“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples.” — Mother Teresa
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I am a College Professor as well as a freelance writer specializing in leadership, emotional intelligence, and personal development. My focus is on transformational leadership and I have a a passion for teaching principles to support leadership development and positive change throughout the community. As a lifelong learner with experience in organizational development, training, and management for both non-profit and for-profit sectors, I support individuals and organizations towards maximizing results.
Please contact me directly if you are interested in one-on-one coaching or speaking engagements and seminars. I look forward to hearing from you!
A friend of mine asked me to write about time management this week…something I struggle with just like everyone else!
People say to me all the time “I don’t know how you do it all!” Truthfully, I don’t. About 40% of my day is eating and sleeping 🐽, 30% is dedicated to managing my kids and THEIR schedules 🚕, 10% is probably wasted on TV and social media 🙈, which leaves about 20% for the actual work if I’m being honest (about 4 hours per day). So that brings me to my first tip:
1. Audit HOW you are spending your time. You may think you spend 30 minutes checking emails, social media, etc. when in reality those tasks could be sucking hours of your day. Be honest with yourself about your habits. 📵
2. Get off your phone! If you’re reading this, I already found a loophole in your time management. 😋 Did you know your iPhone has a “Downtime” setting? You can actual PLAN for your phone to be inaccessible. The fact that this option exists is concerning for our culture but that’s another story for another time.🤪
3. Fail to plan, plan to fail. Make your to-do list the night before and decide what time you need to start. Then set as many alarms as you need to stick to the plan. ✅
4. Tackle the most urgent items first. I’ve learned that if I don’t work out first thing in the morning it falls off the schedule. Think: if I only have time for one thing today, what should it be? Do that first. The rest will just be a bonus. 🏃🏻♀️
5. Minimize distractions to maximize efficiency. Designate time for certain activities and guard it fiercely. If you’re replying to emails or getting in a 30 minute workout…leave your phone in another room. [Basically leaving your phone in a different room will solve 99% of your time management issues.]⏱
6. Schedule self care time. I really hate the term “self care,” I prefer “treat yo’ self!” Whether than means alone time, the gym, a massage, etc. put yourself on your calendar! 💆♀️
7. Don’t fall for the lie that you can do it all. Let’s face it — we are all exhausted and spread thin. Trying to do it all isn’t working for us. Check your priorities against your calendar. Does your schedule reflect your values? 👨👩👧👦♥️
I want to hear from you! What are your biggest challenges when it comes to time management? How many hours per day do you think you are actually working? Be honest! 😉
One thing that really brought my husband and I together even
as naïve high school kids was our drive to succeed. We are both fiercely
competitive in different ways, but always competing with ourselves to be
better. We recognized this in one another even as teenagers and, for me, it was
the most attractive thing. Ambition is so sexy! Get you a man with big dreams!
My high school flame had a 6-year professional baseball
career. When that ended due to injury, he pursued a career in the fire service which
was “impossible” because “everyone is trying to be a firefighter.” Harder than becoming
a pro athlete? We’ll see.
I had two toddlers at home and worked 2 jobs when I decided
to go after the highest degree in my field. My firefighter husband was never home.
NO ONE thought the timing was right. Fortunately, I didn’t give a damn what
they thought. I got that degree before my son finished preschool and picked up
a 3rd job along the way. BOOM.
The term “haters” wasn’t really a thing back in Y2K, I think
they were called “naysayers.” But fast forward 20 years – after all we have
accomplished – and we still have people close to us saying:
Your dreams are not realistic
That will be too much for you
You can’t handle it
This is bad for your kids
Self-care is selfish
with safe, certain, and comfortable
Don’t challenge the status quo
You’re working/exercising too much
This is how we’ve always done it
Career = Self-worth
Don’t let them see you sweat
Following your dreams is irresponsible
Money = Success
You can’t afford to take risks
Do you think you’re better than me?
I. could. go. on. Have any of
these statements been made to you? Did it come from someone who is supposed to
have your back? Why is it that people want to chain you down to stay on their
level? They believe your success diminishes theirs. They are SO threatened that
you will outshine them as if there isn’t enough light out there to go ‘round?!
Listen up, dear ones. YOU CAN DO
ANYTHING, BUT YOU CAN’T DO EVERYTHING. Give up on people pleasing. Quit
listening to the critic. Sacrifice your comfort zone. Don’t give up your ambition. Don’t quit on
yourself. Don’t sacrifice your confidence so someone else can have theirs. The
haters are gonna hate anyway.
My husband and I had a quick getaway last week and the best part for
me was the 7 hours of driving. We had uninterrupted conversations about
our dreams and goals and where we want to see our careers go. Those
conversations get us into alignment and give me LIFE!! We are always on
the same page when it comes to wanting one another to thrive in every
way possible, but it helps to actually hear what the other person
desires. It gives you some perspective to support him/her in going after it! When was the last time you and your spouse got to do this? It had been a minute for us.
We talked about MANIFESTING (focusing on and attracting what you want
in your life). Personally, the idea is a little too “new age” for me. In
my opinion, no amount of meditation and “putting it out into the
universe” has the same effect as laser focus and hustle!! Rather than
trying to attract what I want, I prefer to take it by the balls with
action! Still, you need to have a vision to make your plans successful.
Maybe that is where the “manifesting” really comes into play.
After all, a goal without a plan is just a wish.
SELF CHALLENGE: What is your vision for YOUR future? If you don’t
know, you better sit your ass down and think about it. If time and money
were no option (spoiler alert: that’s NOT what’s holding you back),
what does your dream job/hobby/startup company/non-profit look like?
What skills do you have that are unique to you? What comes easy to you
that you enjoy doing? THAT is purpose, and that is what you need to be
MARRIAGE CHALLENGE: Carve out some time to talk with
your spouse about your vision and find out what his/her vision is. How
can you support one another in getting there? This requires at least a
date night, preferably a road trip!
If the word MANIFEST feels
weird to you, try replacing it with VISION. Make yourself a road map for
where you want to go and what you need to get there. Then take the
With my husband’s permission, I have decided to share our journey as foster-to-adopt parents. 💑 We are anxiously beginning the journey full of doubts and hesitation and I want to share all of it in real time, warts and all.
took a long time to get here and we can list 100 reasons why it’s a
terrible idea. We’ve had family members be outspoken against it which
has made it difficult to share publicly. Unfortunately, we don’t have
everyone’s support or approval of this decision, and we have to be ok with that.
The decision to become a foster/adoptive family was (is) scary. We’ve
never struggled with fertility. We have healthy children – a girl and
boy! We already have the “perfect” nuclear family 👨👩👧👦. So what made us decide to make our lives really uncomfortable? We are “doing it scared” because of 1 important reason:
We are pro-life.
I may have just lost a few followers for that politically unpopular
statement, but it’s part of our story. We have 100 reasons not to start
this journey, but just 1 that makes us dismiss them all. We believe
being pro-life doesn’t just mean “pro-fetus.” We believe it comes with
the enormous burden of being pro-mother, pro-baby, pro-child, and
pro-humanity. We believe being pro-life means being part of the
I recently watched the movie “Instant Family” where
Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne adopt 3 foster kids. Wahlberg’s character,
Russ, says: “People who take in foster kids are really special. The
kind of people who volunteer when it’s not even a holiday. We don’t even
volunteer on a holiday.”
I think a lot of us have this
misconception that we don’t have what it takes to do this type of work.
If you were to attend one of these training classes and hear some of the
dumb questions being asked, you would feel qualified! 😳
Our Pastor often says “God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the
called.” The truth is, we are ALL called to serve the orphans and
widows among us (James 1:27). We can all serve in one way or another.
Maybe foster parenting isn’t your calling, but don’t miss out on your
calling, whatever that is! We all have one!
I look forward to
sharing more about our journey with you over the next several months. I
will be relying heavily on your support and encouragement along the way!
Thank you for being my people!! I’m going to need you. 👊
As the successor to the
millennials, these “digital natives” are described as consummate
multitaskers, achievement oriented, and sheltered (Rickes, 2016). One of
the most notable effects of this digital age is a stress-induced
environment due to increased connectivity, academic demands, a host of
extracurricular activities, and athletic competition (Hoffman, 2011).
As parents, we want to give our kids every opportunity to be
successful. This is what leads us to club sports and travel teams,
private tutors, art and music lessons…you name it, we’ve likely tried
it. But in our attempts to “help” them succeed, we are often stifling
their success and setting them up for failure.
Children do not
have the physical and emotional capacity to manage our high
expectations. After all, WE didn’t grow up this way! The result of this
stressed out, hyper scheduled culture is a mental health crisis where
young people are riddled with anxiety and an inability to regulate their
emotions (Knopf, 2016).
Suicide rates in young people have
increased 25% in the last 10 years, and Gen Z has the highest rate of
anxiety, depression, and suicide in recorded history. WHAT WE ARE DOING
Millennials are notably big spenders. Millennial
parents will spare no expense to give their children a hand UP in life.
However, in our attempts to do so, we are destroying our children and
making them feel inadequate.
So, how can parents help their children manage this anxiety to lead happy and successful lives? Give them a break!
– Schedule in some unscheduled time. – Let them get bored. – Take away their devices. – Turn off the TV. – Go outside! – Actually spent time with them rather than money. – Develop their emotional vocabulary to recognize and identify their feelings. – Find out how THEY want to spend their time. – Give them chores. – Teach them kindness and compassion. – Schedule time to help others by volunteering. Focusing on helping others helps alleviate the burden of perfectionism.
It’s not too late to turn this around, but our time as parents is
limited. Be purposeful in your parenting and don’t let the World steal
their childhood. It’s too magical. ✨
As I reflect on my personal heroes, there are many significant women who have impacted my life through their words and actions. They include Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, Dr. Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey, and Coco Chanel. I am inspired by women who demonstrate their strength though self-sacrifice, determination, bravery, wisdom, and compassion. Each of these women lead by example, boldly paving the way for the rest of us to have limitless possibilities. Of all the powerful women I have had the honor to learn from, no one has influenced my life more than my very own grandmother, Charlotte Neal DeRossett.
Charlotte was born in Tennessee in 1929 during the Great Depression.
Her father was a kind and generous farmer who would set aside food each
week to give to the poor. As she recalls, “We were the poorest people we
knew,” but her father instilled the importance of generosity from an
Lesson #1: There is always someone who has it worse than we do. Be generous, always.
Her father died when she was just 8-years-old, and her mother quickly
remarried a man who was quite the opposite of her father and had no
interest in his step-children. As a child, she worked in the cotton
fields until she eventually left home at 15 to seek better wages in
Chicago. She worked two jobs and sent all of her money home to support
her younger siblings. She always regretted not getting an education, but
she read every book and newspaper she could get her hands on.
Lesson #2: Be a lifelong learner, hunger for knowledge, and be your own teacher.
My grandmother is the most positive, affirming woman you will ever
meet. She will never miss an opportunity to give a sincere compliment
and tell you how special and talented you are. She will be 90 this year,
and she was never educated in positive psychology or appreciate
inquiry, she just understands the joy that comes from approaching life
with gratitude and optimism.
Lesson #3: If you woke up today, be grateful. There is always something to be grateful for.
I am grateful to have had the influence of this woman in my life.
Today we celebrate Charlotte along with all of the powerful female
influencers who have opened the doors of possibility for the rest of us.
“For the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” – William Ross Wallace
I have gotten countless messages from you guys wanting to hear about COMMUNICATION 🗣👤 and I am happy to oblige as the subject is one of the specialties I teach my college kids.
Here are some general tips ✅ :
1.) Active Listening / Feedback:
Sometimes when we listen to our significant other, we’re not fully
present. We may be distracted, or feel overly reactive to strong
emotions they’re displaying. It’s hard to resist the urge to chime in
with a thought (defensive statement, rebuttal, etc.) while the other is
speaking, rather than simply taking it all in and then responding
afterwards. “Active Listening,” on the other hand, involves making a
concerted effort to slow down and listen with an open heart and mind. 👂
Step 2 is sharing feedback. You don’t have to agree with what is being
said, but you do want to show that you’re getting the other’s
perspective to the best of your ability. For example, you can say, “It
sounds like you are upset with me for forgetting to take care of
_______, or for using that tone…am I understanding you correctly?”
2.) Don’t make Criticism Personal:
As we all know, criticism makes people feel defensive, which
significantly inhibits the listening process and can lead to further
escalation of anger and hurt feelings.
3.) Seek First to Understand vs. Being Understood:
When in conflict, our default as human beings is often to focus on our
desire to be understood. Rather than emphasizing your own desire to be
heard, try changing your focus to putting attention on understanding the
4.) Ask Open-Ended Questions: Have you noticed that
those passive-aggressive questions, such as “I wonder if you’ll ever
take out the trash without me asking?” don’t seem to initiate healthy
dialogue? Try sharing your concern with an open-ended questions. For
example, you may say to your spouse, “I could use help with the trash;
do you have any ideas for how we can tackle this?” He will likely get
the point without feeling personally attacked.
5.) Use “I” statements:
Own your feelings rather than blaming, by using “I” statements when
communicating (e.g., I feel, I need, I want). Remember the “XYZ”
technique: “I feel X when you do Y in situation Z.” For example: “I feel
frustrated when you don’t take out the trash on Tuesdays, the day you
agreed to do so.”
6.) Self-soothing: Take charge of your own
well-being. No one “makes” you upset. You allow it. Find ways to
soothe yourself when the feeling arise before confronting your spouse.
For example, take a “time out,” by going for a walk or taking some time
to yourself to do some breathing exercises. Conversations will be much
more productive when emotions are more balanced.
7.) Accept Influence from the Other:
Put yourself in your spouse’s shoes and be willing to go with their
perspective and suggestions. Marriage expert Dr. John Gottman’s
research indicates that “a marriage succeeds to the extent that the
husband can accept influence from his wife.” Accordingly, be mindful of
the gender dynamics in your relationship that may foster or inhibit the
ability to influence one another.
8.) Share Your Appreciation:
In any good relationship, each person will feel that they are valued
and respected for who they are. When communicating, it can be helpful
to identify what you appreciate about the other and state those things.
Gottman’s research indicates that those in successful relationships
make 5 times as many positive statements as negative ones when
discussing issues. Affirm one another to maintain trust and respect
during tough conversations.
The manner in which you communicate
with your spouse is EQUALLY important as what you are saying. Do you
agree? Let me know what you think! 💘😘
Let’s talk about sex, Baby…let’s talk about you and…your spouse!
Well, if you’re married, you definitely have a mutually fulfilling sex life, riiiiight? 🙃
Chances are, one of you is wishing it happened more often while the
other would prefer a good night’s sleep. So what’s the solution?
Communication and compromise! Have an open discussion about how often
you’d like to get busy…this will likely involve someone stepping it up
and someone simmering down. Challenge yourself to compromise on the higher end of the scale. 😜
Listen up, guys. Foreplay, or #choreplay
as @drlauraberman aptly calls is, begins the moment you wake up. Your
wife wants to feel supported and valued and it’s the quickest route to
getting what you want! Takeover some of the things on her to-do list for
the day and you will free up some extra time in her day for sex! 💏
Women need emotional intimacy to desire physical intimacy. ⬅️
READ THAT AGAIN! Be intentional about connecting emotionally. Discover
one another’s love language and put in effort to connect accordingly. 👫
#adulting and #parenting
make spontaneous sex nearly impossible. Don’t wait for the perfect
moment – create it! So what if it’s not spontaneous…a thoughtfully
planned encounter can be so much more special! Be intentional about
making time for physical intimacy in your marriage. And start tonight. 😉
Everyone loves a good love story, right? 🥰 Here’s mine in a nutshell…
I was only 15 when I met my husband and if you would have told me then
that I would end up married to that awkward, skinny, 17-year-old boy I
would never have believed it! Needless to say, it was not love at first
sight. And that ended up being the secret to our success.
best friend, Krystal, brokered the deal for me to be his prom date in
Y2K. She reminded me recently that I made her tell him NOT to expect
any physical contact on this date. I was always good at managing
Although there were no fireworks on that date, the fact that we weren’t
trying to impress one another is what eventually made us click. Looking
back, I’ve never been more unapologetically myself with anyone than I
was with that boy. I didn’t care about impressing him and we proceeded
to date other people and give each other dating advice in the years that
followed. In hindsight, it was a lot of TMI if I’d known I would marry
this dude. 🤐
For me, the turning point happened when I went on a family vacation. I
had a boyfriend back home who I didn’t miss at all, and I was calling my
best friend, Patrick, every day while I was gone. I knew what I had to
do when I got home….and I was pretty sure he had been patiently
waiting for me to arrive at this conclusion on my own. 💑
There was a lot that happened in the years that followed…to save
time, you can refer to the plot of The Notebook. We loved each other
fiercely and we believed in one another fiercely. Those early years were
SO difficult. It’s hard to pursue your own dreams and fulfill the needs
of someone else at the same time. Maybe impossible. Choosing to grow
together, rather than as individuals was our biggest struggle. 🌳
The fact that we have persisted for almost 20 years is a testament to
our mutual stubbornness and the grace of God. Patrick told me yesterday
that his favorite thing about me is my grit. When I decide to do
something, come hell or high water, I won’t give up. Similarly, my
favorite thing about Patrick is that he will do absolutely anything to
be successful. He works so hard to be proficient at whatever he does and
he works hard at being a good husband and father. 👨👩👧👦
We were married 10 years ago and learned how to navigate adulthood,
careers, and parenting together. We are still unapologetically
ourselves. We can’t be any other way because we showed all of our cards
early on. We know the worst about each other but choose to believe the
best – day after day. We respect each other and we are still best
friends after all these years. We are so different from those awkward,
superficial teens setup for a prom date, but we choose one another every
day, year after year. 👰🏻🤵🏻
Love is not a feeling, it’s a commitment. The best marriages involve 2
people in competition to out-serve one another. They require mutual
respect, admiration, and a determination to be the best partner you can
be. It’s not a natural response. It’s a choice. And it’s the best
decision I’ve ever made. 💞
We all know the agony of comparison – in friendships, in parenting, and
in our marriages. Social media has multiplied this feeling
exponentially. Everyone else’s marriage looks easy breezy on Facebook,
so why don’t I have that? 📸
The truth is, ALL of our relationships have their challenges. Chances
are, if you could see the secret struggles of the relationships behind
the picture perfect filters, you’d probably RUN back to your spouse and be grateful for the small problems you are faced with in comparison. 🏃🏻♀️🏃🏻♀️🏃🏻♀️
All of our relationships have seasons that are hard. We are individuals
driven to seek our own happiness, yet relationships require the
selflessness to put someone else’s needs above you own. It’s unnatural
to us, which is why we have to be intentional in connecting with one
Think about what first attracted you to your spouse. Of all the people
in the world, you CHOSE this person! That’s a really BIG DEAL!
Take some time to reflect on the qualities that made you choose your
husband/wife. These are the foundations of your marriage and I bet they
are still true! 1. 2. 3.
Now go share these qualities with him/her! Here’s a little script to get you started:
“When we first met, I fell in love with you because ________. I knew I
wanted to marry you because _________. I really appreciate that you
still ________. Thank you for __________.”
We are all looking
for affirmation and confidence that we are ENOUGH and we are seen and
valued. Practice giving that to your spouse, and chances are, you will
receive it back in return.