Forget Jerry Maguire!


She drove 25 miles to meet me for lunch, and somehow though that’s what we do here in the Midwest, it still made me feel treasured. Not a friend yet, we’d only met once when I was still unpacking my things and the snow still sneaked up on us some mornings. It was a Meet-Up group, six women walking on a sunny day telling our stories as only women do when they hike.


I’ll admit complete ignorance really. About this area of the country that I’ve only seen out the windows of airplanes as I crisscrossed from California to Maine and back. Being a lifetime coastal dweller, looking down I’d try to imagine what it must be like to live down there in that flat land only bordered by each other in wide open spaces that go on forever.

I think of the Dust Bowl, of Steinbeck and those election years when whoever lived there seemed to pick our next President.


I didn’t remember much about Gayle except how sweet she was and her beautiful shiny face that looked as if it had never seen makeup. Blue eyes given by the Swedes, they smiled at me when she came through the door. Seems she’d not been to my little town “in years”. Well before this Thai restaurant was on the River.


Right away she wanted to continue the conversation we’d had on the hiking trail. Fascinated by my work with people who are looking for love, she’d told me about her daughter, who at age 30 had given up. About being a widow for nine years, her husband a hard working man who was an alcoholic. It hadn’t really occurred to her that she might want to love again until that morning we met.


The Pad Thai came and I had to pace myself. All I wanted to do was savor it and stop myself from choking from shoveling it down. Gayle was still on her Spring Rolls.


“At first, I was so lonely and I wanted someone really badly but not any more…well, not like that, anyway”, she said. “I’m happy with my life. My kids are near me, I do things I love to do and I’m pretty happy most days with life.” Then she said something that really hit home…”I used to feel as if I had to have someone or I wouldn’t be happy. You know, it was kind of desperate feeling. Now, I feel like I’m OK being alone, but that having a companion would just add to my happiness.” I knew exactly what she meant and that it is a crossroads for many of us who have loved and lost someone, whether by death, divorce or wisdom that it wasn’t the right person for us. That growth from living the movie line, “You complete me.” to the sweetness of saying to someone new that we’re coming to love, “I’m happy you’re in my life. It’s so much more fun to do this with someone.”


This transition from needing someone to make us whole to wanting someone to add to our pretty darned OK life is not a straight line, nor is it easy at times. It takes time and a path that is unique for all of us. Some of us will need another go-round to find that place of serenity. That’s OK.


If you’re feeling like life is pretty darned good, that you’re happy most days and yet, feel that big space in your bed would sure be better with someone there, it might be time to gently move towards that. But remember, much like finding a job, you gotta be clear about what and who you’re looking for to make life richer and more fun. Today, just start opening to the possibility and I can help you find the way to love!


Your First  30-minute Session is On Me

Call me at 510-817-4242 or email me at  and let’s set it up!


Donna Bailey, MS

Coaching, Speaking, Writing and Expert in Dating and Relationships for Grown-ups

Donna’s Big Red Chair




I’m Coming “Home” to Carmel!

Big Red Chair


June 30, 2018

I’ll be offering a small, intimate workshop

From 10 am-12 noon at my office on Carmel Rancho Boulevard.


Are you feeling lost and frustrated? Been looking for or wanting to begin your search for the next love of your life? You are so not alone. It happens to us all. We lose our way, begin to believe things that simply aren’t true…about ourselves, men and women, scarcity of love, dangers of internet dating.

Come together with me and a small group of people just like you. We will share stories, the ups and downs of this dating and relationship journey…and we will help each other find the way back from discouragement to hope and success in the journey!









I can’t wait to see you!!!



Love and War

Yesterday morning I was off to a new writers’ group, voices in tow telling me to turn my car around to save my dignity. I was determined because in my new town, I’m doing my own version of Hansel and Gretel, following breadcrumbs from one helpful person to the other. A woman I met at church said, “You’d love this group”. When you’re new to town, you gotta trust others and of course find your  “Holy Trinity”…hair stylist, mechanic and your go-to coffee shop first!



After honking my horn quite unnecessarily at a gentleman in the library parking lot who I thought was about to hit my car, and seeing his yellow legal pad, I met my first new “friend” who was headed for the group  too. Despite my rude horn honk he graciously showed me the way while I apologized for being “from away” where the horn was like one of the basic food groups.


A room full of writers. Who could ask for anything more? Men and women in equal numbers, curious, bright and passionate sat together poised to hear three men who’d authored books on Vietnam. 


He was a helicopter pilot at the tail end of the war, knowing by now that none of the fighting  really mattered. His wife sat beside him as the details of his life there unfolded. Life in the “hooch” they called “The Morgue”, “Grunts” swinging by cables from Dan’s helicopter lifting them to safety, while bullets whizzed by. My gut clenched remembering the early mornings my young husband would roll off our bed and within seconds, be underneath it.


The men told their stories and the women sat silently. Dan’s wife glanced at me,  knowing somehow we had our own war stories. I too was the wife of a man, a boy really, as they all were, who went off to war and whose life was never the same. War always leaves a wake behind that goes on forever not only for the soldiers, but for those back home and children yet to be born. Love and intimacy are the casualties most times.


The fabric of our love relationships are created by many things. Parents, economics, mentors and the heroes who come to tell us how beautiful we are and war’s pock marks that heal only with time and love. Love is never a straight line, rarely simple or easy for any of us. And yet, the human spirit knows it’s worth whatever it takes to find it.


Are you ready to find the joy of love again? It’s worth all the effort it takes to feel the joy that love brings into your life.

Our first 30-minute session is complimentary so give me a call at 510-817-4242 and I’ll get you on the road to love!

Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for Grown-ups

Donna’s Big RED Chair


Big Red Chair




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