Tag Archives: Discernment

Listen for Wisdom (and the New WOW)

Discernment is a gift, and it is offered to those who LISTEN.

How I wish answers would arrive via FedEx with a 20-point outline and a comprehensive road map to get me from A to Z.

For me, it doesn’t happen that way.  But discernment DOES provide what is needed, and here’s what it is:


That’s all you need, you know.  And it’s so LIBERATING to know that one next step, because then you can ACT on it.  Action produces a powerful chain of events that stirs up the universe on your behalf, and next thing you know, the NEXT next step becomes clear.

I started the year writing out my goals and, well, that’s all I knew to do!  I didn’t know HOW they were all going to happen, but writing them down was my first step.

They stare at me while I spend endless hours here at the computer, working.

Sometimes I chuckle, “I wonder how THAT’s gonna happen…”  My chuckle is not one of cynicism, but more of wonder and awe, because the very fact that I sit at a computer working from my HOME and in FLORIDA no less, is proof positive that the most unlikely wishes can and do, in fact, materialize.

We stew on our dreams and in stewing, seek answers, but not in a frantic, desperate way. When the time is right, the answers flow to us, don’t they? 

We just need to be open – and quiet ourselves enough to listen for the answer.

I’m not being very specific, am I?

What has me excited right now is my current NEXT STEP. I told you about joining the local Toastmasters club and doing so has invigorated me.  I didn’t know there was a tribe of geeky speakers just like me in the world!

Another organization I joined last August – and, for the life of me, I wasn’t sure WHY – was the Sarasota Yacht Club (SYC).  Duane likes showing up and having his martini waiting for him; I like the water views…we feel a little like Thurston Howell the 3rd and his wife, Lovey – but, as the song goes, “Is that all there is?”

Sometimes it takes time for the answers to show up.

My friend, Kyle, always urged me to sign up for volunteer tasks at the Club and I was totally CLOSED to the suggestion.  After all, I’m busy enough with my two full-time jobs, my consulting work, Zumba, friends, family and Shasta. (Not necessarily in that order.)

However, the SYC has a ladies’ group, the GEMS, and I have thoroughly enjoyed attending their monthly luncheons. These ladies are awesomely accomplished; leaders in their respective fields and many have retired but their stories of accomplishments keep me on the edge of my seat.

At a recent meeting, the GEMS announced they wanted a new logo and shared a concept with the group that was met with a collective, “Meh.”  Those that were energized were on the negative side: “Our logo is just fine as is!”

I love mediating tension, especially when I see a path forward.  Long story short, I volunteered to head up the logo committee and it’s been invigorating and successful, while giving me an opportunity to present before the GEMS group.

I think I’ve found another tribe.  And a dream is being birthed of expanding my speaking engagements from the government sector to the SYC and its affiliated clubs nationwide.

Nothing like thinking big, right?

My point is that you may not have a clue why you are doing something today, but if you keep your ears (and your heart) open, the answer will flow to you.

As will the NEXT STEP.

I’m rooting you on all the way as I share my near surrender to despair from this past week as well as the new WOW:

Yes!  Be KIND to yourself this week!

When the nasty little voices of fear try to diminish where you’re at and paint a dark picture of where you’re going, KICK IT TO THE CURB.

I heard an interview with one of the singers of the Little River Band in recent weeks and what was said encouraged me:  Keep working at your craft and the art will show up.

In other words, keep at it, friends. If it is in you to do, keep doing it.

The art; the magic will show up.

Love, love, love and tons of kindness to you –



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Flattery Will Get You Everywhere (and the New WOW)

Whenever we get a new Word of the Week (WOW), I keep it front and center in my mind when I’m out and about living life.

DISCERNMENT was pre-picked before I left for vacation, and truthfully, it was competing with a few other words I had planned.


While enjoying one of those four major vacation groups, I had a complete LAPSE of discernment, because of the F word.


Back in the day (think early 80’s) when my hair was sky high, my Guess jeans a single-digit size and Candies pumps adorned my feet, I was accustomed to cat-calls, head turns and overt compliments.  Oh, the good ‘ole days!

As the 40’s sailed by and the 50’s were ushered in, so did a kind of invisibility.

Do you know what I mean?

I bet you do.

Anyway, I was strolling through the idyllic village of Carmel (yes, where Clint Eastwood used to be the Mayor) and doing my part to support the local economy (HA! A euphemism for burning up my credit card.)  Side note: The place was really lovely; so nice that when I got a ticket for overstaying my parking welcome I wrote the city a thank you note with my payment.

As I was strolling, this stunning woman who looked like a cross between Jennifer Lopez and Ariana Grande stopped me to say how beautiful I was.

I looked around and yes, she was talking to ME.

Thus began the seduction of Brenda 53.0.

That one line led to a sample of the face cream she was shilling. A magical cream with a price tag of $700.

You almost spilled your coffee, didn’t you? For $700 you have to not only tell me I’m beautiful but also personally come and apply it to my face everyday for me to even THINK about spending that much.

Mama didn’t raise no fool.

Or did she?

Then Jennifer/Ariana broke out a serum that, when applied, gives the appearance of an eye-lift.  I felt it.  It really worked.

But I had to walk.  Compliments ensued.  (She was SO good.)

Now friends, I have have been down this road before.  The previous culprit was, ironically, three years ago – also in the great state of California.  Santa Barbara, to be exact. At that time an exotic, Marc Anthony-type stopped me and, really, acted like he wanted to whisk me away to Costa Rica for a clandestine getaway.

$300 of skin products later, I said to myself, “NEVER again.”  I was on the lookout for handsome, smooth-talking men with face cream in their hands.

What I didn’t account for was a beautiful woman having the same effect on me.

You would have been a little bit proud.  I did thank her for her time and prepare to walk out.  As I grabbed my handbag and headed toward the door, all of sudden, because I was SO beautiful and she was SO concerned about my drooping eyes, the serum the cream AND a body lotion would all just cost me $200 (but don’t tell anyone.  This was a special deal because I was so amazing.)

Yep.  I bought it.  Even KNOWING on the inside that I’d just been taken.

Beware of trips to California and attractive men OR women who will flatter all the discernment out of you.

But the real question is:  Do my eyes look better?

And so we begin a brand, spanking new WOW with a call to AUTHENTICITY.

It’s a good one.  And here’s to a great week!



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A Post-Vacation Week WOW

As I mention in the video this week, I pre-recorded this week’s WOW so I could completely unplug and be inspired on vacation.

I hope as you are reading this that you are surrounding yourself with inspiring things and people.  I read somewhere that whatever you have in your home that doesn’t bring you joy should GO.

Imagine de-cluttering our lives of anything that doesn’t make us happy?

That’s not totally realistic since on a bad day, I feel like kicking some good things (and people) to the curb.  And those less-than-inspiring parts of our lives are marvelous tools for growth, aren’t they?

But filling our lives with more that inspires us is a very good thing.  Sunsets, John Russo’s singing, a good chat with my sister or one of my besties and that strong cup of coffee first thing in the morning?  I’m smiling just thinking about them.

So getting back to life after vacation is always a bit jolting – and so is the new Word of the Week!:

Now, I’m not suggesting that we become those who look sideways at everyone and everything. (I’ve got my husband to do that for me!)

Maybe it’s simply a matter of a second opinion.

DISCERNMENT is a team sport.

May we call on reinforcements where necessary this week and make wise decisions; not ignoring our respective guts, but getting all the facts and insights at our disposal before taking a leap.

Have a beautiful week, friends!



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A Wise Friend and the WOW for 3.6.16

When we planned their visit over a year ago, we had no idea how wise the timing would be for our friends Judy and Jim Neubauer to come to town.

It had been over a year since I had enjoyed quality time with my friend and, for the guys, well – they’re great at being goofy together. I vividly recall one New Year’s Eve when they tried their hand at hip-hop dancing as the clock struck twelve.

Thankfully, they both decided to keep their day jobs.

The levity Jim brought with him is exactly what Duane needed after traveling home from his mother’s funeral services. A true pal, he even watched Johnny Carson reruns with us.

Jim and Judy are the kind of friends whose kids call us “Aunt Brenda and Uncle Duane.” Can I tell you how much I love that?

Not having a daughter of my own, I got to go prom dress shopping several years back with Judy and her daughter Laura (who is now practically a pharmacist).  Doug was Shasta’s favorite baby-sitter.  He’s now a Marine. I’ve watched Amanda grow from a “Little Cindy-Lou Who” lookalike to a stunning young teenager…and Daniel?  He was the only Neubauer offspring I’ve known since the womb.

An entire essay could be written about Daniel, whose twinkle and star-shine wrapped into an irrepressible personality are likely to be famous one day.  (I called it, folks.)

Yep, I love those Neubauers.  But getting back on topic:

DISCERNMENT was this past week’s WOW and while I have enjoyed making my new Sarasota friends, there’s nothing like a long-time friend whose counsel you trust to boost your mental health.

And in this case, it wasn’ t just my mental and spiritual health – it was physical, too.  See, Judy is a Nurse Practitioner.  If you’ve got a belly ache, a pang in your side, a funky looking mark or…well, you name it, she’s got just the advice to put your mind at ease.

So while the trip here was supposed to be HER birthday present, I’m the one that really got the gift.

Sometimes you just need someone you can say anything to who won’t judge but will lend a listening ear and some sage wisdom.

And who will go shopping with you.

Thank you, Judy, for being such a friend.  For encouraging me to take those probiotics and for helping me with this week’s WOW!:

How freeing it was for me to discover that not everyone had to love me – or even LIKE me – for me to be at peace.

How relieved were my friends and family when I stopped trying to get them all converted to my point of view!

Trying to change anyone other than ourselves is an exercise in futility.  And who made us the other guy’s savior?

Yes, when I focused more on the moat in my own eye and embraced the concept that we can all agree to disagree, HARMONY began to blossom in my life.

And my life began to blossom.

May our week be filled with good music and inner peace – regardless of what may be going on around us.

Let others’ dramatics play on.  We don’t have to enter the fray.




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Goosebumps and the New WOW (2.28.16)

Last week’s WOW was PRESENCE, and this time around I was focusing on the fact that I’m never alone.  This realization is often accompanied by the presence of goosebumps.

Whether you call that Presence God, or the Universe, the Holy Spirit or Energy…you’ve felt it.

When you’ve been encountered by pure acceptance and love, ka-ching – that’s it!

When the sunset takes your breath away or a baby’s little hand curls around your finger…

…these are all goosebump worthy in my estimation.

This past week, did you see that clip from Undercover Boss? Where the woman (she’s so awesome) tells her new co-worker not to feel down…and to keep moving forward (then reveals that she leaves work to go to the homeless shelter where she and her three children have been living.)

I can’t do it justice, you just have to watch it. And get your tissues ready.

Sometimes in tears or the expression of true emotion, I experience the Presence. Like when Kelly Clarkson sang this week on American Idol.

When I speak or write about the Presence of God, I see a sharp drop in “likes” on Facebook. My thought is that it brings back memories or thoughts of religion that didn’t work for you and you don’t believe in anymore. I get it!

It’s also revealing that when I post a video of the Gulf of Mexico at sunset or a bunny eating a carrot with its nose wiggling, the likes go through the roof.

And it delights me. Because these, too, are a celebration of life and love and light and all that is Good.

Anything I experience that is Good, I attribute to my understanding of God.  I find such comfort in feeling that connection.

So while I will always cherish the goosebumps, it’s time for a new Word of the Week (with a few parting thoughts on the word Presence…)

For those of you at a crossroads, at a huge decision juncture, preparing to embark on a business venture or a love affair…or even if it is as small as “should I take that umbrella with me?” – may we all have heightened discernment this week.

And if you can’t yield it;  if it’s full of angst and bad energy – flush it.

That’s not the wisdom that should win your vote.

And when in doubt, don’t.

Have a wonderful week!



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WOW (Word of the Week) – 10.25.15

This past week’s WOW caused me to pause before jumping in to a thing (or a thought).  It’s amazing how much wisdom can come your way if you just wait for it.

Like instead of waiting for your moment to talk, to actually listen to what other people are saying!

As I mentioned earlier in the week, discernment is a team sport.  Your one piece of the puzzle may only make sense after others have shared THEIRS.

Back in 2004, I was in a leadership class and was struck by one woman who always seemed to have something pertinent to say.  Further, when she spoke, everyone’s ears perked up to listen.

I took her to dinner one night to pick her brain and discover her secret. She smiled and said, “If you notice, when a topic opens for discussion I never speak.  I listen to what everyone has to say first, sift through it and carefully consider what my contribution will be.”

What a revelation to me – the passionate debater who believed speaking early and often was the key to being heard!

So thank you, Judy DeAngelo, for teaching me an important lesson in discernment over a decade ago.  It has caused me to swallow many words (and saved me a few personal and professional regrets.)

And discernment was a PERFECT precursor to this week’s word.  Which is…

Ah!  So what comfort zone do you plan on breaking out of this week?

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