Sunday, December 29, 2013

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. Beware What You Put in Your Brain

Beware What You Put in Your Brain

So, I think…I’ve thought…I’ve noticed…the thoughts running through our heads have a huge impact on the quality of our lives and how powerful we feel.

I have been monitoring and changing the quality of my thoughts for years now.  It has become second nature by this point, but there are still often times I catch myself falling into limiting thought patterns and need to do a quick mind re-route. Or sometimes not so quick, or sometimes I need to do it several times before it “takes.”

My life has improved dramatically since I figured out that mentally beating up yourself, another person, situation, etc., really isn’t that great of an idea. It doesn’t change or help anything. It just makes it worse. Just by thinking about things differently, situations that would have made me angry in the past no longer do. I simply don’t take things personally so much anymore. I finally get that very little is truly about me other than what I choose to hang out with in my mind.

I have collected quotes for years, and am a big believer in reading something inspirational first thing in the morning. I read at least a short phrase that makes me feel empowered, with my cup of tea, every morning before I start my work day.

What makes you feel empowered and true to yourself? Certain verses from the Bible? Your favorite writer? Buddhist traditions? Native American? Divine Feminine? A favorite poem? I love Robert Frost’s THE ROAD NOT TAKEN so much that I once stenciled it onto my home office wall. (With a lot of help from Marie – thank you again if you happen to read this!!!)

What you turn your attention to first thing in the morning sets your tone for the day. I say put some fresh spearmint in your morning tea while you’re reading something that totally makes you want to jam.


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth


Then took the other, as just as fair

And having perhaps the better claim

Because it was grassy and wanted wear

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same


And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black

Oh, I kept the first for another day

Yet knowing how way leads on to way

I doubted if I should ever come back


I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -

I took the road less traveled by

And that has made all the difference

-Robert Frost

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. Artificial Limitations

Artificial Limitations

            The waiter walked up to our table and smiled. “Good evening…I’m so happy to be able to serve you tonight. I wish we had a larger selection to offer, but we are a bit limited at the moment.”

I looked at the menu, but the inside was blank.

“There isn’t anything here,” I said. “Did something get misplaced…”

“No, sir, that’s the menu we have every night…which means that anything you order we can make.”

“But you just said that you were a bit limited.”

“Well, we are limited if you take into consideration your own past experience. You see, the only dishes you would be able to order are the ones you’ve either had or have heard of…Regardless of how much you know, there is still a great deal more that you do not. In that way, we are all a bit limited.”

“What he’s trying to say is that if you’re limited, we’re all limited,” Linda said to me. “That’s because we see each other slightly differently from how we might see ourselves. What happens to one happens to all…do you understand?”

“That’s correct, ma’am,” said the waiter. “In this case we’re both limited because I cannot think of or prepare what you do not order, and you cannot order what you do not know. It’s really quite simple.”

-From THE BARN DANCE, James Twyman

What would you like to order today from the great menu of life?

What do you not yet know about that could be your greatest entrée yet?

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Authentically Yours...Your Soul Voice is Calling. The Light and the Shadow

The Light and the Shadow

I am no expert on the dark side of human nature. Frankly, it’s something I prefer to avoid, like I prefer to avoid mildew in my shower.  So I clean my bathroom every week (Thursday evening), along with the rest of my home, whether it needs it or not.

If you want an expert on this subject, you might want to check out Debbie Ford’s work. I read THE DARK SIDE OF THE LIGHT CHASERS years ago, and just pulled it out again as I prepared to write this post.  

Certain movies haunt me after I see them, so I’m careful what I put in my brain. Our brains react to something on screen - particularly if it’s well done - as if we have experienced it ourselves. (Although I’m pretty sure this would not apply if you have TWO AND A HALF MEN on while playing pool with your buddies, or a Hallmark movie on while working on a knitting project.)

While there are certain movies with plenty of violence I love (I’m a big HARRY POTTER fan, and the original TOTAL RECALL kicks ass, for example) I do tend to avoid violent movies. I’ve never been severely beaten or raped (in this lifetime anyway) although I do know people who have been. Yet even though I thankfully have no personal experience, the movies I see depicting these kinds of horrors impact me, physically and emotionally.

Recently…for no reason I consciously understand…all of this stuff has been coming at me regarding Nazi Germany, WW II and the Holocaust. There was a Corrie Ten Boom quote on Facebook that reminded me how much my Grandma Handke loved her work, so I ordered THE HIDING PLACE on my Nook. It is set in Holland during the Nazi occupation. Then there was a horrific image of Jewish “camp” survivors in a TIME magazine anthology. Then my fiancé and I watched THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS as we both had wanted to see it, knowing it would not be an easy movie to watch. Then another Netflix pick pointed back to the Holocaust from a newer generation. Then the theater movie we both most wanted to see, THE BOOK THIEF (look for Academy Award nominations, friends) was right there, again, in Nazi Germany. Then came the SOUND OF MUSIC live broadcast on NBC, which we watched as we decorated the Christmas tree. The movie was one of my favorites EVER. It is set in Austria during the Nazi occupation there.

It’s just so…odd. 

Of course Nazi Germany is only one example of humans’ inhumane treatment towards humans. It happens everywhere, in different cultures, always has, and sometimes it seems always will. I could start with the mass destruction of Native American culture and then African slavery right here in the States, what continues with the Taliban, North Korea, the child sex slave trade, and keep writing for a library’s worth of pages if I wanted to. But I really don’t want to do that anymore than I want mildew in my shower!

Somalia alone breaks my heart. Pointing back to a movie – the pirates in CAPTAIN PHILLIPS (again, look for some Academy Award nominations) would have gained no wealth from hijacking that ship. They were told not to come back without the money; it was like recruiting volunteers for a likely suicide mission. This doesn’t excuse their deeds, of course, but I did leave the movie with a lot more compassion for people who are born into this awful situation in Somalia. And intense gratitude I was born in the USA – like, how did I luck out to be born here? – kind of gratitude. 

I may be rambling a bit here in my attempts to delve into these consistent messages I am getting from the media. I remember one other thing…I just pulled out my journal where this was taped from a magazine article, shortly after 9/11. It was probably PEOPLE magazine: Some other performers had to speak out: Madonna, who wore an American-flag skirt at her Los Angeles concerts Sept. 13-15 (proceeds will be earmarked for families affected by terrorism), offered these thoughts on the attack: “each and every one of us should look inside our own hearts and examine our own personal acts of terrorism… It’s not just bin Laden, it’s all of us. We’ve all contributed to the hatred in the world today.”

I’m sure there were a whole lot of people who were really pissed off about Madonna’s comments that day. I get it. And I’m not right either. I am very rarely “right.” I get turned around directionally on a regular basis. I say things sometimes that leave me scratching my head going, “Did I really just say that?”

But I got what Madonna said that day.

We all have our “stuff.” I have made mistakes and have done things I regret…who hasn’t? Maybe the Dalai Lama has made it this far in life without having ever even said an unkind word to another person (do you think that’s possible?)…but I’ll bet even His Holiness has had unkind and unloving thoughts. He probably just prays about it a lot more than most of us afterwards!

Of course, I could be wrong…as I’m very often not right. J

I don’t know why I have been sent this message in so many different forms. What I do know is we are all human, and we all make mistakes. We sometimes make poor choices that have long-lasting consequences. We can never know why another person made a certain choice without having been inside their heart and their head experiencing their fears and their loves, in the moment they made that decision.

But we can know our own. We can learn and grow from the consequences of our own actions, whether joyful or painful. And we can look another human being in the eye – a person from Germany, from Honduras, Greenland, Canada, The United States, Africa, India, China, Scotland, Serbia or wherever – knowing we are all the same, imperfectly perfect humans.

If there is just one thing I can do to make the world a better place, it’s to be more loving in my own heart. –Laura Handke

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. Writer Ann Hood

Writer Ann Hood

While I am on this amazing writing kick (writing about writers I love), I am beyond pleased to tell you that one of my very favorite writers, Ann Hood (website: honored me by saying ‘yes’ to my request for a brief interview. I admit I’m a little star struck.

I was first introduced to Ann’s writing close to 20 years ago when I was living in Salem, Oregon and didn’t have a lot of extra cash. I was in a used book store that was like a maze of hallways with little sideways rooms. It seemed like an enormous book store to me at the time - I hadn’t been to Powell’s in Portland yet! I would often get turned around, yet somehow I came across and back to an obviously well-loved, often-read, well-taken-care-of paperback book called THREE LEGGED HORSE. (This refers to a musical group, by the way, not an equine friend missing a limb!)

Thus began my love affair with Ann Hood’s books.

THREE LEGGED HORSE was one of my favorite fiction novels ever. As I made more money and was able to purchase new books (I still love and haunt used book stores!) I kept on buying more books that Ann Hood had written. When I purchased an electronic book prior to traveling on a two week trip, the first thing I did was search for new Ann Hood publications. There weren’t any and I was bummed. When I searched before a more recent trip, I found THE OBITUARY WRITER, which I loved so much I wrote a review of on Amazon, something I have done…maybe…four times total in my life.

And now I am reading KNITTING YARNS, about which PEOPLE Magazine says, with four stars: In this lovely anthology, Sue Grafton, Barbara Kingsolver and other authors go public with their passion for knitting, demonstrating how it connects them to mothers, grandmothers and neighbors, consoles them in grief and—despite the occasional misshapen mistake—clarifies their thoughts. One of the sweetest essays reveals how Clovis, a Chihuahua, came to acquire several “elaborately cabled” sweaters. Want to make one? The (size-adjustable) pattern is included. –Reviewed by Helen Rogan, 12/2/2013 issue.

When Ann agreed to answer a few questions, I wrote to her: Your writing seems very personal to me, which is why it strikes me straight in my heart and I keep buying your books and recommending and loaning them to others. Something deep inside me wants to share your work with others, as it has meant so much to me.

Me: What writers have affected you that way?

Ann: So many. Chekhov definitely. Contemporary writers like Elena Ferrante. Tom Perrotta. Andre Dubus lll. Denise Mina and Elizabeth Speller and dozens more.

Me: Please tell me how much of your work is true to your own life, and where you find your inspiration.

Ann: My fiction almost always begins with the seed of something real, something that keeps me up at night. But then the challenge of a fiction writer is to turn that into something universal rather than personal.

Me: What made you first pick up a pen, pencil, typewriter, computer? Do you remember when you first knew you needed to write?

Ann: I fell in love with reading at 4 and writing by the time I was 7.

Me: If you had just three sentences to share with a burgeoning writer, what would those three sentences be?

Ann: I have two: Read everything. Write every day.

And there you have it, readers, straight from one of my favorite writers. This is a good day. J

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. You Know Your Way Home: Suzanne Jauchius

You Know Your Way Home: Suzanne Jauchius

It seems I’m surrounded by good writers these days. Suzanne Jauchius (pronounced jawkuss) is one of them.  I’ve read Suzanne’s book, YOU KNOW YOUR WAY HOME, twice now, and I’m sure I will read it again at some point. It’s one of those you get into and hate to put down. Last I heard, it was number 63 on Amazon in the “divorce” category, although I would hardly categorize it as a book on divorce. Yes, Suzanne has been married, ah, more than once…well, I’ll let you read all about that yourself. 

See, the thing is, Suzanne is a psychic. And, to me, the book is about Suzanne coming to embrace her authentic gifts, no matter how hard that may have been for most of the people in her life (including those husbands) for a good chunk of her life.

I first heard Suzanne as a guest on radio station 105.1 FM The Buzz (she is on around 5 pm in Portland, OR, the first Monday of every month) and not too long afterwards booked an in-person reading myself. I liked her right away.

I’m no stranger to professional intuitives. I tend to book a reading about once a year, sometimes more than that. Often, it’s my birthday gift to myself.

In March of 2007, I wrote an in-depth spotlight ( on intuitive Renee Madsen, starting with her “coincidental” meeting with my ex-husband that led me to her work. Renee and I have since become friends and graduated together as certified voice teachers through the Transformational Voice Institute. I continue to check in with her from time to time and highly recommend any workshop or class that she does.

I’ve now had three different readings with Suzanne as well, spread out over about three and a half years. They have all been accurate, astute and enjoyable. As a young adult, Suzanne discovered she had the ability to do psychometry, which means she will hold or touch an object belonging to someone else and see pictures. The pictures appear as if she’s watching a dream, and she reports the images back to her client. I get excited going to a reading – I think it’s a lot of fun. J

I know there are people in the world who claim to be psychic and just want to bilk people out of their money. (I sadly suspect this is true in many professions.) This is unfortunate for the good ones, who will encourage you to develop your own intuitive gifts rather than relying on theirs. I think psychics have a tough row to hoe in our present skeptic western culture, although it certainly may be getting easier with shows such as GHOST WHISPERER and MEDIUM having become popular.

In SIX DEGREES TO YOUR DREAMS, I describe how everyone has what I call an Inner Voice/Intuitive Nature or IVIN. Some might call the IVIN that little voice in the back of my head, some a gut feeling, some women’s intuition, some God. Whatever you want to call it, it’s there. Have you ever been driving somewhere and a feeling told you to turn left instead of right at a particular intersection, in spite of the directions? Or that if you went around the block, you’d find a parking space? That’s your IVIN at work.

But this isn’t quite the same thing as what Suzanne has experienced throughout her life. As a child, I wasn’t ridiculed or shamed because of my intuitive gifts, as many psychics are. I find this tragic, and Suzanne’s book a page-turner to help illuminate the “average” person on what it’s like to be born with extraordinary intuitive gifts. Plus, it’s simply a great read!

If you’re interested in checking out YOU KNOW YOUR WAY HOME, you can find it at or
            A good reader can be an invaluable sherpa in the mountains, pointing out which trails work best and helping you find your way.
            A bad one can lead you right over the next cliff.
            Don’t blindly follow.
            Your answers are inside of you. –Tosha Silver, Outrageous Openness

             People are often eventually grateful to have acknowledgement of what deep in their hearts they actually already know. –Tosha Silver, Outrageous Openness

Authentically Yours,