August’s Book To Live By

Did you ever have a childhood dream come true?

Was the path getting there smooth or filled with frustration, fear, and doubt. Did you ever want to give up?

I am inspired when women have a dream, especially when they’re young and find a way to fulfill it. I recently read a book by a woman who got to see a lifelong dream unroll before her, even as she had to defeat waves of worry and dread.

I am pleased to announce that our August Book To Live By is:

She Made Me Laugh: Mother Teresa and the Call to Holiness by Stephanie Emmons (*paid link).

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As a sixth grader, Stephanie saw a film featuring Mother Teresa among the poor, ill, and dying in India. She instantly felt a pull to the work and a desire to visit India and meet Mother Teresa. Over the years, she volunteered in a hospital, a program for children with terminal diseases, and homeless shelters in her hometown of Ottawa.

Then, in her mid-20s, out of the blue, she received an opportunity to accompany another young woman who shared her dream on a six-week trip to India.

The two young women found their way to Calcutta and the “old, plain, tired-looking, grey concrete, low-rise building” that was the home of the international headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity.

To their surprise and delight, they were soon welcomed by an impish Mother Teresa herself. Stephanie’s admiration only grew as she found the “living saint” to be “simple, funny, intense. And perfectly ordinary.”

With humility, Stephanie writes of her unease and frustrations as she was at first overwhelmed by the heat, overcrowding, smells, noise, filth, and despair until she was able to see through to the kindnesses, beauty, and unexpected friendships.

Beyond her experiences in India, Stephanie also shares the shock and disquiet she felt years later when she learned that Mother Teresa had spent decades in great spiritual pain, even doubting the existence of God.

As a detailed travel journal and spiritual reflection, She Made Me Laugh is refreshing in reminding us that, even when our prayers are answered, it can take patience and courage to appreciate the gift.

To your dreams coming true,

With love,

Debbie Signature

P.S. Every day at Women on Fire, we offer expert advice, useful strategies, and woman-to-woman support. If you are not yet a member, please consider joining us today!

 

*As an Amazon Associate, Women on Fire earns from qualifying purchases.

May’s Book To Live By

What would your life look like today if you paid more attention to your needs and worried less about pleasing other people?

For our May podcast, I interviewed Terri Cole, a psychotherapist whose specialty is helping people to create boundaries for their health and well-being.

She has coached women of all ages and occupations, and she knows that strong boundaries are the keys to healthy personal and professional relationships and an extraordinary life.

I am so pleased to announce that our May Book To Live By is:

Boundary Boss: The Essential Guide to Talk True, Be Seen and (Finally) Live Free by Terri Cole (*paid link).

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The book begins with a 10-point Boundary Boss Bill of Rights, which, if followed, is a roadmap to dignity, respect, and empowerment.

Terri defines a boundary boss as a woman who understands herself, speaks her truth, transforms behavioral blocks, and is committed to her own growth.

She opens our eyes to the cultural stereotypes that women have long accepted that convince us to sacrifice our priorities to the comfort and desires of others.

Creating boundaries requires a set of skills you were likely never taught — because those who raised you also didn’t learn them. Terri teaches them with clarity and insight.

Terri takes us through an excavation of the “basement” of our minds, where fears and doubts lurk. She exposes myths about boundaries, provides scripts for a range of difficult conversations, and outlines practical actions that ensure your needs are met.

In the Boundary Boss (*paid link), Terri leads us to a healing and authenticity that can bring greater self-fulfillment.

To creating robust boundaries,

With love,

Debbie Signature

P.S. Every day at Women on Fire, we offer expert advice, useful strategies, and woman-to-woman support. If you are not yet a member, please consider joining us today!

 

*As an Amazon Associate, Women on Fire earns from qualifying purchases.

April’s Book To Live By

Spring is a time of reawakening. A time we can see the world through fresh eyes.

For the April podcast, I interviewed Sophfronia Scott on the release of her sixth and latest book. In powerful explorations, she tells of her own spiritual reawakening through a virtual mentorship with Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk and influential contemplative thinker who died in 1968.

I am so pleased to announce that our April Book To Live By is:

The Seeker and the Monk: Everyday Conversations with Thomas Merton by Sophfronia Scott (*paid link).

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After hearing a passage from one of Merton’s books that struck a chord in her, Sophfronia began studying his writing in earnest, particularly his journals.

She found herself thinking of him often as she grappled with spiritual and social issues in her own life and writing. She referred to him as the monk who follows her around.

In this lovely and profound book, Sophfronia offers us the same opportunity for insight and spiritual growth by sharing her imagined conversations with Merton.

She steps into the role of mentor, showing us — using Merton’s words as a springboard — how she approaches such weighty issues as ambition and notions of success, racism and social justice, prayer and death.

She brings us into the modern world with engaging and relatable examples from her own life. Her musings open the way to cultivating self-awareness and a deeper attention to the world around us. They can aid in releasing our own creativity and compassion.

With the Seeker and the Monk (*paid link), Sophfronia Scott becomes our companion and guide along the path to peace, hope, and faith.

With love,

Debbie Signature

P.S. Every day at Women on Fire, we offer expert advice, useful strategies, and woman-to-woman support. If you are not yet a member, please consider joining us today!

 

*As an Amazon Associate, Women on Fire earns from qualifying purchases.

March’s Book To Live By

Unemployment rates over the last year have been some of the worst in U.S. history.

Women and older workers have been among the hardest hit. Unfortunately, that is true even in times of financial booms.

For the March podcast, I spoke with Bonnie Marcus, an author, coach, and speaker who is one of the leading voices for the empowerment of women in the workforce.

We discussed office politics around age and gender. Her insights and guidance are crucial for women at every stage of their careers.

To expand on these topics, I am happy to announce that our March Book To Live By is:

Not Done Yet!: How Women Over 50 Regain Their Confidence and Claim Workplace Power by Bonnie Marcus (*paid link).

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On the job, women over 50 are subject to what Bonnie calls “the double whammy” of gendered ageism. They face such roadblocks as dwindling responsibilities and opportunities, even as their male counterparts are still settling into leadership roles.

Bonnie alerts us to the often subtle ways misogyny and ageism surface. She then provides advice on how to reveal and defeat them.

The book is divided into three parts. In the first, Bonnie discusses the fears, beliefs, and stereotypes that can permeate office culture. These harmful, untrue assumptions undermine and silence women, leaving them feeling powerless and doubtful of their own potential.

In the second part, Bonnie outlines tips and strategies that show not only how to keep your “seat at the table” for as long as you want to remain there, but also how to be an influential advocate for all women.

Finally, Bonnie offers ways to become “your badass self,” taking control and living with confidence and joy.

I cannot recommend more highly this enlightening and savvy book that hits bookstores this week. Not Done Yet! (*paid link) will convince you there is a lot you can do to move forward with the work you love and need.

To your continuing success,

Debbie Signature

P.S. Every day at Women on Fire, we offer inspiration, useful strategies and woman-to-woman support. If you are not yet a member, please consider joining us today!

 

*As an Amazon Associate, Women on Fire earns from qualifying purchases.

February’s Book To Live By

 

“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” — Jon Kabat-Zinn

As has been noted repeatedly and at length just about everywhere you look or listen, the past year has been a time of widespread stress. And with COVID restrictions, we are pretty much on our own to deal with it.

In my own battles with grief and isolation, I have turned to meditation as one of my numerous practices. It has been life-changing.

For the February podcast, I invited Juan Alvarez, my own meditation teacher, to share his wisdom and clarity with our Women on Fire circle.

If you are new to meditation, Juan recommends this basic book to learn a meditation technique — and I heartily endorse his selection. I am pleased to announce that our February Book To Live By is:

Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment — and Your Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn (*paid link).

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Mindfulness is one of many forms of meditation, and Jon Kabat-Zinn is its leading proponent. He is a scientist, teacher, and founder of the Stress-Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. He also has authored numerous books on the subject.

In clear and eloquent language, Kabat-Zinn guides us to use our focus and senses to defeat our dependence on distraction. He asserts that mindfulness is a trainable skill that offers the resources needed to achieve growth, healing, and transformation.

He describes the mindfulness practice as “something subtle and, at the same time, potentially huge and important, which just might change your life.” He reminds us that, when we are fully present, anything and everything can become a teacher in the moment.

Mindfulness for Beginners (*paid link) is available on Amazon. The audio book, with narration by Kabat-Zinn, is highly recommended. Print versions include a link to download his five guided meditations.

Wishing you peace, calm, and transformation,

Debbie Signature

P.S. Every day at Women on Fire, we offer inspiration, useful strategies and woman-to-woman support. If you are not yet a member, please consider joining us today!

 

*As an Amazon Associate, Women on Fire earns from qualifying purchases.

December’s Book To Live By

We have finally come to the close of 2020, a harsh and stressful year.

Daily-updated death tolls, steep political divisions, burdensome social distancing…. The list goes on and on.

It calls to mind the immortal words of Thomas Payne, written in 1776: “These are the times that try men’s souls.”

To help us deal with these trying times, for the December members-only podcast, I turned to a dear friend, Father Edward Beck, who is a Roman Catholic priest probably best known for his commentary on faith and religion for CNN.

He is also a best-selling author, and it is my great pleasure to announce that our December Book To Live By is:

Unlikely Ways Home: Real-Life Spiritual Detours by Edward L. Beck (*paid link).

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This beautiful book reminds us that everyone is at the mercy of life events. Our control lies only with how we respond to them, and a well-tended spirit puts us in a position of strength.

Edward serves as a wonderful, observant storyteller sharing wide-ranging conversations with a dozen men and women who tell of painful experiences and the wisdom gained from them.

The individual stories are unique but familiar as the themes are universal, including addiction, death, infidelity, alienation, and sexuality.

You will gain insights into profound issues most of us grapple with: What does it mean to be “spiritual”? What role, if any, does institutional religion play in a spiritual journey? Is it ever too late to begin one?

Unlikely Ways Home (*paid link) paints pictures of inspiring journeys from darkness into light. They bring comfort and hope in these troubled days.

Wishing you a peaceful and bountiful 2021,

Debbie

Debbie Signature

P.S. Every day at Women on Fire, we offer expert advice, useful strategies and woman-to-woman support. If you are not yet a member, please consider joining us today!

 

*As an Amazon Associate, Women on Fire earns from qualifying purchases.

November’s Book To Live By

In 1979, Linda Olson was a 29-year-old medical school graduate. She and her husband of two years, Dave, were visiting his parents in Germany when their lives were turned upside down.

As the result of a horrific car-train collision, Linda was left a triple amputee.

Through this unimaginable tragedy, Linda found her true strengths. She made it her motto to “accept, adapt, and innovate.”

Over the next two years, she learned to walk using prostheses and function with one arm, gave birth to the first of her two children, and finished her medical residency.

And that was just the beginning of the mountains she climbed (some literal) and the challenges she surpassed, including a diagnosis of Parkinson’s in 2015.

It was my great pleasure to interview this inspiring woman for the November Women on Fire membership podcast. And I am honored to announce that our Book To Live By is:

Gone: A Memoir of Love, Body, and Taking Back My Life by Linda K. Olson (*paid link).

The tenacity, resourcefulness, and humor of this big-hearted woman who lives life to the fullest will amaze you. Besides an illustrious 30-year career as a professor of radiology, Linda has traveled the world — often with backpacks, kayaks, and dog-sleds.

Linda and Dave’s great love is another constantly uplifting factor of this story. She writes, “We were strong. We were a team. He was my partner. I knew we could do anything if we did it together.”

In this life-affirming book, Linda acknowledges what is Gone (*paid link) and the resulting pain and difficulties. But she puts her emphasis — and helps readers to focus — on the aspects of life that are truly essential.

I enthusiastically recommend this captivating tale of survival and empowerment.

Wishing you inspiration and power,

Debbie Signature

P.S. Every day at Women on Fire, we offer expert advice, useful strategies and woman-to-woman support. If you are not yet a member, please consider joining us today!

 

*As an Amazon Associate, Women on Fire earns from qualifying purchases.

October’s Book To Live By

What does it mean to live with an open heart?

Against the knocks and setbacks of life, we reflexively develop a shield, an armor to protect our deepest selves. But what are we closing out?

Living with an open heart is an age-old concept, crossing cultures and religions worldwide. It is a universal call to all those searching for inner peace to seek the healing, life-giving force of love.

In these troubled times, there can be no better message to ease tensions and live in harmony, with forgiveness and mercy toward ourselves and others.

In that vein, I am delighted to announce that our October Book To Live By is:

The Book of Divine Love: Heart Opening Poems by Mary Burnett Brown (*paid link).

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The Book of Divine Love is the first book by Mary Burnett Brown. She is an international flight attendant and photographer who has spent decades traveling the world, breathing in its beauty and inspiration and reflecting it back.

In the opening pages, Mary offers quotes that helped to shape her own vision of an open heart. Some are by her greatest muse, Rumi, the 13th-century poet and mystic who wrote: “Why are you knocking at every other door? Go, knock at the door of your own heart.”

In the first poem, Mary invites us to “Nestle into the sweetness of your heart,” promising “Your life will become a masterpiece when you quietly tune into its calling.” Throughout the book, her poems embrace such gentle urgings as “connect to the divine spirit in your heart” and “listen to the whisper.”

I was honored that Mary asked me to write the foreword to this beautiful book. I am so proud of how she opens her heart and generously shares it.

So, what does it mean to live with an open heart? Listen to Mary’s wise and compassionate whispers in The Book of Divine Love (*paid link) to guide you as you discover your own meaning.

You also can follow her video poetry on Instagram at @marybrownsheartpoetry or visit her website at maryburnettbrown.com.

With love,

Debbie Signature

P.S. Every day at Women on Fire, we offer expert advice, useful strategies and woman-to-woman support. If you are not yet a member, please consider joining us today!

 

*As an Amazon Associate, Women on Fire earns from qualifying purchases.

September’s Book To Live By

Are you longing for guidance to help you navigate the ebb and flow of life? Have you considered consulting a psychic or intuitive healer?

I heartily recommend it.

The guest for our September members-only podcast and the Live Chat Master Class was mystic Laura Lee, my personal intuitive guide.

During our sessions, Laura often suggests inspiring supplemental material. She admires the books by Sanaya Roman and has studied the associated Orin and DaBen meditation program.

From these recommendations, I have discovered a goldmine of inspiration in our September Book To Live By:

Living with Joy: Keys to Personal Power & Spiritual Transformation, An Orin Book by Sanaya Roman (*paid link).

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Sanaya describes her writings as the channeled messages of Orin, a being of light who is her spirit guide. If you find that language even slightly off-putting, you are encouraged to focus on the material that resonates with you and not to struggle with the sections that don’t. The book’s central truths and healing words will surely touch you and bring perspective to your life, regardless of your spiritual views.

Living with Joy was first published in 1986 and has remained an international bestseller. The teachings offer ways to tap into the core of who you are, that space where unconditional love resides. They are written with a gentle, compassionate tone and are easy to understand. Topics include inner peace, balance, self-respect, opening to receive, living your higher purpose, and so much more.

An updated 25th anniversary edition includes a Daily Joy Practice, simple exercises, and affirmations to help you start (or end) your day feeling uplifted. The wisdom it contains will enable you to enjoy life to the fullest.

You can spend a day or a week with a chapter, or simply open the book to a random page for quick inspiration. Each page features a highlighted passage that allows you to immediately grasp the central theme.

Even during troubled times, a life of joy is possible. Living with Joy (*paid link) is a great starting point for your joyful journey.

Debbie Signature

P.S. Every day at Women on Fire, we offer expert advice, useful strategies and woman-to-woman support to help you through this troublesome time. If you are not yet a member, please consider joining us today!

 

*As an Amazon Associate, Women on Fire earns from qualifying purchases.

August’s Book To Live By

In our latest members-only podcast, I spoke with restauranteur Mary Kenworth about the profound challenges the industry faces today.

She noted some celebrity chefs she respects, not only for their cooking skills and magnificent restaurants, but also for their powerful voices in advocacy for this vital business.

I’d like to add to that conversation a chef I admire for her impassioned voice and daring vision as well as her innovation and creativity in the kitchen. Dominique Crenn is the first female chef in the United States to receive three Michelin stars and an inspirational leader in the restaurant community.

It is my pleasure to announce that our August Book To Live By is:

Rebel Chef: In Search of What Matters by Dominique Crenn with Emma Brockes (*paid link).

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Crenn was adopted as an infant by a French politician and his wife. From their alluring life outside of Paris and summers on her grandmother’s farm in Brittany, she gained a love of food and a passion for cooking. But when she applied to French culinary schools, she was discouraged because “the role of the chef as artist was reserved for men.”

So, in 1989, with no formal training and barely speaking English, Crenn moved to San Francisco. She began a life transformation by recognizing her own lesbianism. She took jobs waitressing and introduced herself to top people in the industry, including renowned chef Jeremiah Tower, who became her first mentor.

In another step in her evolution, she became executive chef in a hotel in Jakarta that allowed her to build a staff of women. She began her activism for female entrepreneurship.

Her celebrity got a jolt when she won a competition on TV’s “Iron Chef.”

She opened the first of her celebrated restaurants when she was 45, about which she said, “Sometimes I get the sense that women over forty aren’t even supposed to be visible. Well, with respect, screw that.”

Crenn’s advocacy includes a strong connection to nature. She works with local organic farms for sourcing and, although she is “not quite a vegetarian,” she strongly restricts using meat and fish over ethical concerns and her belief in sustainability and equality for all life.

Crenn writes with candor about the obstacles and challenges along her path, including a breast cancer diagnosis. But her positivity and resilience always shine through. Her philosophy is “There is no failure in life, only opportunity.”

I know you will eat up the delicious stories in this Amazon Best Book of June 2020. I enthusiastically recommend Rebel Chef (*paid link). You will find wisdom and inspiration on every page.

Debbie Signature

P.S. Every day at Women on Fire, we offer expert advice, useful strategies and woman-to-woman support to help you through this troublesome time. If you are not yet a member, please consider joining us today!

 

*As an Amazon Associate, Women on Fire earns from qualifying purchases.