The Girl Who Escaped ISIS

I didn’t expect this book to hit me between the eyes and challenge my status quo, but it did.

It starts off slow, but gradually lifts up a standard of courage, and somberly reminds that the Universe will come to the aid of the brave.

Only nineteen, but stubborn enough to reject defeat, Farida said, “Fear blinds us to possibilities.” 

Locked in a container in the middle of an ISIS war camp for many hopeless months (and vain escape attempts ending in brutal beatings), Farida discovered a hidden door they had previously overlooked. Then, using that door, executed a risky plan that saved her life and that of five other tortured and malnourished girls.

Image result for the girl who escaped isis

Now, anytime I am tempted to chicken out or make excuses, I will remember her example.

Putting Ourselves to Sleep?

“If the individual receives no satisfaction from his work for its own sake, he dies internally, a condition which no financial reward can justly compensate.” – Timothy Gallwey

This quote describes the inner struggle I experienced while working to support my family in the wrong job.

Sometimes, for a season, many of us are constrained to do so. In those cases, rather than die inside…

  1. Don’t give up hope. When things were the darkest for me, it was because I believed having a job that fully engaged my talents was out of reach. (It wasn’t.)

  2. Be completely present. For the sake of those we serve. “The anecdote for exhaustion is wholeheartedness.” – David Whyte

  3. Challenge yourself. Character goals. Physical goals. Relationship goals. Efficiency goals. Success is sweet…no matter how small.


This March…march into your best life.

I’m Working on Building Dikes of Courage

Maybe it was from my steady childhood diet of horror movies, but somehow I became one of the biggest chickens of all time.

  • My heart races at the drop of a hat.
  • My stomach turns at the slightest thought of trouble.
  • Fear and resistance are my first responses to the smallest challenge.

To counteract these default settings, I have learned to review a mental “tape” of my bold-people heroes when in high-stake environments.

If I don’t, you will find me running for cover or whimpering in the corner.

What a difference it has made for me when…

  • confronted with an undesirable task
  • someone needs to go first
  • there is danger
  • I might be rejected or mocked

First Sign of Blindness

First sign of blindness is a compulsion to point out the blindness of others.

When I meet someone who…

  • Does not rush to condemn others

  • Shares responsibility for dysfunction

  • Resists justifying themselves

  • Doesn’t resist outside perspectives, and

  • Doesn’t feel compelled to tell me how good they are or how blameless their opinions are…

I believe in the miracle of sight.

Are You Worth Knowing?

My Top-Ten List of People Worth Knowing:

10. People who are using their unique talents to make a difference

9.   People who are using their brilliant minds to make a difference

8.   People who are doing unappreciated jobs to make a difference 

7.   People who are courageous

6.   People who make me laugh

5.   People who never give up

4.   People who have suffered

3.  People who are generous and kind

2.  People who are forgiving

1.  People who are real

“You’re right.” vs. “I know.”

I say, “I know” too often, especially when people give me advice.

I may “know,” yet the need to voice “I know” says volumes about what I don’t know about listening.

So, I will practice replacing “I know” with “You’re right.” or “Thank you.”

This is a small adjustment for a big change in my willingness to really hear what others are saying to me.

It also changes how I make others feel.

Encountering the wall of “I already know that.” or, cracking the shell of self-deception is not an easy job.

(inspired by July 2013 post)

Got Agility with Fragility?

“Life’s beauty is inseparable from its fragility.”

Dr. Susan David

The more inclined I have been to believe this, the easier it has been to avoid depression, anxiety, and the shock of everything being turned upside-down and inside-out in one insane instant.

When I look back on my life, I am astounded at how much time I wasted arguing with reality, pouting about why people didn’t behave the way I needed them to, upset about plans being ruined, and depressed because my picture of what life “should be” had been shattered by some (in my not-so-humble opinion) asinine person or circumstance.

The biggest difference for me now is the habit of questioning my not-so-humble opinion,

which yields more agility with fragility.

Image result for life is fragile and unpredictable quotes

Hear the Healing in The Music Shop

Normal people just want something to love and look after, he thought; that’s all they want.

– Rachel Joyce in The Music Shop

I wasn’t sure about this book. Now I know.

And the best way to read this book is to listen to each piece of music as it comes into the story. I found myself asking Alexa for Puccini in one breath and Sex Pistols in the next.

I found The Music Shop to be an enlightening journey into ordinary life and into (sometimes unlikely) music that lifts ordinary life into the extraordinary.




When I Take Time to Hear Myself

The first step I must take in order to become the very best version of myself is to pay attention to my thoughts and words. Besides catching myself saying negative things, I also review my conversations to catch the times I exaggerated, wasn’t completely honest, or talked too much.

Take time to really hear your Self. - JoAnnaRothman #YourDailyGift

When I take the time to really hear myself, it is sometimes painful, yet, that pain gives me more incentive to grow and change.

Not sure if there is actual scientific proof to support this whole claim but it certainly is proven that stress can make you ill in many different ways.

While Thinking Over 2017

…I pinpoint the one thing that has improved my relationships more than anything else. It is the realization that people don’t need to hear what I have to say nearly as much as they need me to hear what they have to say; my presence much more than my advice, and my acceptance much more than my analysis.

In fact, this one insight has saved me from multiplying my regrettable errors. Duh. Yet, yet, yet, I still forget and think it is about me being heard.

Thanks to those of you who were patient with my words in 2017.

Image result for take time to hear