Beware of Martha Stewart







‘Tis the season!” Whether we like it or not, the holidays have begun. Let’s not leave out Halloween. That one is not as simple as it looks.


Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE LOVE LOVE holidays. I’m Irish and I look for any reason to celebrate. But when I follow the Hallmark breadcrumb trail, they can lead  me right to the Hansel and Gretel cottage.


When I was a child, let’s just say my family had “issues”. To be fair, they were pretty big issues and led me to create a fantasy family where things were safe, predictable, and could now be on the Hallmark Channel. Early on I vowed that when I grew up and had a family, our holidays were going to be like they “should be”.


Halloween meant the perfect costumes, orange and black foods, baked cupcakes for all the kids in their classes, house decorations…the works! Thanksgiving was defined by a perky, perfectly cooked bird that entered the oven at 4 a.m. whether I was nursing my second child or not. The table so full it could have fed the masses, and of course, a full breakfast of homemade (not Bisquick) pancakes with blueberries, long out of season and running 15.00 a pint. There’s nothing too good for my kids! And Christmas…well, you get the picture. Be sure to include a handmade gingerbread house that cost me about 50.00 and this was in the 70’s! It had to be perfect and everybody had to be on the same page as me or it was all destroyed. That fantasy was my reality. I had no idea until much later in my life that my family could have cared less. All they wanted was to enjoy it.  And for my husband, the only thing he cared about was not missing the big game!


It was all for me, really. All of those holidays. I needed them. The child inside of me needed them. And, even in my 30’s, my child was driving the car. Bless her sweet little heart.


Now, I know what these holidays are all about. Yes, they are about love family, whether our family by birth or choice, whether stable and happy or like people spinning in a blender.  And yet, when we really boil it all down, holidays are merely one more day where we are invited to join others to have fun, remembering  that the most important thing is loving one another regardless of the configuration of our lives. In short…an opportunity to see what really matters in life.


Sometimes we can forget that, in reality, families look as different as all our fingerprints. Singles are often not seen or when they are, sometimes viewed with pity or misunderstanding. Single parents can feel as if they aren’t a real family. Solos who lost their partners often lose their partner’s families. Young parents with children are forming their own traditions while aging parents struggle with fitting in. Blended families, by ethnicity or re-marriage figure out their customs and how to honor and celebrate together. How far this is from the holiday cards with photos of families as they “should be”.


This season of holidays can be just wonderful! Defining what is really important about them such as love and closeness is the first step. Then, looking outside and remembering others around you who might need some love. Love, my friends and taking the time to share it, lift and glass to it, and just be happy with whatever happens...snowing on Halloween, burned turkey, another tie for the holidays. Notice yourself as you move into this season and if you’re already feeling stressed, ask yourself if Martha is in the room.


You might be feeling you could use a little guidance this holiday season. You CAN enjoy your holidays, no matter the season in your life. Give me a call or email me and let’s talk about how. 


Donna Bailey, MS

Life Changing Coach

Donna’s Big RED Chair


When is Enough Enough???


I woke up at 4:45 this morning feeling like a four year-old waiting for Santa. I am heading out for a massage and then a great cup of tea at a tea room I’ve been wanting to see. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

I wasn’t alone when my eyes opened this morning. Already having had her proverbial “cup of coffee”, one of the voices that cohabits  with me  was ready to spar. My grin suddenly disappeared and the frown line that resembles Ruth Buzzi on “Laugh In” took its place. “How could you be taking the day off when you have work to do??”, she said. OMG, we were off and running!

When is enough, enough? What is it in all of us that will not let us rest and just enjoy ourselves fully when it is time to relax and let go? I have a few ideas about that…

Thank God  I can blame my “dysfunctional family”.  I spent much of my childhood getting up at 4am, sleeping in a cold farmhouse and never being allowed to just “be”. My grandmother’s core belief was  “Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop”. We shelled peas if we were going to sit down. We ironed clothes if we wanted to watch TV and we ALWAYS did our chores, our homework, everyone else’s chores and everyone else’s homework before we could go out to play. Everything had to be done before there could be any sort of joy or fun. Sound familiar??

Add to that living in a country that thrives on “more and better” and spawns such management ideas as “Work smarter, not harder”. The United States boasts the highest rate of productivity, and this on the backs of American workers who come to work sick, smear rouge on their cheeks to look good in a meeting when they have the flu, and are proud to say they haven’t taken a single sick day in their careers. We coined the phrase “24/7” and wear it like a badge of honor.

Well, I have to go now. I’m so out of here, leaving “Miss Productivity” behind, giving her a Personal Day!

Don’t wait until those mule driver voices get quiet, or for someone else to give you permission. It just won’t happen. You have to begin to say, “I am SO worth it!” And if you’re having trouble hearing your own voice, give me a call. I will show you how to do some radical self-caring. You won’t have to leave your partner or your children behind to do it. Just learn that putting yourself first is a loving thing to do for not only you, but those you love.

Donna Bailey, MS

Life Changing Coaching

Donna’s Big RED Chair





Pulling Back the Curtain


Lately, thanks to some time under my belt doing meditation, I have been aware of how many times a day, an hour actually, I think that somehow my life is different or I’m different than anyone else. When I get up in the morning and don’t bound out of bed, pain-free and with the same  smooth face and skin I had 20 years ago, I have these insane questions…like, “Why does my _____ ache like this?”


Fast-forward to the credit union. I look at my balance, and think “”How could that possibly be right? By now, I ought to be wading through those bonds, and give a damn that the stock market just dropped 800 points. What in the world did I do wrong to have THIS balance?”


I realized those questions leave me feeling completely alone, as if I am the only one who hurts, doesn’t have enough money, hasn’t found the love of my life, can’t drink wine any more. Then, it really hits me ! I start listing every friend and family member I have. Every single one of them has been sick, has parents who are aging, are afraid of a diagnosis, or sad about some loss in their life.   They too are confused and ashamed about something they “should have done”, thinking they “wouldn’t be in this predicament”, if only.


My friends aren’t unusual or unique.  It’s just that when I pull back the curtain that isolates me and makes  me feel ashamed, embarrassed and believing it must be about me, what I see is the sea of humanity. All of us swimming in the same waters of life.


From now on when you feel alone in your struggle, whatever it is…pull back the curtain. I hope you’ll see that we’re all swimming and thrashing about in that same ocean. What makes me feel better is when I reach out to my friends and those I love and offer something, anything that might help them see they’re not alone. You never are, ya know.


Donna Bailey, MS

Life Changing Coaching

Donna’s Big RED Chair




Page 1 of 11212345...102030...Last »