Wear your colors

This week celebrated Valentine’s Day, and as it turns out, I’m still on business in another country. I wondered how they celebrated the pink and red heart holiday in the Philippines, and was able to experience it firsthand. The work that brings me half way around the world is training. My current class consists of 24 team members and decided to bring each one a small bag of chocolates from the U.S. in honor of the holiday.

Since I’m working the overnight shift, it was February 13th when I brought the chocolates to the office. The hotel is close enough of a walk to and from the office each day, and this particular night the streets were mayhem. Traffic was crazy and almost got hit by a van while crossing the street. My colleague and I were perplexed at the amount of cars and people in the city, on what we thought was a random Tuesday night.

When we arrived at the office, we inquired about the chaos, and were told it was because of Valentine’s Day. Everyone was busy in preparation of their celebrations; making plans, dinner reservations and buying gifts. Valentine’s Day is widely celebrated, I was told they love, love……except, maybe the guy that almost ran me over….HA!

During the early morning, of February 14th, we placed the chocolates by their seats. Upon return, one by one, they were genuinely surprised and pleased by the little bag of love we shared from our homeland. They actually started comparing the bag as if it was part of the curriculum, which made us laugh. Before leaving work an email was sent to us that was entitled: Don’t forget to wear your colors.  WHAT? I opened the email to find four pictures of shirts and the meaning: green (for single), red (in a relationship), yellow (don’t ask, it’s complicated) and black (what status? AKA bitter). Again……WHAT? I thought these people must take their holiday very serious.

The same day my colleague and I walked to a local shopping area and found dozens of booths that went up overnight selling Valentine’s Day candy, flowers and gifts. People were rushing into the mall as well as the street vendors to buy their sweetheart’s something special.

The night of the 14th, we arrived at the office just as if it was a normal workday and received several gifts from the class as well as other new friends. We were showered in love. As I looked around the room, several team members were wearing their colors, in all shades of green, red, yellow and of course black.

It was a fun couple of days celebrating Valentine’s Day in Manila. I didn’t have many things I could wear, but managed to come up with something to play along. From the front I was single and from the back I was all black….people must have thought I was bitter….LOL. Really I wasn’t. I did manage to buy a pair of crazy green glasses and green headband to show my single colors…..haha! Next time someone asks you to wear your colors…..wear em loud, wear em proud!!!

Happy Heart Day, my friends!

xoxox…..Sheryl

Super Bowl Monday

I’ve loved football since I was a little girl and would watch the games together with my Dad. This past weekend happened to be the Super Bowl, which is something I never miss. Even if I’m invited to a party, I’m usually the girl that’s focused on every play of the game while hootin’ and a hollerin’ at the TV. When I realized I was going to be out of the country for this year’s event, I assumed I wouldn’t have any trouble finding a place to watch the game.

Not so fast…..it was a problem, however some local friends were hunting down a few options. The hotel I was staying at didn’t regularly offer the channel needed, but could call the provider if there was enough notice and could temporarily deliver the programming to my room. OK, this was good, there were options.

There were exactly two options we knew about, staying in the hotel room, or buying reserved tickets at Skinny Mike’s; a sports bar about a fifteen minute walk from the hotel…haha. A few days prior to the game, my friend and I decided we wanted to experience the game with the locals and fellow Americans,  walked to the bar and bought two reserved seat tickets for Monday morning at 7:00 AM, local time (due to the fourteen hour time difference from the U.S.). That just didn’t seem right! Our work week schedule started Monday night at 9 pm to 6 am, so we would have plenty of time to watch the game, get some shut-eye and make it to work on time……perfect!

Super Bowl Monday arrived as we headed out early in the morning. Upon arrival they were handing out flags for your favorite team and ushered us to our assigned table. As my friend and I were watching the pregame show, the TV was hesitating and the connection wasn’t good. We looked at each other like this could be bad. The TVs continued to have connection issues as well as the lips and voiced not matching up. Then the TVs would randomly go black…..OH, for the love of!

My friend and I were surprised to see so many locals and few Americans. The local fans seem to love football as much as we did. The crowd was just about split down the middle for who they wanted to win. Our team was considered the underdogs. It ended up being a great close scoring game, even though part of the fun of the Super Bowl are the commercial ads which happened to be only local……drat. At one point a U.S. ad came on and everyone roared, however, no one could hear it over the loud cheers…..that was short lived, since it was the only American ad that aired….HA!

There was a couple at our table who seemed to be a little out of place. It was like they were watching the game as an after thought and it was the people watching they came to Skinny Mike’s to see. The woman would pan the room taking videos on her phone of the ruckus the fans caused during exciting plays.

What a great game and fun experience it was to watch an iconic American sporting event with people of another land and culture. Super Bowl Monday was definitely different than the normal American Super Bowl Sunday night extravaganza, but one thing was for sure, they were just as loud and passionate as back in the states…..haha!

xoxox…..Sheryl

Declined

Recently, while traveling for business half way around the world to another land and culture, I wanted to trust things would go smoothly. However, when they didn’t, I tried not to panic. I traveled to Manila, Philippines last fall so I felt comfortable to return. I knew the area well, was staying at the same hotel and felt confident using the currency. Last fall, the hotel was able to exchange my US dollars for Philippine pesos and planned to do the same this time around.

I arrived at the hotel late in the evening and was meeting a colleague early in the morning since we had arranged to have a driver take us on a tour of the city. Before meeting the driver, I stopped by the desk to exchange dollars for pesos. The hotel was no longer able to exchange currency but it was necessary for us to leave for the tour before the banks opened. It was vital to find an ATM and as luck would have it, there was one right across the street…..hip hip hooray! I put in my card, followed the directions, waited for my money and…………nothing happened. My card was returned but didn’t dispense the money I requested. Hmmm…..I wondered if they charged my card and decided I needed to call my bank immediately.

We ran back to the hotel and up to my room to make the call. The woman on the other end could see my request was declined. “Thanks, gotta run and catch the tour.” At the moment all I cared about was my card wasn’t charged, I would figure it out later. Thankfully, my colleague had enough to cover the cost until I could get to a bank. Unfortunately, we arrived back to the hotel after the banks were closed for the day and weren’t opened on Sundays.

No problem, we were determined to find another ATM. Again, followed the directions, waited for my money and…………nothing happened. WHAT THE? For the love of, what was going on? We ran back to the hotel and up to my room to call my credit card company…..again. For the second time, the woman on the other end could tell my card was declined. Ummm….”Can you tell me why?” She wasn’t able to figure it out and needed to call her manager.

OK, she explained……I must admit, it was user error. I was acting like I was using my debit card and not my credit card. She gave me instructions on what I needed to select. At the ATM select one of the following: Cash Advance, credit or line of credit. Awesome, I had it all down now and was confident I knew what I was doing.

I had a corporate card that I could use for business purposes, but needed cash for my personal use. I made a plan and would find another ATM directly after work, since the hotel desk attendant told me the bank/currency exchange was a far distance and could wait until the weekend. I left work that day feeling confident I would soon have pesos in my possession. It’s a little disarming not to have any cash, especially in a foreign country.

I located my third ATM, followed the new and improved directions, waited for my money and…………nothing happened. My card was returned AGAIN and didn’t dispense the money I requested. What the FREAK? Needless to say, the same thing happened at the fourth, fifth and sixth ATM……DECLINED…….I had no words! I swear, there must be a conspiracy going on………”Someone please tell me, why I can’t get my money?” LOL. At the time I’m writing this blog post, I’m getting ready to call the credit card company for the third time. Lord, give me strength and maybe just a peso or two.

xoxox…..Sheryl

Own Your 18

Recently, I had the opportunity to host a workshop with three life coach colleagues. We formed a support group of sorts just over two years ago at the start of 2016. We affectionately named our group My Sweet Sixteen…..ha! It was a mastermind group of like-minded woman supporting and holding each other up as well as being accountable to each other for moving forward in our lives. The first year we saw each other on regular basis, but due to schedules last year was much less.

We always knew one day we would come together as a group. We didn’t know how it would look, we just knew in our hearts it would happen. Last November we got together for dinner and a quick check-in of what was going on since we saw each other last. What happened next was four women talking non-stop, trying to fit everything in….LOL. So many ideas were flying around the table and somehow, before we left, had a plan to kick off the new year with an Own Your ’18 workshop.

It came together relatively easy, which lead us to believe it was meant to happen. We didn’t have much time to plan with the holidays thrown in for good measure, but whenever we met, we made great use of our time. Everyone had tasks to accomplish while we held each other up in support and assistance if needed.

A week before the event it was sold out….holy cow! All woman and one brave man. The day of the event, everything came together as people started filling the space. We had three walk-ins we hadn’t expected, but planned for extras just in case.

We hoped the participants would create clear and focused intentions for the year, discover their word as a visual reminder, feel motivated to draft an action plan, learn to incorporate reflective practices, commit to following their path with courage, love and power and leave with inspired energy to own their year.

The day was a wonderful reminder of my own path and helping women connect to their hearts. The best part of any workshop is when people share their stories and hearts. Making new friends and connecting with each other is another wonderful outcome. They are so many people that want to share their gifts and talents but don’t know where to begin.

Small baby steps to your dreams will add up before you know it. There’s time to make this year the best year yet. Listen to your heart, commit, stand in your power and prepare to leap. Ready, set….FLY! Own Your 18.

xoxox…..Sheryl

 

Nothing in particular

I wanted to call you tonight just to say hi and to check in, and umm…. lets see, it’s been extremely cold since the first of the year; with only a day or two of mild weather. Today though, it snowed three or four inches and when I got home I needed to shovel. It was twinkly and sparkly like in northern Wisconsin and reminded me of when we used to go to the snowmobile races. It was really fluffy so shoveling wasn’t too bad. You know I don’t mind shoveling the snow when it’s not windy and blowing. Its been a few hours and I just peeked out the front door and the driveway was all snowy white again……drat….I hate when that happens.

I’ve been thinking about a new car lately too. I know you’ve been kinda pushing me to buy a new one for some time now. I admit, I’ve been procrastinating, since big purchases always delay me making fast decisions. I know you wanted to help me find the perfect vehicle to keep me safe so you don’t have to worry. I promise it’ll be four wheel drive again, and I’ll try to keep my speed down….haha.

Someone stopped me at work today and mentioned they heard your name on the radio over the weekend. The radio host seemed to know you well and talked about all the great stories you told. He had mentioned he was at your service so I must have met him, even though I can’t remember in this moment; I think she mentioned his name was Wayne. Oh, how I wish I heard that broadcast.

You know someone asks about how Mom or I are doing almost every day. I’m never quite sure how to answer that since it hasn’t felt real…..well, until today that is. Today it feels real, and I want to climb into bed for the winter and wait until spring. I know that’s not what you would want, so I won’t.

Daddy, I’m really missing you today. I just wanted to hear your voice and to talk to you about nothing in particular……..one more time.

xoxox…..Sheryl

PS….Andrew and Hannah bought me the sweetest and most thoughtful necklace for Christmas this year. It has your initials and birthdate engraved on the back. You’d love it.

On the Grid

As a young girl my Mom used to take me, my brothers and sister to the yearly rock, crystal and gem show at a local church in the area. All four kids liked to explore, wander and pick out our favorite colored gems, rocks or crystals. I’m pretty sure mine were always sparkly in nature. Over the past couple years my interest has been growing in regard to crystals and their healing properties.

Last week, a friend had mentioned an upcoming class she would be taking on crystals in the area and I immediately looked into signing up. After reading about the contents and outcomes, I signed up as well. The name alone intrigued me, Crystal Grid. It was about setting intentions for the New Year.

Upon entering the event we grabbed a yoga mat and a place on the floor. The instructor starting placing items in from our mats. First a candle, 3×5 card, a pen and a small journal. As we all settled in the class began. She took us on a short meditation and on a journey of walking on a path along a river’s edge. There was a raft waiting and along the banks of the river where dozens of boxes were along the shoreline that represented your past. Each box carried something you wanted to let go of like doubt and fear.

As we each gathered our own boxes and loaded them on our own raft, we were letting go of what didn’t serve us any longer. Once we let go of those things, it was time to cast a new light on the possibilities for the New Year. To reinforce and set our intentions we would also build a crystal grid.

The instructor presented us with bag that included a paper grid and several crystals. One by one she named each crystal and its healing properties. The crystals included; Clear Quartz to amplify the energy of the other stones, Amazonite for new beginnings, hopes and dreams, Citrine to manifest your dreams, increase positivity and abundance and Tiger’s Eye for finding personal power, motivation of goals and creativity.

Each woman created their own grid on what felt right in her heart. Everyone was focused on their own crystal grid and intentions for the year. What an amazing afternoon spent learning something new, building a beautiful crystal grid and connecting with new friends. I’d say my on the grid day was special and memorable. I’m excited to learn more about the healing power of crystals…..stay tuned.

xoxox…..Sheryl

The Perfect End

Gosh, it’s hard to believe another year has flown by. Seems like just yesterday when 2017 was being ushered in, but now just like that….POOF, it’s gone.

This past weekend I spent in the city celebrating with four of my girlfriends. We had plans that kept us busy doing one thing or another. The weather was unseasonably cold, which made it a bit difficult to move about the city with ease.

New Year’s Eve we had plans of dining out at a trendy restaurant, then would head back to our hotel for new year festivities that included drinks, music, dancing and fireworks.

Our rooms were located on the lakeside of the building, but with the tall skyscrapers in view, we pre-determined we wouldn’t be able to see the fireworks from our rooms.

After we returned from a wonderful meal, the hotel was alive with activity, groups of people celebrating, laughing, dancing and having a great time. The crowd was made up all all ages and it was so mobbed, we decided to wait until it got closer to midnight before coming back down.

Towards midnight, we raised our glasses, counted down, and toasted to the new year and our continued blessings and friendships. As we started to head out the door to join the crowd eighteen floors below, on a whim, I suggested to make sure we couldn’t see the fireworks from our bedrooms.

Oh my gosh……we stepped into one of the rooms and had the absolute perfect view of the fireworks display. It was beautiful and sparkly, right in front of us. I don’t think we could have had a better view from anywhere else. It was bitter cold outside, but we were cozy and comfortable, watching the magic of the moment. Oh, how lucky and blessed we felt.

As I reflect on the past year, it was significant in so many ways. I’m grateful for the experiences I had, the people I met, the places I went and the love and friendship I shared with many. It was the perfect end to 2017. Wishing you and yours a remarkable, shiny new year filled with adventure, wonder and peace.

xoxox…..Sheryl

You’re a Good Man Charlie Goodwin

Recently, my precious Daddy was laid to rest. It happened suddenly, even though looking back, there were signs. His service was this past week, and it’s hard to believe he’s really gone. Hundreds of family and friends came to pay their respects for this one-of-a-kind man.

Earlier in the week my family was discussing his service, and one by one announced they weren’t able to speak. I knew, I was the one that would speak on behalf of the family. Both my brothers and sister didn’t think I would be able to pull it off without breaking down. It was a challenge I needed to master….for him.

In honor of my Dad I’m sharing my tribute:

For those of you that don’t know me, I’m Charlie’s youngest daughter Sheryl, or lovingly referred to by my Dad and family as Buzzy, even though this past week he referred to me and my sister as waterworks one and two. I’m going to try and get through this without going into the ugly cry. I’m guessing my sister and brothers have placed bets on whether I do.

You know my Dad as an uncle, cousin, neighbor, farmer, fellow-racer and friend. You called him Charles, Charlie, Chuck, Chuckles, Chas, Chazy-Moto and the High Priest. He was as a man’s man, that had the greatest handshake, was humble, tender-hearted, generous, fun-loving, had a fist pounding laughter, knew how to keep someone in check, wasn’t afraid to shed tears, and the expert at planting the straightest of rows.

Everyone loved this man. He was a mentor and father figure to many. I know you have plenty of stories about your lives together that I would love to hear someday. When friends and family came to visit during his final days, he made sure to tell each and every one he loved you. Most left the hospital or home in tears because you loved him equally. I often heard “he was my guy.” That brought great comfort to the family even though we already knew it. For those that weren’t able to make it to see him, he knows your heart.

Today, I thought I would share a little about what it was like to be one of his children. He was our rock, mentor, and hero. He taught his children many life lessons we carry with us today. He taught us the importance of a good firm handshake and always said “shake it like you mean it.” I would bet if you shook any one of his children’s or grandchildren’s hand, you’d find a firm grip that had Charlie’s name written all over it.

He taught his boys and girls how to tie a tie. We never had training wheels on our bikes. He taught us about hard work. In the late summer, he let the kids sell his yearly crop of sweet corn, and what we made in sales was ours to keep.  His only condition was we had to do the work. From painting the signs on big scraps of plywood and strategically placing them down the road, making sure they were visible from both directions, to gathering the bags, setting up the stand, picking the corn and loading up the #80 wagon and hauling it with the John Deere 110. Charlie was famous for his sweet corn and shared it from his heart to family and friends. He’s asked Jeff to keep the tradition alive.

We had plenty of chores like, weed pulling, hay bailing, grass mowing and everyone’s dreaded “rock picking” in the farm fields. He loved his children equally, but treated the boys and girls differently. The boys were all about racing, speed and treating women with respect. The girls were taught the importance of being respected. He treated us like we were special in every way, like buying corsages at Easter which included mom, and of course, the girls weren’t allowed to race.

One winter day I was trying to show off a bit for a boy and jumped on one of his favorite sleds, the Ski-doo TNT 400, I went speeding through the woods. As I came over the hill, I saw him sprinting from the farm, across the road and into the woods to meet me at the bottom of the hill, he yanked me off the machine and yelled at me for going too fast and how I could have crashed. I retorted “I feel the need, the need for speed.” I was grounded!

We had wonderful family traditions that included:

Sunday night suppers made up of homemade popcorn and his famous chocolate malts

Saying grace before family meals, connecting our hands and hearts in a circle while he prayed with grace and humility.

My Dad had a tradition of taking each child out for their birthday; just the birthday boy or girl and him. We got to choose the restaurant. He and I used to tell the family we went one place, but actually went to another, it was our secret to share. He always stopped at the nearest Fannie Mae to bring home a treat for the children left at home.

He kept his children in check. If you got out of line, you would feel his hand rest along your shoulder or base of the neck and give it the “you better wise up” grip, which always stopped us in our tracks. Mom had a wooden sorority paddle that was perched on Dad’s bureau, ready if needed. It was our reminder to behave, even though he never used it on any of us.

I’m a Daddy’s girl through and through and years ago I gave him a song from me to him “the wind beneath my wings.” He was and will always be the most important man in my life.

Beside his faith, his three loves were farming, racing and the greatest of all, his wife and family. He was the happiest when we were together. He loved his family unconditionally.

As I close today, most of you will remember, anytime you asked him how he’s doing, his answer was always “Damn near perfect.” Daddy, you are perfect now and forever.

Did you ever know that you’re my hero?

And everything I would like to be?

I can fly higher than an eagle,

For you are the wind beneath my wings.

Now……I’m pretty sure someone owes me a buck and a shot of Patron.

I love you Daddy.

xoxox…..your baby girl

Trolley-ing we go

A few weekends ago, I was able to join 15 other girls on a Christmas adventure in the city. I was invited to take a ride on the holiday trolley in Chicago. The evening was brisk and filled with a cold and windy atmosphere; kind of the perfect weather for enjoying a holiday celebration.

As old and new friends gathered together, the Jingle Babes, as we named our group, headed out by trolley into the brightly lit city sky. People were gathered all around and everyone was in the Christmas spirit. We spent the next four hours exploring the city in all its colorful splendor.

First trolley stop was the Christkindlmarket, an open market bustling with shoppers and would-be vendors selling beautiful handmade items. From the market we decided to walk to State Street and to the store front windows that were decorated for the holidays and displayed so beautifully.

The next stop was the Christmas tree at Millenium Park, that lit up the Christmas sky. It was both majestic and regal. People gathered around to admire and create Christmas memories and holiday photos. Children were bright-eyed as the magic of the season shown on their sweet little faces.

The evening ended with the Zoolights display at the Lincoln Park Zoo. The atmosphere was festive and cheerful. Twinkling lights in every color of the rainbow lit up the grounds and animal cages. It was a treat to share in the holiday celebration of the zoo.

As the evening came to a close, and our adventure was winding down, it was wonderful to appreciate the new and old friends that were gathered together on a chilly night in December. An evening of trolley-ing we go was the perfect way to celebrate the season.

xoxox…..Sheryl

 

Breaking of tradition

This past Thanksgiving season, my family broke tradition for the first time I can ever remember. We had the usual: family gathered, the dining room table was set, wonderful smells filled the air, food was prepared with love and displayed in the regular serving pieces, however, there would be no turkey to carve this Thanksgiving. For whatever reason my Dad wanted beef tenderloin to the replace the traditional bird, and so it was.

We also broke tradition with the family dinner prayer. When I arrived at my parent’s home, my Dad asked if I would say grace this Thanksgiving. I had no response other than “of course I will”, but what my Dad didn’t suspect, I was a bit nervous to have that responsibility. Whenever he says grace it’s filled with tenderness for any heartbreak or situation that needs additional prayer of healing or thanksgiving, and he always ends his prayer uplifting those that are less fortunate. That is one tradition that has never been broken.

My family also has the tradition of forming a circle, connecting hands and hearts while the prayer is spoken. It is a ritual I love, as it connects us together as one for those brief moments. At the end of the prayer I always squeeze the hands I am connected with; letting them know the love pouring through my body into theirs; without a spoken word.

As I began to say grace, my voice was shaky as I struggled for the right words. I wanted them to be meaningful for everyone that was gathered within the circle. At the end of the prayer, without breaking tradition, I also lifted up those less fortunate, and finished by asking each one to share one thing they were thankful for. Then one by one, around the circle of family, connected by hearts and hands we shared. Some were sentimental, some funny, but one thing was a common thread; we were thankful for family.

Then we broke bread together and shared one of the most heavenly Thanksgiving meals I can remember. The beef tenderloin was so tender and delicious you could cut it with your fork, then it melted in your mouth. My brother Jeff beautifully cooked and seasoned it with love and care.

Later that afternoon while we enjoyed the delicious assortment of desserts, we happened to be discussing the menu for Christmas and the breaking of tradition this Thanksgiving. Most wanted an exact repeat of the meal shared earlier, but decided we would mix it up and have turkey….LOL, and so it will be. Are you mixing it up this year, or will you go with tradition? However you celebrate, may your family be blessed this holiday season.

xoxox…..Sheryl