Monday, December 16, 2013


Greetings everyone and Merry Christmas!

The picture I've posted is one of the first blooms from the camellias in front of our recently-added fence. It almost looks artificial, doesn't it? I think it's very nearly perfect. I was tickled pink [get it?? :-) ] when I saw the profuse blooms a week or so ago - the bushes are only about 6 months old and they have been blooming heartily since I spotted the first bud unwrapping itself in the sun.

But did you notice that I said "very nearly perfect" when I mentioned the bloom in this picture? Few things in life are consistently 100% perfect, are they? If you look really close, you'll notice the teensiest bit of browning on the bottom right leaf and the smallest of blemishes on one of the fringes on the bottom left of the flower.

It reminds me of life. When the weather is almost perfect, there's a bit too much (or too little) humidity. When we think we have our finances in place, an unexpected bill comes along - or an expected payment doesn't! When we think our health is great, we pull a muscle lifting the handicapped cat from his bed :-). When our jobs are rolling right along, we hear dreaded rumors of layoffs. When we thought we had that report done perfectly, something is off somewhere and we've lost a huge chunk of time trying to find it.

There are times, though, when we need to recognize that excellence may very well be preferable to always chasing perfection. I don't think I've ever experienced consistently perfect weather, so I'll be happy with Florida's sunshine most days. Financially, most of us would always be happy for more, and yet, I am so fortunate to be able to pay my bills and then some. I have several friends who are suffering from serious illnesses, and I will be happy with my excellent - although not perfect - health. My job, which I LOVE, involves some travel, which I DON'T always love - but it's an excellent way to make a living - doing something that really brings me joy - AND helps others.

Even in doing my job, I sometimes notice that I haven't done things perfectly. Often, the participants in my workshop don't even realize whatever it is that isn't "perfect" according to the Linda Bruno theory of perfection. They are happy to learn and grow using the information I share with them - even if I accidentally leave something out that I meant to mention...or if the PowerPoint slide isn't quite lined up right. I've learned to roll with those punches and know that as long as I pursue excellence, I will be giving it my best...even if it's not quite perfect.

How about you? Do you stress over the "less than perfect" pieces of life? Gee, that can cause a lot of stress for most of us, can't it? Maybe it's time to take a step back and decide to be happy with "less than perfect" - especially when you know you've done your best. And remember...if you truly do your best, your best is likely excellent!

Blessings to each of you during this Christmas season and a happy, healthy, and EXCELLENT New Year!


Monday, November 18, 2013

The Committee

"The Committee"
Hi Everyone!

Today's picture seems to fit the title for this column - the committee! Doesn't that look like a committee of butterflies deciding whether or not the fruit on the platter is suitable for eating?

My question for you today, though, doesn't pertain to butterflies. It's about "the committee" you sometimes allow to take up residence in your head. You know the one..."You'll never be able to do that" or "Can you believe what THEY did to me?" or "Why can't I do - or be - or have" or whatever...

And the committee can also get very vocal about how you perceive what's happening in your life. For example, within weeks of her last birthday, a friend of mine started talking about how old she would be on her next birthday - and in doing so, she is not only losing this entire year, but she has now convinced herself that she's old and may not have much time left. Perhaps if she focused more on her current age or especially the fact that she actually feels pretty good, she might find daily life more enjoyable. The trouble is, that darned calendar reminds her that, indeed, she is aging every day. But we are all aging every day, aren't we? The more we focus on that, though, the more we remind ourselves of all the little - and not so little - aches and pains we are "enjoying" at this stage of life.

Or maybe your age is significantly lower than my friend - and you focus on all the things you haven't experienced - or can't afford - or wish you could do...  That "future focus," of course, robs you of today - and it will rob you of tomorrow's "today" too.

Another friend is going through an absolutely horrible health experience - you know the one...the one that starts with the dreaded "c" word. He has cancer and is going through a very strong round of chemo. For several weeks he has been talking about the toxins and poisons they will be putting into his body. The other day, we discussed that it might be mentally healthier for him (and perhaps even physically healthier) if he decided that what is going into his body is a very strong medicine and that although the medicine may make him feel bad, it has to be that strong to kill the cancer cells.

You see, "experts" have studied how our mind influences what we actually experience in our lives. We're all familiar with the placebo effect, when whether or not a patient is taking the actual medicine in the study or a sugar pill, if that person thinks they are taking the medicine, they often get better. The sugar pill obviously doesn't have the same benefits as the medicine and yet our minds can convince us otherwise - and our bodies actually react to what our minds are telling us.

Ah...and there's the problemOur bodies react to what our minds are telling us. And our minds react to what our minds are telling us - through negative thoughts, feelings, emotions - and ACTIONS - based simply on what "the committee" is insisting is the truth in this situation, whether or not it actually is the truth.

But I'll 'fess up here - overruling the committee can be really hard. After all, it's "them against us" and there's only one of us! But believe me when I tell you that it is WORTH fighting the committee's negativity. You'll feel better emotionally and sometimes even physically.

So what do you say? Let's FIRE THE COMMITTEE!!

Let me know if you're able to do that - I know you'll be glad you did!


Friday, November 1, 2013


Greetings, everyone!

Today's word is taken directly from a webinar series I am currently conducting, titled "Managing Your Priorities."

Although the webinar series pertains to time management, I think we could all take a step back and do a bit better in how we handle our life priorities. I personally tried to do that by going on vacation as I mentioned a few weeks ago. The picture above shows exactly what my priorities on vacation were - peace and quiet!! It was very important to me to have some real downtime on vacation - and we found a spot where I could do just that.

And since we've been back, my priorities have shifted once again. I've been on several overnight business trips recently, which require me to focus on details, details, details. Hotels, directions, where and when to eat - mundane things really, but priorities nonetheless when I'm traveling. When I'm back in the office, I am focused on making sure I have all of my programs ready for upcoming workshops - and that the content of those programs is just what the participants will need for that topic.

On a day-to-day basis though, I can lose sight of my "life" priorities. A whole day can go by and I haven't given my doggie or kitty the pats and pets they deserve. Or maybe I haven't given my husband the hug he deserves for being such a good friend and cheerleader. 

Sometimes, I don't prioritize eating right or exercising - which results in my health not being a priority. Of course, when chocolate is such a big priority, it's hard to worry about eating right :-)!

Sometimes it's rest - I stay up too late or allow my mind to whirl in a hundred different directions as I'm trying to go to sleep. And again, my health can suffer. 

Sometimes it's my attitude that needs priority attention and that's one thing that can slip without me even realizing it. That, then, can affect other priorities - trying to be kind, compassionate, caring...instead of disgruntled, irritated, or moody.

Whatever your "life" priorities need to be, I hope you'll take a few minutes to see where you stand regarding those priorities. And I hope you'll re-prioritize if you need to. 

When we have our priorities straight, so many other aspects of our lives benefit. I'm going to keep working on getting it right - how about you?? 


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Decisions, Decisions

Hi everyone!

I hope you've had a fabulous summer and are eagerly anticipating a nice crisp, clear fall...that's what we're hoping for here in Florida.

Today's word, as you can see, is "decision." You can also see I made a "decision" to add Grover, our handicapped kitty, to the hall of fame known as my blog posts. He gets mentioned a lot, but he's not always photogenic, so finding great pictures of his handsome face is not always easy. I think this one shows his inner beauty, though...

And on to today's word...I was thinking about how many decisions we make on a daily basis - what time to get up, what to have for breakfast, exercise or not, what to wear, which route to take to work, which tasks to tackle first, whether or not to stop for groceries on the way home, which bills to pay this week, what to have for dinner, good china or everyday dishes, load the dishes into the dishwasher or wash by hand, what to watch on TV, what time to go to you can see, I could go on and on to the point of ridiculousness! But think about it...we do actually make that many decisions and dozens more - every. single. day.

And yet...when it comes to deciding how we want our lives to move forward, we tend to avoid that at all costs. Each 24-hour period that slips by is gone forever. As dramatic as that sounds, it's true.

The question is, what did you REALLY decide today? Did you decide to be angry at the person who cut you off in traffic? Did you decide to be irritated with your co-worker...or your boss? Did you decide to spend money you don't really have because it made you feel better - for about 91 seconds?? Did you decide to eat something you know you shouldn't eat because yummmmm, it tastes so good - and then feels so bad when you see the number on the scale?

Or did you, friends, decide that today is too important to choose a negative attitude? Because decisions are all about choices, aren't they? Are your decisions bringing you joy, happiness, and peace?

Let me know - I'd love to hear what you've "decided!"


Saturday, September 28, 2013


Ahhhhh...vacation! A time for rest and relaxation, right? How many of you have ever felt like you needed a vacation from preparing for vacation?? That's how I feel right now as I prepare for an upcoming vacation followed quickly by a 4-day business trip. I know the vacation will be great once I'm there, but the "getting there" can be quite taxing :-). The squirrel in the above picture must be feeling about the same, LOL.

As I was thinking about my upcoming vacation from "work," I thought about how we might want to step back occasionally and see if we need a vacation from something else...

Is worry weighing you down? Is there a problem or situation you've been worrying about for awhile? As we know, worry doesn't really solve anything, although it's close cousin, "constructive reflection" can help us work through things sometimes. Maybe it's time to just stop - time to take a worry vacation -even for just a few minutes - where you just soak in the moment, enjoying the sunshine or the pretty purple flower outside your window or even just enjoying the contented look on your kitty's face as he sleeps.

Do you need a vacation from anger? YIKES! That's a scary thought, isn't it? Yet some of us carry anger with us as if it's our JOB - and we all know we perform much better when we take vacations from our jobs. So....stop the anger.

Maybe it's being judgmental of others that you need a break from. Someone isn't doing enough at work, doesn't dress the way they "should," talks too loud, or whatever...just stop. Again, it doesn't solve anything and just keeps you aggravated about the situation.

Have you been comparing yourself or your life - unfavorably - with someone else lately? Your finances, your home, your car, your hair color - whatever! Comparison steals contentment - so just stop.

Just as a "real vacation" is sometimes hard to schedule and enjoy, a vacation from emotions can be challenging, too. The thing is, we have to DECIDE to take the vacation, don't we?

So...what will you decide to take a vacation from?? Drop me a note and let me know!


Monday, September 2, 2013


Greetings everyone...

Well, here in Florida, we are just starting to feel a change of seasons - for about 9.3 minutes per day ;-)  In the early mornings, if I am standing in the shade and there's a breeze, the breeze hints that there are cooler days ahead. In the evenings, I can feel those cooler days getting closer. It's time for a new season.

Sometimes it's time for a new season in life, isn't it? And if you're like me, you might not be ready - or you may even be denying that it's coming.

We just experienced a season like that. Murphy, our 16-year old rescued kitty, died on August 22 and I have to face a new season without him. He slept with me (I know some won't approve, but he was my buddy!), he worked on my desk with me (and sometimes drove me crazy bumping up against the computer to get my attention), and he spent quiet time with me most mornings. The void is noticeable.

Murphy had shown signs that he was slowing down, so it was easy to deny that he was also losing weight and having a few "off" days now and then. He played just 2 nights before we said goodbye. In my mind, I convinced myself that he was still the same, young and ornery, and that we had a lot of years left. But somewhere deep in my heart, I knew he was going downhill. The occasional blood tests were showing signs of some ailments that kitties don't recover from. Still, I did not want to face this new season.

As we've said goodbye to Murphy, we've said hello to Brody, our rescued Australian shepherd. Thankfully, he has made me smile at some point every single day since we adopted him. Sometimes the smiles from Brody come through the tears about Murphy. That's how seasons work, I guess. There are good things and sometimes some not-so-good things about the seasons we go through in life.

There are seasons where we feel financially secure, or relatively healthy and fit, or deeply satisfied with our work - or our relationships - or our cars - or our homes - or our                ...

However you fill in that blank, I'll bet you agree that there are also times when we aren't all that thrilled with the current season. 

So what should we do? Hide until it passes? That didn't work so well the last time I tried it! Instead, we need to be in the moment - recognize a season for what it is...a season. A period of time that eventually passes - whether we want it to or not. 

And maybe while we're living in this season, we can also look foward to the new season that's coming just as sure as that cooler weather carried on the breezes here in Florida.

What season are you struggling with? Can you picture the new season waiting for you? Maybe your new season doesn't actually bring a change in circumstances - maybe it just brings a change in you - peace, joy, contentment...whatever this season has been missing. May you find it as you experience this particular season.


Monday, August 12, 2013


Hi everyone,
Today's word has so many "perspectives," doesn't it??

So many things happen in our lives every day that can affect our perspective. Maybe we're worried about that huge unexpected car repair bill, then we remember that there are those who can't afford bus fare.

We are irritated about waiting too long in the doctor's office for our yearly appointment, then talk to a friend who was just diagnosed with cancer.

We complain about the heat (don't we always, fellow Floridians??) then hear about the horrible mudslides in Colorado, typhoons in the Philippines, or even the awful sinkhole that just swallowed an apartment building only an hour away!

We fuss about friends and relatives who don't make the effort to stay in touch, then we read about Tripp Halstead who continues to fight every day to overcome a traumatic brain injury. That family is thankful he's alive, even though he can't communicate with them.

We complain about too much work, then read yet another story about the thousands of people who can't find a job.

We bemoan the fact that we need to go to the gym to exercise, then realize how fortunate we are that we are healthy enough to do so.

We wince when we think about all the home repairs and chores that need done, then realize how wonderful it is to have a place to call home.

Last night, I stretched out on the bed with the lights off, just to take a deep breath. It was DARK - and quiet. In that nearly totally darkened room, I couldn't help thinking about how precious my sight is. I pondered how thankful I am to be able to hear the faint sound of the air conditioning unit (thankful for the hearing AND the a/c!).

So...the next time you realize your perspective might be a bit off-kilter, stop and think about what someone else's perspective might be of your situation. You might just find yourself thankful for your particular "lot in life." Let me know if you do!


Saturday, July 6, 2013


Brody - still "worried," but home at last
 Hi everyone,
Yes, I do take my own advice from time to time ;-)

Last time, we talked about using caution when making decisions in life or using caution about letting certain aspects of our lives affect our self-worth (such as our jobs).

I also mentioned that we would soon be driving 2 hours to see some rescued dogs and we wanted to use caution in deciding if it really is time and who should be chosen.

When we arrived at the event, there were several dogs - but only 3 of them were adoptable...and 2 were chihuahuas. Cutest little things! But at 5 months old, they were quite fidgety. We didn't feel ready to take on a couple of "tiny toddlers." And we're really "big dog" people. So I sat and petted the only other option available. I was pretty sure HE wasn't the one, because we were looking for a girl, with the beautiful merle coloring of a typical Aussie. But as I watched how patient he was with everyone and everything happening around him, it started to dawn on me that his was the type of calm personality that we needed if we were to add a dog to our family of 2 kitties. We stayed for 90 minutes and during that time he never snapped, growled, or even frowned at any of the other dogs - even blind and deaf Rose, who was crawling all over him, or the chihuahuas who were always prancing around somewhere near him.

But we left. We wanted to make sure we were thinking it through logically. Well, logically, he is very calm. Logically, he may be difficult to adopt out because he doesn't have the flashy colors or blue eyes of a lot of Australian shepherds - so we may be his best bet. Logically, he's already probably 3 years old and most people want puppies or "juveniles." Logically...the timing seemed right after 3 unsuccessful attempts to adopt in the past five months.

When we found out his background - living at the end of a chain for most of his life, turned in to a high-kill shelter, rescued from there but placed with 3 different foster families in 5 months...well, logically - this boy needed us ;-). So after I returned home from a business trip last Saturday night, we made the decision to drive to Tampa again on Sunday to adopt Brody.
Best. Decision. Ever.

I am happy to say that our caution and patience were rewarded with what seems to be the perfect fit for us. He is gentle and huggable. He's still a bit "worried" about whether or not this is his forever home, but after seeing his new toys, balls, cookies, treats, and TWO large dog beds, I think he's figuring out that he's here to stay.

I wish I could say I use that kind of caution in all of my important decisions. Sometimes I THINK I'm using caution when really I'm just taking time to talk myself into or out of something. But this has taught me that even when we rightly proceed with caution, sometimes we have to take a leap of faith. Is there an area in which you need to proceed with caution? Or are you holding back so much so that you'll never make the decision? Is it time to take a leap of faith?

And PATIENCE - oh my! This is definitely not my strong suit, as evidenced by trying to adopt 3 other dogs in  the past 5 months. And I struggle particularly with being patient with people - and sometimes with being patient with myself! Do you need to become more patient? In what areas do you struggle with that? Your boss? Spouse? Kids? Friends? Pets? Neighbors? Parents? Employees? Strangers????  The list can get quite long, can't it? How about we make a pact to practice patience for the next couple of weeks? I suspect we'll all find that our lives are calmer and more enjoyable...and I'll vote for that!

Drop me a note and let me know how you're being tested in the areas of caution or patience. The need for either or both of those in our lives can pop up quite frequently...we might as well pay attention!


Friday, June 21, 2013

Caution...go slowly!

Beautiful flower against that old wooden fence!
 Hi everyone!
Well, today seems like a good day to talk about "caution" - the first day of summer and the living is easy, right? :-)

Actually, here in Florida, the living is more dangerous this time of year - partly because the sun is becoming stronger and stronger and partly because it's hurricane season. In either case, Floridians are constantly reminded to take precautions to stay safe physically.

Sometimes we need to take precautions to stay emotionally safe too, don't we? Maybe we are being treated unfairly at work and we begin to believe our worth is lessened by that. CAUTION! Your work does not equal your self-worth (although I'm a firm believer in always giving 111%).

Maybe we've gotten entangled in a relationship that we know isn't good for us - whether it's romantic, a friendship, online, at work, or whatever. CAUTION! Relationships are wonderful parts of our lives, but some can be toxic and we need to protect ourselves from those.

Sometimes we get carried away and spend money foolishly in the heat of the moment. Oh, but that antique is so beautiful! Oh, but it's only one big splurge on that cool pair of shoes. Oh, but I really need to start investing and this seems like a stock that will skyrocket. CAUTION! A stock that "seems" like a steal may well steal your peace when it plummets after some talking head in Washington tells us that grass isn't really supposed to be green! :-)  That antique will gather dust just like the piece of furniture it's replacing. Those shoes will sit in your closet most of the time. And you'll be left with a smaller bank account and a whole new set of worries over that money that just went down the drain. Not to say that treating yourself to something you love or investing in stock is bad...but caution is definitely GOOD in this area!

And of course, we need to be careful about other everyday decisions we make. You all know I've been pining away for a doggie - we've tried 3 times to adopt and none of them have been successful. Tomorrow we'll be taking a trip to Tampa to see some rescued Australian shepherds and see if one of them belongs in our family. I need to remind myself to proceed with...CAUTION! Cute does not necessarily mean compatible with the rest of our four-legged family. As much as I want another dog, I don't want to bring extra stress into our lives!

So what do YOU need to be more cautious about?  We shouldn't move through life afraid of our own shadows - but there's no need to permanently throw caution to the wind, either! Let me know where you need to proceed with caution - or where you just need to have your eyes wide open ;-)


Friday, May 31, 2013


Greetings, everyone! Today's word can have so many meanings, can't it? I instantly think of "looking forward to something." For example, I have been patiently awaiting installation of our new fence and landscaping and ... ta da! Here it is :-)  It's not as high as we would prefer (community restrictions), but we love the look of it, the openness of it, and the way it highlights the beautiful flowers...

On the other hand...we filled out doggie adoption papers on May 21, but it appears our anticipation is misguided. It seems the doggie we were trying to adopt may no longer be available. I really felt this was "the" one for us. I could actually picture her following me around the house. Alas, it was apparently not meant to be.

BUT, I am anticipating some really fun things coming up in my work in the next few months - one is the Servant Leadership workshop in Chicago in June for the ALA conference (sponsored by ASCLA). That will be jam-packed with great information to help the participants learn and grow in their leadership styles. I hope they're anticipating it as much as I am! And while I'm there, I'll be meeting up with some of my favorite clients - a very good reason to anticipate a visit to the Windy City!

And this week, I found out I'll be "touring" the state (Florida), conducting some mini-workshops on refreshing and renewing yourself at work. That should be lots of fun and I'm really looking forward to it. I've teased potential participants by hinting about a special surprise I'll have for them. Shhhhhhhhhhh, I can't tell anyone - then they wouldn't have as much to anticipate, would they?

Whether it's a special get-together over the summer with friends or family, a good book you've been looking forward to reading, trying out some new recipes on the grill, a new project you've been dying to delve into, or a relaxing vacation (that's coming in October!),anticipation is good for the soul.

What are you looking forward to? Think about it and drop me a note - I love hearing from you!


Friday, May 17, 2013


Greetings everyone! Today's word is brought to you courtesy of one of my new workshops ;-)... "Servant Leadership."

Today's picture is brought to you by a good friend who kindly helped me celebrate my graduation by hosting a dinner for me. Yes, that is a "cupcake tower" and yes, those cupcakes were as good as they look (and really cute, too, in UF's orange and blue colors!). Sandy is the epitome of a great hostess - she has such a willingness to serve others and seems to thoroughly enjoy creating an "experience" for everyone - and as you can see, she is quite successful!

As I thought about today's word, I thought about how many different ways there are to serve - and how all of us can find our "serving" niche if we look around us. Perhaps you heard about the server at a Steak 'n' Shake this week who received a $446 tip. One of her regular customers witnessed other customers giving her a hard time, so the regular customer decided to make her day by leaving a huge (make that enormous!) tip. So...who was doing the real "serving" here? I think the customer actually served in a more memorable and meaningful way - not because of the amount she left, but because of the thought behind it. The server made the statement to an interviewer that "I didn't think I was worth $400, but apparently she does."  WOW.

Just think how each of US can serve others through our words and deeds - and it doesn't have to cost a cent. Yet we can make them feel so much better about their own worth. The next time you eat out - or go to a retail store - or a bank - or just about anywhere where someone is serving YOU, take notice of their name badge, look them in the eye, use their name, and comment on the good service (or pleasant smile or...). You will see a visible difference in the way they respond to you after that brief interaction.

Please don't take this to mean we are to be manipulative to get people to respond differently. That's not my intent at all. My intent is to help YOU see how you can serve in lots of different ways. can you serve this week?
  • Look at a "server" as a human being?
  • Pick up someone's mail while they're out of town?
  • Take someone the extra serving of lasagna you prepared?
  • Stop and wait while someone crosses in front of you?
  • Let someone go ahead of you in the grocery line?
  • Pick up something that has fallen onto the floor at the department store?
  • Drop someone an email to let them know you are thinking of them?
  • Pick up that old-fashioned phone and actually CALL them?  ;-)
  • Do a family member's chore for them today?
  • Offer to help a co-worker finish up a project?
  • Blow the leaves off of your neighbor's front porch?
  • Bring the newspaper from their driveway to their front door?
I know you'll find lots of ways to serve others this week - and I know you'll find that it brings a bit of sunshine into your day, too! Drop me a note and let me know what you come up with!


Friday, May 3, 2013


Hi everyone! You might think the title of this post relates to the picture (graduation day, April 14, 2013 - YIPPEEEE!!!) and I guess it could certainly pertain to that. I hope I gained some knowledge over these many months of school work, team meetings, and class time!

But the reason the word "knowledge" came to mind is that I spent some time with a friend yesterday who is a wealth of knowledge (actually, he has a lot of knowledge about wealth, too - he's a wealth management consultant! Alas, I have no need for his services, lol). Whenever I speak with him, we always get into some really interesting discussions and I walk away having learned something new - or at least affirming something I already have strong feelings about. Don't you love it when that happens??

Yesterday we talked about leadership. Since Bryan studies words, he mentioned that leader comes from "lea" = path and "der" = finder. So a leader is a pathfinder. How cool to know that what I've been telling people for years as my own opinion is also traceable back to the roots of the word "leader!"

Something I think people can miss, though, is that you don't have to have a corner office, a gaggle of employees, or a fancy-schmancy title to be a leader. You don't even have to have a job. People in all walks of life, at every level, and those who are not technically employed, can still be leaders.

You can lead people to have a good attitude - by exhibiting one yourself.

You can lead people to take a good look at their negativity by being the person who keeps a positive outlook on things.

You can lead people to act with integrity - because you set the example.

You can lead people to feel good about themselves by being an encourager.

You can lead others to be accountable for their own actions by not allowing them to make excuses for bad behavior. now have new knowledge of yourself as a leader. What will you do with this knowledge? How can you show your leadership in the next 30 days? Let me know!


Thursday, April 18, 2013


Relief! That's what I felt Sunday, April 14, as I walked across the stage at University Auditorium at the University of Florida in Gainesville to receive my Master of Business Administration degree (MBA). People kept saying, "Are you excited??" And of course, I was excited - but what I felt down to my very bones was relief :-)

The funky, not-very-pretty picture in this post is a calendar I made for myself last September when I really started doubting whether or not I could actually complete the program. I needed a way to "see the light at the end of the tunnel" before I could actually see that light. Every Monday morning, I took great pleasure in crossing off another week - you'll notice the lines of my "exes" were getting thicker as the weeks wore on...and on and on and on!

But it's over. And it made me think about how many things can drain our energy, our attention, even our fun and how relieved we are when we get "through" those things. Sometimes it's a financial hardship. Sometimes it's a health crisis...or a job situation...or a relationship problem...or a HUGE project that seems it will never end.

Whatever the tunnel is that you're going through, allow yourself to really feel the relief when you finally get to the other side. So many times we just jump right into another tunnel, but have you ever seen one of those tunnels through the mountains? Even when it's a pretty wide mountain, the engineers usually found a way to provide "light" between tunnels - a space where you could sort of get your bearings again before entering another tunnel.

That's what we all need to make sure we do between "tunnels" in our lives - take some time to get our bearings - to reflect on how we grew because of our trip through that tunnel. And take a deep breath before we immediately jump into another.

I know that "life" happens and we can't always control the speed at which we arrive at the next tunnel. Maybe we don't get that short break where we can see the light. Maybe those are the times we have to make our own "light" and focus on the good. That may be a flower, a sunny sky, a furry friend nearby, or even the dime you found in the parking lot!

Focusing on the small "shafts of light" that come our way can also remind us to really feel the relief when the tunnel finally comes to an end.

Drop me a note and let me know what your tunnel is right now...are you approaching the end? Can you see some rays of light filtering through?


Thursday, March 21, 2013


True Bliss for Murphy
 Yeah, I know Christmas was awhile ago :-), but when I thought of the word I wanted to write about this week, this picture is what came to mind!

Bliss...we know it when we feel it, but most of us would be hard-pressed to actually describe it.The first definition listed at (Merriam-Webster dictionary online) is "complete happiness." Yes, that'll do!

And I think Murphy is a pretty good representation of that in this picture, don't you? Actually, I felt bliss when I saw him so comfortable in front of the fireplace with the twinkling lights of the tree beside him - our favorite violin "soaking" music playing in the background ( and a fragrant cup of Keurig coffee beside me.  Ahhhhh...

You might wonder why I picked a word not used in our everyday language - at least not in mine. A client requested a mini-workshop titled "Find Your Bliss at Work" and I thought that was a great topic - and a challenging one to boot. So I added a word to the title and it's now called "Find Your Bliss at Work ~ Really!" It's full of thought-provoking tips and questions encouraging the participants to ponder what really makes them happy. I love helping people ponder those kinds of things!

I am fortunate to find bliss in my work - most days. I am privileged to help other people "sort things out" - whether that has to do with leadership, personalities, emotional intelligence, balance in their lives, or any one of many other topics. When I see the proverbial light bulb go on for them, I can honestly say I feel bliss.

So...what brings you bliss? What makes you happy? Often it's not about money, things, status, power, or jobs. It may be a feeling you get when you spend time with a good friend. It may be the fleeting moment when you take a sip of your favorite coffee - or when you watch the kids playing or the dog galloping across the yard. It may even be when you're learning and growing - or helping something else grow by digging in your garden.

Whatever brings you bliss, take time this week to consciously remember it. Think how it makes you feel. Reflect on how you might bring more of it into your life. And drop me a note to let me know what came to mind!


Tuesday, March 12, 2013


I love the stunningly beautiful blooms that the passion flower creates. I don't, however, love the way the plant invades the entire space on my patio. Last week, I was disappointed to have to cut it down - all of it, or so I thought. I needed to clean up the fence area so that, if we ever find someone who wants the job (another story!), the fence will be ready to tear down. However, my disappointment was lessened when I noticed the beginnings of new sprouts in a non-fence area of the patio. Now if I can just discipline myself to keep it cut back so it doesn't have to go through such a traumatic operation next time!

And speaking of disappointment, a few weeks ago I applied for a residency at a writer's retreat in NC. Last night, I received word that I was not chosen out of the 250+ people who applied for this year's coveted spots. To say I was disappointed is putting it mildly. My "recovery time" from the disappointment that email created was a little longer than I care to admit. But I HAVE recovered - less than 24 hours later. For some reason, I was not supposed to take that week out of my schedule this year. Perhaps someone needs me for training during that time - or maybe my family will just need a little extra attention. There's also the very real possibility that those who did secure a residency spot needed it more than I did. Whatever the reason, I know that the disappointment I felt last night can be replaced by a forward-looking perspective.

You all know me - I'm the eternal optimist. I do believe that something better will come along - whatever "better" looks like at that point in time. Here's the key - it's my decision to decide that whatever DOES come along looks better!

What about you? What disappointments have you faced lately? Most of us are exposed to occasional disappointments and it might be helpful to face them head on - then decide what we're going to do about it. Will we find the "better" or the "bitter?" It's up to US!

And by the way...I'll be applying again this summer for next year's residency!


Friday, February 22, 2013


Ahh, happens everyday, doesn't it? The picture in this post shows a piece of our "backyard" - which really means our tiny patio. We have enjoyed a bit of privacy over the past 7 1/2 years since we moved here courtesy of a rustic wooden fence, which I've thoroughly enjoyed - as have the squirrels and woodpeckers. Over the past few months, it has started to lean precariously and the top has apparently been dinner for any number of said squirrels and woodpeckers, as the boards are about 2" shorter than they were a year ago! It's time for a change - before Mother Nature changes it for us by blowing it down!

So I've been on a quest to replace the fence - which is easier said than done since we live in a community that has numerous restrictions about what you can and can't do to the outside of your home. And believe it or not, I'm fine with that policy. Our community is one of the best-kept in the entire area, due in no small part to the "rules" that are in place. makes it a challenge to take care of this pesky fence issue. Long story short, it looks like we'll have to replace the fence with a "buffer" of plants that will grow fast enough and tall enough to provide some privacy. It will be wonderful - at some point in the future - but it will require finding a landscaper who wants this "small" job and me paying attention to whatever is planted so it doesn't die!

That's just one small change in our lives right now - we have several major ones coming in short order. Guy is closing his music store next week after 5 successful years. Things have changed in the retail environment in that time. There isn't much loyalty to the "local small business" anymore, which is terribly sad. People want to come and play his nice, high-quality guitars so they can go buy one online - ARGH. Or...they bring in the guitar they did buy online so he can put strings on it (hard to pay the retail rent with profit from a set of strings!). Anyway, it's time - he's anxious to get back out on the road, buying and selling, so he's a happy camper in that sense. But will be a significant change having him around more - especially since I work from home and am used to having just Murphy and Grover (the kitties) to aggravate me :-) on a daily basis!

And of course, as some of you know, I'll be graduating from UF with my MBA in just 7 weeks and 2 days - hoooooooooooray!!! That, too, will be a drastic change - no more late night conferences with the team, trying to spur them on to getting our assignments done well - and on time. No more going to campus one weekend a month to sit in classes for 11+ hours on Saturday and another 9+ on Sunday. No more trying to carve out a few hours during the week to read the hundreds of pages of case studies and articles necessary to complete assignments. Wow! What will I do with all that extra time?? HA!

And then there's the new doggie, which we hope we'll find by the first part of May. And we're also hoping she'll have the temperament to become a therapy dog. It's something I've been pondering for awhile and I think it would be very worthwhile - but it will be another change in our "routine" for sure.

Changes will be coming in my work as well, I hope. I love, love, love the training I do, but that, too, is always up in the air with this economy. My clients have been very faithful to me, but they are constantly struggling with funding. My MBA is meant to help me find some classes I can teach online as a complement to my training. That will be fun - but a whole different way of "teaching" people than I'm used to. Change.

And we all experience the small changes in our lives without even realizing it sometimes. Maybe that's the whole point of this post...sometimes we need to take a step back and be grateful for the changes that have made things better - and be grateful, too, for the changes we would rather not have gone through but that are at least OVER :-)

Don't forget, too, to step back and appreciate all the good in your life that hasn't changed for you - whatever that might be...friends, family, hobbies, pets, home....

As the saying goes, "It is what it is, but it will BECOME what you make of it."

Make it GOOD!!!


Thursday, January 10, 2013


Well, well, well - I've done it again! How could so many months have gone by between posts?? I guess it's called life...between school, work, and just taking care of the house, spouse, and fur-kids, life has been pretty full. Add to that a bout with kidney stones, an emergency appendectomy in October, and a couple of family members and close friends who have been seriously ill, and the blog got left behind!

However...!  I'm b-a-a-a-a-a-a-c-k :-) ~ it feels good. And why am I excited? I'm looking forward to a great 2013 with lots of fun training jobs already scheduled here in Florida, up in Alabama, and hopefully, WAY up in Chicago this summer! AND school will be over in 93 days - count 'em...93 days! WOW. I'm not sure I'll know what to do with myself...HA!

I graduate April 14, and on April 15 (or close to it!), we'll be making a trip to the Humane Society to find the newest member of our happy family...a doggie. We lost Abby almost 3 years ago - I've missed her every single day and we are ready for another furry friend. So just getting out of school and adding a new member to the family are 2 things to be excited about...

BUT...I'm also starting to put out a few feelers for writing again. Oh my, how I've missed that! Keep me in your thoughts - I've applied for a residency at Wildacres in NC to complete my devotional. I've gotten calls from all over the country from people who have read Grover's story (our crippled cat) and my bio in Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul. I mentioned in my bio in that book (and a few others that had my stories in them and were published around that time) that I am working on a devotional and several people have taken the time to call me and ask where they can buy it - one fairly recently even though the book has been around for awhile - so I really want to finish it and try to get it published.

And of course, I'm always excited about my training workshops and webinars. Much of my work is with libraries and they are such a great group to work with - always wanting to learn and kind of people! I'm developing a new program on Servant Leadership that may just be one of my very favorites by the time I'm finished with it. But then, I say that about a lot of my programs. Obviously, I'm excited about what I do "for a living" and I know how lucky I am to feel that way!

So what are you excited about for 2013?

Here's wishing you good health, all of your needs met - and then some - and friends and family around to enjoy it with!

Until next time (which I really hope will be before 2014!!)...

(P. S. Google has changed how the blog works and I'm not sure I'll be able to upload any new pictures :-(, but I'll keep trying! The one here may be a repeat - but it's still gorgeous!)