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

How Women on Fire are giving thanks!

I just love, love, love Thanksgiving week!  Do you?

Today I’ll tell you what three Women on Fire in my life are doing to make this year’s Thanksgiving holiday in the United States fun, meaningful and extra special for their families!  And, I’ll share with you a simple technique I use to overcome tough times in my own life. It can help you, too, especially if you hit a rough patch during the holidays.

But first…

Turkey Flock State Road Martha's Vineyard
A very common scene all year long on Martha’s Vineyard where I live: traffic stopped for turkey crossings!

It was a year ago already that I wrote you about My Terrible Scare.  And, today, I am filled with even more gratitude to be healthy and living a life overflowing with opportunities to expand women’s success.

My life was not always been this joy-filled.  In the early 1990s, my life had gone kind of haywire and I needed relief.

One of Oprah’s many great contributions was popularizing the importance of keeping a “gratitude journal.”  I started using this technique myself nearly 15  years ago when author Sarah Ban Breathnach published The Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude.

Back then I often felt pulled below the waters of grief — from divorce, despair and a move to a new city away from my closest friends and deepest relationships.

By keeping a journal, I quickly discovered if I could feel gratitude for what was good in my life, it was impossible to be depressed!

So no matter how I fought it or how discouraged or unhappy I was, I would force myself every time I was upset to write a simple list of what I was thankful for.  And, each time I did I could feel my heart open — and hope slipped in.

Then and now, for me, writing a gratitude list works like a charm to release my upsets and get my booty in gear!  I even use it when I’m mad  or irritated with my husband.  I quickly grab a piece of paper and write down the 10 things about him I love and am grateful for.  (So glad he never gets mad at me. LOL!)

Even scientific studies show gratitude’s effectiveness.

Dr. Robert Emmons, the world’s most prominent researcher and writer about gratitude, has conducted studies with Dr. Michael McCullough showing that people who are consistently grateful have been found to feel better about their lives as a whole, meet their goals more often, are more energetic and more hopeful, and they are less likely to be depressed, anxious, lonely, envious or neurotic.

Grateful people also experience a greater sense of feeling connected to others.

And, the whipped cream on the pumpkin pie of this story is that a 2008 study shows children who practice grateful thinking have a more positive attitude toward school and their families!  The next time you feel the stress of life I invite you will write your own gratitude list.

And now as promised, here are Maritza Parra, Rosemary Nickel and Margie Warrell sharing Women on Fire-style inspiration of their own Thanksgivings:

Maritza: I have Thanksgiving catered because I can’t cook at all! But I like to write my favorite gratitude/appreciation quotes on parchment paper and put a pretty bow on them and scatter them all over the Thanksgiving table. They’re fun to help everyone get into super-gratitude mode and can open great conversations, too!

Rosemary: Our gift exchange is the best part of Thanksgiving!! This tradition was started by my aunt. We find odd things at yard sales during the year and wrap them up for the exchange. We laugh so hard at some of the stuff. Every once in a while there is a really great find and the exchange gets heated because everyone wants it. It’s hilarious!  And, it’s fun for the kids to look forward to as well.

One other tradition my aunt started is a book that everyone writes down what we are grateful for. Sometimes we write down the funny things that are being discussed in the room at that time or that happened on that day. I LOVE coming back each year to read it!!

Margie: I’m heading to Florida to spend Thanksgiving week in the sunshine (I’m hoping).  After nine years living in the U.S. (from Australia), I’ve finally mustered up my courage to take my four kids to Disney World. And while we are there we’ll check out Kennedy Space Center and wrestle alligators in the Everglades before heading on to Key Largo to celebrate Thanksgiving (with beef tenderloin) with friends.  Needless to say, a fun week awaits. And the opportunity to create wonderful memories with my family that I’m very thankful for.

Margie, the turkeys on Martha’s Vineyard thank you!

Whether you live in the United States or in one of the many countries where women read this blog, I hope you will comment below about some of the fun holiday or gratitude rituals in your life!

I am grateful for YOU.  And, I send you much, much love this week.


Downsized 4 X

It’s Sunday.  And, I have a confession.

I haven’t gotten out of my jammies yet today. (Wearing my favorite ones that Woman on Fire Rosemary Nickel sent me from PajamaGram!)  Oh, does this feel good – and ever-so-slightly naughty;-)

Rob left before dawn today for Mara Glazer’s Social Media seminar in Baltimore.  Wilber and I are home alone.  And, because he lies around himself and naps all day, I think he loved having a pal to do nothing with.

I ate when I wanted; skipped making the bed and unloading the dishwasher; yakked on the phone to Shannon McCaffery and to my mom; read Rolling Stone and World Pulse magazines; brewed a pot of hazelnut coffee (which Rob doesn’t like because it makes our house all smelly); and even drank a diet Coke, which I rarely, rarely do anymore.

In short, a Heavenly day of nothingness and everything-I-love-ness.

Hope you get the same chance every once in a while. I’d love to hear on our blog what you do when you have time to do absolutely nothing!

Today’s SPARK! is a strategy for what to do when you are faced with a major transition.   I am borrowing from the wisdom of Women on Fire book co-author Shannon McCaffery.

You see Shannon was laid off from jobs in the corporate world FOUR times in nine years before she found her true passion and became an entrepreneur.

She is uniquely well-qualified to talk about what an upheaval it is to unexpectedly lose your job!  

(Although you may have a hint your job is on the line, it’s still a shock when it happens.  You need a strategy to work through the loss and regain your balance.  This holds true even if you didn’t like your job.)

The results from the recent Women on Fire survey revealed that a large number of you are going through a major transition and that many of you have experienced job loss, whether of your own choice or not.

When I was compiling the Women on Fire book, I invited Shannon to share her experience of repeated job loss. I was inspired to see how she coped through some very tough times and how well it all turned out for her.  She wrote an excellent, strategy-filled chapter called “Breaking Loose From Corporate America” – 7 Secrets To Being Let Go From Your Job.

In Shannon’s words, here are her seven secrets to surviving a major transition:

1)   Surround yourself with support – “This was a lifesaver for me: having a coach, therapist, friends, family and my dogs. It was incredibly helpful to know I wasn’t alone.”

2)   Tame your mind – “My mind was my worst enemy. I took up the practice of meditation and learned how to calm and quiet my mind.”

3)   Take yourself on vacation – “Taking myself to Peru and experiencing Machu Picchu with a group of spiritually inclined people was just what my workaholic soul needed to open up to my life.”

4)   Feel your fear; it’s OK – “I was so scared about not knowing how I was going to pull through. I faced my fear and created a mantra that I repeated 40-50 times a day: ‘I will find the perfect home and perfect job for me and my dogs by Nov. 1.’” (And, she did!)

5)   Reach out to experts – “I can’t say enough about having a coach, a therapist and any other specialist you need to see your way through a transition. Yet, it’s not enough just to have them in your life, but it’s about picking up the phone and asking them for help.”

6)   Indulge in self-soothing – “There are many things you can do to make yourself smile, laugh and feel good inside. From aromatherapy (candles, incense, soaps) to baths, body lotions, flowers and ice cream.”

7)   Comfort your body – “Your body keeps a lot (bound up) during major transitions and change. You need to take extra good care of it with rest, exercise and a massage…or two or three.”

Today Shannon is happy, healthy and successful in her life and work in her own business.  She’s gone from being down-sized to “right sized!”

As The Marketing Implementer, she helps other entrepreneurs successfully launch their products and services into the world.

For more details about Shannon’s experience, you can read her entire chapter in the Women on Fire book.  She also has an excellent, free monthly newsletter of marketing tips that I highly recommend.

Do you have your own experiences of going through a transition? Please share by going to the blog.

Well, that’s it for today.  I love having you here.

And, by the time you read this, I might…I’m just saying I might…have taken a shower.  On the other hand, Wilber hasn’t meowed a complaint.  So maybe I won’t:-)