Quiet

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*Part of my alphabiography series

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personal Success

Trapped No More

O is for Opal*

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Go to the animal shelter

walk up and dawn the barking galley

make eye contact with several dogs

– German Shepherds, Pitbulls (many) and a Chihuahua –

she sits quietly with those huge eyes

you can see every rib through her skin

Years later, she will prove herself

to be the most tender family member

yet the most ferocious watchdog –

Her love is vast and absolute

 

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Here is an inspiring (under 3 minute video) of someone using his talents and know-how to help disabled dogs:

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My favorite quote of his:

“…but the more I do, the more I want to enhance my knowledge and improve my skills.”

 

*Part of my alphabiography series

 

Personal Success

Do You See the Monster?

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photo by Creativebloq

N is for Negative Space*

In third grade, my art teacher instructed us to never have too much white paper in our art. “Fill the white space!” Ah, Mrs. Raims.  She was great. She gave sound art advice. If you have a small figure on a large canvas of white, it ought to be small for a reason.  It ought to be making a statement. 

Negative space, however, is not all bad.

“Negative space is, quite simply, the space that surrounds an object in a image. Just as important as that object itself, negative space helps to define the boundaries of positive space and brings balance to a composition.”

Jul 26, 2017  (Creativebloq)

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The logo on the cup is for an adult-targeted alcohol and gourmet ice cream shop! (Creativebloq)

I embrace this philosophy of negative space. In a literal, every day sense, I love having lots of negative space in my house.

It leaves room for possibility.

 

*part of my alphabiography series

poetry, writing

Bookish

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Photo from Katya Austin

M is for Moving*

 

My daughter brings books from school

Sherman Alexie and John Cheever

mesmerizing, momentous and magnificent

Indigenous American meets Chekhov of the Suburbs

stories of the malcontents,

the maniacs and the maculate

This teen is spellbound

macrocosms beyond her self now revealed

like I was, when I first split a book in two

 

*part of my alphabiography series

 

 

 

Personal Success

Show a Little Tenderness

K is for Kindness

To be kind means to be benevolent, to be compassionate and caring.

I am kinder on some days than others. When I’m not as kind as I’d like to be, it’s always because I am not being so kind to myself. Being hard on myself because I didn’t eat as healthy as I should have, or skipped my work out, or said or did something “dumb”…can lead me to show not-so-kind behavior to others.

If we were all kinder to ourselves, and we made a concerted effort to be kinder to others, this world would change.

Truly, I believe members of hate groups (such as the KKK) do not like themselves. They possess unsavory feelings about themselves and then their outlook on the world changes. They look for scapegoats to blame for their own unhappiness and fears.

Have you noticed when you’re really happy – happy with yourself and your life’s situation – the last thing you want is to be mean to others?

I wonder if you know the story behind the KIND bars. The founder (Daniel Lubetzky) is a son of a Holocaust survivor. He remembers his father telling him that while he was in the concentration camp, one German soldier threw him some potatoes, risking his own life in order to be kind.

Watch the three minute video. I love how this company says that “nice” is passive, but being kind is an ACTIVE verb!

kind bars.jpg

 

 

 

 

Health, motivation, Personal Success

Jump, Jive an’ Wail!

J is for Jillian

I have been doing Jillian Michael’s workouts for the past seven years or so.

A friend of mine introduced me to her DVDs and I’ve been hooked ever since. At 48, I am in the best shape I’ve ever been in and it just takes 30 minutes a day. (Do I sound like an infomercial or what?)

In my youth, I exercised to look good. Now, I workout to be strong.

When I feel strong physically, I am stronger mentally and spiritually.

I take care of my health for my loved ones, too. I want to be active for as long as possible and I want to model good living. Yesterday, my 15 year old daughter said, “Mom, when I’m your age, I hope I look like you.”

Body+Revolution+Logo

 

 

*Alphabiography blog series

 

 

motivation, writing

Art is in the Eye of the Beholder

I is for Illustrating

I’m teaching myself how to illustrate. There are so many resources online:

Creative Bug

Udemy.com

Craftsy.com

Lynda.com

YouTube.com

I don’t have a goal, per se. But it’d be nice if I could illustrate my own books. I just know that I am loving this process. I sit down with my pencils, art pens, watercolor, paper and coffee (or other nice beverage, wink, wink, nudge, nudge) and draw!

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My first sketch

*Alphabiography post

 

poetry, writing

Why Do Quail Run?

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Photo by Andres Sanz

H is for Heed

I used to honor the fast and brash,

the notorious and well-heeled,

the industrious zealots

who marched on downtown pavement

 

But I’ve come to recognize true virtue

in the quail’s quivering plume –

in the solitary bay of the owl at dusk –

and in the jeweled skin of a rattlesnake

 

 

 

 

 

poetry, writing

Wherever You Go

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Photo by Steve Richey

G is for Geography

Davenport, Iowa

my childhood: pizza and friends, rollerskating rinks and birthday parties, and

Tae Kwon Do

DeKalb, Illinois

my high school years, academic stress, Madonna and Prince, cornfields, detassling, Del Monte factory

Rochester, New York

holy-crap-cold, ice storms, tunnel systems, hibernation, isolation, spring, independence

San Francisco, California

Real freedom (!), real work, KKSF Radio, banking, teaching, marriage, babies, house, traffic

Mesa, Arizona

Culture shock, new home, dry heat, sweet violin music, educating, new friends, cancer, husband’s lay offs, writing, and stillness

 

 

*part of alphabiography series
poetry, writing

The Swoon

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Photo by Tim Bish

F is for Fainting

I passed out once

shortly after my first child’s birth

“extreme blood loss” is what the doctor said

“she’ll need three units of whole blood”

 

“But…what about AIDS?” My mother cried.

 

Losing conciousness is like

falling off a cliff

in very slow motion

it is painless

 

as long as your husband catches you

 

 

poetry, writing

Sweet Roll

E is for Eclairs

I ate an eclair almost every day that I was pregnant

For both pregnancies

The fog blanketed our San Francisco home

Downing hot green tea with the french pastry,

I, a lifelong member of the “Am I Doing Enough?” Club,

was finally relaxed

despite the fact that the budding life

– fueled by choux and cream –

was taxing my stretch pants

IMG_0372

 

*this blog post is part of the alphabiography project

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Dictionary.com word origin for eclair:
n.
1861, from French éclairliterally “lightning,” from Old French esclair“light, daylight, flash of light,” from esclairare “to light up, make shine”(12c.), ultimately from Latin exclarare “light up, illumine,” from ex- “out”(see ex- ) + clarus “clear” (see clear (adj.)).

 

poetry, relationships

C is for Cookie, or…

 

C is for Cooking

I have a love/hate relationship with cooking.

If it’s a lazy Saturday and I have plenty of time, I love cooking. I make a mean lasagna.

What better way to demonstrate love than to nourish people both physically and spiritually at the same time?

But after work, I’m tired. Everyone is looking at me. What’s for dinner?

I don’t know. I just want someone to rub my feet.

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motivation, poetry

High School is Short-Lived

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B is for Barbs

In high school, our mascot was “the barbs”

– that’s short for barbed wire – which was invented in DeKalb, IL.

barb = sharp, bristly, obviously unpleasant…

causing inflamation and swelling. High school was constant stress over

grades, posturing and “success,” whatever that was.

My home life was more of the same, pure misery.

I felt invisible all the time. Nobody saw who I was, they saw who they wanted to see.

(Mostly, they were disappointed by what they saw!)

But I survived. I’ve actually thrived.

And you will, too. Hang in there. High school is temporary.

barbed

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personal Success, poetry

Alphabiography

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Photo by Jaime Serrano

I recently assigned an alphabiography to my 6th grade students. For each letter of the alphabet, they had to write 4 sentences regarding a meaningful topic (could be a noun, adjective, verb) to that letter. After reading theirs, I was inspired to write my own.  My version is presenting itself in poem form:

A is for Acceptance

I am learning to accept what is

to see every “flaw, mistake, tragedy” as beautiful

I’m getting better at not asking “why?”

And replacing it with “why not?”

 

 

*My Alphabiography project

 

 

 

Health, motivation, Personal Success

Choosing Accountability is Empowering

 

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Photo by Jack Kaminski

 

“The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change; until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.”

R.D. Laing