A Celebration of My Dad’s Life

John Anthony Shipperlee, whom we all know as “Tony”, was born in Leigh-on-sea, Essex, on 12th January, 1921. He was an only-child with an enthusiastic and adventurous spirit, whose loving parents encouraged him to play the piano, sing in the boy’s choir and join the boy scouts, where he was a drummer in the band and participated in numerous Drumhead parades in the Oxford area. Athletically inclined, his favorite sport at Southfield School was rugby and he was also an avid train spotter, but his artistic talent was undeniable. He loved to draw and he was rarely without a sketch pad, or far from his easel and paints. Continue reading →

My Feet, My Faith. His Will, His Grace!

I just love new beginnings, don’t you? The dawning of each day! Mondays … the first day of the month … the New Year … it’s like we’re given a fresh start over and over again, throughout the year! Oh joy! I definitely want, need and value these chances to begin anew … do you?

It’s January 2 and I’m deep in thought about the year ahead in 2018. How will I make my life count this year? In what way will I maximize the hours in each day to make every day count in a meaningful way? What plans do I have for our business this year? What steps will I take to bring it all to fruition?

So many questions spinning around my head. The answers?  Not coming so easily. Continue reading →

Christmas is Here! Breathe Easy.

As so often happens when I express what’s in my head and on my heart, the words take on a life of their own and run away with me … and I’m led into something much deeper {and lengthier} than I first intended. This is a continuation {part 2} of my last post called “The Holidays Are Here! Just Breathe!”

The original post was intended to be a short blog entry not a book, so I decided to turn it into a two-parter. Lol!  Thanks for sticking with me and my random ramblings about the holiday season.  I’m hoping the forthcoming message helps you in some small way.

Continue reading →

One Minute to Contemplate

When I’m at home in my oh-so-familiar surroundings, the busyness of life so easily captures my attention and it’s easy to succumb to it. I find myself being pulled here and pushed there, sometimes swimming upstream against the current, at other times I’m carried by the strong undertow of today’s fast-paced world.  Occasionally I’m running down several paths at once, caught up in the doing this or that, and going hither and thither. 

Can you relate?   Continue reading →

If You’re Standing Still You Aren’t Moving!

Sometimes the simplest of things have the most profound impact on us!

For example, look carefully at the graphic above, and read the caption several times. It clearly states the obvious! The trees are standing still, so they’re not moving.  In fact they are rooted into the ground and there they will stay.

No kidding … we all know that, right?

It’s a known fact that trees don’t have legs or wheels so they can’t walk or roll away. Unless they are uprooted and physically moved by a violent act of nature or intentional human effort, they are not moving from their spot. They perpetually stand still.

Did you notice the longer you stared at the picture and the more times you read the caption, the greater it impacted you … and the deeper your level of understanding?

Weird isn’t it?  With a cursory glance, I suspect you concluded it’s rather silly to put two thoughts together that mean the same thing and are SO apparent. After all, if you’re not moving you’re clearly standing still … in the same way, if you’re standing still, you’re not moving!  

But that’s why stating the obvious is so powerful. It has impact. I want it to have an impact.  To make a lasting impression.  

Sometimes simplicity rules.

I’ve noticed that often we humans, like trees, stand still and don’t move.  I don’t mean we’re not walking around … I mean we aren’t moving forward in our job, our growth, our life … were stuck in one boring spot … rooted to our own comfort level, or frozen in fear, complacency or confusion. 

The other observation?  With a few exceptions {of course there always are some} the majority of people are not happy when they’re standing still.  Progress matters to human beings … even a tiny little bit.  We don’t take well to being stuck in a rut. 

So how do you break out of the rut?  How do you get moving again? The answer is in the picture. It’s embedded in the caption.  So often though, we can’t see the forest for the trees … or we over complicate the situation. We overthink it.  That’s when stating the obvious is helpful. It’s a bit like underlining capital letters.  Annoying but effective!

The answer is simple. Stop standing still and get moving!

Move and you’ll stop standing still! 

“If you don’t like how things are, change it! You’re not a tree”  ~  Jim Rohn

Creating New is Easy!

Life is a beautiful thing! Do you agree? Just look at the magnificent tree I caught on camera in Cornwall 10 years ago.

I have no idea its age, but it has seen many years of life. Its height and breadth took my breath away … a 6 ft man {the white dot to the right of its trunk} is dwarfed under its massive, spreading canopy of leaves. Leaves that have provided shade and shelter to many a traveler through the ages. Its gnarled and twisted branches reveal struggles it endured to withstand a multitude of environmental and seasonal challenges. 

Yet here it is! Planted solid in all its glory. Stately, strong and majestic.  A testament to time. One of God’s magnificent creations. Standing beneath this tree, looking skyward in wonder, my senses were engulfed in the rustling motions of it’s millions of leaves.  I listened as they sung their enchanting song and danced in response to the gentle sea breeze that day … and I marveled at its beauty, power, perseverance … its long life!

This tree has a history!

Oh!  The stories it could tell. The wisdom it could impart. How did it thrive when others {more recently planted} have long since fallen by the way, succumbed to disease, the elements of nature, or withered and died in their struggle to survive?

How much joy has this tree bestowed over the years, to how many children {and adults} who accepted the challenge to climb it’s branches to new heights? How many lovers might have carved {or been tempted to carve} a heart with their initials and love notes, now concealed deep within and beneath its toughened ancient bark?   

This particular tree made a lasting impression upon me, so it was easy to recall its image when I happened on this quote.  I am uncertain to whom I give credit as there seem to be conflicting ideas on its origin. If you know, please enlighten me.

“Creating new is easy!
Creating something lasting is the challenge.”

This got me thinking about the way life is today. More often than not it’s easy come, easy go.  Of course, there are always exceptions, but this seems to be a trend.  The days of staking a claim and toughing it out to create something lasting is so yesterday! Instead, we tend to eagerly drop whatever or whoever and jump ship as frequently as we change underwear. Well, not really, but as fast as time flies and as often as things change, it seems that way.

Do you ever wonder about this trend?

Sometimes we just aren’t strong enough to weather the challenges of life.  The twists and turns thrown our way – the unexpected arrows aimed at us, so we seek asylum from the pain!  Maybe we’re tired of the monotony and ho-hum of a boring life … or we flee from uncomfortable situations in search of peace and quiet, or reduced stress. We simply can’t weather the storms of life.

Then there are times we’re happily trucking along, satisfied where we are and what we’re doing … doo-dee-doo-dee-doo … when BOOM … out of the blue appears an exciting new shiny distraction that catches our attention and we simply can’t resist its lure, so away we go in hot pursuit of a more stimulating adventure.

It comes down to this. 

It is in our society to hop from one thing to another, especially when the challenges appear … which they always do in anything and everything. Lol! Shiny objects grab our attention and we’re off to the next best thing, dazzled by the “new and exciting”, attracted by the “different”, seduced by the promise of “better”, convinced by an expectation of “more” and ever hopeful of “easier”.

It’s so easy to create something when it’s new because we’re living on an adrenaline rush! It’s like a drug! A new addiction!  It’s titillating,  it’s exciting and different … and {for a while} it gets our blood pumping and our heart racing so we’re filled with a wild kind of energy, a deepened resolve and heightened dreams that fuel us into frenetic action! 

Creating something lasting on the other hand is not always as exciting as when it’s brand new. There are times of triumph and elation of course, but mostly it’s more of the same year after year. It’s building a strong foundation, growing deep roots, dealing with the challenges of daily life and staying the course. This requires unshakable belief and commitment, the ability to gain strength from the challenges, knowing in your heart that weathering the storm and keeping on keeping on will build something of lasting value.

Through the ages, SURELY mankind must have
learned that while the grass often appears greener
on the other side, it’s just as hard to mow.

Alas, too often those who are constantly lured by shiny new objects are the same ones who flit from this to that always seeking the greener grass or the new thrill! Sadly most never build anything that lasts … whether it’s relationships, success or power … because the problem isn’t what they’re doing or who they’re with, it’s who THEY are.  It’s an internal issue … not a matter of circumstance.  Kind of like JOY.  It’s an inside job!

Apparently some haven’t learned that anything worth having doesn’t come easy.  And hopping the fence to the greener side expecting things to be different?  Guess what?  When the luster wears off  … and it will … it always does sooner or later,  will they make a stand and weather the storm … or will they decide to flit again? 

The beautiful old tree teaches us some real-life lessons if we’re willing to listen and heed its advice and wisdom.  Whatever your heart desires to create, whether it be a relationship or anything else, stake your claim, firmly plant your roots deep and wide, stay put and weather the storms of life.

Face those challenges head on and you will grow strong like our tree … you will endure and what you create will be lasting.

He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.  Psalms 1:3

Where Do Dreams Go to Die?

Call me a hopeful romantic, a dreamer, an eternal optimist or a confirmed positive thinker and you’d be right on all counts! I make no apologies for being this way … I might add I’m proud of it! It’s who I am.  

Was I born that way? Maybe. Did I learn such a mindset from my optimistic mother? Did I get it from seeing my father’s dogged determination and perseverance? Perhaps. Have I become that way over many years of intentionally and habitually choosing my thoughts, solidifying my beliefs and working on my attitude? Probably!

Personally I think it’s a little bit of all of the above. At any rate, I am who I am and however I’ve arrived at this point in my life’s journey, I accept the way I am … and I’m grateful for the personal growth along the way.  

As a dreamer infused with hope for the future, it’s easy to seek the illusive good in all circumstances, even if it requires digging deep to reveal a tiny glimmer of light that might otherwise be concealed in shadow, or enshrouded by darkness.  With that thought in mind, I have a question.

Where do dreams go to die? 

I believe that dreams … as in our hopes and aspirations … reside in each of us. As a child or young adult we know how to activate our imagination to create a vision or picture in our mind of what we aspire to be, or to have, or to do. The more vivid our imagination, the more alive and real it appears, and when accompanied by a strong desire to attain the object of that dream, we’re magnetized towards it. We can almost reach out and touch it. Desire burns and all the forces within ignite us into action, propelling us to pursue that dream.

Ah! Such are the dreams of bygone youth! 

But alas, for many of us, as the years go by, and the trials and tribulations of life dominate our thoughts and daily activities, we set aside our dreams. We might even hide them away … somewhere safe but out of sight.

And then our imagination falters, the once-so-vivid dream fades to nothingness, desire and passion wane to indifference and is ultimately replaced with justification.  It wasn’t meant to be … it was a childish idea … it was too hard to achieve anyway … it was too this or too that … the reasons are endless. And so another dream is lost. The beautiful living dream passes away … its breath snuffed out … its vibrant light extinguished by the very dreamer who created it. One more dead dream.

So where do dreams go to die?

What do you think? Do they evaporate into thin air? Do they burn themselves out in the imagination that conceived them, settling there like fine ashes to clog the mind of the dreamer? Do they float off into oblivion or do they transition to a hereafter for dead dreams? Are they suspended somewhere in limbo? Do they drown in a pool of their own tears? Is there life after death for dreams or is death permanent?  

So where do dreams go to die?

This is what I think. When dreams die they merely move from one place to another. They leave the imagination and transition into the heart of the dreamer, where they remain forever. They simply await new life. The dreamer of the dream has only to ignite his imagination, breathe life giving desire, love, hope and belief into the dead dream … and it will spring to life once more.

I believe every dreamer has the power to resurrect their dreams. Is your heart holding a precious dream that’s died?  Are you ready to resurrect it?

Your dream awaits. It’s all up to you.

“A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities”  ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

A New Beginning

March the 11th 1981! A NEW beginning!

The day that changed the course of our life forever! 36 years ago today Chuck and I burnt all our bridges behind us when we aligned ourselves with Shaklee.  Today marks a huge milestone for me. I’ve been in love with everything this company stands for, for half of my life and that’s very meaningful to me. I’m so proud of the alliance … and the allegiance we share.

Chuck and I aren’t whimsical people who make snap decisions. We think long and hard and we always research diligently before we commit to any decision, let alone a lifelong association. We knew we would be lifers from the start because we based our decision on the credibility, integrity and commitment the company has to improving the lives of everyone it touches. The culture and the philosophy of Shaklee stole our hearts and touched us to the depth of our souls … forever and a day.

Have we enjoyed rewards? Yes! Too many to count! But the message I want to convey today is that in any business one encounters highs, lows, elation and at times even frustration … it’s all part of building, growing and sustaining a successful business … ANY business. No matter what season we’ve faced in our journey, our love for this company, and those we serve faithfully in our business, has never wavered.  Love and respect has always prevailed. 

This I can say confidently. We’ve never regretted our decision all those years ago and we’ve never had reason or desire to look elsewhere to place our loyalty. We’re in it for life.

When you stand for something of significance, you hold your ground … like the little nut that grows into a mighty oak. That’s the dream we envisioned 36 years ago and it’s worth celebrating our experience and gratitude and with all of you.

I thank God every day for the opportunity I’ve had as a woman, a mother and an entrepreneur to not only challenge myself, but to grow personally, to pursue my calling with passion and purpose alongside the love of my life {Chuck} and in partnership with the most amazing esteemed company, we know as Shaklee.