Category Archives: good habits

i live in a small town

pushing throughAhhh small towns, they are wonderful pieces of Americana that, as I have written many times before, seem to be giving way to corporate. That’s where I live, in a small town, New Iberia, Louisiana, a little community that grew up along the Bayou Teche. I am not native to here and neither is my husband, he is from Miami Beach, but we have lived here a long time and  have raised our family here.We are small business owners  also and are always so happy to see the loyal support our community gives local businesses, maintaining some of our  quintessential small town individuality. Anyway, it’s been a nice place to raise our family and continues to be a nice place to be a small business owner.

There are two institutions in this town that I feel an enormous amount of gratitude and indebtedness to, Clementine’s Restaurant and the Iberia Performing Arts League, better known as IPAL to us locals. Both of these hometown establishments have provided wonderful developmental experiences for all five of my children and for that, I am so thankful. Wayne Peltier, owner of Clementine’s, kept my four teenage sons busy on many weekends during high school doing catering jobs on site for Peltier’s and then later, at Clementine’s Restaurant. He hired them at 16 years old with absolutely no experience, their first jobs. I am certain they must have made many mistakes in those early days of employment that paralleled those dubious days of high school  and even in the latter days with experience  but he never made them feel anything but good about themselves, even after major blunders, and there were plenty of those. Wayne Peltier is a former teacher and I think he has never forgotten how critical those times in youth are, how influential the adults are in your life and the experiences that shape you. I cannot speak for anyone else, but for me, he was a wonderful first employer for, and later, a wonderful friend to my four sons.

 The amazing people at IPAL embraced my 13 year old daughter during her first performance of Oklahoma and gave her such a positive perception of Community Theater and the arts. She was able to meet and work with some exceptional personalities and I hope, made some lifelong friends. As Doc Voorhies told me once, “We watched her grow up in the theater”. I will always cherish those words, those people, and those times.

As a mom and teacher, I cannot place enough value on people and places within a community that help with the development of our youth. I believe it is so essential for our small communities to support one another and to pay special attention to our youth; it is cliché’ but, they are the future. And they can be so fragile and misguided in an environment of negativity.

My family owns a small business in town and we too employ youth and are for the most part, their first employers. These kids are minimum wage workers that are, like my kids were, usually inexperienced. They are servers that serve you, the customer. And while, as business owners, we want your experience to always be ideal, sometimes it is not. Just as sometimes you miss the mark, they do also. We have had many moments at our store when it was so incredibly busy that all sense of order was obliterated – for those of you who have never worked in the food industry, I am here to tell you it can be very hectic and frenzied. For the most part, thankfully, our customers are very understanding. They know we are working as hard as we can and are polite to our employees and to us. Sometimes, unfortunately, we have a customer that is not and the server is sadly and consequently demoralized. We have, on occasion, had customers call us privately to tell us about their negative experience and we are always grateful for their input- it’s the sort of criticism that can cause positive results instead of crushing consequences.

It’s tough running a small town business in this era of “big box” but it is so beneficial to a community to keep things local and to create uniqueness – something that is sadly disappearing along the byways and highways of our country.

Again, a public thank you to Wayne Peltier, owner of Clementine’s, and the kindred spirits that comprise IPAL for all you have done and continue to do for our youth and our community. These are the types of places and organizations that keep small towns alive and help to shape our youth and grow our communities. I write this just to emphasis their value and perhaps raise a bit of awareness.



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something to do

Just a quick post to put something out there to think about…

 I bother myself with reoccurring thoughts of “how I am helping”, “how am I contributing”? I ask and I come up short. I know that I am hitting all of the big marks – taking care of myself and my family – working at a job of service – trying to be kind to the planet – doing art –  but it’s the small things I am short of, the things that are so easy to do. I think of this because of my twins – I was told a story yesterday about something they did long ago in high school – something they probably don’t even remember but the recipient of their kindness does and  the positive effect has remained with them – how wonderful is that, how great that we can make a difference?

Anyway, this little story inspired me and made me question my own contributions. Sometimes I feel so caught up in my little world and I am not as sensitive to those around me and not helping when I could; I’m too “busy” and self-absorbed – know the feeling?

That is what is on my mind this Sunday morning, the realization that sometimes just a word of praise or a genuine smile can be a difference, a difference that will never be forgotten. It is my goal to become more mindful of those opportunities to do just that. We all know by now that things are not as they seem, people tend to exist behind facades of deception – underneath, there are concerns and we all have the power to readjust damaging thoughts and make the day better for others and consequently ourselves. Our outer selves are what the public sees – it showcases snapshots of our lives that appear fine,it’s our “Facebook” and many times we are all “Pretenders”,  but somewhere beneath, we are the same, experiencing the same anxieties, fears and similar problems.

 I don’t mean for this to be a negative post – I just mean for it to be honest and on this Sunday, a day revered by many, I thought it fitting to think about what else we can do.

There is a quote by one of my son’s (William) favorite guys, William James, that puts all of my awkward words in one little package: “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”

I end with an image, an image that may affect you in a positive way. I resurrected this old kitchen staple yesterday and made coffee for my daughter and I just the way my mom made coffee for she and I many years ago.It dripped and then we drank a cup and shared a moment, one that I hope will make a difference. 
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I am re posting something that I am thinking of almost exactly one year later – this was a February 20, 2010 post and I find myself, again, contemplating this thought. I evaluate this past year in regards to this concept and I feel I have modestly practiced this philosophy – but…I need to implement more – hence, the re post.
I spent some of the morning reading my new book. It is one of Og Mandino’s books, The Greatest Secret in the World. Interesting and inspirational. So far, this is my favorite collection of words: “Good habits are the key to all success. Bad habits are the unlocked door to failure.” This resonates with me because I believe life is cumulative, every little thing moves us in a certain direction. Just as every thought we think becomes part of our fabric, everything we do positions us on a course. I have told this to my kids – make good choices, each day, each moment will position you in a place to decide between and amongst certain things – choose the right one. I think it really is simple, we just tend to clutter it up to where the edges are smeared and the choices become complicated. Overthinking. Anyway, I will focus on developing good habits, small ones that will add up to something good. I think more about Og Mandino’s analogy of the little “ant that can devour a tiger” – one little bite at a time – moving in the right direction. I feel empowered; I feel I can do what I want to do with a positive attitude and persistence – “stick to itness”.
I am in need of some sunshine and warm weather. I need to be in my garden planting seeds and fussing at my chickens. Spring officially arrives on March 20, about 1 month from today. I took a walk around today and found plum blossoms, a new assortment of birds, a bluer sky, and a promise of spring stirring in the wind. I am setting goals today – lofty goals that I will achieve.
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