Apr 302019

With the ability to stream TV classics from almost any era, I’m not dating myself too much when I think about Ally McBeal’s quirky characters and their various adventures with theme songs. If I’m remembering correctly, there was a litigator who wasn’t ready for court until he heard bells… and someone who needed the attitude adjustment that came from channeling his inner Barry White. I did some work with Mark Victor Hansen, one of the Chicken Soup for the Soul guys and saw him come to the front of the room to either You’re Simply the Best or Soul Man.

So I recently asked a bunch of Facebook followers what sort of theme song they might recommend for a person who had a goal in mind but needed a little extra support in the “gigantic butterflies in the stomach” department. They’re some interesting folks and came up with some pretty good additions to a playlist. Or, maybe an entire playlist. You be the judge. And I’ve included a crazy number of links in this post; if you can stand all the YouTube ads, you can hear each of the songs.

What's YOUR theme song? Click To Tweet

Whenever I post about developing confidence or taking motivation to a higher level, I’m not surprised when Avon Superstar (also known as Captain Platinum) Lisa Wilber jumps in first. She gave us Reba’s  I’m Gonna Take That Mountain.

Some of the contributors offered deeply spiritual music: Thirty-one Gifts consultant Patricia Darley chose Made to Thrive.  Roslyn Evans — the co-owner and designer of exquisite jewelry at Earth and Moon Design — is inspired by This Little Light of Mine while another artist, Heather Maria, added Walk on Water.   Rachel Keiffer, the HealthNut Girl introduced some of us to a Hebrew song called the Song of Ascents.

Some of the women turned to their spiritual sides for musical inspiration. Click To Tweet

Intuitive healer and coach Robin Ann Reid offered This is Me.  and Suzie Cheel from down under tossed Happy, as well as Israel Kamakawiwoʻole’s beautiful version of Over the Rainbow, into the mix.

And Lore Raymond from Florida’s gulf side led the charge for Helen Reddy’s I Am Woman.  I don’t know about you, but “you can bend but never break me, ’cause it only serves to make me more determined to achieve my final goal” rings true for so many of the important women in my life. And Vatsala Shukla reminded us of another “you’ve got this” anthem: such Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing.

You can bend but never break me... Click To Tweet

When it came time to pick up the tempo, Colleen added Sly and the Family Stone with You Can Make It If You Try while Michelle dished up a little Uptown Funk.   Author Beverly Golden joined Etta James to advise:  Trust Yourself.  And we can always count on Barb Parcells to bring us classics such as You’ll Never Walk Alone.  I hope you like Josh Groban’s version as much as I do.

Many of these women have wonderful projects going; I’ve linked to their sites or Facebook pages so you can get to know them if you choose. In the meantime, I’m off to iTunes to buy a couple of these songs for one of my “you go, girl” lists!


Oct 172018

Finding myself with a persistent earworm, I’m surprised that it’s not a popular song or something from a musical or movie soundtrack. I’ve never before experienced one involving red birds although, when my son was very small there was a certain purple dinosaur and that famous group known as The Muppets. But that was some time ago. This was a very odd earworm, and, at the risk of passing it along, I’ll bet that it’s somewhere in the dark recesses of your memory, as well.

Yes, for most of yesterday, I was treated to a continuous loop of a song called “Playmate,” that super sweet little ditty many of us learned from grandmothers and great aunties. A quick online search tells me that it is now taught in pre-schools and daycare centers. Still — I hadn’t heard it for a decade or four. I’m familiar with the concept of the sense of smell evoking strong memories but still, I wonder what dredges such things from the depth of memory? This time I have some clues.

Finding myself with a persistent earworm, I'm surprised that it's not a popular song or something from a musical or movie soundtrack. Click To Tweet

As we’ve learned more and more about growing things in Florida, our backyard has become a haven for birds. Especially for cardinals. (You might remember my awe at the birds’ nest just outside the laundry room window? It belonged to a pair of cardinals.) Maybe it’s the citrus trees or perhaps my husband’s multiple feeders, but the red birds love it here, all year long. Yesterday was no exception.

We had acquired a sweet almond and noticed it was a little dry. So, after planting each of the small shrubs in a watery hole, I set up a sprinkler to add a bit more moisture. Our new plants may have appreciated their gentle shower but the cardinals seemed ecstatic, not only showering but appearing to play in the sprinkler’s misty stream. And each time I went outside to turn off the water, the birds were there: still hopping and perching and almost rolling around in the puddles. Their joy was contagious. While I marveled at their playfulness, that silly little song crept into my head. Over and over. “Playmate, come out and play with me…” Granted, they were “climbing” a lemon tree and “sliding” down a wheelbarrow rather than the apple tree and the rain barrel in the song. It still but it seemed to fit. And came into my head to dissuade me every time I went out to close the faucet.

The cardinals seemed ecstatic, not only showering but appearing to play in the sprinkler's misty stream. Click To Tweet

The cardinal garden-to-playground-takeover set me to reading a bit about my brilliant, colorful friends.

For the most part, cardinals are monogamous — always a plus in my book. (Don’t ask.) And while the female is responsible for nest-building and incubation, the male not only feeds her at the nest but joins her in feeding the hatchlings as well.

Then, in true internet fashion, I read that they signify good luck, helpfulness, passionate energy, family, good health, an excellent work-play balance. They also signal us that the best is yet to come. Wow. That’s a lot of important messaging for a little bird to carry around.

They signal us that the best is yet to come. Click To Tweet

But I repeatedly read that those beautiful red birds (and their spectacular chestnut brown females) represent loved ones who have passed. They are said to show up both in celebration and despair to remind us that those powerful spirits live with us still. My heart is full as I look back at sprinkler-jumping and clap-singing Playmate with my great aunt and, sometimes her sister, my grandma. The same grandma who instilled the love of language that is with me every day.

The almonds seem to have settled — healthy and happy — in their holes, needing little additional attention. But, even as I write this, the red birds have perched on a branch outside the nearest window.

Today is supposed to be another hot one. I’ll be turning on the sprinkler for them soon.


Apr 182018

A good friend and I recently swapped some writing services, including reviewing one another’s bios for a new project. I was pleasantly surprised when she picked up on something I’ve been doing for fun: over on Instagram, I’ve been including lots of dog pictures and have introduced the hashtag #AdviceFromAlex something you may have also seen on my Facebook Author Page. 

You can follow me in either of those places if you like. I love seeing friends in multiple locations around the internet.

Alex is a deaf dog who came to us about five years ago. And, while he’s taught me a lot that has made me a better dog handler, I really enjoy the rest of his lessons. I hope you do, too.

Always be as open as possible. Look around. Be curious. People can’t know you if you’re shut down, secretive or seem sneaky. Openness is a form of honesty — what you see is what you get. Besides, sometimes the humans get confused and think you’re asking for a cookie! That often works out well.


Openness is a form of honesty -- what you see is what you get. #advicefromalex Click To Tweet

By the way, if you’re confused by hashtags please ask about them in the comments. Many of the folks who follow my blog understand them and explain them very well. Or you can start with this post called Social Media with FLAIR.


Help out around the house you live in — laundry is a good place to start. And sometimes you get to try on clothes that belong to other people. (Oh wait. You probably think I’m not a people. We debate about that around here sometimes.) When helping with laundry I recommend sticking with the air dry stuff already on hangers:  the humans can get kinda grumpy when I help dry their black clothes or use the folded stuff as a pillow.

Don’t miss the details. I don’t hear so I use my eyes a lot. I notice things others don’t necessarily see. I was excited when I first met my furever family: they noticed my heart-shaped nose right away. Of course, if you ask their obedience instructor, I apparently get excited about everything. What’s wrong with enthusiasm?

What's wrong with enthusiasm? Click To Tweet

Paying attention can lead to lots of great photo-bombing opportunities. And helping your friends. On this day, our friend Nigel was helping Mom by taking a new author photo for her last book. She is kind of shy so I thought a picture of both of us would be better. They didn’t use it but I still like the picture.

And, being naturally photogenic can lead to modeling opportunities. Here’s one of the ads I did for one of Mom’s books. I wanted to make sure people whose brains are kicking their butts know that she had made something to help them. She likes helping people.


Have you ever learned anything from a dog? Do you like Alex’s advice? Which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comments — someone here will read them to him.


Mar 272018

I’ve been doing lots of writing about interpersonal violence and I need a break. Working on some lovely anthology projects and spending time with other writers, I’m aware of feeling peace. And joy. The creative community is a place of connection and fulfillment, of important friendships, quirky humor, and joy. Maybe my writers’ community is a home for my soul.

  • Happiness is the settling of the soul into its most appropriate spot. – Aristotle
Happiness is the settling of the soul into its most appropriate spot. – Aristotle Click To Tweet
  • When you wish someone joy, you wish them peace, love, prosperity, happiness – all the good things. — Maya Angelou

  • …being in a state of joy is a learned skill, not an innate ability. — Donald Altman, author, The Joy Compass

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life. -- Richard Bach Click To Tweet

  • The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. —  Richard Bach

  • Part of the joy comes from seeing one’s own children become parents – watching the cycle of birth, nurturance, and independence begin again. Grandmothers became quite passionate about the magic of it all, often bowled over by their intensity of feeling. —  Doreen Rosenthal, author, New Age Nanas

Where is your soul’s home? What brings you joy? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments!


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