This picture was taken many years ago after my daughter and niece combed the ditches along the gravel roads of Ottertail County (with adult supervision of course!), to gather up as many Black Eyed Susans as they could to present to my father on his 75th birthday.

My Dad, known for his hearty voice and love of family, exclaimed with exuberance how much he prized this man-sized, birthday bouquet and made sure his grandchildren knew how much he loved them and their handpicked birthday gift.

Later that day, while donning a crown, his grandkids paraded him up and down the gravel roads of Lake Tamarack pulling him in a trailer festooned with ribbons and a birthday banner while kingly music blared from a boom box, so everyone in the county would know it was his birthday!


My father has been gone for over a decade now, but I remember that day like it was yesterday. I remember how scratchy the stems of the flowers were, yet he embraced them without complaint. I remember how thrilled the kids were to drive the tractor while pulling their grandpa and how he rode tall and proud while waving at the neighbors. And I remember the sentiment my Dad exuded that there was no was place he would rather have been than in that trailer, wearing that crown, being paraded around like royalty by his family.

My father taught me to savor each moment, to love deeply and not take yourself too seriously.

I’ve also learned from countless other people who have shared their knowledge through their books, blogs, newsletters, seminars and courses. Some of these people include Gretchen Rubin, Danielle Laporte, Wayne Dyer, Louise Hay, Tony Robbins, Joseph Campbell, to name just a few. While I can’t list them all, please know that I am deeply grateful for the wisdom they’ve shared and that I’ll strive to pass on the lessons I’ve learned from them to you.

Here are just a few of the resources that have helped me learn and grow.

motivationThe Motivation Manifesto – Brendon Burchard

This book implores each reader to re-claim his or her personal power and outlines nine declarations for the read to follow in order to “find peace within and become more self-reliant in creating the life we deserve.” It’s fabulous stuff.

big-leapThe Big Leap – Gay Hendricks

In this book, Gay Hendricks describes that steps we can take to overcome our one barrier to happiness and fulfillment. My copy of this book has notes in the margin, underlining and exclamation points throughout and pages covered with tabs. I love this book so much that I ordered a bunch of extra copies and gave them away to friends and family. I repeat his mantra – I expand in abundance, success and love everyday as I inspire those around me to do the same – hundreds of times throughout each and every day. It’s powerful and effective stuff and was the impetus behind my “Big Leap.”

rising-strongRising Strong – Brené Brown

Brené Brown is a social scientist who has done extensive research about courage, vulnerability, shame, and worthiness. Through her work, she has uncovered that vulnerability – the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome—is the only path to more love, belonging, creativity, and joy. It is the rise from falling that Brown takes as her subject in Rising Strong, which is also a big focus of my consulting practice.

real-powerReal Power – Janet Hagberg

This book is about power -real, personal power- for forward-looking people and organizations who want to harness their own power for the common good. “I wrote this book,” says Hagberg, “to transform the way we think about power and leadership. It takes people on a journey beyond achievement and success to a stance in which power comes from their inner core and they lead from their souls.”

I read this book while I was in graduate school. It opened my eyes and got me started on my journey to understand and re-claim my personal power.

choose-yourselfChoose Yourself – James Altucher

This guy is both hysterical and profound. In Choose Yourself, he “illuminates your personal path to building a bright, new world out of the wreckage of the old.” Although he’s certainly had ups and downs throughout his life, this guy seems to have figured things out!

daily-loveDaily Love: Growing Into Grace – Mastin Kipp

This book is Mastin’s story about the pain, addiction and hardships he experienced which led him to seek help from the divine. Like many of us, his awakening didn’t happen overnight and it wasn’t without some setbacks, but through his struggles he learned the importance of loving oneself and the healing power of serving others. I attended one of his book launch speaking engagements and found him engaging, witty and genuine.

todays-giftToday’s Gift

Sign up to receive daily inspirations directly into your inbox from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. Like many, many people, my life has been touched by addiction and I have found the contents of the Today’s Gift messages to be so profound and immensely beneficial in my own personal growth. Trust me, you will find yourself looking forward to these daily gems whether or not you’ve been affected by addiction. Sign up at

“If we had all the flowers in the world, we’d be rich.”
Cara Hardy
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