April’s Book To Live By

This month’s Books To Live By selection is a special and personal favorite of mine. It was written by one of our Women on Fire members, a woman for whom I have the utmost respect. I am in awe of her talents!

Trudy Dujardin is an expert and pioneer in the field of green interior design and and eco-conscious living and she is a champion to make your home healthy!

Our April selection is….

Comfort Zone: Creating the Eco-Elegant Interior by Trudy Dujardin

Trudy is a nationally recognized interior designer, and in her new book,Comfort Zone, she shows you how to create your own healthy, elegant, sacred environments.

Throughout the pages of this coffee table-style book, you are introduced to award-winning interiors that grace some of the most beautiful homes in America.

Trudy shares her thought processes behind everything from color and fabric choices to design plans that are environmentally conscious and energy efficient. And Comfort Zone explores in depth details that many design books simply gloss over.

Comfort Zone is so much more than a beautiful coffee table book. It is an invaluable resource from the best in the business, and it will help you create your own comfortable and sustainable spaces with style.

Trudy’s eye for design is genius, and I know you’ll see that reflected throughout the stunning pages of the book.

Trudy taught me years ago that “A Healthy Home Is the Ultimate Luxury.”™ It is the ultimate gift that Trudy has finally shared her many secrets and vast experience so we can each create a healthy home.

I hope you’ll invest in Comfort Zone as a resource for years to come – and as a gift for those you love.

With lots of love~

Debbie Signature

It’s Nature’s Way

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” ~ Rachel Carson in Silent Spring

A big hug and a big welcome to you — and to our many new readers.

You are joining a circle of women who will inspire and support you to have what you dream of in your life!  How cool is that?

I hope this long weekend is giving you a chance to relax, have fun, and recharge your batteries.  We’re sure doing that here on Martha’s Vineyard.

Wilber the cat and I took a three-hour nap yesterday.

I don’t remember that ever happening for that long, and even then, I only woke up because he was snoring so loudly!

So, I’m catching up on some much needed rest and I hope you are, too.

To bring in the new season coming soon, in next week’s SPARK! we’ll discuss Breathing New Life Into Your Home for Summer.

Trudy Dujardin, an expert in eco-elegant interior design (and, of course, a Women on Fire member!) will share easy, inexpensive tips and strategies to add  new life  to your home and office for the summer.

If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up to receive Trudy’s Holistic House blog. You’ll stay inspired and motivated all year long to keep your home and environment healthy and beautiful for you and your family.

In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy what I’ve been oooohing and ahhhhing over the past couple of days.

I’ve sprinkled pictures into today’s SPARK! of the incredible natural beauty everywhere I look on Martha’s Vineyard.

My talented husband Rob Berkley took all the photos you see here with his new camera, the Fuji X100S.

Rob loves his Fuji because it is light and small yet takes images that rival the larger model cameras he has been lugging around for years.

(If you’re a photo bug or you have one in your family, this particular camera makes a great Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, birthday, any-time-of-the-year gift!)

I hope you will be as dazzled as I am by these gifts of nature.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.  We’re about to throw burgers on the grill, pour glasses of my favorite club soda with splashes of orange and cranberry juice, and stare out into our lush backyard.

And, I will keep in mind the wisdom of writer Jane Austen:  May you sit in the shade on this fine day, and look upon nature as the most perfect refreshment.

Thank you for being a part of this powerful community of amazing women, and I will see you back here next week!

Is It Luck?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you!

This special March holiday always reminds me of lucky charms, leprechauns and four-leaf clovers — and, of course, the luck o’ the Irish.

But with all due respect to my Irish heritage, I don’t believe luck rules my life at all.

You wouldn’t know that though from the number of “magical” lucky objects I keep!

When I was a little girl, I would lie on the ground for hours searching for four-leaf clovers. Thinking that if I found one, my life would be forever “lucky.” (I never found one, but I never stopped believing that some day I would!)

Even today, I carry a lucky charm in my wallet — a facsimile of a $1,000,000 bill; it was the single thing I asked for from my Dad’s wallet after he died.

The imitation bill is the most precious item in my purse. It keeps me close to my Dad and reminds me of the possibility I might see a $1,000,000 windfall some day!

But I don’t believe my wishes and dreams, successes and achievements — or yours — are simply random.  That they are only luck.

No, I believe the positive, uplifting, I-can-do-anything feeling that I get from walking around with that $1,000,000 bill in my pocket is what will make my dreams come true.

Yesterday a friend was talking to me about his friend who won the lottery — twice!  He kept referring to it as “dumb luck.”  I don’t think so.

I believe, and studies show, that people make their own good or bad fortunes.  Those who carry lucky charms and expect good things to happen are actually “luckier.”  They set themselves up to receive their dreams.

How are you setting up yourself to believe what you want is possible? Do you believe you are in charge of your own good fortune? I’d love to hear.

And, I would love to share with you a handful of women in our community whose dreams and goals are coming true — and I am sure each would tell you there is no such thing as “dumb luck” in making it happen!

They are all on their paths to fulfill their purposes, dreams and goals, as I know you are, too.

I know you will enjoy learning about them:

Trudy Dujardin of Norwalk, CT and her team at Dujardin Design recently completed a full-scale renovation on one of Nantucket Island’s beloved hideaways, the Union Street Inn.  The inn is consistently rated as the “best boutique hotel on the Cape and Islands.” (You will hear from Trudy in May when she is featured on our membership CD talking about creating your own healthy, sacred space!)

Our Women on Fire intern, Emily Neal of Greenville, SC and a sophomore at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, continues her semester abroad and her travels through Europe. Her latest blog post on Paris particularly touched our hearts and we thought it would speak to yours as well.

Jenifer Madson of Erie, CO enjoyed a super successful re-release of her book, published by Conari Press, called  “Living the Promises.”  It’s a must-read, daily inspiration book to add to your list!

We also congratulate Beth Kloesener of Saginaw, MI on her exciting new role as the Director of  Career Services for Northwood University. She has been working on landing this position for the past year and couldn’t be more excited to live her true purpose, which is to help students find theirs.

Kris Carlson of San Francisco, has been invited to speak at the TEDx Greenbrook School event on April 11. Kris, with her late husband Richard Carlson, is the genius and an author behind the “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” book series.We couldn’t be more excited for her huge opportunity and we look forward to getting to watch the talk on video.

Have a wonderful week ahead and I’ll see many of you at the teas this week in New York City and Columbus, Ohio!

Believing in you and all that you bring to the world ~

“Live bold” and see what happens!

Such a sweet and bittersweet day today. Father’s Day.

Bittersweet for those of us whose fathers have died or from whom we are estranged.  Since my precious Dad’s death in 2004, I notice I still turn on my heels any time I stumble upon the “Father’s Day card” display.

It hurts that he’s gone even though I can always feel him “up there” helping me!

This was the last photo I ever took of my father, only weeks before his sudden death, playing with my nephew Tyler. My entrepreneurial Dad turned this box into a toy and stuck his grandson in it for much merry-making!

But it is sweet to celebrate all those wonderful Dads out there today and I know so many extraordinary ones.

And, to see all of the lovely tributes to Dads, living or not, on Facebook.

One in particular — written by Women in Fire member Kay Raypholtz of Pioneer, Ohio — I wanted to share with you for its love and honesty.

To capture the full picture — not a sugar-coating — of a loved one who has died is a powerful way to learn and truly honor them.  Kay has done that beautifully with Life on the Edge: Tribute to my Father.

We also have several Father’s Day birthdays today: Kitty Munger and Jody Poth, both of Columbus, Ohio; and Maureen Hanlon Wheeler, of Burlington, Vermont.  If yours is also today, please forgive me and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

OK, so here we go …

The day Misty gave me my cherished “LIVE BOLD” t-shirt!

The picture above is a favorite of mine, taken last fall in Austin, Texas with Woman on Fire Misty Gibbs.  I love meeting Women on Fire wherever I go!

Misty has enjoyed success locally in Texas with her Empower Lounge.  And, she has been feverishly working on a concept and funding for a national Empower Lounge that would expand online support for women everywhere.

She is my kind of woman!  She is determined to make it happen and continuously works away on this enormous project.

Years ago when I attended Ohio State University, its famous, feisty football coach Woody Hayes repeatedly reminded us students: “nothing that comes easy is worth a dime” — or “worth a damn,” depending on his audience!

I know so many of you are stepping up and working toward your dreams, too — and it’s a lot of work.  And, it’s not easy.

That’s why we’re here together.  To remind each other to be bold … to keep going … to take steps that are powerful, out-of-the-ordinary, maybe even a little crazy!

As our friend Stedman Graham told us when he spoke at our Women on Fire Retreat a couple of years ago: “you are not in the 98% of the people getting up, going to work, coming home, watching TV, going to bed. You are in the 2% making a difference in the world and sometimes you gotta be bold!”

And, it was Goethe who said: “Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.”

So how do we be bold?  What does it mean to live boldly?

Here are 5 strategies you might use to find your way to being more bold:

1) Ask yourself what you wish you had the nerve to do even though it feels too big. Then, get a plan together and some support — and do it!

2) Pretend you are an actress and imagine how she would play you in all your fullness and success.

3) Who is the wisest person you know? Invite him or her to lunch and ask for help, advice and counsel.

4) Take risks. Loosen up about making mistakes. (As long as it doesn’t put your family in major jeopardy.) Learn from your mistakes and you’ll move further faster.

5) Make an unconventional move. When I began my coaching practice in 1995, I worked with all of my clients in person. Thomas Leonard, the founder of CoachU and modern-day coaching, told me “you can never have a sustainable business if you coach everyone in person.”

I thought he was nuts. I was scared, but I decided to test it. I lost one client. I gained many more and built a super successful, thriving practice coaching over the telephone and it sustained me for years. At the time, a bold and unconventional move that paid off!

So, I hope you are inspired to try something bold this week.  And, I hope you will let me know how it works out for you!

Wishing you a week of bold steps ~

Are you adding HAPPY to your day?

I keep finding excuses to drive by Mill Pond just so I can look at them again.

“Oh, I don’t mind running to Alley’s General Store to get you a cup of decaf, ” I tell my husband.  “The car needs gas? I’ll go right now and fill it up.”

I’m pretty motivated these days to run errands near our home on Martha’s Vineyard. Especially when I know my destinations will take me down the road, up island, and past Mill Pond, my secret slice of Heaven.

I treasure the beauty of Mill Pond in any season.

Mill Pond on Martha’s Vineyard in the fall (Photos by Rob Berkley)

But this summer, I am completely in love and under the spell of the family who’ve taken up residence at Mill Pond.

The Swan Family.

Here they are…Mr. and Mrs. Swan and their babies

Each day I plot to figure out when I will see them.

Early morning, they may not be up yet; mid-morning they may be crouched hugger mugger in the grass; afternoon they are often paddling about in Mill Pond’s inky waters; and by dusk they are never seen, surely tucked for the night somewhere on the edge of the pond?

What is it about a mama swan, a daddy swan and their half dozen babies that has captured my attention?

To be correct about it all, mama Swan is called a pen; daddy Swan is a cob;  and the babies are cygnets.

The fuzzy-wuzzy cygnets of Mill Pond

I am so enamored with them that it’s made me wonder why these creatures give me such joy.

Does the Swan Family remind me of when I was a little girl and the five of us siblings were always sandwiched between and protected by our parents – just as these baby swans are?

Is it like reality TV?  Driving by each day I get to see this feathered family live out its life as their babies grow and change.  No two views of the family are ever alike. You never know what part of the pond you’ll see them in or what formation they’ll be in.

Yet, unlike reality TV, the Swans appear to have their act together – everyone seems happy and content!

Or, maybe it’s none of that.  Maybe it just simply makes me happy to see nature at its finest – a swan family paddling about day-after-day in a spectacularly gorgeous pond.

Babies growing by leaps, the Swan Family paddling about (Photo by Regina Blos)

Over the weekend, Woman on Fire member Trudy Dujardin and I were discussing the elements of a perfect day during Vision Day.   And, we came upon the idea that to live a fulfilled life every single day it’s necessary to include something “happy-making.”

So for now, in my own perfect-day plan, that guaranteed happy-making event is surely to fetch my husband a cup of decaf. 😉

Is there something “happy making” that you do in your day? I’d love to hear about it!