Sunday, October 18, 2020

What I’ve learned about Creativity and Entrepreneurship thus Far…

  • Ideas are the seeds of entrepreneurship, but they need to be properly nurtured to grow into anything.
  • Creativity comes easiest when I’m having an in-the-moment great experience, doing fun things, and I’m in a go-with-the-flow mindset.
  • Creativity DOES NOT flourish when I try to force it and plan it. It’s by chance and from the heart. The key to creativity is to begin to realize when I’m in the right space to be creative and own the moments.
  • How I create a creative space if I’m at home….
      • I clean my apartment. 
      • I listen to uplifting music and I sometimes dance or move to the music to get a full-body feeling of positive emotion. (I like the 10+ minute versions of positive music most… these are very helpful for getting into a state. I’ve linked an example at the bottom of this article). 
      • Watch a movie or youtube that evokes emotions (informational-based watches don’t seem to work for me to get into a space of creativity though). 
      • Bake or cook something I love. 
      • Look around my apartment and cherish and awe the space I’ve made for myself.
      • Think of anything positive. 
      • Look for beauty. 
      • THEN, I sit in a positive space. Hold onto it, and I begin from this state.
  • Focusing too much on building a following or being liked will destroy my creativity and motivation faster than a cheetah looking for its next meal! So, if I get into this space mentally…. I have to change it the soonest as possible.
I’ve started to structure my marketing and space to analyze this into a designated time-frame to this and only this. Then, I try to be really objective and goal-driven afterward. I try NOT to let myself overthink and worry afterward. It’s really hard for me to do because I’m overly critical of myself and just want so badly for things to progress.

Being go-with-the-flow, learning to toot your own horn, NOT care what others may or may not be thinking about what you do (hint: they probably don’t even care…. because people are usually focused on themselves and their goals), and learning how to evoke and work from emotional spaces is important for entrepreneurship and creativity.

Note: I’ll be continuing to update this article with more lessons as they come. This is a nice start for this morning. :-)

Example of a 10+ minute version of positive music that is very helpful for getting into a positive, creative state: 

By the way… if you’re creative — Fractured Atlas provides fiscal sponsorships for creative projects that could help you to get started with funding your creativity for a good cause.
Check out the link below for more info:

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

My Summary & Thoughts of Angela Duckworth’s Harvard Business Review Talk on Finding Your Grit during a Crisis

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash 
You can find the full 35-minute talk by Angela Duckworth on YouTube now at the following link (also in the references below):

I recently watched the Harvard Business Review talk by Angela Duckworth about finding your grit during a crisis. I feel that this most correlates with our module in the class so far about handling stress at work. It’s all about being resilient during a time of high stress like the pandemic.

Angela Duckworth is a professor of psychology at The University of Pennslyvania, and she studies grit. She also published an extremely popular book called, “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance”, and she has been popularized as well by her TED talk. Grit is the perseverance and passion over a long term time frame for a goal. Duckworth believes this is the number one thing that separates people who achieve success and those who don’t. Grit is most associated with resilience in positive psychology.

Duckworth talks about the emotions during a crisis, and how it’s normal to experience stress and emotions in a variety right now. She says to allow yourself to experience them and to know this is ok. This is neat to learn and it goes back to understanding our natural reactions to stress. This is all human nature. This ties directly with the “Coping Strategies for Success” article we read when it said, “Give yourself permission to fall apart, feel rotten, and cry” as well as “Don’t berate yourself for having these reactions. After all, they are signs of your humanity.” All of what she says in the talk is actually giving people permission to feel bad and icky about what is going on and normalizing that this is totally acceptable, normal, and okay. She says also that what can help during the crisis is we can choose to focus on our positive response to stress and the crisis vs. choosing to be focused on what happened and the negative aspects of the crisis. We need to focus on what we’ve learned from the crisis and continue to use these our lessons to improve our life and our stress response.

Another thing she discussed is goal setting, and how those goals tend to be hierarchical… so, when we quit goals, it may not be that we’re falling off course but rather helping our higher-level purpose and goal in life. She says we need a higher-level purpose to help with grit. With so much uncertainty with the pandemic, it is really hard to have grit and be resilient about hierarchical goals, however. So, we need to pivot…. Try to do something different than normal, but that will still lead to your higher-level goal. I would say this is comparable to thinking outside of the box because of the new situations the crisis has provided us. It’s an opportunity to try different things, but still, work towards are higher-level goals. All of these things she said directly relate to what the “Coping Strategies for Success” article said, “Commit to something personally meaningful and important every day” as well as “Take initiative for action when it is appropriate”. This is an appropriate time TO take action is what her point is. You just need to figure out how maybe do that a little differently than normal, but you’ll still be moving towards your higher-level goals.

In the workplace, she says company’s that want a culture of drive and perseverance should also have a hierarchical set of goals. Organizations need to have clarity about their mission statements as well as their goals and objectives to achieve their mission. The same is true for individuals. This helps with resiliency and grit. Every day, management needs to keep driving about what the mission, goals, and objectives are and how their part fits into the greater whole. It’s not fine enough to have an annual meeting and talk about the organization’s mission statement and expect everyone to remember everything from the meeting.

Lastly, another thing she said which correlates to our readings about coping with stress is she said balance is key to a happy and wholesome life. Grit isn’t grinding all the time. She says even the most successful people, they find the time to turn off and have balance. This is what our module about coping with stress talks about. We all need ways to relax and have recreation.

Overall, what I learned most from the talk by Duckworth about finding grit during a crisis is to understand it’s okay to feel bad right now, but you can and should still continue on your path towards your higher-level goals by using the crisis to do things you wouldn’t normally do in order to keep moving forward. Also, I learned that companies who want to encourage grit and be gritty as a company culture should reinforce their mission and the goal and objectives of achieving the mission just as anyone should do individually. Management needs to reinforce and ensure its employees grasp and are passionate about how they fit into the large picture and higher-level goals in the organization. This is fundamental to building a culture of grit, resiliency, and perseverance. We should be, as well, focusing on how we reacted positively from the crisis vs. remaining stuck on the negative part that this happened and the awful pieces of everything. It’s good to keep a positive outlook and keep an eye out for learning opportunities EVEN during a crisis. This will help all of us and society to grow and continue to achieve our dreams and desired outcomes.

We’re all in this together, and there are clearly ways we can use the crisis to be a positive tool for us and find our grit in the process. Thanks, Angela Duckworth for your wisdom during these trying times.


Full Talk: 

Angela Duckworth

Grit (personality trait)

And… “Coping Strategies for Stress” article from our Module 10 homework

What can Managers do to help ease the psychological work-performance effects due to our growing autonomous, social media-driven society?

Is the increasingly popular contemporary management style effective given our changing society?

The contemporary management style has been increasingly growing more popular over the traditional management style.
At the same time, we have been experiencing a growing autonomous and social-media plugged-in society.

The vast benefits of contemporary management styles can clearly be seen. However, when you look at the concerns and potential negatives associated with our growing automation and social media use, we begin to see problems in contemporary management theory.

The movement to a contemporary management style that calls for employees to make decisions for themselves and be more innovative while working in cross-functional teams is arguably a good thing. Employees can now have a work-life balance and be free of the bureaucracy that comes with a hierarchy of management. Information is free-flowing and available readily at our fingertips. (The differences between traditional and contemporary management styles can be found below in Table 1 if you need a refresher.)
However, how do we expect employees to have a larger focus on self-direction and making their own work-life balance while still getting things done… when there are so many negatives on their mental health in these growing autonomous and social media focused times?

Growing anxiety about automation such as a loss of place in society and loss of control, fear of change, job insecurity, and a loss of joy in craftmanship from non-autonomous work among many are at play in our society now and ever-growing. At the same time, we have social media usage that affects us negatively by causing us to compare, have less well-being, and more triggers on our emotional health. (The negatives and positives of automation and social media can be found in Tables 2 & 3 below respectively.)

Just how much do all of these negatives affect our employee’s ability to perform without the traditional management structure of an 8–5 mandated work schedule, hierarchical management as a sense of control to rely on for direction and order leaving us less mentally flexed, and a reliance on being told what to do vs. having to think for ourselves about WHAT we should do?

Is vast information available in a contemporary management style challenging for employees to know what to do with?

For some, management outlining what they need to be doing and by when, etc could be the reprieve they need mentally during times like this.
I believe the negatives of our growing autonomous and social media hyper-driven society could create issues for employees to perform well in a self-directed and innovative way.
From this point of view…
Some of the structure, orderliness, and hierarchy of traditional management styles might be more beneficial to combat the negatives of our changing society.
So, what can managers do?
Ensure there is still available an 8–5 structure if the employee so chooses.
Create templates of work-life balance best approaches and structure that could be used if the employee so chooses.
Be in touch with what the employee is going through at the time with their mental health at this time as they may need a more traditional management approach at times. It may not always be feasible and best to leave your employees with so much room for self-management and cross-functionality that they are at a loss on how to get things done effectively and efficiently.
Ensure your employees understand their role and importance to you and your organization while giving them the right space they need for their emotional well-being.

The links from the sources above are below.

Mental health strain from automation research:

The links from the sources above are below.

Forbes article on social media negative effects on health:

Benefits of social media:

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

20 Ways to Make Your Life Rich and Beautiful

1. Find contentment and see the beauty in the way things are now.

It’s ok to have goals and ambitions, but not at the detriment of finding contentment in the here and now.

Yes, this is very hard sometimes. There is, especially now it seems, a constant urge to do more and be more. We should be able to separate our goals and ambitions from the current life we have and know each one’s place in our lives in a beautiful balance. It will make life so refreshing.

While we may want to fix or improve our lives, our lives are what they are NOW and that’s ok. We all have a unique beauty in our current lives however they may be right now.

Learn to accept, be content, and find beauty in the here and now. However, have goals and ambitions while embracing change.

Balance is key.

2. Read

Subscribe to blogs, newsletters, publications, magazines, or other reading sources that inspire, teach you wisdom, and/or bring beauty into your life.

The key is that they must be of value to you in some way.

Omit and stay away from those that aren’t of value to you. If you don’t, they will become burdens in your life.

3. Reflect on your experiences — at least weekly if not daily.

Start out with weekly to get you started.

What has happened this week? How is this helping me to become a better person, help others to become better, and what are the key takeaways for my life?

These observations and reflections are truly beautiful. They will add to your life.

4. Learn and remember what your simple pleasures are in life.

For example and help with this, visit my Medium article “Life’s Simple Pleasures”.

Quoted from the post, simple pleasures “…are simple things we like and are passionate about in life. This can even be as detailed as the smells, sights, and foods among many other simple and sometimes overlooked details in our life that evoke happiness and joy.”

5. Learn how to eat, drink, and live healthily.

While hard, this will add tremendously to your life.

Why do YOU want to do this? — that is what you need to find out for yourself as it’s different for everyone.

Understanding yourself enough to know why you want to live healthily is the component that makes this most beautiful.

6. Understand your childhood and how it has impacted your adult life.

Many things we don’t understand are linked back to our childhood and the way we learned.

Some can do this on their own and some may need the help of a professional. It’s nothing to be ashamed of or fear.

Learning from our childhood so that we can become the best version of ourselves is one of the most beautiful things we can do in life.

7. Learn about your family and friends.

Don’t build relationships that only skim the surface of what they could be. Learn about and understand those you cherish in your life.

Learning about them will add to your life and also theirs.

Ask them questions, spend time together in-person if you are able, and make sure they know how much they mean to you.

8. Learn to manage your finances well.

Don’t overspend.

Learn to budget your money and live within your means.

Your mind will thank you and so will your wallet.

9. Learn from people who inspire you.

Who are you inspired by? Figure this out as it holds a lot of value in understanding yourself more.

Once you know who you are inspired by, learn from them the most you can.

10. Learn what to cut from your life.

How do you do this? You figure out what kind of life you want and who you are so that you know what to surround yourself with and do.

The key is to know yourself… Knowing yourself doesn’t end once you are sure you do either. We are constantly evolving and changing.

Be in touch with who you are NOW and who you want to become.

11. Travel.

Traveling is nice because it really immerses you in a different culture if you allow yourself to fully experience what the traveling is offering you, but you don’t have to get that full emersion to get the same benefits elsewhere.

If you can’t travel because you either don’t enjoy it for whatever reason or maybe you don’t have the funds to do so right now, then talk to people who have and learn from them.

Talk to and get to know people who are different from you and/or have different cultural backgrounds.

Many people don’t allow themselves to fully experience travel and learn the different views and ways of life that are such great mind-opening experiences. Then, traveling doesn’t offer quite the beautiful learning that’s so great.

Oftentimes, what I notice is that people want to use travel as a way to get attention and feel better than others. That’s not the reason to travel. Your 1,000 photos from Europe don’t make you a grand human being.

Use travel as a means to learn. The world is beautiful.

12. Figure out the career(s) you love.

Yes, a job can just be that — a job. That’s ok and dandy if you want it to be that way. If this is the case, then I would go the mile to ensure that what you’re doing outside of your job at least brings you joy and happiness in some way.

Really the point here is that the term career can mean many things. A stay-at-home mom, for instance, has a tough but rewarding career.

Find what you love, what you feel is rewarding, and what brings you happiness and joy. Then, try to do more of it.

What career(s) we love, find rewarding, and bring us happiness and joy can change throughout our lives, however. Notice what new things you’re loving and what old things that once brought you happiness and joy but no longer are doing so.

Make a career out of going after the things that you love, whether you get paid for them or not. If you’re lucky enough to find this in a typical career, that’s great. If not, don’t sweat it and find it elsewhere.

13. Stop the negativity and complaining constantly.

Yes, we all can get into this rut if we allow ourselves to, but it’s really not healthy or nice to think so negatively.

Look at what you’re having a hard time with and either accept it, move on, or change it. I struggle with this sometimes; I think we all do.

Don’t let it become your life or whole being. It’s ok at times to feel this way, but to constantly be like this isn’t a good thing.

Change your mindset to a positive one or at least make small action steps to try and try again until you get into a better mental habit.

14. Explore any creative side you may have.

If you’re feeling an untapped creative part of you that wants so badly to be explored, explore it without fear.

Some people don’t care about creative passions and maybe they know they aren’t the creative kind. That’s fine. Good, they know themselves. But, even so — I would still ask them to evaluate if they really don’t or if they could be simply ignoring their creativity. No harm is done though if you don’t have any single itch in your entire soul for creativity.

If you do have a creative itch… Let your creative side come out.

Be a kid again making some shitty first-drafts (we do that as adults too — FYI. It’s ok. It’s normal.) or artwork or crafts that only your mother would love. Haha.

Do it and do it again and again… you’ll get better. I promise. And if you don’t get better, well it’s still a lot of fun, isn’t it?

Do it even if you don’t think you’re all that great at it. It’s ok. Pablo Picasso didn’t make a masterpiece overnight. It takes work to create skill and success.

Don’t be afraid to explore all parts of you. You can be more than what you think you may be… explore it all. Every beautiful piece of you.

15. Figure out your style.

Find the fashions that allow you to express yourself the best possible way to the world. I know… clothes shouldn’t matter. But, they do.

Your clothes and the way you keep yourself groomed are some of the first things that people see when they meet you or even look at you across the coffee shop. (As I’m sitting here in a coffee shop today, I thought that was most fitting.)

You don’t have to dress like Beyonce to have fashion or style either. If you find jeans and a t-shirt is your style…. Own it! The key here is that you want to know what styles and fashions you feel most comfortable with and love.

People can sense when your style and your heart don’t match.

16. Learn that relationships (all do, but here I want to focus on romantic partner relationships) take work and commitment.

If you want everything to be easy and the greatest thing since sliced bread in your relationship or future relationships at all times… you’re in for a rude awakening.

Relationships have highs and lows just the same as we do in our own lives.

We aren’t always going to feel grand whether in a relationship or not. We shouldn’t expect pure perfection in our relationship or future relationships (future — if you’re single and thinking about your ideal relationship).

Everything ebbs and flows. If we didn’t have the ebbs and flows, it honestly wouldn’t be as beautiful or as grand. Those highs and lows make up our lives.

17. Learn to be happy alone, if even for a short amount of time. (And I don’t mean for you to become a loner!)

What I mean is for you to learn that you can make your own company and do things on your own and actually enjoy them.

Some people think they need someone with them or talking with them at all times. Mostly, it’s because somewhere deep down they might be afraid of being alone or don’t know how to handle their own presence.

Quietness is ok sometimes. Being alone is ok sometimes. Not to excess, but some time alone to yourself is ok and needed.

If you find being alone hard to do, just start out slow and increase your confidence with time. You’ll thank yourself for giving yourself this opportunity.

18. Figure out everyone who helped you to become who you are today. Thank them.

No more explanation needed. Give thanks to those who helped you.

19. Learn what environments and spaces you thrive in.

Can you work well in a coffee shop surrounded by people or do you work better alone at home?

Do you need your office in the basement or your office on the main floor beside the windows that give you that natural light you so desperately need to feel even more you and refreshed — ready to show the world all you got?

Figure out the environments and spaces you need to do your best and be your best. The little details matter.

20. Take notice of all the beautiful things in life and in yourself.

Not only those in this list but also or instead those that you find beautiful.

There’s so much to learn and so much beauty in this life and in yourself that we take for granted.

Notice. Learn. — This is beautiful.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Let go, freely and beautiful…

Taken in a park in downtown Montreal, Québec, Canada

Life is but moments. Each moment unique and in its place, for the right reason, we may not know now, later, if ever.

Much like the birds come and go, freely and beautiful…

We should learn to let go, freely and beautiful.

They’ll come when we are meant to meet and leave when they are ready.

Let be.
Beauty is around us and in us.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Old Treasures — What could you find during Quarantine?

Sorting through old things I kept over the years today, and I ran across these old treasures. A life timeline of important events and a picture of my childhood feet even! ha!

These are priceless. What do you have stored away that might make you smile? Being in quarantine is a nice time to dig into old treasures and take a walk back in history. It’s fun and it cleans your closets!

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Journals from my Childhood

I found these journals from my childhood from when I was age 8–9. Interesting what we think as children and what are interests are then. I found a lot of similarities in my current passions, and that’s fascinating we can begin to formulate our interests from such a young age. I see my personality through these journals too. Funny and makes me smile.

Some observations from my childhood journals about myself:
  • I used to love Halloween, but that changed! I now hate it. ha.
  • I was always very detailed, observational, factual, and curious as a kid. Nothing has changed. I’m still that way.
  • It seemed I used to reflect on things being fun and that I looked forward to the feelings and experiences of even little things in life when I was a child. I should do more of this as my journals are filled with anticipation of life from the small to the large events and are very much filled with happiness, gratefulness, and joy. I try to do this now, but it seems instinctual as a child from reading these journals. Time to slow life down.
  • I always loved food.
  • I did not like reading. I liked watching TV and I had a whole host of informational and fun TV shows and things for fun to do at any point. I kept busy and informed for my little self. Savored those shows. and I was proud of my knowledge I’d learn from them.
  • I loved competition.
  • I liked games and playing with my friends and family.
  • I wanted it quiet to learn. And kept my little mind focused on school and good grades.
  • I cherished all the people in my life and lived through their passions and love as being of great importance to me.
  • I was funny and witty.
  • I was creative.
  • I always loved math even from age 8.
  • I always loved music and playing instruments.
  • I used to love drawing… what happened?

October 1996

10/01/1996 — October is Halloween. October is bow season which means hunting. October is Christopher Columbus’ birthday. And it may snow in this month. And October means only one more month until my birthday.

10/3/1996 — A pumpkin is round. It has seeds in it. A pumpkin you put out for Halloween. It is very scary. I like pumpkins because my mom makes pumpkin pie on Halloween. A pumpkin is very colorful. Pumpkins are sweet and so are you.

10/07/1996 — Trick or treat is fun. What I like the most is getting ready so I can go trick or treating. I like treat or treating with my friends. And I don’t like to stay at home on Halloween. I just can’t wait for trick or treat day. But, I’m sure a lot of children are going to have cavities. On my favorite day of the year. Halloween.

Date Unknown — On the weekend, I went to Hillsdale park. And I watched the night of the twister. On Saturday, we stayed home and watched T.V.

10/16/1996 — I am going to be a princess for Halloween. Halloween is very fun. I am getting ready for the Halloween Party. I like playing outside for recess. Yesterday night, I skated outside. It was fun. Outside I played on “something — I don’t know what!? lol And my favorite thing in school is math.

10/17/1996 — Yesterday for supper, I had a pizza and salad with Italian dressing. I asked my Mom a joke. It was how was the first pizza hamburger made? And she said, “nothing”. I said, the answer, “You put pizza hut and burger king together” Before I went to conference, my next door neighbor came over. Today, I am going to my dad’s. Probably to my grandma and grandpa’s too. My dad’s girlfriend has a nine-month baby. On November 7th, she’ll be one years old. Out for recess this morning, I’m thinking about playing on the monkey bars. They are fun, but they give me blisters on my hands.

Date Unknown — My grandpa and I played rummy last weekend, and I beat him. Rummy is fun. I look forward to doing it again. And, I went to Big Boy on Saturday night. It was sure tasty. I had a shake. And that night I went to my dad’s and played with my sister Julia.

Date Unknown — Dear Great Pumpkin, Your always out on Halloween. Your better in a pie. You come out on Halloween and you scare people. Your better than me because you scare people better than me.

Date Unknown — I like Halloween that’s the best thing in October. But, I like one other thing too. I like the Fall. And the party today, and the movie, but really I like the whole thing.

November 1996

11/5/1996 — “When I’m Tired I” — When I’m tired I get so I wont listen. One of my eye’s goes crossed-eyed. I want to go to sleep in the living room. My mom says to “go to your room and sleep”, but I don’t want to. One minute I’m asleep.

11/06/1996 — Election ’96 — Clinton won the ’96 pole. I’m glad he did. Dole was pretty close. Probably only got just a little up. I stayed up til 10 minutes to 9. I couldn’t stay up any more, but it was fun watching it.

11/11/1996 — “Weekend” — I watched T.V. I went to video connection with my friend. She spent the night. We had a great time. We watched “The Fox and the Hound”. We had ice cream. The next morning, I went to church with my friend. Friday, I went to my grandma’s. It really snowed last night. I like winter.

11/12/1996 — “Why Dolphins Call” — I like the part were the pirates turn into dolphins. If I were a pirate, I would of left the boy laying because maybe he was friend with them yet. I like that book.

11/14/1996 — One day a good was swimming the lake. He went up with a duck. That duck said, “Do you want to play hide and go seek?” Well, the good said, “Yes”. So, they played. The duck said, “Your it”. The duck hid. The goose started counting and counting. He went to look for the duck. He couldn’t find the duck. He was gone.

Date Unknown — “Turkey” — My grandma told me a true story about a turkey. One day when my grandma was working in the barn, she saw there was a tornado storm warning and the turkey was out there. It came at the end of it that the turkey was still sitting on the fence-post, but that turkey had no feathers. They were all gone.

11/18/1996 — “Weekend” — Angela went to the mall. Grandma went to the mall. I went to the mall. We all shopped together. Saturday, Santa came to the mall in Adrian at ten-o-clock a.m. I spent a night with my dad.

11/20/1996 — “Sick day” — I was sick Tuesday. I had the 24-hour-bug. I threw up in the office. I came home and went to bed and didn’t wake up until 6:00. I was hungry, but I couldn’t eat soup. I came to school. I couldn’t find the classroom.

11/22/1996 — “Talents” — I have talents at singing and drawing. I am good at playing instruments. I would like to be good at playing soccer. Sometimes, I draw sitting at the table or in my bedroom. I sing at my dad’s and at my aunts.

11/26/1996 — “Thanksgiving” — For thanksgiving my mom’s making stuffing, smashed potatoes, turkey, vegetables, pie. My mom and mines friends are coming and family’s. It’s good to celebrate Thanksgiving. A lot of people died on the mayflower. I like thanksgiving. You get food and get to see your family.

December 1996

The nutcracker was on in December last year. WE was going to walk there, but it snowed. WE got there and they gave us candy canes. We got back and we got to go somewhere again to the church. I got presents. It was fun. After that we got ice cream. And a few moments later, it was time to go home.

In a story, it said his belly when he shakes it’s like jelly. i Have seen him many times. I saw on his lap one day. I was only 3 years old and I said to him, You’re fat. He said, I eat lots of cookies every year. I like Christmas day. It is fun because you get to be with your family.

Dear Maria, For Halloween, I was a barbie. My hair color is brown. On Christmas day, I get up at about 3 o clock in the morning. We are making presents for our moms. I can’t wait to see you. Your Pen-pal, Aleesa.

The way I feel — I’m glad because we are in the first place in the coin drive. We beat Ms. Pretty’s room. But if we don’t bring money we wont beat them. The reason why I have not brought money is because I gave my money to my mom to put up. But she said this morning she couldn’t find my money. I had 32 dollars. I’m going to look for my money tonight.

My favorite food is poop. On christmas day, my mom makes fudge. It is good. I like my mom’s candy. She makes it out of peanut butter. I’m sure you will like the fudge my mom’s bringing for Christmas party. The walk through is tonight. I’m sure we might be a pretty room. We made stockings today. Our year is almost done. They said on he radio the 1996 cars are almost almost history.

Aleesa’s December — December is a great month because Christmas is the 25th of December. And we have a party on the 20th of December. I like Christmas because you get presents. Mrs. Johnson is an excellent teacher. I brought fudge for the party. It is good I think. WE having a pizza party too. Because we won the can drive. I like Christmas.

January 1997

January — New year 1997. Cold weather. Snow. Ice fishing. Ice Skating. Wood cutting. Muzzle load season. Snowmobiling. Hibernation. Super bowl. Basketball.

I beat my grandpa in a game of rummy. I got a baby doll. It is ceramic. I went to my grandma’s and grandpa’s and dads. I played with my cat. I went over to my aunt and uncles. I saw lots of different animals. I got the flu and then everybody got it.

On Christmas — My mom got a new coat and an outfit. My dad got peanut butter candy he liked it. My brother got sock s he liked them. I think about everybody liked their stuff.

Snowy days — Today is a snowy day. It is only about five degrees out, but I heard on the news that there is only twenty degrees and that is not going to last. I think most of the cities are cold. The snow is about 4 inches in Jonesville. It is very cold. They wanted to know more about the degrees and that’s why I knew it was 4 inches.

Fish — These are the things that I know about fish. Fish have scales. They have eyes. They aeat fish. They have fins. There are all kinds of fish. There are different colors of fish. Some fish bite other fish. I don’t like eating fish over to my mom’s. They have lots of fish.

Gennie — Gennie came to our house. She came to see the new connary. We went to get some snacks at the buddys. The store was filled with things to eat. WE got some celery and peanut butter. We got to the checkout land. We saw aunt merry. Aunt merry came to gennie’s house. We had celery with peanut butter on it.

The best day of January — School is getting better because were getting into harder work. I like that. I got to watch tv more and go outside more. Got to go on the “A” honor roll. That’s hard. Got to bring in the new year. Had to eat chilly “Yuck”.

February 1997

Valentines Day — I like valentines day because I get presents and candy and valentine cards. I get spoiled on Valentines day. I eat valentines day dinner. We usually get a chicken because my Mom is diabetic and party at school.

Weekend — I went to my dads. We played a game of sorry and my dad won the game. And I played with my cat bonnieclyde and I played with my sister Julia. I went over to my grandpa’s and grandma’s. I played a game of rummy with my grandpa. He won. Grandma and me played the piano and we played mary had a little lamb. Because my mom and my dad are divorced.

Abraham Lincoln — Abraham Lincoln was a president. He lived in a big white house. You can see his face on a five dollar bill. He died a long time ago. He had a wife. He had a lot of friends. He was a very good president.

Valentines Party — Today is valentines day and party. I’m excited about it. For valentines day my mom gave me a twin sheet over and baha game, tites 2 par. Like I told you, my mom spoils me on valentines day. Usually people and kids don’t get that much. I got the class valentines cards. They are the Muppet babies. I have a friend. Her name is Samantha. I got her a valentines day card, crayola crayons, and coloring book.

Great Pandas — A panda is a black and white animal. They live in a bamboo forest in the upper mountain slopes of western and southwestern China. Giant pandas are rare and are protected by law in China. Zoologists disagree whether to classify pandas in the raccoon family or in the bear family or in a family of their own. Giant pandas have a chubby body with black eyes and broad band of black across the shoulders. It’s getting hard to protect pandas because every 15 to 20 years bamboo die and that’s what they eat. That’s why they live in bamboo forests.

What I learned — I learned today that not to use outside voices inside a building i’m in. I’ve been having a hard time doing this because my friends and me go outside and make a lot of noise and people complained. And we should start doing it in school. The whole classroom was noisy and was not doing their work. That’s bad. That makes your grades go down.

The Boy Who Cried Wolf Response — Where you surprised that the boys father didn’t punish him for losing the sheep? Yes, I was surprised. What would you have done? I would punish the Sheppard boy. I liked that act.

Best of February — I like February because of book-it is done. The reason why is because I get to go to pizza hut. My favorite food in pizza hut is pizza. I watch t.v. and I watch Save by the bell and Klarissa explains it all. After school, i watch Jack Hanna’s wild adventures. It helps me on science. It has a lot of animals.

March 1997

Florida — I would like to fly in a airplane and go to florida. Go to disney land and ride a cruiseboat, listen to the boats horns go off, and find sea shells from the ocean. Have my mom rent a boat and go on it and have some of my friends come and go to Hawaii for two days. Take a walk and move down to florida in a house.

Musical Talent — I am talented at playing the recorder. Because I can pick it up and just play a song right off the bat. I think I’m born with talent I got because all the Tomans can do that. My aunt could play the organ when she was 4 years old.

Video-tape contest- 70 percent of the world is water. Fish have backbones. There are different kinds of fish. Fish get oxygen from the water. Fish hear with their sides of their body. Many oceans have lost their fish from people fishing. Some live their life in water. Fish know where their home is by smell. Fish have to float in the water first before they can swim. They move their tales side to side so that they can swim. They are different colors of fish. There are different shapes of fish. I think people should stop eating fish or not catch a lot of fish. Fish have fins and galls and scales. Fish are hatched from eggs. Their parents leave them alone.

On the Banks of Plum Creek- I liked chapter 20 “School”. They said they didn’t need to go to school, so they picked up a book that their mother was reading and copied what she said and said “yes, I can”.

No Power — I woke up Friday morning and went to the bathroom. Just got in the bathroom tried to turn on the light, but it didn’t work. There was no water. We lit candles. That made it a bit better. We still didn’t have power. Our food is going to spoil. They’re suppose to get us lights today. We were supposed to get lights yesterday, but we didn’t. There was a tree that fell on a car at my grandma and grandpa’s and a tree fell down in their yard.

Nicknames — I have a lot of nicknames people call me Lisa, Alisha. They spell my name different ways too. They spell it like this Alisa, Alessa, Allessa, aleasa. All of them are wrong. Here is how you spell my name like this Aleesa.

Cat and Kittens — I want to have a cat. A nice fluffy cat. A brown and white cat. One that will not run away from me. Or hissssssss at me or scratch me. I want to have a kitten that will sleep with me at night. One that will not catch birds. One that will catch mice or rats. So, I wont have them in my house. One that will not go in the road. My kitten got hit by a car.

Railroad Camp — I like when they say there was no sound. But the horses tapping their fee. They could not let marry the front of the seat. I like when she goes out and rides the ponies. When loria fees the ponies.


Happy Birthday — I love my birthday. My birthday is fun. Because I get one year older and the presents.

This summer, I went shopping to see Twister. WE went to jackson to go see the Cascades there was water and it lighted up.

I’m going to be in the Hillsdale parade. I’m going to walk with Bucky. I’m going to have a lot of fun and I can’t believe it is here.

We went to the Kroger parking lot and watched the cheerleaders, then we went to Wendy’s and I got a kids meal and a frosty. Then, I went home and ate it and it was very good.

My friend Amanda comes over to play in my tent and this morning and I woke up and there was no milk so I went to my next door neighbor and got some.

As they went down the hill, Pa woke up because of the pig. I love little house in the woods. That’s the carpenter. I like it. I think it was funny.

My grandma is 73 and my grandpa is 84. My grandpa’s favorite thing to do is working on cars and trucks. And my grandma’s favorite thing to do is buy things for her. My grandpa’s chores are to mow and work on things. My grandma’s chores are to cook and clean. They live in Onsted. They have a white house.

Monday night I had a loose tooth when I came back from Brownies. I saw it was only on one root and I twisted it and it came right out. Now I have a window in my mouth. I put in under my pillow and I got a one dollar and fixed supper last night. We had chicken and french friends and apple and for dessert we had cheesecake. And did doesn’t want to get up that night and finally I got up and then my mom turned on the radio.

The moon has craters and highlands and gravity keep the moon and the earth together. The moon has mars. The moon has rays. Revolves means to go around an object. Rotate means to spin around in one space. The shapes of the moon that you see are phases.

I went to the fair on Monday and I was in the parade. I rode on the Strawberry and the firetruck and the thunder bolt and spaceship 2000. But before my mom was in the fairgrounds she got a ticket because she was in a no parking. I had french friends and drinked pepsi.

Yesterday, on the way to Grandmas I looked for yellow cards and there was only 1 car. When it was time to go we went to McDonalds and on the way back I looked for white cards and there was 90 cards. And I got my hair cut about 8 inches was cut off.

Decade Interviews from a 2003 School Project

This was a school project I did in 2003. I was sorting through old things today, and I ran across this. I don’t like to keep paper; I move things into an electronic format if I want to keep them. This is something I want to keep forever as it’s family history and heritage as well as a timeless reading for years to come for me, my family, and anyone who may get some enjoyment out of them. Enjoy!


Saturday, April 4, 2020

10 Beautiful Fashion & Beauty Tips


Remember, natural beauty is you at your rawest form when you’re around nobody and don’t care what people think is the most beautiful beauty and fashion. No clothing should hide the real, natural…. You. Choose clothing that expresses your authentic self to yourself & the world.


What colors are you drawn to and always love? Incorporate these into your fashion.


What clothing textures feel the best to you? Don’t always go for the things that catch your eye immediately, go for textures that make you feel happy and cozy. Give this a try… Sounds funny, but it really does help you in the long run. Go to a clothing store and simply use your sense of touch and feel not just your eyes to see what clothing textures you like best. When you find texture(s) you like, check the tag and see what kind(s) of fabric it is. Make a list of your favorites. Then, when you shop for clothing, you can refer back to your favorite list. When shopping though, always use your other senses besides your eyes. Use your sense of touch & feel too.


Less is more. This is what I’ve found to be true, but others can and may disagree. Just like when designing a room, choose a focus point for your fashion. Don’t make multiple focus points as this can become gaudy and you look like you overdid it. Wear more simple patterns and colors except for maybe your accessories for example…. let one or more of your accessories become your focus point in your look (or if not an accessory, choose your pants as your focus point and tame down the rest of your look to accentuate the pants).


Don’t forget that fashion isn’t everything… being healthy is beautiful. Work on your health. Eat well, drink plenty of water, get in enough exercise. Not only will you look great, but you’ll feel great and show the world your best self. This is beautiful.


Tame the facial hair! Make sure your eyebrows look great (both women AND MEN) & keep your facial hair kept up for whatever style you choose. (men & women). All the fashion sense in the world will not do you any good if all anyone stares at is your uni-brow! 🙂


Get plenty of sleep. Sleep does amazing things for our body and looks. It keeps you looking your healthiest and youngest. Sleep removes those dark circles under your eyes (well, sometimes!). It gives you energy and energy shows your best, most beautiful self to yourself and others.


Have some crazy pieces you love. Our emotions and states may be different each day. So, have clothing that you love even on your emotional days. I have punk days. I have girly days. I have sit in front of the couch in my comfy clothes days. It’s okay to have variety for those extra special days.


Don’t underestimate or write off thrift stores (or any used clothes) for your fashion needs. I’ve found TONS of designer clothes for under $5 sometimes. To find high-quality clothes at thrift-shops I’ve always found the following to be true: High-quality clothes will have a feel & look to them. So, reallyyyy get to understand tips # 2 & 3. Once you’re able to quickly notice the difference in clothing textures you can easily and quickly scan thrift-store racks for very high-quality clothing. Study your favorite clothes. Get to know them… how do they feel and how do they look compared to other clothes. You’ll then find thrift shopping to be a breeze and a huge cost-saver.


Pay attention to how your tastes are changing. Go through your closet & beauty regime every few months to ensure what you have still aligns with your most authentic self. Donate, give away, or sell what isn’t for you anymore or put them in a drawer hidden away for a while and see in a few months if you still don’t like them. Don’t keep everything for years, update your fashion to be real with who you are now.

Hope you enjoyed these 10 beautiful fashion & beauty tips!

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Once Love, but now a weak friendship in a cage… "Goodbye, my free bird. Goodbye, my love."

Ironically, I opened Unsplash after writing this to find a picture for this writing…. I opened to this picture staring at me. A picture I’d downloaded years ago that I loved so dearly for its beauty. And oddly… it fits. It fits this writing so perfectly… “Goodbye, my free bird. Goodbye, my love.”

I had so much hope… For us, for me.

Now I see you from a screen with our broken dreams only for me to feel.

I’ve tried to swallow my hurt, my sadness, my jealousy, my hope, my countless feelings including still love… But I can’t. I must feel them tonight. Now from this cage because this is all that can be….

But still, I have hope. And why?! Whyyy…
If only it could not be…
But, I now feel it deteriorating me.

And so, I wonder… Is it worth it?
From this cage… This screen. This so little of a being. For us, for me. For what may and what was.

This. This is not anything. It’s weak. It’s pitiful and sad.

For what was, was beautiful and open and free, but this…. This is now from a cage. A cage that I’m now keeping for us.

And should it be….. I think… I think… I think… I think….. Well, it’s….something…

What shall I do?… Let you go.

I did… I came back. And back and back and back. To this cage… For me, for us. I had hope. I had hope….I had hope. Time after Time, I’ve returned. To this cage, this screen. This pitiful cell of what is left.

Should I? I probably shouldn’t, yet I wonder…. Am I in the cage with you!?!

Maybe we both need life to kick us, and this cage to make us realize what once was or shall ever be for us or anyone…..shall not come to this.

Is it a lesson!?

Don’t give up on what is free, open, and beautiful… For if you do, you then chase it again and again even from this cage. But, the question is… Is it truly this anymore!? From this cage….. I think not.

It’s no longer anything from this screen, but images from this cage of what once was and hopes that aren’t worth it when one won’t see that you come back and back to this cage and you will not let me have one glimpse inside. Inside of you. Nor respect what was.

Keep you in this cage, you come back to.

It’s both of us. We do this. And we must stop.

Move on, my free bird. Move on.

For we danced, as free birds… And we shall move on, as free birds. The cage is open. Wide-open… Move on.

Move on, my love bird… My free, beautiful love. Move on. I set you free…..

Wait, is that…. me?!?!

Well, my love birds….be free. Let it be.

Move on. If it can’t be here in this cage, it must be out there. Free. Both of us.

For both of us must go. That’s how we came, this is how we go.

Free birds.