The Cup of Kindness – Part Two



Part two in a two-part series inspired by the classic New Year’s song, Auld Lang Syne. Find the first post here.

“And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne.” ~ Robert Burns

In Part One, we talked about drinking deeply from the “cup of kindness”—a stockpile of all the positive, supportive, or thankful things people said to us last year—in order to fortify our confidence for the months ahead.

Now, before the year gets too far along, let’s start keeping track of all the new encouragement that comes to us, so we can always have it at our fingertips. I know from personal experience that even if I take the time to save the nice iq option things people say, I don’t always go back and read them; so let’s find the good stuff, archive it, and make it easy to read.

…After we clear something up.

Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind ?

“Wait a minute,” you might be thinking, “if I collect praise about me, doesn’t that make me conceited?”

Chances are, you received gifts last year—on your birthday, over the holidays, or just because. And, for the most part, you probably enjoyed them.

When someone gives you compliments, thanks, or praise, they do it because they want you to hear it. They’re giving you a gift with their words. Unless you return it or give it away (“Oh, I can’t take the praise for the Spielberg account, Bob was the one who handled that”), then you either make it a part of your life, or stuff it in a closet. Only one of those is how the gift was intended.

We honor the giver when we delight in the gift.

Pick the daisies fine

As you compile your cup o’ kindness this year, some sources will be easy to see: E-mail, cards, notes, Twitter @s, instant messages, a handshake and spoken word of thanks. But don’t forget to watch for the subtle gifts—like a hurried “Dinner was great” remark, as a teenager ducks out the door; the “XO” on the shopping list from your sweetie; or the new client who says, “So-and-so recommended you.”

Every little bit matters. Because it shows you mattered to someone.

And give us a hand…

Okay, so now that you’ve started a collection of kindness, how do you manage it so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle?

You may relate to different methods, but here are a few of mine to get you started:

* Journal: Start your year off right with a large, blank journal or sketchbook that has acid-free pages (so the paper won’t yellow over time). Write about the encouragement you receive; tape notes and cards onto the pages; print out e-mails and glue them in. Pluses: You create a tangible, beautiful memento that can be enjoyed for generations. Minuses: Time-consuming, which makes it difficult to keep up with archiving feedback.

* Google Documents: I use GDocs for most of my writing, so I started keeping track of feedback there, too. Pluses: Web-based, folder organization, benefit of Google search, intuitive Word-style interface & hotkeys. Minuses: Pasted images only last as long as they’re hosted on original sites. Inaccessible without internet connection.

* Word processor: Store files on your computer or a portable flash drive. Pluses: Folder organization. Images remain even if source page is deleted. Minuses: No internet access. Time-consuming to transcribe/save items.

* Tumbleblog: If you’re a businessperson, why not track feedback where all the world can see it?…As long as the praise is public (such as a Twitter @) or you get permission from the giver, that is. You can make a specialized Tumblr account; for example, as a writer, I started one to keep track of the good things people have to say about our upcoming novel series. Pluses: Web-based, post from e-mail & phone, privacy settings. Minuses: No offline access.

I’m going to dedicate the rest of this section to, because I have a feeling this is the most useful tool of all for me. With Evernote, you can:

* Highlight and clip text and photos from web pages
* Send e-mails, text messages, and Twitter posts to your archive
* Snap photos with a phone on the fly and send them to Evernote via text
* Write new notes
* Upload photos from your computer
* Tag, track, and organize your saved items.
* Search for notes and photos by iq option login keyword or Evernote’s text recognition feature (yes, it even recognizes handwriting)
* Use Evernote via online access or desktop/offline access.

Unless you opt for a paid upgrade, Evernote provides these services for free. (Don’t forget, when using your phone, your carrier’s regular text charges apply.)

Whatever method you choose, consider adding encouragement from one other person: yourself.

* Save quotes, verses, writing, or pictures you find inspiring.
* Write notes about what you achieved every day. Whether you landed a million-dollar account at work, or a won a priceless smile from a child, you did good today. Write it down, and read it often.

Bring to mind the inspiration from your “days gone by,” and it will motivate you to make tomorrow even better.


Take it a step further…
Don’t forget the Golden Rule! Give the praise and recognition you desire to others. Tell Bob he did a great job on the Spielberg account. Add a love note to your sweetie’s to-do list. And why not tell your parents they made some pretty awesome dinners back in “auld lang syne”? It’s never too late! ~Christine


Photo above, “Monsoon in a Mug,” by elvispayne / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


© 2010 mousewords

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The Cup of Kindness – Part One


Robert Burns wrote a song we all know well. It’s the one we sing when stepping across the border from an old year into a new – Auld Lang Syne.

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and days of auld lang syne ?

In case you ever wondered, “auld lang syne” basically means “days gone by.” We sing it to signify the passing of one way of things into another, like on New Year’s Eve. But this year, ideas in a New Year’s devotional have inspired me to sing it on January 1st.

Remembering is not just about looking at the past. It is about facing the future with confidence…
Consider writing down a highlight of your year before you even begin thinking about goals for next year.

I had every intention of doing a New Year’s highlight post (a video, actually), but I let it slide till later and went ahead with goal planning instead, right after the stroke of midnight. Goals are good…but it’s a mistake to move on to something new without first recognizing the benefits of the old.

Some stuff should never be forgot

What were your goals last year? Is it safe to say you wanted to do your best, be your best, make a difference in someone’s life? Well, how’d you do on those?

Asking myself that question, all I remember are the things I didn’t accomplish. The target dates I missed; projects I didn’t complete. All the time I diverted to other commitments, rather than my Official Goals. Problem is, I’m not objective—I see what I wanted to do, not what was actually done.

In other words, I forgot just how much I achieved.

Thankfully, other people remembered. I have e-mails, Twitter @s, instant messages, texts, handwritten cards, printed letters, blog posts, videos, even book dedications, from people I had the privilege of knowing or working with last year. “Thank you for the work you did…” “This wouldn’t have been possible without…” “You inspired me to…” “You are awesome!” “You make me happy…” and so many more. They’re amazing, because they remind me, again and again, that even if I didn’t measure up to my own expectations, I was part of something wonderful last year: another person’s life.

Now that I remember that, I’ve got a new goal: To compile all the supportive, encouraging messages I received last year, and make them available at my fingertips for reading throughout the months to come. To remind me what’s important; how far I’ve traveled in life; how much I’ve already done. Because without that perspective, working toward the rest of my goals is nothing more than “wandering many a weary foot.”

How about you? What’s in the cup of kindness from your auld lang syne?

More to do…
Keep that cup o’ kindness available for a right gude-willy waught! Or, in other words, tune in tomorrow, and I’ll show you some ideas for saving, organizing, and accessing those beautiful memories, so you can draw inspiration from them all the year to come! ~ Christine

© 2010 mousewords

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A Still More Glorious Dawn

Glorious Dawn by


The other day, my parents and sister and I went down to the beach just before dark. A storm lowered on the horizon; streaky clouds doused the sun before it could spread its colors over the sea. But even without them, there was no lack of awesomeness.

I’ve spent too much time working on my “geek tan” lately. I forget to go outside, where I can get in touch with nature. So when I stood before tumbling waves and a locked-and-loaded sky, with a dulcet wind touching my face, the beauty of Life took my breath away. And the power of God blew my mind.

“Some part of our being knows this is where we came from.” ~ Carl Sagan

Much as there are good things in my life right now, there are still so many unanswered questions; so many fears and doubts. One by one, I took them out and presented them to my Creator. For each, He gave me an answer—either in the expressions of Nature, or the voice of my own heart. Waves came from opposite directions and blended seamlessly together, becoming stronger. Pelicans touched down on the water and came up with fish, never questioning that food would be right where they looked for it. Venus tipped her brilliant head from behind pewter clouds and winked at me in reply. I breathed deeply. A hard wall built of stress, worldliness, and works began to give way, and I felt peace, connectivity, and faith seep into my soul.

I had just read, “If you have more than three priorities, you don’t have any.” So, standing on the darkening beach, I thought about my options and clarified three to focus on. I presented those to the Lord, too; and to emphasize the action to myself, I chased down the water’s edge and dipped three fingers into the wave that came to greet me.

We’re connected; we’ll do these things together.

“The cosmos is also within us. We’re made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.” ~ Carl Sagan

I returned to my computer to find that one of my Twitter friends had linked to the video below. After watching that, it took me about…five, six days…

…no, scratch that. I still haven’t come down from this high.

Watch, and feel your own connection to the cosmos:

I knew, after our time on the beach, that God and I would work together to make something beautiful. Through this, He told me I needed to expand my expectations.

A still more glorious dawn awaits
Not a sunrise, but a galaxy rise.

What awaits you? Maybe go take a walk in nature…and find out.



Check it out!
Amazing original music and remixed video by John Boswell, whose work is “a tribute to great minds of science, intended to spread scientific knowledge and philosophy through the medium of music.”
“A Glorious Dawn”, and more like it, is available for free download at the following sites:


© 2009 mousewords


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Don’t Lose Your Marbles

Jar of Marbles by DazT

I’ve always loved Saturdays. As a kid, it meant Pop was home all day, and he’d make waffles, pancakes, or muffins for breakfast. It meant cartoons, visiting my grandparents’ house, no school work.

As a teen, Saturdays took on the meaning of movie night, time with friends, no school work.

As an adult, I reverted to some of my favorite childhood activities: cartoons in the morning and painting shows in the afternoon. Saturdays meant no “real work,” a day when I could paint and be creative.

Now, Saturdays once again mean no “real work.” I’ve set them aside as a day of relaxation and renewal, leaving myself free to draw, write, or play to my heart’s content.

But not too long ago, I lost sight of Saturday. While editing our new novel, writing became work. The freelance graphic design I couldn’t complete during the week spilled over to my weekend, and art became work. Days blended together. I got stuff done, but I didn’t take time to enjoy Saturday…to enjoy life.

A precious jewel of a day

Something else I’ve always loved are marbles. When I was a kid, I thought those swirling, multicolored glass orbs were every bit as beautiful as precious stones. Unfortunately, most of mine came from the same set, all similar shades of drab green and yellow. Very boring. But every so often, I’d come into possession of one that was larger or smaller or more colorful than the ordinary marble. To me, that was a real treasure.

In the book Charging the Human Battery, there’s a story in which the author likens Saturdays to marbles:

I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about 75 years…I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3,900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime…

It took me until I was 55 years old to think about all this in any detail, and by that time I had lived through over 2,800 Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be 75, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy. So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round up 1,000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside a large, clear plastic container…

Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away. I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life.

There’s nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight. ~ From Charging the Human Battery by Mac Anderson

When I let “real work” take over my life, the days become like those old green marbles: all the same size, shape, and color. If I really wanted rainbows of glass when I was a kid, I could have made the extra effort to go out and buy them. But it was easier to just complain a little about my lot in life and enjoy the few bits of beauty that I got my hands on. Much the same way, it’s easier to let work take over the weekends, rather than go out of my way to plan, schedule, and enjoy re-creation time.

Our days of life are precious and brief. Letting a Saturday pass by unnoticed is like dropping a jewel into the trash.

I can’t salvage the ones I’ve missed, but I can surely treasure what’s left. I won’t put a finite number on them—as far as I’m concerned, the only limit on human life is 120 years. But I intend to fill a vase with gorgeous, unique marbles, and keep it close by…to remind me.

So. What are you doing next Saturday?

“Jar of Marbles” photo by DazT

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Tomorrow’s Media Today


Hello, world!

Welcome to mousewords 2.0! It’s been a while since my sites have been up and running, but it’s been a busy year, with a lot of exciting news to report. I’ll have a sum-up post soon, and will continue to fine-tune the widgets around here for a while.

In the meantime, let’s jump right in to today…with a new media event:




CINCINNATI – TILBURG (NL) – Internet Radio Station iJoy Radio will be premiering a new show this Saturday. Ed Ovett, known from the Podcast “Ed’s Mixed Bag”, came up with the idea to bring Zack Daggy’s MothPod Productions and iJoy Radio’s Mark Baars together, resulting in this New Media Stampede, called “Tomorrow’s Media Today” (TMT)….Read the rest on

I have the honor of being one of the panelists on this new show, along with Ed, Zack, and Mark. It’ll be a blast! C’mon and stop by!

When: Saturday September 19 (Which also happens to be Talk Like a Pirate Day)
What time: 10am Pacific; 12pm Central; 1pm Eastern; 5pm GMT

See you then. And welcome back. :-)


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We’re Home!


We’re here! Notice the shiny new digs? Soon there will be a button for Diggs. Not only that, but there will be a place to Stumble stuff you like. Speaking of stumbling stuff, have you tripped over all those categories yet? Those are a holdover from the days when “categories” were the same as “tags.” I’ll get all that cleaned up in a bit.

There’s sooooo much coolness going on right now. I can hardly wait to share it. For starters, this site——will be the “Home” location. Here you can find my blog, with posts about inspiration, social media, and general topics.

And that’s not all! If you look on the sidebar, you’ll see a link to “Art of mousewords.” Currently, that leads to my Flickr gallery. But in future, the link will lead to my gallery site, which will include special features and art posts. Cool, yes?

But wait! There’s more!

And this, for me, is the most exciting of all. The reason my blog is so behind in posts is because I’ve been focused on finishing The Rosewood House, my mystery novel collaboration with my sister Stacy J-M Taylor. Until it hits print this Holiday Season, my writing blog will be dedicated to the “making of” process. I am also posting rough chapters of Aftermath, my War of the Worlds 2.0 story-in-progress. I welcome you to stop by!

Please feel free to subscribe to this blog now and watch for the good things to come. (I’m pretty sure that link will still work. If you don’t hear from me in a few days, send help.!..uh, I mean…check back here.)

Thank you for visiting our new home. I look forward to getting to know you!


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You know the song “Da Doo Ron Ron“? I always remembered it as being “Da Do Run Run.”

Inaccurate as a reference, but interesting as a motivational tool: Action inspires forward motion.


Then run and run.



Photo, “The Runner,” by Hamed Saber


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© 2008 Christine Taylor

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When Life Is Colored By a Point of View



I’ve had an interesting day. My synesthesia has been giving me troubles.

It’s not the sort of thing an aspirin will cure. Synesthesia—specifically, in my case, grapheme → color synesthesia—is a neurological phenomenon that causes people to see letters and numbers in different colors.

It’s not a “vision thing”–when I look at a page, my eyes see letters as they are. But somewhere on the way to my brain, the characters get a dye job. In general, this doesn’t interfere with my daily life. It’s fairly pleasant to have a rainbow tossing around in one’s brain, and it can work as a memory device. For example, if I want to remember a street name on the fly, I take note of its “color,” to help me recall it later.

(No, she’s not crazy. Stay with me for a minute here.)

Today, the more perverse side of synesthesia reared its head. I needed to find a certain website, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember its name. I knew that the site had a red color scheme; and without realizing it, I was trying to remember “red words” for the title. Finally, a desperate Google keyword search revealed the address I needed.

I would never have remembered it.



What’s so hard to remember about “Helium,” you ask? Well, this is how it looks in my brain:

Much as I stare at that logo, I can’t make it sink into my brain. I’ve been doing it all day, and I’m willing to bet I’ll still have a hard time remembering it tomorrow. (Thankfully, the gold version is now imprinted on my gray matter.)

I “see” certain colors assigned to letters. They’re always the same, and they often blend slightly when put together in words.

I’m finding that this color synesthesia isn’t relegated to letters and numbers alone, but also to everything associated with the characters.

The website of a friend of mine has a color scheme that’s mostly dark blue. But no matter how many times I visited, I always remembered it as purple. I think my brain just presumed it was purple, because that’s the dominant color I see when I look at her name. Another friend uses shades of rose in her sites; but that originally shocked me, because I see her name as light green!

I was always aware of this odd mental trick, but I never expected it to cause difficulties for me. Yet here I am, mixing up graphic design work and getting lost on the internet—all because of the way I look at things.

So what does the world look like through your eyes?

Whether we’re dealing with wonky color associations, or holding to a certain point of view, each of us looks at life in a different way. Sometimes our perspective enables us to contribute value to a situation; but there will be other times when what we see is not, in fact, what is really there.

In cases like that, we might find ourselves having trouble communicating, losing our way—even getting hurt, or hurting others.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from synesthesia, it’s that it can be a real challenge to change a point of view. Sometimes the brain doesn’t want to accept what’s right in front of it. But whether it’s in my reading or my everyday life, I’m eventually a lot happier if I make an effort to see things as they really are…not as I perceive them to be.


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© 2008 Christine Taylor

Posted in Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Able Was I, Ere I Saw…Oooh, Shiny



Distractions. You know what they are? A mar on a panorama.

A panorama of productivity, aglow with embers of ideas that are fanned into a flame by motivation. It can be a beautiful sight—unless our attention is diverted elsewhere. Then our motivation evaporates till there’s nothing left of it. No trace, not one carton.

As a matter of fact, even on my way to type this article, I got sidetracked. My mind was filling with clear ideas, which would soon become a cohesive blog post. I opened a browser, with Google Documents as my destination. I mentally rehearsed my phrasing while the home page loaded…making sure I remembered the exact wording I wanted to use, preparing to head to GoogleDocs…and…oh…what was that headline on the home page? *Click.*

Ooh, shiny.

“Able was I, ere I saw…[Fill in the blank].”

So what zaps your momentum? Often, we don’t even realize what does it to us, even when it happens. All we know is that a few minutes ago, we were raring to go—now, we’re listening to a symphony of crickets chirping in our empty storehouse of ideas.

Zeroing in on triggers can help. For example, try filling in the blank:

“I was able to do this before I…”

…Checked social networks? Made that phone call? Folded the laundry? Some men interpret nine memos. For me, it’s handling e-mail. It’s not always a matter of wasting time in worthless activities—every item on that list is a viable task. But some tasks, by their nature, are more mind-numbing than others.

So, are we doomed to distraction?

No, it never propagates if I set a gap or prevention.

The key is in recognizing which activities fuel our motivation, and which ones drain it. Take a few days to analyze your work and thought patterns. Notice what your most productive thought-times are, and what commonly sidetracks you from putting those thoughts into action. Then reschedule the lulling tasks for another time. For instance, if managing your inbox zombifies you, then save e-mail for the hours when you could use a mental break.

And when you determine the times that your idea storehouse tends to runneth over, use self-discipline to focus on that alone. Don’t nod. Say “no” to other requirements till later. And resist the shiny.

Then enjoy the spoils of productivity. Are we not drawn onward, we few, drawn onward to new era?

I thought so.


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© 2008 Christine Taylor

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The New Media Workshop


Photo by Keith Burtis, Magic Woodworks


I used to enjoy spending time on the weekends watching “The New Yankee Workshop” with my Dad, who is a craftsman. Today I had an opportunity to see a live broadcast that reminded me of those happy memories. Except here, it’s more than woodworking—it’s also a friend bringing the social media community together through his art.

Artisan Keith Burtis is known for his beautiful woodturning work, which he showcases on his website. In crafting bowls, bottle stoppers, ornaments, and sculptures, he never fails to surprise his viewers by bringing out the hidden personality of wood.

What’s interesting about Keith is the way he blends the age-old craft of woodworking with the modern tools of the internet. He is an active member of the social media community, and recently spoke about “Creativity and the Arts” at PodCamp Boston 3. He also hosts a live woodturning show on BlogTV. Viewers can spend a fun hour watching Keith turn a hunk of wood into a collectors item, while sharing a conversation with him and others through the chat feature. And once the show is over, fans can buy Keith’s work from his MagicWoodworks Etsy shop.

This weekend, Keith is hosting an event that he calls The Woodturner’s Weekend. Through Sunday, July 27th, he will be dedicating his live broadcasts to the achievement of a special goal.

I invite you to tune in tomorrow and join the fun, as an old-world art comes to life in the hands of a new media craftsman.

I’ll see you there!


© 2008 Christine Taylor

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