The Three R’s


Reflect, Renew, Reinvent – that was the theme for the year. Renewal and reinvention have begun but are still in the works. I need more time for those.  My annual holiday letter is a summary of 2014 with some reflection built in.  If you received a holiday card and letter, this will be redundant.  If not, you may find the following post amusing.

2014 – All the World’s a Stage

This year has been like a variety show with me playing every role.  Along the way I have tried for some self-awareness.  The following is a summary of the various roles I took on and a self-assessment.

Shipping and receiving clerk for Pickett Brass – it turns out I’m not so good at this.  Too much detail for my big-picture brain.  I had to fire myself before things went from bad to worse.


Call center operator enrolling Kentuckians in affordable healthcare plans – I responded to incoming calls, talked to people, filled out a lot of on-line forms.  I was really good at this, on my way to winning customer service awards, but had to cut it short to be a host mom.

call center

Host mom for a teen female exchange student.  Not so sure I was any good at this.  I honed my in-town driving skills and found short cuts getting her to school and swim practice every day.  It was challenging to watch her develop an eating disorder and not have the authority to do anything about it.

Training design and development is something I’ve been doing for so long I ought to be good at it by now.  I would be well-served if I updated my skills to be able to design e-learning modules.  Still not ready to take the plunge.  Is it denial, avoidance or procrastination?

Tour guide and visitor to local attractions in Kentucky, Washington, D.C., New York City and Hendersonville, NC.  Hopefully I was a good guest and guide.


Author of a self-published book:  Your Holiday Coach.  I gave away more copies than I will ever sell.  I am just happy to check it off my bucket list.  I am also creating the first draft of a novel in November, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  Not sure if anyone will ever read it but me, and I’m not ready to reveal the story line.

YHC Kindle Cover

Student in yoga teacher certification course, a twelve month commitment starting Oct. 2014.  This is not my first teacher training.  I went through this in 1999 and eventually wrote the training manual.   I also attended Yoga for Kids teacher training.  I like to learn but I am usually an impatient student.  That probably comes from being a training designer.  Bad training makes me cranky.  So far, so good.  I was a pretty good yoga teacher at one time.  I’m not sure I will teach again.  But if I do, I should be awesome.

Blogger and social media novice.  I am navigating my way through cyberspace as a marketing strategy for my current book and any future books.  I suspect I am not so good at this.  But I will keep plugging away, attend webinars, workshops and on-line courses and hope to get better.   I now have Twitter and Goodreads accounts, multiple Facebook pages, and several blog sites.

See you in the funny papers!

Happy Holidays!

Everyone Has a Story


Today I began NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing.

Participants work towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel between November 1st and November 30th.

NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel. National Novel Writing Month is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit (formerly known as the Office of Letters and Light). Their mission statement:

National Novel Writing Month organizes events where children and adults find the inspiration, encouragement, and structure they need to achieve their creative potential. 

One day in and I am exactly on track – 1667 words.  I’m still unsure what the novel will be about.  The first 1,000 words or so seem to be a warm-up and will probably be tossed out.  I will allow the plot to develop one day at a time and see where it goes.  See you on the flip side of November.

Do you have a story in you?

The Road to Om


Again, it has been awhile since my last post.  I am trying not to make this a “dear diary” sort of blog and stick to the high points.  Since last I spoke…

I have been busy writing a book and getting it self-published.  It was on my bucket list for about twenty years.  I can finally check it off.  If we are not connected through Facebook, Twitter, Linked In or some other social medium, the title of the book is Your Holiday Coach.  My intention in writing this book is to help you or someone you know prioritize what will bring joy, peace and happiness during the upcoming season.  It is full of tips and activities to craft a realistic plan to survive the holidays.  It is currently available in paperback and as a Kindle book on

Your Holiday Coach has its own blog site and I will be posting on that site about twice a week into December.  You can follow along at

Now that the commercial is over, what else have I been up to on my year of self-awareness?

I believe I was at my best as a human being when I was immersed in Yoga.  Yoga is so much more than the poses most people think of when they think of yoga.  Yoga is not a religion.  For me it is a spiritual compass.  The basic teachings and philosophy of yoga are based on ten ethical precepts that allow us to be at peace with ourselves, our family, and our community. They are known as the Yamas and Niyamas.  Rather than a list of dos and don’ts, they tell us that our fundamental nature is compassionate, generous, honest, and, peaceful.  If you want to know more about the Yamas and Niyamas, you can find explanations on the Internet.

My yoga journey began in 1990.  I was introduced to the poses and a specific guru.  I started going to classes and an occasional weekend workshop.  I must admit that I was more faithful to my weekly yoga practice than any other path I have followed.  In the late 1990’s I attended teacher training and moved to Homosassa to help manage a yoga retreat center.  I mainly taught seniors (before I was one) and special needs children.  In 2004 I moved back to Michigan and my yoga practice began to unravel.

Fast forward to the present day.  I have enrolled in Yoga teacher training in Lexington.  Since my first go-round, certification has become more formal and I will be an RYT (registered yoga teacher) with Yoga Alliance.  My goal is not to teach again, though I’m not opposed to it.  This time around I want to reconnect with the best part of me and strive to be a compassionate, generous, honest, and, peaceful human being.

Also on the horizon is NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month – November.  If you can write 50,000 in the thirty days of November, you will have a first draft.  That is my plan to get started on my next book.  More about that in my next post.

I will end this post with a traditional Sanskrit greeting used to begin and end most yoga classes.

Namaste (na-ma-stay) – I honor that place in you where the whole universe dwells.  It is a place of peace and love and light and truth.  When I am in that place in me and you are in that place in you, we are one. Om!


The Good, The Bad, The Ugly and The Best


Unsure of how to present my experiences as the host mother for a teen exchange student over the past few months, I have kept radio silence.  I want to emphasize that the following is about my path to self-awareness and personal growth and not a reflection on the student.  Yes, it’s all about me.

Deciding to do the right thing and take in an exchange student mid-school year opened an opportunity to learn a lot about myself.

The Good:  When presented with an option to step up and put someone else’s needs before my own, I did the right thing and said yes.  A Good thing!

The Bad:  Having all the responsibility for another’s welfare and no authority to make decisions caused me to question my choice to care for someone else’s child.  If this had been my child, I would have done things differently.  I learned t to keep my opinion to myself.  It felt like being between a rock and a hard place.  Bad!

The Ugly:  Resenting changes to my personal, financial and social life – Really Ugly!

The Best:  I’m still growing and learning.  I may not always like what I learn, but knowing what I know now, I would still make the same choice.  Perhaps I will be better prepared mentally and emotionally to let go of the bad and the ugly.


Detours, Roadblocks and Speed Bumps


The road to personal growth, self-awareness and enlightenment is not always smooth.  Here is a triptik about some of the things I have learned on my journey in the past few months.
detourI’ll be humming along on my journey through life and see the “construction zone ahead” signs and take a detour.  I find it appeals to my need for change and test my flexibility.  I have always considered my flexibility an asset.  No real lesson, just a pop quiz that keeps presenting itself from time to time.

I believe that if you do the right thing, you will be rewarded in some life, if not this one.  Pay it forward!  So I often choose to do what I consider the right thing.  Let the tough lessons begin.

roadblockSometimes I am doing the right thing on the outside but the voices in my head create roadblocks that must be dealt with. What looks like a selfless act is often negated by my inner attitude.  Aha, a lesson!  I will continue to ‘do the right thing’ while working on my inner voice.

audrey hepburnAudrey Hepburn said it well:

“It’s that wonderful old-fashioned idea that others come first and you come second. Others matter more than you do, so ‘don’t fuss, dear; get on with it’.”




Speed bumps are there to slow us down.  I suspect my speed bumps are there to slow me down and teach me patience.  I would go days on end and never take the car out of the garage.  Now I find myself out on the roads in high traffic times for anywhere from two to four hours a day.  It goes something like this: drop a child off at school, pick her up from school, take her to swim practice and then pick her up.  In between I will run errands, go to a part-time job a couple times a week and to my volunteer gig once a week.  All of this takes patience on the road.  Along with patience I am learning some less travelled routes that avoid the busiest roads and intersections.  With a minor child as a passenger in the car I am also working on my outer voice by not yelling bad things at other drivers.


“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.”  Douglas Adams

And so the journey continues.



Recently my journey led me down a trail that explores the meaning of accountability.  I was amazed at how many sources used the word accountable in the definition of accountability.  Not helpful dictionary editors.  I found two definitions that work for me.

1.  Accountability – responsible to somebody or for something; an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility. (Encarta Dictionary) I might even switch it around to say ‘responsible for somebody or to something’.

personal accountability chickens

2.  Personal Accountability – Being willing to answer for the outcomes resulting from your choices, behaviors, and actions.

Personal accountability is very familiar to me.  As someone who has made unconventional choices in my career and personal life, I accept total responsibility for my actions and behaviors.  I was able to make those choices because I have only been accountable for me.  No need to confer with someone or consider someone else’s needs.  Some of those decisions led to less than optimal results, but no regrets here.  Each decision has made me the person I am today.  I like to believe that the whole person I have become is greater than the sum of the parts.  With many more decisions to make, I am only a fraction of the person I will become.

Just over two weeks ago I made a personal decision to become accountable for someone else.  My last blog introduced Juli, an exchange student who is now a part of my life.  Each day I am accountable to her and for her and that has increased my personal accountability.

My life has more structure.  I set the alarm so I can get ready for the day and get her to school on time.  Sometimes I set an alarm on my phone to be sure I leave to pick her up from school on time.  Meals need to be planned for and prepared.  I get texts and emails from her school about schedule changes, homework assignments and whatever else the school deems important.  We are planning some sightseeing trips to enhance her visit to the United States.

Adding structure to my life to meet my responsibilities for some else has helped me add structure to meet my goals for this year and beyond.  My personal accountability has reached a new level by taking on the responsibility for someone else.

To bring this blog to a close, I would like to share a few quotes I found that ring true for me.

“The right thing to do and the hard thing to do are usually the same.”
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

“It is wrong and immoral to seek to escape the consequences of one’s acts.”
Mahatma Gandhi

“As for the journey of life; at some point you will realize that YOU are the driver and you will drive!”
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Congratulations, It’s A Girl!


Motherhood came late to me.  At 60 it would be a miracle in every sense if it happened in the usual way.   Juli is a 15-year old Youth for Understanding exchange student from Germany.  She is sweet, responsible and very mature.  I would not have been able to leave my home country for an extended period of time at fifteen.  I was 58 when I went into the Peace Corps with the idea of being gone for twenty-six months.  We all know how that didn’t work out.

Juli will be with me until June 23rd.  During that time I’ll be taking her to school and picking her up, making sure she is fed, warm and feels loved.  When not in school she is on a swim team that practices six days a week, she’s making plans for prom and doing all the things your typical fifteen year old should be doing.

I hope to be able to show her some of the local attractions, enhance her experience in the United States and maybe take her on a side trip or two.

Welcome home Juli!