Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Life is Like Box of Chocolates...An Essay by Lisa Thielen-Ekanger

We fought each other for dominance like ants climbing a mound.
An Essay By Lisa Thielen Ekanger

There isn't just one moment when I realized or understood the meaning of love.  For me,
love has revealed itself slowly like the low tide pulling back glassy sheets of crystal
water allowing full display of the glistening shells and rock treasures below. Love always comes to me in completely unexpected and in fragile moments.  After I delivered my first child, I lay awake crying most of the night. Not crying with happiness, but with a deep sadness that is the very evidence of loves existence. I was visited with visions of my tiny newborn baby as an old man.                    Like in the movie, A Christmas Carol, I saw him when he was at least 80 years sitting 
in a chair, staring out the window. I thought, "What have I done?"  "Who will take care of this beautiful creature, this perfect little son of mine when I am gone?"  The magnitude, the weight and the sheer volume of my new responsibility was maternal love in its rawest form.
Another distinct memory I cherish was when my elderly Grandma and I were going
through her attic looking at her collections of shoes and matching handbags when she
turned to me and said, "Lisa, you might find this hard to believe but men used to find me sexy."         I was taken aback because I really didn't know how to respond, but when I looked into her eyes I was immediately pulled into the deeper meaning of the moment. I immediately understood her journey. What a precious relationship Grandma's and Granddaughters have; ours was about discussing her history ~ she would weave stories that held important life lessons for me and our love was about laughter and mutual affections, but yet at the same time Grandma knew how to tweak the stories of life's scars, tragedies and struggles so as not to wipe away my enthusiasm. I learned about matching accessories and making a peach pie from scratch.  We talked about celebrities and the craziness of the world, but on this particular day, I saw behind her thick weathered glasses, past her tired lids and straight into her soul. Her spirit said, "Look at me for what I was. Look at me for the beauty I once owned. Look at me for what I accomplished as an independent woman who fought for the right to go to college, to have a career and who could command the attention of the crowd."  Her spirit was saying, "Remember me when I was on top of my game ~ remember me when I was at my sparkling best."  I spent the rest of the evening thinking about her life and her importance in mine; I was flooded with love and admiration and also the pressing feeling that time was ticking by too that day and in that moment, the torch had been passed and the depth of our love was written somewhere in the ages.

Love sometimes meanders like a soft fog leaving a dewy film on everything in its path; it also bounces and pelts like hail during a hard driving rain. It can also be flexible and the strength we receive from its generosity can be as solid as the mighty oak swaying during life's worst storms.

Recently I traveled through a huge 'life' storm; I transitioned into a new career where I was reeling with insecurity and self destructive thoughts. Working on 100% straight commission as a realtor (in the state of Michigan) is about as tough of a go as one can have, and my lack of confidence affected my marriage, my ability to parent, my happiness and worst of all my self esteem.  Then one day about six months into my new career I met a person who would introduce themselves to me as my business mentor. This person ended up as so much more than that ~  becoming more of a life coach.  The struggles were numerous and our discussions long; we fought each other for dominance like ants climbing a mound.  Instinctively this person who really didnt know me, knew me (and what I was made of) even though we had just met we knew that I liked being in a helpless place because it was much easier and more comfortable than taking a risk and walking through my fears. Somehow my mentor could see right through me and just wouldn't let me off the hook.... tough love would be the only way to get me to listen ~ knocking me off my 'know it all' golden high horse and then catching me with a stretchy net right before I hit the floor.  Some days I cursed the very ground this person walked on but I never DIDN’T appreciate the message.  Sometimes life throws you a curveball and you can decide to swing or duck ~ with my mentor at my side I had no choice but to swing.  It's amazing when you meet another person who just 'gets' you from the instant you meet each other, like some kind of cosmic dust that pulls millions of like particles into the shape of a star, we belonged together.  This sort of understanding is a basic and important element in everyones life and I'm just sorry I didn't get to experience it until I was already well into my 40's. Oh the magical things I could have achieved if I had experienced this pure form of human love earlier.

Another one of my early life storms came in the package of a mentally ill and homeless
father. The goal was to find him a psychiatric hospital for treatment; we located him and we carefully walked him to our automobile ~ he wasn't happy and began pleading with my newlywed husband to help rescue him.  During the entire ride to the ER he chanted my hubby's name and when he became uncontrollable during the intake process the clinicians placed him in five point restraints. My father began to cry and as he lay there pinned down to a rickety gurney (dirty and disheveled, hardly the slick salesman I had grown up with) I began to cry too. This was not the way things were supposed to go.  This is not written in any fathering 101 book or in any Hallmark card. My new husband, the love of my life, could clearly see that I was completely distraught and overcome with anxiety; he went to my father (who was still chanting his name as he was being wheeled into a room) and calmed him and when he was done he quietly spent time trying to calm me. 
He told me, "Lis, everything is going to be O.K." 
That was 25 years ago and guess what? He was right, everything was  O.K. and the rock of his stable and loyal love is still the centerpiece of a beautifully set table called my life.

Lisa Ekanger Your Preferred Trainer!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Remember this: you can either choose Love or choose fear.

“If you want a loving relationship in your life and can’t figure out why one is eluding you, remember this: you can either choose Love or choose fear.
When you choose Love your options narrow because you have chosen to walk a narrower path of trusting your intuition and feelings over the five senses. You cannot seek for Love, since you can only have what already are. And if you have Love this means you must give it away with no expectation of return. Any expectation of return is not love, but the fear of not having love creeping back in.
Choosing fear outsources your happiness and makes someone else responsible for the way you feel. You seek for Love because you believe you lack it.
Trust that you are perfect Love in this moment and only allow in a person that resonates on this vibration.
Do not try to change someone. When you do this, you deny the Love inside you by choosing to deny what is Now. Love can only exist now. When you try to change someone into an idea of what you want them to be you have decided to be in a relationship with your projection of a possible potential of someone else. You are fooling yourself if you think trying to change someone will make you happy. Instead, change in yourself the things you think the other person should change. This is why you are not happy and fulfilled now.
The Truth is that finding True Love is effortless for those who sit in Trust that they already have everything that could ever be sought after. This Trust will attract a person who is equally fulfilled; this is the only type of person capable of Love, one who has Love to give away.”
- Jackson Kiddard
Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Friday, January 24, 2014

There is no feeling like the feeling of controlling your own career & financial destiny!

I have a little button that says, “I love Realtors” ~ I got it at a convention when I was a brand new real estate agent.  I couldn’t have dreamed (at the time) the kind of mental tenacity it would take to stay in this business more than 5 years. 
April 21, 2014 will mark my 5th full year in real estate. My love for real estate however, actually started in 1992 when my spouse and I bid (and lost) on a HUD home. I loved all of it! The hunt, process, the dreams of renovation and of course the dreams of building financial gain through equity.  The complete freedom of being the owner and not the renter was a part of the American Dream!  I thought about it (being an agent) on and off as we bought and sold homes through the years and then finally, in 2008, as our oldest child headed off to college, I decided to make the leap into real estate and self-employment. 
Statistically, I had a snowballs chance in hell of making this career a go.  The worst near-depression my generation had ever known ~ the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. The housing bubble was at the height of its collapse. The country was experiencing uncertain times. These words dominated the headlines: Layoffs, hiring freezes, foreclosures, wage freezes, unemployment, downsizing, under-employment, bankruptcy, short-sales, vanishing retirement savings, early retirement, company closings, disappearing middle-class and the working poor.
My first year in real estate earned me exactly $2000. 
I was what I now lovingly refer to as a licensee.  I was poised to fail out of the industry, just like the statistics predicted.  7 out of 10 fail out of real estate and of the 3 out of 10 who make it, only a small percentage make it work as a real career five years or longer. The phrase, “I love Realtors” has taken on a whole new meaning to me now that I have survived this ordeal. I liken the ones who made it through the great recession to being the Navy Seals of self-employment. There is real agony and drama that agent’s experience which has nothing to do with the agony and drama home buyers and sellers go through during the process.  I’m talking about waking up every day and driving yourself to do the uncomfortable work of asking for the business as you listen to story after story of being upside down on their mortgages, of being late on their payments, of marriages blown apart by stress and of their decisions to just walk away.
I was in the trenches when this hurricane of financial devastation passed over the country like a shadowy plague. I saw the foreclosures where families left in a hurry leaving heirloom furniture in the home, or the ones who took a baseball bat to all of the walls to take out their rage against the banks who just wouldn’t work with them. I saw countless homes with beautiful little children’s rooms (some pink, some blue) and some with beautiful murals that were lovingly applied by their parents and the haunting quiet that a foreclosure creates in a home when the family leaves and all of the utilities are turned off.  There are traces of evidence that it once was a happy home that held a happy life and as one walks through, one wonders if the families survived these unstable and shaky times.
As an agent, I’m talking about investing your last 50 dollars into a tank of gas hoping that tonight is the night you finally get those buyers under contract.  I’m talking about the beating your self-esteem takes when you have to look yourself in the mirror and say today is the day I’m going to turn this all around, but not knowing where to begin. I’m talking about that 5000 paycheck that you worked tirelessly for (over a 4 month period) that suddenly disappears (a month before the holidays) because the buyers decided to open a line of credit while they were waiting for a clear to close.
The highs and the lows (and trust me, since 2008 there have been many more lows than highs) of struggling to make this career work.  The truth is statistically the average agent closes approximately one deal per month.  This is the equivalent of poverty wages, and yet agents are expected to look, talk and walk like the HGTV success they hope to be.  So you continue to charge new clothes to your department store card so you will own the clothes that you simply cannot afford.  There is certain insanity to being a 1099 (self-employed) person during hard economic times. The worst part is, we were all aware of and know a few of those special agents who seem to be able to make it work and they make it look easy (and they actually thrive) while the majority suffers. Why? Why do so few have so much and so many have so little?
I know why.  It’s simple but its not easy.
I was lucky enough to be exposed to a referral lead generation course that altered my career which caused me to grow my profits year over year.  A 7 week spaced program that did more for me as a 1099 employee than another single idea ever had.  I learned that there was no such thing as ‘special‘ people it’s what these ‘special’ people did that made them special, not who they were. There really is no magical secret.  It is a program that teaches how to control your time, manage expectations, grow referral resources, keep a positive attitude all while building an impressive book of business. Yes, I’m a proud and decorated warrior of the real estate industry, I’ve beaten the odds and I’m almost a veteran! If you ask me the secret of my success, I’ll gladly take the time to share! Go ahead! Ask!

Lisa Ekanger Your Preferred Trainer!
The Floyd Wickman Team

Thursday, January 23, 2014

(You Wanna Piece of me?)

How to Make Biscotti

(You Wanna Piece of me?)


An Italian treat, biscotti are twice-baked, beadlike cookies that are wonderfully crunchy and great for cocoa-dunking competitions! Certainly they are easy to make at home. This recipe makes about 30 biscotti.

Things you’ll need:

·         Wire Whisk

·         Sifters

·         Parchment Paper

·         Cookie sheets

·         Hand mixer

·         2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour

·         1 2/3 c. granulated sugar

·         1/2 tsp. salt

·         1 tsp. baking powder

·         3 eggs

·         3 egg yolks

·         1/2 tsp. almond extract

·         1 tsp. orange extract

·         1 tsp. vanilla extract

·         5 oz. ground almonds


Step One

Heat oven to 325 Degrees Fahrenheit

Step Two

Sift the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into the bowl of an electric mixer and stir them together.

Step Three

Beat the eggs, egg yolks and extracts together and slowly add to the flour mixture, beating at medium speed. Lower mixer speed and blend in almonds. (This also can be done by hand, but switch to a wooden spoon after adding the egg mixture to the flour mixture.)

Step Four

Chill dough for about 20 minutes - just long enough so it's workable.

Step Five

Divide dough into thirds and shape each into cylindrical logs of equal size, about 10 inches long.

Step Six

Place the logs on a parchment-lined or nonstick baking sheet spaced well apart, and bake for about 20 minutes. Look for them to turn slightly golden.

Step Seven

Remove from oven, loosen and remove from the sheet and allow them to cool.

Step Eight

Meanwhile, lower oven to 300 degrees F.

Step Nine

Cut logs diagonally into 3/4-inch thick slices. Place slices back on parchment-lined baking sheet, cut-side up.

Step Ten

Bake until biscotti are slightly golden around the edges (about 15 to 20 minutes).

Tips & Warnings

·         Space the logs well apart on the baking sheet because as they warm up they will          spread out into domed rectangles before they set.

·         You can buy ground almonds in the supermarket, but you can also grind blanched        almonds in the food processor or mince them with a knife.

·         The end pieces don't toast well, and are usually dried out already - these you can         eat right away.


The People of Italy
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Italian(s).
Population (2007 est.): 57.8 million.
Annual growth rate (2007 est.): 0.01%.
Ethnic groups: Primarily Italian, but there are small groups of German-, French-, Slovene-, and Albanian-Italians.
Religion: Roman Catholic (majority).
Language: Italian (official).
Education: Years compulsory--18. Literacy--98%.
Health: Infant mortality rate--5.76/1,000 live births. Life expectancy--76.08 years for men; 83.0 years for women.
Work force (24.63 million, 2006 est.): Services--63%; industry and commerce--32%; agriculture--5%. Unemployment rate is 7%.

People and History
Italy is largely homogeneous linguistically and religiously but is diverse culturally, economically, and politically. Italy has the fifth-highest population density in Europe--about 200 persons per square kilometer (490 per sq. mi.). Minority groups are small, the largest being the German-speaking people of Bolzano Province and the Slove

Lisa Ekanger

Floyd teaches us, “People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.”

Recently, I was reminded of a big money conversation I just had with a very important, well-respected, successful person. We were discussing business strategy, how to meet the challenges of the future, and it involved fairly large sums of money. This was an important conversation; one I wanted to focus all of my attention on, as any salesperson would.
And yet, this person had a cell phone on the table in front of us, and no fewer than four times during this 90 minute conversation, when receiving a text notification, stopped in mid-sentence, picked up the phone and read the text.
Twice, when the phone rang, this important conversation was stopped in mid-sentence, without an “Excuse me, please,” or “Do you mind if I take this?” The phone rang and was instantly answered.
Is this fairly common behavior today? Unfortunately, yes.
How do you suppose it made me feel? Unfortunately, unimportant.
In any conversation, in any relationship, in any task, what is the value of giving your undivided, focused attention? It is incalculable and it is becoming next to impossible to do. Why? Because we have already surrendered. Let me explain what I mean, please.
With the NSA listening in on every phone call – with Facebook and twitter and selfies – with Target losing every credit card on file to hackers – we have voluntarily surrendered our privacy.
Or was it involuntarily? (Well, that’s an issue to explore some other time.)
What else have we surrendered? I believe it is our attention. We have surrendered our ability to focus and pay attention. And this surrender is one of the unintended consequences of technology.
What has suddenly become the second leading cause of accidents on the road? Distracted driving. Texting.
At a movie over the holidays, there were no fewer than seven different messages to quiet cell phones before the movie started, including threat of ejection to anyone caught texting during the movie.
And what happened last week? A retired policeman shot someone in a movie theater argument over texting.
This mania for staying constantly and immediately connected to a computer, tablet, or phone screen has created a jumpiness and a distractedness in people that has the whiff of addiction.
I’m resigned (sort of) to voluntarily surrendering some of my privacy for the common good; in the name of national security; to help prevent acts of terrorism.
But I’m way less than okay with the attention deficit. It’s not a fair trade.
Floyd teaches us, “People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.” And also, “You have to show people that you care, not just tell them.”
Undivided attention is the key to a healthy relationship. There is no clearer, better, more loving way to show caring than to give someone your undivided, focused attention. It was Floyd’s relationship advice to me many years ago.
Undivided attention is the key to being able to focus and stay on a task until completion.
Undivided attention is the key to a successful sales presentation. When we focus on our client’s #1 goal, and really focus our attention on what they say, what they want and need, instead of on our presentation, we demonstrate caring; but most importantly, we really connect on the deepest human level with them.
Giving undivided attention to a conversation, a relationship, a task, is the ultimate expression of the ‘get by giving’ philosophy – because it is the very definition of selflessness. Undivided attention harnesses a very powerful energy, like a laser beam focuses ordinary light into an irresistible force of nature.
Some people think that ADD is not a disorder but rather a unique 21st century skill that allows us to multi-task. That may be true for the sake of efficiency, but multi-tasking is overrated as a method of accomplishing tasks.
One step at a time. One conversation at a time. One task at a time. One relationship at a time. Undivided attention with intention unlocks the door to our untapped potential.
Next time you want to harness this power, try this: turn off your phone and turn on the power of undivided attention.

Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

If you expect to feel great, nothing will slow you down.

Much of success is about performance. It’s about what we do and what we are able to inspire others to do. There are some simple performance principles I have learned in my life, and I want to share them with you.  They really bring success, and what it takes to be successful, into sharp focus. They are also the basis for developing and maintaining an expectation of success.
The Five Principles of Performance

1. We generally get from ourselves and others what we expect. It is a huge fact that you will either live up or down to your own expectations. If you expect to lose, you will. If you expect to be average, you will be average. If you expect to feel bad, you probably will. If you expect to feel great, nothing will slow you down. And what is true for you is true for others. Your expectations for others will become what they deliver and achieve. As Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
2. The difference between good and excellent companies is training. The only thing worse than training employees and losing them is to not train them and keep them! A football team would not be very successful if they did not train, practice, and prepare for their opponents. When you think of training as practice and preparation, it makes you wonder how businesses survive that do not make significant training investments in their people.
Actually, companies that do not train their people and invest in their ability don’t last. They operate from a competitive disadvantage and are eventually gobbled up and defeated in the marketplace. If you want to improve and move from good to excellent, a good training strategy will be the key to success.
3. You find what you look for in life. If you look for the good things in life, you will find them. If you look for opportunities to grow and prosper, you will find them. If you look for positive, enthusiastic friends and associates who will support you, you will find them. On the other hand, if you look for ways to cheat, you will cheat. If you look for ways to justify leaving your spouse, you will find them. If you look for justifiable reasons to hold a grudge against another person, you will find those, too. It is a natural tendency of us all to look for things that will justify what we think we need or want. If you are not living by the foundation stones of honesty, character, integrity, faith, love, and loyalty, you will be drawn to seeking selfish gratification, and that leads to misery and unfulfilled dreams. Whatever you have will never be enough. Always look for the good and for ways to help others.
4. Never make a promise without a plan. Far too many people make promises they can never keep. They may have the best intentions in the world to keep their promise, but if they have not made a plan to keep it, they will not be able to do it. Business leaders who make promises to their employees will not honor them if they do not create a plan on how the promises will be kept. If you make a future commitment, you must understand and be willing to do whatever it takes to complete that commitment. One of the reasons marriage commitments fail so frequently is because the husband and wife do not understand what it takes to have a great marriage. They do not plan for or understand the sacrifices each must make for the other to enable a long-lasting relationship.
5. Happiness, joy, and gratitude are universal if we know what to look for. I believe you can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want. All people want happiness and joy in their life, but you have to know what produces real happiness and how to do the things that produce it. The moment you begin to worry about the things you want and the things you don’t have in life is the moment you will lose your gratitude for what you actually have. If you are ungrateful, you will never be satisfied or content or joyful about your life. The greatest source of happiness is the ability to be grateful at all times.
The Right Attitude 

Obviously, the right attitude to expect the best in your life is a positive attitude. But I want to be very clear that the kind of positive attitude I describe is not one that is contrived or falsely manufactured to impress or manipulate others. The positive attitude I talk about is one that you are filled with, and when you are jostled, it just spills out! What I’m saying is that a genuinely positive attitude is part of who you are at your core.

Lisa Ekanger Your Preferred Trainer!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The price you have to pay to live your dream is facing your deepest darkest fear...

“This life has an infinite number of potentials for you; we live in a made to order universe. Whatever you believe is possible for you and take consistent action upon is what becomes your reality. If you keep telling yourself that your dream isn’t possible, you will come to find that you are absolutely right.
But my friend, if you draw a line in the sand and tell the universe that your dreams are a reality RIGHT NOW, and take action as if that were the case, you will come to find that you are absolutely right.

The question is how long can you live in the fire of your dreams manifestation?
The price you have to pay to live your dream is facing your deepest darkest fear and the reward you receive from this courageous act is the realization that your fear was an illusion and that your dreams were always real.
So I ask you, my friend, are you willing to go there? Are you willing to sit in fire and sacrifice the comfort of your known world for the potential of something amazing, new and unknown? Don’t you want to find out what’s on the other side of your fear?
Living in fear is so last season, if you want to be happy and really live your dream you have to take a stand and just put yourself out there. You might fail, yes indeed – but, you might, you just might succeed too! Don’t you want to find out? Either way your life will never be the same… Can you handle it?”

- Jackson Kiddard
Lisa Ekanger Your Floyd Wickman Trainer!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Fresh Salsa

Fresh Salsa

You’ll Need:

Difficulty Rating 2

  • 4 cups chopped, peeled fresh tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 small green pepper chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • The juice of one lime
  • Salt & pepper to taste


In bowl, combine all ingredients, mix well. Let stand for about 2 hours. Serve at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator.

Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

“I have a Dream” “I have a Dream” “I have a Dream”

“I have a Dream” “I have a Dream” “I have a Dream”

Ruby Bridges played an important part in the Civil Rights Movement. Ruby was born September 8, 1954 in Tylertown, Mississippi. A year later, her family moved to New Orleans, Louisiana. At that time, people wanted to keep blacks and whites separate because whites didn’t think that blacks were as good as them. For example, blacks and whites had separate drinking fountains, blacks had to sit in the back of buses, and blacks and whites each had their own separate schools.


Ruby was a little girl who was one of the first blacks to go to an all white school. Her dad didn’t want her to go to the all-white William Frantz School. He didn’t want any part of the school mixing whites and blacks. He feared that angry people, who wanted to keep blacks and whites separate, would hurt his family if Ruby went to the all-white school.


Ruby’s mom wanted her to go to the all-white school because she wanted her child to have a better education than she did and to have a good job when she grew up. Her mom had such a tough time in her life that she wanted Ruby to have an easier life. Ruby’s mom had to work hard even when she was pregnant. The day before Ruby was born; her mom had to carry ninety pounds of cotton on her back. She knew that if her child went to William Frantz School, Ruby would have a better life.

White people didn’t want blacks going to their schools because they thought blacks should not be treated as equals. They didn’t want blacks to have it as good as whites because they were a different color. Some white people threatened to poison Ruby and hurt her if she went to their school. Her dad even lost his job because his boss didn’t think that someone should be working for him if his black child was going to an all-white school.


Ruby’s mom got her six year-old Ruby into the all-white William Frantz School because Ruby passed a very hard test. When Ruby started first grade, U.S. marshals took her to and from school and protected her from the angry white people. On the first day of school in 1960, Ruby and her mom sat in the office. Some adults took their children to school but most others did not. Ruby saw some people dragging their white kids out of the classrooms because they didn’t want their kids going to the same school as a black kid. Ruby and her mom stayed in the office for the whole day of school. Many of the white parents and their kids were outside the school protesting. They were yelling and holding signs. The teachers still tried to teach the few students at school that day.


The second day Ruby, her mom, and her teacher sat in the classroom. No white parents would allow their children to be in the same classroom with Ruby. Her teacher, Mrs. Henry, started to teach and was very loving toward Ruby. She supported and helped Ruby through the difficult time. On the third day of school, her mom didn’t go with her. For the rest of the year, she was the only one in her class and she was taught on a whole different floor from all the other kids. The principal and many teachers also didn’t think Ruby should be taught with the white children. At first this didn’t bother Ruby, but after a while she wondered why she couldn’t be with the other children.



Handling the Pressure

Image of Problem We All Live With by Norman Rockwell at, Hutchinson Turner,, March 2000.  Email message.

After winter break, Ruby started to see a child psychiatrist. His name was Dr. Coles. Dr. Coles got interested in Ruby by seeing her go into school with the marshals surrounding her. He wondered how she could handle all of the pressure and wanted to help her. He was very supportive of Ruby. He thought it would be better for her to have someone outside of her family to talk to. She felt special because an important man was coming to visit her. His wife came, too, and she was a very caring person. She became good friends with Ruby’s mother.

After many years, Ruby graduated and became a travel agent. She was one of the first black Americans to go to an all-white school. This helped make it easier for other blacks to go to white schools, get a better education, and help improve relations between blacks and whites. She didn’t think it was much of an accomplishment until years later.

After her brother was killed in a drug-related shooting, she began to realize what she did in 1960 was very important for blacks. She then began to help other troubled black kids. Ruby started volunteer work at the William Frantz School. She helped strengthen the school by developing the Ruby Bridges Foundation. She travels to schools to explain the importance of reading, power of education, and integration of races.

Becoming Famous

Disney made a TV movie based on her experiences. A book about Ruby titled The Story of Ruby Bridges was published in 1995. When the book came out, Ruby’s first grade teacher, Mrs. Henry, saw it and contacted her. They were reunited on the "Oprah Winfrey Show." That was one of the greatest joys of Ruby’s life. She has also been in contact again with Dr. Coles, her old child psychiatrist. There was footage of Ruby in the television series, "Eyes on the Prize," about the Civil Rights Movement. She also found out that she was painted in a Norman Rockwell painting.

Ruby finally reached a point where she felt her life had meaning. She feels that there was a reason for what she went through. She played an important part in bringing blacks and whites together. She did not know why she had to go through it, but now believes that it was meant to be that way. Little Ruby Bridges played an important role in the Civil Rights Movement.

Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Why does a permanent ‘Pancake Breakfast’ sign (actually) advertise perpetual optimism?

Why does a permanent ‘Pancake Breakfast’ sign (actually) advertise perpetual optimism?

I live in a small town, and at least once a week I drive by the little yellow legion hall on the corner of King & St Clair Hwy.  There is a smallish permanent metal sign out front that says: ‘Pancake breakfast Sat 8-11’ It’s been there ever since I can remember (I’ve lived here since 2001) and to be honest with you, other than occasionally thinking, “Yum that sounds good.” I have never really stopped in to eat or investigate where the proceeds go and what they support.  Although others have, and they reported that the griddles are huge commercial firehouse grade…which, I’ve been told makes for divine pancakes! Call it complacency or even laziness, but I think the real truth is that I never allowed pancakes to be a destination. LOL!  Go ahead, laugh!  I’m a person who uses lists and calendars and sets goals and I never put it on any list so it remains just a backdrop on my short commute. Recently though I’ve started thinking a little harder about what it means to have a permanent sign, essentially asking for money? 


What does it represent?


To be so bold as to not occasionally ask for money (like the seasonal bell-ringers for the Salvation Army) but to permanently ask for money?

 It reminds me of a few things:

·         1) It’s a numbers game.  Why take the sign down? You can’t capture the drive by traffic and the out-of-towners if they don’t know it exists.

·         2) There is a lot of future mindset thinking going on here.                                                                       Perpetual optimism, it says:

A) Things are always looking up!                                                                                                                                                     (If you have just enough extra money for a stack of flapjacks)

B) We will always be here & one of these days you’re going to want or need us!

C) There are some essentials in our area, and pancakes are one of them!

D) We believe in our product and its consistency!

E) We expect future sales to outpace current sales                                                                                                                                                    (whether they do or don’t is inconsequential)

Isn’t this a great lesson in forward thinking?  Future thinking mindset, which focuses on the plan and not the problem.  This little Pancake breakfast operation can also teach us lessons in consistency, stability, reliability, loyalty and brand recognition.  Lessons that in this current culture, have been gobbled up by technology (and the ever-evolving) addicting application of an instant gratification society.

The message is simply, “Come eat our pancakes, you won’t be disappointed!”

I guess it’s time for me to put pancakes on my calendar!

Lisa Ekanger Your Preferred Trainer

Friday, January 17, 2014

4 Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies!

4 Ingredient

Chocolate Chip


You’ll Need:

Difficulty Rating 1


One box of white cake mix

One bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/3 Cup oil

2 Medium eggs

Baking sheets

2 Table spoons


1.)          Pre-heat oven to 350

2.)          In a medium sized bowl beat eggs and oil together

3.)          Add in semi sweet chocolate chips

4.)          Gradually add cake mix

5.)          Stir the complete mixture thoroughly


Once the mixture is smooth, take a table spoon and scoop a generous portion onto it.  Next take the other table spoon to scrape/drop the cookie onto an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake the cookies for 8-12 minutes depending on the how hot your oven is.  Remove and let cool for ten minutes before you place cooled cookies onto a plate.  Serve with vanilla ice cream or a tall glass of milk!



                                                                                                                           Photograph by Lisa Ekanger




Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Late in 2007 to early 2008, I wrote a 300 page project book for girls...

I never had it published and want to make that a goal of mine to do by 2015.  In the mean time, I have decided to share the pages of it with you, my blog readers.  This book was written for girls ages 8-12.  It is a collection of ideas, poetry, quotes and sayings that I have been collecting since I was 8.  Girl (I)land is intended as a project book, a self esteem tool, and a keepsake journal for girls.  Girl (I)land is a collection of things ranging from the 1920's through current times. Nostalgic it is! Enjoy!     I am releasing the pages in the order they appear in the table of contents.

Table of Contents:

1.)                      Island girl painting

2.)                      Dear Vacationer

3.)                      Credits

4.)                      Difficulty rating key

5.)                      Symptoms of inner peace (Saskia Davis)

6.)                      Live your life with intention, but without expectations

7.)                      Ask for what you want, visualize your future

8.)                      Believe in yourself, speak your truth

9.)                      Have a sense of humor, be zany!

10.)                  Do what you love, follow your hearts desire

11.)                  Enjoy each and every day, experience the moment

12.)                  Give more than you receive, volunteer your time

13.)                  Understand more, judge less

14.)                  Join in more, play more, do more

15.)                  Nurture your spirit, yearn for grace

16.)                  Kiss and make up, love and be loved

17.)                  Make new friends, change your mind

18.)                  Learn to be patient, delay gratification

19.)                  Walk through fear, reach for the stars

20.)                  Overcome adversity, question conformity

21.)                  Take personal responsibility

22.)                  Insist on being you, use your creativity

23.)                  Attitude (Charles Swindoll)

24.)                  Pretty neat thing (Paul Harvey)

25.)                  Friendship & Folk sayings

26.)                  11 Things worth knowing

27.)                  Today & other tidbits of wisdom

28.)                  Fairy quotes

29.)                  An animals prayer

30.)                  For the love of horses

31.)                  Instructions for life (Dalai Lama)

32.)                  Forgotten language (Shel Silverstein)

33.)                  Quotations on hope

34.)                  Helpful hints

35.)                  Irish blessings

36.)                  Irish blessing continued

37.)                  Quotations & sayings (William Arthur Ward)

38.)                  The wind whispering

39.)                  Words to live by (Noel Coward & Erma Bombeck)

40.)                  Words about children

41.)                  More words on children

42.)                  Happiness

43.)                  10 parentisms, peace

44.)                  Parents revenge poem

45.)                  My gift to you

46.)                  All about Mom

47.)                  Do it anyway (Mother Theresa)

48.)                  Breath of romance

49-101.)     Your journal
   The Symptoms <3 span="">of Inner Peace
            Adapted from Saskia Davis Inner Peace Love
  ~ Increasing susceptibility to the love extended by            others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it. 
~ A tendency to think & act spontaneously rather than based on fears from the past. ~ An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than to make them happen. ~ Wonderful feelings of connectedness with others and nature. ~ A loss of interest in trying to interpret the actions of others. ~ Frequent overwhelming episodes
of appreciation. ~ An unmistakable ability to
enjoy each moment. ~ A loss of interest
in judging other people. ~ A loss of  
interest in judging self. ~ A loss
 of the ability to worry.
Frequent attacks
of smiling. ~ A loss
of interest in
 The Beauty & Joy of
Inner Peace is: the more you share, the more you have and the more
you have, the more you share!
Pg 5 Girl (I)land

Lisa Ekanger Your Advice Coach!