Come on in... sit down, and have a cup of dare!

Come on in... sit down, and have a cup of dare!
The Dare Chair... scroll down the page to find out what this chair is all about!

Quote of the Week

"Happiness is like a kiss. You must share it to enjoy it." ~Bernard Meltzer

Get Your Groove On! Choose any song you wish, and start dancing in the kitchen!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Find Your Muchness

You used to be much more... "muchier."
You've lost your muchness.
~Mad Hatter, Alice in Wonderland
My oldest child informed me that she is moving across the country.  In 4 weeks.  That is enough information to take my breath away, have the rug pulled out from under my feet, and make my mind race ahead to all of our family gatherings that will be spent without her.  It puts a lump in my throat and a sigh in my heart.  But that is all about ME, isn't it. 
If I look at it through HER eyes, it looks much different... Adventure, sunshine, beaches, and Romeo.  Yes, her Romeo is there, waiting for her to arrive.  Looking at it through HER eyes puts a smile on my face, which is just how it should be.
So, during this time of transition, I can choose to lose my muchness, or work my tail off trying to keep it.  Or FIND it.
This is why I am reposting my Mad Hatter Wisdom.
Come along... Let's go find some muchness!

Have the stresses of life caused you to lose your muchness? I know... You didn't realize you lost it, did you? As life took over, your muchness leaked out little by little. Mine, too.
Let's get our muchness back. Let's be "muchier" again. Let's laugh much, dream much, love much, believe much, dance much, enjoy much, praise much, wonder much, live much.
Thank you, Mad Hatter, for helping us realize we lost our muchness. Consider it, found.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Things I've Learned

I am reaching the end of a year of change.  Throughout the past year, I have relocated to another state, lost loved ones, sent another child off to the military, tackled a challenging new job, said goodbye to friends and family, and embraced a new city I now call home.  Along the way I have grieved losses, celebrated new beginnings and have gained more than just weight.  It seems the pounds I worked so hard to lose, were given my forwarding address.  They showed up, resumed their positions, and left their bags under my eyes. How rude. They are unwanted guests...  I plan on kicking them out this summer.

So, I would like to tell you the wisdom I have gained.  Get comfy with a cuppa joe, sit back, and take what you want from my thoughts.  Some thoughts may mean nothing to you now, but as you travel down the messy but beautiful road of life, they may be thoughts that will become treasures later. You may need to unpack them someday... when you will need to know somebody else knows exactly how you are feeling.  Put them in your suitcase and save them for a rainy day.

I have learned that change breathes new life into many corners of our world.  Change forces us out of our comfort zones, which is usually where we feel most alive.  Our senses are heightened when we're uncomfortable, and excitement exudes through tackling new things and reaching the mountain peak. Change can bring joy, frustration, happiness, and sadness.  It can invigorate us, and it can break us.  Much of our responsive feelings depend upon our mindset.  Are you heading for change?  If so, pack your suitcase with positive thoughts... They will be needed later.  You will believe whatever it is you are telling yourself, so be nice!

I have learned that grief is a living thing.  It truly has a life of its own, and it is unpredictable.  Grief is a strange thing full of contradictions.  It can suffocate you, yet give life.  It can be ugly, and it can be beautiful.  Grief can be terribly isolating, yet comforting.  Grief can show up as calm waters or tidal waves.  Grief is real.  It is necessary.

I have learned that I can be strong for my husband when he hears that his brother has died, but as soon as I hear my girlfriend's voice, I cry like a baby.  I guess God gives us strength when we need to be strong for others, and sends girlfriends to be strong for us. It's a system that works well.
I like it.
I have learned that there truly are NO WORDS of comfort when in the depths of grief. People mean well, they really do... But I learned that, "I'm sorry," is much more comforting than most words.
I have learned that there is healing power in music and art.  They are good for the soul.

I have learned that sometimes, our children will choose paths that differ from the dreams we have had for them.  Grieve the loss of the dream, let go, and move on.  Remember... Allow yourself to grieve the loss of the dream first, then let go and move on.  There is freedom for everyone when you let go and just enjoy them. Love them. Love them. Love them. It doesn't mean you will love their choices... It means you love your child.

I have learned that my children belong to God.  Thankfully, I learned this 20 years ago, but as life has taken me into uncharted waters, it is always good to remind myself of this one!  I have had to let go and give two of my children to the military.  This Military Mama thing is a tough gig!  It has taught me that there are times in life when my brain can be rational, but my heart cannot.
I have learned that I can relate to mama birds.  When they push their little ones out of the nest, many thoughts of wonder travel through their minds.   Will their new little wings work? Will their wings break? Will they be warm, have enough to eat, find new friends?  Will they get lost? Will they ever find their way home? Mama Bird.  That is me.  I have a mama bird on my breakfast bar. She is tired. A little worn.
A little sad, a little chubby. But, she is strong.  Reminds me of someone I know.

I have learned that there are many times I wish I was more like my kids... They are amazing people.  They walk with confidence.  They stand for what they believe and make no apologies about it.  They are kind, forgiving, truthful, compassionate, and generous.  I want to be more like them when I grow up.

I have learned that one of the most wonderful things in the world is knowing that my husband adores me. That gives me strength, confidence, and a feeling that is indescribable. It makes my heart glad, puts a dance in my step and a smile on my face.
As I look back on what I have learned, I notice that the theme is loss, grief, and letting go. These lessons gave me more gray hair, wrinkles, and pounds, but more important things came along the bumpy ride. I now have a new level of compassion. A new appreciation for joyful moments. A realization that sometimes, I forget to smile. Wow. That never used to happen! Although that makes me sad, it also makes me realize that everyone has a story. Their story may be the cause of fewer smiles. My new mission? To make others smile. For in doing so, my joy will be in abundance, and maybe my smiles will come more often. So here's to life and all of its lessons. May we take the time to sit back, reflect on our journeys, and learn from every experience. May we grow up to be full of gray hair and wrinkles that we earned through joys, heartaches, weakness, and strength. May we find joy in the journey and love with abandon along the way.

Monday, January 7, 2013

What to do With Such Class?

Sit back, and let me tell you just how classy I am...

While at a meeting at work, I was closing a screen on my iPad, so I could open up an email our Assistant Principal was referring to. Attending this meeting, besides my Assistant Principal, were 4 other co-workers, and 3 teachers I had just met, who teach at other schools in the district.

Soooo... While Mrs. Jones was leading the meeting, I "closed" my app. Oh, how I wish I had "closed" my app.

My iPad read my index finger first, and the sound effect app LOUDLY let out a huge fart.

Don't be jealous of my classiness.

It's a gift.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Never Quit

Never Quit

Click on Never Quit, and it will take you to a wonderful story.

Be inspired, go forth, and LIVE.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Smoke Signals

Some stories are worth reposting. I'll take another dose of laughter at Bella's expense.

Do you have one of those friends who will come for lunch to help you get rid of left-overs? I love that. Nothing fancy, just two friends enjoying a simple meal, some good laughs, and great conversation.

I have a few great friends who would join me for a meal of left-overs. The one I have in the town I'm now living in, is Susan. She's a whole lot of fun, and is the kind of friend that doesn't care if your house is in shambles, and you greet her at the door in your sweats, no make-up... basically looking like something the cat dragged in. Everyone needs a friend like that. Those friends of mine, you know who you are... God bless you!

Well, it was twenty minutes before Susan was to arrive, and I was doing some last-minute preparations. Candles were lit in the window which opens the kitchen to the living room. Love candles. Even the simplest of occasions calls for candles! I happened to look over to that same window, and to my surprise, I saw smoke billowing from my counter-top to my ceiling!! Are you ever amazed at how many thoughts rush through your mind in an instant? I actually reminded myself that no, it could not be the lunch I had on the stove, because my stove is on the other end of my kitchen! I stood there and looked at our cat, Bella. She had a look on her face as if she was saying, "What? What'd I do? Why are you looking at me like that?" It was in that moment that I realized that the smoke was coming from Bella! When she came through the window, her tail caught on fire! Okay, let me tell you, that you would be amazed at two things: 1. How much smoke can come from burned cat fur. 2. How incredibly horrid burned cat fur smells!

Well, great. Twenty minutes until lunch, and my house now smells like burned cat fur. Ugh! I quickly opened windows, and got the Febreze out. Did I mention that I threw the cat out? Let her send smoke signals outside! (Don't worry... I made sure I completely extinguished her tail first.)

Susan arrived. No lie... she said, "Wow it smells good in here. It smells like a hair salon!"

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Unpack Your Cape... The World Needs a Hero

A.B. Simpson said: “God is preparing His heroes. And when the opportunity comes He can fit them into their place in a moment. And the world will wonder where they came from.”

Get your cape ready...
And maybe your tiara.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I Want a Wide Life

I don't want to get to the end of my life
and find that I just lived the length of it.
I want to have lived the width of it
as well.

~Diane Ackerman

Thursday, January 19, 2012


grat·i·tude   [grat-i-tood, -tyood]
the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful

Gratitude makes a meal a feast, a house a home, and a stranger a friend.

What a beautiful sentiment; I could not have said it better, myself. Gratitude can turn your world from ordinary to extraordinary. It's all about your attitude... and gratitude. (This is starting to sound like a show tune. Or Dr. Seuss, perhaps.)

Anyway, the point is... Look around you. You have a lot to be thankful for. Put on your rose colored glasses and turn that meal into a feast, your house into a castle fit for a queen (that would be YOU, Your Highness), and a stranger into a friend (who just might happen to be an angel).

Gratitude. Simple, but powerful.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sunshine and Smiles

If you are anything like me, you might find yourself at the beginning of a new year, wondering where, oh where, did last year go? If someone were to ask you to name ten events worthy of sharing, could you? You and I both know that life has a gazillion wonderful moments tucked in each passing year, but we are so busy and preoccupied, that we find it hard to recall all of the times that made us smile, giggle, or cry tears of joy.

Here's an idea... What if we kept a notepad handy and jotted down those moments as they happen? We could keep a notepad in our purse, on our desk, in the kitchen because you and I both know that wonderful things happen in a kitchen!, in the car, etc., etc., etc. (Now I feel like the King from The King and I. He really liked that wonderful word, etc. So do I.) Back to the notes. At the end of each day, we can put the notes in a jar, basket, or box. Whichever you fancy. I think I will call mine the Jar of Sunshine and Smiles.

Picture yourself sitting down on New Years Day with a really good cup of java, and reading all of your little notes with the ones you love, or in a room with just you, your really good java, and God. You are smiling, aren't you? Wouldn't that be fun?!

This is perfect for me because believe it or not, I hate journaling. I know. It's a shock. I love writing on this blog, but to sit down and write in a journal just makes me turn up my nose and shake my head.

So, go get some notepads and pens. Let's start a collection of sunshine and smiles. I dare you!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chef Lisa

Last night was pork roast so tender a baby could eat it... Tonight was Brandied Chicken Breasts. This is what happens when I watch Julie and Julia. I get inspired. And I get chubby. Guess I'll just have to dance more... in the kitchen.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

~Martin Luther King, Jr., hero

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dive In!

Speaking of Abraham...

"He didn't tiptoe around God's promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said. "

Nose plugs... Check.

Goggles... Check

Wet suit... Check.

Flippers... Check.

I'm gonna plunge into God's promises!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Gotta Chuckle...

So, my little Brynn... The youngest of the family... The one my 17 year-old son predicts will be a Navy Seal because she's the toughest one of them all... Just won a Family SURVIVOR Contest at the County Fair!

And her big brother, Jack? He won a Hawaiian lei for being the only one who knew how to Hula dance. I have no idea where he learned how to do that.

Still laughing...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Proud" Doesn't Even Come Close...

My daughter just graduated from Army Basic Training at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO.

My son just passed all of his tests and is officially enlisted in the Air Force.

"PROUD" is a word that doesn't even come close to the emotion that is flooding my heart.

Wise Words From a Refrigerator Magnet...

If you get a chance... take it.

If it changes your life... LET IT.

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Debt I Can Never Repay

Today we remember those who gave all they had for us.
Not for our "government,"
but for "We the People!"
Thank you.
You are not forgotten,
you are not scorned,
and your sacrifice for my freedom
will forever be a debt
I can never

~Thelma Dade

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I Found My Way Back!

Dear Readers,

You have probably thought I was lost, or possibly that I had abandoned ship. No, I am here, and I am well. Actually, you can blame my absence on the Dare Chair. I plopped myself down in it, took on some dares, and have been so busy LIVING, that I've had to let some things go. Writing has been one of those things.

Summer break is peeking it's beautiful face around the corner. I am so excited to see a glimpse of it! You see, I am a teacher, therefore, I get to enjoy summer vacation just like the kids. Well, not quite THAT footloose and fancy free, but I do get a bit of breathing in the sunshine time and living in flip flops! I promise that I will fill you in on the dares, challenges, accomplishments, and sometimes painful moments I've experienced. My hope is that my stories will inspire you to turn the television off, get off the couch, and fill your lives with LIFE. The days are passing by quickly, my friends. Grab on and enjoy the ride!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Words seem so inadequate.

May God hear our cries from the depths of our souls.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Tsk... Who Am I Kidding?

So... My previous post was my lame attempt
to shed my envious thoughts.
Who am I kidding?

I want to go to Rome.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Home is Where the Heart Is

I have a friend who travels for his job. He travels the globe, and I must admit that I do get envious when I hear of his many destinations. My life, you see, consists of a ten mile radius. On days that I don't work, it's more like a two mile radius. I rarely "get out of Dodge," but thankfully, my Dodge is a pretty nice place to be. However, my eyes do thirst for scenery other than pine trees. Beaches, mountains, prairies, and bustling cities with towering skyscrapers would be a welcome view many days.

Through emails, I learned that within a week's time, my friend had been to Germany, spent the weekend in London, and then flew off to Istanbul. I cannot imagine! It sounds so exotic... so beautiful... so wonderful. So unlike Dodge.

Before I allow myself to get too envious, I must remind myself that the grass that is always greener on the other side can turn out to be... artificial turf. You see, artificial turf is pleasant to only one of the five senses. It may look pretty, but that's about it. And just how does this relate to exotic places? Let me explain.

I had to laugh when I read a letter from this globe trotting friend of mine. After being to the beautiful places I just mentioned, he said he couldn't wait to get back to Duluth. Hmmm... Let's just ponder that for a moment. Germany. London. Istanbul. How many breathtaking images flood your mind? Many, right? Duluth. Just doesn't do the same thing for me. Now, before you Minnesotans get too angry with me, please know that I love Duluth. When I am there, I get a wonderful feeling that I am so far away. Lake Superior and the North Shore are stunning. But as for now, it is the middle of winter, and winter brings bitter cold, and barrenness. Duluth to me, is just not exotic. It just doesn't rank up there with Germany, London, and Istanbul. (Possibly, because I've never been to those places.) Now to my point... When my friend was in the midst of the far away places, he said he couldn't wait to get back to a place that is so common... common in my world. You could insert the name of a place that is common to you. It is probably a place where many like to visit, but it is so close to home that it has become common, therefore not always appreciated. Longing for a common place after experiencing exotic destinations proves that home really is where the heart is. Home is where the green grass is. It fills all of the senses. There is no artificial turf at home. Home is real, it is genuine, it is what we need.

So, I am thankful to be in Dodge. As much as I long for exotic adventures, I will cherish the real grass. I will go barefoot. I will smell the freshly cut grass and remember that everything I need is right here. My suitcase may be empty, but my heart is full.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Who Would Be In Your Movie?

I watched Eat, Pray, Love last weekend, and it turned out to be a movie that has stuck with me for days. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the movie. The scenery, music, and story were a treat for the senses. The lesson was about finding balance in your life... A lesson I could definitely use.

As I was savoring the movie in my mind one day, I thought of the interesting characters, the wonderful people Elizabeth was blessed to have met. They were in her daily life for a short season, but remained a part of it forever.

Who would be in my movie?, I wondered. Who has come into my life for a moment and made an impact? Who can I truly say the words, "I am so glad I met you," to? Immediately, I thought of Bob. Now, you have heard of Bob before... I wrote about him awhile ago. (See the post, Cheers dated Sunday, July 1, 2007.) He is definitely someone I am glad to know; someone who brought sunshine into my life. I rarely see him anymore, and that is truly a loss, but I am so grateful for moments he brightened my life.

I decided to write to Bob today and tell him basically what I just told you. I am not sure whose smile was bigger.... His because he was reminded that he is treasured, or mine, because it blessed me to speak words of kindness to another.

Blessings are like boomerangs. Just when you think you are going to bless others, the blessing comes back to you, many times tenfold!

So, who would be in your movie? A name came to mind right away, didn't it? Let that special person know. You will both be blessed. I promise.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


To make democracy work, we must be a nation of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.
- Louis L'Amour

Monday, November 1, 2010


In all my gracefulness,
I tripped and lunged forward
right in front of the Assistant Principal's office.
He has windows.
Big windows.
I hope he enjoyed the show.

The Dare Chair

Come on in, and pull up a chair! I'm here to inspire you, encourage you, or just plaine Double Dog Dare you to get out and do something you never thought you could do! Periodically, I'll add a quote, comment, or story which will hopefully give you just enough of a nudge to follow your dreams... to take that class, go rock climbing, run a marathon, start that exercise routine, eat healthy, write a book, or whatever your heart desires. You are the author of your life... live it!

Monday: Sit down, have a cup of dare, and write down your goals. Post them all over the house, if it helps! No matter how crazy the goals seem, don't talk yourself out of them! You are strong, you are invincible, you are WOMAN!

Find a friend to hold you accountable. Accountability is huge! If you have a network of support, your chances of failing are less. Make sure you choose someone that is not afraid of pushing you! Usually moms, grandmas and husbands are not the best choices; they're either afraid of hurting your feelings, think you are fine just the way you are, or do not want to end up in the dog's house! So, choose that friend that is honest, no matter what the cost... trust me, you'll need her!

Okay, so now you have someone to hold you accountable; great start. Now, be a blabber-mouth. Tell as many people as you can what your goal is. Knowing that so many people are waiting for you to succeed will be a huge motivator. I know when I skiied the Birkie, there were many times along the trail that I truly wanted to quit. I knew I had a cheering section on Main Street waiting for me to cross that finish line. That was enough to motivate me to keep going, one stride at a time.

If you fully realize nothing else, take a big dose of reality on this one... this is going to be hard, uncomfortable, and many times not enjoyable (depending on what the goal is). So, now that you know that, get over it! Achieving your goal will be worth the sweat and tears. Really... it will. Push yourself beyond your former limits. Get rid of self doubt! Even if it is the hardest thing you've ever done, do it with all you've got! Swallow your insecurities, hide your inhibitions, and show yourself just how strong you really are. YOU CAN DO THIS!

Try not to look too far into the future. Break your goal into steps, and focus on one at a time. Now, if your goal is to join a class, by all means bite the bullet and do it now; no need to take baby steps on that one! But, if your goal is for example, a marathon, don't quit after the first week because you can't run ten miles! Give yourself time to reach the larger goals. In the meantime, give it ALL YOU'VE GOT, and be pleased with the little steps towards your goal.

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, GIVE UP!!! (Take it from Winston Churchill... he knew what he was talking about!)

Take one day to rest, or have a special treat. You've worked hard all week, but make sure you don't reward yourself too much... i.e. a whole bag of Hershey's Kisses!!!


Check out the Blog Archive for writings pertaining to the Dare Chair: April--Uncomfortable, Checking In

INSPIRING QUOTES: If children have the ability to ignore all odds and percentages, then maybe we can all learn from them. When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope? We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up, or Fight Like Hell. ~Lance Armstrong
If human beings are perceived as potentials rather than problems, as possessing strengths instead of weaknesses, as unlimited rather that dull and unresponsive, then they thrive and grow to their capabilities.
Barbara Bush
Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.
John F. Kennedy
He who believes is strong; he who doubts is weak. Strong convictions precede great actions.
Louisa May Alcott
There's a need for accepting responsibility - for a person's life and making choices that are not just ones for immediate short-term comfort. You need to make an investment, and the investment is in health and education.
Buzz Aldrin

This Chick's Groovy Music... start dancin'!

  • Aretha Franklin
  • Chicago Motion Picture Soundtrack... This one is great to sing along to... especially when cleaning the house!
  • Chris Botti... great trumpet player, his music is just beautiful!
  • Christmas Music, of course! Bing, Frank, Rosemary... all the classics!
  • Diana Krall
  • Ella Fitzgerald
  • Eric Clapton... I can' t seem to hear enough of his music lately!
  • Eva Cassidy... worth finding!
  • Johnny Cash - great for two-stepping around the kitchen island... if a babe is in your arms, all the better! (A tiny babe, or a Hunky Babe... either one will do!)
  • Loggins & Messina.... ahh... "feel good" music
  • Neil Diamond... I've loved his music my whole life.
  • Norah Jones
  • Phantom of the Opera (motion picture soundtrack)
  • Ray Charles... I can't help but to smile when I hear him sing.
  • Renee Olstead
  • The Notebook Motion Picture Soundtrack