Announcing: A Nashville-area workshop for women

I’m teaming up with my long-time colleague Amy Lyles Wilson to present Unstuck 2018: Moving from the life you have to the life you want. Here’s a flyer you can download and share with friends.

Copy of UNSTUCK 2018 flyer with event url spelled out

Why are Amy Lyles and I waiting until February to bring you Unstuck 2018? Why not hold the workshop in January, the VERY beginning of the year?

On December 31 I went to the gym for my regular workout. It wasn’t very crowded. I was back on January 2 and there were a LOT of people in there. Yesterday, the gym traffic was already back to normal.

People naturally experience a rush of excitement during the first few weeks of the year. It’s as if the mere act of turning the calendar page to January will cause habits to change and we’ll magically create the lives we really want.

Ah, but February comes and that’s when we realize achieving our goals will take planning, prioritizing, setting intentions, and plain old hard work. That’s where Amy Lyles and I come in. By February you’ll be READY to adopt some new strategies. And we’ll be there to help you.


Here’s the link to register. I hope to see you on February 10!


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In Praise of Nashville’s Winter Weather Panic

Yesterday Nashville got a little winter weather in the form of some freezing rain and a dusting of snow. And right on cue, those who’ve transplanted themselves here from other parts of the country began joking about how the city completely shuts down. Metro Nashville and surrounding county schools were closed, Vanderbilt University and other area colleges and universities cancelled classes, and many businesses were in work-from-home mode. Because this part of the country doesn’t get that many snow days, we don’t have all of the road clearing infrastructure of, say, Boston or New York. So, yeah, we shut down. Even I, a Nashville Native can joke about it.

Screenshot-2018-1-13 Pam Brown ( pamojamogram) • Instagram photos and videos

But really, I embrace it. Every meeting I had on my schedule yesterday cancelled (and I was on the decision-making team regarding two of the cancellations). I worked from home and completed several projects that have been on my plate for weeks, while taking a shift covering my agency’s Intake Line. I remained in ongoing communication with members of my team who were also working from home. Everything got handled.

Having unexpected desk time yesterday rather than a day full of meetings meant that the work I brought home to do today is already completed and my Saturday is free for house cleaning followed by knitting and watching football! In fact, I’m finished with the housework and as soon as I publish this blog post I’m going do one hour of decluttering per the schedule I put in my Bujo. All of this after sleeping until 8 a.m. this morning. That. Never. Happens.

Every once in a while, Mother Nature provides Southerners an opportunity to break from our daily routines and play catch-up. Or rest and do nothing. So for all of you who are from someplace else, laugh at us all you want. I don’t care because I feel less overwhelmed for having caught up on things, and more importantly, my floors are clean.

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Adjusting my Facebook habits

Disclaimer: this is NOT a Facebook-bashing post! It’s just that from time to time I need to evaluate my Facebook habits, more importantly, the aspects of Facebook that seem to hook me.

I was up early this morning doing a little online reading and I stumbled across this article about one aspect of Facebook: birthday notifications. I invite you to take a moment to read it now. I’ll wait until you come back.


I’m knitting while I wait for you to read the article link.

This article resonated with me, especially now, at the beginning of the year, that clean slate time when many of us renew healthy habits and routines. You see, I strive to fast from social media on Sundays, with the exception of Instagram. (If I see something I want to photograph and post, I don’t care what day of the week it is.) But I find that when I refrain from checking Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and email on the Sabbath, my head clears a bit. And when I feel a yearn to check it during my fast, I pay attention to the fact that these platforms might have become a bit too important to me.

So why did this article land so strongly with me? I’ve found myself checking Facebook on Sundays in the event someone I know was having a birthday and I needed to acknowledge it. It’s an example of how I’ve allowed Facebook to hook me. When I consider it rationally, I don’t think I have friends who are monitoring whether or not I wish them a happy birthday. Those I know well I can call or text. Or…gasp…plan ahead and send a card.

And so, I have taken action. I’ve edited my Facebook birthday setting so that it isn’t available, even to my friends. (If you want to wish me a happy birthday, make a note. It’s September 16. 😉 ) And I’m not going to obsess over wishing friends a happy birthday on Facebook. If you and I know each other well, you’ll get a text, call, or card.

Tomorrow is the first Sunday of 2018. I saw this article just in time to renew my Sabbath Facebook fast. I expect to feel a little tug to check in. I’ll pay attention to that.

And if you’re having a birthday tomorrow, I hope it’s a great one!




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My 2018 Volunteer Activity Edit

Happy New Year, Y’all!

Today I want to tell you about an action I took a few weeks ago. I mentally laid out my various volunteer roles and I made some decisions about how I’m going to spend my time in 2018. My activities are divided into church, serving on nonprofit boards, and miscellaneous organization work. Here’s what is looks like.

2018 commitments

And that’s it.

The ESL program hubs and I volunteered with for the past 12 years recently ended. I’m a “doer” and it would have been easy for me to find something to fill that space. But I am at a stage in my life where I’d rather do a few things really well than do a lot of things haphazardly.

Last year I took on a few too many multi-week commitments and I found myself getting burned out. Establishing my 2018 commitments on the front end will help me remember to say “no” to requests for additional ongoing service. I won’t decline opportunities serve in one-off activities, but I have enough going on to keep me occupied this year. These activities are on top of having a full-time job and a part-time coaching business. I also want to make sure I have space for my hobbies. Taking stock of my 2018 commitments and maintaining my boundaries will help me keep my schedule in check.

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, I invite you to do an inventory of your commitments. Is it time to pare things down?




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Making Life Easier: the Bullet Journal

Y’all, I’ve always considered myself to be a fairly organized person. I love to make lists and mark off tasks as I complete them. But I had a habit of losing notes written on scraps of paper, index cards, etc. I’d use a spiral notebook, then forget to put in in my briefcase, so I’d buy another notebook at a Walgreens near the office. Before I knew it, I was working out of three or four notebooks. No wonder I couldn’t keep up with my notes.

Back in the summer I stumbled upon the Bullet Journal method, or BuJo if you’re hip. I’m not taking you on a deep dive explanation of this journaling method because there are too many online resources. Here’s a link to the Bullet Journal website.  Brew yourself a cup of tea before you go onto the site. If BuJo (I’m hip) interests you at all, you’ll be there a while.

I joined a Facebook group where people share their artistic BuJo spreads. Some people share that they are afraid to begin because they are afraid of making an error. That’s just not how I roll. I use the “minimalist” method, just like Ryder Carroll, the father of Bullet Journaling. If I make an error, I draw a line through it and keep on going.

I’m about to set up my 2018 future log and my January goals page. I’ve used about half of the pages in my journal and rather than buy another ridiculously expensive (when compared to Walgreens’ prices) journal in order to begin 2018 on page one, I’m going to continue working out of the ridiculously expensive journal I’m already using. Here’s the one I have, in emerald if you’re curious.

Here are things that are not in my Bullet Journal:

  • My daily calendar: I use the Google online calendar because I share my schedule with several people in my office.
  • Fancy, artistic spreads, Washi Tape, and the like. There’s nothing wrong with those things, they’re just not my cuppa.

Here are the things I record in my Bullet Journal:

  • A year-at-a-glance future log, per the Bullet Journal website instructions
  • A  monthly spread. This is an overview of goals categorized by my nonprofit job, my coaching business, and my personal life (home and garden,  etc)
  • A weekly spread with more detail about people with whom I must connect, projects that need to be moved forward, etc.
  • Daily pages, using a half page for each day. This is where I jot down quick tasks, my gratitude list for that day, etc.
  • My half marathon training schedule, and I check off each day as I complete it.
  • Prep notes for meetings
  • Notes I take during meetings

In 2018 I’m going to experiment with a monthly habit tracker. I’ll simply write down some things I want to focus on for the month, draw enough boxes for each day of that month, and fill in the boxes when I accomplished the action each day. Example: My muscles are stiff as a board and I want to get back into a daily stretching routine. I also want to be more faithful about drinking enough water each day. Those items will go into my habit tracker until they become automatic. I’m also going to include housework schedule (borrowed from a spread someone shared on Facebook) with daily, weekly, monthly tasks.

A fellow nonprofit executive recently asked to meet with me to discuss some struggles she was having managing her workload. As she explained how she approached her day, it was pretty clear she was having time-management issues. I invited her to give Bullet Journaling a try. A few weeks later I received a thank you note and in it she said that this journaling method has completely overhauled her work life.

This is the time of year when a lot of folks are making resolutions. If getting organized is on your list, I invite you to give the Bullet Journal a try.


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A Last Minute Christmas Gift Idea for $20: Simplify Magazine

This is an unsponsored post. I simply like sharing cool stuff.

I am a fan of the blog Becoming Minimalist. I just hopped on the site after not visiting it for a quite a while (I’ve been busy!) and learned about Simplify, a digital magazine published by Becoming Minimalist founder Joshua Becker. During the month of December, you can purchase a lifetime subscription to Simplify AND gift a subscription to a friend, all for $20.

I put out a Facebook post offering one lucky friend to receive a subscription. Guess who responded first? The first friend I ever made, Faye! Our dads were childhood friends and remained best friends for their entire lives. Faye and her siblings and my sister and I grew up together. She lives a couple of states away now, so I rarely see her in person. I was thrilled to pass along to her the free subscription.

Now it’s your turn. You have until December 31 to snag this great deal, and you have one more day to get it before Christmas.

You’re welcome.

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Half Marathon Training: Getting Back Up

“Life is not about how many times you fall down. It’s about how many times you get back up.” Jaime Escalante


A couple of weeks ago I shared that I had begun half marathon training. I’ve completed 14 halfs, my last one being in April 2016. I’ve been looking forward to adding more finisher medals to my collection. Things were going well until two weeks ago when I had two separate but equally embarrassing accidents in one day.

First I was exiting the restroom at Target. I held the door open for someone who was entering. I thought she was about to push the door open but she didn’t grab it and the heavy, and I mean really heavy door closed on my forearm. I thought I was going to pass out from the pain. Later that day, the heel of my shoe hit a divot in a parking lot and I tripped. It would have been better if I’d just let myself fall, but I was carrying my company-issued laptop and I didn’t want to risk damaging it. I somehow stayed on my feet but not without twisting my right knee: the knee that’s been through an ACL and meniscus repair as well as many sprains through the years. I was already behind in my training schedule before this recent two-week lay off. My March half marathon is not to be.

I also have an April half on my schedule and I’ve actually registered for it. I’m using a 16-week training plan and today is the beginning of that plan. I only have to do two miles per session this week, so that will be easy on my knee. I completed my first session this morning. It feels good to be on schedule.

My plan is to invest in super comfy shoes for work, even if that means sacrificing style points. I want to stay as healthy as possible for the next 16 weeks. We’ll see how it goes and I refuse to let the half marathon be something I stress about. As my training partner Lynn likes to say, “It’s just running.”

Wish me luck!


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Yes, Virginia, you can skip Christmas parties.


Actual photo of me at the end of this week.

A few days ago I was having a conversation with someone who told me how many Christmas parties he’s attending and how tired he is. I wanted to tell him, “You know, you can skip parties if you’d like to.” But I didn’t tell him that, so I’m telling you.

You don’t have to attend parties if you don’t want to!

This week has been particularly challenging for me, from the Introvert’s perspective. On Tuesday night I took hubs to dinner for his birthday, I had a board meeting Wednesday night, and another board meeting last night: all good stuff, but a lot of activity and long days. Today I have my office holiday lunch, complete with a Dirty Santa gift exchange. Again, fun stuff but no alone time. I’m going to need to recharge soon.

A few years ago a coaching client told me how she used to love the Christmas season but in recent years it had become stressful. Through being coached she discovered that over time she had piled on extra activities and a lot of stuff, thinking these extras were important to her family. She was exhausted. I invited her to check out her assumptions and she learned that the family had no expectations. The client then separated her “want to’s” from her “shoulds.” She stopped doing the things she’d previously told herself she should do and continued with the traditions that brought her joy. Fast forward a few years and she is still enjoying the Christmas season.

I have a party on my calendar tomorrow. Two close friends are hosting it and I’ve already spoken with one of them about my need to take a pass. She understood completely and assured me she does not take it personally. Hubs has plans midday tomorrow, so I am going to have the house to myself for a few precious hours.

By skipping tomorrow’s party, I am giving myself permission to let go of a “should.” By spending time alone, I’ll be recharging my mental and emotional batteries and on Sunday I’ll likely be ready to start the week with a fresh perspective.

Are your holiday activities closing in on you? I invite you to give yourself permission to say “no” to a few things.


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The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Christmas Decorating

I’m not much of a holiday person. If fact, I’d be happy to hibernate from Thanksgiving to January 2. I wrote about that here.


Oh, Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, How barren are thy branches.

When it comes to Christmas decorating, I am beyond minimalist. Being a gardener and  plant enthusiast, I buy poinsettias and amaryllis. I throw a wreath on the door. I have a tiny little potted evergreen tree outside and I put lights on it.

And then there’s the Christmas tree. We have a fake an artificial, pre-lit tree that lives in the garage 11 months of the year. We have a box of ornaments that also lives in the garage. Hubs helps me locate the tree and bring it inside. Some years he’s mildly annoyed at this task; other years you’d think I was asking him to give me a kidney. Hubs and I are decidedly not the couple that drinks hot cocoa, plays Christmas carols, and decorates the tree together. He drags the thing inside and I decorate it. And for 31 years, I’ve been ok with that.

This year, I found myself not in the mood to deal with the tree. I decided to go through an exercise that I do with many of my coaching clients. I separated the “should’s” from the “want to’s.” Here’s how it played out in my head:

  • Society tells me I “should” put up a tree. After all, it’s Christmas time!
  • What will the neighbors think if I don’t have a tree in the window?
  • I doubt the neighbors are worrying about whether or not I have a tree, and if they are, that’s their problem.
  • I don’t want to spend the time putting up the tree and unwrapping and hanging ornaments. I’m just not into it this year.
  • We’re not having people over this season and hubs and I are rarely in the room where we I put the tree. No one’s going to see it.
  • The thought of taking down all of those ornaments at the end of the season exhausts me.
  • But I really love driving down my driveway after a long day at work and seeing the lit tree in the window. I will miss that if I don’t put up the tree.

By separating the “should’s” from the “want to’s” I did something a little unconventional. On Sunday I put up the tree, but did not decorate it.  Now when I come home from work, I get to enjoy the lights in the window as I drive down the driveway.

I told hubs I’m reserving the right to decorate the tree this weekend if the mood strikes, meaning he might have to excavate the ornaments. He sort of grunted in what I am interpreting as approval.

For now, I’m pleased that I only put forth the amount of effort that would give me joy in return.

What about you? Are your holidays filled with activity that brings you joy, or are their some “should’s” hiding about? I’d love to read your comments.

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How I get myself to the gym on Monday mornings

I have a love/hate relationship with Monday mornings. When I get to the gym, my week begins in the best way possible and I feel unstoppable. When my desire to sleep-in until the last possible moment gets the best of me, I spend the rest of the week skipping gym sessions and telling myself I’ll start over next Monday. Then next Monday the temptation to sleep-in is there again. See a pattern?

I’m coming off a nine month gym lay-off and my workout habits are not yet firm. That means I need to put plans in place in ensure my success until my habits automatic. My solution?

On Sunday evenings I sleep in my gym clothes! I did this years ago and recently my pastor mentioned doing this to make sure he doesn’t skip his morning workouts. I don’t have to do this every night (because, jog bras); only on Sunday nights. Once I complete that Monday morning workout, I’m motivated to adhere to my exercise schedule the rest of the week.

Today marks my third Monday in a row that I’ve gotten myself to the gym and gotten my week off to a positive start.

If you find yourself dreading that Monday morning workout, I invite you to give sleeping in your workout clothes a try.

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