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




Do You Wade in or Jump In???


We dove in! Took a deep breath over and over. Hung our hearts out to dry. Drank enough coffee at those coffee shops to need a teeth whitening…and we prayed, cried, gave up in despair, picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off… and we met someone who looks just like the picture online and in our minds. Now what?


There’s enough oxytocin flowing to fill a koi pond and when you spend time together, it feels as if time stands still. Eager to know this new person, you begin to ask him/her about life, love, children, work, plans for retirement, favorite foods, whether they want to thrash Donald Trump. The questions help you make some sense out of so much you don’t know.  Our minds want to evaluate, gather data and make judgments. Bless that mind’s heart. It’s working so hard to keep us safe. You gotta love it. And, you gotta watch it.


Meeting someone new that you feel attracted to feels like a miracle. It’s wonderful to finally have someone open a door, put his hand on your back when you cross streets and send you texts and photos of his dog. You want to connect, feel close and connected and one way human beings develop intimacy is through sharing stories.  But how do we know which stories to share and when the right time has arrived for sharing them?


When you meet someone new, remember that discovery takes time. Each person has history and by the time we are over 50, we’ve lived, loved and felt the pain of loss over and over. We are tender and more reticent to open ourselves to being hurt and disappointed yet again. It doesn’t mean we aren’t ready for love, simply that we are human and need to be treated with great tenderness.


I know that urge to want to know everything and to share everything that will help create the intimacy and closeness that I love in relationship, especially for a storyteller like me.  It’s tempting to ask or reveal too much too soon or to ask the new person in my life to share his history before he’s ready.


When you hear yourself sounding like an FBI agent during an interrogation, or you see them looking at their cell phone right smack in the middle of a sentence, it might be a clue to stop and assess. Think of you and that other person as tulips in Spring. All tucked in, closely guarded for a reason…they need time before they are ready to open. Human beings open when they feel safe and ready and not one of us has the same conditions for that to happen. So, better to take it slowly and one step at the time. If it’s a match that has a chance to grow into more, the soil of trust will have been created on which a foundation can be built.

Are you tired of watching sunsets alone, wanting to open up your heart? Ready to do whatever it takes to find someone special to share this next amazing chapter of your life?

 Call me at 510-817-4242 or email me at to schedule a Complimentary Strategy Session. 

Donna Bailey, MS

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

Donna’s Big Red Chair


Big Red Chair

Dreams are Sexy Things!



What’s life without dreams? Not the kind we have at night, but the ones we have when we’re sitting by a river or watching a movie about India and know we need to go there “one day”.





Some of us have carried our dreams like a suitcase all our lives while others realize late in life, gazing into our bucket where the list is kept, that life is short and the list, long. One of those dreams might be finding someone to love again or for the fortunate, having  found someone so special, they think they might have to give up their dreams to make it work.


In my practice I often see people who don’t open their hearts to love because they think it will mean giving things up. Their belief is that she or he won’t want to (fill in the blanks)…sail on the weekends, travel to Australia, RV across the country. They go it alone because it’s the only choice they feel they have. And then there are those who have been living their dreams, who are vibrant and want more of what life has to offer. They fall in love and whether a partner asks it of them or not, they feel the dream must be relegated to the dust bin so they can “focus on the relationship now”. They sacrifice out of what they see as love, and a little part of them begins to wither.


Dreams, even the musty ones we’ve carried in that suitcase, are the language of the soul. They are a North star to the essence of who we are, what matters, our juice of life. Do you know what both men and women find most attractive about a partner, or even a date? Vibrancy. Aliveness. Curiosity. DREAMS! People who live their lives, act on their dreams or have an intention to fulfill them bring life and excitement to their relationships. But there’s a hitch…when we meet each other or are getting to know each other it’s essential to talk with each other about those dreams. If we’re already living them as writers, musicians, volunteers, artists, change agents, politicians;etc. we want to be sure that our partners know these things are who we are and that they will support us in growing our dreams as life goes on.


You don’t have to stop living the life of your dreams to be in love with another. In fact, we all need someone to share our lives and bring with them dreams of their own. Added to ours, they make for a really juicy life!


Are you a hopeless romantic who’s tired of watching sunsets alone?  Ready to do whatever it takes to find someone to share this next amazing chapter of your life?  I can show you how to navigate the waters and find that dream.


Donna Bailey, MS

Donna’s Big RED Chair

Dating and Relationship Coaching for Grown-ups


Big Red Chair



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