Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Like every other coach and blogger in the universe, I planned to blog about how to let go of 2008 and embrace 2009. And it would have been great. Trust me on that. I've been reading a lot of really important science about what makes us happier.

But then my daughter wanted to play hide and seek. We did. The opportunity for a nap came up. I took it. At 4:00, I was mixing up a quick batch of chocolate chip cookies and sipping some red wine (they go together brilliantly). In the midst of mixing, the true secret to being happy came to me: stay in the flow. 

Remember being a kid at play? If you liked what you were doing, you could spend hours engaged in an activity you were playing. You'd lose track of time. You might even forget to eat or use the bathroom. That's what positive psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls FLOW. (Sorry, I could not resist the science.)

As a parent, I get to witness flow every day. See the photo above? That's the result of my daughter getting in the flow—playing beauty shop with her dad. Watching my children get in the flow reminds me to do the same.

So go ahead and write those New Year's resolutions. Then try this, too:

1. Make a list of all of the times in your life you've experienced flow. 
What were you doing? Were there any supporting circumstances? (For example, a writer might remember experiencing flow when on a writer's retreat but not at her home office.) 

2. Review the list. Ask yourself, "What experiences do I want to have more of in the New Year?"

3. Schedule your flow experiences. (Yeah, I know—it seems weird to schedule flow. But if you don't put it on the calendar, it might not happen.)

4. Create an environment that supports your flow experience. 
I get in the flow when I bead. But, for the past few years, I've kept all of my beads in a closet in my office. If I wanted to bead, I'd have to drag them all out, set them up, and then put them away before work the next day. This year I decided to set up a beading table in our library, where I could leave out both my beads and my projects. I'm more likely to have a flow experience because my environment supports me.

5. Repeat daily!

Have a Joyful New Year!
Rochelle, the Right Now! Coach

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Living Nativity

For years, we'd set up the Nativity, and with the exception of those camels (who fall easily), it would sit—perfectly—until we took it down in January. When our son was born, we wondered if he'd want to play with it. He didn't. It sat as perfectly still as ever.

Then came Elly. Ever since she was old enough to reach the Nativity set, she's played with it. Never mind that she has two sets of her own. She likes this one. I'll often find her standing next to it, moving the figures around as if they were her dolls.   

Lately I've noticed that every time I pass by, the figures are set up differently. One day, I saw Joseph far from the manger, hanging out with a shepherd. I asked, "What's up with this?"

Elly responded, "Oh, they're having a conversation."

The first two photos above were taken last night. The whole mess of figures were piled up—kind of like the pile of players that develops at the end of a sports game. "What happened?" I asked Elly.

"They are tickling Jesus."


"I don't know. Ask them."

Then she started playing with them again—you can see her hands at work in the second picture.

This morning when I woke up, every piece of the manger set had been placed in perfect Sunday-school pageant order. Elly did it. When questioned again about what happened, she said: "They wanted to be that way."

I've gotten attached to the surprise of my living Nativity. There's something just right about a Jesus, Mary, and Joseph who do more than just sit there, gathering dust. 

Something to think about this Christmas Eve!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Why I Bake

Every Christmas, I bake an enormous amount of cookies and candy. I eat a few cookies. My husband and children eat some, too. I give away most of them. Yesterday morning, as I baked three batches of cookies (Molasses Crinkles, MaryAnns, and Chocolate Chip), I asked myself: why do I do this? 

I bake to stay connected to my grandmother, my first baking teacher. I started baking with my grandmother when I was five or six. When I make her sugar cookies or Molasses Crinkles or Hot Air candy—I think about her and her great love for me. Here's a short excerpt from my memoir about our ritual: 

In the summer evenings, we’d bake sugar cookies together. Her kitchen, a buttery yellow made dingy by years of smoking and frying, would be hot with the heat. A fan, turned backwards in the window, blew the warm air out. She’d drink coffee and smoke as I measured and mixed, using her ancient white kitchen aid mixer. Then, I’d roll the dough into balls and flatten them with a crystal glass dipped in sugar. Next would come the baking—10 minutes per pan. As I waited for the edges to brown, I’d watch the smoke from her cigarette swirl around and out the window. Once when my great Aunt was over, drinking coffee and talking about grown-up things, I listened in. My great Aunt caught my wandering attention and warned, “Watch that girl, she’s not paying attention, she’ll burn them, she’ll burn them.” My grandma laughed, “Don’t worry. She’s doing just fine.”

When I look back on that day, I'm amazed at my grandmother. I was ten! How could she know I wouldn't burn the cookies? My grandma's profound trust in me as a tiny baker girl has given me great confidence. Those are happy memories for me. Science tells us that whenever we savor happy memories—something I do each time I bake—we feel happier right now.

I bake to create happy memories with my children. My daughter loves to bake with me. I can already see the pride and confidence that baking gives her. My son seems to be most interested in the cookies, hovering over us every step of the process asking, "Are they ready yet? Can I have one?" Whatever their connection to the ritual, I hope that our baking creates happy memories for my children to savor. 

I bake because I need happy endings. Life is anything but predictable. In the past few years, both of my children have experienced challenges. This past February, my young daughter was diagnosed with failure to thrive and put on a feeding tube. After a year of not growing, she finally gained weight and height! Yes! Now that we know she can grow, we need to figure out how to get her to eat on her own. It's a challenging and unpredictable process. She might eat successfully one day but get sick from the same food on the next day. 

On the hardest days, I find myself in the kitchen—my daughter by my side—measuring and pouring, mixing and scooping. Baking provides a taste of predictability that soothes us. Throw the right amount of ingredients into the mixer, scoop, bake—and like magic, we have a little baked gem. But better than that, my anxiety over this little girl's eating has disappeared into the joy of working together on a shared project. 

Readers, think about your own lives. List the rituals that allow you to:
  • savor happy memories
  • build confidence
  • create happy moments
  • experience the joy of predictability
  • connect with those you love
In this season of short days and long dark nights, practice the rituals that bring you hope and happiness and joy! 

For those of you who want to bake, I've included a link to one of my favorite baking cookbooks. It has great information, the most amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe, and enough other treats to keep you baking and eating happily for years!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Need a Lift? Become a Well-Wisher

I love this picture. It's a photo of my daughter, Elly, and our friend Tracy. In March 2005, Tracy had a seizure that damaged her brain. At first she could not walk or breathe on her own. Almost four years years later, Tracy walks but has difficulty dressing and remembering things. Tracy lives in an assisted living home and spends her days at an adult day care facility. We got connected through our church in the summer of 2005, after my daughter developed a seizure disorder. In the past three and a half years, our visits with Tracy have become an important and joyful part of our life. A recent conversation with my son helped me understand why.

When my son Sam goes to church with his dad, he always sits with the same woman—a middle school teacher who shares his love of cats and playing guitar. Last Sunday, they played guitar and sang with a group caroling at a nursing home. When Sam got home from church, I asked him about this connection. I wondered if he considered this woman to be a friend or a mentor. He answered without hesitation, "She's a well wisher." 

"What's a well-wisher?" I asked.

"Someone who wishes you no harm. Only good."

Wow. My surly tween had suddenly become a wise one again. (Most of the wisdom I know comes from my children and the young people I meet at Dream Keepers.)

Thanks to wise Sam, I realized that our relationship with Tracy brings much joy because we can be well-wishers for one another. Once when we were visiting Tracy, Elly tripped and fell. Tracy held out her arms and said, “Oh baby, oh baby. Are you okay?” As Tracy held Elly, I could see that the two were well-wishers for one another. We need and care for each other.  

You can guess that being a well-wisher makes the world a better place. Being a well-wisher also makes you more likely to be happier and mentally healthier.

On the day before Thanksgiving, we spent an hour with Tracy and her friends at the adult daycare center. We played Uno (Tracy won). Elly and Tracy helped each other decorate the Christmas tree. I noticed that Tracy smiles a lot when she is being Elly's well-wisher. Elly and I certainly feel happier after we spend time wishing Tracy well. 

The holiday season is a perfect time to become a well-wisher. How? Perform a deliberate act of kindness. Befriend someone just for the sake of wishing them well. Send a note to someone for the sole purpose of wishing them many blessings. See if it makes a difference in your life. I'll bet it does. 

If you end up getting work as a well-wisher this year, leave a comment here. I'd love to hear how it went—and if you feel happier!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Build a Happiness Network!

I'm absolutely delighted right now. And why wouldn't I be? We're in the midst of a major storm system. I had to cancel my evening dinner with a friend because of the weather. I have a huge pile of editing work to get through before I can even think about my own writing project. We have a leaky pipe in the basement. The squirrels have moved into my attic. Oh yeah, and the skunk family is back living under my front porch. Still, I'm beaming. Why?

I just learned that happiness is contagious. I have a 7-year-old daughter in the next room who is laughing right now. Every few minutes she runs past my office giggling or stops in to tell me something silly. I could be annoyed by this. After all, I'm trying to work, and work is serious business. But I'm not annoyed. 

I now know that being directly connected to a happy person makes me 15 percent more likely to be happy. So I am. But don't feel bad if you don't have a contagiously happy person in your home or immediate circle. Researchers James H. Fowler (UCSD) and Nicholas A. Christakis (Harvard Medical School) found that you can increase your happiness by 7 percent if a friend of a friend is happy. Even if a friend of a friend of a friend is happy—your happiness increases by 6 percent. Similar effects are found if your neighbors are happy. Crazy, eh?

Crazy and wonderful. Because get this: happiness spreads more quickly than sadness in a network. According to the CNN report, "Each happy friend increases your own chance of being happy by 9 percent, whereas each unhappy friend decreases it by 7 percent." (Elizabeth Landau, CNN, "Happiness is Contagious in Social Networks".)

So why care about being happy? After spending the last three years studying the field of positive psychology, I know that happy people live longer, produce more, are healthier, more satisfied with their work, and are less likely to suffer from depression. In fact, happiness is sees as so beneficial, the remote kingdom of Bhutan has put happiness at the heart of government policy. In addition, the World Health Organization has recently considered happiness as a key component to health.

Looking for a happier 2009? Don't wait. Start building your happiness network right now. Here are some ideas:  
*Hang out with the happiest people in your family, neighborhood, or circle of friends. 
*Network with happy people. Go to networking meetings, book groups, church, synagogue, or a volunteer organization—and sit by the people who are smiling or laughing. 
*Build your happiness network by inviting one happy person to have coffee with you.
*Connect with young people. Two years after starting the Dream Keepers Teen Writing Group, I realize that our meetings always improve my mood. Why? The young people tend to be more happy and hopeful than I am. I need that. You do, too.
*Connect to happy people online. The researchers in this study are currently researching Facebook to find out if smiling users are have friends who smile. Next time you consider a friend request, look to see if the person is smiling. (And don't forget to smile in your photo!)
*Line your home and office with photos of happy people from your family and extended network. Every time you look at one of those pictures, you'll feel happier. 

Okay, I'm off to play snow tag with a seven-year-old. Go and do likewise!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hundreds of Snow!

We woke up Monday morning to a winter wonderland. My daughter Elly ran from her bed to the window to me and said, "Mom? Did you see? There's hundreds of snow on the ground." I love how she looks at snow—as something to be measured by the number of snowflakes on the ground and not by the number of hassles it causes. On the way to school, I asked Elly what season she liked best. "This one!" she exclaimed. Of course. My daughter lives in the moment, completely grateful for its many gifts. 

I'm grateful for my daughter. She helps me see what's good in life. When I asked Elly why she loves snow, she had lots of reasons: 
  • "It's pretty!" 
  • "I get to wear my new boots." 
  • "We can make snow angels!"
Elly's practice—seeing what's good in life and being thankful for it—is good for her. Actually, it's good for all of us. Positive psychologists who study gratitude have learned that:
  • People who kept gratitude journals, exercised more regularly, complained less about health issues, "felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events" (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).
  • People who kept gratitude journals were more likely to achieve their goals. 
  • People who practiced gratitude were more likely to help other people with problems. 
  • Children who practice gratitude "have more positive attitudes toward school and their families" (Froh, Sefick, & Emmons, 2008).
(For more information on the gratitude research of Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough, see Highlights from the Research Project on Gratitude and Thankfulness.)

Got that? Keep a gratitude journal—or simply be grateful— and you're going to feel better, exercise more, and be more likely to achieve your own goals. (And that's just the beginning!) If gratitude were a pill, people would be lining up for it.

Your assignment this weekend: look for the good in each moment and say thank you. Yup, I'm even talking about those less-than-pleasant moments. Stuck in traffic? Annoyed by your family at Thanksgiving dinner? Cold? Ask yourself, "What's good in this?" Think about how a child would make good from that kind of situation. If that doesn't work, meditate on these words from Van Halen's song, Best of Both Worlds: 

You don't have to die to go to heaven
Or hang around to be born again
Just tune into what this place has got to offer
Cause we may never be here again.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

For more inspiration, check out the amazing poem Gratitude by Mary Oliver, from her book What Do We Know.

To learn more about the science of gratitude, read this book by Robert Emmons.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tis a Gift

Last year, we did not buy oodles of gifts for our children. We find they rarely remember gifts from year to year. What they remember are the experiences we share. So last year we took the kids to Chicago for New Year's Eve. We booked a great hotel room with a kitchen and free meals. Each child chose a fun place to visit. My daughter—as you can see above—chose to visit American Girl. My son chose ESPN Zone. After our outings, we stayed up late, snacked, and watched holiday movies. It was an experience we won't forget. 

As you think about your holidays and assess your gift-giving budget, consider what kinds of gift-giving rituals are meaningful to you. Talk with your family and friends about it. So often we keep doing the same thing because it's what we have always done—even when what we have been doing no longer works.
Choose a ritual that works this year. It doesn't have to work forever—just for now.

Here are some fun, affordable gift ideas I have collected over the years. 

Give the gift of service. One year a friend gave me a loaf of home-baked bread each month. Oh how I loved that monthly delivery! Another friend offered to sit for our kids. Another great gift. What can you do to support friends that costs you time but not money? How about cleaning their house, running errands for them, baking cookies, or working on a home improvement project. Use your imagination!

Give experiences. A few years ago, I gave a friend a beading night at my house. We sat at the dining room table munching on snacks and making bracelets. How fun! In return, she invited my daughter and I over for an art night. I won't try to explain the project we made. Suffice it to say—we had fun and got just the tiniest bit messy. How about teaching a friend how to bake bread or taking them sledding?

Give memories. Create a photo album, a photo collage, a memory box, a journal, or a letter. A few years ago, I gave each of my children their own photo album—stocked with some of my favorite photos. They are the most-read books in our house. I heard about one family who wrote questions in a journal for their grandparents. A year later they received the same journal back from their grandparents—filled with the personal, memorable stories!

Give from your abundance. What do you own that needs a new home or that looks like it belongs with someone else? Give it away! I often give art, gently-used books, scarves, and jewelry to friends. When you give something that you've owned, include a note that explains why you are passing it on. Maybe, "Every time I see this scarf, I think of you."

If you have a great holiday gift tip, please leave a comment! I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Small, Deliberate Acts of Kindness

Take a good look at the picture—the gorgeous green paper and the LOVE sticker. That small, human touch—plus the handwritten & signed thank you on my receipt and a free gift—made my day. (And it will keep me ordering my beading supplies from Fire Mountain Gems and Beads for years to come.)

You think I'm kidding? I write books. At home. Alone. Some days my only contact with the world is on Twitter or Facebook. Believe me—small, deliberate acts of kindness matter. I take notice when my Barista presents me with a pretty latte. A kind word from the library clerk can put a smile on my face. Yesterday Ms. Emma, the key maven at my Y, asked me how my daughter was doing (my daughter has a feeding tube). Her question meant the world to me.

Readers, think about this: What small acts of kindness mean the world to you?

Now ask yourself this: How can YOU deliberately spread kindness to others?

Start with your immediate circle of family, friends, and neighbors—the people you encounter each day. Broaden your circle to include your business—your colleagues, customers, and those you tweet to online. Finally, consider the acquaintances and strangers you encounter as you move through the day. How can you choose to be kind and gracious to these people?

Some simple ideas:
  • Greet.
  • Say thank you.
  • Compliment.
  • Give out stickers!
See what happens to you and the people in your world when you make an effort to be kind. Let me know what happens. I'm curious!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I spent Monday evening at the library with three new Dream Keepers. What a blessing. Every week I meet at least one young person whose eyes light up at the possibility of writing a poem. They rush into our special room and seem delighted all the way up until they get that blank piece of paper. Then I hear, "No, I can't."  

This week a tween named Isaiah told me he could not write because he hated his own handwriting. He begged me to let him go back on the computer. I could see his fear but also his deep wisdom. I wanted to see what he might say. So, we made a deal. If he wrote one poem, he could go back on the computer. I offered to be the scribe if he'd play the poet. He agreed! So we worked and worked at it until Isaiah got his I AM poem written. (YES YOU CAN!)

In the middle of the writing, we had a deep conversation about who had better-looking eyes (him or me) and how we'd describe each other's skin (caramel brown for him, pastey white for me). Then Isaiah asked, "When you were little, were your people prejudiced?" I almost fell off my chair. No one had ever asked me that. I talked about what it was to grow up in a town without many people of color. He talked about what it is like to live in a neighborhood with no white people. 

I went home amazed and delighted that I had this deep conversation about race and prejudice with an 11-year-old African American boy. I'd gone into the evening feeling sick and tired. I was less-than-hopeful that tweens and teens who didn't even know me would want to write with me—especially boys. Then I met Isaiah. He wrote a poem. We had a conversation. Not one where I did all the talking, and he said, "Yes Ma'am." We had a real conversation—with talking and listening on both sides. It seems that this time I was the one saying, "No, I can't." Isaiah reminded me, "Yes we can!"

This phrase of Obama's—YES WE CAN—has stuck with me throughout this campaign. I am thinking that we'd all accomplish a whole lot more—in our lives, in our communities, and mostly in our relationships—if we believed that we can get along and we can get things done.

Yes we can!

I thank Isaiah for teaching me that. If you want to read Isaiah's poem, check out the Dream Keeper's Web site.

If you need more inspiration, 
watch this video 

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Election Day!

Last summer, tired by the political rhetoric, I wrote this poem about my own experience with politics. It's written about and in honor of my daughter. Enjoy! (And vote.)

Debating Domestic Policy
by Rochelle Melander

Independent Voter
If my daughter adores it, I don’t
If I exclaim, “Wear it!” She won’t
If she’s trying to decide between this or that,
and I say pick this—she picks that.

Campaign Finance Reform
If I bought it at full price from a fancy store, in-style and in-season,
forget about it.
If she bought it for ten cents from Goodwill, off-the-shoulder and outdated,
She loves it!

Flip-flop Politics
When it’s hot with a chance of heat exhaustion,
she skips off to school in her leopard print snow boots.
Her spin, “Don’t worry, Mom: I’m not wearing socks.”
When it’s freezing with a chance of frostbite,
she lobbies to wear her Hannah Montana flip-flops.
Outside she takes a u-turn,
heads back in to change, saying, “Why didn’t you tell me it was cold?”

Wedge Politics
If the shorts fit perfectly, but the size is less than her age—she says, “Too small”
If the size matches her age but the pants fall down—“A perfect fit!”
All is well until she forgets to hold on,
and, “I see London I see France, . . .”

Red State, Blue State, Purple State
If I say, “It’s an art day. Let’s pick something that can’t get ruined.”
She chooses fancy, fluffy, dry-clean-only red silk and velvet.
When fancy, fluffy, dry-clean-only red silk and velvet mixes it up with blue finger-painted hands,
I say, “Purple! Perfect!”
She says: “Purple! It’s ruined!”

Battleground States
If I lay out the perfect outfit
It doesn’t matter how much I’ve thought it through—
If she says the sleeves are too short
If she declares the tag scratchy or the fabric wiggly
If she deems it babyish or boyish or just plain bad—
I back away slowly and say, “Mistakes were made.”

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Right Now! Coach Reads

This was a weekend of counting up losses and mourning the most recent ones. When the time is right, I'll be writing some about that here and in my memoir. For now, let me tell you a bit about what helps me in these times of sadness. 

I walk. Lots of researchers have written about the benefits of walking. Maybe Augustine said it best, "It is solved by walking." Nothing was solved for me on my walk, but I was blessed by the beauty that surrounded me. The picture above comes from my Saturday walk to Lake Park, near Lake Michigan. 

I connect. I tend to isolate when I feel sad. I don't want to burden others. Last night I tried a different tactic—I called a friend. It helped. This morning, after dropping off my daughter in her classroom, I had the opportunity to help a frightened first grader sneak by a scary spider and get safely to her classroom. That helped, too.

I write. This morning I woke up early—3 AM—still sad. As I drank my coffee, I paged through SARK's new book on writing. This quote reminded me that writing can and does mend lives. Maybe not all at once. But, little by little, writing brings healing to our wounds.

And of course, I know to write when everything is awful or feels broken. 
Write when you are in despair or euphoria, write it all! 
—SARK in Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Welcome to National Novel Writing Month, readers!

My daughter longs to be a witch. She decided we'd dress as witches for Halloween. As we walked to her friend's house, my daughter said, "If your feet hurt, I could fly us over." This girl believes with all her heart that someday she will be able to fly and cast spells. Her desire to be a witch made me think of this quote from E. L. Konigsburg's book,  Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth:

If you really want to be a witch, nothing you have to do will seem like too much. If you don't really want to be a witch, everything will seem like too much.

I've always wanted to be a novelist. When it comes to writing—nothing seems like too much. Get up at five to write? No problem. Skip a party to write. Absolutely. Set aside a whole month to write a book? You bet.

Readers, if you really want something—you do what it takes to get it. If you want to write a novel—or any book—National Novel Writing Month is the perfect time to do it. If you want to do something else with your life—then what are you waiting for?

Readers, what do you desire?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Found Art

I found this clever piece of art on one of my walks. I laughed out loud! I loved that the artist thought to include an empty cup next to the sick, hung over pumpkin. And placing the pumpkin on a step makes the whole scene more interesting. Crazy as it sounds, my encounter with this small piece of found art inspired me. I went home and wrote up a storm.

Next time you're out walking, seek art. It will inspire you, too. (Don't forget to take your camera.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Beating Brain Fatigue

Does your brain ever just desert you? You're at your desk, working like mad, and then suddenly you can't think of the right word, you can't remember who you were supposed to call, and you can't seem to get anything done. Don't worry, you probably don't have a brain tumor and it isn't old age. It's called brain fatigue, and you can cure it with a walk in the park. NO KIDDING.

When we work at a focused task, like entering data or writing an essay, we use something called directed attention. But we only have a limited amount of this kind of attention. When we use it up, it's like our brain has run out of gas. Most of us try to fill the tank with a little artificial energy—caffeine or sugar. We'd do much better by taking a walk in the park or even looking out the window at a park.

Why? Using our brain's other type of attention—involuntary attention—restores our ability to do focused work. Involuntary attention is what happens when we automatically respond to things like a dog barking or the sound of rain on the window. Psychologists have discovered that natural green environments have the best chance to capture our involuntary attention and restore our ability use our directed attention.

So next time your brain gets fatigued, take a walk in or around or near someplace green. That's where I'm going RIGHT NOW.

Interested in learning more about brain fatigue and how green space can help children learn? Tune into Tara Parker-Pope's podcast on health in The New York Times

Friday, October 24, 2008

Take an Energy Renewal Break!

I've been having way too much fun playing with the pictures at
I put my daughter on Hannah Montana, my son on a German music magazine, and my husband in The Scream. My work made everyone in the family laugh—a great reward! I often recommend that clients take energy renewal breaks, something recommended in the book, The Power of Full Engagement. I think this counts as an energy renewal break! Try it and see.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Learning to Fly

Last year, my family and I watched Kiki's Delivery Service, a film about a young witch who, like other 13-year-old witches, must spend the year alone in a new town learning how to be a witch. Kiki's magical gift is flying—so she sets up a flying delivery service. At one point in the story, Kiki's confidence in herself falters and so does her flying. Kiki overcomes her fears, learns to believe in herself, and flies again.

After watching the movie a gazillion times, my daughter Elly wanted to fly. She spent many days practicing on various brooms. A year later, she's still practicing. She believes that when she finds the right broom...or when she turns 13...she will know how to fly.

Watching Elly work so hard at flying, I was inspired. How many of us dabble at a dream and, when it does not work out the 1st or 2nd or 3rd time, we give up? Too many, I think. I've certainly been there. How about you? What do you deeply desire that you gave up on...or are tempted to give up on? What's one small step you could take towards that goal right now?