Sunday Snapshot

Every time I say I’m going to do something on a regular basis, I fail to follow through. Yes, I am undisciplined, which is not something to be proud of, yet I’m comfortable enough within my own skin to admit it to you – my blog friend.

Yet, it seems a reasonable and “easy like Sunday morning” thing to do – to promise to deliver a Sunday Snapshot.

Each. And. Every. Sunday.

Wish me luck, for you will know if I succeed.

Or otherwise…

I Survived January…

January is usually the time to recover from the madness of the end-of-the-year holiday mayhem. That being said, normally I like to hit the ground running on January 1, attempting to reach lofty goals, stretch further than I did the year prior, raising the bar on all expectations – in other words, I like to shoot for the moon.

But not this new year.

This year, I took most of the month of January off, searching for quiet moments to rekindle the creative spark, and truly evaluate what I wanted to manifest for 2012.

That and the fact, I was wiped out. My energy was seriously depleted.

Last year prior to the January 1, I created my first “vision board” – and a detailed one at that. A “board” that stretched from stem to stern on a wall in my dressing room (sounds more decadent than “walk-in closet.”) I reached far and wide, both spiritually and geographically, plastering images of indulgent Moroccan attractions, teetering heels studded with gemstones, the New York Times best-sellers list, and terms like “well-dressed” and “find balance.”

Even the “how to be better” books stacked on my bed stand seemed off-putting this January – Who Moved My Cheese, A New Earth, The Secret, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Tipping Point, Think And Grow Rich – need I say more? I was too full, too tired, and too over it. It felt suffocated.

Instead of feeling ready to pounce, 2012 left me winded, like I was behind before I even started. So, I made a different sort of resolution.

I resolved to do nothing.

Or should I say, nothing I didn’t feel like doing.

I slept when I felt like sleeping.

I started back to the gym and only went when I felt like going.

I cooked when I felt like cooking.

I rediscovered the joy of “being.”

Ask yourself, when is the last time you focused on “being” instead of doing, planning or becoming?

Don’t get me wrong, goals are important and a necessary part of the overall plan, but I also believe there are times when we need to sit back – and percolate – and let the next super-fantastic dream or idea manifest itself deep within us.

Usually I feel guilty if I’m not forging ahead, planning greatness or dreaming skyward.

Not this January.

January 2012 was used to rekindle, recoup, and reinvest in myself. (And you may have noticed, I even cut back on my deliberate “blog every day” goal, and only posted when I truly felt like I had something I wanted to share.)

I’m glad I took the time to re-engage, and I’m glad January is behind me. January brings pressure, and this new year, I wanted nothing to do with pressure.

Hello February, my old friend, and one of my favorites. Not only does February reserve a day solely for love, but it’s also the 17th anniversary of my baby’s day of birth.

A labor of love, indeed.

Sights of Savannah

Recently, I stumbled upon photos from last year in Savannah, Georgia. I was there for a work conference in the early fall.

And oh, what a lovely fall it was!

Even though it was a “work trip,” as AAL regulars know by now, I always find time to play! Or at least photograph.

While in Savannah, sucking up the lovely weather, it was ghastly back in Montana. In fact, Sexy Hubby was sending me photos of the brand new foot and a half (and growing) pile of snow on our back deck. Winter came way too early in 2009.

I threatned never to return. I was in bliss my friends.

Bliss, I tell you.

Take a look for yourself.

{I must preface by saying, this was before the Canon Rebel came into my life. And you know how much I adore the Rebel! These photos were taken with my old pocket-sized Sony.}

Loved this “rope.” How does Mother Nature do that?

One of Savannah’s favorite stories involves the life of Florence Martus (1868 – 1943), known by Savannahians and sailors of the sea as the Waving Girl.

As the story goes, life at the remote cottage was lonely for Florence whose closest companion was her devoted collie. At an early age, she developed a close affinity with the passing ships and welcomed each one with a wave of her handkerchief.

Sailors began returning her greeting by waving back or with a blast of the ship’s horn.

Eventually Florence started greeting the ships arriving in the dark by waving a lantern.

Florence Martus continued her waving tradition for 44 years and it is estimated that she welcomed more than 50,000 ships during her lifetime.

Florence Martus grew into a Savannah legend and on September 27, 1943, the SS Florence Martus, a Liberty ship, was christened in her honor. From

I love the South.

I could easily live there. And knowing how easily influenced I am, I’d have a slurpy southern accent by noon my first day.

Y’all know it!

Welcome to An Authentic Life

Authentic posts are made daily, whenever possible, although I have come to learn that balance is a healthy and necessary part of living authentically.

{Besides, an occasional day off keeps the laundry and dust-bunnies at bay. And, Sexy Hubby appreciates a home-cooked meal every now and then.}

What does it mean to “Live An Authentic Life?”

Only you can answer that question for yourself.

For me – and the purpose of this blog – with everything I do, I try to take a positive approach. Inherently, I believe everything happens for the good.

Even the bad.

Life “happens” to TEACH us how to grow and to learn to become better, more solid human beings.

In my posts, I share my foibles with you, in the hope we can learn from each other. Support each other. Save each other from dreadful mistakes.

Or worse, regret.

Do I always succeed? Absolutely not. Therein lies the beauty of living authentically. When you are true to yourself, truth finds a way to trickle into all aspects of your life. At least it has for me.

I wish the same for you.

You can find An Authentic Life on Facebook and Twitter – join the Social Media Conversation.

An Authentic Life is a syndicated member of the publishing network, regular contributor to Montana Parent Magazine, and a founding member of the Montana Social Media Network.

Thank you for spending a few of your precious moments here with me.

The Blogging Journey – Part 3

Path to Success

Welcome to The Blogging Journey – Part 3.

To recap The Blogging Journey Part 1 – CLICK HERE or The Blogging Journey Part 2 – CLICK HERE


It strikes without warning.

And it struck me today, while driving to my “day job.”


Lately, I feel as though I am “wallowing” my way through life.

When I say “wallow” I don’t mean, “to live self-indulgently; luxuriate; revel: to wallow in luxury; to wallow in sentimentality” but rather, “to flounder about; move along or proceed clumsily or with difficulty: A gunboat wallowed toward port.” (Quotes courtesy of

A gunboat wallowed toward port.

Just shoot me.

I feel as though I am floundering, and since this blogging journey is about “authenticity” I knew I needed to come clean, and share my tender emotions here, within these posts, with my peeps.

Both of you.

Remember in Part I, it was noted to “Begin with the End in Mind.” You need to know WHERE you are going in order to get there, but the road may not be a straight one. Or even a paved one for that matter.

I also recognize, everyone’s road is unique. And we cannot judge another person’s road unless we have traveled it ourselves.

I haven’t gotten very far on my journey thus far, and frankly have no idea what “the end of the road” looks like. I have a vision. I hope I can find a way to make it to the end of the road, but honestly the route can change 100 ways from Sunday before I arrive.

Regardless, I feel frustrated. Stifled.

As I have mentioned before, part of the marketing game is keeping your friends close, and the competition closer. When I study the competition (a virtual plethora of quality blogs) I grow weak in the knees. I feel unworthy. Inadequate. I wonder, will I ever make it?

Make it where, you ask? To the place in the road where I become the boss of me, financially speaking.

Why I am baring my frail and insecure soul?

Because this mini-meltdown is happening on this journey on this day.

For verification, take a gander at yesterday’s blog, where I equated my internal feelings to this sunflower and its low-hanging head.

How I feel lately

I marvel at successful bloggers and wonder, do they ever feel low? Did they ever wonder, “Am I going to make it?”

The bigger question at the moment, how do I beat the blahs? The answer may vary, but the concepts are similar.

Focus on what you can control = TODAY

Make a list and check it twice.

I make a daily task list of tiny little goals, things I want to accomplish today.

There is something magical about listing tasks on paper. And even more magical once you complete an item and cross it off. I don’t care if I have a SINGLE item on my list, I feel like a champion when I cross that little bugger off the list.

Reverse Bucket List

Recently while spying the competition, I read a “Reverse Bucket List” – the things said blogger has ALREADY accomplished. If I remembered her name, of course, I would give credit where its due. Please forgive my lacking memory.

Also, the accomplished concept came as a shock to my system. Instantly I was propelled back several years (feels like hundreds) to a job interview in which I was asked to “name my greatest accomplishment.”


My mind went B L A N K – I looked like a total buffoon. I could not think of one single thing. It was so bad, even the interviewer said, “Surely you can think of something.”

Nope. Nothing.

Needless to say, I didn’t get the job.

I will be working on the Reverse Bucket List, to prove to myself what I have already accomplished. I pray the list is plentiful.

Just Keep Swimming

If you have kids, you have seen the movie, “Finding Nemo.”  Forever reverberating in my subconscious is the scene where Dory the regal tang fish (voice of Ellen DeGeneres) with short-term memory loss, (more befitting than at first glance!) sings:

You know what you gotta do when life gets you down?
Just keep swimming
Just keep swimming
Just keep swimming swimming swimming

Sometimes, when life gets me down, it’s about all I can do to keep from drowning – to just keep swimming.

Keep pursuing.

Keep the end goal in mind.

Patience Grassahoppa

Patience is a virtue.

Virtually impossible!

I don’t care how many times, various ways or in what language this has been stated to me, it’s a concept  that does not compute in my brain.

Not being equipped with an adequate supply of patience is certainly a weakness, I recognize, but I think I’d rather be stuck in the gunboat, wallowing toward port than practicing patience. At least you can SEE the port.

They say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

God, I hope so.

This lack of virtue is the reason I drink wine. By the bucket load.

Moment of Gratitude

Since I have openly shared numerous character flaws, it’s nice to acknowledge something positive that I practice each day, faithfully.

Usually on my drive to the office, while staring off in the distance at the lovely Rocky Mountains, I look towards the sky, and say, “God bless us this day.”

I always feel a sense of calm wash over me as I offer thanks and recognize the many blessings in my life.

Deep sigh.

So, I suppose for today, I’ll just keep swimming.

I will worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.

Visions of Fall in Montana

I may be setting a bad precedence, but, I have an excuse.

My new camera grants me a new creative outlet. And I was feeling a bit impulsive today. Besides, why tell you something, when I can show you something.

Much like the blogs that practically write themselves in my head, nearly everything I see, I think, “Oh, that would make a lovely photo.”

Some days I am right. Others, not so much.

I drive by this barn every day and today I decided to stop and take its photo. The weather is simply too perfect to resist. Plus, I know what’s coming.

Reminds me of the line from The Lost World:Jurassic Park, when Jeff Goldblum’s character, Dr. Ian Malcolm says, “Oh, yeah. Oooh, ahhh, that’s how it always starts. Then later there’s running and screaming.”

Barns of the USA
Someone must live here, they left the door open...

I think I spied the someone..and they scared the crap out of me!

Resident White Tail
Big Blue Sky
Fall Foliage at its Autumn Best
Fallen - and can't get up
Bozeman Traffic Jam

I lived in the City of Angels for a few years.

I know what traffic is, Jenny.

I digress.

Most days in Gallatin County, this is a traffic jam of colossal proportions.


Gives "Roll in the Hay" a whole new meaning

A bit further down the road, I spied another photo opportunity.

Flowers of the Sun

I stepped in for a closer look…

Bizzy Bee

Have I told you lately that I love you?

Talking to the Rebel.

I’m a rebel, Dottie.

Sunflower and Honey Bee

Today, of all days, I wish I could be a bee. Flying around the beautiful sunflowers, having a sweet snack, sans obligations, worries, stress. No one to bother me. And if someone tries to disturb my flower wonder, I’ll sting ’em.

Honey making machine
Don't worry, Bee Happy
Flower of the Hour

I must admit, most days I feel carefree. Happy. Much like the little buzzing bee.

But today, I’m fighting the what-direction-is-my-life-suppose-to-take-blahs. In fact, when I saw this little downtrodden bloomer, I thought, “I know exactly how it feels.”

Down in the Dumps

I especially love this photo.

To me, it appears as though the other members of the posy cluster are trying to offer moral support to their doleful, depressed  sunflower friend.

Tomorrow is another day. And one that I will begin with copious amounts of Kona coffee.

Cookbooks and Nostalgia

Farmers Market Pumpkins

While at the Gallatin Valley Farmers Market this past weekend, I bought a zucchini for fifty cents.

I am a sucker for zucchini bread. It always reminds me of fall.

All I needed was a recipe. I went directly to my resource collection.

My favorite recipe stockpile

I would venture to guess any female over the age of 35 most likely owns (or has owned) a recipe book that looks similar to this.

Tons of random recipes, either daintily handwritten on cute little recipe cards, organized alphabetically by category, or like mine, some handwritten family gems from my late mother-in-law (when she could still hold a pen before Parkinson’s Disease seized her delicate grip) along with a plethora of ripped out magazine pages with recipes that look amazing, but have never been cooked. At least not in my kitchen.

Little did I know, my hunt for a single recipe would turn into a trip down memory lane, resulting in this blog post.

Exploding recipes

Truth be told, I usually go on-line and Google any recipe that comes to mind. It’s so much more efficient – and saves endless amounts of time. As you will notice, my recipes aren’t quite the picture of organization. They were at one time.

Perhaps the day I bought the book.

A place for everything...

In fact, once upon a time, I painstakingly went through this book, section by section, making personalized labels for all the recipes in my ever-growing collection, and then filed each little priceless recipe according to its category.

That moment of glorious order was fleeting. As you may have noticed, I’m not so good about putting things back where I found them. That character flaw was practically my undoing as a kid.

Handwritten family recipes

Page after disastrous page, I turned, in search of my not-yet famous zucchini bread recipe. I’m not exactly the Pioneer Woman. Everything she touches looks as though it was spun from gold. I don’t quite have the same touch.

With another page turned, I instantly spied that familiar loopy, side-slanted handwriting that could only belong to one person.

My Grandma Helen.


This was one of my favorite meals as a kid, Halupki – the Russian version of stuffed cabbage. I remember Grandma Helen cooking at our house one time, and my mouth watered over the smell of cooked onions and pork. She always lets us sample as she cooked.

I loved that about her.

My Grandma Helen

This photo says it all. Looks like Thanksgiving at her house outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The mashed potatoes are so hot, they are steaming up the place! I am drooling just looking at it.

Grandma Helen usually spent Thanksgiving at home then came to visit us for two weeks at Christmas.

Style note: I am in love the curtains. Who knew G-Helen was a design maven? Also, loving her stylish top.

She was the best cookie baker in the entire world.  Bar none.

Recipe book cover

Eventually, I found the recipe I was searching for – and I baked my zucchini bread (sans sugar and oil, Sexy Hubby is trying to cut back.) Instead I used mashed bananas, and apple sauce. Not quite the same effect as when using processed sweetness, but much better for us.

It was “Made With Love.” 

And isn’t that the most important ingredient of all?


Blog Post #200

Today I reached a milestone.

This is blog post #200.

I am trying to “enjoy the journey” at this stage, which is challenging. I wrote about goal setting a few days ago in The Blogging Journey – Part 1, noting the hardest part is getting started. Now that I have started, I may need a reminder of why I chose this path.

Some days are remarkable and I feel fantastic.

Other days suck and I feel like giving up.

With any goal, whether it be to lose 10 pounds before a grand event, to quit smoking, or to blog everyday of 2010, success derives from simply putting one foot in front of the other and moving toward the end result.

Forward progression is especially vital on the days when you’d rather poke your eyeballs out with a dull pencil than sit behind a computer screen and aimlessly punch keys.

Yet, I continue to move forward.

Are you moving forward?

What is your current goal?

I spoke with a dear friend today who shared the recent goal/achievement of running a 5k –  of which I knew nothing! She trained all summer, and once you hear the exercise history of said friend, you’ll be as shocked and amazed and entertained as I was listening to her story. Oh, don’t worry, she’s going to be a blog feature, like it or not.

Don’t keep your goals to yourself. Shout them out! Make yourself heard.

Be sure to leave a note and let me know what your currently working on, and we’ll work together. Everything is easier (and much more fun) when you’ve got company to share the ride.

Happy Labor Day Weekend.

Love to all.

The Flight Attendant’s Guide To Customer Service

Photo, circa 1970: My grandma Helen traveling from Pittsburgh to San Francisco for the holiday season to visit her only grand-daughters. This was when air travel was at its customer service best. Mainly because passengers were a little less demanding.

And life moved a little slower.

As a young girl, I loved going to the airport to pick up my grandma. There was electricity in the air, and as I watched the hustle and bustle of travelers racing to and fro, I knew somewhere deep down, this would be my destiny.

Fortuitously, nearly 20 years later, my career foray began at the tender age of 19 when I became a flight attendant for Trans World Airlines.

Flight attendants are the last line of defense with the ability to change a bad service experience into a positive one for passengers. I watched many a passenger charge on-board, upset over one issue or another, and after carefully assessing them, and doing my best to listen to their needs, while continuing to provide top-notch service, they would leave our air bubble – more calm, with faith restored in our brand.

At least, that was my hope.

Honestly, a job in the travel industry was the best customer service training ground possible. Passengers can’t leave once they are on board, so you have little options but try to make the best of your time together.

After racking up a few million miles, these are the tips I gleaned on how to provide excellent customer service,  flight attendant style. And they are effective skills that will work for all facets, whether you are a waitress in the sky, or a dog walker, or an ice-cream scooper at the local Dairy Queen, it all comes down to a few, simple tips.

#1 – First and foremost, don’t take anything personally

When Miss Shops-A-Lot rages on-board and demands that you fit her two-ton, over-sized gargantuan bag into the itty-bitty overhead compartment, announcing loudly, “The last time I flew, YOU lost my bag, so I am NOT checking it.” The key is to not take it personally.

She doesn’t literally blame you for her bag getting lost. You are simply part of the “process” that lost her bag. And since you are the one standing in front of her, she’ll take it out on you.  Be prepared.

#2 – The Customer is ALWAYS Right

Understand, this isn’t always easy to take, but we all know, above and beyond, whether we like it or agree with it, the mantra remains, “The Customer is Always Right.”

Smile, Agree, Smile, Agree.

Even if your passengers aren’t willing to smile or agree back.

After all, smiles are free.

#3 – Find out what your passengers want – then deliver it

When dealing with a frustrated passenger, simply ask them, “What can I do for you?” Then, LISTEN to their answer.
Many times, a simple, “I am so sorry that happened to you,” or “I am so sorry you had a bad experience with our company” will suffice. The key is, the apology must be sincere. People usually just want to vent their frustration, and to feel as they are heard and understood.

#4 – Refrain from “this isn’t my cabin” line

My biggest customer service pet peeve is when I hear, “that’s not my department.” Passengers see a uniform and are inclined to believe  they can get help.
Whether you are serving them a drink on-board, or walking through the terminal, you represent the company logo you are wearing – so act like it!

#5 – Remember to say thank you and ask for future business

Ask yourself, “What impression am I leaving with my passengers?”

Thank them for flying with you (or shopping with you, or recommending your company). They are your bread and butter, regardless of industry. Most importantly, it’s because of them that you have a job.

A simple “thank you” goes a long way. And, be sure they know what you want from them – their future business. If you don’t ask, they won’t know.

Do you have a particular customer service story to share? I’d love to hear about it.

Send me an email, or leave a note in the comments section.

Bu-Bye. Thanks for visiting An Authentic Life. Come back soon. And often.


Parking Lot of Inspiration

My artistic blogging inspiration comes from a variety of channels. And I never overlook a source. From the antics of Sexy Hubby (of which the list is long and enviable,) to the dog, or even a plain old parking lot –  my creative cup runneth over.

After a week on the road and being out of my element, I am in major “recovery & reentry” mode. As I “ease” back into my daily authentic blogging life, I am awakened with a few inspirational quips. Simple sayings. And instead of written in stone, these words were written on asphalt.

A few years ago, while visiting my friend, Janine, in So-Cal, as we ventured our way through the parking lot to a totally trendy and hip Orange County nightclub, I was “moved” by words of wisdom.

They weren’t blowing’ in the wind, but rather painted on the pavement.

Honestly, I think every parking lot everywhere should include a few upbeat and motivational quotes. No one, not even movie stars, are immune to parking.

Might make our world a better place. And may ease the road rage.

Of all the quotes I read that night, the following was my favorite. In fact, I liked it so much,  I had a copy framed.

Art and inspiration is indeed, in the eye of the beholder.

Glad to be back in my favorite spot – on the pages of An Authentic Life.

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