7 ways Women on Fire can help you

Happy continuing summer!

I’ve sprinkled in a few summer flowers for you from Martha’s Vineyard that my amazing photographer husband Rob Berkley took last week. Hope you like!

It’s your obligation to do what you love because that’s what you are gifted at. Nature doesn’t fool around. When she designs you to do something, she makes you love it. And, to achieve our dreams, we need each other. ~ Barbara Sher

I recently interviewed Barbara Sher, the charming, effervescent coach and best-selling author who wrote personal development classics you may have read such as Wishcraft and It’s Only Too Late If I Don’t Start Now.

At 76, she is a hoot, filled with fun, passion and plain-spoken wisdom!

In a wide-ranging discussion from her home in Toulouse, France, we talked about living your dreams – everything from how to find your passion to what you need in order to achieve the success you want.

And, most important of all – how important we are to each other to make our dreams come true. Here is Barbara’s recipe for reaching our dreams:

You know the secret to success – plain and simple – is a bunch of people who want to see you make it. That’s the secret.

So, how do we find those people who want to help us make it?

First of all, by becoming a supporter of others’ dreams that you are inspired by. Women on Fire are legendary for supporting each other’s dreams and successes!

Sometimes finding those interested in our dreams is a lot like dating when you’re  in search of your dream-come-true relationship.  When you find it, you know it!  It feels easy and right (at least in the beginning;-)

And, like dating, if you are chasing down people and expecting them to like you,  your product, service or idea, it probably feels hard and difficult.  Critical, unresponsive or disinterested people are “just not that into you” and are not the people who want to see you make it!

So, what works?

If you consistently hone and share your passion, you will attract and grow your “bunch of people,” as Barbara would say, and they will help lift you up and expand your dreams.

I started Women on Fire in 2003 as a warm, inviting community for women to express their passions, interests and dreams – and to increase your chances of receiving support and finding “your people.”  It began with a handful of men and women at a single event and today we are more than 3,000!

One of the greatest joys of my life is each and every day, multiple times a day, I see the exchange of support of women in this community. You are awesome!

For those of you who are new – and there are hundreds of you – here are ways to join in and be connected with Women on Fire as a way to find your “bunch of people who want to see you make it!”

Many of the details are listed each week in the Calendar section:

  1. Women on Fire teas — even if you don’t live in a city offering one, consider treating yourself to one in a city you’d like to visit; it’s a great way to meet women, celebrate what you are “on fire” about or receive support and receive support for your dreams or if you are in a transition.
  2. Retreats — each year there is an annual gathering of Women on Fire from across the country. Many valuable friendships are made and reestablished at the retreats and this year’s will be Oct. 26-27 in Chicago.
  3. The Spark! — in your hands right now; weekly, free inspiration, strategies and support. Hope you will pass along to any fabulous woman in your life who could use a boost, a hug and to know she’s not alone.
  4. Books To Live By — each month I share a book and author whose work will help to propel your life forward; if you are receiving The Spark! you will be receiving Books To Live By at the beginning of each month.
  5. Coaching groups — At Women on Fire, we have two coaching groups available. One is virtual. You Can Do Anything is a year-long group led by Women on Fire marketing and communications director Jamie Eslinger.  The other is an in-person group in Columbus, Ohio. Life, Ignited is led by Women on Fire’s National Chair Jan Allen. Please be in touch with either Jan@womenonfire.org or Jamie@womenonfire.org if you are interested in these groups when there are openings.
  6. Facebook group — there is a private group with daily discussions, requests, news that you are invited to participate in. Simply make the request and you will be granted entry!
  7. Membership — for $1 a day you are welcome to join our monthly membership program and receive special CD interviews (with inspiring notable women such as Barbara Sher, Barbara Corcoran, Vanessa Williams, Tory Johnson.) A monthly coaching Video Live Chat with me and much, much more! All of the details are here.
  8. And, a very big welcome this week to our newest monthly members: Mary Blohm, Sugar Grove, IL; Darlene Wade of Brooklyn, NY; Susan Burhans, Old Saybrook, CT; Diane Denard-Leiter, Doylestown, PA; Kelly Hurley, Thornton, CO; and Sheryl Childs, Mackinaw City, MI.

So these are a few of the ways to begin to build support for your dreams and goals — and to share in the inspiring dreams of other women.


A defining moment of self-care

My theme for 2012 is daily self-care.

My promise to myself is that each day for 366 days, regardless of what is going on, I will take 30 minutes or more to do something to promote my well-being.

And, even though self-care is a topic I’ve worked on personally and advised hundreds of coaching clients on since 1995, this is the first time self-care has been my annual theme.

And, if these past 21 days are any indication, it’s proving to be a subject with many dimensions and new questions to explore.

Every year for more than 20 years, I have used a theme – a powerful word or sentence — as a guide toward being happier, healthier, more at peace and closer to the success I dream of.

In the past, I’ve had themes such as The Year of Simplicity (that year I sold my house in the suburbs, furnishings and car in Ohio and moved to a 500-square- foot jewel-box of an apartment on the harbor in Boston and walked or took the subway).

I checked every major decision against the question: ‘does this action lead to living with more simplicity?’, and a whole new world opened up for me – including meeting the delicious man I’m married to today!

Having a theme can make it much easier to make daily choices, which then add up over 365 days — 366 in a Leap Year! — to get you to your bigger goals or dreams.

So say your theme is Year of Financial Fitness. It’s pretty much a no-brainer to make a decision when you run through the “financial fitness filter” a $1,500 Marc Jacobs bag on your credit card, if you know you can’t easily pay it off.  Follow your theme, and you will stay on track with your Year of Financial Fitness.

(And, if your theme is Year To Express My Perfect Style, then that Jacobs bag may be just the ticket! )


But this year, 21 days in, I have scribbled every day in my well-worn Woman on Fire journal what I’ve done for self-care,  and a big question is forming for me.

Just what exactly is self-care? I started off the year thinking I knew.

Is it taking a walk (9 times in 21 days)?  Going on vacation (4 days in Key West)? Getting a massage (twice)?  Manicure (once)? Eating totally healthy and gluten-free (3 in 21)? Getting enough rest (I failed to take note)?

The activities above made me feel pretty good and some even terrific in the moment, but none made me feel as wonderful and fulfilled as I wished for so far in my Year of Self-Care.

Even though I know my annual theme sometimes doesn’t give me results until the year is well under way or even finished, I guess I expected instant gratification in feeling bliss from daily self-care.

And, then something happened the other night …

It was about 8PM and I was tired after a very full day and I was home alone.

Rob was in Washington, DC, visiting our ailing, beloved MOTUS, his mother.

Before the clock struck midnight, I knew I had to find 30 minutes of self-care to keep my promise to myself for my Year of Daily Self-Care.

Should I go over to the gym for 30 minutes on the treadmill?  Read?  Watch my Jane Goodall documentary? Take a long bath?  As much as I would enjoy those things I viewed as self-care, nothing appealed to me.


I picked up the phone.

And called my mother.  I am aware how very lucky at age 56 that I am to have my mother.  At 77, she can be so bright and sunny and positive and funny, still running the entrepreneurial business she and my father started nearly 30 years ago.

It is impossible to have a phone call with her without laughing – about something. That’s just how she is.  Big-hearted, great sense of humor, self-deprecating and often hilarious when she doesn’t even know it!  (Can you tell from the picture above…for which she is going to spank me for posting!)

We laughed and chitchatted about all kinds of things, none that I even really remember.  Except I was fully aware how delightful it was to be able to have this easy, casual conversation with the woman I love from the bottom of my heart.

After 30 minutes or so, I got off the phone feeling uplifted, encouraged, grateful and deeply satisfied.  I felt energized, my heart and soul comforted.  Hmmmm, no exercising, eating right, eight hours of sleep, taking my vitamins required.

Just 30 minutes basking in an exchange of love and laughs.

And, that is when the realization hit me over the head: there is no better self-care than love.

What about you?

Have you selected a theme for the year?

Please know that you are invited to take this journey this year with me and with us.

For those of you in our Women on Fire Membership program, How To Use A  Theme — For Your Best Year Ever will be the topic of our next member’s Live Chat on Tuesday night.

A number of Women on Fire, and those in Jamie Eslinger’s You Can Do Anything In A Year coaching group, have embarked upon a year-long journey and exploration around a theme.

A few are keeping daily journals online.

You can follow these Women on Fire members every day as they transform their own lives and inspire ours:

Enjoy your week ahead and keep me posted on how you’re doing!

Celebrating More…and Less!

I am home from Lake Austin Spa Resort in Texas where we celebrated MORE Magazine’s November issue that features Women on Fire.  And, in loving every moment at Lake Austin Spa, I certainly was cherishing LESS stress!

The simplicity and focus on nature, delicious, healthy meals, exercise, massages and inspiring connections with other women renewed my very being and re-energized me to take on the world.

While at Lake Austin Spa, Jamie and I went on a 2-hour hike and boat trip. Here I am on a parched river bed, which seemed to me like walking on the moon!

Woman on Fire Jamie Eslinger accompanied me to the spa (we were working, afterall, as we were each giving two talks!) and she made several videos I hope you get a chance to watch.  Here’s me saying good-bye on our last day in Texas in my favorite chair and room in the spa’s Garden Library.

Have you ever been to a spa?  Or have you wished to go but fear it is too expensive, frivolous or snobby?

My first visit to a spa was more than 20 years ago to the now-closed Bonaventure Spa in Florida. It’s where I first learned about the life-changing  benefits of taking better care of myself.

My best friend Jan Allen set up the trip. Back then, she knew I was so exhausted from my workaholic life that I didn’t know which end was up.

In fact, the restorative yoga class I took on my first day at the Bonaventure, I fell asleep — and woke up an hour after everyone else had left the room!

Investing in yourself is one of Women on Fire’s most meaningful aspirations.

And, I am here to tell you that investing in a spa experience can be a very powerful way to heal, to kickstart your next steps, to meet other inspiring women, and to bolster your health so you feel strong and vibrant to take on your dreams.

In addition to wonderful amenities at a spa, the peace, calm and quiet usually found at a spa — to think, nap, read a book or gaze into the sky — often results in less becoming more in your life.

I have returned home feeling lighter and brighter and even more excited for what is next.  The time at the spa gave me just the boost I needed to keep going toward my own dreams.

Plus, I brought a bit of the spa home with me. Jamie and I discovered a great healthy raw veggie salad with grilled salmon that I plan to duplicate at home!

Spa food is usually beautiful — and healthy. This recipe’s going home with me!

What are the investments in yourself that you are making in your own life right now?  How are they making a difference for you?  Please share in the comments section below.

Video: I think you’ll like this SPA-RK!

Today feels like a holiday to me.  To see why, check out this video!

I am with Woman on Fire Jamie Eslinger and we are headed to Lake Austin Spa in Texas.

It’s our annual speaking engagement at the spa’s Wise Women Week  — yes, really we are working :-).

But you bet in between our talks we are set to take advantage of the fun and relaxation at our favorite spa – and we want you to come with us!

Coming up this week, we plan to share with YOU everything we will be teaching to others and all the new things we will learn and discover.

At the spa, I will speak on these topics:  “Don’t Let What Scares You STOP You!” and “How To Live Your Dreams Like a Woman on Fire.”

If you remember our trip last year to Lake Austin Spa, it was there that Jamie made the decision to stop purchasing clothes or shoes for a year – and instead invest in her potential – in her head, heart, body and soul.

To keep herself on track, she agreed to write about it every single day and her very popular blog The Promise 365 was born. Today is Day 289 of that promise to herself.

So, it will be with great joy this week when Jamie presents to women at the spa her signature talk:  “You Can Do Anything – In One Year.”  She has done it and you can, too!

In addition to her brilliant work at Women on Fire, Jamie is a graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and she’ll also talk about her personal experience “Beating The Sugar Blues.”

You can join us and interact with us all week in the comments section below.

And, I was serious when I said I want you to come with us.

If there is anything you wish for Jamie and me to do or try this week at the spa, just leave word in the comments section below.  We will be choosing from among your suggestions. And, then report back to you!

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: tattooing life on your chest

Photo by Rob Berkley

I love stories when fear, sadness or heartbreak transform into experiences of inspiration, courage and creativity.

Today I want to share with you just such a story.  And, it’s personal to me because the women involved are two women I love and work the closest with at Women on Fire — Jamie Eslinger and Blue Cullen.

I know none of us is untouched by cancer.

And, because October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, what Jamie and Blue have to share couldn’t have arrived at a better time. Maybe you, too, even have a “dots” story to share.  Below is their story, written by Jamie in her inspiring daily blog The Promise 365.


Breast cancer tattooing life on your chest
by Jamie Eslinger

I have four or five tattoos on my body.

Honestly, I lost count after number four.  There could be five or six for all I know.

There is one tattoo right under my chin.  Another on my chest and on my belly.  I think there could be one or two more on my sides as well.

I didn’t choose my tattoos.
They were given to me as part of the cancer treatment du jour.

The thing is, the timing was perfect. It was right around the hot pop trend of teenage girls donning tattoos. Mostly around their ankles, with little butterflies and dolphins.  It wasn’t really rebellious, it was more of a statement of independence.

Tattoos were still somewhat taboo, but these dainty little decorations seemed to be graciously accepted in the teeny-bop set.  Well, to be fair, it was the age of grunge.

Regardless, I have always loved mine, the little dots the size of a pinhead lining the middle of my chest, neck and chin. In fact, whenever the conversation of tattoos appears, I proudly announce that I have many.

They are like battle wounds, prized possessions, marked memories. And, like most tattoos, they speak louder than words about where one has been and what one knows.

So, today, I was thrilled to learn someone I work with everyday at Women on Fire also has tattoos of the survivor kind.  This morning, Blue asked me, “Hey, Jamie, did you know I am a cancer survivor, too?”

I didn’t know.
We immediately embraced in that sisterly hug of a shared cancer connection.  Then Blue shared the story of her tattoo.

Instead of just being marked with the map of radiation dots for breast cancer treatment, Blue turned one dot into a meaningful memory by having it morphed into the OM symbol.

It reminds me of watching those old The Joy of Painting television shows when I was a little girl.  I loved seeing how Bob Ross would turn a smudge here or a drip there into a beautiful swan or a lovely tree.

There are no mistakes.
Just happy accidents.

And, I guess that’s how I feel about Blue’s tattoo ~ what a happy accident.  Nobody would ask for cancer or any of the side effects it comes with, including tattoos.  But, what a way to turn a gentle reminder about survival into a beautiful prayer for life.

Thank you Blue, for letting me share it here, too.
It’s good inspiration for the body and soul — proudly worn right over your heart.

Is your life falling into place?

I was having one of “those” days today.  Nothing felt easy.  Computer glitches. The kitty had a huge, stinky accident on the bed. (I will spare you the photo!) I didn’t want to work on a holiday, but I felt overwhelmed with all I have to do so I did.

A few hours ago, my life did not feel like it was falling into place.

In fact, I fell down the rabbit hole and was thinking “help, get me outta here.” I know you’ve been there, too.

Yet, at this very moment, in a surprising turnaround, all is well and I am back on track.  What turned my cranky self around?

I remembered what my wonderfully positive Dad did for our family every Labor Day (back in the days when the first day of school was the Tuesday after Labor Day!)

He gathered together the five of us kids for a “family meeting” and gave us a pep talk about how we had choices for our new school year and for our lives to fall into place.

Were we going to get up late for school and miss the bus?  Or were we going to go to bed early and wake up in time and go in an easy flow?

Were we going to do our homework?  Or were we going to procrastinate and suffer the consequences of not having it done by getting poor grades?

Were we going to fuss and cry and fight with each other getting ready for school in the mornings?  Or, were we going to “greet each day with love in our hearts?”

Were we going to be negative and look at the glass half-empty?  Or, were we going to be positive and see the glass half-full?

You get the idea.  All these years later, my Dad’s words rushed back to me — just in time to save the day.  They melted my heart and helped me to stop and take a breath.  I had choices to get my life to fall back into place.

My glass half-full life is filled with so much love and support. All I needed to do was tap into it.  I did and it made a difference.  My husband Rob and my Women on Fire colleagues Jan Allen and Jamie Eslinger were at the ready today…as they always are.

I just needed love…and support…and friends…and understanding.  It was all right there waiting for me.  I had to make the choice of which direction I was going.

Thanks, Dad.  Your annual “special talks” on Labor Day still work decades later!

What do you do to get your life on track when it feels derailed?  What words of wisdom show up for you when you’re feeling down?  Did you get a new school year pep talk — or do you give one to your kids now? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below. I’d love to hear.

Are you tolerated or celebrated?

Go where you are celebrated, not just tolerated. Identify your real friends and relatives who love you and want to see you succeed. ~ Bob Beaudine, author of The Power of Who

One of the many reasons I started Women on Fire was to give you the soft landing spot you deserve for your passions and dreams to be discovered and celebrated.

In fact, chief among our 20 Women on Fire aspirations is “I cheer on the successes of other women.”

In my mind, there is little worse than someone pooh-poohing your desire to start your own business or raining on your plans to change the direction of your career.

While “Negative Norberts” often think they are looking out for you or protecting you from disappointment, your good ideas will flourish in the glow and encouragement of people who want to see you succeed.

I have the best job in the world celebrating the dreams and goals of Women on Fire. Here I am with inspiring Phoebe Lapine, co-author of the cookbook “In the Small Kitchen.” Phoebe routinely surrounds herself with people who support her dreams.

This week, here on Martha’s Vineyard, we celebrated Woman on Fire Phoebe Lapine, who transformed her passion for cooking for “20-somethings” into work as a private chef, speaker and cookbook author.

Out of college, Phoebe worked in corporate America in a less-than-inspiring job, marketing designer perfumes.  When Phoebe groused about the work, it was her cousin who gave her the lift she needed.

“What would you rather be doing?” she asked.  “Writing a cookbook,” Phoebe answered.  And, that was just the support she needed to go after her passion.  Without delay, Phoebe purchased the URL and she and her friend and cooking partner Cara Eisenpress launched their blog “Big Girls Small Kitchen.”

The popularity of the blog — which featured the easy-to-prepare and delicious food Phoebe and Cara had long been creating for their friends and relatives — caught the attention of agents and publishing companies. Their enthusiastic followers cheered them on and their book In the Small Kitchen was born!

Phoebe and I cheer on the dream of another Woman on Fire Melissa Brummerstedt Niezgoda, creator of Honey Bee’s Cakes, who sent her signature “Bomb Pops” in time for Phoebe’s book party.

In your own life right now, who celebrates you and cheers you on? Who wants to see you succeed?

Write down a list of as many people as you can think of from your entire life who are in your court.  These are people who’d be happy to help your dreams come true, if only you asked them.

Woman on Fire Jamie Eslinger, right, introduces Phoebe Lapine at a celebration of Phoebe’s new book. Jamie is one of Phoebe’s many passionate supporters!!

Consider sharing with your list of supporters a goal or dream you have.  As Bob Beaudine writes in The Power of Who: You Already Know Everyone You Need To Know it is those you know who love you — and not people we blindly hand business cards to — who are the ones to best help us.

Woman on Fire cheering on Phoebe — Jill Turley stocked up on copies of Phoebe’s cookbook for all her friends and relatives!

Keep me posted on how it works out for you by sharing in the comments section below.

In the meantime, you always have a place here at Women on Fire to be celebrated for your dreams!

Your 2011 summer reading list

Summer is here and you know what that means!

Time to announce my recommendations for this year’s Women on Fire summer vacation book list.  And, to invite you to complete the list by sharing your own favorites! (To do that, please comment below.)

Nothing I love more in the summer than to lie in a hammock or prop myself up against a sand dune at the beach and read a great book. How about you?

Here are some of my summer reading recommendations. Be sure to share yours! (Photo by Jamie Eslinger)

But first…

Thank you and congratulations to the many of you who have already registered for the Women on Fire Day in Columbus, Ohio on September 30.  I can’t wait to introduce you to each other!

If you are looking for the inspiration, strategies and support to give your life a boost – and meet other fabulous women in the process – the first stop on our national tour is for you.  If you haven’t registered yet, I hope you will not hesitate and invest in your future and your dreams and join us!

Today, Jamie Eslinger of our Women on Fire team filmed me as I revealed a few of my current, favorite books from my summer reading list.  Please come along while Jamie and I also show you a couple of our favorite vacation spots on Martha’s Vineyard!

Please take a minute and share your book suggestions for summer reading in the comment section below.

Wishing you a delightful, summery week.  I’m off to New York City to celebrate.  My birthday is June 25 and Rob is taking me to the city for an adventure!


Debbie Signature

P.S.  I just ordered the ice cream maker that Jeni Britton Bauer recommends for successfully making her splendid ice creams at home! It was a great bargain and I’ll let you know how it goes.

P.P.S.  Here are the book titles and links should you want to order any of my summer selections:

Bossypants by Tina Fey
In the Small Kitchen by Cara Eisenpress and Phoebe Lapine
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams At Home by Jeni Britton Bauer
The Superwoman LifeStyle Blueprint by Vicki Irvin
Reading My Father by Alexandra Styron

What do you do when life goes bump?

There’s a funny little saying our beloved and hard-working assistant Blue announces when things get a little crazy and life whirls out of balance.

“It’s a little ‘kittywampus’ around here!” she’ll say, and I’ll laugh.

Our assistant Blue and her assistant Wilber keep ‘kittywampus’ under control in the office!

But if I ever needed strategies to cope with things going ‘kittywampus,’ this past week was rich with opportunities to practice my coping skills.

I know you’ve had those kinds of weeks (days, months, years?), too.  Maybe it’s happening for you right now.  Life is flowing along nicely and then bump, bump, bump.  (I swear it happens in threes…)

It started when I knew I had too much to do to fit into one week.  Writing deadlines. Calls. Interviews. Scheduling conflicts. Overdue work. Creative thinking time.  All of us here (Wilber included!) are working feverishly on the launch of a new,  top-secret project for you.

Add to it, this was my final week in Florida before the “great migration” home to Martha’s Vineyard.

Boxes to pack. Closets to clean. Clothes to organize. Cat to get ready. Cars to prep.  (How two people and one cat can accumulate practically a lifetime of stuff and books (even though we both have Kindles) in four and a half months is beyond me!

But I am not complaining and feel ever grateful to have designed our lifestyle to live in places we dearly love. I feel especially blessed to be in the warmth and sunshine of Naples when it is bitter cold and grey on the Vineyard.

Then in the midst of what was starting to feel chaotic, I received bone-chilling news that pushed me right to my edge.

Fierce, deadly tornadoes had struck Alabama.

Nearly my entire family lives in Huntsville and the weather radar showed they were in the direct path. (Thankfully, the televised images of the dreadful destruction had not yet made their way onto CNN.)

I made calls to every member of my family that went nowhere. Hours later, my mother was able to reach me and let me know all of our relatives were safe.

Shaken and surrounded by destruction, however, they would be without power for several days.

My mother had weathered her “scariest tornado ever” closeted alone with her kitty in the dark in her laundry room; her cell phone battery was two bars from dying and so it would be unlikely we’d talk until they had power again.

In an already too busy and now stressful week, I felt overwhelmed, frustrated and helpless.  There was nothing, short of dropping in by helicopter and scooping them up, that I could do for them.  I was edgy and cranky with my loving, supportive husband who, as usual, calmly rolled with it.

The crush of everything left me worried, frazzled and even feeling a bit hopeless at times.

In my more sane moments, I knew it was a week “gone kittywampus” and that I needed to reach into my toolkit, pull out my strategies and use them.

So, here’s what I did to keep myself from going completely over the edge:

  • Walked each day even though I didn’t feel like it (I took pictures of flowers along the way which brought me joy)
  • Listened to comedienne and Woman on Fire Janette Barber on Rosie Radio (made me laugh and feel better)

In the sunshine, walking and listening to Woman on Fire Janette Barber on the radio perked up my spirits.

  • Paid attention to my breathing (always works)
  • Sat in meditation a couple of times for a few minutes (helped to center me)
  • Reached out to a couple of Women on Fire I love and adore just because I missed them and I wanted to get outside of myself (reconnected me to my deep passion for our Women on Fire community)
  • Held my “fear” fingers (my index fingers which is a Jin Shin Jystu practice that relieves fear)
  • Bought two baby cupcakes at Whole Foods; woke up at 4:30AM to watch the Royal Wedding and ate “cake” for breakfast to celebrate (I felt re-engaged seeing the joy and exuberance of two people so obviously in love)
  • Immersed myself in a Watsu experience (thanks to Woman on Fire Ellen Wingard who introduced me to this stress-relieving treatment in a pool, I finally felt calm and relaxed; more on this amazing “massage-in-water” in a future Spark!)

Golden Door Spa Watsu Expert Tamara Caggiano melted away my stress as she worked on my pressure points while I floated in the water. A truly amazing experience!

By the end of the week, two more “strategies” turned my week of ‘kittywampus’ back into a more peaceful existence:

One:  A wonderful, romantic dinner at sunset on the beach with Rob. It is our annual ritual to say good-bye, share our favorite moments of the season, and to express our appreciation for our time in Florida.

Good-bye, Naples, Florida. Rob and I soaked in our annual ritual of a sunset dinner at the beach.

Two:  Woman on Fire Jamie Eslinger suggested that we toss coins into a fountain and make wishes.

Jamie, on the right, and me as I say goodbye to my ‘kittywampus’ of a week and wish for the recovery and healing of all those tragically affected by last week’s tornadoes. Oh, and I also wished for William and Kate to live happily ever after. I think they have a shot at it!

What is your wish for this next week?  Or, what do you do when things go ‘kittywampus’ in your world?  You are so welcome to share it in the comments section below.

As always, my wish for you is that you get to live the life of your dreams!

Until next week…from Martha’s Vineyard.

The last time you filled up?

Hello from snowy Alpena, Michigan! I’m about to hop on a plane to Naples, Florida after three days here speaking at four events to more than 250 phenomenal women “on fire” (and quite a few men, too:-)

I am leaving this city on the shores of exquisite Lake Huron with my heart full and, in a moment, you’ll see why my tummy is full, too!

But first…

I am wondering how you are? As the long winter turns toward spring, are you in need of a renewal?

If you were with us in Alpena these past few days, you are likely full of fire and ready to take on the world. And, if you weren’t, I want to share why my visit to Alpena has left me feeling renewed and filled with joy and how you might benefit, too.

It all started when Women on Fire Book Co-Author Mary Ellen Jones saw the need in her community for women to be inspired and re-energized. (You know MEJ from her terrific chapter “Finding Love Way Past 40” in the Women on Fire book.  A former television producer, she moved from the shiny hills of Hollywood to the rolling hills of a farm near Alpena to be with her beloved “gentleman farmer.” Or, as she puts it, “I went from the stage door to the barn door!”)

For nearly a year, MEJ and many caring others worked to organize RENEW, an event to connect fabulous women to each other to renew their hearts, minds and spirits.  She invited me to be the keynote speaker.

(You won’t believe the hilarious thing that MEJ did to surprise me when she introduced me to the wonderfully enthusiastic crowd at RENEW. She told them about my sweet tooth and my rule that I refuse to eat a dessert bigger than my head. Check out what happened in this video!)

What I hadn’t counted in Alpena was how I would be the one renewed these past few days and here’s why:

* Surrounded in nature — mountains of snow, gusts of fresh air and the tastiest, freezing cold water from the tap — awakened my senses and made me feel alive.

* Family-style meals with long-time and brand-new friends and pets Bootsie and Sammy filled my heart and made me feel so at home. (Thank you, MEJ, Rich Mills, Nan Katzenberger, Christine Wagner and Jamie Eslinger.)

* Dedicated and enthusiastic Women on Fire  — Julia McLemore, Lisa Davis Cooper, Kim Dettmer, Anne Thurston, Mary Lou Peters, Beth Kloesener, Debra Collins, Lori Tomlinson — drove long distances through ice and snow to attend RENEW.  It was so great to see them and I felt very loved and supported.

* The warmth of the people of Alpena.  Everywhere we went people welcomed us — and even showered us with gifts!

* The hope and enthusiasm from the many, many men and women — from ages 12-88 — at the events where I spoke, to live their dreams and be their best, lifted me up.

So, here I was half-way across the country “working” and I was the one filled up as though I just took a vacation!  Thank you, Woman on Fire extraordinaire Mary Ellen Jones and to each and every person in Alpena who shared a hug, a hope, a dream with me.

What is it you need to do today for you to feel renewed, loved and supported? Please pop down to the comments section and share with us.  We really want to hear.

Here is a fun little video our talented Jamie Eslinger captured of our Alpena experience. I hope it inspires you to find your own renewal.
(Hint: the video also reveals the reason why my tummy is full!)

WARNING: There are images of a woman in her pajamas!

Love and hugs,