There’s nothing like a trip to World Market to make me feel like a candy chompin’ kid again. It’s so cold out, plus its finals week, so I have been hunkering down with some of my Christmas favs from Germany. I used to love receiving a chocolate Advent calendar every year before Christmas. Most of the calendars that you buy start on December 1st, just to make it easy, and count down to December 25th. With every day, you patiently wait for Christmas and presents, you are rewarded instead with a piece of Chocolate. These days, the chocolate is reward enough for me.
Kinder Chocolate is so delicious, there’s a white chocolate layer inside these smooth milk chocolate Santas. They are just like Kinder Eggs but without the awesome toy (that you have to put together).
In Germany, Marzipan Pigs are usually given as stocking stuffers or gifts around Christmas and New Years as a symbol of good luck. So when you snack on one these delicious almond piggys remember to think happy thoughts for the year to come and exclaim “Ich habe schwein gahabt!” or I have pig luck.
Yesterday was my birthday. It wasn’t a milestone or anything, but I always find myself taking a mental inventory of where I am going in life on my birthday. This year I was tempted to feel like am at a bit of a standstill. The decision to go back to college to finish my degree is one that I find myself second guessing only about three times a week or so, but for now at least, I am committed. However, especially on days when I am super overwhelmed, I often wonder if I am on the right track with my art, my career and with my blog.
It doesn’t help, that this self-doubt has been recently magnified by the news that my junior prom date was elected mayor of the town that I briefly lived in as a teen just last week. I couldn’t help but feel like a bit of an under achiever in comparison. In high school, Mr. Mayor and I were cut from the same quirky-geeky-left-of-center-did-not-fit-into-the-cool-crowd cloth. I know that I shouldn’t, but its rather hard not to be a bit envious of his achievement, even though, I personally have zero political ambition. To be honest, I couldn’t tell ya if being elected mayor of small town USA was his life’s ambition back when we were hanging out in Shakespeare Troupe, but I can say that my idea of what I would be doing in life by now was/is, well…different. The news clicked on a bright spotlight onto all the ways that have been holding back on in my life.
Almost as if on cue, I received an email from one of my favorite virtual mentors, Oprah, offering questions that you should ask yourself in order to find your true calling.
What are you most afraid of asking doing in life?
What would you do if you knew you were dying?
What would you do if fear was not a factor?
After watching several video clips on Oprah.com, I began to get that warm, fuzzy, and supported feeling that I and so many others get after watching Oprah. I clicked through several of her inspiring videos featuring Steven Pressfield, TD Jakes, and Pastor Rick Warren and I came across a couple of break-through takeaways that I wanted to share. The first:
“Live for an audience of one.”
In other words, don’t compare yourself to others. You can’t allow your need to be feel as pretty and desirable as JLo or as supper smart and powerful as Sheryl Sandberg prevent you from following your calling and getting started on your passion, just as you are right now. For me, this means following my own path as a creative and as an entrepreneur while focusing less on how to qualify the work that I produce to others and more on following my heart.
The second is my favorite and feels like a salve to a traveler’s aching soul:
“Put your ass where your heart wants to be.”
This idea resonates so much with me as a look out of my basement apartment window (boy, do I detest basement apartments) and see the freshly fallen snow (don’t like snow either). I know that I need to be committed to getting both my heart and my ass some place tropical. I also know that it has been far too long since I have done any travelling and it is time to get globetrotting!
So, are you following your true calling right now?
What would you do if fear was not a factor?
Recently the Ling Shen Ching Tze Temple opened its doors for visitors and photos during the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s annual Open House Chicago event. I was amazed by the beauty and reverence of this temple. Here are just a couple of the photos that I was able to take. I will happily share more later. Happy Hump Day!
October is almost over and sadly, I have been so busy that I don’t have one moment of arm-linked singing under an Oktoberfest tent nor a single sip from a beer stein to show for it. Feeling nostalgic, I scoured youtube in search of a bit of lederhosen fun until I came across this video. “So Ein Schöner Tag/ Fliegerlied” isn’t a traditional Oktoberfest song like “Ein Prosit” (Oans- Zwoa- Drei- G’SUFFA!) but over the past 5 years or so it has become a popular beer tent staple. This, of course, is primarily because it demands that you try not to fall on your nose while dancing along.
The song title means “Today is Such a Beautiful Day or the Flier Song” and the lyrics require that merrymakers fly, jump and swim along to this catchy tune while filling themselves with pint after pint of ale or stout. This video by the German band Die Jungen Zillertaler graciously shows the audience the dance moves before getting the party into full swing.
Feel free to join me in dancing along like a crazy person next to your computer! Ready? Oans- Zwoa- Drei !!!
“Today is Such a Beautiful Day (Flier song)”
I like to lay in the grass
and look up at the sky.
Don’t all the clouds look funny?
And a plane flies past,
and I wave up at it.
(Kids: “Hello flier”)
And if you’re there too,
then I feel fantastic.
And I fly, fly, fly,
like a plane
am so strong, strong, strong
like a tiger
and so tall, tall, tall like a giraffe
and tall all-oh-oh
and I jump, jump, jump
and keep on jumping
and I swim, swim, swim
over to you
and I take, take, take
you by the hand
because I like you
and I say
Today is such a beautiful day – la, la, la, la, la
English translations thanks to oktoberfest-songs.com
Did you know that over a billion people live without light after the sun goes down? Families in countries all around the world struggle to survive on the light of a single kerosene lamp the size of a baby food jar. What’s worse is that these kerosene jars provide very little light while emitting toxic fumes that can lead to neurological damage and blood clots after long-term exposure. In the most desperate situations, a family can spend 65% of its yearly income on this extremely dangerous flammable fuel which poses a risk of fires, burn injuries, and illness or death from ingestion by small children.
Inspired to make a change, jewelry designer and creative entrepreneur Nancy Economou wanted to find a way to help. She figured out that she could design and manufacture a solar lantern that families could use to light their homes safely. Nancy created Watts of Love, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free sustainable, safe solar lighting products to families in need around the world. So far, Nancy and Watts of Love have piloted safe sustainable solar lighting projects in Mozambique, Haiti, the Philippines and Ghana. Nancy is a brilliant inspiration, proving that it just takes one bright idea to make a difference!
Jauntaroo, a website that plays vacation matchmaker to enthusiastic travelers is currently in search of a “Chief World Explorer”. The lucky travel guru who scores this exciting position will have an opportunity to travel around the globe for a year all expenses paid and earn $100,000 for blogging, tweeting and posting webisodes all about the experience. The call for applications ended September 15 and the top five finalists will be announced next week. So check out the videos of the top 50 contestants (some of which are pretty funny) and see if you can guess who will make the list of top 5.