Monday, March 29, 2010


“Is not a kiss the very autograph of love?”
-Henry Finck

I’ll never forget the first time we met.

My first cat, Eponine, had been with me for sixteen years. Eponine was a sweet cat who supported me through more downs than ups, and when Eponine’s body started to fail, I had a hard time accepting it was her time to go. I had hoped to bring her with me in my move to the West Coast; and, I think Eponine wanted to make that last move with me, too--she held out until the night before I departed.

Months later, my mom brought Eponine’s ashes to me so that Eponine could have her final wish, and I buried Eponine in the garden below my window.

It took me a long time to be ready for another cat after that. But, a year after I had gotten settled into my new home in a new city with my new job, I realized I was also ready for a new cat.

And, just like the start to many great love affairs, I found my new cat, now named Harley, on the Internet.

Harley was living with a foster mom at the time and registered under the Humane Society. In her online photo, Harley had a cute little mischievous smirk on her face and seemed to be someone who needed extra love and attention. I thought we might make a good match, so I arranged for an introduction.

Alice, Harley’s then-foster mom, brought Harley over for our first meeting.

Alice took Harley out of the carrier, placed her in my arms and watched, like a protective mother, to see if we had any chemistry.

Moments after being placed in my arms, Harley stretched out her head toward mine. Excited, Alice said, “Do this!” and demonstrated how to stretch my head out towards Harley, leading with my nose. Harley stretched her head further towards mine and touched her nose to my nose. Alice shouted, “She kissed you!”

That was a kiss?! It felt a little bit cold to me. But, uh, ..okay.

“Alright, well, I guess I should keep her, then” I said. I mean, I wanted to do the honorable thing.

“On no,” said Alice. “You can’t keep her!”

What?! Is this a trick? First, I just kissed a cat with my nose and now I can’t keep her!?

“No, she’s got ringworm! She has to be in quarantine for 14-more days!”

“But… we just kissed!” I said, looking for something to wash my face.

And so, this is how our six-year relationship began. A little bit awkward. A little bit funny. And, a little bit sweet.

Harley left that day with her foster mom, Alice, for her 14-day quarantine, before returning to live with me. And, I never developed feline ringworm.

Over the years, I’ve come to learn that Harley’s kissing is a good sign and my dates who don’t get a kiss from Harley on the first or second meeting usually don’t last long with me. Harley has a nose for knowing these things and I’ve learned to trust her intuition.

But, don’t think Harley’s all sweet and roses. I didn’t name her after a motorcycle, for nothin’.

Harley’s an adventurous, mischievous cat. In fact, there was a long period of time where I thought I could write a series of books about the adventures of Harley.

I would have three books about Harley. The first would be, The Adventures of Harley the Cat; the second would be, More Adventures of Harley the Cat and sadly, the last would be, The Final Adventures of Harley the Cat. Given the direction I was headed with the series, I decided to abort the idea. I didn’t want to put any weird ju-ju out there that might give a pre-mature ending to our budding relationship.

Still, it was fun to think about everything I could write about.

For example, there was the time that Harley fell out the window and survived. And then there was the time that Harley got completely soaked when she fell into the bathtub while I was soaking in it. Or, there was the time that Harley fell off the curtain she was climbing it and we stayed until two in the morning in the Animal Emergency Hospital with Harley getting her limbs x-rayed and tested out. Then, there was the time that Harley had an allergic reaction to a rabies shot and we spent an entire fourth of July holiday weekend in the Animal Emergency Hospital. I was certain Dr. Death was knocking at the door that time.

But, nothing tops the time that Harley was constipated and we spent three days at the Animal Emergency Hospital waiting for a very effective laxative to stop working its magic.

Yes, life with Harley has been exciting, fun and filled with kisses. We have been together for six-years now and things are better today than ever. I’ve learned to live with the nearly 800 little kiss-prints on the windows of our lake-view condo. I no longer think anything is strange about Harley’s kissing; and, I find nothing odd about how she likes to snuggle into bed at night. Harley and I have got chemistry, after all.

But most important, I hardly even notice the nights when Harley, comfortable in our relationship, forgets to give me a good-night kiss.

Author’s note: I tried to take a picture of Harley, but she had to kiss the camera lens. That’s her nose, close-up. I think it means she’s kissing you. ;-)

Sunday, March 28, 2010


“Before a diamond shows its brilliancy and prismatic colors it has to stand a good deal of cutting and smoothing.”
- Author Unknown

Have you even noticed how some people really stand out from a crowd—they seem to be clear about their purpose and direction in life and as a result they seem to sparkle and shine. It’s just like how a gemstone stands out from the rest of the rocks.

The funny thing is that it’s hard to define that something extra special.

For example, in trying to describe that something special that makes a stone a gem, I did some research; and, I discovered that it’s not that easy to define what a gemstone is.

The standard definition is, “minerals that have been chosen for their beauty and durability.” That sounds simple. But in actuality, this is not a complete definition of what makes a stone a gem and when it is merely a rock. For example, pearls and amber are created by living organisms and not at all minerals as the definition describes. And, opals are not at all durable as the definition says. Instead, they are notoriously delicate and fragile.

It seems there is not a clear what way to define what a gem is. We simply know it when we see it.

Likewise, defining what it means to live on purpose is equally elusive.

When I do coaching in organizations, I often have people come up with a description of what they think it means to live on purpose. And, so far, the best definition I have heard is, “It’s the opposite of living accidentally.”

Just like the gemstone, we know it best when we see it.

Rather than a definition, I have found it easier to describe the characteristics of people who seem to be living on purpose. For example, I found they tend to be:



Generous with their time and money


They walk their talk

And, they go beyond what is expected of them without any prompting.

But, the biggest thing I have noticed about people who are living on purpose is that they are better able to navigate the bumps of life with ease.

Just like a gemstone, there is something special that radiates from a person who is living on purpose.

.....Well, I know a woman who is a gemstone.

In fact, I think she’s a diamond.

Mary is brilliant and rare. She’s an incredibly successful and busy entrepreneur, and yet, she is accessible to everyone. Mary’s purpose is to help others be successful and as a result, people work hard for her and perform to the best of their ability.

On the outside, it looks as though Mary must have it easy. She’s beautiful and kind. Smart and funny. It would be easy to think she’s just lucky.

But just like the rest of us, Mary has faced many challenges. What shines about Mary is the way that she navigates the bumps of life with ease.

For example, when Mary was a young girl, her father passed way. The situation left her family struggling financially and could have put Mary on a path to poverty. But instead, Mary learned valuable life skills from the situation and used those skills to become financially savvy.

And, while still a young woman, Mary was diagnosed with breast cancer—a disease that had taken the life of her mother and sister by the time she received the diagnosis for herself. Can you imagine the fear she must have faced? Yet, Mary kept her trademark good humor and smile in tact and prevailed beyond all statistics.

Mary has become more radiant because of her challenges—not in spite of them.

Mary is a gemstone because she lives on purpose. It is evident that she recognizes her purpose is to positively impact the lives of others by genuinely caring about them as she helps them to succeed.

The thing that clearly stands out about people who are living on purpose is that you don’t even need to know the words of their personal mission. You can see their mission in the way that they live.

People like Mary are exceptions to some only in that they are clear about their purpose. In truth, each of us has a purpose that we bring to the world—our only job is to recognize it and allow it to shine.

© 2010 Lisa Ann Edwards

Friday, March 26, 2010


- a poeme fur yew

zleep tight tonite
da ztarz, dey dwinkle zo brite
da mune
eet zmilez fur yew

flootie dreamz
lik fluffie wipt kreme
happie leetle noze
keep ett warm, like yer toez!

da zun in da morn
a new dey ez born
da birdz dey will zing
yew know? eetz jist aboot zpring!

Author's note: This blog post has absolutely nothing to do with the purpose of this blog except for the fact that fish live in water.
© 2010 Lisa Ann Edwards

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


“There is real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment.”
- Norman Vincent Peale

One of the things that I really miss about the Midwest is the enthusiastic way it rains. It doesn’t just sprinkle or shower. Instead, the rain comes down in bucketfuls, quickly filling up streets and creeks, not to mention shoes.

But the best part about the Midwest rain is the thunder and lightening. It lights up the sky like the Fourth of July. Everyone runs, bristling with excitement, for candles and battery-powered radios, just in case the electricity goes out.


My friend Larry reminds me of this electric excitement. I met him through swing dancing, where this 6’2” basketball-player-turned-swing-dancer performs in a way that lives up to his last name: Peacock.

Yes, Larry certainly brings his own style to swing dance. When you dance with Larry, instead of a dip at the end of the song, you get a “high-five!” And, when Larry’s not on the dance floor, he can be heard from the sidelines yelling, “Swing ‘er OwwwwUT! YAAAAAH!” as if he were at a baseball game.

But no one seems to mind. Everyone seems to enjoy Larry’s enthusiasm, and he definitely has added a new level of excitement to our small dance community. So when Larry organized a dance last Friday, I was more than happy to say that I’d be there.

When Friday night came, my friend and I hopped in the car, anticipating a night full of fun and dancing. We were not prepared for what happened instead.

As we pulled into the darkly lit parking lot, we were sure we were at the wrong place; there were only six cars. Our hearts sank as we looked inside, where we could see two - just two - couples dancing in the brightly lit room. We were indeed at the right location.

“Oh no” I said. “I don’t want to go in.”

After a few minutes of discussion, we decided to go in, but only to demonstrate our support of Larry. Clearly, we were not going to have the night full of fun and dancing that we had hoped.

As we walked in, it looked as if someone had let the air out of Larry. He shuffled his way to the front door, shrugged, looked at the ballroom and then back at us. “Everyone’s at the Swing Session's concert,” he said, in what could be the saddest voice I’ve ever heard.

We kept smiles on our faces as we handed Larry our money, walked in and sat down on the bench, where we’d likely spend the rest of the night. If we could make it that long.

A few more people trickled in and soon we had a dozen. Which isn’t a lot, but it’s better than a half-dozen. We were doing our best to look at the bright side of things.

About 10 o’clock, I was looking around, trying to figure out how we could escape without being noticed, when I noticed someone walking in the front door: an old, white-haired man, who looked no younger than 80, dressed in a suit and tie. I figured he was lost and had stopped inside for directions. Larry thought so too, running up to the guy to help him find his way.

But instead of asking for directions, the old guy handed Larry money to come in to the dance.

“What’s he doing here?!” I thought to myself. Everyone else must have thought so too because we all looked at each other, then back at the old man.

Oblivious to our stares, the old guy took off his suit jacket, neatly placed it on the bench and sat down to watch the only couple on the dance floor. As soon as that song finished and a new one began, the old guy stood up, straightened himself out, turned to the young woman who was seated near him, extended his hand and asked, “Would you like to dance?”

Seconds later on the dance floor, the old guy morphed into a young Lindy Hop dancer. He was hitting the breaks with flare, adding his own jazz styling and even singing… yes, SINGING with the music! While he was dancing!

Our jaws fell open and electricity filled the air.

Larry started yelling. “Swing ‘er OwwwwUT! YAAAAAH!” Everyone got up from the bench, headed out to the dance floor and started dancing. Extra women danced with other extra women. One woman even danced by herself. And Larry couldn’t stop yelling.

We danced the rest of the night that way. The old guy, who we later learned was named Arnold, had lit up our evening with his own unique style and special enthusiastic spark. And we saw how one person, no matter what age or background, has the ability to ignite a roomful of people when they tap into their own unique talents and gifts that they bring to the world.

© 2004-2010 Lisa Ann Edwards

Sunday, March 14, 2010


never prods.

and restores.

doesn't think.

is real
and illogical
--at first.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


"You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star." - Nietzsche

In our Star-crazed culture, many people want to become a star, but few people actually do.

There are many famous SuperStars such as Martin Luther King, Benjamin Franklin and Mother Theresa, but consider a street newspaper vendor in Seattle, named Willie Jones, who is an everyday SuperStar.

Willie sells copies of Real Change, a newspaper whose mission is to end poverty and homelessness. All of the paper vendors who sell the newspaper do so as a way to recover from homelessness, addiction and poverty. Paper vendors are located throughout the city on street corners and high-traffic areas, but Willie stands apart from all of them.

While some paper vendors focus on the sympathies of others to sell their papers, Willie approaches his job differently. Wanting to make a positive impact on others, Willie tosses papers in the air and catches them. He gives his infectious smile to everyone as he waves to people, tells jokes, laughs and has conversations with his regular customers. With his innovative approach, it’s no surprise that Willie far outsells papers over any other paper vendor. Willie is truly extraordinary.

What’s more, Willie is a positive catalyst to others.

One of Willie’s customers’ daughters said this about him, “Because of Willie, my mom has really been involved in the world today, and I’m super grateful. I’ve never met Willie, nor saw (him), nor did I even hear about Real Change, (the paper he sells) so I’m going in blind when I say, I fully support anything Willie is involved in just because of the lives he’s changed (Real Change, 2009).”

Willie's energizing spirit has impacted those he touches and rippled out to others.

Willie is a SuperStar because his own self-leadership; not because of any perk, benefit or training program he received from his company to engage and motivate him.

Instead, Willie has used the experiences of his life to give birth to his own dancing star.