Saturday, May 30, 2015

Week In Review - Ten Things Of Thankful (102)

Ten Things of Thankful

... and before I knew it, the week was over. We've been so busy most of the week, I'm actually glad that for tomorrow, we have planned a big, whooping NOTHING. I'm looking forward to an afternoon nap with Mr. Calvin, a good, long breakfast, cappuccino, and cuddling with the girls.  And maybe, just maybe, if I feel like it, a walk or a trip to the playground!

My Ten Thankfuls for this week:

1. Slowly emerging from the hole. It may not be visible on the blog, as yet again, I was only writing the TToT post, but I've been feeling better, more energetic; I'Ve been able to keep up with my ongoing chores, even though I haven't gotten to catch up with the chores held on the back-burner yet. It will happen!

2. School breaks; while attendance in kindergarten is still voluntary, Lily's attendance in school is mandatory and parents actually get into troubles if they do not send their kids to school (it's considered neglect). So I enjoy Lily being on break from school for some week-day trips that we couldn't have done otherwise.

3. A wonderful day spent with my friend and the entire family at the wildlife park at her town. The weather was beautiful, so we enjoyed a picnic and strolled the park for 4 hours, stopped at the playground that will make every adult jealous, watched, fed, and petted animals. Even Calvin had a blast, petting goats and ponies. He sure isn't afraid of anything, and Violet was brave enough to feed the animals, even though she was very scared in the beginning.

4. Violet being the sweet, caring girl she is, sharing her animal fodder with a little boy who was crying because a deer had just stolen the bag of grain from him. Those deer are definitely some greedy beasts  :-)

5. A fun afternoon at the Erlangen fair with the kiddos and a colleague of mine. Calvin got to go on his first ferris wheel ride, and that on the largest mobile ferris wheel in all Europe. I sure was queasy!!

6. A great dinner date in with our friends. The food was delicious, the kids played well as usual, and we adults got to relax while keeping an eye on Calvin.

7. Lily being such a book worm. She's hard to stop; only 2 days after getting a book with almost 300 pages, she's read it. I sure didn't feel bad skipping the parents' info night on "how to raise a book worm" at Lily's school  :-)

8. A sunny barbecue with our former neighbors and friends, and the much-needed rain that started just as we wrapped up the food outside.

9. Baking with Lily.. Or actually watching Lily bake all by herself; she wouldn't let have a part in it that time..

10. Wonderful friends, who pushed us into the 21st century by gifting one of their flat-screen TVs to us. So far, I could not bring myself to just throw out our old-school TV as long as it still worked fine; now, we're going to donate our old TV to a refugee center and enjoy a wall-mounted flat screen.We're not so thankful for the reason of this gift, since our friends are leaving the country to move to England, but we're thankful that they got this contract, and that from fall on, we're going to have a place to visit in England  :-)

What are you thankful for this week?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Week In Review - Ten Things Of Thankful (101)

Ten Things of Thankful

Some may have probably noticed, I've not writing much lately. I've not been feeling well those past weeks, I've been tired, exhausted, and mostly brain-dead. I know that a full night sleep is going to happen again.. Sometime in the future, within the next year or so..  And my brain will return eventually. In the meantime, please bear with me...

 This week's ten thankfuls:

1. Enough functioning brain left to be thankful and remember the things I've been thankful for during the last week!

2. My best friend, who gracefully ignored that I absolutely forgot her birthday earlier this month, and with whom I spend a fun afternoon today.

3. Loudly singing songs in the car with the girls.

4. This!

5. Kind people who signed up to sponsor Lily in her charity race.  And Lily for signing up to participate at the race  :-)

6. Dark chocolate with raspberry and blackberry crisps.

7. My emerging green thumb. The strawberries are carrying fruits, the tomato plant is blooming, and my orchid is growing 5!!!! blossoms!

8. Getting to watch my my sweet baby boy sleep peacefully in my arm. Seeing him frown, move his little mouth in his dreams, smile, and relax his little face as he slipped back into deep sleep. Wonderful, wonderful moments!

9. Watching Violet grow so much in confidence. She feels so confident in the water during swim class and has now learned to ride her bike, mostly practiced by herself. She's so proud pedalling along the street  :-)

10. Asparagus season continuing  :-)

I hope you all had a wonderful week. What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Order Of Seven - Blog Tour For Beth Teliho

Once again I am honored to be part of a blog tour, this time for the wonderful Beth Teliho, a tree-hugger, living with her husband and two sons in Texas, where she hopes to one day own her very own tree house. She loves everything abnormal, paranormal, and otherwise fantastical, and thus writes about it.

As some of you may know, I'm generally a very nosy curious person; thus, I am happy that Beth agreed to answer some questions for me:

Q: You describe yourself as a free spirit. How easy is it to be a free-spirited Texan?
A: I think it’s very easy! There are lots of tree-hugging free spirits in Texas. Some cities in Texas might be morefree-spirited than others – and we’re definitely a far cry from say Portland – but there are plenty of environmentally conscious, vegetarian/vegan, free spirited, crunchy granolas in the Lone Star State.

Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
A: I would love to live overseas somewhere just for a year or two. Maybe an island in Greece.

Q: Would you describe yourself as a city or a country girl?
A: A little of both. I love nature and wide open spaces…. but I also appreciate having a grocery store nearby, or an awesome Mexican restaurant. I could never live out in the country, like OUT, and I don’t like to live in downtown urban areas. I guess I’m a suburban gal who loves the mountains and the ocean when she can get there.

Q: What animal in Texas wildlife creeps you out most?

Q: What inspires you to write?
A: People and places. I love to travel, or even to hear about other people’s travel. I get so inspired by unique places. And people watching is the best for writing inspiration.

Q: Given the current controversy surrounding E.L. James' writer's guide: would you rather be a successful writer or a good writer?
A: Success is subjective and never linear, but good writing is good writing – it doesn’t go away and it’s pretty black and white. So Good….I’d always choose good.

Q: Does the number 7 have a special meaning to you?
A: It does now! Haha Seriously though, it is my favorite number. Has been for years, but it was a total coincidence that the book became so heavily branded with that number. The original title of the book was Tree of Life, and when I started writing there weren’t seven characters. This evolved as I wrote, when I kept seeing seven in all my research. Then everything just clicked and I knew there’d be seven and I came up with the title after my biggest revision.

Q: Would you like to live in a world of magic?
A: Hell. Yes.

Q: Would you like to live your heroine's life for a day, a month, or even forever?
A: Oh yeah, I’d love to be Devi for a couple of months, but then I’d go back to being me because I don’t need that kind of pressure, and lord knows I don’t want to relive my 20’s.

Thank you so very much for putting up with my inquisition, Beth!!

To learn more about Beth and visit her blog or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Week In Review - Ten Things of Thankful - 100Edition

Ten Things of Thankful

It's a special button, because it's a special TToT. Here is a Happy Anniversary to all participants, the awesome co-hostae, and most of all the fabulous Ms. Lizzi R., aka The Considerer, the splendid mind behind this life-changing blog hop.

I have to admit, I'm late today, it's 12:02 am, so actually Monday.. And in a mere 5 hours and 28 minutes, I will be risen from slumber to get ready for work (open the flood gates of coffee, at least the taxes are done for another year!!!!). But since Ms. R is safely tucked away in England, and most of the co-hosts across the big pond, where it is still safely Sunday, I will call upon the Guardian Virgins, go ahead and participate:

1. My first and foremost thankful is Lizzi. Ever since I've been introduced to her blog hop, my life has changed. It's the little things I focus on every day. This reflection has improved my life and made me an overall happier person. There are no words to thank you for this, Lizzi!!  You are most positively awesome!!!

2. I've heard rumors that the topic of the anniversary will be "boxes", so I am thankful for the boxes in my life. The little black box containing a shiny white gold ring well over 9 years ago that changed my life's path forever. Those little cardboard boxes containing those little pee sticks that confirmed our feelings of even greater changes in our lives: the arrival of three wonderful children, and last but not least our most recent box, our blue box, that is definitely bigger on the inside not only in space (as various people have confirmed to us), but most importantly with everything that brings a house to life: love, laughter, arguments, slammed doors and make-up hugs later, stories and memories.

Our blue box (preview for Clark!!)

3. The man who's standing with me for those past 9+ years. Through the good times and the bad ones. I know that we both were at a point during those years where we just wanted to walk out, but our love made us stay and rebuild our relationship, coming out stronger each and every time. I've known from the bottom of my heart that he would be my husband, my life partner, before we even met in person, and no matter what, I've stood by it every day ever since.

4. Our Lily, our first-born. She made me a mom and hubby a daddy. She's pure sunshine when she's happy and the darkest thunderstorm when she's upset. She is my likeness to the point that it's almost scary, especially when we butt heads. But once we both calmed down, we can laugh about it. I am so proud of our strong-willed, stubborn, confident, loving girl!

5. Our Violet, our surprise child. She came into our lives when we least expected it but we most needed it. She sparked major changes in our lives without knowing it. She made Lily a big sister, and it still warms my heart thinking about those first days and weeks as a family of four. Ever since she's grown into the most loving, caring, and sensitive little girl, who has just so much to give. I'm thankful to be part of her life and by her side as she grows up.

6. Our Calvin, our baby, our son. You made our family complete; now Violet is a big sister, too, and she loves on you every single day. It's amazing to see the bond between the two of you! You are such a mischievous, happy, adventurous little guy and I am incredibly excited to have such an important part in your life. I can't wait to watch you grow up, find your special interests and hobbies, and probably drive your sisters up the wall on occasion.

7. My mom for never giving up on my. I know that being who she is, it wasn't easy to be my mom, but she stood by me and stood up for me. Without her, I wouldn't be where I am today, and for this I will be always incredibly thankful to her.

8. My dad for always being there when we really needed him. Being who he is, he wasn't very involved in our lives, but whenever there was an emergency, we knew that we could rely on him, no matter what nature this emergency was.

9. My sister. I know that a little over a year ago, she wouldn't have been even NEAR this list, she was not part of my life. But I am thankful that she had the courage to pick up the phone when she did because I know I wouldn't have. And I am incredibly thankful that during those 2 years or so of no contact, we both grew into ourselves and above ourselves, and that today we have a great relationship again.

10. All the friends, neighbors, colleagues, and random people in my life. They are the ones who make me rich, in experience, in relationships, and in support. There are too many to name, but they all have a special place in my heart and my life.

Ok, over and out for today.  If you read that more or less immediately after it goes life, there's still time to link up and share into the 100th Week Anniversary Celebration!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Week In Review - Ten Things Of Thankful (99)

Ten Things of Thankful

I'm so tired right now. Somehow, it feels as if no matter how much I sleep (and I had a 2-hour nap today with little Calvin), I'm still tired.  But at least, I also was productive today. After getting the lawn put down this week, the girls and I planted some berries and other plants; hope to be able to eat some berries from our own yard later this year!

My 10 Thankfuls for this week:

1. Nutella breakfast with the girls  :-)

2. A nice visit from my mom and her neighbor. We went shopping and my mom had her hair done. We really had a great time!

3. A trip to Dunkin' Donut with Violet and Calvin. It's opened in town over a year ago, and finally I made it there!

4. A wonderful morning with my friend. She shared her wedding album with me; she's from India, and her poor, unsuspecting Eastern-German engineer husband had to endure 3 days of rituals and celebrations with up to 650 guests (about 5 on his side). I told hubby about it and expect endless gratitude that I didn't make him to wear a turban for our wedding. Just saying  :-)

5. Living in a good community. While our car was still down with a busted tire, one of Lily's friend's mom gave us a ride to the doctor after Lily cut her hand pretty badly chopping fruit in school.

6. Lily's teacher once again only having words of praise for Lily. We may have issues at home at the moment, but at least she's on her best behavior in school.

7. Calvin for being the adventurous, interested, exploring little chap he is; Violet for being my sweet, loving, caring girl; Lily for being my independent, smart, strong-willed girl.

8. The feeling of fresh, green grass in between my tows when watering the lawn.

9. A little mini-mani at home after digging in the dirt for a couple of hours this afternoon. My hands are clean again.. Sort of...

10. My husband for interrupting my day with back-rubs and hugs. They are the sweetest reminders of how much I love him throughout our busy days.

What are you thankful for this week?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Worth The Climb - A Path To Success By Audrey Snyder

Having just found out that a project I've been participating in, the Strong and Influential Sisterhood project, will be scrapped, I am very thankful for having been invited to join yet another blog tour for a very special woman, who could have been a poster model for what a strong and influential woman is: Audrey Snyder. Audrey overcame all obstacles in her way to be the woman she wanted to be, and succeeded in every regard. 

Thus, I am honored to hand over the stage to Audrey to share about her book, "Worth The Climb":

What Do I Want My Readers to Know About My Book

The purpose of my book is to help that person who has been blocked from reaching the next step to their success.  My book talks about some strategies that I used when blocked from reaching the next level on my ladder of success.  It details the obstacles that blocked me, and which strategy worked best.  It talks about how I decided what excited me and why I chose to go after the success I deserved.  In order to do that, I had to develop realistic strategies.  Below are some of the strategies I discuss in my book.

Strategy:  Do An Honest Self-Assessment

When I was told I wasn’t qualified for a job, I had to make sure I knew myself.   The following strategy worked for me.  I made a list of my skills and a list of skills required for the job I wanted.  Now it was time to fill in the gaps.  Does the job I want require more education or training?  I was able to research the Internet and find job descriptions that mirrored the job I wanted.  Now was time to fill in the gaps with education or training.

Strategy:  How to Market Yourself:

Now that the gaps are filled in and you are qualified for the job, it is time to market myself for the job.  Develop a thirty second-elevator pitch, which quickly introduces yourself and your skills.  There are examples of elevator speeches on the Internet.  Know who needs to hear your pitch.  Get an organization chart of your organization so you know who you need to pitch to.  Make sure to dress for the position you want and not the one you have.  If your current job requires you to wear jeans but the job you want requires business casual then you should be wearing business casual everyday in your current job just in case the opportunity arises.

Strategy:  Challenge the Obstacle:

Don’t settle.  Why can’t you have it all?  “The man who has confidence in himself gains the confidence of others.  Set your goals and the steps required to reach your goals.  Stay disciplined and focused.  You want to think bigger and bolder.  Be a risk taker.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions and present new ideas.  Just because they have always done it that way doesn’t mean there isn’t a better, more productive way to get the same or better results.  Booker T. Washington said, “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.”

I want my readers to know that among the most important pieces of my personal definition of success were an inner sense of calm, resilience and the continued commitment to achievement at the highest level.

I want my readers to know that they are worthy of having all their dreams come true.  Get moving.  What you move toward moves you closer toward your goal.

I want my readers to know that Geoffrey Gaberino said, “The real contest is always between what you’ve done and what you’re capable of doing.  You measure yourself against yourself and nobody else.”

About Audrey:
Audrey Jane Snyder is retired after working in the corporate environment for 40+ years in the fields of human resource management and customer service.  She has also been an independent consultant specializing in on-line web based training of interpersonal skills for first line managers.  Audrey holds a BA in Business Communications and a Masters in Training and Development.  Audrey is a member of Western Pennsylvania Initiative, Greater Pittsburgh Area Communications and National Black Public Relations Society, Inc. and PennWritersInc., The Pittsburgh East Writer’s Group.   Audrey has also served on the board of Family Resources, Inc.  Audrey has spoken as an expert at Budget Financial Seminars and recently was Keynote Speaker on Courageous Leadership- Owning your Own Success at the National Black MBA Gala.   Audrey is currently an Adjunct Professor at DeVry University.

 Audrey was born and raised in the Pittsburgh, PA area lives with her husband of 44 years.  She has two adult children and two grandchildren. This is her first book which one finalist position at the Pittsburgh Author Zone Awards.

Visit Audrey's Website at and follow her on Twitter via @AudreySnyderJ.

You can buy her book, Worth The Climb" on Amazon.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Week In Review - Ten Things Of Thankful (98)

Ten Things of Thankful

Another exciting week is over. Friday was a public holiday, and we spent it with my parents; the actual plan was to see the May Day parade in their town and then head to the fair, but with the rain we rather stayed in and relaxed. Today was the more exciting, being stranded in town after one of the tires on my car exploding and the repair shop I schlepped myself to shutting down. I'm definitely up for a relaxing Sunday tomorrow!

This last week, I was especially thankful for:

1. Meeting a wonderful colleague from Saudia Arabia and learning so much more about her life, which is totally different from mine but in some areas still the same.

2. Spontaneous late-afternoon coffee get-togethers with the neighbors.

3. Lily being absolutely supportive, taking a shower all by herself and getting ready for bed while I put Calvin down for the night.

4. A collection of home-made jams, gifted to us by our new neighbor.

5. Weekday breakfast with all three kids on all 4 school days this week!

6. Hubby for organizing our rescue when I stranded in Erlangen with an exploded tire.

7. Our wonderful friend who took Richard and a spare tire a ride to Erlangen.

8. Again Richard for interrupting his school work and playing with Calvin while I retreated to nurse my migraine.

9. Chocolate easter bunnies being safely turned into delicious oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Our candy bowl is considerably smaller now, and a good part of the cookies distributed in the neighborhood.

10. The kids being supportive when I really needed them to, Like during bath time for 3 while hubby was out for a rehearsal, or when I was stranded with a blown-up tire.  The three may be unruly at times, but whenever I absolutely need them to, they are all picture-perfect!

Have a great weekend, everyone!