TL FEBRUARY 21-27 BUILD A BETTER TRADE SHOW IMAGE WEEKFor better or for worse, image matters in all things!  The image we see with our eyes translates to developing an opinion in our brain – we like, we dislike – and that translates into the decision to either want to buy a product based on looks, or not.

Today is my dad’s birthday.  Happy Birthday in heaven, dad!2-21 BUILDING BLOCKS OF DESTINY

I was thinking about all the lessons he taught me – and the importance of appearance is one of the most crucial lessons I learned.  After I graduated high school in 1979, my dad set me up with a job “staging” homes to sell.  Daddy was a talented trim carpenter in Wichita and worked for several popular builders in our area in the 1970’s and 1980’s.  Anyone with a house built in that time period probably has cabinetry that was handmade by my dad.  Ironically – the house I currently live in has pre-fabricated cabinetry and is in no way special.  😦

I’ve heard so many women make comments as they tour a staged house – they say something like, “Oh I wish my house looked this nice and clean.”  I have to laugh when I hear it because once a family moves into the house – the level of perfection automatically lowers!  If you have to live in a house, you’re not going to keep the plastic on the carpet – you’re not going to leave all the staged silk flowers where they’ve been placed because think about it – the stuff you need to store or have on hand set there instead!  A staged house is not occupied, so it’s lacking life and vitality!  I’d rather see a house that looks like it’s lived in, wouldn’t you?

Working with amazing designers and staging experts, I learned how color and texture and in some cases even the smell of freshly baked bread make impressions on people interested in purchasing a house.  One of the realtors actually brought dough with her to bake in the oven!  Triggers are different for everyone.  Some folks are turned on by sound, so we always tried to have soft music playing.  It was so soft that you barely noticed it – but it was there.  And remember, back in the late 1970’s, the big thing was intercom systems!  We liked the idea that we could push a button in the room we’re in to talk with the rest of the family instead of yelling across the house.  Those intercom systems also played music throughout the house.  I’d be curious to know if they still work today.  New construction does not offer intercom systems.  That was definitely a late 70’s, early 80’s thing.

Appealing to the senses is what marketing is all about.  Trip the trigger – make the sale.  Cha-ching! 

Sometimes I wish I had pursued that line of work because I’ve always been drawn to design, staging, and making a living space “speak” to people.  It’s important to do the same kind of “speaking” at trade shows.  Even a little touch like having a bowl of free candy available can help draw them to your booth.  The rest is up to you.  Sell your product.  Let them know why their life will be lacking without it.

Just as my dad added special extras to every set of cabinets he made, I try to add extra to my design projects or photographs so the eye is drawn to whatever I want to be noticed.  Image improvement can apply to all areas of life – personal and professional.

What can you do to build a better trade show image???  It depends on what type of product you’re selling, of course.  There are creative ways to draw a crowd and then wow them.  Don’t be afraid to try new things because when it comes down to it, it’s all about trial and error.  If you don’t try, you won’t know.  It might work!  🙂





I have to chuckle at the word AWARENESS sometimes, especially when it comes to diabetes.  If you have diabetes or you live with someone who has diabetes, trust me, you are painfully aware – on so many levels!

The idea is to make those who do not live with diabetes aware of not only the challenges of living a life with diabetes, but also the way we can overcome those challenges with positive thinking, a good support system and of course – insulin!

What am I thankful for today as I live another day with type 2 diabetes?  It’s a long list, so fasten your seatbelt and hang on …

1.  I can see clearly!  Since my diagnosis in 1994, I’ve faithfully seen my eye care specialist once a year.  People without diabetes see their eye doctor every other year.  I say this with all humility, a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes – every year when my eyes are dilated and I am checked for retinopathy (a common condition with diabetes), my doctor gives me a glowing report!   He says, “If I didn’t know you were diabetic, I would not be able to tell from these pictures.” 

2.  I hear ya!  It’s recently been proven that diabetes can cause hearing loss.  They think that the small vessels of the ear get plugged up because of excess glucose in the blood.  If I could not hear it would not be the end of my life, but I am a musician and have been blessed with perfect pitch.  I’m not bragging, just telling the truth.  Hearing loss would be a huge loss to be sure.

3.  I’m walking on sunshine!  I admit there are days when I need a cane to walk better because of neuropathy (another complication of diabetes), but I am on my feet and moving.  What a wonderful blessing to still be mobile and able to take a walk anytime I want to.  It’s so important that I stay as independent as possible.  I do not take my freedom for granted.  I thank God for the ability to exercise without much pain.  Through the years I have relied on a good Chiropractor and an occasional massage to keep me going.  Exercise is a key component in diabetes management.

4.  I smile every day!  Keeping blood sugar within a healthy range is so important because everything is affected – even my smile!  If my gums are not healthy it could lead to tooth loss.  Along with brushing and flossing I use Sesame Oil to “pull” bacteria from my teeth and gums every day.  Just one Tablespoon of oil once a day really helps my gums stay healthy.  Swish for about 5 minutes and spit – (never swallow the oil), then rinse with water and smile!

5.  I keep stress at bay!  I’m the first to admit that this was not easy a few years ago.  Now that I’m retired it is so much easier to manage the stress in my life.  God has helped me to re-evaluate priorities and re-examine the things that cause stress to begin with.  Sometimes stress just happens, like when there is a health crisis in my family – but these days I really don’t sweat the small stuff.  The older I get, the less most things really matter.

Thank You, Lord, for saving my soul.  Thank You, Lord, for making me whole.  Thank You, Lord, for giving to me Thy great Salvation so rich (full) and free!  I do count my blessings and these are just a few of them.  Yes, I have diabetes, but diabetes does NOT have me!  D stands for dedication to living a healthy lifestyle because God has blessed me so much!  ❤





2014 is the year of the family farm. There are still a few of them around, but as generations die off, fewer people are interested in carrying on the traditions on the family farm. I’m thankful for the small family farms. They are the backbone of our country!

Although my family members are happy in heaven, my mind goes back to a time when they were all very much alive and well on planet earth.

I suppose it’s because Spring has arrived. The jonquils are blooming and so are my allergies! These subtle signs trigger memories of the past and I have no choice but to re-live them! They are happy memories and I treasure them so very much.

Every year around my birthday, we made a special trip to grandpa Frank & granny LaVella’s farm in Oklahoma. I looked forward to it because I always got to ride my horse, Ol’ Blue, a Palomino with the prettiest blue eyes! Granny LaVella made my favorite meals and you can be sure we ate three squares! We went back home to Wichita with some extra pounds, but preparing meals was granny’s way of showing love for her family.

There were chores to be done and conversations to be engaged in. We talked about everything in my family from the weather (farmers are great at talking about the weather) to the newest feed available for the stock, to the latest project that granny LaVella had going on. She was always doing something for somebody. She knitted little caps and crocheted booties for every baby in their community, I think!

It’s funny how the senses can take you back in time. The bed I slept in on the farm was an old metal spring bed that was probably an antique back then! Every time I moved that thing made the most unusual noise. I especially enjoyed being wrapped up in one of granny’s quilts. I always felt so safe and secure all snuggled up.

The only real problem was if I had to visit the outhouse. I made sure I didn’t drink anything before bedtime because even though I felt safe indoors, venturing out at night to an outhouse is a real experience – one I tried to avoid as much as possible.

I’m thankful to God for precious memories of childhood. I pray that I never lose them. I’m thankful that spring has finally arrived. Peace to you today! ❤




Anyone who has experienced loss in their life (pretty much everyone) knows that the grieving is never really over. You can be perfectly fine and suddenly you are reminded of your loved one(s) in some fashion and the pain comes back. The question is: How will you deal with that pain? There is no right or wrong answer. The answer is different for everyone. I can say that for me, saying a quick prayer always helps because my help cometh from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.   – From a headstone in Ireland

Do you ask God questions? I do. The precious Holy Spirit has been my comforter and my strength during the times I am not strong. But His strength is made perfect in our weakness. You will either understand that or not. Some things are difficult to explain until you’ve experienced them for yourself.  I try not to ask God why my family had to pass away, but I often ask what God plans for me to do next.

Grief is a very strange companion to walk with. It is more silent as the years go by to be sure, and for that I am very grateful. When it does make itself known, it is sudden. It comes on like a tidal wave and is relentless! It’s hard to stifle it when it hits. It’s brought on by something odd – a sense, usually. You see, touch, smell, hear or taste.

Thankfully, enough time has passed that there are some things I look at, such as my mama’s bottle of White Shoulders perfume (which has evaporated for the most part), and smile. Of course there’s also the faint scent of the perfume, but seeing the bottle reminds me of the times I sat and watched my mama get dressed up to go out. We had some of our best chats while she was getting ready to go somewhere!

If I could take a vote among the “Mourner’s Club”, I’m sure most of us would say our mother’s favorite recipe can take us back home fairly quickly. There’s nothing like making your mama’s famous dish, is there? Take a bite, close your eyes and you will find yourself going back in time to the table you sat at as a child.

 Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.  – William Shakespeare

Grief is a very unpredictable companion, but God uses it too. He uses it to help me remember precious things, for it’s the memories we cling to until it’s time for us to be reunited in heaven. ❤



Thank you, Lucinda Berry Hill, for this wonderful poem about my candy dish! ❤

During the grieving process, the senses surprise us at the strangest times.

When I was a kid, my mama had a red moon & stars candy dish. It was an anniversary gift from my daddy one year. Mama and I used to take a taxi to the Rexall drug store. She let me pick out a pound of candy for her dish from the Brach candy stand. I chose the candy very carefully (when you are little these are life and death decisions ). You know, some candy weighs more than others and you want just as many pieces as you can get in the sack because it doesn’t take very long to add up to a pound! Once I finally got the candy selected and weighed, we took it home and put it in her moon and stars candy dish.

It was a house rule that nobody got candy until after dinner. Once in a while I decided to risk breaking that rule. Rules were made to be broken, after all. I used to sneak into the dining room and try to lift the lid on the candy dish just as carefully and quietly as possible. No matter how careful I was, that dish made such a racket! It rang throughout the house! It was close to impossible to make a clean getaway!!! Sometimes I think mama heard the lid ringing but just chose to ignore it.

As mama got older she developed arthritis in her wrists and had a hard time hanging on to things with a firm grip. Well, one day she was dusting and somehow the lid to the candy dish got broken. She called me at work to let me know what happened and I could tell she was upset by it. To be honest it upset me a bit too because I thought of the happy memories associated with the candy dish.

When I got home that evening I told my husband about mom’s accident. He asked if she broke both the dish and the lid and I said, “No, I think it was just the lid.” He said, “I’ll tell you what – we’ll look around at some antique stores and try to get her a new one.” I thought that was a fine idea.

Well, we searched high and low for a red moon and stars candy dish. We found blue, green, clear, brown. No red. Oh – we did see a red one but it was not on the long pedestal. I knew if we were going to replace that candy dish it needed to be just like the old one. The search went on until…

One day close to Christmas time we were at an antique store and I heard a very familiar sound and my ears perked up!!! It was the sound of someone trying to put the lid back on a moon and stars candy dish!!! That is without a doubt the most distinct sound I’ve ever heard in my life. I followed the sound – racing and praying with every step – “Oh Lord please let it be a red one – let it be a RED one!!!”

By the time I got to the booth, the person who was looking at the candy dish had left. I thought, “Oh no, they took the dish with them!” I was still praying as I frantically looked around. There it was… and you will not believe this… it was RED!!!

I wanted to hear that sound just one more time before I took it up to the front desk. I lifted the lid and listened to the old familiar ring… suddenly I was six years old again, for just a second. We gave mama the candy dish for Christmas that year! It made her smile – and when she smiled, it made me smile! Since my daddy’s death some years before, smiles were few and far between. I was very glad that I could make mama smile!

Don’t let anyone tell you that your memories are silly – or that they don’t count – or that they don’t matter. They do – and they always will.

Mama is gone now. I still have that candy dish in my home. I never keep candy in it, but just between you and me, I still walk over and lift the lid and lower it just so I can be six years old again, for just a second! ❤



Anyone who knows me in “real life” knows that one day I would like to go to a beach, feel sand between my toes, hear seagulls and see (perhaps tour) a lighthouse or two. Here in Kansas we have the odd lake here and there, but it would be wonderful to see something besides wheat fields. The trip to the beach is on my bucket list.  And now a message from Madame B.

If you are able to stop and smell the roses, take a moment today to do it! Be thankful for all of your senses and be aware that you are blessed if you have all five of them.

When I was in high school I met a girl named Joyce. We were introduced through a mutual friend at a church meeting. Joyce was a happy, bubbly, cheerful girl with a positive attitude and it seemed as though she had life by the tail and knew how to control it. There was just one difference between Joyce and my other friends. Joyce was blind from birth.

She acted so independent I sometimes forgot she was blind, to be honest. I had to remind myself that if we went out somewhere, of course I would be driving! She had a German Shepherd seeing eye dog named Buckshot. Naturally he went everywhere with her. We got some strange looks in public when we walked in with Buckshot, especially in restaurants and at the movie theatre.

Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.
– Helen Keller

Today is CELEBRATE YOUR SENSES DAY!!! This is a day to appreciate your ability to see, smell, hear, touch and taste. I don’t take my eyesight for granted since I met Joyce – not because I had pity on her, but because I knew what beauty she was missing even if she did not.

Because Joyce was never able to see, her other senses were heightened. She often commented that she could hear my car or smell the sweet pea I wore before I rang the doorbell. At first that made me uncomfortable and I’d ask questions like “Did I put too much fragrance on? Does it bother you?” But I soon learned that it was not my excess that triggered her senses, but her ability to overcompensate for being blind.

Don’t take your senses for granted. Thank God for your abilities and for the senses you use to do what you do. ❤