I {Heart} Faces. “Hands On” Challenge

I ♥ Faces usually focuses on faces (DUH) but they change emphasis from time to time.  This week’s I ♥ Faces Monday challenge is “Hands On.”  The photo I am using is very special to me.  I look at it and it brings a multitude of emotions and memories to mind.  My friend Lana was fighting lung cancer and another friend and I went to Nashville to surprise her after surgery.  This picture was taken while we were visiting.   Lana had a large support system, many of whom wore a Go Girl ring for her.  This picture shows some of the hands that prayed and ministered to Lana, hands that wrote letters and cards, made meals, wiped her forehead, held her hand, comforted her.  Lana is gone, but she is so close to me when I look at this picture.

Go check out the lovely hands at

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Snail Mail Notes Goes Professional

Snail Mail Notes began because I wanted small enclosure cards to place on gifts for bridal/baby showers and birthday parties.   I was cheap tired of putting a $2-3 greeting card on the gift, knowing the card would most likely just be opened long enough to see who was giving the gift.  I searched card stores and places like Walmart and Target and didn’t find much, so I started designing my own.

enclosure card for baby gift

enclosure for birthday, new job, any happy occasion

enclosure card for wedding gift

I’m also a letter/note writer and often collected bought stationery and notecards.  Once I started making the enclosure cards, my own, one-of-a-kind notecards and postcards soon followed.

can be used as postcard or flat notecard

can be used as a postcard or flat notecard

folded notecard

I’ve written in past blog posts about my enjoyment of Dian Malouf and wearing her Go Girl ring.  Well, exciting news! I now have another connection with her.  I’ve designed folding notecards and sticky notes using the Go Girl ring.  Imagine, my work will be going out of her office with her signature on it!    So, introducing Snail Mail Notes‘ first professional work.

outside of folded card

inside of folded notecard

inside of folded notecard

sticky notes

sticky notes

All writing and photos copyright Paula Parks Fulford. 2010.

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Welcoming Joy Huber – Dealing with Difficult People

The phrase “Go Girl” is special to me.  I wear a Go Girl ring and have given a Go Girl ring to many friends over the years. Woven into that phrase is the Malouf family.  Dian Malouf is the designer of my Go Girl ring and her daughter, Brooke, works closely with the family business.


I met Brooke last fall and we have emailed and talked on the phone from time to time.  Recently, Brooke told me that she had met a woman who has written a book titled You Go Girl: A Woman’s Guide on How to THRIVE Around Difficult PeopleJoy Huber is an author, award-winning professional speaker & business communications expert who helps companies and individuals improve their communication skills so they can achieve better results in business and life.

I asked Joy to share with my readers some thoughts on workplace stress and she was happy to oblige.  She is guest blogging today and tomorrow, and she would be happy to visit with you more if you are interested.

And now, I present Joy Huber.

Ladies:  Got Difficult Co-Workers?

How DO YOU Respond to “Them?”

By Joy Huber

As the author of “You Go Girl:  A Woman’s Guide on How to THRIVE Around Difficult People,” business communications expert, women’s business coach and award-winning international presenter who speaks to many groups of women in business, I’m very VERY often asked questions surrounding how to DEAL with difficult co-workers.  Co-workers are especially challenging because we have no direct supervisory authority over them and can not discipline them through verbal or written warnings to change their behavior!  They are often the cause of a lot of working women’s stress and persistent stress leads to many very expensive health problems!

  • “Working women rank stress as their No. 1 everyday problem. Women must balance work and family, cope with aging parents and handle interpersonal conflicts,” says the New York Times on the Web Women’s Health section (http://www.nytimes.com/specials/women/whome/stress.html).

To help you learn HOW to deal with difficult co-workers, I first want to share my favorite definition for the word “attitude.”  I define attitude as “the way You Choose to Respond.”  You probably notice I’ve highlighted three words there:  you, choose, respond.

But how do you choose to respond?  Overall what is your preferred style of communication or behavior in response to your co-workers?  While we can certainly behave & communicate different ways in different situations or with different people, I’ll most be able to help you feel better, stress less, look better at work, and save $$ on expensive reactive healthcare if you choose ONE of the below four options for how you respond MOST of the time.

1. Passive – I list this style first because this is what most of the businesswomen I work with choose.  Ignore it & it’ll go away!  How often does that really work for you though?  This behavior can be defined as shy, timid, or nonassertive.  Unfortunately for women who choose this behavior, it’s a very lose-win behavior meaning you continue to lose while “they (Your Difficult People)” Win!  It causes you a tremendous amount of frustration about situations, anger & STRESS.  Have you ever looked for a different job, looked to leave a job you otherwise liked (job duties & compensation-wise), because of co-workers who are there every day and cause that very hazardous to your health ongoing chronic stress?

2. Passive-Aggressive – Any guesses why I listed this one second?  You are correct!  This is the next most common behavior I hear of women.  They mask their hurt feelings and anger by saying in the moment they are “fine” because they are simply not confident and comfortable with a face-to-face conflict and then waste time plotting & planning REVENGE or sabotage of their difficult person.  This behavior and communication is very lose-lose as the person you get revenge on then seeks to “not get mad, but get even.”  You understand why you experience so much anxiety & worry when practicing this behavior!

You CAN succeed with difficult co-workers using assertive communication.  You can have less stress & improve your health.  Live better.  Live longer!  Don’t dread going to work!  To sleep better tonight, go to:




Tomorrow, part 2 of Joy’s guest blog.

Malouf Meeting.

Well, you know by now that I have a favorite jewelry designer/Renaissance WomanDian Malouf.  Through the years I’ve had written, internet and telephone contact with Dian and her daughter Brooke.  But I’ve never met them in person.  Until this past Saturday.

JSilver was hosting a Dian Malouf trunk show.  Here is J with Dian at a previous showing. Dadgum. I should have taken a picture of the store’s sign and all the beautiful jewelry in the front window.  It’s in Rice Village, right across from a cool store, the Variety 5 & 10.  You remember those stores, they have a little bit of everything.

I digress.  Anyway, I took a chance that Brooke might be the rep who came with the trunk show.  And she WAS!  So I finally got to meet her.  Here she is, with lucky me standing beside her.


Isn’t she beautiful?  I wish you could see all the gorgeous silver jewelry she was wearing.  And how about all that lovely jewelry behind us?  A whole store of wonderful pieces to drool over.  The Malouf designs Brooke brought were so one-of-a-kind.  I could have easily purchased about 30 different pieces, there were so many I liked.

I’ll let you know the next time JSilver has a Dian Malouf trunk show.

Good to meet you, Brooke!!

All photographs and writing property of LoneStarLifer. 2009.

Friday Faves – Dian Malouf, Part 2.


In the Spring of 2006, I found a little box in my mail.  I opened it to find a beautiful silver ring with the Alamo on the square front of the ring.  I didn’t order it.  There was no card inside the box.  I was stumped.  I called my friend Lana to see if she had sent it.  Nope.  I asked Lana’s mom if it came from her.  No way.  I knew Big J wouldn’t send something like that to me. 

I finally discovered that it came from the Dian Malouf office.  Since first buying my Go Girl ring in 1999, I had corresponded and talked by phone to Dian, her daughter, and the Malouf office staff.  In one note, written a year before, I said I had just begun working on my research for mysidealamocr application for the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (no comments that I am STILL working on that), so it was known that I have a great love for the Alamo.  I LOVE wearing the ring and have gotten so many compliments and comments through the years.

I want to be Dian Malouf when I grow up!  When I’m discussing the Go Girl ring and her other jewelry, I describe Dian as a Renaissance woman.  She designs jewelry, writes books, takes photographs.  She grew up in South Texas near the Mexican border.  Combining that upbringing and love of the area, she authored two books about the ranchers and families who settled and care for that region.  Not only did she get those ranchers to talk to a woman, she convinced themto let her take their pictures.  The photographs in the books are hers.  I mean, her recorded interviews are in the collections in the Archives of Women of the Southwest at SMU.  How cool is that! 

           Her jewelry is so distinctive.
  diamond1My good friend JBM wears Dian’s jewelry and she said the jewelry is easily identifiable by others when she is wearing it.  Dian mixes silver, gold and beautiful gems or stones, finding inspiration in nature, the environment, different cultures, animals, history.  She really has something for everyone, from the sedate to the outrageous sublime.   All of her jewelry is made in America – that’s important to her. spring

She’s covered everyone with her endearings jewelry.  She took the Go Girl ring design and added new wording.  See if you find yourself in this list:
           baby                                                                                  bonita
                                      chula                                                                    cowgirl
                      darling                                diva
                                                         honey                            girlfriend
    madre                          mamacita                      mimi
                                 mom                                                                                               nana
                        princess                                         sister
To really set off the ring, ring guards with pink, green, blue and purple stones are available to frame your ring. 

The Dian Malouf website recently did something really nice.  They posted on the site that they were going to give away one Go Girl ring a month for 3 months and they did.  I got to read a couple of the thank you emails from those who received the rings and they were so thrilled and touched that Dian’s office helped them.  I hope you will find an opportunity to own a piece of Dian’s jewelry or read one of her books.  On the website you can find dates for trunk shows and stores that carry the jewelry line.

Well, I guess you have gotten the message that the Maloufs are one of my favs – Friday or any other day. Hope they will soon be one of your favorites also!



All photographs and writing property of LoneStarLifer. 2009.

Friday Faves – dian malouf’s Go Girl Ring


I have a long history with one piece of jewlery. A Go Girl ring, designed by Dian Malouf. She originally designed the ring as a tangible sign of support for girlfriends who were going through cancer treatments. I first wore my Go Girl ring in December 1999 for a dear friend, Patricia, who was fighting Inflammatory Breast Cancer. I bought a ring for her and one for me, and by the time she died in February 2000 there were approximately 25 women wearing the Go Girl ring for her. 

Lovely Patricia

Lovely Patricia

I continued to wear the ring for a year after Patricia died, I couldn’t bear to take it off.  It was my lifeline to her and I feared the bareness I would feel when I removed it. I finally put it away, but pulled it back out in 2002 for my college roomie and dear friend BC. Patricia, BC and I were members of the same church and BC was a Go Girl for Patricia. Patricia’s Go Girls wore their rings for BC, and new friends were added. BC had a good outcome from her lumpectomy and we all breathed a sigh of relief.

One of BC’s Go Girls was our college friend Lana who lived in Memphis. In the fall of 2004, Lana was diagnosed with lung cancer. She never smoked so this was a total surprise. Those of us with Go Girl rings who knew Lana put them back on, and many of Lana’s Memphis friends also got rings. Lana died in July 2006 and there were many Go Girls from all over at the funeral. You can read about Lana at: http://www.caringbridge.org/tn/lanamason/ .

Prayer hands for BC

Prayer hands for BC

I had not even had time to think about removing my ring after Lana’s death before BC was again diagnosed with breast and a second type cancer in September 2006.She had to have a lumpectomy and radiation which took us through the end of 2006.  There were many Go Girls with BC when she rang the bell at the end of treatment.

Cake at BC's bell ringing!

Cake at BC's bell ringing!

 So it’s been a quiet couple of years. I’ve been wearing a lovely Alamo ring, also designed by Dian.  More on that next week.  And then, I got a phone call in February of this year. My precious childhood friend PW called me to say she has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. We grew up together in West Texas.  Our folks were good friends so we often played together.  We also attended college with BC and Lana. PW was a Go Girl for BC and Lana, so of course the rings have been pulled out for her. I call her The Younger as she is three years younger than me. She calls me The Older. paulagogirlPW lives in Georgia, so it is a comfort to me to put on my ring every morning and think of her.  My friend BC says “shooting arrows of prayer upward” *as a Go Girl said to her* and that’s what I do each time I put on my Go Girl ring.  PW has had surgery and is currently undergoing chemo; we are hopeful about her outcome.  I would be grateful for your prayers in her behalf.



When I look at my Go Girl ring, I don’t see the illness, sadness, disappointment that sometimes comes with wearing it.What I see is the way friends surround someone in crisis and lift them up with support and prayer.  I see the way that Go Girls can all be linked in the world, no matter how far away we are.  I see the hope that flows from loving relationships and the healing from being a part of a group that loves as hard as they can.  I see how touched and honored each friend has felt to know there was a special group of women who went above and beyond to make sure the honoree knew she had the Go Girls behind her.  I see my friend looking at her ring and knowing she is never alone. I see my connection to my friend no matter where I am.

Now, the Go Girl ring is not strictly for support in bad times.  Dian says she wants “women to believe in themselves.”  I’ve given a ring to each of my nieces graduating from high school to remind them I’m rooting for them to succeed.  You could give a ring to someone getting married, starting a first job, becoming a mommy.   If you would like to have your own Go Girl ring, give a Go Girl ring as a gift, or start your own Go Girl support group for someone,  you can find more information herepinkgogirlcrClick Jewelry, then  Endearings. The best way to order a ring is to call the company directly at 214-520-3123. When I order from them, I receive my items quickly. The only thing  that might cause a slowdown is if they don’t have your size ring.

Tell ’em Lone Star Lifer sent ya!


Next week’s Friday Faves: A continuation of the dian malouf thread.


All photographs and writing property of LoneStarLifer. 2009.

Lana Thrailkill Mason 1957 – 2006

Three years ago today I lost a dear friend.  And today I want to say her name out-loud to honor her memory.
Lana. Thrailkill. Mason.
Diva Lana coming in for a chemo treatment.

Diva Lana coming in for a chemo treatment.

I called her Lana Lana Lana.
She answered back Paula Paula Paula.

Lana was a wife for more than 20 years, devoted PTA and team mom, wonderful singer, boisterous laugher, lover of life, generous lemonade stand supporter, loyal friend, gracious hostess, giver of gifts, gentle soul, life of the party.  Would you believe that the day she went into the hospital for surgery to remove part of her lung that she arrived in a tiara, hot pink feather boa and magic wand???  When I think of Lana, I think of passion and cantagious laughter and a smile that crinkled her eyes into little slits.  She was in no way perfect, but she was perfectly fine for me!

She didn’t smoke but was diagnosed with lung cancer in the fall of 2004.  She fought with all her might, displaying grace and dignity along the way, but the end came on July 2, 2006.  Her mother’s birthday.

Ruling from her throne.

Ruling from her throne.

During her illness I kept a website for her at caringbridge.org.  Do you know about caringbridge?  It is a free site dedicated to helping folks with terminal/chronic illnesses and/or receiving treatment to have one central place to disperse accurate information.  During the year and a half of Lana’s illness, interested parties could go to her site and find out the latest on Lana’s treatments, how she was feeling physically, mentally, emotionally, if she felt well enough for phone calls, etc. When she died I was able to put out an alert almost immediately so friends all over could be informed at once instead of having to make dozens of phone calls.  She had over 12,ooo hits on her site when she died, which tells you how many friends she had and how loved she was.

Go Girls for Lana.

Go Girls for Lana.


There were several friends and family who wore the Go Girl Ring for Lana.
That’s another post for another time, so stay tuned. 




I think one fear many of us have about dying is that no one will notice that we are gone, or that we were ever here.  Arthur Miller wrote in Death of a Salesman, “Attention must be paid.”  Lana, attention continues to be paid.  There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of you.  That your dear friend Jan doesn’t think about you.  Or Evie, or Curtis, or Patrick, or Trey, or Gay, or Kathy, or Brenda, or Paula W……………………………….

I miss you, Lana Lana Lana.  I hope you, your dad, my dad, Brother Cox, so many other loved ones, are having a joyous sing-a-long today.  I can just hear ya’ll.

To read more about Lana’s journey:

To see videos I made in tribute to Lana:
Lana scarf  queens3  hello2  goodbye 
When I Get Where I’m Going
Brad Paisley (feat. Dolly Parton)

When I get where I’m going
On the far side of the sky
The first thing that I’m gonna do
Is spread my wings and fly

I’m gonna land beside a lion
And run my fingers through his mane
Or I might find out what it’s like
To ride a drop of rain

Yeah when I get where I’m going
There’ll be only happy tears
I will shed the sins and struggles
I have carried all these years
And I’ll leave my heart wide open
I will love and have no fear
Yeah when I get where I’m going
Don’t cry for me down here

I’m gonna walk with my granddaddy
And he’ll match me step for step
And I’ll tell him how I missed him
Every minute since he left
Then I’ll hug his neck

[Repeat chorus]

So much pain and so much darkness
In this world we stumble through
All these questions I can’t answer
So much work to do

But when I get where I’m going
And I see my Maker’s face
I’ll stand forever in the light
Of His amazing grace
Yeah when I get where I’m going
There’ll be only happy tears
I will love and have no fear
When I get where I’m going
Yeah when I get where I’m going
(written by Rivers Rutherford)

All photographs and writing property of LoneStarLifer. 2009.