What is a Woman on Fire? (a little quiz)

Whenever I first meet or am introduced to someone they often smile, then laugh, and ask — “what is a woman on fire?”

*This week’s Pinspiration*

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Are you a Woman on Fire? Find out at www.womenonfire.com

Because you may be new here, and it’s a good reminder for the rest of us, I thought we might talk today about the aspirations of being a woman on fire. And even give you a little quiz to see how you’re doing on getting there!

But first …

A cheering section gathered last week to celebrate another Woman on Fire’s accomplishment of one of her dreams — and I want to give everyone a big shout out!

Author Linda Yellin surrounded by some of the Women on Fire who attended: Holly Getty, Heike Vogel, Janina Serden Sebesky and Sarah Elizabeth Greer. (Photo by Christine Butler)

Author and writer Linda Yellin marked the recent release of her latest book What Nora Knew with a book signing attended by more than 200 people at Barnes and Noble in New York City. Her loudest cheers undoubtedly came from her Women on Fire sisters.

It was a special event for not only the arrival of the book, but for the relief felt with the positive news of Linda’s full recovery from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Linda, whose humor never flagged, wrote about her experience here in More Magazine.  

Linda’s support team: Leah Branstetter, Sarah Elizabeth Greer, Janina Serden Sebesky and Heike Vogel. (Photo by Holly Getty)

What an inspiration you are, Linda, for staying strong and steady and positive throughout your treatment — all while birthing a book!

And thank you to all Women on Fire who braved the cold to heat up Barnes and Noble with your enthusiasm and support for Linda’s success.

So what is the answer to “what is a woman on fire?”

To start, being a woman on fire is a mindset, an attitude, and a set of skills.

Below are 10 of our 20 Women on Fire aspirations. How would you measure your level of fulfillment on each them?

On a scale of 1-10, with one being “not at all” to 10 being “completely inspired or fulfilled,” where do you fall on your own scale of meeting these aspirations? Mark your number beside each one.

  • I cheer on the successes of other women
  • I invest in myself and my potential
  • I embrace and celebrate my talents and achievements
  • I know when and how to ask for help
  • I give — and accept — love and support
  • I am clear and direct with kindness and compassion
  • I have a positive attitude (at least 90% of the time!)
  • I’m always working to improve myself
  • I am aware of my powerful impact on others
  • I believe there is plenty in this world for me!

Your answers will reveal what you need to know.

Which of these aspirations needs your attention?

Which aspirations (the ones with high numbers) may be very special gifts of yours — and how widely are you sharing them?

What would working on these aspirations do for your work and life?

I hope you will create a plan for yourself to move your score even just one number higher. It will make a difference for you.

In my nearly two decades as a life and executive coach, coaching thousands of women, I’ve seen and experienced personal mastery of these aspirations directly lead to more fulfilling, successful lives and greater peace of mind.

I hope you had a SUPER weekend! (Even though I’m a total sports illiterate, I love the idea of a SUPER anything;-)

Mostly, I wish you a super wonderful life!

Thank you for being here. Together, we’re moving our lives forward in a big way.

Big hugs and lots of love,

Debbie Signature

And the winner of the spa package is…

If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.

*This week’s Pinspiration*

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Inspiration from Women on Fire

That is my very favorite African proverb.  Mostly because it so beautifully sums up what happens when women join forces with each other.

Last week was filled with all kinds of collaborations here at Women on Fire that resulted in women achieving more together than alone.  Life is just too difficult to singularly take on the world.

So here’s what happened when a few of our members put their geniuses together!

But first …

We have a winner for the luxurious Waldorf Astoria Naples spa package, valued at more than $300, for an attendee to the Women on Fire retreat in Naples, Florida Feb. 28-March 1.

So before I say goodbye to you today, you’ll learn her name.  (And so will she!)

(And, if you’re ready to say goodbye to winter and hello to a weekend of sunshine and inspiration with your Women on Fire sisters, we still have a few more seats remaining! But please register today before our annual event is sold out.)

Now back to our fabulous women who came together last week to make something special happen:

Dana Frost and Linda Neff

Linda Neff of Shoreland, Wisconsin and Dana Frost of Wilmette, Illinois teamed up at a women’s event at Linda’s church, United Methodist Church of Whitefish Bay.  Linda was the keynote speaker for the event — Wrapped in Love — and invited Dana to lead a workshop.

The participants couldn’t say enough in their Facebook posts about how energized they felt being supported by these inspiring women!

Janina Serden Sebesky and Jan Nolte

Janina Serden Sebesky, creator with her best friend and co-writer Kitt Moran of the musical Chick Soup, has been holding readings in her living room in New York City to prepare for what we are sure will be performances on Broadway one of these days soon!

Janina with Sarah Elizabeth Greer (Photo by Josephine Donatelli)

These are the Women on Fire who came to help and support Janina in taking next steps toward her dream:

Producer and stand-up comic Janette Barber, Women on Fire book, Vol. 2 co-authors Sarah Elizabeth Greer and Heike Vogel, voice coach Jan Nolte, Jodi Graber, Kate Perlman, Mary Ann Donatelli-Reilly and Jackie Reilly. Even candid photos to document the teamwork were done by a Women on Fire member, photographer Josephine Donatelli.

Of the collaborative experience, talented Janina said:

“It was wonderfully affirming to get such positive feedback about the new direction for Chick Soup, which follows the friendship of two women throughout the decades.

“The readings inspired conversation and debate about what makes a friendship survive.  It was helpful to hear what moved them and also what was confusing or unclear in our script.”

As Janette always says, “Women on Fire is a bonanza. Everything you need to be successful is in this circle!”

Lisa Umberger Arundale and Michelle Whittaker glowing at their book-signing!

Michelle Whittaker of Washington, D.C., a co-author in the latest Women on Fire book with her story “Getting Back To Life,” hosted a book signing in our nation’s Capitol. And she was joined by co-author Lisa Umberger Arundale of Naples, Florida who wrote the chapter “Leaning Into Grief.”

Both women said they found it fun and very helpful to work together to sign books and share in the experience of meeting and greeting audience members.

Tricia Simpson, Women on Fire member LaRaine McCoy and Laurel Hodory

Braving frigid temperatures in Columbus, Ohio, three co-authors — Carrie Saba, Tricia Simpson and Laurel Hodory teamed up at Spagio’s Wine Bar for their first book-signing  — and it was super successful!

“It was so great to collaborate,” Carrie said, “as it helped so much with nerves. We had each other to lean on and we all brought ideas to the table which helped with creativity for how the event would flow … the evening flowed beautifully and we were all busy talking and signing.”

Congratulations to all on joining forces to travel farther together in making your dreams come true!

This week who can you collaborate with to take next steps on your big dream? 🙂

And, finally, thank you to everyone who participated in our contest to become a winner of the Waldorf Astoria Spa package! You all did a great job sharing word about the retreat.  Our winner is …

  • Robin Butler Leonard of Clayton, Missouri

Congratulations, Robin! So excited for you to enjoy the spa’s exquisite artisan massage and a bountiful basket of products and treats.

Have a wonderful week and sending you big hugs ~

Debbie Signature

Service for Jane Juergens

The funeral for Women on Fire member Jane Juergens was held today in Westerville, Ohio. The following remarks were made by Jan Allen during the service.

It was evident on Wednesday night, at the candlelight vigil, how many circles of love Jane Juergens occupied. First and foremost, her family – Andy’s words so eloquent, powerful, uplifting – funny and serious, just like Jane. Her lifelong friends. The people she came to know through her sons. The Westerville community. Her friends from dance and Pilates.

The people she knew professionally, who had become more than colleagues in and around the workplace.  And women she came to know through Women on Fire, the organization founded and led by my best friend, Debbie Phillips, of which Jane was such an integral part.  Women on Fire exists to support women to live their dreams.

That is where I first began to know Jane.  Then, she reached out to join my 2012 coaching group called Life, Ignited.  We connected immediately – a quality that Jane brought to every interaction – and she diligently began to work on her dream of having her own HR consultancy, and becoming a coach herself.

In our very first conversation, she got very clear about where she wanted to go and how and then moved with deliberation and speed to prepare.  Andy described her the other night as fearless.

I can’t recall how many times I said to myself, after hearing all that Jane had done in the last month to grow, learn, get certified, prepare to create new products and to launch her business, “wow, this woman has courage.”  And she was also saucy and so funny – we laughed out loud through half of that first, long coaching conversation.

One of our organizing tasks at the beginning of the group was to choose our personal “themes” for the year – something to guide each of our paths and help us focus.  A great exercise developed by my friend Debbie, a theme gives you an easy way to make decisions about where to invest your time and energy.

So I fully expected Jane’s theme to be about building her new business.  As she had said in a note to me and I quote her here: “I want to make the world a better place one manager at a time. I feel very fortunate and would like to help bring out the best in others.”

But she surprised me completely in this email about her choice:

I worked on my theme for over a month and had trouble making it truly resonate.  Last Wednesday morning I abandoned it altogether and replaced it with “inspire and be inspired.” In my Pilates class that same evening, Julie Wilkes, my instructor, friend and motivational guru announced that she had launched her first app – the “happy life app.” It has four tabs and the first one is “inspire me.” I knew at that moment that I’d made the perfect theme choice and I’ve been blessed by many opportunities to give and receive inspiration in the last few days.”

This, too, was pure Jane.  Choosing as her theme who she was  – so inspiring with her high-voltage smile, her always open arms, her unrelenting optimism, and always, always, her care and concern for the other – and pushing to be even more of that.

She definitely inspired us in life.  One of the notes that Debbie received after Jane’s death was from Brigid McClain who attended our Women on Fire Tea just a month ago, here in Columbus.  She and Jane had never met but sat next to each other that evening.

Dear Debbie,

I read this last night right after you posted it and I am still sick to my stomach…I felt so privileged to sit between Jane and Kacy at the tea. Their smiles were like sitting between two 150-watt bulbs! I had not met Jane before and we immediately connected. She was so upbeat and supportive when I told her snippets of my story. She told me one of the wonderful things about working for herself was now being able to take walks and run during the day and she felt so blessed…

As you mentioned, she also told me she was so incredibly happy at this point. Even though she was so busy she found time to call my daughter and give her ideas on how to find a business mentor. She just spoke with her last Friday evening! My daughter is so upset…I just can’t quit thinking about her boys. I hope they realize how proud she was of them and how happy she was at this point in her life…it is devastating and a senseless loss of someone so dedicated to bringing out the best someone has to offer…

And this from Debbie:

Jane was the very epitome of a Woman on Fire.  She was a charter member of our organization — she was member #00025 — and quickly became a role model for other women and a rising star because she arrived possessing those special qualities we cherish — she cheered on and supported others in their dreams; she never stopped learning and growing; she was brave and bold; she was loving and caring; and she went for her dreams!

Her influence in our worldwide community was strong enough that while we held a candlelight vigil here in Columbus last week, her light shone brightly across the Internet. Her Women on Fire sisters across the country and from as far away as New Zealand and Africa posted on Facebook tributes to her and photos of their own candlelight vigils in honor of her. It was a magnificent show of love for our Jane.

Jane will be remembered forever for her bright, shining light … an original Woman on Fire.

But it is evident from all the notes, Facebook posts and conversations, that Jane is also inspiring us – friends and strangers alike – even in death.  I know I have found myself in this last week, choosing those opportunities to “be with” those I love and care about, instead of just getting my next task done. As sad as I feel, I appreciate the world more, and the small precious moments of each day.  That’s because of you, Jane and who you remind us to be.

The last time I saw her was the Friday before last Sunday, at an early morning breakfast event I was co-hosting, with our guest speaker, a biophysicist from Wake Forest, here to talk about energy medicine.

As our mutual friend Jessika Ferm, who also attended, said to me in the last few days, Jane was radiant that day and indeed, she lit up this room as she lit up every room into which she walked. And she proudly gave me her new business card for her business PeopleGen, with the beautiful tagline “Bringing your talent to light.”

It is so tempting to dwell on Jane’s death, and the manner of it.  But to do that would be to dishonor her.  She died once; we should not have her dying over and over in our minds.  That would be a distraction from remembering her in life and the real lessons she taught us, among them:

  • Love your family and hold them close, very close.  Matt and Andy, she loved you dearly and spoke of you often, as she did her mom and dad.
  • Love and adore your friends and help them and be helped by them, as she was by her best friends Barbara and Marc, and so many others in her circles of love.
  • Live every day to the fullest.
  • Never stop growing.
  • Never stop moving, literally and figuratively, and never, ever stop dancing.
  • Inspire and be inspired.

Jane, we will never forget you.

Celebrating Women on Fire

I’ve been on vacation these past few days and can’t wait to tell you some things I learned while taking time off.  (Funny how it works that way! When the vessel is empty …)

Also, I’m losing my mind NOT to tell you what I’m doing in Chicago on Monday.  🙂 But don’t worry, you’ll receive a full report next week!

And the best part of all is what YOU are up to!  Below is a quick catch-up with a number of Women on Fire.

*This week’s Pinspiration*

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When one of us succeeds, it reminds us that we all have the power to succeed- Pinspiration from Women on Fire www.womenonfire.com

You know I believe a “rising tide lifts all boats” and when one of us shares a joy or an accomplishment, it can inspire us all.  So thank you to the women who shared your successes and congratulations to each of you.

Wendy DeSimone celebrating at the top of a high ropes course.

Wendy DeSimone of Northport, New York, recently celebrated her 50th birthday with her sister at the Miraval Resort and Spa in Arizona. During her five-day stay she opted into their adrenaline pumping challenges course of ropes and high wires that tested her limits and pushed her way beyond her comfort zone to 45 feet in the air to be exact!

Throughout her trip, she climbed up and ziplined off of a 45-foot telephone pole, balanced her way across a log 25 feet in the air, jumped from a 25-foot telephone pole.

Wendy “walking the plank” at the Miraval Spa in Arizona

After returning from Tucson, Wendy said “I truly felt like a Woman on Fire, from the top of my  head all the way down to my toes.”

Beth Rose of Redlands, California launched a long-awaited project recently as the Director of Hospitality Services for Loma Linda University. After a full year and a half of careful planning and analysis, she and her team have premiered their new volunteer management system. With more than 800 current volunteers, that’s a fantastic accomplishment.

Phoebe Lapine featured in Food & Wine Magazine

Our favorite food blogger Phoebe Lapine of New York City, was recently recognized for her oustanding talent in the kitchen! And this time by the prestigious Food & Wine Magazine which awared her blog Feed Me Phoebe, with one of their first digital awards. Many of you shared recently how much you recently loved Phoebe’s receipes in the Women on Fire membership package. I’m so glad to see that Food & Wine Magazine recognized what we already know 🙂 about one of the talented members!

A preview to Tandi Phillips Musuraca’s engagement announcement

Tandi Phillips Musuraca of Columbus, Ohio recently became engaged to her partner Ryan SquiresTandi is one of the most creative women I know, and her engagement announcement reflects the inspiring creativity of these two.  Check out the adorable engagement announcement. And, congratulations, Tandi and Ryan!

Sherrie Sokolowski and her new baby girl Elianna

Sherrie Sokolowski of York, Pennsylvania just had her first baby, an adorable baby girl named EliannaSherrie is an event planning genius and started her own company called SLS Event Planning & Consulting LLC. If you haven’t met this talented woman, you will soon at our upcoming winter Women on Fire event (details soon). Sending Sherrie, her husband Kyle and little Elianna tons of love!

Jen Milam pictured with her bridesmaids on the day of her wedding

Jen Milam of Minneapolis, Minnesota recently tied the knot with her college sweetheart Jay. Originally from West Chester, Ohio, the couple attended Miami University of Ohio. Jen now works as a business analyst for Target. What a beautiful bride! Congratulations on your big day :).

Mary Duafala of Columbus, Ohio has launched a brilliant initiative called the Abbey Rose Foundation. Her organization is dedicated to keeping pets and their people healthy!  The foundation promotes holistic education and if you have a pet, I hope you will check out the site and see what she’s up, too.

Mary’s long-time commitment to keeping our animals strong, healthy and happy is so inspiring and I am so proud she is a member of our community!

And I am thrilled you are part of Women on Fire, too!

Have great week and pleeeeeeze come back next week so I can tell you all about Chicago. 🙂


Lean on me

Hiiiii! Thank you for being here and if this is your first SPARK! a big hello to you. I started Women on Fire 10 years ago as a way for women to connect to each other and discover inspiration, strategies and support to help them move forward in their lives.

And, so far, it seems to been working out really well!

My heart gets so happy every time I hear or read about two or more Women on Fire getting together to give each other a boost. It happens every day all over the country.

Last week Women on Fire members Heike Vogel and Jenifer Madson grabbed lunch together in New York City and took this picture. I can imagine all of the great things that happened when these two powerhouses came together!

Heike and Jen are both co-authors in our upcoming book Women on Fire: 21 Inspiring Women Share Their Life Secrets (and Save You Years of Struggle!), Volume 2.  You will be touched by their personal stories. What these accomplished women overcame to achieve their successes will astonish and inspire you.

The book will be out in early fall and we’ll let you know the minute it’s available.

Today, I want to tell you about the best movie I’ve seen this year — 20 Feet From Stardom.  If you haven’t seen it yet, I hope you will.

Click here to watch the trailer for this extraordinary film.

Right now, even though it’s been a week since I saw it, I have two songs from it  dancing in my head —  Lean on Me by Bill Withers and the haunting Gimme Shelter by the Rolling Stones.

What these songs — and almost every other song you know and love — have in common is that their power is driven by nearly anonymous women back-up singers. And, the documentary shows the journey of some of the most famous of them — Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Tata Vega and Judith Hill.

We’ve all heard a lot lately — made popular by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg — about the importance for women to “lean in” or “lean out.”

*This week’s Pinspiration*

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We are all in this together as women- debbiephillips.com Women on Fire

After watching and listening to the music in 20 Feet From Stardom, I’m convinced more than ever we need to “lean on” each other. Not in an icky, co-dependent, one-way-street kind of way.  In an I’ll-lean-on-you and you-lean-on-me way of powerful mutual love, inspiration and support.

In the way Bill Withers sang it:

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on

The women in the movie used their considerable gifts, strengths and talents to move their lives forward but often found themselves closed out from stardom, great financial reward or from the coveted role of being the lead singer.

The movie left me wondering if they had joined forces in a concerted effort to help each other succeed, would they have reached even greater dreams?

Go see the movie. And let me know what you think.

Have a really wonderful week! I hope you’re doing something special for yourself this week.

Rob and I are out the door in a minute to see The Butler.  Seems like it’s a good summer for movies.

It’s hot over here at Women On Fire

Chances are you may be roasting in this heat wave! If you’re melting, as we are here on Martha’s Vineyard, I hope you have a tall, cool drink in your hand.

I just stuck glasses of lemonade in the freezer for an hour or so to make them all frosty and slushy. Have you ever tried that?  It’s refreshing relief on days like this!

We had a busy weekend here on our little island, and I was so thrilled to see a number of you at our Friday Night on the Deck party, co-hosted by Woman on Fire Ellen Wingard.

The evening featured our friend, the dynamic, inspiring author Andrew Carroll and his new book Here is Where: Discovering America’s Great Forgotten History. Read a fascinating interview with him in today’s New York Times.

One of Women on Fire’s most important aspirations as a community is to cheer on each other when we hit a milestone, move closer to a dream, or reach a goal.

*This Week’s Pinspiration*

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[pinit]There are Two Ways of Spreading Light- Women On FIre

Today’s SPARK! is dedicated to celebrating your recent news, achievements, joys and successes in following your dreams. Let the cheering begin!

Photo by Rob Berkley

At Calvin Klein, Holly Getty is moving on up!

Women on Fire Book co-author and fashion industry executive Holly Getty of New York City has been promoted at Calvin Klein to Vice President of Fabric.

Holly has worked in the industry for 19 years, nine at Calvin Klein.  In her role, she frequently travels to Europe and Asia to select fine fabrics for the fashion-forward Calvin Klein platinum line.

Many of you have worked privately with Holly, Women on Fire’s resident personal style consultant. She works magic in helping you to organize your closet, find your perfect style, and so much more.

Congratulations on your much-deserved news, Holly! You can send your best wishes to her at holly@hollygetty.com

Jaclyn Reilly performing at the Waltz Astoria in Queens, New York

Musician and singer-songwriter Jackie Reilly is appearing before audiences at venues near her home in Queens. She recently regaled us with her extraordinary talent at a Women on Fire tea in New York City.  Check out her youtube channel.  Or connect with her on her Facebook fan page.

Jan Allen of Columbus, Ohio will be speaking at The Transition Network’s “Celebration of Age — Wine and Chocolate” event in Gahanna from 6-8PM Wednesday, July 17. Her talk will be  “Claiming the Peaks: Embracing the Extraordinary After 50.”

She’ll be sharing inspiration on how to live the 3rd/3rd of your life. Register for your ticket here.

Jan Johnsen with one of her pool and landscape designs

Jan Johnsen of Hudson, New York, who owns Johnsen Landscapes & Pools, has signed a book contract with St. Lynn’s Press to write a garden book about design secrets to create serene outdoor spaces.

The book also will feature Jan’s original photography. I invite you to check out her latest feature in the Westchester Journal News.  Way to go, Jan!

Terri Cole’s beautiful meditation CD

Terri Cole of New York City, founder of Live Fearless and Free, and a licensed psychotherapist and transformational coach is hosting a webinar Monday, July 8 at 9PM Eastern/6PM Pacific.

The webinar topic is “How To Get It All Done (Without Undoing Myself in the Process).” Sounds fantastic, right!? I’m signed up and looking forward to soaking up the wisdom of this brilliant Woman on Fire member. It’s free!  Register here to attend.


Laurie Forster is at Caroline’s, one of New York City’s most popular comedy clubs

She started out at a software saleswoman and then became the celebrated wine educator known as The Wine Coach.  Today Laurie Forster of Easton, Maryland has parlayed her career into comedy!

The StandUp Sommelier will be performing Something to Wine About, her one-woman comedy show and wine tasting at 7PM July 24 at Caroline’s on Broadway in New York City.

Laurie is giving Women on Fire a special access code: SIPPING

You will receive a free copy of her book The Sipping Point when you purchase a ticket to her show. What a fun night to share with many other amazing Women on Fire who are attending! Purchase tickets here.

Kelley Black of New York City is graciously offering to give any Woman on Fire free entry to one of her Naam yoga women’s classes as a first-time guest. These special classes are held every Wednesday from 6:30-7:45 at 141 W. 72nd Street, 2nd floor.

Naam is a practice that combines mediaton and yoga and Kelley is a very skilled and experienced teacher. If you live in NYC or will be traveling there, please email Kelley for more information and to claim a spot in her class. kelley@balancingexec.com

Kacy Cook of Columbus, Women on Fire’s book editor (including the newest Women on Fire book coming in late summer!) is an author in her own right.  Her delightful, award-winning, young adult novel NUTS (amazon link) is featured on Amazon’s summer reading contest.  NUTS is a story about a young girl who rescues an abandoned baby squirrel. Congratulations, Kacy!

Julie Quackenbush of Dublin, Ohio graduated from the Hudson Institute of Coaching on June 5. She completed an 8-month program and is now a certified transition coach with Next Chapter Transition Coaching. We are excited for you, Julie!

Beth Bryce of Saginaw, Michigan, and a co-author in the upcoming Women On Fire Book co-author, was recently featured in Forbes.com on the power of breaking through career inertia. We recently told you about Beth’s new job  with Northwood University. The article follows her path to leave her successful, 20-year career in financial management to pursue more fulfilling work. It’s an inspiring journey and I hope you’ll read all about it here!

Congratulations all!

I know you are working on your dreams, too, and I hope you have enjoyed hearing what your Women on Fire sisters are doing with theirs and sharing with the world!

Each month when I hear these stories, I feel motivated to stay on track with my own goals and dreams.  So thank you, everyone.

I’ll see you back here next week with healthy recipes from our recent Women on Fire cleanse with holistic health coach Amy Marzluff.  I think you’re gonna like!

I’m so happy you’re here and hope you stay cool this week.

Cheering you on with lots of love


What would you do with an entire day to yourself?

Are you often so busy and obligated that you never have a day just for yourself?  What if you were totally unscheduled?  How would your 24 hours flow and what would that do for you?

I woke up yesterday realizing that while I have a to-do list the size of California, I didn’t really have to do anything or be anywhere the entire day.

Rob was attending a retreat in the Catskills and I was home alone with Wilber.

So, I thought ‘hmmmm, what if I do only what I want all day long?’ What a concept!

*This week’s Pinspiration*

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Tell Your To-Do List to TAKE A SEAT- Women On Fire debbiephillips.com[pinit]

So, here’s my diary. And what it did for my spirit when the day was over:-)

5AM — Wilber meows and knocks my watch off the bedstand (in case there was any doubt I was still asleep;-) I feed him and decide to go back to bed and sleep until I wake up.

9:04AM — I wake up and can’t remember the last time I slept past 7AM. I think about working out and then read this on Facebook and decide to scrap that idea;-)

I stay in my pajamas.

I brew a pot of my favorite Almond Joy coffee, a gift from our beloved friends Jerome and Theresa TocioRob prefers French roast and refers to my Almond Joy as  “stinky coffee.”  It smells up the house in a way that must not be pleasing to him.  But he’s not home!  So the house now smells Heavenly to me.

11AM — Take an outdoor shower — in the rain!

11:45AM  –Went to the local Farmer’s Market and bought flowers and cupcakes

1PM — Visited our little rural post office (and was rewarded with some birthday surprises. Thanks, Mom!)

2PM –Returned home. Caught up on a stack of magazines that included everything from The Ohio State Alumni Magazine to Vanity Fair.

2:30PM — Ate last night’s leftovers, which were better than the original dinner!

4PM — Visited friends who recently remodeled this beautiful home on Martha’s Vineyard and savored the time with them.

5:30PM — Went shopping and bought gifts for a friend who’s having a baby girl any minute now!

7PM — Enjoyed dinner alone outdoors in a little French cafe on Martha’s Vineyard and people-watched! Returned home and had fun arranging a bouquet of hydrangeas.

8:30PM — Laughed through an episode of the hilarious sitcom Arrested Development on Netflix.  I’m still on Season 1 and find the wacky Bluth family totally irresistible!

I re-watched a Bruce Springsteen video where Woman on Fire Kacy Cook, wearing blue, is just over Bruce’s shoulder throughout a good portion of it starting at the 3:20 mark. So fun!

9:30PM — Indulged in a bedtime snack — and ate a cupcake.

9:45PM  Lights out. Zzzzzzz…

I woke up today feeling so content, healthy, and happy to be alive.  I believe jumping “off the treadmill” for a day and going with my flow helped me to recapture and reset my energy and spirit.

When was the last time you spent a day doing exactly what you want?

Even if you have kids, maybe you can trade time off with a friend or arrange for care so you can have a bonus day.

I was so inspired with my free day that at least once a month, I’m going to schedule myself an unscheduled day!

I’ll see you next week with our monthly feature on what Women on Fire are up to! Email Meredith@womenonfire.com with your news.

Have a sparkly good week — and enjoy the holiday!

Just a quickie! ;-)

Hope you won’t mind me popping in quickly to just say hi.

I’m in New York City with Rob celebrating my birthday and am squeezing out every single second in this fabulous city!

We’ve gone to the theater twice (saw performances of “Motown” and “Book of Mormon”; loved them both and recommend to you); had lunch at my new favorite restaurant Marea (author Toni Morrison sat by us!)

And we’ve walked, walked, walked including past my favorite Big Booty Bakery! Every time I see this sign I crack up, and Rob just happened to be there with his camera – ahem.

Women on Fire personal style consultant Holly Getty is headed over to pick me up in a few minutes — to go buy new bras from her special source. After our Women on Fire “Get Your Summer On” cleanse success, I lost 8 pounds and am now in need of new ones. (Sorry about the TMI!)

(More soon on how our fabulous group of Women on Fire, led by holistic health coach Amy Marzluff,did after our 21-day cleanse.  We can’t wait to share with you some of our favorite yummy, luscious, healthy recipes!)

Before I go, thank you to all the wonderful women who attended last Friday’s Women on Fire tea in New York City.

The tea kicked off my birthday weekend. And, just when I think a tea party can’t get any more inspiring, it does.  We had soooo much fun!  (We celebrated Kelley Black’s birthday, too! And, talented singer-songwriter Jaclyn Reilly gave us a little concert:-))

Photo by Rob Berkley

Women on Fire tea participants: Front row: Mary Ann Reilly, Jaclyn Reilly, Susan Perry, Teresa Goetz; back row: Meredith Schoenberger, Debbie Palocin, Darlene Wade, Holly Getty, Jan Nolte, me!, Lexi Baltazar, Kelley Black, Michelle Tenzyk and Shannon McCaffery. Missing from photo: Jenifer Madson and Pier Boutin.

Happy official summer to each of you! Thank you for reading The Spark! and being a part of this amazing community and for sharing Women on Fire with the fabulous women you love.

See YOU soon at a Women on Fire event!  I’ll be back next week … a year older and maybe even a week wiser:-)

She Said What?!

The outdoor shower has been turned on.  Shiny, ripe strawberries are ready for picking.  Students are being celebrated at graduation parties.

It’s that time of the year.

And, one of my favorite pastimes in June is to read the inspiration and wisdom from celebrated speakers at college commencements across the country.

This year, I was inspired and uplifted by three speakers, in particular, including what Oprah had to say at Harvard.

“It doesn’t matter how far you might rise, at some point you are bound to stumble,” she said.  “Because if you’re constantly doing what we do, raising the bar.

“If you’re constantly pushing yourself higher, higher, the law of averages, not to mention The Myth of Icarus, predicts that you will at some point fall. And when you do,” she warned, “I want you to know this, remember this: There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us into another direction.”

“It’s okay to feel bad for a little while,” Oprah said. “Give yourself time to mourn what you think you may have lost. But then, here’s the key: Learn from every mistake because every experience, encounter, and particularly your mistakes, are there to teach you and force you into being more of who you are.”

If you have a half-hour, I encourage you, if you haven’t yet, to watch Oprah’s entire speech.

(And, note the many times the camera zooms in on Woman on Fire member Sophfronia Scott who was in the audience celebrating her 25th graduation from Harvard!)

*This week’s Spark PINspiration*  

Pin to Pass on the Love!

See what Oprah, Arianna Huffington and Katie Couric all have in common in this week's SPARK- www.debbiephillips.com Women On Fire[pinit]

And while I adored everything Oprah said, I really loved how Arianna Huffington inspired graduates at Smith College.

Arianna is the president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post and the sister to beloved Woman on Fire Agapi Stassinopolous, author of Unbinding the Heart: A Dose of Greek Wisdom, Generosity, and Unconditional Love.

(Agapi’s book, by the way, is a great gift for a new graduate!)

Arianna urged Smith graduates to lead a new kind of women’s revolution; one that defines success in a new way.

“At the moment, our society’s notion of success is largely composed of two parts: money and power,” Arianna said in her remarks.

What is needed now is a new, third metric to define success: “one founded on well-being, wisdom, our ability to wonder, and to give back … because the world you are headed into desperately needs it.”

She went on to explain that “more and more people, very successful people, are toppling over. Basically, success the way we’ve defined it is no longer sustainable.

“Already, women in stressful jobs have a nearly 40 percent increased risk of heart disease, and a 60 percent greater risk for diabetes. And in the last 30 years, as women have made strides and gains in the workplace, self-reported levels of stress have gone up 18 percent.”

She warned how sleep deprivation is harming our creativity and shared how The Huffington Post is making an effort to put a dent in the problem.  They have installed two nap rooms in their offices.

At first people were hesitant to take naps, she said, because they feared others would think they were shirking their duties.  “I’m happy to say, our nap rooms are now always booked. Although the other day I was walking by and I saw two people walking out of one of the nap rooms. But, hey, whatever it takes to recharge. Just don’t tell HR, ok?” 😉

And, finally, Katie Couric, who lost her husband, Jay Monahan, to colon cancer in 1998, wrapped up her speech with this powerful thought for us all when she spoke to Randolph Macon College graduates in Virginia:

“The losses I’ve experienced have taught me something else: We are all terminal. You have to appreciate the gifts that every day of your life will bring: Your family. Your friends. A beautiful sky at sunset. A perfect ear of corn in August. The first snowfall of the year. A baby’s tiny hand. Be grateful for the time you have and savor the joy that comes your way.”

Congratulations if you or someone you love is graduating this year. I wish you a joy-filled week – and plenty of sleep!


Check Out Whose Lights Are Shining

It’s my favorite time of the month.  I get to share what a number of you are up to!

But before I do, I want to congratulate all the Women on Fire members participating in member Amy Marzluff’s Get Your Summer On 21-day cleanse.

What a great way to get ready for summer by becoming healthier. I am part of the group and the support of my Women on Fire sisters working toward a similar goal is both comforting and motivating. We’ll let you know how we all do in a future Spark! 

I also am wondering …

Are you a Judy Blume fan? Were you captivated as a young girl by Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret or later one of her adult novels Wifey or Summer Sisters?

Women on Fire members will receive my personal interview with this beloved and inspiring author in your July CD membership packet. (If you’re not yet a monthly member, you can register now and you, too, will receive Judy’s refreshing wisdom and inspiration.)

She has been a wonderful supporter of Women on Fire and this week she  launches her first movie, based on her book Tiger Eyes, in theaters on June 7.

Well, here we go … in to the world of Women on Fire!

Sophfronia Scott at Harvard

Sophfronia Scott of Sandy Hook, Connecticut celebrated her 25th college reunion at Harvard University this past week. (Doesn’t she look fabulous in that hat?!)

In addition to being highlighted as a published author, she attended the 362nd Harvard graduation ceremony where Oprah gave the commencement address.

I know a number of you tuned in (where we had the thrill of seeing Sophfronia on Live Stream often during Oprah’s talk!).  If you missed Oprah’s speech, I highly recommend it and you can see it here.

Sophronia signing copies of her novel  All I Need To Get By at the Harvard Coop

Oprah shared many gems with the audience including “there is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.”

A view of Tandi Phillips Musuraca’s new style blog ~ File Me Under Fabulous

Tandi Phillips Musuraca of Columbus, Ohio has launched her own style and personal shopper blog called File Me Under Fabulous. Many of you may know Tandi from our 2012 trip to Paris or from last fall’s retreat in Chicago where she effortlessly coordinated our fabulous event.

She is always so stylish, and I encourage you to follow her blog for the latest in styles and trends and you will see her embrace her passion full force!

The beautiful Canyon Ranch in Lenox, Massachusetts

Want a spa getaway and an experience that will touch your heart and set you on your path?
Ellyn Spragins, of Pennington, New Jersey, the celebrated author of the inspiring book series Letters To My Younger Self, will host a special retreat in October 2013 at the exquisite luxury spa Canyon Ranch in Lenox, Massachusetts.
Ellyn is designing the four-day, three-night retreat especially for busy entrepreneurial women.  You can learn more here.
Isabel Draughton of Columbus, Ohio graduated from Ohio Dominican University with a degree in Business Administration.  Isabel co-founded VizX Design Studios LLC, which is a leading outdoor living and home improvement 3D design company.

Isabel cut her college career short when she became pregnant many years ago, but always knew she would return. Her children gave her the inspiration to finish, and now she’s accomplished her dream!  Congratulations, Isabel!

Tracy with her business partner Eddie Pauline

Tracy Stuck of Columbus recently celebrated a large-scale project she conceptualized and launched. With her business partner Eddie Pauline, she started the Buckeye Leadership Fellows program at The Ohio State University this past fall, and had the great pleasure of graduating its first set of students.

I love when I see women inspiring and igniting the generations to come. Bravo, Tracy!

Jenn Bassett has recently launched her own marketing consulting business and is making a cross-country move from Oregon to Key West in the next couple  of months.  Check out Bassett Professional Consulting Services here.

The second children’s book from Karen Philippin Kilpatrick

Karen Philippin Kilpatrick of Parkland, Florida, has published her second children’s book!  Ella’s Toys is a part of the Pumpkinheads Series, and follows her first book, Carmin Cares, that won a Mom’s Choice Award Gold.
Karen spoke of her dream to write children’s books at her first Women On Fire tea in Naples, Florida two years ago and it is thrilling to see her dream come to life!
Suzanne Beachy of Columbus, has been recently published in Pyschology Today. The article about the the danger of therapists establishing a diagnosis prematurely can be found here.  Equally as engaging, here is another piece of Suzanne’s work here.
Cheryl Paulsen and Rosemary Nickel “bumped” into each other!
What are the chances of this happening?!
Cheryl Paulsen of Saratoga Springs, New York and Rosemary Nickel of Tampa had never met but recognized each other as Women on Fire when they bumped into each other in Orlando, Florida.
And, so they went to lunch! How fun is that?
Congratulations to each one of you moving toward your dreams. Keep sending us your news so we can shine the light on you!

*This week’s Spark PINspiration*  

Pin to Pass on the Love!

Find your light and learn how to SHINE- womenonfire and debbiephillips.com