Not so holly jolly, are you? Me neither!

Dear Readers,

If you are not so holly jolly this Christmas, join the club. It’s been a rough year and I am struggling a little. Lots of medical issues for the whole family, no vacation for us, and several professional rejections.

Let’s not forget, I have to work today. Did I mention that? (well, now I have)

While I love the work and the people, it’s certainly not preferable to spending time with my family of choice. I do get to do that tomorrow, but right now, I am a little down.

So here goes, Christmas is not my favourite holiday because this year is the 5 year anniversary of my divorce from my family of origin. It’s sad so I don’t choose to focus on it but it does pop up for me a bit like a bruise. A far cry from the gaping bleeding wound that would cause me to weep and wail like it used to be, and it still hurts when I touch it, which happens around this time of year.

I am “well shot of them” as the British say!

But back to today and the Christmas or not so Christmas spirit I am not feeling or “embracing my inner grinch” –

In the last few months I have been getting lots of signs about how important it is to say what is so and telling thoughtful truths. It’s important to point out, we all tell the truth but then there are times where we worry about “being nice” more so than being “kind” and I think we could focus a a little more light on being kind than nice.

In the hope that someone reading this is feeling pressure to “put on a happy face” about their very real depression, please don’t feel like you have to do that.

How you feel is 100% valid, and you have every right to feel that way and if someone tries to tell you to “get over it” or “Suck it up, It’s Christmas” look at them and say,

“No, thank you.”

On second thought, screw the thank you, and even screw the no. You don’t have to say anything to anyone. As my mother of choice says, “There is no need to answer a question no one is asking at the top of your lungs”

A few others have this to say-

“Not everybody has to be happy all the time. That’s not mental health. That’s crap.” – Meredith Grey- via Shonda Rhimes)

“Telling the truth- telling thoughtful truths- should not be a revolutionary act. Speaking truths to power should not be sacrificial, but they are”- Luvvie Ajayi

Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others. – Brene’ Brown

At the end of the day, you feel exactly the way you want to and don’t feel like you have to defend your right to feel that way. See note about boundaries!

Your tribe, the ones who love you will surround you with love and “being there” and saying nothing, which can be the most valuable gift of all.  Please be sure to get yourself what you need, whether that is being alone or that is being surrounded by others. Part of good boundaries? Asking for what you want.

Think About It…


Elton John- Artist Extraordinaire!


Dear Readers!

I got to see ELTON JOHN last week! YAY! ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ LOOK HOW CLOSE I WAS!

I have wanted to see him in concert pretty much since I was old enough to hear his music and love his music so this was a VERY BIG DEAL.

I really vacillated over whether or not to spend the money because even the cheapest tickets when all was said and done was 200.00 at least. I went back and forth and asked a bunch of people who had seen him already and basically decided to go for it.

I took part in a NO SPEND CHALLENGE to set aside the funds in the month of September and it has been a while since I was so careful with my spending (back in 2015 when we became debt free, I saved up for my debt free shoe shopping and this reminded me of that)  but it was all worth it in the end. I kept a log of all the things I didn’t buy so I could afford it and it was absolutely worth every single penny!

Elton John and the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was everything I wanted it to be and more.

I was lucky enough to get to see him perform and I will treasure it forever.

One of my favourite moments was when he played “I’m Still Standing” and there was a barrage of imagery of his highlights through the years including appearances on “Will and Grace” and numerous videos of his outlandish outfits. I loved it for so many reasons but one of the biggest is that my daughter loves the movie “Sing” and one of the pivotal moments features that song. I won’t spoil it for you, but if you have not seen it, you should! I felt like she was there with me. Then, when he played “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me” I was reminded of the night my husband proposed to me. The pinnacle was when he sang “Believe” which is a big favourite of mine and the screen flashed the statistics about how much money his foundation has collected for Aids Research.

His foundation has raised more than 400 million dollars over the last 25 years.

Talk about inspiring!

Elton John Aids Foundation

I do have to say I was very troubled by the amount of people I saw taking videos and capturing snippets rather than just enjoying the concert but who am I to judge, maybe that’s the best way for them to enjoy the spectacle? The beauty of living in this country is having the right to watch a concert however we choose.  So yes, I judged them a little but then I focused on how I was planning to experience it and let it go.  (mostly)

I go back and forth on it, but while I was tempted to pull out my phone (it’s so addicting to have that thing out and on, isn’t it?)  I ultimately decided to take this one picture and then soak it all in and rely on my memories. I can’t wait to share Elton’s music with Vivienne and talk to her about the words and how each song Elton sings has a different meaning for Mommy and millions of other listeners. I think it’s one of my favourite things about being a mom, teaching my daughter and talking to her and listening to her.

What are some concerts you have gone to that you still remember?

Think About It…

Are you Present or Perfect?

Dear Readers,

Recently, I was preparing to do a live broadcast from the treadmill in hopes that my workout will inspire someone else to take the stairs today or do a workout themselves.

I started to hit “record” hesitated because I was looking at my grey hairs that are outnumbering my red ones and thinking, I should really put on some makeup and make sure my jewelry and shoes are matching and then I stopped myself and laughed to myself.

I was concerned with being perfect, not present.

Jeremy (my husband) had his gall bladder out last week and I am taking care of him for a few days. He really prefers to be left alone when he doesn’t feel well. Having been together for 10 years, it would SEEM that would be something I would know, right?

Not really, because I found myself wondering, “does he need a pillow, water, can I bring him some food? I even found myself wondering if I was “helping him correctly”– How silly is that? How can there be a wrong way to “help” someone.

I was concerned with being perfect, not present.

This morning, I was helping Vivienne eat her breakfast, and she was making quite the mess of it, and I realized midway to wiping her very messy face that she was delighted with the mess and I was frustrated by it. So I realized it, and in that moment, let it go and decided to just enjoy her enjoyment.


This afternoon, I was giving an evaluation for one of my fellow Toastmasters, and I hesitated to share with the room that I didn’t know everything there was to know about the topic being talked about, I briefly considered not telling the room and just as quickly dismissed it. My evaluation was colored by the fact that there are many things I know about, this particular topic is not one of them. It turned out I was the ONLY person in the room who didn’t know about the subject or perhaps the only one willing to admit it.  I made a joke of it, because I was uncomfortable and then realized again that I was focused on the wrong thing.

I was concerned with being perfect, not present.

It’s perfectly human to want to be perfect, It’s imperfectly human to choose being present to allow for maximum human experience. – Professor Haston 

Think About It.


The Case for Silliness

Dear Readers,

If you are reading this, know that what you are reading is true. There may be embellishments and some things that are not fully told because I think there is a fine line between transparency and oversharing.  That is my commitment to you with each post.

I really had a pretty non-existent childhood *save for one glorious summer in St. Louis, Thanks Aunt Nancy* and the sparse childhood I did have wasn’t a happy one.

Put another way, I was a grown up a long time before I reached age 18.

So last week I had a truly cathartic experience at this pop-up immersive installation called the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) Factory in Austin. It’s here for a limited time and if you are in Austin or in the surrounding area and you like taking selfies, this is the place for you!

However, upon reflection I realize it might be a good place for you if you had a crappy childhood as well.

So a part of my childhood that I don’t relish was the fact that I failed sixth grade. It happened for a variety of reasons but the biggest culprit? Algebra. It was my nemesis and for so many years before and after I told myself, “You are just bad at math” – I hate the notion and I hate that it was such a recurring tape recording for me for so long. Eventually I replaced that recording with, “Math is not that hard and I am getting better at it every day” and it took some time as well as a wonderful math professor to finally get me over it. John Thomason, I owe you thanks!

So see here, a picture of me “Conquering Algebra”-

(note the look of seriousness) “I OWN YOU MATH!”


Another painful memory you may or may not share, I was never a cheerleader or member of dance team or any of the supporting team members I so desperately wanted to be part of though I certainly tried out for them all. You name it, I tried out for it.

Flag Team, Dance Team, Cheerleader, – No, No, No. I am treating it pretty lightly in this post, but at the time I was pretty devastated. Time really does help it hurt less!

Look, with the click of a camera, I am NOW a CHEERLEADER!


The truth is while I am sad I was never a cheerleader (till now) it actually led me to theatre and acting, and while there has been a lot of rejection in that field too, it’s also led to some of the greatest times of my life not to mention friendships and collaborations I wouldn’t trade for anything so in the end, I guess it worked out the way it was supposed to.BahookieShootEm

I certainly take a good amount of grief from people for my silliness and exuberance but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s an integral part of who I am and what makes me, Me! It’s also what leads to amazing compliments like

“You are an adult Punky Brewster mixed with Carrie Bradshaw” 


So this place – FOMO Factory was actually there for me to help reimagine my childhood and if you will pardon the pun, allowed me to REFRAME like never before.

Happy to say they are extending to January! If you are in Austin, don’t miss your chance to relive your childhood or better yet, Reframe it!


Why is it so hard to admit we don’t know?

Dear Readers,

In my role as coach it’s very tempting to pretend I know everything but that is so completely and utterly untrue. I am often surprised by how much I learn from my direct reports. They are experts in several subjects where I am a neophyte.

For instance, one of them baked 25 pies the day before Thanksgiving and while I could figure out how do that, I surely would not do it well my first time out! I bet she didn’t either!

Another person on my team is part of the agriculture community and she does a lot of farming with her family and again I think could figure out how to milk cows and do other tasks (see! I can’t even think of the basics of farming, let alone do them)  but I would definitely need a coach!

Today, I was not making pies or milking cows, but  found myself in a situation where I had to ask some questions about how to do something or how it worked. I have been “question girl” for most of my working life and yet it still fills me with dread to admit I don’t know or that I don’t fully understand something. Why?

What is so wrong with not knowing?

Why are we so afraid to admit we don’t know? If you are anything like me, you want to “look good” and keep “feeling” like the “expert” so you don’t ask or worse, pretend you know something to avoid asking the question and in so doing, you then tell someone else the wrong information. Has that ever happened to you? It’s happened to me and I had to go back to the person I misinformed and let them know, I made a mistake and this is actually the correct information.

It was humbling and a big relief that when I asked my questions today, someone else also had to ask in order to answer me. That means someone else ALSO didn’t know, and that is okay, because at the end of the day, when you are a supervisor or coach, you still get to have questions. It’s not as if when you accepted the position, you abdicated the right to ask questions or to say, “I don’t know”. I think the important part of this is that you know who does know or should know.

I think that when you hold a position of leadership it’s very easy to get caught up in the idea that you have to know all the answers. Guess what, you don’t. No one can! There is always something else to learn, so let go of that.

Think about it great coaches seek out other coaches. Getting back to my team examples, the pastry chef had someone give her a in-home study on pie baking and that’s not even her primary job any more. I am actively working on becoming a better speaker so I have enlisted the help of a coach myself and am actively getting better. I also have a music teacher who helps improve me each and every time I sing. So really, in having these mentors and coaches myself, I am figuratively saying, “I don’t know, teach me” and that can only make me better, right?

As lifelong learners, we are going to have to keep admitting we don’t know everything and the sooner we get comfortable with that, the better.

Think About It.


Are you driving the BMW or Driving the ROLLS?

Dear Readers,

On January 2, 2018, I had a big goal.

I was going to put a note of gratitude in my Happiness/Gratitude Jar every day

My blog about the Happiness Jar Plan

and for a while there it was going really well, and then at the end of May, my husband got a blood clot (he is fine but it has caused some problems and a resulting surgery to correct) so I got a little ungrateful and unhappy. Then the first week in June, I got pneumonia and I got a little more ungrateful so I didn’t add anything to the jar. Finally in June, My daughter got Hand, Foot, and Mouth and I got plain mad and wasn’t even trying to be grateful. I also had a few other setbacks and things that just didn’t go my way, so I stopped doing the exercise of remembering to be grateful.

It was something that my good friend fellow writer, Juante Dailey brought to my attention when I was at the zenith of my ungratefulness and she noticed.

It was pretty hard not to notice.

I have named this, BMW’ing (Bellyaching, Moaning, and Whining) and she had me start a gratitude list that I send her every day and I have to say after doing this a while, (approximately 3 months) I recovered my sense of joie de vivre and started feeling gratitude again and I have even suggested it to a few other friends who are struggling to find the “happy” and they have told me it is helping.

I have also renewed my effort with the jar. Starting tonight, I will ask my husband what his “Happy” is for the day and add it to the jar.

I love acronyms so Another way to put it (thanks Aunt Nancy) is A-G-E

-1. What did I Accomplish Today? (A)

2.  What do I feel Grateful for Today? (G)

3. What Did I Enjoy Today? (E)

I thought it was appropriate and authentic as we head into this week of Thanksgiving to talk about things we are grateful for and I wanted to publicly thank Juante by sharing this awesome idea and give you my list of things I am grateful for today.

  1. I am grateful to God.
  2. I am grateful for my husband.
  3. I am grateful for my daughter. (see visual aid below)
  4. I am grateful to be alive and healthy.
  5. I am grateful to have many friends who will tell me the truth even when it’s not something I want to hear.
  6. I am grateful to have readers for this blog. *that means YOU*
  7. I am grateful to have family of choice and origin who I love.
  8. I am grateful to have clean drinking water.
  9. I am grateful to have a job I am good at and enjoy doing.
  10. I am grateful to live in a country where I am allowed to write about things that matter to me.
  11. I am grateful for other people and the ability to connect.
  12. I am grateful for foamy soap.
  13. I am grateful for rock star parking.
  14. I am grateful for technology.
  15. I am grateful for writing that inspires me to write better.
  16. I am grateful for songs that make me want to dance like no one is watching.
  17. I am grateful for movies that make me laugh and cry and everything in between.
  18. I am grateful to people who are engaged in the conversation to be better leaders.
  19. I am grateful for milk chocolate.
  20. I am grateful for meditation.

By the way, there is NO wrong way to do a list of gratitude. You can text it, you can write it and drop it in a jar. You can tell someone else. You can tell yourself. Don’t get hemmed in by worry that you are doing it “wrong”. There is no wrong in gratitude.

My first few were a rambling mess of the things I was mad about and just one or two things I was grateful for and then it grew.

What do you need to express gratitude for today? Do you have someone who can help you be accountable for being grateful?

Are you driving the BMW? (Bellyaching, Moaning and Whining) or are you driving the ROLLS? (Real Ongoing Life Lived Superbly) ?

Think About It…Gratitude2018

5 Takeaways from the Texas Conference for Women!

Dear Readers!

On Friday, it was my great privilege to attend the Texas Conference for Women!

My company actually paid for many of the women in leadership to go!


One of the many things I love about Expedia/HomeAway is their commitment to knowledge and learning. Many programs are offered internally to allow their employees the time for professional and personal development and it is such a joy to be able to take advantage of that benefit.  My dream is to speak there, but one day at a time, folks!


There were 7500 people in attendance Friday.  Take a minute, drink that in…..

7500 people mostly women, and it was great to see some men as well!

The day started with a breakfast session with  (Anne Grady) about balance being bogus!

It really set the tone for my day because my normal habit in an environment like this is to take copious notes (which I never look at again) and really MISS out on the opportunity to really BE there.

Anne asked us to think about what we would do to really BE at the conference.

Some suggestions in the room were-

  1. Turn off the phone (Phone still distracting even if off & facedown)PhoneMindfulness
  2. Breathe –
  3. Focus on the last letter of the the last sentence that was spoken to maintain focus.    (I used this a LOT throughout the day)

So fed and ready I headed into the day-

There is really so much more to say than five takeaways AND one of the things I learned from my conference experience is sometimes it’s better to say it with less words and your time is valuable so I will hit the highlights!

  1. Always be early, you will get a good seat get your conference guide so you can plan out your day and map out your route for getting the most out of the conference.
  2. “We need accomplices, not allies”- Luvvie Ajayi
  3. ““Small Potential is the limited success we can attain alone. BIG Potential is what we can achieve together.”” –Shawn Achor
  4. “Choose discomfort over resentment”-Brene’ Brown (It’s not comfortable to say no, especially for women, we want to do it all, have it all and be ALL things. If you say no, you will be uncomfortable but you won’t resent the person you should not have said “yes” to if you go ahead and say “no”.
  5. Be bold, ask a question, sometimes it will lead to a great discussion! (this applies to individual networking, local meetings, as well as a conference like this!

In conclusion, if there is a Conference for Women in your area, I HIGHLY recommend you go, and encourage your company to invest in a table or two!

Think about it.