Tuesday, August 7, 2012

All Dogs Go To Heaven

(Photo's by Jeffrey Williams - Jawdropping Photography)
It’s hard to believe a year has gone by since Bo, our 10 year old white shepherd mix died.  My grief still hangs with me – as if it were yesterday.  I’ll never forget the moment Jeff said, “He’s dead.”  I was completely and utterly rocked.  Bo died of a heart attack suddenly on the morning of my mother’s 80th surprise birthday party.  Shortly after his breakfast he had seemed somewhat lethargic, acting a little strange and his movement was labored. He literally died lying at our feet while we were looking up the phone number to the vet.   Can you imagine the roller coaster of emotions we went through that day –celebrating long life and sudden death within a matter of hours?  

Who was Bo? 
Bo was a beautiful, loving White Shepherd/Akita mix who came into our lives in May of 2002.  Our son, Cal, had saved money; he really needed (wanted) a companion.  We visited a shelter, actually for another dog, when Cal saw Bo.  He looked over at Bo’s bright, fluffy face and said, “He’s the one mom, I see it in his eyes”.  At first I was hesitant, but like Cal, I could see Bo was very eager to be with us.  When we got him home, he was very rambunctious and a little wild.  He instantly began following Cal everywhere, the two became best friends.  Bo grew to be one of the most loyal, loving family pets we have ever had and when Cal moved out, Bo became my dog.  (There was no way he was taking Bo to live with him!)

As pet owners we become so deeply attached to our animals – they become our extended family.  When one of them dies, we experience a tremendous amount of suffering. 
 It’s taken me a year to process the grief and loss associated with Bo’s death. In many ways, I have become detached, especially from my writing, filling my time and spaces with projects that keep me too busy to even think.  CatherineHilker, my friend and colleague, has been encouraging me through it all, mainly to start writing again, beginning with writing about Bo’s death and my grief.  Although I allow myself to share my feelings and emotions in many ways, when it comes to feelings associated with Bo’s death, I remained stuck.   This is my attempt to open up and let it go. 

Weeks after Bo’s death, I remember saying to my mom, “I feel almost as much grief as when my father died”.  (If my father were here, I know he’d get it - I know that Bo has found my dad and they are eagerly awaiting the rest of us!) There were times I could literally feel Bo’s presence.  Allie, our 10 year old Australian shepherd, felt it, too.  Bo and Allie were inseparable.  They ate, walked, played and slept together.  The weeks after his death, she didn’t eat; she would startle for no apparent reason or look up at the window as if he were standing right there.  One day she and I had a conversation – yes a real conversation.  I actually think she understood me.  I simply told her that he wasn’t coming back, that she had to eat to live.  Within minutes, she began to devour her food.

In March, we brought home another white shepherd to keep Allie company (keep Allie company … right).  The new baby’s name is Izzie, short for Isabeau – named after Bo, of course and a character from the movie Lady Hawk.  Izzie is an AKC registered White German Shepherd.  Although Izzie has her own personality and is by no means a replacement for Bo, in many ways she is like him:  the innocent look on her face when she gets the mashed potatoes out of the trash, how she wraps her entire body as close as possible to the air conditioning vent for some cool air, the way she dances beautifully around the kitchen for her meals, and that as soon as she wakes up each morning she surrounds both her and me with every single toy she has. 

It’s time for me to move forward, like re-emerging from a cocoon
I’m grateful for Bo’s presence in our family, for every animal that has crossed my path over the years.  (Thank you, thank you, and thank you!) The unconditional love and joy pets bring to us is truly a gift.  What we learn from them is to shake it off (and shake your booty), eat when you’re hungry, play more than you work, take lots of naps, treats are a good thing, everything is interesting, love beyond measure and so much more.  I’m off to enjoy another cup of coffee, a couple of dogs and the pile of toys lying at my feet.  Woof Woof!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Love the new Facebook Timeline!

My clients have been apprehensive about the new Facebook Timeline.  I have to admit, I was a little on edge about it myself.  After a couple of months of using it, I can say I LOVE IT!

To make the transition easier for my clients, and you, I asked my colleague and friend, Heather Coleman-Voss  (a sister social networking lover) to collaborate on a list to make it easy and simple for them and for you!  Here you have it!

So what appears on your Timeline?  Basically the same information that you've recorded in your profile:  Status updates, photos, friendships made, as well as job history, marital status changes, and other information.  Now, you can choose how it appears, when it will appear and to whom it will appear for.

Here are the top 15 features we focused on first, to maneuver through the new Timeline.  Today, we love the look of the Timeline.  We think it's fresh and exciting.

1.  Your Timeline Page:  Your main page is your Timeline page. You control everything from here – posts - past and present, photos, videos, etc.

2.  Your Cover Photo:  Be sure that your cover photo, the photo that looks like a banner, completely expresses who you are.  Teri’s is a picture her husband took at Ford HQ in Dearborn, MI.  She is in the center of a sunflower patch with her arms extended, celebrating her BLISS! Heather’s cover photo is a cloud photo generated from her social media presence which describes her areas of expertise professionally as well as what is most important to her – being a wife, a mother and a big supporter of Metro Detroit. (mirror.me) You can also GOOGLE “Facebook Cover Photos” to find some great options on designing a cover photo with impact!

3.  Your Main Picture:  Make sure you are smiling in your profile picture (the small picture in the bottom left of your Timeline photo).  A smile is the most inviting feature you can offer anyone.

4.  Your Home Page (Newsfeed page):  The new Timeline replaces YOUR wall, NOT your Home Page, your newsfeed - basically, your home page stays the same.  The Home Page is where you will see all of your "friends" updates, make comments on their feed or even update your status.  Your status update will appear on your main page.  On the Home Page you will see all of your groups, links to messages, events and apps.

You can update your status, add video and ask questions on your Home page and your wall.

5.  Post Options:  Every Timeline Post gives you the option to post Status Updates, Photo, Place, or Life event, across the top of the box marked "What's on your mind..?"  Simply add content as desired.

6.  Privacy per post:  Every Timeline Post has options on who can view your post. Next to the "POST" icon, you can pick who can view the post, ie:  friends, family, colleagues, all.  It is important to understand that what you post publicly will be seen by anyone who wishes to subscribe to you and/or those looking you up (or recruiting talent) on Facebook. Choose strategically to post about community events, helpful information/blog posts, career-related information within your field of expertise and so forth. Posts that you prefer to keep to your friends, mark as “Friends.” The same applies to photos.

7. Viewing Your Profile: To see what your profile looks like to those who are not your friends (this includes your subscribers), click on the drop down area next to the “Activity” button on your profile. Choose “View As” to see how your public profile looks.

8. Subscribe and Subscribers:  You can subscribe to other people, similar to “following” people on Twitter. This is valuable if you are seeking specific information from someone who you do not know (ie a career coach, musician, social media expert). Their public information will show up in your News Feed.

People can also subscribe to your public updates. When people subscribe or add you as a friend, they are automatically able to receive your public updates even if you do not friend them. To check who is subscribing to your public updates, click on the “Subscribers” thumbnail. You will find this in the same section as your friends, “Likes” and so forth.

9.  Editing Icons:  Every Timeline entry has 2 icons, one for editing and deleting, (shaped like a pen) and one for adjusting the size of the post, (shaped like a star).

10.  Timeline Dates/History:  In the upper right corner of the new Timeline on your page, you will see a list of dates, going back to your first post on Facebook.  You can delete and edit posts from here.

11.  Your Profile Information:  By clicking on the "About” tab, under your main photo box, you can edit your profile and what information goes on your main page. Or you can click on the Update Info icon directly under your cover photo

12.  Information boxes:  By clicking on the arrow next to the boxes under your main photo box, you can rearrange the boxes that appear below it; i.e.:  friends, photos, subscribers, etc.

13.  Activity Log: This feature allows you to see a list of events that appear on your Timeline.  You have options here, too.  Delete or feature each post, from a list view, by clicking on the year at the top right of the Activity Log Page

14.  Adding a Badge:  Next to the Activity Log icon is an asterisks and an arrow.  By clicking on the arrow pointing down, you can add badges to Blogger, Wordpress, or other sites you have built.  You can also add photo badges, LIKE badges and more.

15. Adding Life Events:  Adding Life Events is a valuable feature if used strategically. Focus on the birth of your children, your marriage, etc. Now focus on the professional value of Life Events! Some examples are: Volunteer work, receiving a promotion, a new position, a big conference at which you are speaking and so forth.

Don't have time to keep up with Facebook or want to know more about how Social Media can increase your bottom line?  Give me a shout out - I LOVE helping small business owners expand through the use of Facebook, Twitter and Linked IN! For more information or a simple lesson in moving through it all, feel free to email me at teri@theblissnetwork.com.

Happy Facebooking!

Chief Visionary Officer/Bliss Ambassador
Teri Williams
Multi Media and Publishing Services
A division of the Mythic Group, LLC
Heather Coleman-Voss
Career and Social Media Coach/Consultant

Saturday, December 31, 2011

For the love of Facebook, continued

Back in April I wrote a blog about Facebook on how friendships and deep connections are made through "friending people".  In that post I mentioned how a few years ago I thought it was crazy to be on Facebook and how much I really love it today!  As a follow up to that, I'm sharing a couple fabulous experiences and connections that were made through reaching out to people and posting on Facebook.

A month ago I had honor of following a story for Royal Oak Patch about "The Desert Angel" organization.  The first and second graders at Northwood Elementary were packing stockings to send to the troops overseas.  They packed over 100 stockings and included a sweet card with each one.  It inspired me to bake dozens of cookies myself to send out.  (I plan to do this every month for as long as I can - if you want to contribute, let me know!)

And then

I posted the article on my Facebook page and shared that I was baking the cookies.  Right away someone made a comment that while stationed in Iraq in 2009/2010 he had received numerous packages from the Desert Angel organization.  It touched him deeply, partially because he never knew how they got his name.  He posted that he was so grateful for the monthly gifts.  It gave him hope; something to look forward to month after month.

Shortly after he posted, another friend shared that her and her children attend packing parties on a regular basis through their church.  The soldier who posted above asked if she was the one who submitted his name.  Of course she was!  The soldier was finally able to put a name and face to the person who sent his name to The Desert Angel - a face and name to the person that, among many, appreciated his service to our country!   You all know I was in tears reading those posts on my page! 

Next up

Three weeks ago my brother, who like many, is laid off and living on a very limited budget, sent me a note saying he needed a new washing machine, "Be on the look out, will ya," he said! 

Well, I decided to put it out there to my wonderful Facebook friends!  Within in just a few minutes a very generous soul, who is experiencing her own challenges, posted on my page that she had a washing machine and he could pick it up - she gave it to him FOR FREE!!!  All he needed to do was figure out how to pick it up.  It took a couple of weeks, but he finally made it over there - works like a champ!  (We know what he'll be doing for New Years!)

Before Facebook the soldier may never have known who to thank for the generosity he received month after month while stationed over seas and my brother may have had to fork over a couple hundred bucks for a washing machine, at a time when he needed the cash more than ever before, 

THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR LOVE AND GENEROSITY!  Thank you Royal Oak Patch for the opportunity to share so many great stories with the world.

To those of you who think Facebook isn't worth the time, I urge you to reconsider - it's pretty amazing. I'm thankful to all of you that grace my page and my life, on and off of Facebook! 

Many blissings for a prosperous and joyful new year!  Keep connecting, keep sharing and this year, ask for what you need - you just might be surprised how it shows up in your life! 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry Blissmas - Everyday happiness

This is a repost from last December..Enjoy!

Merry Blissmas!

Yes, that's right Blissmas - An everyday celebration of happiness, joy and love = Blissmas!

Over the course of the year we tend to wait until this time of year to celebrate the abundance of joy and happiness in our lives. Why is that? We celebrate with lavish gifts and too much food. Why not break it all down over the course of the year and feel joy and abundance daily?

To be aware of the effects of celebrating “Blissmas” every day begin sharing more of your own happiness and passion with others. Quite possibly you will increase the happiness level of the people in your life, even in the lives of people you don't know - the Bliss Effect!

Not sure how to begin? Take baby steps. Start learning the habits of happy people, then incorporate some of those habits into your own life. Studies have shown that it takes a minimum of 21 days to make "something" a habit and that those habits take practice. Star athletes, musicians, and dancers, practice, practice, practice. Be the star of your own team and practice being happy.

Below is a list of 6 common habits of happy people.

- Be grateful - We ALL have something to be grateful for; like food, clothing, heat, children, snow days, smiles, music, partners, lovers. You get the point. Write a gratitude journal and say thank you more often.

- Savor simple pleasures - When was the last time you sat in a park and watched the birds or listened to children playing on the play ground? Stop for a few minutes a day to enjoy and savor the simple pleasures of life, nature is full of wonder and amazement.

- Join in - Be a part of "something", engage yourself in a cause, a club, a city council, a religious group. Participate in something you believe in.

- Love yourself - It's essential for being a happy person. To truly love anyone, we must love ourselves first. Create a self-love appreciation list and look at it often.

- Surround yourself with happy, supportive people - Choose like minded people to connect with. Positive energy is contagious. Your happiness level will increase simply by being around happy people.

- Ease up - Don't beat yourself up on the off days. We all have them. Give yourself permission to feel crabby, angry, frustrated. Simply allow it to move through you and reconnect with those moments of joy, happiness, and gratitude.

Live your bliss. We were born to be happy and are here to dream big and make those dreams a reality. Enjoy the trip by being as happy as possible and share that joy with those whose lives you touch.

Merry Blissmas to all!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Friends helping friends - that's what makes the world go round!

This month, this Thanksgiving, I am going to "serve" my friend and soul sister, Teri Sertic. 25% of all Girlavanting book sale proceeds will be donated to Teri and her family, through November 30, 2011.

Teri is a single mom with 3 children. She is a shamanic practitioner, a massage therapist and a dance instructor, with the healing hands of an angel and a heart overflowing with love. She's also an American Veteran having served in the United States Air Force. This year has been extremely difficult for her and her family. On top of being a single mom and the challenges that brings, her youngest daughter, 3 year old little Jojo, was diagnosed with diabetes. Her blood sugar was at an unbelievably high rate and her poor little body was working overload to compensate. After spending almost a week in the hospital she was finally able to take Jojo home, along with daily doses of insulin and blood level checks on a regular basis.

This year has been extremely difficult for her and her family. On top of being a single mom and the challenges that brings, her youngest daughter, 3 year old little Jojo, was diagnosed with diabetes. Her blood sugar was at an unbelievably high rate and her poor little body was working overload to compensate. After spending almost a week in the hospital she was finally able to take Jojo home, along with daily doses of insulin and blood level checks on a regular basis.

Constant monitoring of her child, along with nurturing and mothering her 2 older children has made it extremely difficult for Teri to work on a regular basis. Imagine having to test your child's blood level every few hours and then having to administer insulin shots. Add to that having to find someone willing to care for that child when you go to work; someone willing to step up and give the same loving care to your daughter as you would.

During my years as a single mom life brought more challenges than I could possibly list...it also brought more joys - spending time with my children no matter what was the greatest gift. There were times when I had no idea how I was going to feed them, cloth them or make the house payment. I believe in the magic of the Universe so I knew it would all be taken care of, I just didn't know how. Thank GOD for the people in my life, those Earth Angels, those joyful giving spirits who silently or loudly helped us make it through; anonymous donations of food on my porch, checks from family and friends and gifts for my children. I can't say enough how grateful I am. I "pay it forward" by giving back to my community in some way every single day.

I am thankful beyond words that Teri is my friend and that her 3 beautiful children bless this world. In giving thanks I ask that you check within, to a time when you were in need, and someone reached out to help you, maybe a friend, maybe your family, maybe a stranger. Then, I am asking you to think about Teri and her children and reach out to help them all, in any way you can. She does work out of her house quite often, to be more readily available to her family. A great way to help might be to schedule yourself or friend a massage (one of the best massages I have ever had!) or girls night out dancing at her studio or maybe you simply want to donate love and prayers. Whatever you are inspired to do will be a blessing for her and her family.

Her website is: http://www.the-healing-spot.com/#! and her email is: javalovin@yahoo.com. To make a monetary donation, simply fill out a gift certificate and when prompted to enter a note, add "A gift for Teri Sertic and her family".

Remember, we are donating 25% of all Girlavanting book sales to Teri and her family. They make great holiday gifts for every woman on your list, from 5 to 105!

Feel free to pass this on to who ever you think might send a little love Teri's way.

Happy Anniversary, Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s the week of Thanksgiving. Seriously, I celebrate it every day. Many of you do too, I know.

Me - I simply thank God, The Great Spirit, Source for every breath I take, every face I see, every tear I shed. I’ve said it before – it’s worth saying again – When I open my eyes in the morning, before I even put my foot on the ground, I take a deep breath and say “Thank you for another day – Thank you for the opportunity to serve”.

It’s also the one year anniversary of Welcome to Blissville at Empoweradio.com. THANK YOU to Brent Carey, Founder and Creator of Empoweradio.com, for this gift of being the voice that brings you so much joy. What we focus on multiplies! Joy, joy, joy!

What a year it’s been! I’ve had the opportunity to deliver 50 of the world’s most incredible, dynamic people, from all over the globe, from Detroit to Melbourne - Marc Allen, Marci Shimoff, Brenda Strausz, SARK, Dr. Bernie Siegel, Lori Lipten, Sharon Salzberg, Shawne Duperon, Gene Stone, Judy Davids, Amanda Gore, Jon Katz, Lori Bryant Woolridge and Catherine Hilker are only a handful of the guests we’ve heard. What an amazing array of topics – love, grief, intimacy inspiration, pets, Feng Shui, intuition, meditation, miracles and of course, bliss.

My guests have given a lot of their personal tips for living a blissful life, here's a sampling:

Susyn Reeve – Take the time to acknowledge what you love and honor about yourself and then experiment with being the world’s greatest lovers – share that love with the world!!

Judy Davids – “All things are possible, believe in yourself and seek out support of others. People want to help you!”

Lori Bryant Woolridge – “True masters learn through joy – there’s a lot of joy to be found.”

Shawne Duperon – "It’s not that deep…take a deep breath and play."

Bernie Siegel – “Love yourself, love your body, and then contribute your love to the world. It’s the only thing that makes you immortal – love someone and you’ll be here forever.”

Marc Allen – “Don’t forget your dreams, keep going for them – dream your most expansive dream, you’ll never regret it.”

There has been one common thread, besides bliss– Gratitude. Each of these remarkable people feels a deep sense of gratitude to life. You'll hear that in every interview, over and over again.

I am over flowing with that same grateful spirit, thankful to be the bridge that brought their message to you; messages with deep meaning, yet seemingly so simple; thankful to be bringing even more bliss to you in the next year.

Thank you all for tuning in and empowering yourself with their wisdom, for taking a few minutes each week to tune in and tune up your life – for bringing me into your home, your office, your world, your heart. You are all on my bliss list and I am grateful beyond words!

A deep sense of gratitude brings you closer to living your bliss…

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What we focus on multiplies

My friend and colleague, Ron Marshall of RonMarshallJr.com has launched a new feature in his blog.

He's calling it a "Professional Showcase" and is highlighting what he considers to be today's thought leaders who are remaking tomorrow.

It is my great honor to be featured as his opening act! Please take a few minutes to read Ron's Blog, both Part I and Part II and suggest anyone that you think should be featured! Ron is an incredible young man, striving to make a difference in peoples lives, both locally here in Michigan and around the globe!

Here's a little snip it of what you'll read:

Part I - The practical side

"I knew taking care of my two children as a single, working mom was not going to be an easy task. I wasn't going to let corporate America decide whether I would be home with my sick child or be a room mom in their classroom. I wanted to make those decisions myself. I had two things going for me (besides my beautiful children): I had a business and accounting background, and I loved to clean! Ok, I loved computers, too.

I bought my first computer and started two businesses: The Administrative Assistant and Snap Services; they have long since been replaced. My dad lent me the money, even though he thought computers were glorified typewriters. At that time, for me, they were, but I believed that the 'new thing called the Internet' was the wave of the future! (I think I was right on that one!)"

Part II - The spiritual side

'What we focus on multiplies. Since we are made up of energy (everything is), why not focus on positive energy, what's working, what's joyful and what's beautiful: Life! It isn't always easy, I know. I've been in some pretty low places myself - abuse, rape, divorces (notice plural there), job loss, a house fire, death of loved ones, and so on and so on. You get the picture - a lot of personal loss and what could have been defeat.

Thankfully, I was raised to always have hope and always see the silver lining."

Read the rest here....

P.S. And book mark Ron's page - you'll want to see some of the great guests he has lined up in his Showcase of thought leaders and those making a difference in our community.