Treasured Time Together

Treasured Time Together

It’s another day of being Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose and I’m still glowing from the warmth of a Christmas linner (lunch + dinner) with a forever friend and our treasured time together. Terri and I –– two of a BFF trio of teachers who taught at a private Christian school for years –– have been doing life with each other more than two decades. When the economy went south in 2003, forcing the school to close, our careers took different paths. Our hearts, however, remain as connected as when our classrooms were next door. Back in our school days, we gave each other lots of potty breaks and talked on the daily. Today, we’re intentional about scheduling visits and our catch up conversations cram in as much as our grown up commitments will allow. We may not be teachers anymore, but somehow every night is still a school night that necessitates us calling it an evening. This limitation only serves to make us truly treasure our time together.

IMG_6491
Me, Pink Collar Coach, and Terri, treasuring our time together. An oldie but goodie Calvin Klein sweater dress I break out at least once every Christmas – TJ Maxx.                                                                                                                         $1 Christmas light earrings from Dollar Tree I bought for Zumba.

Terri, Brenda (our missing member, waited a long time to become a  grandmother and is now one to four little boys and  isn’t always available to join us and we couldn’t be happier for her!) and I have shared so much love and laughter during the up times. We’ve also shared many of the Ds –– barriers or challenges women face –– in the form of death, depression, domestic violence, divorce, and dysfunctional relationships.  The list could go on. And on. Through all these Ds –– the down times ––  we’ve found God’s Word to be true, “If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” Ecclesiastes 4:10 (NIV). How blessed we’ve been to have each other when we’ve been down.

These Swan Soul Sisters may not be my blood relatives, but they’re part of the family I’ve chosen for myself. I thank God He made me wise enough to fit them into the family space in my heart. They’ve helped me minimize my barriers and maximize beauty and my best life. Another reason I treasure our time together.

My prayer for you is that you’ll be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose and make the effort to be with the ones in your life, those Swan Soul Sisters, who’ve been there for you when you’ve been down –– even though the holidays are “officially over”.  When you do, I believe you’ll not only treasure your time together, you’ll minimize your barriers and maximize beauty and your best life too.

Be savvy and chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

Groceries, Gas and Gearing Up for the Work Week

Groceries, Gas and Gearing Up for the Work Week

It’s Day 21 of being back to blogging and I’ve just finished getting groceries, gas and gearing up for the work week. All of my career, I’ve been adamant about getting any items that needed to be done for the week out of the way on the weekend. The thought of working all day, then trudging through the supermarket or almost running out of gas on the commute leave me exhausted and ready to for bed. And waking up to the decision of what to wear, only to find that the outfit is dirty, damaged or doesn’t fit anymore is one of my worst nightmares. It’s not that I’m that annal about what I wear…Wait, who am I kidding? I really am that annal/OCD! Besides it causing an extreme amount of stress, it usually result in running late as well. My hubby thinks I’m a bit over the top about the whole preparing for the work week (and each day), but I’m a better wife, mother, leader, employee and even Christ follower when I’m taken care of my business. Then I can relax and enjoy the rest of my weekend and/or evening. Like tonight with all of this plus housework and blogging done, I’ll be able to enjoy Victoria and my latest novel before bedtime…The  point is, I’m a huge advocate of getting the groceries, gas and getting in gear for the work week!

img_0996.jpg
Red grommet button cardigan and A-line skirt with a pretty print scarf with a red stripe to tie the two together. Black shooties with gold accents pick up on the gold detail in the sweater. A red handbag finishes the look. All Calvin Klein from TJ Maxx acquired over several years. The scarf is new and fresh. 

Getting in gear for the work week includes getting my work outfit ready. As a Women’s Center Director with two standing Monday meetings –– one a house meeting with all of the residents first thing and the other with our team of counselors and case managers, I go approachable, pulled together professional. Setting my outfit out the night before as well as prepping my agenda for the first meeting on Friday helps me to start the week off calm and confident. Not only do I stage this outfit, I pack my bag for Zumba afterward and throw it in the car in case I have to stay late at the office. This ensures I can go straight to my workout when I do get off work.

If you’re anything like me, your personal and professional life can throw in some unforeseen variables. So why not be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic and plan what we can ahead of time? Doing so will not only help you be balanced, it will also help you be the best version of yourself and those you serve. Just another benefit of getting the groceries, gas and in gear for the work week.

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

 

Give Myself a Brake!

Give Myself a Brake!

It’s Day 12 of being back to blogging and I’m trying to give myself a brake! That’s not a spelling error. I mean a literal brake as in STOP! As a new Women’s Center Director, wife, mother, Life Coach, author, blogger, friend,  etc., etc., etc., there are times when I’m going so fast and furious that I just need to slow it down and breathe. After running around with my children taking them to an appointment after  one of the most emotionally grueling days ever, we went out to dinner. Next a trip to the book store turned into shopping. After that, I had to do more shopping for lunch food. Then my hubby felt neglected so I spent some time with him after ironing clothes and blogging. Then watched HGTV to escape to my favorite international location Across the Pond. Not the best thing to do if you need to get to bed, but my mind wouldn’t slow down enough to sleep long enough for me to give myself a brake!

IMG_0989.JPG
Me giving myself a brake – and a $2 Chai Tea Latte, nonfat, venti – at Barnes & Noble. Sweater dress and tights are oldies but a goodies. Turtleneck underneath purchased with a gift card from my hubby this Christmas. The floral handbag bought with one from him last Christmas. My daughter was the photographer and cut of boots…All Calvin Klein – TJ Maxx.

The one thing I neglected to do was my daily devotional. So tonight, I’m keeping this post short in order to finish my night right. Because of all the things that describe me, Christ follower is the one dearest to my heart. And I never want to give myself a brake on that. But I do hope you’ll be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic and give yourself a brake – in your personal and professional life too.

Be savvy & chic ,

~Pink  Collar Coach

 

 

 

High School Sisters by Heart

High School Sisters by Heart

It’s Day 6 of being back to blogging and I’m still glowing from time spent with one of my BFFS –– we’re high school sisters by heart. In many ways, Josette saved me in the 10th grade. While in junior high I’d tested into a Walnut Hills, a college prep school , but unlike most who did, I didn’t start as a 7th grader, which meant all of the cliques had already been formed by the time I showed up as a freshman. Thirty-five years later, I can honestly say it was one of the worst periods of my life. I was bullied for being a Peppermint Patty –– black on the outside and white on the inside –– and didn’t fit in with either group of kids. Add to that the fact that my junior high boyfriend AKA best friend dumped me for an upperclassman who rallied her friends to bully me too, and there were days when I felt I’d rather die than go another day. Only my faith, family and friends outside school got me through. Beautiful, funny, sweet Josette befriending me the following year remains one of the things for which I’m forever grateful. God knit us together in so many ways that we truly became high school sisters by heart.

img_0988
High School Sisters by Heart –– Josette and Me, Pink Collar Coach.                                           Josette has always had beautiful hair and it’s growing back in that way.                                      I’m in a floral bell sleeve top and black jeggins with shorties. All Calvin Klein from TJ Maxx. 

Thirty plus years later, though life has not afforded us very many opportunities to spend time hanging out, every interaction feels as though no time has passed. Our discussions no longer center around cute boys, Prince and challenges with our home lives. Now they’re about dealing with the Ds ( the challenges women face like divorce, diagnosis, etc.) but the level of comfort, ease and depth of connection remain the same. This was the case when I treated her to a 50th birthday dinner a few months ago. And the birthday was the best I’ve ever spent with her because she’s conquered a huge D as a one year survivor of stage 4 breast cancer and a double mastectomy. I have ALWAYS loved Josette. Now I absolutely treasure and look up to her more than ever.

The thought of losing my high school BFF has made me more intentional about not letting as much time pass between spending time with my Swan Soul Sister….Hopefully my sharing will inspire you to be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic and do the same with your old friends. After all, you can always make new friends but you can’t make old ones like high school sisters by heart.

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

 

It Pays to Pay It Forward

It Pays to Pay It Forward

It’s Day 276 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project (I’m just picking up where I left off before extreme computer and internet issues preventing me from blogging) and an encounter during this time reminded me of how it pays to pay it forward.

I’ve been facing some Ds –– personal challenges that can negatively impact professional performance –– and had an opportunity to work at a friend’s family owned business to supplement my income.  I served as administrative support and created work orders for customers. Sometimes the issues were minor and could wait. Other times, they were major emergencies. Always they were handled with caring customer service. In turn, though the company does no advertising or marketing, satisfied customers pay it forward in glowing recommendations and referrals.

Whether it’s fitting in one more customer who can’t wait a day or going above and beyond the call of duty to help someone who is literally in way over their head with an issue, meeting the needs of others is the theme that runs consistently through the pipes of this plumbing business! This was the case with a client I referred to them while director of a life coaching program. The business exceeded all expectations and delivered a result –– free of charge –– that caused the city to pick up the astronomical bill for Andrea, a truly deserving lady. In turn she’s gone out of her way to give to others in  ways that are extraordinary.  And she keeps getting showered with extravagent BLESSINGS. A few years ago she struggled to make ends meet. Now, because her needs were met (disastrous plumbing issue resolved, healing in relationships, some financial freedom, a new home and career) she’s meeting the needs of others. Andrea is experiencing how it pays to pay it forward.

IMG_0968
Me, Pink Collar Coach, and Andrea, a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic Pay it Forward Swan.                        I’m in a cold shoulder top & my favorite A line skirt from TJ Maxx.                                                   Bone sandals bought for a song at Steinmart. All Calvin Klein.

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose believer, I believe the Bible when it says, “And my God will meet all your needs.” (Phil. 4:19). I also believe He often does it through others. When that happens, there’s reciprocity. His children bless others and are in turn blessed.

How about you? Do you know someone who has a need today? On the homefront or in the workplace? Why not step out in faith, be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose, and meet it. If you do, I promise you’ll find out what my friend’s business and Andrea know. It truly does pay off to pay it forward.

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

Female Friend of the Canine Kind

Female Friend of the Canine Kind

It’s Day 421 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chicon Purpose Project and I feel so blessed by time I’ve been able to spend with a female friend of the canine kind. Because I’m a life coach who supports women facing Ds –– personal challenges that can negatively impact professional performance –– I often deal with diagnosis, depression, and domestic violence, etc. Recently I’ve encountered women who have service/therapy dogs who provide constant companionship and emotional support. And I just read about an accomplished fictitious character who had two English Labs who lent moral strength for her in both personal and professional settings. Seeing how richly these dogs contribute to the lives of their people, spending time with the trained therapy dog of friends this weekend proved even more meaningful than usual. Juneau is trained through Canines for Christ, a non-profit that provides pet therapy by showing Christ’s love through giving. My Swan Sister Kibby’s fiancé, Roger, takes this 120 lb. Alaskan Malamute (she looks like a baby polar bear!) to visit different events and organizations where children, the elderly, veterans and/or just people who need to be encouraged. I was one of the latter on Saturday and Juneau did this for me in in spades. Simply being in her loving presence lifted my spirits and I’m so thankful for my female friend of the canine kind!

IMG_0967.JPG
Me, Pink Collar Coach, Juneau, my Female Friend of the Canine Kind, & Juneau’s dog mom, Kibby. I’m casual in green shorts, matching top & a plaid shirt with scrappy sandals &  a bone handbag. All Calvin Klein from TJ Maxx –– last summer.

Juneau and another friend’s dog Jezzy –– short for Jezebel –– helped me to overcome thoughts of depression, loneliness and stagnation. Since my pet therapy session, I’ve felt energized in my coaching and writing. Just today I completed needed revisions and wrote a whole scene for the sequel of my debut novel, Seasons of Her Soul. I’ve also gotten enthused about an opportunity to speak at a book club meeting next month. Furthermore, I’ve checked many other items off of my to-do list for this week. Of course much of that can be attributed to Juneau’s people, Kibby and Roger. Kibby blesses me in some way or another almost weekly, but this time around Roger’s kindness and generosity are what touched me the most. He’d texted me last week and asked about the make and model of my car because he wanted to replace a lug nut! I didn’t know what that was, but he not only took care of that, he checked my oil, cleaned bird droppings and smudges off and suggested I go to Auto Zone for a free diagnostic. Then he told me to bring him the print out for any work that needs to be done!

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chicon Purpose Swan facing some Ds, I can truly attest to the power of pet therapy. Juneau absolutely shows Christ’s love by giving, as do Kibby and Roger. And it’s clear to me that Juneau’s giving spirit is aligned with her master’s…They say all dogs go to heaven. Well, I personally believe there will be a special doggy mansion there for Juneau, my female friend of the canine kind.

I hope you’ll be Pink Collar Savvy & Chicon Purpose and check out www.caninesforchrist.org.

You can also check out my book here:

To preview/purchase the print or Kindle version of my debut novel, Seasons of Her Soul, please visit Amazon.com at 

 

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

 

 

 

Not a Fair-weather but Forever Friend

Not a Fair-weather but Forever Friend

It’s Day 420 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and while I was too busy to blog about it yesterday, Friday night showed me how a dear Swan Sister, Valerie, is not a fair-weather but forever friend. I originally came to know Valerie through our professional relationship. I had the joy of training her to become one of the best life coaches I’d ever led, and she in turn became a trainer of other coaches. She’s as smart as they come and is passionate about connecting others to the information and resources they need to minimize their barriers and to maximize their best lives. Add to that the fact that she’s bookish like me –– but with a library science degree to boot ––– and she’s a girl after my own heart. Given the strong working connection we formed then, I’m thrilled that it didn’t cease when I left that director role…And now, as I’m dealing with some Ds of my own –– personal challenges that can negatively impact professional performance –– I’m so thankful she’s proven herself not to be a fair-weather friend, but a forever one.

img_0966.jpg
Me, Pink Collar Coach, with Valerie. She’s as smart and sweet as she is petite! I’m in a fave summer dress and gold metallic cardi – both several summers old, and metallic sandals with a bone colored bag. I had to laugh at myself –– my usual glasses on top of my head AND sunglasses! All Calvin Klein from TJ Maxx acquired over several years.

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Swan, I won’t lie and say I enjoy facing Ds /challenges. But I did enjoy hearing from Valerie because of them. She took me to dinner and for three hours we caught up, laughed, reminisced and strategized. Though we hadn’t seen each other for over a year, it was like no time had passed at all…She’s also going to get a copy of my book, Seasons of Her Soul. Bonus! Leaving Buffalo Wild Wings –– one of my all time favorites ––– I felt full of good food and even more satisfied with the fact that our professional worlds may have brought us together initially, but it’s our faith that has made us true friends and sisters in Him. The time spent with Valerie made me feel lighter as though my burdens had been lifted. After all, though I was once her supervisor, the love she showed me on Friday assured me she’s not a fair-weather but my forever friend.

What about you? Are you Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose about not just being there for friends –– personal and professional –– during the good times but the bad times, too? Who could you reach out to today to show your love and support?

If you’re like Valerie and would like to check out my book, please see below. Thanks!

To preview/purchase the print or Kindle version of my debut novel, Seasons of Her Soul, please visit Amazon.com at 

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

 

Cool by the Pool in Cute Coverups

Cool by the Pool in Cute Coverups

It’s Day 412 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and life has heated up to the degree that I needed some time girl time keeping cool by the pool in cute coverups.  The good news is, the life coaching side of things has been fairly consistent –– especially considering summer vacations, travel, etc. And the life clients I’m working with are truly minimizing their barriers around and maximizing their beauty (image coaching) and best lives (personal and professional). The bad news is, Consistency with my writing? –– not so much. I’m going days without posting, blogging or working on the sequel to my debut novel, Seasons of Her Soul. Even so, due to some Ds –– personal challenges that negatively impact our professional lives –– I’m facing right now, I’m in a perpetual research mode and am gathering great material for Hold on Her Heart! Given everything going on, when one of my closets Swan Soul Sisters, Kibby, suggested a weekday lounging poolside, I was quick to put work aside and go all in keeping cool by the pool in cute coverups!

img_0959.jpg
Me, Pink Collar Coach, and my Swan Soul Sister, Kibby. I’m in a clearance Calvin Klein perforated teal mini dress cover up from a few seasons ago, straw sun visor and flip flops. All TJ Maxx.                                                                                       Kibby, such a natural beauty,  is tots adorbs in her hooded eyelet coverup and beaded sandals.

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Swan, time with other females is essential to my emotional and spiritual well-being. Being able to share what’s going on in our lives –– the good, the bad and the ugly –– makes all the difference in the world. Whether we’re reminiscing about the past, pondering the present, or praying about our futures, my soul and spirit are revived by time spent with other Swans who share my faith and my fears.  Kibby does all of this in spades. In addition to all we have in common, her generosity ––– way beyond monetary –– knows few bounds and she blesses me more than I can say! Never mind the fact that we never actually swam…As long as the Earth spins around the sun, our lives will heat up with Ds. I just chose to minimize them by spending at least a few of mine maximizing beauty and my best life keeping cool by the pool in cute coverups!

Be savvy  & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

Happy 40th Celebration and a Hometown Hero – Chicago Cub, Kyle Schwarber

Happy 40th Celebration and a Hometown Hero – Chicago Cub, Kyle Schwarber

It’s Day 371 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and last night our family pulled off a surprise Happy 40th Birthday Celebration and I gained some wonderful insight about a Hometown Hero – Chicago Cub, Kyle Schwarber. A few weeks ago, my husband’s niece, Kelly told us she was planning a surprise party for her big sister, Alicia. The two are very close and Kelly went to great lengths to ensure the secret remained safe with their dad’s family which consists of thirteen siblings! Furthermore, Kelly’s husband’s mom is one of twelve! Needless to say, between them and our side of the family –– my husband is the oldest and only brother with three sisters –– making sure the plans remained mum was quite the fete. And that’s not even counting more cousins and friends than I can keep track of. The head count was a conservative fifty but appeared to exceed that. Nevertheless, Kelly and her cohorts pulled it off. One of the cohort members was their brother, Kyle Schwarber, who gained well-deserved notoriety when his hit not only broke the tie between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians during the 2016 World Series, but ultimately led to them breaking the 108 year championship drought/curse! Alicia and Kelly have always been sports enthusiasts and often attend their brother’s games. In fact, Kyle’s invitation to hang out after last night’s game is what got Alicia there.  While at the game she complained, “Worst birthday ever”, seeing as everyone did a good job of keeping her bday low-key. But from the moment we yelled, “Surprise!” I believe it turned into possibly the best birthday ever! I know I enjoyed Alicia’s Happy 40th Celebration and the time spent gaining some insight about her humble hometown hero brother.

AD27CCDF-1D89-492F-A8AB-B900A95286CB
Me with the Birthday Girl, Alicia (center), her uncle (my hubby), aunts and mom.

Kyle is a private person and changed from his uniform into everyday clothes to avoid recognition. But I got the sense from what he and others said that he very much wanted the night to be about Alicia’s celebration with all the attention and focus on her. And though everyone there respected this, it was so apparent that Kyle took time to spend with family and fans alike –– not necessarily being well-known pro baseball player but just being Kyle. And even though I’m not into sports at all, the only baseball game I’ve ever watched start to finish was that history making World Series game. When my husband shared that with Kelly, Alicia and Kyle’s dad and mentioned I’d like a picture with him, Kyle couldn’t have been more open to it. He spent some time just talking with me and readily gave his consent for me to share on my blog. I can honestly say I’m now officially a fan. He further endeared himself to me when he spent a great deal of time letting my hubby –– who is an amazing golfer –– help him with his swing. Being a baseball hitter, it isn’t a stretch to imagine Kyle can swing a golf club. What impressed me though was his teachable spirit and willingness to take instruction. No wonder he’s at the top of his game! Kyle spend much of his night loving on his big sister, Alicia, and just being an awesome brother and nice guy.

 

Picture with Kyle Swarber
Me, Pink Collar Coach with Kyle – Brother of the Birthday Girl.

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Swan, the thing that resonated most with me about the night was all of the love everyone has for Alicia. She’s one of the most vibrant and vivacious people I know. In fact, her bday decor had a recurring theme of confetti. Not knowing that, I selected desk decorations –– an A monogram with confetti and a sign that said, “Spread some confetti wherever you go” because they reminded me so much of her. I hope she’ll think of us fondly when she looks at them…I took a pink coaster with confetti that says “Happy 40th Birthday, Alicia” home as a reminder of the night. It truly was a Happy 40th Celebration and one I won’t forget thanks in part to a little time spent with a humble hometown hero.

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

Coincidental Coordinating Conversations and Colors

Coincidental Coordinating Conversations and Colors

It’s Day 369 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and it was one full of coincidental coordinating conversations and colors. After a busy morning teaching Zumba, I had a truly meaningful conversation with my sister-in-law’s neighbor. She read my novel, Seasons of Her Soul in about twenty-four hours and provided a valuable  critique followed by an email asking if we could discuss the book. We talked for nearly an hour and when our conversation drew to a close, she asked me if I see Sue much. Her question coincided with the last leg of Sue’s journey to Cincy! We ended our call with her agreeing to write a review for Amazon and to serve as a beta reader for Book II, Hold On Her Heart. I hung up knowing I’ve got a fan, a new friend and a sister in Christ. It doesn’t get much better than that except maybe for going to meet Sue for dinner. When I arrived at the restaurant, Izzy –– my stepson’s daughter ––– ran and jumped into my arms with a heart melting, “Mimi!” Soon we both realized our colors coordinated, a coincidence that is occurs more often than not with us! Then, Sue –– one of the most generous and thoughtful people I know –– gave me my birthday gift early. She pointed out how the wrapping matched my outfit perfectly. Another  coordinating color coincidence!

IMG_5415
Izzy & Me, Pink Collar Coach.                                                                           Both in Tiffany blue w/ a little purple & pink of course!                       jersey dress & scarf are oldies but a goodies. Gray hose (I’m always cold), and bone sandals w/floral handbag that ties hues together.              All Calvin Klein – TJ Maxx, except shoes – Steinmart. 
IMG_5419
We couldn’t have planned this! Gift bag, tag, tissue paper & gauze all coordinate with my colors. 

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose author by day, family member by night I absolutely love days like this. Sue has been instrumental in spreading the word about my book. So much so that she’s given away a handful of copies she purchased for herself! Consequently, she hasn’t gotten to read it yet. That being the case, she brought her latest copy for me to sign and give her tomorrow. She gave me the book as we stood outside having a meaningful conversation about it and so many other things. Then she took a picture of me with my gift wrapped in its coordinating colors. And by the time I drove away with her and my husband still deep in conversation in the parking lot, some things dawned on me: God had me write my book for Myra to read it –– hence our deep conversation. Izzy and I are connected by so much more than the colors we wear –– she’s the child I didn’t know I needed. And whether or not Sue loves the book and becomes a fan, we’ll remain sisters-in-law by marriage and friends by choice. You see, they’re all in my life –– not by coincidence but because of God’s divine coordination.

Who has been placed in your life – not by coincidence but by coordination?

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach