Monday, October 23, 2017

Vlog: Changing Friendships: Communicate and Be Fair

Hello!  Happy Monday!  I hope you had a great weekend.  We had a game night with friends  Saturday and it was a lot of fun.  It's always fun to get together with our friends.  We played Sequence.  That's a fun game that we all enjoy.  We also played a bit of a trivia game and charades as well.  Games are a great way to bond, relax and have lots of fun with friends.  We started our game night a few years ago and we're glad we did.  Just spread the word to your friends that you'd like to start a game night, say, once a week or once a month or even a few times a year, and see what kind of response you get.  We have had one person up to, I think, 12 or 15 attend our game nights!  It's your game night:  you decide on the number of people you want to join in.  

Okay, now on to today's video.  In it, I talk about changing friendships and how to handle them.  Change is natural and healthy.  It's best to handle such change with understanding and calm.  Of course, if you truly want particular friends who have distanced themselves to be a part of your life again, you need to be honest and forthright.  Let them know you care about them and would like to spend more time together again.  Find out if there are any misunderstandings that caused them to back off in the first place, clear the air, and hopefully rekindle that friendship.  

Have you had friends distance themselves from you?  If so, what did you do about it?  How did it make you feel?  I'd love your feedback.  Take care.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Vlog: Neighbors As Friends

Hey there!  Here's my latest vlog post:  Neighbors As Friends.  In the video, I talk about the advantages of making friends with your neighbors.  I also give tips on how to make friends.  

Do you know your neighbors?  Do you hang out together, or just wave in passing now and then?  

Do you think it's important to know your neighbors, but feel you are just too busy to make the effort?  

I'd love your feedback.  Email me at or comment below.  Thanks!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Vlog: Advantages of Acting on a Goal

Hi!  Here is my latest vlog post, this time on the advantages of acting on a goal.  Goal setting is an important part of accomplishing something you really want to do.  Then comes the planning stage.  You need to plan out how you'll meet those goals.  But, then what?  


Without action, you may never know if you have it in you to make your dreams come true.  You may never get to experience new things and go new places because you were afraid to try; afraid to fail, or you were discouraged by someone who thought you shouldn't risk it.  Well, I'm here to encourage you to do  just the opposite:

  • Try!
  • Fail!
  • Do!

Take those plans and put them into action to make your dreams come true, to meet your goals.  You may have to go through a lot of trial and error to get things right.  You may get discouraged.  You may feel like giving up.  That's okay.  Just as long as you keep trying, maybe faiilng, too, but definitely doing.  Doing something!  Without doing, you'll never know if you can do it or not.  Without failing, you might not learn valuable lessons about where to make adjustments so what you want to do comes easier and turns out better.  Without trying, you will never know how awesome it is to live on your own, travel the world, take a class, have a life-changing surgery, or anything else you may dream of doing.  

Forget the naysayers, stick to your guns, and go for your goals.  You. Can. Do. It.  Let me know how it goes.  I would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Vlog: Living With An Ex As Platonic Roommates: Can It Work?

Hi!  Here's my latest vlog post.  This time I'm talking about living with an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend as platonic roommates.  I talk about what is needed for success.  I also talk a bit about my experience of being friends with an ex.  Finally, I ask the question, Can men and woman be friends?  

What do you think?  Are you friends with your ex? Do you have friends of the opposite sex?  Tell me about your experiences either in the comments below or in an email (  Take care!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Vlog: Roadblocks: What Have You Come Up Against and What Did You Do About It?

This vlog post is on roadblocks, especially those pertaining to chronic health issues, mobility issues, special needs, and so on.  As I mention in the video, I was my most significant barrier to success.  It took me a long time to get out of my own way.  I was insecure, shy, scared of my own shadow--the works.  Luckily, I was able to break down the most significant barriers in my life as I got older and work around others.  

How about you?  What barriers have you faced?  Were you able to knock them down?  If so, how?  If not, what stopped you?  I'd love to hear your thoughts.  

Friday, October 6, 2017

Vlog: Remembering A Class Trip

Hello all!  Today's vlog topic is on doing things on your own.  It is particularly geared toward those with chronic health issues.  I talk about a class trip I went on in high school.  It was the first one I ever went on without my mother.  I was nervous, but I did it.  It taught me that I really could do things on my own.  The lesson here is to try to be as independent and self-sufficient as possible.  Learn all about your health maintenance so if you're caregiver isn't around, you will know what to do.  I hope you enjoy the video and find it helpful.  Have a great weekend.  Take care.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Vlog: How To Travel With Friends

Hey there!  I'm sorry I'm late.  I'll have another post tomorrow to make up for it.  I've had doctor's appointments and volunteering to take care of this week that has kept me away from my blog.  

But, I'm back.  This time, talking about how to travel with friends.  We could get along perfectly well day to day with friends, but put us in a travel situation with them and--well, it isn't necessarily pretty.  

But it doesn't have to turn out ugly.  Here are tips on how to travel smart with friends to help keep the peace, and keep friendships intact throughout the vacation and long afterward.  

Have you traveled with friends?  What did you do to prepare for it?  How did it go/  Please share your thoughts.  Thank you!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Identity Perception Program: Preview Videos

Hi!  Registration starts tomorrow, October 1, for my Identity Perception Program, which launches on November 1.  I'm super excited to bring you this program on a subject that is very important to me.  Identity Perception.  This program is geared toward those with chronic health issues.  How we identify and perceive ourselves can have a huge impact on how we live our lives, view others, and how other view us as well.  Having a healthy self-esteem, lots of confidence, and a positive attitude can help us perceive our identity as a positive one, helping us live more productive and fulfilling lives.  Please join me for this 8-week intensive program.  And spread the word about it to others as well.  I'd appreciate it.  

Here are three preview videos that explain more about what to expect from the Identity Perception Program and how to sign up.  Enjoy!  And if you have any questions, please email me at or text me at 435-215-6357.  You can also visit my website at   Thank you!  

Preview Video #1

Preview Video #2

Preview Video #3

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Identity Perception Program: An Update

Hello there!  I'm sorry I missed my usual Wednesday post.  It was a crazy, busy day with work and doctor appointments and health maintenance.  But, here I am.  

Today, I thought I'd give you an update on the Identity Perception Program that I'll be launching on November 1.  It is geared toward those with special needs and chronic health issues.  We'll discuss confidence, self-esteem, roadblocks to having a fulfilling life, goal setting, planning, taking action, and more.  

This is my very first program, so it's a learning process, but I'm excited about how things are going.  The videos, the exercises, the copy.  It's all good!  I hope you'll think so as well.

Today, I'm finishing up the registration page on my website, which is a good thing because....drum roll....registration begins October 1!  Wow!  It's getting close.  

I'm doing this all from scratch, on my own, so it's a challenge to fit in filming and writing and design around the health issues and family time and other work-related tasks, but I'm loving it.  

Check out my website at for more information on the Identity Perception Program.  If you have any questions, please email me at  

Monday, September 25, 2017

Vlog: Helping a Friend Deal with Loss

I had hoped to get this vlog posted earlier, but I had to go to the doctor with a foot issue.  Such is life with chronic health issues.  Actually, this turned out to be an ingrown toenail.  Not a huge deal, but painful nonetheless.  I didn't want to put off getting it taken care of any longer as my toe was sore, a bit red and a little puffy.  Yow!  So, off I went to the doctor's office.  Now, I have a whopping bandage on the toe until tomorrow morning when I can downsize to a Band-Aid.  

Anyway, on to today's vlog topic.  In this video, I talk about how to help a friend deal with loss.  That loss can be due to death, moving, abandonment, misunderstanding, or suicide.  I also discuss loss of a child, parent/grandparent, spouse, partner, job, and house.  What to say, what not to say, what to do--I talk about it.  

Have you ever helped your friend through a loss?  Has a friend helped you?  What helped you as a griever and what didn't?  Did a friend tell you what you did that helped him/her the most during their difficult time?  I'd love for you to share your experiences either in the comments below or through email (  Thank you.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Vlog: Common Barriers To Participation In Society

Hi!  Today's vlog post is on common barriers to getting involved in community/society.  I talk about jobs, volunteering, transportation, entertainment, people's attitudes, your attitude, policies, services and more.  It is important to do all we can to break down the barriers we face to facilitate a productive and fulfilling life.  

Which of the barriers discussed have you encountered?  What did you do?  Did you give up or did you break them down?  Let me know either in the comments or email me at  Thanks!  Take care.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Vlog: Building Confidence and Friendship

Happy Monday!  I hope you had a fantastic weekend!  Today's vlog is about confidence and friendship.  How to start building confidence, how confidence can help you make more friends, being real.  I also talk about my Facebook Live event happening tomorrow, September 19 at  6 AM Mountain Time.  I'm trying out a new time to see how that goes.  I'll be talking about chronic health issues and time management, as well as fitting into the family.  I hope you'll join me.  I'll be on my professional Facebook page:  Follow/Like my page to get updates, too!  Take care.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Vlog: Special Needs and Other Labels

There are many labels for the segment of the population with emotional, mental and physical disabilities.  "Special needs" is one of them.  Do you agree with this label?  Do you agree with labeling any person in the first place?  I discuss these labels and the questions surrounding them.  What is your take on this issue?  I'm interested to find out.   

Monday, September 11, 2017

Vlog: When Friendship Hurts

Hi!  Here's today's vlog post about when friendship hurts.  I read "When Friendship Hurts," by Jan Yager, Ph.D. about a year ago and it really hit home.  I learned so much from this book about when friendships hurt and the role each of us played in that hurt.  If you are having friendship issues, I highly recommend that you read this book.  

In this video, I discuss various situations when friendship can hurt, including abandonment, death, and lifestyle change.  Please view the video, then let me know if you can think of any other situations when friendship can hurt.  Thanks.  Take care.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Vlog: When Your Old Friends Don't Like Your New Friends.

Hi!  Back with another vlog post.  This time I'm talking about when old friends and new friends don't like each other.  I cover some reasons why this may be so such as jealousy, distrust, and discrimination.  I also talk about what to do the remedy the situation including talking privately with each friend to clear the air, and seeing if you can find similar interests that old and new friends have in common.  

It's tough when old and new friends don't get along.  It can cause lots of stress.  But there are ways to solve the problem.

Have you experienced this problem?  If so, what did you do about it?  Do you have any other ideas on how to remedy the situation?  I'd love to hear from you.  Thanks.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Vlog: Choosing a New Doctor

Hi!  Today's vlog is on choosing a new doctor.  I go over the reasons you might do this as well as how to go about it. 

Something that I didn't mention in the video was that you need to talk with your insurance company rep to see what doctors are covered before you make the change.  

Changing doctors can be a traumatic experience.  I remember trying to get an appointment with a foot doctor I hadn't seen in a few years only to find out he had retired.  I was devastated.  When you build a bond; when you trust a doctor, it is hard to say goodbye.

I tend to like doctors who partner with me to discuss care options, easy to talk with, remember stuff that I told them about my work and home life, are open about their home life and interests to a point, are funny/light-hearted/open, are excellent in their field, and accommodating.

Have you experienced having to change doctors?  How did you find new ones?  Let me know in the comments or shoot me an email. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Vlog: Toxic Friends and What to Do About It.

Hello!  Here is my latest vlog post on toxic friends.  There are a lot of signs of toxicity in friendship including abuse, lying, having only one-sided conversations, excessive drinking, and trying to get you to do things that go against your values.  It is up to you to decide whether to give such a friend a second...or third or fourth...chance or say goodbye.  It is important to watch for these and other signs of toxicity and try to remedy the situation before it causes you physical pain, stress, and illness.  

Do you have, or have you had, toxic friends?  How have you dealt with the situations you've been in with such friends?  Are they still your friends, or have you moved on?  Let me know in the comments, or you can email me.  

I also want to let you know that I'm now posting a blog post on Mondays and a vlog post on Wednesdays.  I have been quite busy lately, so I stopped blogging on Fridays for now, until my Identity perception program is finished, sometime in the next month or so.  Take care, and I'll catch you back here again on Monday.  Have a great weekend!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Chronic Health Issues and Dating: Things to Consider

Jim and me in 1987
Dating can be nerve racking, to begin with. Add chronic health issues into the mix and, oh boy!  It gets even more stressful.  It can also be taxing to those who are dating you too. Share this post with your date if you feel comfortable doing so. 

Here are some things to consider on both sides:


  • You need to make sure that your symptoms are manageable before you start dating.
  • Find support:  Surround yourself with good friends and supportive family before you even think of starting to date.  You'll need these people to help you handle rejection and also celebrate the good times.  You could even practice talking about your health issues with these supporters so it won't be so difficult to tell your date when the time comes.

  • You are a person with thoughts, feelings, hobbies, dreams, ambitions, and interests.  You are more than your health issues.
  • Are you using your chronic health issues as an excuse to avoid going on a date?
  • Don't look for a person who will coddle and protect you:  The best person will be caring, concerned and interested in you, but will not constantly run to "save" you or do everything for you.
  • Don't settle for a particular person just because he asked you out, thinking you'll never find anyone else.  
  • Look for a date or potential partner who is dependable, respectful, reliable, and supportive.  You could also use someone who makes you laugh through the tough times too.  It all depends on your personality.
  • Concentrate on what you can do, instead of what you cannot do.
  • Look out for duds:  These people aren't just unappealing because of surface attributes like looks, an annoying laugh, or body odor, they can be downright dangerous with their fetish for sexually assaulting or otherwise harming a person with a disability.  Let your gut rule with these ominous creatures.
  • Discuss your chronic health issues when you are ready:  Be honest and open about them, but don't rush it.  Talk about them over time to avoid information overload.  And don't make it all about you.  Ask your date questions about himself and how he feels also to keep the conversation balanced.  Be ready to let your date know what the illness or issue is, if there's a cure, the symptoms you experience, how you cope with the problems, and any other information you feel comfortable sharing.  Keep things simple and straight forward.  
  • If he rejects you, keeps making excuses for not calling or showing up, or avoids you, move on.

Both You and Your Date

  • Communicate!:  This is a huge one, folks.  Be honest about health issues, problems, fears, worries, questions, concerns birth control, sexually transmitted diseases, and the like.
  • Don't make assumptions:  a.  that he won't date you because he's an athlete and you are absolutely not athletic by any stretch of the imagination, b. that she is broken just because she has health issues or c. that either of you needs to be with someone more like yourself physically.
  • Don't be afraid to dance, explore nature, or travel:  There are many accessible parks, buildings and the like.  If you use a wheelchair, try out wheelchair dancing.  It can be great exercise and lots of fun.
  • Give the person credit:  Both you and your date need to give each other credit for giving this dating thing a shot under unusual circumstances.
  • Be willing to make changes in plans/cancel dates:  Even though it's frustrating, you will both get used to looking into the accessibility of a certain area or venue before making concrete plans to take in events and activities there.  (Examples:  curbs, stairs, adequate parking, elevators, rough ground, wheel chair accessible attractions and accommodations, and so on)  Be ready to deal with the possibility of canceled dates as well.
  • Stay away from judgmental people:  Nobody needs that hassle.
  • Concentrate on your similarities with the each other rather than your differences, unless those differences are so glaringly obvious and intrusive that you can't ignore them.  Then, deal with them in a sensitive and responsible way to try to remedy the situation.
  • Go with your gut:  This is a great way to tell if you are in over your head or dating the wrong person.  
  • Be yourself:  The more you are like yourself and comfortable in your own skin the more you are apt to attract people who are a good match.  
Places to Find Potential Dates

Be cautious with any new situation, including Internet dating.  If it feels right, go for it.  If it does it, back away.

Believe me, if you can handle chronic health issues, you can handle dating.  Stick with it, have confidence in yourself, go with your gut, and have fun.  

Friday, August 25, 2017

Fostering Friendships

Happy Friday!  I hope you have some fun plans for the weekend.  A friend of ours from California is coming to visit, so we're looking forward to that.  

Friendships are important to our well-being, as I've mentioned before.  They help keep us healthier, improve mood, reduce stress, and so on.  But, how can we foster friendships in this crazy busy world we live in?  There are many ways to do this:

  • Take a class--Do this with a friend and/or to find new friends with a common interest.
  • Go on a day trip--Grab your bestie and hit the road!
  • Have a heart to heart--Simply sit and talk with your friend(s).  Really listen.
  • Play a game--Sports, board games, charades, yard game, hop scotch, anything.  Just play!
  • Go out dancing--Or turn up the music and spontaneously dance with your friend in your living room.
  • Chat on the phone or via Skype--Call a friend you haven't talked to in awhile and chat.
  • Visit a friend--Arrange to visit a friend, either local or out of town, you haven't seen in awhile.
  • Volunteer--Grab a friend and work together to benefit a good cause.  Or volunteer by yourself to meet new people with the same giving spirit.
  • Get crafty--Invite a friend over and break out the fabric, super-glue, construction paper, yarn, paints, anything crafty, and go to it.  Crank up some high energy music to add to the fun.
  • Go to a sports event--Invite a friend to go to a local or big-league game.  Bond over burgers, dogs, and drinks while you're at it.
  • Work together on a big project--work with a friend restoring a classic car, building furniture, or restoring a house.
These are just some ideas.  What would you add to the list?  I'd love to hear from you.

Please consider joining my new Facebook group Fostering Friendships.  I'm really excited about it.  It's all about helping you make friends and foster those current friendships in your lives.  The group is free and I have a theme for each day, and lots of ideas to make the group fun.  Come join us!  

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Vlog: Memories of Growing Up with Spina Bifida

Hello there!  I hope you're having a good day.  Here is my latest vlog post on memories of growing up with spina bifida.  There are goofy moments, serious moments, scary moments, but we get through them all.  I've coped with these situations, as I've mentioned before, by daydreaming.  I've also used humor.  And family and good friends have helped as well.  Who helps you cope with the realities of spina bifida?  I hope you have some special people in your life who are there for you, care about you, and make you smile.  Take care.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Stepping Away from Your Life

It's great if you can make the life you're living positive and doable.  You like your job, your house, your family, your friends, your spouse or partner--it's all good.  Nothing's perfect, but it's good.  You're happy and contented.  Wonderful!

But what if you are living alone in a small town and want to travel the world?  Or, you're tired of living in a loveless marriage but you have no idea how to live on your own?  Or, you have grown up surrounded by wealth, servants, wanting for nothing-- except a normal life with a normal house, and chores and real friends who don't just like you because you have a lot of money?  Or, you and your spouse have dreams of quitting your jobs in the city and moving the family to a remote outpost to become self-sufficient? 

What if you've tried everything and life still leaves you feeling flat and miserable?  What then?  How would you be able to change it?  What steps would you need to take to prepare for this change?

You must plan ahead. Do not make rash decisions.  As much as you would like to change your life RIGHT NOW, it will not happen.  You need to figure some stuff out first:

  • Do you really, really want to leave?  Is the situation so bad that it can't be fixed by discussion, changing attitudes, moving to a different house in the area, letting go of a toxic friend, changing jobs locally, getting involved in the community, meeting new people locally, counseling, and other means of resolution?  Or, is your heart set on this awesome, beautiful, amazing chance to live and work on the other side of the world; do you ache to study art in Paris; does your heart sing when you think moving from a small town to the big city or vice versa to experience a whole new way of life and culture--a new you?  If the answer is yes, then, consider:
  • How will you tell your family and friends?  Your wants, needs, desires, and dreams, may not be remotely the same as those of your family and friends.  How do you tell those closest to you that you've decided to totally change your life, move away, and go on this amazing adventure?  Well, remember, this is your life.  You can do anything you set your mind to.  As long as you think it out and don't do something illegal or totally irresponsible, you're good.  You can do this.  You're an adult.  It's your decision.  But, if you expect the spouse and the kids to come along with you on this magical mystery adventure of yours, you'd better get ready to explain it and make it look really good.  REALLY good.  Be ready to answer the difficult questions:  Why should we uproot the family to do this?  How will we make a living?  What about the kids' schooling; their friends, our friends, our families?  On and on.  
  • Can you make it on your own?  If you're planning to divorce, are you willing or able to do the things your spouse currently does for you and the family?  Do you get jumpy while in the house alone or do you love being alone?  Where will you live?  If you have health/mobility issues, do you need modified accommodations (wheel chair accessible, no stairs, modified counters/appliances and the like)?  Will you know what to do when an appliance, car or other machinery breaks down?  Where will you work?  What jobs are available in the new area?  Are you comfortable doing your taxes or paying someone else to do them?  What health care services are available in the area you want to move to?  Are they adequate?  Can you drive?  What's the public transportation system like where you want to move to?  What other services are provided in the new location?  If you move your family into the wilds, are you willing to hunt/gather and prepare your own food?   Do you know anyone who can help you settle into the new area?  Are you willing and able to be self-sufficient, or are you comfortable getting out and about to meet new people and developing a strong support system?  Are you prepared to trade the "good life" for a life you think will be better?  Are you willing to trade what is not so great, but it's okay-- it's routine and what you've always known--for the unknown that you think will be so much better?
  • How will you pay for this major change?  Unless you have a lot of money of your own stashed away, you will have to save up for any big adventure.  That's what it is.  It's an adventure--whether the journey you're undertaking turns out good or bad--and you need to be prepared to support yourself, and any dependents who join you.  If you have health issues, you definitely have to look into the availability of jobs that fit your abilities and health maintenance schedule, financial assistance, and health insurance options.
  • What legal stuff do you need to know?  If you're planning on leaving a spouse, make sure that you get legal counsel.  Find out what the laws are specific to where you live regarding asset division, child custody, spousal support and any other matters specific to your situation. Review your assets, debts, and whose name they're in.  Know what assets you have and the laws regarding division of those assets.  What are the laws in the cities, states, or countries you plan to move to?  What seems totally reasonable to the locals may seem outrageous, or at least weird, to you.  
  • What else do you need to make this new life happen?  If you're moving across the state, the country, the world; if you're moving from the city to the country, the country to the city; if you're moving from a penthouse in New York City to a hut in Africa, you need to figure out what you can and cannot bring with you; what you do and do not need.  Have a huge clear out, getting rid of anything you don't need or want to take with you. And ask yourself, Can I actually live in this new place safely, affordably, and happily long-term?
Change is good, but make sure you think things out before going through with it.  Make sure it really is something you want and need to do.  Whether it is a positive move or not, you will experience bumps in the road.  Know you can handle them, and enjoy the ride.

Please note, this post wasn't written with abuse/neglect in mind.  If you are in a violent relationship, seek help immediately to get out of that relationship from trusted friends and family, local agencies and authorities.  

Good luck.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Stick With True Friends

We can have all types of friends, yes, but pay special attention to those who are true friends.  To me, true friends are those who:

  • celebrate milestones.  Of course, any friend may react positively to your good news, but the closest of your friends will get in there and celebrate your news with you.  You can tell the difference between heartfelt congratulations and the halfhearted variety.
  • call, text, email or visit often.  If you are on her speed dial, stick with her.  If you hear from him daily, weekly, at regular intervals relatively close together, or when you're sick and she just has to bring you over her homemade chicken soup to comfort you, hang onto that friend.  That person cares.  You may not even be especially close to her.  You may not be able to tell your deepest, darkest secrets to her.  You may even feel a bit intimidated by him at times.  But if he's there for you, if he cares, pay attention to him.  In these times of crazy busy lifestyles when friendships are dissolving due to lack of time, these types of friends are worth their weight in gold.  
  • are inquisitive.  I'm not talking about a busy body who doesn't know how to mind her own business.  I'm talking about the friend who is truly interested to know what's going on in your life.  She wants to know the details of the trip you went on or the book you're reading.  She wants to know how you managed to pick the career, child's name, the book, the vacation, the clothes you love so much, or what your childhood was like.  Did you have a treehouse?  Did you grow up in an apartment, mansion, orphanage, farmhouse?  He wants to know why you feel, think and act the way you do.  She wants to know what makes you tick.  She's curious.  These friends are awesome!
  • open-minded.  These friends take you as you are, 110%!  They love you no matter what your house looks like, what you look like, how you dress, who you voted for, what kind of car you drive, what your sexual orientation is, what your beliefs, values, and opinions are, where you come from, how much money you make, or anything else.  They are in your corner, without question.
  • spontaneous.  Okay, it's not necessarily that great to have friends knocking at your door at 7 AM wanting to chat or inviting you on a road trip THAT VERY SECOND.  But, it can be energizing and heartwarming to answer the door and find your best friend standing there with a wide smile ready to hug you, or just to say hi and see how you're doing.  They may invite you to lunch, they may just stay a minute, but you're better for it.  It perks you up.  
I am lucky enough to have these types of friends.  They are the ones who are there for me no matter what.  I can turn to them for help, a chat, anything, anytime.  They make me smile.  It's comforting to know I have such special friends in my life.  

How about you?   Do you have these types of friends?  How have they enhanced your life?  If not, that's okay.  Everyone has a different view of friendship, and what they need as far as friendships in their day to day lives.  I'd love your input on this.  Thanks.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Vlog: A Message to Parents: Encourage Independence

Hi all!  I hope you're having a good week.  Today's vlog is on coddling.  My message to parents--and other family members--is to avoid coddling your children with chronic health issues and special needs.  Let them grow, learn, explore, make friends, and be independent.  It will help your child develop into a strong, confident adult.  Of course, you need to do this according to your child's abilities and needs, but each child should be encouraged to be as independent as possible.  Do you tend to be protective of your children, whether they have health issues or not, or do you let them explore their world?  I'd love to hear your take on this issue.  

Monday, August 14, 2017

Listen: To Break Down Barriers and Avoid Conflict

Listening is such an important skill.  Do you feel that people really listen to you?  Do they hear what you say?  Do they pay attention?  Or do they busy themselves with projects and everyday tasks and insist that they are still "listening?"  Or, do they flat out ignore you as you talk?  Same goes for you.  Do you really, truly listen to people when they are talking to you?  Do you engage in conversation?  Or is your mind wandering all over the place, thinking of the laundry building up at home, the report that's due tomorrow, the doctor's appointment on Wednesday, the friend you promised you'd make time in your schedule to meet with this week, or how you're ever going to fit in everything you have to do today?  

No, you don't have to get right up into someone's face like this cow gets right up close to the camera, but it is important to listen closely to others.    It can make or break friendships and business deals.  It can make the difference between a person really feeling heard and giving up on life.  It can help those who are mourning the loss of a loved one work through their thoughts and emotions in order to heal.  Mindlessly nodding and periodically mumbling, "uhuh," won't do.

Listen up!  Listening is a skill that many of us don't have or hone, but it is key to successful relationships, both personal and professional.

Breaking Down Barriers

If you experience barriers to work, shopping, activities, friendships, or other facets of life, think about how you can knock those barriers down.  Is it due to chronic health issues, race, social status, religious or political views, or something else?  Get to the heart of it.  How could you make a positive change, or at least begin the process?  Here are some ideas:

  • Arrange a meeting with a prospective employer to discuss concerns regarding accessibility, abilities, reliance, sick time, and so on.
  • Ask for a family conference so you can all air your concerns, good news, bad news, and discuss and resolve any conflicts before they blow out of proportion.
  • Attend a board meeting to voice your concern over accessibility problems at various businesses around town.
  • Speak at local organizations about chronic health issues and special needs to raise awareness and answer questions.  
  • Approach one person at school, work, or in the community, smile, say hi, and break the ice.  Start a conversation about, well, anything, and, over time, open up about yourself and encourage the other person to do the same.  You may build a lasting friendship that means the world to you. 
  • Really listen to that friend who is going through chemo or a divorce.  Sometimes that's all a person really needs.  They don't need your coddling, your answers, your sympathies.  They need your undivided attention in order to vent about the BS that is happening their lives.  Give it to them.
  • Take notes while a person is talking while maintaining eye contact as much as possible.  The note-taking will help prevent the urge to interrupt the person while they are talking in order to say something before you forget it.
  • Switch off your cell phone while having a conversation someone else.  If you're having lunch with a friend, be there for that friend.  Eliminate the temptation to answer the phone whenever it rings.  
By listening to others, we can open minds, ease tension, clarify positions, promote understanding--we can break down barriers.    

Avoid Conflict

Avoiding conflict has a lot to do with effective listening as well.  Consider the political and religious conflicts of late.  People are giving up friendships, not talking to family, firing employees, beating and killing people over differing political and religious beliefs. Those beliefs run deep, of course, but there is absolutely no reason for people to do such awful things to each other in the name of politics and religion.  My advice is to calm down, grow up, and listen to each other.  Converse.  Communicate.  Respect.  Listen!  

Magical things can happen when you get together with people you don't understand or agree with, and:

  • really talk 
  • really listen
  • use non-threatening speech
  • avoid blame
  • show respect for the other by being silent while they are speaking
  • reflect the other person's emotions
  • rephrase what they say so they know you are listening
You come to realize that, yeah, maybe you don't agree on certain political issues, but you do agree on others.  Same goes for religion.  And, you may also discover that you are both huge fans of the same band or author or movie, love to travel, enjoy woodworking, love classic cars, participated in theater at the same college years earlier, share the same birthdate, went to the same high school, lived in the same far off place thirty years ago, both worked on a kibbutz, or are obsessed with Pokemon.  You never know.  Once the listening starts, all that conflict begins to be resolved, the stress eases up, and other more positive likenesses come shining through.  

Are you a good listener?  If not, use some of the tips above to improve your listening skills.  Do you have any other tips to add to the ones included here?  Feel free to leave them in the comments.  

Friday, August 11, 2017

Practice Self-Acceptance

Self-acceptance is very important.  I didn't realize how much so until I was an adult.  I had never accepted myself fully throughout childhood.  I had never fully accepted my life with spina bifida and the health issues that came with it.  I got good at self-care, but that didn't mean I had made my peace with it.  I hated it.  I was very self-conscious, shy, and insecure.  I didn't appreciate the fact that being unique was a good thing.  I didn't appreciate my talents and strengths. 


So, how can you practice self-acceptance, you may be asking.  Here are some of the ways:

  • Avoid judging or criticizing yourself.  Be as good as you can be.  Everyone makes mistakes.  Don't beat yourself up about it.  
  • Be your own friend.  Remember that your friends wouldn't say hurtful things to you, so neither should you.
  • Accept your body as it is.  This doesn't mean to let yourself go, but to accept what is, and not freak out or punish yourself for not being "perfect." Flaws are inevitable.  Work on improving yourself over time without judgment. 
  • Live a healthy lifestyle.  Eat properly, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep.  Your body knows what it needs.  Listen to it.
  • Do what makes you laugh.  Do what makes your heart sing.  Wear what you want.  Wear your hair the way you want.  Be your best self.  Be someone you'd love to hang out with, because, let's face it, you are who you hang out with ALL the time.
  • Make a point to challenge feelings of self-blame, -doubt, and -shame.  
  • Celebrate your strengths, talents, abilities, and uniqueness.
  • Take notice of the types of people you hang out with.  Are these healthy relationships?  Are these people good to you?  Do they have your back?  Or are they always finding fault or trying to drag you into activities you don't feel comfortable doing?
  • Surround yourself with positive people.  Get yourself a strong support system you can rely on.  Stick with people who believe in you.
  • Forgive yourself.  Everyone makes mistakes.  Mourn those mistakes and move on.
  • Tell that inner critic to hit the road.  It doesn't serve you in the least to listen to that negative voice.  It's not wise.  It's not protecting you.  It's only helping to kill your self-acceptance.  Ditch it.
  • Let go of those things; those circumstances you can't control and concentrate on those that you can control.
Do you do any of these things?  I do, yes.  Some.  Do you accept yourself as you are?  Yes, I do, now, I'm happy to say.  Of course, everyone has their off days, but make a point to practice self-acceptance every day and you'll find it easier as time passes.  

Can you think of anything else that I've missed?  Let me know in the comments.  Have a great weekend!  

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Vlog: Fitness and Chronic Health Issues

Hi!  I hope you're having a great Wednesday.  Today's vlog focuses on fitness and chronic health issues.  I discuss how to get started, the importance of talking with your doctor or medical team before starting a fitness program, and how to advance your fitness program to get better results.  I hope you find this video helpful.  Exercise is so important to our well-being.  Whether you use a chair, walking aids, or you walk without aid, there are exercises you can do to get and keep fit.  I'm a former certified personal trainer.  I gave up my certification recently, but I still know a thing or two about fitness.  So if you have any questions, please feel free to ask.  If I can't help you, I can refer you to other professionals who might be able to answer your questions for thoroughly.  Good luck with your fitness program and have fun!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Take Time to Let Loose and Have Fun

I was on Facebook Live this afternoon.  My phone isn't keeping a charge, so I'm coming to you from Facebook Live.  Here's the link to my Facebook page.  Scoot down to today's post (August 7, 2017) and check it out.  It's all about letting loose and having fun.  Let me know what you think.   Thanks.

Start Where You Are Now

Do you feel stuck?  Do you wonder what career you should pursue?  Do you want to make friends but you're unsure how to go about it?  Have you experienced a major life change and you just don't know how to restart your life?  

Years ago, I read "Three Feet From Gold," by Sharon L. Lechter and Greg S. Reid.  In it, they talked about combining what you love with what you're good at to be more successful.  That concept has stayed with me ever since.  I truly believe that if you do what you love and combine it with what you're good at, you will succeed at whatever you set out to do.  

Try it.

  1. Start where you are right now.  Really feel, hear, touch, taste, and see your surroundings.  Be present. What do you experience?  What makes you want to change?  What things would you like to change regarding your current situation?  
  2.  Take a notebook or open a new document on your IPad or similar device, and make two columns.  Label the first column, "What I Love."  
  3. Ask yourself what you love or love to do.  What brings you joy, excitement, satisfaction?  List them all in this first column--as many as come to mind.
  4. Label the second column, "What I'm Good At."  
  5. Ask yourself what you are good at.  What skills, knowledge, abilities do you have?  List everything you can think of in the second column.
  6. Compare the two lists.  What do you see?  Can you combine one or two items from each column to make a career, find friends, restart your life?  For example, say you love to teach and you're good at playing the piano.  Could you possibly combine the two and give piano lessons?  Or, you love animals and you're good at organizing.  Could you volunteer to be on the board of the local animal shelter and help organize fundraising events as a way to potentially meet new people and make friends?
  7. Once you've picked at least one item from each list, start thinking how you can make this new venture a reality.
  8. Make a new list.  What tools do you already have?  
  9. And another.  What tools do you need?
  10. And another.  What potential roadblocks could you come upon to keep you from following through?
  11. Another list.  Who could help you conquer these roadblocks and accomplish what you set out to do?
  12. What timeframe will you give yourself to accomplish this goal of a new career, new friends, new lifestyle--whatever new endeavor you chose?
  13. Another list.  What three things will you do in the next week to kickstart this new venture?
  14. And one more.  What will you do to celebrate little victories along the way, and that big victory when your goal is accomplished?

So, what do you think?  Is this exercise something you're willing to try to get yourself unstuck?  If you do try it, please let me know how it turns out.  I'd love to hear about your journey.   

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Vlog: First Impressions in Friendship

Today's vlog is about first impressions.  Do first impressions dictate if you'll give a friendship a chance?  Do you know right away if you click with someone?  I'm usually good at knowing right away if a person is friend material or not.  My first impressions are generally correct.  If I don't like someone from the get-go, they usually end up being jerks long-term.  If we connect immediately, they usually are friends for years.  Let me know how first impressions regarding friends usually work for you.  Take care.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Vlog: Do You Talk to People in the Elevator?

Happy first day of August!  I can't believe August is here already.  It's crazy how time passes by so quickly.  

Today's vlog topic is elevator talk.  Do you talk to people when riding in an elevator?  Do you think there's no point because you'll be on there too briefly to really get into a conversation?  Do you feel awkward talking with people you don't know?  In the video, I give examples of several conversation starters to use the next time you're in an elevator.  That exchange could lead to a solid friendship, or you may never see the person again.  But the time to connect and converse any chance you get, wherever you may be.  It opens up our world.  It can perk our day up.  Give it a try and let me know what happens.  Take care.

Monday, July 31, 2017

The True Secret of Happiness

There are many books on the market on the subject of happiness:  where it comes from;  how to get it; how to keep it; how to cope when it seems elusive.  I've read many of these books, and they truly have been helpful and interesting to me.  But I think William Morris has the best advice of all as stated in the quote I've included here to the left.

Taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.  That's what's important.  Being real.  Having an honest-to-goodness interest in your life, moment to moment.  Marveling at them.  Appreciating them.  Savoring them.  

It's easy to think that your life is mundane if you are constantly looking at it as compared to that of celebrities or friends who have more affluent lifestyles.  But consider looking at your life as if through a microscope instead.  Take every aspect of your life and think of the simple things that make it so awesome.

I've mentioned the Circle of Individual Perspective exercise before.  Draw a circle and divide it into six sections.  Next, label each section as follows:  Career, Relationships, Financial, Health, Spiritual, Well-being.  Now, rate your happiness in each of the six areas of life from 1 (very unsatisfied) to 10 (very satisfied).  Finally, draw a line across each pie slice approximately at the point that represents your satisfaction.  For example, If you rated your health a "5," you would draw a line across the midpoint of that slice.  If you rated your financial situation an "8," you would draw a line across that pie slice close to the edge of the circle.  This exercise is also sometimes called "The Wheel of Life," because, once those lines are connected, you can see how bumpy your life is compared to one in which each segment is quite equally satisfying.  Once you see that wheel, you can devise strategies and action plans to smooth things out and get each section closer to "10."  

Now, back to those "details."  

Career:  What is most satisfying about your career?  Who at the office makes you smile whenever you see him/her?  What simple ritual do you look forward to taking part in each day at work?

Relationships:  What little things do you love about your family and friends?  Who can you be alone with in a room, not talking or doing anything together, but feel totally comfortable with?  Do you have a sweet memory that pops into your head as soon as you think of a specific friend?  Do you have someone in your life that you can be silly with and it's totally okay?  Do you have someone in your life who totally "gets" you?  Do you have that special person in your life that you want to tell everything to as soon as it happens?  Do you have a special bond with someone who just makes you smile whenever you think of him?  Do you have a person in your life who you absolutely love to do thoughtful things for--pick up a colleague's favorite coffee on the way to work, write a love note to your spouse before you leave for work in the morning, or stop by an elderly neighbor's house to read to or play cards with her?  Do you have simple traditions that you look forward to participating in when you get together with certain friends and family?

Financial:  What are you thankful for regarding money?  What inexpensive activity do you love to do--maybe something you did as a child and still find joy in?  Do you feel secure money-wise?  If you are financially secure, what is one frugal thing you still do to save money?  Do you have simple saving tips you learned from your parents or friends that you still use?  Do you keep a jar for change in the house somewhere and look forward to seeing how much you've saved by the end of the year?  Every little bit helps.  (Side note: Jim is a genius at finding loose change.  He has funded a significant portion of our vacations with found money at various times over the years.  Tip:  look in coin returns at store checkouts and in vending machines (and on top of them), on the ground, on the floor, under seats and seat cushions, etc.  He never swipes money he personally sees people drop, however.  He picks it up and returns it.) 

Health:  Are you thankful for your good health?  Are you thankful for the health professionals who offer kind, encouraging words in times of illness?  Do you find something funny to laugh at even when you're in the hospital?  What tips have you picked up over the years that have helped you maintain good health?  What simple health-related rituals do you enjoy practicing?  What are some tricks that you have picked up to make fitness fun?  Do you have simple, healthy recipes that you enjoy preparing on a regular basis?  Do you have favorite go-to places for deals on healthy foods and exercise equipment?  Do you relish taking advantage of a 10-minute window of time to dance around your living room or go for a quick walk?  

Spiritual:  What simple things bring you peace?  What symbols of goodness and faith make you smile when you see them?  What beliefs bring you comfort during hard times and joy during good times?  Where is your favorite place to contemplate, meditate, or think?  Do you find peace in visiting the resting place of a loved one who has passed on?  Do you believe in guardian angels?  Do you find joy in doing simple acts of kindness for others?  Do you find it natural to be an honest person?  Do you feel comforted by the belief that spiritual entities/beings/higher powers are looking out for you?  Are you living your life purposefully?

Well-being:  Do you feel thankful for your life as it is right now?  Do you generally feel happy?  Do you wake up every morning, excited to start the day and see what it has to offer?   Do you find that your life is pretty much stress-free, or that you can handle the stressful situations you encounter in a healthy way?  Are you generally in a good mood?  Do you feel as if you are contributing to society in a positive way?  

These are just some questions you may want to ask yourself about different facets of your life.  I'm sure you can think of others that pertain to your life specifically.  The important thing is to ask yourself, "Am I happy?"   and "What is happiness to me?"  Then, live your life each day as close to your values and beliefs--your true self--as possible to help facilitate a feeling of true happiness.

What is your take on the topic of happiness?  Do you think it comes from the inside or the outside, or a little bit of both?