Posts Tagged ‘journey’

quello che è la Sua parola ~ What is your word?

August 12th, 2010

I’m faced with a question I don’t know how to answer once again.

photo by

photo by

“So, What do you do?”

I’ve struggled with this question for years.  When I was a stay-at-home Mom it was very hard for me to answer.  I wanted to give my life choice justice.  Gosh, where do you start?  Which hat do you want to know about?  When I was a Realtor I could answer the question with ease.  Real estate is easier to explain.  After real estate, the question became a joke.  I went to a lot of networking events, tweet-ups and social events where it was important to answer that question well.

During that phase of my life, my husband and I came up with a list of answers, “Well, I do what ever I want.”  (No respect with that one.)  ” I am a professional poll dance instructor.”  (this one I could not say without laughing)  ”I am a professional networker.” (what is that?)

I am faced with the dilemma again.  What will I say when I’m asked with the defining question, “What do you do?”

First of all, I am deeply thankful for all my choices in life.  I am grateful to live in a country that still has a dream. I can be or do anything I set my mind to.

However, I love the Italian saying, “La dolcezza di non fare niente!”  The sweetness of doing nothing.   That just isn’t acceptable in our culture that values DOING.  Maybe that is why I am so drawn to Italy.

I went to see the premier of Eat, Pray, Love with my friend Kelly Gingery.  It had been a long time since I read the book.  I was hoping to be more inspired to travel.  However, the movie seemed to be focused more on the choices we make and the choices we have or don’t have as women.

The movie reminded me of a conversation Elizabeth Gilbert had with her friends in Italy.  They were coming up with words for major cities.  New York~achieve.  Los Angeles~succeed.  Stockholm~conform.  Rome~SEX.  In their opinion every city has a word.  Elizabeth Gilbert was confronted with the question, “What is your word?”  (Marriage, Family, Achieve, Depression, Seek, Pleasure, etc.)

Now I am curious.  What is my word?


Of course, I’d like to discover my word and not be labeled by others.  I think it is sad how we label people without really knowing who they are.

For Mother’s day my sweet daughter bought me a Money Tree.  She thought it would help me with a fund I was collecting.  On her card she wrote, “PS.  you can’t kill it because it is resilient!  This money tree isn’t going anywhere.”  RESILIENT.  That spoke to me.  Boy does my daughter know me!

So, I prefer the question, “What is your word?”  I love how it sounds in Italian, “quello che è la Sua parola?”  To me, it says who are you?  What are you all about?  What is important to you?  I’d like to know you.

So, what is your word?

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Interview with Erin Lee ~ New Businesswoman!

June 9th, 2010
Erin on the front porch of her shack

Erin on the front porch of her shack


I have had the privilege of knowing Erin Lee for over 10 years.  Erin was our generous neighbor in West Point Mississippi who allowed us to “borrow” her electricity as we renovated an old home next to her.  I think she was just happy someone was going to fix the place up. 

Erin is a very successful Nurse Practitioner, now working in Memphis, TN.  I have always admired how she put herself through college to pursue nursing, which she seems to have a natural talent for.    

Although she loves her job as a Nurse Practitioner, Erin has recently added business women to her title.  Erin is a visionary when it comes to decorating and designing.  Her home in West Point was a page out of Better Homes and Garden.  I love that everything in her home has some kind of story.  Currently Erin lives in a three story loft condo in downtown Memphis that she has renovated and gave her personal touch.  Erin also worked on a condo project in Memphis turning an old Quansa Hut into artsy living spaces.  After all these years, an amazing opportunity came her way to build shacks at the Shacksdale Motel in Clarksdale, MS.  The shacks are new buildings made to look like old shacks.  (see my companion article Shacksdale ~ A Story in the Making) She is now using her gift for finding treasures to outfit the shacks.  She has definitely found her muse and is having a blast!  Her story illustrates how I envision finding a muse.   

Needless to say, I am very excited to ask my very good friend (I have the coolest friends) questions about her journey and gather more insight!


Erin finding some treasures

Erin finding some treasures

Q: Erin, I know how thrilled you are to be working with your partners on the Shacksdale Motel.  How does it feel to now become a business woman? 

A: It has been a real learning experience that’s for sure, but a great experience; becoming an LLC, getting a business account, setting up accounts in Clarksdale and dealing with tradesmen. It has all been a wonderful experience.


Q: I know you also worked very hard to become a Nurse Practitioner and are happy with your career.  How does working on your own business compare to becoming a Nurse Practitioner and launching your career?  

A: Working on the shack is a release from the very serious aspects of my job as a nurse practitioner. It was born from a desire to have fun and to enjoy life in a simpler way; to go to Clarksdale to enjoy music and friends and to see people expressing themselves creatively through the music and art.   


Q: Do you remember a time when you questioned your decisions and/or what to do with your life?  If so, what do you contribute to your ability to get back on course and achieve success in life?

A: I have the greatest friends and family in the world. Any time there has been questions, backslides, whatever, they have been there, always supportive.


Q: I didn’t get the sense you were looking for a new project when this opportunity presented itself.  When you look back at the chain of events that led to Shacksdale Motel, do remember an “a-ha” moment?  Or did you just know from the very beginning that this project was destiny?

A: No I was not looking for a new project. I guess the “a-ha” moment was when Barry and Sally came over and said we should all be involved. This was after they had been to Clarksdale and met Jim and looked at what the Shack Up inn had accomplished.


Q: You have always enjoyed collecting treasures and are talented at the art of finding a good deal.  Did you ever think your passion would benefit you in a business? 

A: Well, over the years, I had thought about having a booth in an antique mall or starting an Ebay business, but had never thought it would be buying and decorating in the “shack motif”!!!! What fun it has been. You should see the looks I get when I buy something that is totally shacky or stop on the side of the road to pick up old bead board.


Q: You seem to come alive when you talk about Shacksdale and have said that you regularly pinch yourself.  What have you learned about yourself in the process? 

A: I have learned a great deal about my communication style. I have learned that listening, really listening is most important.  I have learned to listen.


Q: You speak highly of your partners.  I am sure they have been wonderful at inspiring and pushing you.  Do you have any mentors, favorite authors or quotes that inspire you as well?

A: Do for others as you would have them do for you.


Q: Do you have any advice or anything you would like to add?

 A: I feel that I have been given an unbelievably wonderful gift. It has been amazing working with all the people that made my shack a reality. It has been a fantastic journey. Every time someone new visits the shack and writes in the guests book what a wonderful place it is, I am thankful for all the people that made it happen.


Thanks Erin for sharing some insights into your successful journey.  In the process you have helped me realize that the best blessings in life are not forced or fought for.  Shacksdale is a labor of love, flowing from passion for Clarksdale, music and the people mixed with a lot of hard work.  I’m so excited for you!

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Finding my “Muse”

May 17th, 2010

I am restless.

 I just finished several books that have gotten me all fired up.  (If you know me… it IS NOT  hard to get me all fired up.)  I read The Four Hour Work Week, Rework (not quite finished with) and A Thousand Miles, What I learned Editing My Life.Reading these books stirs up my “restless, somewhat rebellious, defiantly against office politics and society rules” spirit.  These authors helped me to realise that there are people living lives created on their own terms and built around a good story.
Donald Miller defines a good story: A story is a character that wants something and overcomes conflict to get it.
I have a vague idea of what I want.  In my ideal circumstances, I would use my entrepreneur spirit and my natural ability to promote to create a business around traveling.  I long to live an extraordinary life, travel and be my own boss.  The conflict is I need a “muse”, as explained in the Four Hour Work Week.  I have been anxed about this for weeks now!  Working for “the man” has created an incisive incident.  I simply do not fit the corporate mold.  The only thing I know to do is go on a search for my muse…. this should be interesting. 
What questions does a person ask themselves when searching for their muse?  Does it just show up as if from nowhere?  Does everyone have a muse?  How do you know?  Do people tend to have multiple muses?
It occurred to me this morning on my walk to work (the J-O-B/ incisive incident) that I have met some incredible people the past two years through social media that are experiencing fabulous success.  I wondered what they learned about discovering their muse?  What questions would they suggest I ask myself?  So, I have decided to contact my favorite success stories and get the scoop. 
Stayed Tuned!

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Savor the journey…love the people!

March 27th, 2009

Road Trip…Memphis & New Orleans



Memphis FriendsFinally back to normal (what ever that is) from my trip to Memphis and New Orleans.  My husband, Jeff, and our good friend Suz took a road trip this month. By now you probably got it…I love to travel.  Although the fourteen hour drive back from New Orleans wiped me out, I would not have changed a single thing…it is all apart of the journey.

Our journey first took us to Memphis, TN.  We stayed with a dear, long time friend, Erin.  Erin lives in a downtown neighborhood of Memphis in an incredible three story condo with a balcony that overlooks the Mississippi River.  I love hanging out on her balcony watching the sun rise and set.  It is the kind of place I dream of living in.  Another Memphis friend, Willfredo, lives next door to Erin and just opened Revolution Salon.  Willfredo took one look at my hair and insisted on working his magic.  A great start to an evening of dancing at the Rum Boogie (where you eat.drink.boogie.repeat) and then off to Silky’s to hear dueling pianos.  I have great memories of that evening.  I love experiencing the culture of other cities.  But what I love most is people….I love my friends in Memphis and getting a chance to spend time with them!  After eating breakfast at the BluePlate Cafe, the biggest and best breakfast in Memphis, we had to say our good byes.  Bitter sweet, as we are on our way to New Orleans, another favorite city.

Jackson Square

New Orleans has a culture all it’s own.  I love Jackson Square, music in the air, the street performers, the European architecture, cajun food, seafood, beignets, Zydeco music, dancing until wee hours of the night, being called “darling” and “honey”, the sweet sound of a southern accent, the garden district, the wharehouse district, the balconies that are draped with beautiful flowers and ivy, southern hospitality and most of all…the people!  


100_0968We met up with Jeff’s parents Ginger and Paul, and their friend Dave from Houston.  Th100_09442is has become a tradition since the weekend Katrina hit.  Families and friends met to surprise Paul on his 60th birthday.  We began our stay in New Orleans right by having dinner at Desire an Oyster bar in the Royal Sonesta Hotel.  The food is great!  However, our waitress Joann, who hugs us all like old lost friends every time we eat there, is definitely greater.  She is a survivor of Katrina…I love her.  And to top it off…Suz displayed bravery by trying an Oyster. 

Truth Be Told….I wouldn’t even try an Oyster!

100_1541Some of our favorite restaraunts… Franksmakes a great Muffaletta and has the best balcony view where you can soak in the music from two different patio restaurants.  A strong tradition is eating Barbecue Shrimp at Pascal Manales.  Located in the heart of a Garden District neighborhood.  This classy restaraunt brings out huge white bibs to tie on before they serve the shrimp that floats in a bowl of butter.  Their bread pudding is also the best in New Orleans. 

Although Bourbon St. is lined with great bars, our favorite is at Tropical Isle.  Our 100_14051favorite Zydeco band plays at 5pm. Waylon starts the evening off right and is hilarious!  Timmy gets all the gals to play the washboard with him.  We didn’t get to see Timmy this trip.  But spent a whole evening dancing and trying out the washboard with Waylon’s Dad and celebrated my birthday in style.  We met a fun loving couple who has an apartment on Royal.  I told them of my love of New Orleans and how I dream of living there someday.  They promised to help me find an apartment when I am ready to make the move.  Another local couple that regularly shows up at the Tropical Isles with their pet monkey…that monkey is so cute.  Suz had fun singing with the band and decides that a birthday spanking was in order for me….eeks.  Yes, Suz broke the paddle on the final 39th whack.  Definitely left a mark.  I left with a cool paddle signed by everyone in the bar though.  Once again, it is the people that made it special.  I love the band, my new friends and my special souvenir. 

100_11371Various experiences:  We met a Harley Dude who lives in New Orleans.  He parked his Harley on Bourbon St. near the Harely Bar.  He said at least three times, “Thank you for coming”.  Again, it’s the people.  Suz was choosen to participate in a street magic show.  She did a great job!  There are numerous street performers who fill the streets of the French Corner with music and atmosphere.  This is how they make a living.  I enjoyed the artistic buses found throughout New Orleans. On the River Walk I found one that spoke to me and depics my life quest….A journey of Change.  “Things turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out.”  A Ride of A Lifetime!100_1070

I found myself savoring each moment of the trip.  I walked the streets wanting to ech the memory of the architecture and music in the air in my mind.  Most of all, I want to cheerish my memories of spending time with friends both new and familair. 

We said good bye to New Orleans around 8am.  We had a long drive ahead of us.  I took advantage of the time to read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.  A quote jumped off the paige at me…”they were seeking the treasure of their destiny, without wanting actually to live out their destiny.”  Wow!  Now that I am home, I wonder how often I will savor each moment of my life journey?  Will I remember to actually live it out?  Hopefully I will live out this leg of my journey as much as I do when I journey to awe-inspiring cities and make life long friends.

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