Monday, May 18, 2015

When the Log Becomes Earth

Tip toeing through the forest with my little one, we came across this camouflaged treasure. To walk quickly through this area without paying close attention, one could easily miss it.

Right before our eyes was nature's exquisite example of how it naturally replenishes itself....the circle of life, through the symbol of a tree melting slowing into the earth from which it grew.
Can you see the faint outline of a fallen log?  The mystical and scientific process known as 
decomposition, or "composting" in more suburban terms.... had begun to break down the mighty fallen tree
into a luscious  brown earthy soil.  See the chocolaty shade of the dirt?

I love composting, but i love it even more when nature provides a real life example of what it has done by God's design for thousands of years. This is how the forests and swamps and wetlands continue to create nutritiously rich soils from which to grow more vibrant foliage and trees to house wildlife.

Without this cycle of growth, death and renewal, the soils would quickly become sandy like the desert and there would be little flora and fauna to boast about. And so it was a lovely classroom in which to teach my young one about this precious truth of how God made the earth to replenish itself, without any interference or "help" from mankind.

Peaceful  Day,

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Knowing What Makes You Happy

The more obscure and kooky, the better, as long as I myself have arranged, designed, knit, glued, or drawn or painted it,.....or written it....ultimately it is the act of being creative that gives me immense joy.

I look around and think through some of the things that I've made over the past year and whether it's some earthy homespun wall hanging or a kooky cheapskate blog post, or a way to up-cycle an old chair or iron flower trough....I love them all, because I myself "thunk" them up. Sometimes it's just about gathering
up some lovely enormous pine cones, still coated in sticky white pine tar, and arranging them in a bowl for a table top. All the while, staying thoughtful, peaceful and philosophical and sharing the tidbits of wisdom I discover in my journey.

Sometimes it's about getting back to basics and using what I have on hand or using something utilitarian such as "jute" twine and re-purposing it into something I can use learning  how to knit rugged earthy looking place mats.

(By the way if you want to learn how to make's really super easy: You can buy plain brown colored jute in most dollar stores or you can sometimes find it dyed into red or green.
You simply use a basic garter stitch and load up the desired width of place mat you are trying to create and thereby choose the right amount of stitches to load onto your knitting needles. I tend to use metal circular needles because I like how they work fast, and how the jute slips easily off the metal needles. Then you just keep going with your garter stitch until the place mat is the size you want it to be. 
Then cast off the stitches, and you can duplicate the process to produce a whole table setting's worth of earthy jute place mats.

Note that jute is a very rough material to knit with and it does feel rough on the hands and also does shed while you are working with it.  These kind of place mats are best used in a rugged setting such as for camping or cottaging....because the jute continues to shed and wouldn't match a fine china type of decor.)

Well that is just a snap shot of some of the stuff that makes my day.....the heart of which is simply the "opportunity to be creative with anything I fancy" 

May this day bring you another glimpse into what brings you true joy.

Peaceful productivity,

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Shoot From the Hip

I used to draw a lot, especially if someone
gave me something to sign or write a comment a yearbook or somethin' like that.

It seems like when I am in a kooky mood, that my imagination gets the best of me....How 'bout you?
Do you doodle and just allow your imagination to erupt ?

I used a pencil, ,my fave blue Sharpie and a possle of old fashioned Laurentian pencil crayons on a plain white art pad to make this sketch. Voila.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Never Apologize for Wanting More

If this sounds like a feminist rant....don't be's really not and applies to all of us human mortals..

I have noticed in my neck of the woods that there is such a huge pressure in our local environment to "settle" for simply whatever you currently have and are. To be too ambitious or goal oriented is frowned upon . The idea is perpetuated by the business owners as well as by many volunteer organizations who glean a massive "free" work force from the locals who are "stuck" here. The business owners likewise glean a loyal work force who refuse to demand higher pay or decent benefits.

I have lived here for many years and the spirit and tone of this attitude still completely baffles me.

Why would any healthy society want to encourage people to accept much less than what they can potentially achieve and possess? Why would we want to "force" folks to live on less income than what they could be earning....either through active work or through passive investing?

Is it just the "devil" at work or just plain ole stupid human nature......or has the mind of the locals been kidnapped by aliens ?

I want to see people excel all around me. I want to see them become well read and fulfilled because they are meeting up with challenges and discovering the gift of "mastery" . (Yes, if you recognize that word "mastery" from Tony Robbins materials, then yes, you caught me....I am unashamedly a fan)

Some folks seem to live their lives with the sole purpose of "avoiding embarrassment". Is it really that important? Is it not more significant to be willing to fall flat on your face once in a while, so that in the long run, you might actually achieve something of value?

We have so much potential, both individually and corporately. My personal habit of reading the bible, has expanded my mind to great heights and depths. Despite the popular opinion that Christianity fosters a narrow minded attitude or mental frame work.....I have discovered the opposite to be true. The words of the bible have empowered me to become even more courageous and adventurous than I would ever have considered to become in the past. The words of Bible have shown me that at the end of the day, God has the final say, and therefore, we mere humans can actually chill out, relax a bit and learn to play in the awesome world that God gave to us as our own wonderful backyard.

Therefore, if perhaps a bit of Spring Fever has hit you, and you find yourself feeling restless......don't panic. You are not a rebel. You simply are feeling like you just might want more........

Go for it folks. Want more from life. Want more from God. Want more from yourself. Want more from the earth. When you seek "more" you will find "more". But if you stop seeking and simply settle with what you already have .....that is all you will ever have and ever be.

So, in a nutshell, I just want to say that I will never apologize for wanting more. I also would like to encourage you to give yourself permission to want more too. It's not greedy and it's not self-centered.....its about embracing with zest, this incredible life that God has given to us.

Peaceful productivity,

Friday, April 17, 2015

Please Mr. Twitter....Don't Let Google Buy You

Perhaps it is a little bit risky....well maybe a lot risky to speak so is Google after all, who
gives me this beautiful little blogging platform ....and all for free no less....

However, what fun would blogging be if you just couldn't speak your mind?

So today, I just wanted to say.... I really really really really really don't want Google to buy Twitter.

Why you may ask? Because Google already owns so much information about all of us.....Twitter would just give Google yet another access point into our lives and minds and everything that we really value.

If any of you have read "The Numerati" by Stephen Baker (if you haven' is a MUST my humble opinion)   ...... you will admit that we are literally getting virtually sliced and diced and our data sold to the highest bidder whenever we use any internet platform that Google controls/owns. All that juicy info about our lives is very uber valuable to those who want to figure out how to sell us more stuff. Google makes billions of dollars out of chopping and packaging and then reselling data about our lives to massive corporations who just want to get an edge to figure out how to get us to buy their products. Not only do corporations want us to buy the products they already are selling to the public....they want to have a "pre-emptive" strike in anticipating what we will want to purchase next week, next month and next year and yes, five or ten years from now.

The internet just gives corporate marketers soooooo much data about how we live and what we value.

Well, I feel like I'm talking in a circle, so I'll stop my rant. But for those of you who might have an influence over the possibility of Google buying up Twitter.....please make it stop. Google has more than enough data about all of us already....they really don't need to buy up our tweets.....

And yes, you may re-tweet this post ")


Sunday, April 12, 2015

2. Experimental Facts of Life

If you are in the market for some brain stretching....take a chance and listen to a free class

offered by M.I.T  via their free course sharing venue called "Onlinecourseware"....

I am merely suggesting that sometimes it's wonderfully liberating and inspiring to listen to something that is completely outside of your usual frame of reference....

Take a giant step out of your comfort just might discover something very cool.

Peaceful productivity,


Synopsis Of Tony Robbins: Money Master the Game

I've kept listening to various CD's and youtube recordings of the audio book ofTony Robbins' new personal finance book entitled "Money..Master the Game". Tony's new book is hot in demand at all of the local libraries.

As I review what I've gleaned so far I keep trying to pinpoint what precisely it is that I have learned.

So, permit me to jot down a few ideas that Tony seems to promoting in this book:

1. Mutual Funds are hurting a lot of Americans by charging tons of extra fees many of which their buyers are not even aware of. One point seems to be that Tony is advocating Vanguard "Low Cost" Index Funds as an "ideal" investment vehicle. Why Vanguard? Tony's perspective is that Vanguard seems to be taking the "low fee" moral high ground versus a plethora of other mutual fund dealers who are robbing their clients through outrageously high fees.

2/ Financial advice, is often not very objective in the  USA with many investment advisors having obvious and not so obvious conflicts of interest because they often receive monetary incentives for convincing their clients to purchase certain investments versus others. Therefore, Tony advises folks to use "fiduciary" advisors, which are supposed to cling to a higher standard and act more altruistically in the best interests of their clients. Tony also advocates using "fee only" advisors instead of those who charge ongoing management fees that take significant chunks out of folk's investment nest eggs.

3/ Tony unashamedly promoted two financial/investment companies namely STronghhold Financial as well as High Tower. Without going into much or more of these companies can be accessed through links that Tony mentions in the book, and provide "no cost" analysis of your current investment portfolio. I have not accessed any of these online tools that Tony promotes, but I am wary....because in the long run, they will for sure be promoting the use of these companies as paid financial "handlers" or "advisors". Businesses are in business to make money...and this book is not a food bank type of social service. Tony wants to promote the financial services of those who have treated him and/or his company well over the years. Can you blame him?

4/ There was a significant amount of time spend "name dropping" supposedly to inspire us to believe that if these finance/investment success stories figured out how to make it big....then maybe we can too. However, it was difficult for many of us to relate to the "larger the life" investment "icons" such as Ray Dalio or
Carl Ichan. However, I have yet to read through all his "real life" perhaps there will be a few that I can relate to.....

5. Tony advocates a simplistic ideology when it comes to how we plan our finances. He calls it his "bucket" method. He says our "security" bucket should included those investments that have a low level of risk and a high level of "guaranteed or "can't lose" type of investments. He also mentions another bucket...which Tony labels as a "risk/growth" bucket.  This kind of simple ideology is actually quite effective in helping regular folks to get a grip on their own risk tolerance and to help them implement good financial planning techniques.

6. There are some specific investment vehicles which Tony mentions, perhaps more for inspiration, not because he is qualified to compare one vehicle over against another investment vehicle. For example Tony talks about a product called "T.I.P.S" which are actually called "Treasury Inflation Protected Securities".
I could not find a verifiable source of these in either perhaps they don't exist in Canada or maybe I just don't know the right place to look. What I found attractive in this type of investment vehicle is that it protects the investor from the formidable threat of inflation, which is a worrisome force for any long term investor.

Well that's it for now....I still have not made my way through the entirety of the whole audio book.....I've been what you might call literary "grazing".

One youtube commenter made the bold comment asking "What precisely can  you actually learn from this huge book?" Well, although the answer is not too obvious, I would say that there is merit in this book, but it meanders about and isn't set out in a straight forward manner. The ideas are not hiding in plain sight. Tony uses this book to air his thoughts....both his rants and raves and financial aspirations and actual portions of his financial history for us to pick through and rejoice in what nuggets we can glean. He allows us, quite candidly to learn from some of his mistakes and take inspiration from some of his victories. But that being said.... Tony doesn't act like he's "arrived"....financially. He comes across quite humbly as a student of many of these titans of personal finance like Carl Ichan and Ray Dalio, among others. Tony's attitude is something many of us can learn from in and of itself, even without any factual tidbits to sink our teeth into. Why do I say that? Because coming from a perspective of respectful "studiousness" and being willing to learn quietly from the big wigs is a remarkable skill that can catapult many of us from obscurity to prosperity faster than we think.
Having a great attitude puts us in tune with like minded individuals who possess what we may be lacking in our ladder to success. We all need mentors...and we attract more helpful interactions with our mentors when we have a great "confident, friendly and still humble and teachable" attitude.

Bottom line.....I'm still not done the entire audio or hardcover format of his book yet. So I will refrain from commenting too freely until I feel that I have given the book it's full due diligence.
Frankly, I still find that there are not enough personal finance books on the which the common man/woman can relate. So I do appreciate that Tony has even attempted the feat...albeit with some mixed

Tony's gift is his personal charisma....and you can hear it come shining through in how he wants to help empower us to feel like we can tame this dragon called "financial planning" with confidence, vigor and a fearlessness that puts a wee bit more bounce and joy in our steps. I am grateful to Tony for the courage and friendliness that comes across loud and clear in this book "Money...Master the Game". Even if the book is blatantly promoting some finance/investment firms over is still done in a professional and pleasant manner. Thank you Tony, your efforts have not gone unnoticed.

Peaceful productivity,