Posts Tagged ‘the bagladys guide to elegant living’

Step Back and Get in the Flow

April 18, 2010

In my way of thinking, that’s what vacations are for. 

Sometimes I am just too close to the problem when I’m in a workaholic mode. I might hit a block in the project I’m working on, but my tendency is often to keep trying to break thru it, rather than step back and let the answer emerge.

Can’t we all be so hard headed sometimes? We can be so sure we have the right answer that we can’t see the real truth standing in front of us.

In my best moments, I know the truth.

Life is meant to flow.

On vacations, we just naturally fall into that mode simply by relaxing and allowing ourselves to take a ‘vacation’ from our perceived problems. Miraculously, that different perspective allows new possibilities and solutions to arise.

Just changing your mindset from one of obsessing to wondering can make all the difference.

Take your finances for instance. If you are one of the millions of people in America today who are upside down in mortgage and credit card debt, step back. Consider a new way of thinking. In fact, to truly solve that problem, you absolutely must come to a new way of thinking.

Your financial problems are not really about money in the first place. Something happened long before you got in this position and it happened inside your brain.

Your thoughts about money dictated what you would buy and how you would pay for it. And, believe it or not, even before that, your thoughts about happiness and fulfillment are where it really started.

After all, didn’t you buy all those things, the bigger house and the newer car, because you thought they would make you happy?  Now that you realize the stress that came along with out of control spending was not worth it, you have a wonderful opportunity to change your mind and look at your life through new eyes.

                            Changing your mind is the most important change you will ever make.

The predicament you may be in from the old mindset, can take some time to resolve, but with your new found knowledge, your long term solution is at hand. And, during this time of tightening your belt, you  can now see great purpose in learning the skills that will build a solid financial future for your family.

To everything there is a season. Make this your season of learning.

Check out Join me there where, along with examining the way you look at life and money, we can stay connected thru the forum.  At the same time, my program motives you with a better understanding of making the internet work for you by helping you develop your web presence.

“No wonder I’m still single. I live in a convent.”

October 31, 2009

I was joking with a friend the other day and said that to her in conversation.

However, it is true. I’ve been divorced for 16 years and have no good prospects. Considering that, isn’t it interesting that my house used to be the home of the nuns who taught at the Catholic school here in town.

If you have been following my work, you know that I believe we play a huge part in our circumstances. Whether we are conscious of it or not, the universe is responding to us. So, that thought can lead to all kinds of fascinating introspection.

Recently it has been about my house; why I bought one this big and why I don’t seem to be able to sell it. See, I think God has an amazing sense of humor and I have a lot of fun watching him interact in my life. I think he is getting a big kick out of me and my house thoughts right now.

Of course, when I bought this house, I certainly wasn’t thinking about its past inhabitants. (In-habit –ants.)

 Ha Ha…. Even that is funny.

Of my own free will, I bought it about 5 years ago. It was my hide away as I wrote “The Baglady’s Guide to Elegant Living.” I could see the purpose in being alone then. I needed focus. Indeed, I have an ‘elegant life’ in this big old Victorian. And since I live in a very small town, I do have the solitude of a nun when I am home.

The parish priest lives next door and the church is next to the rectory. With Father Chris and I being the only people living on our block, it’s practically holy! I’m counting Father and the church as holy. I added the ‘practically’ to allow for me in the mix.

But, you know what?

I’m happy.

In fact, I’ve been single so long now that I almost can’t imagine sharing my space with another person full time. Oh there were years when I longed for a life partner. I had some long relationships that all ended with me spending months pining over the loss.

But that is all ancient history now. Now I am at peace and truly satisfied with the life I have. There is an upside to being alone. Most people are so busy fretting over ‘being alone’ that they don’t see it.

What it is… is an amazing sense of being able to be led, to listen to the quiet voice that can so easily remain unheard.

It gives one the freedom to, on a whim, call someone that just pops into mind or to stop everything and go to the aid of a friend in need without worrying if I’ll be upsetting the apple cart at home.

I find great joys in the closer relationship with my best friend and Lord. I’m not Catholic, but I think I more fully understand the devotion that nuns must feel. I used to see their lives as a sacrifice but this life I have is a joy.

 And like many nuns, I live in a beautiful home and love God with all my heart.

You never can tell.

Someday my home might sell.

A knight in shining armor might sweep me off my feet.

In the meantime, here I am, following my heart wherever it leads me.

 And… I know it leads me home.

Who Will You Be Today, Your Authentic Self or …?

September 26, 2009

I’ve long considered writing a book about all the personalities we employ as we go about the days and years of our lives.  Of course, there is the daughter, the employee, the mom and the wife, but there are also more complex versions of all of us that we employ based on the circumstance and our frame of mind at the time. Some show us who we want to be more of and others give us a view into our… well… let’s call it our “self improvement needed” side.

We all lose our way from time to time and, believe me, I am no exception. I’ve recently had an extended encounter with my ‘Over Accommodating’ personality. As many of you know, I speak for a good number of women’s groups around the country.  The churches and organizations who host me can get a very good idea of the subject matter of my talks by first reading The Baglady’s Guide to Elegant Living. In the book I talk about finding your authentic self and living from that place.

I’m so thankful for the overall freedom that my hosts afford me. We discuss in advance what part of my message will be of most interest to the attendees. I do make notes to speak from and then, once on stage, I let spirit lead me. It is my intent to entertain and, hopefully, impart a bit or two of wisdom to the audiences.

Starting in April, as I prepared to work with a new group, it was requested that I put in writing what I would say, and, trying to be accommodating, I did that. They had other requirements of what I needed to include and so I added and rearranged. We were working back and forth for quite some time and I was beginning to be concerned that in order to meet the restrictions I would either have to memorize or read my talk. That is certainly different than my normal presentation method, but I wanted to be cooperative.

It all kind of snuck up on me, but looking back on it now, I see that I started dragging my feet. Not on just that presentation, but on my work in general. Something just didn’t feel right and I found myself doing everything I could think of to avoid my work.  I’ve been walking around feeling guilty about doing nothing productive, but I just haven’t been able to make myself do much of anything for a couple of months now.

It was only last night that I finally got it, I’d lost my way. I’d forgotten who I was. I’d been so busy trying to be what someone else needed me to be that I forgot who I was. And so it was like I was wandering aimlessly in the desert with no water in sight.  The ‘Over Accommodating’ personality had descended upon me like a thief in the night. Little by little, I had tried to make myself fit into someone else’s truth, and had lost track of myself.

A round peg doesn’t fit into a square hole, but we can sure wear ourselves out trying. And often, as in my case, blindly so. Discovering my true, authentic self, and continuing to live from that place, is my real work.  And whenever I forget, my step will be a little less lively. Inspiration will wane.

Last night, after a barely perceptible four month slide away from my true self, I finally realized that I just couldn’t do it. In my effort to be cooperative, I had abandoned ‘me’. Neither party was at fault. We simply were not compatible.

All it took was remembering my true self and recognizing that I was out of alignment. Once able to see the problem, I got back on the right track. And immediately things changed.  Today my life is once again filled with light. I’m able to work and inspiration has returned.

Grandma Looking at Me

March 27, 2009

My Aunt Rose Audrey is in her late 80s. She is at the time in her life when she wants to see to it that each of us gets whatever keepsakes we may want from her home.

The one thing I have always wanted, is the single photo of my grandma, just the way I remember her. It is the one that hangs in my parent’s house. Each of my aunts and uncles have a copy.

It was taken in the 60s by my mom, in front of the fiberglass curtains at our house.  Never wanting to deprive anyone of the photo, I’ve not even asked about getting one.

Aunt Rose Audrey has that picture of grandma in her living room. On a recent trip, as I was walking down the long hallway from the back porch to the kitchen, I noticed the same photo sitting on the dresser in the back bedroom and asked if I could have it.

To my delight, I was able to take it home that same day.

Now grandma’s photo sits in my living room next to the television.

She smiles the same loving smile that welcomed me all my life. 

And she smiles my Baglady’s gentle and loving smile. Because, you see, she was the inspiration for the character.

If I could have one wish for each person in the world, it would be for you to have someone like my grandma in your own life; a person who always loves you unconditionally, just as much thru all your trials as thru your accomplishments.

Fortunes without a Cookie

March 20, 2009

Isn’t that a neat title? Kind of cryptic. It makes you wonder what the blog will be about.

Surprise, surprise! The title is it. Unfortunately I have no subject to match it. I’ve got a bunch of titles for new books, too. No content, just the titles.

Writer’s block, you might ask? Maybe.

Or… maybe I’m just finally ready to let you in on my ‘quirky side’, as my sister calls it. Sonja would be so much better at telling these stories than me. So, I’ll tell a quirky story about my family instead. Because, (secret revealed) our entire family is… shall we say… unique.

We’ve always been atypical.

Imagine this.

In the 1950s our mom and dad had what seemed like, on the outside, a normal relationship; 1 car, 5 kids born in 6 years, dad worked and mom stayed home washing diapers, cooking and cleaning. 

But guess what else.  

While dad was at work, mom remodeled the house. I don’t mean that she hired it done. Mom tore down walls and rebuilt others.

She studied Uri Geller and the Roswell incident. We did experiments with small pyramids and their preserving powers. 

Mom studied the Bible and metaphysics.

Think of it, a family of 7 on a butcher’s salary. There wasn’t extra money for anything. But I don’t ever remember hearing the words, we can’t afford it.

No, we heard that “Your father is on an economy drive.”

 Same message, different energy.

Cool, huh?  

We learned to be resourceful and find ways to make money if we wanted something.

With 5 kids eating everything in sight dad did figure out how to preserve a treat just for him. He bought coconut cookies. He was the only one in the family who would eat them.

Smart dad.

So, let’s see. I actually may be able to tie this back to the title in spite of myself.  I got the cookie. And, you know… 

Without a doubt, my family has been my truest fortune.


Miss Goody-Two-Shoes Goes on a Rampage

March 15, 2009

Many of you know me as a person who is prone to looking on the bright side. Look out!

As you may know, I live in a 100 year old Victorian home. In a house, you can imagine, that occasionally may need work.

“To be expected,” you might say.

And I agree.

I keep up with it, if I know something is amiss, I get ‘my fix-it guy’ (The one who fixes all things broken in the house).

Well, last month I was only home about 5 days.

While I was away the heat was turned down to just above freezing.  I was more than shocked to get a gas bill for $290.00.

My personal opinion was that the unit had epilepsy.

By that I mean that it goes along working just fine most of the time and then, Whammo!

All of a sudden there is a glitch and it stops. Then, when it corrects itself, it starts working again.

Since I wasn’t at home anyway, I could put up with the heater not working. But… when the gas bill was outrageous and the heat still was not working…

Now THAT’s a problem.

So, I called in my guy. And he called in another guy.

They decided that the lack of a cold air return for my first floor system was the problem. I’d known I needed this done for several years but had tried to get along without it.

However, since they believed it was the reason for the high utility bill, I finally acquiesced to the solution.

Even though the solution cost me almost $600 (more than my normal full year in gas bills), the prospect of an even higher bill this month while I am home made me bite the bullet.

“So,” you may ask, “what’s your beef?”

After two days of beautiful weather, last night it got cold again. I turned the thermostat up and later on went downstairs to find the first floor all nice and cozy.

(The reason I say the first floor is because my house has several different central air units. The one on the first floor is the one with the problem.)

I was happy and thought that the problem had been solved.  But, this morning I went down to find the temperature was only 55 degrees, the new thermostat (part of the fix) was set at 68.

The heater was not running. No hot air was coming out of the registers.

The epilepsy has returned. 

I’m $600 down, might have another gas bill close to $300 this month, nothing is working any better.

It is really cold down there… and…   

Oh, did I mention that the cold air return they put in required them to saw an 18” square hole into the 100 year old lath and plaster wall?


If you have never dealt with the dust raised by such an act then you have no conception of the kind of clean up required.  Don’t even think about comparing it to sheetrock dust.

Sheetrock dust can’t hold a candle to this. An 18” hole cut out of sheetrock would have taken about 15 minutes to clean up.

EVERYTHING on the entire first floor and the stairway to the second floor was covered with the finest particle dust known to man.  

Imbedded in every piece of furniture, clinging to the walls, enhancing every cob web in the corners of the ceiling, laying in the folds of all the cascading draperies, encrusting every silk flower arrangement, every piece of pottery, the table, the candles, grandma’s antique glassware, the area rugs, the hardwood floors, the fancy woodwork, and all the indoor trees and plants.

And that was only the dining room!

The living room, kitchen, bathroom and family room were covered too! The mess rivaled the damage of the great dust storms of history, completely held within the confines of one house.

I spent the entire last two days cleaning up this dust and I’m not done yet. 

The family room is still barricaded off as if it is a toxic dump site. Even walking thru the room with dust that fine would cause a flurry that could re-contaminate the rest of the house and undo the progress I’ve made thus far. I have paid my dues.

From now on, anyone who says I haven’t done my part to clean up the environment will be shot.

So, to finish this episode of the saga at hand…

It is Sunday, but I called ‘my fix-it guy’ anyway.  I just rambled off this entire litany of woes to him.  

Hearing the tears in my voice, he promised to call the other guy and come and look at the heating unit that has cost the national debt and still won’t keep the house warm. 

 I gotta go now. This guy does so much work for me that he has a key to the house. I have to go downstairs and make sure he doesn’t come in thru the family room and raise the dust.  

A Love Letter to Barnes Jewish Hospital & Washington U Medical

February 28, 2009

Sounds ridiculous, right? 

What kind of nut would write a love letter to a hospital for heaven sake?

Six months ago I would agree with those comments. That was before I was diagnosed with rectal cancer. CANCER! 

In my life I can’t think of anything that would scare me more than that word.

  My doctor in Joplin, MO told me the news. And in the next breath he said he wanted to send me to Barnes for further treatment.

From the moment I got connected to the doctors associated with the hospital, I was taken under the wing of a healing organization that has continued to amaze me at every step.

The first day I arrived in Dr. James Fleshman’s office, I was called in right on time. He decided that surgery was needed. While I was in the office, he assessed that Dr. Steven Hunt was the right surgeon for me.

They conferred and within minutes he had a date scheduled. There were several more tests I would need and their office made the appointments one right after another on that same day. I walked down the hall for a CT scan.

As soon as that was done I was sent to another appointment for pre-surgery blood work. Then in for an EKG. I had taken my laptop along with me, expecting to have a long day of waiting. I never sat in any office or waiting room long enough to even open it up.  

The entire facility ran like a well oiled machine. And then again, not like a machine at all. The kindness, courtesy and professionalism of absolutely every person I encountered were exceptional. The facility was spotlessly clean and beautifully designed. I have to say that it seemed more like a fine hotel than a hospital complex.

I came back about 10 days later for surgery and had the same great experience then. Remember, I had cancer. Cancer and a great experience don’t seem like they would ever be uttered in the same sentence.

But, quite frankly, I was so blown away by every aspect of Barnes that it inspired such confidence. I was sure I was getting the best possible care, the best possible chance to return to health. 

Surgery was successful and I’m out of the woods for the time being. I’ve not stopped talking about Barnes Jewish Hospital and how impressed I am. It’s a 5 hour drive from southeast Kansas to St. Louis, and yet I am so sold on your organization that I will continue all my treatment with you.  It is so worth the trip.

In closing, thank you sincerely for the excellence of your organization and the genuine caring spirit of the entire staff.  I continually see commercial where patients talk about the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.  I tell everyone I should do a commercial for you.

Dina Dove, author

Rule Followers and Rule Breakers

February 18, 2009

Maybe there are more than 2 types of people in the world… (DUH)… but for today’s conversation, let’s just break them down to 2.

                Rule Followers (RFs)

                Rule Breakers (RBs)

Now let’s add a little twist and give those 2 sub-types.

                Enlightened Rule Followers (ERFs)

                Enlightened Rule Breakers (ERBs)

I’d be the Rule Breaker type. So I’ll just put that out there right up front.  

There was a day when I lived an RB kind of life, but I’ve now graduated to the enlightened group. Let me explain.

There are such vast differences in perception between RBs and RFs that often they can’t get along with each other at all. The down side of the rule breaker category, I must admit, could be living outside the law, and that is not good.

But the upside RBs are the innovators, the creative sorts, often entrepreneurs that just dare the world to tell them something is impossible so they can go out and make it happen.

Those at the low end of the RF category are pointing fingers at those who break out of the norm and sometimes push the envelope to the limit. So, there can be a lot of judgment going back and forth between the 2 groups even though it is these very differences that make the world go around.

Now we come to the enlightened group on both sides. These people have a lot going for them.

Having dropped their judgments about people who think entirely different from them, they are now open to enjoy and revel in the unique and special talents of the opposite group.

One of my best friends is the ultimate Rule Follower.  She follows the rules, TO THE LETTER no matter what. Don’t try to get her to fudge on anything. She doesn’t go even one mile over the speed limit, always uses her blinkers, gets off the phone when there is lightning, etc.

You get the picture.

Me being a rule breaker, I ignore all of those at times. And some of them ALL THE TIME. Speed limit? What’s that? (just kidding, kinda)

So, how can we be the best of friends?

It is the word ‘enlightened’ that makes the difference.

When I suggest that she do something that might be a slight infraction of ‘the rules’, she starts to explain why she can’t. And… even as she starts, I say,

“Oh yea, you’re a rule follower.”

And then we both laugh.  You can’t make a person go against their basic nature and we should all give up on trying. We’d be a lot happier.

When I tell her my hair-brained ideas, or wend a wild tale about something that seems too far out to be possible, she just cheers me on.  Breaking the rules seems as impossible to her as keeping them is for me, but we take joy in the differences and use them for comic relief. 

Secretly…….. (Don’t ever tell her I told you this)

I think there is a hidden rule breaker somewhere inside her… that lives vicariously thru me.