Open Yourself to the Unlikely

If you open yourself when you open a good book it will continue to illuminate your life even after The End. Oprah

If you know me at all, you know I love books. However, there was a time when I read very little. With three children, a business, and a household to manage, even sitting down to read a magazine seemed a far off dream. Now I read about fifty books a year and many magazines. Reading is a necessity for writers but I still see it as a luxury afforded to an empty-nester. 

I recently read The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. It’s everything I’d normally not read: A fantasy written for middle grade kids set in the Middle Ages. I bought the book at a writers’ conference and had it signed by the author for my ninety-two year old friend, Virginia, who writes for this age. Murdock won the 2019 Newberry Award, the top award for children’s literature, so I was intrigued. As I read the book before mailing it to Virginia, I did as Oprah suggested. I opened myself up to an unlikely genre, hero, author, and story. The visions Murdock created will illuminate my life even after The End. 

Affirmation: I open myself up to the unlikely. 

Coaching questions and request: What new endeavor or experience might you open yourself up to that could make a difference in your life? Camping, a different type of music, an unlikely friend, Lebanese cuisine, a memoir, tap dancing, a symphony? The list is endless. This week, I challenge you to try something outside of your comfort zone. Let me know how it works out.

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Use Your Power in 2019

Don’t underestimate your power. Hate is potent, but so is kindness. And goodness, and grace. Use yours generously. Oprah

2018 has been a tumultuous year in the United States and elsewhere in the world. Mass shootings, political unrest, war, lies, hatred, climatic disasters, children separated from parents, discrimination, sexual abuse and assault. It’s easy to feel powerless in the wake of psychological and physical chaos.

But, as Oprah says, “what I know for sure,” is how you treat every person in your sphere can and will make a difference. Don’t underestimate the power of goodness, kindness, and empathy. Don’t underestimate the power of your modeling—to children and others. Do what you can to make 2019 a gentler, kinder year. 

Affirmation: I have power.

Coaching question: What one behavior will you change in 2019 to make a difference in our troubled world? 

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Energy Versus Time

Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.  Oprah Winfrey, American media executive, actress, talk show host, philanthropist. 

With nineteen grandchildren and four great-grands, I start my Christmas shopping early. I’ve also started party planning, making treats for the freezer, and decorating ideas. ’Tis the season!

I learned long ago that it is more important for me to manage my energy than it is my time. We all have 24 hours in a day but energy….there’s the rub. As I’ve aged, my energy has declined so I must use it well. I still wake up most mornings raring to go but the exuberance doesn’t last. If you are in the throes of grief, expect lower than usual energy. Notice when you are most energized and use the time well. Even a few minutes can yield big results when you’re working on all four cylinders and love what you’re doing. 

Affirmation: I manage my energy well.

Coaching questions: What’s your best time of the day? What energizes you? What do you need to do now to manage your time and energy during this busy season? 

Let’s Get Happy

I’ve been claiming happiness for a long time, dreaming big dreams and using the outcomes of those dreams to bring beauty into my own life and to serve others. Oprah

People want to be happy but when asked what makes them happy, some folks dither and aren’t sure. As Dr. Phil says, “You’ve gotta name it to claim it.” Like Oprah, making a difference in the lives of others has always brought me true joy. To me happiness is more of an “in the moment” sort of thing.

Puppies and babies make my daughter, Katie, happy. Watching the birds from her kitchen window makes my friend, Nanc, happy. Blooms on my mini gardenia, sparkling water on Barfield Bay as seen from my upstairs porch first thing in the morning, angel hair pasta with homemade marinara, spotting a baby burrowing owl, a really good book, a hearty laugh with precious friends…. all this and so much more causes me to feel happy. What about you??

Affirmation: I claim happiness.

Coaching questions: List five things that make you happy. If you’re not feeling happy, what can you do to change your mood? How important is it to you to be happy?

 

Lost But Not Gone

The struggle of my life created empathy – I could relate to pain, being abandoned, having people not love me. Oprah Winfrey

As difficult as it is to lose a mother to death or Alzheimer’s, I have found, in talking with motherless daughters, that being abandoned by a mother is the most difficult loss of all. Abandonment means there are unresolved issues and questions like, “Was I not good enough?” “Was I not lovable enough?” For those of us who are mothers, we find it difficult to understand how a mother can abandon her children….just think how the child, now an adult, feels!

One abandoned daughter said to me, “It would have been easier if she would have died. Her leaving us broke us.” Another abandoned daughter, Carol, offered this advice, “You are not alone. Trust in God to fill the empty place in your heart. No person can fill this hole…not stuff, not your husband, not your children. Everything has a purpose and we are made to glorify our Creator. We can find joy…even in unfavorable circumstances.”

Carol sums up, “We have free will to choose anger and resentment, loneliness and low self esteem or, faith, strength, joy and purpose in our lives.” 

Affirmation: I am not alone.

Coaching questions: How have your life experiences made you more empathetic? Think of a specific example.