June Recognition Holidays | 15 Reasons to Send a Greeting Card and Gift

June almost upon us.  Every day is a great day to send a greeting card, but if you need a better reason here are 15:

June is National Candy Month.  "Old Fashioned Licorice Caramels" are a unique candy newly added to the Gratitude Geek gift shop.

June is National Candy Month. “Old Fashioned Licorice Caramels” are a unique candy newly added to the Gratitude Geek gift shop.

1.  June 1 is Say Something Nice Day

2.  June 2 is I Love my Dentist Day

3.  June 3 is National Healthcare Recruiters Day  (I recently met Lauren, a Healthcare Recruiter.  Until then, I had no idea this position even existed.  Her job is to find compatible and competent physicians for a local hospital.  Basically, she gets paid to take Doctors to lunch.  Groovy job, eh?)

4.  June is 5 World Environment Day

5.  June 9 through 15 is National Auto Service Professionals Week.  (I bet a greeting card will make your mechanics’ entire month!)

6.  June 12 through 19 is Nursing Assistant’s Week

7.  June 13 is Nurse Assistants Day

8.  June 15 is Father’s Day.  (This one is a no-brainer.  If you have a dad, send him a card!)

For the Dad Who Has Everything!  The Father's Day Game is an entertaining way to share some laughs.

For the Dad Who Has Everything! The “Father’s Day Game” is an entertaining way to share some laughs.  Also available from the Gratitude Geek gift shop.

9.  June 15 is also Worldwide Day of Giving.   (If you don’t have a dad, then give someone deserving the gift of your words of admiration, respect and gratitude.   If you do have a dad, do this anyway!)

10.  June 23 is Public Service Day (Go ahead, send a card to your Congressional Representatives!)

11.  June 26 is World Handshake Day

12.  June 26 is also Beautician’s Day (Love your hair stylist?  Send a card!!)

June also happens to be:

13.  National Candy Month (So send some candy to a few folks you love!)

14.  National Safety Month

15.  National Effective Communication Month (Seriously, can you think of a more effective way to communicate than a greeting card?)

Award-winning Blogger Vernetta Freeney on Overcoming Shyness and Creative Business Funding | Podcast #023

Vernetta Freeney

Vernetta Freeney

Self-proclaimed introvert Vernetta Freeny has made a career standing in the spotlight.   Listen in as she shares how she overcame her shyness to become an award-blogger and the creator of the the award-winning Fusion Tour.  Vernetta, who holds a masters degree in Education Administration, also created the Fusion Tour Bootcamp to help women create their own tours.  She offers a complimentary resource, Make It Happen Strategy Set with 11 MP4s and 2 ebooks for women-owned businesses.

This podcast was recorded on location.

Connect with Vernetta Freeney

 Resources for Business Funding

  • Startup America” is a White House initiative to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation.
  • People Fund creates economic opportunity and financial stability for under-served people by providing access to capital, education and resources to build healthy small businesses.
  • Vernetta Freeney’s article about Seed Grants.

More from Gratitude Geek

Weird Chemo Side Effects | In the Kitchen with Kandas, Oh My! | What to Say to Someone Diagnosed with Cancer | Battling Bertha Part 3

Kandas Always Wins

Kandas Always Wins

It’s been one week since the first dose of Chemo.

It’s been a tough week.

I am winning.

Thursday, I was feeling great (blame it on the steroids) so I drove myself  to the clinic for a post chemo bone marrow stimulating shot, then I had a lovely lunch with my friends Anise, Tucker and Tanya.   Thursday night I was visited by excruciating pain in my hip and leg bones…  apparently the marrow was stimulated.

Friday I received a wonderful and relaxing Acupuncture treatment by Alyson Bayer of Clear Choice Acupuncture & Wellness then went home and rested.

Saturday and Sunday were spent sleeping. Literally. Sleeping. As in 48 hours of sleeping.

Monday, Shane and I met with the oncologist, Dr. Ellent to find out the battle plan.   I will have 3 more mega doses of the triple threat cocktail from hell followed by the shot that rang up and down my body.   Then, we assess the results.

We did have to change up my heartburn and nausea meds.  No need to go into gory details.

HMO Side Note:  Most of my meds are 100% covered.   Win!!

Dr. Ellent is a scientist. He is very clinical. I told him that Bertha felt significantly smaller and he nodded approval but did not seem all the interested in checking for himself.

Bertha is, by the way, significantly smaller, as in I barely feel it.  No kidding.

Weird Chemo Side Effects

My tongue is numb.  No feeling.  Weird.

Lemons taste like rust.  Weird.

Basically, most food just tastes off.   Except saltine crackers.  Those taste good.  Weird.

I have absolutely no desire to consume sugar.  Apple sauce is too sweet.  I force myself to drink my chocolate protein shakes, because they are too sweet.  Weird.

I feel like a tortoise.  Slow.  Everything is in slow motion.  Weird. 

I forget what I’m doing…  more so than usual.    Kinda weird.  Not really.  Squirrel!

In the Kitchen with Kandas, Oh My!

I haven’t been cooking much.   Just too tired.   Our good friends Lynda, Kim and Kelly fed us this week.

A meal is truly the greatest gift a human can give another human.

My two big kitchen adventures:

  • Yesterday I made homemade yogurt, which turned out perfect.
  • Today, I brewed my very first batch of Kombucha.  Thanks to Kelly Taylor for the scoby.

What to Say to Someone Diagnosed with Cancer

Every day cards and care packages are delivered to our mailbox for which I am geek-fully grateful.   I remain in a perpetual verklempt state knowing my army grows every day.

If you are wondering what exactly you should say when you learn that someone has been diagnosed with that dreaded C word, follow the lead of Diane Walker, who wrote in an awesome greeting card:

“Congratulations on beating Bertha and your complete recovery.”

There are two key parts to Diane’s sentence.   Her words:

  • are positive.
  • assume the recovery has already happened.

And so it is!

howtowriteanawesomegetwellcard644x400

A huge thank you to Peggy for the glow-in-the-dark iPromise Susan G Kommen pillowcase, Renu for the trio of books, Glenna for the 8 pack of brownies, Diane for the angel and the anonymous person who sent the Louise Hay book. I feel wrapped with love and it feels good.

 

Christi Martin, Patron of the Arts | Chalk This Way | How to Create an Arts Organization | Podcast #22

Christi Martin is the director and founder of the Lakeside Arts Foundation, a nonprofit arts support organization serving the greater Lewisville and The Colony area. Its’ mission is to support and promote artists, arts organizations and bring fine arts to the Dallas, Texas suburban community through community projects such as “Chalk This Way” sidewalk chalk art festival and the Kaleidoscapes Public Art Project.  She also offers support to new start-up arts organizations.

Chalk This Way

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“Chalk This Way” Sidewalk Chalk Festival is held each May in Old Town Lewisville, Texas

Favorite Song?
Don’t have one. I love lots of songs. Lots of genres.

Favorite Color?
Red

Favorite Super hero?
Daenerys Targaryen

Fast food or home cooked meal?
Home cooked

What is your biggest quirk?
I serve on 5 different nonprofit boards…all volunteer.

What is the one thing that annoys you the most?
Flaky people and liars.

What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Make coffee.

Where would you go if you were invisible?
City Council closed executive sessions.

What’s your motto?
When in doubt, act with love.

Why did you choose to start your business – do what you do?
I saw a real need for the arts in our community. Lots of people, especially children, had none or few artistic outlets. There were no arts organizations here. I started 3 and helped start 3 more.

Who inspires you?
My friends.

What makes you different from other people in your industry?
I bridge all dimensions of the arts and bring them together.

Why should someone purchase from you instead of your competition?
I don’t have any competition in the area.

What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Watch my child fail without intervening.

What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you?
Talked to Mike Modano and didn’t recognize him.

What is your biggest challenge or obstacle?
Not reacting negatively to people who disrespect me or what I do.

What will it take to overcome your biggest challenge or obstacle?
More therapy and better drugs?

What are some of your favorite books?
DaVinci Code, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter

Define your style?
Bohemian

Tell me about your typical day.
Get up, answer emails, make and take calls, attend meetings – often in 2 different cities, attend a reception or show, have dinner and drinks with friends, go to sleep on the couch in front of the TV.

How do you juggle work and family?
I try to involve my family in my various arts events. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.

Three tips you would like to give to people who are thinking about starting a business in your industry?
Learn to research and write grant requests, hire humble but very talented people, expect and deliver excellence.

What’s the best way to market your particular business?
Online. About 90% of my advertising is free or very low cost “guerilla marketing” strategies through social media and online forums.

How have you grown as a person since starting your company?
I have learned to appreciate people of differing talents and abilities, have learned patience, and gained confidence and self-esteem.

christi-martin_300x289

Christi Martin, Director & Founder of Lakeside Arts Foundation

If you could travel back in time and speak to your 18 year old self, what would you say?
Take business classes too and don’t listen to the naysayers.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Having my own Talent Agency.

For whom are you thankful?  Who do you appreciate?
My family and friends for their patience and support, the city of Lewisville staff for their tremendous help, support and encouragement, and above all God, for His grace and love.

What else would you like to add?
Anyone who would like to find out more about Lakeside Arts Foundation or our Chalk This Way sidewalk chalk art festival can find more info on the website: lakesidearts.org.

Connect with Christi Martin & Lakeside Arts Foundation

More from Gratitude Geek

Chemo Round 1 Results | Chemo Friendly Foods | Overwhelming Support | Battling Bertha Part 2

Chemo Round One:  Kandas 1, Bertha 0

Battling Bertha Round 1 by Shane Rodarte

Battling Bertha Round 1 by Shane Rodarte

Round one of Chemo lasted almost 10 hours.  I felt great, a little bored and restless, but in good spirits for the most part.  I was given some pre-meds that included steroids, anti-nausea and antacid.  Then, Nurse Christie and team began the chemo drips.

My cocktail includes Docetaxel, Carboplatin and Herceptin

  • Docetaxel is synthesized to mimic the extract from the bark of the rare Pacific yew tree which natives used for centuries to heal wounds.  It interrupts cell division.
  • Carboplatin is platinum-based and inhibits cell repair at the DNA level.
  • Herceptin interferes HER2 protein reception.  Since Bertha is HER2 recpetive, this is an important ingredient in the cocktail.  It is also the most potent.

Shane was with me the entire time.  He was able to capture the excitement of the 10 hour battle with his pencil and sketchbook.  I am stretched out in my best warrior pose!

I felt very good last night, but the steroids did keep me up until about 2 am.  I felt well-rested when I awoke at 7 am if a tad nauseous.

Chemo Friendly Foods

Chemo Friendly Foods

Chemo Friendly Foods

My oncologist, Dr. Ellent, made just two food recommendations:  no soy, no chicken.

It is common knowledge that soy is high is estrogen.  Estrogen is Bertha’s favorite food.  I’m all for starving Bertha, so no Soy!  What I didn’t know is that most chicken is fed estrogen, to encourage larger breast growth.  So, no chicken for me going forward.

It was recommended that I try some protein drinks for the days I don’t feel like eating solid food.  Well, solid food is not at all appealing to me today.

I was very discouraged when I went shopping for shakes that they all contained soy!

Then, I noticed Orgain, organic and soy free!  It contains 10 fruits and vegetables and has 16 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber.  What I like about it is that it drinks like chocolate milk.  Not at all chalky.

I need to keep feeding my body electrolytes so I don’t get dehydrated but most of those sports drinks contain lots of sugar.  Mio Fit tastes great and provides both electrolytes and Vitamin B12.

Finally, Premium Round Saltines.  They fit in my mouth better than a square and they are whole grain for extra fiber.  I wish they came wrapped in sleeves like square saltines rather than dumped into the box.  I guess that’s what baggies are for.

To help with the nausea I have been slathering peppermint essential oil on my belly.  An extra perk is that I smell great!

My favorite source for essential oils is Cassia Aromatics.   Owner, Kelly Taylor, a certified Herbalist and Aromatherapist, knows her stuff and can help you find the right oils and blends for your needs.  She is very knowledgable.

My teeth feel a little weak, so I made a mouth rinse with 1 cup water, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon sea salt and 3 drops of Cassia Aromatics Grave Robbers blend to keep my mouth clean.

Overwhelming Support

Inspirational Gifts from SendOutCards

Inspirational Gifts from SendOutCards

Since making our public announcement just a few days ago, we have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from friends and family.

I could have kept this battle private, but there is power in an army, and my army has rallied to my side!  For which, I am both humbled and grateful.

Two years ago I made one of the best decisions of my life.  I joined SendOutCards.

SendOutCards is a greeting card and gift company.  The products and company culture make you feel good.  It feels good to share and receive the products.   This attracts generous, loving, gracious people to become independent distributors, like me.

In the mail today, I found two boxes.  The first is from Diane Walker, she sent a book for me to read during chemo sessions.  Ben Fitts, sent the Fight Like a Girl Card and a bracelet covered with inspirational messages.  I didn’t know Diane or Ben 2 years ago.  Now they are part of my family…  and my army.

I have already won this battle.

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Prologue | Breast Cancer | HMOs Suck | Treatment Choices | Battling Bertha

Prologue

I don’t enjoy writing.  Seems silly to have a blog when one does not enjoy writing.

Don’t get me wrong!

I love the podcasts and video interviews we do each week!  I love disseminating great information for others to enjoy and use.  I love sharing my personal experiences as a business owner, entrepreneur, internet pioneer, network marketer, public speaker, Toastmaster, Girl Scout leader, archery instructor, and mother to a teenager.  I just don’t love writing about it!

Well, now, I have something that makes me want to put my thoughts to words.  Around mid-April of 2014, though I did not know it at the time, I began preparations for war.

Meet Bertha

Bertha is a 2.9 cm x 2.7 cm mass residing in the upper section of my right breast.  The doctors tell me she is 95% estrogen-receptive and 70% HER2 positive, which to them means she is aggressive and fast spreading.

However, I ALREADY KNOW THAT I AM HEALED.

Bertha is an unwanted guest in the temple that is my body.  I have served her eviction notice.   She is not welcome here.

HMOs Suck

I do not want to dwell on the negative.  I will tell you this, if you currently have an HMO, look into PPO alternatives right away!  Most of the tears I have shed these past few weeks have been due to the HMO.  That’s all I am going to say on that subject.  It isn’t relative to the overall battle plan.  It may, however, be the cause of a few unwanted mini-skirmishes along the way.

Pedicure_by_Amy_By_Shane_Rodarte_72_sign

“Pedicure by Amy” by Shane Rodarte

Treatment Choices

I like looking at health holistically.  In 2010, I watched 2 people that I loved dearly, die from chemotherapy side-effects.  Both contracted infections their bodies could not fight.  So chemo was not my first, nor my gut, choice.  However, the words “aggressive and fast spreading” persuaded me to choose chemo for the first round of battle.

I have been doing research on supplements and alternative treatments for later.  I will share when I find something noteworthy.

Patient Perks

One of the perks the facility where I go for treatment offers is complimentary spa services for patients.  Monday, after my doctor’s visit, he walked me down the hall to the spa and “ordered” a pedicure for me.  It was heaven!  Amy, the pedicurist gave me an amazing calf and foot massage that included acupressure to the feet.  Then, as a special treat, Lauren gave me a new, sassy short haircut.  I figure I’ll be losing hair soon, might as well have less to lose.

My husband, Shane Rodarte, chronicled the pedicure with his pencil and sketchbook.

It Begins

Today, is the day.  Chemo begins.  I’ll be intravenously fed Herceptin, Carboplatin and Docetaxel over the course of 6 hours.  I’ll let you know how that goes in my next installment of Battling Bertha.

Get Your Gratitude Geek

Todd Ross, Desert Storm Veteran, on Leadership, Education and Church | Podcast 21

Ross Group Consulting, LLC provides training, leadership and management development course and curriculum, as well as trainer deployment and project management services.

Guest Dawn Mitchell, of the The Corporate Couch, and I chat with Ross Group Consulting LLC founder Todd Ross about Barry Manilow, leadership, education and church.  Plus advise for managing children when you run a home-based business.

Leadership Learned in Desert Storm

Todd Ross

Todd Ross, Ross Group Consulting LLC

Favorite Song?
Copacabana

Favorite Color?
Blue/yellow

Favorite Super hero?
Ironman

Fast food or home cooked meal?
Home cooked

What is your biggest quirk?
Being on time

What is the one thing that annoys you the most?
Deceit

What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Thank God for another chance to make a difference

Where would you go if you were invisible?
Follow my daughter around and keep her from jerks

What’s your motto?
Go out on a limb, that’s where the fruit is

Why did you choose to start your business – do what you do?
I wanted to make a solid impact on the training and development industry. Most trainers are cheerleaders, not actual trainers.

Who inspires you?
John Maxwell

What makes you different from other people in your industry?
My passion for humor in class and my ability to ensure learning actually takes place

Why should someone purchase from you instead of your competition?
My processes and best practices will make your people beg to have me back again and again

What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Basic training

What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you?
I gave my captain a really bad haircut in Desert Storm

What is your biggest challenge or obstacle?
Getting larger organizations to realize the ROI on their training

What will it take to overcome your biggest challenge or obstacle?
Continued exposure and word of mouth

What are some of your favorite books?
7 Habits of Highly Effective People, anything John Maxwell

Define your style?
Very bold and brief, but with tons and tons of humor

Tell me about your typical day.
My typical day is spent creating course materials, conferring with clients and researching different methodologies

How do you juggle work and family?
I’m really a work-a-holic, my family supports that

Three tips you would like to give to people who are thinking about starting a business in your industry?
1. Make sure you can do what you say you can do
2. Make sure what you’re doing is effective, for both your participants and the company
3. Be prepared to support yourself for at least 2 years until you build your client list

What’s the best way to market your particular business?
Word of mouth

How have you grown as a person since starting your company?
Absolutely.  I’ve had to improve my communication skills, listening abilities, time management skill sets and so on

If you could travel back in time and speak to your 18 year old self, what would you say?
Start NOW

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Commanding 5 figures for speaking engagements internationally

For whom are you thankful? Who do you appreciate?
My mom is the reason for who I am today

What else would you like to add?
God, always God!!

Connect with Todd Ross

Get Your Gratitude Geek On

Authors Karen Palmer & Kristi Lee Have a License to Dream | Women and Network Marketing | Podcast #20

Happy 20th Podcast Episode

What better way to celebrate my 20th podcast than with a first?  This is my first podcast interview with two people at the same time!

Licence to Dream:  Every Woman's Guide to Financial Freedom through Network Marketing

Licence to Dream: Every Woman’s Guide to Financial Freedom through Network Marketing

Network Marketing Dream Team

Karen Palmer and Kristi Lee, along with Judy O’Higgins, are the authors of Licence to Dream:  Every Woman’s Guide to Financial Freedom through Network Marketing.

Karen Palmer is a college professor and author of License to Play.  Mrs. Palmer’s interview with Gratitude Geek on Being the Mom of Your Dreams was posted in April 2014.

Kristi Lee has an extensive business background in creative marketing and retail with more than 20 years in corporate America.  Corporate experience includes responsibility for product and marketing decisions for more than 2,300 Albertson’s Food and Drug stores in 38 states, and negotiations with national brands such as Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, Maybelline and Revlon.  She is an Executive Level Trainer, Speaker and Coach.  Ms. Lee approaches life and business with a passion and belief that serving others with integrity, grace, professionalism and loyalty is the true key to success.   In addition, she serves as the Chief Sales & Marketing Officer of TruNorth Global, Inc.

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