This book is an invitation for the reader, standing at the crossroads of here and now, to look back over all that brought them to this time and place while also looking to the future with hope and determination.

Decades of Gratitude, Gusto, Grit & Grace is a journey into the experience of growing through midlife and beyond. It contains a mix of delightful stories, sage perspectives, juicy wisdom, terrific resources, and just fun reading—all focused on what it takes to grow boldly, to remain involved with and connected to one’s own true self as well as to others and to the larger communities in which we all participate.

The core theme revolves around the quest to see each new day as a gift and an opportunity to live in a way that is meaningful, purposeful, joyful, and fulfilling. Written from the perspective of a longtime life coach, it is meant to evoke curiosity and inspire clarity and commitment rather than offer prescriptive advice. Using a coach approach, there are also questions to ponder so that the reader can discover their own inspirational ideas about how to thrive through this time of life. Now more than ever, we each need to find quiet time to reflect on our circumstances and connect with our wise inner voice.

And check out my interview with Lyn-Dee Eldridge on The Happiness Jungle below: 

I so enjoy good and feisty words
the kind that convey far and away
more than a dictionary
definition can possibly capture.

I am thinking about gutsy
rolling the letters around on my tongue
letting its guttural sound
vibrate around in my throat.

If only I could swallow it whole
and embody that quality
of clear and courageous presence
by simply willing it into being…my being.

But it takes grit and gumption
a clarity of conviction and
the will and willingness to step up
ever so boldly and embody my Truth.

No matter the gusty winds
that howl relentlessly at my most
strongly held beliefs and my most
deeply felt hunches and inklings

gutsiness is about holding fast
to values, standing up
to the vicissitudes of life and
facing the prickly fickleness of fortune.

And so I must make time
to step out beyond the ongoing
onslaught of conflicting ideas
and everyone else’s good intentions

in order to seek my own plucky way
through the forest of advice
and flurry of information that threaten
to obscure my very own path.

And all this must be done with grace
and true graciousness
with the sincerity of my own gratitude
and the ongoing opening of my own heart.

Happy Mess!

no matter the chaos, the clutter, the fuss
there is joy to be found
in the happy messes of life
if only we allow our hearts
to smile and embrace the wholeness
and holiness of it all

My husband Mel and I have a favorite toast. Whenever we are having wine with dinner, we raise our glasses and clink them in a toast to “happiness.” When our son Reid was about four years old, we were all out sharing a family meal one evening when he decided to raise his glass (filled with juice) to toast with us. What was so adorable, and revealing, was that the words that came out of his mouth were “happy mess.” I was about to correct him when I stopped myself, realizing that his toast was absolutely perfect. If we could learn to accept and live with—maybe even celebrate—all the inevitable happy messes along the road of life, we would be well on our way to enjoying a wonderful life. AHA! indeed.

What very young children, and those of us who have learned a bit along life’s journey, know is that things do not need to be perfect or pristine for joy to be present. As Martha Washington explained, “I have learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances.” Perhaps the whole point of life is simply to seek the happiness and fullness to be found moment by precious moment, no matter what’s going on.

Here’s another lesson learned by living. Life happens…and not always according to our best theories, ideas, and strategies. In fact, it mostly does not quite happen according to plan—or at least not according to our carefully laid out agendas, schedules, and lists. What we learn to recognize as we grapple and grow is that the most powerful happiness strategy in our human tool box is our capacity to apply thoughtful consideration, perspective, and compassion to whatever is happening when life is not going according to our idea of how it should be. By doing so, we reframe whatever is taking place in the most positive and inspiring ways possible.