Archive for the ‘Emotionally Healthy Life’ Category

March–It is all about CELEBRATING WOMEN!

Wednesday, March 31st, 2021
March is an important month for women around the world!  It prompts us to pause, reflect and celebrate the contributions of women throughout history and the decades of struggle for equality.
On March 8th every year we commemorate International Women’s Day, a global celebration of the political, social, and economic achievements of women that began many years ago on March 8, 1911.
March is also designated Women’s History Month, a celebration of the contributions women have made through the years in the areas of history, culture, and society.  This was first celebrated in Sonoma, California in 1978 with hundreds of students participating in a “Real Woman” essay contest and a parade in downtown Santa Rosa.  A few years later, President Jimmy Carter declared the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week, and the U.S. Congress passed a resolution establishing a national celebration.   The National Women’s History Project later made a petition to Congress to expand this celebration to include the whole month of March.
We don’t have to look far today in 2021 to find women leaders around the world.  Women continue to push forward to break barriers in all areas of science, sports, the arts, medicine, government, and the military.  It is an exciting time to be a woman and encourage our younger generations of females to dream big, reach for the stars, and never-ever settle.  I remember as a young Mom many decades ago telling my own two daughters to “follow your dreams, there are NO limits!”  Now, I am saying those same words to my granddaughters.  It is essential to foster this sense of empowerment in our very youngest as they develop and grow into strong women.  Mentoring future generations of women is the responsibility of all of us as we model for younger females that women are soaring to career heights like never before, literally!
 One of my favorite examples of this is the story of the FIRST all-female flyover on February 2, 2019 to honor the first ever female fighter pilot, Retired Captain Rosemary Marinar at her memorial service.
Captain Marinar was a true trailblazer and her list of achievements is long and beyond impressive.  In addition, she personally mentored young military women in their careers including many of the pilots who were involved in her memorial service flyover.   Although Captain Rosemary Marinar has left this earth to soar in the Heavens, her legacy will continue to fuel the dreams of countless young women as they embark on careers in aviation and the military.
My passion for women’s empowerment continues every single day in my professional and my personal life.  We are all here on this earth for a purpose, and I have always felt that making a difference in the lives of women was what I have been called to do.  Recently, I had the pleasure to be a guest on a podcast hosted by Kami Guildner of EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN RADIO.   We talked about the gift of female friendship and how to feel empowered during these challenging times in the pandemic.  Kami is an experienced host and we had a productive discussion that I highly recommend checking out our interview which is here on my website under MEDIA.
One final thought for you———
In honor of all of the women in our world who show up everyday to make a difference, give of themselves for the benefit of others, and get into the trenches to promote a cause larger than themselves, don’t ever give up!
We are reaching high into the galaxies of opportunity finally, something that our great-grandmothers only dreamed of!  In 2021, the future for females has never been brighter!
We have never been stronger, more bold, or more fired-up than we are now!
Let’s model this empowerment for the youngest amongst us. It was sweet music to my ears when I recently heard my 3 year old Granddaughter, Charlotte, proudly proclaim to me, “I am BRAVE!”
YES, WE ARE!

Keeping our Friendships Alive Through Holiday Traditions!

Thursday, December 3rd, 2020
One of my very favorite Christmas traditions every year is to put up my Mouse tree!  Yes, I said MOUSE tree!  It is a sweet connection to my dear friend, Kathy, and our rich friendship that now spans 4 decades!
And, it is a precious reminder of the years we both lived in beautiful Wisconsin where our friendship was born in 1981.   Kathy started giving me these darling hand made mice in the 1980’s for a
Christmas gift each year. She has kept this tradition going through the decades and my mouse tree collection has grown to now include over 60 of these hand-sown little creatures, each with its own unique identity and theme!
There is a Bride, Nurse, Doctor, Angel, Santa, Green Bay Packer football player, Cop, Dorothy and the Lion from the Wizard of Oz, a Skier, Trick-or-Treater, Fireman, 60’s Poodle-skirt Dancer, Soldier, Pilgrim,
Choir singer, Tennis player, and Jester to name a few!  These Cathedral Mice were originally created by Dorothy Duket, a member of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin for her
annual church fair.  They were an instant hit and became so popular, eventually a team of over 50 workers were hired to meet the demand of making over 5000 mice each year.  Each mouse has its own
distinct personality that comes through the carefully crafted clothing, and tiny props.  If you are interested in starting your own collection or want to start one for your girlfriend, contact the website at:  www.cathedralmice.com
My holiday wish for you is that this brings you as much joy and delight as my Cathedral Mice collection has brought to me through the years!  With my love and forever gratitude to my dear friend, Kathy

 

GALENTINE GRATITUDE

Wednesday, February 12th, 2020

People keep talking about the “word” they have picked for 2020 to live by, embrace and put into practice daily.  What a great idea that is for us to attach to our daily routines!  I have tossed around several words that would be helpful to focus on in a big way and give me a new perspective.  After seriously pondering this, I have decided on G-R-A-T-I-T-U-D-E.  And here is why—

Over the past year my life has been packed full of speaking engagements and book events since publishing my first book in March of 2019.  I have traveled the U.S. coast to coast, and also Mexico.  Racking up thousands of miles in my United airlines account, many months I have been gone more days than I was home!

And, all of this has been made possible by dear friends who have planned and hosted book events for me in their homes, clubs, and restaurants.  From California to Arizona and Nebraska to Florida, plus points in Texas, my tribe of dedicated gal pals have worked tirelessly to put together amazing events for women to gather, hear my presentation, share time with friends, and purchase my books.  And, for this I will be eternally and deeply GRATEFUL for the rest of my days!

As a result, I have had the honor of meeting countless new women and hearing their life stories about struggle, challenges, and the victory of sisterhood to save the day.   Now as I look back on all of these women I have had the privilege to meet and interact with, I am amazed at the strong thread of kinship that connects us all.   Whether it was a new widow sharing her grief of how my book brought her hope again, or a lady who finally gave herself permission to let a very toxic friendship go after reading my book, their stories were impactful.  These brave women have left their imprint on my soul and I will forever be GRATEFUL for how they were bold in stepping out into the unknown.

Since February is a month we focus on matters of the HEART, let’s also remember to express gratitude to those girlfriends who have walked the path of life with us, showing us encouragement, support, kindness and most importantly LOVE!  Remember your tribe this month and celebrate your friendships by sharing your GRATITUDE!  Let them know how they have made a difference and tell them so!  Show them some “GALENTINE LOVE.”

A New Year, A New Decade, & A New YOU!

Tuesday, January 7th, 2020

Happy New Year and Happy New Decade!  How is it possible we are in 2020 already?

As we all say good-bye to 2019 and step into a new year and a new decade, it seems like the perfect time to stop, take a deep breath, and ponder a few things.   Every now and then, it is worth it to push the “pause” button in life and go deep.

Turning the calendar to the next year is always sort of sobering for me.   My thoughts go to the changes the past twelve months have brought, and more importantly, how those changes   also changed me.  Reflection can be a powerful tool to put a spotlight on our blessings and how fortunate we truly are.  As we look back on the past year, we have the opportunity to reframe the disappointments, the unmet goals, and the failures. 

As I push the 2019 “rewind” button, I am hit in the face with one overwhelming feeling, G-R-A-T-I-T-U-D-E!  Did I travel the yellow brick road to Oz and enjoy a perfect year with all my wishes granted? NOPE.  Did my efforts lead to accomplishing all the personal and professional goals I had mapped out for 2019?  NOPE.   So, why am I feeling surrounded by such a strong sense of gratitude?  

Maybe because I can look in the ”rear view” mirror at 2019 and realize how truly blessed I am as I focus on the gifts I have received, rather than the disappointments.  Here are a few that come to mind:

  • Sadly, our youngest son moved to Minnesota in September after living near us for the past 6 years. But, our other son, daughter-in-law and two granddaughters just moved back to Texas from California after 8 years!   A GIFT BEYOND WORDS!
  • Our sixth grandchild was born in August! A new precious life joins our family, and HE is healthy!  A GIFT BEYOND WORDS!
  • My husband had successful heart procedures, and is doing well after two years of life-threatening health issues. A GIFT BEYOND WORDS!
  • I published my first book after many years of intensive work and research to get my thoughts into print. A GIFT BEYOND WORDS!
  • I have been traveling around the country on my book tour and meeting amazing women who are embracing my book and its message! A GIFT BEYOND WORDS!
  • My own loyal tribe of girlfriends have hosted book events for me in 5 states during the past year, showing me their support and love! A GIFT BEYOND WORDS!

  

In looking ahead to 2020, I see so much yet to do!  So many goals yet to push towards!  But, I am stepping into this new decade with a heart filled with GRATITUDE, and a spirit fueled by HOPE.  Life is always going to be messy, difficult, and challenging.  We can bank on it!  But, in the midst of it all, we can sort through the crazy chaos and find the good stuff — the GIFTS!  That is what will always carry us forward into the next day, the next year, and the next decade!   LET 2019 GO!  Replace your disappointments today with GRATITUDE for your GIFTS!

  

Grab your Girlfriends and Let’s GO CRUISING!

Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

Research continues to show that we live our healthiest, happiest, and longest lives when we regularly connect with our girlfriends.  It has now been proven that living a life of connection is one of the main ingredients to longevity!

As I have been on my book tour the past six months, I have been in awe of GIRLFRIEND FEVER and the way my book’s message has been resonating with women everywhere!  We women benefit in so many ways through sharing life with our girlfriends during the good times, and especially during the challenges.  My new book, “The Healing Power of Girlfriends” is full of tips for making new friends as well as dealing with toxic friendships.  It has received praise from many who have read it and found the tips helpful and life-changing!   Our lives are richer, happier, and healthier if we share them with our besties!

So, let’s sail away on Royal Caribbean’s luxury ship, Liberty of the Seas, and make some new memories with our tribe of gal pals while participating in THE HEALING POWER OF GIRLFRIENDS Seminar At Sea with me, Author, Speaker, and Counselor, Deborah Olson.  Check out the details today by calling our Travel Planner, Judy @ #510-638-7181.   Special Discounts and promotions are being offered, so don’t wait— call TODAY!!    Our week of fun and sun begins March 22-29th out of Galveston, Texas!    If you have questions, please email me (Deborah) at:  dolson@galleriacounseling.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AUGUST—It’s All About Our Girlfriends!

Monday, August 19th, 2019

Did you know that August 1 is National Girlfriends Day, or that August is National Girlfriends Month? Yep, it’s true!  This is the month we focus on what it means to share connections with other women.  Why is that so important?  Because our health, happiness, and our longevity as women depend on it!

 

When was the last time you planned a girlfriend meetup and actually spent time laughing, sharing, and feeling connected?   How long has it been since you sent a card, letter, or even a little gift in the mail to your gal pal just because you wanted her to feel special and loved?

 

Despite the myriad methods technology provides us today, research studies are finding we are  feeling more alone and disconnected than ever!  So what is going on with this?  Most likely, the reasons are multifaceted, but one of the danger zones seems to be created when we allow social media to replace real-life connections in real time.

 

The Downside of Social Media

Social media is a wonderful way to enhance our connections, but we must be cautious not to allow them to become the only way we connect with people. Talking on the phone, Skyping or Facetiming provide important elements of communication, but we still get the most benefit from being in touch face to face!  The physical and emotional health benefits from in-person meet ups cannot be matched.

 

The chemical releases from talking together, hugging, and touching help improve our moods and decrease cortisol levels, helping lower our stress levels and ultimately protect our coronary arteries.  Research at Brigham Young University in 2010 found that feeling disconnected is twice as dangerous as obesity.  They also concluded that having supportive and connected friendships improves our odds of survival by 50 percent.

 

So this August, how will you choose to spend time with your girlfriends?   Will you grab your calendars and deliberately plan some lunch or dinner meet ups with your tribe?  Can you make a commitment to improving your health by increasing your face-to-face time with your besties?   What does the research tell us you gain from your efforts?  Clearly, a happier, healthier, and most importantly, LONGER LIFE!  Who doesn’t want to sign up for that?

 

How I celebrated National Girlfriends Day

I celebrated National Girlfriends Day on August 1, by appearing on Houston’s Great Day Houston show with host Deborah Duncan to share the message of my new book,“The Healing Power of Girlfriends,” followed by a sunset cruise with more than thirty ladies on the FantaSea yacht charter on Galveston Bay, followed by dinner at the Kemah Boardwalk.  I will be spending the month of August planning and sharing special in-person times with my tribe!  My life depends on it, and so does yours!

 

Did you miss Great Day Houston with Deborah Duncan on CBS-KHOU TV?   Here’s the link:  https://www.khou.com/video/entertainment/television/programs/great-day-houston/the-healing-power-of-girlfriends/285-43968d16-b6c5-4c79-96d0-8ca23ee2f21a?jwsource=em

 

Cheers to our Girlfriends! Celebrate with yours in August and begin a new healthier lifestyle habit!

 

Big hugs and Blessings, Deborah

 

Our Girlfriends—Our Anchors!

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

We never know how our friends are viewing us, and we should not underestimate our ability to make a positive impact on others.

A few years ago, I was having lunch with one of my dear, longtime girlfriends.

She and I have shared the motherhood journey over the past many years, and she has been a true source of joy, validation, and support. We both happen to be mothers of four, and our paths in life have some similar twists and turns. Although she is considerably younger than me, we share many common ideals on life and raising children, and our conversations range from humor to more serious heart-to-heart discussions.

And, although we do not see each other often, when we do, we pick right back up where we left off the last time without missing a beat!

That particular day, we were laughing and catching up and savoring the sweetness of friendship when she placed a little gift in front of me. I opened this package, and to my surprise saw a beautiful gold chain necklace with a gold anchor. It was so lovely!

As I took this treasure in my hands, she looked at me and with a smile said, “This necklace is to remind you that you have been my anchor.”

I was speechless. I had to choke back tears as I told her I had no idea this was how she perceived me. I was humbled and honored to be an anchor for my dear friend, just as many others have been an anchor for me.

My takeaways from that special lunch were clear and profound:
• Never underestimate the effect you may have on those around you. We don’t always know the opportunities we have to be someone’s anchor during life’s storms.
• Remember to always think about your girlfriend connections and the responsibility they carry. Our lives are defined by the impact we have on others around us, and the charge before us to make someone’s life a little brighter, better, and happier, or to be an anchor when you are needed most.

***More on THE HEALING POWER OF GIRLFRIENDS coming in my new book, which will be released soon! Stay tuned for more details and follow me:
Twitter: @DeborahOlsonMA
Facebook @Galleria Counseling

Forever Changed by Connections

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018

My husband and I have just returned from a week with dear friends on an Alaskan cruise.  To say that we came back refreshed and renewed would be an understatement.  In looking back on this most amazing get-away, I find myself once again connecting to the wild and wonderful landscape of one of the most idyllic places on planet earth.  Clearly, it is impossible to encounter nature in this untouched wilderness and not be affected.  Sharing these adventures with our friends added a special meaning to our experiences and has enriched our memories of an epic vacation.  And, most importantly, whether we realize it or not, we come away forever changed by the spectacular beauty of a faraway land and the amazing creatures that call it home.

Something happens when we immerse ourselves in the wild.  Time ceases to exist, we are one with nature, and for a brief moment we are connected on a soul level to unimagined splendor.   As I witnessed numerous humpbacks breaching in front of our tour boat, a beautiful Orca playing in the wake from our ship, and a young Black Bear munching on his breakfast of berries and grass a few hundred yards in front of us, I was overcome with emotion.   In the grandeur of these magical moments, I felt an indescribable connection to the wonder of God’s creatures and the wilderness they inhabit.  We experienced blue glaciers “calving,” the process of giving birth to smaller icebergs that dropped into the icy waters beneath us.   There was no doubt, the unmatched power of Mother Nature was front and center.  The sound of thunder was heard as this calving happened right in front of our ship’s deck.  It is a poignant reminder we are insignificant next to earth’s physical forces.

Our connection to nature is compelling and complete, not unlike our connection in friendship.  We are drawn in, and are touched by the magical moments we enjoy together.  Our life is enriched and enhanced by special times shared with friends.  Our time in Alaska with our dear friends exemplified this completely.   The gift of friendship is indeed a gift that keeps on giving.  We come away from these human connections, changed, renewed, and restored, comparable to the effects from our nature experiences.   Our hearts are full, and priceless memories are added to life’s treasure chest.

***** Please stay tuned for my new book coming soon on the gifts of FEMALE FRIENDSHIP!

 

 

A NEW YEAR—A NEW LIFE!

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Happy New Year! Out with 2014 and in with 2015! A new year always promises new beginnings and a chance for making some changes to improve on the things we were not satisfied with from the previous year.  If there were projects we did not finish or “to-do” lists we could not get to, a new year provides a fresh start.   It allows us to feel empowered as we anticipate the year before us and the endless possibilities it holds.

For me and my family, our new year has started with new life, literally!
We are blessed with the safe arrival of our first grandchild a few days ago, a precious granddaughter! There is nothing more miraculous than holding a tiny newborn in your arms.  It is such an amazing feeling to see this new little human life who has just started her journey into the world.  As I hold my newest family member and watch her sleep, I wonder what her dreams might be someday for her life and where those dreams will take her. I want to tell her that there are no limits, and the possibilities are endless for her to pursue her passions and become the woman she wants to be one day.

As I have been focusing on this precious gift of new life in our family, I have also been contemplating the gift of a new year that now stretches before us with the beginning of 2015. We are able to put away the disappointments and unmet goals from the previous year and begin anew. With a new year comes the opportunity for fresh beginnings, new goals, and even “do-overs,” if that is necessary to move ahead.  It is a perfect time time to take an inventory of what we want to accomplish in the months ahead and then design our plans for how to get there. Whether it is business goals, health and fitness, home improvement, or personal relationships, we can craft our own personal road map for how to move forward to make each day count.

What are your goals for 2015? Where do you want to focus your time and energy as you work towards improving your life? The time is NOW to take an inventory of where you desire to bring “new life” into your status quo. Decide how you want to prioritize your time and resources and then, design your road map of how you plan to work towards your new goals. When 2016 rolls around next year, you can feel empowered as you look back on the positive changes you made and the fabulous productivity of 2015!  The gift of a new year is here, it is time to follow your dreams and seize each day!

“Perfectly” Imperfect

Friday, October 17th, 2014

My husband and I recently took a “bucket list” trip to Sanibel Island, Florida. For many years I have been reading about this unique barrier island famous for its outstanding shelling.  This island is rather unique due to its east-west orientation (rather than north-south like most islands)and it has a reputation around the world as offering some of the best shelling on our planet. Since shelling is one of my passions, I felt these Sanibel beaches were calling my name, so off we flew to Florida to search for some special treasures that the oceans were ready to give up and share with us!

Our arrival to Sanibel just happened to be at sunset that night, and just in time to watch the brightly flaming orange sun slowly sink below the western edges of the Florida gulf coast outlined by purplish-hued waters.  I quickly snapped a picture with my cell phone as my husband and I both gasped at the raw beauty of the the multi-layered sky that went from shades of violet to pink to bright orange in an explosion of tropical splendor.  With the palm trees in the foreground to complete the frame of this “slice of heaven” photo, I quickly snapped several more pictures to make sure I had successfully captured this moment filled with awe.

As we later learned while on our island vacation, the sister islands of Sanibel and Captiva are famous for their breath-taking sunsets and thus, there is a predictable late afternoon ritual of folks flocking to the beaches to stake out their favorite perch.   Since we are major fans of sunsets, especially when they involve the ocean, my husband and I quickly became members of this sunset crowd and witnessed some spectacular “grand fireball finales”  while there.  We were amazed that each night’s sunset was unique and different from the one that had preceded it.  Some looked like a perfect painting that an artist had created from a diverse palette of colors, with brilliant hues of the rainbow exploding before our eyes.  Yet, other sunsets were marked by layers of clouds that refused to give up hiding this sought-after fiery planet and teased us with a fleeting glimpse of yellow rays as the sun quietly slipped below the horizon.  We concluded by the end of our trip that no two sunsets were alike, and although some were definitely more spectacular than others, they each were “perfect” in their own way, however imperfect they might actually appear.

Our shelling on the beaches proved to be a glorious treasure hunt each day with a search for the perfect shells.  We collected many varieties of shells in assorted shapes, sizes, and colors.  Some were unbroken and perfect with their intact edges and outlines, while others had a chip or a tiny hole that would definitely qualify it as a “broken” shell.  As the week unfolded and I examined my new treasures, I soon realized that some of the prettiest finds were those that were not perfect, the shells you would put in the broken pile.   In cleaning my new treasures after I returned home, it was obvious to me that many of my favorite new shells were not whole, were not intact, and most importantly, were not perfect.   Yet, they were “perfect” to me in all of their imperfection.  They still had value, worth, and their own story to tell.  If we only knew the thousands of miles these shells had traveled, the storms they had survived, and the waves they had been carried by, to finally be deposited at this beach at this moment in time.  It did not matter to me that some of them had arrived with scars from their journey to get here, that they were chipped, cracked, and broken.   In its own right, each and every shell was still beautiful, and was to me “perfectly” imperfect.

Much like the sunsets and the seashells, we as humans share the same imperfections.  We go through our lives being tossed about by the rough waves of life and come away from these events with some rough edges, a wound that causes brokenness, and at times a hole through our entire soul.  Imperfection is a common thread in our human condition.   It does not reflect weakness, but to the contrary, it displays our strength of character, of our struggle to survive the storms of life.  Our imperfections help to shape us and move us forward.  Embracing this imperfection is the first step to celebrating being “perfectly” imperfect in all we are and all we do.

So, our bucket list trip to Sanibel Island was worth every penny and did not disappoint us.  We came away feeling a sense of connection to the waters, the people, and the coastal nature.   We had the pleasure of watching brilliant sunsets, dining on amazing seafood, and exploring new beaches and the shell treasures they held.   What we came to understand and appreciate in a new way is that whether it was the sunsets or the seashells, we learned how to value and celebrate the “perfectly” imperfect in the world around us. And, even more importantly, we have a new awareness of how unique and valuable we all are as human beings in our own perfect imperfections.

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