Monday, September 18, 2017

Sincerely Grateful

I’ve been so overrun with work, Mason’s life, family life, and life life that my Monday Motivators have been living in my head and not in print. I’m starting here and I’ll go back and “catch up” when I make time - or feel inspired, whichever comes first.

As you all know, we are now a boat family, we are loving being a boat family. In fact, if I had known how relaxing it is to take an evening swim, or enjoy a picnic dinner on the lake, I may have agreed to the boat a long time ago. In any case, as long as I’ve known Dave he’s wanted a ski boat. There have been a couple of times that we toyed with the idea but the timing was just never quite right. 

Whenever we would be out dining somewhere that provided for a boat to dock and the people to walk up and eat, Dave would say, “See, that could be us! We could be spending the day on the river, stop to eat and drink, tootle up a little further, stop and listen to some live music…that could be us.” I would typically reply, “That will be us, we’ll have that boat.” Yesterday, that was us! We took the boat to the river and did just that. We had lunch and listened to live music at Swabbies, we tootled in both directions enjoying the views from the river, the beautiful and some unusual homes, and docked in Old Sacramento where Mason took the time to visit Evangeline’s getting ideas for his Halloween costume. It was what I call a “Red Letter” day. Dreams do come true, it’s just a matter of time and timing. This is a good time for us to be a boat family, Dave is not as busy every weekend, Mason is old enough to be learning the ropes and he’s really enjoying wake boarding and tubing, and we live just minutes from the boat launch at Folsom Lake. 

With all of this said, I had a pretty profound experience as our day was winding down, the band at Swabbies played a song I’ve loved for years, I know all the words and I jumped to my feet to dance and sing along. As I started singing, I couldn’t get the words out, it was like I was making the sounds but it was more like I didn’t know the words. But I do know the the words, and I couldn’t say them and sing along…it occurred to me that I couldn’t sing the song because I don’t feel that way anymore. The song is called “Something More” by Sugarland and this is the chorus - “There's gotta be something more, Gotta be more than this, I need a little less hard time, I need a little more bliss.  I'm gonna take my chances, Taking a chance I might, Find what I'm looking for, There's gotta be something more.” The fact of the matter is, yesterday was bliss, it was perfectly perfect in that we are living an amazing abundant life. I’m sure there is something more, but it seems crazy to think that what I have right now and the way I am living in this moment should be any better. We are blessed beyond measure to have the love we have with each other, our health is good, our son who is thriving on so many levels, strong finances, and more opportunities coming our way every day. The verse in the song that I could sing, and I did, goes like this, “Some believe in destiny, and some believe in fate, I believe that happiness is something we create, You best believe that I'm not gonna wait.” 

I feel like I’ve taken the actions to create an incredible life for us Partaks and to think there is something more I could need or want, well, I just don’t see it. Should more come our way, great, if not, we absolutely have more than most ever dare to dream of having and I’m grateful, sincerely grateful.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Sometimes it Sucks!

It's a sad & unfortunate situation. After 25+ years of dreaming about owning a boat, we bought one from a private party. It's been difficult to get boats in for diagnostics outside of 6-8 weeks and because of that, we were not able to purchase several that we thought were a good deal. Dave bought the Sanger that you all have been seeing here on Facebook. We got it into the shop and it turns out, it has an issue bigger than the boat is worth. Yeah, it sucks, and it's a pretty significant financial loss, but it's not the end of the world. It's been comforting to know that even if we had had it in the shop prior to purchase, this issue would not have been discovered. It was discovered because of something we asked be checked after having it on the water numerous times.

We have given the boat to someone who also longs to have a boat, and has the ability and resources to do the repairs. He is paying the bill for the bad news and we have purchased a newer boat on consignment, from a dealer. You will see that this is clearly a newer and bigger boat. We are so fortunate to be able to let go of the old and purchase the new-to-us new boat. I hope you never have to hear the words, "Did you already buy this boat, or can you still get out of it?" LOL! I still have my people, and even if our first boat has cancer, we can still see the bright side and appreciate how abundant our lives really are. With that said, Dave bought another boat! David It's a 2008 Calabria ProV. It's in darn near new condition, all the bells and whistles, and it has so much room. I think this boat will seat 12-14 adults! Seriously, it's pretty cool. Sometimes you need to just go with the flow and move on - we did just that!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Rough Start, Happy Ending!

This week started with me feeling so, so tired and beat up - dare I say defeated? I’m not always sure how people you thought were your real friends can be mean, without even an inkling that an apology would mean so much. Maybe it's because they aren't sorry and don’t value the relationship as much as I do. I’m writing this and realize it’s not my best form, but man, I'm really hurt. Suffice it to say that the friendship clearly meant much more to me than it did to them. It's likely that this is far more about them and what they are going through in life, but it baffles me when people just drop friends and loved ones for words and acts that a simple, sincere apology could mend. Sometimes you just want "the way it is" to not be the way it is. But sadly, it is.

At the same time, a small group of us in this community organized a project for backpacks for kids going back to school who may not have what they need. To give so much money and time to a project that is intended to help so many and those who say they are in need can't even keep the appointment to meet you and collect what was put aside for them. That’s unbelievable to me. Would that person/those people who didn't get picked have shown up? Really? I think I need to start new tomorrow and hopefully my rose colored glass will be clean and clear for a new week.

Things perked up when Mason and I got invited to go stay overnight in Monterey and see the Bobby Bones stand up comedy show. For those of you who don’t know who he is, he’s a syndicated radio host on country radio stations. He has a great story and is really funny. Mason and I enjoy listening to him in the morning on the way to school. Tanya invited us to join her and her son Jakary and the four of us had the time of our lives! Bobby was funny, really funny, and so authentic. There were so many “best parts” of the night, we had great seats, 3 of us in the 2nd row and Jakary in the front row, we got to meet Bobby and take pictures, but the best part of the night was at the end of the show, Bobby asked Jakary to come on stage with him. He spent a good 3 minutes interviewing him - it was off the hook amazing! The night wrapped up with Mason taking some serious initiate making me so proud of him. Walking up to exit the theatre after the show, Mason picked up as much trash as he could carry and asked the other 3 of us to do the same. We did. Just being helpful without being asked, that’s one of those moments when you get a glimpse into who your kid is becoming and who they likely are when you are not with them. It was the perfect way to end the week. Look for the good, expect the best and I bet more often than not, you will get it. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Do You Believe in Luck?

Interesting lessons with luck this week. Those of you who know me well, know I am lucky. But so many people would question is there such a thing as lucky, or is life made up of a series of coincidences. I do not believe in coincidence, I absolutely believe in luck, but with that said, I believe luck is made up of attitude and intention, combined with action. I also believe whatever you think, you're right, and we get back what we put out.

Over this last week a number of things transpired. The week started with a dear friend of mine initiating a backpack drive to supply backpacks filled with all the school supplies a child would need for their school. I immediately jumped on board, shared on my Facebook page and participated in this drive. While this was underway, I fulfilled a promise to Mason to take him to ride a FlowRider in our area. A FlowRider is a surfing simulator, you may recall images and video of Mason riding one while we were in Wisconsin last December. In any case, walking back to my car I noticed what looked like money on the ground. In fact it was money, a $100 bill! On our way home the boys were so fascinated with me finding the money that we started talking about how Mason and I find money all the time. Usually it's in the form of pennies, dimes, and quarters on the ground. We stopped to grab a burger and as we got out of the car, Mason's friend Devon found a quarter. Coincidence? I don't think so. Me finding that large amount of money heightened their awareness, in addition to making it real that they can find money. After we got our burgers and we're walking back out to the car Devon found another quarter, and then a penny. I laughed noting that one more penny would give us $.52, my favorite number is 52. As I approached my side of the car, there was that second penny. 

Fast forward a few days and I was spending time with Jennifer. I was sharing with her the stories of finding the money with the boys as she has uncanny experiences finding pennies, all the time, every day, pennies. I noted that though I never pass by a penny when I see one on the ground, I typically find nickels, dimes, and quarters. Not 60 seconds later, walking through the parking lot we both lit up and hurried to what I saw was a shiny dime on the ground. I thought we were both hurrying to the dime but in fact, Jennifer saw a shiny penny. How funny is that? A penny and a dime, next to each other on the ground in the parking lot - she didn't see the dime, I didn't see the penny. Of course we are both over the moon elated, laughing out loud as we continue to walk into the grocery store. But before we got in the door, I found another dime. I looked at Jennifer and said, "When we find that next penny, that will be $.22, your number, 22." We went about our grocery shopping and as we were walking back to the car we were chatting about other things. We got in the car and as we were driving away Jennifer slammed on the brakes, jumped out of the car and wouldn't you know, she found that second penny! She saw it from the drivers seat of the car, outside the window! It's sometimes hard to believe these stories, but they're absolutely 100% true. Is it pure coincidence that I've named an amount and it has materialized? Or that the previous week I contributed $100 to an event that had some difficulty leaving the organizer holding a big bill? Or that I helped facilitate the backpack drive donating 8 fully stocked packs plus some supplies? I don't think it's coincidence at all, and I also don't think it's luck. It's me believing in my ability to manifest what I want, and that the universe is simply here to help me when I take action.

Monday, July 31, 2017

The OC Fair and SweepsCon17

Last week was pretty epic. Mason and I took a road trip to Southern California where he was scheduled to cook at the OC Fair and we were both booked to speak at the SweepsCon17, a convention for people who Sweep (enter lots of sweepstakes). The drive was long, both ways, but it was so much fun. 

Mason rocked three cooking challenges at the fair, cooking against a MasterChef Junior contestant Sean Le making the best burger, a 4H Master Food Preserver Isbella Vegh making garden omelettes, and Mason teamed up with Liam Waldman finalist from Food Network Star Kids and French Pastry Chef Stephane’ Treand to make the best macaroni and cheese. Talk about a jam packed day! We made time to go with the kids to ride some rides and play some carnival games but then it was time to head back to the room to get some sleep. 

On Friday, Mason and I got to the convention and had a blast sharing our stories. Mine were all about the crazy ways I’ve won so many prizes on the radio through the years, and Mason shared his tips for winning in the culinary arena. Mason has won recipe contests, cooking competitions, and of course, competitions on television. People are always so blown away when they hear Mason speak in front of large crowds. It seems the number one fear for most people is public speaking, and it’s clear that Mason does not suffer from that fear.

On Saturday, Mason and I took the day to just have fun and headed to Venice Beach. It was lovely! It was just about 80 degrees and the water was really warm. Mason had a blast riding in the waves and I just took in some sunshine and the smell of the salt air and the sea. Being at the beach, an ocean beach is just what I needed to rejuvenate my soul. In fact, the long drive home on Sunday was filled with so many ideas for things I want to create and some of the projects Mason and I have been working on for him. And speaking of Sunday, we had to get home because Food Network moved up the air time of Mason’s Guy’s Grocery Games. It aired on Sunday and it was really fun to watch Mason compete. All of those kids are incredible and it’s just such a cool life that they are getting to live. It tickles me pink for Mason to have these experiences at such a young age. Some day he will look back and realize how lucky he really is. All of this speaks to my post last week about getting in the game. If you don’t play, you can’t win, and sometimes winning is simply that you are playing.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Say Yes, Play!!

I won Disneyland Tickets
I’m fine tuning my speech for SweepsCon17 where Mason and I will be speaking later this week. I’m not going to share all of it here, but while preparing this talk, I realized something about the way I live my life. Here’s a little snippet of my speech, see if you can see where I’m going with this. 

Everybody here is a winner so I’m sure you've all been asked, “How do you do it? How is it you're so lucky? You win all the time." You've also all heard, "Oh, I never win. I don't win the lottery, I never win raffles, I don't win anything." You've all heard that right? Well I know I have, and my very first response is "Do you play?" It makes me chuckle, how can you expect to win if you don't play? I won my first contest when I was 12 or 13 years old. I was listening to our local radio station and the DJ said be caller number nine, and I grabbed the phone and I called, and I was caller number nine and I won a cassette tape. Yes, it was that long ago. But what happened that day set in motion a lifetime of winning for me. An opportunity to win was presented and I took it, I played. What was most important about that win was that it was effortless. I heard the announcement and made the instant decision to win the prize. It just takes one win to see that you can win, you do win. From that day forward I was a winner.

But back to the question, “Do you play?” I know you all play when it comes to a sweepstakes or contests, but do you play in life? We all say yes to that entry, or mail this many cards in, or set reminders to enter once each day online…but isn’t life more fun when you play? I say yes! In fact, I say yes a lot. I say yes when invited to a party where I don’t know anyone other than who has invited me, I said yes when asked if I wanted to fill in for someone who got sick and couldn’t go to Vietnam for 2 weeks, and I said yes when my son asked me if he could raise $25,000 to improve his school kitchen when he was just 9 years old. 

To live a full, happy life, I believe you have to participate. Saying yes, accepting invitations, calling the radio station to try to win the prize, jumping off the rock into the lake, agreeing to go on a blind date, renting the bikes to ride, and any number of a gazillion other things that might enrich your life, if even just a little bit. The truth be told, being willing to play will enrich your life by leaps and bounds. Go ahead, say yes and play!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Happy July 3rd...

Tomorrow is July 4th and it will be something special, or specialer for Mason and I. Mason has been cooking at the Napa County Fair for the last 4 years on July 4th. We get up early after staying up late doing lots of prep, we drive to Napa, Mason cooks, and then we drive home. We typically leave by 8:30 and get home around 4:00. We are not going to Napa this year, instead we are still getting up early to go our on our boat! 

We made plans with Jen and Dan to meet early and spend 2-3 hours on the water, and get the boat out of the water before the masses are trying to launch their boats. We will come home and have the afternoon to do whatever, lounge, cook, clean, watch television, whatever! We have several options for nighttime fun, but I think we will go to Theresa's place for dinner and then meet Jen and Dan at the courthouse to watch fireworks. I'm excited to not be spending the whole day driving, but I am sad to not be in Napa. The people who run the fair there are just so nice, and they were bummed Mason wasn't going to be there this year. They said they will be sure to invite him back next year, so we'll see. 

In other super cool news, Finally! I get to share that Mason will be competing on Food Network again. A special episode of Guys Grocery Games is scheduled to air on Sunday, Aug 13th. It was SO fun watching him compete and I can't wait for it to air. I hope you all can tune in or at least DVR it. There is one more opportunity that Mason has in his possible pipeline as a kid cook, can you believe he is aging out? Yep! At 13, that's the top age for most of the kid competitions. There was an episode of Chopped Junior Champions, but he wasn't chosen for the 4 episode special. So what's next? There will still be more cooking demos, but Mason is getting excited about his plans to start an Entrepreneurship Club at his middle school. He and I have been working on the curriculum and trying to work out how best to roll it out and maybe make it available to other middle schools. More about that later. 

Happy July 4th! I hope you have lots of fun planned.