I hate to confess this since I work in the marketing/social media profession but I am a bit late to the Google+ party. Frankly, I just didn’t see the value of joining and contributing to one more social media channel. That was before I started exploring Google+. My conclusion? Google+ is definitely worth my time. Here’s why.

  1. Google+ is similar to Skype but better. Google+ hangouts are video conferences in which up to nine people can participate but countless people can watch. It also automatically records the video chat. Literally millions of people could watch … all at no cost. Think of the potential for your business or organization — perhaps a live webinar?
  2. Google+ allows you to connect with the community you build (both people you know and people you follow) through circles. You can have a circle for friends, family, acquaintances, people you follow, and (most importantly) people with a common interest. Perhaps you love photography, some of your friends love photography, and you would love to connect with some professional photographers. Build a circle called “Photography” then simply add the people you want to be in that circle. You can then follow all their posts, photos, reviews … whatever they put on their Google+ page.
  3. Google+ is  a channel through which you can both post and search for reviews for restaurants, retail stores, local events, and more. Granted, Yelp and Urbanspoon also provides a channel for reviews but Google+ offers this and so much more.
  4. Google+ is here to stay. How do I know that? This is a Google product, folks. As social media guru Guy Kawasaki notes, “Google owns the river of search.” Google and its products are not going away any time soon. The company has too much skin in the (social media and search) game to just pull the plug.

So, jump into the Google+ pool! The water is fine! For the full story on Google+, check out Guy Kawasaki’s new book, What the Plus.

Leave a comment and tell me why you like Google+ or why you still haven’t jumped into the Google+ pool. I’d love to hear your ideas. Thanks!




My friend, Nilla Childs, comes from a long line of diary keepers. In fact, her grandmother, Dorothy, kept a diary for nearly 50 years. Nilla’s own diary entries about her son, Daniel, helped unlock the puzzle that had kept Daniel’s life scattered in pieces. Daniel was extremely bright, gifted in fact. Sure he had his quirks and his challenges connecting with others, but those issues somehow didn’t hold Daniel back. Until the day they did. Daniel moved away from home and went to college. His orderly world fell apart.

Nilla’s well-crafted book, Puzzled, documents her journey to solve the puzzle called Daniel, who was diagnosed with autism at age 23. Her book doesn’t follow a chronological flow. Instead, it mimics the scattered pieces of Daniel’s life, going back and forth in time. Each short chapter shares her wise observations, experiences and her mother’s heart. Daniel’s remembrance of the same event follows each of Nilla’s chapters.

Puzzled is not a neat, tidy “they lived happily ever after” book. Instead, it chronicles the ups of downs of real life with grace, love, humor and wit. Whether or not your child struggles with autism, you will be blessed by this charming and gritty chronicle.

Excerpt from Puzzled: 100 Pieces of Autism



Searching the web on my iPhone has been a lesson in frustration. I don’t want to see a bunch of random text links that may or may not deliver the information I need. I want quick access to relevant information that is optimized for mobile, rather than just repackaging the PC experience … and Leap2 Navigator delivers.

Leap2, available for both the iPhone and Android, links search results with direct web browsing. Here are its features:

  • The Query Wheel categorizes search results.
  • The Category Search Selector accesses related news, buzz, images, local information, maps and answer information.
  • Direct-to-Web takes you directly to web content for the top three results, rather than providing a search results text list.
  • The Tabbed Browser allows you to select from one of the top three search results. The tabs provide full browser capability.

Take a look at the product demo:

For example, I typed “Kauffman Foundation” in the search box. The query wheel shows “Kauffman Foundation” as the main selection but also lists related topics above and below on the wheel, such as the FastTrac program (entrepreneurship training offered by the foundation) and the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center (which hosts entrepreneurship business conferences in Kansas City). The bottom half of the screen has tabs to related sites. If you click on a tab, the corresponding web page appears.

What’s next for this Kansas City-based startup? They are brainstorming around taking the idea in the other direction — integrating the mobile experience to the laptop or tablet. Very cool!



Younger Next Year at Any Age

by Cathy on November 27, 2011 · 0 comments

in Ideas,Resources

What advice would you give to your 20 or 30 year-old self knowing what you know now? One thing I would do is discuss the principles in the book Younger Next Year for Women with my younger self. Admittedly, this book appeals to me because I’ve joined the ranks of the Menopause Mommas, but it also contains great nuggets of wisdom that can equip any women to turn back the clock by making the most out of her life.

The book’s authors — one a doctor and the other a vital 80-year-old who could pass for 50 — write that a person’s approach to life can mean either a step forward to vitality or a step backward to decay. The book’s life-stretching principles can be summed up in three words: exercise, connect and engage.

Exercise: Commit to working out six times a week, no excuses. Regular cardio exercise and weight training helps treat a variety of health issues, including depression, insomnia and weight-related illnesses. The chemistry of exercise is the chemistry of alertness, optimism, and an increased willingness to connect with others and with life.

Photo courtesy of, from an article on the connection between exercise and creativity


Connect: We are wired for regular contact with other people If you make this your job to build new bridges make new friends and build new communities, you can stay connected virtually forever. You  can do this at any age but it is far easier if you start early. Studies confirm that isolation hurts us and connection heals us. Social connections are a more powerful factor in health than anything else, including nutrition and exercise.

Engage: Continually explore new interests and seek to learn something new every single day. Look for ways to serve others and make a positive difference in the world. Always keep working and work on a variety of projects all the time. Seek to achieve, excel and accomplish whatever is of interest to you.

Photo courtesy of

Jessica, a woman whose story is shared in the book, provides a perfect example of this life approach. Though she was widowed for the last 40 years of her life and faced numerous challenges, she lived a  vital life and was fully immersed until her last day on earth. The reasons:

  • Jessica did stuff — she worked as an editor, ran her own shop, hosted a local TV show, wrote a cookbook … she hosted dinner parties all the time, though she wasn’t a good cook,
  • She worked hard at nurturing and growing a circle of friends. She would meet new people all the time and invite them to dinner parties. One of the great risks in life is that you run out of friends, Jessica did not let that happen.
  • She worked hard at keeping herself in great physical shape. ‘Nuff said.
  • She had a great attitude, great courage, and a great sense of humor.
  • She was always exploring and learning, game for anything.

So, exercise hard and you will grow physically younger; care about other people and you will grow happier; build a life that has meaning and you will grow richer.




If you are going to be outside these steamy hot days, the best place to be is preferably beside a swimming pool … with a good book in your hands. I’m enjoying Sisters of the Sari , which is about a technology company executive who travels to India on business and meets some amazing women. Here’s a review:

Like Eat, Pray, Love, only with a little less sex and a little more dysentery, Sisters of the Sari is an absorbing read. Baker writes with unabashed realism, reveling in the descriptions of opulent saris, filthy alleys, sweetened tea, and nerve-wracking traffic… an often funny, genuinely touching account of life in Chennai and the uncommon bond formed by two exceptional women  — Stephanie Turza, Booklist
Sisters of the Sari is somewhat true to life: It was written by Brenda Baker, who is a retired technology company executive who lives in India. She is a voracious reader with limited access to new books in India. After she devoured the books from the library in her Indian village, the librarian suggested she write her own book … so she did! Gotta love her gumption!
A thoroughly engrossing book! Next on my reading list is The Help. I’d love to read it before the movie comes out in mid-August so I better pick up the pace on my reading.
Have you read any good books this summer? Leave a comment because I’d love to add to my reading list.


I’m constantly intrigued by the imaginative ideas and helpful resources available on the Internet. Here are my five favorite finds for the week. Click on the links below for details. (You are really gonna’ love the last one!)

1. Add texture to your walls or ceilings with wallpaper you can paint. Available at Target.










2. Porcelain paint pens you can use to easily decorate plain white dishes. You can purchase inexpensive white porcelain from Wal-Mart or Target. The pens are available from Micheal’s and come with simple instructions.

3. Matchbook, a new online magazine with the tag line: A Field Guide for a Charmed Life. Yep, that’s what I’m about!

4. Cute storage idea!

5. A freezer full of make-ahead meals with recipes. Boy, do I need this!



Have you ever experienced puzzling magic in nature? I have … on a beach late at night in Florida. The book The Organic God gave a name to what I saw. We were wrapping up our spring break visit to Destin and wanted to take one last evening stroll along the beach. Bundled in jackets but barefoot so we could feel the cold sand ooze between our toes, we walked in silence under a canopy of stars. We listened to the crashing of invisible waves.

One in our group grabbed a stick and stirred up the sand along the water’s edge. The stick stirrer gasped and we all bent forward to see what she had uncovered. As she stirred the sand, a shower of sparks erupted. Again she stirred and again the sparks flew. Margaret Feinberg, author of The Organic God, called this phenomena luminescence. Margaret’s friend, Kacy, had also seen it in the nighttime waters of an Alaskan harbor.

Margaret shares, “Kacy didn’t care what the mysterious sparkles were called. She was too caught up in the beauty of the moment … When I encounter something new that represents everything that is good and true and beautiful, something awakens inside of me. Maybe it’s a heart cry for the Creator or maybe it’s the Creator’s heart cry for me. Such encounters remind me that there is so much more to do and experience and know – not just about my world but about my God.”

If you aren’t a big fan of organized religion, would think twice before setting foot in a church, then you might just enjoy this book. The Organic God will take you on an adventure of discovering the magic and beauty of God that is present all around you. It’s a great read!



Donald Miller on Living a Good Story

by Cathy on February 24, 2010 · 2 comments

in Ideas,Resources

Donald Miller, author of the generation-defining book Blue Like Jazz, knows what we’re talking about. His latest book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, could be the manifesto for the Uncommon Lifestyle. If I could recommend just one book this year, this is the one! Here are a few choice morsels:

  • Nobody cries at the end of a movie that is about a guy who works hard to buy a Volvo. But we spend years actually living those stories and we expect our lives to feel meaningful. If what we choose to do with our lives won’t make a story meaningful, it won’t make a life meaningful either.
  • The same elements that make a story meaningful, also make a life meaningful. A character has to face his greatest fears. That’s the stuff of good story. Once you know what it takes to live a better story, you don’t have a choice. Not choosing to live a better story is choosing to die.
  • If the point of life is the same as the point of story, then the point of life is character transformation. Life is designed to change us so that if we choose to let it, we can be transformed into a better version of ourselves.
  • You get the feeling when you look back on life that that is all God really wants from us, to live inside a body He made and enjoy the story and bond with us through the experience … I wonder if that’s what we’ll do with God when we are through with all this. We’ll sit around and tell Him our stories and He’ll smile and tell us what they mean … I just hope I have something interesting to say.
  • A good storyteller speaks something into nothing. Where there is an absence of story, or perhaps a bad story, a good storyteller walks in and changes reality. He does not critique the existing story, or lament about his boredom. He just tells something different and invites other people into the story he is telling. He gives them a better story too.

Donald shares the steps he took to create a good story for himself. I won’t give away the details because it is a fun read but our blog tagline “Innovate * Explore * Enrich” is the perfect summary for what he pursued. He develops these ideas further on his blog in a recent post Living a Good Story:

“If you plan a story this year instead of goals, your life will be more meaningful and you are much more likely to achieve your goals. For example, instead of saying I want to get into shape this year, I’m planning to climb Mount Hood with friends. Now my goal has a narrative context. Envision a climactic scene in that narrative … The idea is to create scenes this year that you will remember for the rest of your life and to invite others into the thrill of being alive … God created this beautiful expanse as an exposition within which to live remarkable stories.”

Well said, Donald Miller. Oh, and the book is also hysterically funny.YouTube Preview Image



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