inspiration

Meeting Mackenzie Clan Chief at Castle Leod

I trembled with excitement the day we visited Castle Leod, the Clan Mackenzie seat, located near the village of Strathpeffer in the east Ross Shire of the Highlands. In the Mackenzie’s’ hands for centuries, Leod remains one of the few castles where the original owners family descendants still live. “For 500 years Leod was backdrop of the Mackenzie family whose dramatic and colorful lives were inextricably linked with the great events of Scottish history and the characters that shaped it, …

Happy Father’s Day to Dad Our McKinzie Clan Chief

In all of your trips to Europe to follow my exploits, I am sorry that I never took you to the Scottish Highlands to see the home of your Clan Mackenzie ancestors, so I traveled there for you. Now your traveling days are over, so I will paint a word picture of Scotland just as you used to paint magnificent landscapes of the places you visited in Norway, France, Germany and Switzerland that fill our walls with memories. But how …

I Declare Mackenzie Day to Celebrate My Heritage

On the east coast of Scotland, outside of Inverness, we traveled to the heart of my clan’s land and I declared it Mackenzie Day. We started out wandering among my dead ancestors in Beauly Priory, founded in 1230 as a Valliscaulian monastic community. Every other tombstone was engraved with the name Mackenzie, but the most poignant one lie in the north transept of the church. “Sir Kenneth Sixth Barone of Kintail” was engraved in the border of a stone bed …

Fine Art of Tidying Up for the Disorganized Brain

Propensity for organization is an inherited gene, which I lack. Tidying up will never come naturally, but I thought reading Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing would spur me into action. That clever little Japanese lady created a brand name consultancy agency and reality TV show based on her KonMari Method to eliminate clutter. Combining philosophical wisdom, Japanese cultural traditions, and practical advice, she makes staying organized sound easy. “The act …

Illinois Basketball Museum Commemorates Love of Game

Basketball symbolizes Illinois as much as sweet corn, the red bird and Abe Lincoln. Generations of farm kids grew up shooting at hoops nailed above barn doors. City kids learned resiliency playing street ball on concrete courts in the ‘hood. Thousands of student athletes remember cheering and charging across the hardwood inspired by the American national anthem at tip off. The Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) wants to commemorate this history by building our own museum along the famous route …