Life Manifesto Library

One of the women in my workshop asked for a list of the books I have read and recommend on the subject of Life Manifestos. I decided that would be a great thing to share with all of you. There are tons of other books and a variety of resources out there beyond this small list. And there is another whole list of books I have not yet, but intend to, read on the subject. (I love good book recommendations so please share!) I am currently reading a couple of great books that have nothing to do with manifestos or career paths or planning/organizing…but that is another list for another day. So, without further ado…here is the Life Manifesto Library and my reviews of each. Enjoy!


The Artists Way – A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron  Such a powerful, powerful tool. It was written to be completed over twelve weeks. I started it about 7 years ago…made it through the first two or three weeks and quit. It just wasn’t the right season or time in my life for the book. Then, 3 years ago I picked it back up as a New Year’s Resolution and dove in. But, I went at my own pace and did it over the course of the year. It felt like every time I picked it up it was EXACTLY relevant to what I was experiencing at that moment and exactly what I needed to hear and do. I was so moved by the book I cried when it was finished and wanted to do it all over again. Instead I went out and bought another of her books (she has several) and started it. It’s called “Walking in this World”. Again, I did a couple of chapters and put it down…still haven’t picked it back up. I am sure it is also a great book that will move me in the right time. I may also at some point go back and re-read The Artists Way. I recommend this book to EVERYONE….regardless if you think you are an Artist or not.  WEBSITE

Finding Your Life Mission – How to Unleash That Creative Power and Live With Intention by Naomi Stephan, Ph.D. Attraction, Attraction…I am always talking about attraction. This little dity called to me from a shelf in a used book store in Black Diamond, WA (that no longer exists). I read it like it was water to a thirsty soul. The pages of my copy are highlighted, underlined and earmarked and I find great value in the exercises. One reviewer boasts: “Dr. Stephan shows you ten creative paths to uncovering your LIFE MISSION and teaches you how to: Achieve clarity of purpose, Align your career to your mission, Make choices “in-sync” with your true self, and Experience the joy of living a meaningful life.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. WEBSITE

Become What You Are by Alan Watts  If you’ve never read any Allan Watts this is a good place to start. He is an “interpreter of Eastern thought for Westerners”. Which means he writes about the Taoist approach to life as it relates to Christian thought. This is a much deeper yet simple (how very Zen of me to say) method of figuring out who you are and what direction you are going. I read this one sloooowly…chewing on every part. Similar to the Artists Way, it was amazing how I could read a chapter, walk away for a month, and then pick up the book at the EXACT time I needed to read that particular chapter. I will keep this on my read-over-and-over-in-my-lifetime list. I own several other books of his, but they are all delving into the practice of Zen so this is the only one that makes it on this list of books to help you with a Life Manifesto. Although I would recommend all his books just for personal development. WEBSITE

The Fire Starter Sessions – A Soulful + Practical Guide To Creating Success On Your Own Terms by Danielle Laporte This book was given to me as a birthday gift from a friend last year. Right away I knew I loved it. Her writing style is poetic, real and gritty. I like her use of the work ‘FUCK’ now and then. The content is very practical and simple, as are the exercises. I love all the affirmation and reminders that I too can kick ass and take names. This fits in nicely with the flow of my workshop and is one I recommend to people who are attracted to this style of kick-in-the-pants-affirming-motivation. WEBSITE

Now, Discover Your Strengths – The Revolutionary program that shows you how to develop your unique talents and strengths – and those of the people you manage. By Marcus Buckingham & Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D.   This is a book that will stand the test of time. I love the chapter that talks about Talent; giving definition to the word and helping you understand the role talent plays in strengths. The other chapter that really speaks to me is the one about Fears. If there is one area I have struggled with (there’s way more than one) it’s letting fear control me and my decisions. So, this is a great book in the grouping of My Manifesto Library. By the way, in order to take the Strength Finders Test you have to purchase a NEW copy of the book. (There is a one use code with your purchase.) I found this out the hard way when I purchased it second hand. WEBSITE

The Power of Intention – Learning to Co-create Your World Your Way by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer  Intention – another foundational word in my life and my workshop. I am probably attracted to intention because it is something I can shape and control vs. innate things like talents and giftedness. What does that say about me? So, the whole idea that ‘Intention’ and ‘Power’ go hand in hand is right up my alley. This is one that I probably need to re-read. I loved it and I found value in it for my workshop, but I read it like a text book/required reading for a class. I didn’t really absorb it for my own personal gain. This book also has great exercises and I like the path Dyer uses to walk you through the process. I have never read anything else of his, but I know his reputation in the self-help world is renown. WEBSITE

Finding Your Perfect Work – The New Career Guide to Making a Living, Creating a Life by Paul and Sarah Edwards  This book was published in 1996. So, there are a few things about it that are a bit outdated, but regardless, it was the right time in my life to read it. I picked up the book in 2007 when my husband was convincing me to quit my job and start my own business. I felt like I was floundering and had no idea what to do with my life. I had not yet written my Life Manifesto, nor was I even thinking in that direction. Although chapter six is titled “Following a Mission” and there are plenty of exercises in this book to help you in that process. I kind of looked at this book like a stand-in high school guidance counselor or a college placement test…hoping it would narrow the path for me a bit. And it did. It was a good first step. I have not read anything else by these two, but found their website if you are interested in learning more: WEBSITE

The Path – Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and for Life by Laurie Beth Jones  This is a great book and the inspiration for my Life Manifesto workshop. I initially read this book back in 2003 or 2004ish. At the time I was heavily involved in a church community. My first time through the book was really just an excuse to join a women’s group study – and I admit I wasn’t really dedicated to the process. But years later I remembered the book and my experience and wondered if I could make more of it and really benefit from writing a manifesto. I am no longer involved in a church community (just a personal choice) and decided I would like to broaden the process (of writing a manifesto) for people of all faiths or walks of life. I think Jones did a great job of writing this book to be inclusive and relevant, so even if you are not of the Christian faith there is still a lot to gain from reading it. My favorite exercise comes from the chapter “Your Passion is Your Power”. She uses a simple formula that can help kick start the actual writing part of the process. Other than reading this book of hers, I know nothing about her or if she has written other books. We can look at her together and find out more.  WEBSITE

I will add reviews each time I discover a good book for the Life Manifesto Library. Make sure you give me your feedback, reviews and recommendations. Namaste

Step Right Up & Test Your Personality

What’ll it be today? Rational, Intuitive, Abstract Thinker? Actually, today it is ‘Rational Architect’ (INTP). What? That’s what I said! personalityIIOk, we’ll revisit that in a minute. First, is there value in Personality Tests & Identity Tools? I say yes. Maybe it’s my degree in social work or the ungodly amount of psychology classes I took (I should have double majored) that are influencing my answer. But, I am a geek for personality tests. The problem is I cheat. Based on who I want to be at that given moment, I figure out what answers will give me which label & I trend my answers toward that category. So the trick is finding tests that aren’t arbitrary in nature, and then be real and honest with myself as I take them.

That’s why I was perplexed when I recently took the Keirsey Temperament Sorter II and found myself categorized as the ‘Rational Architect’ (INTP). That’s a new one for this chick. After reading the description, it fits me… for the present time. Here’s why I find value in these tests: It’s not really the label that matters. I don’t think people fit neatly in little categories and BAM that’s it – now I’m an INTP. (As a matter-of-fact labeling people and expecting them to live up to or down to that label is dangerous. And one of the many reasons I got out of the field of psychology and social work.)  If I took the test next year, during the summer, when I am light-hearted and fancy-free, I bet I could be an ‘Artisan Promoter’. So why bother? Because introspection and self-reflection lend to forward motion and intentional living. Personality tests are just another way to figure out what you are attracted to and why. (Notice I am building on a theme here?) It’s all in the name of writing Your Life Manifesto.

Think of this part of the writing process as putting your oxygen mask on first. (Reminded of this analogy when picking my dad up from the airport today.) It’s sounds selfish…especially when you see those around you gasping for air. But, how are you going to be any good to anyone else if you don’t figure out who You are first? What are your strengths? Weaknesses? Attractions? Dislikes? Motivators? Talents? What gives you energy? Extraverts aren’t just out-going people. They are people who get pumped-up; derive their energy from socializing with others. Introverts aren’t just shy people. They are people who need time alone to restore their energy supply. Extraverts like time alone and Introverts like time with people. Do you know where, how, and why you feel energized?

There are TONS of tests & tools out there. Myers-Briggs, Keirsey Temperament Sorter, Enneagram & Strengths Finder are just a few of my favs. I like these particular tools because of their reputation and established position in the field of Psychology. They were written by renowned psychologists, authors and/or Ph.D.s, and have stood the test of time. They give you a small window into cognitive function and the categories psychologists use to map personality types. Again, I am not saying you should take all these tests and then live your life according to the labels they spit out. The tests have inherent flaws…like accounting for diversity, disorders, personal tragedy or on-going stressors, etc. Not to mention we all change over time and according to our circumstances. I am very much a different person in the cold winter months than I am in the warm wonderful summer. What I am saying is, there is value in the process of finding out who you are, in this season of life, and Personality Tests & Identity Tools are just one of many fun ways to do that. The value comes in how you assimilate (absorb & integrate) the information into intentional living. So go find out if you are an E or I (extraversion or introversion), S or N (sensing or intuition), T or F (thinking or feeling), J or P (judgment or perception) and report back here!

The Sun Sets on Friday

What a beautiful day it was! In the Pacific North West every sunny day is a treasured day during the winter months. This was kind of a stress-filled week in my world of business ownership. Deadlines, computer issues, vendor problems, miscommunication, you know the drill.  So waking up to sunshine (after quite a few days of having zero basking-in-the-sun moments) and having it last all day was a gift. The sun calms me and gives me energy all at the same time. So, today I am just going to share some of my favorite sunset/sunrise pictures with you. I hope they bring you peace, joy, calm, a sense of adventure, hope and space to dream…that’s what they do for me. San Francisco 2012 385 San Francisco 2012 424 San Francisco 2012 434 008 Christmas 09 226 Christmas 09 244 IMG_5673IMG_4851Have a Great Weekend. (You may repost my pictures, but please give credit to me. These are for personal use only.)

Map of Attractions

Remember when you were a kid and everyone asked you what your favorite color was? Or your favorite ice cream flavor? As trivial as those things feel now, it’s the asking that was so important. Knowing what you are attracted to is the name of the game. It’s like a road map to life – helping you move from one thing to the next, to the next. As an adult, when’s the last time you sat down and really thought about the things you are attracted to? Not just who you are attracted to, but the what, when & how. I’m talking about mapping your attractions.Attraction Map

Why does it matter what you are attracted to? Knowing is the part that matters. Once you connect all the dots on your map I bet you’ll see common themes – reasons you’ve loved/hated certain jobs, reasons you’ve been in or gotten out of relationships, things that have been a part of you forever but don’t get the attention they deserve. Once you identify your core attractions and common themes you not only have insight to your past, but a guide for future decision making & intentional living. And that’s the first step in writing your Life Manifesto.

Sounds simple, right? It is. But you have to dig deep. I’m not asking you what your favorite color is. I mean great if you have one. Mine is teal. But I don’t set many goals around the color teal. (Hmmm…I wonder where that would take me?) Here’s the thing about a Life Manifesto: It’s not one more thing for your bucket list. It’s not 30 Days of Hot Yoga or A-Photo-A-Day for 365 Days. (Both are things I love and have on my bucket list.) It’s what you do before you even make your bucket list. It takes commitment & time & vulnerability & a strong desire to know yourself. But, you do it because it takes away so much of the guess work when it comes to Your life decisions.

Like I said before, there is Truth in Attraction. Knowing what you are attracted to and seeing yourself on paper gives you a tool to say, “Yes, that fits with who I am so I am going to pursue that.” or “No, it’s a worthy cause for someone else, but I’m not headed in that direction.”. Don’t you wish you had a map to weigh that potential career change against? Or how about that friend-of-a-friend you’ve agreed to get drinks with? It’s not some great unsolvable mystery – You’ve had the answers all along. You just have to do the work to make them visible.

If you’re interested and really committed to this process you can click on this link to download a free exercise that will get you started. Attraction Mapping 101

I also offer in-person workshops for small groups of up to 10 people at a time. These are 6 week workshops, one day a week, where You will go through the process of writing Your Life Manifesto. The next one starts March 12th, 2013. More information coming soon under the Life Manifesto tab. Now go get mapping!


OK, I can’t promise a post every weekend. Usually my consummate host of a husband has our social schedule filled to the brim (actually I am equally to blame for this, it’s just fun to razz him). But, today I am home with a head cold…so I thought, “hey, why not post?”.

Maybe it’s just the head cold talking, or how much time I spend with our dogs, but this post is just going to be a random, useless, fun-fact post about my life. And the subject matter? Nicknames.

First, I thought it would be cool to know where the term “nickname’ came from. According to Wikipedia the etymology, or history and evolution, of the word is: “The compound word ekename, literally meaning “additional name”, was attested as early as 1303.[4] This word was derived from the Old English phrase eaca “an increase”, related to eacian “to increase”.[5] By the fifteenth century, the misdivision of the syllables of the phrase “an ekename” led to its reanalysis as “a nekename”.[6] Though the spelling has changed, the pronunciation and meaning of the word have remained relatively stable ever since.”  That wasn’t as exciting of a history lesson as I was hoping for. It would have been cooler if the word ‘nickname’ came from a guy named Nicolas Nameschroundulbous and everyone just called him Nick Name for short.

Anywho, nicknames – I’m a big fan. We have two little papillons named Louis (pronounced Lewy) and Pippie. Papillons are a French breed of dog characterized by the long hair on their ears similar to the wings of a butterfly. (Papillon, in French, means butterfly.) IMG_6068

When they are puppies they are little fur balls and remind me of a Mogwai. Not to mention the trill little songs they sing…my dogs are amazingly vocal. So, Mogwai became the nickname for Louis when he’s singing and mumbling. He mostly does this when we get home from a long day out and he needs to inform us of an entire days worth of events. Pippie is just vocal all.the.time. Constantly talking, chirping, whining, barking…wow. Good thing she’s cute. For her habitual mouth chattering I refer to her as Yippy. Or Whiny-McWhinersons.

I won’t go into the reasons for all the nicknames or how they came to be. But here is a list, in chronological order, of all the nicknames my dogs have had over time. Some are still in use and others have been filed away (now just blog post history).

This is Louis.

This is Louis.

For Louis:

  • Diggity
  • Didgerishous
  • Didge
  • Rishous
  • Rishous-D
  • DeeRishous
  • Rish
  • Rishness
  • Rishnicities
  • Mogwai
  • Woowy (This is what Pippie calls him.)
  • Woo
  • Wootang
  • Woo-man-chu
  • Woo-Mans
  • Mans
  • Mr. Mans
  • Mister
  • Handsome
  • Handsome-Mans
  • Bugadoo (Bugadoos being the plural form.)
  • Sweet Bugadoo
  • Beast (Or Beastesess when referring to both dogs.)
  • DangerRish

    This is Pippie.

    This is Pippie.

For Pippie:

  • Sweet Baby Girl
  • Baby Girl (said, Baby Geerul)
  • Sweetness
  • Little Miss
  • Dad’s Little Red Head
  • Chunk Chunk (She put on a few pounds with her first heat.)
  • Whiny McWhinersons
  • Yippy
  • Yipsters
  • Pipsters
  • Sassafrass
  • Hopscotch
  • Sweet Bunkadoo

I’m sure there have been more. We make up new ones all the time. Some of them just have more staying power than others. I love the fact that we no longer call Louis ‘Didge’, but that nickname stuck with my brother-in-law and that’s what he calls Louis every time he comes over. I can’t take credit for all of these names, my husband is equally silly and creative as I. Guess that’s what happens when you decide to have dogs instead of kids. We also have nicknames for each other, but that’s a whole other post. (Insert winky face here.) I told you this was going to be useless information. So, thanks for reading! Now I want to hear your nickname stories.

Are you Weekend Ready?

Even though my office is at home, I still keep regular work day hours at my desk. Actually, I pretty much live at my desk 24/7 during the week. So, Friday is my get-ready-for-the-weekend day. I finish up all work related projects, clean the house, prep for company & shake out my shoulders. So, this begins my Friday series: ‘Weekend Ready’. Today I’m going to share with you some of my favorite things that either help me get ready for the weekend or just add to my weekend enjoyment.

  1.  H2O at Home Cleaning Products are the bomb! I can, and will, write an entire post just on my experiences with this product line. For now, just know that they are a Friday ritual in this household.
  2. ‘Tincho’. It’s just New Age White Wine on ice with a wedge of lime. It’s an Argentinian wine and the recipe for this simple cocktail is right on the label. Enjoy!IMG_5942
  3. Austra. Just a good chill vibe. Or if I’m in a lighter mood my go-to is the Best of the 80s Reloaded on Pandora. I’m an 80s girl at heart.

That’s it for now. I hope you get to try one or all of these this weekend. (P.S. I am not getting paid for the mention of these products.)

Have a great weekend!

The Do’s & Don’t of Labeling Yourself

It’s all about positive vs. negative energy. Don’t panic, I’m not going to make you read The Secret. But, the world is made up of energy & there is Truth in Attraction (you’re going to hear these words from me a lot). And who/what you attract starts with how you label yourself.good labels

Here are the Do’s & Don’ts:

Actually, let’s start with the Don’ts so we end on a positive note. Insert smiley face here.


  • Constantly compare yourself to others. (Just realize the world is full of amazing & wonderfully unique people and You are one of them.)
  • Start sentences about Yourself with a negative. i.e. “I can’t”, “I don’t”, “I hate” (Instead, think of the positive way to say it.)
  • Let other people label you negatively. (Stand up for Yourself! You are amazing!)
  • Live by negative labels from your past. (This one is hard but you can do it. In my lifetime the list of things I have been attracted to & am no longer pursuing could easily have me labeled as a “Quitter”. Instead, I choose the labels “Adventurous, Curious, Insatiable”.)

See what I mean? All those things I’ve tried and then walked away from are still a part of me. They are important to the big picture and how my life unfolds…no need to lump them all together under one big-bad-label. Now, on to the good part…


  • Visualize the person You want to be.
  • List positive characteristics (labels) of said person.
  • Practice looking in the mirror and saying that list out loud. (I know it’s cheesy. Just roll with it. It will stop feeling ridiculous after the first few times and start to feel good. Try it.)
  • Have a positive attitude. It’s really that simple. Make the choice, every day, to smile more. It’s your new Cup-Half-Full-Mentality. Try it on for size. I think you’ll like it.
  • Live with no regrets. The past is the past and we are here now. Let the future worry about itself. Right now, in this moment You are Incredible, Talented, Peace-filled & Loved. (I said so.)

Live with intention and good self labels. Keep your voice positive and you’ll be surprised how different the world looks and feels.

P.S. Now, do the same for others. Good labels for all.

Importance of a Life Manifesto

What is Your Life Manifesto? Do you have one? I wrote mine in 2011 and have been living it ever since.

Life manifesto

When I say I am “living it” what I mean is this: I have it posted at eye level at my desk. When I am weighing my options for daily activities, or making plans to attend/host events, or deciding where to spend my money, or just need a reminder of my True Self, I look at my manifesto to keep me going in the direction I intend on going. It’s all about intentional living and staying true to who I am.

Even if you have a good handle on who you are and where you are going, how specific are you with your goals to obtain that vision? I have been researching goal setting, vision statements, mission statements and manifestos for the last few years. And I’d like to share with you the magic that is: writing Your own personal Life Manifesto. Don’t believe in magic? How about destiny? Or how about just plain ‘ol You deserve this. I’ll give you the tools. All you need is You and a bit of self-love.