100 Days of Rejection…

yes_no-is-lifeIt’s January and I am moving along full speed ahead. With this in mind, I decided to download some inspirational podcasts that I could listen to while I am walking. I am training for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day/60 mile breast cancer walk in September, so I have to get moving!

For any of you who are training for an athletic event, you know that good music or podcasts to listen to make the exercise routine fly by. While I was on the TED website, I came across a really interesting talk called, “What I learned from 100 days of rejection,” by Jia Jiang.

This talk really hit home for me. It’s about 15 minutes long and you’ll be hooked from the “get go.” Jia Jiang starts out with a classroom story of when he was 6 years old and learned what rejection felt like. I don’t want to give the entire story away, but rejection is tough and can carry on with us through our adult life.

In order to deal with his fear of rejection, Jiang decided he would find 100 ways of being rejected, so he could deal with his fear “head on.” Some of his stories are really funny. I remember having his “same fear of rejection” and it wasn’t until I started working in sales and got rejected constantly that I realized rejection was not about “me,” but about the situation being rejected, i.e. no budget, no response from advertising, etc.

This could be fun!  Let’s all share a story of a rejection that turned positive.  

I’LL START. The reason I got the job in sales was because the Hiring Manager “rejected” my application for a Managing Editor position. He said I was extremely tenacious and because of my humor I would make a great copy writer. “We’ve already hired someone, Good luck,” he said!

WHAT??  GOOD LUCK??  I wasn’t going down without a fight. Since he was nice enough to compliment me, I took the chance, wrote him back and asked if he’d meet me for an “informational interview.”  HE SAID, “YES.”

At the interview, we talked and he asked me how I was so tenacious. I explained it was my family, but also going to boarding school. Turns out he had gone to boarding school too. So, he said to me, “If you stay on the editorial side, you’ll never make money; however, if you go into Sales you can make a lot of money and I happen to have a sales position available.”

Well, you guessed it!  I decided to try sales. It was a powerful experience. There was “one special day,” where I realized rejection was NOT about me, but the situation. I had been pursuing different customers for advertising. I started thinking I was not cut out for the job, because of no response when I would call, submit proposals, etc.

Then one day, I called a fellow that I had been pursuing and found out he had not called me, because he was in the hospital, he had had a heart attack! This was a game changer for me!  I realized that if customers didn’t get back to me there could be a “valid reason” and not just because they were “tired” of hearing from me. Moral of the story, NEVER assume anything, go by the facts.

The Taming of the Muse (a fellow blogger), shared a good rejection story called, “Opportunities – Sometimes, things have to fall apart so they can fall into place.” 

Like Jiang says, “Rejection, if tackled head on, can turn out to be a good thing!”


Happy New Year 2017 – Think of the possibilities…

traveler-on-rockOn to 2017! I am excited to start the new year. Of course, there is reflection on 2016… what we accomplished, what we might have missed out on, happy moments, challenging ones, and more.

My biggest challenge was being laid off my job. Very humbling experience. At the same time, I made some great friends from the job where I got laid off!  Life is full of surprises that way. One minute we are sad, the next we are “grateful!”

As we create special goals for 2017, I want to share with you an article from DailyGood.org’s website called, “What Will The Theme of Your Life Be In 2017?, by Kira M. Newman. I found this article interesting, because Newman says that in order to “be happy” our goals must fall into one of three themes (Communion, Agency or Redemption). Basically, our goals are either focused on family/friend/community (Communion), or we are driven to be successful (Agency), OR we have a year where something sad happens, but in the end we turn the situation around (Redemption).

For sure, last year was a Redemption year for me, while this year will be an Agency year. I’m writing a children’s picture book and my goal, like most writers, is to proudly tell you one day soon that I have a contract!

So, if you are a goal setter, take a minute to read Newman’s article and choose your theme for the year!  Where are “you” headed in 2017!


Nativity Scenes from around the world…

This weekend a friend brought me to a church where they had different Nativity Scenes on display from around the world (Japan, Thailand, Africa, Uganda, Canada, New Zealand and Poland). It was a little dark to take pictures; however, I think these came out relatively well. It’s interesting to see how each country has their interpretation of the sheep, the wise men and so on.

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate this holiday!









French artist Clet Abraham gives traffic signs in Florence, Italy a “new look.”


While I was walking in Florence recently, I “did” notice the traffic signs had art on them and thought it was graffiti. Then a friend told me it was actually a French-born artist, Clet Abraham, who had been going around town placing stickers on traffic signs.

Clet has lived in Florence over 20 years now and started this street sign art about five years ago. He has had a little trouble from the police, but it seems that has been sorted out and now he is famous for his art. He created the art as stickers, so they can easily be removed and he has expanded to other cities in Italy. If you are visiting Florence, he has a studio close to Piazza Michelangelo and he sells some of his stickers there. So, you could pay him a visit, see his art and speak to him in person.

You can follow Clet on Facebook. I just visited his site and was amused at other stickers he has come up with. He had visited New York, so he has one of the Statue of Liberty. There was a funny post there where Clet went to buy a pizza and they surprised him with a pizza that had a traffic sign on it. Be warned, if you don’t speak Italian, you will need your Italian dictionary to understand some of the conversations; however, you don’t need to speak Italian to enjoy the pictures he has posted. Good news – some of the discussions are in English.

Enjoy looking at street signs in a whole new way!

An Italian Cemetery in Florence – Love captured…

img_3974I was just in Florence and I went up to The Abbey of San Miniato al Monte, which is above Piazza Michelangelo. My intention was to look at the church and see the breath taking views of Florence. I had arrived at the church early in the afternoon and they were closed for lunch. I had about an hour wait, so I started walking the grounds of the church expecting to see a beautiful garden, but instead they had a very interesting cemetery. I was captivated right away. I find old grave yards / cemeteries full of history.img_3961

A little trivia from my friend. She was told in Ireland that when a burial ground is in conjunction with the church it is a grave yard, when it is a standalone it is a cemetery. I had not thought about that. Good to know.

As I was walking through the grave yard I saw many beautiful mausoleums, sculptures, and tomb stones. Long ago, families really invested money in tomb stones that would convey a message of the love they had for a family member and/or also in honoring a family member’s accomplishments.

I came across a statue of a man and woman (see photo above) having a very romantic moment together. I thought it was beautiful, I had not seen something like this before. Normally, we think of grave yards/cemeteries as being spooky and scary, broken tomb stones, etc. This was different.

img_3977The statue made me smile. Secretly, from a distance, I was sharing in their special moment. I was curious as to “who” had commissioned this statue. The husband/wife before they died or maybe their children, because they knew how much the parents had loved each other. A treasured memory from the past, but also a way to keep their love alive. I felt it and I did think, “Thank you for sharing that moment with us!” It’s so sweet and innocent. A reminder that love does exist.

As I continued on, I saw this beautiful mausoleum and a sculpture of a military man, very handsome with all of his medals. There was more…

By the way, remember the story of “Pinocchio?” Well, the author Carlo Lorenzini (Collodi) is buried in this grave yard. I learned this after my visit. Next time, I will look for him and leave a little Pinocchio by his grave site.

So, it was a good thing that the church was closed for lunch. I experienced Florence and had a feeling of its history in a whole new way!  They say things happen for a reason.


A Monk’s Miniature Village: Ave Maria Grotto in Cullman, Alabama


When I saw this photo of a miniature village, I was immediately intrigued and curious. Who built this and how did it come to be in Cullman, Alabama?

Ave Maria Grotto 3.jpgAve Maria Grotto is also known as “The Scenic Shrine of the South.” Brother Joseph Zoettel, from Bavaria, was recruited by an American priest to come and study at Saint Bernard Abbey in Cullman in 1892. Brother Joe, as he was called, became a Benedictine monk and lived at the Abbey for 70 years.

Brother Joe enjoyed working with his hands and around 1918 he started making miniature structures with left over items from the monastery’s buildings. He made biblical structures, but also well known structures from around the world. Over 40 years, he built 125 miniature buildings. At 80 years old, in 1958, Brother Joe built his last building, the “Lourdes Basilica Church, based on the church in Lourdes, France.” Ave Maria Grotto is listed on the National Register of Historic places. The shrine’s park is more than three acres and attracts over 20,000 visitors every year.

ave-maria-grotto-5As I was reading and investigating, I found out that Colonel Johann Gottfried Cullmann (1823-1895), a Bavarian native, founded the city of Cullman in 1873. His goal was to create a German community and he slowly encouraged settlers to move to Cullman. It is said that he brought 100,000 settlers to the South.

The Encyclopedia of Alabama tells the entire story of how the city of Cullman was founded, click here, and to learn more about Brother Joe’s life, you can click here.

Certainly Brother Joe created a magnificent shrine for everyone to enjoy!

Photos: Taken by Carol M. Highsmith located on the Library of Congress website.

Chicago Cubs Win the World Series – Exciting Game!

fireworks-cubsIf you watched the Chicago Cubs play against the Cleveland Indians in the World Series tonight, I am sure you’d agree that it was a VERY exciting game!  And I don’t normally watch much baseball, but this game had us on pins and needles the entire time. FANTASTIC! They deserved the win!

For those of you who want to share in the excitement, see this article from the Chicago Tribune, “Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Cubs Win!,” written by Paul Sullivan – Contact Reporter.

We’re proud of you Chicago Cubs!  You broke the 108 year curse AND you have brought Chicagoans together united in celebration!  This is wonderful!