A Slip of the Tongue…

Posted on June 19, 2014. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Auto correct.   Sometimes the messages are shocking.  Please people, check your messages and make sure of what you want to convey.

WARNING!!!! ADULT CONTENT!

A dear beloved friend and I were exchanging emails.  I said jokingly,  “I couldn’t keep Janet (my wife) locked in a basement (right?)”.  She replied, “No, you cannot LICK Janet in the basement, but the bedroom is another story.”.

Scandalous auto correct.

After screaming and bursting into laughter, I wrote back and informed her of the typo, knowing she must have meant LOCK. Her next two words took scandal from the frying pan into the fire.

“Freudian slip.”

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Yeah, But Did You See the Juggling Penguin?

Posted on June 6, 2014. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Have you ever done the “Brain Game” test where you count how many times a team bounces a ball within a circle?  You are diligent in counting those bounces and at the end, you give an answer that is close or spot on.  The next question from the tester is, “Did you see the Juggling Penguin?”.  Say what?  Then the tester replays the video and sure enough, there is a Juggling Penguin that walks on set,  juggling, even waving to the camera, then walks offscreen.  How could we not notice that?  Sometimes, we focus so much on one thing, we miss Giant Juggling Penguins right in our face.wpid-img-20140524-wa0002.jpg

Recenty, I’ve met some amazing women and have embarked on a wonderful exploration with them.  My day started with a laugh and updates from Annie Lim, then a beautiful and moving video from Sahar Paz.  Next was a reconnect and update with Jenny Craig (Live Your Power, not the diet!) and settling my day with Ladina Greenwell.  As Ladina and I discussed motorcycles and crashing them (I lo-sided, she hi-sided OUCH), we touched on spirituality. Ready to roll! What Ladina said stopped me in my tracks, I got a chill, then a startling reminder 27 years in slumber.

When I was in college, both of my parents fell ill.  It was an incredibly stressful time and I remember being in a dark place most of, but not all of the time.  Talking to Ladina showed me that in telling my story, I missed Cindy.

Cindy was the Juggling Penguin.

In my despair, I did have support, friendship, and a beacon of positive energy.  Cindy was a free spirit, a hippie-chick, and I started to remember how I would feel when she walked into a room.  Everyone smiled with her, she always brought a calmness of spirit.  I remembered that she did reveal some of her challenges and how she addressed them.  Now I realize 27 years later that I’ve incorporated the lessons she shared with me.  Cindy was there all along, my Juggling Penguin, my light in the darkness.

How many times have the wings of angels brushed up against us?  How many times will we, being carried by those wings, brush against another’s life?  Honestly, we’ll never truly know.  Keep your mind open and know we all have blind spots, moments we don’t fully comprehand especially under stress.  Perseverance often comes at the hands of a Juggling Penguin.

juggling penguin

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EVERYTHING is Just a Conversation Away…

Posted on May 24, 2014. Filed under: Memes and Quotes, My Lemon Recipes, Other Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

You can meet a person for a moment and be drawn to them.  It’s a wonderful feeling as an adult, transporting you to a simpler space and time when saying hello was not complicated.

I met so many great people this past week at the California Women’s Conference.  One person I met and I’m learning more about is Sahar Paz.  We have traveled separate paths, but converged this week to realize our mission of helping others is side by side.  The Fashionista’s (I caught your style, Honey) backstory is heartbreaking, but she found how to deal with her lemons and make sweet, refreshing lemonade.  Sahar, this Lioness salutes you and your courage.  Thank you for sharing your words and the reminder that resolving life’s difficulties are just a conversation away.Image

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Watch “Defining Moments – Choose your Battles.” on YouTube

Posted on May 5, 2014. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Defining Moments – Choose your Battles.:

My mother taught me early that I must choose my battles wisely, decide what issues are worth my attention and efforts.  Sometimes, you may have to lose a battle to win a war.  Here’s my story of when I finally realized the gravity of actions and consequences.

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The whole world is waiting for YOU!

Posted on March 27, 2013. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

The first time I heard this song, it brought tears to my eyes and still does. Your dreams are beautiful, and your dreams make you beautiful.

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Good Nutrition!

Posted on March 15, 2013. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , |

As I am typing this on my new phone (thanks Lamar), the house is filled with the aroma of brown basmati rice and chicken andouille shrimp gumbo.  I prefer home cooked meals from scratch now, but it wasn’t always that way.  Growing up, it was a treat to eat out, even fast food.  That got turned upside down in my adult years.  Bluntly, my health paid the price and now I know better.  You can’t subject your body to junk, then expect top performance.

Your body has a keen way of letting you know when you are not getting good nutrition, and it’s not a good feeling.  Some people seek a doctor, some a nutritionist, some ignore the symptoms unitl real damage is done.  it has been my experience that it’s best to correct the nutrition, then maintain optimal behaviors.  I know this is easier said than done, but we must do our best.

Oftentimes, people overlook how the presence of others affect their lives. To be in optimal mental and emotional health, you must take care that your circle of influence, your community, is good nutrition. No one is perfect, but if you have people around you that constantly throw negativity, GET RID OF THEM. If you hold on to nothing else, please know that you are a unique person with a unique gift for the world. You have a purpose to tap into. When you allow negative people to disrupt your presence, you lose focus on your greatness.nyt-cj-and-dr-judy

Through the years, I’ve experienced poor and good nutrition. I much prefer good. Just like an athlete, the good nutrition of people can help strengthen you and help you aspire to personal bests. Good nutrition can help you get through challenging times. Good nutrition sometimes just makes you feel good!

Take a look at your dreams and aspirations. Now take a look at your nutrition. How healthy is your circle of influence? You may have to distance yourself from some, or completely remove others. This is also about boundaries, protecting what you need to protect. Remember, you are worthy of good, so cut back on the junk food people!

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The Person Inside of Us, Part One.

Posted on December 29, 2012. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

cj speaks

Often, I get sidetracked and don’t post in the moment.  Well, I can’t let this moment slip by.  This is a two parter, as I tell my story of the past two weeks.

On 12.12.12, my lovely Wife conceptualized and executed a high level leadership summit, in the span of 57 days.  She brought together two of the most powerful female ambassadors in the world, Academians, Feminist Pioneers, high power Wall Streeters, Philanthropists, and Entrepreneurs to discuss increasing the number of women in leadership roles.  So many times, we hear parallel goals amongst women’s groups, but the entities never converge.  History has shown that the greatest gains have occurred through collaboration, and that is what we presented.  I watched a 91 yr old activist laughing with a 23 yr old chemist and a 40-something entrepreneur, sharing common ground.  When I gave the welcome remarks, I gave three takeaways I’d hope the attendees would take to heart:  1.  “The years teach what the days will never know.”  I learned this in the police academy, that there is a wealth of knowledge in this world, and someone has already traveled the path you will soon embark upon.  Learn from them.  2.  “We need each other to make the greatest strides.”  We all have our differences, but we have common ground, too.  We need to work with each other to accomplish our common goals, any major victory in this world has occurred when people reach across the aisle.  3.  “We need men.”  When delivered by a burly lesbian, one would have a hard time taking this statement out of context.  My father was hugely instrumental in who I am as an activist, businesswoman, and humanitarian.  Whether is be  a family member, friend or colleague, we need men as allies for the advancement of women.  The gathering was a success.  www.impactleadership21.com

cj group 1

As we’re riding high off our event, breaking news comes over the airwaves.  A shooting has occurred in CT.  As time goes on, we get more details, and they are horrific.  The last time I had information hit me this hard was 9/11/01.  Obviously there would be similarities and differences.  I was a first responder during 9/11 and I knew I would be in CT.

Dear Friends:  I thank you for your accolades, but please know, I have difficulty accepting them.  I do appreciate your words, I just have difficulty expressing my appreciation.  Taking compliments is one of my flaws.

Jann and I put up a public “car share”, so others wanting to help could have a ride.  Minerva Diaz of the NYMLK Center for Non-Violence and Dr. Judy Kuriansky, our friends, took us up on the offer.  Both have a wealth of experience in healing dialogue, so we were confident we could help.

We had reports of road closures, but that was not the reality.  I drove through back roads for no worth other than scenery.  We arrived at the Reed Intermediate School where we knew they had counseling teams.  We were warmly greeted by volunteers from Billy Graham Ministries, then not so warmly by the Red Cross.  When we were introducing ourselves, one of the women in charge walked away mid sentence.  We looked for the grief counselor sign in and signed up for available slots.

I’ve had difficulty identifying as a first responder, but by definition, any entity that secures the front lines is a first responder.  Cops, EMT’s, counselors and grief/stress handlers are first responders.  Training only gets you so far, the rest is having a heart for it.  Preparing for something like this is limited, but some components remain the same.  People would need support.

Dear Red Cross:  Cold meals and no smiles, even to children, does not count as support.  You take in tons of money but what you give is mediocre.  YOU SUCK.  Support is placing a sterno so kids can have some hot baked ziti, or a $39 40 cup hot pot (I know, I bought one and brought it up) so that people enduring sleepless nights had a point of comfort.  Support is returning a smile from a kid that was covered in blood a day before.  That family was looking for comfort and you failed to deliver.  Yes, you had lots of stuffed animals, but did you hear the kids saying they felt guilty taking presents?  They Yankees donated the Christmas monkeys, but who did they really go to?  More volunteers than affected persons.  The world will know what you did, signed The burly black woman in the cowboy hat.

We talked to some of the first responders while Dr. Judy talked to the clinicians.  There were a few townspeople around, but they were slightly standoff-ish.  Understandable.  We kept smiles for all and asked how people were doing resident or visitor.

Dr. Judy suggested we go to one of the churches.  We got in the truck and went to New Hope Community Church.  There were news crews outside, but we walked past them withut a word, finding our Billy Graham friends inside.  We sat in the back waiting for services to begin when we noticed a news crew filming within the sanctuary.  TACKY and DISRESPECTFUL.  We noticed a reservation among the people until the crews exited.

That’s when the tears flowed.

Most of the right side of the church were parishioners.  They all knew someone killed, and some of their children escaped.  They started venting their anger, frustration, hurt, fears and we listened.  At one point, Jann went to the truck and got Puffs, distributing them amonst the teary-eyed attendants.  We heard so many stories of pain.  One woman was wailing in the foyer, saying she was a bad mother for not knowing how to talk to her kids about this.  I reassured her that healing will come in due time, and she will find the words, and to not lose hope.  This community needed to feel love and support and I’m so glad we could be of comfort.

On the ride home, we shared notes and made an assessment.  This community will need long term healing.  They are a spiritual people, with several churches, synagogues and  mosques.  It seemed this communtiy did everything right.  What went wrong?  Could they have prevented this?  What will they do, what will the children do?

Part two will answer more and tell more.  For now, I need to recuperate physically.  The mental is ready.

cj newtown

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The Amazing Transformation of a Guy who Didn’t Give Up.

Posted on November 25, 2012. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

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Yo! You spilled something on your shirt…

Posted on April 2, 2012. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

It could be worse.  Remember XYZ, examine your zipper?  Sometimes, we walk around without a clue, until someone points it out to us.  Sometimes, those revelations are embarrassing, shocking, relieving, even funny.  No one person sees everything.  We all have blind spots.

One of my best tools as a coach is to use peer assessments.  I’ve learned that sometimes how we perceive ourselves is not how the world perceives us.  Sometimes, people stop and give you feedback, giving you an angle or view that you don’t immediately have.  Often, this view allows you to adjust your direction and improve what and where you would be.  Often, this is the goal of the person who’s looking at you and giving the feedback.

However, not all feedback is constructive.  That is where you have to learn to make distinctions.   If what the person has to say allows you to build up or be better, keep it.  If what they say (Wow!  You’re sloppy.)  is destructive and leaves no room for improvement, walk away.

Sometimes, run away.

We all want to be our best, and sometimes, the eyes of others are the mirrors we need.

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