December Book to Live By

Walking Each Other Home by Ram Dass & Mirabai Bush

We only know this life, so dying is scary, but we’re all dying. What would it look like to approach dying with curiosity and love? What if dying is the ultimate spiritual practice? In this extraordinary book, explore what it means to live and die consciously, illuminate the path we walk together, and use timeless practices to engage with courage, humor, and heart, gently examining every aspect of the journey. You’ll learn about guidelines for being a “loving rock” for the dying, how to grieve fully and authentically, how to transform a fear of death, ways to leave a spiritual legacy, options to create a sacred space for dying, and much more. Death is an invitation to a new kind of relationship, in the place where we are all One.

April Book to Live By

“Only Love is Real” by Brian Weiss M.D.

This beautiful book portrays two strangers, Elizabeth and Pedro, who are unaware they have been lovers throughout centuries until fate brings them together again, demonstrating how each of us has a soul mate waiting to reunite with us.

Links That Light Us Up

31st Edition

Hello Women on Fire!

Welcome back to a new week of lovely links! 🙂

Best Green Grub—Spring is not only in the air, but also in the kitchen with these gorgeously green recipes!

29 Gorgeously Green Spring Recipes- compiled by Rachel SandersRachel Sanders/BuzzFeed

Best Book Quiz—Are you a children’s book, a romance novel, a library book, a best-seller? Find out in this fun quiz!

QUIZ- What type of book are you?

Best Relaxation App—Woman on Fire Dr. Elivra Lang has just released the BEST relaxation app, Comfort Talk. Use these six- to 12-minute meditations to calm your nerves at a doctor’s appointment or during a stressful day.

Comfort Talk® App - How to relax at the doctor's office or ANYWHERE

Best Celeb Seflies—”Celebrities are just like us!” They like to post pics on instagram too!

15 celebrities that instagram like us via VogueVogue

Best Take On “Bossy”—We like what these little girls have to say about what #BossyIs . Thank you to SheKnows for continuing this conversation in the best possible way.

Best Photo Collage—National Geographic has been hosting a photo challenge called Your Shot, and it’s absolutely breathtaking. Trust us, you’ll want to take a look!

Your Shot- Love Snap via National GeographicNational Geographic/Your Shot

Best Time-Saving Tricks—Who wouldn’t love an extra hour or two every day?

3 ways to stop wasting time today by Bruce Kasanoff

Best Last-Minute Spring Break—Travel and Leisure will plan your Spring Break for you in case you waited until the last minute.

Weekend Getaways Planner from Travel and LeisureTravel and Leisure

We hope you enjoy your weekend, wherever you might be! Let us know what’s lighting you up lately below! 🙂

xo

The Women on Fire Team

P.S. Did you meet our amazing Woman on Fire for March? We would love to introduce you here!

Developing your “ask for help” muscle

Nothing makes me happier than when Women on Fire members get together to nurture and expand their dreams!


Writing from their hearts: Darlene Wade, Nancy Aronie, Dyana Robenalt, Elizabeth Cassidy, Carrie Mays and Jenifer Madson. (Photo courtesy of Jenifer Madson)

Such magic occurred this past weekend for women who attended our recent retreat speaker Nancy Aronie’s Writing From the Heart workshop in New York City.

And, while Women on Fire members were being inspired by brilliant Nancy Aronie and each other in New York, I was winging my way back to Naples, Florida from California.

I spent two days consulting with and being inspired by America’s #1 success coach and co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series, Jack Canfield at his home in Santa Barbara.

He and his company’s CEO Patty Aubery praised our latest Women on Fire book and gave me great advice on how to reach more women so they, too, can be connected to the inspiration, strategies and support found here.

But it was not the fascinating business strategies and discussion at Jack’s house that I would immediately put to use.

*This week’s Pinspiration*

Pin to Share the Love

Learn how to 'ask for help' in this week's SPARK from Women on Fire®

As we said goodbye, Jack gifted me a book he co-authored with Mark Victor Hansen — The Aladdin Factor — with the provocative line on its back cover: Anything is possible…if you dare to ask!

At Women on Fire, we talk a lot about learning to ask for help.  It’s even one of the aspirations we’ve set out for ourselves: I can ask for help.

And yet most of us admit we aren’t so great at it.

Some of us dream to be like Woman on Fire Agapi Stassinopoulos, author of Unbinding the Heart, and the subject of a past Women on Fire monthly interview.

In her wonderfully charming way, Agapi revealed her philosophy and how she learned to ask for help.

“This directness was something that my mother taught me … to simply ask people in a gracious way for whatever I might want from them.

“I am ruthless. I will ask for anything. I will ask absolutely for anything. I ask people all the time in a particular situation—at the airport—I ask people to help me with my baggage. I see a nice man next to me and I ask, “Do you mind helping me?” Sometimes men get up and they help me and sometimes I say, “Would you mind helping me?” Nine times out of ten they are very happy to help.

“To ask for help you have to not have a fear of being rejected. Not to feel that if people say, ‘no, I can’t’ that you’re not going to collapse inside and feel that they don’t want you. It takes a certain confidence and a certain self-esteem and a certain feeling good about yourself that you’re worthy of asking for help. That you’re worth asking for help.”

With Agapi’s asking abilities on my mind, on the first leg of my flight home from Jack’s house, I devoured his book, determined to put into practice his wisdom:

  • You get what you ask for
  • The answer is yes …but you have to ask!
  • There is a price you pay for not asking
  • She kept asking…and she got it
  • If you don’t ask, you don’t get
  • Asking improves our chances of receiving by 200 percent!
  • You can ask for anything

Emboldened, on the second, three-hour leg of my flight, I had no idea I was about to test my “asking” wings when a drunken, vulgar-mouthed young man stepped over me and plopped down in the window seat next to me.

At first I thought I would simply ignore his crudeness, swearing and wild attempts to engage me in conversation, including calling me “uptight” and “baby.”

Next, I considered silently slipping a note to the flight attendant to tattle on his outlandish behavior.

But I stopped myself. I realized this was situation where I needed to ask for help. Jack was right.  There would be a price to pay for not asking — a rough and uncomfortable three hours.

So, I unbuckled my seatbelt, walked to the front of the cabin and told the flight attendant that “the man next to me is inappropriate and I need your help to remove him.”

The Captain appeared within seconds, and in very short order, installed a burly man next to the offending man and moved me to a more comfortable seat.

I’m embarrassed to say that in the past I would have been concerned about the drunken man. I wouldn’t have wanted to humiliate him by making a scene nor would I have wanted to put out anyone else by changing seats.

What I also would have feared in the past did happen. The drunken man made degoratory comments when I moved.  I didn’t care.

The burly man was able to handle the drunk with great dispatch, even telling him to sit in his seat and stop speaking.  Surprisingly, the young man complied and was mostly quiet (and snoring) the rest of the trip.

Usually when I think about asking for help it’s along the lines of making a request to build a business, asking for additional support to lighten a load, or inviting others to participate to expand opportunity.

But, sometimes, asking for help means to simply keep yourself safe and out of harm’s way.

Please join me this week in a challenge to ask for help at least once each day this week. Share your courage and success so we can cheer you on in the comment section of our blog.

Thank you for being a part of this amazing community — and welcome to our more than 100 new readers of this week’s SPARK! We are thrilled you’ve joined us.

Now, go ask for help for something that will enrich your life! 🙂

Love,

Debbie Signature

Were you in the room?!

I love you.

I thank you.

From the bottom of my heart, you are the most amazing women in the whole, wide world!

Proof was in the ballroom this past weekend at our 2014 Women on Fire Retreat in Naples, Florida! The way you loved and listened, uplifted and supported each other was truly like no other experience.

If you weren’t able to attend this year’s gathering with all of us, please promise me you’ll consider it next year. (We’ll be in planning mode soon to secure the date and location…in the crush of winter, Florida’s sun and 75 degrees seems to work out just right for a weekend respite 😉

I urge you so strongly to join us because you deserve this one amazing weekend of the year just for YOU. A weekend to learn and to be listened to and heard.

A weekend to connect with other like-hearted women and to celebrate just how far you’ve come in life!

A weekend to explore all your dreams and to think about your life’s next steps in the support and safety of women who care — and women who want the best for you.

All while listening to some of the most authentic and powerful speakers you could imagine. Here are some snippets from what we heard:

The root word of discipline is “disciple.” So the next time you’re complaining that you don’t have discipline, you have to ask yourself: “Do I want to be the disciple of my own soul?” ~ Nancy Aronie, NPR commentator, author Writing From The Heart and founder, Chilmark Writing Workshop

 

An educated girl can break the cycle of poverty in her family in just one generation. Loung Ung, Cambodian genocide survivor, human rights activist, and author First They Killed My FatherLucky Child and Lulu In The Sky

Joy needs to be a conscious choice. ~ Loung

To go beyond surviving to thriving means choosing your heart. ~ Loung

Thank you, fabulous Women on Fire sisters who attended and everyone who cheered us on. We know many of you wanted to be with us and weren’t able to come.

Next year my dream is for every Women on Fire sister to be in the room to be showered with inspiration and support.

Safe travels to everyone returning home from Naples. Look for a special email from me this week.

Thank you all so much for being a part of this life-changing community. When you have Women on Fire sisters at your side, you are never alone in your journey to live your incredible life!

Love,

Debbie Signature

P.S. Thank you to fabulous photographers Heather Stone and Rob Berkley for the wonderful pictures. More to come!

Links That Light Us Up

27th Edition

TGIF Women on Fire! We hope you have a fun weekend planned! Wherever you might be, let these links help you sail smoothly into the end of your week.

Best Sochi Shot—Who says you have to go all the way to Sochi to experience the Olympics?

Best Olympics Accounts to follow- photo from @olympics@olympics

Best Rom-Com—Nothing says Valentine’s Day like a rom-com movie marathon.

The 50 Best Romantic Comedie by Josh Jackson Paste MagazineJosh Jackson via Paste Magazine

Best Grab & Go—Breakfast can get a bit hairy. Try cutting down the morning chaos with one of these quick and healthy recipes.

23 on the go breakfasts that are actually good for you from Christine Byrne via BuzzfeedChristine Byrne via Buzzfeed

Best Puzzle Pieces—Still need a thoughtful something for your valentine or “galentine”? Look no further!

Personalized where we met puzzle from RedEnvelopeSignals

Best Green Thumb Guide—Cure the winter blues with a little bit of green :).

The best plants for indoor use from Amber Interior DesignAmber Interior Design

Best Giggle—Stressed? Overwhelmed? Need a break? Watch this ASAP!

Best Sweet Treats—These recipes compiled by Brit.Co are sure to make your sweet tooth sing!

20 Valentine's Day Dessert Recipes via Brit.Co

Best Table Talk—Never have a boring dinner party again! These clever conversation starters not only make a fun gift, but they also can make a great meal even better.

Table Topics-Happiness EditionTable Topics

We hope these links light up your weekend, and we can’t wait to see you back here next week!

xo

The Women on Fire Team

P.s. Do you know what love language you practice? Find out here with Women on Fire’s February Book to Live By.

 

She’s a Woman on Fire! Meet Carmencita Whonder

Welcome back to our ongoing series to introduce you to each other.  She’s a Woman on Fire! member and we want you to know her.  Please say hello to…

Carmencita Whonder

Washington, D.C.

Member: #00090

Member since: February 21, 2012

Please tell us about YOU, your family, and your work. What you are “on fire” about? 

I am a first child, big sister to a sister and twin brothers who are 12 years and 17 years my junior, respectively. I am the granddaughter to the best 92-year-old lady on the planet, and she has deemed me the MIT (matriarch in training). I am spiritual, loyal, giving, and a friend to and of many. I am a proud graduate of Howard University. I love foreign affairs and am an avid international traveler.

I am a risk-loving entrepreneur, and the founder and CEO at OF WHONDER (www.ofwhonder.com). I am super on fire about empowering women who wear sizes 12-24 to feel beautiful and confident when they walk out into the world everyday—where many people say we don’t have the right.

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?

I came to Women on Fire directly through Debbie Phillips. Several years back, Debbie and I met at a women’s retreat called “Getting to Next.” Our group wasn’t very big—20 women together for two days in a beautiful New York City apartment discussing our “Next.”

I noticed Debbie pretty quickly because she had a huge smile that seemed a bit unreal—seriously. I remember thinking to myself with a little annoyance, “What’s wrong with her, and why is she so darned happy?” It just didn’t seem real to me at all, and I am a glass-half-full kind of gal. I guess I wasn’t used to seeing people grinning literally from ear to ear—at least not in Washington, D.C., or New York City. I hadn’t spoken with Debbie yet, and so I knew nothing about her; this was just an observation from across the room.

During the retreat, we were assigned secret mentors to watch us and slip us notes to praise and encourage us during the weekend. Halfway into the retreat, we had a group dinner, and somehow Debbie and I got left behind and ended up walking over to the restaurant together. (Looking back now, I think she probably planned it.)  It was a perfect opportunity to take a lovely walk on a gorgeous evening and get to know each other.

Debbie was “whonderful,” and we became fast friends. You might have guessed already that Debbie was, in fact, my secret mentor, and I couldn’t have been happier about that. We developed an instant spiritual connection that has lasted for almost 10 years. Debbie understands that life isn’t just about her, which, in my opinion, is one of the best character traits a human being could possess.

At the end of the retreat, I told her what I was thinking of her earlier, and she gave me the best explanation of why she was so happy—definitely one of the best explanations of gratefulness that I have ever heard. I haven’t questioned anyone’s smile or glow of happiness since!

What’s your favorite component of the Women on Fire membership?

I appreciate the way Women on Fire celebrates its members for their big and small accomplishments. The organization is truly about uplifting others, which seems rare in this age of hyper-self-promotion and individualism.

What is your favorite part of the day?

Anytime other than morning. I’m a night owl.

What is the last book you read that you would recommend to other Women on Fire?

The Art of Power by Thich Nhat Hanh.

What is the one thing you are most proud of?

My faith. It is also the greatest gift my grandmother has given to me.

If you had an unexpected free day, how would you spend it?

I would probably spend too much time thinking about what to do, and then the day would be over. I’ve got to work on this in 2014!

What is your favorite city in the world?  

I love so many cities, but New York City is my greatest love. I grew up in Norwalk, Connecticut, just 45 minutes outside of New York. Like every Jamaican, I have always had tons of family in all of the boroughs, so I spent lots of time there as a young person. Back then, I loved hanging out with family and seeing shows, but I never wanted to live there. I loved my idyllic New England life.

Today, it’s the total opposite! All I do is dream of living in the city that never sleeps, the fashion capital of the world, home to the N.Y. Giants and Knicks, and where you’ll find the best restaurants, theaters, and museums the world has to offer. The cherry on top is that New York is also home to many of my favorite people in the world.

Share a special Women on Fire moment or experience.

A couple of years ago, Debbie hosted a tea party in Washington, D.C. I invited a few of my really good friends and was surprised to learn about some of their deepest dreams and goals for the first time. The setting allowed them to speak life into what they were most on fire about, and it helped me to become a more supportive friend, pushing them to realize those dreams and goals. That’s what is so beautiful about this community of women.

What’s your big dream?

To be truly happy!

If you had the opportunity to teach a child one strategy that would help to guide her life, what would that be?

Recognize and embrace your gifts early so you can spend as much time as possible using them to fulfill your purpose on this earth.

What is something that we might be surprised to learn about you?

This super girly girl used to be a huge tomboy. As a kid, I loved snakes, my BMX bike, playing sports and the color blue. I hated pink! Today I have lots of pink in my house—but blue too.

Name three women who have influenced your life, and what you’ve learned from each.

My grandmother, Ethel Chambers: Faith will always sustain me and having a great work ethic will get me the rest of the way.

My mentor, Cynthia Bunton: Laughing with friends (instead of crying) over great champagne is sometimes the best cure for a broken heart.

My group of best friends (too many to list each name): Friends are the family members you are blessed enough to be able to choose.

Who cheers you on?

Definitely my mother! From the time I was quite young, she came up with the crazy idea that I could do and be anything. She was convincing, and I believed her.

What is your favorite “pig-out” food?

Definitely French fries and ice cream.

What are the top three songs on your iPod right now?

“Happy” by Pharrell Williams from the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack is my top 1, 2, 3, and more right now. I listen to this great song more than 10 times a day because it makes me incredibly happy no matter what my mood is at the time. The video is pretty great too!

What is the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced and how did you overcome it?

Forgiving myself for not being perfect. Age and wisdom have helped me to realize that no one is perfect and my imperfections may actually be part of my charm.

What is your go-to self-care strategy?

Massages are one of God’s greatest creations for the working woman. I can’t live without them. I just tried a Thai Yoga massage that is part massage, yoga/stretching and acupuncture. I highly recommend it!

When you reflect on your life so far, what are the first words that come to mind?

Blessed and Whonderful!

More about Carmencita Whonder…

Educated at Howard University and Johns Hopkins, Carmencita has experience in such diverse areas as financial services, philanthropy and the U.S. Senate. Above all, she is a strategist, and she’s particularly skilled in developing plans for under served markets.

She is the CEO and founder of the contemporary, luxury, ready-to-wear clothing brand OF WHONDER, which embraces the physiques of the majority of women—those wearing sizes 12-24. OF WHONDER is more than just a fashion line; it represents a lifestyle that promotes positive self-image, balanced choices, and daring confidence each and every day.

You can connect with Carmencita and “like” OF WHONDER’s Facebook page here.

She’s A Woman on Fire! is compiled by senior writer Becky Adams.

She’s a Woman on Fire! Meet Linda Neff

Welcome back to our ongoing series to introduce you to each other.  She’s a Woman on Fire! member and we want you to know her.  Please say hello to…

Linda Neff- She's a Woman on Fire #womenonfire

Linda Neff

Shorewood, Wisconsin (a suburb of Milwaukee)

Member: #00046
Member since:  September 30, 2011

Please tell us about YOU, your family, your work, what you are “on fire” about, etc.

I have to say, I’ve just recently become comfortable with the “what are you on fire about, or not?” question—the question Debbie Phillips so wisely and lovingly asks each of us.

I remember the first time I heard this question when attending the Women on Fire Columbus retreat.  I wanted to shrivel up in a corner.  The movie in my mind immediately started, “You’re not on fire about anything. You’re dull. Everyone else in your circle is so much more dynamic. Any answer you come up with will definitely lack substance.”

And for quite some time, I thought there was a “right” way to answer this question. So, for anyone else who may also be trying to find the right way to answer this question, here is my personal “aha” discernment.  The answer lies within my heart—it’s those things that make my heart take an extra little pitter-pat; the people or ideas that I want to wrap my heart around with an extra squeeze.  We each have our own unique hearts—so what we’re on fire about is vastly different from woman to woman—which is what makes Women on Fire such an important community.

My heart, probably from the time I was a very little girl, has been wrapped around women’s issues.  I’m on fire today about issues and work that can strengthen and bolster women.

This spring, the reflection on a piece of artwork by my 15-year-old daughter Helen definitely sparked my heart. After seeing Steve Lambert’s “Invisible” art installation, she began sharing her thoughts on how profound the work was.  She said, “You know Mom, if the ‘N’ went dark, the art would read ‘I Visible.’”  With my heart’s desire to be a voice for women, Helen’s thoughts brought an immediate realization—in order to create change in the world for women, we need to step out of the shadows and into the light with our stories. We need to Be Visible.

I am greatly humbled and immensely grateful to my employer, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, for the opportunity to bring Be Visible into the light as a story telling project.  I hope you will take a moment to listen to these five incredibly brave women as they share their intensely personal and powerful stories.

Tweet: Be Visible.  Be You. That’s your true fire!

 

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?

Okay, I love this question because my path to WOF is a little zany!

Prior to turning 50, I always looked forward to birthdays.  I loved that feeling of waking up knowing it was my birthday.  The day just always felt extra special.

Somehow in the months leading up to my 50th birthday, I became uncomfortable about turning an age that had always seemed so far away.  My husband Chuck and I had talked about a 50th party in our garden for many months.  We even planted the garden that year with the party in mind.  Imagine his surprise when I told him I didn’t want a party!

I was completely clueless about how to approach this birthday with some modicum of grace, so I turned to the internet to research “How to turn 50?”  I know—crazy, right? During my research, I discovered Michele Woodward’s blog and how she had celebrated her 50th via a virtual birthday party.  The party consisted of a number of fascinating women each calling her with their wisdom on turning 50.  One of the wise virtual birthday guests was Debbie Phillips.

As Debbie was sharing her wisdom on turning 50 (which I loved!) I Googled Debbie and found her Women on Fire website.   There, I learned about a retreat scheduled for September 30, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio which was only eight hours away by car.  Based on Debbie’s voice and her great message on turning 50, I decided to go for it.  My research was complete; I registered for the WOF retreat—this was going to be my birthday present!

As the retreat grew closer I started doubting myself.  After all of my initial research, I had registered for the retreat with a little too much haste.  In reality, I didn’t really know that much about this group. Who were these women and who was this Debbie Phillips gal?

Alone in the car for the drive to Columbus, I began imagining all kinds of Stepford Wife-esque scenarios for this Women on Fire group.  I actually pulled over several times and contemplated driving back home to Milwaukee.

Keeping the car on the road for a destination that was unclear has been the single best decision I’ve made in this new decade of being in my fifties.  I am forever grateful that in my zaniness of researching how to turn 50, I found Debbie Phillips and Women on Fire.  This diverse community of women inspires me every day and encourages me to be my own best Woman on Fire!

Best. Birthday Present. Ever.

What is something we might be surprised to learn about you?

I carry a cowbell in my work bag!

Prior to college my parents gave me a cowbell so I could properly cheer at the Purdue football games.  (I grew up in Ohio’s version of Friday Night Lights so football reigned supreme and my parents wanted me to be prepared for Big Ten football!)  Not having a booming voice, the cowbell became my expression of exuberance and support for my Purdue Boilermakers.  After college my trusty cowbell was shelved.

During the tumultuous political times in Wisconsin that ensued following the election of Governor Scott Walker in 2010, the cowbell quickly came off the shelf.  As I attended many of the now-historical rallies that took place in our state’s capital, I used the cowbell to amplify my voice and my values about all people having a fair shot for freedom, opportunity, responsibility and cooperation—especially as it related to women and families.

Rather than re-shelving my cowbell, I now keep it close at hand as it has become a symbol of hope for many of my co-workers and friends who share a similar value system.  From time to time, when the issues around women’s equality seem insurmountable, I let the cowbell work its magic.  It has the power to instantly re-energize spirits and replace what can feel like insurmountable obstacles with hope, ideas, and a course of action.

I highly recommend the cowbell as the perfect sidekick for any WOF chic lady fighter—a term Ruth Conniff, publisher of The Progressive magazine, used to describe the Planned Parenthood women who are addressing women’s rights with powerful femininity, style and smarts!

More about Linda Neff…

Despite being born in Bad Homburg, Germany, Linda describes herself as a true-blue Midwesterner.  She grew up in Dayton, Ohio, launched her career in Chicago and now lives in Shorewood, Wisconsin with her fantastically creative husband Chuck and equally creative daughter Helen.

With the exception of one previously overweight goldfish named Waggly Tail Fins, Linda had adamantly pronounced her home as a non-pet household—no matter what.  She is now looking forward to the arrival of their first four-legged pet, Chandler, an Australian Labradoodle who was born on 10/25/13 and will become the fourth family member of this former threesome.

While she is an active blogger in her head, she occasionally posts at Voices of Pearls. You are welcome to say hello to her at lrneff@gmail.com.

She’s A Woman on Fire! feature is compiled by senior writer Becky Adams.

December Book Of The Month

This is a very special — and personal — edition of Books To Live By. 

If you’ve joined us only recently you may not know that we’ve been working on publishing our second book this year. And, if you’ve been with us for a long time, you know how excited we’ve been to share this project with you!

So, it is with great joy — and just in time for the holidays — to tell you that Women on Fire: 21 Inspiring Women Share Their Life Stories (and Save You Years of Struggle!), Volume 2 is in our hands — and soon can be in yours!

I am proud to announce that our December selection is…

Women on Fire: 21 Inspiring Women Share Their Life Stories (and Save You Years of Struggle!),  Volume 2

With our official publication date set for January 7, 2014, YOU are one of the first to have access to the much anticipated sequel in the Women on Fire book series.

This collection of 21 stories is from women — just like you — women who have struggled in life, found the courage and knowledge to work it through, and then were brave enough to tell how they survived!

These stories will make you laugh, bring you to tears, and fill your heart with inspiration and love. Most of all, they will empower you.

Tweet: “You have the power to set your world on fire, all you need is a spark”

 

 

Press play below to watch the book trailer!

The gift of this book is that it is designed for your busy life — you can read each short story and savor it. Or, as a number of women have already told us, you can stay up all night, read all 21, and never put the book down!

Here’s what the first readers are saying…

“So moved by the stories of 21 wonderful women who found the strength to triumph over adversity and the courage to follow their hearts and dreams.” ~ Sheryl Snyder, Boston

“Thank you to all of the remarkable women that contributed to this book. One suggestion before starting to read. Set aside some time because you won’t want to put it down. Every story is amazing and inspiring and I will be giving some to women in my life as gifts.” ~ Sue Guger Adams, Bay City, Michigan

“Just received the book! The first 2 stories were simply astounding! Wish I could take the whole day and just read it all!! Thank you, brave ladies, for writing your stories!! Amazing how are own lives will benefit from these wonderful women!” ~ Jody Froelich, Granger, Indiana

The book is available on Amazon and at womenonfire.com.

My wish though is that if you know any (or many) of the co-authors listed below, you consider purchasing your copies from her.

  • Jan Allen
  • Lisa Umberger Arundale
  • Beth Bryce
  • Kim Davis
  • Nicole Friedler Brisson
  • Leah Hamilton
  • Laurel Hodory
  • Susan Kruger
  • Jenifer Madson
  • Linda Neff
  • Mary Kay Purdy
  • Kay Raypholtz
  • Carrie Saba
  • Tricia Simpson
  • Marge Snyder
  • Maria Verroye
  • Heike Vogel
  • Mary Carran Webster
  • Michelle Whittaker

Please enjoy every story, every word, every woman in this beautiful book, and I look forward to hearing what inspired you after reading it.

The Women on Fire book is the final recommendation in our Books To Live By series for 2013.

Thank you all so much for your enthusiasm for books and reading and for all of your suggestions to me about what I might read. Your ideas led to some amazing recommendations this year!

We’ll be back in 2014 with more favorite books to live your life by. Until then, enjoy what our Women on Fire co-authors have created for you!

Wishing you the warmest of holidays (curled up with a book!) ~

 Debbie Signature

P.S. You are invited to a special book signing with many of the co-authors of Women on Fire, Volume 2 at the 2014 Women on Fire Retreat — Ignite Your Life and Soar! in Naples, Florida on February 28-March 1, 2014.

Treat yourself to an inspiring weekend with your Women on Fire sisters. You SO deserve it. Spots are limited– register here today!

A great way to say goodbye to 2013

No matter how you will celebrate the next couple of weeks, I wish you peace, love and joy from my heart to yours.

Before we wrap up this year together, I have a little exercise for you (of course, you know I would!)  It’s a ritual I look forward to and have completed every year in late December for nearly 30 years.  It’s called Timeline.

Together with my husband Rob, we review the past year and write down every major happening or event that stood out for us.

*This week’s Pinspiration*

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10 questions to ask yourself to say goodbye to 2013 and start next year fresh- womenonfire

Once we have our long list, we ask ourselves these questions:

  1. What was remarkable about the year?
  2. Who came into my life this year?
  3. Who left it?
  4. What were my best accomplishments/achievements?
  5. Favorite times/moments?
  6. Biggest disappointment?
  7. Best surprise?
  8. When I look back on the year, I could never have imagined (fill in the blank).
  9. What was the single most significant event of the year?
  10. How do I want next year to be different?

You can have fun doing this eye-opening exercise alone, with a spouse or partner, or as a whole family. It’s amazing to see all that you’ve accomplished, celebrated and lived through during one year.

Saying goodbye to 2013 with Timeline makes way for a brand-new year and opportunity to start anew.  Have a great time if you choose to do it! And let me know how it worked out for you.

This is the final SPARK! for 2013. I look so very forward to seeing you again back here on January 5, 2014 to kick off the New Year together.

Thank you for reading the SPARK! each week and for being such an important member of this powerful, ever-growing community of loving, caring women who are working toward better lives for ourselves, our families, our communities, and the world.

And a huge thank you to our monthly members who have joined forces to support each other to make their dreams come true.  If you aren’t a monthly member yet, you are invited to join us.  What a great holiday gift for yourself to start the New Year and receive even more inspiration, strategies and support to live the life you dream of!