Carrie Maldonado – Writer

Freelance writer, wordsmith, and novelist

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘crumbs’? An abundant feast? Lavish provision? Fulfillment? No, probably not. Crumbs are the leftovers; what nobody else wanted. You’re not going to get full on crumbs, and unless you’re a mouse, they’re not what you really want. And yet I know an astounding number of highly kickassy women who are accepting crumbs in their professional and personal lives. You know who you are! I think we all are familiar with some of these situations:

  • Your significant other continually points out how attractive other women are, and if you object, they tell you that you’re too a) controlling, b) insecure or c) old-fashioned. You’ve started wondering if maybe they’re right, and/or have decided it’s probably not worth the fight to say anything.
  • You’re bored in your current role at work but are worried that if you ask for a promotion, you’ll be considered ungrateful and might lose the position you do have.
  • You’ve always wanted to get a degree in ___, but you know your family doesn’t see the point, and it seems selfish to spend time and money on that right now.
  • You’re in a relationship with someone who you’re not sure you really like, but it’s better than being alone.
  • You can barely stand going to work in the morning, but you don’t feel qualified for anything else, and anyway, it’s better than nothing.
  • You’re in a relationship with someone needy, complain-y, or just plain mean, but you’ve been with them too long to consider trying to change anything.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. In a million different ways, millions of otherwise amazing women are selling themselves short and settling for much less than they need or want in life. Basically, when you don’t believe you’re worthy of more, or able to actually get it, you go from an intrepid adventurer in your life to a…settler. And once we start settling for crumbs, we soon decide that we’re lucky to have them, and become fearful of losing even them.

We can find ourselves as settlers for different reasons, but basically we become settlers when we have declared ourselves unworthy. And dollars to doughnuts, if you’re at that spot, there’s a better than average chance that you’ve been shoulding on yourself. “You’re shoulding all over yourself!” is what my spiritual mentor has had to tell me on a regular basis, whenever I start beating myself up for what I should be doing, should have said, or should have already achieved. If you’re not careful, failing to live up to your shoulds will leave you demoralized and ashamed, and ripe for crumbs.

But where does all that should even come from?

I’m glad you asked…because there’s a whole chapter about this in the book! In the meantime, I’ve used my very best coaching and scientific research to put together a should detector for you. If I may say so myself, this might just be the best free content I’ve ever given away! If you go through this exercise you’ll get some great insight into if you’re stuck, why, and whether you’re shoulding all over yourself. And then the fun begins of getting out of all that muck! So click here for the download. If you’ve already subscribed, I’ll be emailing you special – because that’s what friends are for!

If you like this, please share the love and if you haven’t signed up to be on the awesome list of Kickassy people, do so without delay! 

Carrie Maldonado, is an organizational development consultant, author, and speaker. Carrie’s eclectic mix of professional interests include writing, speaking, coaching, and consulting on topics ranging from organizational behavior management to spiritual transformation in and out of the workplace. Carrie lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her patient and long-suffering husband and their three children, who may or may not be conspiring to destroy her. Reach Carrie by email at 

I was home this weekend celebrating my Mom’s birthday and because my children have evidently decided to collaborate in depriving me of sleep until I’m dead, I had quite a bit of free time early in the morning to listen to a workshop I’ve been enjoying. The topic on this episode was about maintaining one’s spiritual condition, and they said something I just loved, which is that you can’t coast uphill, only downhill. The point was that often in life we work really hard in pursuit of a particular goal, and then when we achieve it, there’s a tendency to think we can just rest there, stop all the effort, and continue to enjoy the fruits of all that labor. We call that coasting, but as the speakers remind us, you can only coast downhill. In other words, once you stop working, you stop growing, and once you stop growing, you start dying.

Well smack me upside the head with a lightning bolt from above!! You know sometimes you hear something and it’s like it was made just for you in just your situation? This was one of those times. And I especially love it because it works for me in so many areas of life.

Obviously in terms of emotional sobriety and serenity, all rewards I get from the praying, meditating, and rigorous honesty will slowly (or quickly) disappear if I don’t keep doing the work. I can’t stay serene on yesterday’s actions, only today’s.

I also see a tendency in myself to coast when it comes to my health and fitness. I can adhere to a clean and healthy diet with some excellent workouts and then once I start seeing results, I feel like I can stop and keep the results. I’m not sure why I have to keep repeating this experiment – maybe writing about it will cement it into my head…you only coast downhill – back to where you started.

This is also true in the corporate world. We laugh about the Peter Principle (at least, my age peers do), which is the concept that people rise to the level of their incompetence. I don’t know about that, but I have seen time and time again leaders who assume they’ve arrived and so stop doing the things that made them awesome and promote-able in the first place. Things like self-development activities, learning, asking their team what they need. And once those behaviors stop, there’s definitely some coasting…downhill. That’s when people report feeling burned out, and when their bosses or subordinates notice that they’ve changed, somehow.

I know our brains are wired to conserve energy, so maybe that’s why we’re intrinsically predisposed to coast, but today I’m challenging myself to dig in and keep getting better. Not because I want to be perfect, but because I don’t want to end up where I started.

Who’s with me?

If you like this, please share the love and if you haven’t signed up to be on the awesome list of Kickassy people, do so without delay! 

Carrie Maldonado, is an organizational development consultant, author, and speaker. Carrie’s eclectic mix of professional interests include writing, speaking, coaching, and consulting on topics ranging from organizational behavior management to spiritual transformation in and out of the workplace. Carrie lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her patient and long-suffering husband and their three children, who may or may not be conspiring to destroy her. Reach Carrie by email at 

I know I said I was taking a break from blogging, but now I’m taking a break from taking a break. I have been sufficiently enraged/inspired by recent events to not only dust off ye ol’ blogging keyboard, but also to outline and finish chapter one of my new book! I think anyone who likes my blogging or other writing is really going to like this because…you’re my mom and you have to hahaha. Well, and also because I KNOW what I’m going to be talking about is going to be really good for you to hear. The gist of it is, I am going to be writing to/for/about kickassy women who are in the process of overcoming or who have already overcome the usual crap that life throws at us and also the extra special crap that pops up from time to time. However, I am not going to be approaching this from the perspective of ‘here’s how you, too, can evolve into perfection’, because honestly who needs THAT pressure! I’m taking more of an approach of hey…here’s what I’ve learned about sweating the small stuff, getting through the big stuff, and enjoying life WAY more than I ever thought I would or probably have a right to. There are some things that are already on my heart to address specifically:

  • Why so many amazing women accept crumbs in work and relationships and how we can get over that
  • Why being happy and supporting YOU doesn’t take away from ME
  • Why ‘Leading like a Girl’ at work is not only highly effective, it’s also actually fun.
  • How to figure out your calling and operate in your gifts without necessarily completely disrupting your life, moving to a dangerous country, or bankrupting yourself with educational investments (although I wouldn’t rule anything out)
  • How saying Yes and No at the right times and places can completely change your life for the better
  • How I’m learning to be gentle with myself when it comes to health, fitness, body positivity, and rampant perfectionism, and why I think regular exercise is non-negotiable for women who want to kick metaphorical and/or literal ass
  • How becoming a parent completely changed my philosophy of employment, leadership, life, oh, and parenting

I’m excited to be working on a project that has absolutely nothing to do with politics because honestly just going through my various feeds lately is giving me extra frowny lines, which I so don’t need. I have been privileged to know so many awesome women in my life, but the crazy-in-a-not-good-way is that probably NONE of them will self-identify as awesome! My totally kickassy group of friends, family, sisters, etc self-describe as:

  • Crazy
  • Stressed
  • Overwhelmed
  • Failing
  • Fat
  • Skinny
  • Exhausted
  • Scared
  • Feeling like something’s missing
  • Angry
  • Frustrated
  • Average
  • Boring
  • Terrible Mother
  • Flaky
  • Mediocre Wife

Reading this list, it sounds like maybe I just need new friends! But no, that’s the thing. NONE Of these things are true…they’re just the stories we tell ourselves that allow us to hide our awesomeness from even ourselves (because deep down, don’t we all kinda secretly fear that if we shine too brightly, someone’s going to…gasp…get mad at us?)

So, for all you, kickassy, boring, average, overwhelmed, flaky, exhausted, scared, failing, skinny, fat, angry, frustrated, stressed, overwhelmed, terrible moms, mediocre wives out there; I’m saying you ROCK!

I want to write about how we do it, why we do it, and what we need help with, and why it’s so stinking hard to ask. I want to write about our successes, our struggles, and most importantly, how each of us can stomp that cookie cutter into bits and embrace our awesome, kickassy, perfectly imperfect selves.

Are you with me?

Then let’s start connecting! I want to hear what you think about this!!

As the book grows, I’ll be sending updates and invites to fun discussions…sign up here to be kept in the know.

Please share to all the kickassy women you know!


I am taking a break from my blogging hiatus because I’ve got a lot on my mind about over commitment and taking on too much. Since dropping off the blogging grid, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on serious issues such as purpose, parenting, how to live as a good example of my faith, and whether I really am TOO busy.  On the writing front, I started a new novel, only to realize I’m not that excited about writing it after all. I’ve been toying with different ideas for my consulting business as well as for our gym, and I’ve hit a wall in several areas while experiencing breakthroughs in others. So, life as usual. How, oh how, can I tie this all together you ask? It’s what I am now calling the Summer Doggy Syndrome.

What is the Summer Doggy Syndrome you, quite rightly, ask? Well, that’s when you embark on a significant, life-altering change without much preparation, and soon realize that you’re completely unprepared for the series of events that results. Pretty much my general approach to life, but I didn’t realize how much it doesn’t work for me anymore until this summer. Here’s what happened:

There’s a lot of backstory here that is probably not too important, but the long and short of it is that despite our vow to never, ever, under any circumstances, have an au pair again, we got an au pair in December. And shortly after that, the dream of everybody being potty-trained was accomplished. Right on the tails of that was a short-lived pregnancy (mine, not the au pair’s) that wasn’t to be, but which made me realize that a puppy wasn’t the most disruptive thing that could happen, so we got a puppy. Then the au pair got an opportunity to chase her dream, at a time when our businesses were thriving and the puppy was turning into a REALLY BIG dog. And in the middle of this I had to put on the brakes and admit I had finally taken on too much.

For me, this is huge.

One of the ‘isms that I am recovering from is the need to take on more than your average human and do it faster, better, and with less complaining. I’m not alone in this, I know. Part of it is a neurotic need to continually prove my value, part of it is the drug-like numbness that comes from being too busy to just be, and part of it that it’s truly pleasurable to spend time doing what I’m good at than flailing around with what I don’t feel like I am.  But it takes a lot for me to cry uncle.

And Ginger was just the final straw. I knew a breakdown was imminent because of all the unfinished projects I’d been leaving in my wake, and the strained relationships I was experiencing. More than ever this summer, I felt completely over burdened with great ideas that I just didn’t have time to execute. The frustration and feeling of missing out was incredibly stressful. I just kept feeling like this one thing was IT, and I HAD to do it, and I had to do it NOW. And if I only could, then everything else would fall into place. In my case, the everything else is all to do with my kids and family.

I’m not sure if you other moms out there can related, but I’ve got this gnawing, incessant drive to be ‘more’ with the kids. Do more with them. Build more memories, be more present, have more adventures, make sure we can send them to the best school, make sure they’re being good friends, and that they have nice friends, and that they’re not being inundated with toxic ideas. So much of what I want for my kids feels like it demands the two things I don’t have: More time and more money, so I invent more hamster wheels with the intent of creating more of both, only to result in more stress, more impatience, more resentments and more regret.

That’s hard to admit.

So here we were with all this STUFF on our plates in addition to a perfectly wonderful dog that everyone who met described as the sweetest dog ever. Except I just couldn’t. I couldn’t keep intervening when someone was playing too rough, or she kept eating my furniture, or having accidents. But how do you get rid of a dog once your kids have fallen in love with it? My stepson actually made a very good point to me when he said ‘you’re so worried about traumatizing the kids by giving away Ginger, but how much are they being traumatized if you and my dad are fighting in front of them all the time because you’re so stressed out?’


And I guess it’s that simple. If your means to the end are creating a different end, it’s time to hit pause, or even stop and reprioritize. I’m not making room in my reality FOR my reality. And that reality is that I need to go slower with less on my plate to do the important things well. It means that I need to guard my commitments fiercely and not take on another thing unless I have a plan to offload something else. For me, with so many moving plates, it means writing things down, and reprioritizing weekly. It means saying no to some opportunities and requests – even if I really want to do them – and trust that God will make a way and a time if I’m supposed to do them. It means relaxing in the now. It means getting more specific in my goals and plans, not less, even if the timeline needs to get stretched out. And sometimes it means saying goodbye to things that seemed like good ideas at the time.

So yes, we found a new home for Ginger. The woman who took her had been waiting for the perfect dog and had time and love to spare. And yes, the kids were really sad – especially Bisky and Noben. I told them that Ginger was our Summer Doggy and that some day we’d be ready for our Forever Doggy – but not yet. StopThatAiden is already lobbying for a turtle or a rabbit, but he can wait, I think. For now, our plates and hearts are full. We have welcomed a new au pair into our lives and are getting ready for the new routine of another school year. More change, more disruption, and more fun. More writing? Of course! I have some really exciting writing-related projects simmering, but am taking some time to decide what will come first and how it will contribute to the whole.

Over commitment, stress, and busy-ness are not just my problem, I know! I’d love to hear from you how you’re doing juggling everything!

Carrie M.On another note…now that the back to school season is here, maybe you have more time for reading? Grace Group is just waiting for you on Amazon! Check it out!

I was bullied for about five years, more than thirty years ago, and I still didn’t want to write about it today because some part of me is still ashamed. That’s the thing about being bullied, you know. Even when people tell you it’s not your fault, and that the problem is with the bully not you, you don’t believe them – not all the way. My experience was being bullied not by just one person, but by two or three, who then united most of the school to shun and ostracize me. It sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? I sound victim-y, don’t I? Deep down, you think I must have done something, somehow to deserve this, don’t you?

It was a different time. We operated in our own world, where adults orbited, but they weren’t part of it, and their thoughts, opinions, and rules weren’t what governed our lives as much as our own hierarchies and social opinions. Up until grade 4 or 5 it seemed like everyone co-existed without much drama. I remember when it all changed.

It started with the new girl. I felt sorry for her when she moved to town, because she had no one to play with. My best friend and I invited her into our circle, which was fine until she got acclimated, and then possessive. Pretty soon petty rivalries erupted, and she’d demand more and more of my time. I don’t really know why I let her do this. Partly I felt sorry for her, and partly I was acutely concerned with people being mad at me at that time.

I let this continue until she was my only friend, at which point she branched out and acquired more friends. Then things intensified, and this group of cronies determined who was in and who was out each week. If you were in, you got spoken to, you got to hang out with people at lunch, and you got to walk home from school with people. If you were out, then you were thoroughly and completely blackballed. People would laugh at you, walk away from you, and taunt you in the schoolyard. This continued through to junior high, at which point the boys were corralled into it, and took it to a whole new level. Stacy, a big, good-looking, mean-spirited hockey player got into the game with relish, and soon the bullying took a more physical aspect. Things were knocked off my desk, I was bumped into, and every part of my body was analyzed and commented on. Loudly. Constantly. The fact that my butt was fat, and my non-existent chest was non-existent was shouted at me publicly each day, every day. Until when that blessed day came where inexplicably it passed and someone else was on the outs.

Some of you reading this will relate. Some of you will have had it a lot worse and wonder what I’m whining about, and some of you will wonder why I didn’t just tell them all to go to hell and not let them bother me. That’s not what I did, because I was overweight, and I was shy, and got really good grades, and I didn’t believe I could do any better. So I clung to the bully, trying to keep her happy to hopefully minimize my time on the outside. When high school started, I believed her that all these new kids were worse. That they were judging me, and talking about me, and laughing at me. I don’t know if that’s true, but I know that once I was identified as an object of scorn, I didn’t have the fortitude to try to show anyone any different.

Every day was worse. It got to the point where I had a consistent gnawing anxiety all the time. The helplessness, and sheer, overwhelming f’ing unfairness of it all was unbearable, but rage wasn’t. Anger made me feel powerful, and the one thing you crave more than anything when you’re on the bottom so long is power. At age 14, I wanted power over my body, the bullies, the school, the authority figures who were letting it happen, society itself for being so f’d up that these tyrannical a-holes were seen as the ‘good kids’ and the popular ones.

I decided that there was something wrong with me, and that I’d fix what I could, and become dangerous to prevent anyone from treating me that way again. I gravitated to the tough kids, the rough ones, the smokers and the drinkers and the ones that talked back to the teachers.

Like I said, it was a different time and country, and I’m a girl so more likely to harm myself than others. I had a family who loved me, and I knew there was a very strong possibility that I’d be able to get out of that s-hole town forever and never look back. And I had a mom who, every night when I was up crying because I didn’t think I could face it again, would get up with me, and hold me, and tell me nothing was ever as bad as it seems. And even though she was wrong, I had that. And even though I had all that, there was a time when violence towards my aggressors seemed like the only solution to my problem. Did I carry it out? No. Would I have if I had had the means and wasn’t worried about being caught? I can’t honestly tell you. I don’t like going there, but if I let myself, I can get back to that dark place of fear, anger and hopelessness. I don’t know what would have happened if it had taken place today, with the social media factor. That would take unbearable to a whole new level, I’m sure.

Instead of hurting others, I acquired a ton of dysfunctional beliefs and coping mechanism that have taken most of my life to undo:

  • For years, I had a recurring fantasy about becoming skinny and beautiful and making that hockey player fall in love with me so that I could then cruelly reject him and humiliate him. I eventually lost interest in that, but the idea that if I was skinny enough I would be safe from rejection has hung on until this day.
  • That belief that skinny equals safe translated into an eating disorder that dominated my life for years, and it took even more years and therapy before I lost that feeling of terror at the thought of gaining so much as a pound.
  • I worked hard to be accepted by my new tribe; the losers, the burnouts, the headbangers. Eventually, even if the good kids would have wanted to hang out with me, their parents wouldn’t have let them. And the idea that I needed to lower my standard for companions hung on for two decades.
  • I learned to hate feeling weak, powerless, and in the control of others. I eventually became unable to feel any negative emotion other than anger, because anger made me feel powerful. I learned to numb out all my other feelings with alcohol.
  • I also developed a strong, almost visceral dislike of ‘victims’. My compassion was at a negative, to the point where I was borderline abusive to anyone I loved if they so much as came down with a cold.
  • On the other hand, I have had to work hard at overcoming an automatic dislike and distrust of anyone who seems too ‘popular’, or in authority of any kind.

So even though I had all the advantages that I mentioned, my response to being bullied was to become a monster inside, which led to self-hatred strong enough to lead me to attempted suicide. I’m pretty sure if there’s a spectrum, I’m on the more sensitive side of it, and genetically predisposed to addiction and self-destruction, but I also know that there are a lot of people out there subjected to so much worse.

It’s been a long time since I was in school. I’m gratified by what I see on Facebook that so many of the kids who weren’t the coolest and most popular are doing amazing. They have great jobs, families and seem really happy. I no longer wish ill on the bullies but not to the point where I’d ever be friends with them on social media, so I don’t know how they’re doing.  If I would have known back during those dark days how great life was going to be, it would have helped a lot. If I could have gotten a matrix-like glimpse into that other world, to know that high school (and the world of the internet) is only as real as you let it be and that you can live the life of your dreams outside the bubble it would have helped.

Maybe things are different now, but what wouldn’t have helped was adults telling us to be nice to each other. We didn’t care what adults said, and adults didn’t care enough to follow through. And adults believe the pretty popular kids more than the uglier, slower, less lovable ones. Anti-bullying was a joke.

If you’re out there, and you’re being bullied for any reason, you need to know that it gets better. If you know someone who’s being bullied, don’t just use your adult authority to try to change people’s behavior.  I mean, of course we have to stand united that bullying’s unacceptable, but to really change lives, you need to let them know it gets better. Give them the only thing that can help. Give them hope. I’m sure it’s hard to understand if you’ve never been there, but when you’re being bullied, you’re reduced to nothing but shame and rage. We won’t ask for help and we don’t think we deserve it. We’re probably not easy to be around, but you can change our world by helping us find hope. Even if, maybe especially if, it means you have to look at shame again and share it so we know we’re not alone.

Were you bullied? Were you the bully? Do you think sharing your experience would help others? Let me know your thoughts.

Common sense disclaimer: I would hope it goes without saying (although it probably doesn’t) that not all people who say they were bullied were, and that some people who act out in violence are just plain evil or suffer from serious mental illness and I’m not in any way ‘excusing’ or condoning violence or blaming the victims of violence. This is my experience. 

Well, well, well…it’s been a while, hasn’t it? I haven’t been blogging on this site much lately, as you may have noticed (if you’re my Mom).  It’s been a season of quiet reflection and re-calibration for me and my family, as God is clearing paths, closing doors, and opening my mind up to new possibilities. He is not a TAME lion, is he…? (I’ve been on a C.S. Lewis/Narnia jag on top of everything else, so hopefully you get the reference). I feel like I’m getting ready for some amazing adventure, but I don’t know what it is, so I’m not sure what to pack. I’m sort of reminded of the end of the movie Grease. Not the stupid part where Sandy caves into peer pressure to become a hootchie mama courting lung cancer, but the part where they drive off into the sky in that convertible. I kind of feel like me and the fam are packed into that convertible heading who knows where, and all I know is it will be quite a ride.

Let me catch you up….

One of the areas where I continue to struggle is in that no man’s land where motherhood and career intersect. A lifetime ago, I had a career that I really enjoyed and was pretty good at. Then I had kids and became Mommy – something that regularly challenges me beyond my breaking point, that I rarely feel competent in, and that I usually enjoy more in the rearview mirror. The pay is crap, too, which is kind of a big deal because I greatly prefer my life to be safe and predictable, without undue financial hardship…bahahaha. But my God is a great big God, and He’s using this time in my life for so many other purposes.

For example…I have always felt called to write, coach, and work in non-traditional ways. That’s just how I’m wired and even in the midst of my professional life I felt a lot of tension because I wasn’t operating in those gifts. But, because of the safe and predictable thing, I put it aside for ‘someday’. Having my kids forced me to realize that working for someone else wasn’t in the cards for me for the time being (if it ever was) and enabled me to pursue consulting, coaching, and writing like I never would have if it weren’t for the kids and it’s been AWESOME!! I love my consulting business, my clients, and the flexibility it affords me.

It’s been an interesting balancing act, and I’ve entered a season where I’ve been focusing much more on my consulting and professional writing than on my blogging and on Grace Group. Of course, I’ve also come to a place where I’m not the mommy of toddlers anymore, and although they all still come up with some hilarious things that I just have to share, some of the things we’re growing through are their things now and not as suitable for funny blogs. I’ve also undertaken what is proving to be the most challenging writing project to date. It’s a fiction story, but one that’s much different than my usual style. This one is dark and complex and scary. If I do it right it’s also the most positive and life-affirming thing I’ll have written.

At the same time, I’ve been seeing a powerful move in my life of old, dysfunctional relationships shearing away, a refreshing of healthy connections, and new opportunities arising professionally in the areas of writing, coaching, and leadership. It’s all very exciting. I will be sharing more of some of the more noteworthy events as they unfold, mostly because they’re funny but hopefully there’s something here or there that could encourage someone.

I will leave you with this: Rightly or wrongly, I’m intentionally grooming my children to take care of me when I’m old. I absolutely want them to feel obligated to look after me and I figure if I do this right they’ll be fighting about who ‘gets’ Mom. I was talking to Bisky the other night about how much she’s growing up and how she’ll move out one day. I reminded her that we won’t be apart for long because I’ll be coming to live with her. She paused and said “Well, I might want some time with my husBAND (that’s how she pronounces it) before you come live with us.” I told her she could just give me a nice big room to live in and I wouldn’t come out and bother her much. She agreed, and then decided maybe it would be good to line the room with tinfoil, and I could just go lie down on the foil when it was my time to die. So I told her I thought I’d go live with NoBen instead (he’s really the nicest one). I asked him if I could go live with him and would you believe he actually had to think about it? He finally told me he’d have to check with his grandson whether that would be okay, and if the grandson agreed, I could share a blow up mattress on the floor with his grandson. So I’m not sure who will get me…but clearly more grooming is in order.

I’m really excited about what’s in store on all fronts…are you in a place of transition? Happy where you’re at? Ready for change? I’d love to hear from you. Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this blog, please share the love, and let’s connect on Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook!

PS I’ve written, 10 tips on dealing with multiple (conflicting) priorities. If you’d like a free copy, just click here!

Happy New Year! I realize it’s been a while since my last article, so we have a lot of catching up to do, but suffice it to say that life’s never boring. In fact, there’s been so much going on that I’m still in the midst of my 2018 goal setting! I’m taking a big leap of faith this year and setting some goals based on my heart instead of just my head. Almost twenty years ago someone I worked with told me I needed to ‘let my giftings lead my way’. At the time I chalked him up as a wingnut who made up words like giftings and sounded like a fortune cookie, but darned if it isn’t starting to make some sense.

I wanted to write about this today because I have a feeling someone besides me needs to hear it. See, we all have a gift or two (or more). Mine happens to be the ability to put things into words gooder than some peoples do. This isn’t something I ever considered a gift, it was just something that comes really easily to me. I thought that this combined with the fact that I love to read it meant I should write books, and maybe that’s true, but there are a lot of other ways to use this gift as well. At every job I’ve ever had, I’ve been the company ‘wordsmith’ tasked with writing whatever needed to be written. I’ve also been doing peoples’ resumes forever (about fifteen years before it occurred to me to get certified in it and actually charge money for it!).  I’ve written people’s websites for them, eulogies, speeches, newsletters. You name it, I’ve written it, and because I love it and it’s easy, it just never occurred to me that it was what I was supposed to be doing professionally.

It might never have occurred to me, quite honestly. I’ve been able to keep my inner writer happy by blogging for several businesses, creating training, and ghost writing, but I really didn’t consider writing my ‘day job’ until the beginning of this year, when I was approached by several companies to do writing work. Although I like to consider myself a clever enough gal, sometimes life needs to hit me upside the head with a dead mackerel before I get the point, and in this case it took several paid corporate writing gigs to turn on the light bulb and say ‘hey, maybe you should let people know you do this, since there’s apparently a need for it’.

Well, you don’t need to tell ME more than a hundred times, so there you have it. For those who didn’t know, I do offer professional writing services in the corporate sectors and for individuals. For companies, this can take the shape of corporate mission/vision/values, handbooks, executive bios, newsletters, policies, memos, web content, ebooks or business books. For individuals, it’s often resumes, cover letters, social media profiles, wedding vows (yes, really), eulogies, speeches, and maybe even a novel or autobiography…the possibilities are endless.

It’s not a significant change in my life, since I’ve been doing this all along, but it is probably worth mentioning, since I kind of take it for granted.

But enough about me…what about you? I’d love to hear about something you are uniquely good at or enjoy doing that you have realized that not everyone can or wants to do. Please don’t be shy…I suspect you’ll be pleasantly surprised a the opportunities that arise once you claim your gift!

Again, Happy New Year! I look forward to regaling you with some truly hilarious predicaments I’ve managed to become entangled in recently.  Until then…

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this blog, please share the love, and let’s connect on Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook!

PS I’ve written, 10 tips on dealing with multiple (conflicting) priorities. If you’d like a free copy, just click here!

Well hello there! I can’t help but notice a little something in the air, a bit of pine and cinnamon encroaching on the pumpkin-spiced everything. What do you know, Christmas time is here! I love this time of the year, but I didn’t always. There were about four years (in a row) where I was anxious, angry, and really lonely and during that time Christmas was the WORST. If you’ve ever gone through holidays when you’re lonely, or hurting, or anxious, or depressed, you know what I’m talking about. If that’s you today, my heart and prayers go out to you. What I found was that the more I could get out of myself and go be helpful somewhere, the less isolated and sad I became. The fact that it’s easier said than done doesn’t make it less true. And if it helps at all, during those dark years, I had no idea what was in store for me, which is glorious, unadulterated joy mixed with chaos.

Having three kids under the age of 6 is always kind of crazy, but Christmas amplifies everything so much! So much excitement and drama. Because we’re Christians, we do our best to make Christmas about Jesus, but that doesn’t mean that for little kids presents aren’t the main event. I don’t take my kids to the stores much, so they’re pretty sheltered when it comes to the sheer volume of STUFF there is out there for them to want. Well, they were. One trip to Target opened their eyes pretty darn quick.

I’ve celebrated Christmas as an agnostic, an atheist, and a Christian, and definitely enjoy it the most as a Christian. The internet being a degenerate wasteland of petty bickering, I’ve seen all sorts of responses to Christmas from both sides of the fence: ranging from demanding people NOT say ‘Merry Christmas’ to demanding a total refrain from any commercial revelry. My thought is that if you choose to celebrate a Christian holiday, don’t get mad when people talk about Jesus. If your biggest gripe against Christians is that you perceive us as overly judgmental and intolerant (as I once did), ask yourself how you are different if you get all hostile and nasty when someone does say the ‘MC’ phrase to you. If you are Christian, don’t try to ban people from your holiday because they don’t know Jesus – I’m pretty sure He wouldn’t approve of that tactic.

Anyway, we do buy presents, and we do the Santa thing to an extent, although we try to make him a bit player and not the main event. For example, Christmas Eve, we bake a birthday cake for Jesus and leave a piece out for Santa. Living in the world and all, the kids do hear that Santa has a naughty and nice list. Rather than try to control their behavior by invoking the guy in the suit or his creepy elf (sorry not sorry), I just tell the kids that to be on the good list, you have to be good all the time and they’re (obviously) not so they’re on the bad list (it’s not as mean as it sounds…really…I tell them no one’s good all the time, so to be fair, no one could actually be on the good list unless Santa grades on a curve.) Fortunately, their buddy Jesus will take the fall for them and He’ll tell Santa to put them on the good list.

I’m not sure how long this will even be a thing. Bisky came home yesterday and told me that a classmate of hers doesn’t believe in Santa. She was laughing at how silly he was, but I suspect she’ll be celebrating the ‘spirit’ of Santa by next year.

This all was swirling around last year and Bisky started asking a lot of questions about Christmas, so I wrote her a story. My intent was for this to become a Christmas tradition. She loved it, and some of the analogies have helped me to deal with her as her character forms and she starts wrestling with her own and others’ good and bad behavior. I wanted to tell the story of grace (God’s grace, that is) in a way a kid could understand. I did have a couple pastors verify it to make sure I wasn’t being inadvertently heretical (I hate when that happens, don’t you?)

In my original story, I had a lot of pictures that I downloaded from Google Images. When I had the idea of making this story more widely available this became problematic. I am too lazy to track down all the pictures and find the credits, and too cheap to pay for the rights if I need to, and too unlucky to get away with not doing either. My solution was to leave big empty spaces where you and your child can draw your own pictures. It will either be really awesome or really awkward. If your kids are like mine it will be a huge hit. I guess we’ll see.

I do really like this story, and I also really like people who read my blog, so I’m making my little book available to you for free! You just need to click here to get access. I hope you enjoy it. Do let me know! I’ll hopefully squeeze in one more blog before Christmas. We’re going to go see ‘Santa’ on Monday so I’ll have at least a few stories to share!

Merry Christmas and God bless you every one!


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