Wednesday, December 31, 2008

When Things are in Sync

This is a really special week. I keep being amazed (ok, I really wanted to say I keep freaking out!) over how linked it appears my life is flowing right now. I shouldn’t be surprised. I have prayed for miracles and little by little, day by day, they seem to appear out of no where. For starters, our best friends G. and M. from NYC swapped houses with a family in Florida. They found a great one, in Pensacola Beach FL and they invited us to come for the week. We were excited to spend time with them, and so was Jeremy! My college roomie, Donna, her husband Steve, live here with their two kids and they’re newly adopted “cousins” of my son. He considers them like his brother and sister and we’ve made a commitment to see them as much as possible through the years because the kids get along so well. So when we discovered that the swapped house was less than a mile from Donna and Steve’s. And not only that, the couple was a friend of Donna’s! Then, my NYC friends convinced the owners to let them use their luxury condo on the beach instead. So when we got here, we had already spent loads of time here last summer while at surf camp! So, the whole thing was familiar to my son and me. Then we met some of the neighbors. They were former good friends and neighbors of Donna’s and Steve’s. Then at the pool we met a gal from Indiana . As it turned out, her husband and his employee who was coming to stay worked in Mississippi on similar projects. So many cross over’s. Then, other things were happening! Our closest friends J and E from Winter Park happened to plan a trip to Pensacola too. And after talking further we found out that not only did E. go to Auburn a few years ahead of Donna and me, but he went to Donna’s high school in Birmingham! Then, several work things started happening. My friend M. from NYC shared some work contracts with me that I needed to find and she just happened to be working on the same thing at the same time I was. Then she suggested I take a class in a particular area, and I happened to get an email from a friend in Orlando who told me she was not available for a networking event I invited her to because she was teaching a class. Yep! The one I needed to take! I just keep watching these little synchronicities unfold and am amazed at how it all seems to fit so seamlessly. Things that we need, from special conversations with loved ones to new clients calling, keep popping up, and when I pray for something else, it seems to appear. It must mean that our life is in sync at the moment. My family is at rest with people that we love and who love us, and there is such a great feeling of contentment in the air. It’s such a welcome thing after such a difficult year that we’re leaving behind.
I’m now believing that seamless way of living will continue, and that I can have the faith that whatever we need as a family will manifest whether it be love, friends, or a tangible such as finances.

So as we go into the New Year, I welcome a simple way of life and hope and pray that we can be satisfied with whatever comes our way as we pursue our goals in our family and our businesses. And not only be satisfied, but truly know that that is exactly how things are supposed to be.

Because being in sync is truly a wonderful way to live.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Twas the Night Before Christmas

It’s almost time… the gifts are wrapped.. and Santa has shopped.. and the stockings are hung by the chimney with care… ready to be stuffed!!!

Tonight, at my parents house, will be most of my family getting together to celebrate the birth of the Christ Jesus. We’ll eat, drink and pray, and thank God for our health and for our time on this earth.

Among us, are stressed out parents, brothers and sisters, kids, teens, and even a fiancĂ© who will be at the celebration. We all live very, very different lives, but for the first time this year, we’ll come together as a family and enjoy one another.

We will be at my parents house, who are deeply spiritual people, and who live such selfless and dedicated lives to their families.. more than most people I’ve ever met. My dad is not only the head of the house hold, but a spiritual giant among us, and both he and my mom will be celebrating to have their family there, celebrating the Birth of Christ.

The older I get, the more I think about Jesus being born only 2008 years ago. When we view dinosaur remains in museums that were millions of years ago, a couple of thousand doesn’t seem like such a long time ago. And the more I understand the deep importance of being a mother, the more respect I have for Jesus’ mother Mary, who gave birth they say as a young teenager, and watched her son die a tortured death at the young age of 33.

So tonight, my dad will pray a beautiful prayer to Jesus, who we recognize as God the Son, part of God the Father, and the Holy Spirit… three in one. We will thank Him for being born, and for coming into the world to give us a new direction saving us from our sins.

Then we’ll eat, and drink and open gifts, and then we’ll all go home to wait for Santa and his reindeer. Tomorrow, when we awake, Santa will have arrived, we’ll open the gifts and then we’ll go to mass, and then we’ll spend the day playing with the toys he brought!

The rush is almost done.. I have a few things to do before the 7PM arrival time… but the calm before the storm has arrived.

Blessed be to everyone on this Christmas Eve… Bless us everyone!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008


I love the quote the only constant is CHANGE.

For me, and I think for many people, these challenging and different economic times are forcing me to look at my core and to see what needs change. After evaluation, I realized, “wow.. there is a LOT that needs work in my life.” I guess that I was content with the status quo, and lived as contently as I could.

But now? It’s buck up or shut up time! It’s put the pedal to the medal and get your butt in gear time! It’s the time to take charge, take numbers or whatever else you gotta take to get things rolling forward again in a positive way!

For myself.. I’m considering that I’m doing some transforming. And I’m pretty psyched to say, that as a result of “some” of the transforming.. a LOT of transforming is going on .

Here are a few things that are transforming in my life:1. My business! With several balls in the air and the “go ahead” on several projects, including TV, radio and a book, I’ve had to take a step back and realize that none of them can be completed on my own. I’m now collaborating or looking for partners to collaborate in all of my projects! This takes the burden off of me and can bring my projects to a whole new level!

2. My services! I was doing coaching and TV. Now… all of a sudden, because I have an interest in it and because I write about it for the Orlando Business Journal, I’m working in the area of social media/networking. I love it.. and so much to learn and so much to share!

3. My body! I’m doing the body for life program and it’s easy, a fast transformation in 12 weeks, and I’m not hungry. I’ve been on it a week and my pants are starting to be a bit loser.

4. My habit of drinking a glass of wine daily! The alcohol is now GONE from my diet.. and I feel like I have more energy than ever. I used the excuse that “Oprah and Dr. Oz recommend a glass a day” but truthfully, it did make me relaxed and lazy at the end of the day, not full of energy which is what I need to handle all of the things in our busy life!

5. My family! There were “changes” that needed to happen at home and I forced them to occur. Now, I’m glad I did. Things that had slipped by for a long time are no longer acceptable to me and I’m getting on top of all of these things and with a shift in priorities, we’ll keep these changes in place!

These are just a few but very important changes that I’ve made. I’m upping my game, and I’m moving into a different arena. I’m moving from the minors into the majors and I’m challenging myself to go for the gold.

Okay.. enough of the endless talk. The biggest change is that instead of bragging about all of my changes.. I’m actually implementing them. That is the most exciting part. This time, it’s for real.. and they’re becoming habits instead of dreams!!!

Time to transform???? Get support, learn from the best, and get rid of the distractions. You’ll be glad you did!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Focus on What Matters

It's no secret to anyone, that living with special needs in a home is very challenging on a daily basis. It can be overwhelming on most days, but recently I heard something that has made it all a lot less challenging. It was a very, very short statement, from a long time friend and business associate, Paul, who I shared with the other day about the issues I deal with on a daily basis. I was telling him about how we have to control every single piece of the environment in our world in order to have a normal day with my son. I shared with him that the external things in my world are also very busy and demanding and sometimes I just get in a state of overwhelm. I feel so incredibly blessed to have the “BTS gals” with whom I can share these daily issues and they’re always quick to help me see the positive amidst the trials.

He told me this: “Focus on What Matters”

Wow… that was so enlightening to me at the moment! It means that I know clearly that the absolute most important thing to me is that my son has a safe and comfortable home, is eating well, and all of his needs are taken care of, and his body, mind, soul and spirit are nurtured. Because he has Sensory Processing Disorder issues, his body gets out of whack quite often and it causes a lot of disruption in our daily routine. If he has an overload of sugar, like one or two ice cream cones, his body reacts so severely that he wakes up at night, thrashing and in turmoil. Then the next day, clothes feel uncomfortable and then we’re late for school.

At this point, controlling our environment, and every single second of his life, is what I have to do in order for our lives to work. I monitor his food, his food intake, to make sure it’s healthy, nutritious and without preservatives. His clothes have to be soft and worn, his hair has to be short or it can cause us to spend an hour fighting it, and he has to do intense exercise every single day, which means swim practice, trampoline jumping or rip stick riding.

Homework is another challenge, and so depending upon the day, it might or might not get done. If he’s uncomfortable, there is no use trying to hurry him up, because he’d react to that, so we have to decide.. what matters more.. him being late or him being comfortable and feeling loved? I choose love.

I can’t say I was always like that! For years, before I knew all of this about my son, I would rush him and hurry him and stress him out… and be completely stressed over the situation. I worried about him getting to school on time, about being respectful of others times, of him getting to say the pledge of allegiance and him not getting a tardy remark. I think of all of the upsets we have had over the years with me not figuring out what would work for HIM first and having everything else come second after him and his special needs.

At this point, we’ve suffered through many years of NOT knowing, that now I’m completely dedicated to helping OTHER families find these things out early so they won’t have to stress and struggle with knowing what to do on a daily basis.

So what about you? What matters most to you? Is it a certain project that you’re working on? If so, what are you doing on a daily basis to support that to happen? Is it your health? Are you committed to being healthy or losing weight? Are you doing everything in your power to support that every second of every day? Is it your children? Do you want them to be excellent students or top notch athletes?

In order for me to be strong enough mentally and physically to handle all of the demands that my personal life takes, I’ve had to move my own health up to a very high priority in my life. I have to feel good in order to handle these complications so they don’t stress me out so I don’t also loose control. And because I’ve done this, I’ve found that I’ve found that I have EXTRA strength, that allows me to be there for my son, for my family, and to give energy to the work that I’m doing and the cause that I’m dedicated to.

So the thought for the day, is to Focus on What Matters! And by clearing out the STUFF that gets in the way of what really matters, and focusing your heart and soul in that direction, and take care of yourself so you have the energy to do what it takes to get it all done, you’ll actually be more effective at doing all of the other stuff that needs to get done.

Amazing, simple, easy, but life changing concept!

Focus on What Matters!

Friday, November 21, 2008

High School Nerves Can Pop Up Anytime!

Three years ago I moved back to my home town of Winter Park, FL. I have loved running into “kids” who now have kids of their own, even going off to college. Of course our hair is a little greyer, balder, and we might be a little fatter, but the faces are the same and their personalities are usually more developed and secure.

There are still times however, that the old high school nerves pop up, and today is one of those days!

Today I’m giving a seminar to 6 lawyers. It’s not like I haven’t done this before. Two weeks ago I spoke before a crowd of 400+ and barely had a second of nerves. But today? Two football player studs from my high school will be in attendance. And it starts in 1 hour!
Can I teach them something valuable? Will they learn something they didn’t know?

And of course the less secure thoughts…

“Will they like me? Will I dazzle them? Will they wonder… “wow.. she’s really come a long way.. or Yah.. I always knew she had pizzazz in high school!”

Okay.. how silly! It’s the content I’m excited about teaching because I’ve learned so much while prepping for it.

Still.. that little insecure side of me that is creeping up… is still there..

Human nature.. such a bizarre thing.

I’ll just chalk it up to.. I’m human!!!

Wish me luck!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Down Day during the Down Times

This week I received an amazing gift. It made my heart happy and when I said thank you it was genuine and enthusiastic! The person who gave it to me quickly shared everything about the gift and was just as excited that she was able to give it to me!

What was it?

Not a “traditional” type of gift, but the best kind of gift for a mom who has had a child who is a bit high maintenance at school every day!

It was a note from my son’s Language Arts teacher who told me that my son had a really great day the day before, and was focused, attentive, quiet and read his work really well.

We both were ebullient when talking about the change in my son, and she suggested that whatever we had done that morning, was WORKING! It was a Monday morning that he had the great success and I explained to her that on Sunday, we didn’t do ANYTHING all day long. Jeremy never even got dressed and we just laid around the house all day long and built a fire in the fireplace, I cooked from sun up to sun down, had delicious aromas floating through the house, and my husband, me and Jeremy just enjoyed being at home, and relaxed like most of us never get to do. We watched a little TV, but just a movie at night, while my husband went to church for all of us. I felt it best to keep Jeremy home since the day before he went to the beach and crabbing with our friend Bruce and his two kids and came home very, very content, but had a scratchy voice, which because he loved the sound of it, he kept talking more and more and more!

Most of our week is scheduled down to the minute. I pick up Jeremy by bike at school at 3 in the afternoon, then we race home and have a snack and get his homework done. Then we ride our bikes to the YMCA and he has swim practice for an hour and I work out. Then we go home and I cook dinner, then we either do more homework or play a family game like dominos and then we do the bed time routine. That can take a while of course, because he always likes to get another snack and prolong it as much as possible!

When Friday comes, we don’t have swim practice, so we do “Fun Friday”, which means visit friends, go to Disney World, or hang out at the park with other families. Saturday is usually swim meet day, and chores, and then Sunday morning we go to Church and Jeremy has religious education. There aren’t many days where we do absolutely nothing and enjoy it.

Truth be told, I worked my tail off that day, cooking and cleaning and keeping the fire lit and doing laundry, but it was all at home and we weren’t on any schedule and I was able to make a beautiful, restful and peaceful home for my family. … the kind I always loved when I was a kid.

Little did I know how hard my parents were working to give me that amazing and so oh so needed rest!!

Having a “down” day was exactly what we all needed to give us that boost that we needed to start the week. When the body is tired, it doesn’t function well, and the better it’s rested, the more productive we can be.

Perhaps all of us now need to take a pause, and to readjust our schedules. Perhaps rather than running all of our side businesses, keeping up with the Jones, running here and there and everywhere to try to get it all done, perhaps we should all just take a rest every week and do nothing. Put on some classical music, light a fire in the fireplace or put on some candles to set the atmosphere, and break out the family games.

The rest and the comfort of doing nothing, will probably give you the extra strength to manage the stress that comes along whether you want it to or not, and will probably be exactly what you and your family needs, during this difficult and down economy.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Having Friends during the Trials…is WAY Better than having Stuff!

At Beyond The Stuff we’ve all made a commitment to take certain days to blog. Yesterday was my day. (

I missed it.

I did try. I sat down and started to write. But all I could come up with was this:

“God help me. God help me. God help me”.

Why? Well, because I live with a son who has been diagnosed on the Autism spectrum. And when we are feeding him 100% organic, no preservatives, limited dairy, glutten, wheat, and he takes all of his 12 vitamins a day and is on NO sugar, and exercises every day, we live a relatively normal life.

When we have Halloween and I cave to his thousands of requests for pop tarts and other sugar infested crap, our life takes a nose dive…. like it did recently.

The stress can get so bad because my son can’t sit for more than a minute at a time. I can’t get him to eat, I can’t get him to get dressed and my beautiful, funny and charming son has his own agenda, and mommy and dad often lose their cool.

Luckily, we understand that ALL parents need breaks, but especially those with challenging situations… and I had off last week, so I gave my husband a few days “off” where he got to stay with my parents to just relax and focus on whatever he wanted to.

Today is a different story. Things have gotten better. The sugar is coming out of his system and the exercise and the low stress/stimulation in our home is working. And most importantly, God did help me. And how did He help me? By sending amazing people my way to support me.. in so many ways. But here is an example of complete amazing support…

I've been on set the past couple of days but just wanted to send you some strength and positive energy. I can't relate to what you're going through, but I do sense in you a unique resolve to handle even the most challenging circumstances. Sending you my best. Peace”,

“Hi Mary; Sorry you're having a rough time. . I can imagine that it must be very hard for you. (It makes raising my 3 teenage boys seem e-z.) If you want to talk on the phone, please let me know. Hang in there.”

“I'm right there with you, Mary.Here's praying the help continues to come showering down upon you!!!”

“I am sorry that you are having such struggles in your life right now -- butI know that if God is with you, you will overcome whatever life throws at you. "With God nothing is impossible." You and I both know that, but sometimes it takes a lot to really know and trust it. The hard part is applying it to our lives, to put it into action. May I offer one thought? You are not failing at life right are succeeding at standing while the tempest of life swirls around you. Having the ability just to stand, in the midst of the storm, is a very courageous thing to do. And, even more courageous because your child depends on you to do so. Actually, I am moved and impressed at the way you are standing. So,not a failure at all. "Be still and know that I am God," is the requirement of the day.

“Mare, hang in there, you’re doing great things and you’re helping so many of us parents know that there are others out there who understand so thank you”.

“Mary, please feel free to use our mountain house anytime you guys want to get away”

So you can imagine how great I feel today. In addition, my son’s teachers have been extra helpful and understanding with us being late, and with me bringing shoes and socks because he couldn’t put them on without freaking out this morning, and to top it all off, my darling, sweet mom came and cleaned my house yesterday.

These are the things that are important to a person who are dealing with a chronic disability or going through a tough time.

Here are the things that have helped me:
1. Just a kind word that I’m doing the right thing
2. Extra prayer support – and they really do it.. don’t just say it!
3. Words of wisdom and understanding… or just told me to SHARE and VENT.
4. Help with my HOUSE
5. Help with my child- mom did homework with him… WHAT a relief! (And another family offered to take our son for a weekend… which was so generous… and VERY tempting! )
6. Gave my husband and I an opportunity to get away.. as a family or as a couple
7. Bought me lunch – and gave me an opportunity to just get OUT and feel NORMAL.

Were any of these expensive? Nope! They took time, and effort but not a lot of money.. the most was lunch….. and that was about $10 and can I tell you how grateful I was!? Immensely!

So today I sit here thankful, that I have friends and associates who are really, really good human beings. They took a minute out of their day to share their warmth with me and support.. and it has been amazing.

So now, because I’m so grateful, I have ½ hour and I’m going to send notes to people who I know that I can support.. and tell them that I am praying for them.. and that I care for them.

I saw this poem lately that also gave me strength:

Happiness keeps you sweet.
Trials keep you strong.
Sorrows keep you human.
Failures keep you humble.
Success keeps you glowing.
But only God keeps you going!

And God provides us friends! Thank you everyone! You got me through.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Social Skills 101 for Elementary Schools

Social Skills 101

I. Introduction – What makes an interesting and dynamic and polite person?

II. The Introduction
A. My name is…..
B. It’s nice to meet you (NAME)
1. Show enthusiasm!

2. Look in their eyes when you say their name

C. Response- “it’s nice to meet you too (NAME)!
1. Show enthusiasm!
2. Look in their eyes when you respond.

III. The Handshake
A. Nice firm handshake
B. No squeezing – NOT NICE
C. NO wimpy hands either!

IV. Listening Skills
A. Ask questions of others and show interest!
B. Make sure if you’re talking – that you share the conversation like cutting a pie!

V. Be Sure that Everyone in the Group has someone to talk to
A. Don’t leave anyone out!

B. Be kind to all people- remember: “Everyone is Different”
C. Be a good friend to others and you will have good friends!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

There is Life Without the Blackberry

I was in shock!!!

It changed my life!

I couldn’t believe it but then decided that it was just the way it was supposed to be from about a minute after I discovered it.

I walked in the bathroom to find my blackberry in the sink. Okay, not really. It was in the toilet! It fell out of my jeans when I sat down I guess!

How appropriate. I bet my husband was praying that’s where it would end up!

It was one day after I had called AT&T to get a new blackberry which was still under warranty and a new one was on the way. Only now, I couldn’t send the old one back, because now it had water damage.

What was I going to do? It was my life and connection to the outside world! I lived by email, texting and calling. And now?

Let me share!

I’ve been cooking!!! I’ve made beef stew and served 3 meals including lunch for my parents and dinner and lunch for my husband and me.

I made manicotti, which I served last night and have 2 more meals frozen.

I made a pork, pineapple, green pepper with brown sweet gravy which is delicious and will be served over rice tonight.

I made mini mushroom sandwiches which were browned in butter and brown sauce with provolone cheese!

What else? I’ve been cleaning!

I cleaned out and washed and got out my winter clothes which we only wear for about a month here in Florida… but I’m ready!

I’ve been making fires in the fireplace!

My son and I have had a blast using our fireplace for the first time in 2 years and figuring out what burns best and finding paper in the house that will start the logs on fire.

I’m learning how to use my camera!

I’ve been reading up on my new camera and learning how to post pictures and videos from it. Sounds easy but I just haven’t taken the time.. was probably too busy texting!

I’ve also been reading!

I read LEFT TO TELL, about the Rwandan woman who survived the Holocaust and have been reading cookbooks for recipes. I also have 2 other books lined up.

I even went to the library to get the books!

What I have in my head now is stuff like “how can I make my yard nicer” and “what can I make to eat for my family when I’m out of town starting tomorrow” I’m also thinking about clients and writing and my TV project/show.

I can’t say I don’t miss my blackberry and having the ability to be in silly conversations with friends who also are addicted to their blackberries, but I can say that I am getting a lot more done, and I do feel like I’m learning something different now, about a love for cooking that I had no idea was there! It just feels so good to me to actually create something that people enjoy and that I can create an atmosphere of a home where people can relax and enjoy some good food and wine!

I’m learning that without some of the stuff that I was doing before like relying on my blackberry for the connection to friends, that now I can focus more on my home to create a warm and loving home environment for my family. I thought I was doing that before, but now, I know I’m doing it!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Help! My Sales are Slumping and I don't Know Why!

Have you ever taken a look around your company and wondered what in the heck the other people were doing to bring in so much business to the company? You may feel that you’re on equal ground with the other sales person or people, but for some reason they are way ahead of you in the numbers in sales. What is it? Do they drink a magic potion every morning? Do they have a better territory or do they just have better customers?

Here are some questions to ask yourself to see where the gap is:

Are you a master at your craft? Consider the length of time that you’ve been with the company. Do you know everything that you can about your product and your service? How are your relationships with those within the company? Are there people who can do you favors, even for your clients, that you should get to know better? What about your competition? Do you know them inside and out? Do you know their weaknesses and their strengths? Do you know how to get a sell away from them in a tactful manner by emphasizing your strengths where they are weak?

What time of day do you get in the office versus your co-workers? Are you wondering in the office at 8:30 or 9am and settling in to have your coffee? Are they at the office at 7:30 and getting coffee and catching up on the news an hour before you even get into the office? Are they on the phones already when you’re just getting ready to look at the paper? Consider getting in earlier or planning your day the night before so you can get into the office and start communicating with your clients the second you get to the office.

How much is email taking you away from your work? Are you spending part of your day reading jokes, and watching YOU TUBE videos that are entertaining, but are keeping you away from your work? Did you know that even if you DON”T read your emails, just having to delete them is taking valuable time away from your work and making a profit for your company? Consider putting everything in the JUNK file that doesn’t pertain to business and put a sign on your desk that you’ll only check email 1x an hour or late in the day. See if this addiction that has hit most people in America can free up some of your time.

Have you had instability in your life this past year? Have you had major stress or changes in your life? Has anyone closed to you died? Have you changed jobs? Have you moved? Have you gone through a major life transition like a divorce or become and empty nester? Has anyone close to you been relying on you emotionally and you feel drained? Sometimes, our emotions can be dragging us down and we don’t even know it. If this happens to be you, consider getting in a therapy group or counseling, or finding a support group to help you process these changes and the emotions that follow. You can be doing everything you’re supposed to be doing in business, but the sadness you feel might be leaking through your attitude. Get support where you need it. None of us is an island and no one expects anyone to go through tramatic times completely alone.

How is your attitude? Are you depressed that your sales are sagging and you get down about that? Are you angry about something at work or do you have problem clients that you’re trying to avoid? How is your relationship with your boss and those in the office? Your attitude may be negative if you’re going through a slump and it’s going to take dramatic measures to get your attitude back in a place that is positive and care free. Consider listening to motivational tapes every morning on the way to work , in your car or when you get up in the morning. If you’ve got the news on, you’re probably getting more negative messages than you are getting positive messages, so you need to take control. This tiny step can change your sales figures literally overnight. For a great resource go to:

Are you a gabber or a closer? How much time are you spending socializing and reading or doing busy work versus spending time with your top customers or reading about sales or learning about your product? Start putting a clock by your desk to monitor your phone conversations and evaluate where your spending your time throughout the day. If you’re socializing more than your making calls to customers or working, then it’s time to alter some of your habits. If you need to connect with others emotionally, schedule 15 minutes a day to make your personal calls and keep them short and sweet. Time management is one huge area to be constantly on top of for long term success.

What are you listening to? What are you reading? If you spent 1 hour a day listening to a motivational tape or reading a book to enhance your learning, in one year, you’d probably triple your income by learning success secrets of the superstars. Go to the library and check out books and tapes. Turn off the radio and TV and start educating yourself every day. Trade great books with others, and keep a book with you at all times so when you find yourself standing in line or waiting for someone, then you can use the time wisely. You can become an expert in your field and 5 others in one years time!

Are you getting enough sleep? Often times we might get into bed in plenty of time to get a good nights sleep, but spending time with Jay Leno is often more enticing than turning off the lights. Eating well, exercising and sleeping enough are basic self care items but if one of these is unbalanced, then your body isn’t going to have the energy to keep it going when things get slow. The body will slow down and stop and then it takes 2x as much effort to get it going. Make sure you get at least 7-9 hours of sleep, drink plenty of water, take your vitamins and exercise at least 3 days a week.

I’m Unorganized but I know where everything is. Organized Chaos? That’s just an excuse for those of us who don’t have great organizational skills. And when you’re not organized, you spend precious time looking for things and trying to GET organized. What you need is a good system. So sit down with someone who can help you get a system in place, and then do your best to implement it and use it every week. Some sales people have an administrative person come in weekly to file, or to throw away things that aren’t useful any more. But they keep on top of things and it helps them throughout the week. This precious time saver can not only save time, but loads of frustration.

Are you in the wrong field? . Is there a chance that you stand on the sidelines longing to do something different and feeling jealous that you’re in the wrong field? If this is you, no matter how organized you get, you might never have the heart, soul and passion for your job. This might take some time for you to discover your true passion, but it can be done in mini steps by talking with others in other professions or at other companies, going to the bookstore to see what subjects intrigue you, and by searching the internet for other careers and jobs that might suit your personality better. Try things out first.. read about them, and study about them and then talk to people who are doing them. Perhaps you might have to take a salary cut to start a new career, but in the long run, you’ll be happier with doing what you truly WANT to do, rather than just working to bring home a pay check.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Losing Friends may Happen when Raising a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder

My child got diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder when he was 5 years old. Before that time, doctors told me that he’d grow out of his screaming and crying when I tried to dress him and that he was just a picky kid who was slow to move and to listen. Five years ago, doctors weren’t as familiar with the signs of Sensory issues, or the Autistic Spectrum, and they just classified my hyper son as ADHD.

Over the years, I’ve learned so many things that work for my son. We keep the house low on stimulation, with little TV, music or computers. I know that he takes time to transition so we make sure he wakes up really early every day, which means he has to get to bed early every night. Because he takes ADHD medication to get through school, he often can’t sleep at night so in addition to our night time prayers, he gets a melatonin to help him sleep. I know that if he doesn’t sleep well, that morning will be a disaster.

I also know that Jeremy needs a lot of activity which means that sports are a priority in our house. I have spoken to the teachers and explained that while he has inattention, that ADHD is not the core to his issues, it’s an underdeveloped system that is still building. It’s the body, not the brain that is the issue. Additionally, he has auditory processing disorder so we’re aware that he has to be told things a number of time and we have to get his attention first before talking.

All of this awareness took trial and error and thankfully, because we changed his diet, his defiance is mostly gone. That happened in a few short weeks, by getting the preservatives out, high fructose corn syrup out, and the vitamins into his system. We stopped doing white bread and gave him healthy alternatives. The difference in his behavior was and is remarkable. He can now eat a bunch of candy or chips and he’s off the wall within 15 minutes.

Imagine the complaining that we get from an 8 year old who wants to get high on candy like his peers. We have to set limits and we discuss it thoroughly. We let him have candy or sugar if there is nothing planned but outdoor activity. Otherwise, we tell him that he will have to live with his behavior and if he can’t control himself and if and when he goes a bit nuts while having a sugar high, which can be hyper or annoyed and whiney or uncomfortable somehow. The result is never fun.

Imagine a child though who has mostly gotten through a lot of these issues. At age 8, he’s able to mostly determine how to conduct himself and when he doesn’t, his mom is right there making sure he apologizes to the kids or to the parents or whomever. He is on ADHD medicine which helps his impulsivity and constant talking but there are days when he still has to apologize. But, he doesn’t keep repeating these things over and over. He finally gets the message usually by us taking away play dates. He changes his behavior immediately when he knows he’ll lose privileges.

So I guess I understand when I kept hearing our best friends slip when they were talking about the evenings their families got together and noticeably we weren’t invited. Over and over it happened this summer and my husband and I explained it away that they’re all on the same baseball team or all go to the same school. But then, last weekend at the Cub Scout campout, I realized how mean their boys were to Jeremy! Jeremy told me that they told him they didn’t want to play with him. They didn’t give a reason, they just told him to go away.

When we got home, I tried to put together a Halloween party for us all and mentioned that perhaps my friends could mention this to their sons and that whatever I needed to do to get Jeremy in line, I’d do. Their answer? “We need to talk”.

At first I told them I’d talk, and I shared with them by email that I’m sure that Jeremy was hurt, because I was hurt that they had stopped socializing with us, and that shouldn’t we learn how to deal with our differences? And regardless, no one should be mean in spite of our challenges. If it were me, I’d go right to the parent and tell him or her that their child was saying inappropriate things, or I’d go right to the child and share with them that saying hurtful things aren’t going to win friends and then demonstrate another way of doing it. I would have shared with them to come to me if Jeremy was saying anything or doing anything that wasn’t nice as well.

But, nope, my friends have chosen to not socialize with us unless they have to, and because of that, I’m now reevaluating whether I want to talk it through or even hang with them at all. After all it was them who heard me share my frustration of trying to figure my child out, and they knew how difficult my daily life was and were there as things got better and better. And I never dreamed that they’d decide that they’d stop seeing us because of it and can’t imagine that they think this was the right thing to do. And perhaps if they would have talked with me first, then I would have been a bit more open to hearing about how frustrating it was from their end.

Instead, my husband and I have discussed that some people just cut others off without saying anything about it, even if they’re your so called best friends. They don’t know what it’s like to raise a child with a disability and they would rather not deal with it. And even though I’ve told them I’ll talk with them about it, I feel like I’ve been kicked in the gut and I don’t even want to be around them right now. Perhaps in time, I’ll understand that they didn’t know how to discuss this with me in the first place and that they may feel that the kids need to get older before they should play together. But I’ll never understand why a person would not apologize for their child being rude or mean. It’s just a different way of handling things I guess.

We all grow in compassion when we go through trials and challenges and make it out on the other side. Perhaps I have had to lose our best friends temporarily so I can be of service to another family who will go through the same thing. It’s not fun, but perhaps its part of life when you’re dealing with a child who is a bit out of the box.

I found this quote that I thought was a great line:

A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out."~ Walter Winchell

And it made me realize, perhaps they weren’t really friends who would be there through thick and thin. That was the most hurtful thing of all that I thought they were real friends and instead they were just friends out of convenience not commitment.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Unloading the Stuff

Like many Americans, my jobs have been dramatically cut back this fall. I heard it time and time again, that the jobs have been cancelled and my services were not required. I noticed it slowly started happening this summer and saw the writing on the wall, even with outstanding contracts that were in place, companies were slowing down and stopping all of the spending. As an entrepreneur, I’ve had to now readjust my living and what that means is that we’re cutting back.

Out with the new cars, and I’m cutting back on all sorts of services that we just don’t need. At first, it was stressful to go through the bills and expenses to determine which ones I needed and which ones I didn’t. Now, it feels fresh and free. I’m starting to look at the tons of decorations in my home and wanting to collect things and put them all in a bag and send them to the Good Will. That’s exactly what I’m going to do too. I understand now that I was living with all of these things to make my life pretty or feel good, when in reality it was a lot of stuff to keep up with.

My husband and I have even decided that we are going to refinance the house and then sell if we can. We know we’re going to take a loss, but we also don’t want to be living with financial stress, so we’re of the mindset that we can and will rebuild, but from a much better place. A much more simple place!

All of this cutting back sincerely is exciting. I’ve realized that in living with a chronic disability like we have for many years that there is absolutely nothing in the world more important than our health and our peace of mind. We haven’t had much peace of mind lately until we decided to get rid of all of the “stuff” that drains our accounts and is supposed to really make us feel good, which it’s not.. its actually doing the opposite.

I feel light and uplifted now, and feel like the world is my oyster! I wonder if I want to find another place to live that will give my son more space to run around, and more kids to play with? I’m even thinking that we could move for a year or two to another location in the country, to somewhere small where the people are important to each other and not their things. It’s a fascinating concept to consider, and it’s exciting to think that we literally could just pick up and go if we found a place that we could feel our son would enjoy. He’s so independent that he can and does adjust to any kids any where. As long as he’s swimming and running and able to spend time outdoors, he’s happy as a clam. And the older I get, I’m reverting back to my childhood and those are the only things I really want as well!

I am craving the simple life and one without the stress of keeping up with the Jones’ and having to lead a life that is worthy of other people’s expectations. I just want to enjoy what I do, and enjoy my family and enjoy my friends. I don’t want to have to keep up with all of the gadgets we own, and do maintenance on everything, and always work on the house and the yard and.. whew.. I know if I go down that path, I’ll become exhausted. But trust me, I have as many material trappings as the rest of this modern world, and I just plain don’t want to keep them anymore.

I still desire to be successful, and my TV show is now underway and I truly believe that this will help so many people. This will be an answer to so many organizations…. It’s my passion and my cause, and I’m excited to continue down this path.

I know I’m blazing a trial that many, many others will be on soon. I’ll report in and let you know how things are going!

To our life.. living beyond the stuff!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Have You Posted a TWEET Today?

The hunger for being noticed, validated and connected runs deep in our culture, and now with thousands of people jumping on line to do video blogging through sources like You Tube, everyone can be seen across the world immediately, and the reality is that no one even has a “private life” anymore. Ten years ago President Clinton requested that people leave his private life out of the media. This would never happen today. People are now mixing personal life with their business life, and putting it on line for the whole world to see!

Recently, I’ve become engaged with which has become quite the “buzz” among many business professionals and individuals. According to their website, “Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?”

After signing up, the main purpose is to update your “Tweets” as much as you can. These mini messages are up to 140 characters in length so it forces the writer of the message to be short and concise. It’s almost like a real time mini blog or a crib note version of the real blog. You can link and control your Twitter account to your own social networking sites like Facebook, your cell phone, IM or most 3rd party applications by using designated Twitter commands. Twitter messages can sent out as text to cell phones.

Once you start inviting your own friends or business contacts, which you can do by uploading your data base or just selecting people you want to engage with on a regular basis without picking up the phone or having to email, you then can start “following” friends and they can start “following” you. Many people end up following the “stars” in their own profession, so they can learn a bit about them professionally and personally. It does appear that most people update it throughout the day, so they mix a bit of their personality in with their business conversations.

Imagine having to take a mini poll of your friends to find out who is going to a particular networking event or whether or not if anyone has any good ideas of where to take the boss to lunch? Or, you are finding you aren’t so creative at the moment and need to come up with a good idea, so you decide to throw a question out to your friends on Twitter. So, you write a “tweet” and post it and within minutes, several of your friends or associates fire back with different answers that are listed right before you. It’s a time saver and an efficient way of communicating, similar to texting but to a much larger group of people.
For the business person, there are many other ways to use Twitter. First of all, it’s a great way to alert your friends and customers about what is happening in your workplace any given time. It can announce upcoming events, a new post on your blog; to share resources, to make announcements that might also traditionally go out in a newsletter and generally to build and strengthen relations. Lee Odden of Top Rank Blog has conducted a reader poll asking how people use Twitter. The top three uses of Twitter as
· Sharing links to items of interest to your network (34%)
· Networking for new contacts (18%)
· Reinforcing current network contacts (16%)
A potential downfall that I see happening is similar to the blogging behind the scenes about companies. Since many people are using Twitter to communicate with friends throughout their work day on a real time basis, it might be wise to discuss with all employees about any confidential information that should not ever be discussed or written about in any form. Additionally, if you are sharing personal information along with professional, you always have to keep in mind your professional identity and reputation.
On the other hand, because people update their Twitter accounts quite frequently, you can start to see a pattern of their work habits, their personalities, what interests them, the causes they care about, information about where they go after work, and you start to understand them as a person on a different level. You even start to care about them and respect them for the amount of work that they seem to get done or for being such a caring family person. This is just one more way for our customers to engage with us as people, and not just as a business.
By building and maintaining your clientele and community through Twitter, you can create a fun, hip and edgy way to create a buzz around your product, service or company. And while you are having all of this fun, you can be engaging your potential customers not only as people but as fans.

How Things Work out When You Have Faith

It’s amazing, that a few weeks ago, I was talking to my husband that I was really ready to be working with friends. I’ve been working in coaching and training and Television for a very long time and while I love these things, I come and go out of peoples’ lives all of the time. I end up having a great time with people but then I’m gone and don’t see them again for a month or even 6 months.

So I was really longing to have a connection with a group of women who I could be 100% authentic with and be expressive and fun and rowdy or whatever mood hit at the time. Basically, I wanted a group of women to work with where I could have a great time and to learn and grow and to grow a business.

I had no idea that when I put that dream or wish out there how quickly it would develop.. and how exciting it would be.

I had been interviewed about two weeks ago for a website called In the interview, it came at a time where I was very uncertain about my next step. I’ve loved my TV tours that I do, and my lifestyle reporting, but I needed something a bit more full time and profitable. So, I started interviewing for jobs and went to a recruiter to get a full time sales job. I was ready to give up my life as I know it to go and work for a company where I could work and live a comfortable life here in Winter Park.

Little did I know what was in store!

In the interview I was completely open about where I was in my life and unsure of the next step. The founder of the social networking site, Robin Gorman Newman in NYC shared with me that she had recently felt the same way so we said we should do something together and how about a radio show? So, I loved the idea and jumped on it. The next day, I was talking with my good friend Liimu McGill in Philly, and she was sharing some great wisdom with me like she does and I said to her, “Liimu, you should have a radio show!” And she said immediately, “I”D LOVE A RADIO SHOW” and so I told her, “well, Robin and I are doing one.. and I think you’d be a great addition”!!! When I introduced the concept to Robin, she was gracious and excited. Now there were three.

Then, my friend Leslies’ name came coming to me over and over and over. So I called my friend Leslie Evans-Thorne, and told her, “Leslie, I don’t have time to talk, but your name has been coming to me over and over and over and so I want to tell you that my friends Robin, Liimu and I are going to do a radio show and are you in? Leslie responded, “yes, I’m in.. and have been wondering what my next step would be!” The group was now up to four!

The next day I was having lunch with two good friends Kelly Brown and Bruce Fagan. As I sat there and listened to the wise and wonderful Kelly, I said to her, “Kelly, I have created a radio show with four other women and it would not be complete unless you were a part of it. Are you interested?” Of course she said yes, and then Bruce, my dear friend who loves to be in the thick of everything exciting said he wanted in too! So there it was.. we had a group that was all like minded, open, 100% authentic, real, fun, engaging, and who had all been through numerous challenges and were still surviving in a manner that was uplifting to others.

The group was all introduced via emails and finally met this week on the phone. The initial meeting was nothing short of wonderful and entertaining and incredible and everyone felt the same. We all believe that this group is special and magical and I definitely believe that it has had a divine beginning! Seriously.. it came together so quickly and so naturally and it was almost supernaturally. And the personalities are so strong and it all flowed so nicely.

So that’s one of the great things I’ve learned. That when you’re tired of trying on your own, and you can’t quite get it all working right, to surrender your intentions to God, and let Him take a turn at running your life. I’ve had numerous conversations with Liimu about this, and surrendering is the hardest thing a person will ever do, but after you do, you find out that it is a much better, more peaceful way to live.

I’ll keep you all updated on the progress of the show. We’ll be looking for sponsors and for a network. It’s a special group, so we hope to find a home that will be of the most benefit to the most amount of people, because we know that millions of people need to hear the positive message that this group has to share.

Onward and upward!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Media Tips from an Insider

Our world is becoming more and more media savvy and it’s now becoming imperative that each of us has a handle on how to deal with video or TV interviews. They may run on YouTube or on our intranet sites, or on local or national TV. But more and more, companies understand their need to stand up and get ready for their next appearance. It can mean millions in your pocket if you succeed, and a catastrophe if you don’t.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have been on many sides of the media. I’ve done a little or a lot of every bit of it – from anchoring, reporting and producing to hosting and to being a guest. I’ve been on everything from ABC’s 20/20, Dateline and The Today Show to QVC. I’ve come across all sorts of producers, hosts and bookers. It’s always good to have an edge so here are some of the tips I’ve shared with the CEOs, authors, experts and spokespeople I’ve coached.

Find out as much as you can about the host before you go on the air. There is absolutely NO guarantee that you’ll be able to even say hi to the host of your segment before you go on the air if it’s live, but there is usually about a minute before the cameras come on that you can actually change the flow of the energy of the interview by commenting about something personal to the host of your segment. For instance, if you know that they’ve supported Breast Cancer Awareness as their personal cause, a quick mention of it will ingratiate you to the host who may or may have not taken a hard line with you before the interview. These people are pros and can go with the flow, and that is one way for YOU to be in charge! IF you are booking the segment yourself, do the research on all of the reporters/anchors bios in advance because you do not know who will actually conduct the in studio interview.
Know your message inside and out. If you have something controversial to say, you’re probably going to be more of interest to the media in the first place. However, you are also more of a target for the anchor to show you up. They can and will pull tricks on you at the last possible minute if they’re personally not in favor of your position. I’ve seen it happen numerous times. They act extremely passive or friendly to the guest before air time and the second the camera goes on, their energy triples which is enough to make anyone jump out of their seat, and then they are on the attack. These are things that a media expert grows accustomed to, however, for a newbie, it’s extremely intimidating.
With your message, drill in your head three main points that you’d like to get across. It’s quite possible that your interviewer will not follow the original questions that you MUST provide to the producer of the segment. If you’re an author, something else might catch the attention of the anchor that may go down a totally different path. Keep in mind, you are there to inform, to educate or to influence behavior, so your goal will be to bring your answer back to your main three points. Watching political candidates will give you a great model of how to do that. They often dodge difficult questions and pound home the points THEY want to get. For the listener, this can be frustrating, but for the guest whose job it is to use that 2 minutes as effectively as possible, it is imperative that he gets the sound bites in that he or she desires.
Realize that if you’re hemming and hawing for one to two seconds in the beginning of the segment that the anchor probably will cut you off. Their job is to keep the interview engaging and informative and if the guest gets their brain stuck looking for words, the anchor will act as if the guest just said the most brilliant thing in the world yet cut you off immediately. This is why you must know your message and push it through from the beginning.
Live TV can throw anyone off if you’re not aware of all of the distractions that are likely to occur. When the camera turns on you, all you focus on is YOUR MESSAGE. It doesn’t matter if there is a bomb going off in the studio or someone starts yelling. Your job is to continue with what you are saying. This takes practice in front of a camera with obstacles happening to intend on cutting you off or tripping you up. This is not what an anchor wants of course, however, no one can control whether or not the next segment has to do with a crying baby, a yelping dog or a machine that goes off at the wrong moment.
Your job is to bring value! When a reporter starts interviewing you, you need to be thinking about delivering information that will be of value to your customers, and NOT be thinking about promoting your product or your services. If you’re good at what you do, people will find you and the producers will provide your resources to their viewers. Do NOT promote yourself in any way unless it’s for a cause and at the end of the segment or if you are asked to mention your website or phone numbers.
Look at the reporter or the host. How many times have you seen “media professionals” take over from the host and start to talk to the camera? That is an absolute NO NO! If you are the host, then you can look in the camera, however if you are there as the guest, be respectful of the rightful host and look at the host and NOT THE CAMERA!
Be clear what your intention for the audience to do is. For instance, do you want them to take action? Why? How can they do it? If your job is to influence them, then you must appeal to both sides of their brain when doing it. Do not just give an opinion. Give a statement of fact along with your opinion backed up by hard core stats. This will make you sound more prepared and articulate. Additionally, request that people take action and give them easy steps, 1, 2, and 3.
Get your point across quickly. This is likely one of the most difficult things to do. Many people are not trained to articulate their main points in 20-30 seconds but when dealing with TV, you are shooting for the pithy SOUND BITE. These sound bites can be 10-15 seconds long so it would be wise to write these in advance and practice accordingly.
Work with a media coach. This is your best chance to become more familiar with the tactics and techniques used by some of the anchors. Some people are fine when standing before an audience, yet once the camera turns on, they freeze. A media coach will size you up from your clothes to your message, and they’ll engage you in different situations over and over so when the real interview happens, you will be an old pro.

No one knows when a producer or reporter might be calling them for a tip or a statement. On the other hand, if you’re seeking press, it’s best to be prepared for whatever comes along. Regardless, we are now a media driven society, and its time to step up to the plate, smile and give it your best shot. Hopefully you’ll be prepared and not strike out, but strike gold!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Why We Love Sarah Palin!

We seem to be living in an exciting time! On the one hand, many families are feeling the economic crunch, struggling to meet the bills, and stressed over not having enough at the end of each month. It’s now hitting middle America and many of the people who have never had to struggle financially before are now watching their budgets.

On the other hand, we have a political race that is causing coffee talk even with the most non political among us. People seem to now know which side of the fence they walk after viewing both of the political conventions.

All of the candidates have many wonderful qualities and stand for important issues. Each one of them has had many trials and triumphs and have led well in their given environments. From Obama’s miraculous rise to fame almost overnight and running an amazingly successful campaign to the long standing political stable, Joe Biden who beat brain cancer, to John McCain and the inner strength to defend America as a very young man and to survive the torture he endured makes us all want to be better people. They’re all individually inspiring!

But to see our newest rock star, Sarah Palin take the stage before all of America that night, when she looked right in the camera and right into my eyes, and told us parents who have special needs children that she’ll be a friend and an ADVOCATE in the WHITE HOUSE for us? I was sold!

My political background was determined by the first job I got on Capital Hill. I had to decide whether I was a Republican or a Democrat and because my family was split right down the middle, I could have gone either way. But I ended up getting a great job on the Subcommittee of Criminal Law on the Judiciary Committee and working for Republican Senator Paul Laxalt from Nevada. I loved the entertainment factor of working on Capital Hill and meeting all of the celebrities and seeing them fight passionately for causes. I didn’t love the policy work or the creating of laws. I loved the people doing these wonderful things! It’s no wonder I got out of designing policy and got in the promotion field of Celebrities and Causes.

Even a few months ago I was on the fence. I love Hillary Clinton, and I like Obama! I see the crisis in America and I understand why people want change. I also knew John McCain was a war hero. And as a proud American living in NYC on the dreadful day of 9/11, I knew how important the military is and how we need to continue the fight to keep our country safe.

But everything and I mean EVERYTHING changed for me the second Sarah Palin was nominated. It was if something inside of me shifted. Here she is, a young and attractive and in shape young mom of young kids, is running a state effectively, standing up to the big boys and winning!!! For each one of those accomplishments I look at her in awe. I’ve gone up against the good ol’ boy network, and even though I consider myself a strong woman, I wasn’t able to win and I opted to go another direction. But not Sarah! She took it like a pro and I love it that she continues to share that story to inspire all of us to fight for positive change like she did.

Then look at her! She’s gorgeous!!! And she’s not trying to use her beauty to get anywhere, but behind those glasses and her hair that she wears up, is a very attractive woman. Think about the hours she’s had to work at it based on having all of those kids. Yes, then there’s the kids. She’s got five of them. And to hear that she delivered a baby the day after giving a speech and had to fly home? I almost ran to the computer to start a fan club!!

She’s got a successful and cute husband who she calls “my guy” and a daughter who opted not to get an abortion when she probably could have. She admits the family is a normal family and yet, when they held that darling baby up and he’s a Downs baby? It was the thing that gave me the deep compassion for Sarah as a woman. I know the struggles of facing an unhealthy pregnancy and it’s a very emotionally difficult time to know that your child might suffer through life. Yet, Sarah worked all the way through her pregnancy and now has a beautiful child to share with the world.

All of those things together have touched me deeply. I’m inspired when I look at her and think about how mentally tough she has had to be, by enduring against all of the obstacles she’s had in her life. She gracefully dealt with the crisis of alerting the world about her 17 year old daughters unplanned pregnancy without crying and being dramatic or apologetic. Because of Sarah’s example, I want to quit complaining about getting up early to work out, having to cook home made everything because we have a special diet in our home, and also having to deal with the struggles we’ve had with having a special needs child on the Autistic Spectrum. I know I am not alone when struggling to stay awake to finish my work and know I will be up again in 5 short hours. I now know I can get mentally tougher and survive. I know that I can, because I see someone who has.

Sarah Palin is a woman who is doing it all. She speaks to me as a woman, as a business professional, as a mother, as a wife, as an athlete and as a advocate of special needs children.

Our country needed a Sarah Palin. She’s a bright star in our world that can inspire all of us to greater heights and to achieve things we never thought possible.

We need Sarah Palin to help lead our country. And now Sarah Palin needs us!

Hi Mary: I just read a few of your recent blogs. I love your honesty and openness! We often hear how a few people are like their public image but many have a public persona completely different from reality. What you see in Mary is what you get! I think that openness makes one more drawn to you as you honestly say what is on your mind even if it makes one upset and you discuss personal stuff about your life as it unfolds. Have a good night and maybe get 6 hrs of sleep instead of 5 hrs. :) Bruce

Hello and good evening.
I just read and enjoyed your article on Sarah Palin which I found on .
We are going to release an self-published mini-book on Sarah Palin with a collection of articles with different views on her. These will be articles written by many different writers with a wide range of views on her.
I would like to ask for you authorization to include you article in this collection.
In exchange I would include the part about you and your website links.
Could you please let me know if you agree.
Thank you in advance for letting me know as soon as possible.
Best regards,
Monica Kraenzle

Great blog on Sarah P!! Some of your best writing....-- Tim Van AntwerpOrlando FL

Hey Mary, I am sure you have gotten some really hateful responses to your article about Sarah Palin. I know that my excitement about her has not been well received in certain circles. I want to say "ditto" to your comments and then some. Sarah Palin has also encouraged me to get up and get going. Just knowing her story and that she exists in this world has inspired me to be better at all I do. Thanks for your words. Val Clemente

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Inspirational Slow Swimmer

This was written last year but never submitted-

Every once in a while a person captures your attention that is out of the ordinary. Perhaps you see someone treating someone exceptionally well, or a mommy happily playing with her baby or a person who struggles for every step. Occasionally, those moments can make you send up a silent prayer of thanks, give you a chuckle, or even make you stand there in amazement at what you just witnessed.

I’ve had a few experiences like that on the road on my trip. Today I was in the airport and spotted a bellman energetically walk up to a lady in a wheel chair. He was a tall, thin, African American man about 30+, and she was an elderly Caucasian woman probably over 80. The way he talked with her was as if the wheel chair was just an accessory and he hardly noticed. He said, “Hey! How are you today?” And that is when I started watching. He truly treated her with tons of respect and love. He didn’t know her apparently but he treated her so nice I was compelled to mention the guy to the man checking my ID and boarding pass. I was just amazed that he would treat her so well.
I was somewhat overcome with gratitude that there are such caring people in the world.

Another incredibly impressive person was a swimmer swimming in the lap pool during open swim in Indianapolis. No one was in his lane but him. He took forever to get across the pool because his arms were contorted in a way that didn’t allow his left arm to get up much beyond his stomach and his right arm wasn’t much better. He obviously had M.S or something. The thing that impressed me over and over was that he never stopped! I mean that as much of a struggle that it took to get across the pool every single lap, he never once stopped at the wall to take a breather. He kept GOING and GOING and GOING and GOING! He was like the energizer bunny!

I wanted to stop to talk with him, to ask him how he did it. He never stopped but what I wanted to know is what does he think about? Does he focus on what he can’t do? Or is he pushing himself to accomplish things that no one would expect? What motivates him? How did he get so much determination in his soul? Why wouldn’t he just take a break? He was working so hard!

I asked the life guard about him. I fantasized about making a movie around the swimming pool of a guy who struggles for every stroke and every breath, yet he continues to swim. The motivation was a dream from long ago fired by support from his mom that he had talent and should never, ever quit; even if his talent didn’t look like the normal swimmer in the water.

The lifeguard didn’t know much about him other than the fact that he swam there all the time. The other thing that the lifeguard told me was that the man could walk completely normally. And he happened to walk out while I was doing my own laps, so I never got to speak with him.
It is my belief that we come into contact with people for a purpose. Sometimes it’s to listen to us, sometimes to challenge us and sometimes to inspire us. If we spend some time looking at who comes into our path every day, we’ll be more aware of the many lessons that life can teach us. If we happen to pay attention, even to the ones who might get in our way, because they might be the ones that might inspire us the most!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Learning About Social Media

I consider myself incredibly fortunate. I have a column in the Orlando Business Journal. It’s been going on for about a year and it runs between 1-3 times a month depending upon how much space they have and how many columns of mine they like. I’ve submitted numerous columns that they didn’t accept and never told me why. So, I keep sending new articles and am always excited when I open the first page to the table of contents and see my column called GET CONNECTED.

In the beginning I wrote about futuristic stuff and then it became a lot of my communication coaching and then they asked me to write about Social Media and technology. So, that is now my assignment. I’m excited about it because it forces me to learn about the new Social mediums which I would probably never do if I didn’t really have to. But I’ve found that I really enjoy exploring on the computer and seeing who is doing what and how they’re using the many social networking tools.

Today I’m researching TWITTER. It’s a way for all of your “connected” friends to follow your every move. I think I’m really going to enjoy it, since I have grown addicted to my blackberry just like nearly every other person. So far, I have 4 people following me, although I’m not sure really how to follow others yet, and I haven’t been able to locate my account even though I’ve searched for it, so I’m not sure how others are going to find me. Still, I’ll plug away at it for a few minutes here and a few minutes there until I can write coherently about the subject.

As I research, I find more and more topics that I want to explore and so I feel like I’m discovering a new frontier. It’s very exciting, especially since most people in my age bracket aren’t playing around with these tools like people who are in their 20s and early 30s. So, in a sense, I feel that I’m keeping trendy and edgy by learning these networking avenues and I’m able to pass along this information to my coaching clients. For that I am grateful.

It’s a bit time consuming, and each time I dig into one new tool it brings me to new programs called applications which leads me down a whole new path. In order to “decorate” my pages with the subjects that are of interest to me then I have to read a bit about what they’re promoting in order to see if I “connect” with their message.

I’ll document my learning, or my absence of learning, and I’ll continue to update my Facebook and my Twitter accounts as I grow comfortable and get in the habit of relying on them as a networking and entertainment and learning source.

I hope you’ll take the journey with me and add these tools to your own sales and marketing plan. Make sure you invite me to be your friend!!! And you can become mine!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Have you Written Your Book?

How many times have you thought about writing a book? Or how many times have people suggested to you, “wow.. you know so much about that subject, have you ever considered writing a book”?
According to Publishers Weekly, about 3000 books are published every day. This is a combination of e-books, international books, and the good along with the bad. There is certainly an information overload, and you may ask yourself, “does the world really need another book on the subject?”
My answer is YES! Think about all of the time you devoted to learning all of the information that you have accumulated! Consider the years in school, then with clients and the many hours of mistakes you probably made getting to the point that you were a genius in the subject matter! Think about all of your own “techniques” that could possibly save another person time and money!
What would you do with your book? Consider selling it on the internet? Consider self publishing and using it as a calling card or part of your bio! Or consider giving it away to your valued customers about what you’ve learned about your industry!
One of my recent acquaintances is a dedicated softball player. He probably plays 100 games a season on two leagues – one through his work and one through this town. He also has coached numerous teams, including at the local high school. His record is incredibly impressive and he has techniques that are simple and highly effective. Splattered through out his workday conversations in a sales capacity are mini stories of how a team would play on a field.. and it always relates back to real life somehow as sports often do. After hearing his passion and his unique twist on the game, I suggested he put together a pamphlet for others who are in his position. After all, he’s dedicated about 20+years to the sport and although he doesn’t consider himself an author, he certainly has a lot of expertise to share with others.
Think about it. Even though In the last 30 years mankind has produced more information than in the previous 5,000 according to Reuters Magazine, there has never been another you, with your experiences, with your clients and your successes or failures. It just might be you who helps others brake through to the next level by sharing what you know.
I’m writing one now and while its taking time, it’s also rewarding to see my experiences spill onto the page and I know through my own struggles, successes and experiences, it’s bound to help others learn something faster than what I learned it.
Here is a great quote by William Glasser:
"We learn...
10% of what we read
20% of what we hear
30% of what we see
50% of what we see and hear
70% of what we discuss
80% of what we experience
95% of what we teach others”

Maybe it’s time to get your book out there! I look forward to learning from you!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Feed Your Children Organic Food- Our blossoming Boys are in Trouble!

Okay.. how do I say this lightly? Ummm OUR YOUNG BOYS ARE GROWING BOOBS!!!

I know.. it’s disgusting! But it’s true! A few weeks ago in Orlando Florida I went to a YMCA swim meet. I’d say now about 1 out of every 5 boys over the age of 10 is now growing tiny buds that are like a little girls. Then, when they get to be about 15, they’ve got breasts.. they’re small but they are definitely breasts!

Even the boys who are in good shape and muscular all everywhere else, have swollen nipples or tiny breasts that just look strange. Many of these kids are overweight and so the over all look is more chubby and looks better.. but MAKE NO MISTAKE..


PARENTS… especially of kids who are under 16 – you have to feed your kids organic food as much as possible. I checked in with a few parents and grandparents of these kids and told them point blank what I was noticing. They noticed it too but just weren’t really sure. I said to each, “oh, yes.. be sure.. your son has grown breasts! Many of the boys are… and you have GOT to get him off of whole and regular milk”. Most of these parents told me that their boys guzzle milk like it’s going out of style. No, it’s not organic.

Is it just the milk? Is it the hormones in all of the other food like the meat and cheese? Perhaps it’s a combination, but after seeing all of these sweet and innocent darling boys with BREASTS, you can better believe that my son is going to be eating and drinking organic whenever possible!!!

PLEASE send this letter on to EVERYONE you know who is raising a SON! SAVE your children from this humiliation and embarrassment. However, I’m guessing if we don’t stop this epidemic, that someone will be designing a male bra that will end up being cool.

Hey.. I should call the BIG IDEA and pitch it to Donnie!!!

Seriously, it’s an epidemic, and I haven’t heard anyone talk about it. Send this letter to your news outlets and lets let people know what a national crisis we’re facing. Or we’ll be growing SHE MEN in the US, while the other countries laugh at us.

Here are a few things we can do:

BUY ORGANIC for them.. and ask the schools to buy it too!!!!
Bring your kids to a local swim meet where you have hundreds of kids in their bathing suits.. and see for yourself and let your kids see what will happen to them if they don’t go organic!
Make your kids take VITAMINS –Omega 3, 6,9, B6, B 12, Magnesium, and a multivitamin. Having the good stuff in the system can off set a bit of the crap we’re feeding them.
GET EDUCATED! READ LABLES. When you put preservatives in, you’re hurting their brains, and their bodies.

Please feel free to send me your stories of any boys who are suffering with this embarrassing situation. It only takes one person to scream loud enough to wake others up!!! I’ve got my hands full.. but can you be that person?

Send stories to Mary Gardner at and put in the title- MALE BREASTS

"Boys go through hormonal changes that cause this. Have you spoken with a pediatrician?" dg

Mary's comment- "My pediatrician is the one who told me that food has nothing to do with ADHD... after trying everything else with my son, and then finally changing his diet to organic and little white bread and added about 10 supplements every day.. I have a totally new son! No one can ever tell me that lie again! Food and vitamins have EVERYTHING to do with the symptoms he had. And I never saw male breasts on kids when we were growing up. And I have always been a swimmer... so I would have noticed!"

Comment from LYNN:
Hello Mary Gardner!
Are you up for a friendly rebuttal?! I read your article and could not help
but share a few thoughts with you...
Thrilled to hear Jeremy's great progress with KK -- hope to see you soon.
And "hi" to Sway.
Best regards,
P.S. Email me the info about your party -- love to come.
As I was reading your article I wondered whether my shoulders would be broad
enough to take on yet another burden of responsibility for one of my
children having a condition (a "disgusting" one at that!) that I could have
prevented simply by making better food choices for them.

I am a proponent of natural medicine, organic foods, and healthy lifestyle,
especially for our children. In recent years, I have applauded my friends
as they question the traditional medical community, not only about the
over-use of antibiotics, but about diagnoses of varying proportions,
cheering and encouraging them to take control of their own and their
family's health and medical treatment. It is exciting to see a new kind of
medical practice taking shape in our country; one where many patients are
accepting the responsibilities of maintaining a healthy body, mind, and
spirit. Quitting smoking, eating better and smaller portions of food,
taking yoga, getting that annual PSA or GYN checkup are all examples of
taking this responsibility seriously. Can we agree that pesticides are bad?
Absolutely. Can eating organic foods, thus reducing our exposure to toxic
elements, make a difference in our overall health? Yes. Is there a new
phenomenon of adolescent boys growing breasts because of exposure to
hormones and pesticides in the foods they eat? No. Relax your shoulders,
moms and dads.

The truth is, development of breast tissue in adolescent boys is called
pre-pubescent gynecomastia, and affects up to 70% of boys. Due to the
increase of all types of hormone levels caused by the onset of puberty, the
liver is taxed to process all of the hormones. What the liver can't process
turns into estrogen; thus, boys may temporarily develop breast tenderness,
and/or small buds. It is not uncommon for one breast to be larger than the
other. It is not abnormal for the breast tissue to feel like a small lump,
and very rarely is it anything bad, like cancer. In most cases these
symptoms will resolve in one to two years. Children should be reassured
that this is a normal and common, though not well-known, part of puberty,
and can be encouraged to wear a swim-shirt or T-shirt if they are
self-conscious. A confirmed diagnosis of gynecomastia can be made by a
doctor if the child or parents are concerned. Obesity can contribute to an
increase in the size of the breast tissue. With the epidemic increase of
obesity in our country, it is likely that what you are noticing among
adolescent boys at the YMCA is more evident than in years past, but
gynecomastia is nothing new, and our sons are not "growing boobies."
Limiting their exposure to growth hormones and pesticides can help reduce
added strain to the liver that is already being overworked by processing the
raging hormones in their bodies brought on by puberty.
In addition to pre-pubescent gynecomastia, there is a condition called
adult-onset gynecomastia. One article I read stated, "Recent increases in
the use of steroids, certain anti-depressants, acid reflux, blood pressure
and prostate drugs are causing a wave of adult-onset gynecomastia." Other
sources also cited various illegal drugs as causes, including marijuana,
heroin, and cocaine, as well as alcohol consumption. Also, excessive
amounts of soy in the diet could be a culprit (soy is full of the female
hormone, estrogen). For the inquiring mind, there is a great deal of both
medical and support information available for this disorder. I am attaching
links to several websites for more information on gynecomastia.
As parents, we have plenty of things to worry about concerning our children.
Thankfully, many of us are well-educated on the benefits of limiting
exposure to pesticides by eating organic foods. We are also fortunate to
have access to a wealth of vital information at our fingertips via the web.
Along with that, however, comes the added responsibility of discerning valid
data from that which is not, and determining whether and how we communicate
that to others.
For more information on gynecomastia:
or search "boys growing breasts" in your browser
Lynn Green

COMMENT- "Love the comment.. and I'm wondering who did the research, and who supported these doctors to give all of these stats? I"m sorry.. but this is just NOT normal. Well, maybe it's normal for today's standards.. but when "we" were growing up... there weren't any boys having hormonal changes like what you're telling me is normal today. Doubtful these kids parents are using drugs as one article suggests... and I'm noticing male breasts on kids who are skinny and in shape!! So it's not just the fat or overweight part.
I'm guessing that we're becoming used to seeing it.. and that it isn't as alarming to the teens of today b/c they're used to seeing it.. but for a mom of an 8 year old.. who is just now seeing boys without shirts for the first time.. I'm completely SHOCKED that other people aren't freaking out like I am. I don't want to make the kids feel badly.. it's not their fault and I"m not blaming the parents.. but I am trying to wake people up to say.. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.. stop feeding our kids HORMONES in the meat and the milk!!! "

FURTHER COMMENT AFTER TALKING WITH Dr. Kirti Kalitis of Center for Integrative Health and Medicine of Orlando (medical + homeopathic physician)

I spoke with Dr. Kalitis and shared with him my observations about the boys.. and he said things I wasn't surprised about. 1. It's controversial within the medical profession and "this subject" is pretty much off limits in public!2. They've changed what is "normal" versus what is "not normal" to keep up with the changes in the kids bodies. But.. he said that there are way more children with symptoms than what the medical profession is stating. He asks.. what is really normal and what is abnormal? This is the debate now... homeopathic versus medical profession. 3. The homeopathic profession is all over it.. ... and attribute it to the bovine hormones in the milk and meat, and the PLASTICS believe it or not. Also, the amount of SOY in the food products is creating extra estrogen in the systems. This is found in many soups and canned foods. The latest issue of Natural Awakeings.. the local alternative magazine has a big article on the changes of kids and the foods to avoid. 4. He's glad people are talking about it.. its the only way people are going to create changes!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Speak Your Mind!

Imagine that you’re about to enter the boardroom and you know that the president of your company is going to oppose the idea that you’re bringing to the table. You know though, that your idea will work, because you’ve seen it work before, yet you’re new at the company and aren’t quite sure how you’ll be received? How do you present your idea without sounding like a naysayer?

Or, you’ve got some bad news to share with your spouse. You’ve agreed to go on vacation but you’re now being told you have to work during that time. How are you going to present your side when you know how upset your spouse it going to be. How can you phrase it to cushion the blow?

What about at work? Perhaps there is someone who is more outgoing, more aggressive than you and seems to always come up with all of the bright ideas. You want to appear to be an eager and hard working employee who is making a great difference and bringing value to the company, yet you feel that the other personalities in the room squash yours. How can you get a word in edge wise and how can you get your brain to think of these remarkable things on the spot and do it without sticking your foot in your mouth and telling the other employees what you REALLY think???

Here are a list of ways to make sure that you’re prepared to make a good impression on those who you communicate with.. .even in sticky situations!

Realize that there are always going to be difference of opinions, and learning to present your views in a way that is non confrontational is definitely something worth learning! Make it your goal to remain respectful always of others in every situation if possible.
Hear the others out. The old saying rings true, “they don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Ask questions about the others opinions and ideas and really seek to understand where they are coming from. Seek to clarify any points you might not grasp at first. Use words like “share with me/us what you like about this idea….”

Understand other peoples’ motives! They want to feel good! Does that mean the person wants to look good? Do they want to sound brilliant? Do they have a reputation of being creative? What ever it is, endorse the positive. Tell them that their ideas are good, or smart or creative and that you understand why they feel the way they do.

When it’s time to bring up your idea- chose your words carefully!
When you present the ideas, make sure you’ve understood and endorsed them, then suggest some other alternatives… “Here is one idea that I’ve seen work…. Or .. “in addition to what we’ve already discussed, here are a few more ideas that I’ve researched and would love to share with you.”

Lastly; PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!! If you’re not getting a chance at speaking your mind or if you’re great at sticking your foot in your mouth, do what the pros do: PRACTICE BEFORE YOU SPEAK!!! If you can find out the subject of the meeting in advance, do it. But ALWAYS come prepared to the meetings with something brilliant to add to the group or to the person. If you’re being drowned out, then practice projecting your voice and looking like you have authority about it. Additionally besides HOW you speak, think about WHAT you speak about! Always think about bringing VALUE to those you communicate with. And PAPER IS POWER! If you can leave behind some information in the written form, you’ll have left a great impression!

Learning to engage with others quickly, easily and effectively takes time and a bit of planning to make it sound or appear as smoothly as the pros. But if you do learn to communicate easily under difficult situations, your co-workers, friends and relatives will respect you and appreciate your efforts and will want to celebrate you, and not just tolerate you!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hanging out with the Techies

Today my husband invited me to lunch with his techie team. Well actually, I invited myself to his lunch because one of the guys he works with that I wanted to meet was celebrating a birthday. So, my husband was fine bringing me along with the 10 guys and one gal to the Mellow Mushroom in Winter Park. I wanted to meet Ryan Price because he leads several conferences in and around the Orlando area for Blogging and for networking purposes in the technical fields. We have emailed back and forth and I thought today would be the perfect time to meet him in person.. on his birthday!

What an education! Between the 10 of them talking about Blogging, video software, I-Phones, Twitter, techie conferences, social media thrown in with some programming language and Project management, my head was full after about and hour!

But it was so fun! As a novice to technical language but someone who soaks it all up so I can stay up on trends, it was a blast to hang out and listen to them. They’re programmers who have a personal interest in social media as well as doing it for their jobs.

For me, it was so much easier hanging with them for an hour than reading a techie magazine, and easier to pick up on the language. They gave me content for an upcoming business article and ideas for others.

Hanging with those outside your own industry can give your own creativity a boost and sharpen your own knowledge about something that might be out of your comfort zone but that is interesting.

What a great lunch! I’m definitely planning on spending more time with these guys as they banter during their lunches about hot technical advances in the field of social media. Stay tuned to upcoming blogs and articles for the OBJ on this fun topic!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Coaching the CEO in Transforming their Company

Looking back over the course of my career in coaching for the past 15 years, I’ve noticed one thing. The older I got, the older my clients got. And the more successful I got, the more successful my clients became.

I’ve realized that age does have some advantages, and one of them is in learning from the many mistakes along the way. Somewhere it happened to me, that I lost the ego of having to look good to people, and now have the ability to completely set foot in another’s shoes and sense what they are experiencing at the moment. I believe this gift has developed over time, and through all of the experiences I have had, coaching so many people. I’ve had excellent training for years and years, and as a result of using all of that training, I’m now able to sit with a CEO or an executive, with only myself and my intuition. What happens as a result is nothing short of miraculous!

This past week I was able to work with two CEOS of mid sized companies who are leading teams of people. Both have had a tremendous amount of success in their companies but they now want to go from being good to fantastic. They want to transform their companies and have longer reaching impact on the world in which they live, not just on their immediate customers.

With such lofty goals, the only place to start is by starting with the CEO. Where are you in your life? Tell me about who you are? What is your essence? What makes you tick? What has gotten you to this place in your life at this point in time? Who were your early role models? How did you know you were able to have the ability to lead like you have? Where do you feel you need to grow to take your company to the next level?

As I’ve gotten to know these CEOs and understand the commitment for excellence they’ve each shared in their lives, I was able to pull out values that they each had chosen to live their lives by. Although each were different and had different styles, the words just flowed from me to tell them who they were in the world. Committed, champion, directed, focused, sincere, loyal, intelligent, fair, or compassionate, warm, and concerned. They both had employees they’ve nurtured along the way and lead teams and were involved with the community.

Both came to a place in their coaching though where they realized that in order to go to the next level in their businesses, they needed to develop other traits and characteristics that would fit into the new roles they needed to fulfill. As a CEO they need to be a visionary for the company, and they need to inspire those around them. They need to be able to motivate the troops and to speak with authority and conviction.

How were they each going to do that when they were trying to figure out the words themselves… or the mission for their company?

So we started with them writing a personal mission statement for themselves, and for their companies. We wrote a vision for where the company would be heading and a purpose for who the company is in the world.

We worked on looking at how transformation starts. It starts by acknowledging our strengths and weaknesses, and understanding where we have room to grow. In learning to inspire others, we have to start focusing on the needs of others.. and considering what motivates others? Understanding that whether or not the people we’re communicating to are another CEO of a large firm, or the mom who is out with the girls for the day, that we need to have the ability to teach our staff to meet others where they are. And the CEOS understand the need to teach by example.

The topics that we coach on are vast. From customer service to team building to leading meetings and speaking extemporaneously, to media appearances, to upgrading our vocabulary or changing the types of books that we read. Evolving into a CEO who sees their job at helping others transform is a big task. And it takes a person who has courage to look at where they need to grow. It takes a person who is willing to let the ego slide and to face our fears one step at a time.

It has been a pleasure to come to a place where I am able to take this journey of transformation with these impressive individuals. I feel honored that they trust me to lead them on this path of strategic business planning and cash flow, but by doing in a way that touches people positively and not working to milk the employees so the executives can become rich.

These individuals want great companies, who have apostles and evangelistic employees who spread the word about their great company being great! To me, that’s a great place to put my time, and I feel joy and purpose in working with other individuals who see their role in the world as a lot more than all of the material goods they can accumulate.

The best way to transform our companies is to transform ourselves. And the quickest and fastest way to do that is by working with an individual who can speak to us in truth.

Meet them where they are, and take them on a journey that will last a lifetime and that will inspire millions of people. I’m beginning to see my own purpose become more clear, in the eyes of the CEO.