Happy St. Patrick's Day, a little early!
Last year I confirmed my Irish heritage through an Ancestry DNA test. While every one is Irish on St Patrick's Day, it was fun to know that I was truly 16% Irish (and Scottish).
Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Whether you are religious or not, the talk this time of year is 'what are you giving up for Lent'?
When asked his opinion on what we should give up for Lent, Kevin rolled his eyes. Neither of us are motivated to 'give up' anything after a 'Dry and Strict Keto January'.
Why not start a new practice and use Lent to improve our lives? And so it is. My daily gratitude journal is born.
I love to write though I need to be in the mood to write. I find it challenging to simply write every day just because I should. You know what they say, writers write.
My committments are:
You will be my accountability partners. I will report on my progress in the next newsletter.
Wishing you peace, love and the luck of the Irish! Debbie
The last update you received was seven months ago, June 15, 2018. It's been more than seven months and today, January 18, 2019, marks six months since my mother died. It's been a bittersweet six months.
I got married in October to the love of my life, Kevin. It was a magical day. While Mom was not there physically, she was there in spirit and in flowers! My best friend Mary, along with Kevin, sent me beautiful pink roses on my wedding day with a Cardinal attached to represent Mom. We carried that vase of flowers to the Ceremony where they sat on the arbor while we said our vows; we carried them to the Reception where they sat on the table with my father; Dad carried them home where they spent the night with family; and we picked up the flowers the next day and placed them at Mom's grave with my wedding bouquet. Mom loved flowers. I was filled with joy and felt her presence all weekend. What a special gift.
The grief arrived in November when everything finally quieted down. No wedding plans to confirm. No honeymoon to enjoy. I didn't recognize it at first because I was keeping busy, piling on new activities. It felt like I walking on a treadmill, lots of miles walked yet I was still in the same place.
My best friend Adam pointed out that I wasn't allowing room for the grief. I was fighting with it. I was filling my time with activities so I did not to deal with it. I knew it would hurt. I knew it would cause tears, lots of them. I wouldn't write, even though Kevin lovingly encouraged me to write. Writing would bring on the grief and the tears and I didn't want it.
Thankfully, I listened to Adam and started making room for grief. I let go of my expectations of the holidays and enjoyed them as best as I could. Kevin and I had a lovely Thanksgiving together. On Christmas Eve, I went to the Carol Sing in our town center. Mom loved this and I wanted to be as close to Mom as I could. Kevin joined me and it was wonderful. I have learned to let the tears flow when and where they want. It's OK.
As this new year begins, I am picking myself up, working on the grief and a lot of projects. Please indulge the personal nature of this newsletter. There are many things I want to share with you to bring you up to date. There are lots of plans to bring new programs, books and maybe even a product. Read on....
Wishing you peace, love and sparks of new beginnings, Debbie
This year, my life feels like a roller coaster. There are moments of great joy: dress shopping, finding a dress, deciding on a date and a venue! There are moments of great sadness: my mother is on hospice, she now has a hospital bed and I know more about pressure sores that I care to share.
I am overwhelmed most of the time. It's challenging for me to focus, even on this newsletter.
This week, I was nudged to review a blog post I wrote in February but never published. Reading the blog post inspired me to dust off my newsletter and write this note to you. Writing helps me. In writing I am able to work through my thoughts and share my sparks of wisdom with you.
There will be some great blog posts in the future about planning a wedding at 55. I never knew so many people had so many opinions!
As time permits, I will catch up on my stories and blog posts. Until then, take a few minutes and read the February post (see below), I published this week.
I believe in the power of prayer and Mom can use all the prayers and good thoughts you can send her. Pray for grace and ease for the next phase of her journey.
Hospice is a gift and it's the hardest gift we've ever given.
Wishing you peace. love and sparks of compassion, Deb
Recently, I delivered a short eduational speech at a Toastmaster's dinner meeting. Dinner meetings can be a challenge as you are competing with conversation, food and drink in addition to the restaurant noise! I am happy to say the speech was a success!
Here are the tips I shared for your next public speaking adventure:
Record Yourself. Get familiar with the sound of your voice and how you look when you speak! Take out your smart phone and record your elevator pitch or your presentation materials for your next meeting. Use the record a note function or even better record a video! It can be eye-opening! I prepare for speeches or presentations in front of a full length mirror, practicing my hand gestures, movement, etc.
Be Prepared. We all like to think we can simply speak off the cuff but what happened the last time you did that? How did it go? If you are heading to a networking event, prepare your 2 or 3 sentence pitch. Memorize it and you will be prepared to meet and greet with confidence.
Breathe. Before you start speaking, take a deep breath. It will calm you down and power your voice to reach your audience.
Pause. This is a simple, powerful tip and yet it can be one of the most challenging. Simply pause at strategic points in your presentation. It doesn't have to be a long pause, just long enough for your audience or co-worker or partner to lean in and want to hear more!
Power Pose. If you are familiar with Amy Cuddy's book Presence and her TED Talk, you know about the Power Pose! Before you enter the room or stand up to speak, take a minute to take a deep breath and stand in your power. Whatever that looks like for you. Hands on your hips, hands in the air, etc. Stand tall and own it.
These are useful tips if you are speaking with your spouse, running a meeting or delivering an important presentation.
Wishing you peace, love and sparks of discovery! Deb
It's that time of year when networking groups are holding vision board parties. How fun! If you haven't created a vision board for 2018, it's not too late.
Remember, there are no rules for vision boards, their purpose is to provide you with a visual reminder of what you want to manifest in your life, business, etc.
Pictured below is a portion of my vision board from January 2016. Within the heart are a few of my wishes - "Fairy tales do come true"; "BOY FRIEND" and "You Still Believe in Love at First Sight".
I met Kevin in May of 2016. He proposed a few weeks ago, on my Birthday, December 30th in Washington, DC. It was magical.
Do vision boards work? Many successful people say YES. Celebrities like Oprah and Ellen believe in the power of vision boards. Simply google "Celebrities and Vision Boards" to be inspired by their stories.
Vision Boards are a simple arts and crafts project. To create one, sit down with poster board, a glue stick and some magazines, then think about what you want to bring into your life and start flipping through magazines to find pictures, words, etc. to support your vision. You can also easily create a vision board on Pinterest. What ever works for you.
I believe in the power of vision boards and I need to create one for 2018!
Wishing you peace, love and sparks of inspiration! Deb
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Back in September, it was with good intentions that I said I would publish my newsletter monthly. Well, it has been nearly three months since the last one and here I am. It's been a busy Fall.
I received several comments about my year in review, in the last newsletter, inspiring my readers to do the same. I think it isimportant to look back on your year, where you started, what happened along the way and where you finished. It's an eye opening experience.
As we approach year end, take a moment to reflect back on 2017 and write your own year in review. Would you like a partner to help you? Please read about my new SPARK sessions for 2018!
I continue to follow my heart and intuition. 2017 didn't turn out as I had planned and I continue to follow my path, one step at a time.
There's a new blog, Tuesdays with Mom, that is available now and new services coming as I complete my Caregiving Consultant training. Please keep reading, scroll down and share with your friends.
Wishing you peace, love and sparks of a magical holiday season and a happy, healthy 2018, Deb
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
Debbie Moulton is the owner of Real Life Spark, a coaching practice dedicated to Igniting the Next Generation of YOU!™