Who Can You Count on These Days??


It hit me one day last week. I’d been feeling lonely that day. My head knew why. “For goodness sake, Donna. Who wouldn’t feel lonely today? All your new friends are out of town…all four of them, and your family is spending the day with friends of their own”, my sweet little parent voice reminded me. Then I realized that not only was I lonely, but resentful and a little angry (am I supposed to admit that?), that my son and his family weren’t more sensitive to my needs. They should _____. Complete this sentence with anything that sounds like “poor me” and you have it!


I made it through that day and a few days later while in therapy, which is what I call walking, it came to me! “You’ve put all your well-being eggs into one basket and you know what happens when you do that.”


Do you know what happens when you do that in your life? Perhaps, you do it in your marriage or partnership with someone you really love, but he/she is always disappointing you when they don’t understand what you want, don’t listen so well that they take away all your pain or have the answer that makes you happy. Aren’t people we love supposed to “care” i.e. “fix what makes us unhappy”? Do we  believe that if they really love us they wouldn’t or would _____. That’s what love is, right? Not to burst your bubble or break you eggs, but in fact, that’s not what love is at all. True love is when we take good care of ourselves, discovering what makes us happy and DOING it. And, it’s  listening to our partners when they are struggling and believing that they will find the answers they seek. There is no greater gift to someone we love than listening, really listening.


Beware of where your eggs reside. Your partner should have some of them in their basket for sure. That’s what makes it a relationship. And your own basket should, at all times, hold about 80% of your eggs and 20% of theirs.  Truly, that’s what a healthy relationship looks like.


As for my own pity party about my son and his “insensitivity”, he and his wife are some of the sweetest, most sensitive, caring people I know. And, in fairness to my sweet self…I have only been here a year and not knowing a soul last April and through a long winter that was too cold to mingle much, I have needed and leaned on them pretty heavily. I’ve had to put my eggs in their basket while I was filling my own, one friend at a time. They’ve been pretty darned gracious in carrying that heavy basket.


Donna Bailey, MS

Life Changing Coaching and Speaking

Donna’s Big Red Chair


Big Red ChairGetting you from where you are to where you want to be!


Love at the Farmers’ Market??


It was as if someone turned the spigot on that morning. Love was flowing through me, rusty pipes and all.

I never cease to be amazed…

Saturday morning I made my way down to Batavia’s Farmer’s Market. My first time. And though I’d heard it was a great little market, my expectations weren’t a match for the experience that awaited. Already booths were abundant with organic fruits and veggies, flowers bunched and wrapped in that brown crinkly paper, tied with yellow grosgrain ribbon…the kind your Grandmother used to hold your hair back out of your eyes.


Local honey and stories about bright green and yellow patty pan squash, no longer yellow, but swirls of bright yellow and the deepest forest greens I’ve ever witnessed on a vegetable. Seems the bees were cross-pollinating now (something many of us single folks sometimes have on our minds!). Beets, sweet and the color of strawberries came with a promise that if I tried them and wasn’t happy, the farmer would give me a refund.


Happy chickens that actually walked around all day, cows that didn’t go into the barn ’til sunset. Just like the Midwestern folks I’ve met, seems the food must be happy too. Of course, being a virgin market attendee, I overbought…maybe to have an excuse to invite my son and grandson over for Sunday brunch?


Done now, lugging the bags toward the top of River St., I glanced over to see the most beautiful handmade bread and pastries ever!  Well, the exception is my best friend, Charlotte’s breads whose Grandmother, Ida created and lovingly passed on to her. There they were! So I had to stop, right? Knowing I’d be eating enough gluten to inflame the joints of every soul I knew didn’t deter me one bit. Salivating, I watched him pull the loaf of walnut raisin rye, two almond scones, and a half dozen English muffins. Anxious, diving into my wallet, I saw the sign…“Cash only, please”. I could feel the disappointment flooding over me as I stood with my useless debit card. Then, that sweet guy’s voice stopped the spiral of despair. “Don’t worry about it. Really. Just enjoy it. Next time you come to the Market, pay me then.” I began the offers…“I can find an ATM. Let me just take a croissant. Keep my driver’s license. How about I give you my first-born?” He handed me the bag, smiled and repeated, “Just enjoy it.” 


I walked away feeling a bit teary with joy. There’s no shortage of love even in these days that can feel as if we are living in the darkness of an empty cellar at times. It’s so easy to lose sight of the love all around when we are busy, not feeling well or watching the national news…or when we’re alone, in a new town, out of a relationship with someone we thought was our forever love.


Just for today, take time to be loving to those you meet, recalling all the people in your life who love you to the moon and back. If all else fails, go to the movies and see the documentary about Fred Rogers, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”. It’s worth the money and a couple of hours of your life and a box of Kleenex to be reminded of what they say in another of my favorite films, “Love Actually”…“Love really is…all around”. 


If you’d like some help in finding that love of your life, why not call me and see how that can happen?


Donna Bailey, MS

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

Donna’s Big RED Chair


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Chicago, Here I Come!!


My mother used to say, “Donna, never say what you won’t do. It’s the very thing you’ll end up doing!” She had a lot of crazy cute sayings that, of course when I was younger I could have cared less about. As I began sprouting my own grey hair and with the advent of Andy Rooney crazy eyebrows, I knew she was wiser than I ever gave her credit for being.


I’m from North Carolina and when I was 28, “escaped” the South headed for the place I felt was home…Maine. Sitting in class at the University of Maine in Orono wearing my Bean boots and thermal underwear, I knew this place and these people were my tribe. It felt safe and warm even in those crazy long winters because I learned, it’s not the temperature, it’s the people you meet and come to love. People that value what you do, and welcome you into their kitchens to sit around a big lazy-Susan and talk about family and what’s going on right around you, and yes, asking “What in the world can we do about what’s going on in the world?”.


The only thing Maine lacked for me was enough light to keep my mood in the winter from shifting from a Unicorn to Eyore. After 17 years, I had to leave my tribe there and head to California where the sun shines so often, you forget what rain sounds like when it hits the pavement. Sunshine, amazing fresh vegetables, open skies, some wonderful people, vineyards ablaze with yellow mustard right in the middle of “winter”, Northern California has been a beautiful reprieve from Maine winters, but my heart has missed those places where friends gather around fireplaces, live more simply and because it’s “Life in the Slow Lane”, have more time for each other. 


It’s time for me now to move back to that kind of life, so in two weeks, I’m headed for the Chicago “burbs”. Just far enough away from an amazing city to dip into small town life, and yet, a short Metra ride to some of the most amazing art museums, incredible music and theatre, Chicago-style pizza and hot dogs with pickles and tomatoes on them! It’s more than the food that will take me there to the Midwest. Yes, that place where I said many a’ time…“I can’t ever imagine living where there’s no coast.” See…my Mother was right! 


I’ll be with my tribe again… my youngest son and his amazing wife…and the cutest, smartest, joy-machine of a 3 -year old grandson you’d ever want to snuggle. It’s Nirvana for me and I hope I will be able to offer these young parents more time to catch their breath…and a quiet dinner out that all young couples need.


My Red Chair travels well, so I’ll be there for the clients I’ve had the pleasure of serving over the years, and I can’t wait to see who else will come into my professional life seeking love and relationships that are healthy and full of the kind of joy love can bring, no matter how old we are. It’s going to be a blast!


More time to write, blog and snowshoe! Alas, Spring is coming fast there, so denial will be my friend until the first blizzard. I’ll be in touch as it all unfolds. See you in Chicago! Tell me things and places you love about Chicago…


Donna Bailey, MS

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

Donna’s Big Red Chair


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