Archive for August, 2011

Joy And Other Shiny Things


I am excited to say that I was invited to be a guest blogger on Carol Finlayson’s blog.  She is a fellow coach and all around amazing woman who is in the midst of unveiling her little corner of beauty in the world with a new facelift for her blog.  Well worth exploring 🙂

She gave me a lot of different topics to write about and I decided to unravel a little bit more about a topic that has been captivating me lately and as come up time and time again in a variety of different ways and thoughts:


If you want to read my post, thoughts and questions about joy click here to read more!

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I have the first proof of the In-Between sitting on my computer screen.

I got the e-mail yesterday saying my exterior proof of the book was ready and so I clicked and downloaded my piece (technology is amazing) and I was speechless.  They had taken my ideas, combined them with my photos, listened to the heart of the book and presented me with something that seemed to leap straight from my heart onto the screen.  And now today they sent me the interior proofs, and again I was left staring at the screen in awe of what they had done, and what we had created together.  My words, my pictures, my vision and now their artistic touches and viola!  A beautiful book waiting for its final approval before it graces the world with its presence.

It is my creation, my baby, my dream for the past two years, and now it not only has a name, it has deadlines, it has form, it has flesh and bones.  For so long it was just simply a nice thing that was on my bucket list:

124. Become a best-selling author

But bit by bit I crossed each hurdle, stepped up a little bit more, stretched beyond my comfort zones  and did one more thing towards my dream, some little, some big, and somehow, someway, it is giving way to this dream made manifest.

Now it is in my hands, a few more rounds of editing and the first author’s proof will literally be in my hands.  I can’t wait until it is, but until then I am savoring this place, this moment of being proud of me, this moment of realizing that I did this, I made this happen.  For far too much of my life I have always looked towards the next goal, the next great thing never pausing to savor the stops and starts along the way, never pausing to celebrate, or to even look back to realize what I did to get to this place.

I am finding that so much of the pleasure is in living the dream into life… first talking about it, feeling the shape and form of it in your own mind, then the first people that you sheepishly share your big dream with, then the first scary steps towards making it more concrete and real… and now for me, this place, this place of sharing my dream, of having friends and family who support each milestone along the way and who will celebrate each moment with me.  The completion of the first draft, the first Publisher that I sent it to, the first rejection letter, the first time I claimed those words out loud “I am a writer”, and now the first proofs… and… and well the next and will have to wait.

I am busy savoring THIS moment right here, right now.

I am busy living my dream into life.

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This week I had a friend who was travelling for work and to make it a little more interesting I challenged her to a scavenger hunt. There were 20 items on her list and the last one was:

20. Take a picture of peace.

And since I am never one to give anyone something I wouldn’t be willing to do, I was thinking a lot about what my pictures of peace would look like.

It just so happened that I was able to go to my grandparents farm this weekend to spend some time with them, soaking in some time on the farm, time spent laughing, sharing, and enjoying one another.  And since it is one of the places that I feel most at peace it wasn’t too difficult to find some opportunities to picture peace.

So these are my pictures of peace from this weekend:


I recently found a project that Joan Steffend Brandmeier is helping to further- Peace Begins With Me, and it inspired me to think about ways that I can help create peace… and I often wonder what it would look like if we spent more time picturing peace.  Figuring out what our role was in it, what little part we can play in the larger whole.

Since my day job is to help create healthy relationships, to further healthy communities and so much of that is contingent upon creating more peace within homes, within our communities as they are inextricably linked… it comes as no surprise that I often find myself thinking about peace.

In invite you to check out Joan’s link and I would love to hear, what little piece of peace will you offer?

Another seed that was planted was while attending a workshop on writing that was offered by John Noltner a few weeks ago.  He is doing a beautiful project called A Peace of My Mind.  John invited people to answer the question: What Does Peace Mean To You?  They are putting together a book and have a campaign on kickstarter (and on Facebook) that tells the story of the project that is well worth watching.

So what does peace look like to you, what parts of peace do you cultivate in your own life?  Are there any pictures in your life that create peace for you?  Who has been a role model for peace in your own life?

All things I will be mulling over as I continue to look for opportunities to picture peace.

I would love to hear your thoughts…

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Sometimes there are thoughts that won’t leave me alone.  They keep popping up in my head, in conversation and in moments when I least expect it.

Lately that has been this thought:

If you want better answers you have to ask better questions. 

And it has been showing up in so many different areas of my life lately.

So often we keep asking ourselves the same questions and wonder why we don’t move forward in our lives.  We ask ourselves “Why isn’t my life working?”  But yet we never stop to rephrase the question, or to ask a better question that might move us forward.  “What do I need to live my best life?”,  “What is working for me right now, and how can I do more of that?”, “Who do I have to support me and what do they say?”

Often we don’t ask the good questions of ourselves because we are afraid of the answer.  Sometimes it just feels safer to stay in the muck.

But I can guarantee you, if you are brave enough to ask yourself better questions you will find better answers.

Another place this has been popping up is realizing how often we have the same conversations over and over again.

“How are you today?”


“Oh, glad to hear it.”

There are times when conversations about the weather, or about things we don’t really care about are okay… but what about the times when you want a better answer?  More often than not that can be remedied with a better question.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to ask questions, and sometimes I will ask questions that make people slightly uncomfortable, because I genuinely want to know what moves you, what gets you through the day, what lights you up, what are you passionate about, what sustains you through the dark times, what does love look like for you, what moment in your life changed you…

We all have a story and I love to listen.

So I have been experimenting with questions lately that will get me better answers… and I thought I would share some… Some are appropriate for your good friends and some more so for those summer BBQ’s, but regardless inviting others into conversation is a powerful experience.  We forget how so often we just want to see and be seen.  Just think of the last time that someone really showed genuine interest in what you had to say, when they asked good questions and waited for your answer, how the conversation shifted, how the world of possibilities opened up and your relationship deepened.

We are made of stories, we are here to share them.  Let’s ask better questions and get this party started!

What is the best thing that has happened to you since we last spoke?

What is working in your life? 

How can I be of service to you?  How can I help?

What are you passionate about?  What lights you up?

What was the best meal you have had lately?

If you had a weekend to yourself to do whatever you wanted to do, what would you do?

Author Brene Brown talks about all of us being made of strength and struggle… and that to me begs the question “What is your strength and what is your struggle?”

I think all too often we get caught up in the same conversations, the same routines, the same complaints, and it drains us of our power.  Asking better questions, focusing on what is right rather than what is wrong are easy ways to shift into better relationships.

So a question for you…

When has a question shifted something for you?



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