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Meditative Minimalism

I feel like I need a name for the Angie version of Minimalism, something that conveys my aspirations for all this simplifying activity. Joshua Fields Millstone and Ryan Nicodemus from Minimalist website have an ideal that is impressive, and I know that my ultimate spin on it will look like quite different. I admit that I am envious when I see images of the pristine JFM apartment with the brick walls, a lone piece of art above a simple quality chair. He has an immaculate closet with five identical white shirts hanging ready and 2 white candles on the desk with 5 select books stacked neatly nearby. The Angie version, of course, has to accomodate for my hobbies, passions, spouse and idiocyncracies. As JFM said, they are offering Minimalism up as a recipe for others to consider; their goal is to show people ingredients which might add value to their own life. That is where I am right now, playing with ingredients, seeking my own version of the recipe.

I’m not sure how close I am to the national average of 300,000 items in the home. On the one hand, I already had a habit of keeping a box of items to go to Goodwill near the door at all times, so that the amount of stuff coming in at least matched the amount of stuff leaving. When I look at my tidy decor, I tend to think I had a bit of a minimalist aesthetic already working, but when I look at my closets and garage, I know there is plenty of opportunity for aggressive purging. Instead of counting items in the home, I instead will measure my progress by number of trips to Goodwill and boxes to Lisa for eBay, as well as number of empty shelves and drawers.


In the past this bare mantle would bother me until I filled it with decor. Now it makes me happy.


So far in 2017, I have filled an entire car for Goodwill and have 5 bags ready for my next trip. I have packed 3 boxes of nicer items for Lisa to sell, with a fourth box started. Yesterday I took pictures of old plaques and awards, casually tossing them in the trash or donating the frames from the certificates after posting the photos on my Facebook page. I kept 2 Leadership Augusta keepsakes, one for graduating the program and one for serving as Board Chair. I also kept the Girl Scouts Women of Distinction clock. Those are big deals to me. Today I plan to play a game with Kevin called 1 in 10, where I present him with 10 objects I suspect he wants to keep, and ask him which one I can give away. I’m hopeful for some baby steps but do not expect him to embrace my same level of streamlining.

So far the process has been easy and fun, and serves as part of a larger plan for mine and Kev’s future. I feel an enhanced appreciation for the items which have thus far made the cut and remain in place, and a sense of purpose for my activity. In the past, my constant rearranging of stuff had a little bit of senselessness to it, a busy work or excuse to clean around things. Now I am motivated to reach a place of calmness and an aspiration to focus on more important uses of my energy.

I started reading “Everything That Remains”, which is as awesome as I knew it would be, based on the blog content from the website. It is personal, relatable and inspiring. From it, my biggest take-away so far is the warning to always remember the “Why” behind the purging. It is much like going on a healthy diet with the intention of truly changing one’s life with better choices, so that old ways don’t creep in down the road. There is a need for thoughtfulness in my decisions and consciousness of why I allowed myself to purchase so many superfluous items in the first place.


love this book!

I’ve read of people of who purged most of their excess material goods within a year and others who have taken a decade to gradually reach their goals. I hope to land somewhere in between. Paying off debt, making better purchase decisions, eating more thoughtfully and living more in the moment are certainly part of the Minimalist mindset which I am excited to embrace, but which will take time to form as habits. For the present time, I am happy to have a plan which helps me to feel less like a hamster stuck on the wheel of crazy work hours and impossible visions for my oversized home. Finding the right balance has helped me to enjoy my job more, where I also have done some reducing, and appreciate the non-material aspects of my life more, like family, friends, reading.


While this progress report is helpful, I’m still left without a name. For now, because I’m focused on thoughtful balance, I’ll call it meditative minimalism, so that I am encouraged to slow down and really think through the meaning of physical stuff, including items that I own, as well as those that I feel the urge to purchase. I have no doubt that this lifestyle will translate into less stress and more gratitude, and look forward to sharing more updates in the future.

A photo blog of home decor

A old friend of mine used to chastise himself each time he made a comment that was so obvious, he might as well have not said it at all. He would call himself the “Master of the Obvious”. At risk of being called that myself, I’m going to make a statement that is so well-accepted, it doesn’t need to be stated. A home purchase may be the best thing ever for the economy.

Everyone knows this, of course, but I don’t think I fully realized it until our recent home purchase. I am magnetically drawn to Target, Home Depot, Consignment stores and decor shops in a way that causes me to feel powerless. I have acquired more home objects in the last 2 months than I have purchased in my entire 49 years. It is frightening.

I hesitate to admit all this, and I’m sure Kevin is beginning to fear the number of unidentified objects which keep surfacing in his home. The only rationale is that there is some kind of gene in our DNA that makes us feel compelled to buy and arrange objects in a new space. You see a little of this in the car business, certainly. People who want the Lexus key-chain or hat or car care kit or window tinting after a vehicle purchase. But most of that is functional, less of it is personalization. With a home, though, it is a economic whirlwind, a vortex of cash output.

I will not embarrass myself or bore you with a list of the pillows, sheets, towels, and standard home fare in which I have indulged, but I will remind our gentle readers that my new home has 3 bedrooms and 3 baths, so whatever most people purchase with a new house, I’ve done it times 3. Nor will I regale you with tales of new granite counters or house re-painting. My focus today is on decorative (ie: non-essential) items only. So here is a short tour. Enjoy. And to all the local businesses who were the beneficiaries of my spending-you are welcome.


Purchased at Art on Broad, Downtown Augusta


The kitty clock and kitty sculptures I already had. The platform has a cool weathered look. Found it at Clementine Gifts on Baston Road


Pretty sure the ‘vase’ is actually part of a kitchen canister set I found at HomeGoods and bought when I was madly acquiring anything I saw in that color blue. Flowers from Pier One. Arranging I did myself.


I liked this unique picture frame. Photo only stays up thanks to that small round magnet. Purchased from Clementine Gifts on Baston Road


Silver dish from HomeGoods. They hit the big time with their large assortment of blue and beach-y looking decor.


Another dish from HomeGoods


Small dish from Art on Broad, downtown


Blue glass orb from Art on Broad downtown. One of my favorite acquisitions. Hoping the cat doesn’t knock it off the dresser.


Kitchen needed a little decorative work. Visitors who know me will realize that it is for display and not for cooking. Williams Sonoma.


Artwork at a consignment store. Dropped it after I got it home and had to take it to Frame Shop for repairs. LOVE looking at it, especially against the Salty Dog Blue wall.


Another piece from Art on Broad. I’ve moved it 10 times but it currently resides on one of my mantles. It looks good anywhere I put it, but I like it to be where it can shine on it’s own simplicity.


My facebook friends will recognize this composition, but it is the 4th version of the bookshelf by the fireplace. The “Happy Place” sign was a gift from my brother-in-law. The wine was, sadly, purchased for decorative reasons only.

The Enigma of the Ideal Mission Statement

At a leadership luncheon a couple of years ago, featured speaker Bg. General Jeff Foley (retired) asked for a show of hands from everyone who had ever written a personal mission statement. Sadly, I had not ever created one, but as I jealously admired the few audience members with raised hands, something clicked in my brain. How could I travel on a path of future success without some guidepost informing my decisions? I set to work creating one, and immediately posted the results on my LinkedIn page.
Soon after this luncheon, I would have the tremendous fortune of working with Jeff Foley as he guided Leadership Augusta in the revision of our mission, vision, values and goals. He explained how an accurate mission statement could bring focus to an organization. As a result of this experience, I now cannot imagine any leader wanting to have a positive sustainable impact without going through this process.
This is why I was intrigued to hear that Kevin’s boss asked his team to be thinking about ideas for a mission statement. After 16 years in the car business, I can tell you that a mission statement is not something you hear about very often in a dealership. (I’ve had 2 mission statement conversations in my automotive career, and I brought it up one of those times).  It shows that Andy is thinking big picture, and realizes that the first step in building or improving team culture is with a vision and mission statement. I also like that he is asking the team for input, and not just top management. The pursuit of the ideal mission statement is inherently a team dialogue.
Out of curiosity, I googled sample mission statements in the car business, and they were truly difficult to find. The ones I found were pretty tame. So I broadened the search to other industries and started to get a sense of which companies took their mission-creation job more seriously. It didn’t take me long to develop a “Mission Statement Advice” list. Maybe Kevin’s team can take it into consideration as they begin their journey into finding the ever-mysterious, ever-challenging perfect mission statement.
1. Beware the temptation to jam in too many words. If it’s so long to read that I feel compelled to skim (or skip), then it’s likely not going to be inspiring to employees. Keep it concise. Also, please avoid too much “mission-ese” language. Mission-ese is verbiage that would never escape someone’s lips in an actual conversation (with a straight face). I mean, really, who talks like this:

We are a performance driven culture that uses metrics to ensure continuous improvement. Through our distribution and marketing competencies, we provide creative, customized, solutions for our customers.

2. I’m not crazy about any mission statement that uses the word “best”. Best -according to whom?  It’s a weak, uninspired word. I’m also passionately opposed to inclusion of the word “shareholder”. If you mention shareholders, profit, or return on investment in your mission statement, I immediately know your priorities are skewed. If you make decisions based on numbers, you fail to build the true foundation to long-term success: brand and culture. Smart choices for sustainable processes revolve around customers, employees and community. The profits come automatically if you’re doing a good job with your brand. Like the old adage, “fix the store, not the score”, or the athletes who ignore the stats while they focus on building their strengths, the conversation should always be people-oriented and not numbers-based.
3. I like a mission statement which isn’t limiting, because industries evolve over generations, and we can’t all say for certain that our core activities will remain just as they are from decade to decade. The mission should therefore be larger than the organization’s activities right now, but still relevant to what your big-picture objective is. In other words, I want to see that you are open to what your company may evolve into one day, but I also want to see at least a clue of what industry you are in. In my examples below, Microsoft’s is probably the most vague, but I’ll give them a pass because who knows what will come of their industry in the coming years. Still, it seems like the words innovation or technology should be worked in there somewhere.
So here are a few that I liked:
To discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases.
Bristol Myers Squib not only used alliteration, but also threw in the word “prevail”. What an awesome word. I definitely want to prevail over my serious diseases.
At the heart of The Chevron Way is our Vision to be the global energy company most admired for its people, partnership and performance.
Chevron, too, has opted for alliteration. I am keen on the word admired. Definitely better than the hundred organizations which claimed they were striving to be “the best”. Chevron knows if they are most admired, they likely are the best.

Use our pioneering spirit to responsibly deliver energy to the world.

ConocoPhillips nailed a concise mission statement by strategically including a couple of very important words: pioneering and responsible. If I worked for this company, I would have a sense of not only what I needed to do, but how. They show us that if you get your key words down, a short mission statement can hit the message home.
At Microsoft, we work to help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential. Everything we do reflects this mission and the values that make it possible.
This tells me a few important things: the audience is global, individual and companies, and demonstrating partnerships for the success of others.
Nike: To Bring Inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.
Nike hit a home run here, and their strong brand is a testament that they live by their mission statement. Read more about this in the book, “What Great Brands Do”, by Denise Yohn.
So that’s my advice for Kevin’s team if they decide to pursue the ever-elusive perfect mission statement. Keep it simple, visionary, concise and pick words that paint a clear picture of what employees should be striving for every day. I applaud anyone who tackles this challenging undertaking, as long they aspire to be something grander than “the best”.

Wish List


The girl from the Rape Crisis Center called me back today. I had left a message that I was interested in hearing her “wish list”, supplies that her agency uses on a daily basis. As she read off her needs, I could picture each of the items not just being used, but being extremely significant in a moment of crisis.

“We need gallon ziplock bags to put together emergency care kits,” she explained. It is easy to imagine that soaps, shampoo and new socks would be appreciated, but as she spoke further, my mental image became more detailed. “We need Kleenex for our counseling offices. Also, it is getting colder now, so it would be really helpful to get hooded sweatjackets.” I envisioned a counselor or volunteer offering a tissue to someone in tears, or the hoodie to someone needing comfort. It made me want to corner the hoodie market, and buy all of Walmart’s Kleenex supply, so that every one of their clients would have these small gestures of support.

Buying items of necessity for non-profits does a couple of different things. Most obviously, it saves them money, because they don’t have to spend their dollars to get the needed supplies. Of course, it also saves them time going to the store, so that they can be more available for direct programs.

But the reason I most like getting a charity’s wish list is to help with awareness. The public sometimes doesn’t have a full grasp of what it takes to run a non-profit. I remember when I volunteered at the CSRA Humane Society, I was blown away at how much kitty litter it took to run that no-kill shelter! They would send a couple of strong volunteers to the store in a truck, and when they returned, it was all hands on deck to help unload and put up the supplies: gallons of bleach, huge containers of food, heavy slabs of bagged kitty litter and large boxes of laundry soap. Think of how much we all dread shopping for the two or three pets we have at home, and multiply it times 100! It’s quite an expensive ordeal.

Knowing this, many volunteers started getting in the habit of picking up extra pet supplies while at the store for themselves, and would bring some of these items with them when they came to work at the shelter. It was such a blessing! I thought, let’s get everyone in the habit of doing this for the causes that are important to them. We all go to the store several times a week (Target is my personal mother-ship), so with a little encouragement, perhaps we will think to toss a few extra essentials into the basket.

During the holidays, when non-profits feel the strain of helping families more than ever, it is an ideal time for volunteers like you and me to keep a few charity wish list items on our radar. That is why, for the past couple of years, I have coordinated a drive for my dealership called “15 Gifts of Christmas”, a chance to people to buy presents for the charities. We put a huge Santa sled in the showroom, and put out decorative bins for visitors to drop their donations. Here is a past blog about the project: .

We are finalizing the 15 items we will collect for agencies this year, but in the meantime, here are some thought-starters for your consideration. Some are holiday-based-any charity helping families needs toys- while others are year-round essentials. So the next time you pass by the aisle with kleenex, soaps, or hoodies, consider tossing a couple extra items in for donations. Or consider getting your church or civic club to do a group donation drive. No matter what time of year it is, you can bring the gifts to the dealership and we will make sure they go to a good home.

Ronald McDonald House always needs: paper towels, laundry detergent, 10 oz. insulated cups, twin/queen mattress covers(cloth, washable), laundry baskets, toilet paper, games. Salvation Army needs twin sheet sets, laundry soaps, small toiletry items. SafeHomes needs stuffed animals, diapers and baby care items. Heritage Academy needs hard-backed books, especially for grades 3-8. And finally, ALL non-profits need office supplies!

I look forward to hearing what you think about the non-profit wish list idea, and to seeing the Santa Sled fill to the brim!

The Sixth Lexus

It’s hard to believe I’m already getting the first maintenance performed on my 2013 ES350; it’s even harder to believe that this is my sixth Lexus. My first one, a red IS300, will always be a sentimental favorite. It had unique styling for Lexus, created for the performance-based driver, with racing cues on the interior.  There were so few of these cars on the road; I took pride in knowing that mine was one of only 3 red ones in the area.


I was so enamored with this car that I broke up with my then-boyfriend because he wanted to drive it, and I didn’t want to share. (There may have been some other reasons to break up, but they seem inconsequential and fuzzy today.) The only thing I did not like about this classic Lexus sedan was the dangerously hot metal gear shifter; it required an oven mitt in order to put the car into gear during the scorching Georgia summers. The engineers who thought it looked cool and sporty must have lived in Minnesota or something.


After the red IS, I enjoyed a series of great Lexus vehicles, including a red IS350, a silver IS250, a blue ES350 and a silver ES350. My current gold ES350 (or “Satin Cashmere”, as they say in Lexus-speak) is the new favorite, because the changes that Lexus made to the 2013 generation ES have taken it to the same stratospheric level that they reached with the RX350 in 2010. You drive a 2010 RX compared to a 2009 RX, and you will feel like you are in a vehicle that costs $10,000 more. Same with the 2013 v. the 2012 ES. The fit, finish, amenities, styling and ride of these upgraded models amazes me.  Here is a picture taken right before I bought my ES, in late December.


I told Kevin that I had to buy this car because as the Jim Hudson Lexus PR girl, I needed to represent the latest and greatest model, which is true. I consider it my duty to drive vehicles which inspire others to notice the product, much like when I worked for Clinique and they asked us to wear the new lipstick colors. Kevin gave me his blessing, as he is always kind to do, and by Christmas I was tooling around in the nicest car ever to grace my driveway.

In addition to the styling and the smooth driving performance, I fell in love with this car for the same reason I fall in love with most people: the little things. I will share a few of the countless small things I enjoy in this Lexus, which I must mention cost very close to the same price as my last 2 ES350’s.

1. Back-up camera: while not new to the ES, it is a first for me and I LOVE it. I am a notoriously bad parker, and the red lines show me when I’m heading in the right direction.

2. The appearance of the dash. The stiched trim and the contrast of beautiful materials is strikingly elegant.


3. The control knob which allows me to navigate vehicle functions-I use it to change settings, radio stations and more- it functions much like a mouse does on a computer, which is what cars essentially are these days.


4. The display feature which tells me everything from how many miles I have left on a tank of gas, to how much pressure is in each tire. There is a world of vehicular information at my fingertips, and sometimes I scroll through all of the options, just because I can.


5. Satellite radio. Again, not new for the ES or even for me, but the way the song info is displayed is something I really like. I am a consistent channel-changer, always seeking the next great song or joke, so the functionality of the audio screen with the control knob is a good fit for me. (Yes, I actually took a picture of the screen during a Barry Manilow song.) For the record, my most favorite XM channels are 7, 8, 17 and 32.


While I could continue to go on about favorite features of my Lexus, I think it is clear that although I now have 5,000 miles on my car, I truly am still in love. I will close with the feature that ultimately sold me on the car, and it will seem silly, but I think it adds the classiest touch of all. It is the ultimate in elegance, and makes the interior look entirely fresh and classic: the clock. This is the real reason I had to buy my sixth Lexus. (Don’t tell Kevin.)


With so much to love-big and small- I have to say I made a good decision with the 2013 ES. I think I will keep this Lexus for awhile.

Quietly Leading to Win

The May edition of Fortune magazine featured an article titled, “How Introverts Can Be Leaders”. Showcased in the story is former Campbell Soup CEO Doug Conant, who describes himself as a “born introvert”. I related to Doug’s experience when he told the story of the time he was offered the job of President of Sales for his company. His response to the CEO : “You’ve got to be kidding. I’m an introvert and I don’t play golf.”

In the end, Doug took the job, “his most challenging ever”, and got it done. He goes on to explain that although he isn’t the archetypal charismatic leader, his work ethic and directness won him the trust of his team and his leadership style got results. He would go on to even greater success, underscoring the point that one must never discount the power of a quiet leader.

I’m hoping this is true because I’m a quiet leader with a new responsibility much like Doug’s sales job: way outside of the comfort zone. On July 1, I am going to be the Chair of the Board of Directors for Leadership Augusta. Now that the start date is approaching, it feels like a recipe for an anxiety attack. Although there are no sweaty palms, I definitely have some heart palpitations and heaviness, similar to what one might feel after consuming a 6-pack of Mountain Dew and a bag of gummy worms. This year will definitely be a test of the quiet leader.

I know you think I should be a pro at managing these symptoms by now, and I truly should be. After the pressure of being a Dancing Star and a bride last year, surely this new role will be a breeze.  There is no reason to panic; it’s just a few board meetings and pep talks. So what’s the big deal? Why the extreme physical distress? I will tell you the big deal in one big word: expectations.

I can tell myself that the Board Chair position is just a few meetings and speeches, but I know in my heart that I expect much more of myself. This exceeds the stress of the Dancing Stars adventure because my goal this time is diffferent. Facing a crowded Bell Auditorium to perform the Tango, I aspired to make my instructor and supporters proud, and to avoid any serious mortification and/or injury. A couple of times the possibility of winning would pop into my head, and I would say, no, that’s the not the objective here. I was seeking survival over success. Survival was my success. I wanted to have a good experience, make new friends, learn something about dance and about myself. From these measures, the endeavor went beyond my expectations: it was an amazing experience and I am thrilled with how the final performance turned out. I tied for second place and doubled my fundraising goal. I didn’t win, but I was happy.

Some people who were there that night tell me I should have won. But they don’t know the truth. They don’t know that I played it safe. I didn’t do the tricky kicks  in the promenade around the dance floor, knowing that statistically the odds were stacked against me. The kicks would have given a tremendous ‘wow factor’ if I pulled them off, but the slightest hesitation or mis-step would cause a catastrophic tumble. I knew If I did the dance without the kicks, the audience wouldn’t know the difference. I could save face, turn in a decent performance, and live with my decision. I was not willing to take the risk, so I did not deserve the win. I can live with that.

This time, though, the stakes are higher. I don’t want to turn in a safe performance. I don’t want to just preside over some meetings and make a few speeches. My predecessors didn’t settle for that, and I don’t intend to, either. I want my year of leadership in this organization to be a year of progress. I want to leave my mark on the history of this impressive group. This isn’t just survival without mortification. This time I want to win.

In planning for my win, I have been conducting alumni interviews to determine what my best strategy might be. It has been a powerful and informative process, guiding me down a path that feels as right as that kick should have felt. I can imagine having a year of increased engagement, improved processes, fiscal responsibility and memorable experiences. The team is falling into place, the playbook is being finalized and the interviews are wrapping up.

So why the anxiety? Because it means so much. This organization has been important to me since I graduated in 1999. I have served on the Board for almost 10 years. I have been preparing for this role before I even knew I wanted it. And now it is time for the green flag. This is my one chance, my one race. I want to make it count. I’m willing to take the risks.

In one of my interviews, an alumni underscored this sentiment when she said, “Every day we must prepare for our finest hour, because we don’t know when it will be. Sometime during this year you could have your finest hour. Be ready.” I intend to be ready, but not because it could be my finest hour. I intend to be ready because that is the kind of year my team deserves and I deserve. A leader sets the bar for excellence, and it will not be said that I did not aspire to win, even if it is quietly.

The Show Must Go On

Around every corner there is a stage, and I am standing behind the curtain to make sure the show goes smoothly. This is the life of an event planner: every day there is preparation for some future get-together. My job is to convince people an event is needed, convince other people to help me put it together, and convince still more people that they want to attend. That’s a lot of convincing. I guess my true job is really selling, but let’s stick with the Event Planner label for the purpose of this blog.

The purpose of this blog is to offer a big box of thanks to the people in the second category. I have wrapped up a large event at Jim Hudson Lexus, and am riding that exhausted-relieved-happy-grateful wave right now. Since “he who is grateful gives credit where it is due”, I offer the following party summation.

The star of this latest show was the re-designed Lexus GS, which competes with the Mercedes E-Class and BMW 5-Series. Lexus did an amazing job with the car, from the aggressive design cues to the world-first 12.3” display screen. 2013 GS drivers will be able to adjust their 18-way seat for comfort, make dinner reservations, buy movie tickets and update their Facebook status from their car. Then they can drive 0-60 in 5.7 seconds while listening to Pandora and having an Enform concierge give them directions to their next destination. It is car and computer, performance and luxury, style and function. If they could find a way to build a shower into this vehicle, you could almost live in it. Suffice it to say, this GS definitely gave us a good excuse have a party, and Lexus made it perfectly clear that we needed to do it right.

So Lexus gave me the first 3 pieces of the event puzzle: reason, date, and location. The rest was up to me. I always choose my caterer first, because –as any event planner will tell you- the caterer makes or breaks any party. I am particular about the caterer I choose, because I am a high-maintenance planner. Thankfully for this gig I chose Fat Man’s Catering; Brad and his event manager Dorie made my job so much easier! They revised the menu when I pushed for a “wow-factor” and came up with an assortment of food that impressed the guests. Brad and his son Havird helped select amazing wines for the event, and there wasn’t a single guest who wasn’t thrilled with the presentation.

In addition to Brad and his team, I also want to thank a group who are loyal and helpful to me through almost all of my events, extending the utmost in courtesy and excellence: Brook Facey of Brook Facey Photography, Tara Scheyer for music, Margaret Brown for flowers, John and VJ of American Audio Visual. I also want to offer my appreciation to Jim and his team at Ranco, for setting up an amazing tent and bar for the occasion. Jim’s team worked extremely hard to make sure we had a special atmosphere.

My sales/event planning gig can be stressful at times, but getting to work with people like Margaret, Tara, Brook, Brad, Jim and VJ made it fun.  The stress was also abated thanks to the team at Jim Hudson Lexus. They encouraged guests to attend, assisted with set-up and tear-down, and moved cars for parking. Mr. Hudson drove in from Columbia to join the festivities, and Carrie Pulliam drove in from Statesboro to help with registration. The day of a Jim Hudson Lexus party was wide-open activity, and it was cool to see all of the teamwork behind it.

Finally, I want to offer a shout-out to all of the guests who attended the festivities-you shared your excitement for the new GS and we appreciate your loyalty to the dealership.

Check in soon to , where we will post Brook’s always-amazing photos, and while you are there, be sure to view picture albums of past parties. Then be on the lookout for the next Lexus show, and when you do, be sure to peek behind the curtain to say hello to Angela. She may be a little stressed-out and needing a friendly face.

Make it happen

A co-worker once told me she had a policy against the future tense. She said she never tells anyone what she intends to do. Her motto was one of all action and no talk. Since then, I have tried to do the same and found that it takes a great deal of willpower. It is just so easy to spew out whatever pops into your head. “I am going to do this and this, and it is going to be awesome.” It is very difficult to keep those thoughts to yourself, and just mentally tell people, “Wait til you see what I am getting ready to unleash on the world.”

Whether you say it out loud or tell it to yourself, the trick at that point is to hold yourself accountable. At the age of 39, I started what most people call a “bucket list”, but I called a TDBID (to do before I die). It was filled with adventures like learning to ride a motorcycle, driving a racecar, jumping out of a plane. I did not want to tell people about the list, unless it was after one of the adventures was completed.

The TDBID morphed into a general point-of-view: I just forced myself to be open to adventures that crossed my path. The most magnaminous of these was Dancing with the Stars (the local version, for charity). The Alzheimer’s Association asked me to be a dancer, and I had never heard of anything more frightening in my life. Here I was, a relatively subdued personality with a twinge of shyness, going to perform a dance routine in front of a packed auditorium. In addition to stage fright, I was out of shape and had never danced before.

This overwhelming, all-consuming adventure is what started my need to write. It helped me to verbalize the process-the fitness challenge, the crazy dance moves, the panic attacks. In this blog you can read about the experiences that came from the Dancing Stars adventure, as well as other endeavors I chose to unleash upon the world.