I know you’ve all been on the edge of your seats wondering about the wild and crazy adventures I’ve been having so far, in Asheville.

It’s a much younger scene than where I came from, in Florida. The street music, the art festivals, the food, the natural beauty... Asheville’s got it all. I just haven’t experienced much of it, yet. The issue? Drizzly, grey, foggy, cold, rain. Nearly. Every. Day. Apparently, this is an anomaly. The tourist brochures are completely unaware of conditions like this.

I have had some interesting experiences that will share with you, however.

1. I live in a “bear free” community, meaning the black bear seen here a couple of months ago hadn’t read the covenants. We put our trash and recycling through very special processes to ensure they do not attract bears. If we see a bear, we are not supposed to feed it. That tidbit of advice seems wise.

2. When you suddenly live alone, your day/night cycle becomes wonky. If you wake up at 3 am and cannot sleep, you can get up and do stuff, without bothering anyone. I’ve developed an odd habit that I call Two Awakenings. During the first, in the middle of the night, I get many of my “thinking” chores done... like writing blog posts. I’ll work on some curriculum, make a few comments on Facebook, and plan for the coming day. LISTS ARE CREATED. Eventually, I get sleepy and go back to bed, until Second Awakening. This is the one that usually sticks. It occurs some time in the morning, and coffee is consumed. I am incapable of peopling until Second Awakening.

3. There is a store nearby called Whole Foods, which apparently requires a special degree to understand. I went there last week, in search of nutrition. I walked around, determined not to be exposed as a WFF (Whole Foods Fraud), looking as purposeful as I could, for someone who had NOT ONE CLUE about what she was seeing. I honestly didn’t recognize about 80% of the products. At the end of one aisle, there was a wall of homemade soap bricks, just waiting to be confidently sniffed and selected.

Thankfully, I had my friends Lydia and Melanie, who live inside my cell phone, texting me instructions and definitions and encouragement, so I didn’t have to “out” myself by asking someone WHERE AM I AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH MY FOOD? They steered me to several products, and I successfully made it out of the store with 1. my dignity, 2. several food items, and 3. no panic attacks. I have now completed Whole Foods 101: How to Survive Your Inaugural Visit. I have a very long way to go.

4. It gets very cold here at night. There have been nights I’ve wanted to sleep in four pairs of leggings. Hypothetically. Okay, I have.

5. I have always been somewhat of a minimalist. I currently live in an apartment with a mattress, a folding chair, and a folding table which serves as my dining space, my crafting space, and my work space.

It seems a bit decadent, but I am thinking about getting a separate table for jigsaw puzzling, an activity I quite enjoy but haven’t been able to do in decades, because of demon cats who will bat ONE PIECE off the table, and kick it purposefully under the couch. Now I am living with only one cat, my 15yo Blaze, who cannot jump that high, anymore. And, no couch.

6. My new fitness regime. Because I arrived in Asheville with very little, and I despise shopping, I am an active online consumer. Packages arrive at our Clubhouse, and I need to carry them up several flights of stairs myself. And here’s the thing: the more I buy, the fitter I become. 😊 It’s a win-win. I am getting actual muscles. 💪🏼

7. I’ve spent most of my adult life living with my husband and our two boys. And, while they might not have noticed or cared, out of sheer respect I have always refrained from “girlifying” our home. I am having the best time, now, hanging fairy lights and strands of Pom Pom around my apartment. I’d nearly forgotten that I am a girl. It brings me joy.

8. My crafty friend Ceal (who also has a heart the size of North Carolina), lives nearby. We’ve been meeting for lunch, and a tiny bit of shopping (I can’t handle much). Tomorrow we’ll spend the whole day having artsy fun together. Yay! On one of our visits, I found my Unicorn... a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle plastic placemat that is just perfect for my cat’s water bowl. Occasionally, life hands you a gift. Sometimes that gift shows up in the Target Dollar Spot.

9. THERE ARE MOUNTAINS HERE. It’s beautiful, everywhere you turn. It’s easier to think, in the mountains. The air is fresh, and clean, and you can check your mail without sweating. Seriously, the amount of beauty here is astounding.

10. I miss my family. I cannot wait for them to get here. Although, in a strange twist, I’m probably spending more quality face time with them now than I did when I was living with them. Skype is a wonderful invention. My boys have actually been in touch, on a regular basis. When I text them, I sometimes get a paragraph back, instead of their usual “k”. We are getting through this. It’s a beautiful thing.

11. Life is what you make of it. When you have dreams and goals, you find ways to reach them, even when those ways seem unconventional to others. Thank you to those who have supported me on this whacky, madcap journey. Because living an “okay” life was no longer an option. We want to live our BEST lives. We are going for it.

12. Sometimes, in order to live your BEST life, you need to do hard things and make big sacrifices. Yesterday, I lost my favorite pair of blue jeans. There will be pain. I will get through it.

I am kicking up my “A Life Inspired” business several notches. Very soon I will have more LIVE Online workshop offerings, and I am scouting out locations for an in-person Soul Restoration Retreat. I hope you will consider taking a class, or two. They are healing, and soul-filling, and artsy, and will load you up with concrete ideas and strategies for creating YOUR best life. You deserve that.

You are loved


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I talk a lot about being brave, in my work as a therapist, and in the workshops I teach. I talk about showing up for your life, and not allowing obstacles get in the way of your dreams.

For a while now, my family and I have been stuck... burned out... ready for something new. We’ve considered moving out of Florida, but we’re so deeply ensconced... too busy and overwhelmed to even consider all of the ramifications of that decision, and the ripples it would cause. And so, time has passed. A long time. It’s easier, we justified, to live a moderate existence, than it is to take big risks, and shoot for greatness.

But as I have become braver, and more passionate about the things I teach others, I knew we needed to honor the dreams and goals we had as a family.

Decisions made as a family are never made alone. We all had input, and we were all heard. As a result of our talks, and a rather huge leap of faith, last week I moved to Asheville, North Carolina.

I am here as a scout. I will research and get a feel for the neighborhoods and communities, and narrow down the areas that may work best as a new home for our family.

We may decide that Asheville is not right for us. But regardless of what we discover, I am taking action towards our goals. I am no longer content with being in contemplation-mode. I am making something happen... whatever that will be. I am doing a thing.

Moving wasn’t easy. We packed up my car with art supplies and my 15-year-old cat, and I drove north. I had some adventures along the way... most of them, fun. And now, ten days after leaving Florida, I am here... in a small but pretty apartment in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with a deflated twin air mattress and a folding green camp chair, given to me along the way.

I miss my family back home. And, I feel peaceful, and happy, and full of excited anticipation. I am alone for the first time in over 30 years. Quite frankly, it’s not as easy as y’all make it look.

My new community is friendly, and there’s lots to do. Later this week there is bingo at the Clubhouse, which, despite my husband’s reminders about taking my Geritol, I plan on attending. There are lots of dogs here. And the occasional black bear, I’m told.

Along with scouting around Asheville, I will be working on growing my business, Life Inspired: Retreats for the Soul.

Those who know me well, know that one of my favorite Brave Girl phrases is “Go Where the Peace Is”. And that’s exactly what I’ve done.

Recent Life Lessons:

On long car rides, don’t bother to leave a seat open for the cat. She will hide in the back amongst the boxes, anyway. Use the space for more art supplies.

Be nice to the hotel staff. They might just send you a fruit platter. Even if they don’t, be nice, anyway.

When shopping at Barnes & Noble, have the courage to ask for directions to the audible books section, and keep a straight face.

When a friend visits and offers to loan you a cot, say “yes”. Air mattresses are unreliable, and floors are hard.

Seeing a bear seems very cool, but it depends on the circumstances.

When you go grocery shopping for the first time since Hurricane Irma, expect to leave with random ingredients that don’t actually go together.

If you get the chance to play bingo with new friends on a Thursday afternoon, grab it.

Go where the peace is.

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A few weeks ago, organization guru Marie Kondo’s new 8-episode show, “Tidying Up”, began airing on Netflix. I know this because nearly everyone I know has been talking about it. The show is inspiring, and packed full of unique ways to unclutter the environment in which you live. As a longtime, card-carrying minimalist, I am thrilled that the whole “decluttering” movement is catching on. But minimalism isn’t easily accessible to everyone. People who suffer from depression... those who may benefit the most from living in an organized and uncluttered space... find the execution to be extremely elusive.

By its very definition, depression causes a lack of energy, low motivation, and difficulty making decisions. How, then, does a person with depression keep up with daily tasks that keep their world beautiful and stress-free? The answer is, they don’t. The plunge into depression is nearly always accompanied by deepening chaos and disorder. Things pile up, and chores are left undone. This leads to worsening depression, greater disarray, and the cycle downward continues. Here’s my tip for breaking this cycle. Maybe it's something you've tried before, in your own way. It works for me, and has worked for many of my clients. While it is not a “one size fits all” solution, it is unlikely to make things worse. I teach something I call “The Five Minute Rule”. For you, it might be ten minutes, or seven minutes, or 45 seconds. You do you. The idea is to get out of your “stuckness”, so the cycle can begin rolling in the other direction.

Think of a task you want or need to tackle... let’s say it’s cleaning your craft room. Then, commit to spending five minutes (or three minutes, or one minute, or 30 seconds) doing something to make progress towards that task each day. There may be days when you’re so down and lethargic, the progress you can manage is to walk into the room and set a garbage bag on the table. The next day, maybe you’ll open a drawer and throw away two torn pieces of paper. THAT’S OKAY. Here’s the important part. Your goal is to become unstuck... to move the stone forward... not to get your craft room cleaned in a day. So be mindful of your self-talk. Keep it gentle, and positive. You took action. You made progress. And it may have been the most difficult thing you accomplished all week. Do the same thing each day. Keep moving forward at a steady pace. If, on any given day, you feel motivated to work past your goal time, that’s fine... but the daily goal time does not change. That is, if your goal is five minutes a day, you can choose to work for 30 minutes one day, if you feel up to it, but the next day your goal is still five minutes. Momentum is excellent... setting yourself up for potential disappointment is not.

A growing accumulation of scientific research shows a strong correlation between going clutter-free, and improvements in depression (and anxiety).  When you make slow but steady progress, and acknowledge the courage and effort it takes to break through your own inertia, you might just find the cycle of: depression > clutter > depression > clutter > depression is replaced with something that looks more like this: Progress > satisfaction & competence > progress > satisfaction & competence > progress

One last tip, for those of you who are feeling a little more ambitious. You might consider using The Five Minute Rule in more than one realm of your life. Perhaps you’ll want to spend five minutes working on a financial goal, five minutes on a cleaning goal, and five minutes on a self-care goal. And please, don’t forget to reward yourself, when you are done. Guilt-free rest, positive affirmations, a bubble bath, creative time... whatever eases your depression and honors your magnificent, hard work.

If you are interested in learning more ways to improve your self-worth, and enhance the quality of your life, please check out my classes & workshops. I currently have spots available in my upcoming LIVE Online "She Did It Anyway" workshop, which will focus on helping you identify and get beyond your own hurdles, so you can live a more fulfilling and joyful life. You can learn more about it, here.

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