It's been awhile since you received a newsletter from me. 2017 has been a different sort of year, nudging me to practice what I teach: allow the Universe to present options then follow my intuition.
In January, I decided I needed a break from the magazine and radio program hustle and bustle. It was a great experience for me and I could feel the need to move in a different, unknown direction.
Also in January, I received a call to increase my participation in Rummage. I am now a Vice-Chair of the Rummage sale which means I rummage full-time for six weeks, twice a year. It's a big time committment and it continues to fill my heart.
In February, I joined Toastmasters and in July agreed to serve as our club's Vice President of Education. I love the supportive environment of Toastmasters, the opportunity to help others in their Toastmasters journey and the possibility of honing my speaking and presentation skills.
At the end of Spring Rummage in May, my mother fell and broke her hip. She endured surgery, 5 days in the hospital and nearly a month in rehab. My father was happy to have her home but there were new challenges. I spent part of my summer helping my parents.
With a big trip to Disney planned, I was motivated to find caregiving services for my parents. I was relieved to find a Home Health Aide that could support Mom and give Dad some relief. I was also thrilled to share my Disney Vacation Club experience with Kevin and his family. We had a fantastic trip and it was exactly the break that I needed.
When you are in the middle of caregiving or supporting a caregiver, you start to think that there must be resources and perhaps a better way. I discovered a Certified Caregiving Consultant course. I hope to finish the certification this year and be able to help others with their caregiving journey.
Earlier this month, as Fall Rummage arrived, Mom had another fall, breaking some ribs and requiring a chest tube. She was back in the hospital for 6 days and then home (no trip to rehab at my insistence!). She's had a challenging summer but she is a tough cookie or as one of my friend's said: "she's like a cat with nine lives"! Her progress is slow and steady and we continue to pray for good health!
In the beginning of the year, I started to build a new program called "Revive Your SPARK". Common themes for myself and my clients are a lack of time and focus on self-care. How can you Discover Your SPARK if you don't allow time for it?And as I explore supporting caregivers, the themes of self-care and life transitions are present. There are phases of caregiving, just like the phases of our career, or personal growth. There are lots of similarities.
So where does this lead? It's not abundantly clear, yet. I'm in the midst of a Personal Year 7, that's a year where you typically go within and reflect. Here's a snippet from Sue Frederick's book "I See Your Dream Job" about the personal year 7: In this quiet introspective year, you'll do best spending lots of time alone allowing change to occur naturally rather than forcing it. Your intuition will be at its most powerful - rely on it for all decisions. Pursue nothing; you will naturally attract what is meant to be in your life.
Sounds like I'm right where I need to be, allowing the Universe to guide me, acting like a sponge to soak it all in and using my intuition to guide me to my next step. Practice what I teach.
How can I best serve you? I would love to hear your thoughts. You can simply reply to this email and share your ideas or click the button and complete a brief 2 minute survey! Survey
Thank you for reading this long update and your continued support. My plan is to get back to monthly newsletters! Stay tuned!
Wishing you peace, love, and sparks of inspiration! Deb
It's the Deb's SPARKS edition of the Real Life Spark Newsletter!
Welcome to Winter, it arrived at 5:44 AM on the east coast! While Winter isn't my favorite season (I'm a Summer lover), the Winter Soltice is somewhat magical. Here's a few fun facts:
Whatever your view of the Winter Solstice, I take the glass half full approach. Tomorrow, the days will start getting longer and we are closer to Summer! : ) Enjoy the solstice.
Wishing you peace, love and sparks of daylight! Deb
Welcome to the Real Life Spark Newsletter, Deb's SPARKS edition!
I'm excited to share a couple of 'Rummage Magic' stories with you. I wrote a blog in May called The Magic of Rummage where I shared the story of a wedding dress. Take a few minutes and read the story. We often see the same 'customers' shopping at rummage and they will share their love of their rummage things. This is the first time, I experienced someone coming back and showing us the transformation of their rummage purchase.
The Aunt and the Mother of the Bride who purchased the wedding gown in May came back in October to shop. They asked if we remembered them and the wedding dress. We practically squealed with excitement, YES we remember! They proceeded to show us pictures of the transformed gown (it was breath taking) and the beautiful bride. Rummage magic at work!
We also received a Burberry Coat as a donation. It was older and in great condition but it was an odd, oiled cotton type finish with a hood and faux fur collar and zip out lining. It had alot going on and practically every volunteer and customer tried in on until it found its new owner: a lovely young woman, who is also a nurse. She loved the coat, it looked stunning on her and when she decided she would purchase it, she glowed. Magic.
I was able to pick up a few pieces of art work for my new home this sale. Two of the pieces simply make me smile. I knew they belonged in my home the minute I found them. Their new home is my home. Rummage magic strikes again!
Rummage always fills my heart. We cleaned up and put everything away on Monday and today I am a little sad. I'm glad we're done until the Spring, but I will miss the magic. It's special.
Wishing you peace, love and sparks of magic! Deb
I'm switching it up this week and sending this newsletter on Monday. And it's a rainy Monday here at Real Life Spark HQ. We need the rain desperately but it has also dampened my mood. Hmmm...
We are less than a week away from the start of Fall! I'm still wondering how the summer evaporated so quickly and how I only got to the beach once! I miss summer.
If it's September, then its Rummage Season, one of my favorite times of the year! It's great to be back together with my Rummage Sisters catching up on each other's lives and working through weather to raise money for a worthy cause. Thinking about Rummage lifts my spirits.
Project Move is now complete, six months after it started, with the closing on the sale of my Hackettstown home in early September. I was thrilled to meet the buyer, who loved my home just as I had for the past 20 years. Even my attorney said, he never saw anyone happier to close on a home! Sweet. Knowing that I passed my house to someone who will love it fills my heart and makes me smile!
What will lift your spirits today and make you smile? Phone a friend. Fill your heart with gratitude. Laugh.
Wishing you peace, love and sparks of inspiration! Deb
I love summer. Growing up near the beach: summer, sand and surf are my bliss. The early hints of Fall in late August are always welcome, especially this summer with the record heat in the Northeast. Wow, its been hot. I'm looking forward to cooler nights in a couple of weeks.
On one of the hottest days this summer, I was lucky to see one of my favorite groups, The Go-Go's. Every song brings me back to my high school and college days with happy memories. Every song also inspires me to sing and dance, even if the heat index was 100+. I don't think I have ever been more hot or sweaty in my life. It was a blast!
The Summer Olympics are also great fun to watch every 4 years. The Athletes have such spirit and determination. I love listening to their stories of triumph and defeat. It's interesting to hear how their losses inspire them to greatness!
As Fall approaches and we all get back to our regular schedules and programming, what will inspire you? Fall is a great time for a fresh start.
What can you learn from the Olympians to inspire your success?
Enjoy the last few weeks of summer and start thinking about how to jump start your Fall.
Wishing you peace, love and sparks of summer fun! Deb
I can't believe July is more than half over - summer is moving at warp speed!
Let's make the most of summer opportunities by saying YES! This month's Igniting the Next Generation of YOU!column is all about saying YES!
Our tool this month is Intuition and is the story of using my intuition to evaluate one of my mother's health issues. It's a good one!
I love my new home and all the new friends and opportunities that are on my path. My new work space is magical!
I'll keep this brief as I have more summer to enjoy!
Wishing you peace, love and sparks of inspiration! Deb
I did it! I kept my eye on the prize and this month's newsletter is being written from my new office in my new home! Yippee!
Last month at this time, I was cracking under the pressure of everything that needed to get done. I'm happy to report that I survived: all the boxes were packed and moved without issue; all of my appointments and responsibilities were managed; everything got done! Whew!
While I will be unpacking for the next few weeks, every room in my house is functional. The remaining rubble has been contained to the garage and I have set a goal of having the garage clear by the first frost! LOL! It's all good. My former house is on the market and life is moving forward.
I don't know how to explain it other than by saying my new house makes me happy. I walk in and smile. The first time I walked through the door to check out the floor plan, I loved this house. It feels good. It feels right. And I can walk to Starbucks!
I have been welcomed into this community with open arms. I've made new friends who have already left footprints on my heart. Lots of people reaching out to help me. I've been overwhelmed by the support and I'm forever grateful for the help.
My biggest lessons from this move are to ASK for help and to ALLOW people to help you. I'm not good at either of these things, in my mind I'm the one who is supposed to help others. Read on for my lesson learned.
As summer begins, enjoy the beautiful weather, revisit your goals, adjust accordingly and ask for help when you need it.
Wishing you peace, love and sparks of gratitude! Deb
I was spending a typical day in my new home; checking email, running errands, working on client files, etc. All was good but I couldn't settle down. I had a weird stomach ache. I was jumpy. This doesn't happen to me often. So I noticed, but couldn't put my finger on it.
Then Dad called in the early afternoon saying Mom was ill and he didn't like the way she looked. Dad is a pretty carefree guy, so when he calls I usually run. This time my run was much shorter from my new home. Mom was testing the new Daughter Emergency Response System!
As I drove to their home, I realized the last time I felt unsettled like this was about a year ago. I blamed it on too much news or too much coffee. It turned out, Mom was sick that day. It all starts making sense.
Dad and I are becoming seasoned in triage with Mom's health. She wasn't in any distress. She was sluggish and not really talking, somewhat confused. The temperature changed by 40 degrees in the past couple of days, so it was much warmer and Mom had a little upset stomach from her lunch. Now what? Dad was convinced it was her lunch. I thought it was dehydration.
If you know me, you know I can kick into my "Olivia Pope" mode and start problem solving and fixing. It is one of my superpowers! I start running scenarios out loud with Dad. If we call 911, if we take her to the ER or to Urgent Care...what happens next....
We have experience here and know what happens...she will be admitted to the hospital (most likely for dehydration) and she will give up, become weak in a hospital bed then be sent to rehab. It's not a good scenario.
So, my very intuitive father and I start monitoring her in 15 minute increments. I make her walk around, we take her blood pressure, we give her small sips of water and we wait. I call my sister so she can participate in the worry and treatment. Mom looks a little better in 15 minutes, so we do it again. Water, walk, sit up and wait. She starts perking up and talking. Then she gets pissy with me that I am hovering over her. We are on the road to recovery!
Within 2 hours, Mom and I are in the car, running an errand and singing "Over the Rainbow" very loudly and off key but smiling and laughing all the way. Emergency diverted.
I don't recommend not calling 911 or seeking medical attention in an emergency. Mom's health is a challenge. She doesn't speak much anymore and when you need to her communicate how she is feeling to a medical professional she shuts down and they take over.
In this case, Dad and I both knew it wasn't an emergency, though we questioned our own intuition for a few minutes and made some calls and just kept waiting. If Mom had taken a turn for the worst, we would have called 911 or gone to the ER in a skinny minute. But she didn't, she got better.
My lessons from this experience are:
Wishing you peace, love and sparks of health this holiday weekend! Deb
Well it happened. I knew it would happen, I just didn't know when it would happen. I cracked under the pressure of buying and selling a home, running a business and worrying about my family! And for good measure, throw in recovering from rummage and trying to have a personal life. The pressure piled on this morning and I sat at my desk crying.
I have those moments when my superpowers don't work, I rip off my cape and sit down and cry. Thankfully, a good friend picked me up and eliminated one of my immediate stressors.
With the pressure off, I gathered my thoughts and started working on EVERYTHING! That's not always a good idea. But today, I need to move 'all the balls forward'. It's how I recover. I can't sit on the couch and continue binge-watching Scandal until I feel better. I feel better through action.
So while I was in the midst of working in the laundry room, I had an idea for this newsletter. So as I type, the laundry room is a mess and I am finishing the newsletter. It's the way its going to be today!
I closed on my new house last week (yay!) and will be moved in by the time I am writing the June newsletter. I love my new place and I will miss my current one. Lot's of good memories here and lots of new memories to be made.
Please forgive the brevity of this month's newsletter, I will be back on track next month. Enjoy my blog on the Magic of Rummage. And I promise I will finish reading Your Divine Lens soon (so much for a monthly book, this is month 3!)
When you are feeling overwhelmed, rest assured it's alright to simply stop and take a breath. Cry if you need to. Call a friend. Talk it out. Keep your eye on the prize! Nothing is insurmontable. We just have to take it one step at a time.
Now, back to the laundry room....
Wishing you peace, love and sparks of happiness! Deb
If you know me, you know one of my passion's is volunteering at a rummage sale. And not just any rummage sale but the self-proclaimed oldest and largest rummage sale in the state of NJ. It's quite an event.
I'm in the middle of my tenth sale and the magic of rummage amazes me every time. You see, this isn't your typical rummage sale.
Before I started volunteering, if I heard the words 'rummage sale' I thought of the basement of the church of my youth. The women of the church would collect donations and then one Saturday afternoon the sale would commence and we would get to buy things we didn't need for a quarter or a dollar.
The rummage sale today is sponsored by the Visiting Nurse Association of Somerset Hills (VNA-SH) and is celebrating it's 95th year, in 2016. 95 years. That's a long time. As I have been told, it started small as a rack of dresses and has grown to a multi-day event (twice a year) with 20 departments and over 400 volunteers. Amazing. You can buy almost anything at rummage.
I love just about everything related to rummage. The generosity of people who donate personal and household items. The VNA-SH who provide wonderful services to the local community, including the Adult Day Program which my mother attends. And the volunteers who give their time and talent. That's the good stuff. The not so good stuff includes the portable toilets and bad weather. Rummage is an outdoor event that lasts a month between set-up, collection and the sale.
I experienced the magic of rummage during my first sale when I was able to match a buyer with her dream piece of clothing. I volunteer in the Boutique Tent, the home of women's designer clothing. I know this may sound odd, but rummage clothes all have owners and a home. The Spring 2016 sale is no exception.
We receive many interesting and valuable donations. This sale we received a wedding gown and wedding gowns are hard to match and sell. This gown found its home when a seamstress, whose niece is getting married in the Fall, saw it and inquired. She was hesitant and started taking and sending photos to the bride and mother of the bride. You see, the bride had champagne taste on a beer budget. The aunt knew she could transform the dress and exceed the expectations of the bride. You could see creativity as she told us what she would do with the dress. The ladies of the Boutique Tent knew this dress had just found its owner. We rallied around and negotiated and made the magic happen. When the dress was sold, we all cheered. Not because we had made the sale, but because the dress had found its new home and the good work of the VNA-SH would benefit.
The wedding theme continues as another magical event occurred when a future mother of the bride saw a fur stole and imagined wearing it over her shoulders at her daughter's December wedding. She was hesitant and thought she would come back the next day to get it and immediately started to worry it would be gone. I handed it to her to try on and look in the mirror. Her face lit up when she saw it because it was perfect. It was a beautiful piece, very vintage and in very good condition. I knew this piece had found its owner and I needed to make the magic happen, so I did. With a little negotiation and a lot of good intention, the fur stole found its home. Again we all cheered. It's rummage magic.
Not every item sold at the rummage sale has a dramatic story but every item sold is magical. Since my first rummage sale I have said rummage clothes are magical. When you wear them, you carry with you the good intention and generosity of the donor in addition to good will you earned when purchasing the item. Magic.
Now that I am in the midst of my tenth sale I also understand that a necessary part of the rummage lifecycle is re-donating the clothing and items you have purchased. I love all of my rummage purchases: clothing, shoes, lamps, chairs, pottery, etc. And as they come to the end of their useful life for me, I send them back to be loved by someone else.
Many organizations collect clothing and household items to be sold and raise funds. I can't speak for them, though I am sure the magic is there in its own way. I've experienced the VNA-SH Rummage Sale magic and it’s one of the many reasons I return to volunteer, rain or shine, hot or cold, busy or not. I will be there as long as they will have me.
I love the magic.
Wishing you peace, love and sparks of magic! Deb
Deb Wilber is the owner of Real Life Spark, a coaching practice dedicated to Igniting the Next Generation of YOU!™