How to focus on a task. How to get things done. It helps to have a deadline. The deadline may be imposed by someone else or you need to self impose a deadline. You figure out the advantages of setting your target date by such and such a date. Sometimes it’s more advantages to get a task done before the final day it’s due. For example, my six months sales tax was due by Monday June 23rd, but I knew it would be best if I got it done by June 20th because I planned to be out of town for the weekend before taxes were due. I actually had to start planning how I might manage this task way back before January. I ended up having to implement plan B due to I am not the most organized person in the world and had a lot on my plate. I came up with a plan that I thought would work for me. Then I had to make sure I would be able to do what I needed to do, such as find and test out my password for logging into the state tax website. I also wrote down phone numbers of who I could call if I needed help. To help me focus and start doing it, I made myself a checklist of everything I would need to have at my fingertips to get the job done at my work desk where my computer was set up, including a nice glass of ice water in case I got thirsty. Having a comfortable place to work is important. Our nutritional/physical needs play a factor in focusing and getting things done, such as do we have the energy we need to perform a task. Minimizing distractions was on my list. Clearing our minds of things which may distract us is important. Perhaps there is another task we need to get done first so our minds will be more clear to work on a certain project.

There is a lot to focusing. Motivation, minimizing distractions, and perhaps developing a checklist for checking steps off as we go. We have to find out what works for us. O.K. The birds in my backyard are chirping to let me know it may be time to put more birdseed in the bird feeder. I probably have enough of my thoughts typed into my iPad for now. Looks like I’ll make my before the end of the month blog deadline! I’ll have to try working in our sun room again sometime. Adios.

I will be celebrating the anniversary of Flip Flap Try book launch on Saturday July 7th from 11 A.M. to 1 P.M. at Farbach Werner Nature Preserve, part of Great Parks of Hamilton County. Everyone is welcome. I have an awful lot of people to thank for supporting me in my first year as an author. To name a few, my author assistant Colleen Wietmarschen and her son Peter helped me through some snags with my book. I hired Peter to help keep my author FB page going. I eventually started learning how to do some things on FB myself. Being a new author continues to be a learning process. I have given a talk at two libraries so far. They were both positive experiences. I thank the library persons who were in charge of the events for taking a chance on me. I am especially grateful my book has, in the words of my life coach Kay Fittes, “touched the hearts of over two hundred people.” I appreciate those who shared stories with me as to how much they themselves, or someone to whom they gave my book, liked it. There are others who helped me on my journey, too. Even though I may not have mentioned you in this blog, please know I am thankful for your help, also. I am looking forward to seeing at least some of you at the anniversary event! P.S. I’ve been baking up a storm getting some food ready for the event. My husband has been my taster. Of course he tells me the muffins are not any good, in hopes he will get to eat them all!

A member of my Seven Hills of Cincinnati Toastmasters club, Terrance Hanks, is a kind hearted soul. He is assistant pastor of Beulah Missionary Baptist Church in the Cincinnati area. He is also Superintendent of Education at this church. “Being superintendent of education encompasses overseeing all educational areas of the church at all levels, adult and youth,” Terrance told me. “The church educational programs include Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. Some of the youth will be learning the names of all the books of the Bible this summer.” Terrance purchased five of my Flip Flap Try . . . A Cardinal’s Journey books. He plans to give each child who can recite all sixty-six books of the Bible a copy of my book as a prize. Terrance joined Toastmasters International several years ago. He was inspired to join by Otis Williams, a World Champion of Public Speaking, who happens to teach at Northern Kentucky University where Terrance was once one of his students. Our Seven Hills of Cincinnati Toastmasters club is blessed by Terrance’s kind soul and powerful speeches. We will be celebrating our sixty-fourth year as a club at our first meeting in June 2018. You may contact me if you are interested in visiting one of our meetings or purchasing my book.

My book, Flip Flap Fly, starts out and ends with a chorus of birds singing at the crack of dawn. It was the most beautiful thing my husband and I got to experience on one of our camping trips. Every day is a new day to start over, to try again. I would hope that most people are working towards being a better person. I would hope most people work on being kind to others, to the earth and the creatures therein. We also need to work on being kind to ourselves. One way to be kind to ourselves is to respect ourselves, our bodies. Is it being respectful of my body if I reach for a candy bar instead of a banana or other fresh fruit? Is it being respectful of my body if I stay up way past my usual bedtime? Is it being respectful of myself if I try to do more things than I can handle? Is it being respectful of myself if I compare my skill set with others? I sometimes eat candy bars, stay up past my usual bedtime, try to do more than I can handle, and knock myself down if I cannot do something as well as someone else. I do believe eating a candy bar sometimes doesn’t have to be a bad thing, staying up past our bed times may sometimes be warranted, sometimes It’s OK to stretch ourselves to try to do more than we can normally handle, and it may be natural to knock ourselves down sometimes when we cannot do something as well as we feel we could have. My advice, take a deep breath, journal, and plan what you can do better next time if need be. As the birds sing at the crack of dawn, welcome each new day to start over, try again. Try till you fly.


Learning to play a musical instrument can have many benefits. It can improve reading and comprehension skills. “Written music is a bunch of marks on a piece of paper going up and down” one of my fellow orchestra members told me after I told  him how far along I was with writing music to go along with my book. It takes effort to figure out where the notes of music are produced on your instrument. Learning to play an instrument takes time and effort. You have to train the muscles of your fingers/hands/lips/tongue (depending on the instrument you chose to play) to make specific movements. Learning to play a musical instrument teaches you patience and perseverance. Musicians have to practice difficult sections of music multiple times in a row before they can play it correctly. Overcoming musical challenges can give you a sense of pride about yourself. Others showing their appreciation of how well you played through their applause gives you a sense of accomplishment. Just as a story in a book can bring you into another world, music itself is history, and each piece usually has its own background and story line that can further your appreciation of other cultures.  Music can relieve stress when it is an avenue of showing your emotions. Some hospitals use music therapy for treating children and teens with autism, depression, and other disorders. Often, one hears stories about the dreaded piano lessons when one was a child. Just as Rainier had to try different jobs before he found the right fit, one can try out different instruments to play. My husband is tone deaf. He said he was kicked out of the school choir when he was a child and given sticks to “play” in music class. His story was part of table topics at one of our toastmaster meetings one night. As the story goes, he lost one of his sticks and became the conductor. My husband exaggerates.  We all have different talents. And some of us take longer to bloom than others. A big thank you to those of you who have read my book Flip Flap Fly . . . A Cardinal’s Journey and told me you or a child you gave my book to read love it. Now it is time for me to play myself a lullaby before I go to sleep tonight.

Ed and Me in Cincinnati Civic Orchestra

Just like Rainier, we have all been at a place in our lives where we had to make a decision on what we want to do with our lives. But, unlike Rainier, we don’t have to wait until we are unhappy at home to find our true calling. This is especially true with children. We can help foster the future leaders and farmers, bankers and humanitarians, computer programmers and musicians today.

Children grow up, physically and mentally, well into their twenties but they don’t have to be swept into their adult life without guidance and support. One of the most important things we can do for our children is to continually embrace their curiosities. While it can be difficult for us to take a step back from our children, meaning we don’t push them towards any one thing, we should focus on letting our children show us where their interests lie. 

One way we can do this is to teach our kids a wide variety of skills, information, and knowledge. Children grow mentally by having a wide variety of experiences. So we can work with our children and take them to museums, allow them to play sports, introduce them to music and dance, share other cultures with them, and more. By learning more about others and themselves, our children grow into and know their own strengths and their own weaknesses. What we must remember is every child is unique; no two grow up exactly the same, even twins! Just like Rainier, who went through many different experiences with Mr. Gray and Aunt Patty, let’s be an avenue and allow our own children to enjoy different experiences.

When we begin recognizing each child’s unique strengths we can then begin nurturing those strengths. Even as we start to allow our kids to grow into their strengths, we must still consider bringing them newer experiences. Kids are humans too; they learn and grow in phases. Just like someone who loses interest in their hobbies, kids can lose interest in their hobbies, as well. This is why we must always let our children grow by giving them support and experiences. 

Even though the first month of the year is winding down many people are still working on their New Year’s resolutions. This year, like every other year before, there are many people looking for new adventures, setting new goals, and perhaps concentrating on one’s job search. One of the biggest reasons I wanted to have my book published was to give hope and encouragement to those who may be struggling to find a job that is a good fit for them.

Today, job search experts suggest searching for a job that emphasizes the strengths of the candidate. In fewer words, what are you good at doing? What makes you happy? What do you enjoy? With the winter weather here, many of us are keeping close to the indoors sitting in a comfy chair next to the fireplace and tucked under our favorite blanket. We have more time to ask ourselves the above questions and make plans.

And when there is a break in the weather, there’s never a better time than now to go out and find where you belong. There are many organizations and people who are ready and willing to help you find your dream job. It’s okay to ask for help; just think of Rainier. He had Mr. Gray and Aunt Patty to help him along in his journey.

Here in the real world there are organizations or groups to help you reach your goals. For example, Toastmasters can help you gain confidence and to hone your speaking skills. If you’re around Cincinnati you might run into me at a Toastmasters’ event.

You never know what your adventures may bring you. I wish for you the best.

With 2018 here I know many people have resolutions to stay in shape or become more active. Even thought it has been cold and snowy there are still things you can do outside. Here in Cincinnati there have been a few snowfalls recently and there is nothing better than a nice winter walk in a snowy wonderland. There are many Great Parks around the area for you to check out and take a walk. As always though be safe if you venture out, wear your layers, stay clear of any icy lakes or ponds and always be careful if you drive.  

If you are out for your walk with family you might take a little time for a fun activity. While you are out on your walk take a minute or two and see all the animals who stick around for winter. You might see Mr. Gray, the squirrel running around looking for some food. Or maybe you spot a few cardinals flying around in the bushes. Take a quick look at one of my recent blogs, The Cold Winter Months, to learn about where all the animals in “Flip, Flap, Try . . . A Cardinal’s Journey” might be hiding.

If you go out to one of the Great Parks of Hamilton County stop by one of their gift shops to pick up a copy of “Flip, Flap, Try . . . A Cardinal’s Journey.” You can find a listing of all their parks and gift shops on their website.


I want to wish you all very Happy New Year! 2017 was a big year for Rainier and me.

I have been busy over the past year to bring Rainier to life. From the earliest parts of 2017 I was working hard to create the story of Rainier. I worked with many people to bring Rainier’s story to life and it all led up to the release of “Flip, Flap, Try . . . A Cardinal’s Journey.”

Since Rainier was released to the world on July 7 he has made appearances all over, from his release at Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve to the Lebanon Girls Night Out to the Kentucky Dragon Boat Festival. Be on the lookout for more Rainier appearances across the region coming in 2018.

But even if you haven’t made it out to one of these events you can still find the story of Rainier in a few stores across Ohio. If you would like to pick up your very own copy of “Flip, Flap, Try . . . A Cardinal’s Journey” you can do so here on my site, at Picture This is downtown Lebanon, or at one of the Great Parks of Hamilton County gift shops.

I know 2018 will be another great year for Rainier. If you would like Rainier to make an appearance at your event or you know a store that would like to have “ Flip, Flap, Try . . . A Cardinal’s Journey” on their shelves please let me know.

I wish you a very Happy 2018!


Happy Holidays from me and Rainier! While “Flip, Flap, Try . . . A Cardinal’s Journey” takes place in warmer weather, did you know cardinals stick around for the winter? And it’s not just Rainier that stays during the colder months. Let’s see what the real life animals are up to during December.


Unlike some birds in the region, cardinals do stick around for the cold winter months. If you’re trying to spot a cardinal there are a few things to look for. It’s easy to spot the bright red males, especially when there’s snow on the ground. They like to put their nests in bushes, especially evergreens, so be sure to take a look at your bushes. Finally, if you have a bird feeder, put out bird feed and some say sunflower seeds are the cardinal’s favorite to eat. If you keep your eyes open, you might catch Rainier and his family.


Squirrels also hang around for winter but they do a few things differently than when it’s summer. One thing they typically do is fatten up a little to stay warm during their foraging trips outside. They also go out to forage, keeping food they find stashed around in little holes in the ground. It’s true they forget where some of their stashes are which can lead to some bushes, trees, and other plants coming up in the spring. Also, they try to stay warm by staying in their nests more. So while he might be a little bigger, you might see Mr. Gray.


While the others are still out and about, you won’t catch many ants in winter. They are easily cold so as soon as the temps drop the ants go hiding deep in their colony, keeping close to each other to stay warm. They too bulk up a bit for winter as their body slows down in the cold. So you might have to wait until spring to see Aunt Patty.

Let’s not forget the little boy!

Our little boy stays around during the winter. He enjoys sled riding and going for a skate on the rink. As we all know, most of us stay around during the winter, and we all have different traditions and activities we like to do during the winter months. What are some of the ways you make it through the winter? Do you celebrate Christmas with your family? Do you go out to your friend’s for New Year’s Eve? Do you make lots of soup? Do you curl up with a good book?

There are so many things to do during the winter but remember to stay warm, have fun, and be safe.

Merry Christmas

Happy Hanukkah

Happy New Year