Tongue in Cheek Apologies to Julie Andrews….Toady Christmas Cheer

Raindrops on roses and boxes of chocolate

Sweet guy who looks hot while fixing my faucet

Shoe-boxed shape packages tied up with string

These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored sweaters and saucy pink lip gloss

Bold red stilettos, I’ll show them that I’m boss

Jealous young Barbie whose eyeing my bling

These are a few of my favorite things

When a toad croaks

When a tear stings

When I’m feeling bad

I simply remember my favorite things. I’m starting to feel so glad.

Men in white dress shirts with holiday stashes

Soft kisses skimming my nose and eye lashes

Silver white diamonds that rest in my ring

These are a few of my favorite things!

When a toad croaks

When a tear stings

When I’m feeling bad

I simply remember my favorite things. I’m starting to feel so glad.

Raindrops on roses and boxes of chocolate

Sweet guy who looks hot while fixing my faucet

Don’t you give up now my toad kissing friend

You too may just get a PC* at the end.

* PC = Prince Charming, of course!

Project Toad: Letters from a Toad – An Online Dating Confessional

Not for the faint of heart…

Never – when I asked our dear Toad, Jake, to tell me his Lessons Learned so far about Online Dating – did I anticipate the depth of spirit he would share with us. He wrote us a letter, and he intends to write to us often as he experiences Online Dating. I won’t take anymore of your reading attention with my words. Instead, I give you Jake…

Dear Heidi Lee,

When I came to you with the idea of personally joining Match.com to find a relationship, I was thrilled that you offered your help. I also really enjoy seeing my adventures immortalized in your blog. I thought it would be fun and I trusted your instincts. I’ve seen your relationship with your own Prince Charming (aka PC) first hand, and I’d hoped your guidance would help me find that same magic.

Yet I have to acknowledge upfront that this project has spiraled into something I never imagined. Had I known what I was faced with, I would have never volunteered.  However, you’re my friend. Now that I’ve made the commitment to this endeavor and to you, my personal code of conduct mandates that I follow through.  But, Heidi Lee, it’s hard. I’m looking at myself and the man I feel like I have been. I see now that I have to become…

So let’s begin with what I’ve learned from you about myself. My only stipulation is that you do not judge me too harshly or see me shrouded in a perpetual cloak of ignorance. You are my friend, and that would hurt.

I never actually had a successful relationship in any capacity.  I’ve gone from one micro-relationship to another (or should I say I’ve been a Toad-Hopping from bed to bed?) I’ve done this all my life.  I prided myself in the belief that I held a keen understanding of what women want only to learn at 41 that I couldn’t have been farther from the truth.

I have dated, and yes, I use that term carelessly, women who were between 18 and 25.  I’ve always told you that I dated these younger women because I lived in a college town with limited options. Now I confess that this is not entirely true.

I never understood that my geographic location wasn’t the only reason for my perpetually young, ever changing, flock of female companions. Funny thing is you did, you called me on it, and I’m grateful that you forced me to open my eyes to reality.  I guess on some level, buried deep within, I couldn’t deny that I was (and still am) incapable of having an adult relationship.  Hence, Lesson #1:

  • Women don’t date boys, and boys aren’t capable of dating women.

Despite a list of what others may consider to be my sexual conquests, I’ve never felt good about the ease at which I leaped from one bedroom to the next. It secretly sickened me.  What I never realized was that I wasn’t just hurting myself. I was actually hurting these women as well. Although I never intended to do harm, my collateral damage remains in the aftermath.  I hid from the ugliness of my behavior and the reality of my actions behind a pretense of self-righteousness, anchored in a pool of arrogance and vanity.  I was actually pompous enough to believe – to hold as concrete – that I was doing these women a favor by sleeping with them. Hence, Lesson #2:

  • What women deserve from men comes from North of the equator!

Heidi Lee, it’s been said that “the truth hurts”. To be quite honest with you I don’t know how much more truth I’ll be able to handle.  In this short time I’ve already seen enough to know that this journey will be a painful education into self-discovery…which leads me to the lesson that keeps me engaged in this process:

  • I owe this to myself, to my sons, and to all the women in my past, present and future.

In light of my confession, I’ll take this next step with you, Heidi Lee. I want to begin this process in earnest by apologizing to all those that I’ve hurt and by forgiving myself for leading a less than respectable life.

Respectfully,

BD – Jake

P.S. As instructed, I will be dining out this evening with just me, myself, and a good book – so that I can learn that my own skin can be a happy place to live.

 

Avoiding Warts at Work: How to Kiss an Office Toad

Well hello, and Happy Story Tuesday to all of my Dear Friends.

Yes – You can Order this MousePad 🙂

Today, I hope to introduce to you the Other Heidi Lee who you have not yet met. This Heidi Lee is the ass-kicking dynamo who takes Business and Industry by the horns. She is as comfortable running the show in the Board Room as she is fighting the lady in the shoe store who just grabbed the LAST pair of Sz 7 Red Kitten Heels during the Midnight Madness sale at the local DSW. She can do it all, and what she can’t – she learns. That is how Heidi Lee is seen in her professional life – TODAY.

It took me years of Toad Kissing to earn that badge, so I wear it with pride.

Until now, you’ve seen my romantic yet realistic outlook on happiness within personal relationships. I hope you’ve enjoyed my somewhat purist views on love, dating and romance. I, however, have been described as quite the Dichotomy – sort of a “Touched by an Angel meets Red Shoe Diaries” personality. Today, I write to you as my alter-ego, a Business Sophisticate who happens to be proud to have been called, “One Smart Broad” by more than a couple; A professionally savvy women who has jumped in bed with many amphibious critters to get ahead of the rest of the pack.

Ok, ok…. I know where your sordid minds went right away. You may be thinking, “Oh cool, Office Smut and Sleeping your way to the Top”. Come on, raise your hands if slinked into that gutter….its ok, we all do.

On the contrary, Professional Toad Kissing actually has a very different meaning – one with which we can all relate. We have all worked or reported to people who wanted to hold us back. We’ve been in situations where people with more power than we had actually had control of our destinies. We’ve buried our tears into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Pistachio Pistachio because someone less qualified got the promotion that we felt we deserved. And we’ve had to bend over and smile right through it…without the Toad even having the courtesy of giving us a reach-around.

Sound familiar? I’ve lived each of these scenarios – many times over – so I’ve learned to plant wet, juicy smooches dead center on the Lips of the Toads who I described above. Remember, kissing toads is a necessary learning process that we all go through to find our Happily Ever After. Mastering the Art means that you have become Confident with who you are – that you may be happy on your own or with another person. You don’t rely on another man or woman to complete you. So of course, kissing toads also applies professionally. And professionally, you have to be able to live with the decisions you make.

I’d like to start our journey into the pond of professional toads with an important lesson that I used to guide my communications, my actions and my interactions throughout my career. My professional journey began working in Retail, and I take you back to a time where I worked my way up to the management levels of a retail giant.

Professional Lesson #1: Yes, you CAN learn from every kind of leader – even poor leaders teach lessons.

What? How can I learn anything from a bad leader Heidi Lee? What could he or she possibly teach me? I know the business better, and I know my project like the back of my hand. This person simply doesn’t have a clue. His/Her leadership is taking us down a bad path….. What do you mean by suck it up and learn?

Thank you, I’m glad you asked. Let me share a story…..

Long ago, and far-away, there was a small village where incompetence had overshadowed productivity. There was no longer color or creativity. The villagers had fallen slave to Princess Melissa the Inept, and they were sad.

Princess Melissa was a new Princess who took over our village as a gift from her betrothed. Princess Melissa sat on her throne day after day, and she issued orders on how to sow her land. She never took the time to learn our climate, our growing seasons or our rocky patches. The Princess did not value ideas from her people, and we villagers were often punished for trying to speak up when the tools she gave us did not allow us to produce enough grain to feed her Court.

All of the Kings and Queens watched the young princess, and they thought how pretty she looked sitting in the monarchy. They loved how she was able to control the masses, and they saw that her people did exactly as they were told. They also saw that Melissa had plenty of grain to make cakes and breads and other foods, so they assumed Princess Melissa’s bounty was plentiful.

Meanwhile, in the fields….Heidi Lee of the House of Hood was the most tenured indentured servant in the village. She had seen locals tried, imprisoned and even beheaded for speaking against the Monarchy. Yet somehow, she survived. And while she didn’t prosper, she had enough grain to feed her own family while sometimes giving a hungry neighbor a morsel or two of bread.

Heidi Lee of the Hood was a wise young surf. Cunning and bright, and believed that helping her village meant also helping herself. While not all of her thoughts we pure and right – some maybe even slightly selfish – she seemed to always have the right answers on how to survive.

Heidi Lee of the Hood would often protect the younger, more vulnerable peasants and help them to become more productive. She would teach them ways to grow more grain with less land, and her creative ideas for getting wheat to grow often worked even in barren lands. Our young Hood would figure out how to make the tools work that she was given – teaching herself and others new ways to turn a butter knife into a shovel during the Harvest.

And over time, Heidi Lee of the Hood gained the respect of the feeble-minded Princess Inept. The Princess saw that when Heidi Lee was around, work got done. She even began to allow Heidi Lee into the castle for private meetings about how tilling the land really worked.

Princess Melissa noticed that publicly, Heidi Lee never spoke against the Princess or the Kings and Queens. She noticed that Heidi Lee would speak to her quietly behind the castle walls. With the draw bridge lifted so no one could cross the moat to overhear, Heidi Lee of the Hood would teach Princess Melissa about the land, the seasons, and why the tools that the peasants were forced to use did not deliver the abundance the Kingdom could really have. Heidi Lee helped Princess Melissa learn that her village could be wealthier than All of the other lands if only Princess Melissa would lead her people by listening to their needs and ideas.

And Heidi Lee of the Hood learned from Princess Melissa as well. Heidi Lee learned that Princesses may be put into positions that they aren’t ready to take on – whether from Bedding a Dozen princes or by inheriting Dear Daddy’s kingdom. She understood that just because one is a Monarch does not mean that they understand how to lead a kingdom. Sometimes even, a spoiled princess may be given a village just to stop her whiny and naughty behavior.

And Heidi Lee learned that publicly supporting the Monarchy while showing the peasants how to be successful helped our heroine to earn the respect from above as well as below. She learned that she could build teams around her by earning the respect of the peasants. And she understood that her ability to lead was powerful – strong enough if she needed to lead a revolution.

Most importantly, Heidi Lee learned that she never wanted to be a Leader like Princess Melissa the Inept. Our fine Ms. Hood studied closely what NOT to do so she could learn what should be done. After all, Heidi Lee of the Hood met her friend Cinderella at a local tavern one day and found out that some princes really do fall in love and give kingdoms to slave girls.

Ok, so in this situation, Melissa is the Toad. We had to kiss her. She has the power whether we like it or not. So how did we start to win her over while helping the poor peasants who needed their own Robin Hood? We taught the people who looked up to us how to be good followers while we respectfully and privately helped the inept leader to understand the true possibilities – when finally she was willing to listen.

The most important thing for me was that I kept my dignity and maintained personal integrity. I never sought to hurt people to get ahead, and I tried to speak up for what was right. Sure, that mentality didn’t fast track me by any means, but I like who I have become because of it. And I rose up – slowly but surely – while curiously managing to avoid the raging case of warts I secretly suspect kept Princess Inept so unhappy for so many years.

The rest of the story….

Over time, all of the Kings and Queens envied Princess Melissa and they exhalted her to Queen of all the Land, and Heidi Lee of the Hood was still a peasant………

Ok, so not the Happily Ever After you expected, right? Nope, not yet – still plenty of toads hopping around that need a little tongue…But don’t you worry – I get to visit Cinderella in her castle often over my years. And if you’ve ever seen #EverAfter with Drew Barrymore as Cinderella, you know what kind of kick ass broad our Fairy Tale Princess really was.

Hope you enjoyed story time. I’d love to hear from any of my other peasant friends out here if you’ve ever worked for Princess Inept. What did you learn from her? Post your comments, please.

Your Friend,

Hood!

Hi Pot, I’m Kettle. You’re Black

Dear Pot,

Right away I must beg forgiveness – it seems that we girls have our own versions of Boy Dumb. I’m quite guilty this morning.

Yesterday I shared the trials of my friend Jake, and of how Jake couldn’t ask Cindy to join him at the gym. Sounds pretty basic, right?

Let’s put a new twist on this story since my own personal prince charming also stresses the weight of physical fitness as a life priority. The difference is, he isn’t afraid to remind me often. While I have all of the best intentions, I also have many excuses. So this morning, Jake, please know that I am in the dog house with you.

Early on, I shared with you all that I am using the Flat Belly Diet and also several in-home workout DVDs to get back into shape. As I’ve rounded the corner of 40, so have my hips, my thighs, and Lord hope not my bra size. Whether we want to call these challenges reasons, justifications or excuses – quite simply they are unacceptable. However, I’ll share with all of you, Dear Friends, in case you see any resemblance. I’d love to know that I’m not alone.

Over the past 3 weeks, I’ve had a corporate reorganization thrown in my lap. I’ve been yanked from my professional home and dumped off into a foreign igloo. Of course, I threw myself into my work which means:

  1. I’ve worked 14 – 15 hour days and forgotten my family
  2. I’ve neglected my exercise which means I’m getting really crabby
  3. I’ve ignored an eating program that I love. So now I work all day and get crabbier because I’m hungry
  4. I’ve made work my first priority rather than my health so my doctor is yelling at me
  5. I’ve gone without sleep due to anxiety from all of the above.

OK, so I suppose I am Girl Dumb. I have a wonderful man gently reminding, assertively nudging, and then forcefully shoving my exercise and my eating back into my life – all because he loves me. I can give him all of the excuses in the world, but he knows the real reasons. I’ve quite simply become exhausted. The funny thing is, if I were keeping up with my exercise and my eating program, I’d have a hell of a lot more energy and probably grow a cape and fly.

The scary thing for me is that I only have about 2 weeks left where I can exercise whole-heartedly. You see, I’m having a “procedure” the first week in November – Doc is putting pins in my feet to help slow the rheumatoid arthritis. I will be wearing a boot for half of the winter that simply doesn’t match anything in my wardrobe (including my best Nike get fit gear). So now it is go time. I need to get my body and my mind as healthy as possible to speed my recovery.

So how do I do this? I commit. When I commit to something I go head first and all-in. So today I promise first to myself and then to those in my life who love me – Today I will eat my 4 small meals per day. Today I will do 2 miles of vigorous in-home walking. Today I will have dinner with my family. Today I will take care of me first.

And I’m making this commitment because I have to love me first – if I don’t, how can I expect others to?

Anyone care to join me? Let’s hear from you about mind and body fitness goals between now and the New Year. No sense in putting off until January 1st, right?

Kind Regards,

Kettle

artwork borrowed from http://civitaquana.blogspot.com/2010_05_01_archive.html

On the Particular subject of Toads – I give you the incurable, “Boy-Dumb”

Good morning, Dear friends, and Happy Story Day, Wednesday.

As I get ready this morning for a day in my office, my mind is screaming with a newly realized wisdom on the incurable disease that is prominent in the masculine gender – Boy Dumb.

Yes, friends, boy-dumb is most likely incurable; we have only seen this disease grow into an epidemic. This morning, I share a case study with you all. My goal is that through the work of mine and others, we can finally put an end to this epidemic.

The Subject: The Afflicted, My Friend Jake

The Hypothesis: Jake is Boy Dumb

The Supporting Evidence: Jake is a sweet, if somewhat jar-headed boy with many good qualities. Jake is loyal and funny, animated and sincere. Yet Jake is dumb. You see, friends, Jake is stuck as an Apprentice in the Art of Toad Kissing, and he could even likely be a slightly wart-infested toad himself. While he knows he wants a relationship and a family and a friendship – he doesn’t know how to explain what he wants to an intelligent woman.

I’ve met the lady who Jake is seeking a forever with – she is statuesque, intelligent, supportive, stunning. In short – she is the woman we all strive to emulate – and Jake has her heart. Way to go, buddy!

But Jake, as most boys, has not learned the art of candor as it relates to his relationships. He openly shares with me as we are friends, but he would rather treat this strong woman with kid gloves than to tell her what he wants.

Now, friends, we’ve all dated or known this guy with one name or the next. I’ll explain this specific challenge to highlight one of the most common symptoms to diagnose the affliction. Jake is physically fit, and he enjoys spending a great deal of time in the gym and maintaining his BMI. Awesome job, Jake!

However, his lady Cindy has not yet shared his love of sweat and protein powders. Jake told me a couple of weeks ago, “Heidi, I am crazy about this woman, but I don’t know that I can commit to a forever with her”

“Why, Jake, what’s wrong? What happened? She seems perfect for you.”

“Well, Heidi, she is. But I have always been attracted to athletes, and she doesn’t work out”.

Seriously??!!! She doesn’t work out? I’m thinking by this point, this woman is a high powered director in a major corporation. She is gorgeous and genuine, and she thinks she is so lucky that Jake is into her – humble. Don’t get me wrong, Jake I’m sure is quite the catch, and they are both lucky. But Cindy wows me.

“Jake, have you ever talked to Cindy about joining you at the gym? I mean, she is slender and looks as if she takes immaculate care to maintain herself. Have you invited her into this world of yours? Does she know she is even welcome?”

“Uhm, no. I wouldn’t want to upset her with her thinking I am not happy with her body.”

“So, you would consider that this woman is not The One for you simply because you are wimping out and not talking to her? Crap, I’m even insulted. Go home tonight (did I mention they live together?) and ask her to go for a walk with you. Ask her to come to the gym. Talk to her about your fitness goals, and ask her if she will support you with them. Jeez, dummy, she has a brain. In fact, most women do.”

<eyes widened as if 2000 years of suppression had just been lifted as he witnessed the growth of an opposable thumb – witness Jake evolve into the upright species of homo sapien>

Jake asked my advice on talking to Cindy about joining the gym. We came up with a strategy, and he was all set to deploy. The next day, he called me to discuss an unrelated topic, and I asked, “How’d it go with Cindy last night?”

He seemed to perk up at the question and started to giggle like a chimpanzee – happy from just eaten the lice out of his buddy’s fur coat. “Well, the cool thing is that I really thought last night about what you said.” (R&D: subject responds to reasoning)

“Heidi, I’m realizing so many amazing things about her, I don’t know if the workouts really matter that much. I mean, se’s smart, funny and loves me and my kids. I look forward to the things she has to say just as much as to sitting down at the end of the night with her after a rough day at work. I’ll invite her to get a gym membership with me because I think that is a great idea. But I love who she is now, and I think I’m happy”.

Diagnosis:

Jake, while once suffering from severe and chronic Boy-Dumb, seems to be responding to treatment. While I cannot fully diagnose remission, I can say that I’ve witnessed progress in his protocols. I am quite certain that we will witness an acute onset in the future and often, but I believe we have the disease under control at this point.

The therapy – Truth, candor, and respect that woman are not gentle, delicate petals any longer. We are strong, ambitious and beautiful. We will not break at a suggestion towards self-improvement. We will not fall because some afflicted boy tells us we aren’t meeting all of his needs. No, dear friends. We, quite frankly, are tough broads these days. I’d honestly be more worried about our somewhat fragile male counterparts.

Jake, here’s to your evolution

Friends, I’d love to hear other cases of the incurable disease. Calling for other diagnoses, please

But What is Toad Kissing?

Good morning to all! And Happy Tuesday.

I went to dinner last night with some family members, and we were talking about The Art of Toad Kissing. I noticed a bit of curiosity but more
skepticsm as they realized that I would be sharing with all of you my very personal journey through Online Dating. During the conversation, I mentioned that I saw the Art of Toad Kissing as relevant across personal dating, professional growth, and other core relationships that we all experience as we move through our lives. I’ve kissed toads at work and at play, and heck – even at home. I’ve grown from each giant smooch.

This brings us to my thoughts for today. I’ve spent my first couple of conversations with you discussing my philosophy, but I haven’t really dug into any of the pearls of wisdom that I hope to share. My first pearl:

Understand who you are and love yourself first.

Over my 41 year life, I’ve had many successes but probably double the failures. This made my first lesson tricky to learn. I spent the majority of my adult life with the wrong men for happily-ever-after, but they were the Right men at the time to help me learn myself.

Huh? I know – I ask myself that same thing. I’ll explain.

My ex-husband – while he may likely turn out to be somebody else’s Prince Charming, was clearly a giant, wart-infested toad in my life. What I learned from this man, though, was how to shed the warts and keep only the good stuff that remained – my son.

I was married for the better part of my 20s, and I pretty much all but crushed my own identity. I spent those years raising children and being a
stay at home wife and mother. I lost most – if not all – of my female friendships, and I became quite introverted.

The good news was that living within my own, lonely mind for so long allowed me to realize that I wanted so much more than the life I was
living. I wanted a career, an education and a family. The man I was married to simply didn’t share these goals, and he was quite content to live below our true abilities.

Therefore – I got out. We divorced, and I have been raising our son on my own for well over 12 years now. What a great kid!

So this was truly my first Toad Kissing experience, and I am grateful for that time in my life. Those years were my lead in to understanding
who I really wanted to be – a necessity to being able to successfully share myself and my life with another person.

Throughout my 30s, I grew both personally and professionally – and I literally swam in toad-infested ponds at work and in my romantic world. I’m sure over time I’ll share more of these experiences with you, but I learned to push myself harder in spite of people in front of me who wanted to hold me back.

So now we come to my 40s. Spending the past 20 years finally becoming an adult, I know who I am. I like who I am, and I am proud of many
accomplishments. So now, I’m ready to share. I want to talk with you all about life’s insecurities as well as celebrate all of our accomplishments. I feel that only when we can openly accept all that we are, can someone else really appreciate us – warts and all.

With this being said – I’d love to hear what you might be proud of in your life. Tell us here, or whisper it to me quietly in an email. Either way, it just feels good to have someone notice.

So what am I most proud of about me – personally – children, men and friends aside?

I’m proud of my personal drive and my commitment to always grow. I accomplish my goals, and this feels great!

How about you? What about you makes you proud?

Warm Regards,

Heidi

Finding Your Voice

Good Morning to you all, Dear Friends. And Happy Game Day to my fellow football fans! Go Packers!

 As I open my heart this morning to each of you, I have to stop and ask myself who each of you may be. After all, my goal is to share experiences, so I suppose I must understand who might be open to hearing my voice. I suppose I should also let you each into how I hear my own voice.

 A voice is a lens into the world, and these lenses may be rose-colored or they may be distorted. Regardless, our voices are our lens and therefore our life-perspective.

 So, my friends, what I hope that you hear in my perspective is a positive but honest voice of experience. I’ve kissed more than my fair share of toads, and I’ve shamelessly been both the giver and the receiver of toad warts – thus my self-proclaimed expertise. I suppose that means that I, myself, have been somebody else’s Toad.

 As I see the Art of Toad Kissing, we have all likely kissed or will kiss a hundred frogs or more to find our Princes or Princesses. We are all Masters or on our way to becoming well-versed in the Art, but each of us with our own creativity.

 So perhaps you ask, “Where do I fit?” Am I a beautiful princess or a wart-infested toad? Seriously, if we all have kissed a toad, but none of us really owns up to being a toad, who is it that we are kissing?

 My opinion? I see the Mastery of the Art as 5 distinct voices for the toad kisser.

 1.     Voice of the Novice: This toad kisser is new to the wonderful world of love and romance, doe-eyed and trusting and searching for a canvas to paint a masterpiece. He or she has not yet discovered the true heartbreaks of love and life, and this fresh perspective can often be overlooked and underappreciated. I think we should all stop and listen to this untainted voice sometimes – the purity is quite refreshing.

 The novice may hastily commit, however, to oil painting – finding himself or herself covered in the greasy residue left over from creating art using a nasty, radioactive toad as the subject.

 2.     Voice of the Apprentice: Having sampled several mediums, this toad kisser has earned his or her brush strokes. This person can be trusted with someone’s heart, but may not be ready to commit to water color over oil. He or she may even still want to experiment with sculpture or music and can find beauty in many forms.

 The apprentice will still kiss many toads, but he or she is a more discerning artist than the novice. This person begins to understand the method and the process that compliments the art forms, and at times allows the mechanics of the art to replace the true voice.

 Still, we can learn much from our apprentice – just as Mickey taught the Wizard in the Disney classic – Fantasia. This person is well on his or her way to self-discovery and to taking pride in talent, strength and beauty.

 3.     Voice of the Master: The master is ready to be both the teacher and the student, and hopefully this artist has finely found his or her true voice. This person knows the medium that best compliments the strengths, and yet can share vulnerabilities to learn new talents.

 The key to achieving this level is to recognize that art cannot be perfect, but it can be beautiful regardless. When this person focuses inward, he or she can develop the internal soul of the artist. Outward expression may allow for others to share in the journey – regardless, this person realizes that with or without a toad, art is still possible. This is how we truly find our subject for which to create our masterpiece.

 4.     Voice of the Doctorate: To achieve a doctorate in the Art of Toad Kissing, this artist now dedicates his or her art to perfect the voice. Perspective is clear, and a masterpiece is well underway. Students at all levels strive to achieve this confidence in self-awareness and contentment.

 The masterpiece of this artist may well be a collaborative work of art – a relationship with another artist. It may simply be an unwavering self-belief and inner beauty that we all strive to emulate. Regardless, this person is truly rare.

 The challenge with becoming this skilled in an art, I imagine, would be taking that art for granted – failing to appreciate the beauty still held within and forgetting to share with others.

 5.     Voice of the Legacy: We’ve spoken of the art of toad kissing, the legacy is clearly recognizable above all else. Let me try to paint this picture as I see it through my lens.

 I saw an elderly couple last week holding hands and eating icecream. They laughed together and she still glowed when he leaned in and kissed her cheek. This to me, was the artwork of a legacy. I saw in them, nostalgia and love – years of mastering the skill of making themselves better people. Together they could share a piece of the same canvas and know that whatever they created could be between only them but that others would always remember their form of art.

 This voice – often heard more clearly by art-lovers – is gentle and quiet. No longer a struggling artist, these voices are revered in the art world as having left the gift of their art as a legacy for the rest of us to cherish.

 For me, I consider myself a Master in my Art. My chosen canvas – architecture. I’ve kissed many toads, and I’ve learned the art of being me in the process. I’ve also learned how to share myself with others while still preserving an intimate creativity and design reserved for someone special.

I found that my art lies in design and remodeling. I don’t have a brush stroke to paint my walls or the skill of the carpenter – instead, I am an architect. I designed me, and I am happy. I can tell you how I did it, and I can share my own mistakes and masterpieces throughout my discovery.

 So, after reading this, do you want to share my voice? Do you recognize a voice of your own that you can share? If so, tell me who you are.

On the other hand, are you wondering why you don’t hear your voice as you read this note? If this is the case – perhaps you are realizing that just maybe you are somebody else’s toad and messing up their masterpiece. That’s ok too – we’ve all been there. I’d love to hear from you, and I promise to respect your warts.

 Warm Regards

 Heidi