Author Archive for Gayle

Life Lessons from the Classics

I love stories!

Children learn through stories and adults spend billions of dollars being transported to another world through stories. We watch stories on TV and at the movies. People have made a business out of telling stories on YouTube. Amazon is making billions selling books that tell stories.

When you get together with your friends, you tell stories; stories about what happened to you, to your children or at work. Stories are powerful. The story you tell yourself about your life is powerful – and it often comes true.

In other words, the story you tell yourself about yourself will be the one your grandchildren tell their children about you. What you believe will happen will happen because what you believe and think controls how you feel. In turn, your feelings determine your actions and what you do – and of course, what you DO determines your results.

When you begin with a better story, you’ll likely have a better ending.

Christmas is a time of year when more stories are told around the world. Some of the most fun stories and best lessons are buried in those stories. Here are my favorite stories from this holiday and what I’ve learned from each. If you have another story you enjoy, or lesson from one of these, please post it in the comment section!


Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

In 1964 this stop-action animated movie was top of the line animation and released as a television special. Today, children may laugh at the animation, but the story is as old as time – and it introduced another reindeer to Santa’s sleigh.

Santa’s original reindeer were Dancer, Prancer, Donner, Vixen, Dasher, Comet, Cupid and Blitzen and named by Clement Clarke Moore in the late 1700s when he wrote the Night Before Christmas. When Santa’s sleigh is depicted today, there’s a small reindeer at the front with a blinking red nose.

I’m reminded that not all of us look the same, and if we did the world would be a pretty boring place. I’m reminded that not all motorcyclists are drug-dealing, gun-toting bad guys and not all preachers have warm, fuzzy personalities. We’re all different and we all have something to offer. And, we are not defined by that difference.  In other words, Rudolph had a nose that got the sleigh through the night, but it doesn’t mean he was good through and through.

The drug-dealing gang member is breaking the law and likely is scary, but he may also be willing to protect his mother with his life.  None of us is what we seem on the exterior.


Holiday Inn

Irving Berlin wrote the music for this 1942 musical, featuring the song “White Christmas.” The story is about four people whose lives are interconnected by show businesses and stage performances. At some point, they all pretend to be someone they aren’t.

At some point we all pretend to be someone we aren’t, and like in the movies, we are usually found out. Sometimes the results are ok, and at other times, not so much. The movie makes it appear as if everything turns out well in the end, even when you pretend. But the reality is different.

Pretending is lying about what and who you are. In the 1940s there was a lot of that going on. It was a simpler time, but the problems and challenges that many women faced were never addressed in the public eye. The past looks good through rose-colored lenses, but the present reality is much easier to deal with.


How the Grinch Stole Christmas

I love this animated television short released in 1966. There is a little bit of Grinch in all of us. Anytime we think twice about helping, giving or doing for someone other than our self or our family.

In the movie, the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes that day he saw Cindy Lou. This is a gift I look for as I make my daily journey. What will come across my path that will make my heart grow or will tug at my heartstrings. And when it does . . . how will I react?

Sometimes this gift takes me out of my way and interrupts my day. But, it is always a gift because all gifts cost something. It doesn’t have to be a gift to me – it may be that I’m giving a gift to others. And every gift costs something. It may be time, effort, energy or money.

BUT, I also get a gift in return. I get something from giving that I can’t get any other way. I receive more from the gift of giving than I ever give.


Miracle on 34th Street

I think the title of the movie says it all. There is a miracle at Christmas that involves Santa and it happens on 34th Street.

There’s a young lady with her daughter, a young lawyer, Santa and large department store. If you haven’t seen this 1947 classic film, it’s time to see it this year. It’s a story of hope, joy and a miracle that we all hope for each Christmas.


Christmas is about the birth of Jesus. He’s the reason for the season. It’s often a time we spend introspectively examining our own lives – what we accomplished in the past year and what we hope for in the coming. As you march forward into 2018, remember:

Not everything is as it seems
You don’t have to pretend to be someone you’re not
You will be touched by others and this is a gift to YOU
You can expect miracles when you keep God front and center


It’s Time to Say YES!

Last week you discovered if you say “No” to somethings you’ll enjoy greater love and joy in your life. However, life isn’t all about learning what to turn away FROM but also what to turn TOWARD.

In other words, what should you say YES to in order to experience greater joy? Your children will see what you don’t do – and they will mimic what you DO. Here are several things I’m going to say YES to more often this year.

Say yes to:

Discovering more about how to support your health

I might be just a little enthusiastic about my health. We have one body, one life and what we do with it will be our legacy after we’re gone. I think too many times we put our heads down to power through the day without thinking clearly about each little decision made. The pastry at 10am in the breakroom, extra dessert coffee at lunch, candy bar at 3pm and on to a grab and go dinner while driving your children to their events.

Suddenly, any idea of good nutrition has flown out the window.

Think about what you eat each day as if it were compound interest in your life. One donut won’t make a dent in your cardiovascular health, one donut three times a week will. But, the same is true in the other direction. Eating vegetables, getting plenty of fiber and significantly reducing your fructose intake each day will also improve your health over the years. One day of eating well won’t make much of a dent, days each week will.

Exercise every day

Exercise also pay compound interest and in multiple areas of your life – and often without much effort. For instance, walking 30 minutes each day (15 minutes after lunch and another after dinner) may be enough if you spend several hours a day on your feet and not in a chair behind your desk.

Exercise doesn’t mean you are training for the Olympics, just that you’re moving and active through the day. I was out walking with my new dog yesterday and stopped to talk with one of my neighbors. She’s about 55. She told me that she took on painting her home, from ceilings to baseboards. After a day of painting a room she thought she’d be sore. But she wasn’t. She slept great that night and felt the best she had in a while the next day.

Exercise doesn’t have to be difficult. Think about walking with the kids. Get up out of your work chair every 15 minutes and stretch. Look for an exercise partner. Do whatever you have to do to get exercise every day so you can keep up with your children and you’re ready to enjoy the unexpected – like a surprise canoe trip, hiking with friends, biking with your children, or whatever else happens your way.

Positive, energetic friends who have achieved goals you want

We are what we hang around. In other words, you become like the friends you have. They don’t become like you. So, find friends who have achieved the goals you want to achieve so they can show you the path and encourage you on your journey.

I want to publish a new book this year. My plan is to find a group of authors in my area and join.

Activities that build your self-respect and self-esteem

I have a problem. Chocolate.

Chocolate is what I eat when I don’t feel good about myself or situation. Unfortunately, my comfort food makes me feel even worse about life. There is no comfort in overeating or eating foods with fructose or refined sugar. This is a lesson I have a LOT of trouble learning. I’m hoping I learn it this year.

Find the activities that build your self-respect and self-esteem. Volunteer work, patience, expressing your emotions, learning a new skill, helping others and expressing gratitude are just some of the ways you can boost your self-respect and self-esteem.

Strategies that move you toward your goals

OH MY GOSH! This is the one. This is what I have to concentrate on this year. This past year I have not done what I know would move me toward my goals and at the end of the year I’m paying the price.

I have a book that was written and 95 percent complete in MAY. It’s November and I’ve done nothing else to finish the project. Not only have I not finished the project but I also have not met my financial goals this year BECAUSE I didn’t finish the project.

I let life get in the way instead of getting in front.

This year I’m taking control and by year’s end I’ll be reaping the rewards.

Building a life you can be proud of

Not everything we do makes us proud of our actions. And, as a human it’s impossible to achieve that goal. But like all things, every small decision you make has long-term consequences. This means the MAJORITY of the decisions you make should work toward building a life that you can be proud of as you share those achievements and events with your children.


It has been a difficult, educational and unique year that builds on the work of past years. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t made the decisions I had during the year. This coming year I’m going to make some tweaks to those decisions and hope to follow through so I can experience the rewards that come with greater, more positive and forward moving, action.