Archive for the ‘Joys of Life’ Category

June is Effective Communication Month!

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021
June is “Effective Communication Month” which is a perfect time to pause and examine our current habits and patterns of communication with others.
A few years ago when I conducted my own research on communication between girlfriends, I saw many trends in what people value and also what they don’t like regarding communication styles.
Two of the most important skills that women shared they look for and desire in their female friendships are LISTENING and VALIDATING.  In my book, “The Healing Power of Girlfriends,” I discuss the
merits of honing our listening skills and how to resist the human temptation to talk about ourselves, and instead how to become a five-star listener!
Another skill that is so key in being a supportive and encouraging girlfriend, is to learn the art of validating.  In chapter 5 of my book, I discuss how validation is one of the foundational building blocks for healthy,
happy, and highly functioning relationships. To be validating in our friendships means we send a message of empathy, understanding, and affirmation.
How we listen and validate when communicating with our girlfriends can be the “game changer” of feeling heard and embraced by compassion, or left alone to swim in the tumultuous waters of life by ourselves.
Being an effective communicator requires intention and self-reflection.  It perhaps comes more natural for some people than others, but with practice this is a skill that is worth every ounce of effort.
What communication habits do you engage in that are in need of some tweaking here or there?  How can you begin to enhance your skills to become a more sophisticated communicator in your friendships?
**For more tips on improving communication with your female friends, grab a copy of my book, “THE HEALING POWER OF GIRLFRIENDS” at Amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and Target.com today!
Blessings,
Deborah

 

May is “DATE YOUR MATE” month

Thursday, May 13th, 2021
May is always a month of celebrations—graduations, Mother’s Day, Prom, End of school year honor programs and award ceremonies, and of course, Cinco de Mayo!
But did you realize it is also the month of “DATE YOUR MATE” — a month to focus on taking your romantic relationship off “auto-pilot” and really giving it some intentional care and focus.
Whether you have been with your current mate for a decade or five decades, life happens— and we get busy with all kinds of distractions which take our time, energy and attention, often at
the expense of time with our romantic partner.   The relationship settles into a state of hum-drum, a rather boring and stale connection with little zest, adventure, or passion as a result.
So, what do we do to fix that and get some spice back in our love-life with our partner?  Here are a few quick tips that could help ignite that fire again and help us get out of neutral:
*    Surprise your mate with a sweet hand-written note to tell them what you most love about sharing life with them.
     In other words — make your own Hallmark card! Think back to when you first fell in love and what drew you to that person over all others.
     Share from your heart what you admire about them, and what you treasure about your life together.  Hide this note under their pillow or put it next to
     their morning cup of coffee before the day begins. Little surprises such as this go a long way to spark the love flame again and warm the heart and soul
     of our mates.
*   Plan a weekend or night away without the kids or other responsibilities, where you both can tune in to each other and enjoy uninterrupted quiet time together.  Whether you choose to
    surprise your partner with a hotel getaway or you simply choose to reserve a table for two at your favorite restaurant, make a commitment to plan a “date night” that is focused on only you
    as a couple.  Put cell phones and all other devices on mute and simply be in the moment in an intentional and deliberate way.  Cherish this time as you rekindle that romance and connect with
    the deep love that brought you together in the beginning.
*  You know your partner’s interests and hobbies the best, so surprise them with a gift certificate or experience that will celebrate that.  In other words, if they love to shop, purchase a gift card to their favorite store
    and offer to stay at home with the kids so they can have an afternoon to enjoy themselves.  If participating in a sport as a couple is what brings you both a feeling of intimacy, then arrange for that to happen.
    Ideas could be an afternoon on the golf course, a hike on your favorite trails or biking together for an afternoon followed by a picnic. This will provide you with time to talk and share together while you participate in this activity.
    The point is to plan in an intentional kind of way some fun things to do that honors your relationship and makes each person feel loved and cherished.
 The recipe is quite simple to learning how to DATE YOUR MATE again!
  Focus in a purposeful way and then make some plans to put the sizzle back in your love nest!   In just the same way we take our car in for regular tune-ups and assessments, we MUST focus on our romantic partners and
  what our relationship seems to be needing to THRIVE— so that it may also SURVIVE!
GO FOR IT— DATE YOUR MATE and watch for the sparks to ignite as you breathe renewal into your relationship!
Blessings,
Deborah

 

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!

 

 

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