Jerking Your Heart Around




When I was a little girl, my Daddy had a favorite prank he’d pull on Valentine’s Day. Now, you gotta know that he was one of the kindest, funniest men on the planet…certainly in that little town of Rocky Mount, North Carolina.


We’d go down across the railroad tracks that ran right through the center of town to the Walgreen’s to pick out our Valentines. Remember the ones in that cheap cardboard package covered in cellophane and coming four to a page? The messages were carefully prepared so you could give them to friends and then there was that “special” one that you saved for the one you hoped really liked you the way you liked them.


Daddy would choose the biggest ones. Using his hole-puncher off the bread truck he drove, he’d make a hole for the string to go through. Then, just full of spit and vinegar, we’d head out to the neighbors’ houses! Daddy would  hide down in the hydrangea bushes in front of the porch, holding the string attached to that Valentine. My job was to lay the Valentine on the porch right in front of the screen door, knock and try to keep from giggling while I jumped off the porch, joining my Daddy in the mischief.


Everybody had a porch in the South. How else could you keep up with what was going on in the neighborhood? And, at night moths would cover the porch lights, but the neighbors could still see that Valentine laying there. I almost died from waiting, but sure enough soon I’d hear the scraping of the aluminum door, see a big smile on their face as they reached down to pick up the Valentine. Then quick as a rabbit,  Daddy’d jerk the string, pulling it right out from under them and we’d jump up together yelling, “Happy Valentine’s Day!”.  It was a crazy way to spend Valentine’s Day, but I loved it!


I was thinking about that story today as I headed out for my walk and not sure at first what prompted that memory. And then I realized that though it was fun to share that prank with my Daddy, in real life when someone had jerked my real heart around, it was deeply painful.


Many of us have had people in our lives who couldn’t “do” relationships. They’re in, they’re out, they want it but they just can’t put both feet on the same side of the door. It’s “too fast” for them or they only want it when they want it. They get angry, sulk, withdraw and you don’t know what you did to “cause it”. Your head spins trying to figure it out until one day, if you’re lucky and smart, you realize it isn’t about you at all!


If this sounds familiar and somewhere along the line, you decided it WAS about you or that your “chooser” is broken, I’m here to tell you, you can find someone who doesn’t jerk your heart around. They are out there looking for you too. It takes some effort to get past the limiting beliefs about yourself, men and women, and how to find your next love. If you’re an adventurous romantic, you won’t let the past keep you down!


Are you ready to find someone who IS truly ready for love? Ready to do whatever it takes to find someone to share this next amazing chapter of your life?  
Then, call me today at 510-817-4242 or email me at to schedule your Complimentary Strategy Session. Your new year can be filled with love!

Donna Bailey, MS

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

Donna’s Big Red Chair




There is One Thing That is Certain



On election night, many of us felt like those poor souls must have in 1929 when the Market crashed. As if the world had come to an end, an endless darkness of the soul that we call despair. It was more than hopeless. We were truly speechless in the same way those who have experienced an unthinkable traumatic experience are frozen and unable to move.


As the television journalists forced themselves to keep talking, the map quickly eliminating denial, we all knew that this was a new reality and for many of us one we couldn’t begin to understand. Hope disappeared and uncertainty was waiting for us after we could think and speak again.


It was close to midnight. I sat staring into the fire that was slowly dying because I couldn’t move to feed it. The phone rang and buzzed and it was my youngest son who is now the father of a 2 year old son who, by the way, IS the cutest and brightest toddler on the planet. “Hi Mom. I just had to call because even when you’re a grown-up, there are times when you need your Mom”, he said, his voice as soft as I can ever recall. “What are we going to do?  I’m really scared.” A new Dad, he could only think about his wife and son and how to protect them from the uncertainty and fear-mongering that this campaign had instilled in most Americans…and in fact, across the globe.


For the first time since he was born, I felt unable to comfort him with words that could offer perspective, comfort or hope. Mothers are always there to make the boo boos better, tell our children it’s going to be OK. But this time, all I could do was feel his pain and terror that night and tell him one thing that I did know for sure…that I loved him so so much.


Uncertainty is part of all our lives, as is hopelessness and sometimes genuine despair. We can never know from moment to moment what will happen to us or our world. Life comes without guarantees or warranties.


There is only one port in the storms of life and it’s the gift of being humans. Love, love, love. That is something that is certain and available and precious. We are surrounded by it, uplifted by it and it is always available.


So today, my sweet friends and family, is the day of Thanksgiving. Thank those you love for being in your life. Thank the farmers and workers whose hard work put that food on your table. Remember to stop today and feel the love in your life. Really feel it.

Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for being in my life!

Donna Bailey, MS

Donna’s Big Red Chair

Coaching, Speaking, Writing 

Dating and Relationships for “Grown-ups”


My Biggest Fear About Being in a Relationship




Yes, I am a hopeful and hopeless romantic and I can’t recall a day when I wasn’t in love with love. I rather like that about myself, but sometimes it can create self-doubt where self-doubt doesn’t belong. You see, I believe that if you are fortunate enough to meet someone you love, truly love…those feelings of cherishing and tending to each other, hallmarks of the pink cloud days…don’t have to disappear when “reality” sets in.


Nature gave us an overdose of fabulous natural drugs to bring us together and for awhile we have an endless Rx. Then, it’s up to us to decide if we want a refill. If you loved it then, why not do what it takes to keep those lovin’ feelings alive? Because most of us take life for granted, and in doing so, take each other for granted as well. It’s truly sad to me that most everyone, but me seems to think it is unrealistic to think that we can hold on to those early and precious feelings we have toward one another.


It doesn’t take getting older to realize that life is precious. When we are young parents and look down into the tiny newborn faces of our children, we truly know that preciousness. Attending the funeral of someone we are sad to have lost reminds us of how irreplaceable they are and that our lives will never be the same again. And yet, we lay next to the person we love or jump out of bed, turn on our computers forgetting to even say “Good Morning” to them, and forget that life hasn’t promised us more than a minute at a time with our sweet love.


Start believing it. Believe it even before something forces you. Before she walks out the door from neglect or he announces he’s been with someone else and is ever so sorry. If you need to pull out those old photos to look in the eyes of a younger man or woman…the one you fell in love with awhile ago, do that. Take a moment in the morning to look at him sleeping, drool and all and remember just how precious this person truly is. Start today.


Help keep love alive by posting this on your social media site, emailing it to friends and taking the time to talk to your partner. Life is short, so help others remember that.

Also, if you have ideas you’d like to share about how you keep love alive, please post your comments below!

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