Sunday, January 24, 2016

I found a heart

So I was taking my walk and looking for pennies when a pile of string on a bench caught my eye. I turned around and walked back to it and found it was a crochet heart, with a note inviting me to photograph it and tag it #PeytonHeartProject.
Just finding it put me in a spiritual mind, so I took a photo of the heart in the building I found it, which had a chapel with the bible open to the parable of the silver pieces. Message enough for me.
I read up that the Peyton Heart Project raises awareness of suicide and bullying. It’s named after a 13-year-old boy who died by suicide in 2014 after years of bullying. Read more at:
 I was touched by this method of spreading the word. After a while I’m going to release this heart back into the world. Maybe you’ll find it.

No more snooze button: The 5 a.m. Miracle
 Waking up early to run is what Jeff Sanders calls a double kick in the pants. Yet it’s kind of the whole concept he’s trying to pitch in his book “The 5 AM Miracle: Dominate Your Day Before Breakfast.”
This is bout being a rock star in your work and home life by maximizing your productivity and perfecting your schedule.
The results sound good, but do we want to wake up early for it? Sanders gets a “no way” response much of the time, but just read through. He can guide you through some tips and he promises that you don’t exactly have to begin at 5 a.m. – that’s a guide to committing to make the good stuff happen. It’s all up to you. He’s got plenty of motivation, and here’s just a bit of it:

1.  Bounce out of bed bright and early.
2.   Hydrate like you life in the desert: He says your body is thirsty after sleep and he drinks a liter before his morning espresso.
3.   Quiet time is essential: develop a calm, inspirational habit.
4.   Fruit for breakfast: his green smoothie fits right in.
5.  Consume inspirational and informative content: Successful people do this.
6.  Pump your blood: Even 10 minutes of exercise can help. He’s a runner.
7.  Plan your day like you mean it: It puts you in the driver’s seat.

Love drops for better water, loving your dog and becoming a tiger lady

Have you ever heard someone say they were addicted to bags? That sounded nuts, until I realized I had bags to hold my bags.
But here’s one suitable to recycle your others for: Love Drop Jumbo Canvas Shopper Tote ($17) Loving your planet looks good with this canvas tote that can stand up like a paper sack and slings over your shoulder. Keep it in the car for shopping, so you don’t have to waste another plastic bag from the rocer. The 100 percent natural cotton canvas features an original design by Scott Erickson. Mine has skyscrapers, an old-fashioned school house, a bike with a basket, produce, a yellow rose and other natural images designed into a water droplet, to remind us of how to use our resources responsibly. Living Water International makes sure prodeeds from sales give back to other projects. It can be purchased online. Now, read up on their good works.

This simple device looped to your wrist  is a retractable claw that means business. When you’re headed to your car, keep it ready in your palm to squeeze out claws that can capture valuable DNA when used.
It’ s a little rectangle of plastic that works like this: Simply put the strap around your wrist, place in the palm of your hand and squeeze the device to extend 3 claws.
The company sent me one so I could share the information with you. Here’s  how to get more in formation:

Link up your dog
Chipped nail or lost pet?
While I don’t wear nail polish or own a pet, I hate the tedious task of changing out keys on a ring. I just heard someone talking about the urgent need/difficuluty of getting a new ID tag for a dog. The very next week I was invited to discuss LINKS-IT.
These colorful bits were designed by a pet owner and team of veterinarians to make attaching tags simple and painless. Just pull back the locking crossbar, snap apart the LINKS-IT, slide tags onto the bottom half and the collar ring onto the top half and then lock the LINKS-IT in place.
I asked my  contact if her dog would look best in purple or red and forwarded a LINKS-IT to try. Word is, it does what it says:
  • Easy to open and close without breaking your nails or needing tools
  • Strong and sturdy for active dogs: Tested to hold 58 lbs and open and close over 50,000 times
  • Match color to fit your pet's personality and style.  Select from Black, Blue, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, White, and Yellow colors.
  • Quiet and lightweight (lighter than a dime)
  • Made in the USA
  • Weatherproof and will not rust

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Pennies from Heaven and Mardi Gras

Pennies from heaven
For years now, I’ve found a penny or more daily on my walks. It keeps me walking, and praying.
This year I found more than $50 on the ground, apparently just waiting on me. And this was pretty much a penny, dime and quarter at a time.
Those who have caught me at it over the years see me out, the often ask if I’ve found one yet.
You wouldn’t believe some of the other things I’ve found.  I usually like the money the best.

Mardi Gras is Sweet Soiree
Are you a Mardi Gras lover? Your time is coming early this year. Those of us who have already posted photos of our homes and offices all decked out in purple, gold and green have been making contact.
We’re all ready for Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas, headed to downtown Port Arthur from Feb. 4-7.
Have you heard, Wayne Toups is back. He told me himself that he’s expecting a new release, music wise, and another one, baby wise. A new Toups is in development.
If you make a good gumbo, please, please enter the Mardi Gras gumbo cookoff, so I can taste it. If you know someone who makes good gumbo and needs a little push, get someone to call the festival office, at
(409) 721-8717.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Rookery down the road for exploring

Port Arthur and Beaumont are known for birding sights that connect viewers with nature.
Sea Rim State Park, Sabine Woods, Cattail Marsh and the Big Thicket are some popular Southeast Texas draws.
Here’s another spot I found, and I’ve driven right past it for years. Trinity River Waterbird Rookery is just nearly under the Interstate 10 bridge near the Wallisville Lake Project on the way to Houston.
Follow the sign to parking and walk over a little bridge to an observation dock. Train those binoculars to what’s out there.
I caught soaring egrets and flocks of smaller birds circling trees on the far side of the water. It was quiet and peaceful, considering the heavy traffic a short distance away. The short time I was there, a couple of other families made an appearance.
If this spot had been secreted from you, enjoy it and spread the word.

NAG promises something new
Dot Chauvin is teaching Nederland Art Guild classes in January, each Tuesday from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. “Be prepared to have a new experience of doing a different painting in this class,” reads the press release.
Are you ready for that? Hey, who knows what adventures 2016 will bring? Classes are at the Texas Artists Museum, 3501 Cultural Center Drive, and these classes are just one of many reasons you should visit the museum. Call 409-983-4881 to learn what all is going on at TAM.

Monday, December 28, 2015

What's blooming this new year?

Blooms for all seasons
Two bright pink azalea flowers on a shrub greeted me Christmas day as I pulled back the curtains.
Grateful for our mild winters, Southeast Texans can look to their landscapes for a variety of blooms now. Some are even more unexpected than usual.
I visited a friend with a little bouquet featuring yellow copper canyon daisies, purple “wandering jew” blooms, a fragrant rosemary, a stalk of succulent and a tropical leaf.
She later sent a photo, proving the bright colors popped against her purple wall. That made me happy, so the gift kept on giving.
Head to the far corners of your back 40 to see what’s blooming out there just for you.

New Orleans story
I’m nearly done with an advance copy of  “The Feathered Bone,” which Julie Cantrell begins with a field trip at Mardi Gras world in New Orleans, the ferry to Algiers and Jackson Square.
That’s heaven to me, and I can picture, feel and smell all those spots. But this story is about an abduction. Amanda is in charge of some children, including her daughter and her best friend. The friend goes missing and this story covers the years after and how that day affects so many in a community. As chilling is the story of Sarah is, Amanda, a social worker, is learning how to deal with tensions in her marriage and her daughter’s coping with Sarah’s loss. Amanda hears others give her advice she has doled out all these years to others and it sounds strange to hear it back.
The title reference is to a feather that a palm reader in Jackson Square gives Sarah minutes before her abduction. A feather bends, but it is difficult to break, is the theme of a very memorable book.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Beaumont Community Players has hit in "Both"

Beaumont Community Players has a hit in “Both”

Mark Wilson played Father McKenzie in “Both,” a story he wrote that tells the story of the Nativity through the music of The Beatles.
You heard me right. It’s important to know that “All You Need is Love,” that everybody needs “Help” and “Here Comes the Sun” can imply the baby Jesus.
Beaumont Community Players presented “Both” and didn’t charge a thing for it. I teared up through most of the show. My husband went back to see it again. I communicated with some of the cast members and get the impression that they were as transformed by the production as I was. “Imagine.”

“Change Your Story, Change Your Life”
So maybe you’re not ready to take a shamanistic journey. But you may be ready to change the way you think about negativity, so you can get past it.
Carl Greer’s book is subtitled “Using Shamanic and Jungian Tools to Achieve Personal Transformation.
In one anecdote a woman shares is imagining a symbol of a silver spoon to represent healing the relationship with her parents. A spoon is kind of small and it can tarnish. That’s it, the spoon is saying. You have to work a little to find the beauty in this nurturing tool.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Stuff those stockings with joy

For years my good friends at Museum of the Gulf Coast have reminded me to mention that the gift shop has Port Arthur-inspired ideas for the holidays. History books on local legends, T-shirts and jewelry are some choices.
Go to town at an array of area shops and get crafty at home. I’m looking to find someone who can turn some silverware into jewelry and windchimes for me.
I’m also thinking any brand of step counter you wear on your wrist is a great idea for a good friend or spouse. Walk your way to fitness next year. How about a membership to an area museum or club?
Here are some other ideas:

Despite all the ideas I share with readers, I don’t do much online business. I want to say that Tweezerman has lived up to its name with the offer of free sharpening. I sent off two very old pair and they came back good as new. The website informed me that if the tweezers could not be sharpened, I’d get a discount on a new pair. So either way, the company came through.
It’s true that now I’m on their mailing list, so I can tell you they have quite the array of holiday offerings.

For the tech/chic savvy
In the days of “A Christmas Story,” kids got all bundled up and sometimes frozen to a pole. In the south, we worry less about freezing weather, but we want to stay warm. Who would have imagined we’d risk getting colder for using our smart phones and listing to our jam. Now U|R Powered offers Touchscreen Gloves and Audio Headwear for looking oh, so cool while keeping warm and connected.
U|R Powered’s holiday looks include gloves in knit, fleece, genuine sheepskin leather and heated nylon, so “fingers are kept warm, and stay dexterous.” Lined to keep body heat in and moisture out, the insulating materials are eco-friendly and contain zero trace of metals. U|R Powered’s stylish audio headwear allows wearers to enjoy music in comfort and warmth sans pesky earbuds that never seem to stay in place, makers say. I’m going for basic black gloves that should be in style forever and rocking the pullover hat that lets you hear your tunes as you walk off those Christmas pounds on the track. I rank these as high-quality options that will look good when we tend to get our most chilly weather… perhaps around Mardi Gras parade time? Prices range from $36 to $75 for audio headwear and touch screen gloves.