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Are you solving problems you don’t have?

Did you know that a major obstacle keeping people from achieving their goals is that they spend their mental energy on solving problems they don’t even have?  I call this “The Governor of Kentucky syndrome”, as illustrated by a personal story I heard from Marilyn Graman, a Psychotherapist, Workshop Creator and Leader, Author, Interfaith Minister, and Shaman Practitioner in New York City:

Two women ate lunch together in a small Kentucky town after not having seen each other for some time. Continue reading


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Grandmothers swatting flies

I’m trying to get some work done here. Really I am.  And this damn fly just won’t leave me alone.  There’s a whole huge screened-in back porch here, and he just won’t stop flying next to me, literally, right in my face.

I don’t want to or have to kill him. I mean, I could.  It’s a skill that I learned from my father, how to kill flies by clapping your hands just above where they are going to fly, unsuspecting, upwards.  I can get them almost every time. Continue reading


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3 tips for getting everything you want this holiday season (and in life)

My mother used to tell a story about a Christmas morning early in her marriage to my father.  She had her eye on a certain camelhair coat displayed at a department store.  Her anticipation grew as Christmas drew near because a box appeared under the tree that was exactly the right size for the coat.  She described how she reserved opening that particular present for last. Finally, she tore off the paper, opened the box, and… it was a toilet seat cover! Even telling the story decades later her face would contort in an expression of disappointment and resentment.  It was meant as a practical joke by my father, but it fell flat, and he still rues the day he bought it. Continue reading


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Just the facts, ma’am

Growing up on the farm, my family was often featured in local newspapers.  Evidently it was considered quite a novelty to be a single mother with three daughters raising sheep in the midst of cattle country in Western Pennsylvania.  The articles would recount my mother’s decision to abandon city life to raise her children in the country. They would go on to describe how she started with a mere three sheep that over time swelled to 300, and the development of the cottage industry of wool and sheepskin items that we made and sold.  Each retelling had its own angle and an accompanying cheesy headline like “Sheep Farming Shear Delight for Mother and Daughters” and “The Wolfes in Sheep’s Clothing” (get it?). There was one thing they all had in common however; they always got something wrong.  It never failed that we were misquoted in some way, statistics were jumbled, or the article didn’t quite capture our true essence. Continue reading


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How to really change your life. Yes, really.

In 2007 I was diagnosed with lymphoma.  In that moment when I heard the doctor say “You have a malignant, aggressive cancer” I felt as though my whole beingness collapsed in upon itself.  The coming weeks were filled with tears, visits to doctors, and a tremendous sense of fear until the day I heard my oncologist say:  “You will be cured.”  As it turned out, he was right, and six years later I am as healthy as I was before I got diagnosed. Continue reading


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To Thine Own Self Be True

I have two older sisters – two brilliant, creative, beautiful, expressive and overshadowing older sisters.  As the youngest, I came up behind them in school and had many of the same teachers.  I endured them calling on me in class by “Jennifer” and “Ruth Anne” or being constantly compared to their talents, their schoolwork, and their grades.

This impacted my upbringing so much that for my college admissions essay I wrote about an interaction that my friend had:

One day, a friend of mine told me a story about having gone to see the school nurse.  This particular nurse is the type who knows almost all the students and loves to talk.  During the time Mary was in the office, she mentioned that she was friends with one of the “Wolfe Girls.”  The nurse was delighted.  She said, “Oh, yes!  Ruth Anne is so wonderful.  She’s so talented and smart and is a wonderful actress.  And she dances so well!” Continue reading