Is It Passion or Sheer Tenacity?

“The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.” ~Walter Bagehot

I’m not a Darwinist.¬†I don’t believe the take Darwin had on creation. Still, once in a while I’ll run across a quote from someone who did, and it has a truth that resounds with me…such as the one this particular blog was begun with. Bagehot was also a British businessman, economist, political journalist, and critic.

I have a daughter that some would say has a stubborn tenacity about her. If she has a passion about something, stay out of her way, because she will fight for it no matter how long it takes to see it come to fruition. She’s had her share of having to let go, but that never happens until she’s sure it cannot be resurrected…which takes a great deal of time, sweat, and tears. You’ve got to admire that kind of passion.

The definition of tenacity is simply “persistent determination”. Passion is “any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate.” When the two marry, we have what we need to face any difficulty, any challenge, any resistance. In the absence of either, it’s not going to happen. You might as well find another profession.

To have tenacity without passion, our lives will be filled with sadness. We will work with little satisfaction. There will be no lasting satisfaction in our chosen profession or in anything actually. We’ll go home at the end of the day, tired and discouraged. It is the passion, the love for what we do, that keeps our tenacity exciting.

When passion is present, we can do what others say we cannot.


Wishing Our Lives Away

I never understood it fully until just recently. Who would wish their life away? Crazy, right?

This is a truism (an undoubted or self-evident truth), my dad used to say when I made statements like, “I wish I was 16.” “I can’t wait until I’m 18.” “Mary, you are wishing your life away,” he would say. Upon rounding the “teen-bend” and running smack dab into the 20 year mark, it seemed as if my life had nowhere to go but down. And down it did! Not because 24 hours was now more like 12, but because of my choices. Then my complaints became, “I wish it was Friday.” “I can’t wait until Spring.” Legitimate requests/complaints, wouldn’t you say?

If I can inspire even one (but I’m hoping for many), to understand the moments to be cherished and the moments to create life where there seems to be none, then life as we know it, becomes more than a fleeting thing and more than it’s substance. Yes, I understand that days seem to last forever when we’re wishing we didn’t have to live them. My question is…what can we do with the moments we’ve been given? Are we to waste them, become bored with them, wish they weren’t ours? In the reflection of my own life, I believe the reason we grumble about the days isn’t because we don’t enjoy our jobs or what we’ve been given in life, so much as it is that we are very self-centered, pleasure-seeking, people. We’ve bought the lie that if you’re not happy 24/7, then life isn’t worth much. Please understand I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to want the more pleasant things in life, it’s just not a great scenario for growth, which in turn, gives way to a mature state of mind. Without the friction we experience in day-to-day living with others, we would be very spoiled, unsatisfied individuals. In addition to that, in order to be equipped to do the things we love to do, we must first earn some money to do them with. Mostly. Some enjoyments are free…but we don’t know that. ūüėČ And…why not make the day you are resisting, a great one? Others will hate you for it…call you a “brown-noser” and other unlovely words. They will call you a fake, a people pleaser. And yet, you are the only one responsible for your actions or reactions, not those of others. Isn’t that great?!!! There will be miserable times…times of conflict, times of distress, times of uncertainty. Those are the times we must remember that, in time, everything changes. Maybe you are to be a part of that change. What we do in the moment is what will make our day a good one (even during chaos), or a not-so-good one.

I grew up on a farm where we had a lower, and an upper, pasture. In the lower pasture there was a ground fed spring that ran into a creek, that ran right through our property. We had placed stepping-stones, not quite large enough to balance oneself on, from one side of the creek to the other. There were places along the stream we could just wade across…other places needed stepping-stones that were more like large rocks than smooth stones. We just called them stones. They weren’t comfortable to step on, but then again, they weren’t meant to be places of leisure. They were there to get us to the other side. Much like our places of employment…

Ahhhh…the stories I could tell you of my childhood (AND adulthood). Some really great ones…some very disturbing ones. Not much different from any of you. We all have our stories to tell. And because of those stories, we should cherish our days…not wish they weren’t a part of our lives. Have you ever seen a beautiful tapestry? Many colors, many weaves, full of variety. That’s what our lives were meant to be. One flat color may have its own beauty…but as a hair stylist, I can assure you depth is much more attractive.

We really can turn the ugly into something beautiful, or at least weave it into the beautiful parts that will give our personalities depth that is full of knowing acceptance of others difficulties…giving them the space and desire to make their moments ones to be cherished.

As the years get further in my rear view mirror, I am coming into the understanding of what my dad said. Don’t wish your life away…make it all that it was intended to be. Make it great!

Changing the Murmurs to Applause

What was the one experience that completely changed your life? What happened? How did it change your life?

“I just can’t do it! Every Monday (or Sunday evening) as I think about blogging Monday’s Murmurings, I get so hesitant and withdrawn. I don’t like the sound of it, I don’t buy into it…why should I write about it?”¬† ~Me (talking to myself)

Today, I want to share a moment in time that changed my life. Please understand there have been many life changing moments for me, but since this is a beauty blog, I’ll share the one thing that got me where I am today.

Way back in 1972, I was a lost little girl. Actually, I had lived to the ripe old age of 25, and thought this was what life, my life anyway, would always be. God, however, had a different plan and I will be forever grateful for that plan!

I was offered a way out of the mess I had walked into, and as difficult as it was for me, I accepted the challenge. My life wasn’t anything to be proud of, but it was my life. And change had been extended to me. But it meant more than just leaving a geographical location. It meant a heart change (I may write about that in my personal blog at

My life changing moment? I am the last of 10 children, and of many siblings I can’t say I really “know” them.¬†But they showed me unconditional love, when in 1973 I needed a lifeline. My sister, Becky, along with brother Rush and his wife Linda, flew to Tennessee with the mission of bringing me home to Oklahoma. To this day I don’t know who it was that began the process of providing for me, and financially securing my training for the beauty industry. If I were to guess, it would be that Ken (another brother), and Becky got together and brain stormed. They all agreed to take responsibility for getting my feet secured in a business I could¬†use to provide for myself. I¬†am still in awe, when I think of it. Some of them I repaid by taking care of their haircuts, colors, perms, etc. But there are a few that still has not seen any form of payment…nor do they expect it. Unconditional love. One of my brothers, Ken Prater, was always putting “extra change” in my hands to help with gasoline for the car, or should I need lunch money. His words will always stay with me.¬†“His grace is sufficient,” he told me. And indeed it has been. There is not time nor space, to share the instances of this very thing being my comfort. Even now, tears fall from my eyes just thinking of the difficulties, and God’s provision. But we made it!!!

Life is full of changes…and sometimes those changes really hurt. But they cause us¬†to reach for all¬†we can be. Discouragement happens. No one lives without facing discouragement. It’s what we do with it that matters. We can curl up in a ball (that’s okay for a while, just don’t stay there), or we can say, “That was bad, but tomorrow is another opportunity to use the bad…for good.”

I don’t know that I could have done it without my family, without someone to catch me as I was falling. I know that with God¬†miracles are¬†possible, people immerge¬†out of the ashes of life, all on their own.¬†But most of the time, it’s those individuals¬†that care enough to be His hands extended, His arms to carry, His feet to walk beside us, that support us as we move into His plans for us. That’s what kept me alive…literally. And maybe that’s a bit of why I find it so hard to listen to grumblings, discontentment voiced over and over. Change what you can, and use the rest as a ladder to reach for the stars. What good is complaining anyway?

Life changing moments…well, they change murmurings to applause! Make it a great week!


Success is Never Final


I’m really glad success takes more than one try. Without failures, we can’t perfect what we’ve begun. Failing really isn’t failing at all…it’s improving something until you’re satisfied with the outcome. Real failure happens only when we give up.

I just published the title of this blog entry, without a body. I think we can all agree that the head isn’t much good without the body. Nor is instruction, or wisdom, worth anything without an action. We can read wise words all day. We can listen all day, as men and women share their experiences and knowledge. But unless we put what we’ve learned into action, it’s wasted time and space.

I recently had a representative of a product I carry, ask me if I needed to learn anything else. Was there anything I didn’t know about the business I’ve been a part of for 35 years. I don’t think I’ve ever been asked that question until now. My reply was simply, “Of course. We never stop learning, do we?” A closed mind will shrivel and die. How do we get to the place of thinking there is nothing more we can learn? I’m supposing that would be a very boring place. I still continue to be surprised at what I don’t know…even after all the years spent in this industry.

I’m going to venture out there and make a statement some may not agree with, but none-the-less, it’s true. Without experiencing change, we become boring.

It really doesn’t matter what business you’re in, change brings success! I tend to agree with Winston Churchill. Success is never final…Success spreads out beyond ourselves, much like a drop of water reaching beyond itself to touch a pool, greater than itself.

Passion, Persistence, & Patience

Beauty and the Business Valentine

Ahhh…the holiday for lovers…and love. Passion, along with persistence and patience, is directly linked to this very famous holiday. If you know the original story of Valentine’s Day, you know why it has gone down in the annals of history. Let me share St. Valentine’s Story…

St. Valentine¬†lived in Rome during the third century.¬† At that time, Rome was ruled by an emperor named Claudius. Valentine wasn’t the only one that didn’t like Emperor Claudius! A lot of people shared his feelings.Claudius wanted to have a big army. He expected men to volunteer to join. Many men just did not want to fight in wars. They did not want to leave their wives and families. As you might have guessed, not many men signed up. This made Claudius furious. So what happened? He had¬†this crazy idea of not allowing anyone to marry. He thought that if men were not married, they would not mind joining the army. So Claudius decided¬†to enforce this idea of his.¬†Young people thought his new law was cruel, as did St. Valentine. He knew he couldn’t support this new law, because it was against God’s laws. St. Valentine was¬†a priest and he¬†took orders from God only.¬†He took a lot of pride in marrying couples. Even after Emperor Claudius passed his law, he kept on performing marriage ceremonies — secretly, of course. It was really quite exciting. Imagine a small candlelit room with only the bride and groom and the priest.¬†I imagine they¬†would whisper the words of the ceremony, listening all the while for the steps of soldiers.One night,¬†they actually heard those feared¬†footsteps. It must have been very scary!¬†The couple escaped, but St. Valentine wasn’t so fortunate.¬† He was thrown in jail and told that¬†his punishment was death. He stayed cheerful even knowing his fate. Many young people came to the jail to visit¬†him. They threw flowers and notes up through his¬†window, to show their admiration of him. They wanted him to know that they, too, believed in love. One of these young people was the daughter of the prison guard. Her father allowed her to visit whenever she wanted. Sometimes¬†they sat and talked for hours. She helped him to keep¬†his spirit up. She agreed that it was the right thing¬†to¬†ignore the Emperor and go ahead with the secret marriages. On the day St. Valentine was to die,¬†he left his¬†friend a note thanking her for her friendship and loyalty. It was signed, “Love from your Valentine.” That simple, heart-felt¬†note, started the custom of exchanging love messages on Valentine’s Day. It was written on the day he died, February 14, 269 A.D.¬† Now, every year on this day, people remember. But most importantly, they think about love and friendship.¬† So, when you¬†think of Emperor Claudius, you can remember how he tried to stand in the way of love, and laugh — because¬†you know that love can’t be snuffed out.

Okay…stay with me here, as I connect this story with what I’m¬†going to share about business.

I think I was the only salon owner in my home town that required a signature on a contract when¬†prospective stylists applied for a position at my place of business. The contract was for them as much as it was for me. It told me they were serious about what they were going to embark upon. There was never a time that any of the great gals¬†who worked alongside me, didn’t know what I expected during their stay. Well, with the exception maybe, of¬†the gal¬†who convinced me she spoke English well enough to communicate with English-speaking clients. I must have had blinders (maybe earplugs as well) on that day, wanting to bring her on staff because of our Latino community.

I provided an atmosphere, not only for the client, but for the stylists and myself as well. One that was void of gossip, bad language, and unclean spaces. If we are to spend the majority of our waking hours at our businesses, shouldn’t our surroundings be pleasant? Shouldn’t we be PASSIONATE about what we do…like St. Valentine was? Shouldn’t we PERSIST in the face of weariness? Shouldn’t we, of all things, be PATIENT knowing that with patience comes true love?

In this new endeavor of mine, I have had moments of discouragement and impatience. Who would have guessed…this person that lets very little get in her way of making things happen, also has moments of self-doubt? I think St. Valentine may have had his moments also. Except when the young girl came to encourage him.

We, also, need to encourage each other…especially when we see that lonely look in¬†another’s eyes. The look of doubt, discouragement, and disillusionment. Once we’ve made the commitment to see passion through, that old hum-bug Claudius¬†(aka FEAR) can’t throw¬†lasting discouragement at us, like keeping clients from our door. True love will start to blossom for our profession.

Remember…Passion, Persistence, Patience…all winning attitudes. Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Monday Murmurings & Problem Solved

As I sit here, with my Cr√®me Br√Ľl√©e additive…in my Dunkin Donuts Coffee, all seems¬†right with the world…yet those pesky memories from a small (okay…really large) irritant of mine, come storming into my mind as I consider todays problem solving blog, Monday Murmurings.

Some time ago, I had monthly training meetings for servers in the food industry. I called it “Quest for Excellence.” There would be times I would have to bring all the “know your product” training to a halt and bring¬†the real issue to the forefront.¬† As I addressed laziness, the statement may have come out of my mouth on occasion. “Whatever your hands find to do, do it with excellence…as if you¬†are working for God Himself…because you are.” Sometimes I would mix it up a bit if I felt the need to paint a more natural scenario for those that might not fully grasp what I was trying to implant in their conscience understanding. “If a very important guest were coming to your house,” I would say, “would you put a little more effort into cleaning, cooking, and all the jobs of preparing for that guest?” “What if it were the President of the United States, or a known King from another land?” More times than not, I would get a very inspired answer. And of course,¬†we could¬†always count on there being¬†a jokester in our midst. But all silliness aside, things are rarely as they seem. We think our jobs are not that important. At the end of the day, who really cares anyway? If you only knew just how important the job you are working at, is…if you could see beyond the moment, the frustrations, the challenges…you would see¬†the greater good. And the truth that you, and your job (whatever that may be), are very, very,¬†important.

Today is problem and solution day in the¬†business of beauty, which I may have named without much thought, in my haste to get started down this road. “Monday Murmurings” sure doesn’t sound very positive. It has a dark-cloud-like presence attached to it. I didn’t mean it to come off like that, but now that I look at it I think, “Geez, Mary…couldn’t you have come up with something better than Monday Murmurings?” This title¬†had its birth coming from a mind clouded with the murmurings of¬†many individuals that “hate” Mondays. Take a look at Facebook…you’ll find them there. Oh well, it is what it is.

So, back to murmuring. Today I would like to tackle the issue of cleanliness in a very over-looked area. Why is it that stylists don’t deem it necessary to sweep up the freshly cut hair from their client, before he or she leaves? Before the cape is removed. Before they get up from the chair. This has puzzled me for many years.¬†Seriously, how much time¬†does it take to grab that broom and at least make a clear path for¬†the client to walk upon?

I know this isn’t a life or death situation, and I suppose clients understand when they have to walk on their own hair in order to stand up and head out, yet shouldn’t we consider the mess it leaves in its wake? Anyone that has cut hair, whether it be in¬†the kitchen or in¬†their place of¬†business, can attest to the spreading of this hair.¬†It takes about 10 steps¬†for it to detach from the underneath side of the shoe. A¬†hairy¬†trail¬†follows the client right out the door.

Is this excellence in what we do? Or are we just too lazy to care? Maybe we like to blame the client for getting out of the chair as soon as the cape is removed (don’t remove the cape until you’ve swept).¬†Maybe we’re afraid to ask them to allow¬†us to sweep the hair before they get up (ask anyway). I’m guessing they will respect you for it, simply because they have more credibility than many of us give them. I’ve never had a client yet, that became disgruntled because I wanted to keep my place of business clean.

I realize some would think I was taking this a bit far. Why is it even necessary to mention? Well, let’s reverse the situation for a bit, so we can get a different view. Would you, as a client, want to enter an establishment where hair was the carpet choice of the day? What would your impression be of that business? Or of the workers? What if you had to wait in an area with left-over hair particles lying around? See how important such a little thing is? Now consider what you would think of an establishment that, as you entered, all you could see was cleanliness, orderliness, a pleasant atmosphere, and smiling faces. It’s those little things that mean the most.

Solution: It takes only an awareness of¬†our surroundings, a desire to be the best¬†we can be (in all things), and an attitude of professionalism. That’s it. It’s our signature…

So…it’s A New Day

As you may know, I began this endeavor on the site, and almost immediately there-after, went to posting on simply because the name I chose for the first blog was already taken and the only thing I could come up with (that wasn’t taken) was to add a couple of numbers at the end. Well, I wasn’t happy with that…yet in my always doing before thinking frame of mind, I allowed it to go viral.

So now I’m hoping while figuring THIS site out (it’s waaayyy tougher for this “just do it” girl), everyone will stick close and not dump me.

This is where I’m at…maybe you can help. What is the white empty space in the sidebar? I can’t seem to access it…can’t delete it…don’t like it!!!

Heading to work this morning, so maybe tonight I’ll give it another shot. I’m thinking there may be a person by the name of Brandi Dodson that can help me understand this. ūüėČ