January 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

I wanted to post one last DIY for January…Remaking the humble compostion book. I use compostion books for my sketch books. I love the size, and well they are really easy to come by. So I try to make them pretty to sketch in, to make my oh so many lists, and to well jot down good quotes and such. All for 1.99 a book. So take a peek and see if you can get any ideas for your comp books…XO Marie


Finding treasures…

January 30, 2011 § 1 Comment

You can find treasures nearly every where.  I love to go hiking and whenever I come back it seems I have my arms full of treasures.  For instance yesterday I found tons of fossils embedded in the dirt at the base of one of the mountains I climbed.  There were tons of them an oyster bed of some sort about 1 million years old.  Then there are the bones. I love bones for some reason their organic shapes,and washed white color. And  then I found some cactus skeletons full of intricate patterns which I love to collect.

Some other treasure I often find are my children’s laughter, a hug from my husband, the sun shining on a cold winters day, a rainbow speaking of rain to come…But  my greatest treasure is that heart that keeps beating and finding treasures to appreciate. I am so grateful for treasures…


January 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

Just some fun inspiring photos……………………………………………………………….

Hope they spark your creative spirit…

Helping People to Help Themselves

January 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

I just saw this article as I am trying to find charities I can invest in that help people help themselves. I have worked at times three jobs soemtimes four at a time to make ends meet and I believe in working for the things you get in life. Not to say that the many that have come on hard times-myself included-wouldn’t love a lift up, and that is why I want to give to charities that help people find answers, solutions, help people to help themselves.
I loved this gentleman’s article about Heifer Int. Check it out. Does anyone know of any charities that focus on helping people help themselves? What can we do to help someone taking welfare that wants to work but can’t find a job. There are a few people where I live and I would love to possibly give them guidance on what they can do.


Helping people help themselves
I get a lot of mail that asks me to give money to charitable causes. It troubles me that I cannot see the value in most or that I’m just overwhelmed by the volume of requests. There is one that has caused me to react positively for several years. It is a group out of Little Rock, Ark., called Heifer International. Last week, Jo Luck, the lady who has been the CEO since 1992, was named a winner of the World Food Prize, founded by Nobel Laureate Norman Bourlaug, Ph.D.

Heifer International’s outreach activities have enabled 12 million families, including 1.5 million in 2009 alone, to put nutritious food on their own tables and also contribute to feeding others through Heifer’s practice of “Passing on the Gift,” which asks every recipient family to give a female offspring of their animal to another family in need.

Does that sound familiar? If you have memory of the 1940s through the 1960s, there were similar programs in rural America. My reference is the “Sears gilt” program that was sponsored by Sears, Roebuck and Co., the catalogue and appliance store, which drew its mail order customers from farms and small towns. The concept was simple: Sears Foundation purchased quality heifers, gilts and ewes to award to qualified young people through 4-H and FFA programs. The contract was that the first female offspring would be given to anther deserving individual. This caused an expansion of the program and an improvement in the genetics of the breeding herd.

Right here, in our rural communities, it provided the opportunity for agricultural specialists to consult with farmers on nutrition and care so the animal would have a good start and become a prolific mother. In our household, my older brother received a Shorthorn heifer and raised her to breeding age. She was then mated with a purebred bull that was also part of the program. That calf was the first purebred animal born on our farm and became the foundation for a small herd of cattle that was later sold to pay for a college education.

I resurrect memories of my father, who opposed everything including this type of bold introduction of breeding stock and management practices. He decided that to improve his herd, only a purebred bull would be used. This helped, but he started with awfully scrawny dairy cows and tried for generations to make them into Herefords. The foresight and persistence of our mother allowed my brother to receive the Sears heifer and for me (10 years later) to buy a purebred Hereford cow with calf by side. This resulted in my small herd of purebred Herefords that paid for quite a bit of my education. I also received a scholarship from Sears that paid my tuition for one year.

Jo Luck and Heifer International have taken this concept to developing countries, and the organization was given the prize as one of the premier hunger-fighting non-profit organizations anywhere in the world. The Bourlaug-inspired award highlighted their work in bringing food- and income-producing animals to extremely poor families, guiding them to self-reliance and providing opportunity for improved livelihoods through animal husbandry, technical training, and community development.

If I have a referential experience, I am more likely to be a supporter of a charitable cause. In this case, Heifer International’s public relations work has reached out to supporters and brought the message of sustainable solutions to hunger and poverty directly into hundreds of thousands of U.S. homes. According to information supplied by the World Food Prize, Heifer’s supporters grew from 20,000 in 1992 to more than 500,000 in 2009.

The organization appreciates several key factors that we can extrapolate from our own heritage: People want to help themselves, so the best charity is not to feed them but to incentivize them to feed themselves. There is a brief window for introduction and instruction, so Heifer places the animals into the society, offers advice for care and management, then steps back. When people take ownership, they take pride in what they have and in their accomplishments.

Heifer now gives many species–goats, sheep, chickens, ducks, bees and cattle–that allow a foundation animal, colony or flock to become established and then passed on to others to expand the enterprise.

Often the gift from Heifer goes to women or youth within a community. The same premise works there that worked here in the 1940s: “Don’t insult the leaders by offering charity to them.” Offer it to those they protect and let the new growth begin on the inside with the blessing of the elders. My father couldn’t accept a heifer calf, but he could allow his child to have one through the FFA program. Once his son had it, he couldn’t let him fail because it would make him (father) look bad, so he nurtured the enterprise and took pride in its success. The mother in the background gave her assistance and support but could only smile to herself when she saw it succeed.

Editor’s Note: Ken Root is an independent agricultural journalist. He was named the 2009 Farm Broadcaster of the Year and was the 2008 winner of the Oscar in Agriculture. He is an Oklahoma native and an experienced print, radio and television journalist. He has spent the last five years as Lead Farm Broadcaster at WHO Radio in¬ Des Moines, Iowa. He and his wife Gail have two adult children and two grandchildren.

Creative thinking

January 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

What is PMI? A list that Edward D Bono has come up with to help us get out of automatic. How often have you made an emotional decision just like I did a minute ago while purchasing about 6 design books…..without even thinking. Now, if I had used PMI, I might not have purchased the books so fast and furiously…So what is PMI?




You make up your question. List all of the pluses, then all of the minuses….then what interesting facts you have stumbled upon, or interesting observations you have had regarding the question.

PMI is great for slowing you down to look at a question critically. To stop you in your tracks so that you can get a better read on any situation…unlike me when I bought the 6 design books..As I write this I am now reminded to do PMI with every question and purchase I make. It will sure help me to examine what I am doing before I do it and possibly make a mistake. I would love to hear from you how you might use, or if you are using PMI, how you use it. PMI, a critcal thinking skill…..

Traveling in the Big Bend-The Rio Grande River

January 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

The Rio Grande a Wild and Scenic River

The Rio Grande, in Mexico known as the Rio Bravo del Norte- the great river, or the rugged river of the North, is described by the National Park Service as” a relentless gravity powered belt sander that has been running for millions of years”, has been designated by congress a” Wild and Scenic River.” The second largest river in the US, the Rio Grande rises near the continental divide in southwestern Colorado’s San Juan Mountains and flows 1900 miles to the gulf of Mexico. The Rio Grande is a symbol of the rugged landscapes of the southwest. It is the inspiration behind many a lore, and folktale of the west. Pecos Bill, a Texas legend has more times than not had adventures along the Rio Grande. Speaking of inspiration, the Rio Grande was one of the settings for the epic film “Giant” starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, and James Dean.

For 1248 miles, the river winds and curves along the border of the US and Mexico. For much of that distance it follows a southeast course, but along the Chisos Mountains it begins its long bend to the northeast before it turns southeast again. This bend as it is known here is the elbow of the Big Bend signifying the wide open rugged spaces, wildly independent and creative people, and don’t forget our Hot Hot Chili cook off.

Legend has it that there were a group of Native Americans before the Jumanos, and maybe even the Jumanos themselves that lived in the rock cliff caves along the river even before Cabeza de Vaca explored this untamed area. The Rio Grande was also the stomping grounds and home of the Comanche’s, and they traveled beside and through the river. Keep your eyes peeled for the Comanche trails.

There is always an adventure waiting to happen in the Big Bend especially along the river. Make sure you keep your eyes open and your senses in full gear or you just might miss that rare peregrine falcon or red tailed hawk soaring above, or you might miss the catfish roll just beneath your paddle as you pass beneath the cliff swallow nests above you in the canyon.

Much of the volume of the water of the big bend comes from the Rio Conchos which enters the Rio Grande from Mexico. Typically speaking we are blessed with a few releases a year from the Rio Conchos and those typically happen in the fall, and at times in the spring. If you are lucky to catch a release you will be rafting down the Rio Grande. But don’t let the releases stop you from enjoying a river trip. The outfitters here run rain or shine, with lots of water to droplets. When the water is five feet and above you can be sure to raft Santa Elena canyon, if it is 3-5 feet you can raft Colorado canyon, and if it is below 3 feet you will canoe the Santa Elena canyon. So any way you have it you can get on the water. But be sure to call the outfitters early as space books up quickly. The outfitters in the Big Bend are: Far Flung Outdoor Center 1-800-839-7238, 432-371-2346; Desert Sports 1-888-989-6900, or 432-371-2727, and Big Bend River Tours-1-800-545-4240, or 432 371-3033. Look forward to seeing you for an adventure on the wild and scenic Rio Grande River in the Big Bend!

Creative Thinking

January 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Creative Thinking Exercises……Today is use it or loose it! Your intuition that is…

Todays creative thinking exercise is about using our intuition regarding evaulating ideas. It’s the old flip the coin trick…try it out..the next time you need a simple yes or no answer, flip a coin. Heads is yes, Tails is well you guesssed it …no. If you feel comfortable with the result.Well you guessed it again ….run with it. If not go with the opposite answer. However the coin falls your intuition makes the final decision.

An interesting aside. Charles Merrill, of Merrill Lynch, once said that when he makes decisions fast he’s right 60% of the time. If he takes time and really analyzes the situation he may be 70% right. He’s also found that the extra 10% is seldom worth his time….I tend to agree….Intuition rocks…use it or loose it…so flip your coin today. Let me know what happens…

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