Pink Collar Mom – Made of More Than Many Made Her Out to Be

Pink Collar Mom – Made of More Than Many Made Her Out to Be

It’s Day 267 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and I’m delighted to learn about a Pink Collar Mom who’s made of more than many made her out to be. On Halloween I blogged about the tragic death of our handyman, Mark, who hadn’t reached thirty. He was killed working at a landscaping company when the industrial mower he’d been using to cut grass near a pond flipped over and pinned him underwater. Raised in poverty, Mark had a rough life. Still, he was one of the hardest workers I’ve ever known. And from what my husband tells me, never more so than when he learned he was to be a father. Excitedly expecting his little girl in January, Mark made it clear his child would have it better than he had. But with his death, it seemed mother and baby would have a rough go ahead. My husband, who’d become a mentor to Mark, was devastated by the loss and naturally expressed concern for the baby’s mother. We all wondered how she would manage. This afternoon my hubby paid them a visit and it appears this Pink Collar mom is made of more than many made her out to be.

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Mark’s beautiful baby girl. A Cygnet.

Since I was working on the map for the sequel to Seasons of Her Soul  – Hold On Her Heart – and was in my zone, I declined my hubby’s invite to accompany him. Even so, I was anxious to hear how the visit went and feared I’d get a gloomy report when he called on the way home. Seldom is my husband effusive but he told me, “People say all babies are beautiful. I don’t think they are. But this baby is beautiful.” We went on to discuss how mom is doing and I was elated to hear in addition to receiving a death benefit, she’s working as a veterinary assistant. She loves animals so kudos to her for operating in her strengths zone! Greg even got some advice on how to handle one of our Ds – two delinquent kitties! In addition to doing well in the workplace, she’s also a good homemaker and has created a clean, comfortable environment. Mother, baby, and their three kitties appeared to be happy and in good health. Not a gloomy report at all!

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When Greg walked in  the door I demanded to see Rory’s picture and he said it for me,                  “She sure is a cutie.” I concur. 

Though no tears were shed hearing the above, I did tear up when Greg told me: “She said she came home one day to find Mark painting in the baby’s room. There were names all over the wall. Mark said ‘Rory’ was the one he liked best, so that’s the one she picked.” That and the fact that I would have named a daughter with Greg the same thing (I did name a cat that) was enough to choke me up, but when I consider how Mark had come to view my husband as more than a mentor – he saw him as a father – it isn’t lost on me that he chose a derivative of “Gregory” as his daughter’s name. There’s no way to know for sure this side of heaven if that was his intention; I do know for sure Mark would have loved that it turned out that way… but not near as much as he would have loved her.

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose mom, I’m so proud of Rory’s. She’s dealt with one of the biggest Ds – death, buried her baby’s father, birthed his child, is working hard in the workplace and on the home-front, and has honored the man she loved. It doesn’t get much more Pink Collar Savvy & Chic than that, proving she’s made of a Whole. Lot. More. than many made her out to be.

How can you be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose and let a young mom know she’s more than many make her out to be?

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Savvy

Giving Thanks to the Lord for Good Test Results and Looking Forward to Getting Back to Life and Reality

Giving Thanks to the Lord for Good Test Results and Looking Forward to Getting Back to Life and Reality

Day 180 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project was one spent having procedures to determine why I’ve been so sick for the past month and giving thanks to the Lord for good test results! Now I’m looking forward to getting back to life and reality. And while the doctor’s orders were that today be a lazy day, I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you who have read about my medical challenges/Ds and reached out with well wishes and prayers. You readers are part of my resilience strategy and the blog has helped me bounce back. Both have played a role in me getting better because I didn’t want to renege on my promise to post daily (I did miss a few…). Nor did I want to lose those of you who have been kind enough to stick with me while I’ve been sick, even if you were sick of hearing about it!

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Shabby Chic inspired Thanksgiving decor from TJMaxx – last season.

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Cygnet, I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired! So while I’m thankful for today’s test results and hopeful the rest of them will come back good, I’m ready for a new day. I’m not 100%, but I’m laying claim to the verse in a song I used to teach in Kids Club:

And now let the sick say I am healed

Because of what the Lord has done for us!

That being the case, tomorrow, I plan to get back to life and back to reality. Completing revisions for my debut novel, Seasons of Her Soul in order for it to be released in January, focusing on my business, including rescheduling and scheduling coaching sessions, returning to Zumba and starting to teach (yes!), and planning for my next workshops are only a few of the things while I was down. Excited as I am about all that, being able to get out and about to post pictures to accompany what content I hope you love is what motivates me. That and glorifying  the Lord to whom I owe, and give, so much thanks.

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Give Thanks to the Lord pumpkins flank front porch stairs.                                                         Not only are they pretty and welcoming, they remind others to have grateful hearts.

What situation have you come through, medical, personal, professional or otherwise, for which you are thankful? How can you be savvy & chic on purpose about expressing that thanks?

 

Savvy & Chic Resilience Strategies to Build Your Bounce Series – Internal Beliefs – Part 1

Savvy & Chic Resilience Strategies to Build Your Bounce Series – Internal Beliefs – Part 1

It’s Day 170 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and I’ve had to employ some savvy & chic resilience strategies – my internal beliefs specifically – to bounce back from being ill the past few weeks. Having to rely on these has reinforced the importance of internal beliefs as an adult resiliency protective factor. The Devereux Foundation defines internal beliefs as the thoughts and feelings we have about ourselves, our lives, and how we perceive our effectiveness at taking action in life. The thought I don’t know how people make it through life without faith is one that often crosses my mind, so I’m excited to continue this series on strategies for you to build your bounce with internal beliefs as the focus.

According to Mary Mackrain and Neferteri Bruce the authors of Building Your Bounce: Simple Strategies for a Resilient You, positive internal core beliefs about ourselves serves as a cozy energy blanket wrapped around us. It enables us shrug off hurtful comments, to embrace compliments, and to use our positivity to effectively navigate life’s ups and downs. Building up positive internal beliefs lays the foundation for us to set and stick to goals, learn from our mistakes, bounce back from major life events and loss, accept praise, trust others, handle unexpected challenges, and to go with our instincts.

It’s never too late to start building your internal belief bounce. If you read the first post in this series, Savvy & Chic Strategies to Build Your Bounce Series – Relationships  and reflected on your adult resiliency strengths and areas for growth, you can reference that or just click the link, read and complete. Then, use the strategies associated with each item below to build your bounce around internal beliefs:

Building Your Internal Beliefs Bounce

1. Belief in your personal strengths. Sometimes we are so focused on what we want to change and make better that we neglect to acknowledge the good things we hold within ourselves. Recognizing and remembering our strengths builds us up so we can use our strengths to solve problems.

Strategy: Taking Time for Your Talents. Take time to write down you talents and gifts (i.e. singing, writing, dancing or whatever you’re good at and love to do). Next, estimate how much time a week you do each of these things. Evaluate whether you spend at least an hour per week fostering and enjoying your talents. If it less than that, what can you do to ensure these talents come to the forefront. Start small – even if it means just singing in the shower. What can you do tomorrow?

2. Belief that you are creative. Creativity is about self-expression. It doesn’t necessarily mean you are an artist, dancer, or cook. It does mean you find ways to express yourself openly and without fear of judgement. Creating something based on personal feelings nurtures our emotional health.  When we do, we will feel energized and understood which bolsters our belief that we are unique and special.

Strategy: Creativity Collage. Get a blank piece of paper or poster board, then gather magazines or catalogs. Look through and cut out images that catch your eye without overthinking – just go with what attracts you. Glue all to the paper or board. While reflecting on what you created, ask yourself Is there a theme (i.e. family, nature, etc.). What colors are represented? What can I do to bring more of these themes and colors into my daily life?

3. Having strong beliefs. We all face challenges in life or what I often refer to as The Ds. Somehow we must find gratitude, hope and peace in life. This looks different for everyone – religion, groups of friends, nature, etc. Belief or faith in something in life enables us to tap into our coping resources and resolve.

Strategy: Self-Reflect on What You Believe In. Complete the following thoughts:

Thank goodness for ________________________ when something difficult or bad happens.

I could not live without _____________________.

I am most grateful for _______________________.

You may already have strong beliefs. If you don’t, please consider how you answered the above. Do your beliefs support your sense of peace and hope?

Woman making heart sign

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Chick who has been down more than I’ve been up lately due to my health challenges, believing in my strengths, my creativity and in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has gotten me through two weeks where I wondered if I’d ever bounce back form doing so little to grow my business, meet my writing deadlines, or to fight the never ending domestic relations war with my wasband. Still, I’m running out of steam and will have to cover the other strategies in tomorrow’s post. Until then, I’m so thankful that the song we used to sing in Vacation Bible School says still holds true:

I’ve got the wonderful love of my blessed Redeemer down in the depths of my heart!

That’s an internal belief protective factor that fuels the others and gives me all of the adult resiliency I need.

How about you? Which of these strategies can you use to build your bounce? I’d love to chat with you about it.

Be savvy  & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

Please note, the information here was adapted from http://www.devereuxearlychildhood.org.

 

Savvy & Chic Strategies to Build Your Bounce Series – Relationships

Savvy & Chic Strategies to Build Your Bounce Series – Relationships

It’s Day 165 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and I’m diving a little deeper into this series on resilience by providing some practical tips you can use to build your bounce through relationships. As I discussed in yesterday’s post, Reflecting on Resilience as I Recover & Strategies to Build Your Bounce Series Kickoff, relationships are one of the adult resiliency protective factors that enable us to bounce back from life’s ups and downs. They are the long-lasting, mutual, reciprocal interactions we have with others in our lives. According to Mary Mackrain and Nefertiti Bruce, the authors of the adult resiliency journal pictured below, relationships support us in laughing more, feeling healthy, nurturing hope, feeling supported, having fun, sharing our emotions, and being honest.

Being down with diverticulitis has given me a lot of time to not only think about the truth of the above but to experience how having supportive relationships contributes to a healthy life overall. That’s what prompted me to suggest you reflect on each of the protective factors, what they comprise, and whether they are areas of strength or opportunity for you. Now, considering that, I’d like to share some ways to build your bounce around relationships.

Building Your Relationships Bounce 

1. Having good friends who support you. – By surrounding yourself with positive people, you create your own safety net. It’s important to know what you need from another person, which requires reconnecting with what you want and need from the relationships in your life.

Strategy: Be Intentional About Your Relationship Needs, Wants and Expectations. Answer below.

In a relationship I need a person who is:

I want a person in my life who accepts me when I:

When I am with the person I expect to:

From time to time reflect on this and determine whether you need more of this in your life and how you can go about getting it.

2. Having a mentor who helps guide you. Mentors offer support and encouragement in specific areas of your life such as your career. They improve your self-confidence, increase your motivation, and encourage you to be optimistic about the future and its opportunities.

Strategy: Coffee and Connect. Imagine meeting with someone who has achieved what you want to achieve and who inspires you.

My mentor looks like:

My mentor and I can have meaningful conversations about:

My mentor has already achieved ____________________, and I am hopeful they will play a role in helping me to do the same.

Now invite that person to coffee, meet and plan to meet again.

3. Being able to provide support to others. Helping others not only benefits them, it’s beneficial to you as well. By being supportive and listening, you can experience enhanced energy, self-worth, hopefulness and happiness.

Strategy: Show Some Love. Demonstrate your appreciation for a mentor or someone who has been influential in a positive way. Update them on how you are doing and let them know what role they’ve played in your life. 

4. Being able to empathize with others. Unlike sympathy where you feel the same as someone, empathy is when you understand and are accurate about what another person feels. This creates a strong connection and deeper relationships.

Strategy: Relate vs. Debate. When listening to a friend tell a story about something that happened to them, instead of debating how you are different, make an effort to let them know how you can relate to them. This will bring you closer.

5. Trusting close friends. Trust is a cornerstone of healthy relationships because it allows us to be ourselves. Though we can’t control how others respond to us, their reactions affect us. Having “safe” people who treat us well and give us positive feedback ensures us their love will not waver when we have a bad day.

Strategy: Circle of Trust. Reflect on the people in your life you feel safe telling anything. They listen when you’ve had a hard day and don’t offer excessive unsolicited advice. They are consistently there for you. Draw a large circle and jot down their names inside it. This is your Circle of Trust.

Remember that these are very special people who will be there through thick and thin. Reciprocate that by listening to and supporting them. Reach out.

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As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Coach, I hope you’ll not only read this information but apply it to build your relationship bounce. Thank you!

All information was adapted from the above. You can also visit http://www.devereuxearlychildhood.com for more strategies.

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

Reflecting on Resilience as I Recover & Strategies to Build Your Bounce Series Kickoff

Reflecting on Resilience as I Recover & Strategies to Build Your Bounce Series Kickoff

It’s Day 164 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and since I was down another day with my recent diverticulitis diagnosis, I spent part of it reflecting on resilience as I recover. Yesterday, Day 163, I was too sick to post, and though I’m not much better today, I’m determined to bounce back and write. Blogging daily has been a gift and now comprises a part of my Savvy & Chic Resiliency Strategy.

I first learned about resiliency when I worked in the early childhood field. Though the focus was building resilience in children, it stood to reason that parents and adults must be resilient to support the children in their lives. Then, a mentor turned friend, Christina Kelley, presented on “Building Your Bounce” at the last conference I attended as an early childhood professional. Though that was three years ago, I’ve applied the knowledge and tools ever since.

Now I coach women in the workplace who are facing personal barriers to minimize those in order to maximize their beauty and best professional lives. And after four days of dealing with diverticulitis, I’m painfully aware (pun intended) that I need to take a dose of my own coaching medicine! Based on the Devereux Adult Resiliency Survey (DARS) there are four protective factors related to thoughts and behaviors that support adult resiliency. Below I’ve shared these factors, their definitions, and listed items you may identify as either strengths or areas of opportunity. I hope you’ll reflect on the latter and then read tomorrow’s post for some strategies on how to build your bounce in those areas.

Adult Resiliency Protective Factors

Relationships – The mutual, long-lasting, reciprocal bonds we share with others in our lives.

  • Good friends who provide you with support.
  • A mentor or someone who shows you the way.
  • You provide support to others.
  • You are empathetic to others.
  • You trust your close friends.

Internal Beliefs – The thoughts and feelings we have about ourselves, our lives and how we feel about our effectiveness to take action in life.

  • Your role as a caregiver is important.
  • You have personal strengths.
  • You are creative.
  • You have strong beliefs.
  • You are hopeful about the future.
  • You are lovable.

Initiative – The ability to make decisions and positive choices and to follow through with them.

  • You communicate effectively with those around you.
  • You try many different ways to solve a problem.
  • You have a hobby that you engage in.
  • You seek out new knowledge.
  • You are open to new ideas.
  • You laugh often.
  • You are able to say no.
  • You can ask for help.

Self-Control – The ability to experience and express a range of feelings using socially appropriate words and actions.

  • You can express your emotions.
  • You set limits for yourself.
  • You are flexible.
  • You can calm yourself down.

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As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Chick who is dealing with another D (barrier), I understand from experience how critical it is to make sure our adult resiliency protective factors are in place as we navigate the ups and downs of life. I’m looking forward to diving deeper especially since I probably won’t be out and about for a few more days! Besides, reflecting on resilience as I recover and supporting you with strategies to build your bounce is a way to minimize my barrier and maximize my purpose while I’m down with diverticulitis!

Which of the above are strengths for you? Which are areas of opportunity? I hope you’ll visit tomorrow to learn how you can build your own Savvy & Chic Resilience Strategy!

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

All of the information is from the book cover featured here. You can also go to http://www.devereuxearlychildhood.org for more information.

Pink Collar Savvy & Chic Short Story – Bonnie Bounces Back from Rock Bottom – Post 3 of 3

Pink Collar Savvy & Chic Short Story – Bonnie Bounces Back from Rock Bottom – Post 3 of 3

It’s Day 79/80 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and I’m so excited to finally finish my second short story. I actually started it on Day 79 but realized there were some holes from Post 2 that I needed to fill. Doing that took me over into today. It’s been more than a week since I posted that, so I hope if there is anyone out there still interested in the story that this will be a satisfying conclusion. I appreciate you reading!

Bonnie Bounces Back from Rock Bottom – Post 3 of 3 

Happy business woman in suit jumping isolated

Following  a fabulous date night with her husband, Phil, Bonnie was more thankful than ever that she was married to her best friend. Well, her best friend with skin on him! “I’m a real Jesus Freak”, Bonnie said aloud, then laughed at herself.  Laughter aside, the  Christian rap and rock trio DC Talk’s lyrics about some thinking it strange that a best friend could be born in a manger applied to her and she was proud of it. As she’d responded to Nicole’s email question, her husband and her faith had been instrumental in her overcoming challenges and maximizing rock bottom to build the best of her life.

True as all of that was, Bonnie was a little concerned that she’d focused too much on the personal side of what had helped her overcome challenges and not enough on the professional. The fact that she’d been fortunate enough to have mentors who saw something in her that she didn’t see in herself, even when she was just getting back on her feet, was huge. She’d read Cheryl Sandberg’s Lean In and knew several women who were in the unfortunate position of having to ask other women the question that was a title of one chapter:  Are You My Mentor? Fortunately for Bonnie, she’d never had to ask it and was blessed with several.

First, there was the dynamic workshop presenter who helped women with strategies to overcome workplace challenges who had not only helped her to move from surviving to thriving as a new Center Director, she’d taken her under her wing and mentored her ever since. Bonnie was so honored that she was the only other person Elle had ever partnered with to write and present workshops. It had boosted Bonnie’s confidence and served as a springboard for her to launch her own business. Not only that, within a few short years, she’d moved Bonnie from talking about it to making her twenty-year-old dream of earning her Master’s degree a reality. Bonnie had dithered between Adult Education with Instructional Design or Leadership and Coaching and Elle had coached her to choose the latter which aligned more with her purpose and passions.

Then there were the women in leadership positions  or with influence who had either exposed Bonnie to opportunities, helped her get her foot in the door, or both. These amazing women included master trainers, executive directors, directors,  authors, book and magazine editors, and retirees who provided a heads up that vacancies were on the horizon. Because of them, Bonnie’s resume included titles such as Training Consultant, Director, Leadership and Life Coach, Featured Presenter, Magazine Columnist, and would soon include Author. Each woman had seen her potential, largely due to the way she not only soaked in everything they taught or exposed her to, but by the way she maximized it all. She read voraciously and attended every professional development workshop and seminar that would strengthen her skills and advance her career.

“I’ve never seen a woman maximize her every opportunity they way you do,” Elle had commented one day.

And Bonnie had the name of her future business.

Now Bonnie sat in her home office at Maximize Her. The agency provided comprehensive coaching services to women. She poured herself a second cup of Starbucks coffee from the Keurig machine conveniently placed near her desk. After adding sugar-free vanilla syrup and fat-free powered creamer, she took it and meandered out to her back deck. She worked there on days when the temperamental Cincinnati weather permitted. It was the rainiest July she could remember, and having lived in the city or its suburbs all of her forty-plus years, that was saying something. This week alone she’d set up her laptop outdoors twice to catch up on email and had to go in because of sudden thunderstorms. Today looked promising, without a cloud in sight, so she looked forward to completing the final phase of the selection process for the inspiring women book anthology.

She sat in her favorite wicker chair, opened  her laptop, pulled up the latest email from Nicole, and read:

Bonnie, 

I’ve truly enjoyed hearing your story thus far and have been inspired by it. 

For the next stage of the selection process, please list the top five lessons you’ve learned along  your journey.

Thank you, 

Nicole

Bonnie had thought long and hard about this list and had painstakingly worked to narrow it down to the the most valuable lessons she’d learned in her transition from mess to sustained success. Toggling over to review it once more, she scrutinized what she’d written:

Lessons Learned Along the Way: How to Maximize Rock Bottom  

  1. Most of life isn’t what happens to us, it’s our response to it. My response to rock bottom is, it didn’t happen to me, it happened for me, so I could build my best life  and coach, encourage and inspire other women to live theirs.
  2. Set backs are a set up for an even greater comeback. (Joel Olsteen said it first, and it is true!). Rock bottom provided the firm foundation, and the circumstances that got me there served as the catalyst for me to acquire and/or utilize the tools needed to build my best life.
  3. Rock bottom’s firm foundation must be set on the Solid Rock, Jesus Christ, so our lives can withstand the storms.
  4. As we’re building our lives, storms will come, and we may get weathered, but that makes us even better because we’re authentic, credible, and relateable.
  5. Though our lives may gotten leveled, if we turn over control to Him, God’s plan for our new lives is better than anything we could have designed ourselves.

“That’ll have to do,” she murmured as she typed a brief note to Nicole, hit “Send”and shut her laptop case.

“What’ll have to do?” Phil asked as he stepped onto the deck and closed the french door to his wife’s office behind him. He often worked from home as well which could be a blessing and a curse since they often distracted one another.

Bonnie reached for his hand as he sat in the wicker chair next to hers. After he’d adjusted it to be in a spot of shade, Bonnie updated him on the latest with the book anthology.

“You’re Chris Gardner,” he told her when she’d finished. Early in the relationship, they’d watched Will Smith’s The Pursuit of Happyness, and both had been profoundly moved. She’d just gone from being homeless like the real life character portrayed in the movie, to being offered directorship positions from the nation’s top two corporate childcare providers, and Bonnie’s joy had equalled that of the actor when offered his dream job. Since then, whenever she made another career advancement, or accomplished something big, he’d call her Chris Gardner.

Squeezing his hand she explained, “If I’m selected, the final part of my story is sharing how I’m using my unique gift to inspire others. That part would be easy. One of the first things I did when I started my job as the director of the coaching program was to sit in during class when purpose statements were created. I was forty-six and had never done that!”

“So, love, what is your purpose statement?” Phil asked though he could probably say it by heart given all the times she’d repeated it to him.

“My purpose is to use my unique God-given strengths to coach, encourage and inspire other women to live their best lives and to become the best version of themselves, all to His glory.”

Phil looked at her with a look so tender, it took her breath away. Clearing his throat, to hide his emotions, he said, “Your purpose is one more reason I adore you. And for the record, you were living it long before you ever set it down on paper.” With that, he rose and pulled her to her feet with him. “What time is your image consultation?” he asked now with a flirtatious gleam in his eyes.

That blessing and curse thing…Bonnie would have loved to spend the morning with her gorgeous husband, but she was very disciplined about working her business during the day so she would be available in the afternoons and evenings for him and the children. The children weren’t an issue at the moment as they were away with their father for summer break. On one hand this left more time for Phil. On the other, it afforded opportunities to do work she couldn’t when the children were around. While she was building her business, work during the day had to be a priority.

Furthermore, Bonnie loved the image consultation side of her business because it allowed her to help women own their sense of professional style so they could step up their professional image, which often resulted in career advancements, promotions, and increased recognition. In fact, her wearing a suit very similar to the one she had on now had been the difference in her being offered a directorship vs. the assistant directorship position she’d applied for nearly a decade ago when she made her whirlwind return to the workforce.

“Honey, the consultation is in twenty minutes, so I have to leave now.”

Looking crestfallen, Phil kissed her chastely and then let go of her hand.

“Don’t look so forlorn. I’ll be home early afternoon and I’ll make it up to you.”

“I’ll hold you to that,” Phil grinned just as Bonnie’s cell phone rang.

When Bonnie grabbed it and mouthed, “It’s Nicole,” then worked really hard to reign in her joy until the call ended, Phil watched her and could barely contain the pride he felt because she’d obviously been selected to co-author the book anthology.

As Bonnie leapt repeatedly into the air, pumped her fist, and clapped her hands above her head, much like Will Smith’s character, Chris Gardner had, Phil was reminded again of the Pursuit of Happiness.

Like Chris Gardner, Bonnie was resilient and had truly bounced back.

The End

 

Thank you for reading this short story! I hope it encouraged and inspired you! 

~Pink Collar      Coach

 

 

 

 

 

Pink Collar Savvy & Chic Short Story – Bonnie Bounces Back from Rock Bottom – Post 2 of 3

Pink Collar Savvy & Chic Short Story – Bonnie Bounces Back from Rock Bottom – Post 2 of 3

Day 71 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project confirmed some things about haters. Haters are going to hate. The good thing is, Joel Osteen once said haters were like crows and those of us who aren’t are eagles. A crow will try to nip at an eagle and the eagle will never even acknowledge it. It will just soar higher and higher, and eventually the crow will have to fall back because they were not created to soar.

So, if you are a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Chick who’s got some haters biting at you, it’s beneath you to sink to their level. Just spread your wings and fly even higher.

Bonnie had some haters and other challenges. Please read on to see how she dealt with them. Hope you enjoy and take away something you can use to maximize your personal and/or professional life. Thanks for reading.

Pink Collar Coach

Oh, and I still haven’t figured out how to get the Shutterstock image off, but I have paid so should be okay…

Bonnie Bounces Back from Rock Bottom – Post 2 of 3 

Thrilled that she’d made it to the next step in the selection process and might actually be included in the book anthology, Bonnie read the email Doctor Nicole sent her following yesterday’s phone conversation.

Dear Bonnie:

Thank you for telling me your unique gift and how you discovered it.

I’m please to inform you that your story was compelling enough that we’d like you to answer a few more questions to help us determine if your story would make an impactful contribution to the anthology being compiled.

During the phone conversation you told your story in narrative form. This is a writing exercise that will demonstrate your ability to “write tight”. Please answer the following using bullet points and a succinct explanation:

What were five ways you overcame the obstacles in your way? 

Thank you for your participation, 

Doctor Nicole

Taking a sip of her iced green tea chai latte (with non-fat milk of course), Bonnie jotted down her initial thoughts. Then, since she tended to think in acronyms and mnemonics and had since learning the planets using “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pies”, she rearranged them into the acronym DEMPS for easy recall should she be asked to share. Next, she went back and added the explanations. When she finally had the answer down the way she wanted it, she hit the “Spelling and Grammar Check” key just to be safe, clicked “Save Draft” and read it aloud:

  • Deep Faith – When at rock bottom, my troubles ran deep. My trust ran deeper.
  • Education – Applied my old elementary ed degree in new ways; earned an advanced degree.
  • Mentoring – Aligned myself with people who were smarter, successful, and had reached where I wanted to go; showed them I was worth their investment in me.
  • Professional Development – Self-motivated, intentional and ongoing; through workshops, trainings, online resources, books, etc.
  • Soul Supporters -My husband, friends and tribe; I chose the family I wasn’t born into but wanted.

Pleased with her final product, Bonnie hit the “Send” key and stood to go get ready for date night with her hubby. The exercise she’d just completed naturally made her nostalgic about the things and people who’d helped her weather the storms she’d faced, but none more so than her faith and her husband. For Bonnie, the two were inextricably linked. She wouldn’t have believed it possible, but she loved both more today than she did back then.

Now she joined her husband in their bedroom and stood on tiptoe to wrap her arms around his neck. At barely 5’1″, Bonnie was almost a foot and a half shorter than her tall, handsome soul mate.

Phil kissed the top of her head and asked, “Did you send the email about your story?” He was ever supportive of his wife.

“Yes, and it made me think about how our love story began.”

“Is that so? How?”

“I had to list five ways I’d overcome obstacles and then provide a short explanation. Of course my relationship with you and my relationship with the Lord are at the top of that list.”

“Yeah, when I met you, I thought, How is this woman doing it? When you told me your life’s story up to this point, it was so over the top, I could have doubted you, but then, you couldn’t make up what you’d been through. And you were still going through it. It made me think long and hard about whether I wanted to take up with you.” The last was said in a teasing tone.

Bonnie feigned offense and stepped out of his embrace.

“Hey, I was just kidding! Seriously though, the nonsense happening to you was not going to continue on my watch, so hot mess or not, I was all in.”

Laughing, Bonnie turned back and planted a kiss on his cheek. She wasn’t a woman who felt she needed rescuing, but he’d been her champion from day one. Looking forward to their time together, she reached into her closet for the red dress she wanted to wear on their dinner date. “You’re funny,” she said as she passed him to go into the bathroom. “That was one of the things I loved about you from the night we met at that divorce care group. When you asked where I lived and I told you, you couldn’t believe it was your neighborhood. You actually stomped your foot and said, ‘You do not live in Indian Springs!’ It was hilarious!”

As funny as he was, Phil had a dry sense of humor and seldom laughed. “What was hilarious was that you thought you could write the sequel to Sleeping with the Enemy. I told you then and everything that’s happened with your ex since has confirmed that it’s already been written. It’s called The Return of the Anti-Christ.”

Bonnie merely laughed again and shook her head at how he could say such outrageous things deadpan and not crack a smile.

Laughter aside, when they’d met, she’d truly been at rock bottom. Rather than the courts returning custody when the truth about what her wasband had done came out, it had taken her nearly a year to get them back. She was working a temp job making no money, living in subsidized housing, and could barely afford gas for the borrowed clunker she was driving, let alone food, milk and diapers for her parenting time with the children.

Bonnie prayed from the first day she was away from her abusive ex that God would give her a good husband and father for her children. Phil had walked into the divorce care group six months later. Bonnie had been attending for a few weeks. Phil’s friend had encouraged him to go from the time his marriage had ended a year before that. He’d never taken him up on it until the night he and Bonnie met. Some would call that sweet serendipity. Bonnie called it a God-thing. From their first conversation that evening, which lasted all night at a pancake house, they were best friends. And though the spark was there nearly from the beginning, they let the romance come in God’s timing. Bonnie knew he was special and didn’t want to mess things up. Phil truly was and remained the answer to her prayers.

As she slid the red dress over her head, Bonnie whispered a prayer of thanksgiving. God, you and Phil are inextricably linked. Together, you helped me bounce back from rock bottom.

Hope you’ll come back and read the conclusion of Bonnie’s story in Post 3. Thank you!

~ Pink      Collar Coach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pink Collar Savvy & Chic Short Story – Bonnie Bounces Back from Rock Bottom – Post 1 of 3

Pink Collar Savvy & Chic Short Story – Bonnie Bounces Back from Rock Bottom – Post 1 of 3

Day 71 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project was another productive one. So much so that I missed my deadline to post by midnight. It’s all good though because I accomplished many purposeful things:
1. Learned that Shutterstock images are NEVER free.
2. Bit the bullet and paid for an annual subscription. Beware fellow bloggers and check out the license agreement terms before using images for your site! I’m a bit frustrated because I paid my fee and the Shutterstock imprint is still visible on my blog…I’ll have to check into that.
3. Finished my Gender Equity and Inclusion statement.
4. Reviewed a pre-assessment for an image consultation.
4. Explored an exciting new opportunity.
5. Made a new connection to be interviewed for a radio broadcast.
So, as a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Chick I’m learning that while I may have a plan for my days, I need to trust the greater plan…
Hope you enjoy post 1 of 3 from the 2nd Pink Collar Short Story. Thanks for reading!
Bonnie Bounces Back from Rock Bottom – Post 1 of 3 

 

Sitting in her home office, which was decorated with carefully curated items and inspirational messages that reinforced her agency’s theme, Maximize Her, Bonnie thought about the information call she’d been invited to join. Earlier the week before she’d typed a spontaneous response to an LinkedIn request for women to share their stories for a book anthology. Given the overwhelming response to the request, Bonnie had been pleasantly surprised when she was asked to register for the info session that evening.

As she reflected on what she would share should she be selected to contribute to the book, Bonnie wanted to pinch herself because where her life now was so radically different than it had been only a decade ago.

“We live a beautiful life, Loveday”, Bonnie told the cat when her feline companion wound herself around Bonnie’s leg and then leapt to her lap. “I hope you appreciate it, because it hasn’t always been this way.” Stroking the petite cat absently beneath the chin with one hand, she picked up her iPhone with the other and tapped it to bring up the message from the motivational speaker who’d sent it. After reading it and thinking through her next action step, Bonnie told the cat, “Hmm, Loveday. I believe I need to make a list”. She got no response, however, as Loveday, who’d been lulled to sleep by her person’s tender ministrations, had fallen asleep. Not wanting to wake her, Bonnie reached across the desk, pulled her laptop within reach and began outlining her story based on the criteria in the message. She’d be ready when asked to share it, and she felt fairly confident that she would be.

Two days later, Bonnie said a quick prayer, drew in her breath, and dialed the number she’d been provided following the information call. She and the other women had been assured it would be a conversation, not an interview, yet Bonnie still felt as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

“Hello, Bonnie. This is Doctor Nicole,” the book anthology interviewer answered pleasantly.

“Hello. I appreciate you taking the time to speak with me,” Bonnie stated clearly. She was a petite woman, with a small voice, and she’d been coached to speak confidently.

“My pleasure. We’re so excited that you are interested in sharing your story. As you know, the anthology will be a collection of stories about women who have uncovered their unique gifts and are now using them to inspire others. So, Bonnie, please tell me, what is your unique gift, and how did you uncover it?”

Channeling everything she’d ever learned about interviewing, Bonnie sat up straighter and told the story she’d shared during Orientation at her last job where she’d been the Director of Life Coaching and Care and had served at-risk individuals who were facing barriers to living successful lives.

“One of my top strengths is that I’m a maximizer. I learned that when I was working as a Leadership Coach and took Strength Finder 2.O. But I didn’t fully discover how this strength is also my unique gift. I learned that when realized that I’d maximized hitting rock bottom to rebuild my life.”

The line was quiet for a moment, and Bonnie thought she’d lost Nicole. She breathed a sigh of relief when she heard, “Please tell me how you did that.”

Bonnie relaxed, knowing her Ds story was powerful and that she told it the only way she could. From the heart. “I grew up in a poor community to parents who were divorced by the time I was a year old. The divorce led to my mother’s depression, which led her to drink. Eventually, the drinking led to drug use and that brought the dope dealers into our home. I was a victim of domestic violence and the dysfunction was so severe that I was desperate to get out. So, before I was twenty, I married Dwayne, and he was the worst “d” of them all. For the next decade I was caught up in a circle of domestic abuse that culminated when Dwayne committed some dastardly deeds that I don’t speak aloud. I lost everything including my home, my car, and all of my possessions. I was destitute. Worst of all, I lost custody of my infant and toddler child when he kidnapped the children and filed for custody. I was devastated and so depressed that I wanted to die. I’d hit rock bottom.” Before she could finish, Nicole interjected.

“Wow. I must say, I’m not often surprised by what I hear, but your story is exceptional. How did you manage to go on?” Nicole rushed on without waiting for Bonnie’s response. “My apologies for interrupting. Please continue.”

“Through divine intervention.” Bonnie closed her eyes and reigned in her emotions. She’d never cease to be overwhelmed with gratitude that she’d had her faith to lean on and couldn’t imagine how people did go on without it. “And through determination to put my good education and teaching experience to use. I maximized rock bottom and made it the firm foundation upon which I built the rest of my life. I was able to work my way up into a position as director at a day care center and not only regained custody of the children but was able to take them to school with me every day. Ultimately I decided to pursue an advanced degree and now get to live out my purpose every day in my dream job.” Bonnie paused, and then concluded,  “So, I maximized rock bottom to not only build the rest of my life, but to build the best of my life.”

For what seemed like minutes to Bonnie but was actually only a few seconds, Nicole didn’t say anything. When she finally did, she cleared her throat and told Bonnie in a voice thick with unshed tears, “Thank you, Bonnie, for sharing that with me. I’d love to have you tell me the rest of your story, but must adhere to the selection process. You’ll  receive an email with the next question should you make it to the next round.”

“I appreciate that,” Bonnie replied as her heart sunk. Nicole sounded close to tears alright. Tears of boredom! I talked too long and nearly put her to sleep. Trying to keep from crying herself, Bonnie thanked Nicole for her time and consideration and ended the call.

Frustrated with herself, Bonnie told Loveday, “Well, that’s the end of that,” but had to eat her words a few minutes later when her phone pinged letting her know she had an email. Opening it and seeing it was Nicole did get Bonnie crying. Tears of joy!

Please stay tuned for Post 2. Thank you!

~Pink Collar Coach