Not Well Versed

Not Well Versed

Soul ‘Mates’

I’ve always been fond of the term “mates” as the Australian or the British use the term. Mates are simply friends or people who might be closely associated in some manner.

I’m finding as I get older the idea of finding close ‘mates’ is not as simple as it once was when we were children. As an adolescent we aren’t caught up with judgement and insecurities, we put ourselves out there, said “hi”, played together all afternoon and unintentionally established lifelong relationships.

These days our playground is the workplace, and friendships are reduced to mere acquaintances.

Interesting how quickly an acquaintance can become a best friend, or how a once best friend can slip to acquaintance. I am in awe at how relationships develop and manifest in very different ways depending on time and circumstances at which you meet. Are the friends we fell in love with as children the kind of people we still adore today? Is it possible as adults to be so vulnerable as to begin a childlike friendship, the kind without inhibitions and hangups?

It’s a rarity and a treasure (as an adult) discovering a person you can connect with on a spiritual level, one whose beliefs and morals are in alignment with yours and you find you share in similar ideas, passions and interests.

I believe the term ‘Soul Mate’ is universal, it applies even to friendship that is not of romantic nature. I like to believe you can find a ‘soul mate’ in any mate… even if you’ve already got your ‘sole’ mate.

Life as I know it… this last day of 2011

It’s the last day of 2011, I’ve just finally had a chance to sit on my couch and put my feet up on the ottoman and take a breather after doing the house cleaning this morning. By the way, may I just ask, where does all this dust come from? I wondered as I was dusting, if God made everything for a reason, what’s the reason for dust? I know I’ve wasted countless hours of my life cleaning it up…. Actually, now after giving it some thought, I have to be reminded that my husband and I have owned a thriving cleaning business for the past six years and I guess you could say we owe that to… Dust? Hmmm… This brings me to my next topic of discussion.

Almost two years ago, my husband and I had a real heart to heart talk about what we REALLY want out of life. What our hopes and dreams were. He revealed to me his sincere passion for motorcycles and mechanics and how he regretted never being able to pursue it as a career because he didn’t graduate high school. So our cleaning company, he thought, would just have to suffice.

Vinny doing what he LOVES

I jumped at the opportunity to remind him that anything is possible no matter what age or stage of life you’re in. And after months of G.E.D. classes and several attempts at the entrance exam, he finally was admitted to Motorcycle Mechanics Institute! It’s been a trying couple of years for me to take on the burden of our financial responsibilities, which afforded him the time to attend school full time, but after graduating this summer, and opening up his very own motorcycle mechanics shop, well… I so believe it was (and still is) worth the struggle and sacrifice.

Now, we’ve always talked about closing down the cleaning business after he finished school, we planned to do it by the end of this year. Well, today IS the end of the year and I guess I’m feeling a little sentimental about dissolving the corporation that afforded us all the opportunities we’ve had until now. It has been the source of income, flexible schedule and business experience from the cleaning business that helped to mold us into the entrepreneurs we are today. But, sadly, we will be ‘closing its doors’ this week.

Looking on the bright side, I am so very grateful that closing the business was a choice, a plan that was well thought out. And because of it we are able to focus on our real passions! My business, M.Y.O.B. Consulting (yes that does stand for “mind your own business”) a company that helps entrepreneurs Start Up, Manage & Grow their business. It’s always been my life’s passion to help people realize their dreams. So, being in my position, I am given the great opportunity to stand side by side with my clients and assist them through the day to day operations that will help evolve and grow their businesses. I take great pride in my work and am so proud of the direction our company is moving. I say “our” company because I have three wonderful ladies (a staff bookkeeper, an office admin and most recently a marketing director) and they are all playing a huge part in how the company grows.

And of course, we have so much faith in how God’s going to grow  our newest business baby…Vinny’s Motorcycle Garage! We have already received such a great response and hope that business continues to flourish this year. We are already looking at a larger garage to move in to by February!

So, if we have so much to look forward to this year, why am I feeling a turning in my stomach? What am I afraid of? I can think of so many things that I’m fearful of when it comes to our home, our lifestyle, our businesses and our relationships… and I guess I just need to remind myself that God is and has always been in control and has never left my side. As long as we continue to act in a way that is according to His will, we should have no fear? Right? Well, why then do I still feel anxious? I can’t wait to get to the point in my relationship with God that I can just stare fear in the face and say “no more”. I think Peace of Mind has been what I pursue the most in my personal life. I want to know that I’m ok, my family is ok, the relationships I have with friends and clients are all ‘ok’.

I’ve just read the book The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) by Don Miguel Ruiz and despite my disagreement with the ‘Toltec’ belief system, I do feel the Four Agreements are principles that, if we practice and master, can really set us free. Especially the one that tells us Not to take things PERSONALLY. Both good compliments or negative criticism… we should train ourselves to give other people’s opinions no Value in our psych. But this is no easy task! I will re-read this book again over the next few weeks and really study it. In hopes of finding some applicable truths that I can practice in my daily life that will hopefully change my perspective.

New Endeavors…

Early this year (probably around March) I felt lead to start looking for office space for my business M.Y.O.B. Consulting.

City Centre - Parkview Condos in the back

It felt premature, but for whatever reason, after searching office space in downtown Orlando, I gave into the force that was drawing me to the downtown Kissimmee area. I landed at City Centre Parkview Condominiums just off Broadway. During a tour of the building I happened upon the UCF Business Incubator site on the 4th Floor. I was curious to learn more about this program and later scheduled a meeting with the site director and before I knew it, several months later, I had gone through the Excellence In Entrepreneurship classes and had been admitted into the program! This has proven to be a major step for my consulting business.

Signing the Lease to the new Office!

In June we signed a lease for brand new office space in the City Centre building and business has begun to grow! It was lots of fun moving into our office. I had to personalize the space, so with some paint and new furnishings from Ikea and West Elm we turned this boring shell of an office into a trendy and bright, comfortable yet professional space to work and be creative! I can’t believe it’s now THREE MONTHS since we’ve been in the program and the new office! In such a short period we’ve managed to grow our client base by about 5 new clients! In addition to new clients, through various networking events and seminars, we’ve made some great new connections and are purposefully working on our business in an effort to scale the company as we grow in staff and clientele.

Whoa! What an amazing month! Which end is UP?

Whoa! Just stumbled upon my blog and realized it’s exactly one month to the DAY of my last blog post. Feels like ages! Can’t believe all that goes on in one singe month of my life. In just 30 short days I’ve acquired two new referral clients to add to the ever growing roster of amazing businesses of M.Y.O.B. Consulting firm. (May I just say how very blessed I feel that my clients are so satisfied with our services that they are telling their friends and colleagues about us?) In these four short weeks, I’ve read 4 eye opening books~ The Purple Cow, UnMarketing, Beyond Booked Solid & The 4 Hour Work week. I have gone as far as to now re-read certain sections so I can begin to apply some of the lessons learned, experiment with some of their theories and having a blast with it at the same time! Oh, I’ve also enrolled in UCF Excellence in Entrepreneurship course, and am now halfway through my night classes there. I’ve been so fortunate to network with so many great business owners, start up entrepreneurs and long time business veterans, the energy packed into one night of class is so stimulating! I enjoy learning and meeting new people so much, this is definitely proving to be such a worthwhile experience for me. Expanding my knowledge and network all in the same 3 hour session – twice a week!

Alongside my effort to catch up with the growth spurt of my business, I’ve finally got around to incorporating my own consulting practice. Funny how part of my job is assisting my clients to establish and incorporate their business and for the longest time my own incorporation paperwork has sat on the desk collecting dust. In one week, I formed an LLC, registered for our Tax ID and opened up our business bank account! Whew! Finally! I did it all so quickly, it was almost effortless and painless (made me wonder why I had procrastinated for so long). It’s a nice feeling having my checks paid to M.Y.O.B. Consulting and deposited into my business checking as opposed to being made out to ‘Natalie Caro’.

Another great achievement this month is seeing a record number of clients through their ever dreadful TAX season. (Even the last minute people who dumped a years worth of bank statements on my lap at the last possible second have seen the light at the end of the tunnel). I felt a great sense of pride that Corporate Tax, Personal Income tax and most recently Payroll Taxes all were filed and delivered on time… dotting all my I’s and crossing all my T’s.

Somehow, in the midst of all that I managed to work in celebrating my 33rd birthday! I was honored to be surrounded by great friends, family and colleagues for a celebration at Dueling Pianos in downtown Orlando, hosted by my sister Jillian. I also spent some great quality time with my older sister and her family who vacationed down here from New York for a week during their spring break. There were a few more great things that happened this month like reuniting with a dear friend and mentor and such… but my free time is almost up so I have to cut this post short.

Can’t wait to share what’s coming up next month! Stay tuned!


So I can’t believe that two months have past since my last blog post. Seems as though every time I even think about posting a new blog entry I get all wrapped up in something else online. There’s such an amazing thing about the internet. Having access to work, friends, knowledge, and entertainment while it’s wonderful to have it all at our finger tips… it’s sometimes discouraging how easy it is to get distracted from the one thing I set out to do when I open the laptop in the first place. For instance, I opened the laptop this morning so I can sit and FINALLY write a blog post while having my cup of coffee on this glorious Sunday morning. Instead, I stumble upon the ever so sneaky ‘Facebook’ and wind up spending a good fifteen minutes scrolling through recently posted ‘mobile uploads’ albums that show up on my news feed. Then I glance over to the right and notice it’s a few friends birthday today… and what kind of FB friend would I be if I didn’t reciprocate a nice birthday note on their wall? After posting those I wind up thumbing quickly through their wall and albums and before I know it I forget completely what I wanted to blog about?! And that’s just the social realm of the internet, that’s not to mention the instant access I have to my web base project manager for work, email and calendar, and of course doing a little online banking! I can say one thing, In about an hour I get to sit at my kitchen table and participate in a live broadcast of my home church ( and worship!

Op! I gotta run, someone just instant messaged me on FB…

Dear Facebook

Dear Facebook,

Just wanted to say that it’s been a pleasure knowing you. I wanted to tell you how our relationship has impacted my life in a very positive way. You have been a great friend to me. Always a great listener, no matter if I’m whining about something or sharing great news, you’ve always been the non-judgmental ear.

I especially want to thank you for all of the amazing connections you’ve made for me. I can’t tell you how special the relationships are that you have made possible in my life the past year. You’ve reunited me with old friends and family, and connected me to new ones! I had probably the most amazing year of my life in 2010, and a significant portion of it would have never been possible without your presence. This past year you connected me with great friends that have taught me to dance, to play guitar, to perform my job better. You’ve provided opportunities for me to bless others, to pray for people’s needs and to support my friends and family through tough times and applaud them through the great joys in their own lives. The trips I was was so fortunate to go on this year, had lots to do with you. There were many elements that I would have never experienced without your presence.

You’ve not only helped my business to grow, but you’ve volunteered to help me to grow my client’s business’ as well. I so appreciate and value our relationship Facebook. Thank you for letting me unload my life on you each day, and thanks for keeping good record so I won’t ever lose touch with those who matter most to me and so that I would never forget all the beautiful little details that make my life so special.



My spiritual “Rehab”

God has been tugging on my spirit for years now. I call myself a Christian, a Believer. And I do believe that I am… but I recognize that I need to check myself into spiritual ‘Rehab’. I have been far from the word of God, and my soul is thirsty. After trying to satisfy that thirst by other worldly means (ie; career successes, personal fitness & cultivating relationships) nothing quenches and so I come back to my knees in prayer. It’s more like a ‘chat’ with God than prayer. I say something like

“OK God, I know I need you, even though things are going well for me it’s only a matter of time before I do something to screw it all up. I’ll become greedy or careless and make foolish decisions that will soon turn this perfect little world into a mess again”.

And God, in all is glory, doesn’t comfort me at all in this thought he downright says “Yup, you most certainly will”.

So, that’s when it hits me, I don’t want to get right with God AFTER the bomb has exploded, desperately searching for peace and answers. I want to be guided by His word and cleansed by His Holy Spirit so that I might avoid some of those disasters.

And for the inevitable ones…. the ones that are strategically placed in my path for character building and faith strengthening, I want to have God’s peace already instilled in me so that I don’t panic in those situations. I want to recognize the dilemma for what God intended it to do in and through my life. So that I can address it in His way, learn from it, get through it… and…. well… move on. (Oh, and when I’ve gone through it, it’d be nice to recall it all, when my path is crossed with someone who might need to hear about it).

My answer? A Spiritual TRIATHOLON: Prayer, Reading the Word & Application… I’ll share another time about how that’s going for me.

Halloween Day Trip (Party of One)

10.31.10 On this lovely Sunday morning, it seemed everyone in the household had plans for the day, except for me. I soon got those old butterflies in my stomach that felt a lot like I’ve just hit the lottery! Could it be? Were all the stars and planets in perfect alignment that allowed me this rare opportunity to just do something for me? Well, it didn’t take long before I was digging through the file cabinet in my mind, looking for the big fat file folder way in the back of the drawer labeled “THINGS I WANT TO DO WHENEVER I HAVE TIME OR MONEY TO DO IT”. Aha! I blew the dust off of it, opened it up and landed on the things I could do for FREE or with Very little money. The Grand Bohemian Hotel, in downtown Orlando! Yes, this place I’ve planned to visit for a while after having seen pictures of the art displayed there in the gallery. I knew whenever I decided to visit this place I had to be alone (only because I don’t know many people that share my passion for the arts and when I plan to do something like this, the most important element is that I enjoy myself and relish in the activity- so I’d rather go alone than to compromise my experience accommodating or appeasing whomever tags along).

Arriving at the Grand Bohemian, I pulled up at valet grabbed my Canon Power Shot SX20 camera (my favorite thing to shoot with these days), exited the car and went right to the Art Gallery. I was so surprised by how teeny, tiny this hotel and it’s gallery were. It took me a minute to grasp that idea, because for some reason I had the impression there was more to this place. I asked a few people where the REST of it was, but they all replied… “This is pretty much it”.  I was kind of bummed about this but I still made the best of it. I got some really neat shots and enjoyed some really nice art pieces both in the gallery and within the hallways. After browsing, I parked myself on a comfy leather chair at their Starbucks on the main floor with an iced mocha latte’ and reviewed some of my shots on the  camera. In an effort to make the day last longer, I drove over to see what I’d see at Lake Eola, I parked my car and walked over to their Farmer’s Market. I love outdoor markets of all kinds! So I knew this would be fun. The setting here was Live Music playing in a small courtyard in the center of the market, many locals sitting at bistro tables with their mates and many of them with dogs enjoying a meal or a drink under the shade of the large trees overhead. After browsing around up and down the aisle of arts and craft booths, looking at art and jewelry and such, I found myself a nice shady, grassy spot under a tree. I flung open my blanket, pulled out my camera, magazine and net book and laid belly down swinging my feet back n forth just enjoying this very act of doing nothing and enjoying being with ME.

Sack toss at the Pumpkin patch

Mmmm… Warm weather… Mmmmm…. nice breeze blowing the the delicious aroma of barbecued food on the grill… and funnel cakes being fried up… yummm.. but OH it was masked every so often when I’d get a whiff of what smelled like horse manure or some kind of potent fertilizer… yeggghh! Had a feeling it may be coming from the hay stacks at the pumpkin patch display not too far from me.

Couples were passing by holding hands or holding dog leashes.

Many passersby are dressed in Halloween costumes, adults and kiddies alike.  It was all such a colorful and happy site! I wasn’t sure which costumes were cuter, the kids or the pups. It was a lot of fun shooting more pictures. Shooting around, observing life around me, it’s definitely my favorite pastime. At one point, I turned over on my back and just watch the leaves from the trees above me just wave around playing with thin beams of sun light. I closed my eyes, took deep breaths of fresh air and just smiled… I felt at one point I was laying with my late friend Dina. (I lost this very dear and special girlfriend to cancer a couple of years ago). I rested my head on her lap, and she played with my hair, whispering to me, reminding me to REALLY appreciate and treasure moments like these.

This was a perfect way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon…

Missing Dad

10.31.10 Woke up with thoughts of my dad this morning. I don’t know why but I feel like I’ve missed him more this year than I ever have since he passed on over 20 years ago. I saw his face today. His smile so big that his eyes chinked… I heard his laugh and smelled his hands. I love that he lives in me still even though so many years have passed. I’ve lived my life now more years without him than with him. I only knew him for the first 11 years of my life before he went to be with the Lord. Now more than twenty years after his passing his spirit is becoming more alive in me than ever before. I find myself daydreaming often of how he would react to a certain situation. How much he would have enjoyed knowing my husband as his son-in-law because of all that they have in common. How much my daughter and nephews would have adored him. I think about how many laughs we will never get to burst out at one of his funny faces, jokes or gestures. How many smiles will never be seen since he’s not here to put them on our faces. But oh how blessed I am to be surrounded by his seeds… my brother and sister and my daughter and nephews… all descendants of his and all brighten my life in a way that is so special to me because they carry a part of him within them. They have silly comical tendencies about them that make me smile and laugh all the time. Its a beautiful legacy to pass down to generations that he instilled in us… the simplicity and joy of laughter!

Looking Cool!

It seems these days that everything is taking a little ‘extra effort’ on my part. And by that I mean, I feel like I’m working just a little harder to get ahead, it’s taking a whole lot more effort to keep a dollar in the bank, I workout tirelessly at the gym only to get seemingly same results, and now I have to put some extra effort into Looking Cool?

In my feeble attempt to have a social life, I went out with my sister to a bar that seems to attract her week in and week out. (oopsie, I think I just made my sister sound like somewhat of a lush?) I wasn’t prepared to go ‘out’ at all this particular evening. I dressed in jeans thinking we were heading to the movies, but somewhere between my driveway and the restaurant we were meeting at the plans had changed. Seems like the majority ruled we go to “Bar Louie” in Dr. Philips. I just went along with it all, not really paying mind to how under-dressed I might feel once we arrived. The place was pretty nice, thankfully not at all what one would imagine a ‘bar’ to look and feel like. (I don’t drink, so this environment goes a little against my grain). We get there, I order a water at the bar… OK, so right there I think I immediately lost a few ‘cool’ points. We stood by the bar awaiting the rest of our party to arrive and I’m looking & walking around trying very hard to blend in with all the very OVER-DRESSED women at the venue. But it was no use, I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb. I took one last sip of my water and left it at the bar and followed the girls out to the outdoor patio area. I hurried out to avoid the drunk ‘cougar’ looking lady (who was dressed like a 21 year old party girl), and was earlier trying to pull me into the dance floor to fist-pump and do the ‘cupid shuffle’. We found a corner of the bar to hang out at, and I succumbed to the peer pressure of my girl friends and had a glass of Riesling. I babysat that glass of wine for the next hour, to where it was better suited as an accessory to class up my outfit. I took a couple of pictures with the girls, tried very hard to look interested in their conversation, and very hard NOT to notice the guys who were trying to get our attention. And before I knew it, it was all over and time to go home. At least from the pictures it might have looked like I was a regular Socialite?