Posted on November 2, 2018 By
Posted on September 13, 2018 By
Her name is Mallory. At least it is for now. She’s the amateur sleuth in my new cozy mystery — or technically I should say my first cozy mystery. While I’ve written non-fiction books on leadership, trust, and self-development topics, and hope to write more, I’ve started a few mysteries over the years but never finished them.
Mallory’s story might just be read by me. Who knows? But, I’m at a point that to acknowledge her presence in my life is a step in learning more about her and her voice. These days, becoming a mystery writer is something I’m actively involved in doing. The operative word here is becoming.
I think of it like my oldest granddaughter becoming more educated. Her “Continuation Ceremony” in June marked a move from elementary school to middle school. I’m doing my own continuation of sorts, comprised of studying, practicing, learning, and evolving new skills to include fiction writing, specifically mysteries. As author T. Harv Eker put it, “You will live into your story.” While I’ve been learning the craft of fiction writing for a couple years now, at the beginning of this year I decided (continue reading →)
Posted on May 4, 2018 By
My husband gave me a card at the beginning of 2018 that’s been standing on my dresser ever since. I see its message when I wake up or wander into the bedroom. There’s a picture of an early sunrise on a distant horizon, its light spreading across an ocean with no land in sight. A figure on the deck of a sailboat watches the emerging colors in the sky.
Across the card, in large elegant font, are these words — simplistic on one level; profound on another — “Every day is a gift.” The card serves as a reminder and a nudge to me: a reminder of no promised tomorrows for any of us, and a nudge to consciously use well the time I have.
I do want to live that way. Most mornings I read the words, deciding that, yes, every day is a gift and my best use of this day should reflect that gratitude and understanding. Yet, more often than I’d like, that’s not what happens.
I’m guilty of losing perspective or numbing out to the preciousness of these non-renewable days, until something tragic, or frightening, or significant happens to shake me awake for a time. I’m guilty of routinely applying habits for getting things done, or getting caught up in the “doing,” without self-awareness about what I’m doing or who I’m “becoming” or “being” in the process. And I’m guilty of (continue reading →)
Posted on April 23, 2018 By
This week, I found myself spending a day with strangers when a scheduled flight was cancelled because our pilot became ill with food poisoning. As the news began to spread; the reactions were mixed: Anger, Frustration, Sadness, Excitement, Joy … and on and on. Since I was traveling alone, I started people watching an activity I love to do especially in airports.
One of the first things I noticed was the noise level had increased exponentially, then nearly everyone was on their cell phone and a long line was forming at the departure counter where the airline representative was trying to tell us next steps over the loud speaker. It was one of those and then “life happens” moments. Each of us had expectations, plans and others depending on us at the other end. Now what?
A quote popped into my head, by Randy Pausch author of The Last Lecture, “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, only how we play the hand.” It seemed fitting for my current situation. Fast forward an hour or so. And, I and several fellow passengers were at a nearby hotel* in bathing suits sitting poolside with cold beverages watching the sunset. At the same time, others were demanding a full-refund for their inconvenience. While we all thought we would be flying then many of us made a choice to enjoy the unexpected delay. How do you react in those “life happens” moments?
Until next time take good care and be safe out there.
* The airline paid for our hotel and food vouchers.
Posted on March 12, 2018 By
In my local paper there’s a column of reader comments. People leave input, “no more than 30 seconds” on a call-in line. Each day a few of these short statements comprise the section. While occasionally there’s a thank you for a random act of kindness or a plea to include grateful messages, most are in the against-it camp, even suggesting, at times, those who disagree should “move to another planet.”
Like a toxic vine, being against-it, whatever “it” is, seems to be burrowing deep into our cultural mindset, modeled with fervor of late in the political arena. What one party is for, the other is against. Even before an idea makes it to twitter or the blogosphere, opposing party pundits and representatives rail against whatever approach the other side might be considering.
But before finger-pointing and smugness gets the better of us, consider that the against-it road is alive in most workplaces, communities, organizations, schools, and homes. The labels are different: it’s the boss or the staff, the parents or the teachers, the rich or the not-rich, the corporations or the “real” people, the women or the men, the baby-boomers or the millennials.
Being against something is so much easier; even easier still when all you have to do is retweet or “like” a post. No thinking required. When we follow the against-it path, we don’t have to be (continue reading →)
Posted on March 5, 2018 By
In December 1776 eighteenth century philosopher and author, Thomas Paine wrote, “These are the times that try men’s souls … ” from the 1st volume begins, The American Crisis. Paine would go on to write a collection of pamphlets during the American Revolutionary War. Common Sense probably being his most famous Paine, like many other politicians and scholars, knew the colonists weren’t going to support the war without proper reason to do so. The purpose of the pamphlets was to stir and inspire the colonists. And, written in a language the common person could understand.
Fast forward to February 2018, Paine’s words have come and gone in my mind and come again and gone, more than a few times – the day of the Parkland Florida school shooting, subsequent days after as more personal stories were shared and most recently – when my daughter Sarah called to tell me about her day. Her middle school went to code yellow (bomb threat) that morning. She told me of the emotional conversations she had with her colleagues, parents and mostly with her 6th grade students during the day. I listened … she talked. At the end she said, “I don’t know Mom, why we all can’t be better? We need to be better.” It is a good question. Why, can’t we be better?
Later that night, I sent her this message – “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”* – I hope you will try again tomorrow. And, I will too. Love ya, Mom.
I am no Thomas Paine. I’d love to hear what you are telling your children to stir and inspire them in these times.
Until next time take good care and be safe out there.
*from author and artist Mary Anne Radmacher
Posted on February 14, 2018 By
When we arrived, I found three familiar bent heads focused on the remaining pieces spread around the not-yet-finished jigsaw puzzle on the coffee table. In time, those pieces evolved into a whimsical cat picture, the process of which absorbed a variety of extended family members, from 8 to mid 70s, over a snowy holiday weekend. Various family came to linger in the living room, trying their hand at puzzle creation; searching for a likely piece, placing it in their imagined spot, and then returning it to the table once their attempt failed.
We’ve all seen or been engrossed by such endeavors. But this one caught my attention. It hindered a quick finish with its limited color differentiations, causing drop outs unwilling to invest more time without clear progress. After all, there were other family engagement options during our days together, from “Just Dance” video game challenges to pie making.
By our second day, two puzzle-players remained. Determined to finish, they rarely moved from their homesteaded-spots on the couch and adjacent chair. By evening, the puzzle was as done as it would ever be — complete but not completed. With one piece missing, technically, the picture would never be “finished.”
I’ve thought about that weekend several times since, with its intensity of effort, missing piece frustration, and then acceptance of the puzzle’s imperfection. Lost. Missing. Never received? Who knows why the piece wasn’t there. It didn’t matter; it was still fun.
But the experience got me thinking. We all have a missing piece or two at times in ourselves or in our lives; pieces like (continue reading →)
Posted on February 5, 2018 By
Martin Luther King, JR said – “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
I stumbled upon this quote today and wanted to share it with you. Do you regularly make time for things that matter? Do you talk about those things with family and friends? Do you speak about them at work? If not, today is a perfect time to start!
Note: It often takes courage to speak-up about things that matter. You can discover insights and how-to’s about courage in Nan’s book, Hitting Your Stride – Your Work, Your Way. Check it out here.
Posted on January 5, 2018 By
New Year new you articles, ads, and promotions are ubiquitous, pushing everything from gym memberships and healthy meal-kit delivery, to accountability coaches and meditation apps. They attempt to nudge us to climb aboard the reset, start new, or try-again bandwagons. There’s money to make when 92-percent of us don’t achieve our resolutions each year.
But, this time I’m not climbing aboard. I’m not interested in short bursts that fade, only to be resurrected again next year from guilt, despair, or should-dos, rather than genuine self-awareness and conscious choice.
Granted, I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions anyway. I believe incremental progress over time is a better approach to sustainable results. Even so, I’ve made dozens of resolutions through the years, sprinkled with good intentions and magical thinking, hoping this time it’ll be different — that I’ll lose the weight, conquer bad habits, or achieve that dreamed about goal. Some years I’ve made it into the 8-percent who achieved their resolutions group, but most years I haven’t.
I don’t want a mulligan on last year’s missed accomplishments, a do-over to try to hit missed goals, or a renewed desire to cross something of a life-to-do-list. After all, doing the same thing yields, more likely than not, the same results. I want (continue reading →)