Let us pray.


Recently, I read of a group of people who planned to be in Washington DC on inauguration day to pray for the incoming president. I couldn’t help but ask myself exactly what it was they would be praying for: His safety, given his divisive rhetoric? His heart, given his plans regarding human rights? His intellect, given his ignorance of the office he would hold and the many policies he would influence? His soul, given his inability to display modesty or gratitude for his situation?

What would these well-meaning individuals have asked God to do on that fateful day in history? To change a man into someone he is not? To step in and provide some Divine intervention that would save his soul and perhaps also the world as we know it? Many may believe that God chose this man to be our next president and therefore, God most certainly would not leave us in harm’s way.

I, myself, am not a religious person. However, I am a reflective person and as I reflect on the past year I’m reminded of a story about a man who’s house was consumed by a flood. The short version of the story is that the man sat on his rooftop and prayed for God to save him. He prayed as a friend came by in a canoe, a policeman came by in a boat, and a rescue helicopter flew overhead, all offering the man a ride to safety. He prayed and prayed as the flood waters rose until eventually, he drowned. When the man reached the pearly gates, he asked why God had deserted him. He was faithful in his prayer and steadfast in his belief that God would never forsake him. God shook her head and said, “I did not forsake you. I sent a canoe, a boat, and a helicopter. You refused all three.”

If one is to believe that God sent us this president, aren’t we also to believe that she sent the other 19 primary candidates from which to choose? The Bible is filled with stories where believers were tested. Perhaps the story of the 2016 US Presidential election is a modern day story of such a test. I imagine God might have thought this was an easy one for us to pass. After all, she had provided a book with lessons and rules as a guide.

“I’ll give them 17 candidates on one side, a few of them will be so extreme that they can eliminate them right off the bat, but I’ll leave one or two reasonable choices. Then on the other side, I’ll give them a flawed but qualified woman and a jewish guy who’s fighting for all that my son was sent to teach.” 

I imagine as the primaries progressed, God may have started to feel a bit concerned and by the time the GOP debates took place, God was most likely losing faith. Childish insults, rude behavior, false statements, shouting. At one point, in an effort to get attention, one candidate was heard to say, “Can someone attack me please ?” God watched as we officially entered the land of the absurd. Week after week she upped her game but it didn’t work. The more obscene the situation, the more popular the candidate.

The situation wasn’t much better on the DEM side. The choice for the Left was between a kickass woman who refused to play nice and a fatherly old man who fought to feed the poor and tax the rich. I’m certain God felt confident that we could get that one right. Checking in on things daily, she would see massive crowds of people supporting the jewish socialist as he spoke of income equality, human rights, worker’s rights, peace, love, and protecting Mother Earth. I imagine God felt little concern for the outcome of the DEM primaries but just to be safe, she sent that little bird to sit on the podium to seal the deal. #BossMove

Then the primary results began to come in. It was most likely at this time that God started to regret the whole “free will” thing. Realizing what she had to work with in the general election, God stepped up her game yet again. Providing opportunity after opportunity to showcase the difference between the two candidates: hateful rhetoric, Islamophobia, misogyny, mockery, adultery, conceit. Audio and video evidence was released to help us separate real facts from “alternative facts.” At one point, I imagine God shaking her head and considering a googleAd:

Pride. Envy. Wrath. Gluttony. Lust. Sloth. Greed.

And then we voted…

At this point, I imagine God cried. And then, like most of us, she took a few days to grieve and collect herself.

What must she be thinking now? I imagine there’s a part of her, like any parent when their child makes a poor choice, that would like to say, “Don’t ask me to fix this. I did my best to guide you toward the path of righteousness but you chose to go a different way. Now you can live with the consequences of your decisions.”

But she won’t.

She’ll listen to every voice and feel the heaviness of every heart. She will inhale a deep breath of compassion and exhale love all over the universe. With unconditional love, God will forgive our arrogance, forget our shameful selfishness, and provide us the opportunity to come together and heal the divisions we allowed to separate us from each other, but she won’t do it for us.

God has provided each of us with everything we need to fix this mess ourselves. We are, after all, each created in God’s own image, each of us a spark of the Divine energy of the Universe blessed with the gift to show love and compassion, but we must wake up and be responsible citizens, not only of this country but of the universe we inhabit. We cannot sit on the rooftop of our ideals praying to God for evidence of why we are right and others are wrong. No, we must take action or we will all soon drown.



“If your Why doesn’t make you cry, it’s not big enough”

I spent the morning responding to comment after comment from women who have read my article “An Open Letter to the ones who have never been assaulted.” The article was published 8 days ago and has been viewed 15,719 times by people from places I’ve never been. My husband has made it his daily mission to provide a visual so I can grasp how many people this is. Each morning he reports the name of a town with an equivalent population. So far, the towns have all been small coastal villages. That is comforting to me.

The words were written for myself. I shared them for my daughter and for my future granddaughters. Never did I expect that I was sharing them for women I have never met, women as close as South Carolina and as far away as South Africa and Australia. Women thanking me. Thanking me for sharing my story. Thanking me for speaking up, for being brave.

“Your timing is ideal. I needed this right now.”

“Courageous and touching. Thank you.”

“I’m not brave enough to speak up but it helps to know I’m not alone.”

“Thank you for sharing your story…our story.”

Women sharing. Voices joining. My eyes soak up their words. Their message makes it’s way into my mind, through my heart, and one by one passes back out as droplets from my eyes onto the keyboard. Connection, kindred spirits across the miles connecting through the written word. Seeking solace in knowing we are not alone. Gathering strength from each other in order to face and stand down that which has silenced us. We are stronger together. Our combined energy, a force to be reckoned with.

For  me, writing the article was cathartic. During the process I began to feel an inner shift, an ease, a confidence, a relief. I felt a need to place my story out into the world in a way that was more real, more tangible than the spoken word. I wrote for myself. What I didn’t realize is that I also wrote for my Self, my inner being coaxing me along, leading me closer and closer to others who shared my story.

“If your Why doesn’t make you cry, it isn’t strong enough.” Advice from a young man with an old soul made me pause and reflect. What is my Why? It’s the reason I do what I do, to pay bills. Some days, just to pay the water bill. My Why now expands beyond basic needs to include tuition, vacation, life insurance, and savings plans. All noble desires centered around family but never has any of it made me cry. At times it makes me anxious, disappointed, often frustrated, but I don’t believe it’s ever made me cry.

So today, I observe the eagerness with which I prepare my coffee and settle in for my morning routine. With a physical desire felt deep in my belly, I anticipate what I might read when I open the comments section. The stories, a thread connecting souls across time and space. Energy flowing. Strength growing. Whispers amplified when spoken through the megaphone of solidarity and understanding. Brave women reaching out with shaky hands to touch others to be assured and to reassure.


This is the Why that makes me cry.

Tears of understanding + Tears of connection = Tears of Joy

Civic Ignorance

Just when we think it can’t get any crazier, when there can’t possibly be another trigger point for him to hit, BAM! There he goes again, even lower than before. This time it’s babies being ripped from a mother’s womb. A ghastly description of what could only be a scene from a low budget horror movie. Facts be damned. He’s gonna say whatever the hell he wants to and, lord help us all, there are people who believe him. People who will take his repeated false statements as fact and repeat them over and over on social media sites, adding graphics, creating memes, and misconstruing the issue to a point that no one knows where the truth lies anymore.

As a country, we’re battle weary. We’ve fought against racism, sexism, xenophobia, misogyny, and bullying. Many of us have stood in disbelief as we watched neighbors and friends step out of the darkness to reveal things about themselves that most of us would prefer not to know. A part of us wanted to stay inside our happy bubble singing LaLaLa and seeing only the good in everyone, normally, focusing on the positive and tuning out the negative. Sadly, “normally” hasn’t been around for a while.

For the past year, we’ve had to speak up for immigrants, gays, Muslims, and refugees. We’ve been called to re-evaluate our views on practically every social issue imaginable: Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, Gay Rights, Criminal Justice, Gun Control, Abortion…

To explain why it’s wrong for a country founded by immigrants to discriminate against immigrants felt ludicrous, but we did it. Using words like freedom, opportunity, justice, and inclusion, we reminded folks of what it means to be an American. We attempted to calm the paranoid and bring sanity and compassion back to the conversation. We’ve talked of religious freedom and equal rights. We’ve been reminded to “Love thy neighbor as thy self,” that “Black lives matter,” and that “Love is Love.” We’ve defended religions that were not our own in hopes that the sentiment would be reciprocated and mutual acceptance achieved.

We’ve fought against the language of rape culture. We’ve heard audiotape boasting of sexual assault defended by men and women as “guy talk”, “locker room antics”, and “typical boy behavior”. We’ve been told to get over ourselves and stop pretending to be offended by vulgar words. For days, we fought to be heard. It’s NOT the word “pussy” that upsets us! It’s the act of grabbing a woman ANYWHERE without her consent. Many spoke out, no longer allowing the normalization of unacceptable behavior.

Week after week, issue after issue, we’ve armed ourselves with facts and resolved to do our part to discuss and debate respectfully and thoughtfully. We’ve listened, responded, and when necessary, agreed to disagree. This is how democracy works. But lately, like a toddler whose tantrums have not resulted in the attention he was seeking, the outbursts have reached the level of deplorable and I, for one, have no more patience.

We now have a presidential candidate, civically ignorant, spouting lies and spreading unfounded fear. Using innuendo and rumor as if it were fact, to distort records and manipulate the citizenry. Taking quotes out of context to paint false pictures. And as upset as we should be with this behavior, we should be even more upset with the behavior of those who have allowed this to fester. Those who have laid back and been spoon fed by the media and by the church, taking whatever is offered as the gospel, not questioning or inquiring. Allowing those in power to manipulate emotions and thoughts because it’s easier than thinking for our selves.

“I don’t understand, “ is not an excuse. If an issue is important, seek to understand. Reach out to people who have experience and ask questions. Approach things with an open mind and a caring heart, willing to learn and brave enough to allow a paradigm to shift.

If you read a quote that bothers you, research it. And if you discover the quote was taken out of context, imagine how it might feel to be misquoted yourself. Be grateful you aren’t publicly scrutinized and have compassion for those who are.

If you don’t understand the effects of sexual assault because you’ve never experienced it, don’t judge those who have. Refrain from questioning their motive or behavior. Express gratitude for your fortune and compassion for their struggle.

If you don’t understand the how and the why of abortion because you’ve never known someone who faced that decision, don’t condemn what you don’t know. Express gratitude for your innocence and compassion for their pain.

If you don’t understand why it’s important to acknowledge that Black Lives Matter because you aren’t black, don’t condemn those who are angry and frustrated. Express gratitude for your privilege and compassion for their story.

If you don’t understand why some of us are weary and no longer have patience for the conversation, then you aren’t paying attention and that is the reason for our frustration.

For whatever reason, be it laziness, busyness, or ignorance, if you choose not to do a little research and educate yourself on the issues, please refrain from the conversation. You are only serving to lower the overall competence and intelligence of an already shaky population. Our democracy is in danger and civic ignorance is the cause.

Love Harder – the world needs more healers

Many are feeling confused, scared, sad, angry, frustrated, inadequate, pathetic, weak, searching, helpless, speechless. Lost.

I am.

I’m confused. How do we heal this?

Bombarded by news of shootings, riots, grieving, anger. What does it mean? No one’s to blame. Everyone’s to blame.

“But he must have done something.”

“They’re all prejudice.”

“He was unarmed.”

“They felt threatened.”

I’m scared. How do we heal this?

Our children are watching.

To my black brothers and sisters, I’m grieving too. The color of my skin holds me back from moving towards you because I’m afraid of judgment, afraid of rejection. Worried my intentions won’t be seen as sincere. How can I possibly know or understand?

I’m staring to know.

I’m beginning to understand.

With each story, my heart breaks.

Perhaps this is the reason for it all. To awaken those of us who have been complacent for generations. Content to sit in our safe cozy spaces believing that all is well and all is equal. Convincing ourself that working with, playing with, living with black people means prejudice is history. Turning the other way when we hear of injustice because that isn’t what we see day to day in our part of the world.

A young man is shot walking home at night. He must have been up to no good. We search for evidence of past misdeeds, justification for the killing. Blame the victim. If only he hadn’t run. Innocent people don’t run. Right?

When we know better, we do better.

Now, more than ever before we must love intentionally.

Start close. Expand out to the whole world. Send love.

How do we fix domestic abuse, child abuse, drug abuse, sexual assault, discrimination, political corruption, gang violence, Charlotte, Orlando, Syria, Uganda, etc etc – the list goes on and on and on – the answer is always LOVE.

Start close. Expand out.

2ed5342ee88f877e87baa5d480f5ad12“I held an atlas in my lap, ran my fingers across the whole world and whispered, where does it hurt? It answered, everywhere, everywhere, everywhere.” – warsan shire

Before, we were blind but now we see. The world is awakening and with this awakening comes power to change. We all have the power within us. We need only to start at home. Love your Self with intention. Love your family with intention. Take not one moment for granted. Feel gratitude for the breath you take, the air you breathe, the earth below your feet, and the sky around you.

Intentionally feel. Intentionally see. Intentionally listen and then love. It won’t be large acts on a grand scale that will heal this troubled world we, as a species, have created. It will be small acts of love given freely and often and always with intention.

More healers are aware and working in the world than ever before. We are all healers. We must make the conscious choice to be. Meditate love. Love harder and then love some more. – namaste

An Open Letter to the Lucky Ones – the ones who have never been assaulted

To all of you who still don’t get it,

You are the lucky ones. Good for you! A small number of you, by the grace of God, have never been subject to assault or known anyone who was assaulted. You are in the minority. Three out of four women have experienced some form of sexual assault in their lives. So unless you are the one out of four, you actually do know someone who wasn’t so lucky. And after reading this, you will know of one more.

The first time I was five. A family friend visiting in an RV. A mini home. I could be the wife, he said. I loved the little kitchen with the icebox just my size. I served him pretend food and brought my baby doll with me.

The wife has to do things, he said. I didn’t want to. In my strongest five year old voice, I said no. He didn’t hear me.

Shame crept in. It crawled up my back and over my face, muffling my still small voice.

The second time I was eight. High school boys, my neighbors, like brothers. I trusted them. They touched me. I closed my eyes and left my body behind.

The shame grew heavier.

The third time I was twelve. He was trusted to drive me home but his hands on my barely budding little breasts betrayed that trust.

“stop”   He couldn’t hear me.

The shame was too thick for my tiny voice to escape.

I was raped in high school. Under the pier. In the sand. He was a ‘friend.’

In college. In a car. I was drunk.

In relationships. I was silent.

Why don’t women speak out?

Why don’t they confront?

Why don’t they press charges?

Those who have been there never ask why. Most don’t know. Often it isn’t a single assault but the cumulative toll of a lifetime of smaller events. The effects of shame compounded.

Jokes are made and memes are created. Efforts to verbalize assault are dismissed as over reaction and unwarranted sensitivity. Meanwhile another young woman is groped, grabbed, forced, molested, raped….

Shame is a cloak that muffles the voice. It takes a strong woman to lift the edge and speak out. Her voice only a whisper that alone, often is not heard but when combined with the voices of other brave women, begins to grow louder and eventually those who ask why will hear the answer loud and clear.

Why? What good will it do if no one listens?


For the sake of your mothers, your daughters, your sisters, your wives, your friends.


Don’t just listen when we are strong and shouting. Listen when we are scared and shaking. Listen because we matter. Listen because this isn’t just bigger than life politicians, wealthy men, and locker room banter. This is our life.

Don’t think because we have been silent that we don’t remember. We never forget.

If you are one of the lucky ones, share your voice with someone who has lost theirs. Speak out and speak up. You were spared the shame of assault for a reason. Use the strength you have to help lift the edge of someone else’s cloak. Don’t add to the weight with your insensitivity.

It’s taken nearly forty-seven years, hundreds of hours in therapy, and the love and understanding of a strong man to develop the muscle to lift my own cloak. Recently, I’ve felt my muscles quiver but with the strength of every woman who finds the courage to speak out, my voice grows louder and for that, I am grateful.



#LoveHarder – dashcam video reaction

#LoveHarder – dashcam video reaction

This morning I watched the dashcam video released by the Charlotte, NC police department. I saw it posted on facebook last night but I didn’t watch then. I was afraid, afraid of what I would see and what it would mean. Safe inside this white skin, I needed the video to show justice. The good guys would be good and the bad guys would be bad. That’s how the world is supposed to operate. Those sworn to serve and protect are trustworthy. If they kill, it’s because they have no choice. If the bad guys would “just do as they are told, no one would die.” I needed that video to show the bad guy aiming a gun and refusing to cooperate. I needed to see the good guys in danger, having no choice but to take the life of a very bad person. I needed the video to support the narrative that would keep my world spinning on its axis in the right direction. In the absence of video footage, there was still hope.

This morning I opened facebook and quickly scrolled past postings of the video, instinctually protecting the veil of ignorance that has covered this fragile heart for 50+ years. With a warm mug of coffee and my sweet little Sadie, I sat for hours on our backporch surrounded by sounds of birds fussing at squirrels and the first dried leaves floating softly to the ground. I posted inspirational quotes about love, boastful quotes about my children, and funny videos of toddlers and puppies. For a few short hours, the world spun and all was well with my soul. If only I could have stayed in that space. As a white woman, I could have. I could have watched the video and ignored what I saw. I could have repeated the mantra I’ve heard so many times, “something happened that the video doesn’t show”. Repeated enough times, I could begin to believe it. My soul is desperate to believe it. I’m certain in the coming hours and days, I will read justifications posted by those who also need to protect the veil. Many are not equipped to see the reality or to ponder what it all means in the greater scheme of things. If our basic understandings of “right vs wrong” and “good vs bad” are proven false, where do we go from here? Nothing in my sheltered life has prepared me for the reality that this video reveals.

And just as I will read postings that attempt to justify and explain, I will read postings of anger and frustration. Frustration from those who aren’t privilege to the veil white skin affords. Frustration from those whose eyes have not only watched video but have seen firsthand the realty of injustice. Frustration from some I know and love dearly who have felt discrimination, experienced prejudice, and by the grace of God, have lived to talk about it. Frustration from those who have known the truth and have little patience anymore for those of us who are too afraid to see. And so I watched the video. I watched it. I watched it over and over and over. Tears streaming down my cheeks, I watched it. I paused it. And I watched it again.

peace-on-earthHands down.
Walking backwards.

Gun shots.

I felt the world stop.

There is no justification. There are no excuses. None.

Video footage of a man shot down ripped a gaping hole in my veil. I can no longer pretend the world spins in the direction I yearn for it to. It’s no longer enough to believe that “I’m not prejudice. I don’t see color. We are all alike.” It’s no longer okay to justify, explain, argue, or ignore. It’s no longer enough to tend only to my own heart. I have to open my heart to the pain and raise my voice for those who are weary of raising theirs. I will continue to love harder but I will also love louder. I will no longer let my fear of saying the wrong thing keep me from saying anything at all. I won’t pretend that I can fully understand what it’s like to be Black, but I won’t pretend that my heart isn’t hurting too.

Today I’m going to look for the helpers. I’m going to make sure my children know I love them. I’m going to hold my husband a little closer and hug my friends a little tighter. I’m going to be mindful of my blessings and consider ways to share these blessings with others. I’ll google opportunities to volunteer, to support, and to learn. I’ll take a deep breath, step out of my comfort zone, and find my footing once again. The world is spinning in a different direction now. Perhaps this will be the right direction for all of us.

– Namaste ❤

Love trumps Fear

Across the globe a plane crashes, families mourn, leaders speak. Questions swirl as answers come in slowly. Countries are angered. Accusations are leveled. Once again our humanity is highlighted as our hearts go out to those we will never know and yet somehow feel akin to.

Across the nation, the climate is contentious as leaders from both political parties ramp up the rhetoric in efforts to energize their base, hoping to garner more support in the days to come. Chosen topics are those that divide us, the extreme on either side becoming the loudest voices and thus, the most likely to be heard.

A presidential candidate stirs up fear with predictions of “the worst depression of our time” and “more terrorist bombings to come. ”The news media circles like buzzards, zoning in on the ugliest, amplifying the effect and serving only to widen the chasm. A state convention filled with passionate citizens is reported as violent and suddenly the face of an entire group is painted as hate filled and ignorant. Idealists pledge commitment to a movement, refusing acceptance of the status quo, and are demonized and disrespected. Votes that have yet to be cast are dismissed as irrelevant by candidates who declare victory before the process is completed. Arrogance in place of humility widens the chasm.

Frustrated, individuals seek those who share their concerns, a sympathetic ear willing to commiserate, to feel even in the slightest way that they are not alone. Emotions intensify and voices are drowned out. Thoughtful arguments are passed over for the more sensational and ridiculous. Soundbytes replace facts. And the chasm widens.

Bombarded by the ugliness and inundated with negativity, a feeling of helplessness begins to seep into the collective consciousness and with it, fear. Groups of people organize in efforts to affect change. Speaking out for the less fortunate, the marginalized, and the minority, hopeful that the power of numbers will create a voice loud enough to be heard over the buzz of mass media and fear mongering politicians. Private businesses boycott against discrimination and citizens protest in larger numbers. Facebook profiles fill with colors representing the country of a downed airliner as individuals seek ways to show solidarity across continents. Airline security lines lengthen and for a day or two, everyone is patient.

Beyond the hysteria of the media and the passion-filled rhetoric of the political arena is where our collective humanity lies. When the veil of difference that divides us is lifted, what remains can serve to bring us together.

Closer to home, a box of doughnuts carried through an airport elicits smiles and spontaneous conversation amongst strangers. Laughter fills the air carried on the aroma of the freshly baked pastries and no one asks for party affiliation or religious beliefs. Jokingly a security guard insists payment in the form of one original glazed before passage is granted. Once onboard, fellow passengers express playful gratitude that someone brought “snacks for everyone.” It matters little if or when the person in the adjoining seat last attended church. No one seems to care how their neighbor is planning to vote or even if they are registered. In this moment at least, any concern about terror attacks, disenfranchised voters, or discriminatory laws are out of mind. The veil that separates has been lifted if only briefly and only love remains. And where there is love, fear cannot dwell.

krispy-kreme-photoPerhaps what the world needs is more doughnuts.

Course Correction – where are those goals?

Course Correction – where are those goals?

As I write this, it is February 4th and we are 35 days into this new year. If you’re one of those who set goals for 2016 and actually wrote them down somewhere, then you are one of a small percentage of the population who accomplished this task. Most of us will make resolutions. We’ll promise to make changes, to eat healthier, to exercise, to spend more time with our children, to stop and smell the roses. But few of us will take the time to create specific definable goals. A Harvard study revealed that 83% of the population have no goals at all. Only 14% of us even have a plan in mind for how we want our life to go. Even fewer still will write any of this down on paper. Just 3% of us will take pen to paper. So if you are one of those who wrote your goals down, give yourself a pat on the back. You are the ones I want to talk to today.

Those goals that you took the time to think about and write down just a few weeks ago, where are they now? Sure, a few of you will pull an index card out of your pocket or refer to a page taped to your bathroom mirror. Some of you will have a journal, a day planner, or a notebook. But the majority of you have a quizzical look on your face right now because you can’t remember exactly what you did with that sheet of paper. For that matter, you’re a little bit foggy as to what those goals you wrote were even about.

Don’t feel bad. Although I don’t have a Harvard study to back me up, my gut tells me that you are not alone. In fact, based on my small circle, I’m gonna bet that you are in the majority of the minority. If I had to guess, I would say that only 3% of the 3% write their goals, develop a plan to achieve their goals, and then successfully track their goals. And that is why approximately 92% of the goals we set will fail within two weeks of setting them.

Goals that are written down and never checked are only slightly better than no goals at all. Writing goals gives us a target, a vision for where we want to go but tracking our goals helps to keep us on the right path and moving closer to our target. I once heard goal setting compared to a sailing ship. The captain might have a destination in mind for his voyage but if he fails to track the progress of his journey, he will sail aimlessly around most likely never reaching his targeted destination.

Don’t be discouraged. It is never too late to get back on course. Unless of course, you’re the captain of that ship and you’ve run out of provisions and your crew has died or the ship has sunk…but I digress.

So how do we get back on track? First, find that sheet of paper where you wrote down your goals. Re-word your goals if necessary to insure they are S.M.A.R.T goals. By this I mean:

S – Specific – Your goals must be as specific as you can possibly make them.

  • Bad: Write a book.
  • Good: Write a book proposal for “Nanny’s Wisdom.”

M – Measurable – Remember, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” As much as possible, quantify the result.

  • Bad: Save more money this year.
  • Good: Put 10% of each paycheck into a savings account.

A – Actionable – Start each goal with an “action” verb (run, eliminate, create) rather than a “to be” verb (have, be, am).

  • Bad: Be more consistent with yoga practice.
  • Good: Attend 3 or more yoga classes each week.

R – Realistic – This one is a bit tricky. Your goals should stretch you. If you aren’t stepping out of your comfort zone then you aren’t growing. Said another way, “if your goals don’t scare you, then they aren’t big enough.”

  • Bad: Write a best-selling novel.
  • Good: Submit a book proposal.

T – Time bound – Every goal needs a date associated with it. A goal without a date is just a dream.

  • Bad: Learn to use Quickbooks.
  • Good: Learn to use Quickbooks by March 31st.

Okay, now that you have written smart goals, you need to break these goals down into manageable and achievable actions. You are creating a road map that will help you get to your desired destination, ie. your goal. This time you are going to keep your goals in front of you. You’re going to refer to them often. I recommend that you read over your goals every morning. This is the secret sauce that turns dreams into reality. Thoughts become things. Read over your goals and visualize what you will feel like when you have achieved each one. Don’t rush this part. Give yourself time to reflect on each goal. Express gratitude for this part of your day and for the freedom to set goals for your life.

Track your progress along the way. Give yourself credit for even the smallest step towards your goal. My favorite definition of success is “steady progress toward a worthwhile goal.” Celebrate yourself on this journey. Ultimately, the journey itself will change you, if only you pay attention. You are a member of an elite group of goal setters. The few who strive to be, as Zig Ziglar liked to say, “meaningful specifics and not wandering generalities.” Congratulations for that.

Clear strategy and leadership solutions






Slowly and Steadily Terrorized

I’ve always been a headcounter. From my days as a camp counselor with twelve little preschoolers running around me, to my days as a middle school teacher with 30 plus kids to usher around, to my days with little ones of my own, I find comfort in counting heads to insure everyone is where they are supposed to be.

When my babies were young this was much easier. They were all located in the same space. As they grew and became more independent, my head counting evolved from a visual count to a mental count. Unable to lay my eyes on each one, I would visualize where they were, sometimes making a phone call to confirm. It’s my way of keeping them close even when they wander.This ritual comforts me. However, any one of them will be the first to tell you that an unanswered phone call can send me into a state of panic in a very short period of time. “Answer mom’s call or she’ll be all over facebook tracking you down!”

I remember the first time I couldn’t locate child #1. He was a freshman in college in North Carolina. I was living in Texas. For thirty minutes he was MIA, not answering his phone, not returning texts, and absent from facebook. My vivid imagination took over with thoughts of crashed cars, kidnappings, and a number of other absurd possibilities. He was my first. I’ve learned since then that a dead phone battery is most likely the reason.

Over the past several years, the time span before panic sets in has grown longer for me. With each child I’ve relaxed a bit more. Learning to trust that they are safe, they are capable, and they will call me back.

Until recently.

When did I start worrying that they were going to a movie? When was it that a concert became a threatening situation? How did I shift from feeling safe to feeling insecure? And most importantly, how do I shift it all back?

I find myself more often doing a mental check of where our children are at any given moment. These checks now involve a new element of concern with children living in Paris, working at Disney World, studying on University campuses, and traveling outside the country. Lockdown drills at school have evolved into real time threats. Text messages in the middle of the day saying, “I’m okay mom. We’re in lock down again. There is a possible shooter in the area.” Late night conversations with a scared child who’s too far away. Reassuring them they are okay, all the while shaking myself.

They are safe, they are capable, and they will call me back.

I maintain calm and trust. Keep a positive mindset. Think good thoughts. Believe all is well. Stay in the moment. Don’t let fear creep in. Fear comes from thoughts of the past. Anxiety comes from worries of the future. Stay in the moment. This moment all is well.fa452aa7848561b365b954eb65cfe7fa

This morning I kissed my child good-bye and thought, “Dear Lord, please keep him safe in his school today.” A mother shouldn’t ever have to feel this way, ever. This is the feeling of being terrorized. It doesn’t matter who is doing it or what their agenda might be. Domestic or foreign, it doesn’t matter.  The motive is to terrorize. The media feeds it and despite my resolve not to let it change me, it will. In tiny, slow, steady increments, it will.