Newsletter: December 2015

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Have a BLESSED Holiday Season!

Dear Friends, CHRISTMAS LETTER 2015

(This is long, so grab a cup of tea and enjoy! 😉 Also, you can view a larger version of the collage on my blog,

It seems like the older we get, the faster the year goes by, yet what a BLESSING it is to be alive! I realized I have lived 10 years longer than my father, 4 years longer than my precious husband, Charlie, and 3 years longer than my grandfather……AND I am still am not feeling old! 😉

I so love writing these letters – it’s like reliving my year in review, yet the most special thing of all is feeling such love for so many wonderful people in my life like all of you. How very grateful I am for friends, family, and clients all over the world! I truly believe life is all about relationships and the people we love.

Erin and I spent a delightful time at my sister’s in Colorado for Christmas last year. Beth’s daughter and husband, who were married in Fiji a year ago ,were there as well as my brother, Bruce, and his daughter and grand daughter, so it was a huge party! One of the highlights was going to an outside hot springs pool where we swam in the middle of a snowstorm. Beth is the perfect hostess, and we ate, drank, and laughed all week long!

In January Frank, the delightful man in my life, took me for a few days to a lovely resort in Boca Raton as a preparation for my surgery in February. Although good genes for long life (at least for the women) run in our family, one of the downsides of our genes is a really icky turkey neck. After watching hours of myself on video for a new demo tape, I decided it was time to do something about it. The only downside of the several weeks of recuperation was that I could not read for a month because of blurry eyes. Audio books were what saved my sanity. Anyway, now I am fine and friends say I look younger than ever! 😉 Soon after, the Gawlik family came for spring vacation, and as always, the boys had a wonderful time on the beach, in the pool, and on a day trip to Busch Gardens.

In May I went with Frank’s family to Nashville for his grand daughter’s graduation from Vanderbilt, and then as a birthday gift, he took me to a beautiful Sandals resort in Jamaica, a place I had never been before, We loved it there! When we returned, a dear friend, Jean Vallee, had a lovely birthday dinner for me, and then Frank and I left on an amazing cruise from Rome to Barcelona. We toured Rome for three days, and then got on the ship with stops in Italy and France for seven days and ended up in Barcelona for three more days. Barcelona is now my favorite city in the world! Everywhere we went, we adored the food and wine.

Highlights were visiting the Colosseum in Rome, touring the Vatican, Pompeii, the catacombs, the Isle of Capri, Florence (especially Michelangelo’s works), and Barcelona where we loved the Gaudi architecture and the Picasso Museum. We also attended a Flamenco performance and a Spanish guitar concert.

In June I spoke for the 18th year at the national Society for Human Resource Management’s international convention in Las Vegas. I adore these folks! I did two sessions there, one on “21 Ideas to Create a More Passionate, Purposeful and Productive Workplace” and another on “The Simple Truths of Appreciation – How Each of Us Can Choose to Make a Difference.”

July 5 was a special highlight – I took all my children and grandchildren on a cruise to Alaska. We left from Seattle and stopped in Tracy Arms, Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, and finally in Victoria, BC. We saw three kinds of whales (the most exciting was one day when 9 orcas all jumped at the same time), sea lions, otters, and lots of bald eagles. The best news of all was that everyone was still speaking at the end of the trip! The glaciers were spectacular, and a fun afternoon was spent on the Bering Sea Crab Adventure on the very boat that was featured on “Deadliest Catch!”

I attended the National Speakers Association convention in Washington, DC, also in July, and then spent three days with girlfriends in Delaware afterwards. Later in August I had a wonderful weekend in Kansas City, attending a minor league ballgame in the owner’s box, visiting the Black Baseball Hall of Fame, and reconnecting with KU sorority sisters and friends. Another highlight was the Veteran Speakers Retreat in DC in August. I feel so honored to be a member of the Speaker Hall of Fame as well as a Legend of the Speaking Profession. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect to have all the amazing experiences and successes with which I have been blessed!

I spoke in San Diego in October and as a bonus, I got to visit my 93 year old aunt and all my cousins. She is more fun than some of my girlfriends! 😉 In November I will be speaking in Vancouver, WA, and Portland and then helping my daughter, Erin, who is having knee surgery. I will spend Thanksgiving with Frank and his daughter’s family in North Carolina, and then I will be going back to Portland for Christmas. What FUN it will be to be with the little boys for the holidays!

GARRETT is still at Microsoft and doing very well. He bought Ashley and Kinsey a horse, so they are doing a lot of riding. Kinsey is 14 and in high school and Gavin is 17 and a senior this year. They both went to Homecoming with dates, so they are growing up! I love Ashley’s sign in their living room: “Be nice or leave!”

GRETCHEN is working at a lovely boutique when the boys are in school while Randy is freelancing as a webmaster. He is currently working on a new site for me, due soon, so check it out at Owen turned 10 this summer and Simon is 8, so it is a very busy household with soccer, baseball, Legos and videogames (which Simon informed me I am terrible at! 😉

ERIN is still loving her new home and job in fashion design and travels to shows all over the country. Their primary line is called Prairie Underground, and everything is made in the US. Her newest addition is a kitten named “Cricket.”

Next year my travel buddy, Nancy, and I are doing a trip to Croatia in May, so it is truly a wonderful life. May your year be filled with good health, good friends, and lots of love.

Post Script: Sadly, after nearly two years together, Frank decided to end our relationship two weeks before Christmas. My heart is very heavy, yet I am focusing on GRATITUDE for all the many blessings I have and remembering the wonderful memories of this past year. A friend just sent me this quote: “Sometimes our lives have to be completely shaken up, changed, and rearranged to relocate us to the place we are meant to be.” I just have to trust that God has a better plan for my life.


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