Beyond Words

Words, Wit and Wisdom for Today's Style and Decision Makers

Who Rescued Who? April 30, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 2:27 pm

Lottery and pet adoption



Very true and a very happy “National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day!” Any day is the perfect day to adopt a pet but today is even more so. Observed each year on April 30, this day was created as a way to raise awareness for thousands of pets that are waiting for (and needing) adoption from the shelters.


As anyone who knows me knows, I’m a dog lover. I’ve had dogs all my life and truly believe they fill our lives with unbridled joy, unconditional love, and untiring loyalty. If you don’t believe me, consider this:


XXXtrunks, dog or wife


Rarely do I meet a dog I don’t like. It’s happened, but it’s rare. Rescue dogs are uniquely special. My current dog, Boomer, is a rescue. Found on the streets, she definitely still has plenty of “street” in her but she is sooooo much more loving and cuddly than our previous Jack Russell, Biskit, who came from a long line of distinguished relatives but who also had a little attitude. Boomer, on the other hand, just loves.


Rescue frame1


My daughter gave me the above frame and its message is so spot on. I may have rescued Boomer from the Leander SPCA but she undoubtedly rescued me as well. I will probably never get another dog that’s not a rescue. I swear they know they are rescued and they are forever grateful.



Love Match

Tennis dog Tennis dogs


One of my all-time favorite shelter dogs stories comes out of Brazil, where four former street dogs were trained to be tennis “ball dogs,” replacing the normal ball boys and ball girls at a recent professional tournament. And let it be known that this wasn’t just some club match, it was a match pitting two internationally ranked men’s players: Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena and Gastao Elias of Portugal.


During the Brazil Open match, Frida, Costela, Mel, and Isabella dutifully retrieved stray balls as the audience cheered them on. All four dogs were found on the streets of Sao Paulo and were trained for this job as part of a national campaign to raise animal adoption awareness in Brazil.


It all goes to show that a well-trained and well-treated stray can turn into a very happy and productive pet.




Each year in America, 1.4 million dogs are rescued but sadly, nearly that same amount is euthanized. The Shelter Pet Project is working to fix that. A collaborative effort between The Humane Society of the U.S., Maddie’s Fund, and the biggest producer of PSA campaigns, The Ad Council, the SPP’s goal is to make shelters the first place potential adopters turn to when looking for a new pet.


My dog rescued me


They are just part of the very big and burgeoning pet adoption industry. In general, there are three kinds of adoption organizations you should look to when considering adopting a pet: private humane societies, SPCAs, and rescue organizations. Be careful who you work with though and do your research. Finding a happy home for that special dog requires both patience and love, the latter of which you’re sure to gain once little Fido calls your home their home.


Side note: I love books almost as much as I love dogs and recently found both in this wonderful coffee table book on shelter dogs. Maybe you’ll like it as much as I do!

Rescue book


Life’s a Beach…and Much More April 20, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 10:30 pm

I am blessed. Yes, I have a healthy, happy, and successful family along with friends who keep me laughing and grounded but I’m not talking about all that. I’m talking about three interesting places I’ve been lucky enough to visit in the past year or so: Panama, Costa Rica, and Jamaica. All similar yet so very different.


It’s no secret that I love to travel (although the headaches and hassles of flying are slowly making me think otherwise) and when I do, I also love to learn about the place I’m visiting. Smitty and I often visit with cab drivers, tour guides, and other local experts to get a non-guidebook take on the place, which I always find so interesting.


I am also an unashamedly trivia and info junkie and I delight in a good “did you know?” story. Writing today’s blog entered my mind as I was watching “Jeopardy” and I thought, “Wow, how do these contestants know all these things?!”


So, if you’re like me and enjoy a bit of information minutiae or just have time on your hands to read through some, I thought I’d share a few fun facts about Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Panama. Some things you may already know, some may surprise. Enjoy the ride!


photo 5 (47)

COSTA RICA – “Pura Vida”

“Costa rica” means “rich coast” in Spanish.


The country is a rugged, rain-forested Central American country bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Caribbean to the east.


There are 800 miles of coastline in Costa Rica between the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. Most resorts are found on the Pacific side.



It is considered the “Switzerland of Central America” in that it has had no army since 1948.


photo 1 (46)


Costa Rica has a population of 4.5 million and a life expectancy of almost 77 years, one of the highest in the world.


A peaceful democratic country, Costa Rica has not suffered violence and military dictatorships like much of Central America.


Colon is official currency and considered one of the world’s prettiest currencies.


photo 1 (45)


The structure of the government is similar to that of the U.S. in that it is divided into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. Has president.


The capital city, San Jose, is the country’s most populous with around 300,000 residents.


More than 80 percent of Costa Ricans are Catholic.


photo 3 (53)


Costa Rica’s main industries are tourism; medical manufacturing; coffee, bananas, and sugar cane; and call centers.


Gambling is legal. Hunting wildlife is not.


February-April are the busiest tourism months and May-November is the “rainy season.”


The Tempisque River connects the mainland to the Nicoya Peninsula, which was a gift from Taiwan.


photo 5 (26)


60 percent of tourists are from U.S. and Canada.


There are more than 121 volcanoes in Costa Rica and seven of them are active. Poas Volcano has the second widest crater in the world (nearly one mile in diameter), and Arenal Volcano is one of the world’s 10 most active volcanoes and is also a rain forest.


The power plant at Cachi Damn on Lake Cachi sells 60 percent of power to other countries.


The country’s slogan is “Pura Vida,” which means “pure life.”





JAMAICA – “Yeah Man”

Jamaica is the third largest of the Caribbean islands and the largest English-speaking island in the Caribbean Sea. It is considered the West Indies and is 90 miles south of Cuba, 600 miles south of Florida, and 100 miles southwest of Haiti.


Jamaica was the first Caribbean nation to gain independence when in 1962, it became an independent nation but chose to remain a member of the British Commonwealth. Similar to Canada, Queen Elizabeth II remains the Queen of Jamaica but by tradition only.


You see “1962” on t-shirts, towels, and other items all over Jamaica.




Its British roots are still evident in things like they drive on the left side of the road and it has a Prime Minister and Parliament. Although no longer a British colony, Jamaica is considered a parliamentary constitutional.


English is the official language of Jamaica, but you will also hear a lot of Patois, called Jamaican Creole by linguists. It is an English-based creole language with West African influences.


Despite its ganja-loving reputation, marijuana was illegal in Jamaica for more than a century and just last year Jamaican lawmakers decriminalized the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana, paving the way for a lawful medical marijuana sector in a country where the drug has long been culturally entrenched.


It’s estimated nine out of 10 tourists try weed while visiting. There are actually weed farms that grow marijuana. Owners of the farms are not allowed to sell their crops though.


beach sign


Jamaicans are very religious people. Jamaica has the most churches per capita in the world. Most Jamaicans are Christian.


Rastafari is a religion. Those who practice it don’t eat anything that contains blood, their Sabbath is Saturday, and like Jehovah’s Witnesses, they don’t vote or participate in any political system.


Only 2 percent of the world’s Rastafarian population lives in Jamaica and only about 5 percent of the population of Jamaica is Rastafarian. It is a religious movement of Jamaican origin with many elements of Ethiopian culture as well as many Christian beliefs. It proclaims Zion, in reference to Ethiopia, as the original birthplace of humankind.


The Rastafari way of life encompasses the spiritual use of marijuana and the rejection of the degenerate society of materialism, oppression, and sensual pleasures. For Rastas, smoking cannabis, commonly referred to as ganja, is a spiritual act and is often accompanied by Bible study. They consider it a sacrament that cleans the body and mind, heals the soul, exalts the consciousness, facilitates peacefulness, brings pleasure, and brings them closer to God, who they call Jah. Sacramental use of cannabis in celebration of the Rastafari faith became legal in Jamaica on April 15, 2015.


Rastafari associate dreadlocks with a spiritual journey that one takes in the process of locking their hair and growing “hairlocks.” It is taught that patience is the key to growing locks and the way to form natural dreadlocks is to allow hair to grow in its natural pattern, without cutting, combing or brushing, but simply to wash it with pure water and herbal shampoo.


Reggae was born in the Kingston ghetto of Trenchtown, and was developed by poor blacks who listened to radio stations from the United States. Jamaican musicians, many of them Rastas, soon blended traditional Jamaican folk music and drumming with American R&B and jazz into ska, later developed into reggae under the influence of soul. Reggae became popular in the early 1970s largely due to the fame of  Bob Marley, who actively and devoutly preached Rastafari.




There are very few snakes on the island of Jamaica. The mongoose was imported to rid the cane fields of rats in 1872. As an added benefit, the mongoose has killed off almost the entire population of snakes.


British writer Ian Fleming penned his famous James Bond novels at the house he built and lived in in Jamaica. Today it is still home to The Golden Eye Hotel and Resort began as Flemming’s luxurious home.


Jamaica is one of only two countries in the world that has no colors in common with the flag of the United States. The other country is Mauritania.


Kingston is the capital and has ½ million people living there, as does Montego Bay. Together they make up half of the island’s population.


Jamaica has free medical care.


Unemployment is high but crime is low. “Respect” is something you hear a lot, along with “yeah man,” “no problem,” and “my lady.”




The Jamaican dollar is the official currency.


Jamaicans eat more goat then beef.


Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is one of the most sought after and expensive coffees on the market. It comes from Blue Mountain, which has an elevation of 7,000 feet.


Tourism is Jamaica’s largest industry and sugar cane is big crop, most of which goes to Europe.


Other big crops are bananas and mangoes. None of these crops are native to the island; they were imported at varying times during the island’s history.


Other big industries are rum, Red Stripe beer, and aluminum. Rum is the national drink of Jamaica and it was the first Caribbean island to produce rum on a commercial basis.


Jamaica was the Western World’s first country to build a railroad and AT&T copied Jamaica’s telephone system because it was so well developed.


In 1994, Jamaica became the first Caribbean nation to launch its own website.




Over 200 species of Orchids grow wild on the island of Jamaica, 73 of which are unique to the mountainous island.


The Manchester Golf Club was established in 1868 and is the oldest in the western hemisphere!


Jamaica’s economy was drastically hurt by 9/11. As one of our drivers told us, “When the U.S. hurts, we hurt too.”




photo 1 (41)

PANAMA – “The Country with The Canal”

Because of the way Panama is shaped and how it is situated on the globe, it is the only place in the world where you can see the sun rise on the Pacific and set on the Atlantic/Caribbean. Normally you see the sun rise over the Atlantic and set on the Pacific. The sun only hits a portion of Panama’s Pacific west coast during its rising and goes down over a portion of its Caribbean eastern coast.


Panama is the southern-most country in the Central American continent. It connects North and South America, is bordered to the west by Costa Rica, and to the southeast by Colombia.


Even though Panama is bordered by Colombia, there is no road that leads in to its neighboring country to the south.


photo 5 (60)


It is a small country and has Central America’s smallest population of only around 3.6 millio.


Nearly 1.5 milllion of them live in Panama City, which is the only capital city that has a rain forest within its city limits.




Flying into Panama City is like flying into Dallas or Miami, as it has a HUGE downtown with many modern high-rises dotting the skyline.




The Panama Canal was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914.The canal generates around one-third of Panama’s entire economy and is considered one of the 7 modern Wonders of the World.


The Canal is a 48-mile ship canal that connects the Atlantic Ocean  (via the Caribbean Sea) to the Pacific Ocean. A third, wider set of locks is currently under construction and will open this summer.


France began work on the canal in 1881 but stopped due to engineering problems and a high worker mortality rate. The United States took over the project in 1904 and opened the canal on August 15, 1914. One of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken, the shipping shortcut greatly reduced the time for ships to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, enabling them to avoid the lengthy, hazardous Cape Horn route around the southernmost tip of South America. Ships traveling from New York to San Francisco and vice versa save almost 7,872 miles by using the Panama Canal instead of going all around the Cape Horn.


Colombia, France, and later the United States controlled the territory surrounding the canal during construction. The U.S. continued to control the canal and surrounding Panama Canal Zone until the 1977 Torrijos-Carter Treaties guaranteed that Panama would gain control of the Canal after 1999 and a period of joint American–Panamanian control.


It takes 6 to 8 hours to pass through the Panama Canal.


When going thru the Canal, each ship’s country of origin releases control of their vessel to Panamanian captains.


Panama has the second largest duty free zone on the planet and also has the second largest registrant for offshore companies, behind only Hong Kong.


photo 4 (34)


The “balboa” is the country’s official currency and it is fixed at parity with the U.S. dollar, which is used as the paper money in the country. Panama was the very first Latin American country to adopt the U.S. dollar currency as its own.


Panama was the first Latin American country to adopt the U.S. currency as its own.


Senator John McCain was born in Panama, in the Canal Zone that was, at the time, considered U.S. Territory.


photo 3 (91)


The Panama Hat is actually made in Ecuador.


The world’s oldest continually operating railroad is in Panama. It travels from Panama City to Colon and back.


Nearly percent of Panamanians are Catholic and nearly just as many have never heard the Van Halen song “Panama.”

Major exports include refined petroleum, passenger and cargo ships, and bananas.


Panama is located south of the hurricane alley so is generally not affected by tropical storms or hurricanes.


At its narrowest distance, about 50 miles wide, is the land in Panama that separates the Atlantic from the Pacific Ocean.


If I had to choose I probably couldn’t pick a favorite but I will say Costa Rica left a lasting impression on me. Still, never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d actually see the Panama Canal with my own two eyes and while our Jamaican honeymoon 30 years ago was quite memorable, I wasn’t sure I’d ever see the island again. As I said at the very beginning of this blog, I am blessed. Out of this worldly blessed.










Moving On April 16, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 10:49 pm

Fork in road


There’s an endangered Mexican salamander called an axolotl that remains a tadpole all its life. Philosophers often use the axolotl to symbolize someone who avoids growth. I do not fear or avoid growth, I actually love it, but I do dislike and sidestep change. As I’ve written time and time again, I’m a nester. This momma bird likes her nest and when forced to fly the coop, she is not happy or comfortable.




As many of you know, my husband and I are moving. We’re building a house not far from our current one, downsizing, and starting again in a new neighborhood. It’s been somewhat fun and exciting picking out the style and finishes of what will soon be our new nest, but it’s also been stressful. I like stress about as much as I like change. Momma bird is not in a good place right now!


XTidying up


To help put me in the “this move will be a good thing” frame of mind, I’m reading the bestselling “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” When I was first told about the book and that I had to read it before moving, I hesitated because its subtitle is “The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing.” If I’m anything, I’m organized so why would I need to read about it? Then I focused on the other word in the subtitle: decluttering. Yeah, I could certainly stand to do that. I do tend to accumulate clutter, albeit it’s all organized very nicely!


So, I dove in and I’m loving the book. It has inspired me to purge and re-evaluate what I keep and what I toss or donate. It recommends physically handling every item you’re contemplating what to do with, indirectly incorporating “te-ate,” the Japanese word for healing, which literally means to apply hands. As author Marie Kondo explains, the term originated before modern medicine when people believed that placing one’s hands on an injury promoted healing.


“Have nothing in your houses that you do not believe to be useful or beautiful.”

William Morris


Built around that idea that you should only keep the things that spark joy, Kondo’s method invites you to focus on choosing what you want to keep, not on what you need to discard. Bingo! I can do that!


In fact, I’ve spent the day going through a biggie: paperwork. I’m a filer and as a writer, I’m a saver of all things written down. Kondo recommends discarding almost all needless paperwork, and I’ve surprised even myself in being able to do this. Granted I’m very sentimental and some items I will probably never get rid of, but I’m having quite a go at the old shredder…so far nearly three big trash bags full of shredded paper!


I’m only on paper. Books, sentimental items, and photographs are sure to be much tougher.



Keep the Change?

What is it about change that I, and many others, dislike? Maybe it’s not change per se, but more the hanging on to memories. We can’t live in the past, this I know, but I still find myself being very nostalgic. If it were up to me I would have stayed in the same house all these years. Moving is not fun. Being the “new kid on the block” is not fun either. I’m 50+- years-old and have friends I love and cherish. I don’t want to have to make new friends! I despise small talk and the fact that my new neighbors will know nothing about me, my history, or even my daughter makes me just say, meh.


“You can only grow if you’re willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”

Brian Tracy


But I like my house. I like it a lot. This neighborhood was supposed to be our dream place when we moved here 10 years ago. I like where I live. I like that I’m only 10 minutes from work. Now I’ll be 40. Ugh. I also like my grocery store. I like the shops and restaurants around me. But, I need to remind myself that all those things will be where we’re moving too and that where we’re moving is fabulous. I just go back and forth but that’s okay. It’s totally okay and totally normal to feel how I do. So I’ve been told.


God is already there


And I believe. So much so that I keep that quote in the very front of the folder I have on our new house. Don’t get me wrong, this move is not a bad thing. At all. It’s just something I didn’t plan and planning is up there with organizing on my list of “what I do really good.” Right next to worrying and writing.


If only I could be more like my college friend Christie, who embraces moves and new houses as “projects” and has been known to sell her family’s home and all the furnishings in it. What? The thought of that sends me in a tizzy. Sadly my husband is much like that and places little or no sentimental value on anything. I’m kinda in this along friends so this probably won’t be the last of my writings on the subject!


Maybe it’s the actual move that I’m not embracing. I actually fear it and think about it 24-7. And then this week I get good news: our daughter is moving back to Texas for an exciting new job! The bad news? Now I get to move TWICE this summer! I’m okay with it though and consider it the price to pay to have her three hours away (even a tad closer when we move to our new house!) instead of 18 hours away!


Happy home


So, as uncomfortable as it will all be, I know that this change coming up is good and so is discovering new things and new people. Change is a part of life and even though I am being forced to embrace it, I know I can do it. I can’t control what is happening but I can control my perspective. I will look at downsizing, relocating, and needing to get rid of many treasured things as a way of starting new and cleansing out. Now if I could only snap my fingers and be in our new home, unpacked, at peace, and ready for my new chapter.



Fashion’s Cold Shoulder April 12, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 10:57 pm

“Shoulders never gain weight.”

Donna Karan


Have you looked around in clothing stores lately or flipped through a fashion magazine? If so, you’ve probably noticed a trend that’s all the rage: the “cold shoulder.” I’m not talking being rude or being a snob, I’m talking fashion’s flirty hot style that’s flattering on almost everyone.


It’s all about the off-the-shoulder look this spring and summer and it’s looking good!  Don’t shrug those shoulders ladies, bare them! Everything from totally dropped shoulders to peek-a-boo shoulders to cut-outs to split sleeves is all the rage. They are all fun and they are absolutely fab!


Being a woman of a certain age and size, I personally have yet to try the design, but everything I read and look at assures me that the flowy form works and works well on all women. Spring runways were chalk-full of them and the breezy look is the perfect thing to pack for that summer vacay. So start shopping for a shoulder silhouette (try saying that three times!) and join the obsession of showing and showing off your clavicles!


Here are just a few ideas:


I’m obsessed with this Trina Turk “Neville” dress:



I also like this black and white Verdi II blouse and Jewels by Jen’s asymmetric stunner:

Iridescent-Strides-Verdi-II-Top jewels-by-jen-peek-a-boo-2-cold-shoulder-top-d-20160201112616717~446706


If you’re on the fence about the off-the-shoulder idea, look for the option of wearing the shoulders up or wearing them down like on these two designs from Intermix:

Intermix Intermix dress


The trend can be oh-so-casual through the likes of Johanna Ortiz, Tory Burch’s embroidered Eliza top, or festive polka dots:

Johanna-Ortiz-Cotton-Striped-Off-The-Shoulder-Tulum-Top-Seen-On-Olivia-Palermo   TB Eliza   Cut-It-Out-Blouse


Or you can glam and dress it up like Roza and Sonia Rykiel did here:

Roza-Dress1 3-sonia-rykiel-spring2016-rtw


And how stunning does Selena Gomez look in this drapey dream by Camilla and Marc:

Selena in Camilla and Marc


Slacks love a good shoulder from Moda Operandi or an H&M bodysuit:

Moda Operandi H&M bodysuit


Full figured? No problem. Michael Kors and Aidan Mattox gotcha covered:

MICHAEL-Michael-Kors-Cold-Shoulder-Top Aidan-Mattox-Sequin-Cold-Shoulder-Dress


And if that’s not enough, here’s The Row’s simple yet stunning Ninja top and a dress I’m drooling over:

The Row Nanja Cold-Shoulder-Midi-Caftan-Dress

As with any fashion trend, be sure to do it subtly, age-appropriately, and affordably. And as you can see from all of the above, keep the jewels at home. The style screams “clean line” and anything around your neck or dangling from your ears will only hurt the look. Have fun shopping and share your shoulder stories and buys!


Accepting our Scars and Our Flaws April 10, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 7:06 pm

Plastic surgery


Disciples believe that Jesus can perform miracles, right? Easter is considered His biggest miracle but why did He choose to keep His crucifixion scars? We live in a world that is fascinated with implants, fillers, and changing how we look but maybe we should be taking a cue from Jesus and accept our scars and flaws as testaments to our growth and our real beauty.





Much to our chagrin and as hard as we try to hide them and apply fading creams to them, most scars never completely go away. Jesus chose to keep His. He had wounds on His hands, His feet, His sides, and His head. Had He been crucified in Hollywood instead of Jerusalem, he probably would have been pressured to fix those wounds and fix them fast.


XBarbie old

None of us were born perfect though, so our constant dream of the perfect body, perfectly white teeth, and perfect skin can never be perfectly accomplished. At some point, we need to accept who we are and just try to be healthy.


I don’t know about you, but when I see someone who’s had plastic surgery I rarely think, “Wow, she looks great!” Instead, I think, “Wow, she’s had some work done!” No one is fooling anyone. A 50-year-old woman is not meant to look like a 20-year-old one. It looks fake and why is fake considered good? People abhor fake ingredients in food, fake jewelry, and even fake personalities but fake faces? Somehow they’re okay? I can’t.


Plastic surgery Coco Chanel


This wasn’t always the case. In fact, “plastic surgery” was not meant to be artificial and originally had nothing to do with synthetic materials. The “plastic” comes from the Greek word “plastikos,” which means “to mold” or to “give form.” In its truest form, this type of surgery can do amazing things, none of which includes Botox injections or cheek fillers. Anyone with deformities or true discomfort as well as victims of fires, accidents, and other injuries can be repaired and renewed by the skilled hands of a talented plastic surgeon. But, I totally agree with author Graeme Simsion who wrote in his wonderful “The Rosie Project” book, “It’s an incredible waste of surgical skill – inserting synthetic materials purely to alter appearance.”


The term “plastic surgery” was first used by German surgeon Karl Graefe in his book “Rhinoplastik,” published in 1818. Graefe is considered the pioneer of reconstructive surgery and developed many techniques. He often performed surgeries to treat cleft palates, drooping eyelids, and other medically necessary procedures. He died in 1840 and would probably be dismayed at how the industry has changed.


Today famous plastic surgeons have their own reality TV shows and sport trophy wives to display their wares. We are so focused on being “pretty” but why aren’t we just as willing to be make changes to be pretty nice, pretty smart, pretty giving, and pretty good?




The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reports that for the first time ever, last year Americans spent more than $13.5 billion on aesthetic procedures, up $1.5 billion from 2014. Billion, with a B. Liposuction is the most common procedure, followed by breast augmentations, tummy tucks, eyelid surgeries, breast lifts, rhinoplasty, and overall skin tightening. “Fat transfers to the face” (okay, why?!) are now in the top 10 while buttock augmentations/lifts/implants are also on the rise (again, why?!). And if you’re wondering about Botox and other injectables, well there were more than 6 million of them done. Big money. Big business. Big risks.



Natural beauty


What has happened to aging gracefully and respect for natural beauty? I for one pity the formerly beautiful Priscilla Presley who has clearly gone under the knife one too many times.





But it’s not just mature women who are having work done. Young girls are also lining up to have their lips plumped and brows lifted. Take Kylie Jenner for example. She’s been going under the knife to totally alter her face since she was 16 or 17-years-old. What is that skin going to look like when it’s 60? What message is she sending to her millions of fans and followers? Ironically, the one member of Kylie’s notorious family who is actually making a living off her looks, model Kendall, is also the only one who has not had plastic surgery. Go figure.


I bite my tongue as I say this, but maybe we should all take a cue from Kendall Jenner and live in our own skin. Yes, we’re not all as stunningly beautiful as she is, but to Jesus we are. Scars and all.










It’s Time to Boycott Busyness April 8, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 7:52 pm

XStop and smell the roses


I’m officially out of gas. As in exhausted. Burned out. In desperate need of refueling.


This weekend is the first in three that I’m home and not boarding a plane or packing a suitcase. Granted, my escapes were all for pleasure, but I couldn’t be more grateful than to just stay home today. And tomorrow. And Sunday. Maybe Monday I’ll venture out. Maybe not.


Comfort zone


I adore a comfort zone every now and then and am thriving in mine right now, so if there was a “dislike” button for the above, I’d use it. It kinda goes hand-in-hand with something I read on one of those flights I mentioned above, which I both agree and disagree with. The magazine article pull-quote read: “According to a study by Cornell University, investing in travelling makes us happier than acquiring physical objects. The reason: routine is one of the great enemies of happiness.” Yes, perhaps but also N to the N-O!


I have been cuh-raving my routine. I’m a nester and the great enemy of my happiness is too much chaos and too much commotion. Of course a travel magazine is going to encourage travel right? Another magazine article I read however was all about boycotting busyness. I’m on board that train, wherever it’s going!


Why oh why is being busy considered such a noble thing anyway?


The New “B” Word: Busyness

As Phil Ressler of “Greater Things Today” writes, “we wear busyness as a badge of honor.” Porque pray tell? Maybe it’s because it seems like everyone else is busy so if you’re not busy, you must be either untalented, lacking friends, or just plain lazy. But, busyness is not always good and surprise, it doesn’t always translate into effectiveness. In fact, being too busy all the time leads to only one thing: burn out.



“Most people are so busy knocking themselves out trying to do everything they think they should, they never get around to do what they want to do.” Kathleen Winsor



In our struggle to appear busy and therefore “important,” we end up spending lots of time on things that don’t really matter. Or, we stuff our lives with things we do enjoy but end up feeling overwhelmed, overscheduled, and end up not enjoying what we thought we would. In this sense, we might be busy doing things we love, but the fact that we never slow down and calm down is still not good.


Life is really simple


Even more alarming, as Jennifer Boykin recently blogged, is that why our schedules are so full is as critical as the fact that they are full. Sometimes busyness is unavoidable, but sometimes we fill our days with things because we are running from something we don’t want to emotionally address. We tell ourselves, “If I stay busy I won’t have time for that issue,” but what we are avoiding will ultimately catch up with us.


It’s a fact of life that corporate America (and the world for that matter) travels for work, but I’ve never been one to be impressed with the constant talk of business travel, frequent flyer miles, and all the global glam they get to see in between meetings and presentations. It’s almost like I feel more sorry for them then envy. Same goes for those constantly scheduling dinners and get-togethers. If my get-togethers this weekend consist of me, Smitty, and Boomer watching The Masters and going to mass, I’m okay with that.


XCalm life


This societal insecurity of feeling most validated only when we’re depleted is also making its way into the lives of our teens.


A recent study by the American Psychological Association revealed that teens reported higher stress levels than adults and about one-third of them feel overwhelmed. Kids are apparently modeling their parents; parents who are too busy for their own business and are not handling their stress well. Cue the craziness.


XMake a list


It seems for kids and adults alike “downtime” has turned into a bad word. Social media is partly to blame, as we feel the need to always be “on” and “up” on various sites but we also need to look directly in the mirror and learn to be okay with being still. Just. Be. Still.


Don’t get me wrong, I love to travel, I love to learn new things, and I love checking something off any one of my numerous “to do” lists, but I also love to be in my home and chill. I’m comfortable alone and okay with not attending every event. We all should be. It’s important to tell yourself you don’t have to do it all. Before agreeing to go somewhere or commit to something, ask yourself “will this enhance my life or complicate it?” And be honest. Even if the outing is something that seems pleasurable, the scheduling of it might not be.




Instead make a concerted effort to make more time to rest, relax, and refuel. For some that might mean working out, for others it might be curling up with a good book. Whatever works for you, do it. Only you will know if it calms you or stresses you.


XNote to self


I keep a book titled “Positive Quotes for Every Day” on my desk. I try to read it every day but haven’t had time (ugh!) to do so of late. So, before writing this very blog I picked it up and read today’s entry. Amazingly today’s positive quote for me is:


Recharge your batteries page


Sounds like a good idea.