Using Creativity to Connect

Using Creativity to Connect

Using Creativity to Connect

Exploring what we may not have considered…

How connected do you feel this year….right now?  If like me, limiting contact is the norm along with a whole slew of “things” none of us have done for 10 months.  Strongly connected is probably not one of your personal descriptors.

And even if we thought we may have lacked connection with others back in the spring, I think we could all agree that that was 1000% more connected than we are now.  We just didn’t know any better.

So that’s right?!?! We have no option but to wait. 
Check…and MATE!

We casually connected, with whom we wanted and when, almost at a whim at times.  But now the rules have changed.  People and activities, the one we identify with, are no longer available.  Frankly they are not right here with us.  And the activities are not quite the same either by structure or by who is there.

Strangely, many who have relocated and those who have never moved out of the area are in the same boat.  All of us one way or the other disconnected from many we know.

“Feeling connected” is challenging to say the least.  So that’s right?!?! We have no option but to wait.  Check…and MATE!

Or is it?

My busy has sifted away…
leaving me with what is important, important to me.

Over the past few weeks and really months, My busy has sifted away
leaving me with what is important.  And what is important to me I have neglected off and on over my life, those I love and cherish.  This is a bonus to this isolation.

With this revelation I realized I had both time and focus to correct that neglect.  So, I am currently working to find creative ways to connect with them.  Perhaps these will work for you too!

More than Zooming

Zooming seems to be the current norm.  We use it for work, for school and even church.  I have been networking with it and attending training classes.  Over the last year, most of us have learned to use it and even depend on it.  My folks manage it every week.

…yes a bunch of 70 and 80 year olds meeting at a bar…

Zooming allows them to see their friends.  They then take it to the next level.  Their happy hour group, on COVID lockdown, teed up trivia night.  They play trivia now on Thursday nights.  Rather than random conversations at a bar, yes a bunch of 70 and 80 year olds meeting at a bar, they are having game night. Through this focused activity they are learning more about each other.  The game gets the whole group talking about one thing and that drives the connection. 

My parent’s experience has led our three families to regularly play dice or Rummycube over zoom.

Shared experiences, deepen connection

Getting Creative

Going forward we are organizing more zooming activities beyond games.  The ides is to all do the same thing at the same time like art projects, who done it mysteries and maybe language learning.

Some of the ones I found are:

  • Origami Money Rings – Instruction from Pinterest
  • Tissue Paper Flowers – Instruction from Pinterest and supplies from me
    (My sister and I used to get a new one at Six Flags every summer. They are HUGE)
  • Paint and Sip – with Outside the Box Creation
  • Hunt a Killer – Mystery Subscription Box
  • Learn Spanish – or other languages with, interactive language learning for the whole family.

When we share an experience no matter in person or virtually, we connect.  When we are actively doing they same thing ~ creating or learning ~ we connect even deeper.

Shared experienced deepen connection.

Going Old School

Back in the olden days, people used to use a pen and paper to communicate with each other.  Yes, I know that is a foreign concept to many, but it is making a resurgence.

The extra time and effort then conveys
care and even love to those who receive them…

According to the New York Times, “the greeting card industry, which has slumped for decades, [is experiencing] a significant turnaround. This, I am sure, is due to our collective feeling of disconnection, which is amplified this year. 

Sending a handwritten note these days is significant, because few of us send or receive real handwritten notes.  The extra time and care then conveys care and even love to those who receive them, especially to our seniors.

Handwriting a note or sending a card takes time and effort. And in my case figuring out where the stamps are.  This is why going old school means so much to those who receive them.

So beyond the holiday cards this year, consider a weekly or at least monthly note to someone you love or would like to reconnect with.  That time and effort will not be lost on the one receiving it, because they probably cannot remember sending one out themselves.

Setting up Correspondence

I love receiving anything with my mother’s handwriting on it.

To really have an impact consider sending, a note card with a pre-addressed and stamped envelope.  Request a return note at their convenience.  This will create an intimate experience for both of you that will increase connection.

I love receiving anything with my mother’s handwriting on it.  The stories and the writing itself, her writing will be with me all my years.

Though there are many links here, I receive NO affiliate money or commissions from these.  These sites are what I have found to entertain and inspire me as I seek to connect better with those I love.

Get Creative and Get Connecting!

These ideas may or may not be your cup of tea, but hopefully these ideas help you explore all the options and even create your own ideas to connect to your most treasured people.

Have a wonderful week!

Want to learn more about creating home?
I can help.

Download  “a Sense of Home” guide

The journey is easy.  Begin here.


What are my options…NOW?

what are my

What are my options…NOW?

With so much of life suspended or gone…what is left to do?

It’s been a L-O-N-G year.  Yes I know I am preaching to the choir, as they say.

So many things are no longer available to us.  Businesses have shut down.  Schools are virtual.  And those employee clambering to work at home every Thursday, are now home all the time.

With all of the things I can’t do, I am constantly looking on the internet, social media and asking those I know for ideas or even permission to do something…anything.

I peeled myself from the conversation and slowly dragged my feet, and me, out the door and into the backyard, convinced that it would be more of the same.

It reminds me of when I was a little girl in the summer. I would bound up to my mom, and lethargically declare, “I…am…so…bored.”  Almost melting to the floor at the same time to demonstrate my level of boredom.  I just knew she would solve my problem.  Instead, she would send me outside to play.  “Find something to do outside.  There’s lots of fun out there.  Just try.”

I peeled myself from the conversation and slowly dragged my feet, and me, out the door and into the backyard, convinced that it would be more of the same.  Once there with the change of scenery, some sunshine and my mother’s assurances that I could solve my “boredom”, I typically found something to entertain myself.

At this point, you may be thinking this is another one of those “Just Think Happy Thoughts” article.  I assure you it is not.

Like every subject I tackle, you will find something practical to use today.

The Options are Close By

How close by?  I assure you, you live with this person.  It is YOU!

Before you groan and put down this article stick with me, because this one is actionable and you will feel so much better.  Perhaps even gain control.

These options have to do with the roles you play in your life.  Some of these role we inherited by being born.  Other role we chose along the way to get married or in accepting a job.

The ones I want you to explore in this context, are those roles that are most important to you.  Those interdependent roles that mutually support who you those on the other side.

  • Daughter/son
  • Mother/Father
  • Sister/Brother
  • Aunt/Uncle
  • Niece/Nephew
  • Friends
  • Co-conspirator
  • Employee
  • Supervisor/Team Lead
  • Mentor
  • Evangelist/Encourager

Which ones do you treasure most?  Which ones are of most value?

If like in my family, you have rarely seen those outside your four walls in the last 10 months, you have potential opportunity here.  With everyone struggling, each and everyone of us wants to feel needed, wanted and included.

And really, no matter the state of any valuable relationship, they can all use a bit of care and feeding.

Because of proximity, I have a family member that is both isolated and literally alone…except for the cat.  Life is full of delivery groceries and TV.  Not a whole lot life.  We love each other but have never been regularly close. 

What can I do?  I can reach out.  Phone calls and notes.  Calls and notes will demonstrate care,  interest and love.

Busy stripped away

Now that we are no longer busy with all of the pre-COVID life stripped away, consider which of your roles may have been neglected or just not cultivated over the past few years?

And really, no matter the state of any valuable relationship, they can all use a bit of care and feeding. 

Moving a little closer to…You!

With so much gone even temporarily, the current state of life is a little disconcerting.  I used a drive across town to ignore what was going on inside of me.  I have even been known to use cleaning the kitchen as a distraction to being mad (one of my least favorite tasks).

However, I find that ignoring what is bothering me harder to ignore.

What would you like to change?
Who would you like to be on the other side of all of this?

With all of the busyness removed from our lives, the spotlight on the sore spots of life is harder to ignore. We can see them, front and center. 

  • Procrastination
  • Perfectionism
  • Neat freak
  • People pleasing
  • Or “I’m just always late”
    (like we are born this way)

The attributes we may call quirks or innate traits are in the light.  So now what?

Would you like to change them?  Did you know they could change?

If you did change these quirks…who would you  be on the other side of all of this?

Showing up just for ME

Change like this is all about showing up for yourself.  Showing up for yourself in by way of conscious decisions  as to what you will do and how.  And best of all creating a plan that you want to walk.

“Girl, YOU set me up!  Thanks!!!” ~ Brooke Castillo

The practice of meal planning and getting everything in the house when dieting means that the decisions are made.  Following through is made easier because everything needed is already in the kitchen/pantry.  The only thing then that we need to do is follow the plan.

What this program does not address for me was how to set myself up for success.  Sometimes, I would look at those meals in the evening and think,

“Seriously, this is it?!?!?” 

The problem here is that the disappointment of a meal was more than hunger. The plan that was was created was a miss on multiple levels and therefore cannot be sustained.

One of the things that helps us make lasting changes is that we create a plan that takes care of us every step of the way.  Not just the beginning and reaching say a weight goal, but every step of the way.  Think about it.  If you need to do hard things, you need to talk care of yourself every step of the way to stick to it. 

Planning meals that you like and perhaps stepping it down a little slower may be good ways to create a plan that takes care of you and has you saying…

“Girl, YOU set me up!  Thanks!!!” ~ Brooke Castillo

Set up for success

Do you know what happens when you begin to believe success is possible? That is when the options begin to appear.

One of the biggest obstacles to change, is our minds.  Like Henry Ford said,

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t,
you’re right.”
~ Henry Ford

Once we crack open the door to the “possibility of another way”, we begin to see options we did not see before. We begin to create options. 

It’s crazy.  Intellectually, we understand that these options might have always been there.  But now with the door cracked open, we can make a difference in our life, in our relationships and even see how we set traps for ourselves.

  • A predictable phone call every week to grandpa makes a huge impact.
  • I felt uncomfortable in that meeting, so I always made myself late.
  • I love that meal and it fits in my protocol. I will plan it once a week.

Not without options

The pandemic has beat us down and has many of us thinking that we do not have many options.  We even move that narrow thinking into other areas of life.

  I don’t have the option of going to the gym, of course I’ve gained 20 pounds during the pandemic.  As if we can sweat to the oldies at home, use resistance bands, plank or go for a run.

We have options, perhaps not the ones we had before, but we still have options. 

When we believe we may have them, we begin to see them.  We begin to create them.

Looking for a sense of home? 
I can help.

Download  “a Sense of Home” guide

The journey is easy.  Begin here.


Intentional Transformation

Intentional Transformation

Intentional Transformation

Moving from wondering…”How did I get here?” to “This is where I am going and who I will be”

One of the biggest transformation for me took place when I transferred from Southwest Texas State University to College of St. Thomas(MN) in 1986.  At my first university it was all about exploring the world, especially the world of college life.  I found friends for fun and kind of went to school.  I was paying for it myself from the 2 or 3 jobs I had worked each summer.  I felt independent and free to do as I wished.  Then my dad got transferred to  Minnesota.

When they offered to pay for a college of high caliber in Minnesota, I took them up on that.  I was tired of the fun and was ready to get to work anyway.  And that I what I found at this new college.  One Thursday I asked my roommate where everyone was going she said “To the library”?  Perplexed I asked why and she told me rather flatly, “To study”.  For real?  To study?  I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.

“I abdicated much of how that life was lived to others in the community or the community itself.”

But like at the first college, I fell inline with the acceptable activities of this community.  I must say that academically, this was a superior choice for me. My willingness to do as the locals did was strong and it served me.

And this is how I lived most of my life, via my roles.  First I was a daughter and a sister.  Then I was a dancer, student, flutist, high school senior and then college student.  Each of my role determined the transformation that took place in my life.  Each role dictated how I would act, what I would do and the life that I would live.

On some level I did choose my life…but I abdicated much of how that life was lived to others in the community or the community itself. 

It was kind of a “Oh that look like a good choice” or “I want to be part of that community” choice as opposed to choosing who I am becoming through it.

In my conversation with Rob Fenlon on Thursday’s Podcast, we talk about how most of us go into relocation wondering what this will be, rather than directing how we would like this to go.

Knowing that the transformation is coming is the first step.  Directing what the transformation is and includes in the second step.

“I blame it on the K through 12 years, but that was just a distraction to deciding to live a life I want to live.”

Intentional transformation is the process of executing a planned personal change or evolvement.  It takes us from being dragged along on a raft by the current, to building a boat and sailing it in the direction we wish to go.

As a mom I have experience crafting intentional transformation for my son and perhaps by husband when he lets me, but until the last few years I have not created and intentional transformation for myself.  There have been the exercise kicks and pursuing a degree or certification.  However, taking time to craft a vision for myself and putting together a plan to get there never happened.

I blame it on the K through 12 years, but that was just a distraction to deciding to live a life I want to live.

More than the where and do

Usually, when we talk about who we are, we talk in terms of roles.  I am a mom.  I am an HR Director.  I mentor high schoolers.

We identify ourselves with where we are from.  I am a Texan. I am British.

When we talk about transformation, we talk about gaining knowledge or experience: certifications, group membership, reading the latest Economist or parenting book.

These attribute though are only a subsection of a whole.  They are rather static and are all singularly focused.  They may cause indirect transformation, but they are typically not part of a whole personal transformation. 

Who I am today vs. Who I want to be tomorrow.

Intentional Transformation is about our “Who”

 Consistently in ReloWomen, you will find that I reference your “who”.  This is not where you live or what you do, though that can influence your who.  Your who is the wholeness of you where you make the decision for all of life.

“Evolving our current “who” allows us to realize our potential and become more of who we already are.”

This “Who” is the driving and directing part of us that embodies what we believe, what we value and what we want to accomplish in our lives.  You might see it in want statements.

  • I want to be a great mom.
  • I want to create a company to support my family and families in the community.
  • I want to help everyone understand how important this is
  • I want to be a good steward of what I have.

When we strive to do anything bigger than what we are doing now we have to tap into our “who”.  Because it is in growing our self image, our knowledge and our experience that we can go into our community, big or small and create the impact we have on our hearts to create.

So to do any of these things above we need to define and expand who we will need to be to accomplish this.  Perhaps we need to be brave or flexible or skilled or observant.

Evolving our current “who” allows us to realize our potential and become more of who we already are.

How to Intentionally Transform

 Intentional transformation begins with the idea that it is possible to direct the transformation that is taking place on a daily basis.  We all have experience choosing transformation, like when we went to college or chose to marry or take a new job. 

Seeing transformation as daily rather than big life changes puts the power in our hands to direct our transformation.  With this we still see the external people and cultures that have led us to transform in the past, but we see it in an active way not with passive acceptance.

Be careful not to judge any past “going along” as bad.  It is not bad.  Those passive choices were just not chosen with personal intention.

When we chose to intentionally transform in the moment and over months or years, we are continually evaluating this incoming information against who we know ourselves to be, what we want to accomplish in our lives/world, and ultimately who we want to be.


Start with who you are now.  That gives you a solid place to step off from.  If you haven’t defined it recently, check out the first part of my 3 Step Relocation Guide.  It is all about knowing and defining your current “Who”.


Intentional transformation is about knowing on some level, about the destination.  Many times during our lives we talk about not knowing what we want to be when we grow up.

 The Future in terms of intentional transformation is the act of choosing one.  Choosing something you want and who you must be to accomplish that.  A great speaker, a lover of learning, someone who keeps their word, someone who shows up for themselves just because they decided to do it.

This idea of our future selves is what provides the guidance to know if the path we choose is the right path.


“If you don’t know where you are going, any path will get you there.”
~ a paraphrase of the exchange between the Cheshire Cat and Alice,
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

All of us are on a journey.  How do I know?  Because I am here, as I am, in this place and with these people doing these things.  I got here because of my journey.

At this age I know that much of the past journey was dictated by others.  But now that I know, the current journey is more often one of personal choice. 

So which path do you choose?  It depends on the future self you are going after and this will dictate the path or journey.  No journey is a straight line or without potholes, but the active choosing of a path and a journey does mean you will get there more quickly than no choice at all.

It begins with where you are, then choosing a future and finally choosing the path or paths on the journey between the two.

Passive transformation becomes
Intentional Transformation
when chose a fuller destination. 

Every Relocation

 Passive Transformation takes place in every relocation.  It is the relocation decision puts passive transformation in motion. 

Passive transformation becomes Intentional Transformation when chose a fuller destination.  When we choose, and put into the plan every piece of our lives beyond simply a community, schools and a job…THIS is when we step into our power to direct our lives. 

This is when we create intentional transformation.

    • So, who do you want to become and be?
    • Who do you want your children to become and be?
    • Who will the family become and be?

Knowing we can use this relocation, this clean slate of life to intentionally transform, means that we utilize our innate power and truly live a life we want to live…no matter where we land.

On Thursday, we will continue the Intentional Transformation discussion with Rob Fenlon, the CEO of Global Educational Consulting Services ,on the ReloWomen Podcast, available on Spotify, Apple and your favorite podcast players.

Missing a sense of home? 
I can help.

Download  “a Sense of Home” guide

The journey is easy.  Begin here.


Holidays…All or nothing?

Holidays...All or Nothing

Holidays.  All or nothing… in 2020

The 2020 American Holiday season.  We were briefly introduced to the holiday changes on Halloween. 

There was so much talk about whether or not we should let the kids trick or treat.  Was it a risk for them?  For us as parents?  Would every house have a candy shoot…would the be required to.

It was a flash test for what was coming.  For those of us beyond the trick or  treating years, this was a mere blip.  It didn’t really affect us.  Our only concern was, do we turn on the lights this year or not.

Halloween was flash test for what was coming.

But now, here we are at the beginning of the BIG Holidays, beginning on Thursday with Thanksgiving, continuing through Christmas and then New years. 

What will this look like? What can it look like?

The news is full of warnings.  I just heard that for a Cowboys home game only 25,000 fans were in attendance and it became a super spreader event.  I believe the roof was open and groups were placed far from the others.  Less than 25% of capacity and still a spread.  So now what?  What is responsible?  ….And do we just cash in the 2020 holiday season all together?

Do we CANCEL the holidays????

It is what the news media and the CDC seem to be selling.

On my calendar Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and all of the other holidays are still on my calendar between now and January tenth, two thousand and twenty.

Whether we choose to acknowledge them or not, these holidays still exist.  These holidays from Thanksgiving to after New Years are part of our past. And IF WE CHOOSE… they are part of our present and our future.

These holidays from Thanksgiving to after New Years are part of our past. And IF WE CHOOSE… they are part of our present and our future.

Both groups act like we only have two options, all or nothing.

However, there are many ways to celebrate a holiday.  We may not immediately see it. Most of us have been celebrating the same way for years. 

When we look around though, to our friends and neighbors, it is then we see that everyone does not celebrate the same way. 

All or Nothing…

The reason cancelling the holiday creates such drama, is that it assumes that holidays are an all or nothing ordeal.  We either, …celebrate the way we have, with all of “these people”, at “this place” and in “this way”, OR we cannot celebrate.  Black and white. 

This is a well meaning trap.

Having not experienced or considered alternatives, we may think there IS only one way.  This is well meaning trap.  A preferred way of thinking our brains prefer to  keep us safe from the unknown.

Our brains like it.  When life is steady and predictable, our brains are happy.  They do not have to work so hard.  See “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg.

This practiced predictable way of working though, does not serve us in a time or a year like pandemic 2020.

This black and white thinking only leads us to fighting what is.  There is no changing it, the facts are the facts.  We may choose to argue, fight or even try to avoid it, but we will lose the argument with the circumstances…100% of the time.

Option Zed

What IF there is another options…on that does not try to change the circumstances. What can we do what options are there if we accept the pandemic and the limitiations it dictates?

We change the only thing we can control. We change is ourselves.  I am sure you have heard the saying, all we can control is our response to it.

I learned the secret.

This was a curiosity and an impossibility to me for so many years, until I learned the secret.  Until I learn, I could control what I thought was uncontrollable.  No the circumstance by how I saw the circumstances.

In the past I would work to change the circumstances…what was going on or try to change the people.  This rarely if…well  it never worked. So, after a while, I gave up trying. 

There it was again, that word ~ belief

What I did not know was that there was an option Zed and all those along the way.  The way people control their responses to their circumstances was that they were able to do it because of options Zed.  They believed they had another option, even multiple options and they were willing to pursue all of them.

There it is again, that word belief.

Belief and pursuit

Belief is what keeps us pursuing the celebration of the holiday with and around our family and friends even at a distance in a yard or through a screen.  Belief that we can have a holiday celebration drives us. We take hold of a belief in option Zed.

…driven by a feeling of being “figureoutable”.

With this in mind the Celebration can and will happen…just as it has for hundreds of years.  It may appear different but it will occur and can occur with joy and connection just as it appears on the calendar.

This belief in option Zed moves us into a place of curiosity.  The active pursuit is driven by a feeling of being “figureaoutable”.  Yes a made up word but still relevant, and understandable.

If you are feeling this holiday season is figureoutable, what then?  What are the options and the possibilities ~ you can now see.   

The battle of what we want, is generally hindered by our own minds, by what we believe.  When we believe we can figure it out, and we tap into the energy to pursue it…we no longer cling to what and how it was, we create what can be.

Seek and be Inspired!!

Open up your mind and see what others have done already to overcome the challenges of pandemic 2020 and be inspired. Look how these people have overcome.

People all over the world are getting creative, solving their own challenges, choosing to live in the midst of this and coming together to support their community.  People help people, ourselves and others. 

It is in coming to the aid of others, that we make this place better.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if the pandemic actually brought all of us together? 

Through creativity and innovation, a whole new way to celebrate, deeper, more connected and meaningful is created for all of us. 

Let’s hit the social and traditional media airwaves with that!

Create Meaningful and Joyous Holidays

The holidays bring people together… the ones we love and care most about.  It is the time where we enjoy the company.  We do for one another and we express what they mean to us through both acts of service and through what we say.

Our acts of service and our voice are not silenced during this pandemic.

If anything, I have spent more time with those I love.  I have reached out to more people to check in, and extend help or even just a kind word of love and appreciation.

The precautions we are taking between now and the beginning of next year do not dampen who we are or our ability to connect with others.

Our Joyous Holidays will just look a little different… 
different bows and window dressing.

We may be throwing a quick celebration in a front yard or taking the kids over to grandmas to build a snowman.  We may back our favorite treats and drop them off at neighbors and friends who are alone this year. 

We may even drop off a tiny Christmas tree at each friend and family member with instructions to send a selfie and write a holiday wish note…like that “flat Stanley” so many of us had as kids coming with us to school, on each trip and to the holiday dinners. 

Perhaps assembling a book of everyone’s tiny tree pictures and holiday wishes printed out for everyone.  A remembrance that even in a time such as this, we still live.  We connect and continue to celebrate, on that day….as it comes on the calendar. 

You can do it

Get creative and make a difference.  Connect and reach out. 

I always like to think about the kids in war torn countries, because not matter how chaotic or dangerous, those kids still play.  They are kids and kids play.

but do not let it push out the joy

We are alive and we will continue to live.  Take this unique holiday season a truly make it your own.  Allow the grief of what cannot be…but do not let it push out the joy that is a part of life and a real part of this and every holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving 2020!

I cannot wait to see how you inspire me!!

Want to feel a sense of home…here…now? 
I can help.

Download my free resource guide “a Sense of Home”. 

The journey is easy to begin, right here.


Life on Purpose

Life on Purpose

Life on Purpose

As adults we all think we live our life on purpose. 

We make conscious decisions as to what is in and what doesn’t make the cut.  We do this for ourselves, our kids and our families…sometimes across multiple families.

But this is just the problem.  Are we actually making choices OR are we going along with the crowd?

Going along with the crowd is not necessarily a bad thing.  Sometimes agreement “buys” us access into a group.  We buy into a belief or perhaps we buy into an activity that is “great for the kids”.  What we are getting in return is membership into that group.

And that is what leads us to living someone else’s life and values.

Our primitive brains(as opposed to the decision making part of our brains) are designed to desire this. It believes that when we have our tribe around us, we are safe.  Safety is the key to our survival.

And as far as our brains are concerned, going along with established norms or other “trusted” peoples decisions saves time and energy.  I mean why wouldn’t we go along with what our good friend recommended to us?  They know us and we like their values.  The challenge is that we do this more than we think we do, almost unconsciously.

And that is what leads us to living someone else’s life and values.

The “clean slate” of relocation
is a unique benefit.

All is Swept Away in Relocation

The unique thing about relocation is that all of these external influences are swept away in relocation.  Many times you will hear me talk about the “clean slate” of relocation.  This clean slate is the result of moving away from all that is known ~ the people, the culture and the rhythm of life.

The Clean Slate of Relocation is one of those unique benefits that is available in the first few months after the boxes have arrived.

When you do not know anyone and there is no normal to life, life in the new place becomes a blank canvas for you and everyone in the family to sketch out and create a vivid life that truly suits each one of you.  Sometimes the shift includes trying new activities or perhaps pursuing a different kind of friend.  It isn’t that anything in the past was bad, but rather this go round the ability to truly choose is available.

…the ability to truly choose is available.

Start with Who You Are

Starting with who you are can be a challenge, especially if you have kids at home.  We, as parents are so trained to be attentive to what our kids need or what our partner needs, we can lose track of ourselves. So, if the words do not flow when trying this part do not fret.  It is difficult for most of us during these years.

An easy place to start is with personal assessments like StrengthFinders 2.0,, I Said this You Heard That app or a Birkman assessment. From strengths to personality and temperament to stress responses learning these things about ourselves spurs on conversations within our families.  There are Ah Ha moments, “Oh that’s why I do that!”

“OH!  That’s why I do that!!

The effective direct result of taking these assessments is that we all think more about ourselves and what makes us tick.  We begin to associate those things that help us and those things/people/activities that suck every last piece of energy from us.

Teeing up this conversation within our heads helps us to see our wants…perhaps for the first time.

The Transformation Desired

One of the most brilliant questions I heard this week came from my friend Rob Fenlon, a StrengthFinders2.0 coach from the UK.  He has this question now that he asks himself and his relocating friends before relocation:

“What is the transformation you would like to see in yourself as a result of this relocation?”

Isn’t that brilliant?  What transformation would you like to see in you?!?!

How often do you think about your transformation?  We may have thought about it when in school and associated it with the kind of life we would have as adults.  But rarely do we pause long enough during these years to think about our own transformation in any context.

Transformation in the context of relocation comes down to who we will become. 

  • What will we learn?
  • What will we assimilate?
  • What will we choose to keep out?
  • How will be change?
  • Will our values be tested or changed?
  • How is our bravery, compassion and ability to connect changed?

When we think about potential transformations, ahead of time, we can truly craft how we walk through this relocation.

Life on Purpose is about Intention

What I like best about the transformation question is that in asking it, we become more intentional about all aspects of our relocation. 

Filling that clean slate of life now with intention is not hurried.

In relocation we make hundreds of decision, sometimes on a daily basis for months. The thought of making it even more decision laden can be a bit daunting.  To make every decision with intention?  Doesn’t that cause more work?

I argue that living with known intention actually makes all of that decision making easier.  When we know where we are going and what we want out of this relocation, we have the ability to look at all of those option and decide more easily…more quickly.

Filling that clean slate of life now with intention is not hurried. We are no long frienzied with “getting this done” and “getting the family settled”. 

…we are now seeking out those things that fit us.

With intention in view, we are now seeking out those things that fit us.  We only allow in those thing that lead us toward that transformation we are seeking.  Sure we may try on new things to test them and see if they fit.  But ultimately those people, things and activities we bring in are now aligned with where we are going as individuals and as a family.

Start Here

One of my free resources gets you down the path to living life on purpose.

The “3 Step Relocation Guide” provides you with links to the personal assessments I listed above as well as worksheets and resources to get you through every step of your relocation journey.

Remember if you have not connected, your relocation is not complete.  I can help.

If you would like to know exactly how this works choose a time to meet with me in the next week.  I will give you an overview of what is here on the website, you will receive real WholeLife Relocation coaching and tool or two you can use today.

I can help.

Ready to learn more?

ReloWomen WholeLife coaching can help you.
Click the button and choose your time.


Sneaky Relocation Grief

Sneaky Relocation Grief

Sneaky Relocation Grief

Grief is the last thing most of us expect in relocation. 

The kids are looking forward to making new friends.  The paycheck bump is AMAZING! And you have always wanted to live here.  What could be better?

Grief though sneaks around, especially for those of us who look forward to relocating.  I love a new adventure…and yet, I will be the first to tell you that relocation grief is real.

Because of my unwillingness to learn how to walk through the grief, I never truly experienced living in London. 

My first adult corporate  relocation was to London.  My husband had an opportunity that would take our little family across the ocean to a part of the world I had always hoped to live, London.  We had a great flat that included someone else washing the towels and sheets. On the underground circle line, all of London was at our finger tips.  Life was fantastic.  It was fantastic for about 9 weeks. 

By 12 weeks, I was lonely and isolated.  I was missing my mom and everyone back “home”. John was at work all day and I had explored as much of the city with a 2 year old that I wished to explore. 

My routine of going out and then writing about our adventures, emailing them back home only entertained me for a few hours a day. By week 12, I was asking for a ticket home.  Just for a few weeks… but, nevertheless, a ticket home.

I thought that would help me ease in to this relocation.  So that I could live in two places at the same time, kind of like a commute.  However, that is not what this was.  This was a relocation.  Learning how to live in a new place.  Not in two places.  And with most things, trying to do two things at once…fully, does not actually work.

Because of my unwillingness to learn how to walk through the grief, I never really experienced living in London.  AND I was distracted and didn’t really live when I was back home.  Neither was normal and neither was home.  Two years where I lived two half lives…and those two halves did not make a whole.

I didn’t know at the time what I was dealing with because it didn’t come as sadness.  It did not present itself as pining for who I didn’t have.  It came in ways that I never connected to grief.

And that is the sneakiest part of relocation grief.

When we do not recognize grief, it infiltrates many areas of life.

When we do not recognize grief,
it infiltrates many areas of life.

Grief’s Many Masks

What makes grief so sneaky is that it shows up in places we are not expecting.  Sure, we expect to be sad or lonely at major holidays or at time of annual events we cannot participate in.  But we do not see it when it shows up at snappy with our spouse or doubting our decisions.

Grief appears in many different ways.  These ways look like emotions which can appear in life for a variety of reasons on their own. However, during times of grief, these emotions become grief’s acceptable masks hiding the grief itself.

Mayo clinic defines grief simply as a reaction to loss. In relocation, we have loss in so many areas of life. When you think about relocation in entirety, it is not surprising that it shows up like this.

Grief’s masks include:

  • Homesickness
  • Numb
  • Loneliness
  • Doubt
  • Loss
  • Overwhelm
  • Frustration
  • Confusion
  • Outright miserable
  • Regret
  • Snappy
  • Explosive
  • Angry and more…

Pause…Taking Time to check in

When you react in a way that slows down a process or causes strife it is time to look back and see if grief is clouding the situation.  Yes we may get angry when a relocation partner fails to do their job, but how angry are we.  And if we were not in the middle of relocation, in regular life, would be act the same way?

In the midst of relocation the busyness can hide grief, especially when it comes in so many different ways.

It is in that pause and an earnestness to seek the truth, that we find it hiding behind one of its masks.  Behind that mask is not as scary as you may believe.  It is only grief that want attention and still wants to hide at the same time.

When we take time to see it without its mast that is when we can begin to move forward.

Why all the emotional masks?

Grief outside of death is something few of us have regular practice with. It is something that many of us avoid looking at or discount with personal judgement.

“I shouldn’t be feeling this way.”

“Do you know how blessed you are?”

“This is a good thing.  What’s your problem?”

All of this personal judgement pushes grief underground. But like many things we push down it doesn’t stay there long.  The more we push, ignore and fight…the more we feed it and the bigger it gets. This is when it appears in the many different ways listed above.

It has to come out, and one of those ways is more acceptable to many of us than the grief itself.  And with that mask it is allowed out.

Allowing Grief

Once grief is identified, then and only then, can we allow it and then begin to walk through it.

On Thursday’s ReloWomen podcast, how you walk through grief will be discussed in detail.

For the remainder of this blog we will spend a little time talking about allowing grief. 

Typically, a painful emotion will be pushed down, avoided or even fought.  Have you ever tried to be calm or tried to be patient?  It is like holding a large beach ball under the waters.  At first it is kind of fun to try and hold it there, but soon we get tired and POP! It comes shooting out of the water not to be held down.

Grief is like that.  It will not be ignored.

To avoid the pop the most effective strategy is to allow it.  Allowing grief or any negative emotion is best done by almost stepping outside of yourself and observing what is going on within you. Imagine sitting beside yourself and providing compassion and a guiding hand.  This 3rd party observation will lessen the sharpness of the emotion and allow you to really see the grief…all aspects.  What it is tied to. What it means to you. What it means about the future.

It is in the allowing that we can even find peace.  It is funny thing about us humans we can experience multiple emotions at the same time.  By experiencing the grief and also compassion for ourselves we can then find peaceful moments.  This is where energy is regained so that we can face the prospect of another day.

Grief does not mean anything has gone wrong….

Grief does not mean anything has gone wrong. It is representation of a beloved season that has passed.  All is not gone.  Life has only changed, into something new.

Join me on Thursday’s ReloWomen podcast for the conclusion of Sneaky Relocation Grief.  Learn now to walk through it and in that, create your dream life in your new community.

If it is time to NOT relocate alone.  If you are looking for tools and guidance to relocate and finish strong, tryout WholeLife Relocation Coaching today! 

I so look forward to meeting you!

Ready to learn more?

ReloWomen WholeLife coaching can help you.
Click the button and choose your time.


Will Work for Friends

Where is Home

Will Work for Friends

Will Work for Friends

“Will Work for Friends” was a tongue and cheek article from 20 years ago in the Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine.  I was living in Minneapolis at the time and the issue of finding friends was such an issue in the city, that it made the Minneapolis St. Paul magazine cover.  The cover had man and woman, both in their late twenties holding a carboard sign “will work for friends”.

The original story told the plight of finding friends and how it was so difficult after school and once they had joined the workforce.

Friendship and community connection are critical to the success of a relocation for each family member.  These connections are what ground us. 

Without connections we struggle to find any kind of normal.

Connections from acquaintance to deep “you can call me at 3am”, all weave together to form a sense of security and support.  The connections in the local community make a difference.  They form a cornerstone stability from which a sense of home can be built.

But as adults where do we start? 

Why is it so hard?

Most of us adults think finding friends should be easy, like it was in school.  The magic of school led us to believe that friendships just happen.  We strike up a conversation with that right person and we are Best friends forever or at least until the end of the school year.  It was predictable and we seemed to just have friends.

Except this is not actually the way friendships begin or evolve.

School made us think friendships happened by magic.

Relationships like most everything else evolve.  It begins with an introduction, then getting to know you, the shared experiences, the testing and the deciding.  Each piece is integral to the relationship process.  Because these things happened as a result of the K-12 years we did not see the individual steps in the process and therefore did not know they existed.

So now when we step out into the real world of our new community, we use faulty expectations. This process requires more time and attention than we expect to give it.  This leads us to think we are incapable of connecting or finding friends.  And after the magic does not work, we give up accepting failure.

Beyond the faulty childhood friendship expectations, we typically don’t recognize a shift in rules.

The Rules Changed

When we move more than 30 miles from where we begin, know that the rules of engagement have changed.  If you really think about it, say the next town over, you can see it.  How the community interacts with each other and outsiders.  What the community finds of utmost importance.  Even how they typically vote.

Each community no matter how big or small, has its rhythm and a way of doing things.  This can be pointed out to us in what time is the acceptable time to put on the garbage or whether or not we should support the local sports teams.

He let her go ahead on Christmas Eve!?!!

When my sister visited me in Texas for the first time she went to the grocery store on Christmas Eve around 4pm just before the store were closing at 5pm.  As she stood in line to pay with her 5 items the gentleman ahead of her, with a few more items than her, invited her to go ahead of her.  This was gob smacking to her.  Where she was living everyone was kind and patient but this type of courtesy was rarely offered, especially when both had a similar number of items.

It isn’t that one is better or worse.  It is just that the rules of engagement are different from community to community.

Expecting what’s not there

The other challenge to relocation is that when we live in a part of the country like the one my sister walked into, we begin to EXPECT that is the norm everywhere.  That everyone SHOULD act a certain way, like your neighbors should show up with contact information and a plate of cookies on the day you move in.  Or perhaps neighbors should mind their own business until there is an emergency.

What are your expectations?

But it should be….

When we move into a new community, we expect that it will be like where we came from.  The last community is then the latest point of reference.  Why would it be different?

These “universal truths or expectations” are what get us into trouble the fastest.  Expecting things of people that have no knowledge of how we believe it should be, sets us up for immediate disappointment.

So how do you traverse these things and find your people?

How to find friends…your tribe!

First, understand the relationship process from first meeting to “can call you at 3am”.  There are many different steps and required bridges to cross between them.  See Connections: The power of female friendships by Mary Sheehy.

By understand the process you set reasonable expectations for yourself and others.  One of the biggest mistakes I made year after year was expecting too much of people.  They were kind of weirded out.  Do not, be me.

Second, do what you love!  Find whatever version of what you love in the local community, sign up, make arrangements and get involved.  In doing what you love and are passionate about, you will easily find like minded people who you can build shared experiences with.

Shared experiences are one of the keys to building connected relationships. 

Third, learn – learn – learn.  Use this time and attention to learn about the local community.  Learn those unspoken cultural rules through observation.  Learn what they all get excited about and are passionate about.  Learn and find the places where you fit into this new local community.

No place is perfect and neither are the people.  First learn what is there and then find where you want to participate and …participate.

On the ReloWomen podcast on Thursday we are going to talk a little more about those friendship stages from two perspectives.  It is when we have missed expectations that we do the most damage to self confidence around our ability to make friends.

It does take getting out there and on Thursday I will help you understand how that process flows and relationships evolve so that you are as effective as possible.

If you are ready to learn how

ReloWomen WholeLife coaching can help you.
Click the button below, choose a time and let’s chat. 


Three Steps to Building Community

Three Steps to Building Community

Three Steps to Building Community

Building your community truly consists of 3 simple steps. Simple to understand steps. 

      • Doing what you LOVE
      • Dating the community
      • Choosing vs. Settling

The goal of these steps is to take advantage of the clean slate of relocation and only invite into life that which serves and supports the life desired.

Doing what You LOVE

Doing what you love is just that, seeking out what you like to do in the new community.  That is where you will find others, here, who love what you love. 

These activities can be found on programs like MeetUp, at businesses (riding clubs from a bike shop), through the chamber of commerce, the local parks and rec department, the library, and churches.  The last two Jazzercise groups I found were at a local church and the other was a city recreation center.  You never know.  Look everywhere.

Whether you want to play in an orchestra, do volunteer career counseling, train for a marathon, learn a language or hang out with other people who read Brene Brown, these activities are everywhere.  It is important to not assume they are only in one type of place. 

Doing what you love vs. trying something new

Participate in an activity you already know and love. This makes every outing into the new community a rewarding experience.  Regardless of whether the people you meet are friendship material or not, you do something you love.  This makes finding friend prospects a bonus.

Yes, the point here is to meet other people. However, we can never count on our future friends to be there. We cannot count on our tribe revealing themselves to us in a first meeting.

When interacting with the community early on, choosing activities we already know we like allows us to control the experience and therefore our expectations. We walk in knowing, we have a win.  We do not depend on other people for our happiness or contentment.  In the early months of relocation, this can become an obsessive focus.  When we count on ourselves and we can create joy regardless of others actions or interest.

That joy we create within ourselves will ultimately will be what attracts new friends to us.

Dating the Community

The idea of dating the community can be off putting, perhaps exhausting.  Like we need one more thing, one more unknown to suck energy from us during relocation.

But that is why you start with what you love.  The second reason to begin with what you love is because in order to figure out which of these people would be good friends for you, you must spend time with them.

Finding a friend is not like seeing your soul mate friend across the room. 

Your eyes meet and both of you are struck with the thought, “That is my new best friend.”  From that point on both of you have a friend to do everything with.  That is only a Hallmark movie type of things…and in that case romantic.

One of the things I learned over my many relocations is that “Friendships Don’t just Happen”.  That is also an enlightening book by Shasta Nelson.  Friendships take time, an investment on both sides. 

I know THAT is not what you want, especially if the boxes are unpacked and everyone else int he family is plugged in.  At this point, you are wondering if all there is anything more to life than dishes and laundry.  With your actual friends being across the county or on the other side of the world that exhaustion can just set in with a side of why bother.

But bother, you must.  You can do this.  And in your heart of hearts, you know how you will feel on the other side.  Those friends so many miles away are proof of that, so let’s get started.

Invites and more invites

Invitations extending outward, not toward you…unless you happen to move to Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama then you might receive a few.  Most of the invitations will be from you to others.

As you extend invitations know that the first obstacle is the busy established lives of others.  They are in a groove.  Most people and families have each week laid out roughly as to what happens where they go and what they do.  Breaking into that will take some time.  No matter how lovely or enticing your invitation, that schedule must be shifted and morphed to accommodate a new activity or invitation no matter how small.

This is both a practical and mental shift for the people you are reaching out to.  Both of which affect those weekly activity expectations.  Rarely do the delays or nos mean anything about the activity or you.  As with many things it has to do with them.

With these delays, nos and perhaps last minute cancellations again it is important to schedule the first couple of “dates” with what you LOVE.  And if there is a cancellation, you still have something happy making to do.

Keep inviting and manage your expectations.  We have to meet people and spend time with people to create relationships.  Those invitation will lead to the dates.

Time equals Connection

When I was struggling to connect in my last city, I decided to research what this was all about.  I wanted to figure out why I was having so much trouble.  It had been 4 years by this point. Was it me or was it them?  Was it this community?

In my research I came across a book called Connecting: The power of Female friendships by Sandy Sheehy.  The relationship concept in the book changes how I looked at the place I had landed.

What I learned through “Connecting” was that in order to connect with people, in order to form relationships I needed to spend time with people.  We needed to have shared experiences and through that a relationship could find its footing.  Without time or shared experiences nothing could be formed.  I was expecting that Hallmark movie type connection when that didn’t exist in my world and especially not in the culture I had relocated to.

Which takes us back again to doing what you love.  Doing what you love provides that shared experience in a safe non-pressure environment for everyone.  No one has expectations except for doing that activity.  This is important because when our only goal is to make a friend, that is a bit creepy and just about every person picks up on that.

We have to let people get to know us in a safe and unpressured way.  We can only do this through dating.  I wish I had another word for that but that is what it is.

And the last words on dating your community…please take your time.

Choosing not Settling

In that first few months of relocation, and if it drags on the first couple of relocation years, when we are not connected and we are still feeling like a flag blown off its flag pole tossing in the wind, we can get desperate. 

This is a place that we make poor decision.  Poor decisions about what we do and who we let into our lives.

Being desperate for a “friend” leads us to settle for any warm body that will meet our need for connection.  We settle for that who without considering the effect they have on us and our family.

When we settle for someone who does not fit who we are or our lives the results are everywhere.  We can see them and so can our family. 

You know you have settled when:

      • That friend date has been exhausting
      • It has been all give and serving
      • Even doing what you love is draining
      • You are agreeing to things you never would have before
      • Or you no longer do what you want to do

Consciously Choosing

We all think that all the people in our lives are all there by our choice. But there are many who just kind of got in.  And they are not too annoying or harmful to kick out. So it becomes easier to just let them stay.

However, it is time to not live like that anymore.  There are no shoulds in relocation because of the clean slate, which creates a wide-open opportunity to choose everything.  So, choose according to who you are and what you love.

If you are having trouble figuring out what you want go back to the 3 Step Relocation Workbook and work through the 1st section again.  Sometimes we as wives and mothers have spent so much time taking care and managing our families that we do not know what we want in people anymore.  We cannot identity who would really work best for us.

Ultimately, the people and the new activities that are best for us are those that encourage and support us to become more of who we are.  These people and activities help us grow in our ability to positively impact our lives and the lives of those around us.

We know they are good for us because we pouring into them are creating energy for us not depleting us.  And though giving and taking is not an even 50/50, there is enough give and take that both sides benefit from the relationship.

Use Dating the Community time to test all of this, so that you create your interdependent tribe who freely give, receive and support each other in alignment with your needs and values.

ReloWomen Podcast

On Thursday we will continue this discussion with an interview from Tania Thomas, a serial relocating woman who has lived in multiple countries since she was a little girl.  Tania grew up with the world as her community.  Listen in as she talk about developing community and its impact on her relocations.

Available on Apple Podcast, Spotify and other podcast players.  ReloWomen Podcast.

Have a wonderful week!  For more on Building community and all things relocation explore more here on ReloWomen!

Another Friendship  Blog: