Workbook, Books & Authors, Poetry

Seven Stages to a More Joyful You!

Do you remember what it was like to be joyful almost all of the time? To be full of wonder at a falling red leaf or a cloud that looked just like a pony? To run from one thing to the next, excited by the joy of discovery and happy surprises?  For many of us, that childlike wonder is a distant memory but we can recapture that state of bliss.

"Seven Stages to a More Joyful YOU!" is a workbook designed to guide you through stages of self-exporation and of creating the life you deserve. The workbook covers these seven stages:
... Self-discovery through written expressions
... Understanding the weight of unfinished business
... Who decides your priorities?
... Self-discovery by studying our speech
... Creating the life you deserve
... Living in the NOW
... Celebrating the one and only amazing YOU!

Three books that profoundly affected my view of life…

Many Lives, Many Masters, Dr. Brian Weiss

Practicing Peace in Times of War, Pema Chödrön

Be Free Where You Are, Thich Nhat Hanh

And other books… I love to read and many, many books have inspired me over the years. This is a list of a few of my favorite books written by women about fascinating women and girls, including some from long ago.  Recently, I have begun to include books that are not novels but that have taught me important life lessons. The original list was much longer, but I pared it down for this updated (July 2023) version…

All That She Carried - The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake, Tiya Miles
Beloved, Toni Morrison
Believing: Our Thirty-Year Journey to End Gender Violence, Anita Hill,
Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of A Life Interrupted, Suleika Jaouad
A Bigger Picture - My Fight to Bring A New African Voice to The Climate Crisis, Vanessa Nakate
Black and Blue, Anna Quindlen
Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson
The Color Purple, Alice Walker
A Council of Dolls, Mona Susan Power
The Dance of Anger: A Woman's Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships, Harriet Lerner, Ph.D
Don't Bite the Hook (audio book), Pema Chödrön
Dying to Be Me, Anita Moorjani
Educated, Tara Westover
Genesis Begins Again, Alicia D. Williams
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and  Embrace Who You Are, Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW
How We Show Up, Mia Birdsong
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
I Was Amelia Earhart, Jane Mendelsohn
In the Time of the Butterflies, Julia Alvarez
The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas
The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan
Know My Name, Chanel Miller
Like Water for Chocolate, Laura Esqueval
Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng
The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
My Beloved World, Sonia Sotomayor
My Broken Language, Quiara Alegría Hudes
Our Missing Hearts, Celeste Ng
The Poet X, Elizabeth Acevedo
The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
Possession, A.S. Byatt
River Sing Me Home, Eleanor Shearer
Roses, in the Mouth of a Lion, Bushra Rehman
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston
Still Alice, Lisa Genova
Transcendent Kingdom, Yaa Gyasi
Violeta Isabel Allende, translated by Frances Riddle
Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens
Wild Swans, Jung Chang
A Woman of No Importance, The Untold Story of The American Spy Who Helped Win World War II, Sonia Purnell
The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion


A Poem for You

A dear friend sent this poem to me in a Mother’s Day e-mail a few years ago. (Thank you very much, Jennifer!). It is such a beautifully written piece that I immediately did some research on the poet, Shiloh Sophia McCloud, and discovered her incredible paintings as well. With Shiloh’s permission I am delighted to share her work with you:

Dear Great Hearted One,

She Dances Her Gratitude
by Shiloh Sophia McCloud

This day we honor and celebrate
the women who have given life to us
the women who give life to ideas,
the women who died giving life,
the women who wanted to have a child but didn’t get to,
the women who right now are tilling their fertile soil for new seed,
the women who choose not to have a child but have many children,
the women who are in captivity,
the women who are free,
those who were mothered well,
and those who had crazy mamas,
because any mama who did not love you well, was not well enough,

the women who are struggling this moment to care for their babies,
and the women who right now snuggle with their little ones under feather comforters,
for those mamas who have gone on,
and for those who are mamas to be,
for women who have miscarried precious life,
and those who carried many,
for single mamas who want their mate,
and for married mamas who want to be seen and heard,
for those who never got to have a mama to hold them,
and for those mamas whose children will not speak to them,
for happy mamas and sad mamas,
and the Great Mama of all,

and most of all….
for all women who need remothering,
we unite in our love for you and your quest for
wholeness, connection, belonging and home.

All women today, we honour
All life today, we celebrate.

Blessed Mother of Life,
hear the prayers of your children this day.
Open our hearts to hear that which you are speaking
to us and through us.

Shiloh Sophia McCloud

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