The Ugly Duckling

When I first embarked upon the project of remodeling Annette Boxx’s house, I didn’t realize that I was reliving the Ugly Duckling story. I relate our progress of the remodel as transforming an Ugly Duckling into a Bea-utiful Swan not realizing how true to the original story the journey has been.

To refresh those who are not familiar with the original story, here is my interpretation, and only my interpretation as it relates to my situation.

The original story tells of a mother duck who hatches several eggs. One of the little birds hatched as a homely creature compared to his other siblings. He was ridiculed and taunted both verbally and physically – bullying at its best in the duck world! He wandered from barnyard to barnyard just trying to find a safe place to feel accepted. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find acceptance.

But the duckling is persistent and finds a flock of migrating swans for which he longs to join. He realizes because he is too young to fly, he cannot keep up with the Bea-utiful swans. He is taken in by a sympathetic farmer. But once again, he is not part of the clan of noisy children and others around him. He finds solitude his only recourse which is a lonely experience.

When winter finally thaws into spring, he sees a flock of swans descend upon the lake. While he hasn’t found acceptance among other ducklings, he longs to be like the Bea-utiful swans he sees on the lake. He decides that it is better to take his chances with these Bea-utiful birds than to continue to live a life of ugliness and solitude. Shocked, he finds himself taken in and accepted by these Bea-utiful birds and can feel accepted into the flock. As he gazes into the lake, he now sees himself transformed and feels the confidence, acceptance and freedom to fly with the rest of his new-found family. He, too, is now Bea-utiful and magnificent Swan.

How does this relate to our situation and project? Our Ugly Duckling house was also miserable and neglected. He couldn’t find anyone to help him and felt ostracized from the houses surrounding him. All around him, the other owners took pride in their homes and kept them neat and clean. This Ugly Duckling house was miserable, dirty and so different from the rest of the neighborhood.

He watched as new homes started building around him. Unfortunately, he didn’t have anyone to help him keep up with the “Joneses”, so he continued to deteriorate and stay ugly. “Why should I care if everyone else is improving and Bea-utifying if I can’t get help”, he cried.

Until one day, he met a couple who were willing and able to transform the situation. Reluctantly, he conceded and believed these people would change the scenery. This allowed him to fly into another phase of his life. The couple had vision and wanted to transform this Ugly Duckling house into a Bea-utiful swan.

That’s basically where my husband and I are in our Ugly Duckling Project. We acquired the house in June 2016 and are making Bea-utiful changes. While we still have several stages left to complete, it is already “molting” its ugly feathers. It has been both a personal and emotional challenge, but we can see the progress and future. This Ugly Duckling house is transforming into a Bea-utiful swan – but like the bird, it takes time and nurturing.

Thank you for those following our own Ugly Duckling story. It has been time-consuming and physically demanding (for “old” baby boomers) but also rewarding and personally fulfilling. Bea positive that this little house – although started out as an Ugly Duckling – is becoming a Bea-utiful swan. Stay tuned . . .

The Name Game

Why do women change their names when they marry? It’s not that a husband has power over his new wife but on the unity of marriage. In the words of English jurist Henry de Bracton, a man and woman become “a single person, because they are one flesh and one blood.” By early 17th century, William Camden, an Englishman wrote, “women with us, at their marriage, pass into their husbands surnames and justly. For they are no longer twain (two) but one flesh.”
I recently remarried a wonderful man. It gives him great pleasure and pride to call me his wife, Mrs. Davis and vice versa For you ladies who have recently married, you will appreciate the red tape and hoops that need to be hurdled in order to change your name!
My new husband and I decided to make a day out of it. Once we had the certified license, off to the Social Security Administration! The clerk at the courthouse suggested the Winterhaven office, so that was our first stop. The line of people was out the door, probably 15 people deep. Inside every chair was occupied with more people.
As we approached the security guard, he looked at both of us and said, “get in line outside, and I’ll call you in when it’s your turn.” I tried to ask a question to which he replied, “I said get in line and I’ll call you.” I was incensed, and Roger wasn’t happy with his response either.
We stood outside for less than five minutes. No offense intended, but there was only one other person in line outside that spoke English. Roger couldn’t stand it any more and went back inside to talk to the less-than-friendly security guard. After a few minutes, he came back out with an application and said, “let’s go. It will be at least 3 hours before we can get in.” So we left and enjoyed the rest of our day.
I overheard several people say that they had made reservations, so I called the local SSA office to make an appointment. Unfortunately, name changes don’t warrant an appointment! Roger had the bright idea of getting to the SSA office 20 minutes early to get a better spot in line. I arrived on Thursday morning at 8:40, and I was number 51 in line!!
The security guard in Lakeland was just as pleasant as the one in Winterhaven. Since the office only seats 40 people, only the first 40 were allowed in the building. I struck up a conversation with a few people in line who told me to be prepared to wait at least 3 hours. I explained that I only wanted a name change so that I could get my driver’s license. Two ladies in line said I could get my driver’s license without a SSN name change, so off I went to the DMV.
It was about a 20 minute drive to the DMV. I walked in and spoke to a very pleasant young lady and explained what I wanted to do. Well, don’t you know the laws changed in 2010, and you must have your name changed on your SSN card! So another wasted trip, and I drove home. Oh, and you have to bring 5 documents along with the SSN card in order to get a new driver’s license.
On Friday, I decided to try again. This time, Roger dropped me off at the SSA office at 8:30 a.m. I managed to be in the top 40 in line! On this morning, we had a new “Barney Fife” in charge of security who only let 10 people in at a time. I was the cut-off point – aaarrrggghh!
Once inside, I had to sign in at a kiosk. I had to guess at answering the questions, and thankfully guessed right. “Barney Fife” walked around the office twirling his keys around his finger and feeling so powerful. I managed to stay calm and collected for the next 15 minutes. Finally, my number was called. Thankfully, I had a nice young man who processed my paperwork. He took my old SS card, gave me a receipt and said I should receive my new card in 10-14 business days. In the time it took me to process, Roger had just returned home and now had to come back and pick me up. I sat in the bus stop by myself waiting. I at least had the first step accomplished.
About a week later, I received my new SS card! Hallelujah! Now I have to endure the DMV, with my five documents, hope I have a good hair day and get my new driver’s license. Once that is completed, I will begin the process of changing the bank accounts, vehicle registration, utility bills, credit cards, insurance policies and anything else that my name is attached to! Wow . . . the list is exhausting when I think about it.
Why do I do it? Call me old-fashioned, traditional. I do it out of respect for my new husband. I do it because we are now one flesh, heart and soul. I do it out of complete love for my husband, my partner, my best friend, my life.

For RPD

For 7 long, lonely months my only solace was writing.  In that time, I wrote a book about love and loss.  My purpose and message was to inspire others to chase dreams, pursue meaningful relationships and love fearlessly – with heart and soul.  It wasn’t until I met you that I realized that the message was for me.

On March 8, I met you and you provided a little spark that was so desperately needed, a start to a new chapter in my life.  Your eyes, smile and strong, rugged hands mesmerized me as you built my log cabin.  I hid behind my sunglasses all the while watching you.  Ani-Tsalagi broke the ice between us.  In April, we started seeing each other.  On May 4, you walked into my house and never left.  You have been by my side, supporting me and loving me with your heart and soul ever since.  You’ve put a smile on my face, brought laughter to my days and a reason to love life again.

We’ve been through a lot in just 10 months – building a relationship, building a log cabin, selling a house in Riverview, packing and moving and living in temporary housing and now a marriage – our love and our “peas and carrots” relationship kept us together.

You’ve made me the happiest woman in the world, and I am so grateful that you came into my life.  Our rings were selected with purpose.  My engagement ring has two diamonds — “one for your best friend, one for your true love”.  My wedding band has three rubies — your birthstone — and another two diamonds — my birthstone.  Your wedding band has three diamonds — my birthstone.  I proudly and happily take you to be my life-long partner, my best friend, my true love, my husband. 

Elizabeth Barrett Browning says it best:

            “How do I love thee?

            I love thee to the depths, breadth and height my soul can reach.

            I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears of all my life.

            And if God choose, I shall love thee better after death.”

RPD, I love you with all my heart and soul, ‘til death do us part.

“My Friend A Part Of Me”

Growing up in a military family, you move around every few years. While it’s exciting to experience new cities, states and even another country, it takes a toll on your relationships, especially friends. As young girls, my sister and I did our best to make new friends and adjust to our new location throughout our school years. As we grew older, it became more difficult emotionally when we had to move again and leave friends behind.

For four years, our family lived in a little town in central Illinois where my sister and I attended high school. I think from the first time I met Lori, we were friends. We took the same classes, even got sent to the principal’s office together. We spent countless hours together on weekends and during summer breaks. We played the piano together, baked chocolate chip cookies together, listened to “Dark Side Of The Moon” trying to figure out the meaning behind every song. We even got our driver’s licenses together.

Not long after high school graduation, our family moved once again. Even knowing that graduation sends you and your classmates in different directions, you hope to stay close enough to see each other every now and them. Some go off to college, some start careers, some start families. . . Despite your good intentions, it becomes harder to stay in touch. You become absorbed in climbing the corporate ladder, raising children, maybe raising grandchildren, and chasing your dreams. And yet, there are some people who stay with you throughout all of life’s changes and challenges.

Today, I found a book that Lori sent to me many, many years ago called “Flowers of Friendship”. There is a poem on page 67; she addressed it to me and signed it, “Your friend, Lori”. Despite all of my travels and life’s twists and turns, she has remained my friend, never judging me nor abandoning me. What a blessing for me to say that I have a life-long friend . . .

“I am a part of all whom I have met,”

So, friend of mine, you are a wholesome part;

Our precious visits, lingering with me yet,

Are flowers in the garden of my heart.

Your smiles like violets, sweet beyond compare,

Your words, carnations, cheering me on my way,

Your deeds like roses, rich with perfume rare,

Bring faith and hope and love every day.

So, friend of mine, thou’ you are far away,

Between us may stretch mountain, plain, or sea,

Yet by my side you walk and talk each day,

Because you are a precious part of me.

~Charles Elmer Chapler

Here’s to a Happy 2015!

With the new year just hours away, lots of people are trying to figure out their resolutions for the new year.  How about “let’s really have a happy new year”?

Here is a list of 9 things that Happy People tend NOT to do.  So, here’s to Bea-ing Positive and Happy in 2015!!

Happy people stay happy because they:

  1. don’t blame others for their problems.  So that means taking responsibility for your actions and your choices.
  2. don’t overact to the present moment.  Remember, “this too shall pass”!
  3. don’t use negative language.  Bea Positive!
  4. don’t feel trapped.  “There is a great future in front of you; you can leave your past behind.”  Joel Osteen
  5. don’t focus on a single passion or relationship.  Diversify and Bea Open to new things and people!
  6. don’t dwell on past failures.   As Joyce Meyer says “I may not be where I need to be but I thank God I am not where I used to be”!
  7. don’t spend more time than necessary around unhappy people.  As they saying goes, “misery loves company”, which is truer than you might believe unless you’ve experienced it!
  8. don’t gossip.  Keep your word and confidentiality.
  9. don’t procrastinate.  “Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.”  William James

 

See http://goo.gl/6TJAET for the entire article “9 Things Happy People Don’t Do”

A Mother’s Prayer for Closure

 

This is not my usual post but a prayerful request asking for your help for a dear friend’s plea for closure and justice.  We continue to pray that someone will step forward with information on an untimely death of a young man. Please read and forward on to your network . . . Rob wasn’t alone when he went missing.  If you have any information or leads on the incident leading up to Robert Medley’s disappearance, please contact Tampa or St. Petersburg police departments.

Robert Medley - Unexplained Death

Robert Medley – Unexplained Death

I met “Mamma Jean” 6 years ago through Lost Angels Animal Rescue. We had adopted Yogi from Lost Angels Animal Rescue and reached out to find Yogi a companion. Mamma Jean had a little female Yorkie, Bambi, who was rescued from a puppy mill.

We adopted Bambi on a Sunday afternoon in July. Of course, Yogi went with us to make sure he “approved”. Yogi was a chow hound. As soon as he saw the stainless-steel refrigerator in the kitchen, he started “talking” and let Mamma Jean know that he wanted in the door.

Rob, Jean’s son, came downstairs and sat in the kitchen. He got the biggest hoot watching Yogi claw at the refrigerator and “talk” to us. Rob was a handsome guy and had a beautiful tan, muscled body — evidence of his love to work out.  His smile lit up the room.  He was also an animal-lover.  He loved the beach and loved to fish.

Fast-forward 6 years . . .

Sunday, March 30, 2014, concern started when she didn’t hear from her son. He was out with friends that night at The Getaway bar in Tampa, FL. He was last seen running down the beach away from the bar. Days went by with the anxiety and fear intensifying. Five days later, the nightmare became reality. Robert Medley was found dead in the waters off Gandy Blvd.

Another Sunday, this time, April 13, a “Celebration of Life” was held for Rob. The number of friends and family who attended were so many that an adjacent room was open to accommodate everyone. The stories and memories shared by friends and family confirmed the love and heartache of losing Rob — the loving man with a huge heart.

There have been no answers to the cause of his death. There are suspicious facts surrounding his disappearance and death. The Medical Examiner ruled Rob’s death as undetermined. There is an open investigation in progress in Tampa, FL

June 30, 2014, there are still no definitive leads on what happened. Every time I hear John Legend’s “All of Me”, I think about Mamma Jean, Morgan, the rest of his family and friends who still grieve. Rob was only 28 years old. His family, and especially his mother, need closure. They want to know that they have done everything to find out what happened to him on March 30, 2014.

 

The Wonder and Beauty of Nature!

“He who shall hurt the little wren shall never be beloved by men.” ~William Blake
I witnessed the most awe-inspiring lifecycle of a little Carolina Wren family. The wren chose our begonia flower pot just outside our back lanai. I first noticed the nest when I was watering the flowers. There were already 5 speckled eggs waiting for “mama wren” to return!

Carolina Wren Nest & Eggs

Carolina Wren Nest & Eggs

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was fortunate to video the first little wren, two little wrens waiting on “mama” and the last fledgling before he/she took flight!

Bea-utiful and definitely a Bea Positive worth sharing!  I hope you enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

“I hope today is the best day of your life and tomorrow is even better.” ~Fernando

It was Monday evening on 5th Avenue in NY City, 6 days before Super Bowl XLVIII, and traffic was CRAZY!  Not that it isn’t crazy any other day of the week.  Fernando texted me that he was a couple of blocks away.  I texted back and told him to look for a little lady in a bright red coat.

A few minutes later, Fernando pulled up, rolled down his window smiling and said “the red coat was perfect”!  Once in the car, I told him I was going to be the “annoying tourist” and hang my head out the window to take pictures of Times Square.  I even saw Neil Cavuto from Fox News, but he ducked into his car before I got a picture.

Times Square was typical and jammed pack full of people seeming to go nowhere.  But this Monday was full of football mania and Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks fans everywhere.  As the car crawled along in traffic, Fernando told me about how he charmed his way out of a ticket.  While he was parked a few blocks away 5th Avenue, a lady cop came up to his car and knocked on the window.  As soon as he rolled down his window and smiled, she said “oooohh, you smell so good and what a beautiful smile!”  She started flirting with him, and I could tell he thoroughly it.  Once he got my text, he told the cop that he needed to go.  She completely forgot about the illegal parking and waved good-bye (and probably wish she had gotten his number).  He turned around and look at me saying “it happens all the time” and smiled his beautiful smile.

We had a pretty long drive to Morristown, NJ, almost 1-1/2 hours with traffic.  Fernando asked if I wanted to go the “lazy river way” or the “roller coaster”.   He said, “some people tell me to stay in one lane  . . . don’t weave in and out.  That’s what I call the lazy river way.”  Well, no need to think twice . . . I said “roller coaster – just get me there safely!  Plus, I only tell my husband not to change lanes . . . “

Fernando is a positive being, another one of those crazy optimists.  He entertained me with a few more stories but what was most fascinating was his outlook on life.  I felt compelled to share Fernando’s viewpoints, positivity and hopefully a few smiles!

  • Live and enjoy this moment . . . because now it is gone, a new one has begun
  • Don’t just exist —  meditate, plan, be intentional in the mind
  • Do something to make the world better
  • Study and keep learning something new every day
  • Money isn’t important . . . necessary but shouldn’t be your 1st priority

When we arrived at my hotel, he helped me with my bag.  I handed him a tip and said “I know that money isn’t important, but I want you to know how much I appreciated the drive and talking with you.”  With that, he shook my hand, smiled his beautiful smile and told me the most amazing thing . . .

“I hope today is the best day of your life and tomorrow is even better.”

Thank you, Fernando!  I hope all of you will share his sentiment and pay it forward. 

Always remember to “Bea Positive”!!

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2014 Resolution: Take time to UNPLUG and DISCONNECT

One of my pet peeves is the insatiable need to be “connected” 24/7.  Yes, I love the security of having a phone at
my
fingertips in an emergency.  I also like the freedom to take a candid photo at any time.  If I’m not sure where I’m going, I can get directions using my Maps App.  However, there are a lot of times when I’d like to have a real conversation with a person(s) rather than look at the tops of their heads!

As introverted as I am, I like human connection.  I just can’t seem to mimic the face-to-face, back-and-forth conversation, voice inflection, etc. with my smartphone or PC.   These days people talk in “sound bytes”, write in text-code and need constant stimulation from the “all-too-accessible” information from our phones, tablet, PCs.  There are times when it really CAN wait . . . you don’t have to answer your phone or reply to the text or “check in” with social media. 

For 2014, Bea Positive asks you to give the gift of your time & attention not your presence accompanied with the latest technology. 

Here are my thoughts on when you should UNPLUG & DISCONNECT:

  • Time to Unplug & Disconnect

    Time to Unplug & Disconnect

    When you’re standing in a check-out line, and the cashier is waiting for your money.  The rest of us would like to check out, too.

  • When you’re in a public restroom with the toilets flushing and hand dryers blowing.  Finish your business and free up the stall!!
  • In a client presentation, turn your phone off or at least put it on mute!  Trust me, it’s distracting to you as well as your client.
  • In a company meeting, turn off your phone/tablet/PC.  As a presenter and as a participant, there is nothing more annoying than listening to others tap-tap-tap on their keyboards.
  • At a sporting event – either indoors or outdoors.  You’ve spent a good deal of money to be sitting at the event, so you should enjoy!
  • Sitting In a doctor’s office waiting with others.  We can all hear your conversation, so please be polite and leave the office.  Or maybe better yet, wait until your appointment is finished and call them back.
  • When receiving post-operative instructions, pay attention to the nurse and doctor!  Yes, I actually witnessed a nurse telling a man to hang up his phone because she wanted his full attention when picking up his wife.
  • When dining out with others, enjoy the meal and converse with your friends!  Please don’t be rude and call/text someone during the meal.  And please don’t play a video game!
  • Getting your hair cut and/or colored.  My hair stylist said this is very frustrating because she has to work around the phone and/or text messaging.
  • When you’re driving, the texting can wait.  You can’t look at the phone and the road at the same time.  I’ve tried it, and it scared me to death!

 

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“The fruits of success . . .”

I read this article today and wanted to share with all of you.  We all want to be “successful” and many times we think that money and titles are tangible signs of success.  I’m sure many of you are like me . . . you have (or had) a career that is unnoticed by the world at-large.  However, you’ve probably touched people in ways that have had a lasting and positive impact.

Bea Positive “Bea-lieves” that my life is successful!  I hope you enjoy the article and will share with others!

by Deepak Chopra, MD

http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20131102024414-75054000-are-you-destined-for-success

An excerpt from “Are You Destined for Success?” November 02, 2013

The fruits of success, as measured in lifelong satisfaction, are far more meaningful. They consist of:

  • Setting a long-range goal and fulfilling it.
  • Building a secure sense of self.
  • Becoming a unique individual.
  • Fulfilling your potential in a satisfying way.
  • Evolving in strength, love, and wisdom.
  • Being of service to others.
  • Living for a higher value that can be described as spiritual.
  • Staying true to yourself.
  • Becoming a role model.
  • Being part of a stable and loving family.
  • Living with dignity.

These are the ingredients of a truly successful life. You can achieve them in parallel to a brilliant career or a career that will go unnoticed by the world at large. Every deeply rooted culture has valued the inner qualities that produce worthy individuals, who are the flower of that culture. If you lack these qualities, becoming a king will still leave you feeling empty and miserable. What I’ve outlined is called the path of wisdom in the East, and it’s worth considering here and now. In a consumerist society driven by the ethic of win-lose, it comes as a relief to know that there is another way.

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