Tag Archives: life

In Balance

Being in balance…I watched the movie “My Spy”, starring Dave Bautista, the other night and one scene came to mind as I was thinking about balance in my life.

The Spy, a hulk of a guy, was on the playground teeter-totter and on the other side of it were 3 girls. Up and down they went. If there was just one girl, no way would she have been able to counter-balance him and enjoy the teeter-totter ride. It would have been impossible for one girl to move the teeter-totter with him on the other side.  It was out of balance. It took adding 2 more girls to the opposite side of The Spy to create a harmonious balanced ride for the 4 of them.

Just like in life.  If we are out of balance with one thing that far outweighs another, there is no way, no matter how good our intentions are, there is no way we can have a harmonious balanced flow.  It takes some leveling out the two opposing sides to create balance.

Here are a few examples: 

If you eat a bowl of ice cream every night, that might not be a problem IF you also exercise enough to balance it out.  But, if you don’t exercise, you’re probably going to gain weight.

If you like to spend money, that might be okay if you have a job that allows you to do that, but if you spend more than you make, you’re more than likely going to end up in debt.

If you have a good amount of fears, problems & dramas and not enough joy, happy & peace to counterbalance them, your emotional health could suffer.  The overwhelm of life can sneak up on you and the next thing you know, you’re in a rut day after day.  Being out of balance in this way could altar your health, your mood and your motivation. 

Do what you can to keep your teeter-totter harmonious & balanced, add what you can to the opposite side and enjoy the ride.



Your God girl


Carol Stringham

Carol Stringham, an empowered woman.  She’s taking the elevator all the way to the top.  She has gusto, passion & excitement in her purse, questions, answers & realizations in her back pocket, and encouragement, motivation & leadership in her heart. 

She’s not sure what’s waiting for her, but one thing’s for sure, if it’s not great, she’ll make it great!

An empowered woman she is.  One of her favorite verses by Peter Bolland is “Empowerment is not acquiring the power you did not previously have.  Empowerment is uncovering the power you had all along.”  If you ever have the chance to meet her, you’ll ‘get it’ in the first 5 minutes.

Living in Newcastle, working as an occupational therapist helping parents and handicap kids at this one school since 1981, enjoying life with her husband Scott for 32 years (and their 2 adult sons) …she is now ready to retire. Moving on from a job she’s had for 27 years without anything set up can be a little scary, but she’s jumping into it.  She’s jumping off the diving board, into the water, into the unknown space.  With courage & enthusiasm for what awaits her and knowing all too well that  “Whatever is Required is Always Present” ….she’s going to the top.  

Carol used to be drawn to drama.. all ways, all areas, all the time.  She no longer gives any of that her attention.  She lives from her powerful heart space, staying open to the practices of gratitude and being present.  She enjoys her current more peaceful life, continually looking toward things of beauty and peace to fill her days, her thoughts, her moments.  She recently wrote a signature story,  including the teachings of Toni Stone and on how they changed her life.  She says with a happy tone, “It’s time to refresh things”.

It was through Toni’s courses & training that Carol learned to let go of the ‘little girl’ who was running her.  It may seem like is was easy, but it wasn’t.  There were times when it was oh so painful.  She found herself withdrawing because the ‘little girl’ didn’t want to play the game, which would then leave her alone & empty.  Through the course work, she realized allowing the ‘little girl’ to run the show, was the cause of her great loss and suffering.  She learned running away was no longer the answer and that when she got out of her own way, she KNEW who she was!  And that’s a powerful place to be!

Toni’s training’s were filled with radical & quirky assignments, numerous accountability games, and pages and pages of homework.  This opened Carol’s eyes to new ways to be & ways to see her world differently.  She was able to take responsibility to direct her life with the purpose of who she was born to BE. “The courses were outlined with incredible tenacity and linguistic precision to awaken and strip away the unseen patterns and beliefs that were running me” she joyfully reads from a journal.  

Carol has been leading Women’s Groups for 30 years.  There were times when she had 3 different groups happening at the same time.   

*Creating space for transformation, freedom and self-love.

*Touching lives. 

*Opening hearts. 

Miracles occurred in this place again and again.  Miracles the women may not have been prepared for & in ways they never dreamed of.

The Women’s Group is an opportunity to come together and polish the rough edges, accept all the disowned parts and find the joy that may have been hidden behind some lies.  There’s something about gathering with other women with an undertaking to transform oneself.  It just happens.  One woman’s story could be a catalyst for someone else’s AHA! moment.  Transforming miracles abound.

It’s a beautiful thing.

Her desire to expand and be more magnanimous and to breathe life into Toni’s worth, to share it, teach it, live it, has given her the vision for a workshop she’s creating to hopefully offer in the Spring/Summer time frame. 

Her workshop will speak to how language shapes your life.  Looking at who you think you are compared to who you want to be, recycling the old stuff, and recreating a present that is no longer like the past.  It’ll be full of the principles, tools and affirmations around examining your thoughts along with exercises, homework and partner calls.  It’ll be a transforming practice, a time to tap into one’s self-confidence, to create relationships and to live by what’s found in the book “What I Say is What I Am” by Toni Stone.

If you’re interested, email Carol at: Gristmillcove2@aol.com

  She’ll leave us with, “Remember how important life is and don’t take anything for granted.”

Now take the elevator to the top & make it great when you get there.


Carol’s interview and write-up submitted by Tracy.

The Right Way To Load The Dishwasher

I was loading the dishwasher last night and I thought, I can not wait until my kids know how to load the dishwasher correctly. 

There was mountains of dishes piled on each other and many crusted with old food.  There was a large sigh and then I thought, ‘Aall I want is for them to know how to load and unload the dishwasher by the time they are on their own.’ 

We all know there is the right way to load the dishwasher and there is the wrong way however, this always seems this is a constant dispute at our house.  

Then I stopped and thought about all the things that I want them to know before they either go to college or move on in life..  And then it hit me even harder that my oldest will be graduating high school in two years and I have a lot to teach her before then.  

I want them to know how to definitely load the dishwasher, what about everything else-all the basics of every day life; like doing your own laundry, washing your dishes, making hard boiled eggs. mowing the lawn, making a doctor appointment, keeping a budget, sewing on a button, fixing a flat tire, the list goes on and on. Its all the life lessons that you don’t always learn in school but what others teach you. 

The more I thought about it the more my head started swimming.  I have just been so focused on my kids grades, sports, driving, end of school, prom, etc, I forget all the little things in life which are actually every day life.  

Maybe kids just magically learn these things, but I still remember my dad taking me out and showing me how to change a tire.  I still remember him telling me I always needed a winter survival kit in my car and I still have it in there.  

And at age 47, I still call my mom on a daily basis to ask her a question on how to do something. Usually it’s the same question I have asked her many times before and generally it’s regarding cooking or planting flowers. 

I still remember my mom showing me how to sew on a button.  However, that’s as far as she got with sewing.   My sister and I still tease my mom about the fact that she never taught us the basics of sewing but she’s spent years teaching my kids.

But those are the things that I still use today.

I thought to myself,  I have two years to work on teaching my oldest the things I want her to remember, the basics. That will definitely be my goal.  Yes, we all use YouTube these days, but I want my kids to remember some of the things I showed them.  They might not seem important now and they will roll their eyes but guarantee they will appreciate it someday.  

I want them to be the kids that know how to do their own laundry and make their favorite dinner for someone.  I want them to know how to mow the lawn and change a flat tire.  And if they don’t know the basics, I want them to pick up the phone and call me.  

So, I guess tomorrow we will start with the dishwasher… 



Florida Bound-Myself & Three Kids

This year I took the kids on a vacation to Florida for spring break.This year it would just be me and the kids for 8 days.  I was so excited, was also a little nervous and apprehensive about going into it.  I kept thinking, would they be bored, would we all want to do the same things, would they drive me nuts, would I drive them crazy, would they bicker the entire time. All the things that go through your mom brain.  

This was going to be 8 days with just us…8 days. In the past, we have always met family down there for the week.  I do not think we have spent that much time together with just us.  I see them almost everyday, but it’s different,they have school, work, activities and we are just busy with life going on.  

So, off we went to Florida.. I was still nervous about being thousands of miles away from home and responsible for these 3 littles who are not so little now at 16, almost 14, and 10.

I think it was more about being the one to make all the decisions. Once we got there, I realized that I depended on them also to help in making the decisions.  I let them give an input on what we would do during the week.  I had not planned much ahead of time and thought we would decide when we got there.  

I also counted on them to help with navigating directions, what time we left, and what we would eat. All of those things that I did not want to be responsible for making on my own. 

When I was growing up, I do not remember my parents ever asking for my sister and my opinion when we went on vacations.  My parents just made all the decisions and we followed along.   

I think that is the one of differences when you are a single mom with kids, you depend on them to help make decisions.  They have to step it up a little bit more and help you with whatever comes up.They can see how independent I am at times, but they also see when I need help and have frustrations.  

I learned that we are not the family that can go..go..go… We are the family that moves at a slow pace.  There were also times when I would just sit by the pool by myself because they were off doing their own things.  

At first, I thought my kids were bored or were not having a fun time if we were not always together, but then I realized they also needed their downtime.  They needed to escape and go watch their favorite TV show, read, or play a video game.  They needed their alone time as much as I did.  At times, it was probably one of the most relaxing trips that I have taken.  And I actually got to lay by the pool by myself-seems like a mom’s dream.  

I also realized that even though they are older, they are still never ready at the time we say we are going to leave the house.  They might be able to get dressed and eat by themselves, but they are still pokey.   

I learned that my youngest talks continuously.  By the end of the week, we would call it “Fun Facts by Nolan”.  I just never saw this side of him at home and his little mind never stops thinking.

I learned that my oldest daughter is so responsible, it was like I had another adult along to help me when I needed it.  I realized that her and I are more alike in many ways, that I do not see at home.  I do not see how grown up she actually is and that I need to give her more credit at home for everything that she does to help us.   

Even on vacation, we still all fight and bicker, but 20 minutes later it is like nothing ever happened. I did have some epic breakdowns at times, mostly over the GPS and it not giving me the correct directions.  Or when I could not figure out how to work the lights in our rental car.I have always been the mom that can not always hide my frustration.  

So through the 8 days, It was just great to see no crazy busy life, just more relaxed,more fun,more laughs.   It was just different for us to get out of our normal routine and to see each of them differently one on one and as a family.

We had some definite ups and downs, but all my worrying was pretty much overrated.




TWSM Movie Review ‘Double Jeopardy’

Double Jeopardy…I have my movies.  My go-to movies. The ones I watch every time I need a pick me up and/or they show up on to. Sometimes I seek them out because that’s just how much I like them.  This is one of those movies.

Libby is a happily married wife and mom.  She has it all.  Wonderful husband, beautiful son, great friends, and a life to be envied by many.  Her wealthy husband surprises her and takes her on a weekend sailboat trip – just the two of them.  She wakes up one morning to blood all over her and the boat.  It was everywhere.  Her husband was gone.  She found a bloody knife on deck, but he was nowhere to be seen.

To cut to the chase, she was charged and convicted of his murder.    After spending six years in prison, she was finally paroled after befriending two other women who did murder their husbands.

While in prison she finds out that her best friend, who she had asked to adopt her son while she was imprisoned, had run off and created a life with her still alive husband.  The puzzle starts to fit together.

This brings out a side in her that even she didn’t know existed.  She begins working out, getting into the best shape of her life.  One day while running in a pouring rainstorm her friend says “I’ve never seen anything like it.  What’s driving you is pure hate!”  

One of her best friends in prison happened to be a lawyer “once upon a time”.  She trains Libby on the exact words to say in order to convince the parole board that she has been reformed.  It works, and she is out.  

She tracks her ex-husband and ex best friend down to New Orleans and goes through a living hell trying to find her son.  Even as far as being trapped in a casket in a cemetery with a dead body, thanks to the hands of her husband.  But she tries everything.  

All to get to her son.

This movie shows true grit.  Once realizing she had been framed, a fire ignites inside her.  It drives anything and everything she would every need to get out of prison and find her son. 

What drives you?  Is it love? Hate? Passion? Fear?  The truth is we are all driven by hidden truths, none of which are necessarily wrong.  It’s the reason behind the drive that matters.  

This movie teaches us that we can find friendship in the most unlikely places.  The two women that Libby told in the beginning of the movie to back off and leave her alone ended up being her biggest allies and true friends.  We are all people.  We are all human.  We all have made mistakes.  It’s what we do with these experiences that forms us into who we were meant to be.

How do you think the movie ends?  You could probably figure it out.  But then, maybe you can’t.  Life is full of surprises both good and bad.  And so are movies.

Just remember, just as Libby dealt with whatever life threw at her she stood strong and never gave up.  We can do the same.  We are all strong.  It just depends on how we want to show up for life.

Streamed from Netflix,


What Are Your Dreams?

What are your dreams?

Hi everyone!

I know it’s been a while, but I am glad to be back and sharing a little bit more about my experiences with all of you.

Today, I wanted to share something that I have been reflecting on quite often. I recently moved into a new house, and I began to unpack some items that I had not seen in a while. As I was unpacking, I realized that I had a brand new guitar that I was gifted by my family when I was much younger. I come from a long line of family members that possess some incredible musical talents.

As I have mentioned previously, I grew up around so much talent and music, that it has become a very important part of my life. When I was old enough, my family wanted me to learn some of those musical talents that I had witnessed frequently growing up.

When I was about 11 years old, I was gifted a beautiful red guitar in the hopes that some day I would be able to play with the other members of my family. Unfortunately, other tasks took importance over guitar practice, so I never learned how to play as I had originally dreamed.

Slowly, I began to forget that I even had this guitar in my possession, and my dream of learning to play drifted to the back of my mind. When I discovered the guitar once more, something clicked inside of me and made me recall how I had once viewed the art of music. Suddenly I remembered how much I longed to be able to play it, and all of those emotions resurfaced within me. That day, I made a promise to myself that somehow, I would learn to play the instrument that was once so important to me and my family.

I guess I’m here to remind everyone to recall something that they had always dreamed of doing but unfortunately never got the chance to fulfill. I’m here to let you know that it’s never too late to take up that hobby, and fulfill those dreams!

– Dani <3

My Car My Life

My car … my life

The only thing a rear view mirror is good for is to see what’s behind you.  It doesn’t give you any insight as to what’s around the corner, it gives no enlightenment to the opportunities that lie ahead nor does it give you a sneak peek as to who’s beside you giving you support.  Only what’s behind.  Hence, why it is called rear view.

It is best to have your eyes focused on the windshield more than the rear view.  As you watch where you’re going and see what lies ahead, you can maneuver as you go.  You can look further down the path & decide if you want to turn or go straight.  As the journey of life meanders, just like your car on a long windy country road, you can enjoy the scenery, coast along & be in the moments that surround you.

There will be times that you have so many things going on in your life, you feel like you’re on an expressway and you better be alert throughout the whole chapter you’re in or you could lose focus and end up in a mess that you never saw coming.  If you get that glazed-over look, the one that comes after a long, hard day…you might not see clearly what is right in front of you.

The side mirrors are just as important.  Check in to see who’s beside you, who’s moving at the same rate as you, who’s moving in too close and who just left the scene.  In your life….  Can you trust the people all around you?  Can you watch by their choices where they’re going and if it will impact your path or not? Are you able to continue forward while enjoying their presence beside you or are they a threat?

And always be aware of your blind spots.  Like in a car, you have to be very aware you have them.  Can you see when someone is manipulating, playing or controlling you?  You want to be sure that you have a good sense of your blind spots.  Is one of your blind spots to believe everything people say?  Is it to ignore what they say because you need them in your life?  Is it to wear your rose colored glasses so it appears to look different than it really is because you don’t want to know the truth?  Do not ignore your blind spots.

Be aware of what’s happening behind, in front and beside you…in your car and in your life. Be alert.



Your God-girl


Life Lessons

Life lessons….

My Mother is nearing the end of her time here, it is the reason that I didn’t do Coffee Chat last Sunday morning as we thought the exit was closing in…it appears now that it will be a journey to the finish line with an undefined amount of time…so as you might imagine no matter what else I am doing right now this knowledge is with me, running under everything that I do.

Every day I am asking myself what lessons God wants to teach me with all of this, what is there for me to see, to learn, to give, to do?  Some lessons have been about boundaries and understanding that I cannot fix or save other people, some have been about carrying on the things she taught me about being a WARRIOR no matter what you are walking through and this morning was a lesson about adding something to my work with people…

She trained me hard, taught me how to achieve results with no excuses, taught me how to tell it like it is, taught me how to stand in the face of a shit storm and not let it phase me….warrior training, my whole life has been that.  She, herself would tell you that the softer sides of things she wasn’t good at—- and so my training in those ways has been from other things and other people.  Of course training also never ends, life continues to train us on the daily.

This morning I shared some thoughts on the FB page about adversity and how to use it — it was an excerpt from something that I had written awhile back— when I went to check the comments I saw that someone had written that I was ‘harsh’ and ‘mean’— after my ego finished being insulted and I deleted the comment which was written in a shitty way— I re-read what I posted and I saw how the person could have interpreted what I had written in a way that was more ‘hard’ than I meant it to be.  It is difficult sometimes to have my personality come through my words, if you know me or watch me you see that I care about people and that I only want to help them overcome things that are in their way.  

In this particular thing that I wrote I was talking about using adversity to make you stronger and not to get stuck in a mode of whining and complaining when things are hard—- the person in her comment had pointed out that sometimes talking about it and venting is needed, it is part of the process…and she was CORRECT.  

Lord knows that my closest friends have been getting an earful daily for the last week as I process my Mother’s impending exit from this world…I have been angry, I have cried, I have complained etc—-so much so that I am sick of talking about it now. What could be the lessons?It feels like a coat that I cannot shed right now and I am not a fan.  Am I wallowing?  NO. Am I processing? YES.  Is that a necessary factor? YES.

I went back and edited the post I made to include a line about how it is ok to vent and process and then just move on from that, don’t dwell in the seeming mess, don’t dwell in the sadness—don’t move in and stay in those places.

I am still learning, learning that helping people to be warriors can also mean showing them how to make room for sadness or despair and not live IN it—- learning that a day of “I can’t” is ok as long as it is JUST a day or two— learning that having space for “i’d rather not” and letting it run me for a day or two is okay as long as I PUSH through it after that.  

Learning also that I have to accept people where they are and be okay with them being incongruent— every one, including my Mother has their own path, their own karma, their own life lessons—it is not my job to judge or evaluate them.  It is my job to heal my own shit, OWN my own shit and take care of ME and to do what I can to be helpful while being true to my own boundaries of what works and what doesn’t.

My Mother and my Grandparents have been my greatest teachers thus far and they continue to teach me daily from this world and beyond….funnily enough my Son is also an excellent teacher of mine and his point of view on recent events has been invaluable to me—- it’s cool to see when you have gotten a job done well.

I am not sure if I will see you on Sunday for Coffee Chat, we’ll play it by ear—know that I am always thinking of you all and sending you love and strength and peace.

XO, N.

What’s The Life Plan?

What’s the plan….
I wouldn’t say that I am a very wise person, especially considering my young age. I do, however, believe that I am often very observant when it comes to the topic of living life. It might sound strange, but I find myself getting lost in my thoughts whenever I think about how truly interesting life is.
Many of us make a plan regarding what our future could possibly look like, when in reality that plan doesn’t always work out. I used to get so frustrated when things didn’t go my way, and I always wondered whether I could have done something differently to change the eventual outcome. I know that I can speak for many people when I say that it’s really easy to lose hope when you’ve experienced so many bumps in the road. It happens to all of us! Not only do we end up feeling discouraged, but we also tend to live in the past and focus on the “what if?”.
“What if I had done better?”
“What if I had never met this person in the first place?”
“What if…”.
I’m here to tell you that everything happened for a reason. I know this is a statement that is thrown around quite often, but its’ meaning is incredibly true. Every person and experience that you have come across on your life journey, was put there for a reason.
Unfortunately, these interactions and experiences haven’t always been positive, and we’ve left them feeling genuinely hurt. However, after thinking about those events, I believe they result in us learning important lessons that we can carry with us throughout our lives.
I also like to believe that whatever is meant for you, will find its way of happening. It might not always be what we had planned for our futures, and it might take us a couple different routes to get there, but “what is meant to be, will be”.
-Dani <3

Divorce Did Not Ruin My Child

I have heard it many times… “My divorce ruined my kids lives”… False. Changes that happen in your life, do not ruin your kids lives. We all experience changes that will affect the lives of your children. And sometimes throughout all those changes, we all come out better.

Getting divorced does not ruin your kids lives… Before I decided to go through with my divorce, I struggled with how it would affect my kids. It was the number one thing that was holding me back from going through with my divorce. I would constantly worry if they would be ok and make it through all the transitions. Would they be upset, mad, angry, or would they act out… all of these worries raced through my mind over and over again.

But 5 years later…I can tell you that I did not ruin my kids lives. Yes, Their lives are different now. But they have adjusted to the changes. Yes, we have had some struggles through the way. However a lot of the struggles that we have faced, are just growing up parenting struggles. It has not always been a party…

However, I could not stay in a loveless marriage.

All of us worry about how divorce will affect our kids. I don’t think we would be human if we did not. But my kids saw everything and they picked up on so much that I don’t even realize.

My youngest was 4 when I got divorced. He often replays scenarios to me of his dad and I fighting in the last stages of our marriage. He will also mention how nice it is that dad and I don’t fight anymore. I am always so curious because his dad and I did not have loud arguments, but obviously to a 4 year old at the time.. he picked up on a lot more than we thought. It is also how a 4 year old interpreted our relationship and marriage.

I believe its how you handle all parts of your divorce, from the beginning, through the process, and all the years after…

There are things that I have done that have helped the transition over the last few years.

I have been able to tell when my kids needed a little additional support. All 3 of my kids have gone to counseling separately at different times in their lives. Each one faced different challenges at different ages and just needed to work through it. Alot of it was the changes in households and different parenting styles. I knew they could use a neutral person to talk too and work it out.

I continued counseling throughout and after my divorce. I did this because it was my outlet to let out my frustrations and emotions. It helped me control my emotions with my ex in front of my children. Counseling kept me grounded when I really just wanted to tell my ex what an idiot he was at times. Or it taught me to refrain from sharing my true feelings about my ex’s decisions in front of the kids.

My ex and I have also stayed very informed in their lives. I have learned to have conversations with my children and my ex all together, so there is no miscommunication between any of us. It gives my kids a chance to voice their opinion in front of both of us. And it has taken a lot of the pressure off me as always being the one having to speak for my kids.

I am very open and honest with my kids, even more so now that they are older. My girls are teenagers now, so their dad gets under their skin all the time… just being a dad to teenagers. I have always tried to keep my comments and negative thoughts to myself, and I still do now even more. Its hard. Many times I would love to tell them what I really think, but I want them to have a very healthy and positive relationship with us both. Its so hard to keep all my under my breath comments to myself. I also want my kids to form their own opinions and not be influenced by what I think.

So, no my divorce has not ruined my kids. I do not think it has ruined anything in any of our lives. My kids see how happy I am now, plus I can tell that they are happy. And they see how much love and support they get from both of their parents, just separately.