What you can do now to help you reach your goals

You know things don’t happen by themselves, that your plans, dreams, aspirations, bucket list items, things you’ve always wanted to do…don’t just happen by themselves. 

Action is required. Your action. 

At times of uncertainty, goals may be the furthest thing from your mind.

Like now, when the world seems at a standstill and COVID-19 is affecting communities, families, and individuals directly, it’s easy to think, what I want is not important right now. 

Maybe your dreams and aspirations aren’t a matter of life and death, but that doesn’t mean they’re not important. 

And if you take action now, you’ll be in a better position to reach your goals when the Coronavirus crisis is history.

Here are some things you can do now:

Set your goals. 

Time goes and goes. Days turn to weeks and weeks to months and months to years…you get the idea.

If there’s something you’ve always wanted to do but have never developed a plan for how to accomplish it, there’s a good chance it’s a wish and not a goal.

What makes it a goal?

  • First, believe you can do it, even if it seems like it could never happen.
  • Then accept the vulnerability that comes with that big goal.
  • Next, and possibly most important, you must devise a plan to make it happen. 

If you take those first steps toward your goals, you’re on your way. If not, it may be just a wish.

Goal or Wish?

I’ll give you an example of something I used to want to do, but only ever wished it, like a dream, and never made it a goal. 

I used to, in a Walter Mitty kind of way, want to be a backup singer. I dreamed of doing the moves old school, like the Pips did for Gladys Knight. 

Never did it. Probably never will, but OMG that would have been amazing.

Either because I didn’t think I could, didn’t know how I would, or just didn’t have the courage to make it real, without a plan to make it happen, being a backup singer stayed a wish for me, not a goal. 

Now, the only backup singing gigs I have are in my mind as I dance and sing in my living room or on the occasional Karaoke night : ) 

Don’t let this be you!

Set your goals. It’s okay if they seem slightly out of reach, maybe even crazy and unattainable.

Then come up with a plan to make them happen.

If you’re not sure exactly what goals you want to set for yourself, you’re first step may be to dig deep and explore some ideas about what you’d like to do.

And try not to look at it as a test. There are no right or wrong answers and it’s okay if you start something and then find it’s not what you thought it would be. You’ve learned something in the process.

Have a plan to work toward your goals. 

Don’t keep them all in your head. Write them down, post them someplace, come up with a plan to meet them, jot down incremental goals in your calendar.

Find whatever works to help you keep them at the forefront of your mind. Break the steps into small, attainable goals to keep you from being overwhelmed and giving up before you start. 

Do what you can. 

These days of social distancing and sheltering in place are not normal. You may not be able to do everything you normally would, but you can still do a lot.

Reach out to people who you trust and who may be able to help or advise you about how to move forward. You may find there’s a lot that’s out of your control, but even if you can’t do everything you’re used to doing, there’s still a lot you can do. 

Approach with enthusiasm.

Winston Churchill once said, “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” 

Think about it. Why would you want to work toward something you’re not excited about? When I was working on my first book, I had days when I felt not even an ounce of enthusiasm about what I was doing. Those were long and dark days, perfect for giving up. 

What a different experience to approach with enthusiasm. I felt a greater sense of accomplishment when I met my daily goals, felt greater compassion toward myself and my work, knew I was in it for the long haul, and felt more determined to finish. 

Doing these things:

  • Setting goals
  • Developing a plan
  • Doing what you can
  • Approaching with enthusiasm

are simple first steps you can take now to help you build momentum toward reaching your goals.

I don’t believe it’s End of Days. We’ll get through this uncertain time, but it’s a good reminder that none of us has forever to do what we always thought we would do.

Action is required. Do what you can now to move you closer to your goals.

Need some inspiration to get started on setting your goals? Check out If not now, when? on the blog.

Recommended-king of the hill

Looking for light entertainment? Try King of the Hill

Looking for some light entertainment?

I recommend you check out King of the Hill. Greg Daniels (Parks and Recreation, The Office, The Simpsons) and Mike Judge (Beevis and Butthead) created the show.

It plays on repeat at my house. I think I’ve seen every episode. I admit, it took a while for King of the Hill to grow on me, but now I truly appreciate the depth of characters and quality of the series.

It seems to have a lot of regional humor. It’s based in Arlen, TX and features Texas landmarks and brands very similar to actual Texas brands, like Luly’s instead of Luby’s. 

Here are a few highlights of the characters and story.

Hank Hill, Assistant Manager of Strickland Propane, sells “propane and propane accessories.” He loves the Dallas Cowboys, Tom Landry, propane, his hometown of Arlen, TX, and Texas. He also loves his family and friends, but any mention of the fact would make him uncomfortable.

Peggy Hill, Hank’s wife, works as a substitute teacher at Tom Landry middle school, is expert at many things, such as speaking Spanish (or thinks she is), and wears a size 13 shoe, which seems like an irrelevant detail, but it’s not. 

Bobby Hill, Hank’s middle school age son, is Hank’s opposite. He has no athletic ability, wants to move to New York to be a prop comic when he grows up, loves easily, and is sensitive and wise.

There’s a long list of supporting characters who each have their own story and relate to Hank in different ways.

Hank’s 3 best friends — Bill (Army barber, desperate lonely heart), Dale (paranoid conspiracy theorist), and Boomhauer (womanizer, speaks in an almost indiscernible dialect).

And others, like The Souphanousinphone’s, neighbors who have a love/hate relationship with the Hills); Lu Ann Platter, Hank and Peggy’s very sweet, very naive niece who comes to live with them; Mr. Strickland, Hank’s boss who never met a card game he didn’t like; Cotton Hill, Hank’s dad who takes great pleasure in tormenting Hank. 

King of the Hill has lots of guest voice appearances by actors such as Jennifer Anniston, George Foreman, Chris Rock, and Tom Petty (who later becomes a supporting character), to name a few.

According to IMDB, the show ran from 1997-2010 for 258 episodes. King of the Hill streams on Hulu.

For more recommendations on what to watch next, go to A few recommendations on what to watch next

Feeling trapped

What you can do to help stop Coronavirus spread

I’ve had Coronavirus on the brain for a while. Ever since the news of the virus hitting Northern Italy hard, I scour the news sources, sometimes bleary-eyed for some new bit of informtion.

By now we all know we should:

  • Practice social distancing
  • Not gather in large groups
  • Wash hands with soap and water. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Cough and sneeze in your elbow or a tissue.

With that in mind, the news is bleak.

But here are a few stories that have stayed with me and are a great reminder about what we’re dealing with.

The first is from Dr. Emily Landon from the University of Chicago Medicine.

Her message hits to the heart of our current situation and the frustrating reality that the best most of us can do is to do nothing.

She says healthcare workers around the world are doing their part to help us through the pandemic. Now, we need to do our part.

If you haven’t seen it, you can watch Dr. Landon’s March 21 speech or read the transcript at:

Chicago’s Doctor’s Blunt Speech About COVID-19 Hits Home

And this message from Craig Spencer, MD in New York who (via Twitter) implores people to stay home. He says, “You might hear people say it isn’t bad. It is….I survivied Ebola. I fear COVID-19.”

Read the full account at Doctor Gives Harrowing Account of Life on the Frontline for Clinicians Treating COVID-19 in New York

Get the facts

For information about COVID-19, what it is, and how to protect you and your family go to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website at Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do to help this crisis pass any faster except follow your state and local guidelines.

And be patient.

Take advantage of the downtime to:


Even if it’s a walk around the block, a short workout, or a dance party in your living room.

Get stuff done.

Pick up those projects you’ve been putting off. It can be hard to get motivated, but start small and keep at it. Little by little you can do a lot.

Get outside.

It’s a sunny 88 degrees as I write this. Outside in the shade would be good. And even when outdoors, keep your recommended 6-feet social distance.

Waste nothing.

Freeze food before it goes bad. Be creative with your meals.

Meet virtually.

We’ve resorted to live-video, group workouts and virtual coffee meetings using What’s App. It’s not the same as being there, but it’s better than going it alone.

Donate time and/or money

If you have the time or money, check with your local Red Cross to find your local chapter about how you can help. They may even have ways to volunteer virtually.

As always, a little gratitude goes a long way.

Reach out to others if you need a word of encouragement, a videochat, a roll of toilet paper, an egg…whatever.

Wishing you patience and health through this crisis.

Need some motivation to kick start your new project? Read What are you waiting for? on the blog.

3 Audiobooks well worth a listen

3 Audiobooks well worth a listen

I read each of these audiobooks via my local library Libby app and they are all well worth a listen.

Two non-fiction memoirs and one novel. There are similar topics in each of them – family, poverty, memory – but they address each in different ways.

Educated – A Memoir by Tara Westover

Tara Westover was raised off the grid. She had a non-conventional upbringing, including working in her father’s junkyard, not attending school, never seeing a doctor, helping her mother prepare herbal remedies, and assisting her mother on midwife calls.  Her father prepared the family for “end of days” and distrusted all forms of government. 

But she wanted to go to school, so she studied on her own and got help from an older brother. 

She had never set foot in a classroom before her first day of classes at Bringham Young University. It was then that she discovered how much she had to learn.

I found her story incredible. It brought to mind how we are each formed by our experiences and how the beliefs, attitudes of those who raise us also make a deep and lasting impression. Those attitudes help define who we are and what we believe. 

She says the book is an account of her memories, which may be different from her sisters’ or brothers’ memories.

My sister and I can remember an incident from our childhood but we remember it with vastly different details. We’d each swear we were right about it.

Such is the nature of memory. 

But how does a person raised in this way go on to excel academically at BYU, Cambridge, Harvard? 

It’s a fascinating story.

For more information about the book and author go to tarawestover.com

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance

Hillbilly Elegy is a memoir and commentary about what it took for the author to break out of the cycle of poverty and abuse.

His story exemplifies a deep cultural divide between many poor American whites from the Smoky Mountain region and middle class America and the American dream.

He points out that it’s very hard for a child to see his way out of a bad situation unless someone shows, teaches, and believes he can. 

His grandparents were that force in his life, and while their’s was an abrasive and tough-love type of nurturing, he learned how to figure things out, work for what he wanted, and see that he could break the cycle of poverty and addiction. 

For more information about the book go to to the publisher’s book page at harpercollins.com.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Kya is a young girl abandoned by her family and left alone in the marshlands of Norh Carolina. She comes to be known as the Marsh Girl by the people in town. 

But she stays away from nearly everyone and trusts only a select few.

The marsh is her refuge. Kya loves her home in the marsh and finds connection and solace there.

Her days are filled observing, listening, and drawing what she sees. In this way she creates her life’s work of chronicling life in the marsh—birds, insects, soil. 

When a dead body is found near her home, Kya becomes a murder supsect.

I found myself engrossed in the mystery and didn’t want to accept the possibility that she could be removed from her beloved marsh.

Owens’s writing, especially her descriptions of the landscape as seen through Kya’s keen eye, allows the reader to see, feel and love the relentless cycyles of the marsh.

I couldn’t help but feel that pulling her from it would be the real tragedy. 

The audiobook, read by Cassandra Campbell, is beautifully done. She performs each character’s voice distinctly.

For more information about the book go to the author webpage at deliaowens.com.

So if you’re looking for a good book, you can’t go wrong with one of these books.

For more information about Libby, see Want to read more books? Maybe Libby can help

axe throw

Deep thought for the day: Who are you?

My family and I were big fans of The Walking Dead a few years ago. It sparked some interesting discussion around what we would do in the unlikely event of a zombie apocalypse.

My son and husband went through a bow and arrow phase, then an axe-throwing phase.

It’s for fun and recreation, of course, but we also joked about it being great training for the Zombie Apolalypse.

We’d imagine banding together as a family to fight off zombies in a Zombieland or Shaun of the Dead way, not in a Night of the Living Dead or Walking Dead way. The latter being way too terrifying.

It’s a joke we can run a long way with, for sure.

But we’re not bomb shelter, doomsday preppers kind of people. We don’t have a closet full of canned food or MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat).

And although we kid about preparing for the Zombie Apolcalypse, it did raise some interesting discussions about what we would do in the event of an actual catastrophic event. 

COVID-19 pandemic is not the Zombie Apolalypse, but it has disrupted every aspect of our lives.

And it’s got me thinking about human nature and the way we humans act in times of uncertainty. 

The saying goes, We show our true selves in times of crisis. 

So the question is, who are you? (Matt Damon’s character asks the question in the movie Ford vs. Ferrari which I streamed this past weekend so I’ll just borrow it here. Great movie, BTW.)

Am I the type of person who’ll do anything for my family, including buying up all the toilet paper and clearing the shelves of hand sanitizer and masks so I can turn a profit on eBay?

Because I can make a nice profit and my family needs to live too. Supply and demand, baby. You need hand sanitizer, can’t find it, don’t mind spending $10 on something that costs me a dollar? Sold. 

Hey, extreme circumstances, y’know?

These are not normal times, for sure. And what can any of us do about it? We’re just trying to make it through.

Before I judge that guy, I can look at my own actions. Am I acting in a responsible and ethical way?

I’ve been looking for a dozen eggs for a while. Haven’t found any. But the terrible thing is, I have about a half dozen. Why am I looking for something I already have?

The current situation: Mark and I have what we need even though it may not be exactly what we want.

Plus, we’ve ordered plenty of takeout in an attempt to do what little we can to help our local businesses. And so we don’t have to cook.

Those are little things.

Some people are doing big things. Health care workers, public servants and non-profit staff and volunteers who care help people in the community are at the front lines of this thing. They may have to make tough choices that affect lives and livelihoods.

Not me. My job right now is to do what I can, like don’t panic buy, follow social-distancing guidelines, and stay home.

That sounds so much less bad-ass than fighting off zombies, but that’s where we are.

We show our true selves in times of crisis, or said another way, as you pass the days with the current COVID-19 reality, consider the question: Who are you?

Interestingly, this is not the first blogpost in which I reference zombies : ) For another, read Violence in a zombie world

What to watch next

A few recommendations on what to watch next

If you find yourself stuck at home with not many places to go for some reason (like I don’t know…Coronavirus has shut everything down) and you’re looking for what to watch next, here are a few suggestions.


When I saw that the series is set in San Antonio, it became a must-watch for me. I love seeing my hometown in its animated form, but the interesting story and well-developed characters are what kept me watching.

Undone is about a young woman trying to find her way in the world. She doesn’t want to get married and have kids and do all the “normal” things most people want to do (and her mom wants her to do).

When she survives a near-fatal car accident things start to get weird. Nothing is as it was before, like time, the natural world, and what she knows of her own family history. Undone, Season 1 (8 episodes) is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

Click here to go to the series page on Amazon.com.

Miss Americana

The Miss Americana site says it best: In this revealing documentary, Taylor Swift embraces her role as a songwriter and performer — and as a woman harnessing the full power of her voice.

When I see superstars like Taylor Swift I don’t usually think about what got them there, the sacrifice, price of fame, and what it takes for them to stay at the top of their game. But this documentary shows all that, from footage of a little girl dreaming of being a singer to the very real disappointment at not being nominated for a Grammy (that one time).

We see Taylor Swift’s story as a gifted singer-songwriter who grows up in the scrutiny of the public’s eye, works hard, wins a ton of awards, experiences heartbreak, struggles with body image and, through it all, discovers who she is and what she stands for.

Miss Americana is a Netflix original movie. Click here to go to the movie page on Netflix.


Also on Netflix, this 6-episode series explores the science of babies’ development in their first year of life.

Episodes titles are:

  • 1. Love
  • 2. First Food
  • 3. Crawling
  • 4. First Words
  • 5. Sleep
  • 6. First Steps 

Fascinating stuff and as a grandma of an infant : ) this show is teaching me a lot.

Click here to go to the series page on Netflix.

American Factory

An Ohio town is hit hard when the big manufacturing plant in town shuts down.

So when a Chinese manufacturing company reopens the factory, people are excited and eager to get back to work. American Factory is about the struggles the workers and leadership face to make the venture a success.

And it’s about how culture is deeply embedded in each of us, in what each of us does, thinks, believes, and behaves. In ways we don’t even think about. 

Click here to go to the movie page on Netflix.

Need more ideas about what to watch? 

I saw this article and slide show published on the San Antonio Express News website, mysa.com, but it was first published on Stacker.com.

How long it takes to binge ‘The Office,’ ‘Game of Thrones,’ and 50 other famous TV shows  

The list is extensive and includes run time of each show. Hours and hours of entertainment!

I’d love to hear from you! What movies or shows can you recommend?

photo by ruby montalvo published on strong-woman.com

Reminder: You can’t control anyone but yourself.

We all know this if we really think about it, but sometimes it’s good to remind ourselves…you can’t control anyone but yourself.

What other people do/say/think is out of your control. 

So why do I let people bother me?

I know it’s not helpful or productive and wish I could let stuff roll off my back and not be bothered by what people say/do/think, but it’s hard. 

As the comedian Sebastian Maniscalco – says, “I like to be bothered.”

Allowing myself to be bothered by what other people do forces me to take my eye off the ball. 

It changes my concentration and energy. 

I try to not be bothered. Really try. 

The other day I was sitting in a Jason’s Deli for breakfast and, as you may know, Jason’s Deli’s main serving time is lunch. The place was hopping with dozens of workers in red shirts prepping catered lunches for delivery and prepping the salad bar, dining room, and sandwich station for customers. 

I had my journal and some reading material to keep me busy. There was a hum to the place as everyone did what he or she was supposed to be doing, each to his or her own task.

Except one guy who sat across from me on the other side of the dining room. He wore a Jason’s Deli shirt, looked to be about 40 maybe, and sat sideways at a table by himself watching videos on his phone. Loudly.

As I mentioned, the place hummed in preparation for the lunch rush. Everyone had something to do. Except this guy. 

I wondered what he was doing and why he was the only employee who didn’t seem to have anything to do. Was he not on the clock? Was he waiting for a ride? What? And why did he have to play his video at top volume? Headphones, dude! 

I looked around for the manager, not so I could report the guy, but out of curiosity. Had he seen this guy sitting around doing nothing but watch videos while everyone else was busting his or her butt?

But if the manager had seen the guy, he clearly wasn’t as bothered as I was.

This video-watching-on-high-volume-without-headphones guy totally changed my vibe. He irritated the heck out of me. 

But wait! That’s not what happened at all. 

What really happened is… I let him get to me. 

His actions were out of my control. Reporting him to a manager could have influenced the situation, but would that have been worth it to me?

The reality of the situation was:

  • I don’t know why he was loafing around in the dining room. 
  • Yes, the video blaring on his phone was obnoxious, but big deal.
  • He wasn’t hurting anyone. Just annoying the hell out of me.
  • I could have wrangled my own thoughts better. 

Controlling myself vs. controlling others. 

I couldn’t control him. Not even my stink-eye glances got his attention. I let him get under my skin and throw me off balance.

And I didn’t even know the guy, although that doesn’t matter either. 

It can be infuriating when someone you know and love behaves/thinks/says things you wish you could change. 

But you can’t do that either. 

Influence? Maybe. The best you can hope to do is influence that person. 

I imagine I have a similar effect on people at times.

Life will be sweeter if I remember this

I can’t control people, what they do or what they say, I can’t control what happens, I can’t control the weather. 

All I can hope to control is my reaction to those things. And I must do my best to react in a manner in line with who I am and who I strive to be every day, to be compassionate, loving, and patient. 

So pretty much the opposite of how I reacted to that poor guy who apparently was losing his hearing and had to play his phone so loud they could hear it in the parking lot. 

: )  

For more on this topic, read Be the gatekeeper of your joy

The Radium Girls

Book recommendation: The Radium Girls

The Radium Girls, subtitled The dark story of America’s shining women, by Kate Moore is the true story about a group of young women, employees of the Radium Dial company in the early 1900s, who sounded the alarm about the dangers and health risks of radium. It’s an incredible story of courage, friendship, and resilience. Despite repeated setbacks, they fought their employer to tell the truth about what made them sick. 

A heartbreaking story. 

Imagine you’re a young girl living in a town with few opportunities for work. You’d like to help your family and yourself because you dream of getting married and starting your own family, but without money, that seems like a far-off dream. 

Then a clock making factory opens up in your neighborhood. They make a sought after watch whose dial numbers glow in the dark and they need young, hardworking girls to paint the dials. The job pays well and you’d be working with your friends. It’s perfect. You’re happy to contribute to your family and you love your work. 

When you begin to experience strange symptoms, like a sore jaw and aching teeth, you go to the dentist and he says your tooth must be pulled. And then another. Then another. And then your hips and knees begin to ache and the doctor has no idea what’s wrong with you. 

Your symptoms grow worse and most of your earnings, because you’re still dragging yourself to work, go toward doctor visits and medicine to relieve your symptoms.

But the cause of it all is a mystery. Then your friends start dying and you wonder if you’ll soon follow. 

This is the story of The Radium Girls. 

I found the story fascinating and horrible. Meticulously researched. The author, Kate Moore, explains in the Author Notes that she first heard of the Radium Girls when she directed the play that dramatized the story: Radium Girls: A Play in Two Acts by D. W. Gregory in London. The story so intrigued her she wanted to learn more. In the writing of the book, she researched historical records, interviewed descendants, some of whom shared letters, and journals of the women involved. 

When radium was first discovered by the Curies in the late 1800s, people didn’t know what to make of it. Products, elixirs, and serums containing radium had snake oil, cure-all claims. No one had made a connection to radium and radioactive poisoning. 

The glow in the dark property of radium made it an indispensable tool for soldiers on the battlefield during WWI. And the glow in the dark radium dials became a big money-maker for Radium Dial Company. 

Lip, dip, paint

In order to get a pen-like tip of the brush, they would lip, dip, paint.  

It meant bringing the tip of the brush up to their lips, moistening the brush with the tongue, and twist the handle as they pulled the brush away, making the tip fine like the point of a sharpened pencil. Then they’d dip the fine point in the radium and paint the dials. 

The lip, dip, paint went on all day every day.

Radium exposure is deadly, but they didn’t know that then.

They also didn’t know that their company had another factory in NJ whose employees suffered similar symptoms and fought a similar battle.

These women chose to stick together and fight for what they believed was right. They found a champion, attorney Leonard Grossman, to fight their case against their employer in the courts. Their cause became a battle for social justice, truth over profit, corporate responsibility, and employee safety. 

Author, Kate Moore, did a beautiful job researching the stories and breathing life into the brave women and their families who lived with the misguided belief that they could trust what their company and government told them, that they would be protected from harm and that their company would never intentionally put them at risk for profit’s sake. 

For more information about the book and author, go to theradiumgirls.com

The story of the Radium Girls are soon to come to life on film. Go to radiumgirlsmovie.com for more information.

Affirmations featured image

Use affirmations to shift your mindset

I’m trying to get in the daily habit of using the most uplifting affirmations I have in my arsenal.

Why? Because they’re amazing!

When I feel sad, frustrated, discouraged, angry, or doubtful about life and things, saying this one, simple statement (affirmation) helps to shift my mindset:

I am brilliant, bright, and beautiful.

What exactly is an affirmation and why would I use one?

An affirmation is a positive statement you can say mentally or out loud, a statement that says what you want or who you want to be. Using affirmations is a way of claiming that thing for yourself, of putting your desire out into the Universe.

Lots of self-help books recommend practicing affirmations as a way of maintaining a positive mindset.

Shift the focus

This favorite affirmation works like magic to help me shift the focus from self-doubt to positivity. 

It’s something I say to shift my mindset, to remind myself that I am brilliant, bright, and beautiful.

The thing about this affirmation is that I don’t feel vain or braggy when I say it because it’s really not about me. I didn’t make myself brilliant, bright, and beautiful.

Which leads me to another one of my favorites: I am a miracle of creation. The force that guides the stars guides me too. 

Whether you call the “force that guides the stars” God or the Universe or Mother Nature or whatever, the idea is that I (imperfect me) am an amazing part of creation, no less than the stars. 

And so are you.

You are brilliant, bright, and beautiful. 

Sounds simple. Does it work?

When I feel unmotivated and down on myself and like I have nothing to offer anyone and I’m a screw up and my work is of no significance and tons of other negative thoughts that knock me down, these affirmations help lift me up.

I challenge you to give it a try when you feel discouraged or frustrated.

Say it with conviction: I am brilliant, bright, and beautiful. Repeat as needed. Let the words sink in until you feel them to your bones.

If these affirmations don’t quite work for you, find another one you like.

Here are some ideas:

  • I have all I need to create the life I desire.
  • Love is the answer.
  • I choose the path of courage.
  • Today is what I have and I will make the most of it.
  • I let go of all I can’t control. Not my circus, not my monkeys.
  • One day at a time.

Affirmation practice

Find one that works for you and then practice it.

Say it every day, several times a day if you can.

But at the very least, when you need a mindset shift remember to affirm yourself.

Remember that you are brilliant, bright, and beautiful. You are a miracle of creation. 

Shine on!

Dolly Parton's America

Have you heard Dolly Parton’s America?

I’d heard about Dolly Parton’s America podcast, had seen it come up as one of the most popular podcasts on my phone (Applepodcasts).

Not sure why I passed it up at first. I like Dolly, but I’m not a huge Country Music fan. I only know her pop songs, like “9 to 5” and “I Will Always Love You.” I couldn’t see the point of the podcast.

But it kept coming up so I decided to give it a listen.

Just a few minutes into Episode #1, I was hooked. 

Dolly Parton’s America is a 9 Episode podcast that dives into Dolly Parton, the Unifier. 

She’s everywhere

The show came about when Had Abumrad, a journalist who grew up in Dolly’s home state of Tennessee, attended a Dolly Parton concert in New York city.

He had never given much thought to just how big Dolly was, never thought much about her presence.

Until the concert. He marveled at the wide range of people of all races, ages, nationalities, and income levels who love her. He wondered, How could this country singer from Tennessee bring all these people together? Could she be a Unifier even in the current climate of political polarization? 

He wanted to learn more. And, it turns out, he had an “in” to getting an interview with Dolly Parton. His dad knows her! (Seems odd, but the show covers the connection.)

He started with one interview which turned into the WNYC’s 9 episode podcast: Dolly Parton’s America.

I found the podcast interesting, funny, and entertaining. You don’t have to be a fan to get something out of it, but especially if you love Dolly, it’s a must listen.


Dolly Parton’s story is a rags (literally) to riches story, for sure. But she’s also super smart, talented, candid, and seems to genuinely care about people.  

My big takeaways and what I learned from Dolly Parton on this podcast: 

  • Work hard
  • Stay the course
  • Believe in yourself
  • Look for the good in people
  • Keep your sense of humor
  • If you’re going to be the butt of a joke, beat ’em to the punch
  • Know what you believe
  • Stand up for yourself

Ask me anything.

The conversations about her work, career, beliefs, and attitudes are entertaining and enlightening.

Here’s a list of the Episode titles and a little bit about what’s covered in each:

Episode 1: Sad Ass Song 

Covers her persona, her songwriting and music tradition, and the lasting themes in her music

Episode 2: I Will Always Leave You

She answers questions about her long career, how she had to stand up for herself, and how following her intuition made all the difference 

Episode 3: Tennessee Mountain Trance

We learn about Dolly’s roots and how her songs about home resonate with people on a larger scale

Episode 4: Neon Moss

Expands on the idea of home and the longing we sometimes feel for something long gone

Episode 5: Dollitics

How Dolly handles politics by not handling politics

Episode 6: The Only One For Me, Jolene

How many different ways can you interpret a song that seems to have an obvious message? If the song is “Jolene,” a whole bunch of ways.

Episode 7: Dolly Parton’s America

There is a class at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville called Dolly Parton’s America. This episode discusses America in the context of the South and Appalachia as it is explored in the class.

Episode 8: Dixie Disappearance

A “Dixie” controversy at Dollywood and the larger issue of addressing the injustices of the past and the symbols that commemorate them.

Episode 9: She’s Alive!

Dolly talks about religion, her faith, and her plans to have her music far outlive her. 

Also, 2 bonus episodes feature her music performed by other artists. 

For more information, click here to go to the Podcast webpage