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The First Sell is the Sweetest!

The First Sell is the Sweetest!

I took a lot of career tests after I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Home Economics from Lubbock Christian University. Full circle.

I started college at the ripe old age of 22 as a married woman and the mother of two young daughters. Bob watched the girls while I commuted from Allison to Pampa to attend night classes at Clarendon Junior College. Bob was my academic advisor. I was supposed to sign up for “Basic” classes and I came home that first night enrolled in English 101, Principles of Real Estate and Real Estate Appraisal an of course they were all on different nights of the week. I was going to be a Real Estate Agent!

Then we moved to DeSoto.

I started taking classes at night at Dallas County Community College in business. I decided I was going to open my own Day Care.

Then we moved to Italy and our 3rd child was born. I continued taking basic classes but now I was attending Navarro College.I finished most of the basics and made the decision to attend Texas Woman’s University in Denton. Another long commute except this time Amy and Julie were in school and I attended day classes. Katy went with me and attended the day care the college offered to students. I switched my major to Child Development and decided to become a Child Life Specialist.

We moved again to Wilson, Texas. This time I switched to Home Economics. Don’t ask me why but I believe it was the fastest way to finish my degree and I graduated Cum Laude from Lubbock Christian University.

Well Hell. Normal people go to grad school, right? So I drove down the road to Texas Tech University and enrolled in graduate schools. I was labeled a GRUD, for Graduate, Undecided. That is when the testing started. It didn’t matter how many tests I took or what kind it was my top three choices were always

Funeral Home Director (I can’t look at dead bodies)
Priest (I am not Catholic)
Salesman (I am too honest to be a salesman that is why I didn’t go into Real Estate)

And here I am. Selling beltbuckles. Praying that I make enough money to support myself until I die.

Full circle. Let the selling begin!

lol

Lynda

P. S. I am not, repeat not going back to school, grad school or any other school unless I am visiting as a grandparent.

A New Adventure

A New Adventure

“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.”  — Oprah Winfrey

I have started a new adventure.  I left my career in education to begin a new career as co-owner of The Rockin’ Rooster.  My partners are my younger sister, Theresa, and my younger brother, Greg, and my first best friend, Cindy!  Let the adventures begin!

Angles of Niagara Falls

Angles of Niagara Falls

I recently went on a trip to Niagara Falls with my sister and her friends. I had seen pictures of the Falls but beyond that, I really had no idea what to expect. It wasn’t technically my trip so I did very little in planning and preparation for it.  When chatting with friends prior to the trip, most would say “Go to the Canadian side, it’s such a better view.” That comment really bugged me because I had no idea what that meant! Yes, I understand how you can have a better view from one angle compared to the other; but apparently I didn’t understand the flow of the falls. So for those of you planning a trip  to Niagara Falls here is the breakdown that explains where and what you will see!

Things to know in advance…

  1. The Niagara River Falls off the American Soil
  2. There are two sets of Falls: American Falls & Horseshoe Falls
  3.  Have your walking shoes on
  4. Don’t forget to have your passport and cash on you!!

 

American Side 

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The Niagara River falls off American soil. (Thus, explaining why people want to see if from the Canadian side!)  When viewing from the American Side, you can see the falls from top looking down or at a next-to/side angle. You can access the Falls from the American side through Niagara Falls State Park. The park has paved paths for you to get a closer look to the falls. 
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The park is open but also  under construction, but once finished it will be very nice! We walked maybe 1.5 – 2.0 miles around the park for the different viewing spots. T(I did not understand this before hand. I was tad bit disappointed at first with just the American Falls until I saw the Horseshoe falls hidden from view).  The park gets you right next to American Falls and a slight view of Horseshoe Falls.   [Cost to get into Park is $0.]

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Canadian Side

Since the riverIMG_7241 falls off the American side the view is on the Canadian side. You get the full panoramic of the American and the Horseshoe Falls across the border. The American Falls are ruggedly beautiful, much more rocky. The Horseshoe Falls are vast, smooth, and powerful. Definitely walk the Canadian side during the day. There is a paved scenic path for tourists.
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Go back again at night, during the light show. It’s a change of scene and crowd in the evening.  [Have some cash on you, there is toll to drive across the bridge into Canada – if you walk, you have to pay a toll to get back into US).

 

 

View from Above 

IMG_7278I can’t afford a helicopter ride; however, if you want a lookout from above, there is a skyview from a Ferris Wheel in the heart of Niagara Falls, Ontario. IMG_7277Spending this $11 allows you to see from above the town. It is not necessarily a beautiful, up close view, but it gives you a broader scope of the Falls as a whole, and where they fall within the surrounding society. It’s somewhat tragic to see something so natural and powerful amongst so much capitalism.  

From The Water

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THIS IS THE BEST VIEW!! I highly recommend taking a boat ride via Maid of the Mist. You get the full experience of the Falls: the rugged and beautiful, the majestic awe, the calm, the power, the mist, the ferocity.  From the water is where you get it all! Maid of the Mist also has a paved stair path up the side of the American Falls so you can truly get as close as safely possible. You cannot beat the view the water and it takes you from the hustle and bustle from above and truly blows you mind how beautiful and powerful the water is.

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Top 10 Most Influential Books

Top 10 Most Influential Books

dr. suesspricnessbbears

Reading is one of my first memories and some of my favorites! Books have been a stable and constant force all throughout my life! I remember bed time reading rituals of the Berenstain Bears, Dr. Seuss, and Princess Smartypants. Class projects with Eric Carle. Going to class with Ramona Quimby, Age 8.  I decided by 3rd Grade I  would never move to southern California because a book on plate tectonics said it was going fall into the ocean. Puberty would have been horrific had Judy Blume not been there every step of the way. Textbooks were designed as a cover for the book I was really reading.  Who cared about high school boys where there was  Mr. Rochester, Mr. Darcy, Mr. Knightley, and Rhett Butler. A Midnight Book Release party will never be the same without making your own magical creature out of play dough and someone instantly knowing it was Jenny’s pigmypuff, ArnoldAnd my college roommate might not have ever become my best friend had she not been so insistent that I read Twilight.

It’s tough to identify 10 books that  have had a significant impact on my life. This is evolving list – ask me next year and it could be completely different.

 

51v1K7ay4YL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_  Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton

“Katy was a beautiful red crawler tractor. She was very big and very strong and she could do a lot of things….” This was my favorite childhood story, probably because it shared my name. I remember reading it with Dad before bed. He would read the long parts and when he’d turn the page I would read “…but not Katy”; because Katy can do anything!  Nothing could stop Katy! This book alone has instilled so many values I hold dear: hard work, service, responsibility, leadership, and determination. When I find myself needing a reminder of who I am, I just read Katy.

witch of bb The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

I don’t remember how this book got in my hands, but since the 6th grade I have probably read it at least once a year.  It’s my fall favorite.  Kit is a young heroine forced to move to aPuritan New England in 1600s.  She doesn’t fit in  and causes speculation that she is a witch. As my family and I moved over the years, I would be drawn to Kit.  She reminded me that life often takes us to new places and we must learn to adapt while  holding true to yourself. It also helps that there is a little romance in there too.

ss Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

I have my sisters and my mother to thank for this one. When they finished reading the Sorcerer’s Stone as a requirement of for an extracurricular activity, I got to read it!! And we’ve been Potterheads ever since. It’s tragic that we didn’t know about the series until the hype of the 4th book release, but we made up for it. The series introduced me to the world of fantasy and to embrace the nerdiness of reading. I remember the midnight book release parties and the heartache after each book and the anticipation for the next. When the series was finished it was like loosing a best friend. But at least they are all still there on my bookshelf!

lotr Lord or the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

I read The Fellowship of the Ring in 8th Grade after the release of the 1st Film. I couldn’t get enough of Middle Earth! And it was the start of my obsession with film adaptations. My favorite book is honestly the Two Towers! But I love the end and of The Return of the King. When the movies completed I was heartbroken that they missed the essence of the entire journey for Frodo and the other hobbits. It was then that I learned that book and film are two different mediums and the book is always going to hold more.

The Goose GirlThe Goose Girl  By Shannon Hale

My mom gave me this book. I was in high school and I honestly only read happy ending and romantic stories. I would read part of it, run to her and ask her a question and she would smile and say “Just keep reading’ in that I-know-something-you-don’t-know voice. It is my all time favorite! A mixture of fantasy, a strong and independent heroine, and a noble prince. Like the Witch of the Blackbird Pond, this is the other book I go to when life turns into an unanticipated adventure.

anna Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

This book I honestly wanted to read for all the wrong reasons and when I finished, I loved it for the love story. My oldest sister loved the tragic story of Karenina and Vronsky. I was eager to know this story and as I endured this massive read I was not impressed by the immorality. Instead, I slowly fell in love with the story of Levin and Kitty and Levin’s journey to Christianity.

gw Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Again, my obsession with movie adaptations led me to read this book. It was tough to read.  The movie may be long but it doesn’t come close to covering everything! I had to set goals to get through this one. When I met Rhett for the first time, I couldn’t wait to meet him again. It would seem like it was never going to happen. So, I would flip through the pages to find his name and then I’d know how far I’d have to read to get there. Sometimes it was just a one liner conversation about him and other times it was actually him. He usually only popped up every 100 pages or so. Just like me, Scarlet will find a way to find him again!

f451 Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

I read this book for a class in college and it was so thought provoking. Can you imagine a world where  books were not allowed? Why would you ever burn books? What if our world turned into their world? how would I rebel? And if I had to,  what book would I choose to memorize?

wswr Woman Suffrage & Women’s Rights by Ellen Carol DuBois

One of my most influential classes in undergrad was Social Movements. We spent a great deal of time covering Woman Suffrage and Women’s Rights. It’s one of the few books I kept. It not only enlightened me of how fortunate I am as a 21st century woman but revealed to me how societies work and how to go about making change.

ecc Ecclesiastes by Soloman

The Bible as a whole can be daunting but it’s a collection of valuable books. Every time I read it I get something different out of it. Every season in life I have a different favorite. Ecclesiastes is one of my favorite books as an adult.  God empowered Soloman with the gift of wisdom and Ecclesiastes reveals the wisdom of living our life in the present and not to wait on doing the right thing. It reminds me of my philosophy in high school “it’s all part of the plan”. I find comfort in that I am part of a greater plan and that no matter the season of my life “God has made everything beautiful in it’s time” and I simply need to embrace that and live my life!

 

 

San Francisco – Day 2 (The broken shoe)

San Francisco – Day 2 (The broken shoe)

Woohoo! We are in SF and ready to go to the AERA conference (an educational research conference, that is really cool, but most of you won’t care about, so I will try not to talk about it too much). Amber, Treasure, and I do not have any early morning sessions, so we decide to head to Starbucks for coffee and hot chocolate. As we were walking along the sidewalk, minding our own business, I slip. I don’t completely fall, but ungracefully trip and grab Amber before I fall flat on my face. I thought all was good, no bumps or bruises, when Treasure notices my shoe is broken. I can walk on it, so we get to Starbucks. The line is so long. I mean there are only like 712 starbucks within a mile radius of our hotel, so of course there is going to be a line. As Treasure and Amber were waiting in the long line, I grabbed a table (while trying to find a larger one). I began feeling a little sorry for myself and my shoe. I didn’t sleep well the night before (I slept on the little chair, I volunteered so I can’t really complain), I was thinking about how much homework on had, and I needed to meet my advisor in like 30 minutes and my shoe was broken. I did not pack any other dress shoes (only tennis shoes and toms), so I needed a new pair of shoes or some super glue. All of this was a little overwhelming and so I cried a little. Part of the problem was Amber and Treasure were being so nice to me, then I just couldn’t handle it and lost it.

My poor shoe

We found a Macy’s nearby and found several shoes we were in love with. Most out of my price range. It is a toss up if Amber is a good person to shop for shoes with. On the one hand, Amber loves shoes and has great taste…On the other hand, Amber loves shoes and has great taste. 🙂 Luckily (or not) we were on a time crunch and I was able to walk out with only one pair. Later, another graduate student told us a professor (not from our university, but well known in the research field) spent $4000 the day before on shoes! I couldn’t believe it! Of course, Amber could, next time you see her ask her how much her wedding shoes cost (they are super cute)!

New Shoes

So the rest of the day I attended the conference. Learned a few things, and met some people. That afternoon, Brandon, Amber, and I decided to find the Golden Gate Bridge. At this point, Brandon and Amber had already used the bus system and Brandon felt he was an expert. He was not an expert on the stops. We walked several blocks one way, and then the next. We walked through a really, really, bad part of town. However, we survived. We finally arrived at the Golden Gate Bridge (via taxi). It was really cool (in temperature)! It is like ten degree cooler on the water than it was in the city! And we couldn’t see the bridge! How boring is the picture below!

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We ride the bus back after talking with a nice couple from Sweden. Eat at a decent place on the pier. The bathrooms there were gender-neutral (which is not uncommon in San Francisco). Do not be frightened by the gender-neutral bathrooms, I actually felt like I had more privacy in the stalls (actually full walls, not just regular stalls). And who cares who I am washing my hands next too. One guy came into the restroom when I was washing my hands. We both commented on the weirdness of it, but it really wasn’t that weird.

Julie

 

San Francisco – Day 1

San Francisco – Day 1

First, this is a sister, mother, and aunt free trip. I am not saying this is a good thing, but….I did not have any fights with the friends I was traveling with. There was crying, but no fights.

Brandon, Amber, and I flew to San Francisco, problem free. I say problem-free. I was a few rows behind Amber and Brandon. The couple next to me was a little too lovey-dovey, but I ignored them and read “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns),” by Mindy Kaling. (Side note: I really love this book. Mindy is hilarious, a must read!) Amber had to go to the bathroom really bad on the flight. The lady next to her and Brandon slept the entire time, and Amber was too nice to wake her up, so she had to hold it the entire flight. We landed, went to the restroom, got the bags, and found the BART. On the way to the BART, Amber and Brandon refused to take a real picture together, so this is what they get.

Airport tran to BART

Airport tran to BART

After riding the BART into the city, we walk to our hotel. We have a slight hiccup. They messed up Brandon and Amber’s reservation, and were completely booked. What does this mean? They are bunking in with me, Treasure, and Brian for the night. Treasure and Brian are eating with friends from SF, so Brandon, Amber, and I head out for dinner.

The hills in San Francisco are killer. Brandon walk really fast. And he doesn’t believe in taxis. It was a little chilly, 50s with a cool breeze. We found the pizza place, but had to wait 30 minutes. We saw a beautiful church while we waited. (And my mother already asked, and no I did not go in it. I know, I know, I didn’t even check to see if it was open).

St. Paul and Peter Church

The pizza was super good (Tony’s Pizza, but not like the frozen food kind) and I thought we were going to take a taxi back. But, I was wrong. We walked all the way back to the hotel, through Chinatown (which everything there closes early), and stopped at Walgreen’s. We needed some snack items, some with gluten (for me) and some gluten-free (for Amber). Another thing about San Francisco, they ask you if you want a bag when you purchase something? They charge 10 cents a bag if you say yes! Maybe that would motivate me to remember my reusable bags!

We made it back to the hotel and survived the night with five people in the room. Don’t worry, our trip gets a little more exciting!

Julie