30 Days of Thanks: Thankful for – Body of Work

I am thankful for so many small things this year. Small acts, added together can make a much larger impact over the individual contributions. Being reminded of this, has allowed me to understand the random and planned acts of kindness, charity, faith, forgiveness and brilliance can change someone’s life. Sometimes it even changes a lot of lives.

An Artist’s Body of Work is made up a collection of pieces developed over time and often in a series of repetitive themes. I had a great Architecture professor, fellow professor, friend and fishing buddy that was also an artist. We lost Richard Ferrier to cancer way too early in his life. At his memorial, countless students, friends and colleagues commented on the special moment or gift that Richard (RB) left with them. There were stories of a kind act at one of the Universities we taught at, a personal reference to some needed help, or even an encouraging pep talk. He provided behind the scenes help and encouragement to several generations of artists and Architects. As I heard one story after the other, it was clear that no one person really knew ALL the good deeds RB had provided.

Thankful for a Theme of Art and Kindness

Driving home from that weekend, the stories began to overlap and the theme was clear. There was  a recurring study in kindness that characterized his true ‘Body of Work.” Sure, there was a legacy of paintings, awards and even archives in the Library of Congress to preserve his artistic work. But, small uncelebrated acts of humanity and friendship were the real collection. He had influenced and changed more people than we ever expected. Richards work was changing people’s lives.

I am thankful the ability to appreciate good design, to spell Winsor Newton watercolour with a ‘u’, to catch a trout in the cold tailwaters of New Mexico, to see someone fly in a WWII fighter plane. I am thankful for the lesson – To change the world, all it takes is small acts in recurring themes.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

Slowly creating my Body of Work.

Youth is Wasted on the Young

Some facts about dear old dad

  • He came from Mexico the legitimate way
  • Found work
  • Raised a family
  • Became an entrepreneur
  • Has worked for himself for over 20 years
  • Paid off his home in 5 years
  • Currently in 0% personal debt

One of my many stories

When I was younger my dad would circle the property around his business every chance he had. If we went to the movies, the grocery store, to visit family or friends; he’d always find away to reroute our way home just to get a glimpse of his business. He did this a lot, to say the least.

When I was 6, I asked him; why are we always coming back here. You do this all the time and it takes forever to go home. He looked at me proud; as though he was glad I asked the question, but not fully prepared to benefit from the answer.

‘This is my business and if I don’t look after it, no one will.”

This message along with the many others helped shape my perception of this world.  At the age of 6, responsibilities were but a mere blip on my radar.  My father made sure to remedy this.

Everyone in this world is born into a debt of responsibility.  The sooner I learned this lesson the sooner life got a lot easier.  I love listening to my father and those that came before me.  [Don’t tell him I said that].

Somewhere between elementary and the graduating of college my father lectured me on his experiences with finances, relationships, time , and dreams.  My father makes bold statements about what I should do with my life.

Ironically it was not the bold statements that taught me anything.  It’s the stories he tells about his experiences.  The memories that he illustrates with such detail.  It’s easy to take  scenarios  that he builds so well and deduce my own lesson.

It’s  unfortunate  that many lessons are learned without the time to apply them.

My father has given me the ability to start from where he currently is in his life.  He’s given me time, which until now I thought was impossible to give.

When I was younger my father got me to do things by teaching me.  22 years later he’s still getting me to do things by inspiring me.

“Youth is wasted on the young” — George Bernard Shaw

Inspired by Looking Beyond the Window

Looking in Florence, ItalyI am a small town girl, who grew up in small town Texas. Really. CNN said it was the smallest typical small town in America for the Millennium 2000. It was a great place to grow up safely where the rest of the world didn’t set the pace. My mom chose it so she could care for my father in his later years of aging health care and not worry about their little girl when she couldn’t keep an eye on her every minute. It worked, I have some great memories even if I grew up rather quickly. But, it didn’t do much for my world view and experiences.

One of the greatest gifts of my Mom gave me was the encouragement to learn about other cultures and travel when possible. So much so, that it required faith and living out her dream. On the eve of a summer study abroad for Architecture in Italy, she was hospitalized for a heart attack. A phone call from my sister while I was packing interrupted the hundreds of little decisions about what to pack in only a backpack and carryon for 10 weeks. A long night, and several conversations later, and I was on a plane at her pleading. Mom never traveled across an ocean, but dreamed of it for her daughter. In all that was going on, she told me “Go! Learn about the world and have a better life that I dreamed of for you! Live out my dream for me.” It’s hard to argue with a 115 pound (when soaking wet), wiry, Texas born and bred Mom. And, her cardiologist promised to take good care of her.

What I learned on that first trip abroad was to experience everything different than in my world, appreciate the differences and similarities. I came back inspired by history, art, architecture, culture and the people that make all these things so vital. Umm… good red wine and cheese as well, but that is another post. I learned with historical significance what we do in this world, in this lifetime, affects those who will come after us and builds on the body of work for our humanity. Could I have learned these things without traveling abroad, yes. Would I be the same person, no. My mom somehow knew this more than I did. She knew I needed to experience people and living differently. I know my place in this world is here in Texas, but I also know in small ways, I am connected to a larger picture and have so much more to learn from others.

Mom did get released from the hospital and we shared great stories about my travels and many more trips and escapades. She lived vicariously until her heart couldn’t keep up with her spirit anymore. Her eyes shined with each story and photo and in retrospect, yes, Mom was right. Mom, Thank You for inspiring me to experience more about the world other than what is outside my living room window. Even when I had to leave your side under extreme circumstances, you inspired me to be a better neighbor to human culture.

Book Give-Away: Greater Than Yourself

Update: We Have a WINNER!

Happy Thanksgiving folks! I hope that you have a wonderful Holiday. Thanks to all the folks who shared their comments about being inspired.

Now onto the important FREE Book thing – we dropped the names in the magical internet hat at www.Random.org and  Jim Struck has won the Schipul Thanksgiving Book-Away! We will be sending over a copy of Greater Than Yourself: The Ultimate Lesson of True Leadership. Congrats Jim! We would love to hear your thoughts on the book once you get a chance to read it.

Thanx again everyone for sharing – now…   go eat some Turkey!


It’s November again in Schipul-land (well, it’s really November everywhere else too, but is makes for a good opener) … and we are once again focusing on thankfulness. This November we are celebrating the sources of our inspirations… those people, quote, movies, books, etc. that have influenced us, motivated us, inspired us to do bigger, better, awesomer things.

To celebrate our celebration of inspiration we have a super special giveaway!

While our blog posts are sharing those things that have helped us get farther down the road of life, we want to give away a copy of book that focuses on how we can all give to someone else’ to inspire them, help them grow, lift them up, guide them through the obstacles of the work place, or community space, or fill-in-the-blank space.

Greater Than Yourself
Greater Than Yourself

Greater Than Yourself: The Ultimate Lesson of True Leadership is a book devoted the idea that the goal of genuine leader is to help others. To help those around us become more capable, confident, and accomplished than we are. That’s right… a leader’s goal is help the people we lead to be Greater Than Ourselves.

‘Real leadership, in other words, is an extreme act rooted in love and motivated by a desire to create a better world’ whether it’s the world of your company, team, neighborhood, or family.”

Written using the now very popular allegorical form, Greater Than Yourself wraps the three tenets of Greater Than Yourself’ Expand Yourself, Give Yourself, and Replicate Yourself – inside a fictional narrative. We follow the main character on his journey towards understanding and embracing the ‘GTY” way of life.  The book is a short and sweet read… ending with a perfectly useful recap of the steps to the Greater Than Yourself philosophy. It strips out the entire story and gives you the guidance you need to embark on your ‘GTY” way of life. The book is also supported by a vast and active online community at www.greaterthanyourself.com

My favorite quote of all time, the one that keeps inspiring me over and over again is the Marianne Williamson quote stating, ‘as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” It will come as no surprise then that one of my favorite quotes from this book is right in line with this idea…

‘One tricky part of a Greater Than Yourself project is that you cannot truly give in a worthwhile way to those around you without accepting within yourself the qualities the program emphasizes. You must be willing to expand yourself, to give your abilities to another, to tap into the greatness inherent not only in you, but it those around you.”

So’ we want to inspire you! We want to inspire you to inspire others! We want to give you a copy of ‘Greater Than Yourself.”

How do you win this amazing book? Glad you asked:

  1. Leave a comment below’ who or what has been a source of inspiration in your life?
  2. That’s it!

We will pick a winner using the random integer generator on Wednesday, November 24th.

PS –Be sure to let us know a good way to contact you when you win!

Own It

Puppies!I’m a serial self-critic who recently transitioned from relaxed to natural hair.

I have an eye for detail.

I’m a chronic nail-biter and known smartass who loves rap music, dancing, video games, puppies and high heels.

Most days that’s an awesome, adorable combination!   (If I may say so myself.)

Other days (particularly bad hair days/laundry days/break-up days), it’s flat out obnoxious (or funny). And I know it.

So what’s a girl to do?!   Own it.


When it’s all said and done, we can only be ourselves. Sometimes we get it all right. Sometimes we get it all wrong. The important thing is to forgive yourself your shortcomings; then appreciate, sharpen and share your gifts.

And of course celebrate people who do the same.

Here are my Own It champions   (Shoutout to Facebook! Thx for the pics.)













Speak Kindly and Carry Big Drumsticks

If you Google ‘Jerry Fuchs,’ the first result you’ll find is a Wikipedia entry for Gerhardt Fuchs, American indie rock drummer, writer and graphic artist.   Jerry was a member of several bands including: Turing Machine, The Juan MacLean, !!! and Maserati.   He also recorded with Massive Attack and performed drums live with the groups MSTRKRFT and LCD Soundsystem.

You can easily find online videos of him cranking along like a human metronome with his Motorik-influenced, dance-inducing beats.   You can find videos of him performing on ‘Late Night with David Letterman”.   You can also watch him, when performing with Maserati, repeatedly execute a monster, one-armed drum fill.

Jerry toured continuously for years. He played shows all over the U.S., Europe, and the world beyond.   He traveled so often, in fact, that he rarely spent any time in his self-proclaimed ‘dumpy” closet-sized Brooklyn apartment.

I met Jerry at one of his Turing Machine shows in New York in 2002. Years later, I had the chance to not only meet Jerry again, but to also be included as one of the bands playing alongside his.   My band, Sharks and Sailors, was lucky enough to play two shows with Maserati here in Houston in 2007- both of which were a blast.

When you are around someone that is on another level than you, as far as musicianship goes (or art, design, sports, writing, photography or whatever you are into), it can be intimidating to strike up a conversation.   But Jerry was not only incredibly accomplished; he was also very approachable, friendly, and genuine and had a great sense of humor. He was the kind of person that was not only inspiring to watch, but also had the kind of infectious enthusiasm that made you excited about music, friends, and life in general.   Over the years, Jerry would remain a somewhat regular topic of conversation amongst my band mates and friends. Not to mention the fact that his style and Maserati’s music had started influencing our music.

The last time I saw Maserati perform was in September 2009.   Before and after their sound check at the The Mink Backroom, folks jockeyed for a good spot to take photos or dance.   Jerry got off the stage, saw me, and came up to chat. He mentioned how weird it was to be playing a show in Houston, but not to be playing with Sharks and Sailors. It was really nice to have someone I admire remember me and appreciate the music I helped make.

I see live music all the time, but that Maserati show stuck out in my mind as being one of the most inspiring shows I’ve witnessed in the last few years. It was the kind of show that made you want to immediately drive to your practice space and create something.

He wanted to chat after they played, but I had work early in the morning and didn’t stick around.   I wish I would have…

Jerry tragically passed away on November 8, 2009′ exactly one year ago today.   He was in Brooklyn, on his way to attend a benefit event for underprivileged children.   He was riding a freight elevator up to the event until it got stuck in between the 4th and 5th floor.   He attempted to jump out of the elevator to the floor below, but the hoodie he was wearing got snagged on something, causing him to fall back down the shaft.   Jerry died later that evening at Bellvue Hospital in New York City.

Although I was not close with Jerry, he is an inspiration to me not just for his skills but also for his infectious passion and sincerity.   I know I am just one in a sea of many who was moved by Jerry’s personality. Evidence of his influence is abundant all over the web. People just like me shared their stories, thoughts and comments online after learning of his passing.

“You were truly one of a kind, and whether you knew it or not, people wanted to be in the same room as you, or near the same room as you, because maybe just maybe, some of that radiant joy and in-the-moment spirit you exuded would rub off on them.”

‘I could honestly go on forever about the guy. His laugh was infectious, his mustache almost a trademark, his insistence on calling you “bro” was genuine and no-where near ironic. If you were his friend, you truly were just that — if you hung out with him once, or a million times. It didn’t matter. And he was probably the best goddamn drummer I’ve ever seen — but you all probably know that already.”

I’m pretty sure Jerry would think this was a downer of a post.   But really, as far as life lessons and gratitude go, his life and his passing really stress the importance of enjoying and appreciating life and the things you are passionate about and the people who you share these experiences with.   I hope that one day I can radiate even a fraction of the joy and character Jerry had. He meant as much to his fans as he did his friends, and that fact is a testimony to his spirit.

This one’s for you, Jerry!
Sharks and Sailors’ ‘In Memory” (unmastered segment)

Don’t Thank Me

Those Winter Sundays | Poet Robert Hayden
In the first stanza of Robert Hayden‘s poem, ‘Those Winter Sundays,” the son/narrator describes the ritual of his father on a cold, Sunday morning:

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

While in bed last night, thinking of what to write about for my Thirty Days of Thanks blog post, I immediately thought of my own father and his rituals. Those humid weekday mornings in Houston, where he manicured lawns with weed whackers, tamed the electric snarl of table saws, drowned wasp nests with slithering water hoses. He worked nights but never rested when he got home. He would stay dressed in his cracked maintenance uniform, his fingers stained with grease, his thinning hair sitting heavy on his head. He would find work to do, he would move through the house like a bear blustering with hunger before heading to bed and his snoring collapsed walls.

I would sometimes watch him and wonder why he needed to work so hard, needed to work all the time. Like in ‘Those Winter Sundays” no one ever thanked him. I don’t think he ever expected us to. But I watched him always, learning from the serenade of his hands, memorizing the callous melody of hard work. It is because of him I now work with a company that I love, work with coworkers and clients that I respect and that respect me. It was a long road to get here but I never quit, I kept pushing and earning my way.

I know that one day I will have my own family that won’t thank me either. Who won’t know of ‘love’s austere and lonely offices” and that’s fine. I think my father would prefer it that way and honestly, I do too.

The Time to Hesitate is Through

In the 1995 film, Empire Records, the character Lucas states a lyric from The Doors, ‘the time to hesitate is through.”   That phrase has stuck with me until today.

I used that lyric as my senior quote next to my high school yearbook picture.   Up until then I just did was I was told, went with the flow, tried to not rock-the-boat.   But when that quote was in print next to my picture, it changed my perspective on living by the book.

It was one line, in one movie, that made me change my perspective and go after everything I ever wanted in life.   I embraced it and never looked back.   I went to college and became involved in just about every activity possible; except for sports (I was never good at sports).

I learned that to hesitate was just to let the world pass you by instead of jumping in head first and going for all the world has to offer.

So my thanks go to The Doors, for their wonderful songwriting and to the writers of Empire Records, for putting that one lyric, in that one movie, so that one day when I saw it, my time for hesitation was through.

Schipul Thanks – A month of gratitude and life lessons

Schipul is thankful

Happy November!   We’ve passed the sugar high of Halloween and are focusing our thoughts around the more introspective (and turkey laden) Thanksgiving season.

This month each member of our team is sharing a source of inspiration in their lives – whether it’s a person, a book, a movie or a blog – that has helped guide them to where they are today.

We encourage you to chime in with your own sources of inspiration this month and check out our Thirty Days of Thanks posts from our 2010 series as well.

The biggest thanks, of course, goes out to our clients who make everyday at the office possible and exciting.   Your feedback, ideas and exciting missions keep our teams in a state of constant growth and development.

We love watching your communities connect, your businesses thrive and your events prosper – thanks for being the biggest inspiration of all!

Photo thanks to Flickr user visitamommy